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Abbott decides bills’ fates passed by Legislature

June 10, 2015
Abbott decides bills’ fates passed by Legislature

Governor Greg Abbott has until June 21 to give bills recently passed by the Texas Legislature his final consideration before signing them, letting them take effect without his signature or vetoing them.
By June 1, the last day of the Legislature’s 84th regular session, some 819 House bills and 504 Senate bills earned final passage, plus two House Joint Resolutions and five Senate Joint Resolutions. Unlike bills, which are subject to gubernatorial veto, the voters of Texas will find the seven joint resolutions appearing as proposed constitutional amendments on the Nov. 3 statewide ballot.
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Becoming part of the IN crowd

June 10, 2015
Becoming part of the IN crowd

I wish I had paid better attention growing up. There are a lot of things I had to learn by trial and error as a grown-up that happened right in front of me as a youth, but I wasn’t interested.
I expressed that thought to my step-father in a recent conversation. One of those handy guys that can figure out how to fix just about anything, he could have taught me a lot in those early years. But I was too busy and didn’t see the relevance of all that stuff, so it was faster and more efficient to do it himself.… Read the rest

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Freak flag flyin’: I feel like I owe it to someone

June 3, 2015
Freak flag flyin’: I feel like I owe it to someone

ON YOUR MARK
Mark K. Campbell

It’s been eight months since I’ve had a haircut.
I’m not trying to prove anything. At least initially. I just haven’t ventured to my stylist (which is what you have when your hair grows beyond the collar – you have a barber [or spouse], otherwise).
So, since my hair is almost as long as it ever has been – back when I was in college in the mid-1970’s – I’m having hair issues that haven’t cropped up in decades.
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Local history-making WWI pilot training fields: Part 3, where major celebrity Vernon Castle is killed in a crash

June 3, 2015
Local history-making WWI pilot training fields: Part 3, where major celebrity Vernon Castle is killed in a crash

This column is the third in a series about the three pilot training fields in Tarrant County in World War I. The fields originally created jointly by the Canadians and Americans called Taliaferro No. 1, Taliaferro No. 2, and Taliaferro No. 3 became under the Americans, Taliaferro Field, Barron Field and Carruthers Field.
Named after Cadet W. K. Carruthers who died in an airplane accident at Mineola June 18, 1917, some locals called it Camp Benbrook after the James M. Benbrook family who owned land as early as 1876 when Benbrook petitioned the Texas and Pacific Railroad to place a station along Mary’s Creek.… Read the rest

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Legislature passes budget as session ends

June 3, 2015
Legislature passes budget as session ends

Four days before the June 1 end of the 84th regular session of the Texas Legislature, both houses finally agreed after months of deliberation on a state budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.
A 10-member conference committee worked out differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget. The House vote on final adoption of House Bill 1 was 115 ayes to 33 nays; the Senate vote was 30-1. HB 1 awaits approval by Gov. Greg Abbott.
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What to do with criticism

June 3, 2015
What to do with criticism

You never should have been called as pastor of this church.”
Those words were spoken to me over 20 years ago, but they still sting when I think about one of the most painful conversations I had in my 20 years as a pastor. In my current ministry consulting, coaching, and supporting pastors and churches, I have heard reports of variations on that theme more often than I would like to acknowledge.
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Music is great, but can a song save your life?

May 27, 2015
Music is great, but can a song save your life?

On David Letterman’s last show, he exited his lengthy TV career to a song by the Foo Fighters, “Everlong.”
He mentioned how special the song was to him as he recovered from heart surgery years earlier.
I know what he’s talking about.
Sometimes a song takes on some kind of special power, one that affects only you in an indescribable way. And you latch onto it for dear life.
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On how to take a compliment

May 27, 2015
On how to take a compliment

You have an interesting sense of humor.”
That sentence followed, “I enjoy reading your newspaper column” when I was introduced to someone at a funeral visitation. After four years of writing newspaper columns, I never know where I’m going to meet a new reader.
I took the sense of humor comment as a compliment because the context seemed to favor that interpretation.  But I still had to reply, “Well, ‘interesting’ is definitely a good description.”
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Local history-making WWI pilot training fields: Part 2

May 27, 2015
Local history-making WWI pilot training fields: Part 2

Last week’s column told about the World War I Camp Taliaferro No. 1 pilot training field in present Saginaw and commander Major Theodore C. Macaulay.
This week’s focus is Taliaferro No. 2 in present Everman and Lieutenant Colonel Thomas C. Turner. When the U.S. took over from the Canadians, they renamed it Barron Field after Cadet R. J. Barron who drowned at Chandler Field, Essington, Pennsylvania on August 22, 1917 after his airplane fell into the water.
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Texas government trinity of Abbott, Patrick, Straus announce tax relief package compromise

May 27, 2015
Texas government trinity of Abbott, Patrick, Straus announce tax relief package compromise

Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus on May 21 jointly announced a $3.8 billion tax relief package for Texas businesses and homeowners.
According to the announcement, the agreement reached by Patrick and Straus on a tax proposal, along with additional legislation, includes:
1. A 25 percent permanent reduction in the business margins tax;
2. A $10,000 increase in the homestead exemption, beginning in 2015, subject to passage of a constitutional amendment adopted in the November election; and
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