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.
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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.
Search difficult in muddy marsh
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.
BAYTOWN — (February 15, 2019) — Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital’s newly renovated cancer center held a grand opening for the community on February 12.
The expansion project at the facility located at 4021 Garth Road is designed to meet the growing needs of the community and provide leading edge cancer care. The project includes the addition of infusion therapy suites for medical oncology patients, as well as radiation oncology and improved conference and education facilities for patients and physicians.
“Our nationally recognized experts in cancer care are dedicated to bringing the latest cancer treatment and therapies to our patients,” said David P. Bernard, CEO, Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital. “Through individualized treatment plans and compassionate care, our team of highly trained cancer specialists are working to fight cancer and support those who have it.”
The cancer program specializes in treating some of the most common types of cancer, including breast, lung, prostate and colon, using the most advanced techniques available. The Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Baytown features an experienced, specialized team of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, oncology nurses and cancer care navigators to help patients and families through their cancer journey. The care team provides services ranging from prevention and diagnosis to advanced treatment follow up and survivorship.
“Our team of clinical experts helps patients and families through their cancer journey—both physically and emotionally—with the goal of reducing or eliminating cancer, seeking new treatment options for highly resistant cancers and providing personalized care to every one of our patients,” said Bernard.
The Houston Methodist Cancer Center also offers screenings, educational events, support groups, clinical trial access and genetic testing close to home.
City Passes Ordinance to prohibit toxic landfill
On January 15, 2019, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a “Public Notice” regarding the proposed dredging in the San Jacinto River. The notice described the disposal site as a tract in Beach City, even though the developer, Holtmar Land LLC, had promised the city they would amend the request from the USACE and find another site not in Beach City.
Concerned that the notice did not reflect a new site, Beach City passed an ordinance prohibiting the dumping of toxic waste at the site proposed along McCollum Park Road, with a $2000 per day penalty if violated.
Further action was taken by Mayor Jackey Lasater, who wrote the following letter to the Corps of Engineers and shared it with the residents of Beach City in a newsletter:
“I will share with you my letter to USACE and I urge those that have not written a letter yet to please do so asap. We must continue to prepare for the worst case scenario until the permit is actually amended in our favor.
Re: file #SWG-2015- 00855
Dear Mr. Bader,
My name is Jackey Lasater and I am writing in response to the above referenced permit request. As Mayor of Beach City, I urge you to consider the numerous issues that I/we have in the proposed placement of contaminated dredge material from the ‘area of concern’ located in proximity of the Federal Superfund site in the San Jacinto River near Highlands Texas.
Residents of Mont Belvieu can now take a break in shade at its city park while harnessing energy from the sun to charge up their portable devices.
Thanks to a generous donation from Covestro, a new solar-powered charging station using state-of-the-art technology was unveiled Monday, January 21 with leaders from the city and the company.
“We encourage diverse thinking and creative problem solving that embodies Covestro’s new vision ‘to make the world a brighter place,’ which includes incorporating sustainability in every element of our strategy,” said Rod Herrick, Covestro Vice President and Site Manager. “This solar-powered charging station helps make the world we live in brighter by reducing our environmental impact and is a testament to our dedication to this effort.”
The picnic table-style installation seats four comfortably is located between the park’s playgrounds and splash pad and features a table with bench seats with a solar panel shade over the top.
The solar station is a fully engineered true off-grid solar powered charging station. It is equip with a power design that delivers dependable year round charging power even with days of cloudy weather.
EAST HARRIS COUNTY – On January 16 the Harris County Flood Control District held a meeting at the San Jacinto Community Center in Highlands, to inform the public about partnering with the Harris County Precinct 2 Engineering Department to address flooding issues in residential neighborhoods in unincorporated regions of Harris County with focus on stormwater drainage improvements and to receive input from the public.
Reid Mrsnya, Public Engineer with Harris County, points out that his group is working to find solutions for flooding issues on Apache Lane nearest to Cedar Bayou.
Voters approved $2.5 billion in bonds to finance flood damage reduction projects within the county. The county is moving forward with planning and construction of projects with bond funding, making effort to make transparent those projects to residents.
This meeting is listed on the Harris County Flood Control District website and information can be obtained and comments made at www.hcfcd.org/E12, the district’s website.
I have had a busy day today. This morning I attended the meeting of the Chambers County Commissioners Court as this was on their agenda. There were no actions to take today but a number of people were able to speak and express their concerns and ideas. One of the key speakers was Ms. Jackie Young. She is the Executive Director of THEA and is the person that is spearheading the removal of the San Jacinto River toxic waste pits. I visited with her at length after the meeting. She is excited to help us with our cause. My take from the meeting today is that Judge Sylvia and the Commissioners will be researching the County’s options but can’t do anything until the request for permit is posted in early January.
Now I will outline our (Beach City and neighbors) Initial strategy:
1) I will be asking City Council to establish parameters for an ordinance that would protect the citizens and property owners of Beach City from this and future attempts to deposit dirt, sand or dredge material that poses a potential risk to flood drainage, property values or health. Council will meet on January 8th in a special called meeting at which time this will be presented. I will appoint a committee to prepare an ordinance to present to Council at the Regular Council Meeting on January 22 for a vote.
2) We will form a citizens coalition as soon as possible. Anyone who would like to share their expertise, experience, Talents or network that would be helpful to our cause please email me so we can get organized. I was contacted today by Guy Matthews to offer his services and experience. He is an esteemed attorney that was a key player in the fight against the toxic waste dump that wanted to locate in Cedar Crossing about 20 years ago. Many of you probably know him. Also, Ms.Young has offered to help in this area.
