Monday, December 27, 2010

TXDOT to consider light rail roller coasters

Jan 1, 2011 - A San Antonio inventor has come up with a new plan to get more Texans on board for the commuter light rail proposal linking major Texas cities. The idea came to Sam Penway while he was attending the Kendall County fair last fall.

“I was watching all those people lined up to get on the carnival rides,” he said. “I got to thinking about what gets people excited about getting on a train. The answer is nothing. That’s when I figured out the idea for light rail: a roller coaster.”

The backyard tinkerer went to work and has spent the past year putting together a prototype to show the Texas Department of Transportation at upcoming hearings.

“It’s nothing real fancy,” he explained. “I just ran some rail around my sheds, and put in a few loops just to show them what it could do.”

TXDOT has already acquired right-of-way for a rail line between San Antonio and New Braunfels. Penway is hoping they will use that to install his “Blue Flash” coaster.

“Once folks get in and remember how much fun it is to ride again, I think we’ll see these spread across the state.”

TXDOT officials have not commented on Penway’s proposal, although observers noted the department has added several former carnival workers to its staff.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pentagon enlists entertainers to win war

Dec 20, 2010 - The State Department has announced that Hollywood entertainers will lead the next “surge” into Afghanistan as a strategy to wrap up that 8-year conflict. On Sunday, President Obama will sign an executive order reinstituting the draft for “actors, musicians, poets, and comedians.”

The new strategy grew from an internal study reviewing the effectiveness of the Pentagon’s war strategy, according to a Department spokesman.

“We realized that some of our most effective weapons in the fight against terror are entertainers. They exhibit every tactic we espouse - clear goals, targeted strikes, efficient use of resources, and immediate withdrawal.”

The Pentagon is moving swiftly to audition artists and supply them with appropriate material.

“We are mostly looking for comics right now,” said the spokesperson. “It is really hard to find anything funny in this war, but we know someone is out there right now writing jokes and scathing commentary. The Taliban just cannot stand up to that type of witty repartee.”

While the goal is withdrawal by August of 2011, officials hope they can move that date up with “the right off-Broadway production.” Reporters have learned that Cabinet officials have also discussed a secret weapon. There are few details, but one leak mentioned that it involved “a medley of show tunes.”

“Kate Smith and Bob Hope helped win World War II. We are confident Chris Rock and Bill Maher can rise to this challenge and get us out of Afghanistan.”

In related news, the Screen Actors Guild is reporting an unexpected drop in membership.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Kroc Center drive-thru confusion

Oct 22, 2010 - Folks are flocking to Kerrville’s new Kroc Center this weekend, but sometimes for the wrong reason.

“We’ve had quite a few people turning in to our parking lot looking for the drive-thru window,” said Captain Mariner, director of the new multi-million dollar facility. “For some reason, people think we are serving burgers and fries.”

With the heightened interest from the public in seeing the facility during the grand opening weekend, adding such a facility may not be a bad idea.

“I wish we had a restaurant... we could have sold a clown car full of Big Macs and Quarter Pounders,” he said. “We might have to look at adding a deep fryer or two as part of our ongoing funding strategy.”

One thing sure is that people who pack on the pounds with fast food will have a state-of-the-art facility to work it off. The pool has been filled with brightly colored plastic balls, and fitness fanatics can crawl through almost a mile of plastic tubes that remind observers of hamster habitrails.

In a related development, Mariner dismissed rumors of a “clown like” figure that has been seen lurking outside the chain link fence, despite maintenance reports of “very large” footprints in the fields surrounding the new facility.

“We want to assure our new patrons that the Kroc Center is completely safe and secure,” Mariner said. “Anyone who believes otherwise is McStaken.”

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Committee proposes new function for Schreiner Mansion

Sept 25, 2010 - The Committee studying uses for the Charles Schreiner mansion on Earl Garrett Street in downtown Kerrville has proposed repurposing the historic landmark into a brothel.

The proposal caused spirited discussion among committee members. Proponents listed the benefits of starting a brothel:

- increased foot traffic downtown
- needed employment for entry-level workers
- boost in sin tax revenues

“A brothel would also cater to the large retiree population in town,” said a local physician. “This age group would benefit most from the increased exercise.”

Those opposed to the idea questioned the expense of converting the 100-year-old structure. Supporters noted there would be minimal remodeling required. “The decor in the mansion kind of looks like a whorehouse already,” a committee member said.

Advocates also pledged to pursue economic stimulus funding. “If this project isn’t stimulating, I don’t know what would be,” said one supporter.

Word of the new mission for the mansion has already led to an increase in economic activity, as several pharmacies are reportedly vying to lease retail space across the street.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Jump to the Rubble

Sept 20, 2010 - Dreamers and hooligans took advantage of clear weather and a 60-foot drop into piles of rebar and concrete this weekend for the First Annual Red Bull Flugtag “Jump To The Rubble” event at the former site of Sid Peterson hospital in downtown Kerrville.

“Flugtag” means “flying day” in German. The challenge is to construct a homemade, human-powered “flying” machine and run them off a raised deck in hopes of achieving something resembling actual flight. Contestants are judged on distance flown, creativity, and showmanship.

The twist to the local event is that normal Flugtag “pilots” jump from 30-foot platforms into water. The Rubble Jump participants leaped from the garage overpass twice that high and landed in a pile of twisted steel, crushed cinder blocks, used syringes, and radioactive waste left over from the hospital.

About a dozen teams gathered Sunday morning to sign up for the attempt, but upon seeing the setup, only two stayed to jump.

