Somervell County Salon-Populist Online News and Opinion-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Ruminations of the Easily Amused for 9/26/2014-Donkeys and Video Edition

26 September 2014 at 2:41:12 PM

Going great with the donkey training until this morning. I got a halter on him last night and he was absolutely fine with it. Friend came over and helped me figure out how tight to make the harness, and donkey was being extremely sweet and affectionate. MADE THE MISTAKE this morning of putting a lead rope on him after putting on the harness, he RAN out of the pen and into the wood, dragging the rope with him. (Mistake was that I didn't close up the pen first, dang it) A couple of times he came back to the pen, occasionally stepping on the rope which would stop him short,  but at that point he was pretty spooked by the rope so I couldn't get it off. I have the pen closed up right now so he can't get in, to make him hungry at the least for dinner. Going to go out every so often to make sure he's not stuck on anything. Update: He hung out in the woods all day, I had to work extra hard to persuade him to go back into the pen. I was able, once I did, to get the halter off, which took the rope as well. I have him penned up right now eating dinner, going to go out and pet him after a bit with some treats. 

Have been thinking about redoing some videos from a long time ago. At one point in the past, Youtube only allowed videos of a certain length to be uploaded, which necessitated splitting the videos into smaller segments. I have some favorite videos, besides all the political ones I did when recording local government meetings for years, to include Panther Cave, Moonshine and What happened to Janna Witt? On Panther Cave, which was quite charming, I had been asked by Bussey in 2009 to come video record a presentation for some local people that had won in a raffle for something, seems like it had been some kind of event held at a ranch at Chalk Mountain. Ken Frye gave the presentation decked in a period outfit. Below is part 1, second part on this link

(And yes, this was the event where George Darrell Best, there with his wife, told me that it was really nice of my husband to let me use the camera. I was nonplussed at the idea that anyone would think, first, that it wasn't my own camera and second, that I would have to ask permission of my husband  to use it-hahah!) Here's the link to the video. Another set that I just LOVED was of Kenneth Hopson and Terry Gosdin telling moonshine stories. 

One of the saddest was one Jana Mann Witt's mom did asking for ANY information about Janna, who flat disappeared (2009).

One of my favorite videos also is Susan McClendon attempting to visit her son on the Glen Rose Nursing Home, Kind of grainy so might be one I can redo.Glen Rose Nursing Home wasn't letting her in, I told her I'd go with her and bring my video camera.

Here's one I did in 2010 on Paluxy Pedal

Remember how the 4b board wanted to give money to Land of the Dinosaurs and had no contract? Here's one of the many things I wrote about this at the time. 

The auditor that was called in about this later said that it was not legal to do this as an investment. (Of note is that after the meeting I went up to talk to Dr Mike, who was going to give me the auditor materials to look out, which is a perfectly fine thing to do, and Darrell Best shouted out from the other side of the room telling Dr Mike not to do it. 

Here's another one of my faves. At one of the Glen Rose City Council meetings, it was claimed that Waterfall St was too narrow and people shouldn't park on the streets (even though one resident, Debra Martinez, could ONLY park in front of her house.) While I was there recording not only her but Mr Darch who lived next door, a garbage truck came down the street. Here's what I wrote about this at the time. 

Incidentally, I LOVED talking to Mr Darch about the street-he actually had a signed contract that the City was NOT following. 

Here's a video I did at the Somervell County Hospital Authority meeting about comingling funds (Yay to Walter Maynard who was looking at details!!!!!!)  Here's what I wrote about this at the time (Jan 2010) 

Riverwalk-also done in 2010

Margaret Drake on hiking, biking and equestrian trails

And here's one I did about Rod Hale and the Lakequarium at the Somervell County Water District meeting

I have raw footage that I just haven't turned into videos but do intend to, will post about those when I finally get them done. In case you're wondering, I not only got really busy a few years ago with a hobby project but also was a little tired, after 4 years of attending all kinds of meetings, which included writing about them particularly with things that I thought were interesting, and then creating video snips using Adobe Premiere Pro; decided to take a break. I still have gotten audio or open records since then, and have made video clips from stufff, I like it when the government entity is the one doing the recording and I can get a copy to listen to or, in the case of the Somervell County Hospital District, watch. I've considered going back to video recording as most of the governmental entities still do not do video recording, and I truly do like recording the meetings. Here's what Texas Watchdog said in 2009, which was really great.

And that's how we come this week to point our lens toward Somervell County, home of the blog known as the Somervell County Salon.

The Salon is a rollicking place with multiple regular bloggers -- you have to register to get access, but it's free registration -- and like many blogs, it serves up commentary on national and local political issues.

But that's not all: The chief blogger goes out and records her own video and audio of city and county public meetings and posts them on the Salon web site -- thus making it possible for many Somervell Countians to get access to public meetings that they can't attend in person.

I talked the other day by phone with the chief blogger -- she writes under the username "Salon," so that's how I'll refer to her.

When her family lived elsewhere in North Texas, she said, seeing public meetings was easy -- all you had to do was turn on the TV, practically any time of day or night, and watch the reruns of meetings on the local cable-access channels. But that's a luxury not often enjoyed by people in more rural areas. 

She recalled for me the first time she showed up with a camera at a public meeting in Somervell County to record it, and she got some pushback from an official there who didn't seem to quite understand that the public can't be prohibited from recording a public meeting. But she went on ahead, and since then, she's become a regular.

No, she said, she didn't start out with the intention of being a journalist or even a citizen-journalist -- she started the blog largely on national political issues that she wanted to speak out on. But as she asked more questions about the things city and county government were doing, she became more and more interested in them, which led to still more questions.

At the same time, though, national politics is still a frequent subject on the blog. The Salonners are a pretty Netroots-y bunch. When I'm reading their site, I always get the feeling like I'm hanging out at a small, intimate bar with some folks who are old friends -- inside, it's a blue-state kind of place, Obama posters on the walls, and outside the bar is miles and miles of red. I can't always mentally keep straight all the local political goings-on being discussed -- who is that person you just mentioned, again? -- but I enjoy the conversation and, most of all, the questioning attitude.

But that brings up an important point about citizen journalism and the changing media landscape we live in: Folks like me, the people whose business cards say "journalist," we're supposed to try to be objective (though I know critics on both sides would laugh at that statement). But the citizen journalists don't have to check their opinions at the door. Whether they are on the left or on the right, they can speak their minds. And as we "pros" become fewer and fewer in number because there are fewer jobs in our industry, I think our society will rely more on citizen journalists for real news, not just opinion.

And that comes back to our original point: Here's a citizen journalist giving folks in her community access to public meetings that they probably couldn't get anywhere else. That's a real commitment to the idea of freedom of information.



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