Columns/Opinions

Thu
26
Nov

"The holiday season should be rewarding to investors" by: John Sample

   We are in the holiday season officially though retail has been showing signs since Labor Day. 
   I will be heading to the mountains to close up my cabin for the winter and to visit with long term friends. 
   Here is hoping you can find the time and ability to visit with family and friends this week. 
   With all due respect to safety, enjoy one of the best holidays of the year. 
   It appears like we are going to open this holiday-shortened trading week with a gain as yet another vaccine announced positive news on the vaccine front. 
   You put that with the real possibility of the first quarter of 2021 coming in with a positive GDP that some speculate may be above 4%. 
   I still believe the 4th quarter will be better than projected, adding to the positive feel for the economy.
   One trend that hasn’t been reported lately is the return in the value of Bitcoin. 

Thu
26
Nov

Consider these year-end financial moves

   We’re nearing the end of 2020, but you’ve still got time to make some year-end financial moves.
   For starters, add to your IRA.
   You actually have until April 15 to contribute to your IRA for the 2020 tax year, but the sooner you put the money in, the quicker it can work for you.
   Also, if your employer allows it, put in a little extra to your 401(k) or similar retirement plan.
   If you’re 72 or older, you don’t have to take withdrawals from your IRA or 401(k) that would normally be required by year-end, due to the economic stimulus legislation.
   If you don’t need the money, you can let your retirement accounts continue growing on a tax-deferred basis.
   Here’s another suggestion: Review your investment mix to see if it’s still appropriate for your goals and risk tolerance.
   Finally, see your tax advisor.
   You might be able to make some investment-related moves that can improve your tax situation.

Thu
26
Nov

"Jesus won’t stop working on our behalf" by: Betsy Monico

   Educators here are off for Thanksgiving Break this week. We all swore when school began in August, after the long Covid break, we would never complain again. Well, not that we complain that much, but it was time for a 2020 break. 
   However, this 2018 column still rings true! I witness a lot at school. Trust me, I am not the only one! 
   Most educators silently dream of writing a book about their daily escapades and retiring early from the earnings. 
   Teachers mentally store sentimental stories, silly stories, and outrageous stories that no one outside of education would even begin to fathom. 
   We file them all deep inside of our minds, but truly inside of our hearts. My funny tales outnumber too many to even recall. 
   I vividly remember the time a kindergarten student brought her teacher a “scratch-off lottery ticket” and asked if she could cash it in and put the money on her lunch account. It was a winner! She got her lunch money. 

Thu
26
Nov

"Reel Reviews: ‘Freaky’ comic-horror hybrid film bloody-good" by: Jessica Shepard

   There was a little bit of a lull in new movies recently since a lot of holiday releases got pushed back or sent to rent or stream due to COVID-19.
   Luckily, “Freaky” hit the theater here after I’d heard rave reviews about it online.
   As a gory, modern twist on the children’s novel “Freaky Friday,” the film tells the story of a teenage girl who unintentionally switches bodies with a middle-aged male serial killer.
   Lately, I’ve been pretty annoyed with whining teenagers, but, dropping a homicidal maniac into the mix with a mystical dagger puts a fresh spin on it.
   The film is rated R for strong bloody horror violence, sexual content, and language throughout and runs for 102 minutes.
   Freaky is a comedy horror film directed by Christopher Landon, from a screenplay by Landon and Michael Kennedy.

Thu
26
Nov

A pancake supper assembly line

Sentinel photo/Jessica Shepard
Volunteers formed an assembly line for packing and transporting pancake dinner plates Nov. 19. This group was just one of many lending at hand at the Boys & Girls Club of May City and Matagorda County's annual "Pancake supper" fundraiser that night.

Thu
26
Nov

"Pilson: What is an estuary?" Nicole Pilson Texas A&M AgriLife Matagorda County

   So maybe you have heard the term estuary before and it brought you back to grade-school science. 
   Don’t worry if you don’t remember it, I am about to break it down for ya!
   This seven-letter word is actually pretty important and in the case of young organisms, its existence and meaning bears a lot of weight.
   An estuary is a place where salt and freshwater mix and mingle - where rivers and seas shake hands.
   It can also be described as a nursery; and what do you find in nurseries? Babies!
   That’s right, estuaries serve as nurseries for baby and juvenile marine and aquatic critters.
   These brackish waters are teeming with plant and animal life.
   Estuaries are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world, providing homes for many fish, invertebrates, and birds. 
   Bays are estuaries, so basically Matagorda Bay is a big nursery.

Thu
19
Nov

"Wishing for a snow-white Christmas again this year" by: Jessica Shepard

   I don’t know about you guys, but I’m loving these colder mornings and breezy afternoons more than the sweltering leftovers of summer that seem to be dragging by.
   Though I’ve lived in Matagorda County long enough to know that it is temporary and we’ll be back to spending afternoons indoors with the air conditioning cranked up to alleviate some of this oppressive humidity.
   That still doesn’t stop me from wishing for a white Christmas this year – like I do nearly every year!
   I was really spoiled when I was in San Angelo for college, they got actual winters and snow by the time Thanksgiving hit and it was a wonderful experience.
   I have to confess that I spent more time playing in the snow on those days than attending classes on campus.
   To put it in perspective, the last time I saw snow like that was 2011.
   That’s nearly a decade and I’m hoping even a few flurries make it this far south!

Thu
19
Nov

"Here’s to your health: COVID-19 vaccines are 90% effective " by: John Sample

   Just in case you missed the news about the equities markets with all the election news, the Dow is closing in on 30,000 due to Pfizer and Moderna announcements about vaccines that are more than 90% effective. 
   Apparently our long dark nightmare of 2020 may be coming to an end and I am not talking about Dec. 31. 
   I’ve said all along that the fourth quarter would be strong, but had to deal with a poor performance in the various indexes and averages in October. 
   November made up for that and December should find even more strength. 
   These vaccines are coming at a good time, as the numbers for Covid-19 are climbing daily.
   Living in a rather rural area, it is only in the last week that I have encountered a friend that has caught the virus. 
   However, I spend my weekends in and around Austin and that is whole different story. 

Thu
19
Nov

Financial moves for the recently divorced

If you’ve recently finalized a divorce, you’re likely facing some real challenges.
   But you can at least help yourself by making the right financial moves.
   For starters, now is the time to open your own checking, savings, and credit accounts if you don’t already have them.
   Next, think about updating your budget, as your income and expenses have likely changed.
   Also, ensure you have adequate emergency savings in place.
   Then consider your IRA and 401(k). If you weren’t putting as much as you could afford into these accounts before, now may be the time to start.
   And, although it may be years away, think about Social Security.
   If you were married at least 10 years and you remain unmarried, you might be eligible for spousal benefits that could exceed your own.
   Finally, contact your legal advisor to change your will, living trust, or other important documents.

Thu
19
Nov

"Jesus won’t stop working on our behalf" by: Betsy Monico

   Every time my oldest comes home she initiates a renovation project for us. 
   I am patiently waiting for her next organization kick or when she decides to tackle my closet. 
   I am not complaining about her energy or criticizing what she has conquered thus far. 
   The boy’s side of our hallway looks better. This weekend evidently was “revamp” little sister’s room. 
   They have painted furniture, cleaned, and now are on the last leg of putting it all back together. Several observations…
   Number one, paint is a miracle worker. With relatively little money, you can change the appearance of anything with a paint brush and a few hours. 
   Their rooms have all been transformed multiple times over the last few years. 
   The funny thing though is that even if you alter the walls and switch out who sleeps where and the contents of the closet - the real core, structure of the room still remains the same. 

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