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Cookie and Josie Covarrubias

It isn’t the coffee although it’s really good coffee made fresh all morning. It isn’t the food even though you can’t beat the breakfast and the special order options that come with it. Even so, sometime between 6 and 8 am an amazing group of guys meets at the MiniMart in Port O Connor. Sometimes they are there a good little while too. They come for the animated repartee, the discussion, the chitchat. They drink coffee and lots of it, some eat breakfast; but they all come to talk. 16 or so individual mugs rest in a rack on the wall and provide a quick roll call of who’s in and who’s out on any given morning. The coffee klatch is a diverse assortment of retired professionals and business owners, hard workers with a valued day off, avid fishermen both professional and amateur, homegrown and transplanted locals, weekenders and snowbirds, the occasional stranger who happens in, and sometimes a woman or two; but they all enjoy the chatter. The most common topic of discussion is politics, both local and national, but they also catch up on current events, local happenings, news of the odd or unknown, jokes, family updates and good old fashioned gossip.

Cookie oversees the kitchen and makes sure the eggs are hot and cooked to the regulars liking. Ms. Josie commands the seating area, coffee pot and has on occasion provided enforcer services. One guy continued to break the unwritten rules that language remain G rated and discussions are family friendly, and his cup is no longer on the rack. After many reminders, he was kindly but emphatically kicked out and directed not to return. Ms. Josie may be small, but her word is rule. Cookie claims she is not to be messed with and what she says goes, even with all their kids and grandkids. Cookie and Josie, founders of Josie’s Restaurant, have been in business more than 30 years. They have seen lots of changes. They started in a ‘taco truck,’ raised their kids and cooked good food, and now the two of them work only the breakfast shift. Their girls run the rest of the family endeavors, and Cookie and Josie are very proud of their accomplishments. You may find a quick note on the door on that odd morning that they closed early or took an extra day off, but generally you will find them there early working hard to make the coffee klatch and any other breakfast patrons feel at home and well fed. The local guys who gather there will tell you there’s no better place. They recommend the homemade salsa, diced jalapeños, pancakes or eggs; and they willingly share with you the very best in homespun tall tales, down to earth advice, straightforward discussion and the best fishing tips to be found anywhere around.

It’s their place, with unofficially assigned seating, individual coffee cups and a pecking order for who talks first and who talks loudest. Still, they will always make room at the table and offer a warm welcome if a newbie or a guest should drop in. Some have come for years of mornings, and some have come for days. Not all of them make it every day, and some members of their group have died, but those who remain are a fascinating, eclectic and hilarious group of legend, fable and fact that will spice up your breakfast taco and challenge your brain should you choose to drop by. Ms. Josie will offer you a guest coffee cup with a smile that lights up your day. Cookie will ask you if you want chorizo or bacon and make sure you are well fed. The small town group with the big ideas that make this hub their headquarters will guarantee that you leave with new jokes, crazy stories and factual and well thought out information you never dreamed of finding in a little town at the end of the road. They’re just one more of the many things that make our Port O Connor so special.

Flip Flop Festival proceeds to help fund the Port Lavaca Bayfront Veteran’s Memorial

The 6th Annual Flip Flop Festival in Port Lavaca, TX, will be benefiting the Bayfront Veteran’s Memorial. Bayfront Peninsula.

The purpose of the memorial is to recognize military veterans past, present and future. This memorial will be a 6-point star measuring 36’ foot depicting all military branches and will include bricks engraved with a veteran’s name, pavers that line a donor walkway and granite benches for visitors. The center of the star will feature a Family Circle which will place the names of family members who served together.

The project has been three years in the making. Organizers need to raise $125,000 to build the memorial.
The goal is to provide a calm, quiet place in a beautiful surrounding to reflect on the heroes past and present who gave so much of themselves to protect our freedoms. A secluded area of the City’s Bayfront Park (also the site of the festival) will be the home of this beautiful memorial.

“We’ve spoken to numerous local veterans and we are committed to keeping the area clean like cutting the grass,” said Greg Falcon. “There’s several places in our community that honor veterans but there isn’t a place where families or veterans can go to reflect. We want to make it nice for members of the military.”

The engraved bricks are $80 each, and if you purchase 4 you get the 5th one free. The bricks have a lifetime warranty and will include the veteran’s name, date of service and military branch. They will be etched by computer and filled with epoxy to prevent damage.

