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Posts published in “Day: March 12, 2002

AISD’s MOC to host first annual GHABCA All-Star Game

The M.O. Campbell Center will host the first annual Adidas Greater Houston Area Basketball Coaches Association (GHABCA) All-Star Game, set for April 20.

The announcement was made at a press conference on March 4 at the MOC by GHABCA President Steve Buckelew, who also serves as the head basketball coach at Pearland High School.

”We wanted a first-class facility to hold our inaugural game, and the Campbell Center is definitely that,” he said.

The game will pit the top 40 players from the Houston area in two games, as the North will take on the South and the East will take on the West. Aldine ISD will be represented on the North squad by Aldine High’s Domonic Williams, a 6-3 senior who averaged 13 points and 12 rebounds per game this past season.

The game will also feature four of the Houston area’s all-time winningest coaches as well. University Interscholastic League (UIL) prohibits current coaches from coaching in the game, so the GHABCA called on four retirees who all have impressive resumes.

Former Houston Madison coach Paul Benton will coach the North squad. Benton compiled a 749-318 record during his 33 years as a head coach. His 1985 Madison team finished 40-0 en route to the state championship.

The South squad will be led by former Clear Lake coach Bill Krueger, who compiled a 1,096-250 record during his 37-year tenure as a head coach. Krueger retired following the 1995-96 season as the winningest boys’ high school basketball coach in the nation. He took Clear Lake to the state tournament three times.

Leading the East squad will be former Port Arthur Lincoln coach James Gamble, who compiled a 670-226 record during his 28 years at PAL. Gamble led Lincoln to three Class 4A state titles and one Class 5A state title during his illustrious career.

Don Coleman, who compiled an 890-332 record during his 34-year coaching career, will lead the West squad. Coleman coached at Aldine High School from 1958-62, where he forged a 104-64 record before moving on to Memorial High in 1963.

Coleman retired in 1992 after 16 district titles, four trips to the state tournament and one state title in 1966.

Admission is free, but those attending can make a donation of canned food items, which will go to the Houston Food Bank, or make a cash donation to the GHABCA scholarship fund.

For more information, contact Aldine ISD’s athletic department at 281-985-6100.

‘Time’ and again

The idea of time travel has fascinated people for years. Just look how many movies have been made involving the concept: the “Back to the Future,” “Terminator” and “Planet of the Apes” films, “Peggy Sue Got Married,” “Timecop,” “12 Monkeys,” “Stargate” and enough others to fill columns.

For the third time, but surely not the last, H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine” is in theaters again.

Thankfully, it’s a satisfying ride through the past and future chock-full of relevant messages for the present. “The Time Machine” may start out slow and contain moments of illogical silliness, but it’s involving, exciting old-fashioned fun.

“Time” can be enjoyed as strictly mindless escapism if you chose, but if you care to step it up a notch – it can be thought provoking in regard to the nature of progress and evolution, how machinery can stilt our emotional well being and how people are more important than things.

Interesting note: director Simon Wells (“The Prince of Egypt”), in his live-action debut, is the great-grandson of the author – at least according to the press kit for the movie.

Interesting note number two: Alan Young (of “Mr. Ed” fame), who played David Philby – the time traveler’s friend in the first movie – has a cameo as a flower seller this time around. Mark Addy (“The Full Monty,” “A Knights Tale”) is the caring Philby in this version.

Interesting note number three: the exotic young lady who plays Mara is a popular singer and songwriter in her native Ireland. Samantha Mumba, in her feature film debut, is of Irish and Zambian descent. Also making his film debut as Mara’s young brother is Mumba’s brother Omero.

Since I’m not familiar with Wells’ original work, any comparisons refer to the popular 1960 version of the movie with Rod Taylor, which I’ve not seen for at least a dozen years.

This time around the time traveler does have a name. Guy Pearce (“Memento”) plays Alexander Hartdegen, an overly earnest, absent-minded professor who pays more attention to gadgets and numbers than he does his love. That is until she dies. In an effort to change the past, Alexander builds a time machine.

He realizes that even going back in time can’t change the destiny of his love so he travels ahead to find answers in the supposedly enlightened future.

Things go wrong – as they usually do when one fools around with this kind of stuff – and after two interesting, but unsuccessful trips to the mid 2000s he’s hurled so far into the future that it’s as if time has turned the circle and started over again. It turns out that we have de-evolved and live in really cool bird-nest like structures on cliffs for really un-cool reasons.

There are nasty people who live underground and emerge only to catch food. Guess who’s coming to dinner?

The Morlocks are ruled by Jeremy Irons (“Reversal of Fortune”), one of the greats at playing evil.
The original was noted for its special effects. Well, it’s no surprise that the effects are even better this time. Especially memorable is Orlando Jones (“The Replacements,” “Evolution”) as one cool library database.

