Columns/Opinions

Thu
02
May

"Young kayaker’s driving force is believing you can do it" by: Mike Reddell

   Quite the interview I had with Nathan West, the 22-year-old Bastrop barber, who kayaked from Telegraph to LCRA Matagorda Bay Nature Park.  
   That interview is in this edition of the Sentinel. 
   He set out from the hamlet – four of five buildings and homes – that’s on the South Fork of the Llano, which joins the North Llano at Junction (thus the name) and eventually the Colorado. 
   Telegraph, according to Nathan, once was a major supplier of cedar posts for telegraph lines. 
   Not that Telegraph had any telegraph service, he added. 
   His trip of roughly 550 miles includes a portage along the dry sections of the South Llano. 
   But even if he had water in those stretches, he had a long paddle along the Highland reservoirs – 21 miles of LBJ and the 70 miles of Travis. 
   And then there’s the dams that require more overland travel. 

Thu
02
May

"National Poetry Month fuels decades-old obsession " by: Jessica Shepard

   Did you know that April was dubbed “National Poetry Month” in 1996 and is organized by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States?  
   The Academy of American Poets’ website Poets.org serves as a hub for information about local poetry events during the month.  
   The organization also provides free educational resources to teachers for classroom celebrations and activities and commissions an annual festival poster. 
   It’s interesting to note that since 1998, National Poetry Month has also been celebrated each April in Canada, too. 
   For me, poetry was the first medium I got addicted to writing with. 
   And I know that sounds as weird as it reads, but, it’s always been my go-to for freeform writing. 
   There aren’t as many rules involved with poetry – unless you’re aiming for a particularly structured style. 

Thu
02
May

"Are this year’s market gains really different this time?" by: John Sample

   I am back at the controls this week at my computer – after days of headaches - and it starts messing with me.  
   It doesn’t want to connect with the internet immediately and I had to undertake that operation manually.  
   The fact that I did is amazing given my limited skills.  
   Now, I would point out that we’ve had four straight months of gains in the major indexes and averages.  
   That is an unusual start to a year. March traditionally is a hard month to capture gain.  
   Usually, the drop in March is from the normal rise in the first couple of months and profit taking pushing the market back. At best, most years you have six months of sideways trading leading into the fall.  
   If we escape a fall collapse, the last quarter is a good time for gains. 
   So much for history and trends.  
   We are at record levels across the board. 

Thu
02
May

Should you borrow from your 401(k)?

   If you have a 401(k) plan, consider yourself fortunate, because a 401(k) is a great way to save for retirement.  
   But what if you need to tap into your plan before you retire?  
   Is it a good idea to borrow from your 401(k)? 
   On one hand, it’s pretty easy to get a 401(k) loan, and you can access the money quickly.  
   Plus, you can generally repay yourself through paycheck deductions. 
   However, if you leave your employer before fully repaying your loan, the outstanding balance will likely be taxable. 
   And perhaps more important, taking money from your 401(k), even if you repay it, will almost certainly result in less money in your plan when you retire. 
   To avoid having to touch your 401(k) early, be prepared to meet an immediate need for cash.  
   You can do this by building an emergency fund containing six months’ to a year’s worth of living expenses, with the money kept in a liquid, low-risk account. 

Thu
02
May

"Kingdom of God is much like when people work together now" by: Betsy Monico

   Years ago someone taught me that the word “busy” when broken down by letter stood for “being under satan’s yoke.” 
   Since that very day, I have tried to not say it! I sometimes slip up because I am too “busy” to slow down and remember not to use it! 
   However, I intentionally attempt to substitute and leave it out of my vocabulary. 
   Right about that same time, a friend told me to make a list of everything “extra” I was involved in. 
   She advised me to then give each activity a 1, 2, or a 3 based on how important the “commitment” was to my family, myself, and to ask the question: Will this matter in ten or twenty years? 
   I did just that. I made the list and was able to gracefully get out of a few things. 
   One in particular was a wonderful organization here in town. 
   My heart was not in it, and it did not truly impact my family at the time. 

