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Posts published in “Day: May 3, 2007”

Crosby’s Palais Royal opens for business

By LEWIS SPEARMAN
CROSBY – Palais Royal entertained a regal reception of area residents on April 18 when their Grand Opening featured gifts for the first 150 customers and huge savings preceded by a ribbon cutting from the Crosby / Huffman Chamber of Commerce.
According to Amy Patton, store manager, “We are excited the area has really come out for this store. The staff are very excited and really worked to get it ready so they could see the final product. The customers were lined up out into the parking lot to get in and shop.”
Melissa Bakey, District Manager, said, “The turnout has been overwhelmingly a success. We are very excited to come to Crosby. Excited as everyone has been happy to have us and we love to come into new communities. Everyone has been wonderful from day one.”
Palais Royal has 656 stores in 33 states and specializes in name brand apparel, accessories, cosmetics and footwear for everyone in the family.

Early voting begins for amendment, bonds

EAST HARRIS COUNTY—Early voting is now underway for a Texas Constitutional amendment as well as $20.5 million bond package for Huffman ISD patrons.
For the amendment, voters will have the opportunity to mark their ballot on an issue that should be of interest to anyone who is, or one day will be 65 or older.
“Last year during the 79th Session of the Texas Legislature, we passed the largest property tax reduction in Texas history, and as a result taxpayers across this great state will be paying significantly less in property taxes,” State Senator Tommy Williams said.
In February of 2007, the legislature passed Senate Joint Resolution 13 (SJR 13) which calls for a change in the Texas Constitution. Currently, homeowners with disabilities or those who are 65 years old or older are eligible to have their school property taxes frozen. This one-time freeze protection is provided to these groups in our Texas Constitution, but in order for them to receive the additional reductions passed during the 79th Session, the Texas Constitution must be amended.
Early voting began April 30 and continues through Tuesday, May 8. Early voting may be conducted at the Remington Park Assisted Living Center on Baker Road in Baytown during regular business hours.
Huffman ISD bonds
The Huffman ISD is seeking voter approval to sell $20.5 million in schoolhouse bonds.
The largest chunk of this, or $10 million, will go to athletic facilities improvements including a new football stadium, weight room and field house and new tennis courts.
The district would using the remaining bonds to build a new administration building and for district-wide technology upgrades.
Early voting will be held May 3 at Huffman Middle School, during the band concert. On May 4 polls will be open at the May Community Center during the Little League games. Voters may cast ballots at Hargrave High on May 7 during the athletic banquet or May 8 during the band concert.

Poe energizes locals on issues

By LEWIS SPEARMAN
CROSBY – When Congressman Ted Poe spoke at the Crosby Community Center on April 28 most left the room asking, – “Who’s side are the rest of those guys on that run or govern the Federal Government?”
The manifold problems involved with fighting terrorism with a porous border, prosecution of law enforcement doing their jobs, illegal immigration, down to how U.S. 90 stopped at Beltway 8 made many in attendance question just exactly what motivation could prompt officials to decide, for instance, it would be fine to have Mexican trucks be allowed to go throughout our country but American trucks have to stop 20 miles inside Mexico.
“Either we are going to have to stand up or we are going to be run over, and I’m tired of being run over.” Wilma Hill stated after the meeting, “I am real angry that the Supreme Court will not allow us to have an official language.”
Poe (R.) started by outlining the boundaries of the Second Congressional District of Texas. He reported on the best way to correspond with him as he serves this district in the United States House of Representatives. The most rapid way to write your congressman now is to e-mail: poe.house.gov or telephone (281) 446-0242.

