State Schools still serve a useful purpose
My brother entered the Corpus Christi State School at age 8 nearly 40 years ago. A few highly vocal (and well-funded) protesters are going around Texas demanding closure of the State Schools, and that all of Texas' intellectually challenged citizens must be housed in community group homes.
However, a community setting is not always in the best interest of the handicapped (frequently, adult) child. Forcing State School residents into the community will not miraculously give them social skills. It will not correct longstanding behavioral problems, or make it safe for these individuals to go out unattended. The expectation that those operating on an extremely basic level can be quickly prepared for community integration is unrealistic, and will lead to danger, damage or severely restricted lifestyles for those persons. All of the parents' love and attention cannot make a 60 IQ into a 90; a new address won't transform the child either.
I support community group homes for those who would benefit, but only for those who would benefit. I believe campus dormitories are a better option for enough individuals that they should remain available in all current locations.
The cost of requiring placement in the community would be very, very high in terms of quality of life for many who do best in the campus setting. And it won't be cheap in dollars for the State of Texas.
The state school may never be perfect, but with an increase in staff, staff pay, staff training, additional surveillance and our continued vigilance, it is the best option for many individuals. Let's keep all the State Schools open, as options for those who cannot thrive in a normal residential community setting.
Wind turbines would hurt local agriculture
The proposed dramatic expansion of wind generation facilities, or "wind farms," throughout the Coastal Bend should be a concern to agriculture. As aerial applicators or "crop dusters," as we are commonly called, we have a unique perspective on the unintended consequences of constructing these massive structures in the rich agricultural lands of the Coastal Bend. Production agriculture has long been the economic engine of this area, with massive outlays in infrastructure in the form of grain elevators, cotton gins, equipment, trucking and every form of retail sales and service. Agriculture and related industry account for thousands of jobs throughout the Coastal Bend, along with paying a large share of school and county taxes.
While it may not be commonly understood, our aircraft are a vital link in the annual agricultural production process. We work year round keeping croplands weed, disease and insect free to ensure bountiful yields and stimulate the local economy.
The Boll Weevil Eradication Program relies exclusively on ag-aircraft to reduce the damage from these destructive pests.
All local aerial applicators agree that the proposed construction of large numbers of wind turbines and their related power grids throughout the agricultural lands of Nueces and San Patricio Counties will effectively destroy our ability to provide this essential service.
The wind turbulence generated by these huge turbines will negatively affect aerial application for miles downwind, not to mention the inherent danger of operating aircraft in their immediate vicinity. Spraying on the upwind side of the wind farms will expose the land owners and applicators to human exposure claims from the people constructing the wind farms and later monitoring them. The power lines and substations will create an insurmountable obstacle course for our aircraft, and the addition of inter-connecting roads will severely inhibit drainage.
The consequent reduction in productive farmland throughout these areas will devastate the economic engine that has been developed for generations in the Coastal Bend.
We need to find alternative sources of energy, but do we need to sacrifice productive agricultural land in the process?