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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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May 29, 2013     Hays Free Press
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Page4A THEY REALLY SAID THAT? "If an o cer is not aware of what to do in an (0I$), it can be very stressful If the process is not understood, the o cer can quicklyfeel like a criminal" - Buda Police Chief Bo Kidd Hays Free Press May 29, 2013 + I we efore the Civil War, the great landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead - he would later design Central Park in New York City- took a horseback tour of Texas, and passing through this area he described its roughness, but also its natural beauty and its promise. One hundred and sixty years later, this is no longer the sparsely populated edge of wild frontier, but the beauty and the promise remain. For many of us, this is a place on earth like no other- a place we would not trade, neither for Central Park nor anywhere. But there are problems, deadly ones even. Facing them square on is the new frontier. No matter how good this place, and this community, we cannot make it better - we cannot even keep what we've got- unless we are willing to examine hard truths and unpleasant realities. A prime example is a report made available only last week, but completed several months ago, entitled "High School Youth Risk Behavior." Though closely held by Hays CISD until recently, the report gives crucial insights into the problems students here face - bullying, weapons at school, drug use, alcohol use, plans of and attempts at suicide. The devastating automobile-accident involving a recent Hays High graduate, and the death of a local middle school student - both last week - add tragic weight to the findings and the report's implications for our community. We should all recognize that this isn't a "school problem" but a problem our whole community must face. The report catalogues a number of areas where Hays CISD schools rank higher than state or national averages: Students who have attempted, or considered, suicide; Students who drive after drinking alcohol; Students threatened or bullied on campus; Students who drink on campus (more than double the state average). Rather than keeping the report under wraps at first, we wish the district had used it immediately to spark a community discussion. Schools should be about teachable moments, after all. And yet, even here, we must look inward. All of us need to work toward fostering an environment where these types of issues - indicators that affect, in this case, the very lives of our children - can be brought into the open without fear of recrimination and blame-gaming. We do have a great community. We have a fine school district. And we have kids, at least some kids, good kids, who are in trouble and deserve both our hard-eyed appraisal and our clear-eyed support. We can't afford the understandable human tendency- one that is often nourished in government bureaucracies of all kinds - to pretend that if we hide bad news it will go away. Instead, the school district and community at large should work together to address the very issues raised in this report. A good place to start, it seems to us, is open, frank discussion about the problems in our path and how to begin the road to recovery. For a copy of report, go to HaysFreePress.com and follow the link to 'High School Youth Risk Behavior." don't know 'bout all y'all, but I down- right despise four-way stops. Not so .much in a small neighborhood, but when some batch of county officials with a collective IQ equivalent to an anorexic pygmy's belt size put a stinkin' four-way stop on a busy thoroughfare, that's just urinary-deficient judgment. Any local resident who has tra- versed the junction of Kyle Parkway and Kohler's Crossing out in the ever- expanding suburb of Kyie during rush hour knows what I'm griping about. If this county was full of friendly Texans instead of impatient imports, then we could more'n likely pass through this intersection hearing horns blaring and seeing angry motorist communicating with single-digit sign language. Most of us know the traffic laws and can maneuver through a four-way stop without incident. True Texans are friendly enough to wave a fellow motorist to go ahead, and then take his turn at the inter- section, but somewhere, somehow, we got us a mess of rude, impatient jacklegs who will shoot out into traffic out of turn and then look upset when you slam on your brakes to keep from T-boning his sorry carcass. I don't know where these knuck- leheads learned to drive, but I suspect they never practiced on Texas back roads. Now, if four-way stops weren't