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Posts published in “Front Page”

School sales tax holiday doesn’t make the grade

Near capacity parking lots were visible all weekend.

NORTHEAST HARRIS COUNTY– Last weekend’s sales tax holiday found concurrence in nine out of ten respondents that it isn’t measuring up, with the other 10% either very much in favor of the tax break or didn’t know or care about it.

However, stores in Crosby were packed as parents endeavored to get ready for school to start today.

Shoppers and store workers in Crosby and Baytown were asked about what their reaction to the Back to School Sales Tax Holiday was, and their response was educational. Few wanted to be responsible for their opinions or photographed.

One store worker volunteered that the notebooks she was standing near for $2.48 had been $2.20 regular price last week. On the other hand, notebooks that were regular 79¢ were on sale for 50¢. “They move prices, locations and stuff around a lot,” she said.

A grocery store manager in Crosby said, “What do I care about a sales tax free weekend, anymore? We used to carry items for each school in packages, specific to every school, but now only big box stores do that. It encourages their monopoly.”

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TxDOT changes US 90 / FM 2100 signal timing

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) personnel work on the signals at Beaumont Highway and FM 2100 that had traffic southbound backed up for miles before Tuesday afternoon. The signals were changed after numerous complaints from drivers headed North, starting when the IH-10 bride was stopped and later slowed. Complaints were that few could turn left onto US 90 from FM 2100. Later, complaints were from Crosby residents trying to go anywhere that the change had backed up traffic.

CROSBY – Soon locals here are going to get fed up with roadways north and south, east and west, that have stopped functioning as they once had and now result in traffic jams.

A couple of horrible accidents on the IH-10 bridge over the San Jacinto pointed out that there is not enough signal time for very many, if any, to turn left onto US 90. Complaints went to TxDOT and they changed the signal times for the intersection of the Beaumont Highway and Main Street in Crosby.

In turn, the traffic began to back up for miles into Crosby at the intersection for southbound vehicles. These things are hard to regulate.

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EPA sets community meeting Sept. 24

Map from EPA shows a green dot where the semi truck landed off the I-10 bridge, and the blue area is where the agency took readings to determine if the accident damaged the cap. I-10 railing is the line at bottom.

HIGHLANDS – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in cooperation with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), Federal, State and Harris County agencies, local officials and industry, plan to hold a Community Meeting for the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund site. During the meeting an update will be provided on current site activities and the cap inspection data.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Highlands Community Center, 604 Highland Woods Drive, Highlands, Texas 77562.

WASTE PITS: Did Semi crash damage cap?

HIGHLANDS – This month’s meeting of the THEA/San Jacinto River Coalition dealt with potential threats to the integrity of the cap over the waste pits, as the community waited for the slow process of removing the toxic waste to go forward.

Jackie Young announced that she had learned that the Pelican Asphalt Permit, wanting to dredge areas near the Waste Pits, had been approved on July 3 without any further public notice.

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Crosby ISD plans to use 2017 bonds to meet dire facility needs

CROSBY – The Board of Trustees of Crosby ISD met with Steven Doorman of Casey Sledge, attorney’s and the school’s bond consultant Doug DeWitt and authorized the selling of the bond that passed voters in 2017 for $109.5 M. with some changes to address current needs at a special meeting called for August 5.

The bonds were separated into two phases and a third was eliminated. Phase one was to include the Maintenance and Operations Budget Reimbursement for the years 2016 – 2018 for $11,125,431 and 2017- 2018 for $2,060,881. The bond would buy buses for $835,000. Upgrades to Barrett Elementary School and Newport Elementary School comes in at $835,000. A New Middle School with 6th Grade and site improvements for the E5 and middle school is scheduled to cost $38,099,960.

