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Posts published in October 2018

Jensen holds Jubilee Parade & Festival

Jensen Jubilee & Festival organizer Pastor David Smith stands with Parade Marshal Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale on a wet stage, as the participants and award winners are announced.

The Eastex and Jensen communities held their annual Jubilee and Festival last Saturday, October 20, on a gray day with a slight rainfall.

In spite of the weather, a large crowd lined Jensen Street to see the parade, which included marching bands and dance units, fire and police, horseback units, and almost every political candidate that is running for office in Harris County.

The Grand Marshals for the Parade were Jim McIngvale of Gallery Furniture, and City Councilman Jerry Davis.

Also participating were State Representatives Armando Walle and Ana Hernandez, State Senator Sylvia Garcia, and Candidate for County Commissioner Adrian Garcia.

The Jensen Jubilee and Festival was sponsored by UT Physicians Clinic, who also donated scholarships to students from Sam Houston STEM High School.

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Lone Star College announces scholarships for students from underserved communities

Lone Star College students and officials celebrate the announcement of the LSC Promise Firsts Scholarship program. Pictured (left to right): LSC graduate Jesús Contreras; Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., LSC chancellor; Alton Smith, Ed.D., LSC Board of Trustees chair; LSC graduate Rachel Perez; Massey Villarreal, LSC Foundation Board director; Mario K. Castillo, LSC chief operating officer & general counsel.

HOUSTON (Oct. 26, 2018) – Students living in communities that traditionally lack resources to succeed now have an opportunity for a brighter future thanks to the Lone Star College Promise Firsts Scholarship program.

“I am very proud that Lone Star College can now provide additional scholarships specifically designed to help lift students from these communities through higher education,” said Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., LSC chancellor.

Eight donors pledged a total of $250,000 for the fund and another $250,000 in matching dollars will be provided through Lone Star College Foundation from the Chancellor’s discretionary fund.

The LSC Promise Firsts Scholarship program will be made available to qualifying first-generation students to go to college, first-time-in-college, and first responders. A first-generation college student is defined as a student whose parents have not attended college. A student who has never attended a postsecondary college or university is considered a first-time-in-college student.

“To the donors who have helped out, I would like to say thank you,” said Racheal Cummings, LSC graduate. “My experience at Lone Star College was amazing. I have met so many people who have helped me on my journey and have learned so much.”

The eight donors include Magdalena and Tony Grijalva; H-E-B.; Alex and Cathy Lopez Negrete, Lopez Negrete Communications; George and Kathryn Martinez; Paula Mendoza, Possible Missions; Monty & Ramirez, LLP; Saul and Lisa Valentin; and Massey Villarreal. The LSC Promise Firsts program is scheduled to begin fall 2019.

“I am grateful to these individuals who have joined me in supporting our community,” said Saul Valentin, LSC Foundation Board of Directors chair. “This investment in the future of these students will pay dividends for many years to come.”

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Early Voting starts Oct. 22

HARRIS COUNTY – Voters can start to begin to cast their votes starting this Monday. This midterm election is considered by most political observers to be an important statement about the current Republican control of the White House, Congress, and the Texas government.

Although the president is not on the ballot this time, many important seats in Congress and Texas will be decided. In addition, a number of local Harris County positions are on the ballot, and an important choice in the city of Houston regarding pay for firemen.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6, but Early Voting will start on Monday, October 22 and continue through Friday, November 2. Hours that the polls are open are as follows:

Oct. 22-26 8 am – 4:30 pm

Oct. 27 7 am – 7 pm

Oct. 28 1 pm – 6 pm

Oct. 29-Nov 2 7 am – 7 pm

The election for U. S. Senate has probably gained the most attention, both in Texas and nationally, Incumbent Senator Ted Cruz has seen a strong challenge from Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke, who has raised much more money than Cruz in his campaign, and seems to have an enthusiastic grass roots support among the public.

