By Ron Munden – December 31, 2018

In November I decided I would name a group as “Person of the Year for 2018.”  That all changed in early December when the City Finance Director informed the City Commissioners they had approved expenditures that exhausted the $900,000 in the excess reserve and cut $500,000 into the mandatory 90-day reserve.  This announcement caused me to rethink my selection.

In December 2017 I wrote:

Based on the data I have concluded that the City of Marshall is headed into “troubled waters” and is likely to encounter difficult economic issues in the near future. Unfortunately, the City Commissioners don’t appear to be aware of these economic problems or they choose not to address the problems. There is one exception and that person is EastTexasExposed Person of the Year – Commissioner “Doc” Halliday.

Commissioner Halliday has sounded the alarm on many occasions, but the other Commissioners seem to be tone-deaf.

Nothing has changed since 2017 except the lack of responsible actions by the current City Commissioners has accelerated the financial problems of the City more than I predicted in 2017.

Once again, this year Commissioner Halliday stood alone warning the other Commissioners and suggesting responsible actions while the other City Commissioners held hands, sang Cum By Ya as they moved the City of Marshall dangerously close to an economic cliff.

Not only did the other Commissions not embrace Commissioner Halliday’s suggestion, they worked to ensure that his suggestions did not even get a vote by repeatably refusing to second Commissioner Halliday’s motions thus avoiding a vote.

To avoid Commissioner Halliday agenda items from even being discussed Commissioner Doug Lewis has made a dangerous suggestion.  He has suggested that the City’s governance policy be modified to require a Commissioner have a second on the agenda item before it can be placed on the agenda for a meeting. 

Today Commissioner Halliday is fighting alone for the Citizens of Marshall.  This year other City Commissioners have demonstrated that they don’t understand budget management or don’t give a damn about responsible financial management.

It takes guts to fight for what is right when you know you will loose the fight – time after time after time.  Commissioner Halliday continues the fight.

It is for this reason William “Doc” Halliday is EastTexasExposed.com Person of the Year for 2018.

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Torrijos-Carter Treaties

By William “Doc” Halliday

Are you familiar with the Torrijos-Carter Treaties?  I believe you are, even though you may not recognize the name.  There are two separate treaties December 31st is the nineteenth anniversary of the completion of the second of those treaties. 

Many United States citizens were opposed to the treaties.  They felt that this was tantamount to giving Alaska back to Russia, or giving the Louisiana Purchase back to France.  But perhaps we should start at the beginning. 

On September 1, 1513, Vasco Núñez de Balboa led a group of 190 Spaniards and approximately 1,000 local Indians south from Santa María la Antigua del Darién across the Isthmus of Panama.  In late September (25th or 27th) he sighted the Pacific Ocean alone from a peak.  Four days later Balboa and his men reached the shore of the ocean and he claimed it and all lands that touched it for Spain.  Almost immediately (in historical terms) a search began for a natural waterway connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans began. 

Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who was also Charles I of Spain ordered the Panama regional governor to survey a route to the Pacific following the Chagres River in 1534.  This was the first survey for a proposed ship canal through Panama, and it more or less followed the course of the current Panama Canal.  At the time the survey was completed, it was the surveyor’s opinion that it would be impossible for anyone to accomplish such a feat. 

In 1848, gold was discovered in California which resulted in a tremendous volume of trans-isthmus business.  This created an impetus for the development of the Panama Railway which was initiated in 1850 and began operations along its entire length in January 1855.  The United States interest in a canal across the Central American Isthmus was intensified, but was not solely directed at Panama. 

In 1879 the International Congress of Geographical Sciences voted in favor of the construction of the Panama Canal.  Ferdinand de Lesseps who had successfully completed construction of the Suez Canal took on the task.  He initially thought he could build the canal without locks, but in what turned out to be the final days of the effort it became increasingly obvious to the French that the sea level plan would not work after all.   Gustave Eiffel, builder of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, was approached about building canal locks.  However it was too late.  The venture failed before the changes could be made.  When the venture failed, Ferdinand de Lesseps and his son Charles were charged with fraud and mismanagement and each sentenced to five years in prison in 1893. 

In 1894 a second French firm took over the assets and attempted to complete the project.  They abandoned their efforts that same year. 

Throughout the second half of the nineteenth century the United States had been interested in the building of a canal.  However, they had favored a route through Nicaragua.  In the late 1890s Philippe-Jean Bunau-Varilla began lobbying American lawmakers to buy the French canal assets in Panama, and eventually convinced a number of them that Nicaragua had dangerous volcanoes, making Panama the safer choice. 

