ECO FRIENDLY: Home products that save money ... - The Insite Group

ECO FRIENDLY: Home products that save money ... - The Insite Group

ECO FRIENDLY: Home products that save money and the planet

February 2008




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4 Insite/February 2008


THERE’S A CHAIR in the sunroom of our house

that anyone is welcome to sit in, including our

cats, but is still known as “my brown chair.” It’s

the place I go in anticipation of a glass of tea, a

new magazine or book and at least a brief respite

from deadlines and daily life. It is also the place in

our house you are most likely to find my husband,

kids and cats lolling about, talking and generally

winding down from the fervor of the day. It is my

favorite space.

There are two stories in this month’s Insite

that speak to the heart of a home: one is about

how our favorite places build a refuge for our

relationships and the other spotlights the latest in

eco-friendly home products available locally. Both

topics are close to my heart and I want to say a

special thanks to the five public figures that shared

a private view of their own favorite spaces.

As for the green home products, the variety

– and economy – of building and remodeling in

an environmentally friendly way is “think global,

act local” at its best. More than 20 years ago,

my husband and I had to ship most of what we

needed to restore our historic home down from

the northeast. Now you can buy low- or no-VOC

refinishing products and sustainable building

materials from local retailers. When the president

of the Brazos Valley Home Builder’s Association is

promoting green building techniques, you know

the eco-ideal has finally grown its own market.

It’s enough to warm your heart – and your home.

– Angelique Gammon

Subscribe & Save

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1 year for just $12.95

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Call (979) 823-5567


and click on Subscribe Now







areaevents | page 6

What’s Happening

Activities around the Brazos Valley

compiled by the Insite Magazine staff

artsmart | page 10

Innovation in the Arts

MSC OPAS recognized for season preview show

by Craig Boleman

communityoutreach | page 11

The Art of Helping Children

Event to honor champions and friends of children

by Candace Leslie

favoritespaces | page 14

Heart & Home

Bricks and sticks build places where love can grow

by Nancy Hardeman

ecofriendly | page 22

Get Green

Home products that save money and the planet

by Erin Hill Littlefield


4 Publisher’s Desk The home of your heart

30 Business Briefs Notable Brazos Valley news

INSITE Magazine is published monthly by Insite Printing & Graphic Services, 123 E. Wm. J. Bryan

Pkwy., Bryan, Texas 77803. (979) 823-5567 Volume 24, Number 11.

Publisher/Editor: Angelique Gammon; Account Executive: Cynthia Kauder; Graphic

Designer: Alida Bedard. Insite Magazine is a division of The Insite Group, LP. Reproduction of

any part without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Insite Printing & Graphic Services

Managing Partners: Kyle DeWitt, Angelique Gammon, Greg Gammon. General Manager:

Carl Dixon; Production Manager: Mike Hogeboom; Pre-Press Manager: Mari Brown; IT

Manager: Glenn Richards; Office Manager: Wendy Sweard; Sales & Customer Service:

Molly Barton, Linda Browning; Janice Hellman; Kim Hogeboom; Manda Jackson; Cynthia Justice; Marie Lindley;

Production: Anthony Battles; Stephen Beatty; Joe Campise; Marilyn Carey; Don Coburn; Ricky Conchola;

Armando Elguezabal; Jeremy Frank; George Galloway; Connie Gosch; Brad Hillegeist; Cadence King; Doug

Madison; Arthur Maldonado; Gene McCallum; Frank Ramirez; Randy Valencia; Jimmy Welch.

February 2008/Insite 5

what’shappening compiled by the Insite Magazine staff


February 1 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., the Frame

Gallery hosts First Fridays. Join the Frame Gallery

in Downtown Bryan on the first Friday of every month

for local art, live music, horse drawn carriage rides, and

more. Jazz band starts at 6:30 pm. For more information,

contact Greta Watkins at (979) 822-0496.

6 Insite/February 2008



February 21 at 7:30 p.m., MSC OPAS presents

“Movin’ Out,” in Rudder Theatre. The Broadway

musical by director/choreographer Twyla Tharp and

Billy Joel is set over two decades during the time of

the Vietnam era, presented by a cast of musicians,

singers and dancers. For more information or to

purchase tickets, call the MSC Box Office at (979)

845-1234 or visit

Beginning February 1 and continuing throughout the

month, the Arts Council of Brazos Valley presents

“Lunar New Year” at the Texas Gallery. Displayed at

this Asian art exhibit are artifacts from China, Japan and

Indonesia. A reception featuring art, music and food will

be held February 7 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission

is free. For more information, contact the Arts Council at

(979) 696-2787.

Beginning February 1 and continuing throughout the

month, join The Children’s Museum of the Brazos

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Valley for a variety of special programming and activities

for children. Highlights this month include special

recycling programs, the Daddy/Daughter Dance,

space days and more. For specific program dates, times

and more information, contact The Children’s Museum at

(979) 779-KIDS (5437) or visit

February 1-2 at 7:30 p.m., MSC OPAS presents Ray

Benson & Asleep at the Wheel in “A Ride with Bob:

The Bob Wills Musical” in Rudder Theatre. Call the

MSC Box Office at (979) 845-1234 for ticket information.

February 7 at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., The George Bush

Presidential Library and Museum presents “The

Life of the Buffalo Soldiers” at the Frymire Auditorium

at George Bush Presidential Library Center. Features will be

the legacy and history of the contributions by the African

American Cavalry and Infantry Regiments. Admission is

free. For free reservations email

or call Monica Lerma at (979) 691-4006.

February 7 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., the American

Heart Association will host the 2008 Go Red for

Women Luncheon at the Hilton College Station Hotel

and Conference Center. Linda Shelton is the featured

speaker along with honorary co-chair Cherry Ruffino.

They will discuss the signs of heart disease and stroke and

how it affects women. New this year will be two optional

educational seminars from 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. This

annual event is a chance for women to gain valuable

knowledge about heart disease and stroke and to raise funds

that will support research and education efforts. Tickets are

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March 1, OPAS Jr. presents “Musical Adventures

of Flat Stanley,” in Rudder Theatre. For more

information or to purchase tickets, call the MSC Box

Office at (979) 845-1234 or visit

$30; seating is limited. For more information, contact Co-

Chairs Cortney Tenhet ( or

Dedra Nevill at

February 7-9, 14-16, and 21-23 at 7:30 pm, StageCenter

presents “Make Me a Match,” a comedy about the

perils of modern day matchmaking. Tickets are $10 for

adults, $8 for students and seniors, and $6 for children

12 and under. All tickets are $6 on Thursdays. For more

information contact StageCenter at (979) 696-2787.

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8 Insite/February 2008

February 9 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, Brazos County Master

Gardener Association presents “Fruit Trees for the

Brazos Valley and Heirloom Vegetables” at the

Brazos Center. Topics will include information on heirloom

vegetables and various fruit trees fit for the Brazos Valley.

Tickets are $10 and registration opens at 8:30 a.m. For more

information contact the Brazos County Master Gardener

Association at 823-0129 or email

February 9 at 10 a.m., the American Guild of Organists

and Concerts on Carter Creek host guest artists Dr.

Steven Egler, organist, and Fran Shelly, flutest, for Master

Class at the First Presbyterian Church in Bryan. For more

information call (979) 693-8141.