Both teams crashed horribly, with Team Berzerk named the winner based on fewer number of injuries. Team members were unavailable for comment, but a hospital spokesman said they were expected to be out of ICU by midweek.

“The ironic thing is that they might have avoided some of the trauma if the hospital had been closer to the jump site,” the spokesman said.

The good news was that the winning team set a distance record of 60 feet.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tea Party turns into brawl

Sept 11, 2010 - Afternoon tea time turned into a brawl at Queen B's English Tea Room and Antiques in Ingram yesterday as liberal and conservative protestors clashed on the manicured lawn.

Ingram police reports said the dust up was a result of misunderstanding about the term “Tea Party.”

“Apparently the Tea Room owners mailed out invitations to the community to come to a special Tea Party in commemoration of September 11,” a spokesman said.

The owners confirmed the story. “We had no idea that people around here would think this was some kind of political rally. We were serving tea and crumpets, not red meat!" tea room owners said. “The worst part was that none of the party crashers even bothered to RSVP.”

Protestors on both sides of the political divide hurled insults and debris at each other. Several signs depicted the president as a Nazi, while others freely displayed dangling tea bags.

“This is just horrible, just awful,” said a tearful Belinda Casper, who was trying to order a tuna salad sandwich for her and her daughter, Kaitlin. “I just wanted to expose my daughter to some high culture, and now I’m having to explain to her there is more than one meaning of ‘tea bag.’”

When questioned, several of the party crashers refused to back down or apologize for their behavior. “We all know what those redneck neanderthals mean when they say ‘tea party,’” said a university professor who refused to give his name.

A spokesman for the conservative faction was also unapologetic. “We’re not fooled by some fancy British pretense,” he said. “Like there really is a British dish called ‘spotted dick.’”

By evening, local police had restored order and dispersed the crowd. Bystanders reported overhearing protestors discussing heading to Playhouse 2000, where Alice in Wonderland is opening.

“We understand there is another Tea Party planned inside the Cailloux Theater tonight,” a parting protestor said. “We are going to show we’re not going to stand for this type of ignorance and misinformation in our community.”

Saturday, September 4, 2010

First SitzenFest Coming To Fredericksburg

September 6, 2010 - Sedentary individuals of all ages and shapes will discover a sport especially suited to them at the First Annual Fredericksburg SitzenFest, coming to MarktPlatz on October 17, 2010.

Participants are invited to spend the day sitting in chairs arrayed on the grounds.

“Over the years we’ve noticed the success of VolksSporting where people just walk around,” Ima Biggenbotham, event chairperson, explained. “When we heard they actually had clubs and were getting medals for strolling, we wanted in on the inaction.”

The SitzenFest is sanctioned by American SitzenSport, with points awarded per hour of immobility. A special award will be given to the person traveling the shortest distance.

Beckman Furniture has agreed to provide a limited number of repossessed recliners for the inaugural event. Chairs will be available for seating on a first come, first seated basis - no seats will be held.

Music will be provided by Fredericksburg’s own “We’d Rather Not Be Marching Band.”

“We don’t play fast songs, or slow songs,” a band spokesman said. “People refer to our music as ‘half-fast.’”

Hamburgers, hot dogs, and an array of bun-friendly meats will be offered for sale.

If successful, organizers may make the SitzenFest an annual event. “Most of us do this every weekend, anyway,” Biggenbotham said.

The event is supported in part with a grant from the Butt Foundation. A portion of the gross is earmarked for the establishment of an Endowed Chair for On-Line Studies at the Texas Tech Hill Country campus (“Get Smart Without Getting Up”).

More information is available by emailing

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Foreign explorers claim Tranquility Island

Aug 30, 2010 - A hardy band of explorers planted its flag on the point of Tranquility Island last night, claiming the piece of ground for their native country.

Zig Expectoritz, Grand Sufar of the 37-person company, told a local reporter of his group’s flight from Kurdistan to seek religious and political freedom in North America.

“We have heard wondrous tales of this land paved with gold, flowing with honey, where a man and his wives can live in peace and seek prosperity unencumbered by oppressive bureaucracy,” he said.

The emigrants sailed up the Guadalupe River over the summer and “discovered” the unoccupied island last weekend. They have re-christened the island “Kerrdistan,” in honor of their native land, with a nod to local history.

According to real estate legal experts, officials can find no deed for ownership for the island. “It appears they have found a loophole,” said a local attorney. “If their claim holds up, it looks like we have a sovereign nation for a neighbor.”

The invaders wasted little time in establishing their beachhead. They installed foot patrols on the bridge connecting the island to the mainland. At press time, they had turned away a group of sunbathers and deported a family of picnickers. Reports are they are considering asylum for a transient who washed up on their north shore.

“We want to be cooperative neighbors to our friends in Kerrville,” Expectoritz said. “But also know that we expect to enforce our borders.”

In reaction to the news, a popular theme park has announced it will change its name to Seven Flags Over Texas.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Local park to grow medicinal marijuana

The Kerrville-Schreiner Park has accepted a contract to raise medical marijuana at its 500-acre facility at Highway 173 and Loop 534.

“This will really help address our ongoing budget issues,” said the Public Works Director. “It’s no secret we have had some challenges meeting rising costs. This new revenue stream should give our staff some breathing space.”

The budget committee has already factored in the expected increase in revenues. Next year’s budget includes funds to upgrade its 23 cabins to condominiums, add a fleet of Hummers for use by campers, and install a PGA level golf course.

“We are also considering opening a section of the planting area for a ‘pick your own’ area where the public can come in and fill their own baggies. We are pretty sure this will lead to an increase in attendance.”

