"Line cutters ruin otherwise fun ferry wait" by: Mike Reddell

   MaLinda and I traveled down to Port Aransas Saturday for the Texas SandFest and the event didn’t disappoint.
   There are magnificent sand sculptures that capture people, legends, cities, animals, concepts and even heaven.
   The event is huge with thousands of all ages observing the sculptures and visiting the scores of vendors.
   And there are hundreds more just plain Port Aransas beachgoers.
   Those competing in the event include master solo, master-duo, advanced amateur and amateur. 
   We really just looked at the master solo and master-duo sculptings and the artistry is amazing considering the medium of sand and water they work with.
   One of the most admired works was Remy and Paul Hoggard’s rendering of Harambe, the 17-year-old gorilla who was killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after a three-year-old climbed into his enclosure.
   The larger-than-life image of Harambe impressed me.


"Matcha power helps with depressing diet regimens by: Jessica Shepard

   So, the day after getting clearance-priced Easter candy, my mom has decided to put everyone on a diet.
   I’m giving it a week.
   And that’s my optimistic projection!
   Truthfully, I’ve been on a modified low-carb diet for a little over a year.
   But, now the whole family is suffering.
   Which is something I’m really enjoying.
   Especially when those M&Ms tease my parents from their shelf spot.
   I may be fudging a little because I finally found a local source for matcha green tea ice cream.
   Sadly, it only comes in half-pints, but, it is Häagen-Dazs brand, so it is rather smooth and delicious.
   Green tea has many published health benefits and since I’m not overly fond of ice cream anyway, I can stick to the serving-size suggestions and add fresh strawberries to the mix.
   Now, I understand that green tea flavored anything isn’t for everyone.


"Choose earnings growth over fear and speculation" by: John Sample

   Well, I left town again and the stock market had a triple-digit move in the Dow and the NASDAQ index moved up to the 6000 level. 
   I wish I could take credit for this as I would love to have a gig where some investment entity like Goldman Sachs would pay me to hit the road for the good of the economy. 
   Trying not to be totally delusional, the facts will reflect that I have been on the road most of April and the Dow and S&P index haven’t been able to put together back-to-back daily gains. 
   It looks like this week will start with largest two-day gains in over three years.
Some would like to point to the Trump affect, but little has been accomplished in the first 100 days. 

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"Investment-related taxes can offer you some opportunities" By John Dickerson & Hawes Dickerson Financial Advisors Edward Jones

   On Tax Freedom Day, which happens every year about this time, the nation has earned enough money to pay off its total tax bill for the year, according to the Tax Foundation.
   But how can you free yourself from some investment-related taxes?
   For starters, contribute as much as you can to your IRA and your 401(k) or similar plan.
    Your contributions may be tax-deductible and your earnings can grow tax deferred.
   Roth IRA earnings are distributed tax-free if you meet certain conditions.
   Also, if you keep your investments at least a year before selling them, you’ll be taxed at the more favorable long-term capital gains rate.
   You might consider investing in municipal bonds, if they are suitable for your needs.
   The interest payments are generally exempt from federal taxes, and possibly state and local taxes, as well.
    However, some municipal bonds are subject to the alternative minimum tax.


"Prom day a lesson in life’s process vs. product" by: Betsy Monico

   We experienced our first prom last night. I say “we” because even if only one Monico actually attended the event, it was a family affair. When my daughter asked if we could host a pre-prom dinner, I immediately said yes and counted it as a blessing. 
   It took all six of us to pull it off. My boys moved stuff, hung stuff, and picked up. 
   My girls helped me decorate, and my hubby mowed. For a variety of reasons, gatherings at our home have happened less and less as the kids have gotten older. 
   Therefore, it was really exciting for me to think of creating something beautiful out here in the country for a group to enjoy. Somewhere in the middle of the dishes and laundry, I forgot that God created me to be creative! I desperately needed our prom dinner to remind me!
   The dinner was only a small portion of it…let me tell you, getting ready for the prom is quite an extensive process. First, the perfect dress must be selected. 


