ISSUE #12: La Niña Predictions & the Future of the Fulcrum

Triple-Dip La Niña Dethroned

by Amy Heimann

On the 8th of June, 2023, the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared the official start to El Niño. This weather pattern, occurring usually once every three to seven years, is expected to last for the next nine months. It is also expected to take its toll on wildlife and certain agricultural industries in countries bordering the Pacific Ocean.

In a “normal” year, westerly trade winds over the Pacific move water toward the Philippines and Australia, encouraging cool water to rise to the coast of the Americas. This “normal” pattern is frequently broken by an oscillation cycle called ENSO, which includes El Niño and La Niña. The past three years have been dominated by La Niña, causing stronger than average trade winds. As more warm water is pushed westward, more cold water rises to the surface until the Eastern Pacific Ocean is so cool it forces the jet stream northerly. When the jet stream goes over Canada, the northern half of the continent is colder and often wetter than normal, while the southern United States experiences drought. When El Niño occurs, trade winds are weakened and warm water stays along the west coast of North and South America. This pulls the jet stream south, leaving the southern U.S. wetter than average. No one knows what spurs the shifts in ENSO.

The United States will only be one nation feeling the change in weather. Australia and the Amazon region are bracing for a hotter and drier season, while Pacific islands prepare for an uptick in cyclones.

Of economic concern is the decreased levels of phytoplankton in the ocean caused by warmer water temperatures. This decreased food source will negatively affect commercial fisheries, especially in parts of South America. The Mexican government has also confirmed the starvation of hundreds of coastal birds as fish are seeking cooler water deeper and farther from shore.

Some regions of the world are rejoicing, however. Even though climate change agencies bemoan the end of La Niña (which caused overall cooler air temperatures globally and increased carbon consumption by phytoplankton), many areas prefer El Niño. These places include the southern half of the United States hoping for a reprieve from severe drought and wildfires, countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean looking forward to a quiet and uneventful hurricane season, and the Horn of Africa crossing their fingers for enough rain to partially make up for five consecutive failed crops.

How long will these conditions last? Again, no one knows what causes the strength or weakness of trade winds, so experts can only guess based on past experience. It is interesting that the Farmers’ Almanac for the Year 2023, which was released last summer, is predicting a wet Texas from the end of April all the way through December.

Celebrating One Year of the Fulcrum and What Comes Next

by Heath Bell

Just like that, we’ve reached 12 issues and one full year of the Fredericksburg Fulcrum. Over the course of our run, we’ve received support from those both local and distant for providing a nuanced look into Fredericksburg. We’ve published numerous voices and stories from around the community. Most importantly, we’ve told the truth and never hidden or sugarcoated the issues. This is likely why many people have grown to appreciate us.

We’re proud to continue our original mission with greater support, and thus a greater mandate. For that reason, the Fulcrum will be undergoing some changes. First, we’ll be publishing here on Substack ( with a greater number of authors from around the community. We’ll also become an organization separate from the Gillespie YRs, though we anticipate our members’ continued involvement in both organizations. Most significantly, we’ll be moving to expand our scope as much as possible in order to serve the community as completely as possible.

Once again, we thank all of our readers for their support over the last year, and hope to continue relying upon you throughout the next!

Also, This:

Crouch-Patterson Seemingly Wins Suit Over Frontier Spirits. As reported in Issue #1 of The Fredericksburg Fulcrum, Luckenbach owner Becky Crouch Patterson took the Frontier Spirits corporation to court over the name of their new distillery and establishment on Hwy 290 E. First called “Luckenbach Distillery,” the facility rebranded as “Luckenbach Road Whiskey Distillery” in attempt to appease. This attempt has evidently failed to work a solution, as the site is rebranding once again. Signs and banners near the location were stripped by the beginning of June, and one could just trace the outline of where the painted-over name was. These signs are now being replaced by the less provoking title “1693 Distillery.” A Frontier Spirits employee has confirmed that no other changes are being considered for the business; plans to proceed with a hotel, shopping center, helipad, and recording studio are still apparently in the works.

