Commentary

Wed
04
Sep

'Marketplace Fairness Act' unfair to all

By Mark B. Wieser— In last week’s guest column, Jerry McCall tried to convince readers that buying across state lines to avoid paying local sales taxes is unfair to business. Additionally, he wants you to believe that Congress should step in and level the playing field. 

Nothing is that simple. He also complains that he is up against a multi-billion dollar online giant like eBay. EBay might be owned by a multi-billionaire, but those using its service are people like you and me, and who are still free to sell and buy as we please without having to pay or collect another state’s taxes.

Wed
04
Sep

Meeting job demands will be challenging

By Ken Esten Cooke— In a way, it’s a blessing to have the problem of too many jobs available for the local market. So many small towns in this slow-recovering economy would love to have this “problem.”

But the issues being addressed by the city, Chamber of Commerce and Gillespie County Economic Development Commission are ones that are real and need some attention.

City Manager Kent Myers addressed them in his report published in last week’s newspaper. He said a working group made up of the three local entities is studying how other tourism-based towns have faced similar situations.

In addition to the many jobs available in our market now, the Gillespie County EDC has predicted that roughly 400 new jobs will be available in our market in the coming two years. That is incredibly positive news, but employers are stymied a bit by what this group sees as the area’s challenges.

The committee addressed five issues:

Wed
04
Sep

Back to school tips for parents

By Ken Esten Cooke—

Although back in class for a week now, parents and students may not have “hit their groove” as far as getting back into the swing of school.

The U.S. Department of Education offers these helpful back-to-school tips for parents to help re-establish important rituals.

Get children to bed on time. Proper rest is essential for a productive school day. Earlier bedtimes and turning off electronics at least 30 minutes before lights out are essential.

Communicate with teachers and the school. Get acquainted with your child’s teachers and let them know you want to be an active partner in helping your student succeed. Keep track of your child’s subjects, homework, activities and progress. And consider serving on the local Parent-Teacher Organization that supports your child’s school.

Wed
28
Aug

Students can embrace fresh start of new year

We joke about students having to change their summer routines, wake up earlier, put the electronics down and focus on homework. Also about Mom dancing as she sends the kids off to school (see editorial cartoon).

But we hope students are pumped up about the new year and all the opportunity this fresh start brings.

Our schools, both private and public, have brought in new teachers, shifted some administrative positions and worked over the summer to create curriculums that are illuminating and challenging.

We extoll students to embrace the start of another new year. In Fredericksburg, Harper, Doss and at private schools, children should be reminded that education is not a given in every society. We remind each child, whether rich or poor, black, white or brown, that a strong educational foundation is the key to learning and reaching their true potential in life.

Wed
28
Aug

New reporter says hello

By Richard Zowie —

In 1983, when I was 10, on our way home to Beeville, my father and I traveled through Fredericksburg.

I remember a tall building — it may have been a church — and thinking the city looked very historical.

Little did I know that, 30 years later, I would return to Fredericksburg to work at the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post.

Goodbye, South Texas Coastal Bend; hello, Texas Hill Country.

Following almost nine years living in Michigan and working in radio, news and retail, I am now back in Texas, for good.

Michigan’s cool summers and falls were great, and the winters didn’t bother me —except when it was time to drive. I doubt I’ll ever miss those miserable Maalox moments driving on icy roads or during windy, heavy snow storms — especially at night or in the early morning. Several times I slid on those roads, sometimes off into ditches.

Wed
14
Aug

'Underdevelopment' near a true Texas treasure

We managed to find a parking space in the shade, which was a good thing, seeing as how the afternoon temperatures surpassed the century mark. From our car, we walked across a field, dotted with cement landings, the remnants of a former RV park.

I looked around as if something else was missing, but didn’t yet have my bearings. I had spent a week here during two consecutive summers as a child. Something was missing.

But the object of our search still was there, though, and surprisingly, was open for swimming. Jacob’s Well is a spring-fed system of connecting caves, up to 200 feet deep, that feeds Cypress Creek. It has drawn people seeking fresh water and swimmers during hot summers for more than 100 years. I wanted to take my wife and sons there so they could enjoy a nice spot as I had as an 11-year-old.

Wed
14
Aug

More teeth for FISD drug enforcement

Parents spoke, and trustees listened.

The Fredericksburg Independent School District’s Board of Trustees adjusted the Student Drug Prevention Program on Monday night, and it will do most everything possible to deter the further use of drugs by students, institute more searches and testing, and have stronger consequences for positive tests.

Supt. Marc Williamson outlined the changes, which were recommended by trustees. It will take a while to institute these tougher measures into the district, but parents with children will realize the district has done what it legally can to lessen drug use and avert another tragedy.

Wed
14
Aug

One potential water answer

The State of Texas is slowly addressing a host of issues related to water supplies, transport and storage. As the drought continues, voters will have the chance in November to correct years of neglect in the face of drought, a growing population and increased demands on fresh water supplies.

The State Water Plan includes 26 new reservoirs — each land-grabbing and controversial — at a cost of $13.2 billion. State Rep. Lyle Larson, a San Antonio Republican, is floating what may be a much better idea.

Larson shares a seat on the House Natural Resources Committee with our own state Rep. Doug Miller. He is proposing that 1950s reservoir technology is outdated and that aquifer storage and recovery will help the state create its own “strategic water reserve.”

Wed
07
Aug

1896 Fair admission: 35¢

I’m frantically scurrying around these days trying to finish a project or two to enter into competition at the upcoming 125th Gillespie County Fair.

Over the years, I’ve won a ribbon or two, and even a couple of trophies for different things I’ve taken, but this year would be extra special since it’s a milestone fair. I never set my sights any higher than third place. That way, even if I don’t place, I won’t be too disappointed.

I’ve been studying this year’s fair catalog, trying to decide what to take and have tagged the pages with sticky notes, being careful not to mar them, for one day, the catalog, itself, is sure to be a collector’s item.

Old Gillespie County Fair catalogs have become collector’s items over the years. Here at the newspaper office, we have dozens of them in the archives, with the earliest in our collection going back to some time like 1918.

Wed
07
Aug

Legislators fund roads; pet projects ignored

Late Monday night, the third special session of the 83rd Texas Legislature finished its work with sine die after adopting a resolution that would steer $1.2 billion toward road funding.

We congratulate legislators on addressing roads and water (such as it were), and we think Texas’ reputation for putting anything that requires spending on the back burner has been temporarily cooled. After the Texas Department of Transportation said it would allow some beat-up South Texas roads to revert from pavement to gravel, it seemed to have grabbed plenty of attention. Other states were using Texas’ lack of vision and infrastructure investment in their own economic development efforts, telling potential business recruits, “Don’t go to Texas — they don’t have water or roads.”

Initially, rural legislators justifiably worried that most of the TxDOT additional funding would just go to urban areas. Other legislators didn’t want to tap rainy day funds for roads.

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