New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 12, 1996, New Braunfels, Texas
8 ii Herald-Zeitung ti Friday, January 12, 1996
■ To talk with Managing Editor Poug Loveday about Church Life, call 625-9144,
Herald-ZeitungChurch LifeMore gaming options won’t save pari-mutuel industry
By KEN CAMP
Special to the Herald-Zeitung
A look at the recent history of pari-mutuel gambling in Texas reveals a trail of broken promises and failed predictions.
In 1983, the Texas Horse Racing Association, Inc. claimed, “If racing is legalized, the Texas horse industry could add as much as $5 billion a year and 50.0(X) new jobs to the state economy.” They said legalization would bong the state $200 million in taxes.
Two years later, the association funded a study by Peak, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. that claimed an overall $415 million benefit to the Texas economy. In 1987, the state projected that pari-mutuel would produce $274 million in taxes within 5 years.
The total tax revenue to date has been closer to $40 million.
That shortfall in revenue for the state is due in part to the “bait and switch” the pan-mutuel promoters pulled on Texas voters. Originally.Analysis
the state’s share of the pari-mutuel handle (amount bet) was to be five percent. Instead, the state only draws one percent.
Of course, the gambling industry and its friends in the Texas Legislature never intended to keep that original pledge. Ike Harris, former state senator and sponsor of the Racing Act, admitted as much. He acknowledged after the fact that it was a “copout” that was no more than an act of political expediency.
Then there’s the simple truth that once they were out of the starting gate in Texas, the horses stumbled. The Bandera track closed last summer. Retama Park, an $80 million track near San Antonio, ended its quarter horse season early, due to $2.3 million in debts and losses of about $ 140,000 a month. And the $85 mil-lion Sam Houston Race Park—Texas’ first Class I horse track—had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Before its 1994 opening, Sam Houston projected a 10,000 average daily attendance and a $1.5 million average daily handle. It was never even close. Attendance was less than 7,600 and the handle was under $800,000.
Consider the Lone Star Jockey Club’s Class I license for a Grand Prairie track. Local voters were promised a “world-class” facility. The license was granted on the basis that backers would build a 450,000-square-foot grandstand. Now the proposed facility has cut back the size to 269,000 square feet. Originally, the facility was supposed to have 11,400 parking spaces. Now it’s 5,600 spaces.
And of course, there was the claim by the Texas Horse Racing Association that real estate values near racetracks increase. That’s not what Willow Park homeowners near Trinity Meadows are saying these days.
The story of greyhound racing in Texas is similar. Valley Greyhound Park in Harlingen closed on Sept. 30 after racking up a reported $5 million in losses. When the $16.2 million facil
ity opened nearly six years ago, the projected annual attendance was 960,000 and projected annual handle was $120 million. In its first full year of operation, the track drew about 684,000 and had a handle of less than $55 million. That was its best year. By 1994, attendance had dropped to less than 290,000 and the handle plummeted to below $29 million.
The state’s other two dog tracks are yelping like whipped puppies. After drawing more than 949,000 in 1991, attendance at Corpus Christi Greyhound Park dropped off sharply to fewer than half that number in 1994. And the track never came near the projected handle of $ 120 million. During its best year, the handle was less than $75 million. In 1994, it was below $41 million.
Meanwhile, at the Gulf Greyhound Park in La Marque—one of the nation’s most successful dog tracks—attendance in 1994 was down more than 28 percent and the handle was down 26 percent.
The pan-mutuel industry is dying. But instead of granting a decent burial, promoters keep ask
ing for more tracks at county fairs, expanded simulcasting of both horse and dog races, ATMs at racetracks and other new, improved ways to let Texans lose their hard-earned money.
At least some in the industry are honest about their intentions—sort of. They acknowledge that “pari-mutuel wagering is a game of checkers in a Super Nintendo world.”
They want to offer other “gaming options” at tracks. They don’t just want smelly old horses and dogs. They want the bright lights, bells and whistles of slot machines and gaming tables. They want casinos.
Naturally, they promise jobs, economic growth and tax benefits. They say dial legalized casinos would raise $500 million intaxes and create about 42,000 jobs. Sound familiar?
(Ken Camp is a writer with the Mews and Information Service, Baptist General Convention of Texas. He serves on the board of directors for Texans Against Gambling, a statewide organization devoted to stopping the expansion of legalized gambling in Texas.)
Christ Presbyterian Church plans dedication
It began as a small Bible study meeting in the Laurel Plaza Apartments. There was just a handful of folks in those days. Yet they all shared a heartfelt desire to study the Bible.
