Posts Tagged ‘news’

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Well hello Dambreaker Nation!!

I am finally able to return to a keyboard and computer where I am able to write this to you.

There’s plenty to talk about. So let’s start at the beginning, which is the 17th of October in 2018.

The attached image was taken from my cell phone on that day around approximately 4:00 in the morning on the 17th.  My apartment building was on fire.

I was awakened by the sounds of someone screaming “Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!…” over and over again.

The first thing that I remember was that I could smell smoke. But I did not identify it s such. I thought that one of the neighbors was burning incense or something and it got out of hand. But that didn’t make sense at 4:00 in the morning.

As I opened my eyes, my window was just filled with a bright orange glow. Something was in fact, on fire.

I got up and went to the window and looked out, expecting to see the apartments on the other side of the fence burning. But I saw nothing but darkness. Then I looked up above and saw more of the orange glow. The neighboring building was not on fire…. I WAS ON FIRE.

I ran for my desk and quickly had to make a decision on what was most important and vital for me to take with me. Keys, wallet, cell phone, rings, cash, coins, etc. Thankfully these items were all in the same spot.

My wheelchair did not have the foot rests attached so I reached for them in the dark, the smell of smoke was becoming more and more apparent.

But I could not see in the dark what I was doing. My next thought was to quickly turn on the light to see. However, as I turned I noticed another bright glow from the ceiling inside of the air conditioning vent. Inside the vent in the ceiling was in flames.

It was at that point that I had decided to abandon everything else and get the hell out before something serious happened.

As I approached the front door, I felt around to see if it was hot. When I realized it was safe to exit, I opened the door slowly and was met by much more fire and smoke. Once I opened the door, I went as fast as I could to get away from the building. And in the process of it all, I felt and heard snapping noises from beneath my wheelchair.

The frame broke.

The neighbors began to pour out onto the sidewalks and I noticed that it was starting to rain. I thought to myself: “Great! From fire to water!!”

The fire department and the police department was swarming all over the property. A police officer made the suggestion that we leave the area because the smoke was about to get worse.

A school bus was sent to pick up the neighbors and I and take us to a local high school gymnasium in order for us to get away from the area and out of the rain.

There are eight apartment units in each building here at SGC. With the exception of two buildings. In the building where I was, there was one unit vacant due to a move out, leaving seven residents living in that building. Four people with walkers and three wheelchairs.

ALL SEVEN OF US GOT OUT WITHOUT INJURY!

The displaced sat inside that gymnasium for just under an hour before they brought us back to the property and placed us inside of the community building where the offices are. It was a mad house but at least we were back.

The apartment manager made some phone calls for those of us who were displaced. My sister and brother were called.

Within the next hour, my sister arrived to SGC. She was ready and willing to help out with the immediate needs. By then I was mentally gone.

I remained inside the community building with only one thought running in my head, “I need a place to stay. How the hell am I going to pay for it??”

The American Red Cross was there and they gave some aid to the displaced. It was not a lot, but it was more than what I had before now that I had lost everything to the fire.

I am thankful for my sister and her efforts to help me. Especially during those first few days. She and her son was in a fender bender the month before and it seemed like their situation was just as bad in their declined health. But she came out to help me.

My brother in Georgia jumped into action as well. Making phone calls and talking with connections to see if he could help in some way.

By the end of the day on the 17th, I still had no idea where I was going to go. The apartment complex just kept asking if I found a place to stay. And I just had to ask them for help.

I was going to use the funds that were donated by the American Red Cross for a hotel for the night, but after that I had no idea where I was going to end up. The social worker found a hotel and tried to use the funds but it was refused. So the apartment complex used a corporate card and paid for the first night of hotel. My brother paid for a second night. It is the one and only time that management paid for a room.

My sister taught me how to connect the Wi-Fi to my cell phone. Thankfully it has been free. So it is a struggling and learning process to figure out how to remain on the Internet with a cell phone.

Nobody who was displaced had insurance. The fire was determined to be an electrical problem in the roof.

During the day, I had people reaching out to me asking questions and what not. And one of the local bands here in Austin, whom I cherish and love so much, created a GoFundMe account. And it was shared around the Internet those first few days.

Those first few days were brutal. But today, is just a memory of hardship. I stayed in the hotel for a few more days after that. But after paying over $325 (before taxes) for just three nights, I knew that I needed to find some place else to stay.

The GoFundMe account has really saved me. I am so thankful for each and every person who decided to donate.

I left the hotel and my sister and I went hunting for something more affordable. Something that I could do from week to week. We went all over Austin and couldn’t find much.

