Press "Enter" to skip to content

Star-Courier News

Lake Houston fishing trip claims two lives

By LEWIS SPEARMAN

HUFFMAN – Three men set out to fish from Lake Houston Marina at about 9:20 p.m. on June 22, only one would survive the brief, tragic misadventure.

Witnesses say the trio scurried out into twilight with fishing equipment and fresh minnows but they were calling for help shortly thereafter.

Although the Houston Lake Patrol responded when informed of the calls for help, critical time would pass before the boat was found.

Lack of boating safety seemed to be a factor. The Houston Lake Patrol found the boat and marked it with a buoy shortly after 10:00 p.m. but it did not have the bottom drain plug in place. There were no life jackets aboard. Family members informed Houston Police that it was the second time the brothers had used the boat.

Houston Lake Patrol determined that the boat must have been swamped with water when the front end came down as it came to rest and then it capsized.

Houston Police Dive Teams found the body of Yonari Olazaran, 28, at about 4:10 a.m., Monday, June 23. They called off the search for Rojello Olazaran, 26, at about 1:00 p.m.

Jessica Escobar was working at Lake Houston Marina the night of the tragedy, she said, “It just seems so ironic, we keep telling people they need to be well prepared before they go on a fishing trip especially if they don’t know the lake. If they had checked out their boat they could have known they didn’t have the plug in place. If they had life jackets, that might have saved them. If they had swam northeast toward the trees they would have been swimming with the current and after about 10 minutes or so they would have been walking to shore on a sandy bottom. They obviously were swimming eastward toward the park lights and that was against the current. This should be a warning to everyone to ask for information before going out, especially at night.”

Houston Lake Patrol estimates the sole survivor swam at least 200 yards against the wind from a location northwest of the McKay Bridge. The survivor reached a private dock in Huffman and telephoned for help.

West Nile Virus nears

By BOBBY HORN JR.

EAST HARRIS COUNTY— Confirmed cases of West Nile Virus, which first hit the West Side of Harris County have shown a migration toward the east side of the county.

Last week, the Harris County Health Department announced that the number of confirmed cases of WNV in birds had increased to seven, including one case in Humble.

Dead birds have tested positive in west, northwest, central and north east areas of the county. These birds include three Blue Jays, an American Crow, a Mourning Dove, a Great-Tailed Grackle and a Carolina Chickadee.

The Mosquito Control Virology Laboratory has confirmed one mosquito pool that has tested positive for WNV. The Culex mosquitoes were collected from a trapping site near Coral Reef Street. Another six more pools throughout the county are suspected of having the WNV as well.

Additionally, the county suspects three pools of having the St. Louis Encephalitis virus.

Harris County residents are urged to take actions to eliminate breeding sites including containers that could hold standing water. Residents are also advised to limit their outdoor exposure during dawn and dusk hours, when mosquitoes are most active, or to wear long sleeves shirts and pants and use insect repellant when outdoors.

Dead man’s curve on FM2100 remains a threat

By LEWIS SPEARMAN

CROSBY – The site of the first fatal automobile accident in Crosby, the Y from Main St. to First St., was the scene of an accident involving a 13 year old girl on a scooter and a van on June 19.

The 13 year old was treated and released by Friday morning with some damage to her leg. The estimated speed of the collision was about 12 miles per hour on impact, according to authorities.

The wreck happened in the same location as decades ago a T-Model Ford rolled over trapping a man and his wife inside as the T-Model burst into flames.

The Crosby / Huffman Chamber of Commerce asked TXDoT to straighten the curve as a safety measure three years ago. TXDoT responded with a plan to make the curve less sever and to put in an overpass at the railroad crossing at FM 2100.

Crosby woman wins $1,009,960 at Casino in Biloxi

BILOXI, Miss, June 16– Nancy Moss’ “pit stop” in Biloxi at the President Casino landed her $1,009,960.55 on the Wheel of Fortune® quarter dollar progressive slot machine.

Moss said she had never played the Wheel of Fortune® progressive slot machines before but “loves the TV show and since no one was around, I decided to give it a try.”

From Crosby, Texas, Moss and her family decided to stop at the President Casino in Biloxi for the evening as it’s the half-way point to her father’s house in Georgia. Moss picked her machine and jokingly asked her husband and family to leave as they were “bringing me bad luck.” Only minutes after her husband and family left her side, Moss hit the jackpot. At first she thought her machine was broken, then was shocked to realize what she had won.

