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Star-Courier News

Rotary Club celebrates 70th anniversary

Judge Joe Stephens presents Rotary Club president Denise Smith with a proclamation congratulating the club on its 70th Anniversary.

The Highlands Rotary Club marked a milestone this year, by reaching its 70th anniversary of its founding.

The club held a combined Christmas party and 70th Anniversary celebration last Sunday, at the Monument Inn.

Almost a hundred past and present members and their families attended the gala event.

Led by club president Denise Smith, the program included an oral history of the club from its beginning, and vintage and recent photographs depicting the activities and history of the club and many of its members. The photos were presented by Gilbert Hoffman, who acknowledged that Alton Neatherlin, publisher of the Highlands Star and a past president of the club, had published most of the vintage photos in the newspaper.

Weston Cotten introduced guests, and acknowledged several clubs whose members were present, and a large number of past presidents of the Highlands club. There were also a number of District 5890 officers present.

A special award was presented by Johnny Gaeke to club member Chester Stasney, for his 51 years of membership, which included club president in 1972-73. Gaeke thanked Stasney for mentoring him when he joined the club.

The highest honor in Rotary is to become a Paul Harris Fellow, and Past District Governor Bill Palko presented this award to three members, Johnny Gaeke, Chuck Radney, and Carol Radney. In addition, past member and past president Richard Robinson presented his wife Pat with the same Paul Harris Award.

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Community Center hosts Santa and kids

Carolers from Newport Elementary sang at the Crosby Community Center for Winter Wonderland Open House on Friday and Saturday of last week. Holiday crafting, visits with Santa’s helpers, a forests of decorated trees, music, entertainment and refreshments. All funds raised at Breakfast with Santa and Winter Wonderland benefitted Crosby Advisory Council at nonprofit 501(c) 3 supporting the Center. Santa also posed for photos of he and youthful fans on Friday and Saturday night. Several locals schools had students sing in Choirs.

Santa encounters some Christmas enthusiasm from a fan at Breakfast with Santa on Sat.

Santa visits, toy drives next week in Crosby

The Crosby-Huffman Chamber of Commerce’s Kid’s Festival combines with the Turner Chevrolet Monster Truck Toy Drive and ATV Lights Christmas Parade on December 8 parading from the Crosby Middle School to the Crosby Rodeo Fairgrounds to make a new, more decorative, longer, more dark parade.

CROSBY– Next week a bevy of special holiday display events begin in unincorporated Harris County.

One of the most exciting developments is that a large motorcade assembles at the parking lot of Crosby Middle School on Dec. 8 to be on parade at 6:00 p.m., stopping traffic on FM 2100 and marching to the Crosby Fairgrounds where a Children’s Festival is to be ongoing from 3:00 p.m.

The Children’s Festival offers photos with Santa, with traditional hotdogs and treats. On hand will be vendors with great gift ideas and lots of kids’ fun enjoyment. Last year there were rides and bounce houses with a petting zoo.

Turner Chevrolet has teamed with Clothe-A-Child Program to add to the chamber parade a special Toy Drive and 4X4 Parade with special guests Santa and friends. The Toy Drive and Clothe A Child are hoping to provide toys and clothes to those in need this year. The Toy Drives conclude with the parade on Dec. 8.

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Santa to sparkle in Highlands Dec. 4

Santa arrives in Highlands on a Highlands VFD Fire truck with hopes to hear the wishes of good little boys and girls on Dec. 4 beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the community park on San Jacinto.

HIGHLANDS – A mainstay tradition for the area is the annual park tree lighting and Santa’s early visit brought in by the Highlands Volunteer Fire Dept. on a fire truck.

The Jolly Ole’ Elf appears Dec. 4 at 6:00 p.m. and the community comes out to chat and have the kids tell him what they want. Meanwhile, folks can get photos of kids rapping with Santa.

The Highlands-Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce will provide cookies and goodies and the Highlands Rotarians are offering the greatest hot chocolate for all that attend.

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CHILI FEAST FEB. 2

Members of the Highlands Rotary Club display one of the raffle prizes in the 44th Annual Chili Feast, scheduled for next Feb. 2. Winner of the raffle has a choice of this car, a 2019 Camaro, or a 2019 Chevrolet Equinox. Cars are courtesy of Turner Chevrolet in Crosby. The first prize winner has a choice of color and model. There are 19 other prizes in the raffle. Highlanders look forward each year to a delicious bowl of Chester’s Chili, and a day of socializing with friends. Rotarians now have Chili Feast tickets available, at $100 each. See page 6 for more details.

Next “Bras for the Cause” Feb. 2

Bras for the Cause’s next venue is on display inside the Southern Lace Estates palatial event center. Here two bras are modeled by pillars of the community and with the Lady’s of Tough Enough to Wear Pink Committee of the Crosby Fair & Rodeo.

The Crosby Fair and Rodeo’s Bras for the Cause Committee has announced plans for their 8th annual event on Saturday, February 2, 2019 at the new Southern Lace Estates. The venue is located on 100 acres in Indian Shores and has hosted weddings and fundraisers. The Committee once again will host an event with 20 “celebrity” models, modeling bras with various themes to music of the model’s choice. The bras will be auctioned off at the end of the evening in a live auction.

Our MC again this year is Charles “Big Angry” Adams. Charles is a former police officer, former judge, a graduate from Harvard Law School and is a practicing personal injury and criminal defense trial attorney. He is also the host of the Big Angry and Zro Show on IHeart Radio’s Houston KPRC 950AM and the legal analyst of Fox 26 Houston’s Isiah Factor Uncensored. Over the past 7 years, BFC has raised over $1,000,000. All funds are donated to help cancer patients in our local area. (more…)

Mid-term Election results in change of principals involved in Superfund site

The November 6th Mid-term election brought about a number of changes in our elected officials, and some of these are involved in promoting or maintaining progress on the Superfund San Jacinto River Waste Pits.

Three U.S. Congressmen have been involved in getting the site on the Superfund role, and now two of them have been replaced. Gene Green has retired, and his seat was won by Sylvia Garcia. Ted Poe has also retired, and Dan Crenshaw was elected to fill his seat. Brian Babin remains in office. These three Congressmen have repeatedly prodded the EPA to put the site on the “Priority List” for remedial action, and to continue to monitor progress.

The Superfund site is in Harris County Precinct 2, which will have a new Commissioner in January. Adrian Garcia will hold the position and replace Jack Morman. Morman has been vocal in supporting the clean-up and removal of the toxic wastes at the site, which have the potential to pollute the river and Galveston Bay.

The County Judge is now Ed Emmett, but will be replaced in January by Lina Hidalgo. The county received $10 million dollars from the lawsuit against the Responsible Parties, and has administered that money along guidelines from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

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Judge Stephens donates 1300 Turkeys to the needy

Judge Stephens ready for turkeys’ distribution.

Judge Joe Stephens continues his tradition of generosity by donating turkeys to needy families in the area. Judge Stephens collaborated with Ronny Dwairy, Constable Sherman Eagleton and Christian Tabernacle to purchase and distribute 1300 turkeys to those in need in 5 different communities.

The turkey giveaway was a weekend long event starting on Friday, November 16th with 450 turkeys given out in the North Shore Area. The donations continued on Saturday when Judge Stephens and volunteers set up in North East Houston, Barrett Station, Baytown and Sheldon.

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Troupe wins Chicago tour

Auctioneer Patrick Kelley nearly bursts with pride announcing the live auction raised $21,980 at the Crawfish Shack on Saturday as Band Directors Kevin Knight and Michael Lehew beem. With other efforts they raised the over $27,000 needed to send the Crosby Symphonic Band to an honored engagement in Chicago all expenses paid that would have cost over $2,000 each for the students to ask parents to raise.

Symphonic Band is all set to take off for the windy-city following heroic efforts at the Crawfish Shack on Nov. 17.

Dan Meaux, owner of the Crawfish Shack told the behind scenes story, “Our goal is to fully fund the trip to Chicago tonight. Today we sold 370 chipped beef sandwiches and we are still short by about $26,000. There are 14 live auction and 56 silent auction items.”