There are also sponsorship opportunities for organizations that can be discussed which will be placed on a Donor Wall ranging from $250 – $2,000.

“The 6th Annual Flip Flop Festival is going to be the best yet, especially because the proceeds are benefiting the Veterans memorial. It’s an exciting event every year,” Jennifer Schulte, one of the event organizers. “But I have to say it’s been the most fun to work on this year because it’s been the most meaningful.”

For more information on purchasing a brick engraved with a veteran’s name or a paver in honor of your organization, please contact City Hall at 361-552-9793 x221. Bricks and Pavers will also be available for purchase at the Flip Flop Festival! If you would like to learn more about the memorial, volunteer or request a representative to speak to a group please contact the Calhoun County Council Members.

Calhoun County Veterans Council Members:

Gregory Falcon
Veterans Council Chairman

Jerry McClendon
Veterans Council Adjutant

Lee Rivera
Port Lavaca City Councilman

Jack Mageluzzo
VFW Commander

Casey Crowder
American Legion Commander

Eddie Rendon
G I Forum Commander

Ron Lankford
Veterans Council Planning
Committee 719-661-1515

Jesse Briseno
Veterans Council Planning
Committee 361-676-2685

Flip Flop Festival
August 30, 2014
501 E. Main
at the Bayfront Peninsula in Port Lavaca

Chihuahua Trail Marker Dedicated at Indianola

Archived in the category: Announcements, General Info, Organizations
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 17 Jul 14 - 0 Comments

Pictured above is Victoria Scism (second from left) and some of the Chihuahua Trail/Road crew, including Nelson Marek of Port Lavaca (third from left), who have surveyed the Chihuahua Trail across Texas. Also pictured are Russel and Patti Knowell (at right of marker), ranchers from Kinney County, where the trail crosses near Fort Clark.

Ms. Scism and crew have been tracing the Chihuahua Road for the past 13 years, walking across 70 ranches and visiting surrounding sites of historical significance, to map the route that was once so important to commerce and immigrant travel.

The Calhoun County Historical Commission dedicated the Chihuahua Trail marker on July 12, 2014, and it was unveiled at its location near the cistern at Indianola.

Indianola, Texas and the Chichuahua Road

excerpted from

During the period between 1844 and 1877, Indianola grew from a plague-infested immigrant camp to a cosmopolitan port city. At her zenith, before the storm of 1875, she was second only to Galveston in the State and was regarded by that place as an annoying threat to its commercial and maritime supremacy. Wielding vast influence on the development of Western Texas, as the land west of the Colorado River was then called, Indianola left her imprint on that great region.1
She became the port for the Chihuahua trade, was the eastern terminus of the shortest overland route to California and was the funnel through which tens of thousands of immigrants from Germany, Switzerland and France came to Texas. Contributing to her growth were immigrants and energetic merchants from the Southern and Eastern United States to the new land of the west. Over her wharves moved the necessities and luxuries of life for the inhabitants of Western Texas, as well as the ordnance and other supplies for the chain of forts that shielded “civilized” Texas from the untamed Indian tribes.2 They came to take advantage of the only spot on the Texas coast where wagon trains to and from the interior could drive right to the fine shell beach for loading onto and unloading from sailing ships, and later steamers, from as far distant as Western Europe.

One of the great boosts to Indianola after Februrary 1, 1849, was the opening of the Chihuahua Road to the Far West and to Chihuahua, Mexico. The isolated silver mines discovered by the Spanish in Chihuahua in northern Mexico precipitated the development of three important trade routes between Mexico and the United States. In the middle of the nineteenth century, these three widely separated wagon roads snaked out of the United States and made their laborious way to Cuidad Chihuahuc, capital of the Mexican sate bearing that same name.3

