Posts in Category: Blog

Back to School- Tax Free Weekend!

 

 “back-to-school”

Commentary by Michelle McBride

Though you wouldn’t know it from the heat, summer in Texas is almost over.  For kids, parents and teachers, this translates to “back-to-school” time complete with shopping sprees for school supplies and clothing--a burden on wallets. To help with budgeting shoppers, many retailers in Texas will be offering a tax free holiday this weekend August 7-9, 2015.  As with previous years, this will include most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced under $100.

The Christian Science Monitor noted, as a reminder, that Texas excludes clothing and footwear designed primarily for athletic use, but makes a nice distinction between athletic apparel and stuff that's more equipment than apparel. For example, a football jersey would be tax-free, but football pads and pants are not. Running shoes are tax-free, but track shoes and cleats are not.

Dates for sales tax holidays are set by the legislature and could mean savings of about $8.00 on every $100.00 spent. It is also good to note that Tax free will apply to layaway items if you place your items on layaway during the holiday or make the final payment during the holiday. The tax free sales can be combined with extra deals, both in stores and online, and some stores may even flex their hours, opening earlier or closing later.
For more information and a full list of exemptions please visit http://comptroller.texas.gov/taxinfo/taxpubs/taxholiday/d/
 

TAG Talks: Maj. Scott P. Nicholas

Maj. Scott P. Nicholas speaks about the importance of the manned space exploration for the continuation of the human race. TAG Talks are a series of unique presentations put together by students in The Adjutant General's Executive Leadership Development Program offering the perspective of future Senior leaders of the Texas Military Forces.

 

TAG Talks: Lt. Col. John C. Crawson

John C. Crawson speaks about how the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review resulted in the Secretary of Defense making a decision to restructure the military Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) response.TAG Talks are a series of unique presentations put together by students in The Adjutant General's Executive Leadership Development Program offering the perspective of future Senior leaders of the Texas Military Forces.

Texas Military Department Names Human Resources Director

Ms. Shelia B. Taylor has been selected to serve as the State Human Resources Director for the Texas Military DepartmentAUSTIN, Texas (July 1, 2015) – Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, The Adjutant General of Texas is pleased to announce that Ms. Shelia B. Taylor has been selected to serve as the State Human Resources Director for the Texas Military Department, effective April 1, 2015.

“I consider it an honor and a privilege to have been selected as the new State Director of Human Resources,” said Taylor. “I look forward to continued service in my new role as part of the TMD team; and--with the help and support of dedicated staff- I will do my best to maintain the vote of confidence indicated by giving me this opportunity.”

Taylor joined the agency in March 2011 as Legal Counsel. Prior to that she served as the Deputy Chief and Chief Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) (gubernatorial appointment by former Governors George W. Bush and Rick Perry), Legal Counsel with the Disaster Recovery Division at the Texas Department of Rural Affairs, Administrative Law Judge and Assistant Director of Hearings for the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and Assistant District Attorney for Travis County District Attorney's Office.

As the Human Resources Director, her role will involve the management, supervision, coordination and oversight of all aspects of human resources activities, including, but not limited to: personnel administration (recruitment, selection, classification, performance management; staff development, employee benefits; and employee relations, etc.); ensuring compliance with applicable state and federal laws and policies, as well as agency policies. Additionally, she will provide direction, guidance, and assistance to agency staff and supervisors on issues, rules, and regulations related to human resources; develop policies and procedures and other guidance; assist in the coordination and management of the agency's defense on administrative actions and litigation such as proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and unemployment claims before the Texas Workforce Commission. Taylor will also review the results of special investigations, internal audits, research studies and forecasts, to provide direction and guidance; maintain a working knowledge of changes in employment law and legislation that affect (or may potentially impact) agency operations.

Taylor received a Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Criminal Justice from Southern Methodist University and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from The University of Texas at Austin School of Law. She has been licensed by the State Bar of Texas since October 1981. She is the recipient of the Victor J. Rosskopf Award, awarded by the National Association of the Administrative Law Judiciary for significant contributions made in the field of administrative adjudication.

San Antonio resident inducted into TXMF Hall of Honor

Retired Air Force Col. Harold H. Blackshear, of San Antonio, was inducted into the Texas Military Forces Hall of Honor programAUSTIN, Texas (June 29, 2015) – Retired Air Force Col. Harold H. Blackshear, of San Antonio, was inducted into the Texas Military Forces Hall of Honor program June 27, 2015, at Camp Mabry, in Austin, for his outstanding military service and leadership while serving as a member of the Texas Air National Guard.

