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Posts published in March 2021

State opens COVID shots to everyone

HARRIS COUNTY – All adults will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Texas beginning Monday, March 29. The Texas Department of State Health Services expects vaccine supplies to increase next week, and providers in multiple parts of the state have made great strides in vaccinating people in the current priority groups. The state’s Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel recommended opening vaccination to everyone who falls under the current Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorizations to protect as many Texans as possible.

“As a matter of fact, we in Houston had pretty much exhausted our waitlists and we wanted to have more real-time appointments available,” said Houston Health Department director Stephen Williams. Texans can continue to find vaccine providers throughout Greater Houston and sign up on waitlists through the DSHS Vaccine Information page at dshs.texas.gov/covidvaccine.

Houston Methodist, consistently one of the area’s largest vaccine providers, will allow anyone to sign up on its waitlist but will prioritize those 50 and older for now.

Construction to start on Northwood Apartments

Northwood Apartments, a Multifamily Housing Community, to Replace Housing Lost During Hurricane Harvey

HOUSTON, TX (Tuesday, March 23, 2021) – The Harris County Housing Authority (HCHA), Harris County – Community Services Department (HCCSD), Harris County Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis, the Texas General Land Office (GLO), and the development partner LDG Development (LDG) celebrate the groundbreaking of Northwood Apartments, a multi-family development located at 12620 Eastex Freeway to replace housing lost during Hurricane Harvey. The development is financed with Harris County’s Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBGDR) funds in conjunction with private financing from Citi Community Capital and AEGON USA Realty Advisors, LLC.

This $53.9 million community’s groundbreaking will commence the development of 288 beautiful new apartment units for families seeking quality housing near the Eastex Freeway in the Shelvin Acres community. A virtual groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Thursday, March 25, 2021, at 11 a.m. CT. Access to the virtual ceremony is available upon request at melanie.fahey@hchatexas.org.

“We are honored to partner with LDG Development to build much-needed quality housing that is affordable for working families,” said Horace Allison, AIA, Executive Director and CEO of Harris County Housing Authority. “Northwood Apartments will replace housing resources lost during Hurricane Harvey and provide not only a place to live but the facilities and services to improve the lives of the families who will call this community home.”

Northwood Apartments will provide a wide array of amenities to the families it serves, including a swimming pool with a sun deck, a playground, and picnic/grilling areas.

Texas House considers Deep Freeze bills

REPRESENTATIVE ANA HERNANDEZ

Report by Rep. Ana Hernandez

On March 8, Speaker Dade Phelan announced the first phase of the House’s legislative reforms to protect consumers and strengthen our state’s electric grid in the aftermath of the recent, unprecedented cold weather event. Speaker Phelan highlighted the following key legislation filed by members of the Texas House of Representatives:

HB 10 – Reforming Energy Reliability Council of Texas Leadership

HB 10, filed by Representative Paddie, restructures the ERCOT board, replacing the unaffiliated members with members appointed by the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker of the House. HB 10 also requires all board members to reside in the state of Texas and creates an additional ERCOT board member slot to represent consumer interests.

HB 11 – Protecting Consumers and Hardening Facilities for Extreme Weather

Street Racing Arrests top 200, some cars confiscated

Deputies confiscated and towed 12 cars.

HARRIS COUNTY – More than 200 people were arrested on charges ranging from DWI to reckless driving during a countywide crackdown on illegal street racing this past weekend, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Thursday.

The arrests were the result of a joint initiative including the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Houston Police Department and other law-enforcement agencies.

Twelve vehicles were also seized.

“Fly-bys are being prosecuted. Street takeovers are being prosecuted. Street racing is being prosecuted. All of these crimes can land you behind bars because these actions can turn deadly,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “It’s wrong to put innocent people’s lives at risk just for an adrenaline rush. This initiative saved lives.”

The initiative focuses on arresting dangerous drivers to save lives on Houston’s roads and highways.

We are so close to beating the virus

Harris County Judge Hidalgo

We are Texans, and the concept of freedom is an essential piece of our identity. We all want the freedom to go out to eat and to socialize, the freedom for our economy and our schools to open without the fear of getting deathly ill, the freedom to use amazing science and vaccine developments to our full advantage. But taking away critical public health interventions that we know are working in the name of personal freedom won’t make our community safer, nor will it hasten our return to normalcy. The state’s decision on Tuesday to end the statewide mask mandate and increase business capacity to 100% is a threat to all of the sacrifices and progress we’ve made, as well as to everyone who has not yet received a vaccine. At best, Tuesday’s decision is wishful thinking. At worst, it is a cynical attempt to distract Texans from the failures of state oversight of our power grid.

Every time COVID-19 public health measures have been pulled back, we’ve seen a spike in hospitalizations.

