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Posts published in “Day: September 7, 2004”

Sidewalk construction on Aldine Mail Route to begin this October

The Texas Transportation Commission has awarded a contract for the construction of nearly two miles of sidewalk for the south side of Aldine Mail Route from US 59-Eastex Freeway to one-half mile west of JFK Boulevard.

The 1.8 miles of new sidewalk will connect MacArthur Senior High (AISD), the Harris County’s High Meadows Branch Library and Hambrick Middle School (AISD). MacArthur Ninth Grade (AISD) will also be connected to the new sidewalks.

“It has taken a team effort to make this possible and I really appreciate the cooperation of everyone involved,” State Representative Kevin Bailey said. “We have worked a long time with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and community leaders. These sidewalks will provide more safety for our school children and pedestrians.”

A county roadway, Rep. Bailey had requested assistance from TxDOT to build sidewalks adjacent to FM 525 because Harris County has a policy dating back to the early 1980’s of not building sidewalks. TxDOT applied for a Hazard Elimination Grant in response to a request made by Rep. Bailey after a meeting in his office in 1997.

“Grants of this type create an opportunity for districts like Aldine to leverage their funds and stretch the dollars available for community projects,” Bailey added.

He went on to say that representatives from TxDOT, Harris County Precinct One, and the Aldine Improvement District negotiated an arrangement to utilize grant funds. Bailey concluded, “At last it is going to happen. This is exciting news.”

“This represents the most significant infrastructure project undertaken by the Aldine Improvement District to date,” said Clyde Bailey, board chairman. “The Aldine Mail Route corridor is a vital component for mobility and development within the district. But more importantly, it is a safety concern in its current configuration.”

The project will install new five-foot wide sidewalks and incorporate existing four-foot wide segments. Where the existing sidewalk cannot be integrated into the new walkway, the old sidewalk will be replaced. Pedestrian ramps will be installed at all curbs and, where needed, new storm water sewers and pavement markings and signals will be constructed.

Pedko Paving, Inc., was awarded the $852,568.31 contract. Construction can begin as early as October 1, 2004; all construction will be completed within eight months.

County health centers increase hours, doctors

The Harris County Hospital District is expanding its community-based primary care services to help meet a growing demand. The Hospital District’sCommunity Health Program, which provides primary and some specialty care through a network of 12 community health centers, experienced a nearly 10 percent growth in patient visits during its last fiscal year.

The $9 million expansion project is expected to accommodate more than 3,000 new patient visits each week, and more than 160,000 annual appointment slots each year. The extra patient volume will be achieved through a combination of extended operating hours, and through the addition of more medical staff.

“We’re being responsive to the community’s needs,” said Alicia Reyes, CHP Administrator, of the expansion effort. “By having our doors open longer, we can accommodate patients when they need us.”

“This expansion provides access to persons who do not have a primary-care provider and a medical home. Some centers have space for more physicians and support staff, while those with limited room received extended service hours,” she said.

Six health centers will open on Saturdays and/or offer extended evening hours of service. Two other health centers are adding more primary-care physicians to increase patient volume but will maintain their current clinical schedule. Gulfgate, Northwest, Aldine, Strawberry, Settegast and Martin Luther King health centers will expand hours, while Acres Home and Baytown health centers will increase their number of physicians.

Aldine Health Center was the first to expand its hours under the new plan. On March 1, the center added a sixth day to its weekly schedule. Aldine will also add two more physicians in September to accommodate the need for additional appointments in the area.

People’s Health Center, in southwest Houston, was the first Hospital District Health Center to operate six days a week, and its proven success is the basis for the expansion. For more information or to make an appointment , call 713-526-HCHD (4243). The Hospital District is the public healthcare system for the nation’s third most populous county. It provides quality health care to Harris County residents through a system of three hospitals, 12 community health centers, a dental center, six school-based clinics and five mobile health units.

Texans open 3rd season with great optimism

Where has the time gone? It seems like only yesterday that the city of Houston was abuzz with excitement over the Texans’ making their debut against the hated Dallas Cowboys. Well, that was two years ago and this Sunday, Dom Capers’ team begins its third season amid great expectations.

