Commentary

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.

Wed
26
Jun

Oh, say, can he sing? Yes!

Despite living in a world that’s filled with “new and improved” technology wherever I go, I’m not totally on-board with what’s available out there. I’m no techno-phobe — I don’t text or tweet. And, I’ve only had my own cell phone for less than two years.

And I realize the advantages of the internet, regardless of who may have invented it.

There is one aspect of the “net” that I do find disturbing, however, and that deals with how people can hide behind the web and get away with saying anything they like, whether or not it’s true, and yet not have to be identified. For them, it’s “don’t let the facts get in the way of a good blog because I can say anything I want without having to tell you who I am.”

Wed
26
Jun

Eyeing the drought

By Ken Esten Cooke— Weather predictions on Monday by the Lower Colorado River Authority confirm what local farmers and ranchers are dealing with daily: the historic drought will continue.

While the LCRA’s message concentrated on inflows to area lakes (Travis and Buchanan), the message was clear: continued conservation is needed throughout the Hill Country.

Lakes Travis and Buchanan need more than one million acre-feet of water to be considered “full.” That amounts to the amount of water added to the lakes in summer 2007, when 19 inches of rain fell on Marble Falls in one night.

That means rain must fall upstream, saturating the ground, then fill the network of creeks and river beds, before the water makes its way to the lakes.

Wed
26
Jun

Our digital footprints

By Ken Esten Cooke— As the U.S. pursues Edward Snowden around the globe for spilling intelligence secrets while working at the National Security Administration, some questions about our digital footprints come to mind.

Snowden has been called a traitor by Senate Republicans and Democrats. His recent revelation that he chose to work for the contractor specifically to get the information he disclosed and his choice of countries where he seeks asylum certainly bolster that claim. Yet others of a more libertarian bent have lined up to call him a hero, as he has shed light on the underbelly of terror surveillance where everyday citizens can be monitored in a story line that could not have been better written by George Orwell.

Hero or goat, his situation poses a good time for the country to examine how our government monitors terror threats and how we leave our own digital trail with our daily use of devices.

Wed
19
Jun

Local scene in 'The Son'


Cooke

By Ken Esten Cooke— “An epic, heroic, hallucinatory work of art.”

“A staggering achievement.”

“The best tale since Cormac’s McCarthy’s ‘Blood Meridian’.”

With author blurbs like that, who could resist reading “The Son,” the newest offering from thirty-something author Philipp Mayer. I had read Meyer’s first book, “American Rust,” and it was an impressive debut. Though I am not finished with “The Son,” it is measuring up to the hype.

I was pleased to see some Fredericksburg references in the early pages as well. Most of the book is set on the West Texas plains, but there is a scene before an Indian raid in which one of the main characters describes the area and its people. The author obviously did his research.

Spring 1849, the last full moon. We’d been two years on our Pedernales acreocracy, not far from Fredericksburg, when our neighbor had two horses stolen in broad daylight.

Wed
19
Jun

LBJ made safety click


Nicole Nugent Covert

By Guest Columnist Nicole Nugent Covert—

In 1966, the United States knew more about sending a man into space than it did about protecting families as they traveled in automobiles on our nation’s highways.

That was the year my grandfather, President Lyndon B. Johnson, signed into law the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. This landmark legislation required manufacturers to install seat belts in all new vehicles starting in 1968.

Up to that point, vehicle and highway safety features many Americans now take for granted — such as air bags and highway guardrails — were not generally available. In the mid-1960s, it was commonplace for 50,000 people to be killed each year on the nation’s highways.

Wed
19
Jun

Community Education offers kids summer fun

By Yvonne Hartmann— Sleeping late, watching television, hanging out with friends — it’s just about every kid’s summer dream.

But in reality, many are probably already getting bored and wishing they had something fun to do.

That’s where the Fredericksburg Independent School District Community Education program comes in. They are offering a wide variety of summer camps and activity sessions for all youngsters of all ages.

And it’s not too late to sign up. Just call the Community Ed office at 997-7182 or stop by the FISD Central Administration Office at 234 Friendship Lane.

The fees for the camps vary. Often, the fees include the supplies, snacks and in some cases, even T-shirts.

Want to get the children moving? Community Ed sports camps offer age-appropriate activities, and in most cases, are led by members of the FISD coaching staff and their assistants.

Wed
12
Jun

A vital story to tell: We make no apologies for drug issue coverage. Indeed, it may be the most important thing we publish all year.

By Ken Esten Cooke—

We looked back at a year’s worth of coverage in the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post at all the stories and publicity run about the Fredericksburg Independent School District.

‘Billies go for fourth straight win Friday’ • ‘Honor roll students listed’ • ‘One-Act Play wins state’ •  ‘FHS grads number 227’

And the list goes on and on.

Did one story ruin all that other coverage?

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Commentary