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Star-Courier News

Proper Use of Antibiotics


I ask you to imagine this setting: A mother takes her sick child to a medical clinic, and after an examination, the health care provider tells the family she has severe pneumonia. They are then told to prepare for the worst, because there is no effective treatment to offer the child.

You would probably guess that this episode occurred before the 1930’s and the advent of antibiotics. Although this scenario did play out many times before we had antibiotics, it is no exaggeration to state that this is not just a look back in time, but also a frightening glance into the near future.

The overuse of antibiotics has led to a serious crisis in which bacteria that were once easily killed by weak types of penicillin are now resistant to even the most potent synthetic “super antibiotics”. The scientific explanation for this phenomenon is that bacteria, although considered simple life forms, are “evolutionary geniuses”. They have a tremendous capacity to mutate and alter their genetic code to enable them to produce chemicals that can render antibiotics useless.

The primary cause of this crisis is that antibiotics are overused in this country at an alarming rate. There are many reasons for this state of affairs. Health care providers must shoulder the majority of the responsibility. We need to do a better job of educating and reassuring our patients regarding antibiotic use.

In addition, we must not bend to pressure from patients (and parents of patients) who sometimes insist, or even demand, an antibiotic when it is clearly not indicated. I appeal to each of you reading this article to work with your health care provider to slow down the rate of the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Of course, there are instances where the use of antibiotics are clearly necessary and indicated. This includes strept throat, acute middle ear infections, and pneumonia that is determined to be caused by bacteria and not a virus. Simple and uncomplicated cases of sinusitis and bronchitis do not always require antibiotics in the early stages if there are no complicating factors. Each of these cases must be evaluated individually.

One method that we commonly use in our clinic is a “back up” antibiotic prescription. For example, if a healthy, non-smoking patient has an early case of sinusitis or bronchitis that does not appear to be getting worse; we often suggest treating only the symptoms for several days. We discuss the possible complications or reasons that an antibiotic might become necessary if the condition does not improve. At that time we will issue an antibiotic prescription with the understanding it will be filled only if the condition worsens and will be accepted at the pharmacy for 10 days. This has resulted both in high patient acceptance and satisfaction and a definite decrease in unnecessary use of antibiotics.

The next time you go to your primary health care provider with symptoms of an upper or lower respiratory condition (sore throat, runny nose, post-nasal drip, cough, etc.), please have a discussion with the health care provider as to whether your condition may be a viral infection or an allergy that does not warrant the use of an antibiotic. If this situation is to be reversed, be guided by the following slogan: “LOOK FOR EVERY OPPORTUNITY NOT TO USE AN ANTIBIOTIC WHEN POSSIBLE!”

Patricia Henderson MS, RN, C-FNP
Family Nurse Practitioner
Center for Family and Preventive Medicine
Affiliate of San Jacinto Methodist Hospital
14626 FM 2100, Ste. C
Crosby, Texas 77532

Legislature finished, may meet again: Budget balanced, but redistricting, Robin Hood unresolved


AUSTIN— Chicken Ds/ Killer Ds, Robin Hood and budget crisis. While these are the areas which the 78th State Legislature will most be remembered, there were literally hundreds of bills filed this session which will go unnoticed by most residents.

Hanging like a shadow over legislators was the worst budget crisis that the state has faced in a half century, with a $9+ billion budget shortfall that had to be reconciled.

Two of the biggest issues, redistricting and the “Robin Hood” funding of school districts, were not acted on by the time the session closed, and likely the Governor will call a special session later in the year to deal with one or both of these issues.

Our local Representative, Joe Crabb, is chairman of the committee that must deal with redistricting. However, he was not involved in the so-called Chicken D flight of 51 Democratic legislators, who fled to Oklahoma to avoid a vote on the issue, until it was too late.

Proponents of gambling won a major victory in Austin this session with a bill that will allow Texas to enter multi-state lotteries such as Powerball. This action, say backers, will bring in approximately $101 million to the state coffers. The legislature, did, however, give a thumbs-down to letting the Texas Lottery Commissioner operate keno games.

Family-related issues were popular among legislators. Among bills to pass was an abortion waiting period, which requires women seeking abortion to wait 24 hours and to receive printed material about fetal development.

The legislature also issued a legal definition of the term “embryo” and “fetus” as an individual that would allow prosecution of a person who deliberately harms and kills the fetus. This issue had gain nation-wide attention since the death of Laci Peterson and her unborn son in California. There is also an effort in Washington D.C. to pass legislation that would allow prosecution on the federal level and provide consistent enforcement across the country.

