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Posts published in August 2008

Chamber to offer new Business Initiative programs

Innovative programs for business, students with LSC as partner

NORTH HOUSTON – A partnership between the Lone Star College-North Harris, and the North Houston Greenspoint Chamber of Commerce, will offer a unique set of resources to new and existing businesses, to help them start a business, grow it, or train employees and owners with new skills. This partnership will be named the Center for Business Development. It will use resources of the college and the chamber, and be housed in the LSC-Greenspoint building on the Sam Houston Parkway East. Several entities of the college will be involved, including the college, the corporate college, and the Small Business Development Center.

This program is expected to benefit the chamber, with new member prospects; the college, with referrals for new small business services; and area management districts, that are expected to help fund the program and then offer the services of the CBD to their members and service areas as an additional benefit to small businesses interested in economic development.

The CBD will offer the following elements:

1. A resource center and business incubator, offering affordable space, shared office equipment and conference rooms, etc. for start-ups;

2. Training, consulting, and technical assistance for entrepreneurs, corporate employees, principals, students, and the community;

3. Networking opportunities to share information on business and technical topics.

It is expected that the CBD will offer seminars and workshops in various subjects of interest, including:

With the Lone Star College-North Harris college:

1. Starting and Managing a Home-Based or Small Business
2. Tax Workshop
3. Fast Trac© New Venture
4. Financial Management
5. Legal Issues
6. Leadership Institute
7. Listening to your Business© Workshop.

And with the LSC Small Business Development Center, the following workshops:

1. Writing a Business Plan
2. Marketing on a Dime
3. Starting a Restaurant
4. Government relations
5. Small Business Taxes
6. Legal Issues especially for small businesses
7. Software for Small Businesses, and Industry specific.

It is expected that as time goes by, the mission of the CBD will be modified to respond to needs of the businesses to be served and the chamber.

Information sessions for busineses that are being considered are Accounting, Banking, Financing, Law, Marketing/ Graphics, Employee Benefits, Real Estate, Insurance, Security, Management/Operations, and Business Development. Many of these sessions will draw on the resources available from existing Chamber members.

As outlined by Gray, the Mission of the CBD will be to advance economic development in the Chamber and college service areas, through an “array” of educational and business solutions and resources to individuals, small businesses, and corporations.

The Strategy of the CBD is to combine the services of the partners and leverage their individual strengths into an important, major support center. The strategy will include identifying companies seeking assistance, and directing them to the proper CBD partner.

The CBD Vision is to increase economic and community development, small business impact, and visibility of our partners in the North Houston Greenspoint business community.

Student Ambassadors

A second pioneering program, as described by chamber president Reggie Gray, is known as the Student Ambassadors program. By partnering with a business that signs up as a new chamber member, the student earns 25% of the membership fee towards his college expenses. This allows the student to earn up to $1250 toward his expenses, on an available time basis.

Wells Fargo serial bank robber sentenced

Benjamin Sutton III has been sentenced to 500 months in prison in connection with the armed bank robberies of two different Wells Fargo Bank branches in the northeast area of Houston, United States Attorney Don DeGabrielle announced last week. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $25,424.

A federal grand jury returned an Indictment against both Sutton and Paul Samuel Manning on Dec. 13, 2007, charging them with aggravated bank robbery and use of a firearm in connection with the bank robbery.

Sutton’s charges arose out of a Nov. 26, 2007, robbery of the Wells Fargo Bank branch located at 3601 Eastex Freeway.

During this robbery, Sutton entered the bank branch, placed a firearm to the head of a bank security guard and then demanded money from bank tellers. After receiving the money, Sutton fled the bank branch.

Both Sutton and Manning were also charged for a Dec. 4 robbery of the Wells Fargo Bank branch located at 3434 Tidwell. During this robbery, Sutton placed a firearm to the abdomen of a bank security guard and demanded money from bank tellers while Manning assisted in the robbery. Afterwards, Sutton and Manning fled to the parking lot and attempted to car-jack a sport utility vehicle from a woman and child, during which a gunshot was heard in the parking lot.

