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Posts published in “Day: May 29, 2007

Adventures in the garden

Did some sod busting this morning by digging up potatoes. Scratched around and below the plants for a few with my hand to see if I could find some. Bout the time a couple of nice ones were dug up something sharp went into and under the fingernail, right middle finger.
It was enough to make one want to say NO MAS but there is too much sweat labor invested in the potato patch to give it up. I decided then and there I was going high tech and used the shovel.
Managed to dig up about half bushel of red potatoes out of that little space. Took them in the kitchen and the Mrs. asked what I was going to do with all those potatoes.
Have been told not to wash the potato until you are ready to cook it.
One thing for sure, next year’s potato patch will not be planted as deep.

The briar patch is narrowing down with the blackberries. The birds have sure seemed to enjoy them. After the next picking, the patch will be trimmed and manicured for next year’s growth. By doing so, this will allow next year’s crop to produce more berries, up a bit higher rather than near the ground. Of course the upper briar branches are tied to a wire to grow up rather than over.
Thinking of planting purple hull peas next, when a bit more room becomes available in the little garden. As has been said before in Two Cents Worth, it’s amazing what you can do with dirt.
A little caveat to you pea/bean eaters – legume (big word that means opens along the seam, i.e., split in two) has been proven on yours truly that they will kick in the gout with its high purine content no doubt!
Grew up on peas and cornbread, guess one evidently needs to limit the serving of the other good stuff, eh?
Can ask the twins this day if they know what a bowl of special is, and they will tell you.
Tis peas, cornbread, diced tomato, diced onion and a glass of tea.
Taught the boys to eat hot peppers with that dish. Take itty bitty bites of pepper, not too much cause it’ll burn. Always eat a pinch of pepper with food in your mouth, other wise it’s too hot.
They have since discovered the day after hot too.

The care and feeding of children…

Was reading a daily newspaper a few days ago and came across a column entitled, “Do we feed our pets better than we feed our kids? After seeing the column I decided that was a good question.
The writer was talking mainly about the recent pet food contamination that impacted many pet food manufacturers and thousands upon thousands of pets. When we first heard of the problem we jumped at the bag containing food for our Old English Sheep-dog, Maggie, and established it was not one of the contaminated numbered bags.
The writer of the column was not saying we are feeding contaminated food to our children and have less concern about that than what we feed our pets—at least she wasn’t saying that directly. Her point is we are mostly on a hustle-bustle weekday schedule that sometimes sees us throwing food at our kids in the manner requiring the least amount of time.
What does that mean? It means fast food, either at home or at the first quick-service restaurant we come to on the way home and pick up burgers, fries, pizza, etc. that is anything but a healthy diet. While it is not contaminated as the pet food was, it is certainly not a healthy, well-balanced meal and in the long run causes as much of a problem with our kids health as some dogs had with the pet food. Our kids are not dying immediately from this food but over the long haul it leads to diet deficiencies, obesity, etc. that can and does lead to an early death.

The Springer kids have long been on their own so we don’t dictate the kinds of food that they partake. As I look back over the years and consider how we handled them I would say we are not “guilty as charged,” by the writer.
Mother Linda is a trained dietitian, formerly worked in a couple of hospitals, and practiced what she preached at home as well as at work. Over the years she preached, and provided a healthy diet and prepared the necessary fruits, meats, vegetables, etc. that our kids needed daily. It was a rare exception when we headed for the burger or pasta places for our snacks.
Our kids, now in their forties, all seem to be healthy, are used to eating balanced diets, and continue along this path as adults. At least that is my view as I observe them. However, there is still a message there for all of us to mind our diets.
Such are the people, places and things that have touched my life in my West Virginia home!
Don Springer can be reached at

Leadership NH banquet honors Lowry, Zizelmann

The Leadership North Houston organization held their annual graduation ceremony and awards banquet last Thursday evening, and honored several area business leaders.
The Distinguished Community Leader award was presented to Jerry Lowry, of the Greater Greenspoint District, by LNH president Bill Ginder.
The John Pickelman Leadership North Houston Fellow award was presented to John Zizelmann, of Mattco Manufacturing, by last year’s recipient, Ray Laughter.
The banquet was also the graduation for the 12th class of participants in this leadership training program, sponsored by North Harris Montgomery Community College District, seven local chambers of commerce, and the North Houston Association.
Other nominees for the Distinguished Community Leader award included Carole Little, Connie Maxfield, Brenda Kirk, Ralph Wheeler, and Jennifer Pittman.
Leadership North Houston is a multi-community based program committed to educating and enhancing the involvement of existing and emerging leaders of North Houston.

