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Posts tagged as “Highlands”

Local Free Food programs serve Pct. 2

Constable Sherman Eagleton and deputies gave away brisket tacos last Thursday at Frank’s Collision Repair just South of US 90 on FM 2100. The barbecue was cooked right outside the shop.

HARRIS COUNTY PRECINCT 2 – Harris County Precinct 2 has three programs to distribute food to those that need it on a first come first serve basis.

The first thing to know is that most of the Harris County Community Centers have been closed unless there is a special program going on at one of them. For example, who knew they were testing for Covid-19 at the Crosby Community Center last weekend? The only centers still open are those that are centrally located within Precinct 2 such as Barrett Community Center, and J.D. Walker Community Center. They are servicing Highlands and Crosby and Huffman, to obtain food in the drive through programs.

Free Food Programs include the Senior Homebound Food Distribution Programs where about 300 meals are taken to the resident’s home a day if the senior registers online or by telephone and they are accepted.

“Secondly, we are doing what we call brown bag lunches at Community Centers on Mondays and Wednesdays and at our three parks on Tuesday and Thursdays on a weekly basis,” said Frida Villalobos, who heads the programs for Commissioner Adrian Garcia.

“On Fridays we are offering ‘Free Hot Meals’ at our Community Centers. We are contracting with local restaurants at the five community centers. So, each community center is offering 200 meals, so each business gets the opportunity to bid for the project and then they bring the food and families can come on a first come first serve basis and they get their meal,” concluded Villalobos.

The registration website is hcp2.com and the telephone number for those lacking internet is (713) 274-2222. Also on social media on the Precinct 2 page, there is constant updating for changes and opportunity.

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Collision on I-10 bridge flips car, kills 4 year old child

OFFICERS at the lower edge of this aerial photo peer down at the overturned sedan car that fell through the space between the highway lanes on the I-10 bridge over the San Jacinto River. The car collided with the red truck in the photo, as they merged into the same lane, flipped and fell. The car had 3 family members inside, and the 4 year old girl was crushed under the overturned auto. (photo KPRC)

EAST HARRIS COUNTY – A tragic accident on the I-10 bridge over the San Jacinto River, between Channelview and Highlands, took the life of a 4- year-old girl and critically injured her father.

The accident occurred Wednesday morning, about 7:00 am according to authorities, when a semi truck and a sedan collided in a westbound lane.

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez indicated the accident may have occurred when the semi tried to merge into the lane with the auto. Prosecutor Sean Teare, of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, said the truck swerved when a vehicle in front of the semi made an abrupt stop. Teare said that “this is just one of those convergence of events that ended in a horrible tragedy. Anybody who has driven in Houston knows that it happens all the time.”

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Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia hosts Community Meetings

Commissioner Adrian Garcia’s Advisory Board is hosting a series of community meetings in Precinct 2.

The meetings are a great opportunity for residents to share their vision for Precinct 2 and give input on topics such as education, health, flooding, housing and the environment.

The upcoming meetings will take place at different locations.

Please see below for the full list and Topics. (more…)

EPA sets public meeting May 7

Water samples from the Ship Channel contain at least 9 toxins in an oily slick.

SJRC reviews Superfund status

HIGHLANDS – At its regular monthly meeting, the San Jacinto River Coalition learned that the federal EPA had scheduled a community meeting in Highlands on Tuesday, May 7 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. This is one of the quarterly public meetings that the EPA promised to have on a regular schedule. They will update information on activities at the Superfund site, according the EPA spokesperson Janetta Coats.

At the same meeting, THEA president Jackie Young discussed the environmental impact that the ITC fire has had on the water quality of the river and ship channel. She displayed a bottle of water from the channel with heavy oil deposits.

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Barge damages I-10 bridge

THIS CONCRETE PIER, under the westbound lanes of I-10, was struck by an uncontrolled barge. TxDOT reported a structural failure both above and below the water line. They reported that they will let an emergency contract in a few days, for repairs and/or replacement of the pier. (Photo by We All Nosey)

Traffic flow severely throttled

Monday afternoon a barge, being pushed by a tug boat, the Lindberg Crosby, hit a support pier under the I-10 highway, severely damaging it.

TxDOT was forced to close the westbound lanes of the highway, until they could ascertain the extent of the damage. This caused a severe traffic jam from Highlands clear to the far side of Baytown. In addition, the entry ramp westbound at Four Corners was closed, and traffic backed up on all the side roads clear to Crosby. Some motorists headed north, to US90, but delays of over an hour were reported.

