Friday, June 17, 2011

Car Destroyed By Fire On Hwy 190 In Belton Texas

On Thursday night, on highway 190 in Belton, there was a car fire that caught the attention of hundreds of fellow travelers.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Gatesville Woman Dies From Burns Received In House Fire

Yesterday, I reported that 44-year-old Betty Grecic of Gatesville had been severely burned in a house fire.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Atahualpa Rosas Funeral Scheduled For Wednesday

While most residence of Waco were celebrating the graduations of friends and family last weekend, one family was mourning the loss of a young man who was suppose to be walking across that stage of graduation, but who drown one day before it occurred.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Julie Hays (KWTX Anchor) Has A Baby Girl

On the 10pm news on KWTX-TV in Waco on Friday night, it was announced that Julie Hays had given birth to a baby girl.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Enjoyed Vitek's Bar-B-Que Last Weekend

On Saturday afternoon, my wife and I wondered over near Baylor and enjoyed some great food at Vitek's Bar-B-Que.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Eric Ernest Damm Arrested For Waco Bank Robbery

Back on April 22, 2011 - the Compass Bank on Valley Mills Drive in Waco was robbed. Shortly after that robbery, the Waco police department arrested the wrong man for that crime and soon thereafter let him go.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Waco 97.5 Radio Announcer Darren Taylor Indicted

In an expected indictment on Wednesday, former Waco morning radio personality Darren Taylor (William Darren Prater) was indicted for failure to stop and render aid in a September 2010 traffic accident he was involve in.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

24-Year-Old Michael Benavidez Killed In Traffic Accident

In a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time, 24-year-old Michael Benavidez was killed Wednesday afternoon when two suspects ran from Waco police officers and eventually crashed their vehicle into a Waco City Bus.

Tornado Warning In Waco On Tuesday Night

Residents of Waco just finished a long night of severe thunderstorms that included, at least, one tornado warning from the national weather service.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Logan's Roadhouse Restaurant Weekend Specials

On Easter weekend, my wife and I visited Logan's Roadhouse Restaurant in Waco. More then likely we would have gone there this weekend anyway, but like they often do on holiday weekends - Logan's offered a buy one meal and get one free coupon on Easter Sunday. I learned a long time ago, that when it comes to Waco consumers - nothing will get them to show up in large numbers at an eating establishment more then a buy one/get one free offer. On Sunday, Logan's Roadhouse was busy - but there was no wait to be seated.

I love the taste of the food at Logan's Roadhouse Restaurant, but I must admit that it is the service we get from their excellent waitresses and waiters that keep us coming back. Over the years that we have visited there, my wife and I have got to know many of their regular employees and find them not only young and full of energy - but also extremely motivated and eager to serve the customer. On Sunday, I ate their 12 oz. ribeye steak and it was cooked just right and I did not even need to put steak sauce on it to improve the flavor. I know everyone has their favorite place to eat in Waco and one of mine is Logan's Roadhouse Restaurant located at I-35 and Highway 6 near Best Buy.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Waco Winds Cause Power Outages On Friday

Once again, the winds blew on Friday in Waco and this time those winds caused more then just property damage. Power crews were out all day and into the night trying to return electricity service back to scores of Central Texas customers. Friday night, my wife and I ate out and even at 9pm - the winds in the central part of Waco were still very strong.

In addition to causing power outages, Waco's high winds on Friday continue to make fire danger one of the top concerns of local leaders. As the weekend gets started, please remember to be careful with fire as no rain is in the forecast. Rusty Garrett said on Friday night that there is a small chance of rain on Monday and we should all hope that his forecast turns into real rainfall next week.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rapoport MCC Donation For First Generation Students

One of Waco's wealthiest couples, Bernard and Audre Rapoport, announced on Tuesday the largest single donation ever given to McLennan Community College (MCC). The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation will donate one million dollars over the next several years to help students attend college where there is no family history of collegiate attendance.

For decades the Raoport's have been big donors to scores of Waco causes and this latest gift to MCC just adds to their charitable legacy. I wish more people would donate money to MCC. In my opinion, MCC is one of the best small colleges in the nation and I have no doubt that they will put this large donation to good and proper use.

Space-X Rocket Test Scheduled For Tonight

It should be an interesting sight when Space-X in McGregor tests one of their new rockets tonight. The last time I remember them conducting such a test, it was front page news in Waco - because the public was not notified. The Waco area should have clear skies tonight, so the noise should not carry as far as it did when we were under heavy cloud cover the last time.

The western part of Waco should be able to see a dark orange glow on the horizon when this test gets underway this evening. Recently, Space-X was granted a large contract to develop rocket engines for NASA and tonight's test will be on one of those new rocket engines. I love the idea of space exploration and also look forward to witnessing tonight's big test.

Kari's Law Problems Could Delay Passage In Austin

A law that is being debate right now in Austin is named for the late wife of convicted murderer Matt Baker. Put simply, if this law goes into effect - anyone who was ruled died from suicide would have their body autopsied at taxpayers expense. This law is being promoted by the family of Kari Baker and others who firmly believe that her husband almost got away with murder.

The problem in Austin with this new law is not based on the merits, but instead on the thousands of extra dollars the state or local government would be forced to spend on the autopsy of suspected suicide victims. I believe "Kari's Law" makes sense when it comes to catching murderers who make their crimes appear to be suicide. However, I doubt if it will pass during this congressional session in Austin - because of a lack available spending money.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Texas Disaster Declaration Requested After Fire Loses

Governor Rick Perry has asked President Barack Obama to declare much of the State of Texas a disaster area. This request comes as dozens of wildfires continue to burn around the state and new ones ignite everyday. It is difficult to even go outside in the Waco area without experiencing breathing problems due to the smoke in the air.

On Monday, the wind did not seem to blow as hard as it did over the weekend. Maybe that break in the wind will help firefighters gain the upper hand on all of the grass fires. What is really needed right now more then anything in Texas is a good soaking rain, but sadly nothing like that is in the short term forecast.

75 MPH Speed Limit In Texas A Good Idea?

It is looking promising that the Texas Legislature will increase the speed limit in the state to 75 MPH in some rural areas. Some folks think this change is a good idea, while others believe it is completely insane. I personally think increasing the speed limit on rural roads is a good idea and I hope this new law goes into effect.

Let's be honest with ourselves and admit that most drivers on I-35 are already driving at speeds of 75 MPH or higher right now. Many older Texans remember well when Washington imposed a national speed limit of 55 miles per hour on everyone a few decades ago in order to save on energy costs. Today as it was in the past - most Texans don't want a uniform speed limit statewide and that is why I believe this law will pass.

Praying For Rain A Popular Topic In Waco

After a weekend that put most area firefighters into overtime, many resident of Waco are starting to openly pray for rain. Frankly, I think praying for rain is a good idea and while we are at it maybe we should pray that the winds calm down a bit too? I feel terrible that a firefighter in North Central Texas was killed late last week and I was devastated when I heard the news tonight that instead of being killed by the fire - he was instead run over by a large vehicle as he fled the flames.

I grew up in the Texas Panhandle as the son of a cotton farmer. I know all too well about praying for rain, because we use to do that all the time before Dad sold the farm and left the area. Grass and wildfires are so bad right now in Texas, that it might take divine intervention to help get things back to normal.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Grass Fires Continue to Devastate The Waco Area

It was a windy weekend in and around Waco and when our current dry conditions were put into that mix, many grass fires started and were hard to put out. Not only did Waco see it's fair share of grass fires last weekend, but huge fires continued to burn near the Metroplex just west of Fort Worth.

