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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
January 19, 2011     Hays Free Press
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January 19, 2011

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THEY REALLY SAID THAT?. + =You "will never /mow ,what baj J en until tbey bit the finM gavd do wn. " -- Hays CISD deputy superintendent Carter Scherff on possible changes to school finance -- including likely cuts -- during the current legislative session. Hays Free Press January 19, 2011 P~e3A + Last week's edition of the Hays Free Press carried 39 photographs: a fit, high school soccer defender thwart- ing a shot on goal in the alumni game; a famous Hays County artist from days gone by, in western hat and tie, leaning on a horse, looking into the future; a family in trouble; a marine honor guard; a woman drinking a margarita at a local restaurant; a teacher's aide accused of indecency. Of the 39, exactly one drew readers to comment, and it drew a lot: how dare you; I should cancel my subscription; how touching; thank you. The one was a front-page photo of a young American soldier, a son of this com- munity, in an open casket. The deceased is in the background, his Marine's dress cap sits atop the casket. The,focus is on his grieving mother, back to the camera, hug- ging a friend. But her child's face is visible. It is a powerful image. Whether newspapers should print pho- tos of the dead and dying is a debate that has been with us since the creation of the camera. Daily newspapers and magazines - not to mention TV- frequently show graphic images that a community news- paper like ours would rarely even consider. In this case, we thought this particular photo was and is a potent reminder of the sacrifice that is on-going in what is now our nation's longest war, sacrifice that is especially poignant in the young and the strong, the seemingly invincible. It trans- ports loss from the dim gray of newsprint, literally and figuratively, into vivid, emo- tional color. It was not graphic. The photographer did not go where he was not invited. In a community where we share loss and pain, as well as joy, it seemed to show grief, truth, respect. It captures that moment between what is and what might have been. It is, in fact, perhaps worth a thou- sand words. Accompanying the photoraph was the story of Marine Cpl. Christopher Dahl, 25, survivor of two tours in Afghanistan, and recently returned home. He is recalled as a gentle soul with a tough exterior, a man who helped his mother, who played foot- ball at Hays High, and who left us to travel the world at age 20. For his service and his character, he is a hero to many. As the story notes, whether Cpl. Dahrs death is directly related to his service is still a mystery, but no doubt his service and his recent experiences are fundamen- tal to his story- as they are to the recent history we all share. Witness that he wears his dress blues in his casket. Since the photo ran, we have listened to dramatically different opinions on wheth- er it was appropriate. One mother, whose child is currently serving in Mghanistan on the front lines, said the photo honored her child and this particular soldier alike. Other callers and writers said the photo brought up too many bad memories and was invasive. We did not print this photograph lightly, or without discussion among the staff. It is worth mentioning, perhaps, that the staff member who snapped it is a recent veter- an of the war in Iraq. Indeed, several staff members are veterans or have close family serving. The publisher emeritus is a mem- ber of the Kyle Veterans of Foreign Wars after volunteering twice during the Korean War era. The majority owners of the Hays Free Press trace lineage to battles in the RevolutionaryWar, and family members served in most major wars between then and now. That is to say, we have deep re- spect for both the military and the families who serve our nation in it. In that context, we consider this photo- graph a tribute to someone who served his country honorably; a stark reminder that we are at war; a jolting reminder that war, even for the best of causes, entails horrific sacrifice; but also, more simply, a moving reminder that- war or no wax- one family among us has suffered a terrible loss, a loss that ripples throughout our commu- nity. It is a call to our own sense of honor - a call to heal where we can, when we can, a call to help, to do right while we can because none of us know what the morrow will bring. Politicians and historians alike have talked about the influence that photos and newspapers have in shaping public consciousness. We weren't trying to make readers think any one thing in particular, so much as trying to tell a story and to make them think in general Did we make the right choice? It's still impossible for us to know, of course. We believe we did. It still seems to us the ultimate in re- spect- not despite the fact that this is (for all our growth) a close community, but, in a way, because of it. We recognize that this photo touches raw emotion, raw nerves, and we acknowledge that some of you_ our readers are partners in this enterpnse - disagree. We take your comments seriously. We'll keep thinking on it. We hope you will too. Maybe that's one more way to keep the memory, and the spirit, of a remarkable young man alive. Aanfter four and