Temple's quirky nine
You never knew what to expect at the Temple Junior College Golf Course. It was kind of a trip, but the grapes were tasty and you could get a great deal on used balls.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 17, 2021
The golf course — constructed by German prisoners of war housed in Temple — was built for use by hospital patients and veterans after the hospital became a VA facility.
The working man’s golf course
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple exclusive
The greens were hard, the fairways sparse and in the summer you could lose a ball in the cracks. It was a bit quirky, but Temple Junior College Golf Course was one heck of a good time.
“I used to squeeze in 36 holes in a day — for about 3 bucks,” laughs Craig Bartek, a regular at the course. “I played golf, picked and ate Mustang grapes and bought my golf balls from Marvin through the fence on Hole 4. It was a good day.”
Yes, Craig, those were good times. But, occasionally play was temporarily halted by a curious squirrel or rogue snake on the green.
The golf course was built during the McCloskey General Hospital construction project, which started in April 1942 on 216 acres of land on Temple’s south side. The hospital was named in honor of Maj. James A McCloskey, the first regular U.S. Army doctor to die in World War II.
The hospital was a city within itself with 54 buildings connected by covered and heated walkways. By the end of the war, there were 94 permanent buildings, 96 temporary buildings, a greenhouse, a swimming pool, tennis and handball courts, a baseball diamond, a gym, and a nine-hole golf course.
The golf course — constructed by German prisoners of war housed in Temple — was built for use by hospital patients and veterans after the hospital became a VA facility.
Jerry Bloodworth, another regular, said the course was originally used for rehabilitating veterans.
“The short holes were made so wounded veterans could play golf from wheelchairs or on crutches,” Bloodworth said. “The little course could get really hard.”
Bloodworth said veterans from around the state and beyond would come to Temple every year for the annual Temple Jaycees veterans golf tournament.
“It was a big deal,” he said. “The Jaycees put it on for years and it was top-notch, but it eventually lost its luster.”
In the mid-1960s, Temple Junior College began negotiations with the Veterans Administration to obtain 73 acres of land that is now the TC East Campus, according to college spokeswoman Ellen Davis.
“The mostly vacant land was located across South First Street from the main Temple Junior College campus,” she said. “It was adjacent to the VA center.”
Davis said the land transfer was approved by Congress and signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in late 1967. Temple Junior College wasted little time in moving forward with expansion plans.
“Plans had been drawn for new structures, especially for health and physical education classes,” she said.
In 1970, Temple voters approved a record-setting $1.5 million bond issue to create a health and physical education building, a fine arts center and air conditioning to the Instructional Services Center and Berry Hall. Added to the new East Campus were a large gym, a field house, classrooms, dressing rooms and offices, Davis said.
“The golf course, which was part of the original McCloskey property, was transferred to the college with shared use by the VA,” she said.
Temple Junior College allowed public use of the golf course, and in the 1970s college administrators made a popular move. Paul Guillen, a produce manager at Piggly Wiggly and part-time golfer who had attempted to turn pro, was hired to manage the course.
The golf course flourished under his guidance, and in 1985 Guillen was offered a job at an established course in Moody.
“He talked to me about it, and he gave it a great deal of thought,” said Bo Guillen, Paul’s son. “He had made a lot of friends at the Temple course, so he decided that’s where he needed to be. He entered into an agreement with the college to lease the course.”
The course boomed with its reputation as a place for the working man to play golf. And, during his time running the facility, VA patients always played for free. It was definitely an affordable day for everyone.
Paul Guillen became associated with golf as a kid in Corsicana.
“He loved to caddy, and later he loved to play,” Bo said. “After he served in the Korean War, he came home and took up golf again. At one time he tried to make the U.S. Open. He didn’t quite make the cut, but he tried. He was a really good golfer.”
Tim Semicek was a TJC course regular. He got to know Paul and once asked for advice to improve his game.
“He looked at me and said, ‘Keep playing,’” Semicek said. “I did.”
Paul died in 2008, and his son Roland ran the course until it closed about five years later.
“Paul had been ill for a while before his death,” said local resident Gary Sorge. “Roland and my brother, Dave, had already taken a 10-year lease on the golf course by then. When the lease expired, they didn’t renew. The college had already been expanding and they had reduced the size of the course. They had other plans for the remaining space.”
Last year, a Temple College bond passed that will expand the Health Science Center building located on former golf course land. The project is expected to be completed by 2025, the same year Temple College will celebrate its 100th anniversary.
“It’s important to keep your pets cool. Provide them shade, and keep them indoors on extremely hot days.”
Temple Fire & Rescue to hold hot car demo
Temple Fire & Rescue will hold a demonstration Thursday to warn about the dangers of hot cars.
The stationary demonstration — from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Walmart, 6801 W. Adams — will show the difference between the outside temperature and the temperature inside of a vehicle. Even with the windows cracked, a car can become dangerously hot in just minutes. Temple Fire & Rescue reminds residents to never leave children or pets in a vehicle for any amount of time.