In 1902 the United States purchased the assets of the French company.  The Hay–Herrán Treaty (Jan. 22, 1903), was rejected by the Colombian government (the area was part of Columbia at this time) as an infringement on its national sovereignty but primarily because Columbia considered the offered payment insufficient.  With the indirect approval of the U.S. government and the shielding presence of the U.S. Navy in nearby waters, Panama declared its independence from Colombia on November 3, followed by de facto U.S. recognition three days later. 

On November 18, 1903 the Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty was agreed to.  This treaty gave the United States a strip 10 miles (16 km) wide across the isthmus for canal construction in perpetuity. The United States was allowed to govern and fortify this Canal Zone. In return Panama was guaranteed its independence and received $10 million outright plus an annuity of $250,000 beginning nine years later. The treaty was ratified by both countries in 1904, and the Panama Canal itself was completed in 1914. 

The workers had to face a variety of problems, including difficult terrain, hot, humid weather, torrential rainfalls and widespread tropical diseases including yellow fever and malaria.  Over 25,000 died during the construction of the canal including the efforts of both the French and the United States. 

In 1964 there was a dispute over the rights of Panamanians to fly their flag in the Canal Zone.  The dispute erupted into riots and diplomatic relations between Panama and the United States were severed for several months.  Over the course of several years negotiations continued between the two countries for new treaties.  There was a coup in Panama and elections in the United States. 

The negotiators decided that their best chance for ratification in the United States was to submit two treaties.  The two treaties were signed on September 7, 1977 and given to the U.S. Senate. The first, the Neutrality Treaty, stated that the United States could use its military to defend the Panama Canal against any threat to its neutrality, thus allowing perpetual U.S. usage of the Canal. The second, called The Panama Canal Treaty stated that the Panama Canal Zone would cease to exist on October 1, 1979, and the Canal itself would be turned over to Panama on December 31, 1999.

And thus the terms of the second of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties were completed 19 years ago. 

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Importance of a Community Animal Shelter

This is the full text of the Guest Column published on Wednesday in the Marshall News Messenger  

By Katie Jarl (Dec 26, 2018)

For more than six years, Marshall has been trying to determine what to do about its antiquated, 50-year-old animal shelter. Several years ago, I visited the shelter in Marshall myself. In my position as the Texas Senior State Director for the Humane Society of the United States, I have visited many shelters, and Marshall’s is one of the saddest and most outdated facilities I’ve encountered. It really is a relic from the past that is incapable of functioning to today’s standards. It should have been replaced decades ago. Unfortunately, it’s still in use because of arguments over money. Specifically, how much to invest.

I would like to make a point that many may not have considered but relates to the financial welfare of your community for years to come.
If you build the cheapest facility you can, you may end up losing huge amounts of money over the lifetime of the new shelter.

Why is that?

Most shelters rely heavily on grant funding.
National and local organizations are on the lookout for innovative programs and offer grants to shelters that are succeeding on various metrics or are capable of meeting the needs of the communities that they serve.

A while back, I saw two of the plans being considered; Scheme P and Scheme U.

The smaller plan (P) would struggle to meet these standards because it would be inadequate from the day it opened its doors.

It was only 1,000 square feet larger than your current 1,475 square foot shelter.

The other plan (U) had the capacity to serve your region and potentially achieve low-kill status.

At just over a million dollars, it was still quite inexpensive but would likely attract grant funding and would be seen by those on the outside as a sign of serious commitment by the local community.

If Marshall had built an adequate new shelter years ago, the town could have had several years of grant funding already in the shelter’s coffers.

This amount is lost forever now due to the delays, but if you spend enough to build the right kind of shelter, Marshall’s people and animals will benefit from this.

If you do not build a facility that meets your needs and is up to today’s standards, that money, and more importantly the lives of so many animals, will be lost to you forever.

Attempting to save money by under-building will cost you untold sums in the future.

I’ve seen communities make this mistake before and regret it.
Don’t be one of them. Build your shelter with the future in mind.
You aren’t building something for the next five years.

If history is any gauge you may be building it for the next fifty. Choose wisely.


Katie Jarl

Katie Jarl is the Texas Senior State Director for the Humane Society of the United States.

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Feedback for the week – 12/23/2018


12/29/2018 — Peggy Byassee — facebook
Is Mr. Halliday the only financially savvy commissioner up there? Who is supposed to be in charge of the money and how it is spent? Doug Lewis, if only one of the seven comes up with a valid question, it is STILL a valid question, especially if it makes sense for the city.


12/20/2018 — William Halliday — facebook
I believe Mr. Munden is an optimist.

12/18/2018 — Gene Younger — facebook
What say ye, commissioners?

