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Posts published in February 2019

Let’s Rodeo! Parade, Trail Riders kick it off

12 Trail Rider groups spent last week to get to Memorial Park campgrounds on Friday.

Are you ready to Rodeo? The 87th Annual Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo starts Monday, February 25, and runs through Sunday, March 17.

Monday’s opening entertainment is Grammy winning Kacey Musgraves, and the closing act in March is George Strait.

Events leading up to the Rodeo included Trail Riders arriving at Memorial Park, a Parade downtown, a Bar-B-Que Cook-off, and a Rodeo Run which had more than 9000 entries.

The Rodeo Parade, including the traditional “Howdy” float, took place on Saturday in spite of inclement weather.

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R-U-OK? Constable’s new program for Seniors

For residents within the boundaries of Harris County Constable Precinct 3 Sherman Eagleton’s area, who have reached the age of 65, there is a specialized program which few are aware of. Seniors who sign up for this program indicate how often they would like to receive a phone call from the Constable’s staff. Some of the residents like to be contacted three times a week and there are others who stay busy and only have time for one call weekly.

The Seniors can register on-line at www.constable3.harris countytx.gov or pick up an application at one of the Constable’s locations. The forms are also available at any of the Coffee with a Cop Meetings or at the various Harris County Precinct 2gether Senior activities. The Seniors who wish to enrolls in the program provide their contact information as well as two other individuals who can be contacted in the event that the Senior cannot be reached. In the event that neither of these individuals answer or know the whereabouts, the staff from the RUOK? Program will then have a Deputy dispatched to check on the senior.

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Aldine ISD Names 2018-2019 Principals of the Year

Principals Latonia Amerson and Raymond Stubblefield are all smiles after learning about the recognition they received from District leaders who surprised the winners at their campuses on Feb. 14.

The Aldine ISD 2018- 2019 Principals of the Year are Raymond Stubblefield from Smith Elementary School and LaTonia Amerson from Eisenhower Ninth Grade School. They will represent AISD at the Region 4 Education Service Center (ESC) Principal Recognition Ceremony on April 3 at Hotel ZaZa (5701 Main St.).

Each year, Region 4 has the honor of recognizing the leadership, service, and dedication of two campus administrators — one elementary and one secondary — from each of the districts. (more…)

Senfronia Thompson files bill to improve school safety

Legislation calls for “a healthier state of mind and safer schools for Texas Children”

Austin, Texas — February 20, 2019 – Texas House Public Health Committee Chairwoman Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), a former public school teacher, has filed legislation to make Texas schools safer by improving the mental and behavioral health of Texas children. Her proposal, HB 10, calls for the creation of the Texas Mental & Behavioral Health Research Institute to be funded with voter approved bonds. It is modeled in part after the Cancer Research Institute of Texas.

The Texas Mental & Behavioral Health Research Institute (TMBHRI) will focus on increasing the number of mental and behavioral health care providers for children, rapid delivery of such care, and mental and behavioral health focused research.

“The program’s research would be administered statewide through the state’s medical schools, other Health Related Institutions, and their public-private partners to tackle one of the most important assets of our state’s future – our children,” said Thompson.

Her legislation calls for three main reforms: A) increasing the number of child and adolescent psychiatrists and specialized nurses across the state; B) creation of a telemedicine program to rapidly connect pediatricians and school health providers with trained mental health providers; and C) creation of a state funded Texas Mental and Behavioral Health Care Research Institute to develop cures and treatments.

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Aldine superintendent hosts Pct. 2 Commissioner Garcia

Pct. 2 Comm. Adrian Garcia confers with Aldine Superintendent LaTonya Goffney and Assist. Superintendent Selina Chopa.

Discuss joint efforts in education, school safety, workforce

ALDINE – Harris County Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia held a special meeting with school superintendents in his precinct, to explore ways that his administration could help with the goal of improving educational performance, school safety, and workforce development after graduation.

The luncheon meeting was held at the new Aldine Mead Middle School on Lauder Road last Friday.

Attending were some of the precinct superintendents, workforce representatives, TexasCentral high speed rail, Pct. 2 infrastructure, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez and his SWAT team, Aldine department heads and police, and Harris County engineering department.

