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North Channel Star

Judge ends Arkema trial with no convictions

August 25, until September 2, 2017 Hurricane Harvey brought a historic deluge, flooding knocked out power and refrigeration units were lost. Organic peroxides blazed after all cooling methods failed.As warned by company executives at a press briefing at Crosby Volunteer Fire Department Station Two in Newport, trailers containing chemicals that become volatile at normal temperatures explode outside a warehouse at Arkema Chemical Crosby. About 200 locals were evacuated and 21 first responders were treated at local hospitals.

By Lewis Spearman

HOUSTON – On October 1, Arkema SA and executives were acquitted of criminal charges related to events that followed Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Arkema executives were charged with the crime of felony assault related to failure to provide adequate emergency response information related to first responders entering into a location with toxic fumes. The company was earlier similarly indicted for failure to assess risks.

Although the acquittal bears directly on the responsibility of the company it does not necessarily end the lawsuits related to the incidents.

The same judge found that prosecutors had committed unintentional misconduct.

A 2018 US Chemical Safety Board final report indicated that Arkema had not considered flooding a “credible risk” although it is within the flooding plain and that agency urged better preparation for extreme weather.

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BATTLE OF CHAMPIONS & VIRUS: North Shore Mustangs 38, Shadow Creek Sharks 21

First Score of the 2020 season was made on a 15 yard run by #24 Mustang running back senior Brannon Davis with the help of (photo right) Jhalyn Bailey #6 pushing Shark player away and (photo left) and #76 Tyler Edwards putting two Sharks on the turf. (Photos by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail

Friday, September 25, 2020 at the Galena Park ISD stadium, the 2019 defending 6A Region III District 21 state champion North Shore (NS) Mustangs (38) clashed with the 2019 defending state champion 5A Shadow Creek Sharks (21). Shadow Creek High School is located in Pearland, and in the Alvin school district. This year the Sharks moved up to 6A Region III District 23.

Due to the deadly Covid 19 virus and the need to social distance 6 feet apart, the game was played before a half capacity crowd. Spectators were required to wear face masks, which muffled their cheering; that took the crowd noise out of the game.

The officials of the two school districts decided not to allow cheerleaders and halftime bands to perform, so as to eliminate those students from passing the virus to one another. Many high schools have canceled their football season altogether due to the virus threat.

The U. S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention says COVID-19 can spread through the air. Texas is one of the leading states in the nation with contagious coronavirus cases.

In this most highly anticipated high school game of the season, the battle of champions was considered the nation’s high school highlight to kickoff the football season. It pitted the state’s number one rated Mustang quarterback, Demetrius Davis against the number two rated quarterback, Sharks’ Kyron Jones.

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Garcia proposes County tax cut

HARRIS COUNTY – Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia proposed this week a motion to cut Harris County property tax rates. The motion was approved by Commissioners Court unanimously. The Garcia plan proposes a rate that will save taxpayers 1.3 cents per $100 of assessed value on their homes. The plan not only saves taxpayers money, it also still funds crucial priorities such as Flood Control and Harris Health.

“This will be our first consecutive tax reduction in at least ten years, and I’m proud to have proposed the motion to put us on a path toward a rate cut. As we all deal with a pandemic and economic crisis, my hope is that property tax relief will help our neighbors who are struggling. At the same time, essential county services must remain a priority — to both support the local economy, as well as to keep us prepared for any future challenges. (more…)

Legacy Health Clinics open in two Galena Park schools

Pictured (left to right): Mr. Kenneth Bryant, principal of North Shore 10th Grade Center, Dr. Angi Williams, Retired GPISD Superintendent of Schools, Dr. John Moore, Superintendent of Schools, and Dr. Wiley Johnson, Deputy Principal of North Shore Senior High School

On Wednesday, September 16, 2020, Galena Park I.S.D. (GPISD) hosted the Legacy Community Clinic Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Open House at North Shore Senior High School and Green Valley Elementary School.

The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was hosted by the North Channel Area Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. John Moore, Galena Park I.S.D. Superintendent of Schools, was joined by Dr. Angi Williams, retired GPISD Superintendent of Schools, the Galena Park I.S.D. Board of Trustees, Senator Carol Alvarado, Legacy Community Health personnel, and the principals of Green Valley Elementary, North Shore 10th Grade Center and North Shore Senior High School to cut the ribbon.

