THS Police Explorers advance to state
Students are learning law enforcement skills that can lead to jobs. Also: Kolache Kitchen is turning 37, two small jewelry businesses join forces and gas prices may make Thanksgiving travel costly.
SUNDAY & MONDAY NOVEMBER 14-15, 2021
PROCESSING THE SCENE
Jaysa Vahue and Haley Hamson — members of the Temple High School Police Explorers program — mark evidence at a “crime scene” during an exercise Friday. Members of the program were practicing for Saturday’s regional competition in Belton. Jaysa, Haley and Cielo Guerrero will compete in Crime Scene Investigation at the state competition in January. Four other members of the THS Police Explorers — Aracely Rodriguez, Camryn McGlothlin, Alexandra Comancho and Jeremiah Battreall — also advance to state. David Stone | Our Town Temple
A group of Police Explorers armed with mock guns work to clear a room during a drill Friday at Temple High School. The “officers” searched the room for criminal activity and covered each other’s backs until their commanding officer gave the “all clear” signal. David Stone | Our Town Temple
Program gives students a start in law enforcement, security fields
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
One at a time, with guns drawn, they entered the room. Pivoting around corners and searching under desks and in adjoining rooms, the team searched for bad guys, covering each other’s backs as they advanced until the “all clear” signal was given.
Around the corner, forensics lifted fingerprints and more “officers” processed a murder scene. Judging from the bag of weed and cash scattered about the room, this might have been the aftermath of a drug deal gone bad.
Finally, a “suspect” is apprehended and cuffed. Another day’s work done for the Temple High School Police Explorers.
The above scenarios all took place Friday on the second floor of the Career & Technical Education Center and were part of a regular training exercise. Normally, training days are every Wednesday and one Saturday a month, but Friday’s activities were in advance of Saturday’s regional competition at Belton High School.
Seven members of the Temple High School Police Explorers team earned berths in January’s state competition by placing first or second in their respective categories over the weekend, said Krystal Battreall, program instructor.
Aracely Rodriguez, Camryn McGlothlin and Alexandra Comancho finished first in Forensic Science; Haley Hamson, Cielo Guerrero and Jaysa Vahue took second-place in Crime Scene Investigation; and Jeremiah Battreall finished first in male agility, and all will advance.
Izayiah Rodgers finished third at the Belton competition in Misdemeanor Traffic Stops.
The Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security program focuses on careers in public safety, protective services and homeland security.
“We have 19 students in the program,” Battreall said. “When the students graduate from my class, they are able to be certified as a security guard and a 911 dispatcher. They also are able to work for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice the day after graduation if they apply.”
While Battreall directs the program, student Capt. Aziza Tobe was using her leadership abilities to run Friday’s drills.
“We’re working on several things today,” she said. “Forensics, building searches, felony and misdemeanor traffic stops…several things. We’re learning how to properly enter and clear a room, cuff a suspect and process evidence around a crime scene.”
After a moment of receiving instructions, the students broke into groups and went to work conducting “police” business.
Cody Fishbourne, a junior, plans to use his law enforcement skills to get a security guard license.
“I’ve been in the program for three years and I’m thinking about becoming a security guard,” he said. “Once I graduate and take the test, I could work security for the school district.”
Max Mallon, a freshman, said he also is considering a career in law enforcement, but perhaps on the federal level.
Two other students — Izayiah Rodgers and Brianna Rousey, both freshmen — are on a military path. Rousey said she plans to attend the Naval Academy and serve her country as a career.
During Friday’s exercises, junior Hamson donned a hazardous materials suit and became processing evidence at a murder scene.
The “victim” was a dummy sprawled across the floor, surrounded by a rifle, cash and a bag of “marijuana.” Hamson and Vahue used numerical signs to mark the evidence.
“It’s all part of learning the basics of law enforcement,” Aziza said. “It’s something that we enjoy — we all want to help people.”
