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Posts published in January 2011

Highway 90 westbound officially opens

Federal, State and local officials joined the Texas Dept. of Transportation (TXDoT) to celebrate the opening of the newly-constructed segment of The Crosby Freeway from Beltway 8 to IH 10/610 Interchange last Monday, although the eastbound section remains under construction until later this week or early February.

U.S. Congressional Representatives Gene Green (D.) and Ted Poe (R.), Texas Representative Dan Huberty (R.), County Judge Ed Emmett, Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack Morman, Texas Transportation Commissioner Ned Holmes, members of the Crosby/Huffman Chamber of Commerce, Crosby Fire Chief Alan Kulak and a host of engineers and agency officials attended the ribbon cutting in blowing rain under the Mercury Drive Bridge.

Elvin Dennis, District Engineer for TXDoT in Houston, directed ceremonies and made opening statements including that the roadway was to “improve access to northeast Harris County in communities between Lake Houston and Interstate 10 to areas such as Channelview, Crosby, Liberty and Dayton benefit from improved access to Houston and Loop 610 East,” and “I would be remiss if I didn’t point out on behalf of our attending congressional delegation’s financial contributions helped bring into existence for TXDoT these projects into fruition. TXDoT received approximately $6 million in Congressional appropriations made possible by Congressman Gene Green and some of his co-horst at that time and to help deliver this U.S. 90 construction.”
“The project started in September, 2006 and it was completed at a cost of $157 million. It includes approximately 7 miles of main-lane freeway paving, three direct connectors, storm sewer installation and detention ponds. The roadway will feature three main-lanes in each direction and allow for direct access to and from IH 10 East and IH 610 East Loop.
The extension of US 90 encompasses three distinct contracts with the full limits having been constructed by Williams Brothers Construction Company. The project was built without having to rebuild the IH 10 and IH 610 interchanges and it is expected to bring relief for trucking traffic along the Beaumont Highway,” says a TXDoT press release.
Congressman Gene Green (D.) 29th pointed out that the state had owned the property for 30 years he first thanked Congressman Ted Poe because when Poe was elected in 2004 Poe was placed on the Transportation Committee, “Ted made me a better deal than I thought I could get for all of the construction in our district we needed $4 Million more. And Ted said ‘If you can come up with 2 I can come up with 2. Thank goodness Ted understood that so many from his district will use this everyday. It is a partnership between the State, the Federal Government and our County officials.”
Green also recognized Doug Peacock attributing to Peacock his learning to how to obtain funds for highway projects. Green also pointed to the flyover in Baytown and pointed to yet another flyover hopefully in a few months at Highway 59 and Beltway 8.
Congressman Poe said, “This is a good example of how we can work together in congress to do some mutual good for the entire community. I enjoyed working with Gene on this issue and money other issues as well. For some reason, I never figured it out, U.S. 90 just stopped. On the way over here we saw all the trucks exiting on 610 exiting Wallisville going through that flooded underpass trying to get on Old Highway 90 those days are going to end very soon thanks to this. Highway construction and being able to move through places like this is an economic issue.”

Saturday’s events include FFA livestock auction, Chamber expo

CROSBY/ HUFFMAN– Jan. 29 will be a busy day in the Crosby and Huffman communities.
The Crosby Huffman Chamber of Commerce will hold their annual Consumer Expo on Jan. 29 in the Crosby High School commons from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is free.
The purpose of the event is to allow area businesses to sell their products and promote their businesses to the community. Throughout the day there will be door prizes as well as live entertainment.
There will also be a blood drive and health fair.
FFA Auction
Saturday will also see the culmination of the Huffman FFA Livestock Show.
A buyers dinner will be held from 12 to 1 p.m. on Jan. 29. The livestock auction starts at 1:30 p.m. at the Huffman FFA Arena at Hargrave High School.
Spring Ball Signups
Saturday’s event will also see the final day for Crosby Sports Association Spring baseball and softball. Registration will be at the Crosby Sports Complex from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For those able to attend, registration will also be during the evening of Jan. 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the sports complex.
Rotary Chili Feast
Final preparations are also underway for the Feb. 5 Highlands Rotary Club 36th Annual Chili Feast, Raffle and Auction.
The event will be held at the St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church, 808 S. Main. in Highlands from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. A live auction starts at 12:30 p.m.
Raffle tickets are $100 each. The Top prize is a 2011 Chevy Camaro or 2011 Chevy Silverado pickup. Other prizes include shotgun, camera and television. Chili dinner tickets are $7 each or free with raffle ticket.

