Friday, July 27, 2007

Rebuilding of Gruene Bridge is Matter of Safety

The 98 year old Gruene bridge in New Braunfels is a hazard. The waters near the bridge attract many tubers, rafters and boaters of varying skill levels. The low-slung concrete bridge is a danger zone for people on the river and those who cross over it because the walkways are too close to traffic lanes. The most recent drowning occurred in mid July. The death of the 49 year old man was reported by Austin American Statesman writer Molly Bloom in the Tuesday edition.

So, why isn't a drowning death enough impetus for the Texas Historical Commission and the state Transportation Department to work out a solution? Safety should take priority over preservation. As the author succinctly states ,"the words "old" and "historic" are not synonyms, and the commission has yet to fully explain its historical significance to New Braunfels or Central Texas. " In 2003, the commission determined the bridge to be unworthy of a nomination to the National Register of Historic Places because of previous renovation in 1950. That cleared the way for the bridge to be raised and rebuilt, but plans stalled as the commission said the bridge "is unique and should be preserved if modifications can be developed that would lessen any safety concerns."

Clearly, as the author reports of the recent drowning and the dozen people who have been injured already this summer , there is a compelling case to rebuild the bridge.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Kudos to all my fellow classmates. Your blogs are very informative.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Judge Signs off on Plan to Improve Healthcare Access for Kids

U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice approved a settlement on July 9, 2007, that will improve access to medical care for more than 2 million low-income children in Texas. The agreement, which was drafted by state and plaintiff's attorneys, ends a 14 year case that stemmed from a class action suit filed against the state in 1993. The original class action suit claimed that the state did not provide adequate care for children enrolled in Medicare.
State lawmakers have already agreed to more than $700 million necessary to satisfy the terms of the settlement. Most notably, rate reimbursements for doctors and dentists will increase up to 50% to dentists and varying rates for physicians based on the treatment provided.This measure will increase preventative checkups and primary care with an anticipated decrease in need for hospital care and fewer cases of severe dental disease (preventable) that require general anesthesia in an operating room.
The settlement requires the state to hire more Medicaid caseworkers, improve transportation options to help parents get to medical appointments and implement family outreach initiatives to inform parents what services and checkups are available for their children. Efficiency of toll- free hotlines and availability of prescription drugs will also be addressed. Most of the changes will take effect September 1.

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