January 1, 2018
By Sandi Argo
Hello, and Happy New Year to everyone that reads this. Once again the world celebrated the end of one year and the fresh start of another. For many, the transition was brought in with the kaboom of fireworks and toasts with champagne (or perhaps koolaide in fancy glasses), for others it was a warm pair of fuzzy socks and sweat pants, watching fireworks on the tv. Whatever it ended up being for you, I hope it was good. I know that a lot of folks are dealing with the loss of loved ones. We went to a wonderful memorial of a dear friend on Friday. It celebrated a life well lived, filled with wonderful memories of the one we lost too soon. My family also lost a loved one on Christmas Eve. My Aunt Jean was one of the most kind and loving people I have ever known. She would have given all she had to someone in need, without judging and without hesitation. She, too, was an example of a life well lived. She too, will be missed by so many.
2017 was, like the 2016 years before it, a year of change and a year of discovery and a year of excitement (mixed among the days of the mundane). Whatever it was to you, I hope that the next 365 will find you healthy, prosperous and joyful. Especially joyful. In 2017 we ushered in a new leader, in a country divided right down the middle. It has been almost a year, and although the tension seems to have eased somewhat, the division is still there. My hopes are that in the next 364 days this country will somehow realize that things work much better when we work together.
According to the National Weather Service Climatology, in 2017 there were no reported tornadoes in Jack County, none in Wise County, one in Denton County, and none in Young, PaloPinto or Parker counties. Thats a stat that I would like to see stay the same or lessen (for our friends that went through the one in Denton county). Unfortunately, hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria changed parts of our state, and other parts of our country, forever. The true spirit of compassion was overwhelmingly seen as people gathered together to help, in any way they could. Differences were put aside, and that brought good from something bad. We also experienced a solar eclipse, and some earthquakes, proving that nature still has the upper hand on us and we really won’t ever figure it all out.
New bills were passed in the 85th Texas Legislature. 1252 of them to be exact! Among the most publicized is the ban on texting and driving.
House Bill 62, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, prohibits drivers on public roads from using a “wireless communication device” (i.e., a cell phone) to read, write, or send an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle.
Texting and driving in Texas will be punishable by a fine of $25-$99, which raises to $100-$200 for any subsequent offenses. This new law will preempt all “texting and driving” ordinances previously passed by cities, but does not preempt city ordinances which go beyond texting while driving (i.e., hands-free ordinances).
The law also states that if a car accident caused by texting and driving results in the death or serious bodily injury of another person, the offender can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine (not to exceed $4,000 and confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year) in addition to any other charges/punishments. The ban went into effect September 1st.
The world of entertainment lost many big names in 2017. Della Reese, Tom Petty, Monty Hall, Don Williams, and the one that broke my heart…Troy Gentry (of Montgomery Gentry). Many other names on this list, some made us laugh, some made us cry. Some did both.
The Houston Astros won the World Series, the Patriots won the Super Bowl and Martin Truex Jr drove away with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship. It was a pretty exciting year in the world of sports.
True, we don’t know what the future holds for any of us. All we can do is roll out of bed each day with the hope of doing something good. Be the light. Change the things that we can change, don’t worry about the things we can’t. In 364 short days from now we will be looking back on 2018, wondering “how did it go by so fast?” However 2018 ends up for you, I hope it is memorable. We plan to be there along the way, bringing you stories and news (yes, Virginia, there is a difference). We appreciate our readers that have supported, encouraged and given us the strength to go on, and look forward to our 3rd year. Here’s to you, and a whole New Year!
Thanks to the following for their support in 2017!