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Posts published in “Day: July 31, 2003”

Huffman finally gets action from City of Houston Water

By LEWIS SPEARMAN

HUFFMAN – Lakewood Heights residents are at last getting some work done on yellow drinking water and a broken sanitary sewer line from their provider, the City of Houston.

The residents have been complaining of extremely bad City of Houston water for at least the last six months in the subdivision. Residents offer as proof pots and pans of collected water that have a yellow, metallic appearing residue once the water evaporated.

Jack Ervin, director of Maintenance at Huffman ISD acknowledged that Huffman schools on Lake Houston Parkway, such as Ben Bowen Elementary are hooked up to City of Houston Water lines but indicates, “We haven’t seen the discoloration in school water that the residents have in the neighborhoods. If I had, I would have been even more aggressive with the City than I have been.”

Ervin said, “Addie Wiseman came out to a public meeting held at the Lakewood Heights Civic Club and talked to residents about discoloration in the water. She went back to City Council Tuesday was a week-ago at a Pop-Off Session and offered a drink of awful looking water to the Mayor and then offered some to her colleagues. That little visit from Addie got visits from the Deputy Director of Public Works to the sewer line that has broken on Huffman Eastgate Rd., our drainage problems at the school, and to check on problems with city water over here. If you come out today you will see a lot of Houston City Trucks in the Lakewood Subdivision.”

Councilwoman Addie Wiseman said, “It’s the same story from the City of Houston all the time. For two years now the people of Huffman had to deal with atrocious water not to mention a broken sewer line. So, I had to drag out the public works department people out there to see what people were dealing with that really is part of the City of Houston. The problem was that when I would bring up problems in Huffman, the relevant people would say ‘Well, Huffman isn’t part of the City.’ I hope I’ve cleared up that notion now.”

Jack Ervin had met with former Mayor Lanier to come to an understanding of the needs of the crossover of Huffman East gate Rd. Sanitary Sewer Line to East Lake Houston Parkway schools. The school districts must interact with three distinct jurisdictions over roadway, the Texas Dept. of Transportation, Harris County and the City of Houston on various projects.

Ervin said, “We get a lot of support from Sally Wegman’s Office at TXDoT. We work well with Jerry Eversole’s people. Addie Wiseman has now spent lots of time meeting with us on our concerns with the City of Houston.”

“That’s just it, there is a lack of planning and coordination in the City’s approach to working on projects that effects people’s lives.” responded Wiseman to reporter inquiries into City of Houston priorities.

The ruptured sanitary sewer line is a 13 inch main on Huffman-Eastgate that broke Nov. 3, Ervin’s written co-respondence did not receive a response until Feb. 10, stating that items on the list would be taken care of in 180 days. Ervin sees the time from Nov. 3 until July as a “slow turn around.” On Wednesday, July 23, the Public Works Director came out to work with residents and view local problems.

H.E.B. will close Crosby store

By BOBBY HORN JR.

CROSBY— And then there were two. As of Sept. 29 Crosby will see the number of grocery stores fall from three to two, with the closing of the HEB Pantry store on FM 2100.

A fixture in the Crosby community for the past 13 years, HEB’s corporate office said they are closing the store because of slow sales. “Unfortunately, a combination of a slowing economy and changing market conditions impacted our sales volume,” said Hal Collett, senior vice president of the HEB Houston Division.

HEB refused to say that the planned opening of a Super Wal-Mart in Crosby next summer was the cause of the closure, citing that the term “market conditions” was a wide umbrella that could include many factors.

While the fate of the store is known, what will happen to its 51 employees is not known. Management of the local store refused to answer any questions concerning the closure, referring all inquiries to corporate. Fred Smith, vice president of Human Resources for HEB, said that employees would be given the option of transferring to other locations. As of press time, HEB has not said how many employees have accepted the transfer offer. A spokesperson for the HEB Pantry in Baytown said they have no idea how many employees would be transferred to their store.

Bill Dybala, with Crosby Finer Foods, said that he expects their sales to increase with the closing of HEB. This increase, he said, would only be temporary until the Super Wal-Mart opens. Dybala said that he wasn’t surprised by the HEB announcement, noting that it was typical of the company to close low-performing Pantry stores while concentrating on their larger core stores.

Management of the local Kroger store refused to answer any questions related to HEB, referring all inquiries to their consumer affairs office in Houston.

Town Meeting on YMCA Thursday will gauge community interest

By BOBBY HORN JR.

CROSBY— How bad does Crosby want a YMCA and what are they willing to do to get one. These are some of the questions that organizers hope to get a handle on when they hold a public meeting July 31. The Crosby-Huffman Chamber of Commerce is hosting the meeting at Newport Elementary beginning at 7 p.m.

Despite the presence of youth programs at the Texas Sports Ranch, the Crosby Sports Association and a swimming pool in Newport, the chamber of commerce’s economic development committee has begun investigating the possibility of a YMCA in Crosby.

Speaking at the meeting will be Doug Earle, vice president of operations for the YMCA.

