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Northeast News

On the Fly… Early Teal Season is in Full Swing

For the avid Texas wingshooter, September is life in the fast lane. It opens quickly with dove – arguably one of the swiftest of all gamebirds – and picks up speed when teal roll through the state.
If you missed the opening day of early teal season last Saturday, it may be that it flew by as fast as did the little ducks.

While dove hunting usually takes center stage in September, Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists say hunters shouldn’t overlook the opportunity, not to mention the challenge of teal hunting.

The wet late summer was bad for the opening of dove season, but all the water has been good for the early arriving teal. It seems a little unusual to be sitting in a duck blind in short sleeves in mid-September, sweating and swatting at mosquitoes between flights of clustered teal.

Last year, about 30,000 hunters took advantage of the early season. According to Dave Morrison, TPW waterfowl program leader, hunters harvested about 95,000 birds. “As is the case with all duck hunting, water is the key to success,” says Morrison.

“Teal are showing up on ponds, which is earlier than usual, Morrison noted. “It’s still pretty dry across most of the state, but where there is water, you are probably going to see some birds this year.”

There are three species of these small puddle ducks. Although green-winged and cinnamon teal show up in the bag, blue-wings make up about 96% of the teal harvest during the early season. Like mourning dove, blue-winged teal migrate early, coming through Texas from late August through October. Early teal season was established to provide hunting opportunity on a species that was lightly harvested because its migration is earlier than other ducks.

Because teal numbers remain well above the long-term population goals in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, Texas is allowed to conduct a 16 day early hunting season. The U.S. fish and Wildlife Service estimates that there are 5.8 million blue-wings in this year’s breeding duck population. This year, the early teal season runs September 15-30 statewide. Legal shooting hours for teal are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset. The daily bag limit is four, and the possession limit is eight ducks.

“Hunting teal is usually hit or miss, depending on weather conditions,” said Morrison. ‘What impacts teal season the most is the timing of the cool fronts in September. With a 16 day season, we have the opportunity to bracket the fronts coming through later in the month.”

Hunters along the coast can also take advantage of fall equinox tides that typically arrive in September, according to TPW biologist Todd Merendino in Bay City. “We’re holding some fresh water on Peach Point (Wildlife Management Area) and prospects for big ducks at Mad Island WMA during the general season are looking pretty good. Overall, once the equinox tides start coming in, we should have a pretty good season.”

In addition to the above-mentioned sites, almost 50 other units of public hunting lands covering more than 500,000 acres are available during the September teal season. A $40 Annual Public Hunting Permit is required. These permits are available wherever hunting licenses are sold. A map booklet and dove supplement detailing location and hunting restrictions on public lands will be issued upon purchase of the annual hunting permit from a TPW office or mailed within two weeks if the permit is bought at a retail license outlet.

Teal hunters are also reminded that a $7 special Texas Waterfowl Stamp and a $15 Federal Duck Stamp are required to hunt teal. In addition, certification in the Harvest Information Program is mandatory in order to hunt any migratory game bird in Texas. HIP certification is free of charge and is completed at the time of hunting license purchase. Hunters are asked a few simple questions about their migratory bird hunting activity last season and about their plans for hunting doves, ducks, geese and sandhill cranes this year.
Before the early teal season ends, I intend to take advantage of the brief season to test my shooting skills at hitting the speedy blue-wings.

I’ll have to hurry to make a hunt, and I may have to speed up my shotgun swing to have a chance at a tasty duck dinner.

Delinquent parents risk seizure of Federal tax rebate checks

Q: I heard that the Attorney General’s office can seize federal tax rebate checks from parents who are not making child support payments. How does this work?

A: The Federal Tax Refund Offset Program allows the Office of the Attorney General to seize tax refund and rebate checks from parents who are behind on their court-ordered child support payments. If you are working with the Office of the Attorney General on child support payments, my office will submit your case for IRS offset according to federally specified criteria. If the parent who owes child support is due a refund, the amount of past due payments is taken out of the refund check and sent to the Attorney General’s child support division. In Temporary Assistance to Needy Family (TANF) cases, the State keeps the money to help pay for TANF payments.