Tire recycler for old US90 has TCEQ protest hearing

SHELDON – A huge proposed tire recycling facility is on the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) docket this week that would, if successful in hearings, be located just blocks from Crosby Municipal Utility District’s service land on the Beaumont Highway near the San Jacinto River and Lake Houston.
Implications of this case impact a variety of public conversations and issues currently ongoing, including: “Should government entities be trusted to do their duty?,” to ‘Where have all the jobs gone?”, to “Are we going to have to live close to more pollution and mosquito nests?” Liberal, conservatives and the victims of the same all have a stake in this outcome.

Genan, Inc. ( originally a German Company) obtained a decision on Oct. 28, 2010 to be issued a Tire Registration No. 6200673 for a scrap tire storage facility, the company is “requesting approval or a registration to transport store and process scrap tires at a facility,” at 18038 Beaumont Highway.
The stated Genan’s vision is twofold. “We want all scrap tires to be recycled in the environmentally and economically most beneficial way. For us, the environment and the economy go hand in hand.”
“Genan’s scrap tire recycling concept is unique. In a highly technological process, developed and optimized through practical experience over more than 20 years, all kinds of scrap tires are separated into the original elements: rubber steel and textile.,” and “The output from a Genan plant consists of 67% rubber powder and granulate, 18% steel, 14% textile and 1% waste, which primarily stems from impurities like sand and stones absorbed by the scrap tires.” Genan, Inc. indicates. Currently the most important rubber modification is modification of asphalt, bitumen, infil in artificial turf and industrial usages. Steel is remelted in large steel works.” … “the textile” … “is currently going through a comprehensive product development which will lead to final products within the noise and heat insulation industry.” Genan, Inc. describes their works.
Genan, Inc. had promised nearby Emergency Service Districts that the company would bring trainers from Germany to train local people to be employed to run the facility.
However Citizens for Responsible Recycling (CRR) replied for rehearing and/or motion to Overturn the Executive Director’s decision to issue the permit. They say that Pastor Charlie Tutt runs a school at 17522 Beaumont Highway within 1/2 mile of the proposed facility. The workshop teaches students employment skills and workplace behavior, with the goal of assisting students in finding employment upon completion of the program.
CRR’s attorneys questions impact on surface water drainage, rain events have created drainage problems on roadways near the facility and on the San Jacinto River about 2 blocks from the facility.
Questions are raised about water and air quality from Constituents like cadmium, asbestos and also high carbon from the steel. Air quality issues are raised stating that of his students, “many suffer from asthma.”
Fires are an issue of concern, the complainants say that there “is no way to put out a fire involving whole tires. Water is not effective.”
Impacts on home values are raised, a subdivision known as Sheldon Woods consists of 450 homes with all the issues would reduce the value of property.
Sheldon’s Fire Dept. was assured that the tires would be brought in wrapped and bundled to be stored within a facility and that facility and the robotic manufacturing area have a drop floor chamber and in the event of a fire the facility can drop a million gallons of water into the chamber smothering the fire. They were told that the single building would sit on the ten acres there and that humans never touch the tires inside the facility. The dept. was assured that tires would only be coming from the United States.
On Nov. 22, Marisa Perales, on behalf of CRR filed a motion to overturn the executive director’s approval of Genan’s application due to fatal deficiencies including insufficient information regarding the proposed site and surrounding areas, noncompliance with technical various requirements, inadequacies in the Site operating Plan and failure to provide information required.
Genan, Inc.’s attorney responded, of course, to the complaint on all issues.
The TCEQ, Les Trobman extended the time for the Commission to act on this motion until Jan. 27, 2011 to Anne Idsal, Assistant General Counsel at (512) 239-5537.
The TCEQ’s Executive Director responded via staff attorney Ron Olson on all issues raised and concluded that he had acted correctly to allow the permit.

