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Posts published in April 2014

County infrastructure starts with $7 M. in Barrett

The Crosby-Huffman Chamber of Commerce met at the Crawfish Kings on FM 2100 on April 17 and heard from Commissioner Jack Morman’s Precinct 2 Senior Director of Infrastructure, Jeremy Phillips, concerning the status of FM 2100 being widened to accommodate increasing traffic in the area.

The Crosby-Huffman Chamber of Commerce is proactive in facilitating dialogue and understanding of community development.

As usual on the morning of the meeting at near 6:00 a.m. near Foley Road traffic snarled on FM 2100 at red lights.

Morman’s Precinct 2 crews are now beginning to give more time for drivers bound north and south to ease the tie up. Still there is no as yet plan to begin widening between Crosby and Huffman and from Barrett Station to Highlands.

State Representative Wayne Smith (R-128) is actively looking into state funding for the widening and frankly told this reporter with a wry smile, “It’s pretty complicated.”

In a substantial list of efforts applied by the east side of Harris County Precinct the first shovel will fall from the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDoT) to widen FM 2100 from the U.S. 90 overpass to FM 1942. From that point Morman’s Precinct Engineers are planning on widening the roadway all the way through Barrett Station. The plan is to put culverts down and roadway over those culverts to get more lanes. The Precinct 2 portion of that project is $7 million. Daily, the drive through Barrett Station is a slow pace from about 4:00 p.m. until about 7:00 p.m. and that compounds once one reaches Crosby. Precinct 2 expects bidding to begin “the first of next year” for the TXDoT portion of the roadway.

“If they can do that, then we’re going to be right on course with them to try to get our portion done as well.” said Phillips of when the County portion might begin.

“The design portion from FM 1942 to Arcadia is about 90% complete and we will be ready to go to construction as soon as that is complete. The other section is about 40% complete. We are trying to push that as fast as possible. We are looking to fund that in the next fiscal year from now until February. We are working with TXDoT so when they have their stuff out we can have our stuff out because I don’t want to tie up the road out of sequence.”

Morman’s Precinct 2 crews lack about one quarter of the project being finished in front of Newport’s bridgeway entrance including new lighting.

Precinct 2 completed a drainage study and is designing new relief for flooding.

Precinct 2 has worked with Crosby ISD to facilitate mobility for buses throughout the district. Dr. Keith Moore, Superintendent complemented the Precinct on their responsiveness to issues addressed by the school during the Luncheon.

I.T. May Park and Riley Chambers Park in Barrett Station are to be getting some county funds for varied projects. Riley is to get a new press box.

The I.T. May will get about a million in improvements.

“Some of the things that we’ve done are bringing in new power service and upgrade the sewer capacity so as that park grows that we can take on the infrastructure,” Phillips said. “We just replaced all the fencing around all the ball fields. We did a whole bunch of repainting, worked on roof structures and we’re going to put in a new concession stand and restroom in there to take on the added capacity.”

DEAD – Murder suspect kills himself

HARRIS COUNTY – Accused and self-confessed murderer Ethen Drake, 23, has killed himself by suicide, according to authorities and the victim’s family.

Drake was in Harris County Jail on suicide watch, but apparently he managed to hang himself last Friday, April 4, and was taken to the hospital where he died on Monday, April 7.

Drake was the accused killer of Caroline Sue Stagner, 72, who allegedly entered her house on Clear Lake Road early in the morning on Dec. 13, 2013, with the intent of robbing her.

However, what started as a robbery became a murder by stabbing, perhaps after she awakened and discovered Drake in the house. He then set a fire to conceal the murder, which quickly engulfed most of the house. Stagner’s body was discovered by Highlands firemen as they fought the blaze.

Stagner’s family was informed of the suicide hanging, and also that Drake had confessed to the murder, according to a family spokesperson who spoke to the Star-Courier. Family members stated that they felt the Sheriff’s department had been diligent in their investigation, and conveyed information regularly to the family.

