Todd Hunter on Harvey, Flour Fest, and Tire Recycling Are Topics of FBBA Meeting

Around the State, Business, Community Organizations, Flour Bluff, Front Page
State Representative Todd Hunter addresses Flour Bluff Business Association (Photo by SevenEleven Photography)

     “Don’t let anybody tell you that we’ve dodged a bullet,” said Hunter referring to Hurricane Harvey, a storm that in just 56 hours grew from a regenerated tropical depression over the Gulf of Mexico into a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall in the area late on August 25, 2017.  “We were the first to be hit by a Category 4 hurricane, and I have never seen such togetherness and camaraderie as we experienced in our community immediately following landfall,” he told a group of about 30 people at the Flour Bluff Business Association regular monthly meeting held October 11, 2017, at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  In attendance were council members Paulette Guajardo and Greg Smith, County Commissioner Brent Chesney, Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Thelma Rodriguez, and FBISD school board members Michael Morgan, Jennifer Welp, and Shirley Thornton.

     Hunter spoke of how he fears that our area will be forgotten in a few weeks.   “They’re already doing it in some ways,” Hunter said referring to the individuals and agencies who have been fundraising and providing assistance for storm victims.  “Paul Simon came into the area, but not here.  There was even a benefit held in Austin – for Houston.”

     “Port Royal looks like a MASH unit with outdoor showers, management under a tent with computers, outdoor bathrooms.  But, guess what? They’re holding a press conference at 1:30 today to give a positive plan of when they’re going to reopen.  This is how the Coastal Bend and South Texas are responding.  I want everyone to know who we are and how we’re setting the example for the rest of the nation,” he said referring to the multiple natural disasters occurring across the United States.  Hunter went on to say that he and Brent Chesney had visited almost all of the towns in the Coastal Bend hit by Harvey.  He explained that there is still a great deal of work to be done and that people showing up with tools ready to work is what is needed more than anything else.

     Hunter went on to talk about the effect of the storm on local schools.  “Right after the storm, Port Aransas had no school.  Nobody from government was communicating to my area – again.  I got on the phone to the Commissioner of Education, who did not call me back.  So, I called the governor’s office, and all of a sudden I got a call from the Commissioner of Education, who has never talked with me since I’ve been in office or since he’s been in office,” he said.  Hunter then related that he suggested to the commissioner that a hotline  be set up so that parents  could get information regarding what to do if their child’s school was closed.  “He said this was a good idea, and the hotline was created,” said Hunter.   (That number is 512- 463-9603.)

     “Flour Bluff must be applauded.  They took in Port Aransas kids. I don’t think the state realizes what you’ve done.  You’ve used your local tax dollars to take care of people.  You, the taxpayer residents, took the burden.  For that I am grateful, and it shows what a great community you are.  Gregory-Portland did it for Rockport.  You need to be helped, not forgotten.  So, I’m going to ring the bell more than you’ve ever heard over the next two years.  I’m talking about school funding.  We fund schools through property taxes, but you can’t levy a property tax if there’s no property.  I get a kick out of seeing all the appraisal district vehicles out there.  What are they appraising?  Some people in Port Aransas received tax bills last week on houses that are no longer standing.  In the next legislative session, we’re going to have to take up school funding to figure out what the real formula should be,” said Hunter.  He also spoke of how illogical it is to impose the state test on districts affected by the storm.  He added that he was making no headway in this area.

     Hunter then talked about another hot topic for the next legislative session, mental health.  He explained how it is a real concern, not just a “touchy-feely” topic.  Hunter related a story about displaced children who lost everything in Harvey, including all their clothing and toys.  These items were replaced through donations.  “When the recent rains came, these children cried to their teachers that they needed to go home to put their new clothes and toys on the bed so that they wouldn’t lose them again,” he said. “These are feelings of families and children that the rest of the state doesn’t understand.  I’ve had public officials cry in my arms because they have nothing. This affects a person’s mental health, and this is a serious issue that needs to be funded.”

     Seven days after the storm, the health department called Hunter to let him know they would be spraying for mosquitoes.  “They were going to spray only as far south as Refugio.  I asked them if they knew who got hit first,” he said.  As a result, they sprayed Nueces, San Patricio, and Aransas counties.

     Hunter then spoke about the top complaints after Harvey.  The first two involved FEMA and TWIA.  The third was the Red Cross and their refusal to serve Ingleside. “The fourth was debris hauling, but that seems to be going since most of the haulers have contracts with FEMA.  At one point the road to Port Aransas had a quarter mile long, 25-foot high pile of debris.”  Hunter also explained that he personally experienced eye abrasions from irritants in the area and that asbestos fibers that are floating around could be the problem.

    “If you have concerns in any of these areas, let my office know.  And just know that there’s a lot of fraud and scams going around.  If someone is knocking on your door asking you to sign something, think twice,” he said.  Hunter had such an experience because of the Equifax security breech. He received multiple notifications that he had made a FEMA claim, which he had not.  A group got his information and sent in two FEMA applications with his identifying information and address but a fake phone number and email.  “What happens is that FEMA issues checks to the Green Dot Bank.  Even when I got the Texas Rangers to contact FEMA, they wouldn’t talk to them.  This is your tax money being sent to thieves,” he said.  He explained that the Green Dot Bank is an internet fund where the money is deposited and then just disappears.  He told of how these groups also get credit cards in the victims’ names and do an address switch through the U.S. Post Office.  “You need to have a banker do a credit check to see if anything has been opened in your name without your knowing it,” Hunter suggested.

     “The final thing is that we learn from these situations.  I will be working quite a bit with the schools to make sure their protected in the next session.  I am worried that we’ll have public officials from other areas of the state trying to tell us what to do, which we don’t need.  We’ll have funding proposals that don’t apply well here.  We’ll have new thoughts on education and curriculum that don’t apply here.  We’ll have new catastrophe management concepts that don’t apply here.  And I’m sure we’re going to see wind storm reform come back.  So, just be ready.  My plan is to protect the area,” Hunter said.  He also reminded everyone that desalination would be discussed at the Ortiz Center on November 2 with an update on Hurricane Harvey to be given on November 14, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  John Sharp of Rebuild Texas will be coming in to discuss the aftermath of the storm in Nueces, Kleberg, Aransas, and San Patricio counties.

