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Why you shouldn’t be eyeballin’ a hippopotamus

March 30, 2016
Why you shouldn’t be eyeballin’ a hippopotamus

Lots of things can kill you – and some might be in your backyard right now!
Here’s a list of critters that end lifespans of humans, listed by number of people the murderers take out annually.
Sharks – 10. You’d think sharks would be higher but they really just have a bad reputation. There are tales about kind bears (Gentle Ben, Smokey), but as far as I know, there’s never been a story about a shark helping people, like leading stranded boaters to land or scooping up exhausted swimmers and letting them ride on its back to the nearest cruise ship.… Read the rest

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Sparing a blessing

March 30, 2016
Sparing a blessing

I’m proud of you.”
Every son loves – and needs – to hear those words from his dad. Too many have heard, “Try harder…work harder…not quit …” As a result, many grown men, with sons and grandsons of their own, are still trying harder to win the blessing from their fathers.
In one of the most poignant chapters in the Old Testament, twin boys (Jacob and Esau) vie for their father’s blessing (Genesis 27). In Esau’s anguished cries, we can hear the desperate need of the blessing – “Bless me, even me also, O my father! …Have you not reserved a blessing for me?… Read the rest

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20th century man chooses to live like early mountain men

March 30, 2016
20th century man chooses to live like early mountain men

The mountain men/fur trappers have always been fascinating to me. They were the first in the West, discovered the mountain streams, the trails, and lived in the wilderness in the 1820s and 1830s, ahead of the pioneers who came later.
Imagine a man who chose in the middle of the 20th century to live alone in the mountains of Idaho for more than 33 years. Although he made rare treks to purchase a few supplies, he mostly lived alone and became very self sufficient.
His name was Sylvan Hart, 1/16th Apache, and he was born in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) in 1906.… Read the rest

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Remembering Tram’s rock-solid legacy

March 30, 2016

When my family moved to Azle in the spring of 1987, I quickly learned there were a few people whose personalities defined this community. You could get to know most of them at Trammell’s Village Restaurant – at the east end of Main Street, where El Paseo is now located.
Trammell’s had a lunch buffet, a round table where coffee drinkers solved the world’s problems daily, and a meeting room where most of the clubs in town gathered weekly, all presided over by Vancil and Audrey.
I consider it one of the great privileges of my life to have been able to call them friends.… Read the rest

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DPS chief reminds citizens to be vigilant

March 30, 2016
DPS chief reminds citizens to be vigilant

Following news reports of coordinated, terroristic bomb attacks in Brussels, Belgium, on March 22, the Texas Department of Public Safety posted a reminder to Texans to remain vigilant and to report suspicious behaviors.
DPS Director Steven McCraw said ordinary Texans “play a crucial role in helping law enforcement protect the public from groups and lone-wolf actors intent on harming others.”
“Fighting crime in today’s threat environment,” McCraw added, “can be greatly enhanced through the combined efforts of the public and law enforcement, and we urge individuals to report any illegal or suspicious activity they witness to iWATCH or their local authorities.”
The DPS’s iWATCH website, www.iwatchtx.org, was created as a partnership between communities and law enforcement and uses citizen-sourced tips related to criminal activity, McCraw said.… Read the rest

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Moe, Larry, Cheese! My unusual television life

March 23, 2016
Moe, Larry, Cheese! My unusual television life

Of all the things I’ve ever said, people find this sentence the most shocking, the most unfathomable utterance possible: “I’ve never had cable or satellite TV.”
(That’s only a tiny lie; in 1983 when we briefly lived in Arlington, a cable ran to the house and we could get channels 2-13 through it which included MTV [back when they played videos]. But we didn’t have a cable box and didn’t pay for it so soon the provider stopped the free feed.)
By not having TV, I am apparently missing the latest “Golden Age” of television.
I have not seen The Sopranos or Mad Men or The Walking Dead or Breaking Bad or The Americans or any of those other shows that people tout as being the greatest thing ever put on TV.… Read the rest

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Three days that changed everything

March 23, 2016
Three days that changed everything

How many times in your life can you identify an event or sequence of events that drastically changed your trajectory within a period as short as three days?
The earliest that I remember was when I was seven years old and found out my parents were getting a divorce. Within three day’s time, my world was shaken and it still affects my thought processes and decisions almost 50 years later.
Others had more lead time, but were no less life-altering within a few days: getting married, becoming a father, becoming a pastor, becoming a former pastor, becoming a grandpa. They didn’t happen suddenly and without warning, but it didn’t take more than about three days to know that I was forever changed.… Read the rest

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Scandal, trial occurred over indignities mayor suffered

March 23, 2016
Scandal, trial occurred over indignities mayor suffered

A graduate student at TCU, Kendra DeHart, spoke to an organization of which I am a member, the Western ers, on March 8, and told a fascinating story. She graciously gave me permission to share a condensed version with readers of this column. I always like a good story.
In a little town called Lajitas in the Big Bend area of Texas, population 80, a scandal shook the community in 2001. The mayor, Clay Henry, was found lying in a pool of blood and had been castrated.
Actually, the crime perhaps was not as serious as one might think because the residents of the town had elected a goat – yes, a goat – as their mayor.… Read the rest

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AISD superintendent details schools’ successes

March 23, 2016

Great things are happening at Azle ISD this year. I would like to briefly touch on some of our highlights.
Students have been working harder than ever to prepare themselves for success in the future. Last summer, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported graduation rates for all schools in Tarrant County. Azle High School demonstrated the largest improvement of all schools with a graduation rate of 94.9 percent.
In another article, the paper listed the top 20 elementary school in Tarrant County. Eagle Heights Elementary was listed among the best schools in the county.
In October, the Texas Education Agency notified the district that Cross Timbers elementary was one of only 24 campuses in Texas that was nominated by the Commissioner of Education for the prestigious Blue Ribbon Schools Award.… Read the rest

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AG Paxton seeks halt to regional haze rules

March 23, 2016
AG Paxton seeks halt to regional haze rules

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on March 18 asked an appeals court to prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from implementing new regional haze regulations until a trial of the state’s pending lawsuit challenging the new rules.
Paxton filed the 328-page motion in the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
In February, Paxton filed suit, acting on behalf of the State of Texas and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Public Utility Commission of Texas and a list of power-generating companies. The suit came after the EPA in January rejected Texas’ proposed revision to its state implementation plan for reducing regional haze.… Read the rest

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