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Posts published in April 2015

TxDOT plans massive changes to I-45

NORTH HOUSTON – TxDOT, the state highway department, held a public meeting last Thursday evening, April 23 to display their latest plans for rebuilding I-45 in the north and central sections of the city.

The informal meeting, display boards and maps, and video presentation were at the Aldine Ninth Grade School. Several hundred persons attended the two hour open house, and TxDOT officials and their consultants were on hand to answer questions and explain the plans.

This is the fourth of a series of meetings, required by the federal government, to assess the public’s concerns and needs, and to present the Environmental Impact Statement.

Additional meetings will be held April 28th at HCC-Central Campus, and April 30 at Jeff Davis High School.

For planning purposes, TxDOT broke the highway into three segments. Segment 1 is from Beltway 8 to the North Loop. The plan for this portion is to add 170 to 225 feet of right of way, and widen the on-grade pavement. The final roadway would have 18 lanes. Right-of-way would be added on the west side of the existing road, except for a small portion on the east side below Airline Drive.

Segment 2 is from the North Loop, to I-10 near downtown. Only a small widening of the right-of-way is required, because most of this section would be two levels, with the main lanes below grade.

Segment 3 is the most ambitious. The plan is to re-route I-45 around the city center, on the north and east sides, and abandon existing elevated roadways on the west and south, i.e. the Pierce Elevated would be torn down and views opened up. Other portions of I-10 and US59 in these areas would be abandoned to straighten alignments and improve intersections. Also, US59 would be below grade from the 527 Spur, to its intersection with downtown.

Features of the new design include safety features such as full width shoulder lanes, and bicycle and pedestrian paths, TxDOT said.

TxDOT is asking for comments on these designs from the public. You can see more information, and make comments by accessing the website: www.IH45northand more.com, or emailing comments to HOU-piowebmail@txdot.gov.

Police chase ends in shooting, suspect killed

Pursuit travels from Eastex, to Beltway East, to Wallisville Road

HOUSTON – A suspect is dead after a police chase ended in a shooting Wednesday morning in the North Shore/Channelview area.

According to police, the chase started after Houston Police Officers were conducting an operation near Highway 59 and Crosstimbers when they observed a car making unsafe lane changes. The chase began after a patrol unit did a traffic stop but the driver of the blue Chrysler 300 refused to stop and chase ensued at around 10:40 a.m.

The suspect drove from the Eastex onto Beltway East, then south on the Sam Houston Tollway. Spike strips were used in an attempt to slow down the vehicle, but failed. The chase ended on Wallisville Road and N. Castlegory in Northeast Harris County where the suspect’s car crashed into a small white car. He then lost control and crashed his car into an SUV near the Wendell Ley YMCA.

Two HPD officers in pursuit exited their units and approached the suspect’s vehicle ordering him to show his hands. As the officers were approaching, the suspect got out of his vehicle, turned towards the officers, then reached back inside of his car.

The officers, believing the suspect was reaching for a weapon, and in fear for their life and those of citizens nearby, discharged their weapons into the vehicle, striking the suspect multiple times. He died at the scene and he has unofficially been identified by family as Frank Ernest Shepherd, III, a man 41 years old.

The female driver of the small white car was transported to an area hospital with minor injuries. The driver and passenger of the SUV were treated at the scene and released.

The intersection of Wallisville and Castlegory remained closed until late Wednesday afternoon.

North Shore Middle School and Havard Elementary were temporarily on lockout. Parents with children in those schools were able to pick up their children after classes.

The HCSO’s homicide unit, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, and HPD internal affairs will take over the investigation. No officers were injured.

Aldine FHC celebrates 25 years of service to local families

HOUSTON – Aldine Family Hope Center, a ministry of Buckner International, will celebrate 25 years of service to the Aldine community Saturday, April 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the center, located at 4700 Aldine Mail Route.

The community is invited to attend the milestone celebration for an afternoon of face painting, games, live music, refreshments and an open house. A recognition program will begin at noon honoring influential individuals who have made a significant impact in the program since it began.

Founded by Sylvia Bolling from the trunk of her car in 1990 as the Aldine Y.O.U.T.H. Community Center, the program joined Buckner International in 2012 where it has continued to improve the lives of at-risk youth and their families, serving about 5,000 households in a community encompassing a two-mile radius of U.S. Highway 59 North of Aldine Mail Route. The service area includes 12 schools, five subdivisions, seven apartment complexes and several businesses and churches.

“Approximately 85 percent of the students living in our community are considered economically disadvantaged,” said ministry founder Sylvia Bolling. “From our beginning, we’ve been committed to improving the lives of local families through serving our neighbors in the most need. As our community has grown, so has our opportunity to serve.”

The center offers a variety of educational, vocational, social, and recreational services to the community as it strives to address the needs of individuals challenged by social, language, cultural, transportation, and location barriers.

“By seeking to help all in need, we’ve become a place where volunteers of all races and ages can empower the youth within our community,” said Shawna Roy, the Family Hope Center’s director. “We are thankful for the support our community has provided us over the years and look forward many more years of service to come.”