In non-TANF cases, the State gives the money directly to the parent and the child(ren).
Cases eligible for a tax refund offset are ones that have delinquent child support orders. For cases receiving TANF, the amount owed by non-custodial parents must be at least $150, and the parent who owes support must be at least three months behind in child support payments.

For non-TANF cases, the amount owed must be at least $500. The case must also involve a child who is less than 18 years of age, or an adult disabled child.

If the parent who owes child support does not file taxes, or is not due a refund or a rebate, there won’t be a collection to repay the child support.
This month, rebate checks resulting from President Bush’s tax reduction plan were intercepted along with IRS refund checks that are collected on a regular basis through-out the year. This year, of 456,957 names submitted, the Office of the Attorney General has collected $103.7 million in IRS rebate and refund checks involving 108,514 delinquent parents.

An estimated $3.3 million came from the intercepted rebate checks alone.

In addition to IRS interceptions, our office uses measures such as income withholding, license suspension and passport denial to compel non-custodial parents to pay.

In the last two years, child support collections by our Child Support Division have increased from $757 million in State Fiscal Year (SFY) 1998 to $1.029 billion in SFY 2000, a 36 percent increase in only two years. The $161 million increase from SFY 1999 to SFY 2000 is the largest dollar increase in child support collections in the history of the Texas program.

We expect to have another record setting year in SFY 2001 ending August 31.

Q: I have to pay school tax, county tax, income tax and nothing is left but bills. Child support is excessive if you have a wife and other children. How can you expect me to pay this?

A: While I appreciate your situation, you must understand that you have both a legal and moral obligation to all of your children, not just the ones in your new family.

State law outlines how much non-custodial parents are required to pay for child support. It is a standard percentage of your income based on the number of children involved. This is not an arbitrary decision meant to punish you.

I understand that you have a new family to support, but you can not turn your back on the children you owe child support to because your relationship with their mother did not work out.

All of your children, not just the ones you live with, need and deserve your support, both financial and emotional.

Legally, you are obligated by court orders to continue your payments. If you stop making payment, you may face legal actions such as a mark on your credit report, a suspended driver’s license or, worse, jail time.

For more information on child support services offered by our office, call us at (800) 252-8014 or visit our Web site at www.oag.state.tx.us.

Pet of the Week

This week’s featured pet is a five-year-old, female Japanese Bob-Tail mix. She is silver and white with grey tabby stripes and a white bib.
Like all the animals at the shelter, she has been spayed and has received all her vaccinations.
If you would like to adopt her or any of the other companion animals that are available at the Harris County Rabies/Animal Control Shelter, go to 612 Canino west of Hardy or call 281-999-3191 for hours and information.

Aldine Ninth Grade takes part in ‘Bone Up On Calcium’ week activities

Aldine Ninth Grade School principal Doris Delaney and student Bruce Kees display Kees’ milk mustache during “Bone Up for Calcium Week.” held at the school the week of September 10-14. Aldine Ninth Grade School was one of 50 schools nation-wide that was selected to spread the word on the importance of students getting more calcium in their diets.

Aldine Ninth Grade principal Doris Delaney and her school were one of 50 schools nationwide selected to spread the word on the importance of students getting more calcium in their diets when the Aldine ISD school participated in “Bone Up On Calcium” week, September 10-14.

“Bone Up On Calcium” week is a new calcium campaign between the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and the Got Milk?/Milk Mustache campaign.

Delaney pledged to help promote the importance of getting the recommended daily intake of calcium by encouraging students to choose milk more often.
“As educators we know kids do better in school when they’re nourished. So, I’m pledging my ‘calcium commitment’ by asking my students to make calcium count everyday and to do what I can to show kids that milk is cool,” Delaney said.

At school, lunchtime used to be milk time, but these days that is not always true. In fact, teenage diets are dangerously low in calcium. Nearly 90 percent of teenage girls and almost 70 percent of teenage boys fall short of current recommendations: 1,300 mg per day, or the equivalent of about four glasses of milk. Health professionals, including the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, are concerned this chronic calcium deficiency is creating lifelong damage, including the risk of stress fractures now and osteoporosis in the future.