February 9 at 1 p.m. and February 10 at 6 p.m., the

American Guild of Organists and Concerts

on Carter Creek host Music for Organ and C

Instrument at the First Presbyterian Church in Bryan.

For more information call (979) 693-8141.

February 9 at 7 p.m., the local chapter of the American

Cancer Society (ACS) will host the 2008 Cattle

Baron’s Ball at The Zone Club at Kyle Field. Co-

Chairs Amanda and Rob Childress and Julia and David

Gardner will host “From Denim to Diamonds…” for this

12th anniversary event celebration. Live music, dinner,

gaming, and auctions will raise much-needed funds to

support the Brazos Valley Chapter of the ACS. For more

information, contact Sheree Moore at (979) 776-1464 or


February 14-16, 21-23 at 7:30 p.m., and February 17, 24

at 2 p.m., the Navasota Theatre Company presents

“Almost Maine,” a romantic comedy about the triumphs

and disappointments of love experienced by the residents

of Almost, Maine. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or

reservations may be made by phone at (936) 825-3195.

February 16 at 1:30 p.m., the International Institute

presents the 4th International Guitar Festival at Round

Top. Throughout the day artists will participate, including

Cem Duruoz, Juan Miguel Canizares and Philippe Bertaud.

For the full schedule and more information, call (979) 249-

3129 or visit

February 17 at 10 a.m., a workshop and Master class

with Cem Duruoz and Philippe Bertaud will be held.

For more information call (979) 249-3129 or visit www.

February 20 at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., the George

Bush Presidential Library and Museum invites you to

“Celebrate President’s Day,” at the Frymire Auditorium

at George Bush Presidential Library Center. This is an

interactive presentation exploring the challenges President

Washington and the Constitutional framers faced. Featured

is historical impressionist Peter M. Small. Admission is

free. For free reservations email

or call Monica Lerma at (979) 691-4006.

February 21-23 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily, support the

used book sale at the Washington County Fairgrounds in

Brenham sponsored by the Fortnightly Club to benefit the

Nancy Carol Roberts Memorial Library. Admission

fee is $10 per person on February 21 and $1 following days.

Parking is free. Call (979) 337-7201 for more information.

February 21 at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., the Piney Woods

Fine Arts Association presents “James and the Giant

Peach” at the Crockett Civic Center. Composed of both

deaf and hearing actors, each actor will use Sign Language

as the audience hears a voice through a microphone. Tickets

are $3. For more information contact the Piney Woods Fine

Arts Association at (936) 544-4276 or visit

February 23 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., the Grimes County

Master Gardeners will hold a Landscaping and

Planting Seminar at Martha’s Bloomers in Navasota.

Topics at the seminar will include “Designing and

Accessorizing Your Landscape,” “Garden Preparation

and Water Systems,” and “Landscaping for Wildlife.” For

a registration form and information, contact the Grimes

County Extension Office at (936) 825-3495.

February 23 at 7:30 p.m., the Brazos Valley Chorale

presents Nobility of Pop at the College Station Hilton.

Tickets are $60/person. For more information, or to purchase

tickets, go to or call (979) 776-1776.

February 24 at 5 p.m., the Brazos Valley Symphony

presents “Myths, Nymphs, & Fairy Tales” at Christ

United Methodist Church in College Station including

music by Mendelssohn, Mozart, and Mussorgsky and

guest artist, Hakan Rosengren, playing a clarinet concerto.

Tickets are $25 for adults; $8 for students and are available

through the MSC Box Office by calling (979) 845-1234 or


February 25 at 7:30 p.m., the Friends of Chamber

Music present a Community Chamber Concert

featuring Marian Anderson String Quartet and the

Colorado String Quartet at First Presbyterian Church in

Bryan. Admission is free. For more information, call (979)

690-3593 or visit

February 29, March 1-2, 7-9, the Arts Council of Brazos

Valley and the Theatre Company present “Camelot.”

Performances are Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m.

and 7 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Ticket sales are cash,

check or credit card, and can be purchased online at or at the Arts Council (2275

Dartmouth St. in College Station). For more information,

call the Arts Council at (979) 696-2787.

March 4 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the American Business

Women’s Association presents the first Mini

Conference at the Holiday Inn & Suites. Women are

invited to enhance their business skills and knowledge

while networking, shopping, and listening to speakers

provided by the Bryan College Station Charter Chapter.

National President Lina Lawson, and Vice President Vicki

Marlett will be keynote speakers for the event. Professional

development certificates will be offered for attendees.

Advanced registration is required by February 26. The

event includes a meal and corporate tables are available.

For more information, contact Rilene McCord at (979)

779-6886 or email i

Sponsored by:

Tuesday & Wednesday, March 4 & 5 (7:30 PM)

Rudder Auditorium


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Bringing World-Class Entertainment

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February 2008/Insite 9


MSC OPAS was recently selected by the

National Arts Marketing Project Conference

as one of 15 arts organizations from across

the United States for their innovation in

marketing and communication. OPAS was

selected from among numerous applicants

for its partnership with KBTX News 3 to

unveil the 35th anniversary season via a 30minute

program that aired exclusively on

the station on April 19, 2007.

Executive Director Anne Black, who has

been with OPAS for 23 seasons, states, “This

10 Insite/February 2008

by Craig Boleman

The Producers


Innovation in the Arts

was the first

year we tried a

season unveiling


with KBTX

and it yielded

fantastic results.

This summer’s

season kickoff


produced more

new season ticket buyers in recent history,

with a record number of season ticket orders

arriving in the first week of sales.”

OPAS has a history of setting precedence

for presenters across the nation. Ten years

ago, OPAS was the first presenter to host

a “Preview Party” event for season ticket

holders. Today, numerous arts organizations

across the country unveil their seasons with

similar events. While the KBTX program

replaced that event last spring, Black

forecasts that next season’s unveiling may

combine the “Preview Party” with the season

unveiling on KBTX. She continues, “You

can bet, we not only presented our ideas

at the November conference, but we also

listened to what others do as well. We are

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to reach new audiences with our message.

As to what the future holds, you’ll have to

stay tuned.”

For more about MSC OPAS, including

the events coming to the 35th anniversary

season, visit i

Coming from MSC OPAS this Spring:

Asleep at the Wheel

in A Ride by Bob

February 1-2, Rudder Auditorium

Movin’ Out

February 21,Rudder Auditorium

The Producers

March 4-5, Rudder Auditorium

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

March 6, Rudder Theatre

From OPAS Jr.

Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley

March 1, Rudder Theatre

For performance times and ticket information, call

(979) 845-1234 or visit

communityoutreach by Candace Leslie

A variety of celebrity autographed

ostrich eggs, including this one

signed by Richard Petty and other

NASCAR notables, will be auctioned

at this year’s event.

The Art of

Helping Children

What a perfect world this would be if all

children had happy homes and 18 years

of carefree growing-up. For too many

youngsters, there is no such utopia. Even

here in the Brazos Valley, neglect and abuse

���� ���� ��� ���� ���





rear their ugly heads far too often, turning

what should be a gentle, trusting childhood

into a time of fear and loneliness.

We don’t always have “a village” to raise

our children, but we do have a goodly number

of local people committed to easing the paths

for many struggling youngsters. Some mentor

and tutor, coach sports, become big brothers

and sisters, or work with the courts to advocate

in children’s interests. Many teach. Others

commit long hours to service organizations,

donating time as well as money and raising

funds for a variety of programs.

