Category: Just a Thought

Father’s Day

By Steve Walker Today is Father’s Day. It is the day to nationally celebrate and honor all our fathers who are still alive and those who have passed away to include La Prensa Publisher Tino Duran. In my case, my father passed away at the age of 62 in 1985. My grandfather (his father) passed away at 65 in 1962. As a teenager I visited with my grandfather maybe three or four times before we moved for the umpteenth time. Growing up in the fifties I remember Father’s Day at my house as not being overly memorable as a little kid. Later as the teenager in the sixties I remember the family would go to a restaurant for that special Sunday meal celebrating fatherhood Father’s Day, accordingly was founded in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was born in Arkansas. Its first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19th 1910.Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children there.  Ironically I am the oldest of six boys. After hearing a sermon about Anna Jarvis’s Mother’s Day at Central Methodist Episcopal Church in 1909, she told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honoring them. Although she initially suggested June 5th, her father’s birthday, the pastors did not have enough time...

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The “Bolillo”

By Steve Walker In 1978-79 the year before I taught at La Memorial High School in Edgewood and wrote for the Westside & Southside Suns for a brief stint, I taught at Pearce Elementary School in Southside ISD. I was a Migrant Reading Teacher, pulling students out from their regular classes during the day and working with them in the Library. One day after finishing lunch duty in the cafeteria I was walking down the hallway back to my designated teaching area when one of my second grade migrant reading students passed me on her way to her regular class. She paused for a moment and said “Hello Mr. Walker” in her sweet voice and then took me by surprise by asking me, “Mr. Walker areyou a Bolillo?” Not knowing how to respond, since I wasn’t familiar with the term at the time, I answered, “Graciela I am not sure but I will get back with you later on it ok?” She smiled and nodded and walked on to her class. Immediately I marched into the teacher’s lounge down the hall looking for a fellow teacher, preferably a Hispanic teacher who could tell me the definition of a “Bolillo!” I had no idea if it was good or bad. All I knew was that Graciela believed me to be one. Mrs. Guzman one of the 1st grade teachers was in the faculty...

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Annual MLK March

By Steve Walker Tomorrow is the 33rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. March. This year’s keynote speaker is recognized and nationally known journalist Roland Martin. I look forward to once again making the 2.75 mile trek along Martin Luther King Drive to the Pittman Sullivan YMCA for the festivities. As one who has marched and participated consecutively for the last 20 plus years without missing, I am ready to do it again. Up until 2007 I was strictly a marcher and active participant in the yearly tribute as a Balcones Heights Councilman, and American Federation of Teachers Union President representing Harlandale ISD.  From 2009 to 2012 I marched as a Judge and was also blessed to simultaneously cover the March by taking photos of the event for my photoblog, the Walker Report. I am still covering the march for the Walker Report. In 1981 when I was the President of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, our chapter was one of the first non-African-American organizations in San Antonio who endorsed a National Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday when it wasn’t that popular to do so. As president I received lots of phone messages that were not that complimentary about the chapter openly endorsing the move for the national holiday. On the positive side, because of that endorsement, I was asked as President to speak to the first group of about 500 people who gathered at MLK Plaza to unofficially celebrate the occasion....

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Higher Education

By Steve Walker (Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran and former Justice of the Peace and Journalist) In the past I have been employed as a part-time Adjunct Instructor at the Alamo City College District (ACCD) located in the Edgewood School District. Housed on SW 40th Street in the former Lincoln Elementary School campus, ACCD took possession of the building and still offers a number of students with limited education, vocational skills and GED classes. Students came from the Westside and all parts of town to take classes on the campus seeking better employment opportunities with higher learning. As one who spent a year in the Edgewood School District in the 80s at La Memorial High School, I am acutely aware of the need to provide those additional opportunities for many growing up in the Westside of town. It was exciting to say the least. For me it was a sort or reunion with the area in which I taught those many years ago. Imagine my surprise when I began my tenure at the ACCD campus expecting to teach a GED class and discovering my schedule had been changed to working as a support teacher for a class of nursing assistant students. Instead of GED, I was about to be exposed to the career path of someone wishing to work in a hospital, nursing home, in- home care, or a doctor’s...

