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Star-Courier News


Goose Creek Superintendent Randal O’Brien received this year’s Terry Davis Award from outgoing president Jim Wadzinski. At right is the new president of the Chamber, Randy Casey.

HIGHLANDS – The Highlands-Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce held their Annual Installation and Community Awards Banquet last Thursday evening, at the Monument Inn. The room was decorated with a Valentine Theme and red table cloths and roses.

There were Community Awards given to six outstanding individuals and organizations that have contributed to the life of the community.

The top award is the Terry Davis Award, and it was given to Goose Creek CISD school superintendent Randal O’Brien for his work in improving the community. A special award was given to Betty Brewer for her 36 years of supporting the Chamber, and service awards were given to outgoing board members Betty Michalsky and Jim Wadzinski.


Lynchburg Ferry closing for repairs

HARRIS COUNTY – Motorists should prepare for the Lynchburg Ferry to be closed starting Tuesday, February 25th until late 2020 for necessary improvements to preserve the longevity of its operations. During this closure, crews will be reconstructing the approaches and transfer ramps that Lynchburg Ferry Boats use to dock. The $6 million project is a joint venture between Harris County Precinct 2 and the Texas Department of Transportation, who is overseeing construction of the project.

Starting March 1, 2020, the Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) will manage operations of the Lynchburg Ferry and Washburn Tunnel. This includes overseeing daily operations, maintenance, capital expenditures, and public inquiries for both facilities. Per the Commissioners Court meeting held on June 25, 2019, these facilities will be transferred to the Toll Road Authority without the imposition of tolls. Drivers should expect no changes to operations when utilizing the Ferry or Tunnel, and no current employees will lose their jobs.


Arkema trial begins

The flames that evacuated over 200 neighbors after they had flooded.

CROSBY – Three men and the company they work for begin trial next Monday on criminal charges for explosions, fumes and fires related to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

After the deluge of over 40 inches, the flood killed power to the plant 175 tons of chemicals that become volatile if they are not congealed within their chilly temperature range were taken to a location away from other chemicals and allowed to blaze and explode.

A grand jury concluded Arkema was responsible for the release of a toxic cloud over the Crosby community, prosecutors announced last year.

Arkema North America, its CEO Richard Rowe, and plant manager Leslie Comardelle, are named in the indictment. Mike Keough was charged with felony assault for “causing bodily injury” to two sheriff’s deputies because the company withheld information from first responders that was vital to their safety and the safety of others. Keough is now retired.

The company lawyers, Arkema North America’s, are arguing that the series of incidents were an “act of God” but local authorities say it is time that chemical companies were held accountable for decisions that endanger the public and public servants.


Barge strike due to engine failure

HIGHLANDS – The genius of allowing the placement a busy shipping yard about 100 feet upstream from a bridge that handles much of the incoming traffic to the fourth largest city in the United States and the petrochemical center of the world was not mentioned in the report of the National Transportation Safety Board as to why the I-10 Bridge was struck on Feb. 11.

Instead on that day, according to the report, the Captain of the Linberg Crosby towing vessel was trying to park an empty tank barge at Southwest Shipyard but the towing craft kept going and slammed the barge into a column of the bridge.

The report, however, does make mention of the San Jacinto River being extremely congested and concedes that there was little room for error between the shipyard and the bridge.

The report concludes that a starboard engine failure caused the barge to hit the bridge column. (more…)

Bras for the Cause raises over $180,000

Top Row: Jacob Schexnayder, Aubrey Larkin, Justin Whittredge , John Baptiste, Jeremiah Price, David Mendez, Jason “Altuve” McWhorter, Jeffrey Sparks, Troy Barringer, Herman Eagleton, Shaun Manuel, Hunter Hearn Middle Row: Jesse Sorrells, Jay Beasley, J.R.Towles, Teaque Schexnayder, Chad Ferguson, Cullen Lee, Bottom Row: Bob Ellender,Trevor Zuniga, Chris Noldan

Once again, the Crosby community rallied their overwhelming generosity supporting Bras for the Cause’s 9th Annual event on February 1. The Bras for the Cause Committee is part of the Crosby Fair and Rodeo’s Tough Enough to Wear Pink (TETWP). Preliminary reports show over $180,000 was raised at the 9th annual event held at Southern Lace Estates. The Bras for the Cause committee believes that all cancers matter and “Together We Can Make a Difference.” To show that all cancers matter, Southern Lace Estates was decorated with all the cancer awareness colors throughout the room. The ladies of the BFC committee wore colored scarfs to represent a cancer that touched their lives.

Before over 500 guests, 21 male celebrity models danced in the annual “fashion show”, modeling bras of varied themes; Astros favorite, Jose Altuve A.K.A. Jason McWhorter. Crosby Applebees manager, Justin Whittredge stepped on stage as Genie from Aladdin complete with magic lamp. Returning for the second year was Crosby’s own J.R. Towles. This year our former hometown Astro decided he wasn’t going to “Take no bull from cancer,” so he dressed as a bull rider complete with a barrel. New was hometown favorite ball player, Hunter Hearn, drafted by the Phillies last year and a “hit” dressed in gear. Another newbie, Cullen Lee strutted as a peacock shaking feathers. Right off the floor, he was already looking forward to next year. (more…)

Kostka wins Chili raffle

David Kostka learns he was the winner of the new vehicle that Highlands Rotary club raffled off at their Chili Feast last Saturday, as daughter Haley Maxey expresses her joy.