Christ Presbyterian Church members may reflect back on those humble beginnings for a moment, but only for a moment. Their eyes are fixed straight ahead as they anticipate the great things God.will do in and through their church in the future. Pastor Dick Jones descnbes the early days of the church as a "genuine work of God. God’s providential care and loving provision are the only reasons Christ Presbyterian Church exists today.”
From the outset, the church has done just the opposite of what the church growth experts advise. “Though they rarely put it this way, most growth experts recommend against articulating clearly and concisely what the church believes. They say doctrine and theology are anathema to church growth,” commented Pastor Jones. “We have deliberately and consistently taken a stand on things like the inerrancy of Scripture, tile sovereignty of God and the pro-life movement. Folks that have found a home with us appreciate our willingness to take informed, principled stands on these issues,” continued Jones.
The church began their building
Christ presbyterian Cnurch, located
plans about two years ago by engaging an architect to design a master plan for the land they had purchased. The building, which will be dedicated this Sunday evening at 6 p.m., represents Phase I of the master plan. The congregation is already looking forward to Phase II, which will double the size of their building. The five acres on which
at 1620 E. Common St.
their new building sits should allow more than enough space for future expansion. When asked what their plans are to achieve the growth necessary for Phase ll and Phase IU, Jones smiles and says, “We intend to continue teaching and preaching Chnst’s gospel and equipping our folks to live out their faith in a dark and hurting
world. Just what we’ve done since the beginning!”
Christ Presbyterian Church extends an invitation for its friends and neighbors to anend their special dedication service this Sunday at 6 p rn. and the reception that follows. The new church facility is located at 1620 E. Common St.
Boice conference attracts wide audience
, I f «
Dr. Boice and Pastor Jones
Dr. James Montgomery Boice, pastor of the historic Tenth Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, presented his Christian Mind Renewal Conference this past weekend. The event was hosted by Chnst Presbytenan Church of New Braunfels.
Hie theme of the nationally renowned seminar 'nay be encapsulated by Romans 12:1-2 in the New Testament.
In that passage, the Apostle Paul encourages Christians not to be “conformed to this world,” but rather to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind."
“We were very pleased at the participation we had for this exciting seminar,” commented Chnst Presbytenan Church pastor Dick Jones.
“It was an extraordinary opportunity to learn and to be
challenged to develop a Chnstian world and life view,” Jones said.
“It was a boon to our community to have a man of his stature and caliber visit New Braunfels.”
According to Pastor Jones, many participating in the conference traveled from San Antonio, Dallas, Kerrville and Austin.
Dr. Boice is the author of more than 40 books, serves on the board of directors for the popular Bible Study Fellowship organization, and is the featured teacher on the nationally syndicated radio show, The Bible Study Hour.
His program is aired locally each Sunday morning at 8 on KGNB, 1420 AM.
Mormon Church Names New Presiding Bishop
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — H. David Burton has been named to succeed Memll J. Bateman as presiding bishop of the Mormon Church, the First Presidency announced.
Burton, 57, previously was the first counselor to Bateman, the new president of Brigham Young University.
Richard C. Edgley, 59, who was the presiding bishop’s second counselor, will replace Burton as first counselor.
Keith B. McMullin, 54, managing director of the church’s Welfare Services Department, was named second counselor.
Under the direction of the First Presidency of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Chnst of Latter-day Saints, the Presiding Bish-opnc oversees physical facilities, welfare services, matenals management and other temporal affairs of the church
Burton was secretary to the presiding bishop for 14 years and served under both Bateman and his predecessor. Bishop Robert D. Hales, who now is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Burton also was an assistant church budget officer.
A fanner executive with Kennecott Copper Corp. and the Utah Tax Commission, Burton earned a degree in economics from the University of Utah and a master’s of business administration degree from the University of Michigan.
Catholic Churches Posting ‘No Guns’ Signs
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — If Catholic panshioners don’t know it already, the Archdiocese of San Antonio is sending a not-so-subtle message that guns are not allowed on church property.
Even though the state’s new concealed handgun law prohibits guns in churches and certain other establishments, the archdiocese is posting signs in English and Spanish stating:
“Blessed are the peacemakers. Please no guns permitted on these premises. Property of the Archdiocese of San Antonio.”
Archbishop Patrick Flores recently unveiled the red-and-white signs and used the opportunity to announce the archdiocese has launched an anti-violence outreach effort through its churches.
The “no guns” signs are intended to emphasize the anti-violence message and to keep firearms out of sanctuaries and off other archdiocese property, church officials said.
“These signs or these posters will proclaim our belief that our security rests rn God and not in guns,” Flores said.
“We believe that the good that guns may seem to do is only temporary, but the harm they do is permanent.”
Concealed handgun permits are being issued starting this month to qualified Texans who have completed the required training course.
