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Posts published in “Day: March 26, 2002”

ASF to honor “Mac”

The Aldine Scholarship Foundation (ASF) will honor Jim “Mattress Mac” McIngvale for his support of Aldine ISD during the ASF Community Star Awards Luncheon, set for Wednesday, May 15, at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center, located at 1865 Aldine Bender Road.

“Jim has been a long-time supporter of the public school system and he has especially been a strong supporter of and donor to Aldine ISD,” said ASF President Dr. Darla Miller.

During the luncheon, McIngvale will be roasted by former Houston Oilers quarterback Oliver Luck, who currently serves as CEO of the Harris County Sports Authority.

The luncheon is open to the public, but space is limited to 500 guests. Individual tickets are $50 per person ($35 for Aldine ISD employees), while permanently endowed named scholarships tables are $10,000, planned named endowment tables are $5,000 and full scholarship tables are $1,500.

All of the proceeds benefit ASF, which awards scholarships to Aldine ISD graduating seniors to attend North Harris Montgomery Community College District schools.

Last year’s inaugural luncheon, which honored retiring Aldine ISD Superintendent M.B. “Sonny” Donaldson raised $24,000 for ASF scholarships. Miller is hoping this year’s event exceeds that figure.

“This year, we hope to double that,” Miller said. “I hope those interested in attending this year’s luncheon purchase their tickets early. Last year, we had to turn people away because they waited to purchase tickets at the door after the luncheon was filled to capacity.”

For more information about the luncheon, or to purchase tickets, call 281-618-5411.

Oscars guesses 2002

By the time you read this, the Oscars of 2002 will be history. On the Thursday before Sunday’s big event speculation about who will take home an Academy Award are rampant and most of the nominees have hit the talk show circuit.

So, who will win? Who cares? I do. That’s why I sit down for the eighth year in a row to try to figure out what that crazy Academy will do. I’ll also toss in who I think should walk away with a little gold bald guy – even though I am not nearly as qualified as I’ve been in the past since I didn’t see as many movies last year as I usually do.

Unlike the big show, I’ll get right to the most important category. I did see all of these and each one is quite entertaining and memorable, but which one is Best?

I think it’s between “Beautiful Mind” and “In the Bedroom” with “The Lord of the Rings” close behind. Yet, those who just adore “Moulin Rouge” seem to have gained some momentum in the last few weeks. I’ll be shocked if “Gosford Park” gets the big award. But it would not be the first time I was surprised during the Academy Awards.

Robert Altman, the director of “Gosford Park” taking home an Oscar in the directing category would not surprise me because the Academy might just want to honor him for past efforts with an award this year. If this happens it could mean “Bedroom” or “Moulin,” might win best pic since neither one’s director got nominated.

If it’s to be “Beautiful,” its director Ron Howard should win. The same for Peter Jackson and his “Lord.” It only makes sense that the best picture also has the best director, but this does not always happen.

David Lynch (“Mulholland Drive”) and Ridley Scott (“Black Hawk Down”) have no chance of winning in this category since their movies were virtually ignored in every other.

New this year is the best animated feature film. “Shrek” is the clear winner. No contest. “Monsters, Inc.” is a terrific kid’s film, but “Shrek” is good enough that it could of, should of, been in the main category.

The acting categories are tough this year. It would help if I’d seen all the performances, but…Halle Berry is the unknown for me here. I’ve only heard good things about “Monster’s Ball.” Apparently, Berry’s outstanding and has a real chance at the Oscar.

On the other hand, I’m sure Rene Zellweger will just have to be content with her nomination for “Bridget Jones’ Diary.” She’s a fine actress, but not this time. There’s little buzz around Judi Dench, who is so good it’s painful to watch her in “Iris.” Nicole Kidman and the “Moulin Rouge” camp can’t be counted out. She has talent, but I still think her beauty outshines her skills.

If it were my choice, Sissy Spacek would win for “In the Bedroom.” Actually, as much as I like “A Beautiful Mind” I’d be happy if “In the Bedroom” swept its categories. Actor nominee, Tom Wilkinson and Spacek are perfect as grieving parents in the movie. They say so much, often times without saying a word.

But the real contest is probably between Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe for best actor. Washington is amazing in “Training Day,” just a so-so movie.