Six other previous winners were recently announced, bringing the total MegaJackpots™ winnings to just over $25 million in the Biloxi/Gulfport area since May 14. This is the second jackpot in one month on the Wheel of Fortune® progressive slot machines.

Moss had played approximately $40 before hitting the MegaJackpots™ bonanza.With her winnings, Moss plans to open her own business – it’s something she’s always wanted to do. “This will make life more comfortable” Moss said.

The Wheel of Fortune® machine is based on the popular television game show, “Wheel of Fortune®.” The jackpot is paid when a player plays the maximum bet ($.75) and lines up all three winning symbols on the appropriate pay line. After the jackpot is verified, the Wheel of Fortune meter is reset at $200,000. The Wheel of Fortune® is one of 15 Mississippi MegaJackpots’ systems operated by IGT, a world leader in the manufacturing of gaming machines and proprietary software for progressive gaming systems. All TGT MegaJackpots™ awards are paid in annual installments upon verification, except MegaJackpots Instant Winners’™ jackpots and Rapid Riches MegaJackpots™ awards, which are paid in their entirety upon verification. Wheel of Fortune ® is a registered trademark of Califon Production Inc. For more information on TGT, visit the company web site at www.IGT.com.

Pests

We have them at the house and at work. They are truly a pest and most bothersome not to mention nasty. Actually they are fruit flies.

They seem more prevalent this time of year for some reason and I assume it is because of all the fresh fruit available at the market and that one has brought home i.e., bananas, peaches, grapes, onions, etc. I think they get in potted plants also.

I managed to get three of them last night in the kitchen by popping them with a wet dish rag. Most folks use a dish cloth but it’s a dish rag to me. They were on the kitchen window and it was near dusk with the window providing the only light coming inside the house.

One can use insecticides but I do not care to spray that stuff in my kitchen. ##M:[more]#

The fruit fly is common around food that can rot, spoil, or ferment. They breed in drains, garbage disposals, empty bottles, trash cans, sour mops and even yeast products.

You’ve seen the cartoons of drunks with the little flies flying around? That is the fruit fly going for the yeast in the alcohol fumes…yuck.

Go to the grocery store and check out the numerous fruit flies around the onions, potatoes and other products. One can lay about 500 eggs and go from egg to adult in a week. They are most plentiful as they breed like a virus. These creatures lay eggs that hatch into what is known as little maggots.

When your produce is ripened, it should be eaten, discarded or refrigerated. Now you know why you want to wash your fruit before you eat it.

You can make a trap for the little creatures by making a paper funnel and place it over a jar with bait consisting of cider vinegar or a slice of banana in the bottom.

Or tape a clear plastic bag over the sink hole over night. If any are breeding in the drain, the adults will emerge and be caught in the bag.

Enough already.

As usual, Four Dog was resting on his belly watching out the sliding glass door as I sat in my rocker and read. The first growl is usually not something that causes me to look but he did it again. Shortly, he did it again so I couldn’t stand it, I had to look. I looked hard too and could not find out what was causing him to take notice.

Finally I looked down close to the door and by the mower. There was a plastic bag of bird seed and inside the bag was a dove. Not one dove but two. I was going to wait until the Mrs. came home and let her see, but thought maybe I’d better let them out. Sure enough they fluttered their wings wildly but could not escape the bag as I picked it up slowly.

Not wanting them to break a wing or anything, I tore the bag and reached in grabbing one of the dove.

As I got the second dove out of the bag I put it down and let Four Dog take a sniff. He had no interest so I gently tossed the dove into flight.

This is Texas, you know…

Boy, I am one lucky cowboy! I traveled all over Texas in the last nine days with my wife and daughter and son-in-law, and saw some of the prettiest country and the best people in the world. After all, this is Texas, you know!

We left Friday, June 6th, and drove to ol San Antone where we did the tourist thing, (something I’m not cut out for), and did the Riverwalk. We also payed tribute to my ancestor, Davy Crockett and the Alamo. By the way, did you know Alamo means, cottonwood? I sure didn’t.

Well, we also got to visit the Texan Days Festival at the Museum of Texan Cultures and went up in that “Hemisphere” thing where you can see for about eighty miles. While we were waitin’ at the entrance, I took off my boots, rolled up my jeans and waded in the fountain. Some local folks musta liked that cause they made me pose for pictures. Only after I got out did someone show me the sign that said, “NO WADING”. I’m sure glad they didn’t catch me!

