Commentary

Tue
10
Nov

Nation must get a grip on healthcare costs

By Ken Esten Cooke
 

Popular syndicated financial columnist Scott Burns hit the nail on the head recently when he cited a recent study of lifetime healthcare costs. He said most politicians and many in healthcare miss the point about how healthcare costs have spiraled out of control.

“There is a limit here, and we have reached it. The cost of healthcare has become an administrated tyranny, a national extortion. It threatens our ability to lead a normal life. People live in fear of any kind of health event, in fear of changes in insurance policies, in fear of cancellation of policies.

“People live in fear of health care itself. It’s time for change. Big change.”

Tue
10
Nov

Second day of deer camp and the gang's all here

By Sherrie Y. Geistweidt

 

While the 2015-2016 big game hunting season began last weekend, there was a time when it would only be opening this weekend.

Stepping back in time 75 to 80 years or so, it would be opening bright and early Monday morning.

Yes, there was a time when, instead of the first Saturday in November, the season opened on Nov. 16, no matter on which day of the week it fell.

All of the die-hard hunters planned their vacations around that date so as not to miss the first day of the season. Sometimes, school students would be absent with a “mysterious” bug.

And, here in the Hill Country back in the early years, it was illegal to shoot spike bucks or does. Add to that the fact that there weren’t many deer to begin with, and it was a real challenge for a hunter to even see a legal buck to shoot.

Tue
10
Nov

A love letter to James Bond

 By Matt Ward

For all of the explosions, near death experiences and high speed car chases in the blockbuster smash hit “Spectre,” Daniel Craig’s fourth performance in the longest running film franchise in history is — at the end of the day — a love letter to James Bond.

There’s the iconic hand-to-hand combat scene on a train lifted from “From Russia With Love,” gadget-rigged luxury sports cars and picturesque secret bases stashed away in remote foreign locales.

Expert fans can probably find a reference or two from every single previous Bond film, right down to the skeleton suit Craig dons in tribute to the recently deceased Geoffrey Holder, who played the memorable villain Baron Samedi in Roger Moore’s Bond debut “Live and Let Die” in 1973.

Wed
04
Nov

Movie that's a game changer

Netflix is changing the entertainment business. Again.

After revolutionizing how we consume home video with their DVD mailing and online streaming services, the Internet mega-power broke barriers with their original television content, winning Emmys for “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.” This massive change allowed viewers to binge watch an entire season within days of watching the season premiere while never having to stop for a commercial break.

Netflix is back again with another groundbreaking endeavor, seeking to revolutionize feature films once again by producing their own full length feature films and releasing them simultaneously online and in theaters. While a major threat to the movie theater industry, such efforts could be game changing for audiences and for independent filmmakers trying to expand their reach.

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?

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