STOP THE UNNECESSARY DESTRUCTION

Scenic Texas

SCENIC TEXAS CALLS ON TXDOT TO STOP THE UNNECESSARY DESTRUCTION OF 250+ ACRES OF TREES IN EAST TEXAS

State Agency Fails to Provide Evidence to Support “New Traffic Safety Program”

(AUSTIN, TEXAS) August 24, 2020 — Scenic Texas, the state’s only non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of our state’s visual environment, particularly as seen by the traveling public, is urging the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to stop two TxDOT highway projects in Northeast Texas from destroying 250 acres of trees. This project is part of a “safety program” that TxDOT is piloting in East Texas to be applied to the rest of the state.

In a July 13 letter sent to the Texas Transportation Commission, TxDOT and legislators, Scenic Texas outlined its concerns about two TxDOT projects (see below for project details) in the agency’s Atlanta District which encompasses nine counties. Combined, these projects will clear approximately 250 acres of trees along 110 miles of public Rights-of-Way (ROW) by an unprecedented doubling of clear zones from 30 feet to 60 feet. Scenic Texas believes these are the first two projects approved under this program but because the program is state-wide, these types of tree-clearing projects could happen anywhere in Texas.

Scenic Texas Executive Director Sarah Tober says that, “Scenic Texas agrees our state’s highway infrastructure should meet rigorous safety standards and provide ample clearance in case of an accident or need to pull over. However, engineers from TxDOT have seemingly based their decision to double this already generous clear zone on intuition rather than evidence. No state or national studies, data, or calculations have been publicly provided to support this decision. While TxDOT provided information to Scenic Texas on the number of off-road crashes in the area, no detail was given to demonstrate whether the injuries or fatalities involving drivers who ultimately hit trees had contributing factors before leaving the highway. For example, distracted driving, drunk driving, texting, or other driver error could have been the actual cause of most if not all of the accidents and thus the real reason the driver left the road and hit a tree.”

Tober continued, “In fact, a number of studies exist that conclude trees along highways help to slow down drivers. Trees also provide valuable environmental benefits including the protection of pavement and a scenic drive that, in some instances, took decades or centuries to make. Additionally, the decision to double the clear zone in the public ROW will have fiscal implications for TxDOT since broader ROWs require more maintenance.”

Scenic Texas maintains that the current 30-foot clearance zone has proven to be ample enough space for public protection, and that clear-cutting publicly-owned trees beyond 30 feet has not been proven to increase highway safety. Moreover, it reflects a lack of good stewardship of taxpayer dollars and harms the state’s scenic beauty. If allowed to proceed, these projects will set a negative precedent for TxDOT to arbitrarily double the clearance zone in the public ROW and destroy hundreds, if not thousands, of acres of publicly-owned trees, many of which are native.

In his August 11 letter to Scenic Texas, TxDOT Executive Director James Bass said that TxDOT, “will be planting wildflowers along the stretch of roadways where the trees have been removed.” Scenic Texas believes that most Texans cherish their trees and would consider this a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars and contrary to the 20-year-old Green Ribbon Program. This taxpayer-funded initiative is intended for abatement of non-attainment standards under the Clean Air Act through the planting of highway trees and shrubs. While Scenic Texas is in support of most beautification efforts by TxDOT, the nonprofit organization of 35 years is adamantly against the clearing of trees only to plant wildflowers in these trees stead. In addition to severely altering the beauty of our highways, taxpayers will first be paying for the clearcutting of trees and then will be paying for the planting of wildflowers and other maintenance of the expanded ROW.

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Alternate plans for annual Community Veterans Day Commemoration

Alternate plans for annual Community Veterans Day Commemoration

In order to reduce risk and help to ensure the health and safety of all veterans and community members during the pandemic, the Annual Community Veterans Day planning committee consulted, as they do each year, with local veterans and veteran organizations and they made the following alternate plans for this year’s Veterans Day commemoration.

