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Waste Pits comments are in review process

Jackie Young, TxHEA executive director

The TxHEA organization, the environmental watchdog for the San Jacinto River Waste Pits, held their regular monthly meetings last week in Highlands and McNair.

Executive Director Jackie Young reported on developments in the review process that is now ongoing, according to David Gray of the EPA.

Young said that the PRP, or Potential Responsible Parties, have asked for a further extension of the comment perior, but that has been denied by EPA, indicating they are moving ahead with their review process. Young said that a total of 57,000 comments had been received, but these include signatures on petitions, as well as individually written remarks. The comment period ran for 105 days, from Sept. 28, 2016 thru Jan. 28, 2017. Since the typical public comment period is 30 days, EPA responded to the request from MIMC “EPA has determined that a further extension… is not appropriate.” MIMC is McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corporation, one of the two PRPs.

In their request for a further extension, MIMC stated that they were conducting work at the site for aesthetic reasons, and that the stone and membrane “cap” on the pits has not required as much maintenance as EPA projected.

To counter this argument, Young presented a slide that detailed erosion or damage, and repairs that were required, from July 2012 until June 2016 totalling seven different events. She termed these episodes

“The Repair Saga Continues.”

Next Young presented a report on 101 wells that were tested by Harris County’s contractor, InControl Technologies. She noted that all the wells had dioxins and metals below the allowble safe threshhold, but questioned whether this limit should be lowered for safe water use. She said that Harris County Polllution Control would be at the March 7 meeting of TxHEA to discuss this further.

In discussing the public comments that were submitted to EPA by TxHEA, Young noted that one of the requests was to lower the allowable dioxin threshhold on the treated site from 300 ng/kg, to 30 ng/kg. This material is termed the Principal Threat Waste, and the threshhold will determine how much of the polluted material is removed.

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ROTARY DISTRICT 5890 ANNUAL ALL CLUB MEETING

City-wide Rotary gathering draws local clubs

North Shore Rotary helped run the program, with Amir Khan and wife Sabrina (left), Bill Palko and wife Debby (right), with District Governor Eric Liu (center) with wife Sandra on the speaker platform.

Jacinto City/Galena Park Rotary’s Ramon Garza and Ernesto Paredes and their spouses, with others at the table enjoyed the Valentine themed program.

North Shore Rotary president Kim Gonzalez, with PDG John Painter, Matt Davis, Adam Lund, Lucia Bates and spouses.

North Shore Rotary’s second table had Derrill Painter, Dr. Don Nino, and other Rotarians attending.

Sheldon ISD Board approves new AD/Head Football Coach

Derek Fitzhenry (Photo by DERIK MOORE / Sheldon ISD)

Members of the Sheldon ISD School Board unanimously approved North Shore Assistant Head Football Coach Derek Fitzhenry as the new C. E. King High School Athletic Director and Head Football Coach in a special meeting Tuesday evening at the Ney Administration Building.

Fitzhenry is replacing outgoing Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Don Price who will be retiring this year following 41 years of service as an educator and coach.

“Coach Fitzhenry is the ideal candidate to fill this position,” Sheldon ISD Superintendent King Davis said. “He is passionate about his players – both on and off the field – and he wants to see each of them succeed in life.”

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Chamber luncheon hears from District Clerk

DISTRICT CLERK CHRIS DANIEL

Office services, historical stories

The North Channel Chamber of Commerce continued a busy schedule last Friday, with their monthly luncheon. This followed a very successful, well attended 40th Anniversary Gala the week before.

Adam Lund, the new president of the Chamber, emceed the luncheon meeting, which started with Mark Kramer of Channelview ISD presenting Outstanding Students and Educators.

New members were also introduced, including Huckabee Architects, and Andrew Held of Frost Bank.

This was followed by the keynote speaker, Harris County District Clerk Chris Daniel, who managed to give a talk that was both entertaining, informative, and full of historical anecdotes.

