Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in August 2021

Sterling-White Funeral Home and Cemetery presents: THE WISDOM OF PRE-PLANNING

Everything you ever wanted to ask about funeral, cemetery and cremation planning!

PLEASE JOIN US

Free dinner and complimentary educational seminar providing valuable information about final arrangement planning, financial considerations, and much more. Gain the peace of mind of understanding all your options!

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2021
7:00 – 8:30 PM
TEAPOT DEPOT
112 DENNY ST., HIGHLANDS, TX 77562

RSVP: 281-426-3555
Seating is limited! Call now!

Sterling-White Funeral Home & Cemetery
11011 Crosby-Lynchburg, Highlands, TX 77562

Railfans view UP Big Boy in Huffman

Photos by Jody Fuchs and Chris Wisdom

HUFFMAN – The world’s largest steam engine made an appearance in Huffman and Houston last week, on its 10 state, 32 day tour through the midwest of the United States.

Union Pacific No. 4014 is also known as “Big Boy” for its huge and unique size.

It was restored in 2019, and since has been housed in the UP engine facilities in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Almost every year the UP takes one of their restored steam locomotives on a tour of the United States for publicity purposes. Last year they skipped the tour due to the Pandemic, so Railfans were very enthusiastic to get a chance to see 4014 this year.

After spending a day in downtown Houston, where the public got to board the train and the Museum car that it was pulling, it steamed away toward New Orleans, passing through Huffman and stopping for photo opportunities. Several hundred people were on hand to witness the huge locomotive and enjoy the unique experience.

County offers $100 for new vaccine shots

HARRIS COUNTY – Harris County Public Health Announced New Vaccine Incentive Initiative for All First Dose Recipients on Tuesday of this week.

Residents who receive their First dose of the COVID-19 vaccine through HCPH will receive a $100 cash card.

In an effort to improve vaccination rates and better protect the residents of Harris County from COVID-19, Harris County Public Health (HCPH) will provide $100 cash cards to residents receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at an HCPH vaccination site.

Walle’s return from DC allows Quorum in Legislature

Texas Democratic Representatives Armando Walle, and Ana Hernandez, seen above, and Garnet Coleman broke ranks with the group of missing Legislators, and returned to Austin from DC. This allowed the Republican controlled House to declare a Quorum for the first time in over a month.

ALDINE – State Representative Armando Walle and two other Democratic legislators, Ana Hernandez and Garnet Coleman, returned from their hiatus in Washington to the state Capitol in Austin last week. Their absence, along with about 50 others, had kept the Texas House from having a quorum and unable to pass controversial Voter Restriction legislation that the Democrats said would disenfranchise many minority voters.

However, with all Republicans plus these three Democrats and a few others who never left, the Speaker of the House Dade Phelan declared they had a Quorum, and would proceed to act on legislation.

The three returning Democrats received a great deal of criticism for allowing this to happen, from labor unions, minority voter groups, and their colleagues that were still in Washington.

Walle’s office issued the following statement in defense of the return:

Personal Responsibility urged as Positive COVID-19 Cases Increase in County

As the number of COVID-19 cases increases, Chambers County Judge Jimmy Sylvia, Chambers County Local Health Authority Dr. William Clay Brown, Chambers County Public Health Director Mary Beth Bess and Chambers County Emergency Services Director Ron Nichols urgently appeal to Chambers County residents to take personal responsibility for their own health and actions and take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 in their communities.

The COVID-19 Pandemic is wreaking havoc on the local, regional and state healthcare system, restricting the level of and speed at which emergent care can be delivered. As of the issuance of this statement, the Chambers County EMS call volume has increased 73 percent over this time last year and 67 percent of calls are to either COVID-19 positive or suspected positive patients.

Many regional hospitals have declared Internal Disasters or are unable to take patients due to lack of available beds or staff. Patients are spending an average of 96 hours in the Emergency Room before they are moved to a bed. Many are being treated in hallways and medics are being left with patients who are waiting to be admitted so that ambulances are able to return to service.

Pct. 2 developing Community Plans

Seeks input from Highlands, Lynchburg, McNair, Linus

PCT. 2 HARRIS COUNTY – Commissioner Adrian Garcia is heading an effort to develop a Community Plan for each of the neighborhoods in his precinct, to guide future development and improve quality of life issues.

Last week he held ZOOM meetings with interested members of the public, to introduce his design team, to explain the scope of the planning project, and to encourage residents to participate in the planning process.

On Wednesday evening he focused on the Highlands and Lynchburg communities, and on Thursday he met with member of the McNair and Linus communities. Previously he had held a meeting with the Channelview residents.

