MONT BELVIEU – A “Black Lives Matter” protest began about 1:00 p.m. last Thursday at City Park marching south on Eagle Drive to Barbers Hill Middle School and back.
Protestors numbered about thirty and it looked like someone’s Sunday School Class had made signs, undertaken to march and shout, “Black Lives Matter.”
It seemed that police presence was nearly equal to protesters. Local patrol vehicles were plainly visible and white vehicles with the trademark search lights had uniformed officers in some. There was no police interferance in the protest and it was rumored that the extra police presence was to protect marchers from various locals that held contrary views.
Key issues mentioned by marchers when approached were qualified immunity for police, chokeholds, the use of body cameras and the experience of Deandre Arnold at Barbers Hill High School. Arnold’s dreadlocks were found to be in violation of a school’s code and he was suspended for the violation. The incident drew national attention in light of dreadlocks originated within a religion as a cultural distinction.
When asked if Arnold’s family had agreed to obey school codes, one answer was, “They had no choice but agree to the school codes to go to school. When the Superintendent enforced the codes they instituted a cultural and racial imperative that is unjust.”
Organizer Martha Atonal said, “We have a variety of people here that came to show their support peacefully. Many of the young people are from Barber’s Hill High School with a recent experience, it is very rewarding to see.”
“This is a critical time in our nation’s history and we have made the decision to express our solidarity with ethnic minorities to stop killing and abusing them,” said another marcher.
Mont Belvieu, Texas – The FM 1409 extension has officially started construction last Monday, April 6, 2020. The new road will extend FM 1409 from FM 565 in Old River to FM 565 in Cove. The extension will provide a two-lane undivided highway which will eventually cross over 1-10. Phase 1 of the project consists of both FM 1409 from N. FM 565 to IH 10 westbound frontage road and FM 1409 from IH 10 eastbound frontage road S FN 565; which is slated to be completed by November of 2021. Phase 2 consists of the FM 1409 Bridge; which will be out for bid this year. The project manager is Dannenbaum Engineering and Texas Sterling is the contractor.
The city of Mont Belvieu is planning an election on May 2nd for Mayor and 2 councilmen, and the Barbers Hills ISD school district is planning an election that same day for their $277.5 million Bond Referendum and two school board seats. Voting is in person, and by mail-in ballots, which are being encouraged.
Because of the “lockdown” ordered by County officials, and an executive order from Governor Abbott telling governments and districts that they should move their May 2nd elections to November to avoid health problems and voter intimidation in May, several politicians have criticized or questioned the wisdom of the two entities in Mont Belvieu continuing their scheduled elections on May 2.
State Representatives Mayes Middleton, and Briscoe Cain, have said the elections should be moved, while City Manager Nathan Watkins and School Superintendent Greg Poole have defended the date as legal and needed early.
Voters may apply for a mail-in ballot until April 20 at www.montbelvieu.net/election. Early voting starts April 20 to April 28, at the BHISD conference center at 9600 Eagle Drive.
The Dayton City Council has issued a second Declaration of Disaster for Public Health Emergency in response to COVID-19. The declaration, which supersedes the one issued by the Mayor last Friday puts into place recommendations made today by the White House. It went into effect immediately and will be in effect until the Council rescinds it.
There are currently no confirmed cases of the virus in Dayton, however, the declaration has been issued to assist the City in its efforts to prevent, and if necessary, contain COVID-19 from spreading throughout the city and county. The declaration prohibits community gatherings of over 10 people for its duration, authorizes the City Manager to suspend late fees on utility bills and echos White House recommendations of schooling at home where possible, avoidance of discretionary travel, and refraining from eating or drinking in bars restaurants or food courts.
In addition, certain nonessential City facilities are closed, including the Jones Public Library and the Dayton Community Center. All City events scheduled for March and April, including Food Truck Friday, Friday Night Bites and the Dr. Seuss Carnival will be canceled or postponed until further notice.
The following is a summary of current actions that Chambers County is taking to curtail the spread of COVID-19. These actions are being taken upon the recommendations of the CDC and the Chambers County Local Health Authority:
– All County-owned rental facilities (community centers, arenas, etc.) are closed until April 28th . Parks are currently still open.
– All County libraries will be closed until April 28th.
– The 344th District Court is closed for two weeks.
– No County Court judicial proceedings until April 28th.