Lowry was cited not only for his position as VP-COO of GGD, but also as past president of the North Houston Greenspoint Chamber, Greenspoint Community Partners, involvement in many diverse community organizations, and a leader in improving public safety in the area.
Zizelmann was cited for his outstanding contributions to community organizations and activities beyond his business interests.

Bulletin: Sam Houston High to remain open

At press time, an announcement from HISD superintendent Abe Saavedra indicated that Sam Houston High, Kashmere, and McReynold’s had achieved enough academic improvement since last year to warrant remaining open in the 2007-08 school year.
Sam Houston reportedly had a 5 percent improvement in their passing rate. Saavedra said his decision will not change, no matter how the state TEA ranks the schools later this summer.

Aldine ISD goes high-tech with ‘Grad-Cast’

Crowded stadiums and arenas and long lines of cars may be as much the tradition of graduation as the commencement ceremony itself, but a new trend in schools is making it easier for friends and family to observe the ceremonies from the comfort of their own homes.
This new trend involves broadcasting the ceremony over the Internet or what insiders call “Grad-Casting.”
Aldine ISD began the system a couple of years ago to help people be part of the service without traveling to the M.O. Campbell Center in person.
“We’ve gotten nothing bust positive feedback since we started this,” district spokesperson Mike Keeney said.
Keeney said that in the past the services could be viewed by grandparents in South America and by a soldier in Iraq.

The technology involved is not that different from what has become popular at homes. Through the use of a webcam and a few yards of video cable, school districts cast broadcast a live streaming video of the services either on broadband systems or as dial-up.
This year alone, the district held ‘Grad-Casts’ for Nimitz, Eisenhower, Aldine, Carver, MacArthur and Hall High Schools as well as some kindergarten graduations.
Since the Campbell Center is already set for the ‘Grad-Cast’ district ho use the facility for their own ceremony can take advantage of Aldine’s technology.
One such district is Huffman ISD. Huffman, which used the center on Sunday afternoon, said that this will be the first year they were able to broadcast commencement online.

NF’s Simpson reinstated by TEA

Dr. James Simpson, the North Forest ISD superintendent who was fired in March is scheduled to be back on the job after a TEA ruling last week.
Last week Jeff Horner, an attorney and independent examiner working on behalf of the Texas Education Agency ordered the North Forest Board of Trustees to reinstate Simpson.
Horner said that in March, when the board voted 4-3 to terminate Simpson’s contract they did so illegally. The board, he determined, did not provide Simpson with due process that is; they did not follow the proper procedures in terminating his contract. Specifically, the board did not notify Simpson is advance of the March 8 meeting that he could be fired. According to the post agenda, which is required for all open meetings, the board was scheduled to “discuss and/or take action” on Simpson’s contract.
The North Forest ISD was ordered to return Simpson to his former post as well as pay his $35,000 in back salary.
Board President Barbara Gaston, who voted to fire Simpson, sent the superintendent a letter on March 13 explaining the board’s vote.

The letter, Horner wrote in his ruling, “came as some type of attempted after-the-fact due process.” Horner also said the letter provided “little specific connection between the areas of Simpson’s alleged deficiencies and district policy.”
Simpson has maintained that he was fired in retaliation for investigating allegations of illegal or improper activity against district police officer Gerald Eagleton.
Eagleton was formerly married to the sister of school board member Charles Taylor.
Gaston, however, said that Simpson not only “failed to properly advise the board of a bomb threat at a district school” and “failed to timely notify the board regarding preliminary TAKS results” but that the board had lost confidence in his ability to lead the district.
At the time of the firing, North Forest ISD was also under an investigation by the TEA. The school district, TEA said, had failed to account for some funds provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for repairs following Tropical Storm Alison. The funds were discovered missing prior to Simpson coming to North Forest.