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Latest from Ken Herman

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Herman: Taylor dealing with its train spotting problem
 Back in January 2017 one of my favorite columnists at this paper, reporting on an Amtrak trip, wrote this about the first stop north of Austin: “Bless Taylor’s heart,” I wrote, “the Amtrak view of the city isn’t what you’d call a chamber of commerce dream. The downtown view from the train features...

Posted: a day ago

Back in January 2017 one of my favorite columnists at this paper, reporting on an Amtrak trip, wrote this about the first stop north of Austin: “Bless Taylor’s heart,” I wrote, “the Amtrak view of the city isn’t what you’d call a chamber of commerce dream. The downtown view from the train features...
Herman: Robocalls, RVs and cushinons. Yes, cushinons.
 It’s odds and ends day. We’ll touch on robocalls and a knotty question for everybody’s favorite indicted Texas attorney general. And cushinons. Yes, “cushinons,” which are coming soon to an Austin neighborhood. Stay tuned to find out if a is an amusing French pastry, a tasty Asian appetizer or a nettlesome skin...

Posted: a day ago

It’s odds and ends day. We’ll touch on robocalls and a knotty question for everybody’s favorite indicted Texas attorney general. And cushinons. Yes, “cushinons,” which are coming soon to an Austin neighborhood. Stay tuned to find out if a is an amusing French pastry, a tasty Asian appetizer or a nettlesome skin...
Herman: The passing of an unelected Texas political icon
 The last time I saw Barbara Bush in person was in February 2016 in the West Running Brook Middle School cafeteria in Derry, N.H. The event was sort of sad and symbolic. A presidential candidacy was fading away, and with it a political dynasty as we’d known it through the presidencies of Barbara Bush’s husband and one of her sons...

Posted: 4 days ago

The last time I saw Barbara Bush in person was in February 2016 in the West Running Brook Middle School cafeteria in Derry, N.H. The event was sort of sad and symbolic. A presidential candidacy was fading away, and with it a political dynasty as we’d known it through the presidencies of Barbara Bush’s husband and one of her sons...
Herman: Why Lupe Valdez? Why Andrew White? Let’s have a debate
 While we’re talking about a Democratic gubernatorial runoff debate (something Lupe Valdez might be forced to talk about a lot unless and until she firmly agrees to do one), let’s take a look at a potential first question she and foe Andrew White might get in said debate. Valdez fielded it last week at a San Antonio campaign event...

Posted: 5 days ago

While we’re talking about a Democratic gubernatorial runoff debate (something Lupe Valdez might be forced to talk about a lot unless and until she firmly agrees to do one), let’s take a look at a potential first question she and foe Andrew White might get in said debate. Valdez fielded it last week at a San Antonio campaign event...
Herman: What’s next for Rosewood Courts?
 Dating back to the late 19th century (disclosure: columnist exaggeration), I’ve been giving you play-by-play coverage of the ongoing effort to replace East Austin’s historic/outdated Rosewood Courts public housing complex with something more appropriate for current and future residents. You know, like with central air and...

Posted: 8 days ago

Dating back to the late 19th century (disclosure: columnist exaggeration), I’ve been giving you play-by-play coverage of the ongoing effort to replace East Austin’s historic/outdated Rosewood Courts public housing complex with something more appropriate for current and future residents. You know, like with central air and...
Herman: Lupe Valdez says she’s willing to debate Andrew White
 I realized recently that I wasn’t quite sure where we are on whether there will be debates between Democratic gubernatorial runoff candidates Lupe Valdez and Andrew White. White has aggressively pushed for them. But I hadn’t heard from Valdez on the topic. So I headed to VFW Post 76 (the state’s oldest) in San Antonio for...

