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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.

Toll road opponents deserve praise

The opponents of the current plan to make Grand Parkway an expanded path to Brazoria County via a toll road concept is not setting well with residents or businesses along the proposed expansion route. Some might say that these residents were fully aware of the 10-year old expansion plan when they purchased their property, but that just isnít so. The plan was to expand the Grand Parkway but access roads and huge overpasses were not part of the original plan, opponents have pointed out.

Their claims seem to be substantiated by the growing evidence that if the proposed toll road is built a number of very viable businesses will have to shut their doors or make major changes. Pam Cortes, the outspoken ball of fire who has taken the bull by the horns, so to speak, and launched a grassroots effort that is growing in momentum says Bank of America will be totally gone and other businesses such as the What-A-Burger, the Exxon/Burger King, an auto repair shop, cleaners and others will be history. In addition, some of the business owners are finding out that while the path will not take the whole enterprise, it will cut the store in half. Now what is someone going to do with half a business? If these claims are factual, and they appear to be, TxDOT needs to rethink the whole concept. In fact, if these claims are true, the whole idea of building a super highway with toll booths should have never been considered in the first place.

The opponents are just neighbors banning together, doing research and putting the cards on the table. They should be applauded. And, the impressive thing about this movement is that they are doing their homework and ready to offer viable alternatives to the stateís plan. They arenít saying donít move forwardóthey are saying use some common sense.

How refreshing that would be.

Computers, worms, Trojans and spies

As I write this column, I am dealing with an infestation of weird invaders on my computer and I donít like it one little bit. Despite various protections, it seems some innovative technological geek has managed to invade my computer, without my knowledge or consent, and send hundreds of e-mails to unknown recipients using my e-mail address. My internet provider notified me that this was going on and I would soon be quarantined or totally shut off the internet if I didnít remedy it.

So, right smack in the middle of an intense deadline I have to get new and improved virus protection, do the scans, kill the viruses, squash the worms and expose the Trojans that have been lurking in the background for heaven only knows how long. It was an all-day affair and on a day that I simply cannot do this sort of thing. But I did.

Now I am sending in stories a day late. That is not my style. Iím a stickler for deadlines and it unnerves me much more than it does our ever patient editor, Jean Sandlin. And, as I frantically try to make up for the lost hours (12 of them!) my computer is telling me that something has caused Windows to become ďunstableĒ and something else has altered my new virus software and Iím not fully protected.

A burglar cannot come into my home and steal things without fear of punishment; a peeping Tom cannot lurk outside my window without suffering the repercussions of being captured in the act, but dozens of unknown invaders can sneak into the most important possession I have and pretty much nothing can be done to identify and prosecute them.

This particular computer has been a magnet for these criminals from cyberspace and it replaced two older models that had to be reformatted so many times that I finally just chunked themósame reason.

Anyone out there that has a solution is welcome to tell me how stupid I am for not doing this or that. I think Iíve done it all, but I welcome any suggestions at this point in time. Iím almost (and I stress almost) ready to buy a typewriter and haul the stories to the office in the car like I did for years.


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:  October 10, 2007