Sunday, August 29, 2010

Will Baylor Bears "Rise Up" Campaign Lead To Victory?

If you live anywhere near Waco, Texas - it is impossible not to hear on the radio or see on television dozens of commercials declaring that in 2010 the Baylor Bears football team will "Rise Up". I must admit that these new commercials are appealing, but they are going to look stupid if the 2010 Baylor Bears football team does not come through on the field once the season gets underway. The first few "Baylor Will Rise Up" commercials I saw on television profiled some of the players the team has great faith in this year. In recent weeks, the head coach of the Baylor Bears has been shown making the same "I will rise up" pledge.

No one in Waco wants the Baylor Bears football team to win games more than I do, but I am afraid that the media hype about how well the team will play this year does not leave Baylor University much wiggle room if the football season turns out to be a disaster. To me, the "I will rise up" campaign was created by Baylor to sell as many season tickets this football season as possible - but if the Bears don't win this year, what will promoters at Baylor University try next season? The truth is that no one at Baylor knows yet how well the football team will play this year, so that makes this "rise up" media campaign nothing more than hype for money.

There is only one way to make sure the seats are filled to capacity for all Baylor Bears home games and that is for the team to start a winning tradition. If that happens, there will be no need for media hype to sell season tickets, because fans from Waco and all over the country will flock to see their games without a concern for how much those tickets cost. I love Baylor athletics and while many sports at Baylor University have become competitive nationally, the football program still lags far behind. I hope that in 2010 the Baylor Bears football program will "rise up" and if they do there will be no need to hype season ticket sales for home games next year, because every game will be sold out before the football season begins.

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Baylor Bears adidas Grey Fleece Sweatpants

Time-Warner Cable Waco Battles Networks Again

For years now, major cable television providers like Time-Warner Cable (Waco) have been battling major cable networks like ESPN over the fees that are charged to carry their programming. Now, Time-Warner Cable subscribers in the Waco area are facing another blackout threat - if Time-Warner Cable does not pony up even more money for powerhouse channels like ESPN and Disney. For cable subscribers in Waco proper, there is another cable television choice available in Grande Communication and through several satellite companies.

In years past, big cable company's like Time-Warner Cable were able to hold the line on some of the rate increases demanded by popular cable channels like ESPN. However, in more and more cities - there are secondary cable companies who would love to steal customers away from Time-Warner Cable - if they decide to let major channels like ESPN go off their service. These new contract issues between Disney and Time-Warner Cable in Waco will not effect our other major cable television company Grande Communications and I can only image how high the jump in subscribers at Grande would be, if Time-Warner Cable were stupid enough to lose ESPN from their line-up.

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Oilfield, Texas A Tex Waco Novel by Larry Hill (Oil Field, Texas A Tex Waco Novel by Larry Hill)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday Night Let Down Texans Beat The Cowboys

As I turned down the A/C and got a big bag of chips ready for the Dallas Cowboys / Houston Texans game tonight, my mind already had the Dallas Cowboys winning this preseason game by a large margin. Oh well, I was wrong and as everyone now knows the Texans defeated the Cowboys by a wide margin. All Dallas Cowboys fans, including one very depressed one in Waco, want "America's Team" to do well this season because for the first time ever - the DFW area will be hosting a Superbowl game and we want the Cowboys to be playing in it.

It was nice sitting in my cool Waco residence tonight, drinking Coke and munching on potato chips - but as tonight's game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans went from bad to worse - I finally switch the channel to something else. Sadly, the 2010 preseason for the Dallas Cowboys has not proven to be anything special to me. In fact, I am concerned anytime the Dallas Cowboys are blown out whether that game be in the pre or regular season. Let's just hope that the Dallas Cowboys work through their issues before they play the Redskins in the 2010 regular season opener.

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Dallas Cowboys Southpaw Back Pack

Breakfast In The Afternoon At Tommy B's Waco

For the past three months, my wife and I have been enjoying breakfast in the afternoon each Saturday. Our restaurant of choice is a place called "Tommy B's" on Valley Mills Drive in Waco. Before we discovered how good the food is at "Tommy B's" we use to travel all the way to I-35 to enjoy breakfast in the afternoon at IHOP. However, now that we have found a restaurant closer to home that also offers breakfast in the PM we now go there instead of driving miles out of our way to IHOP.

