By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Cougar on Prowl in Katy
By Richard Connelly
Katy is Cougar Town, and we don't mean they're big UH supporters.
A 37-year-old Katy mom by the name of Lori Darling David has been arrested for sending nude photos of herself to the friend of her 16-year-old son, who now is possibly the most embarrassed kid in Texas.
Court documents say that David had been "jogging buddies" with the victim's mother, so there's that, too.
The documents also say David volunteered at the victim's high school and became friendly and connected via Facebook, because 37-year-old moms should always be friending 16-year-old dudes.
The two began to communicate; "the conversations were often sexual in nature," court documents say, "and on the 14th of October, 2010, [the victim] received images of the defendant which clearly depicted her breast and vagina."
The law-enforcement officer who investigated the case said one photo showed David "kneeling on the bed, clearly displaying her breasts and vagina in a lewd manner" while the second just involved breasts in a lewd manner.
David gave a videotaped confession, the documents say. She is charged with online solicitation of a minor.
Fun Police Strike Again
TABC Bans Coveted Beer
By Paul Knight
In the latest episode of the Fun Police, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has kept one of the most coveted beers of the year from being sold in Texas.
Stone Brewing Company's Vertical Epic, which has a once-a-year release, was sitting in a warehouse in Houston waiting to be sent to stores, according to Austin Tefteller, a beer manager at Spec's.
That's when TABC agents stepped in and decided the beer had to be shipped back to California.
The problem, according to Tefteller, was on the label. The Vertical Epic contains more than 5 percent alcohol (quite a bit more), and in Texas, you can't call that a beer. And somewhere on Stone's label, it said the word "beer."
"You can still get it in other states," Tefteller says. "It's just a TABC thing."
This should be particularly disheartening to Houston beer connoisseurs, because Houston hasn't been lucky enough to land a batch of Vertical Epic each year since it was first released in 2002.
If you wanted a bottle, you had to get it in another state — Stone is based out of California — via road trip or the Internet, and it's been listed on eBay for up to $300.
Lieutenant Harry Schreffler, an enforcement officer with TABC, tells Hair Balls that something like this happens maybe once a year. Whoever imported the beer to Texas, Schreffler said, should have gotten the shipment approved first.
And since it wasn't approved, and brought in for resale, the importer technically broke the law. Schreffler wasn't sure if the importer was cited in this instance, but he said since the beer was never sold, probably not.
"Unless we found the stuff in the cars of seven dead people, we probably didn't go hard at them with guns blazing," Schreffler said.
We talked to Jason Armstrong, a regional manager for Stone Brewing Co., and he has some good news and bad news: Vertical Epic is in Texas to stay. But only in keg form.
"TABC never had a problem with our liquid, which is good," Armstrong says. "It's always a label issue, if we have an issue."
Still disappointing, Armstrong says, because, of course, the ultimate point of the Vertical Epic is to save a bottle of each year's batch and eventually have a true vertical tasting experience.
It's not the first time this has happened to Stone in Texas. The Double Bastard Ale never gets approved because the label includes the word "masturbatory."
"The official response from TABC was that isn't an approved word for Texas," Armstrong says.
And since Stone silkscreens its labels onto bottles, it would be, as Armstrong puts it, "a logistical nightmare" to create a special label for Texas.
"That's the reason a lot of craft brewers don't come to Texas," Armstrong says. "There are some amazing Belgium beers that don't come to Texas. You can get them in Louisiana, you can get them in New Mexico, but not Texas. What brewer or monk is going to change his label he's had for 500 years?"
From Covering to Promoting HISD
By Richard Connelly
Jason Spencer, who was been covering the Houston school district as a Houston Chronicle reporter and editor for six years, has a new job: Promoting the Houston school district.
Spencer starts soon in HISD's communications department, where he'll be paid $95,000 a year to help give the district a positive image.
So does that mean the Chron's coverage has been positive enough to impress HISD? (They've surely been big backers of superintendent Terry Grier's Apollo 20 project.)
"I believe we've been consistently fair and tough on the school district throughout" his six years, Spencer tells Hair Balls. (And for good measure: "I don't expect that [to] change just because I'm leaving.")
The transition has already begun, apparently: Spencer says he is "very excited and honored to have this opportunity to help tell HISD's story at a time when the district leadership is deeply committed to doing right by the children of Houston...Superintendent Terry Grier has committed to running a transparent operation, and I know he expects me to live out that philosophy. I wouldn't put my 14-year journalism career on the line for HISD otherwise."