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North Channel Star

OBAMACARE: Sebelius in Houston to promote ACA sign-ups

GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES (left to right) Rep. Gene Green, Rep. Al Green, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.
GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES (left to right) Rep. Gene Green, Rep. Al Green, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.

(Houston, TX) — On Friday, December 20, 2013, Rep. Al Green (TX-09) joined Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Reps. Gene Green and Sheila Jackson Lee, as well as enrollees in the Health Insurance Marketplaces at the Magnolia Multi-Service Center for a discussion and press conference on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

“The Affordable Care Act is working. It’s working for senior citizens by closing the doughnut hole, which requires them to pay more for pharmaceuticals, it’s working for persons under 26 years of age by allowing them to stay on their parents’ insurance policies, and it’s working for young people with preexisting conditions by allowing them to get insurance coverage,” Congressman Al Green said. “Next year, it will work even better when persons young and old with preexisting conditions will have the opportunity to get insurance coverage and many persons will have their coverage subsidized to some extent. Better coverage at less cost for more Americans that’s what the Affordable Care Act is all about.”

COMMUNITY PROFILE: Silver Plating specialist at Pineforest Jewelry

JONI McMAHAN of Bron-Shoe Company (at right) and Jim Mills of Pineforest Jewelry help a customer order silver restoration on a beautiful set of silver urns, seen on the table.
JONI McMAHAN of Bron-Shoe Company (at right) and Jim Mills of Pineforest Jewelry help a customer order silver restoration on a beautiful set of silver urns, seen on the table.

Joni McMahan is spending the day last Tuesday at Pineforest Jewelry in North Shore, helping customers evaluate their silver settings and order repair and restoration work from her company. Joni works for Bron-Shoe, one of the few remaining silver repair businesses in the United States. They have a 40,000 sq. ft. plant in Columbus, Ohio and 30 employees busy with their special restoration skills.

Joni travels all over the country, year-round, meeting customers and explaining the special processes that BronShoe has used since their founding in 1934.

Before she entered the world of silver restoration, in her home town, she was a real estate sales manager, over 30 employees, in Sarasota, Florida. She won several awards for this work, and laughs at the fact that the last award she received was bestowed on her in Houston. She explains that her family was in Columbus, and eventually she returned there.

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Development of Greens Bayou Corridor includes new Foster Park

Chamber hears of new canoe & kayak launch

Jill BoullionThe Greens Bayou Corridor is a 45 mile long stretch of potentially beautiful natural parks and recreation facilities, and flood control protection for the future, according to the Chamber’s February luncheon speaker, Jill Boullion, Executive Director of the GBCC.

Boullion said the length of the bayou is divided into four sections, and the South section runs from US90 to the Buffalo Bayou through the North Shore area. It serves a watershed of 212 sq. miles, with over 550,000 people living and depending upon it.

The Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition came about after the bad flooding of Tropical Storm Alison in June 2001, when a group of people including the Harris County Flood Control District decided a coordinated effort was needed to avoid future flooding, and at the same time develop the land along the bayou.

The mission of the GBCC is flood remediation, development of recreation facilities, economic development, and improvement in quality of life.

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Channelview ISD attendance and graduation rates gain

attendance graduation ratesGraduation, attendance and academic achievement rates in the Channelview Independent School District are at exemplary levels, according to results from the Texas Academic Performance Report.

The graduation rate of Channelview High School students topped 91.1 percent, which is above the state average of 87.7 percent. District attendance rates also stood out at 96.8 percent, ahead of the state totals of 95.9 percent. As further evidence of the district’s efforts to keep students in school, Channelview’s dropout rate averaged 1.7 percent, as compared to the state average of 2.4 percent.

News of the high attendance and graduation rates shared the spotlight with the district’s academic success as students achieved the Texas Education Agency’s highest rating of “Met Standard” on the State of Texas Assessments for Academic Readiness (STAAR) tests.

Over the past seven years, Channelview’s academic progress has shown an upward trend. During the final two years of the previous state accountability system, CISD was rated as a Texas Recognized District. In that time, attendance rates also continued to improve.

“Our teachers are finding innovative ways to reach our students and it is obviously showing in terms of student achievement and attendance,” said Greg Ollis, Channelview ISD superintendent. “The constant improvement shows that students are extremely engaged in what they are learning which gives them a sense of enthusiasm about coming to school.”

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COMMUNITY PROFILE: Marathon Woman, June Harris

JUNE HARRIS, center, receives an award as the Chamber Foundation president, at the North Channel Chamber Gala on Jan. 25.
JUNE HARRIS, center, receives an award as the Chamber Foundation president, at the North Channel Chamber Gala on Jan. 25.

June Harris doesn’t know when to quit. I met her for the first time at the Chamber Veterans Day EXPO, and she had just run the New York Marathon race. But this was her third try, and the only successful one. In 2011 she went to New York to run, but became sick and couldn’t compete. So she went back in 2012, and then Hurricane Sandy hit, and the race was cancelled. So in 2013, she tried once again, and suceeded with a time of 4:53:46.

Harris is a devoted runner, having competed in 32 marathons and 6 ultras. This year she also ran the Houston Marathon for the 15th time, receiving a commemorative shirt for the accomplishment.

Harris started running marathons in 1999 in Houston, but has also run in Washington DC in the Marine Corps run 6 times, and last year ran in a marathon in Paris. Prior to 1999 she only ran 10K runs.

