THE A LIST: It’s spring time

May 1st, 2018

Ange Mertens

By Ange Mertens

Spring has sprung! And in the Bay Area it seems to keep springing back and forth to a late winter — which has caused a lot of us to postpone the yearly spring cleaning of our closets.

But now it is time to take inventory of our wardrobes. First purge, go through and find any clothing that need repairs or alterations. If they can be fixed, then take the time to get that done. If they can’t be repaired or really are just never going to fit you, get rid of them.

Next go through your closet and get rid of things that you no longer need. If you haven’t worn it in a year, or every time you reach for it you put it back, you don’t need it! Donating clothes is a wonderful thing to do, especially after events like Hurricane Harvey. But remember when you donate, that just because people are in need at a specific time, does not mean that they want your junk!

Donate gently loved stylish clothing. Think about donating to some local organizations like the Bay Area Turning Point and Interfaith Caring Ministries. The Assistance League of Bay Area also has the Cinderella Project that needs your formal dresses so they can provide a wonderful prom experience for local underprivileged  girls. Suits and professional clothing for men and women can be donated to Suit Up for Veterans at any local ACU of Texas branch.

The next step after closet spring cleaning is to purchase a few basic pieces to update your wardrobe. Feminine is the hottest new trend for spring and fall fashions. The runways are full of pastel colors( especially lavender), ruffles, and sheer fabrics. Plaids and checked patterns and florals are all the rage, sometimes even mixed together. And fringe is everywhere! On shirts and shoes, shirts, jackets and accessories.

And, speaking of accessories, fun 80s influences are being seen with chokers and layered necklaces. Jumpsuits also are gracing the runways in both long and short versions. Take a few of these trends and add them to your wardrobe to freshen up your style. Shop local.

Brunch offerings at Marais in Dickinson. Photo by Amber Sheffield

I took my daughter, Amber, with me to try out the Sunday brunch at the surprising hidden gem called Marais on Benson Bayou in Dickinson. They have a fabulous spread with everything from an omelette bar to crawfish. General Manager Nick Stephenson recommended some of their specialties like chicken and waffles and banana foster bread pudding, and they didn’t disappoint!

Amber tried their famous Bloody Mary that comes with a friend green tomato, bacon and shrimp as it’s garnish, and said it lived up to the hype. They also are known for their fusions vodka and rum, and have a Absinthe bar.The New Orleans influenced restaurant, owned by Keith and Holly Lilley, is a sprawling building over several levels and their Chef du jour Carole Barnett says they serve four separate menus. The main dining room is for elegant dining where you can enjoy sumptuous steaks and seafood platters and enjoy the service of an attentive wait staff.

Cajun Bloody Mary at Marais in Dickinson. Photo by Amber Sheffield

There is the Marais and Benson bar where you can hang out literally by sitting in a fun swing, and the waterside Plank Bar offers beautiful views and will have live music on Saturdays. They have Girls Martini Night Out on Tuesdays, Wine and Whiskey Wednesdays and Crawfish Thursdays.

For all of these wonderful things that Marais is, giving is the best thing they are! During the unprecedented floods of Hurricane Harvey the restaurant received devastating damage and lost the Plank Bar and its sister restaurant, Dickinson BBQ.

Ninety percent of Dickinson was flooded and people were in need. Volunteers from all over and first responders alike were all heroes who came to help clear the startling ruin that had taken over the city.

Hungry heroes have to be fed and Marais, Keith Lilley, Frank Pannitti, Carole Barnett, and Carol Rogers rose to the occasion and fed those heroes, and in the process became heroes themselves. For a week and a half they showed up and fed a city in pain. The city of Dickinson is emerging from the flood like a Phoenix from the fire and Marais and their special employees are a part of that miracle.

Talks point to local control of U.S. long-term recovery aid

March 22nd, 2018

After a recent meeting among representatives of the City of Houston, Harris County and the Texas General Land Office in Washington, D.C., Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett announced that local governments and the state agency have established a framework for moving forward on distribution of long-term recovery funds for Hurricane Harvey.

“I had asked for fairness in how the City of Houston would be treated – that the City be properly consulted by the General Land Office, per the requirements for these funds set forth by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,” Mayor Turner said. “This meeting marks the beginning of that consultation. We are now on the right path to a fair distribution of much-needed disaster relief dollars.”