a half months d way too many bowl ames, the college football season has come to a close. Con- ~roratulations to the Auburn Tigers winning the BCS champion- ship game, but I personally can't call them true champions. Sure, some poll created by geeky num- ber-crunching, keyboard-pecking goobers has awarded Auburn the #1 ranking after their victory in the I just cannot figure out whyin the world the NCAA is sticking with the BCS. It is senseless, teetering on the incoming freshman girls. Does the C in BCS stand for Competition? Oh, puh-leezeIl What is more competitive than a playoff system? Competition in the BCS is comprised of a bunch of computer nerds checking to see who has the biggest hard drive. There's another"C" word that could be used in the acronym, but it's synonymous to BS, and that would be redundant. Appropriate, Fiesta Bowl, but I believe there is a edge of downright insanity. Colleges but redundant. better team sitting up in FortWorth are institutions of higher learning, No, I believe the C in BCS stands who might just agree with me. yet they don't realize they made a for cash, as in millions of bucks for Tagged #2 after defeatingWisconsin huge mistake by adopting ~e highly colleges and TV networks. The BCS in the Rose Bowl and ending their flawed BCS chicanery. You a think tries to arrange bowl games that will season undefeated, TCU has the with all those smart folks sitting attract huge audiences, bringing in right to call themselves National behind ivy-covered walls, someone large schools with a large fan base to Champions just as much as the Auburn Tigers. By far the best team in the Lone Star state this year, TCU had a potent, high-scoring offense and an extremely tough defense, along with a fine coaching staff. After receiving the #2 spot in the final poll, head coach Gary Patterson reported that he was "happy" with the ranking. Really? Is this guy joking or is he would notice that the BCS is a hoax. What exactly does the acronym "BCS" stand for? I think I know what the B and the S stand for, but what does the C represent? Champion- ship? I think not Not when two e tat teams end the season unde- ed. Does the C stand for college? Par- sonally, I don't think the BCS cares one bit about the colleges or their planning to run for governor of students. Why else would the BCS Alabama? Being picked #2 after win- championship game be held on the ning every single game this season, Monday that classes resumed after plus the Rose Bowl against the team Christmas break? Does the BCS en- with one of the highest scoring courage college students to skip the offenses in the country, shouldn't first few days of the new semester so make Coach Patterson "happy." they can,~nd their tuition money Knowing he and his Homed Frogs on football tickets? Before the BCS just got the shaft should not make was invented, I recall the major bowl him "happy." I'll tell you who's games were played on NewYear's "happy" - the Auburn Tigers are Day so students can attend the big. happy, happy that there's no playoff game and still get back to campus m system in college football, time to attend keg parties and meet play in the major bowls, resulting in a large payout. Smaller schools, no matter how good they are, often stay lower in the BCS polls due m some vague computer logarithms and rarely end up in the BCS champion- ship game. I may be a bit naYve, but it seems to me that a college football playoffwould make even more money for the schools involved and make the bowl games more com- petitive. Plus, as a bonus, when the last game is over, there would be one undisputed champion. Let's take the BS out of college football and allow championships to be determined by a TD instead of a PC. Clint Younts has been a football fan since he was a wee child. Now he works at a ueterinary clinic while running cattle on his property. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR OPPOSED METHODS USED IN CHOOSING SPEAKER The Hays County Democratic Par- ty strongly opposes a proposal that would have the effect of selecting the next Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives at a dosed-door Republican Party meeting. This plan would abandon the strong bipartisan tradition of the Texas House, where the Speaker has been elected outright from among the entire membership and not sire- ply rubber-stamped by a single party caucus. This is not good for Hays County and it's not good for Texas. Newly-elected State Representa- tive Jason Isaac, a Republican who will represent Hays County in the new Legislature which convenes on ]an. 11, supports this one-sided ap- proach, calling it the "best venue" to discuss the speakers race. I've heard from many people who are very disappointed with Mr. Isaac's position. They disagree and urge him to reconsider. They know the best venue m discuss the Speaker's race is in public, on the floor of the House, not in a dosed-door party caucus. The Speaker presides over the entire House, not a single party and not a single faction. to the Hays Free Press before the election ofthe Texas Speaker of the House.) I}ISI ?I V0TE I was somewhat dismayed to see that the first vote taken by new State Representative Jason Isaac was to "abstain" from voting on the election of a new speaker for the Texas House of Representative As reported in the Hays Free Press, Isaac wras one of two GOP representatives ~vho abstained from the vote. Our