HORACE MCQUEEN: Like A Bomb Hit! — it’s a war zone!

By Horace McQueen

Messenger Columnist

East Texas was hit hard by the recent round of tornadoes. The destruction from the eastern part of Houston County into the city of Alto in Cherokee County is mind boggling. The tornado carved a path that is near 20- miles long. The Weches and Kennard-Ratcliff areas of Houston County had plenty of damage to homes, barns and outbuildings. Going east on highway 21 or highway 7 from Houston County, and miles before crossing the Neches River into Cherokee County, motorists enter a war zone that has been decimated by enemy fire. Trees were snapped off by the thousands, barns and homes destroyed and autos rendered worthless. The tragedy resulted in several deaths in Houston, Cherokee and Angelina Counties. The real heros of this calamity are the surviving citizens and their will to rebuild. And plenty of credit needs to go to law enforcement officers, volunteer fire fighters and rescue groups who packed their gear and were on the road within minutes of the tragedy. And don’t forget the linemen and other power company workers that arrived to start restoring a semblance of order. At a time of need these first responders proved themselves time and time again!

Signs endorsing — or opposed — to candidates for mayor, city council, school board and economic development issues are everywhere, at least it seems. Too many of our tax gathering outfits are under the leadership of elected folks who don’t want to let voters know how their tax dollars are really being spent. When an office holder starts thinking they are the only expert on the block, start backing away. Just because someone is a college graduate, or was a “little shot” in the big city, before landing in East Texas, doesn’t mean they own the offices we taxpayers subsidize. Common sense, being a trusted friend and neighbor and meeting their obligations head on are my kind of candidates.

That is some tree — big and beautiful and still growing! Wynell Smith Steely lives in Morris County, just outside Daingerfield. Ms. Steely says folks are coming from near and far to admire the sprawling state champion flowering dogwood tree in her back yard. No wonder! The native Texas tree was declared state champ back in 2013. At that time it stood 28-feet tall, has a 44-foot-wide crown spread and a trunk that was 85-inches around. In the past six years, Ms. Steely says the tree has grown a bunch more. Morris County is also home to the state champion white oak tree. It is 98-feet tall. Flowering dogwoods typically grow to a height of 35 to 40 feet and live for nigh on to 80-years according to the Texas Forest Service. And of course, the dogwood is considered one of the first signs of spring in our East Texas.

Some landowners never seem to learn. They believe every Tom, Dick and Harry that comes to their door with deals too good to resist. Often these “good offers” are centered on leasing for oil and gas or for putting in a pipeline or a power company erecting ghastly towers across the property. First and foremos t— few of us know our legal rights when it comes to control of our land. The growth of eminent domain issues continues to take advantage of many good citizens. Attorneys who work for the landowner, not the company wanting to trespass, are few and far between. But they are out there and are worth the money. That winds it up for this time.

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