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Posts published in “Day: May 13, 2004

On a diet at the Star-Courier…

ItÕs quite the craze these days, to be slimming down. Popular diets include Atkins, Weight Watchers, Curves, and much more.

ItÕs true in the newspaper industry, too. For many reasons, the large and small newspapers have reduced the size of their pages, some in width only, others in length also. You may notice that this issue of the STAR-COURIER looks slightly different. ItÕs the page width, which has been reduced from 14Ó to 12.5Ó

Did you notice? We are interested in your opinion of the new size, and how the pages will look with a different layout. Also, please remember that we are here to serve you. If you would like to read different material, let us know by letter, email, or phone.

Thanks. And enjoy our new slim look.

Homemade blackberry jam, not jelly, for Mom’s day…

Me and Four Dog ought to be down at Day Lake this morning drowning minnows instead of having to hang around the house all day. Actually water is just below flood stage at Day Lake so that means the snakes are floating around or in the trees. Not to mention the globs of fire ants afloat.

I’ll just sit around here today and do my thing; trust me; there are more things that need be done around here than I care to even think of. One thing I need to do is make use of the large bag of blackberries we picked yesterday; probably got almost a gallon out of the blackberry patch behind the house. I refer to it as my briar patch and they are as sharp as ever this year. The Mrs. said she wants jam and I want jelly, since it’s Mothers Day I suppose I’ll abide by her wants but I’m going to really cull the seeds back in this batch. (Final count of 4 pints of jam)

I was in Wal-Mart a little before 0700 this morning and two guys were walking out with flowers. Seems like every other cart had a flower arrangement so I mosey on over to the floral area and it’s about empty with a lot of ugly stuff left and a few roses which I do not buy. Guess she’ll just have to settle for some homemade jam; homemade in her home no doubt.

My almost 80 year old second cousin and her husband came by for a visit. They are on their way from Hemet, California to Ohio by way of Baytown, Texas, Sarasota, Florida, East Point, Georgia and no telling where else. Her mother and my grandpa were brother and sister so. We visited their home back when one of the twins was in the Marine Corp back in the early 90’s and my Aunt Pearl, also in her 90’s was alive at that time. I asked her what does she contribute to her living so long and she told me she had a drink of whiskey every day.

Interesting to listen to this almost 80 year old cousin and her husband. They met when she was six, he was nine and they were neighbors. Been married all these years.

She was folding towels one evening and I told her not to bother and she proceeded to tell me about the company they had and didn’t want us to think they were like them. She said one of Dan’s old Air Force friends come to visit them once in California. This friend and his wife have lived in Australia forever and stayed with them for a week. Said they did not take a bath the entire time they were there. Geez, I don’t know if I could take that or not but my cuz and hubby were polite about it.

Two accidents horrify Crosby

Sunday night, two auto-pedestrian calls draw LifeFlight, shock

CROSBY — Anyone driving a vehicle, no matter how safe or alertly they think they drive, can hit a pedestrian. That is a good incentive to drive the speed limit and as alertly as possible. Two Crosby men today agonize over having had such accidents on Sunday night, while a Crosby nine year old and a twenty eight year old Dayton man are, as this is being written, fighting for their lives.

Harris County ESD#5 Medics record the time as 6:21 p.m. at the corner of Sealander and Port-O-Call in Newport involving a red truck and a child on a bicycle. The other accident occurred at 8:44 p.m. at the 15,100 block of FM 2100, near the curve in FM 2100, involving a green 1994 Chevy Blazer and a pedestrian. Radio transmissions by emergency services called for immediate Lifeflight helicopter transport to Hermann Hospital due to the patients being, “critical at the scene.”

Witness accounts to Harris County Sheriff’s Dept. indicate that the earlier accident occurred when two boys on bicycles went through a stop sign and the red truck went over the first boy and the second hit the truck’s side.

Curt Ingram and a male passenger had been traveling on Sealander around 6:30 p.m. Ingram had about a month or two of school to go before finishing EMT training and did what he could for the injured boy, preventing others from moving him before medics arrived. Ingram was charged with D.W.I. by Harris County Sheriff’s Dept.

The boy was taken by Life Flight to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition. As of Tuesday, his condition was reportedly stabilizing and was found to have a frontal contusion.

The second accident happened, according to witness accounts, when Jorge Perez of Dayton walked from the parking lot of Sam’s Grocery and Laundry in the Westbound direction into Main Street traffic. Glenroy Jack, 57, of Crosby was driving Northbound and stated he did not see Perez until he walked in front of his vehicle. Witnesses at the scene stated that an altercation between two people had precipitated the accident but no one presented details to deputies.

