Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in February 2014

Suspect arrested in Highlands murder

Harris County Sheriff’s Office homicide investigators have charged Ethan Drake, 21, with capital murder in the Dec. 13, 2013 stabbing death of Caroline Stagner, 72, at her home at 810 Clear Lake in the Highlands.

Her body was discovered after firefighters responded to a fire at the house. Caroline Stanger, known as “Sue” was a beloved local water company clerk that everyone knew. She was a grandmother that was saving up to give the kids a good Christmas.

Discarded pill bottles labeled with the name of Caroline Stagner were found about three blocks from her burned house, leading to capital murder charge against Ethen Drake, 21, according to a probable cause affidavit made public last Tuesday, February 25, 2014.

The bottles were reportedly found at or near Drake’s parents’ residence after the Dec. 13 stabbing death of Stagner, 72, whose house was damaged in a fire on December 13 of last year.

Relatives said Stagner had a large amount of cash she planned to use to buy Christmas presents for her grandchildren. Drake, who was unemployed, typically lacked cash but later paid a friend $140 in cash to drive him to Gladewater in northeast Texas, according to the affidavit.

In Gladewater, Drake is accused of committing a similar crime — taking pills and checks from a neighbor’s home and setting it on fire in January, according to authorities.

Drake is being returned to Harris County to face the capital murder charge.

Crosby Huffman Chamber installs new board, presents community awards

The Crosby Huffman Chamber held their annual Awards Banquet and Installation ceremony last Friday, Feb. 21 at the Monument Inn.

The program for the evening included a welcome by outgoing board chairman Glenn Cole, and a review of accomplishments and goals by president Glenda Logsdon.

This was followed by the presentation of awards, the swearing in of new and returning board members, and closing remarks by the new board chair, Wendy Reed.

About 125 persons attended, and the event included a silent auction benefit for the chamber.

Sheriff apprehends suspect in Highlands murder

BREAKING NEWS:

HCSO homicide investigators have charged Ethan Drake, 21, with capital murder in the Dec. 13, 2013 stabbing death of Caroline Stagner, 72, at her home at 810 Clear Lake Road in Highlands.

Her body was discovered after the Highlands Fire Department responded to a fire at the house.

Highlands Lynchburg Chamber-Weston Cotten receives Terry Davis Award

HIGHLANDS – Almost 150 of this community’s citizens gathered at the Monument Inn last Thursday night, to install the new Chamber of Commerce board, and give out Community Awards.

Emceed by Traci Dillard, the evening was filled with fun, jokes, and fine food.

The top award, for unselfish community service, is known as the Terry Davis Award and went to attorney Weston Cotten.

It was presented by previous winner Jessica Woods, with the help of Chamber President Jim Wadzinski. She explained that the awards this year were given in the winter, instead of at the end of summer.

Other awards that were given: Outstanding Business, Woodforest National Bank; Outstanding Constable’s Deputy, Mike Parson; Outstanding Sheriff’s Deputy, Anthony Aulds; Outstanding Firefighter, Chief Harvey Little.

The new board was sworn in by Judge Don Coffey, using a new text with a mix of humor and seriousness.

Returning board president Jim Wadzinski gave a talk on past accomplishments of the Chamber, and his goals for the coming year.

He noted 5% growth in membership, a successful holiday food drive that served 106 families at Thanksgiving, and economic growth in the area including the refineries in Baytown and retail build-up along I-10 near Highlands. These include a new Bucee’s truck stop, and a new Wal-Mart at Highway 146.

Wadzinski promised more accomplishments for the new year, including 41 streetlights installed in Highlands, a traffic study on Main Street, a traffic light at West Houston and Main, a Sheriff’s substation located in the Woodforest Bank building, and close working relations with the Port of Houston, Lee College, and San Jacinto College.

He also expects membership growth to reach 25%, and rebuilding of Main Street to 4 lanes plus a turn lane.

Local kids rescue classmate

CROSBY – Three extraordinary and heroic Second graders were recognized for their efforts at Barrett Primary February 18.

In a special school assembly, Jake Cantu and Krystal Kennedy were both presented the “Hero Award” by H.C.E.S.D. #5 for their heroism and quick response in a crisis.

“ On February 11, our sweet Jenna choked on a hard piece of candy, which was lodged in her throat and prevented her from breathing.” stated Julie Kulak, Jenna’s Mom. “Jake immediately asked Jenna if she was choking and performed the Heimlich procedure, successfully dislodging the candy. Meanwhile, Krystal ran with several children to locate the school nurse. When the group ran down one hall, Krystal chose to go in the opposite direction, finding the nurse and saving valuable time.”

