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Posts published in March 2009

Parade, Pageant, First Pitch: Baseball season returns to Highlands, Crosby

HIGHLANDS, CROSBY – Opening Day, this Saturday, the boys and girls of Spring take the fields to enjoy the sports of baseball, and softball.

The Crosby Sports Association begins ceremonies at 9:00 a.m. with the first pitch at 10:00 a.m. March 28 at 6800 Miller-Wilson, Harris County Sports Complex. There will be barbecue available at the full concessions. Games begin at Noon.

The Highlands Little League and Highlands Sports Association are having a parade at 10:00 a.m. down Main Street. The Highlands Little League will then begin their opening day celebrations immediately following their parade at the all Little League Fields. Judge Ed Emmott is to be Parade Marshal. The parade will run from B.P. Hopper Primary South down Main St. to St. Jude’s Thaddius Catholic Church. Following the parade, barbecue sales begin at the North end of Highlands.

The Highlands Little League Queens Contest begins at 6:00 p.m.

Highlands Sports Association is to have their Opening Day on April 4 will full concessions at the Harris County Park beside the Highlands Junior School on Wallisville at 10:00 a.m.

Crosby Sports Association is holding their parade on April 4 at 10:00 a.m. beginning at Crosby High School, North on First Street to Kernohan, West, then turning again at FM 2100 and returning South to Crosby High School. Concluding the parade, players and family then should return to the fields at 6800 Miller-Wilson for a Fun Day and Picture Taking day. Barbecue will be sold on Opening Day, March 28 and on April 4 Fun Day – Picture Day. Crosby made the move to explore relieving the traffic problems that had grown when having both Picture Taking Day and Opening day at the same park at the same time. And to give kids a change to experience having fun outside of baseball and softball together.

Highlands and Crosby both salute the volunteers that made these events possible and remember, “Any kid would rather be stealing second base.”

Who’s preyin’ on who?

Sometimes my ole cuz up Montana way sends items of interest about that part of the world. The latest was a newspaper article out of the BILLINGS GAZETTE regarding the use of birds of prey to rid starlings from one of the refineries.

As an admirer of birds, this article struck my fancy.

A refinery in Billings hired a company out of California which uses trained owls, hawks and falcons to rid the massive number of starlings.

In 19 days, the starlings were reduced from about 50,000 to about 50 using 12 different birds of prey.

Don’t go getting all huffy about that as the company does not want to hurt the birds, but simply gives them a fright to go someplace else.

They let the birds of prey out in the afternoon and evening to scare away the unwanted birds.

The article had some interesting facts that you may be interested in:

A hawk’s eyesight is eight times better than a human’s, allowing it to see a rabbit up a mile away.

A European eagle owl can see a hundred times more better than a person and is able to spot a mouse by starlight a football field away… yes more better.

Owl’s claws can exert a thousand pounds per inch compared to a human’s ninety pounds per inch.

An owl’s hearing is so good; it can detect a rat 2 feet under the snow or grass.

They say the birds will stay away until they go back south in the fall.

Sort of like me this past weekend with the Mrs. and grandyoungan looking at a potential fishing hole.

We went up to Liberty County to the Trinity River Wildlife Refuge to check out a fishing spot. The spot off the pier was so-so. I walked down the trail to another pond on the other side and down a bit while the girls went exploring the butterfly trail.

On down a ways this one little pond looked just right and down there I went. Water on both sides and possibly some fish in the one on the left. Eye balling the water and banks I gandered upon a rather large gator as it was eyeing balling me big time.

Like those birds leaving the refinery, you can have this place!

Lone Star 100 brings racers, crowds to Battleground

HIGHLANDS – Mike Wallings, owner of Battleground Speedway says he could not be more thrilled with the crowd and the racing quality exhibited on his track last Friday and Saturday.

He has invited back everyone that held on to their Saturday tickets to come see next Saturday’s action for free.

Shannon Babb rode the outside of the track to a $20,100 victory in Saturday night’s inaugural World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘Lone Star 100’ at Battleground Speedway. He then kissed and rode Hondo – a 1,300-pound Texas Longhorn – in Victory Lane.

Babb, 35, of Moweaqua, Ill., celebrated his hard-fought triumph in style, donning a cowboy hat and climbing on the back of the brown-and-white steer that was brought in from a local ranch to lend a Texas accent to the post-race ceremonies. He responded to the cheers of the three-eighths-mile track’s near-capacity crowd with a wave of his hat.