     “Don’t tell people we’re shut down,” Hunter said.  “We are turning around.  This negative will prove to be a positive.  I’m proud of all of you and of this community.  You continue to set the tone for the area, the state, and the nation.  We will keep the effort moving, so contact us if you need anything.”

Other FBBA Business

  • October 20:  Funtrackers Trunk or Treat Event from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the parking lot.  For details visit the Funtrackers website:  https://funtrackers.com/event/trunk-or-treat/
  • Flour Fest:  will be held at Parker Park on Graham Road from Noon to 8:00 p.m., on Saturday, October 28, 2017.  This family-friendly event will feature live music, food trucks, Kids Zone, local vendors, safety demonstrations by ESD#2 Firefighters, and the Flour Bluff Citizens Council kid-and-dog costume contest, Fur Fest.  FBBA would like to thank the Flour Fest sponsors: County Commissioners Brent Chesney and Mike Pusley, Michael Morgan of State Farm, Roshan Bhakta of Candlewood Suites, Javier Wiley of HEB, Dr. Hassan of the Children’s Center, Walmart #490, Whataburger #123, and the Flour Bluff Citizens Council.

  • Flour Fest Kids Zone Events:
    • 1:00  Corn Hole Contests  (candy and toy prizes)
    • 1:30  Sack Races  (candy and toy prizes)
    • 2:00  Three-legged Races  (candy and toy prizes)
    • 3:00  Fur Fest:  This event is open to kids 12 and under with dogs of any age.  Prizes will go to Scariest, Cutest, Funniest, and Best Couple.  Dogs must be on leashes at all times.  No biters, please.  Judging begins at 3:00 p.m.  Prizes awarded immediately following judging.
    • 4:00  Egg and Spoon Races  (candy and toy prizes)
    • 4:30  4-Way Tug of War
    • 5:30  Pastry Wars (First 15 contestants to sign up in the 10 and under, 11 to 16, and 17 and up categories will compete for Walmart gift cards.)
    • Bounce house all day
  • Tire Recycling Program: The FBBA, in conjunction with Nueces County and DeGoLa Resource and Conservation Development District, will host a tire recycling program on Saturday, November 4, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., to   The FBBA encourages everyone to take part in this program since the city will not pick up tires during the brush and bulky item pick up.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
  • FBBA Board Elections: Three board members are up for re-election.  They are Roshan Bhakta, Tom Hollingsworth, and Jonathan Vela.  Dr. Hollingsworth will not be seeking re-election.  Elections and succession planning will take place at the November general meeting.  Nominations may be submitted to Jennifer Welp.
  • Membership Drive:  If a new member joins in the last quarter of the year, the annual dues of $65.00 will include the following year.
  • Community Christmas: This event will take place December 8, 2017, at Funtrackers.  Toy boxes will be set out in November at area businesses.  Let Jennifer Welp know if your business is willing to accept a box for toy donations. This is an opportunity for the businesses to give back to the community we love so much.
  • Next FBBA General Meeting: Wednesday, November 8, 2017, at Raceway Cafe’ at Funtrackers
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Judge Loyd Neal Addresses Members of FBBA

Around the State, Business, Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page, Nueces County
Nueces County Judge addressing Flour Bluff Business Association

     Nueces County Judge Loyd Neal spoke to a group of about forty people at the regular monthly meeting of the Flour Bluff Business Association held June 14, 2017, at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  Neal served as the Mayor of the City of Corpus Christi from April 1997 through April 2003, then was elected Nueces County Judge in November 2006, the first Republican elected to this office in 146 years. In November 2010, Judge Neal was re-elected to his second term starting January 2011.  Neal spent over 40 years in Insurance in Corpus Christi prior to taking office in January 2007. He is currently serving his third and final term, which comes to an end in 2018.

     Neal started his talk by recognizing his partner on the Commissioners Court, Brent Chesney.  He then thanked State Representative Todd Hunter for the work that he has been doing in Austin.  “Along with the leadership of our representative and the hard work of a lot of people, we got passed what is known as Senate Bill 277, which has a big impact on Naval aviation training here. It’s not anti-wind farm; it’s pro- military. We are a pro-military community, and we wanted to make sure that we did everything we could here and in Kingsville to ensure the Navy that we would try to keep Naval aviation training here in the future.” The bill is related to the eligibility of certain property for certain ad valorem tax incentives relating to wind-powered energy devices.

     The judge then gave the group a short civics lesson.  “If you don’t know, the county form of government is different from every other form of government in the State of Texas.”  He explained that it is a constitutional form of government, which means all actions by the commissioners must be spelled out in the Constitution of the State of Texas.  “It’s a lot different from city government, which has a charter, a charter that can be amended. County government can only be changed at the state level with an amendment to the constitution,” said Neal. “The county judge is not in charge. He has two employees. Everyone else works for an elected or appointed official.  So, how do we make it work?  County government works because we work together,” he added.

     Neal went on to say that the budget process, which includes public hearings, will begin in the next few weeks. “I can tell you right now that this is going to be a much tighter budget year,” said Neal.  He attributes this to lower appraised property values. He explained that justices of the peace, constables, and other county elected officials submit their operational funding requests to the Commissioners Court, who will use the information to put together a budget.  County agencies, for the most part, get all of their revenue from property taxes.  “This creates both an opportunity and a challenge to keep our tax rate low.  For the last two years, we have used the effective tax rate, which is good.  We’ve not grown the tax rate beyond the previous year.  I don’t know if we’re going to be there again this year.  We’ll see what the demands are and what we have to do.”  Referring to the County Commissioners Court, Neal said, “We are the guardians of the county budget, and we take that seriously.”

     Neal went on to speak against Senate Bill 2, which will be a major part of the special session of the legislature. “SB 2 will take a lot of local authority, particularly in the amount of revenue that cities and counties could gather, away from those cities and counties and begin to set a trend that is disastrous for local government in the future. They have decided in the Senate that they don’t want local control to be in the hands of the local officials,” said Neal. He then thanked Chairman Hunter and the House for standing up to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick by coming up with their own version of the bill.  “They drew a line in the sand and said no.  That’s the kind of leadership we need and hope to continue to have in Austin.”