TikTok Ban Update: The social media platform TikTok recently admitted that private information of content creators is currently being stored in China, despite earlier statements from the CEO declaring that private data was stored in Virginia, Singapore, and Ireland. The Biden Administration has replied that the news is “concerning” but has not indicated any interest in a nationwide ban. Many legislators oppose such a ban, saying it would be a precedent for government control of news outlets and a First Amendment violation. Others complain that military recruitment rates may be negatively affected, as Generation Z makes up the majority of TikTok users. Twenty-eight states have joined the federal lead by banning the app from government officials’ devices. In May, Montana became the first state to ban the platform from all users, although the state is being sued by TikTok.

Book Review

If the summer months have given you visions of roadtrips, or if your favorite crime podcast is slow to upload, perhaps you will find inspiration and amusement in T. Lindsay Baker’s book, Gangster Tour of Texas.

This thoroughly detailed non-fiction book leads readers on a fascinating tour of the Lone Star State in a new way- via the trail of crime. Discover the origins of Texas’ most colorful characters in the lawless period between 1918 (when prohibition began in TX) and 1957 (when Texas Rangers shut down the Galveston casinos). Follow the provided maps and directions from birthplaces to preserved crime scenes to gravestones as you learn about the lives of the Barrow Gang, Dr. John Brinkley, the Santa Claus Bank Robbers, and others from innocent childhood to notorious illegal activities to final demise. The author has personally visited every site along the path and includes many photographs and descriptions of people and places for readers who prefer vicarious travel.

Not enough action for you? Consider a quick read that makes you feel as if you were a bystander witnessing the wild lives of Bonnie & Clyde, Machine Gun Kelly, Red Goleman and more in Bartee Haile’s book Texas Depression-era Desperadoes. Focusing on crime in the 1930s, this short book makes horrendous criminals more believable and could be a good summary to accompany Baker’s historical research.

Both of these books can be found in the Texas Room at the Pioneer Memorial Library.

Die Deutsche Ecke

Last month, we focused on identifying nouns in German. Although there are a few tricks to recognizing verbs in a text (they are usually in the second and/or last position of a sentence, sometimes have prefixes attached, and often end in “-en”), the sheer number of verbs in the lexicon make learning verb definitions a long, hard obstacle. Nevertheless, there is a smaller subgroup of verbs that can be quickly reviewed to facilitate comprehending the gist of a text. These verbs are called “modal verbs” and I like to compare them to “helping verbs” in English. They are:

Sie werden = You will/are going to

Sie wollen = You want (to)            Ich will = I want (to)

Sie können = You can      Ich kann = I can

Sie sollen = You should

Sie müssen = You must/need to

Sie dürften = You are allowed (to)             Ich darf = I am allowed

With me so far? Great! Let’s practice—

Er dürft den Ball nicht ins Haus werfen. = He is not allowed to throw the ball in the house.

Sie sollen nicht rauchen. = You should not smoke.

Ich werde später das Abendessen kochen. = I will cook supper later. (Abend = evening + Essen = food)

Wollst du ein Kleid nähen? = Do you want to sew a dress?

“Der wird auch Wege finden, da dein Fuß gehen kann.” = He will also find paths where your foot can go.

Wann man eine neue Sprache lernen, muss er oft Vokabeln üben. = When one learns a new language, he must practice vocabulary often.

If you now have the skill to point out exactly which English word translates to the German word before it— well done!

The Good News

Popular Commentary of the Bible: New Testament Vol. I. by Paul E. Kretzmann, 1921.

Luke 12:22-34.

