Sunday, March 9, 2008

     

 

 

 

 

  Plea for immediate help
‘Waiting for a heart’ needs moving help
By Michael V. Hannigan
Monitor Staff Writer

MALAKOFF–This part is simple: Jerry Clinard needs a new heart.
This part is not so simple: he needs to be in Houston to get it.
To say that the 61-year-old Malakoff resident has heart trouble would be the height of understatement. He had bypass surgery in 1990, a heart attack in 1997, and his first defibrillator operation in 2003.
He’s had enough heart surgeries that he’s sort of lost count. His daughter, Shannon Morris, says it is seven or eight.
He says it isn’t that many, because he doesn’t count some of the times doctors have opened him up as “surgery.”
Now, however, just fixing the heart isn’t an option.
“Doctors say there are just two little spots (on the heart) still alive,” he said.
That’s the bad news. The good news, according to Clinard, is that The Methodist Hospital System in Houston has moved him to the top of the donor list.
But that requires being in Houston, which isn’t so easy.
Ami Felker, a spokeswoman for The Methodist Hospital System, said transplant patients like Clinard have to live within two hours of the hospital.
“If a heart becomes available, it is only good for a short amount of time,” Felker said, “so we require active transplant patients to live within two hours.”
Because of his heart disease, Clinard, a former truck driver, is on disability. He isn’t even allowed to drive a car anymore because of dizzy spells and the possibility of a heart attack.
His wife, Mittie, is also on disability, and she is currently in ETMC Athens fighting complications from pneumonia, Clinard said.
The couple is also raising their 14-year-old granddaughter, Brittney.
So picking up and moving to Houston isn’t going to be quite as easy as catching a ride to Athens.
The Clinards have an apartment lined up in Houston and have paid the down payment and have the rent. They have it set up for Brittney to stay with friends until the end of the school year, and then she will move down to Houston as well.
The trouble is they are supposed to be in Houston by March 15 (next Saturday) and all the preparations have pretty much tapped their resources dry.
So the Clinards are reaching out to the community and asking for a little help.
An account has been set up – with help from the Salvation Army – at First State Bank in the name of Jerry Clinard.
“We don’t have all the funds to get down there,” said daughter Shannon, who is also going to Houston to help care for Clinard after the surgery. “And we’re going to have to rent a U-Haul to move all our stuff, because we don’t have anybody who can move our stuff down there.”
Donations can be made at any of the First State Bank branches. To make in-kind donations, call The Malakoff News, (903) 489-0531.

Library foresees budget crisis
Creation of a Library District being discussed
Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–When was the last time you visited The Library at Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points?
On any given day, it is busy with activities and programs, librarian George Thadathil told Cedar Creek Kiwanis club members at its weekly luncheon at Lakeridge RV Park meeting room Tuesday.
“Today, the Tool Elementary early childhood classes came for a visit,” he said.
• Wednesdays, a 10 a.m. story hour is set.
And of course, Kiwanis sponsors monthly story hours with Linda Rau October through March, with a gift book for each child.
• Nearly every day someone is being empowered by being taught to read; or
• are getting assistance to obtain a GED (General Education Diploma).
That’s in addition to helping level the field for those without an Internet connection by providing eight computers for free public use.
“We have eight, but we could use 11,” Thadathil said.
“We want to continue to be useful to the community to give access to information they can’t get in their homes – sometimes called the digital divide. We don’t want people to be left behind,” he said.
He pointed out the library is the most important cultural institution in the greater Cedar Creek Lake area.
“The library is a special place. If it wasn’t here anymore, what a great void would be in the community,” he said.
The library holds 35,000 titles of books and tapes and it has run out of space to put in any new aquisitions, he reported.
“Not only do we not have any more shelves, we don’t have anywhere to put up more shelves,” Thadathil said.
In two years, the Seven Points Economic Development Corporation will hand over the building housing the library to the library board.
Currently, Seven Points foots the mortgage, electric and water bill and sees to the maintenance needs of the facility.
The utility and maintenance expense amounts to $60,000 a year, he said.
In two years, that expense will be transferred to the library, representing a 33 percent increase in the library’s $125,000 annual budget.
Henderson County Commissioners have been providing $25,000 from discretionary funds to support the library. The other $100,000, or 80 percent of the operating budget, comes largely from private donations.
The West Cedar Creek Municiple Utility District has made it easier for its water and sewer customers to make donations along with their bills every month, contributing some $400-$450 a month for the past six months.
Thadathil said the library is doing all it can to raise funds through recycling cell phones and the efforts of the The Friends of The Library and the Library at Cedar Creek Lake Endowment Board, which holds concerts twice a year and seeks charitible gifts and estate benefits, and through holding book sales.
“When people give us books, if we don’t have a title – we keep it; if we already have it – we sell it,” Thadithil explained.
Throughout his presentation, he frequently pointed out the many contributions community members make to the library, from donations of paper products and cleaning supplies to delivering books to shut-ins, to being one of the 24 volunteers, who with three paid part-time employees, staff the library.
“We can always use more literacy tutors and other volunteers,” he said.
Two years from now, the library will be facing an emergency unless it develops a bigger stream of income. That solution may lie in creating a Library District.
The state of Texas has 15 such districts – including one in San Antonio – which are created by majority vote, much as are Emergency Service Districts.
The process would begin with a petition to the Henderson County Commissioners. Upon acceptance, the county would hold an election, but the library would be responsible for funding the election, he said.
“Without that, we can barely go on,” Thadathil said. “The cities don’t give us any money, or not very much.”
Libraries provide a way to improve our culture by helping those typically cutoff from cultural-enhancing experiences and new information.
“We want all to be on the same plane, the same level,” he said.
Thadathil has been with the library for 17 months now, and came in during a period of transition for the library board, Kiwanis president Ralph Fortner noted.
“He’s done a good job,” Fortner said.
 

Literacy: an issue in Henderson County
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

SEVEN POINTS–Literacy is an important issue in Henderson County and Cedar Creek Lake.
According to U.S. Census information, of the county’s 76,000 population, 13,000 are without a high school diploma. That’s 17 percent – the same percentage who voted.
One of the most common reasons for not having a high school diploma is illiteracy, or poor ability to read.
“We all must all call ourselves responsible to see that our fellow Americans can read and write,” librarian George Thadathil said.
“Illiteracy is the reason people don’t vote, nor go to church, nor have a job. Those who don’t read, often don’t understand what is going on, and so don’t participate,” he said.
That’s why The Library at Cedar Creek Lake, under Thadathil’s direction, puts a great emphasis on literacy.
“You can participate with us by becoming tutors,” Thadathil told a group of Kiwanis club members Tuesday.
“You can also encourage those you know to learn to read,” he said.
On Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, tutors meet with those wanting literacy help.
“Right now, we have six students from all kinds of backgrounds,” he said. Of the current students the eldest is around 50, he added.
Most the tutors have no special training, he said. However, if a volunteer would like training, the Literacy Council will be happy to provide it, he said.
“It is in the best interest of the community that all its members learn how to read and write,” he added.

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