“I’d like to thank Land Commissioner George P. Bush for his collaborative efforts, as well as our partners at Harris County,” Mayor Turner continued. “Working together, we can put these funds to work for the kinds of long-term investments in housing and community development that will make our city stronger for the future.”

“It’s crucial that local governments have significant input into how these funds are distributed,” said Judge Emmett. “As the first line of response to those devastated by Hurricane Harvey, we are most familiar with what is needed and where. I genuinely thank our state and federal officials for recognizing our need for flexibility.”

HUD convened the meeting, which included representatives from Gov. Greg Abbott’s office. Abbott had selected the Texas General Land Office to distribute $5 billion in Community Development Block Grant funds appropriated to the State by Congress for Harvey relief last year. This is the second round of long-term recovery funding for Hurricane Harvey and is primarily intended to meet housing needs. Congress appropriated additional funds in January for infrastructure and mitigation.

The meeting was convened to begin consultations among the City, County, and State about how funds will be distributed and used. The framework gives Houston and Harris County local control over their recoveries and uses HUD’s unmet housing needs data as a basis for distributing funds.

The GLO will use the framework to draft an action plan, which is required by HUD before the agency will distribute funds to the state.  The public can comment on the draft action plan for 14 days before it is submitted to HUD for approval.

“This is a good first step, and the City of Houston plans to remain heavily involved in the process until we cross the finish line with HUD approval of the GLO’s action plan,” Mayor Turner said. “The sooner we have funds in our hands, the sooner we can implement a world-class community engagement plan and put these dollars to work for recovery.”

Armed with a clearer picture of how the funds will be distributed, the city immediately  will begin consulting with communities in Houston about how to use these resources to build a more resilient and equitable city.

A letter to District E residents from Councilman Dave Martin

February 5th, 2018

In January, the City of Houston began to send out Substantial Damage Letters to City of Houston residents living in the 100-year flood plain or floodway. Residents that do not live in the 100-year flood plain or floodway should not receive Substantial Damage Letters.

What is Substantial Damage? Substantial Damage means that the cost of restoring property to its pre- damage condition equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure. For example, if the total cost to repair a home is $60,000 and the home is worth $100,000, the home is 60% damaged, making it substantially damaged.

I am more than sensitive to the devastation that this letter can bring to homeowners, but rest assured homeowner’s do have options. There is no reason to stop your renovations or feel that you are trapped.

If the city determines a home to be substantially damaged, the homeowner has the following options to obtain a flood damage repair permit:

1. Appeal the Substantial Damage Determination

Complete and submit the city’s Appeal of Substantial Damage Determination Appeal Form at repair.html along with the required documentation demonstrating that your home or building is not substantially damaged (insurance proof of loss or personal proof of loss). This form and the required documentation can be submitted via email [email protected], US Mail or in person at the city’s Floodplain Management Office (FMO). FMO will respond in writing. If a homeowner disagrees with FMO’s response to their appeal they can take their appeal to the City’s General Appeal Board.

2. Show the flood damaged home is already in compliance by submitting an Elevation Certificate

To be compliant a home must meet the elevation requirements (lowest living floor must be 12 inches above Base Flood Elevation (BFE) in the 100-year floodplain, lowest horizontal member must be 18 inches above BFE in the floodway) and performance standards described in Chapter 19. For most structures, this will require submittal of an Elevation Certificate, based on the current surveying standards.

3. Bring the flood damaged home into compliance

This is the option that people fixate on but after speaking with representatives at the Flood Plain Management office our office has found this to be very rare.

Should a homeowner choose to elevate their home it must be elevated to meet elevation requirements (lowest living floor must be 12 inches above Base Flood Elevation (BFE) in the 100-year floodplain, lowest horizontal member must be 18 inches above BFE in the floodway) and performance standards described in Chapter 19. Performance standards include, but are not limited to, flood resistant materials, flood-protected utilities and adequate flood openings.

The District E Staff has assisted several residents, answering questions they have regarding their substantial damage letters as well as helping those obtain verification of substantial damage in the case they have not yet received a letter, but suspect they might. If you think your home is substantially damaged but have not received a letter, please email [email protected] and the office can assist you with requesting verification. You can also email the District E office if you would like assistance with the appeals process.