Mr. Jack was not charged in the incident but reportedly was visibly disturbed by the scene.
The call for help was made by a passerby that saw a body lying in the road.

Schools breaking ground for new construction

Digging at Drew…

Representing their age group, (that will inherit the new facilities) they are breaking ground for renovations at Drew Intermediate School. Right to left they hurriedly stated their names as: Iris Ancency, Destiny Jordan, Hillard Paycheck, Ms. Jenkins, Sarah McCuen, Raysia St. Julian and Cormesha La Day. Drew Intermediate is building additional classrooms, a new science classroom and lab, an added special needs classroom, new flooring, a new roof, a new cafeteria, a new library, renovation of office area including a new entrance, a new mechanical system, a new security system and a new parking area.

CISD Board, staff dig at High School…

Symbolically, the Crosby ISD School Board and staff are shown here kicking off construction of a new, two story outward facing building for Crosby High School. Left to right they are: Dan Kasprzak, C.M. Windfont, Sheryl Shaw, John Lindsey, Principal Debra Franks, President JoAnn Crawford, Superintendent Don Hendrix, Earl Boykin, and John Victor. Crosby High School is on the way to having stadium improvements, new classrooms, a new agricultural complex, a new career and technology wing, a new science lab, expanded cafeteria and commons area, new library, ROTC Instructional area, special needs classrooms, new and renovated restrooms, a new nurse’s clinic, new mechanical systems, and replacement of roof systems.

Emergency services districts ask voters for additional funding

CROSBY – This Saturday an official ballot will be held to determine if local voters would increase the sales tax by one percent to fund local emergency medics and one percent to fund the Crosby Volunteer Fire Dept.

The vote will be held from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Crosby ISD Administration Building (Boardroom) at 706 Runneburg Rd.

The move would increase sales taxes from 6.25¢ per $1.00 purchased or used to 8.25¢ sales tax on a dollar if both measures pass. Emergency Service Districts (ESD) are a local board that regulates taxes for Harris County to provide an emergency service to local areas.

Those opposing increased taxes are polarized from quality demanding voters.

According to Indian Shores resident, John Nobles, “On May 15, ESD#5 and ESD#80 (ambulance and fire departmentsÐCrosby) are asking us to allow them to dig even deeper into the tax payers’ pockets. They are already collecting money from our property taxes —and now they want even more in the form of an additional sales tax for the Crosby area. Considering the obsession that Harris County Appraisal District and its leadership have for artificially inflating our property values, the two ESD units can reasonably expect to see a revenue increase of at least 10% every year. They do not need to add a new sales tax to our already overtaxed budgets. On May 15, Just say no to any new or increased taxes.”

Don Richardson of Harris County ESD#5 Board (ambulance service) indicates however that if the sales tax goes into effect the burden of cost for the medics service and the fire dept. can be spread to everyone buying products in Crosby. In that case he and his fellow board members on ESD#5 can reduce the property taxes from the 3¢ per $100 valuation property tax payers are being taxed.

This reporter caught up with Houston Hooper, General Manager of Crosby medics to press the question of would ESD#5 Ambulance Service go bankrupt if the issue does not pass and what would then happen. Both Hooper and Richardson quote their services attorney as having estimated that the sales tax would increase their service’s revenue by about $100,000 per year.

“Probably later on we would go bankrupt, maybe not now but later on Ð some months down the road. This area would then go up for bids for any ambulance service in Harris County that wanted to provide the service. What you would probably end up with is the lowest bidder. Now the question is, do you want fully trained paramedics like we have now working on every shift or do you want the $6.00 an hour ambulance worker operating on you and your family in time of crisis or critical conditions. The service we have now has full access to Harris County Health Dept. With a phone call I can access immunologists, HAZMAT, I can have doctors come out here of any description if there is reason enough. If another service comes in here they are going to put in just enough personnel to keep the state happy. We are held to a higher standard. We are not only held to a TDH standard we are held to a Harris County Dept. of Health Standard, we are a 911 provider, plus this is such a small community we are held to a higher community standard.”

During the time this reporter has covered this area, tracked reaction times for ambulances has reduced from about 25 minutes to 40 minutes on average for Crosby EMS to about 7 minutes 31 seconds on average for ESD#5 ambulances. “When I was in service in the early 80’s around 300 calls per year was what we expected, now we get 130 to 150 a month. We are growing by leaps and bounds out here. Many of the calls we get are for people passing through it only seems fair that we should shift the tax burden more to those using the service than those who live out here,” stated Don Richardson explaining increasing costs.

