Congressmen call for Dioxin dump removal

17,000 heavy truck loads of cancer-causing Dioxin waste. That's what is contained within the partially-submerged Superfund site known as the San Jacinto River waste pits.

As the Environmental Protection Agency finalizes it's decision regarding the dump's future, new and influential voices are demanding a complete removal and clean-up.

"It is absolutely common sense that we do not leave this site where it is because it is such an unstable environment," said U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, who joined with fellow Congressman Randy Weber in a letter to the EPA strongly urging the Dioxin waste be dug out of the pits and hauled away.

"We can't allow something like this to keep festering again," said Rep. Babin. "The hundred-year cap that was put on this thing is now leaking like a sieve after just five years." 

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Kushed out: City takes aim at stubborn new drug problem

The tremors started moments after his second puff, as he sat perched on a wooden sign outside a park in Midtown.

His brown eyes lost focus. He swayed back and forth.

"Why don't you come down from there before you fall?" a bystander warned, catching him as he tried to step down.

In less than a minute, the man was sprawled on the sidewalk as cars rolled past on South Main.

"I can't believe my partner's on the ground like this," his girlfriend fumed, then dismissed him with a quick, "He'll be all right."

The cigarillo the man had been smoking was laced with Kush, a synthetic cannabinoid that is cheap and plentiful. It left him unconscious for almost 20 minutes before he staggered upright and walked off. Others have fared worse, as overdoses have led to hospitalization and, in at least five cases, death.

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Ex-detective’s firing over sex with murder witness upheld: Case involved deputy slain at gas station

The Harris County Sheriff’s Civil Service Commission on Thursday upheld the termination of a veteran homicide sergeant who admitted having sex with a witness in the slaying last year of fellow Deputy Darren Goforth, rejecting his remorseful request for a lesser sanction.

A three-member commission panel took just 15 minutes to unanimously back former Sgt. Craig Clopton’s firing after the detective testified during a 2½-hour hearing that he was off duty when he had sex with the witness two weeks after Goforth was gunned down during an unprovoked attack at a gas station.

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The San Jacinto River Waste Pit Superfund Site Was Abandoned According to Plan

These days, everyone knows about the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund Site. The toxic pits have been nestled in the ground for years now. But it's easy to forget that this mess was deliberately created more than 40 years ago.

Back in the 1960s, International Paper's predecessor company, Champion Paper, contracted with McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corporation to carry industrial waste and paper-mill sludge to a 20-acre dump site on the river bank. Over time, clay impoundments meant to contain the toxic waste eroded, and eventually more than half the site was submerged.

Regulators first stumbled upon the San Jacinto waste pits in 2005 while evaluating the river bottom for sand dredging, and a 14-acre section was declared a Superfund Site by the federal Environmental Protection Agency in 2008. The federal regulators found the site contains all kinds of toxic waste, including dioxin, a known carcinogen.

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County Attorney Vince Ryan Wins Court Order To Close Down Store for Selling Kush

Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, along with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, won a court order on July 11th closing a La Porte Freeway gas station and convenience store because it violated a court order and allowed the sale of Kush, so-called synthetic marijuana.

Judge Alexandra Smoots-Hogan ordered Moon Mart, 10010 La Porte Freeway, closed immediately and to remain closed for one year.  Defendants Moon Mart and Hazim H. Quadus were each directed to pay $50,000 in civil penalties and a fine of $10,000 each.  The judge ordered the landowner, CJ Holdings, Inc. to terminate the lease with Moon Mart, change the locks on all doors, and to deny access to the space to Moon Mart, its owners, officers, and employees.

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Harris County Public Health Actually Tests Groundwater Wells Near the San Jacinto River Waste Pits and Finds Dioxin

Harris County Public Heath recently warned people living near the San Jacinto River Waste Pit Superfund site to avoid drinking tap water after dioxin, a known carcinogen, was detected in groundwater wells near the Channelview site. Along the way, the county became the first government agency to actually test the area groundwater wells for dioxins. 

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East Harris County residents told not to drink tap water

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - For years, those living near the San Jacinto River Waste Pits have been concerned about contaminated ground water, and this week some residents were notified that might be the case.

Harris County Public Health tested 100 residential wells as part of a voluntary ‘water sampling project’ and HCPH says 24 of the 100 households that participated in the project have now received letters telling them not to use their tap water.

