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Posts published in October 2011

Early voting starts on sales tax election; next open house Oct. 27

NORTHEAST– Residents of the East Aldine District are invited to a second Open House, next Thursday evening, Oct. 27 from 6 to 7 p.m. in the district offices at 5333 Aldine Mail Route. This is the new office, next to Jed’s hardware store.

At the Open House, representatives of the District will show a video celebrating the 10th Anniversary, answer questions and hear comments from residents, and provide information on the Special Sales & Use Tax election that will be held on November 8th. Refreshments will be served at the Open House.

Early voting for the election runs from Monday, Oct. 24 to Friday, Nov. 4th, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm at the District offices, 5333 Aldine Mail Route. Election Day is November 8th, from 7 am to 7 pm at the same location. All residents of Districts 254, 497, and 743 are eligible to vote in this election.

The purpose of this election is to allow the East Aldine District to collect an extra one cent per dolloar sales tax. If approved, the new sales tax will generate funds that will allow the District to undertake new and additional projects, such as Water and Sewer lines, Public Safety, Transportation improvements, Environmental and Design elements such as signage and landscaping, Public Health and Neighborhoods Services, Business and Economic Developoment to bring jobs to the area, and Community Development.

District representatives explained that this will not increase the sales tax above 8.25 per cent, only allow the funds to go to the District and be used for local improvements.

Halls Bayou Flooding Report to public at Oct. 25th meeting

NORTHEAST– The Harris County Flood Control District will hold a public open house on Tuesday, Oct. 25, to provide information about “Halls Ahead,” an accelerated flood damage reduction study within the Halls Bayou watershed that will incorporate community needs and interests.

The purpose of the open house is to inform the public about the study and solicit feedback. This is the first of three “Halls Ahead” public open houses that will occur in the next 12 months. The meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, at MacArthur High School, 4400 Aldine Mail Route Road, in the auditorium from 6 – 8:30 p.m.

“Halls Ahead” is an accelerated flood damage reduction study by the Harris County Flood Control District within the Halls Bayou watershed. During a 12-month period that started in August 2011, a team of experts in fluvial geomorphology and in hydrology, urban designers, environmental scientists and civil engineers began creating a flood damage reduction plan that incorporates sustainable design principles and considers enhancement of the urban and natural environment. Public input is a critical part of creating a successful plan that identifies needs in the Halls Bayou watershed.

The “Halls Ahead” study will accomplish two main objectives: The first objective is to identify flood damage reduction projects that can be designed and implemented as funding allows. The second objective is to identify opportunities to enhance the urban environment and provide neighborhood-friendly amenities, such as trails, parks and habitat restoration, that may be implemented through partnerships with community, civic or other organizations.

Members of the public are invited to attend the open house anytime between 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. The same information will be presented throughout the duration of the open house. Displays relating to the study will be available for public viewing, and Flood Control District representatives and their consultants will be available to provide information and answer questions about “Halls Ahead.”

No formal, oral presentation is planned, and all information will be provided in English and Spanish. All comments will be documented, reviewed and considered during the study.

In addition to its effort to identify future projects to reduce flooding risks and damages through the “Halls Ahead” study, the Flood Control District has already successfully reduced flooding risks along Halls Bayou. In 2008, the Flood Control District completed construction of a stormwater detention basin that can store roughly 300 million gallons of stormwater inside the city of Houston’s Keith-Wiess Park. In addition, the Flood Control District and the city of Houston are currently excavating a stormwater detention basin near Jensen Drive on the west side of U.S. 59. The District has plans to excavate a third basin along Halls Bayou near Jensen on the east side of U.S. 59.

For additional information about the “Halls Ahead” study, please visit www.hallsahead.org or email hallsbayou@hcfcd.org.

Edna Forté named Superintendent at North Forest ISD

NORTH FOREST, October 18, 2011–The Board of Trustees of the North Forest Independent School District Monday named Edna Forté as Superintendent of Schools.

The Board’s vote was unanimous. Forté has been Acting Superintendent since March 2011.

“The Board of Trustees has absolute trust that Ms. Forté will keep our school district moving forward this year and beyond,” said Chair Albert Coleman. “She has the skills and judgment to have a big impact on our district and its students, community, staff and Board.”

A visionary and progressive leader, Edna Forté has worked aggressively to implement academic reforms that increase student achievement in urban public schools. Her leadership philosophy recognizes the need to establish meaningful relationships, maintain open collaborative lines of communication, and focus the collective efforts of the entire organization on outcomes that serve the best interest of all children.

“This year, there are three critical priorities the North Forest Independent School District will address,” said Forté. “First, improve achievement; second, systemize financial policy; and third, gain the public’s trust.”

During her tenure in the North Forest Independent School District, Forté has facilitated a number of innovative initiatives aimed largely at advancing pathways to graduation. Specifically, she worked to obtain a multi-million dollar transformation grant intended to unite high school stakeholders around a common vision and common goals. In addition, she collaborated with external partners to acquire a grant to assist the district in lifting the YES Prep North Forest Charter School purposed to create innovative new secondary school choices within the district.

