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Posts published in “Day: June 17, 2004”

Crosby Rodeo wraps up a successful 58th annual fair

Grand Champion steer sells for $9000; over 5000 attend; total proceeds over $131,000


CROSBY– The 58th annual Crosby Fair & Rodeo is just history now, but it wrote a strong chapter in the book of this traditional event.

Seven performing groups attracted over 5000 people to the Rockin C Arena over three nights last weekend, and the Livestock Show & Sale, which raises money for the FFA and the 4-H projects, raised over $131,000 and had almost 100 exhibits, a strong showing.

The top buyer this year was the Jamail family, who spent over $12,350. They have supported the event for many years. The Grand Champion steer was purchased from Miranda Johnson, for $9000 by Crosby resident Scott Stephens. Johnson had named the steer Superman because of his strong showing in the ring. She will attend Texas A & M to continue her studies, in flora culture.

Another outstanding purchase was made by long time supporter of Crosby High School activities, Annie Michalsky. She purchased the silver Belt Buckle, an important show tradition, for $2000 in memory of her husband, Bobby, who died last year helping at a high school football game.

More than 120 members of the FFA/4-H participated in the show, which raises funds for 5 to 7 college scholarships of $2000 total each year.

Performers this year included Chris Chitsey and Patrick Murphy, bands No Justice, Cooder Graw, and Jason Boland/the Stragglers, and the final night saw Jeff Bates and Mark Chesnutt.

More information and photographs of all the events can be seen in this issue of the STAR-COURIER, on pages 3,4,5,6 and 12, including full color photos of some the Grand Champion winners.

Highlands Chamber marks installation of new officers, board with vigor and plans

HIGHLANDS – The Greater Highlands Chamber of Commerce is alive and well, was the message last Thursday at their installation luncheon. Hosted by outgoing president Charlie Farrar, a new board was installed and new officers sworn in by Judge Mike Parrott.

Also taking place was the recognition of outstanding public safety officials from the fire department and law enforcement agencies.

Secretary Nancy Simpson gave a history of Farrar’s accomplishments in one short year, and how he can be credited with reviving the dormant chamber.

The new board consid of Gary Anderson, Margie Elliott, Ramona Jones, Harvey Little, Reba Rachal, Mark Taylor, Doug Dodds, Tommy Hathaway, Lynn Kemplay, Linda Palmer, Judy Robinson, and Jim Wadzinski. Officers and members of the board include President Roy Elliott, Phillip Morris 1st VP, Vern Miller 2nd VP, Nancy Simpson Sec., and Jessica Woods, Treasurer.

Awards were presented to Harvey Little, Fire Dept.; Scott Keller, Sheriff’s Deputy; Gregg Board and Capt. Gary Jones of Constable Ken Jones office.

The new president, Roy Elliott, gave an outline of new programs and fund raisers to lead into a strong, successful year.

Highlanders injured in crash

HIGHLANDS– Five employees of the Gerland’s Food Fair market were seriously injured in an auto accident last Friday night, according to reports.

Driving to a social event along I-10 west, their suburban van swerved to avoid some debris, and went out of control near the McCarty exit, rolling over several times. The accident occured about 9:30 in the evening.

Taken to Ben Taub by Houston EMS were the five young adults in the van. At press time, several had been treated and operated on for serious injuries. No other details were available.

Juneteenth in McNair June 4-20

MCNAIR— The McNair community’s nine-day Juneteenth Celebration continues this week with a series of nightly events held at the Edna Mae Washington Park and J.D. Walker Multi-Purpose Center. The celebration is being hosted by McNair Atomic Lodge #327. The celebration actually began on June 4, when the High Twelve Club hosted the Miss Juneteenth 2004 Pageant.

The theme of this year’s pageant was “Passion of the Black Woman” and was coordinated by Erica Nichols, a student at Texas State University.

Competing in the areas of casual wear, talent and evening gown were NaQuita Lewis, Charity Hebert, Bianca Berrott, Charnea Washington, Sharetta Joseph, Michaella Henderson, Teclesha Blanchard and Shamika King.

At the the close of the pageant Blanchard, a 17-year old student at Robert E. Lee High School, was named Miss Juneteenth.

On June 12 and 13, Juneteenth plays were held at the community center. This was followed by an Apollo Night on June 15 and an Appreciation night on June 16.

The festivities continue June 17 with a Jazz Poetry Night at 7 p.m. and McNair Masonic Family and Friends Gospel Extravaganza on June 18 at 6:30 p.m.

