This Week's Headlines

Pct. 2 unit closes impressive year, seizing millions

Mitchell launches legislative campaign

Commissioner candidate forum planned

Residents warned of water scammers

Two men shot at Edgebrook apartments

HFD responds to Gulf Palms house fire

Missing Scarsdale girl, 9, found safe

Contractor debris becoming an issue

Leader looks back on 2021 highlights, low points

Pasadena ISD named H-E-B excellence award finalist

Residents play trash Whac-A-Mole

Thompson Intermediate lists third six-weeks honor roll

BHI releases honor roll students

CCISD celebrates 40 years of tradition

Laura Bush Elementary names second nine-weeks perfect attendance, honor roll

Melillo announces second nine-weeks honor roll students

South Belt top spellers

JFD soccer season off to quick start

CB, Dobie hoops top standings

SJC softball program to begin 2022 season

Dobie eyes track start

Dobie softball to begin scrimmages

Brook tracksters compete at invite

Dobie VBers honored

Clear Creek ISD inducts Athletic Hall of Honor greats

Wright picks Bethel College

Hao chooses St. Louis College

 

Pct. 2 unit closes impressive year, seizing millions

Constable Jerry Garcia’s Special Operations Unit confiscates $80M in drugs in 2021

In its first year back on the job, the Special Operations Unit from Harris County Precinct 2 Constable Jerry Garcia’s office closed out the calendar with a bang, taking millions of dollars worth of narcotics off the street and seizing hundreds of thousands in assets.

According to county records, the unit confiscated more $80 million worth of illegal drugs off area streets in 2021. The unit, however, did not start working full time until July, making the statistics even more impressive.

While the Special Operations Unit was formed in 2017, it was disbanded in 2020 under the direction of former Precinct 2 Constable Chris Diaz.

Garcia pledged during his campaign he’d reactivate the group, if elected – a promise he has kept.

“One of Constable Garcia’s goals was to reactivate the Precinct 2 Special Operations Unit as soon as possible,” a post on the Precinct 2 constable’s Facebook page said. “Constable Garcia realized the importance of having this specialized division active and combating major crimes within Precinct 2. This division did not disappoint.”

The elite unit is composed of three full-time deputies and one part-time deputy.

In addition to battling narcotics, the group also tackles other vices, such as gambling and prostitution. The unit’s mission often involves undercover work.

Deputies from the Special Operations Unit have forged strong bonds with the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement branches, according to county officials.

Records indicate that deputies from the Special Operations Unit made 62 case arrests during 2021, including 65 felony charges and 12 misdemeanor charges.

Deputies confiscated 3,661 grams of hydroponic marijuana, with an estimated street value of $91,523; 6,550 grams of other marijuana, worth an estimated $65,600; 6,380 grams of THC, worth an estimated $638,000; 45 grams of crack cocaine, worth an estimated $3,600; 135,713 grams of powder cocaine, worth an estimated $13,571,260; 3,384 grams of heroin, worth an estimated $406,080; 482,548 grams of methamphetamine, worth an estimated $28,952,880; 1,785,289 grams of codeine/ promethazine, worth an estimated $5,355,867; 170 grams of ecstasy, worth an estimated $7,820; 1,315 grams of synthetic marijuana, worth an estimated $26,300; and 194 pills of Xanax, worth an estimated $1,940.

In addition to contraband, deputies seized $31,328 in currency and contributed toward $2,034,610 in federal seizures.

Garcia said the group is to be commended for their efforts and pledged to continue their work into 2022.

“The amount of deadly illegal narcotics this group was able to remove from the streets was astounding,” a post on Garcia’s Facebook page read. “Constable Garcia wants the Precinct 2 community to know that he hears your concerns and that he and this specialized group will continue to combat the illegal activity going on in your community.”

Mitchell launches legislative campaign

Longtime area resident Bob Mitchell recently launched his campaign for Texas Senate District 11, which includes portions of Galveston, Brazoria, and Harris counties, including the South Belt community.

