Apr 12, 2018

field of blue bonnets, sun set, clouds

Having a large number of official state symbols is unsurprising when you consider the vast size of the state and geological and cultural differences within the boundaries of it. Texas has a rich, diverse cultural heritage and tangible representations of it and its natural resources have become official symbols for the state. State symbols began to be adopted following the creation of a “National Garland of Flowers” for the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, where each state was represented by a particular type of flower. The trend expanded from there and now each state has many symbols that acknowledge the unique natural beauty, landscape features, and cultural heritage of each.

Every Texan knows that the State Flower is the Bluebonnet and the State Nickname is The Lone Star State, but how many know what the State Dinosaur or State Snack is? Here is a list of some of the well-known and not-so-well-known Texas State Symbols:


State Amphibian – Texas Toad

State Bird – Mockingbird

State Crustacean – Texas Gulf Shrimp

State Dinosaur – Paluxysaurus Jonesi

State Dog Breed – Blue Lacy

State Fish – Guadalupe Bass

State Flying Mammal – Mexican Free-Tailed Bat

State Horse – American Quarter Horse

State Insect – Monarch Butterfly

State Large Mammal – Longhorn

State Pollinator – Western Honey Bee

State Reptile – Texas Horned Lizard

State Saltwater Fish – Red Drum

State Sea Turtle – Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle

State Small Mammal – Nine-Banded Armadillo


State Flower – Bluebonnet

State Grass – Sideoats Grama

State Native Shrub – Texas Purple Sage

State Plant – Prickly Pear Cactus

State Shrub – Crape Myrtle

State Tree – Pecan Tree

State Waterlily – Nymphaea Texas Dawn


State Bread – Pan de Campo

State Cobbler – Peach Cobbler

State Dish – Chili

State Fruit – Texas Red Grapefruit

State Health Nut – Pecan

State Native Pepper – Chiltepin

State Pastries – Sopaipilla and Strudel

State Pepper – Jalapeño

State Pie – Pecan Pie

State Snack – Tortilla Chips & Salsa

State Squash – Pumpkin

State Vegetable – Texas Sweet Onion


State Cooking Implement – Cast Iron Dutch Oven

State Epic Poem – Legend of Old Stone Ranch

State Fiber & Fabric – Cotton

State Folk Dance – Square Dance

State Footwear – Cowboy Boot

State Gem & Gemstone Cut – Texas Blue Topaz & Lone Star Cut

State Hat – Cowboy Hat

State Motto – Friendship

State Music – Western Swing

State Musical Instrument – Guitar

State Nickname – The Lone Star State

State Precious Metal – Silver

State Railroad – Texas State Railroad

State Shell – Lightning Whelk

State Ship – U.S.S. Texas

State Song – Texas Our Texas

State Sport – Rodeo

State Stone – Petrified Palmwood

State Tall Ship – Tall Ship Elissa

State Tartan – Texas Bluebonnet Tartan

State Tie – Bolo Tie

State Vehicle – Chuck Wagon

Sources: State Symbols USA, Bullock Museum, and Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Apr 5, 2018

Flooded cars, underwater, rooftops of cars showing

While there are fewer visual reminders of last year’s hurricane season, one industry that continues to be impacted is the auto industry. Hundreds of thousands of new and used cars were flooded in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Some of the flooded vehicles are still showing up for sale in markets across the United States. While selling a vehicle that has flood damage is legal, not disclosing that information to the buyer is illegal. If you are in the market for a new or used automobile, here are some tips on how to avoid buying a flooded car that may have undisclosed flood damage:

  • Look for mud on the carpets, which can indicate water was inside a flooded car. New carpets in an older vehicle could also be suspicious.
  • How does it smell? If there is a musty, stale odor, especially when running the air conditioner, there is a good chance there was standing water in the vehicle.
  • Check the headlights for water lines and trapped moisture. Also, check for fogging on interior lights and excessive condensation on windows.
  • Check under the hood, beneath the spare tire, and in gaps in the trunk for debris in hard to reach places.
  • Look for signs of rust on unpainted surfaces and screws. Oxidation under the hood can also appear as a white powder or create small holes.
  • Check to see if the rubber drain plugs are in place under the car and on the bottoms of doors. If they are missing, it may be because they were removed to drain floodwater.
  • Test all the electrical components. Sunroofs, radios, Bluetooth systems, lights, wipers, automatic door locks, windows, air conditioning and heat, automatic seats, rear cameras, and all other electric devices within the car should be checked for consistent performance. Erratic performance is a strong indicator of possible water damage.

