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Posts published in “Day: November 13, 2012”

After the Storm

By Angie Liang

We Houstonians are no strangers to hurricanes. Living in former swamplands about an hour from the Gulf Coast, we’ve had to stock up on non-perishables and supplies, fill our bathtubs with water, board our windows, and evacuate. Our city has experienced major flooding, power outages, and even the loss of homes and lives. Recently, those on the East Coast experienced similar devastation. Sandy caused enormous damage, and some people lost everything.

The New York City area was hit particularly hard. Living next to Times Square, I was very lucky. While my office was closed for three days, other than flickering power, my apartment was fine. It was surreal, however, to witness for the second time since moving here, how empty and quiet the City That Never Sleeps had become because of a hurricane.

When we finally returned to work, one of my friends set up a volunteer effort for my team. With the little gas that we had, four of us made it down to the Rockaways early in the morning, with hot food and supplies – all generously donated by a local diner and colleagues.

We walked amidst the destruction, amazed not only by what was lost, but also by how many others had come out to help. We spent the day at a local church where the National Guard was also present, all of us organizing, distributing and delivering supplies. Despite being inside the building, we were very cold, which led us to worry about the dropping temperatures and wonder how residents would stay warm.

I have only these few words and pictures to share from my experience volunteering in the Rockaways. It will take a while for everyone to recover from Sandy, but what I saw growing up in Houston is very present here in New York: People helping people.

Election results in a “status quo”- Incumbents Obama, Sheriff Garcia, Senator Gallegos re-elected: Voter turnout heavy in most precincts

HARRIS COUNTY – Republican candidates took a great deal of the county and national votes, but not enought to unseat several incumbent Democrats the vote tally has revealed. Few substantive changes resulted, even after 18 months of expensive campaigning, and most commentators were referring to the final results as a return of the “status quo.”

But in important Harris County offices, voters decided to return Democrats Adrian Garcia as Sheriff, and Ken Jones over David Cruzan as Pct. 3 Constable. Alan Rosen won as Pct. 1 Constable over Joe Danna. Vote percentages were Garcia 53% vs Guthrie 45.2%, Rosen 59% vs Danna 36%, and Jones 63% vs Cruzan 37%.

Jack Cagle was re-elected as Pct. 4 Commissioner and El Franco Lee as Commissioner in Pct. 1. In the race for County Attorney incumbent Vince Ryan was re-elected with 51.5%, vs Robert Talton with 48.5%. Mike Anderson won the race for District Attorney, with 52.4% of the vote for this county office over Lloyd Oliver. Mike Sullivan was elected as Tax Assessor-Collector with 48.9% of the vote. Ann Bennett had 48.7%%.

In the national race for president, Obama had 303 Electoral College votes at press time, vs 206 for Romney. Only 270 are needed to win as president. Florida was still counting its votes, and has 29 Electoral positions. Television networks declared Obama the winner at 10:15 Central Time, after the Ohio results were available. The irony was that Romney led in the popular vote most of the evening, and when this announcement was made. However, the final tally showed the popular vote was for Obama, 61 million vs. Romney 58 million.

In state of Texas races, Ted Cruz was elected Senator to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison, with 57% of the vote vs 40% for Paul Sadler. Ted Poe, Kevin Brady, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Gene Green were returned as Congressmen.

State Representatives Armando Walle, Senfronia Thompson, Sylvester Turner, and Dan Huberty, representing this area, were returned to the State Legislature.

Gallegos Senate seat will require Special Election

One irony in the State Senate race was that deceased candidate Mario Gallegos received 71% of the vote, over opponent R. W. Bray. This means that the governor will have to call a special election, before the next legislative session. Possible candidates, who have declared they are runnning for the seat, include Democrats former county commissioner Sylvia Garcia, State Representative Carol Alvarado, and Gallegos’ opponent in this election, Republican R. W. Bray.

Barry Smitherman was re-elected as chairman of the important railroad commission, the misnamed agency that controls oil and gas production in the state. Smitherman was originally from Highlands.

Mike Parrott ran unopposed for Justice of the Peace and was re-elected.

The City of Baytown had 19 amendments on the ballot, and all were passed except #2, which called for a salary increase for the mayor and councilmen.

All the Bond Issues passed, despite increased taxes

All the bond issues passed, which means Houston Community College, Houston ISD, and the City of Houston will have funds for new construction, and most likely will raise taxes to pay for them. METRO passed a proposition that will give 1/4 of its sales tax revenue back to local cities for mobility improvements, and keep the rest for buses and debt repayments.

School Board Election in North Forest

North Forest ISD had two seats on the school board on the ballot, but for Position 4 Thaddeus Seals was unopposed. In Position 5, Linda Bell Robinson won over incumbent Albert Coleman. Robinson had 51% of the vote, Coleman 33% and JoAnna Love Casey received 11.9%.

Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart stated that 1,188,734 citizens voted, out of a total of 1,942,566 registered, for a 61.19% turnout. This figure is considered high for a general election, indicating the great interest in national and local races.

Founders Breakfast highlights reasons for start of Aldine Education Foundation

By LETICIA FEHLING

The Aldine Education Foundation (AEF) hosted a Founders Breakfast November 8 at the Hyatt North Houston to introduce the newly formed group to the business community.

AEF Board Co-Presidents Seth Sharr, an independent philanthropy professional, and Terry Williams, regional vice president of operations for H-E-B, welcomed more than 80 guests from area business and education sectors. Williams and Sharr also spoke on the need for community involvement in education.

