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Posts published in “Day: June 21, 2007”

BH Students excell at State French competition

MONT BELVIEU— Barbers Hill High students continue to distinguish themselves among their academic peers.
Francophiles from around the state of Texas met at the Woodlands High School in March for the 44th annual Texas State French Symposium.
The Symposium gives students the opportunity to meet with and compete against other high school French speakers throughout the state. This year, approximately 1,200 students from 50 high schools competed. The contest begins with written tests in grammar, vocabulary, civilization, and listening.
It is also an intense two-day competition with memorized recitations in poetry, prose, sight reading, descriptions of pictures, and drama presentations.
Non-academic areas of competition include art, projects, collages, and photography.
At the end of the competition, all schools are rated on a point system. Barbers Hill High School was ranked number 19 in the state—-this includes schools as Kingwood, Woodlands, Klein, Bellaire, Plano, Austin, John Cooper, etc.

This is a great accomplishment considering that the larger 5A schools can compete with 40 students and Barbers Hill, due to its size and enrollment, only competed with 16 students.
Out of the 16 students competing, 14 students advanced to the semi-finals (Top 20) and 6 students advanced to the finals (Top 10).
State winners were: Lillie Mayeux (French 2), 6th poetry and 7th guided speaking; Jennifer Dubose (French 2), 7th project; Ashley Wright (French 2), 6th collage; Jennifer Meeks (French 1), 6th drama solo; and Hailey Brookshire (French 1), 7th poetry.
Also advancing to the finals (Top 10) were: Brian Bender (French 3), drama solo and sight reading; Jenny Medrano (French 1), poetry; and Mirian Arana (French 2), vocal solo.
Semi-finalists (Top 20) were Ginna Blankenship, Lauren Hoyt, Julia Miller Janie Calzoncint, Jessica Miller, Miranda Petrosky
Katie Piper and Matt Wade also participated in the competition.

Williams Named One of Texas’ Best Legislators

AUSTIN — Senator Tommy Williams has been named one of Texas Monthly’s “Ten Best” Texas Legislators of the 80th session. The prestigious award is bestowed to honor those who have made a mark during the legislative session.
Texas Monthly applauded Williams for his work on the Transportation and Homeland Security committee, particularly for his leadership on the Omnibus Transportation Bill.
“Williams is a closer. When the pressure is on and the opposing team is sending up its best batters, you need someone to throw the perfect pitch. Williams was that guy in the Senate this session. When Perry vetoed an attempt to rein in TxDOT, Williams kept the reform efforts alive by expanding one of his local bills. He saved Harris County highway projects from becoming a casualty of friendly fire in the toll road moratorium battle by prohibiting TxDOT from committing highway robbery in selling right-of-way to local road-building authorities at elevated prices.”
Texas Monthly further praised Williams for his effectiveness in defeating a fiscally irresponsible proposal.
“We’ve made great strides in protecting our border, providing transportation infrastructure, and ensuring property tax relief this session. I am honored that Texas Monthly has chosen me one of their
‘Ten Best’ Legislators for my work on these and other important issues,” said Williams.
Williams represents Senate District 4 covering all or portions of Jefferson, Orange, Chambers, Liberty, Harris and Montgomery Counties.
Williams serves as Vice Chairman of the State Affairs Committee and as a member of the Finance, Transportation, Education and the Sub-Committee on Higher Education in the Texas Senate.

Pirates 3 suffers from too much plot, not enough Depp

“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”
Running time: 168 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13
The third (and hopefully final) installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean series suffers from the misapprehension that “more is better.”
Sometimes it isn’t. And in the case of “At World’s End,” more is too much: Too much plot, too much exposition, too much Keira Knightly and Orlando Bloom (Zzzzzzz), and at nearly three hours in length, too much movie.
What “Pirates” doesn’t have enough of is Jack Sparrow. Let’s be real here: Johnny Depp carried the first movie. It was his portrayal of the swishy, swashbuckling savant Jack Sparrow that made the first movie the hit that it was. It wasn’t the love story. It wasn’t the special effects. It was Depp. Depp. Depp. … Period.

