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January 23, 2013     Hays Free Press
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January 23, 2013

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+ Lone Star Rail expected next three to four years. - Page 1D in January 23, 2013 Page 1C + Attorneys use Facebook, other social media during divorce, custody cases BY KIM HILSENBECK Advice from a divorce lawyer these days may include "stop using Face- book." Or they may warn clients, "Be careful what you tweet." Abigail Klamert, a family law attor- ney in Buda, said divorce attorneys are very keen on social media and use it to monitor behavior. "I've had situations where we found social media was a significant asset to a case," she said. "Social media sites are an absolute treasure of information on the opposing party." During the past 13 years Klamert has been practicing law, she has seen a connection between the rise in social media and problems in divorce and custody cases. So much so that she rou- tinely cautions new clients about their behavior, both in real life and online. "When we meet with clients, we are very clear of the impact of social media on their case. Behavior is very impor- tant," Klamert said. It's not just clients posting potentially damning evidence, either. Klamert said she has seen many cases where a friend posts something about a client or tags that person in a photo. "Tags have caused a lot of problems," Klamert said. "Be careful what you put on social media and if your friends tag you." Tagging is a way to identify people in a photo that also appears on that person's Facebook page. ,. Klamert warned, "Friends can reveal information about you that you might not have posted yourself." She provided an example of an issue with social media she has dealt with professionally. "Let's say you're going through divorce.You go out with friends to a bar; you're all drinking shots, everyone raises a glass. Someone takes a photo and lnstagrams it." Instagram, a photo-sharing site, is one of the more recent additions to the social media mix. "That friend tags the photo and everyone in it, then posts it on her Face- book page," Klamert said. "That shows up on your Facebook page, too. You've now created a visual piece of evidence." She said drinking in a bar is not really a concern by itself. "But what about if the photo is with someone you're hav- ing an affair with? Or it's 12 hours before possession of a child the next day and you have an injunc- tion against you and aren't supposed to be drinking?" Klamert asked. "We find those photos and use them," she said, "routinely." She said while the specific methods for finding information used by her practice are confidential, everything is done within the letter of the law. "We do not engage in urdawful wiring tapping or hacking. Those are crimes," Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus have become a treasure trove of information for divorce attorneys Klamert said. "We don't pretend to be someone else to get information." Is the information found allowed to be entered into court testimony and record of the proceedings? Klamert said electronic data is abso- lutely admissible in court, provided it is shown to be credible and reliable. "Just as with tradi- tional evidence, such as phone calls and photographs, there has to be someone that can testify to social media data," she said. That testimony may include the person who took the photo affn-ming that he or she took a photo, when it was taken and the subject matter. According to an August 2011 blog by attomey Joe Cordell on the Huffington Postwebsite, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus have become a treasure trove of information for di- vorce attomeys. Cordell says it's thanks PHOTO BY KIM HILSENBECK Attorneys like Abigail Klamert in Buda (above) are warning their clients about the dangers of social media during a divorce or custody case. She said it can prove that what the opposing party says is happening is not what's happening. to people's insatiable need to overshare on social media sites. CordeU's blog warned readers of those seemingly innocuous posts, saying they can cause big problems in divorce cases. "People will post pictures to show their friends their new set of golf clubs, the car they just bought, or how much they're enjoying the Jamaican resorts all-inclu- sive daiquiris," he wrote. "But they don't realize how those pictures can come back to haunt them when they claim they can't possibly afford to pay a certain level of child support or alimony." While social media may be damaging for the opposing par~, Klamert said she has found it to be very useful in settling a case. "Social media can prove that what the opposing party says is happening is not what's been happeningv" she said. She also wamed that evidence includes emails, text messages and any other form of communication. Anyone thinking they should delete text messages and take down posts and photos from Facebook should reconsider, Klamert said. Destroying See SOCIAL MEDIAAND THE LAW, pg. 3C Buda musician combines social media and music to make dream a reality BY KIM HILSENBECK Buda resident Tom Meny, 37, re- cently made a career change. As a helpdesk representative for more than 15 years, Meny felt his career was less than fulfilling. "Nobody was affected by my work on a personal level," he said in a re- cent interview. "I was tired of my dead-end nonfulfilling job." He grew up in South Austin, gradu- ated from Bowie High School where he was a successful athlete, and at- tended Texas Tech for several semes- ters. He was on the football team for a season. A few years ago, while working the night shift, Meny decided the time was right to do something new. For Meny, who started playing gui- tar at age 10, something new meant playing his music to make a living. His ultimate goal was to put out a CD and perhaps play music full time - a big change from his boring desk job. But he also knew marketing has a lot to do with the success of singers and musicians. He decided to com- bine his knowledge of social me- dia with his passion of songwriting, singing and playing music. "I realized that the music business has changed dramatically," Meny said. "I felt like I knew some of the reasons for the change and felt that I had to think outside of the box in order to gain a following [of fans]." Using social media platforms such as You Tube, Twitter and Facebook, PHOTO BY SHAFEER KHAN Social media, music and dreams - a fan from Singapore, Shafeer Khan, includes Tom Meny's CD, "On My Way," in a picture of the city's skyline. Meny, a Buda musician, asked his fans to use the CD in a photograph and then post it to Facebook as a way to market it to a wider audience. He also used a site called Kickstarter to raise the funds to record and produce the CD, which officially goes on sale Feb. 19. as well as a crowd funding site called ideas was to ask anyone who bought Kickstarter, Meny was able to pro- a CD take a picture of it to post on duce a professional CD and reach a his or her Facebook site. He also has broad audience base. He has almost the photos on his website. More than two million You Tube views and has 100 responded to his request so far. sold 350 CDs; the official release date Fans got creative. In one, a dog has is still a month away. the CD in its mouth. In another, it's One of Meny's best marketing in the snow. And in yet another, the CD sits in a Christmas tree. There are cute kids, pets, whiskey and a few racy shots as well. Meny has much praise for his friends and family, as well as total strangers, who funded his Kickstart- er campaign, which was created by some of his buddies. He needed the money to produce a CD. "They funded a Kickstarter cam- pain to pay for my CD in which I asked for $3,000. They pledged $6,000," he said, still incredulous. So he decided to make a bigger CD, with 10 songs instead of the originally planned five. Along the way to his dream, Me- ney found some unexpected bonus- es, such as meeting his musical hero and inspiration, The Swell Season's Glen Hansard. His music is a mix of pop, rock and acoustic numbers that focus on ev- erything from relationships to living life with no regrets. For Meny, the entire process has been a dream come true. "My dream was to make a CD, not to become famous....and not to sell a million copies. The dream was to make a today I accom- plished that." Meney, wrote to his fans on the day he finished record- ing. Meney said he learned this nug- get of wisdom as a result of changing careers and producing a CD, "If you believe in what you're doing, other people will believe in you as well." His debut album, titled "On My Way," will be available beginning Feb. 19. PHOTO BY NANCY KISSIAR WILD ABOUT TEXAS PHOTOGRAPHY Lantana is a flowering plant blooms spring to fall. It is deer resistant, but attractive to butterflies. IT'S ABOUT THYME any years back, when my wife Diane and I moved to Hays Country Oaks, we were excited by the prospect of planting her collection of antique roses. Over many years in the nursery business, Diane had accumulated over 100 varlet- ies of these old fashioned beauties. First we planted a mutabilis rose on the east side of the house and started with a row of climbing roses along a pasture fence. We soon discovered our mistake. This new neighborhood was home to a large popula- tion of whitetail deer.., and they love roses about as much as we do. Despite the thorns, the deer went after our muta- bilis as if it was delicious candy. Within days they were stripped to bare canes, as were our hopes of a beautiful antique rose garden. Our choices were to build a deer-proof fence or give up the roses and find plants that deer found less palatable. We chose the second option. Starting out with a culinary herb garden, we discovered that deer didn't care for plants that have a strong scent or flavor. Rosemary, sage, laven- der, thyme, and the different varieties of oregano were safe. Our next venture was into the world of flowers. Which plants would give us color, and be left alone by the whitetails? This time we did some research. We telephoned MickVann, our chef-friend who also works at the University of Texas as a horticulturist. He dropped by with a list of deer-resistant plants he had accumulated over the years. It turned out that there was a ton of native plants that provided great flower color, many of them also useful in attracting butterflies, hum- mingbirds and songbirds. Mick also suggested that the web was a great source of information on deer resistant plants. Salvias have been a huge success for us. This group has a wide range of color, heights, and leaf textures, and most are herbaceous perennials, so they flower throughout the spring, summer, and fall and sleep through the winter. Cut back after the first freeze and with a little mulch and water through the winter, they happily return with the ground-warming weather of spring. Autumn sage (Salvia gregii), which comes in an array of colors, is an evergreen. It pro- vides green foliage through the winter and often flowers through the winter months of See ASK CHRIS, pg. 3C +