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Chamber hears about Small Business Administration


At the North Channel Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon this month, the featured speaker was Tim Jeffcoat, Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration in Houston.

Jeffcoat gave the audience an entertaining and informative look at the programs and services offered by the SBA to any small business. He defined small businesses as any manufacturing or processing business that has less than 1500 employees. Examples were refineries, aircraft and airline companies, oil transportation, and delivery services.

He also defined small business as any service firm doing up to $38.5 Million is business. Thus a large number of Houston businesses would qualify for SBA services.

These include access to Counseling, Federal Contracting, Capital, and support during crisis situations.

Jeffcoat noted that of all new businesses, 63% qualify as small businesses.

He sees SBA as “Helping Americans achieve the Dream of Small Business.”


CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT TX-29: Sylvia Garcia holds Open House

Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia’s first Open House with staff. An extraordinary high number of attendees came to greet the new member of Congress. L – R: John Chapa Gorczynski, Chief of Staff, Claudia Ortega Hogue, District Director, Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia, Yuroba Harris, Director of Special Projects, Daniel Vasquez, Field Representative. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

TX29 – Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia held her first District Office Open House less than two months after being sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives. An experienced public servant, Ms. Garcia aims to continue the long traditions established by the Honorable Gene Green during his years of serving the 29th District of Texas. Over 200 local leaders and residents were on hand as part of the celebration.

“We’re open and ready to serve the community. Find us at the Atrium 10 office building in the same spot that Gene was in. Please call or stop by if you need anything. The people of the 29th District have come to expect a high level of constituent service and community engagement. We will continue with many of the previous initiatives such as Community Cleanup Day, regular Northeast Neighborhood Safety Meetings, and more. But we also want to grow and build on what people want. So come by and tell us how we can help,” said Congresswoman Garcia.


Women’s Care Center opens in East Houston

HCA Houston Healthcare Southeast, formerly Bayshore Medical Center, celebrated the opening of its third Women’s Care Center with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Feb. 13.

The clinic offers a variety of services, including prenatal and postnatal care, well women exams, colposcopies, and more, via certified nurse midwives. Through a unique collaborative care model, nurse midwives collaborate with doctors at HCA Houston Healthcare Southeast, where they also deliver patient’s babies according to custom birth plans with the safety net of a nursery and level II and level III NICU on the same floor.

HCA Houston Healthcare Southeast CEO Jeanna Bamburg, Certified Nurse Midwife Jane Freking, and a spokesperson from U.S. representative Sylvia Garcia’s office spoke at the event amongst a crowd of staff and community members. Following some finishing touches, the clinic is expected to open to the public by the end of February.

More information on page 8 of the print or PDF edition.

Congresswoman Garcia holds community meeting

Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia provides her account of the state of affairs in Washington, D.C. to attendees at her first Community Meeting since being elected in November. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail

Houston, TX – February 20, 2019 — Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia held her first Community Safety Meeting and reported how she’s doing in her new role representing the 29th District.

She said one of her first things to do was to go visit the Texas Republicans serving in the House and to let them know she wanted to work in a bipartisan way on issues that will help Texas. She said she felt they will have a good working relationship on many issues such as the Port of Houston, NASA, hurricane surge protection, and disaster relief. But on the more hard-line tough issues like immigration and the border wall, the Republicans are dug-in and determine to hold their position and not eager or willing to compromise.

The Congresswoman expressed dissatisfaction that President Trump’s immigration policy at the border is separating very young immigrant children from their parents and in one place 140 kids are kept confined in a small room using bunk-beds. Garcia said the recent President’s government shut-down hurt everyone and she was working with legislatures to try to get legislation approved which would prevent a shut-down from any future President just because they didn’t get their way on issues that Congress wouldn’t approve for them.


Rep. Hernandez hosts Seniors Valentine’s Dance

Rep. Hernandez with senior citizens at the Valentine’s Day Dance

Friday, February 8th saw a day full of dancing and socializing at the 12th Annual District 143 Seniors Valentine’s Day Dance at the Leon Grayson Community Center in the North Channel area. As always, there was delicious food, dancing, and a good time was had by all thanks to the hard work of volunteers and sponsors.

Wood Shadows II citizens happy with hike and bike trail changes

Wood Shadows II resident’s welcomed the good news from Lisa Kasianowitz, Houston Parks Board Outreach Manager (red boots) and Chip Place Managing Director of Capital Projects for the Houston Parks Board for making changes after they complained in October about the trail running near their backyards. The new route was well received after hearing it would now run along Lafferty Oaks street. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail

Houston, TX. – Friday, February 1, 2019 — Members of the Houston Parks Board met with the same citizens of the Wood Shadows II Subdivision where a proposed hike and bike trail back on October 26, 2018 met strong criticism. Back then the suggested route would have been placed close to the backside of their homes. The main complaint then was this would allow users of the trail to possibly wander into their yards and maybe break-in or steal things from their backyards.

The newest proposal relocated the trail to the front side of the homes going along Lafferty Oaks street. It now will include a new neighborhood park to be constructed on vacant lots where flood prone homes were obtained by Harris County’s Flood Control buy-out program and demolished.

Lisa Kasianowitz, Houston Parks Board Outreach Manager (above photo in red boots) conducted the meeting and Chip Place Managing Director of Capital Projects for the Houston Parks Board assured the citizens the new park and entire trail will be maintained to prevent high grass and trash from littering it. They said the area will be patrolled by police patrol cars and the bike patrol and will only be open from dawn to dusk. The new trail and park will put out for construction bids this summer.

