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Posts published in November 2013

Sheriff spikes reward for cable line cutters

NORTHEAST HARRIS COUNTY – People that were deliberately cutting cable television lines are subject to being turned into law enforcement by those that know what they are up to, thanks to incentives now totalling $30,000.

Incidents of vandals cutting cables in Highlands, Crosby and Huffman along with two incidents in the west end of the county prompted the Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia to confer with Comcast Houston senior executives and raise the amount of reward for information leading to arrest or filing of felony charges up to $30,000.

Incidents over the last several months cutting the fiber optic cable have resulted in disruption of services and constituted a safety problem as 9-1-1 system services were interrupted.

“Through this partnership with Crime Stoppers and Harris County Sheriff’s Office we’re hoping to raise public awareness and put an end to this senseless vandalism,” said Ray Purser, vice-president of government and public relations at Comcast’s Houston region. “The disruption of service caused by these deliberate acts affects people’s lives including the ability to call 9-1-1 in the case of emergency.”

Of nine incidents that seriously disrupted services, seven were in northeast Harris County, four were in Crosby, two in Highlands and one in Huffman, east of the Commons of Lake Houston.

Both Highlands incidents were near Sralla Road.

All four of the Crosby incidents were not far off U.S. 90 – two at Gulf Pump Road and two nearer to the Liberty County Line.

Anyone with information about the identity of the suspect(s) is asked to contact CrimeStoppers. CrimeStoppers may be reached by calling 713-222-TIPS.

HUBERTY UPDATES LOCALS ON LAST LEGISLATIVE SESSION

HUFFMAN – Dan Huberty R., 127th Texas District, spoke to the Crosby–Huffman Chamber of Commerce describing accomplishment of the past legislative session at the I.T. May Community Center on Nov. 21.

The widening of FM 2100, preparations for new infrastructure, new legislation to protect fire arm owners, new provisions for a shorter Concealed Handgun License class, balancing the state budget, the cost of education, border security and the amount of testing were some of the subjects covered during his address.

According to Huberty, the state is experiencing growth. In 2010 there were 20 million people here in 2013 there are 26.4 million people here.

The trend indicates that by 2040 the population will double to 50 million. The balanced budget requirements has kept the legilslature working to keep Texas solvent and moving forward.The impact of 1/3 of the nation’s natural gas reserves within this state has helped due to royalties. Today Texas is a donor state to the United States getting back about 87¢ for every dollar sent out while states like California get back $1.10 for every dollar they send into the federal system.

Huberty indicates that about 54% of all state funds go into education. 30% of that into health and human services. The teachers’ retirement fund has been made actuarialy sound. Education Reform was another concern this year, House Bill 5 reduced the required testing for school children from 15 to 5 tests per year.

Huberty talked about the decisions related to Obamacare. The legislature attempted to medite expendatures impacted by healthcare’s increase in cost. He explained why they declined to implement the increase in Medicade.

While the Texas Legilature closely watches the growth of government spending and other States do not, he explained that some cuts were made. He also detailed how small businesses were given a tax relief in the last session.

The legislature provided that those receiving public assistance should be tested for drugs.

His final point was about House Bill 308 introduced by Huberty’s friend, Dwayne Bohac, called the Merry Christmas Bill, it provides that Texan’s have a right to acknowledge traditional winter holidays in school. Children, teachers, and administrators have the right to acknowledge the holidays of Christmas or Chaukkah without reprisal. The final point drew loud applause.

Meeting airs opinions on new game room regs

CROSBY – Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack Morman conducted a public hearing to record the public’s opinion on game rooms conducting gambling in unincorporated areas of Harris County.

The meeting was officiated by Robert Soard, First Assistant County Attorney. Precinct 3 Constable Ken Jones and Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman, and Majors from the Harris County Sheriff’s Department and the Precinct 2 Commissioner were on hand to hear the comments and to make their own.

Some 20 residents spoke for regulation of the game rooms and four against regulation and another mostly between the options.