The Champions,

Friends & Advocates

On March 1, Voices For Children, Inc., the

local chapter of CASA (Court Appointed

Special Advocates) will hold its fifth

annual fund-raiser, The Art of Helping

Children Art Auction and Dinner. While

the chief purpose of this delightful event

is increasing financial support for the

growing organization, it is also a way to

recognize some of the individuals who are

making a difference in the lives of children.

Past recipients have been as varied as the







WHEN: March 1, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

WHERE: Brazos County Expo Complex

at 5827 Leonard Road in Bryan.


Children, Inc., (979) 822-9700;

or e-mail vfc@

capacities in which they serve. They included

Margi Lalk, Candy Rust, Judge Van Stovall,

Ronnie Jackson, Richard Guerrero, Becca

Simons, Helen Spencer, Jacque Flagg and

Scott DeLucia, Ann and Kevin O’Neill, and

Mel and Willie Pruitt.

This year, four new honorees will join

this stellar roster at the Voices for Children,

Inc.’s Fifth Annual Art of Helping Children

Art Auction and Dinner. VFC has selected

David and Julia Gardner as the “Champions

of Children.” Local philanthropists and

February 2008/Insite 11


Julia and David Gardner have been

selected by Voice for Children, Inc. as

the 2008 Champions for Children.

community volunteers, the Gardners

unstintingly support local charities, many

of which serve children and families. Voices

for Children has been a grateful recipient of

the Gardners’ interest and generosity since

its inception in 2001.

In addition to his role as a public school

teacher, this year’s “Friend of Children,”

Agustin Lara, gives time to several nonprofit

organizations, including leading

Bryan elementary students in the Ballet

12 Insite/February 2008

Photo by Eric Aguirre

Folklorico Los Altos de Jalisco. Lara founded

this after-school dancing group in 2006 and

they perform at various events throughout

the community. That same year, Lara was

nominated as “Person of the Year” by the

Hispanic forum and has received many

awards including “Teacher of the Year” by

Anson Jones and Milam Elementary Schools.

Ginny Gibbs has been a volunteer CASA

for Voices for Children since 2003. “She has

a true passion to affect children’s outcomes

in anyway that is in her power to do so,”

says VFC Executive Director, Liana Lowey.

“She is always one of the first to volunteer

additional aid and time when the need calls”

and has even drawn her family into her VFC

involvement. Ginny has been named by

VFC as the 2008 “Advocate for Children.”

The Event

This year’s Art of Helping Children Art

Auction and Dinner will be held at an

exciting new venue, the Brazos County

Expo Complex, with catering by Global

Events. As in previous years, silent auction

entries will include a wide variety of fine

oil paintings, watercolors, and sculptures

from artists across the Brazos Valley and

the Southwest. There will be an enchanting

garden scene painted by Bryan artist Bets

Davis who has contributed annually since

the first year’s call for donations, and several

multi-medium paintings by popular artist,

Mary Stone. Ed Hoag, remembered by

many as a local artist, teacher, and signature

member of the Texas Watercolor Society

and Western Art Association continues to

contribute to The Art of Helping Children

even though he now resides in Las Vegas,

Nevada. Another long-time contributor

is Dr. Joe Smith of Caldwell, whose

remarkable sculptures with the signature

of “J. Lyle,” are well-known in the Brazos

Valley and beyond.

Autographs of the rich and famous also

fall within the definition of art especially

since the coveted signatures are inscribed

on ostrich eggs. Donated by the Wildlife

and Exotic Animal Center at the College of

Veterinary Medicine at TAMU, ostrich eggs

are initially used for scientific research and

weigh about three-and-a-half pounds. These

perfect empty-shell specimens, signed

by such notables as mystery writer Tony

Hillerman, highly decorated NASCAR

driver Richard Petty, and Southern-homecooking

queen, Paula Deen, have proven to

e especially popular with auction bidders.

Students from Saint Michael’s Episcopal

School are also decorating ostrich eggs

which will be used for table decorations.

These, too, will be for sale at the dinner.

While traditional artists and their

works have been the heart and soul of the

auction since its inception, boundaries have

continued to expand while still falling

comfortably within the above definition of

art. “The Art of Fine Living” will include

such elegant items as a brunch for 12,

rounds of golf, spa baskets, and a night at

a B&B. This has given local businesses and

individuals a chance to donate some of their

particular specialties while expanding the

range of auction items.

The Organization

Ginny Gibbs and 50 other current volunteer

advocates are committed to helping fulfill

the mission of Voices for Children, Inc., the

local CASA: To advocate for the best interest

of abused and neglected children under the

court’s jurisdiction until each is placed into a

safe, nurturing, and permanent home and to

ensure that each child’s needs are addressed

and fully met.

Each CASA volunteer undergoes

extensive training in order to become a voice

for children during the stressful journey

through the court system. Appointed by a

district court judge, each one stays with his

or her child or sibling set throughout the

course of the case (usually 12-18 months.)

They talk with therapists, teachers, foster

parents, biological parents and family

members, and professionals involved with

the case, seeking to gather information to

better advocate for the child. They do not

work alone, but closely with volunteer

coordinators to develop action plans and

recommendations on each case. For most

children, the CASA is the only constant in

their turbulent lives while in foster care.

Currently, VFC can serve only about half

of the cases requested by the court. More

volunteers are always urgently needed.

One might think volunteers surely must

be folks with plenty of time on their hands.

This is seldom so. While a number are active

retirees, many CASAs also hold jobs, raise

families, and take part in other community

and church activities. Like Ginny Gibbs, they

find being CASAs satisfying in so many ways.

“I would do just about anything for

this organization,” Ginny says, praising its

accomplishments with children and, equally,

expressing great admiration for the staff

that so skillfully supports its volunteers.

“With such a kind and smart team behind

me, I have learned how to effect change in

the lives of children, and that change can

happen today.

“For children to have the consistency of

one adult in their lives is so important,” she

has learned. “Inspired and rejuvenated” by

volunteering for VFC, Ginny has discovered

that in working with children, “one must

never give up hope.” i

For information on how you can become

a CASA volunteer for Voices for Children,

Inc. and to learn of other ways that you

can serve, call (979) 822-9700 or visit

the website at

The next two-week classroom training

begins February 16, 2008. Independent

Study Options (ISOs) are scheduled for

March and May, as well as being offered

at other times as interest demands.

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February 2008/Insite 13

Mark and Cathy Conlee’s backyard cabana

Heart & Home

Where is your favorite place in your

home…your retreat whenever you

have a moment to yourself? It

could be your kitchen, your patio,

even your bathroom. It may be

pretty or cozy, elegant or peaceful

– or all of the above – but most of

all, your favorite place makes you

feel safe … and loved.

Some very public people have

shared the secrets behind their own

very private places. Each one has a

favorite space that brings them peace

and is the retreat in their life for the

relationships that matter most.

Brick and sticks build places where love can grow

14 Insite/February 2008

favoritespaces story and photos by Nancy Hardeman

Mary Mike Hatcher, well-known

radio personality and frequent

emcee for area charity events,

shares her home with her mother, Polly

Hatcher. “My favorite place in the house is

my living room,” Mary Mike says without

hesitation. “This room welcomes me when

I come home at night. It is the first thing

I see in the morning. It is the heartbeat of

my house.”

