Properties at Risk: LJ Alert

The Guardian published an article this morning giving fairly specific location information regarding forecasts of U.S. properties at risk of flooding from rising sea levels within the next thirty years. The maps were prepared by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a group not known as a fake news source unless you read more fake news than real. You can access their maps by clicking on site below:

https://ucsusa.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=cf07ebe0a4c9439ab2e7e346656cb239

There are a couple of maps in particular that should interest Lake Jackson residents. One map shows the Lake Jackson area within the zone predicted for significant property losses within the period of a typical thirty-year home loan suggesting a loss of property values right away. Another map shows the areas that could be affected positively if action is taken by nations having advanced developed economies.

They make it easy to express your concerns to the folks in power. It can’t do any harm.

A Quiet Spring Day in Lake Jackson

I went out with the camera today to grab some shots of a couple of LJ sites that townies need to know about if they are coming to LJ for a visit. One is Shy Pond on That Way Street. Passing by on That Way you see some playground equipment, a large pond and a fountain spraying water into the air in the middle of the pond. But if you park and get a little closer you can get a view like this one.

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On hot summer days, the ducks and geese who live at Shy Pond like to rest in the shade of trees on the bank but will go for a swim when a paparazzo arrives.

If you continue south on That Way you will enter the old downtown area of Lake Jackson. And there you will come across a restaurant called The Local. It operates in the finest tradition of an American neighborhood dining place. The owner, Gaye Linford, maintains high standards of quality and service. She has made it part of her mission to provide employment opportunities for young people on their way to college. Under her leadership, they receive some excellent guidance in how to provide good customer service and, even better, how to be good citizens.

This is the place you will be looking for in downtown LJ.

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The Local will be found at the corner of That Way and Circle Way in old downtown Lake Jackson.

There is also a patio for outdoor dining when the weather and temperature permits. The area is shaded and cooled by fans. Granted, most days in July and August you will want to go inside and enjoy the air conditioning and neighborhood ambience.

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Depicted here in cool black and white, outdoor dining is available on the patio at The Local.

So come on down and enjoy the slightly slower, healthier pace of life in the exurbs. And if you go to The Local, be sure and try their Riverside Burger with the grilled chicken option, topped with bleu cheese, grilled onions and a little mayo. Very good and good for you. They pretty well know to make it when they see me coming.

How to Welcome a Texas Hurricane

The still and heavy heat of Texas grows
like mythic rivers sent to drown out life.
But life won’t stop – nor laughing, so it goes.
We celebrate the summer as if strife
were far from towns that dot our coastal plain,
ignoring warnings recommending flight
from angry winds, and days of constant rain
with rising floods and lost electric light.
We fish; we swim; we bathe in cancerous rays.
We mow the lawn and slather barbecue
with sweetened sauces, then slug IPAs
until we see a storm come into view.
Then off we go with Grandpa in the back.
We head for Austin far from Harvey’s track.

Remembering Harvey

Summer approaches and a subtropical storm named Alberto has already made landfall on the northeastern coast of the Gulf of Mexico soaking Florida and Alabama.

It was late August of last year that Harvey made landfall at Rockport, Texas and dumped heavy rains to its east. Lake Jackson had 24 inches as I recall but some of the best was yet to come as Houston’s 51 inches headed downstream in our direction.  It has only been nine months. We know people in Lake Jackson who are still putting their lives and homes back in order.

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A friend’s home in Lake Jackson after Hurricane Harvey

This was what we saw when we went to visit a friend whose home had been flooded. Virtually everything they owned was piled in front of the house. But there were also about fifteen cars parked in the driveway. People from Chapelwood and The Center were there to do all they could to help with the cleanup.

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Interior of the friend’s home after the damage had been attacked by daily squadrons of friends

Continue reading “Remembering Harvey”

On a More Positive Note: Our Legacy of Hope

Growing up in Jacinto City, Texas, I was well within the urban lasso of Houston, yet I was insulated from its cultural amenities by barriers of transportation and income. Downtown Houston was a 30 to 45 minute bus ride from Jacinto City with lots of stops along the way for pickup and dropoff. We could do a few of the things that were free such as the zoo, the public parks, the art museum, and the free concerts at the Miller Outdoor Theater in Hermann Park. But those were rare occasions and I grew up without an ear for good music, with the barest exposure to the visual arts, and no experience with drama beyond the plays I saw on our high school stage.

My participation in the arts did not improve much as an adult after moving into the city proper and having a better income of my own. This reduced the impact of the barriers of distance and income but did not eliminate them completely.

Interior of the Freeport LNG Theater in the Brazosport Center for the Arts and Sciences
Interior of the Freeport LNG Theater, one of the venues where Brazosport Center Stages performs in The Center

Then, in 1982, we moved to an exurban area of Brazoria County – south of town, Lake Jackson. We were far enough removed from Houston that its urban amenities were virtually out of reach. For the kids in the poorer homes in our area, they were distant dreams if they were dreams at all.

But not long after arriving here, we learned that the performing and visual arts were available, affordable and a quick three mile drive down Oyster Creek Drive to the Brazosport Center for the Arts and Sciences.

My posts have tended to dwell on the things we have done wrong politically, socially and economically and continue doing wrong. Those things form the basis of the pieces carrying the title Our Bitter Legacy. But, of course, there are some things we are doing right. The Brazosport Center for Arts and Sciences is one of them. It argues for recognition that we are also at work on our legacy of hope.

Continue reading “On a More Positive Note: Our Legacy of Hope”

Elizabethan Madrigal Feast, 2018. Planning is underway.

Marc Davis and Summer Hughes in the Elizabethan Madrigal Feast production of 2016. The Feast is produced by the talent of Brazosport Center Stages for the benefit of the Brazosport Fine Arts Council every other year.Link to the photo on Flicker.

The committee that will produce EMF 2018 gathered last night to begin their serious planning for the 2018 feast in the Dow Arena Theater in November. Get ready for the auditions in late August or early September. In the photo above are two of my favorite photo objects from 2016, Mr. Marc Davis and Ms. Summer Hughes.

It is a joy to photograph this event: color, light, costumes, decor, actors who act, dancers who dance, singers who sing. And they allow me to lurk around wherever I wish and take as many pictures as I want. They even let me take my big camera to the dinner on our night at the table. No flash. Just a lens that will take in enough light to make a decent exposure. This was taken at the November 27, 2016, performance from the back of the room through the castle’s window. It was one of the first times to use my new 70-200mm lens.

And, of course we expect the Earl’s special guest to be invited again. She is always splendidly dressed.

Link to Donna Jablecki’s photo on Flickr.

This was taken the same afternoon with the same lens. Forgive me for cancelling the color. The black and white does a better job featuring the construction of her elegant costume by Cheryl Fowler.

Elizabeth played by Donna Jablecki in the Elizabethan Madrigal Feast at the Brazosport Center for Arts and Sciences, 2016