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Security • Energy • Health • Entertainment Authority B a t o n

R o u g e

L i v i ng s t o n

A s c e n s i o n

December 2010

vol 2 Issue 6

G r e a t e r

Burglars Coming Soon

To Your Neighborhood

Free To Pee T

he Importance of Communication With Your Child

Social Media

Online Success

Mrs. Murtis‘ Merry



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Safety Tip:


10/29/2010 3:42:24 young children live in or visit your home, move furniture away from windows so they don’t climb up PM to look out and accidentally fall.

from the publisher Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind A s the publisher of Safe & SOUND Magazine, I hear a lot of alarming stories about burglary, theft, and home invasion. A story I heard recently, reminded me that things people consider insignificant, are the things that put them, and their valuables, at the greatest risk. So I have decided to share this story with you to help keep you, your home, and your vehicle safe. Earlier this month, a family had their unattended vehicle broken into. Their GPS system was stolen, along with the garage door remote to their home. The thieves pressed the “home” icon on the GPS system and they were lead straight to the family’s home. They let themselves in, with the stolen garage remote, and took thousands of dollars worth of furniture, electronics, and appliances. This could have been easily avoided by taking a few preventative measures. Usually, when you lock your car, you assume that the items inside are safe, but this is not always the case. With the holiday season approaching, it is especially important to take care of your belongings, wherever they may be. So, I have compiled a few tips to help keep you safe through the New Year. First, always conceal valuable items in your vehicle. This precaution will ensure that your belongings are not on display for

a potential thief to be tempted by. If you have a GPS system, do not program your home address into the “home” icon. Program a nearby store or intersection that you are familiar with, so that a thief cannot locate your home. If you have gate or garage remotes on your sun visor, put them in a console or glove box, out of the view of a thief. Any documentation that may include personal information may also put you at risk. These documents can include insurance cards, vehicle registrations, and even your mail. Sometimes, the things that seem small and insignificant make the biggest difference when it comes to your safety. With holiday shopping in full swing, do not forget to put all gifts in the trunk of your vehicle. This is the safest place for them to be. If you do not have a trunk, just be sure to put them under or behind a seat so a thief is not tempted. With the holiday season upon us, it is important that we keep our families, homes, and all other belongings Safe and Sound. Happy Holidays,

Rusty & Jan Howard

-Publisher, Safe & SOUND Magazine -President / CEO, Certified Alarm Systems & Home Theaters, Inc.

publisher/ceo Rusty Howard

executive editor Jan Howard

art director Mary Milton

graphic designer April Mae Boudreau

webmaster Venkat Kommalapati Safe & SOUND Magazine is a monthly publication by

VIZADO Marketing & Web Solutions, A Department of Certified Alarm Systems & Home Theaters. 1113 Florida Blvd., SE Denham Springs, LA 70726 Main Office 225.928.7867 Marketing Dept 225.791.7179 Safe & SOUND cannot be held responsible for any unsolicited materials. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission

We Support Our Advertisers Please support the local businesses that support Safe & SOUND Magazine through their advertising. Remember, when you shop locally, the money you spend remains in the community. It is with the support of our advertisers that we are able to bring this magazine to our community FREE of charge and provide from,, direct links from our digital issue to their websites. As always, we would like to thank all of our readers and advertisers that consistently make Safe & SOUND Magazine one of Louisiana’s most sought after magazines. We ask you to support our advertisers whenever possible and please let them know that you heard about them through Safe & SOUND Magazine.

is prohibited. Publisher is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts and artwork. The opinions expressed in Safe & SOUND are those of the authors or advertisers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the owners, nor do they constitute the endorsement of products or services herein. The publisher reserves the right to accept or reject any paid advertisement. Copyright 2010 Certified Alarm Systems & Home Theaters. All rights reserved.

