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Posts published in “Day: November 9, 2017

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.

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.

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.

North Channel Chamber Salutes Veterans

THE NORTH CHANNEL CHAMBER held their annual Salute to Service Members and First Responders at Armento’s last Thursday, Nov. 2nd. Included in the program were the weekly meetings of the North Shore Rotary, Galena Park/Jacinto City Rotary, and the San Jacinto Pilot Club. Also seen above is Adam Lund, chairman of the Chamber, and Bill Palko, emcee, Rotary District Governor, and a Veteran. The Colors as seen above were presented by the C. E. King HS AFJROTC members.

Galena Park/Jacinto City Rotary Club hosts Million Dollar Meal

THE GALENA PARK/JACINTO CITY ROTARY CLUB HELD THEIR ANNUAL MILLION DOLLAR MEAL on Wednesday, October 25. Seen above are Rotarians Maria Rodriguez, GPISD Superintendent Angi Williams, and Eileen Brightwell. The Million Dollar Meal is a worldwide event honoring major donors and Bequest Society Members, who donate or pledge at least $10,000 apiece to the Rotary Foundation. The GP/JC Rotary Club had about 100 attendees at their luncheon, marking the world event.