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Posts published in January 2013

Shooting at Lone Star College, 3 injured. Two charged, shooter arrested in Dallas

By JULIETA PAITA

Northeast News

NORTHEAST – According to Major Armando Tello of the Harris County Sheriff’s department, at about 12:20 p.m. on Tuesday, January 22, 2013, an altercation developed between three young men on the campus of Lone Star College-North Harris.

As the disagreement escalated, one of the men allegedly drew a gun and fired at the other. First reports indicated that a maintenance man and the shooter also suffered wounds. In the melee that ensued, he may have shot himself as well as the other person, the maintenance man. However, as later evidence was developed, it turned out that there was a second person who fled the scene, and may have been the actual shooter. This person, Trey Foster, was arrested the next day in Plano, Texas near a family home.

An additional victim in the disturbance was a woman student, who was not involved in the fight or gunplay, but suffered a medical conditon, perhaps a heart attack.

Witnesses told media reporters that they heard six or seven gun shots. The activity occured in a courtyard between the library and an academic building, they said.

Authorities responded immediately to the shots, and EMS personnel who train at the college were on the scene in a few minutes, witnesses said, as well as Sheriff’s officers, Pct. 4 constables and Lone Star College police.

Because those involved were both wounded, the real danger was quickly contained. However, because officials did not know the complete circumstances that led to the shooting, they assumed there might be more danger. Therefore, they “locked down” the campus and eventually evacuated all students and personnel, as a Harris County SWAT team arrived and methodically searched each building.

Officials transported the two wounded men to Ben Taub hospital and were under armed guard by deputies; the custodian was also treated for a gunshot wound. And the woman with the heart condition was sent to the hospital for evaluation and treatment.

As the scene developed, and with the possibility of other shooters, nearby Aldine ISD schools were put into “lock-down,” the campuses were sealed to the public, and students were sequestered. This happened at Nimitz High School, Nimitz 9th grade school, Parker Intermediate, and Dunn Elementary. All of these schools are along W. W. Thorne Drive in the immediate proximity to the Lone Star campus.

By evening, the campus was quiet, and almost everyone had left. The public schools were released from lock-down in the middle of the afternoon, and most students were dismissed near their regular times.

The LSC campus remained closed for the rest of the day and classes resumed on Wednesday (January 23) morning at their regularly schedule time.

“The Sheriff’s Office and local education officials frequently meet, plan and train to deal with the threat of violence on or near schools – and throughout our sprawling county,” Sheriff Adrian Garcia said. “With the shootings at Newtown, Connecticut and elsewhere fresh on our minds, we remain vigilant about the aching need for students of any age to feel safe in their classrooms and other facilities.ÿ

“I’m grateful no one was killed in this local incident. I’m grateful Lone Star College will be able to re-open tomorrow [Wednesday, January 23]. I’m grateful for the response by our personnel and other emergency responders to this frightening act,” Sheriff Garcia added. “But gratefulness is no cause for complacency in the future.”

ÿ

Help after the shooting

Counselors were on hand on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at LSC-North Harris to talk with students regarding the altercation the day before and forums were held on campus to discuss campus safety issues.

More than 250 attended the forums held for students, faculty and staff. Other discussion forums are being scheduled and times will be announced in the near future.ÿ

LSC-North Harris President Dr. Steve Head said that many students and employees also took advantage of the counselors available.

ÿ“Understandably some were a little on edge,” Dr. Head said. “But in the 40-year history of this college, this is the first-ever incident we’ve ever had.”

ÿThe campus was open for classes on Wednesday but some limited areas were not accessible due to the ongoing investigation by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.ÿ

LSCS Chancellor Dr. Richard Carpenter said the college system has been cooperating fully with the Sheriff’s Office investigation and reiterated campus safety.

ÿ“We’re constantly striving to identify new and better ways to make our campuses safer,” said Dr. Carpenter. “We will review every process that occurred as a result of this incident to make our campuses as safe as possible for our students, faculty and staff.”

Additional gunman charged

ÿSheriff’s Office and college officials reconfirmed that the shooting last Tuesday (Jan.22) was a result of an altercation betweenÿtwo men and was not an active shooter scenario.

