Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in February 2022

Aldine planning study seeks Community Priorities

Online survey lets Aldine residents, businesses, groups help set priorities for regional improvements

By Felicia Griffin

Harris County is seeking diverse public input for the Aldine Region Comprehensive Study (ARCS), a project that focuses on consolidating several community improvement recommendations and plans that have been developed over the past 20 years to create a prioritized list of infrastructure projects for Harris County to implement.

The project website — https://htx-arcs.com – features a survey that lets respondents review and prioritize the draft goals for the study. Accessible in English and Spanish, the survey will be available on the website through the end of February.

The ARCS project area consists of the Airline Improvement, East Aldine, and North Houston management districts. Although the study is being led by Harris County, recommendations will also be included for parts of the study area that are within the City of Houston.

During the first series of public meetings in late January, which were conducted virtually via Zoom in late January, the team of county engineers and consultants leading the study project presented a detailed overview of their analysis of existing conditions in Aldine. Citizens who attended the meetings shared their perspectives on living and working in Aldine and offered several ideas for improving local transportation networks, affordable housing, parks, culture and economic development, safety, public health, and the region’s overall quality of life. Instant polls during the meetings also enabled attendees to rank recommended goals for the study in real time.

Twenty-six AISD athletes earn scholarships

Pictured are the five MacArthur High School student athletes who signed national letters of intent on National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 2. (SEE MORE SCHOOL PHOTOS ON PAGE 8)

NATIONAL SIGNING DAY FEB. 2

Twenty-six Aldine ISD student-athletes received the opportunity to continue their academic and athletic careers when they signed with colleges and universities across Texas and the United States when they signed national letters of intent on National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 2.

Nimitz High School led the way with 12 signees, all football players. Cougars who signed were: defensive end Christian Booker, who signed with Southern University of Shreveport, defensive tackle Elijah Sims who signed with East Texas Baptist University, offensive lineman Joshua Ramirez who signed with MacAllister College in Oklahoma, linebacker Bryan Singleton who signed with North American University, defensive end Dorset Singleton who signed with Southern University of Shreveport, linebacker Elijah Stewart who signed with Southern University of Shreveport, offensive lineman Tre’Ivion Pikes who signed with Southern University of Shreveport, wide receiver Brandon Miles who signed with the University of St. Mary, defensive back Armon Green who signed with Henderson State University, defensive back Joshua Furr who signed with Louisiana College, wide receiver Quintin Wilson who signed with Louisiana College and running back Eric Milton who signed with Southern University of Shreveport.

MacArthur High School had five student-athletes sign national letters of intent.

BUS RIDES TO VOTE ARE FREE

Registered voters can hop on board METRO for a free ride to the voting booth on select dates.

METRO is offering free rides to Houston-area polling locations for the 2022 primary elections. Voters can ride at no charge on METRORail, local buses, METRORapid, curb2curb and METROLift paratransit services.

Free transportation will be available:

During Early Voting on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022

On Election Day, Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Voters only need to inform bus operators and/or fare inspectors they are going to, or returning from, the polls.

Early Voting for Primary Feb. 14 to 25

HARRIS COUNTY – Election season for 2022 kicks off with early voting for the primary races in crucial positions in Harris County starting Monday, Feb. 14. Early voting ends on Friday, Feb. 25 and Primary Election Day is Tuesday, March 1.

Among the primary races catching much of the attention are the Harris County judge race and the Pct. 2 commissioner race. Lina Hidalgo is the incumbent Harris County Judge but faces five opponents in the primary race. One of the Democratic challengers is Georgia D. Provost, a former Houston City Council candidate, and Erica Davis Constable Alan Rosen’s chief of staff. Other Democrats are Maria Garcia, Ahmad R. “Robbeto” Hassan, and Kevin Howard, according to the Texas Secretary of State Election Information page at https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/candidates/index.shtml.

Republicans vying for Hidalgo’s seat include Randy Kubosh, Houston City Council Michael Kubosh’s brother, and Martina Lemond Dixon, Humble ISD board president. Other Republicans on the ballot for the county judge position are Hector Bolanos, Robert Dorris, Oscar Gonzales, Warren A. Howell, Vidal Martinez, Alex Mealer, and George Harry Zoes.

In the Pct. 2 Commissioner race, incumbent Adrian Garcia faces his own challengers. In 2018, Garcia defeated Republican Jack Morman by a margin of less than 1%. In 2022, Garcia will face Democratic challengers Justice of the Peace George Risner and Gary Harrison, a retired police officer.

Morman is trying to get his old seat back, starting in the Republican primaries. Two mayors are in the race as well. They are John Manlove, Pasadena’s former mayor, and Jerry Mouton, Deer Park’s mayor. Also in the Republican primary race for the Pct. 2 position is Daniel N. Jason and Richard Vega.

