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Posts published in November 2021

North Houston District installs new AR Mural at Airline Library

North Houston District celebrates innovative Augmented Reality mural, Spreading Knowledge, at Harris County’s Aldine Branch Library

The North Houston District invites the public to experience the new Augmented Reality feature of Spreading Knowledge, an over-sized mural by Houston artist Dual which brightens up Harris County’s Aldine Branch Library. The installation is the first in the North Houston District’s new public art program, being planned and produced by UP Art Studio, a local civic art firm. The District successfully applied for an AARP Community Challenge Grant to fund the project and create their A/ R vision; AARP works to make public places more welcoming and walkable for seniors and people of all ages and abilities.

With a smartphone in hand, anyone can experience the “augmented reality” magic of Houston’s first commissioned public art AR mural. An explanation of the mural and a demonstration of the AR feature will be part of the event. The donor appreciation plaque will also be installed.

North Houston District officials, along with invited librarians and library representatives, AARP representatives and members of the community were on hand at the dedication Nov. 16. The original mural imagery was created by Dual. The Augmented Reality component was developed separately by Dream Syndicate, a Philadelphia firm that specializes in AR projects and has national AR mural experience.

The Augmented Reality Mural is on the side of the building at the Harris County Aldine Branch Library, 11331 Airline Drive, Houston, TX 77037.

Day of the Dead volunteers help out in memory of their deputy son

By Anne Marie Kilday

EAST ALDINE – As the community gathered Oct. 30 to celebrate the colorful Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) on the grounds of the East Aldine Town Center, Annette and Ron Bennett dutifully and cheerfully oversaw the treat bags for children and handed out wrist bands that kids could use to get their goodies.

The two frequent volunteers at community events also remembered their late son, Harris County Sheriff’s Office Dep. Shane Bennett, who was killed when he and other deputies responded to a “home invasion” alert in 2002. He was 29.

At the Town Center festival, the deputy’s photograph was included on an ofrenda (altar) honoring officers killed in the line of duty.

Nearly 20 years after their son’s death, the parents said they “have been blessed” by remaining close to their 21-year-old granddaughter and her mother.

COVID-19 Booster shots available to all 18 and up from Harris County Health


HARRIS COUNTY – Beginning Saturday, November 20th, the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 booster vaccines will be available for all individuals 18 years and older, with or without pre-existing conditions, at Harris County Public Health (HCPH) vaccinations sites.

This announcement comes following Friday’s approval of the expanded booster dose eligibility from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). We encourage all residents to get their booster dose before the upcoming holidays as more people begin to travel and gather with friends and family.

Residents who completed their two-dose mRNA vaccine series (Pfizer or Moderna) at least six months ago and anyone who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago are encouraged to get their booster dose.

Flood Control hosts Greens Bayou virtual public meeting Dec. 1

Detention area at Lauder and JFK

ALDINE – The Harris County Flood Control District will hold a Community Engagement Meeting for the Tributaries P138- 01-00 & P138-01-01 Flood Risk Reduction Project in the Greens Bayou watershed. The purpose of this meeting is to inform residents about the status of the project and share project information.

The Tributaries P138- 01-00 & P138-01-01 Flood Risk Reduction Project involves the investigation, examination and evaluation of flood risk reduction solutions in the area near JFK Boulevard and south of Lauder Road. This study was paid for with funds from the 2018 Bond Program with funds from the 2018 Bond Program which were approved by Harris County voters on August 25, 2018. Community engagement is an important component of the Bond Program, and we invite your participation as the program is implemented.

The Virtual Community Engagement Meeting will be held on:

Caraway Elementary opens Spark Park

Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney, center, poses with Caraway Elementary Principal Dr. Andrenetta Marshall, and special guests at the dedication ceremony for the new Spark Park at Caraway Elementary School on Monday, Nov. 15.

On Monday, Nov. 15, Caraway Elementary School held a dedication ceremony for its new Spark Park.

The event was hosted by Caraway Elementary Principal Dr. Andrenetta Marshall and her staff and was attended by Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney, members of her Executive Leadership Team (ELT), elected officials and their representatives and members of the community.

Dr. Goffney said having a Spark Park at Caraway Elementary School was a wonderful thing for the community.

“Parks are the hearts of our communities and a place where all are welcome,” she said. “This park promotes community wellness and provides places for community members to get outside and be active, encouraging a healthier lifestyle. Parks give individuals a space for meeting their neighbors in person; a space for kids and adults to gather and meet new people who enjoy similar activities.”

She thanked all of the organizations who worked together to make Caraway’s Spark Park a reality.

Aldine Education Foundation Raises $95,000 for the Students of Aldine ISD

Former Aldine ISD Superintendent M.B. “Sonny” Donaldson, center with hat on, poses with volunteers at the 8th annual M.B. “Sonny” Donaldson Golf Tournament on Friday, Oct. 29. The tournament benefits the Aldine Education Foundation.

The 8th annual M. B. “Sonny” Donaldson Golf Tournament on Friday, October 29 raised more than $95,000, once again making it one of the most productive fundraisers for the Aldine Education Foundation (AEF). The tournament is named after beloved former superintendent M.B. “Sonny” Donaldson who worked at the District for 34 years. He was present to say hello to the golfers.

