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Posts published in “Day: May 6, 2004

Open letter to… that other newspaper

How curious, I thought, as I read the headline at the top of the front page. “Committee scraps original bridge design.” Well, I thought, this was about my work, and I was at the meeting, and the headline is completely wrong. How could that be, I wondered. Perhaps the writers of this article and head just don’t understand the design process, for in fact, we had accomplished exactly what had been asked… getting TxDOT to agree to the design goals of the Chamber’s committee.

After several meetings, with many TxDOT staffers, we had gotten them to agree to several key points:

1. Build a 300 foot long, 25 foot tall highway bridge in the middle of an historical district, that would respect and complement the traditions of Old Crosby;

2. Furnish a railing detail at their expense which will recall small scale, “human size” walkways of the past;

3. Provide wiring and pedestals for the antique looking light fixtures that the community plans to pay for and install;

4. Make provision for a unique paving brick area, with names of donors to the project;

5. Furnish design upgrade features, such as “Lone Stars” and Rustic Stone-like retaining walls at the state’s cost;

6. And we even pushed for and got a prommise of grass (sod or seed) under the bridge, which is usually outside TxDOT’s budget.

And most important to me as a design professional architect, TxDOT had been prodded to look for, and finally suggested at this meeting, an inexpensive existing formwork that would achieve our look.

Sometimes I will get a call about an inaccuracy in our paper, and after listening to the facts, we make what apologies and corrections possible.

In this case, with the parties present at the meeting, and the facts very clear, I can only wonder at the strange reporting that resulted in the headline.

It should have read, and did in the STAR-COURIER, “Chamber works with TxDOT on details.” In fact, as even the state knows, a Design project moves through various phases, with many parties contributing to a final solution. Alternate forms or features are always welcome when they enhance the original intent, as these TxDOT contributions did.

Well, I can only wonder at the headline that misrepresented

Rodeo concert acts announced

CROSBY – This year’s Crosby Fair & Rodeo Show not only will feature quality cowboys but will have outstanding Nashville Entertainers crooning excellent Country & Western Music.

Thursday, June 10, Patrick Murphy will lead for Chris Chitsey after P.R.C.A. Championship Rodeo. This is an exciting lead in to three nights of dust and blood with high caliber singing. Both Chitsey and Murphy are audience centered and highly interactive.

Both are gaining greatest respect for true heart expression.

Friday, June 11, is designated as College Night because the Crosby Fair & Rodeo Board has booked some of the fastest rising stars on the Texas College circuit. Cooder Graw, No Justice and Jason Boland means three lively bands are to bear a plethora of alternative country to the Rock’N C Arena. Alternative Country is much like Rock & Roll with a country flavor.

Saturday, June 12, is the wrap of the PRCA Championship in Crosby, the Rodeo Queen’s Contest but the kick off of some fabulous classic country performance. The stage charisma of Mark Chesnutt alone is worth twice the
price of the ticket, couple that with master guitarist and Western troubadour Jeff Bates and you have a full steam concert for any stage.

[For more about the artists and the shows, please see the paper copy of the Star Courier.]

Commissioner Garcia installs Defibrillators in Community Centers

HOUSTON- When a person goes into cardiac arrest, the response within the first few minutes can determine whether the person lives or dies.

Taking this into mind, Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia has authorized the purchase of 10 Automated External
Defibrillators (AEDs) for installation at county buildings.

These AEDs are designed to be used with only a minimal amount of training and have been shown to be essential in first response first aid situations.

“Our goal is to protect the lives of our citizens and our employees,” said Garcia. “Having defibrillators installed on site, particularly in buildings used frequently by our seniors may help us save lives.”

According to the American Heart Association, “Early defibrillation is often the critical link, because it’s the only way to successfully treat most cardiac arrests. When cardiac arrest occurs, the heart starts to beat chaotically (fibrillation) and can’t pump blood efficiently. Time is critical. If a normal heart rhythm isn’t restored within minutes, the person will die. In fact, for every minute without defibrillation, the odds of survival decrease 7 to 10 percent. A sudden cardiac arrest victim who isn’t defibrillated with 10 minutes has virtually no chance of survival.”

On the east side of the county, AEDs have also been installed at the Highlands/San Jacinto, J.D. Walker and Riley Chambers/ Barrett Station Community Centers, as well as the courthouse annex on Baker Road in Baytown.

