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Posts published in “Day: November 4, 2008

Famed Tuskegee Airmen visit Aldine area groups

Members of the famed World War II Tuskegee Airmen have made personal appearances at several locations in the Northeast Houston area recently.

They appeared at the half-time ceremonies of the MacArthur football game last Friday night, riding to the center of the field on several golf carts with AISD Director of Athletics Dean Samuel. They also spoke the following Tuesday at the Greenspoint Rotary luncheon at the Greenspoint Club.

They appeared at a special presentation at Lone Star College-North Harris on Thursday, Oct. 30, 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Theatre located in the Fine Arts Building on campus. The Tuskegee Airmen, the first black fighter squadron in history and Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, flew in air combat over North Africa and Italy during World War II.

The gallant men flew 15,553 Sorties and completed 1,578 missions with the 12th Tactical and 15th U.S. Army Air Force.

The 99th Fighter Squadron, which had already distinguished itself over North Africa, Sicily and Anzio, joined three other Black Squadrons; the 100th, 301st, and the 302nd. These squadrons, designated as the 332nd Fighter Group, comprised the largest fighter unit in the 15th Air Force.

From Italian bases they destroyed enemy rail traffic, hundreds of vehicles on air-to-ground strafing missions, and coast watching surveillance stations. Sixty-six pilots were killed in aerial combat while another 32 were either forced down or shot down and captured to become Prisoners of War.

These courageous airmen came home with 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses, Legions of Merit and the Red Star of Yugoslavia.

These pioneer aviators had one of the most distinctive records of all the WWII air squadrons and were nicknamed the “Red Tails” by U.S. bomber crews they protected. “The success of this squadron influenced President Harry Truman to integrate the U.S. military,” says Dr. Theresa McGinley, LSC-North Harris history professor and event liaison.

Nine-year old killed during home invasion on East Hardy

A nine-year old child was the innocent victim last week of a home invasion in the 12000 block of E. Hardy. Cesar Armendarez was a student at AISD’s Stephens Elementary school.

On Oct. 29 Harris County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a Home Invasion Robbery/Shooting at two residences, located in the 12100 block of E. Hardy near Hill Street.

When deputies arrived on the scene, they learned that four Hispanic males had forced entry into the corner house, tied up the female resident and ransacked the house,” Sgt. A.B. Beall said.

“The suspects made entry into a second house, located next door to the first house. The suspects tied up at least one resident of the second house before being confronted by the homeowner and fleeing the resdence,” Beall said. “The suspects fired multiple gunshots into the second house from the front yard and street. The bullets penetrated the exterior wall of the residence and struck the Cesar Armendarez, 9, who was sleeping in his bed, killing him.”

The boy’s father, Pedro Armendarez, received a gunshot wound to the leg and was transported by ambulance to the hospital.

Beall said that the suspect’s were described as four Hispanic males, 20 – 30 years old, wearing dark colored clothing. The suspects were armed with at least one semi-automatic rifle and one semi-automatic pistol. A witness reported seeing an older model (possible 1996), dark blue or black, Chevrolet/GMC extended cab pickup truck and a second unknown make passenger van flee the scene.

The case is under investigation by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Division. Anyone with any information regarding this case is asked to call the Homicide Division at 713.967.5810 or Crime Stoppers at 713.222.TIPS

Fire hits Tidwell school

Tidwell Elementary School, in the North Forest ISD, was hit by a 2 alarm fire Sunday night, Oct. 26, starting about 8:15 pm, according to reports.

Houston Fire Department responded to the scene, and confined the flames to one classroom. However, smoke damage was evident throughout the school.

Tidwell has been closed for about a year, due to the discovery of mold in the building. Firefighters were only able to enter and fight the fire after donning breathing apparatus to protect themselves from the possible effects of the mold in the fire.

At presstime, no cause for the fire had been determined, but it was noted by authorities that broken windows and doors indicated that someone had been in the building, and arson will be investigated.

Superintendent to meet with community

HOUSTON— Throughout November, North Forest ISD’s Superintendent of Schools Adrain Johnson, Ed. D., will make his way through the North Forest community, visiting civic clubs and local groups during their regular meetings to provide their members with updates on the District.

Dr. Johnson came to North Forest ISD on Oct. 16, after being appointed by Texas Education Agency Commissioner Robert Scott. He brings with him more than 30 years of education and education administration experience. His last position was as Associate Commissioner at TEA. He has also served as Superintendent of Schools in La Marque and Aransas County ISD.

Dr. Johnson has said that he will be asking North Forest ISD stakeholders to help the District “make a comeback to financial stability, a comeback to having every campus academically acceptable or better, and a comeback to graduating a class of students well prepared to enter any college or any sector of the workforce.”

He will visit the Rosewood Civic Club at its monthly meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 6. Then on Sat- urday, Nov. 8, he will be the guest speaker at Northeast Education First meeting at 10 a.m. at the Northeast Multi-Service Center, 9720 Spaulding.

Other North Forest neighborhood civic club meetings that Dr. Johnson is slated to attend are the Scenic Woods/Fontaine Civic Club meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 10; the Super Neighborhood 49/50 meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 18; the Verde Forest Civic Club meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 19; the Wood Glen Civic Club meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 20; and the Super Neighborhood 47 meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 24.

In addition to listening to community concerns and answering questions, Dr. Johnson plans to use these meetings as a chance to address District related topics, including the upcoming tax referendum, and to invite and encourage residents and community leaders to take an active role in rebuilding the District.

National Night Out: Neighbors get together in Northeast Houston

NORTHEAST HOUSTON – Neighbors, public officials, police and deputies gathered last Tuesday night, to meet, eat, party, and discuss issues of interest to them.

National Night Out almost got canceled in the Houston area due to Hurricane Ike and the recovery effort that followed, but most neighborhoods were able to make alternate plans that brought them together.

In the North Forest area, Woodglen Civic Association had a backyard party on Sterlingshire Street, with about a hundred attending. Civic club president Ernestine Jones organized the event, which included a music group with her son Kenneth, a moonwalk, plenty of hot dogs and food, and HPD officers that were available to discuss safety and crime prevention in the neighborhood, which is the reason for NNO in the first place.

The “25th Annual National Night Out” (NNO), a unique crime/drug prevention event sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), has been scheduled for Tuesday, August 7, 2008.

The purpose of National Night Out is to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness;, generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

NNO has proven to be an effective, inexpensive and enjoyable program to promote neighborhood spirit and police community partnerships in our fight for a safer nation.

In the Aldine area, NNO events were held by the Green Forest Civic Association at the Sheriff’s storefront location, and by Precinct 2 at the Northeast Community Center on Bennington street. At the North East Community Center on Tuesday, October 7nd Harris County Precinct Two, local merchants, and area neighbors celebrated National Night Out.

Special activities included: Finger printing & face painting for the children, a demonstration by the Westfield Volunteer Fire Department, clowns, and music by Jessie Rojas.

At the East Aldine center, events included food, friendship among the neighbors, and presentations by Art Murillo of METRO, state representative elect Armando Walle, Precinct One aide Asdrubal Gutierrez, Green Forest Civic Club presiden Shirley Reed, and various deputies from the Sheriff’s office. Subjects discussed included trash collection and crime prevention in the Aldine neighborhoods.