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Posts published in “Community”

Jacinto City hosts historic graduation parade

Graduating seniors from Galena Park and Furr High School line up after the parade for a photo. Tears flowed as caps tossed in the air when hugs and goodbye’s were exchanged. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail & Kimberly Martin

Jacinto City, TX. — Saturday, May 23, 2020 – For Jacinto City’s officials having a graduation parade just a couple of months ago wasn’t planned nor could it ever have been imagined, but since the COVID-19 virus struck nothing’s been a resemblance of normalcy.

Scientists have estimated the deadly virus entered the United States as early as November or December of 2019 but it didn’t hit home to schools across the nation until mid-March while many of the students were home for Spring Break. Schools and students lives were changed once it became known the highly contagious decease was being passed on human to human. Studies revealed an infected person even without virus symptoms were spreading the germs as easy as talking to one another by “voice-droplets” transmitted in the air. Schools, churches, sporting events brought a halt to large gatherings as it still is today.

The long awaited graduation ceremonies planned for years by high school and college students were no longer allowed. Graduates wouldn’t be able to walk across a stage to receive their diploma or say goodbye to their classmates after years of friendship.

The Galena Park School District’s graduates, parents and family members were saddened as all others schools were by the sudden turn of events. Soon people began devising ways to safely celebrate milestones from birthdays to funerals by keeping a safe distance of 6 feet apart and wearing a mask. Parades called “wave by’s and drive by’s” became prevalent across the nation giving communities ways to help students celebrate.

Jacinto City’s Mayor Ana Diaz said she was contacted by graduate Ana Banda’s mother, Luisa Banda Perez about the possibility of having a parade so the students and families could celebrate. The City Council approved the parade, City Manager Lon Squyres began planning the event which had never been done before, and Chief of Police Joe Ayala’s police department had to provide traffic control and was assisted by a large turnout of Precinct 2 deputies along with Constable Chris Diaz (Mayor Diaz’s husband). Graduates of Furr High School joined in with the Galena Park 2020 Class. Mayor Diaz said, “The parade was the idea from Luisa and her hard work and organizing the students to come participate that made the event the success it was.”

Mayor Diaz said, “I was saddened for the students and families to not have the normal graduation ceremony and I felt the city should do everything it could to give them the best parade possible. It made me feel good to be able to stand on the parade sideline with members of the city council and wave and shout congratulations as each graduate came past the city’s congratulatory banner. Our city has a big heart; it’s always given a helping hand to a good cause.”

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Alice Adams wins truck in North Shore Rotary raffle

Rotary Fish Fry chair Lowell Everitt pulls a winning raffle ticket, as president Ryan Dagley looks on. Saturday, the North Shore Rotary drew for 20 prizes at Turner Chevrolet live and on Facebook, for a 2020 Chevy Colorado or Camaro that was won by Alice Adams on a ticket sold by Wayne Oquin. A Lucky seller was B.R. Hendrix with 5 of the 20 pulled.

CROSBY – Turner Chevrolet hosted the North Shore Rotary club as they held their drawing for prizes associated with their annual raffle. The normal Catfish Fry and Crawfish Boil was not held, due to the pandemic.

This fundraiser is the premiere event for the charity organization that normally is held at the North Shore Rotary Pavilion with food and auction attracting most of the local communities.

Rotarians distinguished themselves in multiple charity participations, funded by this event. With customers and Rotarians present at the drawing, the dealership was just below Covid-19 limitations.

COMMUNITY PROFILE: Channelview ISD student awarded Bill and Melinda Gates Scholarship

Channelview High School Valedictorian Dewayne Benson

May 14, 2020 — Channelview High School Valedictorian Dewayne Benson is among the 300 students in the country to receive the prestigious Gates Scholarship. This academic school year, 36,500 students applied, putting Benson in the less than 1 percent of students who were awarded the scholarship.

In addition to his academic achievements, Benson has also shown strength and perseverance following a bus accident in Alabama. In 2018, members of the Channelview High School (CHS) marching band were returning from a school trip in Florida when their charter bus plunged into a ravine.

