Artie Moskowitz holds one of the many prosthetics that he has built using a 3-D printer.

Garland Area MakerSpace members Learn about medical and industrial applications for 3D Printers

Members of the Garland Area Makerspace had a special meeting tonight with a wonderful presentation from Artie Moskowitz, President of 3D Printer Farms.

 Artie has been involved in 3D printing for the past 4 years, ever since seeing a video of a boy getting a prosthetic hand made by a 3D printer. As one of the original volunteers for e-NABLE [] Artie has printed and assembled more than 50 hands and arms for children in need around the world.  His volunteer efforts led to jobs with 3D Systems and then a national distributor of 3D printers and he currently runs his own company, 3D Printer Farms.  He brought a Z-Morph, multipurpose desktop 3-D printer with him.  This machine prints; cnc machines; and laser cuts.

Artie brought a Zmorph 3-D Printer to demonstrate tonight.  The flat blue plate in the foreground is the platform that holds the thing being built.

According to Artie, we need a national manufacturing strategy and well-defined policies to rebuild American manufacturing.  One of his goals is to equip people with the tools and resources they need to participate in rebuilding American manufacturing and creating jobs at home. 

Artie certainly was living his mission tonight as he inspired just about every member of our audience to learn more about using 3D printers to make things—especially prosthetics.  I would not be surprised to see some of our Garland Area Makerspace members joining the e-NABLE volunteer network of digital humanitarians and making 3-D printed devices as soon as this fall.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, Garland Area Makerspace members are not waiting for a space. We are moving forward with the resources at hand today.  For example, we are making our plans for two groups to start in June:  Eco Makers (a group of makers interested in creating items from recycled materials) and now we will have a 3-D Printing group.  The first step for 3-D printing is to gain mastery of the software used to create the images that are then sent to the 3-D printer. We will meet with our laptops at a member’s home and learn together.


Lots of Things were on the Garland MakerSpace Table tonight: Maker Buttons; Fund raising idea—Donate $10 or more and get a free shopping bag made by maker members from recycled materials; flyers from Rockler Woodworking in Garland on I-30 advertising Free Wood Bow Tie Make and Take Event; handouts about Eco Makers; Definitions of MakerSpaces; Garland Area Makerspace brochure; and membership signup sheets.


We will be making this summer.

We are not letting lack of a physical space hold us back.  We have the generosity of our public library for our once a month meetings where we will talk about what we have been making and learning and also have demonstrations and presentations such as Artie’s tonight. The other times we will meet in the homes of a maker member and move forward in learning together this summer about things we can make from recycled materials and how to create images to be printed in a 3-D printer. 

Who knows? Perhaps by fall some of our members will be making prosthetics like the one below that Artie brought for demonstration tonight.


One of many hands made by Artie.  No the gargoyle is not attached, although it appears to be.  When Artie figured out how to make Gargoyles on the 3D printer, he wanted to make two, three-foot tall ones for the front lawn.  His wife put her foot down on that idea.


Re-usable shopping Garland Area Makerspace sack made from a bag formerly used to hold rabbit feed.  Material for the bag was obtained free from local Garland merchant, Roach Feed and Seed. We displayed this member-made bag at the May 22 Garland MarketPlace.

We are moving on to Level Two: Membership Acquisition and Making

Our busy weekend of making and learning will continue through tomorrow, Tuesday May 22 when we meet at 7 pm at the North Garland Branch Library for a 3D printer demonstration.  Newly formed nonprofit organizations often do not have a permanent place to meet during their first year and sometimes even their second year.  Much of the energies of the organization are centered on acquiring new members.

This creates all kinds of challenges.  For example, how can we attract members who like to make things to join our makerspace when we don’t have a space in which to make things and thus are limited in our abilities to offer opportunities to make?  Garland Area Makerspace currently meets at the North Branch Garland Library.  Makers are not too patient with long boring meetings.  We know that because we too are makers.

The good news is that we are through the boring part with all those grueling meetings which take up about 9 months at the very beginning of any nonprofit organization when he group flounders around and somehow manages:  to apply for a Certificate of Filing as a nonprofit domestic corporation in the state of Texas; hammering out bylaws; writes a Conflict of Interest policy; completed the horrific IRS 1023 form and files the request to be a tax exempt organization.  We just submitted our application to operate as a 501 C3 nonprofit organization on May 18.  Often if a group survives this time period, the rest is downhill and easy and fun by comparison.


