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Posts published in July 2003

Bailey notes sales tax holiday Aug. 1 thru Aug. 3

State Representative Kevin Bailey, D- Houston, reminds residents of North Houston that they will be able to buy clothes and shoes tax-free during the third annual back to school Sales Tax Holiday. This year’s sales tax holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 1, and ends at midnight on Sunday, August 3.

State Representative Kevin Bailey said, “In these difficult financial times with high unemployment, I’m pleased that the State of Texas was able to continue our sales tax-free holiday for back to school shopping.” He went on to say, “It is fortunate that the taxpayers who claimed the Child Tax Credit last year are getting checks in the mail just prior to the Tax Holiday weekend so they can be prepared to take full advantage of the tax savings for back to school shopping.”

The Texas Legislature created the tax holiday to coincide with back-to-school shopping so that families will be able to purchase shoes and clothes for their children tax-free. Additionally, apparel items for adults will also be free from the state 6.25% tax. “This is a great opportunity,” said Bailey, “for families with young children preparing to go back to school and yet it’s an opportunity for both young and old alike. We are all able to benefit from the tax-free shopping days.

Almost all clothing and shoes costing less than $100 per item are included in the sales tax holiday. Consumers receive the break on individual items, regardless of the amount they buy.

For example, sales tax is not due if a consumer buys three pairs of shoes each priced less than $100. But sales tax must be paid if a pair of shoes is priced at more than $100.

Rep. Bailey explained that the sales tax exemption on shoes and clothing also includes baby clothes, coats and wraps, diapers-adult and baby, hosiery, pajamas, raincoats and work clothes and uniforms. The sales tax holiday does not cover accessories, backpacks, handbags, jewelry, ot specialty sportswear items.

Many area merchants are planning extended business hours to allow shoppers ample opportunity to take advantage of the sales tax holiday. According to Rep. Bailey, in addition to the holiday on the state’s sales tax of 6.25% most communities have chosen to waive local sales taxes, which will save taxpayers an additional 2% in most areas. Overall, the sales tax holiday will save Texas consumers millions in state and local taxes.

Fire destroys 16 apartment units: Arson investigators suspect fireworks as cause


Wednesday’s gray sky and drizzling rain seemed to match the mood of Regency Crossing residents as they waited to sift through debris in search of salvageable belongings. Approximately 70 residents are homeless after a fire broke out on an upstairs balcony Monday afternoon and destroyed sixteen apartment units at the complex at 197 Goodson Drive.

Fire investigators continued to work the scene Wednesday searching for the cause of the blaze which brought about 100 firefighters to the scene. Flames spread quickly once the fire reached a shared attic. On Friday, investigators said that the apparent cause of the fire was a child playing with fireworks, that shot from the ground to an upper balcony. However, the child apparently was not aware of the fire that he set, and went inside.

Fire crews took turns battling the blaze during Monday’s heat and humidity. About 6 ladder trucks and 12 pumpers answered this 3 alarm blaze, according to HFD.

Everyone escaped the fire safely even though several residents said they never heard a smoke alarm. “I didn’t even hear one of the alarms go off,” said Anita Horta. Horta and her daughter lived in two apartments in the damaged building. “My daughter, my grandson woke her up. They heard something outside,” she said. Other residents said they too did not know there was a fire until they heard popping sounds and went outside to investigate.

One firefighter suffered minor burns on his neck and was treated at a hospital.

After Monday’s fire, the apartment complex relocated residents to empty units in the Casa Verde complex up the street. The Red Cross provided victims with some assistance and the complex took up contributions to help the residents who had little more than the clothes on their back.

One man who had spinal surgery just a week earlier managed to get out with a box of important papers such as birth certificates and social security cards but nothing else. “My son was crying last night, ‘My play station is burned!’” he said.

Residents said that three of the damaged apartments were moved into only a month ago.

Several residents believed that many of the units could have been saved if the water pressure had been higher. Horta said, “One fireman climbed a ladder with a big hose but when he turned it on, it looked like a little child peeing.” Victims questioned why a pump was not placed in the pool located just feet from the burned units.

Others felt that the fire was fueled when the apartment manager broke out windows in all first floor apartments. “That just added oxygen,” Horta said. “In a panic like this everyone forgets what they are supposed to do.”

National Night Out set for Aug. 5: Area civic clubs plan activities

Several local civic clubs are planning activities in conjunction with the National Night Out to be held Tuesday, August 5 this year.

The High Meadows North Civic Association will host a get-together at J.F.K. at Lauder Road in a vacant lot. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. they will hold a parade through the neighborhood with fire and ambulance services as well as the Sheriff’s Department. The Key map location for this event is 414B.

