There are always a lot of things that are relevant to the community that many people aren’t aware of.

But we who toil for your local news source are in a unique position to know.

Contrary to some peoples’ belief, we don’t spend most of our time hanging out eating donuts and sipping fizzy cider in palatial, luxurious digs subsidized by a multi-billion dollar conglomerate that clandestinely owns the Houston Herald.

Nope. We are community residents working hard for a community-based company owned by a community man.

We’re focused on what matters to local residents and our fingers are in constant touch with the pulse of the community. We’re in ongoing contact with all of the community’s life-changers (both actual and self-proclaimed), we keep perpetual track of the ebbs and flows of its life-changing events and we maintain a watchful eye on the big picture to share what’s important on a regional, state, national, global, galactic and universal level.

Doug Davison

Doug Davison

The bottom line is, if something that affects the community has happened, is happening or has been announced will happen, we’re on it. If a situation exists that is misunderstood, we’ll clear things up. If one exists that is simply unknown, we’ll shed light on it.

The following information is provided as a public service designed to enlighten you of significant matters in and around your community that may or may not have come to your attention.

Were you aware the Whispering Pines Café on Highway 63 in Houston offers open-air seating? It did at least temporarily last week thanks to the recent efforts of a man from Arkansas who poked a big hole in the front of it when he used his van as a tool to execute an impromptu high noon makeover of the building. Patrons seemed to like the idea and continued tending to their lunch plans as the warm November breeze wafted through the space that used to be occupied by glass, brick and wood.

Did you know high school football season was over? The stands in Tiger Stadium during the recent final game seemed to reflect that not many folks were aware the season was still in progress. Or maybe almost everyone had the same idea and came wearing an empty seat costume.

Were you aware that Herald graphic arts specialist Leesa Smith spends much of her time scrumbling? While it may sound like a move in some unusual Australian sport or a baking method used in remote areas of Kazakhstan, scrumble is a term for a free-form crochet technique that is also used to describe sprucing up computer art. When she’s not at her computer doing some crucial stippling, Ms. Smith could well be in the midst of a good scrumble.

A reliable source reports that a road-kill armadillo was recently spotted near Eunice by a man named Oscar (or was that near Oscar by a woman named Eunice?). That obviously wouldn’t be unusual in itself, but the noteworthy aspect is that the deceased animal was not, repeat, was not lying on its back with its legs in the air.

A Walmart shopper recently reported that there actually is a cart in the store’s fleet that does not pull to the left or make that rhythmic bumping sound caused by a flat spot in one of its wheels. Walmart officials neither confirmed nor denied the report.

Did you know that nobody has ever seen a black panther in Missouri? You may well think you have seen one or know someone else who says they have, but the Missouri Department of Conservation wants you to know that that’s impossible. On the MDC web site and in a pamphlet available at your local ranger station are the words “though a popular myth, black panthers do not exist in the wild in North America.”
Had to be a neighbor’s black cat.

Were you also aware that there is not a breeding population of cougars (locally called mountain lions) in Missouri? The Missouri Department of Conservation wants you to know that there have been only eight confirmed mountain lion sightings in Missouri since 1994 and that there is no evidence of a breeding population in the state (again, information from the MDC web site and pamphlet). Please note that the MDC does acknowledge that there have been hundreds of uncomfirmed sightings. I know of at least one Texas County incident in which a confirmed llama was supposedly eaten by a possible big cat that reportedly resembled an unconfirmed cougar. Allegedly.

There is so much more – enough that this week’s Herald would take on phone book proportions. But with time constraints and reader sanity in mind, this public service announcement will end here.

But please know that as your watchmen on the community wall, we will not lose our sense of duty to keep readers abreast of key issues, whether behind the scenes or in-your-face.

The hard part is not dealing with the unrelenting flow of pertinent information, it’s accepting that days only have 24 hours and trying to do justice to it all in that space of time.

It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.

We’ll try our best.

Doug Davison is a writer, copy editor and advertising representative for the Houston Herald. E-mail: