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Star-Courier News

Winter Storm Uri causes power crisis

Harris County Precinct 2 coats roads in a brine-salt mix clears ice from bridges Tuesday as temperatures were 15 degrees locally.

NORTHEAST HARRIS COUNTY – When the vortex that generally encircles the Arctic wobbled down to touch the US/Canadian border, the state was smacked with paralyzing cold, and far more frost than the electrical infrastructure was able to handle.

Snow invaded like a foreign army on Sunday, Feb. 15. On Monday, northeast Harris County began losing power in a freezing rain that slicked up roadways. At about 6:00 p.m., the power went out throughout the area. Some locations, like Highlands, lost water soon thereafter, and by Wednesday, loss of water and burst water pipes were commonplace, with all the fixings of destroyed sheetrock and indoor furniture. This Tuesday, Highlands remained on a boil water notice.

Most municipal utility districts were not placed on a boil water vigil because their generators kept the power going. About 15 million Texans had to endure the boil drinking water warning. Some local communities still had no water on Friday, at least in isolated pockets due to pipe damage.

On Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott said the situation was “unacceptable,” calling for ERCOT executives to resign. Some legislators announced plans to investigate what led to the loss of power.

Rotarians hold Chili Raffle this Saturday

Highlands Rotarians will hold their Chili Feast RAFFLE (no chili this year) on Saturday, Feb. 6. They invite you to help by purchasing a $100 raffle ticket, and win this new 2021 Chevrolet Colorado Pickup truck, or a Camaro. Vehicles furnished by Turner Chevrolet in Crosby. Call 281-426-3558 for ticket information.

HIGHLANDS – Rotarians are busy this week making final arrangements for their annual Chili Feast Raffle. As usual the community has an opportunity to win spectacular prizes, including a new vehicle from Turner Chevrolet, either a Colorado pickup or a Camaro. There are also 16 other valuable prizes. However, because of safety precautions due to the Pandemic, the location has been changed, and no chili will be served. The Rotary club thanks the community for their support and understanding in these circumstances, and helping with this most important community fund raiser.

There will be nothing held at St. Judes Catholic church this year.

New pipeline crosses River, Neighborhoods

Exxon Pipeline Company exacting the line through the neighborhood that connects the Baytown plant to Pasadena and Webster.The pipelines are done using the horizontal directional drill technique, an advanced method for pipeline and utility installations.

LYNCHBURG – ExxonMobil Pipeline Company will install pipelines underneath the San Jacinto River, one at the Houston Ship Channel between here and Baytown, the other north to the IH-10 bridge using a technique called Horizontal Directional Drilling.

Some of this work will include activity on Alexander Island, an uninhabited island within the channel. This project is a part of a $500 million energy infrastructure investment in East Harris County.

According to a press release from ExxonMobil Pipeline Company, “Throughout all phases of planning and installation, work will be conducted with an unwavering commitment to the safety of the community, the environment and our team members. We are proud of the highly skilled team we have assembled for this project, and we encourage you to follow our progress as the project advances at: http://webster.exxonmobilpipeline.com/, where you can ask us a question about our work and hear directly from some of our team members about how they keep safety first.

Work progresses on Lynchburg Ferry re-opening

Ferry awaits pathways and ramps
Locals are hopeful of an early completion of the Lynchburg Ferry before April. However anytime tonnage meets the sea substantial engineering must be carried out. This $6 Million project is a three way partnership between Harris County Pct. 2, HCTRA, and TXDOT.

Tentative opening set for April

LYNCHBURG – Locals are excited over the Ferry opening soon as traffic now begins to get heavy at 3:00 p.m.

The Lynchburg Ferry closed Tues., Feb. 25 2020 for necessary improvements to preserve the longevity of its operations. During the closure, crews are reconstructing the approaches and transfer ramps for the Lynchburg Ferry Boats.

According to informed sources, a second contractor is completing construction because the first encountered problems. During this closure, crews are reconstructing the approaches and transfer ramps that go onto and off of the Lynchburg Ferry boats. The $6 million project is a joint venture between Harris County Precinct 2, HCTRA (Harris County Toll Road Authority) and the Texas Department of Transportation.

At least another month of construction is going to be necessary due to demands of engineering to construction fulfillment, according to sources. Officially, the expected completion date is in April. Once complete, the Lynchburg Ferry will resume standard, toll-free operations.

Brady goes for 7th Lombardi, Mahomes second in what could be a very real ‘Super’ Bowl!

By Mike Keeney

I guess that Tom Brady guy still has something left in the tank.

After spending 20 years in New England and leading the Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick to six Super Bowl titles, Brady moved south to sunny Tampa, FL and proved he’s not washed up at 43 years of age.

In Kansas City, Chief fans have once again put their faith in 25-year-old Patrick Mahomes, who led their beloved team to the Lombardi Trophy last year and is making a return trip this year to go after a second straight title.

Sheriff solves serial robberies with arrests

A series of robberies from Orange to Harris County have lead to a series of arrests by the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office working in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies.