A spokesman for The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws seemed “tickled” when he learned they would be adding another community to their network of places recognizing the demand for medicinal marijuana.

“Ummm.... cool...” the spokesman giggled.

The locally harvested marijuana will be processed and sold at a retail location in Kerrville. Directors are looking at properties adjacent to Clark’s Bakery or Rita’s Tacos.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Center Point students confused by “fencing” class

Aug 24, 2010 - Back-to-school for Center Point high school students did not go as smoothly as adminstrators had hoped due to a misunderstanding in the titles of courses.

This fall for the first time,  high school students had an opportunity to sign up for a new intramural sport - fencing.

At first, administrators thought they had hit a home run. “We looked out on registration day and there was a line around the gym of students waiting to enroll in the new P.E. fencing class,” said an athletic department spokesman. “We were surprised and gratified to discover there was so much apparent interest in this ancient sport.”

The line quickly dissipated when students learned the new class had nothing to do with building fence.

“I signed up for fencing because my pa wanted me to learn a trade,” said sophomore Billy Bob Baggins. “I didn’t know it was all about fighting with rebar.”

Another student said goodbye to plans for a summer job repairing fences for area ranchers. “Barbed wire is the only sharp thing I want to work with. Heck, if I get in a fight, I’ll use my 12-gauge.”

As administrators explained the misconception to students, many walked away in disgust.

“Shoot,” said one senior boy. “I thought finally the school was going to teach a class that had practical use. But come to find out it’s just a bunch of girls in tights jumping around and poking little sticks at each other.” The student paused, then turned back to the registration table. “Well, maybe I’ll give it one semester.”

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Y.O. Hotel sign reinstalled backwards

Aug 23, 2010 - Travelers taking the Kerrville Exit 508 along Texas Interstate 10 who are used to seeing the familiar Y.O. Ranch sign at the famous hotel will instead be greeted with the Yiddish exclamation of “OY!”

The new message is due to workmen reinstalling the familiar hotel logo backwards this weekend.

The landmark sign was removed earlier in the year for cleaning and refurbishing after 30 years of use at the gateway hotel. Following a debate with the city about whether the sign could be reinstalled due to changes in Kerrville’s sign ordinance, the way was cleared under the grandfather clause.

Apparently the sign was installed backwards by an out of town work crew unfamiliar with Texas brands and customs.

“We think the problem happened because low bid on this job came from a New York firm,” said a city staffer. “I understand that in that part of the world, ‘oy’ is a common expression of chagrin or exasperation. It’s an understandable mistake... and kind of appropriate, when you think about it.”

Residents discovered the new Yiddish greeting as they drove into work on Monday morning. Most took it in stride. “I assumed it was a commentary from the Jewish community on the appearance of the 7-story cross across the highway,” said one customer at McDonalds. Another commented, “I kind of like it... it adds an interdenominational flavor to our little city.”

Owners of the hotel indicated they may leave the backwards Y.O. in place for a while. “As word has spread about this, we’ve had an unexpected surge in bookings from Florida,” the manager explained. “We’ll probably leave the ‘OY’ up there at least through Hanukkah.”

Across town, another Kerrville hotel is experiencing a similar increase in business following a sign painter’s error making them “Sinn of the Hills.”

Friday, August 20, 2010

TEA declares all high school girls will be cheerleaders

Aug 20, 2010 - In a ruling just in time for back to school, the Commissioner of Education has declared that all female high school students will automatically be placed on the cheerleading squad.

“We have seen more and more stress and violence related to joining the school cheerleading squads,” said a department spokesman. “Many schools have dealt with this issue by enlarging the sizes of their squads, thereby allowing more student-cheerleaders to participate. This has helped, but we wanted to extend the ‘right to cheer’ to every Texas school girl.”

So far the new ruling is being well-received by local school administrators.

“This might help,” said Bruce Madden, principal at Odessa Cactus High School. “Every year it gets harder to find a teacher willing to become cheer sponsor. If the issue of selecting cheerleaders is removed, we may have more interest.”

During a pilot program run last year in the Cactus school district, the open cheer squad concept seems to have worked.

“Other than having more cheerleaders than spectators at several non-district games, I saw no problems,” Madden said. “We did need more uniforms, but our new Cheer Booster club is handling that.”

A few students have questioned the all-inclusion policy. “I don’t wanna be a cheerleader,” said junior Beth Labronski. “I think cheering is dumb, demeaning, and a waste of time.”

Unfortunately for students such as Labronski, there is no procedure for opting out of cheering.

“This is all or nothing,” said Madden. “Unless you are in a wheelchair or a burka, we want to see you out there doing flips and supporting the team.”

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hormel to build slaughterhouse at Ground Zero

August 19, 2010 - Corporate giant Hormel Foods has submitted plans to build a meat-packing plant near Ground Zero in New York City. The 119-year-old food company hopes to move all of its Northeast pork production business to the downtown site.

“We looked at our distribution lines for the northeast sector, and concluded the New York location would serve that area most efficiently,” said a spokesman for the Minnesota based company. “Some of our biggest pork consumers live in the greater New York area. Since those towers are gone, this site offered lots of room for expansion, besides being centrally located.”

Market analysts were quick to point out there is no suitable local supply of swine to justify building the processing plant. Hormel addressed that issue, sharing a proposal to add a confinement hog facility adjacent to its packing plant that would produce over 100,000 hogs annually.

New York state representatives immediately expressed concern and alarm, noting that the confinement facility and packing plant would abut the proposed “Ground Zero” mosque on three sides.

