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Posts published in “Day: June 22, 2004”

Crosby’s Haynes to be new football coach at Eisenhower

ALDINE ISD – After action taken at last week’s board meeting, AISD is prepared to hire Crosby ISD’s Larry Haynes, who has been varsity coach and AD at this 4A district east of Houston for two years, as the new head coach at Eisenhower High School for next season.

Aldine’s athletic director, Daryl Wade, told the administration that he had his eye on Haynes at both Clear Lake and Crosby, and was pleased to get him on short notice. Haynes had a winning season, and took the Crosby team several games into the playoffs, but much of it was because of an outstanding performance by his son, the quarterback for Crosby that set state passing records this year.

Haynes will come to a larger school and district, which is 5A, and inherits a team which Wade feels can go to the state championships with the right leadership.

Haynes has told Crosby’s superintendent, Don Hendrix, that he expects to take four coaches with him to Eisenhower.

Caliente performs at Diaz’ Latin Jazz workshop

This month, the halls at MacArthur High are pulsating with Latin Jazz rhythms as students from all around Houston learn from the greats.
Professional musicians from across the country have come together to teach the next generation through the Diaz Music Institute’s 5th annual Latin Jazz workshop that started earlier this month.

“We’ve been really fortunate that the Aldine ISD lets us use their facility during the summer,” said executive director Susanna Robles.

Diaz Music Institute (DMI) is a nonprofit fine arts institution committed to the education, preservation, performance and perpetuation of Latin music. MacArthur Jazz Ensemble director Jose Antonio Diaz began the program in 1999 to fill a void in Hispanic music education in Houston.

“The only Hispanic music that was being offered was Mariachi. It’s great music, but it doesn’t reflect the wide cultural heritage of the Hispanics in Houston,” Diaz said.

The student interest in the program exceeded Diaz’s expectations. It wasn’t just Hispanic students who wanted to learn how to play this music. Several white and African-American students have also become involved as well as a large number of female youth.

Virginia Stille, a singer and dancer who attends the Houston School for the Performing Arts, drives up to Aldine twice weekly and puts in 40 hours a week during the summer workshops to learn from DMI. “I’m getting a lot of advantage out of this,” she said.

“I didn’t anticipate how large the interest would be and how quickly the kids would pick up on this,” Diaz said. “We’re finding out that kids have been hearing elements of the music but just didn’t know where it came from, what it symbolizes, what it means.”

The summer workshop lasts for three weeks during which students work on theory, improvisation, ear training, vocals, and dance. During the first week, elementary students get twenty hours of training. The second week is split with middle school and high school students both putting in forty hours.

Saxophone player Jerome Joseph likes the institute’s teaching methods. “I’ve been to other summer programs but have never learned so much so fast and retained it,” he said.

The third week of the institute is open only to students who are invited to join DMI’s nationally acclaimed repertoire ensemble “Caliente.”

Caliente is the only youth group to be named the Houston Press Best Latin Band. It is a nationally acclaimed repertoire ensemble that has appeared with some of the music industry’s biggest stars such as Eddie Palmieri, Pete Escovedo, Danilo Perez, Nestor Torres, David Sanchez, Dave Valentin, and the Buena Vista Social Club.

Caliente has appeared at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Illinois, the Oregon Music Educators Association Conference in Eugene, Oregon and at the Music Educators National Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In the workshop’s final week, Pete Escovedo and Jon Faddis will teach the students and then perform with them during a concert to celebrate the workshop’s conclusion.

Escovedo was the original percussionist on Santana’s Oyo Como Va. He is a patriarch of one of the most famous musical families based out of California’s Bay Area. He is now Wayne Brady’s musical director.

Fadis was Dizzie Gillespi’s protege. Gillespi was a central figure the Afro-Cuban-jazz fusion.

“This is an opportunity for these kids to actually ask questions of someone who has lived through it and been there,” Diaz said.