Mary Mike is a very busy woman,

currently a senior account representative for

WTAW. She designs and sells advertising

and frequently provides the voice in radio

ads; in years past, she was one half of

the popular WTAW morning program,

“Muck and Mire.” Serving as host of

many charitable luncheons and dinners,

and volunteering her name and energy to

worthwhile community organizations is

almost a second job for Mary Mike.

When Mary Mike and her mother built

the house in 1995, they planned ahead for a

time when Mrs. Hatcher might need special

accommodations. Her wing has wide doors

and accessible bath facilities to allow for

easy passage of a wheelchair. The kitchen,

breakfast room and dining room are all well

defined but movement between them and

Mary Mike and Polly Hatcher

the living room is unrestricted due to open

doorways and lack of thresholds between

rooms. A wall of windows opens to a cheerful

enclosed garden room, which Mrs. Hatcher

has filled with flowering plants. “That is

Mother’s garden,” Mary Mike says. “She

loves to see things bloom.”

After living with white walls for years,

last year Mary Mike had the living room and

nearby dining room painted in lively Tuscan

We’ve had wedding showers, baby showers,

family christening parties, staff parties from

the radio station.”

When Polly Hatcher celebrated her 80th

birthday in 2001, more than 100 people

came for the party. “We even had tents set up

in the backyard to make room for everyone

but people keep congregating here in this

room,” Mary Mike laughs. “I come from a

large family, and they come often. We can

This is the communication center for our family – engagements

have been announced here, good news has been shared

and big decisions are made here.” Mary Mike Hatcher

colors. “I love Italy,” she says, “and I love the

warmth and texture of the finish.” The color,

a muted tangerine, combines with the wood

plank floors and family antiques to create

a calm and soothing spot for this energetic

woman to unwind and regroup. “Mother

sits in her chair and I sit in mine and we talk

about our day. This is the communication

center for our family – engagements have

been announced here, good news has been

shared and big decisions are made here.

seat 12 people just in the chairs that are here

and, when we have a large group, we drag in

as many chairs as we need.”

To Mary Mike, the time spent with her

mother here is the reason that this room is

her favorite. “Mother and I watch the news

together,” she says. “We watch I Love Lucy

reruns and laugh. We play with her puppy.

She has had a difficult year healthwise and

the time we spend together in this room is

very special to me.”

February 2008/Insite 15

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16 Insite/February 2008

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“My kitchen

Fain and Janie McDougal

is the heart of my home,” philanthropist and

volunteer Janie McDougal says. “It is such a sunny,

pleasant, cheery place to be.” Bright windows, a huge

granite-topped island, and spacious counters and cabinets combine to

create a pleasant and homey room.

When their house was being built, Janie commissioned a sevenfoot

mural of Texas wildflowers on the wall behind the stove. Artist

Joyce Ahearn of Houston hand painted the work on individual tiles

depicting Janie’s favorite flowers as well as a beeskeep and honeybees.

Ahearn had recently started using a different type of tile and, within

weeks of the installation, cracks began to appear in the surface.

However, the artist redid the entire mural on new tiles and personally

came to oversee the replacement of all the handpainted tiles in the

kitchen. This time it was successful and the mural remains as vivid

today as it was 12 years ago.

“I love the painting!” Janie says. “When she repainted it, we didn’t

make any changes in the scene she had done originally. I love the

colorful flowers and the little bees.” Additional tiles scattered around

the kitchen, also created by Ahearn, contain favorite Bible passages of

the family members. Janie’s choice is a verse from First Thessalonians

Healthy Relationships

5 Things You Can Do Today … and Keep Doing Tomorrow

by Angelique Gammon

Everyone knows the general advice on how to nurture and grow strong

relationships: the importance of communication, trust and caring. It’s the

actual day-to-day execution where most of us fall down on the job. Life is

busy and demands our time and attention … relationships are supposed

to be there when we need them, but they deserve our attention, too. In a

completely unscientific – but really interesting – survey, we asked people

what they would like the people they are with in a relationship to do for

them. Whether it’s a spouse or partner or close friend relationship, here

are five relationship tips anyone can pick up and run with.

Be the planner …

In most relationships, it’s usually one person who most often takes the

time to plan an outing or getaway … or neither does. So be the planner. It

doesn’t have to be elaborate – just do it. Hire the sitter, review the movie

times, pick a restaurant or pick up carry out and just go to the park and

sit and talk. If finances are tight, pack cheese and crackers; give the kids

to a neighbor and “camp” in your own backyard – alone and away from

phones, work and distractions. The point is you taking the time to plan how

you will spend time with someone you care about.

Remember When …

One of the oldest tricks in the relationship books is to remind one another

of what attracted you to each other in the first place, whether it’s your

spouse or a special friend. The first time you met, your best (or maybe

even worst) time together, a special memory you share. If you’re having

trouble coming up with things to talk about, “Remember when…” is a

sure-fire conversation opener.

Laugh out loud …

Humor helps any relationship over life’s bumps. Conflict is unavoidable

in any long-term relationship, but often, after the heat of the moment

has passed, some conflicts seem silly. See if you can find the strength

to laugh in the face of adversity – maybe even at yourself – the next time

conflict comes knocking at your relationship door. You have to know what

makes the people closest to you laugh…don’t be afraid to pull out all the

silly humor from your personal joke bag. Better still, try humor before the

friction starts. Start with a smile. It will improve any moment.

Hug …

Never underestimate the power of touch to deliver a message you may not

have the words for … hug when you say goodbye in the morning and see

one another again in the evening. Hug a (good) friend. Add a little back rub

or a squeeze. Hugging was voted number one in our unscientific survey

as the easiest – and most overlooked – way to show someone every day

that you care.

Say something nice …

Sometimes it seems as if the world is divided into two groups: those

who can always think of something nice to say about someone, and

those who really struggle to pay a compliment. If you fall into the

second camp, work at it. It may be as simple as saying, “I know it’s

going to be a long day today, but knowing you’ll be here at the end of

it makes me smile.”

For him, it’s easy to compliment her appearance on special occasions

– try telling her she looks nice on an “ordinary” day. For both of you,

trying thanking your partner for the day-to-day things they do that build

your life together – cooking dinner, picking up the kids, even chores

around the house. Yes, it’s part of their “job” in the relationship, but

it never hurts to show your gratitude, and that perhaps, is the easiest

compliment of all to pay.


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18 Insite/February 2008

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that begins “Rejoice always.”

“Anytime we have people at the house, whether it is our children

or friends, everyone seems to gather in the kitchen,” Janie McDougal

says. “They sit at the island and chat while I put the meal together.

I love to cook, even though I’m not a very good cook. But this is a

great cooking kitchen. I also like that it is open to the den but it’s not

all one room.” A large den and a sunny breakfast room open off the

kitchen on two sides and a butler’s pantry connects the kitchen to the

dining room.

Janie has spent most of their marriage as a volunteer for various

community and charitable organizations. She serves on the board of

the Brazos Community Foundation and she and her husband Fain

are benefactors of numerous charities in Bryan and College Station,

especially those that are health related. Closest to her heart may be

the St. Joseph Foundation, where she and Fain headed the highly

successful Promise Campaign, raising millions of dollars to benefit

St. Joseph Hospital.

