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Doolittle’s Point of View: How to have a Happy Thanksgiving


The biggest challenges of Thanksgiving —​  besides trying to locate it amid retailers’ premature Christmas displays —​ is the time spent with family.

Some of these are people you may only be seeing for the first or only time in years. Some are a part of your daily life. All are going to get on your nerves at one moment or another on Thanksgiving day, and the points of contention will always be the same: who cooks the meal, who eats what, sports, alcohol consumption, past transgressions, etc.

Many of these can be avoided, however. As one of five kids myself, I’ve had ample opportunity to learn family negotiation skills. These are skills you can use on all your trips —​ even the ones into your own kitchen.

Know your job

Every family has that one person who wants to do everything —​ their job, your job, and every little job that arises in between. True confession time: I tend to be that person. Whether through good intentions or know-it-all-ness, this is the opposite of helpful. Once everyone has agreed on a plan, stick to it and don’t step on toes. Or offer to do everything yourself and let everyone else put their feet up for the day.

Be helpful

The opposite of that is that one family member who never lifts a finger to help, even when there is obvious work to be done. Don’t be that guy. Work when everyone else is working. Not sure how to be helpful? Ask. See someone stressing out? Offer to help. Sometimes just offering is enough.

Ask for help
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Dog attacked in Steiner Ranch, Family pet killed in backyard


Allie, a Welsh corgi, was the Mullen's family pet for nearly a decade before it was attacked and killed last week at their Steiner Ranch home by what their veterinarian suspects was a large wild or exotic cat such as a mountain lion or puma.

Allie, a Welsh corgi, was the Mullen’s family pet for nearly a decade before it was attacked and killed last week at their Steiner Ranch home by what their veterinarian suspects was a large wild or exotic cat such as a mountain lion or puma.

By KIM ESTES, Four Points News

A family dog was killed Thursday in the Hills of West Ridge subdivision of Steiner Ranch. Residents are warned it appears to be the work of a wild or exotic big cat.

Doug Mullen, owner of a 9 ½-year-old Welsh corgi named Allie, says, “My daughter found her savaged in our backyard early Thursday morning.”

“The main thing now is to get information out, especially to parents of small children as well as all pet owners. It appears the attack was by a big cat — a mountain lion or puma.”

Janet Roush, DVM, owner of Stay at Home Veterinary Care, examined Allie’s body and reports, “The width between the fangs was about four-and-a-half to five centimeters, proving the predator to be very big. Coyote fangs are about two-and-a-half centimeters apart.” Coyotes have been seen and heard often in Steiner Ranch.

Furthermore, Roush said, the incision was at the ribs and into the chest and abdomen. Coyotes attack at the hind end and in packs, leaving more wounds.

Mullen’s 17-year-old daughter, Lauren, let Allie out at about 6:15 a.m., Thursday. She called for her minutes later, but the dog did not come. Lauren got a flashlight and went outside to bring her in, but instead found the slain animal two feet from the back wall.

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VHS motivational speaker offers advice to parents & students


Motivational speaker Mike Donahue spoke at area schools on the topic “Talking to Brick Walls – Really Understanding Today’s Youth Culture”. Photo taken at Canyon Ridge MS by Cheryl Kleffner. 

By SARAH DOOLITTLE, Four Points News

The Vandegrift High School PTA hosted motivational speaker Mike Donahue on Oct 28 who covered the topic “Talking to Brick Walls – Really Understanding Today’s Youth Culture”.

The presentation was also presented at Canyon Ridge and Four Points middle schools during the same week.

Donahue is a youth minister of 18 years and professional public speaker uniquely suited to addressing the challenges kids and teens face today. With his own personal history as a troubled teen —​ and as a father of four —​ Donahue spoke as much to the students in attendance as to parents.

His message? That kids today are under enormous pressures, unfamiliar to their parents, having to do with the constant presence of their peers through technology.

Phones = pressure

“That five minutes it takes to get from math to English —​ they’re being judged,” Donahue told parents. “They’re constantly being judged. And they’re not being judged on their real life, like what kind of person they are, their character. They’re being judged on a slice of their life,” like an event at school or their peer relationships. Continue reading