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Posts published in “Day: January 8, 2004

Waiting in the Atlanta Airport

Spent two hours sitting inside Concourse C @ Atlanta Airport this morning waiting on my airpane. That’s how little Toby says airplane.

Sat on a front row seat facing the lobby and admired the traveling folk. Got an eye full too as I like to sit, watch, and observe people. Been nice to have one of my buds around to talk about the folks as they passed.

One load of folks came in from cold country because they were holding big coats. It was 57 in Atlanta this morning when I got up and not big coat weather inside that large airport.

For the life of me, I cain’t see how some female women wear those raised high heel shoes with a five or six inch heel with a two inch sole. It’d kill me to walk that far with them thangs on my feet and the Atlanta airport ain’t no small place. Seems like each Concourse is as long as a drag strip and there are three of them I do believe.

I was observing the gait or strut of people: Ladies walking lady like, men walking like a man. There were some runners too going to their gates due to their delayed flight.

One dude was all decked out in black with his walk and hands pointing around like a rap singer as he strutted along.

Lots of wheelchairs and those golf cart busses beeping, trying to get people out of their way. I walk on the right side and they can go around me.

People kept their children close at hand and I would too. It would make a child cry to get lost in that place. Dog tags would not be a bad idea.

This person in a sports jacket sat down in the row of seats next to me and then laid down. I kept waiting for security to come by and tell him to sit up, but none ever did or showed up. Three seats, a table thing and his foot on the next seat: long man indeed, in my book. He lay there for an hour at least. That’s rude and shows his ignorance.

Mind you, I was sitting in the seats that had a wheelchair and a circle around it as I am qualified to do so.

Numerous persons sat in the seat next to the seat next to me. Don’t think they were actually qualified to sit there but maybe they thought I was not either.

Lots of nice blue jeans walking up the aisle to passenger pick up and baggage claim, some with their bellies showing and some with meat hanging out over the jeans too.

About 30 minutes before they announced my flight, I went to the multi commode/urinal room, and then thought I’d get an Atlanta paper before the flight. Boy could the Summit have taken a lesson on how to build a head. Other sports arenas could do the same. No waiting in line in one of those at the Atlanta Airport.

Went back to my seat and it was taken. Matter of fact, my whole row of seats was taken. Big boy was still stretched out over 3 seats and a table and his foot was still resting on the end seat.

Here I am with a pound or two of newspaper and my new little carry on with a jar of fig preserves and a jar of pear preserves plus my sport coat was inside the handle and all the other stuff my aunt put in for me.

I went up and banged my newspaper on big dude’s foot to wake him up. He looked up and sat up in his seat. He was either sleeping good or had one fine hangover because he went back to sleep with his head in his hand.

Constable Ken Jones’ expanded coverage area includes Huffman, others


BAYTOWN – Precinct III Constable Ken Jones’ deputies now range North to the Montgomery County Line and include all of FM 2100.

A Commissioners Court ruling enacted Dec. 1 expanded Precinct III against Liberty County Line up to the Montgomery County Line for Precinct III Constable Ken Jones. This expansion allows Jones’s deputies to patrol Huffman.

According to Chief Deputy David Franklin, the new boundary goes to the middle of Lake Houston and forfeits the West of Lake Houston to Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman. The southernmost portion of Precinct III is still the Ship Channel. The new precinct goes up Green’s Bayou to US 59 to Old Humble Rd. and to Beltway 8, North of Beltway 8 now belongs to Precinct 4.

In addition to increased territory to patrol Jones’ Law Enforcement responsibility has increased to a new school district, Dayton ISD has now contracted for a Sergeant and two deputies patrolled by Precinct III. That is in addition to Crosby ISD, Galena Park ISD and Sheldon ISD.

Among subdivisions that are now patrolled by Precinct III, Jones has increased his responsibility over Highpoint with a two deputy contract and Summerwood remains in his patrol. Other subdivisions under Jones protection include Indian Shores, King’s Lake Forest, Newport, Parkway Forest, Pine Trails, San Jacinto River Authority and Sterling Green.