It was really nice to slow down. We then drove to Galveston and stayed in a friends “little beach house”. Turns out it was one of the biggest places on West End with all the best of everything. Sure is nice to have friends, ain’t it?!

Miss Judy and I caught a plane on Thursday and flew to Amarillo where we were picked up by the fine folks from the Cal Farley Boys Ranch. In case you didn’t know, Cal Farley’s Boys ranch is an amazing place. It is home to over 400 boys and girls who have been abandoned or who’s parents have given them up. They are the best young people I have ever met and the Ranch is a city in itself. They grow most of their beef and much of their vegetables as well as have their own school district. The “town” was formed in 1939 by Cal Farley on the old Tascosa townsite.

I was privileged to be invited to perform, teach and assist in their Second Annual Youth Cowboy Poetry Gathering. I worked with the best of the best. Folks like Red Steagall, R.W. Hampton, Don Dane, J.W. Beeson, Jeff Gore, Trudy Fair, Trey Allen and Stephanie Davis, just to name a few.

I am changed by my time spent at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch and you can find out more at their website.

We flew back Sunday and went directly into rehearsal with the Baytown Little Theater for the August presentation of “Annie Get Your Gun”. It’s gonna be a humdinger! I’ll let you know more, later on.

Finally, I’m lookin’ forward to seein’ a bunch of you all who like great Texas music on Saturday evening at Lyin’ Larry’s. None other than Doug Supernaw, one of my fav-or-ites, will be on stage. Cost is about $15, a real bargain. But you might want to get your tickets asap, since there’s only room for about 400 or so. Hope to see y’all there! Be sure and say howdy, if’n you see me.

Lotsa other good things happenin, but I’ll tell ya when I see ya next.

Gotta go slog through the mud and feed my babies, so I’d appreciate it if you’d shut the gate and I’ll see ya down the trail.

Just a Ridin’,
Lloyd

Concerts, Cowgals, Auction record make a great Rodeo Week

Grand Champion Steer sells for $11,000 record; attendance high

By LEWIS SPEARMAN

CROSBY – The Crosby Fair & Rodeo Board awarded seven new scholarships, sold the Grand Champion Steer at an all-time record and had good attendance to the rodeo sport and concert shows in spite of rain and rumors.

“The Crosby Fair & Rodeo is dedicated to the future of our cause, our community and stronger than ever before.” said Doug Hall, Chairman of the Board, “We aren’t going anywhere, we’re going to be here for the long haul.”

According to Luther Brady Jr. the 57th marked $101,000 in scholarships presented to students of Crosby and Huffman since the board started and added “We want to thank everyone that showed up for the auction and the shows for making it possible.”

Five scholarships were awarded during the auction and two were awarded to graduate students during the rodeo. Casey Rush, Kathryn Morrison, Kurt Marek, Kaylee Chitty and Tiffaney Bradley received scholarships during the auction. Kimberly Clifton and Jeanelle Windham were awarded scholarships inside the Rock’n C Arena on Saturday night.

Rain pelted each night of the show but that didn’t stop dedicated sports and concert fans from attending. Although Friday night was lighter than usual, owing to the storm. Thursday night was larger than usual with much of the draw credited by attendants to Gene Watson of Baytown being the opening act. Saturday night, concert fans packed in to see a rollicking performance by Patrick Murphy and Cross Canadian Ragweed

According to Gary Clifton, “Overall it was a success. We had a lot of new faces and kept our traditions. Including the tradition of bad weather. People fertilizing grass or hay really appreciate us putting on the show because it brings more rain every year. The 57th will go down as a prolific and profitable year. We are looking forward to next year. The large crowd that attended Saturday night pushed back the effects of Tropical Storm Alison, it was very gratifying for us older board members to see that we had turned the corner from weaker years.”

The auction total was $164,810 for 96 exhibits. Wade Armstrong exhibited the 1300 lbs., Grand Champion Steer bought by Mr. Owens of Owens Specialty Company for $11,000. Annie Michalsky bought the 57th Crosby Fair & Rodeo Belt Buckle for $2,000. RSMIS Foundation purchased a round trip to Las Vegas for $3,050.