Planning teams involve urban planning professionals, and members of the Pct. 2 and Harris County staffs. Gretchen Knowles and Jorge Bustamante lead the group in this area. Goals of the group will be to develop a shared vision to enhance quality of life, identify infrastructure and community enhancing projects, and develop strategies to implement the vision through tangible projects.

Areas of focus will include parks and open spaces, connectivity, mobility and transportation, environmental quality, economic development, and cultural assets.

The process will include data collection, public participation, and concept development, then an implementation plan. The final plan will be developed through a citizen Task Force working with the Planning professionals.

State Senator Alvarado filibusters to block Voter Restriction bill

Senator Carol Alvarado speaking at the Texas Legislature during her 15-hour filibuster.

Texas Senate outlasts 15-hour filibuster by Senator Carol Alvarado to pass GOP voting restrictions bill

AUSTIN, Texas — Since before sunset Wednesday, state Sen. Carol Alvarado had been on her feet speaking, not allowed to sit or lean against her desk, on the Senate floor.

Unable to take bathroom breaks or drink water, she had worn a back brace, eyeglasses and running shoes and talked slowly behind a desk stacked with papers and with a microphone in her hand as she mounted a 15-hour filibuster. The target of her efforts was Senate Bill 1, the GOP’s priority bill that would place new restrictions on voting that many opponents say would disproportionately suppress ballots from voters of color and disabled voters.

But ultimately, her speaking marathon could only delay the passage of the bill in the Republican-controlled Senate. Shortly after she finally stepped away from her desk around 9 a.m., the Senate voted to advance the measure on a 18-11 party-line vote.

With her Democratic colleagues surrounding her desk on the Senate floor after her marathon, Alvarado invoked her Houston constituents – the voters who took advantage of the voting options SB 1 would ban – and asked why they should not be allowed as many opportunities to vote as the county was willing to offer.

GC Superintendent tells Chamber of School plans

Goose Creek Superintendent Randal O’brien at the Highlands/Lynchburg monthly luncheon.

HIGHLANDS – The Chamber of Commerce returned to their regular monthly luncheons last Thursday, after a long hiatus due to the COVID Pandemic.

The featured speaker was Goose Creek CISD Superintendent Randal O’brien, who told the audience about a number of initiatives and projects to be accomplished in the coming school year.

Due to continued population growth, the school district is adding three new schools and other support facilities. O’brien said there are currently 23,000 students, 1800 teachers, and a total of 3200 employees in the system, with 28 current schools.

Abbott sued over mask mandate ban

A growing number of school districts, counties and cities have defied Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order banning mask mandates, as COVID-19 cases continue to spike due to the delta variant and a low rate of vaccination among Texans.

As KUT.org reported, officials in Dallas and Bexar counties won a first round in court in requiring masks in public schools and most government buildings. School districts in Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, among others, are requiring students, teachers and staff to wear masks.

Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton are appealing the initial district court decisions and have vowed to sue any government official who defies the governor’s order.

HOSPITALIZATIONS, COVID-19 CASES CONTINUE TO RISE

Meanwhile, the number of new cases of COVID-19, overwhelmingly among unvaccinated Texans, continues to rise with 98,383 reported in the past week along with 628 deaths, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations are approaching the peak levels of mid-January, with 11,381 lab-confirmed COVID-19 patients, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, up 27% from the week before.

As students return to classrooms across the state, the number of children in Texas hospitalized with COVID-19 is at one of its highest levels since the pandemic began. In the 19- county region around Dallas and Fort Worth, there were no staffed pediatric beds available late last week, according to KUT.org.

County returns COVID threat level to RED

Delta Variant fills Hospitals

HARRIS COUNTY – Harris County judge Lina Hidalgo raised the COVID-19 threat level to “red” on Thursday afternoon, as the COVID-19 delta variant has increased hospitalizations and strained the region’s hospital resources over the past month.

It’s the first time the county has hit its highest threat level since June 2020.

The new advisory indicates that severe and uncontrolled outbreaks are present in the community and worsening, and that the public health capacity in the region is strained or exceeded, Hidalgo said.

“It’s straining our staff, it’s straining our hospitals, and it’s imposing heartbreak and anxiety in so many families in Harris County,” Hidalgo said.

The county judge called the latest surge a “perfect storm” of strained staff, a more transmissible virus, and the limited ability for local leaders to implement public health policies after Gov. Greg Abbott issued orders preventing such measures.

Hidalgo urged everyone eligible for a vaccine to get one, or else avoid “all but the most essential interactions.” She also recommended both the vaccinated and unvaccinated wear masks, and told the public to use ERs for life-threatening emergencies only.