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Posts published in “Day: July 22, 2004

Controversial replatting of Newport possible

Ramparts wants 239 lots in place of current 163 in Section 8

CROSBY — Newport residents received a letter from the City of Houston after July 6 indicating that the partial replatting of Newport Section 8 subdivision was going to be considered.

A public hearing has been set for Thursday, July 22 at 2:30 p.m. at the City Hall Annex Building at 900 Bagby Street in the Houston City Council Chamber. Crosby lies within the City of Houston’s Extraterritorial Jurisdiction.

Doris Theisen pled for the Crosby / Huffman Chamber of Commerce to help stop the replat at the Luncheon on July 15. Ms. Theisen asked the Chamber for intercession because the replat of 163 property lots into 239 “ would effect far more than that section of Newport.”

The New Newport Property Association held a meeting that Thursday night at 5:00 p.m. and Board President Dan Kasperzk announced that it was decided to enlist the aid of an attorney to express their opinion in a letter, that the replat constitutes a major change, and that it violates the deed restrictions of Newport.

According to Mike Godsey, “It’s really up to the opinion of Nathan Dietrich, the attorney for The Houston Planning and Development Department. He will issue an opinion and the Department will vote on that opinion. He is going to determine if the replat violates the deed restrictions. The deed restrictions say that the corporation has a right to make minor changes for the more efficient institution of improvements. These changes have nothing to do with making more efficient changes in utilities. The roads are the same as they were; the utilities are the same as they had been planned. The corporation can make minor changes to the efficient installation of improvements. In my opinion a 39% increase in land usage isn’t minor.”

On Monday night, at about 7:00 p.m. a meeting was called by Rampart Capital Corporation officials to explain to residents why the replatting would be beneficial.

According to Velma Ellison, “It’s really more complicated than it seems at first, I can see that the replat could be good or bad for property values depending on how the property was used and what was done on those properties.”

Newport Section 8 subdivision is on the Southern end, to the East and West of Via Dora Drive. Part of the proposal is to reduce building lines to 20 feet, and reduce utility easement width to 14 feet.

The application for replatting was done by Truman, Edminster, on behalf of Edminster, Hinshaw, Russ & Associates.

Huffman among districts that must pay for exercise equipment

Now owe $135,000 due to fitness company’s bankruptcy

HUFFMAN — Exercise equipment that the Huffman ISD thought they would be getting for free could end up costing the district as much as $135,700.

Last year, the Huffman ISD entered a three-year lease agreement for 30 exercise stations. The agreement was part of a program created by National School Fitness Foundation called LIFT America. District Superintendent Steve Myers said that under the program, Huffman would be reimbursed for the equipment by the company if they would follow the foundation’s exercise plan and report back student progress.

For nearly a year and a half, the district benefitted from the program, as they were reimbursed $5,900 each month for the equipment.

Then, in April the checks stopped coming to Huffman. National School Fitness filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection as the company and its president Cameron Lewis became the target of federal and state investigations. Lewis resigned his post amid allegations that he embezzled millions of dollars from the foundation.

Myers said that the foundation repaid the district for the first 16 payments, but are now three payments behind. With the payments not coming into the district, Huffman now faces 20 months still due on the equipment lease with no promise of reimbursement.

“The district is evaluating the situation,” said Myers in response to whether or not they will keep the equipment or try to get out of the lease. Myers said that in the end they will likely keep the equipment because of the investment they have already made. Myers added they are talking to their bank about refinancing the equipment.

Despite the recent troubles, Myers said that he was excited about about the program’s concept. “It’s a great program. It just had some financial problems.”

Before joining the program, Myers said they checked with other school districts who were involved and received nothing but compliments about the program.

Among the districts they talked to was Barbers Hill ISD. Barbers Hill had been involved in the program for nearly three years. John Koonce, business manager for Barbers Hill ISD, said that they stand to lose $31,855 for the program. This, he said, is small considering the equipment they bought was valued at $130,000.

Other districts did not fare as well. The Cy-Fair school district stands to lose $650,000, while Pasadena ISD will have make up $200,000 from their budget.

Nationwide, the foundation owes $77.5 million to over 600 districts.

Barrett Homecoming

BARRETT STATION — Residents of Barrett Station had the opportunity to remember the past while looking to the future during this past weeks Homecoming celebration.

