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Posts published in December 2020

Keeney’s Korner: Aggies left out of CFP; Texans’ miserable season comes to an end

The powers that be have spoken and Texas A&M fans are not happy about the decision that was made by the College Football Playoff (CFP) Committee to exclude them from the playoffs this season.

Many will argue that Jimbo Fisher’s team deserved one of the four CFP slots, but those went to Alabama (No. 1), Clemson (No. 2), Ohio State (No. 3) and Notre Dame (No. 4). I don’t have any problems with three of the four selections, but I do with Ohio State’s selection.

Yes, the Buckeyes did finish undefeated and won the Big 10, but they only played six games (and the Big 10 had to alter their own rules to allow OSU to play in the conference game. League officials mandated that a team must play a minimum of six games to be eligible for the league title game, but due to cancelations because of COVID-19, Ryan Dayne’s team was left with just five conference games, so league officials changed the rules just for them. Isn’t that special!).

Granted, it wasn’t Ohio State’s fault that they could not find enough healthy teams to play a six-game schedule. A&M finished 8-1 in the best conference in the country, won seven straight games and appeared to be getting better week-by-week. But their 52-24 loss at Alabama was a big negative and perhaps the committee thought a rematch with Nick Saban’s team would turn into another route.

You can’t fault the committee for giving Notre Dame one of the four CFP berths. The Fighting Irish defeated then No. 1-ranked Clemson at home and easily handled a ranked North Carolina team on the road. The one blemish on their season was their 34-10 loss in the ACC title game two weeks ago. Things won’t get any easier for Bria Kelley’s team when it faces No. 1-ranked Alabama in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1. Oh, by the way, the Rose Bowl won’t be played in Pasadena this year, but in Arlington at AT&T Stadium. At least some fans will be able to attend the game.

The second national semifinal will pit Clemson against Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. The winners will meet on Monday, Jan. 11 in Miami in the CFP title game.

The Aggies had to settle for a trip to Miami to face Mack Brown’s North Carolina Tar Heels in the Orange Bowl.

The NFL concludes its regular season this weekend and it can’t come soon enough for the Texans. Two weeks ago, the Texans fumbled away another shot at a win over the Colts when wide receiver Keke Coutee fumbled inside the Colts’ five-yard line to prevent Houston from tying and game up and sending it to overtime. The Texans host Tennessee on Sunday at NRG Stadium in a game the Titans will probably need to win to earn either the AFC South title or a Wild Card slot, so don’t expect head coach Mike Vrabel to sit any of his star players until this one is safely tucked away in the win column.

The AFC North title could very well be up for grabs when the Browns host the Steelers. Let’s hope NBC flexes that game to Sunday Night Football because it should be a good one between two long-time rivals and this time there is a lot on the line.

Before we take a look at those games and a host of others, let’s review last week’s record. A 6-5 week brought the season record to 98-51 (66%).

Now, onto this weekend’s games, some which will be the first of 2021.

Pct. 2 breaks ground for James Driver All-Inclusive Park

Conceptual View shows the extensive development of the park, with facilities developed especially for people of all ages with limited abilities.

Built for people of all ages and abilities

Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia proudly broke ground on the expansion of James Driver Park last Wednesday. The expansion, the first of its kind in Precinct 2, will make James Driver Park an all-inclusive park, a regional destination for persons of all ages and abilities. Local community members and leaders, including Texas State Senator Carol Alvarado and Texas State Representative Armando Walle, celebrated the exciting occasion at the park on Wednesday, December 16th.

The official groundbreaking for the new James Driver Park took place last Wednesday, Dec. 16. Speaking at the ceremony were Harris County Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia, State Senator Carol Alvarado, and State Representative Armando Walle.

“We have to make sure that we recognize the fact that people, children in particular, with physical and cognitive disabilities are among the largest underrepresented minority groups in the Houston/ Harris County area, and we need to do more for them,” said Commissioner Adrian Garcia. “This park will be addressing an entire spectrum of special needs – a space where children with disabilities can play alongside with friends and siblings, as well as their parents, caregivers, physical therapists, educators, or even physicians.”

