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Lasting fame came for Overland Stage’s John Butterfield

March 5, 2015
Lasting fame came for Overland Stage’s John Butterfield

In our modern world where we can know almost instantaneously what is taking place on the other side of the planet, it is difficult to remember that barely 150 years ago people got excited that a letter could leave the middle part of the U.S. (St. Louis) and be in San Francisco in 23 days!
The method of this great accomplishment officially was the Overland Mail. However, since John W. Butterfield won the government contract to supply the stagecoaches, relay stations, and drivers, the endeavor commonly became known as the Butterfield Stage.… Read the rest

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Senate panel passes legislation to fund state highways

March 5, 2015
Senate panel passes legislation to fund state highways

The Senate Transportation Committee on Feb. 25 tentatively approved two pieces of legislation that would take a portion of various motor vehicle related taxes and dedicate that money to road and bridge construction and maintenance.
Senate Bill 5, enabling legislation, and Senate Joint Resolution 5, which would put a constitutional amendment on the November statewide ballot, are meant to help cover the shortfall in the state highway funding program. According to Senate documents, the two measures work together to dedicate a portion of the motor vehicle sales tax and other taxes associated with vehicle use, but not the gas tax, to TxDOT so the agency “can reasonably predict and plan projects six to 10 years into the future, to replace congestion and to preserve our system.”… Read the rest

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Ground control to Major Tom: Off to Mars?!

February 25, 2015
Ground control to Major Tom: Off to Mars?!

It was good news, bad news for 100 people last week.
Good: They were finalists to become members of the first manned mission to Mars.
Bad: They were finalists to become members of the first manned mission to Mars.
The idea of rocketing to the Red Planet is very exciting to many, especially those of us with memories of the original moon landing in July 1969. (I recall my dad fetching me – I was probably reading some sci-fi book – to come watch it with him on TV.)… Read the rest

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Where is God?

February 25, 2015
Where is God?

I will apologize in advance for telling an old joke:
Three pre-adolescent boys had a well-deserved reputation as mischief makers in school. They were not bad kids; they just had a knack for rocking the boat and disrupting the learning process for everyone. Finally, their teacher had enough and sent them to the principal’s office. (This is where you can tell it’s an old joke). The first one was brought in, while the others waited in the hallway. The principal, thinking that these boys just needed to be a little more aware of their circumstances and see the big picture, began with a question:… Read the rest

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Place names always have a story to tell: Skillman’s Grove

February 25, 2015
Place names always have a story to tell: Skillman’s Grove

Place names that travelers often take for granted have a story to tell, if we just knew it. Remember the Bloys Camp Meeting column that ran recently? It meets in a place called Skillman’s Grove.
As luck would have it, I was reading a book last week about the Butterfield stage (a column will appear soon), and I saw the name “Skillman’s Grove.” I read the comment: “The giant oaks stretch almost a mile toward the mountains.” I learned that the grove of giant oaks was named for Capt. Henry Skillman.… Read the rest

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Governor gives lawmakers his state budget priorities

February 25, 2015
Governor gives lawmakers his state budget priorities

On Feb. 17, Gov. Greg Abbott delivered his first State of the State address during a joint session of the Texas House and Senate and released his recommendations for the two-year 2016-2017 state budget.
In his 43-page Governor’s Budget document, Abbott said he aims to: “Constrain the size and growth of government. Reduce agency spending. Suspend, reduce, and eliminate unnecessary taxes and fees. Ensure government supports job creation and is accountable and transparent.”… Read the rest

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In sickness and in health…well, mainly sickness

February 18, 2015
In sickness and in health…well, mainly sickness

When you’ve been married a long time – the Bride and I are pushing 40 years together – you eventually run out of new things to do as a couple.
But, we recently found some original terrain, something new to share: We both got sick at the same time.
(Now we had been sore at the same time – for a few days after Feb. 27, 2004 when a drunk hit and rolled our truck [it’s true: some days are way more memorable than others], but never sick at the same time.)… Read the rest

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One day at a time

February 18, 2015
One day at a time

So, how are you doing?”
Sometimes that’s the only thing we can think to ask. Perhaps the issue is illness, grief, job loss, re-bellious children (or parents)…I could go on and on. Sometimes the hits just keep on coming.
I’ve heard it said that you are either in a problem, just came out of a problem, or are just about to enter into a problem. (To keep going with my recent theme, we’ll call them “situations.”). Nobody – I MEAN NOBODY – gets  a pass.… Read the rest

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Farmers, ranchers set priorities

February 18, 2015

The Texas Legislature is back in session, and Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) members from across the state are working with their lawmakers to ensure the future of agriculture is bright.
“Every year, TFB members from Parker County work with legislators on important issues,” Don Smelley, Parker County Farm Bureau president said. “We talk about the issues in our area and the things we’d like to see accomplished.”… Read the rest

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Definition of ‘West Texas’ means many different things

February 18, 2015
Definition of  ‘West Texas’ means many different things

A friend let me borrow a big book entitled West Texas by Mike Cochran and John Lumpkin. John T. Montford, chancellor of Texas Tech when the book came out in 1999, wrote the Introduction. He said, “There is not a sunset or sunrise anywhere in the United States that compares with those in West Texas.”
So, what is West Texas besides great sunsets?… Read the rest

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