Lawmakers Poised to Write New Chapter in State School Saga

By Corrie MacLaggan
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF


AT THE GROUP HOME:
Mac Olive had been on a waiting list since 2000 but moved into a Home and Community-based Services program house in Austin after a few months at the state school, his sister Missy Olive said.

When Missy Olive moved her brother Mac to Austin State School, an institution for Texans with mental retardation, it wasn’t because she wanted him to live there. It was a way to avoid a very long waiting list.
Since 2000, Mac Olive, 29, had been on the list for the Home and Community-based Services program (HCS), which helps people live at home or in group homes.

Nearly 40,000 people are waiting for that program. But state school residents who want to leave the institutions can transfer directly into community care.

“While I wanted him to get off the waiting list, the thought of putting him in the state school petrified me,” Missy Olive said. “I had sworn I would never put him in an institution.”

Debate has raged for years over how best to serve Texans with mental retardation. Now, because of scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Justice, which found lapses of care throughout the state school system, the Legislature appears poised to make significant changes.

Lawmakers are considering a broad range of proposals, from creating an ombudsman to monitor state schools, to capping the number of residents to closing some state schools and putting more money into community services.

The issue took on new urgency this week when Gov. Rick Perry declared state schools a legislative emergency.

Some state officials, including Perry, say the current system of care for Texans with mental retardation provides an array of choices, from the 13 state institutions to smaller state-licensed facilities to community-based services.

But the Justice Department cited neglect and chronic staff turnover (the turnover rate among direct-care workers last year was 52 percent statewide — and 74 percent at Austin State School).

And some lawmakers worry about lax oversight of certain community facilities. Meanwhile, some say that the long waiting list for community care amounts to no choice at all. “If you want to be served at a state school, you walk right in the door,” said state Rep. Patrick Rose, D-Dripping Springs. “If individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities choose to be served in the community, we ought to afford them that option, and we are not doing that today.”

Rose and state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, plan to file legislation that would reform the entire system. It would close some state schools — now home to nearly 5,000 Texans — and create a long-term plan for institutions and programs like HCS, which provides minor home modifications, nursing care and supervision to more than 13,000 Texans.

And Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, the Senate’s lead budget writer, is proposing to limit state school enrollment and invest in community care.
The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services spent $458 million in state and federal Medicaid dollars on state schools in 2007, and roughly the same amount to serve thousands more people in HCS.
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“We have a system today by accident rather than by design,” said Rose, whose proposal would eventually limit waiting-list time to two years. “It is not fair or right what we’re doing, and it costs the state more how we do it.”

Total expenses of caring for someone at a state school are $125,507 per person per year, compared with $63,529 at a group home through HCS, according to the Legislative Budget Board.

Closing some state schools is something Ogden says cannot be done.
“My view is that it’s politically impossible to close a state school, but we can manage the size of the state schools,” Ogden said. “There’s always a constituency out there in support of each individual state school, and they can usually muster enough political firepower to prevent us from closing any state school.”

Nationally, there’s a trend for states to move away from institutionalizing people with mental retardation, but Texas hasn’t kept pace: The Lone Star State has a higher institutionalization rate than the nation as a whole and has more people living in state schools than any other state.

As other states have found, closing institutions is fraught with thorny political issues. Texas’ state schools have been a part of their communities for decades. They provide thousands of state jobs — Mexia State School is Limestone County’s largest employer — and have a core group of residents and families who firmly believe in them.

That includes the family of Michael Young, 54, who has lived at Austin State School since 1992.

Closing it, says his mother, Ellen Young, 88, “scares me to death.” She said she wouldn’t trust a private home to care for him. “He gets good care here,” said his aunt, Austinite Sally Feutz. “He has a second family here.”

Ten states and the District of Columbia have closed all institutions for people with mental retardation.

In Indiana, the most populous of those states, it took nearly a decade to
close the five institutions there to comply with a gubernatorial executive order.

Residents, with their families, decided where they should go, and the majority moved into homes with three people or less, settings often designed specifically for them, according to John Dickerson, executive director of the Arc of Indiana.

“It can be done; it works,” Dickerson said. “But it’s got to be done from an individual person-centered basis and not by just a wholesale movement of people.” He said his state has even succeeded at meeting the needs of people with a very high level of needs in small settings.

For families that prefer state schools, “their fears are very real,” Dickerson said. “They can’t imagine because no one has ever demonstrated and shown to them what can be. It’s like me trying to explain to you what Paris is like if you’ve never been and you don’t trust me.”

