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Posts published in “Day: October 21, 2010”

McNerney leaves heritage in Crosby

By LEWIS SPEARMAN
CROSBY – Lest we forget that a loss of real person with a ready smile and quick humor, as deeply honorable and at the same time likable passed away on 10/10/10 and left this area last Saturday en route to Houston’s Veterans Memorial Cemetery.
Individuals sparsely lined Crosby Freeway’s Access Road with a Banner at Runneburg in route to Houston per a suggestion on the Crosby/Huffman Chamber of Commerce’s website that day. A troop of over 180 motorcycles made their way down the path to get on the Crosby Freeway proper at the start of the procession to the Veteran’s Memorial. Southeast Texas Patriot Guard Riders not only organized that troop but also provided a saluting guard on hand as the casket bearing McNerney’s remains into the hearse that would transport him to Veteran’s Memorial.

David McNerney participated in this community and remembrances, monuments are left here of his service to the local legion and a fond memory of who he was and how he lived the definition of honor.
On Sept. 11, this year, American Legion 658 in Crosby hosted a special ceremony attended by McNerney’s fellow combatants from Poli Doc, South Vietnam where he earned the Congressional Medal of Honor, according to former President L.B. Johnson on March 22, 1967. He was attended by William Sasser of Boulder, Colorado also a Medal of Honor recipient who returned to Crosby last Saturday to pay final respects. Other highly decorated veterans were welcomed to Crosby concerning the American Legion 658 placing an obelisk with McNerney’s image on each side as memorial to his service to the community and nation.
Many services were organized by his best friends including Jerald Blankenship. Who presided over much of Saturdays procession outside services and Eucharists preformed by Priests at Sacred Heart Catholic Church including Father O’Connor.
The liter that would bear his remains at the Houston ceremony had stayed inside Crosby Fairgrounds from Oklahoma by a special Medal of Honor Unit of the U.S.Army.
He told this reporter that he declined to take chemotherapy for the lung cancer that he was diagnosed to have last January because he had never seen anyone recover with it. He indicated that the cancer came from “who knows, maybe from agent orange over there or from being around all those ships for so long, nobody really knows.”
On Tuesday September 7, 2010 the Crosby High School JROTC department conducted a ceremony that designated the future JROTC building in honor of First Sergeant David H. McNerney then one of only 87 living Medal of Honor recipients.
A JROTC program officially began in October, 2003 with the hiring of Major Quenton Farr and Sergeant First Class Timothy Meadows. JROTC opened its first class with 167 cadets in January 2004 in one modular building. Since the start of the program JROTC has averaged an enrollment of 116 cadets per year. The JROTC program has earned the highest award of Honor Unit With Distinction on two consecutive federal inspections in 2007 and 2010.
Crosby ISD school trustees voted to build a $3 M. JROTC facility on August 16, 2010, dedicating and naming of the facility the “David H. McNerney JROTC Building” in honor of Crosby’s own Medal of Honor recipient.
Not only his military service was recognized but also he was honored by his longest employer after the military, the U.S. Customs Service under the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security hosted a special recognition of his service during a July 2 reception at American Legion Hut 658. Honors bestowed included many a plaque, several official documents, jewelry and recognizing of his service in clothing. McNerney says he learned during his service to the U.S. Customs “The most valuable possession you have is your name, never dishonor it.”
McNerney specialized in being the best drug interdiction officer in Houston during his service there. He helped catch 4 tons of marijuana on a single ship once. He then spent the night guarding his catch.

Waste pit containment could start in six weeks

HIGHLANDS—Efforts to contain hazardous materials leaking into the San Jacinto River from waste pits could start in as soon as six weeks, says the Environmental Protection Agency.
Speaking to a group assembled Monday in the San Jacinto Community Center, Valmichael Leos, a project manager with the EPA Region 6 office said that depending on the response by International Paper and McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corporation, which have been identified as the Potentially Responsible Party (PRP), construction on a containment berm could start in six weeks.

