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Northeast News

Houston Parks Department hosts free Junior Golf Festival

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department is inviting boys and girls ages 7-18 to take a swing, a drive, and a putt, in the FREE Junior Golf Festival, September 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Youth will have the chance to learn golf fundamentals in special clinics taught by PGA professionals at the new First Tee Junior Golf Facility at F.M. Law Park located at 8400 Mykawa.

This course is pretty awesome with nine holes, a driving range, putting green, an indoor practice and video learning facility and a pro-shop. And the best part is that this course is for kids only!
In addition to festival activities, all festival-goers can sign up on the green to participate in the free Junior Golf Program. Junior golfers receive free lessons from PGA professionals, and at the end of each session, they receive certificates of completion.

So get into the swing! Parents, bring your youngsters to the festival and register them for the best game in town. For more information, call the Houston Parks and Recreation Junior Golf Office at 713-264-2100.

PSI HomeSavers kicks off fall home repair campaign with call for volunteer crews

PSI HomeSavers, a non-profit founded in 1982 by Rob Mosbacher, is asking crew sponsors to commit to participating in the October segment of the HomeSavers Volunteer Program, according to Bob Conklin, executive director of PSI HomeSavers.

Local churches, schools, civic organizations and corporations that sponsor crews work alone or with another group to complete exterior home repairs. Crews usually have 20 or more volunteers, however, crews as small as 10 may be accepted. Volunteer crews will be dispatched to more than 100 homes to perform essential exterior home repairs Saturday, Oct. 20 and 27. Groups interested in participating in the fall segment should contact HomeSavers at 713-659-2511. The deadline for crew commitment is Friday, Sept. 21.

HomeSavers offers opportunities for volunteer crews of all skill levels. Unskilled crews will be placed at homes needing painting or yard cleanup. Skilled crews perform more complex home repairs including siding replacement, window and doorsills, porch decking and structural repairs.

Low-income homeowners with disabilities or at least 62 years of age are eligible for repairs through the program. Homeowners who are interested in being part of the program should call HomeSavers at 713-659-1806 with their name and address. All repairs are free to qualified clients.

HomeSavers, 20 years old, is a leader in affordable housing in Houston, managing up to $4 million in completed home repair projects annually. Exterior repair projects are delivered through the HomeSavers Volunteer Program and funded by the private sector. New roofs and interiors repairs are funded by the public sector and completed by contractors.

Through the HomeSavers Volunteer Program, volunteer crews sponsored by corporations, churches, schools and non-profit organizations repair home exteriors. Since 1985, HomeSavers has been responsible for almost 3,600 restored home exteriors. The volunteer servant base has expanded to more than 5,000 employees and members volunteering in up to 300 crews annually.

Roof and critical interior repairs are completed by contractors through the Roofs Over Houston and Interior Repairs programs. These programs have delivered more than 1,350 new roofs and more than 1,100 interior system repairs since 1996. In addition to restoring roofs, contractors repair plumbing, electrical systems, foundations and weatherization work including doors, windows, walls and ceilings to provide safe, secure living.
PSI HomeSavers is participating in the Allison Recovery Initiative. Homeowners needing “clean-out” should call 713-822-8815. For repairs, call the IDRA hotline at 713-621-2125.

PSI HomeSavers is located at 1111 Fannin, Suite 1335, Houston, Texas 77002. A nonprofit corporation, PSI HomeSavers initiates and encourages private sector involvement in addressing critical community needs with resources, expertise and compassion. PSI HomeSavers’ primary focus is to deliver home repairs to qualified low-income elder or disabled homeowners. For more information, please call PSI at 713-659-2511 or visit its Web site at

Biotechnology big draw at HCC-NE College Fest

Sharita Smith wants to be a forensic investigator for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Jacqueline Wells wants to obtain the necessary skills to augment her bachelor’s degree in biology and begin a new career after 20 years of being a stay-at-home Mom.

The two met recently at College Fest, and will be classmates by the end of the month in the new biotechnology program at Houston Community College (HCC)-Northeast.

An annual event at HCC-Northeast, College Fest is held each summer to provide prospective students with an opportunity to explore the many certificate and degree programs offered by the College. In an informal setting complete with refreshments and door prizes, participants can meet with counselors to map out career plans, discuss avenues for financial aid, apply for admissions and even register for classes.

Smith and Wells were two of nearly 100 participants that took advantage of the opportunity this year.
An American Chemical Society Minority Scholar, Smith is a recent graduate of ITT with an Associate’s degree in Chemical Laboratory Technology. She heard about HCC-Northeast’s biotechnology program while at ITT and came to visit with department chair Dr. John Galiotos to determine if it fit into her ultimate career plans.

