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Posts published in March 2010

Highlands Chamber argues ideological differences


HIGHLANDS – The membership luncheon last Thursday featured Democratic Candidates and a speaker for Americans For Prosperity at odds. Among the wonderful activities that the Chamber is involved in with schools and libraries a lively discussion of issues ensued.

The State Director of the Texas Chapter of Americans For Prosperity seemed to speak item for item from the Rush Limbaugh’s talking points that day as Diane Trautman, Democratic Candidate for Harris County Tax Assessor and retiring Justice of the Peace Tony Polumbo listened politely for their chance to cross examine.

American for Prosperity she stated “generally believe that government has taxed, spent and regulated us to much.”

The organization’s speaker though has no memory of advocacy of deregulation of the financial market that inevitably lead to the toxic stocks that the Fed spent $Trillions to bailout. But she did recognize that deregulation of the Financial markets enabled people without enough money to purchase houses they could not afford.

“What we are trying to do is simply empower taxpayers as citizens so they can be more productive and proactive on issues they care about.” said Venable.

She stated that American For Prosperity is a nonpartisan organization that cannot support candidates, has a 501C3 status and is also a 501C4 so they can support or defeat legislation.

The issue that brought the most debate was global warming; fact or conjured hoax.

Their website is listed as www.LoneStarStrong.com. A flier indicates Texas is first in Transparency, Law Suit Reform, No State Income Tax, Top Exporting State, Top State For Business, Most Fortune 500 Companies and Fastest Growing State in the Country.

Judge dismisses Taser wrongful death lawsuit

HIGHLANDS — A lawsuit filed by Howard and Carolyn Eagleton, siblings of Kenneth Ray Eagleton, who died June 21, 2006 after Harris County Sheriff deputies used a Taser device to subdue him so he could be put in an ambulance, was dismissed by U.S. District Court Judge David Hittner on Friday, March 5.

According to Harris County Sheriff’s Lt. John Martin, who was a spokesman for the sheriff’s office at the time of the incident, paramedics had called the Sheriff’s Office for help because Eagleton was lying in his car at the side of the road, screaming incoherently, and holding a knife.

Paramedics told deputies they feared Eagleton had overdosed on drugs and needed to be taken to a hospital.

After two attempts to handcuff Eagleton, who was 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighed nearly 300 pounds, a deputy twice used a Taser to control Eagleton long enough for other deputies to secure the handcuffs.

Eagleton was then put in the ambulance and rushed to San Jacinto Methodist Hospital in Baytown. He died there two and a half days later. The hospital said that when Eagleton arrived in the emergency room he had a 108-degree temperature, had a heart rate in excess of 100 beats per minute and was having seizures.

According to an autopsy report written Harris County Assistant Medical Examiner Dr. Marissa Feeney, obtained by the “Star-Courier”, Eagleton died of “complications of rhabdomylosis with acute renal (kidney) failure due to acute cocaine intoxication.

A toxicology report indicated a positive result for cocaine in the urine and the chemical benzoylecgonine in the urine and the blood. Benzoylecgonine is a metabolite that is formed when cocaine reacts with water in the liver.

Howard Eagleton and Carolyn Eagleton, sued Harris County, then-Sheriff Tommy Thomas, and nine deputies at the scene, alleging that the deputy’s use of a Taser was excessive.

The Harris County Attorney’s office made a motion for summary judgment believing that under the circumstances, the deputy’s use of the Taser was reasonable and there was no evidence that the Taser caused Eagleton’s death.

According to court documents obtained by the “Star-Courier” Hittner ruled that “the Plaintiffs recover nothing, that action is dismissed on the merits, and that the Defendants recover costs from the Plaintiffs.”

In the ruling, Hittner granted Harris County’s motion for a summery judgement and denied the Eagleton’s motion for a summery judgement.

Time for “Spring Cleaning” of your investments


Spring is here — time to spruce up your house, get rid of clutter and get things organized. But this year, go beyond your home and yard when you do your spring cleaning and look for ways to rejuvenate your investment portfolio.

Of course, you don’t have to take an “out with the old, in with the new” approach just for the sake of changing things up. But to consistently make progress toward your financial goals, you may need to make adjustments in response to changes in the financial markets, the economy and your personal situation. And springtime is as good a time as any to take a fresh look at your investment situation. So consider these suggestions:

* Dispose of things that aren’t working. Whether it’s a burnt-out computer, a non-vacuuming vacuum cleaner or a treadmill that lost its grip back when “the Web” was reserved for spiders, we all own things that are no longer useful. And the same may be true of some of your investments.