“The United States is a large country,” a press statement said. “Hormel has the freedom to build their plant anywhere - why must they place it so near to holy ground? This is an attack on religious freedom - but more important, it goes against common sense.”

Followers of Islam believe that pork is unfit for human consumption. “Pork is sin and sickness,” said one Islamic web site. “Pig eats almost anything dirty and they are very lazy animals. Pimples, boils, cysts are common in pork eaters.”

Vince Farley, a truck driver for Hormel, voiced a different opinion. “Barbecued pork is the food of the gods... or at least Alabamans,” he said. “And biting into a juicy hunk of grilled Spam is a holy experience, I don’t care which way your ass points when you pray.”

In recent weeks, the area surrounding Ground Zero has become a commercial real estate bonanza. Other businesses submitting bids on lots include a liquor warehouse, massage parlor, and nativity scene manufacturer.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

County considering canceling stock show

Human interaction cited as hazard to swine

August 16, 2010 - Representatives of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service have announced they are considering canceling all county stock shows scheduled for the upcoming season.

Fears of a resurgence in the so-called swine flu are behind the decision, according to a department spokesperson.

“We are afraid visitors to these stock shows will spread this disease to our pigs and hogs,” he said. “This livestock is way too valuable to our economy to risk them contracting any diseases from humans.”

Representatives of livestock concerns and local veterinarians note that the issue is the general public’s close proximity to the penned animals during these shows. Often, people are seen coughing and sneezing directly into the faces of hogs.

Stock show organizers are considering issuing face masks to all swine entered in stock shows, but the local chapter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals considers this “cruel and unflattering” punishment. Instead, humans will be asked to don haz-mat suits before entering the show arenas.

“We understand this will be a bit of a nuisance,” said one county ag official. “But we just can’t risk upsetting the health of our pigs.” He added, “Really, it’s a small price to pay to keep them healthy and happy until we slaughter and turn them into delicious smoked bacon and thick-cut pork chops.”

In other agricultural news, researchers at Iowa State University have discovered that mad cow disease may originally have been transmitted to the animals from interactions with politicians campaigning at county fairs.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Camels returning to Hill Country

Aug 12, 2010 - The U.S. Agricultural Research Station has received federal funding to reestablish camels in the Texas hill country.

As history buffs know, camels thrived in the central Texas region as recently as the Civil War, when they were used by the northern army to caravan supplies across the harsh west Texas desert. After the war the animals gradually disappeared, hunted to extinction for their humps and prominent front teeth, which reputedly had aphrodisiac qualities.

Zoologists have been breeding a base herd in San Antonio, using camels brought in from northern Morocco. Scientists have been successful in re-introducing original Texas camel DNA, acquired from artifacts sold at the Camp Verde General Store.

“We are very gratified to be able to restore a part of Texas history by reintroducing the camel,” said Dr. Om E. Dary, Chief Camel Breeder. “We look forward to the day the camel takes back its rightful place in the Texas pantheon of legendary creatures, right next to the Longhorn, the Horned Toad, and the Snowbird.”

The camel is known for its hardiness, its affinity for cactus, and its ability to live for long periods of time on little water, all qualities well suited to the Texas climate. Authorities are hopeful the herd will grow fast enough to re-open the traditional camel hunting season.

In other agricultural news, the Hill Country Master Gardeners have announced new workshops on establishing “camel proof” landscaping.

Monday, August 9, 2010

EPA declares cedar endangered species

August 1, 2010 - The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that Juniperus communis - known locally as mountain cedar - has been placed on the endangered species list.

According to a lead spokesperson for the agency, this designation means that the plant will enjoy protection from destruction. The ruling caught most local landowners by surprise.

“They did what!?” asked rancher Peter Stout. “The only good cedar is a dead cedar, preferably smoldering in a pile... right under the mesquite and cat claw.”

When pressed as to why the agency decided to add the vilified tree to the endangered list, the federal spokesman pointed to the severe shortage of the plant in downtown San Francisco, where the cedar is popular in the Japanese horticultural art of bonsai gardening.

Stout remained incredulous. “That worthless tree now has more liberty and freedom than most U.S. citizens! Even its middle name is communis.”

The ruling goes into effect the first of next month.

In other news, local ag supply stores have reported an unseasonally high demand for isopropylamine salt of glyphosate.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Future executive orders to be in haiku

Washington, D.C., Aug 9, 2010 - In a new approach to political outreach, Daniel Kahikina Akaka, U.S. Senator from Hawaii, has submitted a bill requiring all executive orders to be released in haiku.

As any non-athlete that sat through English class knows, a haiku is a non-rhymed verse in which there are 5 syllables in the first sentence, 7 in the second and 5 again in the last sentence. The bill calls for “any executive order issued after the first of the year to be written in the accepted form of three lines, in the pattern of 5 - 7 - 5.”

“We felt this would be an effective way to staunch the flow of verbose declarations pouring out of every White House,” the former school teacher said. “And if haiku was good enough for the Japanese Imperial Court, it should be good enough for any President of the United States.”

Senator Akaka added that he is working on a bill calling for legislators to diagram every sentence in all future legislation.

In a response earlier today, the White House issued a terse statement:

This is really bad
It is really really bad
It sucks really bad

Saturday, August 7, 2010

League of Women Voters to deny male suffrage

August 7, 2010 - The League of Women Voters has proposed a ballot initiative to take the vote away from men.

“Men have had the vote since their great great great grandpas dropped black balls into a top hat,” said Ann Bland, spokeswoman for the local affiliate. “And look what that has gotten us - unemployment, deficits, high taxes, and those ugly pictures on driver’s licenses. We think it’s time to let the women clean up both Houses.”