We understand that these letters are extremely discouraging but want to make sure residents are aware of the resources needed to appeal and carry-on with rebuilding. If you have any questions or would like more information, my office would be happy to provide you with a Substantial Damage Info Sheet and assist you with answering any questions you may have regarding the process. You may contact the District E office by calling 832-393- 3008 or by emailing [email protected].

“The District E office is always a resource to residents and we will all get through this together, stay Houston strong!” Councilman Martin said.



Dave Martin

Development rules tightened

January 1st, 2018

Clear Lake project saves many homes from flooding

By Mary Alys Cherry

It comes too late for many, but Harris County Commissioners Court has tightened up flood plain development regulations in an effort to prevent new homes being built in the 500-year flood plain from future flooding.

The county action came only days after a Clear Lake forum on flooding, led by the Houston flood czar, Stephen Costello, and a group of experts who felt something needed to be done in the wake of the thousands of homes and cars that flooded during Hurricane Harvey.

The new development rules, which were approved unanimously at the Commissioners Court Dec. 5 meeting, call for new homes to be built up to eight feet higher than was previously required and that homes be built to the 500-year storm standard, rather than the 100 year requirements. Judge Ed Emmett who only recently said, “We need to start over and look at everything,” called the new rules “the toughest in the nation.”

The Clear Lake flood forum featured a diverse group of experts and thought leaders exchanging ideas on how to solve both the flooding problem and the need for a coastal spine to protect the area from storm surge during hurricanes.

Best news of the night at the public forum at NASA’s Gilruth Center came as Clear Lake City Water Authority President John Branch described how its Exploration Green project saved hundreds of Clear Lake City homes from flooding, although it is only 88 percent complete. The Clear Lake area, downhill from Houston and Pasadena, has eight 100-year flood plains and four 500-year flood plains, he said.

But, Branch explained, “we couldn’t get the government’s help, so we bought the golf course.”
And, he proudly told the audience, “It worked as designed, filling up with 100 million gallons of stormwater” that could have gone into nearby homes.

Exploration Green was formed and incorporated to develop, preserve and protect the land that was once known as the Clear Lake Golf Course. The land was purchased by the Clear Lake City Water Authority for use as both a storm water detention pond and a recreation area.

The Water Authority created a Master Plan for the area and sponsored the formation of a Conservancy to generate funding for the installation, operation and maintenance of the amenities outlined in the plan, such as hike, bike and pedestrian commuter trails, athletic fields, lakes, water features and abundant natural habitat and native grass land areas.

The second part of the evening was devoted to the proposed coastal barrier system, which would provide a gate across the mouth of Galveston Bay and a barrier system along the coast, to prevent storm surge damage during hurricanes, but which still lacks financial help from the government nine years after Hurricane Ike’s devastation.

Col. Len Waterworth from Texas A&M-Galveston showed a film illustrating how a direct hit by a Category 5 hurricane could wreak havoc across Southeast Texas and how various cities and officials are working to get the money to build the system. Jim Blackburn of Rice University, Brandt Mannchen of the Sierra Club and Bob Stokes of the Galveston Bay Foundation told of their efforts to keep an eye on the turtles, birds, fish and wildlife in Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

Dr. George Guillen, director of the UHCL Environmental Institute hosted the event and Dr. Neal Lane of the Baker Institute at Rice served as moderator.

Malls offer hurricane victims complimentary family portraits

November 13th, 2017

Just in time for the holiday season, Baybrook Mall, Deerbrook Mall and First Colony Mall will provide complimentary family portraits on Sunday, Nov. 19 during mall hours for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey and lost family photographs. Families must reserve their spot online for their preferred location and will be provided two complimentary retouched digital images via email following their portrait session with Pixel Studio Productions. There are ten spots per hour and one family can sign up per spot. With limited spots available, walk-ups will be accommodated at the photographer’s discretion.

Those interested may sign up at the below links:

Baybrook Mall –
Deerbrook Mall –
First Colony Mall –

Who Defines You?

November 13th, 2017

By Michael W. Gos

Houston, Texas

We’ve all seen the pictures and watched the drama of hurricane Harvey unfold on our TV screens. Some of us, unfortunately, were a part of it and are still suffering as a result.

