WRITING A weekly column calls upon the writer to do four things -- read, observe, listen  and collect information.

It’s an ongoing process that attempts to decipher which items might be interesting  to readers. Ye OLD Columnist (YOC)  has maintained from day one in my ancient Journalism 101 class that names make news. 

In recent weeks, my file has become heavily cluttered. That’s when YOC began to sift through the material to determine which items were still newsworthy. The storage box was full and decision time had arrived.

So here are some news tidbits YOC hopes will catch your attention –

RAINFALL IN August fell slightly below the average for the month. The total was 2.65 inches, which is .15 of an inch below the August average of 2.80 inches.

Moisture was recorded on six dates with the largest amount, 1.41 inches, falling on August 16. The second largest amount came on August 24 -- .86 of an inch.

Through seven months, Stephenville has received 22.29 inches of  rain, which is only .11 of an inch below the average amount of 22.40.

September’s average rainfall is 3.60 inches. Last year, September’s rain totaled 3.81 inches.  September, 2009, produced largest  moisture count in recent years -- 9.15 inches.  

CONGRATULATIONS are in order for three recently appointed  Board members at the local InterBank. The new board members are Perry Elliott, Alisa Terrell Starbird 

and Neal Guthrie.

THE MINIMUM wage topic is often a subject for discussion among business persons. The current minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, and talks are underway in Washington, D.C. to raise this amount to $10 per hour.

A recent poll showed that 67 percent of the U.S. population favor a boost to at least $10 per hour.

The minimum wage law came into existence in 1938 during the second term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration. The initial minimum wage was 25 cents per hour. Experts tell us that if the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation, the current rate would be $10.74 an hour rather than $7.25.

FOURTEEN AREA students were recently awarded $50,000 in college scholarships by the United Electric Cooperative Service. Erath County is among 14 counties in the United Service area.

One of these students is Whitney Green from Stephenville High School. Another recipient is Kyle Stewart,  a Tarleton State University student.  Lee Hardy of Alvarado High School is the winner of the top scholarship -- $10,000.  Ms. Green’s scholarship is $5,000, while Ms. Stewart’s scholarship totals $2,500.

United began the scholarship program in 2000, and to date more than 900 students have been awarded scholarships, totaling more than $1 million.

Recipients are chosen on the basis of four criteria – 1. Financial need, 2. Leadership, 3. Community Involvement and 4. School Activities.

MARK YOUR calendar – the State Fair of Texas begins September 27 in Dallas. After being destroyed by an electrical fire last year, the  new “Big Tex” will make his initial appearance at the Fair. The popular  event runs through October 20.  

’TIL NEXT TIME –“I firmly believe any person’s finest hour is that moment when he/she has worked his/her heart out for a good cause.” – Vince Lombardi (1913-1970), professional football coach.

Dr. Stuart Chilton, a retired educator/journalist, lives in Stephenville.