Luling-Opoly comes to Life

Last week was another one of those weeks that something just came over me, and by the time my fingers slowed down from the blistering pace they were setting, I looked around and noticed I was perched high above up on my soapbox again.   I looked around and thought… man, how did I get up here again?   But look… I’ve been around long enough to know where I fit in this big ole’ world and I realize my part in it is really pretty small. I know my place, and I know that I am not the end all, be all, when it comes to the social issues that we are all faced with. You know what they say about opinions, “that they are like……..” well, you catch my drift. But Luling is a pretty neat place and has a lot of great people in it.   And when I see things going on that could possibly portray our community in a negative light, or see things unfolding around us that adversely affect our ability to get positive things done around here, sometimes someone just needs to step up and stand for something like Charlie Strong does, and say NO… in my opinion.   But I also understand that if a person shares his opinion, – that everyone who hears that opinion has the right to share their opinion about the opinion they just heard. If that makes any sense to any of you… haha.   So, that’s my opinion on the subject of opinions.   But if any of us are to be so bold as to be opinionated in the public arena, we should probably also be humble enough to understand that someone may have a different view.   Enuff said (another word I made up)… Moving right along…

We finally finished up most of the legwork that we needed to do on the Luling-Opoly project.   We submitted all the data, pictures, logos, slogans, company histories, company contact info, and other relevant material needed to showcase the local entities participating in this Luling-Opoly project. It was a painstaking process but as they say…   “if it was easy… everyone would do it”.   This community has stepped up big on this deal and we Mainstreeters are forever grateful for all the support we receive from everyone in this town.   You all made this deal possible and I think everyone is in agreement that this is a cool project that has given us an avenue to highlight our community’s identity in a real and lasting way. Many years down the road these games will be like mini time capsules back to 2014. They will surely be fun to play right away, but I envision that it will be entertaining to see who has come and gone when you break these things out of the closet many years later. Hopefully none of you participants will ever be gone… but sometimes reality slaps you in the face to remind you who is really in charge…  We will be answering design questions from the designer for the next couple weeks but we are still on target to get the games manufactured and delivered to us in time for Thanksgiving.   The games will be sold for $28 each, so please contact us at the number below if you want to preorder some for your family, friends, customers or clients.   You all will be first in line to receive them when they finally arrive.

And on to another subject…  About this time last year our LMS group was scrambling around trying to help put on the Annual Night in Old Luling fall event along with the Luling Little League, and we were recipients of the funds paid out by NIOL to that year’s local non-profit partner.   It was a great time and we made a lot of money to go towards our Heritage Circle Clock Project which was finally completed and unveiled last December. Last year we were running around promoting NIOL like crazy (because we knew we would get more money if more of you came out and supported us)…   Hey, this isn’t rocket science folks…   But nonetheless, we would really like to go ahead and encourage everyone to come out again this year to support this year’s recipient, the Luling Ministerial Alliance. I’m sure they could desperately use everyone’s support this year as they need funds to try and renovate our local food bank and Compassion Center.   There are a lot of people in our community who have real needs… Probably more than we all realize, so if you can, everyone please come out and support this cause. The weather is getting nice out there, so come be a part of this year’s version of Night in Old Luling, this Saturday the 11th from 5PM – 9:30PM.   I’m sure there will be more fun and games, – and more food than any of us deserve…

“We have a strategic plan… it’s called doing things…” – Herb Kelleher

– Derek Hall, Luling Main Street Manager

“It’s a Main Street Thing…” The Luling Newsboy & Signal [Luling, TX] 9 October 2014: Volume 135, No. 29


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“We have a strategic plan… it’s called pondering what if…”

Looks like Luling was well represented and the crowd for this last weekend’s downtown music video was an enthusiastic one. The video directors were really pleased with the footage they got.   The large amount of extras and community support received from our town folk will certainly help this video convey the story that local songwriter Mike Sanford envisioned when he wrote the lyrics to his single “Can I Get An Amen”. Believe me… I had a good view of the process, and although I had fun, it sure looked like from where I was sitting that you all had a blast as well. I know it’s tough to get through that process if you aren’t prepared for it. There is a lot of “hurry up” for 20 seconds of action, followed by “cut” and 25 minutes of waiting for them to get ready to either repeat the scene, or move on. Kuddos to you all who stuck it out!

