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July 24, 2013     Hays Free Press
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July 24, 2013
 

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THEY REALLY SAID THAT? "I just remember talking and then the next thing I know I'm looking at my teeth on the ground." -Alexis Alpha, after alleged assault by a San Marcos police officer Hays Free Press Perry puts signature on House Bill 2 CAPITAL The Texas House and Senate, closing in on the end of the second 30-day special session, postponed floor debates on the future funding of transportation projects until July 25. Lawmakers likely will place that funding decision squarely in the hands of the electorate in the form of a proposed constitutional amendmenf on the Nov. 5 ballot. But headlining last week's Capitol action was Gov. Rick Perry's July 18 signing into law of House Bill 2, passed by the House and Senate on July 13. The legislation bans abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, requires physicians who perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges at a facility within 30 miles, mandates that only a physician may dispense or administer abortion- inducing drugs and requires licensed abortion facilities to meet the same minimum safety standards as ambulatory surgical centers, beginning Sept. 1, 2014. Perry said HB 2 "ensures that anyone performing abortions in Texas is doing so in a facility that is safe, clean and prepared to deal with any emergencies that might occur-- a reasonable, common sense expectation for those caring for the health and safety of Texans." However, Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, who led opposition to the bill in the Senate, said, "Shamefully, the Texas Senate just voted to pass a law that will leave tens of thousands of Texans without access to preventive and life-saving care, all to further an extremely partisan agenda. Some may believe that that this fight has been waged and won with this final vote today, but they are wrong in so many ways. The fight for the future of Texas is just beginning." Davis and a number of other Senate and House Democrats said HB 2 and similar bills likely would spur lawsuits over state infringement of constitutionally protected rights. BILL MERGES INSTITUTIONS Gov. Perry on July 14 ceremonially signed SB 24, legislation passed June 14 to reorganize The University of Texas at Brownsville and The University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg into one university within the University of Texas System. The new university is to be christened with a new name by the end of the year. The medical school is slated to open in 2016. UT- Pan American has been the home of the statutorily authorized medical schoo! in South Texas and the facilities and operations of the Lower Rio Grande Health Center associated with The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Under the legislation, the new university and medical school will be able to tap into the $14 billion Permanent University Fund. Ed Sterling works for the Texas Press Association and follows the Legislature for the organization. edsterling@texaspress" com July 24, 2013 \ Life for kids is harder today an ever before, and I r up proof." According to a variety of news reports, many elementary schools are eliminating recess. Why would schools do such a heartless thing? Well, these days, teachers are expected to teach kids everything from manners to self-esteem. Teachers need to use recess time to slip in a little math and science. Besides, recess is nothing but a lawsuit waiting to happen. When kids get hurt on the playground, lawyers jump out of bushes- so you can't entirely fault schools for eliminating playtime, and that's a shame. When I was a kid in the 1970s, kids were allowed to be kids. In the summers, we played from morning until dark. Unlike today's youngsters, we annoyed our parents by spending too LITTLE time in the house, prompting two common demands: "You better be home on time for supper!" "You better be home when the street lamps turn on." Recess was a big part of my life at St. Germaine Catholic School. Every day, we had a GUEST COLUMN nice long break to run like wild animals out in the parking lot. It was the only place where a kid could build up enough footspeed to outrun the nuns. Itwas on the playground that I developed self-esteem by becoming the king of keep- away. We played kickball, caught football and played "it" tag. And we were so refreshed afterward, we were able to endure the torturous math and science lessons that made up the rest of the day. But kids don't get to be kids much anymore. They're shut inside a classroom from 8 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. As soon as they get home, the structure continues. Because many parents only have one ortwo children, they're able to lavish them with lessons. Kids don't play soccer, they go to soccer school. They don't play pickup baseball, they go to the batting academy. They have piano lessons, chess club, math tutoring and so on. That's why recess is more important now than it ever was. Kids need the free time to explore and play and run free. It's the only chance they have in their rigid universe to let loose and learn how to socialize with other kids, uninterrupted by adults. But I argue it isn't just kids who need recess. Adults should begin to embrace it, too. So many of us are so busy keeping up with the pressures of our specialized jobs- juggling schedules, working long hours to keep our jobs or working two or three jobs to keep up with our bills- that maybe we should have a little free time to blow off steam, too. Where's the president on this one? I thought he felt our pain. In fact, I'm surprised President Obama hasn't proposed something like a Federal Recess for Adults Act, which would provide federal funds to allow adults to play-- and penalize companies that refuse. Regardless, it would be a good idea for adults to spend one hour each day hitting the fields and playgrounds. Liberals could play catch with conservatives. Feminists could jump rope with stay-at-home moms. It would improve our understanding of each other and improve civility in our political debate. Heck, maybe if the president spent an hour each day playing hopscotch with conservatives in the House, he'd open up multiple opportunities to find consensus on the many unresolved issues our country is facing. So, it's a bad idea to take recess from children- and a great idea to expand it for adults. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to break for hmch and catch Frisbee with a radical progressive. Tom Purcell, author of "Misadventures of a 1970s Childhood" and "Comical Sense: A Lone Humorist Takes on a World Gone Nutty!" is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. purcell@caglecartoons.com HAYS CONSTABLE'S PAINTED WITH A BROAD BRUSH After reading the article "Openly carrying a rifle. What are your rights?" written by Kirn Hilsenbeck I would like to respectfully respond as a Texas Peace Officer, currently a commissioned Deputy Constable. I should further disclose I was an elected Constable for 12 years in a career currently spanning over 27 years. First, Ms. Hilsenbeck does an "excellent" job describing the event involving the contact with Buda PD Officer Fernandez. Hlisenbeck goes into great detail identifying Officer Fernandez & the event. Now to the concern I have about where Hlisenbeck failed. She makes mention of a"Deputy Constable". She fails to apply the same standard of identification reporting for the Deputy Constable as she did for Buda PD Officer Fernandez. The reason I see this as a serious oversight is that the unidentified Deputy Constable is Mitch Johnson who is a full-fime commissioned officer employed by Constable James Kohler. This is important because James Kohler is an elected precinct official for precinct two (Kyle) Hays County. As I see the news media a critical component regarding reporting information to the citizenry, so that a person be aware of the "quality" of service our elected law enforcement officials provide, failing to report the "who" of this unfortunate incident hides the inability through lack of training & education of our elected official(s) to execute their duties lawfully. Furthermore, there are many Constable's in Texas. There are five in Hays County. Four of them are extensively trained certified Texas Peace Officers. One is not certified at any level, not even basic peace officer certification; James Kohler. This incident I believe shows the results for the public, when the elected official overseeing the agency has no interest to educate himself or his commissioned personnel, regarding serving the constituency of the Kyle community in a law enforcement setting. Ms. Hilsenbeck is to be commended for her effort in informing the public about this unfortunate event. Where she failed is that she painted the Hays County Constable's Department with a very broad brush. Constable James Kohler's Deputy, Mitch Johnson was the Deputy who bears responsibility along with Officer Fernandez. To hide this fact from the citizens of the Kyle community, Hilsenbeck fails to recognize her role in the elective process; report "all" the information (accurately I might add) so that the citizenry can make an informed decision at the polls on election day. Failure to report such information results in an uneducated elected law enforcement official leading a law enforcement agency in the 21st century which is unacceptable, even in Kyle. Gary Griffin Kyle, Texas LOOKING AT FINANCIAL RISK "Without risk, faith is an impossibility." - Soren Kierkegaard There is plenty of financial risk at HCISD. In 2001, $54.6 million in bonds were sold with no payments whatsoever for a decade. In 2003, after I exposed this treachery, the 2003 bond election failed. Subsequent bonds have passed, the latest in 2008 when the superintendent stated, "I don't know why anybody would be against these bonds. There is no tax rate increase." Two months later he announced his retirement, leaving us holding the bag. The majority of 2008 bonds require interest only payments the first 22 years, then payments escalate. In order to keep their pledge of no tax increase, over $3 million annually is being transferred from the maintenance and operations (M&O) fund to the debt service fund in order to have enough money to make the payments. Since over 60% of the M&O fired is for instruction, this directly impacts the classroom. Now comes another negotiated sale refinancing of 2004, 2005, and 2007 bonds costing us $204,035 to delay and reduce repayments even further in order to lay the groundwork for a new bond issue next May. This refinancing pushes another $4 million in payments currently due in 2013-2016 much farther out. Furthermore, these bonds are not callable until 2024! This begs the question: Is HCISD working for bond investors or taxpayers? Clearly, not making fixed repayments over a shorter term is extremely costly. But, by doing this, you can "afford" more extravagance and waste. Simply push the repayments offon the next generation! That's how over $80 million for "growth" did not add to new capacity whatsoever. Our new (temporary?) superintendent needs to decide what it is going to be --continue business as usual or take the opportunity to educate the taxpayer about the huge mess he inherited. Does he have faith to be successful reducing this risk or will he simply continue the charade digging an ever deeper whole for future generations to overcome? What does he know about school finance?We'll soon see. Keep the Faith. Bryce Bales Manchaca Page 3A COMMENTS FROM THE WEBSITE As a surveyor who has built thousands of miles for TxDot this is a horrible ideal Unfor- tunately our roads need to be built for the lowest common denominator... That means put traffic signals in/ - Dustin Pickens on Face- book re: preliminary plans for a roundabout at the FM 1626 and Kohler's Crossing Looks like a great way to keep traffic moving smoothly and to keep from pointlessly sitting at a light for2 minutes when no one is coming the other direction. - Robert Parsons Jr on Face- book re: preliminary plans for a roundabout at the FM 1626 and Kohler's Crossing I love ff when Andrew shares his incredible story with us: about how he was treated different, and is now retelling us about his life in song, and I think that's what Black Lights is aft abouff - Aimee Cope on Kyle's got talent: Hays High grad shows looks can be deceiving Agree 100% with this letter. I am also in Campbell's district and and the special season exposed her for the type of representative she is. She does not represent the majority view in her district and she must be replaced in 2014. I plan to work to see it happens, Texans deserve better. TxRiverEIf - on Letter to the Editor, "Campbell may be surprised to know" Thank you Senator Donna Campbell for your fight for the unborn and their right to life. - LadyReb on Letter to the Editor, "Campbell may be surprised to know" MANAGEMENT BARTON PUBLICATIONS, INC. Publisher Cyndy SIovak-Barton csb@haysfreepress.com NEWSROOM Editor Kim Hilsenbeck kim@ haysfreepress.com Sports and News Reporter Moses Leos III Senior Reporter Andy Sevilla Community Columnists Sandra Grizzle Pauline Tom Columnists Bartee Halle Clint Younts Will Durst John Young Proofreaders Jane Kirkham Christine Thorpe 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