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Posts published in May 2003

A few words for those ‘Demon-crats’

Boy, I could hardly wait to write this week’s column! There may be some of you who won’t agree with me on this, but no one forces you to read this, either.

You see, I’m a plain ole cowboy who was taught that if you were hired to work for someone, you did the job. You usually knew goin’ in that you may not like some of the work, but you don’t have to take the job. It’s your choice.

Well, doggone it! Those liberal Democrats in Austin have had their way for so long, (over 130 years), that when they don’t get their way, they pout. Not just pout, they RUN AWAY and hide! That just shows that they are a bunch of WEENIES!!

I don’t give a good rat’s rearend what political persuasion you are, that’s just plum wrong! If you try and justify it, then you can also probably explain why worms yawn, or why the moon is made of cream cheese!

Give me a cotton pickin’ break! If our Governor or Speaker of the House had any guts, they would have fined the whole bunch that left, $7,500 per day, and told them to stay gone as long as they wanted. Or, they would have appointed someone else from each district to take their place and gone on with the state’s business. But, they didn’t do anything, dagnabbit! And those Demonic Democrats think they won, somehow.

I was so mad that I went and found out who our representative is for Crosby. Fortunately, it was Joe Crabb, a Republican, cause if it had been a Democrat who had run off, I was goin’ to run against him or her next election! (I’m sure a bunch of you are glad that didn’t happen!).

The onlyiest way this so called Governor or Speaker can redeem themselves is to call a special session and lock the doors to the capital and put a State Trooper in charge of every Democrat. Then finish what is the Legislatures responsibility, redistrict the state. That was done by a three judge panel. However, that was only done so the legislature could do it in the next (this) session.

If the Demons lose a few seats, then it is because the people have spoken. Life is tough sometimes, kids. You don’t always get what you want, but you will get what you need! (I think there’s a song like that).

The Demons are just plain and simply wrong and must be called to account on this. From what I’ve heard from some folks who voted democrat last time, they certainly won’t be makin’ that mistake again!

So, I guess the Demons had better enjoy their “victory”, cause it will probably be their last hurrah. I for one, certainly hope so.

Well, at this point, I think I’ve made mine, so I’m goin’ home.

Thanks to all of you who have sent letters to the “Why I like Horsefeathers” contest. I haven’t picked the winners yet, so you still got time to send in yours to:

P.O. Box 1606
Crosby, Texas 77532

Don’t be shy, just do it!

Reliant left the gate open today, so I got to go round up the horses. If you don’t like what those Demons are doin’, call the governor’s office!

Just a Ridin’,

Astronaut visits Hambrick MS

By P.J. Williams

Students at Hambrick Middle School heard about the importance of staying in school, learning math and science, and graduating high school Monday from NASA astronaut Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz, Representative Gene Green (D-TX), and Houston businessman Israel Galvan.

Green explained to the students that what they do today impacts their future. “Seventh and eight graders, you are preparing to do whatever you are going to be,” Green said. Dr. Chang-Diaz agreed and encouraged the students to consider a career in aeronautics, “The nine to twelve year olds today will be the future astronauts when we have the first manned flight to Mars.”

From personal experience, Galvan explained that it is possible for students to overcome any obstacles to reach their dream. “I came from a family of modest means—that’s a euphemism for being dirt poor,” Galvan told the students. But despite his family’s economic status, Galvan went on to be a leading businessman in the aeronautic industry.

“It is a great opportunity for our students to hear first hand from a successful astronaut and a successful businessman about the importance of education especially math and science,” Green said, “Students need to know that an education, and committing to learning, can lead to success.”

Dr. Chang-Diaz who is originally from Costa Rica received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Connecticut in 1973 and a doctorate in applied plasma physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1977. He was soon recruited by NASA and became an astronaut in August of 1982. A veteran of seven space flights, he has logged over 1,600 hours in space. Dr. Chang-Diaz shares the record of the most flights into space by a human being.

During a question and answer session, Dr. Chang-Diaz answered students’ questions about how astronauts eat, drink, sleep, and use the bathroom among other questions.

Bailey and Renegade Dems return from Oklahoma hiatus


AUSTIN— The 55 missing Democratic Legislators, including area Representative Kevin Bailey, returned Friday morning from Oklahomna to the State Capitol in Austin, amid cheers from a waiting crowd of supporters that numbered several hundred. They had basically won their procedural point by staying away until the redistricting bill they were adamantly opposed to expired at midnight Thursday.

However, it now remains to be seen whether this historical split between the parties and boycott will heal over, to the good of pending legislation, or whether rancor between the parties will make the rest of the session cantankerous and unproductive.

Texas House Democrats, fuming over what they call unfair treatment by the Republican leadership over redistricting chose to leave Texas last week in protest.

