Open Carry Advocates Plan to March Through the Fifth Ward (Updated)

Categories: Sole of Houston

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Photo by Lucio Eastman
Will being armed in the Fifth Ward get more canned food donations?

UPDATE: The Fifth Ward Open Carry March has been postponed because C.J. Grisham can't attend the walk due to a scheduling conflict, specifically another demonstration in Big Spring.

However, the event itself has only been postponed, not cancelled. Grisham says they planned the Fifth Ward event as a way of reaching out to the community and encouraging people in the community to step up and assert their rights where guns are concerned.

He acknowledged the Fifth Ward isn't the most obvious choice to stage an Open Carry Walk (they're usually held on Saturdays at the Galleria or Almeda Mall) but this is about getting in touch with other communities. See, this whole event wasn't intended to be a bunch of white guys showing up in the Fifth Ward, because it was going to be about empowering the community to assert their own gun toting rights. "Somebody's got to stand up and sit at the front of the bus." (The Rosa Parks comparison may have been taking things a little far, we think, but we suppose it's cool they're approaching this as just a pro-gun thing and not a weird racist thing.)

Either way, the Fifth Ward walk won't be happening for a few weeks. David Amad, the chapter organization for the Houston branch of Open Carry, said they will reschedule so that Grisham can attend. Instead, they'll be holding their regularly scheduled Open Carry walk starting at 10 a.m. Saturday at Almeda Mall.


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Houston's Hungry to Dine on Feral Swine

Categories: Sole of Houston

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Photo by Texas Parks and Wildlife
Feral hogs, less of a nuisance when they're on the table?

A hog is a hog but a feral hog is widely held to be a pain in the ass. Over half the estimated 2 million to 6 million feral hogs in the United States reside in Texas and they do about $400 milllion worth of damage on an annual basis, according to The Smithsonian.

All of this means that feral hogs are not smiled upon in the Lone Star State. Houston is no exception to what the hogs have done.

Usually the hogs are just killed -- with a bullet, a knife or a good thwack from a very tough pickup truck, whatever works. However, in Houston they're taking a different approach.

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Five Things to Know About the Houston Marathon's Security Measures

Categories: Sole of Houston

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The time has come.

A lot has changed since the final person loped across the finish line for the Houston Marathon last year. Namely, a couple of bastards decided to bomb the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring scores of people. The bombing also altered how marathons across the country are now handled, and the Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Half Marathon is no exception..

In this post-Boston world, the 2014 Houston marathon will have a few changes in how things are done. If you're running in the marathon or half marathon, or coming down to to the course to cheer on those who are, here's a head's up on a few things to know.


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UPDATED With Good News: Rushmore's Doug's Barbershop, Heights Institution, Not Closing After All

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Still from Rushmore
Jason Schwartzman, as Max Fischer in Rushmore, barbering in Doug's Barber Shop.

Things looked bad for Doug's Barbershop on Friday. The Heights institution -- known for being a continuously working barbershop since 1929 and made even more famous when part of Wes Anderson's 1998 film Rushmore was filmed there -- had received an eviction notice from the owner of the property, J. Conti Interests LLC.

The notice would have forced Doug's Barbershop to close on November 15, proprietor Doug Dreher said. The eviction notice was served because the landlord said Dreher had not paid rent or shown the company proof of insurance, he said. Dreher remembered dropping off the October rent check before going out of town for a few weeks. When he got back to town, just before the end of the month, he was notified that his business, located at 219 East 11th Street, was being evicted in two weeks.


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UPDATED: Doug's Barber Shop, Heights Institution Featured in Rushmore, Closing

Categories: Sole of Houston

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Still from Rushmore
Jason Schwartzman, as Max Fischer in Rushmore, barbering in Doug's Barber Shop.

UPDATE: Owner Doug Dreher said he is working on mediation with the company, J. Conti Interests LLC. If they don't succeed, the business will have to move, he said.

Dreher has been renting the establishment for the past 13 years without a problem, until last month. Dreher said he dropped off his rent check before going out of town for a couple of weeks, but the company informed him that they never received a check.

His landlords informed him that they'd been trying to reach him for weeks when they notified him of the eviction, he said. "That one was on me. My employees somehow didn't relay the message," he said.

Dreher has filed for mediation, hoping that the two sides can work things out. "I know customers will follow us if we have to move, but it's the historic aspect of this place. This is where Rushmore was filmed, and I'm pretty sure it's the oldest continuously operating barbershop around," he said.

The lights were on and buzz clippers were whirring, but all was not well Friday morning at Doug's Barber Shop, the storied location made even more famous after it was used extensively in Wes Anderson's 1998 film Rushmore.

Employees didn't deny that it looks like the shop, at 219 East 11th, which has reportedly been in business since 1929, will be closing on November 15. There were two barbers at work and a handful of customers gathered in the shop, but everyone went silent when asked about the shop closing its doors.

The barbers were reluctant to say more or give their names and would only confirm that the barbershop is expected to close, and that they believe the closing is related to a problem with the landlord, J. Conti Interests LLC.