     Neal discussed the changes in the county jail that are taking place now.  “We’re expanding the county jail.  We’re in the process of converting space in the McKenzie Annex to add 144 new beds.  It was unused space and space used by probation and the Sheriff’s Department patrol. It will cost about $2 million – or perhaps a bit more by the time it’s finished,” he said.  Neal reminded everyone that some of the increase in the cost is for making the jail ADA compliant, a directive that came from the Department of Justice about two years ago. “We’re all for it, but it’s very expensive,” he added. “It costs more to build a jail cell than it does to build a hospital room. We are looking for better ways to keep people out of jail so that we can stay at or below the allowable numbers of inmates.”  According to Neal, there are about 1000 people a day in the Nueces County Jail.  The cost for each prisoner is $81.00 per day.

     During the Q&A session, Commissioner Brent Chesney announced that Judge Neal would not be seeking re-election.  “I have had the privilege of serving with Judge Neal, first on the city council when he was mayor and now as a county commissioner.  He has made it quite clear that he is not running for re-election, and that’s a real sadness for this community.  We owe him a great round of applause and a big debt of gratitude.  He has told me no many times, but he always did it with a smile and with respect. This man has served with integrity, with honor, and with respect, and he truly does it with a servant’s heart,” said Chesney.  “You still may not get what you want,” responded Neal, which evoked a roar of laughter from the crowd.

     After Judge Neal concluded his talk, those in attendance offered their thanks for his many years of devoted service to the citizens.  Neal still has about 18 months of service left.  All agreed that he will be greatly missed.

Other FBBA News

  • Chairman Hunter attended the meeting with KIII TV 3 in tow to demonstrate how our elected officials will continue to take care of business even in light of the shooting at the baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, where Republican members of Congress were holding baseball practice.
  • City Council Members Michael Hunter, Paulette Guajardo, and Greg Smith also attended the meeting.  Smith made mention of the many elected officials at the local and state levels who made the meeting and thanked them for being in attendance.  Smith went on to say how he and the other council members are starting to work on Bond 2018.  “Laguna Shores is number one on the list for me,” said Smith. “Finally, after all these years, Laguna Shores is going to be taken care of.”
Justice of the Peace Thelma Rodriguez, Councilman Michael hunter (back), State Representative Todd Hunter, County Commissioner Brent Chesney, Councilman Greg Smith, and Councilwoman Paulette Guajardo

 

  • Nueces County Commissioner Brent Chesney led the group in a moment of silence in honor of those where were victims of  the Alexandria shootings. Chesney followed up with a report on the Sand Castle Run, which earned $38,000 for kids with diabetes to attend camp.  He thanked everyone who played a role in the event.
Susan Lawson
  • Susan Lawson of the Coastal Bend Friends of Aquatics was happy to announce that Parker Pool is open for business.  FBBA Board Member Mark Thomas appealed to those in attendance to sponsor the pool, which serves hundreds of kids, many of whom are indigent.  Admission to the pool is $1 for children ages 3 to 17.  Adults get in for $3.00, with those over 60 paying $1.25. All first responders and military (active or retired) get in free with an ID.
  • The CBFA offers signs with full color printing, graphic design, and grommets for businesses to advertise at the pool.  A 4′ X 4′ sign is $350, while a 4′ X 8′ sign is $650.  Signs will will be displayed until the 2018 season. The pool is available for parties.  Up to 50 guests for 2 hours will cost $200, which covers rental of pool and 2 lifeguards.  For every additional hour, $100 will be charged, plus $25 for each additional lifeguard per 25 guests over 50.  For more information, contact Susan Lawson at 361-779-8634.

  • Flour Fest is coming to Parker Memorial Park on Saturday, October 28!  Vendors and food trucks may secure a spot at the event by visiting the FBBA website and signing up.  Sponsorships for the event are also available.  Contact FBBA Event Coordinator Jonathan Vela for more information:  512-937-8769.
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Father’s Day: Reflecting on Dad Is Reflecting on You

Around the State, Corpus Christi, Education, Flour Bluff, Front Page, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial, Personal History

Robert and Matthew Alike

     Roughly a billion dollars is spent each year on Father’s Day. It isn’t surprising, however, that when the holiday began in 1910 it was not widely celebrated. My dad always said holidays had gotten out of control and that, more than anything else, they best served to line the pockets of greeting card companies. I tend to agree with him. A family newspaper, however, is not the place to attack the gray areas of capitalism that surround celebrating holidays such as that of Father’s Day. Instead, I’d like to address that which I imagine to have been the more altruistic platform upon which such a day was invented.

     When sons and daughters reflect on their mothers and fathers they are forced to either face a mirror image of themselves, a bundle of flaws they hope never to possess, or the plain and simple fear that the person they see is one whose high water mark is seemingly unreachable. When I look at my dad and consider the most important things he tried to put in me, I sometimes find myself withholding a bit of fear that I may never level up to the mark. If I had to narrow the intangible principles that were stressed throughout my upbringing to a Top Five, they would rank as follows:

Number 5:  Flexibility: “Don’t be too particular about every little thing you do. Nobody likes being around somebody who always has to have their way.”

Number 4:  Toughness: “Whatever ails you may hurt right now, but it won’t last forever. Suck it up and keep moving forward. It’s the only way.”

Number 3:  Big-Picture Thinking: “Don’t get so hung up on little things that you find yourself incapable of zooming out and seeing the big-picture. And don’t get so hung up on yourself that you forget to tend to the little things.”

Number 2:   Humility: “If you’re ever good enough at anything that it is worth talking about, you won’t need to speak a word of it yourself. Everyone else will do it for you.”

Number 1:  Counting back from five, the first four could be easily summarized with quotes I heard time and again throughout my entire life. But number one isn’t so much a quotable phrase or sentence. My dad wasn’t necessarily big on gushy words about how much he loved my sisters and me. He tells us he loves us, sure, but more than anything else he constantly shows us a greater affection of unconditional love than any son or daughter need expect. Take, for example, the time he made an 8-hour roundtrip to Austin just to install a garden fence while my wife and I were at work because he heard her complain once that the chicken-wire she installed was falling down. By the time we got home, we didn’t find him, just a sturdy new wooden fence bordering the garden. Or, there was the time he heard me mention that I wanted to build a table top to set on a tree stump from a tree that “fell” down in our yard. A month later I drove into my parents’ driveway for the Christmas holiday, and the topper was leaning against the garage, built solid and to perfection by my father’s own hands.

table

     The examples are endless, much like that of Dad’s watchful and caring disposition. And when I consider who he is, I find – that more than anything – I am forced to consider who I am. Do I add up? Would he be proud? Should I be proud? These are the questions that pass through my head.

     How about you? Your dad? What can thinking about him teach you about you?