The campaign began at Aldine Ninth Grade School on September 10 at when Delaney unveiled her own milk mustache poster. Other events during Monday’s kickoff included Aldine Ninth Grade students being treated to a Got Milk? lunch period. During this time, they received their own milk mustache photos, Got Milk? T-shirts, pens, key chains and celebrity posters. Additionally, students competed in two contests; one contest was “Show Me Your ‘Stache,”’ where students created their own milk mustache poster and told why they should make calcium count, and the second contest was for the best Got Milk? jingle.

Distinguished Gentlemen looking for sponsors

Pictured from left to right: Back row, Rassium Franklin, Parish Johnson, David Galston, Jonavan Payne, Garrett Gradney, Ronald Brooks, Marcus Haynes, Kevin Mcclain and Carolyn A. Figaro, Assistant Principal. Front Row: Marquis White, Alex Harris, Kehinde Prince, Jose Ibarra, Christopher Ray, Johnny Dominguez and Jesus Marin.

Eckert’s Distinguished Gentlemen are busy planning for this exciting school year. The president, Joshua Turner, officers and sponsors agreed to focus on peer pressure, conflict resolution, improving self-discipline, and making appropriate choices. Every Wednesday, each member is required to wear a long-sleeved white shirt and tie.

Eckert’s Distinguished Gentlemen are looking for more sponsors. They meet every Thursday at 4:00 in the gymnasium. If you are interested, please call the school at 281- 985- 6380.

Aldine Community Improvement District Meeting Tonight

The Aldine Community Improvement District will hold a meeting of the Board of Directors on September 18 at 7:00 p.m. at Jed’s Ace Home Center, 5415 Aldine Mail Route.

The meeting is to consider, discuss and adopt such orders, resolutions or motions, and take other direct or indirect actions as may be necessary, convenient, or desirable.
The public is invited to attend the meeting.

CHIP Day at Fiesta to enroll Houston children in low-cost health insurance

More than 77,000 children in Harris County have been enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) since it began on May 1, 2000. Yet, more than 175,000 of the County’s children continue to lack health insurance.

For that reason, the Children’s Defense Fund – Texas, the Gulf Coast CHIP Coalition, and local CHIP outreach organizations will hold the sixth Houston area Fiesta Supermarket CHIP Day on Saturday, September 29 from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Trained volunteers will be on hand to assist families in applying for CHIP and children’s Medicaid at the following 11 Fiesta Supermarkets:
4711 Airline, 11006 Airline, 10401 Jensen, 1020 Quitman, 2300 N. Shepherd, 800 South Wayside, 8320 FM 1960 West, 1603 Spencer Highway, 6200 Bellaire, 2323 Wirt Road, and 3707 Avenue H in Rosenberg,

To apply for CHIP and Medicaid, families should bring ONE of the following proofs of income:

• One check stub from the employer, OR

• Copy of the most recent tax form, OR

• A letter from an employer, verifying the wage earners income.

Services covered by CHIP and Medicaid include regular checkups and doctors office visits, shots and immunizations, eye exams and glasses, dental care, hospital care, and mental health services. Most families will pay no more than $18.00 per month to insure all of their children.

To obtain an application for CHIP and Medicaid, families may call 1-800-647-6558 or download an application from the internet at www.texcarepartnership.com.

The mission of the Children’s Defense Fund is to Leave No Child Behind® and to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.

Northside Law Enforcement Expo provides free family education, fun

Community supporters join area law enforcement agencies to educate residents at the 17th Houston annual Law Enforcement Expo set for September 22 at Greenspoint Mall. From left are HPD Officer M. Wisnoskie, Henry Vogel, Officers R. Munguia, and C. Bertels, the mall’s Julie Drinkwater, North Houston Greenspoint Chamber of Commerce’s Phyllis Oustifine, Harris County Sheriff’s Department”s J. Soleau, Jerry Lowry, Deputy K. Alee, Jesse Fannin and Deputy C. Gwosdz.

The North Houston Greenspoint Chamber of Commerce will provide Houstonians of all ages the opportunity to be up close and personal with the city’s dedicated crime fighters at the upcoming Law Enforcement Expo set for September 22.

“We’re pleased to spotlight the law enforcement agencies who are here to help us,” said Suzan Deison, chamber president. “It’s also a great opportunity to show how much we appreciate them and to inspire our young people to trust law enforcement.”

