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San Jacinto Coalition hears updates, waits for well report from Harris County Health Dept.

san jacinto river update

A LARGE CROWD of area residents listened for details on the water well tests, but were told it would be a few more weeks before the information was available.

HIGHLANDS – The San Jacinto River Coalition held their regular monthly meeting Tuesday night, with about 150 attending at the Community Center.

But instead of hearing information on the possible contamination in their well water, they had to wait a few more weeks, said Jackie Young. After attending a meeting with Harris County Public Health, she was unable to provide the definitive information that the audience asked for. They wanted a detailed quantitative report on dioxins, and other contaminants in their water.

100 wells have been tested by the county last month, and 71 of those received a letter advising them not to drink or cook their water.

Read more »

GALENA PARK: Suspects wanted in aggravated robbery

galena park robbery

Crime Stoppers and the Galena Park Police Department need the public assistance identifying the suspects responsible for an Aggravated Robbery with a Deadly Weapon.

On Sunday, July 3, 2016, at approximately 12:03 a.m., two suspects entered a convenience store located in the 1900 block of Clinton Dr., Galena Park, TX. One of the suspects pointed a handgun at the store clerk (victim) and demanded money. The same suspect then placed the gun to the back of the victim’s head and threatened to kill him if he did not comply. The victim immediately handed the money to the suspect. The suspects then fled the scene in an unknown direction.

Surveillance cameras captured images of the suspects.

Suspect #1 Black, male, wearing gray hoodie with lettering (pictured), gray shorts, yellow gloves, and a black mask. Semi automatic pistol. Suspect #2 Black, male, wearing a black hoodie, black mask, and blue pants.

Crime Stoppers will pay a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the charging and/or arrest of the suspect(s) in this case. Information may be reported by calling 713-222-TIPS (8477) or submitted online at www.crimestoppers.org. Tips may also be sent via a text message by texting the following: TIP610 plus the information to CRIMES (274637) or via our mobile app (Crime Stoppers Houston). All tipsters remain anonymous.

Channelview Falcon Band begins practices

channelview isd band

The Channelview Falcon Marching Band began practices for the upcoming season this week. More than 300 students are participating in the award winning band, which has earned Superior ratings at the Region 19 Band Contest the past five years. Channelview will host the Region contest this year on Oct. 22 at Ray Maddry Memorial Stadium.

JACINTO CITY RECEIVES GRANTS TOWARD NEW AMBULANCE AND POLICE BODY CAMERAS

Police Chief Joe Ayala and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee holding the Presentation check. Others left to right: Fire Chief Rebecca Mier, City Manager Lon Squyres, Lieutenant Mark Longrigg, Councilmen Mario Gonzales, Allen Lee, Gregg Robinson, USDA State Director Paco Valentin, Linda Jamail. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

Police Chief Joe Ayala and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee holding the Presentation check. Others left to right: Fire Chief Rebecca Mier, City Manager Lon Squyres, Lieutenant Mark Longrigg, Councilmen Mario Gonzales, Allen Lee, Gregg Robinson, USDA State Director Paco Valentin, Linda Jamail. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

JACINTO CITY – Friday July 22, 2016 at City Hall, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee announced two important USDA Rural Development Grants for Jacinto City. Both the Fire Department and the Police Department will benefit from these grants.

Congresswoman Lee announced an historical moment in the history of the city. She said the two federal grants totaling $102,000 in funds for the Police and Fire Departments represent the first ever rural grant in the mostly urban 18th Congressional District. The 18th District is a very diverse and large geographic area which includes areas not lying in Houston’s city limits. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has many programs that Jacinto City officials weren’t aware they qualify for, Lee continued.

Congresswoman Lee’s office facilitated the important meetings between Jacinto City officials and officials of the USDA which brought forth funding for the two departments.

USDA Rural Development Texas State Director Paco Valentin thanked Congresswoman Lee for her proactive role in securing the much needed funds to ensure improved public safety and emergency services become a reality for the city.

The Fire Department will receive $90,000 in grant funds towards purchasing a Type I Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU) capable of delivering Medical Intensive and Critical Levels of care. Congresswoman Lee said, “this new ambulance will provide Jacinto City with some of the tools necessary and required to provide quality emergency preparedness. A prepared community is a strong resilient community.”

Read more »

GALENA PARK: Chemical release causes temporary shelter-in-place

Last Monday, drivers could observed thick smoke and small particles coming out from Pasadena Refining in the 1100 block of Red Bluff. A shelter was in place but has been lifted since then.

Last Monday, drivers could observed thick smoke and small particles coming out from Pasadena Refining in the 1100 block of Red Bluff. A shelter was in place but has been lifted since then.

GALENA PARK – Authorities issued a shelter in place last Monday afternoon, July 25, in Galena Park due to a sulfur dioxide release at the Pasadena Refining refinery. According to reports, the plant located in the 1100 block of Red Bluff suffered a power outage when a tree fell on an office when storms hit the area.

The Houston Ship Channel was shut down from KinderMorgan ship dock 4 to the Magellan Turn Basin. The Washburn Tunnel was also closed temporary.

Thick smoke and small particles could be seen in the air around the ship channel. However, no injuries were reported.

Large crowds at Waste Pits meetings discuss well water

OVER 150 residents who live near the San Jacinto Superfund Waste Pits, packed the Highlands/San Jacinto Community Center last Tuesday night, to hear an update on facts about the Waste Pits, and to get more information on the testing of their well water by the Harris County Polution Control department. Jackie Young, at right, speaks.

OVER 150 residents who live near the San Jacinto Superfund Waste Pits, packed the Highlands/San Jacinto Community Center last Tuesday night, to hear an update on facts about the Waste Pits, and to get more information on the testing of their well water by the Harris County Pollution Control department. Jackie Young, at right, speaks.

EAST HARRIS COUNTY – Jackie Young, president of the new organization THEA and the San Jacinto River Coalition, held two meetings to update the public on the status of work on the Superfund Waste Pits.

Last Thursday she met with interested parties at the J. D. Walker Community Center in McNair, and this week on Tuesday night she met with the public at the Highlands/ San Jacinto Community Center. Each meeting had about 150 attendees, with only a few at both.

Young said that attendees were evenly divided from affected neighborhoods around the Waste Pits, including Channelview, Lynchburg, Highlands, McNair, and Baytown.

Young spent a lot of time on technical and chemical information, explaining to the interested crowd how Harris County tests had discovered possible contamination, even dioxin, in the well water samples it drew in June. She said that Harris County Polution Control had sampled and tested 100 wells. Of these, 28 had shown to be contaminated, and the well owners had received letters from HCPC telling them “Don’t Drink the Water” until retesting had been completed. Young explained that she understands when the samples were tested, other samples were open nearby, and may have compromised the well water samples.

Harris County is using money from the lawsuit settlement to pay for the testing. Each test, if searched for all contaminants, costs $2,000 and therefore the whole testing program cost $200,000. This was paid for out of the $10 million dollars that the county received from the lawsuit. Precinct 2 has said that all the money will be spent on environmental projects within 5 miles of the Waste Pit site. They have not currently decided how the rest of the money will be spent, but there is under study a proposal to provide water and sewer lines in some of the affected areas.

Young explained that even though the lawsuit awarded $29.2 million to the plaintiffs, including the county, this money cannot be used for individual relief from health problems or well water contamination. These situations must be settled in private lawsuits against the responsible parties, she said.

Read more »

Rep. Green calls for Cleanup of the Waste Pits

REP. GENE GREEN SPEAKS on the floor of the House of Representatives, urging Congressional action on the ZIKA virus, and the removal of the Waste Pits from the San Jacinto River.

REP. GENE GREEN SPEAKS on the floor of the House of Representatives, urging Congressional action on the ZIKA virus, and the removal of the Waste Pits from the San Jacinto River.

WASHINGTON – Congressman Gene Green continues to press the government for action on environmental issues, including the removal of the Waste Pits from the San Jacinto River, and funding to eliminate the Zika virus.

In a letter to EPA chair of the National Remedy Review Board, who will eventually rule on the method of remediating the Waste Pits, Green urged complete removal of the dioxin waste.

“These waste pits continue to be a public health threat, particularly for communities in Harris County and along the River. Residents have been advised not to drink water or eat seafood that may have come from the area because dioxin can do serious damage to a person’s immune system, and can also cause cancer and reproductive and developmental problems,” Green said. “This is no way to live. We need to take the strongest measure available to clean up the site.”

