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Posts published in April 2012

Aldine Optimist Club presents essay contest winners

On March 11, 2012 the Aldine Optimist Club welcomed the winners of the Aldine Optimist Club Essay Contest. The subject this year is “How my Positive Outlook Benefits my Community “. First place went to Wil Rios, a senior at MacArthur High School and also Valedictorian of his class. Third Place went to Luis Velazquez, a senior at Aldine High School. Our missing Second place winner was unable to attend.

Mr. Rios received a $50.00 Savings Bond from the Optimist Club. He will now proceed to the District level. The winner of the District level will receive a $2500 scholarship.

Aldine Y.O.UT.H Community Center has a new name

Starting April 9 of this year, Aldine Y.O.U.T.H. became part of Bucker International and as part of this integration, its new name is “Aldine Community Transformation Center (Aldine CTC)”.

Letter from Sylvia Bolling, founder and Executive Director of the new Aldine CTC:

Thank you for your continued friendship, prayers and support for Aldine Y.O.U.T.H. Since 1990 we have been able to serve and fill many of the emotional, educational and physical needs for the Aldine community. This has been accomplished through our network of area friends and organizations like you who are supportive of the vulnerable youth and families in our community.

I am pleased to announce that as of April 9 Aldine Y.O.U.T.H. is now part of Dallas-based Buckner International. Buckner is a global Christian organization that has been transforming lives through hands-on ministry and providing a continuum of care to vulnerable children, families and elders for more than 133 years.

This new opportunity will provide strength to the Aldine programs so we are able to maximize the resources of both organizations to gain more efficiency and greater outcomes in the Houston area. You will see this in a variety of ways as we begin utilizing the resources of Buckner.

Although we have a new name, Aldine Community Transformation Center, A Ministry of Buckner, we will continue to offer a broad range of services and be a catalyst for positive transformation and restoration in our community.

All contributions in support of the Aldine Y.O.U.T.H. programs will now be processed by Buckner Foundation, Inc. This simply means your acknowledgment letter/tax receipt will be sent from the Buckner Foundation office in Dallas. You may continue to send contributions to the Aldine office in Houston or directly to Buckner Foundation, Inc. Either way, 100% of your donation will provide support for our programs.

I am very excited about this new opportunity and to be a part of Buckner. We thank you for your past support and we are so grateful you believe in our mission and pray you will continue to walk this journey with us. Please contact me if you have any questions or would like more information about this exciting new chapter in our ministry.

Aldine ISD plans to form Education Foundation

ALDINE– A steering committee of interested citizens met with education foundation consulting firm Foundation Innovation, to learn about techniques of starting such an organization for the Aldine school district.

The meeting on April 3 was hosted by the Aldine ISD, and held at M. O. Campbell Center. AISD superintendent Wanda Bamberg acted as host, and the meeting was conducted by Laurie Cromwell and Milli Christner of Foundation Innovation.

Bamberg explained to the group that most school districts have a foundation, to raise funds for extra support for school activities, innovative teacher projects, performance grants, and scholarships. Aldine is one of the few large districts in Texas without a foundation.

it was explained that a foundation provides a vehicle for parents and businesses to continue to support the schools, after other relationships have ended, such as parental.

A district the size of Aldine could raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, a much needed fund source in the current climate of budget austerity.

The current ASF or Aldine Scholarship Foundation only raises scholarship money for students to attend Lone Star College, and does not fund the same types of projects.

The committee plans to meet monthly, organize committees to plan programs and fundraising on a long term basis.

East Aldine honors “Partners” at reception

NORTHEAST – East Aldine District held their annual Strategic Partners Awards Reception last Thursday night, and recognized a number of community leaders that have partnered with the District to help them achieve their goals.

About 150 persons attended the event, which was held at the Greer and Lowdermilk Conference Center in Interwood.

Introductory remarks were made by the District CEO/President, David Hawes, and board Chairman Gerald Overturff. Emcee for the evening was HICC Chamber president Reggie Gray, who quipped his way through an enjoyable evening.

