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Posts published in March 2015

Newport deputy retrieves Bulldog

NEWPORT – A Baytown homeowner was given an example of faith and law enforcement when she was reunited with her American Bulldog ward last week.

On March 24, the Padillas returned home from work noted their gate was open and one of their two dogs was gone. The mixed breed lab that remained was growling at his masters in suspicion.

So, they asked their neighbors, got on social media called Baytown P.D. and was referred to Animal Control. They made a report and got fliers printed to put up all over the neighborhood.

Most impacted by all of this was their 4 year old son. That night the family prayed and the son asked that his dog be returned by the weekend. Tuesday became Thursday and after prayers, Elizabeth Padilla asked her son, “You believe it, don’t you?”

“Yes ma’am!” he reacted quickly.

Meanwhile in Crosby, Deputy Greg Nason was on a side street from South Diamondhead Boulevard in Newport and sees a local man walking a dog without a lease. In Harris County the leash law indicates cats and dogs may not run loose or have access to streets or sidewalks in unincorporated Harris County. So the deputy asked the man that was walking near the chocolate American Bulldog, “Is that your dog?”

“Ah, yeah.” the man replied.

“How long have you had that dog?” asked the deputy.

“Well, I found it when I was out at my friends house the other day in Baytown.” the man said.

“What were you doing with your friends when you found the dog?” the deputy continued noticing that the man began to fidget and stammer.

“We were just having some burgers and I saw this dog, ya’ know just walking along the street.”

“What street? How did you get your hands on the dog?”

The Deputy called Animal Control in Baytown and asked about the chocolate American Bulldog and the woman at Animal Control said, “Well, yes deputy we have just gotten a copy of the flier from a local family and I am looking at it right now.”

Elizabeth Padilla showed up at a park in Newport to claim her brother’s dog, just in time to answer her son’s prayer before the weekend with all manner of papers and fliers for the deputy. Since then the extended family when hoping for anything they jokingly ask her son to pray it into reality. “We also pray in gratitude for Greg Nason.

Cody Bill breezes through House Committee

AUSTIN– “Eleven to nothing,” beemed Scott Stephens immediately following the House of Representatives’ Public Education Committee that heard testimony contesting if E.K.G tests should be done on new high school athletes.

According to State Representative Wayne Smith (R-Baytown to Crosby,) “On March 24, the Texas House Committee unanimously approved legislation relating to cardiac assessments of participants in extracurricular athletic activities sponsored or sanctioned by the University Interscholastic League (UIL). House Bill 767 will now be considered in the House Committee on Calendars and, from there, is anticipated to be deliberated on the House floor.”

Scott Stephens spoke fourth in committee hearing.

During testimony before the committee Stephens expounded on his personal loss and a barrage of facts related to the testing. One fact is that when the current high school athlete test was required the E.K.G. did not exist in anything like the compact and portable test that is available now. Thus far nine student athletes have been referred for intensive follow up or surgury. Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death among student athletes, although fortunately it is rare. It can happen when the heart has a structural defect or abnormal electrical signaling, conditions that show no symptoms.

Since the death of Cody Stephens in May of 2012, the Stephens family of Crosby, lead by father, Scott Setphens, has raised over $500,000 to offer the E.K.G. test to those school districts that could not afford or did not require the test. Scott met with state lawmakers to get a Bill to require E.K.G.s for students who play sports. “We test eyes,” Stephens said. “We test ears. Let’s test the heart.”

Representatives Sylvester Turner, Wayne Smith and Dan Huberty were supporters once having heard from Scott Stephens.

“The path chose me,” Scott said, “I didn’t ask to be here.”

“It was an easy decision to author a bill that would require heart screening for student athletes,” Representative Smith said. “If we can save even one kid’s life, it will be worth it.”

Opponents of the bill would balk at the mandatory nature, apparently ignoring the opt out clause within the bill. They also argued that the mandatory nature would decease accuracy of the evaluation.

Whatever – the committee voted 11 to 0, to recommend the bill to the House of Representatives. According to Repersentative Smith, “Cody Stephen’s story deeply resonated within the small town of Crosby in East Harris County, and his family has worked tirelessly to ensure other student athletes receive the heart screening Cody did not. Scott Stephens founded The Cody Stephens Go Big or Go Home Foundation following the tragic loss of his son. To date, the Foundation has screened 30,000 students across Texas by approaching school districts with grants to help establish a screening program for their athletes. In 2014, seventeen students received some form of heart surgery following the results of their heart screening, a surgery that could prolong their young lives.”