Drake had been arrested in January for the murder, after some of Stagner’s possesions and medicine bottles were found by deputies in a burn pile behind Drake’s parent’s home. In addition, Drake was arrested in Gladewater in January for a similar theft and housefire. It was also learned that as recently as this week, Stagner’s purse was found by children in a drainage ditch on Clear Lake at 7th Street, not far from Stagner’s house and in the vicinity where Drake lived. The children took it to their school, where Stagner’s ID and other papers were discovered.

The Stagner family has mixed feelings about the suicide, it was learned, because the case will never come to trial and some details may never be known. However, in the overall picture, they are relieved at the closure, and also have been reassured by Sheriff’s investigators that Drake acted alone. This is important because the neighborhood has been concerned that others might have been involved, and still would be a threat to residents living nearby. Now the authorities have clearly stated this is not the case, and they can feel safe again.

As a result of this murder, another one nearby on 6th Street, and three others in Highlands during 2013, the community has organized crime watch meetings, and small citizens’ crime watch groups in neighborhoods to help with the patrol and safety of their areas.

Crosby students take three Grand Champions at HLSR

HOUSTON– Three Crosby students were Grand Champions at this year’s Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Teague Schexnayder, Andrew Horacefield for Grand Champion Turkey and Austin Eilers (in the second grade) for grand Champion Rabbits were great representation at the worlds’ largest livestock show for Crosby along with Tyler Thomas who was fourth in Container Horticulture.

Teaque Schexnayder had the first catch in the calf scramble.

Teaque ended up winning the Tom Glazier First Catch Award and received a belt buckle and $1500 dollars to buy a calf for the 2014 HLSR. He was required to have 2 essays, a backdrop, monthly reports, and a scrapbook. In the Calf scramble Teaque received several awards such as: -Tom Glazier First Catch Award with a belt buckle and $1500 -Good herdsman first place ribbon and $100-Scrapbook honorable mention $50 -Stall display honorable mention $50 -Breed essay 4th place $125 -First in Class $250 -overall supreme scrambler 2nd place with a belt buckle -Division Champion with a belt buckle, banner, and $300-Grand Champion calf scramble steer with a belt buckle, $750, and banner.

After winning Grand Champion calf scramble steer Teaque went on to the market steer show. Teaque places 9th in class and went on to the auction to make $7900.

Other winners are Tyler Thomas won 4th place Container Plant Horticulture project HLSR out of 75 entries. He also placed 3rd Rabbits place out of 153 pens. Tyler Thomas 5th Jr. FFA

Andrew Horacefield wins Grand Champion Turkey with a bid of $115,000.

SHERIFF HOLDS MEGA PUBLIC SAFETY MEETING

Listens to Questions from North Shore, Highlands

NORTH SHORE – Sheriff Adrian Garcia brought together about 30 law enforcement officers, to report on their efforts to reduce crime and “make Harris County the safest county in the nation” as voiced by District Attorney Devon Anderson.

The huge Town Hall meeting was held at North Shore High School, and was not in response to a particular crime event, but more of a county-wide effort to involve the citizenry in crime reduction techniques. Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack Morman was a joint sponsor of the event, with the Sheriff.

About 250 people were in attendance, as well as another 50 law enforcement officers in addition to the ones that appeared on the stage with the Sheriff, and spoke about their particular roles in public safety.

Attending and speaking were Constables Ken Jones, Chris Dias, and Phil Sandlin, County Commissioner Pct. 2 Jack Morman, County District Attorney Devon Anderson, and Galena Park ISD Police Chief Bryan Clements.

Each official in their turn explained the functions of their office, and the special initiatives they have taken to reduce crime or operate more efficiently.

Sheriff Garcia spoke about needing more deputies, and in fact with Morman’s help he has been able to field 140 new patrol deputies. He has implemented realtime communication with his patrols and investigators. He has sponsored youth Explorer troops to prepare young men and women for careers in law enforcement after public school.

District Attorney Devon Anderson spoke about her experience over 20 years prosecuting all types of crimes, and when her office takes the initiative to investigate and prosecute. Otherwise, she said, most of her work is in support and reactive with other law enforcement agencies. However, she has established several types of special prosecuting units, including human trafficking and capital murder cases. She urged citizens to contact her office when needed, at harriscountyda.com.

