Commentary

Wed
16
Jul

Better to watch soccer than golf, poker, auto racing

I’m not a huge soccer fan, but it’s fun to watch the World Cup.

Whenever the World Cup is played, I have my two favorite teams: America and Germany. It’s especially interesting when they’re in the same initial group.

As always, when the quadrennial world championship of soccer is played, two predictable questions arise here in America:

Will they ever create an Academy Award for soccer to recognize those who react as if shot with a .44 Magnum whenever an opponent barely touches them?

Both for soccer and the NBA. I’d suggest Best Flop, Best Supporting Flop, Best Choreographed Flop and Best Costume While Flopping.

Why is soccer so boring?

Famous sports talk show host Jim Rome has said he doesn’t talk soccer on his program because soccer’s not a real sport. Many Americans would agree with him.

Wed
16
Jul

City wise to pursue east side annexation

Kudos to city planners to thinking of this town’s image and its future.

Last week’s announcement that the city would pursue the annexation of more than 144 acres beyond its eastern city limits shows foresight and thoughtful planning.

The reasons for annexation are many. This will provide the potential for city services to be extended to those properties. It will increase the city’s tax base, enlarging the pool for base revenue. And, perhaps most importantly, it will help control growth at the busiest entrance into town.

Some property owners request annexation, as they prefer the city to handle utilities and don’t mind the cost associated with extending services. Fredericksburg’s most recent annexation was 15 acres in the Stoneridge subdivision, where 33 lots may house many future residents.

Yet annexing private property can be a touchy issue, particularly with owners who might not want it.

Wed
09
Jul

Taller billboards not a necessity in Texas

Part of the reason the Hill Country’s beautiful scenery is so revered is that its hills, brush and limestone are not covered up with advertisements.

Imagine taking a drive on the Willow City Loop during wildflower season, and having the setting interrupted with the latest promotional messages about fast food or cell phones.

The Texas Department of Transportation is considering proposed rule changes that would permit the height of billboards along federal highways to be increased 35 percent, unless they are located within a city having stricter standards.

A group called Scenic Texas opposes the rule, as it serves no public purpose. We agree. We feel like the industry is seeing an opening in rural areas where clearly written, enforceable standards have not been established. (Indeed, many towns do not have defined standards.)

Wed
09
Jul

Showing off our town on the Fourth of July

By Ken Esten Cooke —

Our big-city friends got a taste of small-town Americana last weekend. We invited Gus and Rochelle Gonzales to pack up their two boys, escape the big city of Austin and experience Fredericksburg.

My wife, Christine, and Rochelle had met in the mid-1990s while working at Hispanic and Moderna magazines. Gus and Rochelle had just begun dating, and Gus came to a party in his Navy whites. He had just left the service after being stationed in both San Diego and Norfolk. We attended their wedding a few years later, where Gus sang the Mexican love ballad “Sabor a Mi” to his bride and, to show his humorous side, had an ice sculpture of Batman.

Wed
02
Jul

Remembering famous births, deaths on July 4

July Fourth — commonly known as America’s birthday — is just around the corner. Of course, that’s when we Americans celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence and breaking ties with Great Britain.

Question: Do they have a July 4th in England?

Answer: Yes they do; it’s on their calendar, too! They just don’t celebrate the significance of the day as we do.)

“I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy, born on the Fourth of July” are the lyrics from a popular George M. Cohan song. What’s more patriotic than to have come into this world on July 4?

Not much, I’d say.

In 1872, America’s 30th president, “Silent” Calvin Coolidge was born.

Then, in the year 1902, an actor-turned-politician (no, not Ronald Reagan or Arnold Schwarznegger) was delivered. In this case, it was George Murphy, a film song-and-dance man who also served the people of California in the U.S. Senate from 1965-1971.

Wed
02
Jul

Public right to know a worthwhile agenda

Texas Press Association honors those who carry open government flag

By Ken Esten Cooke— Last week’s Texas Press Association convention in Corpus Christi served as a reminder to elected officials that We the People own the government. The reminder didn’t take the negative tone of a warning or a threat, but of positive reinforcement in recognizing four of those elected officials who defended the people’s right to a free flow of their information.

Wed
02
Jul

Longtime employees serve us well

By Ken Esten Cooke– With last week’s editorial about the challenges of finding good employees in a worker-short market, I am thankful to come to work every day and know I have a solid, reliable and experienced staff in the office.

At our recent summer company picnic, we recognized employees who hit five-year milestones here. Those serving 20 years were given some extra special recognition, and I want to post some brags about them as well.

Steven Cornehl has been with Fredericksburg Publishing Company (Pubco) for 20 years. Steven handles our “back shop” where he orchestrates the organization, insertion and delivery of all the sections and inserts in the paper each week.

You can hear Steven making proclamations in German a lot of days, including, “Ist Zeit für ein Bier,” which he told me means, “I love my job.”

Wed
25
Jun

Old Glory, from 48, to 49, to 50 stars

By Sherri Geistweidt —

I’ve seen them popping up more and more all over town since Flag Day was observed two weeks ago.

And, last week, my sister-in-law picked up one for me when she was shopping at one of those chain stores in the city.

Yes, now that I’ve got my “Stars and Stripes” T-shirt like several million others have purchased, I’m ready to celebrate Independence Day next Friday.

I try to get my hands on one of those shirts each year so that I can show my patriotism, and always ponder the fact that the shirt contains the name of the merchant printed across the front. So, in essence, I pay to advertise the name of that store on my shirt!

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I can’t remember back that far and had never given it much thought, but when I was born, there weren’t 50 stars on the United States flag. Back then, there were only 48 — each representing one of the states in the Unit-ed States at the time.

Wed
25
Jun

Seeking solutions for workforce issue

By Ken Esten Cooke —

Local business owners know that Fredericksburg and Gillespie County’s most pressing problems are finding employees to fill the needs of a growing economy.

While it’s a blessing to have a healthy economy, those in the service sector find it can be hard to make ends meet with what jobs pay locally.

The Leaders’ Breakfast on Tuesday — sponsored by the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce, the Gillespie County Economic Development Commission and the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau — helped highlight the challenges that we must face.

Gillespie County’s job rate in April was 2.7 percent (it rose slightly to 3.1 percent in May). Five percent is considered “full employment,” so that illustrates our problem.

Local employers place help wanted ads, put signs in windows and have made up banners promoting signing bonuses to try and draw talented, reliable employees.

Wed
18
Jun

Some curated wisdom, two decades later

By Richard Zowie —

For one of my assignments two weekends ago, I took pictures of the Harper High School graduation.

As a journalist, I’ve photographed several graduations. Many of the pictures are similar: the graduates enter as “Pomp and Circumstance” plays, the valedictorian speaks, students receive diplomas, they toss their mortarboards into the air. Graduates then hug each other and their families.

Some students cry as they close one chapter of their lives and enter a new one. Sometimes it means saying goodbye to friends they’ve known since kindergarten and wondering how long it’ll be before they see them again.

I graduated from A.C. Jones High School in Beeville in 1991. We were all eager to graduate — not just to receive our diplomas, but because we wore black graduation gowns (despite our orange and white school colors) in the Bee County Coliseum, which then had no air conditioning.

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