Instead of the annual Community Veterans Day program, there will be a brief Patriotic Vehicle Procession around the Harrison County Courthouse Square to honor the brave service and sacrifice of all Veterans.

 The slow procession around the Square will take place from 11:00am–11:15am on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 in downtown Marshall, Texas.

Christina Anderson, who heads up the coordination of the Community Veterans Day commemoration every years, shared:  “ As our community knows, the annual Veterans Day program in Marshall and Harrison County has always been held at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month. For many years, the program was held at the Marshall Mall and, more recently, at ETBU and then, last year, at Memorial City Hall.”

Ms. Anderson continued:  “But, this year due to our wanting to make sure everyone stays safe during the pandemic and so that we comply with all the important health guidelines, the planning committee invites veterans, veteran organization, civic organizations,  and community members to participate in or watch a brief slow procession of vehicles around the Courthouse Square at 11 o’clock on Veterans Day. This procession will be a way that we, as community members, can gather together safely during the pandemic and show our deep appreciation to all veterans for their courageous service and sacrifice for our nation.”

Ms. Anderson explained that community members and veteran or civic organizations are encouraged to display on their vehicles signs of appreciation to veterans and/or American flags and flags of the various military branches.

To reduce the risk of spreading the virus, all participants are asked to remain in their vehicles before and throughout the brief procession around the Square.

Here’s how the logistics will work:

·         Those wishing to participate by having a vehicle in the brief Veterans Day procession on November 11 are urged to call (903) 938-8373 or email cca@andersonpartners.org to let the planning committee know that they wish to have a vehicle in the procession. Please contact by 3:00pm on November 10.

·         Then, between 10:30am and 11:00am on Wednesday, November 11, those participating in the procession will gather in the parking lot on the EAST side of the Courthouse.

·          At 11:00am, the East Texas Patriot Guard Riders, in coordination with the Marshall Police Department, will lead the procession of vehicles, departing from the east parking lot, and slowly process around the Courthouse Square twice. Following the second time around the Square, the procession will stop for the playing of “Taps.”  The commemoration will then be concluded.

·         Veterans wishing to observe the brief procession on the Square itself will be able to park in the parking lot on the WEST side of the historic Courthouse and will be able watch the procession from inside their vehicles.  Since Veterans Day is a City, County, and federal holiday, there should be less traffic on the Courthouse Square that day.

·         Those participating and watching the procession can listen to patriotic music during the procession in the safety of their own vehicles by tuning in to local radio station KMHT 103.9 . KMHT has graciously shared that they will play patriotic music for the procession.

·         For those wishing to view from home, the procession will also be live streamed via Facebook Live by the Marshall News Messenger and KMHT.

·         KMHT 103.9 will also broadcast a Veterans Day program at 11:15am, immediately following their coverage of and music for the brief procession on the Square.

On behalf of the Community Veterans Day planning committee, Ms. Anderson expressed deep gratitude for the kind assistance of the local veterans organizations such as the East Texas Patriot Guard Riders, American Legion Post #267, American Legion Post #878, and other local veterans groups. She also expressed appreciation to Harrison County, the City of Marshall, KMHT-Radio, Marshall News Messenger, and Meadowbrook Funeral Home for their kind assistance with the procession.

Ms. Anderson concluded: “Most importantly, we want to ensure that the logistics for the procession will provide for the health and safety of all veterans and participants involved. But, we also want to make sure that we, as a community, don’t miss an opportunity to express how profoundly we appreciate our Veterans and all they have given and sacrificed for our nation. We appreciate them, not just on Veterans Day, but every day.”

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CDC’s Halloween Guidelines Warn Against Typical Trick-Or-Treating

In a year that’s been plenty scary, this much is clear: Pandemic Halloween will be different than regular Halloween. Many traditional ways of celebrating are now considerably more frightful than usual, because now they bring the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Accordingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidelines on how to celebrate Halloween safely. No big surprise: Classic door-to-door trick-or-treating and crowded, boozy costume parties are not recommended.

