Press "Enter" to skip to content

North Channel Star

Galena Park Library open for most services

Galena Park Library Staff L-R: Sisi Medina, Branch Manager Librarian, Nancy Vela, Cindy Castro, Venezia Gallardo & Silvia Romo-Duarte. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

Pandemic and Burst Pipes had caused closure

By Allan Jamail

Galena Park, TX. – July 26, 2022 – All of the Harris County Public Library (HCPL) Branches were closed to the public due to the Covid-19 virus pandemic from March 2020 to May 2021. From June 2020 to May 2021, many of the HCPLs, including the Galena Park branch, offered virtual programs and curbside pickup for library materials and activities for all ages.

Ms. Sisi Medina, Galena Park’s Branch Manager, said they also continued to connect with the local schools with Crafts To Go during summer school in 2021. In addition, she said they offered some one-on-one English as a Second Language (ESL) and U. S Citizenship classes via online teaching sessions.

Galena Park’s Branch closed indefinitely due to damages caused by a broken pipe during the statewide killer freeze of February 2021. The branch went through renovation until Fall 2021 but continued to serve the public in a limited capacity. They offered online programs, and continued ESL and Citizenship classes. Local users were redirected to Jacinto City’s Library.

Medina said they held weekly Pop Up Library with their Curiosity Cruiser from May 2021 to December 2021 in the library parking lot, and hosted their two annual celebrations in the parking lot as well: Booapalooza for Halloween, and Curbside Posada for winter holiday celebrations. Finally in December 2021, they partially opened using just their lobby to members providing laptop and printer services again.

Teens and young adults using free adult computers. All ages can read on-line books or check out books for points to win many different prizes and an engraved metal Reading Medallion with lanyard. Library members can sign-up to win 4 Houston Astros tickets, for more details visit: hcpl.beanstack.org. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

They reopened to the public on January 3, 2022 with new extended hours. With a small collection of books on shelving carts, borrowed furniture, and equipment they offered some normalcy back to the community. They now have children and adult computers available for research, gaming, and school class assignments connected to printers. Medina said, “We have the largest collection of Spanish books in both fiction and non-fiction in the entire county.”

Medina said, “We’re still not fully furnished, but we’ve been able to resume in-person programs and some services. We have our full collection of books on new shelving and new computer equipment. Our Summer Reading Program events have been well attended and we look for ward to having new furniture soon. We hope to be able to resume in-person ESL and Citizenship classes in the fall 2022.”

COUNTY PROVIDES $48M FOR CHILDCARE

New program funded by American Rescue Plan funds will allocate historic $48 million dollar investment for childcare and early childhood development

HARRIS COUNTY – June 14, 2022, In a 3 to 2 vote, commissioners court approved a new program investing $48 million American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funds for childcare and early childhood development in Harris County. It is the largest known investment of ARPA dollars by any county or city in the nation for early childhood education.

“Early childhood programs have one of the strongest returns on investment of any type of public program. Those positive effects also endure throughout the child’s life, increasing their graduation rates and future earnings while reducing any possible contact with the criminal justice system,” said Judge Hidalgo. “ We have an obligation to go beyond just the minimum standard of funding roads and bridges and public safety. We also have an obligation to support our next generation of workers and innovators and leaders.”

The program will increase accessibility to high quality childcare and early childhood development by 10% in the third-largest county in the nation. Approximately 105,000 children aged 0-3 with working parents live in a quality child care desert in which there are few or no affordable options for quality child care in their area. Due to the high cost of childcare, often one parent is forced to stay home, preventing them from entering the workforce and costing families lost wages.

NS Rotary hears of East Harris County Empowerment Council

Rotary President Ken Wimberly thanks Traci Dillard for her talk on the EHCEC by presenting her with the traditional Gold Rimmed Cup for speakers.

CHANNELVIEW – At a recent luncheon meeting of the North Shore Rotary Club, Traci Dillard talked about the activities and goals of her social organization, the East Harris County Empowerment Council.

Founded in 2008 by Terence “Trey” Narcisse, of Barrett Station, the goals and mission of the Coucil are to Improve the Quality of Life. Dillard said that the Council “Connect Communities. Empower People. Transforms Lives.”

The EHCEC serves 6 areas with 5 school districts: Channelview, Crosby, Galena Park, Jacinto City, North Shore and Sheldon. The staff for this work has grown to 17 persons, Dillard said.

Some of the programs of the Council include food fairs, leadership learning, vaccinations, small business grant applications, back to school giveaways, holiday dinners for needy families, and more.

Dillard characterized East Harris County as an underserved area with great needs. There are food deserts, healthcare deserts, high poverty rate, and lower than average life expectancy. She said that the Council works in all of these areas to provide resources and opportunities.