Each year, this free community event brings together 50 different law enforcement agencies to educate families on the law enforcement resources available to them.

Among the attractions are various vehicles from bicycles to helicopters, emergency medical demonstrations, mounted patrol, K-9 units and drug/bomb detection, as well as video and live presentations for children, fingerprinting and Gizmo the Harris County Sheriff’s Department robot.
The Law Enforcement Expo is set Saturday, September 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Greenspoint Mall.
“We are excited to once again host this annual event,” said the mall’s Julie Drinkwater, director of marketing, Alliance Retail Group. “It gives the community an opportunity to better understand the dedication and commitment of law enforcement officers and thus improve community relations.”

Law enforcement displays will be available inside and outside the mall. This event also gives everyone a chance to make new friends with those who put their lives on the line every day.
An official ceremony with area dignitaries, including Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole, a color guard and proclamations, will be held at noon.

For information, call the Greenspoint Mall at 281-875-4201.

Northline Park Advisory Council gears up for Annual Fall Festival

After seven months of preparation, the Houston Police Department’s Northline Park Storefront and civic club members are ready to host the 16th annual fall festival, on September 29, rain or shine.

The Fall Festival will offer a variety of fun activities, crafts and informational booths. The festival takes place from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Fonville Middle School, 728 East Little York.

According to Paula Parshall, President of the Northline Park Advisory Council, the Northline Park Storefront was the first one to be established in the city over sixteen years ago. The community is in partnership with the City of Houston to provide for the needs of the storefront officers.

Proceeds from previous Fall Festivals provided new carpeting when the storefront moved to its Little York location and purchased bicycles for the officers to use while patrolling the community, as well as computers, a fax machine, tables, cameras, and office supplies.

This year the goal is to raise funds to build a shower for the officers’ locker room and to purchase a badly needed computer. Funds are also needed to purchase smoked turkeys for Thanksgiving baskets and Christmas toys for needy children.
Northline Park Storefront’s Sgt. Bill Wehr said that more than 3,000 people are expected to attend this year’s Festival. The community has always been very supportive of the Fall Festival and the storefront and has provided well for its’s needs.
Sgt. Wehr added that the community benefits from having a storefront in many ways. For example, storefront officers are readily accessible to area residents giving them the opportunity to discuss on-going area problems and concerns that they have. Furthermore, the HPD storefront is able to secure the involvement of other city departments such as neighborhood protection, solid waste, animal control, and narcotics. The officers are committed to making the community a better place to live and work.

The Northline Park Storefront serves an area bounded by Canino Road to the North Loop, 610 to the South, 1-45 on the west and West Hardy on the east.

HISD North District Superintendent Erasmo S. Teran said the festival provides an opportunity for school principals and teachers to get to know the civic club members and help raise money to better meet the needs of the community. Furthermore, it is another opportunity for students to show off their talents and get ready for competitions.

The festival will feature a barbecue dinner catered by Mikeska Bar-B-Q & Catering and served in Fonville’s cafeteria. The cost is $6 and each ticket will give the buyer a chance to win a recliner from Gallery Furniture; a Bar-B-Q Grill from Sears Service Center; or $100 cash from Kemp Construction. Tickets can be purchased from all civic club members, school representatives, and at display tables at area banks and grocery stores. Volunteers will deliver meals to area businesses placing orders for 10 or more. The Master of Ceremonies will introduce guests in a presentation at 11:45 a.m.

Dignitaries that will be attending the Fall Festival are Congressman Gene Green, Senator Mario Gallegos, and Representative Kevin Bailey. Representing the City of Houston will be Council Members Orlando Sanchez, Chris Bell, Gordan Quan, Gabriel Vasquez, and Carol Mims Galloway along with police officials Chief C.O. Bradford, Captain J.A. Lampignano and Lieutenant F. L. Guidry. Superintendent Erasmo S. Teran, Dr. San Juanita Garza, and Board Members Karla Cisneros and Kevin H. Hoffman will represent HISD.

The festival activities include the tug-of-war between officers and fire fighters. The North District schools will provide marching bands, cheerleaders, drill teams, and choirs to entertain the festivalgoers. The children will enjoy the train rides, moonwalks, face painting, a dunking booth, clowns, and a variety of fun games.

