Testing in water near Galveston, a city in Southeastern Texas, found indicators that there is high levels of fecal matter, though the number has decreased since previous testing. 17 beaches in the area were found to have high fecal matter levels when tested early Tuesday morning, June 23rd, 2015. A later round of testing found the number to have dropped to 3.
The sun shines, and the water is blue, and the whole scene is picturesque. Parents bring their children to frolic in the surf, saying things like “it’s been good… the kids have loved it” as described by Debbie Noel, a proud grandmother from Fort Worth.
Officials warn that swimming in these seas could be dangerous, however. Nearly 33% of the 52 testing areas in Galveston County were showing high levels of fecal bacteria. After being informed of this result, Noel laughed it off saying “I haven’t seen any!”
A nearby beach goer was not so blase about it. Jeanice Dawes, relaxing on the beach with her niece and nephew exclaimed that it was “absolutely disgusting, but not surprising”. Galveston County Health Department officials agree with her, All the rain from Tropical Storm Bill, and the Memorial Day floods carried waste from upstream, eventually dumping it in the Gulf of Mexico over the last two weeks. The Environmental Protection Agency cautioned against swimming when test results were like this.
How dangerous is it, though? If you’re a healthy adult, you should be fine. A local county health district official said those who need to be cautious include the elderly, children, and anyone with an open cut or a compromised immune system. “It’s more of a gross-out factor,” says Noel. “But I’m a nurse, so I deal with that every day”. Officials will do daily tests until the waters show they are safe for Texans of all ages to enjoy once more.
The folks of Hutto, a city in Southeast Texas, are in mourning after police Sergeant Chris Kelley was killed in the line of duty on Wednesday, June 24th, 2015. Multiple sources say that Sergeant Kelley died after being run down by a suspect.
The incident took place in a busy intersection near Meadow Lark Lane. Ever vigilant, Sergeant Kelley was not even in uniform before responding to a call directing him there. He even had the suspect already in custody before they fled, causing the deadly accident. Although this officer lost his life, the police did manage to put the suspect back in custody. They have not released any details about the suspect, however so nothing is known about him.
A source with the police said that they have turned the investigation has since been turned over to the Texas Ranger, apparently the protocol when an officer dies.This source went on to say they believed that this was actually the first death of an active duty officer in the history of the city.The body was taken from the Seton Medical Center Williamson around 2 PM, surrounded and escorted by many of his brothers-in-arms from around Texas.
While being examined by the medical examiner, he will have officers remaing with the body until it is sent away from the office. While being taken, Sgt. Kelley will have an state honor guard to accompany him.
Sgt. Kelley had been serving the public for many years. He was a technical sergeant with the USAF, on active duty until 2004. After that service, he worked as a telecommunications officer with the Texas Department of Public Safety, and then became a jailer with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. He then move to becoming a peace officer with University of Texas, and finally joined the Hutto Police in July 2014. He is survived by a wife and two children.
There has been a huge divide surrounding the selection of a judge for the Jefferson County Court-at-law #2. This division, mostly along racial and ethnic lines, was symbolized by the 3-2 vote to appoint the former Jefferson County district attorney to the position. This seat was left vacant after Lupe Flores, the county’s first hispanic judge, died in April 2015.
Cory Crenshaw, the Assistant District Attorney and former interim DA was the selection they made. However, he did not receive the support of Jefferson County’s two black commissioners, Bo Alfred and Michael Sinegal. He was also publicly called to not be elected by NAACP Beaumont Chapter President Paul Jones. He argued that since minorities make up the majority in Beaumont, they deserved to have more representation in the justice system. When Jones spoke to the commissioners, he said “To not be sensitive to that fact, and appoint someone other than a minority is really showing that you don’t care or you’re not sensitive to the process going on in this court.”
Jones was echoed by many in the community, including the head of the Jefferson County Democrats. However, the pleas appear to have been in vain. Jeff Branick, a current County Judge, retorted saying “Judge Flores has been passed away almost two months ago, and this is the first I’ve ever heard from the NAACP. Commissioner Eddie Arnold, who placed Crenshaw’s name on the agenda for consideration, said, “If the minority community feels this is extremely important, find you a great candidate, and get them out there, and elect them in the next cycle.”
Crenshaw claims to have received plenty of minority support, including the from Pastor John Adolph, from the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church. Crenshaw said, “I believe my support spans all aspects of the community, I’m going to be a judge for the entire community, not for any particular part of town, or for any race, I will be a judge for everyone.” Crenshaw will take over as judge on Monday, June 29.
The nation reeled as the news came in about the unfortunate lives lost in Charleston, South Carolina. 9 were killed in a church by a racially charged shooter; this prompted a huge, nationwide discussion about the symbolism in the public sphere. Some politicians were horrified that the state in which the shooting took place had the confederate flag hanging at the government buildings. States quickly started introducing bills to remove the confederate flag from places of honor.
This prompted debate in smaller cities as well, even in Southeastern Texas. The school district of Evadale has the confederate flag as part of their crest, and has for over 60 years. Because it has been there for so long, the Superintendent of the district, Gary Fairchild says that it is part of the district’s history. He went on to say that unless they start receiving complaints from the parents, they do not plan on changing the crest.
The crest is widely visible; it has placement in very official areas. This includes the gym wall, outside the Evadale High School, on the school’s digital marquee, and even on the website of the school. Some people are fine with it, though. Wesley Fuller, a father from Buna considering enrolling his daughter in the Evadale elementary school, says that “To me, it’s heritage not hate”. He feels that the district needs to combat the national feeling.”People want to stomp on our flag,” he said. “Nine out of ten people don’t know what the confederate flag is for, what it represents, and all they see is hate.” Supporters of the flag claim it represents the sacrifice their ancestors made in the Civil War. A Marine Corp veteran who attended this high school, James Powers, also supports the flag, but has reservations. “I understand the importance of remembering those who served,” Powers said. “But … If I was passed and gone, fighting for a cause, I wouldn’t want to be remembered in the wrong sense.”
Today, June 25th, 2015, an alligator farm in Southeastern Texas is under investigation. The Texas Parks and Wildlife organization are investigating the slaughterhouse practices of the farm. This investigation was started after the animals rights group PETA, or the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, made abuse allegations. These allegations, if discovered to be true, could cause the business to lose its permit.
The farm in question is Lone Star Alligator Farms. Located off of Highway 124 in Winnie, Texas, they kill alligators and sell the skins to other companies who create high-fashion leather items out of it. However, in addition to slaughtering the animals, PETA has made claims that the farm commits illegal acts of cruelty. While the exterior of the farm looks empty from the highway, PETA today posted a video on the Youtube page of them going undercover. They claim the video shows what the farm looks like from the inside.
According to PETA, the gators were cut with box cutters, and shot in the head with captive bolt guns. However, when the gun didn’t work to kill a gator, the employees would take a metal rod, and shove it through their spinal columns to scramble the gator’s brains. The video is part of the lawsuit PETA has created with the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office, asking for this office to investigate the farm. In addition to the County Sheriff, PETA also submitted a complaint to the Texas Parks and Wildlife organization. The exact complaint is a violation of Texas Penal Code section 42.092, which reads as follows: “A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly tortures or in a cruel manner kills or causes serious bodily injury to an animal”. A manager at the farm claims that “our practices are way within the law”.