"Tommy B's" in Waco is owned by Tommy Brashier who use to own Regal Car Wash. When we travel there to eat breakfast on Saturday afternoons we usually order the Tommy B's Breakfast Special. On it we get two eggs, cooked anyway you want them, hash browns, crispy bacon and either a biscuit or toast. The price is around $6 per person, which is very affordable considering all the food at Tommy B's is not made until the customer orders it. In addition to being able to order breakfast all day long, "Tommy B's" in Waco is also famous for their old fashion hamburgers and fried catfish.

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Simply Serving

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday Thunderstorms In Waco Caused Many Problems

Tuesday afternoon, my wife and I saw a normal hot day in Waco turn into a nightmare before the day was over with. As a mid-afternoon thunderstorm entered the Waco area, it created high winds after cool air from the north hit the 107 degree afternoon temps that day. In the aftermath, there were downed trees from downtown Waco to torn up fences in the Hewitt, Woodway and Robinson areas. Where we live, near Valley Mills Dr. in Waco, Tuesday's thunderstorm caused us to lose electricity from about 3pm on Tuesday till around 5pm on Wednesday afternoon.

Let's just put it this way, I have not been as miserable as I was Tuesday night in a long time. Thankfully, that night was not as hot as previous ones - but it was still very hot in our house when we tried to get some sleep around 11pm. Using a flashlight, I saw that our inside digital thermostat read 90 degrees for most of the evening hours. Folks, I would have given $100 for a working fan before the night was over. Sadly, we were not alone as hundreds of other Waco resident survived without power for the entire night. Finally, the early morning hours of Thursday morning brought Waco temperatures down to a range where we could get a few hours of sleep.

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Smoky Mountain Synthetic Waco Western Boot - Size Toddler 6.5 Crazy Horse Brown

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Killeen, Texas Laundry Room Rapist Caught?

For most of the summer of 2010, there has been a young man who has been attacking and raping women while they do their laundry in the Killeen, Texas area. Early in the summer, there were a series of rapes at Killeen Texas laundry locations. However, as the summer went along - those rapes stopped until last weekend. Then, out of the blue, the rapes started up again and with the help of witnesses - a man is now sitting in jail and he could be charged with all of these Killeen rapes within the next few days.

What made the Killeen, Texas rapist so scary was that he committed his crimes in broad daylight in a very public place. Right now, police in Killeen do not know for sure - if the man they have in custody is guilty of one rape, multiple ones or none at all. It's still far too early for woman in Killeen, Texas to feel safe when they do their laundry in public laundry locations. My hope is that police have caught their man and if he is found guilty, in a court-of-law, that he spends the rest of his days in a small prison cell somewhere in the State of Texas prison system.

I learned long ago, that there are many different types of rapists. Some are cowards who sneak into womens homes after dark and use a weapon to get what they want. However, there are other types of rapist who seems to get off on the thrill of committing their crimes during daylight hours and in very public locations. The later type of rapist is who has been on the loose in Killen, Texas this summer and hopeful his days of terrorizing women in that area are over. Police were on the late local news in the Waco-Temple-Killeen area last night warning women not to mistakenly believe that the laundry room rapist was for sure in custody. Police investigations take time and it could be several more weeks before law enforcement officials know for sure if they got the right man.

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Aerial Photography Map of Killeen, Texas 2008 TX

Monday, August 23, 2010

Waco Judge Ralph Strother Too Tough Or Just Right?

When you talk to people who call Waco, Texas home and ask them about their opinion of Judge Ralph Strother you will find yourself getting conflicting opinions about this judge who rules over Waco’s 19th State District Court. There is no doubt that Judge Strother is a tough judge and for many people in the Waco area that is exactly what they expect to see in one of our biggest criminal court rooms. However, there are other people in Waco who believe that Judge Ralph Strother is too tough and they believe he also lacks a certain fairness when he decides cases.

