Thursday, July 30, 2009

Police Officers Fired

Waco police chief Brent Stroman announced yesterday that five officers were fired after it was discovered that they had been involved in double dipping the City of Waco. Four additional police officers allegedly involved in this matter decided to take early retirement. While police chief Stroman tried to reassure the citizens of Waco that our streets will be safe when nine police officers are removed from a department of 245, I personally have my doubts. While I don't disagree with the chief's decision to fire or force these police officers into early retirement, I do believe that someone at the City of Waco has been asleep at the wheel for allowing this double dipping problem to go on for so long without an investigation. In the future, Chief Stroman will require Waco police officers to submit time sheets for their part-time or second jobs to their supervisor in advance and also all Waco police officers will be required to limit outside employment to one year unless the department approves an extension.

For almost a year, I have noticed that crime in Waco seems to be on the increase. I blame most of this increase on the poor economy which leads some people to steal from others. However, it cannot be a positive event that nine police officers are now not around to either be on the streets looking for criminal activity or working back at the station trying to find out who is committing these criminal acts. Like thousands of other Waco citizens, I have found myself a victim of car break ins on more than one occasion over the years. While insurance has paid most of the cost when one or more of my vehicles has been burglarized, it does not ease the anger felt inside that rushes to the surface when my first act of the day is to take my car to a glass shop to have a window replaced.

I really believe that police officer double dipping in Waco became common place because there were some people at the top of the department that looked the other way for far too long. Now, nine police officers have had their careers ended through firing or early retirement because of an activity that many of them began to think was all right because top police officials looked the other way. That said, any good police officer would tell anyone of us that just because we have not been arrested for a crime that we have committed for years does not mean that we will not eventually get caught and face legal consequences either. Now, the citizens of Waco will probably suffer even more increases in crime because of this police double dipping matter and it will take at least a year for the Waco Police Department to run the necessary background checks, hire and train officers to take the place of the nine that were involved in this case.

How you feel about this case probably depends on your opinion of police officers in general. If you do not like the Waco police you are probably happy to see these nine officers go. However, if you are like me and want to see more and not less police officers on the streets - then you are very concerned about what losing nine police officers will mean to the crime rate here in Waco. It appears that in the future Police Chief Brent Stroman has outlined new rules that should prevent future double dipping by police officer in Waco. From my personal point of view, if these new rules were put into place long ago and enforced - no firings would have been necessary, which would have been a win/win situation for everyone involved.

Title: Police Officers Fired
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Two For Twenty

For many months, my wife and I have enjoyed going to Applebee's restaurant on Valley Mills Drive in Waco because of their two for twenty deal. However, in recent weeks - our neighborhood Chili's located at Valley Mills and Bosque has started to offer that same deal, but with an added twist. At Applebee's the two for twenty deal does not offer a dessert, but the new two for $20 special at Chili's does. Last Friday night after a long work week for both my wife and I we went to Chili's restaurant and ordered their two for twenty special because we had seen advertisements on television promoting it for several weeks. Let me just say this, there is no comparison in the amount and quality of the food on the $20 for two people menu at Applebee's and Chili's. Put simply Chili's beats Applebee's hand down.

When my wife and I went to Chili's last Friday night to try out their new two for twenty special, we did not know what to expect because in the past we have been burned by TV ads that promised a good deal, but once we arrived we found out that we had been suckered by slick television ads. However, there is nothing slick or misleading about Chili's new two for twenty dollar special because when we left Chili's on Friday night I was filled to overflowing and I also had a big smile on my face because we were both able to eat a quality and filling meal and the final price tag was exactly $20 plus tax. Don't get me wrong, the two for twenty deal at Applebee's is a great special too - but in my opinion the added treat of a dessert for the same low price makes going to Chili's a better value for most people.

Here is what we ordered when we visited Chili's last Friday night. For an appetizer my wife and I shared a bowl of chips which we dipped in Chili Con Queso. For me, that Con Queso dip at Chili's was fantastic. Then when it was time to order the main course at Chili's, I picked a half rack of Baby Back Ribs - while my wife order a huge Mexican salad. Then for dessert we shared something called Mocha White Chocolate Cake with a scoop of ice cream on top, which was very delicious. At the end of our meal, I was completely prepared to see some kind of sicker shock when it was time to pay the tab. However, I was completely wrong and after leaving a $4 tip the final total for our two for twenty meal at Chili's was $25.65.

If you have not tried the new two for twenty special at Chili's you need to set up a date with your significant other to try out this fantastic special in the near future. In fact, my wife and I were so pleased with the large selection of food available on the Chili's two for twenty menu that we have decided to visit our Waco Chili's Restaurant again this weekend to try out something else on the menu. Before I forget, Chili's top quality Chicken Fried Steak is also one of the entree choices available on their two for twenty menu. If you have tried Applebee's two for twenty special and thought it had to be the best deal in town, you owe it to yourself to visit Chili's as well and receive the added treat of enjoying a huge dessert at the end of your dining out experience. I'm sure you will not be disappointed.

