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Posts published in “Day: July 19, 2007”

Crosby hires new principals, administrator

By LEWIS SPEARMAN
CROSBY – The local school board voted thumbs up for three new administrators to replace three worthy past personnel.
A new high school principal, new assistant superintendent of instruction, and a new middle school principal have begun their duties with Crosby ISD., Dr. Marley Morris was voted in at the school board meeting on July 16 as principal of Crosby High School. Patricia Kay is the new assistant superintendent after having been Principal of Crosby Middle School since 2005. and Karen Grey, former Assistant Principle of Crosby High School.
“This is an exciting time at Crosby ISD. We have a total change in leadership at the Middle School, High School and over instruction for the next several years. We and they want the staff and community to get to know the people that are going to take the lead in those positions.” said Crosby ISD Superintendent Mike Joseph.
Dr. Morris, Ed.D. served as assistant principal at Kingwood High School in Humble I.S.D. for four years before coming to Crosby. Born in McAlester, Oklahoma before his family moved to Katy, Texas, Morris graduated from James E. Taylor High School in Katy. Attending Sam Houston State University, Morris received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and a Minor in Secondary Education. While earning a Masters of Education, Dr. Morris held a position as an agri-science teacher and FFA advisor at Kingwood High School.

In 2003, he was promoted to assistant principal at Kingwood High School. While an administrator, he served as facilities manager, construction facilitator, Social Studies department liaison, Stang Summit coordinator, technology liaison, co-senior class sponsor, FFA organization liaison, as well as overseeing the individual discipline and educational needs of approximately 375 students within his alpha-grouping.
Dr. Morris earned his Doctorate of Education in 2004 from Sam Houston State University. His dissertation was titled, “Technology Integration in Exemplary Public High Schools: A Study of the Internet in Concert with Student Performance.” Dr. Morris is married to his wife of five years, Jamie Morris and has a two-year-old son, Matthew.
In her own summation, Patricia Kay indicates she believes in education and in herself being an educator, “I have had the great fortune of serving children through education for 20 years. My experience has spanned from classroom teacher to Assistant Superintendent. All of my experiences have helped to prepare me for the role I have recently entered, that of Crosby Independent School District Assistant Superintendent for Instruction. I feel privileged to have been chosen for this position and I am excited about all the possibilities that it affords so it is with great pride and enthusiasm that I go forward to serve the parents and children of the Crosby community.
I am an Aggie. I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Education from Texas A&M University. My first teaching assignments were in Houston ISD. The experiences there opened my eyes to some of the hardships that children face. I learned that there is a story behind each face and this must be considered as we teach and nurture each child. After five years in HISD, I went to teach at Cunningham Middle School in Galena Park ISD. I was inspired by an outstanding Principal there to go into administration. After teaching students from every demographic group from gifted to special needs, I attended the University of Houston to obtain my administrative certificate. I became an assistant principal at Cunningham Middle School and served the students in this capacity for three years. In 2001, Dr. Shirley Neeley, then superintendent of Galena Park ISD placed me in the role of Assistant Principal for Curriculum at North Shore Senior High School. Two years later, I was named Associate Principal at North Shore. While at North Shore I completed by Superintendent Certification through classes offered by Stephen F. Austin University. I learned a great deal about high school by working closely with the department chairs there. I loved working with the people there but I knew that I was ready to be a building Principal. In 2005 I had the honor of being selected as Principal for Crosby Middle School. I was fortunate to work under Dr. Don Hendrix, Superintendent of CISD until his recent retirement. He gave me great insight and shared with me some very meaningful advice that I carry with me today. Being a CISD Principal, I also worked under the leadership of Mr. Mike Joseph who was Assistant Superintendent for Instruction. I quickly found out we had the same philosophy of education, that of “student first.” I recently have been chosen as Assistant Superintendent of Instruction for Crosby ISD. In this role I have the honor of working side by side with Mr. Joseph, who has taken over the realm as Superintendent. We are on the same page when it comes to students and the community so the transition to this new position is invigorating. I look forward to serving the students, teachers, and parents of CISD and I am enthused about the positive direction the district is headed. We will keep the momentum initiated by Dr. Hendrix.
On the personal side, I am married to Jon Kay, who teaches at North Shore Senior High School and served as defensive coordinator. We live in Crosby and have a two year old daughter, Grace Elizabeth. She is our sunshine and a special gift to us. She is also a constant reminder of the innocence of youth and the influence of education.”
Karen Grey, the new Principal of Crosby Middle School, is a veteran educator of thirty years. During this time she educated and influenced a myriad of age groups ranging from early childhood to adult education. Holding a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education and Masters Degree in Guidance and Counseling from Prairie View A & M University as well as a Principal Certification from The University of Houston – Clear Lake, she served the Crosby community for the last 12 years, as a high school counselor and assistant principal. She sees her contributions having been achieved through growth and success of students and community relations.
“Principal of Crosby Middle School affords me the opportunity to play an integral part in enriching school morale and uplifting traditions on campus as well as in the community. My goal is to provide strong leadership allowing students opportunities to engage in successful learning and achievement. ” she writes.
Most important to her as an educator is overall school effectiveness; thereby, meeting the needs of all students!
Married with two daughters, one son-in-law, three grand children, and one on the way, Grey believes in being deeply involved in family. A parishioner of Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church in Fifth Ward Houston, she attributes every accomplishment and goal she achieves as a blessing from God.