Another local legislator, Kevin Bailey, was deeply involved in investigating the Houston Crime Lab, and it’s failure to process DNA and other evidence properly. His bill requires licensing of these labs, which was not currently the practive in Houston.

The legislature also banned state recognition of same sex marriages or civil unions formed in other states. In a compromise with Gay rights advocates, legislators voted down a bill that would have prevented gay couples from serving as foster parents.

Tackling the issue of campaign reform, legislators passed a bill that would stiffen identification requirements for campaign contributors and would require office holders to report not only contributions and expenditures but cash on hand.

One bill, which has been attacked by family rights advocates, is the deregulation of college and universities’ tuition rates. This bill allows schools to set their own rates, which Texas A&M and the University of Texas officials say will likely rise as much as 40 percent. Locally, Lee College raised their rate a modest $4 per credit hour.

While literally hundreds of bills were passed by the joint houses this session, a similar number fell by the wayside. Among these not to pass muster was an initiative to raise cigarette tax as much as a $1 per pack, and a bill that would have banned drivers from using cell phones while operating a vehicle unless using a hands-free device.

Criminal Justice-related bills took a hit from legislators this session with three main bills failing, the first would have allowed juries the option of sentencing defendants to life in prison without parole for capital offenses. Currently, the choices given to juries are the death penalty or life with the possibility of parole.

Two other bills directly related to the death penalty were also defeated. The first would have placed a ban on sentencing someone to death if they committed the crime before they were 18 years old. The second would have created a pre-trial hearing to determine if a capital murder defendant is mentally retarded. The Supreme Court has already ruled that the mentally retarded cannot be executed.

Highlands Pilot Club announces new officers for 2003-2004

By Sylvia Barron

HIGHLANDS– Members of the Pilot Club of Highlands attended the monthly meeting and installation of officers on Monday, June 2 at the Teapot Depot, where they enjoyed a delicious dinner. Special guests were welcomed, including members of the Evening Pilot Club of Baytown, and the Pilot Club of West Chambers County. Debbie Rhodes, District Lt. Governor performed the installtion of new officers for the year 2003-2004.

Laura Dean presented special awards to Sue Norris and Sandy Gross and Becky Baumbach reported that the club received a trophy for Best Theme for the Relay for Life. We all were so thankful that it rained during most of the evening, that we gladly got soaked getting to our cars.

[see photo]
Officers of the Pilot Club of Highlands for the year 2003-2004, l to r, seated: Janette Walker, Pres. Elect; Jean Stockwell, Pres.;Yvonne Doskocil, outgoing pres. and director for 2003-2004. Standing, Faylene Boddie, director, Nancy Porter, recording secretary; Betty Michalsky, corresponding secretary; Melissa Denson, director; Geenee Parrish, teasurer; and Ruth Gard, v.pres.

Ministerial Alliance invests Crusade offering into Community

HIGHLANDS– The Highlands & McNair Ministerial Alliance recently held the Jesus Day Crusade, with evangelist Doug Stringer, in the tent across from Gerland’s.

Participating churches included the Restoration House Church, Highlands First Assembly, and Highlands Second Baptist.

While planning this crusade, the ministers felt God was saying to invest the money from the offering back into the town of Highlands. While asking where to give this money, Pastor Phillip Morris felt God was saying the mission of the Church in Highlands is to rescue souls, and so the Alliance gave the money for the 911 emergency communications tower of the Highlands Fire Department.

The tower is used to rescue lives, which is the church’s mission also, said Pastor Morris.

The pastors hope the community appreciates the donation, and welcomes all to come to a service in a church of their choice.

Observing Memorial Day as cowboys do

I hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend. It’s a really special time when we pay tribute to all those men and women who served in the defense of our country by serving in the military. Mostly, we want to take time and remember those who paid for our freedom with their life. Thanks to all you veterans from every war or branch of service.

That bein’ said, I think someone, or several someones, in the Dayton ISD should be taken out behind the barn for makin’ the kids go to school on Memorial Day. It’s pretty insulting to try to trot out that less than sorry excuse that “it was to make up for a bad weather day”. Give us a break, already! The school board and the Superintendent just didn’t plan very well, did you folks?

Memorial Day is a national holiday, so designated by the Congress of these United States. So why does this school district choose to ignore it? Is it really because of “Bad Weather makeup days”, or is it they just didn’t care?

I, for one, wonder why they don’t miss, for any reason, Dr. King’s Day, yet the veterans are always having to fight, again, for their day? I’m not necessarily against Dr, King’s Day, but it is more than disrespectful to make kids and their parents miss Memorial Day!

