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Posts published in January 2016

Judge Emmett appoints Gene Locke new Pct. 1 Commissioner to replace El Franco Lee

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett announced lat Fridar morning that he had appointed and sworn in former Houston city attorney and longtime governmental counsel Gene Locke to finish the late El Franco Lee’s term as Precinct 1 Harris County commissioner.

Locke, 68, is a partner at the Andrews Kurth law firm and a former Houston mayoral candidate. He will serve as commissioner for Precinct 1 through Dec. 31.

He replaces Lee, who died unexpectedly Jan. 3 after more than 30 years in office.

Locke, a longtime friend and counsel to Lee, has said he does not intend to run for election after the current term expires.

Emmett said he two main criteria in selecting a new commissioner.

“My first goal has been to find a person who knew Commissioner Lee and his family, so that El Franco’s priorities would be continued,” Emmett said. “Secondly, I hoped to find someone who understands the workings of Harris County government. Gene Locke meets both criteria very well.”

Locke, 68, has a long history of activism and public service, including stints as city attorney from 1995-1998, general counsel to the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority and special counsel to the Metropolitan Transit Authority. He also represented Commissioners Court during the court’s most recent redistricting efforts.

“This precinct belongs to El Franco Lee,” Locke said after his swearing in. “And anything I do for the next 11 months belongs to his legacy.”

Emmett announced his decision and gave the oath of office to Locke before local media at a news conference this morning at the Harris County Administration Building in downtown Houston.

School District to open Aldine Educational Center

Aldine ISD will open its newest educational facility on January 19 when the Aldine Educational Center (AEC) opens its doors.

The 109,000 square-foot facility is located on Aldine Bender Road across the street from the M.O Campbell Educational Center.

The new facility, built with funds from the 2007 bond referendum, will provide services for students in grades 2-12. The staff will oversee three separate programs; GAP, the district’s Alternative Education Center (formerly COMPASS) and Tier 1.

Principal James Metcalf is excited about the state-of -the-art facility and believes the new surroundings will be a big benefit to Aldine students who experience behavioral issues.

“Environment is a major contributor to learning and learned behavior,” Metcalf said. “I feel strongly this new building will have a positive impact on the attitude of our students. The students who come to us have obviously made some kind of mistake in order to end up with us, but we are showing them that we still value them greatly simply by providing them with this nice new facility.”

Metcalf said AEC students will have access to outstanding technology at their disposal. Every classroom has built-in projection monitors, a computer center, and individual student Chrome books and iPads.

“Instruction at AEC will move to its highest level of technology with the use of building-wide Wi-Fi and each instructional program has the best educational software programs our vendors have to offer,” Metcalf said.

AEC will offer its students Schoology, McCraw-Hill on-line textbooks, Brainpop, Edginuity and an Aldine on-line library featuring AISD’s best teachers who will present lessons in all academic areas.

“Technology is booming with our youth today, and AEC plans to ‘boom’ right along with them,” Metcalf said.

The AEC will have its own cafeteria, library and gym. In addition, high school students will have their own wing on one side of the building, while elementary, intermediate and middle school students will have their own wing on the other side of the building.

Metcalf added the AEC will have a state-of-the-art technology for instruction and safety.

Metcalf said after spending years in modular buildings at their former location on Lauder Road, he and his staff are quite excited about the move to the new building.

“The staff at AEC has shared nothing but excitement,” Metcalf said. “We are working hard right now to make the move and we wouldn’t have the energy to make this happen while closing out the first semester without feeding off of our excitement. I am flat out tickled about the move. I am excited about the things we can accomplish with our students in this new building with all that it comes with. We are fully equipped to provide the very best for the students we receive and I know I have the right people on staff who will take full advantage of what Aldine ISD has provided. I am also honored to be the first principal to serve this building.”

New Houston Mayor Turner and City Controller sworn in

With his daughter at his side and his hand on a well-worn Bible that he used during his time in the Texas Legislature, Sylvester Turner was sworn in as Houston’s 62nd Mayor in a private ceremony held at Houston City Hall on Saturday, January 2, 2016.

U.S. District Judge Al Bennett administered the oath to Mayor Turner and City Controller Chris Brown. A small gathering of family and friends was present.

The private ceremony, in advance of the public inauguration scheduled for Monday, was necessary in order to meet the legal requirements of the City Charter, which mandate the transfer of power must occur on January 2. By choosing the private Saturday ceremony, Mayor Turner was able to meet the Charter requirements while also avoiding the overtime costs that would have been incurred from having to call in police and other city employees to provide all the services required at an inaugural held on a holiday weekend. “This was a decision based on financial concerns,” said Turner. “We always have to be mindful of the bottom line.”

The public inaugural for Mayor Turner, Controller Brown and City Council will take place at 9:30 a.m. Monday, January 4, 2016 at Jones Hall in downtown Houston. A pre-inaugural celebration is planned for 4:30-6:30 p.m. Sunday, January 3, 2016 at Historic Market Square Park. The free event is open to the public and will feature live music, food trucks and a fireworks finale.

Turner’s resignation as State Representative for District 139 was effective January 1, 2016. He had served in the State Legislature continuously since his first election in 1988.

Sam Houston MSTC wins Aldine basketball tourney

ALDINE – Thirty-two of the best teams in the area met over the Holiday break.

The three day National Showcase Tournament benefitted the Texas Superstar Foundation, and the Aldine Education Foundation.

The winner in the final fame was the Sam Houston MSTC Tigers, defeating Beaumont Central 68-53. Central was ranked #7 in the state in the 5A division.

The tournament director was John Eurey, representing the Texas Superstar Foundation. He said this was the first annual Showcase tournament. It was held at M. O. Campbell Center, and three other high school gyms. Corporate sponsor for the games was Chick-fil-A, and Hilton Hotels.

Participating teams included Conroe SATCH, Aldine Nimitz, Houston CE King, Spring CHSM, New Orleans Landry Walker, Aldine MacArthur, Houston ProVision, Houston Madison, Beaumont Central, Houston 2nd Baptist, Katy HCYA, Baton Rouge Southern Lab, Alexandria Peabody Magnet, Houston Sharpstown, Houston Westbury Christian, Dickinson, Playa Del Rey CA St. Bernard’s, Houston Episcopal, Houston Sam Houston, Fort Bend Hightower, Dallas Cedar Hill, Houston St. John’s, Manvel, Aldine Davis, Fort Bend Bush, Houston North Forest, Katy Mayde Creek, Fallbrook Christian Academy, Oklahoma Putnam City West, Houston Sterling, Houston Kinkaid, and Aldine Eisenhower.

Dickinson played Hightower in the Consolation bracket, losing 44-62.

To reach the final game, Beaumont Central defeated Landry Walker 52-49, and Sam Houston defeated Fort Bend Bush.

In the final game, Sam Houston and Beaumont Central were fairly even in team play, with Sam Houston leading 34-28 at halftime. But in the second half, Sam Houston strengthened their defense, and went on a three-point offensive that increased their lead to as much as 15 points, which Central was not able to close the difference. Both teams played good basketball, and played hard, as a high foul count indicated.

Most valuable player was Sam Houston’s Kendric Davis, a 5’10” sophmore guard. Coach was Ralph Barreras.

In summary, Aldine Athletic Director Richard Delgado said it was a very successful tournament with 54 games over 3 days, and hundreds of attendees from four states.

El Franco Lee Dies

Harris County Pct. 1 Commissioner El Franco Lee died Sunday morning at 10 am from a heart attack, according to county authorities. Lee was 66 years old. He was pronounced dead at LBJ Hospital.