The CDC’s guidelines group Halloween activities into lower-risk, moderate-risk and higher-risk buckets.

The higher-risk category includes both door-to-door trick-or-treating and events where kids get treats from the trunks of cars in a big parking lot.

Also no-nos: indoor haunted houses where people will be crowded and screaming, which could send infectious particles flying. Going on hayrides with people who aren’t in your household or fall festivals in rural areas also carry a risk of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. And using alcohol and drugs “can cloud [judgment] and increase risky behaviors,” the CDC warns — though that’s equally true in any season.

How to get your thrills instead?

The agency says this way of trick-or-treating poses a moderate risk (compared with the higher risk of the traditional style): Kids could pick up individually wrapped gift bags at the end of a driveway or yard while still preserving social distance.

You could also organize a small outdoor costume parade where everyone is 6 feet apart. An outdoor costume party would also be considered moderate risk, if people wear masks and stay 6 feet away from each other.

Haunted houses are out, and haunted forests are in. The CDC says an open-air scare-fest is moderately risky, so long as the route is one-way, people wear masks appropriately and stay 6 feet apart. But there’s a caveat: “If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised.”

What about apple picking and pumpkin patches? Risks can be reduced if people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or apples, wear masks and maintain social distance.

Also on the moderate-risk list: an outdoor scary movie night with local friends who are socially distanced. Again: The more screaming there is, the more space is needed for safe social distancing.

If you want to be really safe? Then you need to plan for either virtual activities or ones that you do largely with your own household.

The CDC’s lower-risk activities include carving pumpkins with your household, or outdoors with friends while socially distanced. It also suggests a Halloween scavenger hunt: looking for witches, spiderwebs and black cats outside houses while walking around — or a scavenger hunt for treats in your own home.

And what about masks? A costume mask is no substitute for a cloth mask, according to the agency, but don’t double up with one over the other because that can make it hard to breathe. Instead, consider a Halloween-themed cloth mask, the CDC suggests.

A costume mask can protect against spreading the coronavirus if it’s like a regular cloth mask: two or more layers of breathable fabric covering the nose and mouth, without gaps around the face.

And remember this, friendly neighbors: If you think you might have COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who does, don’t attend in-person Halloween activities — and certainly don’t hand out candy to trick-or-treaters.

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Marshall Wins Texas Municipal League Excellence Award

Click here to see a video of the presentation

[Marshall, Texas] The 2020 Texas Municipal League Municipal (TML) Excellence Awards seeks out merit annually in five categories: City Spirit, management innovations, communication programs, public safety, and public works.  An independent panel of judges with considerable municipal government experience reviewed all applications on the innovation, achievement of the goal, long-term value to the city, and the project utilized in other cities.

On October 14, 2020, TML hosted the Opening Ceremony to their 2020 Virtual Annual Conference. Mayor Brown and a small group of city employees viewed the announcement of the City of Marshall taking home the state-wide 2020 TML Excellence Award for City Spirit with a population under 25,000. The award highlights any citywide effort to address a city need and supported by broad-based city efforts. In 2020, TML recognized the historic restoration of Memorial City Hall Performance Center.

In 1907, Marshall City Hall was an architectural wonder designed by Page Brothers of Austin, Texas, and built by J.H. Reddick of Fort Smith, Arkansas, for $42,000. According to the Texas Historical Commission, the building “is an excellent example of an early 20th century Italian Renaissance Revival government building.”  Due to faulty wiring beneath the stage, a massive fire swept through the building on November 4, 1923.  It would take a bond issue and five years before the building would stand again. Since World War I had recently ended, the Marshall City Commissioners renamed the building “Memorial City Hall.” They dedicated the four-story building to those who served in World War I.