Huberty sworn in as Rep. for State House District 127

AUSTIN – On Tuesday, January 11, Dan Huberty took the oath of office to serve as State Representative for House District 127 in the 82nd Legislature.
“It is an honor to be serving the people of District 127 in the Texas House. I know I have the support of the community behind me and am proud to be a voice for them,” Huberty said. “This session we will be tackling big issues with a projected $27 billion shortfall. Today is the first day of our 140-day long attempt to help fix those problems and I am ready to get to work.”
Family, friends and supporters made their way to Austin for the exciting day.
Accompanying Dan at his desk for the swearing-in ceremony were his wife, Janet, and three children, Brianna, Ryan and Dylan. Sitting only a few feet away were his parents, Dick and Maureen Huberty; his sister Lisa Holden and his cousin, Tom Huberty.

Huberty also asked several of his Humble ISD colleagues to join him on the House floor, including Superintendent Dr. Guy Sconzo and Trustees Charles Cunningham, Dave Martin and Lynn Fields. City Council Member Mike Sullivan and his wife, Kim, and Constable Ron Hickman were also there to support Huberty.
Kingwood Tea Party leaders Jim and Robin Lennon, Daniel Ledoux, Larry Lane and Gus Faris chartered a bus to depart Kingwood early Tuesday morning. They brought more than fifty constituents to Austin to be a part of the Opening Day ceremonies to support Huberty.
“Janet and I were extremely pleased to have so many of our friends and neighbors here with us on this special day. I believe everyone enjoyed the ceremony and the events of the day,” Huberty said.
Huberty is replacing Representative Joe Crabb who served the community for 18 years in Austin.

Injured bald eagle found in Crosby gets new lease on life

CROSBY—An American Bald Eagle, founded injured in Crosby, now has a new home in Bellville at the Lone Star Wildlife Rescue.
On Jan. 9 game wardens with Texas Parks and Wildlife were able to capture the eagle in Crosby after it had been reported injured.
Parks and wildlife said that they were first made aware that a sick eagle was in the East Harris County area three weeks ago, but that it had been difficult to capture.
Unable to fly any true distance to a broken scapula and suffering from dehydration, the bird was found on the side of the road in Crosby.

Wardens took the bird to the Wildlife Rehab and Education Center, near the Heights area of Houston. The Wildlife Rehab and Education Center provides care for injured and orphaned wildlife.
Shirley Rogers, with Wildlife Rehab, said they were able to stabilize the bird’s condition and give it first aid.
On Jan. 14 the male bird, believed to be between three and four years of age, was transferred to its new home.
Rogers said the federal fish and wildlife agency has “very strict” rules about animal and bird rehabilitation. Since the Houston facility did not have the proper permits to continue the bird’s rehabilitation another site was needed.
“Besides,” Rogers said. “They have a 100-foot flight cage. All we have is a puny 60-foot flight cage. He is going to be real happy there.”
Eagles common
in area
Rogers said that eagles, even the American Bald eagle, are common to Harris and Brazoria County. “They (eagles) migrate here all the time, in fact we are seeing a resurgence of them,” Rogers said.
“We are in a unique location in that we are on the path of two major flight ways,” she added. “Bird watchers come here from across the world to see them.”
Rogers said that Humble and Atascocita have become popular viewing sites for both eagles and hawks, especially near water. “Eagles like to fish,” she said. “So look for them near waterways.”
Bald eagles were officially declared an endangered species in 1967 in all areas of the United States south of the 40th parallel, under a law that preceded the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
Until 1995, the bald eagle had been listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 43 of the 48 lower states, and listed as threatened in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Washington and Oregon. In July of 1995, the US Fish and Wildlife Service upgraded the status of bald eagles in the lower 48 states to “threatened.”
On June 28, 2007 the Interior Department took the American bald eagle off the Endangered Species List. The bald eagle will still be protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The Bald Eagle Protection Act prohibits the take, transport, sale, barter, trade, import and export, and possession of eagles, making it illegal for anyone to collect eagles and eagle parts, nests, or eggs without a permit. Native Americans are able to possess these emblems which are traditional in their culture.

