We must fix special education services

Texas school districts began ringing alarm bells 20 years ago about the escalating costs of educating children with physical and mental disabilities. Much of the discussion revolved around an increase in children diagnosed as autistic.

Time ripe to get annual flu shot

It’s still patio weather in Texas, with sweaters remaining stored away while swimsuits hang on the backyard line. Flu season seems as distant as the next blue norther.

Trump-Clinton debate a must-see

Program targets teachers’ stress

Chances are good that we’ve all heard a teacher burnout story or two. Well-intentioned educators start out in the profession energized and dedicated to helping their students succeed. But all too soon, the enormous stress of addressing the complex needs of those young people — particularly in an urban environment — takes its toll.

We must discuss race relations

We really aren’t interested in Colin Kaepernick and his protests prior to San Francisco 49er football games. We’ve already said in this space that we don’t think his tactics are productive, but we defend his right to express himself as a matter of free speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Take your time with relationships

The tragic story of Jacqueline Vandagriff’s grisly murder is a parent’s worst nightmare. Court records tell us that she met Charles Dean Bryant at a Fry Street bar the night before her dead and dismembered body was found dumped in a park next to Grapevine Lake.

Bush family could influence election

The Bush family has been instrumental in Texas and national politics for more than 50 years. Look up the words “Republican Party” in the dictionary and you will find a Bush family photo. They’ve always been Republicans.

We must battle opiate abuse

Movies and literature need to change their stereotypical depictions of drug addicts as seedy gutter rats in tattered clothes. Today’s addict more likely is a working woman struggling to ease her chronic back pain or a college football player who started numbing his aches and pains with prescription painkillers and then progressed to heroin.

Admiral on point with anthem perspective

“It marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. It rocketed into space on the shoulder patches of women, gays, Hispanic, Asian and African American astronauts.” What is “it”?

All students deserve a quality education

Pain is often permanently etched on the faces of parents with physically or mentally disabled children. Their children suffer from impairments ranging from autism to muscular dystrophy to Down syndrome. Mom and dad worry constantly about how their child will ever fit into a world suspicious of such “differences.”

Diversion of troopers shortchanging safety

Remember those campaign commercials that blanketed television airwaves a couple of years ago showing fear-mongering politicians scowling across the Rio Grande, trying to look tough as they vowed to “secure the border”?

Public has a right to candidates' records

The nation is about to elect one of its oldest presidents. On inauguration day, Donald Trump would be 70, the oldest president ever elected. Hillary Clinton would be 69, the second-oldest president, right behind Ronald Reagan.

Textbook full of racist notes should be nixed

There’s a general agreement among demographers who are familiar with Texas that the makeup of the people of the Rio Grande Valley represents the future of this country.

TV show keeps Perry on map, career alive

If things had gone differently, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry might have been elected president of the United States in 2012 or 2016. But he could not make it out of the Republican primaries.

Technology is nice, but at what cost

Computers and cellphones are wonderful things, but worshiping at the altar of technology can be a dicey business. The scourge of distracted driving is proof enough.

Mental health reform sees progress

Texas is taking mental health care seriously. Last month, Kevin Banks took a seat in front of the Texas House of Representatives Select Committee on Mental Health.

Could 9/11 attack have been prevented?

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the horrific Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the United States. Nearly 3,000 people died. A startling Frontline documentary on PBS makes the case that American investigators might have prevented 9/11 if not for bureaucratic infighting at the highest levels of the FBI.

Take hard look at private prisons

The U.S. Justice Department’s decision to phase out its private prisons has prompted the Department of Homeland Security to review its own use of such facilities. This is a welcome move as immigration detention centers have come under some of the same criticism as other private prisons.

Sad state of affairs at our City Hall

What happened to Aimee Bissett? Bissett, the city of Denton’s director of development services, played a large role in a variety of projects designed to bring new industries to Denton. An example would be her negotiations leading to the deal that offered Buc-ee’s tax breaks in return for bringing a store to Denton.

Renewable energy future of Texas

An oil field named Spindletop provided the first Texas gusher in 1901. Located near Beaumont, the black gold shot hundreds of feet into the air, soaking the operators who would become instant millionaires.

Debates may help voters decide

A lot of voters still have not made up their minds about whether to vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton for president. The indecisiveness stems from the fact that many general election voters just don’t like either of the candidates. Those uncommitted voters think Clinton is untrustworthy and Trump is an unprincipled opportunist who’s willing to say or do anything to get elected. So, what are we to do?

Texas CPS needs real reform

Sometimes a shakeup at the top signals a critical message: It’s a new era. Things are changing. We mean business. That was almost certainly the intent recently in the news that half of the regional directors for Texas Child Protective Services offices will be replaced.

We must fix Texas’ open records mess

The Texas Supreme Court has created a massive loophole in the state’s open records laws that threatens the foundation of government transparency. Fixing the issue must be a priority for the Legislature in 2017, but local governments can take some important steps in the meantime.

No penalty for pigskin protest

Colin Kaepernick is a 28-year-old quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. We have no idea what kind of team the 49ers are fielding this year. What we know is that Kaepernick has decided to protest treatment of minorities in the United States by taking a knee during the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner” prior to games.

Maternal mortality spike hits home

It’s hard to wrap your head around a statistic so troubling: The rate of Texas women dying of pregnancy-related causes nearly doubled in just four years. Almost as alarming: No one seems to know why.

Start Saturday night right with UNT game

A new era of Mean Green football begins Saturday night at Apogee Stadium. For want of a better term, we’ll call it the Seth Littrell era. He’s the new head coach who has struggled for the last six months to assemble a credible team from the remnants of the Dan McCarney era, which ended with a 1-11 record in 2015.

Trump seeks change in visa process

Donald Trump has introduced us to a new phrase as he flies around the country touting his “America first” immigration policies. The phrase is “ideological certification.”

Time to end tuition set-aside program

Newspapers, magazines and scholarly journals have spilled a lot of ink decrying the rising cost of a college education in Texas.

Voter education must be strong

The folks at the top of the November ballot will likely assure a higher than usual turnout in Texas, but that doesn’t negate the need for a robust effort to educate voters on what is and isn’t allowed in identification at the polls.

We must get serious about Zika

Denton must pay close attention to the Zika virus. Throughout the summer, we’ve heard a lot about Zika and its affects on unborn babies. Most of the news stories focused on Third World nations in Africa, the Caribbean and South America. It seemed so far away from us; something we need not worry about.

Keep college grants for needy students

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says he’s figured out a way to slow soaring college tuition costs. All the state has to do is eliminate the 20 percent of tuition that universities are required to set aside for students who need financial help.

New app helps curb drinking problems

We are not sticks in the mud. We’ve indulged in adult beverages from time to time. But we believe bars and restaurants in Denton should not serve underage customers or over-serve anyone.

Giant loop nets 47 national parks

A short-lived ulterior motive prompted this tribute to the National Park Service, which turned a radiant 100 years old Thursday.

May campus carry become a nonevent

Those wacky college students. Now, we hear that students at the University of Texas at Austin protesting against the new campus carry law are wielding sex toys to counter the students who may be carrying guns to class.

Paxton-Briggle meal to offer some hope

We’ve been looking for an opportunity to say something good about Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. And we’ve found it.

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 www.cityofdenton.com 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.