What is our world coming to? Day after day it seems as if there’s another report of a terrorist attack, mass shooting or an attack against law enforcement. Some of those incidents happen in other countries while some happen far too close to home, such as the attack on police officers in Dallas.
It leaves many of us pondering the question, “What is our world coming to?”, and struggling to come up with answers.
We, as Americans, need to stop and take a look around us. What can we all do to change this world that appears to be headed straight to hell unless something happens soon? It is time we reinstate the values upon which our country was founded, and it is time we all take a long look in the mirror and see what we can do differently and what we can change about ourselves to help in that quest for a more peaceful world.
Read more in the July 21 print edition on Page 4.
How DFD's fire ratings impact you The following information is an attempt to explain how our department is rated for fire insurance purposes and a comparison to other departments.
The Insurance Service Office (ISO) uses and applies Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS) to fire departments. The schedule evaluates the three primary categories of fire suppression: The fire department, emergency communications, and water supply. In addition, it includes a new community risk reduction section that recognizes community efforts to reduce losses through fire prevention code adoption and enforcement, public safety education, and fire investigation.
ISO collects information by on-site visits of our fire protection capabilities in our community through surveys and analyzes the relevant data using the FSRS. ISO then assigns a Public Protection Classification (PPC) from one to ten with Class One indication “superior” property fire protection and Class Ten indicating the community’s fire suppression program doesn’t meet the minimum criteria to be rated. Insurers use the PPC in setting your rates for residential and commercial property insurance coverage.
The State Fire Marshall’s Office encourages all communities in Texas and ISO to work together to update their fire protection analysis at least every ten years. If ISO has not analyzed our community or if it has been more than ten years since our last analysis, we may contact ISO and arrange an analysis. We may also request an analysis any time our community has made enough improvements that could potentially result in a better classification rating. Up to date analysis of our community’s fire suppression capabilities provide information that is more accurate for insurers to use in pricing property insurance coverage.
In some communities such as Dumas, a split classification is developed as a PPC of four/four. The first number refers to the PPC rating or properties within five road miles of a fire station and within 1,000 feet of a credible water supply. The second PPC number applies to the properties within five road miles of a fire station but beyond 1,000 feet of a credible water supply. Dumas’ split rating is three/eight respectably.
The PPC numbers are derived from a point system. The perfect score, or a PPC one rating, equals 100 points. The PPC rating and points change with every 10 points (90 plus points equal a PPC one; 80-90 points equal a PPC two, etc.) The 100 points are derived from adding the following category points: 50 points for the fire department capabilities; 40 points for water supply and distribution; and ten points for receiving and handling fire alarms. In Texas, we may also receive an additional 4.34 points for certain other criteria. From the analysis, the community ends up with a “points” number. Our community’s PPC from our last analysis in 2008 is 77.29, which equals a three.
So, where do we rate in comparison with other communities within Texas and the Nation; Within the state there are 33 cities with a Class one rating, 233 with a class two rating, and 298 with a Class three rating. The list continues with the majority of the cities with a Class five rating or higher. Nationally, there are 132 cities with a Class one rating, 1,060 with a class two, 3,060 with a Class three, and once again, the list continues following the state with the majority of the cities with a class five or higher.
I stated earlier the insurers use the PPC number to set the “fire” portion of your home and commercial insurance rates. The lower your “Class” rating; the lower your “fire” portion of your policy. In addition, we are currently a Class three within the city, however, our current points collectively place us at 77.29. This means we are only 2.71 points shy of obtaining a Class two and 12.71 away from being a Class one.
How do we get to a Class one or two? First, there are no guarantees of anything; however, we as a fire department and city must plan and strive to be the best. As of our last rating, we rated low in three areas. Built upon properties over 1.5 miles of the fire station, number of firefighters staffing a pumper and ladder truck to all structure fire calls, and training. Since the 2008 rating, we have hired two additional firefighters and have increased our training tremendously. The last accomplishment we need to continue to strive for is a second station, which will improve|meet the built upon properties within 1.5 miles of a fire station. Our city is committed to this and has started the process of funding the project. Although slow at times, we/the city can only fund with the revenues presented. The project includes a second station located in the south part of the city along with the required staffing accordingly.
We/the city are in the best position possible to make this a reality in time. We already own the property that is a perfect location for city and county response. The only truck we may need to purchase is a taller ladder truck sufficient in height to react to the taller structures that have been built. As with any organization, staffing is the most important and costly and will take the longest time to afford those effects.