US 90 set to open on Jan. 21

CROSBY – The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDoT) indicates that the Crosby Freeway may be opening soon as local officials show concern.
State Representative Dan Huberty R., District 127, and Crosby ISD Superintendent Dr. Keith Moore met with TXDoT officials on Jan. 7 to discuss fatalities on FM 2100 and potential action to widen that roadway when it was mentioned by TXDoT Officials that the Crosby Freeway was to open in a couple of weeks.

During an interview with Dr. Moore and an e-mail exchange with the already-accomplishing freshman legislator, it was learned that even when TXDoT receives the go-ahead funds for a roadway expansion it generally takes upwards of six years to begin driving on that road. Those who have lived nearby longer probably are more than familiar with that fact, since U.S. 90 was proposed in 1970.
Dr. Moore expressed that fatal crashes including one of students last May and on Dec. 28 with a school bus being involved concerned him both as an educator and as a father.
However, TXDoT Engineer Frank Mayfield at the Design Center said that the roadway will not be finished until late March or early April. “It may be true,” that the roadway is opening next week, “but that is what I am sticking to. But if we open up earlier then so much the better.”
Manager Jeff Volk had stated that completion of the Crosby Freeway has been slated for April 6 of this year since he had begun working on the project years ago.
Diedra Samuals is TXDoT’s Public Information Officer for this area. She is in the process of sending out invitations to a Jan. 21 ribbon cutting for both lanes of the roadway. She added that the lanes would be open the following day for traffic.
One explanation of the seeming contradiction inside the agency is that terms used may be interpreted to indicate that the frontage roads may be opening sooner but the Freeway in total may not yet be completed until the scheduled dates in late March or early April.
On Tuesday, workers were tending the main beam of the last bridge to be constructed at Maxie Road in North Shore.
The meeting between the Superintendent and Dr. Moore was with TXDoT’s District Engineer Douglas Stephens for Northeast Harris County about conditions on FM 2100.
Currently, with the exception of the overpasses of Runneburg and Krenek Roads, and some extra turn lanes on North FM 2100, the local roadways are much the same as they were 12 years ago and the situations have changed. Where some 1,200 vehicles traversed FM 2100 daily then, over 2,000 do now, according to TXDoT studies.
According to Captain Jack Hagee of Ken Jones’ Precinct 3 Constable’s Office 1,045 citations have been written since Nov. 5 of last year by that office alone on FM 2100 from IH-10 to the Montgomery County Line on FM 2100. Hagee says that most have been written North of U.S. 90, “the real problem is in the North toward Huffman from Crosby. We are going to just keep working traffic until it turns around.”
He points to the coincidence of 465 tickets written in both November and December.
That however does not solve the necessity of a wider roadway to weave inside before they come in contact with those of us just trying to go home, to school or to work for speeders, drunks, and cell phone users of the talk or texting variety.
Huberty, who was just sworn in last Monday, set up the meeting with TXDoT the Friday before. Huberty wrote, “After the recent increase in accidents on Farm to Market Road 2100 from Huffman through Crosby, I would like to see what can be done to decrease the amount of incidences on that stretch of road.”
Huberty indicates that the number of crashes has increased from 83 in 2009 to 132 in 2010. “From that, a decision was made to install a traffic light at the intersection of FM 2100 and Stroker Road, as well as, a flashing light at the intersection of FM 2100 and Spanish Cove. Although this will address some of the issues, I feel it is important to remember the other areas of that road.”
This follows on the heels of a TXDoT Restructure Council report that the agency has ongoing problems with transparency and accountability at the agency as reported by the Grant Thornton external audit.
The impending threat is that in the current economic situation it is possible that funding for transportation projects could be adversely affected. If the Texas Legislature, facing a $15 bullion shortfall before annual increases, has to force changes some observers believe the State may defund or delay needed projects to re-organize the agency.