 Creating a Real Makerspace without the Space

Now we have time to think creatively, collaborate, and share ideas that will answer questions such as:  How can we expand our space now?

The answer may be to divide and conquer.  To that end, I am proposing that members who are interested in particular types of making (as defined by the materials they like to make with such as clay, fabric, metal, wood, etc.) create their own monthly maker events in their homes for up to as many as 20 people.

Eco Makers Coming in June and Perhaps Arduino Projects in July!

For the month of June, I will be a guinea pig. My group is to be called “ECO Makers.”  One of the missions of this sub-group of Garland Area Makerspace members is to create useful items from recycled materials that would be suitable for sale.  In the coming week I’ll schedule two meetings at my home for the month of June.  Signup with be RSVP open to the first 20 people. 

Our first meeting will be to brainstorm materials to use and items to make.  [Tools for making these items will be limited to: sewing machines; scissors, staples, household irons, needles, etc.—no table saws.]

Perhaps the group will choose two items and related materials and tools.  During the second meeting of the month we will make the items.  Ideally both of these meetings will transpire prior to the monthly meeting of the Garland Area MakerSpace.  Thus, we can report to the larger group and bring the items we made.  These items can be sold at the monthly Garland Area Makerspace booth as a fundraising activity.


In addition to using the space of our members’ homes, we hope to use commercial space provided by local merchants such as Rockler Woodworking of Garland, Texas.



Our Regular Monthly Meetings Will Be Fun and Educational too!

Going forward, the business part of our monthly meetings will be no longer than ten minutes.  Then we will have brief presentations from the various Garland Area Makerspace groups followed by the main part of our meeting, which will be a planned program.  Although some may involve making, most of these programs at our regular monthly meetings will be demonstrations of various types of maker tools and equipment.  For example, tomorrow night we will have Artie Moscowitz from 3D Printer Farms.  Artie will be demonstrating a Zmorph—a 3D printer, CNC machining tool and a laser cutter—all rolled up into one tool.


Our meetings are free and open to the public.

Tuesday May 22 – 7 PM – North Branch Garland Library – 3845 N. Garland Avenue – Garland, TX 75040

[Note:  the library is located in a strip mall across the street from a soccer field.]


Yesterday was a special day for several reasons:  First of all it was MarketPlace Day at the downtown historic square of Garland Texas.  Second of all it was the first time that members of the Garland Area MakerSpace participated in this great event.  We will do so again as it is a great opportunity to let the local community know that we are here—not always an easy task to accomplish for new nonprofit start ups and small business entrepreneurs.

Charlie Bevilacqua, Garland Area Makerspace member listens to President Carol Currie tell a visitor about the Garland Area Makerspace

Garland Area Makerspace was there!

We support makers of shapes, sizes and ages.  We hope to soon have a location here in Garland where makers can come to share ideas and make things together.  Our next meeting is Tuesday May 22 at 7PM at the North Garland Branch Library where we will have a demonstration of a 3D printer that also can perform CNC machining and laser cutting.

The Garland MarketPlace is a lot like an ever-changing river that one never steps into twice. While keeping elements of sameness, it continues to flow and wind into new tributaries.  Thus the Marketplace is always interesting and never fails to entertain me with new revelations as I walk and talk with the vendors—some of who are now old friends that I’ve known for several years and others are brand new friends that I just met..  Following are a few of my revelations about the Garland MarketPlace and our small business/cottage industrialists of today.


More Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Now At the Garland MarketPlace 

Esperanza Farms has long been a mainstay on the  corner of Fourth and State, but now Dwayne Beasley is holding down the fort on the other end on Main Street near the Green.  Dwayne’s large booth was beside the Garland Area Makerspace booth yesterday.  He had the best looking and largest strawberries and blueberries I’ve ever seen.  Dwayne grows some of his vegetables such as the onions and squash and get the rest from all over the USA.


Small business operations are often family affairs that cross as many as three generations

In addition to spanning generations, small family businesses these days aren’t always what we might think of as “typical.”  For example, the owners of Drippin' Rhinestones, who make lovely custom and handmade home décor, include Jimmy Clark his two stepdaughters and his wife.  Granny’s Gourmet, is a creative and yummy baked goods company owned by Suzanne Matthews and her granddaughter whom she is raising.

