Commentary

Wed
29
Oct

For the love of the college game

One of my great passions in life is college football. I am truly a fan of the game.

While I have a great affinity for both high school and professional games, it’s the ones played by the colleges and universities throughout our nation that grab my attention the most.

I’ve attended literally hundreds of college football contests and have always been a fan of not only the games, themselves, but also of the rituals of the campus-related match-ups.

When it’s not possible to see a game in person (which is most of the time), I thoroughly enjoy taking in televised contests. When it comes to Saturdays, I’m definitely tuned to some game emanating from somewhere — it really doesn’t matter who’s playing.

Give me a big bowl of pop-corn and a large diet iced tea and I’m ready for a day’s worth of pigskin performances, college-style.

 

Wed
29
Oct

Education challenges don't soften optimism

If political leaders will recuse themselves from educational endeavors, public education would soar.

That was one of many messages at last week’s Leaders Breakfast, sponsored by the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce, in which Fredericksburg Independent School District personnel outlined challenges and opportunities presented by the current system.

Superintendent Dr. Eric Wright, not yet two years into his FISD tenure, led a talk on public education’s current system and where educators hope improvements will be made.

Since 1980, with the onset of standardized tests, education has become a “one size fits all” endeavor that stresses quantity over quality and college for everyone. Workforce realities and a shortage of skilled workers are forcing a second look at that college track for all mentality.

Teachers today face more demands within the same 180-day school year with a curriculum that is, as Wright said, “a mile wide and an inch deep.”

Wed
22
Oct

Game is the same, but delivery is different

The last several weeks, there’s been no shortage of baseball on television as the Major League Baseball playoffs to determine who will be in the 2014 World Series have been broadcast each day.

And while I do not have the time to keep up with baseball during the course of the year, I’m trying to set time aside to watch the World Series which began last night when the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants met in the first game of the seven-game series.

So that I would be more knowledgeable about the two teams vying for this year’s crown, I went surfing on the Internet to learn the latest about the Royals and the Giants, and to my surprise, there were over 61 million options from which to choose.

I learned that the 2014 World Series will be the 110th time for Major League Baseball’s championship series, with this year’s teams being the National League champion San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals representing the American League.

Wed
22
Oct

Competency is key in comptroller's race

Who would you rather have farming your fields - a farmer or a Certified Public Accountant? Surely, a farmer. Now who would you rather have taking care of the state’s comptroller office - a farmer or a CPA? That’s the choice voters have this year.

About the biggest thing working against Mike Collier, the CPA who stopped by the Standard-Radio Post offices last week, is that he has a “D” by his name. Disgusted with the tone of politics, Collier (and a lot of other Texans) have switched parties. The former Republican is taking a chance that voters will be more concerned with competency than party affiliation.

The state comptroller’s office, like the land commissioner’s job, has come to be seen as a stepping stone by some politicians. We paid the price for that during the 82nd Legislature, when Susan Combs’ bad forecasting resulted in $5.4 billion in cuts to education and the layoffs of 11,700 teachers across the state.

 

Wed
15
Oct

With a new accent, a Texan turns British

By Richard Zowie

 

When it comes to speaking in different accents, some people can be described in two succinct words: brilliantly talented.

The late Robin Williams could speak a variety of foreign accents flawlessly. So can British actors Gary Oldman, Joely Richardson and Richardson’s mother, Vanessa Redgrave. You know a person’s accent is convincing when you hear them in an interview using their natural accent, and you can’t believe it’s them at first.

If I were to compile a list of Fredericksburg Theater Company actors who are excellent with accents, at the very top would be Dawn Hahn.

Hahn plays Madame Arcati in the FTC production of the English comedy “Blithe Spirit.” (She previously played Grandma Kurnitz in “Lost in Yonkers.”)

Arcati leads a séance that results in the manifestation of the ghost of Elvira Condomine, the deceased wife of Charles Condomine.

Wed
15
Oct

Cyber security is a shared responsibility

Target. Home Depot. JP Morgan Chase.

These are just three big names in a list of more than 1,000 businesses attacked by hackers using point-of-sale malware or server attacks to get customer credit card or file information.

But much of our lives is consumed by online activities — we use the Internet at work, at home, shopping for products and even swiping our credit card on Main Street or at the grocery store. But that constant online connection brings increased risk of theft, fraud and abuse. No country, industry or individual is immune to risks. As a nation, we face constant threats against our critical infrastructure and economy. As individuals, these risks can threaten our finances, our identity and our privacy.

Wed
08
Oct

A new app, and a new site promote the town

It’s National Newspaper Week, so I’d like to give you an update on some projects we’ve been working on here at the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post.

Our advertising director Kimberly Jung and I attended the National Newspaper Association Convention and Trade Show last weekend at the Grand Hyatt in San Antonio. There, we met lots of talented newspaper folks from around the country, shared ideas and inspiration and treated visitors to some Texas hospitality. It is great to be around so many who are passionate about their jobs and this medium.

For all the bad press metropolitan newspapers get, community papers still are the most frequently used medium — providing information that is better-retained than television, radio or social media, and still serving up ads to customers who are “ready to buy today,” according to Entrepreneur.com.

Wed
01
Oct

A 'strong town' that has done things right

There are reasons Fredericksburg has been successful in growing and becoming a visitor destination. Some reasons are easy to identify, such as a proud heritage, cleanliness and a variety of businesses and recreational attractions.

Others, though, are harder to see to the layman. But last week’s Hill Country Alliance Leadership Summit keynote talk by engineer and planner Chuck Marohn gave some food for thought that validated this town’s slow but steady growth.

Marohn is an expert in small towns. He has studied their development and written a book, “Thoughts on Building Strong Towns.” His is a view you don’t hear every day either, as small towns jockey and compete for businesses and jobs.

Wed
01
Oct

Good Samaritan Center’s faith

Who would have envisioned that The Good Samaritan Center would have developed into what it has today?

What began as a dream of Sara Allerkamp has grown into an amazing facility where workers and volunteers have a mission to give back and serve the area’s needy. That is due to much prayer, volunteer service by doctors and dentists, smart decisions by its board and no small amount of elbow grease, blood, sweat and tears.

Now the center, located at 140 Industrial Loop, has added a Community Health Worker program. The new worker will actively seek out patients who need its clinic and other services.

With the ever-rising cost of healthcare and Texas’ huge number of uninsured patients, the center and its volunteers are an important resource for the area’s needy. These days, the center’s reliance on donors to fund its mission, as opposed to creating more government assistance, is both unusual and indicative of the generosity of spirit of many in our community.

Wed
24
Sep

I'm puzzled about those obscure words

What’s a nine-letter word for “puzzle that’s been a good friend for years?”

Oh, yeah; the answer is “crossword.”

For as long as I’ve been looking at newspapers I’ve enjoyed attempting to solve the various puzzles, primarily those of the crossword variety.

While there’s often been a note of frustration involved with this hobby, there’s also been the reward of not only coming up with the right answers but also learning new words and/or new meanings.

For example, a recent puzzle contained the clue “bar dance” for a five-letter word beginning with ‘L.’ I scratched my head for a couple of minutes, trying to come up with a dance a person might do in a bar. I thought of such possible answers as “line” (not enough letters) and “lambada” (too many letters for this forbidden dance).

I then readjusted my thinking and, in a few minutes, came up with the real answer, “limbo.”

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