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Safety Tip: Phishers imitate bank and social network email templates, tricking victims into believing they have received an official subscriber message. Always log into online accounts manually, not through an email.

contents Free To Pee December 2010 VOL. 2 ISSUE 6

05> Free to pee The Importance of Communication With Your Child

07> Why can‘t everyday be like christmas

08> Tips for the holidays Sheriff Willie Graves

09> Get video verification with your security system

10> Burglars

How To Prevent a Residential Burglary

12> adopting the

Social Media Mindset

15> Fire Watch

Lets Talk Turkey!

Season 17> Holiday Safety Tips

C hristmas Wishes

As the Holiday Season is upon us, we find ourselves reflecting on the past year and on those who have helped to shape our business in a most significant way. We value our relationship with you and look forward to working with you in the year to come. “Wishing you the gift of faith, the blessing of hope, and the peace of His love at Christmas and always. May your New Year be filled with peace and prosperity.” -From the Staff & Management of Certified Alarm Systems & Home Theaters

The Importance of Communication With Your Child Recently, a fifth grade student was punished by her teacher every time she had to leave class to use the restroom. The teacher said that if students must leave class to go to the restroom, they would be punished by missing lunch-recess. After missing three lunch-recesses, the student tried to “hold it” until the next class break, resulting in an embarrassing accident. The student reluctantly told her mother about what had been going on at school. Horrified, the mother took her daughter to the doctor to have an examination and ask why she was going to the restroom so frequently. The doctor discovered that the child had a urinary tract infection (UTI) and gave the student an excuse to go to the restroom at school whenever she needed to go. The mother spoke with the principal who said that this was a “teacher policy.” All of this could have easily been avoided if there was an open dialogue from parent to child. The child was afraid that, if she told her mom about having to miss recess, she would get in trouble. She certainly would not have gotten in trouble, and this was need-to-know information for a parent. It is important that every single day, you ask your children what went on at school, and try to make sure things like this are not happening. If the child would have

spoken with her parents about it, they could have scheduled a conference with the teacher, or taken proactive steps before the child had a humiliating accident in front of all of her peers. Children are often “scared” of the consequences they might face for things that are not even their faults. It is important to ensure children that honesty is the best policy, and they can confide in you as a parent. Granted, the teacher probably has several students, every period that are just trying to skip class and go to walk around. This is not about a “horrible” teacher, or a “bad” school, because the teachers have to make sure that children learn. Every now and then, like in this case, there are exceptions. So, everyone has to work together to make sure that these cases are accommodated. This is not the only type of instance in which there needs to be open communication between parents and children, but it is a good example of one. Parents should be aware of things going on at school, whether they are good or bad. If a child gets a good grade, reward the child; if he or she is being bullied, discuss concerns with a principal. Good, solid communication between you and your child will benefit you for years to come, and help to keep your children Safe and Sound.

Add Your Voice!*

Safety is not only a police issue: it is everyone’s responsibility.

We want to hear your safety and entertainment related stories, comments, suggestions and concerns. Submit online anytime by visiting, or mail to: Safe & SOUND Magazine, P.O. Box 339 . Denham Springs, LA 70727. To submit by phone, please call 225-928-7867. *Publisher reserves the right to edit or reject any content submission or advertising it finds, in its sole discretion, to be inappropriate, misleading or objectionable

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Safety Tip:

Every time you use a credit card, you increase the chances of that card number being used fraudulently. Cover up the keypad when entering your PIN, There may be cameras or “shoulder surfers� recording you,

Christmas Why Can‘t Everyday Be Like


Written by Jennifer McMurray

t was extremely cold outside as the smell of burning wood filled the air. The sky was black as night without even the twinkle of a star. The only glimpse of light came from the street light high above the trees in front of the house. The temperature outside was 21 degrees. Inside, it was not much warmer. The fire in the fireplace was almost out. The only thing that remained was the glow of embers in the barely lit house. Mrs. Murtis slipped on her shoes so she could go outside to get wood to add to the fire before it completely burned out. As she placed her wool scarf around her neck, and tightly tied her coat belt around her waist, she wondered how many pieces of wood she would be able to carry this year. She thought about how many years it had been since she had to do it all alone. Henry, her husband, died almost ten years earlier. Until he died, she never had to carry wood inside; he took care of those things. She missed him so much but especially at this time of year. They used to sit by the fireplace

and drink hot chocolate, and he would tell her fascinating stories of his adventures in the military. He would talk about the places he had been, the sights he had seen, and the people he had met along the way. Oh she loved hearing those stories. He had a way of telling them so it seemed like she was right there.