Blackshear enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in Aug. of 1949, as a T-6 trainer and F-51 Mustang Fighter mechanic. Following three years at the University of Texas, where he majored in architectural engineering studies, Blackshear received a commission in the Texas Air National Guard in 1956. Blackshear attended pilot training and finished at the top his class, accumulating 3,639 hours of flight time in all-weather fighter interceptors, tactical fighters and support aircraft.

Blackshear’s work ethic is mission oriented as evident in unmatched performance as the air technician base civil engineer and commander of the 149th Civil Engineering Squadron that maintained a C-1 combat-ready status. His base master planning proved invaluable, setting standards, cutting costs, and building state of the art facilities. 

His design of a first of its kind mobile hydraulically-operated thrust frame supporting an engine test stand to provide safe change-over for use with a unique noise suppressor with either aircraft or engine, earned him the prestigious Texas Minuteman Award. His design of a highly-specialized foundation and appurtenances for the first “Hush-House,” resulted in building an additional 126 Air Force-wide. He also is credited with the design and construction of the first military non-destruct inspection laboratory that high-intensity x-rays detect imperfections in metal. Blackshear chaired a select group of base civil engineers to develop a mission directive for a civil engineer emergency force. For state employees, he developed a career progression ladder that resulted in adoption of Senate Concurrence Resolution #08 effective state-wide. Blackshear served the National Guard Bureau during three one-year terms as chief engineer of the ANG Civil Engineers Association. His final position with the TXANG was as director of plans, where he was promoted to colonel, receiving the Meritorious Service Medal. He retired from the Texas Military Forces in March of 1986.

The Hall of Honor program was established in 1980 to recognize outstanding Texas Air, Army and State Guard members. Since its inception, more than 95 members of the TXMF have been inducted. Blackshear’s picture and a narrative explaining her service will hang in the conference room of the Brig. Gen. John C.L. Scribner Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry in Austin.

Elgin resident to be inducted into TXMF Hall of Honor

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Maggie McCormick, of Elgin, will be inducted into the Texas Military Forces Hall of Honor programAUSTIN, Texas (June 24, 2015) – Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Maggie McCormick, of Elgin, will be inducted into the Texas Military Forces Hall of Honor program June 27, 2015, at Camp Mabry, in Austin, for her outstanding military service and leadership while serving as a member of the Texas Army National Guard.

McCormick’s service in the Texas Army National Guard began August 1977 as an administrative specialist. During her service with the TXMF, McCormick served as personnel sergeant, first sergeant and chief personnel sergeant; the first female sergeant major to hold the position. Later, McCormick served as the chief personnel services sergeant, while simultaneously serving as a command sergeant major for the 149th Personnel Services Battalion. 

During her career in the personnel field, her superior knowledge of personnel services contributed exponentially to the success of the organization. She implemented measures that streamlined personnel action processing throughout all levels of the Texas Army National Guard.

McCormick frequently traveled throughout the state visiting subordinate units to ensure the competency of the personnel force. She unselfishly dedicated many off-duty hours of her time to ensure the health, welfare and morale of all Soldiers in the Texas National Guard was high.

McCormick is the recipient of the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Lone Star Distinguished Service Medal, the Texas Outstanding Service Medal, the Texas Medal of Merit, the Adjutant General’s Individual Award and the Texas Faithful Service Medal.

The Hall of Honor program was established in 1980 to recognize outstanding Texas Air, Army and State Guard members. Since its inception, more than 95 members of the TXMF have been inducted. McCormick’s picture and a narrative explaining her service will hang in the conference room of the Brig. Gen. John C.L. Scribner Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry in Austin.

Austin native to be inducted into TXMF Hall of Honor

Retired Master Sgt. Theresa M. Billeck-Zuniga, of Austin, will be inducted into the Texas Military Forces Hall of Honor programAUSTIN, Texas (June 24, 2015) – Retired Master Sgt. Theresa M. Billeck-Zuniga, of Austin, will be inducted into the Texas Military Forces Hall of Honor program June 27, 2015,at Camp Mabry, in Austin, for her outstanding military service and leadership while serving as a member of the Texas Army National Guard.

Billeck-Zuniga served a total of 26 years in the U.S. Air Force and the Texas Army National Guard. Her service in the Guard began in March of 1988, when she enlisted as a personnel records specialist. Throughout her career in the Texas National Guard, Billeck-Zuniga served as an administrative specialist, unit clerk, training noncommissioned officer, readiness NCO, operations NCO and a recruiter.

