TxDOT closing part of FM 1798

It’s a temporary detour in an effort to make things safer for local drivers, as well as those just passing through.

Texas Department of Transportation officials told the Henderson Daily News on Friday that construction crews from contractor Longview Bridge and Road are scheduled to close Farm-to-Market Road 1798 first thing Monday morning.

Larry Krantz, Tyler-based TxDOT spokesman, said thus far work crews have been developing the abutments and new approaches on both ends, but have yet to build the actual structure.

Krantz said FM 1798 would be closed to all traffic on either side of U.S. Highway 259 between Henderson and Mount Enterprise, so crews can begin building the overpass structure across U.S. Highway 259.

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New London refinery project ‘changes hands’

Coming soon?

A new ownership group has taken over the charge for the construction of a refinery near New London. This change was announced earlier this week, after the original leadership officially ended their efforts.

While Rusk County elected officials are understandably nervous about one group ending their efforts and a new group coming in, they are still hopeful the Rusk County refinery will become a reality.

“We have been aware of the possible restructuring since the funding plan fell apart in the last two weeks of December,” said Tommy Alexander, superintendent for West Rusk County Consolidated Independent School District.

“There has been a lot going on behind the scenes since then on new leadership, and while we are not in the loop on those changes we are confident this group will work very hard to see this refinery project completed.”

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Taking our ‘Narcissus’ kids down a peg

Narcissus and Echo by David Revoy

We’ve all heard the Greek myth of Narcissus, the proud young man who saw his reflection in a pool and fell in love with it. Narcissus was unable to break away from his own gaze, and eventually died by the side of the pool. Sad to say, if one survey is correct, we may be raising a generation of young people who are succumbing to the terrible danger of unhealthy, delusional, and misdirected self-love.

The recently released American Freshman Survey finds a gaping chasm between students’ perceptions of their giftedness and drive to succeed, and the reality. For example, according to lead researcher Jean Twenge, today’s freshmen are much more likely to rate their writing abilities as “gifted” than their predecessors. But their test scores — and often their reading and writing abilities — are far below their 1960s counterparts.

Statistically it seems in the past four decades, students’ opinions of themselves have soared — even though test scores have gone down. But this mental disconnect is only part of the problem. Twenge says narcissism in college students has risen 30 percent in 30 years. She defines narcissism as “a need to pump yourself up with praise and approval in order to feel okay.”

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More things in heaven and earth…

The biggest mystery left to science is the fact that you are reading this right now. Well actually, it’s that you’re “aware” that you’re reading this right now. Stop. Look around. Listen. Realize that you are alive, and conscious of being alive, and you have done something that most of the living creatures on this planet are incapable of doing.

You see, science can explain or at least believes it can explain a great many things… but consciousness has it stumped. We can describe the brain in ever-increasing detail. We have a pretty good idea about which parts of the brain control certain actions and even emotions.

But what about the so-called “mind/brain” distinction? It’s just as mysterious today as it was when philosopher Rene Descartes wrote, “I think, therefore I am” some four centuries ago.

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More to it than just candy, cards, and flowers…

Some dismiss Valentine’s Day as a “Hallmark Holiday” created to indulge the consumerist habits of wealthy Americans; others disdain the holiday as overly romantic and serving little purpose. Yet, for the majority of Americans, Valentine’s Day is a significant holiday to celebrate love and romance.

For instance, in 2012 the average American spent just over $126 on Valentine’s Day. In total, Americans spent $4.1 billion on jewelry and $3.5 billion on dates out for the holiday in 2012. Not forgetting their dogs and cats, consumers also spend $367 million on their pets each year at Valentine’s Day. There are 220,000 wedding proposals every Valentine’s Day, which is 10 percent of the annual total. It is estimated that 15 percent of women send themselves flowers for the holiday.

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