Pct. 2 Commissioner Jack Morman said that his role on commissioners’ court is to help set and approve budgets for county offices, including the Sheriff. He noted that more money has been made available for law enforcement, and 140 new patrol officers have been added. He also said they will be used soon to enforce new regulations against illegal game rooms, noting that their fines and licenses will pay for this enforcement.

Constable Ken Jones mentioned his lifelong relation with North Shore, having been a resident for 31 years. He said his patrol officers have a response time of only 3 minutes, even though they cover a large area. He also has a Task Force, working with the Sheriff, that is charged with proactive crime prevention. So far they have accounted for 40 felons arrested since the inception of the unit. He said he has been more efficient by using contract deputies to supplement his force. He urged citizens to report crime they observe on his Facebook page, which he monitors every day.

Constable Phil Sandlin said his main responsibility is watching for Terrorism in port, bridge and highway facilities in his district, Pct. 8. He announced that his officers Tuesday had just arrested a woman in a traffic stop, with $200,000 in drugs that were destined for distribution in Beaumont.

Constable Chris Diaz said he works with 8 municipalities in his district, meets with the public at civic clubs and other events, and urges citizens to use his website for reports. It is hccp2.com.

Galena Park ISD Chief Bryan Clements characterized his duties as different than the others, since all of his constituents are 18 years of age or younger, i.e. school students. He expands his staff by partnering closely with Pct. 2 and Pct. 3 constables, he said. His campus based police officers have special training every year for the special needs of a school environment, to make it safer.

Sheriff Garcia asked some of his other command officers to explain their functions, including Assistant Chief Armando Tello, Deputy Chief Fred Brown, in charge of the jail inmates, and Dr. Seale, the medical director of his staff at the jail.

Tello spoke on his coordination with other agencies, Brown said that he is responsible for 9000 inmates at the jail, of which 400 new ones are processed every day, and Dr. Seale said he was in charge of a medical staff of 460 that provide all types of services to the inmates.

Sheriff Garcia said that his budget is over $400 million, most of it in salaries, but that he has been able to reduce overtime in his 3 years in office from $40 million to $8 million. In a demonstration of how citizens can help thwart crime, he had his officers check cars in the parking lot during the meeting. Of 230 cars, 59 failed an inspection due to obvious object in view that could be stolen, or open windows and doors.

About two dozen people asked questions next, with topics ranging from illegal drugs sold to students (synthetic marijuana for smoking), to noise of barking dogs, concern about open carrying laws for guns, follow-up on crimes that have been reported, property that is overrun with trash and homeless people, prostitutes working some streets, toxic water in wells, DUI problems, gang activity and more.

Garcia closed by reminding all that the reson for the meeting is to hear how his office is performing, and how it can improve.

Crosby Rodeo books top concert performers

The Crosby Fair & Rodeo has named their total acts for the upcoming concerts after the Rodeo, Cook-Off this June and the Spring Dance next weekend.

The Spring Dance for the Crosby Fair & Rodeo is to be held on April 12 at the American Legion Hall. It will be a Traditional Country Dance Hall Music venue featuring Jeff Woolsey.

Woolsey by the statement of his own website says “Woolsey was raised on traditional country music in the honkytonks, on the North side of Houston, Texas. He spent many Saturday nights listening to his step-dad’s band play all the great songs from Ray Price, Johnny Bush, George Jones, Mel Tillis, Faron Young and the many other great country music artists from the ‘50’s,‘60’s and ‘70’s. Woolsey sang his first song when he was four years old….Charley Pride’s, “Is Anybody Goin’ To San Antone”. From that moment on…he was hooked on singing and hooked on country music. ….. When Jeff turned 19 years old, he started his own band. Woolsey paid close attention to what the crowd enjoyed dancing to…just as he was taught. “Keep ‘em on the floor…if you don’t, you’re not doing your job.” That’s what he was always told and that is what he has always done….kept ‘em on the floor.

Throughout the ‘90’s, he and the band were one of the hottest bands on the dancehall circuit, playing 150+ dances a year. Jeff released his first single in 1991 and received considerable airplay in Texas as well as other states.