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16 Hospitalized After Synthetic Marijuana Overdose at Hermann Park

The calls started rolling in about people at Hermann Park who appeared to have "altered states of mind" around 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Houston Fire Department Captain Ruy Lozano told reporters.

The victims were spotted in an area of the park so notorious for synthetic marijuana users that it's nicknamed "Kush Corner." And when firefighters showed up, Lozano said, they found packets of the fake pot, commonly known as kush, scattered around more than a dozen people who needed hospitalization. 

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I-Team: Policing the "Kush" crush

HOUSTON - The scene at Hermann Park Thursday was overwhelming.

"We have people continuously smoking KUSH as we stand here and more passing out as we stand here,” said a Houston Fire Department medic to dispatchers.

But just as first responders scrambled to keep up at so-called “KUSH corner,” so have police in the overall fight to crack down.

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County Attorney Vince Ryan, Attorney General win order against smoke shop for selling synthetic pot

Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan working with the Texas Attorney General obtained a temporary restraining order last week preventing a north Houston smoke shop from selling synthetic marijuana.

Ryan and the Texas Attorney General sued the Good Timez Boutique & Smoke Shop located at 3517 Little York Road after an investigation by the Narcotics Task Force of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office resulted in the purchase of a package of synthetic marijuana—called Kush—in May. More than 400 packages were seized, along with a pistol and ammunition, and over $3,700 in cash.

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Harris County not liable for teen who shot himself in squad car

A federal jury in Houston Wednesday ruled that Harris County was not liable for injuries sustained by a suicidal high school student who shot himself in the back of a squad car in 2012.

The boy, Deavyn Gordon, and his father, Lynn, sued the county for failing to accommodate his disability of clinical bipolar depression under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The jurors found that Deavyn clearly had a disability as defined by federal law, however they determined that county law enforcement officers did not know he had a disability as defined by the ADA.

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Kush crackdown in Harris County

HOUSTON, TX -  Harris County and the Attorney General of Texas are doubling down on their vow to stamp out synthetic marijuana.

Shops, like Katz Boutique which a Harris County investigation busted last week, allegedly sell kush like this, obviously aimed at kids. Even going so far as to putting Doctor Mario on one brand. Bet Nintendo didn’t license that!!

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Behind The Scenes Of An Illegal Kush Operation

Like a kid flipping through his parents' old photo album, Mike remembers seeing the pictures of a time when nobody knew anything about synthetic marijuana, when it wasn't in any way illegal and his company could sell it with no restrictions. He saw a few old snapshots of a launch party in 2009 when it first came on the shelves and was totally hot. There was a big celebration: a couple Lamborghinis and some hired models to lean against them, apparently for dramatic effect. Mike (who asked that we not use his real name because he and his former company, Katz Boutique, are being sued) said he remembers seeing the banners displaying this strange new substance's brand name: “Slight Risk.”

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County Attorney Vince Ryan Wins Jury Verdict of $878,000 Against FM 1960 Area Smoke Shop As Penalty For Selling Kush

Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, along with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, won a jury verdict of $878,000 in civil penalties against the owner of Jams Smoke Shop, at 1319 FM 1960 near Ella Boulevard, for selling synthetic marijuana.

Synthetic marijuana, also called “Kush,” is a designer drug, typically manufactured overseas, that is marketed as a “safe” and “legal” alternative to marijuana.   Synthetic marijuana is not marijuana at all but a dried leafy substance that is sprayed with powerful, added-in hallucinogenic chemicals that are dangerous and highly addictive to the user.  It is illegal in Texas.  It is often sold in brightly colored bags and marketed to children, and is the second most abused drug by high school students, after marijuana itself.   In recent years, retail convenience stores and smoke shops have been selling synthetic marijuana from under the sales counter. 

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Sweeping Southlawn gang injunction suit dismissed

A civil lawsuit that initially would have permanently banned 92 accused gang members from a court-ordered "safety zone" in southeast Houston was dismissed Monday by the Harris County Attorney and District Attorney's Office.

The dismissal came after settlement negotiations that resulted in proposals for programs to help gang members who wanted to "become law abiding citizens."

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Harris County Attorney takes aim at bandit signs

They can be seen at street corners everywhere, hawking goods and services and usually sporting a phone number.

Bandit signs say things like “We buy houses” or “Flood damage? We can help.” Bandit signs crop up immediately after any tragedy, preying on the needs of people. They sometimes advertise legitimate businesses.

Whatever they are doing, they are illegal.

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