Columns/Opinions

Thu
26
Apr

"My berries come from store, not bug-infested bushes" by: Jessica Shepard

   Usually my mom drags me outside to go dewberry picking this month.
   But, luckily, the weekend weather has been so unstable and unpredictable that I haven’t been forced out into the brambles.
   Which is good because I’m not really a fan of picking berries.
   Granted, I know it’s a traditional thing and goes back centuries to the old “hunter-gatherer” days, but, I’m a spoiled 21st century sort of gal.
   I like picking up my berries at the grocery store instead of enduring hours under the sun fighting off mosquitoes, spiders and ants for a few berries.
   Also, don’t forget snakes!
   Mom always says that you don’t find snakes unless you’re looking for them and I have to remind her that we’re trespassing when we pick berries.
   And I mean trespassing as in bothering nature’s creatures in their homes and habitats.
   Even then, that isn’t much of a deterrent!

Thu
26
Apr

"Improved economy will offset some problems, but not all of them" by: John Sample

   Earnings reports are coming in fast and furious. 
   The tendency for these reports to be positive is the basis for the equities markets to remain positive despite the real worries about trade wars and rising interest rates. 
   It seems we have a market that has established a bottom, but has little energy to move past recent record highs. Every time we make a move south, the various equity indexes bounce as investors come back. 
   However, as we try to move up much, the sellers rush back in. We almost had a straight month of triple-digit moves in the Dow. If only those had all been positive. 
   It seems that the overhang of political uncertainty, trade negotiations and potentially rising interest rates is a wall of worry that might just be too steep to overcome.
   You have to acknowledge the number of positive earnings reports this week. 

Thu
26
Apr

Investment taxes: Steps to take control

   Tax Season is finally over.
   How much you pay in taxes depends on several factors, many of which you can’t control.
   But you might think about how you can manage your investment-related taxes.
   For starters, contribute as much as you can afford to your 401(k) or similar plan.
   The more pre-tax dollars you put in to your retirement plan, the lower your taxable income.
   Even if you have a 401(k), you probably can contribute to an IRA, too.
   With a traditional IRA, your contributions may be fully or partially deductible, depending on your income.
   Roth IRA contributions aren’t deductible, but earnings can grow tax-free, provided you meet certain conditions.
   Here’s another suggestion: Avoid selling investments that you’ve owned one year or less.

Thu
26
Apr

"Reel REviews: ‘Rampage’ features interesting man-monster interplay" by: Jessica Shepard

   During its second weekend run, “Rampage” clocked in at over $283 million in revenue worldwide and maintaining the top box office spot.
   The premise of the film is a bit ridiculous at first glance, but after watching it and doing a little research, it makes sense.
   Rampage is based on the 1986 Midway Games arcade game series of the same name.
   It also features the same giant “monsters” overall: a wolf, crocodile and gorilla.
   In fact, it gave me a bit of a King Kong versus Godzilla sort of vibe.
   Which isn’t that far off and yet it’s still enjoyable.
   Especially if you’re a fan of action/adventure films.
   The film stars Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman, Jake Lacy, Joe Manganiello, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
   Primatologist Davis Okoye (Johnson) shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent albino gorilla who has been in his care since he was a newborn.

Thu
26
Apr

"Look to the Lord to protect the family as your core of creation" by: Betsy Monico

   I am not a political person at all. My only political claim to fame was helping my Dad and my cousin in local elections. 
   I helped them not because of political agendas or affiliations, but because I love them. 
   However, my daughter lives and breathes politics. She knows her stuff too. 
   A retired politician, and now owner of the “Grilled Cheese Bar,” in Washington D.C. offered her one piece of advice that stuck with her I think. 
   He advised her to not talk unless she could back up what she was saying. Oh, she does that well!
   I say this because my intentions with this column are not politically motivated, but stem from my love of family and perhaps pearls, although I do not own a proper pearl necklace or even a set of pearl earrings. 
   The passing of Barbara Bush caused quite a stir the past few days. I did not personally have the time to watch the funeral or even much of the news coverage. 