In Texas, Perry hasn’t said whether he supports closing any state schools.
“I do think there is a role for state schools, I do think there is a role for community homes, and I’m going to continue to support those options, because I think Texans should have the choice about where their loved ones should be cared for,” the governor said last month.

But Missy Olive, 41, says moving her brother to Austin State School last year “was our only choice.”

“The first time I went to see the state school … I pulled over in my car, and I bawled my eyes out,” she said. “There were guys falling asleep standing up, taking their clothes off in order to get attention. It broke my heart.”

Olive said that her brother was receiving poor care at a state-licensed “intermediate care” facility in Austin — several lawmakers say those facilities need to be more closely monitored — and that she wanted to get him into HCS but that he still had more than 2,000 people ahead of him on the waiting list.

So she put him in the state school in West Austin, where he lived for about six months. There, she said, he rarely went on outings and was kicked in the stomach twice by other residents.

In October 2008, Mac Olive left for HCS. He now lives with one housemate in a South Austin duplex. There is no live-in staff. Instead, employees of the nonprofit Mary Lee Foundation come in shifts. In the mornings, one helps him fix his Raisin Bran and drives him to a day program. In the evenings, another takes him to shop at H E B or eat at McDonald’s, and a staffer stays at the home, awake, overnight.

“It’s fantastic,” Missy Olive said of her brother’s new living situation. Compared with the state school, “it costs the state less for him to live here, where he has a much higher quality of life.”

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    When in late June Kristen Bicknell from Ontario won the women’s tournament, it a new achievement has been recorded: the bracelets have been awarded
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    When in late June Kristen Bicknell from Ontario won the
    women’s tournament, it a new achievement has
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    As usual, the majority of players represented at the WSOP were the U.S residents: 57,040 out of a total number of 79,
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    The anthem of Canada sounded in Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas again and again as the six weeks poker season ended
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    In addition, Daniel Negreanu, a resident of Toronto,
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    2013 ‘Player of the year’ title.

    When in late June Kristen Bicknell from Ontario
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    As usual, the majority of players represented at the WSOP were the U.S residents:
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    The anthem of Canada sounded in Rio All-Suite Hotel and
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    who managed to win 10 bracelets. In addition, Daniel Negreanu, a resident of Toronto, was so good in Australian and
    US competitions that earned the WSOP 2013 ‘Player of the year’ title.

    When in late June Kristen Bicknell from Ontario
    won the women’s tournament, it a new achievement has been recorded:
    the bracelets have been awarded to ten players
    from Canada, which is a huge progress after three bracelets received in 2012.

    The previous record of the country was six bracelets won in 2010.

    As usual, the majority of players represented at the WSOP
    were the U.S residents: 57,040 out of a total number of 79,471.
    Thus, 71.8 % of American players was more then enough to secure the leadership, as Canadian representation equaled as little as 5.2% (4,118 poker players).
    No surprise that the U.S. won a better part of WSOP bracelet in 2013 (41), almost
    two-thirds of the total number of awards and is slightly less
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    The anthem of Canada sounded in Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas again and
    again as the six weeks poker season ended with a triumph of Canadian players, who managed to win 10
    bracelets. In addition, Daniel Negreanu, a resident of Toronto,
    was so good in Australian and US competitions that earned
    the WSOP 2013 ‘Player of the year’ title.

    When in late June Kristen Bicknell from Ontario won the
    women’s tournament, it a new achievement has been recorded: the bracelets have been awarded to ten players from Canada, which is a huge progress after three bracelets
    received in 2012. The previous record of the country was six bracelets won in 2010.

    As usual, the majority of players represented at the WSOP were the U.S
    residents: 57,040 out of a total number of 79,471.
    Thus, 71.8 % of American players was more then enough to secure
    the leadership, as Canadian representation equaled as little as 5.2%
    (4,118 poker players). No surprise that the U.S. won a better part of WSOP
    bracelet in 2013 (41), almost two-thirds of the total number of
    awards and is slightly less than its percentage of participation. At the same
    time, ten Canadian bracelets represent 16.1% of awards, which is three times
    higher than the percentage of participation of the country.

  12. Best Online Casino Platforms Bring Up The Champions

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    In addition, Daniel Negreanu, a resident of Toronto, was so good in Australian and US competitions
    that earned the WSOP 2013 ‘Player of the year’ title.

