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Star-Courier News

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)

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SJRC stops one permit, faces other threats

JACKIE YOUNG, San Jacinto River Coalition

HIGHLANDS – Since the beginning of the year, the San Jacinto River Coalition, part of THEA, has held two public meetings to update everyone on developments around the Waste Pits site.

The clean-up itself is in the Remedial Design phase, with the work plan approved. EPA and the PRP are actually working on Pre-Design Phase I, which can be seen on the EPA website. Phase II will be posted by Feb. 12, she said, and will continue through July. Young expected work to remove the waste material could start by the end of 2019.

Young said that the PRP had hired a new consulting firm, GHD Consultants, with experience in this type of Superfund site. They will be helping prepare the work plan and Remedial Action plan. Maintenance of the current Cap is under the direction of another engineering firm, Anchor QEA & Integral.

Sampling of the current material under the cap is taking place, to categorize the degree of hazardous material, and decide where to dispose of it. On site, core samples can be seen in drums, and water level samples in red storage tanks. These will be sent to a lab for testing.

Young criticized the sampling effort, noting that they are not testing for PCBs. “We really don’t understand what is the composition of this waste,” she said. She also questioned whether workers on the site had adequate environmental protection gear, and whether samples taken were protected from tampering or alteration.

SAMPLES of ground water, and cores are being stored in these drums, and then taken off-site for lab tests to determine the toxicity of the material under the cap, and how high the water table is below.

DREDGING PERMIT

Since December, SJRC has been working with residents to oppose a dredging permit that would remove sediment from a shoreline area just west of the Waste Pits, and send it to a landfill in Beach City. With the help of Congressman Brian Babin, and a concerted effort of petitions and letters, the coalition has been able to get a reprieve from the project and its environmental dangers.

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Highlands/Lynchburg Chamber to host Gala

It is time again for the annual Installation and Community Awards Banquette of the Highlands Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce.

This year the ceremonies are to be held at Monument Inn on Thursday, February 21 at 6:30 p.m.

Individual Tickets and sponsor levels are available. The Chamber asks that would be sponsors and ticket buyers write them via email to highlandschamber@verizon.net.

Bras raises over $200,000 for cancer fighters

 

Row 1 – Thomas Hotchkiss, Dustin Palmer, Trevor Larkin, Jeffrey Sparks, Teague Schexnayder, J.R. Towles, Jesse Sorrells, Justin Baptiste, David Mendez; Row 2 – Peewee Farmer, Jacob Schexnayder, Adam Notgrass, Jay Beasley, Jeff Tarpinian, Justin Whittredge, Danon Ponder, John Henshaw; Row 3 – Aubrey Larkin, M.C. Charles Adams, Jason McWorter; and Kevin Rendon isn’t pictured.

The Crosby community once again showed up ready to support the Crosby Fair and Rodeo’s TETWP event on Saturday, February 2, 2019 at Southern Lace Estates.

Preliminary reports show over $200,000 was raised at the 8th annual Bras For The Cause. The committee chose a theme of “Together We Can Make a Difference” with all cancer recognized throughout the room with the different awareness cancer colors. The theme was continued by the BFC committee ladies who chose a colored scarf to represent a cancer that has touched their lives in some way, either through family, friends, etc.

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Frankie Brewer wins Rotary Chili Feast car

WINNER OF THE NEW CAR in the Highlands Rotary Club Chili Feast Raffle was Frankie Brewer, center, with Gene Lenamond. Pictured with the winners are some of the Rotarians that helped with the Chili Feast. L to R, Teresa Martin, Tricia Scott, Denise Smith, Andy Scott, Sheila McDonald, Delana Matthews, Irene Adcox, and Charlie Ward.

HIGHLANDS – Hundreds of enthusiastic local residents gathered last Saturday for the annual Rotary Club Chili Feast.

For the second year in a row, the winner of the new vehicle in the Chili Feast Raffle was a walk-in, buying their $100 ticket at the door. Actually, Frankie Brewer and Gene Lenamond bought five tickets, and one of them turned out to be the lucky one.

The Rotary Club’s 44th Annual Chili Feast was a great success, according to officials with the club. President-elect Sheila McDonald made a report to the club at their luncheon on Tuesday, reporting that the gross receipts for the event are in line with previous years, even though the attendance and ticket sales were down slightly.

The club grossed about $88,000, and netted about $54,000, according to treasurer Tricia Scott. This money will be used throughout the year for local community projects and support for organizations, scholarships, and international aid projects.

McDonald was the chairman of the Chili Feast, which is put on with the help of the scouts, local interact clubs, and wives of the Rotarians.

Top ticket sellers again this year were Betty Brewer, Weston Cotten, Jerry Fallin, and Patricia Scott.

Rick Loggins was the auctioneer for the Live Auction.

As the raffle drawing progressed, anticipation grew as to who would win the new vehicle, the top prize in the raffle. When the last number was drawn, the winner was Baytown resident Frankie Brewer, with Gene Lenamond.

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Crosby Kroger closing April 2

The bosses at Kroger decided to close this store on April 2, frequent shoppers have learned that the reason cited for the closure is that the maintenance of the store isn’t cost effective. Employees hope to be picked up by other locations including Baytown, recently the Kroger on Aldine Bender was also closed.

CROSBY – A local mainstay is going away on April 2 and local reaction is that the move isn’t an April fools joke.