“My goal is to become a forensic scientist with the FBI,” she said, “and a lot of the skills needed for that position can be obtained here at HCC, so I’ve decided to go through the Biotech program here before pursuing my bachelor’s degree at Georgia Tech.”

Mrs. Wells already has her bachelor’s degree.
“I graduated from Prairie View A & M in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology,” she noted, adding: “With the exception of being a substitute teacher off and on, however, I’ve not used my degree because I chose to be a stay-at-home mom in order to be more involved in my children’s activities.”

“Now it’s mom’s turn to begin a new career,” she said, “so I’m coming back to school to acquire skills that, along with my degree, can open up paths of career opportunities. and we’ll just see where they go.”

For more information about registration or the Biotechnology program at HCC-Northeast, call 713-718-8300.

“All Over The Guy” simple love story

“All Over the Guy” has a simple plot as old as love stories or love itself.

Generally speaking, movie audiences like a love story, especially if it has all the essential elements.

It needs a couple who has chemistry together. Check.

It needs likable characters with at least a few complexities. Check.

It needs conflict. Check.

It needs the couple to be apart for a while, or at least a threat of separation, so we long for them to get back together. Check.
It needs humorous and clever, but realistic dialogue. Check.

It needs to have the couple gaze at each other in a way that either reminds us of the person we passionately love or makes us pine for somebody to love. Check.

And most importantly, it needs that emotional punch. It needs that moment in the end when we shed a few tears or get a lump in our throats because the pair either resolves a major conflict and goes off into the proverbial sunset – “Sleepless in Seattle,” “Notting Hill” – or the sad ones– “Casablanca,” “Love Story.” A big check on that point for “All Over the Guy.”

“Guy” may be a small budget, limited release movie, cast with mostly unknowns, but it’s still one of the richest, most honest love stories of the last few years. The fact that the main characters are both male should not stop anybody from seeing this little gem. But it probably will.

Too bad, because this is a cool movie. That the main characters are gay is not the issue. That two people are obviously attracted to each other, but one has commitment problems is the issue.

That life and love and not always easy, is the point. That parents can really screw us up if we let them, is the point. That life is a wonderful, funny mess, is the point.

Dan Bucatinsky wrote the script from his one-act play “I Know What You Are, But What Am I?” (But for the movie he changed the female character to a male) and stars as Eli, the shy, sensitive police blotter editor whose therapist parents treat him and his sister (Christina Ricci) like experiments.
Adam Goldberg plays Eli’s best friend Brett. He’s straight and uses Eli as bait when he finds out a girl he’s interested in (Sasha Alexander) has a male gay best friend. The straight couple fix up Eli with Tom (Richard Ruccolo, who is a sexy mix of Russell Crowe, Kurt Russell, Mel Gibson and Mickey Rourke).

The blind date does not go so well, but when they meet again, accidentally, things go better. Eli is ready for a relationship, but Tom has self-destructive tendencies, inherited from alcoholic parents, which hinders him from letting others too close.

But he does not want to let Eli out of his life. He enjoys going to the flee market with him and talking about movies like “In & Out” and the “Planet of the Apes.”

As Eli and Tom’s relationship goes up and down, their straight best friends get more and more serious. The straight couple is not near as interesting or as believable and honest as the guys are.

Lisa Kudrow from “Friends” and Doris Roberts from “Everybody Loves Raymond” (to name just her latest) are featured in funny cameos. The blunt Roberts is especially memorable. Andrea Martin is rather scary as Eli’s mother. Her condemnation of “In & Out” is a draw dropper.

It is the performances by Bucatinsky and Ruccolo that really shine in “All Over the Guy.” It was obvious from the first scene, when Ruccolo talks about his life at an AA meeting, that “All Over the Guy” had real promise in the acting department. Check.

Don’t be afraid, the movie is not sexually explicit. There is some frank talk about sex and the guys kiss passionately and wiggle around under the sheets a bit, but it’s all more about relationships then sexuality. Rated-R

Rep. Green and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Reyes to host Hispanic Issues Forum

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) Congressman Gene Green (D-Houston) will host a Hispanic Issues Forum to address issues critical to Houston’s Hispanic communities.

Green and Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Silvestre Reyes (TX-El Paso) will be speaking to representatives from the League of United American Citizens (LULAC), the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement about economic development, access to health services for minorities, education, and immigration.

The event will be held on Wednesday, September 5th at 9:30 a.m. at the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans multi-purpose education building (AAMA).

