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North Channel Star

COMMUNITY PROFILE: Local jeweler travels 8,000 miles to purchase diamonds in Belgium

Jim Mills and his wife Linda select diamonds at Antwerp, Belgium before bringing them to Pineforest Jewelry.
Jim Mills and his wife Linda select diamonds at Antwerp, Belgium before bringing them to Pineforest Jewelry.

Diamond Jim & Linda Mills of Pineforest Jewelry in Houston recently returned from a buying trip to the Diamond Capital of the World — Antwerp, Belgium — where two-thirds of the world’s diamonds are traded. While there, Diamond Jim & Linda had the unique opportunity to buy direct from the major Antwerp cutters and pass significant savings on to customers in the Houston area. Diamond Jim & Linda louped and handpicked all the diamonds purchased in Antwerp, Belgium.

Pineforest Jewelry has direct access to the Antwerp diamond trade as the area’s exclusive Master IJO Jeweler member of the Independent Jewelers Organization (IJO), an international Buying Group and Educational Organization for retail jewelers. IJO has almost 900 members in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Australia & the U.S. Virgin Islands, and maintains buying offices in Antwerp for the use of its members.

“It is generally out of reach for a single jewelry store or small chain to buy direct in Antwerp,” said Diamond Jim. “One of the benefits of our IJO membership is that we become a direct importer of Antwerp diamonds and can save our customers the normal middleman’s fee.”

“We are excited about opening a window on the international diamond world and look forward to making some diamond dreams come true for our customers!” Linda Mills added.

Stop by Pineforest Jewelry to take a look at the most beautiful diamonds in the world at exceptional values.

ELECTIONS IN GALENA PARK, JACINTO CITY: Moya, Thibodeaux in Mayoral run-off

Jacinto City incumbents return to Council

A close race for Mayor in Galena Park was the highlight of this year’s city elections, in both Galena Park and Jacinto City. As shown in the box to the right, Esmeralda Moya led a field of four candidates with 260 votes, but that was not enough to avoid a run-off for the position with Joseph Thibodeaux. The city will decide at their council meeting on May 20th when the run-off will be held, and where voting will take place.

In other races, incumbent Councilman Danny Simms was returned to office, and newcomers Lois Killough, and Mericela Serna won seats at the GP council table. Position #4 had 3 candidates, none of which had a majority, so that will result in a run-off between the top two candidates, Juan Flores, Jr. and Martha Flores. It was notable that Killough garnered the most votes of any candidate by far, with 394 cast in her favor.

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Kinder Morgan’s new plant a “Game Changer”

GALENA PARK TO RECEIVE $1.4 MILLION IN TAX REVENUE ANNUALLY, NEW JOBS 

GALENA PARK – At the May meeting of the CIP, or Community-Industry Partnership, attendees learned of a huge new plant being constructed at the east edge of Galena Park, by Kinder Morgan, known as a Condensate Processing Facility.

Plant Manager Derrick Bockius told the details of the plant, and showed slides of the site and the equipment.

He said that the new “Splitter” would cost $370 million to build, and generate hundreds of temporary construction jobs and 23 full time positions. This is in addition to the 400+ employees that now work for Kinder-Morgan in the Galena Park area. Given industry standards, the community can expect another 150 jobs to be created in support of this plant by other businesses.

Tax revenue paid by Kinder-Morgan for this plant will have an enormous impact on local government. Bockius said that they estimate property tax revenue to the City of Galena Park at $1.4 million annually, and $2 million to the school district. Another $900,000 would be paid to Harris County.

Kinder-Morgan currently has several large terminal operations in Galena Park or the immediate area. A pipeline is being built that will bring more crude to the area for processing.

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North Shore HS to host first TEDx event

North Shore Senior High School is proud to host their first ever TEDxYouth@NSSH event on Tuesday May 20, 2014 from 8:00 am – 2:30 pm in the North Shore Senior High School auditorium. This inaugural event will showcase a diverse and dynamic range of speakers, young and old, coming together around the theme of problems and solutions, however big or small.

