Letters: Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bring Back the History
To the editor: Regarding your cover story “What’s it Worth to Save the Fort?” (Nov. 21, 2007), my thanks to Jeff Prince and Fort Worth Weekly for shining a spotlight on a problem that’s had this Cowtown native quietly simmering for some time.
The city and schools used to spend more time and money to tell our story. My elementary school stocked a book about the founding and early days of Fort Worth, which I believe was required reading when we studied Texas history. French trappers, the Village Creek massacre, the kidnapping of Cynthia Ann Parker, and all the other pre-Chisholm Trail stories were included.
The Kress Building downtown used to be the home of Heritage Hall, devoted to telling the Fort Worth story with unforgettable dioramas and other displays that are out of fashion these days with museum designers but that still snare the imagination of my 7-year-old daughter whenever we run across them in a museum that hasn’t modernized itself out of the learning business.
Even the old “Children’s Museum” had a basement full of Texas and local history that was removed to make more room for the sexier approach to “interactive learning” with often-broken machinery. I quit going when the last 20 years of changes at this formerly Fort Worth-centric museum made it completely indistinguishable from the “Science Spectrum” in Lubbock, where I now live.
Despite more than 160 years of development, you can still go out to the bluff behind the Tarrant County Courthouse and understand why the Fort was built where it was. Squint a little, and buildings and highways disappear into a landscape that you can still imagine the soldiers seeing for the first time. It’s a shame that the current crop of movers and shakers doesn’t include an Amon Carter who’s willing to shell out the cash to see that the city’s history gets told in a way it deserves.
Jim Schermbeck

Out of the Stream
To the editor: The article on the closing of the UNT Artspace FW gallery (Kultur, Nov. 14, 2007) stated that it “will go the way of Four Walls, Cowtown’s only other professionally run non-mainstream gallery of recent memory.” Somebody’s memory is mighty short, since there is at least one other professionally run non-mainstream gallery in Fort Worth: Gallery 414 (www.gallery414.org) at 414 Templeton Dr., a short distance from the museum district. Gallery 414, which opened in 1995, offers an alternative, non-commercial art space for promoting and exhibiting contemporary art by both new and established artists from around the Metroplex. In fact, all of the “notable artists” listed in the Kultur article as having exhibited at Artspace FW have also had exhibitions at Gallery 414. I encourage anybody who is interested in seeing the work of local artists to check it out.
Michael Doran

RIP MacHenry’s
To the editor: I wanted to respond to the posthumous Turkey Award that MacHenry’s received(“2007 Turkey Awards,” Nov. 14, 2007). While it was not perfect, MacHenry’s provided a venue for live music in Fort Worth. It would seem that your paper spends half of its time lamenting the fact that we have so few music venues and the other half ripping those brave venues to shreds.
The goal of MacHenry’s was to expand the cultural horizon of the music scene in Fort Worth. We — I was the person responsible for booking the music from 2004 to 2007 — did this in part by featuring national and international touring bands such as Sara Hickman, The Gourds, Bruce Robison, Susan Gibson, The Battlefield Band, Eileen Ivers, Fred Eaglesmith, Tom Russell, and many more. But we also did it by giving local musicians a place to hone their songwriting and performance skills. I watched with great pride as musicians like GiGi Cervantes and Jason Eady grew, listened to them debut new songs in that smoky room with the dirty carpets, and supported them when they released CDs. Often the difference between a mediocre musician and a great one is time and a safe place to work on the craft.
The music community in Fort Worth suffered a great loss when MacHenry’s closed her doors. She’d become a vital part of Fort Worth and tried in her own weird way to give something back. We hosted food drives and benefits for homeless shelters, as well as taking care of the people within the music community who had suffered losses. No, MacHenry’s was not perfect, and maybe she wasn’t even all that pretty, but she had a great personality, and she gave a damn about the people around her. I hope that someday another venue will fill the void left by her closing. When that happens, please treat the new place with some respect and maybe even some support.
Deanna Smith Scotland
Fort Worth

In the story “Mud Lobbers,” in the Nov. 21 edition, the vote total credited to Fort Worth City Council District 9 candidate Joel Burns was stated incorrectly for the Nov. 6 race. According to the city election results, Burns received 1,607 votes. Fort Worth Weekly regrets the error.

Adoptive Support
To the editor: Thank you so much for your April 6, 2005 story “Healing Humpty- Dumpty” on the TCU Child Development Institute’s adoption program, which I recently read. I placed my birth daughter for adoption in August 2000, so this article meant a lot to me. Thankfully she has never exhibited any destructive tendencies, but then I never abused or neglected her, either. Placing her for adoption was the hardest and smartest thing I ever did, and every day it is confirmed — a life she would’ve never had with me. LINE DROPPED HERE
I think it’s great that these adoptive parents are getting the support they need and that much is being done to address these problems in kids who are adopted internationally.
Terri Rimmer
Fort Worth

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