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Posts published in “Day: February 17, 2011”

Otto named to House committees

DAYTON— State Representative John Otto (R-Dayton), a CPA serving in his fourth term in the Texas Legislature, has been selected by Speaker of the House Joe Straus to serve on two major House committees – the House Committee on Appropriations, which sets the budget for all state programs and agencies, and as Vice Chair on the House Committee on Ways and Means, which hears issues affecting tax policy in the state. Both committee assignments are considered high profile and have a significant impact on how the business of Texas operates.
“I am thrilled Speaker Straus has entrusted these important committee assignments to me again,” Rep. Otto said. “I will be able to focus my efforts on ensuring we pass a balanced budget without burdening Texas citizens with tax increases during this difficult budgetary cycle.”
“I am pleased that Representative Otto will again serve as the Vice Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee and as a member of the Appropriations committee,” Speaker Straus said.

Enterprise fire, explosions claim contractor’s life

By BOBBY HORN JR.
MONT BELVIEU—Officials at Enterprise Products Partners LP’s have confirmed that one person was killed at the Mont Belvieu facility following the Feb. 9 explosion and fire.
Company spokesman Rick Rainey said that the body of Richard Shaw was found on Feb. 10. Shaw was a contract worker at the plant, employed by Turner Industries of Baton Rouge, La.
In a statement from Turner, CEO David Troupes said that his company wanted to extend “sympathy and condolences to the Shaw family.” Troupes added that Shaw was a “dedicated employee.”
The fire started around 12:15 p.m. in the west storage facility. Witnesses at the plant said some pickup trucks in the parking lot exploded from the heat. Witnesses as far away as Crosby also reported hearing the sound of the explosion.
City officials said that they did not order a shelter in place, and they did not believe there was a public hazard. State Highway 146, which is adjacent to the facility, was closed until late in the evening in both directions while fire crews battled the blaze.
“The partnership’s main facilities at Mont Belvieu were not damaged and remain operation,” Rainey said. “Enterprise will provide a further update once the impact of the fire has been more fully assessed.”
He later added that they are looking at a possible pipeline failure as the cause, but that they would know better in the following weeks as they are joined with inspections from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
A witness who was about 50 feet from the fire’s ignition source said he believed the Shaw was working on a pipeline when the fire started.

Highlands Chamber holds annual Installation Banquet

HIGHLANDS– Chamber president Phillip Morris was the host and keynote speaker at last Thursday’s annual Installation Banquet, held at the Eagle Point complex in Mont Belvieu. About 75 members of the Chamber, new officers and board members, and friends of the Chamber attended the gala event.
President Morris reviewed the accomplishments of the Chamber in the last year, and set goals for everyone for the coming 2011 term. He also introduced and thanked the sponsors of the 2010 Jamboree with appropriate certificates.
In reviewing 2010, Morris noted that the Jamboree made money for the Chamber, that member participation on committees had increased considerably, and active members had increased from 32 to 94 in the last 1 1/2 years. He also gave credit for much of this to the hiring of Reba Rachall as the Executive Administrator of the Chamber.

Local youth helps Hike For Heroes

By BOBBY HORN JR.
CROSBY—When Iraq War veteran Troy Yocum visits Crosby next week as part of his 7,000 mile-hike across America, he will not be alone.
Drew Intermediate student Hannah Thomas will be walking alongside him.
Thomas has raised more than $300 for Yocum’s Hike For Our Heroes.
Hannah’s mother Kelly said that Hannah had been following Yocum’s story online for some time. Then she decided she wanted to help make a difference. “We have Marines in our family,” Kelly said. “And we have always supported the military. She (Hannah) just wanted to do something special.”

Making up flyers and letters, Hannah began soliciting areas businesses, the fire department and EMS. Pledges began to arrive.
Community service is nothing new for Hannah, who picked up the lesson at home. Her mother said that each year the family provides gifts and food for families at Christmas. While Hannah has helped in her family’s community service, her mother said this is the first time she has taken on a project like this by herself.
To thank Hannah for her support, Yocum has invited her to join him on his hike. Kelly said that Hannah would meet Yocum at the intersection of Hwy. 90 and Beltway 8 on Feb. 21 at noon. The pair will then walk to Crosby, ending at the high school around 4 p.m.
“I would love to see the people out on the streets cheering and supporting them as they walk down 2100,” Kelley said.
The day does not end at 4 p.m. as Yocum hopes to put Crosby in the record books.
SFC Tim Meadows, Army Instructor, Crosby High School JROTC said that
supporters will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest group to run a race barefoot. The current record is around 306 people. The distance to run is 100 meters.
The Barefoot Race will start on the football field at 6 p.m. All runners must be barefoot; it will be a mass start.
T-shirts will be sold at the stadium prior to the walk.
All proceeds will go to Wish Upon a Hero Foundation (www.wishuponahero.com). These funds are used to help military families in need.
Spectators will be encouraged to donate as well. Those in the race can have people sponsor them in the race for more donations. People can even donate online between now and the event.

Copper thieves strike again

By BOBBY HORN JR. AND LEWIS SPEARMAN
HIGHLANDS/ CROSBY—Copper thieves continue to show their have no respect for person or property.
Last week St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church became the latest victim of the thieves.
Father John Zabelskas said that on Feb. 10 a person, or persons, stripped the copper from two air conditioning units that service the classroom.
Zabelskas estimated the loss at $12,000.

“They have no respect for the church or for anyone,” he said, speaking of the thieves. “They’re hitting everyone.”
St. Jude’s is not the only charitable organization forced to contend with copper thieves.
In November, thieves stole five 5-ton air conditioning units from Churches United in Caring(CUIC). Since 1983 CUIC operates a food bank, assistance center and thrift shop at 516 Church St.
On April 16, The Crosby/Huffman Chamber of will host a 5K Charity Fun Run to help CUIC recover the air units. First through 3rd place in Men’s and Women’s Divisions will receive trophies. For participation information call (281) 328-6984
The Crosby Fair and Rodeo Association, which has given tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships to area youth has also been victimized in the past few months.
The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a copper theft suspect, who is believed to have been responsible for thefts in both Liberty County as well as east Harris County.
He is described as a white male, of medium height and weight, with red hair. He has a skull tattoo on the front of his throat as is missing a front upper tooth.