Crosby roads to flow better in future

BARRETT STATION– The Harris County Engineering Dept . held a public meeting on proposed plans for roadway access in this area last Thursday, March 12.

Among plan goals are to alleviate congestion on FM 2100 by providing alternative routes, create a loop pattern around Barrett Station that uses Via Dora as a connective to schools, provide a logical future street pattern, create potential for more north/south streets and provide but minimize connections to the Grand Parkway.

Although the meeting was presided over by Harris County Representatives, two engineers from Edminster, Hinshaw, Russ and Associates, Chris Brown and Elaine Alverado did much of the planning work. They drove all of northeast Harris County, submitted the proposal and did most of the talking about their reasons for proposing the plan as presented.

Roadway construction will be based upon development of specific areas into residential living space. Barrett Station and the sections of Crosby that are east of Bohemian Hall were the focus of the proposed thoroughfare in the unincorporated area of Harris County, Texas which lies outside any city extraterritorial jurisdiction. The purpose of the project was to develop a comprehensive thoroughfare alignment plan for those areas. The boundary of the study area is approximately defined by the western Liberty County line, the northern Baytown extraterritorial jurisdiction line, and the eastern Houston extraterritorial jurisdiction line.

U.S. Highway 90 forms part of the west side of the study boundary and crosses through the northeastern region of the study area.

Comments are still being taken online at http://.gl/forms/N5vFe5FPg9

Exhibits showing aerial photography and alternative routes for the thoroughfare corridors under consideration were presented at the meeting. Representatives from Harris County and the project study team were available at the public meeting to answer questions.

Raymond Anderson, Chief of Staff of Architecture and Engineering Division of Public Infrastructure Dept. spoke first describing how the plans do not address the western section of Crosby as the City of Houston has jurisdiction over them and the City of Baytown has jurisdiction over the southern end of the area. Liberty County holds jurisdiction over the area east of the bayou limits of Crosby.

The Crosby area which includes Barrett Station has no incorporation, town or township although it holds a City charter with the State of Texas the Charter was allowed to lapse in the 1970s.

Designations are subject to change with changing development conditions. Examples of proposed changes not only include the Via Dora encirclement of Barrett Station but also include taking Euell Road with addition of bridge across county lines to meet up with the proposed Grand Parkway.

Crawfish Festival features live bands

The Crosby Fair & Rodeo and the Crosby-Huffman Chamber of Commerce teamed to present the First Annual Rockin’ C Crawfish Festival on Saturday, March 28 from 3:00 p.m. until midnight. The Crawfish Shak will be making the mudbugs by their own special receipts.

There is to be canival rides, food and fun inside the Rockin C Arena. Admission is $15 at the gate and $10 in advance with some ticket sales on-line being even less expensive when available but tickets may be purchased at crosbyrodeo.com.

Featured entertainment is Johnny “Lookin’ For Love” Lee of Urban Cowboy fame and the new Zydeco act, Travis Matt and the Kingpins.

The 1980 hit “Lookin’ for Love” put John Lee Ham into the limelight. He was born in Alta Loma, Texas on July 3, 1946, and he came of age listening to first-generation rock & roll artists such as Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Billing himself as Johnny Lee, Ham went from fan to performer in high school, when he and his friends formed a band called the Road Runners. The Road Runners’ local success came to a halt when Lee joined the Navy and served in Southeast Asia as America’s involvement in Vietnam grew.

Lee met Mickey Gilley in 1968; Lee reminded Gilley of the time they had met and talked music in Galveston, Texas, and Gilley allowed Lee to join him on-stage that evening.

Gilley signed Lee as a backing vocalist and trumpet player, not knowing that the two had actually never met. For five years, Lee was part of Gilley’s band for his standing engagement at Gilley’s nightclub in Pasadena, Texas.

Lee stepped out as a solo act in 1973; he cut a few songs for the tiny Astro label, but when they failed to chart, he started working with Gilley again.

In 1979, the movie Urban Cowboy had Irving Azoff, producing the film and coordinating the soundtrack, he helped Lee land a small part in the film playing himself, and asked Lee to record a song for the soundtrack. Lee was given the song “Lookin’ for Love,” and when Urban Cowboy’s soundtrack album came out in tandem with the film in 1980, “Lookin’ for Love” rose to number one on the country charts and number five on the pop charts. Now signed to Azoff’s Full Moon label (distributed by Warner/Elektra/Asylum), Lee dropped his own album titled Lookin’ for Love, and it spun off three more country hits, “One in a Million,” “Pickin’ Up Strangers,” and “Prisoner of Hope.” Lee’s days on the pop charts were over by 1981, but he was a consistent hitmaker on country radio for the next few years.