Learn environmental education at Jones Park on Saturday

Looking for new and interesting ways to educate children about nature and the environment? Then Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center’s Project Learning Tree Educator Training Workshop Saturday, September 8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. should give you the tools necessary to help satisfy children’s curiosity about these important topics.

Project Learning Tree is a renowned workshop covering a variety of Pre-K through eighth-grade environmental curricula grouped by theme, storyline and subject matter. Crafted to meet national and state standards, the program provides the tools educators need to bring the environment into their classrooms and their students into the environment.

Participants receive the Pre-K through 8th grade curriculum guide, which includes over 96 activities and participating teachers may also be eligible for professional development credit hours. A minimal fee is required to cover materials. Reservations are required and are being taken now.

Sunday, September 9, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., the Second Sunday Pickers take center stage in the nature center for a lively informal concert featuring folk music of ages past. Visitors can just sit back and enjoy the music, or bring their own instruments and join in.

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.

Students may be eligible for disaster assistance

College students who lost personal property due to Tropical Storm Allison may be eligible for slate or federal disaster assistance. Disaster assistance may be available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Small Business Administration or from the State of Texas, Division of Emergency Management.

“We want to make sure that returning college students know that they can register for assistance due to flood damage to their personal property.” said Duke Mazurek, state-coordinating officer for the recovery effort.

Determination of benefits will depend on the circumstances in each individual case.
Rental assistance may be available to students who need to relocate due to flooding. If a student, however, has been provided housing by insurance or from the university, FEMA will not duplicate that assistance.

If private property, including an automobile, is in the possession of a student, but in fact are owned by the parent, to receive assistance the owner of the damaged property must be the one to register with FEMA. The national toll-free number is 1-800-462-9029 (For persons with speech or hearing impediment, the TTY number is 1-800-462-7585).

The deadline to apply is September 7. Normal registration hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.

More Texas students take SAT, scores stable

AUSTIN (AP) – More Texas high school seniors than ever before took the SAT college entrance test this year, the Texas Education Agency announced last Tuesday.

The agency said 111,277 seniors took the exam, an increase of 39 percent since 1991.

Scores on the test remained relatively stable.
Texans scored an average 493 out of a possible 800 on the verbal section, a gain of five points since 1991. Math scores dropped from 500 to 499.

“As more students take a test, scores tend to fall,” Education Commissioner Jim Nelson said Tuesday. “However, we want our scores to rise.”

Nelson pointed to recently passed legislation that would automatically enroll students in the recommended high school curriculum that contains more advanced college-preparatory courses. Students could opt out of that curriculum level with permission from the school and from their parents.
According to the nonprofit College Board, owner of the SAT, Texas males outscored females on the math test, earning an average score of 516 compared to 485 for women.

Texas males also scored higher on the verbal section, 497 to a female average of 489.

Fifty-four percent of the seniors who took the SAT in Texas were female.

Scores for white students were higher than those of minority students.

White students averaged 523 on the verbal and 528 on math. Black students scored 425 on the verbal and 421 on math. Hispanic students scored 448 on the verbal and 453 in math. Asian students earned an average score of 506 in verbal and 565 on the math section.

The three most popular college majors for those taking the test were health professions and allied services; business and commerce, and engineering technologies.

The University of Texas, Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University were the three public institutions students most frequently asked scores to be sent to. The three top private institutions were Baylor, Rice and Texas Christian University.
Introduced in 1926, the SAT is designed and administered by the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, N.J. Used in tandem with high school grades, the tests are meant as a predictor of first-year performance at college.

New principal at Aldine Ninth Grade School

Mr. Luis Pratts, who was an assistant principal at the Aldine Ninth Grade School, is the new principal at Aldine Middle School. Mr. Pratts, who is originally from Puerto Rico, received his Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Sam Houston State University. He has been with the Aldine district for four years. The Aldine faculty recently welcomed Mr. Pratts to the campus with refreshments in the library. Pictured from left to right are Regina Thompson, David Brenek, Rene Smith, Mr. Pratts, Craig Kichty, Tim Mrazek, and Debra Jones.

Aldine Middle School Open House

Aldine Middle School will hold oOpen House from 6:30 umtil 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 13th.
The LMC will be holding a Book Fair during the Open House and various other community services will be offered.

Grantham Academy Open House

Grantham Academy for Engineering would like to extend a cordial invitation to all parents, grandparents and guardians to attend an Open House on Thursday, September 3 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Everyone is also invited to attend the Scholastic Book Fair that week. It will be open Monday through Friday from 8:10 to 4:00 p.m. and Thursday evening from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.