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Posts published in October 2007

State, local elections set for Nov. 6

EAST HARRIS COUNTY—On Nov. 6 voters will go to the polls to decides issues of state and local importance. Due to change made during the last State Legislative Session school trustee elections were moved from May to November so that they could share ballots with other elected offices as well as proposition elections.
State Constitution
Among the issues facing voters this year are changes to the Texas Constitution. Sixteen proposed amendments are going before voters. The four that have gotten a large share of the attention are Props. 4, 12, 15 and 16. Prop. 4 calls for funding for Department of Public Safety crime labs. Prop. 12 would raise $5 billion in state highway bonds, Prop. 15 would allow for the creation of a $3 billion Texas Cancer Research Center and Prop. 16 would raise funds for water and sewage projects in low-income areas such as Northeast Houston.
Harris County
The Harris County Commissioners Court is asking voters to approve $800 million in bonds. The money would then be split between the four county precincts with each commissioner using their funds as they see needs within their district.

Aldine ISD
Aldine ISD will hold a school board election for Positions 1, 2, 6 and 7.
Marine Jones holds the Position 1 seat. Joe Nailor will join Jones in the Position 1 race. Dr. Alton Smith holds the Position 2 seat. He is unopposed in the Position 2 race. Merlin Griggs holds the Position 6 seat. Art Murillo will join Griggs in the Position 6 race. Dr. Viola M. Garcia holds the Position 7 seat. Raul Garza will join her in the Position 7 race.
North Forest ISD
Two incumbents and nine challengers make up the field of candidates vying for three seats on the North Forest ISD Board of Trustees in the November election.
Both Trustee Silvia Brooks-Williams, who was appointed by the board in 2006 to fill the unexpired term of former Trustee Jarvis Clark and Board Vice-President Allen Provost filed to run in the Position I and Position 6 races, respectively. Veteran Trustee Maxine-Lane Seals, who has served on the North Forest ISD Board of Trustees for a total of 19 years did not seek reelection.
Albert Coleman and Gary Pratt will challenge Brooks-Williams, 64.
Henrietta Cage and Jackie Mayhorn, 47, who works as a change manager in information technology, will face Provost for Position 6.
Without an incumbent in the Position 7 race, five challengers have filed to run for the seat.
They are Roy ‘Rabbit” Grant, Loutrice Hicks-Holmes, Willie Hunter, Albert Lemmons, 62 and Paula Sharon Settles.
Each member of the seven-member board of trustees is elected to serve a three-year staggered term without compensation.
Houston ISD
The Houston ISD will seek voter approval $805 million in bonds. The lion’s share of the bonds, estimated at $383 million, will go to build 24 new campuses. The district also plans expansion and renovations at 136 campuses while another $90.3 million will be spend on security upgrades at every campus. Upgrades are also planned at Barnett, Butler and Delmar Stadiums.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. The trustee election is being held in conjunction with the City of Houston elections.

Aldine C.H.I.C.K.E.N.

Nearly 5,000 Aldine ISD fourth graders jammed the M.O. Campbell Educational Center to attend the annual C.H.I.C.K.E.N. (Cool, Honest, Intelligent, Clear-headed, Keen, Energetic and Not Interested in Drugs) Club kickoff on Oct. 23. In addition to hearing from motivational speaker James Hudson Jr., the students were entertained by TEAM ACRODUNK, a group of high-flying dunkers who thrilled the crowd.
Pictured are TEAM ACRODUNK members with the Aldine CHICKEN and a group of students who assisted TEAM ACRODUNK members with some of their dunks. The students were also treated to performances by the MacArthur Senior High Brigade Bells and the Nimitz Senior High Starboard Angels.
The C.H.I.C.K.E.N. Club is an anti-drug club that focuses on fourth graders throughout Aldine ISD.

