Newspaper Archive of
Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
August 20, 2014     Hays Free Press
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August 20, 2014

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THE SWEET UFE Kyle resident goes from tech work to tasty treats - Page 1 D August 20, 2014 Page 1C Buda Bits by Sandra Grizzle k kids, make the next few days of your summer vacation really good ones. Ready or not, school starts again on Monday, Aug. 25. There will be over 17,000 students walking through the doors of our 13 el- ementary; three middle and three high schools. Here's to a good year for all students, teachers and parents and remember everyone to drive with care and no talking on cell phones in school zones! The festivals continue in downtown Buda... next up is the Buda Fire Department's Fire Fest on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 29 and 30. There will be great music, great food and great competi- tion among hundreds of firemen. Coming on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 26 and 27 the Buda Chamber of Commerce will kick off Fajita Fiesta. There will be cook offs, music, food and lots of money prizes along with trophies and certifi- cates. Contact the cham- ber office to get involved. BUDA BITS, 5C COURTESY PHOTO Pride of Barbados offers beautiful color throughout the hot summer. Ask Amanda by Amanda Moon "t appears we have of- ficially hit the dol- .drums of the summer months. I almost thought we were going to escape it this year. Oh well... With the heat index now hovering around 101, it seems a good time to ask which plants can take the heat, and brighten up our landscapes, hazy skies and browning lawn. There are plenty actually! Driving around town this month it's hard to miss the bright yellow blooms of the Esperanza (akaYellow Bells, also in orange) and the en masse red and orange colors of the Pride of Barbados. These large growing perennials are always the first go-to for sum- mer color, and they rarely disappoint. ASK AMANDA, 3C PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CASA ORGANIZATION Child advocates make sure kids don't fall through the cracks BY KIM HILSENBECK Over the past 12-13 years, Tracy McGinty has helped children in Texas by becoming a court- appointed special advocate (CASA). Though a volunteer, it's been like a second career for McGinty, who moved to Kyle about six years ago. Following retirement from the E1 Paso Fire Department where he was an assistant chief, he headed east. "I followed grandbabies here," he said earlier this year. CASA volunteers work on behalf of a child or children involved in legal cases. Typi- cally, the children are in a fos- ter care situation and the court appoints a CASA to advocate what is in the best interest of the children. LET MORE VOICES BE H RO In 2013, CASA volunteers served more than 420 children in Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe and Hays counties, but there were still children who did not have the voice of a CASA. To learn more about being a CASA, visit htt p:// After 40 to 60 hours of train- ing, CASA volunteers are pre- pared to go to work. McGinty said a CASA can decide what is best for their clients based on their training and talking with the children involved in the dispute. "Then we stand up and ar- gue that to judge," he said. In some cases, he said what's best is to reunite the child or children with the family. But sometimes, that isn't his rec- ommendation. One of his most difficult cases was in E1 Paso, He was a CASA for a nine- and a 10-year- old brother and sister. "They were removed from the home for suspected sexual abuse," McGinty said. "They had a hard time being taken away from home. All children "ldve their parents no matter what happened." Several months into being their CASA, McGinty visited the children at a foster home. He said the foster mother asked the little girl, "You want to tell Tracy what happened to you?" She proceeded to tell him what happened to her by her dad. "That was the hardest thing I've ever heard," McGinty said. "She was asking me to protect her." In the end, and in part be- cause of McGinty's role as a CASA, the court terminated the father's parental rights com- pletely. On a brighter note, McGinty talked about another case. He said a little girl about four years old was adopted by the foster family which took care of her during her legal pro- ceedings. "She had been ignored from birth and raised by older brothers,'~ he recalled. "They stole food to bring home for their sister. The little girl couldn't communicate," She was put into foster care with a family that had a daugh- ter. "She would mimic the older girl," McGinty said. CASA VOLUNTEER, 2C BY PAIGE LAMBERT GmmaryVan derWege exam- ed his fencing equip- ent, ending another week of coaching the ancient sport. He hobbled into his Kyle house, passing memorabilia from his Paralympic years. He said fencing was always a hobby; picking it back up when he moved to Texas in 1979. He would attend lessons and com- petitions within Austin. Fencing developed from sword duels in the Medieval and Renaissance periods. Com- petitors wear ~red suits, which record when a person is struck by a sword. His hobby came to a standstill when a motorcycle accident severely damaged his right leg. After numerous surgeries, it was an inch shorter than before. Despite the accident, Van der Wege stayed involved in the sport. After a year of rehabilita- tion, Van der Wege began giving fencing lessons. He would hold a crutch in one arm and a blade in the other, he said. "Just moving around was very good training for me," Van der Wege said. "I can still coach, and I can still do it to an able-bodied extent, but my legs aren't strong enough to compete." At the time, the U.S. Fencing Association had a coaching col- lege in Colorado Springs, where Van derWege honed his coach- ing skills. He also took opportunities Gary Van der Wege now teaches in universities State University. PHOTO BY DAN CASTILLO and communities between Austin and San Antonio, including Texas to officiate for competitions, compete on an even level," Van factor, he said. While officiating for the 1999 derWege said. "So I gave it a Van der Wege said the first national competition, the U.S. shot." competition surprised him, wheelchair fencing coach talked In wheelchair fencing, two describing it as "a knife fight in a with him about trying for the competitors sit across from each phone booth." Paralympics. other thrusting and parrying "In able-bodied fencing, you "I still had that feeling that I the other's blade. Divisions are can step back. But in chair fenc- really wanted to compete, and determined by disability, but the find something that I could wheelchair is the neutralizing PARALYMPIC FENCING, 2C +