Editor’s Corner

Stacey Doud is the Editor-In-Chief of The Grapevine Source. She has lived in Grapevine for over a year now, and is enjoying serving her community. She is a writer/reporter/photographer/public relations expert. She especially enjoys covering criminal and civil trials as well as feel-good stories and is an avid supporter of law enforcement. She is currently unemployed, but looking! She like planes, trains, automobiles and rockets! The following are just a few examples of her articles. If you’d like to read more, click HERE. To contact Stacey, click HERE.

Visit her LinkedIn page HERE.

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Editor’s Corner: Movie Review – 7 Pounds

August 3, 2018

7 Pounds, starring Will Smith, is by no means a new movie, as it was released in 2008. Co-stars include Woody Harrelson, Rosario Dawson and Michael Ealy (known for his dark skin and blue eyes).

I think what drew me to re-watch this movie was my wavering thoughts and feelings about human “goodness.” I used to believe that people were innately good, but this last decade or so had me wondering if my belief still stood true in my own heart.

We hear and read about so many bad, tragic or senseless things these days. Even I, who has not voluntarily watched a news program in over 20 years, am not immune. These stories and events push through somehow: Maybe a friend says something or sends a text. Maybe there’s something on my Facebook timeline that I just “had” to click on. Maybe I overhear a conversation by the water cooler. The point is that it is almost impossible not to be privy to some news on a day-to-day basis.

When I say that I’m watching, “7 Pounds,” people tell me that it tore them up or they just couldn’t bring themselves to watch it. There are a few reasons why I think it’s worthy to watch or re-watch:

  • It addresses how tough we can be on ourselves: I don’t know how I would react if my spouse, child, friend or whomever died in a vehicular accident with me at the wheel. I suspect I’d have to at least do a stint in a psychiatric facility or see a therapist every day for a while; however, accidents DO happen. And I know that Smith’s character (Ben/Tim) never purposefully harmed his spouse. Yet, he persecuted and punished himself to the max. His final “plan” was noble, but, in my humble opinion, unnecessary. I believe that the human spirit can overcome almost anything, especially if he/she has a source of faith.
  • It illustrates kindness to others: Yes, Tim is on the super-extreme end of the spectrum of things that can go awry in one’s life, but he was able to turn his pain and guilt into something beautiful for seven other people. I’d never advocate for suicide, but Tim had his mind made up; yet he chose to leave so much beauty behind in the form of his bone marrow, corneas, his heart and other vital organs. He even “vetted” the recipients of his gifts for himself, supposedly to make sure he was donating to “good” people. Of course, whether folks are bad, neutral or good is subjective, but I understood what the movie was trying to convey. And whether we want to accept it or not, suicide IS one option for people in distress. We might not like it or want it, but, like so much else, what others do is not under our control.
  • It demonstrates how a tragedy can be transformed:  Don’t get me wrong…being the driver in a fatality accident is tragic, and always will be, no matter the circumstances. And even though I am not, and would not ever be, an advocate for Tim (or anyone) to kill himself, he does make seven other people’s lives better by taking his own life. The movie makes it clear that he puts an enormous amount of thought into how he would die to make sure that his donations were best preserved, and who he wanted to help. With the assistance of a lawyer and a brother who tried their best to understand and respect his wishes, Tim was almost an “angel on Earth” for most of the people he donated his organs to.
  • LOVE: Just love. Even though Tim fell in love with Rosario Dawson’s Emily, he still felt that it was more important to “fulfill his mission” than to blow it off to be with her. With so many people acting selfishly and seemingly only caring about themselves these days, it was refreshing to see Tim put other people first, even though he probably could have had a relationship with Emily. I personally think he punished himself needlessly, but the way he did it was full of love…perhaps it was his way of paying the love that he and his deceased spouse had for one another forward to help others.

THE BOTTOM LINE: I can honestly give this film 4 out of 5 stars. I’m sure many readers will wonder how crazy I am to do that, but I believe that if you watch this movie in the spirit with which it was made, you’ll laugh, cry, scream and jump for joy. And isn’t that what movies are supposed to do for us? They strive to make us feel. And “7 Pounds” absolutely fits the bill. Just have some tissues handy!

