Commentary

Wed
28
May

Dive into summer with FISD

Summer will be here before you know it, and so will cries of “there’s nothing to do,” or blank stares into computer or tablet games.

This summer, let’s get our kids (and ourselves) active with Fredericksburg Independent School District’s Community Education program.

You should have received a mailer from FISD listing all the offerings from June through August. There are more than two full pages of “Kid Stuff” activities, from Little Billies sports camps, to Rocket Camp to baking, soccer, nature camp, dance team, arts, star-gazing, painting, theater and more. (There’s even a “Dinosaur Roarrr” camp for young boys and a “Mermaid Lagoon” camp and “Butterfly” camp just for girls.)

Adults can take part in yoga, Zumba, country and western dance and Mah-jongg. Even the family pet can get involved with dog obedience courses.

Other offerings include a drip irrigation course, and several “Money Matters” courses that teach the basics of finance and job hunting.

Wed
28
May

Leaving home again, this time for good

By Cathy Collier

I remember when the slab for the house was poured. I was 12 and I couldn’t imagine that chunk of concrete being big enough for all four of us to sleep in, let alone live, cook or bathe.

But as the frame went up and the rooms started to take shape I would go every day with my parents to browse through what would one day be the rooms of our new home.

There was no grass — not even any real dirt on the two lots that fanned out beyond the curve in the street. Our house sat in the middle, resting on what seemed like only caliche and rocks. But my mom and dad had dirt brought in, as they could afford a load or two, and spread it carefully, nurturing St. Augustine runners and trimming with scissors when the grass only grew in a long, narrow strip along the sidewalk.

Wed
21
May

EMS sirens are 'the sound of hope'

(Editor's note: The following is run in recognition of National EMS Week this week, May 18-24.)

By Catherine Kuhlman, guest columnist— Flashing lights and blaring sirens waken the silence of a sleepy little town, with tree-lined streets matched with manicured lawns … Smalltown, USA.

To some, those sounds and visions of an ambulance responding is no more than a nuisance, as it delays their day and interrupts the tranquility we call home. While for others, they conjure up images of fear and despair of the injured or sick on the verge of Death’s doorway. In reality, though, these are the images and sounds of hope!

Most patients will be saved. Birthdays … weddings … graduations are events that most will get a chance to enjoy another day.

Bad things happen to good people and it is the job of EMS to not only treat the patients’ medical needs, but to also help calm their fears.

Wed
21
May

This year's grads began school in tumultuous time

It seems like just last week when everyone was ready for the new school year, buying school supplies, shopping for new clothes and making trips to school to resolve schedule conflicts.

And here it is already late-May, and graduation for the Class of 2014 is less than two weeks away on Friday, June 6.

Putting the pencil to paper, this year’s graduates began their education in mid-August 2001 — short of a month before the 9-11 attacks.

These young kindergarteners were carefree then and were concerned more about the rules their teachers read to them from Robert Fulghum’s “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” (Maybe if the whole world read Fulguhm’s book today, things would be in a better state.)

Here's a  list of happenings from 2001-2002, which was the kindergarten year of this year’s grads:

Wed
21
May

On Monday, take a moment for gratitude

Memorial Day a solemn reminder of those who gave all

By Ken Esten Cooke— In this patriotic town, our military veterans are never far from our minds. We honor them on nearly every holiday, we host Wounded Warriors for breaks from their rehabilitation routine, and we have the constant presence of the awesome Admiral Nimitz Museum and the National Museum of the Pacific War.

And while this coming three-day weekend is a portent to summer, the Monday holiday was created as a day of mourning. So please make a point to pause on Monday — Memorial Day — and give thanks for those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Memorial Day began as Decoration Day after the Civil War, when families spruced up the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers who died or visited a memorial. In 1971, Congress made it a national holiday.

Wed
21
May

Wildfire dangers remain high

New 'Ready, Set, Go' program seeks to make residents 'firewise'

By Ken Esten Cooke— Recent news images from fires in San Marcos, California, are disturbing. But the images and evacuations should hit home with those of us residing in the Hill Country.

The fires serve as a reminder that, despite recent rains, we in Gillespie County are still experiencing “exceptional drought” conditions, just as is Southern California.

A new group, the Hill Country Prevention and Readiness Coalition (HCPRC) is trying to focus area residents’ attention on fire prevention measures and incident response readiness. The all-volunteer effort is promoting the “Ready, Set, Go” program in hopes of residents being “firewise.”

Wed
14
May

'Hey, golfer, golfer -- Swing and a miss!"

By Richard Zowie —

There will be no invitations for me to join the PGA tour, no offers for me to golf at the Masters or in San Antonio at the Valero Texas Open. Whenever I drive by the Boot Ranch Golf Course, they probably will hoist a handwritten sign saying, “Do Not Enter. This means YOU, Richard Zowie.”

Of the many things in life I’ve always wanted to do, golf was one of them. It’s now gone from that list, and it left with a whimper.

It’s funny how you can spend years craving to do something, and then finally do it and think of how it was nowhere near as fun as you had imagined.

For years, a maroon golf bag with a used set of golf clubs occupied a corner of my bedroom. Often, they’d talk to me.

“Rich, it’s BORING in this golf bag!” they’d say. “We want to hit golf balls!”

Wed
14
May

Amendment victory due to poor turnout

Two things stood out from Saturday’s election.

First, never doubt the effectiveness of a small, but determined, group of people seeking change. Combine that with flat-out apathy from the majority of local, eligible voters, and change is given (though without much “cents”).

Second, don’t doubt that unintended consequences will occur from the passing (by 25 votes) of the first-ever amendment to the city charter. Calling elections every time the city needs to transfer funds to keep business running smoothly will be cumbersome and expensive, and numb voters’ interest in municipal dealings.

While lawyers will now interpret what this new burden will mean to city staff, rest assured it will cause some administrative heartburn. Even the newly elected council members say as much.

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.

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