Opinion

Trishna’s tidbits
Modern musings by Trishna Buch

Well, here we are three months into 2017 and maybe it’s time to do a reality check on all those new-year resolutions we made. You do remember yours, don’t you?
It should be no surprise that most resolutions involve kicking a bad habit, so how are we doing? Have we won ourselves a wonderful habit-free status, are we still struggling to make it over the hill or have we given up altogether?
We all know that, when it comes to kicking a bad habit, you first have to admit you have one. Once you admit you have a bad habit, you can work on solving it.
It’s often difficult – sometimes too hard – to make that admission, but one way of doing so is to write it down. Let me set an example by writing an outline of my own worst habit, failing to get a good night’s sleep.
For a few years, I have had trouble falling asleep before midnight – something much more interesting always comes up. That’s because, after working seven to eight hours a day, doing two to three hours of school assignments and taking care of household responsibilities, I barely have time to read a good book or watch my favorite TV shows. So I make up for it when I finally settle down for the night and, before I know it, two hours have passed while I spend my precious sleep time watching YouTube videos instead.
Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem. Even if I have to get up at 8:00am, sleeping at midnight gives me eight hours of sleep but, for several years, I have never received more than seven hours of sleep each night.
There. I’ve written it down, openly admitting that I willingly deprive myself of sleep – a terrible habit and, ultimately, a huge problem. Can you do the same for your worst habit? I’ll wait while you give it a go.
Right, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Now, the question is what to do to resolve your particular issue. Kicking a bad habit comes in small steps. If, like me, you’re in sleep-deprivation mode, you could start by going to bed 30 minutes earlier each night until you achieve an adequate amount of sleep.
For example, if you currently receive six hours of sleep and want eight, start sleeping half an hour earlier than the night before, doing so each night for four nights until you hit the time at which you can sleep for eight hours and wake up at your chosen alarm time.
Once you reach that stage, remain strict with yourself to make sure you do not fall back you’re your bad habit.
Now, these methods work for me and I would like to put out a disclaimer. You don’t have to follow these particular steps. Please disregard any tip that is not relevant to you.
Kicking a bad habit takes hard work. It is not something that will happen overnight. It’s probably been instilled in you for several years, so it will take several months of practice and setbacks to kick it.
One thing, though –never give up! If you ever feel discouraged by the time taken or the difficulty of improving a habit, focus on the end result. Once you have kicked your bad habit, I guarantee you will feel much happier than you do now.

No limits to our capital city

We’re number one! Well, not us but, apparently, we have the best state capital in which to live.
That’s the conclusion of a national study conducted by financial-advice website WalletHub.
This is a study I can definitely get behind. I have visited Austin a few times and the city has a life of its own. The exciting and vibrant metropolis and its diverse population always compel me to want to visit again and again.
Austin beat out Boise, Idaho, and Bismarck, North Dakota, which respectively earned the study’s second and third places, for its coveted top spot.
WalletHub says it conducted the study because, although many state capitals have now become livable “hubs of activity”, as cities, they are not equal. According to the study, “the biggest population doesn’t always represent the best quality of life”.
So the study’s analysts measured the 50 states for affordability, economic wellbeing, the quality of their education and health and the quality of life within their environs.
They had to measure up in 42 aspects of city life including their cost of living, unemployment rate, K-12 school system quality, share of the adult population in good health, infant mortality and traffic congestion.
Austin won after finishing ninth in affordability, second in economic wellbeing, seventh in quality of education and health and 16th in quality of life. Taking the respective top spots in each of these categories were Cheyenne in Wyoming, Bismarck, Pierre in South Dakota and Honolulu in Hawaii.
So what does all that mean for we Texans? Well, we can bask in the glory that, overall, ours is the nation’s best state-capital city in which to live but, if we’re looking for one aspect of city life in particular, there’s a wonderful exponent of each elsewhere in the country.
Whatever you do, however, do not move to Trenton, New Jersey, Hartford, Connecticut, or Jackson, Mississippi, as they took the bottom three positions in the study.
On a personal note, I am even more pleased that Austin earned the study’s top spot as my younger sister has been accepted by the city’s University Of Texas campus. Now, I just have to convince her to choose UT over the other colleges that have accepted her!
Photo: James Martin

Good news for diabetics

More than 29 million Americans are affected by diabetes, according to American Diabetes Association. Furthermore, 208,000 people younger than 20 have been diagnosed with type-one or type-two diabetes and 86 million people older than 20 have pre-diabetes.
Many of us are familiar with the disorder. Several of my own family members and a few friends deal with it on a daily basis. I see firsthand the amount of trouble they have to go through to make sure they remain healthy.
Dealing with diabetes, especially if you are a young person who has recently been diagnosed, is not an easy matter. Fortunately, then, there’s a local diabetes self-management program hosted by the county health district and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
Under the seven-week program, type-two diabetes patients age 18 and older are invited to the health district every Wednesday afternoon for a two-hour seminar.
The program, titled Wisdom, Power, Control, will arm them with life skills to better control and handle the disorder including physical activity, using a glucometer and even dealing with diabetes myths.
Eileen Dawley, the health district’s chief nursing officer, describes the program content as “potentially life-saving diabetes management information” not only for diabetes sufferers but also for their families.
I will certainly be telling my friends and family affected by the disease about the program and I hope you take advantage of it as well.
The program will take place in the health district’s training room from 2:00-4:00pm every Wednesday from April 5 to May 17 at 9850B Emmett Lowry Expressway.
To take part, you must register before April 5 by e-mailing Kelly Kanon at kkanon@gchd.org or Claudina Prince at cprince@gchd.org.
And look back at The Post’s Coming Soon listing on March 19 for full address and registration details.

Spin a pinwheel for abused children

More than 300 children are in foster care in our county, according to the nonprofit organization that represents their interests in court in these parts.
CASA Of Galveston County says several of the children have been placed in care by the state’s child protective services agency after being abused and neglected and that many do not have “the specialized voice” of one of its volunteer court-appointed special advocates.
Because of its limited resources, CASA currently serves less than 25 per cent of these voiceless children and the organization is keen to take advantage of April’s Child Abuse Awareness And Prevention Month to raise much-needed funds so it can increase that number.
It will be doing so by displaying more than 300 pinwheels outside the county courthouse in Galveston during the month and is asking folks to sponsor them at a cost of $10 each.
By sponsoring a $10 pinwheel, you will be contributing towards the “recruitment, screening and training” of advocates, whose primary role is to help the children.
Every child deserves to live in a home where they are safe, loved and taken care of. They are not always given a voice, so sponsoring a pinwheel is just one small way in which we can each help our county take care of those in need of CASA’s services.
To sponsor a pinwheel, go online to casagalveston.org/sponsor-a-pinwheel/.

Well informed – Coastal Health & Wellness specialists and county health district officers write on topics to help you live a healthy life

This month, the county’s local health authority, Philip Keiser, tells how you can protect yourself, your family and community from nasty mosquito-borne illnesses

