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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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

12-Year-Old Girl Stabbed In College Station McDonald's

College Station, located about 100 miles south of Waco down Highway 6, was the place of a stabbing last night of a 12-year-old girl in a McDonald's Restaurant. Video tape surveillance shows a young white man entering the restaurant - shortly before the girl was stabbed in a random violent act. According to local TV reports, the girl was taken to a local hospital and is in stable condition. According to police, there was no confrontation between the man and the 12-year-old girl before he walked up and stabbed her with a knife. The girl was just standing by the door in the McDonald's Restaurant, waiting for a ride, when the man pulled out a knife - stabbed her and then fled out the door.

In a strange twist of fate, that same McDonald's Restaurant in College Station, was robbed just hours before this stabbing took place. Since College Station is the location of one of the biggest universities in the state, parents all over the country are expressing their concern over this violent crime. So far, no arrests have been made in this case. Please watch the video below, provided by "New Channel 10" in Waco. This video shows the suspect police are looking for in this crime.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Billy Joe Harris Identified As Twilight Rapist

On Monday, police identified Billy Joe Harris as the man they believe is the "Twilight Rapist". Through DNA testing, Texas authorities said the evidence recovered at several different crime scenes was a match to Harris. Billy Joe Harris is a 53 year-old-man - who lives in Missouri City, Texas. He is employed by the State of Texas in the prison system. For lack of a better term, Harris was "caught in the act" of trying to rape another elderly woman on Sunday morning when he was captured by police. Two Edna, Texas police officers arrested Harris after responding to a silent alarm for help from a local resident.

Police in the Waco area and in other parts of the state will be working to put their cases together in order to prosecute Harris. My guess is that "Billy Joe Harris" will take a plea deal, which will put him in jail until he is a very old man - rather than face numerous trials in various jurisdictions around the State of Texas. Rape is a terrible crime under any circumstance, but when a person decides to break into the homes of elderly women who live alone and then rape and terrorize them, that crime is especially heinous. I have no clue what would motive any person to rape and rob female senior citizens and ruin what is left of their lives.

It is interesting that Billy Joe Harris is an employee of the prison system in Texas, because soon he will be looking out from the other side of those bars he has guarded for years. The rest of Harris' life will not be a pleasant experience, because everyone knows that it's unsafe for a former prison guard to find himself living among convicts. Finally, after many years of worry and concern that their rapist would return and harm them again - female senior citizens around the State of Texas can finally breath easy and get on with living the rest of the life.

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Waco Area Twilight Rapist Arrested After DNA Match


In Edna, Texas - an arrest was made early Sunday morning (4:30am) of a suspect that might be the elusive "Twilight Rapist" who has preyed on elderly women in the Waco area for months. Police in Edna, arrested the suspect when an elderly lady tripped a silent alarm in her home. For a long time, the "Twilight Rapist" has walked free after breaking into the homes of elderly women who live alone to rape and rob them. The number of rapes committed by the "Twilight Rapist" hit a peak last summer at which time the world famous Texas Rangers joined in the search for him. Finally, female senior citizens will be able to rest at night - without the worry of someone breaking into their homes and sexually attacking them.

Late reports on Sunday night claim that there has been a positive DNA match to the suspect arrested in Edna - that ties him to at least one of the 2009 rapes in the Waco area. The "Twilight Rapist" committed his crimes in Leon and Bell Counties. Central Texas communities where rapes took place during this crime spree include: Marlin, Yoakum, Luling and Moody. A news conference is scheduled for Monday to release more information about the arrest of the Twilight Rapist.

The following links lead to addition information about the arrest of the Twilight Rapist.


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Waco Prepares For Arctic Cold Front Monday

Unless you were living under a rock, on Saturday, you noticed that the weather in Waco has taken a turn to the cold side. Right now, Sunday January 09, 2011 at approximately 2am, I hear rain falling outside as a massive Arctic cold front moves into the Waco area. Sunday's high temperature in Waco is expect to be near freezing and on Monday - the full force of this latest cold front will drop temperatures into the upper 20's. I can't help but worry about animals during extreme cold weather like this and I hope that folks will do the right thing and protect their dogs, cats and other pets over the next few days until this cold spell moves on.

