Tower of Babel, Education Center, Planned Near Kentucky’s Ark Encounter

During the height of the 2020 COVID pandemic, we decided to travel from Texas to D.C. as a personal quest to celebrate American freedom, heritage and healthy living.

Among the highlights was a day visit to the Ark Encounter in northern Kentucky. It was awesome.

Jack & Dodie Dennis at Ark Encounter

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Now we learn that the organization behind the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum (nearby) is moving forward with plans to build a Tower of Babel AND expand their faith-based school for kids ages 5-17.

Answers in Genesis recently purchased the former Toyota North American engineering and manufacturing headquarters in Northern Kentucky for more than $31 million. 

The 205,000-square-foot facility will house 450-500 K-12 students as well as be the location for the general staff of Answers in Genesis and their Answers.TV streaming service.

“The purchase of this building will save the ministry many tens of millions of dollars for several planned future projects and allow them to be implemented much more quickly, instead of years down the road,” CEO Ken Ham said in a press release. “Overall, this facility will provide a home for Answers Academy without having to build a major school complex.”

Tower of Babel diorama at Ark

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Earlier this year, the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum welcomed its 10 millionth guest. 
 
“As Answers in Genesis continues to grow in many of its outreaches, including welcoming large crowds at our two attractions, the ministry will have an even larger economic impact on the region,” Ham said. 

🔹The Ark Encounter opened in 2016 in Williamstown, Kentucky, and was built according to the instructions God gave Noah in Genesis 6.

🔹The 10-story-high vessel features larger-than-life exhibits that bring museum visitors face to face with the story of biblical proportions. 

“We all know that God’s the Great Designer. He’s the Great Engineer,” said Patrick Kanewske, the attraction’s media and ministry relations director. “It’s the perfect dimensions for seaworthiness, weight distribution, smoothness of ride.”

While Dodie and I were there in 2020, it was even more special to learn the Ark Encounter was named the “Best Religious Museum” by USA Today.

The Ark’s sister institution, the Creation Museum also finished second that year in the national poll of museums selected by a panel of top travel experts.

A few weeks ago, the ministry organization announced new plans to build a replica of the ancient Tower of Babel adjacent to the Ark.

“The Bible provides us with the true history of humanity. What people classify today as racial differences are rightly explained by the Babel event. Noah’s descendants scattered from Babel in family groups and settled new lands. Separated from one another, the various groups began to express distinct traits. No group is more “evolved” than any other.”

“We will proclaim the only solution to racism and every other sin that besets mankind: the gospel of Jesus Christ,” the statement continued. 

Noah’s descendants scattered from Babel in family groups and settled new lands. Separated from one another, the various groups began to express distinct traits.

“No group is more ‘evolved’ than any other,” their literature states. “Some people may have achieved greater advancements in agriculture, industry, or technology due to having a greater number of skilled trades people when the language division occurred, but this does not mean they are ‘more human’ than others. Instead, all people today descended from Noah and are members of the one human race (we’re all of ‘one blood,’ per Acts 17:26).”

“All people are descendants of Adam, and we are all made in God’s image. Our true problem is sin, which includes prejudice and racism, and the solution is the same for all of us—the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ironically, critical race theory is also the exact opposite of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream that people would be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin,” the Answers in Genesis website notes. 

The ministry says the goal of the Tower of Babel project is to confront racist, ethnocentric philosophies with the truth of humanity’s origins according to God’s Word, 

“Most importantly, we will proclaim the only solution to racism and every other sin that besets mankind: the gospel of Jesus Christ,” the Answers in Genesis website states. 

The project is expected to take about three years to complete and will be located near the Ark Encounter. 

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

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CLICK: PARK LANE by Rebecca Taylor

Las Vegas Hatch Chile Tortilla Soup

This recipe is inspired by trips to Las Vegas, but not the ‘Sin City’ of Nevada.

What happened–and what we ate– in Las Vegas, New Mexico is too good just to stay there. On the last couple of road trips through the ‘Land of Enchantment’ we stopped off at the Hillcrest Restaurant (1106 Grand Ave, Las Vegas, New Mexico, 87701) to enjoy breakfast and/or lunch in their Flamingo Room in the rear. It’s like a refreshing step back in time with a touch of elegance but at reasonable prices.

We especially love their tasty griddle breakfasts made with green chilis grown in the fertile Hatch Valley south of the area, but some locals tell us they come back for the pancakes. Because the weather is changing to cooler seasons, here is a good tortilla soup made with hatch chiles.

 

Tortilla soup is traditionally zesty throughout Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, but the use of fresh Hatch Chiles takes the flavor and spice to a new level!

Hatch Chile Tortilla Soup

Cook time:30min 

Prep time:15min 

Total time:45min

Servings:8-10

Ingredients

Hatch Chile Tortilla Soup

Tortilla soup is traditionally zesty, but the addition of fresh Hatch Chiles takes the flavor and spice to a new level!

With soup season just around the corner, you’ll want to add this delicious dish to your recipe repertoire.

Hatch Chile Tortilla Soup

Hatch Chile Tortilla Soup

Cook time:30 min

Prep time:15min

Total time:45min 


Servings:8-10

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, diced small
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 carrots, ends trimmed, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, ends trimmed, chopped
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped
  • 1 cup red chile sauce
  • 1 28 oz. can stewed tomatoes
  • 2 green Hatch Chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
  • 8 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1 3 oz. package dry roasted sweet corn
  • 2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 lime
  • Shredded cheese, for garnish
  • Ripe avocado, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil and caramelize the onion.
  2. Add the garlic, carrots and celery and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken and stir in the chile sauce.
  4. Add the tomatoes followed by the Hatch Chiles, bell pepper, chicken stock, corn, oregano, cumin, chili powder. Gently stir and bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Stir in the juice from the lime.
  6. To serve, ladle the soup into separate bowls and garnish with fresh fried tortilla strips (optional), cheese and avocado.
Hatch Tortilla Soup

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

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CLICK: PARK LANE by Rebecca Taylor

Las Vegas, 75 Years In Pictures

Founded in 1947, the Las Vegas News Bureau, a component of the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority, has been marketing the city as a destination and serves as a resource for national and international news. Here are photos released in 2022 that highlight Las Vegas like no one else.

Ann-Margret
Martin, Sinatra & Davis
Liberace
Liberace & Elvis
Fremont Street
Binions
Wayne Newton
Nat King Cole
MGM Fire
Muhammad Ali
Siegfried & Roy
Taylor, Fischer & Reynolds
Elvis Presley
Holyfield
Martin & Lewis
Jackson 5
The Beatles

In God We Trust

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

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CLICK: PARK LANE by Rebecca Taylor

The Top 6 Healthiest Fast Food Menu Items on the Planet

We live in a rural area miles away from fast food restaurants, but do enjoy the convenience of such dining when we are on a roadtrip or pressed for time in a city.

Fast food has a reputation for being unhealthy and high in calories, salt and fat.

Thankfully, there are exceptions. Although many fast foods have been processed, refined or deep-fried, some fast food restaurants now offer healthy options.

To make a healthier selection, look for items that include vegetables, lean sources of protein or whole grains. Additionally, opting for foods that are grilled or baked rather than fried can significantly reduce the calories and fat in your meal.

Here are the top best menu meals for healthier eating.

6. KFC Grilled Breast and Sides. Most of Kentucky Fried menu items are filled with grease and loads of sodium. This is not too surprising since the word “Fried” is in the fast food restaurant’s name.

