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Posts published in May 2015

Aldine Education Foundation & ASF award 163 scholarships to AISD seniors

One hundred-sixty-three Aldine ISD seniors received the opportunity to continue their academic careers by receiving either Aldine Education Foundation (AEF) or Aldine Scholarship Foundation (ASF) scholarships during an awards ceremony on May 21 at Davis High School.

The two non-profit foundations joined forces to enable more Aldine ISD students to receive financial support for college, to provide additional choices for college and to award grants to teachers for innovative classroom instruction.

AEF, incorporated in 2012, became the umbrella organization for two funds: the ASF Fund, now under the direction of the Aldine Scholarship Foundation Board, and the AEF general fund. ASF’s permanent endowment totaling more than $2 million will continue to be managed by the Lone Star College System. The merger of AEF and ASF provides AISD students and teachers with greater resources and opportunities, and donors have more choices to support student success in Aldine ISD.

During the ceremony, AEF awarded 18 scholarships and 118 AISD seniors received ASF scholarships.

Prior to the awarding of the scholarships, former AEF recipient Diamond Banks addressed this year’s recipients. The audience was also addressed by Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. Wanda Bamberg, who provided the Superintendent’s Challenge, and Penny Westerfeld, interim president of Lone Star College-North Harris.

Former Aldine ISD Superintendent and current AEF Vice President of Programs Nadine Kujawa delivered the welcome and introductions.

AISD seniors who received $5,000 AEF scholarships were Laurie Nowlin, Gersunde Moses and Hy Luu. AISD seniors who received $1,000 AEF scholarships were Aurora Gaitan, Jessica Medrano, Jesus Garza, Stephen Omot, William Espinoza, Marco Medina, Desiree Carmona, Michael Jefferson, Joanna Gonzalez, Wonderful Pacheco, Emily Aguirre and Frankesha Jones.

AISD seniors who received ASF scholarships were: Jeanette Pala, who received the Victory Early College Award; Eunice Alvarez-Diaz, Luis Banda, Courtney Cain, Melissa Gallegos, Jonathan Morales, Johnny Nguyen, Ruth Rodriguez and Dontre Thomas who received Aldine Council of PTAs Award; Nazaret Castillo and Sydney Reed who received the Aldine Optimist Club Award; Daniel Benavides, Kimberly Guerrero and Janet Padron who received the East Aldine Management District Award; Erica Cheng, Brianna Crawford, Rikia Stewart and Trevor Thibodeaux who received the George Washington Carver High School Alumni Award; Debbie Paredes, who received the Jan DeBlance Scholarship; Marlon Adams, who received the Joey Doyle Scholarship; Karen Perez, who received the Prosperity Bank Award; and Emily Ham, who received the Aaron Glenn Award.

Other AISD senior who received ASF scholarships were: Samantha Andrade, Jennifer Arita, Angelina Bazualdua, Kevin Chavez, Cindy Godoy, Jesus Jaimes, Yareli Lara, Olga Martinez, David Nguyen, Bryanna Ramirez, Hector Reyna, Felix Salazar, Henry Sanchez, Fillimon Serrano, Marelyn Valdez and Alejandro Vazcoy who received the Aldine ISD Award; Yasmin Amaya, Ingrid Arrieta, Cameron Crow, Patricia Diaz, Jennifer Garcia Villafana, Eliseo Hernandez, Nathan Jimenez, Yasmin Moreno, Dariela Ramos Martinez, Wilmer Rivera, Angela Rosales, Adan Villafuerta and Dolores Wells Salas who received the Aldine ISD Staff Endowment Award; Aide Duarte and Mayra who received the Aldine Optimist Club Award; Leslie Marshall, Nayib Pastrana and Jennifer Tobar who received the ASF Board of Directors Award; Gladys Lemus who received the Bob and Darcy Mingoia Special Scholarship; Alondra Acosta, who received the Deanie Merritt Award; Ernesto Hernandez, who received the Donnie Drawhorn Award; Fantasia Smith, who received the Doris Davis Award and Deja Scott, who received the John E. Pickelman Award.

