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The Galveston County Daily News: Blogs

May 2, 2016

Blogs

Saturday 04/30/2016
Photos: Texas City Cinco de Mayo Festival

Texas City celebrated Mexican heritage with the annual Cinco de Mayo Festival at Nessler Park Saturday, April 30, 2016.  The free event featured a parade, food, musical and dance performances as well as cultural displays. 

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Photos: UTMB School of Nursing Commencement

The University of Texas Medical Branch’s School of Nursing held its commencement ceremony Friday, April 29, 2016,  at the Moody Gardens Convention Center in Galveston. More than 450, of the school's 607 graduates this year, participated in the ceremony.

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Thursday 04/28/2016
High Water

Sunset on April 27 seemed much like an aquarelle painting on which the artist spilled too much water. High tide and the recent rainfalls have inundated big stretches of Galveston Bay's shorelines, making way for birds to find passage to new areas. The sky still seems drenched with humidity and the birds mere smudges against the saturated skies. Of late we have lived in a water world on the Upper Texas Gulf Coast, where the land we use is subject to the sea's goodwill, to be swallowed within days.

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Tuesday 04/26/2016
Stormy weather to continue

Two rounds of stormy weather will roll through Southeast Texas between now and Sunday, one tomorrow and the other as we move into the weekend. More severe thunderstorms and heavy rain will be possible both events.

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Monday 04/18/2016
Galveston County Fair and Rodeo winds down
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Friday 04/15/2016
Photos: Galveston County Fair and Rodeo CPRA Rodeo-Friday, April 15

Rodeo Riders of all ages came out to compete in the CPRA Rodeo at the Galveston County Fair and Rodeo Friday.  The rodeo action continues Saturday.

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Brisk winds, high tides and locally heavy rain in the picture for early next week

Galveston residents are finding near perfect spring weather as the week winds down and we move into the weekend. Following in the wake of Wednesday morning’s storms which brought the heaviest rains to Galveston County since March 9, the break in the weather has given many a chance to return to outdoor activities and pay some attention to their now well-watered gardens.

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Thursday 04/14/2016
Photos: Galveston County Fair and Rodeo-Thursday, April 14

The first night of rodeo action took place at the Galveston County Fair and Rodeo as riders from across the region came out to compete in the CPRA Rodeo.  In addition to rodeo action, fair-goers continued to take in the sights and sound of the annual fair. 

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The mysterious world of Smith Oaks

With Feather Fest in full swing all local birding spots are usually quite crowded. The Rookery at Smith Oaks on High Island is a favorite for ornithologists beyond Texas and even the US. The viewing platforms are quite crowded with spectators and photographers hailing from as far as Japan. Over the meeting point of waders, predominately great egrets, roseate spoonbills and snowy egrets, hovers a cacophony of avian and human languages and sounds. Alligators waiting for a dropped egg of the nesting birds hover on the water's surface. On this foggy, misty spring morning the sun is absent, but the contrasts of complimentary pinks and greens still offers enough for photographic interpretations.

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Take a virtual ride on MASSIV, Schlitterbahn's new water coaster

Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Water Park has released a video simulation of MASSIV, the new water coaster under construction.

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Wednesday 04/13/2016
Photos: Galveston County Fair and Rodeo Junior Livestock Auction

Youths from across the county participated in the annual Junior Livestock Auction at the Galveston County Fair and Rodeo in Hitchcock Wednesday, April 13, 2016. 

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Photos: County and market steer show at the Galveston County Fair & Rodeo

The County and Market Steer show got underway Tuesday, April 12, 2016, at the Galveston County Fair & Rodeo in Hitchcock. Area youth washed and groomed their steer, which they have been raising for several months, for the judges in the show ring.

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Tuesday 04/12/2016
Photos: The Galveston County Fair & Rodeo

The 78th annual Galveston County Fair & Rodeo is underway at Jack Brooks Park in Hitchcock and continues through Sunday April 17. The livestock barn is busy with youth from the area showing animals they've raised, from broiler hens and market rabbits to lambs, goats and steer.

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Barrel Racing at the Galveston County Fair & Rodeo

Riders from the Galveston County area tested their horses and their barrel racing skills Monday, April 11, 2016, during the exhibition barrel racing session at the Galveston County Fair & Rodeo in Hitchcock.

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Monday 04/11/2016
Photos: Astros vs. Royals Home Opener

After starting the season in New York, the Houston Astros returned to Minute Maid Park for their home opener on Monday night against the Kansas City Royals. The home team took an early lead that it never relinquished in route to an 8-2 victory over the defending World Champions. Starter Collin McHugh threw seven scoreless innings and Colby Rasmus hit his third home run of the season in the win.