Saturday afternoon, my wife and I attended a birthday party in Elm Mott. It was clear to see that the temperature outside was dropping pretty fast as the afternoon went along. Then, when the sun went down Saturday night, those cloudy skies over Waco began to open up and the rain started in earnest around 9pm. I have not gone outside in a few hours, but just a quick look out of the living room window tells me that along with the light rain that is falling in Waco right now, the temperature outside has dropped considerably too. I moved to Waco in 1983. Back then, it was common to see several big cold fronts move through this area each winter and with them a considerable amount of snowfall. However, for the past 10 years - very little snow and fewer cold fronts seem to move through the Waco area each winter.

My younger years were lived in a small town in the Texas panhandle. On many occasions, I remember waking up in the morning before school to find snow drifts that were upwards of 10 feet. In the Texas panhandle, school was not canceled because of 10 foot snow drifts. However, in the Waco area - I have seen school canceled even when the forecast calls for just a small amount of snow to accumulate. At that birthday party Saturday afternoon, my niece made me laugh when she said she was hoping for snow on Sunday, so school would be canceled on Monday. It's so funny how schools in the Waco area are eager to close for a snow day, when even bigger snow falls do not close schools in the Texas panhandle. Everyone, stay bundled up and off the roads until this Arctic cold front passes the Waco area on Tuesday.

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Arctic Cold Front To Blast Waco On Monday

Folks, put simply it is going to get cold this weekend and by the time you head to work on Monday morning - there could be snow on the ground in Waco and the temperature will be below 30 degrees. All of this is happening, because an Arctic cold front is moving into the Waco area and as of right now - the National Weather Service is not sure exactly how cold it will get this weekend and snow predictions are all over the map. I remember when Waco received a bunch of snow, on one day, last winter and now it appears that our one big annual blast of winter weather will be here for 2011 on Monday morning.

The biggest dangers in and around Waco when there is cold weather and snow are the local drivers who do not know how to drive on slick/snow filled roads. I was born and raised in the Amarillo area and up there, several heavy snowfalls and blizzards are the norm each year. However, in Waco - sometimes two or three years can pass before any sizable snow falls in our city. The only advice I can give to my fellow Waco residents is to stay off the roads on Sunday and Monday, when the worst of this Arctic cold front blows through and if you must get out and drive, please take your time and be careful.

Another thing many residents of Waco forget when an Arctic cold front blows through our city is to make sure their pets are not left outside when temperatures drop below freezing. A dog or cat can freeze to death in a short period of time, if left without shelter from the extreme cold. Also, remember that since Waco is not exposed to extreme cold temperatures that often, water pipes both in homes and businesses along with those underground are not as protected from freezing temperatures as they are in other part of the country. The best advice for everyone is to stay home and off the streets until this Arctic blast of cold and miserable weather passes on Tuesday of next week.

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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Will Baylor's Lady Bears Be Ranked Number One?

Now that Uconn has been defeated by Stanford, the next question on the minds of Waco fans is - will the Baylor Lady Bears be ranked number one in the country next week? Frankly, I do not believe the Lady Bears will necessarily move up to number one in the rankings - since Uconn did beat Baylor earlier this year in a crushing one point defeat. However, there seems to be a tide running against Uconn since they have been ranked number one for so long. Sure it would be nice if new college basketball polls came out next week and ranked the Baylor Lady Bears in the number one spot, but polls are always something I pay little attention to considering they seem to change all the time.

The Lady Bears are riding a 10 game winning streak going into Big 12 play and in my opinion, the team is looking as good as or better than they did when they won a national championship many years ago. One thing going for the Baylor Lady Bears now, that did not play into their victories in years past is the outstanding play of Brittney Griner. In my decades of following girls college basketball, Griner is the best player that I have ever watched. Not only is Brittney Griner taller than many men playing basketball - her aggressive style on the basketball court does make the difference in most Baylor games. If Waco's Lady Baylor Bears are successful at winning a national title in 2011, Brittney Griner will be the main reason for that victory.