In 1994, they were named “Band of the Year” in the Houston area.

Hill Country Jane plays first for the Cook-off on June 6. The band leads for Johnny “Looking for Love” Lee.

Since 2005, Hill Country Jane has been steadily gaining momentum in the Texas/Red Dirt Music scene. Starting out as an acoustic trio in Austin, and now based in their hometown of Houston, Hill Country Jane has evolved into a Texas Country Rockin’ Blues powerhouse! With the release of their debut LP, “The Great Charade”, the buzz about this up and coming band grew louder and louder. Then, in 2012 HCJ made some big changes, joining forces with long-time friends and collaborators Chip Oliphant, Dan Payne & Derek Wilson from the local Houston band Last House on the Left. With the right pieces finally in place, the guys went straight to work with producer Billy Hillman of HillTrax Studios in Huntsville, TX, and are currently recording their latest CD “Home Grown” expected to be released in 2014.

Texas born and bred singer, songwriter Abbi Walker Petkoff has been dubbed a Rockabilly songstress sort of a cross between Adele and Miranda Lambert. She will lead for Jason Boland and the Stragglers on Saturday, June 7.

She has been landing huge gigs opening up for country headliners such as Jack Ingram and The Charlie Daniels Band, and now she is making her radio debut with the release of her new single Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

“Abbi is everything you want in a female country singer. For one she is very easy on the eyes and a total sassy sweetheart, but more importantly her vocals will knock you on the floor while her catchy songs will have you toe tapping and and wanting to sing along. The pros have found her fresh, edgy, talented and packed with personality.”

Daughter of a preacher, singing since she was 3 years old, she’s in love with not just singing, but songwriting and learning how to tell her story. Her songs are relatable. Abbi’s sound has many layers. Her fresh feisty lyrics hold deep Gospel soul and sweet harmonies mixed with gritty Southern Rock.

The Philip Griffin Band starts the Crosby Fair & Rodeo concerts on Thursday, June 12, leading for Aaron Lewis.

Dayton’s own blue collar, neighborhood band that everybody liked on Friday night after the football game has come full circle to re-play for the Crosby Fair & Rodeo. Griffin grew up on simple philosophies; go to college, get married and the good ol’ American dream. The rumors spread by people are something of tall tales and fiction. So many of these things are present in the music written and performed by Philip Griffin Band.

The bands EP release in 2009 “Philip Griffin Band” was just the beginning of small town pride and life lived through a young man’s eyes. The heart wrenching emotion of a love that didn’t last; “Left Us Here” to the triumph of “Watch Me Go”; the aspirations of “Worth It” and the countdown of the betrayal in “Running Out of Time”. Remaining on the EP is the true ballad of “Austin” and the honky tonk, two stepping success of “How Bout You and Me”. Griffin’s songs have such an emotional draw. The EP was just the beginning of the songwriting and heart and soul of each line that has been sung across the state of Texas.

Philip Griffin Band has performed at many venues considered to be staples for Texas Music. The list includes; Goode’s Armadillo Palace, Firehouse Saloon, Shiners Saloon, Bandera Saloon, River Road Icehouse, Tavern on the Gruene, Shotzi’s, Josabi’s, The Cow Pony, Falcon Club, House of Blues (Houston), Big Texas (Spring), Crosby Fair and Rodeo, Jackson County Fair and Rodeo, and 100’s more bars and honky tonks.

Philip Griffin Band released their second album, “Burning Bridges”.

Breelan Angel of Baytown will lead for Friday’s rodeo concert. The Turnpike Troubadours are headliners.

Breelan is a self-described “steel magnolia” and “It’s My Turn” is a personal testament to her Texas-gal determination. Showing off her talent as a vocalist and a songwriter, Breelan chose this as her debut single from the forthcoming album of the same name because of its strong message.

“I wrote ‘It’s My Turn’ as an anthem to represent female empowerment and independence,” stated Breelan. “Girls love to go out with their friends and enjoy themselves just as much as men. This song is for all women who need a day to themselves, a new pair of high heels and a night out on the town.”

