column

A homecoming tale

Kari Lynn Collins’ powerful column in the Iowa Park Leader is not only a beautiful tribute to that publication’s 50th anniversary—it is also a loving tribute to its founder and publisher, and her mother, Dolores Hamilton. 
Kari’s words struck many familiar chords with me this week, as I remembered the September 22 birthday of my mother and co-publisher, Nancy Ezzell, whose quiet wisdom and strength guided The Canadian Record for over six decades until her death in 2013. Truth be told, it still does.

Government agency minutes are public in whatever form they exist

Q: One of the city councils we cover came out of executive session after one hour behind closed doors. A member then made a motion “to discuss what was discussed” in executive session. Another member seconded the motion. The question was put to a vote. It passed unanimously. But curiously, there was no further discussion. 
And to top it off, we asked for documents related to the matter and were told no such documents existed. However, as we eventually found out, the documents we requested did exist but we got them too late to include any details in our story. 

Week of Oct. 7-13, 2019

Abbott puts Bush in charge of disaster mitigation effort
AUSTIN — A plan is afoot for large-scale, regional projects to improve the state’s resilience to hurricanes and other natural disasters, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Oct. 4.
Abbott tapped Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush to lead the federally funded $4 billion-plus "comprehensive mitigation" effort. Funding will come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under a community development block grant.

Week of Sept. 30 - Oct. 6, 2019

Chief election officer encourages Texans to register before deadline
AUSTIN — Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs invited eligible Texans to celebrate and participate in National Voter Registration Day — the fourth Tuesday in September — by ensuring they are registered to vote before the Oct. 7 registration deadline.
Hughs, the state's chief election officer, issued a final call to action to voters, community leaders and elected officials to encourage their fellow Texans to register and prepare to vote in the upcoming Nov. 5 election.

Week of Sept. 23-29, 2019

Governor declares disaster in Imelda-affected counties 
AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Sept. 19 declared a state of disaster in counties impacted by Tropical Storm Imelda, which first hit the upper Texas Gulf Coast on Sept. 15. 
Counties listed in the declaration include Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Harris, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Orange and San Jacinto.
The declaration ensures that local officials have access to any state resources they may require to respond. 

Week of Sept. 16-22, 2019

Report provides details on what can be done to prevent shootings
AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Sept. 12 released the Texas Safety Action Report, a document that details what Texas and Texans are doing to prevent mass shootings.
The report elaborates on executive orders Abbott issued a week earlier to coordinate state and local expertise and resources and "identify any shortcomings in our current systems and explore ways to prevent these horrific tragedies from taking place." 

EARLY (Pre-Labor Day) DELIVERY, week of Sept. 2-8, 2019

Report details progress in school safety
AUSTIN — The Texas School Safety Update, a report highlighting progress made to keep students and teachers safe at school, was released by Gov. Greg Abbott on Aug. 27.
The report gives Texans an update on efforts by the governor’s office, the Legislature and state agencies toward implementing recommendations made in the School Safety Action Plan released on May 30, 2018 and the subsequent update in August 2018. 

Week of Aug. 26 - Sept. 1, 2019

 New Texas Safety Commission meets for first time

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Aug. 22 hosted the first meeting of the Texas Safety Commission, pulling together a group of lawmakers, educators, advocates, community leaders and public safety experts.

Created Aug. 19 by the governor, the commission is tasked with developing “an immediate action plan to provide community healing, combat the rise of extremist groups and hateful ideologies, keep guns out of the hands of deranged individuals, and combat domestic terrorism in Texas.”