ÿThe LSCS employee who was wounded as an innocent bystander, Billy Cliburn, a maintenance technician, was released from the hospital on Wednesday, January 23. Carlton Berry, 22, and the other shooting victim, Jody Neal, 25, were guarded by deputies and recovering at an area hospital from gunshot wounds.

ÿSheriff’s Office officials reported that one of the suspects, Carlton Berry, who also was shot has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault, his bond has been set to $60,000. Berry was listed as an LSCS student.

Sheriff Adrian Garcia said that sheriff’s officers followed leads that pointed to a possible second suspect. Working with the Gulf Coast Task Force, they recovered the weapon used in the shooting and arrested Trey Foster in Plano, Texas.

According to court records and to KPRC local news, one of the students involved in the altercation, Jody Neal, “bumped into Trey Foster, 22, (the other student) and they got into an argument. They parted ways, but 30 minutes later Foster, who was with Carlton Berry saw Neal again and they got into another argument. Police said Berry told investigators that Foster then fired shots at Neal who suffered gunshot wounds to his abdomen and leg. Neal had been convicted of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle in 2004 and possesion of a switchblade/knuckles and misdemeanor assault in 2010.

Neal identified Foster as the shooter. Mr. Foster was arrested last Thursday (Jan. 24) early in the morning byÿmembers of the Gulf CoastÿViolent Offfenders and Fugitives Task Force in Plano, Texas. He is charged with aggravated assault with a deadlyÿweapon.ÿ

Thanks

ÿDr. Carpenter praised the first responders who were part of the scene.

ÿ“The rapid response from the LSCS Police Department and many other local law enforcement agencies brought this situation under control quickly,” said Dr. Carpenter. “Our top priority remains the safety of all our students, faculty and staff, plus the surrounding community.”

HICC Annual Economic Forum examines Growth in North Houston, and the Future of Energy worldwide

Chamber members were treated to a double Forum of ideas and issues last Tuesday, Jan. 15 at the 7th Annual Economic Forum.

HICC president Reggie Gray arranged for the first part of the program to be a presentation of reports on growth in the various districts that make up North Houston. Presenters included Ray Lawrence, East Aldine District; Jerry Lowry, Greenspoint District; Teri Koerth, Airline District; Rebecca Reyna, Greater Northside; and Paul Lenz, North Houston Association.

Each North Houston speaker reviewed their most recent projects and indicated the growth factors in their market area. These presentations then led into the second round of speakers, who characterized the need for various types of energy in the future, and how their companies and organizations were preparing to meet these needs.

In addition to these two roundtables, the Chamber also received recognition as a new partner with the country of Mexico, and signed a formal agreement with ProMexico to represent mutual commercial interests between the two countries.

The relationship with Mexico was presented by Alejandro del Valle of Houston’s Hispanic Business Center. A formal agreement between the Chamber and ProMexico was signed by Gray and the Mexican representative, Jose Medina.

Gray explained that ProMexico is a division of the Department of Commerce of the Mexican government, with offices worldwide to promote trade and investment with Mexico. They currently have offices in Dallas and Houston, and plan another Houston office in the Hispanic Business Center in Greenspoint.

Each of the speakers in the Energy forum noted the need for more resources as the population grew, and became heavier users for technical and manufacturing purposes. They seemed to agree that in the future gas presented the best possibility to meet these needs, and each outlined their company’s strategies to serve this growth. They indicated that the alternative fuels, oil, coal, wind, solar, hydro would be important but not adequate to meet the demands.

Senate election ends in Runoff

Voters in Harris County Senate District 6 went to the polls Saturday, and voted for a replacement for the deceased Senator Mario Gallegos.

However, there were eight candidates on the ballot, and none received the required 50% majority required for election.

The two frontrunners received most of the votes, as political pundits had predicted. One was well known for her time in office as County Commissioner, and the other for her time as State Representative. Both Sylvia Garcia and Carol Alvarado are of Hispanic heritage, which it the primary characteristic of this Senate district, which extends from Greenspoint and Aldine on the west, to Baytown, Galena Park and Pasadena on the east. The voter turnout was surprising low for this high profile election. Only 16, 347 votes were counted, in a district with 292,433 registered voters.