According to Temple veterinarian Gary Gosney, temperatures in the 90s and beyond are hard on animals.
“It’s important to keep your pets cool,” Gosney said. “Provide them shade, and keep them indoors on extremely hot days.”
If bringing an animal inside is not an option, try covering them with a cool wet towel and using a fan to circulate air, he said. Always — inside or out — provide the animal with plenty of water.
Gosney said dogs pant excessively and get very weak when they are overheated.
“You’ll need to give them an ice water bath,” he said.
Humidity on a hot day “can be a double whammy,” he said. “But humidity isn’t a great concern on temperate days.”
Gosney urged pet owners to leave their pets at home when running errands instead of leaving them in a hot car — even for a moment.
“You can quickly run into heat problems,” he said. “It’s a serious hazard — temperatures get deadly in a very short time.”
On a mild 85-degree day, even with windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can hit 102 degrees in under 10 minutes. Exposure to extreme heat can cause irreversible organ damage or death, he said.
Of course, extreme heat is also a danger for people, particularly those who work or spend a lot of time outdoors. Stay hydrated, wear light clothing and take frequent breaks.
“It’s going to be close,” one health official said as a record number of Texas hospitals run out of intensive care beds and warn that they may soon have more COVID-19 patients than they can handle.
New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are approaching records set during the winter surge, and intensive care unit beds are rapidly filling across Texas. Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune
Latest Texas COVID surge could be worse the state has seen yet
BY KAREN BROOKS HARPER and CARLA ASTUDILLO, The Texas Tribune
More Texas hospitals are reporting a shortage of ICU beds than at any other time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the state 18 months ago — just one sign among many that the health crisis is on track to reach its most dangerous phase yet, health officials say.
The latest surge of the virus has also caused new cases and COVID-19 hospitalizations to rise with record speed to just below their January peaks, as the highly contagious delta variant rips through the unvaccinated community at a rate up to eight times faster than earlier strains, officials said.
“We are entering the worst surge in sheer numbers,” said Dr. Mark Casanova, a palliative care specialist in Dallas and a member of the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 Task Force. “This is the fourth round of what should have been a three-round fight. We do have very sincere concerns that the numbers game is going to overwhelm us.”
Between 93 percent and 98 percent of hospitalized COVID patients, depending on the area, are unvaccinated, officials said. With just under half of Texans fully vaccinated, the state still has some 16 million people who have yet to be protected from the virus.
And they are filling the state’s intensive care units rapidly.
In Dallas County on Monday, only 16 intensive care beds were available to serve the county of 2.6 million and its surrounding areas. The day before that, it was 12, Casanova said.
The state has asked the federal government for five mortuary trailers in anticipation of a potential spike in deaths, which are climbing again after a low in July — although the daily deaths are still much lower than they were during previous surges.
The strain is showing across the state.
Last week in San Antonio, 26 minutes went by with no ambulances available to respond to 911 calls from the city’s 1.5 million residents. In Austin, paramedics are so understaffed and overworked that some ambulances have to sit unused because there is no one to run them, said Capt. Selena Xie, an Austin paramedic and head of the Austin EMS Association.
“We’re seeing call volumes that are breaking our records, outside of the [February] snowstorm,” Xie said.
In rural West Texas, a school district announced Monday it would be closed for the next two weeks in an attempt to slow the virus’ spread before it overwhelms the scant health care resources in the area.
And on Tuesday, overwhelmed Harris County officials offered $100 to anyone getting their first vaccine dose, a desperate attempt to stave off what one hospital CEO called “the worst surge that we have faced in the community.”
“The numbers at Harris Methodist and other hospital systems in this area have never gone up this far, this fast,” said Dr. Esmaeil Porsa, president and CEO of Harris Health System. “I’m begging you. Do the right thing. Get yourself vaccinated.”
Available ICU beds at pandemic low
Out of nearly 12,000 people hospitalized with COVID in Texas on Monday, more than a quarter of them are in the state’s ICU beds. At the end of last week, at least 75 Texas hospitals reported that they had no ICU beds available for patients — and more than 50 additional facilities said they had just one bed available at some point during the previous week.
Most of the shortages are occurring in major metro areas, near the Gulf Coast and in the eastern portions of the state, where vaccination rates are among the lowest in the state.
The pressure on the intensive care units affects not just COVID patients, but also others who need treatment for ailments not related to COVID, Casanova said.
“When you’re told by the powers that be that you have 12 ICU beds in Dallas County, that means you have 12 ICU beds for the traffic on I-35, 12 ICU beds for the stroke [victim], 12 ICU beds for the five borderline COVID patients we have in the hospital right now,” Casanova said. “When we say that we may come to be in a situation where we are looking at some impossible decisions about focusing our care and our efforts on those that have the highest likelihood of survival so that we can save as many lives as possible, that equation is not just for COVID patients. That occurs for all patients.”
And while hospitals are not at that point yet, Casanova said, it remains a real threat.
During the last surge in January, he said, “we skirted that by about two weeks.”
