Hounded by the Pound

Plus: Tribute to Oliver, Wrapping It Up, Bigotry 101

June Garcia

Tribute to Oliver

Spellman's efforts: Oliver Spellman is a great leader and a remarkable person [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, November 7]. He provides opportunities for employees and encourages training to serve the citizens of Houston more efficiently. Oliver gives 100-plus percent every day and expects his team to do the same.

Oliver Spellman Jr. will be remembered not as the man who failed a random drug test but as the reliable, thoughtful, hardworking man he really is.

Elizabeth Zaragoza

Wrapping It Up

Flooded again: Great story ["The Long Goodbye," by Richard Connelly, October 24]. I read part of the article, but I didn't get to finish it. I had to use the paper to wrap my dishes. We flooded, for the third time in four years, on October 28.

Here's what my neighbors and I are going through as we prayerfully await news of our buyout applications: strokes, broken marriages, kids with separation anxiety disorders, a boatload of stress-related illnesses, misplaced paperwork from the constant packing and unpacking, trying to live among boxes and stacked furniture and nasty odors, and physical injuries.

Once upon a time, we were a nice, normal neighborhood. Maybe just like yours. Now we really don't know how much more we can take. People shouldn't complain about dull, boring lives. My neighbors and I would just about kill for that routine.

The holidays are going to be far different for the kids this year. Some of them can't even stay with their parents. For their safety, they've been farmed out to friends and relatives during our third reconstruction.

Please don't forget about us.

Sheila Wyborny

Dark side: Wow, I really admire the way the author expressed himself. I completely agree with all his opinions, and I myself see that there is a dark side to this tragedy, a dark side that no one might know about. May God bless you and your loved ones.

Laura Gonzalez

Bigotry 101

Help the kids: My students and I just completed an honors English I unit on prejudice and discrimination, in which we discussed the fact that there are many types of prejudice in this world, and even in the United States today. The students are eager to learn firsthand from people about types of discrimination that exist and that people have faced courageously.

We hope these responses and letters will be turned into a book to be used to teach others about prejudice. In order for this to happen before the students leave my class, I ask that we receive responses before January 30.

Ferial Pearson, English teacher
Omaha South High School
4519 South 24th Street
Omaha, Nebraska 68107

Student plea: I am a ninth-grader at Omaha South High School, and we're studying prejudice of all kinds in our honors English class. We're asking the public to send us personal stories of prejudice. We're asking this to try to understand all forms of prejudice, so please take time to respond. We're going to make this into a book.

Please respond by January 30 to South Omaha High School, 4519 South 24th Street, Omaha NE 68107. Thank you for your cooperation.

Mariellen K.

Setting It Straight

Been there, done that: Any number of Houstonians can tell you that fine art on billboards was first done in this town more than 30 years ago ["Art of the Deal," by Brandon Cullum, October 24]. In 1971, the advertising agency where I worked created "The Larger Canvas" for an enlightened client. We commissioned paintings by six Houston artists, and these were displayed on freeways with no sponsor mention whatsoever. (A favorite was M. Duchamp Lives by Jack Boynton.)

The program won a national Business in the Arts award in 1971. Research proved the public's recall of "Canvas" was so positive that we brought it back eight years later, this time featuring artists from Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Dallas. "The Larger Canvas" was inducted into the Houston Advertising Federation's Hall of Fame in 1996.

But congratulations to the Watershed Art Collective for keeping the concept alive.

Jim Sanders

Praise from the project: Thanks for writing such a nice article about WPAP. I didn't know about the New York billboard project. I will check it out.

Mary-Jane Buschlen

Fiddling Around

Houston rising: As a native Houstonian, Rice University graduate and the older, much older, writer-producer brother of Catherine Burnside, Catherine the Great, I was amused by your column on my sister [The Nightfly, by Craig D. Lindsey, October 17]. It is surprising that after so many years of being the most unhip city in the South, Houston is rising from the ashes.

Catherine, by the way, like many Texans, needs the right vehicle and access to the global powers that be. She also is into metaphysics and is capable of great change. The violin is no doubt just a beginning. She has more to offer and really isn't the bitch you portray -- it's more bluff. But she is determined to change a boring, dated status quo. Who wouldn't be, after the likes of Kenny Boy, Jeff Skilling and W. coming out of Texas? We need to laugh and dance a bit at all the craziness.

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