Author: admin

Social Media’s Challenge to Democracy

  I’ve been involved in politics for the better part of a lifetime, and have spoken at a lot of public meetings over the years. There’s one question, I think, that I’ve heard more than any other: “If I want to be an informed citizen, which sources of information should I consult?” For many years, I had a set answer for this. Read one or more of the respected national news sources, I’d respond: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the Financial Times, The Economist, etc. I’m not sure how good that answer was at the time, but I know for certain it would be woefully inadequate now. Younger people, in particular, get far more of their information from social media than from traditional news sources. The internet and social media have upended our expectations of what it means to be well informed. Platforms and websites that take advantage of online and mobile connectivity are like a fire hose, providing enormous quantities of information, opinion, news, statements, videos, images, analysis, charts, graphs — all of it instantly available. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other platforms have become the way many of our citizens communicate. They have become a force for mobilizing large groups of people to apply political pressure on short notice. The question is, what impact does this have on the public dialogue, and...

Read More

AgriLife Research looks at practicality of drone use in ranching

   They may not replace the pickup, horse or 4-wheeler, much less a good sheep dog, anytime soon, but a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist thinks drones have practical ranching applications that will expand in the near future. Dr. John Walker, resident director of research at San Angelo, said the small unmanned aircraft have gotten pretty popular recently and he wanted to explore their practical application in ranch settings. “So I went and bought one,” he said. “The first advice someone gave me, and it was good advice, was to buy a cheap one, a toy, and learn to fly it before buying an expensive one.” Dr. John Walker, Texas A&M AgriLife Research resident director at San Angelo, demonstrates moving a small group of lambs with a drone. (Texas A&M AgriLife Research photo by Steve Byrns) Walker said neophytes should plan to spend at least $1,000 or a bit more for a drone, as units in that price range have what is needed for any real practical application. But what can you do with one other than take aerial photos and video? “Right now, out of the box, you can use it to check things,” he said. “You can locate lost stock and eventually check fences and waterings. One of the neat things with the more expensive ones is you can program them to run a route, so if...

Read More

USDA Announces Availability of Additional Farm Loan Funding

  Reminds Lenders and Potential Borrowers of Small Business Administration Option WASHINGTON, Sept. 2, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini today announced that additional funding will be made available to assist more than 1,900 approved applicants who are awaiting farm operating loans. The funds, which were reprogrammed by FSA with the approval of Congress, will leverage up to $185 million in additional lending for direct and guaranteed farm operation loans and will allow the agency to address up to 30 percent of its projected shortfall of funds until the next federal fiscal year resumes on Oct. 1. “Some of our farming and ranching customers are experiencing challenges due to market conditions and have been on a wait list for up to 60 days, so this will help those applicants whose paperwork has been pending the longest period of time to obtain credit or restructure loans as needed,” said Dolcini.  “While the backlog in loan applications will grow between now and the end of the fiscal year, it is important for borrowers to continue to apply since we will process loans on a first-come-first-served basis based on the application date, once funding is replenished in fiscal year 2017.” FSA loan funds have been in higher demand than in past years. As a result, funding for FSA’s farm operating loans has been...

Read More

Movie Review: Sully

  “Sully” tells the story of eponymous pilot Chesley Sullenberger (Tom Hanks), who on January 15 2009, after a dual engine failure in midair, landed a large passenger aircraft in the middle of the Hudson River. The landing was rough, unconventional, and controversial, but it saved the lives of all 155 passengers and crew on board. Though there were many heroes that day, including First Officer Jeffrey Skiles (Aaron Eckhart), Sully was proclaimed the biggest hero of all. The film officially takes place a few days after the incident, as Sully is being hailed a hero, but is also facing an investigation from an inquiry board that seems unfairly antagonistic. He’s forced to relive the events of that day several times, and we are shown the incident three times in flashbacks. The first is interrupted by a cut to air traffic control, so we miss the most interesting parts. The second time is from the point of view of the passengers as they frightfully went through the near-death experience. And the third time is from Sully and Skiles’ point of view in the cockpit. I would have switched the second and third versions. Sully and Skiles are experts at keeping cool, which is certainly comforting, but it doesn’t make for the best movie climax. It’s that version where we see the passengers surviving and being rescued that makes for...

Read More

County Support Questioned: Fairfield Council Looks at Budgeting for Paid Fire Department

  “We are basically taking care of the entire county, and the county is not paying their fair share,” declared Fairfield Mayor Roy Hill during a recent budget workshop, concerning the monies received by the Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department. Several new items are being considered by the Fairfield City Council during budget talks these last several weeks, including street repair, animal control and an update to the kitchen at the Conference Center. At the top of the list is discussion of a paid Fire Department:  what it would look like and how the city might pay for it. According to Fire Chief Matt Foree, for the last several years, Freestone County Commissioners have voted to give each volunteer fire department a flat $10,000 a year. “You have a fire department with 25 calls a year.  They get $10,000,” says Chief Foree.  “We are already at 300 for the year.” Chief Foree relates that the county money is used for fuel, and they are normally out of money before the end of the year.  That is when the department begins to use private donations. There are 7 volunteer fire departments in Freestone County:  Butler, Dew, Fairfield, Southern Oaks, Streetman and Teague. They are partially supported through funds from government entities, such as the County or the City in which they reside.  Some also apply for various grants. The volunteer fire...

Read More

Download The Official Go Fairfield App

itunes button

google play button

Pin It on Pinterest