Daniel’s District Clerk office is in charge of court records, he said. As such, he is in charge of jury duty for county courts, and also offers passport services and maintains historical Harris County Court Records dating back to 1836.

In regard to jury duty, Daniel said that you may be called to serve on a jury if you are registered to vote, or if you have a drivers license. The drivers license list was added, after the state discovered that some were not registering to vote to avoid jury duty. Daniel also maintains a website where the public can search and read all court records. This is at www.hcdistrictclerk.com. There is also a tab on the site for obtaining free background checks on other individuals.

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Governor Abbott releases 2018-19 budget

AUSTIN – Coinciding with his State of the State address, Governor Greg Abbott today released his budget for the 2018-19 biennium. The Governor’s budget ensures Texas will live within its means while fully funding key priorities without raising taxes or debt, and without looting the Rainy Day Fund. The budget released by the Governor builds on the successes of the 84th Legislature and looks to the future by strategically investing in priorities that protect the safety and security of Texans, furthers educational advancement of our future workforce, and empowers the private sector to create jobs, while also defending individual liberties and guarding against government overreach.

“This upcoming biennium will be a time for addressing essential needs and eliminating the nonessential wants,” said Governor Abbott. “That is why my budget proposal ensures that state government lives within its means while maintaining funding for important, but limited priorities. Fostering a climate of fiscal responsibility, low taxes, reasonable regulation, and limited government will enable Texas to remain the envy of the nation and encourage private sector investment, expansion, and innovation.”

Highlights Of The Governor’s Budget:

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Galena Park-Jacinto City CIP meeting hears details on dredging of ship channel

MARK COYLE of Crosby Dredging and Construction explains with a slide show the regulations and details of dredging and water depth in the Houston Ship Channel.

Members and guests of the CIP (Community-Industry Partnership) heard details of dredging methods and regulations, at their last meeting on Thursday, Feb. 2 at the Baggett Center in Galena Park.

Mark Coyle explained that there are four types of dredging: Hydraulic, Mechanical, Mechanical/Hydraulic Offloading, and Hopper. The choice of which type is governed by cost, and conditions and location of the required work.

Also a consideration is where the dredged material will be disposed of. Coyle said that the Army Corps of Engineers counts 12 approved disposal areas around the ship channel, including three in the Galena Park area.

Coyle said that sometimes these spoils areas can sometimes be turned into “beneficial use sites” suitable for marsh or wildlife areas.

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North Shore Rotary: Community support projects are the highlight of luncheon

At their weekly luncheon last week, the North Shore Rotarians were updated on several community projects that they support.

Rotarian Dan Mims and club president Kim Gonzalez displayed a banner from the Sheldon FFA Livestock Show, indicating that the club had purchased a Grand Champion swine in support of the scholarship program. The pig was exhibited by Kaydee Denton, and purchased for $1600.

The club also purchased other animals at the Show, including the 3rd place swine exhibited by Samantha Doerr and purchased for $1250, and the 5th place swine, exhibited by Alfonso Trevino and purchased for $1200.

In addition, other Rotarians Dan Mims, and Don Nino bought animals on their own.

Democrats rally to save Obamacare

A unified group of Democrat officials spoke out in favor of saving the current Healthcare law. Included were Pct. 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Congressman Al Green, State Rep. Armando Walle, Congressman Gene Green, and State Sen. Sylvia Garcia. The conference was held at the Greater Jerusalem Baptist Church on Jensen, in memory of Martin Luther King Day.

Health Fair, Press Conference by representatives

HARRIS COUNTY – Federal, state and local Democratic office holders held a joint news conference, and health fair, on Sunday at the Greater Jerusalem Baptist Church on Jensen Drive.

The purpose of the meeting was to call attention to the possibility that the Republican led Congress will change or eliminate the current ACA healthcare program, also known as Obama Care.

The meeting was sponsored by Congressmen Gene Green, and Al Green. Gene Green reminded the audience that the public can still sign up for ACA, the Affordable Care Act, until January 31. Commenting on the Republican attempt to replace the ACA act, he said “Mend it-Don’t End it.”