On Saturday, following a parade down Crosby-Lynchburg Rd. which featured over 50 entries not counting horse riders and ATV riders, over 800 people attended festivities at the Riley Chambers Community Center.

The center point of the festivities was the unveiling of a community revitalization plan conceived by the Barrett Station Vision Team and Harris County Community and Economic Development Department.

Willie Goodlow, president of the Barrett Station Civic League said that they have been working with the county for the last five months to develop a five-year plan to revitalize the community. Goodlow said that groups within the community have been looking at ways to improve the community for the past seven years and that with the recent partnership with Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Sylvia Garcia they hope to make some progress on some of their top priorities.

Goodlow said that the top priorities are improving drainage, installing lights along the major thoroughfares and improving traffic flow in the community.

One of the biggest problems Barrett Station faces, Goodlow said, is that there is limited road access in and out of the community. If FM 2100 goes down, she said, there is no way for people to get in and out of the area. This problem was demonstrated in 1994, Goodlow said, when a pipeline exploded on the San Jacinto River. Emergency officials shut down traffic on FM 2100, preventing residents from returning home and trapping residents in the community with no way to leave. Goodlow said that Barrett also faces the problem of its streets being too narrow. “There are a lot of places where when school buses drive down the street you have drive on the shoulder or stop and park,” she said.

In addition to infrastructure improvements, the Vision Team also identified housing, education and public safety as issues that needed to be addressed. Preliminary plans for a library, an affordable housing subdivision and landscaping were also discussed.

The need for youth outreach programs and local healthcare facilities were also targeted by the committee. The committee also said they would like to a see a spray park in Barrett. Spray parks have grown in popularity in cities on the last few years due to liability concern with operating a swimming pool.

In each of the five years which make up the plan, specific goals have been set. In year one alone, the committee would like to see street signs installed, a community beautification project which would include landscaping and expansion of existing trash pick-up programs, a homeownership campaign which would not only teach people how to buy homes but assist in down payments and securing home loans and job training.

Estimated cost for year one projects could reach $1 million.

Later that evening, the civic league hosted their annual homecoming reunion banquet. This year, the league recognized of the the community’s senior citizens who have contributed to the community. Among those honored were S. J. Goodlow, Lorenza Goodlow, Earcille Hayes, Ella Eagleton, Mary Martin, Betty Hildreth Addie Barrett Dixon, Earline Eagleton Winn, Annie Shanklin, Steward Barnaba, Harold May, Eula Alexander, Myrtle Armstrong, Rosie Armstrong, Effie LaMark, John E. David, Anita Goodlow. Honorable mentions included: Leatha Collins, Julia Hardy, Willie Anderson and Matt White, Sr.

Tragedy on FM 1942 linked to inattention

CROSBY — It takes only a couple of seconds inattention on area roadways to turn a pleasant ride in the country into a fatality.

At 3:15 p.m. July 15, that premise became a reality for Scott Kirk Caudle. The blacksmith that lived in Baytown was pulling a trailer behind his gray Ford F-250 pickup but was pronounced dead by emergency workers at the scene by the time deputies arrived at 3:28 p.m.

According to the Traffic Division’s description of the accident, the F-250 was travelling in the direction of Crosby when it crossed the center line into the path of a cement mixer headed in the direction of Mont Belvieu.

The force of the collision caused the trailer to become dislodged from the F-250 and it hit the rear of the F-250 and continued Northwest across the roadway to the Southeast side bar ditch.

The cement mixer driven by Luis Fernando Ramirez crossed the roadway and landed on it side on the Northwest side behind the pick-up. Injuries to Rameriz were unknown. He was transported to San Jacinto Medical Hospital by Crosby EMS.

FM 1942 is a link between Mont Belvieu, Baytown, Crosby and Barrett Station. Often the two single lanes seperated by a two foot painted median are used to avoid heavier traffic on other alternates – when speed limits are exceeded dangers are manifold or as one paramedic once said “When there is a wreck on FM 1942 it is usually really bad.”

Crosby Super. gives progress report on construction

CROSBY — When the rains subsided work began in earnest on five construction sites in Crosby ISD. Jerry Bevel of Cre8 Architects reported that all work projected to be completed by the start of school are on time and on budget.

Crosby High has been an ant bed of activity in the last few weeks. The portion of the project remodeling the commons area to accommodate 1600 plus students is in the later stages of completion. In order to do this, the old competition gym was repositioned to become a practice/physical education gym. This work, slated for completion after school starts, will be on time for the opening week. Other work on the high school interior continues.

