News

By Trishna Buch

As part of our quest to make our paper more community oriented, we are looking to highlight local talents. In this issue, we are re-visiting Amanda Solis, a local resident who we spoke to in May 2016.
For those of you who may not have had a chance to read our article, Solis is a Selena Quintanilla tribute artist. If you ever see Solis, you would think she is Selena in the flesh, because she bears a striking resemblance to the late singer. Selena, who was often referred to as “The Queen Of Tejano” was a Latina singer who entertained music lovers all over the world, until her untimely death in 1995. However, it is a mark of her talent and fame that she continues to entertain people, 22 years on. And Solis told me last year, that she chose to take up the journey of being a Selena tribute artist, because it allowed her to connect with her Latina roots and feel closer to her mother, whom she lost at a young age. And now, one year on, Solis is reaching heights that she never even imagined. “It’s very unbelievable that all of this is happening to a young girl from Texas City,” she told me.
In the time since we last spoke, Solis’ experiences and accomplishments have been nothing short of extraordinary. She has performed at a variety of events, including weddings, birthday parties and festivals. She is a well-known face at Texas City’s Ice House where, like in all of her other performances, she performs a  variety of well-known Selena songs, including Como La Flor, Que Creias and Bidi Bidi Bom Bom. But Solis’ performances come with a twist, in which she adds her own style and a modern day flair to the music.
“Since we last spoke, people have finally being recognizing me as Amanda Solis and not as the Selena tribute artist,” Solis told me.“And that’s why, while I love performing Selena’s songs, I add my own twist to it—so people can get to know the real me.” And Solis wants people to know that she is highly grateful for the heights she has reached and the experiences she is gaining. “I never did this for the fame or the popularity,” she told me. “It was never about that. I did it because I wanted to touch lives.” And touch lives she does, because Solis is bringing Tejano music back into the ears and lives of US residents. And Solis acknowledged that, while Selena’s music was loved by people of all races and cultures, she was an inspiration to Latina individuals all around the world.
“When people speak to me, they tell me their memories, they tell me about their connection to Selena,” she said.“And knowing that I am allowing them to relive all of that, while introducing a new generation to Tejano music, I can’t describe how that makes me feel.”
Solis told me that she has done several performances in the past year and no two were ever alike.
But the two performances that stood out most to Solis, did so for completely different reasons. One of these performances was when she was invited to sing a medley of Selena hits at the 30 birthday party of Dr. Phil’s son. “That was an incredible experience and I still can’t believe it happened to me,” Solis told me.
“It was a very private party, only about 50 people, and the fact that I was invited and that Dr. Phil and his family knew who I was—it was unbelievable.”
But the other performance—singing to an elderly woman on Mother’s Day—was more personal to Solis; who became emotional when recalling it. “The performance was in their back garden,” she told me. “And when I touched her hand, she reminded me of my late grandmother, and it was just such a beautiful moment.” Solis, who continues to run her home healthcare business when time allows, lives in Texas City. Her passion for helping people and touching lives is made clear in her personal life, because she and her husband, without a shred of hesitation, decided to take care of his disabled uncle and elderly grandmother. The fact that she took up this task, while working on her career, speaks to her helpful nature and giving personality.  And Solis is currently hard at work on her EP, with plans to release her first album of remixed Selena songs later this year, followed by releasing her own music.
“I want people to know me for me and not just as the Selena tribute,” she told me. “I will always perform Selena’s songs, but I want to get to a point where I can mix her songs with mine and have people enjoy and appreciate both.” Anyone who wants to invite Solis to perform at their events can visit her website at amandasolismusic.com or email streetsciencepr@gmail.com. And be sure to follow her on Facebook (Amanda Solis), Twitter (@amandasolislive) and Instagram (@bidibidibombum) to keep up with all of her events.