Here’s a great question for the Dayton ISD, why not just add a day to the end of the school year if a “Bad Weather Day” is needed? Then, after the required time, you send everyone home, just like you do on Memorial Day? Everyone (with the possible exception of the School Board, et al) knows that the kids aren’t doing any real school work the last few days anyway, they are “just there” to fulfill the state mandated number of days for the school year.

Now, this may not be making some of you happy, and that’s just too doggone bad. Right is right and the truth is the truth. Get over it and take the proper action so this type stupidity is not repeated next year, folks!

I think I should let the folks mentioned above know that one of the freedoms our veterans fought, and died for, was the right to a free press and the right to free speech.

Therefore, I will continue to back my veteran friends on this, cause I’d rather have them watching my back than anyone else!

So, what else is happening in our lives? Well, I heard my ol’ gatekeeper, Charlie Farrar was involved in an accident. Someone was so anxious to see him, they ran right over the back of his car! Reportedly Charlie’s alright, though just a little sore. Glad he’s goin’ to be OK. I guess he’ll not be leavin’ the gate open so much, now!

My wife is finally retirin’ from teachin’ school after 29 years. She will be movin’ to the Rancho Pequito permanently, next week, so I’ll have to straighten up some. But, I figure she’s worth it!

I have selected the winners of the contest, but it was hard, I’m tellin’ you! Thanks to all of you who took the time to send me your letters. I decided to pick five winners instead of just three, with four getting’ signed CD’s.

But, you’ll have to wait to see the winners in next week’s paper, cause one lucky winner is goin’ to have to eat catfish and ribs with me at Lonestar with Val and Mike. Watch next week!!!

Gotta go feed. Just a Ridin’, Lloyd

Wal-Mart Supercenter in Crosby’s Future: New center expected to stimulate overall growth


CROSBY – The local Reidland family allowed the sale of 20.21 acres of prime Main Street property to become a Wal-Mart Supercenter on June 2.

A new frontier has opened for the entire northeastern section of Harris County: demographic survey research indicates that the population of Crosby is destined to increase dramatically, a new subdivision is proposed for land to the west of the Supercenter, numerous businesses and property exchanges may hinge on the coming of a Wal-Mart Supercenter to Crosby.

The pioneer of this business boom and residential expansion is Don Cox of Century 21 Life Changers. Cox performed most of the work, solved arising problems and was foremost negotiator with C.B. Richard Ellis, the broker representing Wal-Mart Properties Inc.

Documents show the Supercenter is proposed to be built behind and to the north of the existing shopping center and current Wal-Mart. The parking lot of Wal-Mart Supercenter #522-01 is to have a capacity of 793 and the store itself is proposed to be 155,078 square feet. The volume size of the proposed parking lot exceeds the existing parking lot and store for Wal-Mart and the existing strip center.

Area construction contractors indicate that Wal-Mart has been taking bids to build the structure since at least as early as the middle of May.

“The store is scheduled to be opened in the second quarter of next year, 2004” Cox explained.

“They will probably start breaking ground in about 30 days.” answers Cox, “They told me that they will probably start stocking the stores in late May.”

There were numerous problems arising in negotiating the deal that the broker for Century 21 Lifechangers spent over one year handling. Initially, Wal-Mart was concerned with environmental integrity of the land. Following various laboratory investigations, the deal proceeded. Next an issue of where a proposed traffic light would be placed came to the forefront, the traffic light conflict nearly cancelled the deal. The disagreement centered on whether the TX DOT controlled light should be placed at the end of the parking lot or at a proposed roadway that would run east and west beside the property. Cox’s three month negotiation of a solution to the satisfaction of parties involved seemed to be his most proud moment in describing the dealings. Finally, issues arose over three natural gas lines somewhere on or near the property, two of the lines were abandoned and taken up, yet another had been capped. Easements were necessary and the owners of whatever pipe lines existed had to be located and make agreements.

Documents show the Reidland family originally owned about 384 acres in the vicinity. According to Cox, Allan, Gilbert, Kenneth, and the estate of Leslie, that is Ted and Rhonda Reidland, acting for Maudice Reidland, are the people that are really shaping the future of Crosby. According to Cox, each member of the family cooperated with each of his suggestions to facilitate the completion of the deal. As such, the family has bestowed upon east Harris County unlimited potential economic growth.

“Those are the finest people in the world to do business with.” said Cox.

“There is about 250 acres open for residential development behind the property we are discussing.” said Cox of a potential new subdivision.

