On May 11th Operations Manager Charlie Whisner and cameraman Colby Ward came to film an interview with me for their FOX34 Our Town Spotlight of Muleshoe series. They came in masks and gloves, politically correct, or maybe just coronavirus correct.
But this is what they look like without the masks.
I enjoyed visiting with them about things pertinent to the spotlight on Muleshoe and my book and blog and photography, and then we got off subject and talked about one of my favorite things, horses. We went outside, and I gave them the garden tour to see some of my other favorite things, the cactus. And when Wendy Cat joined us, lo and behold, there was another of my favorite things-cats! As I recall, I had put those other two favorite things, Mari Dog and Porche Dog, in the back yard fence for the safety of the cameras-they get so excited when we have visitors, you know- so they were just watching from afar.
After the interview and garden tour, I sent Charlie off with cuttings of ice plant in hand, and me anticipating when the stories about Muleshoe would air.
Time passed and finally it was the right time. The week of June 15-19 FOX34 would have the spotlight on Muleshoe.
Monday started off with the focus on how businesses in Muleshoe were dealing with COVID-19 issues. Ashley Turnbow from Eevolve Enterprises, MISD Assistant Superintendent Dana Heathington, Economic Development Director Carina Reyes, waitress Shelby Alvarez from the Dinner Bell, Kaitlin Rameriz of El Sason de la Abuela Mexican Food Restaurant, and Kenneth Henry, president of the Muleshoe Heritage Association all shared ways their businesses were dealing with the quarantine and how they found something positive to come out of the shut-down. Eevolve came up with a lighthearted t-shirt featuring rolls of hope as symbolized in toilet paper, the Dinner Bell gave the place a face lift, El Sason added a drive-thru window, and the Heritage Center used the downtime to do some needed maintenance and grounds-keeping.
Tuesday focused on agriculture and its importance to the economy of Muleshoe, Mayor Cliff Black said that agriculture is the lifeblood of the community, and Texas Agri Life Extension agent John Villalba, dairy owners Joe Osterkamp and Larry Hancock talked about the dairy industry here, Texas Cattle Feeders Association member Ben Weinheimer and Sam Stevenson from Frontera Feedyard discussed the beef industry, Muleshoe Livestock Auction’s Jackson Myers talked about cattle and other livestock that come through their pens, and Brett Bamert and Rob Cook discussed the international market they have for seed in reclamation projects, highways, and individual and business needs.
Wednesday was devoted to the Oneita Wagnon Senior Center. Members Ronnie Dent and Nina Landers shared reasons why they enjoy the center, Mayor Cliff Black felt like the center provided a place to go each day, a good meal, and something to look forward to. Gil Robert Rennels from Gil Lamb Advertising, center member Royce Turner, Chamber president and Eevolve’s Trevor Turnbow, and Chamber manager Andrea Alfaro all sang the praises of center manager Carolyn Johnson and her hard work bringing new activities and interests to the center. Carolyn and Royce were adamant that at least the kitchen of the center should remain operational to serve those members who need assistance with meals at least once a day and came up with the plan to hand out meals in the parking lot. Ronnie Dent gave credit to the staff and volunteer who have made that a success. Carina Reyes said they are serving even more meals than normal these days, and talk has it they may continue the curbside service after everything is opened because it benefits people who need extra help.
Thursday was my day! I talked about the contents of my book, The Bright Lights of Muleshoe, and Royce Turner, Carina Reyes, Cliff Black, and Gil Robert Rennels shared some nice compliments about my time teaching, my blog and photography, my love of cactus, and my desire to put the stories I write about the community, its history, and its people in book form so the stories won’t be lost when the people who make those stories interesting are gone. Thanks, guys. I appreciate your gracious confidence in me. Wendy Cat even got some good exposure at the end of the segment.
Friday spotlighted the upcoming July 4th events in Muleshoe. Chamber of Commerce manager Andrea Alfaro gave an overview of the activities for the day, including a parade and vendors located up and down American Boulevard, hoping this would create a sense of normalcy for the town and meet social distancing guidelines. Gil Robert Rennels of Gil Lamb Advertising talked about the city and volunteer fire department putting on a fireworks show that is exceptional for a town this size, Trevor Turnbow mentioned working to follow the virus guidelines and looking forward to seeing families out together enjoying the day. Carina was excited about the parade, Plainview District FFA President Clayton Stevenson, a spectator from last year’s festivities, was looking forward to the day, as was Brett Bamert who enjoys bringing his family to see everything. Andrea mentioned that Muleshoe is really about the only town in the area that will celebrate July 4th with activities this year, and Cliff suggested everyone come enjoy the day.
It was fun all week seeing the familiar faces and places around town on TV. The stories and people interviewed gave a positive vibe and highlighted a variety of people in town. I appreciated being a part of it all and was pleased to have been asked to participate. Charlie and Tim Morrow asked good questions; Colby and Gio Hernandez filmed good images all over town.
Photo courtesy of Charlie Whisner and FOX34
Fox aired a long version and a condensed version of the spotlights during each assigned day, and if you missed the longer version, you can see them by clicking on the You Tube links that follow. The links and the stories can also be found at www.fox34.com and www.muleshoeedc.com .It’s more fun and informative to hear everyone do their own talking than me retelling what they said, so I encourage you to avail yourself of these links. You will enjoy seeing all the pictures of Muleshoe, too.
Andrea at the Chamber of Commerce and Carina at the Economic Development Corporation and all the businesses and individuals featured in the stories worked with FOX34 and its cameramen and interviewers to make the spotlights all happen. Everyone did a good job. Take the time to watch the videos.
You will be glad you did.
And you will be glad you came to town to celebrate the Fourth of July. I will be one of the vendors on American Boulevard, too. Hope to see you there!
4th of July: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoLEUxy0IiI
Alice Liles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kx6Tp2g5Gng
Senior Center: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nl6TDeVjasc
My thanks to Carina Reyes, Charlie Whisner, Colby Ward, Andrea Alfaro, and Kenneth Henry for their help with this story. And thanks to those of you who said such nice things about me. I’m verkelpt!