– County Solid Waste Permit renewals (dump stickers) are suspended until April 28th. If you have a sticker that has expired, you will be allowed to dump. If you need a new sticker you will have to purchase one as normal.
Recommendations for the Community
– Local places of assembly (restaurants, churches, places where people gather) are encouraged to follow current CDC guidance, which recommends not to have gatherings of more than 10 people. This guidance is voluntary at this time.
Local school districts provide meals for students.
Barbers Hill ISD
Will be serving lunch from 11a-12p each day only for families in need at Elementary School South.
Goose Creek ISD
GCCISD will offer Grab and Go breakfast and lunch for all children (18 and under) on weekdays, starting Monday, March 16th, for lunch from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Breakfast will be served, starting Tuesday, March 17th, weekdays from 8-9 a.m. Adults can purchase breakfast for $2.50 and lunch for $2.85
DEER PARK, TX – U.S. Congressman Brian Babin (TX-36) released the following statement after visiting Liberty County Sheriff’s Deputy Richard E. Whitten and his wife, Kami, at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Houston Medical Center on Monday. Deputy Whitten has been in recovery since he was critically injured after being shot in the line of duty on May 29, 2019.
ANAHUAC – Search teams have found the missing “black boxes” from the wreckage of the Atlas Air 767-300 cargo jet that crashed into Trinity Bay last Saturday, February 23rd, on a flight from Miami to Houston. They have also recovered the remains of the three crewmen that were on the plane when it went down. The third body had proven hard to find, as well as the black boxes, due to the thick mud below the murky, opaque water. But hundreds of volunteers, some from the Texas Search and Rescue organization, methodically waded through the water feeling below, when they couldn’t see. Dive teams from Houston, Baytown, and the state DPS were assisting in the search, as well as other authorities such as the Chambers County’s sheriff and fire departments.
They announced last Sunday, March 3rd, that they had recovered the Flight Data Recorder. Earlier they had found the Cockpit Voice Recorder. They also said that they had found remains of the third victim from the plane, which had eluded the searchers for days after the first two bodies were discovered in the waters of Jack’s Pocket, a backwater of Trinity Bay near Anahuac. Aboard the plane had been the pilot and the copilot, Capt. Ricky Blakely and First Officer Conrad Aska, and another pilot Capt. Sean Archuleta who was riding back to his home in Houston. The plane was carrying cargo for both Amazon and the U.S. Postal Service, according to the airline. Most of the packages were strewn through the bay, as well as hundreds of small pieces of the Boeing 767 jumbo jet. Very few large pieces survived the crash.
The two black box recorders have been sent to the NTSB laboratories in Washington, D.C. for analysis. The cargo plane was on a flight from Miami to Houston. About 30 minutes from landing at Houston Intercontinental airport, air traffic controllers warned the pilot that he was headed toward bad weather. The pilot asked for permission to fly around the storm, to the west. After that transmission, no other voice was heard from the plane. Flying at about 12,000 feet, at 12:35 the plane disappeared from radar, without a distress signal or other communication. Witnesses said the plane nose-dived into Trinity Bay near Anahuac, in about 30 seconds.
ANAHUAC – This quiet suburban community was the scene of a horrific airplane accident last Saturday afternoon, as a Boeing 767 jumbo jet dropped from the sky into Jack’s Pocket, a backwater of Trinity Bay.
The flight was Atlas Air 3591, a cargo plane carrying packages for Amazon on a trip from Miami to Houston.
At about 12:40 pm, authorities said it fell from 6300 feet into the bay, at an angle almost straight down. A witness said she saw it dive, roll to the left, and catch its wing as it landed in the marsh and water of the bay.
First responders included the Chambers County Sheriff, Brian Hawthorne, and fire and EMS from nearby Anahuac. Later authorities included DPS, Coast Guard, Houston Police and dive team, Harris County Sheriff, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and Baytown divers. The FAA and the NTSB will be in charge of the investigation. At this time, there is no known cause for the crash, and air traffic controllers said there was no distress call or radio indication of a problem.
The plane broke into hundreds of small pieces, either in the air or as it hit the water. There were three crewmen aboard, and the bodies of two have been recovered.
Authorities are searching for the Black Box controllers, apparently silent due to the muddy marsh where they are embedded, along with many of the parts of the plane. The search is urgent, because the 767 is considered one of the safest planes flying, and authorities want to know what caused this crash.