Books Matter: Glenn Moore

March is National Reading Month, a whole month designated to encouraging Americans – and by extension Wacoans – to read! The Act Locally Waco blog is beating the drum for National Reading Month by hosting a blog series throughout the month of March, called “Books Matter.” Every day throughout March we will be sharing a post about a Waco resident and a book that matters to him/her.  Thank you to students from the Baylor Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media and professor Amber Adamson for help with this fun project.  To read all the blog posts so far, click here

By Drake Toll

Baylor softball coach Glenn Moore has over 850 career wins, four appearances in the College Softball World Series and is Baylor Athletics’ active all-time wins leader across all sports. But aside from winning, one thing across his illustrious career has remained a constant: reading. 

“When I do start reading, I have trouble putting a book down,” Moore said as he motioned to the books that line the top of his desk. “I just love reading.”

Moore’s all-time favorite read is a story for all ages, The Twelve Mighty Orphans: The Inspiring True Story of the Mighty Mites Who Ruled Texas Football by Jim Dent. 

In the nonfiction story of unbelievable determination, hard-nosed football coach Rusty Russell marches into a Masonic Home outside of Fort Worth to lead a group of 12 orphans onto the gridiron in the middle of the Great Depression. The misfit bunch, known as the “Mighty Mites,” competed in the high-stakes world of Texas high school football, but that was hard to do without even having a ball.

“You have this team of 12 that goes against [a major school] for their very first game and they didn’t have a football,” Moore explained. “So [Russell] met with the opponent’s coach and asked him, if they won, could they have the football? And he kind of chuckled at him, and they ended up winning. So, they got to carry their first football back to their campus.”

That first win would be followed by many more as the Mighty Mites cemented their success story.

“[Rusty] built a program that became almost  like a rallying cry during a difficult time in the history of the country — during the Depression era — where they became very, very popular,” Moore said. 

The book has a special place in Moore’s heart, as it has parallels to his own family.

“What has drawn me so close to that book is the fact that we have three foster kids ourselves,” Moore said. “Knowing the difficulty those orphaned kids and kids that are in these foster situations have, there’s a connection there … it’s close to my heart knowing what our kids have had to go through.”

Moore’s advice for all ages is to “Read!”

Books Matter: Esmeralda Hudson

March is National Reading Month, a whole month designated to encouraging Americans – and by extension Wacoans – to read! The Act Locally Waco blog is beating the drum for National Reading Month by hosting a blog series throughout the month of March, called “Books Matter.” Every day throughout March we will be sharing a post about a Waco resident and a book that matters to him/her.  Thank you to students from the Baylor Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media and professor Amber Adamson for help with this fun project.  To read all the blog posts so far, click here

By Ashlyn Cox

“You can change the trajectory of a person’s life if you can help them read,” Esmeralda Hudson, City Secretary for the City of Waco, said.

In Hudson’s favorite book, Quiet Strength, author Tony Dungy shows how literacy leads to leadership and success, despite the challenges some may face. 

“Dungy was a famous coach who dealt with a lot of trials in his life, and a lot of them resonated with me about how to be a leader despite being discriminated against,” Hudson said. “It’s something I’ve walked with forever.”

Being the first Hispanic City Secretary for the City of Waco, Hudson has faced race-related issues that are similar to Dungy’s challenges within his book. 

“The most important lesson I got from this novel was being a person of color and the trials that are unique to a person of color,” Hudson said. “It kind of just resonated with me, and it taught me that eventually everything will be OK and to be myself in order for everything to work out.”

Without literacy, it would be impossible for everyone to achieve total equality, Hudson said.

“In previous generations, one way people of color were kept from advancing was lack of education. They weren’t allowed to attend certain schools and be in certain groups. This was the lack of education that people needed in order to advance to the next level,” Hudson said. “Now if you can read, you can find out what you need to know. You can live your life to the fullest.”

