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January 6, 2010     Hays Free Press
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January 6, 2010
 

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Janua 6,2010 THEY REALLY SAID THAT? " '7 really thought that oas unfortunate." -Kyle Councilmember Lucy Johnson, regarding the single week candidates will have to file for office Page 3A Bundle up ld man winter has come a-knocking. With most of the country being plunged into the freezer,.Hays Coun- ty is not to be left out. Bundle up, take care of exposed pipes, and get ready for 2010. January almost always brings coldxveath- er, and it's the season for the hardened. January brings about one season that some folks at Hays and Lehman high schools have been waiting for - soccerseason. When driving past either high school, glance at the fields and tip your hats to the boys and girls who are running around in shorts, practic- ing for the upcoming season. Another January sport? Mudslinging. It never really stops at the national level, but locally comes about only every few years. Keep your eyes open and your ears clear so you can listen for the zings that will no doubt be a part of this political season. Ahh, yes. It's January , Let the fun begin. Life in retrospect  KYLE ' fS been a crazy decade. I watched my ght-eyed, wonder-filled new born turn a sassy dancing ten year old. And my introverted, skeptical three year old morph into this statuesque, boisterous prez of the middle school student body. I remember preparing for the millennium. We watched my morn and Jim hoardVienna sausages and batteries by the case. Our buddy. Konmd, stockpiled cash and ammo.We gassed up the Explorer, bought the large box of Chee- rios and drained the hundred bucks from our savings, just in case the ATM jammed or some- thing. We did, however, fill our massive blue water storage container that we used when we went "primitive" camping at Grelle Park in Spicewood, with fresh drinking water- just in case. Unforttmately; Terry pulled the label from his bottle of Bud and slapped it on the front ofit sometime in the night so when we all emerged from our homes the first morning of the new millennia, it appeared that we had been stockpiling beer for the neighborhood on our front porch. Just in case. We got married a couple of months after that. Itwas Fan's idea. Terry and I felt like we were all- well, except for my mom- relatively happy with the way things were. But one night as I tucked her in, Emma said, as Was our ritual, "So, what's the plan for tomorrow?" I leaned down and kissed her'night and she whispered, "Why don't you plan on getting married?" As!uckwould have it, April Fool's Day was a Saturday not too far away so we knew the stars were with us: We left Austin in '03 to escape from the local schools and landed in Kyte, a sleepy- really sleew-little town on the tracks, only be- cause of this old rambling house downtown underneath the water tower. I boasted to my Austin friends repeatedly about our killer water pressure before someone informed me that the tower above us had been filled with sand decades ago. Half of Kyle wa mad at the mayor but I couldn't ever find the folks that could tell me why. They just foisted a recall petition my way and said it was time for change and, was I for the New Kyle or not. In retrospect, I was not. I watched the crispy field down from my front porch re-emerge as a depot stop, my kids rode their bikes around the cinderblock rubble of the old BonTon and then around the cinderblock stacks of the new city hall, and we wimessed the horse pasture at the other end of the block explode into suburbia. Then I tamed 40. And then 45. And I closed out the decade just shy ofthe big one. I went from a skinny, red-headed, Scrabble-playing new mother to a raging, pre-Rubenesque liberal with an environmental agenda and a rehatively ingrained sense of justice, in one short.decade. I clenched my teeth through Bush getting elected once and appointed once. Perry getting bumped up into the big chair, chosen once and then handed the position this last time (dang Dems with their egos and lackof unity for the common good, hopefully we've leamed that lesson for the last time). I grimaced through the Delay debacle and the valiant Earle crusade. And celebrated as favorite son, Patrick Rose, took the state by storm. I met the Bartons and the Kirkhams and the Johnsons and theWmns. Realized that if you really care, you do have a voice and you can affect real change. But you gotta put yourself out there. And, as it turns out, your husband, father nd children, as well. And, at the end of this decade, my step- father Jim Hill died and my mom moved to Kyle and bought a httle house in Plum Creek to spend some time watching her granddaughters grow. My dad had already landed on my front porch a couple of years ago so, after a quarter century, I had both