5. Wendy’s Ultimate Chicken Grilled Sandwich. While many of their burgers are high in calories, this Wendy’s offering is relatively low in calories.

4. Baja Fresh Wahoo Fish Taco. At just 230 calories, this taco is a good way to include some seafood in your diet. You can even add avocado.

3. Taco Bell Grilled Steak Soft Tacos. They have added a more lightened variety of menu items for healthier options for their customers. These are the healthiest from these menus.

2. Chipotle’s Salad Bowl. With a good reputation for fast healthy food, they are good about using organic meats and vegetables. They offer build-your-own options too.

1. Chic-fil-A Grilled Market Salad. They have a variety of meal options most of us would enjoy, but this is their healthiest option.

Bonus Options

Although not in the top six, here are some healthy choices at other fast food chains:

🔹Culver’s: Beef Pot Roast Dinner.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be all salads and chicken breast. If you enjoy pot roast, opt for the beef pot roast dinner option from Culver’s, then choose steamed broccoli and a side salad (or a double portion of either) as your two sides.

🔹Jack in the Box: Chicken Fajita Pita

This Jack in the Box pick is basically a handheld salad—fresh veggies, flame-grilled chicken, and zesty salsa are all nestled into a whole grain pita pocket.

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Top Most Isolated Vacation Trips in the Lower 48 American States

West Texas

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There’s nothing better than time away from the noise to recharge your batteries and uplift your mood. There are many isolated, but sight-worthy places within the U.S you can visit.

Here is a sampling of just some of the places that are popular among nature lovers, easy to locate, and the perfect adventure for boosting your dopamine levels. 

Havasupai, Arizona

This location is known to many for the Havasu Falls located in Havasupai Canyon in Arizona. The waterfall itself is located in a remote area on Havasupai Native Reservation.

To get to the falls, you’ll have to walk a distance of 10-miles or join a horseback excursion. This might be a bit stressful for people who don’t like walking or riding horses, but it’s definitely worth the walk.

Once you arrive, you’d be in the midst of one of the most beautiful places on earth. The crystal clear turquoise water plunges down the fiery red cliffs into travertine swimming holes at the bottom.

There are also four other major waterfalls nearby; Upper and Lower Najavo Falls, Beaver Falls, and Mooney Falls. You may as well take this opportunity to explore them too.

Bob Marshall Wilderness, Montana

Montana is known for its abundant open spaces of wilderness. And the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, located in the northwestern part of the state, is one wilderness that tops them all—the third-largest wilderness area in the Lower 48.

It follows the Continental Divide for 60 miles, spread across 1.5 million acres of rocky ridges, alpine meadows, and dense forest.

Within the Bob Marshall Wilderness, you can find all kinds of wildlife. From moose to elk, wolves, grizzlies, mountain lions, mountain goats, and deer.

Not only is this wilderness a magnificent place to visit, but the area also contains what is believed to be the most dramatic natural feature of the Rockies: the Chinese Wall, a limestone escarpment deep in the wilderness and a part of the Continental Divide.

Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming

The Bighorn Mountains are one of the best places to visit in Wyoming and quite an isolated area—Visited only by a few people even during high peak travel seasons.

A 58-mile drive on the Bighorn Scenic Byway will bring you over its crest. The mountain stretches from the Powder River Basin to the Bighorn Basin, following Highway 14 from outside the town of Greybull.

If you love camping and a good hike, an adventure on this mountain is definitely for you. You’ll find miles of trails for hiking and perfect places to set camp. However, if you prefer to sleep in a hotel or hostel, the town of Buffalo is nearby and offers many options for accommodation and attractions of its own.

Gila National Forest and the Gila Cliff Dwellings

Fancy a trip to SouthWest America in Arizona? Then head over to Gila National Forest. The Gila National Forest has more official wilderness than any other protected forest in the Southwest.

The 558,000-acre Gila Wilderness was the first designated wilderness area in the world. With terrain varying from grassy foothills to juniper woodland, ponderosa pine and spruce-fir forests on high peaks. The Gila Wilderness connects the Blue Range Wilderness and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness.

The Gila Cliff dwellings, built as far back as the 13th century, are located within the Gila National Forest. For thousands of years, groups of ancient nomads used the caves above the Gila River as a temporary shelter. Until the late 1200s, when the people of the agricultural Mogollon culture made it their homes. They built rooms, crafted pottery, and raised children in the cliff dwellings for one or two generations before moving away by 1300.

Boundary Waters Wilderness, Minnesota

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeast Minnesota is one of America’s most beautiful and remote places. With over 1,100 lakes and hundreds of miles of waterways, its vast wilderness extends 150 miles along the U.S.-Canada border, covering approximately 1,098,000 acres.

It offers some of the country’s best canoeing, with 1,200 miles of canoeing trails attracting over 150,000 visitors yearly. From paddling from one lake to the next and stepping off onto countless miles of untouched shoreline, there are many interesting things to do in the Boundary Waters wilderness.

If you need some time alone, that can be arranged. Head to the Boulder and Adams lakes. They are some of the most remote lakes around here—it’s almost certain you’d see absolutely no one.

Spending time in isolated places doesn’t mean you wouldn’t have fun. Some of the most isolated places in the country are some of the most beautiful sights in the world. Don’t forget to breathe fresh air amidst nature. There are many open spaces around America perfect for recollecting thoughts while away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Tips and Secrets for Better Internet in Rural Areas: RVers, Campers and Country Living

It’s no secret Bidenflation has forced millions to seek out ways to reduce food, travel and living expenses.

In 2020, we moved to a rural area in the Texas Hill Country away from congestion, traffic and rising crime. We have no regrets about living a far less expensive and peaceful life. It allows us to work and write from home or on occasional road trips.

Due to the high cost of just about everything, including rentals and housing, more Americans are:

🔹Living in RVs and Campers.

🔹Using tents instead of hotel rooms.

🔹Taking “staycations” and limiting travel closer to home.

🔹Working remotely on the internet from home instead of commuting to and from a work location.

🔹Becoming Digital Nomads, wandering the country taking miscellaneous work and temporary employment.

We loved Guadalupe River State Park in April 2022

In 2022, the United States should break records with over 305 million internet users within its borders, which accounts for this rise in numbers of digital nomads and remote workers all over the country. 

Unfortunately, as practical as this may sound, these remote workers and  digital nomads, along with over 25 million Americans, continue to struggle with slow internet speeds and lack access to high-speed internet facilities due to the rural locations they may find themselves in.

Slow internet speeds can affect work deliverables, hamper productivity, and even jeopardize employability, especially if the job requires high internet speeds for effectiveness. 

These tips may improve your internet connection if you are living in a rural area, are on the road, or just camping out.

Tips for Rural Residents 

Turn off your router for some time. Giving your router a break can help refresh your internet connection and improve your speed issues. Doing this daily stimulates your internet connection, especially when experiencing a lag.  This fix won’t take your speeds to NASA levels, but it should help.

What’s your Data Capacity? A data cap may be responsible for slowing your home speeds. Your ISP allocates the amount of data you can use every month. Once exceeded, your internet speed drops drastically. The cap limit is outlined in your bill.

Move your Router. Where is your router positioned? That may be why your internet speed sucks.  Moving the position of your router to a higher point or more central location in your home will ensure the Wifi signal from your router reaches every corner of your building. With most wireless modems, the closer you are, the higher your internet speed.