ALTHOUGH one could argue whether a Texas winter is truly a winter at all, the season has officially ended. With the warmer temperatures of spring will come a boom in the population of a common and potentially dangerous pest – the mosquito.
That’s why we at the county health district want to make sure you know the best ways to protect yourself, your community and family from mosquito-borne illnesses, including zika.
The key is simple – avoid mosquito bites. To do so, we recommend the “3-Ds” method.
Defend: Apply EPA-approved insect repellent when outside to defend against mosquitoes.
If you’ve recently traveled to an area with active zika-virus transmission, it’s important to use repellant every time you go outside for at least three weeks to avoid infecting mosquitos here at home.
Use screens or close windows and doors to help keep mosquitos out of your home. The annoying pests don’t like cool air, so using air conditioning helps, too.
Dress: If you’re going to be spending time outside, dress in pants and long-sleeve shirts.
Yes, it might be uncomfortable in the heat but it helps reduce the amount of exposed skin that mosquitoes can attack.
You could also treat your clothes with permethrin spray, an insect repellant.
Drain: Mosquitos breed in water, even the smallest of amounts, so removing standing water from around your home will help reduce their breeding grounds.
Take a walk around your property, look for anything that holds water and drain it. Flower pots, trashcans and buckets are common culprits. Whenever it rains, do it again.
About 80 per cent of people who are infected with zika do not present symptoms but those who do might experience fever, rash, joint pain and red or pink eyes.
If you develop these symptoms, you should see your doctor, especially if you’ve recently traveled to an area with active zika-virus transmission.
The good news is that most infected people recover from the condition in less than a week.
The main threat from the zika virus is its devastating effects on pregnancies. It can be spread from mother to child if the mother is infected during pregnancy.
Zika has been linked to birth defects such as microcephaly, a condition in which a baby’s head is much smaller than expected and which can cause developmental delays, so women who are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant need to be sure to take precautions against infection.
There is also evidence that zika can be transmitted sexually. Women whose sex partners have traveled to areas with active transmission of the virus should properly use condoms or avoid sex during pregnancy. We urge people who fall into these categories to consult with their doctor.
You’ll soon start seeing the health district’s “Fight the Bite with the 3-Ds” message in many places, including movie theaters, newspapers and billboards. The idea is to put the message in front of as many eyes as frequently as possible. We also have a wealth of resources available at www.gchd.org/zika.
Together, we can help greatly reduce the risk of zika-virus transmission here in our community.
Physician Philip Keiser is the county’s local health authority, responsible for oversight of the health district’s public health services, Coastal Health & Wellness, emergency medical services and animal shelter.
Coastal Health & Wellness is Galveston County’s community health center, offering high-quality primary medical, dental and counseling services to county residents. CHW accepts Medicaid, Medicare and many major insurance plans. Discounted rates are available for eligible uninsured or underinsured county residents. CHW has clinics in Texas City and Galveston. Call 409-938-2234 for information or appointments.

This ’n’ That by Nicky De Lange

The following story is true. It happened to me and I still can’t get over it. It started several years ago when my doctor recommended an over-the-counter medication for controlling allergies. If you live in Galveston County, you are highly likely to suffer from seasonal pollen-driven allergy attacks.
The product the doctor recommended was Claritin-D. I bought some and was really happy with how well it worked. I reported back to him how much it helped. I was using the 12-hour version,
so I only needed one per day.
Then, a good while later,
I went into my local pharmacy to buy another box of this wonder drug. Suddenly, I had to produce my photo ID and it was entered into the cash register. Back came an “OK” that I was eligible to buy
my Claritin-D.
I was stunned and asked the checker why buyers of this simple allergy medication were being ID’d like criminals just because they had allergies. Initially, I was told that the pills contained mostly pseudoephedrine sulfate and that the government now required the product’s surveillance. I signed my name as the purchaser, grabbed my pills before they could change their minds and left the store.
The more I thought about it, the stranger it seemed. So the next time I bought Claritin-D, I decided to purchase it at the grocery store. Again, I had to show my photo ID and sign off for it. This time my “Why???” demand was probably a bit louder than normal, but going through all this government procedure was getting on my nerves.
The answer? Here’s what the store’s pharmacy department told me, as well as what
I found on the internet.
“The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic act of 2005 has been incorporated into the Patriot act signed by president George W Bush on March 9, 2006. The act bans over-the-counter sales of cold medicines that contain the ingredient pseudoephedrine, which is commonly used to make methamphetamine.
“The sale of cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine
is limited to behind the counter. The amount of pseudoephedrine that an individual can purchase each month is limited and individuals are required to present photo identification to purchase products containing pseudoephedrine.
“In addition, stores are required to keep personal information about purchasers for at least two years.”
That’s right. Buying any OTC drug containing pseudoephedrine makes you highly suspect because it’s “commonly used to make methamphetamine”. Welcome to the wonderful world of illegal drug making!
I was completely taken aback. Me, a former PTA member and room mother, buying allergy pills so I could manufacture meth?!
I recall that I’d been standing in a very long line waiting to make this purchase. In a very huffy voice I informed the server that, “if I was smart enough to be making meth out of allergy drugs, I’d have money enough to pay someone else to stand
in line for me!”
I kind of remember adding that I had better things to do than blow up my house making meth. That’s me – always tactful.
On my next visit to the doctor, I asked if he knew that he’d sent me out to buy medication that could be used to make meth. He was totally surprised when I told him my experiences.
This is not a protest against our national government. Somebody has to keep an eye on things. But it seems a bit like treating good folks like criminals.
Real drug makers probably know all kinds of ways to get their hands on medicines containing pseudoephedrine. And I bet they don’t have to stand in line to do so.
But at least my allergies are much easier to survive now.

