Tag Archive: ORW Community News



How high is demand for welders to work in the shale boom on the U.S. Gulf Coast?

“If somebody came to me on the Gulf Coast, some high-school kid, and said, ‘I don’t know what to do with my life,’ I’d tell him, ‘Learn to weld.’”

So high that “you can take every citizen in the region of Lake Charles between the ages of 5 and 85 and teach them all how to weld and you’re not going to have enough welders,” said Peter Huntsman, chief executive officer of chemical maker Huntsman Corp.

So high that San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, offers a four-hour welding class in the middle of the night.

So high that local employers say they’re worried there won’t be adequate supply of workers of all kinds. Just for construction, Gulf Coast oil, gas and chemical companies will have to find 36,000 new qualified workers by 2016, according to Industrial Info Resources Inc. in Sugar Land, Texas. Regional estimates call for even more new hires once those projects are built.

The processing and refining industries need so many workers to build new facilities in Texas and Louisiana because of the unprecedented rise over the last three years in U.S. oil and gas production, much of it due to shale. Labor shortages, causing delays in construction, threaten to slow the boom and push back the date when the country can meet its own energy needs, estimated by BP Plc to be in 2035.

Worker scarcities are already evident in the unemployment rates of Texas (5.7 percent) and Louisiana (4.5 percent), both below the national average of 6.7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Thelowest jobless rate of any area in the U.S. in February was 2.8 percent in Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, Louisiana, because of offshore-oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico.

Building Projects

Companies will spend $35 billion, more than ever, on expansion projects along the Houston Ship Channel by next year, creating a total of 265,800 jobs, a 2012 Greater Houston Port Bureau survey shows. Louisiana, where $60 billion in building projects are planned through 2016, will need 86,300 workers over that time, according to the state’sWorkforce Commission.

“This is an exponentially larger investment period than Louisiana has ever seen,” said Tom Guarisco, a spokesman for the Workforce Commission in Baton Rouge.

The biggest shortages will be for welders, electricians, instrumentation technicians, fabricators and pipe fitters, according to Roger Blackburn, executive account manager at Infinity Construction Services LP, which employs about 2,500 workers on the Gulf Coast. The scale of the projects means costs and delays will probably escalate, he said.

Photographer: Aaron M. Sprecher/Bloomberg

Student Austin Khalili demonstrates welding during a class at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas.

Wages Rose

Labor scarcity can erode profit. Cost run-ups and labor shortages have hindered recent energy-boom projects in Canada and Australia. Wages for oil and gas workers in Canada rose to as much as 60 percent higher than U.S. counterparts, labor data show. In Australia, cooks at offshore projects are earning more than A$350,000 ($328,000) a year while laundry hands get more than A$325,000 and barge welders almost A$400,000, imperiling investments in liquefied natural gas, according to the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association.

Enterprise Products Partners LP said March 18 that permitting for a facility east of Houston, in Mont Belvieu, Texas, that turns propane into propylene is running three months behind. In December,Royal Dutch Shell Plc canceled a $20 billion gas-to-liquids plant slated for Louisiana, citing potential cost overruns. Construction for three new U.S. natural-gas-processing plants could go as much as 40 percent over budget and finish nine months late, Sergey Vasnetsov, senior vice president of strategic planning at LyondellBasell Industries NV in Houston, said at a March 12 conference in New York.

‘Tight Availability’

“There was some tight availability of qualified labor, and so we expect it to be a significant issue for the industry, in particular in 2016, 2017, where the bulk of the heavy construction will take place in the U.S.,” Vasnetsov said at the conference.

Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., a venture between Chevron Corp. and Phillips 66 based in The Woodlands, Texas, broke ground near Houston this month on ethylene and polyethylene plastics plants whose budget will go $1 billion over the original $5 billion estimate, primarily because of labor costs, Chief Executive Officer Peter Cella said in an interview.

“Where are the workers going to come from?” Cella asked.

The answer: from Canada and other countries, and employers are sweetening benefit packages to attract and retain them. These include higher contributions to retirement savings and tuition reimbursement, said Dani Grant, a human resources manager at chemical maker Noltex LLC in La Porte, Texas.

Flush Toilets

Other companies are tempting workers with gourmet dining, retention bonuses and smoking areas, which are usually not allowed at chemical facilities, said Russell Heinen, a senior director at IHS Inc., an energy company advisory firm in Englewood, Colorado.

