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Posts published in “Day: July 20, 2004

HISD’s Herrera Elementary wins national technology award

HISD’s Herrera Elementary School was honored for its innovative use of technology as a finalist for the Twenty-first Century School of Distinction Award.

The finalists were chosen from more than 1,200 applications submitted by elementary, middle and high schools nationwide.

The awards honor the successes of the nation’s best schools and recognize their use of technology, their development of excellent classroom teachers, and the benefits of strong teamwork.

Herrera Elementary School established a state-of-the-art technology system that incorporates a computer lab into the curriculum to address students’ language development and writing needs. Thanks to Herrera’s school wide strategies, 96 percent of the third-graders, 93 percent of the fourth-graders, and 84 percent of the fifth-graders passed the reading portion of the 2003-2004 TAKS. In math, 96 percent of the third-graders passed the TAKS, 98 percent of the fourth-graders passed, and 91 percent of the fifth-graders passed. In writing, all fourth-grade students passed, and in science 86 percent of the fifth-grade students passed.

“Herrera’s teachers deserve the credit for the school being named a Twenty-first Century School of Distinction,” says Hector E. Rodriguez, Herrera’s principal and the 2002 Regional IV and HISD North District Principal of the Year. “Our teachers are already providing a wealth of innovative solutions and best-practices methods for achieving excellence. We applaud our teachers and look forward to sharing our award-winning methods to help drive education improvements around the nation.”

The Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Foundation developed the Twenty-first Century School of Distinction Award program to honor schools throughout the country for implementing innovative programs that can be replicated at other schools around thecountry. The Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence program promotes improved academic achievement through the identification of successful programs in schools across America, which are then included in an online “best practices” database. Through this database innovative programs, such as the one at Herrera, are available free of charge to schools all across the country.

For more information, contact the HISD Press Office at 713 892 6393.

“Fahrenheit 9/11” should be seen by all regardless of political leanings

Running time: 120 min.
MPAA rating: R

In “Fahrenheit 9/11,” as in “Bowling for Columbine,” filmmaker Michael Moore tries a little too hard to make too many arguments and oftentimes too many jokes. The result is that the films come off as uneven and unfocused.

With “9/11,” Moore tries to show how George Bush stole the 2000 election; link the Bush family and the Bin Ladens; point up the failure of the president to respond quickly enough during the first couple hours of the attack on 9/11; show how the administration botched the “liberation” of Afghanistan and then lied about WMDs in Iraq and made specious connection between Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein in order to invade Iraq … the list goes on. That’s a lot of ground to cover, a lot of allegations to prove and only two hours in which to do it.

“Fahrenheit 9/11” would’ve been a great film if Michael Moore had stayed behind the camera more and concentrated on telling a story rather than promoting himself and his agenda. Where the film is truly powerful is in the moments where Moore lets the camera run and allows real people to tell their story.

Case in point: There are a few sequences featuring Lila Lipscomb, a Flint, Mich., mother whose daughter served in the Gulf War and whose son was sent to Iraq. She’s proud of her children’s military service; she supports the troops, wears a “multicultural” cross over her Mickey Mouse sweatshirt and hangs the American Flag proudly outside her house every day. Her faith in America, our troops and the choices of the Bush administration is unshakeable.

Then, she gets a phone call.

Her son has been killed in a helicopter crash.

With her husband by her side, Mrs. Lipscomb reads aloud her son’s final letter to her. When her voice cracks as she reads “Thanks for the Bible,” her grief and disillusionment and anger become overwhelmingly palpable. The final scene with Mrs. Lipscomb traveling to Washington is absolutely gut-wrenching.
Where the film also is extremely powerful is in the video footage of American troops in Iraq and of the effects of the war on the civilian population — video that isn’t shown on American television.

Those scenes — and others where Moore isn’t in front of the camera and we see real people and their stories — are the reason you should see this film, regardless of your political leanings.


