About a year ago, our newspaper began receiving inquiries from various television production companies about the Branch Davidians. The Trib, as the newspaper of record for the 1993 Branch Davidian raid, siege and fire, possesses thousands of photographs from that era — a visual treasure trove for production officials preparing 25th anniversary specials. Predictably, most of them sought images of Vernon Howell (David Koresh), guns and the fire.

There are certain rules to putting out a daily newspaper. If you break them, your readers will let you know quickly and emphatically. In my 32 years in this business, I’ve learned the first rule is don’t screw up the crossword puzzle, followed closely by don’t throw the paper in a mud puddle or go to press without the baseball standings in the Scoreboard.

Donald Trump won the election and will be president the next four years. Regardless of what people think of him, or the manner in which he conducted himself during the campaign, he won the electoral vote and defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, as well as minor candidates, using the election system now in place.

Early voting for the Nov. 8 election begins Monday in the state of Texas. I’ll be in line at 8 a.m. this time, taking part in the early voting process for the first time. I want no part of the Election Day circus to decide Trump vs. Clinton.

As of Friday, the Waco area had received measurable precipitation for 10 of the past 13 days. Before Thursday, it had been a while since we had seen the sun. The late-winter storms that pounded the area have had people praying for better weather.

We will watch very closely how the lawsuit between the McLennan County Appraisal District and owners of the Sandy Creek coal-fired power plant unfolds in court. So should you. If Sandy Creek wins, and its valuation is lowered from $884.5 million to $253.5 million, it will touch off a cascade of similar suits by every industrial business in the county looking to lower its tax footprint.

Every year the Texas Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, releases a list of the most congested roadways in the state. The list is always dominated by roadway segments in Dallas and Houston, along with Interstate 35 in Austin. This year’s list is still dominated by the five major metropolitan areas in Texas, but it now includes critical analyses of more than 25 urban areas in the state.

Before we leave this Fourth of July weekend behind, allow me to share my list of 10 favorite presidents. It’s a dynamic list, changing every so often as I read and research more about each of the men who has served as our commander-in-chief over the past 200-plus years. No Independence Day would be complete without at least one such Top 10 list, especially in the information age.

The 2014 World Cup soccer tournament is a ratings success for U.S. broadcaster ESPN and its Spanish-speaking partner Univision. Monday’s USA vs. Ghana opening match drew 15.9 million viewers in the U.S., easily the most-watched soccer match ever broadcast in this country. Tonight the U.S. plays Portugal, and it will be ratings gold.

It was disappointing to learn last week that my home state pulled out of the Common Core State Standards initiative, citing fear of losing local control over public education. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill withdrawing the state’s participation in the consortium, effectively lowering education standards in a state with little room to do so.

Since construction began on the new 45,000-seat football stadium on the campus of Baylor University, it has been the center of attention in Waco. People have watched the new stadium rise and take shape since dirt was first turned at the site in January 2013. Now the countdown is on to opening night. You won’t be disappointed. McLane Stadium will knock your socks off, football fans.

When it comes to population growth in the Waco area, we can no longer use the past to predict the future. The population trend line reflects a long pattern of slow, steady growth in Waco and McLennan County with no immediate change in sight. If projections hold true to form, the population of the county will increase 10 percent to 15 percent between the 2010 and 2020 Census dates, much like it’s done since 1970. Waco’s virtually landlocked population will also increase, although at a slower rate.

The daily barrage of emails to the Tribune-Herald newsroom has a numbing effect. After the first couple of hundred, there is a risk of ignoring them completely and missing a good tip or legitimate news item. Such was the case this past week when an email landed in my inbox with the subject line, “I’m counting on you friend.”

The urbanization of America has had one serious consequence: Too many city residents fail to grasp the significant challenges facing agriculture, including the devastating impact of drought, floods, water shortages, tariffs, regulations and disease on farming and ranching. This is no place for amateurs — and anyone who claims to be earnest and concerned about agriculture today has no option but to vote to elect Kim Olson as state agriculture commissioner.

The 2018 general election has been widely heralded as “the most important election in a generation.” From the climate standpoint, this description is appropriate. While climatologists intensify their warnings that we must decarbonize by 2050, the Trump administration’s every environmental action is decreasing our ability to combat climate change. We will thus compare the climate change portfolio of candidates in several of the major November races.

According to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Republicans in Washington “are setting in motion their plan to destroy the Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security that seniors and families rely on.” She’s distorting comments by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who actually said that while he would like to see reforms to those programs, they will not happen with Congress and the White House both controlled by Republicans. Republicans aren’t planning to cut Medicare and Social Security.


What were we talking about one year ago? Take a look back.