I can’t think of a recent actor playing a more evil character and still getting a nomination besides Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lector. He won. Plus, Washington has been terrific in so many roles. Remember many – me included – thought he’d best Crowe’s “Gladiator” last year with his perf in “Hurricane.” Crowe went home with the gold, but the Academy often tries to make amends for its past choices.

In “Beautiful Mind” Crowe again loses himself in a role. It’s possible he could be the third actor, behind Spencer Tracy and Tom Hanks, to win best actor Oscars back to back.

Sean Penn is a wonderful actor, but I don’t think he should have been nominated for his overblown performance in “I Am Sam.” Like many people, I missed Will Smith as “Ali.” My Mom said he did a really good job, but there’s little buzz on him.
The supporting acting categories are always hard to pick. I only caught three of the actors performances, missing Jon Voight in “Ali” and Ben Kingsley in “Sexy Beast.” Jim Broadbent for “Iris” is a good bet because of his strong work in “Moulin Rouge,” “Bridget Jones’ Diary,” “Topsy Turvy,” “The Borrowers” and many others in recent years.

For the same reason the stellar Ian McKellen could win for his role in “The Lord of the Rings” and his solid performances in the past. The younger you are the harder it is to win because of past work, but if history is anything to go by youth has its advantages in this category. Ethan Hawke is far better than he’s ever been in “Training Days” so he might have a chance

Supporting actress is the toughest category this year. Can’t they all win? The weakest link here is still so strong and the one most likely to win; Jennifer Connelly for “Beautiful.” Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith, both in “Gosford Park,” will probably cancel each other out. I’d consider Kate Winslet (“Iris”) as a lead character. I’d give all my votes to Bedroom” so Marisa Tomei would get my nod.

I’ll save us all and skip the other nominations. But I’d like to say “Memento” deserves to win in its writing category since it was one of the best movies of the year and it was virtually ignored by the Academy.

Pet of the Week

March 26, 2002

Today’s featured pet is a two and a half year old female Calico cat with soft fur and a sweet disposition. She has been spayed and has had all of her shots and tighy now you can adopt her and a friend for the price of one.

If you would like to adopt her or any other wonderful companion animals at the Harris County Rabies / Animal Control shelter go to 602 Canino just west of Hardy.

For hours and information, call 281-999-3191.

Stephens Elementary students seek art supply donations for children being treated at the Cancer Center

Each spring, Stephens Elementary, along with its business partner, The Hartford, chooses a child-centered organization to assist with a project.

In the past, Stephens students and Hartford staff have donated books for literacy programs and needed items for Ruth’s House, a women/children’s shelter in our area. The Hartford also supported the fund-raising efforts for the American Red Cross last fall when the fourth grade students made and sold patriotic lapel pins and magnets.

This year Stephens and The Hartford have chosen the outpatient Cancer Center at Texas Children’s Hospital as a community service project. Many children who spend hours at the cancer center are in need of “fun” things to occupy their time.

During the month of March, students and staff will be accepting donations of basic art supplies such as scissors, glue, glitter, construction paper, water colors, water-color paper, finger paints, crayons, coloring books, play dough, etc. and miscellaneous art supplies such as feathers, buttons, pipe cleaners, foam shapes, craft sticks, modeling clay, sequins, pom-poms, pipe cleaners and paper.

The outpatient center would also love to have art project kits (such as simple sewing, sand art, necklaces, bracelets, sun catchers, etc.) and play dough fun centers.

“Children with cancer and other serious illnesses need a positive way to use their time waiting before, during and after treatments,” said Denise Meister, assistant principal at Stephens. “We hope that these art supplies will put a smile on a child’s face and help them get through a difficult time.”

If you are interested in contributing to this worthwhile project, donations may be dropped off at Stephens Elementary, 2402 Aldine Mail Route. Items may be placed in the box near the front office.

Seven Aldine ISD schools receive Title I Distinguished School’ honor from TEA

Seven Aldine ISD schools recently received “Title I Distinguished School” designation from the Texas Education Agency due to their consistently strong academic performances while educating large populations of impoverished students during the three previous school years.

The seven receiving “Distinguished” designation were: Anderson Academy, Hambrick Middle School, Mendel Elementary, Oleson Elementary, Stephens Elementary, Teague Middle School and Worsham Elementary. Additionally, Reed Academy received “Honored” designation and Stovall Middle School received “Commended” designation.

To qualify for the designation, the schools must be Title I campuses, have earned an Exemplary rating from the TEA during the 2000-2001 school year (the highest accountability rating a school can receive), and earned either an Exemplary or Recognized rating during the two previous school years.