In recent days, Judge Ralph Strother has been under attack by a former defendant in his court room by the name of Darlene Gentry. Gentry was sentenced to a long prison sentence for the murder of her husband and she is now claiming that she should be granted a new trial and requesting that Judge Ralph Strother not be allowed to preside over it. In the most recent past, millions of people around the United States got to know Judge Ralph Strother when he was the judge in the Matt Baker murder trial. Through national TV shows like "48 Hours" and "20/20", Judge Strother has become a household name around the nation.

Only one week ago, Judge Ralph Strother presided over a case where a legally blind woman by the name of Trena Mitchell was convicted of manslaughter when she drove her car into a motorcycle rider and caused his death. In a pre-trial plea agreement, the Waco District Attorney's office and the defense in that case had agreed to make a deal that would not send Trena Mitchell to prison. However, when that plea agreement landed on Judge Strother's desk - he refused to sign it and when Mitchell went on trial she was found guilty and was then sentenced to many years in prison.

When it comes to how Judge Ralph Strother runs his court room, it's likely that opinions will continue to vary wildly depending on what a person believes a judge should and should not do in a criminal case. There have always been and always will be different viewpoints among the Waco public when it comes to the fairness of a judge in a case when a defendants personal freedom is at stake.

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Waco, Texas - Panoramic Map Giclee Poster Print, 9x12

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Man Kills Self In Hewitt After Bellmead Shots Fired Call

On Saturday, a man that allegedly fired shots in the City of Bellmead killed himself in the parking lot of a Hewitt, Texas convenience store after local police tried to approach him. After receiving a 911 call of "shots fired" at a Bellmead residents, police responded only to find that the suspect had fled the scene. A short time later, a police officer in Hewitt discovered the suspects vehicle driving down I-35 - so he followed the suspect until he pulled into a convenience store (Valero) inside the city limits of Hewitt.

The name of the man who killed himself tonight has not been released at this time as police try to search for a reason for his rampage and also to check the Valero location to see if this incident was caught on their many surveillance cameras. Over the past couple of weeks, there have been several robberies which have resulted in the deaths of convenience store employees and then on Saturday there was another death at a local Waco area convenience store by suicide. It has been a deadly summer in the Waco area at convenience stores either via robbery homicide or now this case of alleged suicide.

Raw video of Saturday's crime scene at the Hewitt, Texas Valero where this suicide took place is made possible in the video box below by Waco television station KWTX-TV (Channel 10).

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Cole Cross Reference Directory : Waco Texas

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Legally Blind Driver Convicted By Waco Jury

In the beginning, the verdict from today was not even in the cards for a legally blind woman who drove her car into a motorcycle rider last year and caused his death. At that time, the District Attorney in the Waco area decided to make an offer of settlement - but when that offer, which mainly compromised of probation, hit Judge Ralph Strother desk - he refused to sign off on it. Then it was up to the McLennan County District Attorney's Office to take the defendant Trena Mitchell to trial for motorcycle rider (Richard "Hat Trick" Schroeder's) death.

Yesterday, a Waco jury took less than one hour to find Trena Mitchell guilty of manslaughter in the death of Richard Schroeder. Why the McLennan County District Attorney thought that this case would be better settled out of court, through a plea deal, rather than by taking Trena Mitchell to trial is something I don't understand. The defendant in this case (Trena Mitchell) is a black woman and her family members have been all over the local Waco area news media claiming that she was put on trial simply because of her race. So, are their charges of race bias relevant to this case. I don't think so.

The fact that Trena Mitchell is legally blind and made the choice to drive without a valid Texas drivers license is the only fact that mattered to a jury of her peers. It didn't make a difference to them - if Trena Mitchell was black, white, brown or some other color. Her choice to drive a car, while legally blind and without a Texas drivers license, was the only thing that should and was considered in this case. If Trena Mitchell had not made the choice to drive a car while blind, there is no doubt in my mind that Richard Schroeder would be alive today. The jury got it right, she should have been convicted of manslaughter.