Crosby High School will add new wings for $20,378,802. Crosby Elementary School and Crosby High School are to get Emergency Access Drives or roadways for $877,123. The cost of converting Crosby Kindergarten Campus to Pre-Kindergarten through 5th Grade and Drew Elementary School and Crosby Elementary School for Pre-Kindergarten with special facilities to accommodate Drew Elementary, Crosby Elementary and Crosby Middle School is $1,844,571.

The total of the entire first phase is $78,845,613. Phase two is the building of a new elementary school for $30,654,387.

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Commissioner Garcia details his plans for Pct. 2 improvements

Commissioner Adrian Garcia speaks at the Chamber luncheon about his plans for Pct. 2.

By Gilbert Hoffman

Speaking last week at a North Channel Chamber luncheon, Harris County Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia covered a wide range of topics related to his concepts of improving conditions for all the residents.

Garcia said that his focus at all times is on Precinct 2, and what he can do to better conditions there. He said a fundamental change in how the precinct is run is his emphasis on spending county money to hire companies and workers that are located in the precinct. He introduced his purchasing director, Jose Jimenez, saying he was they key to implementing the new plan.

Garcia reflected on his first seven months in office, and how it seemed like an unending string of catastrophes. He noted that his term started the first week with an ExxonMobil fire in the refinery in Baytown, and currently was ending the period the same way with the same disaster. He noted that the refineries in Precinct 2 have a history of violations of air and water pollution, and vowed that the county would implement new procedures to minimize these. Because of the large number of petrochemical plants in his district, he said that environmental concerns and safety would be a primary concern that he would focus on.

Garcia noted that his precinct has the lowest household income in the county, and related to that is the lowest home ownership percentage. He noted how important this is, related to other problems of educational achievement and crime rates.

He said a priority is to raise the level of educational achievement, and as a start he has partnered with HCDE, the Harris County Department of Education, to provide free SAT college preparation for about 200 motivated students that need help to pass the college entrance tests. This is a four week course for high school students, and if successful will be repeated for more. Garcia noted that passing the SAT will open more educational opportunities, and result in more job and career choices and opportunities.

Garcia told the students, “Go on to succeed, but come back to Precinct 2 and Give Back.”

Garcia said that healthcare was a major concern, and noted that he had started the first “food pantry” at a Clinic in the district, to provide more healthy food to clients. He noted that other factors affecting access to good healthcare included transportation, which is being provided.

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$47 million to rebuild Lake Houston dam

Lake Houston Dam will soon have new gates to help control flooding on the San Jacinto River watershed area.

Crenshaw Releases Statement On FEMA Funds For Lake Houston

HOUSTON, TX – On Friday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced funding for the Lake Houston Dam Spillway Improvement Project. The project, which converts Lake Houston’s dam to dam gates, was awarded a total of $47,170,953 ($35,378,214 in federal funds).

Congressman Dan Crenshaw released the following statement in response to the announcement:

“This is great news for the entire San Jacinto watershed. This money will fund the much-needed Lake Houston dam gates to better manage the flow of water. For a community that feels the burden of flooding too often, this is a huge win. I’m grateful to partner with City Council Member Dave Martin, Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Department of Emergency Management Executive Director Chief Nim Kidd, and State Senator Brandon Creighton to make this a reality.”

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Highwayman foiled in Highlands

Don Anthony Spitaleri, 44, of Dayton 25.

Attempted Robbery with a sword cut short

HIGHLANDS – Being robbed by machete is no doubt frightening, much like the historic cases of highwaymen sticking up carriages with swords demanding “Stand and deliver, your money or your live,” was 300 or 400 years ago, a woman had exited her car and she was confronted by an underbrush cutter and a stressed looking bandit not wearing any mask, silk or otherwise.

A woman was robbed of $7.00 cash at the apartments near the new Highlands Fire Station on East Wallisville last Thursday at about 11:00 a.m. At a corner there is a Valero Station. The suspect was about to transact some different business at that Valero Station when he was confronted by the apartment maintenance man, Andrew Davis.