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Title: Two For Twenty
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Scooter Radcliffe Criminal Investigation?

For decades, Scooter Radcliffe served the citizens of Bellmead Texas. During that period of time he worked himself up from the lowest position in city government to the highest. However, along the way I'm sure that Mr. Radcliffe made enemies and it appears now that those enemies are not going to be satisfied with the Bellmead City Council firing him, because there is an article in today's Waco Tribune Herald suggesting that a criminal investigation by some unknown agency is underway.

While no one in the know is talking publicly about what this investigation is all about, most of the speculation about possible wrongdoing by Scooter Radcliffe surrounds a traffic accident he was involved in shortly before the Bellmead City Council made the decision to fire him. Some people, rightly or wrongly, believe that Mr. Radcliffe was under the influence of alcohol when that one vehicle accident took place. However, the police officers that were there said they smelled no alcohol on Mr. Radcliffe's breath shortly after the accident occurred. Then Bellmead City Manager Scooter Radcliffe submitted himself for blood and alcohol testing which for a variety of reasons has not been released to the public.

I do not know Scooter Radcliffe personally, although I'm sure I have shaken his hand at various city functions over the years. I wish that if law enforcement really has something tangible to hang their hat on when it comes to possible criminal wrong doing by Mr. Radcliffe that they would release more information about at least what they are investigating to the public. As things stand right now, this whole mess seems like sour grapes where some politically connected Bellmead residents are not only out to put Scooter Radcliffe out of his job, but they also appear to be trying to take the mans freedom away as well.

Any time a high city official like Scooter Radcliffe is fired and then put under a cloud of potential criminal wrong doing, it has the effect of placing that person at a disadvantage because some in the public will always believe a negative when it is expressed about a public servant. While criminal investigations do take time to complete, if at the end of the day Scooter Radcliffe is cleared of any criminal charges - the time that was necessary to conduct this criminal investigation that appears more like a political witch hunt to me, will in the end result in a persons life being put through more stress than was really necessary.

Title: Scooter Radcliffe Criminal Investigation?
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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Texas High Electricity Demand

Yesterday, the State of Texas used more electric power than on any other day in history. So today, Texans are being asked to cut back on electrical power usage, especially between the hours of 4-5pm, when demand is at it's peak. It's no wonder that here in Waco and in all other cities around Texas - electric power is in such high demand this summer, because in my memory - the summer of 2009 is off to the hottest start of any in recent memory.

For Texans, the summer of 2009 is turning out to not only be a scorcher when it comes to outside temperatures, but when you add to that heat - high gas prices and now even higher electric bills because of the heat - many people that usually love the summer months in Texas are both miserable because of the hot weather and also considerably "hot under the collar" because of the extra money they are spending.

As I am writing this blog post, it's almost noon on Thursday and already my little Channel 10 computer weather bug is saying that it is 95 degrees outside here in Waco. So far today, I have not gone outside - but soon I will be traveling to a hot car where the temperature inside will be around 130-140 degrees. As you can image, that is the highlight of my day.

While sometimes I get angry at the electric company for some of the slick things they do to try and squeeze extra money out of us each month, this summer I believe they are correct about yesterday's high electric usage in Texas so along with everyone else I will cut back on the amount of electricity I use later today. The last thing any of us want or need this summer are brown out condition or lord forbid electricity rationing in the State of Texas.

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Title: Texas High Electricity Demand
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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Summer 2009 Waco Weather

Today I was talking to my wife about the weather here in Waco during the summer of 2009 and we both agreed that the summer of 2009 seems to be getting off to a hotter start than in years past. On many days, during the month of June, the Waco high temperature rose to well above 100 degrees and on a couple of days our high temperature in Waco soared close to 110 degrees.

Since moving to Waco in 1983, I have noticed that summer weather here seems to last longer than it did a couple of decades ago. Also, it can be as many as three or four winters before we see any measurable snowfall in the Waco area. I remember back in 1980, when I first move to Waco from the Texas panhandle. That year, we had a full blown blizzard in McLennan County and I remember thinking to myself how the weather in the Waco area was not that much different than my previous home in the Texas panhandle.

Over the years, the summer weather in Waco has gone from extremely hot to what I now call horribly hot conditions through the months of June-August. In 2009, it has been so hot during the day that even as the midnight hour approaches, on many days, the Waco temperature is still hovering around 90 degrees. This late into the evening hot weather is something that is definitely new to the Waco area because back in the 1980's, I remember sitting out in the backyard while visiting with friends and neighbors and not feeling too hot after the sun went down.

I know you don't want to hear me complain about the hot weather in Waco once again because you are right, there is nothing any of us can do about it. However, I do find it interesting that summer weather in Waco continues to get hotter, while at the same time most of the people I know do not believe these hotter summers have anything to do with Climate Change. Honestly, I am not educated enough to know whether Climate Change is effecting the Waco weather in a negative way - but I do know this, something is causing the weather here in Central Texas to get hotter and all I really would like to see is for summer weather in Waco to go back to what it use to be.

Title: Summer 2009 Waco Weather
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