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Posts published in “News Index – Barbers Hill Dayton PRESS”

Mayor of Baytown speaks on growth

Mayor Stephen DonCarlos of Baytown spoke recently to the Rotary Club of Highlands, reviewing the upcoming economic development plans for the city, and other projects.

DonCarlos has been mayor of Baytown since his election in 2006, and has seen growth in population and the economy. But he says that plans for future projects promise much more.

The XL pipeline, and the shale oil it will bring from Canada, will drive the need for expansion projects at the four major refineries in Baytown, ExxonMobil, ChevonPhillips, Enterpise, and Bayer. What is unusual about the construction plans of these industries, he said, is that their growth will be simultaneous. He forsees that in the next 3 to 4 years, Baytown will need 22,000 construction workers, and will eventually have 1500-1700 permanent jobs related to this expansion. The need for housing will burgeon, and include Highlands as well as surrounding cities. Lee College is busy preparing new courses for these workers, he said. These jobs will be well paying, as much as $70,000 or more per year.

Related to this, Enterprise has purchased 2200 acres for expansion, and Chevron plans major expansion at Sjolander and I-10, with new buildings and roads.

Chambers County Patriotism is alive

Barbers Hill Lions Club volunteers have place over 200 flags at neighbors‘ yards on patriotic holidays; and this November 11, flags will be erected again to celebrate Veterans Day.

The Barbers Hill Lions Club is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing services in the local community and to Lions projects worldwide. Some of the local Lions projects include:

•Providing eye glasses for Barbers Hill students in need

• Assisting the Mont Belvieu Food Pantry

• Supporting children with disabilities to attend the Texas Lions Camp

Lion volunteers place flags throughout West Chambers County on patriotic holidays to raise money to support their services to the community. The beautiful American flags are placed in front of homes on Veterans Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Flag Day, Labor Day through Patriot Day (Sept. 11) and Independence Day.

The Barbers Hill Lions volunteers set up the flags before these patriotic holidays, remove them afterward, and store them all year for residents for $35.00 per flag per year.

For more information about the Barbers Hill Lions Club Flag Program call Gary Nelson at (281) 576-2243.

BH announces football ticket sales and pre-game activities

Season tickets for Barbers Hill’s six varsity home games of the 2012 football season will be offered for sale beginning August 13.

The first two weeks of ticket sales are reserved for current season ticket holders who wish to purchase the same seats for the upcoming season at $42 per seat for the season.

Tickets will be available to current ticket holders August 13 – 16 and August 20 – 22, from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 – 4 p.m. at the BHISD tax office at 9600 Eagle Drive, Mont Belvieu. Extended hours for ticket sales will be offered August 23 from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Tickets must be purchased during these times in order to reserve the same seats purchased last year.

Reserved season tickets for first-time buyers will be available beginning Monday, August 27, at 8:00 a.m. at the BHISD tax office. No reserved tickets will be sold at the gate.

Pre-sale tickets for single games

General admission pre-sale tickets will be sold for each home and away game. Ticket sales will start on Wednesday and end at noon on Friday of each week. Adult tickets are $5 and student tickets are $3 and will be sold at the High School, Middle School, Intermediate School, and BHISD Tax Office.

All tickets purchased at the gate by adults or students will be general admission at a cost of $6 each.

Pre-game activities

Guests are invited to come early before home games to enjoy dinners provided by district student organizations.

Aug 31 – Steak Finger Dinner

Sept 7 – To Be Determined

Sept 21 – Chicken Strip Dinner

Oct 5 – Homecoming BBQ Dinner

Oct 26 – Tailgate Party, Hamburger Dinners

Nov 9 – Fish Fry

All events except the Tailgate Party will be held inside the Middle School cafeteria and tickets may be purchased at the door. The Tailgate Party will be held behind the Central Administration Building. For more information, visit bhisd.net or call the tax office at 281.576.2221 x 1205.

Anahuac faces a budget crisis

By Christine Nguyen

After what seemed like one unfortunate event after another after another, officials at the City of Anahuac are working tirelessly to dig themselves out of a debt crisis.

Issues snowball

Although the city’s financial situation is a result of a number of factors, the crisis itself started when Anahuac’s water plant broke down in October 2010, mayor Cheryl Sanders said.

To provide water for its residents the city then signed a contract with Trinity Bay Conservation District. Sanders said Trinity Bay served the city at a reduced rate for months but later raised the charge to the normal bulk cost, which came out to almost four times the previous rate.