Better Living for Texans: Broc-N-Roll

By Lindsey Breunig-Rodriguez

In 2020, the Better Living for Texans posts will focus on a seasonal fruit or vegetable.  Material shared will include the nutritional value/benefits, how to select and store, cook and use, and other fun facts regarding the chosen fruit or vegetable! Have a request? Let us know!

Fruits and vegetables provide our bodies with nutrients that keep us running and going. Like a car for our bodies to run and function properly we need the right fuel – we wouldn’t fuel our cars on mouthwash! So what do we need? For vegetables, per USDA dietary guidelines it is recommended we consume 3 Cups of veggies daily. Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of the Vegetable Group. Vegetables can be prepared multiple ways and enjoyed raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, mashed, or dried/dehydrated. For reference, 1 cup from the Vegetable Group is equal to 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens. If 3 cups of vegetables make you cringe, start small, start measurable!

As you may have guessed from the title, broccoli is the highlighted vegetable for March! Broccoli is a personal favorite, because it is used in a variety of dishes and prepared in multiple formats. I like to encourage participants to try a vegetable prepared several different ways before ruling it out of your diet. You may not like something steamed but fall in love with it roasted.

Broccoli is a “cool season” crop meaning its season is during the spring and fall. As we know Texas seasons can be wild but remembering spring and fall will help in finding the cheapest and best quality broccoli when shopping.  When selecting broccoli, look for firm bright or dark green heads, and once home store unwashed in the refrigerator. It is recommended to use broccoli within 3-5 days of purchasing.

When you are ready to use the broccoli – use the entirety of the product!! The picture below shows a great step-by-step demonstration of how to use florets (the top piece that is like a tree) and the stalks (the bottom piece that is like a tree trunk). (Information courtesy of Montana State University Extension)

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Once ready, enjoy the many ways you can cook with broccoli:

  • raw on a salad or alone with a favorite dip (maybe hummus or a low-fat yogurt dip)
  • steam in the microwave or over the stove
  • roast alone or with other veggies (my personal favorite with extra garlic and pepper!)
  • stir-fried with other veggies and a lean protein

Incorporating more vegetables into your diet may seem like a challenge; however, with a vegetable like broccoli preparing it multiple ways will ensure your menu does not get boring but rather works towards our goal of 3 cups a day! Are you ready to broc-n-roll!?

Want to incorporate more broccoli and veggies into your diet? Start out with some of these great recipes below:

Broccoli SaladThis sweet and savory salad is packed with antioxidants to keep you feeling great!

Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry –  Enjoy this ‘how to’ video to see step by step instructions.

Chicken, Broccoli & Cheese Skillet Meal– Add other vegetables such as peas, grated carrots or chopped bell peppers


Lindsey Breunig-Rodriguez is an Extension Agent for the Better Living for Texans program with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. She is originally from Grapevine, TX but now calls Waco home. A graduate from Baylor University, she loves to venture out to Cameron Park, visit the local Farmers Market, and try out the awesome eateries in Waco. If you see her and hear a loud bark, that’s her pup Lucy Ann just saying hello.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

Books Matter: Fiona Bond

March is National Reading Month, a whole month designated to encouraging Americans – and by extension Wacoans – to read! The Act Locally Waco blog is beating the drum for National Reading Month by hosting a blog series throughout the month of March, called “Books Matter.” Every day throughout March we will be sharing a post about a Waco resident and a book that matters to him/her.  Thank you to students from the Baylor Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media and professor Amber Adamson for help with this fun project.  To read all the blog posts so far, click here

By Katie Barbur

The Lost Letters of Pergamum is a story of adventure, of brotherhood, of courage and sacrifice. 

Fiona Bond is the Executive Director of Creative Waco, an arts advocacy organization based in the art gallery Cultivate 7Twelve, her favorite book is The Lost Letters of Pergamum.

“It’s by Bruce Longenecker, who happens to be my husband,” Bond said. “It’s a book about the first century world and it’s a series of letters. And it is, as Bruce’s mom used to say, it’s not a true story, but it could have been true. So it’s historical fiction, essentially. But it is based on a series of fact and conjecture, which pulls together a story which kind of impacts the New Testament world.”