Benjamin Flowers carries a mock gun during Police Explorer exercises at Temple High School. David Stone | Our Town Temple
Haley Hamson puts on a hazmat suit prior to processing a murder scene for evidence. Hamson is one of 19 students in Temple High School’s Police Explorers program. David Stone | Our Town Temple
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KOLACHE KITCHEN CELEBRATING 37 YEARS
Carol White, daughter of Kolache Kitchen founders Irene and Mike Wassermann, holds a tray of sausage, jalapeño and cheese pastries at the popular store on H.K. Dodgen Loop in Temple. David Stone | Our Town Temple
Iconic Temple kolache business to reach big milestone on Nov. 17
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
It’s been nearly 37 years since Irene Wassermann pulled that first tray of kolaches out of the oven.
Irene and her husband, Mike, opened Kolache Kitchen Nov. 17, 1984, at 23108 SE Dodgen Loop.
The ‘Kitchen’ — now operated by their daughter, Carol White — is still booming today despite pandemic-induced shortages of supplies and workers.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Carol said during an interview at the store. “We’re slammed. Our products are in high demand but we’re very short staffed. There’s three-and-a-half (one works part time) people working here and we’re putting in 60 to 70 hours per week. We’re having to turn away business, and that’s heartbreaking.”
Five years ago, Carol opened a second Kolache Kitchen location to serve the north part of Temple. The store, located next to the Czemch Heritage Museum, shut down in August.
“We had a couple employees there and a couple of us at the original bakery, and we really needed eight to run both,” she said. “I just couldn’t find enough staff, so we brought everyone over here.”
The bakery also has had to deal with a shortage of supplies and soaring prices.
“It’s something different every week,” she said. “For a while, ham was so expensive that no one would buy items made with ham, so we took those products off the menu for a few weeks.”
While Czech pastries continue to be the big seller, Carol and her staff also make a huge selection of pies and casseroles.
“We added the homemade casseroles about 15 years ago and they continue to be in demand,” she said. “Right now, I’m making lasagna, but we also have King Ranch chicken, chicken spaghetti and chicken pot pies.”
While Carol was busy being a mom in the early days of the Kolache Kitchen, she learned cooking skills from Irene by working every Saturday. In January 2001, she took over the business.
Despite the pandemic and supply issues, Kolache Kitchen remains as popular as ever.
“People still want our kolaches, and we’re going to keep on making them,” she said.
In addition to kolaches and sausage pastries, Kolache Kitchen also makes prepared casseroles such as spaghetti, lasagna (shown above), King Ranch Chicken and pot pies. While the business was started by her parents, Carol White has operated the store for about 20 years. David Stone | Our Town Temple
NEW BUSINESS: THE JEWELRY BAR
Olivia Badgett, left, and Lexy Carlson celebrate the future opening of The Jewelry Bar. The women have been successful with their individual online businesses and are teaming up to open a custom charm-bracelet store that will open Dec. 3 in Salado. They also are maintaining their separate brands as well.
Local online businesses to launch ‘charming’ Salado jewelry shop
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
Two Temple and Belton-area online jewelry businesses have joined forces to open The Jewelry Bar, a new Salado shop that opens Dec. 3.
The new business is owned by Olivia Badgett, who opened Liv Simply leather and acrylic earrings in 2018, and Lexy Carlson, a former ESPN producer who now creates handmade and personalized beaded bracelets under her Opal x June brand.
“We’ll keep our separate online businesses so The Jewelry Bar is actually a third business,” Lexy said. “We’ve been doing some collaborations and we’ve become great friends. One day we were with our kids at a park and came up with this idea.”
Both women are part of a group of small-business women who call themselves The Boss Babes. They meet occasionally for lunch and to bounce ideas off each other.
“That’s how we met,” Lexy said. “From there we became friends and started doing some projects together.”
Their latest project — The Jewelry Bar — is a customizable charm shop where customers can build their own charm bracelets.
“The possibilities are endless,” Lexy said. “Customers purchase the charms separately from the bracelets. The charms are removable and that makes the bracelet versatile — you can use the same bracelet with multiple charms.”
Customers will be able to shop from the company’s exclusive line of designed charms, or they can tell the partners what they want and have it custom made.
While both women will create the custom orders, Olivia’s specialty is creating acrylic and leather jewelry and Lexy makes the unique bracelets.
“Olivia had been talking about expanding into a store, and it’s something I wanted to do also, but I didn’t think I was ready,” Lexy said. “My business was still so young, so I was thinking this would happen down the road.”
