Increase safety for balloon rides

Nothing is as beautiful as a dozen hot air balloons floating through a blue Texas sky. Unfortunately, danger lurks behind the beauty.

State commission needs name change

The Texas Railroad Commission has absolutely nothing to do with regulating train companies, railroad safety or cargo hauling on train tracks. Instead, it regulates the powerful oil and gas industry in Texas.

‘Hail Mary’ strategy

Trying to get prominent Texas Republicans to talk about whether they support Donald Trump is like asking people to reveal the details of their sex life. You don’t get much information.

Bishop Farrell begins new chapter

When Bishop Kevin Farrell arrived in Dallas nearly a decade ago to begin restoring the trust that had broken down in the Catholic Diocese here, he brought with him a personal humility, an international perspective and a style of leadership that focused on service.

Time to repeal law of parties

When the Texas Legislature convenes next spring, lawmakers should repeal the so-called law of parties. It’s too draconian and too illogical to stand close scrutiny.

Count the lions

The mountain lion saga has taken some twists and turns in North Dakota.

Turtles get life-saving service

Much of the beauty and interest in the Wabashiki Fish and Wildlife Area in Indiana stems from the creatures living there. The 2,600 acres of wetlands features dozens of animal species, from deer to water fowl, turkeys, beavers, catfish and bass, herons and egrets.

Police officers get better pay

We all know how dangerous police work can be in today’s tumultuous climate. Salaries for police officers should be commensurate with the daily risk they face on the streets.

North Texas Fair full of attractions

Summer temperatures are falling right now. We have a lot to look forward to in Denton — opening of schools and universities for the 2016-17 academic year, Friday night high school football and the newest edition of the Mean Green playing on Saturdays.

Richards’ influence to grow stronger

Cecile Richards, daughter of the late Texas Gov. Ann Richards, has now spent a decade as president and CEO of Planned Parenthood. By all measures, her tenure has been successful.

Vaccinate kids for good of all

Andrew Jeremy Wakefield, a British medical researcher, published a 1998 paper linking the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to the appearance of autism and bowel disease.

New city manager must be open

The city of Denton is inviting its residents to fill out an online survey on what qualities they consider most important in a city manager (go to to fill out the survey).

Senior food-delivery program necessary

We are concerned about the fate of 75 local meals-on-wheels program clients — many of them senior citizens without vehicles — who are scheduled to lose their meals Monday through Friday.

Childproof system necessary for guns

Texas is No. 1 in the nation on a tragic list. Our state had the most unintentional child shootings so far in 2016, according to Moms Demand Action, a grassroots advocacy group.

Clintons shouldn’t mix public, private roles

One of our jobs is to keep a watchful eye on federal, state and local government officials and what they do while working for us taxpayers. We are talking about elected officials, appointed officials and run-of-the-mill government employees.

Let UNT law school reach goals

It’s a time for candor at the UNT Dallas College of Law, and a time for courage.

Texas needs new attorney general

The nature of the criminal charges against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton are coming into better focus thanks to a revealing lawsuit filed by a group of investors in Alabama.

Should we elect an alarmist candidate?

Lies about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump regularly land in our inbox. Sophisticated internet trolls — Democrats and Republicans — sit at keyboards and literally make stuff up about the candidates. Truth does not matter. The troll goal is to destroy the opponent.

Hire independent city auditor

Denton is no longer a small town with a city government fraught with back channels to accommodate “insiders” who want something — funding for a cause or a job for an unqualified relative — regardless of whether it makes sense.

People doing better but still unhappy

Are you keeping up with the Joneses when it comes to growing your annual income?

Fund mental health care services

Recent reports from the Center for American Progress and the Public Citizen and the Treatment Advocacy Center have confirmed what many people already understood: We rely too heavily on our criminal justice system to deal with the public health problem of mental illness, and our criminal justice system isn’t adequately prepared to handle this responsibility.

Variety of voting blocs take shape

Handicapping the presidential contest is folly. Public opinion polls are all over the place. We haven’t seen Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton debate. And who knows what serious mistakes they might make or what bad stuff might be revealed about them before Election Day.

Help the pollinators

As flower gardens strut their stuff this summer with yards and parks awash in a rainbow of color, gardeners should take the opportunity to steal planting ideas.

Mandate vaccines for some workers

This country’s federal government requires anyone seeking legal, permanent residence here to be vaccinated against 14 diseases, including measles, polio and seasonal flu. Because immunizations protect public health, the mandate for newcomers makes sense.