Like most people, during the storm I was glued to the TV watching the flooding and the people being evacuated from the devastation. Most carried only the clothes on their backs and their dogs. But in those five days, we also saw those in boats, high-clearance trucks and Jeeps going into the water again and again to help out total strangers. And some people just didn’t understand that.

I was particularly struck by the Weather Channel’s comparisons between what they were seeing during Harvey and the scenes from New Orleans after Katrina. They expressed amazement at the difference. Other media seemed shocked, confused and totally dumbfounded by what they were watching. Why were these ordinary Joe Sixpacks taking matters into their own hands? Why didn’t they wait for FEMA or other government agencies to come in? After all, that is what we are supposed to do, right? Some of the “usual suspects” finally came to the conclusion that Texans were just different, in a bad way—renegades, if you will.

Most of us saw it differently. Texans are different I suppose—but in a good way. I would never question the exceptionalism of Texans. That is one of the reasons why I will never leave here. But I don’t think the actions we were watching those five days were unique to Texans. What about the “Cajun Navy” coming in from Louisiana, or the college students from North Carolina who trailered their fishing boats all the way to Houston to help out? Deep down, I can’t help but think, it’s not just Texans; it’s most of us.


Probably the most dominant philosophy of the last century, and still so today, is existentialism. This philosophy holds that man is born without an essence, be it what it is that make him human, or what it is that makes him the individual that he will become. Take a newborn horse for instance. Within minutes, he stands. A few minutes later he walks, then runs. Within 24 hours he can do virtually everything an adult horse can do. That is because he is born with his “horseness,” the essence of what a horse is.

Humans aren’t like that. For months, all the human baby does is scream and poop. He is helpless—more like a blob of protoplasm than a real human being. That essence, his humanness, comes later. One of the tenants of existentialism is that, as a result, we are all responsible for creating, then declaring our own essence—defining who we are. To the existentialist, it is in this self-definition process that we find purpose and meaning in our lives.

Yet it is surprising how many of us abdicate our responsibility and allow others to define us—to impose on us their ideas of what we will become, of who we are. Traditionally, this imposed definition came from family or from religion. However, recently we have begun to see a change in this. Sometime in the last few decades, we have allowed ourselves to be defined by total strangers—people outside our circle of friends and family who tell us who we should be. One of the most powerful of these external forces is the mass media. For years they have told us that America is a divided nation.

The divisions they impose on us are by politics (left versus right), race, social class and residence (coastal versus fly-over-country). Some people have actually accepted these definitions as fact and behave as if they are true. But Harvey shot holes in that idea.

During Harvey, no one asked about politics. Race was irrelevant. It was simply people helping people. We were all in this together. If we needed help, it was offered. If we could do the helping, we did. The only group we were members of was “neighbors.” To the media, this was a completely alien concept. They didn’t know what to make of it; it didn’t fit their pre-set narrative. Normally, if something doesn’t fit the narrative, they just don’t cover it. But this time, they didn’t have that option. Harvey was too big of a story to ignore.

I think what we learned from Harvey is an important lesson for us in many ways. It was great to see so many people simply refuse to be defined by anyone but themselves. We didn’t care what the media or the politicians thought. We knew exactly who we were—who we are—inside. We knew what was right and moral and we acted on it. We knew none of those things they say about us were true and we didn’t care that the talking heads were shocked and confused by it all. We went about the business of being who we are.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could remember this lesson—if we could apply it in the future whenever we are tempted to let someone else tell us who we are or who we should be? Why do we force ourselves to fit into the little boxes the world insists we must occupy? Perhaps it is because when we hear something again and again, for a long enough time, we actually start believing it ourselves.

Most of the time we certainly act like we are compliant. It is almost like we are semi-comatose and just follow the pack. It seems easier than bucking the flow.

In spite of that, in times of stress and tragedy, our true selves come out. Something touches us deep inside and we are reminded of our true natures. And we act in ways that are consistent with our true identities. Why can’t we always know, and act on, our own self-definitions?

Sometimes I think we just get lazy. When things are going along smoothly, we relax and just go with the flow. If someone tries to impose his definition of us, we just accept it; it is easier than fighting. That may be innocuous in the short term, but over time, we start to be more and more compliant until we lose track of who we really are. Then it takes an event like the tragedy of Harvey to wake us up and allow us to again find the true self within us.

And isn’t it beautiful when we do?

A wandering hurricane named Harvey leaves behind miles and miles of misery

November 1st, 2017

This was the scene along Almond Creek Drive as homeowners in Clear Lake’s Bay Oaks subdivision awaited pickup of their debri after flooding from the rains of Hurricane Harvey.

By Mary Alys Cherry

It will be awhile before we hear raindrops and don’t tense up after our lives were turned upside down by a hurricane named Harvey that couldn’t seem to make up his mind where to go next. And also managed to drop nearly 52 inches of rain and leave behind billions of dollars in damages.

While it may be months before exact figures are available, we do know that approximately 136,000 area homes were damaged – 113,000 in Harris County and about 23,000 in nearby Galveston County as many creeks and bayous filled to capacity and then began filling nearby homes and businesses. Two Bay Area mayors’ homes were among the victims.

Some cities were lucky. Others not so. Among the hardest hit were League City, Friendswood and Dickinson as Clear Creek spilled out of its banks and into homes, along with tons of rain. Please note: figures are best estimates.

Baytown was another area city hard hit by Harvey with more than 4,000 homes flooded and about 1,000 of those families having to ask for help. Nearby, the $6 billion Chevron Phillips Chemical expansion has been delayed until next year after Harvey floodwaters created problems that will take a few months to resolve. Also, Exxon’s Baytown facility lost its roof due to the heavy rain – one of 10 refineries knocked offline by the storm.

Clear Lake City
An estimated 250 homes flooded in the Clear Lake City area according to Houston officials, who said homes in Bay Oaks, Bay Glen, Bay Pointe, Meadowgreen, Oakbrook West, Pine Brook, Middlebrook, Brook Forest, University Green, Sterling Knoll, Pipers Meadow and Northfork reported water damages – some with only an inch or two of water and some with a foot or so as Horsepen Bayou overflowed.

Meanwhile, Doug Peterson tells us, “With its first section excavation about 90 percent complete, Exploration Green worked like a champ, gathering and detaining about one million gallons of water, and then slowly releasing it long after the rain stopped. It’s estimated that between 150 and 200 homes avoided flooding because of Exploration Green, and up to 2,000 will be protected from flooding when the project dig is complete.”

This Exxon station near the intersection of El Camino Real and NASA Parkway in Clear Lake felt the wrath of Hurricane Harvey as he came sweeping through the Bay Area.

Clear Lake Shores
Mayor Pro-tem Amanda Fenwick did not have exact figures but said the small community of Clear Lake Shores, which sits right on the water, was not spared. From 75 to 100 homes took on water, as did about a half dozen businesses.

League City neighbor, Dickinson, was another of our suffering cities with an estimated 7,376 homes and 88 businesses – 50 percent with major damage — nearly drowning in Harvey’s onslaught, including the home of the mayor. About 90 percent of the city was underwater at the height of the storm, we’re told, with at least half of the city’s 20,000 population now trying to dry out.

El Lago
Mayor Mark Briggs of El Lago says his little city wasn’t spared either, with about 90 homes damaged as the unending rain fell and nearby Taylor Lake filled to overflowing.

This city suffered major damage as Clear Creek raced out of its banks and into some 3,000 homes – including single-family dwellings, condos and apartments. As the waters rose and electricity was lost, hundreds had to be rescued and taken to shelters set up at Friendswood High, Wedgewood Elementary, Calvary Houston Church and the Friendswood Activity Building. Approximate 80 businesses also were flooded or suffered wind damage, including the Galloway School, which took in about 2 feet of water.

While Kemah didn’t have any catastrophic damages, an estimated 48 structures were damaged during the hurricane – 20 in Kemah Oaks, 15 in South Kemah, 1 in Kemah Village, 3 in West Kemah and 9 on the east side of Highway 146. None met the 50 percent threshold. To help its residents, the city and the Kemah Community Development Corp.welcomed disaster recovery experts to a Business Alliance meeting — Rick Larson with FEMA and David Reetz with SBA – who shared information about resources available to business owners for assistance with recovery from both physical damage and financial loss due to declines in business revenues. Mayor Carl Joiner said, “It is important for us to join together as a community and support our local business owners,” going on the thank T-Bone Tom’s owner, Barry Terrell, and General Manager Jeff Sauerwein, for opening the restaurant early to host the Business Alliance Meeting.

League City
Galveston County’s largest municipality, League City, was the hardest hit of any with 7,700 homes flooded, including the home of Mayor Pat Hallisey, who told us Bayridge, Dove Meadows, Autumn Lakes, Magnolia Estates, Park on Clear Creek, Clear Creek Village and parts of Bay Colony suffered the most damage, along with a number of businesses – Apffel Law Firm, Hometown Bank, Kelly’s Country Cooking and the Race Track. Shelters were opened at Hometown Heroes Park, Victory Lakes, Bay Harbour Methodist Church, The Watershed and Bay Area Baptist Church

Nassau Bay
This pretty city surrounded by Clear Lake, Lake Nassau and Nassau Bay, which turns into Clear Creek as it heads toward the Gulf of Mexico, got soggy again after its recovery from Hurricane Ike not so many years ago. Mayor Mark Denman reports that 154 homes (about 10 percent of the homes) took on water, but no businesses were damaged.

Taylor Lake Village
Taylor Lake Village had only a small number of homes damaged by rising water, Mayor Jon Keeney said, just 19 of its 1,400 homes were the victims of rising water from Taylor Lake and/or severe wind damage.

Compared to some areas, “Webster was very fortunate,” Economic Development Specialist Karen Coglianese says when asked about damages to the city. A total of 111 single family homes and 154 multi-family dwellings had minor damages, she explained. Some 75 businesses had minor damages. However, 2 businesses were not so fortunate, suffering major damage.


And, our recovery is far from over. Just the other day more than 150 people, including students, college employees and members of the public attended one of two assistance fairs at College of the Mainland in Texas City, taking the opportunity to answer questions remaining about assistance for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Representatives from FEMA and other public and private assistance organizations helped direct people to appropriate assistance and information. Attendees also had a chance to meet directly with members of the FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance Team.

In all, about 70 students, 30 employees and 50 members of the public took the opportunity to learn the next steps in navigating the recovery process. Just one example of what is being repeated all over Southeast Texas.”

Emmett unveils proposals to improve flood control

October 26th, 2017

Two months after Hurricane Harvey unleashed widespread devastation throughout southeast Texas, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett has proposed a series of responses designed to protect the lives and property of Texans from the next flooding disaster.

Emmett’s proposals include the creation of a regional flood control organization to better coordinate multi-county responses to flooding and storm disasters, construction of a protective third reservoir and implementation of a state-of- the-art flood warning system.

“Now is not the time for a piecemeal approach,” Emmett said. “The sense of urgency created by Harvey will fade, so we must quickly commit ourselves to a comprehensive plan to redefine Harris County and the surrounding region as a global model for living and working in a flood-
prone area.”

Emmett encouraged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to immediately fund the four Harris County Flood Control projects that now sit ready for completion – Brays Bayou, White Oak Bayou, Hunting Bayou and Clear Creek. He also called on the Corps to restore the dams and detention areas of the Addicks and Barker reservoirs to “first-class” condition.

“I do not pretend to have all the right answers, nor do I see myself as an expert in flood control,” Emmett said. “My purpose today is to present a broad vision of what is needed and to challenge those involved in seeking solutions to think boldly.”

Emmett’s other proposals include speeding up home-buyout programs, improving the disclosure of flood risks to potential homebuyers and renters, and the conversion of Lake Houston and Lake Conroe to flood-control facilities in addition to their roles as water supplies.

Texas delegation secures $15 billion in disaster funds

October 13th, 2017

After a late night meeting with leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives, and consulting with Governor Abbott, members of the Texas delegation have identified nearly $15 billion of emergency funding for Texas to be included in the emergency disaster funding bill that passed the House Oct. 12. It next goes to the Senate.

In a telephone call with members of the Texas Delegation, Governor Abbott expressed his commitment to continuing to work with the Texas Congressional Delegation and Congressional Leadership to ensure that Texas has the resources needed to recover and rebuild. 