     Happy Father’s Day to all of you dads out there. May your weekend be relaxing and your children be thoughtful.

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Representative Todd Hunter Addresses FBBA

Around the State, Business, Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page

FBBA

     State Representative Todd Hunter addressed the Flour Bluff Business Association members at the regular monthly meeting on June 8, 2016, at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  Representative Hunter  is serving his sixth term in the Texas House of Representatives.  Hunter recognized candidates for local office and elected officials who were in attendance and thanked them for their willingness to serve the area.

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Hunter updated the audience on:

  • Education:  Funding of public schools has been determined legal.  Independent school districts have autonomy to function as they see fit within the confines of State law.  Making sure that schools offer recess daily, a topic brought up by an audience member, is in the hands of the districts.  Hunter said, “If you have trouble with TEA, then contact me, and I’ll help you as I can.”  He went on to say that Flour Bluff ISD in partnership with Del Mar offers job training for the cruise ship industry.  Later in the Q&A session, Hunter spoke strongly against standardized tests and the expense related to it.
  • Cruise Ships:  Hunter has actively worked to bring the cruise ship industry to Corpus Christi.  Talks will begin in September, and he wants Flour Bluff involved.  Brownsville is in the running, too.  “We win either way.  If we don’t get it here, you’ll get enough attention that you’ll get increased travel tourism anyway.”
  • Desalination:  Hunter recently toured the desalination plant in El Paso, Texas, to see what they are doing.  Their problem is getting water to run through the plant, which is not the issue for Corpus Christi.  In the fall, he will begin pushing ocean/sea water desalination for our area.  He encouraged those who want to get involved to contact his office.
  • Windstorm:  Weather events in Dallas and San Antonio has Hunter concerned that Corpus Christi will be targeted.  It continues to be an issue for coastal cities.  He would like to see the Texas Department of Insurance and the Texas Windstorm Association abolished because they are not consumer-friendly.  Last September, the new law went into effect.  To beat the start time of the law, TWIA held an emergency meeting to raise rates by 5% and was backed by the Texas Department of Insurance.  “That’s bad government,”  said Hunter.  “I plan to go in and try to reverse that.”
  • Transportation:  Hunter discussed autonomous cars now in the Austin area, a test city for Google and these kinds of vehicles.  It is predicted that in three years these cars will be everywhere.  As a result, state legislators and transportation departments are scurrying to create laws to catch up with this kind of technology.  “How do you do school zones?  How do you handle accidents?” asked Hunter.
  • Space travel:  In Brownsville, Waco, and West Texas, three different billionaires are buying land and doing space travel tourism.  They are already doing rocket launches, which affects private property rights.
  • Drones:  Texas A&M Corpus Christi is a drone-testing site.  Hunter said, “John Sharp, Chancellor of Texas A & M, said that in three to five years, technology will exist to send drones over ranch and agricultural land.”  He explained that these drones would actually be able to do soil tests and even test for diseases by entering the hides of the ranch animals.  That creates a whole new area for laws to regulate such activities.  “Science and computers will have an overall impact on the laws,” he said.
  • Budget Forecast:  In December, the legislators will receive the certified budget, which is based on the last two years. It will be down because gas, oil, and energy is down.  Because the budget must be balanced, legislators can only budget and allocate what they have. “Overall, you’re going to do well.  Things are good in Texas,” Hunter added.
  • Panama Canal and Cuba:  “One of the reasons I’m pushing these cruise ships is because Panama Canal and Cuba are opening up, and we are closer to those locations than a lot of areas in the state.”  He hopes this will improve the transportation industry in the state.
  • Power on Film and Power on Music:  Hunter explained that the video game industry is twice as big as the film industry.  There are even local companies in the Corpus Christi area.  In 2014, Power on Film and Video Game Industry took place in Corpus Christi. In October of this year, the Texas Music Power On will take place in Corpus Christi.  “It’s a good moneymaker and brings good jobs,” said Hunter.  “Right now they go to Louisiana.  I need to do everything I can do to bring it to Texas.”

     “I’m honored to be your representative, and I’m always going to fight for the Coastal Bend. I don’t think we get a fair shake, and I think sometimes they run us over,” said Hunter.  He also explained that he is not thin because he is sick or afflicted by cancer; he just lost weight.  He closed by encouraging everyone to contact his office and get involved in the discussions surrounding the issues that affect the Flour Bluff area.  FBBA President Melanie Hambrick thanked Rep. Hunter and awarded him an FBBA certificate of appreciation.

Read more about this meeting:

Cliff Zarbock, “Mr. Real Estate”, Receives Spotlight Award from FBBA

FBBA Receives Funds from Chesney, Pusley, and Neal

 

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STAAR Test Gets Failing Grade from Educators

Around the State, Education, Front Page

     On May 10, 2016, several members of TASA (Texas Association of School Administrators) sent a letter to Commissioner of Education Mike Morath relating the many concerns they have over several problems experienced across the state in all areas of testing.  They sent the letter after Morath responded to news reports about the testing irregularities saying that this was “unacceptable.” Before ETS (Educational Testing Services), the New Jersey-based nonprofit, received the $280 million contract for STAAR, testing in Texas had been handled by Pearson Education.  Pearson, ETS, and TEA worked together this year as the testing administration moved to the new vendor.

     “All three parties agreed to the plan and reviewed milestones together as it was carried out. Pearson met every commitment laid out in this plan,” Pearson spokeswoman Laura Howe said.

     “The high-stakes nature of standardized testing requires that the state ensure, at a minimum, that assessments are valid and reliable, that appropriate testing procedures are in place and testing materials are secure, that those grading the assessments are qualified and available, and that student data is secure,” states the TASA letter.

     Some of the problems addressed in the letter concerning data validity and security include:

  • Some districts received test results for students not enrolled in their districts and did not receive results for students in their own districts.
  • There were too many scores of “0” for short answer questions, and the justifications for those scores were not acceptable.
  • ETS staff was unaware that some districts received extra answer booklets — an indication that appropriate inventory control measures were lacking.
  • Demographic information and names were incorrect on the pre-coded answer documents.
  • Students’ STAAR-A Algebra I end-of-course (EOC) exams were scored as STAAR EOCs.
  • Scores had not been corrected weeks later.
  • Student results were missing from the December and March campus reports. Many of the students with missing results from the December administration had to retest in March as it was still unknown if they had passed the previous test.
  • District personnel were told by ETS to plan on retesting when grades 5 and 8 results were missing and ETS could not guarantee the student results would be found before the retest.
  • Students were concerned with online testing glitches so they took extra time to complete their answers. Students marked answers and wrote essays and then had to resubmit lost work.
  • Responses show concern that the data might not be valid. For example, did the system record the first essay a student wrote that was lost? Or, was the second essay the student wrote the essay of record? Neither ETS nor TEA could confirm.
  • Student data files and scores were missing or incorrect. Some districts received multiple scoring documents for the same student with different scores.