Drippin’ Rhinestones and Granny’s Gourmet: Two Generations of Owners


Jimmy Clark and his stepdaughter from Dripping Rhinestones –  Susanne Matthews and her granddaughter from Granny’s Gourmet (214) 809-9984

Pinson & Cole's Gourmet Pickles Spans Three Generations

Stephanie Cole founded this company about four years ago and  has been joined by her daughter and grandsons.  They all continue to help to grow the company into the success it s becoming.  Already they have their great pickles in several delicatessens in the Garland area.

At Pinson and Cole’s a pickle is not just a pickle any more.  Visit their website at  [Stephanie is featured on the right.  Her daughter on the left is busy chatting with a customer.  Visit their website to see the enormous variety of pickles they offer.  In fact, unlike many people, they share their recipes. Thus if you are interested in learning more about pickles, visit their site.


"Mom and Pop Shop":  Charis Honey Farms 

Small businesses are sometimes referred to as “mom and pop shops” because they are often owned and run by a husband and wife.  Such is the case of Charis Honey Farms—a locally owned honey farm.  Visit them at the Garland MarketPlace and also online at  Charis Honey Farms is located in Rowlett, TX, which is a suburb east of Dallas, between Garland and Rockwall, and is operated by Bob and Sally Michel. They don’t have a farm. In fact all they have is a tiny back yard.  However, they have friends who have farms, or acreage who graciously allow them to put hives on those properties.  Bob was unemployed in 2011 and looked into beekeeping.  The rest is history.

I still have some honey named “Rowlett” that I bought from them last year.  Yesterday I mentioned to Bob how much I liked the honey and Bob explained to me that honey taste and availability varies from year to year—depending primarily on the weather.  He said one year it barely rained and he thought the honey would be scarce and not good.  However quite the opposite was true.  The honey was plentiful and great.  Another year it rained a lot and things grew well.  Bob thought honey would be great and plentiful that year.  It was not.  One of the factors here is that European honeybees don’t like to forage in rainy or windy weather.

Sally and Bob Michel, owners of Charis Honey Farms-- Their's too is a family business involving their children.


Come to MarketPlace and see unusual businesses.

Jeff Richter from BEARD COMMANDER.COM sells balms, oils, shampoos, conditioners and provides grooming tips for keeping your beard beautiful.  214-440-6953  Their store is located in Waxahachie.


Some Small Business people are Consultants

Paparazzi is a MLM company out of Utah.  They sell startup kits of Jewelry for $99 to people they call their “Consultants.”  These kits have 35 pieces of jewelry and a retail value of $175.  They are sold at $5 a piece.  All the jewelry is sold at $5 each.  The consultants can brand their own business as has Jenni Lee of Jenni Lee Jewelry shown in the photo below.  Good deals for inexpensive costume jewelry.  Camp Gladiator is another example of how individuals can tie in with a nationwide company and earn money.  Erin Lewis, a representative from Camp Gladiator was at MarketPlace yesterday.  Camp Gladiator has over 2,000 fitness camps all over the USA.  Find out how you can get in shape by contacting Erin Lewis.   

Jenni Lee (on left) of Jenni Lee Jewelry at the Garland MarketPlace – Visit online at  Erin Lewis would love to talk with you about getting fit at a gladiator camp.  Don’t worry ladies, their camps feature two women to one guy. Call Erin at (469)544-7991 or send him an email at


Artists often start their own company to survive

The challenge for most small businesses is that they do not mass-produce their goods, yet they must compete with a huge market of mass-produced goods.  It’s a catch-22 situation:  it takes more hours to produce an item by hand and thus it becomes more costly.  If they sell by consignment at a gallery or store, then there are those fees added to it.  Thus many artists and makers sell their wares at online shops like Etsy, Farmer’s Markets and online at their own websites.  The Garland MarketPlace had several artists yesterday displaying and selling their work:  Sandy Anderson, a Garland watercolor artist (; Damien T. McDaniel, freelance artist who did a caricature of me yesterday (501-837-1143); Shanna Steele,  award-winning Jewelry Designer (; Jeff Beatty of Jebediah’s Pottery right here in Garland, Texas (

Sandy Anderson, watercolor artist, poses with her work and Shanna Steele, award-winning beadwork designer stands behind her exquisite creations.


