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Posts published in May 2020

Construction planned in river near Waste Pits

Cross section D of the Bridge shows rebuilt dolphin bumpers at left, and rebuilt fenders and rip-rap (stone) fill in Red color. See Reference plan on page 8.

TxDOT will rebuild bumpers, column fenders

EAST HARRIS COUNTY — The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has applied for a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers to reconstruct the bumpers and fenders in the San Jacinto River, to protect the structure of the IH-10 bridge. These structures have been damaged by repeated storms, including Tropical Storm Imelda, and also by barges that hit them as a result of the storms.

In their permit application, TxDOT claims that the construction would not affect any adjacent land, because construction would be entirely from within the river. However, maps show activity quite close to the waste pits. See illustrations enclosed.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: TxDOT proposes to permanently discharge 0.193 acres of fill material in the form of pilings and rip-rap into 338.4 linear feet (LF) of the San Jacinto River, during replacement of damaged dolphin structures and fender systems.

Plan of construction shows the work area in green, and dolphin bumpers and riprap fill (stone) in red. TxDOT says all construction will be done from barges in the river, and only in the highway right-of-way, not on adjacent land. However, an access road borders the waste pit site.

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Harris County Judge extends stay-at-home order to June 10

HOUSTON, Texas – Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo extended the Harris County’s ‘Stay Home, Work Safe’ order until June 10 with new set of rules.

“No construction worker should appear at work sick because they fear retaliation,” Hidalgo said. “No restaurant worker should work without a face covering.”

When it comes to manufacturing and construction workers, some of the rules include that companies should provide 15 minute breaks at least every four hours. Another rule includes allowing breaks for to take care of hygiene needs.

Rules for public-facing service workers include rest breaks once an hour to take care of hygienic responsibilities.

According to Hidalgo, manufacturing businesses and public-facing services companies should designate a safety monitor to oversee these guidelines.

“In Harris County, no one should have to decide on being sick and putting food on your table,” Hidalgo said.

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Astros at Crawfish Shack

Popular Astros baseball players Josh Reddick, and George Springer, got their Memorial Day crawfish dinners from Crosby’s number one rated Crawfish Shack. Owners Dan and Jen Meaux welcomed them as they delivered several coolers of crawfish and “the fixins.” Crosby’s Crawfish Shack reputation for great food has become well known around Houston. Reddick was quoted “Thanks to the Crawfish Shack for catering our Memorial Day get-together. Everything was cooked to perfection and it was delicious.” (Photo courtesy of Josh Reddick)

Rotary raffle nets Adams a new truck

Lowell Everitt hands the keys to a New Chevrolet Colorado to Alice Adams, as the Rotarian who sold her the ticket, Wayne Oquin stands nearby at Crosby’s Turner Chevrolet dealership.

CROSBY – On May 26 at about 11:30 a.m. Alice Adams came to Turner Chevrolet to claim her brand new Chevrolet Colorado that she had won with a raffle ticket from North Shore Rotary club, sold to her by Rotarian Wayne Oquin. It wasn’t the only reason to be there that day, her son had ordered a new Chevy Tahoe. Ms. Adams says she had purchased four tickets to the good cause in total, two from Mr. Oquin and two from a lady at San Jacinto College.

According to Lowell Everitt, “It was a surprise how successful this raffle was after COVID-19 brought us from hosting a gala dining and auction affair as we always have, to a 20 prize give away raffle.

“We worked with every body so that a lot of the companies that purchased multiple meals could convert to raffle tickets. Some companies, just to support the Rotary, buy 50 to 60 meal tickets to give to customers and employees. In total we raised over $147,500 in a twenty prize raffle.

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HARRIS COUNTY & PCT. 2: Property Tax Relief via increased Homestead Exemption for seniors & disabled homeowners

Plan goes into effect for next years’ tax bills

Harris County, TX — TODAY, Harris County Commissioners Court passed an expansion of the Homestead Exemption for seniors, disabled veterans, and homeowners living with disabilities. The increased Exemption now applies to qualifying homeowners with homes valued up to $286,250.

The plan passed by a vote of 5-0. It eliminates county property tax liability for seniors 65 years of age and older, as well as disabled homeowners, and disabled military veterans, with homes valued at $286,250 or less. Qualifying homeowners would save at least $500 next year (and annually going forward) on their property tax bills. The plan takes effects for next year’s tax bills.

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Governor Abbott announces phase two to open Texas

AUSTIN – May 18, 2020 — Governor Greg Abbott today announced the second phase of the State of Texas’ ongoing plan to safely and strategically open Texas while minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Under Phase II, restaurants may increase their occupancy to 50% and additional services and activities that remained closed under Phase I may open with restricted occupancy levels and minimum standard health protocols laid out by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

Additionally, the Governor announced that public schools in Texas have the option to provide in-person summer school so long as they follow social distancing practices and health protocols laid out by DSHS. These classes may begin as soon as June 1st.