Since having taken office with the retirement of Constable James Douglas, Jones has expanded his Patrol Division, initiated a Marine Division, initiated a Mounted Patrol, expanded the Reserve Division and initiated an Internal Affairs Division.

Local candidates finish filing for office at deadline


EAST HARRIS COUNTY—While the final decision on Texas congressional districts is in the hands of the judicial branch, county and state races have already begun to take shape for the March party primaries.

A number of local candidates have filed for spots on their respective ballots. Topping the list of county races will be Crosby’s Mike Stafford who is seeking reelection as county attorney. Harris County Sheriff Tommy Thomas, a Republican will face either John Shike or Paul Day in the November General Election. He will face Democrat Guy Robert Clark in November. State Rep. Joe Crabb, a Republican, will face Democrat Charlotte Coffit in November. While no Republicans have filed, Constable Ken Jones will have a challenge from within his own party from L.R. Rush.

District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal will have no opponent in either race. Also unopposed in their reelection bids are Judge Mike Parrott and State Senator Tommy Williams.

Races will get a little dicey at the federal level. During the filing periods Congressmen Chris Bell (D-25) and Nick Lampson (D-9) filed for their old seats. However, if the judges rule that the redistricting maps will stand then neither candidate will be able to serve in the same area as both numbers have been reassigned to other parts of Texas. There is speculation that if this occurs, Bell will seek a different district in central Houston.

Under the new map, Crosby and Highlands would fall under the 2nd Congressional District.

Mark Henry, A. Hassan and Ted Poe have filed as Republicans for that district. Since the decision is still under consideration the Texas Secretary of State has granted a filing extension. Under the extension, candidates who have already filed under the old boundaries will be given until Jan. 16 to file in the new districts. Due to a possibility of residence eligibility coming into question, candidates who re-file for the new districts do not have to live in the district on the date of filing, but must move into the district before the primaries.

Texas Sports Ranch hosts Regional Tumbling event


CROSBY – The first meet to determine who will represent the United States in the Olympics in the newest Olympic category will be held here this month.

On January 24, Texas Sports Ranch will host a regional Trampoline & Tumbling event that is the first of several meets to determine who will go on to qualify for the Nationals in Tampa, Florida.

Two hundred fifty athletes from Level 5 to Senior Elite Power Tumbling will be participating here on equipment ranging from 120 foot rod floor, fly guys trampoline and double mini-trampolines.

Many of the athletes that went to the world competition in Germany last August will be on hand competing to retain their shot at competing internationally. These include: Jose Hernandez of Boerne, Texas, who competed in Hannover, Germany in 2003 and Odense, Denmark in 2001 both events in Power Tumbling; Jaime Strandmark of Houston trains at Texas Sports Ranch; she will present awards. Jamie Strandmark works for NASA’s Johnson Space Center for the Shuttle and International Space Station Planning Group and plans to be an astronaut one day. Jamie went to Hannover last August, Ostend, Belgium for the World Cup and Oakville, Ontario for the Canadian Cup in 2003 for Trampoline.

Power Tumbling competition starts early in January and includes athletes age 5 and up to determine who will make up the national team.

Power Tumbling takes place on elevated spring runways to enable tumblers to propel higher than a basketball goal as they demonstrate speed, strenght and skill while executing a series of acrobatic maneuvers. Top-level contenders perform explosive somersaults with multiple flips and twists.

Trampoline competition is done on equipment that can propel an athlete 30 feet into the air during performances. A graceful array of double, triple and twisting somersaults can be expected in competition during two competitive routines of 10 skills.

Synchronized Trampoline adds the element of precision timing between two atheletes using two trampolines. It has been dubbed the most artistic event in sport as two perform 10 skill routines in mirror image.