Bellmar Civic Club will hold their event at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church at 7822 Northline Drive. Festivities will begin at 6 p.m. for their subdivision. The Key map location for this event os 413S.

Green Forest Civic Association will participate in National Night Out with an event in the esplanade of Vickery Drive at Sandydale. They will begin at 6 p.m. and will have a parade which will begin later. Parade participants include residents on bicycles, volunteer fire and ambulatory services as well as the Sheriff’s Department. The Key map location for this event os 414G.

Timber Point Apartments located at the 5900 block of Greens Road will have their festivities at the clubhouse for apartment residents. They will begin at 5 p.m. The Key map location for this event os 375N.

Timber Ridge Apartments will host their event at the clubhouse located at 5350 Aeropark for the apartment residents. They will begin at 6 p.m. The Key map location for this event os 374U.

National Night Out was founded in 1983, by Matt Peskin in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, and sponsored by The National Association of Town Watch (NATW).

It has since grown to become a national event observed in all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canada, and military bases around the world. NATW is a member of the Crime Prevention Coalition and the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC).

National Night Out is designed to: (1) heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; (2) generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs; (3) strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community relations, and (4) send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and are fighting back.

Along with the traditional display of front porch outdoor lights and front porch outdoor vigils, cities, towns, and neighborhoods celebrate National Night Out with a variety of events and activities such as: block parties, cookouts, parades, flashlight walks, contests, youth programs and visits from local police.

The city of Houston first participated in National Night Out in 1985. In 1988, Houston/Harris County was nationally awarded the #1 area for “Best Participation.”

In 1994, there were over 250,000 participants hosting over 2,500 block parties. In 1995, Houston/Harris County received the National Award for Outstanding Participation.

In 1997, the National Night Out Award was presented to the State of Texas for having over one million participants that year. In 1998, Houston/Harris County received the National Award for Outstanding Participation. In 1999, Houston/Harris County received the “S. C. Johnson National Night Out 1999 Award” for being the top ranked city with a population of 250,000 or more people. In 2000, Houston/Harris County received recognition for being the third nationally ranked city with a population of 250,000 or more people. In 2001, Houston/Harris County was recognized for “Outstanding Participation” and awarded second place with a population of 300,000 or more people. In 2002, Houston/Harris County ranked 6th nationwide.

North Forest ISD picks new superintendent

After a special school board meeting last Thursday night, the North Forest ISD board announced they had settled on one finalist for the position of superintendent of the district. The choice is Johnny E. Brown, 55, who is currently superintendent of the DeKalb, Georgia county school system.

Previous to his current position, Brown was with Birmingham, AL schools, and prior to that, was an assistant to Houston ISD Superintendent Rod Paige.

Brown is a native of Austin. He is quoted as being aware of the problems at NFISD, but “intrigued by the challenges.”

His appointment will not be final until a board meeting and action on August 14th.

North Forest mourns killing of popular figure

Neighbors and family are shocked and fearful after the discovery Friday morning of the bound body of Jerry Raymond Davis, 60, in his home at 11014 Wicklowe, just off Hirsch and Little York roads.

Police said that the apparent motive was robbery, and cited the fact that Davis’ car, a black 98 Ford 4-door Contour, is missing. The license plate is Texas B52-XJJ. If you see this car, call Houston Police at 713-308-3600 or 9-1-1.

Officer A. Brown of the Police homicide squad said that other items were missing from the house.

Davis was a retired assistant principal of the North Forest school district, music teacher, and assistant minister of a local church.

His death was discovered Friday morning, around 10 am, after Davis failed to appear at choir practices on previous evenings. His brother went to the house, and found the body.

Carjacking on Hardy may be part of burglary ring activity

Authorities are investigating the possibility that a carjacking this week was carried out by members of a burglary ring. Houston police are investigating the aggravated assault of a peace officer at 7100 Hardy about 10:50 p.m., Tuesday, July 22, 2003.

Charges of aggravated assault of a peace officer and assault with a deadly weapon are pending on three Hispanic suspects who were apprehended at the scene.

Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy J.R. Shriver did not suffer any injuries from the incident.

HPD Homicide Division Sergeant H.G. Welch and Investigator I.F. Flores report:

A married couple was driving in the 12000 block of Downey when a van pulled in front of them and blocked their way. The armed suspects, one with a rifle and the other two with pistols, exited the van and forced the couple out of their vehicle at gunpoint. The suspects then robbed the couple.

After the robbery, two of the suspects got into the couple’s vehicle and drove away. The third suspect threatened the couple before he returned to the van and followed the other suspects who were headed south on Hardy.