Bond said there are a number of reasons why the book matters to her. 

“I think it captures what it means to live in love, courage and sacrifice,” Bond said. “The other aspect of the book that makes it really special to me is that we hear from people from all over the world.”

Bond said she recommends Wacoans read The Lost Letters of Pergamum, because it is a book that takes readers into a completely different cultural context. 

“I think that’s important for us to immerse ourselves into because it helps us to understand the New Testament better,” Bond said. “But it also helps us to understand the other cultures that make up this culture.”

Bond said it’s important for Wacoans to read. 

“It allows us to step outside our context,” Bond said. “That’s just good therapy.”

Bond said for her, books have always been a way of looking at the world through someone else’s lens. 

“Whether it’s a story, pure fiction, nonfiction, a biography, whatever,” Bond said, “to see the world and to have the gift of seeing the world completely from someone else’s perspective, is something we should hold very precious.”

TSTC Culinary Arts Program: Great opportunity for Students. Great food for the rest of us!

By Andie Chilson

Chef Michele Brown is the head of the Culinary Arts Program at Texas State Technical College where she has worked since September 2018. Chef Brown is a member of the Epicurean World Master Chefs Society, Les Dames d’Escoffier and the Texas Chefs Association. She has also competed in the IKA Culinary Olympics.

Andie Chilson: Give me a general overview of the TSTC Culinary Arts Program – what can prospective students expect?

Michele Brown: It’s only five semesters for a degree, which is fantastic. And it’s a real degree – not just, you know, a paper or a certificate or something like that. It translates to all colleges, which is fantastic if a student wants to go and get their bachelor’s. When a lot of our students come to the program they don’t realize that you can get your bachelor’s in food science or accounting management. There are other ways rather than just going in to the kitchen. And what we try to do is train them to become managers and owners. That’s our goal. We’re trying to give our students the background and the credentials that they need to have.

I just got back from Germany where I competed in the culinary Olympics and came home with a silver. And it was really fun to have the students come in and see what we were doing. You know, see the huge amount of work that goes in to all the practices and washing your dishes and, you know, the lack of glamor. And it’s also a kind of international networking. So if a student comes to me and says, ‘I really want to travel,’ well, I have about four people in four different countries that I can call and say, hey, I’ve got a student who may want to come in and work with you, and try to make that happen.

AC: So, what kinds of students does the program attract? What is the typical demographic?

MB:I have students who have been looking at the school since eighth grade. They graduated from high school and came in. And I have students who are in retirement and doing it for fun. I have some business owners or chefs that need to get their credentials. In the past I’ve had research chefs that needed to get their credentials, their culinary degree or certificate so that they could move forward in their jobs. So, I get everybody. And in Waco, we’re the only facility within the TSTC family that has housing. So younger kids all over Texas could come and get a culinary degree for a fraction of the cost of what it would be to go to a private school.

AC: So as far as the dining room goes, is it open to the public? Can anyone come and try your students’ creations?

MB:Absolutely. Every Wednesday and Friday about four weeks into each semester, we open up the restaurants. It runs for about eleven weeks and it’s Wednesday and Fridays. And the cool thing about it is that in the second semester, students are thrown out into the dining room to be servers. So, they learn to respect the front of the house, understanding the soft skills of dealing with clients and trying to understand how the front of the house works so that they can be a little more empathetic. Or they may say, ‘Hey, wait a minute, what am I doing in the kitchen? I would rather be out here dealing with people.’ It gives you the opportunity to figure out where you want to be. 

The students that are cooking the food are doing their capstone. And not only do they cook the food, but they decide the menus. They research the food, they get out and train each other. So, they are basically the chefs. You don’t see that at many other schools.

AC: And how expensive are the dining events?

MB: Between $25-$60. And anything that we do for the public, all of that money that we make goes right back into the program. We are not funded 100% by the state, so we need to bring in funding to purchase beautiful cuts of meat and fabulous chocolate and things that students wouldn’t be exposed to at a different school. We’re really trying to bring in some great stuff and have the students handle the protein multiple times,and that’s something that people don’t really think about. We also encourage our students to work during their classes, so we have all kinds of jobs posted at all times.

