This Week's Headlines

County flood buyout program underway

Flood Control studies area watersheds

22nd annual South Belt cook-off nears

Chamber honors top-10 area graduates

Stockman found guilty of 23 felonies

Crooks attempt to steal ATM – twice

Bicyclist killed in Beltway 8 accident

Pct. 2 deputies arrest burglary suspect

Police seek 4 suspects in home invasion

Man murdered outside AMC theater

El Dorado panel replacement repairs scheduled

Harris County protest deadline is May 15

Anderson to serve as keynote speaker

SJC sets calendar

Jessup announces honor, merit rolls

FEMA extends sheltering deadline

Dobie girls’ golfers headed to regionals

Lady Longhorns’ rally stuns LP

JFD doubles teams to test Region III’s best April 19

JFD baseball stands at 8-3

SJC’s Sydney named All-American

Pasadena’s Phillips F.H. to host HABCA all-stars

Iser, San Jacinto College baseball stays hot against Wharton

Dobie’s Henry picks Bloomfield College

District 24-6A boys’ soccer chooses top players

 

 

County flood buyout program underway

Approximately $165 million of federal funding will likely soon be available for home buyouts for residents impacted by Hurricane Harvey, according to Harris County Flood Control District officials.

The funds, which must be matched by a $66 million investment from the county, must first be approved by the Texas Department of Public Safety. The authorization, however, is almost certain to happen, according to HCFCD Project Coordinator Curtis Lampley.

While the funds have not yet officially been secured, affected residents may already apply to the county to participate in the program. Roughly 1,100 homes in the county are expected to be bought out, Lampley said. Around 4,000 residents have already applied to take part in the program.

To qualify, homeowners must be enrolled in the program, and their residences must have been determined to be “significantly damaged” by the county.

Lampley said other issues will also be taken into consideration, such as the number of surrounding residents who are also seeking a potential buyout.

“We want to avoid ‘checker-boarding,’” Lampley said, describing situations where only one house on a block would be bulldozed, prohibiting new flood reduction projects from being implemented. “We really need a direct benefit from it. That’s something we’re cognizant of.”

For more information on the program, visit www.hcfcd.org/hurricane-harvey/home-buyout-program/latest-updates-about-home-buyouts.

Flood Control studies area watersheds

Surveyors for the Harris County Flood Control District are fanning out across Harris County’s 22 watersheds this week, part of a major push to repair more than $84 million in bayou and drainage channel damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.

On March 27, Harris County Commissioners Court approved a total of $12.5 million in initial contracts with 15 engineering firms that will design those repairs. That design process kicked off this month with topographic surveys and geotechnical field work at hundreds of damage sites around the county. Local dollars will be leveraged to secure federal grant funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to design and construct the repairs.

More than 1,200 individual damage sites were verified and prioritized after Hurricane Harvey. This included sinkholes, bank erosion, failed concrete, collapsed outfall pipes and other damage. These damaged sites were then grouped for project design by the selected engineering firms.

Harris County residents may see workers along bayous and channels with survey and boring equipment. Field data collected will help the Flood Control District fully evaluate the type of damages and repairs needed. After contracts are awarded, residents will see heavy construction equipment. Construction is expected to begin on some projects this year, and to be completed in 2019.

The Flood Control District has requested more than $84 million in construction funding from the NRCS and FEMA for making these repairs. While the focus is on areas that qualify for federal disaster funding, other areas requiring maintenance repairs have been added to the projects in some cases, and will be constructed using available local funding alone.

This comprehensive effort to repair Harvey damage is not the first Harvey-related repairs conducted by the Flood Control District. Already approximately $26 million in post-Harvey and Tax Day repairs are complete, under construction or in final design. Disaster Recovery Program efforts are in addition to the Flood Control District’s year-round maintenance efforts.

• Since late August 2017, the Flood Control District has committed almost $6 million in local dollars for initial Harvey-related emergency repairs and authorized nearly $4.9 million in projects. All are eligible for federal reimbursements. More here: https://www.hcfcd.org/hurricane-harvey/drainage-network-repairs/.

• Another $8.14 million project targeting channel repairs in east Harris County also is under construction. More here: https://www.hcfcd.org/projects-studies/multi-watershed/sediment-removal-in-precinct-2/.

• A separate repair effort of approximately $12 million is in final design and will be bid for construction this summer. In the works since the 2016 Tax Day flood and updated to include needed Harvey repairs, it targets 30 project sites in the Cypress Creek, Little Cypress Creek, Addicks Reservoir and Greens Bayou watersheds of mainly north and west Harris County. (It is included in the $84 million funding request to the NRCS.)

• Earlier multi-million-dollar projects to repair damage from major 2015 floods are under construction at multiple sites in the Cypress Creek, Greens Bayou, White Oak Bayou, Carpenters Bayou, Sims Bayou and Vince Bayou watersheds. These projects total approximately $3.8 million.

22nd annual South Belt cook-off nears

The 22nd annual South Belt Spectacular Cook-off is fast approaching, with both children and adult attractions scheduled to take place Thursday, April 26, through Saturday, April 28, at El Franco Lee Park, located at 9400 Hall Road. (Thursday will be primarily for cookers, while Friday and Saturday will be open to the public.)

New to this year’s event will be a crawfish boil on Friday night, which will be geared more for adults.

Also new to this year’s event will be the inclusion of live musical acts on Saturday evening. According to event organizers, Charlie Robison, who was originally scheduled to headline Saturday’s festivities has canceled due to health issues. Filling in for Robison will be J.B. and the Moonshine Band. Opening the show will be Houston’s own Phineus Reb.

Saturday morning and afternoon will be designed for families, with children 12 and under being admitted for free from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Numerous children’s activities will also be on site free of charge.

A few cooking spots were still available at press time. To reserve a spot, contact event organizer Linda Arnone at 281-484-4325.

For more information on the event, visit http://southbeltcookoff.com or https://www.facebook.com/SouthbeltCookoff.

 

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