In this film, there aren’t enough scenes of Depp doing what he does best, chewing up the scenery as the scheming, bumbling cad we adored from the first film.
Instead, we get a convoluted plot concerning the alliance between the East India Company and Davy Jones and the search for nine pieces of eight (yes, you read that right) and a pirate congress and plots within plots and people sitting around yelling “Arrrr!” and talking about what they’re supposed to be doing — instead of just DOING IT.
But no. For a three-hour pirate movie, it’s a crime that we have to wait nearly two hours before we see a monkey get shoved into a cannon. A pirate movie should have PIRATE STUFF in it. Not a bunch of talking. And certainly no boring love story — especially when the two people in love are portrayed by two of the most dull, emotionless actors on the planet.
Keira Knightly, who’s looking more and more like an anorexic catfish every day, thinks that projecting emotion is simply a matter of sucking in one’s cheeks. The more she sucks, the more emotion she’s supposedly emoting.
Orlando Bloom reads every line as if he’d just had a chemical lobotomy performed. Needless to say, SuckFace & Durrrrrr pretty much ruined most of the movie for me.
I can’t recommend “At World’s End.” It had the potential to be a Great White Shark, but instead, it’s just a blowfish.

GRADE: D

Why should you invest? Here are five good reasons

We love lists. We want to know the 10 best pizza places in town and the 10 worst dressed celebrities at the Oscars. We long to find the top 10 movies of the year and the 10 most popular songs of the century. We want to know about the richest people in the country and the cheapest brunches in our city. In short, the list of lists could go on for a long time, but there’s always room for one more – so let’s look at the Top Five Reasons to Invest.
Here they are, in no particular order of importance:
1. Investing can help you enjoy a comfortable retirement. Most people need at least 80 percent of their pre-retirement income to maintain a similar lifestyle during retirement. You’ll get some of your retirement income from Social Security, but it almost certainly won’t be enough. To help meet your retirement income needs, you’ll need to invest regularly, both through your employer-sponsored plan, such as a 401(k), and through an IRA and other individual investments.

2. Investing can keep you ahead of inflation. Over time, even a low rate of inflation can severely erode your purchasing power. For example, suppose you currently earn $50,000 per year, and you assume a 4.0 percent inflation rate for the next 30 years. At that point, you would need to earn the equivalent of more than $162,000 per year just to keep the standard of living you have today. If you want to stay ahead of inflation, you will unquestionably need to invest. And you’ll need to keep in mind that, when it comes to battling inflation, not all investments are created equal. Fixed-income vehicles, such as Certificates of Deposit (CDs) and bonds may be excellent choices for providing you with stability of principal and current income, but, over time, only stocks have significantly outperformed inflation. Consequently, you will need at least some stock holdings in your portfolio if you want to protect your long-term purchasing power.
3. Investing can help you prepare for emergencies. If need a new car, or you face an unexpected – and large – medical bill, where will you get the money? By setting up an emergency fund of six to 12 months’ worth of living expenses, and investing the money in a liquid vehicle with strong protection of principal, you can help prepare yourself for life’s bumps in the road.
4. Investing can help you realize your dreams. If you want to someday travel the world, own a vacation home or even open your own business, you’ll need sufficient financial resources – and that means you have to save and invest throughout your working life. By following a disciplined investment strategy and working with a professional financial advisor, you may be able to someday turn your hopes into reality.
5. Investing can help you leave a legacy. You work hard all your life – but you’re not doing it all for yourself. If you have a family, you want to be able to leave something behind. You may also want to support a favorite charitable organization. To be able to leave a financial legacy when you’re gone, you’ll need to invest – while you’re here.
So, there you have them – five very good reasons to be a lifetime investor. And the sooner you start, the better.

Odd smells from the kitchen

Think you could eat 59 _ hotdogs? A 22-year-old fellow in Tempe, Arizona managed to gobble down that many and broke the world record of 53 _. Talk about being as full as a tick.
Big Momma is fussing this weekend because of the odor in the house. Yesterday it all started with red potatoes which were on boil with pickled (whole) jalapenos. A strong odor indeed, but the finished potatoes are very good and tasty.
Then the wine batch was transferred to a glass jug (carboy) and capped with an airlock. With each bubble of the airlock out comes an odor of fermenting wine and it too is pungent. It is gurgling every 12 seconds or so.
Dared not tell her that it might take several months for the wine to stop bubbling; at least the jalapeno odor masked the yeasty smell for a while.
This is a second attempt at making blackberry wine as the last batch a few years ago started to mold and it was tossed out the back door with the dish water.
Directions for making this batch came from Rome, Georgia and Billings, Montana. Both instructors are in the medical profession and their instructions were crystal clear.

The cousin in Montana said she hopes the batch does not blow up because of excess sugar. Was told the more sugar added the higher alcohol content so you know me.
Of course I told her that making the wine is just a step up from making corn liquor except that the wine does not smell near as bad as sour mash from corn and water. That smells so bad it would knock a buzzard off a gut wagon.
Moving on now, one of my buddies told me of another friend saying when she cranked her car, the entire dash shook from vibration. Long story short, after looking under the hood, she could not find anything so off she went. A few days later a horrible odor was coming from under the hood of the car.
Apparently a Copperhead had crawled up and into the fan shroud as far as it could get but got caught when the car was cranked. Needless to say, she got somebody to get the dead snake out and she has moth balls scattered where she parks the car.

