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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
September 14, 2011     Hays Free Press
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September 14, 2011

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+ Hays Free Press September 14, 2011 OPINION Page 5A + e +m ilong with the rest of the nation, xans solemnly observed the th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States of America. People of all ages and walks of life paused in remembrance of the events of that day and to honor the dead, the injured, surviving family members, friends and associates. Likewise honored were fire fight- ers, medical technicians, law en- forcement officers, military person- nel and ordinary citizens who sprang to action then and to those who have served and continue to serve. Texans drew together in groups publicly and privately, both cer- emonially and informally, and some made their meditations in solitude. Meanwhile, wildfires raged on in various parts of the state, affording little or no break in the strenuous ef- forts of first responders and disaster relief workers, as thousands of resi- dents found themselves displaced or homeless after wind-driven blazes ignited swaths of drought-parched land and neighborhoods. These fires have caused great suf- fering and in many cases, evacuation orders in Bastrop, Travis, Henderson, Limestone, Caldwell, Colorado, Palo Pinto, Briscoe, Coryell, Montague, Montgomery, Grimes, Waller and other counties. On Dec. 21, 2010, Gov. Rick Perry signed a stilt-in-effect emergency disaster proclamation for all of the state's 254 counties, due to extreme wildfire hazard caused by exception- al drought conditions. On Sept. 5, Gov. Perry visited Bastrop and referred to his ride into the city 25 miles east of Austin as a "positively surreal experience." He credited firefighters for their hard work and urged evacuees to register with the American Red Cross Safe and Well program. On Sept. 6, the 600-member Texas Task Force 1 was deployed on orders from Gov. Perry to the Bastrop County fire. Historicall~ 73 mem- bers of the elite search, rescue and recovery team were deployed to New York, N.Y., following the 9/11 terrorist attack and to New Orleans following the landfall of Hurricane Katrina in late summer of 2005, according to the governor's office. Also on Sept. 6, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott traveled to Bas- trop to see the situation for himself .... ........ CAPITAL ...... +++++++ + + and meet with the affected. He re- minded retailers and hotel operators that the governor's disaster declara- tion prohibits vendors from price gouging during a declared disaster. On Sept. 7, Lt. Gov. David Dew- hurst, who said the state's resources were "spread pretty thin," called for more federal assistance, including aircraft, bulldozers and other heavy equipment "that can and should be made available right away." On Sept. 9, FEMA, the U.S. Depart- ment of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency, announced that federal aid had been made available to Bastrop County by a presidential disaster declaration to the State of Texas to supplement state and local wildfire recovery efforts. On Sept. 12, eight residents of Bastrop County reportedly remained unaccounted for. SMOKE IN AIR CAUSES CONCERN Fire-related smoke plumes show- ing up on satellite imagery of East and Central Texas prompted a Sept. 7 news release from the Texas Com- mission on Environmental Quality. "These levels of smoke would not be expected to cause any long-term health effects," the TCEQ said. However, "the smoky air can ag- gravate allergies and asthma, and people with respiratory diseases may have increased symptoms, as smoke contains small particles and gases that irritate the eyes and lungs." And, while urging citizens to use their best judgment when it comes to exposure, the agency said, "Chil- dren, older adults, and people with pre-existing heart or lung disease are more susceptible to lower levels of smoke than healthy adults." HELP IN SELF-IDENTIFICATION COMES Proving you are who you are can turn into an ordeal when identify- ing documents have been reduced to ashes or are out of reach because of an evacuation order. To help Bastrop County resi- dents cope with that problem, the Texas Department of Public Safety operated a mobile driver's license unit in Bastrop over the Sept. 10-11 weekend. The unit moved around, setting up at relief shelters, working to verify the identities of individuals who lost their identification. Many displaced citizens were issued tem- porary identification. JOB MATCHING PARTNERSHIP IS 'ON' To enhance efforts toward match- ing jobseekers with jobs, the Texas Workforce Commission on Sept. 6 announced that DirectEmployers Association and the National Labor Exchange have applied the power and reach of their search engines to the state's j ob- matching website. The cooperative effort is expected to link more job seekers to some 96,000 verified job openings view- able on Ed Sterling works for the Texas Press Association and follows the Legislature for the association. % Y EVOLUTION I~ A T~RY