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GALENA PARK Council hires City Attorney; delays choosing Police Chief

ROBERT COLLINS, new City Attorney for Galena Park

ROBERT COLLINS, new City Attorney for Galena Park

GALENA PARK – At its regular meeting this week, City Council considered a number of appointments to fill open positions in the city government.These had occurred due to previous Council action in firing or demoting certain personnel. On the Agenda were appointments of police chief, city attorney, water superintendent, water department billing clerk, and a civil service board person. Each of these items generated discussion, and most were acted on. However, the appointment of Edward Mata as Police Chief generated questions and was finally tabled, because his salary of $68,000 and requirement to live in the city was never discussed with him. The item was referred to committee for further action and later vote.

Appointment of a City Attorney went ahead without much discussion. Robert Collins, a local attorney who is a 1970 graduate of Galena Park High School, was appointed. He is also City Attorney in Port Isabel, he said. In accepting the position, he said he has some goals, including applying for more grant money for the city, updating the A/V equipment that the city uses in the Council Chamber, and keeping the city out of the Courtroom. Other appointments that proceeded were Jarrod Jones for Water Superintendent, Irma Betancourt for Water Dept. billing, and Hector Torres to the Civil Service Board.

The Agenda item that generated the most discussion, was a proposed ordinance that would prohibit the parking of autos, boars, and trailers on grassed front yards of residences.

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Galena Park completes Gateway Monument

THE NEW GATEWAY MONUMENT is part of the Project Stars of the San Jacinto Historical District. Each of the 10 cities in the area served by EconomicAlliance Houston Port Region received money to build these monuments. Galena Park is number 9 in the series. The first Gateway was erected in La Porte in 2008. Although each design is different, responding to its setting, each has a Blue Star that lights at night. Project Stars is also responsible for the Historical Murals painted on the oil storage tanks along Highway 225 and Independence Parkway in Deer Park.

THE NEW GATEWAY MONUMENT is part of the Project Stars of the San Jacinto Historical District. Each of the 10 cities in the area served by EconomicAlliance Houston Port Region received money to build these monuments. Galena Park is number 9 in the series. The first Gateway was erected in La Porte in 2008. Although each design is different, responding to its setting, each has a Blue Star that lights at night. Project Stars is also responsible for the Historical Murals painted on the oil storage tanks along Highway 225 and Independence Parkway in Deer Park.

GALENA PARK – The Gateway Monument that they city voted in favor of last year, has now been completed. It stands in the front of City Hall, de-marking a “Gateway” into the Port Region. As such, it was paid for by the EconomicAlliance Houston Port Region, as part of a project known as Project Stars. These gateways are conceived as a regional themed beautification project, designed to highlight the rich historic assets of the 10-city district and to visually de-mark the entrance to each city.

In Galena Park, lacking an appropriate entrance site, the monument was constructed in the center, by City Hall.

EconomicAlliance paid $100,000 toward the project, and the city contributed matching funds of $25,000 according to information from Robert Pruett, previous City Administrator.

Each of the monuments in the various cities was designed by landscape architects Knudson LP. The Galena Park monument was designed by Bryan Janhsen of Knudson LP. Project Stars was originally conceived by Harris County Pct. 2 Commissioner Sylvia Garcia, and Jan Lawler of the EconomicAlliance starting in 2004. It was conceived as a trail of living history, as Project Stars will mark the route to Texas Independence as the historical markers highlight each city or location in East Harris County.

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GALENA PARK/JACINTO CITY Rotary installs new officers for 2016-17

galena park jacinto city rotary

Galena Park/Jacinto City Rotary Club installed their new officers and board last Wednesday at the Baggett Center.

At RIGHT, new president Joshua Moreno, Rotarian of the Year Ernesto Paredes, and District Governor Eric Liu, who installed the Rotarians.

BELOW, the new officers, outgoing officers, and new board members pose for a photo at the luncheon. New President Joshua Moreno is at the center, Rotarian of the Year Ernesto Paredes is at the left end, and District 5890 Governor Eric Liu is at the right.

GP Council okays new lights, sidewalks, police chief

Stephen DonCarlos, mayor of Baytown but also representing the Houston Port Authority, present a plan to Council that shows new sidewalks the Port will build, from Galena Park to Jacinto City.