Babb drove his heart out before meeting up with Hondo, taming the outside groove to score his first victory since starting his own team this season with the help of Sheltra Motorsports, Petroff Towing and Donley Trucking. He inherited the lead when defending WoO LMS champion Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., slowed with a flat right-rear tire on lap 40 and held off repeated challenges from Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, en route to the checkered flag.

The lead changed six times among four drivers and stretched over an hour in length from nine caution flags, Babb steered his Dargie-powered Rocket car across the finish line 1.285 seconds ahead of Lanigan, who rallied from the rear of the field after pitting for a new tire on his Fusion Energy Rocket.

Birkhofer nosed in front of Babb to lead laps 56 and 71, but he couldn’t complete a pass and settled for third place in his Birkhofer-Mars Chassis.

Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., finished fourth in his Seubert Calf Ranches Rocket after climbing as high as second from the 15th starting spot. With Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., who entered the Lone Star 100 as the WoO LMS points leader, finishing 23rd after he spun off turn two on lap 17 and was clipped by several cars, Richards moved to the top of the standings after four events.

Babb, who started third, flashed his vintage cushion-pounding form in rolling to his first WoO LMS triumph since July 18, 2008, at Brown County Speedway in Aberdeen, S.D. Babb found that the extreme outside of the high-banked track was prime real estate for him following a lap-36 incident involving polesitter Rick Eckert of York, Pa., and Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y.

Birkhofer, 37, became Babb’s toughest challenger. After slipping as far back as eighth from the fourth starting spot, Birkhofer moved back to second on lap 53 and made several attempts to run the inside lane past Babb.

Race Results Lone Star 100
1. (3) Shannon Babb/100 $20,100
2.(6)Darrell Lanigan/100 $10,600
3. (4) Brian Birkhofer/100 $6,050
4. (15) Josh Richards/100 $5,500
5. (10) Chub Frank/100 $4,500
6. (14) Tim Fuller/100 $3,500
7. (12) Clint Smith/100 $3,250
8. (23) Shane Clanton/100 $3,000
9. (16) Ray Moore/100 $2,800
10. (11) Brady Smith/100 $2,200
11. (13) Al Purkey/99 $1,900
12. (21) Jordan Bland/99 $1,800
13. (17) Russell King/98 $1,950
14. (24) Dustin Hapka/95 $1,650
15. (5) Chris Wall/68 $1,600
16. (2) Jimmy Mars/65 $1,580
17. (20) Duke Whiseant/51 $1,560
18. (19) Robbie Stuart/47 $1,540
19. (1) Rick Eckert/42 $2,020
20. (9) Howard Willis/40 $1,500
21. (8) Vic Coffey/36 $2,000
22. (18) Kevin Sitton/30 $1,500
23. (7) Steve Francis/17 $2,100
24. (22) James Ward/16 $1,500

Chinquapin builds ‘Green’ facility on campus

HIGHLANDS — A Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony will be held on April 8, marking the opening of a newly-built LEED-certified faculty duplex at The Chinquapin School, a college-preparatory school for underserved boys and girls from the Greater Houston area.

Community members are invited to attend the event that begins at 1 p.m. The new building was designed by the well-respected firm of Glassman Shoemake Maldonado Architects. The residence will house two faculty families, while serving as a model of sustainable design.

Features of this intelligent duplex include:

• Monitoring of resource consumption around the clock, providing a data collection store for science and math education at Chinquapin and local universities

• Procurement of largely local building materials, resulting in a low carbon footprint

• Utilization of low- or no-VOC-emitting building materials, producing a healthier working environment for construction workers and a healthier living environment for residents

• Transparently-built mechanical systems, so that students can see building systems in action

• Collection and reuse of rainwater

This project spurred the attainment of a grant from Green Mountain Energy for a 3.2 kilowatt solar panel array valued at $30,000.

In the spring of 2007, Chinquapin’s students started the design for this “green” building as a class assignment focused on sustainable design concepts. The students submitted designs that served as a springboard toward the final architectural plans of the much-needed faculty housing.

Faculty housing is an essential part of Chinquapin’s boarding school offering. Most of Chinquapin’s faculty members live on the school premises, along with the 7th-12th grade boys who live on campus during the school week. The boarding component sets Chinquapin apart from most other educational institutions that focus on a low-income population.