As first recorded in the Star-Courier in December of 2012 Wayne Smith R. 128 Texas District proposed legislation that would enable Harris County to strengthen the authority to enforce regulation of game rooms at which gambling is being conducted. According to Constable Hickman, 135 search warrants have been served on illegal gambling operations doing business as game rooms. In the last 5 years in these illegal game rooms there have been over 100 aggravated robberies. In thee same area and time there have been seven homicides. The dramatic rise in the number of game rooms has prompted Harris County as a body corporate and politic under the laws of the State of Texas, is tasked with protecting the health and welfare of its residents.

The regulations would give the county to investigate game rooms for violations of regulations.

Huffman resident Leslie Dean spoke first, she is President of the Harris County Emergency Services District #4, she favored the regulations as the game rooms often “create a hazard to the occupants as well as firefighters, and medics performing services at them. Dean laid out a cogent argument about the crowding, locked doors, lack of entries and safety issues with unregulated game rooms.

Next Attorney Steven Gates spoke opposed to regulation, indicating that regulations only serve to change the location of illegal facilities. He argued that regulations in the past have only served to exacerbate the problems. “There has not been one case of robberies solved by Houston Police Department from clear window regulation.”

Personal stories of loved ones losing everything to game rooms were pronounced from many speakers in favor of regulation. Velma Ellison of Alliance Properties spoke of the impact of game rooms Ministers from Huffman Baptist Church, Keenan Smith of Crosby Church, and Tim Edwards of First Baptist Church Highlands all offered compelling arguments for regulation of game rooms.

Constable ken Jones gave a most dramatic statement regarding illegal activities (drugs, unfair gambling practices and robberies) that without the regulations his office could not interdict and therefore presented a menace to public health and safety.

Cody Ornament will hang on Christmas tree in Austin

CROSBY – Each year Members of the Texas House are invited to create a visual representation of what makes their district special, this year Representative Wayne Smith R., District 128, and Scott Stephens, founder of the Cody Stephens Go Big or Go Home Foundation, that has spearheaded an effort to have high school athletes’ hearts scanned, have teamed to put an ornament for that cause on the State’s tree.

For the last four Christmas seasons, their creative works – in the form of ornaments – have decorated the majestic 22-foot native Christmas tree that stands in the House Chamber of the Texas Capitol during the holiday season.

The tree will be on display from December 4 through January 3 and showcase the distinct nature of every House district to the thousands of Capitol visitors who enjoy the ornaments each year. All ornaments are photographed and descriptions of their individual significance are compiled into an album so that visitors to the House Chamber and House website can enjoy each ornament’s unique story.

Scott Stephens funded creation of an ornament to be placed on the Texas House of Representatives Christmas tree and last Wednesday, Nov. 13 all participants gathered at Crosby High School to put together a story about this ornament that will represent Texas District 128 this year.

According to Wayne Smith R. 128 Texas District “It is with great pride that I will present this symbol of District 128 to Speaker Straus to be hung on the Texas House of Representatives Christmas tree. The ornament is the product of the Crosby Independent School District. A community panel received 60 submitted designs and selected the winning design by Janey Swisher. Jamey is a student of art teacher Mrs. Thibodaux. This beautiful ornament will help make the tree truly representative of Texas and I am thrilled to add our ornament to the tree to give all Texans a taste of the unique culture and rich history of District 128 this Christmas season.”

Each year Members of the Texas House are invited to create a visual representation of what makes their district special. For the last four Christmas seasons, their creative works – in the form of ornaments – have decorated the majestic 22-foot native Christmas tree that stands in the House Chamber of the Texas Capitol during the holiday season.

The tree will be on display from December 4 through January 3 and showcase the distinct nature of every House District to the thousands of Capitol visitors who enjoy the ornaments each year. All ornaments are photographed and description of their individual significance are complied into an album so that visitors to the House Chamber and House website can enjoy each ornament’s unique story.”

Background on the Ornament:

On one side a train represents the many railroads in District 128, and the other side celebrates the Christmas holidays and highlights the Cody Stephens “Go Big or Go Home” Foundation established in memory of Cody Stephens, a football player and senior at Crosby High School who died suddenly of cardiac arrest in 2012. The foundation provides assistance to school districts in the implementation of an ECG screening program to help implement and facilitate improved physicals to middle and high school student athletes including education and raised awareness of Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) among young seemingly healthy students. The foundation endorses the availability of low cost ECGs as a part of sports pre-participation physicals for all student athletes.

Jamey Swisher was the artist at Crosby High School that designed the ornament.

Eastside Veterans present three days of celebration

EASTSIDE HARRIS COUNTY– Four events made this side of the San Jacinto River and Lake Houston especial patriotic distinction this weekend, thanks to many elements of the community cooperating and working with the Eastside Veterans Celebration.

Thursday at Crosby High School– Red White and U brought veterans from throughout Harris, Liberty and Chambers to the attention of local youth. Star Spangled Dance and Cook-off on Friday night gave spotlight to Country Western singer David Glenn and Eddie Foster as locals enjoyed music and dance.

The parade on Saturday morning brought out crowds to cheer on the longest parade in Crosby history and one of the best attended. The Veterans’ Fete and Cook-off at the American Legion Hall gave was certainly a chance to fellowship, salute veterans especially World War II Veterans with special placement at the front of the festivities.

A twenty minute fireworks display capped the evening that featured a speech by Commissioner Jack Morman, R. Precinct 2, and a compendium of dance and music by the talented students of Crosby Independent School District especially the energetic Crosby High School, augmented by a display on the new scoreboard to honor the service of World War II Veterans.

David Glenn gave a fantastic performance and Eddie Foster kept the party moving and features occurring.

The longest parade in Crosby history with the most folks coming to watch was judged by the Crosby Lions Club and structured by the Eastside Veterans’ Celebration. Three awards were given in the parade. Best in Show went to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Junior Mounted Posse, Best in Commercial – Crosby High School Cheerleaders, Best in Theme – Crosby Kindergarten.

There were two raffles, one was to win one of two quilts and the second was to win one of two firearms (procured by Vernon Hord of Crosby ACE Hardware) with sight in and Concealed Handgun Classes donated by High Noon Gun Range in Crosby. The winners were: Brian Bielamowicz of the Weatherby Vanguard S2 Bolt 243 Winchester 24” package. Includes 3.5-10x40mm Truplex Reticle scope, sling, rifle lock, and injection-molded rifle case.

Mr. Bielamowicz said he had just donated a Savage 7 Magnum to the Kenneth Huseman Benefit to be held at the Knights of Columbus hall Nov. 16 and had just bought his daughter a .273 for her to hunt with this fall. So now father and daughter can hunt with similar weapons. When asked if he felt providence has provided him with an upgrade from a savage to a Weatherby he said, “I sure do, I think it will work out fine.”

Jane Merdian won the Glock Model #22 – 40 Caliber – 40 SW PST (Polymer) pistol featuring 15 round capacity, FS with case, cleaning tools, pistol lock, and extra clip.

The envy of every housekeeper will be Candice Adams winner of the Queen Size Patriotic Quilt – Handmade & Donated by The Quilt Room Huffman, Texas – Julie Arney, Tommy Arney, and Billy Arney, a Marine Veteran.

John Painter won the King Size Quilt – Handmade & Donated by Connie Russell (Owner of Just Connie’s) & Debbie Dorance – Quilter.

The Fete the Vet ceremonies featured a barbecue feast for veterans with special recognition for World War II Veterans. Dr. Sam Purhiser, WWII Veteran, US Navy 1944-1946, gave a talk of his experience. Raymond Holub who served in the 17th Airbourne Combat 82nd All American Airborne saw combat in Berlin and was posted with the Eisenhower Honor Guard told of harrowing deeds. Patrick Smith talked of the Wounded Warrior Program.

There were numerous programs and displays throughout Saturday. “The Post 512 Legion Band accompanied dinner and each change of feature.

National con bilks local church

CROSBY – One should consider that if you cheat or steal from a church not only might there be earthly consequences but there are eternal risks as well.

Back in early October an elder of Crosby Brethren Church met with Constable Ken Jones concerning the purchase of a sign for over $6,000 that had occurred last July.

One person had gotten a good sign from the company and the company would recruit others based on the good deal.

According to Bob Ward, that elder, the incident concerned the purchase of sign over the internet from a company named SignTech Manufacturing. It was determined that the website for SignTech was no longer operational and the telephone was disconnected.