With the city’s growth, Commissioners recognized the need for more space for the Police Department, Fire Department, and City Hall. Following the relocation of these departments in 1994 to more spacious buildings coupled with the completion of a modern convention center near significant thoroughfares and local hotels, Memorial City Hall eventually fell into disrepair.

City leaders and community members recognized Memorial City Hall could once again have a role in daily community life. Under the direction of the City Commission, city management, and city committees, a funding plan used significant community donations, HOT funds, and multiple fundraisers. Today, Memorial City Hall is an ornate and historically accurate 552-seat auditorium with meeting spaces and conference rooms.

A partnership developed between the City of Marshall and the Harrison County Historical Museum for a new museum within the Memorial City Hall Performance Center. The museum’s 2,900 square foot “Service and Sacrifice: Harrison County at War” exhibit uses the museum’s collection to tell the vivid stories of Harrison County residents who served in the military and the support they received at home. The museum exhibit spans from the Texas Revolution to the Wars on Terror. The exhibit’s masterpiece is a dog tag chandelier in the entryway to the building to honor those who have served.

For over a century, this building has been known by several names, faced complete demolition in a fire, and been rebuild to stand over historical events. With the recent preservation, Memorial City Hall Performance Center is again here to serve our citizens and visitors as a vibrant expression of our arts community in downtown Marshall for current and future generations.

““We have been able to take a project that early on experienced some challenges, made some tough decisions, pushed a little and ultimately complete it in a relatively short amount of time. It is now an award-winning effort that will now be an asset for residents and visitors alike for years to come,” shared City Manager Mark Rohr.

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Letter To The Editor

To the Editor:

In the upcoming election, city voters will be asked to vote on referendums A through Q Referendum A is renewal of the current street maintenance tax, which provides a needed source of funds for street maintenance. Referendum proposals B through Q are amendments to the city charter. Each referendum item is carefully worded to encourage and lead the voter into voting yes, by presenting the item with favorable language, and doesn’t completely or fully explain the consequences if passed.  

I’ll be the first to admit that our current charter is dated and needs improvement, or even replacement, and proposals B and C are improvements to the current charter. However, the charter revisions proposed, D through Q, are not what we need. 

The Charter to the city, is like the Constitution to the U.S. The Charter is our city’s most important document. It sets forth how our government works, and establishes how city government operates and is managed. It basically authorizes and governs how essential city services are provided, such as how police and fire protection, ambulance, water, and sewer, streets, parks, zoning and other ordinances are managed and funded through fees and taxation.

More importantly, the Charter sets forth how the elected governing body (commissioners or council members) and city management interact. The purpose of the city commission (city council) is to serve as a legislative body and to exercise oversight of city government.

This is why I, along with others, have strong reservations about the charter amendment proposals.  It’s not just what the proposed charter amendments say, but also what they don’t say, and what hasn’t been plainly told to the public.

Much of the amended charter defers to what is allowed by state law, which can be very liberal in terms of what is permitted. This is so that home rule cities, like Marshall, can adopt their own guidelines and criteria of what is permissible.

In this case, the referendum amendments essentially create a strong city manager – weak council form of governance, and eliminate certain checks and balances in our current charter. Our current charter has a commission – city manager form of governance, with greater oversight authority resting in the commission, and therefore citizen voters. This leads to more transparency and accountability, an important check and balance on city governance.

Below are a few key points of concern that I have with the charter amendment proposals. My concerns are based upon experience and problems encountered in serving twelve years as a mayor and commissioner.

1.  The new charter amendments change the city form of organization from a commission to a city council. In so doing, it unnecessarily takes away some of the oversight functions, and limits the authority of the newly formed city council. 

2.  Under the present charter, department heads are hired by the city manager, with the consent of the city commission. Under the new charter amendments, consent of the council is not required. This eliminates a key oversight function that voters expect of their elected officials. Under the proposed amendments, this important check and balance is eliminated.