Then on Sunday, a huge grass fire was spotted near Austin, Texas and at the present time paid and volunteer firefighters are trying to bring that blaze under control. It goes without saying that everyone should be extra careful with anything flammable right now, because even a small fire will grow into a large one because of the high winds.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Large Temple Fire Destroys Recycling Facility

Late Thursday night, there was a huge fire burning in Temple, Texas. Reports are still coming in, but as of right now - the blaze has consumed a large recycling facility and near-by buildings are also in danger catching fire. According to the KWTX website, all fire stations in the Temple Fire Department have dispatched equipment to fight this fire.

It's still to early to know if anyone has been injured or killed in this fire, but according to witnesses - flames could be seen in many parts of the city. At the present time, members of the Temple Fire Department are trying to stop this hot burning fire from spreading to other buildings in the same area. It could be hours before this massive fire is brought under control.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Goodbye Waco Teachers As School Board Makes Cuts

As was predicted a few days ago, almost 200 teachers either resigned or were terminate on Wednesday in the Waco ISD. Money or should I say the lack there of has caused Waco ISD and others around the state to search for ways to save money, after the State of Texas has cut back on the funds they normally provide to school districts.

It's frankly sad that short sighted politicians are shortchanging the youth of our state in order to save money. Sadly, the State of Texas is sitting on a "rainy day fund" containing billions of dollars - but Governor Rick Perry refuses to use that money to keep education funded. What in the world is he saving that money for? The economy is in the tank and the last thing anyone wants to see is a new generation of young Texans who will be less educated then they are today.

39-Year-Old Shari Shull Killed In Car Accident

Tuesday night, there was a one car accident on Highway 144. After drifting off the road, Department of Public Safety (DPS) officials claim, Shari Shull's vehicle overturned and killed her. DPS says that she was not wearing a seat-belt.

Shull's body has been sent to Dallas for an autopsy. The accident happened around 7:30pm on Tuesday night near Walnut Springs Texas. According to DPS reports, Shari Shull was thrown from her vehicle as it overturned resulting in her death.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fat Ho Burgers Is Waco's Most Popular Place To Eat

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a new restaurant in Waco called "Fat Ho Burgers". Since that time, thousands of people from all over the USA have traveled here to taste some of their old fashion burger favorites. With menu items like "Supa Fly Ho Burger's", "Fat Chicken Ho Sandwiches" and their huge "Bad Mamajama" burger with bacon - what's not to like about "Fat Ho Burgers"?

Unlike many new restaurants, "Fat Ho Burgers" is still doing a great business at South 11th Street and I-35. Fat Ho Burgers has a telephone number, but I would not recommend you call it right now - because they are too busy serving customers to answer the phone. Since most businesses have been hurt by the current recession, it's nice to see "Fat Ho Burgers" bucking that local and national trend.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Melissa Jones WNBA Might Come Calling

In a write-up in the Waco Tribune Herald recently, there was a discussion on the prospects of Melissa Jones being drafted to play in the WNBA. According to people close to Jones, she seems to be interested in playing there if a team comes calling. All Baylor Lady Bears fans know and love Melissa Jones and if she wants to play in the WNBA, I hope a team gives her a chance to compete.

As coach Mulkey said many times during the 2011 season, Melissa Jones was the glue that held that great team together and I have no doubt she would do the same thing for a WNBA club as well. The newspaper said that her best shot at a WNBA draft offer might come from the Phoenix Mercury. Good luck, Melissa.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rusty Garrett Storm Predictions For Early Monday Morning

A few minutes ago, I watched the 10pm news on Channel 10. Lead weatherman, Rusty Garrett said that some parts of the Waco area could see severe thunderstorm and hail some time during the early morning hours on Monday. At the time of this posting (11pm Sunday), most of the severe weather is located about 60 miles west of Waco - but as the night turns to early morning those storms are expected to continue to move eastward.

It's likely that while you are sleeping Sunday night, you will be awaken by some thunder, heavy rain and even some hail hitting the top of your home. So far, the size of the hail is reported around dime sized - but it could increase to quarter sized before these storms arrive in Waco. It might be a good idea to keep an eye on the weather tonight.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Steven Barker/Gwendolyn Greene Arrested For Kidnapping

31-year-old Steven Barker and 19-year-old Gwendolyn Greene have been arrested for the kidnapping of 57-year-old Catherine Jackson Greene. In a strange turn of events, Barker and the younger Greene were involved in an automobile accident last week near Copperas Cove. Both were injured and taken to a local hospital. Their car caught fire and later a body was found in the trunk of the car, which has been identified as the older Greene.

According to late news reports on Saturday night, Steven Barker and Gwendolyn Greene allegedly kidnapped Greene's mother and she was in the trunk of their car when the accident occurred. It is not yet clear whether she was killed as a result of the traffic accident or in the fire that followed. Many aspects of this story are still not completely understood. Hopefully, law enforcement will release more details next week when the results of an autopsy are finished.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Waco ISD Cuts 200 Jobs, Mainly Teachers

It's a bad time to be a teacher as Waco ISD has decided to cut the jobs of 200 teachers in the school district. While this news is terrible for teachers, it is also bad news for Waco students who will be forced to attend classes that are over crowed.

Another thing that angers me is the way politicians in Austin are cheering their no new taxes pledge, when in reality they are just passing the tax burden back down to local communities like Waco - who will be forced to raise property taxes to make up the difference. Politics should be left out of the classrooms in Waco and the rest of the State of Texas.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Zack & Jim Sign New 3-Year-Deal

According to the Waco Tribune Herald, morning personalities Zack Owen and Jim Cody have inked a new contract with WACO-100, which will keep them on-the-air for another three years. In addition to continuing their work at WACO-100, their morning show on Aggie 96 in College Station will remain as is, as well.

I have always enjoyed listening to Zack & Jim and I'm glad they were able to reach an agreement with Clear Channel to remain on-the-air in Central Texas. I have met both of these fine men several times over the years and to me the charitable work they do for our community should not go unnoticed, either. Thousands of people will now continue to wake up in the morning to the good humor of Zack & Jim on Waco's number one radio station - "Waco-100"

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Waco Wildfires Increase Due To High Winds/Dry Conditions

The danger from wildfires is very real around the Waco area right now. A lack of rainfall and high sustained winds are causing dry underbrush to quickly ignite - if exposed to fire or extreme heat. It's unusual for Central Texas to be this dry during March and April. During the late winter to early spring, there is usually an abundance of rainfall in this area.

The Waco Fire Department and others around Central Texas are urging citizens to be extra careful right now with any outside burning. Burn bans are are in effect in most counties. I grew up in the Amarillo area and I must say that the high winds here the past two weeks more resembles the Texas panhandle then Waco and Central Texas. Be careful with fire.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tony Sanders Arrested For Murder Of Timothy Smith

On March 27, 2011 a domestic dispute occurred in Waco. When all the dust settled, 28-year-old Timothy Smith was dead and his accused killer Tony Adell Sanders was found beaten and unresponsive at the same location. According to police and media reports, Sanders and Smith got into an argument and Sanders shot Smith with a handgun.

Later, Smith's uncle beat Sanders with a metal pipe in what police describe as self-defense. At this time, all that is known is that Timothy Smith is dead and Tony Sanders has been arrested for his murder. After spending several days recovering in Hillcrest Medical Center, Sanders was released and then arrested by Waco police. He is current in custody at the McLennan County Jail.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Weed (Pot) Seized In Lorena On Saturday

On Saturday morning, there was a huge amount of marijuana seized in the City of Lorena. Around 7:30 in the morning, a Department of Public Safety (DPS) trooper stopped a large truck for a traffic violation on Interstate 35 (I-35). Soon thereafter, the trooper felt like something was not right - so he asked to search the truck and after obtaining permission - he discovered almost 2,000 pounds of marijuana inside.

Every day, all types of illegal drugs make their way from Mexico up I-35 through Waco. Only a small amount of those drugs are found and confiscated, while the vast majority of them get to their intended target - which are junior high and high school kids around the United States. Sometimes - a police officer gets a gut feeling that something is wrong after talking to a driver and apparently that is what happened in this case, as well.