In June, Earle met with members of the economic development committee. At this, meeting he said that in order for Crosby to get a full-service facility, a number of actions must be taken. The first, he said, would be to charter a branch. The Houston Area YMCA would require Crosby to have an operating budget of $500,000, serve 2,000 people through their programs and have an ongoing support campaign which could contribute at least $25,000 annually to the local branch.

To build a facility the YMCA would have to acquire about 15 acres of land and $5 million. Since this is not often feasible at the start, Earle said that it is more likely that Crosby could begin a satellite office, from which they could run their programs. “Most of the things we can do without a building, although most communities want a building,” said Earle.

To operate a satellite office, Earle said that the community would have to provide at least $150,000 in program fees. Currently, those wishing to participate in YMCA programs have to go to either the Wendel D. Lay Branch in North Shore or the Baytown branch.

Earle said that he didn’t think a YMCA would have an adverse effect on existing youth programs in the community because their programs are less competitive and experience has shown that parents will supplement existing programs with the Y’s programs rather than replace they outright.

Improved ISO rating will lower insurance for Crosby/Barrett

By CHRIS BLACK, Assistant Fire Chief, edit. by LEWIS SPEARMAN

CROSBY – Completion of a three year project by Crosby Volunteer Fire Dept. and Rural Fire Pretection District #8 will result in lower insurance premiums for residents and business owners in Crosby and Barrett Station.

Crosby VFD, in conjunction with RFPD #8, achieved the second best rural department ISO grade in the United States and also tied for the second largest one step drop in ISO classification in the country.

The Insurance Service Office rates fire protection classification on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being best rating and 10 being worst. Using this rating classification, Crosby/Barrett Station was multi-rated 6, 9, 10. If a building was within 1000 feet of a fire hydrant maintained by one of the five water municipalities in the fire district, the building was rated an ISO Class 6. If the building was outside of that 1000 feet but within five driving miles of a fire station, it was rated as an ISO Class 9. If the structure was outside that five mile drive distance, it was rated as an ISO Class 10.

Effective August 1, 2004, the entire fire district that encompasses the Crosby/Barrett Station area (approximately the same boundaries as Crosby ISD) will become an ISO Class 4. This translates into significant savings for residents and business owners on their insurance premiums. The departmental goal was originally a district wide ISO Class 5, but as we got further into the process, we realized that we had the potential to exceed that original goal and put forth the extra effort to achieve the Class 4.

The following table of potential savings was pulled from the Texas Department of Insurance web page (www.tdi.state.tx.us/fixe/fmppcchanges.htinl). The table was summarized here to reflect the ratings relevant to Crosby and Barrett Station.

Numbers shown in the table are not necessarily reflective of savings a resident can expect. Savings may depend upon the value of the home, the levels of coverage selected, deductibles, the specific insurance company the resident has, etc.

“While I’m not an insurance professional, it’s my understanding that insurance companies aren’t required to re-evaluate a policy while it’s still in effect. Each policyholder should contact their agent to determine if they are eligible to realize the savings immediately or if they must wait until their policy renews.” explains Assist. Chief Chris Black, the ISO Project Facilitator.

“We knew it was going to be a huge project for us to tackle with our available resources,” said CVFD Fire Chief Alan Kutak. “But we were able to identify some avenues that we had not pursued in the past.”

“The biggest, single contributing factor to us being able to improve our ISO rating was the community voting to support a property tax in May 1998,” continued Chief Kulak. ‘That provided us with a more reliable and consistent funding source so we could secure loans and rental agreements for the equipment and resources we were going to need. If it hadn’t been for the residents of Crosby and Barrett Station giving us their show of support, we never would have been able to do this.”

“A tremendous thanks to all firefighters who participated in the multiple timed trial evolutions while under the scrutiny of a video camera, repeated the necessary tasks again and again until we felt we couldn’t do it any better, and didn’t complain until after picking up the thousands of feet of large diameter hose that we have tested and laid out in various drills.” added Black.

Assistant Chief Chris Black concluded, “Finally, thank you to the citizens of Crosby and Barrett Station for being patient with us while we worked our way through this endeavor. I know that many of you have been wondering and asking about when their insurance was going down, and I apologize for it taking so long for us to bring this to completion. But, in spite of us working through the surprises that arose during the process, me making multiple changes in the scope and plan, and some uncontrollable delays in the ISO offices, we made it! Congratulations!”

Highlands employee charged with stealing

HOUSTON – A Highlands woman was arrested Friday, July 26, in connection with stealing several thousand dollars from a Cloverleaf marine business.

Janet Perez, 43, faces charges of felony theft based on allegations from the owner of GV Marine Services. Perez had been the office manager of the business, until last week.

The owner of the business reported to deputies that he had approached Perez concerning a discrepancy in accounting books she kept. Perez reportedly told the business owner she was going to the bank to correct the error but never returned to the business.

When the owner began to review the books, he noticed several checks were missing. The checks were tracked to a liquor store on Woodforest Drive.

Perez has posted $20,000 bond and has been released from Harris County Jail.