The summer workshop will culminate with the First Annual DMI Showcase which will present Caliente with special guests Pete Escovedo and Jon Faddis. The show will be held at 9pm on June 25 at the Ruma Club on I45 south at Fuqua. Tickets are $12.50 in advance or $15 at the door.

For more information, call the Institute at 281-537-9800.

AID gets a new “face” in the district

ALDINE – The Improvement District hired a new “face” at their meeting last Tuesday night. Mike Ledbetter will be a full time employee of AID, and will office in the Sheriff’s storefront on Aldine Mail Route.

Also participating in the meeting was one of the new board members, Bob Beasley of Beasley Tire Service on the Eastex Freeway. Beasley replaces retired board member Steve Mead, who is now on the AISD trustee board.

Ledbetter is well known in the area, having represented the Boy Scouts for a number of years. He will assume his duties this week, and be available to all residents of the Aldine Improvement District to answer questions and interface with them as work begins on both the sidewalk project, Keith-Weiss park hike and bike trail, water and sewer replacement lines, signage for the district, clean-up campaigns, and many other projects that are part of the AID mission, according to Clyde Bailey, chairman of the AID board.

West Nile Virus discovered in 2 Northeast neighborhoods

Mosquito Control Division has confirmed that two (2) mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNv). The samples were collected from mosquito trapping sites located at:

• Farley Drive @ Picton Drive 77032 KM 374V
• Ladbroke Lane @ Charriton Drive 77039 KM 414E

These are the first locations this season that have tested positive for West Nile virus. Last year, the virus made its first appearance in mosquitoes in late May.

In response to WNv being confirmed in mosquitoes, the evening spray operation has been activated in the affected and surrounding areas. Evening spraying occurs Sunday – Thursday beginning at dusk.

Because West Nile virus is now part of our environment, residents are strongly encouraged to help control mosquitoes and prevent disease by routinely following preventive measures to help reduce the likelihood of exposure to mosquitoes. The best defense against being bitten is not giving mosquitoes a place to breed.

1. Don’t feed the storm drains. Sweep up lawn clippings, leaves and tree limbs from sidewalks and driveways.

2. Remove/empty any containers which may hold water. Flowerpots, tires, children’s toys, etc. should be drained, inverted, covered or removed. Change water in birdbaths at least once a week.

3. Keep rain gutters properly clean and draining and repair household leaks.

4. Make sure screens on windows and doors are in good condition.

5. Wear long pants and long sleeved shirts when outdoors particularly at dawn and dusk.

6. When outdoors, use an insect repellent containing the chemical compound DEET and apply as directed on the label. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using a repellent with a lower concentration of DEET, 10% or less, on children aged 2-12. Do not allow young children to apply repellent to themselves; have an adult do it for them.

7. When mosquitoes are noticed in your yard, spray with an outdoor mosquito spray. Be sure to use according to directions on the label. To control mosquitoes in your house, use a “flying insect spray”. Be sure to use according to directions on the label.

West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause encephalitis, a brain infection. Mosquitoes acquire West Nile virus from birds and pass it on to other birds, animals and people.

Most people who are infected with West Nile virus show no symptoms or only mild symptoms such as low-grade fever and headache. More severe signs and symptoms can include: high fever, stiff neck, muscle weakness, disorientation, brain inflammation (encephalitis), coma and rarely, death. When symptoms of infection do occur, they usually appear 5-15 days from the time you were bitten. If you think you have been infected with the West Nile virus, contact your family physician.

Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services Mosquito Control Division has and will continue to protect the health and well-being of the citizens of Harris County through the prevention and control of mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases.

Neighbors upset about missing barricade after passenger dies in bayou

Several people voiced complaints at the A.I.D. meeting last week about barricades that were missing from the end of Bertrand Street, near Keith-Weiss park. Both the county and the flood control district had been asked to replace them after a previous accident tore them away, but no action had been taken, according to reports.