Currently, the San Jacinto Waste Pits are partially submerged, and contained under a temporary cap near the western bank of the San Jacinto River, immediately north of the I-10 bridge. The pits were created in the mid-60’s by Champion Paper and McGinnes Industrial Maintenance, who filled the ponds with waste paper sludge from a local paper mill until 1968, when they were abandoned.

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San Jac plays a role in three generations of Hovsepian family

Nico and Cassandra Hovsepian have made San Jacinto College a part of their family. (Photo credit: Calyn Hoerner)

Nico and Cassandra Hovsepian have made San Jacinto College a part of their family. (Photo credit: Calyn Hoerner)

San Jac Certified: All in the family

PASADENA, Texas – The Hovsepian family can happily say that San Jacinto College has had an impact on three generations of their family. Nico Hovsepian, his mother, his wife, Cassandra, and his daughter, Christian, all attended and were later employed by the College.

When Hovsepian finished his time in the military he was ready to start his career. He enrolled at San Jacinto College and started working toward an associate degree of applied sciences. While earning his degree, Hovsepian worked at University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston for two years. Eventually his mother, a San Jacinto College employee, came to him with a suggestion.

“My mom mentioned that San Jac was hiring and that I should apply,” says Hovsepian. “She told me that she really enjoyed working here and that the people were great. She said it was like family,” He quickly applied for the job in the IT department and focused on finishing his degree.

“You become a part of a community inside of a community when you come to San Jacinto College,” said Hovsepian. During both his time working and studying at the College, he felt that he had become a part of the family. That family grew to include his wife, who holds an associate degree of arts and behavioral sciences from San Jacinto College, when she started working at the College just two weeks after Hovsepian started his own job here.

“When my wife started her job here we were able to make our work a part of our lives,” Hovsepian added. “If you work with your friends and family, you always have each other’s back. You can count on the person next to you.”

When his daughter, Christian, began working at the College, Hovsepian saw yet another one of his family members become a part of the community. Read more »

Channelview FFA members receive Lone Star Degree

Four members of the Channelview FFA received their Lone Star Degree at the Texas FFA Convention. The Lone Star Degree is the highest level of membership awarded by the state association. Degree recipients, wearing their FFA jackets, from left, are Hunter Bell, Clayton Hutchins and Trever Thompson. Not pictured is the fourth honoree, Yvette Leos. Channelview FFA sponsors, at far left and right, are Wesley Hutchins and Dominic Mazoch.

Four members of the Channelview FFA received their Lone Star Degree at the Texas FFA Convention. The Lone Star Degree is the highest level of membership awarded by the state association. Degree recipients, wearing their FFA jackets, from left, are Hunter Bell, Clayton Hutchins and Trever Thompson. Not pictured is the fourth honoree, Yvette Leos. Channelview FFA sponsors, at far left and right, are Wesley Hutchins and Dominic Mazoch.

COUNTY WARNS “DON’T DRINK THE WATER”

This letter was sent to 24 households in Channelview and Highlands, advising them not to drink or cook with their well water until further tests could be conducted.

This letter was sent to 24 households in Channelview and Highlands, advising them not to drink or cook with their well water until further tests could be conducted.

Possible Toxins from San Jac River; Congressman Green questions EPA

EAST HARRIS COUNTY – Some residents along the west and east banks of the San Jacinto River, near the Superfund Site, have had their well water tested by the Harris County Public Health Department. This is the first time that the county has been willing to participate in this type of general testing, although the San Jacinto River Coalition and others have been asking for tests for years, according to Jackie Young, president of the SJRC.

The county tests came up with surprising and serious concerns with the content of 24 wells, according to Brenda Cabaniss, of the Public Health department. Samples were collected by InControl Technologies for the county. The lab results showed 24 of these 100 wells had dioxin in them, a carcinogen known to cause some types of cancers.

As a result, the Public Health Department of the county sent letters to each of these 24 household, advising them to “use bottled water for drinking and cooking, and for your family pets. Please note, boiling the water will not remove these contaminants.”

“You may continue to shower, bathe, or use the water for other purposes. However, we ask that you refrain from ingesting your tap water.”

However, the letter also states that “Due to a laboratory error, we will need to resample.” The type of error was not clear, either in the letter or in a conversation that this newspaper had with the Health Department.

Read more »