Man it sure is tough to tell people NO sometimes isn’t it?   I really hate having to tell our local business owners that we are sold out of Luling-Opoly opportunities for our custom Monopoly game that we are creating.  As you know, we sold out of all the sponsorship opportunities within just a few days. We are still getting multiple inquiries from business owners wanting to know how to get involved and I wish there were more than 46 shots to get in. Except for our Rajun’ Cajun sponsors having first dibs, everyone else had an equal shot to get in, and unfortunately there was only so much to go around. Oh well… Anyways, everyone please remember to get in your preorders so we know how many games to purchase!   We already have over 220 preorders for the actual games and I’m really glad that we started asking in advance, because in the beginning we were figuring that 250 games would probably be enough.   But looks like we were wrong…   It happens to the best of us. Nobody is right all the time… no matter what some may say. I think where we miscalculated was how many businesses that wanted to keep a stash of games on standby to give to clients, vendors, customers, etc. But hey, it’s not too late and there is still a small window of time left to order what you need so we can make sure we order enough.   We certainly appreciate all of the support we’ve received from everyone on this deal and we are still on target to get the games back in time for the holidays.

Speaking of telling people NO…   Charlie Strong is at it again and doesn’t seem to have a problem with it!   He let another Longhorn go last week and hopefully some of these young men will finally get the message that he actually means what he says. Best I can tell… No means NO. It’s funny to watch how kids, players, students, employees etc, etc, are always trying to stretch the boundaries of acceptable behavior. That “NO” may possibly mean “yes”… or at least “maybe”. I’m pretty sure that I was a kid once upon a time, and I still remember plain as day how this little phenomenon works. And now that I’m a little more mature (y’all stop laughing) it’s interesting to watch them always trying to carve out a little extra for themselves while thumbing their nose at normally accepted societal intricacies. Although it is human nature, it doesn’t mean that taking a mile when you’ve only given an inch, is the absolute right thing to do and is your God given right. However, this is normal behavior and has been going on since the beginning of time, and that will never change.    It seems the biggest change is how some of us so called adults that find ourselves in a position of authority and influence, are now handling questionable decision making and the sense of entitlement by some of those we are mentoring.   As a society we’ve become pretty soft in dealing with transgression. Right or wrong… here is a theory:  Teachers, coaches and bosses don’t lose their classrooms, locker rooms and office places due to strict discipline and having rules. They lose them due to uneven applications of consequences for not following them. They lose them due to the mistrust of authority that creeps in when they neglect to administer the meaningful corrections that are needed to maintain order within the very structure they’ve set up. They lose them when they become tolerant of everything, but then stand for nothing. Demanding respect, discipline and structure from students, players and employees is NOT a bad thing. Want proof? Look up in a thesaurus the antonyms (opposite meanings) of those three words and see what you get: Chaos, Disorder, Unrest, Dishonor, Confusion, Disorganization, Disrespect and Negligence. Geez… who needs all that?

You can’t just snap your fingers and easily change some things in this life. But one of the things we can change is how we handle our kiddos, students, players and subordinates from here on out when they get out of line.   I suppose “nuance” is commendable sometimes, but when you consider all the prevalent new age thinking that’s out there today with regard to dealing with knuckleheads, you just have to wonder…   Are our young people more respectful of themselves and others than they used to be? Are they more responsible in how they deal with situations and how they deal with people in positions of authority than they used to be?   From what I see and hear in today’s classrooms, living rooms, and even out on the ball fields, the answer is readily apparent to me.  And for those of you who are growing tired of my preaching… I’ve decided to give you all a much needed reprieve from it all. For one week…   You’re Welcome.

“We have a strategic plan… it’s called pondering what if…” –   A dreamer with a little common sense

-Derek Hall, Luling Main Street Manager

“It’s a Main Street Thing…” The Luling Newsboy & Signal [Luling, TX] 7 August 2014: Volume 135, No. 28
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Downtown Luling Music Video Shoot

MikeThe public is invited to participate in a video shoot for a single off of Mike Sanford’s new record “Hope & Broadway” which is slated for release October 21. The director needs many extras to film a very large gathering of people walking right down downtown Davis Street so everyone come out this Sunday, September 28th, from 1:00-4:00 PM and let’s promote Luling, Texas!