Many owners of small businesses have more than one job

You may not be old enough to remember, but once upon a time people only had one job, forty hours a week and that was enough.  This is no longer true for most Americans.  It is now more common for people to have two or even three jobs just to make ends meet.  Sometimes, their second job is one they create themselves.  You can find these people at places like the Garland MarketPlace.  Sometimes I’m shocked to learn that s particular persons more than one job.  For example, Kirk Lovett schedules Marketplace events throughout the DFW area through the Marketplace DFW ( but It didn’t know until yesterday that Kirk also sells insurance at Kuykendall Insurance (Auto, Home, Business, RV).  Call him at 972-978-7759 to see what he can do for you.

Michel Funke, founder of family run business, Bubba Funke Jelly ( is also a full time teacher.  Kirk Lovett,



E-MAIL: Kirk.Eventive@Live.Com
PHONE: Tel: 469-275-9616

Get inspired!  Visit the Garland MarketPlace the first and third Saturday of the month and see entrepreneurs of all ages, shapes, colors, religions, and ethnic backgrounds taking action to make their dreams come true.   Learn first-hand from the people who are doing it.



Alli Clements, sign-maker extraordinaire, one of the many vendors at the April Garland MarketPlace, makes signs that allow folks to create their own messages.

Downtown Garland Square

Saturday May 19 from 9AM – 2 PM

There are lots of reasons for attending the Garland MarketPlace—Music, makers, crafters, artists, farmers, fresh produce, one-of-a-kind items,  locally baked goods, fresh air, and chatting with friends and neighbors.


And here is one more good reason to get out of your recliner and come on down to the Garland Square 

The Garland Area Makerspace will have a booth there!

We are excited to meet you and hear about what kinds of things that you like to make.  We will have information available to also tell you about our vision for a Garland Area Makerspace.  Learn how you can become part of these plans.  We hope to see you there.




We hope you'll come meet us and learn all about the Garland Area MakerSpace (a nonprofit, community first organization), and also how to make pens.  (I did make the pen featured in the photo.) We are excited for this opportunity to tell people about we are hoping to bring to our community while we all make something.  I hope you RSVP.  The first 30 who do will be able to make a pen to take home with them.  The rest can chat with Garland Area Makerspace members while watching this interesting process. - Liz Berry



If we look to nature we can find solutions and answers for designing the things we make.  In the natural world things are designed so that when their life is spent, the materials from which they were made can be used as materials to make other things. A leaf dies, and its decayed organic matter becomes food for a tree.  An animal is killed and its matter becomes food for another animal.  In nature, nothing is wasted.

We need to apply these same principles to the things we make.  We need to stop and plan for the future of the item we are making:  “When the usefulness of this thing I’m building has served its purpose and/or worn out, what can it become”?  And the correct answer is not “junk to be thrown away in a landfill or ocean.”  As part of the design of that product, there should be a stated purpose for its next life.

The two most polluting containers we are using today are plastic bags and aluminum cans. Stopping the motion of destructive forces already in motion is not always easy.  There is the ingrained notion of “this is the way it is done.”  And of course, there are many who are financially invested in the way things are done now.  Usually improvements and new ways of doing things are brought about in interim steps on the path to new and better replacement. And this takes time.


Steps to replacing the old way with a new and better way:

Step One:  Fully realize and understand how damaging to the people and the planet the old way of doing things is. 

This is an important step as it provides motivation for going to the extra mile to remake/reuse these objects.  This information can also be used to overcome objections to those who don’t want to change. Let’s use the example of the aluminum cans and plastic bags.  

Aluminum Cans

The people of the world go through 180 billion aluminum beverage cans a year; enough to build dozens of towers to the moon. More than one million tons of aluminum containers and packaging (soda cans, TV dinner trays, aluminum foil) are thrown away each year. Americans throw away enough aluminum every three months to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet. Last year, approximately 36 billion aluminum cans were landfilled. [From “The Secret Life of the Aluminum Can” – WIRED magazine]

About 7% of the earth’s crust is aluminum, making it the third most abundant element after oxygen and silicon.  Aluminum production starts with the raw material bauxite.   Bauxite is a mineral containing 15-25 percent aluminum found mostly around the Equator.  Bauxite is located close to the surface.  Thus mining destroys ecosystems on the surface, results in land erosion.  The tropical forest areas are most threatened by this mining. [Source: Accessed 05/6/2018]

If not recycled, aluminum cans will stay in a landfill up to 500 years before it oxidizes. However, recycling aluminum is not a “cure-all” either. Recycling aluminum requires only five percent of the energy required to manufacture new aluminum from bauxite. However, recycling aluminum produces many toxic chemicals that are released into the air. Furthermore, recycling aluminum produces a waste product called "dross" that is highly toxic and has to be buried in landfills. This dross must be tightly sealed in containers so that it doesn’t leak out and enter groundwater.

