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Star-Courier News

County Attorney prevails in “Whistleblower” lawsuit

Harris County Attorney Mike Stafford stated that on July 15, 2003, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, sitting in New Orleans, affirmed judgment in Harris County’s favor in Marilyn Murr Doyle v. Harris County.

Dr. Doyle, a former Assistant Medical Examiner at the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office, sued Harris County alleging that she was wrongfully discharged from employment in violation of the Texas Whistleblower Act and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

At the conclusion of a fourteen-day july trial, the jury returned a $250,002 verdict against Harris County. Thereafter, Dr. Doyle’s attorneys sought recovery of more than $500,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs.

Upon review, United States District Judge Melinda Harmon overturned the jury verdict and granted judgment as a matter of law in Harris County’ s favor, finding that “a reasonable trier of fact could not have found as the jury did in this case.”

On Dr. Doyle’s appeal, the Fifth Circuit affirmed judgment in Harris County’s favor, finding that Dr. Doyle’ s theory of recovery was “pure speculation.”

Stafford said that he was pleased with the judgment because he “never believed the taxpayers of Harris County should pay even one penny on this claim.”

All hat and no cattle? Not this cowboy, Gene…

Howdy, y’all. I guess I’m gonna have to sell my horses and tractors at the ol Rancho Pequito. That’s right. None other than the infamous, and incredibly humble Gene “The Weenie” Green, has declared me “All Hat and no cattle”. I probably ought to just shut up and listen to The Weenie since I have “a real knack for creating facts when the truth doesn’t meet with my skewed point of view”. By the way Gene, I don’t buy the space for my column, it’s provided by the paper.

A few quick observations for our “learned” congressman. The only group trying to disenfranchise Texans is the Liberal Democrat Party. We, the people, are getting pretty fed up with that tired cliché.

The term “tyranny of the majority” and the drivel following, seems fine as long as the majority is Republican. However, all those years when the majority was Liberal Democrats, it didn’t apply. Something is wrong with that reasoning, congressman, but then you are now the oppressed, aren’t you?

And there you go again! Telling us that those WEENIE democrats who skipped their responsibilities and ran to Oklahoma, “stood against tyranny”, and “that is the definition of a hero”. Boy, did you have to twist and turn to get that to work. I bet you look like a pretzel! Evidently, Hillary and Bill taught you quite well. We now have a new victim class in Texas: Democrat congressmen.

Poor babies!

Congressman, I am a registered Independent. I have never been a Republican. I don’t control, nor do I own any Republicans. I believe the readers of this paper would like to know who you are referring to as, “Lloyd’s
Republicans, I know I would. I have never even talked to a Republican Party person, although I will be talking to your opponent next year, you can bank on that! The line from a movie fits you here, congressman, “Be afraid. Be very, very afraid”.

Gene, I do not want anyone to think you are not a decent human being, because I think you may be. However, you have been around some pretty bad people in Washington Town and it seems to have rubbed off. Your politics are out of step with Texans, no matter how much you sound off about all your support of conservative issues for your district. The fact that you first notice a persons ethnic background, rather than they are Americans, shows that you are still a Liberal. Talk is cheap and irrelevant. If you truly believe you stand for conservative values, change your party affiliation. If you are just sayin’ the words, stay where you are. “You are judged by the company you keep”. As I told you once, already, you need to choose some new friends, Gene.

Folks, you make the call. You’ve heard, or read, both sides. I have no political agenda and I trust you, but since I’m not runnin’ for office, I have nothin’ to loose. Gene does.
Probably the best two things about The WEENIE readin’ and responding to my column is first, he does know how to read, and secondly, if he’s readin’ Horsefeathers, he is takin’ time away from Washington, and therefore, stayin’ out of our business! Thanks, Gene.

You all let me know if I outa sell Rancho Pequito. I’ve had quite a few folks tell me, “Git ‘em, cowboy”! I may have to put a guard at the gate to keep it closed, so’s all of ”Lloyd’s Republicans” won’t overwhelm the place.

I hope you all are enjoyin’ hearin’ from ol Gene The WEENIE. I know I sure am!

‘Til next time,
Your Pard,
Just a Ridin’,

Highlands native signs with NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks


HIGHLANDS— A University of Texas basketball star, who grew up in Highlands, will soon be calling the NBA home.

