Miller approaches TxDOT about speeds

They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and one could say that state Rep. Doug Miller heard Gillespie County residents’ wheels turning loud and clear. 

Last week, Miller contacted Phil Wilson, executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation. The legislator repeated the same concerns locals have after TxDOT’s ill-advised rise in the speed limit from 70 to 75 on U.S. Highways 290 and 87 and State Highway 16.

“I applaud TxDOT for its efforts to keep Texans moving,” Miller wrote, “but agree with my local officials that safety must be the first consideration.”

Both the City of Fredericksburg and the Gillespie County Commissioners Court sent communications to Miller asking for his help in getting TxDOT to reconsider the bump up in speed.


Resolution or not, here comes 2014

By Ken Esten Cooke —

Here it is, the beginning of the year, and I do not have any New Year’s resolutions. No core-shattering epiphanies, no.

According to, the top resolutions from around the country are:

• Lose weight;

• Volunteer to help others;

• Quit smoking;

• Get a better education;

• Get a better job;

• Save money;

• Get fit;

• Eat healthy food;

• Manage stress;

• Manage debt;

• Take a trip;

• Reduce, reuse and recycle, and,

• Drink less alcohol.

Christine and I didn’t make any giant resolutions, but we do want to hang out with friends more often than we have since we moved here. I am glad to say we already have had a friends’ night with kids, pizza and games. In-person socializing is far better than any television show.

I do have several ongoing projects that I say I will do better each year.


Tax collection challenges need solution

There is a situation brewing in the Gillespie County tax assessor-collector’s office, and it’s one that needs attention from everyone involved.

City of Fredericksburg officials made more than clear that they are unhappy with the current collection and disbursement procedures in the office, led by county tax assessor-collector Marissa Weinheimer. City Manager Kent Myers and Brad Kott, the city’s director of finance, minced no words at the recent public meeting when they addressed the problems they perceive in the office: no electronic transfers; the lack of timely bank reconciliations; as well as the accuracy of the tax collection reports.

Myers and Kott say that both Fredericksburg Independent School District and the Harper ISD are considering a switch to the Gillespie Central Appraisal District to improve tax collections and efficiencies.


Dance halls dotted each community in Gillespie

Even though this week’s Standard-Radio Post carries a dateline of Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, the newspaper was published on Monday, Dec. 30 so that most of our readers would receive their newspapers before the new year begins, rather than after the holiday.

And since it comes out on the “eve” of New Year’s Eve, readers this week will notice that there are any number of New Year’s Eve dances scheduled across the county at which revelers can say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new.

Even though the number of dance halls has dwindled over the years, there was a time when virtually every community in the county had a dance hall.

This was before the time of rapid transportation, so the residents did not have far to travel to find entertainment.


Citizens, government speak out against '75'

A few weeks ago, we opined in this section that raising speed limits to 75 miles per hour on U.S. Highways 290 and 87 and State Highway 16 was an act that was poorly thought out by our Texas legislators.

Turns our most everyone else does, as well.

Gillespie County Commissioners this week adopted a resolution in protest of the speed limit increase.

Mayor Jeryl Hoover, in a letter to State Rep. Doug Miller, addressed the topics we took up in our editorial — limited visibility with turns and hills, wildlife, small roads and personal distractions, like cell phones — and added the growing number of businesses along these roadways, especially U.S. Highway 290.

“There are a number of safety decisions that do not justify this decision by TxDOT,” Hoover wrote.

Residents, too, weighed in with letters to the editor and comments on our social media site.


Brotherless writer eyed cousins at Christmas

Christmas, 1981.

At the time, my family and I lived in Alvin, Texas. Once school let out for the holidays, we packed and drove to Bonaire, Ga. (about 100 miles southeast of Atlanta), to spend the Christmas holiday with my Aunt Margaret (Mom’s older sister), Uncle Gene and four of my five Burris cousins. Greg, if memory serves correctly, had recently been commissioned as an Air Force officer and was stationed overseas.

It was ecstatic to be around them since I had no brothers. I got to spend the holidays with Brad, Jeff, Doug and Randy. They were almost like uncles, since, as the youngest grandchild, I was nearly nine at the time and all of them were adults.

A few memories I have:

Don’t mess with Doug

In the summer of 1980, when we lived in Colby, Kans., Aunt Margaret came by with Uncle Gene and their sons for a visit. My sisters, Doug, Randy and I went to a local pool.


Put cell phone away during holiday travel

Avoid distractions when behind the wheel makes safer holidays for all

By Ken Esten Cooke— Charge it, store it away, let your kid play games on it. But get your cell phone out of your hand when you are driving to see family this Christmas season.

With Christmas almost here, millions of drivers around Texas and the nation will take to the roads to visit family and friends.               

As we hit the road, let’s remember to do whatever is possible and avoid distracted driving — for the sake of our own selves, our passengers and all others on the road.

Traffic volume increases during holidays so roads are packed with people, presents and even pet Fido loaded into vehicles of all types. Many times visibility in our vehicles is hampered by stacks of presents and luggage.


Finalist seems well-suited for FISD

Eric Wright is taking a step up in his career. The Ph.D. named the “sole finalist” by the Fredericksburg Independent School District’s Board of Trustees, seems well-prepared to step into the leader’s role in the largest local school system.

While he technically has until Jan. 2 to decide, FISD is viewed as “a good gig,” evidenced by the more than 60 applicants for the top spot.

Wright comes from Huntington ISD, a smaller Class 3A school with around 1,800 students. By comparison, FISD educates between 2,900 and 3,000 on its six campuses.

One thing Wright already is cognizant of is that he “has big shoes to fill.” Retiring Supt. Marc Williamson, who led the district for the past 17 years, has put FISD in an enviable position of high academic achievement, coupled with an encouragement of innovative programs — such as the aerospace program at Fredericksburg High School.


Seasonal songs that make us laugh out loud

As we head into the final week before Christmas, it might be good to take a few minutes away from all the shopping, cooking and baking, present-wrapping, and other chores that come around this time of year.

Instead, let’s talk about holiday songs that embrace the Christmas spirit. Well, in this case, the Christmas comical spirit.

Yes, there are the standard tunes we’ve come to know and love this time of year. Obviously, such popular titles as “Jingle Bells,” “The Christmas Song” (you know the one — “chestnuts roasting by an open fire”), “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” and the ever-popular “White Christmas.”

Then there are the traditional religious songs, like “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “Away In A Manger,” and the very emotional “Silent Night.”

But along with the lists of Yuletide favorites are songs that are of the more comical nature. And who doesn’t need a good laugh, especially at this stressful time of the year.


Business not the enemy in wage debate

By Mark B. Wieser— Your recent editorial calling for an increase in the minimum wage among your readership indicates that many Americans lack a basic understanding of why this issue is of such significance to Democrats and liberals who are using it to make Republicans, Tea Party members and conservatives appear indifferent and unconcerned about the poor and down-trodden who are, after all, just trying to exist.

This never-ending scenario needs to be ended once and for all by tying the minimum wage to the increase in inflation.

Of course, I would rather see the law setting a minimum wage simply be done away with. After all, the United States existed for more than 162 years before that law was enacted in 1938.


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