Double Mini-Trampoline combines horizontal run of tumbling with verticle rebound of trampoline. After a short run, the athlete jumps onto a small two-level trampoline to perform a rebound trick immediately followed by a dismount onto a landing mat. Double Mini is simular to springboard diving, using a mat instead of water.

New 911 problems vex Highlands folk


HIGHLANDS – Residents recently cited problems with the 911 Emergency Call system and prompted actions to alleviate those problems.

The day before Christmas Eve, a Highlands woman was victim of a burglary but she was informed that the 911 Dispatch Operator couldn’t find her home on their Key Map, and on Christmas morning, a long time Highlands resident ended up taking his wife to San Jacinto Methodist Hospital while she was having a heart attack after a 911 Operator began asking what seemed to the resident to be inappropriate questions.

According to Deacon Tittle, Assistant Chief of the Highlands Volunteer Fire Department, “We were unaware of any 911 problems until informed of these recent incidents, it seems that the problems we had a couple of years ago (when Alton Netherland’s house burned and no one could get through to us) have been corrected.”

Mendy McGhee returned from work and found her home had apparently been burglarized, the door was kicked in and the door frame broken. She dialed 911 on her cell phone and loaded her kids back into her van.

“You hear so many stories about someone returning home after a burglary, they go inside and are killed or something because the burglar is still there.” she said.

But, when speaking with the 911 Dispatch Operator, McGhee was stunned to hear that they were unable to find her location on the Key Map.

“I gave them lots of directions but they still couldn’t locate me on the map. I called my dad and he went to Gerlands Grocery Store and got a Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy (that was patrolling in the parking lot) to follow him to my house.”

The deputy informed her that 911 Dispatch was sending units to her address on Gray Street in Houston.

Harris County Patrol District 3 said they have updated their maps to now include Center Street and Gray Street. The District’s communication director had said that if the caller had been using a land-line phone instead of a cell phone,then Harris County could trace the call’s location.

The Greater Harris County 911 Emergency Network attributed the error to District 3 Patrol “probably didn’t know the area.”

“They asked me if it was a new subdivision because it wasn’t on the map but I told them I had grown up on this street. It has been here since I’ve been around. I also asked them what would happen if the burglar tried to get me while I was on the phone and they told me to stay on the line that nothing would happen to me if I stayed on the line. I said, ‘Yeah, right.’”

The Star-Courier discovered that Gray Street in Highlands was listed in the index of streets as being on Page 480 but it should be listed as Page 460 instead. There is no Page 480 in the Key Map. The streets and areas around Gray St. that McGhee was directing them to are listed on Page 460-S. It was a typo – not nearly so complicated as a system breakdown or incompetent patrol units.

“I want the problem resolved, I don’t want this to happen to someone when their life is in danger.” said McGhee.

Johnny H. Marsh and his wife awoke Christmas morning and she reported having chest pains. Marsh indicates his wife is one that seldom complains so when she told him to ‘Get me to the hospital,’ – Marsh took it seriously. He gave her two aspirins and dialed 911.

“The guy on the 911 System started asking me too many weird questions. He acted like he was mad at having to be at work that day.” said Marsh.

The former combat medic back in 1966, Marsh, recalled, “He asked me ‘Are you two fighting? Have you been drinking?’ We weren’t but that had nothing to do with the situation – what we needed was an ambulance and I told him so. Then he asked me if my residence was a turn-key business and what was going on and again, if we were fighting or drinking. I finally said ‘I’m taking her to the hospital.’’’

“He then told me I couldn’t take her because we needed an ambulance. I said, ‘That’s what I’ve been saying but to hell with you we’re going to the hospital, you can send someone to escort us to San Jacinto Methodist in Baytown.” said Marsh.

Marsh recalled that at 6:45 a.m. his wife awakened. He placed the 911 call at 7:10 a.m. and by 7:15 they left the residence. At 7:30 a.m. they were at the hospital getting treatment.

