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Posts published in “Day: August 18, 2009

Town Hall or Town Shout? Jackson-Lee faces crowd

Shouts of “JUST SAY NO” were met with equally intense shouts of “YES WE CAN” many times through a marathon Town Hall meeting that Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee held last Wednesday night at the Northeast Multi-Service Center on Tidwell.

An overflow crowd of almost 400 came to give their opinions or ask questions, some politely and some rudely and raucously. Through it all, Jackson-Lee did an excellent job of moderating and keeping the crowd civil. She listened and answered almost 40 speakers who lined up to make their points, or ask about the health care legislation.

Order was maintained through her cajoling and appeals to the crowds patriotism, as well as by a heavy police presence by the Houston police department. The latter was probably a response to unruly behavior that has occurred at other recent Town Halls held in various congressional districts in the Houston area, and throughout the nation. It is apparent from the large responses, and the sharp questioning, that this issue of Health Care reform is important and sensitive to many citizens.

Jackson-Lee’s message was that we need reform, and she backs the president’s initiative in this bill. However, she pointed out that it is not final, has at least five versions, and will come out differently than now drafted. She also said it was about insurance for those who don’t have any or need less costly choices, and not about clinical health treatment from your doctor or hospital.

She said that the government has been trying to improve health care for 60 years, and this is an important opportunity this year. She cautioned that if the bill is not passed, private insurance will continue to increase, perhaps as much as $1800 per couple per year, every year in the future.

Questions from the floor ranged from continuation of private coverage, whether congressmen were reading the bill, where the money would come from to pay for the reforms, whether end of life discussions would lead to early demise of the elderly, how small businesses would get better coverage, whether illegal aliens would benefit from more health care coverage, whether abortions would be paid for in the new program, whether some hospitals that need financial help would receive any, whether the health care system can absorb and properly treat an influx of additional patients, who will make decisions on treatment options, and how can the VA system catch up with their case load.

Jackson-Lee managed to answer most of these questions, although not always in a manner satisfactory to the audience. She closed with a summary that she was here to listen, that the billl was not final and still being rewritten to adjust to the many public comments, that this was about insurance and not medical procedures, and that it was important to get an many uninsured people into the system as possible, and this bill was the way to do that.

Two new housing complexes opened by NRP Group

The NRP Group, LLC announced the grand opening of Costa Rialto Apartment Homes on Aldine-Bender, and Costa Vizcaya on N. Gessner. A ribbon cutting ceremony and reception was held on Friday, July 24. The celebration drew local dignitaries and is sponsored by Center Pointe Energy and Stewart National Title Services.

This new community boasts 216 units with affordable 1, 2, 3, and 4 bedroom apartment home selections. Costa Rialto is located at 5015 Aldine Bender Road, Houston, TX between US Highway 59 and John F. Kennedy Blvd. The public is welcome to tour the homes.

“Our goal is to create a sense of community that will develop positive neighborly spirit through an awareness of common needs, and enhance individual support systems and increase awareness of local programs and services,” said Debra Guerrero, Vice President Governmental Affairs, The NRP Group LLC. “This gated community is designed to provide maximum comfort and superb amenities for working families.”

Costa Rialto residents will enjoy features including a spacious clubhouse with community room, swimming pool, children’s activity center, playground, fitness and business centers, in addition to a picnic area and grills. For more information about Costa Rialto Apartment Homes call 281.987.1300 or visit The NRP Group LLC: Developer, Builder and Management Company.

The NRP Group is a full-service developer, general contractor, and property manager providing a broad range of services. From start to finish, every project The NRP Group takes on is carefully contemplated and executed to maximize investment return, cost efficiency, productivity and satisfaction.

The NRP Group has been recognized as NAHB’s 2009 Multifamily Development Firm of the Year and has been ranked number one in the Top 50 Affordable Housing Developers for 2007, 2008 and 2009 by Affordable Housing Finance. Since it’s founding in September 1995 by Alan F. Scott, T. Richard Bailey and J. David Heller, the company has experienced continual growth in the fields of single-family, multi-family and senior housing, as well as commercial and retail properties. In all, more than 12,000 multi-family and single-family housing units have been built with another 1500+ planned in 2009. In 2003, the owners formed NRP Management, which by year-end 2009 will manage more than 50 properties encompassing over 6,000 market rate and tax credit family and senior apartment properties in Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Indiana, New Mexico and Arizona.

The NRP Group, LLC has offices in Cleveland, Ohio; San Antonio, Texas; Phoenix, AZ; Raleigh, North Carolina; for more information, call (216) 475-8900 or visit

Aldine-Mail Route to be widened to 4 lanes

At their recent board meeting in July, the East Aldine District heard a report on progress in the widening of Aldine-Mail Route, from Airline Drive to Aldine-Westfield Road.

Representatives of Wilbur Smith Associates reported that the 7 lane bridge over the Hardy Toll Road is 90% designed, with construction by the Toll Road Authority planned to start by the end of the year, or the first quarter of 2010.

The report included a summary of a meeting held on June 23 between county officials, consultants, and representatives from the district, including David Hawes, Richard Cantu, and Scott Bean. At that meeting, Larry Allen of the Harris County Public Infrastructure Department, reviewed the plans for Aldine Mail Route between Airline and Aldine Westfield. In this section, Aldine Mail Route will have two lanes in each direction, with a median and concrete curb and gutter.

The engineering plans are in final design, and should be completed within 5 months, he reported. Construction would start next year. Precinct 1 is funding the project, which will cost about $16 million dollars.

The project is planned to provide an excellent connector to the Hardy Toll Road and Hardy Road, and will improve mobility all along Aldine Mail Route. Most of the construction will be in existing right-of-way, but in some areas an additional 10’ of width will be required.

Existing sidewalks will be replaced. East Aldine District will plan on new monumentation or signage, and landscaping.