A number of U. S. Representatives seats are open for election, including District 6, with incumbent Kevin Brady vs. Steven David; District 18 with incumbent Sheila Jackson Lee vs. Ava Reynero Pate; and District 29, where long term Representative Gene Green has retired, and State Senator Sylvia Garcia is running against Phillip Aronoff.

Governor Abbott is defending his seat against challenger Lupe Valdez, and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is running against challenger Mike Collier. Another state race that has gathered attention is Attorney General, where the beleaguered incumbent Ken Paxton is running against Democratic challenger Justin Nelson.

A number of State Representatives are running unopposed, and therefore will be re-elected. These include Armando Walle in District 140; Senfronia Thompson in 141; and Ana Hernandez in 143.

Harris County voters will decide on keeping incumbent judge Ed Emmett, or vote for Democratic challenger Lina Hidalgo.

Other county offices of interest include District Clerk, with incumbent Chris Danie vs. Marilyn Burgess; County Clerk, with well known incumbent Stan Stanart vs. Diane Trautman; County Treasurer, Orlando Sanchez vs. Dylan Osborne.

A race of local interest in the Aldine area is for county school trustee, where well-known East Aldine District executive Richard Cantu is running against Marc Cowart.

Several County Commissioner seats are to be elected including Precinct 2, where the incumbent Jack Morman faces Democratic challenger Adrian Garcia; and Precinct 4, where incumbent Jack Cagle faces Penny Shaw.

In races for Justice of the Peace, of local interest is Precinct 3, Place 2 Lucia Bates is running unopposed. This district includes North Forest and a part of the Aldine area. Voters in the Lone Star College area will be asked to decide between Michael Stoma or George Edwards, Jr. in District 1; Ernestine Pierce or Matthew Wheeler in District 2; and Mike Sullivan or G. Puente in District 8.

For voters who reside in the City of Houston, two propositions will be on the ballot, both concerning the finances of the city, and both controversial and considered important.

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East Aldine approves design for new offices

At their regular board meeting last week, the East Aldine District reviewed three schemes for a new office building to house the district offices and related functions.

These schemes, as proposed by the architect, PGAL Associates, varied in size and number of stories. The building is to be built at the center of the new Town Center project on Aldine Mail Route.

The first scheme as developed, is a two story building of approximately 16,950 square feet. The building is mainly for offices of the district, with lease space available on the second floor totaling 3300 sq. feet. On the first floor, in addition to district offices, there is a large multi-purpose/meeting room, able to house almost 200 persons seated or at tables. This room is also divisible into smaller sections. It is served by a small kitchen. A conference room for about 25 persons is also adjacent. The building design features an attractive two story lobby, and on the second floor a large outside Deck overlooking the park and amphitheater which are part of the Town Center development. Construction cost is estimated at about $6,500,000.

The board also considered what was termed Option C, a two story design with more space for lease functions. (more…)

Dr. Archie Blanson honored at dedication ceremony

Dr. Archie Blanson and his wife Beverly pose with Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney and members of the Aldine ISD Board of Trustees following a dedication ceremony to officially open the Dr. Archie L. Blanson Career and Technical High School. The ceremony was held on Sunday, Oct. 14.

Hundreds of family members, friends, and colleagues gathered to honor Dr. Archie Blanson for the dedication ceremony of the Dr. Archie L. Blanson Career and Technical High School on Sunday, Oct. 14.

Dr. Blanson devoted 39 years to Aldine ISD serving as a teacher, assistant director of buildings and properties, director of buildings and properties, executive director of buildings and properties, director of human resources, assistant superintendent of human resources and completed his Aldine career at the district’s deputy superintendent. In that role, Dr. Blanson oversaw AISD’s operations department.

Dr. Blanson thanked the many family members who made the trip to Houston to share in this special day and his immediate family.

“I want to recognize my wife Beverly, who has been my biggest supporter,” he said. “And I want to recognize my children, Christina, Daniel and Eric. They are my proudest accomplishment in life.”

He thanked his parents Lula and Nathan for instilling a strong ethic in he and his siblings, many of whom attended the dedication ceremony.

Dr. Blanson said education always played an important role in his life and he is glad he chose to have a career in education.

