This Week's Headlines

Imelda visits South Belt; little damage

Property Brothers recognize Burnett as national winner

Tale of two Sagemont flooded houses

Thunderbirds headed for Ellington

Health care faces reality

AARP seeks helpers for taxes

UH-Clear Lake releases calendar briefs

CC foundation plans annual awards, gala

SJC BOSS program teaches office skills

New interactive playground at South Belt Elementary is one of two in Texas

San Jac launches EDGE Aerospace Training

City of Houston awarded grant

Longhorns know containing SC’s Bush is key

Dobie volleyball at 2-2 in 22-6A; Atascocita matches held off

CB volleyball off to 2-0 start

Barry E. Harris 5K run takes shape

Lutheran South dashes past Legacy

Despite Lacy’s score, Brook stands at 0-3

Dobie tennis eyes difficult stretch

LSA cfross-country strong at local meet

Dobie cross-country teams looking strong

Ellington Rams booted out of BAFL


 

Imelda visits South Belt; little damage

Rains associated with Tropical Storm Imelda struck the South Belt community this week, causing street flooding and school closures.

Later downgraded to a tropical depression, the slow-moving Imelda formed over the Gulf of Mexico the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 17, and made landfall around 1 p.m. in Freeport with maximum winds of 40 mph.

The Houston area experienced the first of two rounds of significant rain on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, and a second was predicted for Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

In all, the area was expected to receive between 6 and 10 inches of rainfall, with some spots receiving up to 12 inches. Between Tuesday, Sept. 17, and Wednesday, Sept. 18, the rain gauge at the Beamer ditch at Fuqua recorded 6.6 inches.

The rains caused significant flooding in the South Belt area, with high water being reported on both Fuqua Street and Hughes Road on Tuesday. See related photos on Page 2A of this weeks paper.

The incident marked the first named storm to strike the Houston area since Harvey in August 2017.

Imelda caused the closures of several local schools, including all Pasadena Independent School District and Clear Creek Independent School District campuses.

At press time, classes for both school districts were expected to resume on Thursday, Sept. 19.

Harris County jury service and the Houston Police Department’s Positive Interaction Program meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 17, were also canceled.


Property Brothers recognize Burnett as national winner

Burnett Elementary received a library makeover from the stars of the hit HGTV show Property Brothers.

The brothers, Drew and Jonathan Scott, unveiled Burnett’s new and improved library during a ribbon-cutting Thursday, Sept. 12.

“Wow, there are so many others out there that want to give back,” said Jae Lee, Burnett principal.

The school was selected from 15,000 applicants, including 150 Texas schools, nationwide for the library renovation.

“To receive this library makeover was anything but a dream when we first applied. All Ms. (Cassandra) Moon, librarian, and I wanted was to be considered in the Top 30 so we could receive a crate of books for our library.

“Never did we think that we would become finalists and then become the sole recipient of this makeover. The Burnett community and I am very blessed to have received this library makeover from Scott Brothers Global, Kohl’s, HarperCollins and the nonprofit organization, Heart of America.

They have made lasting impressions on the Burnett students not only from this library space but the interactions they had with our students when they were here on Sept. 12, putting the last finishing touches,” said Lee.
Sponsored by Heart of America, HarperCollinsand Kohl’s, the renovation includes a collaborative learning theater, 700 new library books, check-in area and a Lego wall.

Each student will also receive two books.

The brothers selected Burnett Elementary for showing “heart” during Hurricane Harvey and creating a safe space for students and their families whose homes were underwater.

“When everyone was devastated by Hurricane Harvey, your school opened the doors and Principal (Jae) Lee got in his kayak and went from house to house to make sure that everyone was okay,” said Jill Heath, CEO of Heart of America.
“You don’t see that every day, so your school really is the heart and soul of this community.

“We wanted to honor you for making this such a special place. The ‘Brothers’ said, ‘Yes, we’re going to do it.’ And a year later, here we are.”

Volunteers from Heart of America, HarperCollins and Kohl’s rolled up their sleeves and spent the morning working on the renovation. After the library ribbon-cutting unveiling, which officially marked the school’s new library opening, the Property Brothers read their new book to the entire student body.

