By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Caroline Rogers entered into a life of crime June 18 when the diligent agents of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, ever on guard against possible fun being had in the state, cited her for selling alcohol to a minor.
Rogers is the marina manager of the Cape Royale Marina in the county seat of Coldspring, and as such she was behind the bar that Saturday when the TABC sting took place.
TABC hit 17 places that day, and nine were cited for selling to minors. Rogers, like the others, received a ticket for a class A misdemeanor.
Sheriff Rogers doesn't sound all that happy about the turn of events, but he does make it clear that while his wife is guilty as hell, he himself is as innocent as can be. "It was a guy with TABC and he's, I guess, 20. She did it, and I didn't have nothing to do with it," he says. "I wasn't even within a million miles of it."
I don't even know the woman, he didn't say.
Sheriff Rogers says he won't be pulling any strings to help out his wife. "I don't interfere in anything. I'm not gonna talk to anybody and try to get her off or anybody else," he says.
And he says the incident has no bearing on his own enforcement of drinking-age laws. "No, sir, it does not," he says. "Not one way or another It's just like with her -- I don't interfere in anything."
Hey, this sounds a lot like the San Jacinto County version of the Andrew and Lea Fastow marriage. Except the legal fees won't be as high.
Smells Like Free Spirit
The Reverend G. Todd Williams of the New Covenant Church is looking for a few good men. And women. And by "good," he means men and women with enough stanky body odor to choke a rhino.
Williams says he'll be holding a "Stink-In" July 9 at the Montrose Public Library to protest a new city ordinance that says library patrons can be forced to leave if they have "offensive bodily hygiene."
The law clearly discriminates against the homeless, he says. And so, as an announcement of the protest puts it, "We are encouraging folks to mow their lawns, play tennis, play hard and get all sweaty don't SHOWER, then plan to head to the public library."
At 3 p.m., all the fragrant revolutionaries -- including the many homeless members of Williams's congregation, who probably won't need to play tennis beforehand -- will descend on the library. Hilarity will ensue, no doubt, along with a heartwarming message that the stench-ridden need love, too.
"This is an ordinance about hate," Williams says. "And it's got the seal of approval by the city on it."
In honor of the protest, the Storytime Book that day will be the children's classic The Stinky Cheese Man. Or it should be.
Can You Hear Me Now?
Here's some news: The Houston school board favors cheating! And harassing school bus drivers! And taking dirty photos in locker rooms!
That's the only conclusion one can draw from the board's decision not to adopt proposed policies banning various uses of cell phones and camera phones June 27. Or, we suppose, you could conclude that the board was correct when it said present policies already covered all the contingencies.
Superintendent Abe Saavedra had convened a committee of principals, teachers and parents to update the Code of Student Conduct. Apparently armed with all sorts of news articles about crazy things kids might do with new technology, the committee proposed a variety of specific bans.
With a camera phone, Saavedra's proposal said, students can take a photo of an exam and send it to a pal who would look up the answers and e-mail them back (or they could now, if they hadn't thought of it before). Saavedra asked the board to ban all cell-phone use by students in school or on the bus.
The board declined. "The board felt like the existing policies regarding academic integrity can be extended to cover the use of camera phones," HISD spokesman Terry Abbott says.
Current HISD policy, he says, states that "students are allowed to have cell phones but are not supposed to allow them to disrupt activities in school." Which would also, he says, cover such things as camera phones in locker rooms or showers.
We guess convenience rules -- zero tolerance for aspirin, okay; throw the book at a kid making vague semi-threats, sure but don't touch our cell phones!
Another Evil Vanquished
The Houston police crackdown on jaywalkers is creating some collateral damage on private enterprise. Specifically, that living laboratory of capitalism that is Astros parking.
Supply and demand doesn't get demonstrated much more clearly than by the guys with signs waving you into private parking lots near Minute Maid Park. Across the street from the stadium? Twenty bucks. A block away? Fifteen. And so on.
But Houston police have been handing out tickets to those guys with the signs. Todd Clampffer got hit with one recently. "Cops are at that intersection every single game," he says. "Nobody ever said anything, and then one cop decides to write me a ticket for it."
HPD spokesman Alvin Wright says signs in the street can block traffic. Handing out tickets to parking attendants is part of the overall "mobility initiative" that is targeting jaywalking and bike-riding on downtown sidewalks.
Enforcement at Minute Maid has been sporadic so far. "Sometimes our officers are lenient and just let it go for a while," he says. HPD officials plan to meet with parking-management companies to discuss the rules, Wright says, but no date has been set.
Clampffer says HPD "has decided to ignore common sense," but he gets little sympathy from Wright.
"If they feel they're getting picked on," Wright says, "we need to let them know we have different criteria beginning this year."
And like those craven jaywalkers, yet another scourge of the streets is taken care of. Gang members -- you're still on the list; HPD will get to you sooner or later.
Houston City Councilwoman Addie Wiseman's sleeping habits have sparked a minor uproar.
Wiseman, who represents Kingwood, told her colleagues June 29 that she has insomnia. The disclosure was slightly relevant, because council was discussing the mundane renewal of Houston MediaSource's contract to run the city's public-access channel.
Wiseman said she had been up past midnight, turned on the public-access channel and got herself offended by a comedy routine being shown. "Every other word started with the F-word This went beyond cable programming," she said, thereby declaring herself president of the I Never Watch Deadwood Club.
Who knew the Fucky McFuck Sunshine Hour would be so dirty?
Actually, that's not the name of the show. Wiseman didn't know the name, or the air date, of the program that so offended her. Houston MediaSource couldn't come up with the answer by press time, either.
Council delayed the contract for two weeks in order to prepare for a fortnight's worth of blathering and high dudgeon, on the part of both appalled viewers and First Amendment proponents. The predawn hours of public access -- where, up to now, viewers could no doubt be counted by the half-dozen -- will see a ratings spike.
Wiseman told council she has a background in stand-up comedy, so she knew what she was talking about. She also mentioned how "kids with colds" may be up at night and accidentally see this stuff, so apparently some Robitussin could solve the problem.
Afterward, though, the councilwoman clammed up. Her staffer, Aimee Bertrand, asked that all questions be submitted in writing, so we dutifully e-mailed inquiries about the show, Wiseman's insomnia and her stand-up comedy career.
Bertrand says Wiseman has "chosen not to respond."
But come on -- she didn't mind rambling on at the council meeting. Why can't she answer some follow-up questions? "Part of the right to free speech," Bertrand says, "is having the freedom not to speak."
Frankly, we're offended.