Dream to dust…….

Front row: Adam Hardman, Michael, Trudi and Kaci Hardman.
Back row: Aaron Hardman, Dakota Watson, Andrew Harman, Hunter Watson

“We must lift each other up during this difficult time,” stated Terrell Independent School District Superintendent Michael French.

The Hardman family had always talked about taking their blended family to Disney World and on Nov 19 2014, they and their six children left their Terrell TX home sometime after 7 pm headed to Florida.  At approximately 10:45 pm their 2005 Chevy Tahoe crashed on Interstate 20 just west of Calhoun LA and five members of the family were dead.

The police report that they believe the driver, sixteen year old Andrew Hardman apparently fell asleep at the wheel and the Tahoe veered to the left.  He then overcorrected the vehicle to the right and the SUV rolled over, ejecting six people who were not wearing seatbelts.  Five of the Hardman family were pronounced dead at the scene.  The dead were identified as Michael and Trudi Hardman, Dakota Watson, 15, Adam Hardman, 7 and Kaci Hardman, 4.  Andrew was wearing a seatbelt and only suffered minor injuries while Aaron Hardman, 12 is in critical condition.  Hunter Watson also suffered only minor injuries and was released from the hospital the next day.

Michael and Trudi married five years ago and brought their children from previous marriages together.  Kaci was the youngest and the only child that they had together as a couple.  Michael taught second grade in the TISD and had been employed by them for two years.  He also coached Little League baseball and is said to never turn a kid away from participating.  Trudi was a kindergarten teacher at Willis Point Primary School and had worked for the WPISD for ten years.  The couple had been planning the trip for the past nine months and were excited to be able to take all six of their children there.

Andrew has been charged with reckless operation of a vehicle and the police do not believe that he was impaired even though they did take a sample for a toxicology test.  They have stated that they believe that he may have just fallen asleep while driving.  They did add that they believe that more of the family could have survived the accident if they had been wearing seat belts as required by law in both Texas and Louisiana.  I do believe that it probably was just an accident due to to inexperience but the damage it may have caused could last a lifetime.

There has been a go fund me site set up to help with expenses for the surviving children.  No funeral arrangements have been announced as of yet.

Related story on this blog:






Update Nov 22 2014:

The police have stated that Andrew had to be charged with a motor vehicle infraction as a point of law but he has only been charged with the misdemeanor of careless operation.  This charge means that he would only be facing a small fine and a mark on his newly acquired driver’s license.  They added that there is a very good chance that the charge will be dropped in the future since he has certainly suffered more than any punishment could do for what looks to be just an accident.

There has not been any announcement as to funeral arrangements but people in Wills Point have gathered to remember the five who died in the accident.



Update Nov 23 2014:

The only arrangements that have been planned as of this date is a memorial sometime after Thanksgiving.


Update Nov 24 2014:

The memorial service for the Hardman family has been set for Wednesday Nov 26 2014.  It will be held at the Lakeshore Church, 5575 Highway 205 in Rockwall.  The family will begin receiving friends at 10 am that morning.

The district attorney in Louisiana has stated that all charges against Andrew have been dismissed.  Aaron is still reported to be in critical condition but stable at Shreveport Hospital in LA at this time.


Can we keep it?

The three of them had spent Labor Day, September 3 2007, fishing without any luck. They were headed back to the boatlaunch near Mine Falls, on the Nashua River NH, when their luck suddenly changed.

Anthony Grauslys, 40 of Hudson NH, his 9 year-old son, Ash and Steve Summers, their neighbor hadn’t caught a thing all day until Graulys’s line snagged something. He initially had thought a pickerel had grabbed his hook and rubber worm and he fought it up to the boat. It only took one look he said, to realize he hadn’t caught a prize-winning fish.

“We’re city cops. We don’t know what to do with these things,” stated Lt Bruce Hansen.

Grauslys stated that he realized he had dragged in an alligator and he knew that he could just release it again, since no one would probably want an alligator hanging around. Him and his fishing crew headed for the dock with the alligator fighting the whole way. By the time they had made it to the dock, three Nashua police officers had arrived put the alligator in a large utility box, half filled with water.