Aldine ISD names Top Educators of the Year

Breanna Jagodzinski, center, was named Aldine ISD’s Elementary Teacher of the Year during the Aldine ISD Educator of the Year Breakfast, held Friday, March 12 at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center. Pictured with Breanna are, (l-r): Pastor David L. Smith, Past President of the Aldine Education Foundation (AEF), Elementary School Assistant Superintendent Dr. Crystal Watson, Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney, Aldine ISD Board President Paul Shanklin and Paul Griffin with Amplify.
Jaime Luna, center, was named Aldine ISD’s Secondary Teacher of the Year during the Aldine ISD Educator of the Year Breakfast, held Friday, March 12 at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center. Pictured with Luna are, (l-r): Todd Lindeman, School Assistant Superintendent of High Schools, Aldine Education Foundation Past President Pastor David Smith, Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney, Aldine ISD Board President Paul Shanklin and Paul Griffin with Amplify.

Breanna Jagodzinski, Jaime Luna named AISD’s top educators: Shauna Showers, Heather Peterson named district’s top principals

Aldine ISD celebrated its top teachers and principals at the Educator of the Year Breakfast on Friday, March 12 at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center. This year’s theme was “Adventure Awaits.”

Aldine ISD Trustees, district administrators, campus administrators, teachers and business partners donned their best travel wear to celebrate Aldine ISD teachers and campus administrators.

Breanna Jagodzinski of Houston Academy was named the district’s Elementary Teacher of the Year, while Jaime Luna of Davis High School was named the district’s Secondary Teacher of the Year.

The four Teacher of the Year finalists were Cindy Nguyen of Carmichael Elementary School, Oscar Acuna of Stehlik Elementary School, Christopher Ceaser of Nimitz High School and Jarrod Fredericks of Victory Early College High School.

For the second consecutive year, the district also announced its Rookie Educators of the Year. Reagan Burns of Hinojosa Primary School was named the Rookie Elementary Teacher of the Year and Leon Hunt of Davis Ninth Grade School was named the Secondary Rookie Teacher of the Year.

In addition, AISD’s Principals of the Year, and Rookie Principal of the Year were announced.

Shauana Showers of Stephens Elementary School was named the Elementary Principal of the Year and Heather Peterson was named the Secondary Principal of the Year. Kimberly Dussette of Teague Middle School was named the Rookie Principal of the Year.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo: “This is not the time to give up”

Harris County Judge Hidalgo

This Wednesday, the state’s decision to open everything at 100% and eliminate the mask mandate comes into effect.

For the vast majority of the community who have been following public health recommendations from the beginning, the state’s ending COVID-19 precautions is a gut punch. As I said in a recent TIME Magazine Op-Ed:

“It is a heavy burden for a community to carry, to continue to sacrifice in spite of false hopes being offered at the highest levels of the state… I hope that people of this county won’t allow pandemic politics to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and that we won’t throw away a year of pain and sacrifice so that politicians can have their ‘mission accomplished’ moment.”

I have received a lot of questions about what that means for Texans, and what our community should do.

The bottom line is this: This is not the time to give up.

Our positivity rate is sky high and still rising.

Pct. 2 Medical SmartPod wins innovation award

Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia last October, dedicating first SmartPod in the Aldine area.

Harris County, TX — Commissioner Adrian Garcia and Precinct 2 received the prestigious American City & County 2020 Crown Communities Award. Garcia and Precinct 2 were chosen for their entry, which described the purchase, installation, and deployment of two SmartPod mobile health care units designed by Baylor. Precinct 2’s SmartPods are known as ACCESS2HEALTH.

Crown Communities Awards are based on uniqueness, short- and long-term value to the community and effective/innovative financing. The announcement cites ACCESS2HEALTH for its “Innovative COVID-19 Emergency Response.” Though the two ACCESS2HEALTH units were purchased prior to the pandemic, once installed, their availability for remote COVID-19 testing was of immediate value that continues today. Once COVID-19 is no longer the most pressing health issue of the times, ACCESS2HEALTH can be converted to provide clinical and behavioral health services, ultimately providing patients with a medical home.

Governor lifts Mask mandate, opens businesses 100% against heavy criticism

GOVERNOR ABBOTT makes announcement at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Lubbock.

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott stirred up a major controversy Tuesday, by issuing an Executive Order (GA-34) lifting the mask mandate in Texas and increasing capacity of all businesses and facilities in the state to 100 percent. The Governor made the announcement at Montelongo’s Mexican Restaurant in Lubbock in an address to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce.

The announcement immediately drew criticism from County and City governments, labor unions, and public health officials that have been attempting for over a year to reduce the number of illnesses and deaths caused by the COVID-19 virus. This highly contagious virus is spread through human contact, and masks and social distancing, and “lockdowns” are the major elements in the fight against the disease.

Pct 2 provides Storm Debris Drop-Off

ALDINE – Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia has announced that Precinct 2 has opened a free storm debris drop-off location for Harris County residents. The location for Pct. 2 is Pep Mueller Park, at 14750 Henry Road (between Aldine Mail Route and Aldine Bender).

Hours of operation are 9am to 6pm, 7 days a week. Questions call 713-274- 2222.

Harris County residents may drop off residential storm debris related to water damage from burst pipes due to the recent severe winter weather.

The following guidelines should be followed: