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Posts published in “Day: August 1, 2007”

Vandalism at Forest Brook forces consolidation

By BOBBY HORN JR.
HOUSTON—The start of school just got a little more complicated for North Forest ISD students.
Forest Brook students will join their classmates at Smiley this fall as the district works to repair damage at the high school.
“At the start of the day on Tuesday, July 17, 2007, campus and district officials discovered that Forest Brook had been vandalized sometime early Tuesday morning or Monday night,” Denise Walker, district spokesperson said.
“The campus, located at 7525 Tidwell Road, was broken into and fire hoses located on the third floor were turned on. The fire hoses were left turned on causing damage to all three levels of the building.”
During an emergency meeting of the Board of Trustees on July 17, voted to move the Forest Brook staff and students to Smiley, saying that the damage was too extensive to be repaired before classes start on Aug. 27.
To date, there is no estimate of the amount of damage or how long Forest Brook students and staff will remain on the M.B. Smiley campus.

The school district has contracted with Texas General Construction for restoration and construction services.
“The incident is currently under investigation by the Houston Police Department and North Forest ISD is cooperating with that investigation,” Walker said.
Last week the school district released a video tape to the media taken from a surveillance camera with hopes that the vandals might be identified. There have been rumors circulating around the district that the vandals were let into the building by a district employee.
Walker said that she had not heard that rumor and referred other questions regarding the investigation to the Houston Police Department.
Walker said that the administration is in the process of putting together brochures and FAQs (frequently asked questions) sheets for parents to address their questions about the move. A series of public meetings will also be held this month to address the move. The district said they would like to mail these out to patrons on July 30. The dates of the meetings had not been approved at press time.
The district will also use an automated telephone message system to alert patrons of the changes and upcoming meetings.
Despite the move, Walker said that day to day operations for each school will remain separated. Each school will have their own staff, she said, class officers and representatives will serve their respective schools and extracurricular activities will remain separated.
Each school will also maintain their own separate athletic program during the consolidation.
At the end of the 2006-2007 school year Smiley High School underwent a series of security modifications. The new and tighter security was in response to a rumor that a weapon was on campus.
While no weapon was found, the district did ban the use of backpacks and lockers during the final two weeks of the semester. Students were also required to pass through a metal detector before entering the building.
The district has not said what security measures they will keep once school resumes or if additional security will be added to Smiley in response to additional students on campus.

Police release sketch of suspect in shooting

Houston police have released a sketch of the person they believe to be responsible for the shooting death of a North Forest-area businessman.
The shooting took place at a liquor store located at 9902 Homestead about 2 p.m. on July 17.
According to HPD Homicide Division Sergeant A. Carrillo the victim, Henry Bang Tran, 54, suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Cariilo said that police responded to a call from a customer who walked into a liquor store and observed some things out of place and could not see a store employee.
Tran was found behind a counter. Although his pockets were turned out and empty, Carillo said they have not confirmed that robbery was the motive of the crime.
Carillo said they are hoping that a description of the suspect as well as some unique jewelry left behind will lead them to an arrest.
The suspect is described as a black male between the ages of 30 and 40 years. He has been described as having a slender build and either long braided hair or “corn rows.”
Near Tran’s body police found a white and yellow gold chain, approximately 20-24 inches in length, along with a diamond cross. The chain and cross are believed to belong to the suspect and might have been ripped off the suspect during the struggle.
Police are also looking for a potential witness in the case. Carillo said they believe that another black male, in his 40s, was inside the store at the time of the robbery but not during the shooting. Police believe this witness was driving a small, older model black car.
Police are seeking this man for questioning only and say that he is not a suspect in the crime.
Anyone with information in the case is urged to contact the HPD
Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

New Post Office unit at Jed’s

Post Office patrons now have a new option for their Postal services on the Northeast/North Forest area. A contract postal unit, with complete post office services, has opened in the Jed’s ACE Home Center at 5415 Aldine Mail Route at the Eastex Freeway. Extended hours, from 8 am. to 8 p.m. make this an especially convenient place to combine shopping for Home Center items, and to buy postage or mail a package. And the best news is that there are no long lines or waiting at this post office unit.

New Bank opens on Tidwell Road

Crosby State Bank has opened a new branch bank, with complete services including free checking, drive-in, ATM, lobby services, loans and high rate CDs, to serve the North Forest, Sheldon, Channelview, Summerwood, and Beltway 8 areas at 13222 Tidwell Road.
Crosby State Bank is one of the oldest banks in East Harris County, and now has 8 locations. For more information, call 281-458-8882.