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Posts published in June 2021

We Lose Lewis Spearman

LEWIS SPEARMAN

We are sad to report that our friend and colleague, Lewis Spearman, passed away on Friday, June 25, peacefully at home. Lewis had been recovering from a cardiac procedure the previous week. Lewis has been an important part of the newspaper team since our start in 1994, and his contribution will be sorely missed. He had many friends in the Crosby and East Harris County area, and was active with the Crosby/Huffman Chamber and the Crosby Fair & Rodeo, and others. Memorial arrangements will be announced later, but a GoFundMe account for expenses has been established at http://gofund.me/7ac91f54. More of the story is also at this address.

Galena Park refutes charges in citizen protest

This water bill from the City of Houston water department, shows the account of the City of Galena Park. On the left, top line under AMOUNT DUE, Past Amount Due is $0.00. The line below that shows the monthly charge for water, $72,571.08 but it is not overdue. The copy of the water bill was furnished to the NORTH CHANNEL STAR by the City of Galena Park. It does not show any unpaid balance on the account, as charged by Dolcefino Consulting.

GALENA PARK – The city, through its attorney Robert Collins, has refuted the claims made last week by a citizens protest group at the opening of the city swimming pool.

The protestors included city commissioner Maricela Serna, charging the city and the Mayor with secrecy in their method of running the city, stating that City Hall was not open to the public, that Commissioner meetings were closed and limiting what was discussed and told to the public, and in general the business of the city was hidden so that some persons would benefit from the secrecy.

It was also charged, in a public information release by Wayne Dolcefino of Dolcefino Consulting, that the city had a back unpaid bill of $705,000 to the City of Houston for water supply.

Collins said that each of these charges were untrue, and some through a misunderstanding of circumstances.

Local Democrats meet with VP Harris

The Democratic Caucus of the Texas Legislature, chaired by Senator Carol Alvarado of Houston, (in the green dress top left) meets with Vice President Kamala Harris, (top center in front of flag) to discuss federal and state legislation that is attempting to restrict voters’ rights. Also around the table, Houston State Representatives Armando Walle, Senfronia Thompson, and State Senator Boris Miles.

Discuss Texas Voter Restriction bills

WASHINGTON, DC – Last week a group of Democratic state legislators met with Vice President Kamala Harris to discuss the ongoing fight to protect voting rights in Texas and to urge the US Senate to pass H.R. 1 and H.R. 4 to combat coordinated voter suppression efforts taking place across the country.

Sen. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston), the chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus, released the following statement after the meeting:

“Today the members of the Texas delegation had a productive conversation with Vice President Harris about the fight against voter suppression in the Texas Legislature and the importance of H.R. 1 and H.R. 4.

“We are grateful for Vice President Harris’ partnership and support in our nation’s capitol as Democrats aim to preempt Jim Crow style laws from every level of government. As we look toward the next special session in Austin, the Texas Senate Democrats will continue to do our part in the fight to ensure that our sacred right to vote is not taken away by blatant Republican voter suppression tactics.”

K9 Fly, Jacinto City’s new dope dog

Jacinto City’s Sergeant A. Seydler with K9 Fly (Photo edited by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail

June 23, 2021 – Jacinto City, TX. – The Jacinto City Police Department (JCPD) has a narcotics sniffing K9 program smaller cities would love to have. Under the direction of Police Chief Joe Ayala, Sergeant A. Seydler, a 9 year veteran of JCPD, is the K9 handler responsible for maintaining the care and training of their dog. Seydler keeps the dog at his home, and they’re subject to call out any day or time. JCPD provides the dogs food that comes from chewy.com, a highly regarded top quality animal food company.

Fly is the K9’s name, and according to Sgt. Seydler, the JCPD got him last November after he made a call to the Houston K9 Academy requesting a K9 after their previous dog Kyra passed away. Within hours, Jaz Stanz, the owner of the academy, informed him K9s4COPS, a nonprofit foundation, would purchase Fly from the academy and donate it to JCPD.

Fly is a 4 year old Malinois/shepherd from Europe. The breed is known for their high energy that loves to put their intelligence and intense focus to work. He’s trained to sniff-out narcotics and can track human scent exceptionally well.

Harris County Pct. 2 Community Centers, Libraries Reopen

Harris County Branch Library in Jacinto City

HARRIS COUNTY – As the number of COVID-19 vaccinations approaches the goal of 70% of the population, Harris County has eased their restrictions on using county facilities for public functions, with most locations limiting attendance to 50% or 75% capacity, and masks being requested but not required if you are vaccinated.

SanJac receives $30 million donation

MacKenzie Scott, donor

Gift is by Amazon founder’s ex-wife

By Amanda Fenwick

PASADENA, Texas — Philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott and her husband Dan Jewett have donated $30 million to San Jacinto College, the largest private gift in the College’s history.

