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(GLWRU¡V1RWH Welcometo the fourth edition of Community Life magazine in 2013. Since our last

issue of Community Life, when I discussed the Boston Marathon bombings and the horrific aftermath of that event, Cleburne and area communities sustained a tragic event of its own. On May 15, the day after we went to press, Cleburne was hit hard by vicious weather and tornadoes. Many lost their homes but fortunately no one lost their lives. Some were not so lucky in nearby Granbury in Hood County. It has been a few months of rebuilding and recovery for so many in our community. In her own way, Venus resident Anastaza Pack has been rebuilding and recovering since a terrible accident in 2009 that killed her father Jesse and left her battling debilitating injuries. Each day is a struggle for Pack, but she’s a fighter who is letting the world know she is not giving up so easily. Her story is inspiring and we hope you enjoy reading about this 18-year-old go-getter. Speaking of go-getters, Burleson’s Vera Calvin paved her in her community by grabbing the reins and becoming a leader. She served as a city councilwoman, mayor and justice of the peace, among other offices.

Our cover story features Cleburne veterinarian Renee Brockett. Overcoming adversity is an understatement when discussing Brockett. She made sure she broke out of the poverty and low blows that life dealt her to set a new standard for herself and her family. And then there is Cleburne’s Quentus Cumby, who longed to be a professional athlete. Although his dream was short-lived on the football field at the pro level, he’s made a name for himself working for the San Francisco 49ers as a scout. We also have columnists Monica Faram and Pete Kendall. Faram tells us about the latest apps for kids, and Kendall gives us the low-down on his work with the Johnson County Sheriff ’s Office cold case squad. ³'DOH*RVVHUPDQDJLQJHGLWRU

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Community Life, the magazine for Johnson County Š 2013 by Cleburne Times-Review. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form without prior written permission is strictly prohibited. Community Life is inserted into the Times-Review and distributed around the county free of charge.

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Table of Contents 6725,(6



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â&#x20AC;&#x153;She sent me a note saying she didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know whether to congratulate me or send me condolences,â&#x20AC;? Calvin said. Calvin told the Burleson Heritage Foundation in 2010 that when she was first elected to the council she had to â&#x20AC;&#x153;prove myself over and over againâ&#x20AC;? and that some people suggested that she would just vote however her husband, Stacy, told her to vote. But those people, she said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know me very well. I studied the agenda items and did my homework so I could make informed decisions. Some [on the council] never opened their agendas before a meeting.â&#x20AC;? Another part of the opposition Calvin dealt with stemmed from that she was ahead of her time, she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In the years since I was on the council, people have told me that I was at least 20 years ahead of times,â&#x20AC;? Calvin said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Look at the growth, for example. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Back then, I was talking about how we could make Burleson grow and about how we needed to start planning for that growth. But the others didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to hear about it. They told me, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Burlesonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s never going to grow,â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But just look at us now.â&#x20AC;? Calvin said she quickly figured out how to make progress and get things done, despite the opposition of her council colleagues. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The men on the council with me back then were opposed to change. I knew we needed some things to change. I just had to make â&#x20AC;&#x2122;em think it was their idea,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I would bring something up, and it would get shot down. Then later on, I would bring it up again, in a different way. I would convince them it was their idea.â&#x20AC;? When Calvin was elected, she said her male opponent, Charley Buckingham, didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even bother to campaign. The people of Burleson werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t going to vote for a woman over a man, he insisted. But the people of Burleson had a different idea. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I beat him, 2-to-1,â&#x20AC;? Calvin said, adding that Buckingham didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hold a grudge and they became friends in the more than 30 years since that race. Calvin was re-elected in 1982 and was chosen by her colleagues on the council to be mayor pro tem. She ran for her third term in 1984 but was defeated that year, along with every other council incumbent running for re-election. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We had voted to annex some areas, and there were some people unhappy about that,â&#x20AC;? Calvin said, explaining the

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turnover. Calvin decided to run again for city council in 1987, winning a seat on the council and again being chosen mayor pro tem by her colleagues. When Mayor Jerry Boone resigned from office in September 1988, Calvin stepped up from mayor pro tem to mayor â&#x20AC;&#x201D; in the process making history as the first woman to become mayor of Burleson. Calvin was sworn in Sept. 18, 1988. She was elected by the residents in 1989 to a one-year term, then in 1990 to a full two-year term. As election time rolled around again in 1992, Calvin said she really wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t interested in running for another term. But at the urging of her supports, she ran for re-election. This time she lost the race to Rick Roper, who eventually served three terms as mayor. Making a difference Calvin has been asked so many times

about what accomplishments she is most proud of from her time on the council, she has a list ready to expound on. First on her list is her proposal that the council shorten meetings by never taking up new agenda items after 11 p.m. unless a majority of the council voted to do so. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When I first went on the council, meetings would last forever, until midnight or 1 in the morning, even 2 in the morning. People would come to the council meetings to hear about a certain item on the agenda, but it would get so late that they would have to leave before the council even got to the item they were there to talk about,â&#x20AC;? she said. Calvin said she is also the one who proposed that the city and the school district hold their elections at a joint site rather separate locations. Also high on her list of accomplishments she is most proud of are proposing a recycling program for the city, helping two businesses on Texas 174 open

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their doors despite city regulations that had prevented it, proposing a checklist of requirements for developers so they knew up front what they needed to do and proposing that the city print copies of its annual budget and send that to everyone who subscribed to the local newspaper, as well as keeping copies available at the Burleson Area Chamber of Commerce, Burleson Pubic Library and Burleson City Hall. Calvin said she is also the one who pro&20081,7</,)(

posed that the city install a location closer to the city hall parking lot for posting public notices, who proposed the policy preventing council members from serving on commissions and boards and who proposed the policy of prohibiting work sessions unless they are recorded. Not all of her ideas managed to get off the ground while she was actually on the council. Calvin said she takes comfort in the fact that those ideas, though buried,

managed to germinate and eventually grow into reality. Among them, she said, are a curbside recycling program, monthly progress reports, a new library and improvements to the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fire stations. A county office When Calvin left the council in 1992, she thought her days in public office were over. They were â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but only for awhile. Early in 1995, Judge Bob Slack, John-


son County Precinct 2 justice of the peace, resigned from office for health reasons. The Johnson County Commissioners Court, lead by newly-elected County Judge Roger Harmon, had the task of appointing someone to replace Slack. Harmon called Calvin and asked her to let him put her name into consideration. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I told him I wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t interested. Then he called me back, and I told him again that I wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t interested,â&#x20AC;? Calvin said. But then he called again, and it turned out that third time was the charm. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I asked him why Judge Slack was retiring, and he said because [Slack] was about to turn 65 and he wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get as much money [in retirement pay] if he was still working as justice of the peace. I told him, well, I am already 65,â&#x20AC;? she said. But Harmon persisted and finally Calvin agreed. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I finally said OK, you can put me up as the Republican candidate,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Democrat was an attorney from Burleson, and he was pretty sure he had it wrapped up. But we both had to stand up in front of the commissioners court and let them ask us questions.â&#x20AC;? During the questioning, Calvin ac-

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knowledged she had no experience as a judge and knew little about the laws a justice of the peace would be expected to enforce. But, she told the commissioners, that had never stopped her before. She promised that she would do whatever she needed to do to get certified to hold the office, that she would study hard and that she would always â&#x20AC;&#x153;do the best I can according to the law.â&#x20AC;? The commissioners voted unanimously to appoint Calvin to the office, which she held from May 1, 1995, to Dec. 31, 1996. Throughout her tenure as JP, Calvin said, she adhered to a rule she followed while serving on the council and as mayor: study hard, get advice from people you trust and do the best you can to serve the people relying on you to do your job. Family life Vera and Stacy Calvin moved from Corsicana to Burleson in 1957 when Stacy Calvin was hired to manage the Burleson Poultry Processing Plant. But they met in Veraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hometown of Terrell, getting married in 1947 after having known each other about six months and dating for two and a half months, Calvin said. &20081,7</,)(

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Everybody predicted it might last about a year,â&#x20AC;? she said. When Stacy died of cancer in October 1993, they had been married for more than 46 years. The couple met through coworkers when she was working as a telephone operator for Southwestern Bell in Terrell. After they married and moved to Corsicana, she worked as a payroll and insurance clerk, and when they moved to Burleson, she worked as a bookkeeper first for her husbandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s poultry delivery business and later in his newspaper delivery business. The Calvins had two daughters, Carol and Lynn. Calvin said while the girls were used to their father being in politics, when they were younger they never expected their mom to be holding elected office. Stacy Calvin, who spent three and a half years in the Navy in the South Pacific, served six years on the Burleson ISD board of trustees, including two years as board president. He was on the first Johnson County Tax Appraisal Board and served on both city and school equalization boards. Daughter Carol Curlee is a math specialist teacher at Plum Creek Elementary School in Joshua. Younger daughter Lynn

Clapton died of ovarian cancer in 2002. But in 2000, before Lynn passed away, Calvin said she was lucky enough to take both daughters and all but one of her grandchildren on an Alaskan cruise. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I love cruises,â&#x20AC;? she said said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My husband would never go on a cruise, but I love them. My first cruise was in 1995. It was me and my two daughters and my granddaughter, who had just graduated from high school. We had so much fun.â&#x20AC;? Calvin has three grandsons, one granddaughter, one great-granddaughter and one great-grandson. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I am so proud of all of my family,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And they all love their grandmother.â&#x20AC;? When her daughters were young, Calvin spent her time volunteering with organizations and activities in which the girls were involved. But when they had graduated and gone away to school, Calvin decided to further her own education. After Carol, the oldest daughter, graduated high school in 1966, Calvin went to school in Cleburne to become a licensed vocational nurse. She worked as an LVN and office nurse from 1967-71. In 1971, after Lynn graduated, Calvin


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started classes at Tarrant County Junior College and got an associate’s degree. In 1974, after she became a registered nurse, Calvin went to work as an R.N. at two different hospitals and later in private duty. In January 1976, Calvin started working as an R.N. and health services coordinator for the Fort Worth State School, a job she held until she retired in October 1993, along the way earning a bachelor’s degree from East Texas State University in 1984. Community involvement Calvin also branched out in the area of community involvement after her two daughters graduated. She joined Burleson Business and Professional Women in 1963 and was active at the local, district and state levels for more than 40 years. Although she isn’t active anymore, Calvin said she remains a member. Over the years, she served as district director one years and was recognized as Outstanding District Director for 1994-95 by the Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women. She has been involved in the Burleson Heritage Foundation, the Eumathian Club

and United Methodist Women. In 2002, she became the first woman not living in Cleburne to be recognized as a “woman of achievement” by the Zonta Club of Johnson County. Calvin joined the Burleson Area Chamber of Commerce in 1980 and has been a member ever since. Over the years, she has been involved in every aspect of the chamber, and she has earned just about every honor the chamber has to bestow. In 1986, Stacy Calvin won Citizen of the Year honors from the chamber. Eight years later in 1994, three months after his death, Vera Calvin won the Citizen of the Year award, sharing the honor that year with James Moody, then publisher of the Burleson Star. Although there had been years when husband-and-wife pair had shared Citizen of the Year honors, Calvin’s win was the first time a woman had won the award after her husband won it. In 1997, Calvin won the chamber’s President’s Award and was honored for her three years as a director and secretary of the board. That was also the year that she received what she counts as one of her most precious awards, The ATHENA

Award, presented by the ATHENA Society of Burleson. “I was the fourth one to win the ATHENA Award and the ATHENAs are still my biggest thing. They are like family to me. They take me to appointments and bring me groceries. I just love them all,” Vera said. The ATHENA Society of Burleson is a group of women who have received the ATHENA Award from the Burleson chamber over the last 20 years and whose primary event each year is the Mardi Gras fundraising party each February. They love her, too, it seems. The ATHENAs are planning a “roast and toast” for Calvin on Aug. 10 — a sort of early birthday present. Calvin said she and some of the ATHENAs were having dinner in February when they told her they wanted to do something special for her and asked her what she wanted. “I told them I’d like an 85th birthday party. But since my birthday is right at Thanksgiving, they decided to go and have something earlier, a kind of reception, I guess,” she said.

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Going on 85 and still going This year was the first time, Calvin said, that she has missed the ATHENA Mardi Gras event. But it wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t by her own choice. Health issues kept her away this time. Last year, Calvin underwent a balloon catheterization to open up clogged vessels in her heart. She also suffered a bad fall that left her with broken vertebrae, three broken ribs and a pinched nerve. In January, she spent four days in the hospital after a trip to the doctor for some follow-up x-rays left her gasping for breath and unable to get herself out of the car and into the doctorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s office. On Feb. 21, after she went in for a hair appointment, Calvin again found herself having trouble catching her breath. She called her doctor and ended up in the cardiac ICU at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth. She had valve replacement therapy, but was home by March 17 and doing well. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have stayed at home by myself every night since then,â&#x20AC;? she declared proudly. Her health has forced Vera to slow down somewhat. But she refuses to let it slow her too much. In June, she said the

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furthest she had driven since the surgery was a trip to Terrell to visit family. And she was planning a drive to Temple to visit her sister.

Calvin loves to dance â&#x20AC;&#x201D; square dancing and ballroom dancing and more â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and until recently traveled often to Dallas to spend her weekends dancing with a man she met at a dance once in Richardson. She said her favorite music is Big Band classics from the 1940s, â&#x20AC;&#x153;although I do like country/western, gospel and lots of other music.â&#x20AC;? She said she loves watching movies on the Turner Classic Movie Channel, and she likes â&#x20AC;&#x153;Survivor,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Dancing With the Stars,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;NCIS,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Castle, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Jeopardyâ&#x20AC;? and a few other shows. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Quiet time after a busy day,â&#x20AC;? she said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;is watching TV and having a glass of wine. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And I enjoy reading about women who were first doing something. I often used this theme for programs or installations for Business and Professional Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s organizations,â&#x20AC;? she added. But Calvin has done more than just read about other women who achieved a â&#x20AC;&#x153;first.â&#x20AC;? She has always been willing to step out and be first herself, to be a pioneer. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I never wanted to do things just become someone else did it,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I always wanted to be different.â&#x20AC;?

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Sudden impact Aug. 17, 2009, was an ordinary day, Pack said, as all extraordinary days always seem to start out. Pack and her father, Jesse Pack, loaded into his truck to drive to â&#x20AC;&#x153;fish campâ&#x20AC;? at Venus High School. Though the start of the school year remained several days off, Pack had already made the dance team and was scheduled to perform at a pep rally that morning. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The truck had some trash and propane tanks in the back from a camping trip,â&#x20AC;? Pack said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were about a mile or two down the road and my dad flicked a cigarette out and it caught the trash in the bed on fire. We pulled over to, I guess, somewhat get it out and he put it out and we decided to head back home to take the trash out of the truck when the flames got really big and got to the propane tank.â&#x20AC;? Pack said she told her father she was going to jump from the truck, but got scared &20081,7</,)(

and changed her mind. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And it exploded and we swerved off the road,â&#x20AC;? Pack said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I ended up, we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know if I got out of the truck or if my dad got me out by pushing me out of the door. I had blacked out.â&#x20AC;? Venus Fire Chief Richard Allen and other firefighters arrived to find the truck off the road in a pasture fully involved. Although he knew the family and attended the same church, Allen did not initially recognize Jesse, Anastaza or the truck. â&#x20AC;&#x153;[Jesse Pack] was still breathing at that time,â&#x20AC;? Allen said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We had to get water on the truck to get to him because he was on the ground about 15 feet away. I got to him and started working on him. He was still breathing when they loaded him on the ambulance. I stayed in the ambulance while [CareFlite rescue workers] worked on him.â&#x20AC;? CareFlite helicopters flew Jesse and Anastaza to Parkland Memorial Hospital

where Jesse later died. Anastaza describes the immediate aftermath of the explosion as a startling whoosh of burning propane splashed all over, a sensation surprising, but not painful. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I explain it to my friends as like if you ever run bath water and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s too hot, so hot itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s almost cold,â&#x20AC;? Pack said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It felt like somebody dumped a big bucket of water like that on me, this shock to the system and done, and it didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hurt.â&#x20AC;? Although she canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t remember how she got out of the truck, Pack said she regained consciousness shortly after. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I got up off the ground and just heard people telling me to come this way,â&#x20AC;? Pack said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I saw the guy who reads the water meters. I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know his name then, but I knew him from seeing him around town. He helped me get through the barbed wire fence we went through.â&#x20AC;? Amazingly, Pack walked across the street to a neighborâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s house and sat in their


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kitchen until rescue workers arrived. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I knew what had happened and that I had been burned,â&#x20AC;? Pack said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was funny cause I saw my clothes flying off and the things I was most concerned about was my hair, if I looked bad and the fact that I was naked. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hurting but I knew it was bad. I was more concerned about my dad and kept asking if he was hurting and they were like, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Yeah, pretty bad.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x153;When the first explosion happened I screamed, but didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think it was as bad as it really was.â&#x20AC;? As rescue workers worked to start an IV, Pack said she went into cardiac arrest and blacked out. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I remember bits and pieces of being in the hospital, but guess my first real solid memory was when I asked our pastor if my dad had made it and he told me no,â&#x20AC;? Pack said. Family ties Anastazaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s younger sister, Shyann, now 14, said she heard an explosion, ran outside and saw smoke. Anastazaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mother, Miranda Pack, was

working her first day at a child care center when her phone rang. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The first thing that went through my mind was, [Jesse Pack] was a meth addict and he had just gotten clean about four months earlier,â&#x20AC;? Miranda Pack said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;First thing that went through my mind was how could this happen and did he have a relapse? I also didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know where Shyann was in connection with Ana and Jesse.â&#x20AC;? Jesse Packâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s battles with drug addiction often made family life as difficult as his subsequent loss, Anastaza and Miranda said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I begged him to go to rehab, which he did,â&#x20AC;? Anastaza said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was hard because, at that point, we had been going to church all the time. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what I wanted him to do, get out of rehab. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He told me he didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t believe there was a God anymore, but then he started going to church and got close to God, which made me happy. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in a better place now, not a worse place.â&#x20AC;? Several months before the explosion, Anastaza said she felt like something, though she didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know what, was going to happen and claims that her father appar-

ently felt the same. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When I was in rehabilitation after the hospital our pastor would come visit a lot and told me things my dad told him that he hadnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t told anyone else,â&#x20AC;? Pack said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He told our pastor, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;If I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t come clean now, this is my last chance.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x153;A month or so before [the accident] he told him there was going to be an explosion in Venus that was going to bring Venus together. There was over 300 people who came to my dadâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s funeral.â&#x20AC;? Hard road back Pack spent about six months at Parkland, more than four in ICU undergoing one or two surgeries a week and wound care, which Pack calls very painful, every day. Burns covered about 78 percent of her body. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I know Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had at least 29 surgeries,â&#x20AC;? Pack said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have quite a bit more to go, which doctors say are necessary to become more functioning. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to worry too much about cosmetic surgeries now. My main concern is to get my hands functioning better.â&#x20AC;? Although she remained medicated and

