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Posts published in May 2017

Mold inspection tour at Galena Manor Churchill

Termite infested support columns outside the facility.

Galena Park, TX. – May 23, 2017 — After months of my writing news articles for the North Channel Star, I felt it was time for me to have a first-hand look at the community center. I felt I owed it to both the citizens and the city to take a photo tour even though I knew I’d be entering an environment which could be a health hazard. The explanations given to the citizens by the city needed to be verified or found to be over exaggerated and without merit.

I contacted Robert Collins the Galena Park City Attorney and asked if it was okay for me to take a photo tour of the center. After a few days Collins said I could contact the City Secretary Mayra Gonzales and she’d make the tour possible.

Tuesday morning May 23rd I called Gonzales and she said I could go take the tour. I went to the closed community center and was met by Commissioner Barry Ponder and Gustavo Mendez a recreation department employee.

We entered the facility and I immediately could smell a musty odor. The appearance of the inside looked like a typical remodeling job that was stopped in progress before completion.

I observed and photographed mold, termites, rotten supporting studs, dangerous electrical wiring in the breaker box, the broken emergency rear exit door to name a few things to make the place appear a very long ways from being used again.

Rotary Fish Fry a great success

THE LIVE AUCTION had many unique items, including this “Dia de Muertos” (Day of the Dead) sugar skull donated by the Rotary Club of Torreon, Mexico.

NORTH SHORE – The Rotary Club of North Shore held their 42nd Annual Catfish Fry and Crawfish Boil, and had thousands either turn out for the event, or come and pick up dinners.

The Fish Fry is a fund raiser for the club, who use the money for community projects such as the fire departments, scholarships, Pct. 2 park improvements, school awards programs, food pantry, and much more benefitting the public.

There are four major parts to the event: a limited draw raffle, to win a new Toyota truck or 19 other high value prizes; catfish and crawfish dinners; a live auction, and a silent auction.

The chairman for the event is always the president-elect, which this year is Adam Lund of Capital Bank. Last year it was Kim Gonzalez, who is now president. All 75 members of the club assist with the execution of the all-day event in some function.

Proceeds from the Fish Fry average $300,000 to $400,000 every year, most of which is available for community projects after expenses. For instance, this year the live auction raised $131,700 dollars, the dinner tickets tens of thousands, and the raffle tickets about $120,000. There is also support from corporate sponsors.

C.E. King High School Senior Parade, and Galena Park High School Senior Walk

Graduating seniors at C. E. King High School spent the better part of the day loading and unloading off of nine school buses that toured them around the other campuses throughout the district. The purpose of the Senior Parade was not only for seniors to possibly visit their elementary and/or middle schools one last time…but to also act as role models for Sheldon ISD youth.

Throughout the week of April 24, Galena Park High School took 50 graduating seniors to visit five elementary schools for their First Annual Senior Walk. GPHS started this event to motivate kids to stay in school and achieve their goals. The students from Woodland Acres Elementary, MacArthur Elementary, Jacinto City Elementary, Pyburn Elementary and Galena Park Elementary gathered in the halls with signs to cheer on the graduates as they walked in their caps and gowns.

GPISD is so proud of the graduating seniors and wish them the best of luck in their future!

Galena Park Council hears from public

PAUL WINFIELD, vice president of the Galena Manor Civic Club, makes a point while talking to the Council. “The chief of police… wants to censor the citizens of Galena Park.”

Business-like Council Meeting, and Progress made towards re-opening Galena Manor Community Center

Galena Park, TX. – May 16, 2017 at 6 PM: Mayor Esmeralda Moya called the meeting to order. After a prayer and pledges to the flags the Commissioners unanimously approved minutes for the April 18, 2017 and May 2, 2017 meetings and the Accounts Payable through May 16, 2017.

The Commissioners unanimously approved the engagement letter between Belt, Harris, Pechacek, LLP and the city for the single audit year ending September 30, 2017.

The Commissioners unanimously approved an agreement between the city and Civicplus, Inc. for the amount of $5,500 for website services.

The Commissioners unanimously approved an agreement between the city and JC’s Digital Office Equipment for a color Kyocera copier in the amount of $391.14 for 48 months. The Commissioners unanimously approved the advertising for sealed bids for Phase 2 of the water line and fire protection project.

The Commissioners unanimously approved Ordinance 2017-02 establishing the police reserve force and its passage on the first reading as provided in Article IX, Section 21 of the city charter.

The Commissioners unanimously approved Resolution RO7-2017 giving the City Secretary discretion in determining admission fees, swim class fees and hours the city’s swimming pool will be open to the public.

The Commissioners unanimously approved the amended agreement between the city and Ford Motor Credit Company for the city to enter into a lease agreement for six vehicles for the police department with a total cost of $212,143.35 with an annual payment of $57,134.23.

