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May 2015
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EPA report on Waste Pits indicates more studies prior to decision

EPA Staff Member Gary Miller, points to a chart that explains the many steps that are required to study and process a Superfund Site before any action can be taken on the ground.

EPA Staff Member Gary Miller, points to a chart that explains the many steps that are required to study and process a Superfund Site before any action can be taken on the ground.

Channelview, South Impoundment included in reports

CHANNELVIEW – After a series of meetings over the last two years that have taken place in Highlands, the federal EPA agency decided to expand the audience by holding the latest meeting last Thursday evening in Channelview, at the Flukinger Community Center.

There were several obvious reasons for this change in venue. One, the study area has now been expanded to include the South Impoundment below I-10, which is closer to the Channelview residents. Two, the EPA wanted to be sure the residents on the west side of the San Jacinto River were made aware of the dangers of fishing and recreation in the immediate area next to the Waste Pits. And three, the Superfund Process is long and slow, and this change in venue makes it seem like more is happening than really is.

The audience, partially from Channelview and many from Highlands, listened to EPA staff Gary Miller, Donn Walters, and facilitator Mary Jane Naquin, give an update on the status of the process. Also present at the meeting, observing but not speaking, were the Harris County Dept. of Health, and staff from TCEQ.

Miller showed slides, which included a short history of how the wastes got to the site and when, and then a short dissertation on the types of toxins that could be found in the soil at the site, mainly dioxins and furans, with PCBs in some areas. He made the point for the new members in the audience, that dioxins are known carcinogens, and do not deteriorate with age.

He showed that the waste pits were now covered with a temporary “cap” consisting of a geo-membrane, with a rock fill on top to hold it in place. This cap is what the PRP, or responsible parties, want to call permanent, but many including the San Jacinto River Coalition and the Galveston Bay Foundation, feel is not a satisfactory solution.

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San Jacinto College Chancellor speaks at North Channel luncheon

KEYNOTE SPEAKER DR. BRENDA HELLYER, second from right, joins in congratulating the San Jacinto Colllege Outstanding Educator, Amy Ammerman, with Mike Williams of the North Channel Chamber, and Dan Mims of the San Jacinto College Board.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER DR. BRENDA HELLYER, second from right, joins in congratulating the San Jacinto College Outstanding Educator, Amy Ammerman, with Mike Williams of the North Channel Chamber, and Dan Mims of the San Jacinto College Board.

NORTH CHANNEL – The Monument Room at San Jacinto College North was packed with students, teachers, and guests wanting to hear the San Jacinto College Chancellor, Dr. Brenda Hellyer, a favorite educator and leader of that institution.

In her keynote talk, Dr. Hellyer gave a status report on the college, and then went on to describe the changes taking place in education and at San Jac, and her vision of the future of the institution and education in general.

She said that the college now has about 30,000 students, of which 8300 are at SJ North. Continued growth has spurred a building program, including a new library and a new Center for Industry & Technology under construction on the North campus. San Jac serves 6 of the surrounding school districts, including Galena Park, Sheldon, Channelview, LaPorte, Pasadena, and Deer Park.

Of the present students, 49% are Hispanic, and 70% are part-time. Many of them are first generation college bound in their family. However, she said “Our job is to help our students succeed.”

Current programs which she detailed include an accelerated Math program, and MECA, or Modified Early College Academy, for high school students who then get college credit. She said they now have two of these programs in place, with more to come, including Galena Park ISD.

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Galena Park Charter Amendments

Election Day Saturday, May 9, 2015 7am to 7pm

To the Registered Voters of Galena Park:

The City Charter has not been updated since 1979, more than thirty-five (35) years ago. Many of the articles in the City Charter are outdated and should be brought up to current standards. The City Council appointed a Charter Review Commission of fifteen (15) citizens to study and recommend updates to our Charter. The Charter Review Commission studied the charter along with many other small Texas cities and submitted their suggestions to the City Council. The City Council approved the recommended Charter Amendments to be submitted to the voters of Galena Park for consideration.

Our Special Charter Election will be held on Saturday, May 9, 2015 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. to submit to the qualified voters of the City of Galena Park, Texas, various propositions for amending the City Charter. Please refer to www.cityofgalenapark-tx.gov for the full Notice of Election.

The Ballot Propositions which have been approved by the City Commission/ Council to be submitted to the qualified voters of the City are as follows:

PROPOSITION NO. 1
Amend the City Charter of THE CITY OF GALENA PARK, TEXAS to designate the Mayor and Council Members as the City Council.

PROPOSITION NO. 2
Amend the City Charter of THE CITY OF GALENA PARK, TEXAS to provide for a Department of Community Development.