12/20/2018 — Robert Jones — facebook
They’re in it way too deep to walk away now. They need , and others before them, to own this. Accept the responsibility and get this elephant completed ASAP. Oh and then we have to come up with the new city managers $170,000 too!! Awesome! The future looks ……..

12/18/2018 — Mark Opperman — facebook
Looks like egg on their face.

12/20/2018 — Mark Opperman — facebook
Mark Opperman Looks like egg on their face.

12/18/2018 — Johnny Frazier — facebook
SUR prise

Origin of Christmas on December 25th

By William “Doc” Halliday

Christmas, or Christmas Day is an annual celebration commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.  This event is celebrated on December 25th in the United States and in many other countries.  However, most scholars do not believe the December 25th date.  The date is not given in the bible, not even the time of year. The biblical reference to shepherds tending their flocks at night when they receive the news of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:8) might suggest the spring lambing season.  On the other hand, sheep might well have been enclosed in the cold month of December. 

The earliest historical recording of birthdays occurs in the bible.  Birthday celebrations are mentioned in the Bible on three separate occasions and, in each case, something terrible occurred. I use a Geneva Bible (1599) for my documentation.  In Genesis 40:20 the birthday of the Pharaoh of Egypt is referred to.  In Matthew 14:6 and in Mark 6:21, the birthday of Herod Antipater is referred to.  And, perhaps Job 1:4 is referring to the birthdays of Job’s sons.  Nowhere in the bible is the date of Jesus’ birth mentioned. 

The early Christians did not celebrate Christ’s birth because they considered the celebration of anyone’s birth to be a pagan custom.  For the same reason, ancient Jews did not celebrate birthdays.  The first century Jewish historian Josephus noted that Jewish families did not celebrate birthdays.  It was common for kings and rulers to have their horoscopes made by astrologers.  Their birthdays were considered very important omens of the future.  Thus birthdays started as a celebration for kings and deities.  It was a pagan celebration. 

Instead, early Christians celebrated the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Easter was the dominant celebration for members of the Christian faith.  As time passed, Jesus’ origins became of increasing speculation.  You can begin to see this shift in the New Testament. The earliest writings of both Paul and Mark make no mention of Jesus’ birth. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke provide familiar but quite different accounts of the event.  Still, neither Matthew nor Luke specifies a date for the birth of Jesus.

In about 200 A.D., Clement of Alexandria, a Christian teacher in Egypt, records a reference to the date Jesus was born. According to this man, several different days had been proposed by various Christian groups.  Interestingly, Clement doesn’t mention the December 25th date at all. 

In the fourth century, however, we find references to two dates that were widely recognized, and are now also celebrated as Jesus’ birthday.  These dates are December 25 in the Western Roman Empire and January 6 in the East, especially in Egypt and Asia Minor.  The celebration of Christmas by the modern Armenian Church remains on January 6.  However, for the vast majority of Christians December 25th prevails.  January 6 would eventually come to be known as the Feast of the Epiphany.  The Feast of the Epiphany commemorates the arrival of the magi in Bethlehem. The period between the two dates became the holiday season which has become known as the 12 days of Christmas.

In 354 A.D., Bishop Liberius of Rome ordered the people to celebrate the solstice as the anniversary of Christ’s birth. He probably chose this date because the people of Rome already observed it as the Feast of Saturn, celebrating the birthday of the sun.  This was an effort to recruit pagans into the church.  These idol worshippers held pagan festivals to celebrate the “rebirth” of the sun when the days began to lengthen.  The solstice of course takes place on December 21st, so why do we celebrate December 25th?  The difference is due to the transition from the Julian to the Gregorian calendars. 

For Christians, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ is significant regardless of the day. 

Photo of the nativity scene is from interruptingthesilence.com

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Feedback for the week – 12/16/2018

Marshall Texas Financial Reserves Under Funded

12/20/2018 — Will Ryan Fason — facebook
☝️☝️ yes, where will half a million be found that wasn’t there. Magic tricks with wands & tophats!

“Papa was so proud he couldn’t talk, just smiled….. cause everyone knows, 5 is greater than 1”

12/18/2018 — Julie Richey — facebook
They can’t fix it. It’s all broken

12/20/2018 — Randy Reeves — facebook
Glad I moved….

F$&(ing unbelievable…

12/20/2018 — Shawne Brophy Somerford — facebook
I can’t wait to hear how the Mayor is going to make sure we find 500,000 to cover our short fall before the end of the year. Get out and spend people!

12/20/2018 — Will Ryan Fason — facebook
And worth the question …. is the Animal Shelter portion in reserves Gone!!???!?!

