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Posts published in “Day: July 17, 2007”

Water customers file motion for rate hearing

The Aldine Ratepayers Association has filed a Motion to Intervene on behalf of association members who are directly affected by the water and sewer rate increase sought by Texas American Water Company.
The contested water rate case impacts several local subdivisions including Greenwood Village, Mary Francis, Kenwood, Bertrand, Aldine Meadows and Colonial Hills.
“This is an important step forward in the legal challenge area residents began when they signed petitions in February to force a hearing on the outrageous increase of their water and sewer rates,” said Rep. Kevin Bailey. “We are fortunate to have an excellent attorney representing area residents in the legal challenge they have mounted against a major international utility company.”
Bailey explained that the East Aldine Management District agreed to hire attorney Jim Boyle of Austin to represent area residents in the hearing process.
“I met Jim Boyle years ago when he was the Director of the Office of Public Utility Counsel for the State of Texas,” Bailey said. “Boyle, who is now in private practice, is recognized throughout the state for his knowledge and abilities in public utility and administrative law cases so area residents will be well represented at the hearings.”
Hearing Date Set

A court date has been set in the contested water rate case brought by Aldine Ratepayers Association against Texas American Water. The hearing will be Tuesday, August 7 at 10 a.m. at the State Office of Administrative Hearings located at 2020 North Loop West, Suite 111 in Houston.
The hearing will be held to establish jurisdiction, name parties to the case, establish a procedural schedule for the remainder of the proceedings and to address other matters as determined by the judge.
“The legal challenge was initiated when area residents began a petition drive in February to protest an outrageous increase of their water and sewer rates,” said Bailey. “Neighborhoods across North Houston have since banned together and formed the Aldine Ratepayers Association in preparation for this legal challenge.”
The last time a North Houston neighborhood actively challenged a privately owned water utility, residents had to travel to Austin to attend the hearings but changes in state law now provide for local hearings.
Persons with disabilities who plan to attend this hearing and who need special accommodations should call the State Office of Administrative Hearings Docket Department at 512-475-3445, at least one week prior to the hearing.
Local neighborhoods impacted by the hearing include Greenwood Village, Mary Francis, Kenwood, Bertrand, Aldine Meadows and Colonial Hills.

EAMD offers Beautification Grants

The East Aldine Management District announced this week it will begin taking applications to fund beautification projects within its service area. Neighborhood organizations and community groups may apply for grant funding to enhance area neighborhoods and public places.
Applications will be reviewed by the District’s three-member Community Development Committee then submitted to the full board of directors for approval.
“This initiative is intended to empower small groups who want to improve their neighborhood or a special place in the community,” said David Hawes, executive director of the East Aldine Management District. “If there are folks in our community working on the same goals as the management district, we want to encourage their efforts and provide the resources to make them successful.”
Hawes said the District has funded community improvement projects for years through well-established entities such as Aldine Y.O.U.T.H., the Boy Scouts of America, and Aldine ISD. The new beautification grants, he said, are simply a way to provide those same opportunities to smaller neighborhood and civic groups that want to enhance the image and appeal of Aldine.
In order to be considered, groups and organizations are asked to complete a simple four-point application that describes the proposed project, its budget, the level of community involvement, and the specific use of District funds in relation to other funding. Applications are available at the East Aldine Management District Storefront Offices, 5202 Aldine Mail Route, Houston, Texas 77039 or online at www.aldinedistrict.org.
The East Aldine Management District was created by the Texas Legislature in June 2001. The 15-square-mile district is bounded approximately by Little York, the Hardy Toll Road, FM 525, U.S. 59, and Homestead Road. The District is funded by a 1-cent sales tax that generates approximately $1.8 million in annual revenue for public projects and services.
For more information, call (281) 449-1800.

Celebrating Independence Day

Today is the Fourth of July and a good day it has been. Got up early this morning and headed out for a couple of the local hospitals to visit some friends. They find themselves confined on such a beautiful and that is no fun.
Crosby son, David, tells us you are getting rained out down there. Wish we could get some of that here. It is now late in the evening and we are getting some showers but we have had far too few and too short to help much. I cut some of my grass yesterday and that is the first time I have moved my lawn mower in more than a month.
When I got back from the hospital my good pal, Maggie, and I took a little walk along the riverbank. This six-year Old English Sheep-dog is a good companion. We walk along enjoying each other’s company with nary a complaint from either of us.
As I mentioned in a previous column the spring rains left a huge sand bar next to our property and two of our up-river neighbors. It has attracted river people by the dozens. Usually the early mornings on weekends and holidays the beach begins with anywhere from two to five fishermen spread out along the bar. They all seem to be successful and frequently catch one two feet long or better—probably catfish.