This video will be promoted by the record label to Country Networks such as CMT, GACTV and the single, “Can I Get An Amen”, will be promoted to radio stations all across the country so if you want a chance to appear on national television, bring your family and friends and come join in the fun. Mike’s band will perform several songs off of the new record in between filming takes for the video, and it will be a great opportunity to get a front row seat to see the video filming process and how it works.

Luling Main Street’s own Derek Hall is the drummer in Mike’s band and will be performing this Sunday! Everyone come out for some free hotdogs and free entertainment and help us support the Luling music scene and help make this video shoot an exciting experience that showcases Luling Main Street and the whole Luling community in a positive light.

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There’s Always Something Going on in Luling

A couple of weeks ago I was talking about the amount of events that Luling has and that it seems there is always something going on regardless of what month we are in. It also seems that this community is seeing more and more film production companies coming to film in our town.   There have been several major motion pictures filmed in and around our town over the years, and several production companies have been in town to film for various television series’ or shows recently.   We have also regularly been getting inquiries from producers of music videos about particular locations that may fit their artistic ideas for upcoming projects. I know there was a write up about this in last week’s Newsboy, but just in case you missed it, there is a video production company is coming to town this weekend to film a music video right here in downtown Luling!   The producers need extras, and your help is being urgently requested! The more, the better.   This is one of the more exciting things to happen on Luling’s Main Street in awhile and if they could get a few hundred of you to participate in the video shoot that would be fantastic.

Local country music recording artist Mike Sanford has been working on an album for several months now and the record label will be releasing a single along with a corresponding video to promote release of the album next month. (Yes, I said album… I don’t care if I’m showing my age a little bit, that is what they call them! I don’t care what y’all say…)   This ‘album’ will be called “Hope and Broadway”, and Mike has received much help from heavy hitters in the music industry making this a top notch production backed by some marketing muscle. I’m talking big time help from some big time people…   The album is slated for a release on October 21 and the record label will be marketing this album to all mainstream country markets around the country and to Music Row in Nashville. It will also be promoted to alternative demographics such as Americana and Gospel, and will hopefully see airplay in thousands of radio stations all around the country as well as select overseas markets. The music video will be released and promoted to country music television networks such as CMT, ZUUS, and GAC shortly after production wraps and final editing.   For the video there will actors and scenes filmed around Luling, but there will be a particular scene using downtown Luling as the backdrop, and the video producers are asking for a large group of extras to participate in a scene where a large gathering of people will be walking right down Davis St in downtown. So if you want a chance to appear on national TV, come visit downtown Luling this Sunday from 1PM-4PM to help show off Luling Texas to the whole world. This event/video shoot is free and is open to the entire public, and festivities will be held in the Watermelon Thump Pavilion this Sunday the 28th.   Mike and his band will do a 1 hour set performing a few tracks off of his upcoming album in between all the filming, so if you are a music fan, come on down to the Thump Pavilion to support Mike, be in the video, and help present to the whole world a little taste of this place we call Luling Texas!   If nothing else it will be cool to watch the filming process and see the making of a music video up close and personal.

Remember when I was talking about supporting our local merchants a few weeks back?   I mentioned that it would be better if we were supporting our local business owners, instead of pouring more money into the coffers of some faceless CEO somewhere that you will never know and never meet.   Remember that conversation? I look at this situation in a similar way and see this as another great opportunity to support a local “Luling-ite” and help put Luling on the mainstream country music map.   Wouldn’t you rather see someone from Luling Texas make it to the big show? – Or is that exclusive club only reserved for upstarts from Nashville Tennessee?  C’mon give me a break!!  But he can’t do it without you, and it will take support from all of us to make this music video pop with excitement and help promote downtown Luling Texas to the masses.  Remember, this is a free event so come on out this Sunday to listen to some good music and come be part of something good, wholesome and extremely worthwhile.   Although Mike may have some merchandise and autographed pre-release CD’s for sale, there is no pocket-lining of CEO’s, locals, or otherwise, that is required… just warm bodies and enthusiastic souls!