The state Fish and Game conservation officer, David Eskeland, stated that the 18 inch, approximately 1 year-old, american alligator is now safe in a Massachusetts facility that handles reptiles. He stated that it would not have survived the winter months and temperatures if it had stayed in the river. They could only guess that it had possibly outgrown someone’s bathtub and that was why it was dumped in the river.

Grauslys didn’t have to turn the alligator over to Eskeland, it is legal for New Hampshire residents to own an alligator. I’m sure that his neighbors wouldn’t be that happy to see him taking it out for a “daily walk” though.






It began with the adoption of a 4 month old brussels griffon mixed puppy from the Mutts and Moms adoption agency. By October 16 2007, it became a national media story.

When a representitive from the adoption agency called Ellen DeGeneres to check on Iggy’s welfare, she found out that the pup had been given to Ellen’s hairdresser. That had been in violation of the contract that Portia de Rossi had signed when adopting the puppy, which stated that the dog had to be returned to the agency.

Iggy wasn’t dumped on the street but had been given to a family with two young girls, ages 10 & 12 and had been taken care of very well. This had happened after Ellen had paid approximately $3,000 in vet bills, neutering and training of the pup and he still didn’t get along well with her cats.

It seems that Ellen had been told to immediately return the dog to the agency or they would go and seize the dog. That is exactly what a representitive of Moms and Mutts did, with police presence, she removed the dog from the home and children because of a violation of the contract. Ellen pleaded for the return of Iggy to the children, the agency stated that they would make sure that the children didn’t receive the dog and the situation spun out of control.

Ellen was visably upset about the events, the owner of Moms and Mutts was as well. Marina Batkis, a co-owner of the rescue group, had stated that they “may” have considered the new placement if Ellen had asked them to do so before putting the puppy there. I think that is a very large “maybe” on their part, since they state the agency has a rule barring placement of small dogs with families with children under the age of 14.

Iggy it is now reported, has been placed with another family, which is rather nice that the agency could rush him out the door that quickly during this dispute. It has also been reported that Iggy would not be returned to Ellen because her name had not been added to the microchip he has. That seems a bit of a double standard, the agency states they have a contract and follow it to the letter but they use a technocality to claim Ellen can’t prove the puppy is hers?

My final thoughts……… if this agency has a policy of not adopting small dogs into families with children and they evidently monitor their placements militantly…… what happens when a couple adopts a small dog and two years later, has a baby? Does Moms and Mutts point to their policy in the contract and have police stand by as they yank the dog out of the home?

Of note:

Ellen and Portia may well have broken the contract that Portia signed with Mutts and Moms, a contract that it seems now, that many pet adoption agencies have, Marina Batkis’s sobbing on television has done little for me to believe that she had Iggy’s best interests at heart. She publically stated that there was no way that she would have placed Iggy back with Cheryl Mark’s family because of the publicity and the fact that there were “young” children in the home. That can be shown by how fast Mutts and Moms were to place Iggy with another family as soon as they had him back in their grasp.

What has been revealed though from “Iggy-gate” is that there are numerous pet adoption agencies out there, some with little more that the local governement’s approval to operate because their facilities meet certain standards. Those standards though often do not include how well trained they are in placing animals and most solicate donations for their “good” works.

The “Smoking Gun” posted several of the emails exchanged between both parties and while some may point to their relevance, I found little in them that excited me…….. Batkis evidently felt that not hearing an update for more than 30 days on the placement of one of their pups was excessive and I do wonder…….. does anyone who adopts a pet from Mutts and Moms have to send an update every two weeks or so for them to feel confident of the care their former charge is getting?

For a look at those emails, go here.

Update: November 13

“Iggy’s doing famously, very well and in a loving home,” stated Keith Fink.

