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Star-Courier News

Miss Highlands Pageant Saturday

Last year’s winners were Miss Highlands Kaitlyn Rolin, and Jr. Miss Highlands Payton Radle.

HIGHLANDS – The Highlands Horizons invite you to the 62nd annual Miss Highlands Pageant & the 27th annual Jr. Miss Highlands Pageant this Saturday, October 12th 2019 at Highlands Junior High auditorium. The Jr. Miss Highlands Pageant begins at 2:00pm and The Miss Highlands Pageant begins at 7:00pm.

This year’s theme is “Friends.” Both pageants will include an opening number, contestant introductions, casual wear modeling, talent competition, dress modeling and interview question.

The MC for the Pageants will be Assistant Chief David Alford from the Baytown Police Department. Awards presented will include Miss Photogenic, Miss Congeniality, High ticket sales, Talent, 2nd runner up, 1st runner up and the crowning of the 2017 Miss Highlands & Jr. Miss Highlands.

Each year, the Horizons present the Jennie Robbins Community Service Award to the Miss Highlands contestant who has proven to be community minded and dedicated her time to serving & helping others. (more…)

Newport MUD plans to fix, update, expand

Superintendent Scott Davis addresses the water board last Friday to ask if they can provide water to land on Foley Rd., a proposed site for a new Crosby ISD campus as part of due diligence prior to buying the land for school construction.

NEWPORT – The water district is attempting to deal with damage done by tropical storm Imelda, hold a public hearing for a tax hike October 17 to handle increases in expenses and propose a bond to repair old lines and facilities and expand capacities for future growth and regulatory requirements. A board hearing was held Friday at 2:00 p.m.

Damage by Tropical Storm Imelda includes a sink hole developing where a large drainage pipe is near the waste water treatment plant. There was more erosion at the Gum Gully trail than during Hurricane Harvey and a main broke at the lift station. Professional services were handling these on Tuesday. This on top of service of each of the hydrants in the neighborhood.

On Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. at 16410 Country Club Drive, Community Room (next to Fitness Room), at Stonebridge in Newport is the regular board meeting to concern itself with a tax increase. There is a possibility of a rollback.

An Open House is to be held on Oct. 16 at 6:30 p.m. to educate residents about a proposed bond that has recently been said to be for about $70,000,000 and is to repair much of the infrastructure of the neighborhood. (more…)

Saturday mayhem strikes local areas

A Highlands ambulance arrives first to help with a homeless man found by a motorist lying beside US 90 just past FM 2100 at 7:00 p.m. Five other calls went out at the same time.

CROSBY – HIGHLANDS – Last Saturday at about 7:00 p.m. six emergencies cropped up, including two Life Flight rescue calls that went out in Crosby at the same time, and before the evening shift had completed, all four Life Flight helicopters for Harris County had been called to the area.

Other calls were for assorted accidents, including the regular Saturday night feature ATV accident.

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TROPICAL STORM IMELDA FLOODING PARALYZES HOUSTON

Huffman and Crosby were inundated in flooding. Pictured above is a rescue by boat in Huffman. Houston sent 3 high water vehicles to Crosby to help the fire department. Harris County authorities had to tow over 1600 autos to clear major highways.

20” of Rain in 24 hours; 1500 High Water Rescues

By Gilbert Hoffman

HARRIS COUNTY – Tropical Storm IMELDA never reached hurricane status, but it ended up doing more flooding than Hurricane Harvey two years ago, according to authorities.

The storm came ashore near Freeport on Tuesday evening, and by Thursday had dropped massive amounts of water on Harris County and counties to the north and east of Houston, all the way to Beaumont.

The storm took five lives, three in Beaumont and two in Harris County. Authorities said a man drove into high water on Will Clayton Parkway in Humble, and another body of Rene Salas, 52, was found in a ditch near W. Mt. Houston.

Many rescue operations were required in the Deer Run neighborhood in Crosby last week as the accumulation of water began to enter houses and threaten residents. Neighbors and personnel from Crosby Volunteer Fire Dept. and HCESD#5 were involved in the efforts.

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EPA holds update session in Highlands

Jackie Young and Sean Matula were among about 20 persons that spoke.

Representatives of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were in Highlands last Tuesday evening, to tell a large crowd what progress has been made on removing the Waste Pits from the Superfund site in the San Jacinto River.

A lengthy presentation by EPA Project Manager Gary Baumgarten was very technical in nature, covering testing, strategies for planning the removal of the toxins, and schedules for the work.

Baumgarten also covered the subject on everyone’s mind, the run-away barges in the rain swollen river, and the damage to the I-10 bridge. He covered the details of the incident, the damage to the site, and the fact that no pollution from the site or the barges has been detected. One barge was on top of the pits, though, and after it was removed Sunday more testing for damage must take place, he said.

With wry humor, he quipped that he had never worked on a site that had so many things happen to it, including floods, an 18 wheel crash, and barge strikes.

A large crowd of concerned residents filled the hall of the Highlands Community Center.

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BARGE STRIKE DAMAGES I-10 BRIDGE, SHUTS TRAFFIC

This aerial drone photo, furnished by the EPA, shows one of the two barges that struck the I-10 bridge supports, shearing them from the beams above, and totally destroying the structural integrity. The damage can be seen on the columns supporting the westbound lanes of the highway, but TxDOT will send divers and engineers to examine supports of both east and west arteries before deciding whether to reopen them for traffic.

Tropical Storm Imelda brought widespread flooding to many areas to the north and east in Harris County, and bayous and rivers rose rapidly.

In the San Jacinto River, nine barges loaded with petroleum products broke loose from their moorings near the Waste Pits Thursday morning about midnight, and traveled downstream with two of the barges striking support columns of the I-10 bridge over the river.

