Columns/Opinions

Thu
31
May

What’s happening in our state capital

By Sen. Robert Nichols, Senate District 3

On June 14th, we will commemorate the adoption of our country's flag with 13 stars and stripes to represent our nation and our founding colonies. With 50 stars in our current flag, our pride for our country stays strong.

Here are five things happening around your state this month:

1. Protecting Our Students

After the tragic shooting at Santa Fe High School, Governor Greg Abbott held multiple roundtable discussions which included survivors from the Santa Fe and Sutherland Springs shootings, lawmakers, community leaders, law enforcement, educators, as well as gun rights and gun control activists. The purpose of these discussions was to determine the most effective ways the State can help prevent future mass shootings. From these meetings, Governor Abbott has released a 40 strategy plan for preventing future school shootings.

Thu
31
May

Valdez wins race to face Abbott in November gubernatorial election

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez defeated Houston businessman Andrew White, the son of the late former governor, Mark White, in the May 22 Texas Democratic Party primary runoff.

Valdez, the first Latina to win a gubernatorial primary in Texas, will run against incumbent Republican Governor Greg Abbott, who is seeking a second four-year term, in the November 6 general election.

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Thu
24
May

Governor Greg Abbott speaks about issues related to shooting at high school

By Ed Sterling

 

AUSTIN — Local, state and federal law enforcement on May 18 responded to a shooting that left 10 people dead and 10 others injured at Santa Fe High School near Galveston.

 

One of the school’s 1,400 students was taken into custody, authorities said.

 

Gov. Greg Abbott ordered flags to half-staff until May 22 in memory of those who lost their lives in what he called “probably the worst disaster to strike this community.”

 

 

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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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