So why would anyone believe that a potential growth boom is coming to this area? “With Wal-Mart’s marketing effort in favor of this project, that’s a leading indicator in the commercial industry. They have confidence in this area. They have confidence that the growth is going to support it. They have confidence that there is a need for it or they wouldn’t put it here. Most of the time they put Supercenters only in high density areas. The company is expert in taking traffic counts and expected growth. I feel sure that Newport’s growth no doubt helped the company make that decision. I think it’s important to point out that with the recent bond election approval shows that the people of Crosby are wanting the better schools, economic and residential environments, nice new houses and all of that is related to growth. Crosby is going to have shopping that you don’t have to leave the area for nice things, that is going to bring in the restaurants, that’s going to bring other businesses, different franchises because of Supercenters, other companies have come to rely on Wal-Mart’s demographics studies.”

3 bodies found in hopper car at Cody Rail Yard


MCNAIR– Three bodies, which are believed to have been Mexican nationals who entered the country illegally were discovered Tuesday just after 8:30 a.m. in a Union Pacific railroad car near Cedar Bayou Lynchburg and Wade Roads.

According to Harris County Sheriff’s Department investigators the victims are believed to have boarded the train, which originated in Acapulco, in Spofford, Tx. with other aliens. As the train passed through Austin, two of those in the car made a makeshift cloth rope and was able to escape from the hopper rail car.

After the escape, the pair reportedly contacted a priest and told him that there were three others in the car who were suffering from heat exhaustion and were too weak to escape. The priest passed this information onto the Mexican Consulate in Houston who then notified authorities.

Law enforcement and workers with UP began searching the area for the car on Sunday. Authorities say that a railroad car with a homemade rope still dangling from the top was spotted at the Coady Railyard near McNair. When it was opened the grisly discovery was made.

As of press time the identify and cause of death of the three bodies had not been determined by medical examiners.

This was the first of two discoveries of alleged illegal aliens on Tuesday.

Just before 11 a.m. a suspicious truck was reported to Houston Police in the 6700 block of Ave. I in Southeast Houston. When police arrived they found four suspected illegals laying in the bed of a truck. Further investigation led them to a nearby shed where another 20 were found.

The suspects have been taken into custody by Houston Police.

Showers ease drought, but County issues Burn Ban


EAST HARRIS COUNTY– Area residents who will soon be visiting local fireworks stands will find some of their favorites no longer available.

This week, the Harris County Commissioners Court approved an outdoor burning ban as well as a ban on certain aerial fireworks. Among those include in the ban are bottle rockets and missile-type fireworks whose primary design or purpose is to travel self propelled through the air. Ball launchers, such as Roman candles are not included in the ban, however because of the threat of wildfire authorities are recommending they not be used.

During a meeting with commissioners Tuesday, County Fire Marshall Mike Montgomery said that he had been informed by the Texas Forestry Service and the National Weather Service that the drought conditions the county was facing was continuing and that despite the Monday night thunderstorms there was little sight of relief.

The main indicator that the county uses to determine the likelihood of a wildfire threat is the Keetch Byram Drought Index (KBDI). This index is a system that relates current and recent weather conditions to expected fire behavior. Under usual conditions, Harris County rates about a 200 on the scale. One the scale hits 500, a burning ban is recommended. On Tuesday, the county recorded an average of 608.

Under the court resolution, the ban could last up to 90 days. However, if the KBDI falls below 500 for two consecutive days it could be rescinded.

Montgomery said that the burning ban will effect only unincorporated areas of the county. The activity most likely to be impacted by the ban will be trash burning. There is a provision for trench burning and certain types of agricultural burning. In these cases a permit must be obtained from the state before the burning can take place. Violation of the burning ban is a Class C misdemeanor. Use of an outdoor pit for cooking purposes is not prohibited under the ban.

This is the third time in four years that the county has put out the dual ban on aerial fireworks and burning. The previous times were in 1999 and 2002. In the summer of 2000 the county also issued an outdoor burning ban.

Churches United offers diverse services to all in Crosby


CROSBY – Churches United In Caring in addition to a mission to the poor now offers something for almost everyone in the area.

Residents on the east side of Harris County can now shop for baby clothes, clothing, furniture, exercise machines, and sundry items at fabulously reduced prices over retail items. The Thrift Shop is open Mon.-Sat. from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

“I’m sure that we have one of the best Thrift Shops around with goods comparable to retail stores in quality at greatly reduced prices. People who are shopping, trying to stretch their dollars can do themselves a lot of good here.” Inez Jones explains, “We take donations of goods that are in good repair, we take almost anything donated. If there is a question about what is appropriate they can call 281-328-3178. After meeting with our volunteer counselors, people in need are given vouchers for clothing items, housewares or furniture from our Thrift Shop. We provide the giver with a Donor Receipt for clothing, household items, furniture, and food. The donations are tax deductible. The donations of goods if not given away can be resold to help with food, rental assistance, utilities, gasoline and or prescriptions, as well as other direct services.”

