People, Places & Events


Nichols’ bills address property owners
Special to The Monitor
AUSTIN–Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) filed two bills to protect property owners from appraisal increases and condemnation proceedings for recreational use.
“Protecting the rights of homeowners is a top item on my agenda,” Nichols said.
Senate bill 575 proposes reducing the maximum taxable appraisal increase on a homestead from 10 percent to 5 percent annually.
The proposition requires a vote to amend the Texas Constitution. Therefore, Nichols also filed Senate Joint Resolution 23, which, if passed by the Legislature, will allow voters to make the necessary constitutional change at the polls.
While praising the property tax cuts passed last May, Nichols said more relief is needed.
“The Legislature has taken steps to reduce property tax rates,” Nichols said. “However, reducing the tax rate alone is not enough. I am committed to reining in out-of-control appraisal rates.
“Capping annual increases at 5 percent, combined with reduced tax rates, will bring significant relief to all homeowners,” he said.
Senate bill 576 prohibits the condemnation of private property for recreational uses such as parks, and hiking and biking trails.
“No homeowner should lose the roof over their heads so others can have a place to play,” Nichols said. “Eminent domain should never be used for recreation, period.”
“SB 576 in no way prohibits the voluntary sale of property, but removes the government’s right to take land against a property owner’s will,” he said.
Nichols’ inspiration for the bill comes from firsthand experience as a civic leader in Cherokee County.
“I’ve seen residents fight and struggle for years to keep land their family has owned for generations.
“No one should have to endure such hardship merely for the sake of someone else’s recreation,” Nichols said.

Airborne® launches teacher trust fund for 2006-07 arts programs
Special to The Monitor
ATHENS–With more school districts struggling to keep programs in arts and music alive, the nation’s leading herbal product in the cough and cold aisle announced today it will provide some much-needed relief to school districts throughout the country.
Teachers in Athens, Eustace and Canton school districts are now eligible to apply for the Airborne® Teacher Trust Fund.
The nonprofit charitable corporation will help fund art and music programs in elementary and middle schools which are in jeopardy of being lost due to budgetary limitations.
According to USA Today, Texas is spending $6,145 on art and music programs per pupil, below the national average of $6,835.
The trust fund is the vision of former second-grade teacher and creator of Airborne Health Formula Victoria Knight-McDowell.
“With budgets becoming tighter each year, schools are faced with the difficult decision of having to cut vital programs,” Knight-McDowell said. “The Airborne® Teacher Trust Fund is meant to fill the gap and keep our youth engaged and inspired, so they can live full and rewarding lives.”
About 71 percent of the nation’s 15,000 school districts have reduced time spent on subjects such as art, social studies and history since 2002, according to the 2006 Center for Education Policy.
“It’s frightening to think of a world in which children are not exposed to the arts in any meaningful way,” Airborne® CEO Elise Donahue said. “As corporations and individuals, it’s up to us to make sure we’re investing in the future of our country.”
The Airborne® Teacher Trust Fund is beginning with an investment of $250,000. Grants ranging from $200 to $10,000 will be awarded to teachers to implement programs during the 2006-07 school year.
In addition to local school districts, the fund is also available to teachers in 15 other states. Additional states will become eligible quarterly, until the program goes nationwide.
Detailed application information is available at

Four numbers women need to know for a healthy heart
Special to The Monitor
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Though fewer people are dying from heart attacks, the number of people with heart trouble has not changed.
Drs. Mehmet Oz and Michael Roizen, co-authors of “You: On a Diet” recently appeared on ABC News Good Morning America with some important tips on heart health for women.
Women have different issues when it comes to heart health.
“Only about 30 percent of women with heart disease have calcium in their arteries,” Oz explained. But men have calcium in their arteries 90 percent of the time, he said.
The difference means women are more prone to having arterial plaque rupture or tear, causing the body to repair the area with more plaque which expands and closes off the inside of the artery, Oz explained.
“The good news for women is, if they reverse the risk factors, they can reverse their heart disease more effectively than men can,” Oz said.
Roizen says there are four numbers to keep in mind for a healthy heart.
• Waist size should be half your height or less and is measured around the belly button, where you need to lose the fat.
• Blood pressure ideally should be 115 over 75. The stronger pressure going through the arteries, the greater the chance for ruptures and tears of the blood vessel wall.
• HDL cholesterol level should be high. H for healthy, H for high level because it helps get rid of the lousy cholesterol – LDL – L for lousy.
• Pedometer numbers count the steps you walk in a day. 10,000+ steps daily is the goal. Once you cross that 10,000 barrier, you’re getting a lot of benefits to reduce plaque buildup.
These numbers are a good gauge to heart health status. Things you can do to improve heart health include:
• Get a pedometer and walk those 10,000 steps. Do it with a friend to stay motivated.
• Get rid of anything that has saturated fat. Look for saturated fat, coconut oil or palm oil listed in the first five ingredients and get it out of your refrigerator and cupboards.
• Automate your meals, especially breakfast, lunch and snacks. It’s much harder to eat healthy on the run. Take good snacks with you, including fiberrich foods and whole fruits and veggies.
• Daily fiber intake should be 25 grams. On average women get about 10 grams a day. So supplement fiber regularly, try adding bran to your bowl of cereal. Also the lycopene found in tomato paste or sauce helps remove arterial plaque, boost these in your diet.
• Finally, go nuts on nuts, especially walnuts and almonds. An ounce of nuts a day gives the right amount of healthy protein and fat that helps clear the arteries, and can replace some of the protein gotten from animal sources.