Additional Buckner programs in the Houston area include Buckner Family Place, a transitional program for single parents and their children; Parkway Place, a Buckner senior living community; and Buckner Hospice Houston.

Robbery attempt at Escapade ends with fatal shooting

NORTHEAST – A man and woman arriving for a night of entertainment were the victims of a senseless robbery and shooting in the parking lot of the Club Escapade at 11903 Eastex Freeway, last Friday night at about 10:15 p.m.

Harris County Sheriff’s deputies said that a car followed them into the parking lot, and one of the persons in the car demanded money from the husband. When he resisted, he was shot and killed in front of his wife, who was not harmed. The car with the perpetrators was described as a tan or silver vehicle.

Dead at the scene was 41 year old Ruben Acosta. Although security guards at the club heard the shots, they did not have a description of the car. HCSO Homicide division is investigating. Anyone with information should call 713-967-5810 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477 (TIPS).

Neighborhood ‘Hazmobile’ collection

Harris County will host a ‘Hazmobile’ collection event on Saturday, April 25, 2015 in Aldine area.

The trash collection will take place from 8 am to 11 am ONLY, at North East Community Center/James Drive Park located at 10918 1/2 Bentley Street, Houston, TX. 77093.

Residents can bring fertilizers and other yard projects as well as paint and paint related products for their proper disposal.

Other items include household cleaners, automotive products such as oil and gas, pool chemicals, aerosol cans, fluorescent bulbs, batteries and small and BBQ size propane.

Electronics and tires WIIL NOT be accepted; washers, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners or household trash WILL NOT be accepted neither.

For more information, please call 281-560-6230.

Aldine-Greenspoint YMCA implements program at North Houston Skate Park

HOUSTON, TX – The YMCA Achiever’s Program is now offered through the Aldine-Greenspoint YMCA at the North Houston Skate Park (formerly the Spring Skate Park) to provide teens with a positive sense of self and aspirations for professional careers.

The program helps teens set and pursue high educational and career goals that result in higher rates of graduation and acceptance to an institution of higher learning. Through academic aid, career exploration and mentoring, this program encourages youth to raise their academic standards, develop a positive sense of self, build character, explore diverse college and career options, and learn from role models who inspire them to greater heights.

“Even though we are just getting started with the once-a-week program at the skate park, the students have already drafted their contract expressing commitment to the program and attended their first major field trip, reported YMCA Youth Development Director Troy Manchester. “The 12 teens enjoyed an overnight ‘lock in’ at the Langham Creek YMCA before leaving for a visit to the Texas A&M – College Station campus.”

The Aldine-Greenspoint YMCA is unique in that it is a “Y without walls.” All of its programming is hosted at facilities other than a standing YMCA building, such as preschool at Lone Star College – North Harris, youth sports at Thomas R. Wussow Park and now the YMCA Achiever’s Program at the skate park.

To run the program using the skate park’s community room, YMCA staff work hand-in-hand with the Greenspoint District staff who manage the North Houston Skate Park. Also, the District’s Communications Coordinator Alexis Shelly sits on the Board of Directors for the Aldine-Greenspoint YMCA, ensuring lines of communication remain open and initiatives like the Achiever’s program are successful.

Greens Bayou Coalition cleans up, plants trees

Volunteers from Halliburton, Centerpoint, and East Aldine gathered at the end of a street off Aldine-Westfield last Saturday morning, to continue the work of the Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition to improve our waterways.

These 50 or more people planted over 65 trees, and collected a truck-load of trash from the bayou, leaving it fresher and greener than ever.

Executive Director of the GBCC, Jill Bullion, was pleased with the results, and thanked everyone for their dedication and hard work.

The bayou is 45 miles long, and consists of four sections or “reaches” that get scheduled for clean-ups on a rotating basis. Volunteers and sponsors are always welcome, Bullion said. Tents and trash hauling were provided by the East Aldine District, and volunteers had water and shirts provided too.

32 arrested at Haverstock Hills apartments

HOUSTON, TX – A multi-agency initiative to enforce civil injunctions at the Haverstock Hills Apartments in northeast Harris County netted 32 arrests.

The two-day initiative took place on March 25-26 at the multi-unit complex located on Aldine Bender and the Eastex Freeway.

Arrested were individuals with a gang nexus and/or those with an open warrant.

“This is not going to be part of your territory,” said HCSO Lt. Wayne Kuhlman who oversees the Sheriff’s Office Multi-Agency Gang Task Force. “You will not operate out here with impunity.”

Deputies also confiscated weapons and drugs.

Taking part in the initiative, along with the HCSO, were the Aldine ISD, Katy ISD, and Spring Branch ISD Police Departments, ICE, HUD, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, TDCJ-OIG, and the Houston Police Department.

The 2010 gang injunction banning suspected gang members from entering the 57-acre “safety zone” was the first in Harris County.

Since then the injunction has been expanded to include three other apartment complexes and two more schools in a 217-acre area.