Columns/Opinions

Thu
11
Jul

"‘Stranger Things’ tops lists of things to do to escape from summer" by: Jessica Shepard

   We’ve now reached that part of summer where nearly five minutes of direct sunlight results in a sunburn. With temperatures in the high 90s and low 100s – it certainly brings out more of my night owl side.
   Unfortunately not enough, but at least we’re running the air conditioner at an acceptable range now.
   But, it might not be enough for the long-term scorching heat.
   With a possible tropical storm headed our way, we’re watching the weather reports closely.
   Granted, Bay City and almost all of Matagorda County has some sort of drainage problem, but I’m down with slow, easy rain.
   I mean, nine-plus inches in the span of a few hours is too much, but somewhere in the neighborhood of up to three inches? 
   That’s not so bad really. As long as we don’t lose power, we can hunker down and ride it out here at Casa de Reddell.
   I’ll just get mom and dad hooked on another Netflix TV series like I did this weekend.

Thu
11
Jul

"Trying to find the right solution to market problems always has obstacles" by: John Sample

    A holiday-shortened week of trading and, after hitting another record high, we pulled back for three straight days - a repeat performance over the last nine months. 
   Most of the reason was attributed to the concern that the Federal Reserve might forego a rate cut. 
   I see little or no reason to cut rates to support the economy. 
   My reading of the recent economic reports indicates a rather strong economy that is experiencing low unemployment and little or no inflation. 
   You would think that would make investors happy but as usual, they are more focused on what is going to happen six to nine months from now. 
   I can only say that you might reverse the rate increase made in December, as that was universally judged to be imprudent. 
   However, I would hold the rate reduction for when the economy really displays signs of stress.
I am not saying there are no concerns. 

Thu
11
Jul

Life events can lead you to see a financial advisor

   Over the years, you will experience many personal and professional milestones – and they all come with important financial questions. 
   To find the answers, you may need help from a financial professional. 
   For example, when you start a new job, you may wonder how to begin planning for retirement and what investments can help you work toward that goal. 
   And if you switch jobs, you will need to understand your options for your employer-sponsored retirement plan. 
   As for your personal life, when you get married, you and your spouse should create a joint investment strategy. 
   And if you have children, you may want to know about the ways to save and invest for college. 
   Finally, when you retire, you’ll need to create a withdrawal plan for your retirement accounts so you don’t deplete them too soon. 

Thu
11
Jul

"If you are in need of a second chance, call on the Lord this week" by: Betsy Monico

   July 4th flew by, just like every other holiday and event on the calendar does.  
   Celebrating the 4th took me back to the time that I caught my grandfather’s hay pasture on fire with a Roman candle.  
   I specifically remember Mammaw and Pappaw instructing us all to avoid “this” area, but that the other pastures were good to go. 
   My cousins might not agree, but I was obedient. 
   The problem I encountered that night was an issue with the Roman candle and not my fault. 
   It malfunctioned and shot out of the other end, backfiring on me. 
   When it backfired, the hayfield behind us caught on fire. Mammaw sometimes ignited the countryside with her burn barrel; however, this issue was worse! Thankfully, our family believed in teamwork. 
   We fought the fire. Since that incident, the 4th for me has never been the same. I remember it every year. There are incidents in life that are forever etched in our memory. 

Thu
11
Jul

"People in Old Testament longed for what we have today in God’s new covenant" by: Caleb Gibson

   Technology has sure advanced. When we think about the Old West, we may think of Jesse James, Dodge City, ranchers, boots, and gunfights. 
   Yet one thing we may not consider is the fact that they were didn’t have the comfort that we have today. 
   Their houses had no indoor bathrooms, running water, or a/c units. 
   They longed for what we have today. In a similar way, the people of the Old Testament, desired what we have right now in the new covenant. 
   Pastor Andrew Farley once said, “We have a better deal than any Old Testament believer.” 
   Psalm 51 is what David prayed to God after the prophet Nathan arrived to confront him about his sin. 
   He had a child with Bathsheba, and to cover up what he did, he had her husband killed. 
   In a way, Psalm 51 is us listening next to the door of David’s room as he repents and prays to God. David prayed, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. 

