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County, City won’t support ICE raids

For several days last week, rumors were rampant that a national effort to round-up and deport immigrants without legal papers would include Houston and Harris County persons. The rumors emanated from Washington, D.C. and said that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement would carry out unannounced raids, detention, and deportation without a court’s due process.

Local leaders reacted with negative comments, vowing that they would not cooperate with such an undertaking, citing inhumane treatment of individuals, and questionable legal authority. Here are the statements by the County Judge and the Houston Mayor:

Judge Lina Hidalgo Statement:

The Trump administration announced that potential raids on undocumented families across the nation, including in Harris County, have been delayed. The Harris County Judge’s Office had been working with community and government leaders to seek answers so we were prepared to do right by our community, and did not ever receive notice from any governmental agency regarding the reported enforcement operation planned by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Nonetheless, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo expressed disappointment at the reported threats of raids, saying, “Creating a climate of fear puts lives at risk. Even the threat of raids are a shameful attempt to push some of our most vulnerable residents further into the shadows. Families belong together, and immigrants make our communities stronger. My office will not assist in any rumored raids and will continue to advocate for reforms at all levels of government.”

Individuals with questions or in need of legal advice are advised to call the Immigrant Rights Hotline: 1-833-HOU-IMMI (468-4664). Should a loved one be detained by ICE, leave a message with a name, phone number and point of contact. Messages will be returned.

Mayor’s statement:

“The city of Houston has not been directly notified by ICE of any plans to conduct mass raids targeting undocumented families. The unconfirmed reports have created a great deal of anxiety for some and it proves once again this country needs comprehensive immigration reform.

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Performers set for Crosby Rodeo

Rodeo set for May 31 to June 8

CROSBY – The Crosby Fair & Rodeo has announced their line-up for performers this year. The Rodeo will start with a Cook-Off on May 31 and June 1, and the Rodeo events and Performers will follow the next weekend, June 6, 7, 8. The Acts announced are:

MAY 31 – BAG OF DONUTS

With a flair for kabuki make-up and extravagant costumes, the four New Orleans natives cover songs in a style they have branded as Superpop: Any song popular from any era. In the great tradition of stunning acts, BOD has to be experienced live to fully feel the impact. The universality of their show stems from the idea that everyone likes to have an escape, a release

JUNE 6 – FLATLAND CAVALRY

With their highly anticipated sophomore album, Homeland Insecurity, Texas’s Flatland Cavalry wants to stop and smell the roses. Bandleader and chief lyricist Cleto Cordero is fine with examining and the present. There’s an appreciation for all the sharp detail and high-spirited emotions of today.

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Crosby celebrates mega M.A.G.A.

Trump announced and signed executive orders to cut red tape for the oil and gas industry pipelines. He also introduced Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, son of Jeb Bush.

Trump greeted by thousands of fans

CROSBY – In an area that enjoys a parade, the most attendance to date was to see the presidential motorcade last week come through from Ellington Air Force Base to FM 2100 down Foley Road.

Micki Rush captured the enthusiasm “We are just here to support our American President coming to our little unincorporated area. The visit from President Trump will bring him to the International facility next door.”

One could see M.A.G.A. (Make America Great Again) posters, vehicles, and displays everywhere and on rare occasions some protesters with different opinions. This reporter counted five in a sea of red, pro-Trump supporters. Veterans lined up before the American Legion and the Crosby Rodeo Fairgrounds was having difficulty keeping their area clear for event participants to enter.

Jeffrey Seat, and Greg Hunter Nason sport out like a football fan for President Trump as the motorcade passes scores of Crosby fans on Foley Road about to turn into the International Training and Education Center last Wednesday about 3:00 p.m. Locals lined the route from U.S. 90 until the destination.

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Explosion, fire at KMCO plant in Crosby

Smoke billows from the KMCO plant fire, as seen by the neighbors and first responders on Ramsey Road in Crosby.

CROSBY – Shortly after 11:00 a.m. Tuesday many thought their buildings had been struck by a car because they were jarred violently, but it was the third of local plant fires in a couple of weeks, this time at KMCO, L.L.C. and this time it was deadly.

Two employees were taken by ambulance to nearby Crosby Church for Lifeflight helicopters to pick them up. At least, another man was killed in the incident although at first was reported missing. By press time the names of the injured or deceased had not been released.

A firefighter indicated that the two injured employees were in critical condition when found, having been burned over most of their bodies.

No one would call the fire out before 5:00 p.m. although apparently considerably under more control by 2:30 p.m. Crosby VFD was first on the scene, followed by ESD#5, then Sheldon units. Crosby VFD encountered low water pressure (that same problem as had extended the fire in Deer Park on March 17 and 18.) No less than 16 fire tanker trucks of water from surrounding communities were brought in to contain the flames.