Don’t think about how the database – a hologram figure on large glass panels – could possibly still be working thousands of years later. Also, it’s difficult to understand why the bad guys don’t just kill Alexander or take his machine immediately. There are other questions better left unasked – like the whole time travel concept to begin with –it’s best that you just enjoy.

Try not to hate Pearce’s acting before his girlfriend dies, he gets better. I blame the director for his intense goofiness. After her death, his character changes and is more interesting – or maybe it’s the movie as a whole that’s more interesting, thus making him less irritating. Rated-PG-13 for intense sequences of action violence

Tami Schuler named Dunn Elementary Teacher of the Year

Fourth grade math teacher, Tami Schuler was named of the Year by her colleagues at Dunn. Her philosophy of teaching is very straight-forward.

“As a teacher I am responsible for everything that does or does not happen in my classroom. As a teacher I must provide a safe and organized environment, where students are encourage to do their best and work with others. My goal as a teacher is to develop the students self worth and encourage respect for others.
It is imperative that I set the standard of excellence and accept nothing but their very best.“

Spelling Bees held at Johnson Elementary

Johnson Elementary held its annual English spelling bee January 25th. Thirty-one participants frofrom 1st-4th grade competed 17 rounds before a winner was declared.

Angelica Padron, 4th grader from Ms. Bailey’s class was the spelling bee champion, and Monica Martinez, 2nd grader from Ms. Riley’s class was runner-up. Angelica represented Johnson in the district competition.

Johnson’s bilingual spelling bee was held Februaru 22nd. This challenging contest requires the participants spell a word in Spanish, translate it, and then spel1 it in English. The three winners were Irma McCoy from Mr. Rowsey’s 4th grade class, Marisol Montoya from Ms. Mikkelsen’s 4th grade class, and Maria Morales from Ms. Garcia’s 3rd grade class. These students will represent Johnson Elementary March 26th at the district wide bilingual spelling bee.

Parker Intermediate students doing their part to help WTC relief workers

Aldine ISD students and employees have shown their support with their time and money for those who were affected by the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, and now they are doing so with their words.

Students in Nicole Gismondi’s fifth-grade gifted and talented reading class at Parker Intermediate recently completed an assignment of making place mats for relief workers at the World Trade Center. The students used their writing and artistic skills to get their messages across to the relief workers, Gismondi said. One half of the place mats contains either a poem or letter the students wrote, while the other half contains a collage or pictures of what Sept.. 11 meant to the students.

The project held significant meaning to Gismondi, a New York native, who visited Ground Zero while she was home for the Christmas holidays. She said the visit had a profound impact on her.

“It was shocking,” she said, of her visit to the site where the two tallest buildings in New York City used to stand. “You don’t get a real perspective of what happened there from what you see on TV. You’ve got to see it in person to realize the devastation.”

After she and a friend visited Ground Zero, they stopped by one of their favorite restaurants, Nino’s, which is located 18 blocks from Ground Zero. It was there that Gismondi hatched the idea of having her students do something for the relief workers.

“I saw a poster on the wall and it had big yellow rose on it. It was from another school in Texas. I started looking around and noticed that students had sent things in from all over the country. I thought it would be neat to have my students make place mats for the relief workers.”

When the spring semester began, Gismondi broached the idea to her students, and they were more than receptive to her idea.

“I presented it to the kids and they were thrilled to do it,” she said. “They asked me about my trip home and they were very interested in what happened. I think the project was good for them because they were able to incorporate much of our curriculum (social studies, visual arts, language arts and reading) and they were able to evoke their emotions of how they felt about Sept. 11.”

After the projects were completed, they were laminated and shipped off to Nino’s, where they will be used by relief workers who go to the restaurant for a free meal and a break from their emotionally and physically grueling shifts at Ground Zero. Nino’s owner, Antonio “Nino” Vendome, and his mother, Josephine “Mama” Vendome, decided to turn their thriving 70-seat Italian restaurant into a non-profit feeding center for anyone who works at the disaster site, according to Gismondi. Nino’s will remain open to the relief workers until the Ground Zero cleanup is complete, which should be sometime in June.

As a matter of fact, one of Gismondi’s good friends in New York volunteers once a week at Nino’s and has promised her that once the place mats arrive, she will take pictures of them being used by relief workers and then send the pictures back to Gismondi and her students.

On the day the students read their projects aloud in class, Gismondi told her students how proud she was of their efforts.

“I asked you to tell me how you felt about Sept. 11 and what you did was far beyond what I had imagined,” she said. “I am so proud of all of you. Believe me, you have helped and you have contributed in a big way to the people up there.
You did what you could as fifth graders and I couldn’t be prouder of you.”

