Commentary

Wed
25
Sep

Welcome, Ranger Center

By Ken Esten Cooke— Fredericksburg is envied by other municipalities for its attractions, from retail stores, to wineries, to museums and more.

On Tuesday, ground was broken on the Texas Rangers Heritage Center. The new $12 million facility will offer one more attraction for visitors who are taken by the Texas Hill Country, and those interested in learning more about its history.

Last week, the Standard-Radio Post ran a list of Gillespie County residents who had served in the Rangers during the 1800s, during this area’s nascent days of settlement. Many younger residents can barely fathom the hardships faced by the settlers in this new land, and the Texas Rangers were called to help protect these early families who were striking out to carve out a better life. With little protection other than their own personal weapons, the help was appreciated by settlers. Fredericksburg’s German settlers negotiated a peace treaty.

Wed
18
Sep

Thanks, 'Dr. Marc'


Dr. Marc Williamson

Williamson will leave district in solid position academically, financially

By Ken Esten Cooke— To say that stability and tenure in leadership positions benefits an organization is a huge understatement.

In light of his announced retirement, we thank Dr. Marc Williamson — or simply, “Dr. Marc” to his staff — for 16 years of guidance and expertise in leading the Fredericksburg Independent School District.

Williamson will leave after the fall semester, another decision that will benefit the district as his successor can get to know the staff and have input on the next year’s budget.

Wed
18
Sep

Would it be better if we could control the weather?

“Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” — Mark Twain, American humorist

If we could heed Mr. Twain’s complaint, would we be any better off? If we could control the weather, would this be a better world?

Current technology and our understanding of meteorology haven’t let us control this phase of our lives with any meaningful certainty. We’re no better off today in trying to tinker with the weather than we were back in Ben Franklin’s day. But, in a way, maybe that’s a good thing.

Our meteorologists might have a better handle on when storms are coming or when the temperatures might dip below freezing. But as far as actually controlling the atmospheric conditions, we pretty much still are back to Square One.

Wed
18
Sep

'It's not easy being green'

By Ken Esten Cooke— Two events in September can help raise our awareness of the environmental challenges that everyone in the nation faces.

Saturday’s Sustainable Homes Tour, sponsored by Fredericksburg SHINES, saw nine homeowners open their doors for people to look at a variety of green building initiatives, from simple recycling bins and rainwater catchment systems, to solar panel and advanced green building techniques. While only in its first year, the event showcased what locals are doing to use less energy and save water — laudable goals in most any corner.

The 13th Annual Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair will be held Sept. 27-29 at Marktplatz and will showcase the latest in green initiatives. It’s a great place to learn more, if you’re already up on the subject, or start your education, if you are not.

Wed
11
Sep

Digging into Doss history as church marks 100 years

The past few months, the people at Doss have been busy planning a party that’s been a century in the making.

This Sunday, members, family and friends of St. Peter Lutheran Church will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the construction of the native stone church that’s been a landmark in the Doss community since its dedication on Sept. 14, 1913.

Located at the intersection of Ranch Roads 648 and 783, the church has been used as a point of direction by many over the years, including jet pilots on training missions who were required to photograph the steeple before heading back home to their bases.

Wed
11
Sep

Hawks, doves alike have Middle East fatigue

By Ken Esten Cooke— When, in the course of human events, a mission becomes an exercise in frustration, it is time to back away.

We paraphrase the opening line of the Declaration of Independence to declare that we are among those tired of trying to clean up and babysit every vested interest in the Middle East. Though this is written before the president’s Tuesday night public address, we are both weary and wary of further military involvement in the Middle East.

There is no doubt that Syria is run by a ruthless dictator who has killed tens of thousands of his own citizens. There is ample evidence that he is responsible for the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in 2005, a well-regarded Middle Eastern leader.

Wed
11
Sep

Get IDs in order before voting

By Ken Esten Cooke— New Texas voter ID laws will be enforced for the first time during the Nov. 5 election. The new requirements may pose problems, even for those with proper identification.

                If a person’s name on his ID card does not match the one on the registered voting rolls, there could be a problem. There are seven valid forms of acceptable ID under the new law, but voters need to make sure their voter registration is exactly the same.

                Acceptable forms of identification are a Texas driver’s license, military identification card with photo, U.S. citizenship certificate with photo, U.S. passport, a Texas concealed handgun license, or personal identification card or election identification certificate issues by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Wed
04
Sep

Labor boss stereotypes not the guys I know

I spent Monday, Labor Day, like most people: cooking burgers, relaxing with the family a bit, and worrying what my desk would look like Tuesday morning after a day off. There wasn’t much thought of “those who labor and are heavy laden” amid my heartburn and the advertisements for new mattresses.

But I was raised in a labor town, raised alongside the children of those who toiled for an international company, Alcoa, before it closed its local operations. So laborers are never far from my thoughts.

Though oblivious to it as a child, company versus labor was always hanging over our town, through talk of steelworker strikes and the company’s constant threats of shutting down local operations.

The workers were the underdogs. And in our family, we were taught to: 1) care for those less fortunate, and 2) root for the underdogs.

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:

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