Billeck-Zuniga has a record of superior achievements that enhanced the image of the Texas Military Forces throughout her career. During her career she was involved with many programs that brought attention to the Guard, to include a training event, unit activity, retiree event, a family program or a deployment/homecoming ceremony. In 1996, the Adjutant General selected the Billeck family as the Texas National Guard Family of the Year for exemplifying the total family concept. From 1997 to 2000, she made the National Guard Bureau honor roll achieving 44 enlistments each year, as the first female recruiter for an all-male battalion. 

As a National Guard Association of Texas life member and member of the board of directors from 2001-2007, she served as only the second female president of the association in 2006-2007 and is only one of four females to receive the prestigious Minuteman award. She has served as the editor of the NGAT News Magazine for more than 10 years spending hours searching for stories that highlight the citizen-soldiers and airmen of the Texas Military Forces. Through the NGAT Silent Auction she has raised over $52,000 for scholarship to be given to TXMF members.

Among her numerous awards are the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal with seven oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Humanitarian Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Army National Guard Master Recruiter Badge, Career Counselor Badge, Lone Star Distinguished Service Medal, the Texas Outstanding Service Medal, The Texas Medal of Merit, Honorable Order of Molly Pitcher and Order of Saint Martin.

The Hall of Honor program was established in 1980 to recognize outstanding Texas Air, Army and State Guard members. Since its inception, more than 95 members of the TXMF have been inducted. Billeck-Zuniga’s picture and a narrative explaining her service will hang in the conference room of the Brig. Gen. John C.L. Scribner Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry in Austin.

Minuteman Brigade welcomes new commander

Col. Scott Mac Leod will assume command of the Texas National Guard’s Joint Task Force 136 (Maneuver Enhancement Brigade)Commentary by TXMF Staff

ROUND ROCK, Texas (June 17, 2015) – On Saturday, June 20, 2015, Col. Scott Mac Leod will assume command of the Texas National Guard’s Joint Task Force 136 (Maneuver Enhancement Brigade) from Col. Lee Schnell at a ceremony beginning at 2:30 p.m. at the Round Rock Armed Forces Reserve Center in Round Rock, Texas.

Mac Leod, of Austin, received his commission in 1992 from the Texas State Military Academy.       He is a career Infantry Officer, and has served in numerous key assignments, including as the Commander of Company A, 1st Battalion of the 141st Infantry Regiment, the Tiger Team Deputy Brigade S1, 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, commander for the 1st Battalion of the 141st Infantry Regiment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, deputy commander of the 136th Regional Training Institute for the Texas Army National Guard, and most recently, the Chief of Staff for Domestic Operations. Awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Iraqi Campaign Medal - 2nd award, and many others.

Mac Leod graduated from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice in 1994. In 2003, he graduated from the National Graduate School with a Master of Science in Quality Systems Management.  He received his master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in June 2012, and is also a graduate of the War College's Advanced Strategic Arts Program.

Schnell, also of Austin, has served as brigade commander since October 2011 and retires after almost 40 years of distinguished service. During his tenure as commander of the Minuteman Brigade, Schnell was instrumental in the second-phase development and validation of the unit’s Homeland Response Force mission, part of the Department of Defense’s consequence management enterprise. Most recently, the brigade completed an emergency response Special Focus Exercise in April throughout central Texas, working alongside civil authorities and first responders.

As the new Joint Task Force commander, Mac Leod will be responsible for continuing the ready-state of the HRF mission for FEMA Region VI, while also ensuring the unit’s traditional wartime mission requirements are met. Additionally, he will work to execute the vision of an organization that facilitates the Texas Military Forces mission, partnering affirmatively with our agency partners and the surrounding community.

Joint Task Force 136 (Maneuver Enhancement Brigade) is headquartered in Round Rock, Texas, and boasts units throughout the Lone Star State, from Laredo to Dallas and El Paso to Fulton.

TAG Talks: MAJ Sergio Tristan

Maj. Sergio L. Tristan Speaks about social media engagement throughout the Texas Military Forces. TAG Talks are a series of unique presentations put together by students in The Adjutant General's Executive Leadership Development Program offering the perspective of future Senior leaders of the Texas Military Forces.

TAG Talks: LTC David Burger

LT. Col. David Burger, Director International Affairs, Texas Military Forces, talks about the Leadership Development Program in his TAG Talk at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, April 2, 2015