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Northeast News

Walle presents Legislative update to Green Forest Civic Club

State Representative Armando Walle talked to the Green Forest Civic Club and other interested members of the public, about the accomplishments of the 86th Legislative session, that ended in June.

By Gilbert Hoffman

The Green Forest Civic Club hosted a Town Hall meeting last Tuesday night, at which State Representative Armando Walle updated the audience on the accomplishments of the 86th Legislative session that just ended in June.

The meeting held at the offices of the East Aldine District was attended by Civic Club members and a large group of the public and interested citizens, including the Melrose, Castlewood and Colonial Hills Civic Clubs.

Walle recounted how he first served in the Legislature in 2009, and that this was his 6th term. That seniority has allowed him to be appointed to some important committee assignments, including Higher Education, Appropriations, and Redistricting. He also was on the conference committee that determined final edits to the state’s two-year budget, which this session amounted to $250 Billion dollars. He noted that this is the 10th largest budget in the world, ahead of most counties and states.

Highlights of the session and the budget include passing of HB3, a School Finance Bill that included $12 Billion for comprehensive school programs. These now include Full-Day Pre-K funding for eligible four-year-olds, an increase of $6.5 Billion for public schools, including a $2 Billion amount for educator pay increases, a 20% increase in per-student base funding.

Retired teachers also got a pay raise amounting to about $2000. The landmark HB3 (House Bill 3) was authored by Representative Dan Huberty, and co-authored by Walle and others.

Walle said that other highlights of the session included property tax relief that will take effect in 2020, and increase the next year.

To deal with the problem of flooding and flood relief, the Legislature set $2.1 Billion for Hurricane Harvey victim’s recovery, and another $1.8 Billion in flood mitigation to reduce future floods. He noted ongoing flood control projects for Halls Bayou and Greens Bayou.

Walle was able to get funds to improve parks in his district, including $1 Million for rebuilding Melrose Park, and $1 Million each for Squatty Lyons and Keith-Wiess parks.


Haverstock Hills fire ruled arson; suspect wanted


The Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office and Crime Stoppers need the public’s assistance in providing any information regarding the location of James London, 23. London has been charged with arson for his involvement in the fire at the Haverstock Hills Apartments that occurred on Aug. 23.

After talking to witnesses and conducting a scene examination, investigators determined London started a fire after a domestic dispute with his girlfriend.

Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to felony charges or an arrest of the suspect(s) in this case. Information may be reported by calling (713) 222-TIPS (8477) or submitting tips online at All tipsters remain anonymous.

Community Engagement Meeting for the Halls Bayou Tributary and Stormwater Detention

The Harris County Flood Control District will hold a Community Engagement Meeting for the Halls Bayou Tributary P118-21-00 and Related Stormwater Detention Project. The purpose of this meeting is to inform residents about the status of the project and share project information.

The Halls Bayou Tributary P118-21-00 and Related Stormwater Detention Project focuses on several components to improve the conveyance of stormwater and to reduce flooding risks in this area including:

— Excavation of unnamed Stormwater Detention Basins, HCFCD Units P518-11-00 and P518-21-00; and

— Related channel conveyance improvements to Tributary P118-21-00.

This project will be funded with bonds approved by Harris County voters on August 25, 2018. Community engagement is an important component of the Bond Program, and we invite your participation as the program is implemented.

The Community Engagement Meeting will be held on:

Wed., Sep. 11, 2019
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
BakerRipley East Aldine Campus
3000 Aldine Mail Route Road, Suite A
Houston, Texas 77039

ALDINE: Public Meeting on Concrete Materials plant

Aldine residents are invited to a public meeting to learn about an application request from Rocket Materials, LLC to construct a concrete batch plant at Pinafore Lane near Aldine Bender and Hardy Toll Road in Aldine.

This will be a good opportunity to voice your comment in a public forum and obtain information from appropriate state agency.

Monday, Sep. 9, 2019
6:30 p.m.
BakerRipley East Aldine Campus
3000 Aldine Mail Rt.

This public meeting is in conjunction with State Representative Armando Walle, East Aldine District, BakerRipley and Texas Commission of Environmental Quality.

World class BMX Bike Park opens in North Houston

ROCKSTAR ENERGY BMX BIKE PARK as seen in this aerial view, with nearby I-45 frontage road at upper left. Stands hold 3500 spectators.