In the Harris County Commissioner Pct. 4 primary race, incumbent Republican R. Jack Cagle does not have a direct primary challenger, but there are plenty of the Democratic side. The list includes Lesley Briones, Gina Calanni, Benjamin “Ben” Chou, Clarence Miller, Sandra Pelmore, Jeff Stauber, and Ann Williams.

In the Harris County District Clerk primary race, Chris Daniel, who used to hold the seat, is giving it another try and has no Republican primary challenger. Incumbent Democrat Marilyn Burgess has one, Desiree Broadnax.

There are no primary challengers on either side for the Harris County Clerk race, but Stan Stanart, who once was the county’s clerk, has signed up on the Republican side. Incumbent Democrat Teneshia Hudspeth is also seeking another term.

For the Harris County Treasurer primary race, Democrat incumbent Dylan Osborne is being challenged by Carla l. Wyatt, while two Republicans – Eric Dick and Kyle Scott – are facing each other as well.

In the state primary races, Republican incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott is facing a slew of challengers. Abbott faces former Congressman Allen B. West, Don Huffines, Paul Belew, Danny Harrison, Kandy Kaye Horn, Rick Perry, and Chad Prather.

The Democrats are also battling it out to be the representative for their party in November in the governor’s race. Most notable is Beto O’Rourke, who ran against Sen. Ted Cruz but lost in 2018. Also in the Democratic primary governor’s race are Inocencio (Inno) Barrientez, Michael Cooper, Joy Diaz, and Rich Wakeland.

For Lt. Governor, Republican incumbent Dan Patrick will face five other challengers in the primaries. They are Trayce Bradford, Todd M. Bullis, Daniel Miller, Aaron Sorrells, and Zach Vance. In the Democratic primary race for Lt. Governor, three candidates are vying for the position. They are Michelle Beckley, Carla Brailey, and Mike Collier.

Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, the incumbent, is facing Texas General Land Office head George P. Bush, 1st Texas Congressional District Representative Louie Gohmert, and Eva Guzman, who served on the Texas Supreme Court.

Democrats vying for the seat include Mike Fields, Rochelle Mercedes Garza, Joe Jaworski, Lee Merritt, and S. “TBone” Raynor. In local State Senator races, Democratic incumbent John Whitmire is facing Molly Cook in the primaries. There is a single Republican up for the seat – George Brian Vachris.

District 6 State Senator Carol Alvarado has no Democratic primary challenger, but Republican Martha Fierro plans to face her in November.

In State Representative races, in District 128 incumbent Republican Briscoe Cain has no primary opponent, but has a Democrat challenger, Chuck Crews.

Neither District 140 State House Rep. Armando Walle, District 141 Rep. Senfronia Thompson, District 143 State House Rep. Ana Hernandez nor District 144 Rep. Mary Ann Perez have a primary challenger.

Harold V. Dutton, the Democratic incumbent representative for District 142, will face Candis Houston in the primary races. The lone Republican, Richard Varner, does not have a primary challenger.

Primary season underway with Pct. 2 Candidate Forum

By Allan Jamail

February 1, 2022 at The Garden Houston, located at 12001 Beamer Road in the Sagemont Subdivision of Houston, the Sagemont Civic Club conducted a Precinct 2 County Commissioners candidate forum. The event was well attended by about 200 citizens, mostly voters of Harris County Precinct 2.

Eight candidates were invited for the 7 pm forum, but only five attended. The candidates are on their respective party’s March 1st Primary Ballot. On the ballot are five Republican and three Democrats. Democrats present were George Risner (Justice of the Peace Precinct 2) and Gary Harrison (former Harris County Deputy Sheriff). Republicans present were Richard Vega, Jack Morman (former county commissioner), and John Manlove (former Pasadena mayor).

Those absent were: Democrat Precinct 2 County Commissioner Adrian Garcia, and Republicans Jerry Mouton, and Daniel Jason. Kay Barbour, the president of the Sagemont Civic Club and Master of Ceremonies, said that both Commissioner Adrian Garcia and Jerry Mouton did answer a questionnaire and she interviewed them in a recorded session. Candidate Daniel Jason did not reply to the invitation.

In the beginning, candidates were given equal time to introduce themselves. At the close, they were given the time as to state why they thought voters should vote for them.

Harris County funds two new Environmental programs

Lead Abatement, Nuisance Abatement

Houston – Harris County Commissioners Court made significant investments in two environmental public health programs to protect children from lead exposure and demolish unsafe building structures in County neighborhoods.

The Lead Abatement Program received $20 million to expand its current efforts. Funding will increase the program’s capacity to reduce lead exposure among Harris County children.

