Columns/Opinions

Thu
27
Aug

"Hurricane prep features variety of needs to meet " by: Jessica Shepard

   Mom and I talked about some hurricane preparations we had to make before Wednesday evening. 
   Most of it was stuff she could handle, but, we also had to carve out time Tuesday night to handle the major points. 
   We agreed to not worry about boarding up the windows or finding a place to hide her chickens. 
   I’m really alright with the latter problem since I can’t stand those annoying clucking birds as it is. 
   Not to mention the prospect of trying to catch all of those modern-day dinosaur leftovers is NOT something I’m eager to do at all. 
   I mean, we’ve got one rooster that still needs to be caught and given away to a friend and two people just aren’t enough to corral that guy. 
   I blame the whole free range aspect of their lives where they can just run around wherever and only seek shelter at night. 
   Then again, most humans are sort of free range until it comes time for bed, too. 

Thu
27
Aug

"I just hope the path we choose is less political and more logical" by: John Sample

   While the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock-index sets a record almost daily, the old line Dow is about to return to the level set in February. 
   That is leading to a serious debate on whether or not the next recession will impact the economy.  
   This comes hand in hand with the possibility that the second wave of Covid-19 cases will come this fall.  
   With these concerns there will be a debate on shutting down the economy again. 
   We have come far enough through this process to have some historical data.  
   One of the interesting elements is what happened in Switzerland and Sweden.  
   They did not shut down and were highly criticized at the time as the death rate spiked.  
   The death rate came down to essentially nothing today.  
   There already are calls for another shutdown by some. 
   The importance of this debate is the impact on the economy.  

Thu
27
Aug

Get the most from your 401(k)

   You won’t see any greeting cards celebrating it, and it’s not likely to be on your calendar, but in just a few weeks, National 401(k) Day will be observed. 
   Are you taking full advantage of your own 401(k)? 
   At a minimum, contribute enough to your plan to earn your employer’s match, if one is offered. 
   Also, every time your salary goes up, boost your 401(k) contributions. 
   Furthermore, since your 401(k) is designed to help you pay for a long retirement, you’ll need your account to include investments designed to provide growth. 
   Of course, keep in mind that these types of investments will fluctuate in value, so you’ll need to consider your risk tolerance. 
   Finally, be careful about taking out loans from your account. 
   It’s true that you’ll be paying yourself back, but by removing money, even temporarily, you might harm the growth potential of your 401(k). 
   National 401(k) Day is just that – a day. 

Thu
27
Aug

"Turn to God when you make a major decision in your life" by: Betsy Monico

   I vividly remember the high diving board at the country club from my younger years and my buddy, Sammy. His mother, Billie, would drive us all out there in her big station wagon and spend the day there too with my Mom. 
   A particular incident comes to mind. Billie was in the water, treading water, and encouraging Sammy to jump off of the high dive. 
   Sammy did it. 
   I don’t know if his courage came from Billie yelling at him from down below, his dad circling by on his golf cart, or the fact that to go back down the ladder would be nearly as scary as jumping in the water. 
   When you climbed up that ladder, you felt like you were only a rung or two away from heaven and the bottom of the pool looked like it was a mile away. 

Thu
27
Aug

"Story of Deborah teaches us to be ready for bold action when he calls" by: Caleb Gibson

   In the Old Testament, we discover how Israel went through a cycle of sin. 
   They would do good for a while but then they would turn away from God, a foreign nation would take them into bondage, they would cry out, a judge would deliver them, and they would turn back to God. 
   In Judges Chapter 4 we appear on the scene where this has taken place.
   After Ehud, a great man of God died, the nation of Israel went back to sin and God raised up a prophet named Deborah.
   Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us, “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.”
   In the midst of Israel’s disobedience, God was still looking for them. 
   He would find people who were devoted to him. 
   A priest represented the people to God and a prophet represented God to the people. 

