August 1 Means School Starts

Today is the first day of school for the kids in the Metro area. A lot of other counties are either starting this week, too, or one day next week. I think it is crazy to start school in August, but this has been a long term effort to change our public schools into a year round schedule.

By starting in August, the schools build in a week of “Fall Break” in October, a two week “Holiday Break” and then a one week “Spring Break.” So the kids don’t really go for a longer school year, they just get more breaks.

Since I don’t have kids, it doesn’t matter much to me. I find is strange to go back to school before Labor Day, as that traditionally meant the end of summer where I grew up. But in the South, the warm weather lasts a lot longer and they have redefined the breaks away from Christian holidays to be more suited to teacher’s needing a break and professional development seminars.

School back in session just means longer drive time in the mornings, as the school buses mess up traffic. I absolutely HATE getting stuck behind a school bus on my way to work. I end up leaving for work 20 minutes earlier when school is in session just so I don’t have to deal with school buses. Getting to work early means less sleep for me and not enough time after I get to work to do anything personal, so I end up making coffee for the whole office and reading the newspaper for 15 minutes every morning. Personally, I would rather get that extra sleep and skip the newspaper, but I’m not willing to risk being late due to traffic. So it is what it is.

Rainy Forecast for the Fourth

This year I was really looking forward to going downtown on the Fourth of July holiday, but now I don’t think I will be going. The weather forecast is for rain tonight and all day tomorrow and a rainy Fourth of July night – all the way into Friday night. Yuck.

Several municipalities are cancelling their fireworks shows based on the rainy forecast. Some are pushing them out to Labor Day holiday weekend, which is a long way off but a kind of nice idea to add to that holiday celebration. Around here Labor Day does not usually mean much other than some people get a day off from work and all the outdoor swimming pools close.

Closing the pools on the first weekend of September is stupid in the South. The weather here is usually warm enough to enjoy a swimming pool for another 4 – 6 weeks.  I can see that if they need lifeguards it might be hard to find teenagers and college students available for lifeguard jobs, but truth be known, school here starts August 1, so the teens and college kids are long gone before Labor Day.

Anyway, if it really does rain all day and night tomorrow, I will stay home and watch the fireworks on TV instead of heading downtown. The last time I went downtown for fireworks, we got caught in a violent thunderstorm halfway through the fireworks show and the asshole police would not let us leave the bridge to go to our cars. They forced us to stay out on the bridge over the Cumberland River and risk getting hit by lightning. I was never so mad and so scared we would be hit by lightning before in my life. I will never let the police force me to stand outside in a thunderstorm again. So any time there is a serious threat of rain involved with a downtown event, I refuse to go.

Road Crew

There was a small crew of men walking along the edge of the road this afternoon. They were carrying large canvas bags slung over one shoulder and a long pole to spear trash from the side of the road. As I passed the men walking, I noticed a large truck parked on the side up ahead. There was a man standing on the rear bumper and he had a shotgun or a rifle in his arms. That startled me. I don’t usually see anyone with a gun around here. Obviously, he was guarding prisoners on a work detail. That was the first I’d seen such a thing around here. It was a little disturbing to know that a dozen convicts are walking down my street and just one man was assigned to shoot anyone trying to run off. But at least the trash got picked up – no one else around here seems to care about it.

Seven Organizations for Emergency Preparedness

The terror attacks of 9/11 were responsible for a major shift in how Americans looked at emergencies. Though the terror attacks were a manmade emergency, the shift in focus also applied to other emergencies, such as natural disasters. The result has been increased emergency preparedness and response agencies and employees, as well as increased planning in how to handle emergencies when they arise. Following are eight organizations in the US designed to handle emergency preparedness and response.

  1. FEMA- The Federal Emergency Management Agency is the federal government’s primary agency designed to respond to emergencies. FEMA takes the lead in responding with personnel and with funds whenever disaster strikes. FEMA will respond to both natural disasters, like hurricanes, manmade disasters like oil spills, and to terrorist acts. FEMA sends rescue personnel as well as emergency managers to help during disasters. FEMA also provides resources to help Americans be more prepared in the event of a disaster.
  2. American Red Cross – The Red Cross has been in place since 1881. It is a non-profit agency that has grown into the country’s premier provider of volunteer emergency and disaster preparedness and relief. They are most widely known for providing blood, but actually provide a wide variety of disaster relief services.
  3. The Salvation Army – The Salvation Army has provided many types of relief to the poor over the years. Their services during times of disaster include mobile feeding stations, temporary shelter, medical assistance and missing persons services.
  4. Samaritan’s Purse – Samaritan’s Purse is an international relief organization that provides help in areas of war, poverty, disaster and disease. While they have many ongoing programs, they are always on call for disaster aid.
  5. State Emergency Management Agencies – In addition to FEMA, each state in the US operates their own emergency management agency. Most states are able to manage smaller emergencies without the intervention of FEMA.
  6. National Emergency Response Team – the NERT is designed to meet the basic needs of food, shelter and clothing during disasters. They operate through mobile units that can be rapidly deployed to disaster areas.
  7. Christian and Jewish Relief Agencies – Rather than a single organization, these are a group of organizations sponsored by churches throughout the US to respond during times of disaster. They include the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Organization, the International Orthodox Christian Charities, Lutheran Disaster Response, Catholic Charities, USA, Baptist World Aid, International Association of Jewish Vocational Services, Nazarene Disaster Response and Mennonite Disaster Service. These organizations work independently of each other as well as together to help meet the needs of disaster victims throughout the world.

