Commentary

Wed
14
May

Stop elder abuse, neglect

Elder abuse doesn’t get as much attention as child abuse, but it still is very real. Around Texas, nearly 70,000 investigations took place, with more than 48,000 turning out to be confirmed cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation. (Self-neglect also was a factor in many of these cases.)

In Gillespie County last year, there were 75 investigations and 45 victims. That hits home.

When people with disabilities or the elderly become ill or depressed, they sometimes can no longer care for themselves, or they quit trying. Self-neglect is also a factor in care for the elderly. That’s when others need to step in.

A new website, EveryonesBusiness.org, has been established to show how to recognize adult abuse or neglect. Anyone who suspects abuse may also call 1-800-252-5400 or report online at www.TxAbuseHotline.org.

Wed
07
May

Look at what all you can buy on television!

Like most everyone else, my first exposure to infomercial advertising on television came from Ron Popeil. Remember him? He sold everything from the Chop-O-Matic to the Pocket Fisherman, Mr. Microphone to the Showtime Rotisserie, and the Smokeless Ashtray to the GLH-9 hair-in-a-can for those male-pattern bald spots (I’m not sure about this product; it could have been left-over black paint in a spray can).

While I never ordered anything from the master of “But wait, there’s more,” I always thought he was a No. 1 salesman of the highest degree. I’m sure he could have sold the proverbial freezer to proverbial Eskimos.

Later on, TV advertising advanced to such products as the Bamboo Steamer. With this device I could cook an entire menu of food — small sections of corn on the cob, raw green beans, broccoli, carrots, onions, mushrooms, cauliflower, and so on — with the steam power from a pan under this revolutionary cooking invention.

Wed
07
May

TTU visits a sign of commitment to area

President provosts, dean show up for local graduation reception

By Ken Esten Cooke— Texas Tech University President Duane Nellis made his second trip to Fredericksburg in his short tenure. The president was accompanied by the school’s provost, Lawrence Schovanec, its vice provost, Melanie Hart and the dean of the TTU School of Education Scott Ridley.

Bringing that much academic official firepower to a Saturday reception featuring 25 area graduates shows that TTU is committed to its regional campuses. It’s reassuring, and we hope for continued commitment and investment from this first-class university.

All of the graduates will receive bachelor’s degrees in official graduation ceremonies later this year. And all are what are now termed “non-traditional” college students.

Wed
07
May

A rightful salute to nurses

Week recognizes contributions of 'front line' employees in patient care

By Ken Esten Cooke— May is a month that brings spring flowers and some important recognition for nurses across the country.

National Nurses Week this year is May 6-12, ending on the birth date of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale and also graduation day for many nurses. Many graduation ceremonies remember Nightingale, the “first nurse,” as a part of a time-honored tradition.

Let’s all thank the nurses in our lives, who represent the largest profession by numbers in a rapidly changing healthcare system. It is because of their dedication to professionalism and patient care that they have been repeatedly voted by the public as the most trusted profession in America.

Wed
30
Apr

TWDB's rural post a welcome change

Water development board’s ombudsman will help towns navigate processes

The State of Texas may never truly figure out how to have enough clean water for its exploding population, but it is not ignoring the problem.

Senator Troy Fraser and Carlos Rubinstein, Texas Water Development Board Chairman, were here last week to introduce the TWDB’s new “rural ombudsman” Doug Shaw. The new position will help rural Texans figure out complicated water needs and provide guidance on equally difficult-to-execute water and wastewater projects.

Small towns often lack the expertise and tax base to support water infrastructure projects, whether it is a new water tower, a wastewater plant or replacing leaky pipes installed in the 1930s. Navigating bureaucracies based in Austin can add to the frustration. So, the new ombudsman’s job is to go to these places and ask what is needed and how can the TWDB help.

Wed
30
Apr

See 'what's growing on' at local farmer's market

Thursday will mark the beginning of “fresh and local” season. Fredericksburg Farmer’s Market will kick off its seventh year, and Marktplatz will again be abuzz with trade in the best, cleanest fare that our pennies can purchase.

And as I sit here typing this in my white shirt and shined shoes, I am reminded that farmers get down and dirty in their chosen field. It’s generally sun-up to sun-down, and, like a dairy, there are no vacations. You know the old joke, “How do you get a million dollars in farming? Start with $2 million and go from there.”

What we purchase at the farmer’s market will be the end result of a lot of sweat and toil, a lot of trial and error and a lot of poker playing with Mother Nature herself.

Wed
30
Apr

Bad-mouthing politicians with Elmo

In the mid-1950s, Sam Houston State Teachers College was a small school. It’s now Sam Houston State University and has several times the enrollment that it did in the fall of 1955, my freshman year, when the student body numbered 1,900 and the freshman class accounted for 900 of that enrollment.

I mistakenly signed up to live in a dormitory that was mostly for freshman boys (no co-ed dorms in those strait-laced days of imposed morals and naiveté).

Before the end of the first semester, I’d found a private home across the street from the campus with rooms to rent. I had a journalism scholarship that paid books, tuition and fees and I had a job to pay other expenses. I was a short order cook at the Club Café, down the street from my ultimate home for three semesters, in the home of Elmo and Falvey Welch, a delightful couple in the their late 70s.

Wed
30
Apr

LBJ Park a huge boom to area

A report released this week from the National Park Service shows that 111,000 visitors to the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park in Stonewall and Johnson City in 2012 spent $6,961,800 in communities near the park. While it’s no doubt of the park’s impact on local tourism, to see it quantified is rewarding.

Visitor spending to the parks supported 84 jobs in the local area, the NPS stated.

Park Superintendent Russ Whitlock said the park welcomes visitors from around the globe. “We are delighted to share the stories of this place and use the national park as a way to introduce our visitors to the love-affair President and Mrs. Johnson had for the Hill Country,” Whitlock said.

Wed
23
Apr

Sounding like old-timers: 'When I was your age...'

When I was a youngster, I can remember my grandparents telling me of how times were when they were children and they would compare their experiences with those of my childhood.

Some days, I find myself sounding just like them as I tell my nieces and nephews about how things were done back when I was just a kid, and that was only in the late ’50s and early ’60s.

No matter if it was “now” or “then,” it’s always fun to reminisce how things were “way back when.”

Here goes:

Few, if any, of the streets in Fredericksburg, including Main Street, were paved, and there were no traffic lights.

Since there were no street signs in town, directions were given by telling the traveler the number of blocks to travel, which direction to turn (right or left), how many intersections to travel through, and which bridge, corner or specific landmark to watch for.

Wed
23
Apr

We 'disapprove' of charter amendment

Vote no on draconian measure, which will hamstring city government, cause ill effects

 By Ken Esten Cooke— Trust in government is very low in many quarters, and the upcoming charter amendment election shows that it has seeped far past the federal level and into local ranks.

But the upcoming charter amendment election asking voters to call an election each time money is transferred between  budget accounts, is both unneeded and an overreaction to legitimate concerns.

Much of it stems from the way the city’s golf course and its renovation were funded. Shortfalls were routinely covered by transfers from utility fund surpluses, and a loan was made from another department to fund the course’s renovation, which the city viewed as an underperforming asset.

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