“It’s insane to think how far I have come in high school – two years ago, I was stuck in the bottom of a ravine in the band bus crash,” Benson said. “Now, I am a Gates Scholar, valedictorian, and am graduating with a whole degree to my name.”

Benson also attended San Jacinto Community College and will be graduating high school with an associates degree. In order to be admitted into the San Jacinto Community College’s MECA program (Modified Early College Academy, the dual credit program that allows students to pursue their associates degree while still in high school) Benson took the College Board’s TSIA Accuplacer abilities test his sophomore year and earned a perfect score in all three sections.

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Food drives help feed 500 families in Pct. 2

Volunteers who helped pack and distribute food bags pause for a group photo.

HIGHLANDS – With much of the population observing “Stay Home” rules, or temporarily without a job, food availability has become a major concern.

A number of local groups, including Precinct 2, organizations such as Rotary, churches, and individuals have been collecting food and distributing it to anyone in need.

Last week Food Drives were held at a number of Precinct 2 community centers, including Highlands.

Tonya Kostka told the North Channel Star about the drive in Highlands. “What a great day! Lots of hard work from great volunteers! Thank you first to Monument Chemical Gloria O’Bannon and her team for the generous donation to our Community.

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Congresswoman Garcia brings funding to District’s Colleges

Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia

By Allan Jamail

Houston, TX – April 27, 2020 Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (TX-29) announced that three college systems in the 29th Congressional District will receive funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020, and will allocate more than $307 million for the Governor’s Fund Component of the Education Stabilization Fund in Texas. In addition to this statewide funding, individual institutions of higher education will receive funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF).

“The community colleges in my district play a critical role in the workforce development of residents all across the Houston region. They equip our residents with opportunities to earn jobs, get promoted, and get trained for careers in new industries. I am thrilled that Houston Community College, the Lone Star College System, and San Jacinto Community College District will receive much-needed funding under the CARES Act to ensure that they can continue to serve our students and provide them with the career opportunities that will help our region recover from the impacts of this pandemic,” said Congresswoman Garcia.

The three recipients in the 29th Congressional District are:

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Galena Park I.S.D. names John Moore lone finalist for Superintendent Position

Dr. John C. Moore

On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, Galena Park I.S.D. Board of Trustees announced Dr. John C. Moore as the lone finalist in the District’s superintendent search.

“I am thrilled and honored to be selected as the lone finalist for superintendent of Galena Park I.S.D., and I look forward to continuing the great work started by Dr. Angi Williams. My objective is, and has always been, to become a superintendent in Galena Park I.S.D. who inspires students, staff and the community to grow beyond what anyone believes is achievable. Dr. Williams has led this District extremely well for the past nine years, and is a well-respected educational leader throughout Texas and the nation,” remarked Dr. Moore.

Dr. Moore began his educational career as a teacher in Calcasieu Parish School, Sulphur, Louisiana in 1990. In 1991, he moved to Houston, Texas and became a teacher at W.C. Cunningham Middle School. During his tenure in Galena Park I.S.D. he has spent 29 years as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent and associate superintendent, all in Galena Park I.S.D.

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Constable Diaz responds to lawsuit

Pct. 2 Constable Chris Diaz

Accused of Retaliation

The following article was submitted by Constable Chris Diaz:

On March 12, 2020, Harris County Precinct Two Constable Christopher Diaz moved to dismiss as baseless a federal lawsuit in which the plaintiffs have alleged Constable Diaz violated plaintiff’s rights under the First Amendment.

Constable Diaz’s motion to dismiss demonstrates the plaintiffs, several former employees and one current employee, did not engage in any constitutionally protected conduct and, further, there is no connection between any plaintiff’s allegedly protected conduct and a complained of, actionable employment decision. In fact, several plaintiffs have failed to even allege Constable Diaz had any direct involvement in the plaintiffs’ reassignment, discipline, or discharge at all.

Precinct Two’s records, available to the public under the Public Information Act, further refute each plaintiff’s baseless accusations and demonstrate the following: (more…)

Mike Parrot inducted into Softball Hall of Fame

Mike Parrott with Commemorative Bat, Award Plaque, and Souvenir Ring.

