Happy 100th Birthday to our National Park Service If you’ve had the chance to view the sun setting into a deep gorge at Big Bend National Park, or stargaze from the Permian Era fossil reef in West Texas’ Guadalupe Mountains, you understand the importance of preserving Texas’ wild spaces.
And if you’ve watched turtle hatchlings crawl into the Gulf of Mexico along the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island on Padre Island National Seashore or spoken with a staged 19th century soldier about the outbreak of the Civil War at Fort Davis National Historic Site, you can appreciate why our state’s history and natural treasures are cause for celebration.
The National Park Service (NPS), which maintains these sites in Texas, has a celebration of its own this week as it observes its 100th birthday. The NPS was established on August 25, 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Organic Act into law, creating a new federal bureau within the Department of Interior to manage our national parks.
At that time, the United States only had 35 national parks. One hundred years later, our national park system has grown to more than 400 national parks, monuments, and historic sites across all 50 states.
Texas is home to 16 of these nationally recognized sites, and each year they attract more than five million visitors and plug more than $216 million into our state’s economy.
It’s no mystery why. In Texas, we have a park for everybody. You can reflect upon Texas’ hard-fought independence at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, or you can watch a movie under the stars at President Lyndon B. Johnson’s ranch just like he would have hosted 50 years ago.
Active outdoorsmen can mountain bike along the rough terrain of the Harbor Bay Trail at Lake Meredith. Paddlers can navigate their way along cypress-lined bayous at Big Thicket. You can even scuba dive in the middle of the desert at the Amistad National Recreation Area in Del Rio.
Visitors to the Alibates Flint Quarries in the Panhandle can learn how to make ancient mammoth-hunting tools from 13,000 years ago. And at Texas’ newest national park, Waco Mammoth Site, you’ll find the largest concentration of Columbian mammoth remains in North America.
The list goes on. So to celebrate all the National Park Service has to offer on its Centennial Anniversary, I encourage you to visit one or many of the national parks we have right here in our backyard. Many sites are holding centennial events this month, but on any day of the year, the views, the history, and the experience are worth the trip.
Letter to the Editor
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.