100˚+ Heat Wave setting records

HARRIS COUNTY – For at least 18 days since the beginning of the year, Southeast Texas has experienced record setting temperatures of 100˚+. In the month of July, we are on track to set the hottest month on record, checking records all the way back to 1889. Little to no rain is forecast to alleviate this problem for the next week or more.

Authorities are advising about Heat Stroke, and other measures to deal with the excessive heat.

Heat Safety & Heat Stroke: What You Need to Know During a Heat Wave

When you live in Southeast Texas where the summers are always hot, a heat warning or advisory may not seem like a big deal. But, right now, it’s excessively hot, and it’s a good time to brush up on heat safety.

Channelview Fire Department serves, protects

HARRIS COUNTY ESD NO. 50 –
L – R: Standing: Jimmy Sumbera, Administrator; Ryan Thistle, Fire Chief; Steven Adams EMS Assist. Chief; D-Shift Staff: Andrea Brown, Chad Mikush, Jason Tharling, Jason Ramirez, Eric Mosley, Nicholas Villareal, Charles Moore, Rigo Juarez, Austin Tisdel, Cody Barron, Justin Roach, William Alvarado.
L – R: Kneeling: Miguel Maldonado, James McMahon, Luis Ibarra, Herbert Otis, Josue Posada, Julio Flores, James Harris, Alan Ramirez Members not present in photo were off duty or works another shift at time of photo (Photo by Allan Jamail)

Harris County Emergency Service District (ESD No. 50)

By Allan Jamail

Channelview Fire Department was established in 1949. From 1949 to 2012, the fire department was operated by volunteers. On January 1, 2012, Channelview Fire Department has been a fully paid, professional fire department operated as a local government agency under Harris County Emergency Service District (ESD No. 50).

All employees including administration are Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or Paramedics. The fire department operates two fire stations, one located at 16229 Market St. and the other at 1210 Dell Dale St. The fire department staffs and operates the following apparatus 24/7: A District Chief, Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Supervisor, 2 fire engines with 4 firefighters each, a ladder truck with 4 firefighters, and 4 ambulance staff with 2 paramedics each. These are staff using 4-shifts, where each shift works a 48-hour shifts and then are off for 6 days.

The fire department also cross trains the staff in different areas of expertise to ensure that under special circumstances they are able to respond adequately and quickly.

Precinct 2 installs Free Health Kiosks at 3 Courthouses

On hand for the ribbon cutting of the new Health Kiosk at Fonteno Courthouse were Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia, left, Amerigroup representatives, and Judge Joe Stephens, right.

Analyze blood pressure, weight, body mass index, and pulse rate – informs users of potential health risks

HARRIS COUNTY – Commissioner Adrian Garcia has debuted three new ACCESS2HEALTH Kiosks, at Jim Fonteno Annex (14350 Wallisville Rd. Houston, TX 77049).

Garcia was joined by representatives from Amerigroup Texas (donors of both the kiosks and free ongoing services for one year) and the American Heart Association (which is providing related health literature for users) for a ribbon cutting and unveiling of the devices.

In addition, Commissioner Garcia was the first person to have his readings taken at the kiosk.

Present at the debut were Commissioner Adrian Garcia, Judge Joe Stephens (Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3, Place 1), and Amerigroup Texas President Greg Thompson.

ACCESS2HEALTH Kiosks measure blood pressure, weight, body mass index, and pulse rate. If a user’s readings show signs of being at risk of heart disease, stroke or other risk factors, those users are given literature — or in extreme cases, instructed to visit a doctor immediately.

Two other ACCESS2HEALTH Kiosks are stationed at Raul C. Martinez Annex (1001 S/Sgt. Macario Garcia Dr., Houston, TX 77011) and John Phelps Annex (101 S. Richey St., Pasadena, TX 77506). They went online on April 1. All three ACCESS2HEALTH Kiosks have been placed in strategically important locations across Precinct 2 (North Shore, East End, & Pasadena) where incidents of diabetes and other ailments are highest and rates of health insurance coverage are lowest.

AUG. 5-7: Back 2 School Sales Tax Holiday and Backpack Distribution

Avoid paying the Texas Sales Tax (8.25%) on every purchase for school supplies, on August 5, 6, and 7 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Savings includes clothing, footwear, school supplies, and backpacks – any item priced below $100. Complete list of exempt items is at www.TexasTaxHoliday.org.

Galena Park B2S Event Aug. 5

City of Galena Park Back To School Event will be Friday, Aug. 5 from 10 am to 2 pm at Baggett Community Center. Free Backpacks, school supplies, music, health services, photo booth, carnival rides, and more.

North Shore ROTARY B2S Aug. 6

North Shore Rotary and Sheldon ISD will hold a Back-to-School Backpack and School Supply Giveaway at Sheldon Lake Elementary, 13002 Sheldon Community Drive, Houston 77044. Drive-Thru Distribution starts at 9:00am. Must have student in Car to receive Backpack and Supplies. All students welcome – Any District.