“Charlie Dahu of Hungry Jacks cooked the chili, Junior Forest of Junior’s Smoke House donated about 157 pounds of chili meat and seasoning. Everything in this effort was donated so 100% of the funds raised goes to the band. We have already gotten some nice checks, Murf Turf donated $1,500. OilWell Tubular and family donated $500. It is going great so far.” Meaux continued excitedly before the live auction.

David Mendez of Turner Chevrolet submitted a bid of $2300 for a rifle before the event and the auction was up to $2,200 but quit before Mendez’s bid was open.

According to Kevin Knight, “Thank you for being here tonight. Every week since September 1, we have been in a fundraising mode. We have been tasked with an impossible mission, and tonight is our final big push thanks to you. We go forth to represent Crosby and Crosby ISD on the largest stage with over 2,000 audience. People will be reading about our town all over the world.”

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New Crosby budget precedes audit

CHS Sophomore, Philip Canada, was awarded his Eagle Scout Rank this past October 9th. The Eagle Scout rank is the Boy Scouts’ highest rank possible and often takes years to achieve. He is active in the JROTC program and credits the program and his parents for encouraging him to be a leader. One of the Eagle Scout requirements is to plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project. Philip’s project was to install walkways at a park to facilitate handicap access for park visitors.

CROSBY – The school trustee meeting Monday featured a “balanced budget” presented by Superintendent Davis and Chief Financial Officer Jones, as many await a special audit report to show how a financial emergency came to be.

According to Scott Davis, “With this budget now, every step is a step toward working our way out. I know that because of some things in the past, the feeling is, we were burned.”

“We are four months into developing trust and relationships, painfully,” he continued.“We are defining how we go there with 129 fewer people district wide. That is hard. We are trying to figure out how to adequately clean our buildings with fewer in maintenance.”

“Four months in, I find myself wishing I had a honeymoon period. That lasted like six hours, and I know that for me, that may never come, but I am committed to doing that. I am committed to working it out. Because in four months, we have come a long stinking way. From not knowing, having a feeling, to knowing, to ‘Oh my God, we really know!’ to ‘Oh my God, this is how we are going to have to fix it.’ And in a minute, Mrs. Jones will bring you a budget, and we start crawling out.”

According to CFO Lesa Jones, “I am very excited to bring to you a balanced budget, a right-sized budget. The Superintendent, the Principals, the department directors — this is a team effort, so hours and hours spent trying to balance the budget. It is going to be a very tight budget…”

The aggregate payroll expenditure went from $4,235,875 in September to $4,098,853 in October. Regarding income, the local tax was unchanged, but the State anticipated interim revenue (from kids attending school) dropped $6,180,541, from $57,453,625 to $52,004,960.

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Chinquapin to celebrate 50 years

Chinquapin Speakers at the Rotary Club luncheon were Laura Hipps, Development Director; junior student Kihana Wilson; and Laura Henry, Director.

HIGHLANDS – Laura Henry, Director of the Chinquapin Preparatory School, gave a talk to the Rotary Club on the history and current status of the private school, located on Wallisville Road in Highlands.

A site that was once a chicken farm has become an exemplary school for kids that are college bound. Founded in 1969 by Bob and Maxine Moore, Bob Moore was head of the English Department at St. John’s School in Houston. They saw the need to provide incentive for students who had have high potential, but limited opportunities. With a grant from the Brown Foundation, they started the school which has now grown to about 160 students, grades 6 through 12. Originally a boys school, in 1978 it became co-ed. Some students are bused from the city, and high school students live on campus five days a week.

Henry said that 83% of the students are economically disadvantaged, and 87% are Hispanic. The teacher/students ratio is 8 to 1. Each year the school accepts about 35 new students of the 200 who apply. 100% of the students must go on to a 4 year college, and 36% take post-graduate studies.

Rotary sponsors an Interact club with about 2/3 of the students participating as members.

Costs per student are about $16,000 yearly, Dr. Henry said, but most of that is paid for by contributors. The student is expected to pay only a small sum, often only $50 to $400 per month. The yearly budget for the school is about $2.4 million.

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