Galena Park, TX. – Friday, June 15, 2018 — Mayor Esmeralda Moya and Police Commissioner Rodney Chersky presented 26 year retired Police Captain Ken Ponder a gold retirement badge and a proclamation signed by the mayor commending him for his honorable service to the city.
Chersky said before his and Moya’s time in office, the city failed to present retiring Captain Ken Ponder and Detective Tim D’Antonio their retirement badges.
“When I learned of it, I made Mayor Moya aware of it too. Mayor Moya adamantly agreed with me and told me to make sure this happened and that it happened soon! A retirement badge is something a police officer cherishes. This is a symbol from the department in which they’ve served and a keepsake for their own memories in their retirement years. (more…)
Galena Park, TX. — June 12, 2018 — The City of Galena Park has hired their 3rd Chief of Police in two years. Hiring a 30 year Galena Park police veteran, Sergeant James Michael Knox was sworn in Friday, June 8th.
After serving only 4 months, retired 30 year Houston Police Officer Richard “Rick” Gonzales was asked to resign. Gonzales said, “In February I got a call from former Sheriff Adrian Garcia who asked me for my resume. When I asked him what for, he replied, ‘The mayor of Galena Park is looking for a Police Chief and I need your resume immediately.’ Mayor Esmeralda Moya called me on February 22, 2018 and asked me to come to city hall the next day so she could swear me in as Interim Chief.
“I wasted no time meeting citizens, school administrators, heads of different departments, and business owners. The mayor said she was receiving good responses from the citizens regarding my presence in the community, and asked me to be the Chief as long as she was Mayor,” Gonzales said.
“I was under the impression I was to reduce crime and enhance the quality of life in the neighborhoods, I was doing that until the Mayor said for me to stop. I found the community tremendously divided, and my addressing issues of the community are not what the Mayor seems to want,” Gonzales said. Gonzales posted his resignation letter on his Facebook page.
Mayor Moya when asked about Gonzales’ short 4 month stint as chief, she said, “I was getting lots of complaints from officers in the police department about the way Gonzales was supervising and other issues we heard were going on. If true, this wasn’t what we wanted. I had to make a change for the betterment of the department and the city. I was going to ask him to resign because I didn’t want to fire him, and I think it’s best he resigned. I wish it hadn’t come to this but it did and we must learn from it and move on.”
New Interim Chief James Michael Knox is 57 years old. This will be his third time to serve as Interim Chief, having previously served as Interim Chief under Mayors James Havard and Bobby Barrett.
Galena Park, TX. – On Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 6:00 PM, Mayor Esmeralda Moya called the Galena Park Commission meeting to order. After a prayer and pledge to the flag the Commissioners unanimously approved the reading of the Minutes of the April 17th and May 1st meetings and the Accounts Payable through May 15th.
On a unanimous vote of approval the Commission approved Resolution R052018 accepting the results of the May 5th General Election.
Re-elected for a new two year term is, Mayor Esmeralda Moya, Commissioners Rodney Chersky and Barry Ponder. Newly elected Commissioners to begin their first term to serve are Zenaida Granados and Veronica Garcia.
Jamal Humphries, a candidate who lost in his race against Rodney Chersky, made a public comment. Humphries said, “I’m not crying about the results of the election nor are these sour grapes but, I want to point out the fact there were four voters who voted in the election that wasn’t on the Harris County’s approved voters list. I don’t know how this could have happened, but I’m concerned about it and will be monitoring future elections for irregularities”.
There was a standing room only attendance so the Mayor adjourned the meeting and invited everyone to come out front of city hall to witness the swearing-in and oath of office to the Commission by Justice of the Peace George Risner.
After the swearing-in ceremony Mayor Moya said, “On this day, we gather because we have chosen progress over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.”
“The City of Galena Park is a community where citizens work hand in hand. We the people of Galena Park are the keepers of this legacy. We the people of Galena Park have the responsibility to protect it and to demand a greater effort, greater cooperation and understanding from each other. We must inherit these values to our children and the children of our children who will continue with the work we have started today.”
Galena Park, TX. – On Tuesday, May 15th, 2018, the Galena Park/Jacinto City Rotary Club recognized Law Officers of the Year from police departments of Galena Park, Jacinto City and the Precinct 2 Constable’s Office.
Galena Park Interim Police Chief Rick Gonzales, since taking office in February, chose Sergeant Mike Knox, a 30 year veteran of the department, as the Officer of the Year. Gonzales said, “Sgt. Knox is my Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the department this year. Our department wouldn’t be the same without him; I quickly learned I could depend on him to take care of any assignment given.”
Jacinto City Police Chief Joe Ayala named Patrolman Ali Kamali as his officer of the year, calling him a true public servant. “His recognition comes due to his outstanding service to the community, he has a big heart and makes it a habit to check on the concerns of our elderly and at times he goes out of his way taking expenses out of his own pocket to make it better for someone in need,” Ayala said.
At the Rotary District 5890 (Houston) Conference held in San Antonio last Saturday, April 28, 2018, one of the participants made a personal sacrifice to raise a large sum of money for Rotary’s major project, Polio Plus.