T.J. Ford, who declared for the draft after his sophomore year at UT-Austin, was selected in the first round of the NBA draft. Ford was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 8th pick overall. This past week, Ford signed a four-year deal with Milwaukee which is estimated at $7 million.

Despite being six foot tall, short by NBA standards, Ford said that he doesn’t expect to have many problems in making the transition to professional basketball.

Before going to UT, Ford attended school at Highlands Elementary and Junior School. In the summer before his high school freshmen year his parents, both of whom are Sterling graduates, moved to West Houston. At Willowridge High School, he led the team to two state championships and a 62-game winning streak.

As a Longhorn, Ford led the school to their first Final Four appearance in almost a half a century as well as leading the team in scoring, assists and steals this past season. He was also named the NCAA’s College Player of the Year.

Highlands Chamber presents awards, names Deacon Tittel the Terry Davis winner

HIGHLANDS– The Highlands Chamber of Commerce held their installation luncheon and Awards ceremony last Thursday noon, and ended up with a new president, a new board (partially), and 4 important Public Safety and Service Awards to essential members of the Community.

Outgoing president Wanda Asbeck moderated the ceremonies, with the help of Lt. Jack Hagee of the Constable’s office, Judge Mike Parrott, and visiting Judge Reuben Guerrera.

The new president sworn in was banker Charlie Farrar. Other officers included 1st VP Vern Miller, 2nd VP Kim Harrison, Secretary Nancy Simpson, and Treasurer Diane Lester.

In addition to the installation, Awards were presented for community service. These included the top award, the Terry Davis Award, to Highlands/Bellaire firefighter Deacon Tittel. Deacon was cited for his service to two fire departments, his recognition as Firefighter of the Year by Bellaire and Harris County, and the offices and accomplishments he has held with the HVFD. He also has been active in community events such as the Sports Association, as a coach and board member.

Public Service awards went to Reserve Deputy Constable Joe Avalos; Highlands Firefighter Sean Matula; Sheriff’s Deputy Keith Thornton, presented by District II Captain Michael O’Brien; and the Business of the Year to Bouquets by Mae owner Rebecca Harrington.

Wanda Asbeck reminded the large crowd gathered for lunch that plans were underway for the annual Jamboree, scheduled for the first weekend in October.

Board members installed included Al Pyle, Gary Anderson, Linda Palmer, Calvin Evans, Kim Harrison, Debbie Langham, Nancy Simpson, Jerry Ickes, Wanda Asbeck, Weston Cotten, Roy Elliott, Gil Hoffman, Angela Barron, Vern Miller, Dianne Lester, Doug Dodds, Michelle Bitterly, Jim Strouhal, Lynn Kemplay, Dickie Woods.

The keynote address was presented by Judge Mike Parrott, speaking on Responsibility and the heroes of community service.

Presenters of awards included Jerry Ickes, Lt. Jack Hagee, Fire Chief Harvey Little, and Capt. Michael O’Brien of the Sheriff’s office.

May Center reopens after extensive additions and remodeling


You can ask almost anyone in Huffman and they can tell you where it’s located…”Go down FM2100 turn on Wolf Rd. and it’s right there, next to the park…” And they would be right, however, if they told you the name of the Community Center is the I.T. May Community Center, on that count they would be wrong. I.T. May gave his name to the park that sits next to the Center, his wife Vera, gave her name to the Center. And last Thursday, as the doors of the new building swung wide to accept its vast number of guests, the building was officially christened the Vera Brummett Community Center.

Since the donation of the Park in 1969, the Center has undergone several changes. Perhaps you have been in the community long enough to remember it at its beginning. The 10 acres was purchased by I.T. May when he was just 20 years old. It quickly became a portion of what would later total over 4000 acres of prime rice field. And the acreage held another special appeal as it lay next to land once owned by his grandfather. Never one for publicity, May quietly donated the land so that area children would have a place to play ball. If not for a close family friend, May’s generosity may have never come to light. It was not until the dedication of the Park that I.T. was informed that the Park would bear his name.