When Sutton and Manning were unable to drive the sport utility vehicle, the pair turned to a man driving a pickup truck and car-jacked his vehicle. The truck was later found burned a short distance away from the bank. Sutton pleaded guilty to the charges Feb. 6, 2008. His sentence reflects a total of 360 months for the firearms charges related to the bank robberies (60 and 300, respectively) and 140 months for the bank robbery charges. All terms are to be served consecutively.

Manning pleaded guilty Feb. 20, 2008, and was also sentenced today. He received 123 months (63 months for the bank robbery and 60 months on the related firearms charge), five years of supervised release following completion of that sentence and $7,066 in restitution.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Violent Crime Task Force, which includes members of the FBI, Houston Police Department and Harris County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ryan D. McConnell.

Gallery Furniture holds summer camp for neighborhood kids

HOUSTON – Jim McIngvale, owner of Gallery Furniture, knows the value of an education, and he wants to share that information with young children of school age, that live near his store on I-45.

This summer, he sponsored a Summer Camp for about 40 children that live in the apartment houses near his store.

Children in the La Casita Apartment Complex behind Gallery Furniture found a fun safe place to spend their summer courtesy of the employees of Gallery Furniture. The Summer Enrichment Camp, or “Fun with Mattress Mack” as it was also called, is a program developed by the employees at Gallery Furniture to give children ages 6 to 12 who live in the complex behind the Houston retailer a place to learn and have fun during the summer break.

With their parent’s approval, more than two dozen youngsters attended the camp Monday through Friday from July 24 to August 15. Three certified teachers and a teaching assistant implemented the program that emphasizes ethics, life skills and of course fun.

The program was managed by Gallery Furniture Human Resources director Carolyn Phillips. The main Facilitator was Aslean McCowin, a retired educator from the North Forest School District. She also had three other certified and retired teachers from that district to help her. McCowin’s husband is also a warehouse manager at Gallery Furniture, and this relationship helped set up the program.

“The goal of the 2008 Summer Enrichment Camp is to provide a quality program emphasizing academic achievement, social and emotional well-being, spiritual awareness and work ethic” said Gallery Furniture owner, Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale. “Gallery Furniture is very excited to help these young people learn important lessons that will not only help them excel in the upcoming school year but that will help them for the rest of their lives.”

Children attending the camp have had the opportunity to meet adults from a number of occupations who visit during the camp sessions. They also learned lessons about communication, character, productivity, organization skills, and getting along with others.

Reading and writing were a major focus, so publisher MacMillan/McGraw Hill has provided books, bags, and other supplies. Every day each child gets a new book and by the end of the camp each youngster had fifteen new books to add to his or her personal library.

An Olympic Experience

I’m certain you have all heard the travel expression, “My parents went to Disney World (or some exotic destination) and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.” Such is my dilemma. My son is visiting China for the Olympics and I’m sitting here writing this column. What’s wrong with that picture?

That’s right, while I write this our David Brent from Crosby’s Newport is vacationing in Beijing, China, taking in all the sights and Olympic events he can handle—from both exhaustion and financial points of view. Reports we have received via email is he and his companions are having a ball. They attended the Opening Ceremonies, have visited the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City, went sight seeing in much of Beijing and have seen many of the Olympic events.

I say he is visiting China but if things work out as the schedule predicts he should be arriving back in Newport Monday afternoon, August 18, the day I am writing this column. He and his companions spent about ten days there, saw all of the Olympic events they cared to and then boarded a flight back to Houston. From my point of view, Dave had a once in a lifetime experience. Spending several days at the Olympics would be one great event I would like to do and then being able to do so in far off China just adds to the experience and pleasure.

One of his traveling companions, Audrey, was on a working assignment as well as some vacation days. She had her lap top computer with her so we heard from her more than Dave. Since Audrey’s job is travel I figured this would be another trip to China for her but she tells me this was a first for her as well. More power to them! Linda and I have had many opportunities to travel, including one roundthe- world trip, but we never visited China. Hong Kong was as close as we got.