Rodeo Queens put beauty in the show

This year, the Crosby Rodeo Queens Contest attracted five lovely and skilled equestrians. Misty Watkins was crowned Queen. Kathryn Morrison was Duchess. Most photogenic went to Andrea Deajon. Horsemanship also went to Misty Watkins. Nicole McGinty was Miss Congeniality. McGinty paid the cost of taking her award, on Thursday night she sprained her ankle following a hard ride. The spunky rider didn’t let that stop her though, not only did she perform well the next two nights, she delighted everyone with her presence. Also recognized for her participation was Julie Glover.

According to Judge Judy Culbreath of Baytown, “Walton Feed & Western Wear supplied the Belt Buckle for Horsemanship, Congeniality, Photogenic and the Queen’s Crown. The saddle’s awarded for Queen and Duchess were donated anonymously. The Queen’s Belt Buckle was donated by Gary Bailey Insurance of Baytown. The Duchess Belt Buckle was donated Highlands Tractor Kawasaki. Lovely floral arrangements of roses were donated by Crosby Florist and Gifts. Goody bags were donated by area merchants.”

According to Mary Wright, “The Queen’s Contest was determined by judges based 40% on Horsemanship, 20% on personality and appearance, and 40% on an interview.”

Motive is mystery in family shooting

By LEWIS SPEARMAN

BAYTOWN – Lakewood Heights residents awoke in the wee hours of Saturday morning to a mammoth police presence beginning at about 3:26 a.m.

At about 3:18 a.m. on June 14, a Baytown 911 Operator received a call from a man claiming to be at 304 Lakewood. The man on the phone was reportedly calm. The man then stated, “ I shot my wife and my child.” but hung up the phone before giving his name.

William Michael Chamblin, 49, was taken into custody at about 6:35 a.m. Without warning the man walked out of his front door and complied with police instructions. So ended over three hours of stand-off with Baytown SWAT teams.

Once inside, mother and daughter were lying side by side in the kitchen, both had gunshot wounds to the head and chest. Two family pets, dogs, also lay dead in the kitchen.

Chamblin was arraigned on June 16 in the 262nd District Court. Judge Mike Anderson placed Chamblin on “No Bond” and he remains in Harris County Jail as of press time.

Baytown Police Sgt. Richard Whitaker indicates that police suspect Chamblin shot his family sometime between 7:30 and midnight Friday. Whitaker indicates his office is speaking with friends and family to determine why the crime was committed.

“We have never had a case more clear cut about how a murder was committed but we are still working on the why.” Whitaker ventured concerning the gruesome details that resulted in the charge of capital murder.

“It looks like he took them by surprise.” said Whitaker.

Huffman’s May Community Center Reopens

By BOBBY HORN JR.

HUFFMAN— After a year and a half, the I.T. May Community Center in Huffman is back and it’s bigger and better than ever before.

The center closed its doors in January 2002 for major renovations, forcing patrons to move to either the Crosby Community Center or the community center in Humble. The building reopened for use on June 2, 2003.

The first thing patrons will notice when they get to the community center is the size. During the renovations, the May Center expanded from 4,000 square feet to 18,000 square feet.

Rita Morrison, who works at the center, said that they now have three patios with ceiling fans and more rooms that are available for private party rental. “It’s a really nice place for families to get together such as baby showers or reunions.” Morrison said that the center is also unique in its storage capability. “We are the only Harris County community center with all of her storage upstairs.” Previously, she said, the center was hampered by its necessity to rent storage space off-site.

Among the amenities added to the center are two full service kitchens, a computer lab and a ceramics room with a kiln. Future plans include installing a BBQ pit next to one of the patios. The building is designed to be in compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Michelle Thompson, the director of the center, said that while they will have more capacity to rent out space they will continue the programs that have become so popular to its users such as the May Belles and Beaus and the wood carving group.

Among some of the programs that will be offered this summer are gardening classes, baby-sitter first aid training, exercise classes and painting classes. Future plans include computer classes and GED training.

Beginning July 2 and lasting through July 25 there will be a children’s program. This program runs from 10 a.m. to noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and will feature special guests include speakers from the Houston Zoo and the Ronald McDonald Magic Show.

Crosby explores possibility of building new YMCA

By BOBBY HORN JR.

CROSBY— Fifteen acres and $5 million. That is the estimated requirement to bring a YMCA facility to Crosby.

Last week, members of the Crosby-Huffman Chamber of Commerce’s economic development committee met with a senior member of the Greater Houston Area YMCA to find out exactly what steps would need to be taken to bring the organization to Crosby.