3.  Under our present charter and by precedent and tradition, the city secretary and finance director are one and the same, and are hired by the commission. Under the new proposed charter amendments, the city secretary is hired by the council, and the finance director is hired by the city manager, without approval of the council. This means all financial information presented to council and to the public, will flow through the filter of the city manager. This presents an untenable situation in terms of oversight, transparency and accountability. Under the proposed amendments, this important check and balance is eliminated.

4. Under the proposed amended charter, the public will expect the elected council to be able to exercise fiscal and managerial oversight of the city, but the council will not have the direct authority to effectively exercise that oversight. And, with a non-cooperative city management, council members would essentially be relegated only to the limited and untimely type of information they could get through a FOIA request.

5.  The term limits of city council members will change from two years to four years. This is bad, because too often members of the commission pass through office unqualified for the position, or simply aren’t interested in investing the time required to make good decisions. Four years is too long for them to hold office. Our present charter limits them to two years. Further, the proposed amendments undo the eight year term limits imposed by voters, and restarts the eight year term limits for every sitting commissioner. Those who are about to be term limited, will get another eight year run on the council.

6. The new charter proposals permit the filling of vacancies on the commission by appointment of the commission, in lieu of waiting for a special election to fill the vacancy. This politicizes the appointment of council members, – something our present charter doesn’t permit. 

7. The proposed amendments have a newly added feature. It provides for removal of a commissioner for unexcused absences. We’ve never had a problem with multiple absences, unless it involved a health issue. This provision is overreaching and harsh for a part time unpaid office. It politicizes determination of what is an excused absence, by giving the council the power to remove a council member on subjective grounds as to what is excused, and appoint a successor without benefit of a public election, effectively thwarting a previous public election.

8. The proposed charter amendments give broad authority to the new council to create debt, and levy any associated tax or fee increases, without voter approval – eliminating another important check and balance.

9.  The new charter removes commission oversight authority of the police department, and places it solely under the city manager’s oversight. In the past we had a police investigation being stifled by city management, which never would have come to light but for the police chief’s ability under the current charter to bring it to the attention of the commission, without fear of losing his job. Under the proposed amendments, this important check and balance is eliminated.  

10. For ordinances, including changes in zoning ordinances, the time for public notice is shortened. Ordinances will be passed on the first reading instead of the currently required second reading. Second readings are usually two weeks later, giving more time for public awareness and response. Under the proposed amendments, this important check and balance is eliminated.

There is a difference between micromanaging and exercising simple oversight. These are some of the key points, which I feel make this a bad charter, in terms of the council’s ability to exercise adequate oversight, and to hold government accountable to the voters. We need to scrap these proposals, go back and invest the time, with qualified charter commission members, to carefully and thoughtfully write a new charter. 

Vote “No” D through Q.

In the meantime – an old charter is better than a bad charter. 

Sincerely,

Ed Smith

Former mayor and commissioner

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Dying in a Leadership Vacuum

Editorial from The England Journal of Medicine

Covid-19 has created a crisis throughout the
world. This crisis has produced a test of leadership.
With no good options to combat a novel
pathogen, countries were forced to make hard
choices about how to respond. Here in the
United States, our leaders have failed that test.
They have taken a crisis and turned it into a
tragedy.

The magnitude of this failure is astonishing.
According to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems
Science and Engineering,1 the United States
leads the world in Covid-19 cases and in deaths
due to the disease, far exceeding the numbers in
much larger countries, such as China. The death
rate in this country is more than double that of
Canada, exceeds that of Japan, a country with a
vulnerable and elderly population, by a factor of
almost 50, and even dwarfs the rates in lowermiddle-
income countries, such as Vietnam, by a
factor of almost 2000. Covid-19 is an overwhelming
challenge, and many factors contribute to its
severity. But the one we can control is how we
behave. And in the United States we have consistently
behaved poorly.

