Help Wanted

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Make sure you check out the pictures posted today. They were taken by my colleague Shayla Bezdrob. Shayla is in Worksop, England with Jim Hammer covering the Entwistle case. Yesterday we had pictures from the Massachusetts home and today the U.K. home. I found the pictures interesting, so I assume you will too.

In Tuesday's blog I wrote about Houston and the pressure it is now under with the addition of about 150,000 people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The city and county is working so hard to help people. In the blog I posed the question: How can we help? As noted over and over and over again, I was very impressed with the people of Houston and the surrounding area in the days after Katrina clobbered the Gulf States... and they continue to do what they can to help. I met many who simply rolled up their sleeves and helped non-stop — depriving themselves of sleep and food as they worked very hard to help others.

One woman who I met was Lynn Lasher. The first time I saw her was one night during our show outside the Astrodome. She was carrying a child around trying to help a family in great need. I have not talked to Lynn since I left the Astrodome in early September, but yesterday got a surprise in the mail. I received a gift — a jar of "Somebody's Mother's Chocolate Sauce" and per the card in the box, the founder of the company who makes this is Lynn Lasher (aka "Somebody's Mother.") The flyer in the package says the company was founded in 2005 and the jar of chocolate is sold in gourmet grocery stores and be purchased online at for $9. Each jar has a quote from a famous mother. Mine has, "George, get your feet off the coffee table" and the mother is Barbara Bush. (In other words, "I don't care who you are... you are my son... get your feet off the table!")

Lynn was not soliciting this notice about her chocolate sauce in my blog when she sent the gift... she was just being kind and spontaneous... which is what I saw from so many in Houston. Maybe one way we can help Houston is supporting their businesses. You might want to buy a jar... if you do, tell Lynn you read about it here!

Now for some e-mails:

E-mail No. 1

What kind of help do you think they need? Do they need relocation help or financial help? Houston is the hub of entertainment so why not put on shows where the entertainers donate their time for money for the city? Or solicit donations from the large corporations there for educational needs.
R. Arthur

E-mail No. 2

I had "Good Morning America" on this morning while I was getting ready and, as you probably know, they are doing an extensive interview with Joran's parents. Well, Charlie Gibson showed your photo while referring to the amount of coverage that Beth Twitty has received on "many cable news networks," who have basically branded their son a murderer. I cannot recall the exact verbiage that was used, but yours was the only picture shown while he was making that point. Have you ticked Charlie off or something? Not that I care, because the ONLY reason I was watching was because my cable was out and I had to have something to listen to while I was getting ready for work! Hope you have a great day!
Jennifer R.
Pensacola, FL

ANSWER: Did I tick Charlie off? I hope not... he is one of my favorites! As you might imagine, even we in the business have our favorites in the news and he is one of mine.

E-mail No. 3

It is very important that the statements made by Anita and Paulus VDS are challenged. The "GMA" interviewer is letting them go unchecked.

ANSWER: I think the "GMA" interviewer was soliciting the views of the guests... it was not meant to be a duel or a debate but simply to allow the viewer to hear the viewpoint of the parents. Not every interview should be a boxing match. Viewers are very smart and sometimes don't need us to cross-examine the guests. They need information that is solicited. I often appreciate the interview which is where the guest is allowed to speak... sometimes I like the other kind.

E-mail No. 4

I guess I am just an Alabama redneck and don't see the "whole picture," but I believe our society is broke when there are still hundreds if not thousands of people on the Gulf Coast still living in squalor with their only shelter being tents or FEMA trailers not fit for long-term habitation. Now the NFL has the gall to charge $2.5 million dollars for a 30-second spot on the Super Bowl and the advertisers pay it, when the money could be much better spent helping our fellow Americans in need. Thank you,
Bob W.
Cullman, AL

E-mail No. 5

Hi, Greta,
I live in Houston and yes, while we love our neighbors to the east and welcomed them into our homes and neighborhoods in their time of need, I'm beginning to think it was a mistake. I saw one report that our crime had increased 77 percent since that time. On the evening news, we hear story after story of people being shot/robbed/killed/raped and it seems rare these days for it NOT to have involved a Katrina evacuee. My daughter goes to what was considered pre-Katrina as a very nice and safe high school. The school enrolled approximately 100 New Orleans students after the hurricane. We have since had a murder across the street from the school by a Katrina evacuee, a threat that there would be a shooting at the school, and the entire dress code had to be changed to get rid of "gang" attire — something that was never a problem before. It's sad and disturbing. Our city may not be one of the prettiest in the nation, but our people have hearts of gold. We welcomed those people into our lives and look what it got us. I don't like the negative thoughts I'm having but I wish those people would just be grateful and civilized!
For obvious reasons, please do not print my name.