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New Year’s Resolutions

By Steve Walker Now that we are in the swing of things for the New Year, it is time to make New Year’s resolutions. Or do we? How many times throughout the years have we purposed to make resolutions to lose weight, get a new job, travel and spend more time with the family? At least my generation has attempted that in past years. I am a baby boomer. As I get older I make less of an effort to “make resolutions.” I have come to the realization I tend to fall far short of those pronouncements of determination. Whether it is a proclamation to diet, exercise or just take better care of myself, I always seem to miss the mark and then feel bad about it for the rest of the year. That in itself is discouraging. How can I purpose to change my life for the better if I can’t even stick to a regiment of smaller portions, more physical exercise and a plan to increase my financial income by winning the lottery? Since I am currently unemployed, a pay raise is obviously not in the cards as a viable option for me. Finding employment at a more mature age has proved to be a daunting scenario to say the least. Just because you resolve to accomplish it doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to happen or at...

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“Feliz Navidad” memories

By Steve Walker Three days ago we once again celebrated “FelizNavidad” that brought back many vivid memories for me of bygone years, opening presents and listening to carollers at our door singing festive tunes. Who could forget songs like “Silent Night,” “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” and the classic, “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer?” Decorating the tree with tinsel, lights, and ornaments is etched in my mind as I grew up from child to young adult and finally grandpa status. Back as a kid I recall being really excited, waking up early Christmas morning and rushing down the stairs from my bedroom that I sharedwith all my brothers. (1 brother deceased of 6 boysmy) I tried to be the first one under the tree. It was my goal to get my hands on the wrapped presents before anyone else. Sometimes it worked and sometimes I came in a close second. Let’s fast forward to Christmas in the 90s. By then I acquired two granddaughters and two grandsons who now are in their 20’s. Spending Christmas with young grandchildren became a whole new experience watching their eyes light up as mine did many decades earlier. For a number of my teenage years my mother and father decided for whatever reason, to buy an artificial tree in place of a real tree. Needless to say it just didn’t quite generate the...

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General McMullen Corridor

By Steve Walker Nearly all of San Antonio’s regional centers and urban centers are located along or at the intersection of major transportation corridors. Our region is experiencinganexploding increase of our growth.It is predicted that by 2040, (I will be 94 then) Bexar County is projected to add over 1.1 million people and 500,000 jobs. When and where the new housing and new jobs are located over the next 25 years will determine how big a major impact on San Antonio and ourquality of life will be. If guided properly, this influx of new residents and workers will enhance our City and positively impact our options for how we live, work, and get around. Successfully implementing the SA Tomorrow vision means rethinking those corridors like McMullen Corridor. We need all of our corridors to provide safe and comfortable access and mobility, serve as attractive gateways and frame compact, walkable mixed-use development. They will also be targeted for higher-density housing and more employment opportunities. A multi-objective and multi-layered approach to corridor improvements can help ensure they are safe, comfortable and attractive for those future residents, employees and nearby existing residents. Attractive and regional urban centers are connected together.However the corridors must serve more than just a transportation function. They include premium transit service to help manage congestion and bolster safe, convenient and affordable transportation options. VIA’s Vision 2040 comprehensive transit...

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Immigration flashback

By Steve Walker (Steve Walker is a Viet Nam Veteran, former Journalist and Justice of the Peace.) November 29th in 2014 I wrote “Just a Thought” about then President Obama making good on his promise to issue an executive order on immigration during a televised press conference from the White House. Many on both sides of the issue still react to his words to this day in the Hispanic community that felt relief while many others not so much. Dreamers were excited then but not now with the current President continually insulting and demeaning refugees at every turn. In that article I was referencing the 800 thousand Dreamers in limbo. The statistics show that 95 percent of those Dreamers are gainfully employed, own their own homes and vehicles, and pay taxes. Many are nurses, doctors, teachers, members of the military and independent business owners. Nothing has changed on those statistics. Many others believed at that time as well as now that President Obama was well within his right to do so as previous Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Walker Bush. Both Reagan and Bush issued executive orders limiting immigrant deportation as well, setting the precedent. He pointed out that he was attempting to correct policies that he believed unjustly punished parents of children who were born in this country, although the parents were not naturalized citizens. The terms “illegal” or “undocumented”...