“The San Jacinto College Board of Trustees, the San Jacinto College Foundation Board of Directors, as well as our employees and students, both current and future, are deeply grateful for this very generous gift,” said Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer. “We weren’t expecting it, and it came at just the right time so we could put programs like 21Forward in place to help the students in East Harris County who made it through their senior year. These students were impacted by COVID, yet they persisted and graduated. We are honored to be able to use a portion of this gift to help students stay on their higher education pathway. We look forward to announcing plans for the remainder of the funding in the future. For now, we are stunned by this unbelievable gift and excited about the opportunities it provides for us to serve our community in new ways.”

Brenda Hellyer, SJ Chancellor

Scott made the announcement this morning in a blog post, donating more than $2.7 billion to 286 organizations throughout the country. In her post she says, “Higher education is a proven pathway to opportunity, so we looked for 2- and 4-year institutions successfully educating students who come from communities that have been chronically underserved.”

WASTE PITS VIRTUAL MEETING: EPA sees longer, difficult remediation work

SINGLE WALL COFFERDAM, TOP, WON’T WORK. DOUBLE WALL BELOW IS NEW DESIGN.

EPA holds virtual meeting to update community on San Jacinto River Waste Pits

EPA CONFIRMS LONGER TIME SCHEDULE, SLOWER WORK FOR SJRWP REMEDIATION

HIGHLANDS — The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) held a virtual meeting last Thursday night, June 10, to update the communities around the San Jacinto River on progress to remediate the Waste Pits. This is the first meeting to interface with the public since 2019, due to safety concerns with the Pandemic that limited the travel for the EPA. However, they did meet in person in April with the CAC, or Community Advisory Committee. For those unable to join the meeting by internet, two in-person viewing sites were set up by THEA, at the Highlands Community Center and the Channelview Fire Department.

EPA brought news that the original designs for excavation and dewatering would not work, and more investigation and planning was required. EPA had discovered that the toxic material existed much deeper than original sampling had indicated, not 12′ but in some cases 35′. This meant much more material would have to be removed. The deeper excavation also meant that a double wall cofferdam would be required to safely excavate, and treating of ground water would have to be done “in the dry” by dewatering, not as originally proposed. All of this meant the project would require additional time, work, and money.

Citizens in Galena Park protest city’s secrecy

By Jennifer Knesek
Dolcefino Consulting

Galena Park City Commissioner Maricela Serna led a community protest Tuesday, June 15, 2021, at noon as the city pool opened for the summer.

The protest was not against the opening of the pool, she said, but how the opening of the pool highlights the secrecy at Galena Park City Hall.

“The pool is opening but Mayor Esmeralda Moya refuses to open up City Hall for public meetings,” said Commissioner Maricela Serna. “She has used the pandemic to hide the truth from the Galena Park taxpayers.”

Serna wanted the Galena Park City Council to debate the opening of City Hall at Tuesday evening’s meeting, but the city secretary refused to add the secrecy fight to the agenda.

Commissioner Serna claims she has been repeatedly muted during the eight-minute-long council meetings so she can not speak on certain contracts.

“What started as a safety measure has now been turned into a way to hide public business in Galena Park,” Serna said.

County initiates program to help Homeless

Homeless Program participants removing Graffiti in East Harris County.

HARRIS COUNTY – Last week, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzales launched a workforce development program in collaboration with Harris County Precinct 2 and Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. that supports those experiencing homelessness in east Harris County.

According to the Coalition for the Homeless, nearly 4,000 people in the Houston area are experiencing homelessness. This innovative partnership – rooted in community development – empowers our most vulnerable neighbors with the tools, skills, and support to help them overcome barriers to success. It connects program participants to affordable housing, employment resources, and other critical services through Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. It also allows them to earn an income by completing community development projects.

Commissioner Adrian Garcia’s Office funded the six-month pilot program, which actively recruits participants and provides them with transportation, meals throughout the workday, personal protective equipment, and the necessary training and tools to properly remove graffiti from bridges, roads, and buildings. Weather permitting, participants will have the chance to work on a first come, first served basis Monday through Thursday for about $50 a day.

San Jac offers Free tuition for Class of 2021

Private donation to fund tuition Funds to pay for up to three years at San Jacinto College

ByAmanda Fenwick

PASADENA, Texas — The San Jacinto College Foundation has received a private donation to fund up to three years of tuition for the high school class of 2021.

“On behalf of San Jacinto College, our Board of Trustees, and the students who will benefit from this generous gift, I say thank you,” said Dr. Laurel Williamson, San Jacinto College Deputy Chancellor and President. “This last year has been a challenge for so many students, and the ability to remove the financial burden for thousands of high school graduates will allow them to attend college and earn their workforce certificate or associate degree. We are incredibly grateful for this thoughtful and transformational gift.”

The funds will be used to create the 21 Forward Scholarship. All high school graduates that live within the San Jacinto College taxing district at the time of their high school graduation are eligible. The scholarship is good for up to three years at San Jacinto College (through December 2024). Students must begin classes at San Jac this Fall, take a minimum of six credit hours each semester, and must apply for financial aid annually.