★★★★ out of 5

For more information, visit IMDB or the movie’s website.

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Grapevine Citizens Police Academy Class #36 graduates

May 24, 2018

Last night (May 23), the first Grapevine Citizens Police Academy (CPA) Class held in the new Public Safety Building graduated at The REC. Class 36 was made up of 30+ members of the community. Over 14 weeks, the class covered topics such as SWAT, Criminal Investigations (CID), K-9 Division and Community Services.

The event began with some words from Sgt. Jason Keller, who oversees the CPA. After some fun with door prizes, Lt. Larry Hallmark gave the benediction, and students, spouses and Officers enjoyed a BBQ dinner by A.J.’s on Main. Volunteers from the Alumni Association and Volunteers in Police Service (ViPS) served the food, along with a few of the Officers, who honored the “Serve” portion of “Protect and Serve.”

The keynote speaker was new Chief Michael Hamlin, who emphasized that the key to a safe community is the relationships between the public and the police. When citizens see something and say something, it defends our beautiful community against the other side of the thin blue line.

Graduates received a certificate of completion, and some special “silly” awards were given out as well. Graduates are now eligible to join the volunteer organizations: Grapevine Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association (GCPAAA) and Volunteers in Police Service (ViPS) if they so choose.

The CPA is held twice a year in the spring and fall. For more information, visit https://www.grapevinetexas.gov/487/Citizens-Police-Academy or contact Sgt. Jason Keller at 817-410-3206.

Click HERE for slideshow.

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Editor’s Corner: Grapevine PD Citizens Police Academy touches on Community Relations

May 8, 2018

It’s Week 13 of the Grapevine Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy. The topic was Community Relations, and five speakers informed students about this division.

Sergeant Jason Keller emphasized “Unity in the Community” as being one of their best tools for keeping the crime rate down in Grapevine. When citizens and police work together, it makes our community a safer place.

Senior Officers Caldwell, Cabrera and Huski spoke about their roles as School Resource Officers (SRO). Each Officer is assigned to a local school, and some officers “check in” on other schools in the district. Not only do they build relationships with students and identify at-risk kids, but they are there in case of trouble or violence from students, parents or even a stranger with a gun.

Haydee Hall, LMSW spoke about the Community Outreach Center on Mustang Drive. They provide 1st – 5th graders a safe place to go in case parents are working or otherwise engaged after school. This helps keep them off the streets, provides homework help and also a snack and a hot meal. They also provide some classes for adults and a summer camp.

Officer O’Neal entertained students with his often humorous description of his position as Property Liaison. His task is to get to know troubled families and help them when things go sideways.

The Citizens Police Academy is held twice a year at the Public Safety Building. It consists of 14 weeks of information and training. Graduates may go on to volunteer with the Police Department in several capacities. For more information, click HEREor call Sgt. Jason Keller at 817.410.3206.

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Editor’s Corner: Introduction

October 29, 2017

Hello all you folks out there on the Interweb,

Headshot

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Stacey and I moved to the Grapevine area in June 2017. I lived in Pearland, TX (just south of Houston) for the last 20 years of my life, so moving to the Metroplex involved a little culture shock, to my surprise. I mean, I’m still in Texas, right?

But the humidity is lower, causing me to stock my cabinets with lotion, the allergens are different, and I spent the first six weeks or so on antibiotics for sinus problems. I’ve never heard of some of the restaurants, and some food chains are no longer in existence in Houston, though I recognize some from my childhood (Taco Bueno and 7-11 being two examples). HEB was a grocery store, not an abbreviation for three different citiesTom Thumb is Randall’s down south. And to get to the nearest adjoining city, I had to drive 20 – 30 minutes in Houston, whereas here I can be in a different town in about two minutes.

I got to know so many wonderful people in Pearland, mostly because of my job at The Pearland Journal. I even find municipal activities interesting (yes, I pay attention in City Council meetings!). I’m looking forward to getting to know the people in my new community and look forward to volunteering where I can. I was an active volunteer with the Pearland Police Department, and am attending Grapevine PD‘s Citizen Police Academy, so maybe I can be of service to the agency here.

