- Written by Aaron Clevenson
By Dr. Aaron B. Clevenson
Observatory Director, Insperity Observatory
Mark your calendar, 6:49:57 a.m. (Central Time) July 14, will be a first in our exploration of space. This is the time of the closest approach of the New Horizons spacecraft as it flies past the Dwarf Planet Pluto. This is our first chance to see detailed close-up pictures of Pluto and its moons. New Horizons was launched January 19, 2006, and is flying at more than 9 miles per second. It is 32 times further from the sun than the Earth is. After the flyby, New Horizons will join Voyagers 1 and 2 and Pioneers 10 and 11 as Earth’s emissaries to the universe: the only five objects humans launched that will leave the solar neighborhood to travel among the stars.
Come join us at the next Public Night at Insperity Observatory (humbleisd.net/observatory) to hear more about the mission and Pluto. Public Nights are the first Friday, monthly.
- Written by Wilson Calvert
What it is: The VW Touraeg (pronounced tour-egg) is VW's largest vehicle, a mid-size luxury SUV that seats five. My specific test model was the Touraeg TDI Executive, which gives you a V6 turbo diesel instead of the 3.6 liter naturally aspirated V6. The torque provided is significantly higher providing brisker acceleration as well as increased towing capacity. In case you've missed the boat, diesel engines have become significantly quieter and more efficient than those old Mercedes sedans that your grandfather had 25 years ago. Most people wouldn't even notice the difference except the increase in fuel economy and more power. The fuel economy difference is fairly significant going from 17 city to 20 city, and 23 highway to 29 highway MPG.
My Executive trim model offers all the bells and whistles you would expect from a premium German luxury car. Premium wheels, beautiful leather interior, an excellent stereo, and a large touchscreen navigation system. The design that VW puts into their cars is a very refined and modern experience, which I can relate to using an Apple-designed product. A significant amount of thought was put into the design, but you'll be paying extra for it.
The driving experience was quite nice. Plenty of power as mentioned from the diesel engine, super smooth on the roads, made for a stress-free commute. My test model came with the optional Executive Driver Assistance package which provides Adaptive Cruise Control and lane departure warning for $2,500. I love these features, and if you plan on spending lots of time cruising the highway system, then they are highly recommended.
MPG: 20 city / 29 highway.
Price: Base price $44,705. $62,200 for TDI Executive. $65,610 as-tested with destination.
Upsides: German luxury. Refined Design.
Downsides: Hard not to look at traditional luxury manufacturers at this high of a price point.
Wrap-up: I really enjoyed the Touraeg, but it doesn't strike on one of my personal key attributes: value. The Touraeg is really wonderful, but it's hard to imagine someone paying $65,000 for this when you could get a comparable Jeep Grand Cherokee with a similar diesel engine for $10-$15,000 less. Mercedes, BMW, and Audi buyers won't typically sacrifice the brand name for a better deal, but one has to wonder if potential Volkswagen owners wouldn't be likely to look elsewhere for a better deal.
- Written by Community Reports
Narcotics investigators with the Precinct 4 Constable’s Office, along with officers from the Houston Police Department’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Group conducted an investigation on a Splendora man that culminated in his arrest on first-degree felony charges.
Investigators had reason to believe Thomas Blevins, on federal probation for charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, was engaging in that activity again, trafficking large quantities of meth from the Houston area into Montgomery County. Early on, they learned Blevins was driving with a suspended license. They had Blevins under surveillance June 8, when he acquired and transported a large amount of methamphetamine to East Montgomery County. He was driving illegally and went to the Porter Walmart, where he positioned himself in a remote area of the parking lot, where they suspected he was about to make a transaction. As deputies began to approach Blevins’ vehicle, they saw him toss something to the front passenger floorboard and begin reaching for the center console. When deputies removed Blevins from the vehicle and in plain view on the passenger floorboard, they saw a clear plastic bag containing what turned out to be nearly 4 grams of methamphetamine. The vehicle also contained five other plastic bags with methamphetamine inside. All totaled, Blevins was in possession of 169.81 grams of methamphetamine. The street value of that amount of meth is around $17,000.
Thomas William Blevins, 44, of Splendora is charged with first-degree felony Manufacture / Delivery of a Controlled Substance (Penalty Group 1), more than 4 grams, but less than 200 grams.