The building most of us are familiar with measured just at 4000 square feet. The new one spans over 18,000 square feet, and architect Mike Swain did an incredible job of designing its layout. Beautiful arches of hand-brushed wood, polished tile and gleaming glass beckons visitors to its interior. A full sized kitchen and banquet room are available to the public for a nominal security fee, which is refundable if all aspects of the rental agreement are met. An intergenerational facility, the Center has something for everyone in the community. “We offer all types of classes and instruction here at the community center,” stresses Michelle Thompson, Acting Director. “Our doors are open to all citizens; from the young to the retired community. I hope that everyone will come by to visit and take advantage of the many educational formats we have to offer.”

From painting on canvas and making birdbaths to learning how to play card games and grow native plants, the classes at the Center offer a little something for everyone. Novices are welcome and if you have a special skill or talent, you are invited to join the staff of volunteers and spread your knowledge.

Commissioner Jerry Eversole was on hand to assist in the ribbon cutting, as were several members of the May family. Thirty-four years ago at the dedication of the Park, Commissioner Ramsey stated, “I’m sure there are going to be many happy youngsters for many generations to come…” Thursday, Commissioner Eversole echoed this same sentiment when he stated, “The value of this Center will be decided upon in the years to come as citizens of this community enjoy the facility. Once you enter the doors, then you will be the judge of its worth…” Most impressive was the presence of Mrs. Vera Brummett May herself. And it would seem that Mrs. May shares I.T.’s desire to remain behind the scenes. When asked if she would be speaking that afternoon at the dedication her reply of, “Oh gosh, I hope not,” brought smiles and chuckles from the many bystanders. While shy to speak in front of the masses, she is willing to share her thoughts and opinions on the Center for this publication. Mrs. Vera Brummett May states, “I am extremely pleased and proud of the new Vera Brummett May Community Center. When my late husband (Irby Taft May) and I first donated the property to Precinct 4, we envisioned a facility that could be used and enjoyed by the entire community. I feel, and I am sure Irby would feel, that this Community Center and sports complex [not only] meets, [but] exceeds our expectations. I want to thank Commissioner Eversole, Architect Mike Swain, and the staff and employees at Precinct 4 for their hard work and the time expended to create this state-of-the-art gathering place for the community.” Giving is a family affair with the May family, and we are proud and grateful to be the recipients of their generosity.

Harris County Pollution Control installs new ozone monitor in Crosby


CROSBY— How dangerous is the air quality in Crosby? Now with the click of a mouse, residents can find out the exact levels of ozone in their community thanks to a new air monitoring site installed by the Harris County Public Health and Environmental Education Services’ Pollution Control Division.

The new equipment, which is a less sophisticated system than those found in Baytown or Highlands, is located adjacent to the Crosby Library. The monitor is part of a countywide system of monitoring site which measure levels of ozone as well as airborne pollutants, radiation, wind levels and temperature. The Crosby location, however only measures ozone, while the Highlands site, on Wallisville Road, road measures nitrogen oxide emissions, ozone, wind speed and temperature among its features.

According to a spokesperson for the county’s pollution control division, ground level ozone is the air pollutant of greatest concern to area residents. Ozone is an odorless gas which forms through a chemical reaction between nitrous oxide and some volatile organic compounds.

“Exposure to high levels of ozone can cause or worsen various respiratory symptoms. The include symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing head aches, nausea and throat and lung irritation,” said Shirley Norris with County Judge Robert Eckel’s office.

Eckel’s office has created a system by which residents can receive e-mail alerts when the ozone level gets too high. To subscribe for these alerts. which also give warnings about ozone watches issued by the county, go to and select “Subscribe to Ozone Alerts.”

Norris said that this information is especially useful for parents, athletic coaches, school nurses. health care professionals and individuals with respiratory illnesses.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality also monitors stations such as the one in Crosby and reports its findings on an hour to hour basis. These results can be found by going to the state agency’s website at and selected “air” under the subject index.

Barrett Station Post Office to close July 31st

BARRETT STATION— Postal officials announced July 14th that customers currently receiving post office box service at the Barrett contact postal unit will have their service relocated to the Crosby Main Post Office at 133 Hare Road, effective July 31, 2003. The Barrett contract postal unit will be closed due to the expiration of the current contract on July 31.

