Mason County News
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Wednesday, December 30, 2009 • Posted December 30, 2009

As the old year draws to a close and we all look toward a fresh calendar and new opportunities, I hope you can look back and see a pleasant and memorable Christmas season and a year full of good memories and hopeful situations. The City of Mason has many good things to look back on this past year, and even more possibilities to look forward to in the New Year. We have received several grants during the past few months, and some new things will be happening because of these; the City Commission will continue to work towards filling the position of City Administrator and that might give new directions to the employees and the city services; we will continue to work to make Mason the very best hometown in Texas and a place each of us can be pleased and proud to live in. The City Commission has a long list of goals and objectives that we have been working on for several years, and I look forward to addressing more of those specific projects and hearing from you on new projects that will make this a better community for all of us.

For the past couple of weeks I have been suggesting some New Year’s resolutions you might want to consider to improve your life and provide environmentally friendly changes that would help throughout our community. I suggested that we all could benefit if we reduced our individual use and waste of water, recycled more, used less paper and composted our household and yard wastes that are appropriate. My last few suggestions for resolutions to change our habits revolve around some simple steps to conserve energy and reduce electrical consumption. Each month my electric bill is one of the biggest single bills I have to worry about getting paid, so any way I can reduce that would help me personally and would improve the community and the environment by reducing the negative side effects to produce power. One of the easiest changes that could help would be to use power strips that can be turned off for appliances and electronic devices such as computers, chargers, power adapters, printers, televisions, microwave ovens and coffee makers. This would eliminate wasteful "standby power," the electricity consumed by appliances while they are in standby mode.

A few other specific ideas: use compact fluorescent light bulbs, since they use two-third less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last up to 10 times as long. When it is time to replace your appliances and electronics, consider trading up to Energy Star qualified products that use less energy and thus save money over the life of the product. Also, since heating and cooling can account for 45 percent of a typical household utility bill, consider installing a programmable thermostat and set it at 78 degrees during the summer and 68 degrees during the winter. By making this change you could save and reduce energy consumption by 10 percent, and that is money saved in your pocket. Also consider the ways you can reduce gasoline use in these times of high prices. Slow down and avoid aggressive driving and this will improve fuel economy by 15 percent in town and up to 33 percent on the highway. Keep your vehicle in shape since proper maintenance can reduce a car’s emissions and improve gas mileage by 5 percent. If you are heading out of town for shopping or the doctor, check your neighbors and see if anyone else needs to go the same direction; they call it carpooling in the cities, but in Mason we just call it being friendly! And if you can find the things you need here in town, shop locally and avoid the time and gas expense of going out of town all together.

The past has been good for Mason, and the future looks bright and holds much promise. This is a good time to be part of this community and the challenge for each of us is to find the best way we can help to make it better during the coming year. Maybe you can change a few simple habits and help to preserve the resources we all rely on, or maybe you can find a place to volunteer to work and make a positive change in our town, or maybe you just have a good idea that needs to be considered as we work together to make Mason be best small town in Texas. Whatever your contribution, our community will be a better place if you are involved and a part of the opportunities of this coming year.

Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley

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