June 12, 2006

Vacation Bible School begins today at the First United Methodist Church. I remember back in
the 1960's attending the yearly VBS at the Lake Jackson Church of Christ.  It was one of the
more enjoyable of their activities.  They would give a prize for bringing fellow adolescents to
enjoy the classes and merriment.  You got a bronze-colored circular pin (looked like a bottle
cap from the era of ten-cents sodas) for every three (or maybe it was five) kids you brought.  
On Friday they would give a grand prize to the person who brought the most guests.  One
year the prizewinner brought 223 people.  I got to thinking, this is an average of 44 3/5 youth
per day, and since it is doubtful he brought exactly 44 3/5 youth per day for five straight days,
there was probably at least one day when the count reached 50.  Since the prizewinner was
eight or nine years old at the time, I assume his mother most likely provided the transport that
day of the fifty guests to and from the church.  Each session began at 9:30 a.m., and even
assuming the mother was driving a brand-new 1965 Ford Country Squire station wagon (the
mom-mobile of the day) and could carry seven just-awakened eight year olds per trip, it would
take the mother a minimum of seven trips.  Assuming further that the  VBS attendees lived in
separate locations throughout Lake Jackson and each trip took thirty minutes to accomplish,
this would mean the mother began her daily excursion at 6:00 a.m..  Now that is what I would
describe as true motherly dedication, as the grand prize was a bigger bronze-colored circular
pin that someone had written "Grand Champion" on with a permanent marker.

Medical News of the Day:
Seventeen Beers a Day Keeps the Doctor Away


June 11, 2006

The 2006 Kosse Homecoming was a success once again.  For a town of 500 residents, Kosse
always seems to excel.  I remember when I lived in a neighboring community of similar size,
Kosse was looked upon as an example of what a town could be.  Not a bad reputation to have.

I wrote an editorial commentary for the Kosse Courier tonight and thought I would post it here
also. It is something worth considering.

Many of the streets in Kosse are in long-term need of repair and upkeep.  They are primarily
the cross-streets from Narcissus to Myrtle to Highway 14, and also many west of Highway 14.   
I know the dilemma of trying to prioritize city needs on limited budget resources.  There are
always going to be more needs and desires than available funds.  As a business owner, I also
am an advocate of reasonable  tax rates.  So the question arises as to when it is appropriate
to increase revenue in order to pay for a necessary need. It is my opinion that the time is
appropriate to pay for street repairs in Kosse.

There are a number of ways in which revenue can be increased by a city government.  One
way is to turn the town into a speedtrap.  This is a bad idea as it invokes very negative and
hostile feelings toward that community.  There is a town not far from here where this is the
case, and the reputation of the town has greatly suffered.  A second way to increase revenue
is by raising city property taxes.  This is also a bad idea as it would impact future community
growth from prospective homebuyers and businesses.  The City of Kosse property tax rate is
reasonable at the moment and needs to remain so.

The most attractive possibility for increasing city revenue is raising the city sales tax rate from
1% to 2%, bringing it in line with municipalities that represent over 96% of the state's
population.  According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Kosse received
$28,939.37 in the year 2005 from taxable sales within the Kosse city limits. (
Click here to see
Kosse Sales Tax Information from 1992-2005.)  If our city sales tax rate had been the Texas
norm, Kosse's share would have been $57,878.74.  The City of Kosse's annual budget could
earmark these additional revenues for street repair and maintenance, and significantly
improve our currently pothole-riddled side streets.  Keep in mind that this would be in addition
to the amount now spent on street maintenance, so the effect would most likely be exponential.

Reasons why this is the best possible revenue enhancing method:

1.The impact on  Kosse residents would be minimized due to a majority of the increase being
paid by those who live outside of the city limits. Just as you pay the City of Marlin an additional
1% each time you shop at Wal-Mart, their residents would reciprocate by paying the City of
Kosse an additional 1% each time they purchase a taxable item in one of our local
businesses. This is a fair trade-off.

2. It is appropriate that Kosse level the economic playing field with the other 96% of Texans.  
Quality of life issues such as good streets affect our residents on a daily basis while traversing
our town.  When cars bottom out each time they drive into a pothole, not only is it doing
damage to the vehicle but also to the reputation of the town.  