Poe serves on the Transportation and the Terrorism Committees and on three Sub-Committees: Highways, Aviation, and Coast Guard.
Edifying many that the bill past last week in the house for peanut farming subsidy also included a proposed date for withdrawal from Iraq.
“No military person with any sense would ever state the date on which they are leaving a war. Those folks that hate us in Iraq will wait us out if we let them know when we are going to leave. The war is not going like anybody wanted it to go. We have three choices: one is to leave right now, the second is to keep things exactly like they are, I call that the Vietnam Syndrome, it isn’t really aggressive enough to get the job done, the third option is to send more troops over there with more resources and facilities so they can hopefully get that country under control and turn the country back over to the Iraqis because it is their responsibility to control the country. Most of Iraq is under control but around Bagdad you have two Militias fighting for turf. The Shia and Sunni Militia fighting for turf. This is just a fancy term for nothing more than a gang like in New York and California. The gangs in New York City do nothing more than control turf. That is all they do, they don’t stand for anything they don’t believe in any political structure except killing people that they don’t agree with.”
“The new policy is that the Militias must disarm or they will be taken care of.”
“The troops in and around Bagdad don’t believe they have enough troops to do that so they have asked for more troops.”
“My own feeling is that congress cannot run a war.”
“More letters and e-mails to my office by far are concerned with controlling our borders.”
“The immigration bill that is floating in the Senate deals with immigration, lawful immigration, border security and amnesty. Amnesty means you get to stay in the country. The Senate bill says if you pay your fines, pay your taxes you get to stay in the country. You know that’s like if you find a burglar in your home and he pays a little rent and he gets to live there. We’ve tried that before: in 1987 congress passed a very similar bill that required more border security to deal with immigration problem and it was a mess, the border patrol was overwhelmed and therefore it was a mess. But the amnesty bill remained and therefore we have this problem of the expectation of another amnesty bill. Border security was never done but amnesty was.”
“We aught not to have this big old comprehensive bill. We call it a comprehensive bill because if it has the good, the bad and the ugly in it the more likely it is to get passed.”
“I think we need to have three separate bills. The first bill is one that deals with the problem. The problem is people are coming over here without permission. The border security is the first problem. The next terrorist that comes to the United States is not going to get in a plane and land at Intercontinental Airport, they are going to cross the river and come in from Mexico like everyone else does. So, seal the border first. ”
“Next the problem is legal immigration, we get calls all the time and it takes years to come here legally. We bring in two million people a year legally. That is more than all the European countries put together. The immigration service will tell you they cannot keep up with that many people. After 5 years of 60% of people being on visas they do not go home. Our Federal Government has no resources to find out who that 60% of people are. My personal policy is an old law established under Eisenhower, Any employers that knowingly hires illegals they were going to be prosecuted for it. And what happened, they started going home.”
It was plain in all that attendants learned that Ted Poe knows it is where you put the initiative that things get done. Often times Federal Regulations have put the initiative on things that diminish the well-being of it’s citizens.

Bay Area Relay for life raises close to $800K

By BOBBY HORN JR.
BAYTOWN– There were Pirates, Bees and Angels coming together this past weekend for a common cause: to beat cancer.
On Friday and Saturday the area hosted their 10th Annual Relay for Life fundraiser. While serving primarily as a fundraiser, the Relay turned into an all-night party complete with food, music and games, as members of the more than 140 teams were on the walking track from 7:15 p.m. until 8 a.m. the following morning.
First and foremost the event is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. The Bay Area Relay for Life has been number one in Texas for the past six years in a row in monies raised. The title is likely to stay in Baytown. As the event came to a close, co-chairman Leila Bates took the microphone and announced that they had raised $789,459.50, shattering their $500,000 goal by over a quarter of a million dollars.
The event opened Friday night with a color guard from the Ross S. Sterling MCJROTC unit presenting the colors.

Following a proclamation from Baytown Mayor pro tem Sammy Mahan, co-chairman Julie DeTorre gave a presentation honoring two ladies who were instrumental in getting the Relay off the ground 10 years ago: Nancy Riis and Martha Jane Huddle. The pair were honored as a group of butterflies were released in their memory.
This was followed by the opening lap, which is traditionally taken by cancer survivors. Whether a survivor for less than a year or over 50, each of their names were read and the number of years survived announced as they received a medal and took to the track.
Honoring those who lost their battle with cancer, a Memory Wall was placed at the gate, with the names of those who passes away.
Around the track was seen hundreds of paper sacks of different colors, each with a candle inside. Each bag was named in honor of someone who battled cancer or in memory of those who lost their battle.
At 9 p.m., the lights were darkened and the candles lit creating a circle of light as participants held a moment of silence.