After looking into other options, the city then decided to go with a company called “Rain for Rent” to handle the city’s water.

“We were presented with a proposal that would cost us $30,000 a month,” Sanders said. “That was something we could afford.”

Unfortunately, the water ended up costing them twice as much as the initial estimate, and now the city has returned to Trinity Bay. But during this, the city was still charging customers less than what the water cost the city.

Sanders said this had gone unnoticed for so long because then-administrator Lance Nauman had been providing “misinformation” to the council. Nauman resigned in July and the Barbers Hill Dayton Press was unable to get in touch with him Tuesday.

Now, council members do not know how exactly how deep city’s debts are, but are scrutinizing its financial records and will hold several budget and public hearings in the next months to determine where to take action.

“It was the city council’s responsibility,” council member Danny Thompson said. “But we’re taking steps to ensure it won’t happen again.”

Problems with water and infrastructure

Although the city has yet to increase its water rates, Anahuac residents have complained about high water bills.

“Water was expensive as heck,” said former Anahuac resident William Bennevendo, who moved out of the city a year ago. “But the price didn’t bother me as much as the quality. I’ll put it this way. I didn’t drink it. Everyone I know personally [in Anahuac] either buys it or has it delivered.”

Sanders says this is because of the city’s rusty pipes, some of which have been in the ground for decades.

“The big issue is the sluffing off of minerals in the pipe,” she said. “With Trinity Bay, the flow is going in the other direction in the pipes [of how it used to go.]”

However, the Anahuac’s pipes are only indicative of a larger issue, that being the city’s infrastructure in general. Aside from debts the city has recently incurred, Sanders said the council still has to set aside money for capital improvements — including replacing the city’s 50-year-old water meters — as well as debt obligations from 1999 and 2003.

Looking forward

Despite this, Sanders said she is confident that the city can make up its debts, and if all goes well, hopes the city can be in good financial shape by as soon as December.

The city has secured a $1.2 million grant to fix its water plant, although it has not been released yet.

Sanders says because of diligent work on the part of city officials, residents haven’t felt the brunt of the debt burden. The city has reduced its positions through attrition, meaning employees who resigned or retired have not been replaced. There are currently only 10 city employees.

“This is all volunteer work,” Sanders says. Council members, most of whom have other jobs, have waved their checks, and many city employees are doing more than in the job description. Sanders herself said she has not seen a paycheck since she took office in May.

“We’ve got a full plate, but we’ve got a great council [who are] wonderful citizens committed to helping the city.” Sanders said. “This is our city too. We want it to be a great place to live, and we want it to be affordable.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that the City of Anahuac had received a $350,000 grant for the repair of the city’s water plant. That grant is actually $1.2 million. The $350,000 is for a project to replace old sewer lines.

San Jac hospital receives Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award

BAYTOWN – (July 10, 2012) – San Jacinto Methodist Hospital received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award for the second consecutive year.

The hospital received the Silver Achievement Award in 2010 and the Bronze Achievement Award in 2009.

The award recognizes San Jacinto Methodist’s commitment and success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients, according to evidence-based guidelines.

To receive the award, SJMH achieved of 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Measures, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care.

These measures include aggressive use of medications, such as tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation, all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

“With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and this award demonstrates San Jacinto Methodist Hospital’s commitment to being one of the top hospitals in the country for providing aggressive, proven stroke care,” said Donna Gares, president and CEO of San Jacinto Methodist. “We are honored to have received the Gold Plus award for two consecutive years, and will continue with our focus on providing care that has been shown to quickly and efficiently treat stroke patients.”

“San Jacinto Methodist Hospital is to be commended for its commitment to implementing standards of care and protocols for treating stroke patients,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chair of the Get With The Guidelines National Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

“The full implementation of acute care and secondary prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of stroke patients.”

San Jacinto Methodist Hospital has also committed to having the best possible outcomes for victims of in-hospital cardiac arrest by participating in the American Heart Association’s latest Get With The Guidelines module, GWTG- Resuscitation.

The goal of this program is to help hospital teams save more lives threatened by cardiopulmonary emergencies through consistent application of the most up-to-date scientific guidelines for in-hospital resuscitation. For more information on services offered at San Jacinto Methodist Hospital, call 832-556-6543.

BH ISD Superintendent named 2011 Person of the Year

Barbers Hill ISD Superintendent Dr. Greg Poole was named 2011 Person of the Year by the West Chambers County Chamber of Commerce during their awards banquet this week.

