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Posts published in “Day: June 4, 2002

Aldine Branch Library events

The Aldine Branch Library, 11331 Airline Drive will have new hours beginning June 1. The library will close at 8:00 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday nights.
The new hours are:
Monday, 1-8
Tuesday, 10-7
Wednesday, 10-8
Thursday, 10-7
Friday, 1-6
Saturday, 10-5.

The Summer Reading and Read-to-Me Program, Read Across Texas! continues through July 28th.

Children who read 10 books or for 5 hours will earn a certificate and a free book while supplies last.

Wednesday, June 12, 10:30 a.m. Reading with Ronald McDonald

Thursday, June 11th, 10:30 a.m. Bilingual Preschool Storytime

Thursday, June 13th, 3:00 p.m. True Story of Little Red Riding Hood Puppet Show

“Sum” movie experiences not complete

Unfortunately, this is not a review of what I believe is a very good movie, “Sum of All Fears.” Instead, it’s half review and half what can go wrong while watching a movie.

I showed up at two screenings of the latest movie made from a Tom Clancy novel, but never did get to see the whole movie, but what I did see was sensational.

In the scheme of things, reviewing movies is not the most stressful of jobs. Sure you have to work on a deadline, computers can be cranky and often the words don’t tumble from the addled brain as easily as one wishes, but that’s the life. Writers know this and deal with it.

Nine years ago when I started writing reviews I didn’t have a clue about the various things that can go wrong while seeing a movie.

It was quickly evident that I was going to spend a lot more time at movie theaters, not just because I was going to see a lot more movies, but because the free advanced screenings reviewers are invited to are usually promotional events for radio stations or newspapers. This means the theater is over-booked and if you want a seat, you had better show up early.

Often, most of the seats are full an hour before the movie is to begin. One of the perks reviewers receive occasionally (other than free tickets) is a roped-off section reserved for the critics. In those cases, you might get away with showing up only a half-hour early.

Also, none of these screenings take place on the north side of Houston so another 30 minutes to an hour is usually needed to get to the theater, depending on the traffic. We all know how Houston traffic is in the evenings.

An invaluable tool for a reviewer is the press kit put out by the studio. It has a synopsis – I never read this part before the movie – a full list of credits and background of the filmmakers and cast. Pictures to put in the paper are also included in the press kits, which usually show up before you start writing – usually.

A ticket, or pass as it’s usually called, arriving after the movie has already screened is not common, but it happens.

But what drives most reviewers crazy is when a film is shown improperly or not at all when it is scheduled.

Unfortunately, both of these things happened on a Thursday back in April when a morning press screening of “Sum of All Fears” was scheduled. The print of the film had not yet arrived at the theater by 10 so the studio’s representative told us to come back at two that afternoon. The print not arriving for a screening has only happened a couple of times in the last nine years.

I’ve been to movies that were delayed because the print arrived late and had not been set up. Short version: A movie is sent in a metal box on numerous reels, usually about five depending on how long the movie is – each reel is 20 minutes of film. The reels are then attached together end to end on a large round platform that turns as it feeds the film into the projector.

The problem with the “Sum of All Fears” was that a reel was numbered incorrectly so we ended up seeing one reel twice and another not at all. I’m not sure how that happened. There are times when a reel is out of order, so you might see the end of the film where the middle should be and the middle at the end. One theater employee (who was really on the ball) once put a reel on upside down.

The worst part is that these mistakes are not easy to fix. Unwinding the movie, then fixing the problem and spooling the film back to where it should be can take as long as watching the movie, which is why I never did see all of “Sum.” There was another screening on another day, but I was unable to attend.

This is too bad because what I saw I really liked. “Sum” is as involving and as gripping as any movie released this year.

Since I’ve not read the 1991 book the movie is based on, my big interest in the movie was seeing how well Ben Affleck filled the shoes of Harrison Ford and Alec Baldwin who both played Jack Ryan in the past, Ford in “Patriots Games” and “Clear and Present Danger” and Baldwin in the first Clancy book to be made into a movie, “The Hunt For Red October.”

Affleck is a fine actor, but he has a tendency to whine a bit, which he showed all to obviously in “Pearl Harbor.”

He is fine here, but he’s no Ford and his chin seems a little weak for a character that saves the world on more than one occasion.

In “Sum” he saves the world with the help of Morgan Freeman – who is even more terrific than usual. Liev Schreiber as John Clark also helps, but none of them can stop a nuclear bomb from going off in Baltimore. This is one of the most powerful scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie. The shots of the bomb going off and the aftermath made me feel scared and vulnerable. The scenes of devastation would have done the same before September 11, but now that we all know the mass destruction zealots can wreak havoc here, these scenes are especially effectual.
Even without seeing all of “Sum” I recommend it highly. From what I saw it’s the best of the Jack Ryan movies.

