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Stephen Kerr's Blog




A Marriage Made In Heaven

With all the statistics about the divorce rate getting higher and higher, here's a change of pace: a couple who was married 72 years, and ended up passing away together. Read this incredible story by clicking here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2051047/Gordon-Norma-Yeager-married-72-yrs-die-hour-apart-holding-hands.html?ito=feeds-newsxml
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A True Sense Of Community

This past week has been one of deep reflection for me. No, I'm not going to espouse philosophy or anything; it's quite simple, really. The devastating wildfires here in the Austin area, along with the 10th anniversary of 9/11... both events have stirred a myriad of emotions in me, and, I'm sure, in many of you as well. We probably know at least someone who was affected by the wildfires in some way. I know three people personally who had to evacuate, but thankfully they were able to return to their homes with little or no damage. But there were countless others who lost everything, including their homes, and my thoughts and prayers go out to them. You always hope that there is no loss of life with these events, but unfortunately, two people died from the wildfires, and my heart goes out to their families as well. Even if many of us weren't directly affected by the tragic events of September 11, 2001 in the sense of losing loved ones or friends, I don't think we can ever forget the sense of horror and outrage we felt when the terrorists struck. Our country was being violated, and it didn't matter whether you lived in New York or Austin, if you saw the images on television or heard about it on the radio, you felt as if you were right in the thick of it. The dominant thought running through my mind as I ran through both events this week is the way people pull together in times of tragedy or great crisis. We worry and complain daily about our local, state, and federal government, about the economy, the unemployment rate, health care, etc. But when something or someone threatens our community, state, or country, all that goes out the window. When you hear about people opening their homes to total strangers because they had to evacuate, or give generously of their finances or material possessions, it shows more than just a sense of duty or responsibility. It demonstrates real compassion, a feeling of togetherness. It's one of the many reasons I'm proud to be an American.
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Royal Couple Has A New Addition

William and Kate are about to hire a housekeeper-dresser for their new London home. To find out more on that, and other goings-on with the Royal Couple, click the article below: http://www.people.com/people/package/article/0,,20395222_20500584,00.html
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Help Meals OnWheels and More This Summer

Summer can often seem busier than other times of the year, with vacation, entertaining the kids while school's out, etc. In the midst of all this activity, we sometimes forget that not everyone is able to do these things, particularly people who are homebound du to illness or other reasons. That's why Meals On Wheels and More is so vital to our community, providing meals for people who are otherwise unable to cook for themselves. The organization relies on dedicated volunteers to transport 90 percent of the one million meals it distributes each year throughout the Austin area. With summer approaching,MOWAM is facing a shortage of drivers to cover its routes, and more cancellations are expected due to summer commitments. 40 of these routes are currently open, which means they don't have regular drivers assigned to them, and are having to be covered by paid drivers. This raises administrative costs, including gas. Meals On Wheels and More is looking for both regular and substitute drivers, particularly in north Austin and areas east of I35. If you can help, visit their website at: http://www.mealsonwheelsandmore.org/volunteer.
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Which Prince's UniformDo You Like?

Which prince had the most charming uniform at the Royal Wedding? Prince William sporting his Colonel of the Irish Guard uniform, or his best man, brother Prince Harry, in his Captain of the Household Cavalry uniform? Find out more about the princes' military garb at: http://www.people.com/people/package/article/0,,20395222_20485858,00.html and let me know your thoughts.
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Stop the Cyberbullying!

Bullying has been a problem for centuries. I certainly was a victim of my share growing up, and, I'm ashamed to say, even occasionally dished out the insults myself. My son was also a victim during middle school. It's no secret that bullying can have major consequences, some of which can be tragic. Many teen suicides and highly-publicized school shootings over the years have been linked to youths being pushed over the edge as a result of either being bullied or feeling ostracized by their peers. Over the past few years, the advent of the Internet, texting, and other forms of technology have created another form of bullying that can be even more destructive: cyberbullying, where humiliating messages and images are sent and forwarded to many people. Unlike face-to-face bullying, victims of cyberbullying suffer widespread public humiliation and don't have the chance to defend themseelves before the damage is done. What can be done to stop it? The Texas Child Safety Organization, in collaboration with the Austin Independent School District and the National Day of Cyberbullying Awareness, will hold its first-ever Cyberbullying Prevention and Intervention Conference. The event will be held Sunday, March 6, 2:30 to 5:30 Pm, at the Anderson High School Performing Arts Auditorium. Parents, students, educators, and others are encouraged to come together in an informative, interactive session to address what is being and can be done to reduce, or even totally eliminate, this growing problem among teens and preteens. Studies show that as many as one in every three children will be cyberbullied in their teen or preteen years, so organizers of the conference believe this is a timely and potentially life-saving first step in putting a stop to it. State Represenative Mark Strama, an internet and child safety advocate, will moderate the conference. For more information, contact Natalie Kloss-Biagini at (512) 947-3385, or email her at: natalie@texaschildsafety.org To register for the event, go online to: http://www.texaschildsafety.org/
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Champions For Children