Bechtel Corp., the biggest U.S. construction contractor, offers the amenity of running-water toilets, according to Jim Ivany, executive vice president at the San Francisco-based company’s oil, gas and chemicals unit.

When projects in engineering and permitting stages start construction late this year, wages will rise 15 to 20 percent “almost overnight,” similar to what happened in 2006 and 2007 before the global recession, according to Peter Huntsman of Salt Lake City-based Huntsman Corp.

Pay started to rise in the fourth quarter of 2013, said Mike Bergen, an executive vice president at IIR. The most skilled combo-pipe welders on the Gulf Coast earned $34.75 an hour, 2 percent more than in the previous quarter, IIR data show. Wages will grow by about 12 percent a year, IIR estimates.

Welding Class

Austin Khalili, 22, works in a warehouse but wants to become a welder. That’s why he’s enrolled at San Jacinto College’s twice-weekly 10 p.m.-to-2 a.m. welding class, where he can learn the trade, grab a quick nap and still be at his day job by 4 a.m.

“It’s hard sometimes, but it’s going to be worth it,” Khalili said. “I know it’s going to pay off.”

San Jacinto College built the new welding classroom, with 118 booths, at its central campus two years ago. Enrollment has jumped to 435 students. Each booth has its own welding rig and ventilation fan in the warehouse-sized building.

Wearing heavy protective clothing and visors on a humid spring evening, students practiced behind curtains in the booths. Ghostly blue light and sparks scattering on the floor were the only visible evidence of their work welding seams on metal sheets.

Khalili will be able to start earning as much as $28 an hour after completing the class and getting his certificate, according to Tiburcio Parras, head of the welding program. Wages escalate after that, and Parras said that several of his students have gone on to purchase their own trucks and welding rigs, which allows them to earn as much as $7,000 a week working in places such as the Eagle Ford drilling fields in South Texas.

 


graduation(AUSTIN) — The deadline is July 31 for Texas families to enroll their newborns in the Texas Tuition Promise Fund® and avoid future increases in tuition and required fees at Texas public colleges and universities. Newborns are children younger than 1 at the time of enrollment.

The Texas Tuition Promise Fund — the state’s prepaid college tuition program — allows participants to lock in the cost of undergraduate tuition and required fees at Texas public colleges and universities based on current prices.

Under the plan, families can prepay tuition and required fees for a four-year degree, two years of community college or just a few semesters at Texas public colleges and universities by purchasing tuition units.

Enrollment in the program at 2013-14 prices closed Feb. 28 for children older than 1. The next annual enrollment period begins Sept. 1, with new contract prices based on Texas public college costs for the 2014-15 academic year.

Complete plan information, current prices, enrollment forms and more are available online at www.TuitionPromise.org, or call 1-800-445-GRAD (4723), Option 5.


Beauty comes from within.  You know the world we are living in.  We are obsessed.  Please, at the very least, share this with your daughters.

 

 


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Friday, July 11, 2014  •  Austin, Texas  •  Press Release

Securing the Border Must be Top Priority

President Obama’s appropriations request only deals with one aspect of the current crisis on our southern border, while barely addressing its root cause: an unsecured border.

Of the $3.7 billion in President Obama’s request, only a small fraction is directly dedicated to border security efforts, which are absolutely essential to resolving this crisis, and avoiding more such crises in the future.

Everything else is only treating a symptom of a much-larger problem. And as we know with treating symptoms, the problems will continue until the root cause is resolved.

As governor of Texas, I’ve been to the border many times, including a June trip to visit a detention facility in McAllen, Texas. The true humanitarian disaster has to be seen to be understood, which is why it’s essential the president make his own trip there as soon as possible.

The fact is, this is a crisis created by failed federal policy, and a lack of will to dedicate the resources necessary to secure the border, once and for all.

This has been a problem for a long time. In Texas, we’ve spent more than $500 million since 2005 to supplement border protection, fighting transnational gangs and drug cartels conducting criminal activities in the border region. With the influx of immigrants further straining the existing federal resources that already weren’t sufficient for the job, we’ve expanded our efforts to combat those elements seeking to take advantage of the situation.

President Obama should make securing the border the top priority in resolving this crisis. To begin with, he should send 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border to support operations until sufficient Border Patrol agents can be hired, trained and deployed.

He should also direct the Federal Aviation Administration to allow drone flights along the border to identify and track those engaging in drug or human trafficking.

Ignoring the core problem will only cause more hardship, encouraging more people to leave their families and risk their lives to cross a desert in the middle of summer.

My hope is that Congress will expand measures that will enable us to finally secure the border, and that President Obama will sign it into law.

Statement by Gov. Perry in Support of Israel

Gov. Rick Perry today issued the following statement supporting Israel in its ongoing conflict with Hamas:

“Israel has an absolute right and responsibility to defend its people against any and all terrorist attacks, including the vicious rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups against civilian targets in Israel’s cities and towns. As Israel’s long-time friend and partner, it’s the United States’ responsibility and honor to stand with the Israeli people during this difficult time. Israel is our closest ally in the Middle East, and we offer our complete solidarity with her today as she faces these attacks with courage and determination. Our prayers are with everyone in danger’s path, as are our hopes for a timely and lasting peace.”


140709-supermoonview_9dcda1b3d4645371f8b3d06571e4d403The full Moons of summer 2014—July 12th, August 10th, and Sept. 9th–will all be supermoons.

If it’s not too cloudy tonight, you may be startled by the size of the moon.
Read more at ttp://www.wnd.com/2014/07/first-the-blood-moon-now-the-supermoon/#dbS8mrPCa64QiFc1.99

And the discoverer of the blood moons phenomenon, Pastor Mark Biltz, author of “Blood Moons” and the inspiration for a documentary movie of the same name, sees a connection to the “signs in the sun, moon and stars” promised in the Bible.

This weekend’s sky show will be strongest at 7 p.m. Eastern Saturday when the moon will be large and strangely luminous. It will also be just 222,611 miles away from Earth and in what is known as its perigee. Full moons vary in size because of the oval shape of its orbit and its elliptical path around Earth. When in perigee, the moon is around 50,000 km closer than when it is furthest away, or in apogee.

But an even better show is coming later this summer on Aug. 10 when the moon will be 863 miles closer than on Saturday, and will become full on the same hour as perigree and will appear at its brightest in 2014.

Unlike solar eclipses and other celestial treats, Supermoons occur every 13 months and 18 days. The last time a supermoon made headlines was in June last year, when it appeared to be 14 percent bigger and 30 per cent brighter.

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The distance of the moon from Earth varies in its orbit because the orbit is elliptical. The average distance from Earth to the Moon is 238,900 miles. When you have a combination of a full moon that is also closer it is considered a Supermoon. Typically, it is said, this occurs about once a year. But this summer there will be three in a row – July 12, Aug. 10 and Sept. 9.

But, to appreciate what these astronomical signs mean from a biblical standpoint, Biltz says you must check the biblical calendar – sometimes referred to as the “Jewish calendar.”

“Amazingly, according to the biblical calendar months these fall in the month of Tammuz when Israel worshiped the golden calf, the month of Av, when the 10 spies brought the evil report and when the Temple was destroyed twice on the same day, and the month of Elul, which is the month of repentance,” says Biltz, who discovered the blood moon tetrad occurring in 2014 and 2015 coincides with Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles in those successive years. “There is also added significance as it precedes a Shemitah year, or the seventh year of the seven-year cycle beginning this Rosh Hashanah. Next year, it happens again!”

Biltz, of El Shaddai Ministries in Tacoma, Washington, points out that in Genesis, God said He created the sun and the moon for signals about coming events.

“Are we watching?” he asks.

Get the “Blood Moons” book and movie now.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/07/first-the-blood-moon-now-the-supermoon/#dbS8mrPCa64QiFc1.99


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What’s in Your Hand?

baseballA friend named Danny was coaching baseball at Riesel ISD in the early 1970′s.   During practice one of his players hit a long foul ball that landed where the high school band was practicing.  A trombone player, Joey, picked up the baseball and threw it all the way back past the home plate backstop!  Danny immediately sent one of his players to find the person who threw that ball.  Joey exchanged a trombone for a baseball and became the team’s starting pitcher.  They went on to win the state championship.