City, County join in Gun BuyBack program

HOUSTON – As part of his One Safe Houston initiative, Mayor Sylvester Turner is holding a Gun Buyback program to reduce the number of guns on our streets. The City – County Partnership will reduce the number of Unwanted Guns on our streets.

To make Houston’s homes and streets safer and free from violence, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Office and Police Chief Troy Finner announce a gun buyback program that will take place July 30. With no questions asked, residents can turn in firearms in exchange for gift cards in the amount of $50, $100, $150 and $200 – depending on the type of gun. It’s part of a coordinated effort to reduce violent crimes.

The event, in partnership with Harris County Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis, the Houston Police Department, and Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, will take place from 8 a.m. – noon on Saturday, July 30, at 3826 Wheeler Ave.

Galena Park ISD trains for School Safety

As part of day-long training, GPISD officers and volunteer students enact a drill simulating how the officers would rush to take down an active shooter in a school classroom or building. This training exercise is repeated yearly, along with other other security measures in all Galena Park schools.

Preparation to deal with an Active Shooter

By Gilbert Hoffman

GALENA PARK – In the aftermath of the terrible murders at a school in Uvalde, parents and students have been concerned about safety and security as they prepare to return to schools in August.

In the Galena Park school district, school safety is a top priority, with the district police department trained and equipped to handle emergencies such as active shooters.

In an interview with this newspaper, GPISD police chief Bryan Clements outlined the safety measures enacted through all the schools. In addition, the yearly simulation drill was broadcast live on local television station KPRC channel 2, with an interview with Cathy Hernandez, a Galena Park graduate.

Clements said that for a number of years, armed officers have been assigned to each middle and high school, and that this year the GPISD trustees have increased the number of police officers from 21 to 40, with the hiring of an additional 19 positions. This number provides an officer for each school, from K through high school.

Clements said that all the officers are put through rigorous training, and once a year have an 8- hour class session and drill regarding how to suppress an active shooter.

Garcia at White House Workforce Summit

Harris County Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia, second from right, participated in the Workforce Summit of the American Rescue Plan. The discussion and presentation was live streamed throughout the nation. Above, panel members are welcomed to the discussion by White House American Rescue Plan Coordinator Gene Sperling.

Comm. Garcia’s Employ2Empower program recognized

Harris County, TX — Wednesday, July 13, Commissioner Adrian Garcia traveled to the White House to discuss the ARPA-funded Employ2Empower countywide homeless workforce initiative, which originally began as a pilot program in Precinct 2. Commissioner Garcia joined Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, plus other officials from around the country for a series of events to discuss EMPLOY2EMPOWER.

Commissioner Garcia gave prepared remarks at 11:40 a.m. CST, and he was available for interviews (in both English and Spanish) starting at approximately 12:30 p.m. CST.

The White House Summit on the American Rescue Plan and Workforce with Vice President Harris was held on July 13 in Washington DC.

The White House Summit on the American Rescue Plan and the Workforce was headlined by Vice President Kamala Harris and hosted by the White House American Rescue Plan Implementation Team, and the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. This event featured state and local leaders across the country and highlighted model American Rescue Plan investments in workforce development across the areas of care and public health, infrastructure, and expanding the workforce.

The program included:

11 a.m. (10 a.m. CST): Opening remarks from Vice President Kamala Harris, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, Senior Advisor to the President and White House American Rescue Plan Coordinator Gene Sperling, and Senior Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Julie Rodriguez.

11:10 a.m. – 12:40 p.m. (10:10 – 11:40 a.m. CST): Roundtables and Various ARPA-Funded Programs Highlighted.

12:40 p.m. (11:40 a.m. CST): Expanding Access to the Workforce for Underserved Populations: Featuring Harris County (TX) Commissioner Adrian Garcia, Memphis (TN) Mayor Jim Strickland, Employ Milwaukee CEO Chytania Brown, and WRTP Big Step President Lindsay Blumer.

Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia discussed the Precinct 2 E2E Program, or Employ2Empower Program.

JC Arrest leads to discovery of Catalytic Converter thief

Blue portable metal saw with catalytic converter discovered in the arrest of suspect Mack Arthur Kizzee. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail

Jacinto City – On May, 2022, Jacinto City Police Sgt. J. Aguilera, while on routine traffic control, stopped a speeding violator driving a Lexus SUV. Officer Aguilera discovered the Lexus driver Mack Arthur Kizzee (see photo) did not have a driver’s license, and he also smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle.

During a standard vehicle probable cause search for marijuana, Sgt. Aguilera discovered a catalytic converter which appeared to be sawed off from some unknown vehicle, and a blue colored portable saw with a metal saw blade attached (see photo).