As vice president of operations for the YMCA, Doug Earle’s main duty is to supervise “baby branches” or facilities in outlying areas of the service area which stretches from League City in the south to Huntsville in the North, and from Katy to Baytown.

Typically, Earle said, when a community begins to seeking a YMCA branch they envision a building. But this is only a small part of what the organization offers he said. “Some people have a vision of what the YMCA is. Whether it is a building, a workout center, childcare, sports league or day camp for the underprivileged. Actually, we’re all of those.”

In most cases, when the YMCA comes to a community they look at first establishing a schedule of programs using facilities owned by local churches, schools, and county parks. “Most of the things we can do without a building, although most communities want a building,” Earle said.

Earle said that the YMCA is committed to developing the Body-Mind-Spirit triangle, which is part of the organization’s logo, through its program.

In order for Crosby to be considered for a YMCA branch, Earle said, the community would have to show that they could support programs that would generate at least $150,000 in fees per year. This, he added, would enable the YMCA to employ a full-time person to coordinate the local programs with an assistance from a parent branch. In Crosby’s case, the parent branch would be the Wendel D. Lay Branch on Wallisville Road in North Shore.

To become chartered as a branch, Earle said that a branch should have an operating budget in excess of $500,000, have two professional directors on staff, serve at least 2,000 participants and have a support campaign that is at least 5% of the operating budget.

Earle suggested the first step for Crosby to get a branch would be for a group of citizens, such as the economic development committee, begin polling residents to determine if there would be widespread interest in the organization’s programs. Once this is determined, the committee can begin looking for land and major financial backers. Ideally, 20% of the initial start-up funds should come from a philanthropic source such as corporate or individual donations of money and/ or land, Earle added.

Velma Ellison, who serves on the economic development board, said that they would like to have community wide meeting in late July to gage citizen support of the program.

How to survive this wet and wild summer

Tis June and hurricane season is upon us again. Are we going to have a big one this year or just get the remnants of one that hits someplace else?

Are you prepared? Will you stay here and ride it out or be one of the many in the massive traffic jam should one head our direction?

Having gone to the grocery store prior to one coming before, I will advise you strongly to go now and buy your water and canned goods because the stores shelves will be empty.

I am preparing our list and checking it twice. Water will be on my next few shopping trips as well as a few other items like instant coffee. Yuck you say but it’s better than nothing.

A few bottles of propane are on the list and I’ll keep the big one filled also.

How are you going to cook? Wal-Mart has the small propane grills over in the garden section for $29.95 and I bought one. Best grill for the money that I found and you will need something to cook any thawed out meat you’ll have when your freezer finally cools down.

We have candles and they are old but still useable. There are a couple of hurricane lamps in the attic and I may well drag them out. Of course it takes kerosene to make them work and I’ve had a gallon of it for several years now. I wonder it is still any good?

A manual can opener is a must because the electric ones are hard to operate manually, I guarantee it.

What will you eat? Canned beans get old quick. Fresh fruit does not stay fresh long.
One year we stocked up on canned goods and it took us what seemed like forever to finally go through and eat all of it.

The Mrs. ain’t much on canned tuna. We ate so much of it when we first got married, seems like she got her fill; that and Spam. Can you relate to something like that?

If you think you might need some plywood, best to get a few sheets now because there will not be any available afterwards; that or sheetrock.

Of course a roll of plastic would be useful and a heavy duty stapler to secure it with. That is something you gals can get yours truly for Fathers Day or an early Christmas gift.

Rubber boots will come in handy afterwards but they are not of much use when water is up to your belly button.

Saltine crackers keep a lot longer than loaf bread as do cookies and other crackers.

Best to take a count on your batteries. We keep all fresh batteries in a shoebox and have an assortment available for immediate use.

Flashlights are a must but the ones that use three or more batteries have a longer life and provide more light than the two cell flashlights. Rechargeable flashlights are great but once it runs down, how will you recharge it unless you have electricity, a generator or other means?

Load up on bug spray for you as well as for the house. The air conditioner will not be running and if you keep the doors open, flies, skeets and other insects will surely come in the house. The bug candles in bucket form are great for repelling the skeets.

Keep your cell phone charged because normal phone service is generally knocked out with down lines.

Hope this little bit of advice helps you and hope you never have to go through something that will huff and puff and blow your house down.