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Posts published in November 2017

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s Annual Turkey Gift to Jacinto City Seniors

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Heritage Hall Seniors. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail

Jacinto City, TX. – Monday, November 20, 2017 – Jacinto City’s Heritage Hall Seniors received frozen turkeys ready to bake for their Thanksgiving dinner from Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

Annually Congresswoman Lee of the 18th Congressional District gives thousands of turkeys to senior groups during the Thanksgiving season. Eighty seniors were on hand to get their turkey, the homebound seniors had theirs delivered.

One senior said, “because of the kindness of this gift I can make many good meals from it.”

Assisting in the event were volunteers of the Congresswoman and the Keep Jacinto City Clean Committee.

North Shore Mustangs advance to Regional Playoff Game

Sophomore Running Back, Zachary Evans

Galena Park ISD would like to congratulate the North Shore Mustang football team for their victory over Clear Springs this past weekend! The Mustangs will play Lamar High School in the 6A Regional Playoff Game at Rice Stadium on Friday, December 1 at 7 p.m. Pre-sale tickets will be available at the GPISD Athletic Office until Friday, December 1 at 3 p.m. Pre-sale tickets will be $5 for students and $7 for adults. Good luck, Mustangs!

County files lawsuit against Arkema for emissions release

FLECKS OF WHITE DEBRIS IN THE AIR FROM THE SEPT. 2 EXPLOSION INDICATES SUBSTANCES BLOWN INTO THE AIR AFTER THE TRAILERS WERE IGNITED FOR A CONTROL EXPLOSION.

HARRIS COUNTY – County Attorney Vince Ryan has filed a lawsuit against Arkema Inc. Ryan indicated that the county would “seek the highest penalties possible for what happened and hopefully work with them to make sure that it never happens again.”

Shortly after Hurricane Harvey, the organic peroxides stored at the Arkema plant were going to explode after the plant was flooded, lost power, generators flooded, and backup generators were little more elevated than the regular generators, so they were knocked out by water, too.

In an effort to mitigate the fallout from the impending explosions, Arkema employees informed authorities of the situation. The National Guard cleared everyone in a 1.5-mile radius from the area. From there, first responders remained on the perimeter of the plant, and when the organic peroxide did begin to explode, the first responders got sick, with some collapsing in the road from exposure to invisible fumes.

Within a week of the incident, a couple dozen of first responders filed a lawsuit in Harris County District Court, and others living nearby joined.

Harris County Commissioners Court approved plans to file a lawsuit in civil court against Arkema for creating a public nuisance and keeping first responders that were needed elsewhere occupied dealing with the Crosby plant.

For local residents, there was nowhere to find out what potentially the air quality would be from the explosions. Arkema had indicated to state authorities that 11 contaminants had been released. Later it was learned that isobutylene was about 40 yards from six of the trailers that were designated to blowup creating a potentially catastrophic situation that locals were not told about.

Authorities thought that a contingency plan other than calling the local fire department seems reasonable for a plant operating inside the flood plan that had changed since 2007.

Arkema Inc. officials stated, “Many of your conclusions fail to recognize that Hurricane Harvey was unlike any rain event Houston has ever experienced.”

The county’s suit will contend it was common knowledge for a week or more before the storm hit that Harris County could get as much as 50 inches of rain from Harvey.

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Jacinto City’s new swimming pool underway for 2018 opening

CONSTRUCTION PROGRESSES ON THE NEW JACINTO CITY PUBLIC SWIMMING POOL.
(PHOTO BY ALLAN JAMAIL)

By Allan Jamail

Jacinto City, TX. – Monday, November 20, 2017 – Jacinto City residents will be enjoying a new pool when the 2018 swim season begins, after not having a swimming pool for the last two summers because the old pool became unusable. The old pool floated up out of the ground severely damaging the pool structure and adjoining concrete apron surrounding the pool along with the water lines.

City Manager Lon Squyres after an extensive cost analysis to repair the damaged pool determined in the long term interest of the city it would be best to demolished the old pool and replace it with a new modern pool.

Squyres said, “The pool will be ready to open in the early spring and while we have not set the weekly schedule yet we would like to have it open prior to Memorial Day weekend.”

The new pool will have an irregular shape and is slightly larger than the old pool. The pools deepest part will be 5 feet and it’ll contain 111,255 gallons along with a splash pad. Parents will have shaded seating areas when watching their children.

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WALLE, GARCIA SEEK GREEN’S SEAT

Congressman Gene Green announces retirement

NORTHEAST – Several U. S. Congressmen have announced their retirement from Congress at the end of their terms, in December 2018, including local Representatives Gene Green and Ted Poe. As a result, others have hastened to announce to voters that they will run for these seats. For Texas District 29, held by Green, State Senator Sylvia Garcia, and State Representative Armando Walle have said they will campaign for this position. They will compete for votes in the Democratic primary election in March 2018.