PROPOSITION NO. 3
Amend the City Charter of THE CITY OF GALENA PARK, TEXAS regarding the appointment, qualifications, compensation, term and removal of the Fire Chief and Fire Marshal.

PROPOSITION NO. 4
Amend the City Charter of THE CITY OF GALENA PARK, TEXAS to establish a Police Department and the office of Police Chief and to prescribe the qualifications and duties for that office.

PROPOSITION NO. 5
Amend the City Charter of THE CITY OF GALENA PARK, TEXAS to provide for resolution of conflicting provisions. Read more »

North Shore Annual Fish Fry – May 16

The 40th Annual North Shore Rotary Catfish Fry, Crawfish Boil & Auction will be held Saturday May 16th at the North Shore Rotary Pavilion on Wallisville Road(behind the Fonteno Courthouse Annex).

Live auction begins at 12:30pm. See any North Shore Rotarian for meal ($10) or raffle tickets ($100 – ; Grand Prize is Toyota Truck). Contact Event Chairman Mike Williams at 713-560-2810 for more information.

north shore rotary fish fry

GP Charter Amendments debated

OE THIBODEAUX, former councilman and Chairman of the Galena Park Amendment Committee, moderates a public meeting held April 23 at Galena Manor, to discuss the 18 amendments that will be voted on May 9th. Also present were all Council members, and department heads. Two other meetings were held, at Baggett Center moderated by Gilbert Hoffman, and Woodland Acres, moderated by Councilman Juan Flores.

OE THIBODEAUX, former councilman and Chairman of the Galena Park Amendment Committee, moderates a public meeting held April 23 at Galena Manor, to discuss the 18 amendments that will be voted on May 9th. Also present were all Council members, and department heads. Two other meetings were held, at Baggett Center moderated by Gilbert Hoffman, and Woodland Acres, moderated by Councilman Juan Flores.

GALENA PARK – With the general election approaching on Saturday, May 9, and Early Voting underway for the Charter Amendment, voters in this community are talking about and debating the 18 amendments that are on the ballot.

Councilman Juan Flores organized three Town Hall Meetings, to present the amendments and give citizens for and against them a forum to discuss and debate their merits.

These meetings were held April 22 at Baggett Center; April 23 at Galena Manor, and April 25 at Woodland Acres.

On hand for each meeting were Council members, City of Galena Park department heads, and a moderator/facilitator.

To start each discussion, Councilman Flores handed out a white paper with the Amendments summarized, and a statement of the need for amending the Charter. The paper stated: “Many of the articles in the City Charter are outdated and should be brought up to current standards.”

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Sylvester Turner endorsed for Mayor by three House Colleagues

Sylvester Turner, third from left, is endorsed for Houston Mayor by three of his Texas House colleagues at a news conference. With Turner are, left to right, Tim Dinh representing Rep. Hubert Vo, Rep. Armando Walle and Rep. Ana Hernandez.

Sylvester Turner, third from left, is endorsed for Houston Mayor by three of his Texas House colleagues at a news conference. With Turner are, left to right, Tim Dinh representing Rep. Hubert Vo, Rep. Armando Walle and Rep. Ana Hernandez.

HOUSTON, April 24, 2015 – Sylvester Turner was endorsed by three of his colleagues in the Texas House: Ana Hernandez, Hubert Vo and Armando Walle.
At a news conference today, Turner pointed out that Houston is the most diverse city in America.

“All voices need to be heard,” said Turner. “Everyone deserves a seat at the table. That’s the only way Houston will continue to prosper and grow. That’s why I am especially grateful to be endorsed today by these colleagues.”

Rep. Hernandez, District 143, said she has seen firsthand Turner’s leadership.

“Representative Turner brings people together to tackle the tough issues,” Hernandez said. “He will bring that leadership from the state to the city of Houston. I am proud to endorse him for Mayor.”

Rep. Walle, whose District 140 adjoins Turner’s District 139, has worked collaboratively with Turner on a number of issues, including the Appropriations Committee.

“Sylvester Turner has risen above politics,” Walle said. “His is a voice people listen toboth Democrats and Republicans. Representative Turner is a fierce advocate for his district; as mayor, he will be a fierce advocate for the entire city.”

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Judge Parrott’s annual “Spring Fling” draws record crowds

Deby and Mike Parrott, and Denise Smith greet friends and supporters at Parrott’s SPRING FLING at the North Shore Rotary Pavillion on Wallisville Road. The event drew a record crowd for the Fish & Shrimp Fry, live and silent auctions, last Monday evening, after the golf tournament earlier in the day. Over 1200 dinners were served, and many East Harris County citizens turned out for the event.

Deby and Mike Parrott, and Denise Smith greet friends and supporters at Parrott’s SPRING FLING at the North Shore Rotary Pavillion on Wallisville Road. The event drew a record crowd for the Fish & Shrimp Fry, live and silent auctions, last Monday evening, after the golf tournament earlier in the day. Over 1200 dinners were served, and many East Harris County citizens turned out for the event.

