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The Rolling Rhino Skating Rink hosted a skate-til-you-drop fundrasier for the City of Carthage's new splash pad. Eager skaters took to the flo…

Panola County representatives observe Memorial Day with Briarcliff residents

Panola County Veterans Service Officer William Morris along with three members from the Panola County Sheriff’s Department Honor Guard — Deputy Phillip Grimes, Deputy Chris Dickerson and Dispatch Officer Carrie Riddle — share a Memorial Day Ceremony at Briarcliff Skilled Nursing. The group demonstrated how to properly and ceremoniously fold the American flag while sharing with residence the meaning for each of the 13 folds.

Quarterly Sheriff’s Report: Be safe during summer activities

The year is absolutely flying by! School is out and summer is here, so kids and teachers are celebrating a much-needed break. With the coming of another East Texas summer, I want to discuss a few summer safety tips in this “Quarterly Sheriff’s Report.”

Every year when summer comes around, water sports and activities are a big hit in East Texas. With much fun comes much responsibility. It is great fun to get out on the area lakes and rivers, but let’s not forget to use good judgement and be safe while having fun. Make sure and get your watercraft water ready after it’s been stored all winter. Ensure everything is in proper working order before hitting the water. Check all safety equipment like life jackets, fire extinguishers, safety flares, horns and whistles.

We take these items for granted, but after years of use, these things become worn and need replacing. Frayed life jackets need to be discarded and replaced with new, dependable ones. Expired fire extinguishers need to be checked and re-charged. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially when dealing with things that could save a life. For something bad to happen, an opportunity must present itself. Take extra time to be safe and eliminate any opportunity for a tragedy. Many others will simply enjoy some time swimming this summer. Never allow children to swim alone, and as difficult as it is at times, keep an eye on them at all times. Provide proper flotation devices for small children, as they can drown in mere inches of water. Summer-time and water activities go hand in hand, but without the proper safety measures, an otherwise fun time of the year can turn tragic.

Many families will enjoy time together on summer vacations. Make proper arrangements for your home, your valuables and your pets while you’re away. It’s always good to have a family member, neighbor or close friend to check on your property and pets daily while you’re away. Don’t let mail stack-up in your mailbox or papers be left on your driveway. This lets the criminals know you are not at home. Leave lights on or other electronic devices to make the appearance that someone is home. Timers are a good option for lights and electronics.

Another suggestion is to let your local law enforcement know when you’ll be away, and for how long. We can do extra patrol of your property while you’re away. Always have a keyholder to your residence in the event of an emergency while you’re gone, and let law enforcement know who the keyholder is for your property. Do not post your trip plans or any details about where you are on social media! You are giving the criminal element a free pass to your house by telling them you are not at home! There will be plenty of time after your trip to show off your pictures on social media sites.

Another tip for vacationers is to make sure your vehicle is in good working order before hitting the road. Check tires, fluids and filters before getting out on the road. It may just save you some precious time and heartache on your trip. Allow yourself plenty of travel time so you don’t have to be in a hurry. When we hurry is when we open the door for mistakes and tragedy. Plan ahead, have fun and be safe on your summer adventures!

We just celebrated the Memorial Day holiday and will be celebrating our nation’s independence on July 4th. Remember to pray for those brave men and women who presently serve our county, reflect on those already gone before us, and thank those who have served in the past to guarantee and preserve the freedoms that we all enjoy and many times take for granted. I salute all of our service men and women for your brave service to our country!

I pray everyone has a safe and enjoyable summer. Cherish and savor the moments with your family. We tend to get in a hurry, worry about things we can’t change and don’t enjoy each other as well as we could if we just slow down, count our blessings and live every moment to its fullest. Life’s too short to waste on nonsense, so slow down and enjoy everything God has blessed you with! Till next time, take care and God bless!