We know that we could have done better.
China, faced with the first outbreak, chose strict
quarantine and isolation after an initial delay.
These measures were severe but effective, essentially
eliminating transmission at the point where
the outbreak began and reducing the death rate
to a reported 3 per million, as compared with
more than 500 per million in the United States.
Countries that had far more exchange with China,
such as Singapore and South Korea, began intensive
testing early, along with aggressive contact
tracing and appropriate isolation, and have ….

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Community and Economic Director Wes Morrison resigns from city

[Marshall, Texas, October 1, 2020]

Last week Marshall’s community and economic director Wes Morrison sent in his resignation letter for his position with the city.

Morrison’s last day with the city will be Oct. 13, and city spokesperson Stormy Nickerson said that a posting for the job position was posted on the city’s website on Tuesday this week.

“We wish Mr. Morrison well in his future,” Nickerson said.

Morrison said that the decision to leave the city was not easy for him, but that he knows it is the best decision for his career and his future.

“Marshall will always be my hometown, I am thankful that I had the opportunity to be a part of accomplishing some great things that moved the city forward over the past six years,” Morrison said.

According to his letter of resignation, Morrison will be accepting a position in another community that is seeing exceptional growth.

“I feel that it is the best time for me to move on to the next chapter,” Morrison said. “I look forward to coming back to visit and watching Marshall continue to prosper.”

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State Senate Candidate, District 1, Audrey Spanko, in Marshall

State Senate Candidate, District 1, Audrey Spanko, kicks off 16-County District 1 Road Trip at Harrison County Democratic headquarters in Marshall on October 1

State Senate Candidate, District 1, Audrey Spanko, kicks off 16-County District 1 Road Trip at Harrison County Democratic headquarters in Marshall on October 1 Audrey Spanko, Democratic State Senate Candidate, District 1, will kick off her “Texas Senate District 1 Road Trip” at the Harrison County Democratic Headquarters, located at 213 West Austin Street in downtown Marshall, on Thursday, October 1 at 1:00pm—3:00pm.

Ms. Spanko is the Democratic Senate candidate running against Republican incumbent State Senator Bryan Hughes and the event in Marshall is the kick-off event in a road trip will be making to the 16 counties in District 1, in the next 12 days to encourage people to register to vote before the October 5 deadline and to encourage voters to vote early when the polls open in Texas on October 13.

The event in Marshall is designed to provide members of our local community to have an opportunity to meet the candidate and for Ms. Spanko to answer any questions that community members might have about the issues facing East Texas.

Audrey Spanko is a licensed social worker and advocate. She is from Mineola and has two degrees in social work from the University of Texas. For roughly a decade, she has worked for nonprofits helping families seeking medical care and basic needs support, and from 2016-2019 she worked in child abuse prevention for the Department of Family and Protective Services. While finishing classes for her masters degree, she served as an advocacy intern during the 2019 Texas legislative session. It was this experience and all that she witnessed while working as a social worker in Texas that inspired her to run for Texas State Senate.

The event is also designed to provide a continued opportunity for citizens of Harrison County who are not yet registered to vote to register before the voter registration deadline.

“We’ve had a very successful voter registration campaign in Harrison County and we’re continuing to encourage community members who are not yet registered to get registered to vote before the registration deadline on Monday, October 5,” shared Maxine Golightly, chairman of the Harrison County Democratic Party. “It’s important that people make sure they are registered so they can vote in this critical election.”

The event will be held in the backyard of the Democratic headquarters at 213 West Austin so that people can enjoy the gorgeous fall weather and to provide for social distancing. The Harrison County Democratic Headquarters is open every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 11am—2:00pm.

