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North Channel Star

Jacinto City receives $1.95 million federal grant

Mayor Ana Diaz (left) and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee holding a replica of the $1.95 million check Jacinto City obtained through a U.S. Community Funding matching funds grant. L to R: Lt. M. Longrigg, Elizabeth Flores, Ivan Rojas, Mayor Ana Diaz, Maria Espinoza, Allen Lee, Joyce Raines, Gabe Perez, Kathy Greiner, Mike Bodak, Lon Squyres and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

Congresswoman Lee announces grant to improve Water Distribution System

By Allan Jamail

JACINTO CITY, TX. August 11 – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee announced to Mayor Ana Diaz, Councilman Allen Lee, and city officials, along with a group of citizens and community leaders, the news that $1,950,000 of funds will be given to the city for water line infrastructure improvements.

Lee said, “When I heard Congress’s House Appropriations Committee would be adding Community Funding Projects as an opportunity for Members of the House to address specific local needs with direct funding to solve problems that helps people and communities, I immediately thought of Jacinto City.”

She continued saying, “I reached out to Mayor Ana Diaz and City Manager Lon Squyres to learn what Jacinto City’s needs were and to suggest that they apply for funding for a Community Funding Project. This project will improve the health and safety of all residents of the City by furnishing clean, safe drinking water and the ability to protect homes and businesses from fires.”

The City will only pay the 20 percent of the funding project.

DOLCEFINO SUES CITY OF GALENA PARK

Wants access to records, meetings

By Gilbert Hoffman

GALENA PARK – An ongoing dispute between the City of Galena Park government and various citizens in the community, has moved to the courts for resolution or at least the next round.

The dispute centers on whether the public, and Commissioner Maricela Serna, have been excluded from knowledge of business conducted by the city, and whether their attempts to discuss this matter in Commissioner meetings have been obstructed or muted. Serna has sought the help of Wayne Dolcefino of Dolcefino Consulting to gain access to the information and the meetings.

Wayne Dolcefino, founder of Houston-based investigative media firm Dolcefino Consulting, filed a Harris County state district court lawsuit August 17th, 2021, against Mayor Esmeralda Moya, City Secretary Mayra Gonzales, City Attorney Robert Collins for wholesale violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act and the Texas Public Information Act.

Following is his statement in regard to the court filing, and the ongoing dispute with the city:

County offers $100 for new vaccine shots

HARRIS COUNTY – Harris County Public Health Announced New Vaccine Incentive Initiative for All First Dose Recipients on Tuesday of this week.

Residents who receive their First dose of the COVID-19 vaccine through HCPH will receive a $100 cash card.

In an effort to improve vaccination rates and better protect the residents of Harris County from COVID-19, Harris County Public Health (HCPH) will provide $100 cash cards to residents receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at an HCPH vaccination site.

State Senator Alvarado filibusters to block Voter Restriction bill

Senator Carol Alvarado speaking at the Texas Legislature during her 15-hour filibuster.

Texas Senate outlasts 15-hour filibuster by Senator Carol Alvarado to pass GOP voting restrictions bill

AUSTIN, Texas — Since before sunset Wednesday, state Sen. Carol Alvarado had been on her feet speaking, not allowed to sit or lean against her desk, on the Senate floor.

Unable to take bathroom breaks or drink water, she had worn a back brace, eyeglasses and running shoes and talked slowly behind a desk stacked with papers and with a microphone in her hand as she mounted a 15-hour filibuster. The target of her efforts was Senate Bill 1, the GOP’s priority bill that would place new restrictions on voting that many opponents say would disproportionately suppress ballots from voters of color and disabled voters.

But ultimately, her speaking marathon could only delay the passage of the bill in the Republican-controlled Senate. Shortly after she finally stepped away from her desk around 9 a.m., the Senate voted to advance the measure on a 18-11 party-line vote.

With her Democratic colleagues surrounding her desk on the Senate floor after her marathon, Alvarado invoked her Houston constituents – the voters who took advantage of the voting options SB 1 would ban – and asked why they should not be allowed as many opportunities to vote as the county was willing to offer.

Abbott sued over mask mandate ban

A growing number of school districts, counties and cities have defied Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order banning mask mandates, as COVID-19 cases continue to spike due to the delta variant and a low rate of vaccination among Texans.

As KUT.org reported, officials in Dallas and Bexar counties won a first round in court in requiring masks in public schools and most government buildings. School districts in Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, among others, are requiring students, teachers and staff to wear masks.

Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton are appealing the initial district court decisions and have vowed to sue any government official who defies the governor’s order.

HOSPITALIZATIONS, COVID-19 CASES CONTINUE TO RISE

Meanwhile, the number of new cases of COVID-19, overwhelmingly among unvaccinated Texans, continues to rise with 98,383 reported in the past week along with 628 deaths, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations are approaching the peak levels of mid-January, with 11,381 lab-confirmed COVID-19 patients, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, up 27% from the week before.

As students return to classrooms across the state, the number of children in Texas hospitalized with COVID-19 is at one of its highest levels since the pandemic began. In the 19- county region around Dallas and Fort Worth, there were no staffed pediatric beds available late last week, according to KUT.org.

County returns COVID threat level to RED

Delta Variant fills Hospitals

HARRIS COUNTY – Harris County judge Lina Hidalgo raised the COVID-19 threat level to “red” on Thursday afternoon, as the COVID-19 delta variant has increased hospitalizations and strained the region’s hospital resources over the past month.

It’s the first time the county has hit its highest threat level since June 2020.

The new advisory indicates that severe and uncontrolled outbreaks are present in the community and worsening, and that the public health capacity in the region is strained or exceeded, Hidalgo said.

