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Posts published in June 2019

Authorities caution against Celebratory Gunfire over Holiday

This official map released by the Sheriff’s department indicates areas with the most reports of gunfire in the last year with red dots. The green line indicates the East Aldine District boundary.

As the July 4th holiday approaches, the Harris County Sheriff’s office and the East Aldine District have cautioned residents against shooting guns as part of their celebration of the events.

Each year persons are injured by bullets that fly into the air, and then come down and hit someone. In the past, these injuries have ranged from minor to fatal, and often involve someone in the shooters group of friends or family.

This activity is against the law, and is subject to a $4000 fine and one year in jail, according to HCSO.

East Aldine District hires more deputies


East Aldine Management District (EAMD) held their regular monthly board meeting last Tuesday night, and considered the problem of public safety and citizen reports of increased crime in some neighborhoods.

At several of the board meetings, citizens have come forward to report robberies, gunfire, and other problems in their areas.

Recently, the board heard of persistent nighttime gunfire on Ladin Road and the Castlewood subdivision. Another citizen complained of car and house robberies in neighborhoods along Mooney Road. They said there is increased drug activity near them. Others have reported to the board, or sheriff’s office, or even this newspaper, of a “serial burglary ring” in the Oakwilde neighborhood.

East Aldine District pays for contract deputies in addition to regular sheriff and constable patrols. The DRT/Pro-Active unit consists of 10 deputies and one sergeant that spend 70% of their time on District patrols. For this service the District last year budgeted $770,000. With the increased reports of crime, they have voted to add three more deputies and another sergeant to this force.

Board member Reyes Garcia said that these new deputies should be assigned to the evening shift, where much of the crime is occurring.

One dead, one critical in Pine Forest North shooting

A Sheriff’s deputy notes location of about 20 gun shells.

Sheriff’s deputies are investigating the shooting of two men in the Pine Forest North subdivision. The incident occurred about 11:30 am last Thursday morning. The location was in the service alley behind townhomes in the 5700 block of Easthampton Drive, according to authorities.

About 20 shots were fired into the windshield of a Jeep Liberty. According to HCSO Homicide investigator Lt. Robert Minchew, the driver was killed, and the passenger is in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head. He was taken by ambulance to Ben Taub hospital, where his condition is unknown.

The two African-American male victims were in their 20s, but at this time their identity has not been announced. A motive for the shooting is not known.

Northeast Redevelopment District vetoed by Governor


By Gilbert Hoffman

Community leaders and residents of Northeast Houston, including North Forest and some areas in Sheldon and Old Beaumont Gardens, were disappointed to learn that Governor Abbott had vetoed SB390, which would have created a Redevelopment District for their area.

It was expected that the new district would have been a boost to economic development in the area, and also bring other quality of life improvements such as increased police patrols, water and sewer improvements, and more educational opportunities, similar to other Management Districts.

State Senator Borris Miles, who represents the area and was the major sponsor of the bill, issued the following statement: “I am very disappointed and shocked with the Governor’s veto of SB 390, which would create the Northeast Houston Redevelopment District. The governor’s office did not indicate any problem with this bill until late in the session but worked with my staff on changes to eliminate concerns and even helped clear procedural hurdles to get the bill passed. This part of Senate District 13 has been in desperate need of economic development for years and was one of the areas hit the hardest by Hurricane Harvey.

Governor Abbott signs Disaster Relief and Preparedness Legislation into law

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signing the four disaster relief and preparedness bills. The signing was held at Gallery Furniture in Houston, in recognition of the help that Jim McIngvale extended to victims of Hurricane Harvey. Looking on are Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Speaker Dennis Bonnen, are various senators and representatives including Armando Walle and Carol Alvarado. McIngvale looks on from the back row.

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today signed into law several monumental bills related to disaster relief and preparedness in Texas. As a result of Hurricane Harvey, Governor Abbott made this issue an emergency legislative item this session, resulting in several bills being passed that will better prepare the state for future disasters. Additionally, the legislature voted to appropriate $3 billion in relief for Harvey-impacted areas from the Rainy Day Fund.

The Governor was joined by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker Dennis Bonnen, and members of the legislature including Senators Lois Kolkhorst, Brandon Breighton, Joan Huffman, Carol Alvarado, Larry Taylor, Paul Bettencourt, and Donna Campbell, and Representatives Dade Phelan, Alma Allen, Gina Calanni, Garnet Coleman, Sarah Davis, Harold Dutton, Sam Harless, Dan Huberty, Will Metcalf, Rick Miller, Mayes Middleton, Ron Reynolds, Jon Rosenthal, Valoree Swanson, Steve Toth, and Armando Walle.

The bill signing was held at Gallery Furniture in Houston, owned by Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale. When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in August 2017, McIngvale opened two of his stores as shelter for Houstonians displaced by the storm. McIngvale’s company also deployed its largest moving truck to help rescue those displaced by flooding.

“Thanks to the work of the legislature, we are rebuilding Texas stronger and more resilient than ever,” said Governor Abbott. “In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, we saw the unshakable spirit of the Lone Star State through the generosity of Texans helping their neighbors. These important pieces of legislation are a symbol of that spirit, as well as a sign of Texas’ commitment to improving the way we respond to natural disasters.”