Forté possesses over 20 years of experience and has an extraordinary breadth of knowledge and expertise. Her educational career began in the Alief Independent School District. She later transitioned to the Houston Independent School District where she held several impactful positions including Literacy Specialist, Principal, and Regional External Funding Supervisor. In 2006, she joined the North Forest Independent School District as the Director of Federal Programs. She was subsequently promoted to Executive Director of Federal & State Programs in 2008 and became Acting Superintendent in March.

Edna Forté is affiliated with several professional organizations including the Texas Association of School Business Administrators, The American Leadership Forum, Houston A+ Challenge Executive Leadership Council, and The National Leadership Institute. In 2011, she was recognized by the Texas Black Caucus as an Outstanding Community Leader Honoree in recognition of her contributions to building equitable and diverse communities.

East Aldine District marks its 10th Anniversary with month of activities

East Aldine Management District is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this month, after its founding in 2001.

The month of October 2011 is filled with observances and activities to honor the spirit and the effort of the Aldine community over the last ten years.

Activities started on Saturday, Oct. 1 with a clean-up of Keith-Wiess Park that involved over 150 volunteers from several organizations that are partners with the District.

The next activity was the 10th Anniversary Gala, held at the Greer and Lowdermilk Conference Center in the Interwood Development off Aldine-Bender Road.

Also planned for the community next Thursday evening, Oct. 20th from 6 to 7 pm is an Open House, at the District offices. At this event, the new 15 minute Video reprising the history and accomplishments of the District will be shown. The event will include a discussion period, for citizens to inquire about local issues, and to learn about the expansion of the sales tax into an area east of US59 that has not been collected previously.

State Representative Kevin Bailey, Jed’s co-owner Clyde Bailey (no relation), and a group of committed local citizens and business persons met and formed the first board and got the state legislature to pass necessary legislation to create the district and fund it with a one cent sales tax.

Since then, a Service Plan has implemented quality of life improvements in water and sewer, public safety, mobility, environmental design, parks and green space, marketing and public relations, economic development, and more.

The East Aldine District, originally known as the Aldine Community Improvement District, encompasses 16 square miles with over 50,000 residents, in unincorporated Harris County.

At the Gala last week, EAMD president David Hawes reviewed the history and accomplishments of the District.

He said “Prior to formation of the District, East Aldine was a nearly forgotten semi-rural unincorporated area with high crime, virtually no county services, aging and inadequate utilities, poorly conditioned streets, and virtually no sidewalks. With the help of District funding over the past 10 years the District is becoming totally transformed into a vibrant community that is attracting investment in new residential communities, industrial construction and other commercial businesses.

Chamber holds Healthcare summit

By GILBERT HOFFMAN Northeast News

A Health Summit, co-sponsored by Houston Northwest Medical Center, the Houston Intercontinental Chamber, and 16 other corporate sponsors, met last Thursday morning for a two hour Panel Discussion on the current state of Healthcare.

The event was designed to bring leading business professionals together to discuss how to improve the health and well-being of our community.

These leaders included Jill Silman of Meador Staffing, Don McCormick of Patient Physician Cooperative, Dr. Andrew Watkins of the Watkins Group, Courtney Stubblefield of Towers Watson, Jay Donnella of SHAPE, David Dross of Mercer Company, Dr. Ed Supkis of UT-Health Science Center, David Lopez of the Harris County Hospital District, Dr. Guru Reddy president of the Harris County Medical Society, and Rep. Armando Walle of the Texas House of Representatives.

The keynote speaker followed the panel at lunch. David Gardani, of CIGNA Corporation entitled his talk “The Future of Healthcare” and encompassed many of the ideas and directions that had been investigated by the earlier panel.

He emphasized that healthcare must put the individual as a first priority, and must be sustainable. He said that the status quo is not sustainable, and that two-thirds of debt in the U.S. is due to health problems. In this situation Medicaid is overwhelmed, he does not believe the solutions lie in government legislation. The healthcare industry must solve the problems.

He suggested four keys to better healthcare:

1. Incentives

2. Sharing Actionable Information

3. Expanded Access to help

4. Assistance.

Incentives would ameliate smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, diet and moderation in consumption, and increased physical activity.

Sharing Actionable Information would involve developing a national date base, and identifying more experienced and effective physicians.

Expanded Access would give patients more choice, and an opportunity to individualize their treatment plan.

Assistance would give patients access to healthcare professionals on a continuing basis that have knowledge of their needs and can offer help.

Cordani said that implementing these maxims could reduce costs by 15 per cent, but admitted it would be hard, could not just be legislated, and required partnerships with people who want to drive change.

Cordani said that CIGNA is guided by principles of Choice, Transparency, and Quality.