The archdiocese has opposed the concealed handgun law since it was passed by the Texas Legislature
Soul Maintenance Keeps Spiritual Foundation Strong
last spnng, said the Rev. Michael DeGerolami, director of the San Antonio Archdiocese’s office of social concerns.
“We’re trying to take a position that is based on our teachings, on our moral teachings, that violence is not the answer,” DeGerolami said.
“The whole thing is bigger than simply the gun control issue.”
Lutherans Expel Two SF Congregations for Gay Ordinations
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Two small Lutheran congregations that defied their mother church by ordaining active gay and lesbian ministers have been expelled from the denomination.
The St. Francis Lutheran Church and First United Lutheran Church were packed recently for their last services as members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
The Lutherans allow ordination of gay ministers only if they take a vow to abstain from having relations with members of the same sex.
The three ministers at issue — Revs. Ruth Frost, Phyllis Zillhart and Jeff Johnson — are all graduates of official Lutheran seminaries, but refused to take the vow.
In 1990, the mother church suspended the two congregations, and said they were officially expelled if they did not rescind the ordinations by Dec. 31, 1995.
The churches refused.
Years ago, we bought an old house that was the classic fixer-upper. But the real problem was that, with a baby on the way, the tiny house was instantly too small. That meant that along with the remodeling was the necessity for adding on. Ever the economists, we found a used-lumber yard and began buying old lumber, hauling it home and re-nailing it into place.
It was the longest and hardest project that I have ever tackled.
Not only was it difficult to cull the wood from the lumber yard but each board had to be retooled into a usable piece of wood. I vowed to never do it that way again.
Years later, we built our own home with the help of many friends who oversaw my amateur carpentry. They would tell me when I needed to hire a job done or could do it myself and they’d lend a hand in the evenings and on weekends. But the best part was that it was all new wood. No nails to pull or paint to strip. And even though it was a tough and stressful six months, we accomplished more in those months than in the year I spent picking through the ruins of old houses and reconstructing our first home.
What I learned was this. Even though it might look easy, remodeling is the hardest type of construction there is. And used lumber is the toughest building material to use.
When a house becomes dilapidated through neglect, it is almost easier to tear it down and start over than to try to fix what is wrong. The time and money saved on building from scratch many times outweighs the rose-colored idea of restoring a long-neglected house.
Take it from me. I’ve been there.
Now let me apply this scenario for you. Recently, I’ve been working with some folks who have had a life-changing experience with the Lord. Yes, they have been saved, bom again, and will carry their decision to follow Chnst into eternity. And even though there are the ups and downs of being a new Chnstian, the joys of discovery are far beyond the difficulties of learning to walk. It is what I would call “new construction.”
Tragically though, along with the joys of “new construction” have been
the inevitable “remodels” that are a constant in church life. Now don’t misunderstand. I am not talking about minor repair work or spiritual upkeep or even the occasional ‘adding on” that takes place in all of our lives. After all, we all need to expand our spiritual homes and do the constant maintenance that makes for a comfortable abode. '
What I’m talking about is the restore- ! hon of destroyed lives. Lives that have placed great effort in constructing a! nice facade while the inside of the-building has been sorely neglected.! Lives run down by the secret sins sol often hidden behind the closed doors oft our souls.
Sooner or later, the roof crashes in or! the floor buckles under the weight of! rotted debris. The need for restoration! becomes obvious. It is just a shame! that the neglect has gone on so long. !
Let me speak very plainly about! what causes the foundations to rot} under so many today. When I say! "secret sin,” I am referring to those-! things that we think we are getting by with but instead eat away at the foundation of our lives like hungry termites. Things like pornography, adultery, alcohol, drugs and immorality are certainly the most common supposedly hidden sins. But below the obvious are what drives them into the soul with the force of a sledgehammer. Things like pride, anger, lust and selfishness are the dry rot of many a Christian’s life.
Many try to ignore the signs of^ swarming sin that infest their spiritual home. The restoration is costly and difficult. The tearing down and clean- J ing out is painful. And no, this kind} of dilapidation cannot be glossed over} with plaster and shiny new paint. Too} often, it takes a wrecking ball of pain to} even begin the work. Having to retool} the abused building blocks of faith is} much more difficult than you can imag- J me. }
So don’t let it happen to you. Or} your spintual neighbor for that mat-J ter. Don’t think for a moment that the J termites of sin will go away on their I own. Don’t just keep emptying the } buckets that catch the rain from the } sin-soaked roof. I
Get to work now and repair before } you have to restore. Because diligent * soul maintenance now will keep your spintual house from being condemned later.
(Dennis Gallaher is pastor of Freedom Fellowship Church in New Braunfels J
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