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Posts published in February 2003

RODEO TIME– Highlands to Huffman, we’re on the bus

HOUSTON– Kenny Chesney, the country western artist known for the hit single “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy,” as well as a successful 2002 tour, will be the featured performer on Feb. 27 at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. During the night the Crosby-Huffman Metro Go Texan Committee will be among the committees recognized.

The rodeo begins on Feb. 25 with George Strait taking the stage. The Baytown-Highlands committee will be recognized on the second night of the rodeo, Feb. 26, when Martina McBride performs.
The rodeo will continue nightly through March 16, when Alabama closes out the event.

Among the hot country artists coming to Houston this year are Clay Walker, Pat Green and Mark Chestnutt.

The rodeo will also feature some non-country music performances by LL Cool J, ZZ Top, Bon Jovi and Lynyrd Skynrd.

Schedule of Performers 2003 HLS&R
Tues, Feb 25 – George Strait
Wed, Feb 26 – Martina McBride
Thurs, Feb 27 – Kenny Chesney
Fri, Feb 28 – Robert Earl Keen
Sat, Mar 1 – Lee Ann Womack and Cross Canadian Ragweed
Sun, Mar 2 – Julio Iglesias
Mon, Mar 3 – Tim McGraw
Tues, Mar 4 – ZZ Top
Wed, Mar 5 – Toby Keith (presented by Ford)
Thurs, Mar 6 – Clay Walker
Fri, Mar 7 – LL Cool J and Ashanti
Sat, Mar 8 – Phil Vassar and Jamie O’Neal
Sun, Mar 9 – Intocable and Los Tres Amigos, featuring Little Joe, Roberto Pulido, and Ruben Ramos, with special guests Johnny and Rocky Hernandez
Mon, Mar 10 – Lynyrd Skynyrd and Jerry Jeff Walker
Tues, Mar 11 – Brooks & Dunn
Wed, Mar 12 – Bon Jovi
Thurs, Mar 13 – Pat Green (presented by Miller Lite)
Fri, Mar 14 – Ray Charles and Ronnie Millsap
Sat, Mar 15 – Rockin’ Roadhouse Tour, featuring Joe Diffie, Mark Chestnutt and Tracy Lawrence
Sun, Mar 16 – Alabama

Fairgrounds serves well for Huffman FFA Show & Sale

CROSBY – The Crosby Fairgrounds hosted the Huffman FFA Livestock Show on Friday and Saturday for the first time, and the turnout for Saturday’s auction was tremendous.

The Fairgrounds were packed throughout Saturday as parents, entries and buyers poured in mass into the area to view or display livestock raised by Huffman students in efforts to raise scholarship money. Artistic and craft production was well represented this year.

This year’s Grand Champion Steer was raised by Marsi Campbell and bought by Hazelwood Dodge. The Reserve Champion Steer was raised by Kari Jameson and bought by Hazelwood Dodge.

A good example of agrarian science and livestock development was demonstrated by Grand Champion Lamb by Marsi Campbell. The lamb was purchased by the Law Firm of Purdue, Brandon and Frazier. The Grand Champion Broiler was raised by Cory Long and bought by Hi-Tech Pump & Crane.

The Grand Champion Rabbit was raised by Nolan Pope and bought by Hazelwood Dodge. The Grand Champion Swine submitted by Matt Holman was bought by the Law Firm of Purdue, Brandon and Frazier.

Among the home produced crafts and artwork this year were outstanding accomplishments. Kari Jameson also made the Sweetheart Cake bought by Crosby office Supply. Zane Johnson made the Grand Champion Wood Project and it was purchased by Raye’s Decor. The Grand Champion Art Project was bought by Dana Wiggins and Jerry Jones, Dustin Heinrich was the artist. The Grand Champion Metal Project was submitted by Justin Baxleg and bought by a partnership known as The Men.

Reserve Champions were not far off the Grand Champion standard. Mindy Holman’s swine was bought by the Campbell Family.

Samantha St. John grew the Lamb and Triple K Roofing bought it. The goat was raised by Courtney Ashley and bought by the Law Firm of Purdue, Brandon and Frazier. Chase Griffin raised the broilers and Karen Jackson bought them. Rabbits went to Heather Bocci and bought by the partnership of ladies called Biddin Broads.

