Commentary

Wed
04
Nov

Working together best path on 'noise'

It was rewarding to see musicians and music fans forcefully, but respectfully, present their case to the Fredericksburg City Council on Monday night. The council discussed revisiting its noise ordinance at a recent workshop, and that grew into a social media furor, one that was not always respectful or even reasonable.

Depending on what online gripe board one reads, the city council was either out to destroy live music or neighbors had to deal with Rolling Stones concerts each day.

Neither is true, of course. And the musicians and club owners on Monday simply wanted a seat at the table to find some middle ground in this debate.

Wed
04
Nov

Costume recycle fizzles big brother's candy haul

Yeah, I know Halloween was last Saturday, and it won’t be around for another year. But I made some observations while watching young people scavenge the neighborhoods recently, looking for anything edible, especially if loaded down with sugar.

Then, watching my three-year-old granddaughter make her own personal journeys over the weekend brought back a flood of memories from my own childhood.

I remember the year I went as Mad Magazine persona, Alfred E. Neuman (of “What, me worry?” fame). It was more of a pull-over costume that didn’t require much lead time to get ready.

I was about eight years of age when several of my friends and I headed out on our once-a-year trek for candy. As we braved the cool nighttime breezes of this late October Carolina evening, we were surprised with the large amount of treats we were accumulating.

Wed
28
Oct

Searching for serenity


The Warrior II pose is one of Mitch Proctor’s favorites when it comes to yoga. The Army veteran practices yoga and finds it helpful in dealing with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). — Stand-ard-Radio Post/Richard Zowie

By Richard Zowie

 

Mitch Proctor may have finally found what he’s been looking for.

Using both the triangle and warrior poses, Proctor is able to achieve a level of relaxation and peace that, a few years ago, he would’ve thought were unattainable.

The Army veteran has been using yoga to deal with the effects of post traumatic stress disorder.

It wasn’t easy at first.

“My balance was off and I had to get past being the only man in class,” Proctor said of his first time practicing yoga. “I was falling all over the place. I really had a hard time trying to stay focused, but as I started to listen to the people and teachers, things improved.”

Originally from New York City, Proctor spent 20 years in the U.S. Army as a combat and special forces medic. His job took him all over America, including here in Texas at Fort Hood, Fort Bliss and Fort Sam Houston.

Wed
28
Oct

'No Chains' a tough, but important, rule

Anyone who values Fredericksburg’s uniqueness will want to keep a close eye on potential development downtown.

Fredericksburg’s city council did just that last week, though not without having to play the enforcer role for the ordinance that subjects downtown landowners to a different set of rules.

The ordinance, drafted in 2008, is nicknamed “No Chains on Main” and it’s in place for the simple fact that Fredericksburg doesn’t want to look like every other strip mall or franchise-dominated market. And the ordinance does so for a reason: Fredericksburg’s unique quality and the attraction of, at last count, 1.5 million visitors per year, a staggering figure for a small town.

Wed
28
Oct

Take in the art works of '20th Century giant'


Art world authority Adair Margo began the Tom Lea Institute in 2009. She promotes the work of her fellow El Pasoan, "a giant of the 20th Century." — Standard-Radio Post/ Ken Esten Cooke

If you had the opportunity to interview a legend in your field, as in to sit with them weekly to learn about their life and work, would you take it?

Artist Margo Adair did just that as she put together a book on Tom Lea, the iconic World War II illustrator.

Lea’s work is now on display at the National Museum of the Pacific War through Jan. 3. It shows some of the paintings and illustrations that Lea made as he accompanied troops around the Pacific theater. The work is an unflinching look at the front lines and the sacrifices made by that generation of men.

I had the opportunity to meet with Margo and go through the gallery, with her giving commentary on the individual pieces.

In the days before iPads and laptop computers, it is amazing that Lea followed the troops with a sketchbook, putting himself in harm’s way.

Looking at his work, it is easy to see that he cared about these military men by the detail of his work.

Wed
21
Oct

Student population shows rising trend

 

Our lead story last week drew a lot of attention with the headline “‘Majority in FISD economically disadvantaged.” Some thought it made our town “not look good.”

First, this is a newspaper, not a chamber of commerce newsletter or a tourism brochure.

Second, this is the real world. This town’s population is changing, as is the rest of Texas.

To recap, just more than 53 percent of students in the Fredericksburg Independent School District qualified as economically disadvantaged. That means families of four earning $31,525 or less qualify for a free lunch. Families of four earning $44,800 or less qualify for reduced-lunch pricing.

So how did we in Pleasantville, USA arrive here?

Wed
21
Oct

On stage, seeing life through beer goggles

By Richard Zowie

 

Art Carney, perhaps most famous for playing sewer worker Ed Norton in the 1950s sitcom “The Honeymooners,” once said this about his iconic character: “I love Ed Norton and what he did for my career. But the truth is that we couldn’t have been more different. Norton was the total extrovert, there was no way you could put down his infectious good humor. Me? I’m a loner and a worrier.”

I’m not Carney, and I doubt I’ll ever win an Emmy, Golden Globe or Academy Award, as Carney did, but I enjoy my hobby in community theater as I pretend to be other people.

My latest venture has been as Simon Stimson in “Our Town” at the Fredericksburg Theater Company.

In this play, Stimson is a choir director, organ player and chronic alcoholic. He’s not a happy drunk, but one who frequently seems angry and disgusted.

Wed
14
Oct

Get involved

Elsewhere in this issue, you’ll find a photograph about Fredericksburg Rotary Club awarding a Community Service Award to Barbara Heinen, who is an excellent example of one who serves others.

The award was named after the late Hans Hannemann, who was instrumental in developing our airport, helped with the volunteer fire department, assisted in developing our youth through the scouting organization, and was involved in many other town-focused issues, selflessly volunteering his time toward so many good causes.

While we know everyone is busy these days, we implore all to get involved with groups that work to make this community stronger.

The Los Angeles Times recently ran a story about Angelenos’ community involvement with charity or volunteer work.

The answers in that urban core for not getting involved sound much the same as in our rural areas (The poll allowed for more than one choice.):

Wed
14
Oct

Monarch deaths a huge concern

Wildseed Farms’ annual Monarch Celebration was a big hit with nature lovers and those who partook in the run for their health.

    But what’s happening to these butterflies is a potential signal of the poor health of our world.

    In the past two decades, numbers for Monarch butterflies have dropped from one billion to as low as 30 million today. That equates to having lost as much as 97 percent of the population. That is an extremely rapid decline and it should cause concern that we could lose this species altogether.

    Scientists have linked habitat destruction in Mexico and the widespread use of herbicides (specifically, Roundup produced by Monsanto) here in the United States to the species’ huge loss in numbers. Mexico has taken steps to preserve the critical mountain habitat for the Monarchs. 

 

Wed
14
Oct

Weather can't make up its mind about autumn

By Sherrie Y. Geistweidt

 

With the arrival of autumn three weeks ago, I was sure the days of near-100-degree heat were over.

But, I was wrong.

The past week or so, it’s been nearly unbearable to do outside chores in the afternoon as the temperatures hover in the upper-nineties.

Sunday afternoon, the reading about 4:30 was a toasty 94 degrees, and the weatherman said Monday’s high in Austin rose to 99 at one spot, and I’m sure it was that high in the Hill Country.

But yesterday morning when I stepped outside, it was downright chilly as a “cool front” blue in late Monday evening to cool things off a bit. It was only 10 degrees, but that little bit put everyone in a better mood yesterday.

One evening the other week when the last “cool front” arrived, I noticed a handful of Monarch butterflies floating through the air in the Doss valley.

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