Columns/Opinions

Thu
08
Feb

Three tragedies in single decade for Baylor

By Bartee Haile

 

On the afternoon of Feb. 11, 1922, a fire on the Baylor campus filled the clear skies over Waco with thick black smoke drawing students and townspeople to the site of the conflagration.

 

Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas, Baylor University celebrated its diamond anniversary and thirty-fifth year in Waco as the Twenties began to roar. But the decade that started with so much hope for the post-World War I future would be remembered for three different tragedies.

 

 

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Thu
01
Feb

Governors urge congressional leaders to pass disaster aid funding

By Ed Sterling

 

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott and the governors of California, Puerto Rico and Florida on Jan. 24 asked U.S. House and Senate leaders to hurry up and pass supplemental disaster funding, and to send the legislation to President Trump.

 

“Over the past several months, we have received numerous assurances that adequate disaster funding was imminent,” the governors wrote in a joint letter. “Its continued delay only exacerbates ongoing uncertainty in devastated areas. Simply put, the communities devastated by these storms cannot be completely put back together until the federal government makes good on its promise to our citizens. If ever there was a time and role for the federal government to urgently help its citizens rebuild communities damaged by epochal disasters, now is the time to step up and fill that role.”

 

 

Thu
01
Feb

No Ranger served longer than Captain Hughes

By Bartee Haile

 

After almost three decades of frontier crime fighting, Capt. John Reynolds Hughes retired from the Texas Rangers on Jan. 31, 1915.

 

As a headstrong youth of 14, Hughes ran away from his Kansas home in 1869 and finished growing up in the Indian Territory. During his six years among the Choctaw, Osage and Comanche, he suffered a wound that partially paralyzed his right arm. He compensated for the disability by learning how to shoot with his left hand.

 

 

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Thu
25
Jan

In search of the Sundance Kid’s widow

By Bartee Haile

Was Eunice Gray, who burned to death in the Jan. 26, 1962 fire that destroyed the Fort Worth hotel she had run for the past four decades, in reality the woman of western mystery known as Etta Place?

Yes, she could have been the widow of Harry Longabaugh, the Old West outlaw known as “The Sundance Kid.” For the better part of a century, Gray has been considered the leading candidate, but other promising contenders, each with her own committed sponsor, continue to nip at her heels.

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Thu
25
Jan

Hurricane recovery efforts continue with much still to do

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Jan. 17 extended for 30 days the state disaster declaration for counties affected by Hurricane Harvey, which pounded and flooded the Gulf Coast and moved deeply inland, spreading its destructive power.

“As long as Texas families are fighting to recover, they can rest assured that the State of Texas is fighting with them,” Abbott said. The 60 counties listed in the declaration will continue to be eligible for assistance as they recover and rebuild, the governor said.

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Thu
18
Jan

DPS acts to prevent violent confrontations at capitol

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Enhanced security measures have been implemented at the state capitol complex and grounds, the Texas Department of Public Safety announced Jan. 11.

According to the DPS announcement, “It has been observed that some individuals or groups seek violent confrontations during protests and equip themselves for physical combat. To ensure the safety and security of the general public and those who seek to exercise their right to peacefully assemble and protest, effective immediately, certain items may be prohibited from the capitol grounds unless worn or carried by a licensed peace officer.”

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Thu
18
Jan

Radio quack made millions off his listeners

By Bartee Haile

Dr. John R. Brinkley, the most notorious quack in America, filed for bankruptcy in a Texas court on Jan. 17, 1941 in a last-ditch attempt to fend off creditors and lawsuits.

Traditionally susceptible to health-care charlatans, Americans between the World Wars seemed especially vulnerable to con men in white coats. But no one came close to Dr. Brinkley, who in less than 20 years fleeced the faithful for $20 million.

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Thu
11
Jan

Time to focus on school choice in Vidor and across America

By Andrew R. Campanella, NSCW President

 

Held every January, National School Choice Week is an independent public awareness effort designed to shine a positive spotlight on effective education options for children, including traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, online academies, and homeschooling. Information for reporters and producers, such as backgrounders, B-roll, and photographs available for use: is located at: schoolchoiceweek.com/news

 

Later this month, schools, homeschool groups, organizations, and individuals in Texas and across America will work together to raise awareness about the importance of opportunity in K-12 education.

 

National School Choice Week begins on January 21 and celebrates all types of schools and education environments for children.

 

 

Thu
11
Jan

FEMA clears way for public assistance to churches that aid in disasters

By Ed Sterling

 

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Jan. 3 announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s approval of their request to allow churches and religious organizations to receive the same public assistance available to other nonprofits aiding in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

 

FEMA’s Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide previously offered assistance to private non-profit organizations, including zoos, performing arts centers and museums, and excluded facilities established or primarily used for religious activities. The revised policy is in force for any major disaster declared on or after Aug. 23, 2017.

 

Abbott and Paxton sent a letter to President Donald Trump in September urging him to authorize this assistance.

 

 

Thu
04
Jan

Texas waits for Senate agreement on disaster aid funding

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Dec. 21 released a statement applauding the U.S. House of Representatives’ preliminary passage of $81 billion in disaster aid to Texas, several other states and Puerto Rico.

Abbott called the House’s 251-169 vote in favor of the aid package “a step in the right direction” but added that “more needs to be done to ensure the funds Congress provides address the critical needs Texans are enduring from the largest natural disaster in our state’s history. We look forward to working with the Senate to improve the disaster funding to ensure it addresses the acute needs of Texans.”

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