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Posts published in “Front Page”

SAY “YES” TO CENSUS, BE COUNTED

Montrose Bridges over the Southwest Freeway were lighted in Yellow this week to mark CENSUS WEEK.

HARRIS COUNTY – Since 1790, as mandated by the Constitution, Americans have come together every 10 years to be counted. This record of every person residing in the United States is important as it provides the basis for the reapportionment of congressional seats, redistricting, and distribution of over $675 billion in vital annual federal funds to support state, county and community programs across the country. For perspective, it’s estimated that our community lost millions of federal funding because of undercounting. This is important for residents of Harris County. In 2020, let’s make sure everyone counts!

CENSUS 101

By April 1, 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate in Census 2020. There will be four options to complete: By phone, by mail, in person and, for the first time, online. Respondents will also have the opportunity to complete the census on their mobile device.

YES! TO CENSUS 2020

To ensure we are not overlooked, the City of Houston and Harris County have created the YES! TO CENSUS 2020 campaign, a local initiative inviting families, friends and neighbors to show pride in our communities by responding to the census.

HOW THE CENSUS BENEFITS OUR COMMUNITY

Federal funds, grants and support to states, counties and communities are based on accurate census statistics like population totals and breakdowns by sex, age, race and other factors. Our community benefits when we have more clinics, better schools, safe roads, and an expanding workforce. High-quality census data gives community leaders important information needed to make decisions about building community centers, opening businesses, and planning for the future. Standing up and being counted is an important way for individuals to impact where money to build and improve infrastructure is allocated across the U.S. This information is also critical to local disaster and emergency preparedness funding. (more…)

FIGHTING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC: County issues “Stay Home Work Safe” order

HARRIS COUNTY JUDGE LINA HIDALGO AND HOUSTON MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER MAKE JOINT ANNOUNCEMENT TUESDAY MORNING.

Effective thru April 3rd; Virus cases reach 284

HARRIS COUNTY – Faced with the reality of mounting cases of the infectious and potentially lethal Coronavirus known as COVID-19, local leaders have issued an order to “Stay Home Work Safe” which amounts to a shelter in place directive.

At a joint news conference Tuesday morning, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner called for all but essential members of the public to stay at home, not to travel and not to congregate in groups. Businesses were advised to have their employees work at home. The order is set to last ten days, until Friday April 3rd.

As of Tuesday, there were 284 virus cases in the greater Houston area that had tested positive. These include Houston 55, Harris County 79 including 1 death, Brazoria County 28, Brazos County 16, Fort Bend County 46, Galveston County 21, Matagorda County 8, including 1 death, Montgomery County 23, Chambers County 1, Liberty County 1, Grimes County 2, Wharton County 3, and Walker County 1.

The Order allowed the public to travel for necessities such as food and fuel, and allowed workers in 16 essential categories to continue to work. These include: Healthcare, Law Enforcement and Public Safety, Food and Agriculture, Electricity or Utility workers, Petroleum, Natural and Propane gas workers, Water and Wastewater workers, Transportation and logistics, including auto repair and postal service, Public Works, Communications and Media including newspapers, Government and Education, Critical manufacturing, Hazardous materials, Financial services including banks, Chemical workers, and Defense industries.

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OFFICIALS CONFIRM 13TH CASE OF CORONAVIRUS IN HOUSTON AREA

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and County Health Director Umair Shah, at press conference last Thursday on Coronavirus.

Events Cancelled, Stock Market Down

UPDATED – March 10, 2020 – Health Officials confirmed the second case of coronavirus in the City of Houston, making a total of 13 in Houston and Fort Bend, Harris and Montgomery County areas. (NOTE: This number may change as days go by.)

The female patient, in the 60 to 70 age range, is part of the same group of travelers to Egypt associated with recent cases announced in Fort Bend County and Harris County. She is currently hospitalized and stable.

Harris County has established several phone numbers that the public can use to gain up-to-date information, or help reaching a healthcare professional. If you are without access to healthcare, call 713-634-1110. If you want information, call the Harris County Health Department at 832-393-4220.

HOUSTON, Texas – Harris County Public Health (HCPH) confirmed last Thursday four more cases of Coronavirus, bringing the total confirmed or presumptive to 13 in areas surrounding Harris County.

As a result of the health concerns, and to avoid spreading the virus, many schools and groups cancelled events. The Stock Market dropped 15% in a week, but slowly regained.

