This Week's Headlines

South Belt recovers from tornado damage

Leader begins 48th year in South Belt

Sagemont launches new payment portal

Cross appears in complex roof

Martin offers storm-related assistance

2nd suspect arrested in 2022 murder

Leader continues look back at year 2022

Pct. 2 deputies battle local crime

Elder helps catch drive-thru crook

Sagemont house demolished

Officials survey damage

Strong winds cause damage

Tornado strikes Beverly Hills Intermediate

Dobie focuses on security

Beamer Place units destroyed by EF-3 tornado

Area hoops squads chase playoff positioning

San Jacinto College softball splits four to open 2023

Ravens’ baseball wins two of three

Longhorns open 22-6A with win, draw

Lajaunie tennis calls netters

Dobie softball program starts march to opener

Dobie girls’ basketball snags second seed

Berry, Brook graduate, paces Hill College women’s basketball

Barba sparkles in Galveston debut

JFD tennis excels at Wesbrooks event; Franklin/Kramer Invitational up next

South Belt youth soccer offers online late sign-up

Dobie’s Hall, Hill make 2023 collegiate choices

South Belt recovers from tornado damage
Beamer Place Apartments, Beverly Hills Intermediate, Kirkwood subdivision suffer brunt

The South Belt community is recovering following a devastating EF-3 tornado that ripped through the area Jan. 24, leaving a path of rubble in its wake.

The twister touched down on Beamer Place Apartments and Beverly Hills Intermediate, as well as several homes in the Kirkwood subdivision. No injuries were reported.

According to Beverly Hills Principal Stacey Barber, both of the school’s gymnasiums were damaged in the storm, as was the campus auditorium. The school’s entire roof will need to be replaced, Barber said. Construction crews were able to temporarily repair the roof for now, allowing students to return to class Monday, Jan. 30, after a three-day closure.

“I’m very lucky to work with such a great team – from the front office and staff to the administrators. We couldn’t have done it with out them,” said Barber. “I can’t commend the district enough. They really came through. They worked day and night to get us reopened as quickly as possible so that the students will have a place to learn.”

Hundreds of Beamer Place residents were displaced by the storm. Residents are reportedly being forced to sign a liability waiver if they wish to retrieve their belongings from the property.

The nonprofit organization Lone Star Legal Aid is providing free legal service to low-income residents affected by the recent storm.

Examples of available legal assistance include the following:
– Assistance securing government benefits as they are made available to disaster victims.

– Assistance with life, medical and property insurance claims.

– Help with home repair contracts and contractors.

– Replacement of wills and other important legal documents lost or destroyed in the disaster.

– Consumer protection issues, such as price gouging and avoiding contractor scams in the rebuilding process.

– Mortgage-foreclosure problems.

– Landlord-tenant problems.

The mayors of Pasadena and Deer Park, along with various charities, have opened a joint emergency recovery center at the Pasadena Convention Center located at 7902 Fairmont Parkway. The center will have information provided by governmental agencies, area schools, local businesses, industry partners, nonprofit agencies and faith-based organizations.

For additional information on Pasadena’s recovery efforts, go to or

Residential storm debris in the city limits can be reported to 311. See related story on Page 1.

Clear Brook City MUD residents may get a quote to remove storm debris from their property by calling Texas Pride Disposal at 281-342-8178.

The Federal Communications Commission warns residents to be aware of potential scammers. Residents are urged to use only reputable contractors and to only donate through known charities.

To view a complete list of FCC tips to avoid scams, visit

According to Harris Central Appraisal District officials, residents who suffered physical property due to the recent storm may apply for a temporary disaster exemption. See related story on Page 1.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Jan. 27 issued a disaster declaration for the communities impacted by the storms.

“The State of Texas is ready to assist Texans and businesses impacted by tornadoes in Southeast Texas communities,” said Abbott. “This disaster declaration will swiftly provide all necessary resources to help Texans navigate the recovery process during this difficult time.”

At the governor’s direction, the Texas Division of Emergency Management deployed state emergency response personnel to affected areas to conduct preliminary damage assessments alongside local responders.

TDEM has requested the Federal Emergency Management Agency provide personnel to participate in joint preliminary damage assessments to certify the damage. This effort will help determine whether Texas meets federal requirements for disaster assistance.

Abbott urged all impacted Texans to complete TDEM’s iSTAT self-reporting damage survey to help emergency management officials gain an understanding of damages that occurred during the recent severe weather and expedite federal disaster assistance. The survey, available in both English and Spanish, can be accessed by visiting Reporting damage to TDEM is a voluntary activity, is not a substitute for reporting damage to an insurance agency, and does not guarantee disaster relief assistance.

To read the governor’s disaster declaration, visit

Leader begins 48th year in South Belt

This edition marks the beginning of the South Belt-Ellington Leader’s 48th year of covering the South Belt community.

Begun by Marie Flickinger and Bobby Griffin in 1976, the Leader was originally called the South Belt Press. The newspaper would later change to the South Belt Leader before eventually becoming the South Belt-Ellington Leader in 1987.

While the South Belt community has expanded significantly over the last 48 years, the newspaper has grown with it. Begun in Flickinger’s house, the newspaper would later move into a strip center at the intersection of Beamer and Hughes Road that was anchored by a then-Eagle grocery store – the center now houses The Gardens. The Leader went on to purchase its own property at the intersection of Beltway 8 and Beamer, where it constructed its own building from the ground up.

Moving forward, the Leader looks forward to continue growing with the South Belt community.

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