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Posts published in “Day: June 5, 2003”

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

By LEWIS SPEARMAN

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

By BOBBY HORN JR.

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

By BOBBY HORN JR.

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

By LEWIS SPEARMAN

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

By BOBBY HORN JR.

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.