In addition, the entire roof of the high school has been completed including additional work not anticipated over the commons area.

Drilling of piers for the north academic area and the agricultural facility has begun. Preparation for foundation work on the double storied science/technology wing facing F.M. 2100 has begun. The north student parking lot will be poured during the last week of the month.

Work on Cougar Stadium is progressing. Lights, renovations of ticket stands, concession stands, and restroom facilities are almost complete. The first layer of asphalt on the track has been completed and the surfacing of the track will be complete within two weeks. The drainage of the field surface has been completed. Tons of gravel is being brought in to the field in preparation for the final stage of laying the “field turf” at the stadium. This should be complete by the third week in August.

The final concrete work at the middle school road will be completed at the end of this week and will be cured in two weeks. It will be ready for vehicle traffic before school opens.
Roof, flooring, and Air Conditioning projects at BPS and NES will be completed in the next two weeks. Some minor roof touch ups will continue during the first two weekends after school starts.

The first phase of the Drew Intermediate project will be completed by October 1 as scheduled. The new classroom wing will be complete and the demolition of the old wing will start in early fall. The project has been coordinated with the faculty and administration at Drew and the actual move will be accomplished without loss of school time.

The coordination between Cre8, Braeburn Construction, and CISD has been remarkable. It is hopeful to see groups working together to solve problems instead of pointing fingers. Kudos especially goes to Cre8 President Jerry Bevel, Braeburn Superintendent Carey Hamilton, and Maintenance Director at CISD, Jerry Blizzard.

Superintendent, Dr. Don Hendrix, stated at the July Board Meeting, “The coordination has been remarkable especially in lieu of the super human efforts required to overcome 16 days down time due to rain in June. They have more than made up the ground.”

Going after croakers

Ask any serious speckled trout angler what’s the all around best bait for trophy trout and they’ll answer “live croaker”. This small bait fish is a natural enemy of the speckled trout. It preys on speckled trout eggs.

Croaker looks similar to a small redfish (without the spot). They are available at bait stands along the coast on a daily basis. Shrimpers bring the croakers in each day and sell them as part of their bycatch. The problem is finding them.

Because they are so effective at catching big trout, most guides establish a relationship with bait stand owners. I know of many anglers who have to get to bait stands at 2:00 a.m. to get their croaker. The guides usually show up at 4:00 a.m. Certainly arrangements need to be made with a bait stand well in advance to get your bait.

I fish with croaker a half dozen times each year. Most recently my guide, Captain Bill Sheka, Jr. took me to Baffin Bay where we landed over 100 trout up to 28 1/2 inches long in only five hours!

Sheka’s technique is to fish Baffin’s rock piles (which are now visible) with bright sun and a good set of sunglasses. Simply hook the croaker above the anal fin in the line on the side of the fish, using a specialty Mustad croaker hook. The hook is tied directly to 14 lb. test Fireline. This is a new, no stretch super line that’s perfect for croaker fishing. Use no weight. It will cause the croaker to get hung on the rocks.

The more alive they are, the better. You want them working on the end of your line. Make long casts to the rocks. Allow the croaker to swim freely, then slightly pump the rod, forcing the croaker to have to swim. This will also force the bait to emit a croaking noise that will attract trout. Don’t give the croaker too much slack because it will swim into the rocks and get hung up.

Rod position is a key. Keep the rod tip from the 10:00 – 12:00 position with the reel engaged. When a trout takes the bait, drop the rod top and simply set the hook. There is no need to allow the fish to swallow the croaker, as with monofilament line. Remember, Fireline has no stretch!

Many saltwater anglers believe using croaker for trout kills too many fish. It does kill some if they are allowed to swallow the bait. So use Fireline and make quick locksets. You’ll hook them in the side of the mouth 90% of the time.

Things to remember:

1) Make arrangements early with bait stands for bait.

2) Avoid throwing dead croaker in water. They’ll attract seagulls, which will take your good croaker before it gets under the surface.

3) Keep croaker lively in a good aerated bait well.

4) Prior to casting, hold croaker tightly in hand and shake vigorously. It’ll make it croak more.

5) When croaker become weak, try hooking two on the same hook.

If you’ve never caught a trophy trout, you need to try live croaker. It’ll make a believer out of you!

