Opinion

         Melissa Skipworth

By guest writer Melissa Skipworth

Recently, I spoke at a candidate forum about the need for greater transparency from College Of The Mainland’s board of trustees. My opponent Roney McCrary also spoke and referred to COM’s need to pass a bond, saying: “Aging facilities are something that we do need to address. When the time is right, we need to do something about it …”
Why isn’t that time now, Mr McCrary? We know the answer. The board members have failed to focus on the good of the institution and shirked their responsibility to listen to the community. Controversial moves, such as the decision to end former president Beth Lewis’ contract, were deliberated in closed session with little justification for the actions provided to the public.
The Lewis decision was made with the full understanding that non-renewal was overwhelmingly opposed by the public and that proceeding would cost the college the community support necessary to pursue a desperately needed bond election.
The board’s actions put COM in the same place it was in six years ago – waiting for the right time.
The board has presided over four presidential administrations in the past six years and has paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in severance pay. The college now has one of the best qualified presidents in the state in Warren Nichols. It’s said that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Will there be a “controversy” over Nichols’ leadership in the coming years?
Do you want a community college for our mainland that is successful in spite of its leadership or do you want a college whose success is enhanced by that leadership?
I prefer the latter. I possess the skills needed to serve the community as trustee. I have a bachelor’s degree in business from University Of Houston and 15 years of human-resources experience. More importantly, I bring a set of fresh eyes and the will that’s needed to break through the college’s stagnation.
On May 6, hundreds of students will graduate from COM, having earned an associate’s degree or workforce certificate, while others will transfer to a three-year-course full university.
Many of you watch or act alongside students in COM’s theater productions, learn new skills in COM’s continuing-education programs or create memories with your families while feeding the ducks at Lake Eckhart. COM is an invaluable community resource and great things happen there every day.
With your support, we can enhance these successes and ensure that College Of The Mainland serves the community for the next 50 years and beyond.
Melissa Skipworth is a candidate for position 5 on College Of The Mainland’s board of trustees, running against Roney McCrary and Sharon Mitchiner in the May 6 election.
Editor’s note: The Post neither endorses nor opposes any candidate in any of the May 6 elections. All candidates are free to submit articles for publication and they will be considered on a first-come-first-served basis without any guarantee that they will be published before voters go to the polls.

 

                Glenn Mollette

Uncommon Sense with Glenn Mollette

My wife and I visited New York for a couple of days last week. We were walking through Times Square and masses of people on Saturday night after seeing a show when someone called out to us for money, pleading: “Will you please give me a couple of dollars? I am hungry.”
I barely heard his cry out of my right ear, as we were moving forward with the crowds.
I hadn’t really noticed this guy as I was trying to watch where we were going, not trip on someone or the sidewalk while trying to enjoy the lights and sounds of Times Square.
People begging for money have become a common sight in America. I see it in Cincinnati, Nashville, Washington, Chicago, Baltimore, Seattle, Portland and … well, you get the picture; begging is everywhere in America to some extent.
There is no American who can hand money to every beggar they pass on the street. My wife and I try on occasions to help people. We’ve seen mothers with their babies, families, and armed-forces veterans on the streets begging. We have passed people and then gone back with a few dollars if we had it to give.
Last Saturday night, I was more attuned to walking with my wife and trying to enjoy a brief NYC visit. For some reason, this beggar in Times Square tuned in on me when I did not turn my head and look at him or respond. He moved toward me, got in my face and yelled at me: “You are a son of a b***h and I hope that you choke on your food tonight”.
I looked at him for just a moment. He was a very angry man obviously from the Middle East. I don’t know if he was from Syria, Yemen or who knows where but he was definitely Middle Eastern.
My wife and I moved forward. I wasn’t scared but it’s irritating to be accosted for money when someone is calling my mother the B word. I was happy that I had not given that man a penny.
I understand that people become desperate and hungry, that poverty is rampant in this nation, that people are victims of unfortunate circumstances. I do believe we should help people and I’ve tried throughout my life always to be involved in charitable projects.
But I don’t feel sorry for people who feel they are entitled to harass, accost and literally try to rob people.
I am seeing more and more in America’s cities of what I’ve seen in Africa, Turkey and other countries, which is harassment, begging and pleading. In 2005, our tour guide warned about leaving the ancient city of Ephesus in Turkey, telling us people would beg vehemently for anything we had. Do not even make eye contact with them we were told. Sure enough, a mob did everything but try to take our wallets and purses, begging for anything we might give them.
More and more such people are coming to America and more of them will end up on our streets and prowling our neighborhoods. Taking a carefree stroll along Michigan Avenue in Chicago, through Times Square or in almost any major American city has changed.
We’ve always had the poor and needy but now we are facing a different, frightening mentality that does not mind getting in your face to acquire some of your money or possessions.
If a guy in Times Square calls you a SOB and wishes you would choke on your food, please do what I did not have the presence of mind to do – hindsight is always 20-20. Tell him about all the immigrants working all over America. Tell him he can work a real job too or do us all a favor and go back to where he came from.
Glenn Mollette is an American author whose syndicated column is read in all 50 states.