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The Census

By Steve Walker (Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran, former Journalist and Justice of the Peace ) Census (plural noun) is an official count or “survey” of a population typically recording various details of individuals.The United States Census Bureauis a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing that data about the American people and economy. Besides the term “Survey” you could other terms such as poll,review, investigation, inquiry, study, probe, questionnaire or opinion poll. The Census Bureau is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce and its director is appointed by the President of the United States.” The first Federal Population Census was taken in 1790, and a census has been taken every ten years since then. The downside is the ability to access recent data or data from as far back as 1940. The reason is simply due to a 72-year restriction on access to the Census. Most researchers find it helpful to begin with the 1940 Census and work backwards to locate people in earlier generations. Census records can provide an avenue for your search to confirm information and learn so much more. Based on a census of one’s family such as grandparents or great grandparents could reveal much information such as name, age, state or country of birth, parents birthplace, year of immigration (if relevant) street address, marriage status and years of marriage, occupations,...

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Women’s Leadership in SA

By Steve Walker (Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran, former Journalist and Justice of the Peace ) Recently San Antonio honored 21 deserving and exceptional women for their leadership in various careers supporting those in need,leading San Antonio to be the best it can be. They were recognized for their commitment with their stories that motivate us and provide example after example of who we strive every day to be. One woman of those women is capping off a very successful decades long career supporting those most in need in our community. Another completed service with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and public life. Many worked hard, leading San Antonio to be the best it can be. It is their stories that motivate us and provide example after example of who we strive every day to be.They are presidents and CEOs of contracting companies, marketing agencies and law firms. They bring the community together, lead our spiritual growth and champion children. Women also lead in male-dominated fields like aviation, financial management, insurance and technology. The San Antonio Business Journal justified their choices because the local women were perfect examples of their leadership and theirefforts in making their businesses, their industries and their communities better. The Lifetime Achievement winner this year is Diane Dorsett, Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas’ first employee helped build a nonprofit — and a legacy...

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“Ain’t done yet”

By Steve Walker Welcome to issue #5 of the “Ain’t done yet” series. Previously you have been given an overall view and information on how it flows at Madison Estates on Fredericksburg Road. Having said that, we continue our journey on details of independent retirement living. This past week was full of activities to include celebrating Veteran’s Dayand honoring the 45 veterans who live here, some with their spouses. Four of those veterans happen to be women.Two of those women served as nurses, one officer and our friend Mary Luna who we sit together at meal time. She was trained in dental hygiene.Recently I was upset for losing my Viet Nam cap along the way, and Mary bought me a new Viet Nam cap to wear! Now that is a real friend. Another event we participated in this past week as well was “Health Awareness Month” to include 10 of us walking a makeshift runway in the fireplace lounge, to highlight Men’s health. Ironically all ten men are veterans. We were issued a tee shirt with a logo depicting a top hat, eyeglasses, and mustache. Each participant wore a different colored shirt.Mine was Black. Others were Green, Red, Yellow, Blue, Gray and so forth. As luck would happen I lead the charge on the runaway. I represented Men’s vision. How ironic, since I experienced successful cataract surgery. Others represent...

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Ain’t done yet

By Steve Walker Welcome to issue #4 of the “Ain’t done yet” series. Having previously given the reader some information about how it works here atMadison Estates on Fredericksburg Road, we continue our journey. Let’s expand on other activities that make Madison Estates independent retirement living, a reality for those of us who have reached the cutoff age of 55 with no cutoff at the high end. Considering we have one precious senior who we look forward to celebrating her 102 birthday in February! She is clear headed, articulate, totally aware of her surroundings, and just a really pleasant...

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