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CONGRESSMAN GENE GREEN’S IMMUNIZATION DAY

CONGRESSMAN GREEN confers with some of the Healthcare Providers that helped administer immunization shots, to the hundreds of children pictured in the background of the Galena Park High School gymnasium.

CONGRESSMAN GREEN confers with some of the Healthcare Providers that helped administer immunization shots, to the hundreds of children pictured in the background of the Galena Park High School gymnasium.

Over 1,800 vaccines administered to students

GALENA PARK – The halls of the high school were lined with hundreds of students ready to receive their annual immunization shots, and to receive backpacks and school supplies donated by Rotary District 5890, with the help of two local Rotary Clubs.

In an expansion of his annual drive, Green had arranged to administer these shots in three locations this year, Aldine, Galena Park, and the AAMA Learning Center on the Gulf Freeway. All of these areas are in Green’s Congressional District, Texas 29th.

Rep. Gene Green’s 20th Annual Immunization Days served over 2,500 participants this year, with qualified volunteers delivering more than 1,800 vaccines.

“By hosting this event over two days and three locations, we were able to serve more people than last year,” Green said. “We had over 2,500 attendees, and more than 900 children received the vaccines they needed, free of charge.”

Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put out an analysis of how many children’s lives have been saved by immunizations between 1994 and 2013. The CDC estimated that among the 78.6 million children born during that period, vaccines prevented 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 premature deaths.

“Vaccines save lives, and they are the best investment we can make for public health, and for our children’s future,” Green said. “Since 1996, our office has hosted Immunization Day and thousands of children have received free vaccines. Through events like this and a coordinated effort on the city and county level, the immunization rate in Harris County has increased from 64 percent for school-aged children in 2002 to 76 percent today. We have to continue to make them more widely accessible, as well as easier to access and track.”

GREEN partnered with a number of organizations to achieve this large immunization, including these members of the North Shore and Galena Park/Jacinto City Rotary Clubs.

GREEN partnered with a number of organizations to achieve this large immunization, including these members of the North Shore and Galena Park/Jacinto City Rotary Clubs.

Immunization Day was held in partnership with Aldine ISD, Galena Park ISD, AAMA Learning Center, Harris Health System, Aldine Community Health Center, Texas Children’s Hospital, Vecino Health Centers, Saint Hope Foundation, Texas Children’s Health Plan, LyondellBasell, Rotary International District 5890, Texas Medical Association Foundation, Walgreens, Sea Smiles Dental, Lone Star College Nursing Program, University of Houston and Texas Southern University Pharmacy Programs, and San Jacinto College Nursing School.

State Rep. Ana Hernandez presents Legislative updates

STATE REPRESENTATIVE ANA HERNANDEZ led a presentation on recent Legislative actions, along with State Senator Sylvia Garcia and Pct. 2 Constable Chris Diaz. (NORTH CHANNEL STAR PHOTO/Hoffman)

STATE REPRESENTATIVE ANA HERNANDEZ led a presentation on recent Legislative actions, along with State Senator Sylvia Garcia and Pct. 2 Constable Chris Diaz. (NORTH CHANNEL STAR PHOTO/Hoffman)

GALENA PARK – State Representative Ana Hernandez is holding a series of Town Hall meetings, to report to the public on the results of the 84th Legislative Session that finished its work in June.

Hernandez also had the help of State Representative Sylvia Garcia, Pct. 2 Constable Chris Diaz, and at times the help of her 5 year old son Gregory.

Her presentation was aided by very detailed and understandable slides, covering all the major points.

She explained the legislative process, the makeup of the House and Senate, and what their responsibilities are. They meet in odd numbered years for 140 days, she noted. This year they passed 1454 bills for the Governor’s consideration, of which he signed 1286, vetoed 42, and allowed 163 to pass without signing.

The Budget is the most important business, and the two-year budget was set at $209.4 billion, an increase of 3.6%. $41.2 billion of that was for public education, and $19.9 billion for higher education.

