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Northeast News

RECORD FREEZE, POWER OUTAGES PARALYZE COUNTY

SAILING ANYONE? Piers and Sailboats covered with ice on Monday, Feb. 15th in Kemah are an example of the severity of the freeze throughout the county. (Jamail photo)

HARRIS COUNTY – An unusual cold front swept through the area starting last Sunday, and resultant freezing low temperatures knocked out power for much of Texas, and brought life to a standstill.

The record-setting cold temperatures went as low as 7 degrees on several nights, and the result was frozen water pipes for many homes and businesses in the county.

This combination of power outages and frozen pipes made life miserable for most families, and additionally threatened the lives of those who gathered indoors for days with no heat. Food supplies and household items were quickly depleted for most. Some sought relief in their cars, or at fast food outlets, and long lines and waits of hours resulted. Most stores and gas stations ran out of stock before everyone was supplied.

Industry experts said the outages were due to improper planning and lack of investment in utility facilities. Blame was aimed at the Governor, the Legislature, and private power providers, as well as ERCOT, the distribution manager.

As life returned to normal this week, investigations were ordered by government authorities, with the promise of remedies in the future.

Harris County opens on-line Vaccine registration

Harris County Public Health Nurse administers a vaccination last week at the Pct. 2 Northeast Community Center.

HOUSTON — Starting on Tuesday, January 26th, Harris County Public Health (HCPH) will launch a new COVID-19 Vaccination Portal for residents who meet the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) criteria for receiving a vaccine. The portal will allow individuals to be placed on a waitlist and contacted once vaccines and appointments are available. The waitlist will be available via the vaccine information link on ReadyHarris.org and https://vacstrac.hctx.net starting no later than Tuesday afternoon. Eligible residents without internet access can also call (832) 927-8787 once the portal is live to be placed on the waitlist.

Harris County’s new “Smart Waitlist” system will not use a first-come, first-served process for allocating vaccines. In order to ensure fair access for elderly residents, working families, and vulnerable populations, registrants on the waitlist will instead be selected through a prioritization and randomization process in accordance with state guidelines. Only individuals who fall under the DSHS Phase 1A and 1B category will be eligible to receive the vaccine at this stage. Those who are not qualified to receive the vaccine under 1A or 1B will still be able to be placed on the waitlist but will not be contacted to schedule an appointment until the State of Texas expands eligibility beyond 1A and 1B, likely not until the Spring or Summer.

Priority phases:

Texas proposes $119.7B yearly budget, down 3%

State Representative Armando Walle is on the Appropriations committee, and will be on the Conference committee with the Senate to come up with a final budget.

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan today released the following statement on the House’s base budget for the 2022-2023 biennium:

“The Texas House’s base budget prioritizes the needs of Texans during this consequential moment in our state’s history and advances the Legislature’s commitment to the historic public education and school finance and property tax reforms passed last session. The decisions we make during the 87th legislative session will have lasting effects on the future of our state, which is why the House will work to improve our business climate, foster economic prosperity, and do what’s right for our students. I am grateful to the Members of the House Appropriations Committee and the hardworking committee staff for their efforts throughout this process.”

The House base budget recommendations for FY 2022-23 appropriate $119.7 billion in general revenue, a decrease of three (3) percent adjusted for population and inflation. The House budget recommendations are $3.2 billion below the spending limit of 7.06 percent adopted by the Legislative Budget Board in November 2020, and maintain a majority of the five (5) percent reductions identified by state agencies in 2020.

Significant provisions of House base budget recommendations include the following:

Brady goes for 7th Lombardi, Mahomes second in what could be a very real ‘Super’ Bowl!

By Mike Keeney

I guess that Tom Brady guy still has something left in the tank.

After spending 20 years in New England and leading the Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick to six Super Bowl titles, Brady moved south to sunny Tampa, FL and proved he’s not washed up at 43 years of age.

In Kansas City, Chief fans have once again put their faith in 25-year-old Patrick Mahomes, who led their beloved team to the Lombardi Trophy last year and is making a return trip this year to go after a second straight title.

87th Texas Legislature convenes this week

TEXAS STATE CAPITOL, AUSTIN

New House speaker lays out challenges

The 87th session of the Texas Legislature opened Tuesday with COVID-19 encompassing every aspect of what the lawmakers do, according to new House Speaker Dade Phelan.

