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Posts published in “Day: February 7, 2008

The gift behind the gift

By Angie Liang

Instead of gaming consoles, iPods or new DVDs for Christmas, I wanted something a little different. Upon my request, my mom bought me a pair of tights that cost, well, probably too much. Keep in mind that these are fashion industry standard, polar Wolford tights. As warm as pants, they are perfect for cold temperatures and even snowy weather. Yet, no matter how I try to justify these tights, most people would never understand buying them.

I know, because I thought the same thing a month earlier. A good friend was buying cold weather, business-appropriate accessories with her parents at a high-end department store. To me it seemed ridiculous to make such a fuss over belts and Ugg boots. But while those may not have been my choice picks, I am just as guilty of overspending on items that I consider necessities and others consider trivial.

So why would our parents, who have preached about the value of hard-earned money, even consider buying us such expensive items? Because they love us and believe in us. At the risk of sounding materialistic, the truth is, our society tends to attach beliefs to purchases. Some people buy hope, others buy dreams. We associate these values with certain objects and brands, and they become part of how we communicate our feelings, whether affection, appreciation, or anything else. (The rest should come from the heart, of course.) When you buy an engagement ring for your girlfriend, or a car for your 16-year-old, or a computer for the college-bound son, you are expressing your hopes for their success.

With the end of the holiday season, it’s important to remember that the value of the gifts we gave and received has nothing to do with their price tags. Whether they cost a fortune or a penny, it’s the thought and meaning from our family and friends that really counts.

For my friend, who is attending a prestigious law school in the Northeast, her parents see these purchases as aids for law firm interviews and the impending winter. As for myself, my parents believe that the impression I make on people (like my summer employer who I returned to work for over Winter Break) is worth a pair of tights. Our parents have confidence that we can make our futures happen, and they want to express that as much as they can. I am grateful that they see our success in sight.

So my tights may have cost more than most, and they may seem like a strange present in comparison to what most people want for the holidays, but my mom and I are okay with that. We know it’s not really about the tights. It’s about the love and support of my parents. My mom just wants to keep me a little bit warmer in the snow as I keep forging my path. And because I know she’s standing behind me, I’ll do my best to make her proud.

Kristan and Angie would love to hear from you! Email

Crosby mourns loss of “E-40”

CROSBY– Two services will be held this week to remember the life of Crosby High senior Roshaad “E-40” Mayweather.
Mayweather died on Jan. 31 from injuries sustained in a head-on crash earlier in the day on Barbers Hill Road.
A wake will be held at the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, 12418 Crosby-Lynchburg Rd. in Barrett Station, on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. Funeral services will be held at the Mt. Rose Church of God in Christ, 13000 Crosby-Lynchburg Rd, at 11 a.m.
Mayweather is remembered as a caring person who was active in church and school activities. “Everyone who knewhime remembers his every present smile, his big heart and his love for his family,” Crosby High Principal Dr. Marley Morris said.
Mayweather was involved in the music ministry at Shiloh. He played the drums, saxophone and keyboard. A junior usher at the church he was often referred to as a “young evangelist” who sought to bring others into the church. Mayweather was also a member of the Cougars Varsity Football Team, KFL (Kinfolk 4 Life), a rap group and “The Chop Line” car club.

Creager plays Crosby’s Rodeo Cook-off Party

CROSBY – The Crosby Fair & Rodeo Cook-Off Committee announced that they continue last year’s winning combination for the Annual Cook-Off Party to be held June 6.
Roger Creager is this year, as last, to perform the night before the Crosby Rodeo Parade, the most fun party East of Bryan-College Station and West of Louisiana, the Rodeo Cook-Off Party. The party will kick-off at sundown. Cooking teams are advised to start securing their areas for entry to the Cook-Off as early as possible because space is limited and a record amount of interest has already been expressed. The Cook-Off is to be held June 6 through 7 concluding with trophy awards that Saturday night. Several Calcuttas will go to winning teams.
Historically, this party began with cook-off teams having a few friends over, vying for the showmanship trophy by sharing the best food, beverages and recorded music. The event expanded to a gate attraction while a carnival continues on the other side of the fairgrounds for the younger kids. Last year for the first time, the committee decided to have Creager come with Cody Kouba to put on a concert. According to Committee Chairman Ricky Larkin, over 6000 vehicles crowded the Fairgrounds to capacity with attendants from college age to senior citizens as the Crosby area residents and the surrounding communities put together a warm and entertaining fellowship.
While other details of attractions to the event are not totally arranged, but the committee is certain that attendants can look forward to food, fun and quality concert entertainment.

