Issue #4 – Gillespie Republicans Run Unopposed & Local CWD Panic

Gillespie Republicans Running Unopposed for Almost All Positions

by Heath Bell

Despite the left’s insistence that Biden is doing a great job and the country is on the right track, their own collapse in involvement and enthusiasm betrays their true belief. In Gillespie County, out of 15 county races, there is only 1 Democrat running. Republican Todd Metzger faces Democrat Jerry Sotello in the November race for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4.

There are two races in which multiple Republicans are running against each other. Incumbent County Treasurer Dana Smith faces write-in candidate Terry Hamilton, while incumbent District Clerk Jan Davis faces Tara Burrer and April Wilke, with all 3 candidates appearing as a write-in.

For the remaining 12 elections, the result ended up being decided on the March 1st Republican Primary. Daniel Jones, Fredericksburg’s City Attorney, will become the new County Judge in January. In addition, Lindsey Brown will continue as County Clerk, Don Kuhlmann will become the new Surveyor, Keith Kramer will continue as Commissioner in Precinct 2, and Don Weinheimer will become the new Commissioner in Precinct 4. In the remaining 3 Justice of the Peace races, J.D. Hickman will continue in Precinct 1, and former Chief of Police Steve Wetz and Richard Priess will become the new Justices for Precincts 2 and 3 after winning their primaries against the incumbent Justices. Finally, all incumbent Constables will continue in their positions. You can find the breakdown on the Gillespie County Sample Ballot here.

Given this, one now understands why Democrats in Gillespie County have put all their efforts into the gubernatorial race. They’ve completely given up the home front because they know in just 2 years of a Democratic federal government, an unprecedented malaise has fallen upon the nation. There’s simply no beating around the bush that Biden will be remembered as the least capable, least effective, and most damaging President in the history of our nation. While gas prices, property taxes, and food prices rise, the Democrats have found themselves unable to look this community in the eye and tell them everything’s fine, and to vote for more.

That’s why “Beto” (Robert) is so important to them: the prospect of Direct Rule from Austin is their best shot at getting their agenda enforced across the state. Fortunately for us, Robert won’t win, and he won’t get close. Either way, something tells me his efforts to mass-disarm Texans will inevitably fail.

Chronic Wasting Disease- Even a Problem?

by Amy Heimann

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has garnered a lot of local awareness and notoriety since being detected within Gillespie County for the first time earlier this year in a breeding pen. The Bennett Trust Conference, the Doss Wildlife Association, Gillespie Farm Bureau, the Fredericksburg Standard, and other entities have all devoted time and ink to spreading information concerning CWD. Yet, assumptions about the severity and management of the disease still seems to be a little off the mark. This author proposes all the hoopla and arm-waving are unnecessary. For those unfamiliar with CWD, the following three paragraphs will explain its cause and symptoms. Readers who have already been inundating with this information can skip ahead.

One of the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE), the communicable chronic wasting disease disrupts the nervous system of cervid animals, which includes white-tail deer, red deer and sika, but not axis. CWD is related to BSE in cattle, scrapie in sheep, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. It has also been compared with Alzheimer’s due to its slow and harmful result on the brain. Signs of disease progression include emaciation, dull expressions, atypical behavior (loss of fear, separation from the herd), lack of muscle coordination, and excessive salivation.

CWD is caused by misfolded proteins, called prions. These prions accumulate in certain nervous and lymphatic tissues, such as the brain and spinal cord, spleen, and the lymph nodes around the neck. They can be transmitted through saliva in animal to animal contact, through urine and feces contaminating the soil, and possibly through antler velvet rubbing on plants. Contaminated carcasses and soil can carry the prions for decades and those prions will never go dormant like anthrax or other diseases, making CWD a multi-generational concern for ranchers wanting recreational hunting or pasture management options.

Increasing the nuisance of the disease is the fact that an infected animal may not display symptoms of CWD for four years or longer, and the symptoms are not easily distinguished from those of other diseases. There is currently no way to test a live animal for CWD and there are no medical interventions available for contaminated herds. The harmful effects of CWD may be slow in appearing, but it is easily spread without detection.