For ticket or information, please call Dr. San Juanita Garza at 713-696-7650, 713-694-3087, or the storefront 281-272-4250.

Metal Magic, Creepy Critters Featured at Jones Park

From outdoor adventuring to old-fashioned blacksmithing demonstrations to natural decorations, Jesse H. Jones Park has a variety of programs for you.

Saturday, September 22, the park features a Brownie Outdoor Adventurer Try-It at 9 a.m., followed by a Pioneer Blacksmithing demonstration at 1 p.m. and Sunday’s Nature’s Art program is sure to intrigue you some unique uses of nature’s bounty.

Saturday, September 22 from 9 a.m. to noon, all Brownie scouts are invited for a fun filled morning of nature hikes; games and crafts to earn the Outdoor Adventurer Try-It. Reservations are required.

With the development of iron factories, hand fashioned metal goods has become a virtual lost art. Saturday at 1 p.m., witness this interesting trade first-hand as volunteer blacksmiths heat up the forge at Jones Park’s homestead blacksmith shop. Olden-day blacksmithing devices such as a hand-pumped bellows, stump-mounted anvil and leg vise, are used to demonstrate how metal can be hammered and shaped into a variety of useful and beautiful items.

Everything from acorns to yaupon holly berries can be transformed into creative creatures, tabletop art and interesting conversation pieces. Sunday, September 23 at 2 p.m., renowned naturalist Carmine Stahl leads a fun program demonstrating how natural material found in the forests and fields of our area can be made into Nature’s Art. Reservations are required.

Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center, a Harris County Precinct 4 facility, is located at 20634 Kenswick Drive in Humble. All programs are free of charge and open to the public. Harris County Precinct 4 programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, national origin or disability. For more information on the park or any of its programs, call 281-446-8588.

World leader, Lech Walesa, to speak at North Harris College

Lech Walesa, the former president of Poland, Solidarity movement leader andNobel Peace Prize winner will be speaking at North Harris College, Thursday, Sept. 27, 3 p.m. in the college’s performing arts theater.

Walesa’s topic “Democracy: the Never Ending Battle,” will undoubtedly inspire the audience on the ideals and struggle of democracy around the world. “This is a wonderful opportunity to promote the global dimensions of North Harris College’s programs, students and community members. Attendees will see someone who has made history, and will be read about for many years to come,” says Dr. David Sam, president of North Harris College.

Over the past ten years, a profound democratic revolution has reshaped the world political order and helped secure global economic prosperity. The seeds for this change began in the shipyards of Poland, with the leadership of Lech Walesa.

Walesa, as leader of Solidarity labor union, led a revolt at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk, Poland that inspired fear in the hearts of communist leadership and hope in the hearts of those starved for freedom. Despite martial law, repeated imprisonment, and constant surveillance, Walesa prevailed. His leadership of Solidarity fostered the end of communist rule in Poland, and quickly the seeds of democracy spread throughout Eastern Europe.

Walesa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and has received praise from around the world. He was named Man of the Year by Time Magazine, The London Observer, L’Express, and others. In November 1989, he became the third person in history, after the Marquis de Lafayette and Winston Churchill, to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress. On Dec. 9, 1990, Lech Walesa became the first democratically elected president of the Republic of Poland, serving in that role until 1995.

“The lessons of history, particularly the knowledge that one man can make a difference, are right here. Lech Walesa is an international role model, a key player in the study of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the rebirth of Poland. The goals of democratic reform are never-ending, nor easy, and students need to be reminded of what freedom and democracy actually mean.

North Harris College is honored to have such an extraordinary international and distinguished speaker as Lech Walesa visit the campus,” says Dr. Theresa McGinley, NHC professor of history, and coordinator of the event.

“North Harris College is indebted to Linda Wuest, Executive Director of the Houston World Affairs Council for graciously co-sponsoring this event,” say Dr. McGinley.

This special lecture is free to the public. Seating is very limited, but remote television broadcast will be available around campus.

North Harris College is located at 2700 W.W. Thorne Drive, one mile south of FM 1960, between Aldine-Westfield and Hardy Roads. For more information about the college, call 281-618-5400 or send e-mail to: nhc.startcollege@nhmccd.edu.