NORTH SHORE – Judge Mike Parrott was surrounded by friends and supporters last Monday night, as he hosted his annual Spring Fling at the North Shore Rotary Pavilion next to the Court House Annex on Wallisville Road.

Over 1200 people attended, enjoying the fish and shrimp dinner, and greeting friends. They also participated in the live and silent auctions, with many unusual or special items up for bid, such as vacations, game tickets to the Texans and Astros, and sports memorabilia including a popular jersey for No. 99, J. J. Watt.

There was a lot of politics taking place in the crowd too, with a full field of candidates for the soon to be vacant seats of Constable Ken Jones and Judge Parrott shaking hands and making their presence known to all the potential voters on hand.

New Waste Pits study calls for removal

San Jacinto River Coalition’s Jackie Young, left, and consultant Kathleen Garland, Geologist at UH Clear Lake. The two spoke last Wednesday night at a community meeting, to present an environmental report on EPA guidelines for toxic sites.

San Jacinto River Coalition’s Jackie Young, left, and consultant Kathleen Garland, Geologist at UH Clear Lake. The two spoke last Wednesday night at a community meeting, to present an environmental report on EPA guidelines for toxic sites.

EPA guidelines for toxic sites examined

HIGHLANDS – About 60 interested residents of the Highlands and Channelview are attended a briefing last Wednesday evening, held at the San Jacinto Community Center in Highlands.

The meeting was hosted by Jackie Young, environmental activist with the San Jacinto River Coalition, and TexansTogether.

Young had contracted with an instructor of hers, Dr. Kathleen Garland, to prepare a report on EPA guidelines for dealing with toxic waste sites, as applied to other locations around the United States.

Garland teaches at the University of Houston Clear Lake, and is a Geologist and Environmental Management Expert.

Garland worked from existing data, on how the federal EPA had dealt with other toxic Superfund sites similar to the San Jacinto Waste Pits. Young’s hypothesis is that if the cases are similar, and EPA has required removal of toxic materials, then they should call for a similar solution in the San Jacinto River, therefore treating
this in a similar method as others.

Young said that a final decision will be made by the EPA this spring, since the National Remedy Review Board is meeting in April, and announced in a Final Report in September 2015.

Waste Pits in the San Jacinto River received this containment cap, a membrane covered with rocks, in 2013. The “Responsible Parties” are arguing that this is all that needs to be done, but the San Jacinto River Coalition want complete removal.

Waste Pits in the San Jacinto River received this containment cap, a membrane covered with rocks, in 2013. The “Responsible Parties” are arguing that this is all that needs to be done, but the San Jacinto River Coalition want complete removal.

Read more »

Rep. Gene Green to host annual job fair

Over 50 confirmed employers from the public and private sector will be participating and seeking to hire

NORTH CHANNEL – Congressman Gene Green invites constituents to his 13th Annual Job Fair on Monday, April 27th at San Jacinto College North from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

“We have employers coming from all over the Houston area, and job opportunities ranging from lifeguards to sales representatives to police cadets,” Green said.

“Changing careers or landing that first job can be challenging. Our hope is that this job fair creates a space where people can meet potential employers from a variety of industries and make that first connection or take that first step.”

The event is being organized in conjunction with Workforce Solutions and the North Channel Area Chamber of Commerce, and will host over 50 employers that are looking to fill full and part-time, and seasonal positions immediately.

In addition to job opportunities, Workforce Solutions will be offering assistance on interviewing skills and resume critiquing. Attendees should dress professionally and bring resumes. For a full list of participating employers, visit Congressman Gene Green’s website.

San Jacinto College North, Monument Room is located at 5800 Uvalde Road, Houston, TX 77049.

GP/JC COMMUNITY-INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIP: Panama Canal talk by Bill Diehl

CAPT. BILL DIEHL, USCG (RET) and President of the Port Bureau

CAPT. BILL DIEHL, USCG (RET) and President of the Port Bureau

GALENA PARK – Participants in the CIP heard industry reports of safety and emissions last month, but they also heard two interesting talks by industry leaders.

Derrick Bockius, plant manager of the new Kinder-Morgan facility in Galena Park reported that the plant was now on line, and producing about 50,000 gallons/day. This is Unit 1, and Unit 2 will go on line later this year, he said. The distillate product is being sent to local Galena Park companies, and to barges for export. Bockius said that the city of Galena Park should realize about $4 million yearly from this new plant.

Capt. Bill Diehl, president of the Greater Houston Port Bureau, made a detailed slide presentation on the status of the new Panama Canal work, and explained how it would affect commerce in the Houston Port area.

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