Thursday, June 25, 2009

Larter/Beyoncé Battle In Movie "Obsessed"

After a dry spell for a couple of weeks, finally some good movies are opening once again at the Starplex 6 Theater in Waco this weekend. In addition to the latest Hannah Montana movie, "Obsessed" staring Beyoncé Knowles and Ali Larter will be showing at Waco's dollar theater as well. My wife and I have wanted to see "Obsessed" for a long time now, but since we are both over the age of 50 and a bit tight with our money these days, the Waco Starplex 6 dollar theater turns out to be our favorite place for cheap Waco summer entertainment.

The last movie we saw at the Waco Starplex 6 was called "The Soloist". Wow, what a disappointment that movie turned out to be. From the previews we had seen for several months, "The Soloist" appeared to be an interesting movie that the whole family would like. However, after sitting through that movie for almost two hours - we both left the theater wanting to talk about anything but the movie we just saw.

While occasionally my wife and I pick out a bad movie to see at the Waco Starplex 6, the good news is that even if the movie is bad - it only cost $1.25 per person for admission and for us a price tag of $2.50 per couple is worth the money just to get out of the sun for a short period of time this time of year. To me, "Obsessed" appears similar to another movie we saw decades ago called "Fatal Attraction". In that movie, the male character played my Michael Douglas cheats on his wife with a mistress from hell played by Glenn Close. If "Obsessed" is half as good of a movie as "Fatal Attraction" was - we are in for one nice treat this weekend.

I told my wife the other day that the movie called "Obsessed" is perfect for both men and women. Women will like the movie plot of a younger woman trying to steal the heart of a man from his wife and men will love "Obsessed" because there is nothing more exciting for guys than to watch a cat fight. We will probably visit the Waco Starplex 6 on Saturday to see the movie called "Obsessed", so if you see a mid-aged couple with two smiles on their face during that movie - you might just be looking at us.

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Title: Larter/Beyoncé Battle In Movie "Obsessed"
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Arrest Made In Car Burglaries

Waco TV station KXXV Channel 25 is reporting today that last night there were several car burglaries and one vehicle stolen in Woodway. One person is in custody and police are hopeful that they will soon discover the identities of others that were also responsible for last night's string of car break-in's in the City of Woodway, Texas. I am personally glad to see a city in the Waco area that takes these types of crimes seriously, because as many of us know - car break-ins/burglaries have been a huge problem around here for a long time.

Like many other Waco residents, my wife and I have experienced our fair share of car burglaries over the years. For us, we feel so violated when we wake up in the morning to a broken out window on one of our vehicles. Of course, it's no fun either being forced to drive to a car glass replacement business first thing in the morning to fix what some creep did to one of our cars the night before either. I know the Waco PD has more important things to focus on than car burglaries, but from a purely personal point of view - I would like to see more of these late night criminals put behind bars.

One thing I have noticed about car burglars is that they all seem to hit one area or neighborhood on one night and then not return for many more months. Last night, it seems to have been Woodway's turn to have a traveling band of nighttime criminals invade their neighborhoods to break into cars and trucks. However, the good news is that Woodway police caught one of them and hopefully with the proper interrogation techniques they will be able to get this one person to give up more people that were involved in last nights crime spree.

Over the past year, I have noticed that car burglaries have moved from just a crime that mainly takes place at night - to one where some people will break into cars and trucks right in front of a home or business in the middle of the day. Within the past year, I personally know of three people that have had their vehicle broken into, while they were working in a Waco office just a few feet away. My gut feeling is that car burglaries during the daytime hours are increasing, because so few arrests have been made over the years when cars are broken into at night.

Title: Arrest Made In Car Burglaries
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Waco Summer Heatwave Continues

My computer temperature button went up to 106 degrees today. If I had not been outside I might have thought there was some kind of mistake, but since I had already been outside in Waco for several hours this afternoon - I knew that there was nothing wrong with the Channel 10 weather bug device. To make matters worse, I slept in a little later than normal this morning - so when I logged onto my computer around 11:30am, the temperature outside was already in the mid 90's. At that point, I wished that I was a big lotto winner so I would not be forced to leave the house at all today.