The Coast Guard told this newspaper that an investigation was underway, but did not have details on the cause of the collision at this time. Aerial photos on TV news showed the barge and a tug boat standing by just south of the highway.

TRAFFIC WESTBOUND at 4:33pm was blocked by TxDOT trucks and the police, as engineers assessed the damage. Later one lane was opened, and on Tuesday two lanes, but the on-ramp from Crosby-Lynchburg was closed, causing massive backups from Highlands to Crosby and Baytown. (Transtar Photo)

Environmentalists such as Jackie Young of the San Jacinto River Coalition, expressed concern that workers repairing the damaged pier might be exposed to toxins from the nearby waste pits, which occur on both the north and south sides of the highway. She also said that the occurrence of a barge out of control was another reason why the waste pits needed totally removed from the river.

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EPA expands Superfund interviews to two days in Highlands, with wrap-up session

Congressman Brian Babin examines the Geofabric materials to be used in the ongoing repairs of the cap over the toxic waste pits in the San Jacinto River. Babin visited the site in July, with EPA Region 6 Remedial Chief John Meyer.

Residents of Channelview, Cloverleaf, Lynchburg all invited

HIGHLANDS – Janetta Coats of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has announced that she will be in Highlands on Tuesday, Sept. 11 from 1pm to 5pm, and Wednesday, Sept. 12 from 1pm to 7pm, conducting one-on-one interviews with residents that have been affected by the waste pits, or have an opinion for the official CIP record. Interviews will take place at the Highlands Community Center, and last about one hour each. Everyone is welcome to participate, by calling Coats at 1-800-533- 3508 to schedule an interview. A Round Table Discussion will take place from 5pm to 6pm on Wednesday. Coats issued the following statement on the CIP interview process:

We appreciate your willingness to participate in the interview process to update the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Community Involvement Plan (CIP). The community interviews are conducted to gather information for the CIP. The interviews are a way to meet with community members and learn about their site-related needs, concerns, and expectations, as well as how the community gets information and prefers to received information from EPA.

The CIP is a required activity under the National Contingency Plan (NCP) to ensure the public appropriate opportunities for involvement is a wide variety to ensure public involvement. We will interview a broad range of people in order to gain the greatest variety of perspectives about the site, including PRPs, if needed.

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Theft of historic jewel leads to Highlands man

IMA HOGG BROOCH & CASE

Two people were arrested last Saturday by West Columbia police and the Brazoria County Sheriff’s department for the theft of a precious jewel from the historic Varner-Hoff Plantation Historic Site in West Columbia.

Arrested for the alleged theft were Carla Fuentes, 26, of Freeport, and Tirso Miguel Perez, 24, of Highlands, TX. Court records show that Perez has a history of as many as 13 theft convictions.

The pair tried to sell the brooch at a jewelry store, but the owner recognized the piece and called police. (more…)

SAN JACINTO RIVER WASTE PITS: EPA sets next Community Meeting for June 5th

This Superfund Progress Chart (the Snake) shows that the remediation process has reached the RD or Remedial Design phase.

HIGHLANDS – SJRC/THEA Executive Director Jackie Young announced Tuesday night, at the group’s regular monthly meeting, that the EPA has scheduled a public meeting on Tuesday, June 5th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, at the Highlands Community Center, for the purpose of informing the public of the status of the Waste Pits Superfund site, and the Settlement Agreement, and to answer questions and hear comments.

Young revealed that she had met with the EPA and others Tuesday, to get an update on EPA plans for the Waste Pits. The venue was an ad hoc group known as the Community Advisory Committee, which according to the EPA is supposed to meet regularly with a select local group interested in the Superfund Site. In fact, it has been several years since the group last met with its members.

Invited to this meeting were EPA representatives, Harris County Pollution Control, HC Attorney’s Office, MIMC (McGinnes), Galveston Bay Foundation, THEA, Texas Department of State Health Services, and Pct. 2 HC Commissioner’s office.

There were no public or media representatives invited.

Young said that at the CAC meeting, she learned that a substantial stockpile of rocks or crushed concrete, 1000 tons, used to repair damage to the cap on the waste pits, has been stored offsite but within 14 miles of the location.

Also she said that EPA announced that a key administrator, Albert Kelly, had resigned today. Kelly was the person that first visited the San Jacinto River site, and recommended to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt that he visit the site and put it on the Priority list. No reason was given for his resignation, she said.

Young emphasized that despite concerns about removing the San Jacinto River site from the Priority list, which was announced several weeks ago, she was assured by EPA that this was only procedural, and due to the Settlement Agreement, the Waste Pits remediation would continue to be a top priority and move ahead. She said that EPA told her “Political Changes should NOT impact the Clean-up.”