Constable Jones assigned the case to his Investigative Division. Working with federal investigators, it was determined that a Tim Sheehan doing business as a representative of SignTech was in fact a man named Timothy Hatler. Investigators determined that Sheehan was one of several alias names used in over 20 websites.

Now the local address allegedly hosting SignTech was given as 700 Louisiana, Suite 3950 in Houston but the investigators determined that a phone and address service was being used to mask their out- of-town location from January until August 2013.

The National White Collar Crime Center, Internet Complaint Center (United States Dept. of Justice) was contacted regarding SignTech. No record was found of criminal activities at that time. The Constable’s Investigators asked that SignTech be entered in the system to watch for criminal activity.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation out of Louisville Field office in Kentucky, called Precinct 3 on October 28. The two departments exchanged information and during their comparison determined that Timothy Hatler, a.k.a Tim Sheehan, was wanted in Kentucky and Michigan for the same type of internet thefts.

A series of calls were made between the F.B.I, Somerset Police Dept., Utica Police Dept., and Precinct 3. It was decided that the F.B.I. would handle a multi-state investigation. Federal officials interviewed Timothy Hatler as he was in custody in Somerset, Kentucky.

According to Ward, what began with a notice from a church in Alaska to the notice from Precinct 3 in Crosby, Hatler had many complaints. At the Kentucky location, he was confronted with known facts. He confessed to taking funds from the church in Crosby.

Constable Jones said that Hatler’s criminal record for internet crimes would accrue judgements for $340,000. Jones stated, “remember to verify who you are doing business with when using the internet.”

Hatler now is facing crimes in Georgia, Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan, according to Jones.

Pink Heals mending America, visiting areas

BAYTOWN, CROSBY, HIGHLANDS – Last week San Jacinto Methodist Hospital hosted a series of events that have come to be known as the 4th Annual Pink Heals Event, this week they are hosting a Women’s Health Fair Education and Free Screenings.

Last week’s special cancer awareness event brought to town Dave Graybill, former Olympian, former pro baseball player and former fireman that in 2007 put together a program to celebrate women, inspire hope and help communities raise funds in the battle against cancer. Throughout the United States he drives and rides pink fire trucks to bring attention to the battle. On Friday, Dave and others toured Crosby and Highlands visiting cancer survivors.

“Create a program that celebrates your mother because you love her not because she is sick, you inspire the neighbor to take care of the neighbor and you come together based on love. You have to start at the base to get a program started to help people,” explained Graybill at the San Jacinto Mall surrounded by Pink Firetrucks, the San Jacinto Hospital Health Trailer, booths by such companies as the Chick Fill-A, members of the Baytown Police Department and Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

“Every city we go to we develop a relationship with certain local charities that provide services out to the communities. What we try to do is 100% of every dollar made go out to the communities as services, so no one is making salaries from it. So, if you like me don’t give the money to me, give it to the lady across the street. What we have is the only charity that i know of that has created a merchandising brand to sustain itself without ever taking a donated dollar to sustain itself. So what I am offering is a free franchise that generates money and you give it back to your people for healthcare. Our thriving motivation is the woman that pays taxes and votes. Then I leave town.” said Graybill.

The Pink Heals fund helps out cancer patients if they have financial problems while they are having treatment at the San Jacinto Cancer Center. The fund helps them with their bills it could be mortgage, utilities, medical expenses, prescriptions or whatever their needs are.

“This year, I think Friday was so special for me because so many individual patients were highlighted from the community. We didn’t pick those patients, the cancer center did not, that is from people calling me and saying, ‘Hey, I know this lady, please visit this patient.’ And we would set those meetings up and to watch the firemen one on one with them was the most special thing I’ve done in four years.” said Denise Martinez Cancer Program Director for San Jacinto Medical Hospital.

But there are emotions, “At 9:30 a.m. there was no one here, I was nervous– I turned around and at five minutes ‘til ten the trucks were coming and there was a whole crowd and I teared up and got goose bumps. I love what I do everyday and the job that I do everyday at the Cancer Center but this right here brings it all home. It is worth every hour of sleep that I lost or every minute I got behind just to watch a survivor get hugged by a fireman on that truck is what it is all about. I can’t wait to do it again” Martinez said.