Get Wired. Ditch wireless connections and get wired to eliminate any lags in speed you may be experiencing. Many people don’t know this, but cabled connections like Ethernet are safer, more reliable, and faster than most wireless connections.

Ads are a Drag. Literally. Every time you are online, you see ads. It’s everywhere, on every website; you can’t escape it. Or can you? Ads slow down your internet speeds, especially those heavy, annoying auto-play videos. You can fix this by installing an ad blocker in your browsers.

Scan regularly for Viruses and Malware. Viruses and malware may also be responsible for your crawling internet speeds. Install software that scan your device and connections for viruses and malware, set it up to scan regularly, and you should be fine.

Tips for Campers

Stay centered. Or as close to the center of the camp as you possibly can. The range for RV parks and Campground Wifi signals, thanks to FCC regulations, is limited to just under 300 feet. The closer you are to the camp router, which is often set up in the center of the camp, the better your internet connection.

The less green, the better. Dense trees, foliage, and even high walls can reduce your internet connection quality. For the signal to get to you uninterrupted, you must ensure you are not being obstructed by greenery or other natural or artificial fixtures. Set up your camp in an open space to improve your connection quality.

Upgrade your receiver. A Wi-Fi reception booster or antenna can improve your internet connection and reduce lags. Both instruments can receive and upgrade your internet signals on all your devices. They are easy to install and set up, and you should get sorted out quickly.

Look before you Camp. Different RV parks and Camps use different ISPs for internet access. Do some research before you camp in that park or hotspot. Check reviews for internet speeds and plan accordingly.

Tips for RVers 

Choose your equipment carefully. The right equipment can mean the difference between consistent high internet speeds and slower speeds. Pick the right cellular equipment for your needs, the more powerful your router, the more powerful your internet connection will be.

X marks the Spot. Using a coverage map will help you navigate areas with spotty coverage and keep you informed about signal strength so you are never caught in the lurch.  These maps are not always accurate but are still great tools for planning your travels.

Avoid Congestions. Areas with many internet users can experience low internet speeds due to heavy data traffic. Congested areas like festivals, concerts, and even football games have tended to experience an overload on the internet infrastructure, resulting in slow connection speeds.

Less is good: The fewer devices connected to your network, the better. Make sure your devices are connected to the devices you are using at the moment. It is easy to lose track of background devices, leading to an increased lag in your internet speed as they update regularly.

Definitely not us. LOL.

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

The Patriotic American Lesson of a True Insurrection

The Battle of Athens, Tennessee

The Battle of Athens, Tennessee

Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, their families and cohorts  remind many patriotic citizens today of Paul Cantrell and his political machine.

In Athens, Tennessee, the seat of McMinn County, was once upon a time, the headquarters of Sheriff Cantrell, the unscrupulous boss of a corrupt Democratic machine which stretched from Tennessee to Washington, DC.

When so many of the husbands, fathers, uncles, sons and cousins left for duty during the Second World War, Cantrell kicked his corruption into high gear.

🔹On the books, Cantrell drew salaries of nearly sixty thousand dollars per year over his first six years that were worth over $715,000 in today’s dollars.

🔹He was also appointed superintendent of the county workhouse (which didn’t even exist) for an additional two thousand dollars annually. a time when the median Tennessee home was worth less than two thousand dollars and the starting salary for enlisted men was fifty dollars per month.

🔹Despite the strict rationing for millions of patriotic citizens, Cantrell’s “lieutenants” and “enforcers” had plenty of cars, tires, and fuel.

🔹Reminiscent of Bill Clinton and Jeffrey Epstein, or Joe Biden and Judge Emmett Sullivan, Cantrell and company had their own whorehouses, not to mention illegal casinos, and speakeasies, to play in and take in thousands of dollars per month in protection money.

🔹Like Congress and the Senate today protecting their beloved kickback schemes from Ukraine, by 1946, Cantrell had dozens of county employees on the payrolls to provide cover for their vast money laundering operations.

🔹By August 1, 1946, citizens had enough. The boys who went to fight in World War II returned home as men, brave veterans.

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🔹While the “roosters” were gone saving the world from tyranny, the “fox” made certain the elections were rigged, much like 2020.

🔹McMinn County ballot boxes remained in Democratic offices. Cantrell’s deputies were the “election officers,” some of whom went down in history as “brutal killers with the blood of innocent civilians on their hands. Other local thugs and felons were on hand to further inculcate the climate of fear, including a man who murdered his own father and, five months after the election, murdered his sister-in-law, an expectant mother, and an infant child.”

🔹Like the patriots of January 6, 2021, some of McMinn County voters were imprisoned to prevent them from voting.

🔹Similar to the fake news of Big Media today, the message went out to older voters that their pensions would be held up unless they voted “the right way.”

🔹When a Republican election judge, a disabled veteran of World War I, tried to view the ballot count, he was dragged into the corridor and beaten, leaving him paralyzed.

🔹Another man who attempted to observe the ballot count was pistol-whipped, and one gunman fired at a poll worker who tried to leave the courthouse.

🔹Citizens petitioned the Department of Justice for relief, knowing that local and State officials would not take any action against the machine.

🔹Like the DOJ of 2022, the 1946 Department of Justice took no to little action and downplayed any evidence.

🔹Judges then, as now, dismissed evidence and lawsuits that did make it into courts. Of course, judges, DAs, senators and congressmen were associated with the machine. In one case, the judge not only dismissed most of the charges but fined the men one penny for the charges that stuck.

🔹The machine awarded Cantrell by having him “elected” to the Tennessee Senate. Pat Mansfield replaced him as Sheriff.

🔹Stories started to spread that widows and daughters of some deceased military heroes were forced into prostitutuon.

🔹Surviving veterans returned home to a community of horror.

🔹Near the end of September, 1944, Earl Ford, a returned Navy Seabee, was shot and killed by one of Mansfeld’s thugs, George Spurling.

🔹Not long after Ford was killed, Bill White returned from his tour of duty. Bill’s father, Edd, a veteran of the First World War, told his son a story:

He walked five miles a day to work at the power station on Railroad Avenue. He carried his lunch in a brown paper bag and a pint of milk from Mayfield’s Dairy. While walking past the jail on his way home he saw four deputies stare at him, get in a car, and start the engine. As he walked past the courthouse, the car was in the middle of the street, following him. He lowered his head and kept walking. He walked past the bus station and they were right alongside him. Edd picked up the pace. They accelerated. He didn’t know what they wanted with him or why. But he knew it wasn’t good. He panicked and started running to his house. The car pulled in front of him and slammed on its brakes. Four deputies jumped out with clubs in their hands. He was arrested and taken to jail. Now it was time to figure out a reason. The deputies took his milk bottle out of the bag and passed it around, taking a sniff. “Smells funny,” they agreed. The deputies who protected the roadhouses and honky-tonks and lined their pockets with kickbacks from bootleggers and pimps decided the remnant of Edd White’s milk was alcohol. He was fined $16.05, several days’ pay.

“It was a big surprise,” Bill described about returning home from the war, and “everything, everything, everything you’ve been told you’re supposed to be fighting for wasn’t there.” There were “liquor houses, whorehouses, gambling joints all over the county,” protected by “a bunch of thugs wearing guns and badges.”

Sounding very familiar to Americans today, Cantrell back then decided he was returning to Athens to “run” for Sheriff, Mansfield would be his handpicked successor to “run” for the State Senate seat.

🔹The veterans could stand no more. It was time to take action. They were told to keep away from the polls and to not even think about running for office, the veterans began organizing anyway.

🔹They prepared in secrecy to put a ticket together. They called it the “Ex-Serviceman’s Cleanup Ticket for McMinn County.”

🔹The local Republican Party endorsed them. One party official summed it up:

“We are involved in a conflict with desperate enemies who have sought to subject us to tyranny and oppression…We feel a deep sense of obligation and now seek in measure to repay…Young men who have fought against oppression abroad will continue that fight for honesty and decency at home.”

🔹Bill White finally told the group they were being naïve, arguing that they had to organize a fighting bunch:

“Listen. Do you think they’re going to let you win this election? Those people been taking these elections for years with a bunch of armed thugs. If you never got the guts enough to stand up and fight fire with fire, you ain’t gonna win.”

An Athens minister preached to his congregation:

“If you do not vote as your conscience dictates, then you have sold your citizenship and do not deserve to be citizens. It is the responsibility of each and every person to preserve our most cherished possession, liberty, or forever lose it.”

ELECTION DAY

🔹Armed deputies “guarded” each polling place, and reports of election fraud poured in to GI headquarters almost immediately.

🔹One veteran reported, “They already started knocking our boys in the head and putting them in jail. They’re taking this thing…This thing’ lost.”

Athens Jail, 1946

🔹A deputy beat and shot a sixty-year-old who insisted he was going to vote as he tried to enter a polling place.

🔹Another deputy brutally beat an election judge, a veteran who protested the shameful voter fraud he witnessed.

🔹One writer indicated “there were twelve ballot boxes: one in the jail, another inside a heavily defended courthouse, a third barricaded in the Dixie Café, a fourth in the vault in the Cantrell Bank Building, and poll watchers had been ejected at two other locations.”

🔹Inside the courthouse, deputies held a handful of GI poll watchers hostage, two of them wounded.

🔹Bill White and some of the team of GI veterans took these courthouse “deputies” for a drive out in the country were they marched them into the woods, made them take off their clothes, and tied them to trees. Some were whipped with a hickory stick.

Some of the veterans who took their city back

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🔹Leaving the naked and whipped deputies tied to the trees, White and team returned to town. White told his fellow patriots:

Well! Here you are! After three or four years of fighting for your country. You survived it all. You came back. And what did you come back to? A free country? You came back to Athens, Tennessee, in McMin!n County, that’s run by a bunch of outlaws. They’ve got hired gunmen all over this county right now at this minute. What for? One purpose. To scare you so bad you won’t dare stand up for the rights you’ve been bleeding and dying for. Some of your mothers and some of your sisters are afraid to walk down the streets to the polling places. Lots of men, too! Because they know what happens. A car drives by in the night and shoots out your windows. If that doesn’t scare you enough, they’ll set fire to your house or your barn. They’ll beat up members of your family and put them in jail. For no reason! Is that the kind of freedom you were supposed to be fighting for? Do you know what your rights are supposed to be? How many rights have you got left? None! Not even the right to vote in a free election. When you lose that, you’ve lost everything. And you are damned well going to lose it unless you fight and fight the only way they understand. Fire with fire! We’ve got to make this an honest election because we promised the people that if they voted it would be an honest election. And it’s going to be. But only if we see that it is. We are going to have to run these organized criminals out of town, and we can do it if we stick together. Are you afraid of them? Why, I could take a banana stalk and run every one of these potbellied draft dodgers across Depot Hill. Get the hell out of here and get something to shoot with. And come back as fast as you can.

Bill White, 1946

🔹The veterans returned with an arsenal of pistols, rifles, shotguns, squirrel guns, and European souvenirs like a German Mauser. It wasn’t enough.

🔹A group of them raided the nearby National Guard armory, where they found revolvers, a Thompson submachine gun, an array of .30-caliber M1917 rifles, and plenty of ammunition.

🔹Sheriff deputies gathered at the jail, where the ballot boxes had been taken.

Local hero patriots pose in jail after they took it over.

🔹 White remembered how they had sworn to defend America against all of her enemies. Later, he explained that “if it was worth going over there and risking your life, laying it down, it was worth it here, too. So, we decided to fight.”

🔹The veterans formed a line on a hillside across from the jail and demanded that the machine men bring out the ballot boxes. From the jail, someone yelled, “You’re going to have to come get them.”

🔹A gun battle commenced and the vets climbed to rooftops, strategically surrounding the jail.

🔹 Other veterans fired from behind walls and parked cars. They shot out the transformer that supplied the jail. The deputies could even see their ammo which had mostly been used up.

🔹More deputies from both Monroe and Polk Counties arrived with a plan to kill Knox Henry, the veteran candidate for Sheriff.

🔹After receiving news that the National Guard had been mobilized, the veterans asked White what they should do. He replied immediately, vowing, “We’re not going to do anything about it. We’re going to keep shooting here until we get those ballot boxes and get those people out of there.”

🔹Some of the veterans went and returned with an enormous stockpile of dynamite in the old county barn that the county used to clear roads and blast stumps and stones.

🔹They began tossing dynamite in increasing amounts at the jail, aiming closer and closer with each throw, finally promising that the next would be through the window.

🔹The deputized political machine men, outgunned and out of ammunition, surrendered with their hands held straight up as they walked out.

🔹The patriots searched the deputies for weapons and marched them from the jail to the courthouse in a column led by Bill White.

🔹White’s men gathered all deputies fancy late model cars so citizens could see them turn them over, douse them with gasoline, and set aflame.

🔹The veterans delivered a statement to a local radio station:

“The GI election officials went to the polls unarmed to have a fair election, as Pat Mansfield promised. They were met with blackjacks and pistols. Several GI officials were beaten and the ballot boxes were moved to the jail. The GI supporters went to the jail to get these ballot boxes and were met by gunfire. The GI candidates had promised that the votes would be counted as cast. They had no choice but to meet fire with fire. In the precincts where the GI candidates were allowed watchers, they led by three-to-one majorities. The GIs are elected and will serve as your county officials beginning September 1, 1946.”

The GIs continued by:

🔹Halting their planned aerial attack at a nearby airstrip in which they had planned to drop bombs over the jail.

🔹Raided all of the gambling dens, seized the slot machines and destroyed the equipment.

🔹Knox Henry was sworn in as Sheriff and declared:

“We have accomplished what we started out to do. We’ve broken the grip of the political machine that has ruled McMinn County for ten years without regard as to the wishes of the people in how their government was to be run. When I say we, I mean the other GIs on the nonpartisan cleanup ticket and the citizens of McMinn County who helped us win the battle.”

“We regret that the gunfight at the jail had to happen…Our only alternative was to use force…there will be no trouble of this kind at the next election. Any person who can qualify for an office may run with the full assurance of an honest election and the people will have nothing to fear when they go to the polls on Election Day.”

🔹Knox needed a whole new team of deputies, and pinned a star on Bill White. Almost immediately, they carried out raids on the moonshiners and bootleggers who had enjoyed the protection of the eliminated machine.

Soon, a Commonwealth editorial read:

“Since, after all, our American nation was founded by virtue of revolution, and since such revered figures as Jefferson evidently thought that revolution had valuable tonic effects on the body politic, it would be a trifle hypocritical for Americans to raise their hands in horror at these goings-on in the shadow of the Great Smokies.”