Small Business Awards Banquet set for Nov. 8th

By Gilbert Hoffman, Publisher
NORTHEAST– Fifteen local firms have been nominated as Small Business of the Year, and five of them will receive the honor at an Awards Banquet to be held next Thursday, Nov. 8th at the Crowne Plaza Greenspoint hotel.
The award is presented by the Small Business Development Center of North Harris Montgomery Community College District each year, to one business in each of their college districts that has demonstrated contributions to the economy and the community.
This year, the finalists and their district include:
Cy-Fair College District: Boullion Graphics, Perry Pools & Spa, and Schubot Law Firm;
Kingwood College District: Frost Construction Company, Let’s Mechanical, and The Filter Man Ltd.;
Montgomery College District: Biogime International, Daniel Office Products, Homewatch CareGivers;
North Harris College District: Magoo’s Printshop, Northeast News, and Vest Rea & Assoc. LLC;
Tomball College District: Chaparral Management Company, Schulte Building Systems, LP, and Servpro of Spring-Tomball.
The title sponsor of the awards banquet is Capital One Bank, the Silver sponsors are Amegy Bank and UHY Advisors.
The finalists met last week at a luncheon, where they were ackowledged and given an insight into the awards program.
Speaking were Vice Chancellor Ray Laughter, on the History of the Small Business Award, and Sal Mira, the Director of the Small Business Development Center. Also speaking for Capital One was Jack Legendre.
The awards banquet will be hosted by the new chancellor, Dr. Richard Carpenter, and may include an announcement of the new name for the district.

MacArthur Generals upset Nimitz Cougars 21-10

By Gilbert Hoffman
THORNE STADIUM– Entering last Friday night’s game with a 6-1 overall record, the Nimitz Cougars were expected to romp over the MacArthur Generals, whose 2-5 record didn’t seem to compare.
But MacArthur put together a strong running game, under the direction of coach Jerry Drones, and ended up on the winning end, 21-10. In fact, by scoring twice in the third quarter within three minutes, they actually dominated most of the game with smartly executed play.
An outstanding performance was put in by Mac’s Isaac Lewis, who ran for 9 carries and 129 yards, and one touchdown.
Touchdowns were also scored by Javis McQueen on a 2 yard run in the first quarter, Roger Nunnery with a 4 yard run, and Isaac Lewis with a 16 yard carry, the latter two TD’s in the third quarter. Neither team showed much of a passing game, although Nimitz completed 6 of 9 pass attempts, for 36 yards total gain.
The win moves MacArthur up in the district standings, to fourth in 19-5A.

A day at the doctor

Been seeing more doctors than the law should allow lately; part of getting old and wore out.
Five appointments this month alone; I have seen as many as one or two a day for a whole week.
You don’t think my insurance company ain’t squealing like a cut hog?
Don’t particularly like going to the doctors’ offices. Number one they are full of old and sick people. Besides that, it makes me hurt to look at some of them and then there are people who like to cough and hack on everybody in the office.
I told one receptionist over the phone that I wanted to get in quick without having to be around all those old sick people because they make me hurt knowing I ain’t that far behind them.
Number two reason for not liking to go to doctors’ offices is the amount of time one has to wait to see the MD. Came close to walking out of the exam room Friday. A fellow can only take so much and besides, my time is worth something. Hey, I’m the one paying; me and the insurance company.

My appointment was at one o’clock. I was in the doctor’s office at 12:27 and being the first one after lunch, figured I’d be in and out in a jiffy this time.
Wrong as I’d ever been on that. The number three patient to be called to come on back was me but that’s ok, I sat watching the TV so I wouldn’t have to look at the bad off patients. That was 1:12. I sat in the chair with the equipment all around for over thirty minutes waiting on the doctor to come look at me.
Finally the doc shows up and immediately apologizes saying he had been on the phone with a doctor who had worked there and had moved to Florida; having problems, he was bending the doctor’s ear on my time.
Long story short, this is not the first timely issue I’ve had with this same doctor, the Mrs. had her appointment cancelled with him previously as I have as well.
I’ll be inquiring about another doctor this next week or so.
Life and time is much too short to put up with such bull malarkey.
Doctors are like lawyers and bankers, there are better ones out there, and you just gotta find them. Word of mouth is the method I prefer.
Does your doctor keep you waiting for what seems like forever too?
When I have to go to the neurologist and make my next appointment, I’ll inquire if the doc has hospital duty that day and if so, I schedule another day. They’ll leave you sitting and waiting while they go to the hospital for something or somebody.
Say, would you believe Christmas is less than two months away? Already got my Christmas shopping done, got everybody the same thing I got them last year.

