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Northeast News

County raises COVID threat level

INCREASE IN COVID-19 HOSPITALIZATIONS TRIGGERS INCREASE IN HARRIS COUNTY COVID-19 THREAT LEVEL

Harris County, Texas – On January 10, 2022, Judge Lina Hidalgo announced that she is raising the county’s COVID-19 Threat Level Indicator from Level 2: Orange to Level 1: Red. A surge of the highly contagious Omicron variant has contributed to an increase in COVID transmission across Harris County.

Level 1 signifies a severe and uncontrolled level of COVID-19 transmission in Harris County. Residents experiencing symptoms should get tested and avoid contact with others, assuming they have COVID until they confirm otherwise. Any gatherings should be held outdoors and ideally with masking. Unvaccinated residents should avoid all gatherings and get vaccinated immediately.

“We’re finding ourselves again at a point in this pandemic where hospital staff are being stretched way too thin,” said Judge Hidalgo. “We owe it to our nurses, doctors, and teachers to take steps to protect ourselves and give them a break. If you have been on the fence about getting vaccinated, now is the time to roll up your sleeve. We are in the midst of a COVID-19 tsunami and our best defense are vaccines and booster shots. We’ve been here before, but this time we have more tools available and a better understanding of this virus.”

The COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine booster continues to be available at no charge for all Harris County residents. To find out more information, locations and hours, click ReadyHarris.org.

Hidalgo said she made the decision because hospitalizations and ICU cases have spiked at area hospitals, along with the positivity rate.

Woman killed, Deputy injured in Chase Crash

The Sheriff’s Deputy’s car burns and smokes after the collision with another car at Laura Koppe. It lost control and smashed into a store’s parking lot.

NORTHEAST HOUSTON — An innocent driver was killed, and two children and a deputy are in the hospital, after a chase on Wednesday night involving a robbery suspect ended in a violent crash. The chase was the result of a man committing two robberies along the Eastex Freeway, one at an Exxon Station and the other at a CVS.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said that at about 10:42 p.m. deputies were responding to a call of an aggravated robbery at a CVS in the 10800 block of the Eastex Freeway and Tidwell. A sheriff’s deputy saw a man leaving the CVS wearing a mask and getting into a car that matched the description he heard on the scanner. When the deputy tried to stop him, the man kept going, sparking the pursuit.

Gonzalez says that at 10:49 p.m., the deputy called in that they were chasing someone, possibly in a Lincoln town car. By 10:52 p.m., the deputy’s radio went silent.

Seven cars were involved in the crash. At left, the black car which contained the family and the woman who was killed.

WIC benefits extended through March 2022

HOUSTON – Women and children will have an added value to their Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefits with another temporary extension of fruits and vegetables.

On December 3, 2021, the Further Extending Government Funding Act of 2022 was authorized to give WIC agencies across the country the opportunity to increase the Cash-Value Voucher/Benefit (CVV/B) for fruit and vegetable dollars beginning January 1, 2022 ending March 31, 2022.

The Houston Health Department’s WIC program provides nutritious foods and nutritional counseling and education to low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding moms, infants and children up to the age of 5. Single fathers, grandparents and foster parents are also eligible for WIC services for their children.

Pct. 2 opens James Driver Inclusive Park

Present at Saturday’s Ribbon Cutting for the new park were government officials, medical professionals, and community residents. In the photo above, City Councilman Robert Gallegos, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, Harris County Pct. 2 Parks director Jose Jimenez, speaker Flora Fuentes, Commissioner Adrian Garcia, Memorial Hermann TIRR representative Peggy Turner, a family with a handicapped daughter, State Senator Carol Alvarado, Pct. 2 Liaison Selina Valdez, and others.

New concept to serve all persons in the County

ALDINE – A new concept in county parks was unveiled last Saturday, at the James Driver center on Bentley. Harris County Pct. 2 commissioner Adrian Garcia has made new parks and trails one of the priorities in his term in office, and this park renovation held special significance to the public and to him.

The Opening Ceremony included the MacArthur Color Guard, the Houston Brass Band, scores of officials, many persons with disabilities, and over a hundred private citizens interested in the unique features of the park. Emcee for the event was capably handled by Kaitlan Monte of Fox26 news.

In his opening remarks, Garcia explained that he had always noted the difficulties that handicapped had functioning in public, and he vowed to make a difference for them. Thus, his concept for an “all-inclusive” park with features that persons with disabilities could use successfully was formed. In developing the concept, he had help from medical experts in several fields, including the Memorial Hermann TIRR rehabilitation staff. He noted that his reason for holding office in Pct. 2, and developing facilities such as this park, was because “I came here to try to make a difference. His motto for dealing with neglected areas, such as Aldine, is to “Revive2Thrive,” with improvements in sidewalks, drainage, and parks and trails. He expects this park to lead to further economic development in the Aldine area.

