HOW MUCH AM I BIDDING FOR THIS SOMBRERO? This was one of many auction items at last week’s Galena Park/Jacinto City Rotary Club’s “Million Dollar Dinner.” Thanks to many sponsors and bidders, the club raised $10,000 for GP High School scholarships. MORE PHOTOS on page 3 of the print edition.
GALENA PARK, Texas – Commissioner Jack Morman is excited to announce the start of the Federal Road Reconstruction Project for Monday, October 22nd. Improvements include demolishing the roadway to stabilize the subgrade, conducting drainage improvements, and pouring fresh concrete for a new, smooth roadway.
The $3.8 million project will improve the roadway from the Washburn Tunnel traffic circle to the new bridge being built over the railroad tracks.
“The new bridge is a great project on its own, but we wanted to take improvements to the next level by completely redoing the roadway leading to it,” said Commissioner Morman. “We have asked the contractors for both projects to work on their traffic control plans together to reduce impacts to the area.”
Drivers are reminded to travel with caution through the construction zone or use alternate routes, if possible. Roadway construction is expected to be complete in the third quarter of 2019, while bridge construction is expected to be complete late 2020.
City government in Galena Park finds itself in a state of change once again, as a leading City Commissioner has resigned from the board, with no reason given.
Barry Ponder, a leader of a group known as “Citizens for A Better Galena Park” and a Commissioner since elected in 2017, sent a letter to the city secretary with his resignation. Although missing from all commission meetings since the date of his letter, August 22, the commission has made no public announcement of this resignation or acknowledged his absence. City Attorney Robert Collins told the North Channel Star that the city has up to 120 days, by state law, to appoint a replacement. This replacement would be voted on by the Commission. After 120 days, if no action is taken, the city must hold a special election to replace Ponder.
COMMISSIONER RODNEY CHERSKY
A number of citizens have questioned whether another Commissioner, Rodney Chersky, is qualified to hold his seat on the board because he no longer resides in the city.
Although the city charter says that you must be a resident if you run for office, Collins explained to the Star that even though Chersky announced that he had moved into Houston in July, the charter says he can hold the seat until June 1st of the next year, or until a general election is held. However, Collins said this is his interpretation, and will ask for a ruling from the Texas Attorney General.
Attorney Collins addressed this situation publicly at the last Commission meeting on October 2nd. He also noted that Chersky plans to move back into Galena Park, which may make this problem moot.
INVESTIGATION BY ATTORNEY GENERAL
The North Channel Star has learned that a number of citizens of Galena Park have been interviewed recently by a representative of the Texas Attorney General, Sergeant Mark Richardson. (more…)
Galena Park, TX. – September 17, 2018 – The Galena Manor Civic Club at their monthly meeting honored retiring President Eronia “Taggy” Hall. Hall was presented an engraved award by Rosemary Coreathers, the new President thanking her for the 8 years of loyal and faithful service to the civic club.
State Representative Ana Hernandez presented a State of Texas recognition certificate commending President Hall for her positive contributions to the Galena Park citizenry. Former Galena Park Commissioner Barry Ponder said President Taggy Hall was responsible for bringing many issues to the City which resulted in improving the lives of the community.
HOUSTON, TX — Congressman Gene Green will be hosting his Annual Immunization Day on Saturday, August 11, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at North Shore Senior High School (Galena Park ISD), 353 North Castlegory, Houston, TX 77049. In addition to providing free immunizations for children, the event will give parents an opportunity to speak with Congressman Green about preventive health initiatives.
“Immunizations are one of the most important disease prevention steps we can take to protect our children,” said Green. “This is a great opportunity for children to get the shots they need for school at no cost.”
Parents are encouraged to bring their child’s immunization record to ensure that all necessary shots are received.
Bryan, TX — Disaster City — Monday, July 23, 2018 — Galena Park Fire Chief Paul Gregory took a group of his firefighters to Texas A & M College Station, which is in its 89th year of Fire Training and Emergency Responders Training, to upgrade emergency responders’ training and certification.
Chief Gregory, one of five hundred instructors there, said, “There’s about 1,800 emergency responders here from all over Texas who’ll have five days of extensive training and testing in various fields of firefighting, emergency rescue, hazardous materials and Emergency Medical Training.”
Disaster City is located in College Station, on a 52-acre training facility that delivers the full array of skills and techniques needed by today’s emergency response professionals. The site has a building collapse area, rubble pile area, technical skills training area, and a transportation disaster training area, to name a few. The training is realistic, large-scale, and hands-on, and attracts more than 45,000 emergency responders from all 50 states and more than 45 countries each year. (more…)
July 4, 2018 – Galena Park and Jacinto City had their annual 4th of July celebration. Earlier, parts of Harris County recorded record setting rains of 10” inches for this Independence Day. The 2 cities share the cost for the fireworks display, which brings thousands of celebrants to the area to see the 25 minute show.