NORTH HOUSTON – A ribbon cutting was held last Friday, August 16 for a huge new World Class Bike Park and BMX track. This $25 million dollar project was funded by the North Houston Development Corporation, and is expected to be a major attraction for bike enthusiasts and fans.

The ribbon cutting was unusual, with the participants arriving at the line mounted on bikes. Included were Mayor Sylvester Turner, Pct. 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Councilman Jerry Davis, NHDC executive director Sally Bradford, HCH Sports Authority CEO Janis Burke, Rockstar Energy VP Paul Tarney, and WCMX President Gretchen Bailey.

The new bike park occupies 20 acres of the 30 acre recreation site, which also includes the largest skate park in America, and Dylan Park, designed for children with all types of abilities.

The development includes 11 attractions: a BMX track, BMX Super Cross trails, Pump Track, Dirt Jump Track, Streetriding Plaza, Multi-skills trails, Bike Skills area, Tot Track, Bowl Riding Performance Pavilion, and Bayou Trail Walking connections.


Major fire in Haverstock Hills apartments displaces 24 families

EASTEX FIRE DEPARTMENT Aerial Ladder Truck arrives at the fire at Haverstock Hills Apartments.

ALDINE – A major fire in the ill-fated Haverstock Hills Apartments on Aldine Bender Road destroyed one complete building early Friday morning, and displaced at least 24 families.

The two-alarm fire occurred about 3:00am on Friday morning, and the Eastex Fire Department and others responded. It took several hours to put out the fire, which left a pile of charred wood on the upper floors of the building. The firemen were still putting out hot spots as the morning dawned.

There were no injuries to residents or firefighters, but early reports said that one resident was missing, who was found later. Many of the residents said they lost everything in the fire. The apartment management was attempting to relocate families in available units in the complex.

EARLY MORNING HOURS on Friday show the extent of the damage to the building at Haverstock Hills Apartments. The top floor and roof of the building are completely destroyed, and lower floors have some smoke and water damage. The building is uninhabitable and will need to be taken down.


A New Way Forward for Aldine ISD: It’s time to focus on choice and opportunities

By Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney

This week, 124 freshmen are walking through the doors of a new high school.

Rose Avalos P-TECH School is a state-of-the-art high school designed to create pathways for students from high school to college. The Pathways in Technology program ensures that students graduate high school with workforce certificates and an associate degree from Lone Star College. Students will also have internships and career development opportunities. Principal Diana del Pilar, an Aldine ISD graduate, is charged with ensuring her students’ learning ties to the real-world needs of tomorrow. This is the future of Aldine ISD.

Nearly 70,000 Aldine ISD students started the 2019-2020 school year this week. During my listening tour last year, I heard from many of our students and their families. I agree with what they said should be our priority: Aldine ISD must do more to ensure that students receive a dynamic and unparalleled education that guarantees choices and opportunities today and in the future.

We must ensure that Aldine ISD students are receiving the highest-quality education. Providing innovative programming like Avalos P-TECH does just that.

Last year that included creating a pre-kindergarten pilot for three-year-olds at several early childhood schools, which resulted in 111 of our youngest scholars getting a head start. It also meant opening the Dr. Archie L. Blanson Career & Technical Education High School. The campus offers a unique learning setting that allows students to receive a diploma while working on a workforce certificate that can lead to an immediate job or be built upon at a college or university after high school graduation.

This school year, Aldine ISD families will have access to several new programs that offer additional opportunities and choices.


Stephens Elementary and Aldine ISD get high ratings, says TEA

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath presents the new A to F evaluation system, while Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick listens.

ALDINE – Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath, along with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, visited Aldine ISD’s Stephens Elementary School on Thursday, Aug. 15 as part of their trip across Texas to feature schools that made tremendous gains in the state’s AF accountability rating system during the 2018-19 school year.

Stephens Elementary moved from a ‘D’ to an ‘A’ campus in the state’s A-F accountability ratings in one year.

Joining Commissioner Morath and Lt. Gov. Patrick at the event were Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney, AISD Board President Steve Mead, Board Vice President Connie Esparza, Board Secretary Dr. Kimberley Booker, Board Asst. Secretary Paul Shanklin and Board Members Patricia Ann Bourgeois and Rose Avalos.