AC: Well this sounds like a great opportunity for students looking for a career in the culinary world as well as Wacoans looking for a terrific meal!


Example Menu

Argentina by Anahi Guerrero

 STARTERS

Chipas

Baked cheese-flavored rolls with cilantro butter

Complimentary Argentinian-Style Soup with pumpkin puree, pork steak bits, diced onion, butter beans and sliced spring onions – $2.25 cup, $2.75 bowl

Heart of Palms Salad with sliced shallots, Roma tomatoes, radishes, diced avocado, chopped cilantro, capers and Heart of Palms with a sherry habanero vinaigrette – $2.25

MAINS

Roasted Argentine Frenched Chicken Breast Salad with roasted French chicken breast, chilled green beans, carrots, marinated mushrooms, diced tomatoes, roasted baby potatoes and spicy garlic salsa – $7.15

Choripan – Grilled turkey chorizo in a hoagie bread topped with a parsley aioli and a tomato-onion relish, a side of baked parmesan fries and house-made spicy pickles – $7.15

Fish Baked in a Banana Leaf – Banana-steamed cod fillets with roasted tomato sauce, coconut lime rice, grilled yellow squash, fruit salsa and julienned fried onions – $8.25

Argentinian Grilled Chimichurri Steak – Grilled beef steak with a roasted sweet potato puree, marinated mini bell peppers, pickled cherry tomatoes, au gratin cauliflower and a red chimichurri sauce – $8.25

DESSERT

Pionono – A sheet cake filled with an infused strawberry-Malbec whipped cream with sliced strawberries, candied mint leaf, chocolate pistachio shard, dulce de leche drizzle and whipped cream – $2.95

BEVERAGES

Soft drinks, regular iced tea and flavored tea of the week – $1.25

Pineapple Juice – $2.25


The dining room is located at 109 8th Street, Waco, TX at the corner of 8th and Campus Drive on TSTC Campus.

Lunch is served from 11 AM – 12:15 PM. $10-12. For reservations  call 254-867-4868

Gourmet to Go and Tours are available 8 AM – 5 PM. $5-8.  

For more information about the TSTC Culinary Arts Program, visit their website at https://www.tstc.edu/programs/CulinaryArts.

TSTC is a part of SkillsUSA and is a SkillsUSA international training site.


Andie Chilson is a senior at Baylor University studying journalism and creative writing. She is originally from Houston, but Waco has quickly come to feel like a second home to her. Andie enjoys writing and digital content creation as a way to express her creativity and help people spread their message. In her free time, you can find her reading anything by Brené Brown, doing yoga or exploring downtown Waco. Andie is so excited to be working as part of the Act Locally Waco team this semester!

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.

Books Matter: Kyle Deaver

March is National Reading Month, a whole month designated to encouraging Americans – and by extension Wacoans – to read! The Act Locally Waco blog is beating the drum for National Reading Month by hosting a blog series throughout the month of March, called “Books Matter.” Every day throughout March we will be sharing a post about a Waco resident and a book that matters to him/her.  Thank you to students from the Baylor Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media and professor Amber Adamson for help with this fun project.  To read all the blog posts so far, click here

By: Alexis Scott

Modern times have fostered an environment that puts technology at an all-time high. Smartphones, tablets and laptops hold power over kids, teens and adults more and more each day. Snapchat, Instagram and other apps like Twitter have infiltrated the daily lives of people across the globe. With the attention now on screens, activities that maintain essential value, like reading, have been forgotten.

Many people still believe in the power of the written word; one of those people is Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver. Deaver said he thinks reading is an essential part of character development. 

“I think it opens your mind to new ideas, in ways that no other medium can,” Deaver said. 

Mayor Deaver appreciates the stories that hold true meaning, especially redemption stories. Laura Hillenbrand’s 2010 book Unbroken exemplifies what reading really means to him.

“I just think it’s such an amazing story of the human spirit,” Mayor Deaver said. “I just think that this is the kind of story that young people should be reading, that they should know.”