Considering that the past four or five days have all had high temperatures of 100 degrees plus in Waco, there is little doubt that by the time September rolls around this year - all of us are going to be praying for cooler weather. I have lived in Waco since 1983 and over those years I have seen many hot as heck summers here in Central Texas. However, considering that the Waco temperature has risen so high so early in the year - does make me wonder if something else is not going on to cause such a spike in summer temperatures.

Don't get me wrong, I am not one of those environmentalist that think Global Warming is out to destroy the world in the next few years - but most certainly the weather does seem more hot now than it did here in Waco back in 1983 when I moved here. Something else that is easy to think about in June of 2009 is the fact that when I moved to Waco in the mid 1980's, almost every winter there was at least one decent snowfall. However, it has been years since the last time I remember any cold weather hitting Waco and lasting for more than 48 hours.

Today, after my wife and I went out to eat we stopped by a local convenience store and while checking out I saw one of my neighbors. My neighbor asked if our air conditioning was keeping us cool this summer? I told him yes, but I also said that we replaced our unit a couple of years ago and I suggested that he might want to consider doing the same thing. I watched Andy Anderson on Channel 6 TV tonight at ten and from the look on his face, the bad news of hot temperatures and high humidity will be in the Waco forecasts for many more weeks to come.

Title: Waco Summer Heatwave Continues
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Child Murder Angers Waco Residents

On Sunday, 5-year-old Sinsear Kirvin was brutally murdered in Lacy Lakeview, Texas allegedly by his uncle 22-year-old Christopher Mack. This sad and tragic case of child abuse and murder has made almost everyone in the Waco area angry. Many of the comments that I have heard today from friends and coworkers pointed fingers of blame at Sinsear's mother Brandi Mack of Mexia, Texas. While it is not my job to judge Brandi Mack, many other people I have talked to have been red faced angry that she let her son stay with her brother, considering the past allegations against him of harm to young children.

Every time a tragedy like this one takes place, it is so easy for people to jump in and blame a parent for the bad actions of someone else. Considering that Sinsear Kirvin was the nephew of Christopher Mack, it's difficult for me to imagine that Sinsear's mom, Brandi would have knowingly put her son in harms way - but in reality I do not know any of the people involved in this case and long ago I stopped assuming that all people know the difference between right and wrong.

I do know this much, if the charges against Christopher Mack are proven true in a court of law - then he should not be permitted to walk the street again as a free man. There are some criminal actions that are beyond what I believe to fall within rehabilitation guidelines and killing a 5-year-old child by beating him to death with a belt and then waiting up to an hour to take that child to a hospital for medical treatment qualifies as a criminal offense that justified a person spending the rest of their life in jail or worse.

There should be an investigation of Sinsear's mother Brandi, if for no other reason than to find out if she knew how violent her brother really was around young children. While I will not judge Brandi Mack at this point in time, if investigators learn that she knew that her brother Christopher was a violent man and she let Sinsear visit his house unsupervised anyway - then a lack of concern for her young son's well being will take on a different appearance to me. I know people grieve in different ways, but I was surprised that Sinsear's mother Brandi and another relative appeared on News Channel 10 last night and talked to a reporter for that television station with few, if any, tears in their eyes.

Title: Child Murder Angers Waco Residents
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Heat/Economy = More Waco Crime?

It's not big news that some types of crime increase during the summer months here in Waco. However, the summer of 2009 seems to be starting off extra violent and while the added heat and humidity is playing a part to increase the Waco crime rate this year - I believe the bad economy is just making matters worse. Over this past week, citizens of Waco have learned of the death of two young children and I have also noticed an increase in the numbers of domestic violence cases showing up in local police calls.

A couple of days ago I noticed something new when it comes to the heat here in Waco this summer. About 9:30pm on Monday night, I decided to drive to a convenience store to pick up a few items. My car had been sitting uncovered since about 2pm and when I unlocked it for my short drive, I noticed that it was still very hot inside my car - long after the afternoon sun had gone down. Maybe I had just forgot how long it takes for a sun exposed car in June to cool off inside or maybe there is something extra hot about the summer of 2009 in Waco?