North Shore’s favorite son, and retired Judge, was honored in January at the Texas USSSA Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremonies held at the Dallas Marriott South Hotel.

Mike Parrott was recognized as being in the Top 100 Greatest Softball players nationally by the USSSA softball association. His career in adult amateur softball competition spans from 1975 to 1983, and then two returns from retirement in 1987 and 1990.

Parrott’s awards are many, including in 1980 leading the nation in home runs, with 323. In his career he garnered 61 awards for his home run prowess and in tournament play.

Parrott attended Galena Park High School, and was an outstanding athlete in Football, Basketball, and Baseball. He also was a University of Houston graduate, where he played football. But he only played Softball after a friend asked him to fill in at a game, in 1975. As he told it, “I could play baseball so I thought I could also play softball, even though I never had.”

His abilities with a home run earned him honors in at least 8 All-Star teams over the years. He still holds the record in the Coca Cola Classic, played in Georgia, with 25 home runs in one weekend.

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Community members opposed construction of The Hollows Apartments in Channelview

Channelview Health & Improvement Coalition Meeting Minutes

By Carolyn Stone

During December research of The Hollows found this $37,811,161 182 unit subsidized housing apartment complex was to be funded with $11,000,000 of Harris County Community Development Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG) funds along with mortgage revenue bonds and 4% tax credits for the investors. Community members were opposed to this project and began preparing a petition in opposition to present to Pct. 2 Commissioner Garcia, Judge Hidalgo and the other Harris County Commissioners.

On or about December 4, 2019 community members learned the developer, LDG Development, was holding a public meeting at Harvey S. Brown Elementary on Wallisville Rd. on Saturday Dec. 21st to announce The Hollows Apartments to the community. Despite this meeting being held four days before Christmas several hundred community members attended the meeting and were very vociferous in their concerns related to and in opposition to the proposed project.

In response to the community concerns and opposition to the complex Horace Allison from Housing & Urban Development lectured community members informing them they should be better people, but the most telling statement came from the developer, Mr. Dru Childre of LDG Development, who informed the community members, “You need to understand this is not housing for hard working individuals like yourself.”

Mr. Childre’s statement was applauded by the community members and taken as confirmation this complex would be a burden upon the residents of Channelview.

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Yuroba Harris receives St. Hope Award

By Allan Jamail

At the St. Hope Award Ceremony Honoree Yuroba Harris, District Director for Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia, received the COMMUNITY EXCELLENCE AWARD.

The award stated, “Presented to Yuorba Harris in honor of her exemplary efforts to advance community health leading to life impacting outcomes for many disproportionately affected members of our Community.”

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First female to command Houston’s Northeast Division

Police Commander C. Hatcher

By Allan Jamail

Houston, TX. – The Houston Police Department made history when Lieutenant C. Hatcher a 27 year veteran of the police department was promoted to the rank of Commander. She became the first female Commander of the Northeast Division at 8301 Ley Road, Houston, TX 77028. Commander Hatcher has the responsibility for providing police service to three police districts with an estimate of 203,000 residents within an approximate 130 square miles.

Hatcher a mother of four children whose father wanted her to become a lawyer decided on a law enforcement career instead. In 1993 she went to work at the jail divison of the Houston Police Department. She graduated from the police academy in 2000 along with other cadets who were tagged the nickname, Y2K Babies.

She’s held the rank of Sergeant, Lieutenant and now Commander. In 2006 she passed the Sergeant’s test, six years later in 2012 she passed the Lieutenant’s test and in 2018 passed the Commander’s test. In order to be promoted for a rank increase a candidate is evaluated by test grade score, college education, years of service and assessment of your service record. Hatcher got a college education from the University of Houston and obtained a Masters Degree from Sam Houston State.

Commander Hatcher has a broad amount of experience having worked in the jail, patrol, juvenile divisions and in an Assistant Chief’s office. She was on the 2017 Super Bowl Planning Committee which began three years in advance developing plans for security, traffic control, crowd control and public safety.

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