Seminole Sentinel (Seminole, Tex.), Vol. 103, No. 72, Ed. 1 Sunday, June 17, 2012 Page: 4 of 13
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Page 4A Seminole (Texas) Sentinel * Sunday, June 17,2012
Mailing Address: P.O. Drawer 1200, Seminole, IX 79360 • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org • Web Site: www.seminolesentinel.com • Phone: (432) 758-3667 • Fax: (432) 758-2136
Paper T n Ink:
Smokey is Dead!
Only You Can Prevent Forest
Baby boomers have those few
words burned into their memories.
If you are a child of the '60s, you can
close your eyes and see the poster
in your mind.
It was a large bear wearing a
forest ranger hat and pointing
straight out at the viewer.
Smokey the Bear was not just a
poster object or a cartoon character,
at the time he was a living symbol
on display at the National Zoo in
His story really began in the
1950s when he, as a cub, was
found high above smoking embers
of a forest near Capitan, New Mexico. He was burned, but he had
survived the horrors of a forest fire.
All of this was kind of surreal to a kid who grew up on the tree-
less plains. News of the fires were presented in glorious black and
white, as announcers droned on about the courage of firefighters
who were battling to save the trees, in one exotic locale or another.
Some of the naivete was lost to many young minds about this
scourge of the timberlands when the Disney movie Bambi hit the
theaters. The film depicted a tranquil scene of forest creatures en-
joying their usual activities only to be suddenly faced with a huge
and raging fire. A careless camper had allowed his campfire to go
unattended and a small flame blew into the surroundings and the
Forest fires were the enemy and every precaution was a must
to keep even small blazes from occurring. And in an ironic twist,
people, warned so well, began to take the advice and fires were
not as common place.
The irony being that fire in a forest can be a good and natural
event. It is almost non-sensible to find out that some trees are ac-
tually helped by the heat generated and their seeds activate after a
small blaze takes place.
But that's not to say the recent fires in New Mexico and Colo-
rado are a good and natural thing. They are not. People's homes
have been destroyed, wildlife killed, valuable timber burned to
unusable charcoal and government assets and employees strained
to breaking points.
The Colorado inferno has all of the usual causes plus one other
disastrous complication. Tree eating beetles have invaded that for-
est land and eaten their fill, killing thousands of trees. Of course,
these dead hunks of wood have dried and become objects ready
to explode into flame to throw embers and ash wherever the wind
blows the result, involving thousands of acres
The fire at Ruidoso has been a wind-aided blaze, covering even
more ground than the Colorado fire. News casts were telling us that
some 220 houses have been destroyed and this by a fire that as of
Thursday morning was less than 50 percent contained.
Not only that, but the Ruidoso ordeal is a lot more personal
to West Texans. Many people in our area have second homes
or getaway cabins in the woods surrounding that mountain town.
And Wednesday afternoon, it became even more personal when a
smokey haze began to seep into our area.
Back to 01' Smokey... My wife, mother, father and twin three-
year-old daughters were on a trip to Ruidoso. We took a few minutes
to stop in Capitan at the little park dedicated to the famous bear.
Becky, Barbie and I walked up to a large rock, and I explained
Smokey the Bear was under that rock. We piddled around, took in
the sights and began the short drive to Ruidoso, when a little voice
asked, "Daddy, how does Smokey breathe under that rock?" "Well,
he can't, he is dead," I answered without thinking much about it.
Hardly a mile went by when Becky looked at her sister and
cried out, "Barbie, Smokey the Bear is dead!" And with that both
of them went into crying fits.
The crying went on for a couple of miles as we tried to console
the grieving three-year-olds. Nothing worked, until their Grand-
mother had had enough..."Be quiet girls." And they were.
by Lynn Brisendine
New YORK err/ D¥2T
fib Utet* *
From Slave Labor to 21st Century
Having spent a few years in
two different life segments in Fort
Bend County, it’s particularly in-
teresting to me to watch develop-
ments there. It has gone from a
rural, agrarian lifestyle to a much
urbanized suburb of Houston.
