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SAN JACINTO RIVER WASTE PITS: EPA presents status report; but Citizens demand action, removal

SJRC Jackie Young, and EPA Gary Miller, explain the current status of the Waste Pits to the audience.

SJRC Jackie Young, and EPA Gary Miller, explain the current status of the Waste Pits to the audience.

Representatives from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) met with the San Jacinto River Coalition and interested members of the public last Wednesday night at the Flukinger Community Center in Channelview.

The purpose of the meeting was for EPA to present a “status report” on efforts to remediate the Toxic Waste Pits in the San Jacinto River near the I-10 bridge.

About 100 persons attended the meeting, mostly residents from the east and west sides of the river adjacent to the waste pits area. They heard Gary Miller of the EPA explain new actions to repair a tear in the containment membrane, and additional requirements on the Responsible parties. These include 24/7 surveillance by camera, additional warning buoys and markers, and increased inspections onsite from 2 to 4 per year.

Photo shows a team from EPA probing the Waste Pits site to determine the extent of the tear.

Photo shows a team from EPA probing the Waste Pits site to determine the extent of the tear.

Miller described a process that for many residents has been drawn out too long. He said that a Draft Report on possible remediation methods is due in December 2016, and a Final Decision in the Spring 2017.

The audience was not happy with this schedule, and spoke up.
Pam Barta, a former resident of Highlands whose family has suffered serious health problems, possibly from contaminated wells, asked why not deal with this on an Emergency Status. She wanted all fishing stopped immediately, toxin tests carried downriver to the Galveston Bay, and a shorter time schedule for action. She said water wells should be ordered shut down. Her own survey showed residents who “look like we are in a War Zone missing limbs, skin diseases, and more. Very Sick people.” She attributed these problems to the dioxins in the waste pits.

A representative of the Harris County Pollution Control Department, Bob Allen, said the county is taking proposals, due Feb. 22, on testing of wells in the area, and this would include dioxin screening for the first time. He said this testing is being paid for by settlement money from the lawsuit against the Responsible Parties, not taxpayer money.

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San Jacinto College breaks ground on new CIT Center

Elected officials, industry partners, and College leaders gather to celebrate 111,000-square- foot facility last Friday, February 19. (PHOTO BY ROB VANYA)

Elected officials, industry partners, and College leaders gather to celebrate 111,000-square-foot facility last Friday, February 19. (PHOTO BY ROB VANYA)

HOUSTON — Elected officials, San Jacinto College leaders, and industry partners gathered on Friday, Feb. 19, 2016 to break ground on a state-of-the-art Center for Industrial Technology (CIT), which will enable the College to keep pace with the rising demand for technical workforce training.

The projected completion date for the 111,000-square-feet center, located on the San Jacinto College North Campus, is October 2016.

“There is a critical need for this new facility to provide training for businesses and industries in the rapidly growing North Channel area,” said San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer. “Student enrollment at the North Campus is increasing and we need facilities to accommodate that growth. Many of the technical training labs at the North Campus are advanced in age and our students need upgraded labs and hands-on experience. Also, existing technical program facilities are not large enough to keep pace with growing enrollment.”

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LULAC Council 402 celebrates National LULAC week

Left to right: Houston Councilman Robert Gallegos, HISD Trustee Anna Eastman, LULAC 402 President Carmen Nuncio, HISD Assistant Superintendent Jorge L. Arredondo, Ed. D, Mistress of Ceremonies Cynthia Cisneros (ABC 13 Houston Vice President of Community Affairs) & Texas House Representative Jessica Farrar. (PHOTO BY ALLAN JAMAIL)

Left to right: Houston Councilman Robert Gallegos, HISD Trustee Anna Eastman,
LULAC 402 President Carmen Nuncio, HISD Assistant Superintendent Jorge L. Arredondo, Ed. D, Mistress of Ceremonies Cynthia Cisneros (ABC 13 Houston Vice President of Community Affairs) & Texas House Representative Jessica Farrar. (PHOTO BY ALLAN JAMAIL)

Houston TX – February 17 – LULAC Council 402 known throughout Houston as “The Education Council” for their successful contributions of Scholarships to deserving underprivileged students celebrated LULAC’s 87th Anniversary during National LULAC Week at their annual awards banquet. Scholarships awarded to students annually are used to pay tuition, fees, and housing costs for college.

LULAC (The League of United Latin American Citizens) Council 402 Scholarship Gala honored State Representative Jessica Farrar District Office “Honoree of the Year” and Dr. Jorge Arredondo HISD Asst. Supt. Houston Independent School District as “Educator of the Year”. Jeff Davis High School performed at the evening with their Mariachi Band.

To date, “The Educational Council” has awarded over $430,000 in scholarships to deserving students.

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