Victor Guerrero III A Good Man Who Always Smiled

Over 20 years ago, I met a good man by the name of Victor Guerrero. At the time I was in my 30's and Victor was in his early 20's. Then, Victor was working at the Golden Fried Chicken restaurant in Hewitt, Texas. Later - the owner of that restaurant Keith Bush changed the name to what most people know today as "Bush's Fried Chicken". The first time I met Victor he was smiling and the last time I saw him before his death he had that same smile on his face.

There are some people in life who make a positive impression on the people around them. Victor was that kind of man and when I learned that he has passed away on Tuesday night at the age of 42, I was completely shocked and deeply saddened. To Victor's family I want to extend my condolences and to also say that Victor was one of the most well liked and respected men in Waco.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Is It Worth The Wait Time To Eat At Fat Ho Burgers?

Last Saturday afternoon, my wife and I headed over to Fat Ho Burgers to try out the food at Waco's newest restaurant. When we arrived at 2pm, there was a long line of people just waiting to get in the front door. Already very hungry, we decided to leave without eating there. I know a little bit about hype, so I was wondering if the food at Fat Ho Burgers is really that great or is it the name alone that is bring in all those customers?

We are thinking about eating at Fat Ho Burgers this Saturday, but before we stand in line for up to an hour - I was hoping a few of my fellow Waco citizens might offer some feedback about the quality of their food. There is a comment link near the bottom of this page. Please let us and everyone else know what you thought of the food at Fat Ho Burgers. You may remain anonymous or post your name. Help us and others with your feedback.

Violent Crime Rate In Waco Is Out-Of-Control

Violent crime in Waco is soaring out-of-control as the murder rate here is skyrocketing. No one really knows what is causing murders in Waco to reach historic levels, but everyone would like to see it stopped. It seems like every morning, there is a new report of someone else being murdered in Waco the night before. I have live here since 1983 and still believe Waco is one of the best places to live in the world. However, some parts of town are definitely safer then others.

I'm from the old school, so my primary reason for blame at the jumping Waco crime rate has everything to do with how children are raised at home. There are just too many kids now days who are not taught that killing another human being is not only wrong, but a moral crime against God as well. 30 years ago, when two men had a dispute they could not settle by sitting down and talking it out - a fist fight would start and at the end someone would win. Today in Waco, few people are using their fist to settle disputes - but instead rushing to get a firearm and settle that problem in a permeate and self destructive way.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Meet Me At The Fat Ho For Lunch" Waco, Texas

People around Waco have a new saying and it goes something like this: "Meet me at the Fat Ho for lunch". Ten days ago, a 20 something year old young woman started a new hamburger joint in Waco. To make her dream a reality, she sold just about everything of value that she owned. Her dream was to open up a hamburger restaurant and name it "Fat Ho Burgers". As they say in the movies, "the rest was history". Within hours of opening, this young and intelligent business woman was getting attention from the Waco news media and by the end of her first week of operation, people were lined up out the front door of "Fat Ho Burgers" waiting to order one of her hamburgers.

Of course, Waco is in the bible belt and for some folks the very idea that someone would open up a business here that not only offended one segment of the population (folks who are over weight), but a totally different second group who lets say are not filled with wholesome Christian values - caused some to openly ridicule and blast the name of this new business. There were even a few people who teach business as a career who offered to help this new business owner - if she would just change the name of her business to something more mainstream.

Fortunately, she did not listen to those who only see negatives when something new and different comes along and instead she kept her "Fat Ho Burgers" name. On Saturday, my wife and I drove by her restaurant to order a burger or two. However, when we were there at around 2pm, the line waiting to just get in the front door had well over 50 people in it. Over the past ten days, a new saying is being heard all over Waco at lunch time. That saying is not only funny, but it has also turned into one of the best business slogans of 2011. "Meet me at the Fat Ho for lunch". Current wait times to be served at "Fat Ho Burgers" are around one hour and so far thousands of people are willing to hang around that long - just to order one of their famous burgers.

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High Speed Police Chase Over, Suspect In Custody

On Wednesday morning, there was a high speed police chase through several cities in Bell County as a man who stole a leaf blower tried to evade police. As a chase that produced speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour progressed through Nolanville, Killeen and Harker Heights - it eventually ended in a non eventful way when the suspect pulled into a driveway and surrendered to police. There is no word at this time as to why the suspect stole the leaf blower or why he decided to run from the police.

There was a single gunshot fired during this incident. The origional police officer who attempted to stop the man, said the suspect tried to run him over with his car. After which the police officer fired a single shot at the then fleeing suspect. That gunshot did not hit the suspects car and fortunately no one else in the surrounding area was hit by it either. The mentality of criminals is something I have marveled at for most of my life. People who run from the police are almost always caught, so why does the next criminal really believe that they will be more successful at out running the police then the person before them?

When I was a kid, my dad use to tell me that I should never run from the police. He said, "son it doesn't matter how fast your car is, because no vehicle can outrun a police radio". 40 years later, I still remember those wise words from my father. I guess most of these criminals, who believe they can out run a police officer, did not have a wise dad like mine - who explained the facts of life to them. I'm glad no one was injured in the police chase through Bell County this morning.

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Melissa Jones In Tears After Baylor Loss To A&M

Thousands of Baylor fans learned Tuesday night that it is so much better to win then to lose. No one showed that expression of sadness more then did Baylor senior Melissa Jones. It's been a tough month for Melissa, as first an injury caused her to lose the sight in her right eye and then Tuesday night to see her lifelong dream of winning a national NCAA championship slip away forever. For all of the 2011 season, head coach Kim Mulkey has said that Melissa Jones was the glue that held the team together. No truer words have ever been spoken.

Sports competition teaches so much about real life and that is why Jones and the rest of the Baylor Lady Bears team will come out of the defeat against A&M on Tuesday night stronger individuals over time. Right now, it's so hard to put a positive face on the 2011 Baylor Lady Bears season, but in time all players and fans will be able to look back on this season with a sense of pride at what was accomplished. In addition to Melissa Jones, I want to express my pride in head coach Kim Mulkey. Once again - she has made all Baylor fans proud - not only with her coaching skills, but also in the way she keeps bringing a positive image to Baylor University.

There is no way to get over the deep sadness inside all Baylor Lady Bears fans today, but we will live to fight another day. Next year, I feel sorry for the coach or team who takes this fine group of young ladies for granted. Tonight, was the end of the road for senior Melissa Jones and while I'm sure she is sad that her basketball days at Baylor did not end with a national championship. In time, she will always be able to look back at what she accomplished with a team of excellent athletes at Baylor in 2011 and be able to smile with pride. I am so proud of the 2011 Baylor Lady Bears.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Is There An Increase In Violent Crime In Waco?

Two more people were murdered in Waco last night. That follows another murder Sunday morning. It appears that violent crime is on the rise in Waco and that's not good news. There are some people who blame rising crime rates on the poor economy, but I don't think bad financial times are the reason why murders are increasing in Waco. I do believe that the City of Waco should hire more police officers and put them on the streets in some of our worst neighborhoods. Late last night, it appears two men were murdered on Spring Street by a drive by shooting. On Sunday, that murder was the result of a family fight that spiraled got out-of-control.

It's not just in Waco, but in similar sized cities around the country where the murder rate seems to be climbing. While I do believe that petty crimes such as stealing might be affected by a poor economy, when someone decides to use a gun and murder someone else that has everything to do with personal morality. I also believe that drugs and alcohol play an important role when fights that use to end with a black-eye, now days end up with someone being shot and killed. When you add drug use, low morals and a firearm to the mix in any dispute - you are likely to find someone lying on the ground dead from a gunshot wound.