Meet Jamie Megress – The Post’s Digital Manager

By Trishna Buch

The Digital Diva. That is how one Post staff member refers to Jamie Megress. Megress is this week’s contestant on our “getting to know the Post staff” series.
When a member of staff, or a visitor, walks into the office, the first person they see is Megress. She sits at the front of the office and is always willing to assist anybody who walks through the doors. No job is too big or small for her and—during her time with The Post—she has gained the respect of everyone associated with the paper. And, despite being referred to by many nicknames—Digital Diva and Social Media Queen, to name a few—her official title is The Post Newspaper’s Digital Manager.
Megress has been a vital member of the paper for the past two years. Vital being the key word because, without her, The Post’s digital footprint would not be at the standard it currently is. When I spoke to her, she told me that, as a Digital Manager, she is responsible for maintaining the website and keeping the social media accounts up-to-date. The Post has recently started on a path to achieving social media savviness, but Megress has been key in keeping our online accounts up and running over the past couple of years. Megress constantly posts links to articles on the newspaper’s Facebook and Twitter pages; which allows everybody easy access to our website.
The website is another one of Megress’s work babies. While I write the articles, and production manager Tina Gomez puts the paper together and gets the e-edition online; Megress is responsible for the maintenance of the website. She is responsible for posting videos that correspond to articles and for ensuring that links within articles work; as well as keeping an eye on the general look and layout of the website. And that’s not all! Megress is also responsible for making affidavits for legal notices, selling ads and creating run sheets that determine the ads that will be placed in each paper.
“I do a little of everything,” she told me
A former softball player for Alvin Community College, Megress now focuses her time between the paper and her family. She told me that her family is extremely important to her, evidenced by the fact that David Day—owner of The Post—is her uncle.
“I’ve always seen it as a positive thing that the paper is owned by my family,” she told me. “It gives me a larger incentive to do the best work I can for it, because I want to help see my uncle’s vision through.”
And when asked about the changes the paper is seeing, Megress was all smiles.  “I think it’s going to be a very exciting and positive change for the paper.”
Although she was born and raised in Texas City, Megress now lives in Baytown with her husband and nine-year-old daughter, Kendall. When she is not working, she enjoys watching videos, going to the beach and spending time with family and friends.
Megress told me that she is the youngest of three sisters and was spoiled as a child.
“Being the youngest, I always got what I wanted.”
But now the tables have turned, and Megress is spoiling us with her wonderful personality and skills. Everyone in the office has their talents, but the aspects of the job that one person can do, cannot be matched by anyone. Megress has all the makings of an excellent Digital Manager, and no one can top her.
And if Megress could describe her time at The Post in one word, she would say “life-changing.”
The Post is very pleased that she is a part of our team and we cannot wait to see what she has in store for us!

I love gritty dramas – “Homicide”, “The Wire”, and when I met Tom Munoz and Bryan Rivera I could almost hear the “Chink, Chink” of Law and Order in the background. These are two very serious guys with very serious jobs. Responsible for the safety and well-being of over 46,000 is no small order and believe me we are extremely fortunate to have Tom and Bryan looking out for us.
After years with the Coast Guard as well as 20 plus years with the Houston Fire Department, Tom is accustomed to leading where others would dare not even go! He witnessed Katrina from the water as Commander of a vessel during his stint in the Coast Guard which gives him a unique insight into the importance a population being well informed, well prepared, and ready for any occurrence. Their Together Against the Weather Hurricane Helper program stresses the importance of knowing your neighbors and having a plan to help one another should disaster strike. “This is a great town with a strong sense of Community so a program like this has a shot at being very successful.”
Over and over again, Tom stresses that what brought him to Texas City, what keeps him here and what allows him to be effective in his role at Emergency Management Director is “the Mayor”. He speaks highly of his coworkers as well and when I asked him how our little town is able to attract and keep so much talent…his answer? “The Mayor.”
Bryan is a hometown boy and worked at the dispatch emergency line for nine years, fielding every kind of emergency call imaginable. “to be effective I have to keep a cool head. There is no time to freak out, or get upset. You must listen carefully and respond correctly to be effective in that position. It has helped to prepare me for the role I play as a support person for Tom. He is such a strong mentor. By allowing me to share my thoughts and ideas, and help me work through how valid they are has served to strengthen my critical thinking as well as my ability to do this job and do it well.”
“Bryan tends to downplay his importance. His knowledge and understanding of this community and how it ticks is invaluable and it is something I could never learn in the short time I have been here. So, we learn from each other, we support each other.” Having studied Executive Leadership Managment at Notre Dame, Tom’s philosophy of leadership seems much more like guidance and empowerment. He strikes one as being inspirational for those who are fortunate enough to work with him. A deeply religious man, he guided by those principals and compassion seems to be his guiding light. As he talks about “Gap Analyses” and current technologies, it is clear that he knows his business. With a Masters in Emergency Management, Tom is more than qualified for the position. But what makes this team a powerhouse is their camaraderie; their shared vision and mutual respect shine through everything they do. They are strong, smart men with hearts of gold. And that, my friends, is a Godsend when disaster strikes.