If you have found an automobile that passes all the above inspections, be sure to check the VIN number before signing anything. A reputable dealer or salesperson will be forthcoming with any possible issues the auto may have and don’t hesitate to have your trusted mechanic inspect it as well. When buying a car, it’s important to remember that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Sources: The Morning Call, The New York Times, and Consumer Reports

Mar 22, 2018

scholarship on computer, counselor, student, desk, book

Spring semester is here already, and before you know it Summer will be over and then…COLLEGE. We know you’ve waited for what seems like forever to get to college, and all your hard work has finally paid off. Have you decided where you are going, or still trying to decide between a few prospects? In addition to the quality of the education you will receive at each school, you should be aware of the financial cost to attend as well.

The price tag to attend college is much more than just the tuition costs. For the 2017-2018 academic year, the cost to attend a public in-state college averaged $25,290, although tuition averaged only $9.970. The cost to attend a private college averaged $50,900, with $34,740 being tuition. Tuition is generally charged according to units or hours per semester or quarter and can be more expensive for certain degree programs and for out-of-state students. In addition to tuition, colleges charge fees for services, such as student government and campus transportation and being able to use facilities like the library, recreational centers, and on-campus parking. Housing and meals for the academic year can cost as much as tuition and some schools have room and board requirements for freshmen. Textbooks and other supplies you need, such as a computer, also add to the overall price tag to attend college.

We know how expensive it can be, that’s why Eastex wants to help ease the expenses of college life!

We are happy to announce Eastex CU Scholarships: six $500 Scholarships to award to six deserving applicants. These applicants will be 2017 – 2018 graduating high school seniors and current college underclassmen that are members of this credit union and meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Submit a completed application (click here for the application).
  2. Submit a 250-word essay entitled “What field of study do you plan to seek? What are the most important issues your field is facing today?”
  3. Proof of a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.5.
  4. Two letters of recommendations from professors (underclassmen).
  5. An official transcript of classes (underclassmen)
  6. The applicant must be a member in good standing with Eastex CU.

To apply for one of the Eastex CU Scholarships, click here to download the scholarship application and to learn more about our criteria and eligibility. Local senior students and currently enrolled underclassmen are strongly encouraged to apply.

Deadline is Friday, April 13, 2018

Source: colledgedata.com

Mar 15, 2018

multiple four leaf clovers

For Saint Patrick’s Day this year, in addition to wearing green to avoid being pinched, consider going green as well. We’re not suggesting that you paint yourself green, we’re simply giving you some ideas of easy things you can do to be more environmentally-friendly. Go green with Eastex with these helpful everyday tips!

  • Support your local farmers. Buying locally produced foods helps to cut down on pollution by reducing the transportation requirements needed to bring the item to you. This is also a great way to meet the growers in your area and ensure you are eating the freshest available fruits and veggies.
  • Generate less waste. Find ways that you can reduce how much garbage your household creates. Some easy ones to try are switching from plastic water bottles to a sturdy reusable tumbler, composting food scraps to make a rich soil for your garden or flowerbeds, using real plates rather than disposable ones, and donating gently used items you no longer want to a local thrift store or charity rather than tossing them in the trash.
  • Borrow or rent instead of buying. If you have a project that requires special equipment, see if you can borrow it from an acquaintance or rent it from a store. Special events, such as weddings and proms, are also a time when there are options to rent everything from dresses and accessories to decorations.
  • Share your Leftovers. Prior to your next big family reunion, quinceañera, or annual crawfish boil, have a plan for what to do with the inevitable leftovers. You can ask your church or food bank if there is someone who might appreciate having a meal delivered to them, send a plate home with each guest, and deliver each of your neighbors a slice of cake. If you used fresh flowers for your event, afterward you can deliver them to nursing homes and hospitals to help brighten up someone’s day.

You can Go Green at Eastex CU too!

We believe that taking care of our members means taking care of our community too!

  • Bank Online. Save fuel by making transfers, viewing your statements, and applying for a loan or new account online, safely and securely.
  • Sign-Up for E-Statements. Ditch the paper and get electronic statements instead.
  • Use Mobile Deposit. Save paper and fuel by downloading the Android or iPhone app and using Eastex CU Mobile Deposit feature. With it, you can securely deposit checks into your checking or savings by simply taking a photo.
  • If your employer offers direct deposit, sign up. You can skip a trip to the credit union on payday and have your payroll deposited directly into your account.

Mar 8, 2018

Award for teachers, from Eastex, a Credit union for teachers

Teachers have the most important job in the world. They are responsible for educating the future leaders, entrepreneurs, writers, inventors, doctors, and every other profession imaginable. Teachers are hard workers, always busy interacting with students and adapting lesson plans and teaching methods to make sure the concepts and material is not just memorized but comprehended. They continually inspire and encourage their students and help teach them the life skills necessary to be a productive, kind, and educated member of society.

Teachers invest lots of their personal time to their students, by tutoring those who need some extra help after school, scheduling conferences with parents in the evenings, and grading papers late into the night. They also invest their own money into creating classrooms that will inspire and excite their students. While most schools have lists of supplies that students in each grade will need, teachers are often left purchasing their own supplies when those are depleted. In addition to serving every other hard-working member of the community, Eastex Credit Union is proud to consider itself a credit union for teachers. That’s why we created a way to help ease the financial burden for five local teachers.

Teachers Deserve Extra Credit

Eastex Credit Union will award $500 to one teacher from each of the following school districts; Buna, Evadale, Kirbyville, Kountze & Silsbee ISD’s. Eastex CU wants to provide teachers with the tools and resources required to shape their student’s future.

Award Entry Details

Each entry must include the following information:

  • Completed Online Application Click here for Application.
  • Minimum 500 Word Essay:  The essay must consist of a minimum of 500 words explaining why the entrant’s classroom deserves this award and how it will impact the students.

Award Details

  • A $500 Extra Credit Award will be given to one teacher from each of the following school districts: Buna, Evadale, Kirbyville, Kountze & Silsbee ISD’s for a total of $2,500 awarded.
  • Only one entry per teacher. No transfers of award allowed.
  • The award winners will receive a check for $500. Winners are to use the money for classroom supplies or related items.
  • Winners agree to provide pictures of items purchased with the Extra Credit Award. These pictures may be used in Eastex CU newsletter, website and social media.
  • Winners will be announced at respective “Back To School” breakfast or lunch. Eastex CU is the sole judge of all matters regarding the Extra Credit Award and reserves the right to change, modify or discontinue the award at any time without notice. All decisions by Eastex CU are final.

Application Deadline

Application Deadline: Monday, April 30, 2018

Only complete applications will be considered. Applications must be received by 11:59pm on 4/30/18.


For questions or additional information please contact Connie Hawthorne via email at connie@eastexcu.org.

Mar 1, 2018

Sweet 16 - 16 great reasons to choose Eastex!

March Madness and Sweet Sixteen are terms that are heard everywhere this time of year. Typically, they are referencing the best college basketball teams in the country, but our sweet sixteen list is compiled of the sixteen top things about Eastex Credit Union.

16. Convenient branches. With full-service branches in Evadale, Kirbyville, Silsbee, and Kountze, plus a Connect on the Go in Buna, you have several locations to choose from.
15. ATM Partners. We offer our members the benefit of withdrawing cash from other credit union locations surcharge-free. The list of no-surcharge credit union partners is available here.
14. Budgeting Tools. Make informed financial decisions with the help of Eastex CU’s financial calculators. Estimate your monthly mortgage or auto payments, plan for retirement, and see how much you can save with these helpful budget tools.
13. Safe Deposit Boxes. Rest easy knowing that your most valuable documents are safe, secure, and protected in an indestructible steel safe deposit box designed to hold up against fire, theft, and flooding. Safe deposit boxes are available at our Silsbee branch.
12. Transparency. By having an account at Eastex CU, you are a shareholder. As a shareholder, you are invited to our annual meetings and have access to the information compiled for our annual reports.
11. Payment Protection. At Eastex, we are proud to offer payment protection services to keep our members’ lives, homes, and finances secure.
10. Deposit Insurance. Each and every account our members have comes with deposit insurance up to $250,000, which is provided by ASI.
9. IRAs. Make Eastex part of your retirement plan. We offer two types of IRA accounts, Traditional and Roth.
8. Certificates. Grow your savings with investment certificates from Eastex. You can open one with as little as $500 and terms as short as three months.
7. Credit Cards. Visa credit cards from Eastex CU feature low-interest rates, no annual fees, interest-free grace periods, and rewards. They are a great way to build credit and nice to have for unexpected expenses.
6. Savings. At Eastex CU, your savings account earns dividends that are calculated and paid quarterly.
5. Mobile Banking and Online Banking Account Access. Stay on top of your finances by being able to access your Eastex CU accounts, no matter where you are.
4. Teaching Financial Responsibility. Teaching the younger generations how to be financially smart is a top priority. We strive to do this with our iSaveCU and CU Days at Your School initiatives.
3. Community Involvement. We are committed to giving back to the communities we serve. Local scholarships, fundraisers, and sponsorships are just a few of the ways we support our towns.
2. Best Loans. Whether you’re buying an automobile, motorcycle, ATV, RV, farm equipment, new home, renovating, or just need a vacation, we’ve got the best loans in Southeast Texas.
1. Our Members. The top thing about Eastex CU is our members. They are definitely the winners in our bracket.

Feb 22, 2018

laptop computer, scholarship, desk, papers, hands typing

Going to college is essential in order to obtain the necessary skills and training for most jobs these days. However, the costs associated with college are increasingly high and the majority of students need financial assistance in order to attend. There are 44.2 million Americans who have student loan debt, and an estimated 70% of students graduate college with debt. These numbers are staggering, but it is possible to borrow responsibly for college. February is Financial Aid Awareness Month, the purpose of which is to provide students and families crucial information regarding federal, state, and institutional student aid and how to borrow smartly.

Once you begin applying to colleges, you should be thinking about how you will be paying for school. Tuition costs can be drastically different from school to school, so be sure to take these costs into consideration when sending out applications. If you receive scholarship offers, be aware of what exactly is included and what you will still be responsible for. Scholarships are frequently for set dollar amounts, or cover tuition only, leaving the student responsible for all other associated costs, such as housing, meal plans, books, and additional university fees. Many colleges will have calculators available on their website which can provide a realistic overview of what it will cost to attend that school.

Financial aid is available so that students can attend college even if they can’t pay their tuition ahead of time, and scholarships and assistance from family members are not enough. There are many ways students can get financial aid for college, including:

  • Being financially qualified to receive it based on income
  • Performing well academically
  • Being a first-generation college student
  • Talented in sports
  • Planning to pursue a degree in a specific field
  • Serving in the military
  • Agreeing to work in particular locations or certain fields after graduation
  • Having a special need or disability

Even if you think you will not qualify for financial aid, you should still fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is used not only for financial aid, but to determine eligibility for federal and state student grants, fellowship programs, work-study opportunities, and federal loans.

Eastex Scholarships

If you are a graduating senior or college underclassman, be sure to apply for Eastex Credit Union’s scholarship. Every year we select six of our members to receive $500 to be used towards their education. In order to be considered for this scholarship you must submit a completed application (click here for the application), a 250-word essay, official transcript, two letters of recommendation, have a grade point average of 2.5 or higher and be in good standing with the credit union. More information about our scholarships is available here.

Sources: Fastweb.com, NASFAA.org, and FAFSA.ed.gov

Feb 15, 2018

Mount Rushmore, American Flag

The third Monday in February is a federal holiday officially known as George Washington’s Birthday but commonly referred to as Presidents’ Day. Americans began celebrating Washington’s birthday shortly after his death in 1799, but it was not an official observance until 1879. That was when President Rutherford B. Hayes declared it a legal holiday to be observed on February 22 of each year. In an effort to create more three-day weekends, the Monday Holiday Law was passed in 1968, which meant that the holiday would now be observed on the third Monday in February each year.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

One of the most impressive memorials in the United States is Mount Rushmore, located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Mount Rushmore features the faces of four of our most well-known presidents that were carved into a granite batholith by Gutzon Borglum. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln were selected by Borglum because they and their presidencies represented the most important events in the history of the United States.

George Washington led the colonists in the Revolutionary War in their fight for independence from Great Britain. As the first president, he is considered the father of our country and founder of American democracy. Washington is the most prominent figure on the mountain and he represents the birth of the United States.

Thomas Jefferson, our third president, wrote the Declaration of Independence and as president, he doubled the size of our nation by purchasing the Louisiana Territory from France. Jefferson’s depiction on Mount Rushmore represents the growth of the country.

Theodore Roosevelt led our country during the rapid economic growth happening at the turn of the 20th century. As our 26th president, he was instrumental in the Panama Canal’s construction and worked to end monopolies. He also fought to protect the rights of the working class, as well as establish a conservation policy to protect national lands. Roosevelt was chosen by Borglum for the monument as a representation of the development of the United States.

Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, led the nation during the Civil War. He believed in the preservation of the union and abolishment of slavery. Lincoln was selected by Borglum to represent the preservation of the United States.

In honor of Presidents’ Day, all Eastex Credit Union branches will be closed on Monday, February 19th.  You may continue to access your accounts via online and mobile banking during this time, and our ATMs are available 24/7.

Sources: NPS.gov and Almanac.com

Feb 8, 2018

travel insurance, credit card, pen, passport leather journal, desk

When you are planning a vacation, you might wonder if having travel insurance would be a good idea. Travel insurance can help minimize the financial risks of traveling caused by illness, accidents, missed flights, canceled tours, theft, and other events. How much you stand to lose due to unforeseen incidents varies depending on how much you have prepaid, the type of airfare you purchased, your destination, how reputable the businesses you booked with are, the overall health of those who will be traveling, and also what coverage you may already have from your credit card and insurance companies.

What does Travel Insurance Cover?

There are many companies that sell travel insurance, each with their own plans and policies that offer differing amounts of coverage for various events. The most common types of travel insurance are for trip cancellation, interruption, or delay, medical emergencies and evacuation, lost or delayed baggage, and flight insurance. Typically, a travel insurance policy will include a combination of some or all of these with the option to add on the rest and specific additional coverage, such as for car rentals or certain adventure sports. The level of coverage for each benefit will depend on the plan you selected and can also be dependent on if you purchased your travel independently or through a travel agent.

How Much Does It Cost?

Travel insurance policies are priced according to many factors, such as age, length of trip, where you plan to visit, and what state you live in. A basic policy may only cost 5% of the total price of your trip, whereas a comprehensive policy or one with a lot of add-ons may be closer to 12%. Age is one of the biggest factors in determining price, with those over 50 paying higher prices for coverage, while coverage is inexpensive and sometimes free for children traveling with an insured adult. The length of your trip factors into the price because a longer trip is generally more expensive than a short one. Where you travel can impact the price of travel insurance, as traveling to a country with good hospitals and a stable infrastructure is less risky than traveling to a remote location or one with political turmoil. The state you live in also determines how much travel insurance will cost, as insurance brokers must be licensed in the state the policy is sold in. There are also plans that rather than providing coverage for just one trip, will provide coverage for a specified length of time, such as a year. These come at a premium price but are more affordable for frequent travelers than purchasing multiple separate policies in a year.