Additional seniors who received scholarships were: Efrain Alonso, Steven Cabrera, Ariana Campos, Virginia Contreras, Jose Delgado, Stephanie Escamilla, Vanessa Escuita, Juanita Flores Mayorga, Cesia Galeas, Jair Galvan, Betty Garcia, Iris Graham, Carla Hernandez, Emily Hernandez, Jocelyn Herrera, Fabiola Martinez, Marcus Medillin, Emily Mendez, Jacqueline Navarro, David Perez, Oscar Perez, Thalia Salinas, Daniela Torrejon, Yajaira Valdez and Clezell Willis who received East Aldine District Awards; Frank Cisneros and Kyla Wiley who received Gallery Furniture Awards; Christopher Paz who received the Glenn and Linda Huntley Award; Alma Guzman, Jason Palomares and Orlando Valle who received the Greater Inwood Partnership Awards; Caroline Fletcher who received the Harvey and Yvonne Stotts Award; Everardo Castro and Jessica Radilla who received the Houston-Aldine Lions Club Awards; Kaicee Sims and David Trevino who received the Houston Intercontinental Chamber of Commerce Awards; and Jacqueline Alanis, Marisol Carreon, Fernando Chavez, Breanna DeJesus, Erika Gramby, Maurice Green, Gueovany Guevara, Sandra Hinojosa, Alejandro Luna, John Luong, Sarah Martinez, Javier Mendiola, Cristofer Osornio, Miguel Pizano Gonzalez, Caterin Ramirez, Angel Rodriguez, Lizbeth Romero and Daanyal Vaid who received Lone Star College-North Harris Awards.

Other AISD seniors who received scholarships were: Amber Haubert and Alyssa Wreyford who received the M.B. “Sonny” Donaldson Awards; Kenneshia Robinson who received the M.O. Campbell Award; Alejandra Duarte who received the MacArthur Senior High School Award; Shaina Cortes and Courtney Jones who received the Motiva Awards; Estefani Aranda who received the Nadine Kujawa Award; Marshall Green who received the Niki Myers and Cher Brock Endowed Scholarship; Dionna Breaux, Robert Gee, Juan Ruiz and Dennis Torres who received the Prosperity Bank Awards; Jesus Reyna Trevino who received the Richard and Barbara Lee Memorial Award; Jorge Martinez who received the Rigsdell Family Award; Daija Jackson who received the Ron and Mary Oruc Award; Francisco Pomares, Kayla Puente, Maria Ruiz and Jessica Tovias who received the Stan and Suzanne St. Pierre Awards; and Cristina Jimenez who received the Steve Mead Award.

Other AISD seniors who received scholarships were Yissel Moreno and Sandra Navarro who received the Steven Parker Awards; Sydney David, Rocio Dionisio, and Vanessa Rivas Herrera who received the Super Travel Awards; Lexus Thomas who received the Supertravel Aldine Teachers Award; Alan Martinez, Aylin Vazquez and Mohammad Zahir who received the Texas Pioneer Foundation Awards and Loreal Robinson who received the W.W. Thorne Award.


Abbott, Patrick, Straus announce tax relief compromise

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus on May 21 jointly announced a $3.8 billion tax relief package for Texas businesses and homeowners.

According to the announcement, the agreement reached by Patrick and Straus on a tax proposal, along with additional legislation, includes:


1. A 25 percent permanent reduction in the business margins tax;

2. A $10,000 increase in the homestead exemption, beginning in 2015, subject to passage of a constitutional amendment adopted in the November election; and

3. SB 1760, legislation requiring a 60 percent vote of the governing body of any taxing unit wishing to adopt an increase in property taxes that exceeds the effective tax rate.

“Texas leaders have come together to advance conservative principles that will improve the lives of Texans and continue to make Texas the model for doing business,” Abbott said. “Every dollar businesses and homeowners pay in taxes is a dollar that could be invested in new jobs, higher wages and stimulating the Texas economy.”

Meanwhile, the passage of a state budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017, the Legislature’s primary task, is in its final stages. The buzz around the Capitol before Memorial Day weekend was that with tax relief resolved, an agreement on the budget that will satisfy the governor’s expectations will soon follow.

Constable Hickman sworn in as new Sheriff

HOUSTON – Pct. 4 Constable Ron Hickman has been sworn in as the new Harris County Sheriff.