The new cases involved four people in their 60s who were exposed to the virus during a trip to Egypt last month. The 70- year-old from Fort Bend took the same trip and this case was confirmed last Wednesday by a Houston laboratory.

Three of the patients with coronavirus are hospitalized in stable condition and one is self-quarantined at home with mild symptoms, health officials stated. The others have cases have been resolved.

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Commissioner challenged by Constable

Sherman Eagleton Constable of Precinct 3 confronts Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia indicting that the commissioner was undermining his department with varied actions and a call to reduce the contract deputy program for Constable’s Departments throughout Harris County. Adrian Garcia denied this and withdrew his proposal to review the contract deputy program.

Eagleton claims Garcia is biased

HOUSTON – Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia weathered a storm of controversy after posting two proposals concerning looking into Constable’s offices practices. Precinct 3 Constable Sherman Eagleton confronted the Commissioner at the regular county meeting.

The Commissioner wanted a look into contract deputies programs and how constable deputies were dispatched. The proposal did not include the same for the Sheriff’s office, which Garcia had held from 2009 until 2015.

The Contract Deputy Program is one in which deputies from either Sheriff’s or Constables’ offices are retained to provide extra patrol to an area that pays directly for that service. The deputy is still in service to the county and can go elsewhere nearby should the need arise but the contractee has extra law enforcement patrol on hand to deter crime and fulfill the services for which they are contracted.

It had been rumored for some time that Commissioner Garcia had suggested that his employee, Ken Jones, run for the position he vacated by retirement again. Now, Eagleton who had about 48% of the vote to Jones 16%, is in a run off. Eagleton had held 53% for most of the night and would have avoided the run-off.

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EPA holds meeting with Community Group

Update on Waste Pits

By Jackie Young

As promised, I want to provide you with updates from the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting that took place on February 12, 2020. The meeting was comprised of various government agencies from our local government to our federal government. The EPA Remedial Project Manager for the Waste Pits Superfund Site provided a presentation that covered post-Imelda repairs, Phase 2 of the Pre-Design Investigation, the Remedial Design approach and schedule, as well as a discussion on vessel traffic north of Interstate 10.

Following Tropical Storm Imelda, surveyors found multiple areas of the temporary cap that needed to be repaired. The repairs were made to the cap but since then, additional needs were discovered along the river bed, just beyond the cap’s edge. These repairs will stabilize the land around the Pit that was eroded during flooding. Repairs will being in March or April so you can expect to see increased on-site activity.

During the Pre-Design Investigation (PDI), the responsible parties’ contractors and the EPA have done their due diligence in gaining a better understanding of the extent of contamination in and around the Pits. During this time, they proved correct the theory many of our residents have – the waste is deeper than the originally thought 12- 14 ft depth. They found a few areas where the waste material is greater than 24 ft deep. This is double the depth originally understood for remediation and has mounted the complexity of full-removal. Once the 30% design package is final within the EPA, they will present the updates and path forward to the community.

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Construction worker hit, killed while working on Crosby Freeway

CROSBY, Texas – A construction worker died after he was hit by a passing vehicle in the Crosby area, authorities said. The incident happened before noon on Friday, March 6, 2020 in the 13700 block of the Crosby Freeway.

According to deputies, the man was putting out construction cones on the freeway entrance ramp when a driver lost control of her vehicle and hit him. Deputies said the woman thought she was having an epileptic seizure and went off the road, fatally hitting the man.

Crosby Chamber holds installation banquet

Eddie Foster, Keenan Smith, Justin League, Angie Richey, Eric Jennings, Tiffany Mulier, Jamie Lee, Dr. Scott Davis, Tatum MacNaughton, Lemisha Ducos, Toni Handley, Laci Rendon, Kim Davila, Lewis Spearman and Margarette Chasteen were sworn in by Justice of the Peace Lucia Bates Precinct 3 Position 2 (center in robe).

BAYTOWN – As Crosby-Huffman continue to rally from flooding events, loss of retail businesses, and manufacturing, they press on with awards and installation of duly elected board members at their annual event. This year a hail back to the circus comes to town or Under the Big Top at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Awards were generally under the direction of Chambers staff President Kim Harris and Chamber Coordinator Stephenie Walden as members of an elite committee introduces the award. The CrosbyHuffman Chamber of Commerce Employee of the Year was Chef Espinosa with Crosby Cougar Bistro v! for Crosby. For Huffman Jamie Lee with Spirit of Texas Bank won.

