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Posts published in April 2016

Flood Victims receiving Aid

Greenspoint Apartments, Spring, West Houston most affected

HOUSTON, April 25, 2016 – Last week floods have resulted in a damage estimated to be around $5 billion.

The Harris County has submitted an initial disaster summary outline to the state. This puts the county one step closer to a federally declared disaster. This disaster summary outline formally reports the damages caused by the recent flooding in the Harris County.

“One of the most important things we can do in disaster response is to speed up the recovery process to get help to those who need it,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. “I appreciate the hard work and quick response of our crews, and I look forward to completing the recovery process as soon as possible.”

Crews continued to work throughout Harris County, including Cypress Creek where flood waters were receding through last weekend.

To last Friday, April 22, crews have confirmed 1,731 flooded homes in unincorporated Harris County.

Some Houston areas like the community of Hockley in Cypress received 17 inches of rain in less than 24 hours. That is more rain than Salt Lake City gets in a year.

Mayor Turner creates Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund

After receiving calls from corporations and others who want to help financially, Mayor Sylvester Turner is establishing The Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund, to accept flood relief donations.

“We’ve been hearing from residents who are confused about where they should donate to get assistance directly to the residents of our city who are suffering, said Mayor Turner. “The creation of this fund will ensure the dollars donated stay in our community. The fund will focus on aiding storm victims and relief organizations in Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery Counties.”

Mayor Turner thanked Waste Management for making a $50,000 donation, the first since the fund’s creation. Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander also annouced last Thursday that he will be donate $500,000 to Mayor Turner’s Greate Houston Storm Relief Fund. The check was presented during the Rockets playoff home opener against Golden State Warriors last Thursday night.

The Greater Houston Community Foundation, a 501 (c)(3)nonprofit public charity will administer the fund. Online credit card donations will be assessed a small fee, typically 3%, by the credit card companies. Donors have the option of increasing their credit card donations to cover this fee.

To donate, go to www. houstonrecovers.org and follow the instructions.

Governor declares State Of Disaster in Texas Counties

AUSTIN, April 18, 2016 – As severe weather continued across the State of Texas, Governor declared a state of disaster in the following Texas Counties: Austin, Bastrop, Fort Bend, Colorado, Grimes, Harris, Montgomery, Waller and Wharton Counties. Additional counties may be added as the situation develops.

Houston area received over 17 inches within 24 hours and the weather reports stated that more rain was expected.

Heavy rainfall caused flooding of small creeks and streams, urban areas, highways, streets and underpasses. Bush Intercontinental Airport cancel over 550 flights and METRO Houston suspended all rail and bus services.

Countless residents were displaced due to flooding caused by the heavy rains last monday morning, April 18, 2016.

Resources For Those Affected By Flooding

If you or your family have been displaced by the flooding, the American Red Cross has opened additional shelters to aid those impacted by severe rain and flooding throughout our area. Here is the full list of shelters as of last Friday:

HARRIS COUNTY:

Jersey Village Baptist Church, 16518 Jersey Drive, Jersey Village, Texas 77040

MO Campbell Education Center, 1865 Aldine Bender Rd., Houston, Texas 77032

South County Community Center, 2235 Lake Robbins Rd., Spring

Acres Home, 6719 West Montgomery Rd., Houston

MONTGOMERY COUNTY:

East Montgomery County Senior Center, 21679 McCleskey Road, New Caney

First United Methodist Church in Conroe, 4309 West Davis, Conroe

WALLER COUNTY:

Royal High School, 2550 Durkin Rd., Pattison

WHARTON COUNTY:

Wharton Jr. High School, 1120 N. Rusk Street, Wharton.

These shelters are open 24 hours a day, providing a warm, dry place to stay, food and emotional support for area residents who are not able to remain at their homes due to storms and flooding.

Public health regulations do not permit pets in shelters. Certified service animals are permitted. The Red Cross works closely with local partners to accommodate pets and animals that need shelter.

VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED! Volunteers are greatly needed to staff shelters as well as distribute food and provide other services to those in need. Training will be provided on site. Anyone interested in assisting this way is encouraged to go to redcross.org/volunteer or call 713-313-5491.

FOR HELP: Those with flood-related needs are urged to call the American Red Cross at 1-866-526-8300.

TO DONATE: Those who wish to donate to flood relief may do so at redcross.org/donate.

Also Harvest Time Church is accepting donations at its location, 17770 Imperial Valley Drive, Houston, Texas, 77060. People can donate diapers, wipes, personal hygiene products, snack foods for children, water, clothing; also welcoming caterers who want to donate hot meals for displaced residents.

A huge thanks is owed to all emergency first responders who have conducted over 1,200 high water rescues (and counting).

