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Posts published in December 2014

East Aldine honors Strategic Partners at Awards Banquet

NORTHEAST – The East Aldine District held their 5th Annual Strategic Partner Awards banquet last Tuesday, Dec. 16, and recognized a number of partners that help make improvements to the district.

The event was held at the Greer & Lowdermilk Conference Center at Interwood in the district. The hundred or so guests and honorees enjoyed the banter of emcee Dr. Bennie Lambert, VP of Lone Star College North Harris.

Lambert and East Aldine Chairman Gerald Overturff presented awards in eight categories.

Awards presented included:

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR, to Judy Hoya of the Aldine Education Foundation;

COMMUNITY & YOUTH SERVICES, to Explorer’s Post 42 with Deputy Terry Garza;

PUBLIC SAFETY AWARD, to Sgt. Danny Garcia and the HCSO Proactive Unit;

PUBLIC HEALTH AWARD, to Jenny Varghese of the East Aldine Healthy Dining Program;

EDUCATION AWARD, to Dr. Rebecca Hart, principal of hambrick Middle School;

BUSINESS AWARD, to Yvonne Silva of Chick-Fil-A restaurant;

CHAIRMAN’S AWARD, to Joe Turner of the Houston Parks & Recreation Department;

SPECIAL EAST ALDINE AWARD to Gerald Overturff, chairman of the East Aldine Board.

In presenting the award to the Explorers unit, Overturff remarked that “this is our future right here,” a tribute to the dedication of the deputies and young men and woman that are enrolled as Explorers and hope to eventually pursue a career in law enforcement and public service. Their advisor, Deputy Terry Garza, said that 3 of the Explorers present in the honor guard were students at MacArthur high school, and planned to go on to the marine corps. One of the Explorers has already jointed the Sheriff’s office as a deputy, she said.

The Public Health Award, to Jenny Varghese, is recognition for the new East Aldine program to promote healthy eating in the district, and to enroll restaurants locally to tailor their menus toward healthy choices.

The award to Houston Parks Director Joe Turner was for his work in preserving parkland and making more available to the public, and especially for this work in East Aldine’s Keith Wiess Park.

AEF awards more than $10,000 in teacher grants

The Aldine Education Foundation (AEF) awarded six teacher grants to educators throughout the district as the AEF “Prize Posse” surprised them with a visit to announce their grants on Friday, Dec. 12.

The grants announced on Dec. 12 totaled $10,841. Over the last three years, AEF has awarded 20 teaching grants for a total of $49,151.

Their first stop was MacArthur High School, where teacher Jennifer Forshee received a $1,000 grant to implement a reading program that will impact 240 students. “I have discovered that most of my students avoid reading at all costs,” she said. “I want to create a classroom library full of titles that interest students and inspire them to read a little each class period for their enjoyment.”

MacArthur teachers Eva Lanczos and Ruth Wells received a $2,500 grant to provide field trips for 45 recent arrival English Language Learning students to experience Houston, while simultaneously practicing conversational English.

The next stop was to MacArthur Ninth Grade School where teachers Susan Pitchford and L.A. Blackman received a $2,200 grant that will impact 100 ninth-grade students and help them become better acquainted with algebra, biology, health and dance.

The “Prize Posse” then headed to Teague Middle School where it awarded a $681 grant to teachers Julie Nighswander and Barbara Lott-Johnson. They will use the funds to impact students in English, math and history and also extend Teague’s after-school peer tutorial program.

The next stop was to Stovall Middle School where teacher Lily Jagtiani received a $774 grant to impact 11 students and fund a program to provide them a more structured learning environment in their special education classroom.

The “Prize Posse” then arrived at Aldine Ninth Grade School where teacher Dillon Holm received a $786 grant to fund a program that will acquire the necessary equipment to conduct an experiment using gel electrophoresis equipment to fulfill a TEKS requirement. Holm’s grant will impact 750 students.

The final stop of the day was made at Carver High School where teacher Kiersten Woodward received a $2,900 grant to provide more hand-on engaging activities for her 120 physics students.

Representing AEF on the “Prize Posse” were AEF Board Members Nadine Kujawa, a former Aldine ISD Superintendent, and Patti Acosta, Jeff Hartman and his wife Ann, and Stacey Smith, and AEF consultant Judy Hoya.