A man was killed after the car he was in plunged into Halls Bayou on the morning of Monday, June 14.

According to authorities, two men had attended a party in the 3200 block of Bertrand near Korpink and were leaving around 1 a.m. when their car went off the road into the bayou. Of the two men, the 22-year-old passenger was unable to escape and the 24-year-old driver was able to make it out alive.

When officials arrived to the scene the car was no longer visible. They responded by calling in a dive team. While the dive team did locate the vehicle, they were unable to get the car out from underwater. Officials have not said why the driver lost control of the vehicle.

An Idyllic Morning!

It is early morning on a mid-May Monday and I am sitting on a cement bench next to our fishpond overlooking the river Coal. Yes, it is an idyllic morning as many mornings are in this part of Coal River and West Virginia. It is about 6:15 a. m. (I am an early to bed and early to rise person) and Maggie, our Old English Sheepdog is sitting at my side. We are waiting for the early morning light to get a little brighter before we head for the riverbank where I plan to cut some weeds.

This is going to be a beautiful day from the looks of the sky. The sun is beginning to show itself and there is a cool breeze blowing. The animals are enjoying it as well. The river Coal is moving slower this morning after being higher for a day or two. It is now at near normal stage.

A mother mallard is swimming by down below followed by five very young ducklings. They add to the idyllic scene. There is usually a drake following but I see none this day. Dad may still be sleeping.

A little further upriver a gander is honking. This Canada goose is making a lot of noise and he may be looking for a mate. Most of the females are paired off and he may be out of luck for this season. It always seems that several ganders never get hitched each season. They really let you know their plight with the honking. These geese are messy in the yard but are beautiful moving on the water. Our Maggie keeps them out of the yard when she is outside with Linda or me.

When we put in the fishpond I built an elevated area for a waterfall and it must be full of ground squirrel homes this year. They are constantly moving about. I can see three currently. One came out of the foliage a few minutes ago about four feet from me. He/she took one look at me and scurried back. There is one at the top of the waterfall looking over at Maggie and me now but doesn’t seem too concerned. Playful “Skip” and “Dales” they are!

The larger squirrels are around as well. One is eating something Linda put out on the back deck railings. I have seen two or three running along the riverbank. They are all far enough away we are of no concerned. Maggie enjoys chasing the squirrels. That’s exactly what she does, chase, but never catches.

We have about 25 or 30 fish in our pond and Charlie (or Charlene), a Koi, is moving about swiftly on this early morn. That fish is the eldest we have. It is about twenty inches long now and has been with us for 7-10 years. It isn’t necessary to feed these koi or the goldfish but Linda does frequently in the summer to enjoy them more.

The birds are chirping away as the morning light spreads and I see a fish jumping from the Coal every now and then. It truly is an idyllic morn. We have two or three bird feeders spread around the property and we enjoy them eating as we watch through the kitchen window. For three or four years we had many yellow finches that came by everyday but last year they were scarce. But, we have many others. I hope they return this year.

This writer has had many opportunities to travel around these United States and the world. I can’t say I have ever been anywhere where some beauty couldn’t be found. In many cases it isn’t a matter of being more beautiful than somewhere else, merely a different beauty. There is a beauty in these hills and mountains. Come visit where greenery abounds.

Such are the people, places and things that have touched my life in my West Virginia home!

Magic Johnson Northline Theater offers free weekly kids film series

Give your family a different way to cool off this summer. Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corporation is launching a summer film series geared toward their younger movie patrons.

This value program will allow kids to see free weekly showings of great movies, escape the summer heat and enjoy the show, while enjoying a reduced-price kids’ concession combo.

Locally, Magic Johnson Northline and Loews Fountains in Stafford are part of the 13 markets across the country, with participating theatres.

The series kicks off on June 23rd and will run until August 11th, with films beginning 1:00 p.m. on Wednesdays. The admission to the movie is free for children and adults. Loews will offer a special coupon for the kids so they can enjoy a small popcorn and soda at a discounted price of $3.95.

