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Posts published in “Day: May 27, 2008

Aldine ISD celebrates Graduation 2008

School districts from across Harris County will come to Aldine ISD this week to use the M.O. Campbell Center for commencement.
Before they do, however, Aldine’s own graduates took that final walk to receive their high school diplomas.
First in line to use the facility this year was MacArthur Senior High. The school’s commencement was held the evening of May 30 at 7:30 pm.
The district then held five more ceremonies the following day, starting with Nimitz High School at 8 am. At 10:30 am, Carver High graduated.
Led by Class Valedictorian Violetta Krol, Aldine High took the stage at 12:30 pm. Completing the Aldine Top 10 were Adriana Diaz, Jean Nava, Laura Fuentes, Edith Gonzalez, William Fuentes, Angela Lomas, Thanh Nguyen, Eduardo Martinez and Daniel Fuentes.
After Aldine, Hall High held their ceremony at 3 pm. Eisenhower High School finished out the day’s activities at 5 pm.

METRO says North Corridor Light Rail running by 2012

By Gilbert Hoffman
NORTH HOUSTON– The public attended a meeting last Saturday at Jeff Davis High School, a community meeting to discuss the new Light Rail line for the Northside. METRO had exhibits and staff to answer questions, and a forum session in the auditorium gave the public a chance to comment on the design and details.
METRO presented an update called the Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Statement. Essentially, the plan has changed from a Bus Rapid Transit back to the original Light Rail Transit plan. The North Corridor line is now 5.26 miles long, LRT (Light Rail), with 8 stations including 2 new ones. The cost is estimated at $677 million.

Since Dec. 2006, METRO has incorporated the following changes in the plan:
• Light Rail
• Typical section revised to a 26 foot guideway profile with one travel lane, one parking land on each side
• Inclusion of 5 traction power stations
• Burnett Station no longer a BRT to LRT transfer point
• Quitman Station changed from a transfer station to a drop-off type station
• Parking Garage at Northline Station eliminated
• Right of Way reduced, but additional 13 parcels impacted.
The two new stations are known as Boundary Station and Graceland Station. See map for more detail. The location of the Cavalcade Station has been moved. Catherine Station has been renamed to Moody Park, and Fulton/IH-610 to Melbourne.
According to METRO, the schedule now calls for Environmental Approval in Summer 2008, Acquisition of Right of Way from 2006 to 2009, Construction to begin by the end of 2008, and the North Corridor line to open for service by 2012.
The exhibits also covered efforts to preserve historically significant buildings, and a safety education program that will be conducted by METRO in nearby schools.
Present for the presentations were METRO president Frank Wilson, Congressman Gene Green, and other officials. The official presentation was made by METRO’s George Smalley and consultant Sandy Wesch-Schulze.

Aldine teachers meet First Lady, Daughter

On April 10, local school districts were informed that First lady Laura Bush and daughter, Jenna Bush were going to visit Houston. Mrs. Bush has asked to meet with area teachers that are making a difference both in the classroom and in their community.
Thirty Aldine teachers who met specific criteria were nominated by Administrators within the Aldine district. The 30 teachers nominated wrote about how they have effected their school community out of these thirty people only two were selected to meet the First Lady Bush and her daughter.
Then a selection was made by the Superintendent Dr. Wanda Bamberg and other administrative committee members based on their explanation of the programs in which they are involved and how it has affected the school community and benefited the students and community members around their schools.

