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Posts published in “Day: August 7, 2008”

Tails from the Spell Chequer

Have several things on my mind this morning as I sit at my computer trying to turn a few thoughts into a column. This is my fourth bit for newspapers this a. m. so I’m off to a good start for a Monday morning. It is only 9:05 a.m. Sometimes the words come hard. I’m going to mention several Crosby area friends this week and all of them are of the opposite sex. I know where to make friends!!

Received an e-mail from my good friend Irene Cook who, if my memory serves correct, serves as a librarian at work. Irene sends me an e-mail every now and then giving me Crosby updates and items she things I might find of general interest. Last week she sent a poem about the computer “spell checker.”

That is every computer user’s right arm these days and particularly of use to me, a rather poor speller for a writer. I use the spell check on every sentence, every page and every article. It does its job. Here is Irene’s poem contribution.

SPELL CHEQUER
Eye halve a spelling chequer,
It came with my pea sea.
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.
Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it to say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.
As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rarely ever wrong.
Eye have run this poem threw it
I’m shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect in it’s weigh,
My chequer tolled me so.

Irene’s e-mail brought a big smile to my face when I read this and I thought you might enjoy it as well. That poem is also somewhat of an indictment of the English language. Irene and I are early service church buddies at Crosby Methodist and also pass frequently while walking our dogs on Sea Palms Drive.
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Speaking of dogs, I’ve got to tell a little story on another good friend, Georgia Hayes, a neighbor of our son Dave. We all spoil our dogs as they become part of their family.

Georgia has joined this group with her two little dogs. They love to travel, as does our Maggie, and get a little down in the face when Georgia starts to leave in the car. So Georgia loads them both in the car and takes them on a quick trip around the block before going about her duties of the day. Nice going Georgia. The dogs then seem satisfied. Our Maggie just jumps with joy when she knows she is going to get to go for a ride.
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A last but not least item. Another good friend, Jo Pyle, sent me an e-mail a couple of weeks ago informing me, and others, she has moved from Crosby to Houston. Jo, another member of Crosby Methodist, was the first visitor to Dave’s Sea Palms home a few days after he moved in nearly seven years ago. I’m miss seeing Jo’s face around Crosby.

Such are the people, places and things that have touched my life in my home!

Tropical Storm Edouard delivers a wet, light gust

TEXAS COAST – Although heralded in categories as high as three, Tropical Storm Edouard was a panty waisted, fizzling fop that tinkled to the Texas shore in the wee hours of the morning, tipped over a few elderly trees onto power lines and whimpered.

The storm was light in the lightning and its 35 m.p.h. winds were not of the orientation to spawn tornadoes. But it wet Highlands with a rainfall of 6.82 inches, according to resident Letha Strouhal.

The national hurricane center stated, “All coastal warnings are discontinued,” Tuesday afternoon.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmott called it, “Good practice for the real thing.”

Power companies report 7,500 customers lost electricity, mostly toward High Island and Sabine Pass where it wagged inland. Most reported outages were in Port Arthur, Anahuac and Beaumont in isolated spots. Bush Intercontinental and Hobby airports were never closed.

“When they don’t evacute Galveston Island, we usually don’t have a bad one coming our way,” flatly stated a native resident that declined to be named.

Forecasters said Edouard’s center could make landfall near Galveston, which is in the peak of its tourist season, when the city’s population of about 60,000 doubles. No evacuations were ordered and local officials in the storm-seasoned town were merely urging caution. About 50 miles northwest, Houston officials asked residents to safely store large, heavy items outside their homes to prevent possible flying debris.

Before the storm Kroger, Arlen’s and Wal-Mart sold lots of canned meats and water. Gov. Rick Perry issued a disaster declaration for 17 Texas counties that could be in Edouard’s path. The state activated a number of emergency teams, including calling up 1,200 Texas military forces and six UH-60 helicopters, the State Operations Center said.

The Texas coast banks on tourism at the summer, even with 100-degree warmth and high humidity. Some 48 million visitors to the Texas coast spent almost $16 billion last year.

In many ways, Edouard could be termed “best storm ever” since a high pressure dome laid seige to most of the state and brought on drought conditions in July.

Edouard had maximum sustained winds near 60 m.p.h., and higher gusts. When it was crawling along at about 7 m.p.h., forecasters said conditions were in place for the storm to intensify and reported a drop in the center’s pressure. In the early morning hours, very fortunately, it’s westward speed increased to 15 m.p.h., taking it out of empowering warm water.

Warm water is said to be the source of building winds for hurricanes and tropical storms. As winds drivnig the strom increase in velocity, the storm had less time to brew.

Some 23 oil platforms along with five or six oil rigs in the Gulf evacuated workers, according to the U.S. Minerals Management Service. Saying there are 717 platforms and 125 rigs in the Gulf, a fairly low percentage of Gulf workers were evacuated.

