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Posts published in “Day: September 27, 2007

Area residents get look at newer, wider FM 2100

CROSBY— Over a hundred people turned out for a forum this week hosted by the Texas Department of Transportation in order to get a glimpse of Crosby’s future.
The purpose of the forum, said TxDOT representative Pat Henry, was to solicit community input for an upcoming state highway project.
The project involves widening FM 2100 from two lanes to four lanes. The wider state highway would extend from Diamondhead Blvd. at the southern entrance to Newport to FM 1960 at Huffman.
Preliminary plans calls for the new FM 2100 to be a divided highway with and outside shoulder, sidewalks from Diamondhead to North Diamondhead Blvds. and improved curves. The new road will feature a 45 MPH speed limit from Diamondhead north to Hare-Cook Road and 60 MPH limit from Hare Cook Road to FM 1960.
“Our main goal is to improve mobility in the area,” Henry said. Henry added that the project would not only improve congestion but in upgrading the current highway it would improve safety issues.
During the forum residents got their first look at a recommended alternative plan. This plan was developed following input from an Oct. 21, 2003 meeting.
Opinions of the project expressed at the meeting ranged from a welcoming of the new road to distrust over right of way issues as well as those landowners who would see trees that have lined the roadways for years cut down to make room for progress.
One proponent of the project who attended the meeting was State Rep. Joe Crabb.
“We have got to have more mobility,” he said. “So that people can get to school, work and shopping.” Crabb added that as the population in Crosby continues to grow the need for a wider FM 2100 would only become greater.
Henry said that once TxDOT collects citizen input they would begin creating an environmental impact study (EIS). The state expects to return to Crosby next year to get input for the EIS. Construction is expected to begin on the project in 2011 with completion estimated in 2013 or 2014.
Those who would like to comment on the road but were unable to attend the meeting are urged to send their comments to Director of Project Development; Texas Department of Transportation; P.O. Box 1386; Houston, Tx,. 77251-1386.

Local Park & Ride to begin Oct. 1

EAST HARRIS COUNTY— Beginning Oct. 1 commuters will be able to take a Metro bus from the San Jacinto Mall to downtown Houston.
Following the current METRO Route 236, the bus will pass through the Maxey Road Lot before proceeding to several stops in downtown Houston.
Morning service hours will be 6:00 a.m. until 7:20 a.m. with departures every 25 minutes. Afternoon service hours, also with departures every 25 minutes will begin at 4:10 p.m. with the final pick-up at 6:05 p.m.
Harris County Precinct Two Commissioner Sylvia R. Garcia said that last week that the next step in providing Park and Ride Service between Baytown and downtown Houston has passed another hurdle.
The Commissioners’ Court, on Sept. 11, approved three items necessary for the county to begin this first-of-its-kind service.
The items approved unanimously allow for a grant to be accepted from the Houston Galveston Area Council (HGAC) in the amount of $124,020 for this pilot project.
An agreement with SJM Realty, Ltd. was approved which allows the county to use the San Jacinto Mall parking lot as a pick up and drop off point in Baytown.
The agreement with the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, in which Metro provides and operates the busses, was also approved.
“I am so excited as we finally near the beginning of this service next month, because this has been a long and difficult road. Moving from a starting point of no mass transit at all for East Harris County to a new Park & Ride route in Baytown is both amazing and a tribute to the hard work we have all put toward improving mobility in Precinct Two.” Garcia said.

Rotary hears of advances at San Jacinto Hospital; Washer Tournament a success with 32 teams participating

HIGHLANDS– Rotarians were busy in this town as they hosted the annual Washer Tournament at Charlie’s Ice House, and then helped him celebrate his 15th year in business.
The 2nd annual Washer Tournament is a benefit, to raise money for the Community activities of the club, according to president Charlie Ward. Approximately $7000 was raised in the event, with several hundred people turning out to participate in the tournament, the silent auction, or just to cheer on their favorite players.
The event was held all day, last Saturday, Sept. 22, at Charlie’s Ice House on N. Main St.
Because the Highlands Rotary Club has such a strong reputation among the other 56 Rotary Clubs in the greater Houston area, for fun and successful fundraising, many city wide Rotarians turned out for this event.
Blaine Springer was judged the Grand Champion Washer Thrower. First Place Team was Blaine’s Bunch; Second, Unstabalized; and Third, Unit 4.
Speaker at Luncheon
Rotarians also listened this week at their luncheon to Dr. Jeff Ackerman, CEO of San Jacinto Methodist Hospital in Baytown, who spoke on the history of the hospital, and recent improvements in the facilities and services offered.
Since its inception in 1944, founded by Humble Oil, the hospital has served a large population in East Harris, Chambers and Liberty County that otherwise would not have access to good medical services. It affiliated with the Methodist system in 1983, and built its new bulding in 1988.
SJMC now has 270 beds in 2 hospital buildings, and serves 15,000 admissions and 100,000 outpatients a year. There are 300 physicians on staff or affiliated, Ackerman said.
He noted that the public perception of the facility has improved considerably, and that it now ranks in the top group of Houston hospitals in many ratings.
He noted that recent Initiatives have included a Cancer Center, Stroke Center, Cardiac Rehab, and soon a Chest Pain Center.