In his opening remarks, Commissioner Garcia said he called the meeting to discuss educational advancement and job opportunities for residents of Pct. 2. with the goal of improving the Quality of Life for them.

He noted that the district had a lower than average household income, and lower academic achievement level than other precincts in the county. He stated that he had run on an education platform, and he wanted to coordinated with others to achieve improvements.

Noting that his office and the school district had tight budgets, he said he was looking for partners to help with innovation in education.

Garcia mentioned that education should start early in the home, that Pre-K was important for everyone, that innovation could help in schools, and adult education was an important part of the solution.

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Commissioner Garcia introduces Paid Family Leave Measure

HARRIS COUNTY, TX – Commissioner Adrian Garcia is continuing his commitment to making county employees a priority and has introduced a measure that would strengthen the current policy on family leave.

The Commissioner requested a study to determine what it will take to provide county employees with paid maternity leave for a period of two weeks over and above current policies.

“This is the fair thing to do for our working families. Many of our employees are the sole providers in their family,” said Commissioner Adrian Garcia. “It’s not right to ask them to choose between abandoning a new child or lose their wages.”

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Aldine ISD is expanding college opportunities for students

This is an architectural rendering of the East Aldine Town Center. Lone Star College-East Aldine Campus and Rose Avalos P-TECH School will share the facility. Avalos P-TECH School is accepting applications from current eighth-grade students for the freshman class of 2019-2020.

Aldine ISD is multiplying opportunities for high school students to earn a college degree and be career ready at no personal cost to their families in a partnership with the Lone Star Community College System (LSCCS) and industry partners. Through these partnerships, AISD will open Avalos P-TECH School just in time for the start of the 2019-2020 school year. The school will share space with Lone Star College-East Aldine Campus, which is located on an 80,000-square-foot-site at the East Aldine Town Center (2430 Aldine Mail Rte. Houston, TX 77039).

Getting Ahead of the Game

Students who attend will be dual enrolled in high school and college courses through LSCCS starting their ninth grade year. By the end of their senior year, students will graduate with a high school diploma, an associate’s degree, and workforce certificates.

Due to the focus on college readiness and programs of study, Avalos P-TECH School will not offer UIL activities such as athletics, band, choir, etc. P-TECH School students may not take part in such activities at another Aldine ISD campus.

Students will have access to mentors, internships, workforce skill workshops, and job shadowing from across their industry of interest.

Superintendent LaTonya M. Goffney believes that the opening of Avalos PTECH is another opportunity to give Aldine ISD students a choice in how they complete K-12 education in Aldine. Students will choose one of four career pathways and take courses that provide the academic, technical and workplace skills.

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Commissioner Ellis opposes DA’s 31.7% budget increase to hire 102 prosecutors

County Should Invest Tax Dollars in Reforms that Will Make Our Communities Safer and Our Justice System More Fair, Efficient and Effective for All People

HARRIS COUNTY, TX – February 11, 2019 – Citing the need for a criminal justice system that advances equal justice and protects our communities, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis said he plans to vote against District Attorney Kim Ogg’s request for a massive 31.7 percent budget increase that, if approved, will fund an additional 102 prosecutors.

“This is a significant expansion of the District Attorney’s Office, and it signals a commitment to doubling down on our system’s over reliance on arrest, prosecution and incarceration for low-level, nonviolent offenses related to poverty, homelessness, mental health, prostitution and substance use,” Commissioner Ellis said. “Given the county’s finite resources, we should be investing in reforms like pre-arrest/pre-charge diversion programs that, unlike pre-trial diversion programs, will divert the person before they enter or re-enter the criminal justice system to services and treatments that can better address the root causes of these types of cases.”

Commissioners Court on Tuesday will consider the request— which is more than four times the increase recommended by the county’s Budget Management Department— during public hearings to approve the county’s 2019-20 budgets. (more…)

East Aldine progress report on the Town Center development

AERIAL VIEW of the new East Aldine Town Center as taken by a drone. Aldine Mail Route is in the foreground, Keith-Wiess Park beyond, and on the horizon downtown Houston. The center includes the Harris County 9-1-1 Call Center, at left, the BakerRipley complex at the center, and the Lone Star College-North Harris campus at right, with an Aldine ISD early college program. The cleared land at left will be a commercial development, including a Joe V’s supermarket. The land beyond BakerRipley will have new offices for the East Aldine District, and a public amphitheater and children’s park. (Photo by ev1).