I'm always happy to promote awareness of community events, especially when they involve helping children who have suffered abuse. Champions for Children is an annual event that benefits Helping Hand Home for Children, a local nonprofit organization that provides services such as residential treatment, therapeutic foster care, adoption services, and charter school education services to children who have suffered major abuse. The benefit will be held Tuesday, Oct. 19, 12 noon, at the Hilton Austin Hotel. It's an awards luncheon that honors local volunteers, caregivers, and staff of nonprofit groups who devote themselves to helping children in need. This year's emcee is Ron Franklin of ESPN, a man I have admired for many years, and who has one of the best broadcast voices I've ever heard. The keynote speaker is Lee Woodruff, Contributing Editor for ABC's "Good Morning America", and wife of ABC News Correspondent Bob Woodruff. Lee has received high praise for her riveting account of her husband's recovery from injuries following a roadside bombing in Iraq. For more information about Champions for Children, email Julie Freeman, Director of Development, Helping Hand Home for Children, at: jfreeman@helpinghandhome.org To find out more about Helping Hand Home, and the services they offer, visit: www.helpinghandhome.org
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The Flamboyant Dancing Attraction

I just read about a new study by British scientists claiming women are attracted to men who have flamboyant dancing moves, similar to the trademark of John Travolta. Is this true, ladies? Are you more apt to be attracted to a man if he's a great dancer? Feel free to weigh in. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100909/ap_on_sc/eu_britain_male_dancing
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10 Ideas for Father's Day Gifts

Still having trouble finding that perfect gift for Dad this Sunday? Maybe this article will give you that much-needed inspiration. Happy Father's Day, Dad! http://www.mademan.com/mm/10-best-fathers-day-gifts.html
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Kids Talk About Mom

Want to get the real take on Mother's Day? Just ask kids; they'll tell it like it is. Happy Mother's Day! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVeo-3lwwa8
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How To Get To Know a Disabled Person

When you see a blind person walking down the street, or encounter someone who is deaf or in a wheelchair, what's your initial reaction? Curiosity? Pity? Fear? Awkwardness? If you answered yes to any of these, you're not alone. Chances are you don't regularly associate with someone who is disabled, so these feelings are rather common. Having been blind since birth, I've encountered a wide range of reactions when meeting people, from curious stares when I walk with my white cane or holding someones arm, to amazement at being able to feed and dress myself. I was even ignored by a server at a restaurant. Most people don't mean to be rude or insensitive. They just aren't sure what to expect. Here are four points to keep in mind if you should happen to meet a person with a disability. 1. We're just like you. Aside from the disability itself, we have the same hopes, dreams, and feelings as anyone else. We laugh at something funny, cry over sad movies, and express anger or frustration when we're wronged. Many people with disabilities work, raise families, and take part in social activities. Instead of concentrating on the disability, look at the person the same way you would at a family member, your best friend or other acquaintance. 2. It's Ok to ask questions. Many people are afriad of offending someone by asking about their disability. When meeting anyone for the first time, it's natural to be curious about who they are, where they're from, what they do for a living, etc. Asking questions about a disability is usually acceptable, as long as you don't give the impression you think that person is helpless. Don't, for example, ask a blind person how he feeds and bathes himself. Instead, find out if she uses special computer equipment to do her job, how does he travel around town,does she read Braille or audio books, etc. If someone does take offense to a question, don't assume everyone with a disability feels that way. 3. Offer assistance when necessary. You see a woman in a wheelchair having trouble entering a building or negotiating steps. You'd like to help, but don't want to embarrass her. What should you do? It's usually appropriate to lend a hand if someone is having obvious difficulty, but keep in mind that not everyone will be accepting of your help. It's not much different than pulling over and offering assistance to a motorist with a flat tire. Unless the woman in the wheelchair is in danger of causing harm to herself or others, it isn't necessary to press the issue if they refuse your assistance. You did your part. 4. Remember that we all have obstacles to overcome. No matter who we are, each of us has a weakness or challenge to face. How do you feel when you are treated differently because you're bald, short, or heavyset? Wouldn't you rather people accept you for who you really are, rather than be pitied, made fun of, or shunned? So would a disabled person. Meeting someone with a disability doesn't have to be an intimidating experience. Asking questions, offering assistance, and putting yourself in their shoes can go a long way toward recognizing them as people with normal thoughts and feelings who just happen to have a disability. Who knows? You just might make some new friends in the process. many friends and colleagues have said to me, "I often forget that you are blind." To me, that is the ultimate compliment.
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