When Henry told her stories, never leaving any details out, she was able to imagine it, just the way it happened. He grew sick and the doctors weren’t able to cure him. They said it was cancer. Through all the wars and wounds, high blood pressure and diabetes, cancer was the only thing he wasn’t able to overcome. Mrs. Murtis believed it was just his time to go.

Winter seemed to drag by for her over the last 10 years. It seemed like they were getting longer and colder. She wasn’t sure if it was because she had no one to share it with or if winters really were longer and colder these days. So many things had changed in the past ten years. The house, once beautiful, full of laughter and love, so alive, was now dark, quiet and cold, it almost seemed dead. Normally, the smell of hot chocolate filled the air. Now, only the smell of ashes from the wood burning in the fireplace lingers. She listened for a moment; only the sound of embers crackling filled her ears. She set out for the door. Bending down to get the flashlight, she grunted. She caught her hat as it slipped off of her silver, uncombed hair; as it nearly fell to the floor. She made her way down the steps, out the back door, and to the wood pile. The pile was getting very low. She hoped there would be enough to get her through the rest of the winter before running out. Holding the flashlight, she See Page 14

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Tips for the


-From Sheriff Willie Graves,

Livingston Parish Sheriff‘s Office


you sit down to take a break. Keep them near your feet or hands where you can see them. Once you have completed your purchases, and it is time to leave, avoid carrying “arm loads” of packages, which may obstruct your view. Know exactly where you Most of us will either be shopping, or have a close parked and have your car keys in hand so that family member do our shopping for us, in the you don’t have to search for them when you coming weeks. It is always safer to go in get to the car. Again, be aware of your a group as the old saying goes, “there is surroundings. Make a note of vehicles Ready for safety in numbers.” So if you’re ready to parked near your car. Do you see a get into the holiday season by spending this year’s holiday van with either no windows or blacked some time at your favorite shopping shopping? Wait! Just read out windows concealing the identity mall, having a safety plan in place is of someone inside watching you? Is a great idea. this article before you head there a vehicle parked really close to out for shopping. Maybe the driver’s door of you car? If you Communicating your itinerary to a see anything like this or something following these buying tips friend or family member, who is not that just doesn’t feel right, turn around, going on the shopping excursion, is prove helpful to you in go back to the mall, and ask for mall a good idea. Let that person know your shopping. security to escort you back to your car. where you’ll be going and when you’ll be home. Once you have made it safely inside your car, lock the doors and safely drive away on a When you arrive at your destination, take a predetermined route. moment to find a parking spot that is close to an entrance, even if it means riding around for a few These tips apply whether your going to the mall or minutes. Once you select a spot, take note of the closest Wal-Mart. parking lot identification number, usually posted on a light pole, by photographing it with your cell phone. Avoid the trap Finally, if, in spite of all these precautions, some one does try of thinking, “I always park in the same spot, so I will know to steal your purse or even your car, let them have it, your life where to find my car.” That spot may not be available during is more valuable than an object that can be replaced. the busy holiday season. s the holidays approach, please allow me the opportunity to share a few tips to make this a safe time by making a few sound choices.

Once you make it inside the mall, be aware of your surroundings. Report any concerns you may have to mall security. Be mindful of where you put your purchases when


Safety Tip: You tell your children not to talk to strangers, so why do you open the door to a total stranger? Homeinvaders pose as delivery people, law enforcement or public workers. Always ask to see credentials.

