Commentary

Wed
25
Feb

Litter tarnishes our Hill Country jewel

Fredericksburg is often lauded for its orderliness and cleanliness, two characteristics that speak to the town’s German heritage. But every now and then, even our clean little ’Burg needs a helping hand.

One piece of litter may not seem like it makes much of an impact. But together, the costs are enormous. A 2013 study by Environmental Resources Planning, LLC, for the Texas Department of Transportation tallied litter at 253 sites around the state, each a one-tenth-mile stretch of a roadway maintained by TxDOT.

The study found 434 million pieces of visible litter from those roadways. (You read that right.) That’s what accumulates on Lone Star State roadways each year. Amazingly, the 2013 total was a 34-percent reduction since the group’s 2009 study.

In 2012, TxDOT spent $47 million to clean litter along roadways, according to the study.

Wed
18
Feb

We need stories like 'The One Who Builds'

Film captures positive immigrant experience

If you could do something nice for the people who helped your ancestors get to this country, would you?

That question went through my mind as I watched “The One Who Builds” recently at “Eat. Drink. Be Inspired.,” the Hill Country Film Society fundraiser event held Jan. 30 at Hoffman Haus. This is one of the events and screenings put on ahead of the sixth annual Hill Country Film Festival.

I thought of my ancestor Robert Cooke as he boarded a ship to cross the Atlantic in 1720 from Scotland. He no doubt had help from others when he got settled, including the man for whom he was an indentured servant for a year to pay for his passage. That was a common arrangement in those days, unlike the service offered to our African brethren. The man even later found Robert a wife.

Wed
18
Feb

Intriguing choices for Old Fair Park

It’s never easy when potential big changes are in the works. But we appreciate the city looking ahead and coming up with some options for the redevelopment of the Old Fair Park area.

No decisions have been made, nor will they be for some time, but on Monday night the council was presented with three conceptual plans by design firm Freese and Nichols of Fort Worth. The concepts include everything from leaving the park intact with only minor tweaks, to adding retail development while retaining green space, to a full-blown development of retail and residential development.

Again, the process is barely underway and no decisions have been made. Council members all voiced guarded enthusiasm along with reservations about potentially moving baseball and soccer fields from the Ufer and Lincoln Street locations.

Wed
11
Feb

Vaccinate children for the health of all

Measles, mumps and rubella vaccines (MMR) are routine parts of child immunization. A recent outbreak of measles at Disneyland in California was caused by too many parents “opting out” of routine and medically accepted vaccinations. The outbreak exposed more than 1,000 children to an illness that should be nearly eradicated.

We looked into vaccination “opt out” rates for local schools, and found some who still deny the vaccines for their children for “reasons of conscience.” We hope they are legitimate reasons, and not because a celebrity scared them into this thinking.

Those who deny vaccine benefits are not a monolithic bloc. Some see government-driven conspiracies, while still others simply believe every alternative medicine study they see on Facebook.

Wed
11
Feb

'Be Mine' a message throughout the ages

There’s an old saying that goes something like, “The older you get, the faster time flies.”

My grandparents would tell me that when I was a little girl and I never believed them. Now I’m beginning to think that there is actually something to that adage after all.

Case in point:

It seems that we just put Santa back in the box last week, and now it’s already time for Valentine’s Day. And, I’ve still got Christmas music loaded in my car stereo.

I was in the store a day or so before Christmas, and the employees were already marking down the prices on the Christmas décor and clearing space to display Valentine’s Day merchandise that was logging up the warehouse.

Friday evening when I made a quick stop at the grocery store, I got “caught up” in this wave of shoppers and ended up in the Valentine’s Day aisle, so I checked out what the “in” thing is this year.

Wed
04
Feb

Reading the world, one book at a time

By Richard Zowie

 

First, it was “Eight Men Out,” by Eliot Asinof, a book about the 1919 Chicago White Sox and the infamous Black Sox Scandal. The book, a sordid tale about laughable, subjective justice, saddened me deeply.

Second and recently, I finished reading Lisa Gardner’s mystery “The Neighbor,” a brilliant mystery about a beautiful wife and mother who vanishes. Her emotionless, vacant-eyed husband is reluctant to talk to the police and tries to purge his computer before the inevitable court order to give it to the police.

Think you have this “whodunit” all figured out? Forget it — you’re not even close.

And now, I’m onto a book I was supposed to read in high school but didn’t — “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

These three books are part of a 2015 reading challenge of 50 books. Some will read quickly, others won’t.

Wed
04
Feb

Transparency is key to good government

The biennial assault on your right to know what government is doing with your money is on again.

Another bill to put required public notices on the Internet, as opposed to in your daily and weekly newspapers, has been drafted in the 84th Legislature.

Imagine your morning, waking up, sitting down to breakfast, and logging on to any number of government websites to check what construction projects might be near you, what pipelines or electricity transmission lines might be proposed to cross through your property.

Yet that’s exactly what a bill filed by San Antonio Republican Lyle Larson would do. His bill would allow municipalities to post their public notices on their own website, or any website, for the public to “find.”

Wed
28
Jan

Who was that other masked man

Okay, you entertainment trivia fans; here’s a question for you — Who played The Lone Ranger on TV?

The answer may not be as easy as you think. While flipping around the TV dial the other week, I landed on an obscure channel that was broadcasting one of my all-time favorite programs from many years ago, The Lone Ranger.

Yep, there was Tonto (the perfect sidekick played to perfection by Jay Silverheels) riding next to the Lone Ranger. And that role, of course, was portrayed by ... WAIT A MINUTE!

Now, back to our question: Who played The Lone Ranger on TV?

All right, I hear you; the answer is, obviously, Clayton Moore. If you came up with that answer, you’re correct ... for the most part.

Yes, Clayton Moore certainly was known for his portrayal of the iconic Texas lawman during most of the show’s 1949-1957 run. But did you know he actually shared the spotlight with another actor in that famous role for little more than a season (1953-54)?

Wed
28
Jan

Efforts paying off for housing situation

Last week’s front-page story in the Standard-Radio Post about our local economy had lots of good news.

Last year saw records in many economic indicators, including lodging and the numbers and amount of real estate properties sold, among others. These are testaments to everything from the work ethic and foundations laid by the town’s founders, to the efforts of past and current governing bodies, to the tourism efforts which have brought so many eyeballs to our fair city.

One area where improvement could still help out is in the area of affordable housing. In our town, that’s roughly defined as homes below $200,000. And there are not many on the market. But there are plans for multi-family dwellings in the works, and that’s what we’d like to recognize.

Wed
21
Jan

Ice-bound and down: our holiday on ice

I have eliminated one more job from the list of things I want to do when I grow up: Ice Road Trucker.

We got a little taste of that during our recent trip to El Paso. Our return trip on New Year’s Day, normally an eight-hour jaunt, turned into 14-plus hours of slippy, slidey, super slow auto creep.

My mother-in-law’s home had 42 degrees and sunny skies in the morning. So we decided to chance the roads, even though we saw travel warnings. It was smooth sailing until we passed over the Davis Mountains. We made a pit stop in Van Horn where the cold began to bite, got some sodas and hit the road again. About the time I finished my Diet Coke, ice was all over the landscape, presenting an eerie but artistic view. Our Google maps showed red lines on Interstate 10 (meaning accidents, bad traffic or both) so we settled in for the long haul.

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