Annual Fall Festival means FUN…

NORTHEAST HOUSTON– A.C.T., The Aldine Communities Together, hosted the annual Fall Festival Fundraiser last Saturday, at the Sheriff’s storefront location.
Activities included carnival games, silent auction, Escamilla choir, a Moonwalk furnished by the Aldine Optimist club, police cars and firetrucks, food, popcorn, and more.
ESD#1 was on hand with their mobile medical trailer, to administer flu shots.
Hundreds of children and adults turned out for the annual event, according to organizers Shirley Reed, and Sheriff’s deputies Parnelle Roy, Lee Bumper, and Karen Jordan.
The event is a fundraiser for the sheriff’s storefront, and other childrens activities related to the A.C.T. organization.

The end is a beginning (pt. 2)

Angie

Between the sweltering heat and sticky humidity, you would think it was still summer. As I walked to class on my first day as a graduate student, mosquitoes swarmed my bare legs, viscously biting to survive. Survive just as I had that summer.

Rather than joining the workforce after college graduation, I chose to continue my education, much to the surprise of my parents, who assumed that I’d be well on my way to a high-paid executive position with some Fortune 500 Company. Instead, I found an internship in New York City that would engage my mind and my time until school started in the fall.

But that wasn’t the only thing that surprised them. I had also gotten out of a three-year relationship with someone I considered my best friend, and losing him felt like losing a part of myself. Essentially, I bid my parents adieu and left for New York boyfriend-less and confused, but full of hope.

I still have trouble sometimes with this transition from being a “we” to an “I.” There are times I feel lost, uncertain and unable to contain my emotions. There are also times I find myself wondering more about what he is doing than what I have just learned in class. But I’ve realized that there will be moments like these, and eventually I will learn to move past them.

This learning process began in the summer, in New York, where working through my pain and my pride, I found myself enjoying life. At first, every day felt like a constant reminder of what I no longer had. The Whitney Museum hosted a blinding “Summer of Love” exhibit featuring the psychedelic colors of 1967 and photographs of John Lennon. The company where I interned held its “Summer of Love” outing in a roof-top loft littered with a few souls brave enough to wear the complimentary tie-dyed T-shirts. Even the W Hotel, which I passed daily on my walk to work, illuminated the fluorescent words “Summer of Wuv” on the lobby floor. Everywhere I went, the phrase followed.

But beyond my “Wuv”-ly reminders, I found new adventures, cuisines and people. I spent my free time tracing Richard Serra’s sinuous bronze sculptures at the MoMA, outfitting myself with fashionable confections at Bloomingdale’s private sale, daydreaming as I overlooked the night skyline from the Empire State Building, and representing my burnt orange Texas pride at a Yankees game. Life was different, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Returning home to Texas, summer faded into memory. Although the exposure to a different place and lifestyle was an incredible experience, it left me even more uncertain about what I want to do with my life. But I’m reminded of a curly-haired aspiring actress I met on a ferry who said she wished that when she was my age, someone had told her, “It’s okay if you don’t know what you want to do now.”

It’s okay. I’m okay.

The end of a relationship is never easy. The start of a new life chapter is also a difficult journey. But we all should know, there are plenty of opportunities to discover yourself. To trust yourself.

Summer of Love or not, I am Angie, and that’s okay.

* * *

This is just the beginning. An introduction, if you will. This is the start of what we hope will be a long journey, and a good conversation between us and you, our readers. We want you to enjoy this column and to join in our adventures. We would love to make you think, talk, and especially respond. (See our contact info below!) Because we have stories to share. You know, just between us.