All post office box holders will retain their current post office box numbers, and will continue to receive mail at the Crosby Main Post Office. Customers with post office boxes at the Barrett contract postal unit also have the option of having their mail delivered directly to their residence or business, provided an approved mail receptacle is made available and a Change of Address form is completed.

Full retail service is available at the Crosby Main Post Office, and limited postal services are available through rural letter carriers for customers served by rural letter carriers. Questions regarding this service change can be directed by telephone to the Crosby Main Post Office by calling (281) 462-2329.

Highlands Firemen rescue marine workman

HIGHLANDS– Firemen from the local department had an unusual rescue last Wednesday, when they had to enter the hull of a barge on the San Jacinto river, secure a man on a back board that had fallen 20 feet into the vessel, and then use a crane to lift him up to safety.
In charge of this operation was Sean Matula of the Highlands Fire Department.

The accident occured at the San Jacinto Barge Repair Company, which is operating on the property where the Chips RV park stood for many years, on South Main Street at Ellis School Road.

Also on hand for the rescue were members of the Houston Fire Department, and LifeFlight, which transported the victim to Memorial Hermann Hospital.

The man was a 45 year old worker for the barge company, and although no witnesses reported exactly what happened, it is assumed that he missed the opening on the deck, and fell in.

Fire department rescue workers said that the man was semi-conscious when transported, but obviously in pain. He was unable to tell the story of what happened, partially due to language differences.

I’m pretty HOT, thanks to Gene Green and the Dems…

HOT! That’s what everything is right now. The weather, politics, me, yadda, yadda, yadda.

I was talkin’ to Miss Judy the other day and we got to comparin’ things today to what they were like when we were growin’ up.

We could, and had to, walk to school every day. Now, kids are picked up at every corner, in every neighborhood. God forbid the little darlings should have to walk a block or two so’s the bus could make a few less stops! We took a sack lunch to school. It might have been baloney, but we lived, didn’t we. Nowadays, the Government supplies free lunch, and breakfast, for anyone who wants it! (How do I get in on that one!).

Used to be that cities and counties built roads, supplied water and sewer, provided fire and police protection, and generally, stayed out of our way.

Now, the city and county genius’s build multi-million dollar sports stadiums for millionaire team owners, let them out of contractual agreements and then pay them for the early cancellation!

In the meantime, streets are falling apart, the sewer system money is gone, the county throws money away at the Central Plant because “they had the money”, on a vendor’s failure to perform, the big City is $150 million in the hole because of the mismanagement of the Genius of Lee. P. Brown, and the Gestapo taxing entities like the Appraisal District and certain school districts answer to no one with their teams of lawyers and conniving weasels.

Yes, I’m pretty hot! I guess venting is a good thing sometimes. As you can see, there is plenty of stuff for this ol cowboy to write about!

Speakin’ of writin’, I did a little research and found out why “The Weenie”, Gene Green was screamin’ about the redistricting plan for Texas. One of the three districts most affected and which will probably become Republican, is the district now controlled by The WEENIE himself.

Congreesman WEENIE, it seems that you are engaged in “purely partisan politics”! Now ain’t that cute! The pot callin’ the kettle black!

By the way congressman, in case you couldn’t tell, I don’t give a good rat’s rearend for you or your politics.

Now, the big question is, “what will you do when you are defeated next election”. I know, why not write about all your “heroic” friends! That should be real interesting.

STOP! See how these things make you crazy?

On to more pleasant things. Joe and Renee Anselmo just had their anniversary. Congrats, y’all!

Many of you know Joe for his famous haircuts at the shop named after him. He loves his job so much that I saw him take a ten dollar bill from a customer…..and give him twelve dollars back!! The best part was that the customer gave Joe a two dollar tip and Joe just said thanks! What a great place to get you ears lowered!

Spent much of the first of the week with good, honest folks- cowboy (and girl) poets, musicians, saddle and spur makers, radio DJ’s and other western folks at the Academy of Western Artists Convention and Awards Show in Ft. Worth. I hope to have a picture or two for you all next week.

I gotta go cool off, so last one out, make sure to shut the gate.