The $7.6 million project, has already been recognized as having an important role in the county. Texas Parks and Wildlife awarded the park a $1.5 million grant to transform James Driver Park to a space for residents of all ages and abilities to exercise, socialize, and play. Located in an underserved part of Harris County, this expansion project should also help to revitalize the surrounding community and will serve as a destination to visitors of the city.

Walle holds District 140 Virtual Town Hall Meeting

This slide from the Town Hall illustrates some of the Relief effort extended to families due to the COVID pandemic.


State Representative Armando Walle held a virtual Town Hall last Thursday night, by way of Facebook Live on the Internet. About 30 persons joined the session, to listen and chat. The session lasted for over an hour.

Walle covered legislation that affected conditions in his district, Texas HD140. He started by reviewing the accomplishments in the last session, the 86th that met in 2019. The next session, which occurs every two years, is due to start on January 12 of next year. The session will last 140 days, and set a state budget for the next two years.

Walle said that much of the focus in that session was on mitigating flooding, since Hurricane Harvey had just devastated much of the Gulf Coast counties. Locally severe flooding occurred in District 140, as well as other parts of Houston and Harris County. Because Walle sits on the Budget committee, he was able to help get aid for local neighborhoods. $13 million was appropriated for flood relief in Kingwood, for instance, and also help for HCC and Lone Star College. In all, the legislature voted $2.1 Billion for Harvey relief, and an additional $1.8 Billion for other flood mitigation.

The total two year budget that passed was about $250 Billion. As a member of the budget committee, Walle helped pass $6.5 Billion for public schools, of which $2 Billion went for teachers’ raises, and all-day Pre-School.

Kowis Street rebuild will tie together Pct. 2 trails with Driver Park & Northeast Community Ctr.

A. Halls Bayou, Seating Area, benches, special paving, landscaping
B. 10′ high concrete wall screening wastewater treatment plan, faux vine covered lattice, new street trees, painted murals on wall
C. new on-street parking for church, decorative LED street lights, enhanced landscaping
D. 8′ sidewalk from Comm. Ctr. to Halls Bayou, Crosswalk special paving, seating along walkway with benches, special paving and landscaping
E. same
F. crosswalk at Bentley Street with special paving, 8′ trail/walk ends here with James Drive Park beyond, bus shelter on Bentley
**The public is asked for feedback, especially on the area marked SEE OPTION ENLARGEMENTS where Kowis meets Halls Bayou trails. Send comments to Pct. 2, Amery Reid, at 713-274-2356, or**

Commissioner Garcia’s Vision in Progress

By Jada Mier

EAST ALDINE – Commissioner Adrian Garcia continues his mission to improve the economic, social, and environmental conditions of Precinct 2 with his Kowis Street reconstruction project.

The Northeast News spoke with Garcia and his Project Manager, Ray Guerra, who says, “This project is the first in Texas seeking Envision verification,” which specializes in sustainable infrastructure.

Although still in its study phase, Garcia hopes to put the project up for bid in the second quarter of next year. The reconstruction of Kowis Street from the Halls Bayou Hike and Bike Trail to James Driver Park is part of his plan to connect the whole precinct through their parks, hike, and bike trails.

Improvements will be made to the existing bridge connecting two 8 ft trails. A crosswalk and a landscaped median will be added to Royale Pine as it transitions into Kowis street.

The project’s cost is 4.8 million dollars, including traffic calming concepts and pedestrian streetlights.

Saldivar named president of Lone Star College System board


HOUSTON (Dec. 11, 2020) – The Lone Star College System Board of Trustees selected Myriam Saldívar to serve as chair of the board at its Dec. 10 workshop and regular meeting. Saldívar represents District 6 in the Lone Star College System.

“I would like to thank my fellow board members for the honor of serving as board chair,” said Saldívar. “I look forward to working with Dr. Head and my colleagues to ensure our students continue to have access to educational opportunities that keep our community strong and healthy.”

Other officer positions appointed by the board were Michael Stoma, vice chair (District 1); Iesheia Ayers-Wilson, secretary (District 3); and Mike Sullivan, assistant secretary (District 8).

“I am grateful to all the trustees for the work they do each and every day,” said Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., LSC chancellor. “Their dedication to student success is truly inspiring.”