These brave patriots of Athens, Tennessee, fought and won the only successful armed insurrection in the United States since the War of Independence….so far.


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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

The Legendary Camels of Camp Verde, Texas

Nestled snugly in the Texas Hill Country, between Kerrville and the “Cowboy Capital of the World,” Bandera, is the delightful Camp Verde Store and Restaurant.

Today, near our home, Dodie and I enjoy passing through historical Bandera Pass to see bison, zebra and exotic wildlife on our way to dine at the site of the old fort, situated on Camp Verde Creek.

Known far and wide as Old Camp Verde, it was here, on July 8, 1856, the noted camel post was established by the U.S. government.

War Department records explained the camp was located “On the north bank of Rio Verde, or Verde Creek, a branch of the Guadalupe River, half a mile west of old Johnson Road, leading from San Antonio to Fort Terret; about four miles from Fort Ives; about 55 miles, direct course, northwest of San Antonio, but about 65 miles leading from San Antonio, through Fredericksburg to Forts Mason, McCavett, and Concho.”

When the camels first arrived from overseas, they entered in Indianola, Texas. The herd was driven to San Antonio grazing along the route, in about 14 days.

They were kept in the “headwaters of San Pedro” creek for a few days and then moved out to the ranch of Major Howard on the Medina River, twelve miles from San Antonio, where they were kept until they moved to their permanent home in Camp Verde on August 26 and 27, 1856.

Old Spanish maps identified this as “Verde Arroyo” (Green Creek). Before the thirty-three camels arrived in 1856, a sketch had been drawn of an Eastern caravansary in Asia Minor. This drawing was used to construct a detailed reproduction at Camp Verde.

The camels were used to transport supplies and dispatched to Forts Martin Scott, Concho, Griffen, Phantom Hill, Inge, Clark, Lancaster, Hudson, Stockton, Davis, Quitman, Bliss and other forts in West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

What was formerly the officers’ barracks is where the store and restaurant is. On March 26, 1910, the headquarters abode was destroyed by fire, which took the life of Tom Blair.

The camp was continuously garrisoned until March 7, 1861, when U.S. troops surrendered the post to the Confederates, and withdrew. After the Civil War, the post was reoccupied by Federal troops on November 30, 1866, and finally abandoned on November 30, 1869.

It was rebuilt by W.H. Bonnell as an exact replica using the stone structure that survived the fire.

History shows that camels roamed the Bandera hills and many pioneers in this area actually herded them.

🔹Amasa Clark, who died at his home near Bandera at age 102, herded camels. Among his possessions was a pair of pillows made from camel’s hair, which he sheared from the animals he tended.

🔹Jim Walker, who died in 1945, owned a bell worn by the lead camel at his time working there during the Civil War.

🔹Andy Jones, a pioneer citizen of Bandera who died in the mid 1940s, often saw droves of camels miles away from the old fort. When Camp Verde was handed back to the Federal Government after the Civil War, the original 32 camels had grown to a herd of over 100, under the care of the Confederate troops.

“When I was a boy on my father’s ranch, the government kept a lot of camels at Camp Verde,” Jones said. One day we hobbled three of our horses and turned them loose near the house, and fourteen of those old camels came lumbering along.”

“The horses took fright at the sight of them, and we did not see those horses for many days,” he continued. “My brother and I penned the camels, all of them being gentle except for one.”

“We roped the wild one, but never wanted to rope another,” he recalled. “For the old humpbacked villain slobbered all over us, and the slobber made us deathly sick. However, we had a jolly time with those camels, when we got rid of the foul, sickening slobber, and we often rode broncos and wild steers, we rode camels too…They could easily travel one hundred miles a day. The Indians seemed to be afraid of the camels, and of course never attempted to steal any of them.”

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

How Jefferson’s Monticello is Becoming a Monument of Wokeism

Monticello, the mountaintop home of Thomas Jefferson, author of the American Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States, is apparently going woke.

Social media and even mainstream news have been putting their spins on this World Heritage Site, historic house and plantation, museum, research institute, presidential library and private, non-profit organization:

Thomas Jefferson:

🔹fought against tyranny.

🔹helped create a free republic.

🔹wrote much in our founding documents that would ultimately lead multitudes of the citizens of the new nation to believe that slavery was wrong and immoral and give their lives to bring about its abolition.

A Peek at New World Order?

A $20 million donation in 2015, from far-left billionaire David M. Rubenstein, initiated the intent to rewrite history through the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.

Rubenstein, is not only a New World Order globalist, he is on the boards of the World Economic Forum (authors of the “Great Reset”), China’s Tsinghua University, and the Council on Foreign Relations.

UPDATE: Rubenstein gave $10 million to turn James Madison’s home into a Critical Race Theory museum in May 2022 according to the New York Post.

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Jeffrey Tucker of the libertarian Brownstone Institute said Saturday that “the whole thing has the feel of propaganda and manipulation. People on my tour seemed sad and demoralized.” 

MORE WOKE BUZZ

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

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What to Know Before You Decide on Buying an Electric Vehicle

Can You Say “Range Anxiety?”

That is anxiety that comes from not knowing whether or not you will be able to make it to a charging station before the battery is depleted.

I talked with several Electric Vehicle (EV) owners and a mechanic to ask about the ins-and-outs of these cars and trucks.

“The first hard lesson I learned about owning an electric vehicle was the inconvenient charging,” Steve, who sold his 2018 model after just two years said.

Steve had to talk his employer into installing a charging unit at his place of work near downtown San Antonio, Texas to ensure he had enough power to make it home, 40 miles away in the Hill Country foothills near Boerne.

“Stop and start traffic on the highways made me nervous,” he explained. “I didn’t get home until close to midnight so I was constantly worried about power at night.”

“If I had it to do over again, I would have spent more time studying, but in retrospect, I can tell you as I experienced constant mechanical and electric maintenance and warranty issues, I changed my mind,” he continued. “When I began to read and hear about Biden’s Green Build Back Better policies, with impending demands imposed by the EPA and other governmental regulating bodies, I had enough. I took a $11,000 loss, but lessons learned, and now I’m relieved.”

“Charging ain’t free,” Ronald, another San Antonio EV owner announced. “I spent about $2,800 turnkey to install a high output (Level 2) charger in my garage. Before that, I had started by running an extension cord and trading the electrical socket back in forth for my kitchen stove and car battery. I couldn’t chance the possibility of needing to drive at night not knowing if I had enough charge in an emergency.”

“For long trips I had issues with ‘range anxiety for sure,” he said. “I’d plan to find a Wal-Mart or someplace to hangout while my car was charging.”

“I have a Mercedes-Benz EQS and get a bit over 400 miles on one charge,” Ronald added. “If I’m driving long distances it, of course, takes me quite a bit longer to get a full charge than those who just fill up with gas and move on.”

To get a real life estimate, using average KWh charging rates from Texas to California, CleverJourneys checked Tesla’s website calculator to compare cost and time between gas and electric charging.

It’s easy to understand why Joe Biden needed to get gasoline prices higher and availability more difficult. Two of his major campaign donors (over $200 million in contributions) profit considerably:

🔹George Soros bought heavily in Rivian EVs stock in Nov. 2021.

🔹Warren Buffet’s trains carry the oil that would have run through Keystone Pipeline that Biden cancelled on Day 1 of his White House term.

