Commentary

Fri
04
Jan

From A to Zowie: Richard says, 'Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen'

Richard Zowie, a Fredericksburg resident, bids farewell to the Marble Falls area community in his final column for Highland Lakes Newspapers.

 

 

 

By Richard Zowie

If Don Meredith were still alive and working on television, he'd probably have this to say about my career in journalism: “Turn out the lights, the party's over.”

All good things must end, and that includes what I like to jokingly call “my so-called career in journalism.” My final day with the Highlander is today, Friday, Dec. 28. I am “retiring” from news rooms to work in broadcasting and to pursue freelance writing, blogging, and my dream job: fiction writing.

I began working as a journalist, a mix of full-time, part-time and freelancing, in 2000, after I left the U.S. Army. It was a huge risk as it meant taking a major paycut from my military job.

Fri
14
Dec

Press Play: In line or online, It's Christmas time!

Paying homage to Clement Clarke Moore's "Christmas Poem," Connie's column describes the hustle and bustle of the shopping season, while offering a modern rendition of the classic literary piece.

 

 

By Connie Swinney

'Twas 12 days before Christmas and all through the town,

Not a creature was ready for what was to go down.

All I could see was a glazed look in their eyes.

Like a deer caught in headlights. No smile disguise;

 

“Are you ready for Christmas?” I say to be merry;

She turned with a jerk and a glare that was scary.

There's always a pause and a quizzical stare.

“Why no, Miss Connie!” How could I dare?

 

She gave me a nod as we shared nervous sighs;

Then on down the store aisle amidst toddler cries;

Wondering what drove us to wade through the crowds;

All the toys, electronics and clothing that we vowed.

 

The thoughts of the children all snug in their beds;

Stuffed animals and skateboards and new phones in their heads;

So with a cart full of items, to check out I go;

Whisking by carts that were moving too slow.

 

Fri
30
Nov

Rifles and gators and fur-wheelers, Oh my!

". . . And sitting on the western shore of Lake Buchanan is the community of Tow, another name I had to learn how to pronounce. It's not pronounced “Toe” like “Someone better call in a tow truck!” It's pronounced like the first three letters in the word “towel.” That's because it's named after two brothers, William and Wilson Tow, who settled in the area in the 1850s.." - Lew K. Cohn

 

 

 

 

“Hey, I've got a rifle I want you to advertise!” the caller said.

“A rifle?” I asked.

“No, not a rifle. A rifle. For a Gator” he said.

“You have a rifle made for an alligator?” I asked, not sure I heard correctly.

“No, there is no rifle. It's a rifle. You know, where you sell tickets and the person with the winning ticket gets a prize?”

“Oh, a raffle!” I said. “I misunderstood you.”

“That's what I've been saying. A rifle. For a Gator.”

“You're giving away an alligator?”

“No, a Gator. You know, a Mule?”

“Well which is it, an alligator or a mule? Those are two very different animals, plus I'm not sure you can sell tickets to give away an alligator in the state of Texas.”

“It's not an animal. It's a fur-wheeler.”

“A fur-wheeler? But, alligators and mules don't have fur! Wheels don't either!”

“No, dummy, not fur like animal fur. I mean the number “fur!”

Tue
23
Oct

Press Play: Discovering the salve that soothes the soul

One of the lessons of life reveals that, "Those who become mired in perceived impending crisis may spend much of their lives 'living in the wreckage of the future.'” ~Connie Swinney

 

 

 

By Connie Swinney

Sometimes life can bear down on one's soul.

Perhaps most strife can be boiled down to the fear of the unknown.

What will happen next? What if . . . ?

Those who become mired in perceived impending crisis may spend much of their lives “living in the wreckage of the future.”

To help navigate through these sometimes self-imposed life struggles, I follow a philosophy encapsulated in four words that I believe can PULL anyone through situations which may weigh heavily on the heart.

Perseverance

Understanding

Laughter

Wed
12
Sep

Understanding personality traits, individual perspectives

Eleven years ago, I decided to leave the comfy confines of community journalism for corporate America, taking a job with healthcare insurer Cigna in Denison, Texas, as a customer service representative.