Get Video Verifcation with Your Security System F

alse alarms are a problem for everyone. For a home or business owner a false alarm is an inconvenient nuisance that can actually be quite costly. For a police, sheriff’s or fire department, they are an even bigger nuisance- one that strains an already resource challenged organization and takes valuable manpower away from more critical events happening.


False Alarms

Get Faster, More Effective Responses from Authorities

So how can we reduce false alarms so that home and business owners, as well as police and other authorities know that when they get a call from the monitoring station that there is a confirmed incident (break-in, burglary, robbery etc.) taking place? The best method to reduce false alarms is through video verification. Both remote video monitoring and or a simple video verification alarm system can provide the information needed to confirm an incident to an account key holder as well as

responding authorities. The goal of video verified alarms is fundamentally different from standard video surveillance. Video verification’s goal is simply to verify if there is a person present - detect and notify. In contrast, standard video surveillance often provides little more than recorded images that are used for later review and identification – security after the fact. However, if that video surveillance system is remotely monitored in real-time via motion triggers or other means, then video verification is easily achieved. The monitoring station responds proactively to events as they are taking place and can verify a specific incident to responding authorities for a higher priority response. Another method of video verification is a stand-alone “motion viewer” alarm system. Unlike a standard alarm system, this solution employs a set of cordless motion sensors, each with an integrated camera that sends a video clip in conjunction with an alarm signal to verify an event.

Each sensor communicates with the main unit via a two-way radio and is therefore completely independent. The camera’s field of vision is synchronized with that of the motion sensor so that when the sensor detects movement, the camera is immediately activated. It then records a ten-second sequence that is instantly sent to the central station over an encrypted radio link. The system is wireless and runs solely on batteries that have a four-year lifetime, therefore requiring minimal maintenance. Certified Alarms offers video verification solutions, whether it be real-time interactive remote video monitoring or a motion-based alarm system. We can provide you with a custom-designed virtual security solution that will reduce or eliminate false alarms and provide you with faster and more effective responses, resulting in better protectiont. That’s real peace of mind.

It is time to take a proactive approach to your security. Contact Certified Alarms today and ask about video verification.

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How To Prevent a Residential Burglary BY DAVID DEFFENBAUGH

The old saying is, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” But prevent a home burglary? Yes, it most definitely can happen. Here are some effective, easy, and inexpensive ways to prevent burglaries. There are ways to prevent residential burglary. Now, it should be noticed that a determined, experienced burglar can probably break into just about any home. But most burglars are opportunists. They are looking for targets (homes) that provide the best opportunity for them. And, experienced burglars are going to be able to spot easy targets quickly. So, prevention of a burglary has to do with making your home anything but an easy target.


Safety Tip:


So, what can you do to help prevent residential burglary? Keep a well-maintained yard and property

Burglars are looking for seclusion (places to hide). Keep shrubs and bushes trimmed to cut down on hiding spots. Also, keep yard and garden tools picked up. Burglars are also looking for something to help them gain entrance to the home. Do not leave tools laying around that will make that easier. The same goes for kids’ toys too. Keep things picked up.

Security System

One of the surest ways to help prevent a burglary is a security system. When a security system is present, it sends a quick message to the would-be intruder that this house just isn’t worth the trouble or the risk, and they move on to an easier target. One of the biggest proofs of the value of a security system in deterring burglars is that many home insurance companies offer up to a 20% discount on your premiums if you have such a system in place. They know that in the long run such a discount is saving them money.


Burglars like to hide and darkness only enhances their ability to do so. Some kind of lighting at entry points (doors and windows) is something a burglar does not want to see. Motion detector-equipped lights can be a good option if you do not like the idea of having lights on all the time.

License plates frequently are stolen from cars used in other crimes. Get in the habit of checking your plates before leaving busy shopping centers or mall parking lot.

