Columns

Thu
08
Mar

No Wodges Tonight

By MARC ROBERTSON

Pff…” Dave read from a sign after we had stop-started our way out of the city for some time. “Pff… what?”

“Pflugerville.”

“Weird name.”

“It’s German, I think.” I looked at the few buildings visible from the frontage road. They didn’t look very German. “Except for the ‘ville’ bit. I’m pretty sure it means ‘town of the plowman.’”

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Thu
08
Mar

Abbott orders action to ensure safety on juco campuses

By ED STERLING

Gov. Greg Abbott is calling for immediate action to ensure the safety of Texas’ junior college campuses following a Feb. 14 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

Abbott’s order came in a Feb. 28 letter to Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Commissioner Raymund Paredes. He issued a similar order addressing the safety of all Texas schoolchildren a week earlier.

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Wed
28
Feb

Governor orders action to address safety at schools

By ED STERLING

 

Gov. Greg Abbott on Feb. 21 sent a letter to Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath ordering immediate action to ensure the safety of children in

Texas schools following the multi-fatality shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school on Feb. 14. Abbott listed steps for Morath and other state education leaders to take to respond to and prevent such tragedies, including: — Catalog and share all available information from the Texas School Safety Center on school safety programs and distribute this information to all school districts, charter schools and education service centers across the state; — Ensure that all Texas public schools have completed their statutorily required school safety audits and have submitted confirmation of these audits to the Texas School Safety Center;

 

 

Thu
22
Feb

Hazard mitigation funding for Harvey recovery becomes available

By ED STERLING

Gov. Greg Abbott traveled to Rockport and Houston on Feb. 13 to announce the availability of new funding for hazard mitigation projects along the Gulf Coast following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

Abbott invited cities and counties to submit applications for projects and said the funding would provide an estimated $1 billion for hazard and flood mitigation projects designed to both help Texas rebuild and reduce the risk of future damage from flooding and Hurricanes.

 

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Thu
22
Feb

Charitable giving after a tragedy

After a terrible and very public tragedy such as a mass shooting, people want to help in any way possible, and that often means contributing to fundraisers to help the survivors and the families of the victims. Sadly, scammers often take advantage of these moments of vulnerability to deceive donors. In addition, there are often campaigns set up by well-meaning individuals who may or may not be directly connected to the tragedy.

BBB Wise Giving Alliance urges donors to give thoughtfully and avoid those seeking to take advantage of the generosity of others. Here are BBB WGA’s tips for trusted giving:

Thu
15
Feb

Legislation passed by Congress includes hurricane relief funds

By ED STERLING

Gov. Greg Abbott on Feb. 9 lauded Congress’ passage of budget legislation that contains nearly $90 billion in hurricane and wildfire disaster relief funding for Texas, Florida, California and Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Harvey pounded Texas from Aug. 25-31, resulting in disaster status for some 60 counties. The federal Office of Coastal Management has estimated the total cost of Harvey at $125 billion. Cost estimates by various other organizations have reached as high as $200 billion.

 

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Thu
15
Feb

The most enduring image

By MARC ROBERTSON

This month marked a curious anniversary in world history. We reached the point at which the Berlin Wall has been gone for as long as it existed. In other words, the barrier that stood for just over 10,000 days between East and West, the physical reminder of the Cold War that separated one half of Germany’s former capital city from the other and divided families in two, has now been destroyed for the same length of time as it ever stood.

There is a whole generation of Germans who have now grown to adulthood in a post-wall era, so to speak, reminded only of the Cold War barrier by tales from parents and grandparents, references in film, and an assortment of bits and pieces of colorful rubble on display in various galleries.

 

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Thu
08
Feb

Straus: Audit reveals need for stronger oversight at state agency

By ED STERLING

House Speaker Joe Straus on Jan. 31 said a new state audit raises questions about the management of the state Health and Human Services Commission and illustrates the need for legislative hearings.

A report released last week by the State Auditor’s Office found that HHSC allowed Superior Health Plan Inc. to report approximately $29.6 million in bonus and incentive payments paid to affiliates’ employees, even though those payments were not allowed under the state’s contract with Superior. The state agency also approved Superior’s request to report affiliate profits as costs without following the approval process contained in the state’s contract with Superior.

 

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Thu
08
Feb

Providing much-needed relief for small businesses

By WILL HURD

Most folks aren’t accountants, myself included. And if you are not a CPA or a tax code expert, the idea of major tax reform can sound perplexing. Before the New Year, our tax code was four million words long – the same length as the Old and New Testaments times five.

When previously crisscrossing the 29 counties in the 23rd District of Texas, I consistently heard that our tax code was too confusing and left the average American behind. That’s why I worked with my colleagues in 2017 to create a simpler, fairer tax code, so that hardworking folks get the tax breaks they deserve.

 

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Thu
01
Feb

This piggery

By MARC ROBERTSON

A woman wearing what appeared to be skintight pajamas that were in sore need of laundering, carrying a baby with food on its face, and looking as though she had slept on a sofa for three days in a small avalanche of popcorn, tossed her cigarette into the gutter and stepped on it with a pink plastic slip-on sandal before shuffling through the door to a local business and asking for a job application.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I am confident that this was not a wise choice in clothing or general appearance when first walking into a business and making an introduction that ought at some point lead to a job interview and a wage-earning position in the building. Of course, it’s always possible that Soiled Baby-Carrying Couch Potatoes ‘R’ Us might be looking for some character actors to help its image.

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