Commentary

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.

Wed
12
Nov

Great-niece explores the great outdoors

By Richard Zowie

One of the more interesting observations in life is to watch a young child as they discover the world.

Particularly, my great-niece, Juliet. She’s the daughter of my niece, Sarah.

Juliet came along with my parents and my two older sisters for a visit this past weekend.

Now 15 months old, Juliet looks a lot like baby pictures of both her Aunt Rachel and my oldest sister (and her grandmother), Sabrina.

Juliet is also different in one particular way. Whereas everybody in the immediate Zowie family has blue, green or hazel eyes, Juliet’s eyes are a very dark brown.

Wed
12
Nov

GOP dominates in Texas and beyond

It wasn’t even close.

Voters in Texas left no doubt that they prefer the ideas of Republicans over those of Democrats from Texas to Washington, D.C.

The wave of red was felt all over Texas in an old fashioned “whuppin’” at the ballot box, driven by enthusiastic turnout of Republicans and more than a little disdain for the current White House occupant.

It seemed even every GOP state office candidate, from the ag commissioner to the comptroller, ran against Barack Obama. We’ll be interested to see what actual solutions for the betterment of the state they will offer now that they have been elected.

The changing demographic wave of voters we’ve been hearing about for 20-plus years has not yet materialized at the voting booth. And here in rural Texas, plenty of the Hispanic voting bloc vote with their conservative brethren.

Wed
05
Nov

Facial hair odyssey worth the aggravation

I last had a full beard nearly 20 years ago, and it was just pitiful. No manly man would have claimed it.

One person told me it looked like I had cat fur glued to my face. Some men got great beard genes, but I was not one. Since then, I’ve gone unshaven on some weekends, but have made a habit of breaking out the Gillette and shaving cream each morning.

But for love of country and men’s health, I am giving it a go again. It’s time for the annual “Movember” facial hair challenge to help raise money for prostate cancer awareness.

Breast cancer awareness gets lots of attention during October, because breasts are important, life-giving organs from birth. (And teen boys and men — perhaps redundant — like them, too.) In all seriousness, I was proud to hear that a story we ran in early October convinced many area women to go the Hill Country Memorial Breast Center and get a mammogram, where several cases were discovered that required treatment.

 

Wed
05
Nov

Time for movement on affordable housing

Twelve. That’s the number of homes for sale in the local market that are less than $200,000, the benchmark for “affordable” housing. And for many, even people that work full-time or hold multiple part-time jobs, even the $200,000 “affordable” tag is out of reach.

The city has mulled the question of affordable housing for more than a decade now. The NIMBY factor (Not In My Backyard) seemed to rule the day in the past. But when our Hill Country Memorial Hospital has nearly 200 workers commuting each day from other markets to work, housing has become a pressing issue.

The city and/or county is in need of leadership to address this issue. City Manager Kent Myers and Tim Lehmberg, executive director of the Gillespie County Economic Development Commission, have done a good job of bringing people to the table. Now we need receptive ears and creative minds to come up with solutions.

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.”

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