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Committee charged with environmental regulation

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Trent AshbyBy Rep. Trent Ashby

As we near the 2022 General Election Day on November 8, I’d like to offer a friendly reminder that the early voting period will begin on October 24 and will end on November 4. While I always encourage folks to take advantage of the early voting period to avoid Election Day lines, what’s most important is that you plan to participate in the process by exercising your right to vote. For more information about early voting locations, what you’ll need to bring with you to the polling locations, or any other questions you may have, please visit www.votetexas.gov. With that, we’ll dive back into our examination of House interim charges. . .

House Interim Charge: Environmental Regulation

The House Committee on Environmental Regulation is up next on our tour of House Committees. With nine sitting members, the Committee focuses on policies relating to air, land, and water pollution, waste disposal, and the regulation of industrial development as it pertains to the environment. The House Committee on Environmental Regulation also oversees several state agencies, including the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission. 

Like most committees, Environmental Regulation will monitor policies enacted during the 87th Legislative Session to ensure the implementation of the measures align with the intent of the legislation. For instance, HB 1680 streamlines the regulation of on-site sewage disposal systems on federal land leases by establishing that each tract of leased land is considered separate to allow lessees to update or replace their existing septic systems. Another bill, HB 4472 amends the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) to expand the number of projects eligible for grant funding, while also allowing for enhanced investments in our state’s infrastructure funding. In addition to the review of HB 4472, the Committee has also been tasked with evaluating the TERP program’s effectiveness and identifying unrealized opportunities that would further the program’s goal. 

The Committee has been charged to review the recent passage of the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and how the federal funds may be used to complement the state’s efforts to clean up polluted sites, plug wells, and carry out various pollution mitigation initiatives. The Committee will also monitor various federal regulations that could directly impact the state’s economic development, manufacturing, and industrial activities within the purview of the House Committee on Environmental Regulation, including regulations adopted or proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. 

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will post regular updates on what’s happening in your State Capitol and share information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/.

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Ain’t nobody special

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Jim Opionin by Jim Powers
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American singer, songwriter and actress LeAnn Rimes recently released a new song, Spaceship. Rimes has struggled with depression and anxiety for years. The song could be an anthem for those who suffer from major depression.

While I’ve never struggled personally with major depression, I have years of confronting the struggle daily and have learned a lot about compassion and understanding others because of it. Check out the video of Rimes’ song on YouTube by searching for Leann Rimes Spaceship (brief nudity at the end).

 

 

Here’s the beginning lyrics to the tune:

No, I never felt like I belonged here
This world wasn't quite ready for me
Whoever's out there in the stratosphere
Got a question for the cosmic engineer
Is it all you believed it would be?

Hey God, why don't you take me home?
Beam me up, I got a ticket to board
Yeah, you know I'm coming home anyway
So, we might as well blast off today, for fun
I'm waiting on my spaceship to come

How much pain can we bear being human?
I'm pretty sure that my mission is done here
How much more, yeah, do you want from me?
Haven't I earned the right to be a nominee?
To float out past the Pleiades
Oh, no, you can't be that hard to please…

Leann Rimes is 40 years old. The insight and sentiment in the song sounds more like those of an old guy like me, not a middle age, very successful and talented singer. A lot of older people feel the same way, struggling to get by without the buffer that wealth can provide in old age. I have heard it many times, “God, surely I’ve done whatever you put me here to do, why don’t you take me home.” We can’t know the mind of God.

But I don’t really want to write about depression. I want to write about privilege and power. And the very common struggles of someone with privilege and power illustrate my topic well.

Many people, as we can tell from the popularity of TV preachers promoting the Prosperity Gospel, believe that acquiring wealth and success in life means that God loves them in a special way that He doesn’t others. They believe that money and success mean they have earned a place in the spiritual realm different than those of us who have lived average lives. That God bestows material wealth and success on those he loves most. And that that special position with God justifies their exercising power and control over mere humans. That God has given them a special wisdom to lord over other human beings.

But my Bible tells me that God has no favorites, bestows no special insight on anyone, sees every human being as special and important. The wealthy and powerful still suffer the calamities of the poor, despite the solid gold health care and living conditions that wealth provides. Wealth often fuels hubris, though, and we end up with politicians who believe only they have the truth. And that “truth” gives them the justification to tell others how they will live, what they will believe, who they will love, and the box they will spend their life in.

It's a lie. Ain’t nobody special. While we may never understand what purpose we were to accomplish by being put on this earth, we were not put here to rule over other humans. God makes it clear that He reserves that power to himself. Don’t give it to flawed human beings with overinflated opinions of their own superiority.

And whatever political party you ascribe to (a concept ridiculous to God, along with geographical borders), don’t forget to vote. If you really want one wealthy politician or another to control your life, at least pick them deliberately, don’t give them that power by default.

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History Is HISTORY!

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Horace McQueen ColumnBy Horace McQueen

Nero Fiddles and Rome burns!  Such a fitting comparison to the headlines of today! Protestors continue marching, burning, looting and raising Hell in general. And too often the weak spineless politicians are afraid to challenge the protesters. Once statues come crashing down that are not “correct” in the eyes of the rabble rousers, what next? One Houston reactionary advocates tearing down the huge statue of Sam Houston that graces I-45 and old Highway 75 near Huntsville. And all roads, streets, highways, byways, schools, other public buildings that bear names of our leaders from generations ago are in the target zone. Just think about this! If not for the leadership of slave owner Houston at the battle of San Jacinto, Texas today could be a part of Mexico. 