By the end of the Mexican War in 1848, the most direct route from the Eastern Seaboard and Europe through the Gulf of Mexico, across Texas, and into the treasure troves of northern Mexico, was the Chihuahua Road. Along this great artery moved traffic and commerce from the 1850’s through 1877, as well as a tide of immigration that opened up the Southwest4. It wound across the Southwest from the Port town on Matagorda Bay – Indianola; through San Antonio and out along the great springs of the Balcones Fault to the Rio Grande at San Felipe Springs in De Rio; then turned northward, crossing the imposing canyons of the Devils and Pecos rivers, passing through Alpine and Marfa until it finally turned south down Alamito Creek to the Rio Grade at Presidio del Norte, then into Mexico and up the Conchos River to Chihuahua City. This bald itinerary suggest little of the wide variety of terrain which this route traversed: the lush, flowered prairies of the Coatal Plains, the magnificent pecan and cypress-shaded springs along the Balcones Fault, the desolate reaches of the Trans-Pecos and the Chihuahua Desert. The Chihuahua Road’s several parts were know variously as the Indianola Road or Goliad Cart Road, the Old Spanish Trail, the Government or Military Road, and in Mexico, El Camino del Rio Conchos.5
By the end of April 1850, train sizes had so increased that a single giant procession of 150 wagons and 250 Mexican carretas was on the road. Early summer saw 550 to 600 wagons at a time being outfitted at Indianola for the Trail. The flood gates of commerce had been opened.

Each wagon was drawn by six mules or six to eight oxen. The huge Mexican carts were pulled by four to six oxen. The wagoners endured a life of privation and danger on the trail, but they prized their independence. There was little variety in their diet. There was seldom an opportunity to bathe. Beards were the order of the day, by necessity.
The tough little towns along the way; the lumbering trains of great freight wagons and the boot-tough men who drove them; the innumerable desert campfires tended by weary freighters, taut with vigilance against the perpetual threat of Indian or bandit attacks – these elements developed as the story of the Chihuahua Road unfolds.6

The Chihuahua Road continued until 1877 when a hurricane destroyed Indianola and the railroads replaced ox/mule carts for carrying freight in the Southwest. During more than 30 years, the Chihuahua Road held a dominant role in moving items of commerce, travelers, military supplies, and personnel through this part of Southwestern North America. By the time of the Road’s demise, a solid foundation of civilization had been built in the Southwest. The end of the Chihuahua Road came upon the completion of the Southern Pacific Railroad from New Orleans to California January 12, 1883. The beginning of the transcontinental railroad service also drove a nail in Indianola’s coffin, which was slammed shut by the hurricane of August 20, 1886.

During the period from 1844 and 1886 scores of towns in Western Texas along the Chihuahua Road were born as a result of the trade between Indianola, Texas and Chihuahua, Mexico. The route of the Chihuahua Road is generally known. Surveys have been conducted to determine with more accuracy the exact route. On-ground (walking) surveying has uncovered evidence such as rusty wagon parts, mule and oxen shoes, rusty container cans, rusty wagon tools, spent cartridges, campsites and occasional wagon ruts to help delineate the route. In addition, railroad and land surveyor reports from this period have helped to locate the exact route. These reports have, on occasion, mentioned crossing the Chihuahua Road.
A historic marker signifying the importance of the Indianola Chihuahua Road was unveiled on July 12, 2014, at the Indianola Texas Cistern at Indianola, Texas.

1 Brownson Malsch, Indianola-the Mother of Western Texas (Shoal Creek Publishers, Austin, Texas, 1977), page 1.
2 Malsch, pages 1 and 2.
3 Roy L. Swift & Leavitt Corning, Jr., Three Roads to Chihuahua (Eakin Press, Austin, Texas, 1988), frontspiece.
4 Swift & Corning, frontspiece.
5 Swift & Corning, Introduction, page x.
6 Swift & Corning, Introduction, page x.

Small Girl, Big Power by Kelly Gee

Archived in the category: Announcements, General Info
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 17 Jul 14 - 0 Comments

Marissa Martinez

Marissa Martinez stands only 5’1” and weighs 123 lbs. but she has some serious power in her little body. Marissa lifted a total of 835 pounds in multiple rounds at the state power lifting meet to win 1st place. This 18 year old senior at Calhoun High has received numerous awards and honors both academic and athletic, and now the honor student has been named #1 power lifter in Texas, #3 in the nation and 1st alternate to the world team competing in Hungary this September. She is the oldest child of Angel and Marie Martinez of Seadrift. While her four younger brothers were running track and playing football, Marissa quietly tried out for the girl’s power lifting team and she was amazing. She really loved the sport and proved to be quite good at it. She has been named Most Improved and Most Valuable on the team and has won multiple meets and competitions. Marissa says she really loves the sport and has tried to do her very best to make her coach, family and friends proud of her. They have been really supportive she says.