“As the son of sharecroppers, who missed a lot of school in the early years because I had to work, I had every reason not to succeed in life or in education,” Dr. Blanson said. “But instead of feeling defeated, I developed a strong thirst for education.

“Although going to college was not presented to me as an option when I was in high school, I made it an option for myself because I had very little marketable skills. So, with the help of my family I attended college. I just wanted to have options on deciding what I was going to be in life.”

He challenged the students at Blanson CTE to take advantage of the opportunities they have before them.

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Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan to remain at the helm of HISD

Grenita Lathan remains as HISD Interim Superintendent.

Oct. 15, 2018 – The Houston Independent School District Board of Education announced today that Dr. Grenita Lathan will remain as the interim superintendent of HISD, the largest school district in Texas.

During a press conference at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, trustees announced that they have mutually agreed to consider the reinstatement of Dr. Lathan as interim superintendent and the rescinding of Thursday night’s vote to appoint Dr. Abelardo Saavedra to the position.

“We are committed to working together as a board for the benefit of our students, and we are unified in our efforts to build a better governance structure for our children,” HISD Board President Rhonda Skillern-Jones said. “We are confident that Dr. Lathan is the right person to lead the seventh largest school district in the nation as our interim, and we thank the public for their encouragement and support.”

“We, the Board of Trustees of the Houston Independent School District, would like to apologize to Dr. Grenita Lathan, our students, the community at large, the parents and families, all HISD employees, and our business and community partners,” Trustee Diana Davila said.

“We will work to improve our behavior as adults, treat each other with respect, and embark on the right focus of doing all we can to improve academic achievement for all our students,” Trustee Jolanda Jones said.

Dr. Lathan will remain as interim superintendent of HISD while the executive search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates conducts a national search for a permanent superintendent. Dr. Lathan will have the opportunity to apply for the permanent superintendent position.

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Community working to revitalize Eastex Jensen Area

Last year’s parade floats travelled down Jensen Blvd.

Parade Marshals Mattress Mack & Jerry Davis

When communities struggle, whatever the cause, a unique opportunity exists to bring people together and focus on working for the benefit of the community. The Houston Northeast CDC and Jensen Jubilee Committee are committed to seizing this opportunity to help to rebuild a resilient community in the Eastex/Jensen area. On Saturday, October 20, 2018, the organizations will host their 5th Annual Jensen Jubilee Parade & Festival.

Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, and City Council Member Jerry Davis (District B), will serve as Grand Marshalls for the parade starting at 10:00 am proceeding from 2800 Trout Street to 9001 Jensen Drive, where the Community Festival will take place immediately following the parade.

The purpose of the Jensen Jubilee project, which launched from strategic planning meetings to clean-up the area, is to promote sustainable revitalization through residential, commercial and economic development, historic preservation and the empowerment of our neighborhoods.

Some of the successes of the Jensen Jubilee collaborative include partnerships with residents, schools, churches, businesses, and public officials; providing scholarships to area high school students; hosting town hall and specialized meetings; organizing community clean-ups; and the opening of UT Physicians Community Health and Wellness Center Jensen. This shows that together with great partnerships and hard work, we are able to not just revitalize our community but also to rebuild it, says Pastor David Smith, president of the Houston Northeast CDC. The very fact that there is a coming together within the community is a huge step forward. The Houston Northeast CDC & The Jensen Jubilee Committee is grateful to all the partners who provide their time, expertise, and the perspective necessary to maintain the momentum and relevance in the community.

The Parade & Festival serve as the premium fundraiser to be able to offer the community services provided through the Jensen Jubilee collaborative.

Festivities will begin with the Jensen Jubilee Parade on Oct. 20th, of which the community is invited to come and enjoy at 10:00am.

After the parade, the Festival will kick off with music, kid’s zone and participation of over 30 service providers and vendors.

Introduction of King & Queen at last year’s Jensen Jubilee.