Bland sits on the committee that is drawing up wording for the 28th Amendment, calling for the disenfranchisement of male voters.

“The 19th amendment allowed women’s suffrage,” Bland said. “Well, this amendment will show men the real meaning of the word ‘suffrage.’”

Response from local males was brisk and angry. “Just let them try,” said Paul C. Comitatus, parlimentarian of a local fraternal organization. “Me and my friends have been voting all our lives, some of us even longer, and no woman is going to pull our hands out of those boxes.”

The initiative will appear in a special election at the end of the month. Voting sites have been set up at Renee’s Hair Shoppe, La Leche League, and Soon Lee’s Nail Salon.

Comitatus was unapologetic for his vocal opposition. “What else would you expect from a group that named itself the League of Women Voters? I would never let my wife join a group like that, even if I had a wife.”

Legal pundits predict a lengthy court battle over the proposed amendment.

“The language itself should stand up to court scrutiny,” said one local attorney. “But any attempt to codify the difference between a man and a woman - especially these days - leaves the court open to a lawsuit and years of jokes on the late night shows.”

In related news, members of the Alliance for an Androgynous America were evenly divided in their support for the proposal.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Ministerial Alliance backs gay marriage

August 5, 2010 - In an unexpected move, the Greater Guadalupe Ministerial Alliance has come out in support of the California judge that reversed the proposition banning gay marriage.

Minister Will B. Dunne read the statement in front of the U-Store-It unit used as the meeting place of the Unitarian Universalists. “In brotherhood with all those seeking more positive relationships in their work and in their lives, we stand behind everyone who supports gayer marriages.”

Dunne went on to say, “You really have to get behind the people pushing this movement. When you see the suffering and sadness rampant in the world today, how can anyone be opposed to more gaiety and spontaneity in any relationship? Seeking a spouse is like finding an employee: you can always teach aptitude, but you marry attitude.”

In addition to gayfulness, the letter also called for marriages to exhibit more joyfulness, cheerfulness, and lightheartedness.

“If I could wave a magic wand like Harry Potter," said the minister, "I would make each and every one of us more gay. That simple attitude adjustment would ensure the future of the human race will be brighter and more positive.”

In other news, the Texas Music Educators Association has voted to remove the word “ritard” from all sheet music.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Schreiner Department Store to house VA Homeless Shelter

by Nick Bottom, Special Correspondent to NNN

Photo: Bunks are being set up on 2nd floor of old Schreiner Department Store building.

KERRVILLE Aug 3, 2010 - What used to house shoes and dresses will now see rows of bunks and footlockers, as homeless veterans and their families move into the old Schreiner Department Store building at the corner of Water and Earl Garrett streets in downtown Kerrville.

The project is part of the Veterans Administration Medical System's planned homeless shelter, which has been much in the local news lately, with letters appearing in newspapers both for and against the proposal. A spokesman for the VA said that now that the shelter has moved from the VA Hospital campus to the downtown area, "most of the criticism will probably evaporate."

"We took a lot of heat when we proposed building the homeless shelter way out here next to our hospital. That's when we realized people wanted the shelter right downtown. It's hard to understand how we missed this obvious desire on behalf of the citizens of Kerrville."

When the Peterson Regional Medical Center moved across the river, the hole it left in downtown was more than bricks and mortar. The hundreds of people who worked each day in the old hospital were suddenly gone. Restaurants noticed the drop-off in traffic, and several retail shops which catered to the hospital employees and visitors have closed.

The owners of the building are happy to find a good long-term tenant. "The federal government is always a good renter. They pay on time and they seldom move away. We're hoping they'll expand the program to the land being cleared by the demolition of the old hospital."

The new project is a “win-win" according to store owners. “Not only will this project provide much needed housing for these individuals, but our downtown area will once again have a lot of foot traffic.”

Monday, August 2, 2010

Von Manchester Makes “Determination,” Signs With Derbyshire

By Al E. Hoop, International Sports Correspondent, NotNewz Network

[Editor's Note: The Not Newz Network (NNN) is expanding its coverage with the addition of Special Newz Correspondents.]

July 29, 2010 - Another landmark in sports television history occurred last night as famed cricket batsman Reginald von Manchester announced his intention to sign a long-term contract with Derbyshire Consolidated, spurning efforts from his hometown Rotherham Herons to resign him.

Speaking live in a program dubbed “The Determination” to dozens of faithful viewers across the world watching on Cricket Sports 1 (CS1), von Manchester said he felt compelled to leave Rotherham in order to secure the greatest chance to win the Keith Richards Cup, awarded annually to the top cricket squad in the United Cricket Alliance (UCA).

“I am going to take my abilities to the East Midlands,” von Manchester told CS1 reporter Ace Pitchley. “After much thought and discussion with my dear papa, I have determined that Derbyshire will allow me the greatest opportunity to win several Richards Cups.”

The two-and-a-half time winner of the King George I Trophy, awarded twice annually to the top individual batsman in the UCA, will join an elite-level player in Derbyshire bowler Frederick Burgeron, who has enjoyed two Richards Cup wins after moving to the UCA from the Quebec League of Cricket three seasons ago.

“I personally cannot wait for Reginald (von Manchester) to join Derbyshire,” Burgeron was quoted as saying in the Derbyshire Times-New Roman. “Knowing that a batsman the likes of him needs to join me in order for Richards Cup success is a great personal achievement.”

Also joining the Derbyshire Consolidated squad will be batsman Harry Back, whose talents led the Normandy Squires to several near-playoff appearances.

