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Posts published in “Day: July 1, 2008

Apartment fire displaces 50 residents

Approximately 50 people were left homeless last week when a fire broke out at the Rockwood Landing Apartments on John K. Kennedy Blvd. near Aldine Mail Route.
Tommy Searcy, with the Westfield Volunteer Fire Department, said that the fire started about 1:15 p.m. Although the fire was contained to one building in the complex, eight apartments were destroyed by fire and 4 damaged.
Also responding to the three-alarm blaze were the Houston Fire Dept., Aldine Fire & Rescue, Little York VFD, Atascocita VFD, Northwest VFD and Ponderosa VFD.
Officials say that due to a quick evacuation of residents there were no injuries. The cause of the fire is unknown.

American Legion celebrates 20th year in Aldine area

NORTHEAST HOUSTON– Over one hundred persons were on hand last Sunday afternoon, as the American Legion Post 578, on Aldine Mail Route, and Fort Bend County’s Vaqueros Trail Riders, combined their efforts to recognize and award scholarships to deserving college bound students from both of their service areas.
A total of 13 students received the scholarships of $1000 each for their college expenses. This included students from MacArthur, Aldine, and Nimitz High Schools in the Aldine District, and other schools in the greater Houston and Fort Bend areas.
The ceremony and luncheon were also a celebration for the local American Legion Post of their 20th year serving veterans in the Aldine/Greenspoint district. It was April 1988 that the post was founded, with several locations between then and now. According to Post Commander Rudy Barelas, the group has recently completed a remodelling and update to their buildings and facilities on Aldine Mail Route, and this was an opportunity to show them to the public.
The program also included talks for the benefit of the scholarship recipients. Speakers included Tatcho Mandolia, Jr., a professor at the University of Houston; Brittany Rivas, the 2007 Scholarship recipient; and Rudy Cano, a vice president of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Four of the scholarships were from funds raised by the American Legion post, with the help of the VFW Post 9187, and the balance from the Vaqueros, who said they expect to be able to raise even more next year.

State puts North Forest ISD on Probation

Citing “serious and persistent deficiencies in both the academic and financial performance of the district,” the Texas Education Agency has placed the North Forest ISD on probation.
In a letter to William Jones, interim superintendent of North Forest dated June 13, 2008 TEA Commissioner Robert Scott told the district it was assigned “Accredited-Probation” status following a special accreditation investigation.
Under state guidelines, the district must notify parents and taxpayers of the problems in the district and how those problems will be addressed. North Forest has until June 30 to submit the notification to the state for their approval.
The “probation” status is not subject to another record review or appeal.

During the 2007-08 school year, data was compiled by a “TEA-assigned management team” as part of the investigation. The 14-page summery report found troubles in the “integrity of financial data,” how the district reported disciplinary action to the state, multiple areas of “financial deficiencies” as well as “program deficiencies” and problems with attendance reporting and student records.
Investigators noted that for three straight years the district had failed to meet the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas standards. Among the problems were improperly coded financial transactions and staff training. Investigators were told that staff would be trained by the end of February 2008. As of May 6, they had not received the training.
Investigators also learned that from September 2006 through February 2008, the school district did not report its monthly staff counts.
Since July 2007 the school district has been borrowing money from its Capital Project Fund to meet cash shortfalls in the General Fund. According to the report “the chief financial officer indicated that he was not made aware of the borrowing of bond monies until after the fact.” The report also said that the district could be in “violation of state law and its bond covenants in using these monies for purposes which are not allowable under state regulations.”
In the area of academics, the report noted that in 2007 the district had five of its 11 campuses rated “Academically Unacceptable”, five were “Academically Acceptable” and one was “Recognized.” Of the five “unacceptable” one had earned that rating for the past four consecutive years. Smiley High School had been rated “unacceptable” four out of the last five years.
The investigators also found trouble with how student records were kept at both high schools.
According to the report, “the TEA-assigned conservator was unable to determine whether graduating seniors received the correct number of credits because there are no documents in the cumulative folders at either campus that reflects this information.”

Commons of Grace Senior Housing to hold Open House June 27-28

The public is invited to a two day “Life’s A Beach” Extravaganza, planned by the Commons of Grace, a senior apartment homes development at 9110 Tidwell, to see the spacious one and two bedroom apartment homes that are available for adults 55 years old and “better”.
The theme is meant to emphasize the leisure quality of life that can be expected at the Commons, and will occur around the pool.
Those attending will be entered in a Grand Prize Drawing for a $500 dollar Visa Gift Card.
Features of the Commons of Grace include handicap accessible units, fully-equipped modern kitchens, washer and dryer connections, extra storage space designed into the plans, a private patio or balcony for each unit, a clubhouse with a multi-purpose room, a swimming pool, computer room and fitness center, and picnic areas with barbecue grills.
The development features a gated entrance for security, and unlike some apartment complexes, your pet is welcome here at the Commons!
Living at the commons includes planned activities and social events.
Everyone is invited to the Extravaganza, 10am to 5pm on Friday June 27 and Saturday June 28, with Door prizes, free food and games. Please call 713-635-3500 for more information, and see the ad on page 8 of this North Forest News.