That includes the city of Sugar
Land moving from a company
town, begun with sugar planta-
tions’ slave labor in the 1840s,
to a sophisticated, upscale 21st
Sugar Land, of course, de-
rived its name as the headquar-
ters of Imperial Sugar Co. begun
in the early 1840s. A collective of
sugar cane farmers using some
slave labor (Imperial was the
original pure cane sugar com-
pany) formed a cooperative mill
to process the cane and produce
sugar. That quickly became
Imperial Sugar Co. This year a
Dutch agribusiness conglomerate
bought Imperial, completing the
cycle to 21st Century climes and
For much of the 20th Cen-
tury, Sugar Land was a company
town. In the first half of that cen-
tury, the sugar company owned
all of the land and housing in
Texas Journalist...by Willis Webb
the town. The company never
used the iron-fisted control over
the town as 19th Century and
early 20th Century companies
did over “their towns.” Many
often referred to Sugar Land as
a “benevolent dictatorship.”
Two companies existed:
Imperial Sugar and Sugarland
In those days as a company
town, Imperial concentrated on
making and selling sugar. Sugar-
land Industries, a wholly owned
Imperial subsidiary, initially
owned and operated a company
general store but branched out as
growth began slowly. More spe-
cialized retail stores were opened
in a new Imperial-built shopping
center and the company even
went into gas station businesses
as well as a car dealership.
Company script (paper
money issued by Imperial and
its SI sister) was widely used well
into the second half of the 1900s.
Imperial leaders recognized
that Houston was ultimately
coming that way and began to
slowly divest itself of the “com-
pany housing,” selling to the em-
ployees. Independent builders
also began constructing housing
on the city’s south side. That was
followed by SI selling land on
the southeast side of the city to
an independent developer who
dug a series of connected canals
and created “Venetian Estates,”
which was quickly filled by the
initial rush of urban flight from
A few independent manu-
facturing concerns opened facili-
ties in Sugar Land and it began to
take on the look of any growing
Growth brought changes
in the educational system as
well, for all of eastern Fort Bend
County. The Sugar Land In-
dependent School District con-
solidated with the old Stafford-
Missouri City district to form the
Fort Bend ISD. Agreement was
reached to have a seven-person
school board with three posi-
tions being filled from the “old
Stafford-Missouri City district”
and three from the “old Sugar
Land district. ” The seventh post,
an at-large berth, was conceded
by a verbal agreement to Sugar
Land because it possessed a ma-
jority of the property valuation in
the newly formed district.
Nothing existed in writing
about that representation split
because it was and is illegal, so it
was a ‘gentlemen’s agreement.’
Over time, particularly with
the burgeoning growth instigated
by Houston spillover, all vestiges
of any initial agreements disap-
peared. Today’s East Fort Bend
County resident will know little if
any about such an arrangement.
Some solid argument can
be proffered as to the legality of
those early agreements but that
smooth, controlled approach
led to well-managed growth for
school facilities, a couple of mav-
ericks notwithstanding, as well as
for East Fort Bend’s cities.
While it may have been
necessary for a couple of decades
in the latter half of the 1900s, no
vestige of a company town op-
eration can be found today. And,
for a time, Fort Bend County
was the fastest growing county
in the U.S.
Willis Webb is a retired com-
munity newspaper editor-publisher of
more than 50 years experience. He
can be reached by email at wwebb@
Improving Financial Literacy Here and Abroad
By Jason Alderman
Would you be surprised
to learn that parents in many
poorer countries often spend
considerably more time talking
with their children about money
management than in wealthier
countries like the United States?
That's just one interesting
nugget revealed at the sixth
annual Financial Literacy and
Education Summit recently
hosted by the Federal Reserve
Bank of Chicago and Visa Inc.
Renowned U.S. and interna-
tional financial experts tackled
the theme, "International Solu-
tions to Improving Financial
Literacy," sharing successes and
challenges faced in their own
countries, as well as presenting
new research that explores ways
that financial knowledge and
behavior can be improved.
Janet Bodner, editor of
Kiplinger's Personal Finance,
shared findings from the 2012
Global Financial Barometer, a
new study cosponsored by Kip-
linger's and Visa. Some global
25,500 participants were asked
about their personal financial
habits and opinions. Assessing
that data, the Barometer ranked
the financial literacy levels of
people in 28 countries. Among
the more interesting findings:
Brazil topped the list as hav-
ing the most financially literate
people, followed by Mexico,
Australia, the U.S. and Canada.
68% of survey respondents
had fewer than three months'
worth of emergency reserves
to fund basic needs during an
unexpected financial event like
25% of high-income re-
spondents had less than three
months of living expenses in sav-
ings. In the U.S., for example,
the average person had only 2.9
months of expenses saved.
