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Posts published in “Day: March 8, 2005

Longtime community barber retires

Come April 1, many Aldine residents won’t know where to go to relax in a good conversation with friends or to have their hair cut just right. After 46 years as a barber, 28 of those at the corner of Crieffe and Lauder, Dorothy Smallwood is retiring on March 31.

Dotcha Barbershop is a community cornerstone, the type that is quickly fading into the past. “It’s more than a barbershop. It’s like a community place where everyone can get together and talk,” explained longtime customer Cecil King. Like many of Smallwood’s clients, King, his adult children, and his grandchildren all get their haircuts at Dotcha’s.

Smallwood’s customers sit in antique barbershop chairs while getting their haircut, and many stay in the shop afterwards chatting with the other clients or helping Smallwood work a puzzle.

“I have really enjoyed being here. I love my job,” Smallwood said. “I don’t have any customers; they are all family.”

And family is what got Smallwood interested in cutting hair all those years ago. Both of her parents were barbers back before there were barber’s colleges and licences. Her brother is also a barber and Smallwood worked in a shop with him for a few years. She also has two children who are hairdressers.

Smallwood said that what she enjoyed most about her business is visiting with all of her customers. “There’s a different person every day. We all have our stories,” she said.

Smallwood first opened Dotcha’s Barbershop, a name created by blending her nickname, “Dot” and her late husband’s name, Charles , on April 4, 1977.

When Smallwood celebrated her 23rd year at this location, a customer recommended her for the recognition from the governer. A certificate naming Smallwood as a Community Advisor proudly hangs on her wall.

As for her retirement, Smallwood doesn’t have much planned other than relaxation. She plans to sleep in a day or two and travel to visit family.

“I am just where I want to be at this time of my life.”

New improvement district may be created in Airline area

State Representative Kevin Bailey continues his fight to improve the quality of life in North Houston by authoring legislation that will allow for the creation of a new district in the Airline Corridor.

“It will be an exciting development to get this district created,” said Rep. Bailey “It will give Airline residents a real chance to bring improvements to our community.”

Surrounded by the City of Houston, but outside its corporate limits, the area, like many in unincorporated portions of North Houston, has experienced economic decline and social change. Both occurrences have combined to create public needs that state law does not empower county governments to serve. Because the area has a low tax base and deteriorating infrastructure, the City of Houston is not likely to annex it.

The proposed legislation would create a local, community-led, special district to focus on the health, safety and general welfare of the residents, employers, employees and consumers in the unincorporated areas of the 77037 zip code. Their neighbors to the north in Greenspoint and to the east in Aldine have benefitted from special districts in recent years. These districts supplement but do not replace county services.

A board of directors made up of long time area business owners and residents has been named in the legislation. They will establish the priorities for the district once it is created and then oversee the implementation of a process to begin needed improvements in a variety of areas.

Rice Mathematics Leadership Institute comes to Aldine ISD

A $3.8 million grant awarded to Rice University by the National Science Foundation will fund a Mathematics Leadership Institute (MLI) to improve math instruction in Aldine ISD schools. The MLI is a collaboration among the Rice University School Mathematics Projects, Rice’s departments of Computational and Applied Mathematics and Statistics and Aldine ISD.

Teachers from Aldine ISD’s high school mathematics departments will be selected to become a part of the program where they will receive training in math instruction and development of leadership skills at Rice. The teachers will be charged with improving math instruction at their respective schools for a five-year period and will serve as mentors to fellow teachers. A second cohort of teachers from each high school will be selected in 2007 to join the program to enhance the collaborative partnership in each school.

“We are excited about this wonderful opportunity for the teachers selected to participate,” said Sara Ptomey, Aldine ISD’s program director of secondary mathematics. “They will work with leading mathematicians from Rice University as well as other high school math teachers from around the city. Bringing back new ideas and ways of teaching mathematics will benefit Aldineís math teachers and, most importantly, our students.”

“We want to provide resources for teachers to better motivate and inspire their students to want to study mathematics and to be successful at doing so,” said Anne Papakonstantinou, co-principal investigator and project director for the grant.

“We want to see kids enjoying mathematics, seeing the value of mathematics and taking more advanced mathematics courses.”

The lead teachers will attend a four-week MLI Summer Leadership Institute at Rice for two summers to improve their math knowledge, teaching and understanding of current research in math education and to develop their leadership and adult-education.

Houston Texan Aaron Glenn donates $15,000 to Aldine Scholarship Foundation

HOUSTON – NFL all-pro corner-back Aaron Glenn, presented a check for $15,000 Wednesday to the Aldine Scholarship Foundation. The donation will form an endowment to generate college scholarships for students for many years to come.

The $15,000 donation establishes an Aaron Glenn endowment and each year several $1000 one-year scholarships will be awarded to graduating AISD seniors in the name of the Houston Texan. The Aldine ISD Scholarship Foundation has partnered with the North Harris Montgomery College Community College District (NHMCCD). Students can use the scholarship funds to attend any college in the NHMCCD, including North Harris College, Kingwood College, Tomhall College, Montgomery College, five satellite centers and the University Center.

“I am elated to have the opportunity to give back to my school district, which gave so much to me during my time of developing,” said Glenn, who three years ago created The Aaron Clenn Foundation to support education and youth initiative.