According to John Foley, President and Chief Executive Officer of KMCO L.L.C., “There was an incident resulting in an ignition and fire today April 2, 2019 at KMCO, LLC in Crosby, Texas. We are deeply saddened to confirm at this time that there have been injuries and one fatality. Those injured have been transported for medical treatment. Our hearts and prayers go out to the individuals involved, as well as our first responders, employees, and our community.

“We have activated the company’s emergency response team and incident command center. We are working with local first responders to extinguish the fire. We will give another update as additional information becomes available.

“We apologize for any inconvenience to residents in the vicinity. The well-being of our people, neighbors and the environment remain our top priorities.”

Later company officials reported that a fire was touched off by isobutylene then accelerated by ethanol and ethyl acrylate, a transfer line blazed, it caught a tank afire and the tank started a nearby building blazing that was packed with dry chemicals.

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Huge Deer Park tank blaze seen citywide

FINALLY EXTINGUISHED: Chemical storage tanks in Deer Park near the San Jacinto Monument blazed for days in spite of efforts to extinguish them. The smoke cloud was seen throughout the Houston Region, as far west as Katy. Nearby residents were concerned about the affect that the fire and smoke might have on their health. By Wednesday of this week, the fourth day, the flames and smoke were gone. (Photo courtesy KPRC)

Fires in two oil facilities in East Harris County the weekend of St. Patrick’s Day took the shine off the green. Saturday there was a fire at the Baytown Exxon Olefines Plant and St. Patrick’s Day was the time of the origin of the fire at Intercontinental Terminals Company in Deer Park.

Baytown and Exxon firefighters and mutual aide rushed to 5000 Bayway Drive at about 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. All said and done, there was no shelter in place or evacuation called for there, and the fire was successfully contained without injury.

Sunday morning as many went to church a fire started near a chemical storage tank in Intercontinental Terminals Co.’s grounds in Deer Park. Firefighters struggled to contain the blaze to five tanks but when low water pressure occurred in the early hours of Monday, three other tanks caught fire. This cancelled authorities’ predictions of a rapid containment for the blaze.

The terminal is closed and evacuated, it stores gasoline additives and paint thinners. Some say these chemicals can cause difficulty breathing, coughing, headache and irritation to respiratory systems.

The Environmental Protection Agency, TCEQ, and the Harris County Pollution Control are closely watching air quality. So far, all agencies are saying the dark black smoke blanketing the region isn’t as dangerous as it looks, even as plumes envelop the county.

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Crosby Education Foundation begins ‘Family Pride’ initiative

The Crosby Education Foundation (CEF) has embarked upon a new campaign which they are calling the Crosby Cougar Family Pride initiative. The purpose of this campaign is to unify the community with Crosby ISD (CISD) during this time of financial hardship and recovery. They are also trying to raise some funds to help the District maintain essential programs through this difficult period.

CEF is raising money to provide for essential services and supplies which are needed by CISD but had to be cut from the budget due to the financial exigency. They are targeting those programs and services which have the greatest impact on the academic achievement of the students, such as reinstating the Accelerated Reader programs at all Elementary campuses, funding a supplemental tutoring program for student testing, and assisting the District with attracting and retaining top-quality teachers. They are also working with the District to identify additional program and supplies which were cut from the budget.

The fundraising to support this campaign was recently kicked off with the “One District, One Family, One Shirt” sale in early February. They will continue to accept donations from individuals and local businesses to support these needs. You may contribute online at Paypal.me/CrosbyEF or by sending a check to:

Crosby Education Foundation
Attn: Melissa Murray
706 Runneburg Rd
Crosby, TX 77532

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Moore addresses critics, apologizes

Dr. Keith Moore addresses angry public in Crosby.

CROSBY – At the Tuesday meeting of the Crosby ISD Board of Trustees Dr. Keith Moore, former Superintendent of Crosby ISD, came to speak at the Public Hearing portion of the school board meeting to explain what had happened during his tenure.

Dr. Moore was banned from showing up on Crosby ISD property but the Crosby ISD Bus facility now converted to an Executive Office that once was HEB is on records as being a grant of HEB, not Crosby ISD property, to reveal another even older administration’s secret.

The board afforded Moore three minutes to give his about 7 minute address. Then they called time and went on to discover that the Technology Maintenance Fee (computers to a maximum of $40) to students was not allowed by law and the school would have to make their best efforts to reimburse parents for 2016 and 2017 charges. The Board also approved moving forward with implementing new accounting measures, hopefully the origin of oversight.

While the Board was in Executive Session Moore read his 7 minute speech and then he consented to answer questions for about 20 more minutes to an angry and disappointed, near capacity audience in the meeting room.

