I enjoyed your story on the 38 best steakhouses in Texas [“Meat Your Maker,” December 2007]. However, I was disappointed that Western Sky Steakhouse, in San Angelo, was not mentioned. I live in Kerrville, and for nearly thirty years I have been flying friends and clients out to Western Sky. If I had to guess, I’d say I’ve made one hundred trips, with some three hundred passengers, all of whom seem to agree that this is indeed the best steakhouse in Texas.
Barry McCollom

You missed one of the state’s best butcher shops: Old Town Market, in Lewisville. If you want to buy good beef or even get a great meal, go see Dickie Grant. He can barbecue your pickup and leave you saying, “That’s the best barbecue I ever ate!”
Jack Arnold
San Antonio

I cannot believe you didn’t include Myron’s Prime Steak House, in New Braunfels. It’s better than Ruth’s Chris any day.
Frank Panebianco
New Braunfels

Thanks for the great steak article. Interesting recipes and dining suggestions. And photos that made my mouth water. But—there’s always a but—you left out Reata, in Alpine. And if you ever do another piece on butcher shops—ones that are somewhere besides Austin and Dallas—put the Uvalde Meat Market on the top of your list.
Dudley Ilse

Any beef eater who lived in North Texas in the forties and fifties knows that few, if any, newcomers can hold a charcoal to Lester’s Minute Inn, in Wichita Falls. It was cattle-country cuisine at its best. My first passage into manhood occurred there, when I graduated from ribs in a basket to ribeyes.
Foster Hurley
Santa Fe, New Mexico

I understand that the majority of Texans (your readers) love to eat meat, but I am just trying to figure out why there is raw meat on your cover. I am a vegetarian, and I challenge you to look at the message you are sending to an already sick country and state. The cover of your magazine promotes death and cruelty to animals and, to be quite honest, looks disgustingly like roadkill.
Mariana Azenett Saldana

Drain Man

Nate Blakeslee’s story “Everyone’s Poop” was fascinating [December 2007]! Our nation’s clean-water infrastructure has been the Rodney Dangerfield of civilized society for far too long. The U.S. is currently investing more on protecting and enhancing the sewage systems of foreign countries than it is on our own; our clean-water infrastructure deserves the respect and funding afforded to the nation’s other critical infrastructure.

There’s a great old saying: The only thing that smells worse than a sewer is a city without one. Thanks so much to the author for shedding light on our sewers and the environmentalists who work every day to make sure those pipes continue working.
Jamie Samons
Providence, Rhode Island


Thank you for your story about Judge Sharon Keller [Reporter, Topic A, December 2007]. I have an innocent brother on death row who’s been there for ten years because his case has not been fully investigated. It seems like the system rubber-stamps these poorly investigated cases and turns a blind eye to justice. My brother has suffered needlessly for ten years, and I, for one, hope Judge Keller is removed from the bench and the capital cases she’s had a hand in are reviewed.
Delia Perez Meyer

No Comprende

In Paul Burka’s Behind the Lines [“No Niño Left Behind,” December 2007], this statement was made: “Everyone in Texas understands that educating the emerging Hispanic majority is the most important challenge we face—everyone, that is, except the people we elected to lead us.” Wrong, Mr. Burka.

Everyone does not understand this challenge. Until the parents of those niños understand the importance of their children’s getting a basic education, you can quit blaming our elected leaders.

As a former teacher and administrator, it is my observation that Hispanic students are bright, teachable, and eager to learn when they have the support of their parents and the education establishment. Why is it that success is expected when the design of the project is flawed?
Bill Estes

Good Sports

Texas Monthly’s reporter failed to contact us before writing the uninformed article “College Try” on the University of Texas athletics/academics program [Reporter, The Cheap Seats, December 2007]. If he had been interested in facts, I could have offered him a very different viewpoint.

We’re proud of the academic success among UT student-athletes. In December senior football player and starting center Dallas Griffin was honored by the National Football Foundation and the College Hall of Fame with the 2007 Draddy Trophy, considered the “academic Heisman.” Griffin has already graduated with a 3.88 cumulative grade point average and a double major in business honors and finance. He is currently enrolled in UT’s McCombs School of Business MBA program.

Griffin, defensive tackle Derek Lokey, and kicker Ryan Bailey (all 2007 football starters) were selected for the Academic All-District 6 team. Four others—quarterback Colt McCoy, linebacker Scott Derry, offensive tackle Adam Ulatoski, and running back Chris Ogbonnaya—were nominated for the honor.

For the second straight year, the Texas football team led the Big 12 in academic All-Conference selections, with 23—including 16 first-team choices.

The article failed to point out that often former student-athletes return to complete their degrees. For example, several—in football and other sports—graduated in December.

Thirteen of fifteen scholarship football seniors received their degrees, including Lokey, Drew Kelson, and starters Frank Okam, and Nate Jones, who are graduating in three and a half years. Two other starters—Billy Pittman and Tony Hills—will graduate in May, at the same time as another starter, Derry, receives a master’s in accounting.

Among other December grads was Terrence Rencher, Texas’s all-time leading scorer in basketball. After spending ten years playing professionally around the world, Rencher returned to school to finish his studies. He is the first member of his family to earn a college diploma.

Olympic gold medal swimmer Aaron Peirsol also walked across the stage, as did former basketball star Brad Buckman and past baseball players Chais Fuller (an infielder in the Atlanta Braves organization), Josh Smith (a former pitcher in the New York Yankees farm system), and Matt Goodson (until recently a pitcher in the Boston Red Sox organization).

This past summer, several former Texas student-athletes and current NBA stars such as T.J. Ford, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Royal Ivey returned to campus to work on completing their degrees.

Detroit Lions defensive tackle Cory Redding also returned last spring to take classes—just as he was signing a multiyear contract making him the highest-paid lineman in the NFL. A role model for young people, Redding helped mentor several current student-athletes while he was here.

And last year’s College Basketball Player of the Year, Kevin Durant, who left school early (with a 3.2 GPA) as a first-round draft pick of the Seattle SuperSonics, has already inquired about resuming classes at the end of the current pro season, as has the NFL’s Vince Young, of the Tennessee Titans.

It’s fashionable to be critical of academics in major college sports. It’s also trendy to stereotype student-athletes. But the University of Texas addresses student-athletes as individuals, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds who might never have had access, without athletics, to a first-rate education. We take seriously our responsibility to help them prepare—in sports, in academics, and for life.
Nick Voinis
Senior associate athletics director
The University of Texas at Austin