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Posts published in October 2015

Senior Citizens Dance and Luncheon at Northeast Community Center

NORTHEAST – Senior Citizens met last Friday at the Northeast Community Center, to participate in Rep. Walle’s annual Dancing with the Seniors. This year’s theme was “Mariachi Nights” and the music was accompanied by seven costumed women dancers.

The event started at 10:00 a.m. and lasted for four hours and included lunch, games, and dancing among the crowd.

Rep. Walle and Congressman Gene Green spoke to the seniors about government programs.

Bonding Against Adversity celebrates its 5 year anniversary

The Aldine community came together last Friday, Oct. 16 to celebrate the five year anniversary of Bonding Against Adversity, and to receive awards recognizing their help in the success of the organization.

Mariana Sanchez started the counseling organization five years ago, after her previous experience working with the community for the YMCA Greenspoint. She saw a need in the community, especially with Hispanic adults and children, for additional counseling, mentoring and tutoring to adapt to the regulations and educational requirements of the world around them.

Mariana started helping just a few students and adults, at Hambrick MS and East Aldine District. This has grown to classes of hundreds, for help with one on one mentoring, immigration and social justice, self esteem and family unity, and scholarships for further education.

Speaking at the luncheon, held at the East Aldine offices on Friday, Oct. 16, were emcee Reggie Gray of the Houston Intercontinental Chamber; Congressman Gene Green; and Aldine ISD superintendent Wanda Bamberg.

In her remarks, Mariana Sanchez noted that the motto of the organization is “Helping Others Help Themselves.”

She noted that the organization had started at Hambrick Middle School, and thanked them for their generous support of time and resources.

BAA now consists of One on One mentoring, in MacArthur HS, MacArthur 9th Grad, and Hambrick. This is turoed by Lone Star mentors, and has 50 students and 50 mentors. Each receives scholarships for their participation. BAA has been responsible for awarding over $25,000 in scholarship over the past 5 years.

BAA has also assisted over 2300 legal permanent residents to become US citizens, she said. Benefits of this include economic development of the community, and family unity and harmony. Citizenship classes are free, she noted.

BAA has sponsored a Holiday Party every year at Campbell Center, open to everyone. It started with 50 families, and has now grown to 500 families.

Other services or activities that BAA provides are Zumba classes, Nutrition information and classes, and Exercise classes.

During the luncheon, Mariana awarded a Gold Star Trophy and a package of seeds to her Sponsor Group, and her Volunteer Group. The awards were made with the help of her husband, Tom Burdette.

Early voting for AISD bond, board underway until Oct. 30

Early voting for Aldine ISD’s $798 bond referendum and school board election is underway and will run through Friday, October 30.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on November 3.

Registered voters can vote at any polling location in Harris County during the early voting period.

A list of early voting times and locations is available at www.harrisvotes.com. Listed below are early voting sites in and near the Aldine community:

Lone Star College – Victory Center – 4141 Victory Drive

Acres Homes Multi-Service Center – 6719 W. Montgomery Road

Hardy Senior Center – 11901 West Hardy Road

Baldwin Boettcher Branch Library – 22248 Aldine Westfield Road

If approved by voters, the $798 million bond referendum would provide for the construction of new schools, major renovations of some of the older schools in the district, security and technology upgrades and other projects to meet the growth needs of the school district over the next five years.

In addition to the bond election, Aldine ISD will hold a trustee’s election on November 3 for Positions 1, 2, 6 and 7.

Patricia Ann Bourgeois holds the Position 1 seat. Tony Diaz opposes Bourgeois in the Position 1 race.

Paul Shanklin holds the Position 2 seat. Carleen “Jinx” Kerr opposes Shanklin in the Position 2 race.

Merlin D. Griggs holds the Position 6 seat. He is running unopposed in the Position 6 race.

Dr. Viola M. Garcia holds the Position 7 seat. She is running unopposed in the Position 7 race.

Harris County reminds voters that in 2011, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 14 creating a new requirement for voters to show photo identification when voting in person. Voters are now required to present an approved form of photo identification in order to vote in all Texas elections. Below is a list of the acceptable forms of ID.

Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)

Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS

Texas personal identification card issued by DPS

Texas concealed handgun license issued by DPS

United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph

United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph

United States passport

For more information about voter identification, contact the Harris County Election Department at (713) 755-5792.

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Aldine’s State of the District – Lively show of Achievements, shortfalls

ALDINE – The annual State of the District report to the public is a well produced show and tell, with more emphasis on Show as the morning breakfast at the Hilton Hotel started with circus acts, dancing, cheer leaders, and dramatic stage reading, and a well produced video history of the District, celebrating its 80th anniversary.