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unconscious throughout her hospital stay, Pack swears she remembers several people who visited her, or at least their voices, including former Briaroaks firefighter Randal Goodwin, who was seriously burned and injured in a 1988 grass fire. Goodwin went on to found Johnson County Emergency Support Service, which assists firefighters and rescue workers on long calls, and an annual burn camp for children injured by fire. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He just came to the hospital,â&#x20AC;? Miranda Pack said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;[Richard Allen] had called him. I think theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been friends a long time. Anastazaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still knocked out and Randalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just in there talking, talking, talking. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I told him, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;She canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hear you. Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not even responsive.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; He didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t pay any attention, just kept talking away.â&#x20AC;? Goodwin said he worked to convince Miranda that Anastaza was going to make it, arguing that he survived his burns. Anastaza appears to have been paying attention to Goodwinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chatter. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s funny, we were both on a panel later to talk to future burn nurses,â&#x20AC;? Pack said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I told Randal I remembered him and he looked at me and said, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;You were knocked out.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; I said, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;I know, but I remember you.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pretty hard to forget.â&#x20AC;? School days Having lost her entire freshman year, Pack returned to Venus High School intending to double up and still graduate on time. Attempts to return to normal life proved difficult. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have a few friends I had before [the accident],â&#x20AC;? Pack said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My best friend, when I got back to school, he actually wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t talk to me in person, but would text me. I asked him why he wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t talk to me in person and he said, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hard because youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re somebody that I loved so much as a friend and then all the sudden itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like I lost you.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; And that took a lot of getting used to, not having him.â&#x20AC;? Pack said she also hated the isolation and special treatment. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The first six weeks, they isolated me a lot,â&#x20AC;? Pack said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be in a classroom, me and one teacher, which, I could play with my phone, but I wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t in class learning like I wanted. Every once in a while a teacher would come in, ask a few questions from a test, and say, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;OK, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got this credit.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? Her subsequent return to a regular classroom setting fared little better. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d ask me a few questions and all &20081,7</,)(

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the sudden I had this great grade,â&#x20AC;? Pack said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t feel I deserved that. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not the sympathy type, I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like that and just wanted to be treated equally.â&#x20AC;? Pack, who was left legally blind by the explosion, transferred to the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Austin, spending her weeks in Austin and returning to Venus on weekends. In May she graduated, on time. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget to dance Pack loved to dance before the accident and remained determined to trip the light fantastic once again. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was doing physical therapy one day and they asked what it is I want to do,â&#x20AC;? Pack said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And I told them I want to be

able to dance again one day. They told me, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Before youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re done with rehab, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be able to dance again.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? It didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t work out that way, but, a short time later, Pack packed off to the first of several of Goodwinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s burn camps she would attend in subsequent years. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They had the option of a dance program that first year, but I was the only one to sign up for it so they didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do it, which upset me,â&#x20AC;? Pack said. Instead she participated in theater and video filmmaking. The second year Pack signed on for dance once again, and again was the only one to do so. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But they let me go ahead and do it,â&#x20AC;? Pack said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I got to choreograph my own dance and perform it to the best of my ability.â&#x20AC;?


In addition to dancing, Pack said she became involved in rock climbing and other activities through burn camp that she jokes she probably wouldn’t have been able to do before the accident.” It hardly surprises Goodwin. “Anastaza’s had it a lot rougher than normal kids,” Goodwin said. “Being disfigured and losing her dad on top of that. “And it’s going to be a hard life to go. It’s probably harder for young people, dealing with people coming up and saying, ‘Wow! What happened to you?’ Which is OK to deal with if you’re in the mood, but a lot of times you’re not. “But I love Staza. She’s super cool and positive and thrives on that positive attitude, which she brought to the camps. “The first one she came to, she was fresh out of rehab and still had a hard time walking and immediately got involved in the rope course, fishing. I think she began to realize things can be OK because this group of people says there’s no reason I can’t do anything. She has a hard life to go, sure, but she also has great aspirations.” Moving on Apartment hunting in San Antonio is the focus now, Pack said. She plans to attend San Antonio Junior College with hopes to transfer in a year or two. “She was in third grade when she came in and told me she’s going to go to Harvard,” Miranda Pack said. “I said, ‘Not going to Venus schools you’re not.’” All these years later, Pack remains resolute saying she’ll shoot for the University of

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Texas at Austin if Harvard doesn’t call. “But I know I’m going to get into Harvard,” Pack said. The goal, Pack said, is to realize another pre-accident dream: to become an attorney. “It’s hard to go to school,” Pack said.

“It’s hard to get through life. You’re looked at, stared at. I want to be an advocate for children with disabilities. I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer but I’ve seen, going through everything I’ve gone through, that it’s not easy being disabled and being a child.”

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Community

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areity Foundation and Community Life magazine, a publication of the Cleburne Times-Review, partnered to recognize Johnson County businesses and individuals at the Hats off to Heroes dinner June 4 at the Cleburne Conference Center. Community Life spotlighted each honoree who was recognized at the event. Honorees were selected by the sponsoring businesses or individuals under the sponsor titles of Presenting, Hope, Courage and Strength. All honorees were spotlighted in the May-June edition, except for Rick Bailey. His story appears on the opposite page. One hundred percent of the proceeds stay in Johnson County for Careity Breast Care Center services. Funds help provide diagnostic services, biopsies, cancer navigation, gas cards and nutritional services for uninsured and under insured women. Jay and Amy Novacek served as honorary event chairs; Chad Eubank served as event chair; and Sonny Burgess served as master of ceremonies and provided entertainment. Beverly Branch also performed as an inspirational soloist. For more information on Careity Foundation, call 817-882-4100 or visit Careity.org

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Presenting Sponsors ATHENA Society of Burleson Honoree: Burleson Fire Department

Zonta Club of Johnson County Honoree: Cleburne Fire Department

Careity Foundation Honoree: Carol McClendon

Cleburne Times-Review/Community Life magazine Honoree: Mollie Mims

Hope Sponsors Solis Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Health Honoree: Sherree Bennett

Howard and Sherry Dudley Honoree: Rick Bailey

Courage Sponors The Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders Honoree: Dr. Shadan Mansoor

Texas Health Huguley Hospital Fort Worth South Honoree: Kari Huffman

Strength Sponsors  

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National Cutting Horse Association Honoree: Peggy Cox David and Myra Davenport

American Cancer Society Honoree: Mary Ann Wheatley Walmart Supercenter No. 42 Honoree: Burleson Fire Department


Hats off to Heroes

Howard & Sherry Dudley select Rick Bailey as honoree J STORY BY Matt Smith

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here is always more than one way to start a story, and Cleburne veterinarian Renee Brockettâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s is no exception. Flashback, for example, to the plucky, pregnant protagonist, waddling through veterinary school exams, or the present, running her shiny new clinic, laughing with the staff as she works on a golden retriever. Or, you can rewind to the beginning, back in Wharton. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My earliest memory of my mom is waking up in the back seat of the car. They had been so drunk the night before they forgot me in the car,â&#x20AC;? Brockett said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;So my grandmother literally took me out of my momâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s arms. My grandmother was somewhat abusive â&#x20AC;&#x201D; mentally and physically. She was a hoarder. I never had friends come over. If anyone had come over, I would have been taken way. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were labeled poor white trash. The majority of the time we did not have running water. The toilet actually did not work. You would get water from the bathtub and force flush it. We were very poor. Most of the time we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t use the refrigerator because it was filthy. At night she would lock you in. We didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have windows. They were boarded up. Just a crazy, crazy situation.â&#x20AC;?

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Dwight King first saw Brockett not long after her grandparents took over. She was 2 or 3 years old, perched on a hay bale in her grandparentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; barn while he worked on a sick cow. A few years later, the now-retired veterinarian hired Brockett to clean stalls at his clinic. He isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t at all surprised that she has propelled herself out of the house with boarded up windows and accomplished things that even kids with all the breaks often fail to, despite the craziness. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Renee is a very special person,â&#x20AC;? said King, who became something of a father figure for Brockett. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s my shining example of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;you can do it if you want to.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? It wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t easy. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My mother was one of four children. They all had different fathers,â&#x20AC;? said Brockett, 40, settling down to share the couch in her office at Nolan River Animal Hospital with a cat. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My mother was married when she was 14. Then, my mom married my dad. He had been a Green Beret. I think Vietnam really did a number on him. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve seen my dad a handful of times. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an alcoholic. My mom was a telephone operator. They met over the phone. My dad liked my motherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s voice.â&#x20AC;? Her mom had Brockett after several unsuccessful pregnancies.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;My mother was married six to eight times. She was an alcoholic,â&#x20AC;? Brockett said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Once my grandmother took me away from my mother, it sent her into a downward spiral.â&#x20AC;? Brockett did not see much of her mother in the intervening years. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Grandma really wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t let my mom come over. She made me believe that my mother really didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want me. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The only thing I can suspect is that my grandmother was mentally unstable. She wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t let you get rid of anything. There were paths,â&#x20AC;? through the crowded house, she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You would open the door and floor to ceiling, just floor to ceiling.â&#x20AC;? To escape, she headed outside, where there were animals. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I got a job at a veterinarianâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s when I was 16. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s when I finally got to know my mom,â&#x20AC;? Brockett said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;She drank too much. She did drugs. But she loved me. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My mother had wanted to be a vet. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve known I wanted to be a vet since I was a little girl.â&#x20AC;? But sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d have to break out of the familyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s orbit to make it happen. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was the first person in my family to go to college,â&#x20AC;? she said â&#x20AC;&#x153;That just wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t on the table.â&#x20AC;?