Both Dave and Audrey commented on the smog and the wearing of masks. I know they went over with masks in hand but I have no idea if they wore them at all. In an early e-mail Dave said he is “reminded of Houston with sand.” At this time of year Houston has stifling humidity, and 90-degree temperatures. He said that is Beijing now but add continuous blowing fine sand from the Gobi Desert.

About the smog, Audrey writes, “The air is not as bad as the news would have you think. It is more dirt than pollution. We are walking in humid dust rather than a chemical odor. About all you can do is cover your mouth when walking up wind in the early morning and take a couple of showers a day.”

One of them also advised us that Audrey had a birthday while in China and they celebrated in style. Incidentally, as a travel employee Audrey lives in Houston about six months each year and six months in London.

They also shared another bit of information about the Olympic events that surprised me. Even though most of the events are sell-outs they are taking place to very low audiences. Apparently a lot of people bought tickets and then aren’t showing. They indicated in many events there are about ten vacant seats for every one filled. There are some exceptions, such as swimming and gymnastics. I would expect the field and track events to be much the same. The news in the U.S. is that scalpers have bought large blocks of tickets and have been unable to sell them — thus the empty seats.

Even so, they have been able to secure tickets for anything they want to attend, including the above named events. By email Audrey suggested watching the TV background and look for the yellow or red shirts. The yellow shirts are volunteers attending to fill up chairs and the red shirts are Olympic people filling other seats.

The duo has commented on the food as well. I did a column a few weeks ago on the menu that included dog meat, dung beetles and a number of rather odd sea creatures. They have found their way around most of that. They do better in the finer restaurants and staying away from “street vendors.” It seems every place they go they are accompanied by a guide and security. They have said little about security except “it is tight.” To my knowledge they have not been prevented from going anywhere they have chosen but always with their guide.

They speak highly of their guide, a female who has been quite helpful to them. She is also quite curious about life in the United States and Great Britain.

Transportation seems to be “very good” there according to what I glean from their emails. One e-mail said there is still a lot of walking. “If needed, you can take your pick of several different types of transportation. Just be in track shoes once you get there. The Forbidden City seemed to go on forever, and you have to walk it all,” concluded Audrey. “Next time I come I’m bringing one of those canes that makes a chair.”

Their homebound families are glad they are having a good time and seeing a part of the world relatively few ever see. I’m expecting to see a host of photos when they return. I also hope they don’t bring me a “lousy t-shirt.”

Such are the people, places and things that have touched my life in my home!

H-E-B issues precautionary recall for raw serrano peppers following FDA warning

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning advising consumers to avoid eating raw serrano peppers from Mexico to prevent additional cases of Salmonella illnesses.

In response, H-E-B is issuing a comapny-wide precautionary recall of raw serrano peppers as an extension of its commitment to the safety of its customers.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and view this as a neccessary step to ensure the safety of our customers,” said Winell Herron, H-E-B Group Vice President of Public Affairs and Diversity. “The recall is voluntary and only a precaution. None of our customers have reported any illnesses. We will return the product to our stores once it is determined safe to consume.”

2008 should be special one for state’s college, NFL fans

The 2008 football season kicks off Labor Day weekend, and what a season fans at all levels (high school, college and the NFL) could be in store for.

Optimism is running high at places like Eisenhower High School, where the Eagles return a strong nucleus from a team that finished 8-4 a year ago and is brimming with Division 1 talent. Texas Tech fans believe this is their year to finally contend for the Big 12 title (and rightfully so with a pair of Heismann Trophy candidates in quarterback Graham Harrell and wide receiver Michael Crabtree leading the way), while folks in Austin and College Station are planning to be heard from as well. And in the NFL, Texan fans are beginning to realize that head coach Gary Kubiak and general manager Rick Smith have assembled a roster that has legitimate NFL talent and finally much-needed depth. And that team located north of Houston has visions of a Super Bowl dancing in their heads as they say good-bye to Texas Stadium before moving into Jerry Jones’ $1 billion palace in 2009.

Football fans of all ages should have plenty to talk about this season and before we return to our annual exercise in futility in trying to correctly pick the outcomes of games on a weekly basis, I’m going to look into my crystal ball and predict how the season will play out.


Aldine ISD and Humble ISD have been reunited to make up this year’s District 19-5A. This should be one of the more competitive districts in the Houston area and could produce a team that goes far into the playoffs.


1. Eisenhower – First-year head coach Ray Evans’ team is loaded, led by defensive back Craig Loston (Texas Football Magazine’s Defensive Player of the Year), wide receiver Michael Timmons and quarterback Kenneth Guiton.

2. Humble

3. Nimitz – Head coach David Suggs will count on the legs of running back Michael Grice and quarterback Zach Rollins to lead the way while his youngsters get used to playing under the glare of the Friday night lights.

4. Aldine – Head coach Bob Jones lost a load of talent to graduation, but he’s optimistic there’s enough left in place to contend for the playoffs.


Big 12 – North Champ: Missouri (Tigers are loaded and led by veteran quarterback Chase Daniels; South Champ: Oklahoma – Sooners get the edge over Tech due to better overall defense and the fact they get the Red Raiders at home, but look for Tech to land a BCS bowl and remember, Tech has beaten OU two of the last three years. I think this is the year Tech beats Texas and wins a minimum of 10 games.

SEC – West: LSU (Even with questions at quarterback, Les Myles team is loaded on both sides of the ball. The defending national champs will find a signal caller by the time the SEC schedule gets hot and heavy; East: Florida (I know the chique pick is Georgia, but the Bulldogs have lost players on and off the field and something tells me Florida head coach Urban Meyer has something up his sleeve this year, plus he has the returning Heismann Trophy winner Tim Tebow returning at quarterback.

Big 10 – It’s Ohio State and the 10 dwarves. Buckeyes are loaded and ready for another BCS title run. If they win at USC on Sept. 13, watch out.

Pac 10 – USC (Trojans simply reload, but quarterback Matt Sanchez is a question mark after dislocating his knee in preseason practice. Still, head coach Pete Carroll has enough talent to keep on rolling until Sanchez is fully healed).

BCS title game: Oklahoma over Florida


AFC East – New England: Patriots still class of this weak division, but might get challenged by the Jets now that No. 4 is under center.

AFC North – Steelers: have question marks on the offensive line, but they still have the best quarterback in the division and a solid defense.

AFC South – Indianapolis: Even though Peyton Manning did not participate in training camp, No. 18 can still produce with minimal practice time. He can run this offense in his sleep.

AFC West – San Diego: Norv Turner’s team grew up in the post-season and has the hunger for more.

Wild Cards – Jacksonville and Denver

AFC Title Game – San Diego over New England: Chargers finish the job this time around. As for the Texans, look for an 8-8 or 9-7 year, depending on how well they do in their first five games of the season. They have a much tougher schedule this year, but have improved in many areas. The key to their first winning season will be how well they can run the football, rush the passer the defend the pass. And don’t forget, they play in the toughest division in the AFC, which does not help matters.


NFC East – Dallas: Cowboys survive the league’s best division.

NFC North – Green Bay: Favre may be gone, but the Packers still have a young and very good defense and adequate replacement in Aaron Rodgers.

NFC South – Tampa Bay: Bucs have the best defense, which will be the difference over the offensive-minded Saints.

NFC West – Seattle: Seahawks send Mike Holmgren out in style.

Wild Cards – New York, Washington

NFC Title Game – Dallas over Seattle: Cowboys close Texas Stadium in style as Tony Romo finally finds success in the post season.

Super Bowl – Dallas over San Diego: A classic in the making?

Now, let’s take a look at what the Labor Day weekend has to offer.


