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Posts published in “Day: March 10, 2009”

Junkyards, noise pollution targeted by Walle legislation

AUSTIN — State Representative Armando Walle (D-Houston) recently filed two key pieces of legislation to improve quality of life for Aldine and Northside residents. House Bill 1115 would create a noise ordinance in unincorporated areas of Harris County, and House Bill 1794 would increase the required distance a junkyard must be from a school, church or residence to 600 feet.

“It is a honor for me to represent House District 140, and I am working hard every day to advocate for our communities at the Legislature,” said Rep. Walle.

House Bill 1115 would prohibit the production of sound from an automobile, loud speaker or sound amplifier that exceeds 85 decibels at a distance of 50 feet in unincorporated areas of Harris County.

This legislation would grant the Harris County Commissioner’s Court the ability to provide permits for special events to exceed the sound level. An offense would result in a criminal penalty.

“Currently, unincorporated Harris County has no noise ordinance, and at my first town hall meeting in January, I heard from many constituents that they were tired of the noise problem,” said Rep. Walle. “I filed House Bill 1115 because I believe these neighborhoods deserve the same protections as the neighborhoods within the Houston city limits.”

Under current law, a junkyard or salvage yard must be located at least 300 feet from a school, church or residence. Rep. Walle’s House Bill 1794 would increase the distance requirement for new junkyards from 300 feet to 600 feet.

“As a lifelong resident of the Aldine and Northside area, I grew up nearby junkyards and salvage yards,” said Rep. Walle. “I hope that House Bill 1794 will help separate new junkyards and salvage yards from our schools and neighborhoods.”

Rep. Armando Walle represents House District 140, which includes portions of unincorporated North Harris County and the City of Houston.

Girls Basketball State Tournament Nimitz aces Pflugerville, falls to Mansfield Summit

AUSTIN — A talented and determined Nimitz girls basketball team competed last weekend for the state title in Girls District 5A. Rated No. 1 in the state, this was the first time in history that the team had gone as far as the final playoffs in Austin.

Led by coach Debbie Jackson, and the play of Brittney Griner, ranked No. 1 player in the country, the Nimitz Cougars overwhelmed Pflugerville Friday night in the semi-final game, winning easily 74-47.

Griner scored 44 points, with 17 rebounds and 8 blocks. Her score was a UIL tournament record. She made 19 of 21 shots as the team ended with a 37-1 record to date. 8,700 fans were present at the Erwin Center, many from Houston since the other playoff game was Cy-Fair.

However, in Saturday night’s Finals game, Summit knew they had to contain Griner, and kept two defensive players on her most of the game. Griner only managed 21 points, as the Cougars fell 52-43 to the Summit Jaguars. The Cougar play was marked with turnovers from the pressure. Although the Cougars started with a 7-0 lead, they actually trailed the rest of the game, after the Jaguars had a 12-2 run to end the first quarter 12-9. The Jaguar’s Starr Crawford was named the MVP for the state tournament.

Fire ruins Mt. Sinai Church on Gaston

NORTH HOUSTON — Last Tuesday afternoon, flames tore through the sanctuary and roof of Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church, on Gaston and Vickerey. This venerable old church, which has survived on this site since 1951, was scheduled to celebrate its 70th anniversary on Sunday, April 19th.

The fire departments that responded, Westfield, Aldine, and Little York, blocked E. Mt. Houston and other local streets for hours as they fought the blaze. Although they eventually got the fire doused, most of the interior and roof were destroyed, and will have to be replaced.

A spokesperson for the congregation told the Northeast News that they plan to rebuild, but have only a small insurance coverage, and will seek donations and support from the community to help replace the building.

Pearl Patton and Jesse Alexander, two members of the congregation that spent the week in trying to salvage and cleanup the site, noted that this church was the first in the North Houston Heights community. The church is not far from the Orange Grove Elementary School.

Harris County Fire Officials have indicated that arson is not indicated, and the probable cause of the fire was defective wiring in the ceiling feeding equipment.

The church has made arrangements to continue services, at the Sheriff ’s storefront facility at 5202 Aldine Mail Route. Services will be at normal times: 9:30 Sunday School, 11:00 Church Service, and Bible Study Wednesday evening. The public is welcome to these services.

In addition, donations of money and goods are asked for by the congregation. An account has been set up at Wells Fargo bank, and donations can be made in the name of the church. The account number is 135-893-6977.

Tribute to Women in Business program: LSC’s Corporate College offers opportunities for improved skills for local companies

GREENSPOINT — Chamber members heard an overview of the Lone Star College System, and its Corporate College, for established businesses that need consulting services and employee training to improve their competitive position in their markets.

Presenting the information was Suzanne Thaler, Director of the LSC Corporate College. Starting with the overview of the community college system in North Houston, she mentioned the multiple campuses spread through the area, and the student population that now numbers 51,000 degree students and 25,000 nondegree enrollees. Lone Star College started as an offshoot of the Aldine ISD with 500 students.

This rapid and huge growth of the system prompted the need for a $420 million bond issue in May 2008, which is now being deployed to expand facilities to meet this need.

One of the gems of LSC, she said, was the University Center in the Woodlands, where 6 universities collaborate, to offer students 25 Bachelor Degrees, 26 Masters Degrees, and One Doctorate.

Another outstanding program in the LSC system, is the nursing program, which is the largest in the region, and offers a 2 year degree.

In spite of this plethora of facilities, Thaler said that the fact is the need for college grads in the 21st Century workplace is outstripping the availability of candidates.

In September, LSC reorganized their programs, and the Corporate College is meant to offer some solutions to the needs for skilled workers. Specifically, the program aims to offer help in developing employee skills in administration, business training, and implementation managers.

Thaler emphasized that “Education and training is a Lifelong activity,” and LSC offers degrees or certification in areas such as advanced manufacturing, supervision/leadership, languages, and computer technology, among others.

Companies who enroll in the Corporate College program get the following benefits: college credit, cost effective training, access to grants, and qualified teachers/trainers.

Thaler said that other benefits of the program include access to Texas Workforce skills development funds. Corporate College gives a company a point of contact to access the many resources of the Lone Star College System.