Snake sighting on the backporch

Have to pull duty on Saturdays from 0900 to 1200 every month or so. Yesterday was one of those Saturdays.
Just before noon, the Mrs. called and said there was a snake on the back porch under the shed. The snake was wrapped around the post, apparently trying to climb up and get a bird.
The snake crawled under the lawnmower and the Mrs. wanted me to know so I could get it when I came home.
Well, no snake and I walked around the yard as well. Also went out this morning several times meandering slowly with shovel in hand snake hunting.
The Mrs. had no idea what kind of snake it was, except it was about four feet long, brown and yellow looking; sounds like a water snake to me.

There were some king snakes outback and if that is what this one is, it is welcome as long as it stays out of sight and out of the garden.
Hate the thought of reaching into a tomato vine for a tomato and that thing crosses my hand or arm.
Went over to the gardening guru’s house last week and admired his garden. It’s a sight to see. He said he doesn’t do anything special to his tomatoes except a little cotton burr compost and water on occasion. He did mention you have to pinch off suckers everyday.
His garden is like looking at something on a television show. Why if Oprah had a gardening spot on her show, I’d recommend this gent’s garden for it is simply a pleasure to see and admire. It is amazing what a little TLC will do with dirt.
Just a reminder, postage goes up May 14th to 41 cents for first class.
Two days last week, we received somebody else’s mail for two days in a row. Don’t know where our mail went and it is not here yet. You think my creditors will believe me when I say I didn’t get a statement?

Smart financial moves can pay off after layoffs

If you get laid off or “downsized,” it’s unquestionably a tough break, and it can be stressful in many ways. However, if you make the right investment-related moves, the loss of a job doesn’t necessarily mean you have lost the opportunity to achieve your important financial goals.
Above all else, don’t panic when you learn of an impending termination. If you are going to get a severance package, you may not have to take the first offer that comes your way; you might be able to negotiate for more attractive terms. But even if there is no room for negotiation, you need to make sure you get all the information you need, such as whether the severance will be paid at once or in stages. As severance packages may have tax consequences, you should consult with your tax advisor before making any decisions.

Here’s another suggestion: Don’t rush to collect the money from your 401(k), 403(b) or 457(b) plan. Of course, if your retirement plan is your main source of savings, you may have no choice in the matter. But once you cash out your plan, you’ll no longer benefit from tax-deferred earnings growth. Furthermore, your former employer must withhold 20 percent from your distribution.
If you don’t cash out your plan, what should you do with it? You might be able to leave the money in your former employer’s plan. When you get your next job, you could move the money from your old plan into a new employer’s plan, if the new plan allows such transfers.
However, you can get much more flexibility by rolling over your retirement assets into an IRA, which provides an almost unlimited array of investment choices. By making a direct rollover to an IRA, you’ll avoid the 20 percent withholding and current income taxes on your retirement plan distribution, and you’ll give your earnings the potential to keep growing on a tax-deferred basis. Keep in mind, though, that before you reach 59-1/2, your IRA withdrawals will be subject to ordinary income tax and a 10 percent penalty, unless you take systematic distributions under Section 72(t) of the Internal Revenue Code. To make sure you’re making the right moves, consult with your tax and financial advisors before tapping into your IRA.
After deciding what to do with your 401(k) or other retirement plan, you might also want to adjust the other, non-IRA investments in your portfolio. While you were working full time, you may have established an investment mix that was based on a variety of factors, including your goals, time horizon, risk tolerance, ability to invest and your need for growth and income. But if you are between jobs for an extended time period, you may need to adjust your portfolio. A financial advisor can help you select an appropriate investment mix. Once you’re employed again, you can readjust your portfolio as needed.
A layoff can be difficult for you and your family. But by thinking carefully about what to do with your retirement plan and your investment portfolio, you can survive this setback – and stay on track toward the future you’ve envisioned.