Trishna’s tidbits
Modern musings by Trishna Buch

As I was watching television last week, a promotion for an upcoming news story appeared on the screen. A high school had accused one of its students of hacking its computer system to change the student’s grades. The student had been arrested at the end of March and, apparently, charged with “breach of computer security”.
The story made me wonder why the student had chosen this route to “academic success”. Surely, it would have been so much easier to work hard, study well and earn the desired grades instead of obtaining them by inappropriate methods. However, I then realized that the reason was probably the immense amount of pressure students face on a daily basis.
It is no secret that schools, families and life in general place an immense amount of pressure on children, especially teens, to do well in school. The pressure is justified – good grades result in acceptance into a good college, which in turn should yield a well-paying job and a successful life. However, this pressure may be so stressful for some students that they would rather search for the easy way out in obtaining the highly sought-after grades. In fact, some students might be so concerned about the consequences of not living up to expectations that they are more pessimistic in their approach to their school work. I can understand this because, whenever I am working on an assignment, I am always thinking of the consequences of failure rather than focusing on the assignment at hand.
This negativity and the alleged computer hacking stem from a common factor – fear. Not the sort of fear as those of spiders or heights. This fear is significantly more deep-seated in our psyche.
Fear makes people do things they would never consider doing in normal circumstances and, when the stakes are raised, the faster one’s sense of morality goes out the window.
Furthermore, fear is not a set construct – our fears can change depending on the situation. For example, early last year my main fear was the belief that I would never find a job; now it’s whether I’ll finish my post-graduate-course semester with an A. Next year, I’m sure it will change again.
You could have several things you are fearful of and, if so, I am sure you have your justifications for each one. Fears can range from being easily controllable – such as a fear of heights – to disruptive of your lifestyle and with significant effects on your actions, as evidenced by the case of the allegedly errant student.
But you have to remember that your fears should not control you – you should control them. You cannot let life’s maybes get in the way of what definitely does happen. Also, the more you fear something, the greater its chance of coming to fruition, so retake control by, first, acknowledging and accepting your fear and then working positively towards squashing it. As Babe Ruth said: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game”.

A plate could be your old school tie

Are you a college student filled with the spirit of your school? Are you a university alum who loves your alma matter? Would you like to show the world exactly how much passion you have for the font of your higher education?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, the College Origins auction is for you!
Put together by My Plates, a Texas-based company dealing in vehicle license plates, the auction features plates with numbers showing the years in which some well-known colleges were established.
If you put down the winning bid, you’ll be able to impress your friends and family by casually dishing out this information as they admire your four-numbers-only plate.
The online auction runs until May 3. Current or former students from any of the colleges included in the auction can take part –¬ just keep in mind that the opening bid is $500. The good news is that there’s no reserve, so choose your plate carefully and it could be yours for five hundred bucks if you open the bidding and no one else bids against you.
At the time of writing, for example, no one has yet placed a bid for lot number four, which shows the number 1927 for the year my alma mater, University Of Houston, was founded.
One question is how My Plates deals with things when two or more colleges were established in the same year. It makes them compete against each other for the right to have their name associated with the relevant license plate.
That has produced competition in five of the 28 auction lots, with four Texas colleges – Texas A&M University, North Texas University, Texas Tech University and Stephen F Austin University – among the schools going head to head with others to earn that right.
Proceeds from the auction will go towards supporting college students’ education. My Plates will also donate 20 per cent of the sale price to scholarships for Texas institutions when winning bidders attach the relevant college name to their plates.
So what are you waiting for? Go online to myplates.com and start placing your bids!

