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Posts published in “Day: February 21, 2013

Lessons on Humanity from a Cheetah

By Kristan Hoffman

With the spots of a Dalmatian, the build of a Greyhound, and the paws of a Great Dane, Savanna is clumsily put together but unbelievably cute. She’s also entirely feline — a cheetah cub, about 7 months old and 38 pounds. (Full grown, she could weigh double that.) I met her at the zoo, but not with bars or glass or a moat between us. No, she stood less than an arm’s length away at times, restrained by a simple leash.

This happened at an event for Andy’s work, hosted at the Cincinnati Zoo. As part of their “Ambassador” program, Savanna has been acclimated to a variety of human sights and sounds so that she can attend functions such as our party that night, or more importantly classrooms, to help teach people about wildlife studies and conservation efforts. Savanna stayed with us for nearly an hour, during which time she calmly sat for pictures, climbed on a table to monitor the room, and even nuzzled her 3 handlers like a house cat. With such affectionate gestures, and some of her baby fuzz still visible, it was easy to forget Savanna’s true nature.

Despite her training, Savanna is still a wild animal, ruled mostly by instinct. She was one of two cubs born to the zoo, but her brother didn’t survive. Apparently cheetah mothers won’t raise just one cub, because after 18 months cubs are left to fend for themselves, which would be hard to do on their own without siblings. Thus Savanna’s mother abandoned her, and Savanna became an orphan.

That’s when the zoo stepped in. They hand-raised her, secured her a spot in the Ambassador program, and even partnered her with a puppy of similar age and size to be an adoptive playmate and brother. The two will be best friends until she matures, at which point instinct will kick in again, because female cheetahs live alone. Fortunately one of the handlers is already eager to adopt the black lab, Max, when Savanna outgrows him.

The push and pull between the laws of nature and the intervention of mankind has defined Savanna’s life, and in some ways it defines ours too. Do we let things occur as they may, or should we step in and control when we can? That’s what I kept thinking about later that night, long after Savanna had left our party. It’s a pretty philosophical takeaway from a mere hour with a cheetah cub, but then, hanging out with Savanna was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, one that I both enjoyed and was affected by.

And that, to me, is the mark of a great ambassador.

Crosby Education Foundation hosts successful fundraiser

Crosby – Last Friday the best nightlife around was at the Newport Golf Club and Conference Center where the Crosby Education Foundation Fundraiser was held with food, beverage, music and dancing with a live and silent auction to raise money for various education related causes including classroom wishes by local teachers for better education here.

The brainchild of Earl Boykin and Donna Heinlein the benefit undertook the mission of the 501 (c) 3 charity to enhance and enrich the educational opportunities for students, supports staff’s innovative efforts and recognise staff for exemplarary teaching. The group also supports educational activities not funded by tax revenue. The event displayed requests from various teachers in poster form on the walls then sold items at higher than paid for prices to raise money to fund the requests of the educators.

A wide range of items for sports enthusiasts top the billing. There were numerous items from professional and college football, Guided Half-day Fishing trips and an autographed framed photo of Nolen Ryan.

Items that one absolutely cannot get now include four tickets to see George Strait at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo all the way to a spray in bedliner or deer axis pillows. In fact, the items were donated by a host of folks and businesses mostly local but from as far and wide as Galveston to Burnett, Texas.

The quality of the Lost Cause Band was silky playing a range of favorites mostly old with the finest of new Country & Western crooned by Shane Welch and Cody Kouba and played wonderfully.

The next big event to raise money for the local children is to be deadlined for entry by March 15 and it will include a golf tournament on March 22. The fee is $50 per person or $200 per team. Hole Sponsorship is $100 per hole. For more information contact Richard Amadour at (281) 543-2860.

Contributions to Crosby Education Foundation may be made to CEF, 706 Runneburg Rd., Crosby, Texas 77532.

Crosby ISD delays bond to buy land

CROSBY – The local school board is delaying the details of calling for a new school bond package to handle details of acquiring land.

Details on the expanse of land commissioned by the board of trustees for purchase have yet to be worked out prior to 72 hours before the board meeting on February 18. These details must be in place before the Order Calling for a Bond Election and the necessary actions can be taken to call for the public to vote on the measure.

Representatives of parties for sale of the property were in attendance at the board meeting and were called by the Superintendent into executive session.

Dr. Moore had called for a 23¢ per $100 valuation bond from the board in two possible phases. The single year increase on the average dwelling at fair market value of $107,247 is evaluated at $92,245 after exemptions and the increase would then be $212.16 for the first year of phases one.

With that money a new high school would be built on the land to be purchased. The current high school would become the new Middle School with modifications. A new agriculture barn would be constructed as would a new JROTC building. New tennis courts would be built and as would a stacking drive for parents picking up kids at Newport Elementary. There are 5170 students in Crosby ISD now at a district evaluated capacity of 5203.

Final details and amounts of the bond are expected to be completed before February 28, according to Superintendent Dr. Keith Moore.

The board reviewed contracts with law enforcement and agreed to extension of contracts.

“The district showed some positive signs on the 2012 STAAR Test results. There are areas we are working on but overall our schools are competing well against the rest of the State. In our State’s Efficiency we are about eight or nine months behind but we are excited after monitoring our bench mark data that we are going to have a good 2013 season. We are where we need to be to make our 2013 goals,” said Moore.

“Gentlemen, start your engines”

At least football season is all in, all done for now. Basketball is in and the Mrs. would rather watch Duke play than eat.

Tis the season for, “Gentlemen, start your engines,” as NASCAR cranks up their season run starting in Daytona. See that Danica Patrick has won the pole position — good for her. Reading a book or bending a hook is my thing rather than watching a bunch of television, unless, of course, you get to go to a race in person. The Masters is not for another month or so come April 14th — that I’d like to go to in person.

Mardis Gras is starting and got a dose of the beginnings while in Baton Rouge over the weekend, the Louisiana State Patrol was passing out tickets like food stamps and even the local parishes had their men checking for speeders, etc.

If they see you drive across the solid white line on the roadside to make a turn or move into the lane of traffic or simply cross it, you will get a ticket. $85.00 for an improper turn.

The garden has officially started as potatoes have been planted in two laundry baskets. Additionally heirloom tomatoes were planted as well as the chili pequin plants; these were planted in buckets and hopefully they will produce an abundant supply of tomatoes and peppers this year.

Going to make some super hot chowchow for one of the boys, as he says he likes it hot so we’ll give the chili pequin peppers a try in the chowchow.

My gone but not forgotten buddy Thomas Earl Fabian wanted some hotter chowchow one time so I used the food processor to do a couple jars of pure jalapeños, prepared in the normal manner of chowchow and took one to the slaughter house. Boy howdy did he ever fuss about how hot it was and wanted to know if I was trying to kill him.

The Baytown Shriners have a big Oyster Fry this coming Friday, so a ticket for the fried morsels was pre-purchased from a local Shriner. The Shriners do an awful lot for the Burn Hospital and other hospitals, so support them please.

The oyster is a gout kicker as is any shell fish. Am going to see if the meds the doc prescribed work, as a plate of the fried oysters has my name on it.

Charlie Farrar can be reached via email at: xuscg [at] yahoo [dot] com.