How To Prevent a Residential Burglary Make it look like someone is at home, even when you aren’t. Of course, the oldest trick in the book is turning on lights when you’re gone. Putting lights on timer switches is a step up. Lights coming on at dusk and then going off later makes a person think someone is at home. Appliances, like a TV, can be set with the same kind of switches. In this regard, do not leave signs that you aren’t home either. Several days’ newspapers on the lawn, mail piled in the mailbox, or even a note on the front door alerting some person, like the cable guy, “Be back in 30 minutes” (which can be read by anybody, right?), all broadcast the message that the house is empty.


I know, I know – you already know this. But keep your doors and windows locked. It is amazing how many people fail to carry out this very simple, yet effective, step. Sometimes

opportunistic crooks are just looking for an open door – literally. Do not give it to them. Also related to this point, do not get in the habit of leaving the house the same way every time you leave, for instance, all the shades pulled and the front porch light on. This certainly is no exhaustive list,

but you get the idea. Take a few easy steps to keep your home from appearing as an inviting target for a home burglar. The fact is , you probably already know most of this stuff. But are you doing it? Simple steps can definitely help prevent a residential burglary. Source: Free Articles from

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Adopting the

Social Media Mindset

Wondering what to do with your turkey leftovers?

BBQ Turkey Sandwiches

-for True Online Success

BY MIRNABARD Source: Free Articles from

In order to experience maximum benefit from social media, the process begins with a complete mindset shift. Here are the six essential mindset shifts that need to happen before a business jumps onto the social media bandwagon.

1. The Relationship Mindset Makes 4 servings Ingredients: • • • • •

16 oz Can tomatoes; cut up 6 oz Can tomato paste; 1 ts Powdered mustard; 1/4 c Onion; chopped 1 ts Chili powder; (or to taste) • 2 c Turkey; chopped, cooked

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the flavors are blended. Spoon the mixture over hamburger buns or toast. 1/4 recipe, not including bun 176 calories, 3 lean meat + 2 vegetable exchanges 12 grams carbohydrate, 23 grams protein, 4 grams fat, 220 mg sodium, 767 mg potassium, 54 mg cholesterol.

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Too many businesses are stuck on the idea that social media is about the tools of technology. They are letting the fear of technology stand in the way of using social media properly for business. There must be an understanding that social media is not about the technology; it only opened the doors for businesses to build closer relationships with their customers through social media. It is important to create a social mindset for relationship marketing, networking, engaging, and collaborating. Relationships first, business second!

2. The Transparency Mindset

Many businesses are still reluctant to use social media because they fear the idea of being transparent. They feel that they will lose control of their marketing message by opening doors to brand haters who will leave negative comments on social media sites. Realistically, if you have any brand haters, they are going to talk about you whether you are on social media sites or not. It is also good to know what consumers are complaining about so a business can find areas of improvement that can potentially increase the bottom line.

Also, using social media opens doors to brand evangelists and influencers who will help create word-of-mouth about the brand. Transparency equals opportunity!

3. The Communication Mindset A business must have an open mind to sharing and communicating online. There needs to be a shift from the traditional way of marketing (one-way communication) to engagement and collaboration (two-way communication). Customers are looking for two-way dialogue with companies they do business with. They want to be more involved in the development of products and services, and they want businesses to show them that they care enough to listen to their opinions, thoughts, and ideas. After all, people are not engaging in social media activity to be sold to; they are there to be heard.

4. The Trust Mindset Embracing the trust mindset is extremely vital for businesses. This is two-sided – A business must be ready to build trust online as well as trust their audience with their comments, suggestions, advice, recommendations, opinions, and referrals. Building trust allows a business to be more open to sharing. We never know who is listening to online conversation, or reading business updates, tweets, and blogs. It could be the media, investors, potential partners, and prospects.

Teach your child Internet safety tips. The people they talk to online might not be who they say they are. Safety Tip: Visit (keyword search: Internet Safety) for online safety tips.