Fans are hoping the Texans will contend for a playoff spot this year and are looking to see how far quarterback David Carr has progressed after two years under center. Houston should be vastly improved this year, but a playoff spot may be asking a bit much. The AFC is loaded with quality teams and the Texans’ division, the AFC South, could be one of the toughest in the country what with the Colts, Titans and an improved Jacksonville team calling it home.

Still, the future looks bright for the team that calls Reliant Stadium home, but before we take a look at what the NFL has to offer in Week 1, let’s take a look at the high school and college schedule for this weekend.

HIGH SCHOOL

Aldine vs. LaPorte: These two teams meet every year in non-district play and this should be another competitive outing. The Mustangs want to make sure they have the kinks worked out before they open District 18-5A play in two weeks. The offensive line is the key to the season, so look for head coach Bob Jones to play particular attention to that unit this week and in weeks to come. My pick, Aldine 23, LaPorte 18

MacArthur vs. Klein Collins: Jerry Drones’ Generals also got off to a rough start, dropping a 48-21 decision to a talented Galveston Ball team two weeks ago. Look for MacArthur to rebound this week against a Klein Collins team that finished 5-5 a year ago. This should be a good test for the Generals considering Collins returns a majority of its starters. My pick, MacArthur 24, Klein Collins 21

COLLEGE

Now, let’s see what the college schedule has to offer this weekend.

Texas at Arkansas: It’s revenge time for the Longhorns as they hope to payback the Razorbacks for the 38-28 thumping they administered to the ‘Horns a year ago in Austin. Look for Mack Brown to give Arkansas a steady dose of Cedric Benson and Vincent Young as the two talented runners look to exploit a young and inexperienced Arkansas defense. This is a good road test in a hostile environment for Texas as they build momentum for their Oct. 9 showdown with Oklahoma. My pick, Texas 31, Arkansas 13

Houston at Oklahoma: Art Briles’ Cougars are between a rock and a hard place. This week they travel to Norman, OK to take on a team many consider to be the best in the nation in 12 days they host Miami in Reliant Stadium. Now, that’s what you call ambitious scheduling. The Cougars must come out of this game healthy if they have any hope to give the Hurricanes a game within two weeks (a game that will be on national TV, by the way!). Look for the Coogs to attack OU’s vaunted defense through the air. The key will be how well the UH defense contains the multi-talented Sooner offense. That could be a tall order for any team this year. My pick, Oklahoma 35, Houston 13

Michigan at Notre Dame: Revenge will also be on ND’s agenda when these two longtime rivals meet in South Bend on Saturday. A year ago, the Wolverines ran roughshod over a defenseless Notre Dame squad, 31-0. The score could have been much worse had Lloyd Carr not called off the dogs in the fourth quarter. This year, the Irish appear improved on the offensive and defensive lines and sophomore quarterback Brady Quinn appears more comfortable running the West Coast Offense. Michigan, on the other hand, has an untested signal caller in Matt Gutierrez, but there’s plenty of talent on hand to bail him out should he struggle. I think ND playing their home opener gives them the edge this time around. This should be a good one to watch. My pick, Notre Dame 26, Michigan 23

NFL

Now it’s on to the NFL, where a number of good matchups are set for Week

Indianapolis at New England: The NFL certainly knows how to kick off a season. The two teams that met in last year’s AFC title game hook up again for the league’s season opener on Thursday in New England. The Colts are poised to go after the Pats’ Super Bowl title, but they must first prove they can beat the defending champs on their home turf. Indy has the offense to get the job done what with the league’s best QB in Peyton Manning, a fully healthy Edgrin James running the ball and the magnificent Marvin Harrison and Co. catching Manning’s passing. But the key to the Colts’ success will be how well its defense contains NE QB Tom Brady and his plethora of receivers. Brady now has a running threat he can turn to in Cory Dillon, acquired in the off-season from Cincinnati. The Pats are tough to beat at home and that trend should continue Thursday night, but expect a close and exciting contest. My pick, New England 31, Indianapolis 28

San Diego at Houston: As stated earlier in this column, this could be an exciting year for the Texans and their fans. The front office has built this team the right way, through the draft, and it appears that prudent course will start paying dividends in year three. David Carr looks like he’s ready for a breakout season. He looked sharp in pre-season and the emergence of wide receiver Andre Johnson as his go-to guy should have Texan fans excited. The key to this team will be how well it plays on defense and how healthy it remains on that side of the ball. Injuries decimated that unit a year ago and they get a good test out of the blocks as they take on perhaps the league’s best running back in LaDanian Tomlinson. Look for Houston to make a strong stand.