    When in late June Kristen Bicknell from Ontario won the women’s tournament,
    it a new achievement has been recorded: the bracelets have been awarded
    to ten players from Canada, which is a huge progress after three bracelets
    received in 2012. The previous record of the country was six
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    As usual, the majority of players represented
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    Thus, 71.8 % of American players was more then enough to secure the leadership, as Canadian representation equaled as little as 5.2% (4,118 poker players).
    No surprise that the U.S. won a better part of WSOP bracelet in 2013 (41), almost two-thirds of the total number of
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  75. Hi there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing a few months of hard work due to no back up. Do you have any solutions to prevent hackers?

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  77. With havin so much content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement? My website has a lot of unique content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my permission. Do you know any ways to help stop content from being ripped off? I’d certainly appreciate it.

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  96. Hey there! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog. Is it very hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any tips or suggestions? Thank you

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  116. Today, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iPad and tested to see if it can survive a 40 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  117. I was wondering if you ever considered changing the structure of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?

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  121. Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

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  125. Today, I went to the beach front with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

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  130. Hi there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website? I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

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  134. Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a 30 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  135. Greetings! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading through your posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same subjects? Thanks for your time!

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  137. Hey! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website? I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  138. Hiya! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My blog looks weird when viewing from my iphone 4. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to correct this issue. If you have any suggestions, please share. Appreciate it!

  139. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your webpage? My website is in the exact same area of interest as yours and my visitors would definitely benefit from some of the information you present here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Regards!

  140. Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your site? My blog site is in the exact same area of interest as yours and my users would really benefit from a lot of the information you present here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Cheers!

  141. Hello! I know this is kinda off topic however I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring a blog article or vice-versa? My website addresses a lot of the same topics as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other. If you’re interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you! Terrific blog by the way!

  142. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

  143. Have you ever thought about writing an e-book or guest authoring on other websites? I have a blog centered on the same subjects you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my subscribers would appreciate your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e mail.

  144. Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a entirely different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Great choice of colors!

  145. Hey! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one? Thanks a lot!

  146. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service? Many thanks!

  147. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is needed to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% sure. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Cheers

  148. Hi, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam responses? If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me mad so any support is very much appreciated.

  149. Howdy, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam remarks? If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any support is very much appreciated.

  150. Hello! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Exceptional blog and fantastic design and style.

  151. Hey there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website? I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform. I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  152. Good day! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this page to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  153. Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog. Is it difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about setting up my own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any tips or suggestions? With thanks

  154. Greetings from Colorado! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to browse your site on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how fast your blog loaded on my mobile .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, very good site!

  155. Howdy are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you require any html coding expertise to make your own blog? Any help would be really appreciated!

  156. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you can be a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will often come back someday. I want to encourage you continue your great work, have a nice morning!

  157. Thanks for the marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you may be a great author.I will make sure to bookmark your blog and will eventually come back from now on. I want to encourage you to ultimately continue your great job, have a nice morning!

  158. Hey! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good gains. If you know of any please share. Kudos!

  159. I’m really loving the theme/design of your web site. Do you ever run into any internet browser compatibility issues? A couple of my blog readers have complained about my site not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari. Do you have any tips to help fix this problem?

  160. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You definitely know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

  161. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz respond as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. thanks

  162. Hi there! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My weblog looks weird when browsing from my iphone. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to correct this issue. If you have any recommendations, please share. Appreciate it!

  163. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you design this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply as I’m looking to construct my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. cheers

  164. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article author for your site. You have some really great articles and I think I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an e-mail if interested. Many thanks!

  165. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your post seem to be running off the screen in Chrome. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know. The design look great though! Hope you get the problem resolved soon. Cheers

  166. Hi! I know this is kinda off topic however I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa? My site goes over a lot of the same topics as yours and I think we could greatly benefit from each other. If you are interested feel free to shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Awesome blog by the way!

  167. Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this website. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s challenging to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and appearance. I must say you have done a great job with this. Also, the blog loads extremely fast for me on Safari. Outstanding Blog!

  168. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% positive. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  169. Hmm it seems like your blog ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips and hints for novice blog writers? I’d certainly appreciate it.

  170. Howdy! I realize this is kind of off-topic but I had to ask. Does running a well-established blog like yours require a large amount of work? I am brand new to running a blog but I do write in my diary everyday. I’d like to start a blog so I can share my personal experience and feelings online. Please let me know if you have any recommendations or tips for brand new aspiring bloggers. Thankyou!

  171. Incredible! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It’s on a entirely different topic but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Great choice of colors!

  172. Hello there! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring a blog post or vice-versa? My blog goes over a lot of the same topics as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other. If you might be interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you! Fantastic blog by the way!

