JUNE CAPITOL UPDATE
Dear Fellow Texan--
Summer is definitely upon us. The pools and streets are full of children enjoying their break and the temperature is steadily rising. That also means it is time for summer vacations.
Whether you are planning a multi-week vacation or a weekend away, there are plenty of destinations right here in Central Texas that would be fun for your whole family.
Of course Austin offers plenty to keep you busy including the Bob Bullock State History Museum (www.thestoryoftexas.com) or Volente Beach Water Park (http://www.volentebeach.com). There are many destinations throughout Senate District 24 where you can spend the day with your family. I would encourage you to check your local Chamber of Commerce website for summer activities in your area.
• Like the State of Texas, Fort Hood is big and boasts of being the largest active duty armored post in the United States Armed Services. Fort Hood covers a total of 339-square miles and is the only post in the United States that supports two full armored divisions -- the 1st Cavalry Division and 4th Infantry Division. The 1st Cavalry Division Museum (http://pao.hood.army.mil/1CD_Museum) and the 4th Infantry Division Museum (http://pao.hood.army.mil/4ID/museum/museummain.html) are both great opportunities for you to see and learn about our brave service men and women serving overseas.
• Located in downtown Abilene, Frontier Texas! (http://www.frontiertexas.com), a 14,000 square-foot facility on 6.4 acres, allows visitors to relive the Old West with the help of state-of-the-art technology. Frontier Texas! brings the frontier to life and lets visitors meet people who played out their lives on the Texas frontier. Cutting-edge technology puts a visitor in the middle of attacks by Indians and wolves, stampeding buffalo, a card game shootout and a prairie thunderstorm, even a lovely spring evening filled with fireflies.
• Dyess Air Force Base (http://www.dyess.af.mil/main/main.htm), stretched along Abileneís southwest side, is home to the B-1 and C-130. Dyess is the nationís only B-1 initial training facility. Visitors can enjoy the Dyess Visitor Center and Memorial Park museum, located just outside the base at Arnold Boulevard and Military Drive. The Linear Air Park, which houses Dyess huge collection of static display aircraft, is closed to individual visitors; however tours of 10 or more people can be arranged through Dyess Public Affairs, 696-2862.
• Fredericksburg (http://www.hill-country-visitor.com/default.asp/city/10) is a great destination for a weekend. You can stay at one of the local bed and breakfasts, and take in the rich history of the hill country region. One of my personal favorites is the National Museum of the Pacific War (http://www.thc.state.tx.us/museums/musnimitz.html).
• Stephenville has several festivals throughout the summer which are fun and exciting, including Dairy Fest and the annual Firecracker 100 (http://www.firecracker100.com). Dairy Fest celebrates Stephenville's leading industry, complete with milk, cheese, hamburgers and yogurt. The Firecracker 100 brings over 500 cyclists into Stephenville for this summer classic.
• There are also a variety of great campsites that are operated by Texas Parks and Wildlife (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest). There are numerous parks that offer great camp sites, exciting hiking trails and fun opportunities to learn about our natural resources.
• This year Marble Falls will host the 15th Annual Marble Falls Lake Fest (http://www.marblefallslakefest.com) complete with some of the best drag boat races. Lake Marble Falls is transformed into a quarter-mile "racetrack" and the banks of the lake into a great three-day boat race party.
• The Guadalupe River (http://www.hill-country-visitor.com/default.asp/city/86) provides excellent water recreation for visitors. The Guadalupe River, between Canyon Dam and New Braunfels, is famous for its exciting rapids and sparkling clear waters and very popular with tubers.
• Senate Committees are now meeting on a regular basis to continue studying their interim issues. For a full schedule, check out the Senate Committee Hearings (http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/Senate/Events.htm) website.
• The Senate Subcommittee on Emerging Technologies and Economic Development met on May 9, 2006, to discuss their its charges. The Committee focused on Charge 3 which is a review of Texas' economic development tools including the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) and Texas Emerging Technologies Fund.