After a reservation finally was made, we went to the front lobby and immediately was met by a woman who said that they had NO ground floor rooms available and there was no elevator on the property.

But eventually, we found a place to stay which had much more room and was on the ground floor. And I have been there since. And I will remain there.

In the meantime, my sister has given me help in transportation so I could find a more permanent place to stay. I have applied everywhere in Austin. But it is all the same. There is a waiting list. And those lists are usually six months up to three years.

Eventually I was told that there was a place willing to open their doors to those of us still displaced. However there is a massive pile of red tape and paperwork ahead and I just don’t have any idea when this opportunity is going to open up.

It would be nice as far as the social life is concerned as it is only about a mile away from the downtown area. And I could stay there until SGC rebuilds. The word on the street is “six months” but nobody believes that time frame. Everyone has their own theory that the rebuild will take about a year.

In the meantime on the day that I am writing this. It has been 34 days since the fire. I’ve been blessed to be able to get out of the hotel and still see live music. However taxis are super expensive. So I have to really pick and choose who I want to see.

I find it necessary to go because of my own mental state, which is shot by now. So it provides me with a distraction from this awful situation. AND…… it is important that others see me at their shows, so that they know that I am still alive and unharmed.

But I can’t afford to go to every show that I had originally put on the calendar to attend before the fire.

This morning I jumped on a city bus and returned to SGC because they are having a Thanksgiving meal. This is usually the only opportunity that I have to do something for the holiday. Usually November and December holidays are just another day.

So I arrived early and had some coffee, spoke to some of the neighbors, and sure enough the gossiping still thrives around here! As if I should have been expecting that.

Today, Day 34 since the fire, I have learned that out of the seven people who are displaced. Two people have left the area and found a place to live. Three people remain to displaced (including myself).

And to my surprise the remaining two residents displaced have been moved into other apartment units that were vacant at the time of the fire.

I am pissed!

Like…. SUPER pissed off!! But I am trying to hold it together because I don’t know just how these two residents were selected to stay here and how the others were left to fend for themselves. I don’t know and I don’t get it. And that is frustrating. Why them and not me? And so on.

While I am back in the neighborhood, I’ll stop by the stores and markets to help myself out as much as I can.

But because there’s no ending in sight, it is a massive struggle so I have included the GoFundMe page below. I hope that the URL works.

I only ask that if you cannot donate that you share the campaign as much as possible. This campaign is the only thing that is keeping me afloat. Nobody else is giving aid. I fear that because nobody wants to talk or give answers as to what’s going on in the near future, that if those funds run out that I will be in deep trouble.

The GoFundMe account is keeping a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in. And sometimes food in my stomach.

Not knowing is the worst part. I have to have faith that the light at the end of the tunnel will soon be brighter. I’m doing my best to stay living in Austin, Texas for the time being until this situation gets corrected.

I know that this will come to an end eventually. However once I get out of the hotel and into a place more long term, I’m going in there with literally NOTHING. And I am going to have to start over again.

It still is true today since I started saying it on day one. I am not in any position to say no to anyone who wishes to help.

 

GoFundMe Campaign

PayPal: send funds to the e-mail address:
joelhaskell@hotmail.com

 

dscn34691“A healthy social life is found only when, in the mirror of each soul, the whole community finds its reflection, and when, in the whole community, the virtue of each one is living.”~ Rudolf Steiner

On the fifteenth of November, which is this week, there will be a board meeting by Capital Metro, which is a bus public transportation here in Austin.

They are proposing some changes to a number of routes that, if passed, would take place in June 2018. They are claiming to want to make bus routes more efficient and faster to get to those people using the service.

Out of the many routes that have proposed changes, TWO of them will be of great importance to me personally.

One of the routes happens to run just outside the apartment complex. And that has been a personal convenience. The other is in the neighborhood down the street by a few hundred feet. And it is the latter route in which I take to get to places into the downtown area for whenever I want to go see live music. Essentially the core part of my social life since 2014.

The proposed change to the route that runs outside the complex will be re-routed to where if I need to ride that bus route, I will have to make a walk of about a half of a mile up a steep hill and then down the other side. Depending on how much stamina I have at that time or how fatigued or not fatigued I am, that could take me up to twenty minutes just to get to the bus stop.

It is not a route personally often, but it causes a great deal of distress and loss of stamina if there came a time if/when I need to use it.

All for the sake of making wait times shorter.

The other route that I use VERY FREQUENTLY and is my link to the social life that I have created for myself (from what I am reading) will go into effect at the same time.

IF YOU KNOW ME FROM LIVE MUSIC, THIS WILL BE IMPORTANT!!