If June is any example of how hot it's going to be in Waco this summer, then we are in for one heck of a scorcher in 2009. I only wish the economy was as hot as this summers weather. Speaking of the Waco economy, I have noticed something new recently when I travel around town either to eat or to buy things at retail stores. Usually during the summer months, fast food restaurants and local Waco retail stores are filled with kids working at summer jobs. However, this summer I have not noticed that many teenagers working at traditional summer jobs - but instead I have seen an increase in the numbers of people 60 years old plus working in those jobs.

My guess is that with jobs in short supply this summer in Waco, many order citizens are being forced back into the workforce - because many of the traditional sources of retirement income like 401K's and IRA's have lost value after Wall Street crashed late last year. While I don't want to pick on young people and blame all of our increasing crime rate solely on them. In reality, if kids can't find jobs in the summer when they are out of school - many of them tend to get into trouble both with their parents and sometimes with police as well. I think we should just all hunker down and get ready for a long hot summer in Waco, where the crime rate will be as high as the afternoon temperature.

Title: Heat/Economy = More Waco Crime?
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sincear Kirven Of Mexia Murdered By Uncle

Five year old Sincear Kirven of Mexia was reported murdered by his uncle Christopher Mack on Sunday in Lacy-Lakeview, Texas. To make matters worse, Lacy-Lakeview police are reporting that Kirven was beaten to death with a belt of some kind by Mack on Sunday and the hospital that Sincear Kirven was taken to said that the young boy had been dead at least one hour before he arrived in the emergency room for treatment. Yesterday, Christopher Mack was arrested on capital murder charges surrounding the death of young Sincear and he is currently being held in lieu of a 1.5 million dollar bond in the Limestone County jail.

People all over the Waco area have been talking about this senseless murder today. The people I have visited with about this child murder case are at a total loss as to what would cause an uncle to totally lose control and beat his young nephew to death with a belt. My opinion is that some serious drugs had to be working on the mind of Christopher Mack for him to even strike a five year old with a belt in the first place. Then, after beating this poor child to death - Mack reportedly took his nephew to the hospital for treatment. Don't get me wrong, drugs are no excuse for killing a young child - but they might start to explain the mindset of a family member that would kill one of their own in this way.

The only good news to have come out of this senseless crime is that Sincear Kirven's three year old brother, Marcavion, who too was allegedly beaten by Christopher Mack was not hurt as bad as was previously reported and he was released from the hospital today. In addition to the arrested of Christopher Mack, Andrea Shante Thomas who lives with him was also arrested because she was allegedly at the apartment when this brutal and fatal attack took place and according to police - she did nothing to stop Mack from beating young Sincear Kirven to death nor did she try to call the police or get medical attention for the child afterward.

The past 72 hours have been tough for Waco area residents, because two young children have died before their time. The first death was a result of a tragic accident at I-35 and Primrose when a child ran into the street and was killed when a trailer being pulled by a large truck ran over him. Then yesterday, we learned that yet another child had died near Waco as a result of homicide. The deaths of these two children should send a wake up call to all of us to be ever vigilant when watching our young family members not only from potential outside dangers, but also from members of our own families that might do them harm.

Title: Sincear Kirven Of Mexia Murdered By Uncle
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Child Murdered In Lacy-Lakeview, Texas

Police are still not sure exactly what happened in Lacy-Lakeview, Texas yesterday - but something happened at an apartment complex there that caused the death of a 5 year old child. Another child is also in a Waco hospital currently listed in critical condition. Christopher Mack (age 22) and Andrea Thomas (age 24) were arrested late yesterday and charged with murder. According to Lacy-Lakeview police, the dead child was killed on Sunday.

Violent crime, all of the country and also here in the Waco area has increased as the recession of 2008/2009 continues to chip away at the savings accounts and job security of people everywhere. Few, if any, people have escaped the effects of this recession and if the experts are right - we are not out of the woods yet. While this recession has created hardship on just about everyone, the reason why crime increases during hard financial times has less to do with a lack of jobs and financial security, but put simply it exposes character flaws in some people.

