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Residents Take Pride in Their School by Candice Stryker

Archived in the category: General Info, School News
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 15 Sep 16 - 0 Comments
Madden Guevara, Byron Ferrell, McKenna Guevara, John Rosenboom, Connor Ferrell, Colby Hummel and Nathan O’Neil hard at work.

Madden Guevara, Byron Ferrell, McKenna Guevara, John Rosenboom, Connor Ferrell, Colby Hummel and Nathan O’Neil hard at work.

Exemplifying what makes our Port O’Connor community so special, citizens and students worked together several days in August to fix the school playground before the school year started.

Even though most of the schools in the district have the rubber tiles on the ground around their playground grounds, there was no money in the budget to fix ours. Around seven years ago the current playground equipment was donated to us through a grant. Since then the school district has done some maintenance on it, but much more needed to be done. The current weed barrier was old and torn creating a tripping hazard for children. The mulch was pretty useless and the ground was overgrown with stickers and weeds. Many parents spent their time at the playground pulling weeds out from under the slides and swings while their children played.
This past school year, the Port O’Connor PTO held fund raisers to save up enough money to fix the grounds. It was an expensive project and required the help of many volunteers. Nathan O’Neill of O’Neill Services donated all his time and labor and spearheaded the project. He contacted his supplier, Ewing Irrigation Products, and through them we purchased all our new weed barrier at wholesale cost. O’Neill Services spent two days straight digging out the old ground.

Many other businesses and community members came out to help. Billy Goode used his dump truck to haul off the old mulch and dirt. Gary Cunningham supplied new dirt to fill in ruts and holes from the recent bad weather. Sonny’s Marine came on Tuesday with four workers and a tractor to help dig out the ground. POC Liquor Store supplied materials for maintenance on the grounds.

PTO members, elementary school kids, and parents spent Monday and Tuesday digging out the places the tractors couldn’t get to. On Tuesday the first 18 wheeler of mulch was dumped in the driveway. By late Tuesday evening, part of the weed barrier was in place and the first load of mulch was spread out. On Wednesday morning the second load was dumped. Victoria Sweeping Services came, finished laying the rest of the weed barrier and dumped the mulch in small piles all over the playground perimeter.

Thursday morning, over a dozen parents and community members along with seven Coast Guardsmen showed up at 8:00 a.m. and started spreading mulch and pressure washing picnic tables. Kim Dickens and Josie’s Mini Mart brought tacos and “breakfast on a bun” to all the workers.

In three and half days this community banded together and dug out 11,500 sq ft. of old mulch and weed barrier and made it new.

Even though we have to fight everyday to keep our top-rated school open and operational, deal with massive budget cuts, and worry about the day we might have to ship our babies by bus 30 miles one way to school, our small community sticks together and takes care of their own. We are so blessed to have this community and all the people in it.

POC Students at School Playground Top, L-R: McKenna Guevara, Clara Stryker, Jaydin Rhoads; Middle: Audrey Rhoads, Madden Guevara, Cole Spicak. Emily Ferrell; Bottom: Byron Ferrell, Connie Ferrell

POC Students at School Playground
Top, L-R: McKenna Guevara, Clara Stryker, Jaydin Rhoads; Middle: Audrey Rhoads, Madden Guevara, Cole Spicak. Emily Ferrell; Bottom: Byron Ferrell, Connie Ferrell

4-H Prepares for County Fair

Archived in the category: Announcements, Events, General Info, Organizations
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 15 Sep 16 - 0 Comments

Local 4-H members are counting down to the Calhoun County Fair, held in Port Lavaca during October. They’re currently raising roasters, turkeys, rabbits, and goats; some for a few months, and some for a few weeks. All have been hard at work caring for their animals and attending clinics to learn more about the process of raising poultry and livestock. In addition to participating in these main events, they will also visit the fairgrounds to feed and tend to their animals once or twice daily as they have been doing at home.

For the Intercoastal 4-H Club members, the main action starts early in the morning on Wednesday, October 12, as they will arrive to weigh in their animals and go through the sifting process to see whose animals are ready to be judged. Intercoastal members’ poultry and rabbits will be judged in the morning starting at 8:30 a.m. while goats and other livestock will be shown beginning at 5 p.m.

