Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

August 31, 2010

On The Bright Side September 1, 2010

Filed under: Mary Howell — Freddie Keel @ 7:30 pm

School Days, School Days,

Dear old golden rule days,

Reading and writing and arithmetic

Taught to the tune of a hickory stick.

School bells are now ringing at Sabine County schools.  Students have returned to the classrooms for another year of their education at Hemphill, West Sabine and Brookeland schools.

Schools nowadays are quite different from the days of my childhood.  Students were taught to live by the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Teachers were allowed to read the Bible to students and teach a memory verse each week.

I remember one of my elementary teachers who had a Sunday School chart on the board.  She gave us a star on Monday morning if we had attended church on Sunday morning.

I remember teachers reading wonderful Bible stories and stories with morals which would influence our future lives.

Fifty or more years ago, students were not afraid to pray or bring their Bibles to school.  We could pray publicly at school events, at sporting events and at the school assembly programs.

One special assembly program would now be against the law.  Mrs. R. M. Ohly, a missionary from Tyler, Texas, made annual visits to schools throughout Texas to tell stories about Jesus.  We also heard stories about Noah and the ark, Joseph’s coat of many colors and Jonah and the whale. She made stories come alive with her magical flannel board. The pictures of the characters made a lasting impression on us.

School days were simple.  We did not need to use a computer or a calculator. We were taught to add, subtract, multiply and divide in our heads.

We had Weekly Readers which brought the latest world events to the classroom.  We were allowed to sing Christmas carols and portray the Nativity story.

We had special programs, entertainers and magicians.  Recess was our favorite time.  We could run and play freely without needing security guards to keep us safe.  Teachers kept students under control by sending them to the principal’s office for punishment.  We knew if we did not behave that we would get a well deserved spanking.

Although the laws of our government have changed the schools of today, education is still an important asset in a person’s life.  We need to encourage our students in elementary, middle and high school to do the best to attain goals in their lives.  Let us remember our students, teachers and school officials in our prayers.

Mary Howell

August 30, 2010

Statement by Gov. Rick Perry on Texas Challenge of Offshore Drilling Moratorium

Filed under: Misc — Freddie Keel @ 9:19 pm

Gov. Rick Perry today (August 11, 2010) issued the following statement regarding Texas’ lawsuit against the Obama Administration over its offshore drilling moratorium:

“Once again, the Obama Administration has demonstrated a flagrant disregard for the rights and economies of states and the well-being of those whose jobs depend upon a safe and vibrant energy industry, many of whom live in Texas,” Gov. Perry said.  “It is unfortunate Texas must take such action against the federal government, but I will do everything in my power to preserve our state’s economy and the jobs that feed our families.  The jobs and livelihoods of too many Texans are at stake for them to be denied a voice by the Obama Administration and their federal bureaucracy.”

Court documents filed by the State set forth that the Administration unilaterally imposed its offshore drilling ban without properly coordinating with the State of Texas. Further, the Administration also improperly failed to consider the moratorium’s economic impact on Gulf Coast states, including Texas. Under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), the Interior Secretary must coordinate with affected states and weigh a moratorium’s economic impact before imposing an offshore drilling ban. Despite the OCSLA’s requirements, the Obama Administration did not consult with Texas on either issue.

August 29, 2010

Rattlesnake Email Circulating

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 8:31 pm
Tags: ,

""Fw: "BIG" Texas Rattle Snake

Next time you're out in the tall grass, remember this one. This snake was recently found at the J & S Quik Mart located just south of RR 3014 Turnoff on Highway 281 south of Tow, Texas. [That's just west of Burnett, Texas]

9 feet, 1 inch - 97 lbs.

A reminder that these creatures are actually out there and no matter what you believe, sometimes they should get not only prescriptive rights to be there, but the full right of way.""

With hunting season just around the corner, this photo will keep you looking down.