Two selected from Aldine
The two selected people from the Aldine ISD were: Demetria Westmoreland, 7th Grade History Teacher from Shotwell Middle School and Alpha Omega Cruz-Lopez, Bilingual Librarian and Teacher from Keeble EC/PK Center.
These two teachers have made a tremendous impact on their community and students in their schools. Westmoreland, has many programs involving the students in her school. She has formed a student group called “The Purple Roses.”
The Purple Roses
This group of students have participated in projects including: Breast Cancer Awareness, Elderly Help, Staph Infection realization. During Breast Cancer Awareness month, the students did various projects to inform other students and teachers of Breast Cancer and to help in the prevention and research by collecting money for the Pink Ribbon and donating to Breast Cancer collection places and giving out Pink Ribbons for Breast Cancer Awareness. This has been a very enlightening thing for students as well as the teachers.
For their sock hop, they collected socks because this is one thing that the elderly love because their feet are always cold. This is a very unusual collection; however, with their visits to the elderly homes and their enthusiasm, the elderly really enjoy this time. Enlightening the student population about the importance of washing their hands and knowledge about Staph Infection and how to prevent it is of great importance.
Alpha Omega Cruz-Lopez , a Bilingual teacher and librarian at Keeble EC/PK Center in the Aldine Independent School District, has wholeheartedly taken pride in becoming extremely involved with adult and children’s reading to accomplish a two-fold growth.
The ABC Club
One spectacular monthly activity, the ABC Club (A.-Answers, B.-Books, C.-Children), invites parents to come for an hour the first Friday of each month to hear about forthcoming events and to participate in a make-N-take activity related to a book.
The session involves methods and approaches on how to read to children; skills; manipulatives; and diverse techniques that parents can use nightly as they read to their children. Parents’ interest in reading has become an overwhelming concentrated effort tied into another activity started since last year called: “Go Wild with Reading.”
This program encourages the parents to read every day to their children. At the beginning of every month a Reading Form is sent home for the parents to write down the title of every book that is read to their children daily. At the end of each month, they return their form and each child receives a certificate. The child’s name is kept in a log. This program ends in May. The children who have completed: eight months of 100% participated reading will receive a GOLD Medallion, seven months of 100% participated reading will receive a SILVER Medallion; six months of 100% participated reading will receive a BRONZE Medallion.

North Houston Association honors community leaders and businesses

The North Houston Association (NHA) presented the awards for year 2007 to recipients who were recognized at the Annual Awards Luncheon on May 20. City of Houston Mayor Bill White and Controller Annise Parker were speakers at the event.
The following presentations were made: North Star Award to State Senator Tommy
Williams, District 4; Compass Award to Joe Adams, Vice President of Public Affairs for
Union Pacific Railroad Company; and Environmental Impact Award to Land Tejas Companies, accepted by company president Patrick Bullard.

The North Star Award is presented to an individual or company in north Houston that has made a long-term, significant contribution to the region. The award was presented by former Senator and NHA president Jon Lindsay to State Senator Tommy Williams,
District 4. Mayor Bill White made accompanying remarks along with Senator Williams. Our
Board felt that Senator Williams was qualified for this award based on his years of work and resulting legislation enabling creation of The Woodlands Township. He obtained approval through the State Legislature for a piece of history-making legislation that would allow Town Center Improvement District and the City of Houston to enter into a regional participation agreement, thereby ensuring that The Woodlands would not be annexed and allowing the citizens to determine their future governance.
The Compass Award is bestowed on an individual who is a member of the North Houston Association, and has made a significant contribution to the area and to the programs and projects of the Association. The award was presented by NHA Chairman Roy Hearnsberger, with The Hearnsberger Company, to Joe Adams, Vice President of Public Affairs for Union Pacific Railroad Company. Our Board felt that Mr. Adams was qualified for this award because of his outstanding leadership to NHA as the Chairman of the Board from 2002-2006. Additionally, he has participated for many years on various NHA committees and provided updates to NHA membership on freight rail issues and commuter rail possibilities for the Houston region.
The Environmental Impact Award recognizes a company or entity for its efforts in preserving and protecting the environment in north Houston or south Montgomery County. Mark Froehlich, with Brown & Gay Engineers and NHA Board member, presented Land Tejas Companies the Environmental Impact Award for the “Discovery at
Spring Trails” green development. Patrick Bullard, President of Land Tejas Companies, accepted the award.