The $100 million East Aldine Town Center project, when complete, will feature a Lone Star College campus, a Harris County 9-1-1 call center, the new home for BakerRipley Community Center (which has already been built), private commercial development, and the headquarters for the East Aldine Management District, and more importantly, it’s about the community having a place to learn, visit, and enjoy.

According to Don Huml the District’s Construction Manager for the development, there have been some unique challenges in getting the project off the ground. Or maybe more accurately, getting the ground out of the way of the project.

When the 61-acre parcel was purchased in 2013, it had been serving as a site to place the extra dirt that the Harris County Flood Control District needed to excavate in order to create the detention basin (lakes) in the adjacent Keith-Wiess Park. Before construction could begin on the town center, that dirt had to be scooped up and hauled away, a task that cost millions of dollars and several years in time.

Total construction will come to approximately 250,000 sq. ft. of commercial and institutional space, of which 100,000 sq. ft. will be commercial retail and office space, 64,500 sq. ft. will belong to Lone Star College’s East Aldine campus (which will include an early college high school), and 24,000 sq. ft. to the management district’s offices and 23,000 for the Harris County 9-1-1 call center. The remaining 33,500 sq. ft. is allocated to BakerRipley and includes a “maker space” to assist in skill and business support for the East Aldine community.

In addition to the institutions the town center will be hosting, there will also be both a retail component and amenities free to the general public, such as splash pads and a central park and playground area. The project will also include a Discovery Green/Miller Outdoor Theatre-style amphitheater with a capacity for 1,500 concertgoers. Area community leaders have formed the East Aldine Arts Council, which hopes to bring visual and performing arts to the Town Center grounds and facilities.

It is possible that the town center will also become the principal gateway to Keith-Wiess Park, supplementing the existing entryway on Aldine-Westfield. A future road access into Keith-Wiess Park as well as several trail connections are planned in order to tie these two world class properties together. A future recreational/nature center is envisioned in the park which would complete the puzzle and put this 500-acre park and town center complex on the map of the Greater Houston region.

Huml says that the retail component will be anchored by a Joe V’s Smart Shop, a community oriented grocery concept operated by H-E-B, and that the town center will eventually be home to restaurants, coffee shops, and more.

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Harris County Judge Linda Hidalgo launches Civic Engagement Plan

Harris County Judge
Hidalgo

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Last weekend Judge Linda Hidalgo kicked off the first Civic Saturday event as part of “Talking Transition: Harris County,” a program designed to promote the public’s involvement in shaping the county’s future.

Talking Transition: Harris County

This initiative of the newly-elect Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo will bring together thousands of Harris County residents from all walks of life to have our voices heard about issues that matter to us—from the education of our children to the fairness of our justice system—to share ideas, and to collectively inform the Judge’s priorities for her first year.

We all know that there are no shortage of good ideas in our communities that can help improve our schools, our hospitals, our courts, and the rest of the the ways that county government affects people’s lives. The goal of this initiative is to make sure that all of us who want to improve our communities understand how county government works—and how we can change it.

It’s not an accident that most people don’t understand the workings of government—it’s not easy or accessible because that’s how those who have traditionally been in power have maintained it. But that’s not how it should be. We want to make county government more open and more accessible to every single one of us that has the desire to participate. In other words, we want to make Harris County live up to the idea that democracy is government by us, for us. –Harris County Judge Office

Upcoming Civic Saturdays

A series of full-day public events will take place on several consecutive Saturdays throughout the County. Each Civic Saturday will consist of:

1. A large gathering organized around a specific theme (examples include education, health, and transportation) that will give people a chance to share new ideas for improving their communities and to hear from others;

2. Smaller working groups for people who have devoted time to specific issues to focus on how to best realize community-driven ideas through county government; and

3. Classroom style lessons on the workings of county government. (more…)