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Posts published in September 2019

Sen. Alvarado’s State of the District

Senator Carol Alvarado delivers her first State of the District report after the 86th Texas Legislature. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail

Houston Texas, Saturday, September 21, 2019 — In the morning at the Houston Community College Eastside, and then again in the afternoon at the Leonel Castillo Community Center, Senator Carol Alvarado gave her first State Of the District Legislative Report. Over 90 percent of her Bills have been signed into law.

Both events began with a prayer and the Posting of the Colors with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. The breakfast event began with a prayer by Father Joe Doran from St. Pius Catholic Church of Pasadena, and the Colors posted by the Chavez High School JROTC Color Guard. The lunchtime event began with a prayer by Father Tom Hawxhurst from St. Patrick Catholic Church in Houston, and the Colors were posted by the Northside High School JROTC Color Guard.

Senator Alvarado of the 6th Senate District welcomed the guests with her first legislative session results since being elected to the Texas Senate on December 11, 2018 in a Special Election. Alvarado’s guests were visibly happy and impressed when she said she was happy to report that the Governor signed into law 29 of 32 bills she authored and/or sponsored. Alvarado gave a short but detailed briefing on how the laws will affect Texans.

She was successful with bills affecting a host of issues, including but not limited to: the economy, education, environment, women’s and men’s health, mental health, property tax reform, law enforcement, incarceration, flood damage, human trafficking, Houston Ship Channel and more.

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TROPICAL STORM IMELDA FLOODING PARALYZES HOUSTON

High water rescues were common throughout the county. Above, deputy Sheriff’s rescue some residents from their flooded homes.

20” of Rain in 24 hours; 1500 High Water Rescues

By Gilbert Hoffman

HARRIS COUNTY – Tropical Storm IMELDA never reached hurricane status, but it ended up doing more flooding than Hurricane Harvey two years ago, according to authorities.

The storm came ashore near Freeport on Tuesday evening, and by Thursday had dropped massive amounts of water on Harris County and counties to the north and east of Houston, all the way to Beaumont.

The storm took five lives, three in Beaumont and two in Harris County. Authorities said a man drove into high water on Will Clayton Parkway in Humble, and another body of Rene Salas, 52, was found in a ditch near W. Mt. Houston.

High water at the East Freeway at Wayside stopped traffic. This was typical all over Houston area highways.

Houston recorded as much as 10” of rain in a 24 hour period, and a total of about 20” in three days. Northeast Harris County, including Crosby and Huffman, recorded about 30” in that period, and a record was set in Winnie, in Chambers County, of 43” total for a storm.

Many of the same houses and neighborhoods that were under water two years ago after Hurricane Harvey suffered the same damage this time. (more…)

BARGE STRIKE DAMAGES I-10 BRIDGE, SHUTS TRAFFIC

This aerial drone photo, furnished by the EPA, shows one of the two barges that struck the I-10 bridge supports, shearing them from the beams above, and totally destroying the structural integrity. The damage can be seen on the columns supporting the westbound lanes of the highway, but TxDOT will send divers and engineers to examine supports of both east and west arteries before deciding whether to reopen them for traffic.

Tropical Storm Imelda brought widespread flooding to many areas to the north and east in Harris County, and bayous and rivers rose rapidly.

In the San Jacinto River, nine barges loaded with petroleum products broke loose from their moorings near the Waste Pits Thursday morning about midnight, and traveled downstream with two of the barges striking support columns of the I-10 bridge over the river.

The extensive structural damage caused TxDOT to close the bridge to all vehicular traffic in both directions, and announced that they would remain closed until the waters receded and the supports could be examined.

With very few alternative east/west routes, a tremendous traffic jam occurred on the east side of the county, affecting thoroughfares and local roads. (more…)

WASTE PITS: EPA holds update session

Jackie Young and Sean Matula were among about 20 persons that spoke.

Representatives of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were in Highlands last Tuesday evening, to tell a large crowd what progress has been made on removing the Waste Pits from the Superfund site in the San Jacinto River.

A lengthy presentation by EPA Project Manager Gary Baumgarten was very technical in nature, covering testing, strategies for planning the removal of the toxins, and schedules for the work.

Baumgarten also covered the subject on everyone’s mind, the run-away barges in the rain swollen river, and the damage to the I-10 bridge. He covered the details of the incident, the damage to the site, and the fact that no pollution from the site or the barges has been detected. One barge was on top of the pits, though, and after it was removed Sunday more testing for damage must take place, he said.

With wry humor, he quipped that he had never worked on a site that had so many things happen to it, including floods, an 18 wheel crash, and barge strikes.

A large crowd of concerned residents filled the hall of the Highlands Community Center.

Baumgarten spoke about the schedule of work, noting that the Phase 2 Remedial Design had started on September 4th. The schedule now calls for final design to be completed by November 2020, and actual removal of the toxic wastes in the first quarter of 2021.

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SHELDON ISD: Homecoming King & Queen

C. E. King senior Sabrina Hernandez was crowned 2019 KHS Homecoming Queen and Bryson Washington was selected as Homecoming King before last Saturday’s inaugural varsity football game at Sheldon ISD Panther Stadium. (Courtesy photo / SHELDON ISD YEARBOOK STAFF.)

New stadium site of Panther win 34-7

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North Shore stuns Westfield with Hail Mary field goal, wins 24-21

North Shore’s field goal kicker John Villalobos split the goal posts defeating Westfield as the clock expired 24 -21.

By Allan Jamail

Friday, September 13, 2019 at the Galena Park ISD football stadium, the North Shore Mustangs came from behind late in the fourth quarter to tie the game 21 to 21. A Westfield fumble gave North Shore the ball with less than a minute. They moved the ball within field goal range for kicker John Villalobos, who kicked the game winning 3 points in a thriller, beating the Westfield Mustangs 24 -21.