In some Waco neighborhoods - it is not safe for children or adults to leave their homes after dark. That is a real shame, because many of these neighborhoods were great places to raise a family only a few years ago. Much to my surprise, the City of Waco has been successful revitalizing downtown. Maybe as their next project, they should try and work that same magic on formerly great Waco neighborhoods, that have been taken over by gang-bangers and drug dealers? Waco is still a great place to live and it's a real shame that some residents can't enjoy all that this wonderful city has to offer, simply because they are prisoners in their own homes for half the day.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Growing Number Of Bronchitis Cases In Waco

Until February, I had never suffer a single case of bronchitis. However, as April approaches - I have caught it two different times and as it turns out I am not alone. Hundreds of Waco residents have found themselves camped out at the doctors office in search of antibiotics to treat bronchitis. During the middle of February, I caught my first case of bronchitis and after a few days of suffering I went to the doctor. The doctor gave me Z-Pack to treat my lung infection and I was better within a few days.

Then, one month later, I felt the same symptom coming back again. This time I have decided to just let my body fight off the infection by itself with the hope that once I have a large enough immunity against bronchitis it won't come back again. During the past month, my wife has become ill with bronchitis too. She went to the same doctor for treatment, but her case of bronchitis is not clearing up as fast as mine did. After thinking about it, maybe the Z-Pack didn't cleared up anything - but instead just knocked down the infection for a short time only to have it come back again once I was finished taking it.

Many friends and coworkers have also come down with a severe cast of bronchitis recently and some of them have said that they too are not prone to suffering from it. I'm not sure what is going on in and around Waco this winter/spring, but I hope all of these bronchitis cases stop pretty soon. I am a terrible patient, because I do not like being sick at all. I feel sorry for the folks who have to be around me during this time - because I know that my mood and choice of words are not well spoken when I am sick. If you have suffered from bronchitis recently - I hope you start to feel better, soon.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fat Ho Burgers Waco - Prices & Menu

#TexasNewsBlog #TexasNews #TexasBlog



People from all over the country are talking about Waco's newest restaurant Fat Ho Burgers. Some of the offerings on their menu are listed below. Prices are subject to change.
  • Supa Fly Ho with cheese (Single Burger Patty) $3.25
  • Supa Dupa Fly Ho with cheese (Double Burger Patty) $4.25
  • Supa Fly Ho with bacon & cheese $4.25
  • Fat Chicken Ho (Chicken Sandwich) $3.50
  • Bad Mamajama (4 meat, 3 cheese and and bacon) $6.00
  • Sloopy Ho Brisket $2.99
  • Toasty Ho (Meat & cheese on toast) $4.00
  • Summer Sausage Sandwich with cheese $3.00
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich $2.00
Fat Ho Burgers address: South 11th Street & I-35  Waco, Texas

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Waco's Fat Ho Burgers Getting Mixed Reviews

What goes up must go down and that is what the owner of Waco's Fat Ho Burgers is learning quickly. In the best start of any business in recent memory - Fat Ho Burgers went from nothing on Tuesday, when they opened, to garnering nationwide attention within a matter of hours. However, the new is quickly wearing off of Fat Ho Burgers as some folks who have eaten there say that the food quality is not as good as at other Waco restaurants. For me, the whole beauty of Fat Ho Burgers was never the quality of the food served there, but the unique sounding name that creates interest everywhere.

While some folks have complained about the taste of the food at Fat Ho Burgers, most people I have talked to said the food was just fine and they plan to eat there again sometime next week. Sadly, anytime someone comes up with an idea that no one else has thought of before - there are always a few people around willing and eager to say negative things about it. Frankly, some of the negative comments I have heard this week about Fat Ho Burgers were nothing more than sour grapes from people who wish they would have been the person to come up with this great idea in the first place.

People from all over the State of Texas are traveling to Waco this weekend to taste a Fat Ho Burger for themselves. So far, I have seen news reports about this new Waco restaurant on TV stations in Dallas, Houston and even on the Fox News Channel, nationally. This afternoon, my wife and I plan to visit Fat Ho Burgers and see what all the fuss is about ourselves. The American people love a rags to riches story and right now the owner of Fat Ho Burgers is the talk of the town and beyond because of her new restaurant. You've just got to love America where anything is possible.

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Willie Contreras/Leonard Nino Arrested For Nathan Romo Murder

Lorena Texas high school student Nathan Romo died on March 11th of this year after being shot in the head at a Waco park. Sadly, Romo's death was caused when he gave a friend a ride to that park - because the friend had a dispute with another man. Shortly after arriving at the park, gunfire rang out and one of those bullets struck young Nathan Romo in the head. When it became clear to the family that Romo's brain was no longer functioning - they donated his organs before he was removed from life support systems.

Willie Contreras is 28-years old, while Leonard Trey Nino is only 17. Both suspects in the murder of Nathan Romo were arrested on Friday after warrants for their arrest were issued. It is still not clear why gunshots rang out that March day which killed Romo. Likely the real truth will never be known, but at least Romo's family now has the knowledge that a case is being made against two people prosecutors believe to be responsible for his murder. It's terrible anytime a teenager is killed, but it just seems worse when a death comes at the hands of another, rather than in an auto accident or something else that is more understandable.

Not only is Nathan Romo a hero for telling his parents that he wanted to be an organ donor, but they are heroes too for honoring that request at the worst possible time in their lives. An arrest of suspects in Romo's murder will not bring him back to life, but in our society - the next best thing we have is a justice system that removes murders from our streets. Early indications suggest that one of today's arrested suspects has been cooperating with police, while the other one has not. I hope for the families sake that some real answers will be found as to why their son was shot and killed earlier this month. While those answers will never completely ease their grief, it's certainly better than nothing.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Voter ID In Texas Is The Right Thing To Do

As Democrats in the Texas Senate tried to find ways to block "Voter ID" from becoming law, it became clear to me that what they were really trying to do was find a way to keep illegal people voting in elections in Texas. There is no valid reason why a person should not be required to show a valid photo ID when they vote. We all show a legal ID every time we cash a check or even when entering a nightclub on Friday night. While I do disagree with some stuff our conservative legislature in Austin is trying to push down our throats, "Voter ID" is a good idea and should be passed into law.

Only a fool or someone who hopes to gain the votes of an illegal immigrant would oppose such a simple and good law. As most voters stated in the last election, Americans and Texans are tired of business as usual coming from our elected officials. One of those practices is allowing anyone to show up on election day and vote for the candidate of their choice. To vote in Texas, a person must be a legal resident and how in the world will election workers know if they are unless the voter is required to show a legal Texas photo ID? Democrats in the Texas State Legislature are on the wrong side of this "Voter ID" issue and frankly it is making them seem like a supporter of allowing non legally registered voters to cast ballots on Election Day.

What has happened to the modern day democratic party in the State of Texas? Have they all sold their souls to liberals in Washington for so long now that they don't even know what being a real Texan means anymore? The only valid reason for not requiring every single voter in Texas to show a legal photo id when they vote is to allow people who should not be voting to evade the law and vote anyway. Every Texan who applies for a job, must show his or her employer a valid Texas Photo ID. Should we expect anything less when that same person shows up to vote for our future elected leaders?

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fat Ho Burgers Draws National Attention

Within a few days of opening, a brand new restaurant in Waco is drawing national attention. The name of this new burger joint is "Fat Ho Burgers". The list of entrees on the menu are just as unusual and funny as the business name. Within hours of opening, a newspaper story in the Waco Tribune Herald told about this new business and it's unusual name. There have been some residents in Waco that do not like the business name, but the vast majority of people think the name is funny.

As word of this new Waco business with a funny sounding name spread, all three local TV stations visited "Fat Ho Burgers" to gather feedback from local patrons. To a person, everyone said the food was fantastic even though it's location is a bit hard to find. Then on Wednesday, a television station in Dallas / Fort Worth traveled to Waco to see for themselves what the big attraction was to "Fat Ho Burgers". The owner of Fat Ho Burgers is a young African-American woman in her 20's, who thought that a different sounding name for her business might draw positive attention. She was so right.