“I was very impressed with the doctors at San Jacinto Methodist, they started working on her the minute we got there. The doctor ran an E.K.G. and said, ‘She’s still in cardiac arrest.’ They later told me she was going to make it but they said if it had been ten more minutes before she was treated, she wouldn’t have. They flew her to Hermann Hospital and in 20 minutes they had put in a splint. Then they discharged her back home out of C.C.U.”

Finding the right materials for your home


Living environments do affect your health and general well being. Design elements, lighting, spaciousness and finishes can provide a warm and inviting home.

Building materials can cause physical reactions in some people that out weigh all emotional benefits of building a new home. If a few cost effective steps are taken, your new custom built home can even benefit your general health and state of mind.

Formaldehyde is prevalent in many building products, and can cause head aches, provoke allergy disorders and other physical symptoms. Tight construction techniques can trap these chemicals and result in increasingly strong concentrations over time.

Products such as “OSB” board or panicle board have several times the levels offormaldehyde used in most plywood. Most commonly used for roof decking, OSB is being, used more and more as a wrap for the entire house. Even if materials are hidden in walls or on the exterior surfaces, they can still affect the interior living, spaces at some point. The secret is not to completely eliminate, but control the levels of exposure to them.

Latex paints are less toxic than oil based enamels. Paint manufacturers are now making low or no Volatile Organic Compound (VOC ‘s) products available for reasonable prices. VOCs are actually a class of carbon based chemicals that have the capacity to rapidly evaporate. Once airborne, many VOCs have the ability to combine with each other, or with other molecules ill the air to create new chemical compounds.

Pest control is a fact of life in the Gulf Coast area. You will need to take some form of affirmative action to prevent or eliminate these little visitors. Traditionally most people ase a monthly service to spray pesticides along the baseboards, door openings and wet areas of the home interiors. Though this is the most effective control method, it can also have the greatest effect on your health, pets, carpets and finishes. Chemicals can cause discoloration and deterioration of flooring materials over time, especially when combined with direct sun exposure.

The latest approach is an in-the-wall pest tube delivery system linked to an exterior inlet valve. The pest control service plugs hoses into me exterior jack and sprays powders into all garage and house perimeter wall cavities. No chemicals are sprayed directly into the living space. This is the option that BetterBilt Homes has chosen and installs this system during the framing stage. The system is relatively new and long term reliability is in the process of being proven.

Other natural products can also reduce the use of toxic chemicals on grass and landscaped areas. This is especially important when pets and small children can touch chemical residues and ingest the products even months after application. Pine straw and
other natural mulches can control weed growth in lieu of herbicides, if proper thicknesses are used.

Interior air quality can be improved by electrostatic filters that run by air friction and static electricity. These can be washed and reused on a weekly or monthly basis.

Other special air purifiers can scrub the air to eliminate specific air quality problems for certain people. Window coverings, carpet and upholstery can harbor high concentrations of dust and mold. As the air is stirred these irritants trigger other related allergies and illnesses. If you have specific health issues you deal with regularly, consult your doctor for specific recommendations that could best benefit you. Central vacuums can exhaust dust filled air directly outdoors. Hard surface flooring such as ceramic tile or hardwood floors have historically benefited those with inhalant allergies. Concrete driveways are safer for the health conscious. Asphalt is a petroleum based product Just like Formaldehyde and pesticides.

Excellent volumes have been written on more extensive and costly methods of healthy construction. Personal experience has proven these above recommendations to be cost effective and well worth the effort. The lush vegetation attracts many new residents fit each year to this area. Many are not used to the pollen, moisture and chemicals that support the unparalleled natural beauty of the Gulf Coast areas. A few simple precautions can often help a more sensitive person to fully enjoy their new home environment; and feel even better as a result of building!

BetterBilt Homes will continue to study the effects of building products on those who live in the homes and adjust our building standards accordingly.

Got a question or comment? Please feel free to visit www.betterbilthomes. corn or email me at

Common questions and issues will be discussed in future columns.

Scott Siple
General Manager
BetterBilt Homes