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Fort Bend County, At Large
By Cheryl Skinner

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.


 
Question from reader

A couple of weeks ago, I posed the question on just who FEMA is helping here in Fort Bend County. Following Hurricane Ike I heard an awful lot of people talking about their application for assistance being denied without a reason.

So, I asked to hear from those who had been helped.

I didn’t get a response on the posed question, but I got a somewhat interesting question posed on a portion of my column pertaining to an 82-year-old woman on a “fixed income” being denied help on paying a large insurance deductible.

The reader wanted to know just what a fixed income constituted, pointing out that she was still working but felt her salary was “fixed” and she, therefore, lived on a fixed income.

When referencing the elderly lady in the column I did not go into her personal finances. However, as a general rule, I would think a fixed income would mean a limited income that is fixed and for various reasons the person on the fixed income was in a stage in life where alternative options to getting additional funds, such as a second job, were limited or non-existent.

Let’s face it, most retirees in their 70’s and 80’s are not likely to go out and get a decent paying job even when they are highly qualified in a field that most likely led to their retirement. And, in today’s economy many of the elderly have found themselves in a situation that is far beyond their capacity to deal with.

Since receiving the letter, I have talked to a number of retirees who say they worked all of their adult lives, planned for retirement, took retirement and then within the last year lost a good portion of the investments they had so carefully stashed away for a rainy day and retirement. Some say they are now trying to subsist on nothing more than Social Security and a very diminished retirement amount.

That is what I was referring to in my column.

A real fixed income that is basically insufficient to deal with serious emergencies such as major home repair.

And, I still think it is sad.

Long hair issue over

The little boy who claimed Native American (Apache) heritage and beliefs will now be able to attend classes in Needville without braiding his long locks.

A federal judge said the district could not initiate a dress code on the child just because there was no written documentation that Apache Indians believe long hair is sacred.

This issue has taken up way too much space in papers and in the courts.

Some local folks felt the parents were hurting the child by making an issue of the district wanting to enforce the dress code. They openly talked about how the parents were setting their little boy up for future ridicule from his classmates.

Others felt the child should learn at an early age that rules should be followed or he would be facing many difficulties in his teen and adult years.

Still others spoke of Needville ISD officials being “Neanderthal” and ridiculous.

Being an avid researcher in Native American history, beliefs and folklore, I could never find where Apache’s held a sacred belief on long hair.

That’s not to say that someone hadn’t indicated to the father of the little boy, who says his family told him he was part Apache but doesn’t have a recognized tribe affiliation, that hair should not be cut.

I just can’t find any reference to the Apache tribe adhering to this tradition.

The federal judge seems to think if you believe that something is a religious tradition, it is.

I find this quite interesting and feel it could open the door to some real interesting litigation in the future.

One last thought

I can’t quite figure it out.

Seems every time a high profile, controversial case involving Assistant District Attorney Mike Elliott finally gets to the courts, it is dismissed.

The question I have is: are all of his high profile cases really personally motivated like his adversaries (and defense attorneys) claim?

And, if not, why does the DA’s Office spend so much time and money trying to prosecute certain people and never have any luck getting the case to court or a conviction once it does get there?

Anyone with answers, please reply.

 

Contact skinnerc1@tconline.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:  February 25, 2009