Pictured with Poole are Missy Malechek, President of WCCCC, State Representative Craig Eiland, who was 2010 WCCCC Person of the Year, and Joey McWilliams, 2011 WCCCC Chairman of the Board.

Galveston Bay Foundation celebrates the 2012 Children’s Art calendar winners

Webster, TX – January 25, 2012 – Proud students and families, teachers, and principals gathered at an award ceremony to celebrate the fourteen winners of the 2012 Children’s Art Calendar contest on January 18th at Sims Bayou Nature Center on Sims Bayou.

The Galveston Bay Foundation (“GBF”) estimates that this project has reached over 10,000 fifth grade students in its past 20 years. More than 440 students from 10 different schools submitted entries for the 2012 Galveston Bay Children’s Art Calendar contest.

 

Students who live around the Bay were asked, “What people, plants, or animals can you find in and around Galveston Bay?” or “Who uses Galveston Bay?” Through their knowledge and creativity, students illustrated their answer to one of those questions.

“This year’s Galveston Bay Children’s Art Calendar is particularly special, as GBF is celebrating our 25th anniversary,” said GBF’s Manager of Education Programs, Rani Henderson. She continued, “The calendar features the students’ wonderful art as well as two new features, The Green Thing tips and QR codes for smart phone users. It is our hope that these new features in this year’s calendar will inspire and create action amongst the many users of Galveston Bay.”

GBF would like to congratulate all of the 2012 Galveston Bay Children’s Art Calendar contest winners.

Lee College ready to welcome new president to campus

After a five-month national search, Lee College regents have announced the appointment of Dr. Dennis Brown as president of Lee College.

The announcement came at a regular meeting of the board Thursday, Nov. 17.

The resignation of current President Dr. Michael Murphy is effective in December. Thirty-eight applicants from across the nation expressed interest in the position.

“We are very pleased with both the quantity and the quality of our candidates,” said Regent Keith Coburn, chairman of the 2011 Presidential Search Committee. “The result shows that Lee College has a very positive reputation among community colleges nationally.“

“We are delighted to work with Dr. Brown,” added Mark Himsel, chairman of the Lee College Board of Regents. “We look forward to his leadership.”

Dr. Brown brings extensive experience to the position, having served twelve years as vice president of instruction and chief academic officer at El Paso Community College (EPCC), a comprehensive urban college with 30,000 credit students and 8,000 continuing education/non-credit students. He rose through the academic ranks at EPCC, serving as faculty member, chair of the Communications Division, and associate provost in a career that began in 1970.

Dr. Brown earned an A.A. degree in Speech Communication from Arizona Western College, a B.S. from Northern Arizona University, a M.A. from Arizona State University, and a Ph.D. from New Mexico State University.

A recipient of the Innovation of the Year Award from the League for Innovation in the Community College, Dr. Brown has also served as president of the Texas Community College Instructional Administrators Association, and statewide project director of the Texas Professional Development Consortium. He has written and managed several state, federal and foundation grants, published several articles, presented at more than eighty state, regional and national conferences, and testified at national commissions, the United States House Sub-Committee on Postsecondary Education and the Texas House and Senate Committees.

New facility planned in Old River-Winfree

Old River-Winfree was arguably one of the hardest-hit areas in the aftermath of 2008’s Hurricane Ike. Now, through the dedicated actions of city personnel, the next time a hurricane comes through town some creature comforts will be available to those who need them.

A groundbreaking took place Nov. 1 on a new facility located behind the community building at 4828 FM 565 North. The facility, when completed, will house showers and restrooms, as well as an emergency generator that will supply power to the entire community center should it be needed. In the future, washers and dryers will be available for clothes as well.

The facility is due to be completed somewhere around Feb. 1, said Spencer Carnes of Carnes Engineering.

The 1,200 square foot building will be divided into a men’s area and a women’s area, with three showers and three toilet areas in each section. The facility will also be handicap-accessible, with two handicap restrooms available in addition to shower modifications.

Another benefit of the building is that, once completed, it will make a good staging ground for first responders in the area, Murphy said.

The building is coming about thanks to the hard work of the city staff. “Right after Hurricane ike, there were government grants available to communities like ours,” said city secretary Linda Murphy. “We applied through the Texas Department of Rural Affairs to see what help we could get for the city.”