August 28, 2010

C. J. Michaels puts on show at Hemphill Care Center

Filed under: Hemphill Care Center — Freddie Keel @ 7:37 pm
Tags: ,

C. J. is one fine entertainer and the folks at Hemphill Care Center really enjoyed his singing.


Jacque Michaels is visiting with Norma Brewer.


Not everyone could stay awake.


David and Ernie Mae


Clyde and Norma gets a hug from Sunshine.


Rene visits with C. J.

August 27, 2010

High-to-low check clearing can rack up overdraft fees

Filed under: Misc — Freddie Keel @ 8:14 pm

By Chris Serres


Published: 7:09 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS — Walt Books knew something was amiss as soon as soon as he opened his Wells Fargo bank account statement and discovered $140 in overdraft fees.

Books, 78, a retired business owner from St. Paul, Minn., dug into his bank account records and discovered what happened.

Wells Fargo & Co. had drained his bank account faster than necessary, he said, by processing a $130 check for his health insurance before a series of smaller items, causing him to be hit with four $35 overdraft fees. One of the fees was for a $3.09 purchase of a cheeseburger and cup of coffee at McDonald’s.

Had the bank processed his transactions in the order in which they occurred, with the insurance check processed after the McDonald’s cheeseburger, Books says he would have incurred just one overdraft fee.

“They made $105 (extra) by doing nothing other than manipulating my account,” he said. “It’s crooked.”

At least one federal judge agrees. A judge in California this month blasted Wells Fargo’s practice of processing larger checks and debit card payments before smaller ones, rather than in the actual order. The judge referred to the practice, known as “high to low” check clearing, as “gouging and profiteering,” and ordered the bank to pay $203 million in restitution to Wells Fargo customers in California who were hit with the fees over a four-year period.

“Internal bank memos and e-mails leave no doubt that, overdraft revenue being a big profit center, the bank’s dominant, indeed sole, motive was to maximize the number of overdrafts,” wrote U.S. District Judge William Alsup.

A Wells Fargo spokeswoman said the company was disappointed with the ruling but does not intend to change its policies. The bank has argued that its customers prefer that their higher-priority transactions, such as mortgages and car loan payments, go through before the smaller ones.

“We don’t think the ruling is in line with the facts of the case, and we’re going to appeal,” said Richele Messick, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman.

The ruling applies only to Wells Fargo customers in California. But the ruling is significant because it marks the first time a federal judge has denounced the practice, which many other banks follow.

It also was good news for lawyers suing banks across the country over overdraft fees. In class action lawsuits consolidated in Florida, about 30 large banks, including Bank of America Corp., Citigroup and U.S. Bancorp, have been accused of posting charges in non-chronological order to maximize income from overdraft fees.

Big banks have already come under sharp criticism for collecting billions of dollars in fees on small purchases, while their customers struggle through a severe economic downturn. New federal rules prohibit banks from automatically charging overdraft fees on debit card and ATM transactions. Instead, customers can decide whether they want to “opt in” for overdraft protection.

Financial experts say more regulation of overdraft fees could be around the corner now that Congress has approved the most extensive restrictions on banks since the Great Depression. The bill passed last month creates a new federal regulatory agency designed to protect consumers from abusive and deceptive financial practices.

“In Washington, overdraft protection is a hot-button issue,” said Bob DeYoung, a finance professor at the University of Kansas. “I’m very sure that, as more light is shining on overdraft practices, that this new regulatory agency will want to take a closer look.”

High-to-low check processing is widespread. A 2006 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., a federal agency that insures banks, found that 25 percent of banks process transactions from largest to smallest, which can increase the number of overdrafts, the agency said. What’s more, banks that used high-to-low processing reported higher fee income than those that did not, the FDIC found.

Chuck Cano, 50, of Eden Prairie, Minn., said he decided to close his Wells Fargo account earlier this year after he found nine overdraft charges on his bank account statement, totaling more than $300.