Residents invited to District 2 forum
The city of Temple and Citizens for Progress invite residents of City Council District 2 to an open forum at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 24, at New Day Fellowship, 510 E. Ave. J.
City Manager Brynn Myers will discuss the 2021-2022 city of Temple Business Plan. Director of Housing and Community Development Nancy Glover will provide information about housing partners, services and programs.
Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations will also be available on site. Residents who wish to attend virtually can do so at templetx.gov/forum. The event is a partnership between Citizens for Progress and Mayor Pro Tem Judy Morales. It is open to all residents who wish to attend.
What’s Happening, Temple?
August 18, Wednesday - Open Mic Comedy, Corky’s, 8 p.m.
August 19, Thursday - Temple City Council, City Hall. 5 p.m.
August 20, Friday - Coffee with a Cop, Bella Blue Cafe, 7-10 a.m.
August 20, Friday - Family Night at Summer Fun Water Park. 7 p.m.
August 20, Friday - Clint Walker Blues Band, O’Briens Irish Pub. 9 p.m.
August 20, Friday - Bell County Kennel Club, Bell County Expo
August 21, Saturday - 35 South, Bo’s Barn Dance Hall, 9 p.m.
August 21, Saturday - Lone Star Gun Show, Bell County Expo Assembly Hall, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
August 21, Saturday - Bell County Kennel Club, Bell County Expo.
August 21, Saturday - PetVet at Tractor Supply Co., Community clinics provide affordable, convenient walk-in veterinary services. 9:30 a.m.
August 21, Saturday - Bob Schneider, Texas Music Series,Cultural Activities Center. 7:30 p.m.
August 21, Saturday - Ethan Smith & Dirt Road Rebellion, O’Briens Irish Pub, 9 p.m.
August 21, Saturday - Temple Park & Recreation’s Touch a Truck. Climb on a fire truck or big rig at Reuben D. Talasek Bend of the River. 9 a.m.
August 22, Sunday - Lone Star Gun Show, Bell County Expo Assembly Hall, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
August 25, Wednesday - Open Mic Comedy, Corkey’s, 8 p.m.
August 27, Friday - 13th Chamber Golf Classic Powered by Amos Electric. Wildflower Country Club. 11:30 registration and lunch, 1 p.m. shotgun start.
August 27, Friday - Craig Howell with Somewhere in Texas. Bo’s Barn Dance Hall. 8 p.m.
August 27, Friday - Megan Brucker & Charles Edward Ott, O’Briens Irish Pub. 9 p.m.
August 28, Saturday - People’s Choice, Bo’s Barn Dance Hall. 9 p.m.
September 2, Thursday - Central Texas State Fair, Bell County Expo Center. Wade Bowen. 5 p.m. to midnight.
September 3, Friday - Central Texas State Fair, Pat Green. Twisted Metal Mayhem Derby. Bell County Expo Center. 5 p.m. to midnight.
September 4, Saturday - Central Texas State Fair, Flatland Calvary, Professional Bull Riding. Bell County Expo Center. 5 p.m. to midnight.
September 5, Sunday - Central Texas State Fair, Aaron Watson, Professional Bull Riding. Bell County Expo Center. 5 p.m. to midnight.
September 11, Saturday - A Sami Show Arts & Crafts Market, Bell County Expo Center. 10 a.m.
September 11, Saturday - Pink Fishing’s Reeling in the Cure, 6th annual bass tournament. Proceeds benefit breast cancer patients and cancer research. Cedar Ridge Park. 6 a.m. Call (254) 681-0102 for details.
September 11, Saturday - 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb & Ceremony. Wildcat Stadium. 7-11 a.m.
September 11, Saturday - Rescue Magazine’s Pet Adoption Extravaganza. There will almost 400 Animals up for adoption and fun for the whole family. Bell County Expo Center. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
September 12, Sunday - A Sami Show Arts & Crafts Market, Bell County Expo Center. 10 a.m.
September 12, Sunday - Rescue Magazine’s Pet Adoption Extravaganza. There will almost 400 Animals up for adoption and fun for the whole family. Bell County Expo Center. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
September 18, Saturday - Dale Watson, Texas Music Series,Cultural Activities Center. 7:30 p.m.
September 30, Thursday - TLC’s Celebration of Crazy, Sexy Cool with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Bell County Expo Center. 7:30 p.m.
October 9, Saturday - Shinyribs, Texas Music Series,Cultural Activities Center. 7:30 p.m.
November 6, Saturday - Chris Hillman, Texas Music Series,Cultural Activities Center. 7:30 p.m.
Have an event you would like to promote? Email info to OurTownTemple@gmail.com with “What’s Happening” in the subject line. Keep it short and sweet — what, when and where. You may include a short description. You must include a phone number for verification purposes. The phone number will not be published unless requested by submitter.
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BIG MEDICINE BALL — 40-pound soft-sided Rage Fitness medicine ball. Great for Atlas drills. Like new. $40. (254) 624-4010
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PLYO BOX: Soft-sided, 20x24x30 plyometric box. Great condition. $40. (254) 624-4010
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