Meanwhile in Rotherham, Herons fans have not taken kindly to the news, with Rotherham team owner Alexis Van Der Steen sending out several explicative-laced messages via Twitter.

“I cannot believe that good-for-nothing so-and-so left. That tweedle-dum can go jump in a lake as far as I’m concerned,” Van Der Steen tweeted in his most obscene message.

This morning, the Rotherham Herons held a press conference to announce their pursuit of the Nerdlucks from Space Jam, hoping to teach them the game of cricket.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Local school board adopts uniforms

Photo: Students model the proposed new school uniforms based on the popular TV series.

StarDate 100801 - The Alamo Springs Independent School District board of trustees Tuesday night approved an administrative recommendation to adopt a district-wide dress code. The administration is recommending uniforms based on the popular Star Trek series.

“Research shows that districts where students wear school uniforms experience a decrease in disciplinary problems and bullying,” said J.T. Kirk, superintendent. “Although some report increases in absenteeism from alien abductions. But that has not been my experience in alternate timelines.”

During discussion, board members raised concerns about which version of the TV series would be used as a model for the uniforms.

“Actually, we are leaning toward the spandex styles worn in Star Trek: The Next Generation,” said Kirk. “Those are very flattering and we think they look sharp. The velour uniforms from the original 1960s TV series seemed harder to keep cleaned and pressed.”

Board members also directed administrators to incorporate the official school colors of silver and crimson in the two-tone outfits.

To introduce the new look to the community, district personnel will emcee a fashion show at the local mall on Saturday, where students from pre-school to 12th grade will model the science fiction uniforms. The public is encouraged to attend, dressed as their favorite Star Trek character.

Maintenance workers, custodians, and bus drivers will don Klingon warrior garb while on duty. Administrators will continue to dress in conventional dark suits, oxford shirts, and striped ties, including the women.

On next month’s agenda, the board will entertain a proposal to rename the school’s athletic teams “The Scrapping Shatners.”

Friday, July 30, 2010

The State Fish of Texas, the Guadalupe Bass, is actually a Mammal

by Nick Bottom, Special Correspondent to NNN (Not Newz Network)

KERRVILLE - State fish experts are baffled at the recent discovery that the state fish of Texas, the Guadalupe Bass (Micropterus treculii), is actually a mammal.

Several specimens caught between Ingram and Kerrville appear to have fully developed beards and mustaches. I. M. Scaley, fish expert with the Texas Parks and Wildlife, said the fish has a long history of fooling experts. "First off," he said, "we discovered it's not really a bass at all, but a member of the sunfish family Centrarchidae."

Still, being a sunfish instead of a bass is not enough to knock the Guadalupe (Sunfish) Bass from its coveted state fish designation.

The beards and mustaches, though, might be too much even for Austin politicians to overlook.

Like most mammals, it appears the Guadalupe (Sunfish) Bass has hair and gives live birth to its young. In addition, offspring are nursed by their mothers.

"It's just the darnedest thing," Scaley continues, "seeing those little ones suckling in a line on their mom."

At first the fish researcher didn't want to tell Austin about the recent discovery. "There's a certain amount of pride in having a local fish designated as the state fish," he said. But the hairy specimens kept showing up at the research station. One, a female, even had blonde, braided hair. "The braid was about 4 inches long, the finest hair you ever saw," according to Scaley. When the controversial website Wikileaks ( obtained photos of the so-called fish, Scaley knew it was time to come clean. "I called Austin and told them what we'd discovered."

There's still hope, though. The state flying mammal is the Mexican Freetail Bat. "That animal isn't even from here," according to Scaley. "Perhaps we can have the Guadalupe (Sunfish) Bass named the state's swimming mammal."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sculptors Plan Miniature Mt. Rushmore

July 30, 2010 - In a further bid to attract tourists to the Kerr area, a group of local artists have banded together to sculpt images of local leaders in a Texas version of Mount Rushmore.

The loosely affiliated artists, who call themselves “Taken 4 Granite,” have proposed placing the figures on the limestone cliff overlooking Loop 534.

“A replica of Mt Rushmore is a natural extension of the other area tourist attractions,” said a spokesman. “After all, Kerrville is already home to a scale model of Stonehenge.”

Community input is being sought to nominate a group of leading citizens for the honors of appearing in stone. From the initial group, the panel will select four people whose visages will grace the limestone cliff.

“We are looking to immortalize a few movers and shakers for future generations,” the spokesman said. “Traits we are looking for are people with vision and ideas, preferably who are bald and don’t wear glasses as they are easier to sculpt.”

Not all local residents are enthusiastic about the plan. Vern Beemer, who owns a home at the top of the proposed site, has voiced his opposition. “I don’t want to wake up every morning and look down some former mayor’s nose,” he told a local news station. “We already have that giant cross I can see out my back window. What’s next - the bloody Sphinx?”

In other news, Schreiner University announced plans to hold its first Nile Fest in September.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mooney Aircraft to convert to shingle making factory

July 23, 2010 - The board of trustees of Mooney Aircraft announced it has begun converting its Kerrville facilities from the manufacture of single engine aircraft to cedar shingles. The conversion should be completed in time for the fall rainy season.

“With the uncertainty in the airline industry, plus the fact we have not sold a single airplane in 18 months, our administrative team decided to look back in history for a way to maximize our revenues,” said a board spokesman. “As any school boy knows, Kerrville’s first industry was cedar shingles. We feel the time has come to bring back that recession-proof industry.”

Mooney has begun hiring people with knowledge of the shingle-making process. So far, few people have applied, as it is a lost art. The company remains hopeful the word will spread.