For more information on AEF, or to make a donation, call (281) 985-6078 or visit

Aldine FHC celebrates holidays with Open House

The Aldine Family Hope Center, 4700 Aldine Mail Route, held a Christmas Open House and Toy Drive on Tuesday, Dec. 9th. We were so honored by having over 70 people in attendance – a wide variety of business, school, church, and agency representatives from the community and Houston at large.

The air was truly filled with joy and the feeling of coming together in this special time of the year.

We appreciate each and every gift that was donated to help bless our children. The abundance of gifts on the table showed how much people cared to make a difference. Everyone networked, enjoyed holiday snacks, and took tours of the Center to learn more about our programs and services and future goals of our Center. All attendees were so impressed with what the Aldine Family Hope Center has been able to accomplish over the past 25 years on behalf of our community youth and families.

We are hoping for more volunteers and donations in the upcoming year. For information about our many programs and how you can help, please come by the Center or call 281-449-4828. On behalf of our Buckner administrators and our staff, we wish each of you a very Merry Christmas!!!

Volunteers repair home in East Aldine District project HOPE

EAST ALDINE – A project to rehabilitate and repair a delapidated house in the district got off to a slow start last week, as weather caused the district to postpone the full effort of a volunteer force to fix up the house at 4715 Mierianne Street.

The district project is called “project HOPE” and calls on everyone to volunteer with their repair skills. East Aldine District is partnering with Rebuilding Together Houston to accomplish this rebuilding effort. Rebuilding Houston is Houston’s largest community outreach organization working to preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize neighborhoods by providing home repair and renovation services at no cost to low-income homeowners in need, such as the elderly, individuals with disabilities, veterans, and people impacted by natural causes.

East Aldine director of services Richard Cantu said that a full group of volunteers were scheduled for Saturday’s work effort, and now will reschedule for next Saturday if weather permits.

He thanks BMS Construction, owner Ben Hernandez and his two sons for their work on the siding and trim last Thursday and Friday. BMS was asked to help by NCI’s Jose Rivera, through his agency’s network of volunteer organizations.

“Last Seat at the Dome” Film & meeting pay homage to Astrodome

HOUSTON – Filmmaker Matthew Murphy wanted to buy a seat from the Astrodome, when they went on sale as mementos last December. The purchase was to be in honor of his late grandmother, and he filmed the auction sale as part of the memory.

But after turning the footage into a 15 minute short documentary, his friends told him to enter it into competition, and it has now won several festival awards.

The film includes footage of the public sale, historic event footage of the Astrodome, and interviews of others describing their feellings of that day.

Last Thursday, Nov. 20 Murphy showed the film at a public screening for the public and friends of the Astrodome. The event was held at the Ecclesia Houston, a modern church in a renovated warehouse near downtown.

Several hundred supporters of the film and the Astrodome came, to hear a panel of preservationists speak on the historical status of the building, including its designation as a federally protected Landmark, and a pending status as a State Antiquities building.

On the panel were David Bush of Preservation Houston, Beth Wiedower of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, filmmaker Matthew Murphy, and media “guru” Michael Garfield (the “High-Tech Texas,” who acted as master of ceremonies and hosted a live text-in on the internet for those who wanted to participate but were not present at the screening.

Also in the audience were others interested in saving the Dome, including Rev. Bill Lawson, Attorney Edgardo Colon, CEO/President of the Harris County Sports & Convention Bureau, and Ted Powell and Cynthia Neely, proponents of landmark designation.

The film can be viewed at

After the screening, comments by the panelists and answers to questions were made.

Judge Emmett made these points:

— The Astrodome is a Harris County facility, not Houston nor private;

— It is structurally sound;

— The bonds are paid off;

— It is unique, with 360,000 sf of column free space;

— Since its inception, it has always been a multi-purpose, outdoor type space.

— It would cost more to tear down than to fix up ($68 million to tear down);

— None of the county commissioners are in favor of tearing it down.

David Bush recalled many of the famous events that were held at the Astrodome: conventions, presidential speeches, rodeos, and landmark sports events.

Reverend Lawson recalled how Judge Hofheinz had quietly solved the integration problem of the time with integrated facilities.

Judge Emmett said that in December a team from the Urban Land Institute was visiting Houston, and would study and advise on re-uses for the Dome. He said his indoor park scheme was moving ahead, but “it’s your building. How can we use it?” In closing, he reminded everone of its Iconic stature, a symbol of Houston known worldwide.