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Posts published in May 2016

RUN-OFF ELECTION PREPS NEW FACES FOR NOVEMBER

HARRIS COUNTY – Voters went to the polls for the second time this spring, to decide local choices for office that had not received a majority in the March 1st primary.

Turnout was low, as is customary in run-off elections. All of these candidates still face a general election in November to earn their seat.

In individual races, the one that attracted the most interest was for Pct. 3 Constable, between Michel Pappillion and Sherman Eagleton. Eagleton already worked for Constable Ken Jones, who is retiring. Eagleton won the seat with 65% of the vote, 3485 votes versus 1844 for Pappillion. In the November election he will face Republican Dan Webb.

In the Constable race in Precinct 2, Chris Diaz the incumbent was running against George Goffney, Jr. Diaz, who was mayor of Jacinto City previously, won with 73% of the vote, but will face the Republican challenger Daniel Vela in the November election.

An upset in both the primary and the run-off was the victory of Briscoe Cain over incumbent Wayne Smith for State Representative from District 128. Cain won by a narrow margin, 3045 votes versus Smith’s 3022, a difference of only 23 votes. It could be noted that there were 27 “under votes” or electors that did not vote a preference in this category, and could have made a difference. Smith issued the following concession statement after the count: “I want to thank the voters for the opportunity to serve. It has been my distinct honor and high privilege to have served the hard working men and women of District 128. Mr. Cain will now enjoy that same honor. For the past 14 years, I have worked on the issues that really impact the voters most. I leave with no regrets,” Smith concluded.

In the November election, Cain does not have a Democratic opponent, but will be opposed by Libertarian candidate Ken Lowder.

Another important office in Harris County was the position of Sheriff. In this Ed Gonzalez, a well known ex-city councilman, was opposed by Jerome Moore. Gonzalez defeated Moore with 57% of the vote, or 16,049 votes versus 12,311 for Moore. In the November election, Gonzalez will run against Republican Ron Hickman, who is the incumbent Sheriff.

In statewide elections, Jarvis Johnson defeated Kimberly Willis for State House District 139. This is the seat in Northwest Houston that was held by Sylvester Turner for 26 years.

An interesting match-up for the fall election will see Republican Lori Bartley, who won 57.8% of this vote, running against Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee in the U.S. House District 18.

Hartwick residents object to cement plant

ALDINE – A concrete mixing plant that has existed for some time, on a site at 2219 Hartwick Road, has applied to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for a renewal of their air permit license. The plant is known as Integrity Ready Mix, and/or CemTex.

Neighbors in this area and on the street, are protesting the approval of the permit, citing three points, according to their spokesperson, Raudel Macias.

The neighborhood has organized and had several meetings on this subject, and invited State Representative Armando Walle, and Adrian Shelly from the Houston Air Alliance. They have also contacted the East Aldine District, State Senator Sylvia Garcia, and Pct. 2 commissioner Jack Morman for help.

Macias states that there are several problems that should be considered on whether the permit should be renewed.

These include air pollution, as the neighbors say the plant and trucks emit silica dust, a known lung cancer cause.

Also, the concrete trucks spill wet concrete on the roadway, and residents say they wash it away into the ditches, or just let it remain on the pavement.

Finally, they object to the heavy truck traffic on a narrow, residential street.

Greenspoint’s public Art Portfolio expands

HOUSTON, The Greater Greenspoint Redevelopment Authority (GGRA) recently teamed up with UP Art Studio on an innovative venture to bring new public art pieces to the community.

The project transforms traffic signal control cabinets at intersections into murals, which UP Art Studio refers to as Mini Murals. The Greenspoint Mini Murals are the latest additions to the public art projects brought to the area since GGRA’s creation in 1998.

“The boxes are intended to help instill civic pride while beautifying neighborhoods and enhancing the urban landscape of Houston,” Elia Quiles, Mini Murals project manager at UP Art Studio, said.

Sally Bradford, executive director of GGRA, thinks the two entities make a great team. “UP Art Studio has done many projects throughout the City of Houston, and we had previously discussed a project to soften the look of the electrical boxes with art,” Bradford said. “They had existing relationships with city officials and local artists. When they approached us, the project seemed like a perfect fit.”

UP Art Studio worked with the GGRA to select the final artwork from renderings submitted by 29 artists. Local artists selected for the Greenspoint project include: FX Crew, Roger Seward, Jessica Guerra, Bret Nix, Anat Ronen and Janavi Folmsbee.

“Public art projects, like Mini Murals, enhance visual appeal and help establish the character and identity of an area,” said Bart Baker, executive vice president and chief operating officer for the Greenspoint District. Baker oversees the District’s Operations, Planning and Infrastructure department, which also works on beautification projects in Greenspoint. “The GGRA has a history of bringing unique public art to Greenspoint and engaging local artists in projects. We appreciate their work in distinguishing our community with unique projects,” Baker added.

Each mural, which has been installed at intersections throughout the Greenspoint area, has a different theme. Current Greenspoint Mini Mural locations include:

Greens Road at Imperial Valley Drive

11200 Airline Drive

Greens Road at Wayforest Drive

Airline Drive at Buckboard Drive

Kuykendahl Road at Rankin Road

Greens Road at Northchase Drive

Airline Drive at Hardwicke Road

Airline Drive and Dyna Drive

Two additional murals are planned to complete this project: Benmar Drive at Greenspoint Drive and Airline Drive at Goodson Drive. For more information about the project and a map of mural locations, visit www.minimurals.org.

LOCAL RACES TIGHT IN MAY 24TH RUN-OFF ELECTION

Harris County will hold a Run-off Election on Tuesday, May 24 for a number of offices where no candidate received a majority (50%+) of the votes in the March 1st Primary election. This is only a Primary Run-off, and the winners will still have to be elected in November.