The Commissioners unanimously approved the memorandum of understanding between the city and Dr. Tiffany Osborn, UT Department of Emergency Medicine and Division of Emergency Medical Services for Medical Director and Medical direction.

The Commissioners unanimously approved Jahbari Raggette as a volunteer firefighter and Nicholas Meekins as a part time fire fighter.

The Commissioners unanimously approved part time summer employment of the following twenty-seven individuals: Julio Bizarro, Jr., Galilea Ibarra, Maria Espinosa, Natalia Vasquez, Mauricio Martinez, Arturo Gonzales, April Chavez, Jose L. Sanchez, Maria E. Sorto, Teresa Guzman, Vincente Cuellar, Esmeralda Martinez, Omar Humphries, Shelby Rundle, Eduardo Sanchez, Adrian Guzman, Ariel Ibarra, Trystan Puente, Rocio Chavez, Alberto Rodriguez, Cindy Flores, Zuriel Espinosa, Jr., Jeffery McCue, Marisela Martinez, Isaac Torres, Stephanie Espinosa, Aaron Rodriguez.

The public was given information as to what will be needed before the Evelyn Churchill Community Center can be reopened. The community center located in Galena Manor has been closed for nine months; citizens have been coming for months to the council meetings in large numbers requesting information about its reopening.

They’ve said the city hasn’t told them why it was closed or what are the plans to reopen it.

Legislature: “Mother’s Day Massacre” kills 120 local bills

AUSTIN – In the 140 day law passing session known as the the 85th legislative session in the Texas House, the Texas Freedom Caucus has found a way to cut back on all the arguing by stalling to kill local and consent bills.

The Legislature is running a little behind, in fact last May 11, they were still going through May 6’s calendar. Then the Freedom Caucus began to delay legislation. The single exception was that following a tearful begging by State Rep. Drew Springer, R., a bill dealing with stem cell treatment got hustled through. The representative’s wife has a spinal injury and the bill passed with seconds left that might be able to treat her ailment.

“The Mother’s Day Massacre,” pitted factions of the House Republicans as major deadlines closed in to kill other legislation.

House Bill 3476 to ensure echocardiograms for first year athletes before playing sports was dead on the floor without a trial. This was the bill that Crosby resident, Scott Stephens had sought for eight years. Since the death of his son that bill had been unanimously passed by the House Committee.

In fact most of the bills killed are fairly no issue, consented to without much fanfare, sometimes called local and consent calendar items, so they are passed easily. But they can be filibustered to death just by mumbling words at the podium or finding five signatures in opposition.

State Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R. – Irving Texas summed up the Freedom Caucus reaction, “When you give people nothing, they have nothing to lose and they’re going to fight for their constituents and if they can’t do it within the system, they’re going to do it without the system.”

COMMUNITY CLEAN UP: Jacinto City’s “Day of Good Works”

L to R: City Manager Lon Squyres, wife Glenda, daughters Piper & Scarlett, KJCCC members Miguel Pena, Erick Pena, Secretary Linda Jamail, Vice-Pres. Irasema Salinas, back ground and standing President Teresa Arzapala & Jose Pena.

Saturday, May 13, 2017 – City Manager Lon Squyres and family teamed up with volunteers of the Keep Jacinto City Clean Committee members (KJCCC) to remove weeds at the city hall annex monument. Annually the city and KJCCC select a project(s) to work on together.

Jacinto City workers, after combing the city picked up over 517 old tires.

City Manager Lon Squyres said, “In addition to our yearly tire round up day, we will also pickup tires throughout the year. It is in everybody’s interest that we remove old tires to prevent neighborhood blight and eliminate breeding places for mosquitoes.”

Citizens can place their old tires at curbside for picking up because city workers cannot enter private property. Resident’s can call Public Works at 713-453-7411 for tire pick up at their address. Anyone caught bringing tires into the city that doesn’t belong to a resident can be fined.

(Center standing L – R) Maria Espinoza & Heritage Hall Director Elizabeth Flores with seniors offering garage sale items to raise funds to support activities not funded by the city.

“New” Sheldon ISD STEM Academy begins next school year

Students from STEM academy attended a field trip that was to a GIRLS (Girls Influencing Real Lives in STEM) Conference at Olle Middle.

Beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, Sheldon ISD will be opening its first ever STEM Academy (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) at each of their middle schools.

What is STEM? STEM education is an approach to teaching and learning that integrates the content and skills of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Both C. E. King Middle School and Null Middle School will host a cohort group of (60) 7th graders each to start the academy. Students and their parents completed an application and were drawn from a lottery to be accepted. The school district plans on adding one more grade level a year to complete the middle school academy and progress into the high school academy in the future.