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EPA updates community on Waste Pits dioxin sampling, cap repairs

WORK BARGE has been in the San Jacinto River for several weeks, operating day and night to repair the textile membrane and rock cover over the cap, and replace material that eroded in the channel during the flood from Hurricane Harvey.

HIGHLANDS – The EPA (U. S. Environmental Protection Agency) held a much promised Community Involvement Meeting last Monday night at the Highlands Community Center. Over 100 persons from both sides of the San Jacinto River, and as far away as Galveston, attended to hear the latest news about EPA’s decision to require the toxic material in the river to be completely removed. They were also given an opportunity at the end of the presentation to ask questions of the EPA staff present.

A slide presentation was made by John Meyer, EPA chief of the Superfund Remedial Branch. Also present were other EPA staff, including the director of Region 6 Superfund sites, Carl Edlund. Others in the room represented TCEQ, Texas public health, Harris County Health department, solid waste department, and County Attorney Rock Owen.

Topics covered by Meyer included the ROD (Record of Decision), selected remedy, future activities, river channel stabilization work, and timetables.

EPA’s John Meyer, Chief, Superfund Remedial Branch, made a presentation to a full house last Monday night at the Highlands Community Center.

The major points made by Meyer were that the ROD had changed in response to the almost 7000 public comments; the criteria for toxin removal had been reduced from 200 ppt (parts per trillion) to 30 ppt, representing a much safer final environment; the design of the “dry” excavation will now include cofferdams to prevent any releases; therefore cost had increased from $97 million to $115 million, and construction time had increased from 19 months to 27 months; damage to the site from flooding after Hurricane Harvey had been evaluated, with 1000 survey points, and sampling of debris for toxins.

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WastePits update by Jackie Young

Young discusses ground water testing with some Highlands residents.

At the monthly meetings of the San Jacinto River Coalition, and related organizations, Jackie Young brought the audience up to date on testing of water quality that is underway.

Harris County Pollution Control department is conducting what it terms “Phase II” tests on previously untested wells, and director Bob Allen has said that 148 letters were sent to known well owners seeking consent to test their wells. These wells would be specifically tested for 17 contaminates know to be related to the sludge in the Waste Pits. Allen said that they know of about 15 wells on the west side of Highlands, and about 140 wells in the Channelview area that would qualify for these tests.

Young also revealed that two chickens from Lynchburg and their eggs had been tested for contaminates. Of 21 possible heavy metals that could be detected, 18 of them were present in the eggs. This suggested a serious health problem, she said, and indicated further tests of this type were necessary.

On the EPA activities related to the Superfund site, Young said that the government agency had “been very quiet” with no new information issued. She noted that they were busy reviewing the public comments that had been submitted, including 6000 individual comments, 48,000 petition signatures, and 2800 technical comments. She indicated that in spite of the change in administration at the EPA in Washington, there is no sign that it has affected the review work in Dallas related to the Waste Pits.

Young said that the final ROD, or Record Of Decision that will be the final plan for remediation, is due by the end of 2017. It will be made public at that time, and additional comments from the public will be possible.

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San Jac Coalition hears updates on pollution issues

At their regular monthly meetings, members of the San Jacinto River Coalition heard updates on various issues related to pollution in the waste pits in the river, and in their private water supply wells.

In addition, SJRC director Jackie Young brought the latest news from the EPA, and the representatives of the PRPs, or Potential Responsible Parties.

Harris County’s Rock Owens, who is managing attorney for the Environment and Infrastructure Practice Group in Vince Ryan’s office, reported to the audience that they had dropped the appeal of the lawsuit against International Paper Company. The county lost this suit in a jury trial, but contended that the trial judge withheld evidence that would have brought a different outcome. Attorney Owens said that their office had decided to drop the appeal because of the unlikely result they could win, and to focus their resources on other environmental problems.

Harris County Pollution Control director Bob Allen reported on the next phase in the county’s testing of private well water. He said that they had tested 101 wells in Channelview, Highlands, and Lynchburg, and found dioxin in all of them, but at levels that were considered not a risk to health. He said they now wanted to test the other wells in the area, and had sent out 148 letters and advertised in the local paper, to get consent to test more wells. They will be tested for 17 types of dioxin and furan. He said they know of about 15 wells on the west side of Highlands, and 140 wells in Channelview that might qualify for this additional testing. Information on this is available at pcs.harriscountytx.gov.

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