By Chris Cobler

Texas to get 1.4 million COVID vaccine doses

Texas is ready to distribute 1.4 million doses as soon as the COVID-19 vaccine receives federal government approval. Gov. Greg Abbott said the vaccines should be arriving the week of Dec. 14 and would be distributed to qualifying providers. Health care workers are the first in line to receive the medication, which needs to be given in two shots. Also first in line are residents of long-term living care centers, the Texas Department of Health Services announced.Texas’ population is about 29 million, so the line is long. The state agency also announced the list of 109 hospitals in 34 of Texas’ 254 counties that will receive the first doses. “The State of Texas is already prepared for the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine and will swiftly distribute these vaccines to Texans who voluntarily choose to be immunized,” Abbott stated. “As we await the first shipment of these vaccines, we will work with communities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

Shotspotter gunfire detection slated for Aldine

Shotspotter equipment pole mounted

“This Pilot program will support the Sheriff’s Office efforts to effectively respond to and investigate gunfire incidents” says Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia.

HARRIS COUNTY — Today Commissioners Court unanimously approved a ShotSpotter pilot program designed to identify, locate, and track active gunfire. The ShotSpotter system, used in several major cities, works by installing sensors- sensitive microphones — around an area to pick up sounds from the street that might be gunfire, and uses the sensors to locate where the shots were fired. This information will be sent to the Harris County Sheriff Office.

Commissioner Garcia is investing $780,000 dollars out of his budget to get this implemented in 5 square miles in Aldine where crime rates are 60% higher than the national average.[1]

“This is cutting edge technology I’ve been wanting to bring to our region since I was Director of the Mayor’s Anti-Gang Office under Mayor Lee Brown. The goal is to make our county, neighborhoods and officers safer. Rhetoric on crime has become a political pain point used to sell fear. Often, the loudest voices you hear would rather see themselves being tough on TV than do the hard work to make a difference. We choose a different path – using smart solutions to make a difference in keeping people safe. ShotSpotter is a step toward getting smart on gun violence. This investment in innovative technology will save lives and help officers do the job of getting danger off the streets. If successful, I hope to see ShotSpotter placed all over Harris County,” said Commissioner Adrian Garcia.

East Aldine to hold “Drive & Dash” toy drive Dec. 19

East Aldine District is hosting a special pre-holiday event this year, after a very special young lady started collecting toys to give away to kids who are less fortunate. The East Aldine Management District has granted the funds to make this event possible, and the community’s response has been unbelievable. We continue to take donations and have several drop off locations. (All Town Center partners, Baker Ripley, Hope Clinic, Lone Star East Aldine Center, etc, as well as Don Kirrin, Studio 59 and EZ Wireless.)

We continue to receive monetary/toy donations to reach our goal of providing gifts for 1,500 kids.

The event will be held:

When: Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 10 am.

Where: Lone Star College East Aldine Parking Lot

Pct. 2 delivers 1400 Thanksgiving dinners

Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia, at center, poses with workers and volunteers that gave out these food boxes and Turkeys for Thanksgiving to 1400 families that registered their need.

Harris County Precinct 2 — Commissioner Adrian Garcia hosted “Turkey Thursday” last Thursday, where he distributed turkeys to families at 10 Harris County Precinct 2 Community Centers.

Each location gave out 140 turkeys to registered families. This is the first time in Harris County history a precinct distributes a total of 1,400 turkeys in one day.

“Turkey Thursday” was possible thanks to partnership with non-profit Precinct2Gether, HEB Grocery Stores, and Partners in Primary Care.

Aldine schools help with Food Drive, and Meal Distribution at Stehlik Elem., Teague MS, and others

Stehlik teacher helps carry a box of food.

ALDINE – It was a cloudy morning filled with sunny smiles on Friday, November 20 at Stehlik Elementary in Aldine ISD. Stehlik hosted a food drive to support students, families, and community members. Texas State Representative Armando Walle and Lone Star Trustee Myriam Saldivar surprised the campus with a $750 donation to support the food drive.

“I am truly speechless,” said Karen Wilkerson, principal of Stehlik Elementary. “The donation is needed this year. We know our families and the community has been hit hard financially, due to the economic impact of the pandemic. We are a family and we take care of each other.”

Teague Middle School Provides Families With Food for Thanksgiving