Rated-PG-13 for violence, disaster images and brief strong language

MOUS certified first-timers at G.W. Carver High School

G. W. Carver Magnet High School and the Career and Technology Education department in Aldine ISD are proud to announce that for the first time in the history of the school district, 11 students from the Business Computer Information Systems II class, taught by Ms. Lynette Phillip, took the Microsoft Office User Specialist (MOUS) Exams in Microsoft Word and Microsoft PowerPoint.

Nine (9) of the students have successfully received Microsoft Certifications.

Students taking the exams were:
Kimberly Kral (Word and PowerPoint), Adriana Jimenez (Word and PowerPoint), Marcus Wooten (PowerPoint), Jessica Wheeler (PowerPoint), Shannon Owens (Word),

Makeda Nauls (PowerPoint), Brena Wilkerson (PowerPoint), Robert Nunez (Word), Francisco Arias (Word), Flor Espinoza (PowerPoint), and Luis Alberto Santos (Word).

The exams were administered on-line on May 22, 2002 at the Carver High School Test Administration center.

They were set up by the Career and Technology Education department under the direction of Franklin Higgins, Director and Martha R. Hernandez, Program Director.

Camps for student athletes to be held at MacArthur 9th

June l0 – 13 there will be a boy’s basketball camp for next year’s 3rd through 9th grade students from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The cost of the camp will be $35 per athlete.

June 17 – 21 there will be a girl’s volleyball skills camp with grades 5 and 6 from 11 a.m. until l p.m. and grades 7 and 8 from1:30 until 3 p.m. The cost of the volleyball camp is $25 per athlete.

July 15-18 will be girl’s basketball camp. Incoming 5th and 6th graders’ camp will be held from 9 until 11:30 a.m. and the incoming 7th , 8th and 9th graders’ camp will be held from 12:30 until 3 p.m. The cost for the girl’s basketball camp is $25 per athlete.

Registration will be held on June 8th from 9-11 a.m. at MacArthur 9th grade school in the gym. All Camps will take place at MacArthur 9th grade school gym. These camps have improved the skills of many young people and we provide a safe and positive environment for every student.

Kruse named to HOF

Aldine Senior High School’s social studies department chairman and former track coach Sam Kruse was inducted into the Gulf Coast Scholastic Track Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame.

This recognition acknowledges Kruse’s achievements in 34 years of coaching student athletes. He is one of four coaches honored in 2002 and the only Aldine Independent School District coach in the Hall of Fame.

A plaque with Kruse’s name is on permanent display at the University of Houston’s Hall of Honor.

Coaching for 20 years at M. B. Smiley in the Houston School District, Kruse coached another 13 years at Aldine Senior. In his career, Kruse has coached 11 high-school All-American track athletes. In 1971 and 1972, his 440-yard relay teams ran state meet winning times of 40.8 and 40.9 seconds, respectively. The two times were also national bests at the time.

Also during Kruse’s career, he coached a 25-foot, 1 1/2 inch long jumper and a 7-foot, 1-inch high jumper. Kruse also had a 9.4 100-yard sprinter and 10.2 100-meter and 20.9 200-meter sprinters. He also coached a 57.4 400-meter shuttle hurdle relay team.

Kruse believed that his squads should have depth, and twice in his career coached six runners under two minutes in the 800-meter dash. Six of the freshmen high jumpers he coached at Aldine Senior were all able to clear six feet in the event.

Area boys, Hambrick students, claim Soccer State Championship in Corpus Christi.

Top Row (Left to right): Coach Ruben Mares, Virente Vasquez, Edgar Monroy, Irvin Campos, Juan Ruiz, Edgar Campos, Anthony Gonzales, Edwin Sanchez, Diego Coranado. Bottom Row (left to right) Juan Colmenaro, Edwin Lemus, Jose Sanez, Julio Martinez, Edgar Olivares, I-lever Martinez, Abelardo Olivares, Jose Garcia. (not pictured: Assistanct Coach Jose Sanez and Jose Dominguez

Wise coaches will always tell their players, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.” For the Atlas soccer team, which includes 12 of 17 players from Hambrick Middle School, you can’t finish any higher than state champions in Texas. “I’m extremely proud of the boys,” Said Coach and Hambrick Assistant Principal Ruben Mares. With a top-notch performance at the South Texas Youth Soccer Association’s state tournament in Corpus Christi, the South Texas cup belongs to the Atlas soccer team.

The team finished the regular season 5-1-2.
They finished second at the Eastern district tournament here in the Houston area. That was enough to qualify for the state tournament. “The most challenging part of this run was raising enough money for the boys to make the trip to Corpus.” Exclaimed Mares. Thanks to the generosity of Fiesta Grocery and Hambrick students and faculty, the team raised the $1,700 to cover travel and lodging expenses. Then the boys could focus on the game.

Things didn’t look good for the Atlas in game one of the state tournament. “That was the biggest surprise.” Mares reflected. “We were down 3 to 1 in the first half but in the second half the Atlas team members came together and recovered to tie the game. This was enough to catapult them into a position to play for the championship.