As deer hunting generates a $2.2 billion economy every year in the Lone Star State, the two positive tests in the Doss area are creating a stir with far-reaching implications. Much of the fear surrounding CWD encircle one of two points: 1) the disease will decimate deer populations; 2) hunters will not lease near high-positive areas because of toxicity in the harvested deer. Both of these points have truth in them, but have probably caused unnecessary panic since most news outlets are not fleshing out the detailed picture.

Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) estimate that CWD-positive deer are 4.5 times more likely to die than their uninfected counterparts. This does not mean that CWD is directly killing the deer, however. Rather, the neurological aspects of the disease make those deer more susceptible to all kinds of mortality causes, including predation, road kill, starvation/dehydration, and harvesting. As to the second point named above, it seems widely assumed that the venison from an infected deer is unfit for consumption. While the CDC advises against eating meat from a CWD-positive animals (and readers may choose to hold faith in the CDC or not), there is no evidence of risk to humans. Likewise, CWD-infected meat poses no threat to either domestic animals or other livestock. Texas Agrilife Extension Services simply advises avoiding the spleen and lymph nodes of deer suspected of being ill and using a different knife to process the quarters than what was used to cut through the spine.

One related concern to CWD that is often overlooked is the resulting shift of deer population age. An infected herd may have fewer mature deer, because infected animals will likely die at a younger age than normal. That can indeed deter hunters. Another possible deterrent to hunters considering a lease in a CWD-susceptible area is the requirement to bring tissue samples from all harvested deer to a TPWD check-station for testing. Hunters may choose to lease elsewhere so they do not have the hassle of driving to a check station. Which brings up the question of why surveillance zones/check stations are deemed mandatory by TPWD.

As stated, management practices do not include pharmacology, so the only suggestion given to landowners with a positive test is to reduce the deer population and dispose of carcasses by burying 6 feet deep. In the limestone predominate area of central Texas, carcasses are by necessity often deposited in landfills. One exceedingly impractical “solution” is to remove all deer and six inches of topsoil from the property, incinerate the soil, and relay with new soil. This would, obviously, be pointless as soon as a new white-tail jumps the fence. Another extreme option, if you are cautious about your neighbor’s property and one or both parties is high-fenced, is to install a second fence around the perimeter about four feet from the existing line to limit animal to animal contact.

All things considered, keeping an eye on deer herd changes is essentially the only request coming from state and local agencies, because nothing else can be done. Over a dozen counties in Texas fall into a CWD surveillance zone of various diameters set by the Texas Animal Health Commission and TPWD. The one catching part of Gillespie County is at a seven-mile radius around the breeding facility concerned. Why a seven-mile radius of watching? No particular reason has been given. The range of a white-tail deer is anywhere between 260 and 560 acres. One mile is about 640 acres. If an infected deer walked in one direction to the extent of its range and contaminated another deer, who walked in the same direction to the extent of its range, and so forth, it would only take about 8-10 days for the infection to go beyond the zone limits. The breeding facility’s positive tests were found two months ago. Now it should be emphasized, that no positive test for CWD has occurred in the wild in central Texas. The point being made is that the surveillance zone will not contain a disease, it will only let biologists know whether it is here. Is that worth the hassle of check stations? Maybe not to landowners, who can only weed out sick-looking cervids already spreading the disease anyway. In respect to the local surveillance zone, all cervid animals hunted in that zone must be tested for CWD. A check station has been placed at Harper Community Park and another is destined for Doss Fire Station. Heads can be taken to the check stations during operating hours or can left in the stations’ dropboxes outside of hours. Any hunter not following this regulation will be subject to fines consistent with a Class C Misdemeanor. For details on the surveillance zone, contact TPWD or a local game warden. And do not throw the list of rules and regulations away come February; the surveillance zone will be kept through the following hunting season as well. Whether it does any good or not.

