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Posts published in “Day: March 21, 2019”

Huge Deer Park tank blaze seen citywide

FINALLY EXTINGUISHED: Chemical storage tanks in Deer Park near the San Jacinto Monument blazed for days in spite of efforts to extinguish them. The smoke cloud was seen throughout the Houston Region, as far west as Katy. Nearby residents were concerned about the affect that the fire and smoke might have on their health. By Wednesday of this week, the fourth day, the flames and smoke were gone. (Photo courtesy KPRC)

Fires in two oil facilities in East Harris County the weekend of St. Patrick’s Day took the shine off the green. Saturday there was a fire at the Baytown Exxon Olefines Plant and St. Patrick’s Day was the time of the origin of the fire at Intercontinental Terminals Company in Deer Park.

Baytown and Exxon firefighters and mutual aide rushed to 5000 Bayway Drive at about 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. All said and done, there was no shelter in place or evacuation called for there, and the fire was successfully contained without injury.

Sunday morning as many went to church a fire started near a chemical storage tank in Intercontinental Terminals Co.’s grounds in Deer Park. Firefighters struggled to contain the blaze to five tanks but when low water pressure occurred in the early hours of Monday, three other tanks caught fire. This cancelled authorities’ predictions of a rapid containment for the blaze.

The terminal is closed and evacuated, it stores gasoline additives and paint thinners. Some say these chemicals can cause difficulty breathing, coughing, headache and irritation to respiratory systems.

The Environmental Protection Agency, TCEQ, and the Harris County Pollution Control are closely watching air quality. (more…)

Galena Park Commissioner Chersky becomes new police chief

Galena Park’s new Police Chief Rodney V. Chersky, appointed by Mayor Esmeralda Moya, confirmed by Commissioners January 15, 2019. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail

Galena Park, TX. March 20, 2019 – In January, Galena Park City Commissioner Rodney Chersky stepped down to become the city’s new police chief. After being re-elected in May 2018 with 61 percent of the vote, Chersky moved out of the city.

According to Chief Chersky, “City Attorney Robert Collins advised me I could continue as Commissioner to fill out my new term, but I would not be able to seek re-election because of no longer being a citizen of the city. My leaving the city was only temporary, and I’d planned to move back before the next election.”

Chief Chersky said, “In late 2018 I was approached by several police officers about becoming the police chief, since the new interim chief Sergeant James Knox didn’t want to become the permanent chief. Knox had agreed to assume the chief’s duties until a permanent chief could be hired. He had served as Interim Chief before under three mayors.”

“Mayor Moya in January approached me and asked me if I would be interested in the chief’s job. After giving it lots of thought and being assured by the mayor she’d do everything possible to work with me to help make the needed improvements I wanted to make, I decided to accept the appointment,” said Chief Chersky.

The chief said he has many goals. (more…)

Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia honored at annual NALEO Gala

Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia receiving award at NALEO’s annual Gala.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, over a hundred national leaders and lawmakers joined together with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), the nation’s leading Latino leadership foundation, in honoring Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia the Edward R. Roybal Award for Outstanding Public Service.

“NALEO – thank you for this honor, to be a part of Edward Roybal’s legacy,” Congresswoman Garcia said during her remarks. “It is truly amazing to see the progress that has been made over our lifetimes, the legacy that will help future generations push progress forward.” At the ceremony, national leaders spoke of Congresswoman Garcia’s hard work and years of public service.

“She is a voice for voiceless – dedicating herself to protecting the most vulnerable members of our community, as a social worker, legal aid worker, and as a leader who has served at every level of government,” said U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her tribute. “In the Congress, she is a pioneer for progress.”

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CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS: Supplemental funding legislation draws from “Rainy Day Fund”

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — A few of the funding priorities expressed by the executive, legislative and judicial branches are not covered in Senate Bill 2, the state’s tentatively approved appropriations bill for fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

So, on March 13, the Senate voted unanimously in favor of SB 500, $6 billion in supplemental funding to plug many holes. Some $4.3 billion of the total would be taken out of the Economic Stabilization (“Rainy Day”) Fund. Authored by Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, the legislation proposes the following allocations:

• $3 billion for Hurricane Harvey recovery expenses;

• $2.1 billion to address the Medicaid shortfall;

• $100 million for school safety, with an amendment that gives districts greater flexibility on the type of safety equipment they can buy;

• $300 million to improve state hospital facilities;

• $542 million to address pension liabilities for the Teacher Retirement System and provide retired teachers a “13th check” up to $500;

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HB3 Education reform could add money to schools, lower property taxes

Dan Huberty excitedly explaining legislation related to school finance reform in Austin.

AUSTIN: State Rep. Dan Huberty, R., District 127, has ridden shotgun on a $9 billion school finance reform bill that is to send more state money to public schools and lower school property tax rates, according to lawmakers. To enact the plan, passage is required by both the House and the Senate.

“The Texas Plan” or House Bill 3, has had Huberty hopping around explaining to Republicans and Democrats that a $9 billion increase in the base funding for each student and compressing school districts’ property tax rates by 4 cents statewide, among other policy items is not only possible but necessary. Pre-K for full days for eligible students also benefits, and sending more money to school districts with higher concentrations of disadvantaged students. In his State of the State Address, Governor Abbott named three “emergency items,” they are teacher pay, school finance reform and property taxes reform.

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