5. The Authenticity Mindset

The trust mindset takes us to authenticity. Customers want to get to know the human behind the brand. They want to do business with a person or people, not an object or a robot. If a business establishes a mindset of being authentic online, it will build more trust and credibility; thus, increasing business results. Commitment and consistency are two key factors which enable you to sustain business success. Taking the time to plan and put a schedule together is the only way you will be committed and consistent with social media. In addition, there must be a willingness to dedicate time to listen, learn, implement, and make adjustments, if needed. If you are not in the state of mind to use social media, it will be extremely difficult to achieve long-term sustainable results.

6. The Commitment & Consistency Mindset

Many businesses are jumping on social media platforms and not engaging, or avoiding using social media altogether because they believe it is a waste of time. If a business does not take the effort to do research and create a strategy, social media will be a real time-killer. So , do not fall behind the curve. Make the effort to work on your social media mindset and see the difference it makes in your business. Source: Free Articles from

To speak with a Social Media expert about your particular needs or interest please call 225-791-7179.

Call 225-791-7179 for more details!

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Why Can‘t Everyday Be Like Christmas Continued from page 7

stumbled over a limb that had fallen out of the big oak tree next to the house. Nearly falling to the ground, before managing to regain her balance, she yelled out, “Oh, my!” She thought to herself, “I’ve got to be more careful.” She was eighty-eight now, and she felt it. Her body ached every day and just walking around the house exhausted her. She finally reached the wood pile, flashlight in hand, and bent down to pick up a piece. One piece and then another. “Two pieces” she said out loud. She wondered if two pieces would be enough. “Well, it will have to do,” she said. As she turned and walked back into the house carrying her wood and her flashlight, she could see through the window the chair in which Henry used to sit. For a moment, she could almost see him. Her glasses were slightly fogged still as she shook her head and smiled. “That man was something else,” she said, as she walked up the steps into the house. She placed the wood on the table next to the door. She closed the door quickly as not to let out the little bit of heat in the house. As she removed her coat and hat, a knock came from the front door. “Who could it be at this hour?” she thought. As she made her way slowly through the kitchen and living room she arrived at the front See Page 16


Safety Tip: Don’t hide your house keys under the doormat or in a flowerpot, there could be someone watching. It’s much wiser to give an extra key to a trusted neighbor.

FIRE FI REWATCH WATCH With Howard Ward -Baker Fire Department

Let’s Talk Turkey about Thanksgiving Fire Safety I More than 4,000 fires

will be the first to tell you that I am one of those guys who looks forward, all year long, to the week of Thanksgiving. It’s during this week where I will go out and buy the perfect sized turkeys for frying. I will also purchase all my “top secret” ingredients that I will use to shoot-up the turkeys and on the morning of Thanksgiving I awake early hoping for a beautiful cool November day. I go out and fire up my burner and it isn’t long before I am cooking one of Louisiana’s favorite Thanksgiving day entrées….DEEP SOUTHERN FRIED TURKEY”Oh Boy, I can’t wait”… Before we can enjoy our much anticipated holidays with family and friends, let us not forget that Thanksgiving Day has more than double the number of home cooking fires than an average day, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of Thanksgiving Day home fires, and it’s easy to understand why, it’s so easy to become

occur each year on Thanksgiving Day.

distracted and lose track of what’s happening in the kitchen when you are enjoying spending time with family and friends. To prevent kitchen fires, the Fire Service recommends that you keep potholders and food wrappers at least three feet away from heat sources while cooking. In addition, stoves, ovens, and ranges should be turned off if the responsible adult leaves the kitchen. Also, set timers to keep track of turkeys and other food items that require extended cooking times.

10 Deep Fried Turkey Safety Tips 1. Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors at a safe distance from buildings and any other material that can burn. 2. Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or in garages. 3. Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping. 4. Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire. 5. Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use. Even after use, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot, hours after use. 6. To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer. 7. Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter. 8. Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water don‘t mix, and water causes oil to spill over, causing a fire or even an explosion hazard. 9. The National Turkey Federation recommends refrigerator thawing and to allow approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of bird thawed in the refrigerator. 10. Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. Remember to use your best judgment when attempting to fight a fire. If the fire is manageable, use an all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call 9-1-1 for help.

