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Posts published in February 2014

Castlewood objects to increase in water bills

NORTHEAST – Residents in the Castlewood subdivision area of Aldine are upset with the increase in their water bills. According to residents, the Suburgan Utility company has added a $60 surcharge to homeowners bills. In some cases, this represents twice as much as their regular bills.

The utility company sent notices out several weeks ago, that they would be adding the surcharge. Hundreds of angry residents signed a petition against the charge, and contacted State Representative Armando Walle. He characterized it as a “money grab” and not a legitimate need for funds to improve the service.

In fact, residents such as Steven Adame say the water service is very unsatisfactory, often with no water at all. He said that calls to the Suburban Utility do not provide a satisfactory answer, only “we are working on it.” Adame was at last week’s East Aldine District board meeting, to ask for help in dealing with the company. District president David Hawes said that they had budgeted $75,000 for the 2014 year, to hire attorneys and expert witnesses to work with the state to improve the rate situation.

MEETINGS SCHEDULED:

PUBLIC MEETING, sponsored by Armando Walle, Sylvia Garcia, and East Aldine District.

Tuesday, March 4th, 6:30 p.m. at District offices, 5333 Aldine Mail Route.

STATE MEETING, March 27th, 10:00 a.m. location TBD in Houston.

East Aldine dedicates new flags

EAST ALDINE – The District held their regular board meeting last Tuesday night, but started it with a special flag dedication ceremony in front of their offices on Aldine Mail Route.

With the encouragement of board chairman Gerald Overturff, the district installed three new flagpoles to mark the office and honor the American and Texas flags, as well as a new flag with the EAMD District logo.

The Sheriff’s Explorer Post #42 was on hand, under the direction of Deputy Terry Garza and school counselor Marva Flerilroy. The Explorers presented colors with their Color Guard, and raised the flags to start the evening.

The district board then conducted their regular monthly meeting, with a full agenda.

The evening started with comments from several residents of Castlewood subdivision, concerned about recent large increases in their water bills. Speaking were Steven Adame and Wanda LeBlanc. President Hawes explained that the district has hired an attorney to work with legislators and agencies in Austin, to monitor and mediate the private water companies in the county and state, and give customers more consideration in their utility bills.

This was followed by a presentation from the Boy Scout Pathfinders, with a thank you to the district for the support of their program. Juan Failde, district director, was present for this as well as five members of the troop. The East Aldine District contributed $33,000 in their budget for 2014 to support over 1200 boys and girls in this program.

Following this, members of the HCSO Explorer’s Post #42 also made a presentation, and a thanks to the district for support through the year and for the program that has won awards. The District has made a $12,000 grant in this year’s budget, for college assistance for 12 MacArthur students enrolled in the program.

The board then continued with their regular business. In January they held a budget workshop, setting goals and budgets for the whole 2014 year, and at this meeting they voted to implement many of these decisions.

The income from sales tax collection is expected to be about $6 million dollars, according to Jack Roland, the district’s accountant.

Expenditures were set in very broad terms as follows:

Water & Sewer management $206,074.

Transportation & Mobility, $129,866 including a $30,000 subsidy to METRO for bus service on Route 59.

Environmental & Urban Design, $828,462 including street lights, graffiti abatement, Greens Bayou, litter removal, and Right-of-Way maintenance.

Public Safety & Security, $1,113,616 including $647,816 for Sheriff’s deputies, $100,000 for bicycle patrols, and $61,000 for county attorney’s legal assistance.

Economic Development & PR, $531,000.

Community Development, $312,483 including scholarships and other initiatives.

Public Health & Neighborhoods, $454,983 including heavy trash pick-up.

Administrative, $275,191 including leases, staff, etc.

Other funds were transferred to capital improvements and surplus.

Optimist Club honors two past members

ALDINE – Members of the Aldine Optimist Club gathered at a lunchtime ceremony last Wednesday, Feb. 12 for a memorial to honor two deceased members, Jim Cooper and Wayne Romoser.

Club president Steve Mead led the program for the thirty attendees, including family members of the two men. Some of the Romoser family had traveled from Oklahoma to participate.

The ceremony included singing Amazing Grace, led by Stacey Smith, and reciting the Optimist Creed. The names of the two men were added to the Memory Banner that the club maintains.