The committee heard testimony on the creation of TEF and how the fund is administered by the Economic Development and Tourism Department of the Governor's Office. Department representatives explained how the Department uses an 11-step process when determining whether a project should be presented to the trustees. Each project must include the creation of new jobs, the leveraging of capital investment, community involvement, committed financing, and competition with a location outside Texas.
This year, the TEF has received approximately 160 grant applications and 30 of those have been approved.
• State agencies concerned with water resources, agriculture, and natural habitat are tracking weather, reservoir levels and soil conditions on a daily basis -- due to an unusual 12-month period preceding this spring. The rainfall from March 2005 to February 2006 was one of the lowest on record according to John Nielsen-Gammon, the state climatologist at Texas A&M University.
Since 2005 the state has seen thousands of wildfires and weather conditions stalled in a pattern of dry and windy. Burn bans have been in effect for much of this year, but they failed to avert catastrophic fires in the panhandle and central Texas which burned over a million acres, claimed the lives of at least 11 citizens and wiped out many herds of cattle.
Major crop losses have been attributed to rainfall deficits, and livestock producers have been thinning their herds for lack of feed.
Several state agencies, including TCEQ, are working through the Drought Preparedness Council at the Governor's Department of Emergency Management (DEM) to help Texans prepare for a long summer.
• Hunters looking to shoot deer illegally might want to think twice before firing on that buck they spot from the road. It may not be what they think.
Wild game officials around the country are using robotic deer decoys to catch poachers in the act. The deer move their heads and tails and some even stomp one leg. Game wardens often set up the decoys in areas near roadways in an attempt to stop a particular kind of poaching, in which hunters shoot animals on private land from their cars. When a hunter shoots at a decoy, law enforcement officials can either arrest or fine the offender.
Deer hunters aren't the only ones who should be on the lookout. Some decoy manufacturers, such as Wisconsin-based Custom Robotic Wildlife Inc., make animated decoys for a variety of animals, including deer, bear, elk, moose, coyotes, foxes, grouse, sheep, antelopes, turkeys and pheasants.
Decoys can cost more than $1,000, but organizations such as Corpus Christi-based Saltwater Fisheries Enhancement Association and the National Wild Turkey Federation often donate robotic decoys to game officials.
• Adrian Condarco of Junction is the recipient of the Texas Department of Agriculture 2005 Rural Heroism Award.
Nominated by his sister Iris Calvillo of Tahoka, Mr. Condarco was honored at the Texas Safety Association's annual conference in Houston on May 27 for saving the lives of two fellow firefighters during a large brush fire last July in the Texas Hill Country near Tri-County Road.
The Texas Rural Heroism Award has been given annually for seven years. Candidates must have performed a heroic, lifesaving act within rural Texas during the prior year.
• Temple is one of nine Texas communities to receive the 2006 Governor's Community Achievement Awards for outstanding community improvement
Temple is designated to receive one of the most prestigious annual environmental awards in Texas. The winners were selected by Keep Texas Beautiful and will receive a share of $1 million from the Texas Department of Transportation to be used in landscaping state right-of-ways in the community.
Keep Temple Beautiful will receive and administer the award, applying the funding toward beautification projects in the city.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need assistance with a state agency or wish to voice an opinion on any matter before the Texas Legislature. I always appreciate hearing from you.
I hope to see you soon.
HOW TO CONTACT SENATOR TROY FRASER
Austin Capitol Office
P.O. Box 12068
Austin, Texas 78711
FAX: (512) 475-3732
Marble Falls District Office
607 B Highway 281 North
Marble Falls, Texas 78654
FAX: (830) 693-9603
Abilene District Office
500 Chestnut Street, Suite 810
Abilene, Texas 79602
FAX: (325) 676-8060
Belton District Office
1920 North Main Street
Belton, Texas 76513
FAX: (254) 939-7611