What began late January 6 with Chambers County Sheriff’s Office responding to a robbery call at DJ’s Grocery near Interstate 10 would amount to a series of robberies over a wide region in January.

Victims at the grocery store described multiple actors wearing masks, entering the business, brandishing a firearm and demanding money. An undisclosed amount of money was taken from the business and the actors fled the area in a vehicle that was parked nearby.

January 19 at the 8100 block of SH-146 a similar armed robbery drew deputies to investigate. Shortly after this report, a second report of an armed robbery was reported again at DJ’s Grocery. After reviewing security video footage, it became apparent to Chambers County Detectives that the same individuals were most likely responsible for all three robberies.

Detectives determined that these individuals have been responsible for numerous other armed robberies from Baytown to Orange at various gas stations over the last month. Through joint efforts from multiple law enforcement agencies along the IH-10 corridor in Southeast Texas, the robbery suspects have now been identified.

Harris County opens on-line Vaccine registration

Harris County Public Health Nurse administers a vaccination last week at the Pct. 2 Northeast Community Center.

HOUSTON — Starting on Tuesday, January 26th, Harris County Public Health (HCPH) will launch a new COVID-19 Vaccination Portal for residents who meet the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) criteria for receiving a vaccine. The portal will allow individuals to be placed on a waitlist and contacted once vaccines and appointments are available. The waitlist will be available via the vaccine information link on ReadyHarris.org and https://vacstrac.hctx.net starting no later than Tuesday afternoon. Eligible residents without internet access can also call (832) 927-8787 once the portal is live to be placed on the waitlist.

Harris County’s new “Smart Waitlist” system will not use a first-come, first-served process for allocating vaccines. In order to ensure fair access for elderly residents, working families, and vulnerable populations, registrants on the waitlist will instead be selected through a prioritization and randomization process in accordance with state guidelines. Only individuals who fall under the DSHS Phase 1A and 1B category will be eligible to receive the vaccine at this stage. Those who are not qualified to receive the vaccine under 1A or 1B will still be able to be placed on the waitlist but will not be contacted to schedule an appointment until the State of Texas expands eligibility beyond 1A and 1B, likely not until the Spring or Summer.

Priority phases:

Goodlow Crosby Firefighter of the Year

“I am honored that the department would vote for me for this.” This is my fourth year here and I won this two years ago for going out West and battling wildfires and I guess this is for those effort this year.” Fire Fighter of the Year, Anthony Goodlow.

WOODLANDS – The Landry’s Restaurant hosted the crews that valiantly battled blazes, crashes explosions and traffic hazards for Crosby all last year as they presented honors in a banquet last Saturday.

Russell White, First Assistant Chief, filled in for Chief Alan Kulak, as it was announced that the Chief had contracted the virus. Which reportedly the Chief said, the virus was “no joke.”

Pronouncing prayer was Ashley Armstrong, Sec. of the Ladies Auxiliary, the granddaughter of Bob Boyles. His son (of the same name) died in service, and began at age 12 as mascot serving the department. Bob Sr., in his son’s place, served the department for 40 plus years in varied leadership capacities, most recently ESD 80 board member.

Top Responder and Captain of the Year was Warren Thompson. Firefighter of the Year was Anthony Goodlow. Officer of the Year was Cameron Elles. Rookie of the Year was Carlos Diaz.

Texas proposes $119.7B yearly budget, down 3%

TEXAS STATE CAPITOL, AUSTIN

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan today released the following statement on the House’s base budget for the 2022-2023 biennium:

“The Texas House’s base budget prioritizes the needs of Texans during this consequential moment in our state’s history and advances the Legislature’s commitment to the historic public education and school finance and property tax reforms passed last session. The decisions we make during the 87th legislative session will have lasting effects on the future of our state, which is why the House will work to improve our business climate, foster economic prosperity, and do what’s right for our students. I am grateful to the Members of the House Appropriations Committee and the hardworking committee staff for their efforts throughout this process.”

The House base budget recommendations for FY 2022-23 appropriate $119.7 billion in general revenue, a decrease of three (3) percent adjusted for population and inflation. The House budget recommendations are $3.2 billion below the spending limit of 7.06 percent adopted by the Legislative Budget Board in November 2020, and maintain a majority of the five (5) percent reductions identified by state agencies in 2020.

Significant provisions of House base budget recommendations include the following:

Rotary Chili Feast Feb. 6, but no Chili this year

Can I sell you the Brooklyn Bridge? No? Well how about a Chili Feast ticket, without any Chili?

That’s the situation the Highlands Rotary Club finds this year, as precautions to avoid the COVID-19 virus meant that a community dinner was not a good idea.

However, the Raffle for a new car or truck will still be held, according to President Andy Scott, and the public is encouraged to purchase a raffle ticket for $100 to support the club’s community projects and scholarships, and of course win a new vehicle. See any Rotarian or call 281-426-3558 for ticket information.