Plastic Bags

Our planet is becoming increasingly contaminated by our unnecessary use of plastic bags.  It is estimated the average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year.  According to Waste Management, only 1 percent of plastic bags are returned for recycling.  The rest end up in landfills as litter.  Up to 80 percent of ocean plastic pollution enter the ocean from land.  Like aluminum cans, it takes plastic bags about 500 years to breakdown.  However, plastic bags become micro-plastics that absorb toxins and continue to pollute the environment.

Recycling is not a solution to the plastic bag problem. It simply keeps them out of landfills and the environment for a little longer.  Bags should not be returned to the grocery store for recycling until we’ve gotten as much use out of them as possible.  We need to reduce the number of new bags we use, reuse them as much as possible, and bring them back for recycling when we can no longer use them.  


Step Two:  Figure out interim use(s) for the material that can keep the bags or cans out of landfills for as long as possible.

For Plastic Grocery Store Bags

The best solution for reusing items is to use them for the same purpose for which they were originally designed, using little or no labor or tools.  Thus for the grocery store plastic sacks, the best way to reuse them would be to put one inside another so the sacks have two thicknesses and take them back to the grocery store the next time you go.  This extends their lifetime of usefulness for several trips instead of just one.  It prevents more waste resulting from using more plastic bags.

When the sacks can no longer be used with minimum adjustments, design a way to use the plastic material into even more durable sacks.  This is where the creativity of makers comes into play.  For example, you could cut strips of plastic from the sacks, melt them together with an iron and knit into a plastic bag.  This sturdy bag would last for years.

For Aluminum Cans

At least at the moment, I don’t have an idea of how these cans might be reused for containing soft drinks.  My only suggestion to date is to deconstruct them and use the aluminum to create decorative objects that people would want to keep as art objects for their homes and gardens.  Aluminum cans can easily be cut and deconstructed with an ordinary pair of craft scissors.  From there, it is up to the maker’s imagination what can be done with this material.


Step Three:  Design better containers using materials that have the potential to live another life.

This of course takes longer than steps one or two, but it is in thinking and doing that better solutions emerge.  And when we think and make with others, the magic of collaboration often bubbles to the surface, bringing with it unexpected solutions.

And these are just a few of the reasons why I’m hoping that we will be able to establish a place for the Garland Area Makerspace in my community.



Join the Garland Area Makerspace!

We meet at the North Garland Branch Library - Second and Fourth Tuesday of the Month at   7PM

North Branch Garland Library - 3845 North Garland Avenue - Garland Texas 75040

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Mary Winsor, of Haverford, Penn., came from a Quaker family. She was educated at Drexel Institute of Philadelphia, at Bryn Mawr and abroad. She made a survey of the English suffrage movement for the American Academy of Political and Social Science. She was the founder and president of the Limited Suffrage Society. September 1917, sentenced to 60 days at Occoquan Workhouse for picketing. She was later sentenced to 10 days for participation in Lafayette Square meeting. Harris & Ewing, Washington, D.C. Mary Winsor Penn. '17 holding Suffrage Prisoners banner. United States Washington D.C, 1917. [Oct.-Nov] Photograph.


With upcoming Texas local elections looming less than a week away, I’m amazed that some eligible voters will stay home and not vote.

The United States Constitution did not originally guarantee citizens the right to vote.  As I remember from my history lessons, only white male property owners had that privilege.  It took almost two hundred years (and many more lives than that) to secure the right to vote for all citizens of age in the USA. People died for our right to vote.

It’s an insult to this history to not vote.


14th Amendment--1868

“All persons born within the USA are citizens and guaranteed rights and privileges.”

[So, why are we still having discussions regarding the citizenship of people who were born in the USA?]


15th Amendment --1870

“No citizen can be denied the right of vote based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” 

The intention of this amendment was to give freed MALE slaves the same privileges offered the white majority males.  [Notice there is no mention of women.]  States got around this amendment by creating barriers to prevent minorities from voting.  These barriers became known as “Jim Crow” laws.


Jim Crow in Action:  Black citizens filling our voter-registration forms at Forest City Courthouse Hattiesburg, Mississippi, January 22, 1964 – Photograph by Matt Herron [Ironically, this photo was taken the day before the 24th Amendment was ratified.]

The term “Jim Crow” typically refers to repressive laws and customs once used to restrict black rights, but the origin of the name itself actually dates back to before the Civil War. In the early 1830s, the white actor Thomas Dartmouth “Daddy” Rice was propelled to stardom for performing minstrel routines as the fictional “Jim Crow,” a caricature of a clumsy, dimwitted black slave. Rice claimed to have first created the character after witnessing an elderly black man singing a tune called “Jump Jim Crow” in Louisville, Kentucky.  Source: [Accessed April 30, 2018]

Jim Crow laws included literacy tests to exclude under-educated Americans from voting; grandfather clauses saying if your father voted then you could; and poll taxes—fees charged for the right to vote.

19th Amendment – 1920

No citizen shall be abridged of the right to vote based on sex”

This is perhaps the most significant amendment of all in regard to voting as it gave over 50% of the population the right to vote.  Until this amendment, more than half the eligible voters in the USA were denied the right to vote!  And this amendment did not come easy.  It literally took generations of women willing to suffer humiliation, jail and injury for this amendment to finally become law.  It took decades of protest.

24th Amendment—1964

“No poll tax is allowed or failure to pay any other tax shall prevent a person from voting.”

This amendment made some of the Jim Crow laws illegal.

26th Amendment—1971

“All Persons 18 or old shall not be abridged of their right to vote.”

We have the Vietnam War to thank for this one as the question was raised as to why 18 year olds can fight and die for their county and yet are not eligible to vote for members of Congress who send them to war.


Voting Rights Act of 1965

Although not an amendment to our constitution, this act applied a nationwide basis to outlaw the discriminatory voting practices adopted in many southern states after the Civil War, including literacy tests as a prerequisite to voting.  It was an Act to enforce the 15th amendment.


Why let other people decide what is best for you? You have a voice.  Educate yourself on the candidates and issues and then vote.

You still have two days left in Garland to vote at either the South Garland Library Branch of at Richland College (Glenbrook & Walnut) 7am to 7PM  Monday and Tuesday.



If you live in Garland, go to one of our public libraries and ask for a copy of the 2018 City of Garland VOTERS GUIDE.  The Dallas Women League of Voters put this informative, nonpartisan 8-page publication together.  It contains information regarding where each of the mayoral candidates stand on particular issues; it lists the 36 propositions to amend our City Charter; it lets you know that one of the two candidates for 2nd district City Council no longer seeks that office.  He has withdrawn from the race and endorsed the only other candidate on the ballot, Deborah Morris


March 8, 1932 Mexico Bound Trains:  fueled by fears that Mexicans and Mexican-Americans were taking scarce jobs and government assistance during the Great Depression, it is estimated that at least 2 million people, most of who were US citizens, were deported.

Los Angeles Public Library/Herald Examiner Collection


.   .   .   And moderate our behavior accordingly

When economic times are harsh it seems to be the human response to seek scapegoats among minority populations and punish them for circumstances for which they had no part.  In fact, these financial circumstances often negatively impact scapegoats even more severely than the mainstream population.  This happened all over the world in the 1930’s and early 1940’s.  When people lose their money they often seem to lose their minds with it.  For example, dire conditions of the early 1930s led many German voters to abandon mainstream political parties and look to more radical alternatives, such as Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.

Economist, Alfred Sohn-Rethel, put it well in his observation:  “Only when things went economically wrong for Germany did the Nazi Party flourish, and vice versa.  Their election successes and their membership rose and fell in exact parallel to the unemployment figures.  During the years of prosperity between 1924 and 1928 the Nazis as good as disappeared from the political arena.  But the deeper the economy subsided into crisis, the more firmly the fascist party sat in the saddle.”

Our current president rose to office, partly on promises to deport 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally along with their U.S. born children and these promises apparently resonated with a lot of angry Americans.  The Great Depression, triggered by the stock market crash of 1929, saw the rise of scapegoating all over Europe as well as in the USA. 

In the 1930’s more than one million US citizens were literally snatched off the street and deported to Mexico.

Eighty-seven years ago in 1931, federal immigration agents stormed La Placita Olvera, a park near the birthplace of Los Angeles.  They stuffed more than 400 men and women into vans, removing them from their families (and most of them from their country). But this was just the beginning of what was to become a mass deportation of US citizens.