Posted: 9 days ago

I realized recently that I wasn’t quite sure where we are on whether there will be debates between Democratic gubernatorial runoff candidates Lupe Valdez and Andrew White. White has aggressively pushed for them. But I hadn’t heard from Valdez on the topic. So I headed to VFW Post 76 (the state’s oldest) in San Antonio for...
Herman: Ex-state and fed legislator seeks rare return to Texas Capitol
 Improbably, and most probably unknown to the two of them, Guy Morrison Bryan is Pete Gallego’s role model. Some of you remember former Rep. Gallego, D-Alpine, who served 11 terms in in the Texas House and one in the U.S. House until his constituents went thumbs down on him. Twice. Far fewer of you remember Bryan. And if you do, you&rsquo...

Posted: 11 days ago

Improbably, and most probably unknown to the two of them, Guy Morrison Bryan is Pete Gallego’s role model. Some of you remember former Rep. Gallego, D-Alpine, who served 11 terms in in the Texas House and one in the U.S. House until his constituents went thumbs down on him. Twice. Far fewer of you remember Bryan. And if you do, you&rsquo...
Herman: What’s more Texan, Patrick’s Chevy pickup or Collier’s Ford?
 In Texas, when a man (and I think this is pretty much gender specific) looks another man in the eye and asks for his vote, any and all responses must begin with, “Tell me about your truck.” (Please perform this in whatever your version of the quintessential Texas accent.) You can tell a lot about a Texas man by the truck he drives...

Posted: 12 days ago

In Texas, when a man (and I think this is pretty much gender specific) looks another man in the eye and asks for his vote, any and all responses must begin with, “Tell me about your truck.” (Please perform this in whatever your version of the quintessential Texas accent.) You can tell a lot about a Texas man by the truck he drives...
Herman: Remains exhumed as part of Oakwood Cemetery chapel rehab
 We have some interesting updates from the city regarding the rehabilitation project on the historic chapel at the city-owned Oakwood Cemetery. First, some background: Oakwood, which is just east of Interstate 35 and just south of the University of Texas UFCU Disch-Falk Field, doesn’t have quite the cast of characters that the Texas...

Posted: 16 days ago

We have some interesting updates from the city regarding the rehabilitation project on the historic chapel at the city-owned Oakwood Cemetery. First, some background: Oakwood, which is just east of Interstate 35 and just south of the University of Texas UFCU Disch-Falk Field, doesn’t have quite the cast of characters that the Texas...
Herman: At 100, a local treasure, WWII vet and H-E-B hero dies
 Fred Cortinez passed away March 23. He was 100. His obituary tells us he died “peacefully in his sleep.” Survivors include four children and an appropriate gaggle of grandchildren and great-grandchildren who are part of the reward for a long life, well led. Fred also leaves behind a quiet legacy, known to some, as the kind...

Posted: 17 days ago

Fred Cortinez passed away March 23. He was 100. His obituary tells us he died “peacefully in his sleep.” Survivors include four children and an appropriate gaggle of grandchildren and great-grandchildren who are part of the reward for a long life, well led. Fred also leaves behind a quiet legacy, known to some, as the kind...
Herman: New owners at the newspaper. Same mission.
 I’d be remiss if I let the moment pass without noting a significant imminent change at one of our city’s longest-standing and most important institutions. This one. If all goes as planned, this will be my last column for the employer behind my paychecks since June 1995 and for a year or so when I worked for the Lufkin Daily News...

Posted: 22 days ago

I’d be remiss if I let the moment pass without noting a significant imminent change at one of our city’s longest-standing and most important institutions. This one. If all goes as planned, this will be my last column for the employer behind my paychecks since June 1995 and for a year or so when I worked for the Lufkin Daily News...
Herman: Anybody know what counties do?
 There are 254 of them, alphabetically from Anderson to Zavala. Every Texan lives in one. Because we’re Texas, we have more of them than any other state. Georgia, improbably, is second with 159. Delaware has only three. Alaska doesn’t have any, opting instead for 19 “organized boroughs” and one unorganized one. Louisiana...

Posted: 23 days ago

There are 254 of them, alphabetically from Anderson to Zavala. Every Texan lives in one. Because we’re Texas, we have more of them than any other state. Georgia, improbably, is second with 159. Delaware has only three. Alaska doesn’t have any, opting instead for 19 “organized boroughs” and one unorganized one. Louisiana...
Herman: Texas, land of the robocall
 Howdy. Let’s play Jeopardy. The answer is: 3,403,384,000. For those of you who have trouble with big numbers, I’ll repeat that in words: Three billion four hundred three million, three hundred eighty-four thousand. For those of you who have trouble with big numbers and lots of words, I’ll shorthand it this way: A lot. A...

