Commentary

Wed
17
Dec

A frugal German's Christmas tree yarn

I often joke that if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.

Such was the case last week while trying to help Santa decorate the Christmas tree.

For years and years, my family had always decorated the living room with a natural cedar tree that had been “picked fresh” from our ranch.

But there came a point in time when we persuaded ourselves that we were getting too old to crawl around on the mountainside hunting a tree, and when we would cut one, by the time we hauled it home and brought it into the living room, it somehow had just about doubled in size.

And over the years, since some in our family had developed allergies to that fragrant smell of Christmas, we decided that it would sure be easier to unpack a box, assemble an artificial tree and be done with the project in a couple of hours.

Wed
17
Dec

Organ donation is a gift that keeps giving

Last week, the Standard-Radio Post ran a preview of the event to honor the late Harper High School student Jacob Krebs during the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day.

We followed up this week by covering the event while hearing a plain-spoken, yet tear-inducing plea from Krebs’ mother, Mary, about organ donation (see page D4).

Jacob Krebs made the simple decision to check the box to be an organ donor when he applied for a driver’s license. When his short life ended in a drowning accident, the decision had been made to help others live.

And that’s exactly what happened. Krebs’ organs were used to save four lives, including that of a man who received a double-lung transplant shortly after Krebs’ death. That man was in attendance at the Friday event honoring Krebs, as a living testament to organ donation’s importance. Krebs’ tissues, from corneas to tendons, were used to help more than 40 other people.

Wed
10
Dec

A quiet early Sunday, just like any other ....

his year, Dec. 7 fell on a Sunday.

Perhaps it was fitting: 73 years ago on Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese invaded Pearl Harbor and brought America into World War II, it was also on a Sunday.

As I left church to attend the Pacific War Museum’s Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony with my two youngest sons, I noticed something interesting about Fredericksburg.

It was quiet, almost as if residents had vacated and left behind a ghost town.

That’s not unusual, is it? Sunday mornings in many towns tend to be whisper quiet, sometimes because people were out late on a Saturday night and are sleeping in. For others, Sunday is their only day to sleep in.

It was probably very quiet during that 1941 morning in Pearl Harbor that lives in infamy. People slept in, others were awake having breakfast, and some probably leisurely read the paper while sipping coffee.

Wed
10
Dec

There are no winners in death sentence case

The 11th-hour reprieve for convicted double murderer Scott Panetti made no one feel good about the case or about justice itself.

Panetti was scheduled to die by lethal injection last Wednesday at 6 p.m.  Around 11 a.m., the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the stay, “to allow us to fully consider the late arriving and complex legal questions at issue in this matter.”

Panetti was convicted of the Sept. 8, 1992 murders of his in-laws, Joe and Amanda Alvarado (roughly one block from where this is written).

Cases involving mental illness do deserve additional attention. But to claim Panetti has not had his day in court is a stretch.

In 1995, a jury of his peers in Kerr County rejected his insanity defense.

Panetti was scheduled to die by lethal injection on Feb. 5, 2004, but a stay of execution was issued one day before to examine his competency for execution.

Wed
03
Dec

'You live where?'

You have to admit it, there are some funny-sounding names for towns throughout the United States.

We’re familiar with the larger cities like Buffalo, New York (spicy-hot chicken wings, lake-effect snow) and Baton Rouge, Louisiana (baton rouge being a French phrase that literally means “red stick”).

But it seems a lot of the really humorous and interesting names are reserved for the small burgs and villages.

For starters, there’s Truth or Consequences, New Mexico that many years ago was simply known as Hot Springs. But it seems that a man named Ralph Edwards, who hosted a game/talk program on NBC radio called “Truth or Consequences” (later hosted by Bob Barker on TV), held a contest to see if there was a town in the nation that would be willing to change its name to the show’s title.

Wed
03
Dec

New college partner will boost skills study

The news last week that Hill Country University Center will seek a new community college partner is good for our community.

Leaders at the four-year-old HCUC will try to change its lower-level course provider from Austin Community College to Central Texas College. We strongly support this effort and ask locals to do the same.

Central Texas College, based in Killeen, is an entrepreneurial institution which has found success offering skills training, general studies and community education courses to thousands in the Fort Hood area. CTC already serves Burnet, Llano and Mason counties, so expansion into Gillespie could be done without huge additional expense.

But its benefits to students would be great. A lower threshold for the number of students required to “make” a course — 12 compared to ACC’s 18 — means more courses could be offered locally.

Tue
25
Nov

Wild turkey was part of Thanksgiving menu

Thanksgiving is only a few days away and what to cook when the company comes is on the mind of every homemaker this week.

During the countdown to Thursday, the aisles of the grocery store will only become more congested each day as shoppers load their shopping carts with all the “fixins’” for that special meal.

Times have changed quite a bit since 1621 when the first Thanksgiving was celebrated at Plymouth Rock as the Pilgrims and Native Americans gathered to give thanks and “feasted” on wild turkey, root vegetables of some sort, cornbread and dried cranberries that were stewed into sauce.

Claiming the “top spot” on every grocery list this week  will be … the turkey.

That problem can be solved with a quick trip through the pages of today’s newspaper. Every kind of turkey imaginable is offered for sale in the grocery store circulars.

Tue
25
Nov

Skip the crowds, and support small business

Whether you plan on hitting the pavement early on Thanksgiving Day to do shopping, or eschewing that consumerist trend and waiting until “Black Friday,” we encourage everyone to save much (or all) of their shopping for Small Business Saturday.

Your dollar benefits much more than the owner of the store. Studies show that dollars spent locally are turned over six to seven times, whereas dollars spent in other towns simply benefit that locale. Business owners use those dollars to hire new employees and reward existing ones, expand their business, or buy products with other businesses. Those employees purchase food and goods here, fill up their gas tanks, reside here and pay taxes which benefit our city, county and school districts. Why wouldn’t we patronize them?

Wed
19
Nov

Of Papa Hemingway and a book of drinking tales

We love our area’s wonderful wineries, but Saturday night’s “Jazz & Cocktails” fundraiser for the Admiral Nimitz Foundation featured spirits of a different kind. It was a treat in that it featured some military history, which the audience took in with increasingly greased wheels as the evening progressed.

Philip Greene, author of the book “To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion” was thorough and entertaining in his discussion of the history of various drinks, much of it related to military exploits, and all of it presented with a generous jigger of humor.

Wed
19
Nov

HCM shines with national recognition

A jewel is recognized by gemologists for its cut, quality, rarity and perfection. One jewel in our community shined last week with a top award for leadership and best practices.

Hill Country Memorial Hospital was awarded the Baldrige Award, a national merit which focuses on leadership and organizational excellence. The program looks at the areas of education, healthcare, manufacturing, nonprofit or government, service organizations and small businesses. And one can see from our interview with CEO Jayne Pope and Chief Strategy Officer Debbye Dooley that it has been a long road to the top organizational tier.

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