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Posts published in June 2015

State Cancer study confirms high number of cases in East Harris County

RED PINS on the Map indicate households with Cancer, Autoimmune disease, or other chronic illnesses.
RED PINS on the Map indicate households with Cancer, Autoimmune disease, or other chronic illnesses.

Health department reconsiders, may conduct further studies

Friday, June 19, 2015 – Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) released an Assessment of the Occurrence of Cancer in a select study area in East Harris County, Texas. The report confirmed statistically significantly high rates of the following cancers in children: glioma, retinoblastoma, brain cancer, melanoma, and leukemia. The report also confirmed statistically significantly high rates of the following cancers in people of all ages: brain cancer, cervical cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, myeloma, and lymphoma.

Along with the data was an unprecedented announcement for TX DSHS. In over 400 similar database investigations, this is the first time that the State of Texas is actually going to further investigate the health of specific communities. This is not only a victory for the San Jacinto River Coalition and residents of East Harris County, who have been advocating for the study for several years, but a major victory for public health in the State of Texas.

In 2011, the San Jacinto River Coalition began begging DSHS to study the health of Highlands, TX. Though they weren’t sure what was making so many local residents develop cancer, they weren’t convinced that it was all by coincidence. In 2014 DSHS announced that in response to community concerns, they were going to do a cancer database investigation. The leader of the Coalition began assisting DSHS as a community representative, relaying crucial local information that shaped the parameters of their investigation.

Here’s what they did:

DSHS investigated cancer database information from 1995 to 2012 for populations along the San Jacinto River, in the inundation zones of the River. This area encompassed 38 census tracks. They looked at the data for the area as a whole and they looked at each census track individually. DSHS investigated database information for 17 types of childhood and adult cancers.

Here’s a summary of what they found:

Of the 17 types of cancers investigated, 14 types came back at a statistically significantly high rate in at least one census track within the study area.

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North Shore Rotary installs new officers

NEW PRESIDENT MIKE WILLIAMS presents outgoing president Allatia Harris with her gavel and plaque, a Rotary tradition.
NEW PRESIDENT MIKE WILLIAMS presents outgoing president Allatia Harris with her gavel and plaque, a Rotary tradition.

The North Shore Rotary Club held their installation banquet last Friday night at the Monument Inn, with their usual verve and fun.

Mike Williams was sworn in as the 58th president, by Judge Mike Parrott. Parrott delivered an emotional talk about his upcoming retirement in 2016, after a lifetime of service to the North Shore area.

Special guests at the dinner were the officers of Rotary District 5890, including Governor Nick Giannone and wife Fabriola, DG elect Eric Liu and wife Sandy, and DG designate Bill Palko and wife Debby. Recognition was given to Rotarians who were present and had been in the club for 50 years or more, including B. J. Westbrook, Jerry Dominy and Frank Nadolney.

As outgoing president, Allatia Harris gave a short talk on the accomplishments of the club during her term, summing it up as “An Amazing Year.” She mentioned successful international projects to Mexico and Australia, help for youth through Early Act/ First Knight, Interact, FFA Auctions at 4 schools, Food Baskets for the needy and Seniors, financial support for the Bay Area Homeless Family shelter, and an outreach to the Darrington Prison unit. She thanked members and her board, whom she awarded with copies of the book “Texas Rising.”

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State and County attorneys join forces to fight synthetic Marijuana

state to fight synthetic marijuana

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan announced last Tuesday, June 15, a joint operation against four Houston-area stores for distributing products that contain synthetic marijuana while deceptively claiming the products are safe and legal.

“Synthetic marijuana is an extremely dangerous substance and a growing risk to Texas youth, as evidenced by the mounting numbers of recent hospitalizations in Texas related to its use,” Attorney General Paxton said. “These stores were operating in blatant disregard for the law and with an utter disregard for the safety of their customers. I commend investigators and officials who are working to put an end to this substance’s distribution.”

“These products are marketed and sold to children, despite defendants knowing the products are illegal and unsafe. Use of these products has not only caused illness, but even death in some cases,” said County Attorney Vince Ryan. (more…)

COMMUNITY PROFILE: Joe Stephens, former basketball star now aspiring to JP seat

JOE STEPHENS AT HIGHLANDS ROTARY
JOE STEPHENS AT HIGHLANDS ROTARY

HIGHLANDS – He’s tall, has a big grin, and makes you feel comfortable right away.
Joe Stephens has a history that includes being a basketball star at North Shore high school, and on the Houston Rockets and other pro teams for a total of 10 years in the NBA. He played with super stars such as Hakeem Olajuwon, Mario Elie and Clyde Drexler, and at a recent fund raiser for his political career, they were there as hosts.

Stephens is now a successful insurance agent in North Shore, but he plans to run for the office of Justice of the Peace, Pct. 3 Position 1 when Judge Mike Parrott retires next year. In fact, Parrott has publicly endorsed him for the position.