390 minutes (6.5 hrs.) charge time. $12 in charging fees + $128 in charge time = $140. At 34 mpg in our Honda Civic, it takes us 48 gallons of gas. At $2 per gallon (before Biden) = $96. At $3 per gallon = $144; 4 per gallon = $192; $5 per gallon = $240 (during Biden)
Charging stations availability. July 2022

Current prices for charging an electric car at Walmart range anywhere from 12 cents to 99 cents per kW across the U.S. Most charge somewhere close to 30 cents.

“It just really depends on which Walmart or place you go to and what type of electric car you have,” Gary, a newly certified service EV repairman, explained. “They usually charge a buck ($1 fee) per charging session.”

Although Walmart and other places have installed superchargers, “it is not good to use them every day or too often,” Gary warned. “Supercharging your car daily can damage your battery health, and wear out its lifespan.”

“There’s a fee if you stay parked after your car is charged. ChargePoint gives you a 5-minute grace period to move your car after it’s finished,” said Gary.. “After that, it charges you 14 cents per minute up to a maximum of $5 per session.”

🔹According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average U.S. household pays nearly 14 cents per kWh.

“An electric car gets 3 to 4 miles per kWh,” Gary stated. “So divide the total miles you drive each month by 3 to get the kWh you would use monthly. Multiply that number by your cost per kWh. The dollar amount you get could be less than what you pay each month to buy gasoline. I think this is why Biden is causing gas prices to go up.”

🔹If someone drives about 1,183 miles per month (Americans drive an average of about 14,200 miles annually), an EV, will use about 394 kWh in that timeframe.

🔹Using the U.S. household average from June 2022 of nearly 14 cents per kWh, it would cost about $55 per month to charge an electric car.

🔹Figure an extra $38.50 per month to charge an electric car at home if you pay the average 14 cents. This is a 33% increase on the average electric bill, according to stats from the Energy Information Administration. 

Prepare to wait.
Truck stop & EV station food.

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🔹Fully recharging the battery pack with a Level 1 or Level 2 charger can take up to 8 hours, and even fast charging stations take 30 minutes to charge to just 80 percent capacity.

LEVELS OF CHARGE

LEVEL 1 is the slowest and requires a regular 120-volt outlet, which you probably already have. Most EVs acquire roughly five miles per hour of charge when using Level 1 charging.

LEVEL 2 is a 240-volt electric circuit required for charging. This is commonly used for major appliances such as electric dryers, water heaters, and ovens. Installing one of these in a suitable location greatly increases charging capacity. With Level 2, most EVs can charge at a rate of about 35 miles per hour.

LEVEL 3 is the quickest charging station on the market, delivering massive amounts of power in a short amount of time. Modern EVs can charge up to 80% of their capacity in about 30 minutes. These should not be used often as it shortens battery life.

Not all DC fast chargers are created equal, as charger speed can vary from 24 kW to 350 kW, and not all cars are compatible with the fastest speeds or come close to their marketed capability in practice. 

CURRENT SAMPLE CHARGING COST (June 2022)

Georgia: EVgo network charges rates by state, and it varies for Level 2 charging. On its website, the pay-as-you-go approach costs 30 cents per minute in Georgia. However, if you’re an EVgo Plus member, the rate drops to 24 cents per minute.

Illinois: Electrify America bills 43 cents per kWh for guests and 31 cents per kWh for paid members; EVGo bills between 22 and 30 cents depending on membership status; those billing rates can change based on location.

Some studies show that you can save around $14,000 on fuel costs if you drive an electric car for about 15 years but sometimes this may not be enough to cover all the hidden costs that electric cars have. Some of these hidden costs that you may encounter could cost thousands of dollars, with a few costing over $10,000.

THE NOTORIOUS BATTERIES

At the heart of all-electric automobiles are batteries — literally, the entire car is designed around them, and they’re the most expensive part of the car.

🔹Currently, all EVs sold in the U.S. come with an eight-year/100k mile warranty. Keep in mind that the average age for a vehicle on the road in the U.S. is 12.1 years. EVs average age is unknown.

🔹At some point the cost to replace the battery is more than your vehicle might be worth — estimates range between $6,000 and $20,000 depending on the model.

“The most expensive repair made on an EV is most likely going to be the high-voltage battery,” Gary commented. “Not anyone can do this type of work and it’s something that should only be done by a trained specialist at a proper repair facility.”

“This is due to the very high-voltage danger as well as maintaining proper repair procedures,” he added. “These replacement parts will come directly from the dealer. There’s just not much competition among parts manufacturers to drive prices down.”

🔹These lithium batteries are benign when compared to Nickel-Cadmium cells or even other automotive compounds like brake fluid. This means it’s considered toxic in our waste stream, and no one is prepared for the volume of used batteries headed to scrap yards.

🔹The EPA reported in 2021 that at least 65 landfill fires were caused by lithium-ion battery waste.

🔹These batteries are extremely heavy with some weighing up to 1,400 lbs.

🔹EVs have a shorter range than gas-powered cars. Most models only range between 60 and 120 miles per charge and some luxury models might make it to 300 miles per charge.

For comparison, gas powered vehicles will average around 300 miles on a full tank of gas, and more fuel efficient vehicles getting much higher driving ranges. This can be an issue when looking at EVs if you take long trips. Availability of charging stations can make AEVs less suitable for activities like road trips.

HIGHER INSURANCE PREMIUMS

🔹According to bankrate.com, the average annual premium in the U.S. for a gas car is $1,655. The much higher EV premiums are mostly due to the high purchase price and the high cost of repairs. 

🔹Steve said he shopped around and paid $2,300 a year for insurance his last year of ownership before he sold his EV.

🔹Electric vehicles will generally cost 25%-40% more than a gas car in terms of the insurance. 

CHILD LABOR & ENVIRONMENT CONTROVERSIES

🔹Modern batteries require lithium, which can only be mined in a handful of countries.

🔹There is much controversy about young children being used to hand dig cobalt out of mines for long hours, 7 days each week.

🔹Once mined, this cobalt is used to produce thousands of small cylindrical cells, each of which must be carefully monitored—no trivial matter.

🔹You must add the cost of environmental and crash protection to prevent battery fires.

VEHICLE REGISTRATION

🔹Finding a vehicle inspection could be a challenge.

🔹A quick search across 12 states from California to Texas to Georgia to Michigan revealed EV registration fees to be between $50 to $250.

🔹This is primarily due to there being a tax on gas that is used to pay for new infrastructure. Many states want electric car owners to contribute to providing the services needed.

Random Notes

🔹Electric cars have a low center of gravity due to the placement of the battery pack, so tires can wear down more quickly than on gas-powered cars.

🔹Some EVs have a powertrain that needs to have its fluid replaced at periodic intervals, such as the Tesla Model S.

🔹EVs are especially at risk of battery issues in high and low temperatures. Cold weather can reduce your range in the short-term, while hot weather can reduce the overall battery life of your vehicle.

🔹Because the battery pack is located in the underbody of the vehicle, corrosion can be more damaging to EVs than to conventional cars. Wash off any road salt and other corrosive materials as soon as possible, and keep an eye out for corrosion on the charging port and other electrical components.

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

See below in comment section

The Misguided Investment of Mark Twain’s Samuel Clemens

Like so many writers, one of my early literary influences was Samuel Clemens, the guy who successfully branded himself as Mark Twain and gained unprecedented worldwide recognition as an author.