Tips for residents who are beginning the cleanup process:

Take photos of the damage inside your home and of all discarded items

Remove all wet items such as furniture, rugs, bedding, toys, carpeting, ceiling tiles, drywall and wood by-products. If wallboard is soaked, remove to a foot (12″) above the water mark and discard. Drain walls by removing baseboard and drilling holes near floor. Dry panel-type wall by pulling the bottom edge out from studs. Check the interior of the wall for hidden mold.

Remove all wet insulation. Discard all but rigid insulation, which can be reinstalled after disinfecting and drying.

Discard soaked or moldy carpeting. Clean all other items first with soap and warm clean water to remove dirt and debris. Next, sanitize surfaces with one cup household liquid bleach per every 5 gallons of water.

If your car was towed you can find where it was taken check out findmytowedcar.com or call 713-308-8580.

Turn off main power if wiring is wet or moldy. Have an electrician check the house’s electrical system before turning power on again.

Open the house to fresh air when the humidity is lower outside than inside.

Use fans and dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture unless mold has already started to grow (fans may spread existing mold).

Flood Recovery and Assistance Information – Debris Removal

Questions about debris (trash) removal for flooded homes in unincorporated Harris County?

Residents should call the community service department in their respective Precincts:

Harris County Precinct 1:

(713) 991-6881

Harris County Precinct 2:

(713) 455-8104

Harris County Precinct 3:

(281) 463-8703

Harris County Precinct 4:

(281) 353-8424

Flood leaves 8 deaths – Two men died in Northeast area

HOUSTON – April 25, 2016 – Last week storm left many damages in Houston areas worth billions. It also took the life of eight people, two men dies in Northeast Houston.

German Antonio Franco, 66, of Spring was found dead inside a car in a flooded street near Imperial Valley and Greens Road. Franco was native form Cali, Colombia.

Pedro Rascon Morales, 61, was found in the cab of an 18-wheeler trapped at North Sam Houston Parkway East between Imperial Valley and West Hardy Road. He was a truck driver from El Paso but is uncertain if he was living in Houston or just traveling through Houston when the storm hit.

Claudia Melgar, 25, was a student at Houston Community College. TranStar Video surveillance captured Melgar driving at Westpark Tollway exit onto Loop 610 at 6:00 a.m. on Monday, April 18. The video shows how her SUV is submerged completely within 10 minutes. Melgar was inside the van.

Sunita Vikas Malhara Singh, 49, was also trapped inside her car in the same spot Melgar died.

Suresh Kumar Talluri, 36, of Katy, was another victim who drowned in a sport car at the Westpark Tollway ramp and Loop 610.

Charles Edward Odum, 56, was a teacher in Waller County. Odum was trying to help his parents to evacuate but did not make it.

Teri White Rodriguez, 41, was found in a drainage ditch at Briarcreek inside her car. She left behind three kids and a husband.

A woman, not yet identified, drowned the day of the storm in Austin County after driving her car into high water on Plum Creek Road. She was returning from work.

HCC-NorthEast holds Groundbreaking ceremony for new North Forest campus

NORTH FOREST – Civic, educational and government leaders met last Tuesday morning, to hear about the plans for a new educational complex that is expected to benefit the education of the community, but also be a spearhead for a revitalization of the whole North Forest area.

The Groundbreaking Ceremony was hosted by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, whose efforts at raising financial and governmental support for the project, and the minority community, were instrumental in achieving the fruition of the complex.

The project had originally been part of the HCC bond issue with $48 million set aside for these buildings and support. But changes in the budget priorities almost doomed the project, but Lee and others continued with their vision for North Forest, and were able to regain $28 million to assure the project. Lee credited the HCC board, Chancellor Maldonado, HCC-NE President Margaret Ford Fisher, HCC trustees Adriana Tamez, Dave Wilson, and Zeph Capo and others with making sure the project would become a reality. The previous North Forest board, represented by Maxine Seals and Michael Frazier, were also credited.

In her remarks, Congresswoman Lee noted that the North Forest area is “zealous and jealous” and will respond to this new opportunity. She sees the building not just as an educational opportunity, but also an economic development leader for the future of the community.

She credited the previous North Forest school board and the community for having the forsight to vote a referendum to join their district with the Houston Community College district.

As an example of what this project could mean economically, she had represented on the speaker’s dias the Japanese Consul General Tetsuro Amano, and the Toyota General Manager of Diversity & Inclusion, Adrenne Trimble. The obvious implication is that they are interested in graduates of this facility, for jobs in the industry, but just as important, Congresswoman Lee indicated she has had talks with Chrysler, GM and Toyota about the benefits of a car or parts factory in the North Forest area, which has abundant land, proximity to major shipping, and a large labor supply that will now have the skills they need.

In his remarks, Chancellor Maldonado made the point that the type of education needed for Automotive Technology, in today’s world, will also provide training for many other types of jobs.