On Sunday morning, Fain McDougal spreads the paper “all up and

down the island or spreads out papers and drawings he’s working on,”

Janie adds. “It’s a great work space for him, and we are together.” When

Fain’s company developed the Sweetwater subdivision, he and Janie

chose a large, somewhat secluded lot for their own home. Deer graze in

the yard, and smaller wildlife scamper across. “Even so,” Janie says, ”we

find that we start and end our day talking together in the kitchen.”

“We enjoy

Reba and Bob Ragsdale

our entire house, but we really love the living

room,” Reba Ragsdale says. “We love the openness of

the room and the way the light comes in through the

sunroom right behind us. Our children and grandchildren come here

for Christmas and for birthdays. It is a lovely place to gather.”

Even during years of working as director of donor relations for the

12th Man Foundation, Reba was an active community volunteer. She

was named the Chamber Volunteer of the Year, and was the first woman

to be elected president of the Bryan Rotary. Since her retirement, her

involvement in charitable activities has increased. In the past few years,

she has chaired the Cattle Baron’s Ball, the Surviving and Thriving

Luncheon for Breast Cancer, and, for several years, the Newman 10

Rotary Club Awards. In 2006, she received the prestigious Jefferson

Award for her numerous contributions to the community. Currently,

Reba serves as chair of the St. Joseph Foundation.

Although she is very modest about the work that she does, a week

doesn’t go by that some organization doesn’t benefit from Reba’s

efforts. Having a place of personal refuge is extremely important

to her and she has filled their home with beautiful and meaningful

belongings. “The living room is a calming, quiet place,” Reba says. “I

feel peaceful here.”

The Ragsdales purchased their home from an acquaintance in 2002

and have made only minor changes. Their previous home had been

filled with built-in cabinets and bookcases and they had not expected

There is no TV in this room but there are lots of

chairs. People can look at each other and carry on

a conversation. – Bob Ragsdale

to find another with that feature. They were delighted to find the

house they bought had even more built-in cabinets and shelving than

in their old house.

However, one difference was obvious right away. “The wall behind

the bookshelves and fireplace was painted red when we moved in and

we weren’t certain that we would leave it that way,” Reba says. “Then

we saw what a dramatic background the color made for our art and

photographs and left it exactly as it was.” The woodwork throughout

the room, including that on the red wall, is a lustrous white that

keeps the red from being overwhelming. Other walls in the room are

a mellow khaki and glow with a soft light. Also, the high ceilings

allow for furniture that they had not been able to display previously.

A tall walnut wardrobe stands opposite the fireplace, an heirloom

from Bob’s great-aunt Bess Ragsdale. His unmarried aunt was a self-



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2821 Rock Prairie Road, College Station, TX 77845

979.693.0350 ~ 979.693.0489 ~

February 2008/Insite 19

Chris Schmidt is the

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You will enjoy working

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20 Insite/February 2008

Before you buy or sell

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taught artist who lived with Bob’s family when he was a young man.

Her photograph and some of her artwork hang in their home. The

flowered couches, the tufted velvet chairs, and the antique mahogany

furnishings create a room that is both charming and comfortable.

Bob and Reba are active in their church and frequently have

church gatherings in this room as well as occasionally holding

small committee meetings and planning sessions for their various

organizations. “We like this room because we can talk, because

everybody can talk when we have guests,” Bob added. “There is no

TV in this room but there are lots of chairs. People can look at each

other and carry on a conversation. Even when it is just Reba and me,

we can catch up without any distractions.”

Shirley and Ben White

One look at the “Aggie Room” in the home of Ben and Shirley

White would convince any casual observer that one or

both had attended Texas A&M University. Maroon carpet,

maroon recliners, Gig’em afghans, and memorabilia (ranging from

fine art to bobblehead dolls) collected over a lifetime of fandom fill

the room. Even the hall runner leading to the doorway is edged in

Aggie maroon. Part study and part sitting room, this is where Ben

and Shirley catch up with each other, sit to watch TV or read, and

enjoy replays of Aggie games. This is also where Ben keeps up with

his responsibilities as mayor of the City of College Station. “We like

the feel of the room,” Shirley says. “For us, it is very comfortable and

easy. Not formal, not stuffy, just us.”

Surprisingly, neither Ben nor Shirley attended Texas A&M although

their children and grandchildren are Aggies. However, Ben says, “I’ve

been an Aggie at heart since I was a child. My dad was a Texas grad

and we always came to College Station for the football games. I loved

it. I loved the Corps of Cadets. I loved the band. Much to my dad’s

dismay, I loved everything about A&M. I wanted to grow up and play

basketball here.”

Unfortunately, Ben was not able to win a scholarship to play

basketball in Aggieland and he reluctantly went elsewhere. “I was

too proud to come here if they wouldn’t let me play,” he says sadly. “I

wished so many times that I had not been so proud.” This was during

I use it as an office, too, but mostly

we just come in here to relax.

The kids and grandkids come

for visits and we always seem

to wind up here. – Ben White

the time of the Korean War and, shortly afterwards, he was drafted.

Ben served in the Army (although in Kansas, not Korea), married

Shirley and became a father. He did go back to school but his dreams

of being an Aggie drifted into the background.

During a career in a healthcare associated field, Ben and Shirley

primarily lived in the Austin area. The traffic and congestion took

its toll and when he retired, they started looking for a more pleasant

place to live. Actually, Ben has retired several times but it doesn’t

seem to stick. Even here, he serves as executive director of the Brazos

Valley Parkinson Association.

After checking out a few Hill Country communities, Ben and

Shirley decided to look at College Station. “We’ve had season tickets

to football since 1978,” Ben says. “We decided, why not live in a place

that we have enjoyed for years?” They found their lot and Shirley

designed their home. They moved into their new home in July, 2001

and Ben was elected mayor of his new hometown in 2007.

Originally, the couple had planned on Shirley’s mother living

with them and designed the room to accommodate her health needs.

“When my mother made the decision not to move, we immediately

started making plans to furnish the room with the things we had

accumulated,” Shirley says.

“I use it as an office, too,” Ben adds “but mostly, we just come in

here to relax. The kids and grandkids come for visits and we always

seem to wind up here.”


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February 2008/Insite 21


Mark and

Cathy Conlee

When Mark and Cathy Conlee

added a cabana in their backyard

in 1999, their original goal was

simply to conceal a solar water heating

system for their pool. The cost of heating

Brazos Blind & Drapery

3806 South Texas Ave

Bryan, TX 77802

22 Insite/February 2008

the water for the two-year-old pool was

more than Mark wanted to pay. A system of

plastic pipes laid out in the sun, combined

with a pump to circulate the water, would

solve the problem. “Our contractor said we

would need a flat surface at least 40-feet

long to hold the pipes and he suggested that

we build something attractive and useful,”

Mark says. “It is a timber frame structure,

built in an Amish style of pine and held

together with wooden pegs instead of nails.

All of the pieces were cut, shaped, and laid

out in our driveway. It was like watching a

huge puzzle being put together.”

Not only does the cabana add an extra

month to the beginning and end of the

swimming season, but also the ceiling fans

and the southern-facing roof provide both

shade and breezes during the summer heat.

