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Kyle, Texas
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May 15, 2013     Hays Free Press
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+ HaysFreePress.com , ree ] ress CHINA INSPIRED Buda Chamber of Commerce speaker tells tales from abroad. - Page 1g May15,2013 Page 1C IT'SABOUT THYME Many years back, when my wife Diane and I moved to Hays Country Oaks, we were excited by the prospect of planting her collection of antique roses. Over many years in the nursery business, Diane had accumulated over 100 varieties of these old-fashioned beau- ties. First we planted a mutabi- I/s rose on the east side of the house and started with a row of climbing roses along a pasture fence. We soon discovered our mistake. This new neighborhood was home to a large population of whitetail deer.., and they love roses about as much as we do. Despite the thorns, the deer went after our mutabilis as if it was delicious candy. Within days they were stripped to bare canes, as were our hopes of a beautiful antique rose garden. Our choices were to build a deer-proof fence or give up the roses and find plants that deer found less palatable. We chose the second option. Starting out with a culinary herb garden, we discovered that deer didn't care for plants that have a strong scent or fla- vor. Rosemary, sage, lavender, thyme, and the different variet- ies of oregano were safe. Our next venture was into the world of flowers. Which plants would give us color, and be left alone by the whitetails? This time we did some research. We telephoned MickVann, our chef-friend who also works at the University of Texas as a horticulturist. He dropped by with a list of deer-resistant plants he had accumulated over the years. It turned out that there was a ton of native plants that provided great flower color, many of them also useful in attracting butterflies, hummingbirds and songbirds. Mick also suggested that the web was a great source of information on deer resis- tant plants. Salvias have been a huge success for us. This group has a wide range of color, heights, and leaf textures, and most are herbaceous perennials, so they flower throughout the spring, summer, and fall and sleep through the winter. Cut back after the first freeze and with a little mulch and water through the winter, they happily return with the ground-warming weather of spring. Autumn sage (Salvia gregii), which comes in an array of col- ors, is an evergreen. It provides green foliage through the win- ter and often flowers through the winter months of January and February. Another reliable group is the lantanas. Like the salvias, they bloom spring to fall, and are available as short ground- cover plants, midsize rounded See ASK CHRIS, pg. 2C PHOTO BY KIM HILSENBECK CJ Legare, left, with her "little sister" Samantha, standing with Sam's mother, Rolanda. Legare and Sam were matched four years ago by the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization; they've been together ever since. Rolanda said Sam has come a long way since her "goth" days of dressing in black and doing poorly in school. Today, the Hays High School junior is maintaining her grades and even looking forward to college. She gives much of the credit to Legare, who stuck with her even when Sam pushed her away. How becoming a big sister helped one woman overcome her own troubled past BY KIM HILSENBECK kim@haysfreepress.com T~ll.e first,in a three part ries, Big sisterly love" share the stories of CJ Legare, a"big sister", Sa- mantha, her"little sister", and Rolanda, Sam's single mother, twice divorced, as they joined forces to help Sam, a now 17- year old who was going down the wrong path. Four years ago, Legare signed up to be a big sister through Big Brothers/Big Sisters, a nonprofit that finds mentors for troubled youth. Samantha rejected her at first, thinking Legare was just another person in her life who would leave. Rolanda sought out the program, knowing she needed some help. Legare said the BBBS matches are most successful when everybody is game, the parent, the kid and the big, and even the match support specialist at the organization's headquarters. "It doesn't work if one of those parties doesn't support the relationship. We are com- mitted to keeping the family intact. This is what's best for Sammy- staying committed to the relationship," she said. PART I, CJ'S STORY With her infectious smile, bright blue eyes and curly red hair, Samantha ("Sam") looks like any other teenager. She goes to high school, has a boyfriend, wears braces and is thinking about college. Flashback to four years ago, Sam was sullen and with- drawn - angry at the world. She had few fliends, wore a lot of black and let her school- work slide. Sam's grades suf- fered, as did her relationship with her mom, Rolanda, who was doing the best she could as a single mother raising two children. Sam's brother, Steve, was 14 at the time. Rolanda divorced their dad in 2001. It was a rough time, ac- cording to Sam and Rolanda, who talked with the Hays Free "It was very cathartic because I knew I was paying it forward. The kindness and love that was shown to me when I was trying to change my life, when I was trying to grow as a person and just tripping up every step of the way." -CJ Legare, Big Sister Press recently. Sam's shoulders peaked out from the edges of her wide-necked green shirt. "Back then," Sam said, referring to several years ago, "I used to wear black sweaters in 103 degree weather." She also didn't have many friends and lacked self-confi- dence. WHAT CHANGED? Sitting on Sam's left in the booth of a restaurant was the answer. Sam's tmnaround is largely attributed to her big sister, CJ Legare, of Kyle. Sam said she often forgets to add the clarification that Legate is her big sister through Big Brothers/Big Sisters- an organization that aims to help get kids on the right path before it's too late. For Sam, it was almost just that. They met four years ago when Rolanda signed Sam up for the program. Her son, Steve, was already with a big brother at the time and she said it really helped him. She wanted the same thing for her daughter. The first three "bigs" didn't pan out- due to schedul- ing or other conflicts, none of them stuck around long enough to make that con- nection Rolanda knew Sam needed. Working a lot of hours- sometimes two jobs over the years - she was a good provider but didn't al- ways have a lot of time to give her children. Enter Legare. Sam calls her Courtne~ or"Court," though most people outside the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organiza- tion call her CJ. The relationship, clearly warm and genuine now, started off frosty. Legare explained some of the family background before Sam and Rolanda arrived. "You need to know there's someone in your comer," Legate said. "She didn't feel connected with her mom because she was coming into her teenage years and they were just 'Clash of the Titans' butting heads." Legare demonstrated by pushing her fists together. She continued, "She didn't feel connected to anyone and that's where kids start to get in trouble and that's the road she was going down. She just felt like she was completely alone. When she finally learned to trust- and it took about a year, literally. She'd blow me off, stand me up. She didn't think it was worth investing because she knew See BIG SISTER, pg. 4C CHECKIT OUT "n addition to many best- sellers and popular titles, .the Buda Public Library has many award winning books, especially for children and teens! Here are some awards that you might want to check out: Texas 2 x 2 Books - books for children from two years old to second grade. Bluebonnet Nominees - books for readers in 3rd to 6th grades. Kids that read at least five Bluebonnet books get to vote for their favorite in January; the winning book is awarded that year's Bluebon- net Award. Caldecott Medal - award- ed to the best American picture book; mnners-up are awarded Caldecott Honors. Newbery Medal- awarded to the best literature for chil- dren of the year; runners-up are awarded Newbery Honors. Lone Star Books - books for teens in 6th through 8th grades. Tayshas Books - books for high schoolers. The Buda Public Library has many of these titles, including all of the top ten titles on the list. Lariat Book- fiction books for adults. The main criterion for these titles is that they be a pleasure to read. How can you find these books? Just use our catalog! Type in the name of the award in the search box (like Texas 2 x 2 or Lariat Book) and press the "Search All Fields" button. This will bring up a list of all the titles marked with that award. Another way to find the most recent award win- ners is the click on the "See What's Hot" link in the catalog and click on the award. Connect with award win- ning books at the Buda Public Library! Buda Lions on the move BUDA BITS B uda Lions Club will be moving into their new home on Bartons Crossing in the next few weeks where lots of work has been done to the back portion of the county building that formerly housed the Onion Creek Senior Citizens for over 26 years. Congratulations to all the hard working men and women of the Lions Club on getting your own space. See BUDA BITS, pg. 2C + !h