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Talkin’ Texan:

September 7, 2016
Talkin’ Texan:

Ya’ll git it right or just skedaddle

This column first appeared August 11, 2000.

Lately I have noticed that consistently I use a very old-fashioned “country” term, that no one else seems to use much.
I still say “supper” most of the time when I mention an evening meal. It is the way we talked when I grew up, and it is hard to break a habit.
Now, if my husband is taking me out to eat in the evening to a restaurant, that is a special occasion, so we’re going “out to dinner.” Dinner in “country” language is the noon meal, when farmers used to come in from the field when the sun was high in the sky and eat a big meal – the first food since an early, early breakfast.… Read the rest

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Chief announces fines assessed to testing service

September 7, 2016
Chief announces fines assessed to testing service

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath on Aug. 23 announced the Texas Education Agency will fine the company that delivers and administers STAAR® — the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness — with $5.7 million in liquidated damages.
Morath also directed the company, Austin-based Educational Testing Services, to invest $15 million for a total of $20.7 million. The $20.7 million, according to the TEA, “addresses various logistical issues encountered by students and school systems during statewide STAAR administration in the 2015-2016 school year.”
“I believe this combination of liquidated damages with an additional financial commitment from ETS reflects the correct balance of accountability for the recent past and safeguards for the future,” Morath said in an Aug.… Read the rest

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Hate your neighbor? I’ll trade with you right now

August 31, 2016
Hate your neighbor? I’ll trade with you right now

They came in the night.
Our new neighbors bought the 27 acres directly in front of our modest country home in northern Parker County.
They were so nice – a very pregnant woman with a young child and her husband who said he was having a small group bible study when they got settled in.
As they worked on the pristine land, I helped them fix a truck late one night. We gave their child toys to play with when they visited. I loaned them our riding mower to use.
Then, about 9:30 one night, they knocked on our door and said their bank would not approve their loan unless the paperwork they bore was signed, a re-surveying of the roadway I own and allow easement to.… Read the rest

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The gift of forgetfulness

August 31, 2016
The gift of forgetfulness

I once heard in church a story that was both poignant and humorous. A man told about taking his mother to church shortly after she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
The sermon that day was based on James 5:16 – “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
As the preacher talked about the value of Christians confessing their sins to each other and not carrying the weight of guilt by themselves, he also warned that confession should only be made to trustworthy people who would not allow the information to become a seed for gossip.… Read the rest

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Federal court rules in favor of UT’s campus carry

August 31, 2016
Federal court rules in favor of UT’s campus carry

An attempt by three University of Texas at Austin professors to prevent licensed permit holders from carrying their concealed handguns while attending classes was denied by U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel on Aug. 22.
Named as defendants in the professors’ lawsuit were Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, UT President Gregory L. Fenves and each member of the UT Board of Regents. The campus carry policy that sparked the lawsuit was approved by the board of regents in accordance with Senate Bill 11, a law passed by the state Legislature in 2015 allowing concealed carry on public university campuses. The law took effect Aug.… Read the rest

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A close call changes General Sherman’s mindset

August 31, 2016
A close call changes General Sherman’s mindset

This column first appeared September 5, 1968.

The afternoon of May 18, 1871 seemed sultry and humid. Threatening clouds hovered low over the open prairie.
A 16-man detail of U.S. Calvarymen escorted an important personage along the northwest Texas frontier. His task: Inspect all forts along the sparsely settled lie and judge for himself whether more soldiers were needed to protect citizens there.
Texans had swamped his office in Washington with requests for more troops. The General felt, however, that they wanted the troops so more civilians could obtain government contracts to provide food and other commodities to the Army.
The General – sandy-haired William Tecumseh Sherman who brought Georgia to its knees seven years previously – wanted to know if savage Comanches and Kiowas really scalped and killed as frequently as Texans claimed.… Read the rest

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Twenty-five years of HS sports and counting

August 24, 2016
Twenty-five years of HS sports and counting

I’ll be on the sidelines again this Friday night – for the 25th consecutive year.
In that quarter of a century, I’ve seen a lot exciting games and events. And I’ve sat through some contests that seemed like they would never end.
I was pretty excited by the time of that Aug. 1992 season-opening game, my first to cover.
The first football contest I would ever cover was the resumption of the Springtown-Azle rivalry, the first meeting of the teams since the 1950s. The Porcupines won 13-7 in a game that became a near-annual rivalry for the next decade.
I started calling it the Battle of 199 then switched it to the Blacktop Battle and was geared up to producing a traveling trophy when Springtown dropped in classification and the teams quit facing each other.… Read the rest

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He’s still good

August 24, 2016
He’s still good

God is good!” I hear that phrase and see it on Facebook often. It almost always follows a report of some kind of blessing. We got some much needed rain today. My friend got a good report from the doctor. I got the job. My kids made the trip safely. We baptized three people at church today.
I love hearing good news! And I love it when people publicly acknowledge the truth of James 1:17 – “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
I know it bothers some cynics when a successful public figure says, “I just want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” It even bothers some Christ-followers when someone says that who has made some, shall we say, less than Christ-honoring choices.… Read the rest

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Charles Goodnight: ‘Cattaloes’ and a young bride

August 24, 2016
Charles Goodnight: ‘Cattaloes’ and a young bride

This column first appeared November 21, 1979.

Finding out things I didn’t know about Western characters that I thought I already knew a lot about is fun. It makes the person, and the West, even more real.
I already knew about Charles Goodnight and the Goodnight-Loving Trail to New Mexico and later to Colorado. I knew that Goodnight returned from Colorado to form a partnership with Britisher John Adair.
And:
• That he made the ranch into a profitable enterprise for himself and his partner and even experimented – unsuccessfully, though – with crossing buffalo and cattle: cattaloes.
• That the Panhandle town of Goodnight was located near his ranch headquarters.… Read the rest

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Texan diagnosed with Zika illness after trip

August 24, 2016
Texan diagnosed with Zika illness after trip

A Texas resident who recently traveled to Miami, Florida, has tested positive for Zika virus disease, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported on Aug. 15.
The traveler, an El Paso County resident, sought testing after becoming ill. This is the first Texas case to be linked to travel within the continental United States. The case will be classified as “travel-associated” and is being investigated for more details, the DSHS said.
While this is El Paso County’s first reported case of Zika, Texas had 121 reported cases of the disease as of Aug. 19. The count includes three pregnant women, two infants infected before birth and one person who had sexual contact with a traveler.… Read the rest

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