Stephen DonCarlos, mayor of Baytown but also representing the Houston Port Authority, present a plan to Council that shows new sidewalks the Port will build, from Galena Park to Jacinto City.

GALENA PARK – The business of the city moved ahead at two City Council meetings last week. A large agenda was heard and acted on with efficiency and cooperation between the Mayor and the new Council on June 7, and then on June 9 at a special called meeting Council took action on replacing the Police Chief.

In her first term, in 2014, Mayor Moya had attempted to replace the city administrator, police chief, city attorney, and some department heads. Unsuccessful then, she achieved all of those changes in her second term, this year, with the support of a totally new Council.

At the June 9 meeting, Police Chief Jonathan Rader was demoted to Sergeant, and an interim Police Chief, Sgt. Andrew Scroggins was appointed.

Moya also announced that she had assumed the managerial duties of running the city, since the City Administrator position had been eliminated.

Improvements in the city were announced in several presentation. Stephen DonCarlos, mayor of Baytown and board member of the Port of Houston Authority, presented a plan to Council that will build new sidewalks and walkway lighting along Mercury Drive and Holland Avenue.

The Port has offered to pay most of the cost, asking for a small contribution from the city. The project will be built in phases, with one street receiving a sidewalk, and the other later. When complete, a walking/jogging/biking trail completely surrounding the Port’s property will exist, DonCarlos said.

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Local residents visit with Hillary Clinton

Linda Jamail, Nominee Hillary Clinton and Allan Jamail.

Linda Jamail, Nominee Hillary Clinton and Allan Jamail.

Recently Linda and Allan Jamail visited with Democratic Party Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton during her Houston visit.

The Jamails, both Texas Democratic Party Executive Committee members, were part of a small private gathering of Clinton supporters committed to the historical presidential candidacy of Hillary as the first female presidential candidate of a major political party in the United States.

Allan Jamail said, “I was happy to see at the event so many Republicans joining to help Hillary in her election contest with Donald Trump, the Republican’s nominee.”

Hillary pledged to raise wages for the lowest-paid jobs and strengthen equal pay protections for women. She knocked Trump who opposes the Paycheck Fairness Act over fears that it could make it easier to sue corporations over allegations of pay inequity.

“What century are they living in?” she said. “But thankfully, the American people know the truth, and the truth is when a woman is short-changed, the entire family is short-changed.”

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San Jacinto College reopens Lehr Library

The new library has 42,718-square-feet which also includes a law library and other departments, areas.

The new library has 42,718-square-feet which also includes a law library and other departments, areas.

HOUSTON — Civic leaders, community residents and San Jacinto College employees were on hand on Wednesday, June 8 for the grand reopening of the Lehr Library, located at the west entrance of the San Jacinto College North Campus on Uvalde Road.

The 42,718-square-feet facility includes a traditional library as well as a law library, a media department and the North Campus Student Success Center. The library also includes an outdoor learning area where classes or special events can be held. The open-air arena has two tiers of seating and is surrounded by attractive landscaping.

Lyn Garner, North Campus library director, welcomed guests to the ceremony and invited them to tour the facility.

“This new library is in keeping with the vision of San Jacinto College and the goal of student success,” Garner commented. “While around you, you may see the traditional trappings of a library, the Lehr library is actually a multi-purpose building that offers both traditional research in books and modern research in electronic formats, and a diverse Student Success Center that assists students with tutoring and mentoring needs. In today’s educational world, information literacy is one of the keys to success in academic achievement. A college education at its best should excite a student to be a lifelong learner. There is no better place for that to occur than at a library.”

“At San Jacinto College, our building programs have been funded through general obligation bonds which require the support and vote of our taxpayers,” commented San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer at the event. “This new building is from our 2008 bond, and I want to thank our community members and tax payers for their support because without them we would not be able to build and renovate facilities to meet the needs of our students, faculty and staff.”

The new Lehr Library building replaces the original Lehr Library, which will be demolished to make way for new construction.

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GALENA PARK: New Faces, New Attitude at City Hall

GALENA PARK CITY COUNCIL MEETING last Tuesday night. L to R, Attorney John Hightower, Councilmen Rodney Chersky and Oscar Silva Jr., Mayor Esmeralda Moya, Councilmen Eric Broussard and Barry Ponder, and City Secretary Mayra Gonzales.