Over half of the votes were cast as Absentee or Early, perhaps because it was possible to vote at any county location, rather than just your precinct.

Sylvia Garcia was the leading vote getter, with 7416 or 45.4%. Carol Alvarado was next, with 6803 votes or 41.6%. Other tallies were Bray 1014, Olmos 461, Martinez 403, Reyes 125, Selva 73, and Delgado 52 votes.

It will be necessary for the Governor to schedule a runoff election between the two top candidates. This will be called in the next month, so that the new Senator can join the Legislature currently in session. Whoever wins, she will become a powerful spokesperson for Houston’s Latino community.

Senate candidates speak at East Aldine Meeting

By GILBERT HOFFMAN Northeast News

NORTHEAST – Voters in Senate District 6 that live in the Aldine area, had the opportunity to meet and question the eight candidates for the seat vacated on the death last year of State Senator Mario Gallegos.

The venue was the offices of the East AldineDistrict, and the well publicized meeting was held last Thursday evening, from 7 to 9 pm. About 75 persons attended the meeting. Although the campaigning for this open seat has been vigorous, and at times contentious, it was noted by several candidates that this was the first time that all eight candidates had appeared together on the same platform.

Reggie Gray, the president of the Intercontinental Chamber of Commerce, served as moderator for the evening’s discussion, or debate. After opening statements by each candidate, Gray presented a series of questions from audience members, and allowed each candidate to respond. After the Q & A period, each candidate was allowed time to summarize their positions and qualifications.

Most of the discussion during the evening centered on educational issues, including increased safety in our schools, and the need to restore cuts in the education budget, and how to generate more local jobs in the current depressed economy. Additional topics that were covered included health care legislation, and immigration regulation.

In particular, Republican R.W. Bray said that jobs and education were his top priorities, and urban development. He pointed out that only 44% of Aldine residents are high school graduates, suggesting this should be much higher. He wanted to create an “enterprise zone” to help the economy and job creation. Currently we have 14% unemployment in Aldine, he said.

Sylvia Garcia wanted better public education, citing her own history and the difference it can make in one’s life. She said not only jobs, but those with good pay and benefits were important. She criticized the governor for his position on Medicaid, vowing to expand coverage and accept more federal dollars. She cited here involvement with Aldine when she was a County Commissioner, helping to bring the NFL Super Bowl YET center to the Northeast Community Center.

Juaquin Martinez cited the need for change in the way we get things done, saying working with families at the grass-roots level could bring about this change. He said we need to develop leaders in our communities.

Maria Selva, a candidate on the Green Party, was concerned about alternative energy sources, cleaner environment, and genetically modified foods. She was concerned that the “Citizens United” court ruling diluted everyone’s vote strength.

Dorothy Olmos, one of two Republican Candidates, wanted to provide choice of schools for parents, probably with a voucher program. She also thought high schools should promore vocational training. She saw opportunities to build more “bridges” between businesses and schools.

Rodolfo Reyes cited his 32 years of government experience, in jobs and office, and said it was important for leaders to be accessible to people, so they can talk with them. He noted that only 7% of the registered voters in SD6 had voted last time, expressing a disinterest in the office and the governing process. He praised the East Aldine District for their accomplishments.

Susan Delgado noted her close relationship to the late Senator, and that it gave her a better knowledge of the needs of the office. A number of times she noted the need for an “honest” politician in this office, “for the kids.”

Carol Alvarado noted her experience as third term State Representative, and that she was quite familiar with the Senate district. She stated emphatically that restoring education funding must be a priority, noting cuts in public education and college funding by the last state legislature. She also wants the state to expand Medicaid and accept federal dollars for this, saying that otherwise we stand to lost $90 billion dollars over the next 10 years that other states will get instead. She stated that Aldine now feels “forgotten” and that we need a Senator that is consistently visible.

Moderator Gray handled a number of specific questions. One involved School Safety, and Security, and what each candidate proposes. Most answered that they favored better gun control and armed officers at the schools, but not armed teachers.