Thu
26
Apr

"Constantly remind yourself of what God has done for you" by: Caleb Gibson

   If you take time to study the tabernacle of Moses you can see a picture of the cross throughout. Today we do not have a physical tabernacle because as believers, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. 
   When they made the temple, they got standing boards made from acacia wood, covered them with gold and placed them on top of silver sockets. 
   The standing boards represent you and I as believers. We were all once trees in the dusty desert. God took us and made us into a, “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). 
   Remember gold in the Bible can be seen as righteousness. He then caused us to stand upright and covered us with righteousness (gold). He then takes us and places us on redemption ground (silver sockets).
   Silver in the Bible can be seen to represent redemption. Jesus was sold by His own disciple, His own friend, for, “thirty pieces of silver” (Mathew 26:15). 

Thu
26
Apr

"Agriculture news: Cool weather causes problems for cotton crop" By James E. Engbrock County Extension Agent Emeritus Matagorda County

Agricultural Situation
   The cool weather has created havoc with our cotton plants. Many of our fields have been replanted due to poor stands and lack of healthy plants. 
   Seedling disease and high winds have contributed to significant problems in our cotton fields. 
   The cooler temperatures and high winds have also created problems for corn, grain sorghum, rice and pastures but to a lesser extent then cotton. 
   All of these crops and pastures need warm and relatively still conditions to make adequate growth. 
   Around 4/10ths of an inch of rain was received throughout the county, with some more and some less in places. This moisture was certainly welcome by all crops and pastures. 
                   Vegetables 

Thu
26
Apr

From the Mayor’s Desk: "Improving downtown through new sidewalks" By Mayor Mark Bricker

   Small rural towns like Bay City around the United States are searching for ways to reinvent themselves by bringing a better quality of life to their residents.  
   Small town local businesses face challenges as metropolitan cities begin to grow their suburban neighborhoods further outward influencing the consumer into purchasing at large chain retail stores. 
   How do we reinvent ourselves and brand Bay City in such a way that we can maintain our rural charm, and attract outside consumers? 
   We do this by committing to the plans that have been passed by our city officials that detail ways in which we can bring growth and vitality to our community.  
   The Bay City 2040 details plans, policies and projects that will produce an environment where local businesses can prosper.  
   New sidewalks promote a walkable downtown that will attract citizens and visitors to what will become a hub for food, retail, and entertainment. 

Thu
19
Apr

"From Fast and Furious to astounding sounds of silence" by: Mike Reddell

   If you’ve seen me around lately, you’ve noticed I’m getting used to my recent hip replacement.
   I’m not offering this up to get sympathy but to point out that I’ll be glad when the day comes and I’ll be cleared to drive again.
   MaLinda has been the good soldier in ferrying me around Bay City to cover meetings and to take photos.
   By taking photos, I should add, ferrying me to places to watch her take photos. She is a solid photographer, I’ll say.
   Like most husband-wife duos, there’s often a difference of opinion about each other’s driving skills.
   The last thing I would ever do is to criticize her driving, especially since she’s been doing all that ferrying around for me.
   But, sitting in the passenger seat with her gives me the impression we’re auditioning for stunt driver in the next Fast and Furious film.
   I mentioned my clever and humorous observations about her driving to a high school friend of mine.

Thu
19
Apr

"Stuck in February while the calendar says it’s April" by: Jessica Shepard

   Can you believe we’re in the middle of the third week of April?
   Already, it’s almost Earth Day and I still feel like I’m stuck a month behind.
   There’s a weekend full of local events this week and I’m struggling to fit them all in to my day.
   Especially with minimal driving.
   Besides recycling as much as possible for our household, I also make an effort to drive less to help limit my carbon emissions.
   Though, that also means that I’m probably doing less?
   Since I drive a Ford Focus, it all equals out in the end anyway, I think.
   You know, higher gas mileage on a compact car because I rarely go anywhere but work and home if I can help it?
   Or something to that effect.
   Still, I’m not ready for weather forecasts to say that the high temperature of the day is going above 80 degrees.
   Luckily, we haven’t had that problem – yet.
   In fact, I’m loving these cold snaps we’ve been having every

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