I have not visited Fat Ho Burgers yet, but my wife and I usually eat at all new Waco restaurants within the first few weeks after they open. From the looks of things, hundreds of people per day are current visiting Fat Ho Burgers and with publicity going statewide - it will likely be difficult to buy a burger at Fat Ho, unless the customer can wait a long time. It would not surprise me to wake up in the morning and find the "Today Show" or "Good Morning America" reporting live from Waco's Fat Ho Burgers. This new restaurant has caught on faster than any new business in this area in a long time.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Joyce Sturdivant Arrested For 2008 Murder Of Husband Joe

While many people in the Waco area were surprised by Wednesday's arrest of Joyce Sturdivant, others have been pointing fingers of blame at her for the murder of her husband for several years now. While I do not live in Robinson, I am friends with some people who do and many of them have always thought that Joyce was behind the murder of her husband, Joe. As the special prosecutor laid out his case against Joyce Sturdivant on the 10 o'clock news Wednesday night, it was almost as if he had been talking to the same people I had been listening to for the past couple of years about this case.

Everyone in the Robinson area who knew the Sturdivant's well, all had the same response when it was suggested that intruders entered Joe Sturdivant's home and murdered him. They all talked about his huge dogs that would never let anyone other than a family member near his house. However, on the night of his murder – those dogs were running free. We know this because the police were unable to get out of their cars until his wife Joyce put them up. That one fact has caused many residents of Robinson and friends and neighbors of Joe to doubt that he was murdered by intruders in a robbery gone bad situation.

Last night on KWTX, there was an interview with a good friend of Joyce Sturdivant who did a great job of vouching for her innocence. However, there must be more than hear say evidence against Joyce Sturdivant for a McLennan County grand jury to have indicted her in the murder of her husband. A future murder trial of Joyce Sturdivant will likely create as much or more interest than was generated by Matt Baker's trial last year. Joe Sturdivant was a generally well liked man who owned and operated a transmission business in this area for decades. Joyce Sturdivant will likely go on trial sometime early next year.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Kitok's Restaurant Waco: Best Oriental Fries

Saturday night, my wife and I visited one of our favorite restaurants in Waco. Kitok's, is located on N. 18th Street and is not the easiest place to find for folks who live outside of town. Like other restaurants, we usually order the same thing during every visit. Tonight, we each ordered a hamburger and shared a large order of oriental fries. Folks, if you have not tried the oriental fries at Kitok's – you have been missing out on something very special to eat in Waco, Texas.

In recent years, new owners have taken over Kitok's Restaurant in Waco, but they did not change a thing about the looks of the place or the wonderful cooking that goes on behind those small closed doors. During the work week, it is not uncommon to see bank presidents eating at Kitok's side by side with construction workers. The great food at Kitok's appeals to everyone and the atmosphere inside is old-fashion and very laid back. However, the number one reason why people in Waco keep coming back to Kitok's time and time again is for the oriental fries.

Kitok's Restaurant is located at 1815 N. 18th Street. (about halfway between Waco Dr. and MCC). The restaurant is very small with seating accommodations for less than 50 people. If you want to be seated quickly, plan your visits during off-peak times during the mid-afternoon or in the early evening hours. Kitok's is closed on Sunday and Monday. Whether you are thinking about eating at Kitok's for the first time or you plan to dine there again, it's always a real treat to eat outstanding food from a little place that most people have never heard of.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nathan Romo's Gift Of Life To Strangers

On Friday, Scott & White hospital in Temple successfully harvested the organs of Nathan Romo. He was shot Monday night in a Waco park as he sat inside his car. Romo found himself at the wrong place at the wrong time as bullets struck the car in which he was sitting. Waco Police have not made an arrest in the case, but Friday afternoon they upped the charges against his shooter to murder. Nathan Romo was 17-years-old and played football and attended Lorena High School.

Romo's family said that even at his young age he wanted to be an organ donor, so they honored his final request as his organs were harvested at Scott & White hospital in Temple on Friday afternoon. It will take time to learn how many lives were saved with Romo's organs. However, in time – I believe Romo's family will have the opportunity to meet some of the people who were given a second chance at life by his generous donation. Organ donation involves a terrible twist of fate, because in order for someone to live – another person must die.

When Nathan Romo made the decision to help a friend by giving him a ride into Waco on Monday, I'm certain that he did not know that choice would result in his death. While a tragedy for Nathan Romo's family, this story should serve as a wake up call to other young people to prove that they are not immune to the violence of others. Most teenagers seldom see the dangers that surround them every day. Instead, they go about their business and usually only see the good in others. It must be difficult being the parent of a teenager these days. As adults we see and know first hand how dangerous the world around us can be. However, it is next to impossible to pass on those survival instincts to our children.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fight Between Brothers Leads To Murder/Arrest

In one of the strangest cases of murder in recent years, three Hill County men have been charged with the murder of another by dragging a man behind a truck until he died. What makes this case even more unusual, is the man who has been charged with this murder – is the brother of the dragging victim. The other two suspects in this murder are also brothers. The Hill County Sheriff said that too much drinking and anger lead to a series of bad choices that left one person dead at the hands of his own brother and friends.

Raymond Scott Harrington, Marcus Allen Beckham and Raymond George Harrington Jr. have all been charged with the murder of Christopher Neal Beckham, a 24-year-old resident of Millford, Texas. According to Waco TV reports, all four men were unemployed, hanging out and drinking together on Wednesday night when anger turned into murder. Hill County Sheriff Jeffrey Lyon said that Marcus Allen Beckham has confessed to putting a rope type device around the neck of his brother Christopher and then tying it to the hitch of a pickup truck, before all three men began dragging the victim down country roads for at least five miles.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Treat N Go Saves The Day, Again

In 2007, I discovered a new way to get a medical problem diagnosed and treated in the Waco area. This new method involves visiting a Nurse Practitioner at a Treat N Go Clinic, instead of a medical doctor. Then, this week, I found myself again in need of medical treatment, so I visited the Treat N Go Clinic just off of Valley Mills Dr., behind the McDonald's Restaurant. Unlike the old days when I would visit a doctors office and wait for hours just for a 5 minute visit – at Treat N Go, it's extremely easy to have a sickness diagnosed and treated. On Wednesday, when I visited Treat N Go in Waco – I arrived around 4:30pm and within 30 minutes I was finished and on way to the H.E.B. Pharmacy to get two prescriptions filled.

The first time I visited Treat N Go back in 2007, I do not believe they accepted health insurance. However, on my most recent visit on Wednesday – I saw a sign that listed some insurance companies which they accept. I was in a hurry, so I did not try to use my Blue Cross insurance card during my last visit. Part of the appeal of medical locations like Treat N Go in Waco are their pay your cash and get treatment fast option. The last time I visited Treat N Go, I was suffering from a sinus and upper respiratory infection. The Nurse Practitioner on duty conducted the same tests on me that a doctor would have and he was very friendly and seemed dedicated to making sure that I was back in good health as soon as possible.

The past twelve months, the media has been talking about how President Obama's new health care law will effect medical treatment in the future. I personally do not think the government will be more successful at running the health care industry, then insurance companies. However, I am so glad there are affordable medical clinics like Treat N Go in Waco – where a person in able to pay less than $100 for an office visit and be seen by a medical professional within a matter of minutes. The last thing I want to do, when already sick and feeling bad – is to sit in a doctors waiting room for hours, surrounded by other sick people. Even if you have gone to the same family doctor for years, the next time you call for an appointment and are told that it will be days before they can see you. Why not make a quick stop at Treat N Go, get treated and well on your way to recovery - long before your regular family doctor could even fit you in for an appointment?

