February 2015 Meeting

HUAJILLA UNIT TRTA FEBRUARY MEETING

The Huajilla Unit of TRTA held its monthly meeting at Triple C Restaurant in Devine on Monday, February 23, 2015.  In the absence of President Rosemary Bendele, Cathy Mechler presided over the meeting. She welcomed the sixty members and thanked Lewis and Marsha Stroud for taking over this meeting which had been originally scheduled for Pearsall.  Ms. Mechler then led the group in the pledges to the flags and Lewis Stroud offered the prayer.  Before leading the group in the singing, Kay Shultz gave a history of “America,” (sometimes known as “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”) which many mistakenly believe was ‘stolen’ from the British “God Save the King,” written for King George.  On July 4, 1832, Samuel Smith’s song was first performed at a children’s celebration at Park Street Church in Boston.

Linda McAnelly, Devine ISD Superintendent welcomed the members to Devine.  Ms. McAnelly spoke briefly about SB 149, sponsored by Ken Seliger, which many educators are supporting because it will give local control over required student testing and calls for a graduation review committee for students who have difficulty mastering the required tests.  As an administrator in education, Ms. McAnelly also voiced her concerns with retirement funding, insurance costs, and is most definitely concerned with budgeting allocations for public education, since many schools are functioning at budget levels set 8 to 10 years ago.  She has met with State Representative Andrew Murr who has assured her that he will not support voucher funding introduced by Senator Campbell and supported by other legislators.

Speaker David Park was introduced by his former classmate, Lewis Stroud.  Mr. Park and his family, who originally came from Arkansas, have been in the bee and huajilla honey business for generations. Park provided an overview of the huajilla bush and the varied uses of the plant as a source of food for both wild and domestic animals, to ornamental plant, and clearly important for the production of the locally popular huajilla honey.  Mr. Park’s honey bees have weathered droughts, various destructive pests and other damaging chemicals which had previously reduced his numbers.  His numbers have increased and he is now supplying his bees to drought-stricken California to help in the pollination of various agricultural plants.  Without the work of the bees, many agricultural products would take a tremendous hit.  Mr. Park’s honey is available locally and he also provides his honey to various local markets. 

In a turn-around gesture, Mr. Park presented a jar of his huajilla honey to Diana Bush and Ed Winnie McWhirter.  After a Q&A session, Cathy Mechler presented Mr. Park with a special appreciation gift in lieu of the huajilla honey generally presented to our speakers.

There were no minutes, and Bruce Simpson, Treasurer, reiterated the bank balance remains as it was last month, citing a healthy balance for the scholarship funds.

With the Legislature in session, Ken Hanson provided an extensive Legislative report which included a summary of his and Nola Hanson’s Austin visit with state legislators earlier in the month, a review of the TRTA legislative team, listings of several legislative committee chairs and members, information on the Senate and House Budget Committee, bills to keep tabs on, and especially the bill filing deadline of March 13. He cited the best place to keep up-to-date on Legislative action is on Tim Lee’s Inside Watch.  Some of this information will be posted on the Huajilla Unit website.

The TRTA State Convention will be April 6-8 in Austin; on the 8th, TRTA members will don their red for a showing at the TRTA Legislative Rally Day at the Capitol.  Any and all TRTA members are encouraged to attend.

Ken Eisenhauer, Informative and Protective Services chair, reviewed two current scam alerts recently reported by TRTA members.  One involved an internet Amazon “gift card” scam which lures individuals to order products from Amazon and use the “gift card” which, of course, turns out to have no value and meanwhile, the individual’s information has been compromised.  Another involves a personal contact to enroll TRTA members in the Diamond Plus membership plan. TRTA members are not contacted by phone or through personal visit to sign up for the Diamond Plus membership plans.

The Nominating Committee, Lewis Stroud and Rose Scholtz, will be accepting names for officer candidates which will be announced at the in March meeting; elections will be in April and installation will be at the May meeting.

Scholarship Committee members, George Wall and Irene Dubberly reported that the scholarship applications have been mailed to the local schools; deadline for applications is April 17.  The committee will review the applications and will recommend either one or two scholarship winners.

Under new business, Ken Hanson presented the motion that the Huajilla sponsor the membership of our State Representative Andrew Murr.  Mr. Murr previously spoke to the unit and has been extremely supportive of the education issues in the state legislature. The motion was seconded and passed.

Marsha Stroud announced that the Current Events Club will sponsor the Wine Fest in Devine on March 21, from 4-7 PM at the Alsatian Hideaway.  This club contributes to local scholarships, to HANK, and helps provide prom dresses for girls who are unable to afford them as well as providing other community services.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned; the next meeting March 23 at Neil’s Lodge in Concan is designated as “scholarship donation” meeting.  Charles Carlson will present a program on “The Gun that Wasn’t There. “