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Posts published in April 2018

HC Flood Control District begins $84 million Hurricane repair program

Surveyors for the Harris County Flood Control District are fanning out across Harris County’s 22 watersheds this week, part of a major push to repair more than $84 million in bayou and drainage channel damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.

On March 27, Harris County Commissioners Court approved a total of $12.5 million in initial contracts with 15 engineering firms that will design those repairs. That design process kicked off this month with topographic surveys and geotechnical field work at hundreds of damage sites around the county. Local dollars will be leveraged to secure federal grant funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to design and construct the repairs.

More than 1,200 individual damage sites were verified and prioritized after Hurricane Harvey. This included sinkholes, bank erosion, failed concrete, collapsed outfall pipes and other damage. These damaged sites were then grouped for project design by the selected engineering firms.

During this phase, Harris County residents may see workers out along the bayous and channels with survey and geotechnical boring equipment. Field data collected during this phase will help the Flood Control District fully evaluate the type of damages and repairs needed. Later, after project construction contracts are awarded in a competitive bidding process, residents will see heavy construction equipment such as trucks and backhoes. Construction is expected to begin on some project sites later this year, and to be completed in 2019.

The Flood Control District has requested more than $84 million in construction funding from the NRCS and FEMA for making these repairs.

Earth Day in Aldine

These are a few of the volunteers, families, and environmentalists who gathered in Crowley Park in Aldine, last Saturday to “plant and pluck” in observance of Earth Day, which was on Sunday. Organized events included tree planting, weeding and feeding, and trash pick-up along Greens Bayou that runs beside the park. Other events included food trucks, vendors, and games for the kids. The Earth Day Event was organized by the Greens Bayou Organization, and the East Aldine District, and sponsored by local businesses. MORE ON PAGE 8.

(Photos by East Aldine/vSanches)

Dedication ceremony held for new center named in honor of Superintendent Bamberg

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, along with State Rep. Armando Walle joined Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. Wanda Bamberg and her husband Dave at a dedication ceremony on Sunday, April 15, to formally dedicated the Dr. Wanda Bamberg Professional Development and Resource Center. Also pictured are members of the Aldine ISD Board of Trustees in front of the portrait of Dr. Bamberg that will hang in the facility.

On Sunday, April 15, a dedication ceremony was held to honor Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. Wanda Bamberg. The ceremony took place at the facility named in her honor, the Dr. Wanda Bamberg Professional Development and Resource Center, located at 9999 Veterans Memorial.

Dr. Bamberg is retiring after devoting 36 years to the students and staff of Aldine ISD. She began her career in Aldine ISD in 1982 as a seventh- and eighth-grade reading teacher at Hoffman Middle School. She spent five years in the classroom before joining the administrative team as a program director of middle school language arts, director of curriculum and instruction, executive director of curriculum and instruction, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, and in 2007 she was named Superintendent of Schools, a post she has held for the last 11 years.

Current and former Board members, administrators, principals and staff attended the dedication ceremony. Joining current Board members were former Trustees A.W. Jones, Rick Ogden, Marine Jones, Alton Smith, Sarah Hill, the wife of former Trustee Emmett Hill and Cathy Griggs, the wife of former Trustee Merlin Griggs. Former superintendents M.B. “Sonny” Donaldson and Nadine Kujawa also attended. Dr. Bamberg’s husband Dave and son Josh were part of the proceedings as were family members from Alabama.

Prior to the dedication ceremony, a reception was held in the foyer of the facility. U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackon Lee presented Dr. Bamberg with a Congressional proclamation for her 41 years (she taught in Alabama for five years before moving to Houston) in education and her 36 years of dedicated service to Aldine ISD. Congresswoman Lee also presented Dr. Bamberg with a United States flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol.

Westfield Fire Department celebrates 76 years of service to the Community

Westfield Fire Department celebrated its 76 years of service to our community with music, petting zoo, bounce houses, blood drive, dunkin booth and lots of fun for the entire family during a Spring Fling event on April 17 at the new station on Lauder Rd. close to JFK Boulevard. Families gathered to greet firefighters, see the new fire truck and other equipment used to help the community during a fire, emergency or disaster.

Thousands enjoy 11th annual Turner Family Day

Mayor Turner in front of the Family Day stage, where the band J. Paul Jr. and the Zydeco Nubreeds kept the music coming all day.