Scholars estimate that during the early 1930’s, over 2 million people were sent to a Mexican homeland they had never seen before.  Some barely spoke Spanish.  More than half of these people were U.S. citizens, born in the USA. 

It’s an almost forgotten ugly chapter in the history of the USA.  However, it is documented in Decade of Betrayal:  Mexican Repatriation in the 1930’s –written by Francisco Balderrama, California University historian, and historian Ramon Rodriguez.

Mr. Rodriguez experienced the deportation personally.  His father, Juan Rodriguez, a legal resident who had spent years tending his family’s livestock and produce farm in Long Beach was suddenly taken from his family by the “authorities.”


La Placita Olvera can happen today and this is why.

There are those who think the U.S. economy has recovered from the plunge it took in the fall of 2007 when Congress and the Bush administration sold our economy out to private banks and financial institutions.  We have not—not by a long shot.   Many Americans are angry about their current economic status.

True, investors may be flourishing, but ordinary Main Street Americans are not.  Americans with our penchant for survival and “making do” with less are exercising that talent.  To boost wages that are not living wages, many now have two jobs and some even three.  Those who can are working long into their retirement years.  In other words, most Americans are working harder for less and that is reflected by the “improved” economic reports—not that things have improved for most Americans.


It can happen here and this is how:  by not voting

We have a responsibility as citizens to exercise our rights.  One of those rights is the right to vote.  That right does some with some responsibility.  We not only should vote, we should do all we can to find out about the candidates before we go to the polls.  We don’t learn much from their fiery rhetoric.  We should know by now that many of them will promise the moon—and worse, play to our prejudices—to get elected.  We learn by seeing how they have lived their lives thus far and by answering the question:  what have they done for others?  What do they do for others?  We can learn by seeking nonpartisan evaluations of these candidates.

The Women League of Voters publishes one of the best sources for nonpartisan voting information in the USA.


The rest is up to you.

The upcoming local elections all over Texas are important.  The one here in Garland is particularly important.  We will be electing a mayor, voting on 36 propositions to amend our City Charter.  Our second district will be electing a City Council member.  There are two names on the ballot but Rex Wisdom has withdrawn from the ballot.  Even though his name will still be on the ballot for voters to select.


How could I know this information about a candidate on the ballot having withdrawn?

I know it by reading page 2 of the 2018 City of Garland Voter’s Guide—an 8-page nonpartisan guide especially prepared for voters in our city by the Dallas Women League of Voters.  You can ask for this guide at any of our local libraries or call 214-688-4125.  Rex Wisdom is no long an official candidate for City Council in Garland.


“Local Politics Aren’t Important”

From time to time I hear that sentiment.  In the final evaluation, I suppose it's all relative to the individual as to what is or is not important.   However, most of the decisions that impact us the most directly are made at the local level by our City Council.  Did you know, for example that about 10 years ago our City Council was considering removal of all carports in our city?  Members of our City Council have huge power over our lives with their votes.   



Do you know where to early vote in your community?

Find out, but be prepared for some frustration.  It may not be that easy.

It may be even more difficult to find out what is on your ballot.

You might begin with the search "sample ballot for 2018 local election for [name of your city].  If you live in Dallas County, you might try , but again, be prepared for frustration as search features for information are not exactly intuitive.

I don't know about your community, but for my local community of Garland, below is that information in a simplified form (I wouldn't even begin to try to find all the polling places on election day.  As a general rule, early voting is easier because there is a longer period of time along with various hours to choose from and most often there are only one or two polling places for the municipality.  In the case of Garland, there is only one polling place for early voting--Richland College, Garland Branch.)



Last year only 3.9% of the registered voters in Garland turned out in our local election to vote. This means that we probably don’t have a representative government in Garland because the majority of registered voters did not cast a ballot.

 Voting is a civic responsibility. We hope you will participate.  Without your vote, our representative government will not work quite as well as it could.  Voting also comes with the responsibility to educate yourself on the issues and candidates that will be on the ballot.  This year we are choosing a mayor from three candidates and we are voting on no less than 36 amendments the Garland City Council has proposed to our City Charter

Contact your Garland City Council Representative and ask them to send you a SAMPLE BALLOT.  THEN STUDY IT AND VOTE ACCORDING TO YOUR CHOICE.

Note: District 2 ballot features two candidates, but only one, Deborah Morris is running for office.  The other candidate has not only withdrawn from office several months ago, he is supporting Ms. Morris.