Marc Biehl and Linda Mercier represented Houston Northwest Medical Center, the co-sponsors. In their welcoming statement, they emphasized that the hospital not only offered advanced care for the quality of life, but was a part of the community.

150 volunteers help clean up Keith-Wiess Park

The East Aldine District kicked off its 10th Anniversary Celebration with a Community Clean-up at Keith Wiess Park, Saturday, October 1st from 9am – 12pm. The event was co-sponsored by the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, Harris County Sheriff’s Office (including the EAMD Pro-Active Unit, Storefront, and Bike Patrol), Harris County Emergency Corps (Bike Medic team), and included volunteers from the Boy Scouts – Aldine Pathfinder District, Aldine-Greenspoint YMCA, MacArthur High School (ROTC), and Bonding Against Adversity.

Over 150 volunteers de-littered the parks trails and paths as well as the detention lakes, filling over 100 bags with plastic water bottles (which were then recycled) and other trash.

For information about how to organize a community clean-up and/or to volunteer with the East Aldine District, contact Richard Cantu, Director of Services at (713) 595-1220.

County appoints new Pct. 4 Commissioner

A replacement has been named for Precinct 4 Comissioner Jerry Eversole, who gave up his office in the wake of legal turmoil a few weeks ago.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett has given the post to R. “Cactus Jack” Cagle, a civil court judge for more than a decade.

Eversole has been in and out of the courtroom for several years, embroiled in charges of official corruption and bribery stemming from his business partnership with county contractor Michael Surface. After more than two decades in office, Eversole stepped down and pled guilty to one count of lying to federal investigators at the end of September.

Cagle, a graduate of Rice University, was sworn in during the Oct. 4 meeting of the commissioner’s court in Houston. Cagle has sat on the bench of Harris County Court-at-Law No. 1 since being elected in 2000. He has earned some of the highest ratings from the Houston Bar Association and has garnered several awards from local groups during his tenure on the bench.

“During this process, my goal was to find someone who could best serve the constituents of Precinct 4,” Emmett said in a press release. “I met with and spoke with dozens of folks in the community about the Precinct 4 commissioner’s position in recent weeks. Jack quickly emerged as the top candidate because of his mature judgment, keen intellect, unquestioned integrity and his many years of work in the community.

“He will serve the residents of Precinct 4 with great passion and hard work, and I genuinely look forward to working with him in the years to come.”

Approximately 70 people had their names in the running, but Emmett said in a press conference that he had considered around a dozen of those names for personal interviews. Cagle impressed Emmett with his professional demeanor, and he considers Cagle to be a good candidate for election in 2012, Emmett said during that conference.

“I appreciate Judge Emmett’s faith in appointing me to represent more than 1 million of my friends and neighbors in Precinct 4,” said Cagle in the release. “I am keenly aware of my new responsibilities, and I promise to work as quickly as possible to acquaint myself with the area’s ongoing projects and to hear from as many of my new constituents as possible.”

Cagle joins Emmett and commissioners El Franco Lee of Precinct 1, Jack Morman of Precinct 2 and Steve Radack of Precinct 3.

Aldine Y.O.U.T.H. celebrates opening of its Park

After several months of work, Aldine Y.O.U.T.H Community Center had a ribbon cutting ceremony for its ‘Community Park’ oppening.

Last Saturday, Oct. 1st. Sylvia Bolling, founder and CEO of Aldine Y.O.U.T.H said the 6.8 acres of park are designated for all kids to have a space to play recreational activities.

Aldine Community Park has been sponsored by Noble Energy in partnersip with Junior League.

“It has been a 9 months journey and the Noble Energy team has enjoyed it,” said Kenneth Fisher, Senior Vice President of Noble Energy

The park is located in the back part of the center at Aldine Mail Route in Houston and it is part of a project to benefit Aldine area.

“Our company’s purpose is Energizing the world, bettering people’s life and that’s why we are here” said Charles Davison Chairman and CEO at Noble Energy.

Aldine Y.O.U.T.H Community Park has many year to come in serving the community and volunteers are needed to continue making progress in this park.

Second annual Job Fair in Northeast

By Julieta Paita

NORTHEAST––Around 40 different employers gathered last week in a job fair at M.O. Campbell Educational Center located in Aldine Bender Rd., to take applications and resumes of porspective applicants.

In partnership with Worksource Solution, Houston Works USA and Aldine ISD, Congressman Gene Green hosted the 2nd annual ‘Job Fair’ in Northeast Houston last Friday, September 30.

The main purspose of the job fair is “to give people the opportunity to network and also to meet with potential employers,” said Congressman Gene Green. “We have 40 businesses today with more than one thousand positions to fullfill.”

Rep. Green said that one of the requirements for employers to particicpate at the Job Fair was to have positions available for applicants. “They are hiring today,” he added.

Some of the employers participating included Aldine ISD, MAS Club, Worksource Solutions, HoustonWorks, Walgreens who was also taking applications for interships, the Harris County Sheriff Office, Best Buy and more.