Commentary

Wed
17
Jul

Are we post-racial? No

By Ken Esten Cooke— My son likes to take a five-block walk or ride his bike to the corner store for an apple juice. For him, it’s a way to get out of the house, and as a pre-teen it’s probably a small step in the direction of his own independence.

The events of last week made me consider how such a simple, innocent trip to the store could turn lethal. And I wondered how livid I would be if he were considered suspicious, pursued by a zealous person — well-intentioned or not — and shot dead.

Of course, that’s what Trayvon Martin’s parents dealt with in Sanford, Florida. George Zimmerman was found not guilty, and we Americans now once again bring up questions about race and what is right.

Not everyone can relate to the Martins and how they feel. Deaths of black teenagers are far too common an occurrence in our country, and far too often it is at the hands of a peer. For those of us in mostly white, rural areas, it is easy to feel numb to it.

Wed
17
Jul

'Guns up' for Texas Tech president's visit

Nellis shows that higher education expansion a priority for university’s Hill Country sites

By Ken Esten Cooke— Marking his one-month anniversary on the job, new Texas Tech President Dr. Duane Nellis toured Fredericksburg on Monday, saying he was impressed with the local facilities at Hill Country University Center and instilled confidence that the Texas Tech-HCUC partnership will continue to thrive.

Nellis spoke with members of the Fredericksburg Rotary Club, took a tour of the Hill Country University Center facilities, and, with wife Ruthie, served as guests of honor at a reception in the Cherry Spring community.

Though an investment in higher education has risen substantially in price, nothing pays more dividends to one’s future than earning a college degree (or two).

Wed
17
Jul

'Bikini's, Texas' is a big bust

By Dawn Savanh, guest columnist —

Most of our Fredericksburg community is probably unaware of the event that took place on Old San Antonio Road this past Saturday with the “grand opening” of “Bikinis, Texas.” Many who knew frankly seemed only slightly amused or didn’t care because, after all, it wasn’t their neighborhood being assaulted.

While I am personally opposed to “Bikinis, Texas” and its promotion of scantily clad young women as an enticement to sell alcohol, I am not one who would typically comment upon what a landholder does with his own property — until that use creates a danger to the community!

Wed
17
Jul

The drought marches on

By Ken Esten Cooke—

We are thankful for the recent rains and cooler temperatures, but it’s times like these when we all need reminding that we are still in the throes of a serious drought.

During this seventh month, here are seven tips to help you save this precious resource:

1. Don’t run the faucet while brushing teeth, shaving, washing your hands or hand-washing dishes.

2. Reuse cooking water on the garden rather than dumping it down the drain.

3. Reuse towels and wear jeans again. (Men usually do this naturally.)

4. Take shorter showers. Every minute you shave off your shower saves 2.5 to 7 gallons per minute, depending on your fixtures.

5. Skip the half loads. Don’t run the dishwasher or washing machine until they are full.

6. Water in the morning or evening to reduce water lost to evaporation.

7. Reuse glasses and plates throughout the day, instead of getting a new one each time.

Wed
10
Jul

Summertime, homemade ice cream just go together

By Sherrie Geistweidt—

What better way is there to cool off on these triple-digit summer days than with a freezer of homemade ice cream?

Last weekend, I had counted down to Sunday afternoon to cook a batch of custard to freeze later in the day and had gathered eggs, sugar, half and half, cornstarch and vanilla and found some frozen peaches in the freezer to add to my creation.

After dumping all of my ingredients, except the peaches, into a micro-safe bowl, I just happened to lick a quick spoonful of the custard.

That’s when I suddenly realized … the half and half was less than fresh.

Oh no, now what? I had purchased it earlier in the week. Surely, cooking it in the microwave and then adding vanilla would improve the flavor.

The minute the timer rang on the microwave and I opened the door … it was obvious that the milk was sour.

Wed
10
Jul

One spirited Fourth

Thanks to many volunteers who set up, pulled off town's many activities

By Ken Esten Cooke—

A children’s parade, followed by the regular parade, a patriotic program and bursts of fireworks. These events all helped make Fredericksburg the place to be on the Fourth of July — celebrating freedom with events and flag-waving in our small town picture of Americana. These events were parts of what makes it great to live here.

But these events don’t happen by themselves. They require lots of planning and coordination before, during and after the events. We want to give kudos to those who helped organize and all those who volunteered their time and talents to put on events throughout the day so we could all revel in our American freedoms.

Many thanks to Daryl Whitworth and Helen McDonald for doing the lions share of the organization.

Wed
10
Jul

Perry still in the spotlight

By Ken Esten Cooke— From now until the time he leaves office in January 2015, Gov. Rick Perry will be in a spot he clearly loves: Center stage.

In announcing his decision not to seek re-election Monday, the governor was careful not to relinquish the spotlight by keeping the state’s political community guessing about whether he will try to seek redemption for his disastrous presidential campaign in 2012.

For the next 18 months, the governor said, his focus would remain on Texas. Perry took office in December 2000, when George W. Bush vacated the governor’s office to prepare for his presidency, and won re-election in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

Tue
02
Jul

Got the music in you?

One of my fondest childhood memories is of my brother and I riding Big Wheels around the garage, probably around age five, as my father banged out a Gene Krupa-esque drum solo on his old Ludwigs. As the drums reverberated around the cement-floor garage, we pedaled ourselves dizzy, soaking up what dad was playing.

Later, I would listen for hours to headphones of my favorite drummers, from jazz and rock genres, and zone out. A high school nerd, music was my drug.

Why does music affect many of us this way? It can be a choir, a symphony, a bass-thumping concert or even a two-stepping number out at Luckenbach. You can’t hold music, but it still moves us beyond measure.

A recent science article in the New York Times tried to explain the effect that music has on the brain. When you feel a “chill” while enjoying a musical passage, that “causes the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, an essential signaling molecule in the brain.”

Tue
02
Jul

Steering the issue

Town won’t suffer from having truck route to divert traffic

By Ken Esten Cooke— We welcome members of the Gillespie County Commissioner’s Court to the conversation about an alternate truck route around town. Getting all entities on board is the first step in beginning that process.

While we understand the concerns about diverting some traffic and its potential effect on economic activity, we feel Fredericksburg has passed the point to where this should be the main point of the argument.

A loop’s detrimental effects were a legitimate concern in the 1980s and 1990s, as Fredericksburg slowly grew its Main Street attractions and wineries began dotting the landscape. Indeed, most rural towns struggle to attract visitors.

Tue
02
Jul

Dems show signs of life

Could Democrats’ short-lived victory at state capitol last week start a revival?

By Ken Esten Cooke— In the 1980s, Texas Democrats held every statewide office and a young political consultant named Karl Rove had what were considered far-fetched dreams of turning the Lone Star State red.

Rove steered the state toward Republican domination, taking over the Texas Senate and House by 2002 and following his number one client to the White House for two terms.

Democrats may be hoping that last week’s rowdy debate over Senate Bill 5 was their own turning point after two dismal decades.

It was good to see this comatose party, which hasn’t won a statewide race in 19 years, get excited during last week’s filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis. And it was healthy for our state politics and national image to see some diversity of thought in the state house.

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