Transportation was funded at $23.1 billion, and for the first time all gas tax money will go to road.

Tax cuts were passed, but the Homestead Exemption increase requires voter approval in November.

Healthcare was a major issue, she said, and although an additional $1.7 billion was allocated for Medicaid, due to population growth, the state continues to refuse to accept $100 billion available from the federal government.

House Bill 18 and last session’s House Bill 5 provided high school graduation choices, and Hernandez worked to make sure it included multilingual information packets and information on these choices.

Open Carry of firearms was also an issue for this Legislature, and two bills resulted. They are known as Open Carry and Campus Carry. Open Carry will take effect January 1, 2016 and basically changes the “concealed” nature of today’s firearms carry bill, to an open arrangement. House Bill 910 requires the gun to be holstered.

At this point, Constable Chris Diaz and Deputy Lt. F. Taylor demonstrated various holster types, and discussed their advantages. Hernandez pointed out that businesses can post signs excluding Open Carry firearms on their premises.

Campus Carry will take effect August 2016 for 4 year colleges, and August 2017 for community colleges, and CHL licensed holders will be allowed to have guns on campus, but in a concealed only fashion.

Border Security was discussed, but Hernandez said no effective program accompanied the $800 million funding.

Hernandez passed a number of bills strengthening and simplifying law enforcement procedures.

She established a Texas Women Veterans Program to help these transition back into civilian life.

Sen. Garcia said that 37 of her bills passed, including a revenge pornography bill, a study of homeless veterans, a veterans court jurisdiction expansion, on-line training for deputy registrars for voting. She helped stop the repeal of the Dream Act.

HARRIS COUNTY PLANS $848m BOND VOTE IN NOVEMBER

Harris County voters will face another bond election at the ballot box this November. Harris County commissioners are finalizing the language and amounts on four measures that will be on the ballot seeking voter approval.

The total bond package is expected to be $848 million dollars. Of this, $700 million is set for roads and infrastructure, $64 million for flood control, $60 million for parks, and $24 million to upgrade the animal control facility. Voters will get to choose on each measure, Judge Ed Emmett said.

Budget director William Jackson pointed out that these bonds are essentially loans to the county, and will be issued over the next seven years, not all at once.

The county is currently paying back previous bonds, at the rate of $100 million per year and the new bonds would just supplant paid off debt, he said.

Judge Emmett said that the bonds are needed to keep up with population growth, which has seen 750,000 new residents in unincorporated Harris County since 2000. This growth requires new government-funded roads and infrastructure, he said, to catch up with projects and “in anticipation of further growth.”

Emmett emphasized that the bond issues will not result in a tax increase.

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New Nature Trail opens in Hermann Brown Park

SPEAKING AT THE NATURE WALK RIBBON CUTTING were City Councilman Robert Gallegos, Pastor Robert Dixon, Jr., Congressman Gene Green, HPD Captain Greg Fremin, and Houston City Parks Director Joe Turner. The trailhead leads away at left, behind the speakers.

SPEAKING AT THE NATURE WALK RIBBON CUTTING were City Councilman Robert Gallegos, Pastor Robert Dixon, Jr., Congressman Gene Green, HPD Captain Greg Fremin, and Houston City Parks Director Joe Turner. The trailhead leads away at left, behind the speakers.

HOUSTON – A new Nature Walk Trail was officially opened last Saturday, as part of the development of Hermann Brown Park.

The ceremony was held beside North Shore Community Fellowship of Faith Church. Entrance to the walking trail is gained from their parking lot until a new entry off Maxey Road is completed.

Parks Director Joe Turner explained that his department won a $20,000 grant to develop the trail, in a nationwide competition sponsored by the Walt Disney Company and the National Recreation and Park Association.

The walking trail is a half-mile loop through a forested area, featuring shade areas, seating, tree stools, a pollinator garden, memorial grove, and education station.

Also participating in the opening ceremony were students from Furr High School, and members of the church congregation and Mrs. Dixon, Sr.