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REMINISCENT: A Shaggy Dog story

I grew up in Brinker, Texas, U.S.A., the Hub of the Universe, east of Sulphur Springs in Hopkins County, a community that had more characters per square mile than any other place in the world. Practical jokes abounded, and my dad’s stories of his growing up in Brinker kept us in tears of laughter. It was only after I was grown that I realized he was probably chief among the characters when he was at his prime. This is the story of one of his best pranks.

LARRY PHILLIPS: Grad requirements, fee changes among bills passed by Texas House

It has been reported that tens of thousands of students will not graduate from high school this year because of the failure to pass an end-of-course test, including many cases in which a student has completed all other required coursework. A high school diploma makes it much easier for a student to attend college, join the military, and qualify for jobs.


In the book of Acts (in chapters 3 and 4) there is a story about how Peter and John healed a lame beggar at the gate of the temple. He was sitting there, and asked for some spare change from Peter and John. Peter told him, “I don’t have any money, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus – walk!” Now there was no small fuss made when the man actually could get up and walk. The people around began to get excited, a crowd began to form, and this gave Peter the opportunity to preach Christ to the people. Instead of taking the glory for himself, he preached that they had crucified the Messiah, and that God wanted them to repent of their sin and believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Lord over everyone.

HEIDI MEANS: Why Trade Promotion Authority matters for Sherman, Texas

Texas is No. 1 — for the 13th straight year. Recent U.S. Commerce Department figures released for 2014 show the Lone Star State led the nation with goods exports worth $289 billion, up 3.4 percent from 2013, and representing 17.8 percent of all U.S. goods exported. International trade is vital to Texas, directly supporting 3 million jobs. Trade-related jobs grew 1.6 times faster than other employment in the state, and now represent one in every five jobs, according to the Trade Benefits America Coalition. A new bill in Congress would help expand and open markets for Texas products and services to reach the 95 percent of the world’s consumers outside the United States.

STOP SIGNS ARE FOREVER: Pot’s for the dogs

Watching the family canine descend into old age is a long, painful odyssey for many pets owners. Standing idly by while Fido licks his arthritic paws — unable to understand why they hurt and ignorant as to the uselessness of the only treatment he knows — can be every bit as frustrating as watching a grandparent struggle with dementia.

EDITORIAL: Free to decorate

For years, a Sherman teacher has adorned her personal workspace with things that are important to her. Of course, there are signs and posters throughout the classroom that are meant to encourage student learning and motivate. Around the teacher’s workspace, which is in the back of the room, you’ll find the files and papers she needs to do her work, drawings and notes from students, and a display of eight crosses she’s personally collected and used to adorn the area where she spends a large percentage of her waking hours.


It was 150 years ago that President Lincoln was shot, on the evening of April 14, 1865, and he died the next morning. Doris Kearns Goodwin, my favorite among the historians who have taught us most of what we know about our presidents, says if she had the chance to sit down with Mr. Lincoln, instead of asking him a question she would say, “Tell me a story.” That reminded me of how much I enjoyed hearing Lincoln stories told by Prof Jones, my mother’s father, a retired schoolteacher.

Texas Armed Services Scholarship opportunity

In 2009, the legislature passed House Bill 3452, which created the Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program. This program is designed to encourage students to participate in Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) programs at colleges. A student must meet specific eligibility criteria in order to receive an initial scholarship award, and must enter into a four-year commitment as a member of the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air Force National Guard, or as a commissioned officer in any branch of the armed services of the United States.

Contests and Promotions

The Wedding Expo
The Wedding Expo
Herald Democrat Wedding Expo 2015

STOP SIGNS ARE FOREVER: Change is in the win

I believe the United States Department of Education should be abolished. I believe no one living in Washington can effectively dictate local education policy in my town or any other. And I believe the Department’s $77 billion budget would be better spent if it were given to local school districts — that would be an extra $1,500 for every student in the United States.

LET’S REMINISCE: Sherman Hall’s second century begins

The Austin College building that was my second home for 40 years celebrated its 100th birthday last week . Sherman Hall was originally dedicated on April 8, 1915. The need for it arose in 1913 when a homesick young student from Oklahoma set fire to the principal administrative building, known as “Old Main.” Desiring to go home, he thought the way to bring that about was to destroy the building that provided all classrooms and labs, faculty and administrative offices, the chapel, and the library. Surely without those facilities, he reasoned, the college would have to shut down.

LARRY PHILLPS: House passes budget

Last week, I spoke about the budget process, and on Tuesday the House took up and debated the budget. After over 17 hours of debate, House Bill 1 was passed by a large majority early Wednesday morning. Now the bill will go to the Senate. The senators will make many changes to HB 1, which will then require the House to either approve all of those changes, or go to conference on the bill.

DONNA HUNT: Speaking of fighters, outlaws and telephones

The Oct. 4, 1925, issue of the Sunday Gazetteer in Denison carried a front page article about a brief visit by Jack Dempsey, champion prize fighter of the world. An article next to it told about The Denison News of September 9, 1877, reporting that the James Boys were in town. There was no connection between the two stories except that they were on the same newspaper front page.