Other problems were outlined in the areas of online testing, communications, and shipping of materials.  Some of the problems were:

  • STAAR-A, STAAR-L, and STAAR student responses were lost, erased, or disappeared.
  • Often the system indicated that a student was still “actively” taking the test even after the student had completed the test and submitted his/her responses. Students were logged out of the test and unable to regain access.
  • Individual student test scores were missing altogether from roster.
  • STAAR-A online accommodations did not work well or did not work at all (e.g., text-to-speech tool, pencil tool, highlighter tool, and graphing tool). In addition, the oral administration feature was “too fast, would fade in and out, mispronounced words, and had speech boxes that disappeared.” Or, as another response indicated, “the computerized voice reads the wrong words (e.g., will substitute a or the etc.).”
  • Districts received conflicting information. ETS would advise one way, and TEA would advise another.
  • Tier 1 responders were unable to answer many questions after district staff was placed on hold for extended time periods. Then they would be forwarded to Tier 2 and sometimes Tier 3 responders.
  • ETS would say they would call back with answers and never did.
  • Test booklets were shipped to the incorrect address, and in many cases, to the wrong school district or campus. Campus testing materials in some cases were mixed with materials for another campus, and materials were not properly labeled for campus distribution.
  • Grave concerns were expressed that high school students who are dependent on the test results to graduate were completely let down by the system due to scoring errors. Some were failed that actually passed, and the May results will not arrive until after graduation.

     The concerns outlined in the letter are added to the recent move by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to contract with Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO) to provide an independent evaluation of the validity and reliability of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) scores, including grades 3-8 reading and mathematics, grades 4 and 7 writing, grades 5 and 8 science, and grade 8 social studies. The independent evaluation is required as per HB 743, which states that before an assessment may be administered, “the assessment instrument must, on the basis of empirical evidence, be determined to be valid and reliable by an entity that is independent of the agency and of any other entity that developed the assessment instrument.”

     The HumRRO report concluded that their “independent evaluation finds support for the validity and reliability of the 2016 STAAR scores.” Following are the findings as to the percent of test items that are fully aligned to the expectations for the grade and subject listed:

  • Grade 5 Mathematics:  98.5%
  • Grade 8 Mathematics:  97.8%
  • Grade 5 Reading:  88.6%
  • Grade 8 Reading:  96.6%
  • Grade 4 Writing:  93.4%
  • Grade 7 Writing:  88.7%
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Foodie Girl Finds

Around the State, Food and Drink, Front Page

A food lover’s journey through life, while discovering inspiring places and delicious bites along the way

Life lessons from tacos and salsa

 

     “Namaste,” I whisper as I bow my head to the floor.  I wipe the sweat from my brow and eagerly roll up my yoga mat.  It’s Saturday morning, and my stomach begins to growl as it anticipates our weekly ritual.  A 90- minute vinyasa class at Yoga Yoga followed by a walk around the corner to the beloved Austin staple, TacoDeli.  I don’t even have to wait in line since I proactively phoned in my order on the way to class two hours ago (the lines are atrocious after 10 a.m. on the weekends).  They know to have it ready for me promptly at 10:15 a.m.  Yes, I’m the person who has restaurant phone numbers saved in my cell phone and is greeted by name when the employee answers.  I have my priorities, people.  I know what I am, and I am at peace with that.  Now, just give me my tacos.  

 

tacodeli

yogayoga

     Some foodies live by the mantra of “trying something new” every time.  I, on the other hand, stick with what I know and love.  This week is no different.  A “Vaquero”(grilled corn, roasted peppers, and cheese on eggs) and a “Jess special” (migas, eggs, and jack cheese) on corn with a cup of coffee – black.  Oh, and did I mention my mild obsession (pun intended) with TacoDeli salsas?  Not only did I ask for an extra side of salsa to go with my tacos, but I went for the whole shebang and ordered two large to-go tubs with chips.  Yep, that’s right.  Two tubs.  Roughly 32 ounces of pure bliss in Tupperware.  I figure it won’t go to waste, and my hubby and I can snack on it through the week.  Ahem.  Okay, maybe it’ll last us a few days, but you get the point. Close family and friends know that half the reasonI exercise on a regular basis is to offset my caloric intake.  Life lesson #1, if you want to eat your tacos, you must exercise.  It’s that simple.  Or, you can starve yourself the rest of the week, but I prefer the former over the latter.

tacodeli-thevaquero
The Vaquero
tacodeli-jessspecialtaco
The Jess Special

     As I take a sip of coffee and unwrap my first taco, I finally take a moment to look around the restaurant and take in my surroundings.  It’s the usual weekend crowd, young twenty-somethings nursing their Friday night hangovers with tortillas, parents feeding their soccer uniform clad seven years old, and fellow yogis and cyclists hungry for organic coffee and locally sourced Vital Farms eggs.  I start to feel guilty for a moment – here I am, sitting quietly in a bar-top stool, able to read my emails and peruse Instagram in peace.  I think about my sister-in-laws and friends with kids, and how different their Saturday mornings are from mine.  I would count my blessings to spend my weekend mornings with my own little ones, eating tacos over milk and coffee.  But for now, this is my life and the path I have been blessed with.  There have been some Saturday mornings when I engage in this ritual and catch a brief admiring gaze of a mom as she attempts to coax her baby into eating a bite of beans.  She looks up at me and sees a woman, about the same age, garbed in Lululemon yoga pants, drinking her coffee and eating her tacos in peace.  What she doesn’t know, is that maybe, just maybe, she was looking at a woman that struggled for years to get pregnant and have a baby of her own.  Life lesson #2, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.  I know the statement is overused and at times, cliche, but whoever came up with that saying knew what they were talking about.  Kudos to you, mystery author.  And so for today, I feel nourished in the fact that I can do vinyasa, drink coffee, and eat tacos on my own accord.  