Cano says many of the overdraft fees were for small debit card transactions, like the purchase of a can of soda at a gas station, that occurred before some larger ones. He said he would not have made the purchases had he known that Wells Fargo processed the larger-dollar payments first.

Linda Sherry, a spokeswoman with Consumer Action, acknowledges that “banks have to make money somehow,” but adds, “They don’t have to make it through deceptive and unfair practices.”

Still, she says, consumers have a responsibility, too. “Just don’t write a check when you don’t have the money in your bank.”

August 26, 2010

Texas deer with huge rack dies

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 6:36 pm
Tags: ,

Wednesday, 04 August 2010 11:50 LSONews.com

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Antlers on Stickers scored well more than 300 Boone and Crockett points.

Famed breeder buck Stickers, whose antlers once scored 354 Boone and Crockett points, died in late June, said his owner, Sammy Nooner of Hondo.

The buck was 9 years old — old for a white-tailed deer — and was said to be the largest buck in Texas for some time. The massive-antlered whitetail scored more than 300 B&C points for more than five years. Last year, his rack scored 329 B&C. At times, his antlers had 46 points.

Nooner said Stickers never recovered after breeding season. He was eating well but never put on weight.

Though Stickers has died, his life as a breeder buck will live on. Nooner said he still has plenty of semen, which sells for $4,000 to $5,000 per straw, from the deer and his legacy will live a long time.

August 25, 2010

It’s a new school year and time to be very safe.

Filed under: Misc — Freddie Keel @ 7:40 pm

What most students and parents don’t see is the hard work school faculty and staff put in before the bell rings on the first morning.

While teachers are getting ready, law enforcement hopes parents are ready to get kids to school…. safely.

Everyone should slow down. The kids are the main concern of police department at this time of year.  They want everyone to slow down and drive extremely safe.

Watch for school zones. Those flashing yellow lights mean slow down to the posted speeds, and don’t forget, no cell phones.

If you’re using your cell phone you can use it hands-free, but if either one of your hands are being used to utilize your phone, then its an offense and you can receive a citation.

Expect  more traffic congestion which can increase the risks of accidents around schools.

Everyone is going to be taking their kid to school the few first days and you should allow for extra time the first week of school, so every student is safe.

Get up early. Don’t wait to the last-minute…. be patient and make sure to give your kids a hug before you drop them off.

August 24, 2010

On the Bright Side (Aug 25,2010)

Filed under: Mary Howell — Freddie Keel @ 7:11 pm

These lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer have been filled with fun activities designed to keep the residents of Hemphill Care Center cool and refreshed despite the temperatures being around the century mark.

The month of August has been highlighted by our celebration of National Watermelon Day, National Root Beer Float Day, National S’mores Day and National Cupcake Day.  These delicious summertime treats brought happy smiles to our faces.

Our clown friends, the Hope Family, from Lakes Area Hospice dropped by to entertain us with their funny antics and sunshine songs.  Saturday night, the East Texas Playboys performed for our pleasure.  A large group of friends joined us for an evening of music favorites.  The following Wednesday morning, Quincy Martindale from Odyssey Hospice “tickled the ivories”.  We enjoyed hearing his piano routines.  On Thursday August 12th, Carolyn Barker and friends hosted a free garage sale at which time residents could select clothing items and accessories of their choice.  It was a huge success enjoyed by all.  The following Friday, our Activity Department hosted the annual domino tournament.  This year’s winner was our very own Ruth Watson.  On Wednesday, we enjoyed an afternoon concert with our new permanent volunteers, The Pineywoods Pickers, who will be coming to visit us every month.

Our hearts were blessed with church services and gospel singalongs that were provided by Parkway Baptist Church, Hemphill First Baptist Church, Hemphill Church of Christ, Fairdale Baptist Church, Bethel Chapel Baptist Church from Pineland, Little Flock Baptist Church, Bethany Baptist Church and Macedonia Baptist Church’s Little Angels.

We enjoyed lively bingo games sponsored by Kelli with East Texas Home Health, Parkway Baptist Church, The American Legion, Church of Christ, Lacey with Apineywoods Home Health and our own Activity Department.

Delicious fresh fruit treats were served to the residents by the VFW Ladies Auxiliary Post 10351 on Monday, August 16th. The following Thursday afternoon, the Macedonia Baptist Church’s Mission Ladies made wonderful pies and cakes for our enjoyment.  We say a big “Thank You” to the young men from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for their faithfulness in coming to play dominoes with us every week.

We express our love and sympathy to Tonya White at the loss of her precious mother, Mary Ann Brown White.

Congratulations to all of the employees of the month. Evelyn Roberts, Gina Jackson and Cindy Cook.  We express our appreciation to all the loyal employees here who make our lives happier.

Special congratulations go out to Verdell Easley who was named our Resident of the Month.  Our dear friends from Bethel Chapel Church were named as our Volunteers of the Month.

Our August Happy Birthday wishes go out to Laveta Moore, K. I. Speight, Mary Parker and Ebb Dickerson who turned 101 year of age this month.

We are looking forward to C. J. Michaels, the “One Man Band” who will perform at 2:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon.  Benton Poindexter will treat residents and friends to his ice cream social on Saturday, August 28 at 7 p.m.  Thanks, Benton, for your ice cream treats.

Hemphill Care Center provides loving care for all who call it home.  May the Lord bless our residents, employees, family and friends.

Mary Howell


Mary with a friend

Biography for Mary Howell

Mary Howell is a cerebral palsied quadriplegic who has resided at Hemphill Care Center in Hemphill, Texas since November, 2009.  She lived with her parents until their deaths and then lived in her home with 24/7 caregivers.  Mary has spent her life turning defeat into victory.  Her determination and strong faith in God have been an inspiration to all who know her.

Mary attended Hemphill High School, Wharton Junior College and served as the Editor of the Sabine County Reporter.  She has received numerous awards from the Texas Press Women and the Texas Press Association. for her writing.  Mary wrote and published her autobiography in 2007, Life On The Bright Side.

She has received various awards for her services in the community. She was named as an outstanding citizen, communicator of achievement, and Texas Handicapped Professional Woman of the Year in 1986.  She was among the “Nine Who Make A Difference” selected by KTRE-TV in 1986..

Mary’s love for God makes the difference in her life, enabling her to turn sadness into happiness and apparent defeat into victory.

August 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Papaw

Filed under: Family — Freddie Keel @ 7:04 pm

August 22, 2010

Just get over it!!

Filed under: Misc — Freddie Keel @ 8:55 pm
Tags: ,

We have two General Motor pickups and both have had the same defect since birth.  One vehicle is a diesel Chevy and the other is a GMC 1/2T pickup.  General Motors issued a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) acknowledging the birth defect in October 2003.  They did not issue a recall to repair the quality control item.

((Steering – Under hood Clunk Felt in Steering Wheel
Bulletin No.: 00-02-35-003C
Date: October 20, 2003

Clunking Noise Under Hood and can be felt in the Steering Wheel (Lubricate Intermediate Steering Shaft Assembly) Condition – Some customers may comment on a clunk-type noise coming from under the hood that also can be felt in the steering wheel. These conditions may be more noticeable when turning at low speeds on rough road surfaces.))

Their position was:  If a customer brings the vehicle to a dealer and complains about this condition, it would be repaired at not cost.  Only trouble, the repair was not long lasting and the condition was likely to reappear in less than year.   When the condition reappeared and the vehicle was out of warranty, the customer incurred the repair expense.  We had the GMC repaired twice under warranty,  once at our expense and the condition still exist.   Recently, a Mr. Goodwrench service man told me that GM had finally designed a repair that was permanent.  So today, our Chevy Pickup incurred the permanent repair at a cost of $370 to us.

Just get over it!!


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