“We have a strategic plan… it’s called doing things…” – Herb Kelleher

-Derek Hall, Luling Main Street Manager

“It’s a Main Street Thing…” The Luling Newsboy & Signal [Luling, TX] 7 August 2014: Volume 135, No. 27
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Yule Trail Around the Corner

photoWelp, it’s that time of year again.   Hard to believe, but Christmas is fast approaching… which means that it is almost Yule Trail time again.   Pretty sure I don’t have to tell you all what that is, but just in case some of you are staring at these words with a confused look on your face…   Those are the beautiful lighted signs that line Main St. during the Christmas holidays.   We have some new signs that will be going up this year and if there is anyone else out there that wants to do one this year, we have to move quickly. Our newest YuleTrailers (another word I made up) have already had their first round of meetings with the artist who makes the signs, and if there are any others out there who want to do a sign this year, we only have about 1 month left before the cutoff.   The process is painless, and goes something like this:

The first step is to have a meeting to discuss artistic ideas with the sign maker. If you have some ideas, he will incorporate them into a theme and give you a rendering of what it will look like.   If you don’t have an artistic bone in your body… he will help you come up with something, so don’t fret about it. When you approve the final rendering and pay Luling Main Street for the sign, then he will get started on it.   It’s as simple as that…   Pricing for most fully lighted signs are in the $325 range unless you come up with something a little more labor intensive. These signs are yours to do with as you wish. You can put it in your yard or in front of your place of business. However if you want it to be part of Luling Main Street’s Yule Trail, we will install it, store it, and maintain it. The only thing we require going forward is an annual $25 Yule Trail maintenance fee to help pay for costs and for minor repairs and bulb replacements.   When the Yule Trail exhibit is out we strive to keep all signs looking great and fully lighted for maximum impact. Our workload triples during this six week period of time due to maintenance issues and light bulb failures.   Now if the wind would stop blowing so hard during the winter and if the school kids would leave them alone as they are walking home after school… life would be a little easier, but I certainly can’t control the wind – and the kids will… well… they’ll do what kids do.  Therefore we are always replacing mounting brackets and replacing extensions cords and bulbs. Regardless, the Luling Yule Trail is by far the largest in the region and has become an attraction for many out of towners.   If you want to join in the fun for this year’s Yule Trail, please don’t hesitate to call us at the number below.

Now onto another very important topic:   Our group’s Façade Grant Program has kicked into high gear and we are finally seeing restorations and renovations happening all over the district.   A couple of them are completed, or close to being completed, and we are about to embark on our first payouts from this new program. We have had grant programs before and have paid out grants to several different property owners over the years, but we have never had such a robust program.   We amped up funding and rewrote our guidelines last year hoping to spur more activity, and thank goodness it looks like our intentions have finally started to pay off. We have several jobs in the pipeline that will spruce up the Main Street business district and we expect to see more in the future.   If you are in our Main Street District and are entertaining the thought of restoring or renovating your building’s façade, give us a call to discuss what we Mainstreeters can do to help.

Last but not least… Everyone needs to keep an eye out (another goofy idiom used by a certain goofy writer) for the upcoming transformation of the old dilapidated looking gas station that is at the northwest corner of Magnolia and Pierce.   It has been a long process, but the Luling Information Station project is finally about to take flight.   This particular intersection has one of the highest traffic counts in the whole region and this exciting project could conceivably spur an economic surge for our local businesses while creating more awareness for our many local attractions.   The fact that our community may get some economic impact out of this project is a great thing for sure, but the fact that this ugly blighted intersection (the busiest in the region) is finally going to get a facelift is the best news.   The previous paragraph was talking about how there is a lot of reinvestment that is finally happening in this community and things are finally being fixed up around here. Now we can add this property to the list of unsightly areas that is being spruced up.   One by one, – little by little, one project at a time, our community is on a path of revitalization that is going to improve the “Luling Experience” for all us.

“We have a strategic plan… it’s called doing things…” – Herb Kelleher

-Derek Hall, Luling Main Street Manager

“It’s a Main Street Thing…” The Luling Newsboy & Signal [Luling, TX] 7 August 2014: Volume 135, No. 26
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Community Events Galore!

