Commentary

Wed
06
Aug

Outlook for theater: Excellent

FTC, FISD starting them young, putting on first-class productions

By Ken Esten Cooke— The announcement that a community theater company was going to produce “Les Misérables” over the summer was met with no small amount of disbelief. But the staging of that fabulous production showed that desire to have a first-class production far outpaced any cynicism.

Fredericksburg Theater Company has no plans of slowing down, as witnessed by its children’s production of “The Jungle Book” and this weekend’s addition of “The Fantasticks” to its repertoire. (As an added bonus, Harvey Schmidt, composer of the music, will be in town on Thursday for the opening — something extra special for a small town theater company. See our feature elsewhere in this edition.)

Wed
06
Aug

Outlook for theater: Excellent

FTC, FISD starting them young, putting on first-class productions

By Ken Esten Cooke— The announcement that a community theater company was going to produce “Les Misérables” over the summer was met with no small amount of disbelief. But the staging of that fabulous production showed that desire to have a first-class production far outpaced any cynicism.

Fredericksburg Theater Company has no plans of slowing down, as witnessed by its children’s production of “The Jungle Book” and this weekend’s addition of “The Fantasticks” to its repertoire. (As an added bonus, Harvey Schmidt, composer of the music, will be in town on Thursday for the opening — something extra special for a small town theater company. See our feature elsewhere in this edition.)

Wed
30
Jul

Wanderer's travels inspire admiration


Bryan Brant stopped in downtown Fredericksburg and drew plenty of attention. Brant's cross-country journey is one of renewal for both his body and spirit. — Standard-Radio Post/Ken Esten Cooke

By Ken Esten Cooke —

“Because he had no place he could stay in without getting tired of it and because there was nowhere to go but everywhere, keep rolling under the stars….” – Jack Kerouac

Like a lot of 20-year-olds, I was taken with Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road” when I read it in college. It’s an ebullient ode to experiencing life to the fullest, and I sought to spread my wings and see parts of this place we call Planet Earth.

Fortunately, I was able to join some other wayward minstrels and do that for a while. There is no education like travel, and it was good for this small-town boy to get out and put some mileage under my boots.

Wed
30
Jul

As market grows, so does its price tag

Nothing is certain, they say, but death and taxes. And it seems certain that property taxes, driven by a rise in popularity of this area, will certainly continue to rise.

Final appraised values showed Gillespie County properties again hitting the $7 billion mark, after being hit by the national recession for the past five years.

While Fredericksburg never suffered the debilitating real estate situations of other locales, sales activity did slow considerably. But the market for both residential and commercial property has heated up again considerably.

The average home value has risen to $216,000, up around $10,000 in the past five years. That’s slightly higher than the median home price in Texas ($212,000), though that includes every property from Alvin to Austin. And while we’re comparable to some parts of Austin, Fredericksburg is certainly not valued as high as the capital city’s high-rent districts.

Wed
23
Jul

Up Cross Mountain in their Sunday best


A view of Fredericksburg from Cross Mountain, circa 1918. — Photo courtesy Geistweidt family

Family photo album shows slice of life in early 1900s

"TIME PIECES" - By Sherrie Geistweidt— There’s an old expression that every photo is worth a thousand words.

If there’s any truth to that adage, then an old family al-bum compiled by my grandmother Geistweidt’s family is worth hundreds of thousands of words.

Worn by years of use, that album is filled with pictures taken by my great-grandparents and show their children the life and times in the Texas Hill Country in the late-teens and early-1920s.

Wed
23
Jul

Golf course study shows it's an asset

Economic impact tabbed at $8 million-plus annually for renovated facility

By Ken Esten Cooke— The Lower Colorado River Authority’s Community and Economic Development department had good news last week for pros and duffers alike: The Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park Golf Course boosts the city by more than $8 million a year.

Seeing as there is a group that views any government spending as bad, this study should validate that the golf course and its recent renovation have been worthy investments.

We opined last year to give the golf course time and let the new pro Alan Wooley use his management skills. Wooley recently told the Standard-Radio Post that new tournaments have been added to the Lady Bird Johnson Golf Course schedule that will bring in even more visitors.

Wed
23
Jul

Low juror turnout a problem

Jury duty is a privilege that often inspires dread.

For many, the only thing worse than a bill in the mail is a jury summons, and the first instinct is to seek some way to get out of it. That mind-set needs to change or it could undermine our court system.

Some Texas counties report that as many as 80 percent of those summoned for jury duty report to the courthouse, according to a recent study released by Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. But for others, it’s less than 50 percent.

Jury summonses are mailed almost every week. Some are undeliverable because the addresses, culled from Texas Department of Public Safety and voter registration records, were invalid. Some potential jurors are excused or disqualified from jury service after providing documentation showing they are not U.S. citizens, are attending school or other exemption.

Potential jurors who ignore a call to service can end up in jail or be fined.

Wed
16
Jul

Better to watch soccer than golf, poker, auto racing

I’m not a huge soccer fan, but it’s fun to watch the World Cup.

Whenever the World Cup is played, I have my two favorite teams: America and Germany. It’s especially interesting when they’re in the same initial group.

As always, when the quadrennial world championship of soccer is played, two predictable questions arise here in America:

Will they ever create an Academy Award for soccer to recognize those who react as if shot with a .44 Magnum whenever an opponent barely touches them?

Both for soccer and the NBA. I’d suggest Best Flop, Best Supporting Flop, Best Choreographed Flop and Best Costume While Flopping.

Why is soccer so boring?

Famous sports talk show host Jim Rome has said he doesn’t talk soccer on his program because soccer’s not a real sport. Many Americans would agree with him.

Wed
16
Jul

City wise to pursue east side annexation

Kudos to city planners to thinking of this town’s image and its future.

Last week’s announcement that the city would pursue the annexation of more than 144 acres beyond its eastern city limits shows foresight and thoughtful planning.

The reasons for annexation are many. This will provide the potential for city services to be extended to those properties. It will increase the city’s tax base, enlarging the pool for base revenue. And, perhaps most importantly, it will help control growth at the busiest entrance into town.

Some property owners request annexation, as they prefer the city to handle utilities and don’t mind the cost associated with extending services. Fredericksburg’s most recent annexation was 15 acres in the Stoneridge subdivision, where 33 lots may house many future residents.

Yet annexing private property can be a touchy issue, particularly with owners who might not want it.

Wed
09
Jul

Taller billboards not a necessity in Texas

Part of the reason the Hill Country’s beautiful scenery is so revered is that its hills, brush and limestone are not covered up with advertisements.

Imagine taking a drive on the Willow City Loop during wildflower season, and having the setting interrupted with the latest promotional messages about fast food or cell phones.

The Texas Department of Transportation is considering proposed rule changes that would permit the height of billboards along federal highways to be increased 35 percent, unless they are located within a city having stricter standards.

A group called Scenic Texas opposes the rule, as it serves no public purpose. We agree. We feel like the industry is seeing an opening in rural areas where clearly written, enforceable standards have not been established. (Indeed, many towns do not have defined standards.)

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