On Thursday, October 13, the auction will begin at 6:00 p.m. Wish them luck to receive a good price for their investments! Raising these animals requires hard work, determination, time, and money. If you are interested in being a buyer at the auction, please contact the County Extension office at 361-552-9747 for more information.

Friday, October 14, a Young Exhibitors show will be held at 6:00 p.m. This is for Clover Kids who are below age 8 and third grade and are trying out club projects.

If you are at the fair on Saturday, October 15, stop by the County 4-H booth and get some tasty chicken wings and sweet tea. Intercoastal club members will be working from 5-10 p.m. You may also see them walking around and selling tickets for chicken squat bingo! (Presale tickets available at County Extension office.)

Then, Sunday, October 16, club members will arrive at the fairgrounds bright and early for the release of their animals and fair clean-up.

Finally, they will complete their project record forms and thank you cards to their buyers. Some will also submit a project record book for judging in the spring.

These young people should definitely be proud of themselves for their efforts. Not only do they learn the knowledge and skills of raising these animals, they also learn to work cooperatively and independently and to have confidence and courage.

Come out and support Port O’Connor’s Intercoastal 4-H Club at the 2016 Calhoun County Fair! We hope to see you there!

-Roxanne Ochoa

Calhoun County Fair October 11 -15

Annual Fall Garage Sale!

Archived in the category: Announcements, Events, General Info, Organizations
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 15 Sep 16 - 0 Comments


Island Life… by Clint Bennetsen

Archived in the category: Featured Writers, General Info, Island Life
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 15 Sep 16 - 0 Comments
Clint & Corky

Clint & Corky

Love Continues On And Grows

Greetings from the island everyone. I hope all of you are doing well and enjoyed your holiday Labor Day weekend. With school having now started, and the kids being involved in activities, this was may be the last summer family island outing for the islanders out here.

I enjoy the start of this time of year on the barrier island. Less people are coming out because of school and deer season about to get underway. And of course the cooler weather is so welcome after several months of a hot and humid south Texas summer. And maybe most importantly, the mosquitoes become less and less of a bothersome issue. And those little winged demons were really bad last week after getting six inches of rain in one day the previous week. But thanks to all the rain, my tanks for my house water are nice and full.

I love the Fall months here on the island. The first cool norther of the season blowing in is so refreshing, truly like a breath of fresh air. Feeling the crispness in the air as I sit outside on the porch enjoying my cups of hot black coffee. The island and the beach are my happy places, and the cool Fall weather just helps enhance that for me.

I normally don’t tackle a summer garden on the island, it is simply too hot and difficult to start my tomato seeds in the heat, without a cooler sunshine spot to start them. But I decided to try anyway, and the outcome was not good. The tiny fragile plants fizzled out, mainly because I forgot how hot it gets in the greenhouse in August. My bad. So for the first time in years, I just recently bought six tomato plants, Pink Brandywine variety, hoping to grow some delicious Fall tomatoes to share with friends.

On a sad note, I lost one of my cats, Anchor, to a coyote attack a few weeks ago. She was 2 1/2 years old, and I had bottle fed her and her sister, Jetty, when they were tiny kittens. Together since birth, Jetty misses her too, and seems to be much closer to me now. The island can be a harsh and unforgiving place, such is island life. Anchor is now buried next to Barnacle.

On a much happier note, I am now the proud dad to a new boxer puppy, Corky. On August 17 I made a 685 mile round trip to Saginaw, TX, and brought the little high energy boy back to the island. Corky loves the island and the beach, and he is great company for me. Barnacle would be proud to call him his little brother. There is a picture of Corky and me next to this article title. Please continue to follow us as Mr. Dog and I progress into the future.

** Here is a wonderful update from my article I wrote on October 8, 2010, titled “Message In A Bottle Tells Love Story”, about a message in a bottle I found washed up on the island beach. Eric Horton and Stacy McBeth were dating and on their first vacation together, a cruise across the Gulf of Mexico. Knowing that their love for each other was true, they prepared hand written love notes to each other, without them being read. They then sealed the love notes, along with a photo of themselves and a separate letter explaining their relationship, and a self addressed stamped envelope in a bottle and tossed it overboard.

Stacy and Eric were hoping the bottle would be found and the love notes mailed to them so that they could now be read by each other. On September 24, 2010, I found the bottle and messages washed up on my island beach, and later mailed the contents to them, along with my own letter of explanation, and the three of us became Facebook friends.

