Sunday, December 25, 2011

Teach a child the true joy of Christmas

It’s hard to argue that children add joy to Christmas. From grandkids to the kids next door, children exude that certain excitement that can only come from youthful anticipation.

And while it’s impossible not to dote on children during Christmas, you might also consider it a great time to teach them goodwill toward others. Take your niece and nephew to a local food bank where they can help bundle care packages for families in need. Plan a play date with neighborhood kids and gather a collective donation of gently used toys and clothes. Visit an assisted-living home and teach your sons and daughters the priceless power of brightening somebody’s day.

Many of these gifts cost nothing more than time and the willingness to share your good fortune. Even if you have no kids of your own, there are opportunities to teach by example through churches, schools and youth groups.

Sometimes it’s more important to show a child it’s better to give than to receive. And what better time than Christmas to make an impression that can last a lifetime? After all, Christmas began with a gift to all mankind.

Merry Christmas, Texas. May you and yours continue to be blessed.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

State Water Plan Is Critical For Meeting Future Needs

The Texas Water Development Board recently approved the 2012 State Water Plan, which outlines the state’s water needs and potential ways to meet those needs over the next 50 years.

The plan represents a local approach to local water needs, and I commend the members of the 16 regional water planning groups who have dedicated their time and leadership to ensure Texans have access to water. The drought has highlighted the need for water planning and implementation of the plans.

Currently, the state’s reservoirs are barely over half of their capacity, and groundwater levels are decreasing. Everyone from individual users to agriculture producers to industrial consumers is feeling the pinch of tight water supplies. Without a workable water plan, the situation will get even worse as Texas’ population continues to grow.

Local leadership and local solutions will be key in implementing the water plan. You can learn more about the water plan by going here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Extended Disaster Declaration

Texans who have suffered through the worst fire season on record finally receive some good news today. Some of the tax dollars we have sent to Washington are coming back to assist those devastated by wildfires.

Today the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) granted Gov. Perry’s repeated request to expand its major disaster declaration to include 119 Texas counties eligible for wildfire assistance, and extend the incident period from April 6, 2011, through August 29, 2011. The original declaration issued by FEMA only covered 45 counties.

The 2011 wildfire season has been one of the most catastrophic on record with about 30,000 fires scorching nearly 4 million acres. The cost of these fires continues to add up, with current estimates at $330 million.

Please continue to look for opportunities to help to help the families who are forced to rebuild what the fires destroyed. We also extend our sincerest thanks to the firefighters who stood strong and fought valiantly to save so many lives, homes and properties.

For more information on the disaster declaration, here is a link to Gov. Perry’s press release.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hay Scam

A Mississippi man is busted for allegedly selling Texas ranchers hay he never had. Authorities are asking any Texas rancher who believe they may have been scammed to come forward. You can read the full story by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Texas Veteran Gets His Final Wish at Pearl Harbor

Seventy years after the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor fully brought the United States into World War II, we continue to remember our fallen heroes, surviving veterans and the families who felt the firsthand impact of Dec. 7, 1941. The Japanese surprise strike claimed more than 2,400 American lives that morning and left more than 1,200 wounded. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt so famously said, it was indeed a “date which will live in infamy.”

The passage of time has left us with fewer surviving Pearl Harbor veterans. They are rightfully a proud group who will gather today to mourn their comrades, celebrate their camaraderie and remember the victory that was ultimately theirs. And ours.

As we salute our courageous soldiers today, I am pleased to share this story about a Pearl Harbor veteran from Plainview, Texas, who was granted his final wish this week when a portion of his ashes were laid to rest in the waters he helped defend. As always, God bless our troops, past and present.