12/18/2018 — Will Ryan Fason — facebook
Well Well Well Look who spent your $$$$$

So in case you weren’t paying attention, or worried about who didnt get a job promotion, maybe Take Note of this.

Reserves Went from Excess to Lacking in a very short time. Financial stewards some of these are not.

There’s an old saying…….

“Always watch where the money goes”. Havent you heard it before? (Oh yeah, I’m sure somebody said something about this 😄)

12/20/2018 — Tyler Watson — facebook

12/20/2018 — Bertha Maples — facebook
Memorial hall?????

12/20/2018 — Don Parks — facebook
Just print some more cash!!

12/20/2018 — Heath Parker — facebook
Sounds like the Commissioners are doing a great job!!!

12/20/2018 — Linda Coker — facebook
Let the games begin!!

12/20/2018 — Sheila Harber Watson — facebook

12/20/2018 — David Granger — facebook
I would say that I’m shocked, but I am not.

12/18/2018 — Will Ryan Fason — facebook
Who would have ever known?

Uncertain Christmas Parade

12/18/2018 — Jan — text message
Great photos.

12/18/2018 — anonymous — text message
Sounds like you had skin in the game.


By William “Doc” Halliday

Have you ever flown in an airplane?  Since at least the legend of Icarus in Greek Mythology, mankind’s dream of flying has been recorded.  This is the legend of a father and son using wings made of wax and feathers to escape Crete.  The father, Daedalus, warns the son not to fly too high or the heat of the sun will melt the wax.  Icarus ignored his father’s instructions, and did fly too close to the sun.  The heat melted the wax causing him to fall into the sea and drown. 

But even prior to this legend, some men (and women) would look at the birds flying and wonder if they could fly also.  In about 1,000 B.C. kites were invented by the Chinese.  In 852 B.C. English King Bladud attempted to fly.  Legend says he used necromancy to build a pair of wings that attached to his arms. Bladud made an attempt to fly at the temple of Apollo while wearing the wings, but the mythical figure unfortunately didn’t get the right blueprints from the spirits; he fell to his death. 

In 400 B.C. Archytas of Tarentum is alleged to have designed and built the first artificial, self-propelled flying device, a bird-shaped model propelled by a jet of what was probably steam, said to have actually flown about 650 feet.   This machine, which its inventor called “the pigeon”, may have been suspended on a wire or pivot for its flight.  It was described in the writings of Aulus Gellius five centuries after Archytas lived. 

In 1250 A.D. Roger Bacon, an English cleric, proposed flying machines and motorized ships and carriages in his writings.  In the late 1400s, Leonardo da Vinci designed flying machines and a parachute. 

In 1670, Francesco de Lana Terzi published a design for a lighter-than-air ship.  In 1680, Giovanni Borelli an Italian mathematician concluded that human muscle was inadequate for flight.  Then, in 1709, Bartolomeu Laurenço de Gusmao designed a model glider. 

In 1783, Jean François Pilâtre de Rozier and Marquis d’Arlandes made the first free aerial flight in a Montgolfier hot-air balloon.  That same year, Jacques Alexandre César Charles and M.N. Robert flew in a hydrogen balloon.  Two years later Jean-Pierre Blanchard and John Jeffries crossed the English Channel by balloon.  Jean François de Rozier and Pierre Romain became the first documented fatalities of flying that same year, 1785. 

In 1797 André Jacques Garnerin made the first human parachute descent, from a balloon.  George Cayley published a classic treatise on aviation in 1809.  William Henson’s design for an aerial steam carriage was published in 1843.  That same year, George Cayley published a design for a biplane. 

Baptiste Henri Jacques Giffard invented the Giffard dirigible. It was an airship powered with a steam engine, and weighed over 400 pounds.  It was the world’s first passenger-carrying airship (then known as a dirigible). Both practical and steerable, the hydrogen-filled airship was equipped with a 3 horsepower steam engine that drove a propeller. The engine was fitted with a funnel pointing down. The exhaust steam was mixed in with the combustion gases and it was hoped by these means to stop sparks rising up to the gas bag; he also installed a rudder vertically.

On September 24, 1852 Giffard made the first powered and controlled flight travelling 16 miles from Paris to Trappes.  The wind was too strong to allow him to make headway against it, so he was unable to return to where he had started. However, he was able to make turns and circles proving that a powered airship could be steered and controlled.  In 1867 Wilbur Wright was born near Millville, Indiana. 