On the more beautiful, sunny days the boats begin to arrive around 10 a. m. and from then until dark it is continuous. Today, spread along the three properties there must have been more than two-dozen boats with several people each. That doesn’t include a few Ski-Doos thrown in (if that is the right word).
Maggie and I watched a couple of little kids building a sand castle along the water-s edge. It was quite a construction project as at least one of the boys worked some time on it. It is now late evening and the boats are gone but the sand castle remains. If the rains don’t remove it the castle will probably be there for the weekend if our wee ones return.
This has also been a construction day for some of my neighbors as well. One is rebuilding a set of wooden steps on his riverbank that were taken out by the spring flood. Another is putting a nice extra garage and workshop behind his house and a third is building a workshop with garage section large enough for his motorcycle and canoe. With all of these construction projects going on I have been busy working on each as a supervisor. They all just love to see me heading in their direction as you might imagine.
While they work and others boat or swim, Maggie and I are just spending a lazy day enjoying the warm sun and at times watching a ball game or two. This is the life of a retiree!
Such are the people, places and things that have touched my life in my West Virginia home!

Politicians do right

Already got a case of the reds this morning by going to Wally’s for a few odd and ends.
Get a case of those a lot lately, must have something to do with age.
Although spending fifty bucks, the shopping list still had voids either because they do not carry the item or you can’t find it. It seems as though they play musical chairs with the products at times.
Being an early shopper and thus avoiding the rush and the others, traffic in the aisles is not so congested.
One has to get the associates to discontinue their conversations to inquire where something is. They either don’t speak the language or don’t know where the item is as well.
One was kind enough to walk over and search for an item GIORGIO PORTABELLO MUSHROOMS. Wally’s was the only place in town to find them.
She inquired if I had purchased them before and of course I had on many occasions.
Told her they employ people who cannot speak English and do not know the difference between Portabella or Shittake. I then picked up a can of the Shittake mushrooms showing her and she laughed.
Would like to thank the following local congressmen and representatives for voting against the immigration bill which would have given legal status to twelve million undocumented already here: Ted Poe, Al Green, Shelia Jackson Lee, Nick Lampson, Al Doggett and Gene Green.

The rest of the local congressional delegation has a case of WIIFM’ism.
You call that “What’s in it for me.”
Enough politics, it’s enough to make you wonder where in the world is this country headed, don’t it?
You hear the one about the preacher who, in counting the offering find a pink envelope containing $1000?
This went on for weeks when finally the preacher saw this little old lady put the distinctive pink envelope in the plate. He approached her, “Ma’am, I couldn’t help but notice that you put $1000 a week in the collection plate.”
“Why yes,” she said, “every week my son sends me money and I give some of it to the church.”
The preacher replied, “That’s wonderful, how much does he send you?”
She said, “$10,000 a week.”
The preacher said, “your son must be very successful; what does he do for a living?’
“He’s a veterinarian,” she answered.
“That’s an honorable profession,” the preacher said.
“Where does he practice?”
The old little old lady said proudly, “In Nevada. He has two cat houses in Las Vegas and one in Reno.”

Yippy-Kai-Yay for Willis Flick

“Live Free or Die Hard”
Running time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13

It’s safe to say that this is the last time Bruce Willis will be playing Detective John McClane, and you can tell that Willis wanted his iconic character to go out with a bang. And another bang. And …
That’s what makes “Live Free or Die Hard” the best action movie of the year. It is wall-to-wall stunts, gunfights and Stuff Blowin’ Up Real Good.
And the icing on the cake is that you can tell Willis is having the time of his life and not just phoning it in for a huge payday. Bruce’s enthusiasm for the character is infectious. And for all the online bluster about how a PG-13 rating was going to spoil the film, I can tell you honestly that it doesn’t. “Live Free or Die Hard” is a solid action movie — and yes, McClane DOES deliver his signature “Yippy Kai Yay” line.
The plot — as if it matters — surrounds an attack on the nation’s computer infrastructure, from power grids to national security systems, financial institutions, even traffic lights.
A really evil guy who is too pretty to be a nerd (Timothy Olyphant) is wreaking havoc on the country.
Det. John McClane has, in tow, a young hacker (Justin Long) who inadvertently helped develop part of the insidious code.
As the country crumbles down around them, McClane and the hacker have to try to stay one step ahead of the bad guys who can track them and then send helicopters, fighter jets and other nasty stuff their way.
One of the highlights of the film is a cameo by filmmaker Kevin Smith, who plays an uberhacker with the handle, “Warlock.” It was great to see Smith in the role, but it also made it glaringly obvious how weak Justin Long’s characterization was. It would’ve been better to have Silent Bob himself hang with McClane and whomp some cyber-terrorist booty.
Yippy-Kai-Yay, indeed.

GRADE: A