As she always does, Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey took the question of whether or not the Lady Bears will be ranked number one in the country next week in stride. She said, "some team has to be number one, so why not us"? In the end - Brittney Griner, head coach Kim Mulkey and the rest of the Baylor girls basketball team know that poll rankings can and will change like the wind - but winning a national championship is something that will last a lifetime. In my gut, I believe 2011 is the time that the Baylor Lady Bears basketball team will leave Indianapolis with a national championship trophy in their hands.

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cheddar's Restaurant Waco Has Great Rib-Eye Steak

On Friday night, my wife and I visited Cheddar's Restaurant located at 4208 Franklin in Waco. We have enjoyed the food at Cheddar's for many years, but our last visit was the first time I ordered their rib-eye steak. Folks, let me tell you that if you are a fan of good rib-eye steaks - Cheddar's is the place to go. Not only was my steak cooked perfectly, it was very tender and very tasty. To top off my steak experience at Cheddar's in Waco, the price for their aged 12 oz. rib-eye steak was only $12.95. On most visits to Waco Cheddar's Restaurant, I order the half rack of ribs - which are absolutely fantastic.

Most of the time, on Friday nights, Cheddar's is packed from about 7pm till midnight. However, last night when we visited Cheddar's on New Years Eve - we were seated promptly and our food was served within 15 minutes of our arrival. Another thing both my wife and I enjoy while eating at Cheddar's are their chips dipped in Chile con queso. There are few places in the world that have better Chile con queso than at Cheddar's. I'm not really sure how they make it, but after it sits for about 5 minutes - every time a person dips a corn chip into it, the cheese strings to the chip in the neatest way.

Now, I have two favorite menu choices when visiting Cheddar's in Waco. The first is my all time favorite half-rack of ribs and after last night, it will be difficult not to order their 12 oz. rib-eye steak. The rib-eye steak I order last night was so big that I could only eat half of it. So tonight, I decided to finish the rest of my steak along with about 1/3 of a baked potato which I took home with me last night. Many times, when steaks are rewarmed in the microwave oven at home - the meat becomes tough and difficult to eat. However, the rib-eye steak that I had left over from Cheddar's - did not lose any of it's tenderness when it was reheated the next day.

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Mega Millions Lotto January 4 Drawing Excites Waco Players

Click Here For Mega Millions Winning Lottery Numbers For (01/04/2011)

If the hype turns into reality, on January 4, 2011 - the multi-state Mega Millions jackpot will soar to over $300 million. On New Years Eve, there was no winner and even then the estimated jackpot amount was a tremendous $242 million. In and around the Waco area, lotto fever is already alive and well and by the time Tuesday night rolls around - long lines will be forming at area convenience stores as thousands of people wait patiently to buy a lotto ticket that could change their lives forever. What most people miss in all of the big lotto excitement is that the odds of a person winning the Mega Millions jackpot is about 1 in 180 million.

That said, I see no harm in putting down one dollar for a chance to win over $300 million. The real problems begin when people who do not have enough cash to begin with, decide to spend hundreds of dollars on lottery tickets - instead of feeding their families and paying the rent. If folks would use just a little common sense when it comes to playing the lotto, they would realize that it is next to impossible for them to win any of the grand prizes. I personally think that buying a single lotto ticket is one of the best entertainment values around. For one dollar, a person could buy a cup of coffee or a small candy bar or they could buy a lotto ticket that will give them a big sense of excitement, at least until the next drawing is held.

Common sense and moderation have always been the keys to a happy life, but there will always be some folks who wrongly believe that they can short cut that path to personal success and fulfillment. I expect to buy my one dollar ticket sometime this weekend from the folks at Mega Millions and I will patiently wait for the next drawing to see if I'm the winner. However, I will not be at the mall or searching for a larger home while I am waiting for the next drawing. Common sense tells me that my odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot on January 4 are greater than being stuck by lightning on a clear day. Happy New Year everyone!

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