Reckon what the “tear ‘em down” morons really know about our history—not a whole lot! Teachers must spend a lot of time “teaching to the test” and not teaching our youngsters the history about the building of this great nation. Reckon how many high school students know that the Washington monument was built by contractors (all Yankees) using slave labor. Or that the Inca and Mayan temples in Mexico and Central America were built by slaves. Those who need a cause to destruct property should join the U.S. military and head across the water to where real battles are being fought by REAL AMERICANS.

No more Six Flags Over Texas featuring the flags that have flown over the Lone Star State. With all the protests against anything Southern, the Six Flags owners removed the six flags that have flown over the tourist attraction since 1961. Destined for the burn barrels are the flags of Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas and the Confederacy. Only the flag of the United States will be waving henceforth at Six Flags. A Six Flags spokesperson said owners wanted to feature that which “unites us rather than divides us.” 

What a mess, man-made and no end in sight. Lord, bring us leaders with common sense and the backbone to bring us together! 

That’s –30--- This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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Election season and your newspaper

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PublisherPointsElection season is a lot like sporting events in small communities. I have seen friends, co-workers, and acquaintances become unfriendly at the baseball park, softball fields, and little dribblers games during the heat of the moment. But then the season is over and assuming the banter did not go too far and get too unfriendly, people forgive and forget the bad moments. 

I am hoping for the same after the 2022 election in Tyler County. We all live here and for the most part, have the same desire, to thrive in a safe community. 

Since 1990 when I started working for the Tyler County Booster, the policy has always been: each candidate can put a free announcement with a photo to let the public know they are running for office, who they are, and what they hope to accomplish. After that, anyone can purchase a political advertisement anywhere in the newspaper where ads are permitted on a first come, first served basis. These ads must be pre-paid. Also, the ads must have a disclaimer stating that it was paid for by the candidate, or it was paid for by an organized group for the candidate, or a friend of the candidate. In the last instance, the person must have permission from the candidate to run an advertisement on their behalf. 

Last week, someone bought an advertisement for a candidate. He assured the newspaper he had spoken with the candidate two weeks prior to the ad running and the candidate was aware of the content of the ad. These two have known each other for 35 years, according to the gentleman paying. 

Due to the controversy that ensued after the ad ran and words were exchanged during a political forum last Thursday night, I spoke with the candidate and the gentleman who paid for the ad. I have determined that the general message of the ad was known and approved by the candidate, but the candidate did not realize the exact words his supporter would use to present the message and has since received backlash from the community for a few poorly chosen words used in the advertisement. This is unfortunate and feelings have been hurt, but no laws have been broken. Everyone involved acted in good faith. This gentleman, who spent his personal money to support a candidate he believed in, put his thoughts in print. Most others, if being honest, could say if their thoughts were in print, more feelings would be hurt. 

Many subscribers to this newspaper are registered voters in Tyler County. This includes the seven families who work at this for-profit business and get their livelihood from it. We all have a voice, and a vote. We do not all agree, but we do all agree to vote. 

I encouraged you to vote for the candidates you feel will best represent Tyler County effectively in the positions they are running. Then, whatever the result, we will all accept it and begin working together again for Tyler County until the next election season. 

See you at the polls.

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Regardless of hype, look to the bright side

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FromEditorsDesk Tony CroppedBy Tony Farkas
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This last weekend was an anniversary of sorts for me.

Six years ago, as I was helping my wife with an event she was managing, basically an antiquing/repurposing/handmade goods weekend show, I suffered a heart attack.

A few hours later, I suffered a second one helping my daughter make her bed.

Three days later, I was the proud owner of four bypassed arteries and three drainage tubes, and was treated to a magnificent week-long stay at Baylor Scott & White Hospital in College Station courtesy of Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

There were tears, trials, tribulations, fear, pills and more pills, rehab, and more. It was a pretty scary time.

I could focus on that and let that event be the defining moment of my life; I could drag around, woe is me, and become a burden with little hope. But I won’t.

I was told by my doctor that after all that, there was zero heart damage. None. If that’s not a bright side, I really don’t have an idea what is. But that’s a bright side.

I realize I spend a lot of ink and typing pointing out the downward trajectory of the economy, government, liberty and other things, but truly there are so many things that are positive in this country, and we’ll see that once we change our viewpoint.

For instance, East Texas really is a great place to live. There is a camaraderie here that is as welcome as it is ingrained into the fabric of the society.

There are numerous school districts that take the education of children seriously and approach it passionately.

There are elected officials that champion the rights of victims and ensure that justice is meted out fairly and equitably.

There are law enforcement officials that are just as much a part of the society as they are protectors of it, and care about keeping everyone safe.

There are legislators that skip the party lines, that care about doing what’s right instead of what will get the most votes in the next election.

There are the everyday, workaday folk that will stop by a stalled car to help, who volunteer for fire departments, who will fundraise for charities, who will work night and day to make civic events something to be proud of, and who always extend helping hands.

There are members of the military, who serve because it’s right, and there are veterans, who not only have served the country but came home and began serving the community (special shout out to VFW Post 6899, who came through in a big way for the SAAFE House this weekend).

There are so many churches throughout the area that help heal spiritually and more and give so much because it’s the right thing to do.

There’s a just and loving God above us, and that promise alone is worth the trouble that we endure down here, because, really, what does $4 gas matter to the promise of the Kingdom?

I also believe that parents need to reclaim their “sovereign rights” on the education of their children.

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