Let’s right a childhood wrong

Every child deserves a place to call home. All children deserve to be surrounded by a loving environment, living with people who care about them and provide them with basic necessities such as food, water and warmth. Unfortunately, not all children are given what I believe is this basic right.
According to AdoptUSKids, about 400,000 children are in foster care in the United States. That’s almost half a million children who have been taken away from their homes for reasons including abuse, neglect and parental abandonment.
AdoptUSkids says that about 20,000 of these children will live in the foster-care system until “age out” and are at increased risk of unemployment and homelessness.
That should be unacceptable to all of us. Children are placed in foster care through actions that are no fault of their own, often spending years in the system shuffling in and out of foster homes until, as adults, they find themselves with no place to call their own.
But that does not mean we need fewer foster homes. In fact, we need more – and we need them urgently.
Could you consider becoming a foster parent and opening your home and your family’s hearts to children who have been dealt a bad hand in life? If you are at least 21 years old, you could make the perfect foster parent!
You do need to hold at least a high-school or GED diploma, be a legal United States resident, have no criminal or child-abuse history, hold a driver’s license and auto and homeowner’s insurance, own dependable transportation and have an extra child-size bedroom.
If you do, Devereux Texas, a nationwide network that treats people who have a range of emotional, behavioral, developmental and psychiatric disorders, would like to hear from you.
So, if you could welcome another person into your home, please contact Chanica Brown by e-mail at cbrown23@devereux.org.

This ’n’ That by Nicky De Lange

Good news! It’s that time again. You know what I’m referring to – funny T-shirt sayings.
I honestly believe some of the most profound philosophical thoughts can be found on simple, everyday shirts. If I were writing a book on the topic, that’s where I’d do the majority of my research.
For example, consider this deep thought: “In my defense, I was left unsupervised”. Is that not the best excuse ever for those times when you’ve done something really bizarre? There’s also: “I’m not much on seizing the day – I just kinda poke at it with a stick”.
Another deep thought regarding time that really appeals to me is this dictionary definition: “Tomorrow/te’maro/n: A mythical land where I get all my stuff done”. Does that resonate with you? It sure does with me.
Also concerning time was this treasure I found in the same T-shirt catalog: “It’s been ‘ONE of those days’ for like three years now”! That is the best way to sum up the theory of relativity as it concerns time that I’ve ever read!
Another popular subject on T-shirts is sanity – or the lack of it. For example, there’s: “My alone time is sometimes for YOUR safety”. There’s a great message in there somewhere. Or how about: “My level of maturity changes depending on who I’m with”. Great way to put the blame for whatever idiotic thing you’ve done on someone else!
If you want to proudly let others know your sanity is a little on the shaky side, wear the T-shirt that asks: “I wonder what NORMAL PEOPLE think about”.
Here’s my favorite explanation for seeming just a little wacky to others: “Physically I’m here. Mentally I’m in a galaxy far, far away.”
Without a doubt, one of the most popular T-shirt categories is pets. One of the funniest ones I’ve seen has dog hair drawn all over the shirt front. Against this background is the simple message: “Dog hair. Don’t care.” I hope they have this one in a cat version.
There’s another that reads: “Love is how excited your dog gets when you come home”. I bet that doesn’t come in a cat version!
But the one that – at least in my humble opinion – sums up the relationship between dogs and humans the best says: “When I die, the dog gets everything”!
The last category today is a new one – people’s exes. Not all marriages have happy endings, judging by two new T-shirts I found recently. The first shirt gives you a warning that things can get rocky sometimes: “If you’re happy and you know it, thank your ex”!
Now that you have a clue, brace yourself for the next one. Ready?
“All I’m saying is I’ve never seen my ex and Satan in the same room”!
This is a good place to quit. I’m happily married and plan to stay that way. Although, when I die, the cats really do get everything!

To mark Friday’s anniversary of the battle of San Jacinto, Legacy of Texas, a division of Texas State Historical Association, produced a detailed account of the battle and the events leading to it