Breelan showed off a God-given natural talent at the early age of three when she began ballet, tap and jazz. As she grew older, she took piano lessons for a time and also performed in choirs and theater productions crafting and developing her vocal talent, demeanor, and stage presence along the way. After working with renowned vocal coach Tom McKinney, Breelan took the next step toward a music career by recording two EPs and making several trips to Nashville to work on her songwriting skills.

Before dashing and penache’ Kevin Fowler takes the stage on Saturday, the board of the Crosby Fair & Rodeo has a treat for the guys.

Charisma to spare, camera-ready looks and dreamy country singing voice says Charla Corn is soon to be Country Music Queen. Style, and substance got her named best female artist in 2011 Texas Regional Radio Awards, Corn has two CDs More Than I Should for 2009 and Stella.

But after giving it a shot in Nashville, she’s back in Texas — the small-town girl with big dreams hoping she can rise to the top of the male-dominated worlds of Texas Red Dirt music and country radio. She’ll tell you God makes things happen for her, but she’s also doing plenty to propel her career forward — including a radio show and hitting the road on weekends to play gigs with her band the Trainwrecks.

If she doesn’t make it big, it won’t be for lack of trying, says her brother, Clayton Corn, an Austin-based music producer/manager who played keyboards for Pat Green for seven years.

For Charla Corn, who has been singing as long as she can remember, it was a great place to grow up. She performed at the town’s Border Town Days festival every year, and in high school, she started playing guitar, singing at church and competing in beauty pageants.

She began honing her songwriting skills at South Plains College in Levelland, less than 90 miles from home and about a half-hour west of Lubbock. “It’s a commercial music college, where you can actually get credit for singing songs and going onstage and recording.” Corn says.

Crosby ISD innovates a new high school library

Crosby High School will not have a library as we think of one now, because the term obsolete applies to the concept of library that has mostly been extant since Socrates was questioning ‘What do you know?’ and being made to drink hemlock because he made young people think.

No, the library of the future is called a Media and Research Center because the student most likely walks in with a devise such as an electronic tablet maybe an outdated lap-top or smaller smart contrivance that connects them to an entire universe of information.

It must be difficult to predict then needs of three decades in the future of education. Yet efforts to make a modular and adaptable learning center are underway.

Few predicted the burning of the library at Alexandria by Julius Ceaser’s troops would be an educational catastrophe in first century education because irreplaceable ancient papyrus blazed.

But there will be far fewer books (but some) at the Media and Research Center because information is less stored in that outmoded papyrus fashion.

Let’s go back just 35 years to when this reporter was in college, there was one massive computer at my college and those of us taking calculus and physics had to reserve time to work on the computer and then learn to write a program. Probably the oldest computer still working in this area could run circles about this multiton featureless cube. Then working with binary code (ones and zeros) students could make the 8 inch by 11 inch display show something. I made a cannon fire a ball on the interval from zero to 100 owing to a formula. I have never written binary code since and have never written a program since but have used computers most of my working life. The college had me learn to do these things to prepare me for the future. A future where the petty skills I learned would be pathetic parry to proficient attack of a maturate diabolism raging to disesteem any of less than hyper-modern erudition of technology to wretched poverty. But, I digress.

The adaptations of the Media and Research Center is that yes there is planned to be some of the latest and greatest gadgets like a three dimensional printer but mostly it is where students will bring their apparatus and contrive with collective appliance to work together to learn lessons.

“The Media Center has to be a place for collaborative learning so it has to be adaptable for coming technology,” said Dr. Keith Moore.

He indicated that there are to be two types of lecture halls within its confines and that the architecture must be malleable and adaptable including tables and chairs with casters to be easily moved around for realignment. The structure will be within two stories one of greatly open area with much natural light and a smaller area with a more personable and interactive setting.

The simple fact of the matter is that whatever devises or hardware they purchase will be outdated soon thereafter in a exceedingly expansional unfolding of knowledge technology.

The Media and Research Center is outside the overwhelming Technology Learning Center that will also occupy two stories.

The goal is technological integration and with that personalized learning will be facilitated to the student’s own capabilities in an effort to keep pace with a slight edge on worldwide proliferation of knowledge.