my parents in the same house, at the same time on Christmas Eve, Funny, there was no angst or nostalgia, lust a peculiar feeling that things had come full circle and oddl I was the grown-up this time around. brenda@haysfreepress.com I Fire-safe cigarettes? YepI /I new law that went into ef- L. fect Jan. 1 mandates that , ]k only "fire-safe" cigarettes-- marked as FSC for "fire standard compliant" -- can be Sold in Texas. Fire-safe cigarettes are designed to go out when they are not being actively smoked, reducing the risk of an accidental fire. Lawmakers passed a bill in 2007 requiring that all cigarettes sold in Texas be fire-standard compliant by Jan. 1, 2010, and Gov. Rick Perry signed it into law. Texas is one of 49 states where FSC mandates for ciga- rettes are in effect or pending. The Texas Department of Insurance is responsible for inspecting, certify- ing and enforcing the law. Anyone manufacturing, distribut- ing or selling cigarettes that alren't fire-safe can be fined $100 pea" pack. State Fire Marshal Paul Maldonado said FSC cigarettes will help prevent . fires and save lives. More info:rma- tion about fire-safe cigarettes is available at the insurance depart- ment Website, www.tdi.state.tx.us. HUTCHISON BLASTS TXDOT Shortly after filing to run for governor in the March 2 Republi- can primary, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison promised to "clean up" "the Texas Department of Transpor- tation. She said Texans are fed up with traffic congestion and blamed the "arrogance and inefficiencies" of TxDOT's leadership. Hutchison said, if elected gov- ernor, she would push for a high- speed rail line connectfng Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. In a campaign swing around thestate, Hutchison also said the Texas Trans- portation Commission should be expanded from five to nine mem- bers. , CAPITAL said the plaintiffs did not prove any negative effects caused by the tempo- rary-visitor licenses. VALLEY MED SCHOOL PROGRESS7 The University of Texas System has taken the first steps toward creating a medical school in the Lower Rio KAI"Z FILES FOR LT. GOVERNOR Austin restaurateur Marc Katz has filed to mn forlieutenant governor in the March Democratic primary. Katz, owner of Katz's Deli and Bar in down- town Austin, will face former Travis County District Attorney Rormie Earle, who also filed to run for lieutenant governor in the Democratic primary. Katzsaid he would spend millions of dollars of his own money to win the primary race against Earle. The winner likely will face incumbent Lt. Gov-d.Dewhurst, who filed to run for reelection in the Republican Party primary. UCB'L.S FOR IMMIGRANTS OK A Texas appeals court has ruled that the restriction on driver's licenses issued to immigrants is lawful. The 3rd Court of Appeals ruled against a Dallas landscaping company that has said the Texas Department of Public Safety does not have authority to establish requirements for immigrants seeking driver's licenses. Under DPS roles, a driver's license cannot be issued to someone with a visa valid for less than a year or ff there is less than six months remaining on the visa. If a visa is valid for more than a year, the driver's license says "Tem7 poraryVisitor." Those licenses are vertical, not horizontal like standard Texas licenses. AlthOugh the plaintiffs argued that track drivers can't enteT certain areas with a temporary license, the court GrandeValley, State education officials said a medical school in South Texas is needed because of the areas high poverty rate and its lack of doctors and medical facilities. In the 2009 legislative session, law- makers passed a measure authorizing, but norrequiring, the UT Board of Regents to establish a medical school in Cameron County. LIT PresidentW'fl- liam Powers Jr. said South Texas needs a medical school and a law school. LIT officials are looking at, the pos- sible cost of establishing a medical school in the Valley. A report is un- derway examining the financial and faculty needs and possible hospital " affiliations. STATE ISSUES HEALTH WARNING Consumers have been warned about eating a traditional African product called Nzu because of potential health risks. Nzu is some- times eaten by pregnant women as a remedy for moming sickness. The Texas Department of State Health Services said laboratory(tests " found high levels of lead and arsenic in Nzu sold at African specialty stores in the Dallas and Houston areas, i Among other adverse health effects, exposure to lead can put a develop- ing child at risk of brain and nervous system damage. Ed Sterling works for the Texas Press Association, covering the Texas Legislature. Decade with no name? Says who? /ltnd so we say farewell to the L[ Decade of Levi Johnston, , ]k he who impregnateda vice presidential candidate's teen daugh- ter, paraded before the nation as a picture of family values, had his affections alienated, did