On April 21, 1836, Texas forces won the battle of San Jacinto, the concluding military event of the Texas Revolution. On March 13 that year, the revolutionary army at Gonzales began to retreat eastward. It crossed the Colorado river on March 17 and camped near what is now Columbus on March 20, recruiting and reinforcements having increased its size to 1,200 men.
Sam Houston’s scouts reported Mexican troops west of the Colorado to number 1,325. On March 25, the Texans learned of James Fannin’s defeat at Goliad and many of the men left the army to join their families on the Runaway Scrape.
Sam Houston led his troops to San Felipe de Austin by March 28 and by March 30 to the Jared Groce plantation on the Brazos river, where they camped and drilled for a fortnight. Ad interim president David Burnet ordered Houston to stop his retreat; secretary of war Thomas Rusk urged him to take a more decisive course.
Antonio López de Santa Anna decided to take possession of the Texas coast and seaports. With that object in view, he crossed the Brazos at Richmond on April 11 and on April 15, with some 700 men, arrived at Harrisburg.
He burned Harrisburg and started in pursuit of the Texas government at New Washington, or Morgan’s Point, where he arrived on April 19 to find that the government had fled to Galveston. The Mexican general then set out for Anahuac by way of Lynchburg.
Meanwhile, the Texans,
on April 11, received the Twin Sisters and, with the cannon as extra fortification, crossed the Brazos on the Yellow Stone and on April 16 reached Spring Creek in what is now Harris County.
On April 17, to the gratification of his men, Houston took the road to Harrisburg instead of the road to Louisiana and, on April 18, reached White Oak Bayou at a site within the present city limits of Houston. There he learned that Santa Anna had gone down the west side of the bayou and the San Jacinto river, crossing by a bridge over Vince’s Bayou.
The Mexicans would have to cross the same bridge to return.
Viewing this strategic situation on the morning of April
19, Houston told his troops that it looked as if they would soon get action and admonished them to remember the massacres at San Antonio and Goliad. That evening, his forces crossed Buffalo Bayou to the west side two-and-a-half miles below Harrisburg. Some 248 men, mostly sick and ineffective, were left with the baggage at the camp opposite Harrisburg.
The march continued until midnight. At dawn on April 20, the Texans resumed their trek down the bayou and at Lynch’s Ferry captured a boat laden with supplies for Santa Anna. They then drew back about a mile on the Harrisburg road and encamped in a skirt of timber protected by a rising ground.
That afternoon Sidney Sherman engaged the enemy infantry with a small detachment of cavalry, almost bringing on a general action. In the clash, Olwyns Trask was mortally wounded, one other Texan was wounded and several horses were killed. Mirabeau Lamar, a private, so distinguished himself that on the next day he was placed
in command of the cavalry.
Santa Anna made camp under the high ground overlooking a marsh about three-fourths of a mile from the Texas camp and threw up breastworks of trunks, baggage, packsaddles and other equipment as both sides prepared for the conflict.
On Thursday morning, April 21, the Texans were eager to attack. About nine o’clock they learned that Martín Perfecto de Cos had crossed Vince’s bridge with about 540 troops and had swelled the enemy forces
to about 1,200.
Houston ordered Erastus – Deaf – Smith to destroy the bridge and prevent further enemy reinforcements. The move would prevent the retreat of either the Texans or the Mexicans towards Harrisburg.
Shortly before noon, Houston held a council of war with Edward Burleson, Sherman, Henry Millard, Alexander Somervell, Joseph Bennett and Lysander Wells. Two of the officers suggested attacking the enemy in his position; the others favored waiting Santa Anna’s attack. Houston withheld his own views at the council but later, after having formed his plan of battle, had it approved by Rusk.
Houston disposed his forces in battle order about 3:30pm while all was quiet on the Mexican side during the afternoon siesta. The Texans’ movements were screened by trees and the rising ground and, evidently, Santa Anna had no lookouts posted. The battle line was formed with Burleson’s regiment in the center, Sherman’s on the left wing, the artillery under George Hockley on Burleson’s right, the infantry under Millard on the right of the artillery, and the cavalry under Lamar on the extreme right.
The Twin Sisters were wheeled into position and the whole line, led by Sherman’s men, sprang forward on the run with the cry “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!”
The battle lasted but 18 minutes. According to Houston’s official report, the casualties were 630 Mexicans killed and 730 taken prisoner. Against this, only nine of the 910 Texans were killed or mortally wounded and 30 were wounded less seriously. One of Houston’s ankles was shattered by a musket ball.
The Texans captured a large supply of muskets, pistols, sabers, mules, horses, provisions, clothing and tents and $12,000 in silver.
Santa Anna disappeared during the battle and search parties were sent out on the morning of the 22nd. The party consisted of James Sylvester, Washington Secrest, Sion Bostick and a Mr Cole, who discovered Santa Anna hiding in the grass, dirty and wet and dressed as a common soldier.
The search party did not recognize him until he was addressed as “El Presidente”
by other Mexican prisoners.
One of the eight inscriptions on the exterior base of San Jacinto Monument reads: “Measured by its results, San Jacinto was one of the decisive battles of the world. The freedom of Texas from Mexico won here led to annexation and to the Mexican War, resulting in the acquisition by the United States of the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, and Oklahoma.”