Commentary

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.

Thu
10
Oct

Are Miller and Fraser liberal?

Ridiculous statement by fringe group slights two solid legislators

 

By Ken Esten Cooke— We received a breathless mailer at the Standard-Radio Post offices asking “Did Doug Miller fight for your conservative values?” Then it answered its own question with a “NO!” in giant red letters.

The group making this claim is Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, run by the self-important Michael Quinn Sullivan, who has made even conservative legislators tired of him by insisting on a purity test and adherence to unrealistic expectations on his own ideas of the state budget.

Wed
02
Oct

Memorializing an MIA and two former POWs

By Richard Zowie— On Thursday, Sept. 26, I covered the POW/MIA remembrance ceremony here in Fredericksburg. Jack Ledford, whom I wrote about two weeks ago, spoke of his 555 days as a prisoner of war in the Korean War.

These ceremonies are always very emotional, when you consider the physical, psychological and emotional pain the survivors went through and when you wonder what happened to those still officially listed as Missing in Action.

At home, I have a bracelet of an MIA helicopter pilot, Chief Warrant Officer Frederick Cristman. His chopper — hit by enemy gunfire and losing transmission oil pressure —crashed in Laos on March 19, 1971.

When I was younger and very naïve, I thought perhaps he was still alive in a prison in Laos. Now, I believe it’s as simple as this: his remains have yet to be recovered. Most likely, he died immediately in the crash.

Wed
02
Oct

Questions about ACA? You are not alone

Love it or loathe it, 'Obamacare' signup is under way

By Ken Esten Cooke— Police patrol the streets, and if suspicious behavior or crime occurs in plain sight, officers do their jobs.

Other times, search warrants can be obtained and executed, if justified.

Records of our electronic communications, by definition, are not in plain sight. And simply making a phone call does not rise to the level of suspicious behavior.

This is what is so disturbing in the Obama administration’s latest overreach in the name of national security.

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