There are many things in our lives that are very simple ideas that make a big difference and improve the lives of everyone who is touched by them. One of my favorites that does not seem to be very important or exciting, but that really does make a pleasant difference is the glorious bendy straw. You know, the one with the ridges in the top section that allow it to bend over the edge of a glass and make taking a sip so much easier and more convenient. Bendy straws got their start in the 1930’s when a fellow by the name of Joe Freidman noticed his young daughter struggling to drink her milkshake out of a straight paper straw. He thought to insert a screw into the straw and wrapped a waxed string around the paper and screw threads, creating ridges. When he removed the string and screw, he found that the straw easily bent over the edge of the glass, and that made his daughter and many of the rest of us happy and stain-free drinkers. Thus a very simple idea has been helping people get an easy drink for eighty years and will continue to be a benefit that no amount of technology will “replace” or make out-dated.
Last week I wrote about the possibility of re-building our sidewalks, ramps and steps around the square to make them more people friendly, and the grant I am currently working on to help pay for this significant project. Three years ago the estimate for this project was a little more than $770,000 and that is more than our City budget can manage, even allowing a few years to complete the work, and so I am working to get some help from TXDOT to make it happen. One of the best measures of our need is public awareness and comment about the idea, and I asked for residents and concerned citizens to contact me about their suggestions and ideas. I have had a few notes and letters, but I am waiting for more to come in. I hope that someone who is familiar with Mason will have a “light-bulb” thought that will illuminate the problem with a new or revised solution; I just know there is a “bendy straw” solution out there for our problems and I hope you will take a moment to share it with me so that we can all benefit. If you have a good idea, or just want to support the project, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be sure that it is worked into the plans.
Another way for you to make comments will be before our next City Commission meeting. We have scheduled that meeting for October 15, since Columbus Day is next Monday, and prior to the meeting we will have a Public Hearing on the sidewalk project to inform anyone who wants to be there of the scope of the project and to get comments from the public. If you are interested, please feel free to come to the City Commission meeting at the Eckert Civic Center on Monday the 15th at 5:30 p.m. and share your opinions. I want every suggestion and opinion to be voiced because that is the only way we can represent the entire community and the best way we can work together to improve our hometown. The City crews finished spraying for mosquitoes for a second round last week, but with the rains over the weekend our residents need to continue to take actions to prevent a new “crop” of the little pests. If you see water collected in cans, tires, puddles or anywhere else the best thing you can do is to empty the water and prevent the breeding of a new wave of flying pests; and if you are working outside it is best if you continue to cover up with clothes or bug repellant. The City crews are continuing to work at their regular tasks such as improving the electric system to avoid power outages, although a number of the recent ones have been a result of oversize loads driving through town that we cannot avoid. The street crews, animal control, water and wastewater crews, the landfill and parks workers are also each working hard and doing their job to keep the City functioning the way you expect, but if you see problems or have concerns please let us know at the City office. Mason is a great hometown, and our goal is to keep it that way and work on improving a little bit every week.
Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley