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Posts published in “Day: February 8, 2007”

Foster grandparent program fills needs

Coming across the border from Louisiana a couple of weeks ago we stopped at the Texas Welcome Center at Orange. I have been in a lot of states and many welcome centers but I believe this is the best and most elaborate Welcome Center I have ever visited.
But that is not the point of this column. While visiting the center I picked up a couple of Texas newspapers. I like to read newspapers, large and small, that I find in such places, as well as at newsstands and restaurants across the country. One of those was the Orange County News, a Hearst newspaper published in Beaumont.
The lead article in that newspaper concerned the Foster Grandparent Program, a national program that enlists retirees to work with young people needing attention.

The article featured one Donna Peterson, a senior from Orange County and the first one to complete training in that East Texas town for the Foster Grandparent Program.
I read it with interest.
I am not familiar with that program but the article states there are some 25,000 Foster Grandparents spread throughout the United States. It offers these seniors, and other future volunteers, opportunities to serve as mentors, tutors, and caregivers for children and youth with exceptional needs. These seniors volunteer in schools, hospitals, drug treatment facilities and correctional centers, Head Start and other day care centers.
It seems Peterson completed her training in October and has already been given a new nickname, Alarm Clock Granny. She is involved with a new truancy program there and “I will be calling children who have truancy problems in the past in the mornings to make sure that they are awake and getting ready for school.”
Working out of one of the county’s Justice of the Peace courts she will “try to keep these kids on track the best that I can,” she said. “So many of these kids have parents who leave for work well before they leave for school. So many of them might just sleep through the morning, start playing and forget about the time or just decide to stay home.” Peterson hopes to put a stop to all of that.
I have no idea how widespread this might be in Harris County or if the program even exists here. I hope it does exist as the cause sounds great to me. There are thousands of kids who need such help and maybe we seniors can make a difference. Foster Grandparents is one of the programs federally funded with National Senior Service Corps. If you are interested please call them and start the volunteer process.
Donna Peterson of Orange County did just that and is making a difference in her community. You might be able to do the same.
Such are the people, places and things that have touched my life in my home!
Don Springer can be reached at touchlife@ worldnet.att.net.

Shell Pipeline makes ‘Historical’ contribution to county

CHAMBERS COUNTY—The Chambers County Historical Commission held its first meeting for 2007 on Jan. 27 in the County Library in Anahuac.
The Commission made a formal presentation of a Resolution and wall plaque to the employees of Shell Pipeline for services they had rendered in repairing the State Historical Marker on the Dr. Edward G. Hartman Cemetery located in West Chambers County.

Shell Pipeline employees attending the presentation were Gerald Carabajal, Maintenance Supervisor for the Houston District; E.B. Flores, Maintenance Leader; Phillip Barker, Public Awareness Representative and Rudy Isaac, Right-of-way Technician.
The marker had been damaged during a construction project and Shell Pipeline employees repaired it in the maintenance shop and reinstalled it in the cemetery. The cemetery is located on the property of Harry Daves, longtime Commission member and he offered special recognition to the Shell Pipeline delegation.
A major item for action was the election of officers for the year. Bob Wheat was elected Chair, R.B. Scherer was elected Vice-Chair, Kay Willcox was elected Secretary and Andrea McClelland was elected Treasurer. Each of the officers elected had held the same office in 2006.
In other business, the Commission discussed the upcoming celebration in Fort Anahuac Park to recognize the 175th Anniversary of the Battle of Anahuac. The event will be held on June 9 and will consist of numerous activities.
Several committees have been established and anyone wanting to assist with the activities is urged to contact Bob Wheat at 409-267-6599.
The Commission Committee Chairs reported on their activities since the last Commission Meeting. It was noted that the Christmas toy drive conducted in the Thomas Jefferson Chambers Home was very successful and that the toys had been distributed with assistance from the Child Protective Services.
Chair Wheat reported that the purchase of a building to house the County Historical Archives has been completed and will be available for occupation in February.
The building was purchased by Chambers County and is located across Washington Avenue from the Chambers Home and the Dr. Schilling Office building. It will house the County’s historical records and serve as the meeting location for the Historical Commission. Future plans also call for the installation of a County Historical Museum.
The Historical Commission meets on the fourth Saturday of each month at 9 a.m. Anyone wishing to join the Commission is urged to contact Chair Wheat. Commission members are appointed annually by the Chambers County Commissioners Court.

Rotary’s Chili Feast — Fun, food, prizes…

HIGHLANDS– The Rotary Club held their 32nd annual Chili Feast last Saturday, with over a thousand local fans and friends turning out to eat Chester Stasney’s famous chili, to bid on a few auction items in the live and silent auctions, to hear the great music of the Pic N Grin band, featuring Joe Hausberger, and of course to hold their breath while the tickets for the raffle were pulled.

Commissioner Sylvia Garcia had the honor of pulling the first ticket stub from the tumbler, and the consolation prize of an MP3 player went to Jay Burger. But the main event, a raffle on a new 2007 Chevy Silverado Pick-up truck from John Keating Chevrolet, was won by MaryLu Hill, after waiting for several hours for the tickets to be pulled and cataloged, one by one.
The raffle process is known as a reverse draw, and as each of the 500 ticket stubs is drawn from the tumbler, winners of consolation prizes are announced, and the time draws closer when only two tickets remain. Then, the two ticket holders step up, and one of them wins.
MaryLu Hill of Highlands let out a scream, as she realized the last ticket stub was hers. She had purchased the ticket, as she did so many other years, from her former father-in-law, Robert Creel, one of the oldest Rotarians still in the club.
Creel can remember 32 years ago, when the club was just starting the idea of a Chili Feast fund raiser, and later a car raffle. In 1983 they had a used Cadillac convertible as the prize. That year, Gladys Burton won the car, and drove it for many years. She was there Saturday also, supporting the club and telling her history making story to all who would listen.
As always, Rotarian Chester Stasney was in charge of cooking of the chili, which has become almost as famous as the club’s reputation in the district for fund raising and community projects.
Last year, the Houston Rotary District 5890 presented the club, and its then-president Steve Miller, with the top award of Club of the Year, from the 58 clubs in the district.
Chester was talking about his Chili recipe with another cooker, Raymond Gonzalez of Foodtown, when they revealed their secrets:
CHILI RECIPE FOR CHESTER’S FAMOUS CHILI:
140 lbs. lean ground meat
140 lbs. chili mix (water and chili seasoning, from El Jalepeno supply)
60 lbs. cheese
100 lbs. chopped onions
Makes 280 pounds of chili, serving approximately 1000 hungry diners.
Other prize winners, and the order of tickets drawn, in the Raffle were:
1st- MP3 Player, Jay Burger
50th- Gas Grill, Randy Rice
100th- Camcorder, Richard Vickers
150th- 5pc Wooden Patio Furniture, Judy Robinson
200th- Digital Camera, Brad Michalsky
250th- Home Theater System, Gwin Fosnight
300th- Flat Screen TV, Bruce Russell
350th- 270 cal. Rifle/Scope Combo, Ty Zycha
400th- $500 Gift Certificate, Stepehn Lambert
450th- 5×10 Tilt-bed Trailer, Bubba Crawford
499th- Laptop Computer, Dawn Mullen
500th- 2007 Chevrolet Classic Silverado 4 door Pick-up, MaryLu Hill
Chairman of the Chili Feast this year was Charlie Ward, with assistance from all the club members, wives, Scouts, Chinquapin Rotoract club, and the Henderson cooking team. Club president is Johnny Gaeke, past president is Steve Miller.
Music was by Pic N Grin, and the auctioneer was Ken Garcia, assisted by Constable Ken Jones, and Bill Hendrix of the Northshore Rotary Club.
The Chili Feast is traditionally held the first Saturday of February. It took place in the social hall of St. Jude’s Catholic Church on Main Street.

Water service key to growth

By LEWIS SPEARMAN
CROSBY – Get ready to greet some new neighbors. Four thousand homestarts are planned in this area by next year, according to recently compiled demographics by Crosby ISD; maybe so, maybe not – depending on how water gets to those new houses.
There is development started behind Crosby State Bank’s Main Office to tap into Crosby Municipal Water District, according to Board members. There is also a proposed residential community behind Wal-Mart. Recently, information came to interested parties that the new community will have its own water facility or be outside Crosby M.U.D. Rampart Capital Corp. announced development north and east of Newport to be added to Newport M.U.D. But other developments are trying to figure out specifics of water.

It is a complex situation at best, made all the more complicated by the increasing specifications from regulatory agencies including those in Texas and the federal Environmental Protection Agency. These agencies have demands for using Surface Water Treatment Facilities, demands that there be reduced particulate matter and that there be less germs and stuff in the water than has ever been asked for by regulatory agencies. Standards put simply now demand that facilities have more water available than can possibly be demanded by the number of houses can use in a day. The standards are likely to get tougher. None of these specifications are cheap.