Iris Jones the Secretary of the Wood Shadows II Civic Club and a nearby homeowner said, “For 30 years we have lived peacefully in Wood Shadows II subdivision, all we want is a nice safe and clean neighborhood.” She thanked the Park’s Board members for responding to their concerns.


Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman holds citizens advisory committee meeting

Photo by Allan Jamail

By Allan Jamail

Houston, Tx. – January 23, 2019 – Diane Trautman Harris County’s newly elected Clerk held her first Election Advisory Committee (EAC) meeting. She hasn’t wasted time in full-filling her campaign pledges of having citizen involvement in her decisions and to make it more convenient for voters to cast their ballots.

To get broad based county-wide citizen involvement Trautman will have seven Election Advisory Committee (EAC) meetings. The meetings will educate and seek input from the minority languages of the county as required under the 1965 and 1975 Voting Rights Act (Section 203). Trautman will include meetings in Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese. She’ll use these EAC meetings to unveil her Countywide Voting Centers Plan and or her Election Day Vote Center (EDVC) plan.

Another of Trautman’s major campaign pledges was to make it easier for voters to vote on Election Day. If her EDVC plan is approved by Harris County’s Commissioners Court, it would make it possible for anyone to vote on Election Day at an Election Day Vote Center (EDVC) at any of Harris County’s 700-plus polling locations. Currently, county residents have multiple options during early voting, but on Election Day, they can only cast a ballot in their home precinct.


Texans QB DeShaun Watson highlights Chamber Gala


By Gilbert Hoffman

The North Channel Chamber of Commerce held their 42nd Annual Membership & Awards Gala last Thursday night. The event was held for the first time at a new beautiful venue, the Sylvan Beach Pavilion in Deer Park.

A crowd of several hundred enjoyed dinner, a silent auction, and chamber awards. A new board of directors was sworn in, and Chairman Shalonda Dawkins retired and Dr. John Moore was sworn in as the Chairman of the Board.

The featured speaker for the evening was Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson, but he almost didn’t make an appearance. After agreeing to Gala, he learned later that he had been chosen to play in the Pro Bowl football game, and would have to be in Orlando, Florida for the whole week, including the day of the Gala. However, Ronny Dwairy of Bestway Oilfield company made arrangements to fly Watson to Houston for the Gala, and then return him the same evening. Needless to say, it added some excitement to the evening.

Watson was his usual low-key and quiet self, but answered a number of questions from Dwairy and the audience as the format for his appearance.

Watson gave a brief talk about his life and previous football career. As one of four children to a single mother, he led a simple and sparse life, centered on family, faith, and football. The audience was impressed with his sincerity and simplicity. He made the point several times in his talk that “I live my life from Love. I’m a man of faith.”


Judge Lucia Bates starts term with open house reception

Open House guests in Baytown at the office of newly elected Justice of Peace Lucia Bates. Seen are Pct. chair Hunter, State Rep. Carol Alvarado, Judge Bates, Former Constable Ken Jones, Former JP Tony Polumbo, and former Mayor Pete Alfaro. Congrats Judge Bates!

BAYTOWN – A meet and greet for Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 Position 2 Lucia Bates brought in some local legends to wish her well last Saturday.

Mike Parrott, Tony Polumbo, Ken Jones, Pete Alfaro and Jason Rabelais came out to hear the new J.P. talk of working with young girls from her position — as her partner Joe Stephens, Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 Position 1, works with boys. She was later joined by Precinct 3 Constable Sherman Eagleton. Among other ideas expressed was that although misdemeanors bring youth into contact with the Justices the experience need not necessarily be punitive but an opportunity to grow and develop.


Texans QB Watson to keynote Chamber Gala

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson

The North Channel Area Chamber will hold its Annual Gala on Thursday, January 24 and have announced that the Keynote Speaker will be Houston Texans star QB DeShaun Watson. This year the Gala will be held in a new location, the Sylvan Beach Pavilion in LaPorte. A few seats are still available by calling the Chamber at 713-450-3600.

Watson is a star quarterback for the Houston Texans. Born in Gainesville, Georgia, he played college football at Clemson University, and led the Clemson Tigers team to a CFP Championship game appearance in 2015 and a national championship win in 2016. He was selected by the Texans 12th overall in the 2017 National Football League Draft.

Major sponsor for the event is Ronny Dwairy, CEO of Bestway Oilfield.

San Jacinto College has $1.3 billion impact on local economy

One of San Jacinto College buildings.

College’s effect equals 2.4 percent of region’s total gross regional product

PASADENA, Texas – A recent study has found that San Jacinto College had a $1.3 billion impact on the region’s economy in fiscal year 2016-17.

The study, conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), reported that the impacts created during the 2016-17 fiscal year are comprised of $143 million in added income from operations spending, $24.4 million from student spending, and another $1.1 billion from alumni. The College’s impact equals 2.4 percent of the regions gross regional product, and a total of 13,044 jobs.

“This study takes into account the investments of our students, our taxpayers, and our communities,” said Dr. Brenda Hellyer, San Jacinto College Chancellor. “It reflects our ongoing efforts and commitment to improve our communities and the Gulf Coast region by providing an educated and skilled workforce, and offering our students a quality education that allows them to pursue a San Jacinto College has $1.3 billion impact on local economy College’s effect equals 2.4 percent of region’s total gross regional product higher education credential or gain and maintain employment in high-demand careers.”

In return for their investment in the College, the present value of the higher future earnings that San Jac’s students will receive over their working careers is $1.6 billion. This amounts to a return of $6.30 in higher future earnings for every dollar that students invest in their education. The study also found that students receive a 19.8 percent annual return on their investment in a San Jacinto College education.