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Posts published in “Day: June 17, 2021

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


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


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.