“A large part of ensuring the success of the students who board here depends on providing a community of teachers and advisors who are available around the clock, in person, to help guide and encourage students… More teachers living on campus equates to more student interaction with positive role models,” said Williams W. Heinzerling, Director of Chinquapin.

The new duplex is a welcome addition for the faculty, since the building replaces an existing substandard 1970 mobile home and an original dwelling that has been demolished. It is anticipated that the new facility will help maintain the sense of community among faculty and students at Chinquapin. Also, it is hoped that the new faculty duplex will contribute to teacher retention and help attract new teachers in the future.

Crosby’s original car dealers week

Joe Keating’s 90th Birthday brought friends, family and car buyers new and veteran to John Keating Chevrolet in Crosby on March 14. Above are Don Ramsey, owner of a Chevrolet dealership in Crosby from 1922 to 1980. Beside him is Paul Keating, who owned a dealership in Crosby from 1955 until 2001. At left seated, is John Keating, who owns John Keating Chevrolet since 1980 and to his right is Joe Keating, who owned a dealership here from 1967 to 1988.

Goose Creek CISD seeks community input

BAYTOWN — The Goose Creek CISD Board of Trustees has employed the Texas Association of School Board (TASB) to assist with the search for a new superintendent to replace Dr. Barbara Sultis who retired in January.

The Goose Creek Board of Trustees named Dr. Toby York, current Deputy Superintendent for Personnel and Student Services, interim superintendent while district officials search for a permanent superintendent.

The Board of Trustees is now requesting that the public be involved in developing the qualifications and characteristics for the person the Board should seek to become the district1s new superintendent.

“Hiring a new superintendent for our district is the most important thing that I have been involved in as a trustee for the last five years,” said Board President Carl Burg.

“Obtaining input from the community on what they think is important for the Board to consider when it comes to the personal and professional characteristics for that new superintendent should help provide community support for the person the Board hires in May. We want as many people as possible who can provide input to do so via the community sessions or through the link on the district web site,” he added.

Community involvement meetings will be held on March 23 and March 24 between the search consultant and the community members to discuss the desired characteristics of the new superintendent.

Both meetings will be held at the Administration Building Board Room, 4544 I-10 East at 6 p.m.

The Goose Creek Board president encourages all members of the community, those who live or work in the Goose Creek CISD boundaries, to attend and give the consultant their thoughts and insights.

Should anyone not being able to attend one of the community meetings, there is an online questionnaire ( to post comments.

Crosby overpass and a trip down South

Had lunch with Star-Courier staff member Lewis Spearman a couple of weeks ago. We talked about a number of things in and around Crosby. Was pleased this past Thursday to pick up the paper and read his article on the 2100 overpass progress. It was obvious that something was up when we noticed right-of-way clearance going on just south of the railroad tracks.

Can’t tell you how pleased I am we are seeing some progress being made there. I have been disturbed for the past two or three years of the on-schedule, off-schedule movements by the Texas Department of Transportation.

Now the contract is set to be let in January of next year and construction started in the Spring of 2010. If we get to return to this area again next year I surly hope to see the first shovel full of dirt moved during our stay. During the delays the cost has jumped from a projected $6.8 million to $13.19 million — just about double the original estimates.

That overpass not only will make a difference in the traffic, now and later, on 2100 but will also rid the town of some poor structures which have several years on them. That should improve some of the aesthetics.

A Trip South

Last week the Springer’s went Southwest again to visit Corpus Christi for the third year in a row. During the seven years we have visited here during the winter we have spent some time in the San Antonio area and one winter we spent about a week in Mexico City.

During our visit last week we did the usual things around Padre and Mustang Islands and the coastal area of Corpus. We expected some rain during the latter part of the week (which did occur) so we did most of our outside site-seeing during the early part of the week.

One day we drove out to Alice to visit that small town for the first time. I bought a band for my cowboy hat and a nice leather case for Linda’s cell phone. That will be unique back home in West Virginia.

Later that same day we headed down to Kingsville where we stopped for a short time and revisited the King Ranch. Then we headed further down Rt. 77 to the small village of Riviera, drove East to Riviera Beach and had a meal at a good restaurant — Baffin Bay Café. That is as far South as we have visited in Texas.

During my 35 year career with Union Carbide Corporation I got to every stateside chemical plant it had except the one at Brownsville. Maybe next time we’ll see more of the South Texas coast.

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