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Showing posts from June, 2008

Innovation and the American Spirit

Innovation and the American Spirit

I am very optimistic about the future of America. I think there are exciting times in innovation and invention ahead of us. However, our present problems and struggle for prosperity may be on the shelf sooner than we realize, as the price of maintaining this lavish lifestyle languishes in the doldrums, but let's look at our past to see the possibilities of our future.

As I've said many times before, we diverse and resilient Americans blindly box ourselves into a corner and after we've had our collective heads pummeled into mush, we suddenly awaken and come out swinging and that is exactly what I see happening and in our future. We truly are the champions of the world, but we are going down folks and the way back to the top will be difficult and full of challenges.

We are used to being on top – on top of everything and we refuse to acknowledge our pinnacle position is precarious at best and all but gone at worst. We see ourselves as the c…

The Intrepid Baytown Cycle Hiker

Baytown can be a tough place to get outdoor exercise if you are a bicycler, jogger, walker or an urban trekker.Sure, we have a few places to do these activities, but they require an automobile to get to them.Here in America, using an automobile to get to your place of exertion has never really been an issue, but it sure is now and in the future, it will become even more so.This past Friday I decided to grab my camera and take a walk around town instead of driving to Jenkins Park or the Goose Creek Stream Trail head.(I don't particularly like the idea of parking my vehicle and leaving it while I exercise, only to come back and find it vandalized or missing).What this meant was walking in the street or in someone's yard for 6 of the 7 miles I eventually traveled.The problem is we are not a bicycle or foot-friendly city and since we are a "city on the move", the lack of sidewalks and road shoulders will get worse before it gets better.Every step taken or pedal pushed br…

Police: Crime watches help make neighborhoods safer

by JOSH HARDWICK
jhardwick@hcnonline.com 06/19/2008Members of the Chaparral Village neighborhood Crime Watch in Baytown have seen their fair share of unruly activity over the years, from street racers blowing past stop signs to thefts and even recent instances of a reported flasher in the area.Criminal activity is something that all communities must deal with, but with the cooperation of law-abiding citizens, police can be more effective in their response, said Capt. David Alford of the Baytown Police Department. Alford was the guest speaker at Chaparral Village's Crime Watch meeting, June 15.Alford said that of the 136 deputies employed by the Baytown Police Department, at least nine will be on patrol at any given time – one for each police district in the city. However, he said that a particularly busy night in one district might call patrol deputies away from their own districts, leaving a temporary gap in police coverage.
In order to minimize the vulnerability of homes and nei…

Chaparral Village standing up to crime

By Barrett Goldsmith
Baytown Sun
Published June 17, 2008About 35 residents from the Chaparral Village subdivision met this week at the home of a local resident to discuss ways to prevent and fight crime in the area, including a recent spate of car burglaries and late-night street racing.

Folks spilled out of the living room and up the stairs to hear Crime Watch leaders and Capt. David Alford, head of the community service bureau of the Baytown Police Department. All stressed the importance of remaining vigilant and taking steps to ensure the safety of every family.

“Basic crime prevention doesn’t change – it’s a mentality,” Alford said. “Remaining observant doesn’t mean being paranoid. Just be aware. And always lock those doors and keep those valuables out of sight.”

Alford said such community involvement was essential, helping the police department better execute its fundamental task of reducing and punishing crime.

“I hope they keep doing what they’re doing,” Alford said. “They need to co…

The Peaceful Baytown Neighborhood

I stepped out onto my front porch to get my newspapers like I do every morning I am off work and surveyed my peaceful neighborhood. I love this place. Down the street are the usual array of lounging cats; a stealthy furry night predator of innocent birds and rodents not indigenous to this country, but somehow introduced and accepted. Are they a metaphor of present day Baytown? Maybe, but then again I may just be thinking too much…again.

Looking around I observe an ominous pinkish tinge in the clouds and the myriad bird sound imitations of the ever present mockingbird or birds. Who knows how many are out there this morning? It’s peaceful here and feels warm and inviting; a great place for a kid to play and ride their bike – or maybe it isn’t. Of course kids don’t rise at the crack of dawn these days to meet their buddies and play baseball, but sleep, weary from an all-nighter playing video games, so it remains quiet. That is fine with me. Quiet times in the neighborhood are som…

Texas Summer too hot? – Nope!

I love summer. I love working when it's real hot and sunny bright. Even though my job requires wearing fire-retardant clothing, I actually find the heat and brilliant sunshine irresistible. When many are complaining about the high temps, I am out in it piddling, tinkering and just wandering around.

At home my bride and I sit on our patio and soak up the rays. We're seriously considering getting one of the Baytown Pool businesses to install an in-ground pool so we can enjoy the sunshine even more. I am open for recommendations if anyone thinks one is better than the other, as I do not want to send our money outside of the city if I can help it.

I was off for the better part of last week and had my mower running almost every day. I use the mower for exercise and when the sun is blasting away and the temperature is smoking hot, I want to feel the sweat running down my back. I even mow the pipeline behind my place and that adds a third of an acre to my sunny entertainment.

With the b…

BAYTOWN, TX (KTRK) -- Neighbors in a Baytown subdivision say they're living in fear.

By Andy Cerota

BAYTOWN, TX (KTRK) -- Neighbors in a Baytown subdivision say they're living in fear.

Nearly every weekend in the middle of the night and early morning hours, they are awakened by the sounds of roaring engines.

By day, life in Chaparral Village seems perfect enough. Children ride their bikes and neighbors take time out to socialize.

But at night, it's a whole other story.

"The main complaint we're having is this high speed Vin Diesel, Fast and Furious stuff that's happening all the time," said Bert Marshall who is concerned about the speeders.

Street racers have turned Chaparral Drive into their own personal speedway. That includes blasting music, taunting homeowners at all hours of the night. Residents fear it's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.

"We stand out in our yard and watch them fly through the stop sign doing at least 60 to 70 mph, not even slow down at all," said Sally Odom who is concerned about speeders.

What'…

Cost Cutters Slash Prison Food Budgets

(AP) Around the country, budget-cutting state officials are looking behind bars for savings - keeping prison buildings unoccupied, double-bunking inmates or laying off employees. Even the prison mess halls aren't exempt. Minnesota is considering following Virginia's lead in serving only two meals per day on weekends, calling one of them "brunch."

Texas prisons have been ordered to cut inmates' daily calories. The prison food proposals are among many cuts being considered as states struggle to balance their budgets. Thirty-four states have overspent their budgets for fiscal 2003, the National Conference of State Legislatures said last month, and 27 still have deficits to close before July 1. At least 19 are responding with plans to reduce prison budgets - and many are starting with the food tray.

Texas prisons have been ordered to cut inmates' daily calories from 2,700 per day to 2,500 in response to budget cuts, said Larry Todd, spokesman for the Texas Depart…