Wed
29
Aug

Press Play: Call me cliché? I'm fine with that!

Connie Swinney
Staff Writer •

Did you hear “the newslady” works for The Highlander again? How cliché!

It's such a cliché but there's no other way to describe it. I've come full circle. Twenty years ago, I wrote for the paper-of-record overlooking a lake in a charming little town nestled in the hills.

Now in 2018, I again work for the paper-of-record in a charming “little” town . . . er . . . but not so little anymore.

Because several thousand more people.

Because a hotel now blocks much of the lake view.

Because one big bridge over Lake Marble Falls has turned into two.

Not-to-mention more stop lights than you can shake a stick at.

I digress.

For those who have lived here all their lives or at least for the last couple of decades, you may recall my tour of duty as a staff writer with The Highlander in 1998 and 1999.

Tue
05
Jun

What Richard would tell the 18-year-old version of himself

By Richard Zowie

This time of year for the newspaper, we’ve been busy with high school graduations. I took pictures of both Faith Academy’s and Marble Falls High School’s graduations. Both ceremonies took me back to 1991, when I and others from A.C. Jones (Beeville) High School wore black caps and gowns and braved the non-air conditioned Bee County Coliseum (now the Bee County Expo Center). Thank goodness neither our valedictorian nor our salutatorian both chose short speeches.

As the Flames and Mustangs received their diplomas, it made me think of my own life since high school.

At 18, my plans were to go to college, get a journalism degree, write fiction novels and by my forties be married with four kids.

Life has certainly not turned out as planned.

The newly-minted graduates have certainly received plenty of advice already. Here’s what advice 45-year-old Richard Zowie give to his 18-year-old self:

Fri
04
May

Costas decries 'click-bait' culture of modern media

Bob Costas speaks to UT students and faculty while giving the ninth annual Frank Deford Lecture in Sports Journalism at Moody College of Communications.

 

 

 

 

By Lew K. Cohn

Managing Editor

The Highlander

Few journalists have credentials as impressive as NBC sportscasting legend Bob Costas, so when the 66-year-old New York native speaks about the current state of news media and sports — as he did Monday at the University of Texas at Austin — people listen.

Costas was at the Moody College of Communications' Belo Center for New Media to give the ninth annual Frank Deford Lecture in Sports Journalism to a capacity crowd of students, staff and the public. I was privileged to have the opportunity not only to attend the lecture, but to ask Costas a question of my own and to speak with him briefly afterwards.

Costas — the only person to have ever won Emmys in news, sports and entertainment — told UT students and staff that he was “impressed by the facilities, by the faculty members I've met and by the students I've met” during his visit to the Forty Acres.

Fri
09
Mar

BCISD calls for safety help

By Alexandria Randolph

HLN Correspondent

Burnet Consolidated ISD officials are calling for state leadership and funding for security enhancements in response to school safety measures suggested by the Texas Education Agency.

While recent school safety drills were motivated by a the school shooting tragedy at Parkland, Fl., school safety and security has always been an issue of constant vigilance for BCISD, said Superintendent Keith McBurnett.

Wed
07
Feb

Reliving the improbable 'Hail Mary' pass

It only took 47 years plus, but Managing Editor Lew K. Cohn finally got to meet Roger Staubach at the 15th Annual Hill Country 100 Club Awards Banquet in Burnet on Jan. 18 and hear the story of the 'Hail Mary' pass from the legend himself.

 

 

 

Lew K. Cohn

Managing Editor

The Highlander

The year was 1975 and I was in kindergarten. My favorite NFL football team was the Dallas Cowboys and my favorite player, without a doubt, was the quarterback, No. 12, future Hall of Famer Roger Staubach. My family were staunch Cowboys supporters and had been since the team was first formed as an expansion team in 1960. Blankets, pillowcases, toboggan hats, even pajamas — if it was branded with the “star,” I most likely got it from my parents in the 1970s.

An event would happen that year that would have a lasting impact on my friends and me as Cowboy fans. Of course, I am talking about the famous “Hail Mary” pass from Staubach to Drew Pearson to win the NFC Divsional playoffs.

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