Deputy J.R. Shriver was on patrol when he was flagged down by the couple and was told of the incident. The deputy pursued in the direction of the suspects and was able to catch up to the stolen car. When the suspects saw the deputy, they immediately sped away to avoid arrests. Deputy Shriver followed the suspects to the 7100 block of Hardy where they stopped in a vacant lot and exited the vehicle. One of the suspects ran north along the feeder road and the other ran south through an overgrown field. As Deputy Shriver chased the suspect through the field, the suspect turned and fired his pistol toward the deputy. The deputy responded by firing his weapon one time at the suspect. Neither the suspect nor deputy was struck during the exchange of gunfire. Deputy Shriver then contacted Harris County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center and a description of the suspects was relayed to the responding officers.

Officers from the Houston Police Department and Harris County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene to search for the suspects. One of the deputies involved in the search saw a vehicle driven by two men who fit the description of the wanted suspects. The deputy stopped the vehicle and arrested the men when it was verified that they were the suspects involved in the robbery. The third suspect was apprehended when HPD’s K-9 Unit found him hiding underneath a tarp, in the back seat of a car that was parked behind a house near the vicinity of the search.

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’,

Ribbon Cutting at new Greenspoint hotel features Mattress Mack

By Gilbert Hoffman

A new conference center and hotel facility opened last Thursday night with an Open House for guests and the business community.

Featured speaker at the Open House was Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale of Gallery Furniture, who spoke about his career and the principles he has followed to build and sustain a successful business in Houston.

The hotel, on Airtex and I-45, is 109 rooms plus the new Pebbles Conference Center, with 7500 square feet of space for meetings and social functions. They specifically are hosting weddings, parties, banquets, seminars, and corporate events, according to marketing manager Betty Carr.

This event was sponsored by the North Houston Greenspoint Chamber of Commerce, as a Business after Hours/Mixer for members and guests in the business community. The next Chamber event is a Brown Bag seminar on Wednesday, July 23, entitled True Colors, presented by Brian Dooley of North Harris College. Call the Chamber at 281-872-8700 for details.

Modern Miracle saves heart attack victim


Miracles do happen. Just ask Les Smith who is alive today because his heart attack occurred at the right place at the right time.

On April 27, the 57 year old Smith had a massive heart attack as he walked towards a shuttle bus after the Shell Houston Open. “He just fell over, literally like a tree,” recalls DeAnne Meaux, chief of the Eastex Fire Department. Meaux was only ten feet away from Smith when he collapsed.

The Eastex rescue team rushed to Smith immediately and began CPR. Luckily, the department has just received an Auto External Defibrillator (AED) and had been trained on the machine just seven days earlier. AEDs are portable devices that can restart a stopped heart using an electrical shock, much like similar machines in hospitals.

“The machine that we used, we’d just received it. And that was the first time we used it,” said rescuer Theresa Rogers.

The Eastex team shocked Rogers four times in order to revive him. “That’s a lot of electricity going through the body,” said Meaux. But by the time, the paramedics put Smith in the back of the ambulance he was talking to them. “You don’t normally have a patient who has gone into full arrest and within the next five minutes be able to talk to you and tell you his name,” said Eastex fireman Charles Livanec.

Smith had no prior indication that he had heart trouble. Six weeks earlier the doctor gave him a clean bill of health, and Smith had been working out at the gym twice a week. After the heart attack, doctors discovered that three of Smith’s arteries were blocked; two in two places. Doctors had to put in five stints in Smith’s heart to keep his arteries open.

Smith remembers nothing about his rescue. But doctors said that if he had had the heart attack anywhere else, he wouldn’t have made it. It was the Eastex rescue team who was only a few feet away with an AED that saved Smith’s life.

Smith soon began a search for his rescuers so that he could thank them. Three weeks after he was released from the hospital, Smith learned it was the Eastex Fire department that administered aid. Smith made a special visit to formally thank the team. Now, according to Meaux, he drops by the station a couple times a week to hang out.

The experience has been special for all involved. “That kind of thing doesn’t happen everyday,” said Rogers.

Meaux said Smith now actively encourages all his friends and neighbors to learn CPR and for more groups to acquire AEDs. Approximately 350,000 people die every year from sudden cardiac arrest. According to some statistics, fewer than one in twenty survives, but AEDs may be able to prevent as many as half of those deaths. Since the late 1990s many have worked to put more AEDs and trained personnel in public places. So far, several airlines, patrol cars and businesses carry AEDs.

NHG Chamber Mixer will feature “Mattress Mack”

The North Houston Greenspoint Chamber of Commerce is holding a Business After Hours/Open House at the new Pebbles Conference Center of the Guesthouse International Inn & Suites and Conference Center, at Airtex and I-45. The event will be on Thursday, July 17 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., according to the Chamber. Guest speaker will be Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, of Gallery Furniture.

The GuestHouse International was formerly Shoney’s Inn & Suites. Additional information is available by calling Betty Carr at 281-876-7378.