Catch the Texas Angler locally on or check your local listings for show times. You can also watch Keith Warren on Fox Sports Southwest on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. You can reach the Texas Angler at P. O. 3I0601, New Braunfels, Texas 78131-0601, or visit us online at

Racer killed in St. Louis had local ties and fans


Darrell Russell, Top Fuel driver for Joe Amato Racing, was fatally injured Sunday after a violent crash in the second round of eliminations at the Sears Craftsman Nationals in St. Louis.

The thirty five year old had strong local ties. He resided on his ranch in Hockley with his high school sweetheart and wife of nine years, Julie. His crew chief was Wayne Dupuy, whose father Lynwood Dupuy is Director of Dragstrip Operations at Houston Raceway Park (HRP) in Baytown. Russell has many friends, family, and fans in the local area.

On the HRP message boards, fans are suggesting that the dragstrip at Houston Raceway Park be named Darrell Russell Drive as a memorial in honor of the hometown race champion.

Crosby race fans J. C. and Donna Davis were watching the televised race and found the accident “just unbelievable”. “It really floored us when it happened”, said Mr. Davis. “We have watched him ever since he was Rookie of the Year (in 2001). He was just a good, clean racer, and such a super nice fellow.”

HRP and the local chapter of Racers for Christ (RFC) are jointly planning a memorial and tribute to Russell next Saturday, July 3rd, at 4:00 p.m. The Park will interrupt its scheduled Clobberthon event to remember Russell. Plans are not yet finalized, but
RFC chaplain Ted Jones of Mount Belvieu will participate, and Lynwood Dupuy is also expected to speak.

“Every racer has a passion for racing, and their purpose for being there is to win that trophy. This weekend as Darrell crossed the finish line, he met his destiny, but this time his prize was heaven. And unlike a trophy, this prize is eternal,” commented Chaplain Jones.

Jones also recalled observing Russell as he interacted with children from the Galveston Burn Center last April during the O’Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park. “At that moment, his mind was on the kids, and not on the race ahead. That tells you what kind of man he was.”

Funeral services will be held at First Baptist Church in Tomball at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, July 2nd. Larry Smiley, the National Chaplain of Racers for Christ, will officiate.

“Darrell attended our chapel services, and of course everyone knows about his engaging smile. He had a real love for people,” says Smiley. “I think his faith was behind all that.” The RFC sticker on the racecar was a high priority for Russell, as well as Wayne Dupuy and the rest of the Amato team, according to the RFC chaplain.

A trust fund has been established for the Russell family. Donations may be sent to Darrell Russell Memorial Fund, Partners Bank of Texas, P.O. Box 60369, Houston, TX 77205.

Russell’s dragster went out of control and crashed at over 300 mph as he crossed the finish line on the quarter mile strip. The car appeared to shred a tire after the parachute was deployed, but the exact mechanical malfunction had yet to be determined at press time.

Russell was unconscious but still breathing on his own when he was rescued from the intact driver protection compartment and rushed by helicopter to St. Louis University Hospital. He was pronounced dead from head injuries about two hours later.

Russell was the 2001 NHRA rookie of the year. He was the third driver in NHRA history to win in his first start. He had six career Top Fuel victories, including two weeks ago in Columbus, Ohio.

Russell finished in the top ten for the POWERade points competition all three years of his professional Top Fuel career. He never posted a DNQ in his career, with a qualifying streak of 70 races. He was the number one qualifier in the St. Louis race, with a best elapsed time of 4.511 seconds.

The Star Courrier staff extends our thoughts and prayers to Darrell’s wife, Julie Russell; his parents, Burnell and Gwen Russell; the Joe Amato Racing team; Rob Geiger; and all the race fans in our readership.

Keeping cool with water and no electricity…

Already had to take two baths and it ain’t noon yet. First one was from washing the house eaves and fascia. No power washer, just a Charlie washer.

Actually, I could have simply dried off after that because I was soaking wet. Anyhow some soap didn’t hurt anything.

After that I put on my cleanest dirty blue jean shorts and fired up the gas weed eater. Went all around the house, the shed, back fence and back again. My legs and shorts were covered in splatters of grass. I closed the garage door and got out of the dirty shorts and shirt and hit the showers again.

One cain’t come in the house being that dirty and covered with grass clippings; it ain’t worth it to get the Mrs. all fired up by doing so.

Besides, she ain’t here and I’m the one that would have to clean up the mess.

