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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.


Is flu mania just hogwash?

A lot of folks think the current flu mania is just pure hogwash.

Iím not qualified to take that one on, but it is obvious that the latest scare is having an impact on the local area with school closures, cancellation of jury duty and locals rushing to the emergency rooms so fast the hospitals have asked for help.

I know a lot of students are concerned that continued cases of the flu will ultimately halt those treasured traditions such as proms and graduation exercises because Iíve heard from parents on this one.

The kids (and the parents with the open wallets) are quite understandably concerned that limousine rentals and restaurant reservations may be a costly expenditure that is lost if such activities are postponed.

Thus far, none of the schools Iíve spoken to have plans to cancel any of the major activities now scheduled for the end of May. Hopefully the flu mania will subside by then and the teens will get their special day on schedule.

The fire truck purchase

Iíve heard a few comments on the recent disclosure that Fort Bend County taxpayers are bearing the brunt of a nearly half-million dollar aerial fire engine for the city of Richmond.

Wait just a cotton-picking minute before you go off the deep end about Richmond getting the fire engine.

Flash back to the big jail controversy when residents of a couple nearby neighborhoods were fighting that multi-tower new jail. The residents raised several very important issues that temporarily halted the countyís plan to go forth with the facility.

Residents feared property values would drop; the privacy of the neighborhood would be compromised; (you know, inmates hanging out of the 7th story window as a backyard party goes into full swingónot a good thing) and safety issues ranging from inmate escapes to high rise fires.

Richmond city fathers came out on the side of the Richmond residents and a stand-off occurred with a little name calling and some serious negotiations before the whole thing was settled.

Richmond, at that time, pointed out that the city has a height ordinance and a variance was granted to the county some years ago for the first of a number of high rise buildings. The city feared that the county was steadily increasing the number of buildings of this nature and the fire department would be stymied should a fire break out on an upper level of any of the existing or forthcoming buildings.

While the county could downplay some of the citizensí complaints and fears, the one thing they couldnít say much about was the safety issue. So, ultimately the commissioners agreed to help the city with the needed equipment for high-rise fire fighting.

They set the wheels in motion last week and the funds were built into the bond monies that voters approved for the jail construction.

Yes, the county is helping the city of Richmond, but please remember that the city of Richmond wouldnít need the extra-special fire engine if the county didnít keep reaching skyward with their construction projects.


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:
June 26, 2009