 Has the Lord placed an opportunity at your feet? Pick it up. He has a great plan waiting for you. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

 Danny R. Biddy, Pastor of the Church on Old River since 1977. www.oldriverbaptist.com    

07-09-2014


Release date: July 8, 2014

Contact: A. Lynette Parsons, 409-550-3065

 

imagesSummertime, and the livin’ is brutal, to change the song.  Our near-drought conditions of June changed as the floodgates have opened, and getting the mowing done between the raindrops can be a challenge.

 

The lawns are green and healthy, but the flower beds and the vegetable gardens are looking a bit peaked right now.  Dead-heading your roses and zinnias, for example, to keep the bushes looking more presentable, will also assist in future blooms.  If you haven’t already planted some seriously heat-tolerant flowers, consider plumbago, yellow bells (Tacoma stans), pride of Barbados, salvias, and cuphea.  Garden centers generally try to cut their losses this time of year, and you can get some bedraggled plants for rock bottom prices.  And while their survival may be hit or miss, it’s always fine to brag when you have brought a plant back to life in your yard.

 

P1200870Remember, whenever the sun hits the soil, nature plants a weed!  Anytime you disturb the ground, for construction projects, for tilling a garden, or even just weeding by hand, you are stirring up seeds that may have been lying in wait, or knocking off seeds from nearby weeds.  “Constant vigilance” is the key, and of course, that goes for the nasty bugs as well.  Attention to these tasks is not easy in July, but after 7:00 in the evening, it can be almost pleasant to take a stroll outside to check out the activity in the yard.

 

Trees and shrubs that are less than 3 years old are still establishing their root systems.  Watering them so the soil gets wet a foot deep on a weekly basis will really help them thrive.  So if these rainstorms slacken, keep that watering schedule in the back of your mind.  And while the water is trickling in, check your fruit and nut trees for those usual summertime problems, like aphids, scale, and leafminers.  If your leaves on your citrus look like they have a charcoal coating, for example, it’s a dead giveaway that you have those insects, because the sooty mold is a direct result of their activity.  Spraying with oils designed for summer use (not dormant season oils) will clean everything up for you.

 

colorful-crepe-myrtles-xAnd if your crape myrtles are getting a little sooty as well, thin out some of the branches.  Their biggest foes are a lack of air circulation and no sunlight, so opening up the crape myrtle canopy will allow them to flower disease free.  Vitex can be trimmed heavily right now, and will bloom again after you do so.

 

Vegetables that can be planted now include heat-loving okra, our southern peas, and melons; and if you can find pepper and eggplants to transplant, they should survive well.  You can get pumpkins and the winter squashes started; just remember with all of this, that water and a good layer of mulch will be deciding factors on whether your plants will survive our good Texas summers.

 

As always, if you have yard and garden questions, contact the Chambers County Agri-Life Extension office for assistance.

 

- Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.


This adorable family member has gone missing from the Baytown area.  A lot of us work, shop, visit Baytown.  Please BOLO (be on the look out) for this dog who is well loved and missed.

Please feel free to share this post with anyone you know in the Baytown area.

Praying for a happy reunion!

 

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Declaration-of-Independence

 

Annotated text of the engrossed Declaration

The Declaration is not divided into formal sections; but it is often discussed as consisting of five parts: Introduction, the Preamble, the Indictment of George III, theDenunciation of the British people, and the Conclusion.

Introduction

Asserts as a matter of Natural Law the ability of a people to assume political independence; acknowledges that the grounds for such independence must be reasonable, and therefore explicable, and ought to be explained.

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Preamble

Outlines a general philosophy of government that justifies revolution when government harms natural rights.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Indictment

A bill of particulars documenting the king’s “repeated injuries and usurpations” of the Americans’ rights and liberties.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness of his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these states

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Denunciation

This section essentially finished the case for independence. The conditions that justified revolution have been shown.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
Conclusion

The signers assert that there exist conditions under which people must change their government, that the British have produced such conditions, and by necessity the colonies must throw off political ties with the British Crown and become independent states. The conclusion contains, at its core, the Lee Resolution that had been passed on July 2.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Signatures

The first and most famous signature on the engrossed copy was that of John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress. Two future presidents, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, and a father and great-grandfather of two other presidents, Benjamin Harrison, were among the signatories. Edward Rutledge (age 26), was the youngest signer, and Benjamin Franklin (age 70) was the oldest signer. The fifty-six signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows (from north to south):[78]

 

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Here is the picture again!