“Even though we thought it was beautiful,”

Cathy adds, “we didn’t expect it to make the

difference in our lives that it did.”

The couple quickly found that the openair

cabana became their favorite spot. “What

I like best is that it is not in here,” Mark

says, referring to the house itself. “In here,

the phone is ringing, the TV is playing. If

we have a disagreement, it is in here. Out

there, ���������������������������������������������������

it is peaceful. It gets me away from the

normal day-to-day stuff.”


Cathy Conlee frequently hosts parties,

showers, receptions, and meetings in the

cabana. Occasionally, friends ask to hold

their parties there. Cathy can set up five or

six tables and comfortably seat 40 or more

people for a meal. “When the kids are here

(the Conlee’s have two grown children and a

new grandson), we build a fire in the firepit

and talk and joke and admire the baby,” Mark

says. “It is sort of like camping, without all

the muss and fuss.”

But their more common use of the cabana

is for coffee and the paper in the morning

and for relaxing and talking together in the

evenings. Wooden rockers pulled up to an

old wood-burning stove can ease the chill of a

cool evening or make for a calm beginning to

days that can become very hectic.

Mark Conlee, mayor of the City of Bryan,

has a demanding schedule and he says that

the quiet of the cabana provides him a place

of solitude. After a stressful city council

meeting, Mark comes home and sits quietly

to unwind. “He puts on music from the

1960’s and ‘70’s, maybe talks with a friend,

but usually just reads or talks with me,”

Cathy says. “It is a great time for us to catch

up from a busy day and for me to know what

is going on with him. It’s his favorite spot

and he lets me share it with him.” i



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ecoproducts by Erin Hill Littlefield

Get Greenn

Home Products that save money AND the planet


wouldn’t know by

looking that all of the

light bulbs in Bruce Martin’s home are

compact fluorescent bulbs, those “curly-cue”

bulbs that cost more and last longer, since

nearly every light fixture, from Tiffany-style

lamps and opaque glass, covers those bulbs.

You wouldn’t know that even his ceiling

fans meet Energy Star specifications, along

with all the windows and appliances (at least

those that come with Energy Star ratings),

or that the entire house is “wrapped,” in a

sense, with 1-inch Foamular boards and

proprietary adhesive spray-in insulation that

exceeds the required R13 factor, making the

house both silent and fairly cheap to heat

and cool (a $90 electric bill last July).

You also wouldn’t know that he stained

the distinctive concrete slab floor himself.

Kent Moore Cabinets in Bryan has

changed to a waterborne finishing

technology that is among the most

environmentally friendly finishes available

anywhere in the world.

“I ended up saving money and being

green, since no fuel was expended for a ton

of tile made overseas,” says Martin.

But you would know that the home is stylish,

with rough-hewn (and local) cedar beams, an

outdoor fireplace and a limestone façade.

Martin just happens to be a green builder,

and he practices what he preaches. As president

of the local Homebuilders Association

and committed member of the National

Homebuilders Association, he adheres to the

Builder Bruce Martin of Bandera Master

Builders adheres to green building

techniques that both consumer and


NHBA’s guidelines on green building.

“To some extent everyone is a green

builder,” says Martin, since Texas and

national building codes require that new

homes meet energy efficiency levels. Those

same codes will most likely become even

more energy conscious.

NHBA will be unrolling its new green

program on February 14. Martin says that the

NAHB announced in a press release “that when

a green home doesn’t look or feel significantly

different, then green has arrived.”

For many people in the Brazos Valley,

those green choices are beginning to arrive.

“Since 20, 30 or 40 years ago, everything

has had to change. A lot of people are

mandated to do green building whether

they really know it or not,” he says. Martin

definitely knows it. His company, Bandera

Master Builders, offers multiple “green”

choices to its customers. The website offers

information about the NHBA’s eight phases

of green building, which include optimal

value engineering, energy efficiency,

environmental and community stewardship,

resource efficiency, reduction of passive solar

heat gain, and water conservation (including

low-flow toilets and showerheads).

Decisions like planting native trees,

incorporating a gray-water sprinkler

system (which Martin does), building with

engineered products like SmartSide (a

commonly-used siding “made from the little

chips they would otherwise throw away or

burn,” says Martin) can “green” a home,

February 2008/Insite 23

24 Insite/February 2008


layer by layer. Employing local craftsmen

and purchasing local products are also part of

environmental stewardship, as is recycling.

Even more careful use of dimensional

lumber in framing can significantly reduce

waste; more builders are realizing that green

building can save money.

Consumers are realizing, too, that

environmentalism is about smart,

sustainable choices, not a total renunciation

of convenience or style. There is a growing

awareness in our community, though it’s

obvious that central Texas is not California.

For some, that’s probably a relief. But even

here in the south, where environmentalconsciousness

has lagged, consumers are

starting to care.

Martin says that, “For the last two or

three years, the number one driver for

green building is energy efficiency.” Polls

show the second reason is health; number

three is that “it’s the right thing to do for

the environment.”

Their pocketbooks may motivate

people, but that doesn’t mean they can’t do

some good while outfitting their homes.

“Consumers are getting really educated on

green building,” says Martin. He cites one

NBHA article conclusion that consumers

are expected to double spending on green

products and services in the near future.

For those in Bryan/College Station there

are plenty of businesses that offer those indemand

green products and services, from

the ground up.



Chuck Moreau, Brazos Valley Carpet

Outlet owner, carries carpet products

from Shaw and Mohawk, two innovative

companies. The Shaw Green Edge recycles

carpet fibers, while Mohawk uses “alternate

products such as corn,” and “a polyester that

is basically recycled coke bottles and things

like that,” says Moreau.

“We sell a lot of that,” he says. In the past,

those innovative polyesters didn’t always

perform as well, but the fiber construction

has really improved.

Don Foltermann, carpet manager at

Chapman Paint Company, says, “Everything

is now cradle-to-grave,” which means

recycling more frequently, even carpet

padding. “The price is about the same,” he

says of these innovative carpets, sometimes

even a little less.

Moreau lauds industry efforts to recycle

wood. Whereas previously, used wooden

flooring might have been “just scrapped,”

many companies now strip down discarded

wood and refinish it. In some cases, this

means reclaimed wood from old barns and

historical buildings with lots of character,

like “old nail holes, burn marks and cracks,”

says Moreau.

“It’s really neat stuff,” he says excitedly.

BVCO does sell it, but Moreau admits the

current demand from customers for unique

historical planks isn’t overwhelming. “I do

see the manufacturers moving toward green,

making it more price-effective,” he adds, and

believes it will become “more predominant

in our market.”

As an environmentally conscious person,

he notes “it has to start with me,” he says,

meaning additional promotion of “green”

flooring choices in the future.



Just as the flooring industry is addressing

the chemicals it uses in carpets, so too

is the world of paint, says John Jahnke, of

Chapman Paint Company. It doesn’t take an

environmental activist to recognize that paint

fumes aren’t exactly healthy. Paint choices

inched toward low-odor and the elimination

of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the

recent past, but “now nearly everything is

green and more environmentally friendly,”

says Jahnke.

He is particularly intrigued by Benjamin

Moore’s new Aura product line because it

reinvents the concept of paint. “They’ve

rethought the whole process, and the

colorants are totally different from the

standards by every other company.”

Usually colorants have different oils, but

the Aura line is pure colorant with water.

