"Kolkhorst emerges as legislative force" by: Mike Reddell

 State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst was impressive in her talk at the chamber’s luncheon last week.
   I didn’t agree with the Republican senator from Brenham on several issues from this past legislative session. 
   In balance, however, she works hard as Matagorda County’s representative in the senate and she has been solid in fighting for the lower Colorado River basin’s water interests.
   Elected in a late 2014 election to succeed Glen Hegar as senator for this 21-county district, Kolkhorst filed 72 bills, despite her late start, and certainly emerged as a player in Austin.
   I wasn’t impressed with her party’s agenda in this legislative session – and she already has a big say in those GOP measures - because I wanted to see more money in education, highways and state parks and facilities and less showmanship over tax cuts that few of us will notice.

"Will 25 cents more matter?" by: Jessica Shepard

   It seems like memory lane has become a revolving set of doors for me.
   The more I hear or learn about public school lately, the more shocked I get.
   Lunch prices going up to nearly $3?!
   There are some schools that cost more than that?!
   Calm down, this isn’t Houston.
   And for the record, we never had free breakfasts at all in 2002, but, I’m sure that has something to do with legislation and all of that.
   Still, when I was still buying school lunches they clocked in at $1.50.
   Of course, that’s well over 10 years ago when the food was also worse for you.
   Sure, there were healthy options, but, who wanted a bowl of lettuce instead of chicken fried steak smothered in country gravy?
   Or eating at the snack bar.
   One fried egg roll drizzled with nacho cheese sauce.
   Not that I like that last one, too much.

"Focus on earnings of ‘new titans’ this week" by: John Sample

   While I was gone to the Emerald Isle, Greek in fact did work out a deal. 
   There was deal with Iran that sent crude prices lower. 
   The Chinese market continued to suffer. In the face of all of this, the various stock indexes climbed back near record highs.
   My only conclusion is that I should take more vacations and play a lot of golf. 
   I am sure you would agree and can see the direct and meaningful correlation.
   There are so many times that investors seem to look for relations between various elements to find meaning the vagaries of the equity markets.
   As always, the numbers never lie it is just the people extrapolating from them.

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"Keep focus on God loving you" by: Caleb Gibson

    While the disciples were in a boat crossing the sea, they encountered a storm.  
   It was before the sun was out and the disciples see Jesus walking across the water.  
   They think it is a ghost but eventually realize who it is. Peter then gets out of the boat and begins to walk on the water towards Jesus. The Bible says, “ 
   But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’” (Matt. 14:30). Notice this verse begins by telling us what Peter saw, the winds. He took his eyes off of the Lord.  
   Now it is impossible to walk on water during a storm. In fact it is still impossible to walk on water during a clear blue day.  
   Here it was not about the waves, but it was about how Peter took his focus off of Christ.  
   This is what happens to us as believers. We take our focus and place it on something other than Christ. 

"Prodigal Son lesson: Bringing back lost sheep" by: Rosario Resendez

“Continued from last week - The Prodigal Son.
   Your brother has come, he replied and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back save and sound.’ 
   The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.  
   But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.  
   But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!” Luke 15:27-30 
   The older brother was not too happy to see his brother back at home getting all the special attention from his father. I think this happens a lot today among us Christians even if we don’t care to admit it. 

"The Lord will never leave, abandon you" by: Betsy Monico

   I just got back from five nights in Florida with my family. It was the best trip of my life. In my late teens and 20s,  
   I backpacked through Europe, landed on a glacier in Alaska, fell in love with Vancouver, and strolled along beaches in the south of France, Jamaica and the Caribbean. 
   I loved my adventures in my previous life, but I had given up on travel since I became a parent.  
   It seemed overwhelming with a family of six. This week reminded me how fun it is to go and do new things; hence, my column will be an assortment of my reflections from our vacation. 
   First of all, I would not have booked the trip if my friend did not invite me over and say we were doing it. I needed a nudge! I needed encouragement. I needed to know that I was not doing it alone. 
   Is not that what we all need more of in life? I do not mean just with travel. I mean with everything!  

"Dog new feline’s best friend" by: Jessica Shepard

   We recently acquired a new family member a little while ago.
   Someone or something dropped off a kitten at our house.
   Said kitten, we’re pretty sure it’s a female, was scared and running around outside.
   We put some food out in hopes of luring her out of the bushes.
   But, we weren’t that lucky.
   I almost managed to get her out, but, my mom came over and messed up my “kitten whispering” skills.
   We managed to get her out of the plants, but, she disappeared into one of the cars and we were at a loss then.
   For the next ensuing hours, I was worried and scared to take the Jeep to the store.
   But, as it turns out, the kitten was hiding in mom’s car and only made an appearance after I returned home.
   Mom rescued her from under the hood and the kitten has taken up residence in my bathroom for the time being.

"Learning how Prodigal Son feels when God showers blessings" by: Rosario Resendez

   “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 
   “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found…’” Luke 15:21-24 
   The story of the prodigal son is one of my favorite bible stories. 
   Now, I may be the only person in the world that didn’t know the exact meaning of the word prodigal.  
   I assumed it meant repentant, or returning, but I just found out what is the exact definition. 
   Prodigal means spending money or resources freely and recklessly.  

"Doing life with Jesus is doing life an easier way" by: Betsy Monico

   I spent some time this week in the car with my kiddos.  
   The first trip that I mentally related to life was with my 15-year -old daughter.  
   We were navigating our way through Dallas. 
   We had to conquer 635 or totally avoid it at all cost to get to our destination.  
   We used my handy-dandy app on my phone to survey the traffic up ahead. 
   Much to my surprise, the usually congested highway was only showing a brief orange slow down, but nothing red.  
   Red means stop, meaning traffic is stopped and also tells me to STOP going that way if it is at all possible.  
   We were so excited that we could continue on. 
   Later that night when we were headed home, it was another story.  

"Anger at agency depends on issue" by: Mike Reddell

   It appears we go around vilifying and praising some government entities at the same time these days. 
   Take the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ).  
   Yes, please take it. Stacked with political appointees from the Perry regime, TCEQ’s least concern is environmental quality. 
   TCEQ last week – to nobody’s great surprise down here in the lower Colorado River basin – sided with LCRA’s “emergency order” to limit downstream releases from its Buchanan and Travis storage reservoirs. 
   LCRA will continue to cut off water from its reservoirs – lakes usually are formed naturally which these definitely are not – to interruptible water customers that include “rice farmers and interests in the Gulf Coast, Lakeside and Pierce Ranch irrigation operations” through Oct. 15 and up to 60 days after that. 


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