The measure includes $11 billion to pay anticipated claims for flood insurance for Texas victims of Hurricane Harvey, and an estimated $4 billion for the FEMA disaster relief fund for Texas. The new FEMA funding for Texas will provide direct housing assistance, home repairs, debris removal and public assistance grants to eligible communities to begin repairs of roads, utility work, schools and public buildings.

The flood insurance program is expected to run out of money within weeks – meaning Texas claims would not be paid – and FEMA funding will be exhausted soon due to the faster than expected drawdown to address Hurricane Maria claims.

In addition to the $15 billion, Texas cities will also have access to a $4.9 billion pool for grants for Community Disaster Loans. These loans help communities with revenue losses due to disasters, so the communities can pay for police and fire protection and other critical local needs during their recovery.

Members of the Texas congressional delegation released the following joint statement after passage of the disaster supplemental appropriations package (H.R. 2266):

“Our top priority is to make sure money doesn’t run out in the next few weeks for Texas homeowners eager to rebuild their homes, as well as communities counting on FEMA funding for temporary housing, debris removal and infrastructure repairs for roads and schools.

“These emergency needs require action right now or a lot of Texans will be hurt. We are keeping our eyes focused on the long term recovery needs for Texas, which could exceed $100 billion and we will continue to work closely with Governor Abbott and our community leaders to secure that funding in the weeks ahead.”

Harvey damages many CCISD schools

October 1st, 2017

By Mary Alys Cherry

Kids always love a little break from school. But after many lost their homes or watched the waters — stirred up by the winds of Hurricane Harvey, downgraded to Tropical Storm Harvey — sweep into their houses and those of their friends, most were glad to get back to class when Clear Creek ISD reopened its doors Sept. 11 after a two-week closure.

When school officials did a check on its 45 schools serving 42,000 students in Harris and Galveston counties, they found Brookside Intermediate in Friendswood suffered the most significant damage, and only one campus, Hyde Elementary, had no damage.

CCISD Communications Director Elaina Polsen said that while Brookside will reopen, crews will continue work there for several more weeks. Costs for all the damages are not available at this time, she said.

High schools
Clear Brook High: Minor roof leaks, wind-driven rain under doors, flooding to outdoor athletic areas
Clear Creek High: Minor roof leaks, wet carpet and casework in certain areas will need to be replaced, flooding to outdoor athletic areas
Clear Falls High: Baseball press box, softball press box, concessions/restrooms/storage batting cage all flooded with 8 inches of water plus synthetic turf damage
Clear Lake High and Clear Lake 9th Grade Center: Minor roof leaks due to wind-driven rain- synthetic turf damage
Clear Springs High: Outdoor athletic buildings, such as baseball and softball press boxes, concession stands and restrooms, flooded with 2-4 feet of rising water, minor roof leaks
Clear View High: Significant roof leaks throughout building

Intermediate schools
All of Clear Creek ISD’s intermediate campuses suffered some damage.
At Bayside Intermediate all its athletic buildings flooded with 8 inches of rising water; minor roof leaks due to wind-driven rain
Brookside Intermediate had significant damage to the entire building due to 4” to 5” of rising water; library damage, all casework and carpet throughout school needed to be replaced, gym floor needs replacement
League City Intermediate’s orchestra and choir area flooded with rising water, in addition to various roof leaks throughout the campus
Westbrook Intermediate’s administration area flooded and the school had various roof leaks
Both Clear Creek, Clear Lake and Victory Lakes Intermediates had various roof leaks, as did Creekside, Seabrook and Space Center Intermediates, which also suffered wind-driven rain around the schools.

Elementary schools
Stewart Elementary in Clear Lake Shores had the worst damage of any of CCISD’s primary schools with its cafeteria and kitchen flooded with 3 inches of rising water and various roof leaks while Landolt and Hall has rising water in rooms adjacent to their atriums and various roof leaks.

Eighteen elementary schools had damages from various roof leaks and wind-driven rain. These included Armand Bayou, Bauerschlag, Bay, Brookwood, Clear Lake City, Falcon Pass, Ferguson, League City, McWhirter, North Pointe, Parr, Robinson, Ross, Ward, Weber, Wedgewood, Whitcomb and White. (A more comprehensive list of school damages is available on our website

Bay Area Houston Magazine