Crosby ISD hits funding crisis


CROSBY – Crosby ISD is planning on asking local residents for a bond issue to refurbish the buildings and technical infrastructure of Crosby schools soon while funding from the state is running short.

The shortfall of Texas sales tax money to operate schools is a separate problem from the need for Crosby schools to renovate their buildings.

The school district will cut back on personnel to decrease their operational budget but is facing tough questions on how to best prepare the district for the future needs of students in infrastructure and building. Bond money cannot be used for maintenance and operations.

Crosby ISD will be cutting back on personnel by attrition next year and needs money to refurbish buildings. Attrition means that as personnel retire or quit, those positions will be phased out. The result is most likely larger class sizes.

The shift in legislation for funding schools has created some of the shortfall problems currently effecting school operations. Currently operational and maintenance budgets are derived from about 41.2% from the state and 58.8% from local taxes. That is about the reverse of some 15 years ago.

According to Don Hendrix, the benefits of asking for a bond now include the interest paid on a bond issue now is low, about 5%; and now the construction market is currently depressed and construction costs are less now than 3 or 4 years ago.

“We are almost sure to get lower bids on projects,” explains Hendrix.

Hendrix delineated the names of a committee of some well respected residents of the Crosby area who were asked to review the structures of Crosby schools and they made a bare-bones list of needs to the Crosby ISD School board. The list of what the committee saw as being minimal is extensive and an estimate of total cost is not ventured by anyone yet. The CRE8 Architects has been designated by the board to review the committees recommendations and produce an estimate.

According to Hendrix, the goal of the bond (which has not yet been approved,) concerning the high school would be an upgrade to handle 1,600 students. Replacement of the metal buildings outside the schools, replace the existing Agricultural Building, build a career technical wing, replace the HVA/C system’s power supply on the new gymnasium, expand the library, expand the computer and science wing and modernize to change the traffic flow to handle additional students expected in the year 2015.

An alternative would be to construct a new high school to handle about 1,800 students for about $37 M to $40M. Renovation under the current condition for the next 12 years is seen as most cost effective.

Crosby middle school’s access road is deteriorating and will need to be expanded. The middle school’s roof air conditioning is 15 years old, it is seeing it’s life expectance lapse. The committee found that with re-venting, the life expectance for a new system could be 20 to 25 years. The middle school will need upgrading for technical demands.

Drew Intermediate School will probably need the ceilings renovated, the library is currently small for expected needs. Class rooms that date back to 1957 are seen as needing to be taken down and renovated.

Cops make arrest in Newport murder


CROSBY– An arrest was made Feb. 17 in the murder of a Newport resident found Jan. 30 inside his home in the 17000 block of Lighthouse.
Armando Hernandez, 24, was arrested at his home in connection with the murder of Christopher Harrell, 32, by Harris County Sheriff’s Homicide Detectives.

Homicide Detective Russel Coleman said that more arrests are expected soon related to the case. Anyone with any information related to this case is asked to call Harris County Homicide Detectives at 713-967-5810.

According to the detective, Hernandez may have been just a casual acquaintance of the victim.
Christopher Harrell, 32, was found Jan. 30 by his mother and father when they went to check on his welfare. The couple had gone to the victim’s house following his supervisor telling his mother that Harrell did not report to work. Harrell had lived in the home since October.

Harris County ESD#5 Paramedics received a call at about 10:50 a.m. that Thursday. Seeing the victim was dead, they secured the scene for law enforcement.

Police sources confirmed gunshot wounds to the head killed Harrell.

Law enforcement sources, not homicide detectives, indicate two shell casings were found on the floor in the house.

Sources indicate there was evidence of illegal substances at the house. Sources hint that a relationship between the murder and the substances is possible.

Homicide Detectives reveal that a gun safe was found to be open inside the location but the shell casings of the murder weapon did not matched any of the guns found at the home.

Other law enforcement sources indicate some guns were stolen from the residence.

Detective Coleman confirms that apparently a “Simple robbery.” had occurred in connection to the shooting but would not reveal the manner (i.e. burglary, stick-up, or crash-in) or what items were stolen.

According to Coleman, “We are still conducting a thorough investigation of this case. More arrests are possible. We put in countless hours of overtime on this case. Our squad did a first rate job in this initial arrest.”

Crosby/Highlands Chamber Awards Banquet


The Crosby/Huffman Chamber of Commerce held their Annual Awards Banquet on Valentine’s Day at The Monument Inn.