There were role models, however, to emulate: King and a local physician who was the father of a school friend. The way out was pretty clear. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You need some type of trade or career that is going to allow you to take care of your family and give back to the community,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think the choice always goes back to education. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s whether you want to go for it.â&#x20AC;? Going for it Brockettt went for it, applying for scholarships to help underwrite costs. Texas A&M University was her choice. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I still have my acceptance letter. I have it in a photo book,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I remember, my mother was so excited.â&#x20AC;? University life, however, sometimes tempered the excitement. She can laugh about it now, but at the time, for instance, scoring a 45 on a science test was no joke. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My first year was what was really tough,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not a name, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re a number. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I studied my heinie off,â&#x20AC;? and did pretty well, she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I made like, a 3.2 my first year. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Then, you have organic chemistry and physics. Now itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bs and Cs. It was a struggle. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There was a lot of drama going on with

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my grandmother. She still wanted to have fingers in control of me.â&#x20AC;? Living in a dorm and being in College Station â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the biggest place sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d ever resided â&#x20AC;&#x201D; helped Brockett gain distance and independence. The following year she moved off campus with some fellow students and found a boyfriend. â&#x20AC;&#x153;College was great,â&#x20AC;? she said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;but there was the loneliness. Christmas, Thanksgiving I spent alone in College Station. Parents weekend: I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get that.â&#x20AC;? She also didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get that acceptance letter from the admission office at Texasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; sole veterinary medicine school at the end of four years. The program has only about 125 spots in each yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s class and more than 1,000 applicants, Brockett said. She tried again. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I did not get in the first couple of times,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I should have had better grades. Vet school, they want a 4.0.â&#x20AC;? But the rejection wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t because sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d been goofing around. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I had to work full time,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was not a party girl.â&#x20AC;? To boost her GPA and chances of vet school admission, Brockett enrolled in graduate school at A&M. In addition to earning a masterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree in animal science, she found a new relationship in a surprising place: Animal Science 406, the undergraduate class where she was a graduate teaching assistant. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I thought I had a cute TA. In my mind, I flirted with her quite a bit in Animal Science 406. As soon as class was over I started asking her out,â&#x20AC;? Josh Brockett said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;She had a boyfriend. She never would go out with me.â&#x20AC;? Brockett turned him down twice. Even

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the prospect of seeing singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett in concert wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t budge Brockett. She was, after all, three years older than the agricultural engineering student. And, she said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;He was a pain in the rear in the class.â&#x20AC;? Said Josh Brockett,â&#x20AC;&#x153;I had pretty much given up.â&#x20AC;?

At some point, she and her old boyfriend broke up, and to his surprise, Josh Brockett came home to find that his roommate had scribbled some girlâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s phone number on the dry-erase board. He called, and Renee Brockett invited her former student to a Halloween party. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was just like, she just seamlessly inte-

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grated,â&#x20AC;? Josh Brockett said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We got together and it felt like we were married from the get go.â&#x20AC;? Well, maybe not immediately. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He was a nice enough guy,â&#x20AC;? she said, but â&#x20AC;&#x153;I kind of got the idea that he liked me more than I liked him at that point.â&#x20AC;? Then, Brockett had a little epiphany while she was on a camping trip. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I came back from that camping trip and I was head over heels in love,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the person I was meant to marry.â&#x20AC;? They wed the following August. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I am very glad that he was persistent,â&#x20AC;? Brockett said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I learned never to say never. My life really changed when I got married. All of a sudden I had a family. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t lonely any more,â&#x20AC;? Brockett said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The future was wide open at that point.â&#x20AC;? A new chapter As that chapter opened, however, another was closing. Following graduation, her new husband joined the Marines as a combat engineer. For four years the couple followed his assignments, moving from Virginia to North Carolina to California. Brockett worked vet tech and regulatory affairs jobs, helping companies win governmental approval for their products. They were stationed in California when she received a call: Brockettâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mom had cancer, and it had metastasized into her bones. â&#x20AC;&#x153;She never had a real job. She had no savings. She had been a smoker,â&#x20AC;? Brockett said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;She had gone to doctors but she didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have any money. There were no diagnostics.â&#x20AC;? Her brown eyes moisten as she talks about how her mother had quit drinking, then be-

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gan doing heavy drugs. Brockett had walked out when she saw her mother preparing to inject cocaine, but she returned to Texas to see her one last time. â&#x20AC;&#x153;She was ready to go,â&#x20AC;? Brockett said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They took the tube out.â&#x20AC;? Her mom passed away five minutes later. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I feel like my childhood was stolen,â&#x20AC;? Brockett said, but â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not the type to hold grudges. I recognized that she had a hard upbringing. She just had an addictive personality. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a physiological issue. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s almost like, howâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a diabetic going to treat herself?â&#x20AC;? A year later, her grandmother died. Then her grandfather. Brockett, however, kept moving. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I still feel like I have a mother,â&#x20AC;? she said â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have Joshâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mom. We really have a strong mother-daughter relationship.â&#x20AC;? And, on her third try, in 2002 A&Mâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s college of veterinary medicine admitted Brockett. The couple decided to return to Texas. They also decided to have a baby. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was pregnant most of my second year of vet school. I waddled through my finals,â&#x20AC;? she &20081,7</,)(

said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The schools actually had a bet going; which final I would have it during?â&#x20AC;? She lived in a trailer with a fellow vet student, Josh Brockettâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s brother, while her husband finished his stint with the Marines in Houston. Her fourth year, when rotations meant a new schedule for Brockett every two weeks, the baby went to Houston to live with its daddy, who was still on active duty. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I wanted to quit vet school, it was so gut wrenching,â&#x20AC;? Brockett said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Oh, I missed her. I would randomly cry. I was just sobbing.â&#x20AC;? But she got through it. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Then I had her,â&#x20AC;? Brockett said of her first daughter, who is now 9 years old. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I had Josh. I had my veterinary degree. And we came here. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We wanted to be in the area because his parents live in Malone,â&#x20AC;? near Hillsboro, Brockett said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We found a home we fell in love with. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re like, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Oh wow!â&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s out in the country. It has a little land so we could have animals. We can go outside and see every star.â&#x20AC;? She went to work for a vet in Burleson. It

was a nice practice, but Brockett eventually decided that sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d have to tweak things to make the picture perfect. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It got to where the drive was killing me,â&#x20AC;? Brockett said of the commute to and from work via Texas 174 from her home in the country outside Cleburne. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Something was going to give. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Being the kind of mother that I wanted to be, if I was practicing in Burleson that wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have happened. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got a husband and two little girls. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to be on call 24-7.â&#x20AC;? Then a fellow church member, businessman Stretch Smith, entered the picture. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Lord knows why,â&#x20AC;? Brockett said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He was looking to develop some land, and he built this building for me. He basically leases it to me.â&#x20AC;? That was about three years ago. Now, Brockettâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s practice occupies more than half of a 4,000-square-foot clinic near Cleburne High School. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We started this practice in a less-than-stellar economy. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not a native,â&#x20AC;? Brockett said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;To come in and still be here is somewhat of a


miracle.â&#x20AC;? Smith said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was just very impressed with her. Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a real sharp person. Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s doing a great job. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You could tell that they were serious people,â&#x20AC;? Smith said of the couple. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very active in the community. Everybody loves her. Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a great lady.â&#x20AC;? For a vet who never wanted to own her own practice, Brockett seems to be staying pretty busy. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There are times we may have three or four kids up here,â&#x20AC;? including those of her employees as well as her two daughters, as well as an office full of animals, Brockett said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think I have the greatest career you could possibly have. Of course, she said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;As far as the business side goes, I still donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know what I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know.â&#x20AC;? And thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the matter of her student loans to take care of. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I will be paying it off for 30 years,â&#x20AC;? Brockett said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like a mortgage. It was worth it. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I like the small-town veterinary practice. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really satisfying,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There are some of these pets that you get very attached to. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve cried with clients before, putting their pets to sleep. In addition to caring for small animals and her own youngsters, Brockett is also working to give other peoplesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; children a break. Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in charge of the Cleburne Rotary Clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new generation program. Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also in charge of the clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s high school career day. And she runs the Rotary adopta-school program at Coleman Elementary School. The club has donated $3,500 for computers at the school. â&#x20AC;&#x153;From my background, I really have a heart for those kids,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s harder to learn if you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have the things you need. Maybe theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll connect me to a kid that needs support.â&#x20AC;? And some encouragement from somebody whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been there. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Life is a lot better than it was in Wharton,â&#x20AC;? Brockett said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You can make a choice where you end up.â&#x20AC;?

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he Cleburne Chamber of Commerce is accepting applications for Leadership Cleburne for the 2013-14 class. Anyone interested in being a participant in the series of programs should request an application at the chamber of commerce office, 1511 W. Henderson St., or by calling 817-645-2455. Leadership Cleburne is a series of indepth programs that cover such topics as state government, county government and the criminal justice system, quality of life, medical facilities and services, education, city government and economic development. A different topic will be covered each month on the second Wednesday, September through May. The Leadership Cleburne program is open to any person interested in learning more about the community as a way of preparing themselves for future leadership roles. The program began in 1987 and many of the people who have been through the program are now serving in various leadership capacities. Many more of the alumni have taken active roles in community organizations. Requirement for admission is the completion of an application and returning it to the Cleburne Chamber of Commerce,

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1511 W. Henderson St., P.O. Box 701, Cleburne, TX 76033-0701, before the close of business on Aug. 16. The first 15 qualified applicants are assured of being in

the program. For information, call the chamber at 817-645-2455 or stop by the office to pick up an application.