News that Edouard was not going to stop the flow of oil and gas induced the stock market to drop the cost of a barrell of oil again to $118.

The areas were lucky, those cans goods will last a long time, hopefully the fifth tropical storm of the season will be the last.

Area Schools improve their TAKS Ratings

HUFFMAN — The Huffman ISD staff and administration is all smiles this week after getting some good news from the Texas Education Agency last week.

The school district was ranked “Recognized” by the TEA based on this past year’s TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) tests.

Ben Bowen and Copeland were ranked “Exemplary”, the highest ranking the state awards. The intermediate school was ranked “Recognized” while the high school and middles school campuses were found “Academically Acceptable.”

To be “exemplary” a campus must have 90% passage rate for students overall as well as in each of the four subgroups: African American, Hispanic, White and Economically Disadvantaged.” Depending on the grade level, students are tested in the areas of reading, writing, math, social science and science. Campuses ranked “Recognized” have passed the 70% level.

At Bowen and Copeland, which were grouped together for reporting purposes, students had a 96% passage rate in reading and math.

These were the highest scores in Region IV, which contains districts across the greater Houston area and surrounding counties.

Jean Islay, executive director of curriculum and special programs, said that they are pleased with the direction the district is moving and that she credited the staff for the progress students made. “We have some wonderful teachers who are very focused on what the students need and we have some good leadership in the administration.”

The high school show mixed results. The passage rate of Economically Disadvantaged students was up 23% from last year. However, there was a 19% drop in African American math. Islay attributed these large movements to the number of students taking the test. This year there were 16 African American students who took the math test. With so few students in the pool, she said, each student represents a larger percentage than if there were 100 students taking the test as in some districts.

Islay attributed the advances at the lower grades to programs which start at the Pre-K level. By using a balanced literacy program early, she said, students get a good foundation.

CROSBY

As a district Crosby ISD was ranked “Acceptable.” A campus by campus comparison shows higher passage rates at the lower grade levels with Newport, Barrett and Drew earning “Recognized” status while the middle school and high school were ranked “Academically Acceptable.”

While the high school did not reach the 70% mark, the overall results show the campus is moving in the right direction. Students showed improvement in every test and every subgroup. In math and science, which are traditionally the lowest scoring tests, Crosby High had an overall passage rate of 71% and 72% respectively.

And while they did not reach that level in each subgroup, passage rates among African American, Economically Disadvantaged and Hispanic students was up between six and nine percent.

There were similar gains in science with passage rates going from the high 40% to low 50% mark. Hispanic students saw the most gains from 54% passage to 64%.

At the middle school, there was improvement in every test and subgroup except Economically Disadvantaged math and White science. Both of which were one student passing away from showing improvement.

HIGHLANDS

Of the 22 campuses which comprise Goose Creek CISD, 12 were named “Recognized” while one (Austin Elementary) was named “Exemplary.”

Highlands Elementary/ Hopper Primary was among those “Recognized.” The school had between 87 and 92% passage in reading, 94 and 99% in writing and 75 and 89% in science. They were also one student away from having over 90% in each math subgroup.

Had it not been for science Highlands Junior would have been an “Exemplary” campus, but rather fell to “Acceptable.” The school had over 90% in every test except in science. In science, the TEA reported an overall passage of 70%. But by subgroup found 63% passage for African American, 59% for Hispanic and 52% in Economically Disadvantaged. These figures do represent an improvement over last year.

Harris County offers incentives to “Go Green”

EAST HARRIS COUNTY — Harris County’s policy of offering Tax Abatements for those seeking assistance in building “green” took center stage last week at a conference that updated attendees on economic opportunities.

The conference, hosted jointly by Precinct Two Commissioner Sylvia R. Garcia, The Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, the Baytown – West Chambers County EDF and the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region, also focused on the establishment of Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones (TIRZ).

“Having recently voted to allow Tax Abatements for developers who want to build to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, I wanted to ensure we get the word out to east Harris County that we can help offset the additional cost of doing the ‘right thing’ environmentally,” said Garcia.

Addressing membership and other invited guests from each of the co-hosts at the event held at San Jacinto College’s Pasadena campus, Harris County’s Director of Community Services David Turkel outlined the opportunities for a variety of partnerships with county government.

Turkel briefly explained how the LEED program offers a variety of levels based architectural and design elements. He also spoke about the costs associated with LEED design that may be offset with a ten-year Tax Abatement offered by the County.

The group also learned more about how and why the county participates in TIRZ programs. There are a total of 25 in Harris County as a whole – including those with municipality-only participation.

Harris County currently has active participation in nine TIRZ’s. Another four TIRZ’s have come to the conclusion of Harris County participation.