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Now just how does a place get called Ragtown?

March 2, 2016
Now just how does a place get called Ragtown?

Someone I knew before she passed away at age 85 told family and friends that her mother and her family came to West Texas in the early part of the 20th century to a place they called “Ragtown.”
My “love Western history” antenna perked up and wondered, “Now, where was that place located, and why was it called that?” On a recent trip from Azle to Lubbock, the opportunity to find out occurred.
As we went through Post, Texas, we saw a sign on Highway 84 that travels between Interstate 20 and Lubbock. It said “Ragtown Gospel Theatre,” so we followed a well-graveled road to a huge modern theatre, but that was about all.… Read the rest

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Court dismisses indictment against former governor

March 2, 2016
Court dismisses indictment against former governor

Former Gov. Rick Perry is no longer facing criminal charges.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Feb. 24 ordered the dismissal of a 2014 felony indictment of Perry by a Travis County grand jury.
The two-count indictment alleged “abuse of official capacity” and “coercion of a public servant” related to Perry’s veto of the budget of the state’s Public Integrity Unit that then operated under the auspices of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office.
Perry demanded the resignation of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who also headed the Public Integrity Unit, after she was arrested and jailed for driving while intoxicated in April 2013.… Read the rest

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Unfathomable: An alternative to cruise ship retiring

February 24, 2016
Unfathomable: An alternative to cruise ship retiring

I’m a Baby Boomer – born in 1956, I’m almost right in the middle of the span of 1946-1965.
So many of us are alive right now that we’ll probably bankrupt all the social services we’ve paid into the last several decades.
Still, as we Boomers age, we’ve got to decide how to spend our golden years of retirement – whether we have Social Security or government heath coverage or not.
For a while there, one option that got kicked around as being a viable alternative to assisted living or retirement centers was cruise ships.
Stories circulated about folks living exclusively on a cruise ship, reupping every time it returned to port.… Read the rest

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Can you handle the truth?

February 24, 2016
Can you handle the truth?

I want the truth!”
“You can’t handle the truth!”
Even if you never saw the 1992 movie A Few Good Men, you’ve probably seen the classic courtroom confrontation between Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson. That scene came to mind for me this morning as I spent a few minutes pondering the current season and political climate in the US of A.
If social media is any indication, “truth” is in the eye of the beholder. “Facts” are shared without research or context. Some of the items shared from “news” sources remind me about the report I wrote about Tom Landry when I was in the fourth grade.… Read the rest

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The Waggoner Ranch sells to rancher, sports owner

February 24, 2016
The Waggoner Ranch sells to rancher, sports owner

Author’s Note: Consistent readers of this column may remember that on January 6 I told the story of Milton Favor, a runaway kid who eventually established ranches and three forts in the Big Bend country. After his death they were sold and deteriorated. Then in 1990 a wealthy man named John Poindexter bought and restored them. The Cibolo Resort he created is where former Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Antonin Scalia died last week.

Now for this week’s column: A couple of weeks ago an article appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (and probably many other newspapers across the country, especially in the West) that said the W.… Read the rest

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University president sets campus carry policies

February 24, 2016
University president sets campus carry policies

University of Texas at Austin President Gregory L. Fenves has adopted policies to implement Senate Bill 11, the campus handgun carry law that goes into effect on Aug. 1.
Fenves adopted 25 policy recommendations developed by the 19-member Campus Carry Working Group that he appointed in 2015. Under the policies, certain laboratories, areas where pre-K-12 programs are held, and, with some exceptions, university residences will be considered gun-exclusion zones and employees with private offices will be able to prohibit handguns inside them. However, classrooms will not be included in gun-exclusion zones.
“Under the law, I cannot adopt a policy that has the general effect of excluding licensed concealed handguns from campus.… Read the rest

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I want to believe: The curious sky thingie

February 17, 2016
I want to believe: The curious sky thingie

What is that?”
A black streak was angling down from the sky to the west of Weatherford on Sunday afternoon. You see sunbeams shoot through clouds all the time, but they are not dark.
“Maybe a plane crashed. Look up the streak – there’s a contrail and…”
A contrail! I have decades of knowledge on conspiracy theories and paranormal activity; I was voted “Most Likely to See a UFO” in high school. (Really. And I have.)
Conspiracy theorists believe that contrails (also known as chemtrails) are a method the government uses to secretly control us by dropping weird drugs on us.… Read the rest

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How do I love thee?

February 17, 2016
How do I love thee?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints.Read the rest

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Luckily many wealthy men took an interest in FW

February 17, 2016
Luckily many wealthy men took an interest in FW

It occurred to me one day how fortunate the city of Fort Worth has been and still is because of its people and events.
It is a Western city, created on the edge of the Texas frontier in 1849 and named after one of the most prominent generals in the U.S. Army at the time. General William Jenkins Worth was a hero of the just concluded Mexican War and would have been more widely known later nationally had he not died of cholera the same year that Fort Worth was established. The greater Fort Worth area, including Azle, has been my home since the age of four when my family moved from a farm near Jacksboro.… Read the rest

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Supreme Court halts EPA pollution abatement rule

February 17, 2016
Supreme Court halts EPA pollution abatement rule

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Feb. 9 heralded the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 order that put on hold a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule requiring power producers to cut back on the release of pollutants emitted mainly from coal-burning operations.
In reacting to the order, Paxton and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, the leaders of a coalition of 29 states and state agencies, declared victory over the rule referred to as the Obama Administration’s “Clean Power Plan” or as the EPA “Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units.”
Texas and West Virginia originally challenged the rule on Oct.… Read the rest

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