In some fiery rhetoric, Al Green said that if “TrumpCare” replaces “ObamaCare” some 20 to 30 million people will lose health care. The local Harris Health department will also lose money. He commented that he and Gene Green had worked together on this issue since 2005, and he characterized Gene as “the Friend of the Working People.”

Sylvia Garcia said that now in Texas 1 million people rely on ACA, and the state should expand it to include Medicaid for an additional 1.2 to 1.3 million who do not now have healthcare. She derided the Republican plan as “TrumpNoCare.”

Walle said that as a member of the budget committee in the state legislature, he is working to keep the ACA program and expand Medicaid. He angrily denounced what he termed failed leadership at the state level.

He characterized the need for the ACA act as a matter of Life and Death, and the public need the vital health coverage that the state is withholding.

He reminded the audience that the main beneficiary of Medicaid is the elderly and children.

Commissioner Rodney Ellis, recently elected to his position in Harris County Precinct 1, said that the ACA act is the most important issue facing the county, because healthcare is the largest item in the budget, with the justice system following second. However, he noted that much expense related the administering the justice system, and jail, is related to healthcare costs.

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LyondellBasell donates $100,000 for specialized training for six Area Fire Departments

GRANT RECIPIENTS: (L-R) Assistant City Manager for Mont Belvieu Nathan Watkins; TEEX Fire Chief Robert Moore; Houston Fire Dept. Dist. Chief Troy Lilley; Houston Fire Dept. HazMat Chief Terry Colburn; Mont Belvieu Mayor Nick Dixon; LyondellBasell CEO Bob Patel, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner; Mont Belvieu Fire Chief Kenny Baumbach; Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena; Pasadena Fire Chief Lanny Armstrong; Channelview Assist. Fire Chief Charles Villegas; Sheldon Community Fire and Rescue Chief Sidney Webb; LyondellBasell Manager of Emergency Services Peter Greco

HOUSTON, Jan. 13, 2017 – LyondellBasell (NYSE: LYB), one of the world’s largest plastics, chemical and refining companies, announced a donation of $100,000 to fund specialized emergency training for six Houston-area fire departments that serve key industrial corridors.

The donation will underwrite hazardous materials (HazMat) training scholarships for fire departments in Houston, Channelview, Pasadena, La Porte, Sheldon and Mont Belvieu. Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), an internationally recognized leader in emergency response training and firefighting, will administer the training to the fire departments.

“We recognize the challenges fire departments in Houston and smaller outlying communities face in obtaining this unique type of training. We believe in being a responsible, good neighbor where we operate and are pleased we can help in saving lives and protecting our communities,” said Bob Patel, LyondellBasell CEO and chairman of the management board. “We are honored to play a small role in ensuring that the brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day are even better prepared to safely do their jobs.”

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Houston Rodeo welcomes Eleven newcomers to the rotating stage in 2017

HOUSTON — More than half of the star-studded entertainer lineup scheduled to perform at RODEOHOUSTON will take the rotating stage for the first time in 2017.

“With a number of RODEOHOUSTON veterans and entertainers who are new to the rotating stage, the March entertainment schedule is set,” said Joel Cowley, president and CEO of the Houston Livestock Show and RodeoTM. “Houstonians can see a diverse offering of incredibly talented artists at truly affordable prices.”

Tickets went on sale Saturday, Jan. 14 through AXS Ticketing via rodeohouston.com.

STAR ENTERTAINMENT

A mix of soulful blues, pop/dance music and traditional country tunes will grace NRG Stadium March 7 – 26 as the 21 entertainers set to perform at RODEOHOUSTON represent diverse musical genres.

The 2017 entertainment lineup is one of the most awarded in RODEOHOUSTON history, with a collective 209 music industry accolades, three hall of fame inductees, and three Grand Ole Opry members.

The complete lineup:

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