By Trishna Buch

The 152nd anniversary of Juneteenth has arrived, and it will be celebrated with several events around Galveston County.

According to an article by the Galveston Island Convention And Visitors Bureau Juneteenth’s official date is June 19. This was the date when, in 1865, enslaved people were freed after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was “read on a harbor pier in Galveston.” The freeing of the slaves and the reading of the proclamation took place more than two years after Lincoln had signed the proclamation into effect and, in 1980, Juneteenth was declared an official state holiday.

According to the GICVB the event is now celebrated by 40 states all around the country. Parades, festivals, picnics, concerts, exhibits and more mark the occasion which changed the lives of individuals across the state.
Although the official date of Juneteenth isn’t until Monday, events celebrating and honoring the occasion begin as early as today, Wednesday. Today morning, from 8:30am-noon, children between the ages of six and 18 will be able to attend an event hosted by the Galveston Historical Foundation’s African American Heritage Committee. The event will include information about the Underground Railroad, a coded quilts exhibit and musical performance. Every attending child must have an adult accompanying them to 1838 Menard House in Galveston, where the event will take place. For more information, visit the GICVB website at galveston.com.
Thursday’s Juneteenth events kick off at noon with the College Of The Mainland holding a celebration commemorating the event, complete with a storytelling, poetry, music and a barbecue lunch. For more information on the celebration, call 409-933-8502 or email thenson@com.edu. On Thursday evening, Ashton Villa in Galveston will be hosting a gala honoring the event. The gala’s speaker will be James White, a current member of the Texas House of Representatives for district 19.
Despite the early start, the weekend is when the Juneteenth events really kick off. The first event is the Galveston Cajun Festival, a festival which—according to the GICVB website—“will celebrate the best of Texas-and Louisiana-styled food, family, fun and live entertainment—island style!” The festival runs throughout the weekend, from Friday to Sunday, at Kempner Park in Galveston, and will include food vendors, music and rides. For more information call 409-359-3045. But the festival isn’t the only Juneteenth event taking place on Friday, because the First Presbyterian Church in Galveston will be hosting “An Evening With Dr. Eddie Glaude Jr”, who will be discussing freedom and democracy. Glaude is a professor of religion and African American studies at Princeton University, along with being the university’s chair of the center for African American studies. The event starts at 6:00pm so make sure to mark it in your calendar! And, for more information, call the church at 409-762-8638. And at 7:00pm on Friday, for only $10, you can enjoy a poetry slam at Texas City’s Doyle Convention Center. The slam will feature the best poets in Texas, a red carpet, a competition and a live music social. For more information contact organizer Dedrick Johnson at 409-939-8102 or by emailing dedrickj@yahoo.com.
On Saturday, residents can enjoy two Juneteenth parades, one of which starts at 3:00pm. This parade—which takes place at the Texas City High School—is part of a Juneteenth celebration the city is holding. The parade will start at Stingaree Stadium and end at Rainbow Park located at 800 Bay Street, where the celebration takes place beginning at 4:00pm.The celebration will include a barbecue cook-off, games, live music and more. The parade, which starts its line-up at 2:00pm, includes several awards for participants. For more information on the parade, call 409-949-3002.
Then, at 7:00pm starting at 17th and Strand streets in Galveston, and ending at Menard Park, Galveston will be holding its own Juneteenth parade. Guests will be able to enjoy the parade featuring entertainers, bands and floats—along with a fireworks show closing the event.
On Monday, the official day of Juneteenth, start your day at 8:30am with the 38th annual Al Edwards Emancipation Proclamation reading at Ashton Villa. Then, at 1:00pm, residents will have to choose between a golf tournament and a Juneteenth celebration. The tournament takes place at Texas City’s Bayou Golf Course, costs $75 per person, and is a great opportunity to spend time with friends, enjoy the weather and take part in the sport. For more information and to register call 409-949-3002. The celebration takes place at Jack Johnson Park in Galveston and will feature food, drinks and various forms of entertainment—including live music. Finally, end the day with the Juneteenth Historic March And Inspirational Program. According to the GICVB website, at 6:00pm, the Reedy Chapel A.M.E Church will be commemorating “the first known Juneteenth celebration in U.S history with its annual march from the steps of the Old Galveston County Courthouse to the church at 2015 Broadway Avenue.”
And, for information about Juneteenth events in your city, please contact your city hall or chamber of commerce.

