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Star-Courier News

Local Superfund sites await funding resolve

HIGHLANDS– CROSBY – The San Jacinto Waste Pit is one of four local Superfund sites that are being reviewed by the Trump Administration in regard to funding.

The recent flooding threats have called for extensive review of the safeguards of contaminants at the French Limited site, the Sikes Disposal Pits, the Highlands Acid Pits and now Patrick Bayou.

The 185-acre Sikes Disposal Pits was a place for dumping petroleum-based and other chemicals, then 22.5-acres was bought to make French Limited, a commercial waste disposal site that burned waste and deposited about 300,000 cubic yards in a lagoon. When Barrett Station and Crosby residents complained of the stench, the Texas Water Development Board required French Limited to apply for a waste-control permit. After three years of negotiations a permit was granted with provisions that the company never achieved. The permit was cancelled in 1971 and the company was sued for noncompliance and the state took the site.

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THEA/SJRC Zoom meeting: Waste Pits schedule extended 160 days

Map of Southern Impoundment. Colors indicate the depth below the surface at which toxic material exceeding >240 ng/kg was found. Dark Green is the worst, at 4 feet. Red indicates the material is 10 feet below the surface. Market Street south of I-10 is the street shown.

HIGHLANDS – Concerns for the Coronavirus have put a temporary end to public meetings regarding the remediation of the toxic waste pits in the San Jacinto River.

But twice this month, Jackie Young Medcalf, the director of the San Jacinto River Coalition and THEA, held ZOOM meetings on July 1 and 15, to inform the public on the status of the remediation project for the pits.

The concentration of meetings was due to the release by the EPA of the 30% RD, or Remedial Design documents. There were over 30,000 pages of data and narrative, covering the Northern and Southern impoundment areas, and the Sand Separation area.

In addition to the report, EPA confirmed that the toxic material was deeper than first thought, and that remediation would take longer than announced.

The time line has stretched from a 2 year project, to now what is expected to take 7 years to complete, according to the engineering consultant, GHD Corp. On top of that, Jackie announced in the July 15 Zoom meeting that EPA had just granted a 160 day extension to the start of the project, moving it well into the year 2028. This will likely conflict with TxDOT’s plans to replace the I-10 bridge with a higher, wider highway.

Jackie said that in examining the RD documents, she was concerned about omissions and inconsistencies. She said that there was not enough “due diligence” exhibited in the work process, nor transparency. In the health and safety section of the RD, she said it was too generic and did not address the specific problems of this site, such as barge traffic and weather extremes such as hurricanes and floods.

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Newport fire investigated

Crosby Volunteer Fire Dept. investigates a mysterious fire at Newport Elementary School on Sunday, Sept. 21 flames were found inside a classroom.

NEWPORT – Crosby Volunteer Fire Department responded to the report of smoke visible in Newport Elementary and an Active Fire Alarm 7:45 p.m., September 21.

Multiple units from Station 2 in Newport responded having been alerted of a fire. On arrival, the Fire Department found heavy smoke in 2 classrooms. First arriving units found a small electrical fire in a classroom and quickly extinguished it. Units on scene ventilated smoke with the High Volume Ventilation Fan. Through September 27 damaged material was removed. Harris County Fire Marshals were called in to begin an investigation. According to the administration, “Our campus is now clean and free of soot from the recent fire. NES will return to face-to-face instruction Monday, September 29.”

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS BURN, HS FOOTBALL RETURNS

BY LEWIS SPEARMAN

NORTHEAST HARRIS COUNTY – The approach of fall like weather did herald the return of Friday night lights to local football fields, although many locals feared COVID 19 would forestall this season.

Two Cosby coaches were found to have positive test results early in the season, many feared the season would disappear but Crosby ISD has begun their season with a scrimmage at Tomball last weekend.

The Crosby Cougars play at the George Ranch in Richmond, Texas Thursday, Sept 24 at Traylor Stadium at 7:00p.m.

Thurday, Oct 2, Manvel travels to Crosby to play at 7:30p.m.

Friday, Oct 9 the Cougars travel to Montgomery playing at 7:30.

The Oct. 16 game depends on how the season is developing and remains Open.

The US 90 rivalry is on Oct 23. As again the Cougars travel to Dayton for the Cougars to match the Broncos at 7:30.

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Census count ends Sept. 30th

Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia speaks about the need for everyone to register in the Census which is soon drawing to a conclusion. Garcia was talking at the BakerRipley center in East Aldine, along with others including East Aldine’s Richard Cantu, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Pct. 2 Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia, Pct. 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis, State Representative Armando Walle, and BakerRipley president Claudia Aguirre.

Sylvia Garcia, County and City leaders hold Census Caravan

HARRIS COUNTY – U.S. Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia has organized an intense public effort to count as many residents of the area as possible, stating that federal dollars that are sent to the state, county, and city are dependent upon the number of people counted and living in the area.

To draw attention to the need to sign up in the Census, Garcia and other community leaders have organized “Census Caravans” that drive through neighborhoods and urge residents to complete their census forms. Garcia says it only takes 5 minutes to complete the questionnaire, and can be done in several different ways.

Last Saturday the Census Caravan drove through the streets of East Aldine. Authorities have noted that this is one of the areas where only a small percentage of the residents have registered.

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Crosby Rodeo fetes, raffles and elects

At the September 14 Crosby Fair & Rodeo Membership Meeting voting members repeated Gene HIcks, Jr., Justin George, Michael Niemtschik, Ronny Erlich, Roger Boblick, Jr., Jared Prescott and Bradley Orn as board members. There are 21 board members elected on a three year cycle.