President Mead reviewed the history of the club, and the participation and service of the two men being remembered that day.

The club started on July 16, 1986 with eleven members, sponsored by members of the Spring Cypress Optimist club.

Wayne Romoser was a charter member of the club, and served as president of the club in the first year. In 1991 he received the “Optimist of the Year” award. He was instrumental in bringing the C.H.I.C.K.E.N. Club to the Aldine Schools, for 4th graders to avoid drugs and peer pressure. Wayne and his wife Jackie owned and operated the M & M Auto Supply firm on Aldine Bender near the clubhouse.

Jim Cooper was a member of the club since 1999. Although confined to a wheelchair in later years, he managed to get things done as needed, often with the help of wife Carolyn and daughter Debbie. He especially helped with the golf tournament. Jim worked for the Sign and Banner Company. He also was a member of the Family Life Christian Church, along with his family. He first became familiar with the church when they needed a sign, he said. Jim involved all of his family in Optimist, but especially his beloved grandson Austin Haecker.

It is said that the mission of the Optimist International is to “provide hope and a positive vision to bring out the best in kids.”

Wayne Romoser and Jim Cooper were honored by the club last week, because they did just that and left a legacy of character for others to follow, said president Mead.

Warrant Round Up set for March 1

HOUSTON–The City of Houston’s Municipal Courts Department and Houston Police Department (HPD) will be among 300 law enforcement jurisdictions across Texas that will participate in the 2014 Great Texas Warrant Round-Up. For the 3rd year in a row, HPD will be assisted by the Texas Attorney General’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit to search for individuals with outstanding warrants beginning Saturday, March 1, 2014. Neighboring jurisdictions joining this statewide initiative as regional participants include, Harris, Galveston, Fort Bend, and Waller Counties.

“This is by far the largest concerted law enforcement effort in Texas,” said Director and Presiding Judge Barbara E. Hartle. “We do this program simultaneously with other jurisdictions to bring about greater public awareness, which will hopefully encourage someone to resolve their case or cases before they are arrested,” said Judge Hartle.

Once the Warrant Round-up period begins March 1st, HPD and other law enforcement agencies will aggressively target those defendants on the warrant list. Authorities warn that arrests can take place at any location, including the defendant’s home, school or workplace. Additionally, a special task force will focus solely on locating defendants with outstanding warrants through a license plate recognition program and whose parked vehicle has been documented multiple times at specific locations.

“With the assistance of law enforcement, we fully intend to use the entire scope of our resources, and we want to make everyone aware that ignoring your court matter is not an acceptable practice,” stated Judge Hartle. “The License Plate Recognition program has been in force since September of 2011 and has been extremely helpful in allowing us to locate scofflaws,” she added.

As the regional coordinator of this effort for the past eight years, the City of Houston Municipal Courts Department has thousands of active warrants it is seeking to clear. Municipal Courts officials are encouraging defendants to take advantage of the options available to resolve outstanding warrants. There will be no amnesty offered during the Warrant Round-Up effort.

Notices are being mailed to all Houston Municipal Court defendants with active warrants. Citizens with warrants in jurisdictions other than the City of Houston should contact those jurisdictions for information about how to clear those warrants.

For more information about warrants or citations visit www.houstontx.gov/courts or contact City’s Helpline at 3-1-1 or 713-837-0311, if outside the City of Houston.

I-69 Corridor featured on H-GAC TV

Highway will be a “river of trade”

HOUSTON – Interstate 69 is a nationwide project to create an economic corridor for North America; it spans the entire country to connect Canada to Mexico with one continuous freeway. This is the message on the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s new MobilityNOW episode, viewable on Youtube.com.

In Texas I-69 begins at Texarkana, travels to Houston on U.S. 59 and ends at the Mexico border. Improvements utilize existing highways whenever possible based on recommendations.

“It’s been a tremendous project, it has been 20 years in the making and in the last couple of years, Texas in particular it really has come to life,” said Phil Wilson, TxDOT former Executive Director ”I-69 is really a river of trade for economic development purposes.” Wilson appears on the video, along with Marc Williams, TxDOT Director of Planning.