Next Non-Profit entity of the year was awarded by Stephanie Walden for Huffman and Lemisha Ducos for Crosby winners for Non-Profit of the Year were Crosby American Legion for Crosby and May Community CenterHuffman.

Citizen of the Year was awarded by Angi Richey for Crosby and a surrogate for Benny Soileau for Crosby Margarette Chasteen won and Maria Martin was Huffman’s Citizen of the Year.

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Water Main break affects city of Houston

BROKEN PIPE IS UNDER REPAIR ALONG CLINTON DRIVE NEAR THE EAST LOOP. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Gilbert Hoffman

Schools, businesses and public events were closed last Friday, due to a water main break on the east side of Houston in a line that fed about half the city. Houston ISD schools, colleges and many businesses were also closed, or events cancelled, as a precaution against contaminated water or low water pressure. The City of Houston issued a “Boil Water” notice for most of the city.

Water districts on the East side of the county, including Crosby, Highlands, and Baytown, did not experience any pressure or supply problems. Crosby gets its water directly from Lake Houston.

A 96 inch wide water main, carrying water from the Houston water treatment plant in Galena Park to about half the city, burst on Thursday about noon. Workers from Harper Brothers were performing repair work on a small leak, according to authorities, when the whole pipe burst open flooding nearby streets and the six lane East Loop under Clinton Drive. Several feet of water covered the streets, stopping traffic and flooding about a dozen cars. Houston Fire Department said they conducted three deep water rescues. The location of the burst pipe was near the intersection of Clinton Drive and N. Carolina streets in the Clinton Park neighborhood, and buildings in that area had water inside, as outside it was several feet deep.

Water supply and water pressure were affected throughout the east side of Houston and into midtown. Schools and businesses were forced to close without water, and many indicated they would also be closed on Friday, until the pipe could be repaired and water quality restored.

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Election tight in late hours

HOUSTON – The red eye unofficial results in the wee-hours of Tuesday morning showed all races tightening up locally for Harris County and State candidates as the mysterious 20 voting districts that can never get in on time continue their streak.

Firstly, in the Presidential race, Donald Trump commanded 93.94% of Republican votes, Joe Biden took 33.6% Democrat votes, Bernie Sanders 30%, Mike Bloomberg had 14.7%, and Elizabeth Warren also ran for 11.6%.

In the race for the Senate John Cornyn was just 76% of Republicans. It looks like a battle between Mary “M.J.” Hegar 23.12% and Royce West got 14%.

In the battle for Sheriff of Harris County Ed Gonzales took 72.61% for the Democrats. Democrat

Kim Ogg won back her seat as District Attorney with 55%.

The County Attorney Office replaced Vince Ryan with only 25%, Christian Deshaun Menefee 50% and Ben Rose got 25%.

Precinct 3 Constable showed Sherman Eagleton with 48% Deborah Florus and Ken Jones both had 16% of the votes.

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New IH-10 bridge over San Jacinto River may affect Waste Pits removal

TxDOT engineers have said that the bridge design will be segmented, similar to this design of IH-10 over the Trinity River. The center span is 450 feet, so that support columns do not need to be in the river.

By Gilbert Hoffman

HARRIS COUNTY – Although in early stages of planning and design, engineers with TxDOT have begun to talk about the design and schedule for a replacement bridge over the San Jacinto River. With 4 to 6 lanes in each direction and no supporting columns in the river, it would be a vast improvement over the current situation. However, authorities and environmentalists are concerned that construction of a new bridge might interfere with the planned removal of the toxic wastes in the Superfund Site in the river. Workers on either project could be exposed to dangerous toxic waste, and would require special protective procedures. Planners for the EPA are also taking into consideration that work might take place during hurricane season, limiting the schedule to safe months. This might also be a consideration for the bridge construction.

Preliminary details of the design were discussed at a meeting in November with the Economic Alliance, and additional information was learned by this newspaper from TxDOT engineers. TxDOT is currently conducting a PEL or Planning and Environmental Linkage study of the IH-10 corridor, including the bridge. The study includes the corridor as it passes through Houston, Jacinto City, Channelview, Baytown, and Mont Belvieu. A PEL study is a high-level, early-planning study process that represents an approach to transportation decision making that considers environmental, community and economic goals early in the planning stage. It involves public meetings with feedback from the public and interested parties, as well as engineering studies.

Normally a new bridge as contemplated would take 5 to 10 years for design and construction, but TxDOT indicates that due to the critical nature of this corridor, and the continued threat of damage from barge traffic and storms, the schedule may be condensed to 3 to 5 years. (more…)