  173. Howdy! I understand this is somewhat off-topic however I had to ask. Does building a well-established blog such as yours require a massive amount work? I’m completely new to writing a blog but I do write in my diary daily. I’d like to start a blog so I can easily share my personal experience and thoughts online. Please let me know if you have any recommendations or tips for brand new aspiring blog owners. Appreciate it!

  174. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post’s to be precisely what I’m looking for. Does one offer guest writers to write content for you? I wouldn’t mind composing a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you write regarding here. Again, awesome web log!

  175. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz respond as I’m looking to construct my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. many thanks

  176. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get several e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service? Appreciate it!

  177. Fantastic blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any suggestions? Cheers!

  178. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web savvy so I’m not 100% certain. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Cheers

  179. Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same outcome.

  180. Appreciating the commitment you put into your website and in depth information you provide. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed information. Fantastic read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  181. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the structure of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or two images. Maybe you could space it out better?

  182. Hey would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with? I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m having a tough time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S Sorry for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  183. I was wondering if you ever considered changing the page layout of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

  184. Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same outcome.

  185. Today, I went to the beachfront with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  186. Howdy would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using? I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a difficult time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S Sorry for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  187. This design is steller! You certainly know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  188. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you’re a great author.I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and will often come back from now on. I want to encourage one to continue your great job, have a nice holiday weekend!

  189. Hey there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several weeks of hard work due to no backup. Do you have any methods to protect against hackers?

  190. Does your website have a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating it but, I’d like to send you an email. I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it improve over time.

  191. Hmm is anyone else having problems with the pictures on this blog loading? I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

  192. Hi there! I realize this is kind of off-topic but I needed to ask. Does operating a well-established website such as yours require a massive amount work? I’m completely new to running a blog but I do write in my journal daily. I’d like to start a blog so I can share my personal experience and thoughts online. Please let me know if you have any kind of recommendations or tips for new aspiring blog owners. Thankyou!

  193. Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and everything. But think about if you added some great images or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and videos, this website could certainly be one of the greatest in its niche. Wonderful blog!

  194. Wow! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It’s on a entirely different subject but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Outstanding choice of colors!

  195. Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this blog. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s difficult to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and visual appeal. I must say that you’ve done a fantastic job with this. Additionally, the blog loads very quick for me on Internet explorer. Exceptional Blog!

  196. Hi there would you mind letting me know which hosting company you’re utilizing? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you suggest a good hosting provider at a reasonable price? Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!

  197. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the structure of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or two pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

  198. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d certainly donate to this fantastic blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will share this site with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

  199. Hey! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading your articles. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics? Appreciate it!

  200. With havin so much content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright infringement? My site has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my permission. Do you know any ways to help reduce content from being stolen? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

  201. Whats up this is somewhat of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  202. Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you will be a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will often come back sometime soon. I want to encourage you to continue your great work, have a nice day!

  203. Very good blog! Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely confused .. Any recommendations? Appreciate it!

  204. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

  205. Howdy! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Cheers

  206. Howdy! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Outstanding blog and wonderful design.

  207. Hi there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to check it out. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Terrific blog and terrific style and design.

  208. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your website. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Fantastic work!

  209. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service? Appreciate it!

  210. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find almost all of your post’s to be just what I’m looking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content for yourself? I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you write regarding here. Again, awesome website!

  211. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?

  212. Neat blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your design. Many thanks

  213. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

  214. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your webpage? My blog site is in the very same area of interest as yours and my visitors would truly benefit from a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this alright with you. Appreciate it!

  215. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get several emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Many thanks!

  216. Hey! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My blog looks weird when browsing from my apple iphone. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to correct this issue. If you have any suggestions, please share. Appreciate it!

  217. Heya are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you require any html coding expertise to make your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  218. Hey are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you need any html coding knowledge to make your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  219. We stumbled over here coming from a different web page and thought I might as well check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to looking over your web page for a second time.

  220. Howdy this is kinda of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding expertise so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  221. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same outcome.

  222. Hi would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with? I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m having a tough time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S Sorry for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  223. Hey! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back frequently!

  224. Hey, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, awesome blog!

  225. Hi there superb website! Does running a blog like this take a great deal of work? I’ve absolutely no understanding of programming but I was hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyways, should you have any ideas or tips for new blog owners please share. I understand this is off topic but I just wanted to ask. Thanks a lot!

  226. Heya are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up my own. Do you need any html coding knowledge to make your own blog? Any help would be really appreciated!

  227. Hi, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam comments? If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can suggest? I get so much lately it’s driving me mad so any help is very much appreciated.