And He said unto His disciples, “Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life what ye shall eat; neither for the body what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens; for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye, then, be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?” There is a close connection between the warning spoken to the people in general and that addressed to the disciples in particular, for covetousness may have its root in care and worry for the matters of this earthly existence. God has given life to us, therefore He will also provide food to sustain it; He has given us our body, and therefore He will also provide the clothing to shelter it. He has given the greater, that which has more value in His sight, and therefore He may be trusted to take care of the smaller and less important also. The ravens, the birds of the air, are our examples for perfect trust in the providence of God. They neither sow nor reap; they have neither storehouse nor granary; and yet God takes care of them. So we should heed the lesson they teach. There the birds fly past our eyes, with little honor to us, that we might well take off our hats to them and say: My dear doctor, I must confess that I do not understand the art which thou knowest. Thou sleepest through the night in thy nest, without care. In the morning thou arises, art happy and joyful, sittest on a tree, singest, praisest, and thankest God; then thou sleekest thy food and find it. Why, what have I, for an old fool, learned that I do not act in the same way? If the little bird can desist from worrying and acts in such a case like a perfect saint, and yet has neither land nor barn, neither box nor cellar; it sings, praises God, rejoices, and is happy, for it knows that it has One that cares for us, whose name is Father in heaven: why then, do we not also act thus, we that have the advantage that we can work, till the ground, gather the fruits, put them together, and keep them for the time of need? And yet we cannot omit the shameful worrying. Do as the birds do; learn to believe, sing, be happy, and let your heavenly Father care for you. All the worrying of a person will also not succeed in doing what God can easily do, add a cubit to the stature. And if we cannot even do what seems so self-evident and simple according to the laws of nature, why should we worry about things which are entirely in God’s hands, and which He has always taken care of for our welfare?

“Consider the lilies, how they grow; they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If, then, God so clothe the grass, which is today in the field and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after; and your Father knows that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you. The lilies of the field, with their velvety texture and their inimitably gorgeous colors, present the second object lesson. For they do not ply the needle, neither do they spin or weave. And yet they are not only clothed, but their raiment is of such a kind that even rich King Solomon, with the almost fabulous riches at his disposal could not compare with one of them in this respect. And Jesus goes even farther than this. Even the grass, that has little beauty to commend it to the average observer, uses better judgment. It blooms and flourishes in the field today, and tomorrow it is used as fuel for the ovens of the people. And yet it is clothed by God for the short space of its life; how much rather will God give the necessary clothing to His children. There stand flowers of ever color, decorated in the most beautiful manner, that no emperor of king is equal to them in ornament. For all their ornament is a dead thing. But a flower has its color and beauty, and is a natural, living thing. And it is not to be understood that it grows thus by chance. For if it were not God’s special order and creation, it would never be possible that one be so much like the other, having the same color, leaves, number of petals, veins, indentations, and other measures. If God then, uses such diligence in case of the grass, which exists only that it may be seen and that the cattle may eat it, is it not a sin and a shame that we still doubt whether God will actually provide clothing for us? What foolishness, therefore, to be concerned about eating and drinking; to be full of hesitation and doubt, to look anxiously for help, like the mariner in a tempest-tossed vessel! These all are things which the people of the world, the heather, make their prime concern; but as for you, the Father knows that ye need these things. Only one thing there is which should be the object of anxious search, that is the kingdom of God. To be a member of this kingdom, to have and keep true faith in the heart, through which such membership is insured, that is the one fact which should give every Christian his chief concern, on account of which he daily prays the Second Petition. All the other things that are necessary for the sustaining of life are added without worry or care, by the providence of God.

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. Sell that ye have and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approaches, neither moth corrupts. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Only a little flock is that of the disciples in the midst of the great mass of the nations of the world; only a few, a mere handful, that are earnestly and anxiously seeking the Kingdom. But these shall not fear, for the Kingdom shall be theirs according to the good pleasure of the Father, because it pleases Him, in His great mercy, to give it to them, as a free gift. As though He would say: You have not earned it; yea, you have earned hell; but what happens to you, that in nothing but grace, promised to you out of the good pleasure of the Father; therefore only believe, and you shall surely have it. It is a great thing that we are children of God and brethren of Christ, that we have power over, and are lords of death, sin, devil, and hell; but such power not all men have, but only such as believe. For he that believes that God is our Father and we are His children, he need not fear any one; for God is his Protector, in whose power all things are, and all men’s hearts in His hand. Rather than that the believers should set their hearts and minds upon the things of this world and be filled with care for the body, they should, according to the advice of the Lord, sell their goods and give the proceeds to charity. Then their hearts will be torn loose from all earthly considerations and will be fixed all the more easily and firmly on eternal riches. The possessions of the disciples will then be contained in a purse which will never grow old, for the are the riches of God’s grace in Christ Jesus; no thief is able to come near and abstract that inexhaustible, precious treasure, and no moth can destroy the white garment of the righteousness of Jesus which has been given to us by faith. How necessary to become ever surer of the heavenly calling in Jesus the Lord by a constant consideration of passages like the present!

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