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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
June 2, 2010     Hays Free Press
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June 2, 2010

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Hays Free Press June 2,2010 NEIGHBORS Page 3C 'ihe king and queen of Crape Myrtles Acth s the mercury rises and  IT'SABOUT ch0ose from. e gardeners of Hays of ther top performers to ounty prepare for the For a dwarf tree, one of the upcoming mini-drought, I think the time is right for me, in my unofficial capacity as nurseryman/columnist, to nominate the amazing crape myrtle as the official 2010 Plant of the Summer. They bloom for months, and they come in any size you could imagine. Once estab- lished they can hold up with our native tree species during the most prolonged droughts. Great color and water con- servation roiled together into one great tree! But let's be more specific, and choose some monarchs: I hereby nominate, as 'King of the Crapes'... Muskogee. This stately specimen grows to a height of 25 to 30 feet, and blooms for 120 days. This is a record-setting bloom time! Muskogee is a light-laven- der with strong resistance to powdery mildew. Its fall leaf color is red and yellow and in winter its bark is grey and pinkish-brown. As 'Queen of the Crapes,' I nominate Natchez. This white flowering beauty grows from 25 to 30 feet and has tile second longest bloom period of 110 days. Her fall leaf color is red- orange and her winter bark color is cream-cinnamon brown. Natchez is resistant to diseases and is considered the benchmark that all other varieties are compared to. Besides this king and queen, there are dozens ai ;e ] r the Ca (w, ] fee re( Tu: pir 1 tre wil the .t is Victor. This dark red iety grows to four to five t and blooms for 85 days. :or mid-size trees, those wing from eigth to 12 feet re is Siren Red, PinkVelour, :awba (purple), and Acoma eping white). or trees between 15 and 20 t there is Dynamite ( deep ), Red Rocket  red), and carora ( coral red to dark k). md for truly shade size s, 25 feet and up, along h Muskogee and Natchez - re's Basham's Party Pink. "?he crape myrtle (Lager- str,)emia indica) has been in th south since they were first intJ educed from Asia in 1747. Sin :e that time, hundreds of col, )rs and heights have been bre d. 11 the mid 50s, the ]apa- nes crape myrtle (Lagerstro- emia faueri) arrived over here and an extensive breeding program began. Horticul- turalists began to mix the color variations of the Asian crape myrtle with the disease resistance of the Japanese varieties. The Japanese crapes also had trunk color attributes and greater cold tolerance. They could now be planted farther north. As the official '2010 Plants of the Summer' begin their amazing bloom cycle, we should all give thanks for the bright colors they bring to our landscapes during the harsh summer months. Happy gardening everyone! If you have a question [or Chris, send it via email to Or mail a postcard to It'sAbout Thyme: i 1726 Manchaca Road, Aus- tin, TX 78748 www.itsabout- thyme, com. Wheeler-dealer cut teeth on corruption he nation hardly noticed when Bobby Baker, the poster boy for political corruption, got out of prison on June 2, 1972. The Washington insider the press nicknamed "Lyn- dons boy" did not hail from Texas, as many misinformed Americans presumed, but from South Carolina. Sent to Capitol Hill as a senate page at the impressionable age of 14, the ambitious errand boy cut his teeth on corruption. When Lyndon lohnson moved up a congressional rung in 1949, Baker already was a smooth operator with seven years experience at satisfying senators' every need. "Bobby was the man you called," a contemporary remembered candidly. "He had the head count. He knew who was drunk, who was out of town and who was un- reachable. He knew who was against a bill and why. Bobby was it." Hitching his stai to LBJ's, Baker rose to prominence right alongside the powerful Texan. The selection of John- son in 1955 as majority leader by senate Democrats auto- matically landed the plum post of majority secretary for his subordinate. After LBI traded his senate seat for the vice-presidency six years later, Baker reported to his reclusive replacement. Unlike Johnson, who always kept the wheeler-dealer on a short leash and out of serious trouble, Sen. Mike Mansfield gave him free rein to do as he pleased. For Baker that meant drinking his fill at the public trough. By the fail of 1963, he had his sticky fingers in a score of lucrative pies that included a law firm, travel agency, housing develop- ments and a Maryland resort which catered to the Potomac power brokers. Baker bought a townhouse for his mistress, who dou- bled as his secretary, and a $124,000 mansion for his wife and five children. Not bad for a government worker with a modest annual income of $19,612. The bubble finally burst in October 1963. A disgruntled business partner sued the in- fluence peddler for reneging on a promise to install thou- sands of vending machines in defense installations. Baker quickly resigned in the faint hope of staying out of the slammer. But a squeaky clean sena- tor insisted upon putting his colleagues. To no one's sur- It's00 Abo00 Thyme (7;ARDEN CLN I ER me THIS WEEK IN 1: ri i:1 H! an, IP 2{ d 