Gov. Perry appoints Greenspoint District’s Lowry to state jail commission

When Jerry Lowry joined the Greenspoint District as public safety director in 2000, it didn’t take long to realize he was the right fit for the job.
He has risen through the ranks at the Greenspoint District and today serves as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Although his responsibilities today extend beyond the District’s public safety programs, it’s his work with expanding, implementing and building successful partnerships with law enforcement that has gained him recognition. Lowry has once again been recognized as the right fit by Governor Rick Perry, who recently appointed him to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.
“I’ve had the opportunity to impact crime and safety from different angles,” said Lowry. “I’ve fought crime on the streets as a police officer, traveled to other countries as a corporate security consultant and built crime-reducing partnerships with local law enforcement here in Greenspoint. I’ve been fortunate to gain valuable insight that will help in addressing issues facing Texas jails,” he added.

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards is the regulatory agency for all county jails and privately operated municipal jails in the state.
The nine-member commission sets the standards for the treatment of prisoners and the construction, maintenance and operation of county jails. In addition, they review inspection procedures, enforcement policies and rehabilitation programs for prisoners. Lowry will serve a six-year term and is one of the four members of the commission who represent the general public.
Lowry received a degree in Criminal Justice with Magna Cum Laude honors from the University of Houston – Downtown. He has served as an officer and sergeant with the Houston Police Department and co-owner of an international security consulting firm. He holds the designation of Certified Protection Professional from the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS), an organization for security professionals with 36,000 members worldwide, and an Advanced Certificate from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education.
An active leader in the community, Lowry is the past chair of the North Houston Greenspoint Chamber of Commerce, executive director of Greenspoint Community Partners, advisory director for Amegy Bank of Texas and board member for Leadership North Houston. He resides near Conroe and is Co-Pastor for the College Park Church of Christ and board member for Heaven Sent Ministries.

North Forest names high school, picks colors

NORTH FOREST– At their monthly board meeting last Monday night, the NF District voted to adopt the name “North Forest High School” for the two consolidated high schools, and to have the official school colors black and gold, and the mascot name the “Bulldogs”.
Input on the new name and colors came from cards handed in by students, staff and the public at several meetings, according to Nakisha Myles, spokesperson for the district.
Other names that were considered in the voting were Obama High School, Northeast High School, MLK High School, and George W. Bush High School.
This vote continued the consolidation and downsizing that the district is going through, with the goal of returning to financial stability and to satisfy the Texas Education Agency so that the state monitors or “conservators” that are overseeing the district could be concluded.

However, financial problems continue to plague the district, exemplified by a $250,000 electic power bill that was questioned by the board as out of line, and no one seemed to have a good answer as to why. Assistant Administrator Carl Williams said he thought part of the problem was lack of A/C controls, that allowed the buildings to run 24/7.
Trustee Lemons indicated that the district needed an Energy Efficiency plan, and that it needed to be implemented with an inservice training, and with penalties and rewards for those in charge of useage. He indicated that this program was in effect in his school in Houston ISD, where he is a principal.
TEA report on possible Probation, closure
During the meeting, a “preliminary” report to the district from TEA was discussed. This report was not to be made public, according to a frustrated TEA representative at the meeting, Ron Rowell, and he suggested that someone on the board or the superintendent had leaked the report to the media. The report detailed the failures of the district, and laid the groundwork for a possible closure of the district, a drastic step which TEA now had the authority to do, but has not exercised elsewhere in the state.
During the meeting, a new Special Ed director, Dr. O’Connor was introduced. He replaces Dr. Ruth Watson, who was criticized in the media for the way she ran her department, and who the board says is now on medical and family leave.
Academic Conservator Barbara Wilson made a report to the board that indicated improvements in the academics of the district, and that TEA had found her Improvement Plan acceptable.
In the public comment section of the meeting, Robin German Curtis spoke on the need for cooperation between the board and her organization, NEEF. She said “Let us make a Plan together, for the good of our children.” NEEF was the group that brought former U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige to the district a few months ago to encourage this improvement.
Interim superintendent William Jones noted, in the discussion on the Visor Camp and other summer programs, that federal funds use and related programs were being investigated by the District Attorney. He stated that all children would have summer programs available, but that he was limited in what specifics he could promise.
In a note of levity during the meeting, Trustee Albert Lemons was asked if he would consider being superintendent. He answered “No. I’ve tried to live to make it into Heaven.”