It seems that Iggy is destined for some sort of fame at the moment, he is now being paraded on television to prove what a good job Moms and Mutts has done in placing Iggy after the tears and hate of last month. I had no doubt that they would find yet another family to care for the now 5 month-old pup and one that would allow them to exploit him as well.

What isn’t being addressed though is the policy that they have, one which many agencies it has been revealed has and specifically, their policy of not placing a dog in a house with small children. That alone would have most likely kept the agency from allowing Iggy to stay with Ellen’s friends, especially after it was publically stated that the would be no way that they would get the pup back.

I personally feel that the family who now has Iggy, who is doing famously and probably with the help of the couple thousand Ellen spent on training him, should be living quietly at home…. not paraded on “stage” by Fink, the lawyer for the agency.

Who are you hiding behind bullwinkle?

It seems that the lovable moose has been adapting to life in Yellowstone Park in the past decade. They also have been taking advantage of human developement according to a report by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society.

“The closest moose we had give birth was 50 yards from a road,” stated Joel Berger, Wildlife Society biologist.

The researchers tracked the locations of both moose and brown bears in Yellowstone Park from 1995 to 2004 and the results of their report were released online October 9 2007 in the Biology Letters. Brown bears prey heavily on moose calves and they found that over the ten years, the bear population increased rapidly due to conservation efforts. During that same time, they found that moose moved closer to paved roads to calve, where bears typically shy away.

Over the ten years, they found that moose had moved an average of 400 feet closer to the roads each year to give birth, when they normally tend to stay approximately 1,000 feet from the roads. The brown bears try to avoid human contact and stay an average of 1.600 feet from roads in all places, including Yellowstone.

Other species have shown the same methods in protecting their newborns. In Nepal, axis deer have escaped from tigers by staying close to tourist centers and in Kenya, velvet monkeys avoid leopards by staying close to the ranger stations.

The moose apparently have found out how to protect themselves and their newborns……. and they have been using unwitting human park visitors to do that for over a decade.

Pony Birthday Party: Getting Excitement at Ease

Are you going to celebrate your kid’s birthday party? Hiring pony birthday party Beverly Hills is a good option to take. Under certain condition, it is plausible to let the professionals handle various stuffs for the party. You know for certain that you are lack of sufficient resources to prepare for the party. Possibly, you may be too busy working for the jobs. Insufficient ideas on decoration may also be a reason. So, the professional is the alternative taking to cheer up the event.

A party may require specific entertainments. You need music, decorations, clowns, and other media to exhilarate the guests. At the same point, you also need others to assist you managing the dishes. This way, professional service is needed.

Pony Birthday Party, the Best Plan

Ensuring everything under your control is important. To let others help you shall give you the following benefits:

  • It is not necessary to get various stuffs before the event.
  • There is a possibility to generate lovely party decorations.
  • You can save the energy and time through the service.

In short, Beverly Hills Birthday Party Service offers you with complete event preparation and management. You can sit back on your chair and get everything professionally achieved.

The show must go on

“Things are taken too far. It’s about time they drew the line and got real,” stated Val Clarke, Exmouth Operatic Societychairman.

The Exmouth Operatic Society, England, is searching for that one special actor to fill a part in their upcoming schedualed play. He can be of any size and shape, should be able to sing, dance and move and be willing to do a brief striptease on stage. That sounds fairly simple it would seem, except that he has to be black by law.

The rehearsals for the play are set to begin next month and the group is determined that “the show must go on.” regardless of the temporary roadblock. The Race Relations Act of 1976 stipulates under Section 5(2)(a) that a black actor should play a black man and was imposed at a time when theatre groups often overlooked black actors.

Clarke feels that those days are long gone but she also stated that they would not be allowed to use a white actor in black-up. They have been trying to find an actor to fill the part of Horse but if they can’t, she said that they would try all other possible ways including going back to the license holder.

The Commission for Racial Equality has said that it could not say if it was correct to use black make-up on an actor and whether people would find that offensive is subjective. A CRE spokesman had suggested that organisers of events like that may wish to consult with members of the community to guage their views on the subject.