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Outlook brightens for mid-week rains

I am not sure if the current trends will be to everyone’s liking, but the latest American (GFS) and European models are continuing to portray moderate to heavy rainfall for the Galveston County area. The rains are especially needed in Galveston where only 0.01” has been received through the first third of April. League City has had only a trace over the past nine days, but they did benefit from a 1.16” downpour on April 1.

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Thursday 04/07/2016
The weather is nice, but where is the rain?

It is difficult to find much fault with our weather of late. Temperatures have been moderate and rain has not been much of a problem. But could the later part of that statement become a problem?

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Wednesday 04/06/2016
Colors of Spring

Apart from calendar dates, subtropical spring is often hard to define. It arrives out of the last Northerner one morning and makes its presence known with a bright glittering light on the ocean. The sun warms, then burns. Fruit trees bud and blossom within a week, as if on time-lapse, then tropical flowers show off their beauty in a competition of saturation. Anoles sun themselves and attract mates with displays of their pink dewlaps. Nothing is sweet and soft in South Texas, even spring is passionate in its abundance of wildflowers and bloom; bigger and grander than up north, like a ballroom filled with creations of couture where wallflowers would easily be overlooked.

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Tuesday 04/05/2016
Photos: Friendswood girls soccer regional quarterfinal

The Friendswood Lady Mustangs continued their playoff journey at home against the Fort Bend Clements Lady Rangers on Tuesday night. Despite an even matching the Mustangs controlled the game and kept solid pressure on the Rangers for 80 minutes of regulation. Tied 0-0 the teams headed for overtime. Just as it was starting to look like a shoot-out was inevitable Clements pushed an attack with only six minutes left on the clock that resulted in the match's only goal and a victory.

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Friday 04/01/2016
Photos: Astros vs. Brewers Spring Training Finale

The Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers faced off in the spring training finale on Friday afternoon at Minute Maid Park. The Astros won the game 4-2 to finish with an 18-11 spring record going into the season with high expectations from fans and analysts alike. Houston opens the season on Monday against the Yankees in New York and don't return for the home opener until April 11.

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Wednesday 03/30/2016
Public meeting on Thursday to discuss hurricane protection plans

An important public meeting will be held tomorrow, March 31, at the County Commissioner’s Court in Galveston from 6 to 8 pm. This is part of an ongoing series of meetings sponsored by the Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District (GCCPRD). The District was created by Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Harris, Jefferson and Orange Counties in response to a state Commission initiated by Governor Perry in the wake of Hurricane Ike. It is responsible for developing plans to address the impacts of future storms on the upper-Texas coast.

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Tuesday 03/29/2016
Spring Time in the South Texas Bayous

Like pastel Easter eggs the wildflowers pop out over fields across South Texas. At Brazos Bend State Park, white and yellow daisies sway in the warm mid-day breeze to the grunting barks of alligators. The reptiles' mating season will be in full swing in April but the males' grunts that sound like a revving motorcycle engine are already echoing across the swamps, picked up by the females who respond with a low-bellied growl. Moorhens squawk, on the run from the scaly reptiles, while the orange bills of whistling ducks flash among budding trees. They're building their nests in tree branches or on the ground, among the bald cypress trees, to be initiated soon. These birds are closer in relation to geese than ducks, and like swans, it is believed they breed for life.

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Monday 03/21/2016
How will this coming week and weekend compare weather-wise?

A morning low of 48 degrees brought the coldest temperature in three weeks to the Island. Temperatures on the mainland, likewise, hovered near 40 degrees at several locations as a weekend cold front brought the chilliest weather since February to the County.  As I mentioned last week, the front made the weekend a little less than ideal for those who wished to frolic in the surf.

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Tuesday 03/15/2016
Weekend weather may be less than ideal

If one were to construct a Chamber of Commerce picture of a perfect spring break weekend, it would consist of soft breezes, surf and sand, sunny days, and of course, plenty of happy visitors.

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Monday 03/07/2016
Monitoring an advancing storm system

Our spell of near ideal early spring-like weather is due to come to an abrupt end this week.

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Thursday 03/03/2016
Photographing the Wind

March made an entrance with breezy mornings and churning waves in the evening. It feels refreshing to have the salty spray wash over one's face out on a jetty, and noticing how the water is warmer now. Gone is the icy chill of winter, and our lungs are cleansed by the gusts of warmer air. The winds will also carry our winter guests away. Sandhill cranes, as well as white pelican, are leaving day by day in flocks of hundreds. Using the camera to document motion on 2D images asks for long exposure or a panning of subjects. The slower the shutter speed, the more light we let in, the more movement is captured.

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Wednesday 03/02/2016
February’s weather and an early spring?