Kristan Hoffman and Angie Liang have been friends since middle school. Kristan is the daughter of newspaper publisher Gilbert Hoffman, and both she and Angie worked for the paper during summers. Currently Angie is a graduate student in advertising at the University of Texas in Austin, and Kristan works at a graphic design firm in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Kristan and Angie would love to hear from you! Email JBUcolumn@gmail.com.

East Aldine district increases deputy patrols

NORTHEAST HOUSTON– Faced with an apparent increase in crime occurences, the East Aldine Management District has taken steps to combat the problem.
The EAMD public safety committee met last Monday, Oct. 15th with Sheriff’s Captain Tommy Wilson to finalize a plan for additional deputies to be put on patrol.
Also attending the meeting were Public Safety Committe chair Gerald Overturff, Shirley Reed, Reyes Garcia, Craig Richard, and Mike Ledbetter.
Capt. Wilson presented a proposal for a “proactive unit” that would be dedicated by contract to the district. This unit would not conduct normal calls for service, but instead would target areas of the district for aggressive zero-tolerance initiatives to stop crime. The unit would work out of the Aldine Storefront Sheriff’s office, under the supervision of a full-time sergeant. It would work four nights a week, from 6 pm to 4 am. These nights would be Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. However, at the discretion of the sergeant some flexibility will exist to assign different times for special needs.

At the District’s monthly board meeting last Tuesday night, they voted unanimously to approve a contract in the amount of $453, 175 for this unit, of four deputies and a sergeant, and to renew the commitment for two additional parol deputies and a nuisance abatement deputy that are now in effect.
The committee discussed the impact of public safety upon the economic development in the East Aldine district, and concluded that heightened public safety initiatives such as the Contract Deputy Program and the Proactive Unit will increase the quality of life for residents, thereby improving the business climate and subsequent sales tax collections. Higher sales tax collections would in turn allow EAMD to continue and expand important public works projects such as water, sewer and mobility.

Aldine ISD Board lowers tax rate by 33 cents

During the Oct. 16 Board of Education meeting, Aldine ISD Trustees unanimously approved setting the 2007-08 tax rate at $1.277 (0.14362 for the interest and sinking and $1.13338 for maintenance and operation) per $100 valuation. The new rate, recommended by Assistant Superintendent of Finance Dr. Keith Clark, represents a 33-cent decrease from the 2006-07 tax rate.
“For all of you in Aldine who have been hearing about tax increases, I’m sure you are pleased to know we have a decrease rather than an increase,” said Board President Marine Jones. Jones’ statement was well received by those in the audience who voiced their approval with a sustained round of applause.
The tax rate will allow the district to maintain and oversee the public schools in Aldine ISD, to pay outstanding bonds in the succeeding year and provide for other lawful purposes.
Proper notification of the new rate was posted and advertised a newspaper and at every Aldine ISD school and support facility.

The end is a beginning

As new columnists, we would like to use this first opportunity to introduce ourselves to you and let you know a little bit about who we are and where we are.

For us, one summer has ended, but another is just beginning. As the leaves transform from green to gold, we too are changing. At 22, we are no longer in the spring of our lives, when everything is beautiful and new. Now things are heating up, making us sweat, working up our thirst. This is not like the season of play we used to anticipate so eagerly. This is our transition into the so-called Real World.

Even though we have been best friends for the past 8 years, we find ourselves entering this new phase in very different ways. One is back in Texas, where we were born and raised; the other moved 1,100 miles away to Ohio. How did we get to these places? Summer brought us here.

* * *

Kristan

On May 21st, I carried the last cardboard box from my dorm room to my car. With a mixture of reluctance and excitement, I closed the trunk, settled in behind the wheel, and pulled away from campus. Looking in the rearview mirror, what did I see? A beautiful university, an exciting city, and four of the best years of my life. And when I looked ahead? The great unknown.

Well, not completely unknown. From a map, I learned that “Cincinasty” sits in the bottom left corner of Ohio. From my boyfriend, who graduated and moved there a year before me, I learned that the city serves as corporate headquarters to Procter & Gamble, the company that gives us Crest, Charmin, Tide, and every other consumer product we need to survive. From the United States Post Office, I learned that it’s spelled C-I-N-C-I-N-N-A-T-I, not C-I-N-C-I-N-A-T-T-I. Oops.