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Cole Cross Reference Directory : Waco Texas

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Robert Griffin Baylor Bears Quarterback Returns

To say that Baylor football fans are expecting a great year from the "Bears" in 2010 would be a huge understatement. For a long time, both old and new Baylor Bears fans have found themselves at this time of year expecting great things - but when October rolls around, the same old losing record is alive and well. So here we are again in mid-August and the Baylor football hype is in high gear with TV commercials and on-the-field interviews with the players. There is a saying that "every dog has it's day" and maybe 2010 will be the year when the Baylor Bears football program breaks out with a winning record.

I must admit that I am starting to get excited as well. Last year, starting quarterback Robert Griffin was a breath of fresh air to the Baylor football program before a season ending injury took him down in the third game. This year (2010), Mr. Griffin is back at full speed and my hope is that he will be able to work his magic with this years Baylor Bears team. I know there is a great deal of pressure on the Baylor Bears football program to win, especially when winning programs in girls basketball and mens tennis are pretty much a foregone conclusion each year. Everyone in Waco is asking the question, when will the Baylor Bears football team start playing like the "Lady Bears" or the Baylor Mens Tennis team?

Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe a great starting quarterback like Robert Griffin is exactly what the doctor ordered for Baylor football. Without a leader on the field, no college football program will ever reach it's full potential. Robert Griffin is both a leader and an outstanding quarterback on the field. If he is fortunate enough to escape serious injury this season, there is nothing holding the Baylor Bear back from a winning record and a birth in a top bowl game this fall.

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Baylor Bears Adult Adjustable Hat

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Long Hot August In Waco, Texas

I moved to Waco from the Texas panhandle back in 1983. Since that time, I have loved calling Central Texas home with one exception. That being, the month of August in Waco, Texas has to be one of the most miserable places on Earth. The summer of 2010 started out mild enough, but then July rolled around and by August the temperature climbed to over 100 degrees on most days.

I thank God everyday that my employment does not require me to work outside. Honestly, I don't know how anyone survives a job like putting hot tar on the roof of a business or installing electrical wiring in the attic of a house during the month of August in Waco. Most of the time when I see men and women doing those kinds of jobs, they are usually teenagers or young people in the 20's.

As local residents already know, it's not the high temperatures in Waco that make it such a miserable place to live during the month of August. Instead, it is the mix of high temperatures and high humidity that make the long days of summer so hard to stand. I was joking with a friend from the northeast the other day about how it does not usually cool down that much in Waco until after Christmas. In that conversation I laughingly told a story about playing touch football in the front yard in short sleeves and pants after Christmas dinner one year.

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Cole Cross Reference Directory : Waco Texas

Bellmead Convenience Store Employee Murdered Saturday

Around noon yesterday (Saturday) an employee at a Bellmead convenience store was stabbed multiple times and later died at Hillcrest Medical Center. Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, Bellmead police and other regional law enforcement officers were searching for the person or persons involved in today's murder. Few details are available at this time and police are asking for the public's help in locating who was responsible.

It's such a senseless thing when a person walks into a convenience store and takes the life of another human being. Most of these fatal attacks happen in the wee hours of the morning, but yesterday's convenience store murder in Bellmead, Texas happened at high noon. That one fact, might lead to the arrest of this criminal who needs to be taken off the streets as soon as possible. Hopefully, a witness will come forward and give the police the right information so they can make an arrest.

As I have written before, I had a friend who was killed while doing her job at a convenience store in Waco on July 4th of 2005. That robbery, which turned into a murder, occurred at around 5am and to this day no one has been arrested for her murder. Hopefully, this latest senseless killing of a person trying to earn an honest living will not turn out to be like my friends case. If you saw anything at this convenience store on Old Dallas Highway in Bellmead yesterday, please call police so they can solve this case.

