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Legislators split on attending Inauguration

G. Green, K. Brady go; S. J. Lee, A. Green say “no”

WASHINGTON – Last Friday, Jan. 20 the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump, was sworn into office in a ceremony at noon at the U.S. Capital.

Trump’s campaign, and his rhetoric since the election, have drawn criticism which continued into the inauguration itself.

Sixty Congressmen, all Democrats, declined to attend the ceremony, which is a traditional event they usually don’t miss. Most cited disagreement with Trump’s statements, or legislative agenda for his term, and by not attending they expressed their opposition. In addition, the day of the swearing in there were violent demonstrations through the city, and the next day, Saturday, massive crowds estimated at one-half million persons joined a demonstration termed the “Women’s March” to show Trump they disagreed with his statements on women’s rights, healthcare, immigration, reproductive rights, and more. This crowd of women, with some men, was estimated to exceed the crowd at the inauguration by twice the number.

Local legislators were split on their decision to attend the swearing in ceremonies, or not to attend. These included Gene Green, Kevin Brady, Ted Poe, and Brian Babin choosing to be at the ceremony, and Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green choosing not to go. Brady, Poe, and Babin are Republicans, the others are Democrats.

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Mayor Turner SWATS down flooding with new strike team

In a move that represents a major shift in the City’s approach to improving drainage and mitigating flooding, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced formation of the Storm Water Action Team. The SWAT will work proactively to reduce drainage problems that are not directly attributed to overflow from the bayous that are under the control of the Harris County Flood Control District. Projects have been selected based on 311 calls and other data regarding frequency of flooding. The goal is to expand maintenance capabilities and improve the movement of water from day-today storm events through rehabilitation and upgrade of existing drainage infrastructure.

“No longer will we be reactive,” said Mayor Turner. “This approach will allow us to anticipate when and where improvements are needed and then take care of them before we have a problem. Last year, we focused on repairing potholes and streets. In 2017, the emphasis will be on flooding and drainage. This is the next big step in improving Houston’s infrastructure. There will be more announcements to come about additional work in this area later in the year.”

Approximately 100 deferred maintenance projects spread throughout the city have been initially identified for inclusion in the SWAT program. City Council has approved an initial round of funding of $10 million so that work can begin on 22 of these projects, two in each council district. The work encompasses everything from replacing sewer inlets and grates to regrading ditches and resizing culverts to minor erosion repairs and regular mowing. A map of the locations of the first 22 projects and a description of the work planned is available at SWAT Projects.

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Postage Rates increased January 22

First increase in 3 years for First-Class

WASHINGTON — The United States Postal Service has notified the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) of price changes for Mailing Services products to take effect on January 22, 2017, following the end of the holiday mailing season. The new prices include a two cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp, returning the price to 49 cents, the price of a Forever stamp be- fore the Postal Service was forced to reduce prices by the PRC as part of the exigent surcharge removal.

The last time stamp prices increased was in January 2014. This price change filing does not include any price change for Postcards, for letters being mailed to international destinations or for additional ounces for letters.

The First-Class Mail prices for these products are:

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Democrats rally to save Obamacare

A unified group of Democrat officials spoke out in favor of saving the current Healthcare law. Included were Pct. 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Congressman Al Green, State Rep. Armando Walle, Congressman Gene Green, and State Sen. Sylvia Garcia. The conference was held at the Greater Jerusalem Baptist Church on Jensen, in memory of Martin Luther King Day.

Health Fair, Press Conference by representatives

HARRIS COUNTY – Federal, state and local Democratic office holders held a joint news conference, and health fair, on Sunday at the Greater Jerusalem Baptist Church on Jensen Drive.

The purpose of the meeting was to call attention to the possibility that the Republican led Congress will change or eliminate the current ACA healthcare program, also known as Obama Care.

The meeting was sponsored by Congressmen Gene Green, and Al Green. Gene Green reminded the audience that the public can still sign up for ACA, the Affordable Care Act, until January 31. Commenting on the Republican attempt to replace the ACA act, he said “Mend it-Don’t End it.”

In some fiery rhetoric, Al Green said that if “TrumpCare” replaces “ObamaCare” some 20 to 30 million people will lose health care. The local Harris Health department will also lose money. He commented that he and Gene Green had worked together on this issue since 2005, and he characterized Gene as “the Friend of the Working People.”

Sylvia Garcia said that now in Texas 1 million people rely on ACA, and the state should expand it to include Medicaid for an additional 1.2 to 1.3 million who do not now have healthcare. She derided the Republican plan as “TrumpNoCare.”

Walle said that as a member of the budget committee in the state legislature, he is working to keep the ACA program and expand Medicaid. He angrily denounced what he termed failed leadership at the state level.

He characterized the need for the ACA act as a matter of Life and Death, and the public need the vital health coverage that the state is withholding.

He reminded the audience that the main beneficiary of Medicaid is the elderly and children.

Commissioner Rodney Ellis, recently elected to his position in Harris County Precinct 1, said that the ACA act is the most important issue facing the county, because healthcare is the largest item in the budget, with the justice system following second. However, he noted that much expense related the administering the justice system, and jail, is related to healthcare costs.

