Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Exhibit to Feature Images from Ranching Book, Renowned Photographer

Texas A&M AgriLife will open an exhibit of 12 images – poster reproductions of fine art photography from the pages of Hillingdon Ranch: Four Seasons, Six Generations – Wednesday.

The exhibit, which will remain open through Nov. 11, is on display in the AgriLife Center, located at 556 John Kimbrough Boulevard. The center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

The images captured by Hillingdon Ranch coauthor David Langford depict seasonal views of the sprawling, 13,000-acre family ranch on the outskirts of Comfort, Texas.

Published by Texas A&M University Press, Hillingdon Ranch is a beautifully photographed portrait of a ranching family and their life in the Texas Hill Country. The book chronicles what the Gile’s family’s efforts mean to the rest of us: food, fiber, clean air, wildlife, healthy land, peace and quiet and, perhaps most of all, clean and plentiful water.

The book has received critical praise from Mrs. Laura Bush, Former First Lady of Texas and the U.S.; Nolan Ryan, member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, rancher, and former Texas Parks and Wildlife Commissioner; and George Strait, member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and rancher.
Langford is the owner of Western Photography Company. His award-winning photographs have appeared in SmithsonianOutdoor Life,Field and StreamTexas HighwaysThe CattlemanAmerican WestTexas Monthly and other publications, worldwide. He lives on the Laurels Ranch, his piece of the Hillingdon family land.

Coauthor Lorie Woodward Cantu is president of Woodward Communications, a research, writing and public relations company specializing in agriculture and natural resource issues. Before starting her own business, Cantu was the assistant commissioner for communications at the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Book on the USS Tate Gave Reader Glimpse of Father's Life in Service



It had been three years since author Tom Crew received feedback on his book Combat Loaded: Across the Pacific on the USS Tate when he received a glowing reader letter from Verne P. Dalton.

"It is with great appreciation that I send you my thanks for your book Combat Loaded," wrote Dalton.

Dalton said his appreciation of the book stemmed from the fact that Crew's story represents a part of America's military history that has been ignored.

"While it's understandable that 'fighting ships' and 'fighting men' get more attention than freighters and porters, battles can't be waged without logistical support," said Dalton. "I believe your book gave a sense of that."

Dalton said he also appreciated the book for its detailed account of both the technical side of the operation and its intrinsic human component.

"Your descriptions and explanations and inclusions of photos, maps and charts should give any student of World War II or 20th Century naval warfare an excellent view of the role an AKA or other transport ship of this time."

In closing, Dalton thanked Crew for giving him a glimpse of the life of his father during his service. For years Dalton wished that someone would write the story of any AKA so he could speculate what his life aboard ship would have been like, wrote Dalton.

Crew's book is the first authoritative history of any of the more than 350 attack transports or attack cargo ships of World War II, with combat narratives alongside details of daily life on board the ships of Tranport Squadron 17 during the waning days of World War II.

For more on Combat Loaded, click here. (link to book on website)



Researchers Say Texas Not Prepared for Next Hurricane

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike -- which caused more than $30 billion and killed more than 30 people -- cities across the region have boasted about their rebuilding efforts.


But this week experts with Rice University's Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters Center said preparedness efforts may have even worsened in the last few years, due in part to growth in the Houston Channel that is occurring without appropriate hurricane safeguards.


Exports for the state of Texas -- which have prompted the dramatic growth of industry in the Houston Ship Channel -- have exceeded even those of New York City. While the growth is an economic engine for the state, some researchers worry that a direct-hit hurricane would wreak havoc on the channel's chemical and oil storage tanks, leading to spills and an environmental catastrophe.


Researchers with the SSPEED Center say if Hurricane Ike made everyone realize just how exposed and vulnerable the Houston-Galveston area is in the face of a major storm. If the hurricane had made landfall just 50 miles down the Texas coast, the devastation and death caused by what was already one of the most destructive hurricanes in U.S. history would have quadrupled.


In a book written and edited by the research center, Lessons from Hurricane Ike, Director Phil Bedient and his research team say Ike made everyone realize just how exposed and vulnerable the Houston-Galveston area is in the face of a major storm.


The book gathers the work some of the premier researchers in the fields of hurricane prediction and impact, summarizing it in accessible language accompanied by abundant illustrations -- not just graphs and charts -- but dramatic photos and informative maps.


Check it out here (link to book's page on website).


Read more about the recent discussion of hurricane preparedness in Texas Tribune.