Look at it and watch for this dog in your neighborhood, no matter how far you live from the point where he was taken from.

Let’s bring him HOME!

Thanks!

 

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imagesWe are excited to see the flags go up at the City Office in Old River-Wifree.  We missed them on Flag Day, so this is a happy time to see them up.

We are also seeing land owners and home owners along FM 1409 just North of FM 565 show their patriotism.  I’m sure more are to come!

Show your patriotism, fly your American Flag!

 

 

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ORWCN has hundreds of followers that receive an email every time we post our news and stories.  Each one of you, please take a close look at the Chocolate Lab below and then the smile on the face of the little boy in the middle picture.  That’s his dog.

Please, please search for this dog.  If you have the dog, please return and receive a $5000 reward, NO QUESTIONS ASKED!  Print out the picture and take to work or post on your block at home to help return this valued pet to his home and his best friend!

If you neighbor has a new dog in the yard or you see him in the neighborhood, please call the number below to report it and you could receive the reward.

Be on the lookout!

 

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Tom Leroy was one of my teachers at the Master Gardener training, and I went to his program in Liberty last year.  It was a packed house, and he was excellent.  Highly recommended.  a.lynette

- Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

Tom Leroy 2014-page-0

 


 

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AUSTIN – The Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force today convened in Austin at the Travis County Center for Child Protection to discuss the State’s collaborative efforts to combat human trafficking. Task Force Chairman Attorney General Abbott addressed the task force and issued the following statement about a new resource developed by the Attorney General’s Office and the task force to help Texas education professionals recognize and report instances of suspected human trafficking:

“Human trafficking poses a very real threat to young Texans. The Office of the Attorney General’s human trafficking prevention guide for education professionals is designed to equip Texas school personnel with the knowledge they need to understand human trafficking, recognize how it might look for children in their schools, realize why this pervasive crime must be reported, and take the proper steps when reporting suspected instances of the crime. Texas education professionals’ ability to recognize and report suspected human trafficking is essential to protecting the integrity of our classrooms and the innocence of our children.”

Human Trafficking: a Guide for Texas Education Professionals

During his address to the Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force, Attorney General Abbott noted that the human trafficking guide for education professionals – which can be found on the attorney general’s website – provides Texas school personnel with information that will further the task force’s efforts to identify, investigate and prosecute human traffickers such as:

  • The realities of human trafficking,
  • Federal and state laws defining and prohibiting human trafficking,
  • Human trafficking as a form of child abuse,
  • Risk factors for school-aged children,
  • Indicators of human trafficking,
  • Approaches to responding to an outcry,
  • Mechanism to report human trafficking, and
  • Proactive approaches for school districts.

In 2009, the State of Texas took major steps to fight human trafficking by creating the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force. Attorney General Abbott chairs the task force, which issues the “Texas Response to Human Trafficking” report prior to each legislative session. The 83rd Texas Legislature enacted new laws that combined all of the recommendations presented in the task force’s 2012 report, which is accessible on the Office of the Attorney General’s website at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.


Charlie

Charlie

As the flags go up around the community, we want to call attention to Red’s Kitchen at 12722 FM 1409 Old River-Winfree, TX 77535 (936) 402-5205 for being the first business in Old River-Winfree to fly the American Flag in support of our Veterans and America “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave”.

Bravo Red’s Kitchen!  Be sure and “Like” their page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RedsKitchen.  The Facebook Page lists all the daily specials.  They are open 7 days a week and are the friendliest restaurant around! Southern Style Cooking!
Meet owner, Charlie Butler and her great staff!

Celebrations around Chambers County:

Oak Island is a great place any weekend, but this weekend they are putting on a first class celebration for the family and it’s FREE!   Anywhere in Chambers County, you’ll be surprised at what you find!

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AND in Mont Belvieu!
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Happy 4th of July!

americavetsDid you fly our American Flag on Flag Day?  Or you planning on putting one up for July 4th weekend.

Did you know that Flag Day is also the Anniversary of the forming of the Army?   Two hundred thirty-nine years ago, our nation’s leaders established the Continental Army as the strategic landpower of the joint force, the Army was and is called upon to Prevent, Shape, and Win against our adversaries.

Did you know this was a year before the United States 1776 Declaration of Independence: The Continental Congress ratified the declaration by the United States of its independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain?

