RSSOpinions

Lea: A legacy of second chances

May 31, 2017
Lea: A legacy of second chances

I wish my nephew had met Dr. Ray Lea.
Because of a friend’s broken BB gun found in his car after school one day, Cody was cuffed and later sent to the district’s discipline program. Several lost credits later, he had a decision to make: go back to school and try to make up the lost credits – or quit and pursue a GED. He chose the latter. There simply wasn’t a good third option.
But like the voice of calm reason in a rowdy classroom, Dr. Lea changed all that.
A school superintendent at Whitesboro, Dr. Lea had this far-fetched idea that young people had a right to something more.… Read the rest

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Legislature completes regular session with main task accomplished; tempers flare during protest

May 31, 2017
Legislature completes regular session with main task accomplished; tempers flare during protest

The 140-day 85th regular session of the Texas Legislature ended on May 29 with hugs, tears and fanfare, plus demonstrations against “anti-immigrant” legislation and a scuffle involving members on the House floor.
Primarily, though, both chambers signed off on Senate Bill 1, the state budget for 2018-2019, and in doing so accomplished their only constitutionally required task.
The budget appropriates $106.7 billion in general revenue and almost $1 billion from the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund. The budget totals $217 billion, including federal funds and other dollars.
“We started with a sizable shortfall,” said House Speaker Joe Straus. “But we are ending this session with a balanced budget that invests in some very important priorities.… Read the rest

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The laying of hands versus the slaying of toes

May 24, 2017
The laying of hands versus the slaying of toes

Oh, man, this was a rookie deacon mistake.
At my church, we sometimes lay hands on needy folks. This time it was a couple of men – one with chronic pain and the other with a mysterious ailment.
Even before I got to the meeting, I had spent the afternoon working at an estate sale and not only had not been home all day but was wearing the same clothes I had worn earlier to church; I had sweated substantially at the sale and was pretty sure I did not smell my best.
Anyway, our group of 30 or so deacons gathered around the seated men.… Read the rest

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Focus and simplify: The 5 D’s of response

May 24, 2017
Focus and simplify: The 5 D’s of response

We are alike, you and I. Scary, huh? We don’t all do the same things, but since we live in the same world, here’s how you probably are like me:
You get more requests to do things than you can possibly honor. If tried to do them all, you would be constantly hopping from one item to the next – all on other people’s agendas – constantly pushing your own life to the back burner, hoping for time to catch up.
Oh, that’s not a hypothetical scenario? You really are experiencing that? I have good news for you (and me). It is possible to focus and simplify our lives through the 5 D’s of response.… Read the rest

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The Texas cowboy who was unlucky in love

May 24, 2017
The Texas cowboy who was unlucky in love

This column first appeared April 3, 1980.

A century ago, cowboys had the reputation of being bashful around women because they seldom had the opportunity to be around them.
A young cowboy named Branch Isbell had his problems with girls through the years. Isbell was 12 and lived in Sumter County, Alabama in 1863 when Confederate soldiers drove a herd of 200 Texas cattle through.
For the next eight years, he longed to be a cowboy. In 1871 at the age 20, he made his first drive up the trail from Texas.
The next year Branch Isbell went to a dance near San Patricio in South Texas.… Read the rest

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Old people misconceptions

May 24, 2017
Old people misconceptions

This past week was a bittersweet one for me. It was sweet in that I got to spend quite a bit of one-on-one time with my grandma.
However, the reason for us being together was anything but sweet – her husband lost a two-year battle with cancer on Mother’s Day.
After the visitation and memorial services had been held near their home in east Texas, she asked me to drive her to Kerrville where we would stay with her cousin; Don’s burial would take place Friday at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.
Of course, I was happy to do that. What I didn’t know at the time was just how many misconceptions of mine about the elderly would be cleared up on this trip.… Read the rest

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State budget bill moves forward in Austin

May 24, 2017
State budget bill moves forward in Austin

Texas Senate and House budget conferees met frequently last week and on May 20 managed to reach compromise on a $218 billion state budget for fiscal years 2018-2019.
However, Senate Bill 1 must gain final approval from both the House and Senate in order for the budget to continue on to the governor’s desk. But as pressing a matter as the budget may seem, the bulk of time in weekend floor debates was used on a variety of other measures, such as property tax reform, municipal annexation, school bathroom accommodations for transgender students and religious conscience considerations for government employees.
Disagreements among Republicans, who hold majorities in the House and Senate, and the rivalry between the lieutenant governor and the House speaker continue to slow the customary end-of-session rush of bills.… Read the rest

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Take the etiquette quiz!

May 17, 2017
Take the etiquette quiz!

Once upon a time, there were rules society followed, proper guidelines that proved to everyone that you were not a hillbilly but could, in fact, host a dinner party or eat before others with the proper utensils.
I am old enough to know that a male never offers to shake a lady’s hand unless she extends hers first.
And that a man takes his hat off instantly when entering building.
I came upon a 1987 Emily Post on Entertaining book at an estate sale and these answers were culled from it.
Here’s a quiz to see how you’d do:

1. Can butter plates be placed on a table in formal dining?Read the rest

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Don’t forget about the ‘real world’

May 17, 2017
Don’t forget about the ‘real world’

Never has there been a time when “news” was more in the news than it is today. Of course, for the past few months, when “news” is in the news it is more often than not preceded by the word “fake.”
Our culture has been news-obsessed for awhile, but now we have added the obsession with fake news. What’s the definition of fake news? Well, that would be news whose bias is different from my own. (He said with tongue firmly planted in cheek.)
So, what sources do Americans trust to get their real news about the real world? According to a recent article from the Barna Research Group the top trusted sources are: TV news (69 percent), local newspapers (50 percent), national newspapers (44 percent), online news/content sources (42 percent), social media news capabilities (34 percent), and magazines (25 percent).… Read the rest

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Original ‘Marlboro Man’ was West Texas cowboy

May 17, 2017
Original ‘Marlboro Man’ was West Texas cowboy

While I have been retired from teaching for 17 years, and a year ago quit writing new Azle News columns each week, I still like to find a good story.
At the annual convention of the West Texas Historical Association in Lubbock in April 2017, I found one. A schoolteacher named Ashley Pettiet from Guthrie, Texas told the origin of the “Marlboro Man” as “the universal icon for what men were supposed to want to be.”
After World War II when the troops returned from the war, cigarettes became very popular. Marlboro wanted to cash in on this, but their product had been seen as a ladies’ cigarette.… Read the rest

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