Saturday, January 19, 2013

Gun Control? Will Criminals be disarmed? No, you will.

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I've stayed out of this from the beginning and want to make it clear that I haven't bought a single firearm or cartridge in the last year. I do however own a number of long and short firearms, along with numerous Asian weapons which I’ve studied and am skilled in their use and it is no one’s business what I've bought outside of a gun store purchase. New purchases are documented and registered if you will, but if I buy a shotgun from Joe Blow, I do not want to register it, period.

I hope, hope, hope the day never arrives when I have to defend my family against an abusive US government, but that is why our forefathers wrote in the 2nd amendment and if anyone thinks it couldn't happen, just look at the long history of countries falling due to an abusive government.

I have a clean record and a CHL, plus I am a Vietnam veteran with an honorable discharge. On top of that, I am a black belt with many years of private study and practice. I do not want to be a victim - ever and I've taken steps to secure my home and family to that possibility. No one has to fear my presence unless they plan to cause harm to me or my own.

I do not have a Class 3 license, don't plan on getting one, and I do not sit around caressing my firearms or dream of "blowing someone away". I think in many ways, I represent the average American citizen pro-gun person.

Criminals do not walk into Academy and fill out the forms to get weapons. They steal or buy them on the black market. Take away the right to purchase firearms will only result in strengthening the black market and criminals will have a secure supply, while making people like me, less secure.

In that Utopian world free of guns, someone will still have guns beside the police - so there is no Utopia. Utopia is an unachievable myth. So, in the meantime, I am one hundred per cent behind the law-abiding citizen making legal purchases of firearms, with large capacity magazines, specialty self-defense loads of ammo, and rifle stock and barrel configurations resembling military “assault rifles”, which of course, they are not.

I am also against the current administration attempting to push a long-established agenda through, using the tragedy at Sandy Hooks as a smoke screen.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Update From Dead Horse Alaska

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My sister works on the North Slope of Alaska and sent this update today.
My Sister on a two day layover in Anchorage awaiting a flight to Deadhorse, Alaska.
I am back in my office.


All the flights from Anchorage to the Slope on Monday were cancelled because of weather conditions on the slope, so I spent a second night in a hotel, returning to the airport early Tuesday.

Weather conditions became worse, but they flew us anyway. I DO NOT want that experience again. The flight was fine, but landing where you cannot see the ground is not a pleasant thing.

Our airport is very tiny, so we don't have jet-ways.........we climb down stairs from a 737 jet and walk across a tarmac that is icy and snowy. Imagine that with 50mph sustained winds and snow blowing so thickly that you can barely see 10 feet in front of you.

Then, the travel from the airport to our hotel.......much worse. I bashed my knee while getting into a van with no step side, stairs, etc....set so high, the bottom of the door was at my hip. Not fun at my age, I'll tell you. We were led by an enormous snow plow and all we could see was its flashing lights through the blowing snow. This was mid-day; so it was not dark outside and moving at less than five mph, we were never more than 15-20 ft from it and usually closer.

Seasoned Slopers with 20 years or more, did not want to get on that plane and when I got here, the first question I was asked by everyone was: "were you scared?". And yes, I was. They just shook their heads in disbelief that the plane flew. This is the worst weather most people have ever seen here. Definitely is the worst I have, and I hope I don't ever see anything worse.

There were 5 round-trip flights scheduled after mine and they cancelled all of them.

The weather has been pretty bad for about 6 days now. We are running out of water (trucks can't get in to fill our holding tanks and empty sewage - no laundry can be done and you only shower if you are going to offend others) and we are getting low on supplies. Fairbanks is probably full of Ice Road Truckers waiting for the signal that it is safe to head our way. (Don't believe everything you see on reality TV......it's mostly crap.)

Oh, boy......the heavy equipment is in our parking lot. They are going to have fun digging out those trucks............. Connie in Deadhorse, AK.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Geocaching the Haunted Humble's Forgotten Geocache

Photo by Douglas Jackson  9/24/2010 - the area looks much worse right now due to the drought killing so many trees

Baytown Bert at the abandoned kerosen tanks next to cemetery
MuddyWaterGirl, Rambetta, and I visited this one in Humble the other day and it is a very interesting area.


GC3FN6F ▼ Humble's Forgotten N 30° 00.448 W 095° 15.641

This cache is just east of a very old cemetery named "HUMBLE NEGRO CEMETERY" and currently is being kept up by a local church. It is a very old history piece of Humble. Many graves here are unmarked or have been vandalized over the years. This area was undefinable for a long time till an incident occurred and brought *public attention to the cemetery. The only reason the cemetery is here is because a local businessman named Mr. Bender employed many black families and when Humble evicted them from their lives and even their graves, he let them live near here and bury their dead on his land. There are also remains on the north side of a old kerosene refinery, two concrete storage tanks and some concrete tank supports. Please use caution if you go exploring these areas. Its also said that this area is HAUNTED!