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     And so, as I finish the last bite of my avocado and eggs, I smile to myself.  I remember the most important life lesson of all from my Saturday morning rituals.  When the monotony of life gets in the way, you should just eat tacos and salsa (and do yoga).  

tacodeli chips and salsa

Foodie Finds  

TacoDeli is an Austin staple, and frequented by locals and tourists alike.  They are known for their four award-winning salsas.  Each flavor has won first place in the Austin Hot Sauce Festival. You can check out more on the salsa recipes here.

All of the tacos are handcrafted daily, made with the highest quality ingredients.  The eggs are sourced from local Vital Farms, and all of the chips and corn tortillas are made from organic masa.   

For breakfast, try the house favorite Otto (beans, bacon, avocado and jack cheese) or vegetarians can feast on the El Popeye (eggs, spinach, and queso fresco).   For lunch, don’t miss out on their daily specials, including the DeliBelly (pork belly, avocado, cilantro, onion with honey tomatillo-serrano salsa) or Tikin XIC (achiote marinated grilled salmon with habanero onion escabeche).

Five locations in Austin and one location in Dallas make it easy to stop by on your visit.  Bon Appetit!  

TacoDeli (6 Locations)                             Yoga Yoga (4 Locations)   

Austin, Texas                                       Austin, Texas

Hours:  M-F 7-3 pm, Sat-Sun 8-3 pm                Open 7 days a week

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Time and Work: According to Dad, the Builder

Around the State, Arts, Education, Opinion/Editorial, Personal History
IMG_3306
Dad, the Builder

     Sometimes I feel like an escaped convict being chased by time:  ever-long to-do lists and never-long to finish them. Plans for plans of plans to accomplish things which need only be accomplished in order to accomplish other things. And then comes the rising, surging impatience as one menial task seemingly steals time from a larger, more important task. “It’s all work; it all takes time; and it’s all necessary,” my dad would tell me. “You can lug and stack 6 pallets of brick for the bricklayer who stands in wait atop the scaffold, all the while wishing you had his job instead of yours, but you will have forgotten that he is about to move all the same bricks, setting and leveling each one by one as his two hands build a wall.”

     Without time, there may be no depth. All too often, we waste time and effort by spending time and effort trying to save time and effort. Short cuts, loopholes, and corner-cutting may be useful in a pinch, but real progress cannot be achieved unless you are willing to “walk the path” in its entirety. Our sweeping mentality of always wishing to find a tool that will give us more and faster typically results only in superficial levels of quality and knowledge which deliver neither more nor fast. Worse yet, cramming with shortcuts to learn quickly a little about everything ultimately means that you’ll only ever know a little about anything.

     The frustrating truth is that there is no cure for time. Be it spent or wasted, nothing passes more steadily than the tick of the clock. All we have are the choices we make about how to pass with it. The good times move with the speed at which we wish the bad times could, and the bad times linger in ways that only good times should. In the end, our only real solution is mindful, steady work. Couple this with a specific objective, and we may rest assured that the amount of time it takes to complete any task will be exactly equal to the amount of time it should take to complete the task, no more, no less. Only with years of repetition does the length of time needed to complete our work begin to shorten, a frustrating fact of life that is otherwise known as patience.

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A Cow Named Horse: Political Correctness, Doublespeak, and Trickery

Around the State, Corpus Christi, Education, Flour Bluff, Front Page, Government and Politics, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial, Religion

Co-Authored by Dan Thornton and Matthew Thornton

A Cow Named Horse
A Cow Named Horse

     Several years have passed, but I still remember the joy I found in naming my cow “Horse.”  It was a little mischief I played on my young nephew Matthew, a special bit of humor you might say. Certainly, it was not an original idea.  I think I most likely took my cue from the Viking’s naming of Iceland and Greenland, another obvious attempt at deception.  It was many years later, after many re-tellings of the story, that I realized that I was using a harmless form of “Doublespeak.”

     Have you ever wondered about the difference between the Secretary of War and the Secretary of Defense? What about terrorists and freedom fighters? Did you ever think that a preemptive strike seems more like an unprovoked attack? Why are some people unique while others are weird? And what is a substance abuse problem if not a drug addiction?  Why do we refer to failing a grade as being held back? Are we just trying to be PC (politically correct)?  Exactly what does it mean to be politically correct?  If you look for synonyms in the dictionary, you’ll find a myriad of terms, such as: considerate, diplomatic, gender-free, inclusive, inoffensive, liberal, multi-cultural, sensitive, non-discriminatory, non-racist, non-sexist, bias-free, and respectful, to name a few.

1984

     George Orwell, who perhaps commented best on the subject in his novel Nineteen Eight-Four, developed what he referred to as Newspeak and Doublethink.  Unfortunately, the Orwellian term, Newspeak, has come to carry a negative connotation because it is defined as the manipulation or switching of words to make an unpleasant, or otherwise negative situation, sound… not as awful. In contemporary news, we refer to this as spin.  In particular, Orwell created the word Newspeak to describe the dangers of its use by governments to control the masses. In reality, political correctness is hardly different.  It has acquired a cult status and is frequently used to suppress free speech, prevent meaningful discussion, and ultimately create hate crime laws.  If it all sounds a bit Orwellian, it is.  Political correctness is a coercive device used to punish nonbelievers, reward cultists, and ostracize anyone who questions the philosophy of the government as it attempts to achieve its goals.  (As a quick reference, consider The Patriot Act, which allows the government to monitor  – or secure – phone and computer records without a search warrant. A better term for this legislation might be The Loss of Privacy Act. Before political correctness was in vogue, it was crudely referred to as tyranny.

“I have appointed a Secretary of Semantics–a most important post. He is to furnish me with forty to fifty dollar words. Tell me how to say yes and no in the same sentence without a contradiction. He is to tell me the combination of words that will put me against inflation in San Francisco and for it in New York. He is to show me how to keep silent–and say everything. You can very well see how he can save me an immense amount of worry.” – Harry Truman

     Let us consider a recent and particularly controversial example. In the summer of 2015, the Supreme Court decided that gay marriage was legal in all fifty states.  Of the masses that the ruling did not directly affect, many could not have cared less to see the finalization of such an amendment. Certain religious groups, however, became very upset with the decision, and their point, as we shall see, is valid. In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, a 2013 story resurfaced about an Oregon bakery whose owners refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding and suggested an alternative to the potential buyers. The would-be customers brought legal action, and the owners were forced to pay an exorbitant $135,000 fine that resulted in the closing of the bakery. Whether or not the bakers’ decision to turn away paying customers was a business-savvy or morally aligned move is debatable as a matter of opinion. Such debate, however, will not change the fact that from a legal and constitutional standpoint, the Supreme Court put the state in a position to forcibly negate and sacrifice religious rights in order to preserve gay rights.