By Trishna Buch

In this week’s issue of “Meet The Newest Post Member” we are highlighting Mary Ekene. Ekene will be joining The Post as a freelance reporter, and working alongside myself and editor Hart Parris.
Ekene hails from Nigeria and has lived all around Texas.“I was born in Abilene, raised in Fort Worth, graduated from high-school in Sugarland and now I live in Orange.”  Ever the communications enthusiast, Ekene told me that she has always loved to write. This fact, she said, was what drew her to pursue a career in journalism. “Not only do I love to write, but I always enjoy all the other aspects that come with being in the communications field,” she told me. “Whether it’s writing, meeting new people or visiting new places—I enjoy it all!”
Ekene earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University Of North Texas in Denton, where she then went on to earn a Master’s degree in Public Relations. When she was at UNT, Ekene worked as a freelance reporter for the university’s paper—North Texas Daily. And, for the past 34 months, she has worked in the freelance reporter capacity for The Orange Leader—a newspaper based out of Orange.
Ekene’s introduction to The Post was nothing short of interesting. When she came in to speak with us a few weeks ago, she said she was driving by Texas City, saw the building and decided to stop in. “I had heard of your paper and I was looking for ways to expand my horizons,” she told me.“So, when I was driving by and saw your sign, I knew I had to stop in.”
And Ekene’s personable fashion was clear from the minute we met her. She was warm and friendly throughout her visit, and was only happy to show us the work she had previously done for The Orange Leader. But the icing on the cake was when we found out that she was good friends with a family who had recently been on the front page of our paper. I guess it really is a small world after all!
But communications and journalism are not Ekene’s only passions. The mother of two daughters—a six month old and a four-year-old—is also a passionate actor. You may have seen her in Friday Night Lights, Prison Break or various Verizon commercials—and this is only the beginning of her acting resume. “I was in Fireflies In The Garden starring Ryan Reynolds”, she told me.
Ekene, who has been passionate about theater since age five, went to the New York School For Film And Television shortly after receiving her Master’s degree. And when asked if she had any facets of wisdom she wanted to share with Post readers, she had this to say:
“I want people to know that they should always pursue their dreams. I have always been a glass half-full type of person.”
She also told me that she wanted all Post readers, and everyone around the county, to know that she is a people person. “I am warm, social and a go-getter,” she told me. The Post welcomes Ekene to her new position and we look forward to working with her in the near future!