If I am understanding correctly, that bus route that connects me from my neighborhood into the downtown area will NOT RUN during times that public school is not in session. So, essentially during the summer there will be NO bus!!

These two routes are the closest to where I live and if they are gone (seasonal or permanently) then I honestly will not be able to maintain what social life that I have today. Unless I want to travel distances up to a mile just to get on a bus, or to get off of a bus and return home.

My physical health over the past two years has deteriorated, and I am unsure if I will have the strength and stamina to make such a journey.

The two routes in this neighborhood will effect over 1,500 city residents in this neighborhood. With a daily ridership across the ENTIRE CITY of 130,000 people, these changes will most likely cause that number to drop significantly. And usually that will mean that bus fares will go up again in price.

When I started riding in 2014, I could go downtown and back for $1.00 but in recent past, they did change the fare to go up, and now going downtown to catch a live music show is a round trip cost of $2.50, so even if you are in a band and there is NO COVER to your show, there’s always a cost of transportation, at least for me.

So I do have that concern or fear that if these changes are approved by Capital Metro, then my social life as far as enjoying live music and entertainment will die. And those relationships that I have made will eventually fail. And without having the stamina I once had, this board meeting has me completely on edge.

Ride share programs and taxis are either expensive or not an option in my personal case. And that stinks!

Yet I am unsure of any proposed changes for the Night Owl routes, which I actually discovered just over a year ago which run six nights out of the week between midnight and 3:00 AM. And since I learned about it, it has allowed me to actually stay where I am at, without having to leave or bail early to catch a bus back home. I do not know if any of those night time routes are a part of this or not. I am hoping not. If I am out and about and these night time buses are a part of it, I won’t have much choice but to call for a taxi.

I am facing a very harsh reality however that if these changes are approved that life as I know it will cease to exist. I will either have to find another way or find a totally different social life. And hope that I do by the time these changes kick in by June 2018.

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“I think we are at the dawn of a new era in commercial space exploration.”~ Elon Musk

Finally, this day has come.

But why did it take so long?

This morning, I rolled on through to the community room to have coffee and there was a sign displayed that today, there will be NO donuts or fruit.

I laughed to myself when I read it. To be honest, in the past four Fridays, there’s been donuts and fruit only TWICE.

I left that stupid game more than a year ago. I was tired of the violence. Tired of the greed. Tired of it all.

After I got my cup of coffee and was starting to turn into a decent human being, there was some chatter among the other residents in the room about donuts and fruit.

Well… depending on your bend, it is sad or it is a day at last arrived.

Residents were discussing the fact that there will be NO MORE DONUTS OR FRUIT. Period. Done. End of story. I tell you, if I could have done a happy dance, I would have.

If you’ve been with me for the longest time, you’ve read the previous posts about the avarice and the insanity of donuts and the residents that consume them like they are going out of style.

And even though I am glad that the fighting will come to an end, there will be more fighting. For those who want them, they will argue and fight about the decision to get rid of them, and their disapproval. So basically they will take one fight and replace it with another. That’s just how it works here.

Management was not available for comment. But I did go to the social services coordinator and congratulated her on the “smart decision” and told her that now all she had to do was get rid of the Food Pantry distribution and the BINGO every Tuesday afternoon, and this place will turn into nothing but a boring place of business where people will remain in their homes for the rest of their lives and never come out again or for those who will get out, they will leave the property for their social needs.

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“I’m sorry, if you were right, I’d agree with you.”~Robin Williams

At this point in time, I honestly do not have anything that would be considered to be epic or profound or even uplifting.

Upon hearing the news, I immediately went into denial mode. So many celebrities have been “reported” to have been dead when it was all just a hoax.

It being Robin Williams, and it NOT being a hoax? I am not going to lie to you, it tore my shit up from the floor up.

I haven’t been this lost, confused, shocked, and sad since the death announcement of Michael Jackson. And to be honest, knowing that Jackson’s death has already been several years ago is just mind blowing to me.

This was not a celebrity death that I ever thought I would see. Robin Williams in my own eyes was the ultimate king of comedy and had been for all of my life. From the re-runs of Mork & Mindy to the plethora of feature films that he made, spanning a career of various in-depth characters. And he was seemingly flawless every time he stepped in front of that camera.

Now I know that there are plenty of people flooding social media websites and other networks right now with articles announcing the death.

However, just as it was with the death of Whitney Houston, I CHOOSE to wait for a full investigation to be concluded on just exactly what had happened. I am aware of the statement given relating to Williams suffering depression. But yet I remain firm in the choice to wait and see. And it does bother me every time there is a “celebrity” death that people right away know what happened. Why can’t we all just stop, take a deep breath, and just wait for the professionals and experts to do their job??