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Central Texas Sickness On The Rise

When I came home from work on Friday, I felt fine. However, by midnight I knew I was getting sick with some kind of upper respiratory/sinus infection. Then on Saturday, I started feeling really bad. As it became difficult to breath, I decided to stay inside all weekend and only got out of bed to watch a few minutes of the Superbowl. I should have called in sick at work on Monday, but we were already short handed – so I slowly got myself out of bed and into the shower - then headed on into work. That is where I discovered some type of winter illness is making the rounds in the Waco area. Monday night, I was still coughing so much that it was hard to catch my breath. Also, my ribs and diaphragm are very sore - as if I had been working out all weekend.

When it comes to illness, I am a very fortune man – because the last time I was as sick as this was back in 2007. While I did not go to the doctor for this illness, it does seem to be some type of sinus infection that effects every part of the body. When I arrived at work on Monday, I heard from several people who have experienced this same illness. Some of them were sick last week, while others told me that their spouse or children have suffer from the same thing in February. Even Monday night, when I stopped by a convenience store after work, the clerk said he was feeling sick from the same symptoms. While the symptoms of this current bug traveling around Waco are similar to the flu, I personally think it is bacterial – rather than viral.

I was really looking forward to last weekend and I even considering taking in a Superbowl party or two. However, those plans were canceled shortly after returning from work on Friday. While this new sickness is making the rounds around Waco bringing with it fever and a general terrible feeling, I did start to recover by Monday night. The worst part about upper respiratory and/or sinus infections are the low grade cough they leave behind for weeks and sometimes months after the illness is gone. My hope is that you do not catch this new Waco sickness, but if you do – plan on staying in bed for the better part of 72 hours, until your body builds up enough strength and antibodies to fight it off.

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Superbowl More Than A Game, It's A National Party

The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers have arrived in Texas and on Sunday, one of them will be world champions in the NFL. With the exception of Packers' and Steelers' fans, the annual Superbowl game is so much more than just the final game of a season. For most people, the annual Superbowl game is more about celebrating at thousands of parties, then it is to cheer for one team over the other. The later part of this week proved to be a cold one here in the Waco area, as the final blast of a cold front that effect most of the country all week – blanketed the area with several inches of snow.

Even with Waco streets filled with snow on Friday, the only thing most people were talking about was what they were going to be doing on Superbowl Sunday. Most people I talked to on Friday were attending a Superbowl Party either at a friends house or at a local business. None of my conversations involved a debate on which team would win the game, but instead people were just eager to get together with friends around a big football game and have a good time. Several people did tell me that the best part of the Superbowl for them, were the funny commercials that appears during the game. During most of the NFL season, when I am glued to my TV set watching the Dallas Cowboys, my wife usually goes shopping in order not to watch the game. However, she is always around during the Superbowl – because she likes the commercials.

While most people in the Waco area could care less which team wins the Superbowl on Sunday – most people will be near a TV set to watch the game anyway. Why? Simple because the annual Superbowl game has turned into an event that is much larger than the game itself. Yes, the NFL will bask in the glory of well over 100 million people watching their biggest game of the year. However - there is so much more to Superbowl Sunday, these days, than a football game. For most people watching the game, it will be the party and the commercials that will keep them tuned in for several hours and not the play on the field by the Green Bay Packers or the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Snowman Building In Central Texas

Today, there will be a new sight to see around Waco and Central Texas as hundreds of snowmen will appear on the lawns of homes and businesses throughout the area. At 10pm last night, snow began falling in Waco and before the sun rises today – forecasters predict that 3 to 5 inches of snow will be on the ground. Mainly snow deprived Waco, finds itself with the “white stuff” only once or twice per year. It appears that our best chance for a meaningful snowfall that will not melt before sunrise will occur today February 4, 2011. It's not just kids that love to build a snow man or two in Waco, but adults seem to let their inter youth slip out every time snow falls in our city.

Even between midnight and 2am, some of my friends on Facebook were still awake and going outside to touch and experience the snow falling. I don't know what it is about snow that brings out the child in most people, but my guess is that something buried deep inside our mind creates a child like feeling each time snow begins falls. After previous large snowfalls in Waco, I have driven down Austin Avenue where dozens of snowmen are usually found. I'm not sure why the folks who live on Austin Avenue are so eager to build a snowman, but they are. With up to 5 inches of snow likely to be on the ground in Waco by 8am. I expect that there will by hundreds of snowmen popping up by noon today

I learned a long time ago, that there is an art to building a good snowman. For a snowman to last more than a few hours in Waco, it must be extremely fat at the bottom and on it's head. The great news for snowman builders today is that the high temperature in Waco is not expected to rise above freezing. That means that many of the snowmen built on Friday, could very well survive the weekend – which is very unusual for Central Texas. If you are an experienced snowman builder or you want to try your hand at constructing your first one. Today is your best opportunity to get the job done and having it remain around for more than a few hours. Have fun!

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Cold Weather Increases House Fire Risks

Every year, on the first real cold day of the winter, the Waco Fire Department answers more calls than usual - because residents are lighting their furnaces for the first time. The past week, the weather has been colder than normal and even though this is not the first winter blast of the year in Waco, there are still far too many house fires devastating families. Sadly, some people blame the victim, instead of realizing that a house fire could happen to anyone at any time. Certainly, many house fires could be avoided with more attention and alertness about the issue, but who is totally focused with laser attention 24 hours per day on everything?

It's one of the most devastating things that can occur in a family's life to watch their home burn to the ground. An old friend in the insurance business once told me that there were no better prospects to sell fire insurance to, then neighbors of those who just lost their home to fire. The citizens of Waco are fortune to have one of the best fire departments in the nation. However, there are thousands of rural Central Texas residents who find themselves with a 15 minute or more response time when a fire breaks out. Some of the most recent fires in the Waco area were located in rural settings where a slow response time and lack of available water - caused a bad fire to become a total loss.

Whether you live in the City of Waco or in the surrounding area, the best way to prevent a fire disaster is to have a plan of action - if your home catches on fire. At the top of the list, there must be a reliable way to get all family members out of the house in the event of a fire. Once everyone is safe, there should be working fire extinguishers available for family members to use - so small fires do not turn into a complete loss. The biggest thing most people can do to prevent a house fire is to be careful when lighting a gas furnace for the first time. Also, small electric space heaters will start fires - if placed too close to combustible materials. A friend of mine ends his emails with a signature saying: “be safe, be aware”. That is also wonderful advice for folks wanting to prevent house fires.

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Students & Employees Are Hoping For A Three Day Weekend

It started snowing in the Waco area around 10pm on Thursday night and with that beautiful white stuff falling from the sky, many students and employees began hoping for a snow day on Friday. From my location, not far from N. Valley Mills Drive, it appears that the snow is sticking to the well frozen ground. Rusty Garrett, from Channel 10, had predicted that it would snow Thursday night and he turned out to be 100% correct. Nothing excites a weatherman more than getting a forecast right. It's been a long week of extremely cold weather in Waco and throughout Central Texas. In fact, I told a coworker today – that I had already had my fill of winter for the entire year.

While driving around Waco on Thursday, I saw City of Waco employees working on a broken water pipe. That must be one of the worst jobs in the world when it's 20 degrees outside. I also have a friend who works at a local full service car wash tell me that he has been out of work all week. When I see City of Waco water department personnel working outside in 20 degree weather, while water is spraying into the air – I feel extremely blessed to have a job that does not require me to be subjected to either extreme cold or hot weather.

As the cold weather has continued to blanket the area this week, homeless shelters have become packed with visitors who normally sleep outside, even during the winter months. It's been snowing now for about an hour and as I look out the window into a yard that is normally brown this time of year, there is something soothing about seeing a sea of white instead. I think it's likely that most school districts will cancel classes on Friday. Heck, the other day they canceled school in the Waco area even when there was little to no snow falling. Each employer will decide whether or not to close on Friday based on their own circumstances. However, considering how many Waco area employees have suffered hardships just in getting to work all this week - I hope non essential businesses will consider allowing their employees to have an unexpected three day weekend to help them recover from all this cold weather.

