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Posts published in “Day: August 3, 2010


By Kristan Hoffman

Last night I fell asleep imagining all the things I want in life. I pictured my future home, with granite countertops in the kitchen, the breakfast bar where I will work in the mornings, the sunlight filtering in through the windows. I pictured the big grassy backyard where my dog and kids will play. I pictured the book signings, the emails and phone calls with my agent and editor, the special shelf in my library for my own covers to be displayed.

It’s not easy for me to talk about these things, because I am a bit superstitious. I knock on wood after I make jokes, afraid to jinx the good things or foretell the bad. I believe there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and I do my best to stay on the right side of that line because I believe in karma.

But I subtitled my website ( “writing dreams into reality” because that’s what it’s about — what I’m about. I’m working hard to turn my dreams of being a writer into my reality. And I transform many of my “dreams” (ideas) into real, written-out stories. That’s all I’ve wanted to do since I was 9 years old, and I hope to do it until I’m 90.

Sometimes it’s a slog, let’s be honest. Sometimes I would rather be sleeping, or going out with friends, or eating a pint of ice cream on the sofa while watching Grey’s Anatomy. Sometimes my back hurts, or my wrists hurt, or my neck hurts, or my eyes hurt. Sometimes I can’t think of a single good word, much less a whole sentence. Sometimes I get so tired I could cry.

But it’s those times that my dreams matter most, and that’s why I’m sharing them now. As a reminder to myself that I’m working towards something tangible, even when everything seems out of my control and about as real as Tinkerbell. As a reminder to any of you who have dreams that you shouldn’t give up on them. Dreams are part of what make life worth living.

Did I think that by 24 I’d have found a wonderful man I want to marry? Or that I’d have the bestest, cutest dog in the whole world? That my friends and family would still be supporting, encouraging, and inspiring me every day? That I would have an editorial team interested in my stories?

No, once upon a time, those were just “silly dreams.” But now here I am, and here they are. And that’s how I know there’s more to come. That’s how I know that if I can dream it, I can achieve it.

And I will.

Greenspoint Public Safety Initiatives recognized as among best in state

The Greenspoint District’s effective and successful public safety programs have earned the district a prestigious crime prevention award. The Texas Crime Prevention Association (TCPA), a non-profit dedicated to promoting best practices in crime prevention, recently presented the Greenspoint District with an “Outstanding Crime Prevention Business” award at its annual conference. The award is given to organizations that reduce crime and provide the greatest support to crime prevention programs. The Greenspoint District also won the organization’s “Outstanding Crime Prevention Organization” award in 2008.

“The Greenspoint District works hard to make our area a safe and successful activity center,” said Greenspoint District Director of Public Safety Al Aranda. “This award is a reflection of our strong law enforcement partnerships and the success of our district-initiated public safety programs. We are deeply grateful to all of the organizations involved in our public safety programs.”

The TCPA award highlights seven successful district-initiated programs that seek to reduce rime and involve the community in crime prevention. These programs include:

• Operation Greensweep
• Harris County Sheriff’s Office Overtime Program
• Greenspoint Stopping Auto Theft (G.S.A.T.)
• Off-Duty Special Operations Program
• Graffiti Abatement Program
• Auto Theft Report Card
• Crime Prevention/CPTED Surveys

These programs have yielded measurable reductions in crime. According to statistics from HPD and Harris County, since the district was created in 1991, Greenspoint has experienced a 42 percent reduction in Part 1 crimes (major crimes) per 1,000 people. Furthermore, these reductions were realized even though the area’s population has increased by 48 percent and employment has increased by 106 percent.

Feds indict 20 after raids at local flea markets

3 area flea markets raided

Operated Fake I.D. netted 13 charges by indictment for allegedly conspiring to possess, obtain, accept and receive forged, counterfeited, altered and falsely made immigrant and nonimmigrant visas, permits, border crossing cards, alien registration cards, and other documents prescribed by statute or regulation for entry into or as evidence of authorized stay or employment in the United States, United States Attorney Jose Angel Moreno and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Fienberg announced last week.

“The sale of counterfeit identification documents is a matter of national security,” said Moreno. “These types of enforcement actions are necessary to secure our borders and protect our citizens.”

Two indictments charging a total of 20 persons returned under seal by a Houston grand jury on July 22, are the result of an 18-month investigation dubbed Operation Fake I.D., conducted by the HSI Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force, which includes special agents of the Department of State Diplomatic Security SErvice and officers of the Houston Police Dept.

Operation Fake I.D. focused its investigative efforts upon persons allegedly involved in the trafficking of counterfeit government identity documents, including permanent resident cards, at the Sunny, La Tia Pancha, and Sintas flea markets in North Houston.

(This story has been truncated for the web. For the full version, please see our print edition.)

Crime Stoppers effective in public safety, apprehension

Crime Stoppers of Houston is the most effective unit in the nation, according to Katherine Cabaniss, Executive Director of the private non-profit crime fighting organization.

Speaking at a recent Rotary meeting in Highlands, she received the crime prevention and apprehension activities of the group. She said that the tip phone number, 713-222-TIPS gets 2500 calls a month, and of these 500 are good leads that result in at least 50 arrests.

She emphasized that all tips are anonymous. When someone calls in with a tip, they are given a code number, and asked to call back to see if their tip resulted in an arrest. If it did, they are directed to a bank to receive a reward, which may be as much as $5000 and paid in cash. They do not have to appear in court, because most arrests have additional circumstances that are used in court instead.

All of the money to run the organization and provide rewards is donated or grants. Donors get a tax break, because Crime Stoppers is a 501c3 organization.

Cabaniss said it is important to catch professional criminals, because they always repeat. Even when they are committing one crime, they are planning more. She is a former prosecuting attorney, so she has much experience in this matter.

Last year 825 felons were prosecuted because of Crime Stoppers tips, and a total of $790,000 was paid in cash rewards. Since 1981, because of Crime Stoppers, 21,000 felons have been arrested, 843 murders solved, 3,600 robberies solved, 1,092 burglaries solved, and $7.4 million paid in cash rewards.

(This story has been truncated for the web. For the full version, please see our print edition.)