3. Our city is on the cusp of a predicted growth spurt.  If this indeed materializes, we need to
project a positive image to prospective residents and businesses.  Many of our streets do not
currently reflect this positive image.  If a newcomer has the choice of a number of towns in
which to live (which they do), many would not choose to purchase a house located on a
potholed street.

4. This issue would ultimately be decided by a vote of the Kosse citizens.  If the people
disagree with the issue then they could vote against it.  If it is defeated the status quo would
be maintained and Kosse would remain a remarkable community.  If it is passed then we would
be a remarkable community with much better streets.

Most Tiresome Headline of the Day:
It's Past Time to Head to the Altar


June 10, 2006

Today is the zenith of the 2006 Kosse Homecoming. There are enough events scheduled to
fill your day and night with a plethora of amusing activities. The street dance will be held
downtown and is usually well-attended. While public dancing is not one of my greater interests
or talents, I do get to hear the music. The band that is scheduled to play, Night Shift, is a
veteran of the Kosse Street Dance scene and quite good.  I was glad to hear they were
scheduled.  I remember many years ago a band was performing who had the perfect ability to
sing and play slightly off-key, which is generally more grating to one's auditory senses than
being totally off-key.  (Then it simply sounds like excruciatingly bad harmony.)  Anyway, that
night I was selling product (primarily liquid) at my grocery store and it got so bad I had to close
the door.  Of course the band's speakers were about ten feet from the door so it was to no
avail.  Oh well, it was still better than the music some of my more youthful employees listen to.  
Talk about an auditory ordeal.

We had a good sales day at the cafe.  Needless to say, events such as our annual
homecoming generate a great deal of commercial activity within our community.  In a future
blog I will describe our busiest day in history.  It involved the evacuation of the Houston area
under threat of Hurricane Rita in 2005.

Best Video of the Day:
And you Thought Houston Traffic was Bad


June 9, 2006

Homecoming day in Kosse has arrived and it is supposed to be 100 degrees for the next three
days. Should be good, albeit hot, weather for all the activities.  I always enjoy the parade and
seeing the various floats.  There are some very professionally-done floats each year and it
has become quite an honor to win the various category awards. I remember one in particular
that was done a few years ago by De's Parts and Service.  If I recall correctly it had a tropical
theme.  As it passed by there was a fleeting moment I thought I was in Maui, but then a bunch
of horses passed by and I remembered I was in Kosse.  Call me strange but I would rather be
in Kosse.

I keep the news channels on while working at my office and the primary story of the day
involves the death of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.  I doubt many American tears will be shed over
his demise at the hands of two 500-pound laser-guided bombs. The only person I heard
saying he was not pleased about this was the father of Nicholas Berg. I found this kind of
unusual. (You may recall Berg was the man who was beheaded on video by Al-Zarqawi. I saw
it on the internet and it was quite gruesome.)

Strangest Headline of the Day:
Woman Pummels Dog-Breeder with Dead Chihuahua


June 8, 2006

I decided to start this blog tonight. Do not know why beyond creating a forum for some of my
thoughts and observations on Kosse and things that affect Kosse.

Had a conversation yesterday with Brook Valls which was quite interesting. This was the first
time I had ever talked to him and I found him to be an interesting conversationalist who has
already proven himself an asset to Kosse.  For those of you who do not know Mr. Valls, he
and his wife bought the Mason house on the outskirts of town going south.  This very large
Victorian structure is a Kosse landmark to travelers who drive through or visit our community.  
Brooks is still working in Houston and escapes to Kosse when able.  He and his wife hope to
move here permanently in a couple of years.  Brooks is the creator of the Kosse Chamber of
Commerce website,
www.kossetexas.com.  If you have not looked at this site it would behoove
you to do so. Brooks donated his time and effort to creating it and he deserves the town's
gratitude. Came to find out he worked with my late uncle, Virgil Rasco, at a Groesbeck feed
store in the 1980's and knows my mother and other family members.

Homecoming 2006 begins in earnest tomorrow evening.  This always brings a large number of
people to town, and this year there are more associated events than usual.  It is supposed to
be in the high-90's and dry this weekend, so this should allow for all events to proceed as
planned.

Best Headline of the Day:
Iraqi PM: Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi Killed
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