     More recently there have been cases where the courts have forced individuals to take sensitivity training in order to overcome their religious beliefs. Imagine a nation that boasts its freedom of religion and freedom of speech yet denies both and enforces the politically correct rights of another. How much more totalitarian can it get than to take a so-called progressive freedom such as that of gay rights and turn it into an inverse function that negates one of the nation’s oldest and most traditional freedoms? The bakery, previously referenced, would certainly be in the minority in Portland, Oregon, as most bakeries would not turn away perfectly good business under such circumstances. Why then was there the need for government intervention? Why not just allow the business owners to succeed or suffer the fate of their religious conviction? Is that not what freedom of religion entails? Perhaps the irony of the whole matter is that marriage itself is a Christian religious tradition that has nothing to do with the state. We may recall that it has always been referred to as holy matrimony.

“If people can’t control their  own emotions, then they have to start trying to control other peoples’ behavior” – Robert Skinner

StopPC

     It might be meaningful at this point to examine the true meaning of political correctness in order to gain a full understanding of its underlying tyranny.  First, the word political comes from the Greek word, politikos, and refers to the practice of influencing others. Children, in their earliest days of learning to speak, begin trials of informal politicking. From the first time they play mother against father to get an extra serving of ice-cream at dinner, they come to the understanding that they are able to manipulate the world around them and create the circumstances of their desire. In its most rudimentary form, then, politics is nothing more than a person’s attempt to get what he or she wants. What one person wants, however, could very easily result in the pain or loss of another. In our politically correct, highly evolved, ever-so-civilized world, people are not socially or legally granted the freedom to go out and seize whatever they wish to have without at least considering the perennial destruction that may be left in the wake of their otherwise self-centered campaign.  Sound politicking, therefore, requires not only getting what you want but doing so, without looking like a bully. As such, political correctness is most accurately viewed as a style of semantics that can be manipulated and used with the intent of achieving the political agenda of a person or group. Moreover, we can deduce that being a cultist to politically correct language results from only one of two possible causes.  Either users are trying to influence other people with their own political agenda, or they have been influenced by the political agenda of some person or group.

     Like Newspeak and Doublethink, being politically correct is often, wittingly or not, used by governments as a deep-seeded technique for mind-control. Are there instances in which politically correct language might be used as a tool to further unite a people in freedom or equality? Maybe, and certainly there are cases in which people simply use politically correct language to be harmlessly polite. However, using political correctness as a common language cannot be forced upon people without infringing upon the guaranteed freedom of speech which is supposed to be judiciously protected. The truth of a person’s thoughts, after all, do not change just because he or she feels obligated to sugar-coat the way in which the thought is conveyed.  To clarify, I am not referring to Orwell’s Doublethink here.  Ultimately, being PC, in its best and most harmless form, is lying, and, in its worst form, is a medieval oppression of the mind.

John Cleese with Further Thoughts on Everyday PC:

Click to View – 2 minutes

PragerU: A Progressive’s Guide to Political Correctness

Click to View – 6 minutes

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Foodie Girl Finds: Poufs, Pallets, and Preserves

Around the State, Food and Drink, Front Page, Travel

Foodie Girl Finds

A food lover’s journey in discovering inspiring places and delicious bites along the way

Poufs, Pallets and Preserves

January 1, 2016

    “Is this floor pillow still good?  It looks like it’s gone flat.” my husband gestures to the sagging foot rest as I’m preparing to leave for my girls’ day out.  I give a distracted reply as I throw on my scarf and grab my purse.  

    “For the record, it’s called a pouf….not a pillow.  It just needs to be fluffed since the kids have been jumping on it.”  He shakes his head in disapproval with a look that lets me know his desire to send the pillow straight to pouf heaven.  I give him my best smile, then head for the door.

    My husband, the ever-changing actor and artist, is patient and tolerant of my obsessions with HGTV and the Food Network. He has come to recognize my first-name references to my favorite chefs (Ina, Giada, and Nigella to name a few) and my foodie television show acronyms (Who doesn’t call Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives “Triple D?”).  He doesn’t even flinch when I make reference to home decorating tips from Chip and Jojo (Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper), as if we were lifelong friends.  

    Today is no different as I embark on a 90-mile trek to Waco, Texas, to do what I love most:  eat good food and discover inspiring places in the company of friends and family.  It is my joy and passion to explore off- the-beaten-path spots and rejuvenating spaces with the people I love most.  And so it begins….a blog to share each of these adventures.  

 

Magnolia Market Silos                                                                                                                             

601 Webster Avenue, Waco, Texas 76710

Hours:  Mon-Sat 10 am – 6 pm

The Findery 

501 South 8th Street, Waco, Texas 76706

Hours:  Mon-Sat 9 am – 6 pm

     It’s the Wednesday after Christmas, and my dear friend Erin and I park promptly at 11:00 a.m. in the dirt lot off of Webster Avenue in downtown Waco.  We join the rest of the devout followers of HGTV’s Fixer Upper show and make the short pilgrimage to the Magnolia Market Silos property about a quarter of a mile away.  The property originally served as an old grain depot, and in late 2014, the couple (who work in tandem as a construction and home redesign team) purchased and renovated the property.  

The exterior of a new location of Magnolia Market at the Silos, owned by Chip and Joanna Gaines, hosts of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, on Thursday, October 29, 2015 at Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco, Texas. (Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News)
Photo courtesy of Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News

    It’s only an hour after opening and the hustle of loyal fans fills the air.  On our right, sit two large grain silos. The flagship storefront is to the left, and in front of us, a large food truck park with a green space covered in turf grass.  It is obvious that the property was not only intended to cater to eager shoppers but their families as well.   

Magnolia

Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/TheMagnoliaMom

    Just past the common area is the working garden.  Raised planter boxes create a pathway of flourishing plants including a rainbow of Swiss chard, cabbage, and kale.  Visitors can stop and take pictures in front of the barn and escape the bustle of the shoppers.

