Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Texas newspapers:
The Dallas Morning News. June 10, 2019.
Amid the chaos and clutter, what can be heard across Dallas are the roar of chainsaws as people across the city cut and clear and clean their way out of what Mother Nature has left behind.
Amid this mess of felled trees and crushed cars and, tragically, the loss of life, what we also see are neighbors gathering together, volunteering to help each other drag branches to the curb or pry open garage doors or check on the people who perhaps have no one to check on them.
We see emergency crews — those who work maintain our power lines and smaller, mom-and-pop shops of plumbers, tree trimmers and electricians — turning out in force in the heat and humidity to secure the streets and to get the power flowing again.
If there is a lesson in this, it may be one that is a little more hopeful than we might have feared before the storm system swept through. Yes, we are often a country at loggerheads with itself, but we are also a community, one that stands together when it matters.
This storm won't resolve long-standing policy debates. And we don't subscribe to the economic theory that suggests all the shattered glass, broken trees and downed power lines will be a net gain for the city.
Even as the storm will spur some economic activity, the gains result from real and even traumatic loss. But what we do believe about this storm is that it reaffirms what we know about our neighbors: That there is a basic goodness that resides in the people of North Texas.
Yes, there were tragic results from the storm. Yet there are also neighbors talking to each other over fallen fences, lending a hand and a heart for the destroyed heritage trees and rallying their neighborhoods.
There is a sense of common purpose, at least for a day, across our community as we step out and gaze upon ancient oaks that finally gave way and young trees that won't now record decades of history after being uprooted by high winds.
We need to hold on to that warmth in the coming days, as our patience wears with repairs to power lines and street lights. Let's go a little slower and be a little kinder throughout the week.
In the meantime, go out and take pictures of those broken tree limbs, marvel at the close calls as trees now rest inches from the corner of the house or the bumper of a car. And commiserate with neighbors who sustained direct hits. As we do these things we build shared experiences with others who persevere through the sudden extremes in weather that mark our community.
We will begin again, and we are beginning again now.
Houston Chronicle. June 10, 2019.
We sincerely hope you can read to the end of this editorial before the Chronicle reports another Houston-area drowning. The last two weeks have brought an epidemic of children's deaths and water-related injuries. Consider the following:
A 16-year-old boy drowned Sunday while playing catch in a marina in northeast Harris County. The boy, who was visiting from California, went missing when he hit a deep spot in the water at Magnolia Garden Park. He couldn't swim and wasn't wearing a life jacket.
A 5-year-old boy died Sunday, nearly two days after what Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls called a drowning incident in southwest Katy.
Also on Sunday, a 3-year-old child was hospitalized after being pulled from a swimming pool in Montgomery County.
The week before, during the Memorial Day weekend, four children drowned while unattended in Harris and Fort Bend County pools. Among the deaths was a 3-year-old boy who fell into a pool at a Sugar Land apartment complex as his family barbecued nearby.
In 2019 so far, at least 34 children under the age of 17 have drowned in Texas, according to Tiffani Butler, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Health Services. That agency not only tracks the grim statistics but also investigates the incidents for "neglectful supervision." Butler's mantra for parents and caregivers is: "Watch your children at the pool. Don't take a book to read, and don't have your music turned up too loud. A child drowning is so quiet."
Remember: Drowning children are rarely able to yell for help or flail their arms.
According to a study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 389 children under the age of 15 drowned in pools and hot tubs in 2016. Most of the deaths, 74%, involved children under age 5. In addition to drowning, the CPSC researchers who focused on children younger than 15 found the years 2016 through 2018 saw about 6,600 emergency room visits related to pool or spa injuries annually.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says from 2005 to 2014, there was an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings in the U.S. — about 10 deaths per day. An additional 332 people died from drowning in boat-related incidents.
Nikki Fleming, who is leader of the Pool Safety campaign, sponsored by the CPSC, told HealthDay News that three-quarters of all drownings in pools or spas (which include hot tubs and Jacuzzis) happen at home. June is the most dangerous month.
Organizations such as the YMCA, the American Red Cross and the Texas Drowning Prevention Alliance conduct community outreach on water safety, swimming lessons and CPR training. Information is readily available on their websites.
Seth Huston, head coach of the Rice University swimming team, notes that a child can drown in a matter of seconds. He offered a few tips to keep children safe around water, even in the shallow end, this summer.
Stay vigilant yourself, or make sure that another responsible adult is supervising constantly. Cut out distractions.
Make sure that even young children know how to swim. Pre-K is not too early for lessons.
Never become too comfortable around water, especially at lakes and rivers. Steep unexpected drop-offs mean that a single step could be the difference between waist-high water and being submerged.
Amarillo Globe-News. June 11, 2019.
Texas Tech Red Raiders ... National Champions.
We like the sound of that following the Red Raider track team's exciting triumph over the weekend at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in which Tech captured its first men's athletics national title at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin. Officially, the Red Raiders finished with 60 points in literally outdistancing runner-up Florida and its 50 points.
Program architect Wes Kittley has fashioned one of the most consistently competitive programs in the country since arriving in Lubbock almost 20 years ago after building another nationally renowned track program at Abilene Christian. Since taking the Tech reins, Kittley has regularly produced all-Americans and Olympians as well as seven Big 12 Conference titles.
Over the weekend, Tech added the biggest prize of all to its trophy case. It marked the latest installment in what has been a remarkably successful athletic year for Tech. The best-known highlights include the men's basketball team reaching the national championship game two months ago, and the baseball program securing its fourth College World Series berth in six years on Sunday.
For the moment, though, the spotlight belongs to a track and field program enjoying a collegiate athletic pinnacle not reached in these parts since the Lady Raiders' NCAA women's basketball championship in 1993. As was the case then, it took a team effort in Austin to propel to the mountaintop.
Divine Oduduru collected two individual NCAA titles, taking the 100- and 200-meter sprints, and Duke Kicinski prevailed in the discus throw. Overall, the Raiders' depth was essential as 11 athletes scored in eight individual events, and the Tech sprint-relay team also scored at a meet that included a half-dozen school-record performances, one of which came from Canyon High School product Norman Grimes Jr., who set a Tech mark in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 48.71 (fifth-best in the world and worth eight points).
The inspired efforts paved the way for Tech to become the first Big 12 team to win the NCAA men's outdoor title since 2011, according to our story.
The Raiders have looked like something special for some time now, boasting a strong and talented roster of competitors that included Odururu and fellow sprinter Andrew Hudson; Odaine Lewis, Charles Brown and Justin Hall in the jumps, Brandon Bray and Drew McMichael in pole vault and Vincent Crisp and Jonah Koech in the 800. As is the case with championship-caliber athletes, they pushed each other to strive for excellence every day.
"It just becomes contagious," Kittley said in our story. "Those guys were tired of losing. They were tired of being ranked high and not getting it done. I saw it. The switch came on about the time of the Big 12, of 'Let's get this done, guys.'"
And so they did.
Winning a championship in sports at any level is exceedingly difficult work. It is the result of countless hours of preparation, commitment, and dedication on the part of athletes and their coaches. Even then, a lot of little things have to go right along the way, and often, some of these little things are out of the team's control.
Be that as it may, the Raiders kept their eyes on the goal and walked away with the prize. We congratulate them on this great achievement — the most special part of a special Red Raider athletic year — so far.