Frankie Pizano was entertaining as a Frank Sinatra sing alike.

Awards blustered with recognition of Business of the Year to Century 21 Life Changers, Inc., Employee of the Year to Diane Nash of Crosby Office Supplies, Jerry Prochazka was Volunteer of the Year as was Bud McCune of Huffman Lions, the President’s Award went to Luther Brady, Jr., and there were two Citizens of the Year – Earl Boykin and author /historian Edith Cook Cole.

Edith Cook Cole’s historic work for the Crosby/Huffman Chamber was told through her work Crosby’s Heritage Preserved – 1823 to 1949, a book of historical memoirs taking readers back to early days of Crosby. That original edition was published in 1992 , financed by a donation from French Ltd. Corporation. In 2000 the Historical Committee reprinted Crosby’s Heritage Preserved underwritten by Crosby State Bank and the Chamber’s Historical Committee. It was printed by Grafikshop, a subsidiary of the Star-Courier. Proceeds from sales were dedicated by Cole to preserving historic sites in the Crosby/Huffman areas. Proceeds for her work now in progress, The History of Huffman are also dedicated to the Crosby/Huffman Chamber Historical Committee. Cole not only writes historical events but she makes it!

Earl Boykin was awarded his accolades from Don Hendrix, Superintendent of Crosby ISD. The history of service by Boykin to the Crosby Ambulance Service, Crosby Schools in numerous capacities including President of Crosby School Board, to his neighborhoods on boards for Newport Subdivision, to his country as an election judge, his church and his God were briefly outlined. His three decades of service were jestingly brushed off by Boykins as simply to tell his age.
Boykin’s accomplishments included serving as President of the Gulf Coast School Board Association last year.

Steven Myers submitted Bud McCune’s recognition as Volunteer of the Year Award. The long-time Huffman resident spent his life in service to those less fortunate through many volunteer efforts such as being a founding member of the Lion’s Club, where he is now District 2S2 Governor. A tireless advocate for special needs children, McCune has more than 30 years of service to helping students, the families and the community.

Venita Smith read the presentation as Jerry Prochazka was honored as Crosby’s Volunteer of the Year. His service as Principal of Crosby High School through turbulent years was punctuated by driving a school bus, coaching and a little custodial work. His efforts on behalf of the area soup kitchen in taking food back that Krogers was about to dispose of has become an integral part of area mainstay. He is remembered for his service in the military when most of his class went to war and his affiliation with the American Legion remains a reminder of his serious stance on service to the nation. His service to Crosby ISD includes being teacher, principal, on the Board and as Superintendent.

Employee of the Year, Diane Nash, was presented by Susan Armstrong of Crosby Office Supplies, Inc., her employer. Nash was recognized as pro-active, trustworthy, vigilant and fun. Her recognition is based on her flexibility, insight and dependability.

Don and Jan Cox with Karla Alexander are the owners of Century 21 Life Changers. The Cox couple started what is this year the Business of the Year as Newport Sales in 1976. Don opened Lake Houston Real Estate in 1978, later acquired a franchise with Century 21 and the company became Century 21 Life Changers, now in its current state of evolution, includes land and commercial real estate, a full service company. The long list of community service organizations the Cox family is involved in includes Kawanis, and every Newport Subdivision affiliation.

Sterling HS fields new football coach


BAYTOWN– Danny Long, athletic director and head football coach in Jacksonville ISD, has been approved by the Goose Creek CISD Board of Trustees as the new head football coach and campus athletic coordinator for Ross S. Sterling High School.
Long’s career record at Jacksonville is 94-46, with seven district championships. During the other four of his 11 years there, his teams were the district runners-up.

In 2002, Long’s team was the district champion and a bi-district finalist. In previous years, Jacksonville teams went as far as the area finals five times and the quarterfinals three times.

Following his acceptance of the Jacksonville position in 1991, Long led the Indians to the area finals, earning their first playoff victory in 19 years.

From 1986 to 1990, he served as assistant coach in Marshall ISD, where he was responsible for the varsity offensive line. The Marshall football team went to the state quarterfinals in 1988 and the semifinals in 1989 before winning the 5-A state championship in 1990.

Long began his coaching career in 1976 at South Gate High School in South Gate, Calif., where he was varsity assistant coach, before moving to Rio Hondo College in Whittier, Calif., from 1980 to 1981. He spent the 1982-83 school year as a varsity assistant coach in Humble ISD before becoming self-employed as a sales and marketing consultant from 1984 to 1985.

