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Posts published in “Day: December 18, 2007

Too dark to Walk?

NORTHEAST HOUSTON– Residents along Bentley Street have complained for years about how dark their street is, and how unsafe this makes walking and driving.
Bentley is unusually busy, because it serves an elementary school, Scarborough Elementary, the Northeast Harris County community center, popular restaurants and businesses, a youth NFL center, a Metro bus line, and a transfer or pickup station for HISD students being bussed to distant schools.
Scarborough principal Susan Bargaleski said that even though many of her students are brought to school by car, nevertheless after school many are bussed by the Boys and Girls Club to the NFL Youth Education Center at Driver Park, and safe travel is a concern. Many children gather at a bus stop on Bentley, prior to and after transfer to distant schools.
In early morning, and evening, it is dark and pedestrians and motorists must use special care to avoid accidents. In the ten blocks between Little York and Hopper, for instance, there is only one street light, about 100 feet from Little York on the west side of Bentley. No other public lighting exists, not even at the two busy entrances to the Northeast Community Center and the Driver/NFL center.

The question of who would provide and pay for lighting is part of the problem, and one that vexes much of the unincorporated areas of the county, and some areas of the city.
Bentley is multijurisdictional, with the city and Precinct 2 of the County sharing responsibility, and therefore sometime not able or willing to provide services.
In general, sidewalks and street lighting are not provided by these two government entities, and therefore State Representative Kevin Bailey, a few years ago, helped pass legislation to form management districts to furnish and pay for some services, especially ones that dealt with public safety and health. New sidewalks and street lighting on Aldine Mail Route, and Airline, are a result of these district’s efforts.
However, a street like Bentley is on a lower priority list, as are many residential streets in the service areas. East Aldine Management District director of services Mike Ledbetter said that a street needs to be a busy commercial street to be considered by the district for a future lighting program. It is unclear whether Bentley qualifies, and since only a small part of the street is in the city, they also are not committed to improvements.
A long term mobility plan suggests that Bentley may become a major north-south road, connecting with JFK near Aldine-Mail Route. But before that happens, residents would like to see some improvement in the lighting and safety.

Greenspoint District honors Volunteers, Partners for help

GREENSPOINT– Greenspoint District held its annual Volunteer Appreciation Reception recently at the Greenspoint Club to honor the partners that provided invaluable assistance to the district in 2007.
The event was hosted by district President Jack Drake, who was joined by board chairman James Curry, Hines, and vice-chair Michelle Wogan, Transwestern. The yearly event drew a crowd of over a hundred partners in business, industry, recreation, transportation, public service and public safety.
A special guest this year, Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt, expressed his admiration for Greenspoint District and all that has been accomplished in the area of public safety. He and other law enforcement officers received a standing ovation for their work and sacrifice.
Representative Kevin Bailey, who filed the legislation that opened the door for the district’s creation, received a unique Community Builder Award—his signature in neon.
“Kevin Bailey filed a bill to create a district that would create a Greater Greenspoint,” said district President Jack Drake, “And his commitment has not changed one iota in these years—whether it is our district or the thousands of neighbors and business and workers and schools he represents as a leader in our state house.”

Also receiving awards were the North Houston Association, which received the 2007 Special Achievement Award for its part in creating the Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition.
The Greater Greenspoint Redevelopment Authority received the 2007 Partner of the Year Award for attracting new quality development and further ensuring our place as a major activity center.
The 2007 Company of the Year Award went to Exterran which will be relocating to Greenspoint in the spring, bringing 800 employees and filling 250,000 square feet of office space.
John Beltz Jr. of Grant Prideco Inc. was named 2007 Volunteer of the Year for giving of his time on the Greenspoint District board of directors, marketing and public affairs committee, and branding task force.
Community Spirit Awards went to Tim Lincoln and Ray Chong, City of Houston; Ray Bejarano of Greenspoint Mall, Rick Carden, Houston Marriott North at Greenspoint; and Jerry Paduano, Wyndham Greenspoint for going “above and beyond” in their respective fields in service of the Greenspoint area. “We are grateful for these and all our partners that are so committed to the Greenspoint area,” said board Chairman James Curry.
Partners Awards
Greenspoint Community Partners, the 501(c)3 foundation created by Greenspoint District to sustain and grow financial and community support for safety and quality of life programs, recognized its community partners at this event as well.
Awards were presented by Executive Director Shelia Redmon-Jones to her board Chairman Jerry Lowry and his wife Cathy, Jack and Betty Drake, Aldine-Greenspoint YMCA, American Bureau of Shipping, Sally Bradford of Greater Greenspoint Redevelopment Authority, CITGO Petroleum, MATTCO Manufacturing, Swift Energy Company, Smith International, Greenspoint Mall and Grant Prideco Inc.
The event was underwritten by Capital One, and sponsored by Montgomery & Associates, Grant PrideCo Inc., Northbelt Office Centers V, L.L.P., Swift Energy, Transwestern, and Clark Condon Associates.
The Greater Greenspoint District is a business improvement district providing services in public safety, infrastructure and recreational development, transportation planning and beautification, public relations and economic development. The District serves a 12-square-mile area, including more than 18 million square feet of office, retail and industrial properties. 70,000 people work in the area, and there are some 94,000 residents.
The Greater Greenspoint Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone is a partnership between the City of Houston, Harris County, Spring and Aldine Independent School Districts, and the Lone Star College System. It funds public capital projects within the zone and provides financial incentives for developers to build or redevelop in Greenspoint.

Deputies kill fugitive after chase ending on US59

By Gilbert Hoffman, NE News
Sheriff’s deputies and a multi-agency task force combined to track and kill a wanted fugitive last Tuesday night.
Roy William Hooper had been sought after he was identified as the suspect in a fatal shooting of Thomas Ford at a robbery at a party last week on Cypress North Houston.
The task force located Hooper at a house near Foy and Little York, about 5 p.m. Tuesday, in Northeast Houston, and when he tried to escape with another man in a black pickup truck, they asked Harris County sheriff’s deputies, also on alert in the area, to pursue the men. After a 20 minute chase through city streets, the truck was stopped on US59 north of Lauder Road.
Hooper emerged from the truck with a gun in hand, and three deputies fired about 30 rounds at him, Lt. John Martin told the Northeast News. Hooper was taken to Ben Taub, and pronounced dead. The driver was arrested, unhurt. The freeway was partially closed for about 4 hours during the investigation.