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Friday, November 30, 2012

Center City Electric Light Parade is tonight!

 The Center City Electric Light Parade welcomes the Christmas season with lighted floats. Theme for 2012 is "The Nutcracker."  The parade starts at 11th and Polk and goes to Fourth and Buchanan where the city of Amarillo will light the city's Christmas Tree. Parade begins at 6PM!

The Electric Light Parade is downtown starting at 11th and Polk Street and going to Fourth Avenue where it turns toward Buchanan.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ken Burn's; The Dust Bowl featuring history of the Texas Panhandle - gets rave reviews

By Ned Martel, Published: November 16

This past April, there was no Pulitzer for fiction. Judges and prize administrators struggled to find the right work for right now, and then they gave up. One aftermath assessment: Novels have gotten twee.

In televised nonfiction, on the other hand, Ken Burns has no problem with the big picture. His documentaries for PBS are never not epic. He knows how to make chapters of America’s past seem urgent, whether he’s obsessing over a sport (baseball) or a musical genre (jazz). He’s unafraid of going wider, too, having assembled sagas on World War II and, most famously, the Civil War.

Like good novelists, Burns finds quiet awakenings amid everyday travails, no matter the time period. There’s no real problem with doing this, except the PBS impresario tends to exhaust interest in an epoch as if he’s conducting an honors seminar in the history department. Halfway through, while we’re all furrowing in airless archives, a question often arises: Can this be taken pass-fail?

With “The Dust Bowl,” Burns keeps himself to four concise hours and ably sifts the story out of the dirt. As the filmmaker chronicles farmers in the southern Plains during the Depression years, he looks more carefully at fewer people and distills deeper meaning.

Over 10 years, farmers tore up grasslands to plant more and more wheat, which soon was worth less and less. Next, winds blew away good soil and then more winds brought bad soil to the surface. In towns called Follett and Enid, the filmmaker has found important things to discuss about ecosystems and economies and how they collapse.

More important, Burns also presents novel-worthy characters against an apocalyptic backdrop.

One Job-like figure in the desertified Oklahoma Panhandle is a farm wife who describes endless chores in her elegant magazine dispatches.

Caroline Henderson, a homesteader with a Mount Holyoke degree, is perhaps Burns’s most apt protagonist. She sounds like Laura Ingalls Wilder with an adult awareness; imagine her as the first mommy blogger.

The land changes under Henderson’s feet. Amber waves become arid dunes. Morning in America leads to darkness by noon. She keeps somber vigil as Manifest Destiny comes to a screeching halt.

Not every viewer will be in the mood for a glimpse of the moment when thousands of poor Americans confronted what looked like end times. It’s unsettling, in the season of the “fiscal cliff,” to delve into four hours recounting some previous battered economy, when recovery stretched from wait-till-next-year to wait-till-next-decade.

Somehow, Burns takes care of viewer and character alike. For sure, the pain of infanticidal winds addles the brains of both farm marms and PBS viewers. Hack coughs lead to “dust pneumonia,” which claimed one family’s youngest girl and eldest matriarch in the same week. On the day of their double funeral, a massive storm engulfed mourners, compounding the pain.

That Palm Sunday devastation, in 1935, blew Plains dust all the way to Franklin Roosevelt’s desktop in the Oval Office, and the viewer can practically feel some film of inescapable particles settling, even after the documentary’s gusts have waned. As narrator Peter Coyote pulls back to a wider world, the discussion takes a needed break, turning to Washington players such as Henry Wallace and Harold Ickes, New Deal Cabinet members who debated whether to plow anew or abandon for good, respectively.

As ever, the screen scans historic images — strong, clear, artful ones. Photographer Dorothea Lange trains her lens on wind-whipped faces. Burns knows by now how to pull emotion out of first-person documents and underscores the testimony with piano chords and violin whines. Woody Guthrie finds his voice. And one of many older survivors recalls her mama’s hymn that hoped for “higher ground.”

Obviously, there are American themes of endurance and pluck, but also hype and hubris. In on-camera testimonies, unsparing eco-historians such as Timothy Egan make sense of the sadness, with ample narrative skill. A viewer will understand arcana about soil conservation and grassland water retention, plus how the government came to pay farmers not to farm, a policy that endures.

Wheat prices soar and sink, and fields of dreams become nightmare landscapes. When survivors finally overcome starvation and disease, many pack up and head to California. There, real-life Tom Joads look as hearty and humble as Henry Ford but get mocked as unwashed and defeated Okies.

“The Dust Bowl” is worthwhile not merely as it documents past perseverance but also as it informs future struggles. Leave it to Burns, our mop-topped maestro of American fact, to find the heroine, Caroline Henderson, who can speak for herself and also bring it all home: “Behind the characteristic American nonchalance, one detects a growing anxiety, especially about the coming winter.”

