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Posts published in “Day: March 11, 2021

CONTRERAS IS HIGHLANDS FIREFIGHTER OF THE YEAR

Christofer Contreras was chosen Firefighter of the Year (the night’s top honor) by his peers. Pictured from left, Jerry Ickes of ESD#14 board, Mr. Contreres with Fire Chief Harvey Little.

By Lewis Spearman

BAYTOWN– The Highlands Fire Department held their annual Recognition and Awards Banquet last Saturday evening, at the Baytown Youth Fair & Rodeo pavilion.

Firefighter of the Year award was presented to Christofer Contreras. This award is given in memory of Cecil Kelly, who volunteered with the Highlands VFD for over 42 years before retiring in 1996. The recipient chosen by vote of the membership is a firefighter who performed above and beyond the call of duty.

Chief Little reviewed the history of the department for 2020 against 2019. There were a total this year of 2,670 against 2,838 service calls. Of these 1976 were EMS calls compared with 1991 the previous year. Life Flight was called 24 against 27 times. Fire responses declined to 694 from 847. Motor vehicle accidents were down from 201 to 161.

The department can boast of keeping their response times low, strong staffing, receiving grants for insurance, purchase of a 16 foot inflatable power boat for high water rescues, quality training, using other facilities and combined training with nearby departments.

Pct. 2 Medical SmartPod wins innovation award

Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia last October, dedicating first SmartPod in the Aldine area.

Harris County, TX — Commissioner Adrian Garcia and Precinct 2 received the prestigious American City & County 2020 Crown Communities Award. Garcia and Precinct 2 were chosen for their entry, which described the purchase, installation, and deployment of two SmartPod mobile health care units designed by Baylor. Precinct 2’s SmartPods are known as ACCESS2HEALTH.

Crown Communities Awards are based on uniqueness, short- and long-term value to the community and effective/innovative financing. The announcement cites ACCESS2HEALTH for its “Innovative COVID-19 Emergency Response.” Though the two ACCESS2HEALTH units were purchased prior to the pandemic, once installed, their availability for remote COVID-19 testing was of immediate value that continues today. Once COVID-19 is no longer the most pressing health issue of the times, ACCESS2HEALTH can be converted to provide clinical and behavioral health services, ultimately providing patients with a medical home.

Railroad work closes FM2100, starts 19th

HUFFMAN – The railroad crossing of FM 2100 near FM 1960 is scheduled to close March 19 at 1:00 a.m. for reconstruction.

According to Union Pacific’s Elizabeth A. Graham, “Union Pacific will be conducting on a grade-crossing widening project on a grade crossing south of the intersection of FM2100 and FM1960. The work will require closing FM2100 south of the intersection, impacting traffic headed southbound from the intersection on 2100, and requiring a northbound traffic approaching the intersection to take a detour. The work should be completed by March 23.”

The ambulance service for Crosby issued a statement for safety: “Harris County ESD 5 encourages motorist to study the road closures and routes closely. These routes are subject to change frequently, including speed reductions and lane changes. Being prepared is the best option when encountering these changes as a frequent route user.

Waste Pits update by Zoom meeting

MAP above of Southern Impoundment, shows excavation of toxic waste from 4’ deep (green) to 10’ deep (red).

Waste Pits remediation schedule extended, disposal and classification of waste questioned

By Gilbert Hoffman

The San Jacinto River Coalition, and THEA have learned that the time line for remediation and removal of the Waste Pits in the river will take considerably more time than originally thought, due to a number of factors.

Pre-Design Investigation, or PDI, discovered that the depth of the waste to be removed was much greater than the original 12 feet. In some places in the Northern Impoundment it was as deep as 25 feet. The significance of this meant that more material would have to be removed, and more water infiltrating from the river would have to be treated. The original time line had been to complete the project in 2 and one-half years, and now it looks like the schedule will be seven years. The Final Design plan called for one year of preparation to procure contractors and materials, 5 years to remove the waste material (the site would be divided into five zones, each separated from the others, and taking a year to remediate) and a year to mobilize.

However, in September THEA learned that the EPA had granted the PRP consultant’s request for additional time for engineering, due to the increased scope and depth of the waste. EPA allowed them to take an additional 160 days to prepare their Final Design plan.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo: “This is not the time to give up”

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo

This Wednesday, the state’s decision to open everything at 100% and eliminate the mask mandate comes into effect.

For the vast majority of the community who have been following public health recommendations from the beginning, the state’s ending COVID-19 precautions is a gut punch. As I said in a recent TIME Magazine Op-Ed:

“It is a heavy burden for a community to carry, to continue to sacrifice in spite of false hopes being offered at the highest levels of the state… I hope that people of this county won’t allow pandemic politics to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and that we won’t throw away a year of pain and sacrifice so that politicians can have their ‘mission accomplished’ moment.”

I have received a lot of questions about what that means for Texans, and what our community should do.

The bottom line is this: This is not the time to give up.

Our positivity rate is sky high and still rising.

Committee report recommends keeping Robert E. Lee High School name

The committee recommended leaving the Robert E. Lee name on the high school.

BAYTOWN – A 42-person advisory committee charged with recommending name changes for Goose Creek CISD schools, has issued their final report. The result was a recommendation to keep all the school names, but transfer one name, Green Center, from an existing facility to a new school under construction.

The committee was formed last year, after a public debate over the removal of Confederate names on buildings and public facilities all over the nation. The issue surfaced in a GC CISD board meeting, and evoked much discussion over the ensuing weeks. The initial public sentiment seemed split on changing the name of Baytown’s oldest high school, Robert E. Lee HS.

The advisory committee ended up not only dealing with the name on Lee high school, but advocating a whole new district-wide policy for naming buildings. The committee recommended that facilities be named after geographic areas, landmarks or physical attributes, or the instructional focus of the school. The report also said naming should include the principal’s legacy, and be sensitive to the diverse community they serve.