Commentary

Wed
07
Jan

Why Texas needs more Electric Vehicles (EVs)

BY RICHARD GOLLADAY
 
Texas now has too much of a good thing: wind generation. During summer, a good percentage of that West Texas wind production comes on strong when we need it least – late at night. This creates problems for the traditional steam-electric plants on the grid, which have to reduce power output significantly.

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Wed
07
Jan

New mix of lawmakers, officials heading for Austin

by Ed Sterling

When the 84th Texas Legislature convenes on Jan. 13 and oaths of office are administered, the political party split will be 21 Republicans to 10 Democrats in the 31-member Senate, and 98 Republicans to 52 Democrats in the 150-member House. The composition and leadership of committees, the flow of legislation through those committees and control of floor debate will be according to the wishes of new Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick of Houston and House Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio. Straus is subject to reelection by his peers. He is expected to retain the rostrum and gavel for a fourth consecutive term, even if challenged by a subgroup within the Republican party.

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Wed
31
Dec

PEC president takes a look back at 2014

BY PEC BOARD PRESIDENT
 
2014 has been a year of tremendous growth and achievement for Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC.) As the nation’s largest electric co-op with 8,100 square miles and 223,000 members, PEC ranks among the fastest growing utilities in the nation. Just this year alone, we added nearly 9,000 meters. As a not-for-profit utility, our Co-op’s milestones are not just about serving more members. We are working to improve PEC’s industry-leading reliability, our member services and our commitment to fiscal responsibility through an open and transparent business model. And PEC employees are number one when it comes to serving our members and all of our communities.
 
Wed
31
Dec

Texas notches big year for job creation

by Ed Sterling

2014 has been a banner year for job creation in Texas, according to government assessments. Drawing on figures calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas Workforce Commission on Dec. 19 reported employers added 34,800 seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs in November, for a total of 441,200 jobs added since last year. “This broke the state’s previous record set in October, as the state’s annual job growth expanded to a new high for a fourth month in a row,” according to an agency news release, which also said, “even more Texans were employed in November as the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent from 5.1 percent in October, and down from 6.1 percent a year ago.”

Wed
24
Dec

State contract with tech firm prompts calls for probe

by Ed Sterling

State Sen. John Whitmire, DHouston, on Dec. 18 requested that the special prosecution unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office “begin a formal and thorough investigation” into transactions between the State of Texas and 21CT, a software intelligence firm with offices here and in Vienna, Virginia. Information about the transactions came to light via an ongoing investigation and stories published by the Austin American-Statesman.

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Wed
17
Dec

Panel sets $7 billion minimum for Rainy Day Fund

by Ed Sterling

On Dec. 11, a Senate-House joint committee empaneled to adopt a sufficient balance for the state’s “rainy day fund” approved $7 billion as the floor for it. Properly titled the Economic Stabilization Fund, the oil and gas tax-fueled pool of money was created by constitutional amendment in 1988 when oil was selling as low as $10 a barrel, causing state coffers to run thin. Calculated at $6.7 billion last August, the fund previously had no required minimum. The maximum the fund may hold is capped at 10 percent of the state’s general revenue during the previous two-year budget cycle.

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Wed
10
Dec

Tough guy attitude: ‘Ain’t gonna hurt none of me’

by Willis Webb

Being raised in a small town where most people didn’t have much, forced many to scrape and scramble to make a living. Pride in supporting yourself and your family was a strong motivation for most folks I knew in my growing up years. Standing on your own two feet was the mantra of that period I am inclined to describe as “hard-scrabble” times. This promoted an attitude, from childhood on, of “Don’t mess with me. I’m the Lone Ranger and I can take care of me and Tonto.” Perhaps that’s a poor example since Tonto often took care of the Lone Ranger, but I digress.

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Wed
10
Dec

Perry directs state agencies to screen employees

by Ed Sterling

Gov. Rick Perry on Dec. 3 ordered state agencies to check the employment eligibility of current and prospective employees by using EVerify, an Internet-based system that allows employers to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. Perry also urged Congress to pass legislation “to provide the resources necessary to secure our southern border.” Perry’s announcements come in the wake of President Obama’s executive action on immigration on Nov. 20. At the time, in a national broadcast, Obama said he would take various actions because of the protracted unwillingness of Congress to pass an immigration reform bill that addresses the legal status of millions of undocumented workers employed in Texas and other states by American business owners. A White House news release lists three elements of the president’s executive actions:

Wed
26
Nov

Perry, Abbott react to Obama’s action on immigration

by Ed Sterling
 
President Barack Obama on Nov. 20 announced his decision to take executive action on immigration because Congress has not acted on immigration reform to address the presence and inflow of undocumented residents. “In order to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation, these undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and unlawful permanent residents would have to: Have been here 5+ years, pass a background check, pay taxes,” according to information posted by the White House.
 
Tue
18
Nov

BCISD Superintendent’s Report

by Keith McBurnett

I want to start off by saying “thank you” to the community for supporting the recent Burnet CISD Bond Election. After almost two years of facility assessments, planning meetings, community meeting and the actual bond election, it is exciting to begin working on needed renovations across the district. In the months to come, I will be sharing timelines and project sequences. Citizens will be able to track the progress of the bond projects by attending board meetings (held the third Monday of each month) or by going to www.bcisdbond. com and selecting the “Project Updates” link.

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