For the rest of us who must work on Friday, let's just remember what the Sarge use to say on “Hillstreet Blues” many years ago - “Let's all be careful out there”.

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Dallas Superbowl Revenue Extends To Central Texas

Mike Copeland wrote an interesting article in the Thursday edition of the Waco Tribune Herald about some local hotels receiving reservations for people who are attending the Superbowl. The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is alive with excitement this week as the first ever Superbowl will be played there. Just to make sure the Mayor of Arlington doesn't get mad at me too – the actual Superbowl game will not be played in Dallas, but at the new home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas. It's hard for me to believe that with the thousands of hotels and motels in the DFW area that there are not enough rooms to handle 100,000 or so fans from Green Bay and Pittsburgh.

My best guess agrees with Copeland in his article that some people just don't want to book a hotel room in Dallas or Fort Worth, because they probably have family members who live in the Waco area. Whatever the reason, it's a good thing for the local economy anytime hotel rooms are filling up in the Waco area. Back when George W. Bush was the President of the United States and vacationed at his Crawford ranch – dozens of new hotels were built in the Waco area. I remember asking myself, even back then, how in the world the City of Waco would be able to support so many new hotel rooms – once he was not in office anymore. To date, most of those newly constructed hotels are still in business, so I guess there was more demand in this area than I at first thought.

Like most folks around here, I am so disappointed that the Dallas Cowboys will not be playing as the home team in the Superbowl this year. However, that disappointment is tempered by the fact that there will be a Superbowl played in Central Texas for the first time. Late estimates suggest that Superbowl attendance at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington could exceed 100,000 people. However, I do not expect Sunday's attendance to surpass the all time record set at the Rose Bowl in 1980 of almost 104,000 people. Right now, on a funny note, I just hope that our local power companies will be able to avoid rolling blackouts when all those Superbowl fans start showing up in Waco to book their hotel rooms this weekend.

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Number One Lady Bears From Baylor Destroy Oklahoma

On Sunday, the Baylor Lady Bears were played a close game by A&M. However, on Wednesday night – Baylor played a blowout game against OU and won by the score of 92-70. A few weeks ago, I suggested that there are really only two great girls basketball teams in the United States. The Baylor Lady Bears and UConn. Mixed in with Baylor and Connecticut are about a dozen good basketball teams, but they are not in the same caliber as Baylor and UConn in 2011. After watching A&M play a close game to Baylor on Sunday, I am now ready to say that there are three great girls basketball teams in 2011. Baylor, UConn and Texas A&M.

Is anyone else already starting to have March Madness fever? I'm not sure if it's the extreme cold weather from the past few days or the remarkable way Baylor is winning it's games this year – but I most certainly am ready for March and the “Final Four”. Going into 2011, I also had high hopes for the Baylor Men – but as of late, they do not seem ready to compete this year in any meaningful way in the playoffs. So, all my hopes and best wishes are flowing in the direction of the Baylor Lady Bears - who might be peaking at just the right time for this years “Final Four” championship. Until I watched Texas A&M almost beat the Lady Bears last weekend, I did not think there would be a serious challenge to Baylor until they met UConn in the championship game this March.

Now, I'm not so sure that Baylor will easily walk into the “Final Four” game against UConn, because there is a good chance that Texas A&M could beat them before they get there. During the first half of Sunday's game between Baylor and Texas A&M, the Lady Bears totally dominated A&M. However, in the second half – a completely different Texas A&M team came out to play and Baylor was fortunate to win that game. Time will tell if Texas A&M has a great team in 2011 or just a good one that was pumped up when playing the number one team in the nation. Right now, I hope for a Baylor Lady Bear victory each and every time they show up to play a game and so far that wish has come true.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rolling Blackouts To Continue On Thursday

Wednesday was a tough day to be a citizen of Waco, because extreme cold weather and a couple of power plant disruptions caused there to be rolling blackouts throughout the day. Reports late Wednesday night say that more rolling blackouts should be expected on Thursday in many parts of Texas. I consider myself lucky, because the only thing that effected my wife and I on Wednesday – were the rolling blackouts. Several friends and coworkers told me that they were were without electricity for most of Tuesday night. One coworker, even told a funny story about putting her makeup on using two candles and a flash light, since her home was in total darkness when she woke up.

To me, the whole idea of rolling power blackouts are events that usually happen during the long hot days of summer. I cannot remember a time in recent years when the electric company was forced to institute this type of policy during the winter months. While I'm not sure exactly what happened to cause Wednesday's rolling power blackouts in Waco, several television stations reported that there was a shortage of electricity in the area, because two different power producing plants had major water-line breaks at the same time. A little good news was reported late Wednesday night that should help the power needs of Texas for the rest of the week. With the electricity demand of Texas continuing to be at an all time high going into Thursday and Friday, the government of Mexico has agreed to sell the state extra electricity until this latest cold spell leaves the area some time this weekend.

Like many other long time Waco residents, I have more jackets in my closet than real warm winter coats. That said, I was fortunate to find an old, heavy winter coat in the back of my closet this morning. Those light jackets I wear during most of the winter - certainly would not have kept me warn this week in Waco. As I was walking to the house tonight and my fingers were very cold, my mind was wondering how in the world people in places like New York City and Chicago survive such cold winters? Most of the time, the weather in Central Texas is just fine with me. However, this week of extreme cold temperatures and the extreme heat that will invade the area this summer are certainly exceptions to our usually great weather.

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Gordon Collier (KWTX Channel 10) Arrives In Iraq

It was great seeing Gordon Collier alive, well and reporting live from Iraq on Tuesday night. Collier flew from Fort Hood, Texas – halfway around the world to bring back stories from soldiers, who's family members call the Killeen, Texas area home. Gordon Collier has been a member of the KWTX Channel 10 news team since the days of the David Koresh/Branch Davidian standoff in Waco. On Tuesday night, Gordon talked about how difficult it was just to get to Iraq for soldiers who have deployed there for years. As he described his travels from Central Texas to Iraq, I kept thinking back to an old work saying that goes: “hurry up and wait”.

After a long trip and countless hours just to get there, Gordon Collier is now in Iraq and judging from his facial expressions on New 10 Tuesday night - he appeared to be in be well rested and in good spirits. Colliers' co-anchor Julie Hays visited with him via a satellite hook-up. As many of you already know, Julie Hays is pregnant and has opened up her new family journey to thousands TV viewers in the Waco area. The next few nights, Gordon Collier will be reporting live on News Channel 10 about his travels around the nation of Iraq. On Wednesday, he plans to fly to Mosul, Iraq and visit with US troops there. If I am not mistaken, it was in the City of Mosul that Saddam Hussein's two sons battled to their deaths against US troops early on in the Iraqi war effort.

It's a real treat for Waco TV news viewers to have one of their own reporters/anchors reporting live nightly from Iraq. For many Central Texas residents, the end of the Iraq War cannot come soon enough. A great deal of American treasure has been lost on the battlefields of Iraq, since the war began. However, on a positive note – it does appear that the new Iraqi government is making great strides in learning how to govern themselves in a free and democratic way. I look forward to watching News Channel 10's Gordon Collier report back from Iraq all this week and at the end of his journey - I pray that God brings him back home safely to Central Texas.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Schools Closed While Businesses Remained Open

Most schools in and around the Waco area were closed on Tuesday, because of bad weather. However, most businesses remained open and that created a problem for hundreds of parents who did not have a back-up plan for child care. A few times per year, this same scenario occurs and the same people who did not have a plan the year before, find themselves at a loss for what to do once again. It's pretty much a certainty that public schools in and around Waco will declare a couple of snow days each year, even if there is no snow on the ground. However, some people refuse to plan ahead and those are the folks who found themselves between a rock and a hard place on Tuesday.