Posted: 25 days ago

Howdy. Let’s play Jeopardy. The answer is: 3,403,384,000. For those of you who have trouble with big numbers, I’ll repeat that in words: Three billion four hundred three million, three hundred eighty-four thousand. For those of you who have trouble with big numbers and lots of words, I’ll shorthand it this way: A lot. A...
Herman: Napkin folding, hand kissing and other diplomatic intricacies
 Our president recently tweeted this at us: “Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job!” Exciting. The guy in charge of getting dirt on other countries will become the guy in charge of getting along with other countries. What could possibly go wrong? The change means Secretary...

Posted: 29 days ago

Our president recently tweeted this at us: “Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job!” Exciting. The guy in charge of getting dirt on other countries will become the guy in charge of getting along with other countries. What could possibly go wrong? The change means Secretary...
Herman: A bright question: Will ‘The Head’ need a new home?
 Since shortly after the turn of the century, he’s ceaselessly cast his gaze eastward, optimistically looking toward the sunrise that, for many, heralds the arrival of another day in Austin. Granted, watching the sun rise over an Auto Zone on Burnet Road is not to be equated with watching the sun set over Lake Travis at the Oasis. But...

Posted: 30 days ago

Since shortly after the turn of the century, he’s ceaselessly cast his gaze eastward, optimistically looking toward the sunrise that, for many, heralds the arrival of another day in Austin. Granted, watching the sun rise over an Auto Zone on Burnet Road is not to be equated with watching the sun set over Lake Travis at the Oasis. But...
Herman: An early morning end to a city’s nightmare
 The news, as relayed Wednesday at about 5:40 a.m. by Gov. Greg Abbott, indeed was sizable. “BIG NEWS,” Abbott tweeted. “The Austin Bomber is dead.” My only regret about his report was the upper-case B that afforded a title to this twisted soul. BREAKING NEWS: 24-year-old bombing suspect dies as police close in, chief...

12:17 AM Wednesday, Mar. 21, 2018

The news, as relayed Wednesday at about 5:40 a.m. by Gov. Greg Abbott, indeed was sizable. “BIG NEWS,” Abbott tweeted. “The Austin Bomber is dead.” My only regret about his report was the upper-case B that afforded a title to this twisted soul. BREAKING NEWS: 24-year-old bombing suspect dies as police close in, chief...
Herman: Filling in the blanks on the Austin bombings
 Confronted and confounded by the unknown, our minds rush to fill in the blanks. And in the sad mystery that shrouds the bombings that have frightened our city, the unknown far outweighs the known. To date, we know what our professional investigators want us to know as they go about the business of protection, prevention and prosecution. That&rsquo...

4:48 PM Monday, Mar. 19, 2018

Confronted and confounded by the unknown, our minds rush to fill in the blanks. And in the sad mystery that shrouds the bombings that have frightened our city, the unknown far outweighs the known. To date, we know what our professional investigators want us to know as they go about the business of protection, prevention and prosecution. That&rsquo...
Herman: She’s 93. He’s 43. She loves Trump. He doesn’t. Road trip!
 While researching a book about his family, Austin journalist Bryan Mealer learned he had a hitherto-unknown-to-him cousin in Scottsdale, Ariz. They met for the first time on Aug. 19, 2014. A St. Patrick’s Day baby, Frances Varner turned 93 this year. The cousins are separated by 50 years and something that separates lots of American...

5:00 AM Saturday, Mar. 17, 2018

While researching a book about his family, Austin journalist Bryan Mealer learned he had a hitherto-unknown-to-him cousin in Scottsdale, Ariz. They met for the first time on Aug. 19, 2014. A St. Patrick’s Day baby, Frances Varner turned 93 this year. The cousins are separated by 50 years and something that separates lots of American...
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