Long’s professional honors include selection as Co-Coach of the Year for District 14-4A in 2002, Coach of the Year for District 17-4A from 1996 to 1998, and Coach of the Year for District 16-4A in 1992 and 1993. In 1992, the Tyler Morning Telegraph named him East Texas Coach of the Year, and the Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA) chose him as All-Star Coach in 1990.

In addition, Long served as regional director for THSCA from 1999 to 2001.

Long earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from California State University-Long Beach and completed his master’s in education and mid-management certification at Stephen F. Austin State University. He and his wife, Sarah, have one son, Joshua, who is 17 years old.

“We are very excited to have Coach Long and his family joining us as part of the Goose Creek CISD team,” said Dr. Barbara Sultis, GCCISD superintendent. “He is recognized in numerous circles as one of the most accomplished coaches in Texas schoolboy football.”

“His record of achievement with student athletes is impressive, and he has a total commitment for the academic success of all students involved in athletics,” she continued.

Long is expected to assume his new role sometime this spring.

Yo Yao! Pilot club members plan big Community Fair

HIGHLANDS– Months of planning will come to fruition this Saturday, as the Pilot Club holds their annual Community Fair at the Highlands Elementary School. Festivities start at 10 am, and last til 3 pm.

The event lasts all day, and brings food and fun to all ages of the community. Proceeds from the event are used by the club all year long to fund their community improvement projects, scholarships, and other worthwhile activities both local and national.

Fish dinners will be cooked and served for $7.00 presale, or $8.00 on Saturday. Cooking will be done by the Henderson cooking team.

Other highlights include 28 arts and crafts booths, games by the Boy Scouts, Live entertainment acts all day long, such as the popular Highlands Toe-Tappers, Pic and Grin band, a raffle, information booths, Highlands Volunteer Fire Department, and the Blood Mobile.

The Silent Auction includes two signed balls: one is a baseball signed by Nolen Ryan, and the other is a basketball signed by the Houston Rockets “big” star, Yao Ming. This item alone is expected to bring a lot of interest and a crowd of people.

Other activities that are ongoing during the day are prizes for baking contests, and health screenings. In years past, thousands of young and old from the community have turned out, and spent the day having a lot of fun and sharing community spirit.

Speaking at last week’s Chamber of Commerce luncheon, spokesperson Teresa Cashion enumerated the uses that the proceeds have been used for in the past, and will be devoted to in the future.
She mentioned that nationally, the Pilot Club supports mentally impaired adults, through the Pilot Club Foundation. At the local level, the club has been active and effective in getting improvements in service at the Post Office, including Saturday hours and more parking.
Working with the County and TxDot, and the city of Baytown, they have been able to get the intersection of I-10 and Crosby Lynchburg Road, known as “Four Corners” landscaped with trees, shrubs, walls, and ground cover.

They have held a “Clean-Up Highlands Day” twice annually, with the cooperation of the County.
New teachers receive gifts and a welcome from the Pilot Club, too.

In the center of town, visual improvements have included developing a grassed park on the railroad property at San Jacinto Street, and at Christmas time coordinating banners to decorate Main Street.

Teresa Cashion, who has the distinction of being the first Miss Highlands pageant winner, said that this is only some of the areas where the Pilot Club has been able to improve the community. She also mentioned that many of the accomplishments are in conjuction with other groups, such as the Rotary Club, the Chamber, and local government.
All of this was a prelude to pointing out that the community needs to support the Fair, and have a good turnout and a lot of fun.