So, Cincinnati, OH is home to Steven Spielberg, Ken Griffey Jr., Nick Lachey, and now, me. I was fortunate enough to get a job offer just two days before graduation, so it was bye bye summer, hello 9-to-5. I jumped straight into my new city and my new career, making me wonder, whatever happened to baby steps?

But I guess that’s the point: I’m not a baby anymore. Not even a kid. I’m an adult, more or less, and this is how it goes. Work, eat, pay bills, sleep. Repeat.

To tell you the truth, it’s really not that bad. There are things I miss, like my family and friends, but I sincerely enjoy my work, I have a roof over my head, and the weather here is great! Truly I am very grateful for all of that.

But there’s something missing. Though I am doing a lot of things for myself — reading for leisure, practicing piano, playing sports — I feel less personally fulfilled than I did in college. As a Resident Assistant and student leader, I practically had meaning thrown at me. I assisted my fellow undergrads almost 24 hours a day, arranging study groups, volunteering sessions, or trips to the emergency room. While I don’t necessarily want to be on-call all the time again, I do want to feel like I’m contributing to my community in some larger way.

In school, it’s so easy. Every day, we are given purpose and value. Through education, through leadership, through personal interactions. But out here, in the Real World, we lose a lot of that. We struggle, because suddenly we are in a void. We cannot find meaning. We have to make it.

So that’s what I’m doing now. Working and writing, yes. Exploring a new city and taking new steps in my relationship, yes. But most of all, I am trying to make meaning in my life, with my life. Because that’s what really matters to me.

* * *

To be continued…

Kristan Hoffman and Angie Liang have been friends since middle school. Kristan is the daughter of newspaper publisher Gilbert Hoffman, and both she and Angie worked for the paper during summers. Currently Angie is a graduate student in advertising at the University of Texas in Austin, and Kristan works at a graphic design firm in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Kristan and Angie would love to hear from you! Email JBUcolumn@gmail.com.

Aldine teacher receives $25K national Milken Award

NORTHEAST– Carver High School teacher Justin Singleton received quite a surprise when he arrived at school on Tuesday, Oct. 9.
Unbeknown to him, an assembly was held in his honor to announce that he was the recipient of the prestigious Milken Educator Award.
Lowell Milken, co-founder and chairman of the Milken Family Foundation, was on hand to make the announcement to a stunned Singleton as his peers and students roared their approval of naming one of their own one of 80 middle school and high school teachers who are being honored this year for furthering excellence in education.
As a recipient of the Milken Educator Award, Singleton received an unrestricted financial award of $25,000.
“Teachers have the most important jobs in America,” Milken said. “We entrust them with the enormous responsibility of preparing our young people with the skills, knowledge and experiences needed to be successful in a most challenging 21st Century. The Milken Educator Award says, in a small way, that greatness in education must be recognized and rewarded.”

Singleton, who teaches world geography, said he was overwhelmed with the award.
“I’m speechless,” he said. “Thank you so very much. This is just amazing. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my life. I love what I do (teaching) and I do it to the best of my abilities.”
Unlike most teaching awards, the Milken Educator Award has no formal nomination or application process. Educators are recommended for the award without their knowledge by a blue-ribbon panel appointed by each state’s department of education. Candidates for the Milken Educator Award are selected on the basis of the following criteria:
•Exceptional educational talent as evidenced by effective instructional practices and student learning results in the classroom and school;
•Exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession;
•Strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership; and
•Engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community.
Including this year’s selections, the Milken Educator Award has recognized more than 2,300 educators with more than $58 million since the awards inception.
Prior to making the announcement concerning Singleton’s award, former NFL great Rosie Grier delivered a motivational message to the audience. Also on hand for the announcement was acting Commissioner of Education Robert Scott, Aldine ISD Board President Marine Jones, Vice-president Steve Mead, Board Member Rick Ogden and Superintendent Dr. Wanda Bamberg.