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Posts published in December 2006

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

DEAR EDITOR:
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
VIRGINIA O’HANLON.
115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.
RESPONSE

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest man that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank GOD! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

County moves forward on Stars history project

By BOBBY HORN JR.
LYNCHBURG— An effort by Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Sylvia Garcia to recognize the historical significance of sites throughout East Harris County, got a vote of confidence from her colleagues last week.
Garcia says she was pleased that the Commissioners Court has approved measures allowing her plans for the Project Stars Historical District to advance.

The Project Stars Historical District is a joint effort between Harris County and the private sector.
The project, Garcia said, will serve as not only a tourist attraction but give an economic boost to the area. The project was the results of a quality of life survey conducted by Garcia’s office in 2003.
During the Dec. 5 Commissioners Court meeting, separate items passed which allow for bids to go out on two projects which Garcia says fit into overall plans for Project Stars.
The first item approved will add improvements to Precinct Two’s David G. Burnet Park.
“Many people may not be aware that David G. Burnet was the first President of the Republic of Texas,” said Garcia. “I plan to improve access, and eventually build a representation of his home at this site.”
The second item provides for a series of historical signs recognizing the importance of the Lynchburg area in local and Texas history.
“While the historic Lynchburg Ferry has a well-known place in Texas history as a result of helping to evacuate Texians during the war with Santa Anna, there is so much more to the entire settlement of Lynchburg,” Garcia said. “Not only in relation to the Battle of San Jacinto, but going all the way back to early settlers and the indigenous people of the area.”
The signs will be similar, in terms of the information provided, to State Historical Markers that dot many Texas roadways, she said. And, she added, the signs would also fit within the framework of Project Stars.
Future plans include creating “photomurals” on oil storage tanks along Highways 225 and 134.
The murals will depict scenes from the Battle of San Jacinto and later capture of Gen. Santa Anna in what is now known as Pasadena. In total 26 historical sites will be recognized along what Garcia has termed the “Independence Parkway.”
Plans are also in the works to restore the Lynchburg Cemetery and have it recognized by the Texas Historical Commission.

Rotary and Fire Department to provide free smoke alarms

HIGHLANDS– The Highlands Rotary Club and the Highlands Volunteer Fire Department have joined together to provide smoke alarms in homes that could otherwise not afford them.
“These life-saving devices should be in every home”, according to HVFD Fire Chief Harvey Little. He went on to say that his department has witnessed many fires where lives were saved because the family had installed smoke alarms.

The Rotary initiative is under the direction of Community Director Dr. Larry White. White said that the club will purchase the fire alarms in a large quantity, and the club and the fire department will install them without charge, for homes that request them and could otherwise not afford to purchase and install them on their own.
Residents who wish to participate in the program are asked to fill out an application form and submit it to the department at its headquarters at 123 San Jacinto Street, or mail it to P.O. Box 584, Highlands 77562.
These forms are available at all the local schools in Highlands, at the fire station, at Dr. White’s office on Main Street, and a copy of the form is being published in this issue of the Star-Courier. In addition to the application, homeowners will be asked to sign a Liability Release form when the smoke alarm is installed.
It is expected that the alarms will be installed on Saturdays, in January 2007. If the need exists, the program may be ongoing, according to Rotary president Johnny Gaeke.
See Application Form on Page 5 of this Star-Courier.