“Both kids remained calm, which is valuable during these critical moments” points out Emergency Services Director, Christy Graves.

“This is what leads to a successful outcome,” Graves continues, “We are happy to recognize these amazing kids on this day!”

Jake had seen the Heimlich illustrated on a poster and his dad taught him how. He is only 7 years old. It’s an incredible reminder that kids are remarkably bright in ways that we often underestimate.

Graves provided an informative description of the life saving maneuver from recognition to success. “The universal sign for choking is hands clutched to the throat. If the person doesn’t give the signal, look for these indications:

• Inability to talk

• Difficulty breathing or noisy breathing

• Inability to cough forcefully

• Skin, lips and nails turning blue or dusky

• Loss of consciousness

If choking is occurring, the Red Cross recommends a “five-and-five” approach to delivering first aid:

• Give 5 back blows. First, deliver five back blows between the person’s shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.

• Give 5 abdominal thrusts. Perform five abdominal thrusts (also known as the Heimlich maneuver).

• Alternate between 5 blows and 5 thrusts until the blockage is dislodged.

The American Heart Association doesn’t teach the back blow technique, only the abdominal thrust procedures. It’s OK not to use back blows, if you haven’t learned the technique. Both approaches are acceptable.

To perform abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver) on someone else:

• Stand behind the person. Wrap your arms around the waist. Tip the person forward slightly.

• Make a fist with one hand. Position it slightly above the person’s navel.

• Grasp the fist with the other hand. Press hard into the abdomen with a quick, upward thrust — as if trying to lift the person up.

• Perform a total of 5 abdominal thrusts, if needed. If the blockage still isn’t dislodged, repeat the five-and-five cycle.

If you’re the only rescuer, perform back blows and abdominal thrusts before calling 911 or your local emergency number for help. If another person is available, have that person call for help while you perform first aid.

If the person becomes unconscious, perform standard CPR with chest compressions and rescue breaths.

To perform abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver) on yourself:

First, if you’re alone and choking and you have a land-line phone, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Then, although you’ll be unable to effectively deliver back blows to yourself, you can still perform abdominal thrusts to dislodge the item.

• Place a fist slightly above your navel.

• Grasp your fist with the other hand and bend over a hard surface — a countertop or chair will do.

• Shove your fist inward and upward.

Clearing the airway of a pregnant woman or obese person:

• Position your hands a little bit higher than with a normal Heimlich maneuver, at the base of the breastbone, just above the joining of the lowest ribs.

• Proceed as with the Heimlich maneuver, pressing hard into the chest, with a quick thrust.

• Repeat until the food or other blockage is dislodged or the person becomes unconscious.

Clearing the airway of an unconscious person:

• Lower the person on his or her back onto the floor.

• Clear the airway. If there’s a visible blockage at the back of the throat or high in the throat, reach a finger into the mouth and sweep out the cause of the blockage. Be careful not to push the food or object deeper into the airway, which can happen easily in young children.

• Begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if the object remains lodged and the person doesn’t respond after you take the above measures. The chest compressions used in CPR may dislodge the object. Remember to recheck the mouth periodically.

Clearing the airway of a choking infant younger than age 1:

• Assume a seated position and hold the infant facedown on your forearm, which is resting on your thigh.

• Thump the infant gently but firmly five times on the middle of the back using the heel of your hand. The combination of gravity and the back blows should release the blocking object.

• Hold the infant face up on your forearm with the head lower than the trunk if the above doesn’t work. Using two fingers placed at the center of the infant’s breastbone, give five quick chest compressions.

• Repeat the back blows and chest thrusts if breathing doesn’t resume. Call for emergency medical help.

• Begin infant CPR if one of these techniques opens the airway but the infant doesn’t resume breathing.

If the child is older than age 1, give abdominal thrusts only.

To prepare yourself for these situations, learn the Heimlich maneuver and CPR in a certified first-aid training course.

Grave desecration found on old Crosby farm site

CROSBY– Last Saturday this reporter was shown some disturbing destruction by a Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy including incidents from the Newport Subdivision through the area of the Center Point power lines alley R.O.W. to the desecration of a grave on some private property that belonged to a family that had settled here early in the history of this area.