On Saturday, June 19 there will be a parade, beginning at 10 a.m. The parade will begin at the community center and head west on Battlebell, later traveling on Thompson and Jones Road, back to Broad St. and north on Whiting to end at the center. After the parade there will be a celebration in the park with music, games, food and arts and crafts booths.

The parade will be preceded by a community breakfast at 7 a.m. On June 20, the festivities conclude with a church fellowship at 2 p.m.

County wants 2 new boats, will curtail service hours

LYNCHBURG— In an effort to fight rising operation costs, Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia has cut back operating hours at the Lynchburg Ferry.

Beginning June 28, the ferry will be closed from 8:15 p.m. to 4:30 a.m., the equivalent of an 8-hour shift. The closure is expected to save the county approximately $200,000 a year says Mark Seegers, spokesman for Garcia. Seegers added that the employees who normally work that shift will be reassigned to other county jobs.

The decision to close the ferry follows a report requested by commissioner’s court last year which recommended the partial reduction in services as well as buying two new boats. At one time, commissioner were questioning the possibility of closing the ferry altogether, which prompted the report.

The cost of replacing the boats has been estimated at $2.5 million.

Last year, the ferry was closed for three months while the county spend $830,000 to repair and repaint the ferries, the William P. Hobby and Ross S. Sterling, as well as conduct repairs at the north and south landings.

Seegers said that by docking the two boats for eight hours a day they can extend their life until a decision about their future can be made.

By limiting the hours, the county is cutting off a main connection between Interstate 10 and Highway 225.

During the closure hours , Seegers said that there are three alternate routes that motorists can use to get from one freeway to the other: the Washburn Tunnel, the Beltway 8 toll bridge and the Fred Hartman Bridge.

According to workers, the closure will also help eliminate the problem of intoxicated drivers driving off the landings into the ship channel. Twice this year, cars have been driven into the channel with the driver later charged with DWI. Both incidents occurred during the time period in which the ferry will later bee closed. This most recent incident happened on June 11, when Ruben Sandoval, 28, drove his convertible into the channel just after 9:30 p.m.

A witness to the accident, Alberto Morales, dove into the water and rescued Sandoval’s 4 and 9-year old sons who were in the car. Sandoval was later arrested and charged with felony DWI.

The Lynchburg Ferry has been in operation since 1822. Harris County took over operation of the ferry in 1888.

A BIZARRO page from my notebook. Or why I always carry a camera.

Rule number one for a reporter or editor: Always carry your camera, ready to take a picture.

An event on Monday afternoon of this week serves to illustrate the wisdom of this advice: On a routine errand, driving down Westpark Drive, I happened to notice several ramps to the new Westpark Tollway were closed off by Constable and Police Cars. As curious as a newspaper person can be, I drove around another way to get a view of what might be happening. Was I surprised.

There standing on top of a 170’ tall electric transmission tower, was a man, balanced perfectly with no support.

Pulling into a parking lot, I found a lot of others watching, too. “What’s happening?’ I astutely asked, and learned that this man had climbed the tower over 4 hours earlier, and now the police, sheriffs, constables, Houston rescue squads, SWAT team, Houston Fire Department, ambulances, and even the federal terrorism authorities had gathered to watch and figure out what to do about it.

The electric company, which is now known as CenterPoint Energy, was also on hand, since it was their tower. They had the good sense to shut off the 345,000 volts that were pulsing through the lines only a few feet away from the man. They also were smart enough to have two trucks that could reach the top of the tower if needed. One had a height reach of 170’, the other 200’ feet tall.

Let me tell you, that is a long way up, looking from the ground. I can only imagine (no I can’t) how high it must have looked to that man, staring down in such a stoic way.

What was he thinking or feeling? What was his ultimate intention? The hundreds gathered below, curious, worried, or entertained, didn’t know. The first thought was that he would jump, but I am glad to say no one on the ground wished that for him. Was he trying to damage the electric line? He had plenty of time to do that before I arrived, so it must have been some other motive.

I was there several hours, not knowing how this would resolve itself, and hoping that my prayer and presence would bring some since.

The authorities either didn’t know how to deal with him, or they did. Besides talking to him in Spanish through a bullhorn, the only other thing they tried was to gather a lot of men and equipment, perhaps in a show of authority.

Anyway, the man moved around a bit, climbed partway down and then back up. Took off his shirt, put it back on.

Why?

We don’t know. The authorities finally decided that the best plan was to show him they had no interest. They began to pull their equipment away, they had ordered the helicapters to stay away, and at some point this climber decided his show was over, and he came down.