“As a resident of Southeast Texas my entire life, I know what makes this such a special place to live and work,” Mitchell said. “Over the past two decades, I have developed strong relationships with many community and business leaders across our region and worked collaboratively to identify opportunities and recruit employers to the Gulf Coast. I care about this region and have a deep knowledge about the people and companies who make this such a great place to live. I am running for Texas Senate to represent conservative values and the Gulf Coast work ethic in Austin, where I will fight for the people whose hard work makes the Gulf Coast the heartbeat of Texas’ success.”

Mitchell is seeking to fill the position being vacated by outgoing Sen. Larry Taylor, who announced his retirement in early December. Mitchell worked closely with Taylor on several projects over the years in his capacity at Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, and his departure played a significant role in Mitchell’s decision to run for the office. Other candidates seeking the position include Robin Armstrong, Bianca Gracia and Mayes Middleton – all Republicans. No Democrats are seeking the position.

According to Mitchell, he is a strong conservative, who stands for limited and effective government, local control, the sanctity of life and the importance of securing the border and protecting the ports.

Mitchell has been president of the BAHEP Houston Economic Partnership (BAHEP) since 2007, playing an active role in creating and sustaining the region’s success. From overseeing the Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program to promoting the creation of a spaceport at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Mitchell sought out the jobs of the future and brought them home. Recognizing the need for local training programs to fill those jobs, Mitchell helped develop and implement training pipelines on the high school, junior college and graduate levels.

Mitchell has worked to help Gulf Coast communities prepare for, respond to and recover from storms. Since 2008, he has advocated for a coastal barrier system to protect the citizens and the economy of the upper Texas Gulf Coast.

In 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Mitchell to the Gulf Coast Protection District board of directors, which was created by the legislature to operate and leverage funding to address the unique flood control and surge protection needs of coastal communities. Abbott said this project will go down in history as one of the most significant measures to protect Coastal Texas, its citizens and the economic activities the region provides.

Mitchell has actively donated his time in many capacities. In recognition of his work and partnerships on behalf of NASA Johnson Space Center, its many contractor companies and the Houston Airport System, Abbott appointed Mitchell to the Texas Aerospace and Aviation Advisory Committee, where he is currently serving his third term. He also serves on numerous boards, including HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake, UTMB Health System Advisory Board, HCA Gulf Coast Regional Advisory Board, the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Board of Advisors and Gulf Coast Limestone Inc.

A father and a grandfather, Mitchell lives with his wife, Joan in Pearland.


Commissioner candidate forum planned

A group of local civic clubs and homeowners associations will host a candidate forum Tuesday, Feb. 1, for those seeking the position of Harris County Precinct 2 commissioner. The candidate forum will take place at The Gardens, located at 12001 Beamer at Hughes Road, beginning at 7 p.m.

The forum is offered at no cost to attendees and is open to the public. The event is organized for Harris County Precinct 2 residents.

To avoid the appearance of favoritism for one candidate over another in each race, all candidates, Democrat and Republican, have been invited to participate in the forum.

“We need all candidates to participate to provide voters the opportunity to evaluate all of the contenders answering the same questions,” said Kay Barbour, president of Sagemont Civic Club.

If a candidate’s email invitation was not received, Barbour asks that the candidate contact the civic club.

There are eight candidates vying for the position of Precinct 2 County Commissioner.

Four of the eight should be applauded for their positive prompt responses. George Risner (D), John Manlove (R), Jack Morman (R) and Richard Vega (R) have agreed to participate in the forum.

Incumbent Adrian Garcia (D) has responded tentative.

As of press time, Gary Harrison (D), Daniel Jason Harrison (R) and Jerry Mouton (R) had not responded.

Organizers said a candidate’s failure to participate deprives voters of vital information.

“Declining an opportunity to discuss the issues that matter the most to voters is a disservice to those voters,” said Sagemont Civic Club Vice President Jeff Turnipseed. “Voters can read literature, visit websites and troll social media, but these sources do not provide citizens with face-to-face comparisons.”

If a resident’s chosen candidate has not responded to the event, Barbour suggest they call the candidate’s office and encourage them to participate in the forum.

A similar forum will be held Thursday, Feb. 10, for candidates running for the Harris County Precinct 2, Place 2 justice of the peace seat being vacated by Risner, who is stepping down from the position to seek the job of
commissioner.

The 2022 Harris County primary elections are scheduled to take place Tuesday, March 1.

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