By Ron Munden – June 17, 2018

On Saturday the Marshall News Messenger published an article titled, “No bond election for new animal shelter after split Marshall commissioners vote.” When I read the headline, I assumed that after 6 years the City Commission had approved the project and construction would start in the fall.

After reading the rest of the article and making a few calls, I think the fate of the animal shelter is still up in the air.

The MNM article said,”Commissioners Larry Hurta, Vernia Calhoun and Doug Lewis voted against the $2.2 million certificate of obligation funding option.” It is my understanding that these commissioners will support an election petition that if successful will prevent the City from using the certificate of obligation that passed on Thursday.

Last week I wrote an article that said, “in my opinion if the city commissioners decide on a bond election rather than using a certificate of obligation, they would be shooting themselves in the foot.”

After Thursday’s vote it looks like Commissioners Hurta, Calhoun, and Lewis missed with their first shot but are putting another bullet in the chamber and getting ready to take another shot. The only difference is that if this one hits the foot it is going to be even more damaging. I’ll explain why in the remaining part of this article.


The Madi Art Wall in Marshall Texas


Click here to see the slideshow/gallery

Marshall, Texas – Attached to the west wall of the Wood Building being renovated by Stephen B. Chambers Architects, Inc., is a MADI Art installation by internationally renowned artist, Volf Roitman. The Marshall MADI Art Wall was dedicated in a citywide ceremony on December 18, 2009.

Mr. Roitman, the founder of the South American MADI art movement, describes MADI art as “a form which celebrates asymmetry and the three-dimensional…add a generous amount of vibrant color and playfulness.”

Edmund Wood, a Marshall native, and his wife Anna Wood, provided space on their office building and the finances to install the art on its west side. The Marshall News Messenger quotes City Manager, Frank Johnson, “it can have a huge impact on the children in the community. It exposes them to what is literally and internationally significant piece of art…

Susan Spears, Michelson Museum of Art Director, says, “there is no message, no underlying anything, it just brings exciting color and fancy. It’s just to make you feel good.”

Steve Chambers, AIA: “I enjoyed his collaboration with Mr. Roitman and feels that the addition of his art to the renovation of this building brings additional forms, colors, invention and imagination to the Marshall streetscape and serves as an interesting contrast to the historical homes and the Marshall Courthouse, which can be seen two blocks to the west of the MADI Art Wall.”

Roitman’s art pieces were moved from the façade of a Dallas building and installed in Marshall.

“Using the embodied energy of this art adds an additional element of sustainable/green design to the project,” states Chambers.

Syracuse’s Archeological Park – April 25, 2018 – Syracuse, Sicily, Italy


By Tom Allin

Yesterday we checked into our hotel in Syracuse, unloaded the 4Runner to make
room for cousins Anna and Edmund, drove to the Catania airport to pickup Anna
and Edmund and then back to our hotel in Syracuse.

Oops, forgot on our way out of Noto on our way to Syracuse we stopped in
Vendicare Nature Reserve for about an hour and a half of birding. This reserve has
several lagoons, a wooded area, and a beach on the sea to walk about.

To read the complete article — click here


San Nicolo Cathedral – April 23, 2018 – Noto, Sicily, Italy


By Tom Allin

I haven’t been able to walk past a church much less a cathedral during our Italian
travels. I find every one of the Italian churches fascinating from their different
architectural designs, Stations of the Cross, sculptures, paintings, altars, crypts, and

The volume in each church is almost overwhelming due to the height of the ceilings.
It doesn’t matter if you are walking into a neighborhood parish church or a city
cathedral – the volume of the interior is overwhelming.

To read the complete article – click here

Walking in Noto – April 23, 2018 – Noto, Sicily, Italy


By Tom Allin

We left the Valley of the Temples and took the scenic drive to tonight’s stay, Noto.
Our drive took us along the coast until we reach Gela where we took the inland road
into the low mountains. This drive took us through the Baroque architectural
hilltop towns of Ghiaramonte Gulfi, Ragusa, Modica, Ispica and into Noto.

Knowing we had a tight time schedule to avoid driving at night we didn’t stop to
explore any of these hilltop towns – maybe next time. However, the drive wasn’t
difficult and was very scenic.

I had chosen a place in Noto’s old town and of course the nearest parking place was
about 200 yards away from our apartment and it was an uphill walk from the
parking spot. The moving of luggage was easy compared to finding our apartment
and did I mention the owners knew as much English and as I know Italian. We or
Nancy made it work with the Google translation application.

To read the complete story — click here

Valley of the Temples – April 22, 2018 – Agrigento, Sicily, Italy


By Tom Allin

After kicking back for 24 hours in San Leone, a small beach town, it was time to
move on. However, first we had to explore the Valley of the Temples.

The ancient city of Akragas’s surviving temples, especially the Temple of Concord,
has earned it the name: Valley of the Temples. We parked the 4Runner at the
bottom end of the site, took a taxi to the upper level of the site and ticket office,
bought tickets, and began our downhill walk – no uphill for these two savvy

The first temple we came to was Temple of Hera. This temple dates to the 5th
century BC. A portion of the sacrificial alter – animals not humans – is in the far left
interior of the photograph.

To read the complete story — click here