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Posts published in November 2019

County Judge Hidalgo outlines key accomplishments at first State of the County

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo

Announces New Focus on Early Childhood Development

Harris County, Texas – November 15, 2019 – Today, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo joined business leaders, residents, and community leaders from across the region to deliver the first State of the County address of her term. During her remarks to about 900 attendees, Judge Hidalgo outlined key areas of progress in fostering a safer, healthier, and more equitable Harris County and announced a new initiative that will focus on improving early childhood development.

“The state of our county is strong,” said Judge Hidalgo. “But being strong is about much more than having a low unemployment rate or a strong bond rating. It’s about making sure that all of our residents enjoy equal access to the great opportunities available to them in Harris County. Over the past year we’ve made county government more transparent, made strides to reform our criminal justice system, and have begun to make up for lost time when it comes to investing in our flood control infrastructure. But there is much more to do, and we look forward to another year of ambitious, meaningful initiatives, including a focus on what we can do to improve early childhood development and education.”

Drawing from the “Talking Transition” initiative, Judge Hidalgo will kick off a community engagement series next year as the first step towards a larger goal of a meaningful early childhood development initiative in Harris County. Programs that focus on early childhood development have one of the strongest returns on investment for any type of public program. Children who benefit from initiatives like subsidized childcare and early education tend to have higher high school graduation rates, fewer arrests, lower rates of substance use, and higher rates of employment as adults.

During her remarks, Judge Hidalgo also provided updates on key priorities since her swearing in. Some key areas of progress include:

Aldine ISD earns state’s highest fiscal accountability rating for 16th straight year

For the 16th consecutive year, Aldine ISD received a rating of “Superior” under Texas’ School FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas) accountability rating system. The “Superior” rating is the state’s highest, demonstrating the quality of Aldine ISD’s financial management and reporting system.

The primary goal of the School FIRST system is to ensure that Texas public schools are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices. The School FIRST system is designed to encourage Texas public schools to better manage their financial resources to provide the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes.

The School FIRST system has 15 indicators that are evaluated. The first five indicators are critical indicators and must be met to avoid failure. The other 10 indicators evaluate financial solvency and financial competency.

Local Legislator receives Hunger Leadership Award

Rep. Armando Walle, middle, receiving Hunger Leadership award.

Texas State Representative Armando Walle of Houston is one of four state lawmakers who are being honored by Feeding Texas, the state association of food banks, with a 2019 Hunger Leadership Award for their work to end hunger in the 86th Texas Legislative Session.

A ceremony for Rep. Walle was held last Friday, November 15 at the Houston Food Bank.

The four lawmakers honored at the ceremonies were:

– Representative Armando Walle – Houston Food Bank (Houston)

– Senator Brandon Creighton – Montgomery County Food Bank (Conroe)

– Representative Terry Meza – North Texas Food Bank (Plano)

– Senator Charles Perry – South Plains Food Bank (Lubbock)

Each honoree championed critical legislation to support food banks in their effort to end hunger.

Klineberg speaks on future plans for North Houston District

Dr. Stephen Klineberg

An exciting presentation was led by Rice University – Kinder Institute’s Dr. Stephen Klineberg at the North Houston’s Business Community Breakfast at the Hyatt Regency Intercontinental Airport Hotel on Oct. 31.

More than 100 guests gathered to hear the acclaimed expert on Houston’s changing demographics and to learn about the latest improvements for Greenspoint.

Newspaper publisher celebrates milestone birthday, memorable life

Publisher Gilbert Hoffman with his wife Mei-ing

In 1994, Gilbert Hoffman and his wife Mei-ing bought the Highlands Star – Crosby Courier, fulfilling one of Gilbert’s lifelong dreams: to own a newspaper. This also marked the beginning of what would become a small publishing conglomerate, serving the greater Houston area with community papers such as the Star-Courier, Northeast News, and North Channel Star.

This week, Gilbert celebrates his 80th birthday. Upon such a significant milestone, it is worth looking back on his remarkable life, family, adventures, and many careers.