These include on the Democratic ticket a number of statewide offices, and locally the Harris County Sheriff, with Jerome Moore running against Ed Gonzalez.

For Constable Pct. 3 Michel Pappillion is running against Sherman Eagleton. This is a hotly contested race, which originally had eight candidates, and is expected to bring out many partisan voters. Constable of Pct. 2, George Gaffney is running against incumbent Chris Diaz.

Three District Judge positions are on the ballot, and State Representative District 139, where Kimberly Willis is running against well known candidate Jarvis Johnson. For Justice of the Peace Pct. 1 Place 1 local candidate Tanya Makany-Rivera is running against Eric Carter. For JP in Pct. 7 Place 1, Hilary Green is running against Cheryl Thornton.

These are just a few of the races of local interest on the Democrat slate.

On the Republican side, Railroad commissioner vies Gary Gates vs Wayne Christian, and there are two other races for Judge. The race locally is for State Representive District 128, where the incumbent Wayne Smith is facing a challenge from Briscoe Cain.

Voters are encouraged to vote in this election, because only a few votes could determine the outcome in a run-off where no major races are present. Turnout in this type of election is typically low, and candidates are working to get their supporters to the polls.

Early Voting will start on Monday, May 16 and run through May 20. Hours are from 7 am to 7pm. There are 44 locations in Harris County for Early Voting, and you can vote at any of them. In the East Aldine area, you can vote at the Hardy Senior Center on West Hardy Road, Lone Star College Victory Center, Acres Home Multi-Service Center, Octavia Fields Branch Library Humble, Baldwin Boettcher Branch LIbrary on Aldine Westfield Road, and Kashmere Multi-Service Center. In North Forest, the Northeast Multi-Service Center and the North Channel Branch Library are voting sites.

On election day, May 24, many of these same locations will be where you vote, but only the one where you live. You can check your voting location that day, by going to the website www.harris votes.com and entering your home address.

Man sentenced to 25 years for prom date death

HOUSTON – A 20-year-old man was sentenced to 25 years in prison last Wednesday for the death of his prom date.

A jury found Eddie Herrera guilty in the death of his 2014 prom date in a Houston Hotel room.

Herrera was convicted of aggravated assault in the death of his prom date, Jacqueline Gomez, in May 2014 at a Hyatt Hotel on North Sam Houston Tollway.

The couple attended MacArthur High School prom dance, then went to a hotel room and mixed alcohol and prescription painkillers. Herrera confessed choking Gomez with his hands during sex, but that she was still alive, prosecutors said.

Gomez was found dead in the hotel room the following morning.

During the trial, a paramedic testified that Gomez was dead when he arrived, but the paramedic “was not able to make a decision at this time whether this was a natural death,” he stated.

According to prosecutors, Herrera found Gomez dead when he woke up the next morning. Herrera fell asleep with Gomez in the bed next to him. Herrera then called his mother, who was staying at the same hotel.

The mother is also awaiting trial, she is accused of providing two bottles of whiskey and hydrocodone pills to the teens. She is also accused of dressing Gomez after her son called her.

FEMA, Community organizations provide help to storm victims

HOUSTON – After two weeks of the historic flood, help continues to come to flooded areas and residents. A community meeting and free legal service presentaions where victims can get help and important information have been scheduled for this week.

FEMA Community Meeting – May 3

On Tuesday, May 3, 2016, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s office in coordination with FEMA will provide an informational community meeting at 7:00 pm at Harvest Time Church, 17770 Imperial Valley Drive, Houston, TX 77060.

This meeting will provide citizens, businesses, and organizations impacted by the flooding an opportunity to ask questions and to gather the necessary information to assist them in their full recovery, including identifying the service center locations and their hours of operation, and how to receive financial assistance for loss of personal vehicles.

“I am pleased to announce that FEMA has the authority ‘to provide financial assistance to repair or replace a vehicle damaged by the disaster and other transportation-related cost.’

In addition to assistance for vehicles, FEMA also provides assistance for Medical/Dental; Funerals; Child Care; Personal Property, and Moving and storage expenses.

FEMA Community Meeting – May 5

Congressmen Al Green and Gene Green will also host a FEMA informational meeting, at 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Child Nutrition Center, Aldine ISD, 1802 Aldine Bender.

LSC Free Legal Service Presentations

Navigating through resources available to help disaster victims, especially those who are low-income and/or uninsured/underinsured, can be overwhelming.

To assist victims of the recent floods, Lone Star College is offering a series of workshops with Linda Good, LSCS Board of Trustees chair, and directing attorney for Pro Bono and Disaster Response Units with Lone Star Legal Aid. Good will offer free legal services presentations designed to help answer questions flood victims may have.

“Lone Star College is a part of this community and many of our neighbors and friends are dealing with the aftermath of this horrible storm,” said Dr. Stephen C. Head, LSC chancellor. “I am very proud of how our team is pulling together to help people get back on their feet again as quickly as possible.”

These presentations, hosted by Lone Star Legal Aid, are free and open to both students and the public at the following locations and times:

LSC-Tomball: Tuesday, May 3, 6 – 7 p.m. in Room N103

LSC-University Park: Wednesday, May 4, noon – 1 p.m.

LSC-University Park: Wednesday, May 4, 6 – 7p.m.

LSC-Victory Center: Saturday, May 7, at 9 a.m. in Room 110

“I am so proud of the way Lone Star College has stepped up to help people impacted by the recent floods,” said Good. “I really encourage anyone with questions to attend one of these workshops.”