In a conversation with Democratic Rep. Dan Ellis by cell phone on Tuesday, the NORTHEAST NEWS has learned that beginning May 6 House Democratic leadership began formulating a plan to cripple the House by removing enough members so that a quorum could not be met.

Ellis said that on May 12 he, along with 52 other representatives, boarded a bus in Austin for parts unknown. Where the bus ended was Ardmore, Ok.

Also among those taken to Oklahoma were Houston Representatives Kevin Bailey, Garnet Coleman, Joe Deshotal, Harold Dutton, Jessica Farrar, Scott Hochberg, Joe Moreno, Rick Noriega and Senfronia Thompson.

“This was the last tool we had,” said Ellis. “I believe I acted in what was in the best interest of my constituents.”

Among those who raised the ire of Democrats is State Rep. Joe Crabb. Crabb, a republican who is the chairman of the House Redistricting Committee. Crabb represents districts from Humble to Highlands, on the Northeast side of the County. Crabb has been accused by Democrats of going back on his promise to not take up the issue of redistricting unless ordered by the courts.

Calling the representatives “Chicken Democrats” or “Chicken “Ds” Tom Craddick exercised his authority to compel the members back to Austin by asking department of public safety troopers and Texas Rangers for their assistance in locating the members.

Ellis said that this was the reason that they went to Oklahoma, so as to avoid the DPS.

Following the Speaker’s request, the DPS put out an alert through the media asking them public for help in locating the missing legislators, with a toll free hot-line available for tips from the public.

Republican leadership was quick to jump on the Democrats for leaving the state.

“The action by these Democrats is cowardly and childish. Their behavior is analogous to the pouting child who doesn’t like the way the game is going and stomps off the field,” said Governor Rick Perry. “In my nearly 20 years of public service, I have never seen such a blatant abdication of responsibility.”

“These members are abdicating their constitutional responsibility to be here. It is their constitutional duty to shape legislation, to vote on issues, to fulfill their duties as the loyal minority,’ said Craddick.

He added that in the 130 years in which the Democrats had control over the House, Republicans never resorted to this type of behavior.

Fellow Democrats have flocked to the side of their missing compatriots. U.S. Rep. Chris Bell (D-25), called the missing legislators “men and women who stand up and fight for what they believe in and refuse to have a partisan agenda rammed down their throats.”

Bell has attacked the House Republican leadership saying that if allowed to go unchecked, they would redraw the 25th District so that it reached the Rio Grande River.

Ellis said that if the Republican leadership were to remove redistricting from the table the members “would be on that bus in 15 members back to Austin.”

As it stands now, he said, they will likely not return until sometime Thursday, before the May 15 midnight deadline to take action on bills without forcing a Special Session.

Once back in Austin, certain members of the House may face criminal investigation stemming from the incident.

Texas G.O.P Chairman Susan Weddington has sent a letter the Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle asking his office to investigate possible violations of the Texas Open Meetings Law.

In her letter, Weddington said that enough of the members missing constituted a quorum of the House Committee on Pensions and Investments and the Land and Resource Management Committee. She further wrote that news reports have indicated that the group has been discussing legislative measures while at a Holiday Inn in Ardmore.

If true, she said, then they would have violated the proper posting requirements for a meeting.

Paige chooses Aldine ISD to announce $532m grant to Texas “Reading First”

U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige chose Aldine ISD’s Thompson Elementary to announce that Texas will receive approximately $79 million for the first year of a multi-year Reading First grant to help schools and districts improve children’s reading achievement through scientifically proven methods of instruction. Paige made the announcement during a visit to the school on Friday, May 9. Joining Paige, the former superintendent of Houston ISD, was Texas Commissioner of Education Dr. Felipe Alanis, Aldine ISD Superintendent Nadine Kujawa and Thompson Elementary principal Sara McClain.

Paige said he had a very good reason for choosing an Aldine ISD school to make the announcement.

“I think the world needs to know more about Aldine ISD,” he said. “It’s a jewel. I learned a lot from Aldine about how a school system works. The leadership of this school district, from (former superintendent) Sonny Donaldson to the present superintendent, Nadine Kujawa, shows a willingness to take responsibility and not fall victim to the old excuse that good enough is good enough.”

Paige said he was impressed with the work done in Aldine in helping students attain academic success in the classroom. Despite a student population that is 75 percent economically disadvantaged, Aldine ISD has achieved a Recognized rating from the Texas Education Agency for six consecutive years.

Paige added that over the next six years, Texas will receive approximately $532.5 million in support, subject to the state’s successful implementation and congressional appropriations. The state’s application for the grant passed a rigorous review that judged its reading plan against 25 main review criteria.

The grant will support key improvements in classroom reading instruction, including teaching based on what research shows works, early identification and help for reading difficulties, monitoring student progress, and continuous, high-quality professional development for teachers.