If one hasn’t performed the way you had hoped, and you’ve given it adequate time, you may be better off by replacing it and using the proceeds to purchase another investment.

* Get rid of duplicates. If you went through everything in your house, you might find several items that do the same thing. Do you really need two toaster ovens? And how many radios can you listen to at one time? If you looked at your investment portfolio in this same way, you might be surprised to find some redundancies. For example, do you own several stocks issued by similar companies that make similar products? This might not be a problem when the stock market is booming, but it could be a definite concern if a downturn affects the industry to which these companies belong. Always look for ways to diversify your holdings. While diversification, by itself, can’t guarantee profits or protect against loss, it can help you reduce the effects of volatility.

* Put things back in order. Over time, and inadvertently, the spaces in your home can get “out of balance.” Perhaps you have too many chairs in one corner, your flat-screen television is crowding out your family pictures, or your new desk takes up too much space in your home office. With some rearranging, however, you can usually get things back in order. And the same need for rearrangement may apply to your portfolio, which might have become unbalanced with too much of one investment and too little of another.

This situation could undermine your financial strategy, especially if the imbalance means you are taking on too much risk or, conversely, if your holdings have become too conservative to provide the growth you need. So look for ways to restore your portfolio to its proper balance — one that reflects your risk tolerance, time horizon and longterm goals.

By giving your portfolio an annual spring cleaning, you can help make sure it reflects your current needs and is positioned to help you make progress toward your key financial objectives. And you won’t even have to get near the dust cloths or furniture polish.

Provided by Glenn Cole
Financial Advisor
Edward Jones
2123 Hwy 90 Ste 5
Crosby, TX 77532
281-328-5374

A 6-gun salute to Gunsmoke: An American Institution


In more than one column in the past I have mentioned I am a great Western movie and TV show fan. Some would say, my family in particular, I am addicted. Such as it is. Certainly I am a great fan of the John Wayne western movies and, if I am addicted, it is to the former Gunsmoke TV series that played first-run programs longer than any other TV show. More than twenty-years on TV and prior to that played for eleven years as a radio series.

My good Crosby son, David, gave me some info on Gunsmoke, via the internet, a few days ago that interested me greatly.

One of those was the original Gunsmoke TV program starring James Arness as Matt Dillon and the rest of the original cast. As many original shows and reruns I have watched I had never seen the original.

I was surprised to see that John Wayne introduced the first program in the series many years back. Turns out Wayne and Arness were good friends. Further, Arness played in a few of the Wayne westerns and Wayne was the one that recommended Arness for the role of the now famous “Matt Dillon.”

As you might have guessed, if you are familiar with Gunsmoke, Dillon was “shot” in the original and would be “shot” in many future shows. Of course, he always recovered and would get the “bad guy” at that shooting or later. That U. S. Marshall always got his man.

Matt would be injured, “Doc Adams,” would dig out the bullet, “Kitty” would nurse him back to health and “Chester,” later “Festus” would agonize at his side. That particular part of the weekly show never varied but I still enjoy watching.

Gunsmoke was also unique in that the main characters, save Chester, remained the same throughout the series. Milburn Stone was “Doc” throughout the series and carried the name of Doc Adams most of the time. Amanda Blake was “Kitty” throughout the series until the last season until she left “because she couldn’t handle watching Matt getting shot anymore. She was always on hand at the saloon she ran or was on the street during the gunfights when Matt was shot or got his man. Faithful, and not so smart, “Chester” was usually at Matt’s side. He was played by Dennis Weaver, who was the only one of the cast to leave the show in its heyday.

He was replaced by “Festus” who met Matt out on the trail and became his deputy. He was a member of a mountain family, had no education, and was the butt of many jokes by other members of the cast throughout his tour.

Such was, and continues to be, the Gunsmoke cast as the series continues as a regular show on more than one TV channel today. The cast and their lives need some more explanation and I’ll try to do that in a column perhaps next week. Got to quit now as it is time for Gunsmoke.

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

Cowboy Up


Casen Zane McMullen (center), age 5, of Crosby prepares to ride in the Mutton Bustin event last week at the Houston Rodeo. He held on for about 4 seconds and was the leader until the last child beat his score by two points. He said that he would of held on longer but that sheep was really slippery.

Lee College celebrates 75 Years with bash


BAYTOWN — Lee College celebrated its milestone 75th anniversary with a free community-wide birthday bash on Saturday, March 6 at the Bicentennial Park and at the Lee College campus. The birthday event was free to the public.

The college estimated more than 5,000 people attended the event.