While I believe it's the wrong thing to do, some young parents look at public school as nothing more than a child care facility during most of the year. Then that once or twice a year bad weather event occurs and those parents do not have an alternate location to watch their kids, when the boss says that normal working hours will be observed. I know some Waco businesses allow parents to bring their children to work on occasions like these, but others do not want small children interfering with the normal business day. With few other options available, some parents will be forced to stay home on bad weather school days and either take a vacation day or miss out of 8 hours of pay.

While the weather in Waco was very windy and cold on Tuesday, forecasters are predicting that Wednesday morning it will be even colder than yesterday. In fact, Rusty Garrett from Channel 10 news said that by 6:00 Wednesday morning the temperature in Waco will be 12 degrees or lower. I think it's possible that some schools in this area will, once again, cancel school on Wednesday and that will create even more problems for working parents. A word of advice from a man who has lived in Waco for almost 35 years. Count on there being at least a couple of school days each year being canceled, because of bad weather, and also prepare for the possibility that your employer will not be closed on the same day as school.

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What Happened To Tommy B's Restaurant In Waco?

When I arrived home from work on Monday, my wife told me that she saw a “for lease” sign at 900 N. Valley Mills Drive where Tommy B's Restaurant use to be. I certainly hope that they have moved to a new location and not gone out of business. Every Saturday, I look forward to eating at Tommy B's. It's not uncommon for us to wait for an available table, because so many people are enjoying this fine restaurant. I hope someone will post a comment to this blog post, if they know what happened to Tommy B's Restaurant in Waco.

My wife and I ate at Tommy B's this past Saturday and the place was packed with customers. As I usually do, I ordered Tommy B's great breakfast and it was wonderful. A couple of weeks ago, we ate some “home made chili” that was fantastic. It did seem like the employees were mentally distracted on Saturday and I am hoping that the reason for their behavior was not because the restaurant was closing for good. If Tommy B's Waco has gone out of business, it will be a great loss to this community. It's common to meet old friends and business associates when dining there.

If Tommy B's has moved to another location, I hope someone will post the address in the comments section of this story. I know people would be willing to travel to enjoy Tommy B's great food, if we only knew where it's new location will be. If on the other hand, Tommy B's has gone out of business – I hope someone will post that news, as well. The numbers of locally owned restaurants in Waco continues to diminish each year and I certainly hope that we have not lost another one, because of over saturation by out-of-town franchise operations.

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Monday, January 31, 2011

Bitter Cold Tuesday, School Closings Possible

When I went to the store about 9pm on Monday night, a coat was not even required. However, by this time tomorrow – a cold front will be in Waco and the daytime high temperature will not surpass 40 degrees. I remember hearing old timers say when I was young, that the if you don't like the weather in Waco - just wait 15 minutes and it will change. It appears that Tuesday will validate those old guys "big time". While I believe the weather forecasters when they say Tuesday will be a day of terribly cold weather in Waco, it's just hard to imagine the weather changing so much between now and 5am when this cold front arrives in the area.

There are already plans being put into place to cancel school in some parts of the Waco area and some local businesses might decide to shutdown, as well. I moved to Waco in the early 1980's and for the most part I love the weather in this part of the country. However, there are two weather events that are not my favorites in Waco. The first are the 100 degree plus long hot and humid summer days and second the extreme cold weather that only happens a couple of times per year. While it's possible that Waco schools will close on Tuesday, my best guess is that students might be getting their hopes up for no school tonight, only to have them crushed early tomorrow morning.

The worst part about cold, slick and icy weather in Central Texas is the fact that most long term residents do not know how to drive on those types of roads. I grew up in the Texas Panhandle not far from Amarillo. Up there – ice, snow and miserable winter weather is a reality for several full months each year during the winter. When roads are covered with ice and snow for several weeks or a month at a time, residents learn how to navigate their travel via experience. However, with snow and ice only a brief part of the Waco winter experience each year, no one has time to figure out the best way to travel down a roadway that is covered with ice. My fingers are crossed with the hope that Tuesday's winter cold weather blast into Waco will not be that bad.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Waco TV Anchors Gordon Collier & Doug Currin Travel To Iraq

The other day, I saw a promotional advertisement on KWTX-TV saying that their lead anchor Gordon Collier was traveling to Iraq. Then last night, I saw a similar ad on KCEN-TV stating that their new news anchor Doug Currin was also traveling to Iraq. Is Ann Harder, from KXXV, going too? My guess is that leaders at Fort Hood have made arrangement for local Waco TV news anchors to travel to Iraq, in order to bring stories from troops, based in Killeen, back home to their families. It's also a good time for local Waco media to take a good hard look at Iraq - before US troops leave that country for good, soon.

From the very beginning of the war, all three Waco area TV stations have performed an admirable job at reporting news stories from Iraq. Even when the national news media turned their focus to more pressing domestic stories - KWTX, KXXV and KCEN have all continued to bring information from the war front back home to news hungry family members at Fort Hood. The Iraq news coverage by our local TV stations was most emotional to me - when they opened up their airwaves to let ground troops, in Iraq, send video messages to family members back in Central Texas during holiday's. Now - many of the Fort Hood troops who have served multiple deployments in Iraq will be coming home, soon.

I think it's great that the US military is making it possible for Gordon Collier and Doug Currin to travel to Iraq. For all I know - someone from KXXV will be making that trip, as well. With the economy being the only big news of the day, recently - it's sadly easy to forget the men and women who are sacrificing it all to protect our very freedom. I look forward to watching news reports from Iraq, both on KWTX and KCEN in the upcoming weeks. The Iraq War has been extremely long and filled with far too many ultimate sacrifices from troops all over the United States. At long last - many of our brave soldiers will be heading back to Fort Hood and Central Texas and out of harms way.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Who Will Win Aggies Lady Bears Game Sunday?

Being ranked number six in the country is a wonderful place to be for the Texas A&M Aggie girls. Unless, the next team slated in your line-up is ranked number one. On Sunday afternoon, the Baylor Lady Baylor Bears will play the Aggie girls from College Station. The Lady Bears from Baylor have been ranked number one in girls college basketball, ever since UConn lost about one month ago. There is still that nagging question in the back of all college prognosticator's minds as to whether or not the Baylor Lady Bears can beat UConn when they play again in the "Final Four"?

Long before they or we know the answer to that question, Texas A&M will have played the Lady Bears and the outcome of that game will be known. If the Lady Bears from Baylor are successful at defeat the Aggies on Sunday, one more big challenge to their greatness in 2011 will be settled. However, if Baylor loses to A&M on Sunday - expect the Lady Bears to drop well out of the top ten in girls college basketball by next Tuesday. There is no debating the fact that the Texas A&M girls have a great team in 2011. However, I feel certain that when Sunday's game is over - it will be the Lady Bears celebrating and not the Aggies from Texas A&M. My sister lives in College Station and is very proud of the A&M girls team. However, she told me last weekend - that she doubts that her favorite team is good enough to beat the Lady Bears.

My guess is that the game between A&M and Baylor, on Sunday, will be sold out. Sports writers, TV commentators and basketball fans in general will be watching closely to find out - if the Baylor Lady Bears are really good enough to be ranked number one in the country. While it's a big ego boast to be ranked at the number one position in girls college basketball, the downside is that every team you play wants to beat you that much more. Here in Waco and 90 miles down the road in College Station, fans from both teams are ready to rumble come Sunday afternoon. Will Sunday prove that the Baylor Lady Bears are rightfully ranked number one or will a Texas A&M victory smash everyone's dreams? We will all know the answer to that question before Monday morning. No matter who wins between the girls from A&M and the Lady Bears, it should be one heck of a good game.

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