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Angela Warmath (817) 774-0051 512 N Broadway, Ste. B Joshua angelawarmath@allstate.com

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he Cleburne Conference Center, which is under the Cleburne Chamber of Commerceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s umbrella, is on track to host about 1,300 events this year. From pet shows to parties, banquets and other events, there is almost no end to the possibilities of what can be held at the center. The facility even briefly served as an emergency response center after several tornadoes touched down in Cleburne on May 15. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve done really good hitting the wedding and quinceaĂąera market,â&#x20AC;? conference center Operations Manager Jeremy Allen said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a movement to market facilities as a blank slate.â&#x20AC;? Which is exactly what the center can do, especially in its 10,300-square-foot Brazos Exhibit Hall. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We even help decorate and hang things from the ceiling, which is something you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get everywhere,â&#x20AC;? Allen said. Area high schools have also held prom and graduation parties there. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Even when we lost the oil and gas bookings, we are doing well,â&#x20AC;? Allen said. The conference center has also in the last year been a haven for feline fanciers who have occupied the space for cat shows, as well as adoptions, shot clinics and microchipping. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We also have a gun and knife show two to three times a year,â&#x20AC;? Allen said. The most recent show was held in mid-July.

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Allen said one of the newest center attractions is the Johnson County Boxing Club, which has plans in the works to bring in a regional boxing tournament. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re here,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The whole idea is to bring people here to Cleburne and give people in Cleburne something to do, something to watch.â&#x20AC;? The conference center is hosting the Plaza

Theatre Co. productions of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Smoke on the Mountainâ&#x20AC;? through Aug. 3. For more information or tickets, call the Plaza box office at 817-202-0600. Cleburne Chamber of Commerce President Cathy Marchel said the first of, hopefully, many bridal shows is being planned for January and will be run much like the annual business expo, which is Oct. 5.

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arely do I have to explain myself to members of the community in 2013. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m a loner and a nobody with no identity. Most people donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know or care what I do now, and I kind of like it that way. Which is why I was a little startled recently when one of my friends in the medical community inquired about my volunteer position with the Johnson County Sheriff â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office cold case squad. She wondered whether the members of the group werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t pounding sand in pursuit of criminals theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d probably never catch. We were talking in particular about Mr. X, the excessively odd case of the man who was found naked, murdered and partially scavenged by animals 40 years ago near the Johnson and Hood county lines. Mr. X had been shot three times with a small caliber handgun. Try as they might, officials of the era could never determined his identity. And in the words of my lawman hero N.H. Laseman, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Until you find out whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dead, finding out who killed him is like trying to find out who run over a rabbit.â&#x20AC;? My friend asked me, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Why do you guys waste your time on a case like that? Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll never solve it. Why donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t you move on to something else?â&#x20AC;? Good questions. This is how I tried to answer. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not paid, so weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not wasting county funds. There is no statute of limitations on homicide. Technically, every unsolved homicide in the history of the world is an open case. Mr. X was not an important person. Had he been, his family would have come forward demanding justice. It was as though nobody cared. Somebody has to care. So when a retired Fort Worth lawman named Jim Palmer called me last year with a tip on a possible story, I jumped. Armed with the date that Mr. Xâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s remains were found, I began scrolling microfilm copies of newspapers at Cleburne Public Library. There the story was, expertly reported by veteran journalist John Butner. Above the story was a photograph of the &20081,7</,)(

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scene, essentially a cedar bush and the points of Mr. Xâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s feet. Knowing from experience that the sheriff â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s office frequently asked the Times-Review to shoot its pictures in those days â&#x20AC;&#x201D; far more revealing photos than anything the paper would have run â&#x20AC;&#x201D; I asked my photographer friend Bob Force to request permission to search old T-R negative files at Layland Museum. Museum Director Julie Baker generously said yes, and Bob found the prize and printed an assortment of graphic images. The best featured a view of Mr. Xâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s face. An

MR. X artist named Ed Brennan created a realistic mug shot from that image. Stories were published by the Times-Review and StarTelegram. I never thought weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d hear much after that. We received two tips that didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t pan out, but we persisted. Unable to locate any physical evidence, the cold case is now considering requesting an exhumation of the remains and using one of Mr. Xâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s long bones to collect DNA. From DNA could come a match with someone who disappeared 40 years ago or with a family member of that person. Get the identity, then create victimology to seek a suspect. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s basic crime fight-

ing. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s where the Mr. X case stands now. We learn more every month. If you think you know anything that can help us in the investigation, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hesitate to call 817556-6058. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re always glad to share the glory. The Mr. X case is similar to one of my favorite Johnson County cold cases, the 1963 murder of ex-con Arthur Gregory. Recently released from Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary, Gregory told the cop whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d arrested him, Mack Victor, that he had put his life of crime behind him. He was going straight. Acquaintances drove him straight to his death the next week. He was carried from either his house or a Mansfield Highway nightclub to rural Lillian. Officers speculated he was pushed from the car, shot twice but not killed, and that he ran into a post oak thicket. The time, sunset, was not to his advantage. He fled full speed into barbed wire fence, which caught him so he couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get away. The assailant fired a .38-caliber dum-dum bullet into his temple. The pictures proved that. As in the case of Mr. X, a Times-Review photographer had snapped a handful of pictures for the JCSO. Remarkably, I found the negatives in the T-R film closet adjacent to my old T-R office almost 40 years after the killing. We didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t run the picture of the fatal wound, but we did print a neat shot of Gregoryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sheet-covered body surrounded by deputies Bobby Pollard and J.B. Kirkland. A cigarette lighter, comb and set of car keys were found on Gregoryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s body. On one arm were scrawled two jailhouse tattoos: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Anthony and Jennineâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Juanita.â&#x20AC;? Tattooed on his left leg were the words â&#x20AC;&#x153;My Last Stop Is Hell.â&#x20AC;? The creative body art was no help to investigators. Hugh Higgins, then Johnson County attorney, remembered enough about the case to fill in some blanks. He and District Attorney Bob Mahaney never had a suspect. When I was working on my original story, a friend in Tarrant County gave me the names of two North Fort Worth residents he felt might be good for it. But he was


working from gut, never from evidence. Like the Gregory case, Mr. X is fun to toss on the table and kick around for a couple of hours. Cold case squad members are unanimous in their opinion that both cases will be difficult to solve. But not impossible. Guys like George Turner and Laseman have solved enough big cases to know that you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t ever give up the ship before you try to steer it into port.

I like that about them. I like that about me. Life as I knew it appeared over several years ago when I retired from the Times-Review after three tours and 27 years. No longer a public figure with page one bylines and a reputation for attempting to tell it like it is, I was reduced to blank stares from strangers and mere nods from old friends. That bothered me. Old song and dance

Angela Warmath (817) 774-0051

men enjoy applause, in particular from people who had always applauded. That doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t bother me so much anymore. Cold case members like Turner, Billy Peterson, Jim Varnon, Bob Evans, David Cole, James Ferguson and Mike Russell taught me what I thought I already knew but apparently didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t â&#x20AC;&#x201D; that knowing youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve done a good job should be reward enough. See you at cold case Monday.

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;I played for Dennis Parker and enjoyed the general manager for the Kansas City nadian Football League. But after one year for the Eskimos, Cumby sustained an injury. every minute of it,â&#x20AC;? Cumby said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I consider Chiefs. Dorsey and Cumbyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s uncle, George, were That is where Cumbyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s relationship with Coach Parker a mentor and one of the driving influences of my life as far as football and teammates and roommates for the Packers at Dorsey helped pave the way for his career one point during the 1980s, and their rela- path when Dorsey helped set Cumby up in life.â&#x20AC;? an internship role in 2005. After high school graduaâ&#x20AC;&#x153;After that training camp tion, Cumby continued his and internship was done, me football career at the Univer*URZLQJXSLQ7H[DVDQGP\IDPLO\ and my wife moved to the sity of Kentucky, where he DWPRVSKHUHLWZDVDOZD\VDJRDORIPLQHWR Bay Area in California,â&#x20AC;? was a three-year starter for the Cumby said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was actually Wildcats at cornerback and EHDSURIHVVLRQDODWKOHWH7KDWGLGQWKDSSHQ teaching school out here for a safety. Kentucky struggled for {4XHQWXV&XPE\ year, and then this job with three of Cumbyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s years, but the 49ers came open.â&#x20AC;? during his senior year, the Wildcats experienced one of Love of the game the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most successful Along with his perseverance and hard tionship laid the groundwork for Cumby and seasons in recent history. After his collegiate career ended, Cumby Dorsey to have a connection more than two work, it was Cumbyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s relationships and found his way onto the Green Bay Packers as decades later â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and that connection paid off friendships with Dorsey, among others, who helped him get the scouting position for San an undrafted rookie free agent, but was cut for Cumby. After he failed to make the final cuts for Francisco, where heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been ever since. after training camp. It was during his brief â&#x20AC;&#x153;Growing up in Texas and my family atstint with the Packers where he made a con- the Packers, Cumby went north of the border nection with John Dorsey, who is currently to play for the Edmonton Eskimos in the Ca- mosphere, it was always a goal of mine to be a &20081,7</,)(

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professional athlete,â&#x20AC;? Cumby said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;That didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t happen. But when we were in the pro days [at Kentucky], I remember the scouts coming out there, and it dawned on me then that it might be something I would want to

get in to. After college, it was something I thought I might be interested in, so I pursued it and here I am now.â&#x20AC;? Since that time, Cumby has helped assemble one of the best rosters in all of the NFL. San Francisco is coming off back-toback deep playoff runs over the past two seasons, including an NFC championship in the 2012-13 season before falling to Baltimore in the Super Bowl. Cumby is entering his eighth year with the 49ers, and his responsibilities will grow even more with his promotion. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a job that is year-round and never stops,â&#x20AC;? Cumby said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Around this time, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a little slow. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve just finished going through [Organized Team Activities] and rookie camps. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re evaluating those guys. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be back home for Fourth of July to visit family. My mom and dad still live in Cleburne. Once training camp starts back up on the 24th of July, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll report back and start getting ready. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll have a 90-man roster and be evaluating those guys. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll hope to have a