In spite of gray skies, last Saturday over 10,000 Houstonians gathered at Turner Park in Acres Homes, to enjoy the 11th annual Family Day, hosted by Mayor Sylvester Turner. The all day event featured baseball games, plenty of free food, games, and more.

Food tents were serving turkey legs, sausage on a stick, hot dogs, anchos, popcorn, snow cones and corn on the cob. Nathan’s famous hot dogs were there with food and a bounce house shaped like a hot dog.

Performers included students from Aldine’s Carver High School, Baby Sonic Boom, the mariachi band Luna Llena from Rice University, Tiger Rock Martial Arts, and the teo Chew Temple lion dancers. Music was by J. Paul Jr. and the Zydeco Nubreeds.

Domecoming: Public parties in the Astrodome

25,000 Fans gathered for the Dome tour.

HOUSTON – Fans of the Astrodome brought their memories to a large party Monday night, inside the famed Dome.

The Astrodome Conservancy held the party, and at least 25,000 fans showed up, to hear music, eat some food truck grub, and mostly just stare at the cavernous space and relive their memories of the last time they saw a game or event there.

It was the 53rd Anniversary of this so-called Eighth Wonder of the World, which is about to gain a new life as an indoor park and event space for the County.

Commissioner’s Court in February approved a $105 million plan to renovate the Dome, and work will start in the fall, so this is the last time the Dowould be available to see it the way it was when it opened in 1965.

Phoebe Tudor, chair of the Astrodome Conservancy, said that this event was so popular that the 25,000 tickets sold out in less than two hours. Tickets were free, too.

Fans remembered when the Dome was the home of the Astros, from 1965 to 1999, and the Oilers from 1968 to 1996. In 2009 building inspectors ruled the building unsafe, and it has been closed since then.

The revitalization plan calls for an underground parking garage, with 9 acres of park space above at street level.

The new Dome will be available for festivals, conferences, and commercial space, according to County Judge Ed Emmett. It will also be a passive and recreational park, under an air-conditioned dome, another first for the city and the country. Emmett also envisions that the space can be used as an adjunct to NRG center, for boat shows, auto shows, and the Rodeo. Construction will start in October, and last for 17 months.

Some new, some old fans gazed up at the space.

Walle holds Immigration Forum

NORTHEAST – State Representative Armando Walle hosted a two night Forum last week, on the subject of Immigration and DACA status. The events were held at MacArthur and Aldine High Schools, on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Parents, students, and the public attended, and each program had about 75 to 100 persons in the audience.

Speakers at MacArthur included Walle, Jill Campbell of BakerRipley, Cesar Espinosa of FIEL, and two representatives from the local Mexican Consulate.

The program was presented in both English, and Spanish, with translation for English only speakers.

Topics that were covered included SB4, DACA, Know Your Rights, Immigration information, and Consular Services.

Representative Walle opened the evening with remarks about his own situation as an American with Mexican parents, and problems that his family has had, and how his interest and advocacy was related to that background. He also noted that the majority of his constituents were os Hispanic heritage. He explained that the meeting would give information on two important topics, SB4 or the “Show Me Your Papers” Texas law, and DACA or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. He said that because of SB4, in Texas it is okay for the police to ask about your immigration status if you are stopped for a violation. But you have the right to remain silent, and not answer any questions except to identify yourself. Cards were available with all the answers to “Know Your Rights” which are fairly complicated.

Jill Campbell of BakerRipley made an extensive presentation on Immigration help, and ways to avoid deportation. She indicated that anyone that needed help could contact BakerRipley at 713-273-3707 for free legal help on DACA renewal assistance. Offices are on Navigation Blvd., and Rookin Streer. When the Town Center is finished in East Aldine, there will be an immigration office in the BakerRipley complex, too.

Celebrate 11th annual Family Day at Sylvester Turner Park April 14

Get up close and personal with animals from the Houston Zoo at the 11th Annual Family Day at Sylvester Turner Park. This year’s event is from 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, at the park at 2800 West Little York.

HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner will celebrate his 11th Annual Family Day on April 14 with baseball, music, games, food and more.

Family Day at Sylvester Turner Park will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, at the park at 2800 West Little York. Admission is free, as are all the games and food.