Your write

Help us help
our students
DICKINSON ISD Education Foundation will host our annual fundraising gala at Garten Verein in Galveston on April 6, honoring our teachers of the year for providing exemplary teaching and encouragement to help our children reach their full potential and enhance their lives.
The foundation provides funds to facilitate student achievement and skill development, to recognize and encourage staff excellence and to expand community involvement throughout the district.
This school year, the foundation has awarded more than $40,000 in innovative teaching and campus grants and student and teacher scholarships and has also recognized the district’s outstanding employees.
We are hoping readers of The Post can help by providing donations for the gala’s live and silent auctions. All contributions are greatly appreciated and are tax deductible. A contribution can be a product or service from a business, sporting memorabilia, tickets for entertainment or travel, gift cards or any item of value upon which gala attendees would like to bid.
In return, the foundation will advertise each donor’s name or company name in local newspapers and on its Facebook page. For details, readers can call me at the foundation on 281-229-6089 or e-mail me at sking@dickinsonisd.org.
We thank you and your readers for their consideration and helping us build a better tomorrow for our children starting today!
Stormie King
Dickinson

To dredge or not
to dredge?
There hasn’t been very much media coverage regarding the San Jacinto river waste pits but what we have read is interesting and disturbing. The fact is that there are two legitimate sides to the debate over whether this superfund site should be contained or dredged and excavated.
Perhaps many do not realize that the business interests behind the remediation proposal for the site align with the interests of the general public.
Businesses, as much as anyone, rely on the health and protection of Galveston Bay. Not a soul wishes for the existence of the site but reality demands a reasoned and measured response to its problems. Thus far, this has been far from the case.
Texas Association of Businesses, Texas Restaurant Association, Texas Association Of Manufacturing and many others are well versed with the US Army Corps Of Engineers report on the site. They all support containment over dredging.
Moreover, our own environmental agency, TCEQ, has said it could not support the EPA’s proposal and strongly implied that containment might be the best course of action. However, when scientific data and other evidence are brought to bear in this debate, the default response seems to be impulse and emotion rather than reason and substance
Some folks need to rethink their position on the waste pits, take a look at the science and then decide. Most objective readers will probably find the evidence is very clear. Ignoring the science could result in catastrophe, which the EPA is more familiar with than many know.
Crystal Laramore
Kemah