  228. Yesterday, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iPad and tested to see if it can survive a forty foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  229. Hmm it appears like your site ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any tips for first-time blog writers? I’d certainly appreciate it.

  230. Greetings! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a marvellous job!

  231. Hi would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using? I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a tough time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  232. Hey there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a wonderful job!

  233. Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a forty foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  234. Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a thirty foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  235. Heya! I understand this is somewhat off-topic but I needed to ask. Does managing a well-established blog like yours require a massive amount work? I’m completely new to operating a blog however I do write in my diary every day. I’d like to start a blog so I can share my own experience and views online. Please let me know if you have any kind of recommendations or tips for brand new aspiring bloggers. Appreciate it!

  236. I don’t know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else experiencing problems with your site. It looks like some of the text within your posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too? This could be a problem with my browser because I’ve had this happen before. Appreciate it

  237. Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with SEO? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good gains. If you know of any please share. Cheers!

  238. Hmm it appears like your blog ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any suggestions for beginner blog writers? I’d really appreciate it.

  239. Hello, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam responses? If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything you can recommend? I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any help is very much appreciated.

  240. Greetings from Los angeles! I’m bored at work so I decided to check out your website on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the information you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my mobile .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, superb site!

  241. Hi, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Ie, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, great blog!

  242. Superb blog! Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any tips? Appreciate it!

  243. First of all I want to say terrific blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing. I’ve had trouble clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out. I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips? Thank you!

  244. Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your webpage? My blog is in the very same niche as yours and my users would truly benefit from a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this okay with you. Regards!

  245. Howdy! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came to look it over. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Great blog and great design.

  246. With havin so much content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright violation? My blog has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my agreement. Do you know any methods to help protect against content from being ripped off? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

  247. I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two images. Maybe you could space it out better?

  248. First of all I want to say excellent blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing. I’ve had trouble clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out. I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Many thanks!

  249. Hey! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading your posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics? Thanks!

  250. Wonderful blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thank you

  251. Hi there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  252. Good day! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog. Is it very difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any points or suggestions? Cheers

  253. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d certainly donate to this superb blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will talk about this website with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  254. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on this blog loading? I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.

  255. Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic however I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring a blog post or vice-versa? My blog discusses a lot of the same topics as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other. If you are interested feel free to send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Terrific blog by the way!

  256. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You obviously know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

  257. Hello! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Terrific blog and terrific design.

  258. Hey there just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same results.

  259. Hey, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog site in Firefox, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, excellent blog!

  260. Hey there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I came to look it over. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Terrific blog and amazing design.

  261. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you make this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz answer back as I’m looking to construct my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. kudos

  262. Hello! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good gains. If you know of any please share. Thanks!

  263. Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having trouble finding one? Thanks a lot!

  264. Hello! I realize this is somewhat off-topic but I needed to ask. Does managing a well-established website like yours take a lot of work? I’m completely new to operating a blog but I do write in my journal on a daily basis. I’d like to start a blog so I can share my personal experience and thoughts online. Please let me know if you have any recommendations or tips for brand new aspiring blog owners. Thankyou!

  265. Hi there, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam comments? If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any assistance is very much appreciated.

  266. Hi there! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the fantastic work!

  267. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this brilliant blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will talk about this site with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

  268. This design is spectacular! You most certainly know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Great job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  269. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your website. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme? Great work!

  270. Hi! I understand this is kind of off-topic however I needed to ask. Does building a well-established website like yours take a large amount of work? I am completely new to running a blog however I do write in my journal everyday. I’d like to start a blog so I can easily share my experience and feelings online. Please let me know if you have any ideas or tips for new aspiring bloggers. Appreciate it!

  271. Howdy would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with? I’m planning to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a hard time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S My apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  272. The other day, while I was at work, my cousin stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a forty foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  273. Please let me know if you’re looking for a writer for your blog. You have some really good articles and I think I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some content for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please blast me an email if interested. Regards!

  274. I am really enjoying the theme/design of your site. Do you ever run into any internet browser compatibility issues? A few of my blog visitors have complained about my website not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Opera. Do you have any ideas to help fix this problem?

  275. Great site you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any message boards that cover the same topics discussed here? I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get opinions from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Many thanks!

  276. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Superb work!

  277. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this fantastic blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and will share this website with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

  278. Does your site have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to send you an email. I’ve got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it develop over time.

  279. Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your webpage? My blog site is in the exact same niche as yours and my users would genuinely benefit from a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this okay with you. Cheers!

  280. Greetings! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one? Thanks a lot!

  281. Hey this is kind of of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding expertise so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!|

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