To this end, I apologize for the length of this; however, it isn’t an easy subject to address in a few words. Our department continues to strive to be the best we can be for our citizens, with the revenue provided for our operations. My door/office is always open. Please come by and visit!!!
The convention center straw man Guest Editorial by Dr. David Bonner
The Chamber of Commerce is studying the possibility of a “Multi-Purpose Event Center.”
If you have been lead to believe that the City of Dumas has ever had any plans to use any of our local citizens’ money such as property tax, sales tax, or utility revenues to study or construct such a center, then you have been victimized by a game of misinformation.
If it were ever true that the City would use your funds for such a project you would have every right to be highly upset.
Some who have opposed studying the possibility of the Event Center are doing what old-time debaters call “debating a straw man.”
Read the full editorial in the Nov. 22 print edition.
Gearing up for back-to-school time Ready or not, it’s time for local kids to head back to school. Classes begin Monday in Dumas and Sunray, and that means a return to the early morning hustle and bustle of getting the kids up, getting them fed, and getting them off to school on time.
The NewsHPress knows this is an important time for both parents and students. That is why inside today’s edition you will find all kinds of helpful back-to-school information such as messages from Dumas ISD and Sunray ISD administrators. And, if you haven’t already met some of the new teachers in the district, we’re providing a first look at the new faces students and parents will see on campus beginning Monday.
Heading back to school can be both exciting and scary at the same time. We hope our administrator messages, new teacher pictures and other helpful information will make the shift into the school routine a little easier.
We hope each and every student in our local school districts has a great year. We’re looking forward to informing the community on your successes as the year goes along.
Teachers, coaches and campus administrators, we hope you will take time to share information with us regarding special accomplishments, etc.
Before long, the News-Press will be returning with its Kids Korner page. If you have a suggestion for a theme of one of these pages, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see what we can do to get your topic some attention.
Now, take a little time and enjoy these last few hours of the weekend before that Monday morning school bell rings.
Printed public notices at risk Late last year I wrote about a bill that was filed in an attempt to take printed public notices out of newspapers and place them on the World Wide Web. It appears that bill, and a similar one, have been referred to a House committee (Government Transparency and Operation) before they advance further.
House Bill 139, filed by Rep. John Stickland (R-Bedford, House District 92), is attempting to make it acceptable to publish certain governmental legal notices on the comptroller's website, and making it optional to publish them in local newspapers.
Another bill, House Bill 814, has a similar goal, aiming to get notices posted to a governmental body on the Internet instead of in a newspaper.
As I said before, that is a bad idea.
Printed public notices have long been found on the pages of newspapers across this nation. Such notices are published in order to increase the public's awareness of governmental actions and intent. Changing that may leave many Americans in the dark when it comes to what the government agencies are up to.
It is important for residents to be made aware of actions being considered by governing bodies, and there are a lot of people who prefer to read such notices in print.
Here are a few things to consider:
• There are many people out there, especially in rural areas, who have no access or limited access to the Internet, making it difficult for them to search for such information online. This means the elderly, the poor, minorities and rural residents run the risk of becoming disenfranchised from civic involvement;
• The Internet is not as popular with the older demographics such as 50-64 and 65-plus — age groups that are very likely to get involved and take action;
• It can also be difficult to find public notices on websites, as they may be hidden several layers within the site; and
• You've got to be aware of the myriad of governmental agencies out there to even be able to begin locating the public notices.
Newspapers provide an outlet with a readership that far exceeds any other medium, to reach a large audience. In fact, the number of print readers, combined with our online readers, makes total newspaper penetration the most attractive to anyone who must reach a mass audience. And, public notices are easy to find.
In addition, newspaper readership online, regardless of market size, is consistently much higher than readership of governmental websites. Newspapers are seen as a "go-to" source reliable and consistent information. Local governmental websites have a very small sliver of readership.
Why are newspapers fighting to keep public notices on their pages? It is not about the revenue. In fact, Texas law requires newspapers publish such notices at the lowest published classified rate. Revenue from public notices accounts for a mere 1 percent to 5 percent of total revenue at a Texas newspaper. So, yes, it would hurt to lose that revenue, but newspapers would survive.
What will be impacted most is the governmental transparency and accountability to taxpayers, something that doesn't need to be diminished as government continues to grow and take more and more control over our everyday lives.
Keep published public notices in Texas newspapers, and keep Texans aware.
Share your thoughts on this topic by contacting your state-level elected officials. Their contact information may be found along the left-hand side of this page.