Highlands man killed in explosion

HIGHLANDS– A late afternoon explosion on Corley Street claimed the life of a Highlands man Sunday.
Highlands VFD Chief Harvey Little said about 5:30 p.m. they received a call of two explosions at 406 Corley. When fire crews arrived they found a work shed fully involved.
Larry Rogers, who was alone at the house, was found inside the shed, and had expired.
Harvey said the cause of the explosion remains under investigation by the Harris County Fire Marshal’s office. Roger’s body was sent to the county medical examiner for an autopsy. The ME’s ruling has not been released.
— Bobby Horn Jr.

James Brazzil entertains Highlands Chamber with tales of newspapering

By Gilbert Hoffman, Star-Courier Publisher
HIGHLANDS– James Brazzil was the featured speaker at the Chamber’s luncheon last week, and he proved to all in attendance that he is a superb storyteller.
Brazzil spoke about his boyhood years, growing up in Owl Creek, and how he became fascinated with the newspaper business, and after a long talk with his father, ventured off for his first newspaper job, which would turn into another 9 papers before he settled in Highlands in 1955.
Brazzil said his first paycheck was for $10, and his father was worried that he would not have a permanent job, but end up as “a thistle in the wind.”
But in 1955, he and Alton Neatherlin moved to Highlands from Nacogdoches, with the purpose of starting their own newspaper.
As the story develops, Brazzil is not only the publisher of the local paper, but involved in the development of this small town into the lively and busy mercantile center that it became.

Brazzil helped found the town’s first bank, was active in it’s most important institution, the Rotary Club, helped get better schools by combining with Baytown’s Goose Creek, and even helped town leaders get Highlands incorporated, at least for a short while.
Throughout his talk, it was obvious this quiet and thoughful man loved his newspaper work, and his town, and was proud of both as they matured.
James Wilson Brazzil grew up on a farm in Owl Creek, near Flat, Texas , as the third of ten children. At the age of 21, he left the farm to pursue his dream of being a newspaper man. He worked for various Texas newspapers over the years, and even served as a news writer and editor for the U.S. Air Force during World War II.
He eventually settled in Highlands, Texas with wife Bonnie, where they raised three children. In 1955, he helped found the town’s weekly paper, “The Highlands Star.” For nearly 19 years he worked a editor and co-owner of the paper. When he retired, he kept on writing – this time, books. His first, Owl Creek, was published in 1988; his second, The House of Coot, in 1994.
A Thistle in the Wind, published in 2006, is his third book.
Brazzil, now 91, still resides in Highlands and continues to be an active member of the community.

Yippy-Kai-Yah for Willis flick

“Live Free or Die Hard”
Running time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13

It’s safe to say that this is the last time Bruce Willis will be playing Detective John McClane, and you can tell that Willis wanted his iconic character to go out with a bang. And another bang. And …
That’s what makes “Live Free or Die Hard” the best action movie of the year. It is wall-to-wall stunts, gunfights and Stuff Blowin’ Up Real Good.
And the icing on the cake is that you can tell Willis is having the time of his life and not just phoning it in for a huge payday. Bruce’s enthusiasm for the character is infectious. And for all the online bluster about how a PG-13 rating was going to spoil the film, I can tell you honestly that it doesn’t. “Live Free or Die Hard” is a solid action movie — and yes, McClane DOES deliver his signature “Yippy Kai Yay” line.
The plot — as if it matters — surrounds an attack on the nation’s computer infrastructure, from power grids to national security systems, financial institutions, even traffic lights.
A really evil guy who is too pretty to be a nerd (Timothy Olyphant) is wreaking havoc on the country.
Det. John McClane has, in tow, a young hacker (Justin Long) who inadvertently helped develop part of the insidious code.
As the country crumbles down around them, McClane and the hacker have to try to stay one step ahead of the bad guys who can track them and then send helicopters, fighter jets and other nasty stuff their way.
One of the highlights of the film is a cameo by filmmaker Kevin Smith, who plays an uberhacker with the handle, “Warlock.” It was great to see Smith in the role, but it also made it glaringly obvious how weak Justin Long’s characterization was. It would’ve been better to have Silent Bob himself hang with McClane and whomp some cyber-terrorist booty.
Yippy-Kai-Yay, indeed.
GRADE: A