Still on the other side of this coin, I suspect that what they are saying about this matter is probably going to be the truth. I say let’s wait and see.

Williams caught my attention in “Patch Adams” as well as other films such as “Dead Poets Society” and “Mrs. Doubtfire” of course. The poem that he reads in “Patch Adams” has since then had a remarkable bolt on my life both private and public.

I sincerely send my best wishes to his wife and children and the rest of his family. For those of you who were waiting on the next installment from my SIX MINUTE CENTURY adventure that came to an end this morning… I sincerely apologize.

But this death announcement has put me in no state to write about my most recent journey as you the reader, are deserving of. Please be patient.

God bless Robin Williams and his family at this time. I am totally shattered. We will always love Robin Williams and will miss him greatly.

 

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“Behind every strong independent girl is a dumbass guy who did her wrong & made her who she is today.” ~ Unknown

I kind of was hoping not to give these kinds of awards out any more. But stupid is as stupid does. INDEED!!

34 year old, Reena Patel, is now behind bars because she foolishly decided to try and hire someone to kill her husband for her.

This story has a particular  flavor to it, rather than the mundane garbage that gets made into primetime television movies or mini-series. This one was close to home.

The police said that she had approached teenagers at an apartment complex last week seeking to have her husband killed was charged with solicitation of capital murder, according to an arrest warrant affidavit released on Monday.

Patel is being held in a Travis County Jail with bail set at $1 million.

Police said they questioned Patel when she visited a North Austin apartment complex on Wednesday afternoon and offered a group of teens $4,000 to “take care of” her husband. The conversation was overheard by an adult, who called authorities.

“You could tell she was serious that she was willing to give or do anything to get it done,” said Ebony Pettiford, a witness. “Anyone’s willing to do anything for a whole big sum of money and materialistic things.”

When police arrived, the affidavit says, Patel told officers she was lost and stopped to get directions.

She was told that she was in a high-crime area and would have been better off visiting a business nearby for directions back to her home in the Steiner Ranch area across the opposite side of the city.

The affidavit also said Patel told police that she was a dentist working part time and was due to pick up her children from day care.

When she was told by police that residents overheard the conversation about having her husband killed, the affidavit said Patel did not appear surprised.

Police later contacted he husband. He told them he and his wife had argued the night before because the dentist office had not paid his wife. He told her he planned to sue the office for the wages owed, the affidavit said.

Officers then contacted the Texas Board of Dental Examiners and learned that Patel had never applied for a license to practice dentistry in the state.

“(The husband) stated that he and his wife had had a dispute over stating that she had been employed, and she had – in fact – not been employed,” said Sgt. Scott Ehlert.

Police also learned that Patel’s husband – a local doctor – had a $2 million life insurance policy.

There is a protection order against Patel. If she gets out of jail, she is not allowed near her husband or their two small children.

Now here’s the scary part.

That little neighborhood that she strolled into because she was told was a high crime area, is only about two blocks away from where “I” live.

And yes, I will concur that the area in which she was in is VERY high crime. As a matter of fact, my sister and I call it “Murderer’s Row” because the some of the last few violent crimes that led to murder happened in that neighborhood. And before anyone starts freaking out…. I am fine. I do not go near there if at all possible.

Yet this woman is stupid enough to think that she’s going to get away with it. And with what we know about the case, it sounds like a case of greed, wanting her husband’s life insurance money. The policy was something that she was aware of. And when she pulled into that neighborhood, she spoke to ANYONE who would listen to her, asking several people to do the job for her. As long as that person had done it before 3:30 in the afternoon, which is the time the husband was to come home and the two small children were return from school. She only had $700 on her, but the police did find $4,000 which went along with the story that was reported by a concerned neighbor.

The teenager that agreed to “do the job” was only 16 years old. Believing that because of his age, the court system would only give him a slap on the wrist.

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“From the end spring new beginnings.”~ Pliny the Elder

Ladies & Gentleman, boys and girls.

Welcome to your NEW Austin Blades sledge hockey team.

Sort of.

The team that I play for now has a branch of the STARSkaters program and will be now protected by its 501(c)3, and receive all of its non-profit status.

A press release that was sent out today by STARSkaters stated:

At a recent board meeting, the Austin Blades Sled Hockey team voted unanimously to become a chapter of STARskaters.org
 
Chapter status will allow them to expand their fundraising efforts to support Sled Hockey in Austin as well as send some of their players to the 2014 Sled Hockey National Championships which will be held near Boston, Mass next April.
 