A day with the Rocket

Brett Marshall, right, a resident of Highlands and senior at Sterling High School posed for a picture with Future Hall of Famer Roger Clemens. Marshall was recently invited to attend the Roger Clemens Institute Expo, a two-day sports and fitness expo. A product of the Highlands Little League, Marshall was one of three Houston area pitchers invited to attend the expo. Marshall is the son of Eddie and Elaine Marshall. In addition to owning Crawford Cleaners the pair are also well known in the community, each giving over a decade of service to the Miss Highlands, Junior Miss Highlands and Highlands Little League Pageants.

“We Won!”

Above, YDA JUAREZ can’t contain her excitement, as she realizes that she and her husband Wesley Hernandez, standing next to her, have won the new Pick-up Truck in the Highlands Rotary Club’s Raffle at the 33rd Annual Chili Feast. Yda screamed “We won” and jumped for joy as the 599th and 600th tickets were drawn and the winners became apparent.
At right, Harris County Pct. 2 Commissioner Sylvia Garcia was on hand to draw the first ticket in the raffle.

Chilly Chili

A city on the west coast has instituted a tax in excess of twenty-five cents on each plastic bag utilized. Sounds excessive but something needs to be done for this country has plastic trash all over the place.
Whole Foods is going plastic free and encourages reusable bags instead. They have 270 stores so the push is on.
Can you imagine what it would cost Wal-Mart to get rid of it’s bags and those carousels that hold the bags?
The Mrs. comments that it’s not the plastic bags, it’s the folks who litter. One of her main pet peeves – littering.
Uncle JC out in Big Spring, TX said once while we were riding the roads, “There’s a blue Wal-Mart bag on every barb of that fence.” Sure enough, there were numerous bags along the fence and every now and then, we would see a coyote stretched out on the fence too. Wal-Mart has since changed to white plastic bags.
Would not mind toting my own grocery bag to the store, how about you?
Me and the Mrs. went to the Chili Feast at the Rotary Club of Highlands this weekend.

Good chili and just the right amount of indigestion. Besides, they actually had whole jalapenos this year, believe it or not. Big mistake on my part to say the least but the jalapeno was good when I was eating it. Picked out the smallest jalapeno in the bowl, little did I know what a fiery punch it would deliver. Mercy!
The Rotary had a nice size crowd this year but they always do. Many of the politicians were there with their shadows. If they stopped, there would be a collision.
Wore my railroad hat or cap as it may be. Yep, blue pin striped and folded on four sides just like a choo choo hat.
Amazing, the number of comments I get about that hat.
One fellow asked how far I had to chase that other person to get the hat.
A friend did not recognize me as he went by, said he did not know me in that hat.
Another man walked up to me at the silent auction table, asked if I worked for the railroad. Then he asked if I collected trains. Reckon he was puzzled why I would wear that hat.
Would he think I was a cowboy if I wore a cowboy hat?
A fun event with all of the Rotarians working hard. Well, some of them anyway.
Super Bowl has come and gone again.
Did your team win?
Win some money?
You know how rumors are and never believe them but overheard of a Super Bowl pot and the cost was one thousand dollars a square, winner take all.
How about a Super Bowl pot with five thousand dollars a square with multiple payouts?
Heard Vegas took a licking on the Super Bowl with the odds.
The odds are if you bet, you are going to lose. They did not build Vegas for people to win money.
Then again, you cannot win if you do not play.
Be nice to know my ship was coming in tomorrow night; I would be plum tickled.

