Monthly Archives: July 2009

Sen. Deuell reports 80,000 new students in Texas annually but 60% don’t speak English

Sen. Bob Duell

An average of 80,000 new students per year are being enrolled in schools annually across Texas but over 60 percent do not speak English, State Sen. Bob Deuell (R-Greenville) told a group of about 75 men and women at the Rockwall Republican Men’s Club breakfast July 11. 

As a result, $2 billion dollars more are required each year in the state budget for funding education, he explained afterward.

“The figures show that each student costs about $7,000 to educate,” he said. “And since the courts have ruled that we need to educate the children of illegal immigrants, as well, the costs continue to rise.”

“But I’d rather build schools than prisons,” he added, since research shows that youth without an education run into more trouble with the law than those attending school.

“I wish all students could read, but they can’t,” the medical doctor continued. “I wish children under 18 didn’t become pregnant, but they do. I wish there was no mercury in fish and lakes, but there is. I wish water and energy was abundant and cheap, but they’re not.”

“So that’s why we have such a challenge allocating the funds to deal with these and many more problems,” he said, considering about 1,000 people a day are now moving into Texas.

“But we have to learn to live within our means.”

He further explained how the $12 billion federal stimulus is helping to balance the budget, plus how the $9 billion “Rainy Day” fund established by Republican lawmakers is of great benefit.

“In 2009, the budget deficit was $9 billion, but thanks to the $12 billion federal stimulus, we can balance the budget and still keep the Rainy Day fund,” he said.

In 2011, it’s projected right now there will be an $11 billion deficit, but the extra stimulus money plus the $9 billion Rainy Day fund should basically balance that out.” 

He commented that the Democrats had wanted to spend the Rainy Day fund this budget year, as well, but Republicans were able to maintain the fund to help with future State financial problems.

Sen. Deuell further reported that 12,226 bills were filed in the 2009 legislature, 200 more than in 2007. A total of 7, 419 bills passed.

Brittnee Lee performs at Big D Opry show with Grammy winner Bryan White

Britnee Lee on stage

Just discovered that popular Royse City teenage singer and entertainer Brittnee Lee appeared on stage with Grammy award-winning, multiple-platinum country artist Bryan White June 25 at the Big D Opry in Dallas.  

Other popular Nashville and Texas recording artists also performed, including Star de Azlan, Jolie Holliday, Bryan Cline and Paul Eason.

Britnee’s career continues to soar, as she struggles to overcome the death of her mother May 26.

She will appear again with the above group and more at the next Big D Opry show at  Fellowship Bible Church in Dallas, Aug. 27 at 8 pm. Ticket info is at that website.

Big D Opry also conducts a talent search so if you want to appear on stage with top talent, contact the show at the above website.

Mother of Royse City entertainer Brittnee Lee passed away May 26

deena edmonds

Although this story is over a month old, I was just saddened to learn that the mother of popular Royse City teen singer and entertainer “Brittnee Lee” Edmonds passed away May 26, after a two-year battle with cancer.

Deena Edmonds, who had been on hospice care for several months, was still actively involved in Brittnee’s life until the very end. She was just 38 years old.

A former fifth grade teacher at Herfurth ElementarySchool in Rowlett, her funeral attracted hundreds of people and the procession was nearly two miles long, wrote Brittnee on her MySpace blog.

“I am not surprised, though,” added Brittnee. “My mom was an amazing woman who, as a close friend said during the service, “lived herself to death.” She did not let cancer stop her from thoroughly living her life.”

Deena had been battling adrenal cortical carcinoma, a very rare form of cancer. After suffering the effects of Cushing’s Syndrome in 2007, a CT scan found a football-sized tumor on her left side, which required the removal of her kidney and adrenal gland. After several months of treatment, doctors said that there was nothing more that they could do. 

The wife of Garland Police Officer and Desert Storm veteran John Edmonds, Deena had been enjoying life with friends and family for several months, but her cancer spread very quickly in the last few weeks. She was surrounded by family and friends when she passed away.

Below is the last entry that Brittnee’s father, John Edmonds, posted on the online blog dedicated to Deena’s journey.

“Deena is regressing and is in the beginning stages of the dying process.  We are attempting to keep her comfortable.  She is having bouts of confusion and hallucinations which are signs that her metabolism is beginning to shut down.  Further, she is getting harder to wake.  Hospice is checking her vitals often and, once she is deemed to be within 72 hours of passing, they will stay with us around the clock.

She said she is tired, but takes comfort in knowing that Deena told us all that she is not afraid.  Most importantly, she said she is confident of her destination.  We ask only for prayers of comfort and total peace as she passes.  As we focus on Deena, I will probably not post again until we are given the 72 hour timeframe.  This may be a few weeks or days in God’s perfect timing.

Deena is so thankful for the love and support all have shown her the past 2 years.   She sends her love with a reminder that Christians never say goodbye for the last time.”

We send our sincerest condolences to the Edmonds family….

Anybody see the final two hours of “Harper’s Island” thriller last night?


Did anybody else watch the final two-hour episode of Harper’s Island last night on CBS-TV like we did?