Ironically, the Atlas had to defeat its familiar Eastern District foe, the Conroe Castros to claim the cup. It was a team that they had lost to 4 to 1 in the Eastern district tournament. But this time, the Atlas was determined not to let history repeat itself. With systematic teamwork and precision kicking, the Atlas began functioning with the efficiency of a Swiss watch. The defense was stellar, frustrating the boys from Conroe with every block and pinpoint passing. When the time had expired all they had to do was search their hearts and glance at the scoreboard: Atlas: 3, Conroe Castros 0.

So the team can relax, at least for a few weeks. Coach Mares says he’ll add a few new players as other boys move on. Then it’s back to the summer practice fields as they prepare for a new season in September. For a team that’s been together less than a year, it was a fine end to an inaugural season. Mares said he wanted to make special note of the parental support. “It was great,” he said. As always when coaching a group of young men in a sport like soccer, you have to have great parent help. All of these young champions are looking forward to next season. For those who shared the joy of winning the cup, lessons of teamwork, responsibility and grace in victory are just a few of the things they can plant inside their hearts while donning the medals around their necks. At Hambrick, teachers and students were extremely proud. Congratulations could be heard echoing through the hallways as the players returned to class from their memorable trip down the coast. If all goes well, you’ll be hearing about these boys and their future conquests through high school and college.

Hibiscus show and sale coming June 9

Hundreds of exotic hibiscus blooms will be displayed by the Lone Star Chapter of the American Hibiscus Society from 1:00 to 5:00 P.M., Sunday, June 9 at the Bellaire Community Center, 7008 South Rice Avenue in Bellaire.

Named variety hibiscus will be for sale. Blooms will be displayed representing varieties of the tropical “Chinese” hibiscus that grow well in Texas. Admission is free. Visitors will receive the free leaflet “How to Grow Better Hibiscus Near The Texas Coast.” To raise funds, the chapter will sell landscape and exotic hibiscus plants, the internationally acclaimed Hibiscus Handbook, and the Space City Chapter’s water-soluble fertilizer, 18-10-28, formulated especially for hibiscus.
Experienced hibiscus growers will share growing tips and answer questions. For consultations about growing problems, leaves from problem hibiscus may be brought to the show in sealed plastic bags to the “Help Desk.” Also, bring your “mystery” hibiscus blooms for identification.

The Lone Star Chapter meets every fourth Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., March through October, at the Garden Center in Hermann Park. Visitors are most welcome. You are invited to visit our website, to learn more about tropical hibiscus.


This week’s Crime Stoppers report involves the robbery and assault of an elderly man in Pasadena, Texas.

On Tuesday, March 26, 2002 at approximately 8:25 p.m. Pasadena Police Department received a call of a robbery and assault of an elderly man. The victim was in his residence in the 1700 block of Jessie when a Hispanic male knocked on his front door. The suspect told the victim someone was in his back yard.

The victim exited his house and the suspect walked with him to the rear of the victim’s house. The suspect struck the victim in the head knocking him to the ground and caused injury to the victim’s hip. The suspect then took the victim’s billfold from his pocket and fled the scene.

SUSPECT: Hispanic male, in his 30’s, 5’9”, 180 – 200 lbs., brown hair, brown eyes and a moustache. Suspect was wearing a white T-shirt and a baseball cap.

If you have any information on this case please contact Sgt. Bonsal at the Pasadena Police Department at 713-475-7804 or the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 713-222-8477.

Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and charges filed on any felony suspect.

PUC discounts rate for low-income Texans

AUSTIN (AP) – The Public Utility Commission voted last Thursday to increase the electric rate discount for about 540,000 low-income Texas residents.

The PUC commissioners are increasing the $92.4 million discount already authorized by $65 million. The discount could be increased from 10 percent to 17 percent. That would save an average of about $25 per month on the electric bill of each eligible customer.

The program LITE-UP, or Low Income Telephone and Electric Utilities Program, provides an automatic 10 percent discount on electric rates to all qualified low-income customers.

The program is limited to those living in parts of the state open to electric utility competition.

Blood supply remains critically low following Memorial Day weekend

The regional blood supply, which was reported as critically low before Memorial Day continues to challenge the blood collecting agencies in Houston.
With very few donations made over the holiday weekend, the ability to meet patient transfusion requirements remains compromised.

Last Tuesday, The Blood Center reported orders for 519 units of type 0 positive and 255 units of type 0 negative it was unable to fill.

In many cases this means that surgery schedules at area hospitals have had to be rearranged to accommodate the most serious first.

It is very important that blood donors with these blood types donate as soon as possible. In this 24-county region, 700 blood donations are needed every day to maintain an acceptable supply. With the current shortage, outstanding orders must be completed before the regional inventory can be rebuilt. Blood donors must be 17 years of age, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good general health.

Donors may contact any of the following blood collecting agencies for their locations and hours of operation:

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center: 713-790-1200, 1-888-482-5663
The Methodist Hospital 713-441-3415
St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital: 332-355-4483,
UT, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center 713-792-7777
The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston: 409-772-4861