Solar Workshop

Fredericksburg area residents and small business owners are invited to a solar workshop to learn about the nuts and bolts of solar water heating and electricity generation.

There is no fee to attend the event which is scheduledSaturday, May 18, from 9 a.m. to noon at Hill Country University Center, 2818 East U.S. Hwy. 290 in Fredericksburg.The event is an initiative of the clean energy subcommittee of Fredericksburg SHINES, a nonprofit organization showcasing Fredericksburg as the center of sustainability in Texas.

Michael Hurst, green builder and president of the Fredericksburg SHINES board of directors, said this workshop is the place to find answers. “Essentially, this event will cover questions and issues surrounding solar installation such as costs, placement and viable financing,” he said. “We really encourage anyone who has ever thought about solar energy—but dismissed it as too costly or too technical—to attend this workshop and learn how this exciting new energy source is overcoming those early challenges and is really now in reach of regular people and small businesses looking for sustainable, more environmentally friendly ways to live and operate from day to day.”

Introductory presenter for the workshop will be John Watson, a Corpus Christi native now living in Fredericksburg, who will recap his personal, multi-year journey from solar interest to actual installation of his solar energy system and, more recently, a solar water heating unit. Watson’s presentation will include a brief segment on an easy, money-saving way for almost anyone to harness the sun’s power for their benefit.

Thomas Isaac, chief executive officer of Techsun Solar, a solar water heater manufacturer, distributor and installation company headquartered in Martindale, TX, will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various residential and commercial solar thermal system designs.

Isaac, whose company has installed systems for NASA, the U.S. military, HUD and many commercial and residential entities, including the solar water heating system at the Watson home in Fredericksburg, will review common installation or design errors and the effects of hard water.

He will also discuss a solar water heating system’s financial return, its significant environmental impact and reasons it has not yet been more readily adopted in Texas.

John LaFleur, sales consultant with Native, Inc., of Austin, a green builder and a licensed installer of solar, rainwater collection and geothermal air-conditioning and heating systems, also will make a presentation at the workshop. The company installed Watson’s solar electric system in Fredericksburg.

David Peterson, P.E., director of engineering and operations at Central Texas Electric Co-op (CTEC), will be on hand to answer questions about CTEC members installing solar systems and connecting to the CTEC distribution system. CTEC does have a policyfor what is called “distributed generation” that addresses how a member may generate power while continuing to connect to the distribution system.

After the workshop concludes, local residents with solar installations will be available to talk about their personal experiences with solar technology.

Light refreshments will be available. While there is no charge to attend the workshop, reservations are encouraged for planning purposes. For more information or to reserve seats, call Watson at 830-997-3543, ext. 27, or email him at

Turner Hall BBQ – March 1

Fredericksburg Social Turn Verein established in 1871Turner Hall is having its annual Pork B-B-Q Dinner on Sunday, March 1, 2015 at 103 W Travis Street. Serving starts at 11:00 am. $10.00 donation per plate. To go plates only.

Turn Verein (that’s the Texas spelling of Turnverein) was orginally a gymnastic and social club begun in 1811 in Germany by Friedrich Ludwig Jahn.  Turn Veriens were established all over the country promoting gymnastics and calisthenics, and Turners contributed to the standardization and popularization of bowling nationwide.

Since 1854 there have been twenty-eight turnvereins in twenty-one Texas communities, some with over 600 members. As soon as possible after formation, all acquired halls spacious enough to accommodate gymnastics. Whether simple frame structures or elaborate masonry complexes housing bowling alleys, ballrooms, theatres, and saloons, nineteenth-century Texas Turner halls were often centers of community life. Financing came primarily from dues and rental and sale of property, although tax incentives and rent-free buildings for community service projects were sometimes provided. In 1984 six Texas turnvereins remained active: Boerne, Comfort, Fredericksburg, Houston, La Bahía, and San Antonio. Turners, however, have contributed much more than buildings. Though begun as gymnastic societies, most vereins also had social, intellectual, and benevolent goals. Houston’s Turners cared for the sick and needy, established schools, and provided dramatic and musical entertainment for the public. Turners organized elaborate Fourth of July celebrations for their towns or counties and made turnverein parks, gymnasiums, and bowling alleys available for general use. Most significant, Turners founded several of the first volunteer fire departments and provided fire protection for years. The Houston and Fredericksburg clubs received citations for this work. The 1870s were the heyday of turnvereins in Texas, with fifteen new clubs organized, both by second-generation German Texans and by Turners from other states. –

Mary Lou LeCompte, “TURNVEREIN MOVEMENT,” Handbook of Texas Online(, accessed February 15, 2011.

Lenten Fish Fry – March 23

The Parish Societies of St Mary’s Parish (Knights of Columbus #9765, St Mary’s School PTC, Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission, Catholic Daughters, St Ann’s Society, & St Joseph’s Society) will be hosting a Lenten Fish Fry Dinner beginning on Feb 24th Every Friday evening throughout Lent, from 5-7:30 pm at St. Joseph’s Halle, as an opportunity for the entire community of Fredericksburg to join in a constructive community outreach.  The event is not viewed as a fundraiser but as an effort to bring together those of ALL faiths to meet for dialogue, discussion, and dining during the Lenten Season. For those who wish to attend, Stations of the Cross Devotion will occur on Friday’s at 6pm in the Marien Kirche with plenty of opportunity to attend the meal following the devotion.  This is our 3rd year for this event and the support and attendance has been outstanding from the community over the past 2 years.   Meals to go will be available, but there is no drive thru as we are hoping that people will wish to stay, meet new people, visit with old friends, and socialize during the event. Call Darin Holmes 456-1999 or Carlos Juenke 456-9645 for more information.

Sängerfest German Chorale Concert – September 21

Bringing more than 300 singers to Fredericksburg, this German chorale concert will feature eight different choirs from San Antonio, New Braunfels, Corpus Christi and Fredericksburg. This year, the Hermann Sons Mixed Choir will host the event, the 122nd Sängerfest of the Texanischer Gebirgssaengerbund, a tradition begun in 1881. For the festival, a commemorative “Festscrift” program will be printed. Event to be held at the St. Mary’s Holy Family Center, 306 W. San Antonio Street.

1 pm. Admission is free. Call 830-997-3936 for more information.

126th Gillespie County Fair Livestock Shows

IMG_5995Chicken, Rabbit and Dorper Breeding Sheep on Friday. Jackpot Swine Show, Breeding Sheep Show, Breeding Angora Goat Show and Breeding Cattle on Saturday. Steer Jackpot Show and Texas Wether Buck and Doe Sale on Sunday. At the Gillespie County Fairgrounds, 530 Fair Drive on S. Hwy 16. For a detailed schedule, please call  (830) 997-2359 or visit the website.

Starts at 9 am daily.

5th Annual HOSA Health Run – May 26

5 & 10K run/walk benefitting local Health Occupations Students of America vying for National Competition.

Registration at 7:30 am; run starts at 8:30 am at the Fredericksburg High School Stadium.

$20 for adults; $10 for children and high school students. Please call for more information.

Address: FHS Stadium on Billie Drive off Hwy 16 South. Call (830) 992-9692 for more information