While the project was aimed at showing support for the WTC relief workers, it also helped Gismondi’s students deal with the events of Sept. 11.
Student Vince Schifani said the project helped him deal with the events of Sept. 11.

“I didn’t talk about it a lot, but I was able to put how I felt into words,” Vince said. “I feel like I’ve lived through a big thing and I’ll have something to tell my kids about.”

And he can share with his children the words he wrote to the relief workers.

“I am inspired by all the people who helped at Ground Zero after the attacks. I am even inspired by everybody who did small things to help, like give blood or gave a small amount of money to a Rescue/Recovery fund like Red Cross or the Salvation Army. Even though I’m not old enough to give blood or fly to N.Y.C. to help out I still gave $5 dollars to the Red Cross and $4.50 to the Salvation Army. I only had $.50 left from my allowance but I felt proud of it! I believe this country will conquer and unite. But until then all this country can do is hope and wait. But you are the people that are going to get us through those hard times. Thank you for all you have done.”

Fellow student Erin Donahue shared her thoughts of Sept. 11 with a poem to the relief workers.

You rescued her,
you saved him,
you became my hero.
You risked your life,
for someone else,
you became my hero.
You made me proud,
to be an American,
you became my hero.
You helped America,
be a better nation,
you became my hero.
You made us unite
through very hard times.
You became OUR hero!

Gismondi said she will never forget the care and concern her students exhibited on the project and neither will thousands of relief workers who will benefit from her students’ actions.

Forgotten Heroes

A highly decorated Vietnam veteran who hit bottom when he came back from southeast Asia credits his recovery to his faith, his heroes and North Harris College.

Carlos Garza was picking cotton in a field in south Texas when someone came to tell him he had been drafted. Since he didn’t speak English, an interpreter had to tell him what was happening. He was 18. It was 1968. He was going to Vietnam.

He was sent to Fort Bliss for basic training. After that came advanced infantry training at Fort Ord and then airborne school at Fort Benning. Although he occasionally got into trouble, because he didn’t always understand what his officers wanted, he says it wasn’t all bad. There were people in the Army who helped him learn how to read and write.

In Vietnam, he discovered that he excelled at life in the military. “I wanted to please,” Garza recalls. “I volunteered for everything. I cleaned latrines, walked point, and volunteered to go into tunnels.” Aptly nicknamed “Tunnel Rat,” Garza weighed 100 pounds and had a 17-inch waist.

Today, Garza carries an army backpack chock-full of memories. Faded newspaper clippings and an array of medals and commendations are ragged reminders of his tour of duty more than 30 years ago. Like many returning Vietnam veterans, Garza faced his toughest fight when he got home.

Partially disabled from injuries he received in Vietnam, Garza counted on benefits from the Veteran’s Administration to help him get on his feet. “I used my disability income to buy a house and a car,” he says. “Then the VA pulled my benefits. I lost everything.”

Unemployed and homeless, Garza felt abandoned by the country he had fought for. “I became a bum,” he says. “I had long hair and lived on a bayou behind the Harris County Jail.”

There is little similarity between the shaggy street person glaring back from a tattered photo and Carlos Garza today. Now retired, the 53-year-old lives in Atascocita. He and his wife of 27 years have four children. Garza meets with fellow veterans twice a month in Houston. He talks to groups whenever he can. He has told high school students about Vietnam. Recently, when a class was studying Afghanistan, Garza was invited to tell them about caves and tunnels.

He doesn’t like to boast, but admits he feels better once he’s told his story. “There are heroes out there,” he notes. “I hope to say something somebody picks up on.”

He says he was able to turn his life around because of a steadfast religious faith and a helping hand from heroes along the way. One of those was a friend at North Harris College.

“I came back to North Harris College to take some classes,” he says. “I got to know Dr. Bob Williams.” Dr. Williams, NHC’s vice president for administrative services at the time, helped Garza get a job as a volunteer reserve police officer at the college.

Although he has worked in several fields, as well as serving in the army reserves and the National Guard, Garza’s passion is law enforcement. “I have taken every class at North Harris College in law enforcement,” Garza notes. He has certificates in everything from peace officer training to crime scene exhumation. One day his dream is to get a degree in criminal justice. “North Harris College gave me the first step. It is a wonderful opportunity here for anybody who wants it.”

Garza volunteers as a reserve peace officer in Harris County.

“I want to emphasize that I had heroes,” Garza says. “Everybody can make something of themselves. I was a bum. I was homeless…I wouldn’t have amounted to anything without these people.”

Dr. Williams, now NHMCCD’s Cy-Fair College vice president for administrative services, remembers Garza. “You never know when you are going to make a difference in a student’s life,” he says. “I was somebody who was willing to listen to him and try to meet his particular needs. There are lots of individuals doing that at North Harris College, trying to find ways to meet students’ needs.”

