Columns/Opinions

Wed
10
Jan
Edgar's picture

FEMA clears way for public assistance to churches that aid in disasters

by ED STERLING

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Jan. 3 announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s approval of their request to allow churches and religious organizations to receive the same public assistance available to other nonprofits aiding in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

FEMA’s Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide previously offered assistance to private non-profit organizations, including zoos, performing arts centers and museums, and excluded facilities established or primarily used for religious activities. The revised policy is in force for any major disaster declared on or after Aug. 23, 2017.

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Wed
03
Jan
Edgar's picture

Living on the edge

By TONI WALKER

I consider myself a music lover. I love many different styles of music, and there is always a song or two that seems to hit me where I am at. I have “favorite” songs and artists in everything from country to classic rock and pop. I have even been known to mix in a few instrumental pieces from time to time.

If someone looked at my playlists, they might be a little shocked. They would find everything from Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood to Pentatonix and Aerosmith. Some days, I skip everything but the country music. Others, I want the harder stuff.

 

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Wed
03
Jan
Edgar's picture

Texas waits for Senate agreement on disaster aid funding

by ED STERLING

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Dec. 21 released a statement applauding the U.S. House of Representatives’ preliminary passage of $81 billion in disaster aid to Texas, several other states and Puerto Rico.

Abbott called the House’s 251-169 vote in favor of the aid package “a step in the right direction” but added that “more needs to be done to ensure the funds Congress provides address the critical needs Texans are enduring from the largest natural disaster in our state’s history. We look forward to working with the Senate to improve the disaster funding to ensure it addresses the acute needs of Texans.”

 

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Wed
27
Dec
Edgar's picture

This year, I resolve…

By TONI WALKER

Oh, who am I kidding, it doesn’t matter what I “resolve” to do…it more than likely won’t last much past January! Why is it that we put so much stock in New Year’s resolutions, when the majority of them don’t really last? Aren’t there some easier resolutions we could do, ones that we can actually DO? I mean, it is really hard to get in the habit of eating right, exercising, stop smoking, and so many other things that people resolve to do. Well, here is MY list of resolutions, at least ones that I am going to try!

*I resolve to smile more.

Wed
27
Dec
Edgar's picture

Officials name members to school finance commission

By ED STERLING

AUSTIN — Top state officials last week named members to the Texas Public School Finance Commission, an agency created by legislation passed last summer during a special session of the 85th Texas Legislature.

Gov. Greg Abbott named Scott Brister of Waco, a former justice of the Texas Supreme Court, as chair of the commission.

 

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Wed
20
Dec
Edgar's picture

The Holiday Funk

I have always been a lover of all things Christmas. I had always turned on the Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving and kept it playing all year. The tree was the same- it would go up the day after thanksgiving, and stay up till after Jan. 1. (Because you know it is bad luck to take it down before then!) There was nothing I looked forward to more than Christmas time and getting everything ready for that festive time of the year.

Over the years, I have learned that although I still enjoy the Christmas season, as I fully understand the reason for the season, I seem to have found myself in a sort of funk the last few years. Now, I don’t mean a “child not believing in Santa Claus” kind of funk. As this season quickly approaches, I have found myself thinking about the Christmas funk, and what we can do to help those who may be in one.

 

Wed
20
Dec
Edgar's picture

Abbott asks Rangers to investigate reports of misconduct

By ED STERLING

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott has asked the Texas Rangers to investigate reports of sexual misconduct and inappropriate relationships by Texas Juvenile Justice Department personnel.

On Dec. 13 Abbott sent a letter to Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw requesting the investigation.

“Recent reports of sexual misconduct and inappropriate relationships by state employees at the Texas Juvenile Justice Department are reprehensible and necessitate an appropriate response,” Abbott said. “Action is needed to guarantee the protection of the youth in the care and custody of the State of Texas. I am requesting that our esteemed Texas Rangers immediately open a detailed investigation to determine the extent of the alleged misconduct at the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.”

 

Wed
13
Dec
Edgar's picture

Abbott picks TCEQ to manage Clean Air settlement funds

By ED STERLING

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Dec. 4 announced his selection of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality as the lead agency for Texas’ participation in the Environmental Mitigation Trust.

The trust was established in 2016 and early 2017 by the settlement of certain federal Clean Air Act claims against Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche related to the car companies’ use of “defeat devices” to pass emission standard tests. As a participating state, Texas must develop a draft mitigation plan outlining how it would spend its $209 million share of the settlement funds in efforts to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides.

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Wed
13
Dec
Edgar's picture

The “Most Wonderful Time” to discuss underage drinking

By REBECCA SMITH

As the song says, the holidays are “The most wonderful time of the year.”

There’s something magical about the comradery that comes from singing familiar songs, sharing meals, and opening gifts together.

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Wed
29
Nov
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Hurricane recovery continues with extension of disaster declaration

by ED STERLING 

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Nov. 20 extended the disaster declaration for counties affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Some 60 counties are included and they will continue to be eligible for assistance as they recover and rebuild.

“The most important message I want to send to the victims of this storm is that they are not alone as they continue to recover from this storm. While we still have a long way to go to return to a new normal, I have no doubt that Texas will eventually emerge from this disaster stronger than ever before,” Abbott said.

Declarations must be renewed every 30 days for assistance to remain available. Gov. Abbott said he would continue to renew them as needed throughout the recovery process.

 

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