“I-69 in Texas will follow US 59 for most of its length to Laredo; passing through the Aldine area; it will split south of Victoria to continue on Highway 77 to Brownsville; a third split from US 59 will send it down to highway 281 at McAllen.

Instead of constructing a new freeway for I-69, the existing highways will be improved to interstate levels. Those improvements may include additional traffic lanes, repair and reconstruction of existing pavements as well as improvements in safety without the cost and time of constructing a new freeway.

With four ports, the Houston region is a major freight gateway. Future port connectors to Highway 69 and other freeways will provide a more efficient/direct access to the port and manufacturing centers of the region.

Interstate 69 is a promising transportation project with a big impact on our region.

County Attorney files Application to close Airline Game room

HOUSTON, February 3, 2014 – A hearing to turn a temporary restraining order into a temporary injunction to stop illegal activity at an Airline Drive game room was scheduled for Monday, Feb. 3.

Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan obtained the restraining order against Golden Star Business, LLC, its managers, officers, employees, and “all persons acting in concert with them” from maintaining 5715 Airline Drive as a place where persons go for gambling.

The case was filed by the County Attorney’s Office following a raid by the deputy constables from Harris County Constable Precinct 1 Alan Rosen on January 10. During the raid, deputies seized over 100 gambling devices and almost $15,000 in cash. They also discovered about 90 unused, replacement machines hidden behind a false wall.

According to the County Attorney’s Office, the game room reopened for business on January 17, a few days after the raid, and continues daily operation.

The restraining order states that:

1.There is interference with the public health, safety, peace, comfort, and convenience of its citizens–caused by the defendant’s operation of an illegal gambling place.

2.That this injury is irreparable because this game room, by its manner of use, is unlawful.

3.With the continued operation of this game room, the cycle of defiance will continue unabated unless this Temporary Restraining Order issues before the Temporary Injunction Hearing. The illegal gambling will not stop at this location until injunctive relief is granted, it is stated in the petition.

Chancellor Carpenter to retire from Lone Star

HOUSTON — Lone Star College System Chancellor Dr. Richard Carpenter announced today that he plans to retire this summer.

“I want you to know that these seven years with Lone Star have been unequivocally the pinnacle of my career,” Dr. Carpenter wrote in a statement released to LSC employees. “Your dedication, your hard work and your compassionate focus have all combined to bring Lone Star to a whole new level of state, national and international prominence. And that you afforded me the privilege of being a part of this journey is a gift for which I will forever be grateful.”

Dr. Carpenter cited health issues coupled with personal family needs as the reason for his retirement.

“At the end of this academic year I will mark my 40th year in the education profession, 32 as either a college president or system CEO. While I count every one of these years as a blessing, the time has come for me to enter the next phase of my life,” he wrote.

Dr. Carpenter joined LSCS (then named the North Harris Montgomery Community College District) in August of 2007. In January 2008, the college officially changed its name to Lone Star College System.

During his tenure, credit enrollment grew by 30,000 students and the college system added more than 2 million square feet of state-of-the-art academic space. LSCS is now the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and one of the fastest-growing community college systems in the nation.

In addition, Dr. Carpenter oversaw the opening of the new LSC-University Park campus and the second LSC-University Center, as well as the creation of Lone Star Corporate College, which was put in place to respond to the training needs of business and industry.

“I speak for the board when I say we’re sad to see Dr. Carpenter leave,” said David Holsey, DDS, chair of the LSCS Board of Trustees. “We’re grateful for his hard work, his diligence and the success of the college under his leadership.”

Dr. Holsey pointed out that during Dr. Carpenter’s service, student enrollment nearly doubled while administrative costs were significantly lowered and a stronger emphasis was made on the quality of instruction and innovation of LSCS programs.

“Dr. Carpenter is leaving the college in great shape, and the future is brighter than it has ever been for the college, its faculty and staff, and the community,” Dr. Holsey said.

The LSCS Board has appointed a search committee to immediately initiate the search.

“Dr. Carpenter will be tough to replace, but his leadership has helped create an institution that has risen to such national and international prominence that this is a highly-desirable position which we know will draw top candidates from throughout the country,” Dr. Holsey said. “We expect to have a very successful national search.”