3'h dec crooked affairs under the microscope. A subsequent investigation complete with sensational disclosures coin- cided with the assassination of President John E Kennedy and the elevation to the Oval Office of Lyndon Baines Johnson. At a January 1964 press conference, LB] admitted receiving a $600 stereo from Baker but characterized the gift as an innocent exchange of presents. Later that month, he emphatically denied the ex-aide was ever his "prot6g6" and added, "He was there be- fore I came to the senate for ten years, doing substantially the same job. He was elected by all the senators." But past statements that hintec] at a much closer rela- tionship came back to haunt the president. "If I'd had a son, Bobby, I would want him to be just like you," was undoubtedly the most dam- aging quotation dug up by repoICers. A glowing tribute to Ber on the senate floor in August 1957, during which the Texan ranked him as "one of my most trusted, most loyal and most competent friends," also proved embar- rassing. The Republican challenger tried hard to make a cam- paign issue out of the incum- bent's ties with Baker, but voters could not have cared less. Seventy-three percent interviewed for an April 1964 poll said the scandal had not tarnished their opinion of the president, and three percent even indicated they'thought more highly of him. LB] rode out the storm and buried Barry Goldwater at the polls in November. For Baker, however, the worst was yet ' to come. A federal grand jury indicted him in January 1966 on nine felonies ranging from theft to income tax evasion. A year later almost to the day, the balding boy wonder went on trial. Even though he faced a maximum punish- ment of 48 years behind bars and $47,000 in fines, he loved the limelight. When a strang- er asked for directions to the highly publicized proceed- ings, Baker bubbled, "Right in there!" At the heart of the govern- ANTIQUES FURNITURE GIFTS FLOWERS JEWELRY T-SHIRTS IRON WORKS & MORE Open Everyday Downtown Buda at the signal light. 295-9444 295-6008 .. i ........ at's case was a six-figure )e the defendafit solicited 962. California savings [ loan executives owned Io the illegal $100,000 atribution," and Baker aitted taking the money. question for the jury to ide was whether he pock- etefl the cash, as the prosecu- tor Iclaimed, or delivered the bundle to Sen. Robert Kerr of Oldahoma. :(he wealthy Sooner had singe gone on to his reward, so it was Baker's word against the reputation of a dead politician staunchly defended by :'amily, friends and senate prise, the verdict was a clean sweep for the prosecution. In spite of his conviction on all counts, the judge gave the white-collar criminal the cus- tomary slap on the wrist. After serving 17 months of a three- year sentence, Bobby Baker faded into richly deserved obscurity where he remains today at the age of 81. Nine "Best of This Week in Texas History" column collec- tions to choose from at twith. com. Order on-line or by mail from Bartee Halle, P.O. Box 152, Friendswood, TX 77549. Texas Crossword and Sudoku sponsored by ............... i! ................. :r ....... Texas Lehigh Cement Co., LLC ACROSS 45 1 TXns Donaldson and Houston 46 5 Tyler FM station 6 TXism:" do 47 11 something better 48 comes along" 7 noted TX poet Grace Crewel 49 8 amputee event in 51 52 Olney:" - Hunt" 53 17 fish propeller 18 TXism: "dew chase# .1 birth state of TX Belle Starr (abbr.) .2 cook in an oven TXism: "that'll do "(OK) 4 TX Bob Wills line: "Take  __, Leon." .9 Houston has large space industry 30 NM ski destination ]1 TX Red Duke degree (abbr.) 32 Feb. 14 Day 34 "Aggie War " 3 ]5 payable now 4 36 Christian TX girls' summer camp 37 Pampa's" _' 9 Texas Junior Rodeo" 10 ]8 look intently 11 39 Baskin-Robbins 12 flavor: "Pralines t 0 TXism: "saddle 13 strawberry" it a clairvoyant 2 TXism: =whallop" 14 ;3 singer John at TX 15 Willie's Farm Aid , mll i 7 ,......,.... ......... "-L.-.: -..:: ;"r...7:- NNN N4 TXism: "come at the seams" TX Roy Orbison hit: _ Pretty Woman in Smith Co, on 135 this Moreno went on 6-hr. killing rampage across southeast TX in '83 chigger animal skin TXism:" the mark" TXism: "bite bullet" 54 in T, it's a sweet potato DOWN 1 TXism: "by the (narrow escape) 2 San ______, TX Mc Co. TXism: "he could furnance to the devil" raises young 'uns Gulf shark poetic "before" designation for injured Astro or Ranger (abbr.) nickname of TX Margo Jones: "Dalas __" hunter constellation singer Damone, et al. 16 dir. to Waco from Abilene 19 buried in TX in 1860s:" Springs Treasure" :0 El Paso-filmed "When You Comin' Back, Red ?" 22 TXism: "Cowboy Koolaid" 24 Farm Aid number of 43-across 25 shootin' marble 26 this Alda starred with TX Carol in "The Four Seasons" 27 John Birch Society founder Robert See Solution, pg. 2C ,00udoku See Solution, pg. 2C ! N[N NN illN ! II ! 1 28 1880 TX RR: Dallas, Clebume, ..._.._. _.__ Grande 29 near Boerne: "Cave Without 30 use a keyboard 33 Gov, Hogg's only daughter 34 TXism for cheated: " _ swoggled" 35 tractor maker 37 29-down was "__ " to flame in a contest 38 Gov. Elisha 40 daddy's whippin' leather (back in the clay) 41 TXism: "mad enough to nails" 44 TXism: "tame as a  dog" 45 he beat TX Foreman in '74 48 respect 50 Hawaiian "howdy" by Charley & Guy Orbison Copyright 2010 by Orbison Bros, P-96 TEXAS CROSSWORD