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Posts published in “Day: August 20, 2020

County rent assistance available

Commissioners vote $25 million; application info here

Harris County, Texas – Friday, August 14, 2020, The Harris County Commissioners and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo unanimously approved a $15 million emergency rental assistance program to help individuals in Harris County suffering economic hardships due to the effects of COVID-19. Due to the overwhelming demand for rental assistance in Harris County, Judge Hidalgo and the Commissioners subsequently increased the amount of assistance to be provided through this program to $25 million.

“Our community continues to suffer great economic damage resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, with many people unable to cover basic necessities, including rent,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “This program will bring relief to those across our region who so desperately need it, allowing families to stay in their homes while addressing the collateral impact on property owners.”

The program will assist applicants with rent and associated expenses for payments and/or late fees occurring after April 1, 2020. Selected applicants will be eligible to receive up to a maximum of $1,200 in assistance. Landlord enrollment will begin on August 17th, with tenant applications opening for a 7-day period beginning August 24th. Applications will be available online at, and assistance will be available by phone.

THEA protests for stronger EPA remediation

Jackie Medcalf and protestors at the Waste Management Headquarters in Houston

Group wants higher standards for San Jacinto River Waste Pits

Houston, TX – August 6, 2020 – As part of the ongoing fight to remediate the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Jackie Young Medcalf of THEA is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to hold polluters to a higher standard of accountability through ensuring more integrity in the remediation process. On Thursday, August 6 at 10am a press conference was held at Waste Management Headquarters, and it highlighted the recent discovery of how omitted sample data and a skewed site analysis have slanted the outlook towards the site’s remediation and ultimately the disposal of the toxic waste material.

The Waste Pits Superfund Site is the result of dioxin and PCB contaminated paper mill waste that was disposed of along the San Jacinto River in the 1960s. The Waste Pits presented such a great danger to the environment and public health, they were listed for clean-up under the Federal Superfund program in 2008. Recently, the EPA released documents from the responsible parties consultants and our review of the 30,000+ pages of technical reports found that the samples collected for analysis of dioxin disposal classification were almost all collected from areas known to contain no dioxins, and that the consultants requested data be omitted from the lab reports. Joint community, advocate and governmental efforts have made profound progress in protecting aquatic life and public health within the region. However, now there is an overwhelming need for sampling and analysis which address all contaminants of concern and the EPA’s oversight to ensure this process is done with integrity.

What is at Stake?

The longer the waste remains the greater the potential for increased risks of cancer and autoimmune diseases among locals and further contamination to the environment.

Eileen Brightwell named GP/JC Rotarian of the Year

Outgoing Rotary Club president Marcos Ramos presents the Rotarian of the Year Award to local dentist Eileen Brightwell.

New officers installed

GALENA PARK – The Galena Park/Jacinto City Rotary Club held their Installation and Awards ceremony in June, with much of it a virtual style.

However, the club presented the Rotarian of the Year, the most prestigious club award, to Eileen Brightwell, a long-time member. Eileen is a local dentist in Jacinto City, and will be the club’s Public Relations officer in the coming year. She has held many positions for the club over the years.

New officers and directors were also installed. These include Juan Flores, president; Brian Shepard, president elect; Jennifer Ledwith, treasurer; Maria Cortez-Ochoa, internation service director; Ernesto Paredes, Jr., Rotary Foundation director; Eileen Brightwell, public relations; Bryan Clements, membership chair; and Marcos Ramos, past president.

Foundation takes over control of Battleship Texas

Members of the BTF (Battleship Texas Foundation) celebrate taking control of the ship.

Prepares move to shipyard for repairs

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Transfers Operational Control of the Battleship Texas to the Battleship Texas Foundation

HOUSTON – Effective August 1, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has transferred operations of the Battleship Texas to the Battleship Texas Foundation (BTF).

In 2019, the BTF and TPWD entered a memorandum of understanding/lease (MOU) with TPWD whereby the BTF would operate and maintain the Battleship TEXAS for TPWD and the State of Texas. Under terms of the MOU between these two long standing partners, the operational control is transferred via a 99-year lease to the Foundation.

The Texas has been closed to the public since August of 2019 to allow preparations for her transport to a shipyard for extensive restoration.

Currently, the BTF and TPWD are preparing the ship for transportation to a shipyard where her hull will be replaced from the waterline down and repainted, along with other necessary repairs and improvements. The ship is tentatively scheduled to depart her current berth between November-December 2020 and be in the shipyard for a period of approximately 12 months. Once the battleship leaves the shipyard, we anticipate the ship arriving in the new berth around January-February 2022. Following a period to prepare the ship for reopening, the plan is to have it receiving visitors by 1st Quarter 2022.

Pilot Club honors 25 year member Cooper

Renee Cooper with 25 year Award Certificate

NORTH CHANNEL – The San Jacinto Pilot Club honored Renee Cooper for her 25 years of membership. At their meeting August 11, 2020, Renee was presented with a letter from 2019-2020 Pilot International President Deb Hays, a certificate from Pilot International thanking her for 25 years of service and a 25 year pin. Renee joined the San Jacinto Pilot Club in June of 1995. With her husband, she owns and operates Safeway Signs.

San Jacinto Pilot Club hosts Texas District representative

At their August 11, 2020 meeting, the San Jacinto Pilot Club welcomed their District Administrative Council representative, Lt. Governor Joanne Patterson. Members gathered in the home of San Jacinto Pilot Club member Karla Green.

San Jacinto Pilot Club members with state DAC Lt. Governor Joanne Patterson

Joanne shared the goals of the Texas District, the focus for this year—autism awareness—and thanked everyone for continuing to serve our community during these difficult times. She shared how all clubs are doing things differently, including fundraisers.

She charged the club and members to continue to “stay the true course” of Pilot and continue to be creative in their approach to service.