“Our engineers and human resources personnel have been attending night courses in woodcarving at San Antonio College. Assuming we can identify a reliable supply of cedar trees, we are confident we can have the factory running at full capacity within two months.”

In related news, Mooney has announced development of their newest airplane model, the Cedar Speeder.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cruise ships coming to Kerrville

July 12, 2010 - The Kerr Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is in negotiations with Carnival Cruise Lines to add Kerrville as a “port of call” on the company’s popular gulf cruise itinerary.

“We realize Kerrville is 230 miles inland,” said a CVB spokesperson. “But recent ample rains have raised the Guadalupe River enough to accommodate the draft of some typical cruise ships. We may not be able to handle the Queen Elizabeth, but we can certainly bring up the Carnival Ambivalence.”

The most logical location of the dock would be behind the historic Arcadia Theater, which is already in the process of being refurbished. Owners are reportedly open to the idea of serving as the portal to welcome cruise passengers to Kerrville.

The idea has created some controversy among local residents. Some believe the new international port will bring an influx of visitors that would justify construction of the Convention Center downtown.

Other local citizens are not convinced the idea will work.

“Kerrville as a cruise destination?” asked one passerby. “Yes, we have a navigable river and some great historic sites, but tourists also expect gimmicky, overpriced restaurants and trinket shops.”

In a related development, owners of the former Schreiner Department Store building have announced they are adding a Hard Rock Cafe and Planet Hollywood.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Man with no musical talent releases CD

Producers of the hit television talent show “Texas Idle” are releasing a compilation of tunes written and performed by their newest discovery - Buford Rugby. The Center Point, Texas native was plucked from a crowd for having no musical talent whatsoever.

“We were searching for something different - a new kind of music that will cut through the noise of rap, hip hop, pop, and especially country music,” said Idle spokesman Simon Grisdale. “I mean, how many ways can you sing about jukeboxes, cheating and drinking and keep it fresh? Rugby is our man.”

Rugby did not even audition for the show. Talent scouts discovered the sorghum farmer at the High Water Baptist Church.

“I was driving back from Denny’s one Sunday morning and happened to pass by this little church,” Grisdale explained. “Through the window I heard the choir, and there was one unmistakable voice that was singing notes nowhere to be found in ‘A Mighty Fortress.’”

Grisdale walked inside and discovered Rugby sitting in the back row. “He was easy to spot - he had his hymnal upside down.” Grisdale immediately signed him to an exclusive contract and they went into the studio that very day.

The new CD - Songs in the Key of Buford - was finished within the hour.

“This is a new sound, a fresh way of listening to music,” Grisdale said. “Judging by what’s selling out there, we see a trend of less and less talent performing lower quality pieces. Taking that to its logical end, we give you Buford Rugby.”

Rugby remains nonplussed about all the hoopla, although his success has already changed his life. He has had 37 visits to his web site and now gets served the largest slice of pie at the Turn In Tavern.

Rugby is already working on his next project - a duet album with Lady Gaga.

Amateur musician discovers new note

A professor at MIT has announced startling news. Researchers at the prestigious school have confirmed the discovery of a new musical note.

The new tone was discovered by amateur musician Drew Feckelbender during his Beginning Dulcimer class.

According to Hiram Aksent, Professor of Advanced Clavier Temporing, this note had never been heard before Feckelbender played it.

“This find is truly remarkable,” he said. “A new note only comes along once in a millenium.”

Aksent went on to explain that throughout modern history, the typical western musical scale featured just 12 tones. All music is composed using only those 12 notes, from the most intricate Bach sonata to Achy Breaky Heart.

Some eastern cultures feature more tones, but according to Aksent those don’t make “real” music. “Those scales are mostly heard in Bollywood sound tracks and around gypsy campfires.”

Professor Aksent has identified the new note as 8/43rds of the way between E double sharp and G flat. He described the new tone as not unpleasant. “It sort of sounds like a cricket with sinus problems dancing on a hot griddle.”

Feckelbender claims to have stumbled across the note while playing his homemade dulcimer. “I was trying to reach that G7 chord in ‘She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain,’ but I just couldn’t get my little finger in the right place. I kind of scrunched up my hand and that’s when I hit it.”

The unemployed census taker has no plans to patent the new note. “This is a discovery that I would like to share with the musical world. I’m hoping Elton John will use it in his next Disney musical.”

The Academy of Musica hailed the discovery of the new musical note in a press release. “Modern composers have increasingly struggled to create new melodies with the limited number of notes we have used for several hundred years. This new note will increase their options by 8.333%. We anticipate at least a 5% surge in creativity.”

In other news, Ricky Skaggs just released a new CD titled “Crickets on the Griddle.”

City proposes changing its name

July 8, 2010 - The Kerrville City Council has announced it will vote on changing the name of the community from Kerrville to “Frederickberg.” The name change is part of the effort to attract more tourism to this hill country community.

“We’ve been trying to think outside the box,” explained a council member on condition of anonymity. “Past councils have laid the groundwork to increase the visibility of Kerrville in the tourism industry, but we felt a name change was the final step needed to seal the deal.”

The council chose the new name only after exhaustive research. They consulted with the former head of the Kerr Historical Commission and discovered that one of the early Schreiner family members was named Frederick. By adding “berg” to that, they came up with the new name.

“We briefly played with the idea of using ‘Schreinerville,’ but were afraid the public would think we were affiliated with a group of clowns driving small cars,” the councilman said.