Mexico and Brazil topped
the list of places that parents talk
to their kids ages 5 to 17 about
money most often, with Mexi-
cans talking to their kids at least
41.7 days a year and Brazilians
38.1. American families were in
the middle of the pack at about
25.8 days out of the year.
When asked at what age
governments should require
schools to teach financial lit-
eracy, U.S. respondents ranked
near the bottom at 11.9 years.
By comparison, more than half
of Brazilians surveyed believe
such education should begin
before age 9.
In over half the countries, a
majority believe that teens and
young adults do not understand
financial basics, such as budget-
ing, savings, debt and spending
Bodner noted that these re-
sults add to our body of knowl-
Making a Difference
By Gina Kelly Ellis
In Deuteronomy 28, there is a verse
that speaks of the way so many of us live.
He is talking about the people who refuse
to trust God. In verses 66 and 67 say, “So
your life will hang in doubt before you
and you shall be in dread night and day
and shall have no assurance of your life.
In the morning you will say, Would that
it were night. In the nighttime, you will
say, Would that it were morning, because
of the dread of your heart and the fear
of the sight that you will see. ” Does that
remind you of anything? Have you ever
spent a sleepless night worried about what
may be facing you in the morning? Have
you ever lived with dread or fear in your
heart? I certainly have. If you are involved
in agriculture at all, you may read this and
think this is just a way of life! The truth is,
and I am speaking to myself here, if this
verse sounds way too familiar to you, you
are just not truly trusting God with your life. Oh
sure, we say we trust Him, but when it comes
down to it, are you really giving Him all your
worries and concerns? It is really hard to do!
We just think we are the only ones who can
handle whatever is going on in our lives. Or we
feel like we got ourselves into it, it is up to us to
get ourselves out of it. That is not God’s way.
He asks us to come to Him with our worries,
concerns, heartaches. In Matthew 11:28, He
says, “Come unto Me, all who are weary and
heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” He is
asking us to bring our worries to Him. He is
asking us to bring Him what weighs us down.
It doesn’t matter what it is. If it bothers you,
He wants it. If it worries you, He wants it. He
is our Heavenly Father. He wants to take our
burdens from us. He wants rest for us.
There is another verse in the Bible that
says the opposite of what Deuteronomy says.
In Psalm 4:8, David says, “In peace, I will
both lie down and sleep. For You alone, Oh
LORD, have caused me to dwell in safety. ”
Now which sounds better to you? That hor-
rible restless night and nerve-wracking day
of worry? Or the peace of lying down and
sleeping knowing the Savior has the night
watch over you? That would be a no-brainer.
If your worries or concerns are keeping you
up at night, then go ahead and get up and
then get down on your knees and give it all
over to Him. You will rest better and you will
find the answers for which you are search-
ing. Now I did not say your troubles would
magically go away, but we serve a God who
wants you to trust Him to lead you and to
carry you through all that is ahead of you. The
problems may still be there, but the burden is
lighter when you give it to God. The God of
peace wants to bring that peace to you. Let
Him. It will make a difference.
edge about financial literacy, much more negative credit
"You first have to identify what behavior. Walstad said these
the problems are in your particu- findings suggest that building
lar country, city or school, and confidence has a strong role to
then determine what is effective play in financial education,
in handling those situations," she Bottom line: The panelists
said. A more detailed summary agreed that all of the countries
of the Barometer’s key findings represented share many of the
can be found at www.practical- same challenges for boosting fi-
moneyskills, com/barometer. nancial literacy including gaining
William Walstad, an Eco- wide access for programs to be
nomics professor at University tested, evaluating their results,
of Nebraska-Lincoln, presented and the fact that each has very
another interesting study which diverse populations with differ-
showed that people who scored ent needs at different periods in
poorly on a financial literacy their lives.
test but were confident in their To watch a free webcast of the
money-management abilities Summit, visit www.practicalmo-
exhibited similar abilities to neyskills.com.
manage credit cards as did those Jason Alderman directs Visa’s
with stronger test skills; while financial education programs. To Fol-
those who had high test scores low Jason Alderman on Twitter: www.
but lacked confidence displayed twitter.com/PracticalMoney.
Letter to the Editor
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Wright, Dustin. Seminole Sentinel (Seminole, Tex.), Vol. 103, No. 72, Ed. 1 Sunday, June 17, 2012, newspaper, June 17, 2012; Seminole, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth786759/m1/4/: accessed February 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Gaines County Library.