Early Voting

How Could the PCC elections Have Been Better Run? | Toby James

It’s an exciting time for us Tarrant County registered voters. The polls open today, Monday, April 25, for early voting that runs through May 3. We can cast our ballots in local city and town councils, school boards, library and water districts, and city charter elections. If you don’t do early voting, please be sure to vote in the May 7 election. Yes, dear heart, your vote does count and your voice needs to be heard.

There are 11 amendment changes to the 1924 Fort Worth city charter. To make Fort Worth’s charter current with state law, there are seven propositions we need to consider. The other four will affect the pay, term lengths, and council size of our Fort Worth City Council.

If you can’t make it to a polling place, you can download an application for a ballot by mail from the elections website. This must be submitted by tomorrow/Tuesday, April 26. As Annie often remarks, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.” Well, you know that we can always complain, but voting makes it legitimate, doesn’t it?

Annie Ambles to the Tarrant County Plaza Building to cast her ballot


Keeping Your Kitchen Safe

Annie never would have thought that the kitchen is more dangerous than a bathroom, but maybe it’s so. According to the April AARP Bulletin, here are some strategies that you can use to keep your kitchen a safer place.

Pay close attention to your pots and pans. In 2014 more than 32,00 people were hurt while cooking. They suffered burns as well as cuts from shattering glass pans. Please use kitchen mitts and remember that you don’t take glass dishes directly from the freezer and put them in the over. Never ever add liquid when a glass pan is piping hot. More than likely it will shatter. Talk about having a meal destroyed. That will do it. If you’re frying, keep a lid nearby to smother any grease fire.

Enjoy those bagels? Annie does, too, and is careful not to cut her hand or fingers when trying to slice one. Buy them pre-sliced, or, better yet, buy a bagel slicer. They are relatively inexpensive.

Harmful germs in marinade or food can multiply quickly at room temperature. Keep your marinating food in the refrigerator, not out on the counter.

You’d think using a dishwasher would be pretty safe, but people forget to place utensils with the sharp ends down. Don’t rush to put things away; wait for the machine to cool before emptying it.

You may be tempted to save energy costs by setting the refrigerator and freezer at slightly higher temps, but you’ll be welcoming bacteria if you do. The best temperature for the fridge is 40 degrees, while the freezer needs to be set at 0 degrees.

Mother always told us to rinse our fruits and vegetables. She’s right. We can use a brush to get the dirt off and rinse them under running water. This cleaning method is even more effective than using a commercial produce wash. Who knew?

One last hint on how best to deal with three germ magnets is to zap moist sponges for two minutes in the microwave, soak facet screens in bleach solutions, and remove and wash stove knobs in hot soapy water.

If you adopt these ideas, you’ll have a much safer kitchen.

Annie Ambles strives to make her kitchen safe

Book Sale

Book lovers, heed this call. The Friends of the Fort Worth Public Library is having its Biannual Book Sale on three weekends in April and May. Guess it means that we have three fantastic opportunities to add some fine books to our libraries. Choose from thousands of books, CDs, and DVDs with most items priced 50 cents to a dollar fifty.

There is a “Members Only Tax-Free Sale Day” this coming Saturday, April 16, 9 am until 4 pm at the Book Store, 5332 Trail Lake Drive, Wedgewood Village, just south of Loop 820 and Trail Lake. You’ll pay only 1/2 price in the book store. Not a member? It’s easy to join or renew your membership at the door. Seniors pay $20, if Annie is not mistaken.

Sale days to the public in the Chapter 2 Annexes, 5314 and 5318 Trail Drive, are April 22-24 and Saturday May 7. If you’re not a member, there is a $1 admission charge per day.

There’ll be a  Garage Sale at the Book Store Annexes on Saturday, May 7, 9 am through 4 pm. Fixtures and gift items from the warehouse will be sold plus another $15 a box day on remaining books. Sunday, April 24, noon until 4 pm is the first $15 a box day with boxes provided.

If your bookshelves are already packed to overflowing, go through your books and donate some to make room for your new purchases. You’ll get a tax deduction slip for the IRS at the Main Desk, and the Friends will have more books to sell.

Annie Ambles renews her membership and fills a box with books

Property Fraud Alert

With the 2016 Property Value Notice Annie received this week from the Tarrant Appraisal District came a dire warning. In bold print it warned her to “Protect your most valuable investment.”  Seems there are crooks out there who may illegally use our property for financial gain. How can this possibly happen?

Well, someone may try to record a document in the County Clerk’s Office attempting to make it look like he or she owns your home or property. This is a serious matter because, according to the FBI, property and mortgage fraud is the fastest growing white-collar crime.

Never fear. You can do something about it. Subscribe to the free notification service provided by the Tarrant County Clerk’s Office to get a heads up if someone tries to file documents on your property. Check out this web site–<www.propertyfraudalent.com/tarranttx>

The Tarrant County’s program is called Property Fraud Alert and it alerts individuals to potentially fraudulent activity involving their personal information.