Common area

Barn and garden

    The flagship store showroom includes elegant displays of Jojo’s home decor, including Magnolia Market candles and coffee mugs, vases and oodles of trays and baskets in every size and shape.   Other sections of the store include apparel and local artisan jewelry. “Chip’s Corner” is a space filled with gifts for the modern day man such as toothbrushes and pocket tools.

magnolia-market-at-the

Photo courtesy of www.tripadvisor.com

     The sale section of the market is connected by a set of stairs that lead to the attached grain barn.  The drafty area has a rotation of products that have been marked down in price.  

gallery-1450739003-magnolia-market-inside

Photo courtesy of Countryliving.com/Simon Dumenco

 

Mercantile Takeaways  

     Magnolia Market is an inspiring venue that provides design enthusiasts with decorating ideas.  If you’re looking for a beautiful space to be inspired, grab a cup of coffee, or get a bite to eat, then this is an experience you won’t want to miss.  To avoid the massive shopping crowds, visit on a weekday (preferably not over a holiday) shortly after opening.  You will be able to get in and out of the market before the crowds begin to wrap around the street corner.    

     Since merchandise prices are generally affordable (but not cheap), a devout Fixer Upper follower would be better off taking pictures of the staged decor and visiting the unique boutique around the corner called The Findery to emulate the ideas.  Aside from Magnolia Market signature items, The Findery carries similar home decor and apparel items, for a more reasonable price.  

     Lastly, be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes on your trip, as you will want to explore all of the open spaces that Magnolia Market Silos has to offer.  Happy hunting!   

webfindery-exterior-7_copy_large

Photo courtesy of the www.thefindery.net

Monument Cafe and Monument Market

500 S. Austin Avenue, Georgetown, Texas 78626

Hours:  Sun-Thurs 7 am – 9 pm, Fri-Sat 7 am-10 pm

 

    As we ventured past the snaking line of visitors awaiting to enter the Magnolia Market, we could no longer ignore the grumbling of our stomachs.  Anticipating the afternoon traffic on I-35, we decided a late lunch in downtown Georgetown (just north of Austin) would be an ideal location.   A little under an hour later, we settled in at a booth at the Monument Cafe.

monument cafe

    Locals fondly refer to the cafe as simply “The Monument.”  As referenced on the front page of the menu, the diner is a tribute to rural Texas cafes that served simple yet satisfying food and served as community centers for the towns in which they were located. 

    The diverse menu includes home-style favorites such as fried chicken, liver and onions, burgers, salads and soups.  Breakfast aficionados will be pleased to find that breakfast is served all day.  Freshly baked biscuits with butter and housemade blackberry preserves (yes, please!) greet customers as they are seated.  

omelette

     I polished off a three-egg omelet with bacon and spinach, then followed it up with a slice of the Monument Classic Pie.  

monument pie

     The pie was every bit delicious as it was beautiful.  Organic dairy, pastured eggs, and local pecans filled every bite.    

monument market

     Upon closing our tab, the waiter encouraged us to visit the attached Monument Market.  As we entered through the glass door, we were greeted with a surprisingly diverse and well-stocked shop of groceries and gifts.

market full view

     Fresh produce, a wall of wine and beer, house-made granola, and baked goods lined the shelves.  The back wall offered a case of prepared foods, meat and eggs.  Picnic tables provided a spot to enjoy purchased treats, and the surrounding tables offered a variety of preserves and all-natural lotions.  Tucked away in the back corner of the market was a wall of organic gardening and pet products.   

lettuce

popcorn

preserves

soaps

     As I made my purchase of local honey, I spotted the adjacent outdoor biergarten.  It is a perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine or a cold brew on a warm summer night.

biergarten

     Our last stop before the car was a quick walk through the cafe’s garden.  Even in December, the crops were abundant and flourishing.

cabbage

 

Foodie Finds  

     The Monument Cafe, referred by locals as simply “The Monument,” pays tribute to rural Texas cafes that served simple yet satisfying food and served as community centers for the towns in which they were located.  The restaurant prides itself on serving fresh, local, seasonal, unprocessed, simple and flavorful food.  The taste and quality of the dishes reflect the time and effort put into creating each dish in-house from scratch.  The inviting interior pays homage to roadside diners, while maintaining a sleek and updated feel.  Breakfast platters range from $6 – $10, and dinner entrees range from $8 – $17.  Parking is easy in the attached lot, and the cafe is walking distance to the downtown Georgetown square which includes wine tasting rooms, jewelry and fine gifts, antiques, home decor, and pet stores.  Be sure to visit the adjacent Biergarten for a cold brew or glass of wine.  On the weekends, you can order from the full cafe menu while listening to live music each night.  

     For high-quality gourmet fiends, visit the attached Monument Market and garden for fresh produce, all-natural dairy and cheeses, pastured eggs, organic vegetables and fruit, and Texas wines and artisanal beers.  The cafe prides itself on local and seasonal food direct from the source.  Be sure to pick up a bottle of local honey or gardening products to take home.  Bon Appetit!   

 

     I hope you enjoy my journey in discovering local food jaunts and specialty shops in Texas (and around the world).  It is my joy and passion to explore delicious dishes and the unique settings that surround them.  I owe that passion all to my dad.  I can envision him now at the dinner table, rubbing his hands together in delight and proclaiming, “I think this was the best meal we’ve ever had!”

~ Denise

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Constitutional Convention a Bad Idea

Around the State, Front Page, Government and Politics, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial

  

Constitution

In Wednesday’s Caller-Times, Rod Wolthoff thinks having a constitutional convention is a good idea.  But he is wrong; it is a terrible idea and here is why:

  1. The Constitution is not broken.  The politicians and judges who have taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution have broken their oaths.  And they will continue to do so.
  2. Once the convention starts, the attendees are not required to stay on one or two issues, such as a balanced-budget amendment.  In fact, the convention could turn into a runaway convention, and the whole Constitution could be scrapped.
  3. Who is going to represent US at this convention?  If you think it will be a bunch of conservative Texans, you are wrong.  It will be people from all political persuasions.  I am sure there will be plenty of progressives who do not think much of our Second Amendment.  Are you willing to risk our liberties on a convention that could take them away?

     I have seen a copy of the U.N. charter some want to replace our Constitution.  All the rights are government-given, not God-given, so they can easily be taken away.  Thirty-four states are required to approve this convention.  Only 17 more are needed.  This is a terrible idea that must be stopped!

Read more about this topic at:  http://blog.constitutioncenter.org/2015/04/doing-the-math-for-a-new-constitutional-convention/

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