Clear Lake at Aldine – Young Mustangs get a good test right out of the block. My pick, Aldine 23, Clear Lake 21

Eisenhower at Hightower – Good Week 1 match up as two playoff teams go at it in Fort Bend County. My pick, Eisenhower 26, Hightower 23

Macarthur at Stafford – Both teams are rebuilding as former district rivals get after it at Tully Stadium. Mac’s ground game will be the difference in this one. My pick, MacArthur 17, Stafford 14 Elsik at Nimitz – Cougars’ running game should also be the difference in season-opener for Nimitz. My pick, Nimitz 24, Elsik 16


Wake Forest at Baylor – The Art Briles era begins in Waco as the Bears host a Wake Forest team that finished 9- 4 a year ago. Look for Briles to play veteran quarterback Blake Szmanski and super-talented freshman Robert Griffin as the Bears fling the ball all over the place. The Texas heat might also benefit the Bears in their Thursday night opener as the Briles era gets off to a positive start. My pick, Baylor 33, Wake Forest 28

Alabama vs. Clemson at Atlanta – A nice southern match up as Nick Saban begins his second year at the helm of the Crimson Tide. Clemson will be a formidable foe as many have picked Gary Bowden’s team to be the class of the ACC. Look for the Tide to be vastly improved from last year’s 7-6 team. Saban teams only get better from year one to year two. Don’t be surprised if Saban unleashes Julio Jones, a sensational freshman wide receiver at the Tigers in this one. My pick, Alabama 23, Clemson 20

Appalachian State at LSU – You had better believe that Myles will be reminding his Tigers that a year ago, Appalachian State marched into the Big House in Ann Arbor and upset the mighty Michigan Wolverines and it was no fluke. ASU is the two-time defending Division II champ and is led by quarterback Armanti Edwards, an electrifying threat on the ground and through the air. LSU’s defense will have its hands full, but they have enough depth to wear down ASU and open defense of their national title in grand style. My pick, LSU 34, ASU 23

Tennessee at UCLA – Labor Day weekend concludes with a good intersectional meeting between the SEC and the Pac 10. The Bruins and first-year head coach Rick Neuheisel go into this game against a talented Vols team having to rely on third-team quarterback Kevin Craft, a red shirt junior. The Bruins’ top two signal callers, Ben Olson and Patrick Cowan are out with injuries, and you can be sure the Vols’ defense is licking its chops at the prospects of harassing Craft all night long on ESPN. My pick, Tennessee 31, UCLA 15

Let the season begin!

High School Football schedule

Fri 8/29 – STAFFORD @ Tully 7:30
Sat 9/06 – CONROE @ Thorne 6:00
Fri 9/12 – KLEIN COLLINS @ Thorne 7:30
Thu 9/18 – BALL @ Thorne 7:30
Fri 9/26 – ATASCOCITA @ Turner 7:30
Sat 10/4 – EISENHOWER @ Thorne 2:00
Fri 10/10 – KINGWOOD @ Turner 7:30
Fri 10/24 – HUMBLE @ Thorne 7:30
Fri 10/31 – NIMITZ @ Thorne 7:30
Fri 11/07 – ALDINE @ Thorne 7:30

Fri 8/29 – CLEAR LAKE @ Thorne 7:30
Fri 9/05 – DEER PARK @ Deer Pk 7:30
Sat 9/13 – KLEIN FOREST @ Thorne 6:00
Fri 9/19 – FOSTER @ Traylor 7:00
Sat 9/27 – HUMBLE @ Thorne 6:00
Fri 10/3 – NIMITZ @ Thorne 7:30
Fri 10/17 – ATASCOCITA @ Thorne 7:30
Sat10/25 – EISENHOWER @ Thorne 2:00
Sat 11/1 – KINGWOOD @ Thorne 2:00
Fri 11/07 – MacARTHUR @ Thorne 7:30

Fri 8/29 – HIGHTOWER @ Mercer 7:30
Fri 9/05 – NORTH SHORE @ Thorne 7:30
Thu 9/11 – ELSIK @ Crump 7:30
Fri 9/19 – WEST BROOK @ Thorne 7:30
Fri 9/26 – KINGWOOD @ Thorne 7:30
Sat 10/4 – MacARTHUR @ Thorne 2:00
Fri 10/10 – HUMBLE @ Thorne 7:30
Sat 10/18 – NIMITZ @ Thorne 6:00
Sat 10/25 – ALDINE @ Thorne 2:00
Fri 10/31 – ATASCOCITA @ Turner 7:30