I must say, at that point he was treated by the Houston Police with care and concern.

Reportedly he told them he was depressed, had no job or legal papers, and saw no future. He was taken to a phsychiatric hospital for exam, but at this writing has not been charged with any crime.

So there is an unusual, but perhaps not too untypical, day in the life of a newsman.

Crosby VFD’s response to accidents often a necessity

Response to Mr. Price comments/article:

I have the following reponses to Mr. Joe Price’s comments that were in the Star Courier.

The CVFD is called when Law Enforcement Officers are called to a vehicle accident. The CVFD members provide Hazmat services, traffic control and equipment to remove injured victims from vehicles. The Law Enforcement Officers are not trained in Hazmat Services while the CVFD members are trained. The CVFD members spend many hours of training in Hazmat at ‘no’ cost to the taxpayers. The Law Officers do not carry ‘Jaws of Life’ or other equipment to open a damaged vehicle to remove injured parties so the CEMS can provide assistance and tend to any injuries.

The CVFD and CEMS members spend many, donated, fee, hours in training so that we the remainer of the public will be safer and or provided with their services. Both organizations require this training!!

Mr. Price is very uninformed of VFD & EMS requirements by the state. Mr.Price should attend CFVD and CEMS Board meetings to ask any questions and become better informed.

Also Mr. Price would learn that CVFD worked very hard and with much volanteer hours to provide facilities, equipment,services and members to lower Homeowner Insurance rates in the district. That means for all of us. He should contact his homeowners insurance provider.

I have been a CVFD Board member for many years and these volunteer Firemen have always been dedicated to the community in their actions and dedication. They have spent many of their free time hours to see the District has up to date facilities, equipment and training to be a TOP NOTCH Fire Dept.

ROBERT H. ROBERTS, PE
CVFD Board Member

Reader enlightened by letters about ESDs

To the Editor:

The past few weeks I have been reading your “Letters to the Editor” and became concerned regarding Crosby’s EMS and Fire Department. I must admit, I have never, in the 13 years I have lived here, given any though to these Departments. Probably, because I have been fortunate enough to never have had a need for these for them. I had always assumed out Fire Department was paid. As a resident of Crosby and homeowner in Newport, I decided it was time to educate myself on these organizations. I have found that the majority, if not all, of the blatant accusations being written are totally unfounded.

EMT’s, I believe Mr. Houston Hooper’s Letter to the Editor spoke volumes. Allow me to reiterate “…our vehicles are not equipped with X-ray machines…” These EMT’s are not Doctors and when it comes to my personal safety I would rather them “err on the side of caution” also.

The Crosby Volunteer Fire Department consists totally of volunteers. The Fire Chief and his Safety Officer place all volunteers through extensive training before they are released to “run” calls. Many of Crosby’s volunteer firemen are full-time firemen in the surrounding areas. Fire trucks are dispatched to motor vehicle accidents through the Harris County Dispatch Services. Usually, when a fire truck has been requested it was by the initial 911 caller. If there is a fire truck on scene there is a reason for them to be there, whether Joe Q. Public is aware of it or not. Entrapped passengers, First Aid, oil leaks, and gas leaks, are among the few reasons that the Fire Department may be needed.

As for the complaints regarding dispatchers. These dispatchers dispatch for 16 departments, the entire East Harris County area, and some West side areas. They are located on Beltway 8 by I-45. These dispatchers are from all over Houston and the surrounding areas, how can you expect these dispatchers to know the difference between Reidland Road and Reidland Avenue, they are not residents of Crosby. These dispatchers type in the address given them, ore the cross street, and the computer automatically communicates the Key Map Number. Despite their extensive training, they can only rely on the information given them by the caller. Harris County Dispatch is paid by each department they cover on an annual basis based on the number of calls they dispatch.

These are volunteer firemen and some EMT’s. No matter what time of day or night, these brave men and women are leaving their families (and sometimes their jobs) in an attempt to get to their station as soon as safety possible. I personally have seen these volunteers in their personal vehicles with their lights flashing and most drivers are not considerate enough to move to the shoulder. I have often wondered, if it were their home, or their family member in a car accident would they give them the right-of-way?

After educating myself on these two wonderfully dedicated departments I am now in favor of the sales tax increase. There is no price too high for the protection of my family and loved ones and $.02 for every dollar I spend in this wonderful community is not too high a price to pay.

To Mr. Joe Price, thank you for your letter enlightening me on my ignorance, I hope I have paid the favor in return.

Candice Richter,
Crosby Taxpayer