Anyway, my point is that, despite of all of these changes, I have been pleasantly surprised with this community. Everywhere I go, people are friendly and customer service is actually a thing. Some folks have gone out of their way to help me, the newcomer, navigate my new world.

I hope that The Grapevine Source will come to be as helpful to my community as The Pearland Source was in my old stomping grounds. If any of you have a suggestion for a new section of The Source, have press releases or event announcements or would like The Source to cover your event, please let us know. It is our desire to be of service to our community!

As The Source grows, we will be offering ad space. If you’re interested in advertising your business here, please inquire! Rates are VERY low right now as we introduce ourselves and get acclimated.

Very sincerely,

Stacey Doud, M.A.

Editor-in-Chief

Want to learn more? Visit my LinkedIn page!

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Editor’s Corner: Dallas Police Massacre

July 8, 2016

Brent Thompson

This has gone too far. There may have been unjustified shootings by police in Louisiana and Minnesota. We don’t even know the facts yet. Now snipers assault the DALLAS, TEXAS Police Department during a peaceful-until-then protest. What does Dallas have to do with Louisiana or Minnesota?

This has got to stop. Killing because of killing doesn’t make sense, even though humans have done it since the beginning of time. I understand anger and even rage. If it had been my relative or friend killed by a cop in LA or MN, I’d be PISSED. But standing here in Pearland, Texas, I am scratching my head. Why this violence in a place that has nothing to do with anything?

I place a lot of blame on the media, especially television. All of the major networks are owned by folks that have ties to one place: our government. Just flip through the channels and you will hear very similar, if not verbatim, statements read by the newsperson. That’s because those remarks are passed down to them by the same source. And it doesn’t matter if those statements are true or just speculation…or just plain false. Much of society trusts outlets like CNN, FOX, ABC and NBC. What they say becomes fact in many minds.

Then, social contagion takes over. I’m mad, so you’re mad, then everyone is mad. It spreads like a nasty virus over social media and around the water cooler.

A war has been going on since Michael Brown died in Ferguson, MO on August 9, 2014. Perhaps it had been a cold war until then.

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As a law enforcement supporter, I would never say that there are no “bad” cops. There are. And they are everywhere. But let the Grand Jury decide if a shooting was justified or not. Suck it up and look at both sides. I hate it when I research a shooting and come to the conclusion that the police officer was in the wrong, but I have no problem admitting that. I am not a blind cheerleader of police.

The main reason I am a supporter is because I know intimately how tough their jobs are. And I also know I could never do it. It’s not because they’re cute in their uniforms or I’m trying to bed someone. It’s because I respect the profession. I DON’T respect those that abuse it. But does this abuse warrant more death?

My thoughts and prayers are with Dallas PD and Transit Police. It is my hope that the officers in LA and MN get what’s coming to them based on facts, not speculation or mass hysteria, whether it be an indictment or not. Every life matters, but the way we, as a nation, are acting, it seems like the opposite.

Peace.

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Editor’s Corner: Inside Active Shooter Training with Pearland PD and Pearland FD

August 2, 2015

Shots rang out down the hallways of Rogers Middle School, but I couldn’t look up to see where they were coming from: I was dead.

As a volunteer with the Pearland Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association(PCPAAA), I had the unique opportunity to participate in Active Threat Integrated Response Course (ATIRC) training, which brings together first responders to learn to quickly enter into harm’s way to neutralize a shooter and get the wounded out to higher levels of care during Active Shooter Events (ASE).

ASEs are situations like Columbine and the recent movie theater shootings in Lafayette, LA in which one or more people armed with weapons threaten and/or kill innocent victims, usually in highly populated areas.

ALERRT LogoThe training was provided to members of the Pearland Police and Fire/EMS Departments at no cost to the City by The Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center at Texas State University (ALERRT), which is 100% grant funded.

After some instruction and three “pat downs” to make sure we had no weapons at 8am, we were instructed to go to a room where ALERRT instructors waited to give us realistic-looking wounds and to give us direction as to our acting.