Legacy Community Health (Legacy) is the largest federally qualified health center in Texas and a first-of-its-kind in our District with a clinic inside Green Valley Elementary School and North Shore Senior High School for students and their siblings to visit. Legacy is committed to providing access to affordable, high quality healthcare for children by providing a variety of pediatric and behavioral health services. The clinics have telemedicine options for students with special accommodations for in-person visits or on an as-needed basis.

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THREE NEW DRONES: Jacinto City’s Eyes in the Sky

ABOVE: A flying drone plane took this photo 150 feet up in the air of the two communication workers (center of photo) removing the obsolete equipment from the water tower. Workers used the crane’s hook and cable to take the equipment off the towers handrail and lower it to the ground. (Photo by Lt. Mark Longrigg, Jacinto City Police Drone Operator)

By Allan Jamail

September 21, 2020 – Jacinto City’s newest budget has provided for acquiring three drone planes to improve city services and to make it safer for emergency personnel.

City Manager Lon Squyres said the city’s police, fire and emergency management departments each has one. The drones have speakers, night lights as well as infra red night vision cameras, costing about $4,500 each.

Lt. Mark Longrigg one of the police department’s drone operators said, “These drones are and will be used for many purposes, such as assisting us in locating lost children, elderly and etc. Ariel surveillance to locate suspects, suspect vehicles, etc. We’ll use them to access locations that might be inaccessible to patrol vehicles and personnel.”

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has restrictions on where drones can and cannot fly, rules regarding air space use and they cannot be flown over 400 feet high.

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FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS BURN, HS FOOTBALL RETURNS

BY LEWIS SPEARMAN

NORTHEAST HARRIS COUNTY – The approach of fall like weather did herald the return of Friday night lights to local football fields, although many locals feared COVID 19 would forestall this season.

Due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, Galena Park I.S.D. Athletic Facilities will be at limited capacity for the 2020- 2021 season. North Shore Mustang and Galena Park Yellow Jacket fans can watch all home games live, on the new GPISD Athletics YouTube Channel. Although you will not be able to cheer on your team in person, we hope you will root on the Mustangs or Yellow Jackets from afar for each home game.

GALENA PARK

Galena Park plays Baytown Lee in a non-conference game Friday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m.

October 2 the Yellow Jackets stay home to take on Caney Creek of Conroe in a non-conference game.

Friday, Oct. 9 the Yellow Jackets travel to Missouri City, Texas to play Fort Bend Marshall in a conference game.

Baytown Sterling comes to town Oct. 16 at 7:00 for a conference game.

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THEA/SJRC Zoom meeting: Waste Pits schedule extended 160 days

Map of Southern Impoundment. Colors indicate the depth below the surface at which toxic material exceeding >240 ng/kg was found. Dark Green is the worst, at 4 feet. Red indicates the material is 10 feet below the surface. Market Street south of I-10 is the street shown.

HIGHLANDS – Concerns for the Coronavirus have put a temporary end to public meetings regarding the remediation of the toxic waste pits in the San Jacinto River.

But twice this month, Jackie Young Medcalf, the director of the San Jacinto River Coalition and THEA, held ZOOM meetings on July 1 and 15, to inform the public on the status of the remediation project for the pits.

The concentration of meetings was due to the release by the EPA of the 30% RD, or Remedial Design documents. There were over 30,000 pages of data and narrative, covering the Northern and Southern impoundment areas, and the Sand Separation area.

In addition to the report, EPA confirmed that the toxic material was deeper than first thought, and that remediation would take longer than announced.

The time line has stretched from a 2 year project, to now what is expected to take 7 years to complete, according to the engineering consultant, GHD Corp. On top of that, Jackie announced in the July 15 Zoom meeting that EPA had just granted a 160 day extension to the start of the project, moving it well into the year 2028. This will likely conflict with TxDOT’s plans to replace the I-10 bridge with a higher, wider highway.

Jackie said that in examining the RD documents, she was concerned about omissions and inconsistencies. She said that there was not enough “due diligence” exhibited in the work process, nor transparency. In the health and safety section of the RD, she said it was too generic and did not address the specific problems of this site, such as barge traffic and weather extremes such as hurricanes and floods.

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Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month

Felicitas Gómez Martínez de Mendez with her husband Gonzalo Méndez. In 1946, Mendez and her husband Gonzalo led an educational civil rights battle that set an important legal precedent for ending segregation in the United States.