Last October, the volunteer mission, supported by at least 15 area church in Crosby, Huffman and Barrett Station dedicated a new, $300,000, two story center at 944 Church Street. Greenwade Service, Inc., acquired the land for the new building. The new location, on the northeast side of the fairgrounds, near US 90, is much more spacious and has more parking spaces than their previous location at 5223 FM 2100.

Twenty years ago, during the Oil Bust Days, Bridge City, the area under the Beaumont Highway, was a collective of displaced people congregating for shelter. The occupants of that area had developed their own panhandling culture. Churches at that time were doing their best to follow the Biblical mission of the Apostles, i.e. feed the hungry, clothe the naked and defend the fatherless. But, there are always the more enterprising of help seekers that were, frankly, taking advantage of the churches’ generosity. Twelve original churches banded together and started a center inside a rented house.

Volunteers worked with other volunteer organizations, government and business to provide the needs of the poor. Seventy five to eighty volunteers daily provide dependable manpower to keep the center in service.

Inez Jones said, “We appreciate the support not only of the churches but also of the boyscouts, and different companies around town. For example, if someone needs gasoline to go to a job interview or whatever, we give them a voucher for Danny’s Service Station. Where there is a need for prescription drugs, we have the co-operation of Wal-Mart Pharmacy, we call ahead to find out what the price of the drugs are and our treasurer pays for the drugs. If they need a couple of nights lodging, Crosby Motel accepts our vouchers. On occasions when there is a need that we are not able to provide from the center, baby formula for instance, Bill’s Crosby Finer Foods has helped us provide by accepting our vouchers and at Christmas time they have helped us provide. ”

The center is funded by sales from the thrift shop, contributions from individuals, businesses and organizations.

Last year, over 3500 people asked for help from the center and some $73,000 in assistance was rendered for rent, food, prescription, doctor’s bills, utility bills, gasoline and clothing. An extra $1,500 went to help small school kids in supplies.

West Nile Virus in birds, but County doesn’t spray


EAST HARRIS COUNTY– Despite the confirmation of two cases of West Nile Virus in Harris County, officials with the health department’s mosquito control division say that they have no plans to begin aerial spraying.

In early May a bluebird with the mosquito-borne illness was found in west Harris County. Then, on May 21, a grackle was found in Hermann Park which also had West Nile.

Health Department spokesperson Sandy Kachur said that the only way the department would authorize aerial spraying for mosquitoes would be if a large concentration of Culex mosquitoes were found. Since this has not occurred, she said, the county will continue to perform ground spraying. Even if a large concentration was found, she added, the county would likely resort to aerial spraying if the area was not accessible by road.

Kachur said that the county is continuing to conduct tests on birds. Because of the number of diseases which birds can transmit residents are asked not to come in direct with birds but to contact the health department at 713-440-4800 to have the dead bird removed for testing.

Symptoms of WNV usually show up between five and 15 days after exposure and include low grade fever, headache, and swollen lymph glands. More advanced symptoms include high fever, stiff neck and muscle weakness. In the most extreme circumstances, a coma and death can occur.

Persons of 50 years of age and those with a weakened or compromised immune system are most susceptible to the virus.

The health department is asking that people take precautions against mosquitoes by limiting times outdoor during dawn and dusk, when the mosquitoes are most active, removing standing water which can act as a breeding ground and using an outdoor insect repellent.

Chamber reviews Overpass progress with Eversole

CROSBY– Members of the Economic Development committee of the Crosby/Huffman Chamber met with Commissioner Jerry Eversole last week, to review progress and design details on the proposed overpass to be built by the Texas Department of Transportation on FM2100, over the main Union Pacific railroad tracks near Kernohan.

Chairman Larry Koslovsky and other committee members heard Eversole discuss schedule, progress to date, and what the County can pay for, and not.

The committee also reviewed some design sketches, prepared by architect Gilbert Hoffman after meetings with TxDOT engineers. They seek to portray the community’s desire to blend the new structure in to the existing older city fabric. The sketches show antique style lighting, concrete railings and support structures reminiscent of older county roads and bridges. The overpass is being built in an area of Crosby that is historically the earliest business center.

The overpass is planned to be four lanes, with frontage roads at grade. Eversole said that surveying is now underway, bids would be let in the 4th quarter of 2004, with construction beginning by July 2005. Completion could follow in 16 to 24 months after that.

In commenting on the overpass, Eversole noted how Crosby is changing. In 20 years, everything will have changed, whether we like it or not. He said, “You have to plan for growth, and not let growth plan you.”