**HOUSTON (AP) *Three Kingwood teens have been arrested and accused of digging up a secluded grave and removing a skull in Humble, a city north of Houston. They dug up a grave, removed the skull from the coffin and converted it into a "bong," a device used to smoke marijuana, according to court documents.
MuddyWaterGirl, Rambetta, & Baytown Bert at the abandoned kerosene tank next to cememtery.
The photos show each of us at the abandoned giant cement kerosene refinery holding tanks. Supposedly Texaco operated these and lightning hit the open top tank, causing a horrendous fire. The fire killed many black laborers who were burned so badly, there was a mass unmarked grave in the area, but it may not have been the one next to it. The area has a history of paranormal activity, just one of the interesting places geocaching takes us. I started out on this journey to locate some hard to find caches and after not being able to find a very difficult cache, I texted MuddyWaterGirl (She grew up in Bay City) and she appeared shortly afterward.

She knew of this geocache, but had never been there and after a bit of plotting, we figured out a way to access it - just one part of this remote cache. It had many DNF's (Did not find) and after about fifteen minutes, I spotted it. We made our way back to her truck and Rambetta pulled up. She is from Baytown and an Army Bird Colonel and a friend of mine. After MWG left, Rambetta (Female Rambo) and I proceded to jump some ditches and straight-lined to the cache by the cemetery, since it was only about a quarter of a mile away from where we were currently parked - as the crow flies. We took photos and went our separate ways after returning to our vehicles.

Humble Negro Cemetery


The Humble Negro Cemetery is located in Harris County, Texas, just north of the City of Humble, Texas. It is located about 200 yards north of the FM 1960 by-pass which runs along the north side of Humble, Texas and east of the railroad tracks and U.S. Highway 59. (GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 30.006264, Longitude: -95.261829).

History

The City of Humble, Texas incorporated as a city in 1933. At that time, by vote of the City Council, racial segregation was invoked to make the town "lily white". The black population was forced to relocate their families as well as the graves of their dead to another location, outside the city limits. Starting in 1933, blacks began to move out of Humble. By 1935, almost everyone had moved.

There used to be a sawmill north of Humble that was owned by Mr. Bender, one of the founders of Humble. Blacks migrated from Gladysville, Cleveland, Splendora and Fastoria to work there. He was kind to the African-American people and gave them some property to live on and a place to bury their loved ones. The entire area is now referred to as Bordersville (informal), because the African-Americans were made to live outside the "border" of incorporated Humble.

Time took its toll on the cemetery over the years and the entire cemetery became overgrown. In 2005, the members of Grace Church, a multicultural church located in Humble, sought for permission from the owners of the land to clean and restore the land. This is something the descendants of the deceased had hoped and tried to do for a long time. After receiving clearance from the City of Humble and the Texas Department of Transportation, Grace Church spent many thousands of dollars putting in a road, clearing hundreds of trees, and working with local historians to restore the cemetery. In order to honor the veterans of war that are buried there, the church also installed a flag pole and U.S. flag station. Currently the church is pursuing a historical marker to be placed at the site. While hoping to turn the cemetery back to the loved ones of the deceased, the church continues to cover all maintenance and up keep at its own expense.

In 2008, however, there was an incident that involved disturbing one of the graves and descrating one of the bodies interred there. This incident brought the cemetery back into the public eye. The pastors of Grace Church oversaw the re-interment of the body.

The gravesites here are not arranged in rows or plots and only a few stones remain. They are randomly placed. Many of the graves are unmarked, or the stones have been removed. Very few, if any records were kept and several people have since desecrated the graveyard by reducing the graves themselves to a pile of rubble.
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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

2013 Starts Off With Hiking Adventures!

Made cookies in the morning 1-10-13
Well, the holiday season is finally over and I basically worked every bit of it, so aside from my personal writing and working on another book – a horror/comedy this time, I took every opportunity to go out into the woods with my Bride and doggies (when we could) to geocache.  I also teamed up with local geocaching hero, Larry Houston (HoustonControl) to teach a geocaching seminar at the Baytown Nature Center's Nurture Nature series, held each month at the center on the first Saturday.  For the last two years, it's been geocaching, but each other month, it is a different topic.

Our travels took us to a very rainy Huntsville and the state park there, Dickinson, Kemah, the JJ Mayes Trace and close-by rookery and even Lake Charlotte.  I even was questioned by a cop about my activities, who it turns out is an old TX4X4 off-roading buddy.  Enjoy the photos!

Geocaching seminar at the Baytown Nature Center's Nurture Nature series
Geocaching seminar at the Baytown Nature Center's Nurture Nature series
Geocaching seminar at the Baytown Nature Center's Nurture Nature series
Bella gets a bath
Coco doesn't like thunderstorms
BB finding a geocache in Dickinson, Tx.
It was raining very hard, so I made a yellow cake with milk chocolate frosting.