Poe sworn in for fourth term in congress

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) was sworn in for a fourth term as the United States Representative for the Second Congressional District of Texas.
In the 112th Congress, Poe will remain committed to his pledge not to support any bill that raises taxes on the American people and continue to fight for limited government spending and reduce unnecessary federal regulations and interference in our businesses and personal lives.
“I am proud to continue to serve the 2nd District of Texas and represent the issues that matter most to southeast Texans,” said Poe. “The American people have been more engaged in our government over the past two years than in any other time in recent memory. It is time to restore our government to the people of this country. After all, it’s ‘We the People.’”

Poe continues to be a leading advocate for increased border security and serves as an Executive Member of the Immigration Reform Caucus. As a strong proponent of energy independence, Poe is an ardent supporter of increased domestic drilling, alternative energy and supports an “all of the above” approach to lessening our dependence on foreign crude oil and natural gas.
As a former prosecutor and judge in Houston, Texas, for 30 years, Poe serves on the House Judiciary Committee; Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security and the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.
Poe also serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade and International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight Subcommittees; as well as founder and co-chair of the Congressional Victim’s Rights Caucus advocating on behalf of victims in Congress.
For more information on Congressman Poe and the services provided by our offices, please visit our website:

Highlands Fire Department Firefighter of the Year

Mike Carsner receives award

HIGHLANDS– The Highlands Volunteer Fire Department held their 2011 Installation and Awards Banquet last Saturday night, at the Brady’s Landing restaurant in Houston.
Over 100 persons attended the gala evening, hosted and emceed by Fire Chief Harvey Little. Recognition was given for longevity, and the top award for Firefighter of the Year was presented to Mike Carsner, chief of Station No. 2, on a vote by the membership of the department.

In his prepared remarks, Chief Little reviewed the accomplishments of the department for 2010, and the goals for 2011. Due to a steady revenue stream from the 2 cents sales tax, the department was able to pay off debts on three fire trucks, and ordered a new Rescue Pumper to be delivered in 2011. Also purchased was a new fire chief’s car to replace the old 11 year old suburban.
Also noted by Little were improvements in the radio system, a light tower on Engine 27, receipt of a Forest Service grant of $155,000, and the start of a 24 hour duty crew at Station 2. Little expected in 2011 to retire the debt on two vehicles, and use the grant to purchase a new Tanker. An ISO insurance inspection is scheduled this year, which should lower rates for local residents.
Chief Little noted a decrease of 17% in total calls for the year, although 23 LifeFlight requests was the same as the previous year.
Membership of the department is now full, with 34 regular members, 1 EMS and 18 part time paid. Little had a class of 17 new members this year, which was expanded from previous years due to the acceptance of out of area applicants.
Special recognition was given to the Department Chaplain, Rev. Phillip Morris, and the board of HCESD#14, which was present.
Also recognized was Patrick Brown as Rookie of the Year, and Mike Carsner as Firefighter of the Year. Rookie of the Year is given in memory of William Taylor, an HVFD firefighter who passed away suddenly in 1999.
See other awards on Page 2.

Lynchburg Ferry Boats get new, cleaner engines

LYNCHBURG— The second of the two boats at the historic Lynchburg Ferry left her berth Friday morning to be fitted with a new clean-burning, energy-efficient engine.
When the William P. Hobby returns in about six weeks she will join the Ross. S. Sterling as 46-year-old boats that will be burning about 25 percent less fuel to operate.
Harris County Precinct Two secured $588, 611 in grant funding through the Houston-Galveston Area Council for replacement of engines on both boats to reduce pollution in the region.
“Operation of these historic ferries in the most efficient manner fits perfectly with our emphasis on a leaner county government for the residents of Harris County,” said Commissioner Jack Morman. “We will work to provide dependable service with the least amount of strain on taxpayers’ pocketbooks.”