Hickman is replacing Adrian Garcia who last week announced he is running for Mayor of Houston.

The new sheriff was sworn in by Harris County Judge Ed Emmett last Tuesday morning, May 12th.

Hickman began his law enforcement career in 1971 with the Houston Police Department where he was a cadet. And in 1983 he moved to the Pct. 4 Constables Office.

Hickman was one of several candidates’ on a list to replace Adrian Garcia. Judge Ed Emmett endorsed Hickman, saying “I’ve known Constable Hickman for a long time, and worked with him. He’s one of these people who looks ahead. He’s savvy when it comes to technology and new approaches.” Hickman may be asked to agree to a separation of the jail function from the Sheriff’s office, which some of the Commissioners favor. However, it must be aligned with state law, which currently does not provide for this separation.

One of the first things he plans to do is an audit, he said. Some of his priorities during his term are protection for the community and care of detainees in the Harris County Jail.

Hickman also mentioned he plans to run for sheriff in 2016.


NORTHEAST HOUSTON – The Haverstock Hills Apartments on Aldine Bender Road were the scene of a multi-agency raid, last Thursday evening.

Participating in the raid were the deputies from the Harris County Sheriff’s office, deputies from Constable Precinct 4, and officers from the Houston Police Department.

Authorities said that the raid was meant to insure that persons who had been banned from the premises by a court-ordered permanent injunction in 2014 had not returned to the apartment complex.

The injunction established an East Aldine Safety Zone, an area around the apartments that also includes other residences and businesses, and two schools, Francis Elementary and A&W Academic Academy.

Apartment dwellers report that they are used to a high crime rate in the complex, especially at night.

Banned from the Safety Zone are 47 named members of two notorious gangs, the Crips and the Bloods.

Authorities said they checked people in the raid, and found some that either had been banned by the injunction, or had outstanding warrants, and several arrests were made.

Residents of the apartment complex said they appreciated the police action, but feared that the crime element would return when the police left the scene.

Adrian Garcia announces candidacy for Mayor

HOUSTON, TX – May 6, 2015 – Adrian Garcia, a long time Harris County Sheriff, announced last Wednesday, he is runing for Houston mayor.

The same day of his announcement, Garcia sent his resignation letter to members of Commissioner Court.

Along Garcia, there are six other candidates who have announced their candidacy State Rep. Sylveter Turner, businessman Marty McVey, former Kemah Mayor Bill King, former Congressman Chris Bell, former City Attorney Ben Hall and Houston City Council Member Stephen Costello.

A new Sheriff will be apppointed by Commisioners, and he is expected to be Republican since the majority on the court are Republican. Some of the prospects are Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Carl Pittman, Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman and Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Tomball.

Adrian Garcia expressed his thoughts in a letter:


For the past several months, I’ve done something that leaders should do a lot more of: I’ve been listening. I’ve been listening to people all over Houston – from fellow churchgoers, to large and small business owners, to friendly seniors at the local breakfast spot. Like me, they all love our city. But they’re also concerned about our future. They want the roads to be repaired and to spend less time in traffic, they want to keep our families and children safe, they want to improve our schools, and they want to make sure the city doesn’t spend more than it takes in. I share those concerns.

And as I’ve listened, people have urged me to run for Mayor.

There was a familiar refrain to all of their remarks. It was about reform and results. They were grateful that we have kept a lid on violent crime rates and put more officers on the street to keep you safe, even during a hiring freeze. Violent crime rates for murder and rape are down even as we have served an increased population in Harris County.

By reforming the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and the jail, cutting wasteful spending and practices, we saved the taxpayer’s over $100 million. We imposed discipline and fired people who disgraced the badge and dishonored the department. We ended the practice of sending inmates and your tax dollars to private prisons in Louisiana and ended the chronic jail overcrowding. Modernizing an agency with almost 5,000 employees and a budget of almost half a billion dollars has been no easy task, but our hard work has begun to pay off. The Sheriff’s office budget that was constantly in the red has been transformed into one that has stayed within its means and reduced the burden on taxpayers.