Title I is a federal program under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that provides school districts with additional resources to help improve instruction in high-poverty schools and ensure that poor and minority children have the same opportunity as other children to meet challenging state academic standards.

”These “Distinguished Schools” have a lot to be proud of,” said Commissioner of Education Jim Nelson. “These “Distinguished Schools” have debunked the long-standing myth that only certain student populations can be taught. They’ve excelled at educating all children, regardless of economic circumstance.”

Teachers of the Year selected at Carmichael Elementary

Carmichael Elementary at 6902 Silver Star, has elected its outstanding teacher of the year in three different categories.

The building Teacher of the Year is Mrs. Mary Hernandez. Mrs. Hernandez is a very special Kindergarten teacher and we are privileged to have her on our staff. Her philosophy of teaching is simple, “Plant the seed and fill the vessel.” Being a firm believer in hands on projects, you might see her students sewing, cooking, planting, painting, singing, dancing and putting on plays. Mrs. Hernandez, also serves on many committees here at Carmichael. Whatever she may be involved with, Mrs. Hernandez gives 110%!

Mrs. Garza is our First Grade Bilingual Teacher of the Year. Her philosophy of teaching is, every student can learn as long as they put forth an effort. “Education takes a lot of parental involvement for children to be successful.” She maintains an open door policy in her classroom where parents feel comfortable coming in to visit and conference with her about their students.

Mrs. Flores is our ESL Teacher of the Year. Whenever you step into her classroom, her students are engaged and actively learning. Her philosophy of teaching is to provide an environment where all students who want to learn, can learn. She believes in respecting each student as an individual who has many goals and talents. Her job is to develop that in her students.

Wild weekend featured at Jones Park

Ask the average person what comes to mind when they think of Easter and the reply will probably be going to church, the Easter bunny or Easter lilies. A multitude of other things can be seen this Easter, however, when you take the time to look more closely at the natural world.

This weekend. Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center appeals to nature lovers with free programming featuring a Wildflower Walk Saturday, March 30 at 10 a.m. and a Nature Hunt Sunday, March 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Many people take time out of their busy schedules to take a day trip to view the Texas Bluebonnet explosion each spring. Viewing many native Texas wildflowers, however, including the famed Texas Bluebonnet, can be as short as a trip to Jones Park. Viewing this burst of colors at the park should also be at a high point this year due to a generous donation from Sam’s Club #8245 on Richey Road, which was used to purchase and plant wildflower seeds throughout the park. This Saturday, renowned naturalist Carmine Stahl leads park visitors on a Wildflower Walk to view some of these showy plants.

Although there are sure to be many Easter egg hunts Sunday, why not take the opportunity to enjoy nature at the same time? Easter Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Jones Park visitors are welcome to stop by the nature center and pick up a Nature Hunt list, full of interesting and unique items that must be located while walking the trails, Those completing the list may also pick up a special surprise at the nature center.

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, sex, religion, national origin or disability. For more information on the park or any of its programs, please call 281-446-8588.

The Shell Game: Playing the Odds on Bay Fishing

Any way you look at it, fishing is a gamble. Since there is a little gambler in all of us, it is the element of risk and the game of chance that draws us to fishing’s uncertainty and excitement.

Every time we make plans to launch a boat or slip a wading shoe into the waters of the bay, we are taking a gamble. We gamble on the wind, the tides, the feeding cycle of the fish, and the water temperature. We gamble on whether the fish are gathered into school or are scattered all over the bay.

While there are no sure bets in fishing, you need to stick to methods with the biggest percentage of winning and catching fishy. The shell game is one of those long-time proven methods. I’m not talking about the old slight-of-hand trick. I’m talking about the methods of fishing the shell reefs that are odds-on favorites.

The numerous shallow bays along our sprawling Texas coastline are dotted with countless small shell and gravel reefs that can be magnets for feeding schools of fish — This is especially true for the Galveston Bay complex, Texas’ largest bay system.

In addition to the giant Galveston Bay, the bay system also includes Trinity Bay, East Bay, West Bay, and Christmas Bay. All of these bays contain numerous reefs of different sizes. Some of the large structures are prominent names on bay fishing maps and others are small, no-name patches of shell or gravel.

Although many of the bay system’s reefs are oyster shell, both alive and dead, others can trace their origins to oil drilling in the bay. Over the many years of oil exploration, shell pads and drilling rig support platforms have been poured on the bottom of the bay, creating artificial reefs. These pads and rig supports also create havens for feeding fish.