Her time this year in the Houston marathon was 4:56 and she noted that was not nearly as good as her best time, 4:37 several years ago.

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Woman strangled by boyfriend

Jerry Fain charged with murder for strangling his girlfriend.
Jerry Fain charged with murder for strangling his girlfriend.

A man is accused of strangling his girlfriend, who was found dead in her Channelview home.

On Wednesday morning, February 5, deputies responded to a report of a death at 15425 North Brentwood in east Harris County. Upon their arrival they found the body of April Cobb inside the residence.

Cobb’s three daughters awoke to finds signs of a struggle and Cobb’s body lying on the floor. Deputies say the mother of three had been strangled to death.

Her boyfriend, Jerry Fain, is now charged with the murder. Deputies did not reveal any information about Fain’s arrest.

Fain is being held in the Harris County Jail without bond.

Friends say they are planning to hold a benefit on Feb. 15 to aid the Cobb family at Joe Koolz Rock’n Country Saloon in Crosby.

CISD receives high ratings for fiscal responsibility

The Channelview Independent School District’s commitment to continued academic progress and cost-effective operations earned high ratings as part of the Texas Comptrollers’ Office (FAST) Financial Allocation Study for Texas report.

Channelview ISD received 4.5 stars out of five under the ratings system. Each district and campus is assigned a FAST rating of one to five stars, indicating its success in combining costeffective spending with the achievement of measurable student academic progress. The FAST study examines both academic progress and spending at Texas’ school districts and individual school campuses.

“I am extremely proud of the academic progress of our students,” said Greg Ollis, Channelview ISD superintendent. “The academic achievement in our district continues to increase despite the funding challenges facing the district and similar districts in our area and across the state.”

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Debra Duncan entertains members at Chamber Gala

DEBORAH DUNCAN, well known TV personality on KHOU-TV Channel 11, was the featured speaker at the 37th Annual Chamber Gala.
DEBORAH DUNCAN, well known TV personality on KHOU-TV Channel 11, was the featured speaker at the 37th Annual Chamber Gala.

Life’s Lessons in a humorous manner

HOUSTON – It was certainly a Gala Evening, as several hundred Chamber members, guests and friends gathered last Jan. 25th at the Houston Hobby Airport Marriott hotel, for the 37th Annual Gala event. An exquisite meal, served with candlelight and wine, set the tone for the evening.

The featured speaker was Deborah Duncan, emmy award winning TV host of the program Great Day Houston. Prior to Houston, she was a radio and TV personality in Austin, Dallas and New York.

After telling a bit about her life, including amusing tales of her “evil sister” that she had to compete with, and her military family’s travels through Taiwan, Japan, Texas and elsewhere, she turned to stories of her community service, and the “Life’s Lessons” that she gleaned from that.

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EPA Meeting reveals the dangers of toxins in the San Jacinto River near Channelview

Fred Lewis, president of TexansTogether, confronts EPA Project Man- ager Gary Miller with a series of questions regarding the lack of envi- ronmental health studies by the state and federal agencies, and the standards being used by EPA to make judgments on the Waste Pits.
Fred Lewis, president of TexansTogether, confronts EPA Project Manager Gary Miller with a series of questions regarding the lack of environmental health studies by the state and federal agencies, and the standards being used by EPA to make judgments on the Waste Pits.

HIGHLANDS – At a public meeting here to review progress in removing toxic waste in the San Jacinto river, Channelview residents learned of the status of the deposits near their community. EPA’s Gary Miller revealed a new bit of information of grave importance: the South Impoundment, which until now has not been part of this study, is larger and contains more toxins than the North pits, and will become the next step in the Superfund study. This area therefore threatens homes in the Channelview and west bank areas.

Over one hundred local residents packed the San Jacinto Community Center last Thursday night, Jan. 30, for a public meeting to hear the federal EPA, or Environmental Protection Agency, report on the status of work to solve the toxins in the waste pits in the San Jacinto River. They presented six options ranging from cover in place, to full removal of the contaminated sediment.

After listening to a long presentation and slide show from the EPA staff, which seemed similar to the presentation exactly one year ago, but in slightly more detail, the audience focused on the sixth and final scheme, which promised complete removal of the toxic material. EPA project manager Gary Miller explained that this option had pros and cons.

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NC Chamber installs new board, Buentello as new President

NEW CHAMBER PRESIDENT MARGIE BUENTELLO poses with outgoing board chair Wilfred Broussard, Jr. and new chair Greg Ollis.
NEW CHAMBER PRESIDENT MARGIE BUENTELLO poses with outgoing board chair Wilfred Broussard, Jr. and new chair Greg Ollis.

NORTH CHANNEL – The Chamber Gala was the setting for the announcement, from new board chairman Greg Ollis, that Margie Buentello had been selected as the permanent President and CEO of the North Channel Chamber.

When Margie was named as interim President/CEO in September, upon the retirement of Dr. Charles Grant, then chair Wilfred Broussard, Jr. commented, “Her enthusiasm, dedication and knowledge of the Chamber’s day to day operations will serve her well in this new position.”

Margie has been working for the Chamber for 17 years, most recently as the Membership Assistant. In this role, she has provided assistance and guidance to chamber members and activities. In this role, she has had the opportunity to know each of the Chamber’s members first hand.

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