This Week's Headlines

Beltway work to be done by end of year

Leader Christmas program begins

Melillo hosts annual Jingle Bell Jog

Man dies in odd freeway crash

City runoff elections continue

Delgado rules in dog-theft case

Gulfpalms drainage project begins

CCISD seeks community involvement with action plans

City council candidates respond to South Belt Leader questionnaire

Dynamic Women host Christmas luncheon

Bridge Over Troubled Waters receives grant

Clear Brook presents “Elf”

PLT opens “A Doublewide, Texas Christmas” Dec. 6

Community activities around the South Belt area

UIL announces its classification totals

Brook boys outlast Dobie 48-44

TD Club eyes LSA trio

Dobie’s Moreno earns prestigious honor

It’s tourney time, say Dobie, Brook boys

Lady Longhorns look ready to go as difficult 22-6A stretch nears

Lady Longhorn volleyballers earn academic all-state honors

24-6A all-district football revealed

PISD intermediate hoops continue


Beltway work to be done by end of year

The long-awaited project to widen Beltway 8 from the Gulf Freeway to Highway 288 will be complete by the end of the year, according to officials from the Harris County Toll Road Authority.

The eastbound main lanes were opened in July 2019, officials said. Cleanup activities will continue into 2020.

Authorized by Harris County Commissioners Court in December 2015, the undertaking was divided into two portions – from Beamer to Wayside and from Wayside to Highway 288. Both construction contracts were awarded to Pulice Construction, with the first phase of work costing $96 million and the second phase estimated at $77 million.

Construction began in March 2016 but was met with multiple setbacks and delays. Originally scheduled to be complete by March 2018, the project’s completion date was pushed back to March 2019 in April 2018. That date, however, also came and went without the work coming to a close.

The extension was largely attributed to a change in scope of the endeavor. Hurricane Harvey was also responsible for causing delays, officials said.

No adjacent occupied properties were needed to be acquired by the county to facilitate construction. Some nearby vacant land was, however, needed for off-site storm water detention.

County officials said efforts were made to limit existing main lane closures.

“With all of our projects, we seek to minimize impact to current customers using the roadway,” said HCTRA spokesman Adam Collett.

Collett further said steps were taken to avoid unnecessary ramp closures during construction.

“We also go to extensive lengths to avoid ramp closures whenever possible,” Collett said.

A similar project is also underway to widen Beltway 8 from the Gulf Freeway to Highway 225.

That undertaking consists of widening the current tollway from two lanes to four lanes in each direction, widening the inside shoulder and reconstructing the tolled entrance and exit ramps.

Construction began in September 2017 and is expected to be complete in summer of 2021.

For additional information on these projects and planned closures associated with them, visit

Leader Christmas program begins

The holiday season is here, and once again it’s time for the annual South Belt-Ellington Leader Christmas program. Now in its 37th year, the program is aimed at helping area families in need.

The yearly drive began in 1982 when an anonymous man, now dubbed “The Good Samaritan,” walked into the Leader office and delivered the makings of a turkey dinner. The stranger said his family had been given food when he was young and requested the staff forward the meal to a needy family in the community.

This charitable behavior continues today with several different local organizations taking part. Local schools that have participated in past programs include Atkinson, Moore, Stuchbery, South Belt and Frazier elementary schools, Melillo Middle School, Beverly Hills and Thompson intermediate schools and Dobie High School.

U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, American Legion Post 490 and Action Ministries have also donated items in previous years, as have many individuals from the community.

Desired items include toys for children of all ages, nonperishable food items, paper products and cash. There is a particular need for gifts appropriate for older children and teens, such as clothing, sporting goods, makeup kits and gift cards.

All gifts should be new and unwrapped.

Past recipients include single-parent families and families suffering from unemployment and incarceration. Many past beneficiaries have
reciprocated and later donated items themselves.

Several South Belt families are still recovering from Hurricane Harvey. Anyone who knows of local families who are still experiencing special circumstances related to the storm are asked to contact the Leader beginning Dec. 9. That date is also applicable for all others registering for assistance. First-time applicants must apply in person at the 11555 Beamer office. Applicants who have participated in previous drives may register online at

All applicants must undergo a screening process to determine the family’s need. This is done through various means, including verification from school nurses.

To qualify, one must be a South Belt area resident and possess one form of identification verifying their address.

Those wishing to donate items should visit the Leader office, 11555 Beamer.

Melillo hosts annual Jingle Bell Jog

Melillo Middle School, 9220 Hughes, will host its sixth annual Jingle Bell Jog at the school Saturday, Dec. 5. This community event is aimed at helping local families during the holidays.

Participants are asked to bring two nonperishables food items or one new unwrapped toy. All toys and food collected will go toward the South Belt-Ellington Leader’s annual Christmas drive.

Holiday dress is encouraged, and the best youth and adult costumes will be awarded a prize. A prize will also be awarded for the first-place Melillo boy and girl joggers. Other highlights include a performance by the Melillo band and a drawing for a turkey. Organizers encourage local businesses to take part in the event.

Registration will begin at 8 a.m., while the race will start at 8:30 a.m. For additional information, contact Kelly Jurek at 713-740-5260.


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