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Cole Cross Reference Directory : Waco Texas

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Video Of Rosebud Texas Police Officer Choking Teenage Suspect

In the video below, you may watch the dash-cam of Rosebud, Tx police officer Jack Comeaux - which eventually lead to a jury sentencing him to 15 years in jail this week. I have watched the video replay of this event several times, but for the life of me I cannot understand way the police officer received such a harsh sentence. There is no doubt that police officer Comeaux should not have choked the suspect in this case, but was it the right decision to give him 15 years in jail for that offense?

The Waco Tribune Herald and at least one Waco television station (KWTX) are reporting tonight that former police officer Jack Comeaux is under a suicide watch at the McLennan County jail this weekend. All I can figure is that there is more to this story and trial than meets the eye. For years, I have seen police officers use excessive force while doing their jobs and on some occasions that force has lead to the death of a suspect. Sadly, many times those police officers just walk away with a slap on the wrest - while an officer like Jack Comeaux is sentence to what in effect will be a life sentence because of his age.

Many times the jury systems gets it wrong in the United States and that was the case recently when a police officer in Oakland, California was not fairly punished for killing a suspect. Then this week in the Waco, Texas area - a police officer was given more time than was appropriate to punish him for his poor judgment during a traffic stop. The American legal system tries to get it right most of the time, but sometime it makes a mistake when it comes to either being to lenient or too harsh when a police officer is put on trial.

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Law Enforcement Field Guide

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bullet-Proof Attitudes Lead To Cliff Deaths At Lake Whitney

On the late local news, here in Waco last night, there were stories from young people about how they will not stop cliff jumping at Lake Whitney, Texas - even though two people have lost their lives in less than a week. I understand that attitude from youngsters, because I had it myself about four decades ago and the thoughts of what I use to do as a teenage haunt me to this day. There was a time in history when kids grew up faster because they were expected to marry and start raising a family of their own long before their 18th birthday.

Today, kids are not expected to marry early in life and instead put off starting a family until late in their 20's or early 30's. All that extra time create problems, because there are few things in life that are considered worse to a young person than boredom. It was easy to see that the young people being interviewed tonight on television about the latest cliff jumping deaths at Lake Whitney did not seem to think those death were real and to a person they wrongly believed that just because someone else died while cliff jumping at Lake Whitney, they would not.

It must be harder being a parent today than when my family was growing up. Decades ago, once we reach the age of 18 our choices were pretty simple. Either enroll in college, join the military or marry and hope to beat the draft board. Today, everything being promoted by the government and advertised by companies on TV encourage young people to live their lives to the fullest and damn that consequences of irresponsible behavior. From unprotected sex to life threatening behavior like cliff jumping are encouraged as a neat way to get a quick high.

When some of the young people were being interview last night on TV about the two deaths in less than a week at Lake Whitney, it was amazing how cavalier they talked not only about the two people who lost their lives - but about their own mortality as well. While it wasn't said, I clearly thought some of those interviewed preferred death to being bored and if that is indeed the case, something else besides risky behavior is driving these kids to jump from high cliffs at Lake Whitney, Texas. It's amazing that anyone grows up to adulthood today without being killed through foolishness beforehand.

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An evaluation of the archaeological resources at Lake Whitney, Texas (Southern Methodist University contributions in anthropology ; no. 14)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another Cliff Jumping Death At Lake Whitney Texas

Just a couple of days ago, I wrote here about a young man who was killed at Lake Whitney after jumping from a cliff into the water. Then late tonight, (Wednesday August 11, 2010) there was breaking news that a young woman (21-years-old) lost her life tonight after jumping from another cliff at the same lake.

Listen folks, I understand as well as the next person how young men and women don't see danger when that take part in risky behavior. However, all of these deaths from jumping off cliffs at Lake Whitney is getting old and something needs to be done. The report I watched tonight on the local news in Waco stated that the young woman who was killed today jump from the top of a cliff that was about 70 feet high.

If true, it's no wonder she was killed. That's a long fall, even when the landing is in deep water. My guess is that this young woman hit the water hard and when she did not surface immediately, there was no one with her trained in water rescue. So she died. With two deaths in less than a week occurring on Lake Whitney Texas from cliff jumping, one would hope that young people would understand that jumping from a cliff into the water there is not a safe thing to do at all.