The evening started with the showing of the video “State of the District” made to review the progress EAMD has made in it’s ten years of existence. After watching the video, Overturff remarked about how he had spent all his life in Aldine, what a difference the District is making, and said “I just want people to be proud of Aldine.”

Awards were then presented. The top award went to Flor Rios, as Volunteer of the Year. Not only was she cited for a number of contributions she has made to district events, but also that her service typified what the District encourages and appreciates from its residents.

Other awards included Mariana Sanchez, of Bonding Against Adversity, for Community & Youth Services; Sheriff’s Deputy Bobby Brown for Public Safety; James Norred of Harris County Health Dept. for Public Nuisance program; Pct. 2 Commissioner Jack Morman for Governmental Service; MacArthur Principal Nancy Blackwell for Education; Bob Beasley for Business Partner; and a special Chairman’s Award to Dr. Stephen Head, president of Lone Star College North Harris, for bringing college opportunities to the students of East Aldine.

Some of the recipients made moving acceptance remarks, including Dr. Head for his interest in the community, Principal Blackwell on how outstanding MacArthur students have returned to be teachers, and Commissioner Morman, in a recorded video, on how he looks forward to interacting with his new neighborhoods in Pct. 2.

East Aldine METRO route is back

By Mary Sit

(April, 2)–This morning, the 59 Aldine Mail Crosstown bus began service again, the result of our partnering with the East Aldine District.

The event was marked by district and METRO officials, along with community leaders, gathering for ÿphotos to celebrate.

The bus route was one of seven that METRO had discontinued in February because of low performance. METRO management continued meeting with the East Aldine District to find a way to provide service and be a good steward of taxpayer dollars.

“As a result of those meetings, and the leadership and financial support of the East Aldine District, transit-dependent residents can look forward to service for the year,” said George Greanias, president & CEO of METRO.

Richard Cantu, director of services at East Aldine District, said he and District Board Chairman Gerald Overturff are glad to see the 59 route back on the road. “I think it was important that we gathered there at the health center to recognize the importance of its relaunching, considering it’s probably one of the most important services the community needs – health services,” said Cantu.

The route goes right by the Aldine Community Health Center, as well as two libraries, a Social Security office and nine schools within a quarter of a mile of the route.

ÿ”As we took photos to promote the event, we had several patients get on the bus and off the bus to their medical appointment,” said Cantu.

The district contributed $30,000 to help subsidize the cost of running the 59 Aldine route. “It came down to economics,” said Cantu of the canceled and then reinstated route. “In the interest of providing mobility for the community and to bide some time to figure out how to build the ridership, District Board Chairman Gerald Overturff offered to bring a resolution before the board to provide a subsidy …for a year.”

Created by the state legislature in 2001 as the East Aldine Improvement District, the district receives revenue from a one-cent sales tax and is charged with improving public safety, mobility and transportation, water and sewage infrastructure and environmental and urban design. It has a $3.3 million annual budget.

Nimitz grad Griner leads Baylor to national title

Nimitz Senior High School graduate Brittney Griner capped off a marvelous year by leading Baylor University to the NCAA women’s basketball title on Tuesday (April 3) night.

Griner, a 2009 graudate of Nimitz Senior High School, scored 26 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and had five blocked shots to lead the Lady Bears to an 80-61 win over Notre Dame in the title game. In addition to leading Baylor to the national title, she was also named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.

Baylor finished 40-0 on the season and became the first women’s team in NCAA history to win 40 games in a season.

In addition to leading her team to the national title, Griner was also named the Associated Press’ women’s college basketball Player of the Year. Griner, a junior, received 36 of 40 first-place votes from a panel of sports writers who cover women’s college basketball. Griner averaged 23.4 points this season, 9.4 rebounds and 5.2 blocked shots.

Earlier this year, Griner was named the Big 12’s Player of the Year and the league’s Defensive Player of the Year. It marked the second consecutive year Griner was named the league’s top player.

