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July 4 Fireworks light up sky in Jacinto City/Galena Park

Photo by Allan Jamail

Exploding fireworks mark Independence Day celebration in Jacinto City and Galena Park. Jacinto City and Galena Park had thousands of celebrant’s turnout to see their fireworks celebrating Independence Day. For 50 years the two cities have used giant exploding bursts of fireworks to celebrate the 4th of July. Both cities share the cost of the display that uses the vacant acreage between the cities to shoot off the fireworks.

Pct. 2 plans major work in Driver Park to create county-wide “inclusive” park

The Revitalization of Driver Park would include: Green areas new athletic fields; Black areas additional parking; Light Green, “inclusive” play areas for use by handicapped persons; Blue areas, new and expanded recreation facilities; Yellow areas expanded basketball and sports courts; Purple areas detention ponds. The Northeast Community Center is the center building.

ALDINE – Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia held a public information meeting last Tuesday, June 25 to introduce his concept for an “inclusive” county park.

He also asked the public for their input on what they want in the park for the use of families and folks with limited mobility whether they are elderly, handicapped, or otherwise restricted. He emphasized that the park would be for all ages. He noted that in Harris County, there are at least 500,000 persons with limited mobility or a handicap that could be served by this park.

Garcia noted that the new park could revitalize the East Aldine area, and add value to the surrounding community. He has budgeted $4 million dollars for the park development, but hopes with matching grants and other sources to expand the work to as much as $8 million.


College degree an achievement for 80-year-old woman

80 year-old Beatrice Lillie with her degree from Houston Community College, full-filling her life-long dream. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail

Houston, TX. June 21, 2019 — North Channel Star writer Allan Jamail met with 80 year-old Beatrice Lillie, who recently obtained her lifelong dream of a college degree.

Jamail said he was first informed by Angelia Lillie, a church member at the Fifth Ward Church of Christ where they both attend, that her 80 year-old mother obtained her college degree.

“At 75 years old I I knew this was a quite an achievement and wanted others to learn and be encourage by Beatrice’s accomplishment,” Jamail said. “I had never met Beatrice so I invited her to lunch at Luby’s Cafeteria, where I gave her a red bouquet to congratulate her. She told me I could call her Ms. Bea as her friends do.

Ms. Bea said she graduated from Jack Yates High School in the 50’s, married, and had 6 children. She never had the chance to go college until recently; her children grown and on their own now afforded her the opportunity to go to college and get a degree.

As we sat there over her favorite lunch (chicken fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy on the side, green beans, jalapeño cornbread and cherry cheesecake) I learned Ms. Bea had numerous life successes. She was a secretary in the Harris County’s Probation Department; she owned her own phone answering company until voicemail and cell phones came about; and she graduated with honors as Miss Franklin at the Franklin Beauty School as a Cosmetologist in the early seventies.


WGU Texas signs agreement with San Jacinto and Lone Star Colleges to make higher education more accessible

Dr. Brenda Hellyer, Chancellor of San Jacinto College; Dr. Steven Johnson, WGU Texas Chancellor signing agreement.

HOUSTON, TX (JUNE 24, 2019) – Online, nonprofit university WGU Texas announced today the signing of agreements with Lone Star College (LSC) and San Jacinto College (SJC) that create pathways for the community colleges’ students, employees and graduates to work toward a bachelor’s or master’s degree and further their education at WGU Texas.

“With this partnership, both institutions are committed to providing our students with educational pathways to earning a four-year degree, expand their education, and increase their earning potential,” said Dr. Brenda Hellyer, San Jacinto College Chancellor. “We are excited about helping students reach their next goal.”

This is the second transfer agreement between SJC and WGU Texas. The first was signed earlier this year and streamlined the process for SJC students and graduates pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing at WGU Texas.


Environmental awards to three

Bayou Preservation Lauds Shanley, Turner, Young

Each year the prestigious Terry Hershey Bayou Stewardship Award recognizes members in the community who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to aiding the conservation, preservation, restoration and/or advocacy of Houston’s waterways.

This year’s awards went to Kevin Shanley, principal of the global landscape firm SWA Group, and former BPA board chair;

Mayor Sylvester Turner, who has taken significant action during his administration for the region’s waterways; and

Jackie Young, founder of a nonprofit THEA to protect water resources and safeguard public health from the harmful effects of toxic waste in the San Jacinto River Superfund site.

County Judge Ed Emmett also received a special recognition award for his commitment to the health of local bayous and waterways.

CHANNELVIEW ISD: Planning proceeds on Bond Projects

PLANNING MEETING with Architects and staff. Channelview ISD is moving forward after voters approved the bond. Channelview High School programming and design meetings have allowed district employees to have valuable input into the proposed bond projects.

On May 4, 2019, Channelview ISD voters passed a $195.4 million bond election with 75.23% in favor, the highest approval rating in district history. The May 2019 Bond will fund the replacement of aging campuses, grow and expand Channelview High School with CTE and other offerings, provide campus infrastructure renovations, upgrade safety and security and technology district wide, and purchase new buses and land.

Proper planning and design are critical to the successful execution of the bond program projects. Since May 4, administrators and the Board of Trustees have been moving full steam ahead, engaging in 16 project-focused meetings in just 23 days.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled with the result of the election and are excited to get to work making these projects a reality for our students and teachers. The voters have given us their trust, and we will take that responsibility very seriously throughout every step of the process,” said Board President Keith Liggett.