Dr. Moore began with heavy emotion, saying, “Things happened that I did not mean to. I love this place.”

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YEAR IN REVIEW 2018

Compiled from the files of the STAR COURIER

JANUARY

Judge Don Coffey files for re-election. New Highlands Fire Station opens. Gene Green’s vacant Congressional seat attracts 7 Democrats and 4 Republicans for the March 6 Primary Election. Josh McKinney is found dead on Mizell Street in Highlands, date Yvonne Ramirez charged. Nate Scott is the Highlands VFD Firefighter of the Year. New Highlands/Lynchburg Chamber board announced, Jim Wadzinski is president. Crosby Fire Department names Warren Thompson as Firefighter of the Year. Crosby ISD Superintendent Keith Moore resigns. Court papers reveal that the PRPs have been funding Superfund opposition citizens’ groups.

FEBRUARY

Rotary Chili Feast is held Feb. 3rd. Steve & Linda Miller win the car in the Raffle. Bras for the Cause raises a record $200,000 plus for Cancer. Pct. 2 Commissioner Morman speaks at the North Channel Chamber. Crosby ISD hires interim superintendent, Kirk Lewis. Don Coffey wins the Terry Davis Award from the Highlands/Lynchburg Chamber. Crosby/Huffman Chamber holds its annual awards ceremony. TxDOT holds public meetings on I-10E improvements.

MARCH

Houston Rodeo Trail Rides start. Worker killed in local tire shredder plant Genan. County Attorney Vince Ryan sues Opioid manufacturers. Crosby Sports Association opens their Little League season. Primary Election Results: Lucia Bates defeats Don Coffey; Sylvia Garcia wins Democratic race for Congress. Pct. 2 Opens Juan Seguin Park at the South Lynchburg Ferry landing. Goose Creek ISD proposes 2 bond referendums totaling $437 Million. 3 Country singers appear at the Crosby RocknC Round-up. Big Car Show is held at RocknC Round-up.Grand Parkway Section H, US59 to Hwy. 146, starts construction. Governor authorizes $3 Million for flood mitigation study. Highlands Little League Queens are Lily Phillips, Kendra Earls, and Kamryn Schuelsky.

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Rotary Club celebrates 70th anniversary

Judge Joe Stephens presents Rotary Club president Denise Smith with a proclamation congratulating the club on its 70th Anniversary.

The Highlands Rotary Club marked a milestone this year, by reaching its 70th anniversary of its founding.

The club held a combined Christmas party and 70th Anniversary celebration last Sunday, at the Monument Inn.

Almost a hundred past and present members and their families attended the gala event.

Led by club president Denise Smith, the program included an oral history of the club from its beginning, and vintage and recent photographs depicting the activities and history of the club and many of its members. The photos were presented by Gilbert Hoffman, who acknowledged that Alton Neatherlin, publisher of the Highlands Star and a past president of the club, had published most of the vintage photos in the newspaper.

Weston Cotten introduced guests, and acknowledged several clubs whose members were present, and a large number of past presidents of the Highlands club. There were also a number of District 5890 officers present.

A special award was presented by Johnny Gaeke to club member Chester Stasney, for his 51 years of membership, which included club president in 1972-73. Gaeke thanked Stasney for mentoring him when he joined the club.

The highest honor in Rotary is to become a Paul Harris Fellow, and Past District Governor Bill Palko presented this award to three members, Johnny Gaeke, Chuck Radney, and Carol Radney. In addition, past member and past president Richard Robinson presented his wife Pat with the same Paul Harris Award.

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Mid-term Election results in change of principals involved in Superfund site

The November 6th Mid-term election brought about a number of changes in our elected officials, and some of these are involved in promoting or maintaining progress on the Superfund San Jacinto River Waste Pits.

Three U.S. Congressmen have been involved in getting the site on the Superfund role, and now two of them have been replaced. Gene Green has retired, and his seat was won by Sylvia Garcia. Ted Poe has also retired, and Dan Crenshaw was elected to fill his seat. Brian Babin remains in office. These three Congressmen have repeatedly prodded the EPA to put the site on the “Priority List” for remedial action, and to continue to monitor progress.

The Superfund site is in Harris County Precinct 2, which will have a new Commissioner in January. Adrian Garcia will hold the position and replace Jack Morman. Morman has been vocal in supporting the clean-up and removal of the toxic wastes at the site, which have the potential to pollute the river and Galveston Bay.

The County Judge is now Ed Emmett, but will be replaced in January by Lina Hidalgo. The county received $10 million dollars from the lawsuit against the Responsible Parties, and has administered that money along guidelines from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

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