Lacy-Lakeview police told reporters via a press release that Christopher Mack and Andrea Thomas are not the parents of the dead 10-year old child. Over the next few weeks, we will all learn more about what was going on in that Lacy-Lakeview apartment and my fear is that once we find out, we will wish that we did not know. I guess it's just too much to ask that all children be treated as a gift from God, instead of some some kind of toy that can be destroyed and tossed away like garbage when an adult guardian becomes angry.

Violence against anyone is terrible, but when an adult of any age decides to take out their anger at the world on a little child - that crime is unforgivable. For Christopher Mack and Andrea Thomas, their actions - if proven guilty in a court of law, should land them in jail forever. I hope the other child, who is in critical condition in a Waco hospital right now, makes a full recovery. Unfortunately, it has become easy for people to hear stories about extreme child abuse and just turn away. There is little shock value, from a news stand point these days, when reports surface that another child has been abused or murdered - which is a shame.

Title: Child Murdered In Lacy-Lakeview, Texas
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Monday, June 22, 2009

Recession 2009 Waco Texas Style

In some ways, the 2009 U.S. recession is not as negatively effecting most people in Waco as it is in other parts of the country. However, if experience is any guide - Waco Texas usually lags the rest of the country when heading into a recession, but once we finally follow everyone else - it takes longer for the Waco economy to recover. From my own personal view, so far the Waco economy is holding up pretty well. It does help our local economy that most of the jobs our city does provide do not revolve around big Wall Street companies or huge manufacturing like building automotive parts and automobiles.

While it is true that the Waco, Texas economy has not been as negatively effected as other similar sized cities in the northeast and western United States - the sad fact is that hundreds, if not thousands of Waco resident are fearful about the future prospects of their own job. All of that fear adds up to a self fulfilling prophecy when it comes to the local economy, because if Waco residents are not spending their money on goods and services - before long jobs in Waco will be effected and that is when the Waco economy will follow the rest of the nation into recession.

Waco, like most other cities our size, is always looking for large businesses around the world to locate to our community - which will in the end provide a better paying workforce and also increase the stability of our communities employment foundation. While there are hundreds of people in Waco that work for companies that are not based here, a huge number of Waco residents are employed by local businessmen and women who are not as effected by problems on Wall Street and Detroit as much as others. It would be nice to have more national employers in Waco, but during the recession of 2009 - not having thousands of people employed with companies like General Motors is more of a plus than a minus.

My family is carefully trying to figure out the difference between what we need versus what we want. While that choice might seem simple, we are finding it difficult to make those choices right now - but I am happy to report that we are improving in that area. I have many friends that also call Waco, Texas home. All of them are also still employed, but they too are worried that if business continues to slow down - they might find themselves with a gift of a pink slip before the end of the year. As of now, I still believe the Waco economy is in pretty good shape - but I also believe that the rest of the United States has not seen the bottom of the 2009 recession as of yet either.

Title: Recession 2009 Waco Texas Style
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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Business Icon Roane Lacy Sr. Dies At 92

I am sad to report that Roane Lacy Sr. age 92 passed away this weekend. To my knowledge, I have never personally met Roane Lacy Sr - but over the years I have come to know other members of his extended family and I know that they must be hurting deep inside tonight after his passing. In Waco, few people have accomplished as much from a business stand point as Roane Lacy Sr. - from a businessman that got his start in the coal distributing business back in the mid 1950 to eventually founding a business that was one of Waco's largest employers, Plantation Foods - Roane Lacy Sr. became a Waco icon not only in business, but with his contributions to Waco non-profit organizations and community advancement programs.

Some member of Roane Lacy Sr.'s extended family that I do know personally include David Lacy who is the President of Community Bank and Trust and Lawrence Lacy. Both of these men are good examples of what true Waco community leaders should look like and I want to offer my condolences to them on the loss of their family member. I first moved to Waco back in 1983 from the Texas panhandle. My first job in Waco was working for Robert Weathers when he was the general manager of W.A.C.O radio. Not long after starting that job, I remember Mr. Weathers talking favorably about the Lacy family and he went into detail about how this one family had helped the city of Waco over the years.

