Whole lot of positivity going on

Dear Editor:

Awesome is a word that our grandkids have popularized, and I must say, as an utterance of sincere admiration, it may have replaced neat, cool, out of this world and groovy.

Whatever generational term you prefer, I think any or all of them can be used to describe the 2008 Christmas decoration lights at Hulen Park!

I understand that a whole bevy of volunteers and arm-twisted individuals were used in this magnificent endeavor. They should all be congratulated and bragged on throughout the year.

Whatever it takes to get it done again, in my opinion, should be considered as top priority of things to do in 2009.

The lighted park should be included in “Beautiful Things to See in Texas” in Texas Highways and Texas Monthly magazines.

Other civic and private business projects of note are the new civic center and chamber of commerce offices under construction, Chisholm Trail Town on Lake Pat Cleburne, the youth athletic park off the Grandview Highway and Island Grove Road, Splash Station, the several new school buildings scattered around the outskirts of town, William Patrick McGregor Park on West Henderson, the newly regenerated courthouse downtown, the transformation of the old high school building into the Ernest Guinn Justice Center, a beautifully resurrected Liberty Hotel, the Wright Building and Plaza transformation, Booker T. Washington Community Center and, hopefully very soon, a repair and beautification of the North Main Street underpass and adjacent area through the cooperative efforts of the Texas Department of Transportation and the city of Cleburne.

New and enlarged church structures, assisted living accommodations, rehab and medical facilities as well as new restaurants are all indications of a positive present and future for Cleburne.

Other projects worth a prompt consideration would include the beautification of all the highway entrances into Cleburne, shouldn’t they?

I realize that a lot of positivity has been going on here in Cleburne.

I guess it was seeing the Hulen Park decorations that opened my eyes to the fact that despite all our grumbling, people with good thinking have been busy for some time, getting things done.

Thanks to them for forward thinking on these projects, which are definitely assets to this town.

I am assured that to keep pace with comfortable traffic commitments within our fair city that a rush order will soon be given to repair the many needy streets.

Two of these in residential areas whose potholes have become cavernous and dangerous to vehicles and pedestrians are Meadowview Drive and West Earl Street — real obstacle courses!

I believe our mayor, city manager and city councilmen definitely deserve to hear thoughtful comments from us regarding our observations and suggestions.

As public officials, they deserve and should receive compliments for well planned work, affordably and efficiently accomplished. They should also deserve and expect criticism when city maintenance and operational efficiency are below practical expectations.

Monte Swatzell


Soldier thanks residents for cards

Dear Editor:

I wanted to take a couple of minutes to offer my heartfelt appreciation to the residents of Cleburne.

I am stationed at FOB Hunter, Iraq, and during this past week I received a box full of Christmas cards from you all. Before I offer my gratitude I would like to share with you a little about my platoon and what we do.

I am the physician assistant in a medical platoon for a cavalry squadron stationed in the Maysan Province of Iraq. It is in the far southeastern corner of Iraq, very close to the Iranian border.

We are responsible for disrupting the smuggling activities in our area. I work with a bunch of heroes who daily put their lives on the line to make sure the soldiers of the squadron receive world-class medical treatment at the point they are injured. We also help out as much as we can with a local population desperately in need of health care.

Although I am married with two children, these soldiers are my family for 15 months and friends for a lifetime. I would do anything for them, just as they would for me.

All that being said and knowing that Christmas had already passed, trust me, when we received the box, the timeliness of the cards had no bearing on the meaning behind them.

There is no way that I could possibly thank everyone individually, as they keep me pretty busy over here.

A letter to the editor, although not personal, is the only way that I could offer my thanks to you all for taking the time out of your daily grind to send the cards. I shared the box of cards with my medical platoon and every card was read.

There were many smiles and laughs that came with that box that you all didn’t even know you packed in there. I have never visited Cleburne nor do I have any relatives or friends that live there. What I do know is there, in Cleburne, Texas, is a group of giving people who deserve a heartfelt thank you from us over here. It makes all this worthwhile to get packages like those.

I hope you accept my thank you and I will make it a point to find Cleburne, Texas, and make a stop through there. Please accept my inappropriate manner for the thank you but know that it is from the bottom of my heart.

Very respectfully,

Capt. Ronald L. Holmes Jr.


Cleburne has little pride

Dear Editor:

Pride. Webster defines pride as “justifiable self respect.” Sad to say I don’t think Cleburne has much pride.

Do our merchants have pride? Drive around the commercial areas of our city and see for yourself.

I see run down buildings, empty shops with streets and parking lots in need of repair.

When visitors come to Cleburne I hope they do not come in from the north. The north part of town on Main Street looks terrible with lots of junk.

The west entrance is much cleaner, but you must endure several miles of strip-zoned property. Entering Cleburne from the south is better because of the rodeo arena and open space.

The east entrance is just blah. Nothing enticing unless you like used car lots and flea markets.

Do our citizens have pride in their homes and neighborhoods?

In many areas the answer is a resounding no. People with pride don’t use the front yard as a place to park the family car. People with pride do mow the yard, pick up trash and paint the house occasionally. These are basic things that must be done.

I know we have a lot of rent property, but if you live there, you should keep it clean. My father used to say many renters view where they live as just a place to “hang their hat.”

If a house in your neighborhood is in disrepair, look on the Johnson County Appraisal District Web site and find out who owns the property. That is the person who needs to be contacted.

I now live in the far west part of town in a very neat neighborhood. That is well and good, but we cannot hide ourselves in “new” Cleburne and forget the old. If you draw a line north and south of Coleman School, you will find the neighborhoods to the east of that line are hurting.

Cleburne is in deep trouble. Action must be taken.

What are we going to do about it?

To start I propose the city enact an ordinance banning parking in the yard. Fort Worth has such an ordinance, so I know it can be done. An increase in inspection staff to ensure yards and neighborhoods are not turned into junk yards is a worthy idea.

However, I do not advocate tearing down old homes and building. Cleburne does not need more vacant lots and cement slabs. We have plenty of those. There must be a better way to solve the problem.

I challenge the city council and the mayor to do something and do something fast.

Perhaps a coalition of the city, historic commission, Save Old Cleburne and the Christmas in Action organization is needed.

What is your opinion? Do you have pride? Do you even care?

Ted Franks


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