Columns/Opinions

Thu
05
Mar

Women may need extra steps to reach financial security

   On March 8, we celebrate International Women’s Day, which honors the social, cultural and economic achievements of women. 
   Yet, women seeking financial security still face gender barriers, such as a wage gap and the need to take time out from the workforce to care for family members. 
   How can you address these challenges? 
   Probably your best move is to put in as much as possible to your 401(k). 
   Whenever you get a raise, increase your annual contributions. 
   And if you’re eligible, you can also fund an IRA. 
   Even if you do take time away from full-time employment to care for family members, you can contribute to an IRA if you have any type of part-time work. 
   Finally, try to maximize your Social Security. 
   Your payments can be bigger if you wait to collect them until your full retirement age, which is likely between 66 and 67. 

Thu
05
Mar

"Ask yourself today whether Jesus has your heart" by: Betsy Monico

   My column this week is a collection of thoughts. 
   Several things are circling around in my mind like the buzzards circle out here in the country. Sorry, that is a disgusting simile, but my boys have been hot and heavy on the trail of so many hogs lately-it came to mind! 
   First of all, the longer we put things off, the harder it is to get them done. 
   I did not procrastinate in my 20s and 30s. I cleaned on schedule, paid bills on schedule, and maintained bedtimes around here like a drill sergeant. 
   I was often outnumbered by my children; therefore, I tried to stay on top of everything. 
   They were little and their needs were many. 
   Something inevitable happened a few years ago…they grew up. (If you currently have a house full of little ones – treasure it!) 
   Well, when they grew up, started driving, and taking care of many tasks on their own, I slowed down my pace. 

Thu
05
Mar

"Watchman Nee left behind lessons to learn about persecuted church" by: Caleb Gibson

   Watchman Nee was born into a Christian home in China. 
   He hadn’t yet given his life to Christ at this time. In 1920, he was 17 years old and he attended his parents’ church. 
   A well-known evangelist came to preach the gospel. Although he didn’t go to the alter to receive Christ that day, the message caused him to think. 
   Different cultures cause different attitudes towards faith. 
   To be a Christian in America is a bit different than one in China. Later, while Nee was alone in his room and unable to sleep, he got on his knees and began to pray. 
   After thinking about the cross, he began to weep. As he was praying the burden of sin lifted and he began to feel real peace and joy. 
   He decided that day that if he was to follow God, he would do this for the rest of his life.
   One of my favorite books by Nee is, “Sit, Walk, Stand.” 
   This book explains Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus. 

Thu
05
Mar

"Reel Reviews: New ‘The Invisible Man’ has updated thrills and chills for modern horror fans" by: Jessica Shepard

   The newly adapted movie, “The Invisible Man” is riding high at No.1 in theaters worldwide after a stellar opening weekend with over $49.2 million in revenue. 
   Now, I vaguely remember the original “The Invisible Man” 1933 black and white film version which functioned as an adaptation from H.G. Wells’ novel of the same name. 
   But, this version is much more modern and features a cautionary tale about how women can be manipulated in abusive relationships. 
   The film stars Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Harriet Dyer, Michael Dorman, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen. 
   Trapped in a violent, controlling relationship with wealthy scientist Adrian Griffin (Cohen), Cecilia Kass (Moss) drugs him with a medication called Diazepam and sneaks through the house. 
   She has her bags already packed and has arranged to disable the security cameras to make a clean escape. 

Thu
27
Feb

"Leap year just isn’t all that special to me" by: Jessica Shepard

   I’ve seen my fair share of leap years through my lifetime and I can’t honestly say that there’s anything that makes one of them more special or memorable than the other.
   Though I feel the same way about Valentine’s Day – so, maybe it’s just the whole month of February?
   I mean, it feels like a throwaway month outside of the Matagorda County Fair and Livestock Association’s annual fair and rodeo.
   And I guess, that’s just what it’s around for, at least at a local level.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure February serves some other purposes.
   I know that there’s occasionally election filing deadlines and a few fundraisers.
   But, I just can’t find much of – if any – reasons that I have to keep track of every day as much as I do for other months until rodeo season hits.
   I have to confess that when I was a child, I definitely looked forward to it more than I did as I grew up.

Thu
27
Feb

"Anyone scared to get on this wild market ride?" by: John Sample

   Another February in the books and it seems that the groundhog had a negative outlook on the equities market. 
   In the space of less than a week, all the gains for 2020 were wiped out. 
   Most are pointing to the coronavirus as the culprit. 
   The thought being that it will have a negative impact on the world’s economy. 
   There is no doubt that it has already impacted China, which purportedly is the strongest economy in the world.
It is impossible to overlook the closing of manufacturing facilities in China. 
   Unlike the trade tariffs, which simply raised prices in the most part. 
      Moreover, the virus has not yet been contained. 
   I do think we are extrapolating far more consequences than reality will reveal.
What is happening to me is the markets at multiples that are getting harder to justify. 
   The vaunted FASNG stocks got us to these levels and they are taking us back quickly. 

Thu
27
Feb

Avoid these mistakes on estate planning

   Like most people, you probably want to leave something behind for your loved ones.
   That’s why you’ll need a comprehensive estate plan – but to make the plan work, you must avoid some common mistakes.
   One big mistake is not writing a last will and testament.
   Without a will, your assets may not go where you’d like them to go.
   But it may also be a mistake to rely only on a will – if your estate is complicated, you may need to create a living trust or other arrangement.
   Here’s one more common error: not updating the beneficiaries on your financial accounts, such as your IRA, 401(k) and life insurance.
   If your family situation changes over time, you’ll want to make sure you’ve named the right people to receive the money as you intended.
   Another big mistake: choosing the wrong executor.

Thu
27
Feb

"Don’t ponder on what has gone wrong, involve Jesus in our daily lives" by: Betsy Monico

   It is the end of February and that means my purple martins should be showing up! 
   In their honor and in honor of my “bird” hobby, I am partially using an old column this week. Here goes: 
   We did rock, paper, scissors, or something a few weeks ago to see who would go out in the rain right before dark to feed the “shop” cats and put up the chickens. 
   I don’t even remember if I played or not, but I won the honor of an evening walk. On my way back from the shop, I heard a bird still singing, chirping, whatever you want to call it, even though the rest of our little chunk of land here seemed to be going to bed for the night.
The little bird made me smile. 
   I am a self-confessed bird nerd anyway and have been known to talk to my purple martins and even understand them when they answer back. 

Thu
27
Feb

"Reel Reviews: ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ features family-friendly fun positive message" by: Jessica Shepard

   For some, the new “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie is a vague reminder of 1990s videogame nostalgia and for others, it’s a chance to introduce your children to a mile-a-minute talking rodent character.
   I’ve played many Sonic Sega games over the years across various videogame consoles and seen plenty of animated shows to be well-versed in this little guy.
   Plus, I’m all for watching Jim Carrey play a manic mad-scientist villain that definitely has echoes of his stint in “The Mask” madness.
Sonic clocks in at just over an hour and a half and is rated PG for action, some violence, rude humor and brief mild language.
   The flick is an action-adventure comedy film based on the video game franchise published by Sega.
It’s directed by Jeff Fowler in his feature directorial debut and based upon a screenplay by Pat Casey and Josh Miller.

Thu
27
Feb

"What agriculture means to county" By Aaron Sumrall Matagorda County Extension Agent Agriculture/Natural Resources

   Traveling through Bay City passing the Civic Center you will see the sign in front of the facility stating “Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture” possibly leaving some pondering the thought of why agriculture is included. Commerce is the direction and lifeblood of every community and city throughout this great State. 
   In Matagorda County agriculture is just as much of the lifeblood and is the fabric of this beautiful part of the costal bend and the livelihood of so many calling it home. 
   The connection of agriculture within the County reaches far wider than what we may think as traditional agriculture of cows, sows, and plows. 
   Agriculture in Matagorda County is measured in millions of dollars and thousands of direct and indirect jobs. 
   Crops production within this, one of the original counties in Texas, is attributed to more than $311,600,000 in annual receipts. 

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