Reading is not something to be left in the past. It is essential not only for entertainment but allows people to open their minds to stories with meaning and lessons to learn in ways that technology and social media cannot.

“Those things are great, but you get to dive deeply into ideas, I think that’s the main difference,” Deaver said. 

Put down the screen and pick up a book and open your mind to new ideas.

Prosper Waco Hires Tiffiney Gray as Senior Content Specialist for Health

Press release –

Prosper Waco is pleased to announce the hiring of Tiffiney Gray as senior content specialist for health. In this position, Gray will develop, coordinate and implement projects and initiatives that advance benchmark indicators in health for Prosper Waco. Gray will advance the work of collective impact by strengthening community relationships, networks and partners in the Waco area. In addition, she will be implementing a Collaborative Approach to Public Goods Investment project by researching and designing an effective intervention based on research showing the impact of addressing social determinants to change health outcomes.

“Tiffiney Gray brings experience and leadership to advance health goals for our community,” said Prosper Waco CEO Suzii Paynter March. “Tiffiney will put her experience in medical research and community engagement to use with a national research team studying Waco and 14 other cities for behavioral health practices.”

Gray has formerly worked as a research and development officer at Jackson State University, where she designed and secured funding for programs supporting early childhood education, minority student retention and campus wellness. She was previously director of The Salvation Army Corps Community Center in Jackson, Mississippi, a resource for children and families providing after-school enrichment and cultural programming. Recently, Gray managed multiple community engaged research (CEnR) projects at the Medical College of Wisconsin to include Community Health Improvement for Milwaukee’s Children (CHIMC), Earlier is Better (EIB), and Milwaukee Prevention of Opioid Misuse through Peer Training (Milwaukee PROMPT) with funding support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Foundation, Pfizer Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. At MCW, Gray also supported graduate student and medical resident learning as coordinator for the Community Pediatrics Training Initiative (CPTI) and the Community Health Improvement III Course in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. Gray completed her master’s degree in sociology at the University of Mississippi and has a longstanding passion for social justice and advancing health equity.

Prosper Waco is a collective impact initiative focused on addressing issues facing the Greater Waco community in education, health and financial security. As a facilitator and convener, Prosper Waco encourages collaboration among nonprofits, city and county governments, businesses, foundations and churches. The goal is to build on and increase the effectiveness of current efforts

and to develop new strategies to bring about measurable and sustainable positive change within the focus areas. For more information, please contact Allison@prosperwaco.org

Books Matter: Kelly Filgo

March is National Reading Month, a whole month designated to encouraging Americans – and by extension Wacoans – to read! The Act Locally Waco blog is beating the drum for National Reading Month by hosting a blog series throughout the month of March, called “Books Matter.” Every day throughout March we will be sharing a post about a Waco resident and a book that matters to him/her.  Thank you to students from the Baylor Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media and professor Amber Adamson for help with this fun project.  To read all the blog posts so far, click here

By Haylee Bernard

Kelly Filgo, lead director of specialized projects at the Texas State Technical College, said his favorite book gave him, “words to put on what I already felt, believed.”

Filgo educates students while they train for aviation careers. Filgo’s favorite book is The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distractions by Matthew Crawford. 

Filgo said the book “is a look through the lens of classical philosophy but applied to modern Western culture. About how as a culture, we are not very good at giving sustained attention to what we do and what that means for us.”

The book is about how people do not have the opportunity to give themselves honest self-evaluations, and this prevents people from being resilient and dedicating time and attention to one thing. 

“We lack the constructive criticism. People say it is the youth and their cellphones. However, Crawford dispels that immediately and says that culturally, we reject prior knowledge and challenge things, but what we mistakenly did was equate individuality with self-sufficiency. What we tend to do in that case is create a warped self-image,” Filgo said. 

Filgo said an important lesson in the book is that hobbies lead to good practices, because they provide us with an opportunity to focus on one task and provide us with obvious feedback. Filgo engages in the art of 3D printing as one of his hobbies, because he said it allows him to perfect his craft through learning from his mistakes. 

