Editor’s note: Answer Line was on assignment this week. Look for new questions and answers next week. In the meantime, enjoy this column of Q&A from February and March 2017:
QUESTION: While sitting on our patio yesterday morning, I believe I saw an eagle with a white head fly over the treetops. Are there bald eagles in East Texas, or was I seeing another type of bird?
ANSWER: Yes, there are bald eagles in East Texas, even more so this time of year. That’s the word from the state’s non-game ornithologist Cliff Shackelford.
He pointed me to a 2009 report discussing a 40-year study by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department tracking bald eagles from 1976 to 2009. The good news about this bird we all love so much is that the number of nest sites increased quite a bit during that time. The report says none of those nest sites were in Gregg County, but they’re all around us — Cass, Harrison, Marion, Morris, Nacogdoches, Panola, Rusk, Smith, Upshur and Wood counties, for instance.
It’s likely, though, that those residential eagles aren’t what you saw.
“We have an influx of winter birds on top of those,” Shackelford said. “There might not be a nest in Gregg County, but in the winter months we get all these winter birds.”
The water in the northern states where those birds usually live freezes, so they come to Texas.
“We get hundreds and hundreds,” he said, in the Eastern two-thirds of the state (you know, the part that isn’t a desert). “In Gregg County, you’ve got tons of them.”
The winter birds show up in October, Shackelford said, and stay until about March or April.
Q: I’m having problems trying to give away good furniture, big furniture. What should an older person do with things he wants to give away do? Who will take it, and then how do you get rid of things that are too big for me to get rid of?
A: It sounds like you need a nonprofit organization with a resale store and a truck. I’ll tell you the names of some in Longview. (Just understand I can’t promise this is the end-all, be-all list of organizations that might help you re-home your furniture. Some of these organizations will give items away to people in need for various reasons or sell the items in their stores to support each organization’s mission.)
I know of organizations that have resale stores and that have trucks they use to pick up donations of large items. Contact them for more information: Longview Habitat for Humanity, 907 McCann Road, (903) 236-0900; Gifts of Grace Resale Store, 2519 Judson Road, (903) 234-2341; and Longview Dream Center, 803 Gilmer Road, (903) 653-1740.
Of course, there are other organizations that would take your donations as well should you be able to get some help with a truck to get your furniture to them. The Longview Interfaith Hospitality Network helps homeless families return to self-sufficiency (no resale shop but accepts furniture donations), (903) 234-8343; and Hope’s Closet (Women’s Center of East Texas), 1011 Wal St., (903) 295-2585 and 2409 Gilmer Road, (903) 248-3248.
Q: I’m trying to get some help getting information on Grover’s disease.
A: I found some information on the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology’s website, which describes Grover’s as “a condition that appears suddenly as itchy red spots on the trunk most often in older men.” Most people with the condition itch a lot, although some do not or do not have a conspicuous rash.
“Grover’s may be suspected by its appearance, but since it has such a characteristic appearance under the microscope, a shave skin biopsy is often preformed,” the website says.” Once confirmed, most cases of Grover’s disease last six to 12 months (which is why it was originally called “transient”). Unfortunately, it may last much longer.”
Grover’s cause is unknown, but it might be linked to extreme temperatures, the website says. Prescription-strength topical cortisone creams are used to control minor outbreaks, but more serious occurrences might be treated with antibiotics for several months, or even phototherapy, antifungal pills or cortisone injections.