So inspired by him, that on my only two visits to Connecticut, I made certain to visit The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford.

The museum was the author’s home, where his family lived from 1874 to 1891. Twain wrote his most important works during the years he lived there, including Adventures of Huckleberry FinnThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.

One of my favorite bloggers, Phil Strawn from Granbury, Texas, who reminds me of a cross between Clemmons and the founder of Luchenbach, Texas, an old Hill Country storyteller of yesteryear that I met in the ’70s. Strawn’s observations in TALES FROM THE CACTUS PATCH have a Mark Twain from Baby Boomer Texas type feel to his posts.

Anyway, I digress. Clemmons was driven to financial dissolution in a bid to develop an efficient mechanical typesetting machine.

It was called a Paige Compositor and was designed to eliminate the need for human intervention while typesetting.

The result? It was a debacle and the only working model with 18,000 separate parts. It ended up as a museum piece in the Twain House.

Clemens’ career included a stint as a journeyman printer and compositor. He clearly understood the potential of the machine. From the moment Clemens encountered the typesetting machine in James Paige’s workshop, he was dazzled by the possibilities and convinced that this revolutionary device represented a golden financial opportunity.

While the Paige Compositor was truly an engineering marvel, and could successfully and precisely set and distribute type, Paige was fixated on enhancing the machine so it could create justified lines of type.

His insistence on including this complex feature (that he could never get to work reliably) fatally delayed its release. A simpler machine from Linotype grabbed the market.

In the meantime, Clemens’ investments in the project topped $170,000 by the close of the 1880s, leaving him in deep financial straits, exacerbated by other bad investments.

To pay off creditors and restore his financial equilibrium, the 60-year old Clemens, his wife Olivia, and daughter Clara set off on a five-year tour, dubbed the “Round-the-World Comedy Tour” by author Richard Zacks, delivering stage performances to welcoming audiences in India, South Africa, Australia, and other countries.

The tour, however, was capped by tragedy upon the family’s return to London: the death of daughter Susy at the family home in Hartford, CT during their absence.

With long time friend John Lewis, who inspired “Jim” in Tom Sawyer

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Clemens recorded in his notebook, “The cloud is permanent now,” and Olivia, exhausted from the travel, was traumatized to the point that she would never return to their Hartford home and never fully regained her health.

Clemens did not forget the role Paige played in his misfortunes, and wrote in his autobiography: “Paige and I always meet on effusively affectionate terms; and yet he knows perfectly well that if I had his nuts in a steel-trap I would shut out all human succor and watch that trap till he died.”

With the proceeds from his round-the-world tour and the release of a book of his collected works, Clemens successfully turned the corner on his financial woes. He died, debt free, in Redding, Connecticut in 1910.

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Jack Dennis often reports on politics, crime, history, travel, nostalgia, entertainment, immigration, drugs, gang activities, and human trafficking. Please support our efforts to provide truth and news that corporate media will not. 🔹Dodie Dennis, retired RN and health instructor, writes about health, nutrition, Big Pharma, nature, travel and everyday hacks-tips-hints.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

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Wild Black Bear Sightings Increasing in Texas

Recent sightings of black bears in the western parts of the Texas Hill Country could indicate the dry hot conditions in the Lone Star State are causing wildlife to venture into wider migration patterns.

From April through June, rare bear sightings have occurred near Carta Valley, Barksdale, Camp Wood, west of Ingram, south of Tarpley, Asherton, Alpine, Fort Davis and Mount Livermore.

On June 20th, a black bear was sighted swimming near the shoreline of Lake Amistad.

In the past year, bears have also been observed not only on the lake, but near Fort Stockton, north of Laredo, and in nearby regions.

While no one is sure how many bears currently live in Texas, experts agree that wildfires in Mexico, as well as drought conditions in other regions, have likely caused bears to migrate to new areas, including many parts of Texas.

Michael Janis, Trans-Pecos district leader for Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD), said dry conditions are likely sending bears looking for food. Breeding season also moved bears around.

The conservation efforts in bordering states over the last 20 years have also led to bears crossing back into Texas, especially during the summer mating season, according to TPWD.

Most of these animals wandering further into Texas are young, transient males in search of food and other bears. Males have much larger home ranges than females, and sub-adults can travel many miles to set up a new one.

Click to read bear tips for hunters, campers, hikers and homeowners

To those not aware of bears, some people become quite alarmed when they hear about sightings. However, out of approximately 36,000 people in the U.S. who are bitten annually by wildlife, black bears rank 5th behind rodents, venomous snakes, skunks, and foxes respectively.

In West Texas where Big Bend National Park (BBNP) has had more than 6,592 bear/human encounters since 1950, only 2.5 percent of those encounters were classified as aggressive interactions. Most of those occurred when the bear made contact with property containing human food. There has never been a black bear attack recorded in BBNP.

When Border Patrol agents discovered a young black bear in a tree in north Laredo last July, it likely came from Mexico, noted Eric Garza, wildlife biologist with TPWD.

Not long after,  residents of SpinTech – Myers Ranch caught a strange image on a game camera. Maybe it was an overgrown wild hog, but most believe it was a bear:

TPWD is recording more road kills of black bears between Laredo and Zapata over the decade. Garza notes they were likely males dispersing from Mexico also.

“Zapata itself probably hasn’t seen any historic sightings simply because of the lake. It’s hard for them to swim across the lake, especially when it’s up,” said Garza. “This particular animal probably came across where the water is a lot lower. Not where it’s a lake but where it’s still a river.”

In a 2011 Starr County encounter, Garza notes the bear became habituated to residents, picking up scraps of food and eating out of trash cans. In those instances the bears need to be trapped and relocated away from humans, pet food and trash.

“The first thing we need to know is any conflicts between black bears and people can be avoided very, very easily,” Garza explained. “And the easiest way to avoid any conflicts is to make sure and not leave trash out for bears to get into, and really any wildlife to get into. Don’t leave pet food out. Bring that in and secure it. Don’t leave small livestock animals like rabbits or poultry.”

Late 2021 and early 2022, TPWD biologists were monitoring multiple black bear sightings near the North Double Diamond community south of Alpine.

It is believed the bear may displaying behavior typical of hyperphagia (excessive or extreme hunger). Reports suggested that the bear were attracted to and searching for easily accessible food sources (i.e. pet food, wildlife feeders, livestock feed, etc.). 

In June, 2021, Big Bend National Park camper Valerie King took photos of a black bear in the Basin Campground:

TPWD indicates anyone encountering a black bear in a camping area should immediately deploy aversive conditioning by creating loud noises (shout, handclap, air horns, car alarm, sirens, or bang pots and pans) to startle the bear. Once the bear leaves, report the encounter to your District Biologist or TPWD Game Warden.

It is critical that the Department is able to monitor any on-going situations with full extent of known black bear encounters. 

In the 1800s, black bear lived through every ecosystem in Texas but has long been hunted down and migrated away from settlements and eventually, cities. In 2009, a black bear that wandered onto a Mernard County (Central Texas) cattle ranch was the first ever confirmed in this century in that part of the state, according to Capt. Alan Teague, a TPWD game warden.

Click to read bear tips for hunters, campers, hikers and homeowners

A Liberty County judge reputedly slaughtered 200 bears in the late 19th century, a pursuit that earned Lewis Hightower the handle “the Bear-Hunting Judge,” according to the Handbook of Texas Online.

“I practice law for recreation,” Hightower would say, “and hunt bear for a livin’.”