“From Jonathan and myself and our team, everybody here, it was a whole community coming together and it really warms our hearts,” said Drew Scott. “You guys are amazing. That’s why we wanted to do this makeover for you and everybody from HarperCollins and from Kohl’s and all the other amazing businesses that came together to help donate time and materials and assets, these are our future leaders.

“We want to make sure that they have a place that inspires them.”

Tale of two Sagemont flooded houses

As the South Belt community braces for the impact of Tropical Storm Imelda, many residents are still recovering from Hurricane Harvey. While two such homeowners resided just one block away from each other during the historic storm, their paths going forward could not differ more.

On Wednesday, Sept. 11, a charitable renovation was completed on one home in the 10900 block of Sageleaf, while one street south, a house in the 10900 block of Sagecrest was being demolished, as part of a Harris County buyout program.

Until construction began on their home just three months ago, longtime South Belt residents Juanita and Guillermo Herrera had been without power since Harvey struck in September 2017.

The couple, both in their late 80s and 90s, had been relying on candlelight and sometimes sleeping outside in a tent, which was provided by the Harris County Precinct 2 Constable’s office.

Getting the family the help they needed proved to be a community effort, with many area residents pitching in to do their part.

Their road to recovery began when Sagemont Civic Club board member Sandy Robb spotted Guillermo Herrera edging his yard one day.

Concerned for the elderly resident’s wellbeing, Robb stopped to tell him she’d get someone to help him with his chore.

Further discussions with Herrera revealed his harsh living conditions.
Robb recruited the help of Leader publisher, Marie Flickinger and Sagemont Civic Club president Kay Barbour, who by chance, had attended high school with the Herreras’ daughter.

Barbour also heads the South Belt-Ellington Chamber of Commerce. Flickinger was aware of a relationship between Terry Barker who owns Christian Brothers Automotive and the members of the organization, Samaritan’s Purse.

For his part, Barker put the Herrera family in touch with the Samaritan’s Purse organization.

A nonprofit based out of Boone, N.C., Samaritan’s Purse is a humanitarian aid group run by Franklin Graham, son of the late Christian evangelist Billy Graham.

Founded in 1970, the organization’s mission is to meet emergency needs in crisis areas worldwide through existing evangelical mission agencies and churches.

The group serves in more than 100 countries around the world and has field offices in 20 countries across five continents.

Upon agreeing to help the Herreras, a team of 71 volunteers Spent 2,716 hours worked renovating the couple’s flood-damaged home. Repairs included a new roof, new floors and new appliances.

When renovations were complete, the residents were presented a bill for $0. See photos on Page 6A.

That same day, just one block away from the Herreras’ home, the home of former Sagemont residents John and Karen London was bulldozed by county contractors as part of the Flood Control District’s voluntary buyout program connected with FEMA.

According to the county, home buyouts are used by the Flood Control District to reduce flood damages in areas several feet deep in the floodplain, where structural projects to reduce flooding (i.e. channel modifications or stormwater detention basins) are not cost effective and/or beneficial.

The buyout program does not provide immediate flood recovery assistance, as its primary function is to help prevent future flood damages.

By relocating affected families to higher ground out of harm’s way, the program also lowers safety risks for homeowners and rescuers. The buyout program further reduces repetitive subsidized flood insurance payments and federal disaster assistance; restores the floodplain to its natural and beneficial function for stormwater storage; and creates open space with the potential for community amenities (i.e. parks, gardens, etc.).

Since the Flood Control District’s buyout program began in 1985, more than 2,400 structures have been purchased with federal grant assistance (FEMA, USACE and HUD) and more than 1,000 properties with Flood Control District funds.

As a result, approximately 1,200 acres have been restored to their natural and beneficial function as a floodplain, and millions of dollars in flood damages have been avoided.

Help is still available to those still suffering the effects of Harvey.
Volunteers from the Samaritan’s Purse organization will remain working in the area through 2020. For more information, visit www.samaritanspurse.org or call 828-773-1063.

For additional information on the Harris County buyout program, visit www.hcfcd.org/hurricane-harvey/home-buyout-program or call 713-684-4020.


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