Who’s In Town? – German Choirs of FBG

by Amy Heimann

Fredericksburg is home to two choirs in the Texas Hill Country Singing Association known as Texanischer Gerbirgs Sängerbund. These choirs are the Hermann Sons Gemischter (Mixed) Chor and the Arion Männerchor (men’s choir). As evident by their names, these choirs gather and perform for the goal of preserving German tradition and heritage. Their repertoire includes choral pieces by Mendelssohn and Beethoven, folk songs such as “Lorelei”, Christmas carols like “Es ist ein Ros Entsprungen” and “Alle Jahre Wieder” and more modern compositions by the late Fredericksburg native Mark Heirholzer and many others. Armed with such beloved songs, these choirs have been going strong since the early 1900s. The Arion Männerchor specifically is in its 104th year singing.

Listening in on a weekly rehearsal, you can hear soprano, alto, tenor, and bass voices spanning decades and nationalities. Many members have some knowledge of the German language from hearing it spoken in the home growing up; others have no experience reading German text and learn pronunciations with each new piece. Questions concerning translation or pronunciation are brought to one of the several mixed choir members who was born and raised across the Atlantic in a German-speaking country. The common tie among everyone is an appreciation of the lasting preservation of music. The combined German choirs will showcase their talents to the public on Sunday, November 6th in St Mary’s Holy Family Center. This annual Herbsfest (fall festival) will offer a seasonal selection of pieces including “Der Stern von Texas” and “In dem Wald”. A “social hour” will begin at 6:30pm with snacks and beverages (read: beer) and the program will start at 7pm. The concert is free to attend, but donations will be accepted at the door. See for more information or to contact a choir officer about joining.

Also, This:

Republican Senator Tim Scott (South Carolina) introduces ‘Parental Rights Over The Education and Care of Their kids’ (PROTECT) Act. If passed, the bill would revoke federal funding from schools that address students by an alternate pronoun or let a student use an opposite-sex bathroom/locker room without parental consent. Scott hopes this act would prevent elementary and middle schools from concealing information from parents.

Danes Could Join AI-Led Political Party. The Synthetic Party, led by AI figurehead “Leader Lars” is professed to represent fringe parties in Denmark after creator Asker Staunæs “trained it” in post-1970s Danish policies. Although the AI itself could never run for national office, the party led by its learning model could participate in elections if it gathered enough interest.

Eighty Percent of Teenagers Expect to Cohabit Before Marriage. The Marriage Strengthening Research & Dissemination Center released their findings on how 15-19 year-olds in the United States view marriage. The same study found that 70% of 14-year-olds attending religious services every week expect to cohabit someday. Despite the fact that cohabitation increases the likelihood of divorce, the majority of teenagers still intend to tie the knot and have children.

Book Review

The Meateater: Fish and Game Cookbook by Steven Rinella. Call number 641.6 Rin

Looking for a new way to prepare harvested wild game? How about dove or rattlesnake or crawdad? Perhaps snapping turtle or squid? This ultimate resource for hunters and anglers in North America has got households covered. Rinella encourages a nose-to-tail approach to wild game and provides detailed instructions on field dressing, butchering, and various recommended cooking methods for a wide variety of meats and cuts spanning native mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. Recipes include rare delights such as venison liver mousse, beaver tail, duck hearts, and frog legs, as well as staples like butter, home-cured ham, pie dough, and polenta. Step by step illustrations are provided for nearly every fish and game species in North America with the largest chapter focusing on the preparation of big game animals and reptiles receiving the least attention. As many of these animals are not found in Texas, this companion book may be a better gift option for hunters who enjoying traveling across the continent for their sport. Nevertheless, Texas-only hunters and anglers may decide to branch out after seeing so many worthy recipes for untasted fare. Detailed enough to immerse in and expansive enough to pour over multiple times, this book can be checked out at the Pioneer Memorial Library.

Die Deutsche Ecke

Attending the FHS homecoming football game, I had the horrifying misfortune to hear the announcer say “uber alles.”

