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Thank yous and tidbits for early 2020

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COFFEE WITH KEITH

Occasionally, your weekly Coffee with Keith may include a hodge-podge of thoughts. This is one of those times as I try to clear my mind of a few things that have been on it since the holidays.

First, a big thank you to a couple of men for their help, effort and opinions.

Recently, The Star lost a pair of longtime columnists as the Rev. Tom Lanier ended a 20-plus-year “Prodigal’s Perspective” career in early November before Hill Country Gardener Tom Harris hung up his pen this past week – again after 20-plus years.

No matter who you are or what your passion, scribing a weekly column – for free – is much more difficult than it sounds. The determination to come up with something – in some cases anything – is tougher than tough.

One may think it should be easy to be able to tackle a topic and keep writing about it week after week after week.

Nope.

No matter if it’s sports, politics, entertainment, general knowledge or even something like Boerne after midnight – the gossip stuff – it takes talent beyond talent to keep writing – and writing well.

I’ve been writing a weekly column off and on for more than 35 years. Obviously, I think some “Coffee with Keith” efforts are better than others – and you probably do, too.

That’s one of the beauties of column writing. Sometimes you please the goose and sometimes it’s the gander.

But through the luck of the draw, I’ve written columns in several states for many newspapers, so sometimes one written in Wyoming a decade ago can be retooled in some fashion so it’s appropriate to appear on Page 4 of The Star.

No, I haven’t kept copies of my columns, even though at times I wish I had. But, this old mind of mine that continues to be as sharp as a bowling ball still can remember a thing or two and refashion it for a new audience.

My point is that Lanier and Harris have not been able to do that. Their columns have been churned out here … in your Star … just about every week with each one fresh off their fingertips.

So, again, thanks Tom and Tom for providing us with quality material that has helped, inspired and allowed us to learn along the way.

Your words of wisdom will be missed.

• • •

It’s an official census year as updated population updates will be coming along in the spring. Don’t be surprised if Boerne gets significantly closer to 20,000 folks within its borders and Kendall County nears 50,000.

It’s all coming to a neighborhood near you.

The decennial census has been conducted in years ending in “0” since 1790, as required by the U.S. Constitution.

Information from the bureau stated that at midnight on Jan. 1, our nation had 330,222,422 residents. That’s 1,991,085 more people than a year ago.

However, putting things into perspective, the 365-day increase is less than 1 percent. Since the last official Census Day (April 1, 2010) the United States has grown by 6.96 percent.

The bureau continued by stating our country is expected to experience one birth every 8 seconds and one death every 11 seconds. Meanwhile, net international migration is expected to add one person to the U.S. population every 34 seconds.

The combination of births, deaths and net international migration will increase the U.S. population by one person every 19 seconds.

As far as our earth’s population, the number the bureau tossed around for the beginning of the new year was 7,621,018,958, an increase of 77,684,873 from a year ago.

Almost 78 million new people around the world in one year? However, that computes only to a 1.03 percent increase.

• • •

As far as other census tidbits, roughly 40 percent of our population lives in the South and more than 25 percent lives in one of three states – the “Big 3” of California, Texas or Florida.

Half of us live in one of 10 states, the three above plus New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina and Michigan.

Our Lone Star State added the most folks in the last year at 367,000 followed by Florida at 233,000.

• • •

As far as politics, Texas’ 10-year population gain, which brings it to almost 29 million, may result in three additional U.S. House seats. That would give the Lone Star State 41 Electoral College votes.

Florida is expected to gain two to increase to 31. California may actually lose one, giving it 54 total.

Other states projected to gain one elector are Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon. Besides California, those expected to lose one are Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia.

We’ll see how it all plays out.

In all, there are 538 electors, based on 435 representatives, 100 senators and three electors from Washington, D.C. A majority of 270 is needed to elect a president.

Remember, this is a presidential election year.

• • •

Finally, I’ll say it again after writing it a couple of weeks ago.

This is not the beginning of a new decade. We’re in Year 10 of the current decade, not Year 1 of a new one, even though it’s 2020.

Somewhere along the way, people must have shortchanged a decade and celebrated after nine years.

Maybe that decade was bad so they hurried things along? Who knows?

But 2020 is the 10th year of the decade that began in 2011. Period.

As always, thanks for reading.