Protect yourself from identity theft

First, the bad news: There’s still plenty of identity theft out there. Now, the better news: There’s not as much as in previous years. And now, the best news: You can do a lot to protect yourself from being victimized.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of identity theft, it basically involves someone getting some pieces of information about you – name, Social Security number, credit card numbers, “pre-approved” credit card offers – and using this data to make purchases or withdraw funds from your accounts.
In 2006, some 8.4 million Americans were hit by identity fraud – but that’s half a million fewer victims than the year before, according to a study conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research. The study also found that, in 2006, the average victim of an existing account fraud paid $587, out of pocket, in consumer costs associated with the fraud, while victims of new accounts opened in their name paid, on average, $617.

The overall decline in identity theft may indicate that more people are acting to protect themselves – but the average cost per person shows that fraud victims still can get hurt. How can you reduce the chances of being victimized by identity theft? Here are some suggestions:
*Shield your credit card from prying eyes and ears. Thieves can now use camera cell phones to take photos of your credit cards while you’re making purchases. Don’t pull your credit card out from your wallet or purse until the moment you’re going to use it, and put it away after it’s used. If you’re making a contribution over the phone to a political or non-profit group, don’t give out your credit card number unless you’re sure the organization is legitimate.
*Use secure sites when shopping online. Before giving out your credit card number to make a purchase on the Internet, make sure you’re on a secure site – one that begins with https://. (The “s” stands for “secure.”) Also, the site should display a small lock or other security seal.
*Shred those documents. If you are purging old investment statements, tax returns and bank documents, use a shredder. And while you have the shredder out, use it on pre-approved credit card offers.
*Go “virtual”. Try to replace paper statements – from banks, financial services providers and credit card issuers – with online versions. Many businesses will be quite happy to save the cost and expense of mailing account statements to you.
*Check your bank statements. Whether you get your bank statements online or on paper, check them at least a few times a month. If you find a transaction that looks unfamiliar or questionable, call your bank to find out more details.
*Get your credit report annually – To request a copy of your credit report, you can call the three main credit bureaus: Equifax (1-800-685-1111), Experian (1-888-397-3742) and Trans Union (1-800-888-4213). Check your report closely for “surprises” or unaccounted activity.
*Guard your personal information. Don’t carry around your Social Security card in your wallet. In fact, unless it’s truly necessary, as when you’re filing official papers, don’t give out your Social Security number. Also, change the PIN number on your cash card once in a while.
Identity thieves are clever – so do whatever it takes to keep them out of your life.

No relief from river flooding

By BOBBY HORN JR.
LIBERTY COUNTY— Flood warnings continue across the county as officials watch the Trinity River continue to rise.
Last week Liberty County Judge Phil Fitzgerald asked for voluntary evacuations.
“Due to the heavy widespread rainfall received in Central and Southeast Texas, the Lake Livingston Dam is releasing levels that has put the Trinity River at flood stage,” Emergency Management Coordinator Ken DeFoor said.
On Sunday, the river at the Highway 90 Bridge was recorded at 27.9 feet. The level is expected to reach 29 feet by Friday. Flood stage for the river at this point is 26 feet. At 29 feet residents can expect major lowland flooding to begin at homes in the subdivisions above Liberty.
The Trinity River hit the 15-foot flood stage at Moss Bluff on Monday. By Friday the river is expected to be at 17 feet.
The Champion Lake Public Use Area on the Trinity River, which is located at the end of CR 417 off F.M. 1409, is closed due to flooding. The pier, coat ramp and parking lot are all underwater. The Champion Lake access will be closed until the water drops below the pier level.
“Motorists should use extreme caution when attempting to cross any flooded roadway(s). Night travel should be avoided,” DeFoor said. He added that livestock and equipment should be moved out of the flood plain.
Officials at Lake Livingston said they have seen some drop in the water level at the north end of the lake but that any change to the discharge rate at the dam would be marginal. Rain forecast for early next week could affect this, however.
For those displaced by the floods, a shelter has been set up at the North Main Baptist Church in Liberty. Bring your medication, personal items, snacks, blankets, pillows, etc. No pets will be allowed. For more information about the shelter call 936-334-3219.