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Posts published in “Day: August 3, 2004

G&J helps families obtain emissions repair vouchers

Janice and Lonnie Curtis got bad news recently when their car failed the inspection emissions tests. The couple didn’t have the several hundred dollars needed to fix the problem. But without the repairs, they couldn’t get a new inspection sticker. The Curtises need their car to get to work every day and couldn’t afford to get a ticket any more than they could afford the repair costs. Worried about what to do, they heard that G&J Garage could help them get a voucher for up to $600 to cover the cost of emissions repairs if they qualified.

“It was helpful learning about the program since we don’t make a lot of money,” said Lonnie.

The staff at G&J helped Janice with the application and it took four to six days to recieve the voucher. “[Cynthia] gave me an application. I gave it back to her. She faxed it in, and I got [the voucher] in the mail,” Janice explained.

The shop that initially inspected the Curtis’ car did not tell them about the Texas Environmental AirCheck Texas program. Though the program is much needed, HGAC does not have the funding to advertise the benefit. G&J Garage stepped up to fill the gap by advertising the program as a service to its customers.

“If a car fails, I always take the extra time to tell them about the program. It only takes a couple minutes but it can mean so much,” said owner Saad Qamar. He said that he has received several thank you cards from appreciative customers who learned about the program through his shop and advertisements. “It is a beautiful program. It helps customers and us both. People are thanking me for this ad,” Qamar said.

The garage’s office manager Cynthia Terrell walks clients through the AirCheck application process and explains how the program works. The vehicle must be 2 to 24 years old, failed the emissions test but passed the DPS safety inspection. The vehicle needs to have been registered for the past two years in a participating county. The owner must live in a participating county. Harris, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston and Montgomery Counties all participate the the AirCheck program.

Customers can pick up an application from G&J, fill it out and mail it themselves. Or for faster results, G&J can fax it in for the customers at no charge.

To complete the request, the application needs to be accompanied by a proof of income (check stub, social security benefit statement, or tax record) and the VRI report which is generated by a garage to show that the vehicle failed the emissions test but passed the safety requirements. Whether mailed or faxed, the voucher will be mailed directly to the customer.

Repairs typically average a day to a day and a half depending on parts availability. G&J will even give clients a ride home if they live near the shop.

G&J begins by running a diagnostic test to tell what repairs should be done. They prioritize the list based on what is needed to pass inspection. Customers are called and told the estimate before any work is begins.

Client must pay a $30 deductible to use the voucher and any costs that exceed $600. “We try our best to keep them under $600,” Terrell said.

Mechanic Steven Rodish who completes the repairs said that 100% of the cars he fixes passes the inspection. “I never cheat it through. I just fix the car,” Rodish said. G&J Garage is a DPS recognized emissions repair facility. All their repairs come with a 12 month or 12,000 mile warranty.

For more information on the DPS AirCheck Program, call G&J Garage at 713-695-0816.

Congressman Green to host town hall meetings, events

HOUSTON – Throughout the month of August, Congressman Gene Green will host a series of town hall meetings and events located in your neighborhood.

Additionally, constituents of the 29th Congressional District may be interested in attending other events, including our annual immunization day, the senior citizens issues forum, the paying for college workshop and our annual military academy day. Information about these events is listed below.

“This is our second series of town hall meetings for 2004, which are scheduled at various times and locations,” said Rep. Gene Green. “I would encourage constituents to attend a town hall meeting or event so that I can hear your views and concerns.”

Sat. Aug.7 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Immunization Day
Bussey Elementary School
11555 Airline Drive

Tue. Aug. 10, 10:00 am
Senior Issues Forum
Salvation Army
2600 Aldine Westfield

Tue. Aug. 10, 7:30 pm
Town Hall in conjunction with the High Meadows North Civic Club and American Legion Post 578
3514 Aldine Mail Route

Tue. Aug. 17, 7:00 pm
Town Hall in conjunction with the North Lindale Civic Club Harris
County Education Building
6300 Irvington

Sat. Sept. 18, 9:00 – 11:00 am
U.S. Service Academy Day
Houston Community College, Southeast Campus Angela Morales Building, Lecture Hall
6815 Rustic @ Gulf Freeway

Mon. Sept. 27, 7:00 pm
Paying for College Workshop
Aldine High School
11101 Airline Drive

Break the Silence – Make the Call

Domestic violence is a crime that all too often goes unreported. Many victims of domestic abuse suffer in silence, too afraid to speak out. That is why all Texans should take a more active role in combating domestic violence, especially when the victim is a loved one.