“The purpose of the Aldine Education Foundation is to unite community leaders and district administrators and advance educational opportunities for students,” said Williams, a graduate of Aldine ISD. “Through innovative teaching grants and college scholarships, the Foundation seeks to promote academic achievement at all levels.

“This fall, we will award our first grants for teachers to pursue creative classroom programs that would not exist without supplemental funding.”

Sharr detailed how both the Aldine Education Foundation and the Aldine Scholarship Foundation joined forces to provide a path to higher education.

“Through the Scholarship Foundation, students receive support to attend any of six Lone Star College campuses,” explained Sharr. “Students may also apply for general scholarships at the school of their choosing with funds from the broader Education Foundation. We have a great opportunity to make higher education more accessible to students.”

Sharr and Williams recognized current donors:

Diamond Partner

East Aldine District

Platinum Partner

H-E-B

Silver Partner

Greenspoint District

BOSC Bond Underwriters

Beasley Tire Service

American Alloy Steel, Inc.

Thompson & Horton, LLP

Bronze Partner

Andrews Kurth, LLP

Omron Oilfield & Marine

Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP

Precept Wealth Management

Gil Hoffman

Nadine Kujawa

Terry Williams

Craig Brast

Bill Plummer

Dr. Wanda Bamberg

Priscilla Ridgway

Bracewell & Guiliani

Star Partner

John and Kathryn Amshoff

Rose Avalos

Borden Dairy

Enterasys Networks

Jocklynn Keville

Jeff Hartmann

Lisa McBride

Dr. Archie Blanson

Right before the breakfast, Bracewell & Guiliani donated at the Bronze Level. Williams took a moment to highlight the East Aldine Management District and H-E-B for contributing at the $25,000 Diamond Partner Level and $10,000 at the Platinum Partner, respectively.

“Without all of your gifts, we would not be able to fulfill this important mission,” expressed Williams.

Dr. Benny Lambert, vice president of student services at Lone Star College-North Harris, served as the keynote speaker. Lambert discussed the importance of community involvement in education.

Several faculty, alumni and AISD administrators shared Aldine ISD’s story and discussed the importance of community involvement. Samantha Tate, music teacher at Kujawa Elementary School, and Evelyn Clayton, Rodeo Institute for Teacher Excellence (RITE) Trainer at Conley Elementary School, both related how grants have provided students with a variety of experiences and opportunities at the classroom and campus levels.

Guests also heard from several AISD graduates who shared their stories about how grants and scholarships gave them the opportunity to attend college.

“Money really is a factor for students in Aldine ISD in determining whether they will attend college or attend the college of their choice,” said Dimitri Mayes, a sophomore at Rice University studying civil engineering. “Without the help of scholarships, I don’t know how I could have attended the college of my choice. I am really, really grateful. Every amount received whether small or large is helpful.

“I am so happy to hear about the Aldine Education Foundation. It is great to know that this organization will help other students in the district. We are the future and it is nice to know people are investing in us.”

Leslie Marín, who is currently attending Lone Star-North Harris, shared her overwhelming gratitude on receiving a scholarship that helped her enroll to attend college. Marín’s story and genuine appreciation brought many in the room to tears.

“I had been applying and applying for one scholarship and another without obtaining one,” said Marín. “I was so worried about whether or not I would be able to attend college. Then I received a SHABE (Suburban Houston Association for Bilingual Education) scholarship. I remember crying and I still cry to this day. You have no idea how much this helped me to get started on my dream to pursue a college education and become a teacher.”

University of Houston business major Lupe Salas also shared his gratitude on receiving scholarships.

“I am so grateful to those who provided me with scholarships to help me earn my college education,” shared Salas.

After hearing from the students and teachers, a seven-minute video about Aldine ISD played for the audience. The video elaborated the district’s demographics, programs and services as well as the financial challenges with decreased state revenue. Following the video presentation, Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. Wanda Bamberg shared a few words and encouraged community members to help support Aldine ISD students.

“Our staff members work very hard to meet the needs of our students,” stated Bamberg. “But with budget cuts it is becoming increasingly more difficult. We have had to cut or reduce a number of programs and services due to less revenue. With your help, you can help provide opportunities for our students in the classroom and give them the chance to pursue a college degree. I sincerely hope you will be an Aldine Education Foundation donor.”

Williams encouraged attendees to make a contribution to the Aldine Education Foundation.

“We hope to create more stories like the ones you heard today from students and teachers,” said Williams. “By helping students and teachers you are supporting economic growth. By funding innovative classroom projects, giving students opportunities to continue their education you are helping expand our trained workforce.”

Sharr again thanked all the donors and announced that all founding sponsors at the Platinum and Diamond levels will be recognized at the Aldine Administration Building by having a plaque hang prominently at the front entrance of the building.

“We are excited to embark on this journey together, and we ask for your continued support,” concluded Sharr.

A special thanks goes out to Ben Wilson, AISD superintendent of community and governmental relations; Dr. Archie Blanson, AISD Deputy Superintendent; Chris Labod, AISD administrative assistant of public information, as well as Dr. Milli Christner and Laurie Cromwell of Foundation Innovation for contributing to the success of the Aldine Education Foundation.

For more information on how to donate, visit www.AldineEducationFoundation.org or call (281) 985-6078.