Carry-out of the bond program is a multi-phase process that will last several years. Each project will undergo planning, conceptual design, schematic design, design development, construction documents, bidding and, finally, construction.

From start to finish, Channelview ISD will make stakeholder collaboration and communication a priority, believing that the best design solutions are the result of an interactive and engaging process that strives to meet the needs of our students.

For that reason, the district has formed design committees comprised of teachers, administrators, directors, superintendents, and board members to assist the architects and design consultants in the planning and design of the May 2019 Bond projects. Each committee will be led through a series of design-focused meetings to define the purpose, needs, and spaces desired for each facility.


Sheldon ISD Board approves employee salary increases

Members of the Sheldon ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved 2019-2020 staff pay raises – which also included current teacher salary increases ranging from 10-15 percent – at Tuesday’s regular school board meeting in the Ney Administration Building Boardroom.

Sheldon ISD Superintendent King Davis said these salary increases will help keep the district competitive with neighboring school districts while also providing one of the highest pay increases in the greater Houston and surrounding areas.

“We are incredibly grateful to have a board that values our district employees,” Davis said. “We also realize that our employees have many choices as to where they can work, and we are delighted they have chosen Sheldon ISD as their school district of choice.”


Commissioner Garcia now offering free SAT Prep Course at eleven Precinct 2 locations

Precinct 2 and Project Grad Houston Team up to help students prepare for the SAT

HOUSTON, TX – (June 17, 2019) – Commissioner Adrian Garcia is working to fulfill his promise to make education a priority by launching a free test prep program. In partnership with Project GRAD Houston, Harris County Precinct 2 will now offer a free 4-week course that will help students prepare for the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT).

The session will be held in multiple locations throughout the Precinct starting July 27, 2019 to August 22, 2019. Precinct 2 residents and students will be able to take part in these classes twice a week from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“I believe education is the key to success and I want to make sure that everyone has all access to every educational opportunity,” said Commissioner Garcia.


Groundbreaking for new Jacinto City Elementary

L – R: Constable Chris Diaz, Sara Montelongo-Oyervidez, Trustees Wilfred Broussard Jr, Superintendant Dr. Angi Williams, Principal Becky Gardea, Trustee Ramon Garza, Assistant Principal Cecilia Meza, Hector Morales and Linda Jamail. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail

May 29, 2019 – The Galena Park Independent School District Trustees (GPISD) is working towards the completion of the voter-approved $290 million school bond projects with the ground breaking ceremony for the soon to be built 2 story replacement school of the Jacinto City Elementary School. The $26 million new school is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2020.

The elementary school home of the Tigers was built 75 years ago in 1944. It was a small single story building consisting of an office, small kitchen, cafeteria and several classrooms for the 200 students. As student enrollment increased the building was enlarged and renovated several times to its current size with 925 students attending.

The district has 15 elementary schools and the trustees plan to replace and build 6 new elementary schools, renovate 24 other campuses and facilities, upgrade safety and security and fully conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act district-wide with the bond funds.

ARCHITECTS RENDERING: VLK architect’s rendering of the future Jacinto City Elementary School.


Census award at Safety meeting

Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia became a Proud Partner of U. S. 2020 Census. Melissa Allala, U. S. Census Partnership Specialist presents Proud Partnership certificate. (PHOTO BY ALLAN JAMAIL)

By Allan Jamail

Houston, TX. – May 29, 2019 at the Houston Police Department’s East Freeway storefront office, Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia brought together governmental agencies, law enforcement and citizens together for her regular Neighborhood Safety meeting.

Harris County Sheriff Deputy Sergeant E. Rivera said, “The crooks and bad guys crisscross back and forth from law enforcement jurisdictions so the sheriff’s department and Houston’s police department work closely together on solving and preventing crime.”

He said gun and cell phone is highly sought after by criminals.

“Criminals don’t buy their guns legally, they steal them from citizens who are careless with their guns,” Rivera said. “Cemeteries is a place citizens usually get careless, they leave purses, cell phones and guns unlocked in their vehicles while walking away to visit graves.”

Houston Police Sergeant T. Schmidt reported crime statistics along the East Corridor from downtown Houston eastward to Beltway 8 along the East Freeway (IH-10) including Pleasantville and Clinton Park. Reports of breaking into vehicles was high with 64 cases, 77 cases of thefts, 27 cases of robbery, 28 auto thefts and 23 cases of aggravated assault.


Sheldon Fire Dept. opens new Fire Station and Training Tower

NEW SHELDON FIRE AND RESCUE STATION #2, as seen from US90 Old Beaumont Highway.

By Gilbert Hoffman

Sheldon Community Fire and Rescue, and Harris County Emergency Services District #60, opened an impressive new fire station, and training tower last Thursday morning.

The 15,000 sq. ft. fire station is the third station in the ESD#60 District, and with expansive growth of the area, the plan is to build two more and another to replace the existing station on C.E. King Parkway, according to Fire Chief Sydney Webb.

Webb presided over the grand opening ceremonies, and the ceremonial ribbon cutting and hose uncoupling for the two buildings.

Participating in the ceremonies were members of the ESD#60 board, with Helen Lauersdorf, president; and Fire E-board members, with Curtis Roane, president. Also speaking were “Pistol Reed” the son of Paul V. Reed, whom the training center is named for, and Judge Joe Stephens.

The Training Center is a tall 5-story building, to be used to train firefighters in multi-story rescues and fires. The fire station has room for six vehicles in three drive-thru bays. It also has offices, sleeping rooms, training and exercise facilities, and a day room with kitchen and TV.