Led by Mayor Joe Landry, the city went through the application process for a CDBG Disaster Recovery Grant, aided by David Baker of Public Management, and eventually got the good news that their planned project had a green-light.

“We got this grant on our own; it wasn’t a county grant,” Murphy said. “The mayor and city council pursued this grant and helped it come to fruition.”

The total amount approved was $433,638, Murphy said, which was enough to cover the creation of this facility. “The next time there’s a hurricane or other disaster and the community is without power, they’ll have a place to come to get a hot shower and some air conditioning.”

The Old River-Winfree area was without electrical power for 16 days following Hurricane Ike, Murphy said, a fact that greatly influenced the decision to erect the structure. “People are going to stay after hurricanes in this part of the world,” said Baker. When those things happen, you need a place to shower, to sleep or just sit in the air conditioning for a while.”

Huge marijuana farm found in Liberty County

A major marijuana-growing site was discovered near County Road 2050 in Liberty County, and authorities have been busy removing what they describe as millions of dollars worth of the illegal drug.

The site was originally located Oct. 18, when deputies from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office Crime Suppression Unit arrived on the scene along with federal agents. Reports from the LCSO indicate this is the largest growing and cultivating operation ever seized in Liberty County History.

Sgt. Alexander of the LCSO said in reports that the street value of the found marijuana could be more than $4 million, and that at least 6,000 plants had been found on the scene. The site was very sophisticated, and included an irrigation system, artificial lighting, and exhaust and air conditioning systems.

Also found at the site were bunks for sleeping, guard posts, a kitchen and a gymnasium, authorities said.

Law enforcement personnel discovered multiple firearms and defensive measures put in place to protect the operation, as well as numerous animals and livestock, which the Houston SPCA volunteered to help with.

Though there is evidence that points to connection with a drug cartel, little information has been released as to who might be behind the growing operation. One arrest has been made on the scene; Logan Williamson was taken into custody on Oct. 23 by LCSO deputies for being in possession of drug paraphernalia.

As for now, the LCSO wants to remind all area residents to stay away from the scene, as numerous curious individuals have made their way there. “There is nothing remaining to see or obtain here,” said a statement from the office. “There are no souvenirs or remaining marijuana plants which may have been missed by the LCSO, State or Federal Agents.”

As for those who might have wanted to stop by and see if they could find any illegal substances left on the scene, the report states that “The pesticides and chemicals used by those involved in the marijuana operation are harmful and can even be deadly if consumed straight from the ground.”

Old River-Winfree Founders Day festivities this weekend

The Old River-Winfree Founder’s Day Festival is coming around once more, and all area residents are invited to attend and learn more about the history of the area, partake in fun and festivities, and much more.

Set to kick off Friday, Oct. 7, the event will carry on through the weekend until 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9. The event not only commemorates the incorporation of Old River and Winfree in 1979, but also the pioneers who settled Chambers County and the areas within. According to the organization’s Web site, Founders Day “commemorates and celebrates the founding of our community, promotes cooperation and volunteerism in the community, generates community spirit and recreation, and enhances the economic welfare of the town.”

Beginning at noon on Friday, a silent auction benefitting the Old River-Winfree Historical Museum will be held. Also featured will be a historical display, the Texas Wall of Heroes, and an appearance by historical author Ms. Jean Epperson. All of these will be on display throughout the weekend as well. The Energy City Big Band will play at 6 p.m. and the festival will shut down for the night at 10 p.m.

At 6:30 a.m. Saturday, registration will begin for a 5K run/walk event benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project. The event will get moving with a cannon start at 8 a.m., followed by awards at 9 a.m. Also on tap for Saturday are a pie, cake and cupcake contest, with registration starting at 9 a.m., as well as a classic car and truck show, with registration beginning at 9 a.m.

A Tiny Miss and Mr./Junior Miss Contest will take place at 10 a.m, along with the Miss West Chambers County Pageant.

Awards will be given at 2 p.m. for the car and truck show, followed by awards for the bake-off at 2:15 p.m. The silent auction will finish up at 4:30 p.m., and local band David’s Heart will take the stage at 6:30 p.m. The fair will close Saturday again at 10 p.m.

Ongoing through the festival will be a re-enactment of life in Chambers County when the pioneers first made their way there. Those who attend can learn about the rough and tumble lifestyle those pioneers faced when settling their little part of Texas.

Also featured will be food vendors, as well as arts and crafts for sale.

For more information, call 979-661-6172, or visit www.orwfoundersday.com.