Sat 8/30 – ELSIK @ Thorne 6:00
Thu 9/04 – CLEAR BROOK@Clear Creek 7
Fri 9/12 – MEMORIAL @ Memorial 7:30
Fri 9/19 – COLLEGE PK@ WoodFst 7:30
Fri 10/3 – ALDINE @ Thorne 7:30
Sat 10/11 – ATASCOCITA@ Thorne 2:00
Sat 10/18 – EISENHOWER @ Thorne 6:00
Fri 10/24 – KINGWOOD @ Turner 7:30
Fri 10/31 – MacARTHUR @ Thorne 7:30
Fri 11/07 – HUMBLE @ Turner 7:30

Sat 8/23 – BT WASHINGTON @ Cowart 10am
Fri 8/29 – EPISCOPAL @ Simmons 7:00
Fri 9/5 – WORTHING @ Cowart 7:00
Fri 9/12- KASHMORE@ Cowart 7:00
Fri 9/19 – GC MEMORIAL @ Cowart 7:00
Fri 9/26 – GALENA PARK @ Galena Park 7:00
Fri 10/3 – DAYTON @ Bronco 7:00
Fri 10/10 – CE KING @ Cowart 7:00
Fri 10/17 – CROSBY @ Cougar 7:00
Fri 10/24 – KINGWOOD PARK @ Cowart 7:00
Fri 10/31 – BARBERS HILL @ Eagle 7:00

6 days in Cincinnati

One of the hardest things to do after you leave school is keep in touch with your friends. You no longer get to see them every day in class or at lunch. You no longer call each other to solve calculus problems or chat about the Homecoming game. In some cases, like ours, you no longer even live in the same state. So what’s the secret to our success?


We chat online several times a week, and we talk on the phone once or twice a month. Actually one of our favorite ways to keep in touch is to write letters, usually on goofy stationery we forgot we had. (Yes, people do still use pen and paper and the US Postal Service.) But even though we tend to rely on hightech methods of communication, the best way to keep in touch is lowest on the tech scale: seeing each face to face and hanging out in person.

That’s exactly what we did last month when Angie came to Cincinnati.

Day 1 started normal enough: Kristan went to work and Angie was dropped off at the airport. Unfortunately, Angie’s itinerary consisted of a full day of traveling on the world’s smallest planes — from Austin to Cleveland, then Cleveland to Dayton. Then there was a delay in Austin, which resulted in the itsy bitsy plane being restarted three times, and Angie began to worry about being late. Ironically, Angie ended up arriving early to Dayton, and Kristan was the one running late.

After a belated but happy reunion at the airport, we drove an hour through the pouring rain back to Kristan’s office to finish an important project and run it to FedEx. We got to FedEx at 8:58 pm — exactly 2 minutes before they would have closed, i.e., exactly 2 minutes before Kristan would have been fired.

Needless to say, we were both happy to go home and relax that night. And with Andy gone on a business trip, we were able to have some quality girl time.

Highlight of the day: The “7th grade sleepover,” reminiscing about the past as well as wondering about the future.

Day 2 was a little more relaxing. Angie spent the day getting to know Riley (the puppy) while Kristan was at work. That night Andy came back from Chicago and the three of us had a lovely dinner, followed by an even better dessert.

Highlight of the day: Black Raspberry Chip ice cream from Graeter’s. Officially Angie’s favorite thing about Cincinnati.

Kristan used a Personal Day on Friday (Day 3) to spend time with Angie. They took Riley to Eden Park, had dinner at Newport on the Levee — think: subdued version of Kemah — and walked across the Purple People Bridge from Ohio to Kentucky. Strangely, many of Cincinnati’s attractions are actually in Kentucky.

Highlight of the day: An adorable older woman telling us she wished she had a camera to take a picture of the three of us — Kristan, Angie and Riley — as we sat on a giant swing sculpture in the park.

