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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.


What about the ‘white house’?

When Fort Bend County and the city of Richmond finally ironed out the deal to allow a height variance and go forth with the planned construction of the new jail tower, it didn’t immediately dawn on me that the old Gus George Law Enforcement Academy building was now going to stay put.

You have to remember that the county leased a home on Ransom Road for the academy in anticipation of the facility being torn down. The county is paying $4,700 a month plus utilities that include water for filling livestock troughs on location. The cows drinking the water don’t belong to the county either.

Anyhow, I started calling around to find out why the “Academy” is spread around the county in light of the fact that the building is not slated for demolition (I did manage to verify this when I was working on the agreement story.) I called Don Brady, the county’s director of facilities, and he was out of town until Thursday—no answer from him. Then I called Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert, who had been in the office but was now out of the office due to ongoing construction in his office on Monday—no answer from him. Then I called Sheriff Milton Wright—it is Monday and I had little hope because that is a golf day—I was right, Wright was out of the office today—needless to say no answer from him.

So, I called the Gus George Law Enforcement Academy number and I was transferred to the Wharton County Junior College campus and the operator then transferred me to the academy classrooms (needless to say I now know the classes have been moved to the campus) and the person who answered there said Captain Mike Patton, academy director, was located at that facility, he was “at the white house.” Well, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Patton was at the leased Lamar-Calder House. So, being the dutiful and determined person that I am, I called there. Only to find out that Patton was not in the office.

I quickly checked the calendar to verify that Monday was not a federal, state or local holiday—it wasn’t. Sunday was Earth Day and Wednesday is Administrative Professionals Day but unless these folks are taking a two-day holiday to plant a tree, I would assume they are all at various important meetings or conferences. Well, except Sheriff Wright who is probably going for a hole-in-one.

I then decided that the story I might get out of this quest for information was probably not going to be forthcoming. Therefore, I am asking in this column—“What in the heck is that darn academy building going to be used for if it isn’t demolished?”

An answer to that question will be greatly appreciated. Since office space is apparently at a premium (or we wouldn’t be paying nearly $5,000 a month to house five or so people) it will be interesting to see if this building will be torn down to make space for a new facility or what the future will hold.

Anyone with the answer to this question is urged to call me. I’d really like to know.

A great cause

Barbara Waterbury, the mother of the young soldier killed in Iraq last month, has channeled some of her grief into a monumental project and a very worthwhile project. She wants to see every community honor these fallen heroes by naming a street in their honor—so no one will ever forget the soldier or the sacrifice he made for our country’s freedom. I hope, with all my heart, she is successful and the idea spreads nationwide.

We name streets after politicians; after stars and for no one ... some are absolutely nonsensical.

Steve Waterbury, John Waterbury’s father, says his wife found out that developers, not cities, choose the name for streets in the new subdivisions.

There are plenty of new subdivisions going up in both west and east Fort Bend County—if any of the developers reading this column, want to participate in this patriotic effort, please read the story elsewhere in this issue of the newspaper.

For Barbara and Steve, it isn’t necessary to have a street sign bearing their son’s name to remember him—they are reminded every day of the loss their family has endured. His name will be written in their memory forever. They want to see his name and the names of “all these kids who lost their lives” remembered by the community for generations to come.

It is the very least we can do.


Contact skinnerc1@ev1.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:  May 23, 2007