Going to the Races


There is a new racecar track going in 25 miles South of Houston off Highway 288 in Brazoria County. They will offer stock car and open wheel races as well as a racing school and training.
That is one place I will surely avoid come race day. The traffic will be plum awful.
We used to travel through Rockingham, North Carolina when we went to visit my older sister.
One trip through Rockingham on a race Sunday taught me a good lesson. We didn’t go visit on race day weekends. Those major race events for stockcar races was and still is most popular.
Used to attend stockcar races and have since I was just a chap. A friend of the family was a racecar driver and go watch him race we did. His name was A. J. “Jute” Irving and I’ll always remember his wife, Louise telling him to slow down when I rode with them back in those Georgia days. I’ll bet Jute left a trail of dust on that old red dirt road to last for twenty minutes. The Kudzu went from green to red.
Jute rode with the best of them and a big man he was.
Having had the opportunity to attend races back as a chap, those events are well remembered to this day. Names like Lee Petty, Cale Yarbrough, Fireball Roberts, and others racecar drivers are remembered from back when I went to the races. Jute told me he was at the races when Fireball Roberts got kilt.
Let me ask you if you know what a Winston is, do you know?
It is a cigarette made by Winston Salem or whoever they are today, RJR something another maybe?
Like the Winston Cup Award for stockcar racers paid each year to the driver with the most points, etc.
Multimillion-dollar race winner Jeff Gordon said he didn’t know the cup was named after a cigarette.
I near spit my teeth out when I heard that or maybe I have gotten older than most folks who remember Winston brand of cigarettes, # 1 brand for years along with their Salem’s and Camel brand smokes.
Winston taste good like a (knock knock) cigarette should. Reckon since cigarette ads are no longer on television, most folks wouldn’t remember it.
I was at a race one time with my dad and his buddies. The grandstand was the back of the truck with it rear facing the track. Drinks were in a large washtub on the ground with a large block of ice in the chill water.
The little bottles of Coke were in it as well as 7UP as a chaser for the men who drank the amber liquid but lots was clear too.
One race, a wheel came off a racecar and hurdled our direction. We could see it coming and had plenty of time to watch it go by. As it went by, I started to go to it but big Charlie, my dad told me to leave it alone because it was hot as fire and I did.
Going to the races back when one enjoyed the heat, crowds, noise, pollution, cigarette smoke, fumes and drunks was once fun. I really did enjoy it.
Only races going on here is when the Mrs. is into a good book or gone. She’s as apt to watching cars go in a circle, as I am to watch a ballgame.
I still love her.

Murder in Newport


CROSBY– A man was found killed by a gunshot wound to the head inside his relatively new home on Jan. 30 in the 17000 block of South Lighthouse.

Harris County Sheriff’s Homicide Detective Russel Coleman confirms that Christopher Harrell, 32, was found by his mother and father when they went to check on his welfare. The couple had gone to the victim’s house following his supervisor telling his mother that Harrell did not report to work.

Harris County ESD#5 Paramedics received a call at about 10:50 a.m. that Thursday and determined that the victim was deceased.

Law Enforcement sources indicate two shell casings were found on the floor in the house.

A gun safe was found to be open inside the location but the shell casings did not matched any of the guns found at the home.

Detective Coleman would not confirm the number of casings found nor would he indicate the number of wounds on the victim’s body. The detective did confirm that Harrell had lived in the home since October.

According to Coleman, “We are conducting a thorough investigation of this case. At this time we are not close to closing it. We have good leads. We have located all of the man’s friends and they have been very cooperative. We are confident that we will solve this one, eventually.”

Neighbors expressed shock that the quiet and rapidly developing street would be the scene of a violent crime.

New manager heads Crosby ambulances


CROSBY-– The Board of ESD#5 promoted a new General Manager of ambulances for Crosby, Barrett Station and Huffman.

Houston Hooper, an experienced field supervisor is now the General Manager for ESD#5’s pre-hospital emergency services. Hooper brings an impressive resume that includes being a teacher at San Jacinto College, full paramedical certification and years of experience in the Crosby area.

Cary Avey, the former General Manager, remains as a consultant to ESD#5 and still serves as a pre-hospital emergency provider in Crosby. His advise to the board continues to assure a smooth transition as it did in the burgeoning past two years (in which Crosby’s area of service grew to encompass Huffman, while crews coped with transformed entities and began operating at highest levels of service provision.)

Sources say Avey decided to pull back from the overall coordinator position at the present time. It was at Avey’s request and based on extensive hours as of investment and keep all other commitments.

In spite of the boards continued praise of Avey’s contributions, they issued a statement saying, “The changes will in no way alter the course toward improving the service in providing the community with the highest level of pre-hospital care.”

Hooper, a Channelview resident, seemed pleased with the promotion, “I’ve never worked for a better board, they are active and concerned with getting this community the best service possible.”
With Hooper’s extensive service record and qualifications however, one has to wonder why doesn’t he continue working for higher paying services as the City of Houston,

“What I like about working with this crew is that it is all teamwork. Everyone does what they are here to do. We get along without distinction of paid and volunteer staff.”