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Fort Bend County, At Large
By Cheryl Skinner

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.


 

A lot of my favorite courthouse insiders thought State District Judge Brady Elliott was asking for too much of the taxpayer’s money when he sought to have the county reimburse him $838 and some change for a round trip flight to Reno, Nevada.

However, they also thought the county would just rubber stamp the request.

To the credit of the powers that be, in general, and Sturdivant, in particular, the $838 request was dropped—substantially—to a paltry $299 after Sturdivant did his homework.

Now, I don’t think Judge Elliott, who is a super nice guy, was trying to stiff the county or the taxpayers, he was just looking at first class rates for a particular airline and thought that sounded right since he spent about triple that amount to fly his own plane to the training session.

It was a refreshing moment when the court unanimously voted on the reimbursement amount.

And, a lot of those naysayers who work for the county are now admitting the big boys did the right thing.
I think they did too.

Press releases pour in every week and seldom do I get very excited about the contents. However, when Missouri City announced last week that they would hold a mega-community garage sale on November 7, my heart beat a bit faster.

I am a garage sale junkie and have been for most of my adult life. My children knew I would rather have cash on Mother’s Day than a bouquet of flowers and dinner on the town. They would thrill watching me chart my course and watch gleefully as I carried emptied dozens (sometimes hundreds) of special finds after a day devoted to nothing more than garage hopping.

It is now vogue to shop garage sales and resale shops. After all, the economy is in a slump and all the television “experts” advise that by bargain shopping people can survive the hard times. Of course a failing economy also means that people will have more garage sales and the bargains will be greater and of higher quality.

Missouri City officials said the city’s Sixth Annual Community Wide Garage Sale will be taking place on Sat., Nov. 7, at the City Hall Complex, 1522 Texas Parkway. Approximately 100 booths will be stocked with all types of items for the bargain-hunting crowd. The sale will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., allowing plenty of time for residents to “shop ‘til they drop.” No entrance fee is required.

The booth reservations are $10 to $30. The deadline for the discounted booth space fee is September 30. Booth reservations are $15 to $40 after that date. Make reservations in person at the Community Center at the City Hall Complex, 1522 Texas Parkway, beginning Sept. 1, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The deadline to purchase a booth is Fri., Oct. 30.

For more information, call 281-403-8500 or visit www.missouricitytx.gov.
I’ll see you there.

I habitually misuse the words “do” and “due”—not because I’m illiterate or don’t have command of the English language. I know how to use these two words but I’ve come to depend on the computer spell checker. While spell check is a wonderful tool, even the smartest computer cannot decipher what a writer intended to say. And, the blasted technologically advanced computer brain isn’t really all that smart when it comes to the English language.

I’ll give you a prime example of this from (painful) first hand experience.
Some years ago I was writing a front page article for a statewide police newspaper. The article was on an injured police officer’s battle to get the city he worked for to provide the proper level of support, both medically and financially, while he was undergoing treatment for a near-fatal gunshot wound.

In the article I discussed how he had gone to the media for help. Using a portion of the common saying “the pen is mightier than the sword,” I suggested fellow police officers get behind him and write letters.

The only thing is, I made a snafu—an honest mistake—a blooper. I did not space between pen and is. The computer quite naturally thought I was describing a portion of the male anatomy. Need I say more?
Dutifully, I sent my story in to be published.

The day after publication the phone rang. All I could hear was hooting and laughter. It seems the entire day shift of the Dallas Police Department had read the article at roll call. They were loving my designation of what part of the human, male anatomy, is mightier than a sword and agreed wholeheartedly.

Throughout the day I continued to get calls and e-mails.
And, to this day so many years later, I hear about that particular mistake.
It is one of those little errors that appear on late night television.
As I was deep in thought on this subject, a friend sent me an e-mail pointing out the strange way we use words.
And here are a few of the unique word usage we must deal with:
The bandage was wound around the wound.
The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
He could lead if he would get the lead out.
The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present .
When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
I did not object to the object.

The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

Let’s face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger. When you think about it, there is neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England and French fries didn’t originate in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet and have no bread content, are actually meat.

And, for those of us who print the written word for others to see, we often find we are due a little ribbing, which readers or editors will do.

You won’t see the posted budget anyhow

It is a safe bet that unless you live on the west end of the county, you’ll never see the posted proposed Fort Bend County Budget for 2009-10.

Last year the county voted to make the India Herald the official county newspaper and the India Herald by all reports from newspaper watchers is not really a widely distributed publication.

Well, last week the court approved a request to allow officials to “take all appropriate action to authorize publication of Legal Notices pertaining to adoption of the 2009 Fort Bend County Tax Rate and FY 2010 Budget in the Fort Bend Herald, a daily newspaper of general circulation, due to time constraints, rather than the weekly India Herald.”

The India Herald was chosen, due to the low bid, as the county’s official newspaper. The Fort Bend Herald, while a daily publication, is circulated by subscription and on news stands in the west end of the county. The only way you will see the proposed budget and tax rate figures is to look it up on the county’s official website.

It used to be that county officials would post legal notices in the newspaper covering the area that the notices pertained to. But they have since simply chosen low bidders or, in this case, the paper with a deadline corresponding to the event being published.

In other words, it is unlikely if you will get to see the notices at all.

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Contact skinnerc1@tconline.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:
August 05, 2009