Day 4 started with an exhausting but exhilarating aerobic dance class at nine in the morning. Afterwards, Angie said, “Let’s go for a run!” and Kristan gave her a look that said, “Over my dead body. No, really.” Then we drove around East Walnut Hills to look at ridiculous mansion-like houses and take pictures, much like we used to do in Houston.

Highlight of the day: Flailing limbs in the back row of dance class despite Kristan’s dance lessons and Angie’s ballroom course.

Day 5 was very food-focused, with waffles, bacon, and strawberries for breakfast at home, and then grocery shopping at Jungle Jim’s — an international market with singing Campbell’s Soup cans, bumper cars, and other strange novelties. We also did some clothes shopping, but after looking at our receipts, we don’t feel like talking about that…

Highlight of the day: Spending half an hour agonizing over which novelty candy bars to get. Lion Bars from Europe, Pocky from Japan, or Sky Bars from (1940s) America?

And finally on Day 6, Angie “got” to relax at home again, because Kristan had to work and forgot that the art museum is closed on Mondays. Luckily Angie didn’t mind, because she got to play with Riley again!

Highlight of the day: Singing off-key and talking about life while driving back to the airport in the PT “Party Time” Cruiser.

Maybe it wasn’t some wild and crazy, Hollywood-style, Thelma and Louise best friend weekend, but we had a good time even without Brad Pitt or getting chased by the police. Our friendship grew stronger, and we know it will continue to grow because of all the effort we put in. And the best part is, in a good friendship, effort doesn’t feel like effort at all. It’s just fun.

So whether by phone, World Wide Web, postal service, or in person, go keep in touch with a friend. It’s totally worth it.

Back to School Aug. 25th

Public Schools, Colleges prepared

The summer is over. You can tell by the preparations everywhere for students to start back to school on Monday, August 25 in most districts and colleges.

The Tax-Free weekend is over, with bargains and tax-free sales helping prepare families for the school year. Many stores added sales to the tax-free feature, and malls and parking lots were full last Friday through Sunday.

Other signs of school preparation include high school football teams starting their scrimmages prior to the first games on August 29th; teachers in the schools, preparing for the grand opening; and many Health Fairs and Back to School Fairs being held around the community. One of the largest of these was held at Aldine High School last July 26th, when over 8000 students and parents showed up for free school supplies, backpacks, and required immunizations. In addition, over 100 vendors were on hand for this fair, to acquaint parents with their capabilities.

The Aldine Fair was sponsored by the Aldine ISD, the YMCA, and the Texas Childrens Hospital, and is an annual event.

Aldine Teachers Welcome

Aldine ISD has scheduled their annual convocation for educators for Monday, August 18 at 10 a.m. This is a large, upbeat, welcome-back event, held at the Campbell Center on Aldine Bender. The community and AISD Business Partners participate in this welcome, which includes student performances, a welcome talk by Superintendent Wanda Bamberg, and an inspirational guest speaker.

YOUTH Back to School

Last weekend also saw the Y.O.U.T.H. hold a well attended Back-To-School Community Festival. This event included a free Calvin Murphy Basketball Clinic, refreshments, performances, BBQ by the Noon Aldine Optimist Club, free clothing, and a Raffle for a $100 gift certificate to Greenspoint Mall. Over 150 children and adults were present for this event.

It also included information booths for Lone Star College, lead-free housing information, and a voter registration stand.

The highlight of the event was a dedication ceremony for YOUTH’s new Soccer Field.

Physical Changes

Many districts and colleges will open in new facilities, or changed environments.

Aldine ISD is opening several new schools, with more under construction due to their bond issue.

Much the same is true at Lone Star College, although construction is just starting on most of their projects that will be built with the new bond money. North Harris College is using the bond money to build a new Student Services Center, renovate the academic building, add on to the Fine Arts building and the Applied Technology building, and build a new Health Professions Building on I-45 at a new location. In addition, the Greenspoint Center, formerly Parkway Center, will receive renovations during the year. Improvements are also due at Carver Center, and the new Aldine Center.

North Forest will not open any new buildings, but will consolidate its two high schools into the old Forest Brook building, and use the Smiley high school building as a 9th grade center.