Over the next few decades I met people that did not speak as kindly about the Lacy family as Robert Weathers did, but in the end I found out for myself what kind of integrity this family has when my wife worked for Community Bank and Trust many years ago and I was fortunate enough to meet David Lacy and then later have the privilege of meeting his uncle Lawrence. These two men did not act like they were better than me, but instead they treated both my wife and I with utmost respect each and every time we saw them. That is why I am sad that Roane Lacy Sr. has died.

I still remember the last time I saw David Lacy. It was at the Firestone Tire location on Lake Air Drive in Waco a couple of summers ago. After being told that my car repairs were going to cost about $600, I was wondering around in the parking lot and feeling a bit sorry for myself about the impact those car repairs were going to have on my wallet. While walking around that parking lot, I heard a man's voice say - "Hey Mark, how are you doing"? That voice belonged to David Lacy. For a few minutes we talked and discussed old times and when he left - I remember feeling much better about my day than before he yelled out that hello my way. Right now final funeral plans for Roane Lacy Sr. have not been finalized, but I can report that his family will offer a visitation at Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home on Bosque Boulevard. between 6-8pm on Tuesday.

Title: Business Icon Roane Lacy Sr. Dies At 92
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Child Dies Near Waco Car Dealership

A terrible thing happened today in Waco when a 19-month old child was run over by a pickup truck near Miller Mazda at I-35 and Primrose. Details are still sketchy, but police believe that Zane Moody of Gatesville, Texas wondered away from his parents while they were car shopping and then walked onto Primrose Street. At the same same, a large red F-250 pickup truck was turning right on Primrose from the I-35 access road and never saw Zane Moody until the child was stuck by a jet ski trailer that was being towed behind the truck.

Young Zane Moody of Gatesville was taken to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead by Justice of the Peace Billy Martin. Like many other people in Waco, I was shocked and saddened to hear the news of this young child's death. As the parent of a now grown child, today my mind flashed back to past experiences when my own child ran away from me when she was younger. I think all of us know all too well how lucky we are to have been able to raise our own children to adulthood, considering how many close calls many of us have personally had while raising our children.

It is so easy to feel the pain of the parents of young Zane Moody right now, because nothing could be harder than losing a child and to lose that child in such a terrible and quick way must be unbearable for them tonight. I addition to this young child's parents, I also feel horrible for the person that was driving the Ford F-250 truck that killed this young child today. That man or woman who was behind the wheel of that truck will never be the same. While the police are not pointing any fingers at the driver that hit young Zane Moody, internal guilt will certainly be carried around inside this persons heart for the rest of his or her life.

Sometimes, accidents really are just accidents - because there was nothing humanly possible that could have been done to prevent them. That said, the lives of many people were changed today forever near Miller Mazda in Waco when a young child was killed. Rather than try to blame the parents for not keeping a close enough watch on their child or blaming the the person driving the Ford F-250 for striking him - we all should pray that God will show his mercy on the family of the child victim and also on the family of the person driving the truck. "There but for the grace of God go I" is something we all should be thinking as we mourn this tragic death.

Title: Child Dies Near Waco Car Dealership
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Texas High School Football Dangers

Like most other men who grew up in Texas, I spent four years in high school playing football. In both large and small towns alike, on Friday night there is only one game in town and that one takes place in a high school football stadium. Maybe it's just because of my advancing age, but when I heard yesterday on a local Waco television station that area coaches were going to ignore the advice of trainers and continue conducting two a day practices this August - I asked myself if it is not time for Texans to start caring more about our our kids than winning high school football games.

Part of being a male in Texas is to act macho. I too have many of those same feelings that I learned back when I was young. However, in some aspects the world is changing for the better - but some of us are finding it difficult to change with the times. One area all of us need to change in is our feeling about how important it is to win Friday night high school football games. No one loves to watch Friday night football more that me, but I do believe that our zest to always win every season is putting potential danger on the backs of our kids who play the games we adults love to watch. I still remember what a bad man Tim McGraw played in the movie "Friday Night Light", but sometimes without even thinking about it - some of us get almost as bad as his character was in that movie.