CROSBY – The Crosby Fair & Rodeo hosted themselves at the covered pavilion last Saturday and held a raffle draw for a John Deer Gator XUV590M, a Savage Bersa Thunder .380 pistol and a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle.

On Monday the membership turned out to vote back in the same guys to be one third of the board.

The raffle was done on Facebook without physical tickets being issued but each entry had their name placed on a poker chip, the poker ship placed in a drum and local newpaper guy, Lewis Spearman, draw out and announce the lucky winners.

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Lake Houston Trump rally displays fervor

Out of Atascocita, eastbound the south end of the McKay Bridge is lined with cars, rescue vehicles, and cheering President Donald R. Trump supporters. Boats and vehicles were on both sides of the bridge and in the lake.

HUFFMAN – The day national polls talked about a lack of enthusiasm by Latinos and a five point slip in the polls for the Democratic Presidential Candidate since the selection of a Vice Presidential running mate, Kamala Harris, locally, the zeal of the Republican ticket was abundant on Lake Houston.

The Lake Houston Marina and the Lake Houston Brewery east on both sides of the McKay Bridge were stages for Lake Houston Party Boaters, a group of about 458 members, to launch close to 800 water craft for the Big T 2020 Parade at 2:00 p.m. last Saturday.

That was a follow up from the Lake Houston Fun Run where participants donated $10 to benefit Texas Adaptive Aquatics. Awards were presented after the event at Lake Houston Brewery. The held a captains meeting at 1:00 p.m. to advise of safety precautions and distancing.

That group was joined in the parade by Lake Houston Voters for Trump sporting about 383 members that describe themselves as “A group of people to support Trump, like to keep their own money and have fun. They simultaneously launched Trump 2020 – Lake Houston Boat Parade.

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Highlands Rotary hosts District 5890 governor

HIGHLANDS – The Highlands Rotary Club held their regular weekly meeting last Tuesday, observing all COVID protocols. The featured speakers were District 5890 Asst. Governor Bryan Clements and Governor Scott Rainey. District 5890 is the Houston area Rotary group, with about 33 clubs and 3000 members.

Governor Rainey spoke on worldwide Rotary programs, including Polio Plus and clean water. He also complemented the Highlands club for their community accomplishments.

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Arkema trial: Prosecutor drops assault charges

HOUSTON – The Arkema trail is on hold currently due to COVID-19 but resumes on September 21, already prosecutors have submitted for and State Judge Belinda Hill accepted on Monday to drop assault charges in the release of toxic fumes affecting to two deputies.

The prosecution admitted that charges against three company executive may have been based on a lie in relation to reckless behavior charges.

“Prosecutors always have a duty to seek justice; in this case, a prosecutor felt that there was enough evidence for a criminal charge, but that he could not prove that charge beyond a reasonable doubt at this time, so he requested it be dismissed,” Dave Schiller, Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

Richard Rowe and Leslie Comardelle (the former plant manager) are still charged with reckless emission of air contaminants. Possible consequences for those charges could be $1 million dollar fine for Arkema and five years for the decision makers.

The defense argues that prosecutors are still withholding exculpatory evidence, illegally.

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Return to on-campus classes is different as schools fight pandemic

Social Distancing in the classrooms.

CROSBY ISD, GOOSE CREEK CONSOLIDATED ISD – Schools began face-to-face locally here last Tuesday under circumstances that are less than ideal, unprecedented and likely a logistical nightmare.

This week is an intensive experiment involving limited school bus occupancy, changed pick-up locations, new procedures in arrival, a bevy of new props like masks, shields, sanitizers, distancing and new rules to be enforced all in an effort to educate without infecting people with a virus that is undetected in nearly half of the cases that contract it.

A new phone application is ordered to better explain the bus situation. My Stop App from Versatrans is designed to notify parents of their child’s bus location and the estimated time of arrival at bus stops, allowing parents to plan accordingly, in Crosby ISD.

“With all the carefully prepared plans the district has put together, everything is new, most likely we will be adapting as we go,” said Crosby ISD Superintendent Scott Davis at a meeting.

There will be lightweight, portable sanitizer stands, desks divided by plastic partitions, plastic bagging for personal items, disinfectant spray as well as the required instruments to learn to write. Parents are asked to check for signs of illness and temperatures. Behavior monitoring on campus will need to be more strict. Every individual at the campuses will be asked to social distance.

Social Distancing in the Auditorium

Apart from all this, there will be differences from campus to campus in the same district dictated by circumstances. (more…)

Public input by ZOOM meeting for Pct 2 Parks & Trails Comprehensive Plan

A map of Precinct 2 shows the extent of population density, and location of parks as indicated by colored dots.

Harris County Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia held a Zoom meeting last Monday night, to get the public’s input and ideas on how to develop a Comprehensive Plan for Parks and Trails in Precinct 2.

About 100 persons participated in the session, which lasted about an hour, exceeding the time planned because of the enthusiasm of the callers and the commissioner.

Adrian Garcia said that he wants Pct. 2 to have a reputation for outstanding parks, that attract people and publicity, and where people can have a good time. He noted that good parks also increase property values.

Garcia revealed that he has an experienced architectural landscape and urban planning firm working on the project. This is Asakura Robinson, headed by Keiji Asakura.

Also participating in the Zoom meeting and the planning for the parks are representatives from Pct. 2 and also the Harris County engineering department. Another consultant is Jose Eduardo Sanchez, a community engagement specialist.

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