With all the frivalous lawsuits lately, I can understand the concern that they might offend someone with black-up. It’s acting though, the telling of a story and to demand that they remain entirely faithful to the colors of the characters and I am sure races, seems a bit excessive. Does this mean that an Asian theatre group would not be allowed to perform the play? They are performing, let them tell the tale with whatever actors have volunteered for the parts.

Rock, paper, scissors?

For the second time in several months, the Subway restaurant on Boulevard in West Hartford CT was robbed. The suspect was described as a tall, thin male in his early 20’s.

He robbed the restaurant on December 30 2007 in the evening and the employee gave him the money after they were threatened with a weapon. This latest robbery involved a similar threat and weapon. It seems that this young man only implied that he had a gun……. he did use a visable rock though. The employee in Dec was threatened with a rock as well.

No mention was made as to how large this rock was and whether it had really sharp or dangerous edges to it. It does possibly mean that this young man hasn’t managed to save enough money for even a fake gun.

I do wonder though……. if they were different rocks used in both robberies and he tossed them aside after running from the store……. how exactly will the police find and determine which rock was the weapon used?

The struggle to survive

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symetry?
William Blake

The combined stresses of habitat loss, hunting and illegal trade has left fewer than 7,000 in the wild, down from an estimated 100,000 that roamed most of Asia in 1900. Of the eight sub-species of wild tigers, two have become extinct in recent years, leaving six and only one of those, the Amur, is considered less critically endangered.

Using mitochondrial DNA, it has been found that all the sub-species decended from a common ancestor that lived 72,000-180,000 years ago. It is believed that the diversity of their locations has led to them being divided into the Amur, also known as the Siberian, living in the Russian Far East, the Bengal, the Sumatran, the Malayan, the South China and the N Indonesian tigers.

The White Bengal tiger is not a sub-species, but rather it is the result of continued inbreeding of the original Siberian / Bengal crossbreds. The original White Bengal tigers were born at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1974 but soon died out, leaving none with a pure Indian Bengal origin. They reappeared after the spontaneous emergence of white tigers resulted in the severe inbreeding of littermates from a Siberian male tiger and a female Bengal tiger.

Indonesia was once the home of three sub-species of tiger and only one survives there presently. Sometime in the middle of the twentieth century, the Bali tiger disappeared from it’s island home and as little as 25 years ago, the Javan tiger diappeared from it’s remaining home in the Meru Betiri National Park in eastern Java. The Sumatran tiger remains, although it numbers less than 500 today.

Loss of habitat is the largest factor attributed to the declining tiger numbers with more than 80% of the tropical forest habitat on the island being converted to other uses since 1900. It is estimated that 75% of the wild tigers inhabit the six national parks there today. The illigal hunting of tigers and the killing of them when then conflict with humans and their livestock continue to lower their numbers as well.

The Sumatran tiger is considered the most critically endangered of all the tiger sub-species and the World Wildlife Fund has funded continued research and camera traps on the island in hopes of saving the animals.

“The use of snares is not only threatening the remaining tiger population, it also leads to a bigger problem: human-tiger conflict. When a tiger is sick or crippled, it’s ability to hunt and catch natural prey is reduced significantly,” stated Sunarto, head of the antipoaching team.

A total of four photographs of the same tiger were taken between March and May inside Tesso Nilo National Park with cameras funded by the WWF. They show what is probably the same tiger that was reported to be caught in a snare there in November 2006. He is missing his front foot now, either having clawed or chewed it off to escape the snare and looks to be in good condition at the moment.

Since 2005, WWF and Tesso Nilo National Park and other antipoaching officials have confiscated at least 101 snares, 75 of them within protected parks and 23 of them targeting tigers specifically. The antipoaching effort has taken the same approach as it has in Africa, in using various methods to urge people to stop using them and educate them on the risks of their use.

With less than 500 tigers left on the island, each is too valuable to lose to a snare, illegal traffic or as in the case of this tiger………a future that may indeed force him to come in contact with humans and their livestock when hunting on his own becomes too difficult.