"Empty tomb is God’s way of saying our sins were removed" by: Caleb Gibson

  In the early 1500s, a young boy would go to church every Sunday staring at an image of Jesus with a frown on His face. He could not get this away from His thoughts. He could imagine standing before Jesus one day with a frown on His face.
   As this boy grew older he was at the, “Holy Stairs” on his knees praying and desiring remission of sins. These were the same stairs Jesus walked up towards Pilate’s house in Jerusalem. 
   Yet they were relocated in Rome. He had this idea that maybe if he punished himself through penance, God might be pleased with him. Yet as he is climbing the stairs the verse in Romans kept ringing in his brain, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:27). As he gets to the middle of the stairs, he stopped and stood up. He climbed back down to the bottom and returned to Germany. This man was Martin Luther, the one who started the protestant reformation.


"Groundwater districts fear loss of local control with proposed changes" By Travis Bubenik Houston Public Radio

   Stakeholders are considering the effects of a push for cooperation among local water managers.
   For decades, local water regulators across rural Texas have decided how to best conserve and use their underground aquifers.
   Now, lawmakers are considering a bill that could change how Groundwater Conservation Districts operate. That’s got many districts, including some on the outskirts of Houston, worried they’ll have less power to decide how the water underneath their communities gets used.
   At the state capitol recently, a senate committee heard testimony from water managers, farmers and landowners. Some supported Senate Bill 1392, but most opposed.
   (SB 1392 is still undergoing revisions in committee. Here’s an amended version that came out of that recent hearing.)
   The bill’s author, Lubbock Republican Charles Perry, wants neighboring districts to work together. 


"Agriculture news" by: James Engbrock

   The Matagorda County Commissioners court has appointed me to serve as Interim Extension Agent. With the Hiring Freeze, the position was vacant since Brent Batchelor left in November. 
   I will serve until an individual from AgriLife Extension Service is appointed. 
   I look forward to working with each of you during this time, to provide you with the most recent data available in your respective commodities or your home gardens. 
   You can reach me at (979) 318-9527 or Ashley at this number. When we move back to the County of Matagorda Office Building, 
   Our Previous number of (979) 245-4100 will go back in to effect. We are temporarily located at the Matagorda County Fairgrounds.
   Thank you for your patience with us during this time.
Agriculture Situation


"Looking more important than finding" by: John Sample

   I don’t believe in fake news. 
   I am addicted to listening and reading all I can take in on a daily basis. I make it a practice to engage material that I feel certain that I may not agree with. 
   I am not saying these endeavors are taken with the belief that the information is inherently wrong. I believe that it is just another opinion. 
   It takes me back to college days when one of my favorite activities was to debate issues and taking the side that I disagreed with. 
   It was an opportunity to explore and more times than not, I found I more to learn. This is why I continue to this day to frequent various news outlets. 
   I know that some can be slanted but I feel it is important to know every side of an issue. I am sure you are wondering what that has to do with growing your personal wealth. The interesting thing about the stock market is that for every buyer there needs to be a seller. 
   The reasons for selling can be vast. 


"We elect those who take power from us" Mike Reddell

   My old high school friend, John Sample, whose column I share on this op-ed page, has been a financial advisor since his days at Texas Tech, notes in today’s column on the stock market’s efficiency because it discards emotions.
   While John and I typically are light years apart in our political beliefs, perhaps he is right about the stock market’s laser-focus on earnings.
   When a laymen, such as myself, reads the straight-on market reports, it becomes clear that some international and national developments affect the market.
   But not much, the market is following different business and industry trends.
   I struggle with the emotions of what’s happening in today’s world, as all people do, although from different perspectives.
   John said he reads both sides of the news spectrum – forcing himself to read articles he knows he’ll disagree with. I do that as well – to see the other side.


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