an armpit- bearing fold-out photo session and appeared on enough talk shows to become a household face. That the candidate's name needs no utterance, not to mention the daughter's or even the child's, says a lot about the 10-year stretch just about done. It was the Decade of ]on and Kate, they who became celebrities be- cause a cable channel pronottr!ced them and their eight children as much. Then they split viciously and became more celebrated. It was the Decade of the Dramatic Squirrel, an emotive rodent which had drawn 1,240,046 online hits when I checkedYouTube. You can add to the number. Go ahead. Or it was the Paris Hilton Decade, or the Elizabeth Lambert Decade, named in either case for people whose charms, or lack of them, were broadcast for all to see via the World Wide Web -- the first by a sex tape, the second by images, of the Uni- versity of New Mexico soccer player pulling an opponent to the ground by her hair. We wish we could say farewell to them, but they're still there and will be far into the next, yet-to-be- named decade. Now, you're saying that the de- cade we hereby depart never got a name, either. Aughts? Trendily trite. Oh-Ohs?Well, not bad, if your name is Mark Sanford, or Elliott Spitzer, or John Edwards. Fact is, the decade has lots of great names. For instance, it was the Decade of The Family. Not the bio- logical unit venerated by scoundrels for political gain. No. During this decade, a secretive group of Repub- lican politicians likedto quote the Bible and convene at the secretive "C Street House" in the nation's capital-- for prayer, of course. In 2009, the secretive C-street fellows were wracked by a string of sex scandals, headed by Sanford, and including Sen. lohn Ensign and former Congressman Charles "Chip" Pickering. But if you think it was a decade for mea culpas, no. It was the They-A Culpa Decade. "Scooter" Libby took the rap for a campaign waged by Dick Cheney to go after a former en- voy who knew too much about the false pretexts for invading Iraq. In case after case, people who sought to speak truth to power relative to a war built on lies, truth tellers like Cindy Sheehan, or former terrorism czar Richard Clarke or former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, each became the issue, amazingly. Yes, it was their credibility we were to examine, not that of the incredible band of schemers and storytellers prosecuting a war that never would have happened had truth been known or Congress or a cowed media been receptive thereto. George W. Bush strode away from it all with a wink. It was the Outsourcing Decade, the Privatizing Decade, the Govern- ment Run as a Business Decade, and we were all shown how well that worked when Katrina was the storm. of the decade. It was a decade so full of insults to the collective intelligence that 10 years wasn't enough to make anyone pay for them, except sud- denly to hear that Barack Obama was to blame for a bad economy, for dollars spent without accountability, and for "dithering" on wars he didn't start. S o, in a way, it was a public set- -vice that we had Levi Johnston, Paris Hilton, "Dancing With the Stars," YouTube, Facebook and sex scan- dais galore to distract us. Otherwise, we might not have anything to complain about as we enter another decade in search of a name. John Young writes for,Cox News- papers. jyoungcolumn@gmail.com POLL QUESTION THIS WEEK'S POLL QUESTION How do you feel about the city of Kyle only allowing one week for candidates to file to run for mayor?, A. It's at the discretion of the city, so it looks kosher B. It would have been better to allow more time, but that's the way the dates fell C. It could limit the candidate pool and they should have planned better LAST WEEK'S QUESTION How do you think we should refer to the years between 2000 - 2009? A. The Aughts 0% B. The Naughties 80% C. I think we should forget them as quickly as possible 20% TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WEEKLY POLL GO TO WWW.HAYSFREEPRESS.COM MANAGEMENT Barton Publications, Inc. CO-PUBLISHERS Bob Barton and Cyndy SIovak-Barton OFFICE MANAGER Connie Brewer business@haysfreepress.com NEWSROOM Managing Editor Jen Biundo news@haysfreepress.com STAFF REPORTERS Sean Kimmons Brad Rollins School Reporter Jim Cullen Community Reporters Sandra Grizzle Myrtle Heideman Pauline Tom Sports Editor Jason Gordon Sports Reporter Mark Gaul COLUMNISTS Bob Barton Bartee Halle Phil Jones Darryl Jamail Jack Linden Svea Sauer Glint ounts Donn Brooks JohnYoung Brenda, Stewart PROOFREADERS Jane Kirkham Brenda Stewart "ADVERTISING Tracy Cannon tracy@haysfreepress.com CIRCULATION Circulation Mgr Suzanne Hallam paper@haysfreepress.corn CLASSIFIEDS Suzanne HaUam paper@haysfreepress.com DISTRIBUTION Gigi Hayes Carolyn Harkins Pete Sizemore PRODUCTION Production Mgr David White Assistant Designer Jorge J. 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