“A child who can read is a child who can succeed in school and in life,” Paige said. “That is why President Bush launched a ‘Reading First’ initiative to make sure kids learn to read by third grade.

“Sending a child into the world without adequate reading skills is like building a house without first laying the foundation. Failure to learn to read early on has tremendous long-term consequences, not only for the child, but for society as a whole. By designing sound curriculum and instruction around scientific evidence, including the five essential components of proven reading instruction, children in Texas and other states will have the necessary tools they need to read well by the end of the third grade.”

Texas plans to hold a competition for eligible school districts to compete for sub-grants this spring. As part of its professional development plan, the state will hold a series of six workshops for all K-3 teachers and K-12 special education teachers.

These professional development sessions will provide intensive training on classroom reading instruction based on scientific research, so that teachers can learn to tailor instruction around sound, research-based information.

Metro Mobility Plan: METRO to hold public hearing May 15th at MacArthur HS

METRO will bring it’s public showing of the new Mobility Plan to the Aldine area this Thursday night, for information and to get feedback from the public.

The meeting is scheduled at MacArthur High School, Thursday, May 15th from 6 to 8 pm. The meeting will start with a 30 minute social or get acquainted session, and then a 30 minute formal presentation. After that, a 30 minute question and answer period will allow the public to voice their opinions and ask questions. Finally, the meeting will end with an informal 30 minute social period after the formal part of the meeting closes.

Anyone missing this meeting has other opportunities, including Monday, May 19th at Greenspoint Mall Community Room, 6 to 8 pm.

The Mobility Plan is already a controversial issue, with Houston Mayoral candidates taking sides, and State Senator Jon Lindsay offering a bill that would disallow funding for a rail plan at the expense of road improvements. Others have criticized the redistribution of most of the money that METRO now receives from the 1 per cent sales tax to transit, both rail and bus, instead of street and sidewalk repairs where much of it is now used.

Other issues of interest to the Aldine community include the actual right of way alignment, and whether connector buses will feed into the transit stations, and where. A line north to Intercontinental Airport must find an alignment along Airline or Hardy, according to some sources. And bus feeder routes along Aldine Mail, Little York, Aldine-Bender, and other cross streets have not been defined or promised. A rail line is also shown along US59 as a future possibility, but no definite plans have been revealed.

The METRO Solutions Draft Plan was presented to the METRO Board at a workshop last month. Crafted over 18 months with expert studies and community input, the draft plan provides transportation solutions for a growing Houston – which will be home to two million more people in the next 20 years.

The draft plan includes 41 miles of light rail extensions that would connect to the 7.5-mile downtown METROrail line, debuting Jan. 1, 2004. It also calls for eight miles of commuter rail to southwest Harris County, if this proves to be feasible; additional Park & Ride lots and Transit Centers; an increase in High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes and the introduction of two-way HOV. Expanded METROLift service and additional bus routes and service, including connections between rail stations, are also part of the plan.

“Building more streets and freeways alone is not the answer to meet the demands of our growing city,” said Board Chairman Arthur Louis Schechter. “With input from the community, we are creating a long-range strategy to find solutions today for the Houston of tomorrow.”

Studies on several high-traffic areas or corridors in the region were conducted in partnership with other agencies – TxDOT, Houston-Galveston Area Council, City of Houston and Harris County – as well as with active participation from residents and businesses in each area.

“Our vision for the future gives Houstonians more choices, more places to go and easier ways to get there,” said METRO President & Chief Executive Officer Shirley A. DeLibero. “It also takes into consideration the expected growth in population of an additional two million people.”

Before the draft plan is finalized, another series of public meetings will occur during May. The first meeting is set for May 5 at METRO headquarters, 1201 Louisiana. A total of 14 public meetings will be held at locations across the region. After considering public comments from this final round of meetings, the Board is expected to approve the final plan in July.

A summary of the draft plan will be available on METRO’s Web site.

Aldine ISD asst. principal quits after drugs discovered in her car

Police have charged an assistant principal at Caraway Intermediate school with possession of marijuana, and she has resigned her position.

The incident happened last Wednesday, when Aldine ISD police conducted a search in the school’s faculty parking lot, with the aid of their drug dog, Agbar.

The assistant principal, Kathy MacLennon, 44, was asked for permission to search her car, which she granted, according to school officials. The police then found 6-1/2 grams of the marijuana in her purse, in the trunk of her car. The charge is a misdemeanor.

According to AISD spokesperson Mike Keeney, MacLennon has worked for the district since 1987, and at Caraway for 8 years.

The drug dog is assigned to the AISD police force and partially paid for by the Aldine Community Improvement District. It is routinely used for searches on all the campuses of AISD.