1999’s Live at Gilley’s and 2002’s Live at Billy Bob’s Texas. Lee continued to record for smaller labels, releasing The 13th of July in 2003, It’s a Long Way Back in 2004, and the holiday-themed album Santa Claus Is Lookin’ for Love in 2005. In 2008, Lee began appearing regularly in Branson, Missouri. While business dealings led to a falling out between Lee and Mickey Gilley in the ’80s, in 2015 the two buried the hatchet and reunited for a concert tour celebrating the 35th anniversary of the release of Urban Cowboy.

Travis Matte and the Kingpins

Travis Matte and the Kingpins started in Sept. of 2004 with the release of “Dis ain’tcha momma’s Zodico” featuring the song “Bar be que and drink a few” and received a lot of air play throughout Louisiana. In Jan. 2005 they started doing live shows and formed a formal group. The first CD formed a fan base.

In 2005 they release “Zydeco Train” that distributors say was #1 selling CD in it’s genre of music.

In 2006 they produced “Ho, Ho, Ho” and the other entitled “Booty Zydeco”! Their Christmas CD received instant air play with the song entiled “Santa Claus don’t wear no draws” and our “Booty Zydeco” CD was nearly a double CD with 21 songs featuring 18 original songs and 3 covers!

LSU fans around the world noticed them in 2007 for a song entitled “Tiger Tailgate Party” landing us LSU shows and one including a party for LSU Alumni at “The House of Blues” in New Orleans! The song also got New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton’s attention and some arena play.

In 2008 the release of HipHop Zyderock was a blend of past styles and several new ideas to express on styles ranging from Zydeco, rock, hip-hop, Cajun and everything in between along with original ideas and styles. They dropped the term Zydeco from the band name and featured several party songs and several risky songs that created controversy.

2010 the band released “POP IT” CD and received several number one radio request spots for the song entitled “Tawanna” and even had rave reviews in other countries including France which wrote about the original French song entitled “Boire Le Biere/Drinking Beer”.

In 2011 the band decided to do something totally different from our normal original CD’s and record several old songs that inspired us local and national artist including Chuck Barry, Little Richard, Johnnie Allen, TK Hulin and even featured the ever so famous “House of the rising sun” the CD was entitled “OLD SCHOOL”.

The band released “Let’s Party” CD in April of 2012 and blended all of their previous styles of creativity along with some brand new sounds which many who have heard consider it’s own genre of music which is a huge compliment to the group.

2013 the band decided to do an all roots traditional style CD featuring our favorite cajun oldies entitled “Old time cajun songs”. Not to confuse this CD with kingpins taking a different direction we simply titled the CD Travis Matte and did not include the Kingpins. The Cajun project was something close to our hearts and something we loved recording and hope everyone loves it as much as we loved recording it!

In 2014 the band was awarded with 6 CFMA awards from the Old Time Cajun Songs recording and also released it’s 10th record entitled “X” or simply roman numeral 10 which featured all original brand new Kingpins tunes including “When she’s alone” and “Mardi Gras parade” which made nearly every Mardi Gras parade route.

Lennar Homes to build in Newport Sec. 8 – City Planning approves replat from 58 to 70 lots

HOUSTON – The City Planning Commission heard a request last Thursday to replat a part of Newport, known as “Newport Sec. 8 partial replat no. 1,” on either side of Via Drive off S. Diamondhead.

After hearing testimony from its staff, a public citizen, and the proposed builder, the commisison approved the change, which essentially reduced the lost size from 75’ widths to 65’ widths, on average. Approximately 70 new lots were created, where 58 had been planned previously.

Present at the public meeting were Jim Carpenter of Rampart Holding, Robert Santini of Lennar Homes, and William Vandergrift, a resident of Newport.

In his testimony before the commission, Santini said the lots would be used by Lennar for upgraded homes, ranging in price from $220,000 to $$280,000, and in size from 1620 to 2827 square feet. In addition, the homes will have higher amenities and specs than current Newport/Lennar homes, and will allow for a third garage. The model he referenced is known as a 50’ Brookstone, and has been selling well in other areas of Newport, he said.

