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To The Point

The Munday Courier of Munday, Texas

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To mow or not to mow. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has made some changes to their mowing policy on Texas Highways to twice a year instead of when it looks bad.

Because of the decline in funding for maintenance and construction of our highway system, TxDOT has had to make this policy change. Every aspect of how TxDOT spends those limited funds has been analyzed, including the statewide management of roadside vegetation. It seems TxDOT will focus their mowing efforts for safety rather than aesthetics. In other words, as long as we can pass safely of our highways, they won't pay attention to how it looks.

This new policy will limit the number of times rural highways receive a modified full-width-30 feet from the edge of the road (and medians) instead of the entire width of the right of way-mowing to two per year. Full-width mowing is primarily done for aesthetic resons and does not affect safety. The department will continue to perform safety mowing as needed at intersections, driveways and on the inside of curves. They will work to ensure that visibility is not an issue.

By reducing mowing cycles from three to two, TXDOT expects to save taxpayers as much as $25 million this year. TxDOT's herbicide and wildflower programs help our highways look good but also reduces the cost of maintenance and labor by encouraging the growth of native species that need less mowing and care.

Maintenance sections will be implementing aggressive herbicide programs to reduce the amount of undesired vegetation along the right of way. Herbicide use reduces the need for frequent mowing, and it allows natural grasses to flourish; improving driver visibility and enhancing the natural landscape. I can see the benefits in this new policy. I have questions, however. How much does herbicide cost, in relation to mowing? What about the mowers? These guys usually have several pieces of equipment to do the mowing. They purchase this equipment depending on payment from the state. One less mowing a year will make a huge difference in their paychecks. The state may be saving the taxpayer money, but they would be putting these men at risk of losing the equipment they need to the do the job. Why can't we allow farmers to mow and bale the grass? Instead of the state paying the mowers to cut the grass, farmers can cut and bale. A new policy would have be found concerning which farmers to choose, etc. If no one wants to cut and bale in some areas the state could use the old policy.

Someone would probably raise a safety concern. How much difference would there be from what is being done now? There probably wouldn't be as many machines out there cutting and baling as there are mowing. Food for thought anyway.

Farmer's Market News: I want everyone who came early Saturday to know, tomatoes showed up about 8 o'clock. So, one never knows, but we all need to work on our timing. If you are in a habit of getting up early, any time before 7:30 is probably too early, it is Saturday after all. And please be patient with the market vendors. Hopefully the produce will begin to come in soon. All we can do is ask gardeners to bring their produce to market, we can't force them to come in.

The future of the market will depend on how everything works out this year. If we do better than last year we will plan to continue the dream. So, please bear with us, work with us and hopefully by working together we can make the Market a success. Keep in mind this isn't Dallas, or even Abilene. But with your help WE can do it.

We hope to see a crowd of you Saturday at the Market to see what people have brought. Expect surprises.

Let's continue to make Munday look inviting to our visitors. Some of them will want to move here and help us improve our little spot on the map. So clean up, pick up and look up.



Copyright 2011 The Munday Courier, Munday, Texas. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: June 17, 2010



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