Commentary

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?

Wed
12
Jun

Donor disclosure needed

By Ken Esten Cooke—

There’s a saying that “sunlight is the best disinfectant,” whether dealing with hygiene or politics.

The recent scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service and its alleged targeting of one type of political group is getting plenty of deserved attention. No group, no matter its bent, needs to be targeted for extra scrutiny.

But the underlying driver of that scandal is that overtly political groups are now allowed to hide their activities by claiming they are “social welfare organizations,” filing under a tax-exempt status of the 501(c)(4). All they have to do is claim that 51 percent of their work involves the nebulous “social welfare,” and they avoid scrutiny. More than 3,000 of groups filed for status in 2012, leaving the IRS overwhelmed and left to judge which organizations qualified, and which ones needed scrutiny.

Wed
05
Jun

A tougher stance

FISD trustees will mull drug policies;

strong measures needed to combat student use

By Ken Esten Cooke— Marble Falls Independent School District students who are caught with drugs are banned from extra-curricular activities for one year on the first offense, and banned for life for a second offense.

In Burnet ISD, a community-wide program has begun to combat use, especially by the student population, after a 2011 tragedy all too similar to the recent one here.

These are just two examples of area districts that have adopted strong stances in hopes of never losing a student to drug use.

Wed
05
Jun

'Summer reads make me feel fine'

Ken Esten Cooke—The most critical time of year for students is not the period for six weeks tests or the stress-inducing, end-of-year STAAR test.

Rather it is summertime, when the living is easy, the iPod and video games are limitless, and the books are shelved.

As our students mark either graduation, or promotion to the next grade level, we as parents should mark pride in their accomplishments, but encourage continued reading of subjects that draw their interest over the summer. These are the first steps to a lifelong learning pattern that will help their quality of life as they age.

Fredericksburg Elementary School will open its library on some Tuesdays until noon for students to check out books. Pioneer Memorial Library has its summer reading program. Books are easy to find, affordable and cover virtually any topic one can think up.

Wed
29
May

Thinking Out Loud: Questions for the ages

By Danny Hirt —

There are some questions I have wondered about and I’d like to ask them at this time.

Some of the queries might seem silly; others might have a little more meat on them. But, to me, they’re all important.

Question

Is it asking too much of the driving public to put their vehicle headlights on when traveling early in the morning or around dusk?

It’s not uncommon for me to drive to work early enough in the morning (especially if there are any clouds in the sky) so that there can be a gloomy look to the day.

It’s gray, see, and I hope I don’t run into any of my fellow travelers. And seeing headlights on the approaching automobiles would sure go a long way in preventing any fender-benders (or worse).

Wed
29
May

Legislative wrap-up

By Ken Esten Cooke —

It certainly helps to have money, as this 83rd session of the Texas Legislature showed. The state’s coffers were relatively flush with cash from oil and gas revenues, and that helped on every level. Though no legislator got everything he or she wanted, a mostly bipartisan atmosphere helped show that compromise is not a dirty word and that disagreements can be worked out.

Gov. Rick Perry has until June 16 to sign the bills that reached his desk. Being anything but predictable, we won’t venture a guess as to which bills will get vetoed and which will bear his signature.

Here are a few legislative results that affect the Hill Country and its residents.

Water

As we wrote last week, this was basically authorization for voters to approve what is essentially $2 billion in seed money from the state’s rainy day fund for needs totaling more than $50 billion.

Wed
29
May

Just put the phone down while driving

By Ken Esten Cooke—

One bill that did not pass was a ban on texting and emailing while driving.

The proliferation of smart phones has meant everyone has constant access to communication, but instead of legislating this, we should simply teach our young and old drivers alike to put the phone down while they are in the car.

Gov. Perry vetoed a bill last session banning texting while driving. This session, a bill passed in the House, but died in the Texas Senate.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that texting while driving has become the number one cause of death for teenagers, surpassing drunken driving. Yet adults text and drive as much or more than teens.

Texting was involved in more than 11,000 crashes in Texas in 2011. Fatalities from those crashes numbered 2,600.

Wed
22
May

Down to the wire - Legislature puts water, transportation, education funding in question

It’s been an up-and-down 83rd session for the Texas Legislature. It began with harmonious overtures and full coffers, thanks to an improving economy. But the session took an ugly turn last month when a deal to improve water infrastructure was derailed in hopes of legislators holding out for the restoration of education funding. Since then it’s been more Washington-flavored discord and unyielding stances from both sides.

                As this is written on Tuesday morning, the last day to pass bills in the House and Senate for this session, what remains unknown is whether or not a special session will be called this summer to address major issues.

                Water is perhaps the most important issue as Texas faces its future. Carol Batterton, executive director for Water Environment Association of Texas, and a Fredericksburg resident, has been keeping tabs on what will happen with the needed seed money to begin improving the state’s water infrastructure.

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