Many Aldine ISD alumni showed up this year to support the perfect-weather day. They helped plan and execute the event, and assisted with registration. The awards were unique, handcrafted pieces of art from Aldine ISD alumna Ms. Yvonne LopezTaylor’s students at Carter Academy, which made for a very special memento for the winners. In addition, Jose Marquez, owner of Alma Latina, another alumnae of Aldine ISD, lovingly cooked delicious fajitas on the lawn.

The tournament has raised more than $475,205 over the past 8 years, and this year represents the highest annual amount since the tournament first teed-off.

Essential to get our Children vaccinated

County Connection
by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo

So many Harris County residents who have gotten vaccinated still have feelings of anxiety about COVID, and it’s understandable. Children under the age of 12 have been ineligible to receive the vaccine and remained unprotected from this pandemic that has taken so many lives. This week finally marks the end of the wait — the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have approved the vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11, an essential piece of our response to COVID-19 that is long overdue.

And, though many parents are eager to get their children vaccinated, others may still be hesitant. Parents should know that the vaccine is safe — the side effects adults have experienced, like a short-lived fever and cold-like symptoms, are less likely to affect kids. It’s also effective — it has a 90% effectiveness rate in preventing children ages 5 through 11 from contracting COVID19. Although younger children are less likely to be hospitalized or lose their lives from the virus, they can still suffer from various long-term effects of COVID-19. If you want to protect your kids from getting sick from COVID-19, there is no reason to delay signing up for this vaccine.

Former Superintendent Nadine Kujawa passes away November 8

ALDINE – Mrs. Nadine Kujawa, who was the first-ever female superintendent in the history of Aldine ISD, has passed away. Mrs. Kujawa, 80, passed away on Monday, Nov. 8.

Mrs. Kujawa devoted 42 years to Aldine ISD and served in a number of roles. She was a graduate of Aldine High School (the Class of 1959) and was the first Aldine ISD graduate to serve as superintendent.

“Our hearts go out to the Kujawa family with the passing of a true legend,” said Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney. “Mrs. Kujawa was a trailblazer for so many of us in education. She was well-respected across the state and committed her entire professional career to the students and staff of Aldine ISD. She was a proud graduate of Aldine High School. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her husband Harry and her daughters Christine and Karen, her grandchildren and her extended family.”

Mrs. Kujawa succeeded Superintendent M.B. “Sonny” Donaldson in 2001 and served as the district’s leader until her retirement in May of 2007.

She began her teaching career in AISD in 1962 as a second-grade teacher at Oleson Elementary School.

W. Leo Daniels Tower to receive major rehabilitation

W. Leo Daniels Tower, named for a local pastor, was built over 40 years ago, and houses 100 apartments serving low rent elderly or disabled persons.

Houston to fund $10 million of $27 million Jensen revitalization

HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner and City Council on October 6, 2021 have approved $10 million to rehabilitate W. Leo Daniels Tower. Built at 8826 Harrell Street more than 40 years ago, this community of 100 apartment homes serves very low- and extremely low-income Houstonians who are elderly and/or disabled. This rehabilitation, completed through the City of Houston’s Harvey Multifamily Program, will bring investment to an asset in disrepair and establish resilient, high-quality housing where it is much needed, helping people stay in their community.

“The existing housing units are old and located in an area where affordable housing is desperately needed,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “We recognized that need as a City and are glad to assist, because it will require much more resources than a typical rehabilitation. The City supports these communities and the resulting benefit of improved housing for vulnerable residents. Rehabilitating older properties instead of demolishing and creating new developments is a wonderful way for neighborhoods to keep their character and local history.”

The rehabilitated complex will provide studio and one-bedroom apartments. With support from a program through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, residents will pay no more than 30% of their income in rent. The complex is adjacent to a church, which will offer supportive services, programming, hot meals, and transportation for residents.

Aldine ISD dedicates Education Center in Memory of Kenneth Knippel

Susan Knippel, center, second row, and members of her family pose with members of the Aldine ISD Board of Trustees, Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney and former superintendents M.B. “Sonny” Donaldson and Dr. Wanda Bamberg, around the photo of former Assistant Superintendent of Administration Ken Knippel. On Sunday, Nov. 7, Aldine ISD officially dedicated the Kenneth R. Knippel Education Center in Mr. Knippel’s honor.

For 39 years, Ken Knippel devoted himself to the students and staff of Aldine ISD. On Sunday, Nov. 7, the district rewarded his loyalty and dedication to AISD by officially dedicating the Kenneth R. Knippel Education Center in his honor.

Mr. Knippel’s family, friends and colleagues gathered for the dedication ceremony.

For 13 years, Mr. Knippel served as the Assistant Superintendent of Administration and one of his goals was to have the district build a new alternative education facility. That dream became a reality in 2015 when Aldine voters overwhelmingly passed a $798 million bond referendum. Part of the bond package included building the new Aldine Education Center (AEC). Mr. Knippel saw his dream become a reality when AEC opened in August of 2018.

Unfortunately, Mr. Knippel passed away in January of 2020. Aldine ISD’s Board of Trustees knew how much the facility meant to him and voted to re-name AEC the Kenneth R. Knippel Education Center in his honor.

The dedication ceremony was originally scheduled for April of 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was rescheduled for Sunday, Nov. 7.

Mr. Knippel’s wife Susan thanked the Board for re-naming AEC after Mr. Knippel.