To add to the fun, each child will receive a loot bag filled with goodies upon exiting the theatre. The gift bag will include a Spongebob Squarepants post-it notepad, Nestle Sweetarts Candy, an American Greetings Nicktoon card sticker, as well as a Nick.com magnet and Random House Spongebob Squarepants coloring sheets. Loews is anticipating large crowds and has already received several commitments from big groups. They encourage all those interested in attending as a group to make reservations at the theater.

For local theater information, please visit: www.enjoy the show.com or call the direct lines and ask for the manager on duty. Magic Johnson Northline: 713-692-5983.

“In our 100th year, we are pleased to be able to share the magic of movies with the next generation of our patrons. We hope that these free events and Centennial programs will inspire a life-long loyalty to Loews. We believe this film series offers a great opportunity for our younger audiences and their families to cool off and enjoy some of their favorite films,” said John McCauley, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Loews Cineplex Entertainment.

“At the same time, it allows us to give back to the community and thank our patrons for choosing Loews throughout the year.”

The schedule for the film series is:
Jimmy Neutron — June 23
Rugrats — June 30
Rugrats in Paris — July 7
Wild Thornberry’s — July 14
Rugrats Go Wild — July 21
Hey Arnold — July 28
Harriet and the Spy — August 4
Andre the Seal — August 11

A BIZARRO page from my notebook. Or why I always carry a camera.

Rule number one for a reporter or editor: Always carry your camera, ready to take a picture.

An event on Monday afternoon of this week serves to illustrate the wisdom of this advice: On a routine errand, driving down Westpark Drive, I happened to notice several ramps to the new Westpark Tollway were closed off by Constable and Police Cars. As curious as a newspaper person can be, I drove around another way to get a view of what might be happening. Was I surprised.

There standing on top of a 170’ tall electric transmission tower, was a man, balanced perfectly with no support.

Pulling into a parking lot, I found a lot of others watching, too. “What’s happening?’ I astutely asked, and learned that this man had climbed the tower over 4 hours earlier, and now the police, sheriffs, constables, Houston rescue squads, SWAT team, Houston Fire Department, ambulances, and even the federal terrorism authorities had gathered to watch and figure out what to do about it.

The electric company, which is now known as CenterPoint Energy, was also on hand, since it was their tower. They had the good sense to shut off the 345,000 volts that were pulsing through the lines only a few feet away from the man. They also were smart enough to have two trucks that could reach the top of the tower if needed. One had a height reach of 170’, the other 200’ feet tall.

Let me tell you, that is a long way up, looking from the ground. I can only imagine (no I can’t) how high it must have looked to that man, staring down in such a stoic way.

What was he thinking or feeling? What was his ultimate intention? The hundreds gathered below, curious, worried, or entertained, didn’t know. The first thought was that he would jump, but I am glad to say no one on the ground wished that for him. Was he trying to damage the electric line? He had plenty of time to do that before i arrived, so it must have been some other motive.

I was there several hours, not knowing how this would resolve itself, and hoping that my prayer and presence would bring some since.

The authorities either didn’t know how to deal with him, or they did. Besides talking to him in Spanish through a bullhorn, the only other thing they tried was to gather a lot of men and equipment, perhaps in a show of authority.

Anyway, the man moved around a bit, climbed partway down and then back up. Took off his shirt, put it back on.

Why?

We don’t know. The authorities finally decided that the best plan was to show him they had no interest. They began to pull their equipment away, they had ordered the helicapters to stay away, and at some point this climber decided his show was over, and he came down.

I must say, at that point he was treated by the Houston Police with care and concern.

Reportedly he told them he was depressed, had no job or legal papers, and saw no future. He was taken to a phsychiatric hospital for exam, but at this writing has not been charged with any crime.

So there is an unusual, but perhaps not too untypical, day in the life of a newsman.