GALENA PARK CITY COUNCIL MEETING last Tuesday night. L to R, Attorney John Hightower, Councilmen Rodney Chersky and Oscar Silva Jr., Mayor Esmeralda Moya, Councilmen Eric Broussard and Barry Ponder, and City Secretary Mayra Gonzales.

GALENA PARK – The new city council held its second regular meeting since taking office on May 17, and they had a full agenda.

But unlike the rancor and uncertainty that characterized last term’s governing sessions, this meeting was conducted in an orderly and efficient manner.

Important business that was conducted included amending a city ordinance to eliminate the position of City Administrator; hiring a law firm to collect unpaid back taxes; approving the replacement of all 349 street lights in the city with new, more efficient LED bulbs; opening bids to demolish old units at the wastewater treatment plant; affirming a contract with LJA Engineering for waterline rehabilitation; and elimination of the city’s Reserve Police Force.

Other business included the hiring of various positions to fill vacancies in city personnel. Commissioner Ponder raised the question of whether police position candidates had been properly interviewed, and voted “No” when the issue went to vote.

The audience participated in an orderly fashion, pointing out to Council various problems within the city that needed maintenance.

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NORTH SHORE Rotary Club distributes books to elementary students

De Zavala Elementary School students received free books from North Shore Rotary Club.

De Zavala Elementary School students received free books from North Shore Rotary Club.

When Rotarian Derrill Painter viewed the award-winning video, “Eradicating Illiteracy” he was inspired to help the students in the North Shore areas. Sheila Armstrong, a Rotarian-plus Chair of Houston Team First Book and Producer of the video, plus Jon King of Sharpstown Rotary, presented the video at a Rotary District Membership Meeting.

Immediately Derrill saw an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children in the North Shore Rotary’s service area. “Our club approved $2,500 to purchase books for service projects at Cloverleaf and Dezavala Elementary Schools. Children are our future and one of Rotary International’s areas of focus is literacy worldwide. The ability to read is the basis of all learning, so making books available to a child is the most wonderful gift that we could ever bestow upon them,” said Derrill.

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Galena Park ISD honors Teachers & Rookies of the Year

galena park teachers of the yaerOn Thursday, May 19, 2017, GPISD revealed the names of the 2017 Elementary and Secondary Teachers and Rookies of the Year at the district’s annual Service Awards Reception and Ceremony. We would like to congratulate these out- standing educators.

Elementary Teacher of the Year: Noelia E. Vargas, Woodland Acres Elementary School and Secondary Teacher of the Year; and Shane Goforth, North Shore Senior High School

Elementary Rookie Teacher of the Year: Lourdes Fernandez – Flota, Normandy Crossing Elementary School; and Secondary Rookie Teacher of the Year, Yeri Villalobos, North Shore Senior High School

Over 50 rescued from San Jac River floods

san jacinto river flooding 1

Channelview Fire Department was busy with an airboat and jet-skis helping families flee from the fast rising waters around Monmouth Drive and Riverside Inn. (Photo courtesy Richard Austin/Channelview FD)

Emergency First Responders were busy evacuating residents last weekend, as flood waters from a week of heavy rains north of Houston rose quickly in low lying areas around the San Jacinto River and the I-10 bridge.

The Channelview Fire Department reported that they rescued 35 persons, in a borrowed airboat. Highlands Fire Department responded to multiple calls, working on both sides of the river because some departments were short of rescue boats. Highlands recently upgraded their boat with a 50 HP motor, necessary in the rapid flow of water in the San Jacinto River.

Highlands FD worked on rescues in Banana Bend, Highlands Shores, and even Rio Villa on the west bank. As of Tuesday, waters had crested and the calls were subsiding, chief Harvey Little reported. Other flood damages included closing part of the Houston Ship Channel on Sunday. The Lynchburg Ferry has not run for three days, and may not resume for several more. About 12 barges in the area around the I-10 bridge were floating loose, and Kirby Inland Marine worked to re-secure them.

Portions of Market Street that run to the Southwest Shipyard were washed away, and emergency repairs by the county were underway on Tuesday.

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