Dead body found on Aldine Mail Route

A man’s body was found behind the car wash and El Guera check cashing on Aldine Mail Route.

ALDINE – Family members were summoned by an unknown informant to an SUV located behind a car wash and check cashing business at 4000 Aldine Mail Route near JFK Blvd. last Wednesday Morning.

Sheriff’s Deputies said that the body was Jaime Diaz, 44, and was in the rear luggage area of the SUV. They said he showed signs of trauma and the death was not self-inflicted or natural.

New procedures to simplify Primary Voting

A mock demonstration by Harris County Clerk employee Margaret Aguilar (left) posing as a voters using a touchscreen tablet privately discloses her political party affiliation to both Democrat C. Patrick McIlvain (right) and Republican Kathryn Gray both election clerks in order to vote in a Primary Election. (PHOTO ALLAN JAMAIL)

County Clerk Trautman offers Joint Primary Dem. or Rep. Registration

By Allan Jamail

Houston, TX. – Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at the Harris County Clerk’s offices, a new speedier and private process was presented by Clerk Diane Trautman, Administrator of Elections Michael Winn, and Director of Communications Ms. Teneshia Hudspeth.

Trautman said after numerous Primary Elections, she has heard of voters not voting because they felt uncomfortable stating their party’s affiliation out loud to where others could hear. She said, “This new process is to remove any fear from one declaring their party affiliation out loud; the voter will have complete anonymity. This is not a partisan issue to help either party separately; this is to make all voters of both parties feel more comfortable.”

Michael Winn, Administrator of Elections, said, “Combining the amount of staff from both parties to run just one polling location allows for fewer clerks needed. This also reduces the amount of party specific staff needed at the locations but at the same time will also increase the number of locations to which staff can be assigned.”

The use of Election Day Vote Centers (EDVC), another new program of Trautman’s, allows voters to vote anywhere regardless of their home precinct, which will save them time by not having to stand in lines. They can go vote at any location that’s doesn’t have a long line. The EDVC will remove the problem of a voter not getting to vote because of going to the wrong location.

The process should reduce the amount of Provisional Ballots cast.

Aldine ISD to launch Accelerating Campus Excellence model at two Elementary Campuses in the Fall

Aldine ISD will adopt the ACE (Accelerating Campus Excellence) model, which uses strategic staffing and a “whole child” approach to bring the most accomplished educators to the most struggling schools.

Several of the state’s largest and most diverse districts have implemented the ACE model with notable success. The districts have seen dramatic academic outcomes in multiple schools with similar student demographics as Aldine ISD.

Two Aldine ISD campuses will start the 2019-2020 school year using the Accelerating Campus Excellence (ACE) model with the goal of improving student outcomes. Goodman and Worsham Elementary schools will begin in August with new campus leaders, teachers, and staff as well as increased focused support from district leaders and departments. These two campuses, called ACE Demonstration Schools, will be used as models to significantly increase student achievement across Aldine ISD.

The ACE model, which has been applied in several districts throughout the state including Dallas ISD, Fort Worth ISD, Garland ISD and Richardson ISD, is designed to bring the most accomplished educators to the most struggling schools.

Prosperity Bank opens new branch bank building

EXTERIOR VIEW of the new Prosperity Bank branch office on Little York.

EAST ALDINE – The oldest bank in the Aldine area has a new building and modern new facilities next to their old location on East Little York.

Prosperity Bank is now conducting business from their new branch, which was completed and opened just recently.

The bank announced that they had sold their old three story building next door, and it would be torn down by the new owners, and two fast food restaurants built on the site.

The new building is a one story facility with as many active teller windows and drive-thru lanes as the old building, since this branch is one of the busiest of all 250 locations in the Prosperity Bank network. They have branches throughout Texas and Oklahoma, according to their spokesperson.

Prosperity also has two other offices in the East Aldine district, including one on West Little York, and another on Aldine-Bender.

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS: Legislature passes property tax, school finance reform

By Ed Sterling, Texas Press Association

AUSTIN — While the Memorial Day holiday was observed across Texas, lawmakers stayed busy at the state Capitol, voting on key bills in the final three days of the 86th Texas Legislature’s 140-day regular session.

Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen did what they jointly set out to do at the beginning of the session in January. They exercised their leadership skills well enough for the Senate and House to pass property tax reform (Senate Bill 2) and school finance reform (House Bill 3), and to pass a state budget for fiscal years 2020-2021 (House Bill 1).

The Legislature is constitutionally mandated to pass a state budget every two years. HB 1, the state budget written by House Appropriations Committee Chair John Zerwas, R-Richmond, and sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, contains $250.6 billion in spending. The two-year budget is subject to certification by the state comptroller. The governor has until June 16 to sign or veto any bill or veto any line item within HB 1.

SB 2, titled the “Texas Property Tax Reform and Transparency Act of 2019,” amends the property tax appraisal and rate-setting processes. Lt. Gov. Patrick called it the first property tax reform in 40 years. “It will provide an average of $200 in property tax relief this year on a $250,000 home,” Patrick said.