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Star-Courier News

Highlands Rotary installs new officers

Judge Mike Parrott swears-in Andy Scott as the President of Highlands Rotary for 2020-2021.

The Rotary Club of Highlands installed their new officers for the 2020- 2021 Rotary year on June 19. Judge Mike Parrott was the installing officer for the evening’s banquet, hosted by Robert & Ann Woodall. Larry White led the group in prayer, then Denise Smith led the pledge of allegiance. The event was catered by Catfish on Wheels.

Scott Rainey, District Governor-Elect, gave a welcome from the district and commended the Rotary Club of Highlands on their hard work for the year. Numerous recognitions and awards were presented to various members for their contributions through the year, as well as perfect attendance awards.


Update on San Jacinto River Waste Pits: EPA says deeper toxic waste means more time & money

This illustration of a typical cofferdam and dewatering process, furnished by the EPA, may be the type called for in the Design Package.

By Jennah Durant, EPA Press Office

Here is more information on recent SJR waste pits questions:

1. Have you received the 30% Design package for the South impoundment?

Yes. The 30% design package for the south impoundment was submitted to EPA on April 13, 2020.

2. Have you received the 30% Design package for the North impoundment?

Yes. The 30% design package for the north impoundment was submitted to EPA on May 28, 2020.

3. Will these documents be available to the public? When?

The documents are currently under review by the regulatory agencies. Following EPA’s review of the document and determination that the design is appropriate based on the remedy selected in the Record of Decision, EPA will make the document available to the public.

4. Regardless of whether the reports are public, could you furnish me with an executive summary or your own summation of what they say? 

• The pre-design investigations have refined the volume of waste to be removed in the north and south impoundment;

• Waste in some areas of the northern impoundment are deeper than presented in the Record of Decision;


County mandates masks; Governor refuses statewide order

LEFT: Judge Hidalgo wearing a mask. Harris County and Houston have issued orders requiring masks for businesses, employees and customers.Violating Businesses are subject to $1000 fines. RIGHT: Governor Abbott wears a face mask on Tuesday at a press conference, where he urged voluntary wearing of masks and social distancing, but refused to issue an order making them mandatory.

As hospital admissions for COVID-19 continue to climb across the county, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo signed an order requiring businesses to generate, post, and implement health and safety policies which include, at a minimum, a requirement that workers, customers or visitors wear face coverings. The order took effect on Monday, June 22, 2020 and runs until Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

The order directs all commercial entities providing goods or services to require that all employees or visitors to a business premise wear face coverings in areas that involve any proximity to co-workers or the public. Face coverings may include homemade masks, scarfs, bandanas, or a handkerchief. Commercial entities must post the health and safety policy in a conspicuous location sufficient to provide notice to employees and visitors of all health and safety requirements.

“There’s no magic wand government can wave to make this virus go away, but we can take steps to ensure that we provide our community with the guidance and tools it needs to fight back,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “This isn’t just the right thing to do for our health and safety, it’s also good for business. We owe it to our community to ensure that those who do have to go out can have the confidence in knowing that the businesses they are patronizing are looking out for their customers, workers, and community as a whole.”

To support the development of health and safety policies, Harris County is making available a sample health and safety policy and additional guidelines for businesses. Businesses that fail to develop, post, and implement a Health and Safety Policy are subject to a $1,000 for each violation.



Crosby ISD needs crystal ball for 2021

The Crosby ISD Board of Trustees met partially virtually and partially live last Monday night. They heard from a citizen concerning preparations for COVID -19 in the next school year, and conducted a hearing on the proposed budget. The Superintendent outlined the many dimensions of problems preparing for the next year.

CROSBY – No matter what opinion concerning COVID-19 one harbors, making rules and predicting how things will be six months from now is impossible under current conditions.

Crosby ISD held their annual public hearing on the budget last Monday. Under normal conditions it is a tight budget reflecting dramatic growth, new specifications from the state, new taxing legislation from House Bill 3, and the slight over tax (taxed more money than budgeted for due to growth) from last year. In this case, the meeting was held under partially virtual, partially live circumstance concerning projections from last year before the COVID-19 outbreak and as if next year values and projections will remain constant.

Will values change? Will mortgages remain constant and residents not default? Will building continue? These are uncertain times.

Superintendent Scott Davis reported on the amount of guess work necessary to prepare for the next school year.

“Someone said that getting the school ready for next year is like walking through a mine field; it isn’t. It’s like a lava field, where the mine field is mild,” he said.

The Superintendent did predict that requiring wearing masks would almost certainly be required. Davis indicated that his top priority is the health of students.


Crosby Volunteer Fire Dept. to host Zavala benefit

Kent Zavala

CROSBY – A BBQ Fundraising Benefit for the family of Recruit Firefighter Kent Zavala who passed last week in a tragic vehicle incident while off-duty. Help support Crosby Volunteer Fire Dept. brother’s family by stopping by the Newport Station at 123 S. Diamondhead Blvd. on Saturday, 4th of July from 11:30am until food is gone.

Plates are $15 for BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich w/ fixings, Homemade Mac-n-Cheese, Bake Beans, cookies, and water/tea to drink. Also, whole smoked pork butts are $50.

Drive-thru, pick-up, and delivery are available. Pre-order through June 30th by emailing PayPal payments accepted at (Please contact email first before paying on PayPal.)

Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia exposed to deadly virus, self-quarantined

Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail

Houston, TX. – June 16, 2020 – Today Congresswoman Garcia told NC Star writer Allan Jamail that she’s in self-quarantine because of being exposed to a family member who had recently tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

After consulting with her physician and the Attending Physician of the United States Congress, the Congresswoman went into self-isolating for the period of time recommended by the CDC.

Today Garcia said, “I’m thankful my #COVID19 test came back negative, but I still need to self-isolate and watch for symptoms out of an abundance of caution.”

“Working on behalf of the people of the Texas 29th Congressional District in the midst of this pandemic is my highest priority and I will be taking the necessary precautions to make sure I can continue fighting for our community. I want this to serve as a reminder for everyone in the Houston region and across the country that we are still combating COVID-19 and that everyone should be following public health guidelines that will help keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy,” she said.


Two hangings in two days in Houston area raise community concerns

HOUSTON – Authorities were investigating the unusual discovery of two persons hanging from trees, in the greater Houston area.

One was a young teen in the Klein school district, and the other was a man found in the Shady Acres area of the city.

Both have been ruled suicides, and the following statements have been issued by the Sheriff and U.S. Representative Lee.


San Jacinto River Coalition: Virtual Meetings keeping public informed

By Gilbert Hoffman

The San Jacinto River Coalition normally meets every month on the first Tuesday, at a local community center. But since the Covid-19 lockdown mandated by Harris County, the community centers have been closed. To keep the community informed, SJRC/THEA director Jackie Young has been hold virtual reports that are available on the website.

In her May Report, she discussed the importance of the I-10 bridge and roadway to commerce locally and throughout the nation. She said that TxDOT is planning on replacing the bumper structures that protect the columns supporting the bridge. These columns were severely damaged twice last year by barge strikes. She said that TxDOT is planning a public meeting in the fall to inform the public and receive comments on the project.

In regard to the waste pits, EPA is testing the crushed concrete and blocks that are part of the Cap cover. The idea is that they might be re-used as landfill after the toxic waste is removed, but only if they have no toxicity. As part of the study, they are also checking the quality of the groundwater, to know how to treat it during remediation.

The next step in remediation is for the engineers to present the 30% Design Package to the EPA for review and approval. At some point this will be made public, and THEA can review it to check what direction the process will be headed.


Two COVID-19 deaths in Chambers County

Chambers County reports its first two COVID19 related deaths.

The first decedent was a male, aged 70 to 80-year-sold. The second decedent was a female, aged 40 to 50-years-old. Both had underlying health conditions.

In order to protect patient privacy, Chambers County Public Health is unable to release any additional information.

“We are deeply saddened to report this news and we offer our deepest heartfelt condolences to the families of these patients during this difficult time,” said Chambers County Judge Jimmy Sylvia.

These deaths come after climbing numbers of confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Chambers County.

“We continue to see an exponential increase in case counts in Chambers County and throughout the Region,” said Local Health Authority W. Clay Brown, MD.


Crosby Fair & Rodeo Livestock Auction brings about $304K, $17K for G.C. Steer

Delaney Klise showed her Grand Champion Steer. Crawfish Shack and Scott Stephens & Assoc. purchased the steer for $17,000. Melody & Scott Stephens with, Jennifer & Dan Meaux, Katie McGinnis, Clay Stephens, Michah Lane and Kristi Adams Niemtschk in this photo. Scott Stephens had kept the steer in his barn for Klise since his son exhibited.

CROSBY – A great effort to bring in funds for kids to go to higher education netted about $304 thousand dollars last week at the Crosby Fair & Rodeo Livestock Auction held within the Rockin’ C Arena on June 12.

The area of Crosby was not diminished from past attendance of their annual tradition of supporting the Crosby Fair & Rodeo’s Livestock Auction held for the express purpose of raising money for Crosby High School students to have for higher education.

This year there were extra spots to lavish upon students for having experienced a school year like never before including a special photo of Seniors that exhibited during the year of COVID–19, an extra booster check from the Smith family to the four new rodeo scholars, and other awards that were presented before the auction was conducted by Ricky Loggins.

This year the Belt Buckle Sponsorship was purchased by both John and Teresa Matt and a matching sponsorship by Zorro’s Welding & Fabrication.

According to Auctioneer Rick Loggins, the entire sale brought in about $304,000 and the Grand Champion Steer $17,000 just $2,000 off last year in a year that had to cope with a global pandemic and resultant economic downturn wherein most businesses have yet to reopen at capacity and the county facilities saying they might open by July 16.

Please see additional auction and event photos in the print or PDF editions.

18 yr. old Swimmer drowns in San Jacinto River

Gilberto Martinez drowned while swimming in the San Jacinto River last week.

HOUSTON – The body of a teen swimmer was found in the San Jacinto River after he went missing Wednesday morning, June 10, 2020, prompting search and rescue efforts from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Houston Police Dive Team.

Deputies with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit searched the river near the intersection of Guinn Avenue and Riverside Street in the Magnolia Gardens Park area.

Relatives who took the teen to the river have identified him as Gilberto Martinez, 18, from El Salvador.

Mario Recinos, the teen’s uncle, said Martinez tried swimming to the other bank but struggled 3/4 of the way. Recinos said his nephew started yelling for help around 10 a.m., but the currents were too strong for anyone to get near the teen. Recinos said he even borrowed a stranger’s kayak but was unsuccessful.