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Flood Control District completes removal of channel blockages

140,000 Cubic Yards of Hurricane Storm Debris Removed From Bayous and Channels

The Harris County Flood Control District has completed a county-wide effort to remove downed trees and other storm debris left blocking Harris County’s bayou drainage system since Hurricane Harvey more than a year ago. With a last push on Buffalo Bayou and Cypress Creek, and expenses estimated at $8.9 million so far, more than 140,000 cubic yards (roughly 40,000 tons) have been removed since this work began shortly after the storm.

In recent months, crews removed more than 25,000 cubic yards (7,042 tons or 642 truckloads) of debris from Buffalo Bayou, and 14,000 cubic yards (3,978 tons or 327 truckloads) from Cypress Creek. Concentrated effort on those two forested bayous followed an initial countywide sweep that resulted in the removal of 101,383 cubic yards of material from Harris County’s 22 watersheds.

Removing debris from within our channels was a high priority in the days and weeks after Harvey. Downed trees and other storm debris can impede stormwater flow and increase erosion, especially along natural forested channels. The Flood Control District used special storm debris contractors, as well as in-house debris removal crews, to complete its sweep of the county’s 22 watersheds.

Crews used floating barges, chainsaws, and excavators to remove debris in some areas, hand tools in others. In areas with unique challenges in terms of equipment access, such as Buffalo Bayou, the Flood Control District was able to secure additional temporary rights-of-entry to public and private property, and to purchase access property that will be useful in future ongoing maintenance.

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Houston ISD votes for Leadership Change

Former superintendent Abelardo Saavedra, right has been voted in to replace Grenita Lathan, left, as the search continues for a permanent superintendent. SEE UPDATE. SAAVEDRA WITHDRAWS.

BULLETIN: Saavedra withdraws; HISD Board to reconsider plans

The Houston Independent School District is bringing in a new interim superintendent. It’s the third leadership change this year for Texas’ largest school district.

At a contentious meeting last Thursday night, the school board voted 5-4 to replace Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan with former superintendent Abelardo Saavedra, while they are searching for a permanent one.

Former Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra will serve as Interim Superintendent for six months during the search for a permanent superintendent. Saavedra was HISD’s superintendent from 2004 to 2009, and has recently served as superintendent of South San Antonio ISD. He will reportedly not pursue the permanent superintendent position.

“It is nothing that has anything against Dr. Lathan, and the work that she does, and the work that she’s done up to this point,” HISD Trustee Diana Davila told News 88.7. “We just want this to be a fair process for all candidates that are interested in coming down to Houston ISD.” Davila said she welcomes Lathan to apply for the position.

Grenita Lathan was chosen as Interim Superintendent, after the departure of Superintendent Richard Carranza.

Lathan will resume her previous role of Chief Academic Officer on Monday.

The motion to replace Lathan was met with backlash from several board members.

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BakerRipley Membership & Fee Information

By Leonardo Escalante, BakerRipley

What’s the cost?

• We have three different type of membership:

• Senior 65+ ($35 per year)

• Youth 16- ($35 per year)

• Family membership ($150 per year)

• Covers two adults in the household and all the kids under the age of 18

• For those that have United Healthcare or Community Health Choice medical plans, they qualify for a free family membership

What’s included?

• All classes, events, and workshops in the East Aldine Campus

• All classes, events, and workshops in any other BakerRipley Campus

• Exclusive membership events, like holiday parties, Halloween, Easter, birthday celebrations

• Discount on the rental of the space at any BakerRipley Campus for private events like, birthday parties, anniversaries, weddings, etc.

• Note: Services like monthly food fairs, health workshops, financial education workshops, annual Back to School event, community events, etc., are open to the public and no membership is required

Why does the membership have a cost?

• Increases level of engagement from community members as opposed to a free membership

• Its an investment made by community members that serves as their buy-in

What happens if a community member cannot afford the membership?

• We strive to ensure that the membership cost is not a barrier for community members

• In the given case that a community member is unable to cover the membership cost, we encourage them to come talk to us as there are different options that will allow the community member to obtain a free membership. For example, as mentioned, subsidized membership, and/ or sponsored membership.