The conference was called On the River, A Fiesta Of Service. During the Governors Banquet, Galena Park/Jacinto City Rotarian Maria Rodriguez took the initiative of “Service above Self” and asked one of the members if he would donate $10,000 to help rededicate the fight against Polio. If so, she would shave her hair. He took the challenge and so did others present and within 30 minutes she raised $130,000.00 for the Polio Plus Foundation.
Galena Park, TX. – April 17, 2018 — Hundreds of Galena Park High School (GPHS) Alumni came to celebrate their Alma Mater’s 90th anniversary and to honor the tradition of, “Once a Yellow Jacket Always a Yellow Jacket.”
Allan Jamail, a North Channel Star writer and alumnus, attended the event and said, “The event couldn’t have been better. Those in attendance spoke of their memories, experiences and the happiness felt in returning to their school.”
Everyone was provided a program with the school’s history and enjoyed music from the band, choir, and performances by the Jacketeers and Cheerleaders. Refreshments were prepared and given out by the culinary class.
Previous Yearbooks were on display and photos with Mr. Jack the school’s mascot were taken.
State Representative Ana Hernandez presented Tony Gardea, the school’s principal with a resolution.
Galena Park, TX. – Tuesday, April 24, 2018 — After months of refurbishing, the Galena Park/Harris County Branch Library located at 1500 Keene Street is re-opened.
Mayor Moya said, “Today is an example of progress, and this shows the city has the ability to create good relations with other governmental entities to benefit the citizens. It’s all about the citizens.”
Garrette Smith, Deputy Director Harris County Public Library said, “Harris County Library is excited in re-opening the Galena Park Branch to provide meaningful services and programs to the community.”
To help celebrate, GPISD’s MacArthur and Galena Park Elementary Honor Choir’s performed with refreshments served afterwards.
Jacinto City, TX. – April 17, 2018 — The Galena Park/Jacinto City Rotary Club held their annual cake auction, setting a fund-raising record.
According to Maria Rodriquez, Director and 2018 Chairperson, the auction raised nearly $10,000 to benefit students with scholarships. Amir Khan, CEO of Ashland Hospitality, Inc., made the highest bid of the event, of $500 for a German Chocolate cake baked by Brandon Ceniceros with the GPHS Culinary Class.
Rodriquez, the club’s Past-President, said, “We doubled the money collected from the past years.” She baked and donated 9 of the 43 cakes auctioned, and serves as the Rotary District 5890 official photographer.
GALENA PARK – Unbeknownst to most Harris County residents, representatives from cities and county governments meet monthly with industries to plan for an emergency disaster event on how to better protect the citizenry.
The Galena Park-Jacinto City Community-Industry Partnership (CIP) met with Diane Sheridan CIP facilitator and heard reports on local plant conditions and how the plants would collectively respond to an emergency. The attendees learned the industry and community capacity for managing major industrial fires, explosions and toxic releases, and then toured and learned how the emergency equipment can be used.
Allan Jamail, writer for the North Channel Star and former Emergency Management Coordinator (EMC) of Jacinto City, said he’s proud of the improvements made to protect the communities since he served in the 1980’s. “Today with the advance technology of emergency equipment and the coordination of governments and industry planning it will mitigate or lessen the severity of the impact on communities should a disaster occur in Harris County,” Jamail said.
The East Harris County Manufacturers Association (EHCMA) announced the release of a new CAER Online member alert notification system. This new system will provide a simpler, more intuitive website for EHCMA member companies to post informational and alert messages to the membership and general public. Community members can visit this website to view posted messages online from EHCMA member and nonmember facilities or local offices of emergency management.
GALENA PARK — Monday April 2, 2018, the Galena Park police dispatcher received a 9-1-1 call at 10 pm of a shooting in the 1500 block of 3rd Street.
According to Detective Jessica Bolanos, when the police arrived they discovered inside a home two shooting victims. Detective Bolanos said a 42 year old male identified as John Meyers had been shot multiple times and was dead at the scene. Another male victim shot multiple times was identified as Justin Boon, age 27. He was taken to Ben Taub Hospital and is listed in critical condition. The victims are father-in-law and son-in-law related.
The Harris County Sheriff Department’s crime scene investigation unit arrived at the scene and gathered evidence.
Sheriff’s Department Investigators will pursue the case seeking the murderer. At this time, a motive and an ID are not known. Police Chief Rick Gonzales and Detective Jessica Bolanos are asking for anyone with information to call them at 713675-3471.
Galena Park Mayor Esmeralda Moya (3rd from the right, bottom row) with Galena Park seniors, State Representative Ana Hernandez (bottom right). Moya sponsored the senior’s luncheon this past Friday (March 16th). Seniors enjoyed catfish, hushpuppies, fries, coleslaw and chocolate cake. Mayor Moya said she was excited to see so many familiar faces, she recognized them for their valuable roles they’ve given the community. “Our seniors are the wisdom that we need at all moments. They’re also true leaders in the community, Moya said.” (Photo by Allan Jamail)