All of this is meant to demonstrate the range of talent in the district, and to set a happy atmosphere as a prelude to a serious report.

This year, the District report was also combined with a presentation by the Education Foundation chairman, Terry Williams. He emphasized the success and importance of raising funds for scholarships and innovative teaching grants, and urged the attendees to make a pledge toward these goals.

The State of the District report was presented by Superintendent Wanda Bamberg, and students from the Advisory Committee, representing each high school. They presented the main topics, with a performance summary: Academic achievement; disadvantaged student ratios; STAAR statistics and campuses that need improvement to meet state standards; graduation rates; scholarships granted by AEF and others.

All of this information and more was presented to each attendee in a colorful 36 page booklet.

Wanda Bamberg followed this student presentation with a summary of the District’s performance, with an emphasis on finances. She said that the District budget for the coming year was $655 million, and income was projected at $616 million with the difference covered by an existing balance in the savings fund. The tax rate, which had been $1.31 per $100 valuation in 2013, has been reduced in 2015 and 2016 to $1.28, one of the lowest in Harris County. However, an increase in property assessments will mean more income for the District.

Bamberg also spoke about the need for continual upgrading of the physical facilities of the District, and to meet growth needs, and referenced the Bond referendum of $798 million that will be on the November ballot. She urged attendees to get information on the bond issue at www.AldineISD.org.

Highlights of the District mentioned by Bamberg included 1,162 scholarships received last year by Aldine students, totalling $23.9 million dollars, and 91 teaching grants totalling $1.1 million. One academic achievement is the 103 students that received college credit for Early College classwork.

Noting the 80th Anniversary of the District, Bamberg gave credit to those who had successfully built the district previously, saying “I stand on the shoulders of Giants – our predecessors.”

Bamberg’s Performance Report included a number of awards and recognitions that the District has received, including the Broad Prize in 2009; It also referenced what she termed as “challenges”: STAAR tests that are below the state average in all five categories; eight campuses, including two high schools, that are on notice from the state for “improvement required”; academic awards to high testing students, but no National Merit Scholarship winners, a national standard; and a budget that must be balanced by savings rather than income.

She mentioned that the District had worked closely with the Legislature to resolve some of these problems. In fact, MacArthur grad and State Representative Armando Walle, and Congressman Gene Green, were part of the program and spoke about their efforts to further education goals.

Aldine ISD calls for $798m Bond Election on Nov. 3, Early Voting begins Oct. 19

During the August 18th meeting, the Aldine ISD Board of Trustees unanimously passed an order to hold an election on Tuesday, November 3, to seek voter authorization for the sale of schoolhouse bonds. The amount of the bond proposal is $798,000,000 and includes the construction of new schools, renovations, enhancements and other projects to meet the growth needs of the school district over the next five years.

The district is experiencing growth at the Pre-K-8 levels. The district has discussed reconfiguration changes at those levels. The reconfiguration changes would be addressed in the bond by converting intermediate schools into Pre-K schools, converting elementary schools to grades 1-5 and converting middle schools to grades 6-8. The reconfiguration changes will reduce the number of transitions between grade levels.

In the fall of 2014, the district hired Jacobs Engineering to conduct a facilities and technological assessment of every school and support facility in the district. The district also worked with DeJONG-RICHTER, LLC, an educational facilities planning firm, which assisted in the assessment process.

In February of 2015, the district formed a steering committee of parents and community members to receive input concerning district growth, facilities and technology needs. The steering committee attended 6 meetings to study data and provide input concerning Aldine’s future.

In addition, two community dialogues were held to receive input from district stakeholders. A district executive team composed of administrators and steering committee chairs studied possible options.

The steering committee used information from the following sources:

Facility needs assessment conducted by Jacobs Engineering

Demographic study conducted by Population and Survey Analysts (PASA)

Educational planning input from DeJONG-RICHTER

At the July 20 Board study session, steering committee chairs Carleen Kerr and Dr. Alton Smith and consultants David Sturtz (DeJONG-RICHTER) and Paul Mills (Jacob’s Engineering) made a presentation to the Board of Trustees detailing the district’s facilities and technology needs to address growth over the next 15 years.

“A population study conducted by Population and Survey Analysts (PASA) projects that Aldine will continue to grow by 3% (2,000 students per year) for the next five years, which will increase student enrollment by approximately 10,000. Projected enrollment for 2020 will be close to 80,000. Over the last five months, we have focused on specific options to deal with our growth. Those options include new campuses, reconfigured grade levels to maximize current capacity, improvements and upgrades for various facilities and programs including career and technical education and athletics. There are also plans for each campus to address numerous maintenance and facility needs, such as AC/heating, and plumbing, restroom, electrical and flooring repairs and replacements.”