February was warmer and drier than normal in Galveston County. The monthly average was 2.0° above normal in Galveston and 2.9° above normal in League City. This also marked the first time since 1998 that the temperature failed to dip below 40° in either January or February in Galveston.

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Friday 02/26/2016
Windy Days

The last few days have given us cold, strong winds and a very low tide. The exposed sandbanks and sea-grass beds would normally attract shorebirds by the hundreds that like to feed on beached crustaceans. The wind however kept them restless, or completely away, and they stayed hunkered down in more sheltered areas. Gail-force winds can damage wings where it becomes difficult to fly. A solitary roseate spoonbill ventured into the wetlands off Sportsman Road on Galveston's west end, despite the wind ruffling its feathers, but soon took off. The sandhill cranes had to fight head-wind when approaching their overnight pastures and hovered like puppets in the air before touch-down.

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Monday 02/22/2016
Recent rain was first significant weather swing

The old saying: "If you do not like the Texas weather then just wait a little while,” will be certainly true this week. Rains will move into the area today to end a month-long dry spell. Today’s weather will be just the first in some significant swings in the weather this week.

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Saturday 02/20/2016
Photos: Galveston Ball vs. Dayton Girls 5A Area Playoff Game

After a slow start, the Ball High School Lady Tors defeated the Dayton Broncos 57-48 in the Area Round of the Girls Basketball 5A Playoffs in Baytown. 

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Thursday 02/18/2016
Sunny, mild weather to linger, but rain and cooler weather on the horizon

Our current spate of sunny, mild weather should continue through Saturday, though we are likely to see increasing clouds and humidity levels over the weekend.

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Another East Beach Morning

It feels like spring outdoors, despite the official first day being over a month away. But then, this is the Texas Gulf Coast. The sun is stronger, the light's angle has changed, the birds are chirping. The water, apparently, is 68 F, but it feels arctic early in the morning, when not prepared to go swimming. To get wet is a hazard of shore-bird photography. Much time is spent stretched out, propped on the elbows, the sand slowly sucked away under you, replaced by water. But as long as the camera stays dry, all is well. The white pelicans are still around, therefore it is not quite spring yet.

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Thursday 02/11/2016
Is our near ideal spell of sunny weather a prelude to a dry spring?

There is no doubt that our recent spell of sunny weather, with humidity levels more in line with New Mexico than Southeast Texas, has been welcomed by most. Combined with seasonably cool to mild temperatures, we really couldn’t ask for better weather than we have seen so far this month.

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Wednesday 02/10/2016
How Wild Are They?

It often seems as if the white pelicans wintering along the shores of the Upper Texas Gulf Coast are divided into two breeds. For one, there are the fairly tame, oversized ducks paddling among shrimp boats at Pier 19 in Galveston, preening their feathers on the breakers with not a care in the world. And then we have the flocks in the Bolivar Flats that take off the instant a beach-comber strolls within viewing distance. They are one and the same bird showing disparate behavior. The shrimp boats and fish markets feeding the birds with the waste-catch are a symptom of co-habitation of humans and wildlife. Some injured or ill birds survive because of the shrimper. They get to sit at stern, grabbing fish out of a trawler's net or wait for a returning boat sorting through its catch inside the harbor. The instinct that tells the pelican when it's exposed and vulnerable is not dampened by this close human interaction in port. Pelicans know they don't get fed at an open beach and thus their behavior will remain skittish away from the shrimp boats. Toward the end of February, the white pelican will move northward again in flocks of many hundred, leaving the brown pelican behind to eat their fill.

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Tuesday 02/09/2016
Photos: Fat Tuesday parade brings Mardi Gras to a close

The Mystic Krewe of Aquarius' 20th annual Fat Tuesday Parade brought an end to the Mardi Gras celebrations in Galveston.

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Sunday 02/07/2016
Photos: 18th annual Krewe of Barkus and Meoux Parade

Dogs, cats, pigs, ferrets, snakes, along with a pony and a chicken and their owners paraded Sunday February 7, 2016, through downtown Galveston for the 18th annual Krewe of Barkus and Meoux Parade.

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Photos: Mardi Gras Children's Parade

The Firefighters Local 571 hosted the annual Mardi Gras Children's Parade on Sunday February 7, 2016, in Galveston. The parade, with floats full of children and their families, brought the second weekend of Mardi Gras to a close.

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Saturday 02/06/2016
Photos: 2016 Mardi Gras Second Saturday

Mardi Gras in Galveston is in full swing with numerous parades and performances including the Z Krewe 22nd Z Procession and the Knights of Momus Grand Night Parade.  

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Photos: Krewe d' Esprit Rosaire Parade

The second weekend of Mardi Gras continues in Galveston on Saturday February 6, 2016, with the annual Krewe d' Esprit Rosaire Parade.

