Columns/Opinions

Thu
22
Feb

Glamorous actress had more than mere “oomph”

By Bartee Haile

 

The Sheridans of Denton, Texas brought their fifth and final child into their modest home on Feb. 21, 1915 and gave the baby girl the name

 

Clara Lou. Looking back on her formative years in the North Texas town, the self-described “tomboy” once recalled with unmistakable pride, “I can whistle through my fingers, bulldog a steer, light a fire with two sticks and shoot a pistol with fair accuracy.” She also played basketball well enough to make the women’s team at the local college. Not the usual skill set for one of the most glamorous actresses of Hollywood’s “golden age.”

 

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Thu
15
Feb

Legislation passed by Congress includes hurricane relief funds

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — 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

Fightin’est Texan fights his last battle

By Bartee Haile

When the news of Tom Green’s pending promotion to major general trickled down through the ranks on Feb. 18, 1864, the men of the Texas Cavalry Brigade gave their popular leader three rousing, heartfelt cheers.

Born in Virginia and raised in Tennessee, Green had every reason to stick close to home. But he could not sit idly by while fellow Americans took on a tyrant in Mexico.

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Thu
08
Feb

Straus: Audit reveals need for stronger oversight at state agency

By Ed Sterling

 

AUSTIN — 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

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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