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Posts published in January 2017

Postage rates increase Jan. 22

First increase in 3 years for First-Class

WASHINGTON — The United States Postal Service thas notified the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) of price changes for Mailing Services products to take effect on January 22, 2017, following the end of the holiday mailing season.

The new prices include a two cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp, returning the price to 49 cents, the price of a Forever stamp before the Postal Service was forced to reduce prices by the PRC as part of the exigent surcharge removal.

The last time stamp prices increased was in January 2014. This price change filing does not include any price change for Postcards, for letters being mailed to international destinations or for additional ounces for letters.

The First-Class Mail prices for these products are:

Current New

Letters (1 oz.) 47 cents 49 cents

Letters additional ounces 21 cents 21 cents

Letters to all international

destinations $1.15 $1.15

Postcards 34 cents 34 cents

Stamp prices have stayed consistent with the average annual rate of inflation since the Postal Service was formed in 1971.

Pricing for Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services and Extra Services will also be adjusted and can be found at www.prc.gov. The prices are scheduled to become effective on Jan. 22, 2017. This filing does not affect Postal Service Shipping products and services.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Democrats rally to save Obamacare

NORTHEAST – Federal, state and local Democratic office holders held a joint news conference, and health fair, on Sunday at the Greater Jerusalem Baptist Church on Jensen Drive.

The purpose of the meeting was to call attention to the possibility that the Republican led Congress will change or eliminate the current ACA healthcare program, also known as Obama Care.

The meeting was sponsored by Congressmen Gene Green, and Al Green. Gene Green reminded the audience that the public can still sign up for ACA, the Affordable Care Act, until January 31. Commenting on the Republican attempt to replace the ACA act, he said “Mend it-Don’t End it.”

In some fiery rhetoric, Al Green said that if “TrumpCare” replaces “ObamaCare” some 20 to 30 million people will lose health care. The local Harris Health department will also lose money. He commented that he and Gene Green had worked together on this issue since 2005, and he characterized Gene as “the Friend of the Working People.”

Sylvia Garcia said that now in Texas 1 million people rely on ACA, and the state should expand it to include Medicaid for an additional 1.2 to 1.3 million who do not now have healthcare. She derided the Republican plan as “TrumpNoCare.”

Walle said that as a member of the budget committee in the state legislature, he is working to keep the ACA program and expand Medicaid. He agrily denounced what he termed failed leadership at the state level,

He characterized the need for the ACA act as a matter of Life and Death, and the public need the vital health coverage that the state is withholding.

He reminded the audience that the main beneficiary of Medicaid is the elderly and children.

Commissioner Rodney Ellis, recently elected to his position in Harris County Precinct 1, said that the ACA act is the most important issue facing the county, because healthcare is the largest item in the budget, with the justice system following second. However, he noted that much expense related the administering the justice system, and jail, is related to healthcare costs.

Congressman Gene Green concluded on a somber note, “If you don’t have HealthCare, you will die.”

Green was recently named as the ranking Democratic member of the subcommittee on Health in the 115th Congress.

He said “It is an honor to continue to serve in leadership on the Health Subcommittee on behalf of our District and all Americans.” Because of our work 20,000 people in our District and 20 million Americans are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act and from other key legislation that is increasing families’ and children’s access to health care.”

Green added, “The Committee on Energy and Commerce will be on the frontlines against the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans who are quick to repeal the ACA without a plan, proposed legislation, or an idea of how to replace it. Our battle is to make sure that Republicans know the huge cost that the American people will bear because of their decision to put politics over the interest of our citizens.”

During the 114th Congress, Rep. Green was an active member of the Health Subcommittee and worked to address pressing health care issues. These included Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization, legislation to increase help in treatment of prescription opioids abuse, the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, which will accelerate cures to patients, especially in the field of cancer, and funding bills for CHIP and Community Health Centers.

Cemetery in Aldine ravaged by Construction work

ALDINE – Families of about thirty descendents were horrified to learn in December that their family cemetery on Aldine Meadows Road, near the original Aldine ISD administration building on Aldine-Westfield Road, had been disturbed and damaged by contractors, who were clearing land in the vicinity. The land from the cemetery east to Greens Bayou has been cleared and prepared for development.

However, that work extended into the cemetery without authorization, and in violation of the protection that Texas law gives to cemeteries, according to authorities related to the Harris County Historical Commission.

The families called the Sheriff’s office when the damage was discovered, and they are reportedly now investigating who is responsible and what laws have been broken. It is not known at this time who caused the damage, and whether they will have to restore the cemetery or even face presecution.

About 30 gravestones existed in the cemetery, mainly from old-time Aldine families such as the Seeliger and West families. A relative, Frank Price, with Alfred Seeliger, and Tammie West Wall, visited the site in December to assess the damage and try to determine how to restore the headstones. Many of them were missing, or moved, according to Price.

Sheriff’s deputy Nick Covarrubias made the original investigation, and is following up.

Ownership of the property is listed as Foresthaven Cemetery Corp. with an attorney in Sugar Land as their representative. Texas law states that anyone who “vandalizes, damages, or treats in an offensive manner the space in which a human corpse has been interred” is guilty of a misdemeanor, according to Mike Snyder of the Chronicle, who covered this story in his column.

Other small cemeteries exist in Aldine, and Harris County and need similar protection.

Aldine community distributes toys, bikes to 300 needy families

ALDINE – The community generously gave out toys and bikes, and Santa was on hand as almost 300 families lined up last Friday, Dec. 23 at the MacArthur High School parking lot on Aldine Mail Route to benefit from this expression of seasonal sharing.

This was an ad-hoc event, organized and publicized by Adam Montemayer of Wolf Pack Entertainment, with the help of Joe Santilla of Santilla Transmissions, and about 30 other volunteers. Montemayer said that about 12 other local businesses contributed to the funding, and gifts were purchased at cost from Walmart and other stores. The group called themselves Aldine Community Toy Drive, but had no affiliation with any organization. This was the first year for the Christmas event, Montemayer said, and judging from the success and the obvious need, he expects to repeat it in the future. If you want to help, call him at 832-946-0887.