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My Five Cents

State hospitals, living centers pay increases

On Jan. 25, 1839 the official flag of Texas was adopted by the Third Congress of the Republic of Texas. It specified the look of the iconic Lone Star Flag that we know and love today. The colors were chosen to signify certain attributes: red for courage, white for purity and liberty, and blue for loyalty. The Texas flag is the only flag of an American state that previously served as a flag for an…
My Five Cents

Budget filed in both the House and Senate

This week we celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was a visionary leader and made an invaluable impact on our country. Here are five things happening around your state. Budget filed in both the House and Senate Now that the members are sworn in and both the governor and lieutenant governor are sworn in, the legislature can begin the work of the people. The first step is…
Chris Metitations

Bite-sized commentaries

So this week for my scrawling on this page, I’m trying a different approach with things. Our esteemed friend Gary Borders, the award-winning newspaperman and essayist, is the current curator of the weekly Capitol Highlights column, courtesy of Texas Press Association. In the column, Borders follows a great tradition of breaking down current stories of statewide interest into brief bits of news.…
Trent Ashby

Legislative priorities laid out for session

By Rep. Trent Ashby As part of School Board Appreciation Month, I invite parents, teachers, and students to join me in recognizing our local School Board Members who have dedicated their time to serve our Texas students and communities. With more than 5 million students throughout the State of Texas, these local leaders deserve our gratitude for their leadership and devoted service on behalf of…
012623 senate weekly

Property tax cuts headline budget proposal

By Richard LeeSenate correspondent AUSTIN — The amount that homeowners can write off of the taxable value of their home before assessment would nearly double under the budget proposed by the Senate on Wednesday. SB 1, filed by Senate Finance Committee Chair Sen. Joan Huffman of Houston, would increase the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $70,000 at a cost of $1.8 billion for the state. Another…
012623 senate weekly

Property tax cuts headline budget proposal

By Richard LeeSenate correspondent AUSTIN — The amount that homeowners can write off of the taxable value of their home before assessment would nearly double under the budget proposed by the Senate on Wednesday. SB 1, filed by Senate Finance Committee Chair Sen. Joan Huffman of Houston, would increase the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $70,000 at a cost of $1.8 billion for the state. Another…
FromEditorsDesk Tony Cropped

There is climate change, and it’s not the weather

By Tony Farkastony@polkcountypublishing.com The woke tide that crashing on the shores of our society is growing larger. Recently, one of Texas’ own has stepped into the fray with a bill that on the face of it would be laughed out of Congress, but because of the idea that wokeness trumps common sense is gaining traction, and prompting different adherents to take wild swings. Such is the case with…
Broadband Stock

Hegar releases map identifying areas eligible for broadband funding

AUSTIN — Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced the release of the Texas Broadband Development Map last week, which uses data collected from internet service providers (ISPs) to show the availability of various types of high-speed internet access across Texas. The process for creating the map follows the process used by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create the national broadband…
Trent Ashby

Join me in recognizing school board members

By Rep. Trent Ashby As part of School Board Appreciation Month, I invite parents, teachers and students to join me in recognizing our local school board members who have dedicated their time to serve our Texas students and communities. With over 5 million students throughout the State of Texas, these local leaders deserve our gratitude for their leadership and devoted service on behalf of our…
My Five Cents

Both chambers file budgets

This week we celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was a visionary leader and made an invaluable impact on our country. Here are five things happening around your state: Budget filed in both the House and Senate Now that the members are sworn in and both the governor and lieutenant governor are sworn in, the legislature can begin the work of the people. The first step is…
Money Stock

Senate opens session with money in bank

By Richard LeeSenate correspondent AUSTIN — Lawmakers working on the next biennial budget will have more revenue to work with than ever before thanks to strong sales tax collections and a record-breaking budget surplus. State Comptroller Glenn Hegar laid out his biennial revenue estimate on Monday and it was another upward revision for the remaining cash balance from the current ‘22-’23 budget:…
Chris Metitations

Pigs in a blanket are NOT kolaches

By Chris Edwards A while back, one of my colleagues brought back a box of some of the yummiest kolaches I had ever wrapped my lips around. He’d just returned from a sojourn to deep Czech country here in Texas, and the resulting raspberry and apricot baked goodness was a welcome gift. Now if you are reading this and thinking “raspberry…apricot? Them ain’t kolaches,” then you need a bit of…
FromEditorsDesk Tony Cropped

From the ridiculous to the really ridiculous

By Tony Farkas It may come as a surprise to some that my first real not-under-the-table job was working in the food industry. Starting off as a dishwasher, it wasn’t long till I graduated to cooking, and ultimately baking, for a restaurant that at the time was one of the most popular places to eat in town. Aside from steam tables, pots and other equipment, used primarily for vegetables, the main…
My Five Cents

Back at the bills

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year. The new year brings a new legislative session, so I’ll be spending time in Austin working on your behalf over the next 140 days. Here are five things happening around your state: Legislature convenes for 88th Legislative Session The Texas Legislature is officially back in session. Both the Texas Senate and Texas House of…
TomPurcell

Best 2023 resolution? Get a pet.