“Each year we welcome up to 12,000 people to this fun family event,” Mayor Turner said. “We have added even more this year and hope everyone across Acres Homes will join us.”

The entertainment lineup continues to grow. Back by popular demand are J. Paul Jr. and the Zydeco Nubreeds. Also returning are the talented students from Aldine Carver High School. There’s something for everyone as the Mayor welcomes Baby Sonic Boom, the Luna Llena mariachi band from Rice University, Tiger Rock Martial Arts and the Teo Chew Temple lion dancers. Radio One, KTSU and KSBJ will also be on hand. Come hungry because the food line-up includes turkey legs, sausage on a stick, hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, snow cones and corn on the cob. And Nathan’s returns with everyone’s favorite hot dogs.

Water level in Lake Houston lowered

Flood Control Measure

With heavy storms predicted, and flooding throughout the San Jacinto River watershed, authorities this week ordered a permanent reduction in the level of water in Lake Houston.

Houston City Council Member Dave Martin announced that after a meeting held Monday with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, the daily pooling level of Lake Houston will be reduced from 42.5 feet to 40 feet, effective immediately. Last night, Houston Public Works Director, Carol Haddock, directed the Coastal Water Authority to start lowering the level of Lake Houston in advance of Wednesday’s predicted storms. Council Member Martin has confirmed that all gates at Lake Houston are open and the level of Lake Houston is anticipated to reach the desired 40 foot mark by Wednesday evening.

Once the lake is lowered to 40 feet it is the City of Houston’s plan to adjust the spillway gates to maintain a level of 40 feet moving forward on a long-term basis. This will address the immediate concerns of the Lake Houston Community, including Kingwood, Humble, Atascocita, and Huffman. This lower lake level will continue to be observed while the City works with area partners to address siltation and other coordination efforts with Lake Conroe. The City of Houston will continue to monitor and evaluate water demand, weather patterns and other mitigation activities.

Tuesday Harris County Commissioner’s Court will vote to authorize requests for qualifications (RFQ) for engineering and other services to identify watershed-wide flood risks, evaluate food mitigation strategies that address those risks and develop recommendations to enhance the flood warning system and action plans used by the emergency managers in the San Jacinto River Basin from its headwaters in Lake Houston across Harris County Precincts 1, 2, and 4. Harris County will be working with the San Jacinto River Authority as well as other municipalities to accomplish this task which was a part of Governor Greg Abbott’s charges for the region.

Additionally, Harris County will also be requesting authorization for RFQs for engineering, environmental permitting, and other services in support of dredging the West Fork of the San Jacinto River from IH-59 to Lake Houston Parkway. This was another of Governor Abbott’s charges during his visit to the Kingwood Area. All parties are committed to working together to swiftly move the dredging project forward in preparation for this year’s hurricane season.

Pct. 1 Commissioner Ellis plans $30M in “Complete Streets” improvements

Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis outlines his “Complete Streets” project at a news conference on March 13.

Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on March 13 announced a joint agreement in which Precinct One will pay $30 million to improve seven streets in the University of Houston-Texas Southern University corridor.

“This is a great example of how Harris County can innovatively and strategically partner with the City of Houston, our universities and other entities to improve mobility, safety and quality of life for all residents,” Precinct One Commissioner Ellis said. “Precinct One is looking forward to supporting TSU and UH, and the entire Third Ward community through this project.”

Earlier on March 13, Commissioners Court voted to negotiate with two engineering firms that will develop the scope of the work.

Dubbed “Complete Streets” project, the improvements dovetail with Mayor Turner’s Complete Communities program, which involves improving Third Ward and four other neighborhoods that have been under resourced for many years.

“Now I’m excited to see that the Commissioner is bringing safer, more attractive streets to this community of twin universities,” Mayor Turner said. “… If the improvements in these areas were just relying on the city, they would be highly incomplete. I want to thank him for this spirit of collaboration and cooperation with the city utilizing resources at his disposal in order to address many of the needs within the city and within Harris County.”

Precinct One is committing $15 million to improve infrastructure near TSU and another $15 million to projects around UH.

The goal is to create streets that are attractive and a source of neighborhood pride, while improving safety and accessibility to all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders.

In addition to roadway work, the project also includes drainage improvements, which will help reduce street flooding during heavy rain.