Thu
11
Jul

"Reel Reviews: ‘Spider-man: Far From Home’ features cobbled together, weak plot" by: Jessica Shepard

   Spider-Man: Far From Home is the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and the 23rd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). 
   The film is directed by Jon Watts, written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, and stars Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, alongside Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, J.B. Smoove, Jacob Batalon, Martin Starr, Marisa Tomei, and Jake Gyllenhaal.
   In Ixtenco, Nick Fury (Jackson) and Maria Hill (Smulders) investigate an unnatural storm and later encounter the Earth Elemental. 
   A super-powered man, Quentin Beck (Gyllenhaal), arrives to fight the creature. 
   In New York City, the Midtown School of Science and Technology restarts its academic year to accommodate the students who were among those resurrected in “the Blip” eight months prior. 

Thu
04
Jul

"Recent rains expose extreme weather, drainage problems " by: Mike Reddell

   After recent downpours that have rivaled or exceeded Hurricane Harvey on their local impact, drainage - to no one’s great surprise - is hovering on top of people’s radar.
   At least in Bay City these days.
   At the last two city council meetings, during public comments, several residents were dismayed and angry at the flooding, problems with blocked drainage and with an engorged Cottonwood Creek.
   I do realize all of the above issues are related.
   Growing up in the Hill Country, you learn caution driving through or halting at low-water crossings during high-water conditions. 
   Most teenagers had seen the twisted remnants of a vehicle high in the branches of a giant cypress some time or another that was the result of the raging Guadalupe in past years.
   I did find myself ignoring high-water signs during the heavy flooding on a Bay City streets a few weeks back at Matthews and M.

Thu
04
Jul

"Another project checked off mom’s list of domestic challenges" by: Jessica Shepard

   So, I spent the greater part of Sunday moving furniture across the house with mom.
   There was no real motivation other than we finally got a new bed frame for a bed that needed it and mom wanted a tiny upgrade from queen size to king.
   It wasn’t the easiest task and not just because I’m woefully out of lifting practice.
   No, we both ended up smashing out fingers between the headboard and the wall.
   Plus, we had to cut wood slats to fit the frame since it didn’t come with any.
   Let me tell you, nothing’s scarier than my mom wielding power tools.
   And that’s not because she’s terrible at it – not even close!
      Mom is definitely awesome at handling saws, drills, lawn mowers, and other power tools or implements of destruction.
   But, she really doesn’t take many precautions except measuring twice and cutting once.

Thu
04
Jul

"If only the second half of year could be as good as first " by: John Sample

   We made it through the first half of the year and, despite a vast array of obstacles, the equities markets continue to show strength. 
   June alone found the equities markets climb 7%, which would be a decent yearly gain on the average. 
   The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock-index started this week moving to a record-high close of 2,964. Some think we could see that index climb to 3,100 by year’s end. 
   Before we get too excited, I would note that earnings need to improve over the second half of the year. 
   Not to be a negative, but it seems we are moving into headwinds. I don’t say the market will drop significantly, but further movement north will have much to overcome. 
   Never forget that we are still dealing with China and now the Administration is turning its attention to the EU. 
   The Federal Reserve will help with at least one rate cut but that is already baked in to date.

Thu
04
Jul

Work toward your own financial Independence Day

   Once again, it’s time for fireworks, picnics, and parades as our nation celebrates Independence Day. 
   But if you’d like to declare your own financial independence, you’ll need to make the best moves you can.
   First, liberate yourself from a heavy debt load. 
   The lower your debts, the more you can invest for your future. 
   So try to live within your means and avoid taking on unnecessary debts. 
   You also might want to consolidate existing debts to lower your interest payments.
   Here’s another suggestion: Don’t fall captive to the daily fluctuations of the financial markets. You can look past these constant ups and downs by following a disciplined investment approach, based on your goals and risk tolerance.
   Finally, free up the potential in your 401(k) or other retirement plan by funding it adequately. 

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