E-mail No. 6

Hi Greta,
About Houston, there are a couple different ways to go. First, do we want other cities to just help absorb some of that extra population and give those people an incentive not to remain in Houston? Or do we simply need to give financial help to the city? (I'm assuming the latter is the case.)
You didn't really give any examples of how the population is "taking its toll" on Houston, but crime is probably up, right? Perhaps extra funding for hiring more police officers, and/or asking police academy staff from elsewhere in Texas to volunteer to help with Houston's police academies, thus allowing more new trainees into the program.
What else is a problem? More traffic than usual? No ideas there. Encourage carpooling? Push for Houston to instate HOV lanes on its highways if it hasn't already?
Have a great day, Greta. I gotta go. There's an omelet calling my name...

E-mail No. 7

I just want to thank you for mentioning that Houston needs help. I am very proud of my city (born and raised here) and the way we have helped these people. As a matter of fact I went to the Dome and volunteered. I ended up getting strep throat two days later and was out of work for a week. They all said I got it from being at the Dome.
There is a downside to this though. Our already high crime rate has gone even higher. Every day practically I hear on the news about violent crimes involving Katrina evacuees. That's not a very nice to repay Houston for all we've done and it makes it bad for the folks who are truly trying to get their lives back in order.
On another note: Friday before last there was a small gathering at a downtown club which Beth Holloway Twitty attended. It was very moving and I'm glad I went and was able to give Beth a hug and tell her that she is in my prayers.
Clarissa Lockett
Houston, TX

E-mail No. 8

Hi Greta,
I read your topic today about all the people in Houston since Hurricane Katrina, and the need to help them. Well, I am from Baton Rouge Louisiana and I just wanted let you know that this city has taken on many citizens from New Orleans. I don't know the exact number, but trust me, it is plenty. We could barely handle the people we had here before this happened and now it is unbelievable. Yes I do agree that Houston needs help, but I believe the person who should be giving this help, is our President George W. Bush. I think he has no intention of rebuilding New Orleans, much less helping the great state of Texas and the other communities that have taken in so many people. I believe that the government is to blame for the levees failing in the first place. Bush wants to protect us from terrorists, but no one bother to make sure that the city of New Orleans had adequate flood wall protection (it would cost to much to do that). They have been knowing for years what could happen to New Orleans if ever hit by a major storm, and well, now we know. It is not like Hurricane's are something new to this area. Yes I do believe a debt is owed to Houston and all the other communities who were so quick to help, but the only person abandoning anyone, is our president.

E-mail No. 9

I am delighted to hear that Jim Hammer will be reporting from England for your show. I hope you will give him a chance to tour the country before returning to the U.S. Please let him know the best place in the England to visit is the South West especially Devon.
I watch your show and read your Web pages. My dream is to live in the U.S., I admire you legal system, wishing that our own system dealt with crime as strongly.
Take care,
Dee Greenslade

E-mail No. 10

I'm sure that you if anyone keeps up with the news it's you. However, I saw on CNN that there has been a breakthrough in surgery for facial repair. A woman in France had her face mauled by a dog and she is now able to successfully receive donor parts and grafting. We are sympathetic to your attempted cosmetic surgery misfortune and want to let you know of the now available options.

Finally, here is an article that caught my attention:

Judge Apologizes for Super Bowl Cheer

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The judge who led her courtroom in a Super Bowl cheer before a manslaughter sentencing hearing has issued an apology to the victim's family, prosecutors and others in the court.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Beverly G. Grant had said she was just trying to ease tensions Friday when she asked everyone to say "Go Seahawks" before starting the hearing.

On Monday, after drawing heavy criticism, Grant said she never meant to hurt anyone's feelings and issued the apology.

"I take full responsibility, particularly as it has impacted the Patricelli family, the judiciary system and others," Grant wrote. "I have consistently tried to treat everyone in my court with dignity, fairness and respect ... my sincere regrets to all."

Grant re-sentenced Steve Keo Teang at the hearing to 13 1/2 years in prison for the shooting death of Tino Patricelli during a fight outside a tavern.

After the hearing, Sheriff's deputies and lawyers said they were embarrassed by the cheer for the Seattle Seahawks, and Patricelli's stepmother, Kathy Patricelli, said she was offended.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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