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Posts published in “Day: June 9, 2009

Pro-active Sheriff’s Unit to be on “Cops” TV Show

ALDINE – The busy nightlife inside the East Aldine District caused Harris County Sheriff’s Office and the District to put together a special task force to work in the neighborhoods, targeting perpetrators and patrolling high crime areas, so when the TV show Cops gave notice of returning to Houston, commanders recommended that the TV crews ride around Harris County with the District’s Pro-Active Unit.

The Cops TV show often focuses on entertainment valued aspects of law enforcement rather than the perfunctory routine activities that are the true heart of service to a community. They are coming to Houston to see the perspective of this Pro-Active team that specializes in troublesome elements. This group is out looking for the unsavory aspects of street crime, making traffic stops on people with behaviors identifying themselves as probable perpetrators. This crew rolls to the hot calls where they happen. Television isn’t going to pay much attention to the guys that watch school crosswalks and write traffic tickets during the day to working folk, but tends to focus on the more sensational night chases, drug arrests, dysfunctional street trade by soiled doves, and guys with their shirts off — looking for a fight.

The TV crews are generally going to be in Houston focused around East Aldine for the next eight weeks filming from the patrol cars. There are going to be lots of interesting incidents from which to choose, some that will not make the show due to a long running story but there is sure to be plenty of opportunity for gathering intense action and life-altering drama on tape.

Every law enforcement officer this reporter has conversed with about communities in transition over the last 20 years bears witness, a transformation happens at sometime during the night, “It goes from mostly working people to about all cops and crooks with few exceptions after midnight.” said Sergeant Spurgeon, head of the unit.

The special skills and training of this task force has been successful in locating gang related and street crime activities in hotspots and known high crime areas since its inception. They are shifting to a new time of service for the duration of the Cops ride along, from 7:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.

Multi-use center may be built in Aldine

NORTHEAST HOUSTON – The East Aldine District is leading a task force that is examining the possibilities of several community organizations combining in a new building or perhaps a campus of buildings, to serve the community from a central site. This would be an expansion of the district facilities that are now in the shopping center at 5202 Aldine Mail Route.

Clyde Bailey, chairman of the East Aldine District, pointed out that as the district’s services grow and citizens learn the benefits provided by the district, the need for larger and more accessible facilities is becoming evident.

New opportunities to service the district, such as refuge in floods and hurricanes could be incorporated in the new facilities.

Other management districts, such as that in East Montgomery County, have provided complete building complexes that serve as government and social service centers, public safety offices, meeting facilities, learnings facilities, and much more.

The city of Houston also has a number of multi-use service centers, in various neighborhoods, that provide social and government services.

At the initial planning meeting, led by David Hawes of the East Aldine District, various ideas and needs were expressed by participants.

These included government representatives, including state representative Armando Walle and Reuben Landa from Senator Gallegos office, Dru Gutierrez representing Harris County Precinct 1, Gilbert Hoffman of the Northeast News and the NHG Chamber of Commerce, Bill Townsend of North Houston Bank, East Aldine District, and the Chamber, Ralph Wheeler, Eduardo Rodriguez and Gloria Jackson of the YMCA, Scott Bean, and Gerald Overturff of the District, Paul Cordova and Max Turner of the HCSO, Dr. Steve Head and Joyce Wiley of Lone Star College North Harris, and Richard Cantu of the East Aldine District, who organized the meeting. Anyone in the community wishing input to this group may contact Cantu at his office, 713-595-1220.

Planners said that realization of such a facility would be several years in the future. In the meantime, they are looking at possible sites, and making an inventory of agencies that might want to participate, and what their space needs, parking and outdoor facility needs might be.

Mattress Mack announces store reopening plans

Gallery Furniture has been continuing in business, since the day after their disastrous warehouse fire at their main location on the North Freeway. However, that showroom is closed, and they have been operating from their second location in the Galleria area.

Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale held a press conference at Gallery Furniture’s original I-45 location on Thursday to talk about plans to rebuild after the fire that destroyed the store’s warehouse on May 21.

Mentioning that Gallery Furniture is strong, stable and excited about the future, Mack said that the new store will be a “triumph of human spirit”. He spoke of his personal resilience, and that of his staff. And he added, “God will conquer Evil”. He indicated that there would be a new design, that would incorporate new ideas and a renewed energy in his business.

To jump start the rebuilding process, Scott Margraves with W.M. Jones and Company and Liberty Mutual presented McIngvale with an advance check for $3 million on his insurance claim. Total damage is still being calculated but initial estimates have put the full amount between $15 and $25 million.

McIngvale stated that he is hoping to have portions of the showroom open by July 4 of this year and asked for Houstonians to give their suggestions on how to improve the new store. Suggestions can be made at He was quick to mention that while the new store is being rebuilt, Gallery Furniture is open and serving customers from its Galleria area location at Post Oak and Westheimer.

Assisting with the design of the new I-45 store is Bill Stubbs, from PBS’s “Moment of Luxury” who also contributed to Gallery’s Post Oak location and Jim Gilmore, consumer experience expert and author of The Experience Economy – Work is Theatre and Every Business a Stage. Both Jim and Bill spoke about the new designs and themes of the store, including a new service that will allow customers to choose their sofa style, material, size etc. and watch it being made on the spot.

Susie Barlow, Director of the Houston USO, announced that Gallery Furniture will be decorating both the Mortuary Break Room and the AMC Passenger Terminal Center at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. This effort is part of McIngvale’s commitment to outfit USO centers worldwide with new furniture and electronics as well as providing interior design services. The Dover project will enhance the areas where our nation’s fallen warriors are provided with special dignified transfers and their families are given a quiet, gentle respite in their time of sorrow.

A grateful McIngvale then gave his thanks to the men and women of the Houston Fire Department and announced that each of the 31 HFD stations that valiantly fought the fire, miraculously saving Gallery Furniture’s Showroom, will be given $10,000 Gallery Furniture Gift Certificates as part of the Adopt a Station program. HFD stations receiving the Gift Certificates include 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 28, 30, 31, 32, 34, 38, 39, 42, 43, 45, 50, 56, 58, 62, 66, 67 and HFD Fleet Maintenance.

McIngvale did not discuss aspects of the ongoing investigation per instructions from the ATF and Houston Fire Department but did state, “I look forward to the person or persons responsible being brought to justice.”

Mack completed the press conference by taking members of the media into the showroom and warehouse to view the damage firsthand.

(Note: Jessica Manning of Love Adv. contributed to this story).