TY~T'S ITRTIIIII7 I+ Tl:IIIi? ,) IS A NZI .m.mA m V, ) ISAHOA~t S ,Clp.,+~+'J~+'pS "m~Mom~ TOWI~ TH~ t J LlCt NOHIR~T[ON. V Critical Stage Drought was declared by the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Con- servation District on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011. BSEACD requires all water district permittees to reduce water pumpage by 30% and to enforce measures specified in the City's User Drought Contingency Plan. The UDCP states the maximum allowable monthly consumption, is 9,000 gallons per househqld, or 3,000 gallons per capita. Irrigation with automatic irrigation, hose end sprinklers, soaker hoses, and drip irri.qation is prohibited. Watering is permitted only with a hand held hose with an automatic shut-off device or a faucet filled bucket or watering can of 5 gallons on designated watering days before 10 a.m. and after 7 p.m. Car washing and the filling or refilling of pools is prohibited. The use of water to wash down sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, or other 'hard- surfaced areas is prohibited. Please refer to the UDCP on the main page of the City's website at You may also visit the BSCEACD website at for additional drought information. If you have any questions please call the City of Buda at 512-312-0084. LETTER,TO THE EDITOR ]III J ............... THANKS FOR THE HELP I would like to say a big thank you to Buda's great EMS, Fire Dept. and Seton Hays Hospital for all the great work they do for our com- munity. We all take them for granted and I just want them to know how muchI appreci- ate and admire them for the work they do. I am highly allergic to wasp stings and have had EMS and the Fire Dept. out numer- ous times and each time they have been so kind, as well as being so good at their job. Last night I had to call them, and my dog got out, and be- cause I was upset and worried about her while I was at the hospital, the paramedic ran all over my hill trying to catch her to put her in my house for me. Where else but Buda! Also, I would like to give a big thanks to my neighbors, Mark and Sarah Endicott. They have also helped me excellent each time I have lots of times, and once again, been there. Hope Buda, Kyle when I needed them they residents will take advantage were here. of the hospital and appreciate We are so lucky to have them. Seton Hays Hospital. They are Nell Sykes #1 to me. The staff has been Buda Currently your government officials publish their plans and decisions in the newspaper - including where they intend to build facilities you might not want down the street. That could change in the future because they want to bury their public notices somewhere online, on a little seen, rarely visited government website - out of eight, out of mind. Don't let government keep you in the dark. ' If it is not in the newspaper, you won't know about it. A Fi rst ational port ral Texas First State Bank Central Texas, in partnership with the Independent Community Bankers of America and the Ameri- can Bankers Associa- tion, has taken a lead role in a national veter- ans initiative aimed at ensuring the safety and quality of life for elderly veterans. As a result, the bank is one of the first in the nation to receive the Veterans Support Award from the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foun- dation. The national award honors the bank's commitment to veter- ans and its leadership in providing for the protec- tion of senior veterans. In presenting the award, George Clinard, Vice President of the Senior Housing Crime Preven- tion Foundation, said "Protecting our nation's 40,000 elderly veterans living in long-term care and dignity they have so is a need that must be clearly earned. It is an addressed, honor to be To help do "Protecting our part of this so, we havenation's 40,000 initiative." asked banks S e n i o r across the elderly veterans... Crimestop- country to al- is a need that must persis locate a por- built on a tion of their be addressed... " platform annual Com- of zero tol- munity Reinvestment erance to crime that is Act budget to secure vigilantly maintained the Foundation's Senior for the residents, staff, Crimestoppers program, management and visi- First State Bhnk Central tors of long-term care Texas has played a vital facilities. The program role in helping ensure provides regular train- the peace of mind, safe- ing for residents, staff ty and security of our and management as well veterans." as education and crime Accepting the award, reporting services to fa- First State Bank Cen- cilities throughout the tral Texas C.E.O. Don nation. Grobowsky said the First State Bank Cen- bank takes very seri- tral Texas has 31 bank- ously its responsibility ing centers across Cen- to veterans. "One of the tral Texas and the Hill largest military instal- Country. Founded more lations in the world is than 100 years ago, right in our back yard. the bank is one of the We recognize first hand largest and strongest the obligation we have independent banks in as a community and an Texas with more than institution to help see $1 billion in assets. For that our veterans are al- more information, visit lowed the quality of life