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Star-Courier News

EPA completes SJR Waste Pit interviews

Janetta Coats, EPA

HIGHLANDS – Three environmental agencies were in town last week, to interview residents about their experiences and opinions on the San Jacinto River Waste Pits, or Superfund. The team was led by the EPA’s Janetta Coats, a Community Involvement Coordinator, and included representatives from the Texas Health and Human Services Department, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The team interviewed interested residents for two days, at the Highlands Community Center, and then held a Round Table wrap-up session on the final afternoon, Wednesday, September 12.

Coats said that this interview process was a required part of the Superfund process. Responses will be included in a final version of a document called the Community Involvement Plan. A draft copy of this is now available on the EPA website.

Although the interviews were individual and confidential, the public was invited to sit in on the final Round Table. At this session, about 20 people attended. Included were the interview team, concerned residents, environmental activists, journalists, and attorneys for aggrieved parties and environmental issues.

Coats started the Round Table by noting that all information about the Waste Pits is available at the Stratford Library in Highlands, as well as on the EPA website. Citizens may also call an information number, 800-533-3508 to discuss the site or ask questions.

Coats had prepared a list of questions as prompts for the assembled group and those who had been interviewed.

Simple questions included: “Are you aware of the site?” and “Are you aware of any controversial concerns about the site?”

She also asked if anyone was aware of the activity taking place on the site.

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Texas Ren Fest announces 2018 themes and a Royal Season Pass

Texas Renaissance Festival festivities from last year’s event, held at Todd Mission, 50 miles north of Houston.

HOUSTON – Magic, merriment and majesty await at this year’s Texas Renaissance Festival, the nation’s largest Renaissance-themed event, now announcing unique themes for all nine festival weekends, from September 29 to November 25, 2018, and a brand new season pass, The Royal Pass.

In 2017, Texas Renaissance Festival saw its second highest attendance season, welcoming a total of 644,917 attendees, while facilitating 63 weddings, the most recorded in a single season. Texas Renaissance Festival also saw a 14 percent increase in campers from the previous year, hosting 23,000 guests in the campgrounds – suited perfectly for both those seeking nighttime thrills around a bonfire, and families seeking a quiet retreat with a place to shake off the fairy dust.

“We encourage the noblest lords and ladies of the land who are interested in purchasing Festival tickets to secure the Royal Pass at once to get the most savings — up to 68% off admission, with many free perks included, such as preferred parking and access to TRF After Dark,” says Texas Renaissance Festival General Manager Terre Albert. “We’re thrilled for our loyal patrons to take advantage of such bargains, and excited to see everyone for nine themed weekends this year!”

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Crosby Rodeo picks leaders

Crosby Fair & Rodeo hosted their membership feed last Saturday and Monday night was the election of seven directors at the Crosby Fairgrounds. The twenty one member board rotates seven to election every year. Above is the new board about to hold their first official meeting as newly elected board members although most were simply reelected. Winning the membership approval are Ralph Bartholow, Tannie Gillespie, Eddie Glover, Ricky Larkin (last year’s C.E.O.), Heath Matthews (also chosen as lifetime member,) Obie Fuchs and newly elected is Kevin Pipes. The membership learned of strong financial health even after Hurricane Harvey last year and other obstacles. Bill Busby after over 30 years as director and often Business Manager is giving others a chance to top his winning performance. Mr. Busby says he will be around for advice.

Cougars nip Manvel 49-47

Jaiden Howard reels in the game winner with
only seconds left on the clock.

CROSBY – The Crosby Cougars won a come from behind last minute Hail Mary innovation to defeat the perennial state contenders Manvel Mavericks last Friday by a score of 49-47.

It was looking dangerously light near the end of the first quarter with Manvel up by three touchdowns when Crosby quarterback Jaiden Howard found Mathew Fagnana in the clear and launched his first strike to grab 6 points with 46 seconds left. Normally, the extra point is an also but in this game each was critical.

The Cougar defense deserves some high praise for holding the giant player laden Mavericks in the second quarter to a single touchdown while the Cougars snatched another touchdown and a field goal. Honorable mention should go to Noel Wright, Hunter Bailey and Zack Simon in those efforts.

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EPA holds Waste Pits interviews

EPA community representative Janetta Coats, and representatives from Texas Health and Human Services and the TCEQ are present for two days this week in Highlands to interview local residents, gather information and ideas about the San Jacinto River Waste Pits. Coats will include the information in the EPA Community Involvement Plan.

Gates opened to lower Lake Houston

Lake Houston spillway opened. (archive photo)

HOUSTON – Council Member Dave Martin informed the public that all gates on the Lake Houston Spillway Dam are open due to the current inclement weather threat to our area. The gates will remain open until a lake level of 41.5 feet is achieved or the weather threat to our area is lifted.