Local Waco area high school football coaches have made it clear that as long as these new recommendations of no two a day practices in the month of August is not a requirement, then they will not stop conducting them. I believe that attitude of high school football coaches in the Waco area is a mistake and at some point in the near future one or more of them will have blood on their hands when a young football player falls over dead from a heat stroke. During last night's television report, some coach arrogantly claimed that they know what to look for when one of their players is getting to hot and at risk of suffering a heat stroke. I reality they are just kidding themselves like other coaches have done in years past.

Here in Texas, high school football is extremely important to everyone. The school kids love to play the game, high schools earn huge money from ticket sales and alumni think of little else during the week, during football season, than attending the big game that Friday night. In high school football, just as in life, winning is not everything and there is no doubt that the lives of our kids are more important than any football game. Since coaches around Texas are ignoring the advice of trainers who have the best interest of our young people at the top of their priority list, I hope that the Texas legislature will soon mandate the end of two a day football workouts during the month of August.

Title: Texas High School Football Dangers
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Local Restaurants Surpass Chains

Like everyone else, there are national chain restaurants my wife and I enjoy. However, as we have grown older - local Waco restaurants have started to get more and more of our business. For us, knowing the owner of the restaurant is very important and since the country has fallen into recession - we feel like we should help them by eating there more often. However, truth be told - my wife and I are probably getting more set in our ways, because in recent years we tend to visit the same restaurants - on the same days each week.

Based solely on the number of times we visit a restaurant, our favorite place to eat in Waco each week is Casa De Castillo located on Sanger Avenue. We usually eat there about three times per week. Of course, Casa De Castillo has been a regular stop when we eat out for over 20 years now. Not only is the food there fantastic, but the table service is second to none. Over the years we have become friends with the ownership of Casa De Castillo and the men and women that serve our food have also been employed there for years, which is a huge plus as well.

Just down the street from Casa De Castillo is another one of our favorite Waco restaurants called Tom's Burgers. There we find good old fashion hamburgers that remind us of the type of burgers we use to eat as teenagers. While I love to eat a hamburger at Tom's, truth be told my favorite food item they offer is Frito Pie with lots of white onions. From a table service point of view, Casa De Castillo and Tom's Burgers are completely different - but they do have one huge thing in common. Both restaurants have some of the best food in Waco.

While Waco has dozens of national chain restaurants we occasional enjoy, like Chili's, Applebee's and Rosa's - the places my wife and I usually visit are Waco restaurants that have been around for decades. While major retail chains like Walmart have put many Waco retailers out of business over the years, when it comes to both fine dinning and fast food locations - the national restaurant chains have not, as of yet, destroyed all of Waco's best locally owned restaurants. If you have not tried Casa De Castillo and/or Tom's Burgers yet, stop by for an eating experience that is pure Waco and when you leave be prepared to have a smile on your face.

Title: Local Restaurants Surpass Chains
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer Of 2009 Hot/Dry/Miserable

We are only half way through June of 2009 and already we have hit a high temperature in Waco of 100 degrees two days and in a row and if the weather forecast for today is correct, by 4pm this afternoon - Waco, Texas will have suffer through three days in a row of 100 degree plus temperature readings.

Here in Waco and all parts of Central Texas, people love to complain about the hot weather and high humidity we all suffer through every summer. However, in 2009 - it does seem like we are seeing the 100 degree mark earlier than in the past. Is this hot weather caused by Global Warming? Maybe, but I doubt it.

I have lived in Texas my entire life. During my younger years, I lived near Amarillo where hot weather is also a issue during the summer time. In 1983, I moved to Waco and discovered that it is not the temperature that makes the summer months in Texas so bad, but instead high humidity can make 100 degree feel much hotter than it really is.

In a few hours I will know if today will make three days in a row when the temperature in Waco rises about the century mark and right now my money is on us hitting 100 degrees again today. I am found of telling people that if I ever won the lottery I would own two houses. One in Waco for the winter months and one in Colorado so I could escape the intense heat that I have learned to hate in this part of Texas over the years.

Title: Summer Of 2009 Hot/Dry/Miserable
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