Students in this STEM academy will be given a challenging schedule next year that focuses on Project Based Learning in all of its core classes as well as an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) class, a STEM Lab class, and two other elective classes that they choose. This challenging, yet supportive schedule is designed to not only prepare the students by supporting them with college readiness standards daily, but it will allow them to learn through experiences with hands-on projects, field trips, STEM career guest speakers and after school STEM activities.

Wheeler re-elected, Davis Rouse elected to San Jacinto College Board of Trustees

PASADENA, Texas – Based on preliminary numbers, Mrs. Erica Davis Rouse has been elected and Dr. Ruede Wheeler has been re-elected, to the San Jacinto College Board of Trustees. The vote will become official after all provisional ballots have been verified and the Board of Trustees canvasses the votes.

Davis Rouse won election to Position 1 on the Board, filling the position vacated by Brad Hance who chose not to seek re-election. Wheeler ran unopposed for Position 2. Unofficial election results can be found on the San Jacinto College election website at board-trustees-election.

“As a lifelong resident of the area that the San Jacinto College District serves, and as the daughter of an educator, I am blessed and elated to be elected as the newest Trustee,” said Davis Rouse. “This role represents the culmination of my upbringing, education and experience. Education and civic involvement have always been family priorities so it means the world to be part of our group of Trustees that recognize the value in helping create opportunities for students, both traditional and nontraditional. I look forward to being a part of the future of San Jacinto College with optimism and enthusiasm. Thank you to my family and extended community of friends and supporters for your vote of confidence.”

Galena Park/Jacinto City Rotary cake sale benefits scholarship fund

Sabrina Quintanilla and Kevin Alcantar with “Basket Full Of Roses” prepared by the GPHS Culinary Art students. Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Judge Joe Stephens bid $165 to win the cake.

GALENA PARK – May 5 – The Galena Park/Jacinto City Rotary Club had their annual cake auction fundraiser. Thirty-one cakes were auctioned, half of which was prepared by the Galena Park Independent School District’s (GPISD) Culinary Arts Program. Citizens, elected officials and business representatives attended the auction that raised over six thousand dollars for student scholarships.

This year’s Rotary officers are: President Joshua Moreno, President-Elect Ibrahim S. Abouawdi, Secretary Ernesto Paredes, Treasurer Carol Thompson, Board Member Maria Rodriguez, Board Member Ramon Garza and Membership Chair Jennifer Ledwith.

North Shore Rotary Fish Fry & Raffle

WINNER OF THE NEW TOYOTA PICK-UP TRUCK last year was Kimberly Gresham, second from right in this photo. (PHOTO COURTESY OF DERRILL PAINTER)

NORTH SHORE – Rotarians are busy preparing for their 42nd annual Catfish Fry and Crawfish Boil, which will be held Saturday May 20 at the North Shore Rotary Pavilion behind the courthouse. Tickets are on sale now, available from any North Shore Rotarian, and local businesses such as Capital Bank, Pine Forest Jewelry, North Channel Chamber and many others.

The location for the event is the Rotary Pavilion behind the courthouse, at 14350 Wallisville Road. Serving of food will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. but come early and enjoy the food, bid in the auctions, and perhaps win a prize.

There will also be a silent and live auction, according to Adam Lund, chairman of the Fish Fry this year.

Raffle tickets are $100, and meal only tickets are $10.

Galena Park honors Scholar at Council Meeting

Mayor Moya presented Galena Park high school student Salvador Flores with an award for being accepted as a U. S. Presidential Scholar.

GALENA PARK – At the May 2 Council Meeting Mayor Esmeralda Moya called the meeting to order. After a prayer and pledges to the flags Chad Burke gave the annual Economic Alliance report.

Resolution RO5-2017 appointing Leonel Cantu, Esteban Lucio, Dr. Aubrey Ross, Dr. Francos Martin and Mayor Moya to the Annual Advisory Committee received unanimously approval.

Resolution RO6-2017 authorizing preparation and submission of a six hundred thousand dollar Texas Community Development block grant application (CDBG) for sidewalks and authorizing the Mayor to act as the City’s Executive Officer and authorized representative in all matters pertaining to the CDBG application was unanimously approved.

Mayor Moya and Commissioners Rodney Chersky and Barry Ponder voted to table a proposal to allow Splash Pads USA for forty-five thousand dollars to install a 15 ft. X 30 ft. splash pad at the swimming pool. Commissioners Oscar Silva Jr. and Eric Broussard voted against the motion to table, Ponder said there wasn’t sufficient detailed information as to what the company would provide and what the city would have to do to get the splash pad operational.

Two part time employees was unanimously approved, Giovanna Duran (parks and recreation) and Anita Torres (City Hall Administrative Assistant II).

Mayor Moya presented a Galena Park high school student Salvador Flores with an award for being accepted as a U. S. Presidential Scholar.