The world competition is expensive to attend, but an honor she would really like to accept. A $2,200 deposit would add her name to the travel list for the Worlds’ meet, and additional funds would make it possible for her to represent her sport and our area. Mom, Marie, works at Bubba’s in Seadrift and has a donation jar where you can help send our little local lifter with the big power to this year’s world competition. Even a small donation could make a big difference. Let your change be a vote for Marissa to win big in Hungary!

Friends of the Port O’Connor Library Annual Report

Archived in the category: General Info, Organizations
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 17 Jul 14 - 0 Comments

The first Friends of the Port O’Connor Library board meeting for 2014-2015 was held at the Community Center at 10:00 am, Monday, July 14. Pictured are Paula McCauley, Barbara Crouch, Roxanne Ochoa, Jerry Lichac, Judy Whitworth, Joanie Morgan, Ginnie Lichac, Ursula Price, Vera Wiatt, and Lynn Luster. Not pictured: Carl Ray and Melissa Doggett.

End of the year already? Yes, July 1 starts a new year for the “ Friends of Port O’Connor Library, Inc. The past 12 months have been extremely busy! As in any big successful project, creating a firm foundation and taking care of the basics was very important, so we set out to re-write our By-Laws, reapply for our non-profit status and re-file our articles of incorporation with the Texas Secretary of State. Our Treasurer developed an Accounting Policies and Procedures Manual insuring that our organization would work within accepted general accounting procedures and be totally transparent. In March of 2014, we received our long awaited non-profit 501 C (3) designation, so all donations are tax deductible.

In April of 2013 and March of 2014 newsletters and membership solicitations went out to the community via email and regular mail. Many people responded by joining and donating. A third newsletter is planned mid-August or early September 2014.

Other milestones include obtaining the property for the new library/learning center donated by the Stofer-McNeil Trust and acquiring the approval of County Commissioners Court for use of the land on the corner of 6th and Main for the building site. In addition, Calhoun County has agreed to maintain the building and staff when it is finished and donated to the county by the “Friends”. Of major importance was a gift from Burch Group Architects of Branham, Texas who volunteered their services to develop a concept drawing and site plan for the project.

A spaghetti dinner was held on Friday night, April 25, 2014, as an informational kickoff event to give the POC community a heads-up on the exciting goal ahead. A video was made to get everybody revved up, energized, and thinking “yes, this can happen!” “Friends” was very encouraged by the turnout and the donations were way beyond what we had anticipated. BLESS THE FOLKS THAT GAVE GENEROUSLY!!

Other organizational steps have been put in place by setting up our accounting on QuickBooks and by subscribing to DonorSnap software which will help with record keeping and will facilitate online donations. Another essential communication tool to guarantee success of this project and keep in touch with the community has been setting up a website accomplished by a NOVUS WEB, designed by Cindy and Brett Williams who have donated their services. Sherri Judice set up a “Friends” Facebook page and we invite everyone to Like Us on FaceBook.

“Friends” believes that the library complex can be the focal point for bringing people together to learn new skills and discuss common interests in the meeting room. Synergy would be created to bring people to the library with a half-court basketball, outdoor movie area, native plant garden and walking trail. A wide shaded porch will add to the ambiance of a welcoming structure that we can all enjoy and use.

Our annual meeting was held on June 28 and new members of the Board of Directors and officers were elected. New Board members are Jerry Lichac, Lynn Luster, Joanie Morgan, Roxanne Ochoa, and Judy Whitworth. Also an Advisory Board has been formed and the following have joined that Board: Kimberly Bennett, Mary Ann Claiborne, Susan Cohen, Jim Hooper, Sherri Judice, Tiffany O’Donnell, Nancy Pomykal, Vidal Ramirez, Joyce Rhyne, Bill Tigrett, Joanne Ward, and Dell Weathersby. 2014-2015 promises to be an exciting one as we kick off serious fundraising and our Capital Construction Fundraising Campaign. Let’s build a new Library Learning Center!

Virginia Dell Lichac, President, Friends of POC Library, Inc.

Untitled Document Visit Port Lavaca Chamber of Commerce