The Mrs. is above the Mason Dixon Line this week between Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Lancaster County (Amish Country). I’ll be making that trip later on during the year. I drove there last year and would not mind doing it again but the Mrs. ain’t too pleased with that thought. Driving adds four days to my short vacation time as its two days up and two days back; it’s worth it to me to see more of this country.

Do enjoy going to Amish Country and seeing all of that. Even I like to shop there. A most conservative way of life, however, I’m sold on electricity.

A lady friend was telling me of a spring house her grandmother had and how she utilized it to store milk, butter and eggs. It was a small, four walled-building with the roof built over a stream. Water coming from a ground spring was cold water and the room was generally 20 – 30 degrees cooler than outside.

I too have used a stream to keep my drinks cool but that was a long time ago. It works well with watermelons too.

Back as a chap I would go down close to the river with my grandpa, we’d cross a bridge and he would stop the wagon. Walk around a cane break and down to a stream covered with branches and bushes to filter the sunlight out. It was cooler in the little opening and we used the snuff glass kept upside down on a stick to get a drink.

That old wagon was one rough ride as I recall. Steel wheels and one felt every rock in the road. I’d sit on the back and of course back then I did not have much cushioning, ’nuff said.

Take a bath at night meant washing on the back porch or out in the yard under the Mimosa tree with a bar of Lifebuoy soap. They had Octagon soap too.

On the back porch was a shelf with a large hole on one end cut out to hold a bowl. Didn’t need hot water in the summer except for cooking and canning.

Jimmy Lane — Surviving the Hungry Years…

Jimmy Lane, former Crosby resident, West Virginia native, former boxer and now a retired Texan living in Athens, Tex., wrote a book a couple of years ago. “Surviving the Hungry Years,” was published in Huntington, W. Va. I picked up a copy of this paperback at the Crosby/Huffman Chamber of Commerce office earlier this year.

Semi-retired Huntington sports columnist, Ernie Salvatore, wrote the foreword to Jimmy’s book. “Jimmy Lane didn’t look like a ‘hungry’ fighter. His blond, blue-eyed good looks and his flat stomach suggested a different line of work. Movie star, maybe? Far from it. As one of eight Lane children of an often unemployed candy maker, Jimmy Lane was always hungry, whether it was for success in the ring, or for searching for a square meal at a real dinner table with tablecloths and cutlery. He was, in a word, ravenous….”

Salvatore goes on to say “Jimmy Lane’s story is a good one and it’ll take you many places…Above all, he writes the way he fought…openly and honestly, and he scores another knockout. What more can anyone ask?”

It would be easy to go on about the things this sports writer says about Lane but that would only be half the story about the man who lived on the Crosby-Dayton Road for about five years while working for the Crosby ISD. He had already retired once from Tyler Junior College and hung it up again about two years ago when he moved to Athens. His daughter and son-in-law, Phyllis and Jerry Blizzard, continue to reside on that same Crosby-Dayton Road.

Lane was a fighter of note during his younger years. He fought as an amateur in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Illinois for a number of years. He was once the bantamweight Golden Gloves National Champion. Later he turned professional while fighting in New Orleans. For several years he fought in the New Orleans and Houston areas winning far more than he lost. During his career he had 150 bouts from the bantam to welterweight classifications. He won 93 of 100 amateur fights and 43 of 50 professional bouts.

Some of those were in the Houston area where he fought in the old Sam Houston Coliseum. In the “Big Apple” he fought, with distinction, many of the top boxers of his day. He was one of the fighters in the last feature fight held in the old St. Nick’s Arena which has long since been torn down. He believes he fell victim to less than honest judging several times in New York—“three as an amateur and once as a professional.” This fight was one of those one judge voted the bout even and the other two voted for Lane yet the decision went against him.

As a youngster in Huntington, Lane and his siblings were frequently hungry and he tells of this in his book. That didn’t change significantly until he entered the Army. He spent 18-months in Europe and spent much of his time boxing. He toured much of the continent boxing with other soldiers and made an excellent account of himself. He won the Com Z championship that at the time was all of France. Later he won an European Championship.

In my discussions with Jimmy I learned he married a Houston girl 37 years ago who saw him for the first time on television in a bout at the Sam Houston Coliseum. Most of the time he was boxing he also held a full-time job. He worked several years in Houston with Armour Meat Packing in addition to employment at Tyler Junior College and the local ISD position. Now it is only retirement for Lane. His book continues to be available at the Crosby Chamber office at $9.95.

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