Deputy Greg Nason and this reporter left from the Newport Subdivision gate on the east side of South Diamondhead Blvd. on a side-by-side All Terrain Vehicle and had just begun our journey when we encountered inside the pristine woods near the San Jacinto River where someone had decided to make an illegal trash dump.

Moments later we encountered a confessed trespasser that told the officer he was going to fire a rifle over the R.O.W. area. As the would-be-marksman was being detained his ride along, whom he said he did not know, ran off though the woods. Lots of deputies would be called to the scene then.

After some looking at damage inside the Center Point Area we came to focus on a clearing inside some woods. There, several people were “hanging around” near various kinds of all terrain vehicles.

Deputy Nason asked, “May I ask, what are you folks doing here?”

He was answered by a young man, “It’s okay officer, the safety man was just here and said we were okay to be here.”

“What safety man? Do you mean from D.S.O.?” the deputy asked.

“Yeah, that’s the one.” the young man answered.

“Well, this isn’t their property and beside there has been some damage to this grave over here by someone and that is why I have brought this gentleman out to record it.” said Deputy Nason.

A woman said, “Okay, we don’t know anything about any of that. We thought we were okay here and we want nothing to do with any grave desecrations. I would not put up with anything like that.”

Shortly thereafter, the group left in various directions including near the marked up, scuffed gravestones, near the torn down iron fence, isolating some of the older graves that have had their headstones torn down and the site of a metal grave knocked around and broken, that was the burial place of John Simms. He was born in 1812, he would have been 24 years old when Sam Houston’s 910 volunteers faced off with Generalissimo Santa Anna’s about 1560 member Mexican army.

Now, Clay Steely of Porter Hedges LLP says on Feb. 10, “I am a lawyer for Lakewood Development Corporation (“Lakewood”). I was contacted late this afternoon about the unauthorized use and entry into certain Lakewood property in Crosby. Lakewood first learned of this unauthorized use and entry yesterday, when Greg Nason of the Crosby Sheriff’s Department showed the Lakewood representative what was occurring from the CenterPoint ROW. Lakewood is investigating this situation and will take whatever action is necessary to protect its rights and property.”

“Bras for the Cause” exceeds record, $120,000

CROSBY – A truly great Valentine’s story happened on Feb. 8 at the David H. McNerney American Legion Hall, an event raised about $128000 to help our friends, neighbors and family members who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

This tiny hamlet in northeast Harris County isn’t going to brag about being the number one fund-raiser against cancer in the great State of Texas, this reporter is going to do that for Bras for the Cause. The Crosby Fair & Rodeo, Tough Enough to Wear Pink Committee isn’t going to brag about being number five Fund-raiser in the U.S.A. against cancer, this report is about that accomplishment.

Those facts were about last year when the Bras for the Cause Event brought in $36,000, about 1/3 of this year’s take.

While it is true there is nothing funny about cancer, a packed house had lots of fun and laughs raising money to enable patients to continue coping with everyday life while they fight cancer.

Denise Martinez of Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital to recount the accomplishments of that funding for cancer survivors from real experiences of a Crosby patient. She described how the funds enabled the patient to pay for the treatment while the fund handled her housing, car payments and daily necessities.

The models and dancers included:

Gary “Strawberry” Clifton, firstly, featuring lingerie designed by Jayne Clifton in the style of “Texas A&M, says Aggies Gig ‘em to Breast Cancer.” It reminded one of the observation: a dyslexic walks into a bra. But, it was in honor of Helen Clifton and Annette Kuder, in memory of Loretta Shaw.

Amanda Matt created, “Take a Bite out of Cancer and Brush Away” is was modeled by Dr. Bob Stevens.

Houston Methodist San Jacinto Hospital-Cancer Services brought in a NASA scientist, Dr. Joe Dervay to “Launch a Cure for Cancer”

Top bid maker was John Matt Sr. in lingerie designed by his wife, Teresa Matt called Gambler. It was bought by Gary Smith Inc. and Friends. It was simple and black putting one in the mind of how to you catch a bra; set up a boobie trap.

According to Teresa Matt, wife of John, whose husband’s wear brought in the biggest bid, $11,000, “ I’m impressed by all the giving love. May God bless us all and keep us cancer free!”

When Rocky Johnson wore Candace Johnson’s creation “Squeeze The Double Ds” it called to mind that bra is singular but panties is plural.

Albert Garcia, husband of the M.C., made us all wonder what happen after 18 hours to an 18 hour bra? He wore extra padding to make those two points.