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good two weeks of camp before our first preseason game, and once the preseason starts, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s when it gets busy. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll start evaluating everyone. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m responsible for 11 teams in this league. We split it among the scouts to even the work load. If thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s some guys [from other teams] that end up getting released who we feel like will help us improve our squad, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll bring them in and look at them. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the process of camp and preseason.â&#x20AC;? Cumby doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t only keep an eye on NFL rosters and players. He also scouts the CFL and Arena League for talent. When the NFL regular season kicks off, Cumbyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s role changes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I switch over to the advance scout,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m on the road and basically a week ahead of our team. Say this Sunday, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re playing Seattle and the next week weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re playing the Steelers, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be evaluating Pittsburgh. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m a week head in the season, scouting for the coaches every week. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Once the season is over, we shift right into free agency. A little bit of that is done during the season, but we go full bore into it right after the season. We evaluate all the free agents to see who can help us in any way or

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fashion. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll evaluate them and rank them and find out from the coaches what they want. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll start making phone calls and have a plan before the draft for free agency. Some years weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re active and some years weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Once that periodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s done, then we go straight into the draft and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s another preparation phase. We go seven days a week, evaluating college guys, getting background information, any kinds of issues on and off the field, how they handle themselves â&#x20AC;&#x201D; anything that we can find out about the kid to help us make a good decision. When youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re investing millions of dollars in someone, you better know all you can about them.â&#x20AC;? Most people look at an NFL team and only see the quarterback throwing touchdown passes to receivers or defensive ends racking up sacks and consider those the important successes. But for an NFL franchise to be a winner, it takes people working all levels of the franchise and experiencing their own success in their responsibilities, and Cumby said thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s his favorite part about what he does. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I like always growing in the process of evaluation, seeing new players,â&#x20AC;? Cumby said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Finding out who ended up being a good player and being right on a guy, and on top of that winning. At the end of the day, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all about winning. Just getting satisfaction out of the work that you do and knowing that you did a good job and the guys you bring in the building pan out. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the satisfaction you get. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve seen the good and the bad. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a breath of fresh air to win.â&#x20AC;? As Cumby continues to have success at his job now for seven completed seasons, he said he doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t worry too much about the future. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Everyone says they want to be their own GM, and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always the goal,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I approach it as itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m going to put the work ethic in thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been instilled in me from my folks growing up, and me


taking it to the next level and whatever happens, happens. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m always going to be assertive and bust my ass. Whether I get to that point of running my own team or not, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll always appreciate the aspect of winning football games.â&#x20AC;? Cumbyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s job and responsibilities are time-consuming on a year-round basis where he works anywhere from 10-18 hours per day, but said this is what he loves doing. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a lot of time and sacrifice,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It has a lot of perks and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what I love doing. Outside of that, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m with my family â&#x20AC;&#x201D; my wife and two kids.â&#x20AC;? Cumby and his wife, Elizabeth, have been married for five years. The couple met at Kentucky, where she played volleyball. They have two kids, 3-year-old Drew and 1-year-old Kyla. Cumby accredits a lot of the success heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s experienced in one of the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top businesses to his upbringing. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I grew up in a two-parent home,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My mom and dad were very goal-oriented. Everyone Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been around is very goal-oriented and always talked about being responsible and held accountable. The town I grew up in, I love Cleburne to death. Cleburne is a part of me. The values that I learned there, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still in me and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s how I raise my kids today. Just follow your dreams, set goals, be accountable and responsible, and things will work out.â&#x20AC;?

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t 20 months old, my toddler knows how to run my Apple devices better than I do sometimes I think. She has her own folder on the iPhone and iPad with apps that she can play on. There are endless amounts of apps out there for children, and some of the educational apps have really helped her learn. Here are a few of her favorite apps. Disney Jr. and Disney Jr. Appisodes Free with paid options Like BFTV, Disney Jr. is a mobile app that provides videos from the TV channel with the same name. My daughterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s favorite shows are â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sofia the First,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Jake and the Neverland Piratesâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.â&#x20AC;? Closed captioning is available as well. Depending on your cable provider, you may have access to live video even more full videos than offered in the free version of the app. A similar app, Disney Jr. Appisodes, provides interactive versions of the full-length TV shows. Limited shows are available in the free version, with the option to pay for others. BabyFirst HD Free with subscription options BabyFirst TV is one of the first things she ever watched. Once they came out with the app for the channel, I knew sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be hooked.

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Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, to this day, still one of her favorite apps. The mobile video app includes free episodes of many of the shows on BabyFirst TV, from â&#x20AC;&#x153;Harry the Bunny,â&#x20AC;? which teaches words and experiences, to â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Notekins,â&#x20AC;? a musical show that teaches children about instruments and music. Every show is educational and, according to BFTV, teaches concepts such as numbers, vocabulary, animals, colors and more. The app also offers a parent mode which allows you to choose which videos you want your child to watch. Depending on your cable provider, you can have free access to more than the basic videos offered in the free version. Whereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Puppy Nose?, Free This was one of my daughterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first apps she ever played. Whereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Puppy Nose? by Fisher-Price is a great interactive app that teaches body parts. There are two levels available. On the first level, the child can press body parts on Puppy and a voice tells them what the body parts are. On the second level, the child is

asked to point out certain body parts on Puppy and Kitty. The app teaches body parts, body movements, first words, greetings and action/reaction. Abby Monkey: Animated Puzzles for Toddlers, Free or paid Puzzles are one of my daughterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s favorite things to do so having a digital version of a puzzle is a great resource when out running an errand or something. This is her latest favorite app. Produced by 22Learn, Animated Puzzles offers more than 25 hand-drawn animated illustrations and activities, with eight thematic categories. Two puzzles are available in the free version of the app. Designed to be baby-friendly, the interface is simple and has no complicated menus. All the child has to do is slide a button and theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re into the puzzle, which is as easy as holding and dragged shapes into their spots. Each level provides different melodies as well.


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What’s next after

retirement?

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cores of people spend their working days dreaming of the moment they are eligible for retirement. They may have retirement counted down to the minutes and seconds, particularly if they’ve been in a job that hasn’t been the most enjoyable. But many people find that once they retire they do not know what to do to fill their time. Boredom actually may be a side effect of retirement, and some people actually want to go back to work. Much of the focus when planning for retirement concerns finances. All other factors take a backseat. Therefore, there may be emotional issues that arise during retirement, and retirees are not always prepared to deal with such issues. Having a post-retirement plan in place can mean the difference between happiness and having a hard time adjusting, according to experts. Here are some tips that can help anyone ease into the golden years. ][ Establish goals. After working for years, the idea of setting goals can seem counterintuitive. But goals can give life direction and have you looking forward to things in the future. Goals also motivate retirees to get up in the morning now that a commute to work isn’t part of the daily schedule. ][ Donate time or money. Giving back to others, whether to the community or &20081,7</,)(

to a charitable organization, can feel good and give retirees some structure. Volunteering your time at a place can give life some sort of purpose outside of a job. Volunteers are always needed and appreciated at local hospitals. Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne and Texas Health Huguley Hospital Fort Worth South have volunteer units made up primarily of retirees. Whether running the gift shop, making popcorn, patient folders or putting together health packets is your thing, there is always something for volunteers to do. Other volunteer options include donating time or money at one of the area animal shelters, Operation Blessing in Cleburne, Harvest House in Burleson or calling about opportunities at the Salvation Army location in Cleburne. Meals-onWheels of Johnson and Ellis Counties is always looking for volunteers to take food to home-bound seniors in Johnson County. Visit www.servingthechildrenofyesterday. org to find out more. “Anyone who has their own transportation and a valid license can volunteer to deliver meals,” MOW Development Coordinator Whitney Patterson said. “We need volunteers throughout Johnson County especially during the summer months. Meals on Wheels will work with your schedule to find the right fit for you.”

][ Start a home-based business. Just because you retire doesn’t mean you have to fully retire. Now may be the opportunity to start a business venture you have always dreamed about, whether that is something hands-on or just serving as a consultant. ][ Try new things. Part of goal-setting is to add things to the list you’ve never done before, which can boost feelings of excitement. You may discover a new interest that becomes a passion. Now that you have time to explore new hobbies, they might prove more rewarding. ][ Meet with people. Part of what makes work fulfilling is the opportunity to get out of the house and interact with others who are not members of your family. It’s easy to fall into a rut when you are not being mentally stimulated by conversation from different people. The Cleburne Senior Citizens Center is at 1212 Glenwood Drive in Cleburne. Local residents often meet there to play card games, make crafts and share stories. ][ Realize it’s alright not to love retirement. Just because the grass seemed greener in someone else’s yard, doesn’t mean it always turns out to be that way. It is OK to accept that maybe retirement isn’t entirely what you expected and to make changes that can enable the experience to be better.


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hat concerns Americans the most as they look ahead toward the retirement years? One of their biggest worries is outliving their money, according to a recent survey by Prudential Retirement. A substantial 71 percent of survey respondents fear they may not have enough retirement income to last a lifetime. Only one in five are highly confident they will have sufficient retirement income. Putting money aside for retirement while you are still working is important, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s only part of the solution. Equally important is to have a plan on how to manage your retirement nest egg so it will continue to generate income throughout your life. The pros at Prudential Retirement have some suggestions on how to help make that happen. DEVELOP A PLAN ON HOW TO USE SAVINGS Sri Reddy, head of Institutional Income for Prudential Retirement, advises people nearing retirement to begin shifting their focus from accumulating savings to considering

how best to distribute those savings during retirement. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A critical first step in meeting the new retirement challenge is to develop a plan on how to use your savings to generate income throughout your life,â&#x20AC;? says Reddy. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Take the same approach as you did with saving - plan ahead.â&#x20AC;? One avenue to explore is to check with your employer to see if there is a guaranteed income option available in your companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s retirement plan. Two out of three participants in the Prudential Retirement survey said investing in this type of option made them more confident about their retirement security. Continuing to work part-time may be a necessity in order to generate needed income for your retirement budget. According to the Prudential survey, nearly three in four middle-class Americans believe they will have to find some work in retirement. Check out possibilities now for part-time employment. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t wait until after retirement.