The Highlands Rotary club had Stephens as a guest at a recent luncheon, and he spoke about his career, his work with youth, and his aspirations to help his life-long community as a Justice of the Peace. Stephens told an entertaining story of how he got into pro basketball. In 1996 he and a few friends heard that there was an open tryout that the Houston Rockets were conducting in Sugar Land, so they went. After playing there for a while, he caught the eye of coach Rudy Tomjonovich, who came over to him, and offered him a position on the team.

He would play for the Rockets for 2 years, and a total of 10 years in the NBA for other teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers.

He emphasized his commitment to the North Shore neighborhood, having grown up there and in the Crosby area. His family was originally from Pine Trails, in East Texas, and Mont Belvieu where his father worked for Gulf Oil.

In 2009 he became a member of the Galena Park Rotary, and was elected to the Galena Park school board, where he was recently made president.

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JACINTO CITY HONORS GRADUATES

Galena Park High School: Giselle Alvarez, Paula Avila, Fidencio Cantu, Ammy De Leon, Jimmy Duenez, Danielle Galvan, Itzel Gonzalez, Miranda Gonzalez, Amanda Membreno, Miguel Mendoza, Kimberly NunezEmily Rivera, Furr High School: Jennifer Villarreal, Francisco Lopez-Yanez. (Photo by Allan Jamail)
Galena Park High School: Giselle Alvarez, Paula Avila, Fidencio Cantu, Ammy De Leon, Jimmy Duenez, Danielle Galvan, Itzel Gonzalez, Miranda Gonzalez, Amanda Membreno, Miguel Mendoza, Kimberly NunezEmily Rivera, Furr High School: Jennifer Villarreal, Francisco Lopez-Yanez. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

Jacinto City, TX. – June 11, 2015 The Jacinto City Mayor and Council at the regular Council Meeting honored the Jacinto City’s 2015 Honor Graduates from both Galena Park and Furr High School.

Fourteen graduates were presented a city certificate of recognition, souvenir gifts and a cap with the city’s logo. Each graduate came to the microphone to introduce themselves, give the college they planned to attend and what they’re majoring in. Miguel Mendoza of Jacinto City, the Valedictorian of the 2015 class of Galena Park High School made a brief statement of thanks to the city and said he was honored to have made the Graduation Class Speech.

Other city business, Public Works Director Kyle Reed gave the 2014 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report. Mr. Reed said the report also known as the Consumer Confidence Report stated the city’s water was safe and met the Susceptibility Assessment Standards of the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Stephens recounts how screening bill stalled

Scott Stephens
Scott Stephens

Speaking last week at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Highlands, Scott Stephens recounted for the audience the long path through this year’s Texas Legislature’s 84th session.

Stephens wants to provide heart screenings for all student athletes, to avoid the Sudden Cardiac Death that took the life of his son unexpectedly in 2002. His son Cody, a healthy looking football player in Crosby, had an undetected heart defect and died without warning at his family home.

Since that time, his father Scott has campaigned to provide ECG heart screening to all young athletes, at first with private donated funds, and eventually with the hope that school districts would include it in their regular screening process for students, athletes and others.

Stephens formed a private foundation, the Cody Stephens Foundation, and has raised over $500,000 to pay for 15,000 of these ECG tests last year. But he says there is the need to test many more, and he thinks the state should require all school districts to make this test available and in some cases mandatory.

During this session of the 84th Texas Legislature, there were 3 House bills and 1 Senate bill that were forwarding the proposal. Sponsors in the House were representatives Sylvester Turner, Wayne Smith, and Dan Huberty. Sponsor in the Senate was Chuy Hinojosa. The bills read “to prevent Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) in student athletes by enhancing the current Pre-Participation Sports Physicals with the addition of an Electrocardiogram (ECG) in the first year and third year of participation. Student and parent may opt out for religious or financial reasons.”
Stephens stated that the cost for an ECG in this circumstance is approximately $15 per student.

Stephens said that SCD is the #1 medical killer of high school age students. (Unfortunately, vehicle crashes are the #1 killer otherwise.)

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Congressional leaders visit Port of Houston

Congressional leaders on Port Matters visit Port of Houston efforts related to safety and security highlighted.
Congressional leaders on Port Matters visit Port of Houston efforts related to safety and security highlighted.

HOUSTON, June 5, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Port of Houston Authority facilitated an important visit and tour of the Port of Houston, Friday, June 5.

Congresswoman Janice Hahn, Congressman Ted Poe and Congressman Brian Babin visited the Port of Houston and learned more about the national impact of the Port of Houston overall and in particular its safety and security measures. The visit was arranged upon the invitation of Congressman Poe, who along with Congresswoman Hahn cochair the PORTS Caucus, which represents more than 100 ports across the nation.

A delegation that included Port of Houston Authority Port Commissioners John D. Kennedy and Stephen DonCarlos, along with federal partners Captain Brian Penoyer, Commander, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston and Leslie Fleming – Luczkowski, Assistant Port Director, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) and Captain Mike Morris, Presiding Officer, Houston Pilots visited Shell’s Deer Park refinery before taking a tour by boat of the Houston Ship Channel.

The tour highlighted unique aspects of the nation’s busiest port. (more…)

Dr. Camacho presents cancer information

Dr. Luis H. Camacho
Dr. Luis H. Camacho

The North Channel Chamber heard from a cancer expert at their monthly luncheon last week, Dr. Luis Camacho.