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Man Plans to Run 24 Hours for LINC Houston

Categories: Sole of Houston

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Like those guys in the movie, Mark Junkans is about to run. A lot.

You can always put your money where your mouth is, but then there's the put-your-feet-there option.

Mark Junkans, executive director of LINC Houston, is getting literal about the feet thing. On Saturday, Junkans plans to run 24 hours straight to raise $100,000 for LINC Houston programs and the communities LINC serves, according to a release issued Tuesday.

Junkans started LINC Houston in 2002, an organization focused on helping Houston families become self-sufficient. The organization has helped more than 125,000 people and started more than 35 churches, according to the release.


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The Intrepid Walker's Guide to Houston: A Sole of Houston Forerunner, Circa 1975

Categories: Sole of Houston

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Offcite.org
The Last American City: Douglas Milburn's second pedestrian guidebook to Houston, written in 1979, when pedestrianism here was truly heroic.
(Part one of a planned series...)

As the Preacher says, there's nothing new under the sun, and it turns out I was not the first Houstonian to write about adventures on long walks and/or bike rides in the Bayou City.

More than 30 years prior to my first adventure (a 16-mile slog down Westheimer from West Oaks Mall to Bagby), Douglas Milburn and Eli Zal beat me to the punch with their 1975 booklet Intrepid Walker's Guide to Houston. (Tom Richmond supplied the photos; he went on to Hollywood where he was director of photography for the films Stand and Deliver and A Midnight Clear, among others.)

In truth, my work and the Intrepid guide varied somewhat in approach. Zal and Milburn, a former Rice roommate of Larry McMurtry who went on to edit Houston City magazine and run the lysergic Magellan's Log blog), set out to write a guidebook, albeit one that aspires to literature. (I still don't know what the Sole of Houston series is, exactly.)

Zal and Milburn confined themselves to Montrose, downtown, the museums, the parks along Buffalo Bayou, Rice, Broadacres and Glenwood Cemetery.

After my first trek with Geoffrey Muller, David Beebe and I spent much more time scouring Houston's more touristically neglected roadways, though not ignoring our more famed and salubrious Inner Loop hoods.

By 1979, Zal had left his native Houston, and Milburn carried the torch alone with The Last American City: An Intrepid Walker's Guide to Houston.

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Sole of Houston: Bicycles Enable Lomax And Beebe To Cover 30-Plus Miles Of Hood

Categories: Sole of Houston
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Murder, tacos and Perpetual Help
Man, there has been a lot of water under the bridge since David Beebe and I last undertook a Sole of Houston stroll in December of 2008.

For my part, there was a divorce, massive weight loss, and the ditching of pretty much all my vices. As for Beebe, the super-picky confirmed playa was madly in love with his new girlfriend, as I was with mine.

We barely recognized each other. Sure, Beebe looked the same -- he's still that same Buddy Holly look-alike, Doug Sahm sound-alike he always was -- but he now was kitted out with both an iPhone and a camera that probably cost more than the trailer he lived in for months out in Marfa. Gifts from his girlfriend, he sheepishly explained.

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Sole Of Houston: And We Are Back, This Time On Two Wheels

Categories: Sole of Houston
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Biking and no beer
David Beebe was back in town for a short time, so we put the band back together for an epic adventure in the streets of H-Town.

We will have a full account here later in the week after Beebe uploads his pics to Flickr, but for now we'll tease with a few details...

We didn't walk this time. We rode bikes. We were able to cover over 30 miles, which is about ten miles more than we were ever able to do on foot.

We also went through some of the scariest parts of town, or at least areas generally regarded as such.

Here's a fairly accurate map of our itinerary:


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Sole Of Houston: UH Architecture Professor Graphs Bellaire Boulevard

Categories: Sole of Houston
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Ray Davies never sang about seeing stars on Bellaire Boulevard
Three years ago this month, David Beebe and I trekked Bellaire Boulevard from west of Highway 6 to the Little Woodrow's on the train tracks at the West U / Bellaire border. We didn't continue any further because the prosperous stretch from that faux icehouse -- the last beer available on a street with a severe shortage of same -- to the Med Center bored us.

I summed up that adventure thusly:

So that's Bellaire Boulevard. We didn't see a single abandoned shopping cart, unlike Shepherd, which seems to use them as mile markers. There's not enough trees. (Or bars. There are virtually no places to drink a beer on this street.) The closer in you are, the more boring it is. There are almost no pedestrians. It has one of the strangest bus-riding clienteles in town.

If Westheimer is mainly about the fetishes, broken dreams and vanities of Anglo whites, and Shepherd is all about the needs of cars, Bellaire is a world market of a street, a bazaar where Mexicans, Anglos, Salvadorans, African Americans, Hondurans, stoners, Vietnamese, Chinese, Koreans and Thais go to shop and eat.

Earlier this month, University of Houston architecture professor Susan Rogers examined the same street with more of a scholarly bent, one that probably didn't include her drinking screw-cap wine in the median of Bellaire Boulevard near the Bellaire city bandshell.

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