Commentary

Wed
30
Oct

Water issues: All need a seat at the table

Prop 6, other issues discussed about state's most precious resource

By Ken Esten Cooke—

Last Thursday’s Texas Water Symposium at Schreiner University in Kerrville brought up important water issues that go well beyond Proposition 6, the issue of the day in light of the pending Nov. 5 general election.

Proposition 6 is important, and we agree that its passage is a key part of the overall water picture in Texas. Among other things, Prop 6 will help small towns get affordable loans from the Texas Water Development Board at affordable rates. A town with only thousands or even hundreds of residents can’t afford to rip up and replace water lines that were laid nearly a century ago in some cases. And fixing municipal water leakage — up to 50 percent in some towns — is the easiest, cheapest water to find.

Wed
23
Oct

Tournament underscores this coach's commitment

Last weekend was one I wish I could have recorded on my DVR, so I could experience it all over. Perfect weather and a full slate of enjoyable tennis — and little work-related activity — made good for a breather. And Sunday evening’s slumber came easily after a lot of time on the tennis courts at Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park.

A tip of the visor to Coach Randall King for putting together another smoothly run tournament in last weekend’s Dr Pepper Open. In the two years I’ve known Randall, I can say the kids who learn from him are fortunate to have him in their lives.

It is safe to say one of Randall’s mentors was Coach Paul Smith of Mason, whose talents I was exposed to from the other side of the net in team tennis. My senior year, we finished third in team tennis in Class 3A and under to Marble Falls and the ever-present Mason Punchers.

Wed
23
Oct

HCM Foundation Gala marks year of successes

Funds wil go toward new CT scanner at an 'America's Best Hospital'

By Ken Esten Cooke—

To be named “America’s Best” at anything is an achievement. Attendees and donors at Saturday’s Hill Country Memorial Hospital Foundation Gala XV can be sure their investments are being well spent.

Hill Country Memorial is coming off another week of national recognition, having received the 2013 Women’s Choice Award as one of America’s Best Hospitals for patient experience and its obstetrics offerings. HCM also was one of 20 small hospitals named in the Top 100 in the nation list by Truven Health Analytics, marking its second such distinction in a row. (Truven analyzes more than 3,000 hospitals around the nation.)

Wed
23
Oct

A toast to Texas wine

October is time to pay tribute to heritage, benefits of industry

By Ken Esten Cooke—

It is no secret, particularly in these parts, that wine is growing in popularity. Texas, and especially our little Eden here in the Hill Country, is benefitting from increased interest and the explosion of growth in the industry.

Our 30-plus wine facilities in the region draw visitors from all over the state and nation, and that is a boon for local retail merchants, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Even seemingly unrelated industries, like our antiques businesses, are benefitting from the growth in that shopper demographic. (See our story on the Business page.)

Wed
16
Oct

'Thanks, Uncle Sam' for my vacation shut down

A recent extended vacation back to my home state of North Carolina was certainly a mixed bag, but that tends to be the way things go sometimes, right?

My wife and I learned an important civics lesson during our trip — the recent shut-down of the federal government was not a pretty sight.

During our trip, we visited the Outer Banks area of the Tar Heel state. One check box on our bucket list was to visit some of the lighthouses that are found along what’s known as “The Graveyard of the Atlantic.”

We stopped at a local convenience store to get a tankful of gasoline and a couple of snacks before leaving for the closest lighthouses. When we asked the guy behind the counter for directions, he said that the Bodie (pronounced “body,” referring to all of the dead bodies that have washed ashore in the “Graveyard”) Island lighthouse was right down the road a few miles, with the always-popular Cape Hatteras lighthouse about 30 miles further on.

Wed
16
Oct

Learn about Texas vote with this guide

Issues facing state are important, and here are pro, con views

By Ken Esten Cooke— Included in this week’s edition of the Standard-Radio Post is a League of Women Voters of Texas Voters Guide. The supplement, published as a public service by this newspaper, outlines the nine propositions facing Texas voters in unbiased language and presents the arguments for and against each.

It is hoped that this guide will be useful for voters to read over, then make their choices and taken to the polls with them.

 

Voters also should be aware of new identification requirements passed by the state legislature. As outlined on the front of the guide, IDs like driver’s license or a new election identification certificate will be allowed, but not a student ID or an employer ID.

Wed
16
Oct

The lost art of compromise

Pols forget that part of their job is finding common ground

By Ken Esten Cooke— President Ronald Reagan declared, “Die-hard conservatives thought that if I couldn’t get everything I asked for, I should jump off the cliff with the flag flying — go down in flames. No, if I can get 70 or 80 percent of what it is I’m trying to get ... I’ll take that and then continue to try to get the rest in the future.

That sense of reasonableness and subtlety is completely lost in today’s Washington, and the nation is worse off because of it.

Thu
10
Oct

Cooler fall temps meant time to clean the chimney

Autumn arrived two weeks ago, but residents across the county could feel a tinge of fall in the air before that with cooler temperatures in the Hill Country.

Though the number of 100-plus-degree days was fewer this summer than last, even the sun worshippers welcomed the cooler weather.

The weather man says that the high pressure dome that’s had its grip on Texas for what seems like forever, has shifted, making for a change in the weather pattern that will allow rain to move in.

In addition to cooler temperatures, the first cool front of the season brought with it rain showers to a parched county suffering through the ravages of perhaps the worst drought ever.

Depending upon which cloud you might be located under, just about everyone has gotten a shower or two.

Thu
10
Oct

Growth of German festival is phenomenal

Huge crowds help town capitalize on its heritage with annual Oktoberfest

By Ken Esten Cooke— Few towns have done as much to promote their cultural heritage as Fredericksburg. That was in evidence last weekend as huge crowds descended upon the town to take part in Oktoberfest.

Lederhosen and dirndls were everywhere as tens of thousands of people came to Marktplatz for a great time with German flair. While attendance counts are still being tallied, many old-timers say it was the largest ever.

The open-air event, blessed this year by great weather, is another advantage as visitors can stroll around Marktplatz, visit craft vendors and take part in activities with their children. People from all walks of life came from all over the state and the country to enjoy a little piece of Germany with three fun days of music, brats, beer and so much more.

Thu
10
Oct

Prop. 6: A vote for future Texas vitality

By Doug Miller, District 73 State Representative On Nov. 5, Texas voters will consider nine propositions on the uniform election ballot.  One of these, Proposition 6, is “the constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas to assist in the financing of priority projects in the state water plan to ensure the availability of adequate water resources.”

If voters approve this constitutional amendment, $2 billion will be transferred from the State’s Economic Stabilization Fund, or Rainy Day Fund, to the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas (SWIFT) for water-related projects. 

I urge you to vote in favor of Prop. 6.

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