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Posts published in “Day: June 2, 2011”

Library Offers free downloadable Music

Chambers County Library System now offers free access to hundreds of thousands of songs from Sony Music’s catalog of artists. The library has joined Library Ideas’ newest service called Freegal, which stands for Free and Legal music.
Under the terms of the agreement, registered card holders with the Chambers County Library System can download 3 songs per week from a select number of Sony Music tracks in MP3 format at no direct cost from within any of the Chambers County Library System branch libraries. Music is paid for with your tax dollars through the county budget. In order to access the Freegal site, users must have a library card with an account in good standing.
Patrons are invited to bring in their portable devices or CDs to transfer music.
For more information call or visit your local branch or check them out at www.chambers.lib.tx.us

Liberty Co. company hit with $250K fine

LIBERTY COUNTY— A local fabricating company, which filed for bankruptcy protection a year ago, has been hit with one-quarter of a million dollars in fines for violating state environmental laws.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, on May 23, announced that its environmental crimes unit investigation of a Liberty County storage tank manufacturer culminated in a guilty plea and criminal fines totaling $250,000.
Ricardo Gonzales, the president of R & K Fabricating Inc., pleaded guilty to two charges of intentionally and knowingly violating the Texas Clean Air Act.
Gonzalez will serve a term of probation for one year, and was ordered to pay a $25,000 fine and cease operations until his facility is in compliance with TCEQ rules.
In the second charge, Gonzales received an additional $50,000 fine. R & K Fabricating Inc. also pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay a $175,000 fine.
A TCEQ criminal investigator, with assistance from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Environmental Crimes Unit, discovered that Gonzales intentionally and knowingly violated the Texas Clean Air Act and TCEQ rules by operating his manufacturing facility without TCEQ permits required for sandblasting and spray painting operations.
The case was prosecuted by the Travis County Attorney’s office, in cooperation with the Texas Environmental Enforcement Task Force.
In 2005, Gonzales was charged and received deferred adjudication for a similar air pollution offense. In that case, Gonzales paid a $1,800 fine and performed community service.
On May 10, 2010 R&K filed a petition with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court/ Southern District of Texas for Chapter 11 protection.

Lee College president Murphy announces resignation

BAYTOWN- After three years of dedicated service, Lee College President Michael Murphy has announced that he will not request an extension of his contract from the Lee College Board of Regents.
Dr. Murphy’s contract expires on Jan. 4, 2012.
The eighth president of Lee College, Dr. Murphy took office on Jan. 5, 2009. He brought more than 20 years of experience to the position. Prior to joining Lee College, Dr. Murphy served as a consultant for the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT). During his tenure at ACCT, he served as interim president at three institutions.
Additionally, Dr. Murphy has also served as president/CEO of the College of DuPage, in suburban Chicago, one of the nation’s largest community colleges. He also served as president/district officer at St. Louis Community College; chief academic officer at Harford Community College and dean at Towson University’s College of Continuing Studies in Baltimore.

He has also taught business and behavioral sciences at university and community college levels. Dr. Murphy holds a doctorate in higher education administration and a master’s degree in student personnel administration from Indiana University, Bloomington; a master’s of business administration from Loyola College; a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from Towson University; and a certificate in educational management from Harvard University.
As his time on campus draws to a close, Dr. Murphy cannot help but fondly reflect upon his experiences here.
“I am grateful for having had the opportunity to serve Lee College, its students, and the citizens of Baytown,” he said.

EPA awards $50,000 grant for RiverSuperfund Site

HIGHLANDS— On May 26, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that a $50,000 grant would be awarded to assist in the cleanup process of the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund site, located near the 29th Congressional District. Two Houston-area environmental organizations, the Galveston Bay Foundation and Texans Together, applied for the technical assistance grant.
The San Jacinto River waste pits are approximately 3.5 acres in total size and are located near the western bank of the San Jacinto River, immediately north of the I-10 bridge, with portions of the original pits underwater. The pits were dug prior to 1965 but much of the toxic waste originated from paper mill activities. The site has been on the EPA’s National Priorities List (NPL) of uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites identified for long-term clean up since March 19, 2008.

“I’m glad to see the EPA supporting our efforts and making progress toward cleaning up the San Jacinto River Superfund site. This site is extremely important since it feeds into the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay. We can’t change what wasn’t known in the past, but it’s critical that we continue our efforts to contain and clean up the toxins in these pits today.”
Since the first technical assistance grant was awarded in 1988, more than $20 million has been awarded directly to community groups. The grant funds will allow the groups to hire a technical advisor to review government documents and provide input for EPA decision making.
Congress made public involvement an important part of the Superfund process when the program was established in 1980. The EPA and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) continue to seek input and provide information at community meetings throughout the Harris County area.

Sheriff warns of lake/river dangers

CROSBY – Sheriff Adrian Garcia visited Loves Marina last Friday to discuss boating and water safety prior to the Memorial Day weekend.
For the past several years the Harris County Sheriff’s office has held a conference at Love’s Marina to advise the public about water safety, although this year three persons have drown, that is significantly less than the eight that died in water related incidents by this time last year.
On hand were Chief Kevin Maples of the Reserve Unit, Marty O’Brien, Major Holman, Lieutenant Stanton, and Game Warden Kevin Creed.
According to the Sheriff, Marine Safety has become paramount on local waterways and his department will “conduct any means necessary to maintain safety of these waterways. All of these drowning here could have been prevented.”

“We want all of the residents and citizens of Harris County to have a safe and enjoyable summertime. All those who are coming out to these waterways should remember that when you are operating a boat or water vessel that the same type of care, the same type of control and the same type of responsibility that we ask of motor vehicles is expected in the water as well. To often we have had many drowning. We ask the citizens to help us help them and follow the rules of engagement while they are in the water either as a swimmer or as someone navigating a boat. We want the people of Harris County to know that Harris County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Marine Unit vigilant and on patrol in these water and will conduct any enforcement activity that they deem necessary to keep these waterways safe.”
Harris County Sheriff’s Office patrols the San Jacinto River, Lake Houston and Clear Lake.
During the last couple of years there have been several trying years. Of the 8 people that the river took lst year 5 were in or near the San Jacnto River and two water craft accidents that resulted in injuries. The Texas Parks & Wildlife and Houstno Police Dept. help patrol these waterways. It is imperative that we understand the rules of boating. Driver inattention is one of the primary causes of vessel crashes. Many happen at high speeds. In some cases alcohol and drug useage plays a role in crashes. Many who drown believe they are better swimmers than they actually are. Overestimating their ability to swim plays a critical role in most water deaths. Heat and exhaustion plays a critical role.