Jahnke says even the tinting machine is

different; it uses a humidifier to keep the

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paint moist. This new line is also a one-coat

product with a unique color-lock that means

customers can use flat paint in bathrooms or

any sheen anywhere they want.

“It still looks like a gallon of paint,” he

laughs, but is completely different inside. In

the case of the Aura line, the color vibrancy

and VOC reduction means a significantly

higher price. For some consumers, especially

those with allergies or sensitivities, that price

increase is worth it, though it is not yet “a

mass market product,” he says. One woman

contacted Chapman about Aura paint before

they had received it, but Jahnke promised

her she could be “the first in Brazos Valley”

to buy it, and she was.

Jahnke says, “My speculation is that five

to seven years from now, that old system

will be gone,” and all paint will use these

oil-free colorants. It’s “market changing.”

Benjamin Moore and other paint lines are

also selling paints with reduced solvents. For

his business, he says it’s the quality that sells

first and then “oh yeah, it’s also green.” The

technology was first available in California

and Europe (“they are always ahead of us,

in terms of standards,” says Jahnke), and is

unrolling stateside one market at a time.

“It’s the thing of the future,” he says.

26 Insite/February 2008

The market will drive it because they

have to ultimately get away from the

entrenched system.”

The Aura paint line and all other paints

sold there are available in two-ounce sample

jars so that customers can test the colors

before buying an entire gallon.




2004, Kent Moore Cabinets

decided to update its finishing

center to something more automated. They

traveled to an Atlanta builder products show

to see what was available, says Teresa Galliher,

vice-president of sales West at KMC, and

discovered a waterborne technology “being

used in Europe that had not been brought

to the U.S. on a widespread basis.”

This Giardina Flatline system is “the

most environmentally friendly finish

available in the world,” and KMC offers

it right here in our community, one of

only a handful of companies in the U.S.

to use this unique finishing system.

(More information is available at www.

When KMC upgraded to Giardina

Flatline, “hardly anybody asked or

mentioned it,” says Galliher, “but in the last

six to eight months, more people are asking

about it.”

The idea that green products lead to a

compromise in quality couldn’t be further

from the truth at Kent Moore Cabinets.

“Actually it’s a superior product with

smooth, consistent application,” says

Galliher. Additionally, the flatline system

meant getting away from VOC-emitting

varnishes. They have cut their VOC

emissions tremendously.

“We wanted to make an impact on the

environment by doing that,” she adds. It just

so happens that Giardina is also more durable.

Galliher is proud that their system

would easily “qualify” in California, where

compliance regulations are more stringent.

“Usually what happens in California

eventually rolls over to the rest of the

country,” she says. “We are already there.”

Interiors by


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25 Years Experience

Kent Moore Cabinets recycles wood

scraps and sawdust, which is used as “an

alternative energy source” for another

company; it fuels their boiler. They also

recycle their solvents.

In keeping with their company-wide

environmental statement, they only

purchase lumber “from companies that use

sustainable forestry practices. What we

don’t do is buy wood out of the Brazilian

rain forest,” says Galliher.

So green thinking is the company

culture at Kent Moore Cabinets that the

state of Texas “has asked us to apply for an

award they are giving for environmentally

friendly businesses,” states Galliher. KMC

is also applying for their trade association’s

environmental stewardship certification.

“It’s so important,” she says sincerely.

“We want to make our environmental

efforts go hand in hand with our operating

costs so that customers can buy the

environmentally friendly stuff without it

being a huge increase in cost to them, like

the waterborne sealing.”




One of Barbara Holley’s customers suffers

from breathing problems requiring her

to use a breathing machine. This woman

did a little interior design homework and

discovered that ADO’s Actibreeze fabric

“literally cleans the air, not only of dust but

of bacteria,” says Holley, owner of Holley’s

Window Fashions. It was the perfect fabric

for this client, and Holley could not be more

thrilled to be selling it.

“I don’t know how they made it,” says

Holley, but it is just “great!”

You might assume that industrial-grade

odor-eliminating fabric only came in shades

of gray or tan better suited for medical offices

(where it is actually used) than cheery living

rooms, but the Actibreeze fabric selections “are

very pretty,” says Holley cheerily, who has sold

the relatively new product for about a year.

It is perfect for people “who want to use

fabric but have allergies.”

“Barbara has given us a room

beyond our expectations…

it’s a warm comfortable, cozy

room our entire family can

enjoy” – Donise ernst

Holley also sells environmentally

friendly shutters made of composite wood

material or manmade products that look

every bit as elegant as wood. She is proud

that the interior design industry “has been

very focused on trying to really help our

environment as we make our surrounding

areas beautiful.”

She has made a personal commitment

“to use green products as much as possible.”

This means selling fabrics that incorporate

bamboo; “they look the same as cotton or

linen,” she says, without any stiffness.

For Holley, the marriage of beautiful interiors

with green products “is a wonderful thing.”





lass is green,” says Donna Morehead

of Acme Glass. “We’ve been thinking

about how we can better advertise that.”

Of course she’s not just talking about

green-tinted glass. Our ubiquitous shower

curtains “release chemicals in the bathroom”

when they’re in use and clutter landfills

when they’re not. Morehead recommends

checking out for some

surprising information about the dangerous

toxicity of polyvinyl chloride, used in most

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February 2008/Insite 27

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Original Works of Art

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28 Insite/February 2008

“Red Rose” by Sherry O.S. Ginzel



Looking for the newest in home building and remodeling products – all in one place?

Visit this year’s Brazos Valley Home Builder’s Association Home Products Show in its

new location at the Brazos County Expo Center, February 23-24. More than 130 suppliers

of all things home-related will be available to answer all your home product questions.

Admission is $3 per adult; $2 for seniors; $1 for children 12 years old and under. For

more information about the 2008 Home Products Show, call (979) 846-1420.

shower curtains.

For this reason, Acme Glass’s “shower

enclosures are better than shower curtains,”

says Morehead. Anyone who has ever

unfolded a brand-new vinyl shower curtain

knows well the odor that accompanies it.

The curtains are often difficult to keep clean,

which can lead to other health issues.

While none of their customers have yet asked

about the environmental benefits of shower

enclosures, “there are people who are really

interested in going green,” says Morehead. A

glass shower enclosure can be an attractive,

environmentally friendly way to go.



ost people do not want a green

“Mpool,” jokes Mark Davies of

Aggieland Pools. “Our purpose is to keep

the environment out of your pool.”

However, even outdoor pools can go a

little green, and not in an algae way. Davies

says an ozonator can help reduce chlorine

usage to some degree, though with the warm

water and constant sun we experience here,

the reduction is not as great as it would be

in cooler climates. Salinated pools may offer

a slight green advantage, though a saline

system “is just a different way of making

chlorine,” says Davies.

A new variable-speed pump called the

Intelliflo “changes the flow rate so that it

reduces electricity usage,” and does offer a

measurable reduction in energy consumption.

(The energy costs for traditional pumps can

cost $100 per month.)



he customers are the ones coming

“Tto us,” says Dane Brock of Dealers

Lighting. “We have had a lot of interest.”

They’ve heard about compact fluorescent

light bulbs and want to know more. These

bulbs “use much less energy, thereby

conserving oil, and actually produce less

heat, so it takes less energy to cool your

home in the summer,” Brock says. This

means lowered utility costs for consumers,

which is also good.