Dr. Camacho is affiliated with the East Houston RMC Cancer Center, and is also Director of the Center for Oncology and Blood Disorders. His original training was at Bogota, Columbia, and later at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in the U. S.

Dr. Camacho illustrated his talk with slides about various types of cancers, and some basic facts about the nature of cancer and how it can be minimized, or otherwise treated.

Camacho said that 1 of every 2 men will have some type of invasive cancer, and 1 of every 3 women. He defined cancer as cells in the body that have uncontrollable doubling.

The outstanding questions, he said, are whether we can prevent cancer, and cure cancer. The answer is “Yes.”

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Channelview ISD Top 10 graduates

channelview top 10 graduates

Channelview High School held its graduation on Sunday, June 7 at Aldine ISD’s M.O. Campbell Center. The CHS top 10 students are, from left (by rank), Valedictorian Matthew Yates, Salutatorian Kaliah Glenn, Adriana Aguirre, Erika Richey-Carson, Jay-ar Haro, Jocelyn Ramos, Mary Ontiveros, Destiny Adkins, Judy Bich-Tuyen Truong and Christina Grueso.

Clinton receives Jordan Leadership Award

Presenting the award left to right: Mrs. Rosemary McGowan (Jordan’s sister) Dr. Thomas Freeman (Jordan’s debate coach), Hillary Clinton, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee & TSU President Dr. John M. Rudley (NORTH CHANNEL STAR PHOTOS BY ALLAN JAMAIL)
Presenting the award left to right: Mrs. Rosemary McGowan (Jordan’s sister) Dr. Thomas Freeman (Jordan’s debate coach), Hillary Clinton, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee & TSU President Dr. John M. Rudley (NORTH CHANNEL STAR PHOTOS BY ALLAN JAMAIL)

Houston, TX. June 4, 2015 – Texas Southern University presented a historic event with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton by bestowing on her the first Barbara Jordan Inaugural Gold Medallion for PublicPrivate Leadership Award.
The event was hosted by the Barbara Jordan Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs, Barbara Jordan Institute for Policy Research, The Thurgood Marshall School of Law, The Barbara Jordan Inaugural Gold Medallion Committee, and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

Allan and Linda Jamail of Jacinto City were on the Barbara Jordan Inaugural Gold Medallion Committee who helped plan the event.

Before entering the building, each of the four thousand plus attendees had to go through the Secret Service’s security process of metal detectors and bomb sniffing dogs, Allan Jamail said.

Clinton, the former first lady and wife of President Bill Clinton, is an announced presidential candidate seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party.

According to Allan Jamail this was to be a nonpartisan event, not a campaign event, and Secretary Hillary Clinton, after receiving the award, was to give a Policy Speech on Voting Rights. However, Jamail says Clinton, after praising the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, a former TSU student, then fired up her speech and went into an attack mode, blaming some of her Republican rivals for the new laws that are making it more difficult for minorities and college students to register and to vote.

She called for universal and automatic voter registration for all citizens reaching the age of 18, and a 20-day (or more) period of early voting in every state, before every election. Clinton’s speech identified the work of protecting and expanding voting rights as a critical part of her campaign.

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COMMUNITY PROFILE: Dr. Grant personifies the value of education

Dr. Charles Grant, San Jacinto College graduate and former president of the North Campus, holds four college degrees and believes in the value of education. He recently started an organization that provides training and certification services for continuing and professional development educators. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.
Dr. Charles Grant, San Jacinto College graduate and former president of the North Campus, holds four college degrees and believes in the value of education. He recently started an organization that provides training and certification services for continuing and professional development educators. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.

HOUSTON – Dr. Charles Grant, San Jacinto College graduate and former president of the North Campus, holds four college degrees and is a firm believer in the value of education.

In fact, he has spent almost all of his 35 professional years in the field of education. For San Jacinto College, Grant served as a professor and administrator for 25 years before changing careers. He then worked for three years as education and special projects liaison for Harris County Pct. 2 before joining the North Channel Area Chamber of Commerce as its president and CEO. Dr. Grant returned to the education field, launching his own organization – Continuing Education Association International (CEAI), an association that provides training and certification services for continuing and professional development educators.

“I launched CEAI because I feel there is a real need to improve the quality of continuing education worldwide,” commented Grant, who worked at San Jacinto College from 1983 to 2008. “Most continuing education teachers are proficient in their career fields, but many have little or no formal training as educators. It’s one thing to know a subject, but it’s another thing to be able to convey and impart that knowledge to students.” During his tenure at San Jacinto College, Grant served as a director of continuing education, and later as a dean of continuing education. The College’s continuing education division is now called the Continuing and Professional Development division to more accurately reflect its wide range of training and education services.

Grant is not only a former employee of San Jacinto College, he is a San Jac Certified alumnus, having earned an associate degree in general studies in 1967. He then earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Stephen F. Austin State University, a master’s degree in education administration and supervision from Sam Houston State University, and a PhD in higher education from Texas A&M University.

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