Just a Ridin’,
Your Pard,

Highlands Chamber elects Farrar new president; honors peace officers, others at Thursday luncheon

HIGHLANDS– With a renewed vigor, the Highlands Chamber holds an awards luncheon and installation today, Thursday, July 10, at the Teapot Depot. Chamber members, the public, and friends of honorees are welcome and encouraged to come, according to outgoing president Wanda Asbeck.

Elections for directors have been completed, and at today’s luncheon judges Mike Parrott and Tony Polumbo will swear in the new slate.

This includes directors as follows: Newly elected, Debbie Langham, Kim Harrison, Linda Palmer, Nancy Simpson, Calvin Evans; returning, Wanda Asbeck, Jerry Ickes, Dianne Lester, Vern Miller, Angela Barron, Weston Cotten, Gil Hoffman, Douglas Dodds, Michelle Bitterly, Jim Strouhal, Roy Elliott, Lynn Kemplay, Dickie Woods, and Gary Anderson.

Officers to be installed for the coming year are: Pres. Charlie Farrar, 1st VP Vern Miller, 2nd VP Kim Harrison, Secretary Nancy Simpson, and Treasurer Dianne Lester.

At the luncheon planned for Thursday, the Chamber will present awards to Peace Officers, Fireman, and Business of the Year. These will be announced at that time.

In addition, the Terry Davis award will be made. This honor goes every year to someone in the community that gives their time and effort to the improvement of the community in a selfless way. It is named in memory of Davis, who died after helping to clean up the community after Hurricane Alicia in 1983.

The new president, Charlie Farrar, is an officer at Woodforest National Bank in Highlands, and has been a past president of the Highlands Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow.

Rotary installs Guillen as President, names Hausberger “Rotarian of the Year”

HIGHLANDS– Rotary Club of Highlands held their installation banquet for new officers and directors last Thursday, June 26th, with Judge Mike Parrott and Judge Tony Polumbo presiding.

New officers for the coming year will be President Jesse Guillen, 1st VP Patricia Scott, Treasurer Charlie Ward, Secretary Willie Glasgow, Past President Joe Hausberger, and Sargeant at Arms Jeremy Rosenkranz.

Other Board of Directors include Service: Doug Dodds, Vocational: Chet Cotten, Community: Pat McPhee, and International: Robert Woodall. Program co-chairs are Gilbert Hoffman and Willie Glasgow.

The banquet was held at the San Jacinto/Highlands Community Center. Over 100 persons attended, including officials from District 5890 of Rotary, which represents 55 clubs in the Houston area. This included Pat Mueller, Assistant District Governor, and DeLissa Simmons, Governor nominee for 2004-5.

In addition to swearing in new officers, a number of awards were made. Rotarian of the Year was given to outgoing president Joe Hausberger. By vote of the club, it was acknowledged that he had led an outstanding year. The award was presented by Gilbert Hoffman, a past president and previous Rotarian of the Year.

Hausberger was cited for his accomplishments: growth in membership by 20 per cent, contributions to the Highlands VFD radio antenna project, participation with other clubs in new Christmas decorations for Main Street, award of 8 scholarships to local students, support of the Little League and the Boy Scouts, a very successful Chili Feast fund raiser and raffle, participation in the District’s Convention, and winning of 1st place in their “Art for the Hungry” competition, participation in the District’s New Orleans convention, with the most members from any club, and plans to accept a new Exchange student for the coming year 2003-2004.
In his award remarks, Hoffman also noted that Hausberger had led the club with his own unique warmth and personality that made everyone feel comfortable and included.

Other awards that were presented included an Honorary Member status for Pat Lohan of the Chinquapin School, who for many years has been in chargeof Rotary’s Interact Club at Chinquapin.

Also receiving recognition was retiring Treasurer Ed Palmer, who has held this position through about 15 presidents.

In a moment or two of levity, last year’s “Rookie Dudes” Chet Cotten and Stephen Miller retired, and the honor, so called, was passed to Jeremy Rosenkranz and Joe Hausberger, Jr. Also, Pat Robinson was awarded the “Betty Boop” award for best impersonation, and as she accepted the honor she showed us why she won.

Before the banquet, music was provided by The Baytown Big Band, and cooking was by the Henderson group and Charlie Ward and Stephen Miller and Robert Schmadl.