On the question of what distinguishes each from the other candidates, answers varied. R. W. Bray, with a laugh, said it was obvious, he is a “black Republican.” Sylvia Garcia noted her passion for public service, and her ability to deliver services in Aldine, including parks, water and sewer, and the YET Center. Maria Selva said she was interested in issues others ignored, such as the XL pipeline and a “cancer corridor” of pollution in Houston. Reyes said he listened more to people.

When asked how they would create more jobs, Alvarado cited the Town Center proposed in East Aldine and a state Enterprise Fund, and an educational partnership with MacArthur High School.

Our Holiday Break

By Kristan Hoffman and Angie Liang

Kristan

While there was no snow or sleigh bells, my holiday was otherwise fairly traditional. I flew home to Houston and was greeted with lots of hugs from my parents — as well as lots of kisses from mosquitoes.

That first weekend, we battled the crowds to do our last-minute shopping. Funny enough, nowadays my parents and I tend to buy our own presents and then wrap them as a surprise to everyone else. It may sound weird, but we enjoy it. Makes Santa’s life easier too.

After Christmas, my half-sister came to visit with her granddaughter, and we showed them a few of Houston’s highlights: Moody Gardens, Kemah Boardwalk, NASA’s Space Center, the Galleria and the Waterwall. We also drove around nice neighborhoods to look at their sparkling holiday lights. Though I had done it all before, it was fun to see my hometown through a newcomer’s eyes.

For me, the new experience was babysitting my cousin’s daughter for 3 nights. She’s now 5 years old, which is a fun but exhausting age. We colored Hello Kitty activity books, read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and watched My Little Pony. I gave her a bath and brushed her teeth. She ate the ham and eggs out of my kolache. I felt like I was playing Mom for a few days, and it was… illuminating.

Now it’s 2013, and I’m back home, back to my regularly scheduled life, back to work. I don’t have any specific resolutions, but I would like to continue applying a few themes across all areas of my life: (1) Don’t try to do/have it all; (2) Don’t worry about what people think; (3) Keep It Simple, Stupid; (4) Push yourself; (5) Be more assertive/decisive; and (6) Don’t aim for perfection, just keep getting better.

Angie

My parents and I always celebrate Thanksgiving in a big way — lots of friends and a massive feast — but for whatever reason, we don’t do any of the December holidays. So after a wonderful extended stay at home in November, I decided to do something different this winter: Freeze my butt off in Canada. At –10°F to be precise!

Why give up the balmy Texas climate for arctic Canadian weather? I wanted to learn how to ski. Also, as a child I had visited Banff National Park, a World Heritage Site notorious for its scenic beauty, in the summer. Now I wanted to witness firsthand its breathtaking views in the winter.

I was not disappointed. I spent a couple days touring the towns and then three full days skiing the popular sites: Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Mount Norquay. Each day as I arrived on the slopes, with an instructor leading the way, I ooo-ed and ahh-ed – even falling once because I was so captivated by the view.

Needless to say, I fell quite a few more times trying to complete a green (“easy”) run on the second day. Although I picked up the basic skiing techniques quickly, gravity sometimes won. Nevertheless, I slowly but surely conquered the mountain, turning and braking my way down the steep inclines. By the third day, I felt confident on the slopes, and eager to return for more someday.

After my skiing adventures, I spent New Year’s Eve in Seattle with one of my best friends, eating and exploring the city. We even toured the old city underground and then watched the fireworks shoot off around the Space Needle.

On January 1st, I flew back to New York City, with sore legs and a clearer mind, ready for change in 2013.

Rep. Armando Walle begins third term in Texas House

Walle makes reversing Republican cuts to education and health care top priority

AUSTIN – State Representative Armando Walle (D-Houston) was sworn in to his third term in the Texas House of Representatives as the 83rd Texas Legislature convened at the Texas Capitol on Tuesday, January 8.

As with every legislative session, the state budget and its main drivers of education and health care will be a focal point for legislators. “Education is always one of my top priorities, and that starts with fully funding our school finance system by undoing Gov. Perry’s education cuts. It also means ensuring that more students and their families can afford higher education.” Rep. Walle continued, “Between the Comptroller’s Biennial Revenue Estimate and the $11.8 billion in our Rainy Day Fund, I know we have the ability to make this happen.”