The major trick to fishing these natural and man-made reefs is to know where they are and how to fish them.

As with fishing any structure, the best method is to treat the main body of the reef as the primary structure. Game fish will school up in the area, but will seldom be found on top of the main reef. More likely, they will be found on secondary structures, such as rocks, small patches of shell, or variations in the bottom contours close to the main reef.

Colder water temperatures can make locating the fish harder than normal for the average fisherman. Working around a shell reef in close proximity to a mud bottom can narrow the odds in the fisherman’s favor. The soft mud bottom holds heat better than shell, gravel or sand. As the rising sun warms the surrounding shorelines, the warmth is transferred to the mud bottom.

Large areas such as Confederate Reef and the Greens’ Cut area in West Galveston Bay are prime examples. During warming trends, both will hold fish due to their close proximity to soft, shallow bottoms.

During the warming tides of spring, the shell structures become more important to the fish as well as to the fishermen.

In the slightly deeper waters of East Galveston Bay, the fish will move into the warming waters to feed on small bait fish and shrimp along the many structures such as Hannah’s Reef.

Locating a shell reef in any bay is just the beginning. Some may be holding fish and others may be empty. Making an effort to locate several different reefs will increase your odds on finding fish.

There are some things to look for that will tip off the fisherman to an area where fish are actively feeding. One of the most obvious signs of feeding fish is flocks of low circling birds diving and feeding in one small area. Another is shrimp and small baitfish jumping and nervously moving on the surface.

During a typical feeding frenzy, shrimp will leave the soft bottom to flee a roving school of hungry speckled trout or feeding redfish. When they head for the safety of a reef, they get trapped over the top of the shell with nowhere to go but up. When the hapless shrimp tries to jump to freedom from the surface, he is gobbled up by a diving sea gull.

For the poor shrimp, it’s a choice of being eaten by a hungry fish or being a bite for a hungry bird.
Finding feeding “slicks” is another tip to locating fish, especially around shallow reefs. These “slicks” are easy to spot on a fairly calm surface.

They are caused by schools of feeding fish as they gorge themselves then regurgitate so they can continue feeding. This regurgitation forms a type of oil slick on the surface and has a distinctive fresh smell like watermelon or freshly cut green grass.

In fishing the feeding slicks, watch for the smallest and freshest smelling ones in the area. Once the slick has spread and started to dissipate, the school of feeding fish has probably moved out.
This spring, whether you are wadefishing, drifting the reefs or fishing under the birds, working the shell reefs can produce some of the hottest bay fishing on the Texas coast.

You can bet on it!

Proposed water-sewer pilot project expanded to include entire district

The Aldine Community Improvement District Board of Directors met at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19th in the community room above Jed’s ACE Home Center, 5415 Aldine Mail Route.

Following the call to order the board heard public comments from several area residents including Jane Doe and Mary Poe from Aldine Y.O.U.T.H. who asked that the district include in its future plans improvements for the safety of students and other pedestrians around Hambrick Middle School and MacArthur High School. They cited specifically the need for sidewalks and better traffic control in the area.

Susan Hill, with the firm of Hawes Hill & Associates LLP, that represents the District, presented a report from the Texas Controller of Public Accounts on the sales tax receipts for the first month of collection. The total receipts less fees and disputed payments, was just less than $60,000. Before the District was approved by the voters, the Comptroller estimated annual revenues of approximately $600,000.

Next, David Hawes, also of Hawes Hill, reported on the status of the District’s effort to obtain a planning grant from the Texas Water Development Board. The project, proposed at the February meeting by State Representative Kevin Bailey, called for the board to apply for a grant to study the feasibility of bringing water and sewer service to a selected neighborhood within the District.
Representatives from the firm of Bracewell & Patterson, who are working, pro bono, with the District to obtain the grant, met with representatives of Hawes Hill, Kevin Bailey’s office, and the Texas Water Development Board in February, to begin the process.

As a result of that meeting, it was learned that the TWDB would not fund a limited or pilot project as proposed. The agency will consider awarding a planning grant for the entire District, however, and the decision was made to proceed with the application that would meet that requirement.

Both Harris County that is providing engineering services at no cost to the District and Bracewell & Patterson have agreed to continue their assistance to the greatly expanded project.