Community leader Yuroba Harris recognized for Education Advocacy Work

L – R: Thelma Scott, Founder & CEO of S.A.F.E Diversity Communities; Yuroba Harris, Attorney Leona Filis with Filis Law Firm; and Freddie Jackson with Jackson Cares/Retired Firefighter

By Allan Jamail

Yuroba Harris well known in the 29th Congressional District was recently honored at a special program on November 2nd by S.A.F.E. Diversity Communities for her work on promoting Education, Career Awareness and Scholarships for students. Harris worked as the District Director for many years for retired Congressman Gene Green. She’s currently working on special initiatives for Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia with a number of faith based, nonprofit, civic organizations, community development and revitalization committees and boards.

During the special award presentation (also honoring Veterans), Mrs. Thelma Scott, PresidentCEO and founder of S.A.F.E. Diversity Communities, thanked Yuroba for her 17 years of support for their education and scholarship program efforts.

New District Clerk Burgess collects $2 million of unpaid debts

Marilyn Burgess, Harris County District Clerk

Making Big Changes at the District Clerk’s Office…

By Allan Jamail

In the 2018 sweep by Democrats in Harris County, the office of County District Clerk brought in a new face. It can be said one of the county’s most important offices is that of District Clerk.

The District Clerk’s office records the actions and the judgments of the court; transmits the orders of the court to the authorities responsible for their execution; and assumes all other duties assigned by the presiding judge of a court. The District Clerk’s office “makes justice happen.” The District Clerk is elected by Harris County voters for a 4-year term.

A Texas district clerk is a “constitutional officer of county government” found in Article 5, Section 9 of the state’s constitution. The district clerk is the custodian of the “official record of the district courts” and must mark the exact date and time of receipt and issue all papers including subpoenas, citations, warrants, and summons.

Marilyn Burgess (D) defeated incumbent Chris Daniel (R) in the general election for Harris County District Clerk on November 6, 2018. She wasted no time after officially taking office by signing her first order as Harris County District Clerk at midnight, January 1, 2019 and has been working hard to serve the people ever since. Though she has been in office less than a year, her innovations are already making a difference.

During her transition into office, her team discovered that court costs, fines, and fees had not been billed for a number of years. Her office began sending out notices for these fees within the first month of her term and to date has collected $1,966,798.15.

MacArthur Generals earn first Playoff Berth Since 2007

MacArthur coach Wayne Crawford has led the Generals to their first playoff berth since 2007.

Coach Wayne Crawford’s team secured its first post-season berth since 2007 in the Class 6A state football playoffs with a 25-22 victory over Davis High on Friday, Nov. 1.

The Generals will face the top seed out of District 15-6A in bi-district the weekend of Nov. 15-16. Their opponent will be determined after Week 10’s results.

Sam Houston MSTC dedicates new building

Students, teachers, staff and local officials including Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia, and HISD Superintendent Grenita Lathan, and Principal Alan Summers at ribbon cutting of Sam Houston MSTC High School.

HOUSTON, TX – Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center (Houston ISD) hosted a grand opening ceremony to celebrate its new school, which officially opened to students in January.

Built as part of the 2012 Bond Program, the $101.4 million project was designed to have a collegiate feel with plenty of classroom space, informal meeting areas to facilitate project-based learning, a large outdoor courtyard, and a fine arts wing with an 800-seat auditorium and black box theater. The 360,000-square-foot facility also features an updated JROTC area, as well as a grand learning stairway, which will function as both a gathering spot for students, as well as a flexible space for class lectures and presentations.

Pedestrians hit by car on Aldine Bender

Pedestrians were hit by this white Chevrolet Tahoe

HOUSTON, TX – A man and a woman were hit by an SUV on Aldine Bender Saturday, Nov. 2, killing the woman.

According to Houston Police Officials, the two victims, pedestrians, were crossing the street around 11:00 p.m. when they were struck by a white Chevrolet Tahoe. The driver, Carlos Aguilar-Rodriguez, 27, then fled the scene on foot, leaving some of his family members in the vehicle. Paramedics transported the victims to an area hospital where the woman was later pronounced deceased.