That little history leads up to my drive down Eagle Drive in Mont Belvieu.   I was so proud to see all the flags at the businesses and the Mont Belvieu City Hall Complex. It was quite uplifting and showed that town’s patriotism.  The Lion’s Club of Mont Belvieu loyally puts out all these flags at members’ places of business.  Mont Belvieu puts out their own flags by the beautiful Vietnam memorial.

I turn onto FM 565 and drove past the Old River-Winfree City Hall expecting to see it in full regalia since Old River-Winfree is blanketed by veterans of most foreign wars.

I was very disappointed and saddened to see nothing but the regular flag pole with nothing else to mark even the day.  Mont Belvieu had them up all week

Now what is wrong or what is the excuse that our elected officials and the Mayor’s office can not take the time to put the flags that the taxpayers of Old River-Winfree have paid for time and again?  You tell me.

I turned down FM 1409 and saw the same thing.  No flags at our businesses, not a one.

Does Old River-Winfree need something like the Lion’s Club, but something unique, just like Old River-Winfree that assists in getting these flags up.  Should the businesses buy their own flags that we, as residents, can be proud of and that will let the passersby know we are the patriotic town we are.

If you are a business reading this email, think about a trip to Walmart or wherever you prefer and purchase a flag you can fly for July 4th and all the other Patriotic Holidays.

To the Old River-Winfree government, shame on you for robbing the citizens of seeing Old Glory flying in full force for all to see.  Shame on you for not flying the flag that our men and women have fought for in war after war after war.  

These heroic men and women come home with injuries that sometimes can’t be seen.  Their families have stood with them and waited for their return.

Now, Woodland Acre is scattered with flags of America, Texas, and POW’s and are flown year round!  Good for you Woodland Acres!  Keep flying Old Glory for our veterans!

Your comments are welcome.

 


 Summertime blues

 Pest2367There have been two sets of calls coming in recently to the gardening hotline.  One involves those pesky stinkbugs and leafhoppers on tomatoes; the other is about blossom and fruit drop on citrus.

 Let’s start with the citrus issue.  As with most plants, about 90% of what happens to them is environmental; it’s only when plants are stressed that bugs and diseases find their opportunities.  So consider the weather patterns we have had in the past couple of years.  Way below normal rain patterns have been followed by gully-washers; we had an unusually cold winter, and it stayed cool much longer than usual.  Citrus trees aren’t really tempermental, but they certainly like their tops and bottoms to operate in the same temperature zone, and they haven’t had that much lately. 

            The most important thing to a fruit-bearing plant is to survive well enough to put out progeny.  The fruit or nuts, while a bonus for us omnivores, can’t compete against the need to save one’s skin, as far as the plant is concerned.  So protection of the roots, the trunk, and the branches must come first.  The younger the tree is, the more important this is; until a tree is at least 7 years old, it can’t be considered “established,” and our funky weather in the past few years can set that back, unless you, the home gardener, help even out the odds.

            So local gardeners, if they were lucky after the cold spell, reported lots of blossoms on their citrus.  This was followed by very small fruit, which then dropped.  Some of this is normal; here’s what Texas A&M (i.e., Aggie Horticulture) has to say:  “ Typical citrus trees go through three distinct periods of fruit drop. First is the drop of about 70 to 80 percent of the flowers during and immediately following bloom.  The second drop occurs a couple of weeks later, involving small fruit of pea-size to marble-size. The third drop occurs in late May, involving larger fruit, almost golf ball in size. Navels will drop again in mid-summer and in late summer.  A few fruit on all citrus will continue to drop through final harvest, but that is normal and cannot be prevented.”

            If you lost all your fruit, blame the climate.  You can help by protecting your younger trees in the early years, by regular watering (1 inch a week), and fertilization of the citrus after the first two years.  And pray for regular weather  patterns.

 

 

Now, about those bugs:  whether they are leaf-footed bugs or green or brown stinkbugs, they are the despair of vegetable gardeners everywhere.  Dr. William Johnson, Agri-Life Extension Agent-Horticulture, of Galveston County, has this to say: “The rough sandpaper-like texture that you have seen is evidence of an insect known as the leaf-footed bug. While many area gardeners also call them stinkbugs (because they produce a foul odor when handled), leaf-footed bug is the preferred name.