Kay Schexnayder’s creation “Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez Sur Par-Dessus” or Let the Good Times Roll Over Cancer was In Honor of Kay Schexnayder and Connie Schexnayder

First to break $10,000 in a bid from Oil-Well Tubular Consultants. His sombrero reminded us all that the cattle drive and the Wonder bra head ‘em up and move ‘em out.

But it was the Debbie Holmelin that saw from the inside of organization, implementing and planning true insight into the event, she says, “What happens when you get 20 great guys to model 20 great bras that have been hand sewn, hot glued, blinged out and feathered by wives, girlfriends, moms and members of the community? They raise over $108000 in one night! That’s what happens!! Eat your heart out Victoria Secret Angels,….these guys are our angels for supporting Bras for the Cause.

We want to thank our local Crosby community for the overwhelming support of our 2014 Bras for the Cause Event. We are so blessed to live in a community of such generous and giving people. With your help, we will be able to donate approximately $128000 to help our friends, neighbors and family members who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

Our 20 celebrity models were top-notch and entertained the crowd with their dance moves and many talents. We couldn’t have picked a better line up for our fashion show.

Chuck Richnow provided the music and Susie Thompson-Garcia did an outstanding job as MC. Bill Busby kept the crowd going and helped us secure over $108, 000 in the live auction alone.

The buyers are a group of dedicated business men and women and members of our community who have a very giving heart. We are so appreciative of your great generosity.

Bras for the Cause in Crosby just completed it’s third year and we were in awe when the event was sold out within days of ticket availability.

Through our partnership with Tough Enough to Wear Pink and the Crosby Fair and Rodeo, we have once again participated in an event that will help many, people in our community. It was such an outpouring of LOVE for this cause from our Crosby and surrounding communities.

Crosby’s 2014 Bras for the Cause is very happy to be able to support the American Cancer Society and the Pink Heals Patient Assistance Fund with our fund-raising event.”

Ms. Holmelin lives the theme, “Life isn’t measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.”

It stands as a challenge to other organizations, an you raise $120,000 for a great cause at a single event?

U.S. House of Representatives, 36th C.D. race

To the Editor,

My name is Phyllis Creagh and I am the mother of Pat Kasprzak, candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives for the 36th Congressional District which includes the communities of Crosby and Highlands. My daughter and her husband, Dan have lived in Crosby for the past 33 years. My son-in-law, Dan is currently the President of the Crosby School Board and the Kasprzak family has been active in many facets of this community for over 3 decades. I was quite astonished and upset when I read your description of my daughter, Pat, in your 1/30/14 article about the upcoming primary election for this open seat as “Some Dude Kasprzak”. I consider such a remark about my daughter to be highly offensive and irresponsible. To think that our hometown newspaper would go out of its way to misinform the public about a long term resident of Crosby who is a congressional candidate with impressive experience as a high school teacher, attorney, and corporate banker is inexcusable.

As a member of the local press, you owe it to our community to report information about the upcoming Republican Primary in a fair and accurate manner. Your insensitive reference to my daughter as “Some Dude” indicates your dismissive attitude towards her as the only female candidate in a field of 12 seeking to be the next Republican nominee for Congress. Perhaps your readers would be interested to know that Texas has 36 members in the House of Representatives (second highest number in the nation) and currently only 3 are women. As women represent 49% of the population of the 36th district, it is time we send another woman to Washington, DC from the great state of Texas.

I am so proud of my daughter, Pat, for entering this race. I know her decision to run was not made easily because of the enormous amount of time, energy and financial resources it takes to compete at this level. However, Pat and her family are willing to do what it takes and only ask in return that your paper provide fair, honest and reliable information to the voters of our community who have an important decision to make at the Republican Primary on March 4.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Phyllis Creagh

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Star-Courier did not comment on the character of Ms. Kasprzak. We reported on the remarks made by the Ron Paul Forums on all 12 candidates for District 36, in an effort to provide some background information from a conservative source for the benefit of our readers. These views do not necessarily represent the views of this newspaper or its editors. As shown by publishing this letter, we welcome diverse opinions and will publish them when appropriate.

Duck Dynasty stars coming to Crosby Zydeco Festival

CROSBY – Laissez les bons temps rouler at this year’s annual celebration of Zydeco music at the Crosby Crawfish & Zydeco Festival.

The festival returns to the Crosby Fairgrounds March 14-16, 2014 with a blockbuster show featuring the best of the best in the Zydeco music genre as well as a special guest appearance by the stars of A & E’s Duck Dynasty, Si and Al Robertson.

