HARRIS COUNTY — At least 16 units were damaged early Monday morning, July 13, in a massive 2-alarm fire at a north Harris County apartment complex.
This happened in the Capewood Apartments located in the 4300 block of Aldine Mail Route. The Aldine Fire Department said they were alerted to the fire shortly before 3:30 a.m. When they arrived on scene there was a large fire at the south end of the apartment complex.
All residents were able to get out on their own. Two pets had to be rescued by firefighters. One resident was seen being treated for smoke inhalation.
Just 11 days ago, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo upgraded the COVID-19 public threat level from significant (Orange, Level 2) to severe (Red, Level 1). This is the highest level, and those who live in Harris County are encouraged to follow safety precautions and limit activities outside of their home.
Following this guidance, Aldine ISD has decided to cancel the Class of 2020 outdoor graduation ceremonies, scheduled for July 22-25. District leaders made the decision after reviewing guidance from the Harris County Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Canceling our in-person graduation was a difficult decision to make, but we believe we must act out of an abundance of caution to protect the safety and well-being of our students and families,” said Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney. “I want to thank our families for their patience as we have dealt with this unprecedented situation.”
While the traditional ceremony will not take place, the District held a virtual conferral ceremony on June 1, recognizing the senior class as official graduates of Aldine ISD. During this ceremony, the Aldine ISD Board of Trustees and Dr. Goffney officially recognized the completion of graduating seniors’ high school diplomas. The graduates of the Class of 2020 are officially Aldine ISD alumni.
HARRIS COUNTY – Tuesday, the Democratic and Republican Parties held their Run-Off Primary elections and the results in several races were different than had been predicted.
Jacinto City and vicinity had a showdown between Precinct 2 Constable incumbent Chris Diaz against challenger Lt. Jerry Garcia. This was a close race, with Garcia winning by only 229 votes of 9,505 cast. This race had been marked with negative charges of unethical practices and favoritism on both sides.
Substantially more people voted in the Democratic Party in early voting at several Precinct 3 locations. Early voting counts in Crosby were 744 Democratic and 434 Republican most probably due to the hotly contentious local Precinct 3 Constable race between incumbent Sherman Eagleton, and previous constable Ken Jones, and the fact that there were more contests at issue for the Democrats. Over 150,000 votes were cast county wide on the Democratic ticket. The Republicans drew about 60,000 on their ballot.
Voters are no longer designated to specific voting precincts but habitually tend to vote at locations near where they live and with which they are familiar.
Aldine ISD’s re-entry plan, Return to Learn, will now have all students learning virtually from home for at least the first three weeks of the 2020-2021 school year. The 2020-21 school year begins Monday, August 17.
“We are thankful that the TEA made the decision to allow districts to use virtual learning as an option for the first three weeks,” Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney said. “Aldine will take advantage of this option. Regardless of the model families select —Learning At Home or Learning On Campus — the first three weeks of school will be virtual. As we move forward, we must remain flexible as we continue to monitor the conditions in Harris County and Houston. We will open as fast as we can but as slow as we must.”
Goffney emphasized that the academic school year begins on August 17. She stressed that the three-week remote learning period would help facilitate and ease the transition of the on-campus, back-to-school process for staff and families. The time will also be used for teacher training and planning. The district will continue to monitor local health conditions and reassess as needed throughout the school year.
Grants of up to $25,000 Available; Recipients Will be Selected at End of 10 Day Application Window
Harris County, Texas – July 13, 2020 – Eligible businesses can apply for financial assistance through the Harris County Small Business Recovery Fund today through Friday, July 24. The $30 million grant program, which was unanimously approved by the Harris County Commissioners Court on June 30, prioritizes struggling small businesses that have not yet received funds from other COVID-19 relief programs.
“Small businesses are the backbone of Harris County’s economy, and the pandemic has hit them especially hard,” said County Judge Lina Hidalgo “While county government alone cannot make up for all of the loss, we must do all we can to help as many as we can.”
To be eligible for grants of up to $25,000, applicants must meet the following requirements:
– Must conduct business in Harris County, within Precincts 1-4. Businesses located in the City of Houston are not eligible unless located within Precinct 1
– Must employ fewer than 30 employees (including owner(s))
– Must have been in business for the entire calendar year 2019
– Must be in good standing with local, state, and federal governments with no outstanding tax obligations or liabilities
– Must be able to verify negative impact on operations due to the pandemic
After the application process closes on Friday, July 24, at 3:30 p.m., eligible businesses will be entered into a weighted lottery based on the size of their operation. Program funds are limited and only a subset of qualified applicants will receive grants. Those selected will receive 75 percent of the funds upon approval, and 25 percent of the funds in November 2020.