Both Walle and Garcia have districts and constituents that overlay Green’s District 29, so voters will be very familiar with the candidates.

In announcing his retirement, Congressman Green released the following statement on his decision to not seek reelection:

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Galena Park ISD host annual Veterans Day Luncheon

As part of a week dedicated to honoring those who have served or are serving our nation, Galena Park ISD hosted its annual Veterans Day Luncheon on November 10. More than 150 veterans and their family members attended and were honored by the North Shore Senior High School’s choir performance which included the theme song from each military branch and finished with the Star Spangled Banner.

GPISD would like to thank all of the veterans and family members who attended the Veterans Day Luncheon. Pictured is Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Angi Williams, with Marine Corps veterans.

Voters keep Galena Park dry

County-wide turnout low at 6.7%, but high in GP with 762 votes

GALENA PARK – Voters went to the polls in large numbers in this city, due to acute interest in only one issue, whether alcohol sales would be allowed in the city. Proponents of the measure said that it would bring new business to the city and generate income. Opponents said that the history of alcohol sales in Galena Park showed it attracted trouble from the wrong crowd, and would change the nature of the peaceful city.

Campaigning continued for weeks through the city, and citizens voiced their opinions at Council meetings and in social media. Signs against the issue could be seen throughout.

The final unofficial vote count, according to City Secretary Mayra Gonzalez, was 277 For votes, and 482 Against votes, defeating the Proposition. Early voting in person and by mail exceeded election day. 448 voted early, and 314 voted on election day, a total of 762 votes.

The other ballot was for state constitutional amendments. This year the legislature worked tirelessly to produce seven propositions. Some in detail seemed silly, others are a half step towards doing the right thing.

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EHRMC Hospital closed permanently

East Houston Regional Medical Center has announced its permanently closing.

HOUSTON – East Houston Regional Medical Center (EHRMC) has decided to permanently close its facility on I-10 near Uvalde, due to repeated damage from flooding of Greens Bayou. On November 3, 2017 the following statement was issued by Troy Villarreal, president of HCA Healthcare Gulf Coast Division:

“HCA Healthcare Gulf Coast Division is announcing today that East Houston Regional Medical Center, a campus of Bayshore Medical Center, will not reopen due to its history of flooding as well as recent extensive damage from Hurricane Harvey.

The hospital has been closed since all patients and staff were moved to safety two days before Harvey made landfall. Although it is equipped with flood gates designed to withstand three feet of water, East Houston Regional Medical Center took nearly six feet of water during the storm.

The hospital is located in a low lying area, and prior to Harvey, was severely damaged by flood waters in 2001 by Tropical Storm Allison as well as by Hurricane Ike in 2008. We considered potential options to continue to treat patients at the facility; however, given this history and the likelihood of future flooding problems, we determined that the most prudent course is to close the facility. We have a long history of caring for the East Harris County community, and through nearby Bayshore Medical Center and Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, we will continue to do so.

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Waste Pits meeting reviews EPA decision

HIGHLANDS – About 100 persons joined elected officials and leading environmental activists last Monday night, at the Community Center, to get up to date information on the EPA final decision to remove the toxic waste from the San Jacinto River.

The meeting was hosted by Pct. 2 and Commissioner Jack Morman, and had a festive atmosphere with snacks and drinks served. This is the first public meeting after the EPA announced that the RPD or Record Of Decison had been signed, calling for the complete removal of the toxic material in the waste pits. Most of the attendees in the room had been in favor of that decision.

Officials that were present included County Attorneys Vince Ryan and Rock Owens, Bob Allen of the Harris County Pollution department, and Commissioner Morman and many of his staff.

Presentations on the status of the Superfund process were made by Jackie Young of THEA, Scott Jones of Galveston Bay Foundation, and Rodrigo Cantu of Lone Star Legal Aid. Also present and introduced was Nick Anderson, well-known cartoonist, who had an interest in environmental issues, and is working with THEA on several initiatives.

In his remarks, Attorney Vince Ryan expressed that EPA director Scott Pruitt’s site visit was a good sign of the seriousness of the EPA decision, and that they are committed to the ROD. He admonished the group to keep working on cleaning up the river. He said “The harder you work the more we can keep this on schedule.” To this end, Young asked everyone to send a letter to EPA asking for immediate action, which later in the meeting was a recurring theme of the questioning.

In her comments, Young pointed out that further negotiations with EPA had achieved a gain in the amount of material that would be removed, from 202,000 cubic yards to 212,000. Also, the standard of the pollution level to be achieved has been revised to allow for safer residual material.

At present, the removal process is expected to cost about $115 million, and would be paid for by the PRP, or Potential Resonsible Parties. In this case, it is McGinnes Industrial Material Corporation, now a division of Waste Management, and International Paper Company, who is the successor to Champion Paper Company, the mill that generated the waste.

It is expected that at least 17,000 truckloads of material would be removed from the site, and disposed of in an approved solid waste landfill. This work would commence in 2019, and continue for at least 18 months.

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