“While we’ll miss the experience and leadership of my veteran legislative colleagues who have moved on,” said Rep. Walle, “I look forward to getting to know and working together with our new members to make Texas better for our children.”

“Budgetary tricks like leaving $5 billion in Medicaid payments for the next legislature are among the many reasons why I did not vote in favor of that budget,” said Rep. Walle. “With nearly a quarter of Texas uninsured, including over one million people in Harris County alone, the new legislature must stop playing games like these with our neighbors’ health and well-being. Despite the Governor’s pledge to do otherwise, my colleagues and I will work hard to expand Medicaid access for Texans.”

Brown’s lack of size did not stop him from coming up big for Mustangs

By Mike Keeney

Contributing Writer

Derrick Brown wasn’t the biggest guy on the Aldine Mustangs roster, but he sure played big during the 2012 season.

Brown, a senior quarterback, rushed for 1,124 yards and passed for another 938 yards (he completed 65 of 129 passes) to account for 2,062 yards of total offense for Lionell Crawford’s team during the 2012 season. He was also a scoring machine as evidenced by the 17 rushing and seven passing touchdowns he accounted for this season.

Brown was one of a handful of Aldine ISD players who turned in strong offensive seasons. Eisenhower junior running back Donald Catalon rushed for 1,076 yards and totaled another 178 yards on receptions. He also scored eight touchdowns during the season. MacArthur running back Shaquille Rain rushed for 816 yards and added another 132 yards receiving. He also scored 14 touchdowns for the Generals. Nimitz running back Dre’Vian Young, a two-time silver medalist in the 400-meter dash at the Class 5A State Track and Field Meet, led the Cougars to the playoffs by rushing for 1,140 yards and scoring 10 touchdowns.

All three of those individuals had solid seasons, but Brown stood out among his peers and earned the Northeast News’ Offensive Player of the Year honors.

Brown arrived at Aldine High as a sophomore after spending his freshman year at Nimitz High School. Crawford played him at defensive back and wide receiver his first year, and then decided to give him a shot at quarterback heading into spring training during his sophomore year.

“I had my eye on two kids who we wanted to play quarterback and Derrick was one of them,” Crawford said. “I told them the best man would win the job and Derrick won the competition.”

The 5-8, 170-pounder was a two-year starter under center for the Mustangs and saved his best season for his last.

“Derrick started the season with a bang. It was scary how good he was,” Crawford said. “Derrick only played quarterback at a 5A program for two years and I thought he had a very good senior season. The young man had a nice senior season.”

Crawford said Brown’s biggest attributes are his speed. He runs a 4.4 40-yard-dash and thinks he has a chance to play at the next level.

“My guess would be that schools will recruit him as a wide receiver or defensive back, unless he goes the junior college route and goes to a school that runs the option. He threw the ball well for someone who was a running quarterback. I think he’s put himself in position to get a chance to play at the next level. It would be a great opportunity for him to get out and see the diversity that exists on a college campus.”

Crawford said Brown’s best game this season came against Oak Ridge when he rushed for 251 yards and scored five touchdowns in the Mustangs’ 41-34 victory.

“That performance put him in the record books,” Crawford said. “He became one of the few Mustangs to rush for more than 200 yards and score five touchdowns in one game.”

Brown’s name is also in the record books for the 100-yard kickoff he returned for a touchdown during his Aldine career.

“Derrick is a good kid. He’s respectful and coachable,” Crawford said. “He’s also a good student and that will help with recruiting. He’s set pretty well.”

Now all he needs is the chance to prove that even though he may not be the biggest guy around, he has the ability to make big plays when given the opportunity.

Northeast News Defensive Player of the Year. Bush lets action on field do his talking for him

By Mike Keeney

Contributing Writer

Larry Bush isn’t much of a talker on the field. He’d rather let his actions do his talking for him.

And that was certainly the case during the 2012 season when he completed his senior season for the Nimitz Cougars.

Bush, a three year starter at middle linebacker, accounted for 114 tackles (40 unassisted), one interception and one forced fumble. Those impressive numbers earned him the Northeast News’ Defensive Player of the Year honors.

The 6-0, 225-pounder was a dream to coach, said his head coach Robert Toomer.
“Larry is what we call a true middle linebacker,” Toomer said. “He plays tackle to tackle. He’s a smart young man and he made all the defensive calls for us the last two years.”

In addition to excelling on the football field, Bush is also solid in the classroom. He has a 3.1 GPA and scored 1,200 on his SAT. Toomer is hoping some school, be it Division I or Division II, takes a chance on him so he get the chance to play at the next level.

“He most definitely has what it takes (to play in college),” Toomer said. “I hope he gets the chance. He’s had some interest from Division II schools. All he needs is a shot. He has the grades, that’s for sure. He’s a good kid and he’s solid in the classroom. You wish you had more like him on your team.”

During his three years on the varsity, Bush accounted for 300 tackles, three interceptions and forced nine fumbles.

Toomer said Bush drew the interest from the coaching staff as a freshman. They moved him up to the varsity, but brought him along slowly.

“He caught our eye as a freshman, but we didn’t want to shellshock him, so we brought him along slowly,” Toomer said. “Once we put him in the starting lineup as a sophomore, he became a fixture and leader on our defense.”

In addition to his play-making ability, Bush also possesses leadership abilities as evidenced by the fact that he was a captain all three years that he played on the varsity.

“Larry is one of those guys you hate to lose,” Toomer said. “I hope all of his hard work is rewarded. He’s a true student of the game. He’s not a rah-rah guy. He lets his actions do his talking for him.”

Gallegos Senate District 6 seat. Candidate field expands to eight

NORTHEAST – The election of a new state senator for District 6 on January 26th got more complicated by the filing date, as new office seekers signed up to be on the ballot.

At first it seemed that the race would be between Gallegos’ choice, current state representative Carol Alvarado, and well known former county commissioner Sylvia Garcia. But now, with eight candidates having declared their interest, and paid the $1250 filing fee with the Texas Secretary of State, it seems anyone might win this race.

In fact, with that many candidates, it is doubtful that any will poll the required majority of 50% of the voters, meaning that there will have to be a run-off election between the top two. This raises the possibility that District 6 will not be represented in the current legislative session till much later in the year.

Here are the eight candidates who have filed, with some background on their qualifications:

CAROL ALVARADO, 45, currently a State Representative for District 145. She is serving her third term. Previously she served three terms as a Houston City Council person representing District I. She is a Democrat, as was Gallegos. She has resided in District 6 for 45 years.

R. W. BRAY, or Rasuali Wayne Bray, 37, is a Republican that was on the ticket in November, and won 29% of the vote at that time. His occupation is a paralegal, and previously he served as a Chief of Staff for Council woman Helena Brown for District A. He has resided in District 6 for almost 3 years.

SUSAN DELGADO, 48, now a Democrat but previously a Libertarian and a write-in candidate for this post in the election in 2004. She works as a real estate broker. After her personal relationship with Gallegos dissolved, she ran against him for this seat. She has resided in the district for 48 years.

SYLVIA GARCIA, 62, a Democrat and former County Commissioner for Pct. 2 for two terms, and the Houston City Controller for three terms. She now works as a lawyer and political consultant, and was president of the national NALEO, a Latino organization. She has resided in the district for 26 years.

JOAQUIN MARTINEZ, 32, a Democrat. He lists his occupation as a Program Coordinator. He once worked on the staff of former city councilman John Castillo. He says with pride that he is running his campaign with no outside financial help and very little expenditures. He has resided in the district for 32 years.

DOROTHY OLMOS, 54, a perrenial candidate for many offices. She is a Republican, and has lived in the district for 54 years. She is a semi-retired educator. She has run unsuccessful campaigns for state board of education, HISD board of trustees, and House District 143 in the past.

RODOLFO REYES, 59, no party affiliation. He has been a city councilman in League City for one term, and now works as a business consultant. He has lived in the district for over one year.

MARIA SELVA, 52, lists her party as the Green Party. She ran for congress in District 29 last year. She works as a community organizer, and has lived in the district for 6 years.

Early voting starts on January 9th and continues through January 22, with election day on Saturday, January 26th. Hours are irregular.

Voting locations near Northeast Houston are at Hardy Senior Center, 11901 W. Hardy Street, and the Harris County Administration Bldg., 1001 Preston Street, 1st Floor.