I know I’ve mentioned this little tidbit before, but our community sure does have a lot of different things going on doesn’t it?   We have as many functions and events as most towns twice our size. Every time you turn over a new calendar page there are a couple more events staring back at you.   It is very rewarding when a group of people can come together to cuss and discuss, and then execute their plans pulling off yet another successful event. And if you are able to do it under less than ideal circumstances… even more so!   It’s fun, but it’s also a lot of work to put on all these activities. I suppose it sure beats sitting on the couch, being cooped up in the A/C all the time doesn’t it?   Wait…   Did I just say that? Good gosh what was I thinking… getting way ahead of myself here. Couches and A/C’s are wonderful! Maybe what I was really trying to say is that maybe we should try to have a more moderated approach to lounging around, and realize that there is some work that needs to be done out there in your community.   I probably need to tread lightly here because if some knucklehead is really going to tell me that I shouldn’t be on my couch watching my Sunday football games or NASCAR races, I’m probably going to quickly tune him out…  But luckily this community has a wonderful group of people who step up over and over, and they’re really what make all these community activities possible.   Their selflessness is the only reason the rest of us can go out and enjoy some of these events I speak of. I just wish we had more of them so these poor folks didn’t have to work so hard all the time. But you’ll always have that small group of wonderful people always stepping up to do MORE than their fair share, regardless of the situation. You see it in the classroom, you see it at ball practice, and you see it at work. You see it wherever people gather for a common purpose and unfortunately that is just the way it is. Some people will always just step up and help carry the load for others… No questions asked.  I guess I’ll stop preaching now and move on to something else. But before I go, can I get an Amen brother?

Talk about doing an event in less than ideal circumstances… The Luling Dry Tri has come and gone, and from what I hear, it is particularly difficult to paddle a boat on land. With all the river dam reconstruction and bank stabilization work going on, they are keeping water levels low upstream above the dam. And that surely didn’t make it easy for competitors in the last leg of the race which is supposed to be 6 miles of paddling. Probably should have called it the Luling Dryer than Normal Tri…   or maybe even the Luling Dry Quad…   Because this year’s event seemingly had a fourth leg which consisted of dragging a canoe/kayak across dry land while jumping in and out of it several times without turning it over on top of your head.   And during this year’s Chamber of Commerce duck race, the ducks seemed to be confused by the new flow patterns and were wandering around in all directions.   After corralling them, we finally coaxed a few of them cross the finish line. Dumb ducks… But nonetheless it all worked out (as most things always do) and our local police and fire departments certainly appreciate all of the support.

And for all you artists out there, we also have the Reflections of Texas Art Show starting this Sunday the 14th and going on until Tuesday the 23rd at the Luling Oil Museum.   Everyone please come out for refreshments at the show’s kickoff reception this Sunday from 2PM-6PM and see all of the new pieces of art on display. You can even bid on certain artworks in the silent auction if you see something that strikes you.  The Oil Museum is working on some exciting new features and eventually wants to open up the second floor of the historic Walker Brothers building for new exhibits and displays. All proceeds from this art show go to help make the Luling Oil Museum something we can all be proud of, so go ahead and hit the record button on your DVR and get off that couch and come support them.

Now if anyone was deeply moved by my wildly inspirational tongue lashing in the 1st paragraph, and no feel spurred into immediate action by its extremely powerful and resounding message regarding volunteerism, then go get plugged in somewhere! That is if you haven’t fallen and hurt yourself laughing at the absurd amount of sarcasm in the last sentence.  But hey!   This really isn’t rocket science folks!   A little selflessness goes a long way when it comes to helping others and improving the greater good.   A greater good that helps, assists, aids, and inspires others to be more, want more, and do more for your community.   To expect more from each other when supporting our kids, schools, teachers, and our community in general.  Because best I can tell, there isn’t a whole lot of reward in sitting back and just hoping that someone else will just do it all, then hope it is done to your liking… Can I get another Amen?? – That concludes this week’s service…

“We have a strategic plan… it’s called getting plugged in and helping your community” – Luling Main Street