 The immature stages (known as nymphs) of this insect are spindly, soft-bodied and bright orange-red in color. Very young nymphs stay tightly clustered as a family unit. The adult stage of the leaf-footed bug is brown, oblong and nearly an inch long. The species most common to this area has a distinctive white band extending across the front wings. The hind legs have a leaf-like shaped area from which the insect’s name is derived.

There are other species of stinkbugs that feed on tomato fruit including the green and brown stinkbugs. However, the green and brown stinkbugs are minor insect pests in our growing area.

Leaf-footed bugs have a needle-like, piercing-sucking mouthpart through which they suck plant juices. The puncture made is what caused the spot and the deformation that you have observed. While making the puncture, a toxin is injected into the fruit. If you peel back the skin, you will see that this discolored area is more than superficial. The tissue below the skin is a somewhat corky or spongy mass of silvery white cells.

 

This damage is serious for commercial fresh market tomatoes and whole pack processing tomatoes because it renders the fruit unmarketable. However, if the fruit was of high quality prior to damage, the processor might cut out the spots and use the remaining tomato as canned pieces. The undamaged portion of the tomato in a home garden certainly can be consumed, if desired.

 

Leaf-footed bugs are also serious pests of other crops including beans, cowpeas, eggplants, okra, citrus, and pecans. Adult leaf-footed bugs migrate from weedy areas into tomato plants, particularly when the fruit has started to ripen. This is why you typically do did not see damage early in the season but you did see damage later in the harvest season.

 

Leaf-footed bugs are difficult to control. Weedy areas, such as fence rows and ditch banks, serve as shelters for these insects during the winter season, and when tomatoes and other host plants are not available. Therefore, to eliminate such areas near your garden or to keep weedy areas closely mowed would be beneficial.

 

Insecticides such as permethrin (such as Spectracide’s Bug Stop Multi-purpose Insect Killer or Bonide’s Total Pest Control Concentrate Outdoor Formula) or cyfluthrin (such as Bayer’s Advanced Garden Lawn & Garden Multi-Insect Killer) or esfenvalerate (such as Ortho’s Bug-B-Gon Multi-purpose Insect Killer Concentrate or Bonide’s Bug Beater Concentrate) are effective in controlling leaf footed bugs as well as stink bugs, aphids, fruit worms and hornworms. Do not use permethrin on varieties with fruit less than one inch diameter. Be sure to observe the days-to-harvest period indicated on the pesticide label. Be certain to wash the fruit before using.

 

It is important to observe your garden on a daily basis. Should you spot leaf-footed bugs, you might handpick the bugs, especially early in the season and when the very young nymphs are tightly clustered. You should use gloves because of the odor they will emit when handled and you should drop them into a can of soapy water.”

Release date: June 19, 2014

Contact: A. Lynette Parsons, 409-550-3065

 

 

- Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.


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Wednesday, June 18, 2014  •  Austin, Texas  •  Press Release

Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Speaker Joe Straus today directed the Texas Dept. of Public Safety (DPS) to immediately begin law enforcement surge operations on the Texas-Mexico border to combat the flood of illegal immigration into the state in the absence of adequate federal resources to secure the border. State leaders have authorized DPS to fund border security operations at approximately $1.3 million per week.

“Texas can’t afford to wait for Washington to act on this crisis and we will not sit idly by while the safety and security of our citizens are threatened,” Gov. Perry said. “Until the federal government recognizes the danger it’s putting our citizens in by its inaction to secure the border, Texas law enforcement must do everything they can to keep our citizens and communities safe.”

In a joint letter to DPS Director Steve McCraw, state leaders authorized DPS to conduct law enforcement surge operations using any funds appropriated to the agency. DPS surge operations will continue at least through the end of the calendar year. DPS must periodically report the results of the law enforcement surge to the governor and the legislature.

“The federal government has abdicated its responsibility to secure the border and protect this country from the consequences of illegal immigration, but as Texans we know how to lead in areas where Washington has failed,” Lt. Gov. Dewhurst said. “Last year DPS conducted Operation Strong Safety and achieved astounding results. Crime rates related to drugs, cartels, transnational gangs, and illegal border activity plummeted because of the resources we allocated to stop illegal entry at the border. It’s time to make this type of presence on the border permanent.”