Supporters downplayed complaints that the new name might confuse visitors to another nearby community with a similar name. “We don’t think that will be an issue. There are many similar sounding town names. We think the tourists, with their proven earning ability and desire to spend liberally on vacations, are intelligent enough not to mix up communities 22 miles apart.”

In area news, the county seat of nearby Gillespie County is considering changing its name to “Disneeland.”

Friday, July 2, 2010

Kerrville receives award for unfinished pavilion

The prestigious Architectural Digest magazine has announced that the City of Kerrville has won its 2010 award for Most Innovative Urban Structure for the Pavilion on The Boardwalk On The Guadalupe in downtown Kerrville.

“We didn’t even know it was submitted as an entry,” said a city staffer.

The judges cited the structure for its “feathery etherealness” that “captured the spirit of potential, unrealized fulfillment, and yearning for flight.”

“We have never seen a city be so bold with its downtown planning and vision,” the report said. “It looks almost unfinished.”

The award comes with a plaque designed to be displayed on the winning structure. The city has indicated it will delay displaying the plaque, as there is not enough actual structure to attach it to.

As a result of this award, city officials are considering entering the former hospital in next year’s competition.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Empty cross" debate close to solution

Release: AD 2010

The two parties engaged in arbitration over the "7- story cross" overlooking Interstate Highway 10 near Kerrville, TX have come to an agreement that may solve the dilemma.

The impasse was broken when representatives of the Lower Colorado River Authority approached cross proponents with a proposal to use the cross to carry high-power transmission lines from the wind farms in west Texas.

"The new cross fell in line with our existing right-of-way across the hill country," said LCRA spokesman Jude S. Priess. He noted that the "empty cross" design would accommodate the transmission lines with few modifications. He added that the height and location would be ideal for mounting a shortwave transmission dish to the top of the cross.

LCRA has encountered resistance from area residents who claim the power poles ruin the hill country scenery. Combining the two projects makes sense.

"What's not to love?" Priess asked. "You can honor your faith, and at the same time bring green energy to the moneychangers in San Antonio. It's win-win."

A spokesman who preferred to remain anonymous reported that LCRA is considering converting all of their transmission towers into "empty crosses."

As crews prepare to erect the cross, engineers are working on ways to keep pigeons from roosting on the cross bar.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Feral parakeets encroach on hill country

County game wardens are watching with increasing alarm as flocks of feral parakeets are moving into Kerr County. Field studies are underway in collaboration with the local birdwatcher society to confirm the growth in numbers of these renegade pets.

No bird attacks have resulted in serious injuries, but campers at Kickapoo Kamp were forced to move their weaving class indoors as the colorful birds grew increasingly brazen in their attempts to steal yarn for nesting material.

Authorities believe the feral flocks originated in the San Antonio area.

“This probably started with one or two pet parakeets slipping outside while the owners cleaned their cages,” stated one official. “They began forming up into groups and interbreeding. This migration toward the hill county is just a quest for feeding range.”

Parakeets are notoriously territorial, and prolific breeders. Authorities are especially watching for signs that the birds are interbreeding with native species.

“You think it’s bad now... just wait until we start seeing bright green and blue talking vultures,” said the official.

In related news, fish and game specialists are monitoring reports of increasingly aggressive “gold” colored fish in area lakes and streams.


Local citizen trapped in roundabout

Erna Fernwell spent an hour and a half going round in circles in the city’s newest intersection on Tivy Street last Thursday.

The street department has installed a European -style “roundabout” intersection where Holdsworth Drive meets Tivy Street and Cypress Creek Road. This traffic control feature requires drivers to drive in a circular pattern until they arrive at the proper exit. For many Kerrville residents such as Fernwell, this is their first encounter with the novel structure.

Police were dispatched to the scene after neighbors reported seeing a teal Toyota driving in circles. Local television viewers were able to watch the scene unfold, as a News 8 chopper from San Antonio shot footage of the slow motion chase. Kerrville police officers called in Fredericksburg's mounted  police bicycle unit in an attempt to get closer to the vehicle. Despite tapping on the window and gesturing emphatically, authorities were unable to convince Fernwell to enter any of the exits.

“We were going to wait until she ran out of gas,” said one police official. “But, heck, she was driving a Prius. That would have taken 16 hours.”

Instead, law enforcement brought in and deployed tire strips, which blew out the tires and brought the vehicle to a halt. Fernwell was then extricated from the vehicle using the “jaws of life.”

Thirty minutes after the incident, Fernwell, 78, remained unfazed, though still slightly dizzy.

“That was kind of fun, really,” she said.


Demolition crew demolishes wrong hospital

Patients at the new Peterson Regional Health Center in Kerrville, Texas, awoke to bulldozers and flying rubble Monday morning as the Acme Demolition Company mistakenly began demolishing the brand new hospital.

“I thought I was having another stroke,” said Myrna Abernathy, sporting a bandage on the side of her head where she had been struck by a flying plastic flower vase.

Acme was low bidder on the contract to take down the building at the original site downtown. A company spokesman blamed the mixup on Google maps.

“We did our due diligence - a Google search on SPMH,” he reported. “Apparently the search agent did not differentiate between the old and new hospitals, so we sent our crews out to the new facility.”

The new hospital is not a complete loss, according to administrators. The crew only had time to level the outpatient and ER wings before being made aware of the error. Local officials arranged a press conference to explain the issue. The president of Acme was unable to attend, as due to an error in his GPS he ended up in Kerryville, New York.

“We are awful sorry about this little mixup,” he commented via email.

A member of the hospital custodial staff, who was cleaning up the rubble, had one comment: “Why couldn’t they have started with the cafeteria?”