State Grants Reprieve to North Forest ISD: District can remain Open at least One Year more

North Forest ISD received word last Friday that the state Texas Education Agency had agreed to “abate” their closure order for one year. This means that instead of forcing North Forest to merge with Houston ISD on July 1, 2012, the district will have a new deadline, July 1, 2013.

However, in a lengthy legalistic “Record Review” report ongoing for 36 pages, the TEA Commissioner Robert Scott gave the district some good news and some bad news. The bad news was that TEA rejected all the arguments presented by North Forest and their attorneys in a Record Review meeting held in Austin in February.

But the good news was that in spite of that, and perhaps with an ear to the politics of the situation, Scott said that his appointed Conservator Kay Karr had reported progress in the three areas of deficiencies, and he felt there was a possibility that the district might solve its problems and allow TEA to vacate the closure order in 2013.

Scott’s earlier decision, in November 2011, to close the district and merge it with HISD, had been under heavy criticism by Congresswoman Jackson-Lee, other local state representatives, and the North Forest community.

Other legal problems existed for the TEA, too. In their statement on Friday, spokesperson Debbie Ratcliffe said:

Commissioner of Education Robert Scott issued the attached order in the North Forest revocation case this afternoon. The commissioner abated the accreditation rating of “Not Accredited–Revoked” for one year due to legal technicalities and the uncertainty of swift preclearance by the U.S. Department of Justice. While North Forest will remain an independent school district and will not be merged with Houston ISD this summer, the abatement requires North Forest to comply with a number of academic and financial requirements, which are spelled out in the order.

The 36 page TEA order continually cites, in legal terms, the deficiencies of the district over the last four years:

— Academic Accountability, or the low completion rate of graduating or continuing students

— Financial Accountability, with poor reporting and fiscal controls

— Accreditation Status, with low test scores for students, especially at the high school.

North Forest answered the news with a statement from Superintendent Forté and the Board of Trustees, as follows:

“The Board of Trustees for the North Forest Independent School District is pleased with the decision announced today by the Texas Education Agency to allow NFISD another year to demonstrate it can sustain recent improvements that are already in progress. This is an opportunity for the Board and Superintendent to continue their work improving the district’s academic and financial accountability. The TEA noted that while the district has experienced problems in the past, it is making steady progress now toward solving them. The agency’s order says that if NFISD continues its progress, the order to merge it with the Houston School District will be withdrawn. This is a remarkable victory for the students, parents, teachers and the community of North Forest.”

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee commended the decision, saying “you never give up on children and the new commitment of the board and the superintendent, Ms. Forté.”

March on Crime Forum at East Aldine

East Aldine residents met last Thursday night, to hear several law enforcement officers bring them up to date on crime fighting in the community.

“March on Crime” was the title of the meeting, with emphasis on crime prevention, nuisance abatement, and community resources.

Present at the meeting were about 75 people, including the sheriff, deputies, county officials, and many residents of the area.

Sheriff Garcia explained his new program to hire 100 new personnel, and release about 60 deputies for active patrol.

He also emphasized a catchy phrase, “SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING” as a simple but effective way to help the Sheriff’s office fight crime as it is being committed.

Another tool is the HCSO website, www.iwatchharris, where tips about crimes can be reported anonymously. Two other suggestions Garcia made were to support the East Aldine District, and use their resources, which he praised, and also to have the youth in the community join the Sheriff’s Explorer’s program, where they can learn about crime-fighting and perhaps join the department after they are adults.

Deputy Brown gave a number of tips on how to avoid being the victim of a crime, and urged citizens to report crime or suspicious activities. “We need more input from you people.”

Brown said that to achieve the goal of less crime, residents need 1-more involvement, 2-more knowledge. He said listen to your kids, your neighbors, your leaders, and the deputies.

Also presenting were Deputy Ortega and Health Department’s James Norred, on the procedures for abating nuisances. Deputy Adams spoke on Neighborhood Crime Watch, and Deputy Luna pointed out that a Citizen’s Police Academy class (CPA) is starting soon. Contact the storefront if you are interested at 281-449-6600.