Morath applauded the work Stephens principal Shauna Showers and her staff performed turning the school around in just a year’s time, and lauded Aldine for moving to a ‘B’ district.

“Aldine has about 65,000 students (there are 20 districts of this size in Texas, called ‘very large districts’) and of these very large districts Aldine gained the most in student achievement, second most in school progress, and second most overall,” Morath said. “Perhaps even more interesting, 87% of Aldine ISD kids receive free and reduced lunch – meaning Aldine is the highest poverty, very large district in Texas, and yet you’re outpacing them all in terms of improvement.”

Close to 90% of Stephens’ students are classified as economically disadvantaged and half of their students are English language learners.

Lt. Gov. Patrick singled out Showers and her staff for the outstanding gains they made in one year.

“This is an incredible day,” the Lt. Gov. said. “You (speaking to Showers) did it in one of the toughest environments possible. We are here to celebrate individuals schools and school districts that have excelled.”

Dr. Goffney thanked Commissioner Morath and Lt. Gov. Patrick for showcasing Stephens Elementary and Aldine ISD and added the work is just beginning in Aldine.


New facilities to be built at Squatty Lyons Park

Mayor Turner with Armando Walle, and other officials at the dedication ceremony Wednesday.

$3.1 Million Squatty Lyons Park Renovation to Provide Sports Improvements for Northside residents

Mayor Sylvester Turner; State Representative Armando Walle, District 140; Council Member Karla Cisneros, District H; Matthew Fougerat, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Local Park Grants Coordinator; Alex Aguilar, Vice-President, North Houston American Little League, and the Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) will break ground on a $3.1 million sports field and park amenities improvement project at Squatty Lyons Park, 1701 Chamberlain Street, 77093, on August 15th at 12:30 pm.

The Phase II renovations to this new sports experience complex will complete the Squatty Lyons Park Master Plan and re-design all outdoor recreation amenities to increase participation and engage neighborhood residents in outdoor activities. Ball field renovations will include new fences, backstops, dugouts, leveling, grading, repairing and sodding all fields, repairing/ replacing lighting, and installing new irrigation systems. Other improvements include a new playground with units for 0 to 5 and 5 to 12 years with swings, a new concession building with restrooms, a loop walking trail and exercise station, refurbishing the two parking areas to add over 100 additional parking spaces, and landscaping with native plantings. The project’s $3.1 million cost includes the total construction budget (including contingency, engineering and materials testing, and civic art) and design cost. Renovations are expected to be completed in the Spring of 2020.

“The second phase of improvements to this park are a vivid example of how my staff and I are providing upgrades to neighborhood parks, not just the showcase parks in our city,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “I am already looking forward to the great experiences young people, adults and families will enjoy as a result of this work.”

SITE PLAN from Houston Parks Department and Clark-Condon Landscape Architects shows a new baseball field, new softball field, new T-Ball Field, refurbishing of the three existing fields, and in addition new parking, playgrounds, picnic areas, and walking trails. The park is at the corner of Cromwell and Hardy Toll Road in the East Aldine District.


HCC North Forest opens new facilities

Ribbon cutting participants included HCC-NE President Monique Umphrey, Maxine Lane-Seals, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, HCC Chancelor Cesar Moldonado, HCC Board Chair Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, Judge Joe Stephens, Millicent Edwards, and many others from the HCC and North Forest community, past and present.

NORTH FOREST – After many years of planning and construction, the Houston Community College Northeast finally was able to open their new North Forest expansion facilities at a ceremony last Tuesday morning. The complex of buildings will house a new academic wing, expanded work force offices, and a unique auto maintenance training facility.

Dr. Cesar Maldonado spoke about the importance of the new campus not only being an educational opportunity, but a driver of economic development for the whole community.

The hour-long ceremony was not only a chance for HCC educators to speak about the new programs and opportunities, but it also became somewhat of a reunion party for all the past North Forest school officials that had endured closure of their district, and hoped this was a closure of their educational future achievements.

The main speaker for the event was Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who had worked to save the old North Forest ISD, and now was able to help bring funding for the new community college campus to the area. She spoke about not only the present opportunities, but also a vision of expansion into a complete campus. She noted that there was a lot of vacant land adjacent, and saw the North Forest campus expanding again. She congratulated the community leaders that had worked hard to bring the campus into North Forest. She noted that it had taken several attempts to bring the promised funds into reality for the college.