A TEDx event is a local gathering where live TED-like talks and videos previously recorded at TED conferences are shared with the community. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis. The content and design of each TEDx event is unique and developed independently, but all of them have features in common.

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Elections will result in new mayor, councils

GALENA PARK CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES: (L to R): At the recent Candidates Forum, these Council Candidates presented their qualifications: Position #1 Water & Sewer: Joe DeLaTorre; Position #2 Police & Fire: Lois Killough; Position #3 Parks & Recreation: Maricela Serna, Veronica Garcia; Position #4 Street & Bridge: Mark Groba, Juan Flores, Martha Flores. NOT SHOWN, Position #1 Danny Simms, Position #2 Zenaida Granados.
GALENA PARK CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES: (L to R): At the recent Candidates Forum, these Council Candidates presented their qualifications: Position #1 Water & Sewer: Joe DeLaTorre; Position #2 Police & Fire: Lois Killough; Position #3 Parks & Recreation: Maricela Serna, Veronica Garcia; Position #4 Street & Bridge: Mark Groba, Juan Flores, Martha Flores. NOT SHOWN, Position #1 Danny Simms, Position #2 Zenaida Granados.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Information on GP Mayoral candidates appeared last week in the North Channel STAR.

Election day for Galena Park and Jacinto City will be this Saturday, May 10. Locations to vote are detailed later in this article.

Jacinto City will elect three city council members, with newcomers challenging incumbents in all three seats. These are: Position #1 Parks & Recreation, incumbent Jimmy Rivas faces Diego Lopez; Position #2 Finance & City Hall incumbent Gregg Robinson faces challenger LaGloria Sephus; and Position #3 Police & Fire incumbent Allen Lee faces Raymond Morlock. Voting takes place at the Town Center from 7 am to 7 pm.

In Galena Park, the mayor’s seat and all the council positions are to be elected. To help the voters make a decision, the North Channel STAR and the GP-JC Rotary Club held a Candidates’ Forum last Friday night, April 25th.

Candidates were given an opportunity to present their qualifications and their ideas for their office, and then answer questions from a panel and the public. About 100 people were in the audience for this event, held at Baggett Community Center.

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Congressman Green pushes Legislation for LNG exports

Congressman Gene Green
Congressman Gene Green

There are fifteen proposed LNG export facilities awaiting permits from the Department of Energy. Under an amendment to the bill proposed by Congressman Gene Green, the Energy Department would have to approve or deny a permit within ninety days of the close of the public comment period.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has passed a bill to speed up the permitting process for facilities to export liquefied natural gas, or LNG.

The committee passed the bill on a vote of 33-18, with bipartisan support. The measure now moves to the floor of the House for a vote of the full chamber.

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“Super Heroes” join forces to defeat cancer at North Channel Relay for Life

100-year-old Lavoice Smallwood, center, along with her family prepares to lead cancer survivors in the Survivor's Lap. Smallwood was the honored guest at North Channel Area’s Relay for Life May 2.
100-year-old Lavoice Smallwood, center, along with her family prepares to lead cancer survivors in the Survivor’s Lap. Smallwood was the honored guest at North Channel Area’s Relay for Life May 2.

It was a night for celebration, reflection and fun as hundreds of community members joined forces to “finish the fight” against cancer during the North Channel Area Relay for Life on May 2 at the North Shore Ninth Grade Campus track.

The theme of this year’s event was “Super Heroes: Finishing the Fight Against Cancer.” Many of the teams, sponsors and steering committee members wore super hero shirts or their favorite super hero costume as they got into the spirit of the celebration.

“This event was all about celebrating our survivors, remembering those who lost the battle and to fight back through raising funds to provide important cancer research and treatment to bring an end to this terrible disease,” said Darcy Blackstock, event chair for the North Channel Area Relay for Life.