BB with yet another brush with the Five -O!
The Rookery at the Wallisville project off of I-10

Finding a geocache at the Rookery at the Wallisville project off of I-10
Geocaching on the Butterfly Nature Trail at the Trinity River NWR.

My doggies wanting a treat.
Getting credit for a virtual geocache at Sam Houston's statue in Huntsville.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Baker Road Extension Update January 2013

Baker Road is being extended across N. Main and Barkuloo Road all the way to Sjolander Road.  I live in the back of Chaparral Village and directly behind my house, the land has been defoliated and bulldozed to accommodate a giant detention/retention pond.  Since there is no stopping it, I am petitioning our City leaders and planners to make it attractive, rather than just another loss of habitat and something that is ugly.  The good news is they are listening and contrary to what is commonly assumed and written on the local Baytown Talk section of Hotpursuit.cc, which I routinely contribute to and mine for information.

The heavy use of our parks trails prove that developing walking, jogging, and biking trails around the cities bayou and various fingers of Goose Creek, along with micro trail systems will benefit the city and upgrade it to match newer developed areas. People need places to ride their bicycles, jog, and walk and although we have a good start and a very active Parks staff, we need more.  Here is the most recent email discussion and I started it off with a few questions.
Before the detention/retention pond clearing and after
While geocaching in most of the surrounding cities, I've noticed many of the detention ponds are are being reforested.  As you remember, I am very concerned about the giant pond being put in behind my house in .  It appears the State of Texas is planting trees everywhere along our highways.  I have a few comments and questions.

1.  I do not know what the future plan is concerning the detainment pond behind my house.
How deep will it be when completed?
What is the time frame concerning its completion?
Will it be replanted with trees? (bald cypress trees are natives and thrive in wet areas)
Will the city or county own it?
Will a trail be installed from Barkuloo Park to Jenkins Park utilizing the existing pipeline and future berm of the detainment pond?

2. Can the City petition the State to pick up the cost of the trees in and around Baytown?

3. Gene Green Park in Channelview has done remarkable things with a giant detainment pond there, using self-draining walls and buildings.  See photos.  Baytown Bert Marshall


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The pond will be owned and maintained by the City.

The State only provides landscaping along their rights of way. We have applied for this landscaping and received some along Spur 330, at I-10 and Spur 300 and a joint project is underway along Hwy. 146 between Main and Garth. The financial pressures facing most governmental entities have hit funding for items like landscaping especially hard. We are on track to receive landscaping at Hwy. 146 and Spur 330 in 2015.

Bob Leiper   City Manager   City of Baytown

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From Parks:

We plan to develop the detention/retention pond as a park.  We will have an area that will be designed similar to the East LL fields at the 10th street detention pond, which will be practice soccer/football/softball fields including a small parking area.  The extent of the development of the area depends on future funding.

We have also been looking at the possible extension of Barkuloo Park to Baker Road.  Not sure we could afford to square the park off with Barkuloo, but maybe get some access to Baker Road to help open up Barkuloo Park.

Dustin and I also plan to ask for MDD dollars in next year’s budget to redevelop Barkuloo and to remove the piles of dirt and glass that surround two sides of the park.

There is a trail planned to connect Barkuloo to the Baker Road Trail/sidewalk as part of the Road construction.  Hopefully we can figure out how to connect to Jenkins Park over the RR tracks.   Scott  Johnson

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Bert, we have been doing some brainstorming related to Barkaloo Park.  What do you think the neighborhood would think about extending El Rancho Drive to the new Baker Road extension?  It would give homeowners at the back of Chaparral an additional entrance/exit and provide a new entrance to Barkaloo Park while opening the park up to more traffic instead of a dead end.  What are your thoughts?  Of course, this is just parks brainstorming, no funding, no land etc; we’re just bouncing ideas around.  Thanks, Scott Johnson

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I think Councilman Bob Hoskins and the planner should go door to door and ask the folks that live here.  Then you will have your answer.  As for me, I like the fact that El Rancho and Buffalo Trl have limited access.  Scott, my wife summed up my feelings exactly when I told her the plans for the detention pond.  We have ball diamonds and soccer fields.  What this city needs is more hike and bike trails.  I would love to see that detention pond replanted with bald cypress trees galore and a hike/bike trail around it, connecting it too the existing trails in Jenkins park.  those trails are used heavily.  Today my wife and I were in Jenkins walking and even though it was 44 degrees and raining, people were walking, jogging and using the dog park.  Baytown Bert Marshall

What, me read? Isn't that a 4 letter word?

I had an appointment this week at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center to have an echocardiogram, which by the way is an EKG ti...