In 1870 Alphonse Pénaud experimented with twisted rubber to power a model helicopter.  Orville Wright was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1871. In late 1885 Wilbur was accidently struck in the face with a hockey stick.  He became inhibited after the loss of his front teeth, and subsequently failed to attend college (Yale). In 1886 Orville started a printing business while he was still in high school. In 1889 Otto Lilienthal publishes Der Vogelflug als Grundlage der Fliegekunst and two years later he began successful gliding experiments.  In 1895 he flew biplane gliders.  He died the next year in a glider accident. 

Also in 1896 Octave Chanute began biplane gliding experiments in Michigan and Samuel P. Langley produced successful steam-powered models that flew.  Orville dropped out of high school to publish a newspaper, the “West Side News,” and Wilbur joined him as editor. The newspaper business was not profitable and the Wrights returned to contract printing, in 1889.  In 1893 the Wright brothers began to sell and repair bicycles. The Wrights manufactured their own bicycles, the “St. Clair” and the “Van Cleve.” The bicycle business turned profitable beginning in 1895.  Wilbur developed an aerodynamic control system for aircraft and built a kite to test it in 1899.

Alberto Santos-Dumont, Brazilian aviator, circled the Eiffel Tower in an airship in 1901.  Beginning in 1900 and continuing through 1902, the Wright brothers flew gliders at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, refining their control system. At their home in Dayton, Ohio, they built a wind tunnel and conducted research on wing shapes. In 1903 Samuel Langley’s full-sized, manned “Aerodrome A” crashed on take-off. 

Today, December 17th, is the 111th anniversary of the Wright brothers first controlled, sustained powered flights made at Kill Devil Hills in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  The weather was freezing with a headwind gusting to 27 MPH.  With the four flights made by the Wright brothers on that day in 1903, the era of powered flight took off. 

Doc Halliday is an author, columnist and consultant who resides in Marshall, Texas.  He may be contacted by mail at:  P. O. Box 1551, Marshall, TX 75671; or by email at:  w_halliday@yahoo.com

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Note: I wrote this story thinking it was humorous article. My wife who proofed the article did not find it humorous. At her suggestion I am adding this line. THIS IS A VERY HUMOROUS ARTICLE

By Ron Munden – ron@easttexasexposed.com – December 17, 2018

I have shot the Uncertain Texas Christmas Parade for over ten years. While the event continues to be enjoyable the shoot has become routine. This year was a little different.

One thing that make this year’s event different was that the water level at Johnson Ranch was higher than in past years. The deck where boats tied up was only about 6 inches above the lake level. There was enough splash to keep the wood deck wet.

Because of the high-water level, the locations for shooting were limited but I found a position at the end of the deck next to the gassing dock. I carefully walked to this space and set up my camera and waited for the parade.

By the time the parade was about ¾ over I was congratulating myself on selecting this excellent location. I had chosen the perfect stop.

Things changed quickly.

I hardly noticed when a boat pulled into a gassing dock because I was looking the opposite direction and shoot pictures.

I did notice when my right shoulder started a torsional movement –it accelerated backward and in a clockwise direction. Then I felt my feet loose traction and fly into the air.

My old college days came rushing back. As a running back, I was so accustomed to being thrown to the deck by a linebacker 20 to 30 times each Saturday during football season. But that was when I was in my 20s. Now that I am 75, I have given up that sport – or at least I thought I had.

I found myself flat on my back on a wet deck with a large guy that looked a lot like Willie Nelson laying next to me. Actually, I was all on the deck. His head and shoulder were in the water.

A review of the game video showed that he had jumped off his boat not recognizing that the deck was slippery. His feet went out from under him and he started to the ground. His natural reactions kicked in and he grabbed for the nearest thing to stop his fall. My shoulder was the object of choice. The rest is history.

Laying on the deck the first thing I noticed, after Wille Nelson, was that I was still holding my camera in my right hand at least 18 inches above the water. I got a nice feeling – it was like receiving a pass, being hit hard, and holding on to the football as you hit the ground.

Five second after the event started it was over. The other man was pulled out of the water and to his feet. I got up and begin shooting the last quarter of the parade.

I am happy to announce that my hip and ribs are a little sore, but my camera was not injured and is operating at full speed.

However, during the event I lost my stocking cap. When I recognized this, I looked for it but could not find it. I assumed it had gone in the water and sank.

At the end of the parade a nice lady came up to me and asked if I was OK. I said I was fine, and the only mishap was that I had lost my stocking hat.

She asked me what color it was. I told her, and she said she had pulled it out of the water. It was on their boat because she assumed it belonged to the gentleman that went in the water. Five minutes later my wet hat was back in my hand and all was good.

As I said I have shot the Uncertain Christmas Parade for over 10 years. They have all blended together and I can’t decipher one year from the other. 2018 will be a different story. It will always have a special place in my memory – next to my college football days.