Stay Safe, Howard Ward -Baker Fire Department Public Relations Officer (225) 706-0574

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Why Can‘t Everyday Be Like Christmas Continued from page 14

door. “Who is it?” she asked in a sing-song voice. A voice on the other side of the door she had never heard before replied “Merry Christmas, Mrs. Murtis.” At that moment, she realized it was Christmas. Since Henry died, she never really celebrated Christmas. She didn’t see the point. They didn’t have any children, he wasn’t there to share it with, and to her it was just another day. Another cold, dark, bitter day she spent all alone. “Merry, huh.” she thought. “There is nothing Merry about being all alone these days.” She looked out through the peep-hole to see a face she recognized. It was her neighbor, Dale, from three houses down. She met him once, a couple of years before, when he moved into the neighborhood. Still, he was a stranger. She wondered what he could possibly want

at this time of the night. She figured he probably needed an egg or some sugar. His wife probably asked him to come down and see if she had any to spare. Little did they know, she didn’t really have any to spare. With money being scarce, she often had to do without. As she opened the door slowly, he took off his hat. “Good evening Mrs. Murtis, Merry Christmas.” he said. “Hello.” She replied, squinting hard to see him in the dark. The porch light had burned out some time ago. “You did know it was Christmas day, didn’t you Mrs. Murtis?” He asked. “Um, yeah, I knew.” She lied. As she opened the door fully, she could see that he wasn’t alone. He had a lot of people with him. Some of which she recognized and a few she did not. “Dale? Is everything alright?” she

asked. “Who are these people? “ “Mrs. Murtis,” he began “this is my wife Debbie, and my three daughters: Emma, Clair, and Charlie. This is my mother, Jan, and my father Dave, and these are my two sisters, Becky and Grace, and this is my brother, Joe.” As she looked at them standing in her front yard, she could barely see their faces. “May we come in?” He asked. “Sure.” She replied. Still unsure exactly what was going on, she let them in. One by one they entered the house. She noticed that each one of them was carrying something. “What’s this all about?” She asked. Dale looked at her with a big smile on his face and said, “We brought Christmas to you Mrs. Murtis.” For 2 years we have watched you spend Christmas alone. We sent you Christmas Cards inviting you to come be with us see page 18


Safety Tip:

Report crimes and suspicious activities to police; agree to testify when necessary. If you want to live in a safe community, stand up for what you believe in.

Holiday Season

Safety Tips

The holidays are here! But, as you deck the halls, and dream by the fire, keep in mind all the dangers that come along with holiday decorations and winter appliances. We want to help make your holiday season as comfortable, and safe as possible. So we’ve put a list of quick tips together to keep you safe and sound all the way through the spring. We hope these tips will help you make it safely through Christmas, the cold weather, and the New Year. Happy Holidays!


If you have a “real” Christmas tree, make sure to keep it hydrated. Just like a bouquet of flowers, a tree needs water to prolong its life. If it is dry and brittle, it could catch on fire more easily.


If you have small children or pets, be sure to keep all ornaments, especially glass ones, out of their reach. You don’t want the hazard of a broken ornament on the floor to endanger your family.


When you are away from your home, leave the Christmas tree lights off. According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), fourteen deaths are caused annually by Christmas tree fires.


When you set up a Christmas tree, be sure that it is secure in its stand. The last thing you want is for your beautiful tree to fall over, causing ornaments to break, and creating a fire hazard.


Keep in mind that other things, beside Christmas decorations, can create a hazard. Be sure not to sleep with heating pads or electric blankets on all night. These are also fire hazards.