HOUSTON (June 18, 2020) – Unifying. Diverse. Inclusive. Three things that books, libraries and Census 2020 have in common.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo debuted the fourth of five Yes! to Census 2020 murals on June 23, 2020 at High Meadows Library located at 4500 Aldine Mail Rte. Rd, Houston, TX 77039.
Commissioners Adrian Garcia, Rodney Ellis, and Representative Armando Walle were on site to provide important updates regarding census self-response and why completing the census is so important to secure federal funding for accurate representation and improved resources that are vital to creating vibrant, informed, and progressive communities.
The Aldine mural, like its predecessors, is a visual representation of the urgent need for more citizens to complete their census questionnaire prior to the October 31, 2020 deadline. The design is a “picture-perfect postcard” view of the neighborhood with the caption, “Greetings from Aldine!” The mural was conceptualized and installed by local artist Colors Oner 713. The mural’s location at High Meadows Library has a special significance and deeper relationship to the goal of a complete count with a 100% response rate. Not only is federal funding for libraries determined by the census, but as Census 2020 is the first to be conducted primarily online, libraries remove barriers to census completion by providing a place where citizens who do not have home access to internet services can go to respond to the questionnaire. To that effect, Harris County Library Director Edward Melton will announce that the library will kick off a Yes! to Census 2020 initiative through October 31, 2020, which will include:
Aldine ISD will hold its high school graduation ceremonies in Thorne Stadium, July 22-25.
In the near future, the district will inform students about how they can get tickets for their family members and friends. Social distancing rules will remain in place at all graduation ceremonies.
“We decided to change from an inside to outside ceremonies as a result of the Class of 2020 Celebration that went off so well,” said Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney. “We are aware our seniors wants in-person graduation ceremonies rather than virtual ones and we are more than happy to accommodate them.”
EAST ALDINE – The owners of the event centers Stampede and Escapade have teamed up with local organizations, to provide boxes of food and milk to residents of the area.
The distribution has been happening every Thursday morning, from 7am to 11am, or when the food runs out.
According to club owner Rob Ferdows, an average of 1600 to 2500 persons have been served every Thursday. Cars line up in the large 20 acre parking lot and patiently wait while the food distribution gets under way.
Ferdows says, “The central location and the large parking lot is ideal for events, but also allows us to uniquely help our community during times of need.”
This is not the first time that Ferdows has reached out to help the community. After Hurricane Harvey, they provided food and water for over 8 weeks to the community.
The boxes include fresh fruit and milk, and will be available every Thursday from July 9th through August 27, Ferdows said.
AUSTIN – June 26, 2020 – Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order limiting certain businesses and services as part of the state’s effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. This decision comes as the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 and the number of hospitalizations have increased and the positivity rate in Texas increased above 10%, which the Governor previously stated would lead to further preventative action. The targeted, measured directives in the executive order are based on links between certain types of businesses and services and the recent rise in positive cases throughout the state.
Houston, Tx. – June 15, 2020 — North Channel Star photo journalist Allan Jamail interviewed Mayra Guillen, the missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen’s sister, to obtain this story.
Mayra said, “My sister loved the army. She dreamed about wanting to serve the country. She joined right after graduating from Houston’s César E. Chavez High School at age 18. She graduated in the top 15% of her high school class. In school she was athletic; she liked sports jogging and soccer. At the base she loved to jog and exercise in the gym.”
“Upon joining the army first she was sent to South Carolina for boot camp, and then Virginia for training, before lastly being station at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas. She lived on the base because from our Houston home to the base, it’s a three hour drive.”
“She enjoyed Fort Hood until recently, but then something changed. Shortly before her disappearance she began acting unusual and had trouble sleeping. This never happened before. She finally told our mother (Gloria) she was being sexually harassed by one of her sergeants. Mother tried to convince her to give her the name of the harassing sergeant, but she didn’t want to get mother involved or in trouble. She also said he would follow her whenever she would go jogging or to exercise and how uncomfortable he made her feel. She said she knew of other female soldiers who had reported sexual harassment and the Army didn’t believe them. She felt she could put a stop to it herself. She was ready to take care of his harassment near the time of her disappearance.”
“From the bottom of my heart, I strongly believe my sister is alive. I believe whoever is keeping her hostage is doing it for a reason, because they know that at this point if we find her deceased, it’s going to be much worse, I just hope they’re keeping her okay,” Mayra concluded.
Vanessa’s mother Gloria said, “My nights are long with agony and sadness to think my daughter is suffering so much and being kept away from her family.”
She wants the case to be led by the FBI. The Army Criminal Investigation Command now leads the investigation.