Feeling superstitious?

While preparing breakfast for the Mrs. this morning, there was a double yoke in one of the eggs. Having seen this several times before being the chief cook of the house, it’s no big thing but does it mean anything? Maybe more yoke for the buck?
Probably not but I ran it through Google and discovered one site says supposedly it means someone in my family is going to die. Hog wash, pure and simple!
My right hand itched this morning as well, so what does that mean? Actually it was the side of my hand, not the palm, so close but no cigar maybe?
Again searching Google, a site says I am to come into money. Hummm, sounds interesting. Another site mentioned the possibility of having a pinched nerve and to see a doctor.
Another says if it is your right hand that itches then money is coming to you, but don’t scratch it because that stops the money from coming. Additionally if your left hand itches then scratch away ‘cause you will soon be paying money.
Or your hand could be dry and in need of moisturizing.
Ho hum you say? How about when your nose itches, what does that mean?
One response says you are going to kiss a fool, while one says you are going to have a fight. Then one says you are going to be visited by someone unexpectedly.
This gets better as one site says that the person you like is thinking about you or talking about you. Another says when your left hand itches you will hear from an old friend and the right hand indicates you are getting money.

This is no doubt superstition, but then again an interesting topic. For instance, what do they say about somebody whose eyebrows meet? “Trust not the man whose eyebrows meet. For in his heart you will find deceit.” You believe that?
How ‘bout when your ears are burning? Mean anything? Maybe somebody is talking about you. Also says small ears denote a delicate character and thick ears indicate a person of sensual/coarse nature.
Thin angular ears mean a bad temper while a long prominent ear is of a person with musical inclinations. Would a prominent ear include someone who has ears that look like a car with the doors open? The larger the ear lobe, the greater the intellect.
Let’s not forget the lips and teeth. The lips will itch or tingle when someone is about to kiss you. If you bite your tongue while eating, then you have recently told a lie.
A large gap between the teeth means lucky in life; Large teeth mean physical strength while small, regular teeth mean careful and methodical in their habits.
Also, never eat anything when a funeral bell is tolling or a toothache will follow.
It’s supposed to be unlucky to cut fingernails on a Friday or Sunday.
Specks on your finger nails mean: yellow is death, black is ill-luck and white is a good fortune to come
Itching feet means a journey to somewhere new.
Flat feet indicate bad temper. To avoid bad luck, do not enter a building left foot first to avoid bad luck.
Sneeze once for a wish, twice for a kiss, three for a letter, four for something better.
If you buy a broom or brush in May, you’ll sweep the head of the household away.
Crows – One is bad, two’s luck, three’s health, four’s wealth, and five’s sickness and six is death.
If a plow kills a daddy long legs the cows will go dry.

Strike a balance between saving for retirement, college

If you have young children, you may want them to attend college someday – and you may want to help them pay for it. At the same time, you also need to save for a comfortable retirement lifestyle. Are the two goals compatible?
There’s no easy answer to this question. But one thing seems clear: For many parents, saving and investing for their children’s future is every bit as important – and maybe more so – than saving and investing for their own. In fact, two-thirds of parents said they would postpone retirement if necessary to help pay for their children’s college education, according to a survey by Alliance Bernstein Investments, Inc.
Parents have good reason to believe that investing in a college education will pay off for their children: Over the course of their lifetimes, college graduates will earn, on average, about $1 million more than high school graduates, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
So, since a college education appears to be quite valuable, shouldn’t you do everything you can to help pay for it?
Ultimately, you’ll have to weigh your potential college contributions against your need to save for your own retirement. On one hand, you’d like to help your children as much as possible; as a parent, you don’t want your children saddled with enormous debts when they leave college. But on the other hand, that type of reluctance may be based more on emotion than on a sound financial strategy. After all, college graduates seem to find a way to eventually pay off their loans. Furthermore, your children may be able to find grants, scholarships and work-study opportunities. Many students can earn a decent amount of money at summer jobs, too.

Nonetheless, you still may feel obligated to pay something toward your children’s college education. But if you’re going to help pay for college, be smart about it. For example, think twice before borrowing from your 401(k). Such a move will slow the growth potential of your retirement funds and it could prove costly in other ways, too. For one thing, if you leave your job, voluntarily or involuntarily, you’ll need to repay your 401(k) loan completely, usually within 60 days. If you can’t, the balance will be considered a taxable distribution – and you may even have to pay a 10 percent penalty on it.
Instead of tapping into your 401(k), IRA or other accounts you’ve designated for retirement, look for other ways to help build your children’s college funds. You might decide to open a Section 529 plan, which offers tax-free earnings potential, provided the money is used to pay for higher education costs. You can put whatever you can afford into a Section 529 plan, along with gifts from grandparents or other relatives. Contributions are tax-deductible in certain states for residents who participate in their own state’s plan. Please note that a 529 College Savings Plan could reduce a beneficiary’s ability to qualify for financial aid. You might also want to consider a Coverdell Education Savings Account, which offers another tax-advantaged way to save for college.
As you already know, much of your life involves balancing acts of one type or another, so you should be able to handle one more – college for your kids against a comfortable retirement for you. By making the right moves, though, you may be able to reach an “equilibrium” that works for everyone.