NFPA Studies have shown that space heaters are responsible for 83% of home heating fire deaths. So if you use space heaters in your home, do not leave them on all night, and do not put anything within four feet of the exposed coils.


While making, giving, and receiving all of your holiday goodies, keep your pets in mind. Certain types of food can result in gastrointestinal disorders in cats and dogs. According to Justine Lee, chocolate, grapes, raisins, and currants can cause kidney failure in dogs. But if your cat ingests scented oils, it could be fatal.


While you stockpile all of your delicious holiday leftovers into the refrigerator, be sure that they are not arranged in a way that is unstable. A child can easily have a holiday dish fall onto him or her. This accident could cause injuries that range from a broken toe to head trauma.


When you are out and about, shopping for gifts or looking for great sales, be observant. Criminals know that you might have cash, or valuable items in your possession. So travel in groups and be alert. 50/$50 Customer Referral Program - Refer online anytime at To Advertise Please Visit Us Online at or call 225-928-7867 $


Why Can‘t Everyday Be Like Christmas Continued from page 16

and you never came. This year, we come to you.” Mrs. Murtis’ eyes filled with tears. “I got the cards, but I never learned how to read.” She said. Without Henry here to read to me, I just throw them away.” As tears ran down her face, Dale gave her a big hug. The others brought the platters into the dining room and began setting up for a Christmas feast. Dale led her into the dining room, holding her arm so she wouldn’t fall, and sat her at the head of the table. As she sat there, everyone sat their dishes on the table, gave her a hug, and told her Merry Christmas. They were all so nice. Mrs. Murtis didn’t know what to do. She felt overwhelmed with emotion. As Debbie set the table, Mrs. Murtis just watched in shock. They had thought of everything. They brought tea, turkey, ham, dressing, yams, green bean casserole, homemade yeast rolls, and even pecan pie. “This is a meal fit for a King.” She thought. Mrs. Murtis couldn’t believe her eyes. They all bowed their heads as Dale said grace. “Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your many blessings. Thank you for family and friends, and especially for Mrs. Murtis. Thank you for allowing us to be together and to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Thank you for this meal we are about to receive and for the love we have for each other. Amen.” 18

Safety Tip:

At that moment, Mrs. Murtis remembered the true meaning of Christmas. It wasn’t about food or gifts, it was about the birth of Jesus Christ and the gift of love. It’s about loving each other and sharing the gift of love with others. Mrs. Murtis was so happy. The rest of the evening was perfect. There were conversations about Henry, and things that he had done when he was alive, as well as new stories from Dale and his family that she had never heard. They sat around the fire place and sipped hot chocolate like she and Henry had done so many times before. It was the best and only Christmas present anyone had given her in over a decade. As the time flew by, it grew late very quickly. Dale hated to conclude this glorious Christmas Day but the children were getting tired and so was Mrs. Murtis. As everyone headed for the door, each one stopped to give Mrs. Murtis a hug. She thanked them over and over again for coming and told them how much she appreciated all that they had done. She waved to them as they drove home down the street. She couldn’t erase the smile on her face as she returned into the house and closed the door. As Mrs. Murtis climbed into her bed, she wondered what she would have eaten if Dale

and his family had not come over. She sure was glad that they did. From that night on, Mrs. Murtis had a new outlook on life. She didn’t feel alone anymore. Mrs. Murtis had decided to “Let everyday be like Chirstmas.” She was no longer the little old lady who lived all alone. She had a new family that she shared love with every day after that. Her house that once felt dead now had love and laughter again. That was the last Christmas Mrs. Murtis saw, she died this year. She died with the best gift in the world, the gift of love. You see, she learned how to give and receive love from mere strangers. It’s true what they say; one simple act of kindness truly can change a person’s life. Why can’t everyday be like Christmas?

- In Loving Memory of Mrs. Murtis 1922-2010

Take special care with holiday and seasonal decorations. Don’t use combustible materials and never block access to safety devices, doors, etc. Put out candles before leaving the room or going to sleep.

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