Volunteers staff the headquarters for those wishing to register to vote, as well as those wishing to obtain campaign signs, along with information about the early voting schedule in Harrison County, the Democratic candidates, and the issues facing East Texans and Americans. If these times are not convenient, persons are encouraged to call Maxine Golightly at (903) 908- 0521 or Christina Anderson at (903) 938-8373 to make an appointment and they or another volunteer will arrange to meet the person at the headquarters at an appointed time.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the Democratic Party wishing to take all measures to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, the Democratic headquarters follows all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for social-distancing and wearing masks. If a person does not have a mask and wishes to visit the headquarters, a mask will gladly be provided.

Early voting begins on Tuesday, October 13 at seven locations in Harrison County and runs through Friday, October 30, 2020. Information about specific times and locations for early voting are available at the Democratic headquarters or at the Harrison County Elections Office at 415 East Burleson Street.

The Harrison County Democratic Party will host another “Meet the Candidate and Voter Registration” event on Saturday, October 3 at 2:00pm-4:00pm in the backyard of the Harrison County Democratic headquarters, featuring Judge Staci Williams, who grew up in Marshall and is a candidate for the Texas Supreme Court. More information about that event will be provided in a separate news release.

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Anxiety, Stress, Depression

By George Smith

Anxiety.

Stress.

Low-grade depression, even.

In my professional and personal lives, I have experienced all three emotions or physical manifestations at some point. But I have never had these feelings at once and never with the intensity I am experiencing at this pivotal moment in my life.

My country, your country, is being ripped to shreds, its culturural, political and emotional fabric cut, slashed, torn into divisive slices that prohibit uninhibited, astute and perceptive information exchange.

Pure and simple: The United States
is as divided over the direction this country should take as during the Vietnam war or getting to point of the division experienced during the Civil War.

Do you see the ideological differences common in every county under every form of government widening into an unbridgeable abyss as I do? Or is it just me and my eternal optimistic outlook on life hitting a dark spot in my universe and feeling trapped in a wormhole of uncertain and disbelief?

For most of my life I have been a disciple of the Pollyanna principle. It is the tendency for people to remember pleasant items more accurately than unpleasant ones.

Research indicates that at the subconscious level, the mind tends to focus on the optimistic; while at the conscious level, it tends to focus on the negative.  To my way of thinking, and with an exaggerated way of always feeling like “The Little Engine That Could,” I look forward to each day simply KNOWING the sun will come up tomorrow.

Little Orphan Annie. That has been me.

Now, not so much. With insomnia a regular visitor, I wake up to a smoky fog of dread. What fresh hell has been fostered upon us during the night? How many more fellow countrymen have died because of an error in judgment, ignorance and/or abject stupidity in managing the pandemic? What new social media tweet will further divide the country? What self-serving statement by which elected official will get applause from one clique and raised blood pressure from those in opposition?

To quote the late Rep. Elijah Cummings: “We are better than this.”

Are we? The question begs an answer.

Are we really?

Come on, Pollyanna! We’re better than this.

Aren’t we?

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Marshall Burglary Suspect in Custody

[Marshall, Texas, September 2, 2020]

At approximately 9:10 am on Monday, September 1, 2020, the Marshall Police Department Emergency Communications received a 911 call from the Fairfield Inn at 105 West Interstate 20 in Marshall. The caller alerted authorities that an individual had committed a theft from the hotel register and shoved the pregnant clerk while committing the theft.  The suspect’s use of force to commit the theft changed the charge from theft to robbery.

Detectives investigating this case had knowledge of a similar theft at the Holiday Inn & Express & Suites at 500 Interstate 20 East in Marshall which occurred on Friday, August 28, 2020. This theft resulted in a warrant being issued for the arrest of the identified suspect, Mr. Glenn Earl Johnson.

The suspect in the Fairfield Inn robbery fled from Marshall Police Patrol Officers and was apprehended after a brief pursuit. He was positively identified as Glenn Earl Johnson and is now custody for both crimes.

The Marshall Police Department mission is to preserve public safety and quality of life within the City of Marshall, to respond effectively to the changing needs of the community, and to promote mutual respect between the Police Department and the people we serve.

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