LEDs, the little bulbs used in car

headlamps are on the horizon, though with

a hefty price tag right now, says Brock.

Brock shares that, “If one lightbulb was

changed in every household it would make

a huge difference in the amount of energy

consumption.” The compact fluorescent

version of a typical 60-watt bulb would

“only pull 13-15 watts,” he says, “and they

do last longer,” from 4000 to 10,000 hours.

Of course those bulbs do cost a bit more,

and for some consumers, especially those

building new homes with lots of bulbs to

buy, that $2 to $3 extra per light bulb “can

be hard to swallow.”

But someday, perhaps soon, compact

fluorescent bulbs will be what everyone

uses. “That change has already started,” says

Brock. Some regulation is already in place,

and California has outlawed the selling of “a

standard light bulb after this year.” Texas may

not be the next state on the bandwagon, but

think how nice it would be to change light

bulbs half as often and reduce electricity usage.



he difference between an Energy

“TStar-qualified appliance and one that

just meets basic government requirements is

about $8 a year,” says David Price of Buddy’s

Appliance. He says that the cost difference

is usually minimal, and customers do see a

reduction in electric bills, almost evening

out the difference.

“You might spend $30 more for a fridge

and yet save $7 to $8 on energy,” says

Price. Some cities – not Bryan or College

Station – offer rebates to consumers who

purchase Energy Star appliances, a real

motivator. Typically the Energy Star

rating is found on refrigerators, laundry

machines and dishwashers.

Price does note that Energy Star-rated

front-loading washing machines are nearly

double in price from traditional machines.

What consumers might not know, however, is

that that traditional washing machines use 45-

50 gallons of water per load. The front-loaders

use only 25 gallons, a serious reduction.

“Regular washers do meet energy

guidelines but front-load washers far

exceed them,” says Price. “For home use,

Westinghouse made them for 30 years but

nobody would buy ‘em. Now people are

buying them,” he adds.




Bruce Martin thinks that HVAC systems

absolutely need to go green. Even

if you’re not building a new home, air

condition systems can be remodeled or

retrofitted. He recommends “a zoned central

AC system” that includes a dampener in the

attic, controlled by the thermostats. The

cost is about $1000, but the gain could be

greater over the long run. His 1800-squarefoot

home has five zones.

Why zone, you ask?

“Why cool the whole house to 71 degrees

during the summer if you only

need it in your bedroom?” he answers. In his

home, he doesn’t turn on the guest bedroom

zone unless someone is using it; energy isn’t

wasted on a room not in use.

He also recommends programmable

thermostats as well as variable-speed air

handlers, which better reduce humidity

without resorting to the full-blast-thenturn-off

cycles of traditional ACs. Martin

says that 70 degrees with a traditional

AC unit “will feel a lot hotter than 70

degrees in a house with a variable air

handler,” and the air handler cuts back

on energy consumption.

Another available energy-saving appliance

is a tankless water heater; Martin estimates

that the cost is about $1300 more, but says

a family of four would recoup that in four

to five years. Because there is no reservoir

of hot water you’re paying to heat 24 hours

a day, the customer saves; because a gas jet

heats all water as it enters from an exterior

wall, showers never run cold, no matter how

many houseguests are staying.

Customers of Mid-South Synergy, the

Navasota-based electric cooperative, also

have access to an environmentally friendly

water heater, sold by the cooperative, says

Jeff Murski, marketing coordinator.

The Mid-South Synergy website

( offers

tipsheets on saving energy as well as an

energy calculator to give a better sense of

consumption patterns.

Murski says that they “also offer to our

membership energy audits to provide tips

to make their houses more efficient and not

use as much electricity.” While a few of his

customers have installed solar panels or a

geo-thermal ground water system, most

are interested in small measures they might

take to reduce rising electric bills. Murski

predicts that like all technology, cuttingedge

environmental apparatus will become

more mainstream and affordable.

Barbara Holley thinks 2008 is the year for

Bryan/College Station to catch the vision of

environmental stewardship. “Unfortunately

I have to say that the B/CS area is not quite

as forward thinking in this area, but I think

we’re catching up now in our thinking

green. More and more people are thinking

about our environment,” she believes.

Bruce Martin likes to tell customers

that those eight green phases are doable.

“You can get a lot of payback for a small

investment, which you can recoup. There

are a lot of things you can do that are

already affordable!” i

February 2008/Insite 29

quality customer service that...




123 E. Wm J. Bryan Pkwy. Bryan, Texas 77803

979.823.5567 • 800.364.2665 Toll Free • 979.823.3894 Fax




February 2008

(l-r)Cindy Peaslee and Liz and Michael Perez were

recently recognized as the 2007 Mayor’s Downtown

Impact Award recipients. Peaslee is vice chair of the

Downtown Bryan Economic Development Association

and chair of the Events & Tourism Committee. The

Perez’s are owners of Papa Perez Mexican Cuisine

in historic Downtown Bryan. All were recognized for

their work in the revitalization of Downtown Bryan.

Neutral Posture’s newest innovation, the N·tune

Seating System, has earned the company its 5th

consecutive Attendees’ Choice Award at the 2007

National Ergonomics Conference and Exposition

in Las Vegas. The N·tune concept is all about raising

desk heights from 30” up to 40” and then raising the

chair to stool height, allowing users to easily and freely

stand up to work when needed. Neutral Posture is a Bryan

based manufacturer of ergonomic seating products and

compiled by the Insite Magazine staff

accessories. The company is the largest woman-owned

furniture manufacturer, co-founded by mother/daughter

team of Jaye Congleton and Rebecca Boenigk.

Neutral Posture is a certified women’s business

enterprise (WBE), and is one of the top diversity

suppliers for the U.S. government and for Fortune 500

companies worldwide. For more information regarding

the N·tune Seating System, please visit www.getntune.

com. (l-r) Walter Charnizon, president of Continental

Exhibitions; Cortney Tenhet, marketing manager for

Neutral Posture; Dr. Jerome J. Congleton, professor

at Texas A&M University and consultant for Neutral

Posture; Michele Smithey, vice president of Customer

Relations for Neutral Posture; Dr. Mark Benden,

executive vice president of Sales for Neutral Posture.

Hospice Brazos Valley recently was honored during

BTU’s annual Power Pedal Week. (l-r) Debbie

Britten, CFO of Hospice Brazos Valley, received a

$1,500 check from Joe Hegwood, CFO of BTU, along

with Craig Borchardt, CEO and president of Hospice.

After six months of construction and a $1.5 million

renovation, the College Station Hyatt Place recently

celebrated with a Grand Opening. The event was held

in conjunction with the B/CS Chamber of Commerce

and Brazos Valley Restaurant Association’s

Epicurean Extravaganza Preview. Festivities

included menu tasting from local restaurants, live music

and door prizes. The free event was open to the public

and included tours of the newly remodeled guestrooms.

In November, the hotel officially changed over from

AmeriSuites to Hyatt Place. The owner is Kyle Legends,

and the hotel management is the Oldham Goodwin

Group, which has provided management of the hotel

since early 2006. For more information, contact Hyatt

Place College Station at (979) 846-9800 or The Oldham

Goodwin Group at (979) 268-2000. i



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February 2008/Insite 31






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