Archive for March, 2016

Boerne deaths precede Easter

Is it just me or do deaths occur more frequently around holidays? The Easter season saw the passing of four members of our community.
Different ages, different situations, same sadness and grief for those left behind. Lives cut short and lives well-lived. 
Brea Hines passed away last Thursday. The 12-year-old battled the ups and downs of cancer for three years. Her Fabra Elementary / Boerne Middle School North and First Baptist Church communities surrounded her with love and support. 
Pancake suppers and clay shoots defrayed the costs of care over the years. A Jetson-like robot kept her connected with teachers and classmates when she couldn’t make it to school. 
Brea was bright and funny. As a tribute, bright colors will be worn at her funeral to reflect her love of life and laughter. She will be missed but not forgotten.
Boerne ISD graduate Justin Walker’s passing was more sudden, but no less tragic. The 18-year-old’s death following a spring break concert on South Padre Island remains a mystery.
This is the second year in a row a young person left the same Schlitterbahn music festival never to be seen alive again.
I hope Schlitterbahn looks closely at the situation. What they’re offering to spring breakers doesn’t seem consistent with their family-friendly brand. 
Sadly, any changes they may make won’t ease the pain of Walker’s parents who endured the call every parent dreads.
Ann Schafer served the Boerne business community as finance director of the Greater Boerne Chamber for nearly fifteen years. I worked with her at times on a weekly basis.
Ever gracious and unassuming, I had no idea she was dealing with breast cancer until the death notice arrived. Remarkably, she worked with diligence until the week before her death.
In a condition that often causes individuals to look inward, Ann was able to look outward. She obviously wanted no attention on herself or her illness. She simply continued to serve. 
A kinder lady you’ll never meet. God, bless her and those she leaves behind, particularly her grandsons.
Finally, Norman David Jarrell passed last Tuesday. Like Mrs. Schafer, I didn’t know something about him until I read his obituary: he was a colonel in the Army. I have never known a military man who was as much of a teddy bear as Dave.
Dave  – excuse me – Colonel Jarrell would frequently take a break at my desk, but only a short one. He had places to go and people to serve. He would usually tell me his volunteer schedule for the week and I would promptly retire for a nap. It was incredible.
Patrick Heath Public Library, Hill Country Daily Bread, Hill Country Mission for Health, First United Methodist Church. Every day of the week seemed to have a commitment – not to make a buck or to have some fun but to serve which must have been fun for him.
His obituary said he passed away peacefully and was “immediately whisked into the presence of God.” That sounds about right. He certainly whisked around the presence of God while he was here.
I don’t know why tragedies seem to strike and loved ones seem to pass around holidays. Maybe it’s because that’s where the grace is.
 
Follow Kevin Thompson at http://www.kwt.info.
 
 
 
 
 
CentennialBANK
 
Kevin Thompson
Senior Vice President & Boerne Market Manager
1689 River Road | Boerne, Texas 78006 | Maps & Directions
(830) 816-5199 Phone | (210) 527-7940 Mobile | kevin.thompson@bankoncb.com | www.bankoncb.com
 

It’s the thoughts that count

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions. 
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
 
Variations of this quotation have been attributed to a variety of quotable people over the years, from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Gandhi to Margaret Thatcher. I first saw the quote on the wall of an east Texas high school when I sold education software some moons ago. 
 
I saw it more recently on the wall of my own children’s elementary school. 
 
There, the quote was ascribed to a southeastern U.S. supermarket chain founder, Frank Outlaw. And there I found it just as convicting as the first time I read it.
 
Part of me wishes it weren’t true, that I could simply watch my character or my destiny and be done with it. That I could focus on the big stuff and not sweat the small.
 
I wish I could forego the painstakingly difficult task of analyzing the seemingly endless onslaught of thoughts that streak on autopilot through my skull. 
 
Unfortunately or otherwise, that’s not reality.
 
A great myth is that we humans can have multiple realities: a thought life disconnected from a talk life disconnected from a public life. A similar lie is that behavior can be divorced from beliefs.
 
This conversation brings to mind the biblical instruction to take every thought captive. It also points to Jesus’ “sermon on the mount.” 
 
On that hillside, Jesus basically said the key to keeping the great commandments is to keep your thoughts in line. To avoid murder, watch your anger. To avoid an affair, watch your lust.
 
The problem is we want to have our cake and eat it, too. We want both sizable savings and the trappings they can buy. 
 
So we try to keep in Vegas what happens in Vegas only to find out the thoughts of Sin City become the character of Anytown, USA. The action of Hollywood becomes the habits of the heartland.
 
An Andy Griffith episode paints the picture: A film producer came to Mayberry to scout the town as the possible setting of a motion picture about small town American life. 
 
Once the town caught wind of the plans, every store and personality put on airs to impress the producer. “Cary Grant haircuts…only $3” one sign read.
 
Old men who hadn’t worn a suit in decades got dapper. Old women become Hepburn wannabes. By the time the producer returned with his film crew, he’s wasn’t interested in what Mayberry had become.
 
In a socially mediated world, watching one’s thoughts is arguably more difficult than ever. On the flip side, it can be freeing that we have found the root of both our maladies and our triumphs. 
 
