Mail Call

Woodwind Lakes Edition

Comment by Bernie Milligan
April 19, 2007

From the mail bag:

The hill from hell: Last Saturday, neighborhood children were invited back on the biomound again to scrounge for plastic eggs filled with candy.

Todd Spivak's remarkable and troubling article begged several conclusions. It is saddening to read quotes from so many people in utter denial. Since kids were once again having an Easter frolic on the “hill from hell,” it would seem that Children's Protective Services needs to subpoena every adult in the subdivision for video or snapshots of said frolic, then work on identifying and investigating those parents who showed such reckless disregard for their children, as well as to turn over the names of those parents and ALL members of the Neighborhood Association to the District Attorney for consideration of possible crimes as well.

I know, don't hold my breath.

Name withheld by request
Houston

Selfish: Thanks for writing about the Woodwind Lakes subdivision that was built on an oil and gas field. I have been a volunteer for a consumer organization dealing with builder complaints for several years. I see again and again what can happen when one person in a development has the guts to stand up to a builder who's deceived buyers: Either the neighbors band together with that person and fight the builder, they sit idly by expecting to reap monetary rewards for one person's efforts or, worst of all, they vilify the guy/gal who's refusing to be quiet about being ripped off. One elderly couple in New Mexico was threatened by their neighbors when their new home was uninhabitable. It's deplorable that anyone would be so selfish that they'd attempt to intimidate neighbors and deny them their right to compensation for a wrong. These people are no better than the builder, and they are perpetuating this whole problem in the building industry by letting builders get away with it. Furthermore, if these neighbors think they can sell without disclosure, I would hope their buyers can recover damages from the deceitful sellers.

Cindy Schnackel
Norman, Oklahoma Correction

Craig Malisow's April 19 feature “The Choking Game” incorrectly reported that the Marine Military Academy expelled student Levi Draher after his accident. Draher's mother says the Academy did not expel Levi, but that he was not accepted by two other private schools after the accident.

The Houston Press regrets the error.

Reporting Recognition
Two Houston Press staffers do well in a two-state journalism contest

The Fort Worth Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has announced that Houston Press staff writer Keith Plocek received second and third place honors in its two-state First Amendment contest.

Plocek placed second in the “Reporting on Open Government” category for “Needling the Haystack,” in which he drove 1,683 miles in Harris and surrounding counties to test school districts' observance of open record laws and found a wide range of non-compliance.

He placed third in the “Defending the Disadvantaged” category for “Short Changed,” which exposed the exploitation of illegal immigrants by contractors in the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.

Staff writer Todd Spivak also was recognized in the contest, placing third in the “Use of Public Records: Investigative” category for his story “Run Over By Metro,” which uncovered deaths and injuries caused by Houston's Metropolitan Transit Authority.

The SPJ contest was open to papers in Texas and Oklahoma.

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