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Posts published in “Day: September 15, 2009”

Lone Star College-NH to build new Aldine multi-use Educational and Community Development Center


On Friday, Aug. 28, Lone Star College-North Harris, part of the Lone Star College System, closed a $1.8 million land purchase of 17 acres on the corner of Victory and Vogel streets located in the Aldine area near the Acres Homes and Inwood Forest communities. “LSC-North Harris continues to fulfill its promises made to a community that showed us outstanding support during the last bond election,” says Dr. Steve Head, president of Lone Star College-North Harris. “We envision this location to become an educational, social, and cultural center for the area. We are committed to providing learning environments which meet the needs of its diverse communities through outreach, access, and student support systems.”

The college will use the acreage to build a new 50,000 square foot facility envisioned to be a center for workforce and academic preparation, economic and community development, and a focal point for citizenship training for area residents. The center will be designed to handle a student capacity of up to 3,500.

The additional land will allow long-term expansion when it becomes necessary. Administrators also foresee a center that will include a child care component and a Small Business Development Center.

“Lone Star College System is dedicated to rigorous stewardship of the resources entrusted to its care,” says Randy Bates, LSCS Board of Trustees chairman. “As the demand for increased educational and workforce training in Northwest Harris County continues to grow, LSCS maintains its commitment and dedication to increasing the quality and quantity of services and support.”

Texas State Representative Sylvester Turner, who lives and serves the communities of Acres Homes and Aldine, has been a long-time partner and supporter of Lone Star College initiatives.

“Meeting today’s educational needs–while trying to shape and plan for the future–involves the development and maintenance of mutually constructive community partnerships. This new center and land purchase is a major positive step in the revitalization of the area,” says Rep. Turner.

The new center, yet to be formally named, will include several significant components including the relocation of LSCCarver Center’s Early College Program–created in partnership with Aldine ISD and LSC-North Harris–to the new center, as well as the relocation of LSC-Carver Center’s college credit classes currently offered to the general community. The facility will provide room for additional class offerings. Approximately 30,000 square feet of the new center will be designated for academic preparation including traditional offices such as admissions, advising, counseling, financial aid, testing and administrative support; college preparatory programs and classrooms such as Adult Basic Education (ABE), GED, ESL and college preparatory classes in Reading, Writing and Math.

In addition, an array of year one and two college-level classes will enable students to move for ward toward a bachelor’s degree. Several programs that lead directly to area universities are also under consideration.

The cornerstone of the facility will be a 20,000 square-foot construction trades training center offering workforce certificates and degrees in selected programs such as heating and air conditioning, dry wall, sheet metal, sheetrock installation, and welding.

“The college is working hard to meet the needs of greater Houston economy by providing local residents with an educational pipeline leading to meaningful jobs and livable wages in a relatively short period of time,” says Dr. Head.

“One of our greatest strengths, as a community college, lies in our ability to offer support services and college preparatory initiatives that serve first generation in college and underprepared students through intensive assistance such as ABE, ESL, GED, and Development classes.”

According to Dr. Head, the greatest challenge–aside from bricks and mortar and equipment–is providing long-term financial assistance to students and workforce training participants who do not qualify for federal and state funding. Financial support is the difference in residents succeeding or failing due to non-academic factors.

“Students in most non-college credit programs such as ABE, ESL and workforce programs are not eligible for federal or state programs,” says Dr. Head. “This lack of access to traditional financial aid will be a problem and without community support or other funding alternatives, programs will have trouble attracting and retaining students.”

For example, students on average will need about $3,000 for welding equipment and supplies, $1,000 for books and supplies in the HVAC program, and similar costs for other programs; others will need help with transportation and child care expenses.

“With this new land purchase in Aldine, Lone Star College System continues its commitment to our service area, which includes developing accessible and seamless educational opportunities to help strengthen our communities,” says Dr. Richard Carpenter, Lone Star System chancellor.

Suspect charged in Siesta store shooting, two others involved


Charges have been filed against one of three suspects believed responsible for the fatal shooting of a man at the Siesta Food Mart, 390 Aldine Bender about 10 p.m. on Aug. 31. A second one is in custody, according to HPD.

One suspect, Dontreal D. Brown, 18, is charged with capital murder in the 184th State District Court. Brown, currently in custody on an unrelated aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge, is accused in the killing of Joe Fernandes, 54, of Sugar Land.

Fernandes suffered a gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene. Another persons of interest, Vondra Joseph, 20, is being questioned. Neiman Nelson is wanted for questioning in this case.

HPD Spokesman Victor Senties said that a person of interest was interviewed on Sept. 8, but that no additional arrests had been made as of press time. HPD Homicide Division Senior Police Officers T. W. Miller said that three unknown male suspects dressed in dark clothing entered the Siesta Food Mart at 390 Aldine Bender and robbed the store clerk, Fernandes, at gunpoint. At some point during the robbery, one of the suspects fatally shot Fernandes. The three suspects then left the store and got into an older model, gold or tan four-door vehicle parked on the side of the store in the 15900 block of Cotillion Drive. The suspects were last seen driving southbound on Cotillion Drive.

“Further investigation developed information that identified Brown as a suspect in this case, Miller said. “Brown admitted to investigators his involvement in this case.”

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the wanted male is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.