“It’s straining our staff, it’s straining our hospitals, and it’s imposing heartbreak and anxiety in so many families in Harris County,” Hidalgo said.

The county judge called the latest surge a “perfect storm” of strained staff, a more transmissible virus, and the limited ability for local leaders to implement public health policies after Gov. Greg Abbott issued orders preventing such measures.

Hidalgo urged everyone eligible for a vaccine to get one, or else avoid “all but the most essential interactions.” She also recommended both the vaccinated and unvaccinated wear masks, and told the public to use ERs for life-threatening emergencies only.

Town Hall included Sheriff’s safety talk, County service info, Back-to-School events

Sheriff’s Deputies reviewed crime stats and gave safety advice to the public.

By Allan Jamail

August 5, 2021 – CLOVERLEAF – At the Leon Grayson / Baldree Community Center, several hundreds of back-to-school students, their parents, and residents of the area came out to hear about many topics of interest. The event was well planned and attended, and the co-coordinators did a fantastic job in keeping the two-plus hours-long event interesting and informative.

Approximately fifty vendors were on hand, along with a large number of governmental agencies and county departments. Gifts of backpacks, school supplies, and personal hygiene needs, free haircuts, dental and eye care providers were available.

Harris County Health Dept. Nurse Jude M. with vaccine recipient Jeanie Comeaux. Free COVID-19 vaccine shots, no ID needed, walk-ins accepted & no insurance needed or if you do not have transportation, call 832-927-8787 or visit: https://vacstrac.hctx.net/landing (Allan Jamail photo)

Abbott calls Second Special Session of the Legislature

Democrats remain away in DC

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today issued a proclamation announcing that he will convene a second special legislative session at 12:00 p.m. on August 7, 2021. The proclamation identifies 17 agenda items for the second Special Session.

“The Texas Legislature achieved a great deal during the 87th Legislative Session, and they have a responsibility to finish the work that was started,” said Governor Abbott. “I will continue to call special session after special session to reform our broken bail system, uphold election integrity, and pass other important items that Texans demand and deserve. Passing these Special Session agenda items will chart a course towards a stronger and brighter future for the Lone Star State.” Agenda items for the second Special Session will include:

“Live Jazz” coming to Houston’s Eastside

Houston – One of Houston’s musical treasures, Saxophonist Kyle Turner will be performing “live” at R&K Barbecue and Reception Hall, 911 Normandy St. 77015 on Sunday, August 15th, 2021 from 4pm to 7pm. Tickets are available at http://kyleturnerlive.eventbrite.com.

Since the 1990’s, Kyle Turner has been performing on a regular basis and draws enthusiastic audiences regionally and nationally. Kyle’s musical range is vast and he describes himself as a musician that loves playing all types of music. Kyle’s musical career has afforded him the opportunity to share the stage with musical greats: Luther Vandross, Regina Belle, Joe Sample, Bobby Lyle, Al Jarreau, Will Downing, Ronnie Laws, Marion Meadows, Bob Baldwin, Terence Blanchard, Eddie Levert and Kirk Whalum to name a few.

Comcast celebrates Grand Opening of new Xfinity Store in North Shore

Comcast Officials Pictured (L-R) Kate Inman, Director of Indirect Sales; Christopher Jones, Manager of Indirect Sales; Victor Menchaca, Wallisville Store Manager; and Demian Voiles, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Comcast Houston

Comcast recently unveiled its new Xfinity Store in Houston with a special community celebration at a brand new location.

The new Xfinity Store is conveniently located at 15375 Wallisville Rd. and features a modern retail environment that highlights the complete line of Xfinity Home and Comcast Business technology offerings, including Xfinity Mobile, Xfinity X1, Xfinity Home and Xfinity Internet.

The new XFINITY store located at 15375 Wallisville Rd.

At the recent event, Comcast celebrated with the local community through fun activities, raffles and live product demonstrations.

Customer playing the prize wheel at the grand opening of the new XFINITY store on Wallisville Rd.

Store link: https://www.loc8nearme.com/texas/houston/xfinity/208104/

Sheldon Fire Dept. expands Services

These 4 new High-Water Fire Engines will be in service in Sheldon. Each has unique safety features built especially for Sheldon Community Fire & Rescue.

Four new High Water Fire Engines, new stations

SHELDON – The Sheldon Community Fire & Rescue department held a traditional “push-in” ceremony last Sunday at Station 2 on the Beaumont Highway. The occasion was the start of service for their newest fire engine, a specially designed high-water truck by W. S. Darley & Co. of Itasca, Illinois.

In addition, the event included the “pinning” of two probationary fireman to full status in the department. These new firemen are Joshua Simmonds and Diego Villarreal. Four junior firemen were also promoted at this time.

Chief Sidney Webb explained to the invited crowd that the department had four of the new specially-designed high water trucks on order, and due for service in the next month. One each will be assigned to the existing stations on C.E. King Parkway, Beaumont Highway, South Lake Houston Parkway at Beltway 8, and the new station scheduled for Uvalde at Kinsman.

FIREMEN at Station 2 on Beaumont Highway at the Push-in Ceremony last Sunday. At right, Chief Sydney Webb and Assistant Chief Roland Balderas.

Chief Webb announced that the new station would break ground this month, will include administration offices as well as firefighting equipment, and would be about 21,900 sq. ft. and costing about $14 million dollars. It will go into service by November 2022.

As the Sheldon area has grown quickly over the past few years, the SCF&R department has grown also, and is now responsible for an area of about 60 square miles, with 175,000 residents.