A Mother’s Day Wish by Texas First Lady Anita Perry

I hope every day, but especially this Mother’s Day Weekend, Texans take a moment to thank the women who shaped their lives, whether they are mothers, grandmothers, aunts or friends that helped to guide them as they grew.

This weekend flowers, greeting cards and brunches will be given in special recognition of moms. As we take part in this tradition, I’d like to ask Texans to take a moment and also remember the moms for whom this day might not be quite as special.

For many mothers in our state, the celebration of this day can be a painful reminder that their lives and possibly the lives of their children are clouded by domestic violence. Sadly, statewide research shows that 74 percent of Texans have been abused, or know of someone who has suffered abuse. More chilling is the fact that two Texas women every week are killed through acts of domestic violence. Many more are physically or emotionally abused.

Focus group after focus group shows that the first person survivors talk to about an abusive relationship is a family member or friend. However, many Texans, about 35 percent, who learn of a friend or family member’s violent circumstances, do nothing, as they don’t realize how they can help or don’t want to get involved. I have spoken to many sisters, mothers and daughters who said they just didn’t recognize the signs of a loved one’s abuse or paid too little attention until it was too late.

When a friend, family member or a co-worker we know needs outpatient surgery, we offer to drive them home from the hospital. When a family suffers a loss or illness, we bring food to their home. But all too often, when a friend or co-worker shows up with a bruise or acts unexplainably withdrawn, we don’t want to interfere. Domestic violence is not just a private family matter. It is a crime with serious, dangerous repercussions for men, women, children and the entire community.

That’s why our state will soon launch a second phase of an awareness campaign to change the situation – this time focusing on friends, family and co-workers who are in a position to assist victims of domestic violence.

In 2002, with the aid of a $2 million grant from the Office of the Attorney General, the Texas Council on Family Violence launched an unprecedented 16-month, bilingual public awareness campaign to give women trapped in violent relationships, many of whom are mothers, the information they need to seek and obtain help.

“Break the Silence, Make the Call” resulted in a 69 percent increase in English-language calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and a staggering 93 percent increase in Spanish-language calls in its inaugural month. For many women, placing that first call to the National Domestic Violence Hotline was an incredibly important first step in seeking and receiving life-changing assistance for themselves and their family.

In the coming weeks, you’ll see and hear new public service announcements, imploring all Texans to get involved by breaking their silence, making the call to 1-800-799-SAFE or TTY 1-800-787-3224, when a loved one or friend is in need. This Mother’s Day, take time to honor mothers – and honor all Texas women by raising our consciousness to help all mothers celebrate this day as they should: in a home filled not by fear, but love.

A nurse with 17 years in the health care profession, Perry continues to focus on women’s and children’s health issues as Texas’ First Lady.

Gator attacks dog, is pulled from Lake Houston

Experts say alligators abound in lake and San Jacinto River

HUFFMAN-A recent alligator attack on a dog has brought to the forefront the conflict of man vs. nature, forcing residents along Lake Houston and San Jacinto River to keep an extra eye out for the reptiles.

According to reports, Leslie Santiago saw her small dog being attacked by an alligator. She reportedly used a cement brick to injure the alligator and rescue her dog.

Once Texas Parks and Wildlife was alerted to the situation, they called Newsom’s Wild Animal Control to conduct a search and extraction for the alligator.

Jason Newsom said that his company has a contact with Parks and Wildlife to perform nuisance cleanups in local waterways. After a four day search of the lake, which was hindered by weekend rains, Newsom said they located a 7’ alligator which they removed and sent to a farm they own in East Montgomery County. The alligator, he said, will later be introduced into the wild.

During interviews with residents, Newsom said that he was told there another four to six of the same size wer spotted recently. He is currently in discussions with Parks and Wildlife to remove these as well.

Newsom said that it is likely that the alligator he caught was not the one that attacked the dog, noting that it was probably between 3 and 4 feet long.

Alligator are commonplace in the lake and river, Newsom said. “This is their natural habitat. That lake is completely full of them and people have no idea they’re here.” Newsom said that the alligators are relatively harmless, but that interference by people has aggravated the situation. The biggest problem with alligators, Newsom, is that people have begun feeding them which breaks down their natural fear of man.