“Today, tomorrow, and every day going forward is one step closer to medical discoveries that can treat and protect people from COVID-19—but until that day comes, our focus is keeping Texans safe while restoring their ability to get back to work, open their businesses, pay their bills, and put food on their tables,” said Governor Abbott. “By continuing to use safe practices, we are slowing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting our most vulnerable. Now more than ever, we need to work together as one Texas. I ask all Texans to continue heeding the guidance of our state and federal medical experts and do their part to protect public health. If we all unite in our resolve, we will overcome this challenge.”

Via Executive Order, the following services and activities may open under Phase II. (more…)

Waste Pits Virtual meeting: 30% Remediation Report on schedule

Jackie Young Medcalf

HIGHLANDS – The San Jacinto River Coalition and its sister organization, THEA held its monthly meeting last Tuesday night by video instead of its usual in-person meet.

The group had skipped its March meeting due to the scheduled wedding of its president, Jackie Young (now Young Medcalf). Then they were faced with the inability to have its April meeting at the community center, due to the lockdown of county facilities because of the Covid-19 flu epidemic. Undaunted, Ms. Medcalf recorded a report which included news of the SJR Waste Pits, the Superfund Jones Road site in Cypress, and even her wedding.

A major question on the minds of many of the Coalition members, and others in the community, is whether the Covid-19 lockdown will affect the schedule of removal of the waste pits. Jackie has discussed this with the EPA project manager, Gary Baumgarten, and reports that work is continuing at the EPA, the engineering consultants, and even onsite remedial repair work. There is no indication of a major delay in the milestone dates of the project, he said.

On-site work is in the river just beyond the north edge of the cap, where the storm Imelda caused erosion of the river bed. Contractors are repairing and restoring much of the material that washed away, to protect the cap. The company in charge of the on-site work has submitted an addendum to their Health and Safety work plan to the EPA, indicating additional protection for their workers from the Covid-19 virus.

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Alice Adams wins truck in North Shore Rotary raffle

Rotary Fish Fry chair Lowell Everitt pulls a winning raffle ticket, as president Ryan Dagley looks on. Saturday, the North Shore Rotary drew for 20 prizes at Turner Chevrolet live and on Facebook, for a 2020 Chevy Colorado or Camaro that was won by Alice Adams on a ticket sold by Wayne Oquin. A Lucky seller was B.R. Hendrix with 5 of the 20 pulled.

CROSBY – Turner Chevrolet hosted the North Shore Rotary club as they held their drawing for prizes associated with their annual raffle. The normal Catfish Fry and Crawfish Boil was not held, due to the pandemic.

This fundraiser is the premiere event for the charity organization that normally is held at the North Shore Rotary Pavilion with food and auction attracting most of the local communities.

Rotarians distinguished themselves in multiple charity participations, funded by this event. With customers and Rotarians present at the drawing, the dealership was just below Covid-19 limitations.

Man captured, wanted for murder of woman floating in SJ River

CHANNELVIEW – A man wanted in the murder of a woman found in the San Jacinto River in April of 2019, led deputies on a pursuit after they tried to conduct a traffic stop on his vehicle.

Deputies and Homicide investigators were in the 3500 block of the N. Sam Houston Parkway W when 32-year-old Christopher Tate fled and crashed his vehicle after a small pursuit. Tate then ran to a nearby Holiday Inn under construction.

Deputies evacuated workers from the building and set a perimeter around the building.

The SWAT team was deployed to the site and a methodical search of the building was conducted.

Tate was located after a few hours hiding in the building.

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Mixed county laws shut, then allow tanning salon to open

Harris County Fire Marshal’s inspectors operating on a complaint that Island Tanz should not be open are to be disciplined for violating a County Judge order and policy for not wearing masks. The family-owned tanning salon caught this scene on store surveillance camera May 1. Proprietor David Givans said inspectors threatened him with arrest if he did not immediately close the 6500 FM 2100 location. Inspectors did not cite Givans for County orders, rather closed the business on an ownership filing technicality that County Engineers reversed in 36 hours.

CROSBY – It gives pause to wonder how one of the more squeaky clean businesses came to be shut down for a paperwork technicality by the Fire Marshall’s Office, especially when the owner was once a recognized Crosby Volunteer Fire Department fireman. Were the illegal game rooms all cooperating?

“My business got caught between a power struggle on the one hand the County Judge was asking for residents to report businesses that are not safe and the Governor’s office trying to allow businesses to open.” said Island Tanz proprietor David Givans.

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