On June 10, around 2:45 a.m., a Precinct 4 Deputy Constable attempted to initiate a traffic stop on a Chevrolet pickup that turned onto Antique Lane from Loop 494 having defective equipment. Upon reaching the stop sign at the US 59 service road, the driver opened his door slightly, but then turned onto the service road and sped away northbound, increasing to a high rate of speed before leaving the roadway and driving through a field toward the railroad tracks near Roman Forest Blvd. The driver then fled on foot into the nearby woods. The driver was later identified by a copy of driver’s license left inside his vehicle as 33-year-old Andrew James Dejanovitz. He also left a passenger in the vehicle, Ashley Margaret Kobeszka, 30, of Cleveland.
A check through dispatch revealed Dejanovitz currently has a blue (parole revocation) warrant and an additional warrant for burglary. A search of the vehicle produced multiple syringes, and less than one gram methamphetamine.
Ashley Kobeszka was arrested and charged with state jail felony Possession of a Controlled Substance (Penalty Group 1) less than 1 gram.
As of this writing, Andrew Dejanovitz remains at large but will be charged with Possession of Possession of a Controlled Substance (Penalty Group 1) less than 1 gram and Evading Arrest.
On June 6, around 11:30 p.m., a Pct. 4 deputy constable was westbound on FM 1485 near Loop 494 when a vehicle pulled out of a driveway in front of him with no lights on. The deputy initiated a traffic stop and noticed the driver, Kristy Graggs, was extremely nervous and shaking. Graggs denied there was anything illegal inside the vehicle and she said there was not, adding that the deputy could search the vehicle, but she did not “really see the point.” The female passenger told the deputy she owned the car, and to her knowledge there was nothing illegal inside. She granted consent to search it. The deputy deployed the Pct. 4 narcotics detection K-9, Libby, who alerted on the passenger side of the vehicle while conducting an open air sniff. A purse inside the vehicle contained a small clear plastic bag containing methamphetamine. Graggs then claimed ownership of the contraband and insisted the passenger was unaware the nearly four grams of methamphetamine was stashed in her purse. She volunteered the information that she was taking it to someone because she needed money. However, she denied selling it. Graggs later clarified that she planned to engage in prostitution when she reached her destination, saying it was typical for customers to request she bring narcotics to use with them.
No other illegal substances or items were found in the vehicle and the other woman had no warrants, so she was released along with her vehicle.
Kristy Lynn Graggs, 35, of New Caney is charged with second-degree felony Manufacture / Delivery of a Controlled Substance (Penalty Group 1), more than one gram, but less than 4 grams. On June 5, around 7:45 p.m., a patrol deputy with the Precinct 4 Constable’s Office noticed a white male driving a pickup that was pulling a trailer with no lights. The deputy, who was stopped at the time, flagged down the driver, Joshua Coker.
Upon making contact with Coker, the deputy noticed he was exhibiting signs of excessive nervousness. He also had a torch style lighter on his lap typical of those used when smoking methamphetamine. Coker had no explanation for the lighter and eventually admitted he was in possession of methamphetamine. The deputy asked Coker to exit the vehicle and when he complied, a clear plastic case containing over 4 grams of methamphetamine fell out. Coker was placed in custody and an additional search revealed more methamphetamine.
Joshua Allen Coker, 20, of New Caney, is charged with second-degree felony Possession of a Controlled Substance, more than four grams, but less than 200 grams.
Around 12:45 a.m. June 3, a Pct. 4 Deputy Constable was patrolling the Splendora area approaching the intersection of US 59 and FM 2090 when he noticed a van in a parking lot that was parked sideways and taking up three parking spaces. As the deputy turned into the parking lot, two white men standing at the passenger side window of the van began to walk away.
The deputy asked the van’s front passenger what they were doing and he said the two men had just tried to sell them drugs. The deputy then addressed the two men who had walked away from the van and were standing the front of the store. They had no state issued identification in their possession, but identified themselves as 20-year-old Evan George of Splendora and 23-year-old James Michael McGehee of Splendora.
McGehee denied having any contraband on his person. However, he was in possession of paper acid (LSD). George had ephedrine in his possession, and dispatch confirmed he had an open warrant. The officer had the van’s occupants, two women and a man, step out of it. They denied having anything illegal inside the vehicle. However, a purse in the backseat belonging to rear passenger Audra Renee Purifoy, 23, of Kingwood, contained three syringes with methamphetamine inside. McGehee, George, and Purifoy were arrested.
Evan Christopher George is charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance (Penalty Group 1), less than 1 gram (Ephedrine), which is a state jail felony.James Michael McGehee is charged withPossession of a Controlled Substance (Penalty Group 1), less than 1 gram (LSD), which is a state jail felony.
Audra Renee Purifoy is charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance (Penalty Group 1), less than 1gram (methamphetamine), which is a state jail felony.