Dr. Carpenter began his career as president at Somerset Community College in Kentucky at the age of 29, the youngest college president in the country. He was subsequently recruited to college presidencies in the states of Minnesota, California, and Alabama, before serving as state president and CEO of the 16-college Wisconsin Community and Technical College System, which enrolled more than 400,000 students with a $1 billion annual budget. Most recently, he had served as president of the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, and as state director for Nevada’s Community Colleges.

He received his associate degree from Southwest Mississippi Community College, bachelor and master degrees from Northwestern State University, and his doctorate from North Carolina State University.

Dr. Carpenter said that his future includes plans to “continue my activities as a consultant, but with more control over my schedule and pace.”

Lone Star College System has been opening doors to a better community for 40 years. Founded in 1973, LSCS remains steadfast in its commitment to student success and credential completion. Today, with 78,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 90,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and the fastest-growing community college system in the nation. Dr. Richard Carpenter is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.

Ten Aldine ISD student-athletes earn scholarships

Ten Aldine ISD student-athletes signed on the dotted line on National Signing Day with colleges and universities across Texas and the United States on Wednesday, Feb. 5. The 10 earned scholarships that will provide them with the opportunities to continue their academic and athletic careers in college.

Eisenhower High School had the most student-athletes sign as six football players were awarded scholarships. Running back Donald Catalon, one of the most sought-after backs in the state, signed with the University of Texas and will be a part of head coach Charlie Strong’s first-ever recruiting class at UT. Strong was hired in January to succeed former head coach Mack Brown, who resigned after 16 years as the Longhorns’ head coach.

Other Eagles who signed on Wednesday were quarterback Trevion Roberts, who signed with Texas’ 12 rival Oklahoma State. Defensive back Devlin Isadore signed with Angelo State University, while defensive lineman Quintin Jackson inked with Sam Houston State University, linebacker Jon Johnson signed with Navarro College and defensive back Trenston Hawkins signed with Presentation College in South Dakota.

Nimitz High School had two football players and one soccer player sign on National Signing Day. Running back Martinez Syria signed with Iowa State University, while quarterback Jonathan Banks signed with Kilgore College. Soccer player Albion Nez signed with Florida Atlantic University.

Aldine High School had one signee as wide receiver Joe Lewis signed with Kilgore College.

AISD coaches are hoping more student-athletes will sign later in the spring.

Aldine 55th Annual FFA show displays animals, exhibits at Campbell Center

ALDINE – The AISD Agriculture students and FFA put on their 55th Annual Livestock Show and Country Fair last week, with the animal sale on Friday night before a large crowd of buyers, family, and friends.

As well as a full audience, buyers were bidding robust prices for the animals, resulting in a total in sales for the evening of approximately $141,100, compared with only $112,600 the previous year. There were 59 lots sold, including animals, horticulture exhibits, and cakes. These figures are approximate, and do not include the “add-ons” that come after the bidding and are often significant additions to the totals. Proceeds of the sale go to the student exhibitors, for scholarships and animal costs.

The Grand Champion Steer sold for $111,250, compared with only $10,000 last year. The auctioneer was Ed Phillips, an Aldine alum, as were many buyers in the audience.

Pack of wild dogs terrorize neighborhood kill, eat four pets

A pack of dogs attacked and killed a pet kangaroo and three kinkajous outside an exotic pet store on Connorvale Road last week.

The owner of S&S Exotic Animals store, Suzett Stidom, found her kangaroo dead after a Sunday night attack.

The dogs went back again on Wednesday, January 29, and killed two more kinkajous.

According to KHOU11 local news, Stidom only found small body parts of the kinkajou because the dogs “had ripped them through the cage.”

The pets were kept in heated cages between the pet store and her house. The property is also surrounded by a 6 ft. tall fence, but that did not stop the dogs from jumping it to get to the pets.

Stidom is devastated for her loss; a six-week-old kinkajou is orphaned by the dog attacks.

After the attacks, Stidom decided to keep all animals inside the house but now she is worried about the kids in the neighborhood. Grace Raymond Elementary is down the street and Stidom is worried the dogs may go after the kids once the pets are secured.

Stidom contacted Harris County Animal Control and they were going to provide her with dog traps.