Nichols’ bills address
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,”
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
“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
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
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
• 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
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
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
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
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 www.texashealth.org.