North Harris College is a member of North Harris Montgomery Community College District. The college is located at 2700 W.W. Thorne Drive, one mile south of FM 1960, between Aldine-Westfield and Hardy Roads. Registration for summer classes begins March 11. For more information, call 281-618-5400 or send an e-mail to:
North Harris Montgomery Community College District, the fourth largest community college in Texas, comprises North Harris College, Kingwood College, Tomball College, Montgomery College, seven satellite centers and The University Center. Cy-Fair College, the district’s fifth comprehensive college, will open in fall 2003.

Parents work to protect children with special needs

“Love Our Children” is a parent support group for families of children with special needs. Meetings are held are at the Aldine YO.U.T.H. Community Center the first Friday of each month from 8:30 to 11:00 a.m.

The group’s ultimate mission is to protect the rights of children with special needs and to fight against discrimination, isolation, and abuse of children.

The organization was founded on September 15, 1998 by the parent of a child with special needs residing in the Aldine Independent School District. It is operated entirely by volunteers.

Organization volunteers would like to thank our January 2002 Sponsors: Sylvia Bolling at Aldine Y.O.U.T.H., Tim Martin at Wald Relocation Ltd., Ed Shield at Super Shot Delivery Services, Leonard Scott at Piccadilly Cafeteria, Cesar A. Nanutti at Long Star Ford, Frank Molgar at Landmark Chevrolet, Edward Hayden and Connie Long at Piccadilly Cafeteria, and Angela Cruz.

“Love Our Children’ is planning an outing for the children with special needs on Friday March 15 during their school Spring break.

If you have a child with special needs and would like to learn more about this outing, our organization and/or how to become a member please call or write: Love Our Children, P.O. Box 111681, Houston, Texas 77293-0681. The phone number is 281-660-0398, fax number 281-987-9034.

If there is no answer, please leave a message and someone will return your call.

High Meadows announces contest winners

The WHO AM I? Black History Month contest sponsored by the Friends of the Library asked that question about a prominent African-American each day in February.

The contest was open to anyone 18 and younger and more than 100 youngsters took part.

Each day, contestants answers were recorded and, at the end of the contest, the top two with the most correct answers were declared winners.

The overall winner was Danielle Smith and Antwone Hardy was runner-up. Both WHO AM I winners received a gift certificate courtesy of Waldenboooks.

Pet of the Week

March 12, 2002

This week’s featured pet is a Female Sealpoint Simese kitty with soft, silky fur and incredible blue eyes.

She is about a year old, has been spayed and micro-chipped, and has had all her shots.

If you would like to adopt her or any of the other wonderful companion animals at the Harris County Rabes/Animal Control shelter go to 602 Canino just west of Hardy. For hours and information, call 281-999-3191.

KTRK-TV ABC 13 sponsors 5th annual spring blood drive

March 15 and 16, 2002, Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, KTRK-TV ABC 13, RADIO Disney 1590AM, and St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital are joining forces for the Fifth Annual ABC 13 “Spring” Blood Drive – Perform a Lifesaving Act. Donors can visit eight mobile 1ocations conveniently located at malls in Houston and surrounding areas.

All those attempting to donate will receive a special ABC 13 Spring Blood Drive T-shirt and a coupon fur u free Chick-fil-A sandwich. Lest year’s Spring Blood Drive netted 900 donations, benefiting as many as 2,700 patients in the Texas Gulf Coast region. The Blood Center would like to encourage all eligible donors regardless of blood type to please donate.

The 2002 ABC 13 “Spring” Blood Drive will help replenish the optimal 3-day regional blood supply level, which recently has proven difficult to achieve and maintain due to a decrease in donations and an increase in blood usage since the holiday season. Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center provides blood and blood components to patients in over 200 hospitals and healthcare facilities in its 24-county service area. To maintain an adequate supply at all times The B1ood Center must meet its daily collection goal of 700 donations. A 24-hour period is required for proper testing of donated blood before it can be placed on hospital shelves. Red blood cells must be transfused within 42 days, and platelets, whioh aid in blood’s clotting and are most commonly required by cancer patients, are good for only five days.

Because of these short shelf lives, patients depend upon the generousity of regular, volunteer blood doners.

Donors must be at least 17 years of age, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good general health The donation process is simple and sterile taking only about 30 to 45 minutes total.

For more information about the ABC 13 “Spring” Blood Drive, Blood Center facility location, or the blood donation process, call The Blood Center at 713-790-1200, l-888-GV-BLOOD or visit The Blood Center’s Web site. for a complete list of donation locations and phone numbers.

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is a member of America’s Blood Centers, the national network of nonprofit community blood centers that collect half of the United States’ blood supply. In the northeast Houston area, blood collection locations include, the community room at Deerbrook Mall on March 15 and Northwest Mall near SRO on March 16.