Some of us lost legs, some were disembowled, several had head wounds (including me, which is what “killed” me) and one lost the bottom part of his jaw. The lucky ones were just grazed or unharmed altogether.

Volunteers performed in four scenarios, each lasting between 45 – 90 minutes. ALERRT instructors would stage each scenario while officers and EMS/fire personnel waited off-site. After everything was set, an instructor would broadcast a “shots fired” alert across the radio channel they were using. Patrol cars, ambulances and fire trucks arrived at the scene and the intense coordination inside began.

EMS personnel (in red vests) and police (in blue) worked together to secure the scene as quickly as possible.

EMS personnel (in red vests) and police (in blue) worked together to secure the scene as quickly as possible.

“Integration between Fire and Police Departments in a critical incident is essential for a successful outcome,” said Pearland Police Lt. Kevin Nichols, who is also an adjunct instructor for ALERRT. “This type of innovative training will help prepare the first responders of this city to overcome the challenges that such integration presents. It was also a great opportunity to build rapport and camaraderie between the two agencies.”

Indeed, it was all about teamwork. All “police vs. fire” jokes were set aside as the participants concentrated on the task at hand. ALERRT instructors went above and beyond to make everything as realistic as possible. Volunteers screamed in terror, moaned in pain and laid motionless, no matter what happened, if they were “dead.”

As I mentioned before, I got “shot in the head,” so I had to lay, eyes transfixed and breathing as shallowly as possible, on the floor of a classroom with my head resting on a resin blood pool, for about 35 minutes. Because I was a casualty and nothing could be done for me, I was one of the last volunteers removed from the scene. EMS came by to check my pulse to make sure I was indeed expired. Eventually Officer Oscar Pena bent over me, flung me over his shoulder and deposited me (albeit gently) into a room where the victims were being treated according to the seriousness of their injuries. (Sorry for the back ache, Officer Pena!)

BoxArrivesUSE

An officer keeps watch while EMS personnel load “the box.”

Some volunteers were put in “the box” (ambulance) and taken away. Some had to have emergency tracheotomies (on a prop throat…no worries!). Some had the task of wailing for an expired “loved one.”

Because of the seriousness of these exercises, there was a lot of “barking” going on from police and EMS. Following their directions was paramount to getting everyone treated and extracted in the fastest time possible.

During the next scenario, I sat out as a volunteer and put my photographer hat on.

I stood to the side, out of the way, as I heard the shots fired in a different hallway (blanks were used). The sound reverberated around the building, and the school setting made it quite alarming, even though I knew there was no real danger.

Within minutes, squad cars arrived at the school, some driving across the grass to get into position. Tactical teams surrounded the school with pre-planned precision. Ambulances SquadCarGrassUSEand fire trucks came soon after, deviating from the “usual” hang-back-and-see-if-they-need-us stance. Fire and EMS personnel were quick to be briefed and followed the officers’ leads.

Some officers had to render “battlefield medicine” aid on the scene to victims who would not survive if they waited. Some EMS personnel had to think outside the box and render advanced first aid until the victim was able to be extracted.

In one scenario, an officer was shot in the leg. He applied a tourniquet to himself and got up to continue helping his fellow first responders. This was actually the first time that ALERRT had ever used an “officer down” in any scenario. The instructors said that the police officers did, “Exactly what they were

Officer wounded

“Officer Wounded”

supposed to do. If your buddy is shot and there’s still killing going on, you have to leave him.”

The “bad guys” were either arrested or killed in each scenario fairly quickly, freeing up personnel to tend to the victims.

“It’s wonderful to see the Pearland Emergency Responder Communities all come together to train,” said Terry Nichols, a retired San Marcos police officer, one of the founders of ALERRT and their Curriculum Director. “It speaks volumes about what they’re trying to achieve organizationally as a City to prepare for one of these catastrophic events.”

In the end, while we all hope that Pearland never has to deal with an ASE, I know that I, as a citizen, feel much more optimistic about a good outcome if it should ever happen.

For more information about ALERRT, visit http://www.alerrt.org.

To view the slideshow, click HERE.

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To read more of Stacey’s articles, click HERE.