bad enough, I caught wind of a harebrained idea of replacing that four-way stop on Kohler's Crossing with a dadgum round-about. That's about as stupid as having the Duck Dynasty boys adver- tise Norelco razors. If folks 'round here can't safely maneuver through a simple intersection of two straight lines, do our county officials really expect us to figure out a circular, multilane crossroad that resembles a freaky crop circle? For all y'all uninformed folks who've never driven through the Plum Creek subdivision or watched British televi- sion, a round-about is a circuitous route through intersecting roads, one without stop signs or logic. I had never seen i!!i~ ;~A FROM THE cRoW , N one in my life until I was teaching my youngest daughter how to drive several years ago. I had her drive up to that new subdivision over in Kyle to practice her driving, and when she reached her first rotmd-about, she franticly asked me, "What do I do?" Well, heck, I didn't know what to tell her. It looked like some fancy flowerbed to me, and there weren't any signs telling us what to do. She veered right, and for the next three hours, we slowly drove around in circles like a NASCAR driver on dope. I've done some research on these here rotmd-abouts. They are common over in London, England, but never really caught on here in the states. I tend to recall a bit of American History from my six years of high school that back in 1776, we Ameri- cans revolted from England because the Brits demanded that we pay high taxes and build dadbum round-abouts in downtown Lexington and Concord. If my memory se~es me right in April of 1775, some:Ai~ericans up in Boston got their fur up when they found a British road crew building a circle at an intersection out by Fenway Park. One fella, Bubba Revere, fired his musket at the Brits to scare them off. This was the start of the revolution, and Bubba made history when he fired the shot heard round-about the world. Don't quote me on this, but I believe Ben Franklin went on and invented the stop sign. Texans aren't going to accept a major change in their highway system. We are used to going somewhere in the shortest and quickest manner possible. We don't really care if that path is paved or not; we just want to get there, get 'er done and then get back home. If some gosh- dang civil engineer from the University of Gloucestershire thinks a round-about would work over on Kohler's Crossing, well I have one word for him: four-wheel drive! OK, that's more than one word, but you catch my drift. If Billy Bob is driving his Ford 350 down Kohler's Crossing to get some lumber to mend his chicken coop before the ballgame starts, and he comes up on a bunch of folks driving around in circles, I suspect that truck shoots straight ahead, squash- ing a mess of freshly planted petunias and scaring the Gatorade out of some dude holding a real estate sign. No sir, a round-about ain't apt to work well here in Hays County. Too many monster trucks and the belief that only a Prius should yield to on-coming traf- fic. One reason Texans don't have much interest in round-abouts or NASCAR is because we don't like driving in circles when there's a level cornfield between us and a flashing sign on the horizon that reads "Cold Beer." Shoot, back in the days when Plum Creek was just a creek, the only time you'd hear me using the term "round-about" was when I'd call home from the bar and tell Maw, "I'11 be home roundabout 10:30 lest I get tossed out sooner." I'm no engineer, but I bet a stoplight would work much better at a busy intersection than some circular maze designed by some tea-sippin', crumpet- munchin', Aston Martin-drivin' Eng- lishman. While we are waiting for our elected officials to come to their senses and erect a traffic light at the junction of Kyle Parkway and Kohler's Crossing, let's all drive Texas friendly. Clint Younts would drive his tractor through that roundabout, mowing down those weeds that are called flowers. But his cows might get offended if he left the farm too long. crowsnest78610@yahoo.co, Texas lawmakers finally passed Senate Bill 1, a state budget for fiscal biennium 2014-2015, on May 26, the 139th day of the 140-day regular session of the 83rd Texas Legislature. Next stop will be Gov. Rick Perry's desk for the $197 billion budget - which came in at about $7 billion more than the estimated budget for the current fiscal biennium. Perry had asked lawmakers to make about $2 billion in tax reductions, but the budget he will be looking at brings in cuts totaling an estimated $1 billion. Various other legislation also on the way to Perry, for example, changes student testing requirements, benefits charter schools, increases Medicaid funding, allows issuance of