As a reminder to residents the City of Houston, post-Harvey, has successfully implemented the prerelease strategy during rain events on Easter, Father’s Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. Anytime there is a rain event that is forecast to produce a minimum of three inches of rain in the San Jacinto Watershed, the Coastal Water Authority (CWA), under the direction of the City of Houston will open the Lake Houston Spillway Gates.

The gates will remain open during weather threats until the level of Lake Houston reaches 41.5 feet, which is one foot below normal pool elevation of 42.5 feet, or the inclement weather threat for the area is lifted. This pre-release strategy will be implemented each time a rainfall of more than three inches is predicted for the San Jacinto Watershed.

The City of Houston and the CWA monitor each incoming weather system around the clock for changes in forecast so that the pre-release strategy can be implemented in a timely manner. Residents may monitor the level of Lake Houston by visiting cwa.onerain.com

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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.

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.

In general the objective for the community interviews will include:

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Truck/car collision injures driver

The roof of the pick-up was crushed in and the front of the vehicle is nearly flattened following a collision with a sand transport truck whose driver insists was pulling onto CrosbyLynchburg Road when the alleged speeding pickup hit the rear of his vehicle.

BARRETT STATION – A local pickup was mangled and Lifeflight helicopters had to standby as Crosby Volunteer Fire Dept. attempted to rescue a pickup driver in critical condition after a roadway crash with a truck from a sand mining operation.

The accident occurred just before 7:00 a.m. last Thursday on Crosby-Lynchburg Rd. near Floy.

The driver of the tractor trailer truck said he was pulling onto Crosby-Lynchburg when the pickup smashed into the rear of the trailer.

A man driving the car was trapped for a half hour before Crosby VFD could free him with the jaws of life.

Harris County Sheriff’s Traffic Investigators continue to look into the circumstances.

SAFETY CONCERNS ON MARKET STREET

By Michael W. Palmer

On August 21, The P&Z Commission approved the request for installation of eight; “No Parking,” and one No U-Turn sign and “No Standing Signs” which will be permanent placement signs on Market Street, Carnegie Street, and Gentry Street.

The meaning of “Stand” or “standing” means to halt an occupied or unoccupied vehicle, other than temporarily while receiving or discharging passengers.

“Carnegie Street can hold six lanes of traffic comfortably,” said Matthew Johnson – Traffic Engineer for the City of Baytown. He also said, “The identified safety concern was that drivers were queuing up in the eastbound lanes of Market Street starting from the high school parking lot driveway. This situation is an unsafe condition due to the queue terminating near the end of a blind curve on a bridge. I am pleased that the plan is moving forward.”

Police Chief Dougherty said, “I am in favor of anything that the city may implement that will improve our quality of life and make our streets safer for our motoring and pedestrian public.”

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Rotary’s annual Washer Tournament set Sep. 15

Champion washer throwers last year included Daryl Reuter (left) of the 2nd place Reuter Boys team, and Justin Graves (right) of the 1st place Flying Saucer team. Almost 50 teams, or 100 throwers, competed in the all-day tourney.

HIGHLANDS – The Rotary Club is all set to hold their 12th annual 3-Hole Washer Board Charity Tournament, on Saturday, September 12th.

The event is open to the public, as well as all Rotarians. It will be held at Charlie’s Ice House, 906 N. Main Street. 2 person teams must register by 1:30 that day, and the cost to play is $50. Awards include trophies and cash prizes, and competition is fierce.

Rotary is also looking for sponsors, individuals or companies. Sponsorships vary from $100 to $500.

Monies raised by the tournament go to the Rotary International Foundation, to be used for fighting polio, and half of the money is returned for a community project.

GatorFest Cook Off – Sep. 7

Texas GATORFEST, the Lone Star State’s most unique festival, would like to invite you to participate in the Annual Texas GATORFEST Barbecue Cook-Off to kick off this year’s festival. The family oriented festival is one of the fastest growing festivals in Texas. It has established a reputation for being “good old fashioned Texas fun” and providing visitors with a variety of entertainment. The celebration of the alligator and its wetlands habitat has something for everyone!

The cook off will be held the weekend before Texas GATORFEST 2018 – September 7 & 8th, on the festival grounds in historic Fort Anahuac Park.

George Dearborne and Branded live Friday, Sep. 7 at the Texas Gatorfest BBQ Cook-off Street Dance.

Participants and visitors alike will enjoy the entertainment throughout the day on the Gator Pit stage located within the cook-off area.

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