"If only that ground hog could accurately predict stock market " by: John Sample

   More gains for the equities markets last week. 
   I suppose there was relief from dealing with impeaching the President and the speculation that the coronavirus would not have a major economic impact. 
   There is also the thought that with the economy projected to slow to around 2 percent GDP growth for 2020 that the Federal Reserve will have little thought of raising interest rates. 
   It certainly does not seem that inflation will be a problem. 
   One only has to look at the energy markets with natural gas and crude prices dropping further. Gasoline may soon sell below $2 per gallon. 
   Of real consequence is the fact that China will be impacted by the coronavirus. They have announced a substantial reduction in tariffs. 
   You cannot ignore any negative economic impact of an economy as large as that of China. 
   As the old saying goes, a gold in China or the U.S. is the flu for the rest of the world.


Financial protection can be a great Valentine’s Day gift

   On Valentine’s Day, you can give your spouse or life partner a traditional gift such as candy or flowers.
   But once you’ve done that, why not think about something that can provide your loved one with longer-lasting benefits – such as a lifetime of financial protection?
   You can do this in several ways.
   First, consider disability insurance to replace your income if you were to become ill or injured and couldn’t work.
   Next, always make sure you have adequate life insurance.
   Finally, think about purchasing long-term care insurance to cover the enormous costs of a lengthy nursing home stay.
   You may never need this type of care, but you won’t want to risk exposing your spouse or partner to these expenses, which can easily add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
   Valentine’s Day is just one day on the calendar.


"There are consequences to sin but Jesus will make us clean again" by: Betsy Monico

   We had a good chuckle last week at a drive through car wash in Dallas.
   It is a fancy one where an attendant meets you at the front to loosen the bugs and presoak your vehicle before you enter.
   I was thankful that the guys were there ready to assist because my car was covered with Freestone county sludge an inch thick from the rain and bugs must think my car is attractive or a magnet because they flock to it.
   I also needed help guiding my car onto the medal railing system that pulls you through the car wash. When I was in high school, I tore the fender off of a Chevy and I have not been the same since. Right off the bat we noticed a red truck to our right that was sparkling clean.
   We thought it was totally absurd that the guy would waste his time and money on a wash. His truck was as shiny and clean as a fire truck ready for duty after a hand washing at the station.


"Ask the Lord for discernment to guide us through life" by: Caleb Gibson

   In life there are things that are black and white. We all have a conscious that tells us when we do something wrong such as parking in a handicap spot when you aren’t handicapped or coughing too close to someone. 
   Other things are grey, some examples are clothing, dating, movies, and music. 
   A grey area is where the Bible does not take a clear dogmatic stance on a subject. In these, we must use Godly discernment. 
   Discernment helps free us from legalism, make wise decisions, and hear God’s voice.
One definition of legalism is, “the pressure of personal preferences that we impose on others as moral mandates from God.” 
   How do we know if something is from God? We go to His Word. Hebrews 5:13-14 tells us, “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 
   “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” 


"Reel Reviews: ‘Birds of Prey’ well-worth debut at No.1 in box offices" by: Jessica Shepard

   “Bird of Prey” features a different look at Harley Quinn – the Joker’s longtime on again, off again girlfriend/accomplice.
   Birds also serves as an offshoot sort of sequel to 2016’s “Suicide Squad” with a slightly deeper insight into Quinn’s character and background.
   And to be completely honest, I love every moment of it!
   Sure, the film is rated R for strong violence and language throughout, and some sexual and drug material, but it’s still No. 1 worldwide, runs at one hour and 49 minutes, and has made over $81 million.
   It was directed by Cathy Yan and written by Christina Hodson, and stars Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, Ali Wong, Dana Lee, Chris Messina, and Ewan McGregor.


Jim Folse announces for Bay City Council Position 2

Jim Folse

   For those that don’t know me, I have lived in Bay City for over 31 years. 
   I came to Bay City to work at STPEGS and did so for 9 years. The very first night in Bay City, my aunt Betty told me it was a nice quiet friendly community.
   About an hour later she was called out to the Rice dryers because someone had broken in and was still in the building.
   I met several of our law enforcement officers that first night, but in a good way. 
   I stayed the rest of the week with her and then moved into Hamman Square apartments, where a little over a year later Chrystal moved in by me and I had to walk past her window and door to get to my apartment. 
   Yep, I married the girl next door and we have been married for 28 years. 
   We have 3 kids James (Brock), Kelsey and Kristin. We also have 2 grandchildren Malachi & Sawyer.


"Mahomes small-town pedigree big plus for his Texas fans" by: Mike Reddell

   I think a lot of Texans were rooting for the Chiefs and their Super Bowl MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
   Not only did the Texas Tech fandom celebrate the former Red Raider signal caller’s ascent into NFL greatness - there also is joy in Whitehouse, Texas, where Mahomes was a triple-sport letterman in football, basketball and baseball.
   A quick look at Whitehouse on Wikipedia was helpful in seeing where the youngest Super Bowl winning quarterback - he’s 24 -  hails from.
   Born in nearby Tyler, the 2014 Whitehouse High School graduate is remembered as “polite and respectful” in the agriculture-based railroad town near sprawling Lake Tyler.
   The 8,000-population town was flying the Chiefs’ red and gold flags on Sunday, when Whitehouse celebrated Patrick Mahomes Day.
   Mahomes’ father was a major league baseball player from 1992-2003, said Arizona Cardinal Coach Kliff Kingsbury who was Mahomes’ coach at Tech..


"February picks up the speed that January left behind" by: Jessica Shepard

   Anyone else feel like January dragged on forever and February is just running you over? 
   I mean, Valentine’s Day is just next Friday and even though we’re on a leap year, I don’t think one more day will make much of a difference. 
   I guess I’m used to feeling things happening at an even pace. 
   Or, at least the appearance of an even and steady pace. 
   Unfortunately, this year doesn’t seem to have started off the same way. 
   I don’t know if it was the constant fluctuating weather, extra busy work weeks, or if it’s the mad dash for election season, but, it’s definitely sapping all of my energy and creative drive lately. 
   Of course, a helpful friend added that it could have been seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD. 
   SAD is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons, which I think is kind of bogus and certainly don’t subscribe to it. 


"Have you bought your electric self-driving car yet?" by: John Sample

   The end of last week was no fun as the Dow dropped over 600 points and there were dire predictions on the economic consequences of the cronanvirus epidemic. 
   This week tossed that problem aside as the first two days of trading made up most of the ground lost on Friday. 
   These moves pull the equity markets up to where they started the year. 
   The return from the brink was lead by the FAANG stocks. 
   Of real note though is the move by Tesla to climb above $900 - an over 100% climb just since the year began. 
   This climb by Tesla seems to be a rerun of what happened with Amazon - a company that does things differently that brought great criticism about whether it could actually produce earnings. 
   You have in both cases a leader moving a company in an area never traveled before. Tesla is out performing its own expectations. 
   The ongoing question in each is how long can it go. 


Be aware of Social Security myths

   To maximize your Social Security benefits and those of your spouse, you’ll want to be aware of some common myths. 
   Here’s one: You should always take Social Security early. In reality, there’s no one age that works for everyone – it just depends on your situation. 
   You can collect your benefits starting at 62, but you could get much more if you wait until your full retirement age, which will probably be between 66 and 67. 
   Another myth: Your Social Security payments won’t affect your spouse’s benefits. 
   Actually, your benefits could greatly affect what your spouse receives, particularly his or her survivor benefit. 
   One last myth: You can’t work during retirement and collect Social Security. 
   You can work, but some or all of your benefits could be withheld, depending on your age and how much you earn. 


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