campus "carry" permits and much more. Among bills Perry already has vetoed was one that would have identified individual citizens who donate to so-called "dark money" organizations. The veto period will end June 16. In passing the budget on the Senate side, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, credited his committee and each member of the Senate for producing a "fair and reasonable" document. House Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, who along with Williams was the main architect of the budget on the House side, credited his committee for its work. One of piece of legislation that passed in the final week of the session CAPITAL does not require any action by the governor is Senate Joint Resolution 1, a proposed amendment to the state constitution that will appear on the Nov. 5 statewide election ballot. Voters will decide if they want to finance water infrastructure improvements by amending the constitution to create a state water implementation fund in the state treasury, outside of the general revenue fund. The money, $2 billion initially, would be withdrawn from the state's so-called Rainy Day Fund, a savings account built up primarily from natural gas tax and oil production tax revenue, that may be used to respond to emergencies such as those caused by wildfires, hurricanes and drought. The transfer of funds out of the Rainy Day Fund requires enabling legislation, in this case, HB 1025. SUPPLEMENTAL BILL PASSES House Bill 1025, the supplemental appropriations bill, covers various funding shortages in the current state budget until Aug. 31, the last day of the fiscal year. The bill, heavily amended in the Senate, is undergoing scrutiny in the House. Authored primarily by Chairman Pitts and Chairman Williams, HB 1025 includes $450 million to repair, maintain and improve state roadways in areas impacted by energy exploration and development, such as the Barnett Shale in North Texas and the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas. Money to repair county roads, however, is not included in the legislation. HB 1025 also would put $200 million in new money into public education. Combined with the education funding increases already in the budget bill, that works out to between $80 and $400 more per student in nearly every district in the state. Lawmakers also passed HB 500 by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville. The bill revises exemptions and deductions under the business franchise tax and expands the kinds of businesses that qualify for a reduced-tax rate for retail trade. HB 500 also excludes a number of expenses from being counted as revenue and revises "cost of goods sold" deductions. Ed Sterling works for the Texas Press Associatopm amd follows the Legislature for ths association. edsterling@texaspress.com COMMENTS FROM THE WEBSITE I moved to Buda because of the resposible leadership. I am glad they are sticking to the long- term vision. -SmithJ33 on "High rise, high doubt for Buda council" I am lost in such deep sorrow for this family, I do not have words to speak my sadness over losing Drake. I am so sorry. - Abigail Klamert on "6th grade student from Dahlstrom Middle School passes away" There is a truck in trouble at this same spot nearly every week. The turn needs to be fixed if big trucks are going to continue to turn there. - Margaret Newton Willingham on "18-wheeler turned on its side by IH-35" We are Clean... All the pollution is coming from Mexico right now in the way Smoke. Otherwise the prevailing South Easterly winds bring pollution in from SE Texas IE: Houston. - Troy Bryan Walker on "Clean Air Force of Central Texas wants Hays input" This intersection sucks, they need to fix this ditch bc a lot of semis have to turn here for work. - Jennifer Ann Wheeler Sandoval on "Semi flips over on service road" MANAGEMENT BARTON PUBLICATIONS, INC. Publisher Cyndy SIovak-Barton NEWSROOM Editor Cyndy Slovak-Barton csb@haysfreepress.com Sports Reporter Moses Leoslll Features & Education Editor Kim Hilsenbeck kim@haysfreepress.com Staff Reporter Andy Sevilla Community Columnists Sandra Grizzle Pauline Tom Columnists Bartee Haite Clint Younts Will Durst John Young Proofreaders Jane Kirkham OFFICE MANAGER Connie Brewer business@haysfreepress.com ADVERTISING Tracy Mack tracy@haysfreepress.com Debbie Hall debbie@haysfreepress.com CIRCULATION/CLASSIFIEDS Suzanne Hallam paper@haysfreepress.com PRODUCTION Production Mgr. David White Assistant Designer Nick Trussalo Distribution Pete Sizemore Contact Us: news@haysfreepress.com business@haysfreepress.com FAX: 512-268-0262 BUDA 512-295-9760 KYLE 512-268-7862 METRO AUSTIN 512-262-6397 www.haysfreepress.com 113 W. Center Street Kyle, Texas 78640 i i ] II I I