Commentary

Wed
27
Aug

Who is Philo T. Farnsworth?

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the name Philo T. Farnsworth. It’s a rather unusual name for a man who invented something decades ago that’s extremely important here in the 21st Century.

His is a name that sounds like he’d would have been a college science professor. Well, that’s close.

Philo T. Farnsworth is the person who invented the first all-electronic television, an accomplishment that will forever endear me to him.

For me, the Farnsworth name is one I’ve fondly known about for quite a few years. I’ve enjoyed his invention for many years, and I plan to use it for as long as possible.

He came up with the idea of how to build the TV when he was in high school, a pet dream of his that he brought to fruition a few years later as an adult.

When Philo was about 12, he and his family moved from Utah to Idaho. It was at the “new” house that he gained much knowledge in the field of electronics and its practical applications to real life.

Wed
27
Aug

Some perspective on local wage study

People will get out of or read into what they wish when a study or data is released. But last week’s report on the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce jobs survey gives a look into our local employment picture.

It is a good sampling of local employers, but by no means a complete picture (and did not claim to be). The survey was sent to Chamber members, employers who are more engaged in their community and, frankly, more likely to support their employees better than most in the areas of pay and benefits. Ninety-one answered in a town that has hundreds of businesses.

The survey showed that the average wage for all industries was $15.23 an hour, a figure that would make many job-seekers jump.

Thu
21
Aug

Perry's faults many, but he's no criminal

EDITORIAL

Political moves embarrass state, further entrench dysfunction between parties

Some might say it was karma, but last week’s indictment against Texas Governor Rick Perry was unneeded and sideshow theater.

Perry was indicted by a special prosecutor for coercion and abuse of power by a Travis County grand jury for threatening to veto funding for the Public Integrity Unit. The PIU was looking into a case involving the Cancer Prevention Institute (whose creation Perry pushed).

But the funding veto threat seems to have been aimed at ousting a bad district attorney and suffered from bad timing, not criminal activity.  

Thu
21
Aug

Gillespie County Fair: 126 years of festivities


Then, just as now, the grandstands at the fair grounds were crowded with visitors gathered to watch the horse races. Around the turn of the century, it was common for the women to sit upstairs in the stands, while the men gathered in the area beneath. Daily musical entertainment was provided by a band that played from the platform extending from the upper story. — Standard-Radio Post historical file photo

A sure sign that autumn is just around the corner arrives tomorrow when the 126th Gillespie County Fair gets underway for a four-day run at the fair grounds on Texas Highway 16 South.

The Gillespie County Fair is the oldest county fair in Texas. It’s hard to believe that this year’s exposition is already the 39th year for the event to be held at the “new” fair grounds dedicated during the nation’s bicentennial on July 4, 1976.
Probably one of the most-often-asked questions is why is the fair not called an “annual” event, such as … the 126th annual fair?

Looking back at history, during the “war years” of World War II, the fair was cancelled in 1942, 1943, 1944 and 1945, and was resumed in 1946 when Fredericksburg celebrated its centennial.

Therefore, the fair is touted as the “oldest” and not “oldest annual” county fair in Texas.

Wed
13
Aug

Home is definitely where the heart is

By Richard Zowie —

It’s been one full year since I returned home after nearly nine years of “living abroad” in Michigan.

My sons and I made it in one piece to Fredericksburg on Aug. 7, 2013, despite getting lost briefly in Memphis.

Before long, it felt normal again to deal with the scorching summer heat, mild winters and, though I have yet to see one, scorpions.

I actually prefer cold weather, but I hate driving in it. Thank you, Great Lakes State, but you can have your icy roads, and your crazies who drive fast even in a blinding snowstorm. I don’t miss losing control of a car and sliding into a ditch.

Last Labor Day weekend, my sons and I traveled to Beeville to visit with my family and to see the hometown. That Saturday, I grew nostalgic and drove them all over Beeville to give them a tour.

Wed
13
Aug

Gillespie schools make the grades

State accountability ratings released Friday showed that Fredericksburg Independent School District’s students are in good hands.

Only two scores were given this year’s ratings from the Texas Education Agency: either “met the standard” or “improvement required.” These are rated on standardized testing (STAAR tests), student progress, closing performance gaps and “post-secondary readiness” or graduation statistics, such as how many enrolled in dual-credit courses or career tech.

Every FISD campus met the mark for academic performance. And while the legislature will consider the value and wisdom of constant standardized testing, we are proud that FISD has “made the grade” in every aspect. Harper ISD also met all standards, as did Doss Common Consolidated School District, so Gillespie public schools still give a value to parents and their child’s education.

Wed
13
Aug

Dark skies are important

We congratulate Enchanted Rock State Natural Area for receiving its Dark Sky Park designation by the International Dark Sky Association. It is an achievement that bears recognition, and we hope it spurs continued interest for municipal efforts.

Dark sky programs are important in that they keep our nights starry, but more than that, they save money through efficiency and lower costs. And when lights are pointed properly, they light better as less light is pointed skyward.

On a macro level, dark skies help us continue to dream and explore and realize we still are pioneers on the space frontier.

Congratulations to ERSNA and all who helped with the application. Dark skies are an important issue for us all.

Wed
06
Aug

Day at the beach is summer's last call

    We like the things

 that summer brings.

 It brings the sun.

 It brings the heat.

 It brings the things

 we like to eat.”

   --  From the children’s book “Summer,” by Alice Low

Wed
06
Aug

Water conservation is top local concern

Drought roars back in July; city will partner to offer educational programs

By Ken Esten Cooke— While it looked like the drought was breaking in May, it has roared back with a vengeance. July rainfall, at just half an inch, was the lowest in the past 15 years.

Rainfall measurements at the Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park Weather Station (from where we receive our front-page readings) has totaled just 9.9 inches this year, barely a third of the expected annual average of 29 inches.

So, the City of Fredericksburg will partner with the sustainability group Fredericksburg Shines and the Fredericksburg Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas to educate and promote water conservation.

Wed
06
Aug

Outlook for theater: Excellent

FTC, FISD starting them young, putting on first-class productions

By Ken Esten Cooke— The announcement that a community theater company was going to produce “Les Misérables” over the summer was met with no small amount of disbelief. But the staging of that fabulous production showed that desire to have a first-class production far outpaced any cynicism.

Fredericksburg Theater Company has no plans of slowing down, as witnessed by its children’s production of “The Jungle Book” and this weekend’s addition of “The Fantasticks” to its repertoire. (As an added bonus, Harvey Schmidt, composer of the music, will be in town on Thursday for the opening — something extra special for a small town theater company. See our feature elsewhere in this edition.)

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