Governor’s Race Already Heating Up

Governor’s field in 2006 likely to be crowded
Rick Perry wants a record: ten years as Texas governor

Republican Bill Clements served eight, but separated by four years of Democrat Mark White.

The late Allan Shivers, a Democrat then, had the most consecutive years. He moved from lieutenant governor when Beauford Jester died in 1949, and served seven and a half years.

But with Perry’s approval rating low, folks are eyeing his job.

Perry’s fellow Democrat-turned-Republican, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, has mounted the most open intra-party race against an incumbent since then-Comptroller Bob Bullock announced on inauguration day he would run against White in four years. He backed out, however.

Strayhorn says Perry has hurt Texas kids in education and health, and claims he got the state auditor to compare her tax collection policies with her campaign contributors, which Perry denies.

But she’d probably need a substantial crossover of Democrats into the Republican primary to win.

Republican U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison hasn’t ruled out a race either.

But credit for heading the ticket with a no-brainer re-election in 2006, to aim for a slot on a national ticket in 2008, might be better for Hutchison than a mean GOP primary where Perry would hammer her less-than-total opposition to abortion enough that she might lose.

George W. Bush’s commerce secretary and fund-raising buddy, Don Evans, and wordsmith. Karen Hughes, are mentioned. But Evans pooh-poohs the idea, and Hughes isn’t thought likely.

However, if Bush loses this year, some Bush heavy hitters could return to Texas looking for things to do.

The most likely Democrat eyeing the office is former Comptroller John Sharp. He lost to Perry for lieutenant governor in 1998, and to David Dewhurst in 2002.

Sharp co-hosted an open-bar free reception at the recent Democratic State Convention in Houston, and shook more hands than a governor at an inauguration.

Laredo’s Tony Sanchez, whose $60 million of his own money didn’t prevent Perry from stomping him in 2002, also was at the convention. But without a better explanation for not knowing that $25 million in drug
money went through his savings and loan, it’s uphill.

Other Democrats to be considered: former Austin Mayor Kirk Watson, who lost for attorney general in 2002; GSD&M head man Roy Spence, Bill Clinton’s buddy, preaching a populist message; and Dallas Mayor Laura

Former Land Commissioner Garry Mauro and former Attorney General Jim Mattox both have lost governor’s races, and still love politics .

Iconoclastic humorist Kinky Friedman hints at an independent campaign. His Perry-jabbing slogan: “Why the hell not? How hard could it be?”

Perry is the second to have a shot at serving ten years. The first was Democrat Dolph Briscoe. He sought another four years, after serving one term of two years and one of four.

But then-Atty. Gen. John Hill beat him in the primary and then lost to Clements.

Contact McNeely at 512/445-3644 or

METRO reconsidering priorities, may not build Northline route first

At a Metro board meeting last Thursday, local public officials learned that Metro is considering changing the schedule for constructing certain expansion routes that they have publicly committed to, and perhaps building routes that they feel would have higher ridership in the early phases.

Speaking against a revised schedule were City Councilman Adrian Garcia, and State Representative Mario Gallegos.

Garcia told the board that his constituents had supported the referendum in the November election with the understanding that the North line would be built early, and he was committed to supporting that.

Gallegos was visibly annoyed, stating that the board was rethinking their commitment to voters, and he was threatening to Òrethink my commitmentÓ to Metro in the next Legislative session.

Board Chairman David Wolff, in an attempt to defuse the opposition, assured the public that no commitment had been made to a new construction schedule.

The Metro board has voted, however, to employ planners to study the westside or Westpark route and Harrisburg route, and determine if they would generate more riders and should be built first.

Concerns that the Metro board and the new Metro CEO, Frank Wilson, have indicated they want to address include the high incident of accidents of the on-grade Main Street line; the need for support by the federal FTA and the Congressional delegation, including Rep. Tom DeLay; the desire to serve the highest ridership numbers; the question whether the North and East alignments are the optimum routings; and the possibility that other technologies, such as a monorail or a separated pathway should be considered. DeLay, for instance, has indicated that he feels the current light rail system uses an antiquated ÒtrolleyÓ technology.