Celebration this week for veterans

EAST HARRIS COUNTY – Three days of fun and patriotism on the eastside of the San Jacinto and Lake Houston, Nov. 7, 8 and 9 is the Eastside Veterans Celebration.

Honoring all veterans, especially World War II Veterans this year, as Vietnam Veterans were honored in 2011 with the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall and Special Fete of Medal of Honor Recipient David H. McNerney’s Comrades in Arms.

Teaching the youth of the sacrifice, Thursday the Red, White and “U” Event will be staged at Crosby Stadium for students and veterans beginning at 7:00 p.m. This invitation is extended to students from throughout the eastside and will feature inspirational messages and dazzling displays vibrant with spectacle. Call 713-855-9146 to register and escort your veteran for a special commemoration.

Friday starts an intensive dedication; Fete the Vet BBQ Cook-off at the Crosby Fairgrounds that afternoon lasts until Saturday evening. At 7:00 p.m. the Star Spangled Shake, a concert and dance featuring David Glenn, Country-Western performer, launches a Friday night of entertainment. Reserve seating is already available; a table for eight is $100, single admission is $15, couples are admitted for $25.

Saturday, parading the streets of Crosby at 10:00 a.m. shows civic pride in our veterans on the eastside. This year the route runs from Crosby Church (5725 U.S. 90) and travels west on Crosby-Dayton Road, south (left) onto Pecan Street to Church Street then east (left) on Church Street and finish at Crosby Fair & Rodeo Grounds Parking Area on Church Street.

Saturday morning at the David H. McNerney Legion Hall a bake off contest between 9:00 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. will be providing special delights for veterans.

Fete for the Vet ceremonies commence at 11:30 in the American Legion Hall featuring a special meal to the veterans and also a guest of theirs for free in recognition of their contribution. Other guests are welcome at $10.00 per plate.

A Veterans Day Celebration Poker Fun Run is also happening this year on Saturday that beings and ends in Dayton Texas with 6-stops along the way. Contact Wade Rainey at (832) 483-2789 or Jacks Road-House Saloon at (936) 258-0609 to register.

Raffle tickets are offered for a quilt, a scoped Weatherby rifle and a .40 caliber pistol. Quilt tickets are $1 each or six for $5. The raffle for the guns are $10 per ticket or three for $25 with two chances to win. Tickets are now on sale. Additional information is available at http://www.eastside veterans celebration.com on the web or call 713-855-9146. Also like us on facebook/eastside veterans celebration.

Sylvia Garcia speaks about legislation in last Senate session

Speaking at a North Shore Rotary luncheon last week, State Senator Sylvia Garcia reviewed the activities and bills that were presented for consideration in the last state legislative session.

Garcia was in her first term as a senator, and in fact started later than the others due to a late election to fill Mario Gallegos’ seat. Even so, she said that she filed 20 bills, and 15 of them were passed.

Her major interests in this session were education, health care, and water resources. She worked to help restore cuts to education from the previous session, and the legislature voted an additional $3.4 billion to school districts. Teachers got a small raise, and a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).

Garcia decried the low rate of insured in the county, noting that 1 of every 3 people don’t have health insurance in Harris County. That means 1.1 million are eligible for ACA (Obamacare). She noted that even though the legislature voted for expansion of the children’s health program, CHIP, the governor vetoed it.

Garcia spoke in favor of the Proposition #6 on this week’s ballot, saying that planning for water resources was becoming more important, and that this was a wise investment in our future well-being. Passage of the Consitutional Amendment would allow $2 billion of the Rainy Day fund to be set up as a revolving loan fund for water projects throughout the state.

On other issues, she asked the audience to vote Yes on the Astrodome refurbishing bonds, and Yes on the proposition to set up a joint inmate intake processing center for the county and the city.

Noting how busy she had been as a new senator, she said she had held 8 Town Hall meetings, and 3 Open Houses for her offices in downtown, North Shore, and Aldine.

She reported on the committee assignments she holds: Nominations, Government relations, Jurisprudence, and Government Organization. She noted that Governmental Relations brought up issues of importance to local residents, including the prevalence of 8 liner gambling, trash on our streets, and loose animals and their disposal.

She said one issue that needed work by all was the low voter turnout in her Senate District 6, the lowest in the state’s 31 Senate Districts.