In it’s twenty-first year the festival is well-known for presenting the best in entertainment while attracting literally thousands of attendees from points across the United States that embrace the institution of Zydeco music and the Creole culture. Troy Barrett-owner of the Solo Zydeco Productions and producer of the Crosby Crawfish and Zydeco Festival, announced changes and events relative to this year’s festival.

“In 2014 it was our mission to expand the experience by incorporating a variety of entertainment options and extend the festival to three days. Bringing in the stars of A & E’s Duck Dynasty, Uncle Si and his son Al, brings a different dimension to the event and signifies growth. We are very pleased with the response to their addition to the line-up and the festival as a whole, from fans of the show, zydeco enthusiasts and our new sponsor John Keating Chevrolet, which no doubt speaks to the impact that this event has on our community. It is our mission to continue to cultivate zydeco music to a younger audience as well as to broaden knowledge about creole the lifestyle and culture”

On Sunday, March 16th Uncle Si and Al Robertson will address an audience of fans on the importance of family and faith and it’s influence on everyday life. Fans will then have an opportunity to partake in a meet and greet session to take photos with the A & E’s Duck Dynasty stars. Friday and Saturday’s festivities will boast of over 20 hours of Zydeco music. The musical line-up will include featuring a variety of local and international Zydeco artists including Step Rideau and the Zydeco Outlaws, Brian Jack and the Zydeco Gamblers, Lil Nate and The Zydeco Big Tymers, Chris Ardoin and NuStep more of the most popular Zydeco bands from Texas and Louisiana will be announced. The gates will open at 3pm on Friday March 14.

The Crosby Crawfish & Zydeco Festival will also feature a Crawfish Cook off, Cajun specialty food vendors and exhibits, as well as entertaining activities for the children in the Kids Pavilion. Skilled artisans will be on hand to sell hand-made art, jewelry and other crafts.

Crosby Crawfish and Zydeco Festival and its auxiliary events are anticipated to attract an estimated 25,000 people into the city of Crosby over the three day period. In the spirit of community reinvestment, a limited number of children’s tickets will be donated to the community and distributed through our sponsor, John Keating Chevrolet.

For more information and tickets for the Crosby Crawfish and Zydeco Festival visit www.crosbyzydecofest.com.

EPA PRESENTS 6 REMEDIATION SCHEMES FOR RIVER

“Citizens unhappy with lack of action on toxic waste pits”

HIGHLANDS – Over one hundred local residents packed the San Jacinto Community Center last Thursday night, Jan. 30, for a public meeting to hear the federal EPA, or Environmental Protection Agency, report on the status of work to solve the toxins in the waste pits in the San Jacinto River. They presented six options ranging from cover in place, to full removal of the contaminated sediment.

After listening to a long presentation and slide show from the EPA staff, which seemed similar to the presentation exactly one year ago, but in slightly more detail, the audience focused on the sixth and final scheme, which promised complete removal of the toxic material. EPA project manager Gary Miller explained that this option had pros and cons.

Although it promised complete removal, nevertheless is was expensive, took a long time, and therefore exposed the community to spread of the toxins if a hurricane should strike during the process. The cost estimate was a wide range from $104 million to $636 million, and the time required to remove 208,000 cubic yards of sediment would be 16 months. The polluting companies will have to pay for the remediation, Miller said.

Miller revealed a new bit of information of grave importance: the South Impoundment, which up till now has not been part of this study, is larger and contains more toxins than the North pits, and will become the next step in the Superfund study. This area therefore threatens homes in the Channelview and west bank areas.

Present at the meeting were a number of county and state officials, and what might be termed independent environmentalists, as well as residents of Highlands, Lynchburg, and Channelview.

This group included local residents that have formed the San Jacinto River Coalition; the Texans Together environmental group; and the Galveston Bay Foundation.

Fred Lewis, president of the TexansTogether organization, questioned EPA’s Gary Miller on a number of points, including why the state has not conducted an epidimiology study, why redfish and flounder are not included in the tests or warnings, and why the EPA is relying on reports from the PRP, or parties responsible for the pollution.

Other issues raised by the audience included the high incidence of cancer in some areas of Highlands; the dredging of sand in the river that is obviously spreading toxins to other areas; and the activity of the barges north of I-10 that are stirring up sediment and poisonous materials.

Miller said that the Final Report, termed a RI/FS, or Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study, would be ready late in 2014, and at that time EPA would make a decision on how to deal with the waste pits permanently.