CUT COSTS BEFORE RETIREMENT Once you have a plan in place to generate lifetime income, look at how to cut expenses after you retire. One of the best ways to stretch your retirement savings may be to reduce housing costs, which are a major expense for most Americans. If your kids are out of the house and your mortgage is paid off, think about downsizing now before you retire. Add any profits from the sale of your house to your retirement savings and move to a less costly situation - such as a smaller house or a condo. In addition, do an assessment of all the ways you spend money and economize wherever you can. Careful planning now, while you are still working, will help you to achieve your goal of a secure and fulfilling retirement and making it last a lifetime. Prudential has done extensive research about how people can create better outcomes by modifying their behaviors. For a copy of this white paper, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Better Participant Outcomes Through In-Plan Guaranteed Retirement Income,â&#x20AC;? visit www.prudential.com.

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Simple ways to avoid OVERSPENDING as retirement nears lessons, like saving more than you spend, might need to be relearned. One way to get a grip on your spending is to keep a financial journal to track your daily and monthly expenses as well as larger purchases like a new television. Write down the monthly expenses you know you have each month, such as a mortgage payment or a car note, and each and every purchase you make, including how much you spend on dining out each month. Do this for at least a couple of months. When you have logged several monthsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; activity, examine your journal to see if there are any expenses that can be trimmed to save money.

Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t go overboard rewarding yourself.

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hen the nest is empty and the kids no longer need financial support, many men and women find themselves with some extra money in their budget. Fewer mouths to feed and no more college tuition bills can give parents a sense of financial freedom they may not have had since before starting their family. But that freedom can also lead to overspending, something that can put retirement in jeopardy if people are not careful. Though itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s understandable for men and women to splurge on a welldeserved getaway once the kids have finally left the house, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important for adults to ensure that such splurging does not become routine. The following are a few ways men and women with some newfound disposable income can avoid overspending and putting themselves in financial hot water as they get closer to retirement.

Pay with cash whenever possible. Swiping a debit card or credit &20081,7</,)(

card is certainly a convenient way to shop, but it can also be dangerous. Many people find it difficult to keep track of their spending when they use debit cards or credit cards to make their purchases. Using cash to make purchases, especially daily purchases like a morning cup of coffee, reduces the likelihood of overspending. This can help you get a better idea of how much money youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re spending and if there are any steps you can take to curtail that spending. An effective way to use cash is to withdraw money from the bank once per week and use that as your weekly supply of money. If you find yourself frequently running out of money each week, then youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re likely spending more than you should.

Keep a financial journal. Men and women who must adapt to having newfound disposable income may find it is not much different from younger men and women learning to manage their money when they first start working. Some of those

Once your last child has left the nest, the temptation to reward yourself with a luxury item or two might prove overwhelming. After all, raising a family and paying for college tuition has no doubt required substantial sacrifice on your part, so itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s well within reason that you want to reward yourself after all these years. Avoid overdoing it so your finances arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stretched too thinly. A vacation with your spouse is reasonable, but buying a villa overseas might be a little over the top. Luxuries can be nice, but they can also drain a budget. Your monthly expenses once the kids have moved out should be lower, so if you find your cost of living has increased now that your nest is empty, you might be forced to determine which of your expenses are luxuries and which are necessities.

Take advantage of your â&#x20AC;&#x153;experience.â&#x20AC;? Though accepting a â&#x20AC;&#x153;seniorâ&#x20AC;? discount might be a blow to your pride, it also can be a boon to your bottom line. Many establishments, including gyms, restaurants and movie theaters, offer discounts to men and women age 55 and older. This can help you save a substantial amount of money over time, and no one has to know youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve started cashing in on your experience.


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hough many people are delaying retirement, the day will still come when they leave their jobs behind and retire. Retirement can be a difficult adjustment that takes some getting used to, but it can also prove an exciting time, especially for those who planned ahead to ensure their retirement was a time to be cherished and not feared. Whether retirement is right around the corner or still a decade or so away, men and women should consider several factors to make sure their retirement years are an enjoyable time that allows them to live life to the fullest. X Income: Just because you’re no longer working doesn’t mean you won’t have income. Government benefits, retirement accounts and perhaps even some light consulting work are just a few ways retirees can earn an income. Though your retirement income will likely pale in comparison to your income as an adult working full-time, estimate what that income will be so you can get at least an idea of how much will be coming in each month. X Monthly expenses: Once you have an idea of what’s coming in,

estimate how much will be going out each month. Certain costs associated with working, such as the cost of commuting and maintaining a professional wardrobe, can be removed from the ledger. But other expenses, including utilities, car payments and possibly even a mortgage payment, will still need to be made. Once you have an idea of your projected income and your expenses during retirement, you can get to work on a prospective budget to show you what you will need to live on during retirement. X Employment: Many people

now look at retirement as the end of one career and the beginning of another. As retirement draws closer, men and women might want to consider turning an interest or passion into a second career. Such a move might make retirement more exciting while removing some of the fear of finding enough things to pass the time that many people have with regard to retirement. X Relocation: Where to spend your retirement years is another thing to consider before the big day arrives. Do you, like many retirees, prefer to stay in your own home?

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s the Baby Boomer generation enters retirement age, there has been an increased demand for services that meet the needs of this segment of the population. Amenities such as active-living communities that boast top-of-the-line features typically are the first things individuals seek. Age-restricted, 55-plus communities cater to what the name implies â&#x20AC;&#x201D; people who are age 55 and older. However, these home developments are a far cry from what they used to be. Now they rival some of the best resorts in their features and are designed entirely around the needs of a group of active, amenity driven people. Plus, considering there now are more Americans age 65 and older than in any other point in history, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, developers understand the benefits of catering to this group of people. Therefore, there are more high-end active-living communities now than ever before. There are many choices with regard to active adult retirement communities. Many of these developments boast everything from detached, single-family homes to villas to condominiums. These residences are built with the active adult in mind. Here are some of the benefits that these communities boast. :FDDLE@KP :FDG8E@FEJ?@G Due to the age-restricted nature of active-adult-home-developments, the residents are all in a similar age range, and may have similar interests. At a time in life when friendships from work may waver due to retirement,

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and older children may be busy with their own lives, these communities can help foster new friendships. Whether through community-sponsored activities or just through home proximity, residents can enjoy one anotherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s company and never worry about feeling lonely into their retirement years. CFN$FIEF$D8@EK<E8E:< C@M@E> One of the biggest attractions to active-adult living is that these homes are built to provide worry-free living. Included in the home ownership fees are provisions to take care of much of the interior and exterior maintenance. That means should a pipe leak or the lawn needs mowing, maintenance staff rather than the homeowner will handle the problem. This peace of mind enables residents to pursue interests rather than worry about the upkeep on their homes. Many times the community is expertly manicured, helping to create an aesthetically pleasing environment.

8:K@M@KP$98J<;=LE Many communities build activities into the living plan. Therefore, there may be a workout room, the game center, exercise classes, movie nights, and many other attractions to keep residents busy. Active-adult communities may be similar to all-inclusive vacations and cruises in that they have their own activities coordinator on staff. Should residents prefer solo activities, the property on which these homes are built are often created with recreation in mind. There can be walking paths or areas for cycling. Pools and spas are often part of the living package as well. J<:LI@KP Individuals who are no longer bogged down with work requirements may be more likely to take vacations or go visiting. In a traditional home, there may be worries about leaving the home unattended for a period of time. However, in 55-plus residences, homes may be in gated communities

or have security patrols. Also, the sheer number of homes in a townhouse-style building can camouflage homes that are currently vacant, easing the minds of those who are planning on going away. :FE:@<I><J<IM@:<J Some of the more exclusive communities may have staff who can help with everything from booking vacations to helping with moving details. There also are developments that offer transitional homes, and someone may be available to help with the transition from an active-style home to one that has nursing staff or assisted living offerings at that time in life when it is needed. Active-living communities offer many of the features that recently retired people seek in homes that do not compromise on amenities. Individuals who are looking for comfortable, maintenance-free homes often seek out these developments for the convenience and services they offer.

