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North Channel Star

Growth spurs Houston Port to Fast-Track Channel Widening

The Port of Houston is working to accelerate the widening of its ship channel after reporting its third straight year of double-digit volume growth, much of it from a 51 percent jump in resin ex-ports.

In an interview Roger Guenther, executive director of Port of Houston Authority, said completing the $1 billion project is critical to the port’s future, enabling it to simultaneously handle two 14,000-TEU vessels, the largest that can pass through the Panama Canal. In order to complete the project in four to five years instead of the decade it would typically take, the port is executing the government approval process, design work, and financing simultaneously, rather than sequentially, he said.

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Congresswoman Garcia tours new pipefitters school

L – R: Business Agent John Guyon, Organizer Andrea Delagarza, Training Coordinator Kevin Bickerstaff, Business Manager Bryan Edwards, Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia, President Mark Baker, Business Agent Kenneth Waybright, HVAC Training Coordinator Randy Beal and Organizer Matt Patrick. (Allan Jamail Photo)

By Allan Jamail

Deer Park, TX. – February 18, 2020 — Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia toured the new, $4 million state-of-the-art Pipefitters Local 211 Apprentice School. While on the tour, Business Manager Bryan Edwards stopped briefly enough to present Garcia an award in recognition and appreciation for her long history of supporting and promoting organized labor.

Garcia’s district includes thousands of union jobs in the North Channel area and along and near the Houston Ship Channel. Local 211 have a couple thousand members in Garcia’s district as well. She has worked to secure union jobs first when she was as a County Commissioner, then Texas Senator, and now as a member of Congress. She believes organized labor gives workers a voice which allows them to report unsafe job conditions without fear of retaliation and provides a decent fair wage, with health benefits for the union member’s family and a respectable retirement pension.

Garcia said, “As someone who is one of ten children and grew up poor, I know the importance of a good paying job, and organized labor has historically stood up for working families and fought to ensure that they are treated with dignity and respect. That’s why I am such a strong supporter of organized labor.”

She advocates high school graduates to get a college education if possible, but for those who can’t for one reason or another, then a good trade union apprentice school can be a good alternative.

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Lady Mustangs Playoff win over Dobie Longhorns 50 – 40

#10 Makayla Patterson, senior Lady Mustangs leading scorer makes a 2 point fade-away-shot. She made 20 points in the game with 15 of them in the final period to seal the win. She made 90 percent of her free throws. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail

Pasadena, TX. – February 17, 2020, on a neutral court, the GPISD North Shore Mustangs girls’ varsity basketball team won Monday’s playoff game against Dobie (Houston, TX) by a score of 50-40. The games are a part of the “2020 Girls State Basketball Championships – 6A Regions 1 & 3” tournament.

Mustangs Head Coach Allison Campbell brought her team out after trailing at halftime to outscore the Longhorns in the second half 28 to 17. By pulling out a victory they will now advance to play Clear Springs (League City, TX) on Thursday, February 20th, at 6 pm. The results will be in the next issue of the North Channel Star.

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Early voting underway

You have until Friday, February 28th to vote early in the 2020 primary election! Election Day is Tuesday, March 3rd. Texas has open primaries. That means that ALL Texas voters can participate. The Texas primary is an extremely important election in Texas!

All Texans’ ballots will include the statewide races, but the rest of the races on there will be determined by where you live. On the federal level, Texans are divided among 36 congressional districts. On the state level, Texans are divided into 150 House districts, 31 Senate districts and 15 State Board of Education districts. All congressional and Texas House districts are up for election this year, along with one U.S. Senate seat, several Texas Senate seats and eight State Board of Education seats.

Remember to bring an acceptable form of photo ID to the polls to cast your ballot.

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Lynchburg Ferry closing for repairs

HARRIS COUNTY – Motorists should prepare for the Lynchburg Ferry to be closed starting Tuesday, February 25th until late 2020 for necessary improvements to preserve the longevity of its operations. During this closure, crews will be reconstructing the approaches and transfer ramps that Lynchburg Ferry Boats use to dock. The $6 million project is a joint venture between Harris County Precinct 2 and the Texas Department of Transportation, who is overseeing construction of the project.

Starting March 1, 2020, the Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) will manage operations of the Lynchburg Ferry and Washburn Tunnel. This includes overseeing daily operations, maintenance, capital expenditures, and public inquiries for both facilities. Per the Commissioners Court meeting held on June 25, 2019, these facilities will be transferred to the Toll Road Authority without the imposition of tolls. Drivers should expect no changes to operations when utilizing the Ferry or Tunnel, and no current employees will lose their jobs.