Changing for summer

This is my favorite time of the year with the wonderful smell of honeysuckle in bloom, gardeners reaping the benefits of their labor, birds gathering straw and bugs for their nest and the many varieties of birds feeding on the two large stumps out back and kitchen window ledge.

Wondering what the little sparrow birds are with a red top, red throat and chest? A jar of chowchow for the first one to correctly identify that little bird.

Had my first hummingbird of the year yesterday. The Purple Martins are back too; we do enjoy watching them.

I had another first Friday; celery with crunchy peanut butter spread on it. Attending the Baytown Chamber of Commerce Expo, the lady at the old folks booth across the aisle was munching on one and I hollered over, “Whatcho eating?” She told me and offered me one. I moseyed on over and ate it up, good too. I even bought some celery this morning, already had the peanut butter.

Had my first fried green tomatoes for the year last night. They were good as always.

I’ll be making chowchow real soon, wanna help?

While on a visit to Vaughan’s nursery in Channelview last week getting my Cow Horn pepper plants and saw a Georgia Rattlesnake plant. I bought it out of curiosity. I don’t normally grow watermelons because they take up so much ground. Besides, the seedless variety has me spoiled rotten.

As you probably know, I am from Georgia and proud of it.
Can you believe the state of Georgia is on their fourth flag? The state legislature just approved a new one. My my my!!!

They change flags more than most banks change names. They are trying to please everybody and offend no one – that’s hard to do.
I have my old Georgia flag hanging in this room. I need to get a Lone Star flag and be done with it.

I did get my Confederate Rose in the ground and it is looking good, it’s my first one.

One of the few things I plant because you cain’t eat it.

My gardening guru from Highlands gave me a Seven Sister Antique Rose and it is yet to be in the ground. That is another one of those things that you cain’t eat but should compliment the back yard with its pretty looks when in bloom.

Do you know what a Confederate Rose or a Seven Sister Rose looks like? They are one of the finer things in life as you grow older and learn to appreciate even if you cain’t eat them.

Time for a REAL rodeo

Well, we’re back in the saddle again! I hope you all enjoyed last weekend. Wasn’t it a great couple of days? I was “forced” to go to Lake Charles and visit with my youngest son. Of course the free crawfish boil didn’t hurt any!

With the war in Iraq over, I don’t have a lot of political fodder, but I think we had better keep our ears and eyes wide open cause those scalawags in Austin are in session and you know that can’t be good! Now I’m not sayin’ that all politicians are bad, it’s just that it’s that 99% that make the other 1% look bad.

All seriousness aside, we do have the finest politicians money can buy! Maybe those folks should remember that” a closed mouth gathers no foot”, and, “never miss a good opportunity to shut up”!

After those folks in Washington and Austin get through with us, it reminds me of the old sayin’, “we are born naked, wet and hungry. Then things get worse”!

Enough of pickin’ on those sweet, lovable politicians. I’m pretty sure you all don’t need my help for that.

So, it looks like we’re headin’ into a great summer. I guess I’ll have to read Charlie Farrar’s column to find out what to do.

By the way, for those of you who were askin’ about that new colt at the Rancho Pequito, well, he’s doin’ just fine and momma is slicked up real good. We’re gonna keep that name, “Toby’s Anthem”, since the little feller seems to like it a lot already.

I was excited to read about the Crosby Fair and Rodeo last week. I get the opportunity to meet with Luther Brady and the other Directors each year and we are very fortunate here in this area to have such a great bunch of folks to volunteer their time. Our Rodeo Committee is all volunteers, from top to bottom. In case you folks didn’t know it, our Crosby Fair and Rodeo is one of the best in Harris County. The only one as good is the Pasadena Rodeo. That other one held each year in Harris County is not really a rodeo.

A real rodeo is where you can drive up to the parkin’, usually on grass or sometimes gravel, and walk a short ways to the gate. You don’t have to take out a loan to be able to take the whole family and you have a really good ole time. That’s a rodeo folks!

Keep your eyes on this paper and put the Crosby Fair and Rodeo on your calendar.

I’d like to say how proud I am of our businesses in our area. Fred Salinas and his pards at Crosby Ford are really a great asset to our community. Their involvement shows that we finally have a great Ford dealer in the area.

I don’t want to forget our pards at Keating Chevrolet, either. They support a lot of community projects, also.

Of course I’d better not leave out Joe’s Barber Shop cause I want a good haircut when I see Joe Anselmo. And Crosby State Bank, well, they got all my money, but I really like those folks, too!

Maybe I’ll mention some others next time, cause it would take too long to tell about all our great businesses. But keep your buyin’ local whenever possible, it helps everyone.

I hear Toby whinnyin’, so I gotta go. Last one out, shut the gate, and I’ll be,

Just a Ridin’