-Derek Hall, Luling Main Street Manager

“It’s a Main Street Thing…” The Luling Newsboy & Signal [Luling, TX] 7 August 2014: Volume 135, No. 25
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We’ve got it “Crazygood”

It’s been awhile since I’ve treated all you fine people to a new word, so here’s one…   We’ve got it crazygood (another word I made up) over here at Luling Main Street.   Whatever do I mean?   Well, for one, things are really looking up around here. Remember what it looked like around here 30 years ago? 10 years ago? Or even 3 years ago?   We surely can’t take credit for a lot of it, but look around… the list of Luling improvements is long. Sure, we have the whole “erosion of goodwill throughout our society” aspect that we all have to contend with out there, but that is pretty much the same wherever you go… so I’m not counting that. Although things are trending towards “crazygood” around here, what I’m really referring to is this opportunity to bring you “It’s a Main Street Thing…” every week. When I sit back and think about it, I just have to say we are extremely ligginfrucky (another word I made up) to be able to have this particular medium to say all the things we need to say, want to say, or ever hope to say… and have our thoughts tossed out there every Thursday afternoon for you all to contemplate.  The true gravity of it didn’t really register at first, but I’ve now come to realize that this opportunity we’ve been given to be able to weasel our way into your living rooms every week has absolutely been a priceless gift. It has become an awesome way to keep you all posted on what we are up to and share our little world as we see it. When the Newsboy asked if we wanted to do this column, I never figured we could fill it up every single week like we have.   But honestly, how many of you had any idea what Luling Main Street was a couple years ago, or knew anything about what we were trying to do?  I guess what I’m really trying to say is that we don’t take this opportunity we’ve been given lightly. It has been a godsend to be able to praise, gripe, preach, cheer, goad, wonder, ask, tell, chide, deride, honor, celebrate, complain, highlight, showcase, thank, brag, educate, and share all of our thoughts on a myriad of topics.   (just for meanness I wanted to go on longer, but those are all I could come up with…) Anyways, many thanks to the Luling Newsboy for allowing us to stir the pot every week!   Hopefully you find it somewhat entertaining and actually search it out every week. But hopefully at the very least you are a little more informed about the goings on in our little town when you accidently stumble across our column every week.

With all that being said… I guess it’s now time to get back in Luling-Opoly mode for a little bit.   Surely by now everyone knows what I am talking about so I’m not going to waste much more of your precious time talking about WHAT this project is. But just in case we have a few stragglers who’ve been out of the country for the last couple weeks and haven’t had the opportunity to watch The Today Show, Fox News or CNN to see what all the hubbub is about…  This is a custom Monopoly game designed for Luling where the properties, tokens, deed cards ect., will showcase and celebrate our community’s heritage and way of life.  The response has been astounding and the 46 available opportunities to be involved in this game were snatched up very quick and have all sold out. It has absolutely hurt my soul to turn away people who also wanted to participate, – but due to the nature of this game there are only so many spots available.   Anyhow, our next step is gathering up logos from local business owners and local entities, so we can place their brand into the Luling-Opoly experience somehow.   So now is the time for those lucky entities who did get in, to forward us your logos, slogans, or whatever company information you want to highlight, so we can stay on task with the game designers and stay within their timelines. We are reaching out to all participants as we speak, but just in case we haven’t caught up with you yet… anyone who bought an advertising spot can call and ask for me at the number below so we can discuss how to showcase your organization in Luling-Opoly.

Also, please remember that we are now compiling a list of preorders for the actual games.   Several companies have preordered bulk quantities of games so they can hand them out to customers, clients, vendors and employees ect.  So please help us with this so we can be sure to order enough for everyone who wants one.   We aren’t collecting payments yet.   Just trying to make sure we have a good handle on how many we ultimately need. – So as I close this week’s offering of “It’s a Main Street Thing… I want to say thanks again to all of those who quickly jumped on this opportunity… and… many apologies to those who were left out.

“We have a strategic plan… it’s called doing things…” – Herb Kelleher

-Derek Hall, Luling Main Street Manager

“It’s a Main Street Thing…” The Luling Newsboy & Signal [Luling, TX] 4 September 2014: Volume 135, No. 24
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