There are numerous true stories out there on dead politicians winning races.  This year Garland Texas has its own crazy voting story.  One of the two candidates for City Council in Garland's second district, Rex Wisdom, withdrew from the ballot too late to have his name removed from the ballot.  He has even publicly in writing endorsed his former opponent, Deborah Morris:  "For personal reasons I am no longer running for City Council in District 2.  Although my name will appear on the ballot, I will be voting for Deborah Morris.  Deborah and I have talked at length and I believe she will bring a wonderful change to the Garland City Council.  Please join me in supporting her as she works to make Garland an even better place to live than it is now."

You may think THAT is strange but here is an even stranger twist to this story:  Given Texas and its insane voting laws, if Rex Wisdom garners more votes than Deborah Morris and, provided that he turns down the job, the current council person for District 2, Anita Goebel, will continue to serve for another year--even though she was recalled by the voters in her district in December of 2017 and even though May ends her six year term limit.



Jeff McClure on left is the liaison from the Saturn Church of Christ who coordinates between the Saturn Church of Christ and the adjoining Orchard Hills Neighborhood.  Nancy Tunell from the Garland Neighborhood Vitality group took the photo.  In the center on the left is Jane Stroud, President of Loving Garland Green.  On the right, Liz Berry.  On the far right we have Rhonda who lives in the neighborhood and I believe, is a Master Gardener. The other folks in the photo are from the Church and the neighborhood.  And there will be more if you join and spread the word.


A Phoenix arises--not from ashes, but from the soil and people's love of gardens.

It's official!  Orchard Hills now has its own community garden in partnership with the Saturn Church of Christ.  It is sandwiched behind the Saturn Church of Christ and a few residential homes that the Church owns.  Currently these homes are used for storage by the Church.  It is the back yards of these homes where the community garden is located.  I'm not sure regarding the exact details of the history of this space but two or three years ago several huge, lovely wooden raised beds were built and the first couple of years a great garden was grown.  Below is a photo of what once was. I believe that at the time the garden was tended only by members of the Church.  Then the garden fell into disrepair due to waning interest as sometimes happens with all human volunteer endeavors. 
Also community gardens that are tended by people within walking distance tend to be more successful.  Community gardens bring people together and improve neighborhoods--that's a proven fact.  They can even raise property values but the best reason, in my opinion, is that gardens bring people together.  Community gardens are each as unique as the community in which they are found.  The Saturn Hills Community Garden potential for uniqueness resides in the fact that it can feel like a large neighborhood backyard as it is located behind what were once homes.  Among other things, there are plans to add lawn furniture such as we would typically see in suburban back yards.  Who knows?  Perhaps later in the summer there will be an old fashioned ice cream social.
With leadership from Jeff McClure, liaison from the  Saturn Church of Christ, the garden membership is opened to all the folks who live in Orchard Hills.  Nancy Tunell, a Master Gardener and Naturalist from the Garland Neighborhood Vitality group, is assisting Jeff with successfully launching the newly christened Saturn Hills Community Garden.
Loving Garland Green is participating in this event much in the fashion of the peddler from the tale of "Stone Soup".  Yesterday we attended one of their meetings and came bearing plants and other items for their garden.  We will stay closely in touch with this lovely group of people and do all we can to see their garden becomes the neighborhood success that it deserves to be.  


Send an email to Jeff McClure at:


Contact Nancy Tunell from the Garland Neighborhood Vitality group.
I'll attach one of the signs Loving Garland Green donated that is my favorite.  It is a recipe for Compost Tea.  If you use this instead of a popular commercial nitrogen-based garden fertilizer, you'll grow healthier, stronger plants and save yourself a lot of money.  


Use rainwater or fill up a 5-gallon bucket and let sit for

24 hour for chlorine to evaporate.  Add other ingredients.

Stir well to mix (make bubbles).  Pour on soil around plants.

A gallon or two for larger plants like blackberries. Use a quart for mature vegetables and down to a cup for small new transplants.

(Vinegar is to balance the pH of our soil, which is highly alkaline.)

Epson salts are for magnesium.  One of magnesium's well-known roles is in the photosynthesis process, as it is a building block of the Chlorophyll, which makes leaves appear green. Molasses is high in calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. It also contains sulfur and a host of micronutrients. As a fertilizer, it provides plants with a quick source of energy and encourages the growth of beneficial microorganisms.  Since compost or rich garden soil has microorganisms, the molasses will stimulate them.