At the meeting, Frank Dorval was elected chapter President.  Frank got to work immediately enlisting STARskaters founder Jim O’Neill to assist planning a 3 on 3 Tournament in Austin which will serve as the clubs first major fundraising effort with a target of $5,000 in proceeds.
 
For more information about the Austin Blades Sled Hockey Club, contact Frank@STARskaters.org
 

And this is all true. We did have a meeting and we ALL voted to go for the STARSkaters program. We’ve connected with the program in friendship and have bonded with them personally that it all just made sense to go with them. Simply because Jim O’Neill had heard about our troubles with the secretive information about the non-profit status.

The team now will have the knowledge on how to go about fundraising and everything else in between.

Some of the team members (including myself) have already hit the pavement to go after corporate sponsorships locally.

But we are only at the beginning. The sigh of relief was collectively felt and heard this afternoon when the news finally came that the necessary papers were signed, and now we are dealing with our own chapter.

We still will remain the Austin Blades. But are ARE with/under STARSkaters.

And a few of us are still hopeful to go to Boston in 2014 in order to play in the national tournament. The Austin Blades at this point have no idea just how much or what kind of help we will be receiving (if any) from STARSkaters on this matter. And a few of us still believe that its not the right thing to do to just suck on the backs of the program. So we are still attempting to get things rolling here locally on our own.

I have my own fundraising campaign specifically to get to this tournament in Boston. Along with another teammate, the two of us are going strong to raise funds by donations. With YOUR HELP, we can achieve this dream and go for the gold!!!

Even though the tournament isn’t until next year, we only have until the end of January 2014 to “Get-R-Done” so to speak.

We’ve reached 8.9% of our total goal for the both of us to be able to go in a month. And we’re super excited about that. But we’ve got a long ways to go.

PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING WHAT YOU CAN TODAY!!!
http://www.gofundme.com/2t2pvs

Every little drop will help, believe me!! And for those of you who are reading and have already donated, we honestly thank you from the bottom of our asses, because they are both larger than our hearts. If by chance that you are able to, please consider donating again.

And don’t forget about the wonderful FREE incentives that go along with this fundraising effort.

Together with the donations, and now being a chapter of STARSkaters, we can make our goals.

My personal goals in the sport can actually have a light at the end of the tunnel without it being a freight train. Gold at the end of the rainbow.

I can’t wait for the beginning of the 2013-14 season. Its  going to be so wonderful.

jasoncollins

“If people in the media cannot decide whether they are in the business of reporting news or manufacturing propaganda, it is all the more important that the public understand that difference, and choose their news sources accordingly.”~ Thomas Sowell

So apparently, WordPress wants to go ahead and post a blog post that has nothing in it. Sorry about that. I will continue to “edit” and keep writing.

Most recently in the news, NBA player Jason Collins has come out of the closet to announce that he is gay. He is the first openly gay athlete in any major American team sports.

I am sure that for Collins, it is a wonderful thing. The homosexual community is out in droves celebrating him and his decision to be public about it.

Here is my question: Why is this news???

There are millions of men and women who are homosexuals. Many of them become public with their sexual orientation each and every day. And most of us never hear about it.

So then why Jason Collins? Just because he plays in the NBA??

I can only imagine that Collins struggled with his decision to come public with this. But I do not understand why in the world this has to be front page news and a topic for discussion for a time to come.

What about the guy down the street who owns the gas station who came out publicly about five months ago? Where’s the press on that with him?

The fact of the matter is that there are so many other men and women who are homosexuals and whether or not they decide to become public about it… we don’t hear about it in the news every time someone decides to be public about it.

I can almost bet that there are other people who are homosexuals, and the general worldwide public doesn’t even realize it. Not everyone who is gay, will come out. It is a matter of choice. Collins made the choice to come out publicly. And that most likely took courage and strength. Kudos to him for having that strength and courage.

My point is that what Jason Collins does in his personal life… is private. And it should be private. Whether he wants to tell his family or relatives or friends that he is gay is his own choice. The media and news should NOT be so damned involved in it as they have been lately! My own personal life and the life of millions will not continue on lacking anything if we do or do not know about it.

But if Jason Collins WANTED the media to know about it, again, that is HIS choice. I just think that the media is just taking on too much of an interest in this particular case. If he wanted the media to know, then report it and move on to the important topics of the day that surround us. Someone’s sexual orientation is hardly breaking news. But I wish Jason Collins well in his sports career and hope that he finds his happiness that he was seeking.