The berm, Leos said, would be a barrier designed to temporarily contain the contaminants until a permanent solution can be found. The EPA is asking for a barrier comprised of clean fill (earthen material, sand, rock and gravel) that can withstand a 100-year flood event.
That is the fly in the ointment. The PRPs have responded saying that the site only need only withstand a 10-year event. Leon said the EPA is in formal negotiations with the PRPs to settle the matter, along with other containment issues such as an emergency response plan in the event of a flood or other catastrophic danger to the containment.
The PRPs, Leos said, have two weeks to dispute the EPA’s workplan. After that construction can begin in 30 days. “Our best case scenario is six weeks,” Leos said. He said that once the PRPs submit their plan, the EPA would review it. If it is acceptable, the work can begin. If the EPA wants revisions to the PRP’s plan, then they have the right to counter those revisions and negotiations begin again.
Leos said that their primary goal is to “stabilize the source and keep t from going into the river.” He added that he suspected the PRP’s reluctance has to do with the expense of the project. He estimated the cost for the containment the EPA is asking for would be in the $7 million-range. A cost the PRP would have to pay from their own pockets.
Once the construction begins, completion is expected between six and nine months depending on weather conditions.
Located in along the western bank of the San Jacinto River just north of I-10, dangerous waste contaminated with a hazardous substance commonly known as dioxin, lies partially submerged in waters from the 1960s when it was dumped there by a paper mill company.
The waste pits are part of a federal EPA program known as Superfund to clean the site. Samples collected from sediment, water, fish and crab tissues both upstream and downstream from the site show elevated levels of dioxins above health-based benchmarks. Recent tests show a concentration of 360,000 parts per trillion (ppt). Anything over 1,000 ppt is considered an area of concern, Leos said.
The ingestion of dioxin is known to cause cancer, skin conditions, delay physical and neurological development and is known to have long-terms effects on the immune and reproductive systems.
The Harris County Attorney’s office had reached an agreement with International Paper and McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corporation that will result in those companies designing and building a containment structure to stop the release of dioxin from a long-closed paper mill waste site.
An agreement, signed on April 30th, requires the short-term containment work to be overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency to be completed within a year.

GCM senior earns $5,000 Reliant scholarship

BAYTOWN— Tarun Jain, a senior tennis player at Goose Creek Memorial High School, was chosen as the recipient of a $5,000 scholarship from Reliant Energy and the Houston Texans, through their Scholarship for Champions – Powering Strong Minds and Bodies Scholarship Program.
Coaches, principals, and administrators in school districts from the greater Houston area are given an opportunity to nominate student athletes for consideration, based on their athletic involvement and passion for their sport, as well as their ability to demonstrate ethics and leadership skills through their involvement in school activities and in their community.
Tennis Coach, Ismael Dutchover, nominated Tarun for the scholarship “because he is a hard working kid and dedicated to everything he does.”
“He excels both academically and athletically, and in my opinion was a perfect candidate for the scholarship,” said Dutchover. “He has been a varsity player here at GCM since its inception and has always been one to strive for perfection. These are the types of kids you like to build your program around.”

When asked about earning the scholarship, Tarun turned to his teammates and said he was proud to be a member of the Patriot team, and “we’re going to win district.”
Reliant Energy and the Texans Foundation chose eight recipients from more than 100 applications. All eight recipients have been invited to a pre-game on-field presentation at the Houston Texans game on Nov. 28, when the Texans host the Tennessee Titans.
Tarun has participated in tennis and was selected as the Team MVP for the 2008 fall season and Doubles Player of the Year for the spring 2009 season. He and his partner were undefeated throughout the 2008-09 season in mixed doubles, and as a junior, he was the top player on the Patriot tennis team.
In the classroom, Tarun is ranked No. 2, and has served as the treasurer and president of the Kiwanis (Key) Club, and treasurer of the Goose Creek Memorial National Honor Society.
For the last few years, Tarun has participated in many community events such as the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, and the “Feed The Vets” program, the “Wreaths Across America” Foundation, and the annual City of Baytown Trash-off in which residents of Baytown help clean up the city.
Tarun’s $5,000 scholarship from Reliant Energy is the second one in two years for Goose Creek Memorial High School. Last year, senior tennis player Amy Brewer earned the school’s first $5,000 scholarship from Reliant.