Commentary

Wed
02
Jul

Remembering famous births, deaths on July 4

July Fourth — commonly known as America’s birthday — is just around the corner. Of course, that’s when we Americans celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence and breaking ties with Great Britain.

Question: Do they have a July 4th in England?

Answer: Yes they do; it’s on their calendar, too! They just don’t celebrate the significance of the day as we do.)

“I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy, born on the Fourth of July” are the lyrics from a popular George M. Cohan song. What’s more patriotic than to have come into this world on July 4?

Not much, I’d say.

In 1872, America’s 30th president, “Silent” Calvin Coolidge was born.

Then, in the year 1902, an actor-turned-politician (no, not Ronald Reagan or Arnold Schwarznegger) was delivered. In this case, it was George Murphy, a film song-and-dance man who also served the people of California in the U.S. Senate from 1965-1971.

Wed
02
Jul

Public right to know a worthwhile agenda

Texas Press Association honors those who carry open government flag

By Ken Esten Cooke— Last week’s Texas Press Association convention in Corpus Christi served as a reminder to elected officials that We the People own the government. The reminder didn’t take the negative tone of a warning or a threat, but of positive reinforcement in recognizing four of those elected officials who defended the people’s right to a free flow of their information.

Wed
02
Jul

Longtime employees serve us well

By Ken Esten Cooke– With last week’s editorial about the challenges of finding good employees in a worker-short market, I am thankful to come to work every day and know I have a solid, reliable and experienced staff in the office.

At our recent summer company picnic, we recognized employees who hit five-year milestones here. Those serving 20 years were given some extra special recognition, and I want to post some brags about them as well.

Steven Cornehl has been with Fredericksburg Publishing Company (Pubco) for 20 years. Steven handles our “back shop” where he orchestrates the organization, insertion and delivery of all the sections and inserts in the paper each week.

You can hear Steven making proclamations in German a lot of days, including, “Ist Zeit für ein Bier,” which he told me means, “I love my job.”

Wed
25
Jun

Old Glory, from 48, to 49, to 50 stars

By Sherri Geistweidt —

I’ve seen them popping up more and more all over town since Flag Day was observed two weeks ago.

And, last week, my sister-in-law picked up one for me when she was shopping at one of those chain stores in the city.

Yes, now that I’ve got my “Stars and Stripes” T-shirt like several million others have purchased, I’m ready to celebrate Independence Day next Friday.

I try to get my hands on one of those shirts each year so that I can show my patriotism, and always ponder the fact that the shirt contains the name of the merchant printed across the front. So, in essence, I pay to advertise the name of that store on my shirt!

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I can’t remember back that far and had never given it much thought, but when I was born, there weren’t 50 stars on the United States flag. Back then, there were only 48 — each representing one of the states in the Unit-ed States at the time.

Wed
25
Jun

Seeking solutions for workforce issue

By Ken Esten Cooke —

Local business owners know that Fredericksburg and Gillespie County’s most pressing problems are finding employees to fill the needs of a growing economy.

While it’s a blessing to have a healthy economy, those in the service sector find it can be hard to make ends meet with what jobs pay locally.

The Leaders’ Breakfast on Tuesday — sponsored by the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce, the Gillespie County Economic Development Commission and the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau — helped highlight the challenges that we must face.

Gillespie County’s job rate in April was 2.7 percent (it rose slightly to 3.1 percent in May). Five percent is considered “full employment,” so that illustrates our problem.

Local employers place help wanted ads, put signs in windows and have made up banners promoting signing bonuses to try and draw talented, reliable employees.

Wed
18
Jun

Some curated wisdom, two decades later

By Richard Zowie —

For one of my assignments two weekends ago, I took pictures of the Harper High School graduation.

As a journalist, I’ve photographed several graduations. Many of the pictures are similar: the graduates enter as “Pomp and Circumstance” plays, the valedictorian speaks, students receive diplomas, they toss their mortarboards into the air. Graduates then hug each other and their families.

Some students cry as they close one chapter of their lives and enter a new one. Sometimes it means saying goodbye to friends they’ve known since kindergarten and wondering how long it’ll be before they see them again.

I graduated from A.C. Jones High School in Beeville in 1991. We were all eager to graduate — not just to receive our diplomas, but because we wore black graduation gowns (despite our orange and white school colors) in the Bee County Coliseum, which then had no air conditioning.

Wed
18
Jun

Rain is always in our conscience

By Cathy Collier —

It’s a four-letter word that gets almost everyone’s attention … and it is certainly on the lips of most people you see each day.

We need it. We want it.  We say to each other, “Let it rain.”

Just a small sprinkling and the grass wakes up, the wildflowers decide to bolt into bloom and gardens start to sprout.

A brief ozone-filled thunderstorm generates more excitement than the circus coming to town. We run to our porches, peek out the windows, go out into the front yard and throw our hands skyward.

It’s not just a relief that, on that particular night, we won’t have to artificially water the grass or the garden. It’s the feeling, as it is falling, that the earth is getting a facial — like the trees are laughing.

Wed
18
Jun

How about we just fully fund TxDOT?

By Ken Esten Cooke —

Sometimes driving around the state’s capitol city feels like driving through New Jersey. Vehicles are being “dinged” for a buck or two every few miles. And that’s annoying to Texans, who value their automobiles and their autonomy — read: freedom.

How did toll roads outside Houston and Dallas ever get a foothold as “business as usual” in the state capitol? It seems every new construction around the Austin metro area, and even some upgrades, have been done as tolls.

Wed
18
Jun

Summer reading instills love

By Ken Esten Cooke —

School’s out for summer. So that means it’s time to break out the books.

It’s good to get a breather from the rigors of the school year. But after we celebrate graduation or promotion to the next grade level, let’s not let academic progress slip.

Educators have noted that the most critical time of year for students is not the period leading up to the STAAR test. It’s summertime, when some slip back into brain-sapping activities like limitless television and video games, while shelving books for nearly three full months.

We commend Fredericksburg Rotary Club for their work with “Books for Babies,” which gives new moms books they can read to their infants.

We also praise Fredericksburg Elementary School staffers for keeping its library open from Tuesdays through Thursdays during June from 7:30-11:30 a.m. to let students check out books. (Parents must accompany children.)

Wed
11
Jun

Who thought up all those mascot names?

By Danny Hirt —

Something very cool recently happened in our community.

As most of you know, the Fredericksburg High School mascot — the Battlin’ Billie — was named the best mascot throughout the Lone Star State in the Mascot Madness Tournament conducted by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine.

Out of a field of 32 schools, FHS topped the likes of the Frost Polar Bears, the Mason Punchers and, my second favorite, the Hutto Hippos.

But with such a unique name as the Battlin’ Billies, in recognition of the many goats that have populated the Hill Country for many decades, it might be interesting to take a look at other weird-sounding mascots from different parts of the country.

For example, there’s another FHS, this one found in the state of Indiana. The animal that represents the virtues and values of Frankfort High School is the dachshund, or, to be more precise, the Hot Dog.

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