The Dust Bowl

(two hours each night) Sunday and Monday
at 8 p.m. on PBS

Monday, November 5, 2012

Amarillo Police seek bank robber: video released

On 11-5-12, at 12:30 PM, officers responded to a robbery alarm at First Bank Southwest at 5701 SW 34th . Officers found that a male suspect entered the bank’s front door and approached a female teller.

He had a dark colored handgun in his hand. He also was carrying what appears to be a red gym bag. The suspect pointed the gun at the employee and demanded money.

The bank teller placed money in the bag. The robber then left through the front door. A witness saw him run from the bank to an alley east of the bank and south of 34th. He got into a white, single-cab older model pickup parked in the alley and left eastbound.

The robber was a male about 5ft. 9 inches tall. He was wearing a blue hooded windbreaker type jacket with the hood up over his head, a white mask, gloves, and blue jeans.

No arrests have been made and there were no injuries. If you have any information on this robbery or believe you may have seen the suspect or vehicle, call the Amarillo Police Department at 378-3038 or Amarillo Crime Stoppers 374-4400.

Amarillo man arrested for possession of controlled substance after Sunday morning search.

On Sunday November 4th at approximately 6:37am, officers were dispatched to the 7000 block of Imperial on a 911 hang up.

Upon arrival officers began speaking with a female occupant of the residence who stated she felt someone had broken into the house during the night. 

The female then invited officers inside the house. Once inside officers identified all the occupants of the house and tried to assess what the nature of the call was. 

Officers were given consent to search the residence, where they located numerous pieces of narcotic paraphernalia and a small amount of meth.

A shop located in the back yard of the residence was also searched. Inside the shop, officers located a stolen I-pad and a stolen digital camera. Both of these items were stolen in auto burglaries that occurred in residential neighborhoods in the past few months. Further searching in the shop area reveled a small plastic baggie with what appears to be methamphetamines.

The baggie weighed approximately 8 grams. The male occupant of the house was arrested and transported to Randall County where he was booked for Possession of a Controlled Substance over 4 grams – under 200 and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He is identified as Kristopher Donald Mixon W/M 42 DOB 11-5-69. A second male occupant was arrested for outstanding traffic warrants.

BREAKING: Bank Robbed in SW Amarillo

PD is on the scene of a 12:30 PM bank robbery at First Southwest Bank at 5701 SW 34th (near 34/Bell). Initial information is that the suspect fled in a white, older (possibly 1970's) single cab pickup that had been parked in an alley off of Atkinsen, east of the bank. 

Early suspect description is unknown race male wearing blue hooded jacket, gloves, some type of white mask. Anyone in the area that saw a pickup parked or prowling near the bank is asked to notify the APD at 378-3038. More detail will follow as it is available.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Union Pacific 844 rolls into Amarillo

Click to enlarge 

(C) Steve Douglass 

Union Pacific’s last steam engine train, No. 844, rolled through Amarillo Saturday, as part of its 150th birthday celebration tour.

The train made a service stop in Amarillo just after 12:30 PM.

The 454-ton train left Houston on Oct. 27 and is scheduled to arrive back to its home in Cheyenne, Wyo., on Nov. 8.

Steam locomotive to visit Amarillo

AMARILLO — Union Pacific’s last steam engine train, No. 844, will roll through the Texas Panhandle this weekend during its 150th birthday celebration tour, said Raquel Espinoza, the company’s director of corporate and media relations.

The train’s team will make a service stop in Amarillo at 11:45 a.m. Saturday at 83 S. Pierce St. People cannot board the train, Espinoza said.

The 454-ton train left from Houston on Oct. 27 and is scheduled to arrive back to its home in Cheyenne, Wyo., on Nov. 8.

“It’s a rolling piece of history,” Espinoza said.
The locomotive was delivered in 1944 and has hauled freight and passengers. More recently, the train has served as the railroad company’s “goodwill ambassador,” making appearances at museums and heritage celebrations, according to a news release.

Union Pacific connects 23 states, mainly in the western part of the country, by rail and gives freight solutions and expertise, the news release said.
It’s neat to see generations of families come together to visit No. 844, Espinoza said.

“It’s a firsthand look of how passengers used to travel before cars and modern locomotives,” she said. “It’s important to do what we can to preserve as much history as possible.”

Sam Teague, president of the nonprofit Railroad Artifact Preservation Society, said the group will hold tours of the Amarillo engine — Santa Fe No. 5000 — at Southeast Second Avenue and Lincoln Street from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Live: Amarillo Area Air Traffic Radio

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