Wolff has indicated that the study would resolve, at least by 2005, which lines would be built first, and on which alignments.

Carjacking, Kidnapping on Aldine-Westfield ends in arrest

A woman was accosted in the parking lot of the H.E.B. market on Aldine-Westfield near Aldine-Mail last Thursday night, according to police reports, and a man with a knife demanded money. When she said she had no money, he forced her into her car and they drove to an ATM at a nearby convenience store.

At the ATM machine, the robber forced the woman to withdraw $300 cash from a machine inside the store. After the withdrawal, the woman started to scream for help and the robber fled, running toward nearby apartments. The robbery occured about 9 a.m. in the morning.

Constables and deputies began a search of the area. After several hours, the constables from Precinct 4 found the man in his apartment on Aldine-Westfield near Hirschfield, and arrested him. At press time his identity had not been released.

Another day in the kitchen

Back in the kitchen again so if you ainÕt interested; get out of the kitchen.

Jammed a lot this past week and just about getting tard of it; made some jelly too.

ItÕs like Òeat whatÕs on your plateÓ; so when people give me produce; I do something with it rather than let it go to waste.

Received Cow Horn peppers that ended up in 3 quarts and two pints. Froze a bunch of fresh okra too, and no, I did not blanch it, I washed it and dried it, bagged it then stuck it in the freezer.

The accompanying bell peppers were sliced and placed in the pepper sauce making it colorful as the peppers were red.

A lady at the church gave me a whole bunch of crab apples and I ainÕt talking a gallon.

Never put up any crab apple jelly before but with use of Google and the Internet, I copied six various ways to do the hard little apples with stems that are tuffer than plastic.

Ended up with a nice batch of the pinkish, sweet stuff and the Mrs. has been eyeing my production line to take some to Pennsylvania.

Oh, I did buy several bags of Bing Cherries @ Kroger when they were on sale. Found a cherry pitter in Webster @ Bed Bath and Beyond. Sure wish I had not bought so many cherries as even with the pitting tool, it is most tedious to get the seeds out; itÕs worser than shelling butter beans if you savvy.

The crab apple jelly called for cheese cloth, and it ainÕt in the cheese section of the store. Supermarkets donÕt carry it and if they do, they donÕt know where it is either. I walked the aisles up and down in Wal-Mart: so did the associate.

ÒCLOTHÓ, I thought, and went to where they had the bolts of cloth and shoÕnuff, the lady said, ÒRight over hereÓ. A yard cost me 59¢.

ÒJARS.Ó Lots of people must be doing canning as regular jars have been zilch in two Food Towns and Kroger, so I ended up going to Wal-Mart where the supply was awesome. The manufacturers of jars have discontinued the packaging of jars in cardboard boxes that fold over the top. Now they are using plastic wrap on the top half of the box and eliminated the cardboard jar separator inside. IÕm keeping all of my old fold over boxes.

Wide mouth jars are plentiful in the stores that I visited but IÕm old fashion, I like the regular mouth type. Enough big mouths in the world as it is and they take up more space.

The nicest thing about the future is that it always starts tomorrow.

If you donÕt have a sense of humor, you probably donÕt have any sense at all.

Kids Fishing Derby at Lake Somerville a huge success

Recently, more than 30 local kids participated in a fun-filled day of fishing at the Boy Scout Troop 358/Wal-Mart Kids All-American Fishing Derby. The event was held at Lake Somerville Marina. Featuring fishing, good food, and fun contests. Every child in attendance received a goody bag with special souvenirs from the event.

Though the event was held primarily for casual enjoyment of area youth and their families, some contests were held in conjunction with the derby.

One featured contest was the Fujifilm ÒBig FishÓ Contest. Chris Mejia landed the biggest fish of the day, winning a certificate along with a tackle box full of fishing items. As a result of his big accomplishment, Chris now qualifies to match his catch against ÒBig FishÓ winners from other derbies around the state. The state winner is then measured against winners from all over the county. The national Fujifilm ÒBig FishÓ winner will receive a $500.00 savings bond and gift basket from Fujifilm.