Thu
02
May

"There is more to salvation than simply waiting to get into Heaven" by: Caleb Gibson

   During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith. 
   They began eliminating possibilities. 
   Incarnation? Other religions had different versions of gods’ appearing in human form. Resurrection? 
   Again, other religions had accounts of return from death. 
   The debate went on for some time until C.S. Lewis wandered into the room. 
   “What’s the rumpus about?” he asked, and heard in reply that his colleagues were discussing Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions. 
   Lewis responded, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”
   Want to know how to pray great prayers? 
   Look to what Jesus prayed. 
   There, when they were having the Last Supper with Christ, many great things took place: Communion is instituted, Jesus washes the Disciples feet, they sing a hymn, and Jesus prays an amazing prayer. 

Thu
02
May

"Reel Reviews: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ brings Infinity saga to a conclusion" by: Jessica Shepard

   By now, if you haven’t heard about the success of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Avengers: Endgame” film, you might be living under a rock. 
   In its opening week the movie generated over $1.2 billion in revenue worldwide and easily holds the No. 1 spot in box offices. 
   All of that hype, marketing and teasing since last year’s “Infinity War” has paid off and fully worth the over three hours long sensory buffet. 
   I’m talking characters, fight scenes, sheer scenery and expertly cued music converging onto the screen. 
   It’s an epic film and a nearly perfect end of a saga that’s been going on for the better part of a decade. 
   The film is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and some language. 
   Avengers: Endgame is based on the Marvel Comics superhero team the Avengers, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. 

Thu
25
Apr

"Mayor takes scorched-earth approach to departure" by: Mike Reddell

   I’m intrigued by Mayor Mark Bricker’s claim that voting for a city manager for Bay City is a vote for special interests.
   Voting to have a mayor-council/city manager form of government is showing support to have a trained, experienced and educated professional oversee the city’s daily operations.
   The mayor has chosen to leave office this May with a determined effort to derail the city manager proposition on the May 4 city ballot. 
   And he’s taking as many shots at council members and critics along the way.
   Is this how he thinks the mayor of Bay City should act? This is an example of why we should keep the present mayor-council government?
   Special interests or not, city managers in Texas and in the United States usually don’t use social media to lash out at people. (I know, our President does that.)
   If the city managers do, they’re called on the carpet by mayors and city council members. 

Thu
25
Apr

"Siblings come together to make Easter special for their mother" by: Jessica Shepard

  Even with several scheduling and transportation difficulties, we managed to have a full family get-together for Easter weekend.
   It was sort of our own Easter miracle and definitely made mom’s holiday.
   My siblings and I managed to dye three dozen eggs and fill several other dozens with candy and have our own little egg hunt.
   Yes, I know, we’re all adults and it’s a little strange, but, mom made four cash money eggs and we just HAD to see who could find them all.
   I managed to get one and my brother got the remaining three.
   But, like a nice and kind older sister, I split my money with my little sister, Ashlee.
   After all, we’ve always done things that way and there’s no reason to change now.
   Plus, she recently had knee surgery and didn’t quite have the ability to chase down eggs after our brother.
   There was just one glaring problem when all things were said and done – driving Ashlee back to College Station.

Thu
25
Apr

"Active shooter training to minimize impact of gun violence" by: Willie Younger

   If you think you are safe in a laid back community like Bay City, then you had better think again!  A prospective shooter (or bomber) could be planning to attack your place of worship as you read this article?
   All too often, we are bombarded by news reports that churches, synagogue, temples and mosques in almost every corner of our planet are sadly filled with dead and maimed worshippers.  So, it is up to “every adult” to learn how best to protect themselves, and those whom they love, from those malicious misfits in our midst who are determined to dispense death, pain, chaos, fear and mayhem in our local houses of worship.  You see, law officers not be there to handle such situations.

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