Is it Worth It?

Here are some of the key factors to consider when deciding if travel insurance is a good idea for your trip:

  • Are you paying a lot of money up-front for tours or accommodations? What are their refund policies?
  • Is your airfare refundable? How reliable is the airline? Do you have tight connection times?
  • Will you have luggage to check at the airport?
  • Are there items such as eyeglasses or medications that would need to be replaced immediately if delayed, lost, or stolen?
  • How healthy are you and those you are traveling with? Are there loved ones at home in poor health?
  • Does your existing medical insurance coverage provide benefits while traveling? Does it cover emergency evacuations, so you can be treated at home for serious illnesses or accidents?
  • What travel benefits come with your credit card? Some offer no travel benefits, while others offer benefits comparable to the best travel insurance plans. To qualify for the benefit, many times the particular card with the benefits must have been used to pay for the travel expenses.
  • Are you traveling with lots of expensive items? Cameras, smartphones, and computers can be pricey to replace if lost or stolen. Are these items already covered by your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance?

For some, travel insurance is worth paying for, while for others it may seem like a waste of money. A healthy, young person traveling with just a carry-on bag to a safe country, doing minimally dangerous activities is unlikely to need the coverage. However, it might be a good idea to purchase travel insurance if you are paying for airfare, tours, and accommodations for several people, or if any of those who will be going have health issues that might disrupt your travel plans.

Let Eastex Credit Union help finance your vacation! We offer our members the best rates around for personal loans. Stop by any of our branches to speak with a loan specialist, or apply online.

Sources: RickSteves.com and WashingtonPost.com

Feb 1, 2018

Groundhog Day, groundhog wearing a hat holding a sign

Every February 2nd, the weather for the upcoming months is forecast by Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog living in Pennsylvania. It is said that if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow when emerging from his burrow, then winter will last another six weeks. If he does not see his shadow, then spring will arrive early. In celebration of Groundhog Day, here are some interesting facts about how a groundhog became a weatherman and what makes the species unique.

Punxsutawney Phil

  • Groundhog Day has its roots in the European tradition of Candlemas, where candles would be distributed for the winter and many felt that the weather on that day determined how long winter would last. Germans expanded on this idea and selected an animal, the hedgehog, as a means of foretelling the weather. German immigrants brought this tradition to the United States and selected the groundhog as the animal meteorologist.
  • Punxsutawney Phil was celebrated for the first time in 1887 when he emerged from his burrow in Gobbler’s Knob to forecast the spring weather.
  • His full name is “Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary.”
  • While he may be a unique weatherman, he’s not always accurate with his predictions. Since 1887 his predictions have only been correct about 39% of the time.


  • Groundhogs also called woodchucks, whistle-pigs, land beavers, or the mouse bear, are found in central and eastern states, as well as parts of Alaska and Canada.
  • Groundhogs have brown fur, small ears, and a tail. In the wild, they live six to eight years and weigh around 12-15 pounds.
  • They eat mostly plants, such as clover, dandelions, grass, and fruit, but also eat insects and snails.
  • They can climb trees and swim, and whistle when frightened.
  • Groundhogs hibernate from late fall until February or March. During hibernation, their body temperature drops from 99° to 40°, and their heart rate slows from 80 beats per minute to five.
  • Groundhog burrows are much more than a simple hole. They are complex tunnels with lengths of anywhere from 8 to 66 feet long, and multiple chambers for food storage, nesting, hibernating, and even separate bathroom areas.
  • Groundhogs are considered pests by many farmers because they can get inside fenced areas by digging and are then able to feast on the farmer’s crops.
  • Groundhogs are responsible for uncovering a historic village in central Ohio – now a famous archaeological site.

Sources: LiveScience.com, History.com, CNN.com, Havahart.com, and NationalGeographic.com.

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