When asked how he is spending the money Hooper answers, “Our financial records are open to public scrutiny. Anyone can look at how we spend our money. But their are a lot of expenses that the public doesn’t know about. On a good month we may collect 40% of the amount we bill to insurance companies, that 40% is a great percentage for ambulance services in Harris County. Insurance doesn’t pay like it once did. A private ambulance service would check to see if your insurance was good enough to transport you before they rolled. We transport Medicaid that pays about $56 per transport and Medicare which may pay up to about $400 per transport, a transport can run as much as $1600 in costs to us. Our payroll runs about $30,000 per month for everyone. Plus vehicle fuel, equipment, insurance on each vehicle is about $60,000 per year and everything we use in a patient is disposable.”

Crosby VFD is funded by ESD#80, they collect about 5¢ per $100 property valuation. Last year, Crosby VFD reduced the ISO rating from about 9 to about 4 district wide and thus enabled property owners to reduce their fire insurance premium. That was a record setting reduction for Harris County.

Crosby receives no money from Harris County wide funding, Emergency Service Districts regulate all the tax funding to go to a local entity and taken only from that area. If the issue passes, the sales tax would be effective in 30 days. The money collected from the sales tax would be available in October. The ESD#5 and ESD#80 Boards, all composed of local residents, could then begin to reduce property taxes as each October, the boards must determine the tax rates.

Problems affecting the rising costs of emergency service providers are becoming nationwide. A federal program is being discussed to go into effect in about 2025 to help bear the burden of rising costs and increasingly less reimbursement for emergency services.

Constable warns of roofing scam

CROSBY – Homeowners in various parts of Crosby and Highlands were approached this week by roofers, claiming to represent the well-known Michalsky Roofing business.

In fact, this is not true, according to Constables who are investigating, and the Michalskys. After approaching homeowners, they sprayed a substance on the roof, and then collected some money. The work seemingly had no value, according to those who were fooled by the story.

The two men involved are described in their late 20s, dark complexion, driving a white truck. Report any information to Constable Ken Jones, 281-427-4791.

Some great people live in Crosby…

When God made people He did a marvelous thing! Oh sure, I know he gets upset with us at times, considering some of the things we do. But all in all I think He is proud of His accomplishments with us, the human race. All locations have some great people who are your next door neighbors, a friend at school or at the workplace, the clerk across the counter at your local store or the person sitting next to you in church.

Linda and I have found Crosby is full of them. I want to mention four of them now in no particular order.

Jim and Georgia Hayes, Newport residents, are two of the first we met and they have become close friends these past three plus years. They are close to the SpringerÕs age bracket and have become a second family to our son, Dave, who resides a couple of doors away. The HayesÕ have been more than helpful in Òshowing us the ropesÓ in the neighborhood and in the area. They have had us in their fine home on some occasions and are the first ones we call when Dave is in need and we are sitting over 1,200 miles away.

GeorgiaÕs hometown is Frisco, Tex. A year or so ago I did a column for the two West Virginia papers that print my column weekly, concerning a book that had been written by a Houston newspaper reporter about Frisco and environs. Give them a big ÒhowdyÓ the next time you catch them away from the golf course. We look forward to seeing their bright and shining faces whenever we land in Newport.

Steven Jackson is a fine man. We know him only as one who breaks bread with us frequently at the local MacDonalds. Like the two of us, Steven is retired and has time to sit back and smell the roses and spend time with his fellow men. We happen to be two of them. Steven lives on Barrett Road and is retired from the Solid Waste Dept. in Baytown.

When we first saw Steven he was seated in a chair just inside the South door of MacDonalds breaking out with a big smile and a Ògood morningÓ to those who pass his table. He is at the same table so often I have asked a couple of times if he pays rent for that seat and table? His smile is contagious and if you walk in feeling a bit down a few minutes with Steven and you are at your peak. We have chosen to sit at the next table a few times just to be exposed to his tales of the area.

The last for this column is one Joan Pyle whom we found early in the game is a former West Virginian who has resided in Crosby for a number of years. The first column I wrote for the Star-Courier contained my e-mail address and she was the first person to send me a note saying she had read it. I hope there are more of you out there who are reading these few words.

We met Joan a day or two after arriving in Crosby. We happened to attend church that Sunday at the Crosby Methodist Church and she talked with us for a few minutes after church. That afternoon she was the first to visit in DaveÕs new home and we spent an hour or two talking about Crosby and, of course, how things were going back in the Mountain State. She may be a Texan now but she is Mountaineer Proud.

I may tell you of a few more Crosby area friends later.

Such are the people, places and things that have touched my life in my West Virginia home!