Community joins in planning new NCI center

EAST ALDINE – Over 100 members of the community, plus educators, architects and land planners, and staff of the Neighborhood Centers, Inc. were present last Thursday night at Hambrick Middle School, to participate in what NCI termed “IMAGINING THE FUTURE.”

This was one of a series of meetings and interactive workshop sessions, meant to adapt the final design of the NCI part of the new Town Center to the specific needs and preferences of the Aldine community.

A welcome was extended by Jose Rivera and others from NCI, and then Jamie Flatt, an architect with Page Architects, explained what had been accomplished to date in the design process, and what the audience should try to help decide in the evening’s work session.

Flatt said that early workshops had identified major functional elements that should be considered in the design, including a Welcome Center, a large Maker Space, with a commercial kitchen, Classrooms, spaces for Workforce Training, a Lounge or Relaxation space.

Flatt explained that each of these spaces had been made to size in the shape of small blocks, and the workshop teams were being asked to arrange these blocks into a relationship model, or site plan, and in the process discuss their criteria or desires, for the whole group to benefit from at the wrap-up.

She noted that from earlier workshops, the architects had designated the blocks as follows:

1. Welcome Center with a Retail shopping component

2. A Cafe with an adjacent Recreation room

3. A maker space with a commercial kitchen included

4. A Gym and a Performance space

5. Classrooms, for meetings, workforce information, and financial services.

6. East Aldine office space and support areas.

Page Architect David Quoderman, and Landscape Architect KG Osakura also gave some advice to the design teams, and monitored their work as it progressed.

KG in particular urged the groups to include outdoor spaces of varying sizes, with definition, and to try to picture them as “Happy Fun Outdoor Spaces.”

The teams were highly original, using paper, scissors, long pipe cleaners, the premade blocks, crayons and other devices to not only solve the relationship exercise, but to extend the parameters and find new desire. For instance, many of the schemes contained a water feature, or a fountain, and arcades, and walking trails. Many schemes located parked cars at the perimeter, to favor open space and pedestrian circulation.

Flatt and the others summarized the results on large paper display panels, and plan to present the exercise as a video too.

Spring Fling in Crowley Park – Organizations Clean-up, Plant 75 trees, & have Festival

UNDER THE LEADERSHIP of the Greens Bayou Coalition, and the East Aldine District, a Spring Clean-up, Tree Planting, and Festival was held last Saturday. Participting were GBCC Volunteers, EAMD volunteers, Boy Scouts, Sheriff’s Explorers, NCI volunteers, and many others. It was reported as a very successful event, with 75 trees planted in Crowley Park, along the Greens Bayou. Also helping were Precinct 2, Flood Control District, Halliburton Foundation, and others. The Festival which followed the clean-up had games, food trucks, and vendor booths from various local organizatioins and businesses.

Little League season opens with parade from MacArthur HS

NORTHEAST – Little League teams, with their supporters and families, started the season last week at Melrose Park on Canino for the Melrose Little League, and this week at Squatty Lyons Park on E. Hardy Street for the Northside Nationals.

The Aldine teams had a parade of floats, that went from the parking lot beside MacArthur High School, down residential streets until they arrived at the ball park.

At Melrose Park, State Representative Amando Walle and City Councilman Carlos Cisneros helped with the ceremonies. Good weather helped everyone have an enjoyable time.

Mayor Turner commits to trails, bayous

NORTHEAST HOUSTON – The Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition held their Annual meeting last Thursday, at the Hyatt Regency hotel. Several hundred persons attended, and the keynote speaker was Houston mayor Sylvester Turner.

Turner delighted the audience, with a quick wit and banter about his first 90 days in office.

He emphasized that he had been raised in the North Houston neighborhood of Acres Homes, and considered himself a native of the North Side, where he still lives, he said.

Indeed, a park and major league baseball facility on Victory Drive are named for Turner.

In reviewing the state of his term in office so far, he mentioned that flooding is still a major problem in many parts of the city, including Greens Bayou and Halls Bayou. He is working with Harris County to improve this problem, he said.

He lauded Greens Bayou CC for their efforts to open the bayous for recreation and appreciation of nature, and noted that June 4th will see a major Regatta.

Turner had been at a ribbon cutting earlier in the day for a new bike trail in downtown, and tied this in with remarks about developing bike corridors throughout the city, and how Houston would benefit from more choices in their modes of transportation. He also said that the North Houston area should be proud of the NW/Greenspoint Skate Park, a world class facility for skateboarders, that is being expanded with a BMX park beside it, and Dylan Park for handicapped.

He said that I-10 has the distinction of being the widest freeway in the world, with 26 lanes, but that it doesn’t solve the mobility problems of Houston.

Turner spoke about the success his “pothole” program has had, filling 14,000 potholes in the first 90 days of his term. He noted that it was a collaboration with the county.

After this, GBCC presented a number of Awards.