PaperCity Magazine

Round Top Summer 2022

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Page 9 of 67

Jim Kastleman JACK THOMPSON I t seems that we are both blessed and cursed, out here in the country. Small towns that were almost extinct have surged back to life with folks looking to escape to a more relaxed way of life, connected more to the land than the concrete. It's a dramatic turnaround from the '50s, '60s and '70s, when children of the small towns and family farms fled to the city to pursue what was perceived to be a more successful life. One of the most obvious curses is the lack of infrastructure capacity to keep up with the new homes and farmhouses being built. It takes the patience of a wise person to hear the local electric company tell you that it will take four to six months to get new power set up. It takes patience while waiting on commissioners' courts and town councils to consider subdivision or building applications. Their jobs aren't easy as they balance the new demand with water supplies and sewer capacity. Not to mention, supply issues are causing prices on just about everything to escalate. Sadly, cattle ranchers, still a huge part of the local economy, are barely breaking even, if they're lucky, due to the costs of feed and transporting stock to the markets and processors. One solution there is to bring the processors closer to the ranches — something that's being worked on, at least in Fayette County, and could have a positive impact on ensuring the continued prosperity of such a vital part of the economy, not to mention sustaining the nostalgia of what has made Texas great. Many generational locals are somewhat skeptical of the growth. Many of the newly minted country folk should observe those locals and relearn things like courtesy and neighborliness. Importantly, learn the concept that there are generally no time limits on conversation. Don't rush: Spending 30 minutes chatting, even if it's about nothing important, can help acclimate you to why you've chosen to be out here. It's a slower pace that, in the end, is very therapeutic and can make time out here well worth the wait. Jim Kastleman Chairman 8

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