Filgo said the most valuable takeaway of this book is, “learning how to stay focused long enough to know when you are getting it and to know when you are not and to be honest with yourself enough and say that it was not good enough.”

Books Matter: John Kinnaird

March is National Reading Month, a whole month designated to encouraging Americans – and by extension Wacoans – to read! The Act Locally Waco blog is beating the drum for National Reading Month by hosting a blog series throughout the month of March, called “Books Matter.” Every day throughout March we will be sharing a post about a Waco resident and a book that matters to him/her.  Thank you to students from the Baylor Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media and professor Amber Adamson for help with this fun project.  To read all the blog posts so far, click here

By Kaitlyn McMillan

Books are an essential part of life. Whether it’s a book from your childhood or one that was recently released, we all have one that matters and connects us to a special time in our lives. For Waco Councilman John Kinnaird, The Poky Little Puppy, is one that happened to pave the way for the rest of his life.

“This book sort of laid the groundwork for a lifelong interest in reading and learning,” Kinnaird said.

Many of us recall books from our childhood specifically for the story, either a fairytale or one that taught us a lesson, but for Kinnaird, his is different.

“It’s a classic,” he said. “I wouldn’t really recommend it for the story or the subject matter, or even a lesson that might be able to be learned from it because you kind of have to squint your eyes for it.”

Kinnaird said he believes that with any book regardless of the message, reading with your kids is an important thing to engage in, especially now in our growing world of technology.

“I would encourage people to read this with their kids or with their loved ones just because doing something together like that is kind of what we’re built for,” Kinnaird said. “Sitting in my mom’s lap reading this for all of those hours meant so much to me and still means so much to me now, because it’s that time and love that sets us up for success down the road. Sitting with your kid and doing this is a lot better than playing on your phone.”

National Reading Month is an important time for everyone as we try to encourage people to put down their smartphones, pick up a book and connect with their loved ones. For Kinnaird, the memories cultivated with his mother were all made possible due to the first book he ever picked up, and one that he will never forget.

Books Matter: Andrea Barefield

March is National Reading Month, a whole month designated to encouraging Americans – and by extension Wacoans – to read! The Act Locally Waco blog is beating the drum for National Reading Month by hosting a blog series throughout the month of March, called “Books Matter.” Every day throughout March we will be sharing a post about a Waco resident and a book that matters to him/her.  Thank you to students from the Baylor Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media and professor Amber Adamson for help with this fun project.  To read all the blog posts so far, click here.

By Amy Rickabaugh

Many people may take literacy for granted, but for Waco Councilwomen Andrea Barefield, reading is the only foundation for growth as a community. 

The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni is a book that means a lot to Barefield, as it has been with her since she was in middle school.

“I have been able to find myself in the multiple stages of my life within the pages of this book,” Barefield said. 

The sections of this book dedicated to strength and empowerment, especially of African Americans, are some of Barefield’s favorites. 

Barefield points out a particular poem in the book called “Ego-Tripping” and says that “if when you read that poem you don’t believe in yourself, forget about it. There is not an opportunity for people to tell you that you are anything but fabulous.”

This is something that Barefield said she needed to hear when she was a young, impressionable, middle school girl. 

During these younger years, Barefield experienced the importance of getting her questions answered and following her curiosity about what she was seeing in the world she was growing up in. 

“Escaping in literature is one way we can go to the other side of whatever our curiosities are,” Barefield said. 

She encourages readers that the pages of a book aren’t judgmental, and they allow questions without blaming the reader for ignorance.

“Reading authors that write about cultures that you are unfamiliar with is the way to really have your questions answered without having to deal with the grey matter of people,” Barefield said. 

Barefield was raised by educators, who were raised by educators, so reading has been fundamental for her throughout her life. She says she knows that humans cannot do anything without a foundation. Barefield believes that the foundation of reading is the development for growth.

“Literacy and the importance of stimulating your mind is the only way foundationally we can grow and do anything else,” Barefield said.