All contest participants displayed their skills in Zebco Casting Contest. They were awarded certificates and qualified to enter a national drawing to win a $1,000.00 savings bond from Zebco.

The fishing derby was catch and release. Participants caught and released over 150 fish. Chad Svetlik took first place in most fish caught.Cody Cloninger placed second and Carrin Cross placed third.Chad and Cody received Zebco rod and reels. Lake Somerville Marina supplied fish for all participants and volunteers later that night for the camp out.

The Boy Scout Troop 358/Wal-Mart Kids All-American Fishing Derby was a success thanks to the volunteers who baited hooks, untangled fishing line, and served food to all participants.

Chamber luncheon to welcome new Aldine teachers

ALDINE — Each year, the North Houston Greenspoint Chamber of Commerce welcomes hundreds of new teachers into the Aldine Independent School District family at the New Teacher Welcome Luncheon. Scheduled for Tuesday, August 3, hundreds of school administrators, community leaders and area businesses will fill the M.O. Campbell building, located at 1865 Aldine Bender Road, to help welcome and thank these educators. Registration is open from 11:15 – 11:40 a.m. The program will begin promptly at 11:45 a.m.

This year, the Chamber along with sponsors Aldine Improvement District; CenterPoint Energy; Greater Greenspoint District and Hines will welcome highly acclaimed motivational speaker Mike Jones, Discover Leadership Training. Jones, a father of four and a native Houstonian, received his degree in aeronautical science and aviation, and became a commercial multi-engine, instrument-rated airplane pilot as well as a commercially rated helicopter pilot. He flew with Continental Airlines before he moved on to pilot helicopters for the Houston Police Department fulfilling his childhood dream.

In 1990, Jones responded to the inescapable reality that young people were falling by the wayside by establishing the not for profit organization called Soul Patrol (now Beyond Excellence). Targeting at-risk students at middle and high school campuses, the program exploded into a national phenomenon by the mid-nineties and has touched the hearts and changed the lives of millions gaining recognition nationwide by being highlighted on shows such as ÒOprahÓ and ÒGood Morning AmericaÓ.

As the Executive Director of Soul Patrol, Inc.(now Beyond Excellence) Jones developed programs and has conducted motivational presentations to over 5 million children, educators and parents. Jones found that the best way for the Soul Patrol to succeed was to immerse teachers in the same philosophy taught to the students, so the program could be maintained. From there, Jones saw an opportunity to take leadership training to adults in the business community. Jones retired from the police department in 1998 and now spends his time and shares his enthusiasm as President of Discover Leadership Training. The outcomes of Discover Leadership Training are based upon the principles and techniques that had proven successful in the programs he conducted for young people, educators, and parents.

Tickets are $20 for Chamber members or $25 for non-members or without a reservation. Please call the Chamber office at 281-872-8700 for more information.

North side majors win little league district

North Side National 12 year old Majors celebrated a long awaited little league Texas District 25 championship, July 12 against North Houston Association with a score of 3-0.

Mark Uribe and Moises Castillo pitched a 6-inning shut out with the help of their teammates to clentch the title.

The team started with a heart breaking loss in game 1 on July 3 and then rallied to win 6 straight games eliminating all competitors.

This is the first championship the team has won.

Here are the gamesÕ statisitcs:

David Weaver 2-4 walks; Abel Salazar, Jr. 4-4 score four times; Moises Castillo, Jr. 2-4 Homerun; Mark Uribe 3-3 Homerun, Double, Single 1-2 Single, Run Score; Juvencio Perez, Jr. 3-3 Homerun; Javier Mireles Jr. RBI; Alan Benitez 2-3 Two runs scored; Paul Carreon 1-2 shutout, ten strike outs; Aaron Pope 2-4 two hits at four times at bat; Steven Belmarez 2-4 two hits at four times at bat.