This Valentine’s Day, give a present with a future

Any Valentine’s Day gift is thoughtful. Still, most of these presents have fairly short shelf lives – flowers fade, chocolates get eaten and those little candy hearts that say “Be Mine” get stale. This year, why not give your special valentine a gift that keeps on giving for years to come?
Specifically, consider making a financial gift. Here are a few possibilities:
* Give stocks. You might want to give shares of stock in a company that makes products favored by your loved one. As an alternative to buying stocks, you could give some shares of your own. You’ll need to know what you originally paid for the stock (its tax basis), how long you’ve held it and its fair market value at the date of the gift. The recipient will need this information to determine gains or losses when he or she sells the stock. (You’ll also need to determine if you have to pay gift taxes. You can give up to $12,000 per year, free of gift taxes, to as many people as you want.)
* Contribute to an IRA. The IRA contribution limit for 2008 is $5,000. Investors who are 50 or older can also make a “catch-up” contribution of an additional $1,000. So, if your valentine hasn’t fully funded his or hers IRA for this year, you can help. Because of their tax advantages, IRAs are great retirement-savings vehicles. (Traditional IRAs have the potential to grow tax-deferred; Roth IRAs potentially grow tax-free, provided the investor has had the account for at least five years and is 59-1/2 or older.)

* Make a charitable gift in your valentine’s name. Your loved one, like most people, probably supports a variety of social and charitable organizations. By making a donation to one of these groups in your valentine’s name, you can add a special meaning to this Valentine’s Day. At the same time, you’ll be giving yourself a little valentine, because you may be able to claim a tax deduction for your charitable gift.
* Review your estate plans. All right, it doesn’t sound all that romantic – but if your sweetheart is also your spouse, you’ll certainly be looking out for his or her best interests when you review your estate plans. If you were to die without a will, for example, you would cause considerable anguish to your survivors. And in many cases, a simple will isn’t enough – you may need to establish a living trust or other estate-planning tool. You’ll also want to go through your financial assets -including your IRA, 401(k), annuities and life insurance contracts – to make sure your beneficiary designations are still accurate. Beneficiary designations supersede whatever instructions may be in your will, so it’s essential that you update your beneficiaries whenever your family situation changes. It’s not uncommon for assets to go to the “wrong beneficiaries” (e.g., spouses from earlier marriages) or to bypass children born after the initial beneficiary designation was made.
By making any of these gifts, you’ll show your loved one that you really care – and the results of your generosity will be felt long after Valentine’s Day is over.
***Edward Jones, its employees and Financial Advisors are not estate planners and cannot offer tax or legal advice. You should consult with a competent tax specialist or attorney for professional advice on your specific situation.

Mont Belvieu OK’s $11M park master plan

MONT BELVIEU—Last week the Mont Belvieu City Council approved the Final Master Plan for a 70-acre $11M multi-function park to be built on Eagle Drive.
City Manager Bryan Easum said that they hope to have a final design in place within 120 days with construction completed by the end of the year.
The park, he said, will feature nine baseball/ softball fields, an amphitheater, skate park, splash pad, four playgrounds and amenity ponds. The park will include two large pavilions, two small pavilions and a service building for city Parks and Recreation equipment. There are also plans for 450 parking spaces.
When the city first decided to build a park they selected a 79-acre tract across from the Thrift-Tee Food Center. Easum said that the city sectioned off nine acres of that land which they are selling for commercial development. He said that the city would like to see parcel include a strip center that would hold family-friendly businesses. A walkway will be installed that will connect the park to the center. The parcel features 800’ of frontage to Eagle Drive and is 900’ deep. The land, which is zoned for Mixed Village Use is currently listed with realty firm Grub & Ellis for $2.5 million.
The full plan, Easum said, would cost the city between $10 and $11 million. Currently the city had between $8 and $9 million available to spend. If the cost goes over the estimate, he added, they city would then break up the project into two phases.
Despite the cost for the park, property owners will not see an increase in taxes. Funding for the project will come from two sources. The first source is capital project funds and the other is retired debt. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Eagle Point. The anniversary is significant is that the city will retire $5.5 million in debt. Since the debt has already been issued, Easum said, the city would be able to roll it into another project without increasing the tax burden.

La. man killed in plane crash

CHAMBERS COUNTY– Vincent Dardar, of Youngsville, La. was killed Monday night when a private plane he was piloting crashed in West Chambers County.
Aviation officials say that Darder was flying a Cessna 210 from the LaFayette, La. area to an airport in West Houston. Just before 7 p.m. air traffic control lost contact with Dardar. Shortly thereafter a resident called 911 dispatch saying that he heard a large crashing sound.
When emergency response teams arrived they found the wreckage of the plan in a wooded area near FM 565 and FM 3180.
The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash. Inclement weather is expected to be a contributing factor to the crash.