The extensive structural damage caused TxDOT to close the bridge to all vehicular traffic in both directions, and announced that they would remain closed until the waters receded and the supports could be examined.

With very few alternative east/west routes, a tremendous traffic jam occurred on the east side of the county, affecting thoroughfares and local roads. (more…)

Crosby original found murdered

Ralph Leroy Machala

Ralph “Lee” Leroy Machala, the proprietor of Pooky’s Bar, was found a victim of a brutal murder in Chambers County on Sept. 21. Apparently he had been shot to death.

Locals say he was last seen at Pooky’s on Tuesday, Sept. 17 and reportedly his Jeep was seen in his neighborhood on Sept. 18. That Jeep is now reportedly missing.

Machala had recently self reported having diversified into concrete pouring, purchasing a portion of a bar near the Mexican border, and buying RVs in Chambers County and flipping them to individuals in Crystal Beach.

The 1979 Crosby High School graduate was an avid benefactor of the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital and several times paid for funeral expenses of local friends that had hit hard times.

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Rotary holds another successful Washer Tournament

25 teams competed last Saturday for prizes and the chance to win bragging rights for best washer throwing skills. Participants included local and district Rotarians, and teams from the public, some of whom have played each year of the tournament in a traditional competition.

Proceeds benefit Polio Plus, R. I.

HIGHLANDS – The local Rotary club held a fund raiser, their 13th Annual 3- Hole Washer Board Charity Tournament last Saturday, Sept. 14 at Charlie’s Ice House. About 25 two-person teams competed for the top three places.

The event also included a live and silent auction and raffle, and the club was able to raise about $7000 thanks to the support of the community.

Polio, once a disease that attacked children and adults all around the world, leaving them crippled, has been almost eradicated through the efforts of the Rotary International. Only Afghanistan and Pakistan have a few active cases, but inoculation with the vaccine continues throughout the world.

Since 1985, Rotary has raised $1.7 billion for mass vaccination, immunizing more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries.

The Highlands Rotary Club, along with thousands of other Rotary clubs around the world, support this effort to eradicate polio as one of their primary charities.

This year the Washer Tournament was able to raise about $7000, of which half will go directly to the polio effort, and the other half to R.I. for national programs. In the future, Highlands can apply for a grant that will fund a local project.

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Crosby ISD 2020 budget approved

Bailee CoVan, a Crosby High School Senior, daughter of the Newport Elementary School Principal, was named a National Merit Scholar Semifinalist. Pictured with CoVan are her parents, and the Crosby School Board and Superintendent Scott Davis at left.

CROSBY – The local school board fixed a tax rate for the school year, limited finances, and heard a yearly report on accountability last Monday.

The 2019-2020 budget and proposed tax rate is centered on the new tax rate. The Interest and Sinking tax rate is $0.48. It is higher than the additional published notice and public meeting rate of $0.42 per $100 valuation.

The difference is due mostly to the value year lag used in the calculation of state aid. Crosby state aid for debt service decreases under HB 3 due to the increase in local property values for 2019. For maintenance and operation is $1.06835 per $100 valuation and reflects the maximum House Bill 3 compressed rate. And is a decrease from the previous $1.09 rate prior to House Bill 3.

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SJRC monitors continued pollution

Carolyn Stone, Channelview resident

EAST HARRIS COUNTY – The San Jacinto River Coalition met last week in Highlands, and reviewed activities at the Waste Pits, and heard of other environmental concerns.

Jackie Young announced that the Dallas Region 6 of the EPA had a new administrator, Ken McQueen, replacing David Gray, who remains with EPA. In a surprise announcement, the public learned this week that the EPA had met on the site on Monday with other involved parties, reviewed progress, and issued a statement as follows:

“The work of the Superfund Task Force brought significant progress to addressing contamination at the San Jacinto waste pits site,” said Regional Administrator Ken McQueen. “EPA will continue working with our partners toward a permanent clean-up for the benefit of the Highlands community.”

“The TCEQ appreciates EPA’s efforts on the Superfund Taskforce recommendations,” said Executive Director Toby Baker. “We look forward to our continued successful partnership with EPA to ensure proper and timely cleanup of Texas federal Superfund sites.”

“Harris County’s work with the EPA and TCEQ on the cleanup of the San Jacinto Waste Pits is a great example of how government, at all levels, can work together for the common good,” said Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan. “The announcement on October 11, 2017, that the EPA’s cleanup remedy will include the removal of 212,000 cubic yards of dioxin-laden waste from the beds and banks of the San Jacinto River has been a highpoint in my administration. Today’s announcement furthers my commitment to work together as we get closer to the goal.”

Jackie Young said at the meeting that the clean-up had entered Phase 2 PreDesign, which would last up to 10 weeks. At this time she is requesting from EPA Region 6 that work on the site have a third-party overseer, and a dive-team inspection. The work is being conducted by a contractor for the PRP (Potentially Responsible Parties) under an agreement with the EPA. Essentially they are examining conditions to verify the Pre-Design.

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Jared Jamail benefit set October 5 at Stonebridge

Al Jamail at the Crosby Education Foundation benefit last weekend.

CROSBY – Jared Jamail of Crosby passed away in May 1999 at the age of 16, and for the last 21 years consecutively, his extended family has held a fund-raiser golf tournament in his honor to memory and raise scholarship money for his fellow Crosby ISD students.

According to his aunt, Pam Johnson, “Jared’s death was a sudden, devastating shock for his family and friends. We, his family, didn’t want Jared’s memory to be about his death, but about his life. The Jared Jamail Memorial Fund was established to celebrate his life by helping others. As a result, family and friends of Jared have been able to help others by providing scholarships to graduating Crosby High School students. For those of you who have helped us, a heartfelt thank you.

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