“When something is filed in the county clerk’s office and it has your name in it, it will send you an e-mail or give you a phone call and let you know,” explains County Clerk Mary Louise Garcia.

If you prefer, you may call the Property Fraud Alert Hotline at 1-800-728-3848. Someone will be happy to help you.

Our Tarrant County County Clerk and her staff want us to… Be informed…Be alert…Be notified. At least that’s the message her office is sending to us.

Annie Ambles learns about Property Fraud


Three Cheers for Red Oak Foundation

The Red Oak Foundation based right here in Fort Worth is an organization with a mission: To spread the pleasures and benefits of books to all young children. Since its creation in 1997, Red Oak has distributed 523,817 books to young children and their families.

Annie came to know and admire Red Oak after she started reading to elementary children in the Fort Worth Independent School District at I. M. Terrill Elementary as part of Bass Hall’s Children’s Education Program (CEP). She is what is known as a book bearer. This is how it works for her and can, too, for you–Volunteer to be a reader. Pick up the books. Drive to the school. Check in at the office. Take the books to a classroom. Give a book to each student. Leave a book for each absent child. Read sections of the book. Wave good-bye. Give yourself a treat for having fun and doing good!

Cutting out the middle man, Red Oak purchases the books directly from their publishers. In addition to the book bearers who represent 168 non-profit organizations, books are distributed through 26 clinics (336,865), 42 book clubs (2,362), and at 408 events (21,704).

Events for children five years of age and under and their parents or caregivers are held at non-profit centers in targeted neighborhoods. These have story times where books are read aloud by site representatives, followed by book selections where every child can take home two quality, hardback books for free.

Hats off to Red Oak.

Annie Ambles reads to first graders to encourage a love of books

Fort Worth’s First Senior Playground

Are you kidding me? This is not a joke. In September 2014, Fort Worth joined AARP’s network of age-friendly communities, in which members pledge to pay increased attention to the environmental, economic, and social factors that influence the health and well-being of us older adults.The powers who be are researching the possibility of funding the construction of a playground for seniors, according to an article in the Fort Worth Weekly.

The outdoor spaces, sometimes referred to as outdoor adult gyms, include low-impact activities like stationary bikes, walking paths with ramps, and games like horseshoes. Though common in Western Europe and East Asia, they have been slow to catch on in the US. The recreational areas provide opportunities for older adults to congregate, socialize, and use the equipment to maintain flexibility, balance, and stamina.

 Maybe, instead of starting from scratch, Fort Worth can add age-friendly equipment to a park already set to be built. In fact, the rumor is that the final location for Fort Worth’s first age-friendly park has been narrowed down to one or two possibilities, but nothing has been finalized. Check out Keller’s outdoor equipment pictured below. How did that city get ahead of us?


“Playing on a playground is fun at any age, according to Mayor Betsy Price. Why should we stop when we are older. The equipment which can be as simple as an oversized teeter-totter, helps seniors maintain flexibility, balance, and coordination. And it’s fun.”

Annie Ambles looks forward to Fort Worth’s first Senior Playground



Happy Hour with a Plus

The previous blog post told you about the Center for Transforming Lives Resale Shop. This post continues news of the Center and combines your annual de-cluttering with a fun event. It’s spring cleaning time, and the Center for Transforming Lives invites you to be a part of the 6th Annual Clean Out, Help Out Happy Hour benefiting the Resale Shop from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27. This is a fun-filled donation drive and happy hour that you won’t want to miss.

You can even be a host this year/ A Clean Out, Help Out host pledges to bring friends, family and colleagues and helps underwrite the cost of the event. To participate, please click here! Surely you can spare the fifty dollars needed to be a host. Check with the Center personnel to see if the fee is tax deductible. I know your boxes of stuff will bring you a tax deduction for 2016.

At the Happy Hour Kendra Scott Jewelry will have a trunk show. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Center for Transforming Lives, and you can enter to win some beautiful jewelry yourself!  Another sponsor is the Law Offices of Jason Smith.

Just follow the link (https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/CenterForTransformingLives/cohohost.html) to RSVP as a host.

You can forward the happy hour invitation to your friends, family, and colleagues who will attend the fun, FREE happy hour. The more, the merrier! And, it goes without saying that you may make a donation to the Center any time. You’ll help those to whom the Center gives a hand up. Don’t we all need a little help every once in a while?

Let’s all get together to support the Center. Please join us from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27 in the Historic Grand Ballroom at 512 W. 4th Bring your donations of women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, accessories, furniture and household items. You are also welcome to donate that broken, unwanted silver or gold jewelry!

If you have questions, you are encouraged to contact Stephanie Raben at 817-484-1543 or sraben@transforminglives.org   She’s the Center’s Director of Social Enterprise and an extremely nice professional.

Annie Ambles signs up as a host and marks this happy hour on her April calendar