A study on domestic violence in Texas by my office and the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) found that among Texans who identified themselves or a family member as a victim of domestic abuse, 35 percent said they did nothing to stop it or report it.

Looking the other way can be devastating. Last year alone, one hundred forty women were killed during acts of family violence in Texas, according to figures from the Texas Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement. That is more than two deaths per week.

Due to these alarming statistics my office and the Texas Council on Family Violence joined together to raise public awareness about this important issue. “Break the Silence – Make the Call” is a campaign financed in part by a $2 million grant from the Attorney General’s Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund.

The first phase, “Break the Silence,” began in 2002. We initiated the second phase of the campaign, “Make the Call,” with press conferences in Austin, Houston and Dallas this summer. Make the Call is not only aimed at victims of family abuse, but also their friends and relatives. Many times victims are unwilling or unable to reach out for help on their own. They need our support and encouragement. The National Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-7233 provides advice on how to approach victims of family violence.

I was joined at the press conferences by three courageous survivors of domestic violence. The survivors’ stories were similar: they suffered years of physical and verbal abuse by their spouse or partner and were unable to break the cycle of violence on their own. Intervention by their friends and loved ones finally gave them the courage to leave their abusive relationships and seek shelter.

My office provides benefits for victims of domestic abuse through the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund. This program is paid for out of court fees incurred by those who break the law, at no expense to taxpayers. The Crime Victims’ Compensation program acts as a payer of last resort to cover expenses associated with violent crimes against people. Benefits may cover medical expenses, counseling, lost wages and, in some cases, travel.

Certain eligibility criteria apply. Some of the benefits available to crime victims are of particular value in cases of family violence. For example, some funds are available to help pay the cost of relocation when domestic abuse victims are trying to move away from the abuser. Help with relocation costs are also available to victims who have been sexually assaulted in their homes.

Every law enforcement agency in Texas is required to provide victims of crime with information about the Crime Victims’ Compensation program and an application. Applications are also available from prosecutors’ offices.

Their victim assistance coordinators may assist victims in completing the form or may provide referrals for further assistance. Hospitals and medical centers may also have applications. You can also contact my office directly for an application.

Remember, you can help “Break the Silence-Make the Call.”

My birthday present…

Antonio’s Italian Grill and Seafood on Baker Road will be opening in August. When the Mrs. and I visited their La Porte location on Fairmont Parkway this past Saturday, I asked when the Baytown location would open and that’s what the man said. I would like to extend thanks to Lawyer Cotten for telling me about Antonio’s in La Porte. Food is good and it ain’t all that expensive. I had the Linguini Napoletani for $6.95 and it came with a salad and plenty of bread. Most places charge extra for a salad. Good Stuff!

Doing a fall garden this year?

Gonna try something different this year. Built a 4 by 16 foot box with 12 inch sides. Had Shimek Dirt Yard in Crosby deliver 6 yards of their garden mix then added 5 pounds of gypsum pellets and a small bag of 10-10-10 fertilizer. That is my new garden and my birthday present to myself. If I told the Mrs. how much all that cost, she’d include Christmas on the list too.

I sorta over dirted with the dirt order. That meant shoveling and shovel I did. Took two mornings of shoveling starting before sunrise to move all of the dirt that did not go into the box on delivery. I am now a certified wheel barrow driver.

Of all the gooseneck gourd seeds planted earlier this year, only one has matured enough to have a gourd, and a little one it is, but I got one.

Before hauling dirt over the blackberry plants, I pulled weeds around the plants ending up with an itty bitty briar breaking off underneath my thumbnail. Worked at getting it out but could not see if it was out or not. Second day, the thumb still told me I had something there. I trimmed the thumbnail as close as I could without cutting in the quick.

Broke out my head worn magnifying glasses and with the help of a sharp needle, the tiny speck of a briar was out. Amazing how something so little can be so bothersome.

Speaking of little, and an eye opener. I moved two large garden pots to fill with garden soil. While separating, I looked in the bottom of one and sho’nuff, a snake slinked out. The snake must have been alert and froze, so did I. I shook the pot and it did not move. Thinking it was dead, I went to the dirt pile toting the pot and the dead snake moved. I tilted the pot so it couldn’t climb out as it was a little snake and a snake is a snake.

The pencil size brown grass snake was released after Four Dog got a sniff.

Scratch a dog and you’ll find a permanent job.