By Tom Purcell It was late December of 2020. COVID cabin fever was hitting me hard. As a writer and communications consultant, I’ve long worked from an office in my home. I was used to working alone at home, but COVID isolation was pushing me beyond my limits. Family issues were also weighing me down. My father, then 87, was facing a series of health challenges. I was on guard day and night,…
FromEditorsDesk Tony Cropped

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

By Tony Farkas It’s always a banner day when I can link wonderful lyrics by The Who to the current mess that we have in Washington, D.C. Those words come from the song “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” which was an anthem for a generation that was fighting the establishment. If you’ve been following the news, then you’ve seen the donnybrook going on to appoint a successor to Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of…
From The Editors Desk Emily Wooten

Keep legal notices where they belong

Have you ever thought about the importance of community journalism, specifically, local newspapers? I’m sure at one time or another you’ve seen a family Bible filled with yellowed newspaper clippings of long-ago births, wedding announcements and obituaries of loved ones. Or maybe someone’s scrapbook full of newspaper clippings reflecting various accomplishments? I first began reading newspapers…
Trent Ashby

Energy picks up around state capitol for new session

By Rep. Trent Ashby As we say goodbye to 2022 and welcome 2023, my family and I want to wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and peaceful new year. While most folks are winding down after the holidays, the energy has picked up around your State Capitol, as the 88th Legislative Session will officially begin on Tuesday, January 10. With that in mind, I’d like to remind you of some of the resources…
Danny Tyree Column

Given up on your 2023 reading list yet?

By Danny Tyree “Time Enough at Last.” The new year reminds me of that classic “Twilight Zone” episode starring Burgess Meredith as a put-upon bookworm. (No, he wasn’t reading on the wing of an airplane! Get your episodes straight, with “The Twilight Zone Companion,” for Pete’s sake!) True bibliophiles are all the same. Whether our preference is studying the rise and fall of empires or the rise…
Trent Ashby

House committee looks at investments

By Rep. Trent Ashby House Interim Charge: Pensions, Investments & Financial Services With the 88th Legislative Session just around the corner, our tour of interim committees will soon come to a close. For our final stop on our tour of interim charges, we’ll examine the House Committee on Pensions, Investments & Financial Services. This nine-member committee oversees the financial obligations of…
Danny Tyree Column

Ready to watch your own funeral?

Tyrades! by Danny Tyree My cousin’s husband owns a funeral home, so I’m anxious to hear his take on a front-page article from the November 4 “Wall Street Journal.” According to the article, morticians are innovating ways to put the “fun” in funeral (including burial plot raffles and “open house” family events featuring food, live music and bouncy houses) – or maybe it was putting the “monument”…
Chris Metitations

A cup of digital detox is good for the soul

By Chris Edwardscedwards@polkcountypublishing.com I recently did something that seems like an extreme aberration in 2022-going-on-’23: I unplugged from the world for a bit. Yep. No emails, social media, phone, etc., etc. Robinson Crusoe of the 21st century right here. Gentle readers, as a reporter and occasional op-ed scribbler for this website, you can probably imagine that there are a lot of…
FromEditorsDesk Tony Cropped

Free speech is just exactly that

By Tony Farkas My occasional cohort on these pages did an experiment with a chatbot, assigning it an essay on free speech. I know that it’s ironic that a program was writing about freedom, but hey, it’s an experiment. The upshot of the four-paragraph screed was that freedom of speech wasn’t absolute and needed to have limits placed on it for the public good. It’s the “Your right to swing your…
FromEditorsDesk Tony Cropped

Why bringing the law into this or that is wrong

By Tony Farkas tony@polkcountypublishing.com In yet another trip down the road to superfluous nonsense, earlier this month our vaunted federal leaders decided that since they respect marriage, that there needed to be a law forcing everyone to do the same. It makes sense, I guess, since 26 years ago these (mostly) same people passed the Defense of Marriage Act, which essentially defined marriage…
FromEditorsDesk Tony Cropped

Why bringing the law into this or that is wrong

By Tony Farkas tony@polkcountypublishing.com In yet another trip down the road to superfluous nonsense, earlier this month our vaunted federal leaders decided that since they respect marriage, that there needed to be a law forcing everyone to do the same. It makes sense, I guess, since 26 years ago these (mostly) same people passed the Defense of Marriage Act, which essentially defined marriage…
Trent Ashby

Committee concerned with state money matters

by Trent Ashby With the holidays upon us, we’re immersed with reasons to celebrate. And while the end of December is perhaps the busiest time of year, it’s my hope that, amidst all of the fanfare and pageantry, we take a moment to be still and recenter ourselves on why we have reason to celebrate — Christ’s coming into the world so that He might offer up His life as a sacrifice for the sins of…
Mollie LaSalle

Do you want fries with that?

By Mollie LaSallenews@tylercountybooster.com I recently went to a nameless fast-food restaurant the other day and placed my order at the drive-through. I ordered a large drink and a cheeseburger; that’s all I wanted. The young man then proceeded to ask me if I wanted regular fries or curly fries, to which I replied “I don’t want any fries”. He said “Okay, please pull around to the window and I…
From The Editors Desk Emily Wooten

Personal growth starts with practicing gratitude

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to hear a woman speak about grace in the workplace. She talked about creating a gratitude journal, commenting that it didn’t have to be anything fancy but could be as simple as an inexpensive spiral notebook. In her gratitude journal she writes things for which she is grateful regarding her job and her co-workers. For example, she mentioned that she often…
FromEditorsDesk Tony Cropped

Why bringing the law into this or that is wrong

By Tony Farkas In yet another trip down the road to superfluous nonsense, earlier this month our vaunted federal leaders decided that since they respect marriage, that there needed to be a law forcing everyone to do the same. It makes sense, I guess, since 26 years ago these (mostly) same people passed the Defense of Marriage Act, which essentially defined marriage as being between a man and a…
BARNES Photo for Column

Publisher Points - We would like to work with you in 2023

by Kelli Barnes A newspaper, by definition, brings news of interest to the area where published, in the form of the printed page. If a newspaper is good, it will be useful to you. Yes, searching in multiple places to find what you need to know is an option, but the job of the newspaper is to compile a good mixture of information about the community into one central, convenient location. The more…
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