The committee found that to address the district’s growth, it would need to build three new elementary schools, two to replace Francis and Johnson elementary schools, one new elementary school, a new Career and Technical Education high school and an East Aldine Early College high school.

Additionally, the bond referendum would call for major renovations at some campuses including Carver High School, Aldine High School, Anderson Academy and MacArthur High School.

The referendum would also provide technology upgrades throughout the district and the installation of WiFi at all Aldine campuses to improve Internet access.

The bond referendum would also address safety and security with security camera additions and upgrades at all facilities, the installation of GPS on all buses, the installation of automated door lock systems and additional fencing.

Other improvements include the renovation of Smith Stadium, the renovation of middle school auditoriums, tennis court and swimming pool upgrades, the construction of a north side transportation facility, parking lot expansions, and land purchases.

If voters approve the bond proposal, the district will sell bonds as needed for the construction of new schools, renovations, purchases, replacements and improvements that are outlined in the proposal.

A series of community informational meetings will be held throughout the district (the district will provide dates, locations, and times once meetings are confirmed).

The district will post information on its website and at each campus with details about all the work proposed in the referendum.

Early voting will take place Oct. 19-Oct. 30 at any polling location in Harris County.

October 19- October 23: 8 am – 4:30 pm

October 24: 7 am – 7 pm.

October 25: 1 pm – 6 pm.

October 26 – October 30: 7 am – 7 pm

POLLING LOCATIONS:

Northeast Multi-Service Center, 9720 Spaulding St. Building #4, Houston, 77016

LSC-Victory Center, 4141 Victory Drive, Houston, 77088

Hardy Senior Center, 11901 West Hardy Rd., Houston, 77076

On Tuesday, Nov. 3, polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. (once we get the polling locations from Harris County, we will list locations).

A bond referendum should have a minimal impact on taxpayers especially if voters in Texas approve Proposition 1 in the November election. Proposition 1 changes the homestead exemption amount for school property taxes from $15,000 to $25,000, which means a house valued at $100,000 in Aldine would be taxed at $75,000 in the future.

In May of 2007, Aldine voters overwhelmingly approved a $365 million bond proposal for the construction of 12 new schools. The referendum passed by a 71% margin.

Aldine area communities celebrate National Night Out

Neighborhoods throughout the Aldine, Airline, and Greenspoint areas, and greater Houston, observed National Night Out last Tuesday evening, an annual event to promote public safety and community involvement.

East Aldine District hosted a large event, with over 200 participants, in the parking lot in front of their offices on Aldine Mail Route. On hand were Lone Star College, Neighborhoods Centers Inc., Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Explorer’s Post 42, Westfield Fire Department, EMS #1, civic clubs, government officials, board members from East Aldine District and Aldine school district, and many more. 150 chicken sandwiches were provided by Chick-fil-A, and guests danced to music and toured the equipment displays and information booths from the various organizations.

In the Airline District, the Bellmar Civic Club and the Northline Terrace Civic Club held the event at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church on Northline at Canino. Besides a “pot luck dinner” they had a raffle drawing and door prizes. Invited to their event were government officials, Congressman Green, Senator Sylvia Garcia, Rep. Arman do Walle, and Airlline Executive Director Teri Koerth. Also attending were Sheriff’s deputies, Little York Fire Department, and board members from the Airline Improvement District.

Rep. Ana Hernandez released the following statement for National Night Out: “Since 1984, National Night Out has helped build relationships between communities and the law enforcement agencies that serve them,” Hernandez said.

“Policing and public safety are community-wide efforts. I hope that this year’s National Night Out helps to strengthen ties between families, first-responders, and community institutions as we work together to build a crime-free environment for our children.”

Body, burned car found near Keith-Wiess Park

NORTHEAST – Authorities are investigating a body that was found at the back of a property on Hartley Road in the 11600 block, near Keith Wiess Park.

Westfield Fire Department answered a call on Friday morning, around 11 a.m. to the scrap yard at that address. The extinguished a fire in a Jeep SUV, and then discovered the man’s badly burned body.

A witnesses said he heard a loud boom prior to the fire, and when he ran to the back of the salvage yard, discovered the jeep engulfed in flames, and the body.

Harris County Sheriff’s Office investigators are not sure if this was a homicide, a suicide, or some type of accident. They are investigating further, and ask the public for help. Call Crime-Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.