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    July 2014
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    Galena Park: COUNCIL SAYS “NO” TO MAYOR’S REFORMS

    Mayor Moya confronts Councilman Simms regarding his insurance paid for by the city

    Mayor Moya confronts Councilman Simms regarding his insurance paid for by the city

    FIRINGS RESCINDED, MEETING CHAOTIC

    GALENA PARK – One day after being sworn in as the new mayor of Galena Park, Esmeralda Moya issued orders to make sweeping changes in the administration and the way City Hall was run. In a stunning move, she fired 3 top administrators and changed the locks on the municipal building.

    However, reaction came immediately from the City Administrator Robert Pruett, who stated that the city charter did not give the mayor authority to fire employees, except with the consent of city council.

    Moya had fired Pruett, City Attorney Jim DeFoyd, and demoted Police Chief Jonathan Rader.

    Monday’s Council meeting was called to try to resolve the actions of the mayor that Pruett deemed illegal, but an executive session scheduled for 4:00 p.m. was boycotted by Moya, who claimed the agenda was not correct. Immediately after, the meeting was reconvened in public session, with all parties present, including an outside attorney Jim Hightower, whom the council had hired to advise them on the legal interpretation of the city charter.

    Hightower, of the firm Olsen and Olsen, gave his opinion on the charter, and said that the mayor does not have “unilateral” authority to fire employees, nor to change locks in the building.

    After hearing this legal opinion, Councilman Simms took charge of the meeting. He moved and it was passed unanimously that he had the authority to sign checks, and that the mayor did not have the right to fire the employees unilaterally, and they voted to rescind the firings. Moya said she objected and vetoed the vote, but the councilmen voted to override her veto.

    As Moya struggled to control the meeting, she stated that she had acted on the firings because that was what the people wanted, and that was why she was elected.

    Read more »

    Freeport St. construction on schedule

    CONSTRUCTION WORKERS FROM ALLGOOD CONSTRUCTION prepare to pour concrete in a third new lane of the rebuilt Freeport Drive. Also being installed are new storm sewers and drains, and curbs and sidewalks.

    CONSTRUCTION WORKERS FROM ALLGOOD CONSTRUCTION prepare to pour concrete in a third new lane of the rebuilt Freeport Drive. Also being installed are new storm sewers and drains, and curbs and sidewalks.

    NORTH CHANNEL – Construction is progressing on schedule, and on budget, according to Harris County Precinct 2 coordinator Jeremy Phillips.

    The $12.8 million dollar project started with an official groundbreaking last November 6th, as reported in the inaugural issue of the North Channel Star.

    In his opening remarks, at that time Pct. 2 commissioner Jack Morman noted the benefit to the community, and that the money to pay for the project was primarily from the federal government, as reimbursement for damage from Hurricane Ike. The new storm sewer system should alleviate flooding in a similar hurricane situation, he said.

    Read more »

    Houston Port Authority achieves top ranking in Texas Comptroller program

    houston port authorityThe Port Authority scored a perfect 22 out of 22 items in securing the new platinum level award, Executive Director Roger Guenther noted during Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority. The Comptroller of Public Accounts launched the Leadership Circle program in 2009 to recognize local governments across Texas that strive to meet a high standard for financial transparency online.

    Guenther also reported Tuesday that May 2014 operating revenues exceeded $23 million, the highest ever reported in a single month in PHA’s history. The increase in revenues was supported by growth in bulk cargos, in particular, steel, and leveraged value of real estate assets, he said.

    In her remarks during the meeting, Port Commission Chairman Janiece Longoria reported on the Water Resources Reform and Development Act or WRRDA, signed into law by President Obama. The bill sets target appropriations for the full use of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund over time and contains provisions that would direct resources to “nationally significant ports” and “energy transfer ports.”

    “Of course, our port fills both of those roles quite admirably,” Longoria said. “And our local Congressional delegation once again came together in a bipartisan way to meet the Port Authority’s needs in this legislation.”

    Read more »

    Over 190 DWI arrests made during Fourth of July holiday weekend

    DWI arrest scene.

    DWI arrest scene.

    HOUSTON — The combined efforts of multiple law enforcement agencies in Harris County resulted in the arrest of 192 individuals suspected of driving drunk during the holiday weekend. Additionally, the HCSO’s Traffic Enforcement Division investigated three fatal car accidents during the same time period.

    Read more »

    Shake-up at Galena Park City Hall in the works

    BREAKING NEWS:

    Channel 13 is reporting late on Wednesday, July 2 that the new Galena Park mayor Esmeralda Moya has made changes in the top levels of the city administration. Reportedly she has fired City Administrator Robert Pruett, City Attorney Jim DeFoyd, and demoted Police Chief Jonathan Rader. The station also reports that she has changed all the locks on the outside doors, and has not given anyone a key.

    When asked by channel 13 reporter Debra Wrigley why she acted, Moya replied that she had compaigned on the promise of making changes, and that is what she is doing.

    City Administrator Pruett told Wrigley that Moya does not have the authority to make the changes without council action, and he refuses to leave his post. Entry to the building is under the control of constable deputies at this time, and a council meeting is scheduled for next week to resolve some of the questions.

    The North Channel Star has queried Moya about her actions and future intentions. An answer is awaited and will be reported here and in print in the North Channel Star.

    Esmeralda Moya sworn in as new Galena Park Mayor

    Esmeralda Moya swearing in

    GALENA PARK – History was made in this city Tuesday night, as the first woman mayor was sworn into office.

    The ceremony took place in Council Chambers, with an overflow crowd on hand to see the event and to encourage Moya on her first day in office.