Though there are many disaster relief organizations in the US and throughout the world, it can still often be difficult to meet all the needs of disaster victims in the aftermath of a tragedy. Sometimes the physical restrictions on getting supplies to affected areas can cause delays as can the difficulties in reaching affected areas because of damage. But, the organizations on this list, as well as others, make tremendous efforts to help disaster victims as quickly and comprehensively as possible under extraordinary circumstances.

Phyllis T. Zerkle enjoys blogging in order to help students find the information they need about online homeland security degrees.

Reduce Trash

Our neighborhood has two different companies service our area for trash collection. They are private companies that send out monthly bills. If you don’t pay these people, you have to carry your trash to the landfill, which is about 20 minutes from my house. The amount I would spend in gas alone is more than what I have to pay the trash company.

I decided to try to reduce the amount of trash that I put at the curb. If you have any tips on reducing and reusing household items, I’d love to read them as comments here. Thanks!

Too Long Lines

I promised to help out a friend and give them a ride to the Drivers License office. This is obviously a state government office, staffed by government employees. They are strict about what time they open doors, who gets waited on first, and keeping everyone in long lines.

The long lines are what I absolutely hate about dealing with the government. You cannot ever just walk up to someone and get help with your problem. You always have to figure out what line to get into and then you wait FOREVER to get even a simple question answered. And, GOD HELP YOU if you get in the wrong dang line!

Happy Memorial Day


Today we thank our soldiers for serving their country. It is a somber holiday for people who have lost a loved one to war or accidental death while in the service. We lost our father many years ago to Cancer, but he served our country in the war and I think of him fondly on every Memorial Day.

For Heavens sake!!!

Everyone has always known that there are ‘Moon Shiners’ in the mountains.  I personally don’t know a single one but then again I might and just don’t know it.  I do know of a man that drank some bad homemade liquor and ended up in the hospital but never anything like this.

The death toll from a mass poisoning involving home-brewed alcohol in the western Indian state of Gujarat has risen to 71.  A police officer in the state’s largest city, Ahmedabad, said another five people were seriously ill in hospital after consuming the contaminated liquor at a party on Sunday.  The Press Trust of India reported that six police officers in the city had been suspended and transferred for failing to crack down on illegal distilleries.

The state’s home affairs minister yesterday announced an inquiry into the easy availability of bootleg liquor in the region. Selling and consuming alcohol is a criminal offence in Gujarat, which is India’s only dry state.  Deaths from cheap alcohol are common in India. Last year nearly 170 people died after drinking from a single batch of toxic liquor in southern India.

Bet they’ll have a hard time getting a sitter now!

I couldn’t believe what I was reading.  The headline read “Boy, 4 years old, shoots babysitter for stepping on foot.”  I thought he might have shot him with a BB gun or something like that but no, not this little fella.  He has one more bad temper apparently.  Read this:

Police say a 4-year-old boy in southern Ohio shot his babysitter because the sitter accidentally stepped on his foot. Police said 18-year-old Nathan Beavers and several other teenagers were babysitting several young children in a mobile home in Jackson on Sunday when the shooting occurred.

Witnesses told police the 4-year-old retrieved the shotgun from a bedroom closet and shot Beavers. Police said the child was angry because Beavers accidentally stepped on his foot. Beavers was hospitalized with minor pellet wounds to his arm and side. Police say another teen was also injured with shotgun pellets.

Jackson County Sheriff John Shashteen said authorities are investigating the shooting. The child has not been charged.

Okay, they didn’t charge the child but what about charging the parents for having a weapon where the child could get to it and worse yet, it being loaded.  Either that or the child is one smart cookie and knew where the shells were and how to load the shotgun.  Someone will end up being charged before it’s all over I bet.

Car loans can be hard to come by lately

I have heard so many people talk about how hard it is to get car loans these days. The banks just aren’t letting go of much of the money they got in their bail out package yet. Until they do, it’s tough to buy a new or especially a used car. Heaven help you if you don’t have absolutely outstanding credit too. You’re chances of getting a loan on a car just went in the can then. My question is this. Just how many of us have absolutely perfect credit? Not many that’s for sure.

Since the economy has done what it’s done, the reason for having less than perfect credit might be of little or no fault of your own either but they don’t consider that at all. I have found a possible solution that helped a friend of mine with get refinancing with It not only lowered his monthly payment but also helped him possibly save a bit of his credit rating.

I was amazed at how easy the whole process was for him. All he had to do was fill out the application securely right online and has his answer a lot faster than he would have from a bank. Their applications are not as rigid as a banks either. They are sure worth checking into if you need a loan or refinancing.