It’s a great show, if you like suspense and murder mysteries.

Neither my wife nor I expected the ending, and I won’t give it away, in case you still want to watch it.

It’s the first TV show that I can remember that was only designed for one season. Every week somebody gets killed until in the final episode there’s only six people left from the original wedding party on the remote Harper’s Island.

Watch the reruns on either the Harper’s Island website or one of several Internet websites which play previously aired programs.

Pre-owned clothing consignment shop now open in Old Town Rockwall

Yesterday we discovered a very nice pre-owned clothing consignment shop has newly opened on the Square in Old Town Rockwall.

Consignment means they will sell your pre-owned clothing for you and you receive roughly half of whatever price they sell it for.

Called “Echo Wear,” the cute, nicely-organized boutique features over a dozen racks of “new, pre-loved and vintage clothing and shoes” (as the sign says), plus handcrafted jewelry and one-of-a-kind gifts.

Shop owner is Julie Freeman, who lives in Dallas but plans to soon move to Rockwall, where her brother already lives. Very cordial to all of her customers, Julie’s also put her 14-year-old daughter, Chloe, to work there. She also has a baby, who will probably also get to work there some day!

Julie said business has been very good and she hopes to expand soon, adding more “vintage” clothing, shoes and accessories, which she said means between the 20s and 80s.  Man, did that make me feel old! I’m a child of the 60s and have never thought of myself as vintage before. But, according to teenager Chloe, I guess I now am!

My wife said there’s lots of nice women’s clothing. Julie said they plan to add men’s clothing soon. They

Check out the shop just east of the Courthouse at 114 North San Jacinto, where the Dallas Morning News used to be. Phone is 469-734-5659.

Rockwall’s Farmers Market a busy place


Rockwall’s Farmers Market was a busy place yesterday. It was our first time there. Dozens of customers were purchasing fresh fruits and veggies from about 10 stands set up by farmers from as far away as Canton.  

We bought a bunch of fresh fruits, including strawberries, blueberries, apricots and cantelope. We happily found some organics, but also settled for some produce grown locally and with a minimum of pesticides.

It’s hard to grow produce without any pesticides at all, said one of the farmers.

Prices were generally higher than at grocery stores. A container of strawberries cost $4, for example, compared to half that at Walmart or Kroger. But we also figure that the produce is fresher and has less contaminants.

It’s a nice, friendly place to shop for produce, too,where everybody seemed very cordial. Nice place to meet your neighbors, as well.

Rockwall’s First Presbyterian Church names new pastor

cheryl taylor

Rockwall’s First Presbyterian Church has found a new pastor.

Pastor Cheryl Taylor, a former chaplain for two years at Harris Methodist HEB Hospital in Bedford, who just received her degree in May from Brite Divinity School of TCU in Fort Worth, will conduct her first service Aug. 2 at 11 am.

First Presbyterian Church is located at 602 White Hills Drive, off Ridge Road, next to Wal-Mart.

She replaces Pastor Robert Reeves, who retired last year after 33 years in the pulpit. He’s now the chaplain at Presbyterian Hospital of Rockwall. He’s also the co-founder of Rockwall County Helping Hands.

Pastor Taylor already has plenty of experience. Prior to entering seminary, she served as Director of Christian Education for Bentwood Trail Presbyterian Church in Dallas for three years and for Trinity Presbyterian Church in Flower Mound for six years.  She worked as a Christian Education Consultant for Grace Presbytery for seven years. First Presbyterian Church of Fort Worth hosted her while she was a Pastoral Intern from 2008-2009.

Several nice things have been said about her. 

“Cheryl is genuine and authentic,” said Reverend Frank Ehman of Trinity Presbyterian Church. She communicates her faith by how she lives.  Her faith is who she is. When you’re with Cheryl, you feel you’re in the presence of a faithful and devoted servant of the church.”

“Cheryl has genuine warmth, wisdom to match her intelligence, and is just plain fun to be around,” said Reverend Joseph J. Clifford, pastor of First Presbyterian Church Dallas.

While at Brite she  received several honors, including:  Dean’s List, Walker Ministerial Foundation Scholar, the Dr. Roy F. Melugin Award for demonstrating love of neighbor, the Baxter F. and W. Dell Thomas Excellence Award for Christian Ministry, and Awards in New Testament (2008), Preaching (2007), and Hebrew Bible (2006).

“She is a people person, always smiling and in touch with God,” said Brite Divinity School Professor Dr. Joseph Jeter about Pastor Taylor. ”She takes her sermon preparation very seriously.  She is a gifted preacher who has won preaching awards, including the Walker Scholarship which is given to a student with real promise as a pulpit minister.”

Pastor Taylor also holds a journalism degree from the University of North Texas, where she graduated Magna cum Laude.

She has been married since 1982 to David Moore, a reporter for The Dallas Morning News, who currently covers the Dallas Cowboys and has also covered the NBA.

Their daughter, Kelsey, a recent graduate of Coppell High School, will attend Schreiner University in Kerrville this Fall, where she will be studying psychology and education on a Presidential Scholarship.