Davis held the alleged robber on the ground outside the store until Harris County Precinct 3 Deputy Watson arrived to put him in handcuffs.

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Pct. 3 Constable race finds Eagleton, Jones, Florus already registered

Ken Jones seeks old position

HARRIS COUNTY – By far the most contentious local, primary race in 2016 was the race for the Democratic candidate for Precinct 3 Constable. Now we find the incumbent Constable facing his old boss, and the wife of his last Republican opponent. While there is plenty of time for others to also run, these three have already selected a responsible financial treasurer to seek campaign finances for office.

The race will be held November 5, 2020. The official deadline for filing isn’t until Dec. 9 of 2019 for the Democratic Party. The Democratic party spokesperson indicates that they do not know who will run as yet and the Harris County Clerk of Court has no listing as to who might run.

As rumor would have it, eleven people are running for the office but no official record indicates this or whom those candidates might be.

Still with certainty, we can say that Harris County Precinct 3 Constable Sherman Eagleton is running, the former Constable Ken Jones is running, and Deborah Florus is running, and each has named an election treasurer. All three have long histories in law enforcement. Eagleton and Jones have held the office and Deborah Florus is a Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy and wife of Dan Webb, the last Republican Candidate for Precinct 3 Constable and formerly with the Department of Public Safety.

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CROSBY/HUFFMAN CHAMBER: New Educator’s Luncheon Aug. 14

New Educator’s Luncheon is fast approaching the Chamber, scheduled for August 14th at Crosby Church, located at 5725 HWY 90 in Crosby and will begin at 11:30am.

This is our Monthly Member Luncheon where we host a lunch to WELCOME all New Educator’s to our Crosby and Huffman School Districts. This year’s luncheon will be Presented by United Community Credit Union.

The Chamber will give every New Educator a goody bag full of items donated by our business members to Welcome them to our towns. We also do a drawing and gift the teachers door prizes donated by our members.

We are asking for 150 goody bag items and we would like to be able to give every New Educator a door prize. This is a great opportunity for you to showcase your business and help Welcome our New Educators to these great Communities!

Please contact Chamber Office at 281-328-6984 or email us at chamber@crosbyhuffmancc.org for more information.

Recovery snagged by floodplain rules

HARRIS COUNTY – The public doubtlessly wants to stop flooding, but with new rules adopted in early July, building new will come at a premium.

Harris County Commissioner’s Court has established new rules that require that builders set off as much retention as would handle flooding at the 500-year floodplain. The vote was unanimous on July 9 concerning unincorporated Harris County to move the model from the 100-year to 500-year floodplain. The new rules are related to projecting increases in the state’s rain from federal studies and the Atlas -14 rainfall data. All of this is atop of any other requirements by enforcers like the Harris County Flood Control District.

According to County Judge Lina Hidalgo at the assembly, “To make sure the new development takes into account the latest rainfall protections and the new development is required to retain as much water as possible so as to offset any impact they would have on the folks downstream.”

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BARRETT STATION CELEBRATES HOMECOMING

One of many colorful floats, with Alumni and judges enjoying the ride in the Parade.

Barrett Station held their 5th Annual Homecoming last weekend, July 19th and 20th. Hundreds turned out for the event, which included a Golf Cart Ride and Margarita/ Fajita competition on Friday night, and the Homecoming Parade itself starting at 10am on Main Street.

Also on Saturday was the Cook-off, with judging starting immediately after the parade, in Riley Chamber Park. Teams competed for Ribs, Brisket, Chicken, and Open Dish.

Parade Marshal was Constable Sherman Eagleton, a native of Barrett Station. He said about the Homecoming: “The Barrett Station Civic League’s Annual Homecoming Parade and Cookoff was held today at the Riley Chambers Park. The community comes together to show their hometown pride while also teaching the younger generations the importance of history and fellowship. Thank you for inviting us each year, it’s truly an honor!”