But, as they say, there’s no time like the present.
“She found out about this space in Salado,” Lexy said. “It’s in the Union Building at the intersection of Main and Pace Park Road. It was the perfect size and the cost was doable. It was the perfect opportunity and everything just fell into place.”
The women and a work crew have been busy painting and designing the new business, and The Jewelry Bar will open the first weekend of the Salado Stroll.
“The timing is perfect,” Lexy said. “It should be a big start.”
“We’re so excited,” she said. “We are keeping our individual brands alive, and opening the charm bar. We want to be a fun one-stop shop for custom, handmade jewelry.”
Lexy said the collaboration is an excellent example of small businesses supporting and collaborating with each other.
“The possibilities are endless.”
More Americans to travel during holiday despite high fuel prices; Temple gasoline well below average
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
About 53.4 million Americans are expected to travel during the Thanksgiving holiday, including 48.3 million by automobile. And while many are thankful to be joining friends and family once again, they should expect much higher gas prices than last year’s holiday.
“This Thanksgiving, travel will look a lot different than last year,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “Travel is once again high on the list for Americans who are ready to reunite with their loved ones for the holiday.”
The 53.4 million expected travelers is a 13 percent increase over last year and is close to pre-pandemic numbers, Twidale said.
“With 6.4 million more people traveling this Thanksgiving, people should prepare for roads and airports to be noticeably more crowded,” she said.
Gas prices have dropped very slightly in recent days but are still much higher than a year ago.
The average price of a gallon of regular-grade gas in Bell County today is $2.99, $1.20 more than it was one year ago and 42 cents cheaper that today’s national average.
The Texas average today is $3.05 for regular-grade gasoline.
Premium-grade gas is averaging $3.58 today in Bell County, $3.68 across Texas and $4.04 nationally.
Diesel in Bell County today also is cheaper than the state and national averages. Bell County diesel is averaging $3.25 per gallon compared to $3.31 across the state and $3.65 nationally.
POSTCARD FROM THE PAST
This handsome building housed two big businesses in early Temple — The Texas Store and Temple State Bank. The Texas Store was an early department store, carrying everything from groceries to clothing.
Debbie Worcester is the winner of the Our Town Temple drawing that was held at Saturday’s November Market in downtown Temple. Debbie, please email OurTownTemple@gmail.com by Nov. 17 to make arrangements to claim your gift certificate!
Susan Sterle — an accomplished artist and art instructor — is bringing new excitement and ideas to Temple-area’s art world. Story coming Tuesday!
WHAT’S HAPPENING, CENTRAL TEXAS?
Central Texas largest and most complete calendar of event:
November 16, Tuesday - The Temple College Chorale will present a concert titled “Voice Dance” at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Mary Alice Marshall Performing Arts Center on the Temple College campus.
November 16, Tuesday - Tarok Card Party & Lessons. Czech Heritage Museum. 7-9 p.m.
November 18, Thursday - The Temple College Symphonic Band will present “Fall Back to Band (Returning to the ‘New’ Normal)” at 7:30 p.m. in the Mary Alice Marshall Performing Arts Center on the Temple College campus.
November 18, Thursday - Turkey Day Table Art. Need some centerpieces for your big Thanksgiving dinner? What’s better than an adorable handmade craft made by your little turkey? Kids will make different types of table art for you to display. Register at templeparks.com. Open to ages 2-6. $7 per child.
November 19, Friday - Yuletide Tour of Homes. To purchase tickets, visit www.TempleChildrensMuseum.org/events.
November 19, Friday - Book Cellar Investigation. $20 per person. 8 p.m. to 11:55 p.m.
November 19, Friday - Justin Hewitt at O’Briens. 9 p.m.
November 19-20 - The Temple College Opera Workshop class, also known as Opera in a Box, will present a show titled “Mostly Mozart” on Friday, Nov. 19, and Saturday, Nov. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the Jackson-Graeter Backstage Theatre.
November 19 through January 15 - Facing the Inferno wildfire photo exhibit opens at Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum.
November 20, Saturday - Casey Donahew at Bell County Expo Center’s Assembly Hall.
November 20, Saturday - Facing the Inferno wildfire exhibit opens at Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum.