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Photos: Second Friday of Mardi Gras in Galveston

The second weekend of Mardi Gras gets rolling Friday with the Danny Weber Memorial Fire Truck Parade, Krewe Babalu's 11th annual All Krewe Parade and the Krewe of Maximilian Parade. The Quaker City String Band of the Philadelphia Mummers also made an appearance to play for the Krewe of Eiland's balcony party, as well as American rapper Pitbull, who performed at the 20th annual San Luis Salute.

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Wednesday 02/03/2016
January’s weather and a look at this weekend

This January was slightly cooler than normal in Galveston County. The month, however, was characterized by persistent cool conditions rather than any really cold weather. In fact, the lowest temperature during the month in Galveston was only 40 degrees, marking the first time that the temperature has failed to dip below the 40 degree mark since 2006. League City, likewise, reported a lowest temperature of 33 degrees during the month, giving that part of the County its first freeze-free January in nearly a decade.

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Monday 02/01/2016
Tiny Ghosts

It probably was this winter's thickest coastal fog yet, swaddling Galveston Island this morning. Walking through it left a film of moisture on one's skin. The fascinating experience with fog is how it contorts objects and makes them seem far away, only to put them right in front of you a minute later. Distances and sizes are taken out of context and thus surprise the spectator. On East Beach, the skimmers seemed but a cloud of tiny ghosts in a far distance and only crystallized as distinct shape when almost upon them. The fog erases contrasts and blurs silhouettes, taking away depth of field, until the world is but a curtain of obstacles, all died into its cotton fabric.

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Saturday 01/30/2016
Photos: 2016 Mardi Gras Galveston First Saturday

Mardi Gras activities continued across Galveston Saturday with numerous parades and performances, including the Mystic Krewe of Aquarius Parade, the Krewe of Gambrinus Parade and the Zaniest Golf Cart Parade. 

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Friday 01/29/2016
Photos: 2016 Mardi Gras Kicks Off in Galveston

Mardi Gras in Galveston official kicked off Friday night with the George P. Mitchell Parade  and the 6th Annual Funky Uptown Umbrella Brigade sponsored by the Daily News.  Costumed revelers took to the streets of downtown Galveston to take in the sights and sounds.  

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Tuesday 01/26/2016
A peek at Mardi Gras weather this weekend and beyond

Ever since Mardi Gras was revived in 1985 as public celebration, those attending the event have seen a wide variety of weather, from sleet and freezing temperatures to sunshine and temperatures in the 60’s.

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Winter Stillness over the Bay

While the East Coast received a dumping of snow, winter on the Texas Gulf Coast took on different, subtler weather variations over the weekend. The stillness of Galveston Bay at sunset, combined with a low tide and a full moon, made for an empty sea-scape offering a silhouetted world. The quiet was shattered the very moment the sun set beyond the horizon, when the seagulls flew up, as if on cue, to change locations. At that moment a mirror is scattered and life escapes from beyond its now broken surface. It doesn't take long though, this concert of squawks and cries. As dusk moves its hand over Galveston Bay, like a mother touches the head of a child put to bed, the quiet returns. The colors dim and the world goes to sleep through the January night.

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Saturday 01/23/2016
Photos: Second Annual Texas City Mainland Mardi Gras Parade

Texas City rang in Mardi Gras with the second annual Mainland Mardi Gras Parade Saturday, January 23, 2016.  Costumed revelers, school groups, bands and local law enforcement agencies and first responders took part in a colorful parade, which was preceded by a fun run.  Mardi Gras activities continue in the county this week with parades in Galveston held next weekend. 

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Wednesday 01/20/2016
Windy conditions likely as cold front and surface low move across the region

While parts of the Middle Atlantic States are facing a major snow storm and sections of the South likely to see severe weather and possible tornadoes from a developing Winter Storm, Galveston County will likely experience mostly indirect effects as the system moves east across the region.

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Watching the Weather

Around 8 am on January 20, weather watching over the Galveston Ship Channel was quite dramatic. A frontal approach of a layered system rolled over the bay like a curtain dropped inside a gigantic haunted manor. It was a shelf cloud that moved across a previously sunny morning, bringing precipitation and grey skies, spider-web look-alike nimbostratus clouds and a few cumulus to tower above the shelf, or, in my six year old sons words, "a party of ginormous snowmen."

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Saturday 01/16/2016
Photos: 5th Annual Polar Plunge

The 5th annual Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Texas  was held at Stewart Beach in Galveston, Texas Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016.  Over three hundred costumed plungers braved water temperatures in the mid 50s at the event, which is the largest of its type in the state.

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