Public engagement is a lofty goal. When interested parties on multiple sides weigh in, better outcomes and real buy-in from â€śWe the peopleâ€ť can lead to robust discourse. Is it is a myth? Is it worth the effort? Does it really matter?Â Through a series of steps in the past year, our office has steadfastly worked with Texas Parks and Wildlife (the Department) to bring us to a point of announcing an impending true public engagement vehicle that is beingÂ assembled.
This week Iâ€™d like to write about a disturbing trend in our society, that, while not particularly new, is getting worse and worse as time goes on. As I recall it from my pre-Department of Education public school history classes, not to mention the hundreds, or possibly thousands, of history books (which according to my wife are all still hanging around our house), that Iâ€™ve read, one of the big reasons our Founding Fathers revolted was to put an end to â€šâ€śTaxation, without representationâ€ť.
Itâ€™s hard to believe that the annual general merchandise Tax Free weekend is nearly upon us. Stores are running ads for â€šâ€śback to schoolâ€ť clothing and equipment, and even those without children to clothe and equip are planning shopping sprees for the coming days. Before racing out to take advantage of these sales, however, it is well worth the time involved to balance the check book, and double check the outstanding bills. Back to School too often is the fore runner of a hot check special, â€šâ€śBack to Courtâ€ť..
A few years ago, I moved to a new town and took a new job, which eventually morphed into a new career.
That town was Sweetwater and the job was working as a staff writer here at the Reporter.
I had always written as a hobby, but I had never worked in the newspaper business prior to my time here. Heck, I wasn't even a journalism major, having studied psychology at a college in upstate New York, where I was born and raised.
Bob and I rarely leave town together. We recently took a weekend to wander to Fredericksburgâ€¦not for the peaches, the crafts, or the amenities, but to explore the National Museum of the Pacific War. Amazingly, this monument to those involved in the Pacific Theatre of World War II is not a federal facility; it is under the auspices of the Texas Historical Commission. Fredericksburg, as many know, was the birth place of Admiral Nimitz. When he retired, the people of the community wanted to honor him.
Having recently written a fairly pointed column about how the people in Austin are busy working to vote themselves a lot more municipal debt, in the form of bonds, imagine my chagrin when the local city government where I live announced it was going to form a citizens committee to look into having a bond election. Notice that I didn't say "imagine my surprise". Sadly, it doesn't surprise me at all when a municipal government starts asking for a bond election, but I do find it depressing.
When I was growing up, one of the more constant refrains in my household was â€śhow do you suppose that made ___ feelâ€ť? Admittedly there were times when we were talking about my brothers that I really didnâ€™t care how it made them feel, and may have hoped that it hurt, at least a little bit. As a general rule, that question was enough to make me stop and thinkâ€¦and often modify my behavior.
Tuesday is a special day that will be celebrated around the nation with parades, outdoor concerts, fireworks (where not prohibited and where safe!), and general fun. Honored as the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, it is one of the few holidays honoring our nation that has not lost its significance. Few people remember the day that the Constitution was finally ratified, or the days that our various wars ended. Fewer people attend Memorial Day and Veteransâ€™ Day services each year.
Summerâ€¦ that time when people are outside, children racing in and outâ€¦ the flies come in and the dog gets out. Or, in the alternative, the dog is let out in the morning and allowed to determine its own course until evening. One sure sign of summer is the calls to the courthouse about dog bites.
J'ever notice? Sometimes you catch yourself saying something real "old". One cold morning I told Frances, "I think I'll go crank my pickup." They haven't made pickups that you had to crank since before I was born. I have, however, cranked a couple of welding machines and remember tractors that the grown folks cranked. All of this made me think of stories I have heard about cars "back when."