The birthday bash offered a variety of food vendors and live concerts, which included the Lee College Jazz Band, Rosehill, which is a contemporary country and western band, the Bayou Big Band and rock and blues band, and The Beat Daddys from Tennessee.

At 12:30 p.m., Lee College welcomed guests with a birthday. In addition to food and music, children enjoyed the free Kid’s Zone, which included moonwalks, balloon and body art, wax hands, wax candle art, big chair photos and a variety of other children’s activities. Automobile enthusiasts were treated to the Bayshore Fine Rides exhibit of antique and classic sports cars.

Lee College faculty were on hand to meet with individuals who may want information about the college and its programs. The campus also offered tours to guestsof the new Advanced Technology Center.

The birthday bash wrapped up with Lee College recognizing four alumni at the distinguished alumni dinner at the Student Center.

The college presented its Distinguished Alumni Award to Don Coffey and Lori Erwin. This award is given to a former student who has stood out in their career and community service and graduated more than 10 years ago.

The Rising Star Award is given to the selected outstanding students who graduated less than 10 years ago. This year’s recipients were Michelle Vingless-Townsend and Ebony Stewart-Braswell.

Crosby ISD begins superintendent search

By BOBBY HORN JR. and LEWIS SPEARMAN

CROSBY—The Crosby ISD Board of Trustees has announced a timeline for finding a new district superintendent. Mike Joseph is retiring from the post. According to the timeline, the district will accept applications until April 5. On April 15, the applicants will be narrowed down to a field of semifinalists. The number has not been determined.

These semifinalists will be interviewed on April 21 and 22. On 28 and 29, the board will recall some of them for a second interview. April 30-May has been designated a time for “home district visits.”

The board is expected to announce the sole finalist for the position after the 29th. After completing the mandatory waiting period, the new superintendent is expected to be formally chosen on May 24. The new superintendent will then begin his duties on July 1.

At the Feb. 15th Crosby ISD Trustee meeting, Roseanne Joseph’s notice to retire after this school year was posted. Upon return from Austin on Feb. 20, Mike Joseph confirmed that he was going to retire in late June. In 2007 Board members when hiring asked him for at least two years. Joseph said he would hold his position “at least a couple of years,” when he took over from Don Hendrix. He has held the post for three years.

Rotary Club promotes literacy at Library


HIGHLANDS – Each year the Stratford Library presents a full Summer Reading Program and other activities to the community. These events are for preschool children, and children out of school for the summer break, and some of them are also planned for adults.

Although these reading, performance and crafts programs are free to the participants, they usually have been paid for by a special allocation from the Harris County library system. In addition, funds are provided by Friends of the Library, Pilot Club, and several local foundations and individuals.

As explained to the Rotary Club at a recent luncheon, by Assistant Librarian Jennifer Crouse, the county is short of funds this year, and cannot pay for all the programs it usually supports. Therefore, Crouse asked the Rotary Club for additional support this year, which they were able to provide.

After last week’s luncheon a check for $550 was presented to the library by representatives of the club.

This money will help pay for Storytime for Toddlers and Preschoolers, Crafts programs, presentations of animals such as Ferrets, arts projects, puppet shows, pet care and more.

The summer reading program is presented on Tuesdays and Thursdays from the beginning of June to the Middle of August. Contact the library for a complete schedule, at 281-426-3521.

Also on the program at Rotary was a talk by noted Houston book author Rebeca Eigen, who is now on a national tour promoting her book “The Shadow Dance and the Astrological 7th House.” A copy of the book was donated to Stratford Library for local readers.

This story has been truncated for the web. For the full edition, please see our print edition.

Baytown SWAT aid in search for shooting suspect


DAYTON — It is not uncommon for the Baytown SWAT team to be called outside their city, even their own county, when the need arises for their special skills and training.

This was the case Tuesday morning when the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office put out a call for aid.

Two deputies, James Marcantell and Rex Evans, who were responding to a “shots fired” call in the Woodlands Hill subdivision were shot by a suspect. Deputies returned fire and believed they wounded the suspect.

A manhunt for the armed suspect ensued in the nearby woods. Baytown SWAT was called in to help with the search as well as protect those who lived in the adjacent area. Approximately four and half hours after the initial call came in the body of the suspect was discovered. The suspect has not been identified.

Evans was released the same day from a Houston hospital. Marcantell underwent surgery for removal of shrapnel.

New Bank ATM continues tradition


Highlands Chamber of Commerce members help Tom Hill cut a grand-opening ribbon for Amegy Bank on March 3 at the historic intersection of Wallisville and Main St. in Highlands. The new location was also selected Yard of the Month for its attractive appearance. The site is where the original Highlands Bank was founded and had its first office.