Uncommon Sense with Glenn Mollette

Most Americans are willing to help anybody for a couple of years but the time comes for change.
We all know of cases of long-term debilitation. We should help folks who are blind, imprisoned in wheelchairs or suffering other handicaps that prevent them from living a normal life.
But we cannot continue receiving 100,000 to 150,000 illegal immigrants pouring into our country. Regardless of how sorry we feel for them, how many can we absorb into our schools?
How many can we absorb into our welfare system? How many of us can afford to lose our job to someone willing to come and work for slave wages? How many refugees can we bring into our country? Since the 1980 refugee act, we have averaged 98,000 per year.
A group of nine nonprofit organizations known together as VOLAGs, an acronym for voluntary agencies, are making millions of dollars every year by bringing anybody they can into this country. The VOLAGs are Church World Service, Episcopal Migration Ministries, Ethiopian Community Development Council, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, International Rescue Committee, Lutheran Immigration And Refugee Service, US Committee For Refugees And Immigrants, US Conference Of Catholic Bishops and World Relief Corporation. The money comes from the federal government – otherwise known as our pockets.
Some sources of income for the VOLAGs are:
• $1,850 per refugee from the federal state department;
• Up to $2,200 for each refugee by participating in a matching grant DHHS program – the VOLAG need only show it has spent $200 and given away $800 worth of donated clothes, furniture or cars;
• A quarter of every transportation loan the VOLAG collects from its “sponsored” refugees; and
• Money from all federal grant programs – Marriage Initiative, Ownership Society and faith-based programs, etc – as well as from various state and local grants.
All expenses and overhead in the VOLAGs’ Washington, DC, HQ are paid by the US government. The program is so lucrative that in some towns the Roman Catholic church has reduced support for traditional charity works to put more effort into resettlement.
When you start multiplying 70,000 or more refugees by even just $1,000, you come up with some nice profit. The VOLAGs receive millions of dollars of other support from foundations, other nonprofits and community volunteers who help them with assimilating refugees into their community.
The nonprofit agencies have to spend only four months with a refugee until that person is free to go anywhere in the United States doing whatever they want to do.
The refugee program is a multi-million-dollar moneymaker to the VOLAGs. The Catholic Charities group is the largest and, surprisingly, has been bringing in thousands of Muslims who in turn have been buying its old churches and turning them into mosques.
So, our federal tax dollars are funneled into Catholic, Episcopal, Jewish, Lutheran and three other charities to bring up to 100,000 refugees to America from all parts of the world.
Refugee access to welfare on the same basis as a US citizen has made the program a global magnet. The federal programs available to refugees include Medicaid, food stamps, public housing and a host of other financial and practical assistance.
Some states have been bombarded with refugees. How many thousands can any one city or state take? We are talking about thousands of people being transplanted into our towns and subdivisions year after year.
Since the 1980 act, we have taken in more than three million refugees. The additional cost to our welfare system is between $10 billion and $20 billion. There must be major curtailing of this program until we can put our nation on its feet.
Will jobs really come back to our nation? Will congress really cut the corporate tax rate and make it more affordable for businesses to operate in this country? We need jobs. Our children want to move on and have a life. We need to help them.
Our armed-forces veterans struggle with employment, housing and medical care while we treat refugees better than them.
Our troops are surviving in beaten-up old barracks, often without air conditioning in summer and decrepit furnaces in winter. They are driving old equipment that mechanics work on every day just to keep it running.
For years, our government has reduced the number of our armed services, making it more difficult for soldiers to advance and forcing them to leave the military because they cannot earn promotion. It’s time our government brought them out of the doldrums of despair and made our military once again the world’s shining star.
Our students should have access to community colleges and as cheaply as possible. Every kid should be able to go to college. We might not be able to offer free community-college education but it needs to be as close to free as we can make it. Professors must be paid and classrooms built but let’s keep both within reason so we can make college accessible for all.
There is a lot of fear these days. Will congress cut older people’s social-security checks? Are we safe in times of more and more random acts of violence as congress and president Donald Trump wrestle verbally, tweeting and debating our future?
We can call and write to our leaders in Washington. We can protest and organize in our own communities to work for change. Otherwise, we can only hope our elected leaders will work to help preserve an America our grandchildren might enjoy.
Thanks to refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com for statistics and information.
Glenn Mollette is an American author whose
syndicated column is read
in all 50 states.