Mr. Hawes then addressed the District wide effort to clean-up more than 70 overgrown lots and dumping areas his staff has identified. Several different approaches are planned, including the citing of property owners when possible.

Mr. Hawes suggested that the Board study the information about the area gathered in 2000 by the Harris County Community Development Department in a series of community meetings prior to its scheduled planning workshop. The document includes an extensive section detailing area goals, possible solutions and strategies, and potential partnerships.

The next meeting of the ACID board will be held on Tuesday, April 16th at 7:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend and public comments will be heard following the call to order.

Anyone with questions about the Improvement District may contact the firm of Hawes Hill at 713-541-0447.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit docking at The Houston Museum Of Natural Science

She was the grandest, most luxurious moving object ever built. No other story in history has captured our hearts and imaginations like hers. Experience the finest ship ever built in a new exhibit Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit, exclusively at the Houston Museum of Natural Science opening May 18, 2002.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit presents the history, science and drama of the famous, ill-fated ocean liner, which was once touted as “unsinkable.” On April 14, 1912, just days into her maiden voyage, Titanic struck an iceberg and sank. Over 2,200 lives were forever changed as history was etched with one of the most moving events of our time. Five generations later, the mere mention of Titanic‘s name still sends chills racing up our spines.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science brings this timeless story to life, through hundreds of artifacts recovered from the ocean floor, life-size room re-creations and personal stories. Feel the impact as you view some of these wonderful treasures. Learn the stories wrapped around these relics and the legacies of those who left them behind. They are compelling, personal, sad, lovely and completely unforgettable.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit invites you to admire, experience, learn and remember the most magnificent ship ever built and one of the greatest maritime tragedies of all time.

The exhibit features the world’s largest collection of Titanic artifacts ever recovered from the ocean floor. Hundreds of artifacts are featured in the exhibit, including a selection of White Star Line dishware, binoculars, musical instruments and personal effects like letters, jewelry, eyeglasses and clothing.

Titanic ‘s story comes alive with a simulated iceberg you can touch. The iceberg offers a tangible way for guests to identify with what passengers on board Titanic endured on that terrible night.

The exhibit takes you through the story of Titanic chronologically – from the creation of the ship; to the elegance of being on board; to the collision with the iceberg; through the sinking and the ultimate discovery and recovery of the ship and her treasures. The galleries within the exhibit include accurate re-constructions of features such as the first and third class living quarters and below-deck areas.

Recovering Titanic’s artifacts posed serious challenges for those involved. Man walked on the moon almost two decades before exploring and performing work on the bottom of the ocean. Descending to those ocean depths, given the immense pressure, presents a technical challenge more difficult than traveling into space. It has been said that the North Atlantic Ocean is the most hostile environment known to man.

Successfully recovering artifacts from Titanic ‘s wreckage site, 2.5 miles beneath the ocean surface, requires cutting edge technology, including the use of the submersibles, Nautile and Mir. Learn the fascinating details about the science behind the discovery, including a demonstration of techniques used to restore the artifacts.

Public fascination with Titanic began long before her ill-fated maiden voyage, and it continues today as we re-discover the fragments left behind after the most tragic journey ever. Join the Houston Museum of Natural Science for this limited engagement May 18, 2002 through January 5, 2003. Tickets are $9 for members, $17 for adults and $14.50 for seniors (62+) and children (3-1 1). Tickets include an audio tour of the exhibit (with the exception of school groups) and general admission to the Museum’s permanent exhibition halls. Due to the popularity of this exhibit, tickets are sold on a timed-entry basis. Visitors are encouraged to buy tickets in advance. Save time. Buy online. Click and print your tickets at www.hmns.org or call 713-639-4629. The website also has information on group sales, discounted tickets for members and other Titanic related programming, including a new planetarium show, IMAX film, lectures and workshops. Ticket packages are available for Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit, the IMAX film Titanica and the planetarium show Night of the Titanic at a discounted price. Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit is a Clear Channel Entertainment event, in association with R.M.S. Titanic, Inc.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science, a private non-profit organization, has an annual attendance figure of 2.3 million visitors, ranking it as the most heavily attended museum in the country. The Museum is home to the Burke Baker Planetarium, Wortham IMAX Theatre, Cockrell Butterfly Center and three floors of natural science halls and exhibits.
Located in Hermann Park, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information call 713-639-4629 or save time and buy online at www.hmns,org.
For information in Spanish call 713-639-4603.