What? Wretched nonsense! “It’s über alles!” I shouted back at the intercom system in a minor fit of rage. “Über alles! I can’t believe you don’t even know how to pronounce your own motto! Get off the mike!” The folks sitting next to me inched further down the bleachers.

Try this experiment: say the letter “u” aloud. Did you put a “y” sound on the front of the vowel? Like “yew” or “you”? Now say the word “fruit” or the German word gut and isolate the vowel sound. Was there a “y” there? This is the difference between “u” with and without an umlaut. If you substitute one sound for the other, you may end up saying something you regret, although sympathetic Germans will likely understand what you mean.

(Note: The anglicized spelling of an umlaut vowel is made by just switching the umlaut for an “e”. Thus, Müller becomes Mueller and Baethge was first Bäthge.)

The other vowels that can pick up an umlaut are “a” and “o”. An “ä” typically makes a long “A” vowel sound, but it can get complicated when followed by the letter “u”. The vowel sound in the name Matthäus, for example, sounds quite dissimilar to that in the verb läuft. The “ö” is a very nuanced sound to create. I seem to do my best by forming my mouth into a position ready to speak an “r” sound while voicing the short “o” vowel. Woerner should sound closer to ’ver ner than to ‘wor ner.

Uh-oh. I really did it this time. I can already hear the entire population of Texas Germans starting to heckle and gather up rotten fruit. You should too, if you have ever heard of Goehmann Lane. (Which at one point was spelled Göhmann. To be likened audibly with Herman Göring.) Please understand that I was formally taught hochdeutsch and every now and then I will get caught slipping away from the valuable and more interesting Texas dialect into the standardized parlance.

**Soap Box Statement** Now for one last comment that really burns my britches: There is a new subdivision being constructed in Gillespie County going by the name “Friedën”. It should be blatantly obvious to everyone that the people who named this development DON’T KNOW A DARN THING about our native German heritage, as evidenced by the fact that they are attempting to usurp the beautiful Germanic language by making up a letter that DOESN’T EVEN EXIST in the alphabet. No doubt, they think that a “more German looking” name will attract more buyers at higher prices. Let me be clear. “Friedën” does not mean “peace” it means “greed.” Rant over.

The Good News

Celebrating All Saints’ Day

The commemoration of saints in the Church dates back to the second century AD, when special services were held celebrating the witness of apostles, martyrs, and early church fathers on the date of their birth or death. Through the spreading of the Gospel and ensuing persecution, the calendar quickly filled with Saints Days, often remembering multiple saints in one day. The tradition of commemorating all martyrs on a single feast day was begun as soon as AD 373 and is still continued in the Eastern Church on May 13 each year. The broader celebration of all saints on every first of November seems to have started in the 700s. Sometimes called All Hallows’ Day or All Souls’ Day, All Saints’ Day is still celebrated in the Western Church on November 1 in remembrance of all believers who have died in the faith.

Many congregations choose to observe this special occasion with a Totenfest service on the first Sunday in November. This tradition includes reading aloud a list of all members or loved ones who have attained heaven and received a Christian burial in the past year. A bell is tolled after each name is read. The service continues with prayer: In joyful expectation of the resurrection to life, we remember before You, O Lord, all our departed kin and friends who have gone before us in the faith… As You have received our brothers and sisters who have gone to their rest in the hope of the resurrection to eternal life, bring us at the last with them into the light of Your presence, that in union with all Your saints we may give You glory forever, Amen.

Why commemorate the saints? First, we remember them as examples of godly faithfulness, that we may continue their acts of service to the Church and live in the light of their witness. Second, that we be reminded of the great mercy God bestows in using us mortal sinners for His Will and Glory and bringing us to repentance and salvation. Third, that we give thanks to the Lord for producing faith in His servants the saints, who have been a blessing to the Church and the world.

Now let us remember with thanksgiving those who have gone before us with the sign of faith, for they were redeemed by God.

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