The rest of Keeney’s picks can be found in the Sept. 7th issue of the Northeast News.

New Olympic event: the red wasp shuffle

Have you been watching the Olympics? They needed me in them to set a new record for short distance running like I did yesterday.

Me and the Four Dog were in the dry bottoms of Day Lake early yesterday. As I was climbing the ladder to get on the porch I heard a sudden buzz of wings, then it felt like a .22 got me on my left shoulder. Dad gum red wasp had put a stinger in me; to the bone it felt like. I literally flew across the deck trying to out run the burning pain on my back. I still heard the buzz and slapped at myself while yanking off the shirt as I flung it in the air shooing off the wasp.

I would have given a pretty nickel to have some of momma’s snuff to dab on my back.

After I cooled down a bit, I raised the lid on the Old Smokey. Eight red wasps looked at me from a nest on the grill. I dropped the lid and hollered at Four, “Let’s go!” I was in the cabin in a flash.

After putting a box in the truck, I started to go back up the ladder and saw a red wasp go in a hole at the cabin’s edge, by the ladder. We sprayed that same hole last weekend and the red wasp are going back in there.

Great I thought, the wasp spray is up on the deck and I’m down here. Again! Took me a while to get up the ladder as one red wasp stood lookout. It would buzz around me a few times before I made record time getting up the ladder. For you land lubbers, a ladder is nothing more than stairs, but you get my drift. Needless to say, me and red wasp don’t geehaw. Savvy?

Speaking of gee-haw, do you know what that means? Do you know what one is? Is gee to the left or haw to the right?

Do you know what a Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle is? A Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle is two sticks. One with notches cut in it and a little propeller on one end driven in with a small tack. The other stick is used to rub up and down the stick with notches making the propeller turn. There is the 24th Annual World Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition on Sept. 18 near Asheville, N.C., should you care to attend.

Fall is the time of year for festivals. The big city paper had a special edition in today’s paper that announces festivities and bazaars through December.

Here’s a unique one for you. My old cousin in Montana was telling me they are going to the “Turd Fest” this weekend. She said it is a fund raiser for one of the small towns up there. They have a band, pig roast, and games like decorating a cow pie for prizes or the chicken poop contest (numbers on a board, you pick a number and if the chicken poops on your number first you win $). She said they are really hard up for entertainment but do fairly well with it.

Carver alum wins silver at Olympics

Nia Abdallah, a 2002 graduate of Aldine ISD’s Carver High School, won the silver medal in the women’s 126-pound Tae Kwon Do finals at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

“I don’t think anybody expected me to do anything here,” she said.

Abdallah won a silver medal in Tae Kwon Do, advancing all the way to the final before losing 2-1 to Jang Ji-won of South Korea in the 126-pound (57 kg) class. Iridia Salazar Blanco of Mexico won the bronze.

Abdallah, a little-known competitor from Houston, was the first American woman to win an Olympic match in Tae Kwon Do, added as an official sport in Sydney in 2000.

“Just me winning my first fight was putting myself in the record books,” she said. “I’m happy for what I got.”

She beat Margarita Mkrtchyan of Russia in the first round, Cristiana Corsi of Italy in the second and Nootcharin Sukkhongdumnoen of Thailand in the semifinals. Only Mkrtchyan had faced Abdallah before.

“I was a newcomer,” said Abdallah, who felt that was an advantage. In the final, the 20-year-old Abdallah fell behind early and didn’t score until the third and last round. Still, she was thrilled with her performance.

“This is an amazing time in my life,” she said. “I got a silver medal. Everyone is asking for my picture and everything. I’m just glad to be here.”

Cecil Hutson, currently the principal at Aldine Senior High School, was Abdallah’s principal at Carver and said he was not surprised by her outstanding effort at the 2004 Olympics.

“She’s an awesome young lady and I’m so happy that all of her hard work was richly rewarded,” he said. “She made Carver and Aldine ISD proud by her performance in Athens.”