By the 1950s, black bears were eradicated from Texas, experts say.

The state made bear hunting illegal in 1983. That decade, they began crossing from northern Mexico into the southern reaches of West Texas.

For the past 20 years, a small population has bred there, mostly in the region’s rugged mountains. Today, some biologists believe there may be as many as 100.

But bears in Texas recently have been on the move, staging an unprecedented return to regions such as the Edwards Plateau, Piney Woods and South Texas Plains, according to Nathan Garner, another TPWD biologist.

The True Story of Smokey the Bear

Texas lists the black bear as threatened. The penalty for shooting one is a Class C misdemeanor and a fine of $500, plus a civil restitution of $11,907.50.

One of the most bizzare encounters was in 2017, when a black bear was sighted in a neighborhood between New Braunfels and Spring Branch. The alleged black bear, weighing as much as 350 lbs., ran in front of a vehicle in the early morning hours.

According to TPWD, there were 61 Black Bear sightings in 14 counties in 2018-2019. State mammologist Jonah Evans said sightings tend to increase in the fall because the bears are foraging food and trying “fatten up” before hibernating for the winter.

Transient bears from New Mexico are also occasionally reported in the Panhandle counties of Dallam, Hartley and Oldham, according to TPWD district leader Brad Simpson.

bear
The communities south of Alpine, Texas are on a Neighborhood Bear Watch. (courtesy: Texas Parks and Wildlife – Trans-Pecos Wildlife District)

A study published in The Journal of Wildlife Management documents 63 people killed in 59 incidents by non-captive black bears between 1900-2009.

Of special note is this quote:

“We judged that the bear involved acted as a predator in 88 percent of fatal incidents. Adult or subadult male bears were involved in 92 percent of fatal predatory incidents, reflecting biological and behavioral differences between male and female bears. That most fatal black bear attacks were predatory and were carried out by one bear shows that females with young are not the most dangerous black bears.”

🔹Black bears mate during the months of June and July. This might account for some of the sightings in the Texas Hill Country, as bears travel to find a mate during the summer months.

🔹State biologists believe that female black bears in Texas hibernate while males do not.

🔹The young are born in January or February, while the mother is “hibernating.” She normally gives birth to two-to-three cubs every two years.

LOUISIANA MIGRATION

🔹Louisiana Black Bear sightings have been increasing in recent years so it’s possible they are making a comeback in Eastern Texas too.

🔹Louisiana is home to the Louisiana Black Bear, a subspecies of of the American Black Bear. There’s an estimated 750-1000 bears living in the state, but they can also be found in the neighboring states of Texas, Mississippi, and possibly even Southern Arkansas.

🔹Aside from the Louisiana Bear, both the Mexican Black Bear and the New Mexico Black Bear are found in western Texas in low numbers and are also on the state endangered species list.

2018-2021 sightings

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NEW MEXICO MIGRATION

🔹The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish estimates that there are approximately 5,000-6,000 Black Bears living in all 14.6 million forested acres of New Mexico. There have been strict hunting regulations in place since 1927 in the state to help control the population of Black Bears in the state.

🔹In the early 20th century Grizzly Bears were common in the state, but now only the American Black Bear remain. They are also the state animal of New Mexico.

ARKANSAS MIGRATION

🔹Black Bears in Arkansas thrive in three places; the Ozark Highlands area, the Ouachita National Forest, and the lower White River basin. Pre-settlement there was thought to be over 50,000 bears in Arkansas, but dwindled down to just 50 bears in the 1930s. Thanks to conservation efforts and the importation of Black Bears from other areas, Arkansas is believed to have over 5,000 Black Bears now.

CAN INJURE WHEN PROVOKED

“The Black Bear is a stocky, large animal, one of the largest mammals in North America. Adults reach a length of 5 to 6 feet, height at the shoulder of 2 to 3 feet, and weigh 200-300 pounds,” notes information from Texas Park and Wildlife Department. “Although called a ‘black’ bear, colors can range from black to the occasional cinnamon brown. Front claws are generally longer than hind claws. The fur is long and coarse. Although appealing and generally harmless, Black Bears can injure humans when provoked and should be treated with caution.”

At least two subspecies of Black Bear are thought to occur in Texas: the Mexican Black Bear and the New Mexico Black Bear. Both are found in West Texas in desert scrub or woodland habitats within scattered mountain ranges, predominantly the Chisos and Guadalupe Mountains. Both subspecies are state-listed as endangered in Texas.

Colleen Olfenbuttel, the Wildlife Commission’s black bear and furbearer biologist, offers some advice about how to co-exist with black bears.

“Most bears that wander into a residential area will quickly retreat to their natural habitat, particularly if no food source is around,” Olfenbuttel said. “Bears have adapted to living near people; now it’s up to us to adapt to living near bears.”

BearWise has six Basics the public can use to prevent potential conflicts and live responsibly with bears:

• Never feed or approach a bear. Bears will defend themselves if a person gets too close, so don’t risk your safety and theirs.

• Secure food, garbage and recycling. Place trash outside as late as possible on the morning of trash pick-up — not the night before.

• Remove bird feeders when bears are active. Birdseed, other grains and hummingbird feeders have high calorie content making them very attractive to bears.

• Never leave pet food outdoors.

• Clean and store grills.

• Alert neighbors to bear activity.

“While these young bears (usually May-August), typically males, may appear to be wandering aimlessly around, they are not necessarily lost,” Olfenbuttel said. “Most are simply exploring their new surroundings and will move on, particularly if they are left alone and there is no food around.”

Unlike brown bears, black bears are omnivorous creatures that rarely pose a threat to humans, pets, or livestock. Like any large mammal, however, humans must take steps to be aware and coexist with black bears.

Black bears diet is very much like a raccoon’s.

🔹Up to 80 percent of their diet is plant matter, and they often scavenge the rest from carcasses of dead animals.

🔹In many circumstances, they will hunt for insects and worms for the “meat based” part of their diet.

🔹They have been known to kill larger mammals and even livestock. This is occurs mostly during late spring and early summer, when bears become active after hibernating, and juveniles “leave home.” This is when food requirements are high, and bears will find the most nutritious food they can.

🔹If there is a lack of fruits, berries, and other plant matter, they may feed on other animals. 

Signs of black bears 

If you suspect bears in your area, pay careful attention to signs such as, tracks, scat, and territorial markings on trees. Although you may not see the animal, the evidence of their presence is usually clear. Take pictures of suspected bear sign using a ruler or other standard item for scale and send them to your local biologist for interpretation. 

Bear tracks stand out and are unlike any other you might encounter. Bears use their teeth and claws to mark trees or other surfaces to mark territory.

Black Bears of East Texas. Photos provided by the East Texas Black Bear Task Force.
Black Bears of East Texas. Photos provided by the East Texas Black Bear Task Force.Hardin County News

BEAR ENCOUNTERS

If you encounter a bear, TPWD offers this advice:

  • If a bear regularly visits your deer stand, scare it with rocks, a slingshot or air horn.
  • If you encounter a bear at close range, talk in a calm manner while backing away slowly. Do not make direct eye contact
  • Do not run. Running can trigger a bear’s chase instinct.
  • Stand your ground and raise your arms if a bear approaches you, making yourself appear larger. Yell at the bear to scare it off.
  • Fight back aggressively with anything available if attacked. Let bears know that you are not an easy prey. Do not play dead.

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