Arson ruled in Barrett church blaze

By LEWIS SPEARMAN
BARRETT STATION – During the Juneteenth remembrance, at about 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 14, Crosby Volunteer Fire Dept. and Highlands V.F.D. risked life and limb to contain a blaze in the edifice of First Baptist Missionary Church.
That blaze had been set, authorities have determined.
The just under 300 member congregation of the Church continued on unabated worship on Sunday. Pastor Tommy W. Johnson commented from Drew Intermediate School just prior to 11:00 service, “The final decision was that it was definitely arson. The sanctuary was deliberately set on fire.”
According to Rodney Janczak of the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office the blaze had been deliberately set with damage estimated between $200,000 to $250,000. When firefighters arrived, smoke boiled from the front and back entrance.
“The structure is still semi-tight, but there is a lot of heat damage.”Janczak stated.

Pastor Johnson explained that he had suspected that the arson might be the result of a hate crime but was told that usually when something like that happens there is graffiti left to let victims know who did it or there is some kind of symbol left to let them know what the intent was but Johnson added, “Nothing like that occurred, so, it is a mysterious happening. But if God had wanted to he could have prevented it. So, if he allowed it – we are in line for blessing because he allowed this for a reason. We may not understand the reason new but here are blessings for us down the road. People have been good to us. We have access to Drew Intermediate School for worship. The school district has been very cordial to us. The Superintendent Dr. Hendrix, who is about to leave the post, and Mike Joseph, who is acting superintendent has opened the door and allowed the congregation to get comfortable. So we just look forward to a wonderful time even in the midst of the situation. It is interesting that when the church first was founded services were held at this school.”
The church’s founding members, this edifice built in 1960, were descendents of the first freed slaves to settle in Barrett Station. A contribution account was opened at Crosby State Bank for those that want to donate to help rebuild the edifice. Pastor Johnson indicates it will take about eight months for the repairs to be made and that much of the damage will be covered by the church’s insurance.
As to whether the pastor knew of any recent motivations for the setting of a fire, Pastor Johnson replied, “Anytime you are preaching the word, really preaching the Gospel, it is controversial. Christ was controversial. Because anytime you are trying to get people on the right track you have to show them what is wrong to get them to move onto the right track. We do that every Sunday, I have been doing that for the last 16 years here. So, there is nothing different, that I can see, that would cause someone to come and try to burn the sanctuary down. I would think that if I had offended someone to that point they might confront me rather than assault God’s house when that would effect the whole congregation.”
Janczak indicates that there will be a federal adjunct to the investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Fire and Explosives.

C-H Chamber sees change in personnel

By BOBBY HORN JR.
CROSBY—Place a call to the Crosby-Huffman Chamber of Commerce and you will get a new voice on the other end of the line, or stop by and there will be a new friendly face to greet you.
Marisa Flanagan has joined the chamber staff, replacing Mitzy Plumb whose last day was June 15.
Plumb served the chamber for the past eight years. She said she would never forget the opportunity to serve the community but that it was time for her to move on.
“It has been a very memorable and exciting adventure for me and my family,” Plumb said.
Flanagan started her new position on June 11, which gave her a week to work with Plumb who trained her in the various duties necessary for the chamber’s daily operations.
While she hasn’t been given an official title, Flanagan said the term “administrative support,” best described her role with the chamber.
“I am here to take care of people when they come in,” she said. “I’ll take phone calls from people looking for information about the community. I am will be responsible for scheduling event and working with other community organizations.”

Flanagan said that her position requires her to not only a have a knowledge of the Crosby and Huffman business community, but the area at large from helping people locate a church to directing them to the community center or helping them find the right person to call when they need help from the county.
“There are a variety of calls that come in,” she added.
Over the past few years Flanagan used her role as a real estate agent to not only get to know the community but to become involved in the chamber. Flanagan has served the past two years of the Holiday Celebration in December as well as volunteering at the chamber’s annual golf tournament.
“I love getting out and meeting people,” she said. “I like to be involved in the community.”
Flanagan earned her real estate license in 2004, however the volatility of the market led to look for something a little more consistent with more regular working hours.’
“I heard through word of mouth from a chamber member that the position was open, so I applied for it,” she said.
The community to invited to come out and meet Flanagan this week. The chamber will host a business breakfast on March 21 at Son Harvest Church, beginning at 8:30 a.m. George Knott, with Constable Ken Jones’ office, will speak about hot checks and their impact on businesses.