It’s not over till it’s over. In a similar game ending play, North Shore won the Football State Championship over Duncanville from a Hail Mary Pass, 41-36. (more…)

Protesters on Hartman Bridge arrested

GREENPEACE protesters hang from the side of the Fred Hartman Bridge in Baytown last Thursday, with colorful flags blowing in the breeze to call attention to their stunt. Protesters chose this location because it is over the Houston Ship Channel where much of the ship traffic is oil tankers. The timing of the protest was the same day as the Democratic debate in Houston, meant to call attention to the need for environmental and energy regulations to reduce on-going climate change.

BAYTOWN – A group of young men and women from the Greenpeace movement chose last Thursday, the day of the Democratic debate in Houston, to stage a dramatic protest by dangling over the side of the Fred Hartman Bridge, suspended over the ship channel where oil tankers normally move.

There were 11 protesters hanging from ropes below the bridge rail, and another 12 on the bridge helping them.

On the Greenpeace USA Twitter page, they stated that they were protesting the fossil fuel industry, and trying to block the oil tankers exporting in the channel below. The Coast Guard said they had closed about one-half mile of the channel for safety reasons. The protesters are dangling about 100 feet above the water. The bridge is 180 feet above the water. A fall could be deadly, they were warned.

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New Cloverleaf Elementary School Ribbon Cutting

New Cloverleaf Elementary School Ribbon Cutting Dedication Ceremony. Participants Board of Trustees: Ramon Garza – President, Jeff Miller – Vice President, Adrian Stephens – Secretary, Wilfred J. Broussard, Jr., Wanda Heath Johnson, Noe Esparza and Norma Hernandez, Superintendent Dr. Angi Williams, Principal Lee Brown, Judge Lucia Bates, Margie Buentello President & CEO & Members, North Channel Area Chamber of Commerce, Bryan Clements, GPISD Police Chief, Frank and Carmen Nadolney (others names unknown). Present but not pictured: Senator Carol Alvarado, Yuroba Harris, District Director Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia, Maria Delagado Chief of Staff for Rep. Ana Hernandez, Constable Sherman Eagleton and Terri Moore, Assistant Superintendent for Operations. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail

Houston, TX. – A year and a half after the ground-breaking ceremony (on May 22, 2018), the New Cloverleaf Elementary School, located at 1035 Frankie Street, held its Ribbon Cutting Dedication Ceremony on Sep 12, 2019.

The new school had its beginning in 1935, when Romanus F. and Frances Nadolney arrived in the North Shore area of Houston. They envisioned having a community and school near the 1,000 acres they bought. They began selling lots, creating the subdivision community of Cloverleaf. In 1942 the Nadolneys donated 6.5 acres of land to the Galena Park school district, for a new elementary school named Cloverleaf Elementary. It opened with 256 children and has been remodeled many times since to provide for the increase of attendance.

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LyondellBasell to mobilize hundreds of volunteers for Global Care Day, Sept. 21

Volunteers from numerous LyondellBasell locations in the Greater Houston area will take part in this year’s Global Care Day, a community service program. Staff from LyondellBasell’s more than 100 sites or locations around the world will donate their time, effort and energy to support sustainability projects in the areas where they live and work.

LyondelBasell’s Global Day Care will be Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019 in Houston from 8 a.m. – noon. Locations include:

• Bayport Complex, Armand Bayou Nature Center – 8500 Bay Area Blvd.
Projects: Replace trail fencing, refurbish dip netting pond and set up nature library
Number of volunteers: 80

• City of Shoreacres – Shell Beach and Miramar Beach
Projects: Beach cleanup and removal of invasive vegetation to allow visitors to enjoy the beach area
Number of volunteers: 10

• Channelview Complex Adopt-A-Road – 8280 Sheldon Road, Houston, TX 77049
Projects: Cleanup along Sheldon Road in front of Channelview Complex
Number of volunteers: 20

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Houston Police shoot armed man on Uvalde

Houston Police and Sheriff’s deputies surround the silver car, seen behind the HPD unit in the shopping center on Uvalde, near the McDonald’s.

What started as a routine traffic stop turned into a gunfight that left the victim wounded, lying on the pavement of a parking lot on Uvalde. He had been shot several times by Houston Police, who said that he exited the car they had stopped, brandishing a gun.

The incident occurred last Thursday, Sept. 5 about 4:00 pm on Uvalde between Holly Park and Woodforest.

Officials report that the man, who has not been identified, was wanted by the Harris County Sheriff’s office for aggravated assault. This may have been the reason for the traffic stop.

Police said that in the car with the man were two women and a child, none of whom were injured in the shooting, but reportedly traumatized by the unexpected events.

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SJRC monitors continued pollution

Carolyn Stone, Channelview resident

EAST HARRIS COUNTY – The San Jacinto River Coalition met last week in Highlands, and reviewed activities at the Waste Pits, and heard of other environmental concerns.

Jackie Young announced that the Dallas Region 6 of the EPA had a new administrator, Ken McQueen, replacing David Gray, who remains with EPA. In a surprise announcement, the public learned this week that the EPA had met on the site on Monday with other involved parties, reviewed progress, and issued a statement as follows:

“The work of the Superfund Task Force brought significant progress to addressing contamination at the San Jacinto waste pits site,” said Regional Administrator Ken McQueen. “EPA will continue working with our partners toward a permanent cleanup for the benefit of the Highlands community.”

“The TCEQ appreciates EPA’s efforts on the Superfund Taskforce recommendations,” said Executive Director Toby Baker. “We look forward to our continued successful partnership with EPA to ensure proper and timely cleanup of Texas federal Superfund sites.”

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