November 20, Saturday - Game Show Night by Texas Red at Fire Base Brewing. 7-9 p.m.
November 20, Saturday - Belton Market Days. Downtown Belton. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
November 20, Saturday - The Gathering. Native American music, dancing, food. Bring a lawn chair or blanket for picnicking and fun. Yetti Polk Park in Belton. 11 a.m.
November 21, Sunday – Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), free movie at Cultural Activities Center. King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table embark on a surreal, low-budget search for the Holy Grail, encountering many, very silly obstacles. Shrubberies not required. The event will include a pre and post-movie discussion with Professor Dr. Joseph Taberlet. 2 p.m.
November 25, Thursday - Thanksgiving Outdoor Movie Night at Barrow Brewing in Salado. “A Christmas Story.” 6 p.m.
November 27-28 - Kris Kringle Mart presented by KC Council 3444, 2218 W. Avenue D, Temple. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
December 2 — Die Hard at The Beltonian. It IS. a Christmas movie!. 6 p.m.
December 3, Friday - Sammy G’s Toy Drive Block Party at Fire Base Brewing. 7 p.m.
December 3-5 — Disney’s Aladdin Jr. at Temple Civic Theatre.
December 4, Saturday - Barrow Brewing Christmas Market, Salado. Noon.
December 4, Saturday - Santa at the Depot, Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum, 5-8 p.m.
December 4, Saturday - Lance Wade Thomas rocks O’Briens. 9 p.m.
December 4, Saturday - Temple Symphony Orchestra Holiday Concert featuring soprano Priscilla Santana and tenor Brian Joyce. Temple High School. 7:30 p.m.
December 4, Saturday - Chisholm Trail Christmas Ball featuring Rick Trevino. Bell County Expo Center. 6 p.m.
December 4-5 - Kris Kringle Mart presented by KC Council 3444, 2218 W. Avenue D, Temple. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
December 6, Monday - The 75th Annual Christmas Parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. This year's theme is “The Magic of a Traditional Christmas." Details will be made available on templeparks.com.
December 10, Friday - TISD Jazz Band – Merry Christmas and All That Jazz at Meridith-Dunbar Early Childhood Academy Auditorium, 5:30 p.m.
December 10, Friday - Bone at O’Briens. 9 p.m.
December 10-12 — Disney’s Aladdin Jr. at Temple Civic Theatre.
December 11, Saturday — Downtown Temple Holiday Market & Food Truck Frenzy. We are excited to partner our market with a Food Truck Event! Come join us and support local businesses in our area! 2 N. Main Street. 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
December 11, Saturday - 5th annual Holiday Extravaganza at the Troy Community Center. Shop with local small businesses. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
December 11, Saturday - Tucka Texas Takeover with LJ Echols, Fat Daddy and Mr. Smoke. VFW Post 1820, Temple. 7 p.m.
December 12, Sunday - Temple High School Band Winter Concert in the THS Auditorium, 2:00 p.m.
December 13, Monday - Temple High School Orchestra Christmas Concert at THS Auditorium, 7 p.m.
December 14, Tuesday - Temple High School Choir Holiday Gift at THS Auditorium. 7:30 p.m.
December 17, Friday - Matt Cearley & The Rowdy Few, O’Briens. 9 p.m.
December 19, Sunday – When Harry Met Sally… (1989), free movie at Cultural Activities Center. Boy meets girl, boy sees other girls, and girl sees other boys. Maybe boy and girl should have seen each other. “I’ll have what she’s having.” The event will include a pre and post-movie discussion with Dr. Joseph Taberlet. 2 p.m.
December 23, Thursday - Santa & Elvis at Fire Street Pizza. 6-9 p.m.
December 31 - January 1 - Texas Elite Pole Vaulting. The Expo Explosion, the second largest indoor pole vaulting event in the country. Bell County Expo Center’s Garth Arena.
December 31, Friday - New Year’s Eve at O’Briens with the Jason Custer Band. 10 p.m.
December 31, Friday - New Year’s Eve at Bo’s Barn with the Craig Howell Band. 9 p.m.
January 29, Saturday - Parker McCollum Red Dirt Mardi Gras at Bell County Expo. 8 p.m.
LIST YOUR EVENT! 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.