The new engines are rated to save as much as 400 gallons of fuel per month for the two boats that currently use about 1,400 gallons monthly. Additionally, emissions of dangerous pollutants are expected to fall by as much as two-thirds.
The ferry service began in 1822 by Nathaniel Lynch, a private ferry operator, just below the confluence of the San Jacinto River and Buffalo Bayou. While already an integral part of the growth of Texas, the ferry’s place in history was cemented by its proximity to the fateful Battle of San Jacinto in which Texians gained Independence from Mexican dictator Santa Anna.
Harris County, formed by the Republic of Texas in 1837, assumed operations of the ferry and established rates for crossing. In 1890, the county chose to eliminate any fees and the service remains free to this day.
Currently, each of the boats carries an average of 750 vehicles per day in the 1,100 foot crossing. Each vessel has in excess of 250,000 hours of running time in their lives. The Lynchburg Ferries are approaching 800,000 miles of combined travel.
The engine replacements are being done by Bludworth Marine on Harborside Drive in Galveston.

Road design contributes to fatal FM 2100 bus crash

CROSBY – At about 8:40 p.m. on Dec. 28, a Mustang was turning left into the Tall Cedar Community at 19123 FM 2100 when a man driving a white Ford S.U.V. approached northbound and tried to pass the stopped vehicle by going into the oncoming lane as a Crosby ISD school bus filled with Crosby’s Girls’ Varsity Basketball Team was southbound, according to eyewitnesses.
It was a fatal mistake for the S.U.V driver which also injured numerous students. Six ambulances of two girls each and a bus driver were observed loading, parents arrived next to take others home.
Crosby Volunteer Fire Dept. rolled most of their units. Fire Chief Alan Kulak directing rescue operations said, “I hope the state will get busy putting in some turn lanes.”

The license plate on the S.U.V. indicates the vehicle belongs to “Mean” Gene Kelton. A guitar and amplifier was onboard the S.U.V. Kelton, 57, was said to be on his way to a charity gig in Porter. Deputy Hughes confirmed it was Kelton, one of the top blues guitar players in Texas.
The impact of the crash brought all of the debris including the bus to just in front of Pooky’s Tavern. The owner, although he did not see the wreck himself, heard it. With a fire extinguisher in hand he ran to the aid of the S.U.V. driver inside a heavily smoking wreck. That is when Lee Machala, that owner, realized the driver was pinned in the S.U.V. He then thought about how to help get the children to safety from the roadside.
“I am sick and tired of wrecks on this road. I have to watch 70 m.p.h. traffic on a road servicing all this side of Harris County with just two lanes. We have to take care of each other out here. I do what I can to keep my customers safe but we need some work on this road.”
Deputies at the scene determined that Kelton had died instantly and may have been operating a cell phone at the time. The Mustang was simply waiting on oncoming traffic to enter the Tall Cedar Community. Perhaps the best decision would have been to choose the ditch and go right but there is often little time to react.
Team members, the coach, the coaches daughter, and the bus driver left hospitals that day.
There are turn lanes on FM 2100, mostly at county roads but private drives have no such lanes and the rate of injuries have increased dramatically since last year. The count according to officials is 12 fatalities since school closed last year.
Although the Precinct 3 Constable’s Office, Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Department of Public Safety have increased patrols and are steady writing tickets on FM 2100 from U.S. 90 to Huffman’s FM 1960.
The conditions of the road remains hazardous for the amount of traffic. Two single vehicle roll-over accidents at Old Atascocita Rd. at FM 2100 occurred on Dec. 12 and Dec. 18.
In 1998 the state legislature considered widening FM 2100 and upon said that the roadway needed the changes but voted not one dime to make them.
Subsequent proposals have been termed “development driven initiatives.” Whatever that means, it seems that development in Humble, Atascocita, Crosby and Baytown merit consideration of widening that roadway.
Local property owners are not wanting to acquiesce another 8 to 16 feet of right-of-way but they do not want to endanger their families either. Jerry Eversole urged the community to demand of the state to widen FM 2100 two years ago.
This is not the beginning and it is certainly not the end. Currently, the state is to complete the Crosby Freeway in April of this year. Construction of the Overpass at the railroad pass is to begin in February. A traffic snarl begins at 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. now on FM 2100.