Bad ideas come to mind

Sometimes we get stumped about what to write about in this space. So, we rummage through the vast acreage of the internet looking for morsels to inspire us.

Recognize Mexico’s importance

Political party platforms don’t carry the significance they once did, because candidates often ignore them after taking office. But to some degree they are still statements of values that deserve scrutiny.

School voucher bill not best plan

The Denton school board does a good job of setting policy and overseeing our high schools, middle schools and elementary schools. Superintendent Jamie Wilson and his staff deserve a lot of credit for their professional management of our rapidly growing school district.

Abortion battle costs us all

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has fired another shot in the never-ending culture war surrounding abortion. This time, the governor has asked the state health department to come up with new rules requiring abortion providers to dispose of fetal remains through cremation or burial.

Put pin in infrastructure troubles

We already have to deal with construction, distracted drivers, weather, road damage and accidents while driving down a Texas road. We don’t even consider the potential dangers of the soil holding it up.

Discuss city matters in open meetings

Denton City Attorney Anita Burgess’ penchant for secrecy knows no boundaries, and City Council members are beginning to question whether they should be holding so many closed-door meetings that unnecessarily exclude the public.

Texas must move to expand Medicaid

Texas has never come to grips with the realities of providing health care to its poorest residents. It needs to now.

Mean Green gains skilled leader

University of North Texas President Neal Smatresk has made another good hire for Mean Green athletics.

Don’t cut disabled kids’ therapy

The state of Texas has an overriding obligation, whether in education or health care, to ensure our children can one day become independent and productive members of society, even if poor and disabled. Some state officials have apparently lost sight of this priority.

We must vote no matter what

Will the Clinton-Trump death match produce high voter turnout or high voter burnout in November?

We all could use more laughs

Life can attack us with a vengeance: job loss, no money to pay bills, the family jalopy breaks down, kids struggling to do well in school, and sick or troubled family members requiring care.

More guns may not be better

Next Monday, Aug. 1, marks the 50th anniversary of the University of Texas massacre carried out by former U.S. Marine Charles Whitman. He climbed into the iconic clock tower on the Austin campus and methodically shot and killed 16 people and wounded more than 30 others.

See this garden oasis

July might not be the perfect month to visit the Dallas Arboretum, but it’s perfectly grand to see this city landmark on Architectural Digest’s list of “15 Breathtaking Botanical Gardens to Visit.”

Family business puts emphasis on family

Michael Zampino and his son Peter came to the newspaper Monday to deliver some sad news in person. After 12 years, Mike has decided to shut down El Guapo’s, the Tex-Mex restaurant on South Elm Street that he owned and operated for 12 years.

Progress claims an old steepled church

Anyone who drives up and down Interstate 35E between Denton and Lewisville can’t miss the bright red day care center on the west side of the road in Corinth.

Grow services along with Texas

The news about Texas’ growth and prosperity just doesn’t make sense. It was the third fastest-growing economy among the states last year. And Secretary of State Carlos Cascos has reported gleefully that business startups for the first half of this year are up by 10 percent. The state also had the fifth-fastest population growth last year.

How will Hillary handle convention?

The Democratic National Convention gets underway in Philadelphia on Monday. Hillary Clinton and her political team will be focused on presenting a sober and serious face to the American public — a strategy that she believes will be an effective response to the unpredictable Trump and his unorthodox campaign.

Generation of memories

Garry Marshall, director/producer of such iconic television hits as The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy, excelled with crowd-pleasing comedy.

Help reform CPS by boosting pay

Recently, Henry “Hank” Whitman, the new head of Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, outlined a 10-point plan to improve Child Protective Services.

Lake Dallas moving forward

We are 100 percent behind Lake Dallas Mayor Julie Mathews and new Lake Dallas City Manager Matt Shaffstall.

Farewell to Davis Purity Bakery

We wish all good things didn’t have to come to an end. But that’s life.

Stay positive as election nears

We were listening to political discussions in a local coffee shop this week. The comments were mostly depressing. The choice between Trump and Clinton is roiling the nation. It’s easy to dislike them both and hard to enthusiastically support either one.

Be safe playing Pokemon Go

The latest fad to hit a smartphone near you is the Pokemon Go app. The free app uses GPS and the phone’s camera to allow players to track and trap the Pokemon monsters in the real world.

Invasive species threaten activities

Our way of life is under attack, and East Texans are actually contributing to the growing threat.

We stand with Baton Rouge

About 400 miles separates Dallas from Baton Rouge. Today violence and grief bind us.

Ginsburg’s remarks inappropriate