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We Know the Drill

This past Sunday morning, I received the following e-mail from a "devoted and concerned SPI lover":

"Hi sandy - The McAllen Monitor reports that there will be an oil well drilled on SPI. I was under the impression that it was going to be on NORTH Padre. Is there an oil well being drilled on SPI?"

I had already read an article about this in the Valley Morning Star that stated drilling would begin in three weeks on the Padre Island National Seashore - "the first well would be located on the island uplands at Yarborough Pass..... with more drilling slated to take place further south along the island, stretching almost to Port Mansfield."

So I surfed over to the Monitor's web-site and sure enough, they had run the exact same story that I had read in the Star, only the headline read "Oil Drilling on SPI Approved."

This brings to mind a couple of rather alarming questions. First and foremost: Can it really be that the editor of a MAJOR valley newspaper still does not know the difference between "Padre Island" and "South Padre Island"? Can this same editor be totally unaware of the fact that the area designated as South Padre Island does not encompass any part of the Padre Island National Seashore?

In past articles I have often bemoaned the fact that the general public has a hard time distinguishing the two ends of the island from each other, and it doesn't help that our northern neighbors stubbornly continue to refer to their end as "Padre Island" instead of the more clarifying "North Padre Island." It is truly disconcerting to discover that a local publication is making the same mistake.

But all of this really just sidesteps the big question in my mind, which is -- what the heck are they doing drilling for oil anywhere on our island in the first place? Who decided it was okay for BNP Petroleum Corporation to stick multiple drills in the middle of a fragile and protected ecosystem? The answer, according to the article, is - our National Park System -- that's who. Several conservation groups have already expressed fears that the permit granted to BNP will open the door to other, similar permits. And if you think about that one too much, it is not too hard to start seeing the Monitor headline as some sort of bad dream/worse case scenario/prophecy...

Barbara Canales-Black, a Democrat running for the open Senate District 20 seat, is a majority owner of BNP and her husband, Paul Black, is the corporation's president. Residents of District 20 (including Brooks, Hidalgo, Jim Wells, and Nueces Counties) will have the opportunity to show their disapproval of this plan on March 12 by voting for Canales-Black's opponent, Juan Hinojosa -- a candidate with a proven track record on environmental issues.

But enough of politics -- let's move on to another Very Important Topic -- Entertainment!

"Kelly's so cute! Much more personable than Kathy ever was..."
"Ooooooh! The Drama Queen! I just love tuning into her every morning!"

These are the kind of responses I have been getting when I casually interject the topic of the "LIVE with Regis and Kelly" show into a conversation.

I must confess that I have never seen the show and had no real interest in it - until a couple of weeks ago when its producer invited me to hop on a plane to Nassau to build some sand sculptures on the beach at Atlantis Hotel, Paradise Island, Bahamas for a nationwide audience.

I have built in a lot of amazing places for some fairly impressive public figures, broadcasts and publications -- but I am not so jaded as to be unimpressed by the list of luminaries with whom I will allegedly be rubbing elbows:
"Among the celebrities and other guests joining co-hosts Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa at Atlantis will be David James Elliot, star of the hit television series JAG, Ethan Zah who emerged victorious from Survivor 3 in Africa, actress/singer Carmen Electra, Jill Hennessey from Crossing Jordan, comedian Howie Mandel and popular performer Jennifer Love Hewit."

(Gee, they forgot to mention ME in that press release... I guess I am one of "the other guests.")

So, I hope all of my Island friends will make a point of tuning in to LIVE with Regis and Kelly (and sandy feet) the week of Feb. 25th where - if you watch carefully - you might get a glimpse of my smiling face. After we finish filming, my friend Fred and I are going to spend a few days chilling out in a cute little cottage in the Abacos, though I should be back in plenty of time for....

Spring Break '02 - Local homeowners can turn their spare rooms and mother-in-law apartments into cash. These kids are really beating the bushes for rooms - particularly during Texas Week (March 9-16 this year.) Post your FREE listing in the newly revamped classifieds area of SPionline.com - you can state "house rules," collect the damage deposit up front and get your piece of the spring break pie.

There are five (5) ways to submit your questions/comments for future Ask Sandy columns: In person; by phone (761-6222) or fax (761-8930); the US Postal System (box 2694,spi,78597) and E-mail: (sandyfeet@unlitter.com). Visit my web-site (http://spionline.com/) for tips on sandcastling, contest info, recent Ask Sandy columns, and my reviews of local businesses.

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