I hope you are all ready to enjoy Christmas, because by the time you read this there will only be a day or two at the most until the full celebration is upon us. It has been a wonderful Christmas season and we enjoyed the many friends and family and the special time we can spend with them, and we look forward to the days and weeks ahead and the reality of life lived in a hometown that still emphasizes the fullest meaning of this season.
Last week’s paper "announced" that the City has hired a new City Administrator, but I have to report that the news was a little premature. The individual we had offered the position to called me later in the week and declined the job offer since he had received a similar offer with a larger salary in another town. The City Commission continues to wrestle with this significant problem, and I hope to have some positive news in the next couple of weeks to resolve this situation.
In last week’s column I started sharing some environmentally friendly New Year’s resolutions, and several people told me as I met them around town that they hoped to recycle more and reduce waste in the next few months. It takes a real commitment to make a difference, but once new habits are established it can make a profound change in your situation. Monica began "re-training" me a couple of years ago and now we recycle everything that can be dealt with at our Recycling Center and it has made a real difference in the trash we generate. Several years ago I would have to take out one or two trash bags from our house every week for the trash truck to pickup, but now the two of us fill a large garbage bag only every three weeks or so for the landfill, and the rest of the "trash" goes to Recycle. It certainly makes for fewer trips to the trash cans at the curb.
There are of course other ways we can all help to conserve our natural resources. For example, an important way to take care of what we treasure in Central Texas is by conserving water. If you have a leaky faucet or toilet, consider repairing it soon; a faucet leaking at the rate of one drop per second can waste up to 1,660 gallons of water per year, and a leaky toilet can waste as much as 73,000 gallons per year. Installing faucet aerators will cut in half the water used by each faucet, and installing water-efficient showerheads can reduce water consumption by 25 to 60 percent depending on the type you install. Water is wasted when it runs unnecessarily, so turn off the tap and wash produce or rinse dishes in the kitchen in a pan or bowl rather than under running water. And to save up to 4 gallons a minute, turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Simple changes in daily routines followed throughout the year can make a difference in conserving resources and making life a little more pleasant in Mason, or wherever you call home. Now is the time to take a minute and resolve to help just a little to solve the problems we all help to create.
Next week I will share a few more ideas on New Year’s resolutions that can help our community in the next few months and even into the next few generations. However, in the coming days I hope that you will take some time to enjoy all the fun and merriment of the Christmas holidays. Enjoy your family, friends and neighbors; enjoy all the good food and abundance of snacks; enjoy the gifts and the giving; and enjoy the pleasure of a special hometown where there is always a little of the Christmas spirit in the air even after the dishes are cleaned, the visitors have left and the decorations are put away. Mason is the best hometown in Texas and the place I want to call home this year and for many years to come.
Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley