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I now understand more fully than ever before the responsibility that comes along with having the most reviewed newspaper in Henderson County. I promise that I don’t take this responsibility lightly. Today at breakfast I was asked by a HCN reader to say something about an issue that was on her mind. It occurred to me that talking about an issue is wonderful but that doing something about the issue is even better.

Here are my Top 5 this week:

1. With school starting back, education is the number one item on my list. How do we break the cycle of being 49th out of the 50 states when it comes to our ranking in the country? If we were talking about a top 50 ranking in the world it would be quite different to me than a 49 out of 50. My belief is that we must take care of our home turf first. My focus is on Henderson County. Other places are nice to visit but this is my home. I want our schools to be extraordinary – not average or above average. I don’t need the distinctions of the Texas Education Agency because I’ve lost faith in that group. Maybe it’s time to revamp the entire system, but if we just start here with making education the number 1 thing – Number 1 – I think we can break the cycle locally and actually have the rest of the state follow our lead. You know what they say about the view from the lead and the view from behind the leader.

2. In political speak they say it’s the economy, stupid. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. How do we create them and how do we keep them and how do we make them for more than minimum wage or a few dollars an hour more? Let’s say we have 6 million people that live within an hour and ten minutes of our turf. Why do we go to California to find people to move their businesses here? Let’s just take a bunch of pick-ups, everyone I know has one, and caravan up to Dallas to pick up a family or two and bring them back. They already want our most significant asset, water, so why not just go ahead and bring them down here to operate their businesses and live?

3. Speaking of natural resources – we have them. Water will be the next great battle. If you were the person trying to stimulate our economy and you had what everyone else wants, wouldn’t you promote that is the single most important reason to be here? We better come up with a plan on how to protect our resources now for our future generations. We have an obligation to leave this place a little bit better than we found it. Time to get to work.

4. A black man is my brother, a brown man is my brother, a red man is my brother. If they are lawfully in this country, they are my brothers. Time to put an end to hating. You want to kid me because of what I wear, my hair of that my gut sticks out over my belt, go for it. You want to call people names in my presence, I just will not tolerate it anymore. You don’t like it, fine. It will work best for both of us that we not chat. I’m just too old to be diplomatic about this any longer. You want to call the President a “n”, we can’t talk anymore. The truth is that we definitely not friends and it would be a real stretch to call us acquaintances. It’s just time to love – period, the end.

5. I believe one of the greatest challenges we have in this county is our failure to address the mental health challenges that we have. We’re not prepared financially or systemically to help the mentally challenged. I’m no longer talking about mental retardation – we’re not handling it very well either but I’m taking about the 10 percent to 20 percent of the population in our community that are attempting to live in the mainstream but suffering from multiple mental health disorders. Thank goodness for charities that work tirelessly at this issue but we need our community leaders to step up and engage. We need a county-wide plan of action.

For those of you that enjoy Henderson County Now, thank you very much for making us the number one local news source in the county.