HIGHLANDS – The Rotary Club reported another successful community benefit event, after their 45th Annual Chili Feast last Saturday.

Event chairman Andy Scott said that several hundred people attended the chili luncheon and auctions at St. Jude’s church. The highlight of the event is always the drawing of the winning ticket for a new vehicle, which was won this year by David Kostka of Highlands.

Funds from the event are used by the club for scholarships and to support other youth and community activities through the year. Scott reported that the Chili Feast had 13 major sponsors this year, sold 600 raffle tickets, and raised about $60,000 in net proceeds for its projects.


San Jacinto River Coalition hears EPA updates

A barge and tugboat pass the Waste Pits in the channel of the San Jacinto River. The barge traffic was one of the topics discussed at this week’s Coalition meeting.

HIGHLANDS – The San Jacinto River Coalition held their monthly meeting last Tuesday night, and director Jackie Young brought the group up to date with information recently received from the EPA.

She said that after not hearing any new information from the agency for several months, they now had emailed her and were planning on holding a Community Advisory Committee meeting in Houston next week. These groups are supposed to be an interface between the public and the EPA on environmental concerns, but have rarely occurred. In spite of its name, the meeting is not open to the public community.


Eastside Veterans host Super Bowl barbecue

The Eastside Veterans Celebration was at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Crosby-Dayton Road last Sunday and the discussion was mostly about football, what is wrong with California, events coming before and in November and the monument they would place inside Crosby Park. Excitement reached a frenzy as Kansas City made of the event a football game. The fare was east Texas style barbecue featuring chicken, brisket, ribs, baked beans and substantial French and Spanish elements of select dishes. Larry Stasney is still making the KoC Hall available for rent, call Eddie Foster (281) 794-5122 to join EVC.

Family values are core for Crosby VFD

Gage White is presented Firefighter of the Year by Bob Boyles of ESD80, as Gage’s father, 1st Assistant Chief Russell White beams. Gage has been working as a volunteer with CVFD since he was a team mascot little taller than a yard. At right, the Assistant Chief is awarded a special recognition of a fireman’s axe for 35 years of service to the Crosby and surrounding areas by Chief Kulak. White said, “It’s hard to believe it has been 35 years, we had just moved to Newport and I had said it was something I had always wanted to do. They had just built the old Station 2. I found out they were still volunteers so I went up and applied and was accepted.”

LA PORTE – The recognition and awards banquet for the Crosby Volunteer Fire Department on Jan. 25 was a time of remembering 2019 and the deeds done by volunteers, inadvertently the values coming from families in concern for the community echoed during the awards.

Randy Foster of ESD 80 first pointed out that it was the hard work of all the volunteers, their wives and families that had made 2019 a good year for CVFD and that is reflected in shortened response times and improved results for the community.

Chief Alan Kulak shares there were 1,083 calls made by his firefighters with an average response time of 7min. 18 sec., 163 fires, 496 MVA, 102 hazmat calls, 35 service calls and 85 false alarms.

Please see page 5 of the print or PDF edition for more photos.

Crossing US90 turns fatal

The front of the SUV is crushed into the ground by a broadside from a Kenworth, the intersection is controlled on both sides of the highway by stop signs. Carranza-Sanchez showed no signs of life on scene. Brown was not injured. The case remains open and under investigation by the Vehicular Crimes Division of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

CROSBY – The intersection of US 90 and Bohemian Hall is no stranger to accidents and on January 27 a fatality there demonstrated why extra attention is required when crossing the busy US highway.

At about 6:15 a.m. Sharna Brown of Livingston was driving a Kenworth towing a semitrailer eastbound in the 5900 block of US 90. Meanwhile, Roger A. Carranza-Sanchez of Conroe drove a Trailblazer on Bohemian Hall toward Crosby. The trailblazer failed to yield at the stop signs, according to P.W. Lillibridge’s investigation for the Vehicular Crimes Division of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

Barrett Station: Violence ends in brain death

BARRETT STATION – The rainy night of January 23 at about Midnight at the ambulance station here, a man that had been shot pulled his car up to the gate, vaulted the fence and frantically begged for entrance to save his friend that unfortunately was in critical condition.

Emergency crews proved in this case to be certainly some of the bravest folks on the planet as that Thursday morning they were roused by noise without the normal summons to a face in their door window inside a locked fence. They opened the door and went out to attend the injured man left behind in the car.

Michael Earnest, 31, was found inside his friend’s car, he had been shot in the back of his head. He was unresponsive but alive. His fence vaulting friend had been shot too, once in the shoulder and once also in his head.

The ambulance crews loaded Earnest and his friend inside an ambulance and took off for Ben Taub, where he was pronounced brain dead. Life Flight was out of commission due to the massive rainfall.