    Also sworn in was newly elected Councilman Juan Flores, Jr. who captured Position 4 in the run-off election held June 21st.

    Moya’s oath took place at the end of a council session that had a large agenda, including a number of hires and resignations to the city staff. After taking office, Moya’s first official duty was to declare the council meeting adjourned, which she did with a wry smile amidst applause from the audience.

    Read more »

    Jacinto City Manager Jack Maner dead at 68

    maner,jackie.jpgWell known Jacinto City Manager Jack Maner died last Saturday, June 28, 2014 in a Houston hospital. Mr. Maner was 68 years of age, and had been City Manager since 2001. During his time in office, Maner had survived serious health problems, but continue to serve the city.

    Jack was loved by many and will be deeply missed. Memorial Services will be held at 6:00 p.m. Thursday, July 3rd at Jacinto City Town Center.

    Jack served the City of Jacinto City over many years, as a Volunteer Fireman, Reserve Police Officer, City Councilman, and City Judge. He attended Galena Park High School and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree and a Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree from the University of Houston. He was a licensed attorney.

    Jackie Dean Maner was born in Modesto, California, on September 25, 1945. He is survived by his wife Dee Maner, one son, four step-daughters, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

    Esmeralda Moya wins run-off election for Galena Park Mayor

    ESMERALDA MOYA, NEWLY ELECTED MAYOR OF GALENA PARK, WILL BE INSTALLED INTO OFFICE ON JULY 1 AT 6:00 PM AT CITY HALL.

    ESMERALDA MOYA, NEWLY ELECTED MAYOR OF GALENA PARK, WILL BE INSTALLED INTO OFFICE ON JULY 1 AT 6:00 PM AT CITY HALL.

    GALENA PARK – After a close election in May, in which four candidates vied for the office of major of Galena Park, in the run-off election held last Saturday, June 21 Galena Park made history by electing the first Hispanic female mayor of the city.

    Moya was running against Joe Thibodeaux, a well known candidate because he had been city councilman for 20 years. Moya did not have any other political experience, but convinced the voters by a wide margin that she had the qualifications to be mayor.

    Even though it was a runoff, voters were excited enough about the outcome to turn out in numbers larger that the general election in May. At that time, 746 votes were recorded, and this time 784 electors went to the voting booths.

    Moya received a total of 452 votes, and her opponent Joe Thibodeaux received 322. Both of these total were an in-crease from the previous election, where Moya received 260 and Thibodeaux 217.

    JUAN FLORES JR WON ELECTION FOR COUNCIL SEAT #4.

    JUAN FLORES JR WON ELECTION FOR COUNCIL SEAT #4.

    Also on the ballot was a run-off for Council Seat #4, between Juan Flores Jr. and Martha Flores. This position is responsible for Streets and Bridges in the city. Voting was quite close in this race, because both candidates are well known in the community. J. Flores received 377 votes, and M. Flores was close behind, with 360 votes.

    Read more »

    Galena Park/Jacinto City Rotary installs Maria Rodriguez as new president

    NEWLY INSTALLED ROTARY PRESIDENT MARIA RODRIGUEZ, SECOND FROM LEFT, WITH OUTGOING PRESIDENT ERNESTO PAREDES, SECRETARY “ABBY” ABOUAWDI, AND PRESIDENT ELECT PAUL HENNEY.

    NEWLY INSTALLED ROTARY PRESIDENT MARIA RODRIGUEZ, SECOND FROM LEFT, WITH OUTGOING PRESIDENT ERNESTO PAREDES, SECRETARY “ABBY” ABOUAWDI, AND PRESIDENT ELECT PAUL HENNEY.

    GALENA PARK – New officers and directors were installed for the 2014-2015 year at the Rotary Club’s regular luncheon Wednesday, at Baggett Center.

    On hand to install the officers was Past District Governor Sunny Sharma, of District 5890. Other dignataries from District 5890 included Bill Palko, Assistant Districk Governor, Terry Ziegler, 5890 Foundation Chair, and a delegation of visiting Rotarians from the North Shore club.

    In his welcoming remarks, Sharma noted that Rotary changes leadership every year in June, and with it comes the personality of the new president. Thus the club’s personality also changes, bringing a freshness and renewed vigor to all the clubs. 5890 now has 62 clubs in the district, he noted, and each one is different in its own way.

    In her acceptance remarks, newly installed president Maria Rodriguez noted that although she looked forward to her year as president, she regretted having to give up mentoring the Interact club at the high school, which she had done for 5 years.

    Read more »

    IMPORTANT NOTICE: POST OFFICE REMOVES ALL NEWSPAPER BOXES

    This newspaper has received orders from the new District Director of the US Postal Service to remove all its circulation boxes from Post Office property, in Highlands, Crosby, Huffman, Mont Belvieu, and Galena Park.

    In his letter, director Yul Melonson said his motivation is “a clean, uncluttered retail environment.”

    Publisher Gilbert Hoffman sent a letter to Melonson, pointing out the inconvenience to thousands of readers, and the benefits of attracting the public to his facilities. In the meantime, the newspaper is increasing circulation at area locations such as markets, libraries, convenience stores, banks and more.

    To ensure you receive a paper, we suggest you consider a mail subscription. A subscription form in inside this issue.

    If you want the newspaper at the Post Office, we suggest you contact your local Postmaster, and the District Director by phone, mail, or fax with your opinion. His contact info:

    Yul Melonson, District Director
    4600 Aldine Bender Rd.
    Rm 800
    Houston, TX 77315-0800

    PHONE 713-226-3717
    FAX 713-226-3700