Thu
27
Aug

"Reel Reviews: ‘Unhinged’ ramps up road rage to full-scale insanity" by: Jessica Shepard

   I must confess that I went into this film with high hopes of seeing some quality Russell Crowe acting. 
   Sadly, it appears that he may have passed his zenith in skills and choosing roles that benefits said skills. 
   Or, at the very least, some late 2019 desperation for work paved the way for his role in this flick. 
   Unhinged is a thriller film directed by Derrick Borte, from a screenplay by Carl Ellsworth. 
   The film stars Russell Crowe, Caren Pistorius, Gabriel Bateman, Jimmi Simpson and Austin P. McKenzie. 
   Coming in at just an hour and a half long, Unhinged is rated R for strong violent content, and language throughout. 
   The movie opens with Tom Cooper (Crowe) popping pills in the rain at 4 a.m. from the safety of his truck – and that sets the dismal tone for the whole movie. 

Thu
27
Aug

"We can control pollution on the beach" by: Nicole Pilson Texas A&M AgriLife Matagorda County

   When you go to the beach, you typically go with the intention of collecting shells, sea glass, or other unique finds. 
   But do you ever go with the intention of collecting trash? Most likely not and who could blame you. 
   However, while you’re out beachcombing you probably come across less-desirable items like water bottles, straws, or lonely flip-flops. 
   These things definitely do not add to the beauty of our beaches, but rather detract from all the wonder these landscapes instill.
   While a day at the beach should be about recharging and relaxing, maybe consider picking up a few pieces of trash as you stroll down the swash zone. 
   It won’t take you any extra time and it won’t cost a dime. 
   Bring a bag and fill it up - you would be surprised how quickly that bag becomes full in about 30 minutes. 

Thu
20
Aug

"Perfecting the stream of consciousness pandemic playbook" by: Mike Reddell

   About the only thing that doesn’t feel tentative these days are the two tropical storm systems that look like they’re racing to the Gulf of Mexico.
   I’m probably jumping the gun with such rash predictions, since one of the developing storms is still in the Atlantic Ocean, while the other is swirling in the East Caribbean.
   So, I checked with one of my main tropical weather websites, Bearpaws, and those two are still too far out for me – yet there are all sorts of projections for landfalls.
   I’ll move those down my list of worries.
   COVID-19 leads the way, since it remains a serious problem for Texans and many of us are still fighting the battle of mask wearing.
   In the weekly EOC report, there’s a trend in new cases – there were 91 new cases reported Monday – and active cases.

Thu
20
Aug

"Counting down days until October, trying to remain positive" by: Jessica Shepard

   You know you’re excited and ready for fall when a “cold front” drops temperatures from the 100s into the low 90s and there’s a slight northerly wind.
   Not to mention a majority of local students are headed back to school in person.
   Things are seemingly creeping along towards a sense of normalcy and there’s still an overall need for caution.
   There’s still plenty of mask/facial covering sweat going on and I’m really over it already.
   I mean, I say that now, but I’ll probably look forward to the warmth when we start getting proper cold temperatures.
   Outside of that, I’m really just counting down the days until Halloween – well, the whole month of October really.
   Still, there’s just over 70 days until All Hallow’s and I’m fighting the urge to start up some old family traditions early.
   Mom and I have already embraced watching horror movies in lieu of something superhero-related or action-packed.

Thu
20
Aug

"Adaptability is an asset that will benefit your bottom line" by: John Sample

   For all the concern opined in DC as to the future of the economy, retailers’ earnings reports seem to provide a bit of sunshine. 
   Big box retailers Home Depot, Walmart, Kohls and Best Buy all announced better-than-projected earnings. 
   It seems that those stimulus checks were spent. That doesn’t mean that small retailers are not getting hurt. 
   If you live in rural U.S., you can take a quick drive through your town and see the number of store closures. 
   I would point out that buying online has hurt small retailers as much as big box stores. 
   Small retail has had to become particularly unique or be subject to a rather unfair competition.
   What I sense is that instead of securing store-front rental, more small businesses make their mark through the internet. 
   In most cases, these businesses produce their own specialty product. 

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