If there are important additional details to report tomorrow about this latest drowning on Lake Whitney, I will write about them then. However, tonight there are two people dead and scores of family and friends who are grieving because of the senseless deaths of two young people in less than a week from cliff jumping at Lake Whitney. Please if you are thinking about jumping off one of those high cliff at Lake Whitney, think again.

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Old Maud: The Story of the Palatine, Lake Zurich & Wauconda Railroad

Waco Convenience Store Robberies Increase?

Last night, there was another robbery at a Waco area convenience store. This time, a "Skinny's" store on Waco Drive near 25th Street was the location. In the end, no one was hurt and the robber only gained around $30 for his efforts.

It's always good news when an employee of a convenience store in Waco is not injured in one of these late night or early morning robberies. Sometimes, the outcome is not positive and at other times the convenience store employee is murdered by the robber.

That is exactly what happened on July 4th 2005 when a convenience store also owned by "Skinny's" was robbed near Baylor University during the early morning hours of "Independence Day". The lone employee working at that store, at that time, was a friend of mine and her murderer has not been brought to justice as of yet.

Maybe it's just me, but I do visit Waco area convenience stores during late night hours because of my work. On many occasions, I see young women working those shifts and there is no other male or female employee in sight during that time of night. Do some of these convenience stores even care about the safety of their employees?

At heart I am a capitalist, but when it comes of keeping a Waco convenience store open 24/7 simply because it is profitable to do so by hiring only one employee, something just does not seem right.

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Waco: Texas Crossroads, an Illustrated History

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Democrats Making Mistake With Brian Birdwell Challenge

In what is turning out to be a "watershed" year for GOP candidates from coast to coast, Democrats in Waco are making a huge mistake by trying to win a seat in the Texas Senate by challenging the residency requirements of GOP nominee Brian Birdwell.

While the Waco Democratic Party might be right when it comes to the letter of the law, it has become clear that the voters believe Brian Birdwell and not other politicians who are trying to disqualify him via voter registration technicalities. Sadly, the old political games of Washington D.C. have arrived in Waco, Texas and it is the Democratic Party that brought that unwelcome game to town.

Even if Waco Democrats are successful in their challenge to remove Brian Birdwell as the GOP candidate in November, if events don't move quickly - his name will still remain on the ballot and more than likely he will win anyway. I was shocked at the smugness of Waco Democrats when they were interviewed on television the other day about this issue.

For a long time now, the Waco area has not been a friendly place for Democratic Party candidates and attacking Brian Birdwell on what most voters consider to be a legal technicality will not win over any GOP or Independent voters in November and beyond. Voters in the Waco area are mainly conservative and Brian Birdwell's candidacy fits the profile of what a candidate must stand for in order to win election in this part of the state.

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Texas Politics

Should Cliff Jumping At Lake Whitney Be Stopped?

On Friday, another teen was killed at Lake Whitney, Texas after jumping from a cliff into water that was 60 to 80 feet deep. There are conflicting reports by police and family members of the dead youngster as to what caused his death. Police believe that he died after jumping off of one of the many cliffs that surround Lake Whitney, while some family members claim that he panicked while swimming back to shore.

If this teenage boy was killed after a long fall into the water from a cliff at Lake Whitney, his death will be added to many others for that reason over the years. There are parents that want the practice of cliff jumping at Lake Whitney stopped by police and other authorities who manage the lake, but it's tough to control teenagers who have a great deal of time on their hands during the summer and who are also looking for a good time and an easy way to cool off.

Cliff jumping at Lake Whitney has been happening for years and I doubt if it is possible to fence off all of the cliffs that might be tempting targets for teens to jump off of. I also believe that unless county and state officials want to spend the extra money to hire guards to regularly patrol those area, most teenagers will simply jump any fence that is install and do their cliff jumping at Lake Whitney, anyway.

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Summer Camps in Texas: Lake Whitney Ranch, Camp Sweeney, Camp John Marc, Camp Olympia, Camp Fern, Camp Kiowa, Brookhaven Retreat