I’m very happy to report that Eric and Stacy are now happily married, their wedding date having been on September 25, 2015, the six year anniversary of their first date. And on their wedding day, is when for the first time, they opened and read their love notes to each other from the bottle. They are also expecting their first child, a boy, on January 1, 2017. This is such a happy and wonderful story, and I am proud to have been a part of it. –

That’s it from the island for now. I want to thank all of my faithful readers for following me and my island life all of these years. I am truly blessed. Have a great day!

Still Sweethearts After All These Years

Archived in the category: General Info
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 15 Sep 16 - 0 Comments
Happy 70th Anniversary! Howard & Evelyn Lewis Wed September 22, 1946

Happy 70th Anniversary!
Howard & Evelyn Lewis
Wed September 22, 1946

Reprinted from Dolphin Talk, February, 2010

“For Evelyn: When I saw you for the first time, you were coming toward me wearing a white blouse and red slacks. You were a beautiful vision that walked across my eyes and straight into my heart… The doctors say I have had only a half a heart since birth, but whatever part of a heart I have still beating in my chest, it all belongs to you. All my love, all my life, Howard”

These were the sentiments expressed by Howard Lewis to his wife Evelyn on the occasion of their 63rd wedding anniversary last September 18th. Howard first saw Evelyn when he was 13 years old and she was eleven. It was summertime and Evelyn, who lived in Weslaco, was visiting her grandparents, Dierilla and Capt. Edwards. She was on her way to the shrimp house to see her friend Hootie Clark.

By the time summer was over, Evelyn and Howard had become good friends – maybe even “sweethearts” at that young age. While she was back in Weslaco, she and Howard corresponded by mail regularly. Once the school year ended, Evelyn was back in Port O’Connor, working at her grandparents’ store and spending her free time with Howard.

In 1943, Howard joined the Navy, serving on one of two experimental ships as a diesel mechanic. While he was away, he and Evelyn wrote letters to each other almost daily. In 1946, he completed his service and was flown to Charleston, South Carolina. His primary goal after setting foot on U.S. soil was to get home in time for Evelyn’s high school graduation ceremony. It couldn’t be done by waiting for a flight, so he decided to hitchhike. He still gets choked up telling how he tried so hard to be there for Evelyn but only made it as far as Victoria.

But once he made it home, it wasn’t long before the two were married. The ceremony took place at Momma and Poppa Lewis’ house. Howard had lived in Port O’Connor all his life, having been born in the old O’Connor ranch house. He decided it was time to relocate, and in 1947, he and Evelyn moved to Aransas Pass. Their son, Velvet DeWayne, was born in 1948, and son Vonnie in 1951. That winter they moved back to Port O’Connor. That was the year of the big freeze, with the canal and Boggie frozen over, killing all the fish. Howard remembers that for two years afterward there was no commercial fishing.

In 1956, daughter Judy was born in her grandparents’ house on Lewis Street with all the family and Justice of the Peace Louise Sharp (whom they called “Aunt Weezie”) present.

In those years, the couple operated bait stands and commercially fished and shrimped. Howard was also a fishing and hunting guide. He also built boats: 36 to 48 foot shrimp boats, 27 net skiffs, and eight air boats (from scratch). Whatever project he undertook, Evelyn was there, working right beside him.

Howard and Evelyn have always exchanged cards and gifts on all special occasions, but ten years ago Howard started making a really big effort to demonstrate his devotion on Valentine’s Day. The first year he painted a huge heart on the lawn with a red rose on each side of it. Inside the heart was the inscription “HL loves EL”. The next year when she came home from shopping, Evelyn was greeted by 365 hearts hanging in the living room. Each heart said, “I love you,” and the final one said, “In case I forgot to tell you – I love you”.

If you look closely, you can still see the faded sign painted several years ago on the side of Howard’s shop: a heart labeled “HL” and a heart labeled “EL” with “She’s Mine” written in between. Twice he has erected “Burma Shave” type signs down Lewis Street, with a large sign at the end of the street saying, “Be My Valentine”. And last year, Howard took out a full page ad in Dolphin Talk declaring his love. He also had an essay printed in the Victoria Advocate. The ending lines, almost every wife would love to hear: “We have known heartache, sorrow, but never despair. Our love has remained constant throughout the years. We have been each other’s only Valentine. I write this as a tribute to my wife, the love of my life.”

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