Most importantly, the most consistent thing I’ve heard is the difference we’ve made in people’s lives. Today, thousands have participated in educational programs while in the jail, and many have gone on to enroll in the Houston Community College. These people are leaving behind a life of crime and steering their future to a job and being able to take care of their families. Our “Been There Done That” program has helped turn around the lives of women who came into the jail for sex work and came out knowing how to earn a living using their minds. We grew our chaplaincy program from a handful of people, and now, with the help of over 200 volunteers, we are able to touch with faith and help thousands of souls every week.

There has been a familiar refrain across the city when people talk about our successes. I listened to people encourage me to bring the same approach and problem solving to the City of Houston. It’s the same approach I used on Council and as Mayor Pro Tem. The city is seeing more violent crimes, serious financial challenges with few remedies left to use, and infrastructure and transportation issues that desperately need a fresh approach.

This is not the first time I’ve listened. I listened to the prayer my father shared with my family when they emigrated from Mexico a year before I was born. I listened to my mother when she sensed I was restless working in my dad’s automotive repair business and I wanted to serve a higher purpose to my family and community. I listened to my father when he gave me five principles to live by after I told him I wanted to join the Houston Police Department. Among them was to be proud of who I am and to never forget where I came from.

I’ve been listening to the people of Houston, and I believe it’s time to bring a fresh approach to the city of Houston. It’s time to offer leadership that brings people together, that is firm and fair, and gives everyone a voice at City Hall, not just the wealthy and well-connected. At the same time, we have to keep our business environment strong to grow our economy so good paying jobs are available to everyone who wants to work, raise a family, and be a part of making Houston the best place it can be. Today, I’m announcing my candidacy for Mayor of Houston because Houston needs a mayor who knows how to balance a budget, save taxpayers millions, and protect our children and families. I’ve done that as sheriff. And I’ll do that as mayor.

I will need your help, your support, and your prayers if I am to be successful. I know that together we can fix what ails our city, and make Houston the world class city to live, work, and raise a family that it is poised to be.


Adrian Garcia

Sylvester Turner endorsed for Mayor by three House Colleagues

HOUSTON, April 24, 2015 – Sylvester Turner was endorsed by three of his colleagues in the Texas House: Ana Hernandez, Hubert Vo and Armando Walle.

At a news conference today, Turner pointed out that Houston is the most diverse city in America.

“All voices need to be heard,” said Turner. “Everyone deserves a seat at the table. That’s the only way Houston will continue to prosper and grow. That’s why I am especially grateful to be endorsed today by these colleagues.”

Rep. Hernandez, District 143, said she has seen first-hand Turner’s leadership.

“Representative Turner brings people together to tackle the tough issues,” Hernandez said. “He will bring that leadership from the state to the city of Houston. I am proud to endorse him for Mayor.”

Rep. Walle, whose District 140 adjoins Turner’s District 139, has worked collaboratively with Turner on a number of issues, including the Appropriations Committee.

“Sylvester Turner has risen above politics,” Walle said. “His is a voice people listen to-both Democrats and Republicans. Representative Turner is a fierce advocate for his district; as mayor, he will be a fierce advocate for the entire city.”

Rep. Vo, District 149, was unable to attend the news conference but his assistant Tim Dinh read a statement from him.

“I want a Houston mayor who knows how to recognize the issues important to our great city and get things done,” said Vo in his statement. “I have personally witnessed his effectiveness time and time again. I know we can count on Sylvester Turner to fight important battles, no matter how big or small, and to do what is in the best interests of our citizens.”

“Houston is like a big family – and I know what that’s like,” said Turner. “I was one of nine kids who grew up in a small house in Acres Homes and went on to become a businessman and community leader. My dad started a yard service and my mom worked as a maid in the old Rice Hotel. Just like any big family, Houston is strongest when we work hard, work together, respect each other’s differences and always put the good of the community first.”

In the Legislature, Turner has worked to stop utility companies from unfairly raising gas and electricity rates and to make health care more affordable for children and families. He has also led the fight to restore billions of dollars in cuts to public schools. As a small business owner, Turner has provided good jobs, affordable health care and a secure future for his employees for 31 years.

Turner’s priorities as mayor will include a top-to-bottom performance review of the city’s Department of Public Works and implementation of a quick-fix program for potholes; stepping up community policing efforts and improving relationships between HPD and communities of color; and addressing economic inequality through increased support for schools and better aligning community college-based workforce training with actual private sector job needs.