“COVID, obviously, it will be a blanket over the entire session,” Phelan told his hometown TV station, KFDM Channel 6, in Beaumont. “We will deal with it in every aspect of policy. It will be a huge determining factor in the budget.

Before the pandemic hit, Phelan said, legislators “were supposed to come into this budget cycle with a surplus, and now we’re coming into it with a deficit …” Money will be even tighter for the next two-year budget lawmakers write during the session, he said.

“The No. 1 goal is to get the economy back on track,” Phelan said.

Eagles’ linebacker Waymon Finley Named Northeast News’ Defensive Player of Year

Eisenhower High School linebacker Waymon Finley has been named the Northeast News’ 2020 Defensive Player of the Year.

By Mike Keeney, Contributing Writer

For the last three years, Waymon Finley has been a mainstay in the Eisenhower Eagles football program.

He has played on both sides of the ball, but is a standout linebacker who completed his senior season with 60 tackles, five tackles for losses, one forced fumble, and two sacks. Those numbers earned him the Northeast News’ Defensive Player of the Year honors. He also contributed on offense by rushing for 422 yards to lead the Eagles to a 3-4 record and a berth in the Class 6A playoffs.

The 5′-10″, 215-pound inside linebacker is a favorite of head coach Eric Jackson, who said he would miss having the dependable Finley around now that his senior season is completed.

Vaccine Registration available in city

HOUSTON – The Houston Health Department launched today online registration allowing Houstonians at the highest risk of coronavirus disease to schedule appointments to receive free COVID-19 vaccinations. A Spanish version is anticipated to launch later in the day.

People age 65 and older and people age 18 and older with at least one chronic medical condition putting them at increased risk of severe illness and death may sign up to get the vaccine at HoustonEmergency.org/COVID19.

These groups are prioritized as Phase 1B of the State of Texas’s vaccine distribution plan.

Frontlines healthcare workers who have yet to receive the vaccine also are eligible to sign up to get the shot through the health department. Healthcare workers are grouped as part of Phase 1A distribution.

Appointments are also available through the health department’s COVID-19 call center by calling 832-393-4220. The call center is open Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. with hours extended until 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

CELEBRATING 100 YEARS: County libraries provide service in spite of Pandemic

HIGH MEADOWS HARRIS COUNTY BRANCH LIBRARY IN ALDINE

By Jada Mier

Harris County Branch Libraries Celebrates 100 years of Service and Continue modified services during the Pandemic.

This year HCPL celebrates the library’s first one hundred years and its commitment to remain a vital and vibrant asset for the people of Harris County.

Edward Melton, HCPL’s Executive Director, says, “The growth, progress and innovation you see in the library’s story over its first one hundred years mirrors that of Harris County.”

In preparation for their Centennial, HCPL librarians, for the first time, began systematically collecting and digitizing materials to document the library’s history. Their efforts resulted in the HCPL Digital Archive, an ongoing collection of photos, articles, scrapbooks, and videos of HCPL since 1921. Each month in 2021, the Archive will present digital exhibits to tell a specific story – bookmobiles, important people at HCPL, hurricanes and other disasters. It will also feature each of HCPL’s 26 branches throughout 2021, with detailed timelines that trace the library’s century long commitment to serve Harris County residents.

Although Harris County Branch Libraries have been closed to the public since the end of March 2020, the libraries have had alternatively a strong online presence by posting virtual programs to Facebook and Instagram pages. Since people can no longer walk into library buildings to browse books or utilize the rows of computers, the new curbside services have made it possible for citizens to still obtain materials and print needed documents.

Insurrection at the U. S. Capitol A Teachable Moment

Dear Aldine Community,

Yesterday’s events in our nation’s Capitol and its images left many of us speechless. It seemed surreal to see mayhem, riots, and horrifying unrest unfold.

These events have created confusion, hurt, fear, disappointment, and even anger, no matter your political beliefs. January 6 will be a day we collectively remember as a sad day in history. What happened is unacceptable.

It is fitting that my word for 2021 is Forward. While I believe in the importance of reflection, we cannot get stuck reliving the past. We have to look to the future with hope and move forward.

That said, we must learn from what took place at the Capitol yesterday. It is a teachable moment. Democracy and civility are fundamental to our nation’s success. These are values we must instill in our children to ensure they are preserved in future generations. Hate and violence have no place in our American democracy.

I still believe in the words “United we stand, divided we fall.” We need each other to navigate through volatile times. Together, we are stronger. Together, we can do better and move forward.