“People feed the alligators, then they’re [the alligators] not afraid of them and even get use to them (the people),” said Newsom. “That’s definitely not safe for kids.”

Newsom warned that people who use the waterways for recreation have to exercise extra caution, since they can never know when the reptiles are present.

A spokesman for Parks and Wildlife said that the dog attack is unusual and that generally alligators prefer dead prey and they will usually attack only if provoked.

Crosby Softball: Lady Cougars advance in playoffs, face El Campo on May 7th

CROSBY- The Crosby Lady Cougars (9-8, 7-1 in district), who pulled out a win recently over Dayton to take the district championship, will have their next test on May 7 when they face the El Campo Lady Ricebirds in the next rounds of the playoffs.

Crosby will play El Campo at the neutral site of Terry High School in Rosenberg, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

To reach the softball field, fans will need to take Highway 59 South, through Houston, to FM 2218. Then, exit FM 2218 and take a right on B.F. Terry. Go to the second traffic signal, take a left (Ave. N) and the softball field will be on the right.

El Campo advanced to this game by defeating the Dickinson Lady Gators 1-0 last week.

Reader insulted by cartoon on Alamo defenders

To the Editor:

I’m glad I haven’t sent in my subscription renewal. Nothing has ever insulted Texas History nor my President as bad as the cartoon in this weeks paper. I have lots of liberal friends who would not think of anything so vile as this. Do not ever mail me another copy of your paper.

Reader from Newport,

STAR-COURIER Editor responds: The reader was refering to a cartoon on the Opinion Page of the Star-Courier that ran April 27th, depicting the defenders of the Alamo as mimimizing the effectiveness of the Mexican army that they were fighting. It was meant to be judged in the context of the recent Alamo movies and TV productions, and was a tongue in cheek parallel to the war on terrorism in Iraq.

It is our desire that our columns be free for diverse opinions from readers and columnists alike. The cartoon was not meant as a strident condemnation of any current government policies nor the real defenders of the Alamo.

Woke up to a Blackberry winter…

Woke up to a Blackberry Winter this morning by cracky. That occurs after a mid-Spring warming trend is confronted with a few days of cloudy, cold disagreeable weather sometimes with a light frost. So says the WEATHER ALMANAC for May. People also refer to it sometimes as Dogwood Winter.

I read this piece with interest as when I grew up; we had a dogwood tree in our front yard up on the hill. One didn’t mess around much with that tree as my mother was particular about it.

The WEATHER ALMANAC says the dogwood trees are unique in their own way as legend says the dogwood provided the wood for the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. The once strong, tall tree, the legends tell us, was ashamed for its role in Christ’s suffering and begged his forgiveness. Christ absolved the tree of guilt and altered its shape so that forever after it would grow slender and twisted, wood unsuited for a cross of crucifixion. To remind all of the dogwood’s suffering, he formed the tree’s blossoms into a fourpetaled cross with a central “crown of thorns” and petals stained with red.

Sure enough the blossoms on that old tree back in Georgia had what looked like bad spots on the end of each leaf.

Interesting reading in the Almanac, I like it anyway.

My neighbor was walking with me this past week around back of my house and he jumped backed. “There’s a snake,” he said pointing towards the ground and over a bit. I looked immediately and saw one coiled up black with yellow specks on it. “It scared the heck out of me” he said.

He had a piece of pipe in his hand before I knew it. I asked him not to kill it as it’s a King Snake and they eat other snakes. It’s the only snake I will not kill except the grass snake. Have not seen the snake since that time but I do look for it now when I walk back there. The King Snake will not hurt you but will make you hurt yourself.

I don’t want to be picking blackberries and reach over to get one and there’s that snake. I’ll never pick another berry. Speaking of, should be ready to pick berries next weekend. I’m ready to start canning again. Might do some pickles this
year. Having made bread and butter pickles one year that was enough for me. Dill pickles are supposed to be easier.

Gathering up pint jars, a case of pints now cost eight bucks or more. Going to try the seed extractor we picked up in Canton, Texas. It’s a V shaped funnel with a rounded piece of wood used to crush and strain the berries through the sieve.

The month of May marks the 10th year of Two Cents Worth. Surely, I have made somebody smile.