Galena Park, TX. – Friday, June 15, 2018 — Mayor Esmeralda Moya and Police Commissioner Rodney Chersky presented 26 year retired Police Captain Ken Ponder a gold retirement badge and a proclamation signed by the mayor commending him for his honorable service to the city.
Chersky said before his and Moya’s time in office, the city failed to present retiring Captain Ken Ponder and Detective Tim D’Antonio their retirement badges.
“When I learned of it, I made Mayor Moya aware of it too. Mayor Moya adamantly agreed with me and told me to make sure this happened and that it happened soon! A retirement badge is something a police officer cherishes. This is a symbol from the department in which they’ve served and a keepsake for their own memories in their retirement years. (more…)
Galena Park, TX. — June 12, 2018 — The City of Galena Park has hired their 3rd Chief of Police in two years. Hiring a 30 year Galena Park police veteran, Sergeant James Michael Knox was sworn in Friday, June 8th.
After serving only 4 months, retired 30 year Houston Police Officer Richard “Rick” Gonzales was asked to resign. Gonzales said, “In February I got a call from former Sheriff Adrian Garcia who asked me for my resume. When I asked him what for, he replied, ‘The mayor of Galena Park is looking for a Police Chief and I need your resume immediately.’ Mayor Esmeralda Moya called me on February 22, 2018 and asked me to come to city hall the next day so she could swear me in as Interim Chief.
“I wasted no time meeting citizens, school administrators, heads of different departments, and business owners. The mayor said she was receiving good responses from the citizens regarding my presence in the community, and asked me to be the Chief as long as she was Mayor,” Gonzales said.
“I was under the impression I was to reduce crime and enhance the quality of life in the neighborhoods, I was doing that until the Mayor said for me to stop. I found the community tremendously divided, and my addressing issues of the community are not what the Mayor seems to want,” Gonzales said. Gonzales posted his resignation letter on his Facebook page.
Mayor Moya when asked about Gonzales’ short 4 month stint as chief, she said, “I was getting lots of complaints from officers in the police department about the way Gonzales was supervising and other issues we heard were going on. If true, this wasn’t what we wanted. I had to make a change for the betterment of the department and the city. I was going to ask him to resign because I didn’t want to fire him, and I think it’s best he resigned. I wish it hadn’t come to this but it did and we must learn from it and move on.”
New Interim Chief James Michael Knox is 57 years old. This will be his third time to serve as Interim Chief, having previously served as Interim Chief under Mayors James Havard and Bobby Barrett.
Galena Park, TX. – On Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 6:00 PM, Mayor Esmeralda Moya called the Galena Park Commission meeting to order. After a prayer and pledge to the flag the Commissioners unanimously approved the reading of the Minutes of the April 17th and May 1st meetings and the Accounts Payable through May 15th.
On a unanimous vote of approval the Commission approved Resolution R052018 accepting the results of the May 5th General Election.
Re-elected for a new two year term is, Mayor Esmeralda Moya, Commissioners Rodney Chersky and Barry Ponder. Newly elected Commissioners to begin their first term to serve are Zenaida Granados and Veronica Garcia.
Jamal Humphries, a candidate who lost in his race against Rodney Chersky, made a public comment. Humphries said, “I’m not crying about the results of the election nor are these sour grapes but, I want to point out the fact there were four voters who voted in the election that wasn’t on the Harris County’s approved voters list. I don’t know how this could have happened, but I’m concerned about it and will be monitoring future elections for irregularities”.
There was a standing room only attendance so the Mayor adjourned the meeting and invited everyone to come out front of city hall to witness the swearing-in and oath of office to the Commission by Justice of the Peace George Risner.
After the swearing-in ceremony Mayor Moya said, “On this day, we gather because we have chosen progress over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.”
“The City of Galena Park is a community where citizens work hand in hand. We the people of Galena Park are the keepers of this legacy. We the people of Galena Park have the responsibility to protect it and to demand a greater effort, greater cooperation and understanding from each other. We must inherit these values to our children and the children of our children who will continue with the work we have started today.”
Galena Park, TX. – On Tuesday, May 15th, 2018, the Galena Park/Jacinto City Rotary Club recognized Law Officers of the Year from police departments of Galena Park, Jacinto City and the Precinct 2 Constable’s Office.
Galena Park Interim Police Chief Rick Gonzales, since taking office in February, chose Sergeant Mike Knox, a 30 year veteran of the department, as the Officer of the Year. Gonzales said, “Sgt. Knox is my Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the department this year. Our department wouldn’t be the same without him; I quickly learned I could depend on him to take care of any assignment given.”
Jacinto City Police Chief Joe Ayala named Patrolman Ali Kamali as his officer of the year, calling him a true public servant. “His recognition comes due to his outstanding service to the community, he has a big heart and makes it a habit to check on the concerns of our elderly and at times he goes out of his way taking expenses out of his own pocket to make it better for someone in need,” Ayala said.