Commentary

Wed
20
Nov

A modern-day parable

And it came to pass that one day a group of followers asked their Master: “Is not ours, among all the nations of the world, the one most ‘chosen by God’ as His own?”

To that, the Master answered them with this tale:

“There once was a land flowing with milk and honey, full of all the wonderful riches that nature can bestow, including plentiful mineral resources of oil, coal and natural gas. This land was also rich on its surface with many pristine flowing streams and rivers along with thousands upon thousands of bountiful lakes. In addition, this land’s animal life was abundant above all others while its trees and low-lying plant life were most lush, thanks to a rich and diverse soil which grew all things.

Wed
20
Nov

Health insurance fiasco driven by partisanship

Congress out of touch with struggles of families living paycheck to paycheck

By Ken Esten Cooke— If you are suffering sticker shock from your health insurance renewals, you are not alone. December 1 marked a popular renewal date for companies and individuals, and the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the “can-keep-it, can’t-keep-it” insurance dictums and the overall continuing rise of healthcare and insurance costs is putting a strain on budgets from Gillespie County to Timbuktu.

The ACA, or “Obamacare,” sought to address the continually upward spiral of health insurance costs, currently accounting for one-sixth of our nation’s total gross domestic product (GDP). Our healthcare is good in this country, but is also is far more expensive than any other industrialized nation in the world.

Wed
20
Nov

Third-dimension technology

By Ken Esten Cooke— Last week’s story on the use of a 3D printer by students in the Fredericksburg High School science program is further evidence that the school district continues to look ahead and prepare students for the world after graduation.

Using a 3D Machining Printer, students have crafted simple objects in red plastic, from a key ring to a trumpet mouthpiece. Exposure to this potentially world-changing technology will let students in the Fredericksburg Independent School District have the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of industry as they enter college and the workforce beyond.

Once a design is entered into a computer-aided design software program, the printer processes the information and “prints” a 3D object, layer upon layer, similar to normal printers laying down one layer of ink on printed documents. The result is a solid object made of plastic.

Wed
13
Nov

Is there a fortune cookie in your future? Why, yes

Everybody’s familiar with fortune cookies, right? They’re those doubled-over treats we get at the end of the meal in a Chinese restaurant.

Back in the day, the cookie would contain a slip of paper that had a fortune written on it (thus the name “fortune” cookies).

“You’ll meet a mysterious person in the near future” might have been one of the offerings. Or maybe, “Be careful on your next adventure.”

Whether the “fortune” related to an impending encounter with a new love or a gang of muggers in the parking lot was always unclear. But it set you up for an event of some sort in the near future; that is, if you believed in the accuracy of fortune cookies.

For me, the fortunes in fortune cookies have been about as reliable (or, unreliable) as the daily horoscopes. But I still enjoy them for the entertainment value.

Lately, however, it seems that fortune cookies don’t give your fortune, but, rather, they present you with some sort of lecture.

Wed
13
Nov

Skate park a needed facility for local youth

Private fundraising effort will boost recreational offerings for kids

By Ken Esten Cooke— Saturday’s skate board and BMX demonstration and competition had the Adelsverein Halle on Marktplatz abuzz with activity.
                Working off some restless adolescent energy, skateboarders and bikers performed feats that seemed to defy the laws of physics. Adult onlookers winced at the occasional falls that are part of the sport, but they marveled at the athleticism and coordination of the kids.

Kudos to the Fredericksburg Morning Rotary Club for spearheading this important project that will bring another first-class recreational activity to our town.

If there is one complaint among young people about the town, it is that activities geared toward them are in short supply. This will certainly help.

Wed
13
Nov

Proposed city ordinance means RV, vehicle owners need to find a space for them

By Ken Esten Cooke— Ask any visitor to town — and there are more than 1.2 million of them each year — and they’ll tell you they like Fredericksburg because it is a “clean, orderly” town. Junker vehicles and permanently stationed trailers, recreational vehicles and boats detract from that perception.

We find the mayor’s caution in “not wanting to create a city-wide homeowner’s association” refreshing, to paraphrase him from a recent meeting. Still, there is a fine line between balancing one person’s “property rights” or “liberty” with creating a neighborhood eyesore.

                The city is currently reviewing a proposed ordinance that would disallow the parking of recreational vehicles, trailers and boats without a proper surface or screening.

Wed
06
Nov

Teaching, tradition of hunting pay dividends

Lessons learned, land managed, business benefiteed: hunting important in many ways

By Ken Esten Cooke— Old-timers will remember when sacks were placed over parking meters in downtown Fredericksburg to welcome hunters during opening weekend. These were the days before visitors packed the streets every weekend to shop or attend the festival-of-the-week.

Today, hunters descend on Gillespie County for action on leased land or perhaps a family ranch. Yet in their days here, they do as much as any visitor to a winery to help our local economy.

Here at the paper, we usually receive a few scoffs for running deer photos, though that comes with the territory. But let there be no doubt, we think celebrating the milestone of a first buck on a family outing is worth noting.

Wed
06
Nov

Give school buses a break

By Ken Esten Cooke— It shouldn’t even need a reminder, but when a school bus is stopped with lights flashing or its driver’s-side stop sign out, motorists need to stop.

The Texas Department of Public Safety issued a reminder of the law that should have been engrained in us during high school driver’s education courses.

Drivers must stop — traveling in either direction — when approaching a school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal. The driver should remain stopped until the bus resumes motion, the bus driver signals to proceed or the visual signal is no longer activated.

If the road is divided only by a left-turn lane, drivers on both sides of the roadway must stop for school buses with alternating red flashing lights activated. However, if the lanes are separated by a median or other physical barrier, only motorists going in the same direction are required to stop.

Wed
30
Oct

Penman's tale: Fiction writing is favorite hobby

By Richard Zowie —

 

My cousin Greg once saw a picture of me with my thick, dark-brown hair and Coke-bottle glasses. Greg, always the biggest joker among the infamous five Burris brothers, replied, “Rich, you look just like Stephen King!”

That headshot is probably where most of the resemblance ends: King is 6’4”, and I’m 5’8”.

However, both King and I love to write fiction. He’s had enormous success, and I’m hoping to someday.

So, after a period of limited inspiration, I have returned to one of my favorite hobbies: writing fiction.

I have written several unpublished horror stories, some of them might be published someday, and some probably not. Some have been thrown away because they are far too abysmal for even their sentimentality to save them.

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.

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