National Hispanic Heritage Month September 15 – October 15

By Allan Jamail

Today, September 15, 2020, marks the beginning of a month long celebration recognizing the contributions Hispanics have contributed to the United States. National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.

Allan Jamail, North Channel Star writer said, “I write this article to honor Puerto Rican civil rights pioneer Felicitas Mendez.” She is a Puerto Rican immigrant and her husband Gonzalo took on California school segregation laws after their three children were denied entry at a local elementary school because of their skin color in 1944.

The success of the Mendez v. Westminster case made California the first state in the nation to end segregation in school. This paved the way for the better-known Brown v. Board of Education when Blacks were also denied an education in a segregated White school. It was this case which would bring an end to school segregation in the entire country.

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a proclamation to establish Hispanic Heritage Week. In the proclamation, the 36th president wrote, “The people of Hispanic descent are the heirs of missionaries, captains, soldiers, and farmers who were motivated by a young spirit of adventure, and a desire to settle freely in a free land. This heritage is ours.”

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Lake Houston Trump rally displays fervor

Out of Atascocita, eastbound the south end of the McKay Bridge is lined with cars, rescue vehicles, and cheering President Donald R. Trump supporters. Boats and vehicles were on both sides of the bridge and in the lake.

HUFFMAN – The day national polls talked about a lack of enthusiasm by Latinos and a five point slip in the polls for the Democratic Presidential Candidate since the selection of a Vice Presidential running mate, Kamala Harris, locally, the zeal of the Republican ticket was abundant on Lake Houston.

The Lake Houston Marina and the Lake Houston Brewery east on both sides of the McKay Bridge were stages for Lake Houston Party Boaters, a group of about 458 members, to launch close to 800 water craft for the Big T 2020 Parade at 2:00 p.m. last Saturday.

That was a follow up from the Lake Houston Fun Run where participants donated $10 to benefit Texas Adaptive Aquatics. Awards were presented after the event at Lake Houston Brewery. The held a captains meeting at 1:00 p.m. to advise of safety precautions and distancing.

That group was joined in the parade by Lake Houston Voters for Trump sporting about 383 members that describe themselves as “A group of people to support Trump, like to keep their own money and have fun. They simultaneously launched Trump 2020 – Lake Houston Boat Parade.

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Census Parade emphasizes the need to Be Counted

Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia speaks about the need for everyone to register in the Census which is soon drawing to a conclusion. Garcia was talking at the BakerRipley center in East Aldine, along with others including East Aldine’s Richard Cantu, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Pct. 2 Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia, Pct. 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis, State Representative Armando Walle, and BakerRipley president Claudia Aguirre.

Sylvia Garcia, County and City leaders join in effort

HARRIS COUNTY – U.S. Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia has organized an intense public effort to count as many residents of the area as possible, stating that federal dollars that are sent to the state, county, and city are dependent upon the number of people counted and living in the area.

To draw attention to the need to sign up in the Census, Garcia and other community leaders have organized “Census Caravans” that drive through neighborhoods and urge residents to complete their census forms. Garcia says it only takes 5 minutes to complete the questionnaire, and can be done in several different ways.

Last Saturday the Census Caravan drove through the streets of East Aldine. Authorities have noted that this is one of the areas where only a small percentage of the residents have registered.

Prior to the Caravan leaving on its neighborhood tour, community leaders spoke on the importance of a complete census count.

Mayor Turner noted in his remarks that only 40% of the eligible residents in the city have been counted so far. Only a few weeks remain until September 30, when the Census Bureau stops its field activities of counting. This includes door-knocking, online responses, over the phone, and by mail. After that the bureau will make adjustments and assumptions, and deliver a final count by December 31.

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Pct. 2 provides “Study Zones” at Rotary Pavilion

STUDY ZONE at the North Shore Rotary Pavilion, behind the Fonteno Courthouse.

NORTH CHANNEL – Harris County Precinct 2 is now offering study zones with free wi-fi access for the community at the North Shore Rotary Pavilion located at 14350 1/2 Wallisville Rd, behind the Fonteno Courthouse.

Students and parents are welcome to study and use for virtual learning. The Study Zone is open daily, from 8am to 6pm. Additionally, the Harris County Public Library will be onsite every Tuesday from 12 noon to 4pm with their mobile library providing e-cards, support with their digital material and book give-away services.

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