Separately, $3 million was approved for the Neighborhood Nuisance Abatement Program to proactively reduce nuisance properties throughout the County. These unsafe structures pose a public nuisance and are a health and safety risk to area residents, including children.

Both programs received funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA).

“The positive community health outcomes we can achieve through these two programs will benefit families in neighborhoods who reside near unsafe buildings or in older homes with lead paint,” said Harris County Public Health (HCPH) Executive Director Barbie Robinson. “Healthier people and communities promote healthier lives. In addition to improved quality of life and ensuring children can grow into healthy adults, there are other benefits such as lower health care costs, and safer neighborhoods.”

Houston Mayor announces $44 million “One Safe Houston”

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announces “One Safe Houston” at a news conference last week.

HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner has announced “One Safe Houston: the Mayor’s Public Safety Initiative to Combat Violent Crime,” which focuses on four key areas:

–Violence Reduction and Crime Prevention

–Crisis Intervention, Response and Recovery

–Youth Outreach Opportunities

–Key Community Partnerships.

The plan outlines a commitment to put more officers on the streets through overtime and cadet classes and creates a $1 million gun buyback program. It also provides $1.5 million in additional funding to the Houston Forensic Science Center to address backlogs and funds domestic violence programs with an additional $3 million to provide more services for survivors and prevention efforts.

“This plan represents a holistic approach to combatting violent crime on the streets while being responsive to the needs of victims and building healthier communities in the process,” said Mayor Turner. “Law enforcement efforts alone will not sufficiently address the symptoms of crime. We are faced with a public health crisis, and it will require all of us, working together to overcome it.”

Mayor Turner also announced:

Harris County allocates $50mil for “Clean Streets, Safe Neighborhoods”

Judge Lina Hidalgo with Sheriff’s deputies to announce the new “Clean Streets, Safe Neighborhoods” program.

HARRIS COUNTY – County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia announced a Major Crime Prevention and Neighborhood Safety Initiative. The Proposed $50 million smart on crime program is to target areas with high rates of violent crime driven by gun violence.

Judge Lina Hidalgo revealed details of the new $50 million proposal to prevent violent crime and improve neighborhood safety across Harris County. The new initiative will target distressed county neighborhoods where blight and neglect are driving violent crime. The program will improve street lighting, sidewalks, and visibility in residential areas, address longstanding blighted and abandoned structures, restore vacant lots, and implement other improvements shown to enhance public safety.

During Judge Hidalgo’s tenure, commissioners court has increased the law enforcement budgets for every law enforcement agency, including the district attorney’s office, by 13% since 2019. This brings the total funding for law enforcement in fiscal year 2022 alone to $966 million.

Aldine ISD Celebrates Black History Month

Schools across the district will celebrate the culture, traditions, and contributions of African Americans.

Aldine ISD will be celebrating Black History Month throughout the month of February.

Black History Month celebrates the achievements of African Americans and recognizes the prominent role of African Americans in U.S. history. Black History Month, created by American Historian Carter G. Woodson, originally began as Negro History Week. Since 1976, every U.S. President has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Black History Month is also celebrated in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Notable figures highlighted during Black History Month are Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who fought for equal rights in the 50s and 60s; Mae Jemison, the first female African American astronaut to travel to space; John Lewis, an American politician and civil rights activist who served on the House of Representatives; and Kamala Harris, the first female vice president of the United States, as well as the first African American and Asian American vice president.

This year, the national Black History Month theme focuses on the importance of Black Health and Wellness. This theme acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birthworkers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.). Additionally, it focuses on the importance of taking care of oneself — both physically and mentally. Initiatives to help decrease disparities have provided several outcomes, including having more diverse practitioners and representation in all segments of the medical and health fields.

Dealing with COVID-19 in a New Year

County Connection by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo

A new year is a time for new beginnings, and I know we are all ready to start fresh. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 epidemic has not slowed down over the holidays. With the emergence of the Omicron strain fueling the fire, a new wave of infections are once again raising our numbers. Hospitalizations are slowly rising and approaching problematic levels, infections are spreading rapidly across our County, and this week our numbers have pushed our threat level back to red. The possible exposures from travel, holiday celebrations, and gatherings on top of the return of children to school this week could trigger a very difficult month ahead in terms of hospitalizations and the strain on our medical system. It is clear that we will be living with this virus indefinitely.

But here in Harris County we are not giving in – we have more tools available and more knowledge on this virus than at any previous point during this pandemic. And we know that vaccinations are the best protection for you and your family against this virus. If there has ever been a wake up call to get vaccinated and get your booster, that time is now. You can find all the information you need on how and where to get vaccinated and your booster at readyharris.org.