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he trend of long-married couples calling it quits has been growing. However, there are some steps couples can take to keep their relationships going strong. According to the AARP, divorces among people over the age of 50 have doubled since 1990. According to Susan Brown, codirector of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, one out of three Boomers will face their golden years unmarried. There are a number of reasons why divorce rates have skyrocketed among the over-50 set. Understanding just why these divorces are taking place and taking proactive steps to alleviate some &20081,7</,)(

of the divorce triggers can be a recipe for a happy marriage that continues throughout a coupleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s golden years.

y Increase accountability y Ours is a transient society where families no longer bat an eyelash over moving great distances away from other family members. As a result, Boomers may feel like they are not connected to children or grandchildren. With this in mind, they may feel less attached to their marriage or their responsibilities or believe that no one will get hurt by a divorce. Keeping families close and remaining in frequent contact can increase accountability and reduce the propensity for

divorce. * Get things out in the open. A major reason for a failed marriage is years of avoiding significant issues rather than addressing problems. Couples should make time to talk to each other about anything that might be bothering them rather than letting too many things slide. If these conversations turn into shouting matches, there is always the option of bringing in a third party to serve as a mediator. * Spend time apart. After retirement, couples may find themselves spending hours upon hours in each otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s company. While togetherness can be beneficial, too much time spent together may lead to feelings of


suffocation and the perception that each member of the relationship is no longer his or her own person. Individuals can remedy this by doing more things on their own, whether spending time apart with friends or engaging in hobby time without your spouse. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Brief periods of separation can make the time married couples do spend together feel more meaningful.

y Recommit to your vows y After 30 or more years, the vows you shared on your wedding may be a distant memory. Some people may have different views on the permanence of vows, putting personal happiness ahead of the happiness of the couple. Take stock of what you promised one another on your wedding day and stick to those words. * Become a comedian. Laughter has a way of dissolving a tenuous situation. Focus energy on laughing at mistakes instead of pointing blame. Couples can make fun of themselves and re-

solve to not take things too seriously.

y Act like you’re dating y Couples often become complacent after many years of marriage. They may forget about the little details that made the relationship fun in the early years. The personal notes and cards and other surprises may fall by the wayside after being together for some time. Make an effort to go on dates, write love notes and think of what was

appreciated by your partners when you were in the dating stage.

y Practice selflessness y Sometimes all that is needed to rekindle a relationship is a selfless act that shows how much you care for your partner. Couples who are on the fence with regard to divorce can make an effort to improve the relationship rather than simply see divorce as the best option.

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tâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no secret that todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hearing aids are light years ahead of the hearing aids made just a decade ago. In fact, in size, shape, and technological advances, the changes in hearing aids have been nothing short of amazing. For example, new micro-processor technology has allowed hearing aids to be so tiny, they can sit on a fingertip; and at the same time, provide a remarkably natural-sounding hearing experience. So, people who need a little hearing help can get it â&#x20AC;&#x153;invisiblyâ&#x20AC;? and comfortably. Cleburne Hearing Aid Specialist Ray Jones said itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to start having your ears checked as soon as there seems to be a problem. That may come earlier â&#x20AC;&#x201D; before retirement â&#x20AC;&#x201D; or later, but most suggest scheduling a regular checkup around the age of 50 whether you think youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re having problems or not. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Start having your hearing checked when you turn 50,â&#x20AC;? Jones said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Usually if hearing loss is age related, there are some hereditary issues that as they get older â&#x20AC;&#x201D; like if you are going to be bald-headed â&#x20AC;&#x201D; there is no vitamins, exercise or therapy you can do to stop that.â&#x20AC;? Other hearing loss can occur when patients are taking multiple medications on a daily basis or have bad drug interactions, Jones said. He said visiting www. betterhearing.org can answer a lot of the questions people may have before having their hearing checked, so that they are comfortable and know what to talk about when they first visit with a doctor. And, he said, wearing hearing aids no longer has to be a chore. With so many hearing aids now 100 percent digital and automatic, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re no longer difficult or cumbersome to use.

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Kimberly Ravelo, an audiologist at Benke Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic, said advancements in hearing aid technology has made life easier for many, even her elderly patients. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They are not afraid of the technology,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Definitely the Bluetooth accessories are a big change and a big plus because they are able to talk on a cellphone or watch TV again. With the Bluetooth, we can actually stream the signal directly to the hearing aids so they can hear much better. Another huge advancement in hearing aids is the adoption of wireless technology, which includes the category of Wi-Fi. Hearing aids are not just jumping on the wireless bandwagon; theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re actually leading the way. Wireless communication is the technology that lets consumers connect with the Internet from their computers and tablets, without wires. Wireless headphones let individuals listen to music being streamed from a computer, iPod or MP3 player, wire-free. Wireless printers let you print from a computer without a physical connection, and wireless car starters can start a car from many feet away, with the touch of a button. This is the same wireless technology that todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most advanced hearing aids use to give hearing aid wearers many exciting new innovations. For instance, hearing aid wearers now have the freedom to

adjust their hearing aids using their iPhone or Android phone as a discreet remote control. Beltone offers a free app called SmartRemote. When paired with Beltoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Direct Phone Link 2 accessory, SmartRemote lets an individual use their phone to adjust the hearing aid volume in one or both ears, change listening settings to match their current environment, reduce background noise during a phone conversation, and much more. A person can make these adjustments with the swipe of a finger â&#x20AC;&#x201D; with no one the wiser. Direct Phone Link 2 also uses wireless technology to give hearing aid users a superb phone call experience on their iPhone or Android device. With Direct Phone Link 2, a hearing aid wearer hears the phone ring in their hearing aids, even if the phone is stowed away in a pocket, purse or briefcase. They simply press a button on their Direct Phone Link 2 (worn on a shirt or lapel), to start the conversation. Because the sound signal streams from the phone directly into the hearing aids, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s exceptionally clear and clean. Also, because sound enters devices that have been carefully programmed for a personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s specific hearing needs, the listening experience is tailored just for them. And, people can listen to the conversation in both ears, instead of just one, if they prefer. Another wireless advantage hearing aid users really appreciate - phone conversations can be hands-


free. People with hearing loss can stay legal in places that ban holding a phone while driving. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also easier to multi-task during a phone call when both hands are free. Through the use of wireless technology, hearing-aided people can now enjoy TV, stereo, PCs and other audio sources in a whole new way. When watching TV or listening to music, sound can stream from the source directly into the hearing aids. Volume can be adjusted to a comfortable level for the hearing-aided person, without affecting what others hear. And, because relay neck-loops arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t needed, the individual can walk around the room and converse with companions - and still clearly hear the audio. Another innovation made possible by wireless technology is a clever hearing aid accessory that helps users hear very precisely in environments such as lectures, meetings, noisy restaurants, or airports. A

small, portable device is worn by someone the hearing-aided person wants to hear. The device picks up the non-hearing-aided personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s voice and streams it into the hearing aid wearerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s instruments, in real time. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When digital hearing aids hit soon after the turn of the century, that changed everything,â&#x20AC;? said Audiologist Thomas Mahoney, with Helping People Hear. â&#x20AC;&#x153;With the need to do fast processing, some of the hearing aids now are processing sounds thousands of times a second. They can also do directional hearing so if you are sitting at a restaurant and you want to hear the

people around, you can.â&#x20AC;? This device can also be placed in front of a television at a friendâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s house, for example. It then streams sound directly into a personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hearing aids, so they can hear clearly at whatever volume is comfortable for others. Hearing aids have never been smaller in size, or better at providing a natural listening experience. And, upgrades in hearing aid technology will continue to evolve, allowing people with hearing loss to find a solution that works for their lives, and lets them hear with confidence.

CLEBURNE HEARING CLINICS: Jones Audiology and Hearing Aid Centers 817-645-5565 211 N. Anglin St.

Benke Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic Audiology & Hearing Center 817-641-3750 1317 Glenwood Drive

Helping People Hear 817-641-4327 115 Hyde Park Blvd.

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struggling economy can have both instant and longterm consequences. When the economy is suffering, consumers tend to spend less in the short term while making financial decisions that affect them over the long haul. One of the biggest quandaries men and women face during a recession or economic downturn is how to approach their retirement accounts, most notably a 401(k). When the economy begins to struggle, men and women may notice their 401(k) plans are struggling right along with it, losing money that most were counting for their retirements. This can induce a certain degree of panic, as account holders worry about their financial futures and how they are going to get by should the recession last and their retirement accounts continue to shrink. But such panic might be unwarranted. According to the investment management firm Vanguard, participant saving and investing behavior had returned to prerecession levels by 2010, and participant account balances actually rose 13 percent between 2005-10, despite the considerable market shock that occurred during the recession of 2008-09. Those figures illustrate that even during a particularly bad economic swoon investors will return to their typical behavior sooner rather than later. Therefore it pays to avoid overreacting at the onset of a downturn and maintain your peace of mind. While some people manage to maintain a cool head during times of economic struggles, others may lose sleep when the next recession or downturn rears its ugly head. To avoid succumbing to such stress,

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to use even if you lost a substantial amount of money during a previous recession or downturn. It might be tempting to try to make up for lost money, but that strategy carries considerable risk, and you might end up depleting your retirement savings a second time. Âł 6SUHDGWKHPRQH\DURXQG When contributing to a retirement account such as a 401(k), the standard is to deposit 6 percent of each paycheck into that account. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re depositing more than 6 percent into your retirement account, consider decreasing your retirement contribution to the standard amount and depositing the extra money into a high-interest savings account. The savings account wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t put your deposits at risk, and if the economy is faring well, you will still be doing well with your 401(k) while ensuring some of your money wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t suffer should the economy suddenly take a turn for the worse. Âł 'RQ¡WFDVKRXWWRRHDUO\ When the economy struggles, many investors have discovered they simply donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have the stomach for investing. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perfectly understandable with certain investments, but a retirement account should not be one of them. Cashing out a retirement account too early could incur substantial penalties that, if your retirement account was affected poorly by a bad year, may only further deplete an account you likely spent years building. Avoid the temptation to cash out early if your retirement account is struggling. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s often not worth the steep price.

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Care that’s above, beyond and close to home. At Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne, we are committed to the community. We offer a 137-bed hospital, a wide range of clinical services, and place the patient and family at the center of the decision-making process. With many physicians on the medical staff representing a variety of specialties, we provide a broad array of health care services, including: Digital Mammography • Emergency Services • ENT • Imaging Inpatient and Outpatient Surgery • Intensive Care • Minimally Invasive Procedures Orthopedics • Pulmonary Rehabilitation • Women and Infants • Sleep Medicine

1-877-THR-WELL | TexasHealth.org/Cleburne

Doctors on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital. © 2013

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Community Life - July/August 2013