East Aldine Mgmt. District celebrates its 20th Anniversary

LEFT: EAMD Executive Director David Hawes, Board Chair Joyce Wiley, and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Adrian Garcia with a proclamation congratulating the District on its accomplishments in the 20 years of its existence. // RIGHT: Special recognition was awarded to Virginia Bazan, for her service to the District and the community, supporting local institutions such as BakerRipley and MacArthur High School with her time and efforts.

By Gilbert Hoffman

The East Aldine District held their annual awards banquet for the first time in their new headquarters building last Thursday night. Over 100 guests, including community leaders and interested citizens, attended the gala affair. The event had special significance, because it marked the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the district, and its service to the Aldine community. Its original charter by the state of Texas included its stated goal of improving the Quality of Life for the residents of the area.

East Aldine’s executive director, David Hawes, served as the emcee for the evening. In his welcoming remarks, he noted the success of the District. Having started in 2001 with income from the sales tax of about $800,000, the economic growth of the District has meant that annual revenue from the sales tax now equals about $12 million dollars.

The District in turn uses this money toward achieving the original goals. Programs and activities paid for by the district include public safety, educational programs and scholarships, improved water and drainage systems, economic development, and mobility concerns such as roads, signage, lighting and sidewalks. Over the last 20 years, the District has been able to add $50 million dollars in improvements to the infrastructure of the area.

Harris County Commissioners Approve New Precinct Lines

NEW PRECINCT BOUNDARIES ARE INDICATED IN COLOR. OLD BOUNDARIES ARE INDICATED WITH LINES.

By Judge Lina Hidalgo

HARRIS COUNTY – Based on the new census data released earlier this year, Harris County is required to redraw its commissioner precinct maps to reflect changes in population and comply with the “one person, one vote” principle. As one of the fastest growing communities in America, redistricting is important because it ensures that each elected precinct commissioner represents a roughly equal number of residents as populations shift over time.

The County undergoes this process every ten years and it is important to know what redistricting does and does not do. This redistricting process will ensure that every resident in our community has fair and equal representation in our county government. Redistricting will not cause any interruption of road and bridge maintenance. Your access to parks, community centers, libraries and other county facilities is not affected by which precinct you live in. Ambulance and police services likewise are not impacted by any changes to commissioner precinct redistricting. Additionally, any changes to precinct boundaries will be accompanied by proper and timely planning across Harris County government to ensure a smooth and seamless transition.

Driver All-Inclusive Park opens Saturday

ALDINE – One year ago, Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia held a groundbreaking for a new type of public park, that he named “all-inclusive.” This Saturday, the public is invited to the Grand Opening of that park, with a ribbon cutting ceremony that starts at 11:00 am at the park on Bentley, adjacent to the Northeast Community Center.

James Driver Park will be a regional destination for persons of all ages and abilities.

Commissioner Adrian Garcia said, “We have to make sure that we recognize the fact that people, children in particular, with physical and cognitive disabilities are among the largest underrepresented minority groups in the Houston/ Harris County area, and we need to do more for them.”

“This park will be addressing an entire spectrum of special needs – a space where children with disabilities can play alongside with friends and siblings, as well as their parents, caregivers, physical therapists, educators, or even physicians.”

The $7.6 million project, has already been recognized as having an important role in the county.

Aldine ISD Opens New Young Women’s Leadership Academy

YWLA Student Katelyn Herrera, Assistant Superintendent Latonia Amerson, Board Trustee Rose Avalos, Board Trustee Connie Esparza, YWLA Principal Dr. Jericah Jackson, Former Aldine ISD Board of Trustee and Campus Namesake, Otice Parker, Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney, CEO of YWPN Lynn McBee, Board of Trustee Paul Shanklin, Chief Transformation Officer Adrian Bustillos and YWLA Student Joelena Danful.

On Friday, November 19, the district held an official opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newest school Aldine Young Women’s Leadership Academy at Parker (YWLA). The all-girls campus opened its doors to sixth and seventh-grade girls on August 16.

Special guests present included Yuroba Harris with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s Office, Ayanna Pierre with State Representative Senfronia Thompson’s Office, Miriam Laeky with the Office of Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Jo-Anne Reed with the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Education, Lynn McBee, CEO of Young Women’s Preparatory Network, Rick Ogden, former Aldine ISD Board Member, Otice Parker, former Aldine ISD Board Member and Aldine Young Women’s Leadership Academy at Parker namesake, and business and community partners.

YWLA has been a two-year journey. Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney first mentioned a single-gender school during the 2020 State of the District ceremony.

“I promised that I would create a school for girls. We wanted our young women to have a space where they felt empowered. We wanted our young women to have leadership opportunities and unique learning experiences, including a chance to hear directly from women working in STEM fields. Allowing them to explore career pathways and thrive academically and socially. It has truly been a labor of love. This school and this environment will further support our girls as they journey towards success,” Goffney said.