Columns/Opinions

Thu
24
May

“Taking the waters” at Texas health spas

By Bartee Haile

 

Returning home from a trip to Texas’ leading mineral water resort, a Marlin man issued an earnest appeal to his neighbors in a May 26, 1905 letter to the editor of the local newspaper.

 

“The virtue of the water in Mineral Wells do (sic) not begin to compare with our water,” wrote the concerned citizen. “We have a beautiful and healthy location and nature has blessed us with most favorable surroundings in every way.”

 

The practice of “taking the waters” dates back to prehistoric days. The Texas Almanac states, “Indians carved crude bathtubs out of rocks at Boquillas Hot Springs in what is now Big Bend National Park so they could bathe in the hot mineral water.” More recently none other than Sam Houston sought relief for his aching wounds at Sour Lake in Hardin County and the sulphur springs in Grimes County.

 

 

Thu
17
May

Connally began his climb began on the bottom rung

By Bartee Haile

 

A young naval officer from South Texas destined for his own brand of greatness was just another face in the crowd, as Gen. Charles de Gaulle rode triumphantly through the streets of Algiers on May 22, 1944. John Connally told the story of his remarkable life in In History’s Shadow shortly before his death in 1993.

 

This book, the source of most quotations in this column, may be the most readable and candid autobiography of any Texas politician. The family tree was planted in the Lone Star State by Connally’s great-grandfather. The Alabama emigrant and a neighbor both named their sons after the founder of the Methodist denomination. John Wesley Hardin grew up to be the deadliest gunfighter in Reconstruction Texas, and John Wesley Connally became a farmer in Wilson County.

 

Thu
10
May

Spaniards put down permanent roots at Laredo

 

By Bartee Haile

 

More than two and a half centuries ago this week -- May 15, 1755, to be exact -- a Spanish rancher established the outpost of Laredo on the wild frontier of New Spain. Although Tomas Sanchez is remembered with good reason as the founder of Laredo, the real credit for the settlement of the lower Rio Grande belongs to Jose de Escandon.

 

He turned the vast territory previously dismissed as inhospitable wasteland into a patchwork of permanent colonies. Fancying himself a latter- day conquistador, 15 year old Escandon left Spain to find his fortune in Mexico. His exploits as a teenaged cavalryman earned him the rank of lieutenant and reassignment to the thick of the fighting on the Indian front.

 

 

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Thu
10
May

Nichols Receives Legislative Champion Award

AUSTIN – This week, Senator Robert Nichols (RJacksonville) received the 'Legislative Champion Award' from the Texas oil and gas industry, at a luncheon for East Texas leaders at the Lufkin Lions Club. "I am honored to be presented with the 'Legislative Champion Award' from the Texas Oil and Gas Association and other industry members," said Nichols

 

. "I understand how important the oil and gas industry is to our state in not only providing jobs for Texans, but also in ensuring Texas maintains its strong and growing economy." The award was presented on behalf of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association, Texas Oil & Gas Association, Texas Pipeline Association, Permian Basin Petroleum Association, Panhandle Producers & Royalty Owners Association, Texas Royalty Owners Association and South Texas Energy & Economic Roundtable.

 

 

Thu
03
May

Air disasters nine years and fifty miles apart

By Bartee Haile

Twenty-three minutes into the short hop from Houston’s Hobby Airport to Dallas Love Field on May 3, 1968, Braniff Flight 352 carrying 85 passengers and crew broke up in a thunderstorm and crashed near the Navarro County community of Dawson.

Nine years earlier, another Braniff turboprop flying the same route also disintegrated in mid-air raining wreckage and human remains down on the quiet countryside near Buffalo in Leon County. A mere 50 miles separated the sites of the two deadly aviation disasters. Braniff 542 was a Lockheed L-188 Electra that had been in service only 11 days. Although the two pilots and flight engineer had recently trained on the new fourengine aircraft with a $2.1 million price tag, they had never flown one.

 

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Thu
03
May

What’s happening around our state

By Sen. Robert Nichols, Senate District 3

 

At the end of May, we will celebrate Memorial Day and honor our military men and women who have given their lives serving our nation, so that we might live free. Here are five things happening around your state this month: 1.

 

Sunset Commission Hearing The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission recently held its first hearing of the interim. The Commission ensures state agencies are meeting their mission and purpose by making recommendations for which state agencies should be continued, how they can operate more efficiently and better serve the public.

 

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Thu
26
Apr

“Von Ryan Express” author a POW for 869 days

By Bartee Haile 

 

U.S troops liberated a German prisoner-of-war camp on Apr. 29, 1945 bringing to an end the 28-month ordeal of a Houston newspaperman turned bomber navigator. Anyone, who has driven the streets of Texas’ largest city, has at one time or another ridden down Westheimer Road. Few realize, however, that the urban thoroughfare named for a nineteenth- century German immigrant is the longest in the entire Lone Star State. Mitchell Louis Westheimer came to

 

Texas in the 1850’s. A huge success at every enterprise he tried, the businessman, who spoke seven languages, and his wife raised a houseful of children – eight of their own, three orphans and five more belonging to struggling relatives.

 

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Thu
19
Apr

Opioid prevention, treatment and recovery: What’s working in your town?

TEMPLE – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett unveiled a new interactive feature on the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) rural opioid misuse webpage. Now, webpage visitors can tell USDA what prevention, treatment and recovery actions have been effective in addressing the opioid epidemic in their rural communities. USDA is collecting this information as part of an ongoing effort to identify best practices and effective strategies for addressing rural opioid misuse.

 

Thu
19
Apr

Rangers and Indians unite to fight Comanches

By Bartee Haile

 

Texas Rangers and Indian allies in war paint crossed the Red River on Apr. 24, 1858 in search of a common enemy -- the Comanches. The key to Hardin Runnels’ surprising upset of Sam Houston in the election of 1857 was his belligerent attitude toward the North and the Indians. While the new governor could not declare war on the Yankees, he was free to turn Rip Ford loose on the Comanches. Ranger, soldier, newspaperman and politician, John Salmon Ford was also Texas’ foremost Indian fighter. Eight years after ridding the Rio Grande of red raiders, he was asked to perform the same chore along the Red River.

 

Putting Old Rip in charge of the state militia, Runnels empowered him to pick a hundred experienced hands. His mission was to “follow any and all trails of hostile or suspected hostile Indians you may discover, and if possible, overtake and chastise them.”

 

 

Thu
12
Apr

Decision to send troops to border draws mixed reactions

By Ed Sterling

 

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on April 4 welcomed the announcement by Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen that the federal government would deploy some 4,000 National Guard personnel to the U.S.- Mexico border to assist in stemming the flow of illegal immigration.

 

“Today’s action by the Trump Administration reinforces Texas’ longstanding commitment to secure our southern border and uphold the rule of law and I welcome the support,” the governor said. “Going forward, Texas will continue to implement robust border security efforts and this partnership will help ensure we are doing everything we can to stem the flow of illegal immigration.”

 

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