Preliminary totals showed that the North Channel event raised more than $95,000. However, funds will continue to be raised until the end of the Relay calendar year on Aug. 31.

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Dedication remembers first Jacinto City woman mayor Nuñez

Jacinto City’s current mayor, Ana Diaz, hosted and spoke in memory of Rachel Nuñez, as did the city council persons behind her at the ceremony.
Jacinto City’s current mayor, Ana Diaz, hosted and spoke in memory of Rachel Nuñez, as did the city council persons behind her at the ceremony.

JACINTO CITY – Known for her good works for the people of her community, and an iconic campaign to save the Santa on a Fire Truck program, friends, family and city colleagues gathered last Friday at City Hall to unveil a memorial plaque in her honor.

Rachel Nuñez died on Jan. 4, 2013 after serving the city as its first Hispanic councilwoman since 2000, and its first woman mayor since 2011. She succumbed after a long battle with cancer.

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Candidates Forum presents information to Galena Park voters for May 10 election

L to R, Esmeralda Moya, Robert Clowers, Joseph Thibodeaux, and Cruz Hinojosa presented their ideas, qualifications, and experience record to the audience for evaluation and consideration at the Candidates Forum last Friday night at Baggett Center.
L to R, Esmeralda Moya, Robert Clowers, Joseph Thibodeaux, and Cruz Hinojosa presented their ideas, qualifications, and experience record to the audience for evaluation and consideration at the Candidates Forum last Friday night at Baggett Center.

GALENA PARK – Last Friday evening, April 25, candidates for the upcoming election of a Mayor and Council members in Galena Park participated in a Candidates Forum at Baggett Center.

The Forum was hosted by this newspaper, the North Channel Star, and the Rotary Club of Galena Park-Jacinto City.

Four candidates for Mayor were present: Esmeralda Moya, Robert Clowers, Joseph Thibodeaux, and Cruz Honojosa.

There are nine candidates for city council’s four positions, and most of the candidates were present. That included Position #1 Water & Sewer: Joe DeLaTorre, Position #2 Police & Fire: Lois Killough, Position #3 Parks & Recreation: Maricela Serna and Veronica Garcia, and Position #4 Street & Bridge: Mark Groba, Juan Flores, and Martha Flores. Due to prior commitments, Danny Simms for Position #1 and Zenaida Granado for Position #2 did not attend.

CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES: (L to R): Position #1 Water & Sewer: Joe DeLaTorre; Position #2 Police & Fire: Lois Killough; Position #3 Parks & Recreation: Maricela Serna, Veronica Garcia; Position #4 Street & Bridge: Mark Groba, Juan Flores, Martha Flores.
CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES: (L to R): Position #1 Water & Sewer: Joe DeLaTorre; Position #2 Police & Fire: Lois Killough; Position #3 Parks & Recreation: Maricela Serna, Veronica Garcia; Position #4 Street & Bridge: Mark Groba, Juan Flores, Martha Flores.

The format of the evening was an open 5 minute presentation by the candidates, followed by questions from a panel, and the audience.

The panel consisted of Rotary President Ernesto Parades, Journalist Bob Bartel of the North Shore News website, and publisher Gilbert Hoffman of the North Channel Star newspaper.

First, candidates were asked to tell of themselves, and their qualifications. Briefly, these were the responses:

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Deputies capture two involved in robbery rampage

channelview robbery suspectsHarris County Sheriff’s Office deputies have arrested two of three aggravated robbery suspects who led them on a chase that culminated in a deputy involved shooting last, Wednesday morning, April 23, 2014, in east Harris County.

Deputies charged Jeffrey Britten, 20, and Javon Price, 19, with aggravated robbery, evading arrest and aggravated assault on a peace officer.

The trio attempted to rob the Texaco gas station at 15600 East Freeway around 12:15 am. The store manager had locked the doors as two of the suspects wearing bandannas over their faces tried to enter.

They fled the scene in a black Saturn after not being able to gain entry.

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