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Group battles to bring Battleship to Baytown

CONCEPTUAL SKETCH shows Battleship Texas and a new hotel/convention center located next to the existing Bayland Marina and O’Neal’s restaurant.

A group of citizens from Baytown are still hoping to win the competition to locate the Battleship Texas in a new port, at Bayland Marina. The spokesman for the group, Russell Hamman, gave a talk to the Highlands Rotary Club on Tuesday, reviewing the history of the ship and its current need of repairs.

The State of Texas has turned the ownership and control of the ship to the Battleship Texas Foundation, a private organization headed by Bruce Bramlett. They have issued an RFP, or Request For Proposals, for interested locales or groups that would be able to maintain and exhibit the ship in the proper manner to benefit the public and the foundation.

The RFP is due to be returned by March 13, and at that time proposals will be evaluated and a decision made as to a home port for the ship. At the current time, it is thought that Baytown, Kemah, and Corpus Christi are the interested parties. At one time Galveston was interested, but recent statements indicate they are involved in other projects and do not want to compete for the Battleship, Hamman said.

The State of Texas has allocated $35 million dollars to move the ship to a repair facility, probably along the Gulf Coast east of New Orleans, and to also help establish a new setting for display and visits from the public.

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San Jacinto College launches program to provide full tuition to eligible students

PASADENA, Texas — In partnership with Good Reason Houston, San Jacinto College has launched the Harris County Promise at San Jacinto College, a program for local high school seniors to earn a tuition-free higher education credential.

Harris County Promise is a partnership between local independent school districts, higher education institutions, and Good Reason Houston aimed at increasing college credential and degree attainment for the region. Data shows that 65 percent of today’s jobs require more than a high school education, but only 21 percent of students in Harris County earn a postsecondary credential.

“Harris County Promise provides an incredible opportunity for high school students and their families,” said Dr. Brenda Hellyer, San Jacinto College Chancellor. “The Promise and college staffs will partner to provide additional support for our students to enroll in college, stay on a path to completion, and ultimately earn their certificate or associate degree.”

The Promise program launched last month in seven high schools across three school districts with three community college partners. The participating high schools in the San Jac Promise program are from Pasadena ISD. Seniors at Dobie, Sam Rayburn, and South Houston High Schools are eligible for the tuition-free program, which requires that students be Texas residents and complete four steps to enroll, regardless of GPA or family income.

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Mustang’s Football Fan Appreciation Day

Government officials and or representatives recognizing North Shore Mustang’s Coach Jon Kay, assistant coaches and team for their UIL Class 6A Division I successful history making 2018 – 2019 back to back State Football Championships. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail

Galena Park ISD Stadium – Saturday, February 1, 2020, the North Shore Mustangs Fan Nation came out in the thousands to cheer and applaud their team for their historical successful season. The team has given a sense of pride to the east side community. In a rematch game with the Duncanville Panthers — who the Mustangs defeated in 2018 — they once again won 31 to17 in 2019. For the first time in the University Interscholastic League (UIL) Class 6A Division I has a team won back to back consecutive state championships games.

While the Eastside Team watched and listened to local governmental officials and or their representatives, each gave their remarks praising Coach Jon Kay, assistant coaches, Athletic Director Vivian Dancy, and all those in the GPISD who had a part in the accomplishment.

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Sheldon ISD calls for 2020 Bond Election

Sheldon ISD school board members who attended Tuesday’s workshop unanimously voted to call a May bond election in the amount of $438.8 million.

The majority of the bond funds would be allocated toward the construction of new campuses; expansions and renovations to existing campuses/district facilities; and security upgrades. Other portions of the bond would include a new multipurpose arena as well as a community/ district natatorium.

“We have been experiencing tremendous student growth throughout the district over the past few years – really over the past decade,” Sheldon ISD Superintendent Dr. King Davis said. “Although most of our student growth was anticipated, there has been a recent influx of significant future developments within our district that most likely will impact our student enrollment numbers in the near future.”

Some of these future developments Dr. Davis was alluding to include two new apartment complexes (projected 378 combined units), the new Imperial Forest Edition near Royalwood Elementary (projected 326 homes), and another proposed housing development near Garrett Elementary.

“According to our PEIMS data, Sheldon ISD’s enrollment has increased by approximately 734 students since last school year alone,” Dr. Davis said. “I appreciate our board’s proactive approach to address these current and future capacity issues.”

Dr. Davis said the bond, if approved, would be spread out into three phases.

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