3) I have scheduled a town hall meeting on January 21st at 6:30 pm in the Beach City Community Building. Ms. Jackie Young will be there and I will be working to getting others. I hope the Citizens Coalition will have time to develop a presentation.
4) I ask that everyone start writing letters of concern to Congressman Babin and State Rep. Mays Middleton. It is more effective to send a letter via US postal Service than it is to send an email. Also. Ms. Young recommends that you email a copy to me so that we can have a record of letters sent. For those that get writers block (like me), she is going to furnish a form letter that she feels would be most effective and I will share that when I get it. Personally, I think a letter from the heart would have the most impact.
Finally, I would like you to know that there are a lot of people that are working on this and more to come. I urge you to resist speculation and stick to what we know. At this time we don’t know what this dredge material will contain, only that there is a good possibility that it contains some level of toxic materials. FYI: There have been previous attempts to get permitted to dredge this same area that were denied. As I understand it, the last one was in 2010 and denied by the EPA. This was info from Jackie Young this morning and I hope I got the date right.
I will pass on information as it becomes available.
Beach City, Mayor
Covestro accelerates its investment activities to capitalize on the strong MDI market growth. Today, the Supervisory Board of Covestro has approved an investment of around EUR 1.5 billion to build a new world-scale MDI plant in Baytown, USA. This investment at the existing site in Baytown is the largest single investment in the history of the company. Total capacity of the new train will be 500 kilotons MDI per year, start of production is expected in 2024. At the same time an older, less efficient MDI unit of 90 kilotons production capacity will be closed. Thus, total MDI capacities of Covestro in the NAFTA region will reach around 740 kilotons per year making Covestro the industry capacity leader in the region by 2024. With that, Covestro will also strongly underline its global industry capacity leadership position.
“Demand for innovative MDI materials will continue to grow for the foreseeable future and likewise promises attractive capacity utilization rates. We have already announced a significant increase in capital expenditures, now it’s time to put it into action”, said CEO Dr. Markus Steilemann. “With the new MDI train in Baytown, we will further strengthen our global leading position in Polyurethanes, even better serve our customers and create long-term shareholder value.”
Finalists for the 2018 Texas Downtown Association President’s Awards Program were recently announced in Austin. For over 30 years the awards program, sponsored by the Texas Downtown Association (TDA), has recognized outstanding projects, places, and people of Texas downtowns. One hundred and eleven entries were submitted in eleven different categories from communities across the state. Judges reviewed entries online and then met in person to make their final selection of award finalists and winners.
Baytown’s Umbrella Alley is one of the finalists for the Texas Downtown Association Spirit of Downtown Award. The Baytown Tourism Division on behalf of the Baytown Pubic Art Visioning Committee unveiled the beautiful Umbrella Alley in the Downtown Arts District in early May 2018. This Public Art Visioning Committee is made up of individuals from the downtown business area including the Art League of Baytown, Lee College Art Department, Sterling Municipal Library, and other local influencers who hold Baytown’s best interests at heart. In the past, the alley was filled with broken concrete and graffitied walls, but now the Umbrella Alley is occupied with colorful umbrellas that swing back and forth in a whimsical limbo, casting dancing shadows along the alley walls and ground; the alley walls are getting a splash of color as a mural comes to life that focuses on the highlights of Baytown. The artists working on this mural are students from the Lee College Art Department which is located at the end of the Downtown Arts District. This collaboration among downtown partners has garnered regional response, and brought special attention to the Downtown Arts District area and the business’s that are located there.
“We are proud of the Umbrella Alley project, and the excitement it has garnered for our downtown,” says Anna Yowell, Tourism Coordinator. “We look forward to doing more Public Art projects in the future.”
Winners will be announced on November 7 at the Awards Gala held in conjunction with the 2018 Texas Downtown Conference in Corpus Christi. (more…)
Barbers Hill High School seniors Kathryn Hok and Kaitlyn Robinson were named 2019 National Merit Commended Students by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation this month.
Both students are ranked in the Top Five of the Barbers Hill Class of 2019.
“To get to this level of academic achievement requires determination, hard work, and a willingness to stretch themselves by taking advanced level courses,” said Asst. Supt. of Curriculum and Instruction Sandra Duree. “I’m so proud of these students and the amazing BHISD staff. Working together toward a common goal helps us move forward in our quest for excellence for all students.”
Robinson plans to attend Texas A&M University next year, and Hok is considering several university options.
Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2019 competition by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation will be recognized for their exceptional academic promise.
National Hispanic Scholars
The College Board in September named three Barbers Hill High School students as National Hispanic Scholars.
Barbers Hill seniors Jade Meador, Adriana Torres-Rodriguez, and Isaac Recio were named Scholars in the program based on their scores on the PSAT/NMSQT in this region. Scholars must score in the top 2.5% of Hispanic test-takers in the region during their junior year, as well as achieve a minimum 3.5 GPA.
“We are very proud of these three students,” said BHHS Principal Rick Kana. “They have pushed themselves academically and stand out as leaders on our campus. They are so deserving of this recognition, and we are proud to have them at Barbers Hill High School.”
Each year, the National Hispanic Recognition Program recognizes approximately 5,000 students nationwide out of over 250,000 Hispanic students who take the PSAT/NMSQT.