The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (USCBP) has apprehended more illegal immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley in the first eight months of the current federal fiscal year (over 160,000) than it did for all of fiscal year 2013 (154,453). In May 2014 alone, USCBP reported apprehending more than 1,100 illegal immigrants per day in the Rio Grande Valley. This year, like last year, more than half of the individuals apprehended at the Texas-Mexico border by USCBP are from countries other than Mexico. Additionally, 34,000 unaccompanied alien children (UAC) have been apprehended in Texas so far this year, with estimates that number will reach 90,000 by the end of the fiscal year. By comparison, 28,352 UAC were apprehended in fiscal year 2013.

“In this current security and humanitarian crisis, the federal government’s failure to secure our border is resulting in serious consequences for Texas,” Speaker Straus said. “To immediately address these issues, today I join with Gov. Perry and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst to direct the Texas Department of Public Safety to use the appropriate resources to keep our state safe.”

Previous law enforcement surge operations in the border region, such as Operation Strong Safety in 2013, have proven effective in reducing criminal activity and violence associated with human smuggling and drug trafficking in the border region.


AG

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 18, 2014
www.texasattorneygeneral.gov

NEWS RELEASE CONTACT
Press Office at
(512) 463-2050

 AUSTIN – The Office of the Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force collaborated with Texas law enforcement agencies that have affiliated with the OAG ICAC program and local and federal law enforcement authorities statewide to conduct “Operation Broken Heart” – a month-long, undercover effort that targeted offenders who used the Internet to target children.

OAG ICAC and affiliate agency officers executed more than 30 search warrants statewide and arrested 23 suspected child predators. The coordinated statewide initiative began May 1 and concentrated on arresting offenders suspected of the following offenses:

  • possessing, producing or distributing child pornography;
  • engaging in commercial and online solicitation of children for sexual purposes; and/or
  • engaging in sex tourism – the act of traveling abroad to sexually abuse foreign children.

PerreJones (1)

Perre Jones

AveryErikRodriguez

Avery Rodriguez

MatthewLeeWeidner

Matthew Weidner

MichaelMartinez

Michael Martinez

ChristopherMichaelLara

Christopher Lara

“The Office of the Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and law enforcement agencies affiliated with the task force collaborated in May to identify, locate and arrest 23 suspected child predators,” Attorney General Abbott said. “The results of Operation Broken Heart demonstrate that cyber predators pose a constant and very real threat to young Texans’ safety and well-being. OAG ICAC officers look forward to continued collaboration with affiliate ICAC agencies and local, state and federal authorities statewide to bring sex offenders to justice.”

“Operation Broken Heart” – OAG ICAC results

OAG ICAC officers collaborated with state, local and federal law enforcement authorities during Operation Broken Heart and conducted nearly a dozen investigations statewide. The investigations stemmed from CyberTipline referrals from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children about suspected predators around the State of Texas. With law enforcement assistance from the Midland Police Department, Odessa Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service, OAG ICAC officers successfully identified, located and arrested five suspects on child pornography charges and confiscated the suspects’ computers and various devices.

The five suspects arrested by OAG ICAC officers and taken into custody were:

  • Perre Alezonder Jones, 26, arrested May 8 in Midland County
  • Avery Erik Rodriguez, 19, arrested May 9 in Ector County
  • Matthew Lee Weidner, 29, arrested May 9 in Midland County
  • Michael Martinez, 22, arrested May 22 in Williamson County
  • Christopher Lara, 23, arrested May 28, in Tom Green County

The five suspects arrested by OAG ICAC officers each face charges of child pornography possession. According to OAG ICAC investigators, Lara had child pornography images saved on his mobile phone in his pocket; Jones, Rodriguez and Lara shared images of child pornography on social networking websites; and Weidner accessed and shared online videos of children being sexually assaulted.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office works closely with law enforcement authorities statewide to investigate and prosecute child sexual predators. In 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice designated the Attorney General’s Office as ICAC Task Force for the South Texas Region. As the home of a federally-funded ICAC Task Force, the Attorney General’s Office receives grant funding from the Justice Department for several peace officers. Child predators arrested by the Attorney General’s Office have been prosecuted in both state and federal courts.

To find out more about the Texas Attorney General’s ICAC Task Force and Attorney General Greg Abbott’s ongoing efforts to crack down on sexual predators, visit the agency’s website at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.

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