Also planned for this area is a new entryway and landscaping along Via Dora Drive, Santini said. A budget of $125,000 has been set for this work.

Only one resident of Crosby spoke about the replat development, William Vandergrift. Although he had some thoughts about not wanting to increase the density of Newport, he seemed to have mixed feelings about this new project. He said his ideal would be 2 acre ranchettes.

Later, Carpenter said that the replat had been necessary to provide a detention area for storm water, as requested by the city. He said this will be shown on future site plans, and that other sections of Newport will be submitted for replats also.

Carpenter also clarified some misstatement of facts that appeared in a previous article about the project. He noted that the replat application submitted in 2004 was withdrawn and re-submitted in 2006. Carpenter stated that, to his knowledge, the 2006 application was approved by the Houston Planning Commission but withdrawn by Rampart when market conditions changed. The city attorney did not rule that the plan violated deed restrictions.

SJR Coalition says EPA too slow to remediate Waste Pits Expert releases new report, says removal necessary

HOUSTON – Jackie Young and the San Jacinto River Coalition held a press conference on Tuesday morning, at the main public library in downtown Houston.

The purpose of the conference was to present the findings from a new report, written by Dr. Kathleen Garland, a geologist and environmental management expert with the University of Houston Clear Lake.

Dr. Garland’s report compares the San Jacinto River Waste Pits (SJRWP) with seven other similar Superfund Sites around the country. The report highlights that larger sites in more complex settings have been fully remediated in order to meet EPA guidelines.

In this comparison, she says that the proposal to contain the waste pits and leave them in the river, made by the Potentially Responsible Parties, (Waste Management, McGinnis Industrial, and International Paper), does not meet previous EPA policies and past practices. She says that the containment cap in place, was allowed by the EPA as an emergency measure and not a permanent solution.

Her study concludes that by following other examples of EPA remedies, “…selection for dioxin-contaminated sediments included physical removel of the most highly contaminated sediments unless such removal would cause channel or bank instability…”

She states that “such a removal appears to be feasible at the SJRWP site…” Therefore, “no other options exist to reduce the toxicity of these contaminants of concern.”

In presenting the findings and introducing Dr. Garland, activist Jackie Young said that “Four Decades of Pollution is Long Enough.”

Dr. Garland is the second local expert to make a firm argument for removal of the toxins in the river. In June of 2014 Dr. Sam Brody of Texas A&M called the Waste Pits a “loaded gun” and pointed out that in a neighborhood near the site, nearly 1 in 4 residents is under the age of 5, and subject to the effects of the toxins. He was especially concerned about the release of contaminated sediment after storms and hurricanes.

Public hearing on Crosby roadways to be March 12th

BARRETT STATION– The Harris County Engineering Department is conducting a public hearing on a proposed major thoroughfare plan for this area next Thursday.

This thoroughfare is based upon proposals of roadway construction from TxDOT and Harris County. And generally transects the Crosby, Texas 77532 vicinity.

The proposed thoroughfare in the unincorporated area of Harris County, Texas lies outside any city extraterritorial jurisdiction in Harris County.

The Public Hearing will be held at the Barrett Station Community Center located at 808 Magnolia Drive, Crosby, TX 77532 on Thursday, March 12, 2015 from 6:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. The meeting will be structured in an Open House format.

The purpose of the Public Hearing is to present the proposed Major Thoroughfare Plan for the Non-Extraterritorial Jurisdiction area to the public and receive comments. The purpose of the project is to develop a comprehensive thoroughfare alignment plan for an unincorporated area of Harris County, Texas.

The boundary of the study area is approximately defined by the western Liberty County line, the northern Baytown extraterritorial jurisdiction line, and the eastern Houston extraterritorial jurisdiction line.

U.S. Highway 90 forms part of the west side of the study boundary and crosses through the northeastern region of the study area.

This major thoroughfare plan enhances developing and maintaining an effective transportation system within and adjacent to the study area. This includes the proposed classification of existing, future, and neighboring thoroughfares. The project goals are: address and alleviate existing congestion through the study area, provide alternate thoroughfare routings and begin planning for future thoroughfares in the area.

Property owners within the study area are encouraged to participate in this public meeting. Exhibits showing aerial photography and alternative routings for the thoroughfare corridors under consideration will be presented at the meeting. Representatives from Harris County and the project study team will be available at the public meeting to answer questions. Written comments about this project may be submitted at the meeting.