Presbyterian in Kaufman receives national recognition
Special to The Monitor
KAUFMAN–Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman (PHK) has once again received national recognition from the United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Premier, Inc., an alliance of 1,700 not-for-profit hospitals across the country.
This is the second consecutive year that Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman has been specifically recognized for its quality of care results related to patients with community acquired pneumonia.
Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman’s recognition comes as a result of the hospital, along with its sister hospitals from the Texas Health Resources family, participating in a three-year Medicare project designed to improve the quality of inpatient care in hospitals nationwide.
The project includes 260 hospitals from across the country that have volunteered to report their patient care quality data for five conditions that represent a large number of annual hospital admissions.
The five medical conditions being tracked and measured against national quality standards include three different heart conditions, pneumonia and hip and knee replacement surgery.
“Designation as a top performer two years in a row demonstrates the dedication the medical staff physicians, nurses and support staff have to improving patient care,” said Patsy Youngs, president of Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman Patsy Youngs said.
“As an organization we are continually striving to measure our performance against goals and indicators recommended by national accrediting and quality monitoring organizations.
“This recognition speaks not only to the hospital’s commitment to clinical excellence and operational effectiveness, but to how well the hospital’s care givers work together to deliver care.
“Meeting these performance targets requires the dedication of all the people involved in patient care throughout the hospital,” she added.
Overall the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration project tracks participating hospital performance on a set of 34 nationally defined, standardized measures that represent patient care processes as well as patient outcomes.
The goal is to evaluate whether the care provided consistently meets those accepted standards of care which have been proven to lead to better patient outcomes and to reduce the risks of complications and death.
Participating hospitals compete for top performer recognition and those who perform in the top 20 percent will receive bonuses on their care reimbursement payments from Medicare.
About Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman
Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman, a 91-bed hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).
Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman offers the communities it serves quality healthcare services including: inpatient medical and surgical services with Intensive Care Unit, 24-hour emergency department, outpatient surgery, women’s services including maternity services, rehabilitation services, imaging and diagnostic services including CT and MRI scans, cardiac rehabilitation and wound care.
The hospital is a member hospital of Texas Health Resources, which is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health-care systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. THR controls 13 affiliated hospitals and a medical research organization, and is a corporate partner in seven additional hospitals and surgery centers.
THR’s family of hospitals includes Harris Methodist Hospitals, Arlington Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare System. For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit

Come Adopt Us At
The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake
ABOVE–My name is Bodey. I am a beautiful 2-3 year old male, brindle and white Boxer. I walk well on a leash and seem to really adore children. As of Feb. 13 I am now fixed and current on my shots. I was a stray brought in by animal control, so I have no history. I am a beautiful boy looking for my forever home.
ABOVE–My name is Nugget. I am the cutest little male Dachshund mix. I was brought to the Shelter by animal control, so I have no history. So far I am a very sweet young man. As of Feb. 13 I am fixed and current on my shots. I am a beautiful boy looking for my forever home.
ABOVE–My name is Brutus. I am a beautiful, male Red Heeler. I am very shy until I get to know you. I was brought to the Shelter by animal control, so I have no history. I walk well on a leash and seem to be very sweet. I am looking for my forever home.
ABOVE–My name is Reese. I am a very beautiful, female Red Heeler mix. I am 12-14 weeks old. I am a beautiful kid who needs a lovely family to start my life with. I would make a wonderful pet for children since I am still such a kid myself. I am looking for my forever home.

Pictured are just a few animals at the Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points in dire need of a good home. Please call or stop by the Humane Society today and rescue one of these forgotten animals. The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake is located on 10220 County Road 2403 in Seven Points. For more information, please call (903) 432-3422 after 11 a.m.
We are closed on Wednesdays. Holiday Hours: Closed Dec. 30-31 and Jan. 1.