Much of life is about trajectory. A slight angle change can exponentially alter the destination. Simple thoughts really can change your destiny.
 
 
Kevin Thompson is a columnist for The Boerne Star near San Antonio. He can be reached at kevin@kwt.info.  
 

If it barks, tax it

Our dog, Hank, got loose the other day. It’s not what you think.

Most dogs bolt out the front door as soon as it’s cracked. Not Hank. He’s a homebody, proven by the claw scratches on the outside of every exterior door.

Hank loves to be with us, so when he took a stroll down the street with the kids recently, it was unusual. Hank is not the rabble-rousing type. He’s certainly not a public enemy.

Nevertheless, the pound came calling.

Animal Control Officer (ACO): “Mr. Thompson?”

Me: “Yes?”

ACO: “This is the Boerne animal control department. Do you own a dog named Hank?”

Me: “Yes.”

ACO: “Could you have recently failed to keep him under proper restraint and permitted him to be at large off your premises?”

Me: “Possibly.”

ACO: “Do you know if Hank has a license?”

Me (laughing): “A license?”

ACO: “Yes, a license. I don’t see one here in our records.”

The officer, who was very courteous by the way, proceeded to tell me that every dog (and cat, for that matter) that resides in the city needs a license. I had no idea. Hank either: “Ruff! There was no sign!”

It turns out pet licenses can be purchased at the city animal control facility on Esser Road. Twelve dollars gets your pup three years of free roam (assuming he stays on your property).

I really couldn’t believe my ears. The ordeal reminded me of a Ronald Reagan quote:

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

I’m sure there are many sound public health and public safety reasons for authorities to know what pets occupy our neighborhoods.

Still, the thought that a man needs a license to have a best friend dumbfounded me.

After I expressed my disbelief to the ACO, he kindly offered to call Hank’s veterinarian to see if they might have record of an active pet license for Hank. A day later he called back. They didn’t.

So, in addition to the hundreds of dollars I’ve spent on vaccinations and the fees I paid the county pound for the right to rescue Hank four years ago, it seems I also need to fork over twelve bones for a pet existence license.

No wonder the sorry dog thinks he deserves table scraps. No…table food!

Fees have long been a way for governmental bodies to increase revenues without technically raising taxes. It’s a way to skirt political pushback and still fill coffers.

Philosophically, I don’t often have a problem with charging users in accordance with the public services they consume. For example, the city adult basketball league should and does charge entry fees to defray the cost of courts and refs.

But taxing a man’s dog seems un-American, definitely un-Texan.

Cats on the other hand?… (Sorry, Pumpkin. You were low-hanging fruit.)

 

Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star. Follow him at www.kwt.info.

 

 

How Texas Got Super (Tuesday)

No one within 300 miles of here would argue that Texas is, in fact, super. But did you know Texas hasn’t always voted on Super Tuesday?

Today, Texas and twelve other states representing 565 Republican delegates will take to the polls. That’s roughly half of the 1,236 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination.

Some pundits even call today Super Duper Tuesday, leaving the mere Super Tuesday moniker for Tuesday, March 15, when 6 state Republican primaries award a total of 361 delegates. 

Common knowledge holds that the earlier a state holds its primary, the more impact that state has on the nomination process.

That’s why Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada get more publicity during presidential election years than in the three in between years combined. 

For years Texas law mandated that the state’s primary election be on the second Tuesday of March in every election year.

Things changed in 2004 thanks to legislation authored by my previous boss, former Texas Rep. Dan Branch (R-Dallas).

Branch entered his first term in the Texas House in January 2003 aware that he had a potential political weak link:

Since Republican primaries were held on the second Tuesday of March, they generally fell during school and university spring breaks when many of Branch’s north Dallas supporters left town for vacation destinations.

A successful early voting push during the 2002 primary minimized the impact on Branch’s first election effort. But he knew not what the future might hold and what Republican primary challenger might cross his political path.

So, in the name of voter enfranchisement, voter turnout and expanded Texas influence in the presidential candidate nominating process, Branch suavely sought bipartisan support to move Texas’ primary election up a week to the first Tuesday in March.

The political logic was not hard to sell to a capital full of politicians, even the most altruistic of whom sleep with one eye open toward re-election.

Branch’s bill garnered support from both sides of the aisle and both houses of the Legislature. My job was to garner favorable testimony at the bill’s committee hearings. I was never so glad to see the Travis County Democratic Party chairman.

Governor Rick Perry signed the bill into law in the summer of 2003 and Texas has been voting with the big boys and girls on Super Tuesday ever since. The law change may have particular effect this year with a U.S. Senator from Texas on the ballot.

The Republican National Committee has since taken steps to increase every state’s impact on the nominating process.

For instance, every state that votes prior to March 15 must divide its delegates proportionally according to the breakdown of its vote. After March 15 a state’s primary winner can take all the state’s delegates if the state Republican party so chooses.

Nevertheless, the Lone Star State will show off its political super-muscle today thanks to the crafty work of a capable politician who ironically never again faced a primary opponent throughout the balance of his service in the Texas House.

Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas hill country. Follow him at www.kwt.info.

 

 


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