representatives; are elected to "represent." Per Roberts Rules of Order, the general use of an absten- tion vote is when the im&'vidual cast- ing the vote has a conlflict of interest in that vote. Other tham a few other technical exclusions, a|bstentions should only be used ira such conflict of interest cases. Perhaps Mr. Issac's "conflict" was that he ,didn't want to alienate the ultracons|ervative wing in his own political pa ty by casting a vote for Representativce Joe Straus for Speaker, even though itwas obvious Straus would win. Mr. Issac would do well to re- member that doing nothing is really doing something. His abstention on his very tkst vote creattes doubt as The people of Hays County repre-to whom he really rep)msents. Is he sent a wide range ofdemographics going to continue to mvoid "tough" and political beliefs- moderate, pro- votes because of part~ loyalties or gressive, and conservative. Elected will he actually repres~ent the con- officials who represent Hays County stituents of District 45i regardless of must reflect the interests of theentire the issue? Mr. Issac w~as sent to the Capitol to represent ms, not just his County, not just members of the party who voted for them. Rep.-elect Isaac should make it his first act to represent to his entire district, not just narrow, partisan interests that aren't fully representative of Hays County, and keep Washington-style politics out of Austin. .Ion Leonard Hays County Democratic Party Chair (Editor's Note: This letter was sent own personal interestrs. He would be wise to learn ftom his; non-vote and actually show leaderslhip by making his views known on alll issues before the House by actually, taking a stand. David C. Wiley Mountain City MAlOE ACC DO THE B.ECllON OVER The news staff of the HCFP is to be commended for tbaeir fair and balanced treatment of this ACC an- nexation issue. But the editorial staff does not hide the fact that they are for annexation for reasons stated in the past and that the results of the election should stand. Now several of the staffhave a vast amount of election experiences and I fear that they have grown accus- tomed to the shortcuts and bending of rules that has been going on since elections were invented. In the case of the ACC annexation, the Texas Education Code which includes statutes governing the creation of a service plan and other facets of jr. college annexations, has become no more than a list of suggestions. By not publishing the MAXIMUM tax in the service plan (did they think that sticker shock would scare voters away.~ they were hoping that voters would go for annexation and by do- ing so give ACC a blank check. Who among us would write a blank check for even those we trust? This attitude of bending rules and taking shortcuts with elections, a "boys will be boys" frame of mind should not work anymore, in almost all facets of society a lower tolerance for misdeeds (i.e.drunk drivin~ mis- handling of women, and high school pranks) has been instituted. Why should we tolerate similar misdeeds with an election? I would expect as much from Venezuela or Zimbabwe but we are not them and we are a nation ofhws which at the very most, although we have too much corruption, keeps corruption from exploding. Let ACC redo the election and do it right and honorable. Let them follow the rules and recipes for an election and a possible win that they can be proud of. ACC should not disappoint those parents of college students again. Ray Wolbrecht Kyle COMMENTS FROM THEWEBSITE "1 am a district employee and I had my children at the Buda Elem. daycere. One of my chil- dren was in the care of Kevin Lee several years ago. What I am'not heanng from Hays CISD: Is this the only incident of this type? Has he done this before? When and how does the district plan on letting others who had children in his care know? NOw that the news has broken about this, who is responsible for keeping us ALL informed?" -- questions ~ill on "For- mer HCISD teacher's aide charged with indecency" on haysfreepress.oom "Girls who had a history of sexual abuse need to be carefully placed. They should rarely be placed where another male resides. I've personally dealt with young teenage girls who had been sexually abused and they tend to be very promiscuous. They need intense mental counsel- ing to combat this behavior that is often the result of their abuse. Arenda and countless other creeps out there are or become sexual predators seeking easy prey like victims of sexual abuse. ~ -- Usa on "Foster dad gets 10 years in pdson for sexual assault of child" at haysfree- MANAGEMENT BARTON PUBUCATIONS, INC. Co-Publishers Bob Barton and Cyndy Slovak-Barton Office Manager Connie Brewer NEWS ROOM Editor Brad Rollins Staff Reporters Jennifer Biundo Sean Klmmons Kay Richter Features Writer Brenda Stewart School Reporter Jim Cullen Community Reporters Sandra Grizzle Myrtle Heideman Pauline Tom Sports Editor Jason Gordon Sports Reporter Mark Caul Columnists Bob Barton Bartee Halle Phil Jones Clint Younts Donn Brooks John Young Brenda Stewart Proofreaders Jane Kirkham Brenda Stewart ADVERTISING Tracy Mack CIRCULATION Circulation Mgr Suzanne Hallam CLASSIREDS Suzanne Hallam Distribution Gigi Hayes Carolyn Harkins Pete Sizemora PRODUCTION Production Mgr David White Assistant Designer Jorge J. Garcia Jr. Contact Us: BUDA 512-295-9760 KYLE 512-268-7862 METRO AUSTIN 512-262-6397 www.haysfreeprs com +