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LyondellBasell donates $100,000 for specialized training for six Area Fire Departments

GRANT RECIPIENTS: (L-R) Assistant City Manager for Mont Belvieu Nathan Watkins; TEEX Fire Chief Robert Moore; Houston Fire Dept. Dist. Chief Troy Lilley; Houston Fire Dept. HazMat Chief Terry Colburn; Mont Belvieu Mayor Nick Dixon; LyondellBasell CEO Bob Patel, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner; Mont Belvieu Fire Chief Kenny Baumbach; Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena; Pasadena Fire Chief Lanny Armstrong; Channelview Assist. Fire Chief Charles Villegas; Sheldon Community Fire and Rescue Chief Sidney Webb; LyondellBasell Manager of Emergency Services Peter Greco

HOUSTON, Jan. 13, 2017 – LyondellBasell (NYSE: LYB), one of the world’s largest plastics, chemical and refining companies, announced a donation of $100,000 to fund specialized emergency training for six Houston-area fire departments that serve key industrial corridors.

The donation will underwrite hazardous materials (HazMat) training scholarships for fire departments in Houston, Channelview, Pasadena, La Porte, Sheldon and Mont Belvieu. Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), an internationally recognized leader in emergency response training and firefighting, will administer the training to the fire departments.

“We recognize the challenges fire departments in Houston and smaller outlying communities face in obtaining this unique type of training. We believe in being a responsible, good neighbor where we operate and are pleased we can help in saving lives and protecting our communities,” said Bob Patel, LyondellBasell CEO and chairman of the management board. “We are honored to play a small role in ensuring that the brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day are even better prepared to safely do their jobs.”

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Houston Rodeo welcomes Eleven newcomers to the rotating stage in 2017

HOUSTON — More than half of the star-studded entertainer lineup scheduled to perform at RODEOHOUSTON will take the rotating stage for the first time in 2017.

“With a number of RODEOHOUSTON veterans and entertainers who are new to the rotating stage, the March entertainment schedule is set,” said Joel Cowley, president and CEO of the Houston Livestock Show and RodeoTM. “Houstonians can see a diverse offering of incredibly talented artists at truly affordable prices.”

Tickets went on sale Saturday, Jan. 14 through AXS Ticketing via rodeohouston.com.

STAR ENTERTAINMENT

A mix of soulful blues, pop/dance music and traditional country tunes will grace NRG Stadium March 7 – 26 as the 21 entertainers set to perform at RODEOHOUSTON represent diverse musical genres.

The 2017 entertainment lineup is one of the most awarded in RODEOHOUSTON history, with a collective 209 music industry accolades, three hall of fame inductees, and three Grand Ole Opry members.

The complete lineup:

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Jacinto City plans improvements to Fire Station

Jacinto City is planning to upgrade their current fire station, with a renovation of the existing building and adding space for personnel and equipment.

In November, City Council approved a contract with the architectural firm Hoffman-Liu Design Associates and TDCK Architects, Inc., to draw plans for the work.

According to the contract, an addition to the north side of the existing building will be built. It will be two stories, approximately 32 x 60 feet for a total of 3840 square feet of new space.

The architect has entered into preliminary discussions with the city and the fire department, to determine details of their needs.

The new addition will include a Day Room/Training Room, 2 offices for captains, a chief ’s office, EMS supply storage, firemen’s gear storage, kitchen, an interview or isolation room, and toilets and stairs on the first floor. An enclosed outdoor patio will be off the day room.

On the second floor, there will be bunk rooms for 6 firemen, and lockers, laundry, showers and toilets. Facilities will be provided for both men and women fire personnel.

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Pct. 2 Commissioner Morman begins North Shore Park Trail improvements

HOUSTON, Texas – Commissioner Jack Morman will begin the reconstruction of the North Shore Park trail on Monday, January 9th. “We know this trail is heavily-used, so our teams are doing all they can to ensure this project is complete by early April,” said Commissioner Morman.

The $250,000 project includes replacing the three-quarter-mile asphalt trail with concrete and widening it from four feet to six feet. Portions of the trail and all surrounding amenities will remain open for the duration of construction.

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2016 Year in Review

From the compiled files of the North Channel Star

JANUARY

— Sylvester Turner sworn in as new Houston Mayor

— Sheldon ISD named King Davis as new Superintendent

— El Franco Lee, Harris County Pct. 1 dies

— Dog Park opened in Galena Park

— New Gateway Monument planned for Galena Park

FEBRUARY

— North Channel Chamber hosts annual Gala

— North Shore Mustangs honored as State Champions Division I – 6A

— San Jacinto River Coalition explored ways to spend $10 million settlement funds

— Galena Park FFA raises over $65,000 at livestock auction

— San Jacinto College hosts groundbreaking of new Center for Industrial Technology

MARCH

— Sheldon ISD calls for $285 Million bond election

— Candidates file for Galena Park Municipal election

— Lawsuit filed to contest Constable election

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Eagleton swears in Precinct 3 deputies

Sherman Eagleton swears in deputies including Crosby’s Ricky Larkin to uphold the laws of Texas.

CROSBY – Sherman Eagleton took the oath of office on Jan. 1 for Constable of Precinct 3 at Crosby High School, he swore in a new staff that day.

“I want to thank the voters for electing me Precinct 3 Constable. Even though the door may say Sherman Eagleton Precinct 3 Constable, I want them to know that the office is theirs and I will run it as a trust from them to be run for them for the next four years. I am looking forward to working for them.” said Eagleton afterwards.

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