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Posts published in “Day: October 17, 2013

Finding My Father’s Mark

By Kristan Hoffman

Over Labor Day weekend, I visited Seattle for the first time. The city is an interesting mix of big business and hippie culture, with vibrant art and foodie scenes too. I saw all the main attractions — Mt. Rainer, Puget Sound, Pike’s Place market, the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden & Glass — but one of the most memorable highlights, at least for me, was something you probably wouldn’t find in a travel guide.

“4th Ave. About 35 stories tall. Cross-hatching support beams that you can see from the outside, like giant X’s. I think it’s brown with black windows. And it used to be owned by a bank.”

This was the information my father had given me over the phone. Vague memories from decades ago. The reason my dad wanted me to find this building is that he had been part of the team that designed it, back when he worked for a big architectural firm. He has always done this: pointed out bits of history that are interesting or important to him, thinking they’ll be interesting or important to everyone else too. Growing up I thought it was cool, then lame, then annoying, then endearing. Now that I’m an adult, I think it’s all of those things at once.

Scanning the skyline from the Bainbridge ferry and later the Seattle monorail, I saw a handful of skyscrapers that were possible candidates — including an ugly brown one that I desperately hoped was not his. But upon closer inspection, none of them had the cross-hatching support beams that my dad swore would confirm his building’s identity. They were like a litmus test, or a birthmark.

Fueled by a sense of daughterly duty, I decided to reserve my last morning in Seattle for tracking down my dad’s building. The strap of my duffel bag dug into my shoulder as I hiked up and down the hills, certain that somehow I could find this thing. Certain that my dad’s role in the project would echo through the years and serve as a homing beacon for me to follow.

That didn’t happen. In the end, it took another phone call to my dad, and an assist from Google, to figure out which building it was. But at long last, I found it. Better yet: I liked it.

The building sits on the corner of Marion St. and 5th Ave, crisp and white, striped by dark windows. It has a little Asian restaurant in the ground floor, as well as a newsstand, an ATM, and other useful nooks. It’s clustered in with several other skyscrapers — some taller, some not — but its gleaming façade distinguishes it from the crowd. Though it was built 30 years ago, the building still looks modern. The materials are attractive and have held up to both time and weather. There is good attention to detail, such as the tidy angles, the orange accent panels, and the lovely contrasting textures. Those cross-hatching beams are subtle, but elegant.

After taking photos and admiring it from the outside, I made my way inside. The interior was similarly sophisticated and stylish. As I wandered around, grinning, I found myself hoping that someone would stop me to ask what I was doing. Then I could say, “Oh, I’m here because my dad’s an architect. He designed this building.”

Arrests made at Crosby Horse Track

CROSBY – Nine people, including six law enforcement officers, have been charged with racing without a license, a felony punishable from two to ten years related to activities at Rancho El Herradero on Sralla Road, according to a release from the District Attorney’s Office.

An eleven month investigation turned up allegations of illegal racing and gambling at the 12402 Sralla Road location, south of FM 1942. According to Teresa Buess, head of the Public Integrity Division of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, soon after the Department of Public Safety launched an investigation in November, 2012, the office in Harris County got involved due to the presence of law enforcement offices.

The press release alleges that the law enforcement officers were providing security at the location. They were named as Department of Public Safety Trooper Richard Rivera, 57; Secar Guadelupe Rangel, 34, and Joel Garcia, 31, deputy constables with Harris County Precinct 1; David Green, 37, and Edward Scott, 34, reserve deputy constables for Fort Bend County Precinct 2 and Carlos Garza, 64, a reserve deputy in Maverick County south of here.

The Deputy Constables from Fort Bend County were reportedly fired on the spot.

Three arrested were civilians – Diana Marie Salinas, 19; Cosuelo Rivera, 61; and Reginaldo Mandujano, 53.

Cosuelo Rivera, wife of Richard Rivera, was charged with impersonating a peace officer.

According to the Harris County Appraisal District, Reginaldo Mandujano owns the property.

All nine charged were freed on bail, according to records.

The prosecutor will allege that for two years the 70 acre tract has been the scene of illegal horse races brought to the attention of authorities due to complaints of heavy littering, loud music and other nuisances behind a sign that says “training center.”

At first the T.A.B.C. was alerted but the “training center” had been granted a beer and wine license in 2008. A sign near the grandstands indicated that gambling, outside food, and firearms were not permitted.

It is said there are about 25 to 50 unregulated tracks across Texas. The Texas Racing Commission admitted that limited resources and frail relationships with law enforcement agencies makes it difficult to enforce state laws. One might guess a thousand “training centers” are a front for something, nobody knows.

A referendum in 1987 made races one of the few legal gambling venues. A license ranges from $70,000 to $1/2 Million per year.

Credit was also given to the US Department of Homeland Security, Texas Department of Criminal Justice Inspector General’s Office, Harris County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.

Taylor Moser Crowned Miss Highlands

HIGHLANDS– Annually for the last 56 years the Miss Highlands Pageant has been the centerpiece of community pride, here.

This year the goal was to find new representatives of all that is best about this community having had those posts so well represented by Casie Russell and McKenzie Reznicek as Miss Highlands and Junior Miss Highlands.

The theme this year was the lively musical Grease that starred Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta.

The principal sponsor of this event is Highlands Horizons with active participation from business and civic entities.

The podium was aptly manned by Capt. David Alford and Miss Highlands 2012 Casie Russell. Miss Russell sang a rousing opening with participants dancing for ceremonies.

The lovely array of contestants was introduced next. There was a sportswear presentation followed by an outstanding Talent Show. Stacy Lineberry sang a sophisticated entertainment segment.

During the evening gown presentation contestants were asked what is most challenging for teens today.

Maegan Linck was recognized for high ticket sales. Miss Congeniality was Madeline Walker. Miss Photogenic was Taylor Moser. Hannah Noel and Elizabeth Keyes split the talent contest. The Jennie Robbins Community Service Awardee was Heather Plant. Katlyn Burns was second runner up. Madeline Walker was first runner up. Taylor Moser is the 2013 Miss Highlands.

The Junior Miss Highlands was held prior to the event of Miss Highlands. High ticket sales was won by Kay-Leigh Benson. Miss Congeniality was Jordan Gwaltney. Haley Maxey was Miss Photogenic and the Talent winner was Sadie Aiken. Anna Keys was chosen Junior Miss Highlands. Destiney Bogie was first runner up. Sadie Aiken was Second Runner up.

Morman proposes more streetlights for Highlands

HIGHLANDS – Pct. 2 County Commissioner Jack Morman brought his message of progress in the Precinct to the Highlands Lynchburg chamber luncheon, last Thursday, Oct. 10.

Calling it “The New Precinct 2” Morman talked about initiatives to eliminate or control game rooms, and related crimes.

He spoke also about a program called Safer Streets 4 Schools, which will improve access for children walking or riding to school, by providing sidewalks, and improved intersections and queue lanes.

He noted that the court battles were over on redistricting, and voters did not need to worry now about district lines. He now has 15 cities within his precinct. He services the area with 380 employees.

Morman said his budget is balanced and in good shape this year, and he will be able to add 25 streetlights to the Highlands area.

He mentioned two issues that will be on the ballot in November. He is strongly in favor of a “joint processing center,” a joint city-county intake facility for arrested or detained individuals.

The other ballot issue is a vote to save the Astrodome, with a related small tax increase. He is not in favor of this item, due to continued expense and an undefined purpose for the building.

Morman said that future projects include a new landing at the fairy, and major construction and enlargement of the East Belt and the bridge over the ship channel. He said the budget will exceed $1 Bil.