The Kroger Store at 105 Kennings Rd. anchors a shopping center central to Crosby. It is open from 6:00 a.m. until midnight.

It was hit hard by flood events. Management has now determined that the amount of money needed to upkeep vital elements like refrigeration make keeping the store open impractical.

Crosby Firefighters recognized for heroics

2018 Firefighter of the Year, Anthony Guzzo receives the Firefighter of the Year Award from Chief Alan Kulak.

CROSBY – At the 2019 Crosby Volunteer Fire Awards, a series of heroics were recognized. Additional photos can be found in the print edition.

2018 Officer of the Year, Russell White presented by Chief Alan Kulak.

According to Randy Foster of ESD 80, next week an inspection will be performed on a new Tanker 83; the department finally got a check for their services from FEMA for work during Hurricane Harvey; the project was closed out last November. Foster noted the accomplishment of lowered response times this past year.

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Major wreck hits near Middle School

CROSBY – Two unrelated accidents occurred back to back beginning at about 6:48 a.m. and another at about 8:00 a.m. in the 14,700 block of Main Street, about one block north of the Crosby Middle School on Tuesday, January 29.

The first was a roll-over accident that required Life Flight helicopter when a black sedan was involved in a collision with a black minivan. The sedan landed upside down on the side of the road.

The second accident, at the same location just after the first had been cleared by First Responders, also had one adult taken to the hospital by HCESD#5, the ambulance service for Crosby.

Crosby ISD had no word of anyone associated with the school being involved with either crash.

Harris County Sheriff’s Traffic Investigators were still reviewing the case at press time and their determination of what exactly happened has not been concluded.

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Beach City Residents continue concern about disposal site in their Neighborhood

PROPOSED DISPOSAL SITE is near a residential area to the north, and McCollum Park is adjacent. The 3.5 acre disposal site is outlined above.

City Passes Ordinance to prohibit toxic landfill

On January 15, 2019, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a “Public Notice” regarding the proposed dredging in the San Jacinto River. The notice described the disposal site as a tract in Beach City, even though the developer, Holtmar Land LLC, had promised the city they would amend the request from the USACE and find another site not in Beach City.

Concerned that the notice did not reflect a new site, Beach City passed an ordinance prohibiting the dumping of toxic waste at the site proposed along McCollum Park Road, with a $2000 per day penalty if violated.

Further action was taken by Mayor Jackey Lasater, who wrote the following letter to the Corps of Engineers and shared it with the residents of Beach City in a newsletter:

“I will share with you my letter to USACE and I urge those that have not written a letter yet to please do so asap. We must continue to prepare for the worst case scenario until the permit is actually amended in our favor.

1-21-2019

Re: file #SWG-2015- 00855

Dear Mr. Bader,

My name is Jackey Lasater and I am writing in response to the above referenced permit request. As Mayor of Beach City, I urge you to consider the numerous issues that I/we have in the proposed placement of contaminated dredge material from the ‘area of concern’ located in proximity of the Federal Superfund site in the San Jacinto River near Highlands Texas.

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HIGHLANDS: Ruben Lopez Firefighter of the Year

Ruben Lopez, Jr. second from left, receives his Firefighter of the Year Award. Pictured from left, Assistant Chief Mike Carsner, Lopez, Fire Chief Harvey Little, and ESD #14 board president Jim Strouhal.

HIGHLANDS– Recognition and thanks for service was the theme for the annual Highlands Volunteer Fire Department awards banquet, held last Saturday evening at Monument Inn.

ESD#14 president Jim Strouhal presented the Firefighter of the Year award to Ruben Lopez, Jr.

This award is given in memory of Cecil Kelly, who volunteered with the Highlands VFD for over 42 years before retiring in 1996. The recipient chosen by vote of the membership is a firefighter who performed above and beyond the call of duty.

A large crowd of firemen and families, friends, community supporters, and board members attended the dinner. Fire Chief Harvey Little emceed the ceremony, introducing awards, guests, and honorees.

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Eagleton working Best Practices

Precinct 3 Constable Sherman Eagleton stands behind new Assistant Chief B. Jorey Herrscher, Captain Issac Villarreal, Captain Henry Elkin, legendary Sergeant Terry Ganey, Major Rick Larkin, Chief Deputy Kirk Bonsal having come from the District Attorney’s Office, Major David Jones, out front is Harris County Sheriff’s Office Director Jacqueline D. Fortune of the Community Engagement Division at the Crosby-Huffman Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Stonebridge at Newport Clubhouse. Over a century and a half of law enforcement experience at one table.

NEWPORT – Precinct 3 Constable Sherman Eagleton introduced his executive staff and plans to bring better than better law enforcement to locals last Thursday, January 17 at Stonebridge in Newport.

First, he always thanks those that voted for him. The achievement of putting 15 more deputies in the Precinct without increasing costs. He seems most proud to have achieved the Best Practices standard he set for Precinct 3 even before taking office and shared the credit with the officers that help make it a reality. His precinct made over 5,000 high water rescues during hurricane Harvey. The Precinct accrued over $5,000,000 worth of high water equipment at no cost to the local tax roles.

Eagleton explained how his units are being proactive, not reactive to interdict crime. He initiated an Environmental Patrol concerned with those that make messes like dumping trash or creating poisonous situations.

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