75 Years ago

For science teacher Samuel T. Sims of 1319 W. Seventh, the philosophy of “you are what you eat” is practiced in his experimental garden and on the family’s table.

Sims, a teacher at T. W. Ogg School, has a small but prolific “organic garden” in a small area behind his home. He explains that in the organic gardening concept no poisonous insecticides or commercial fertilizers are used.

“It surprises me that there Is as much hunger In the world when the raw materials for growing food in this manner are so abundant,” Sims says.

Everything used in the garden is a product of other plant and organic material. The bed of the garden is composed of rotted vegetation that is the waste product of previous crops.

The garden bed is now built up about 12 to 14 inches above the surrounding land.

While the rotting vegetable material serves in the place of commercial fertilizer, Sims’ own non-poisonous “insecticide” is a homemade product.

Sims uses a mixture of chili powder and vinegar mixed with water to combat the insects. “When you spray this mixture on the bugs you can see them fall off the plants,” Sims says. He said the mixture works more like a repellent than an insecticide.

To produce the mulch used to fertilize the soil, Sims has a power-driven mulching machine which chops vegetation into small pieces. The chopped-up pieces are mixed with soil by a motor-driven cultivating machine.

50 Years ago

Contract was awarded Tuesday and work is expected to get started in about thirty days on Freeport’s downtown concrete paving project, which will see six blocks surfaced and the construction of curb, gutter and sidewalks along these thoroughfares.

Two contractors submitted two bids each on the work, and the proposals were unusually close. Bids were submitted on six and seven blocks of paving, the alternate bid including the block of Broad Street from Park Avenue to Pine Street, which has not yet received government priority.

L. H. Lacy & Co., of Dallas, the successful bidder, submitted a figure of $47,698.22 for the six blocks, which includes Cherry Street from Second to Broad, Broad Street from Sherry through Park Avenue, and both sides of East and West Park Avenue.

International Engineering Co. joint with Martham & Brown of Houston, bid $47,747.52 for the six blocks. This company was low bidder for the seven blocks with $57,183.41, as compared with a figure of $57,425.45 by Lacy & Co.

Lacy & Co. was selected as contractor by the City Council for its low bid on the six blocks and the fact that the firm is already on the site with equipment. The company is doing the state paving job on the approach to the Velasco bridge, widening of Second Street and paving of Pine Street.

15 Years ago

The city might limit residents’ and developers’ ability to cut down trees in an effort to protect disappearing greenery.

The Planning Commission and City Council conducted a joint meeting Monday to discuss ways to stop developers from clear-cutting property, as well as mandate greenbelts in new developments and along the roads, mainly Highway 288, leading into town. Planning commissioners also said they would consider an ordinance banning residents from cutting down trees unless the tree was sick or presented a safety hazard.

Monday’s meeting was a brainstorming session and officials still must research their legal options and coordinate any plans with developers and utility companies.

Planning Commission Chairman Lawrence Packard said some developers haven’t been honest about their plans to cut down all the trees when they came before the commission to have plats approved.

“There have been a few instances in the last year or so with one or two of them that have not been up-front with the planning commission,” Packard said.

He said the Northwood subdivision off FM 2004 is a prime example.

“We got flim-flammed,” Packard said.

Reg Aplin, who is developing Northwood, could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening. Councilman Mike Tracy, who has been outspoken about protecting older trees in the city, said the forestry plan needs to be balanced against development since the city still needs room to grow.

“We need to leave some trees, leave some beauty and not just clear-cut like I’ve seen done, especially in the last year,” Tracy said. “That’s got to be stopped.”

City officials said The Wilderness golf course is a good example of how trees and development can co-exist. About 200 acres near Highway 332 at FM 2004 were cleared to make way for the municipal golf course.

Planning Commissioner Jim Renfro said it’s crucial the city get an ordinance in place before the land south of the Brazoria County Municipal Airport is developed, though he expects strong resistance from developers.

“It’s one of those things that would be a cultural shock in Lake Jackson,” Renfro said.

The commission already has looked at other areas for ideas, including The Woodlands and new developments along Highway 6 in Fort Bend County.

Assistant City Manager Modesto Mundo said The Woodlands requires a 50-foot perimeter, in which no vegetation is cleared, around any development.

“You can’t see through it,” Mundo said as he showed a slide of a project in The Woodlands. “They have very little mowing or upkeep because they let it go.”

Councilman Joe Rinehart said a perimeter would have improved the appearance of the new Buc-ee’s under construction at Highway 332 and Plantation Drive.

“There’s three football fields cleared off there,” Rinehart said. “He hasn’t even removed the trees.”

City Manager Bill Yenne said one problem is developers will clear the land before they come to the city for any permits.

“They haven’t even come to the staff and they’re knocking them down,” Yenne said. “There’s been no opportunity for us to say, ‘Here is the benefit.’”

Yenne warned council and planning commissioners to expect a fight if they propose anything that will cut into developers’ revenues.

“You have to have the intestinal fortitude to go all the way with this,” Yenne said. “It can get unpleasant.”

Packard said it will be worth it.

“I’ve had comments in the area from people who don’t live in Lake Jackson saying, ‘I thought you were the tree people. What happened?” Packard said.

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