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Posts published in May 2022

MuralFest22 brings Art to Aldine

East Aldine District Arts Committee, sponsor of MuralFest22, pose with the Artist in front of the nearly complete Mural on the side of the High Meadows Branch Library. L to R, Connie Esparza, Patti Acosta, chairman Carlos Silva, Brooke Silva and their children, Mural Artist Martin Barrera, and Selina Valdez. MORE PHOTOS, PAGE 8

By Julieta Paita

EAST ALDINE – Mural Festival took place last Saturday at High Meadows Library in Aldine. The main artist, Martin Barrera, was on site painting a mural at the library’s wall facing Aldine Mail Route which can be seen from the street if you are passing by.

Martin Barrera has painted murals locally, nationally and internationally in Aldine, Houston, California, Puerto Rico and México. One of those murals is at Hambrick Middle School’s library. Barrera is a graduate from MacArthur High School and currently is an arts teacher at Davis High School in Aldine ISD.

“I always liked arts and drawing and I studied at Lone Star College. Drawing murals is my job too, and I love it,” he stated.

At the event, there were art activities for the kids and families to enjoy, including the Harris County Public Library Curiosity Cruiser giving out free books, and the HTX Art Bus where kids could do painting and other art activities inside the bus.

Uvalde mass shooting stirs up Gun Control debate

A Texas town, and a nation, mourn for the senseless killings of 21 victims in Uvalde.

PROTESTS MOUNT AT NRA CONVENTION

HOUSTON – Protestors outside the NRA (National Rifle Association) national convention at GRB Convention Center this weekend, blamed the proliferation of guns and lack of regulations in Texas and nationwide with the increase in mass shootings, as evidenced recently in Texas with mass murders in Uvalde, Sante Fe, Sutherland Springs, El Paso, and Midland.

Last week’s school shooting of 19 victims at Robb Elementary in Uvalde has focused the public’s attention on the need for government leaders to increase restrictions on gun ownership, rather than loosen rules as has happened recently in Texas.

Speakers at the NRA Convention in Houston last weekend included Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, but Governor Abbott withdrew and sent a recorded message.

Speakers at the NRA convention talked of the increased safety by arming the public, but most public opinion rejected that theory, and called for action from government to bring a reduction in shootings. Proponents of restrictions in gun sales and military style weapons, point to experience in other countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, where total bans on guns has brought a sharp reduction in killings, both mass shootings and individual deaths.

Even in Texas, they point out that a ban on assault weapons was effective, but when it expired the number of deaths from mass shootings increased sharply.

Aldine store sells Mega Million winning ticket

CIRCLE M#2 STORE, AT 13203 ALDINE WESTFIELD

ALDINE – A local resident claimed a second-tier Mega Millions prize worth $1,000,510 for the drawing on May 13.

The ticket was purchased at Circle M #2, located at 13203 Aldine Westfield Road (Suite A), in Houston. The claimant elected to remain anonymous.

The winning ticket matched all five of the white ball numbers drawn (11-41-43-44-65), but not the Mega Ball number (13). The claimant had an additional win of $510 on the same ticket.

Aldine ISD statement on School Security

In the wake of the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas last week, the Aldine ISD District has issued the following statement about their security protocols:

The safety and security of Aldine ISD’s students and staff will always be the district’s top priority. To that end, the district is fortunate to have its own full-time Police Department that includes officers who are assigned to all high schools and middle schools, and patrol the other campuses and district facilities. Aldine PD officers are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Because of this, Aldine ISD does not implement the school marshal program. The only authorized firearms on our campuses are carried by fully-licensed police officers.

All 82 campuses have metal detectors that are used everyday during the school year. All high schools and middle schools have police officers assigned to their campuses.

Sen. Carol Alvarado on Gun Safety Reform

Austin, TX — The Texas Senate Democratic Caucus sent the following letter to Governor Abbott:

Dear Governor Abbott:

The members of the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus urge you to immediately call an emergency special session to address gun violence in Texas in the wake of this latest gut-wrenching tragedy. We demand that this special session include passage of legislation that would:

• Raise the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21;

• Require universal background checks for all firearm sales;

• Implement “red flag” laws to allow the temporary removal of firearms from those who are an imminent danger to themselves or others;

• Require a “cooling off” period for the purchase of a firearm; and

• Regulate civilian ownership of high capacity magazines.

Texas has suffered more mass shootings over the past decade than any other state. In Sutherland Springs, 26 people died. At Santa Fe High School, 10 people died. In El Paso, 23 people died at a Walmart. Seven people died in Midland-Odessa. After each of these mass killings, you have held press conferences and roundtables promising things would change. After the slaughter of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, those broken promises have never rung more hollow. The time to take real action is now.

County marks 1 year ShotSpotter Success

SHOTSPOTTER RESULTS IN THE FIRST YEAR OF SERVICE

HARRIS COUNTY — At a news conference last week, Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, and East Aldine Executive Director Richard Cantu reviewed the success of a crime fighting tool known as ShotSpotter which was installed over one year ago in Aldine.

“It’s a game changer,” said Richard Cantu of the East Aldine District where the device is being tested. In one year, it captured 12,454 rounds in a 4-mile radius. Harris County says gunfire-detecting device has led to multiple seizures, arrests and charges.

With more people across the Houston area concerned about crime, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said he has to test every possible crime-fighting tool. That includes acoustic sensors that detect and alert deputies to gunfire in real time. The system is known as SHOTSPOTTER, and was installed in Aldine over one year ago. The makers of ShotSpotter tout the device as “precision policing solutions that help save lives, solve cases and deter crime.”

Aldine ISD trustees vote pay raises, bonuses

Approve Retention Bonuses and Raise Starting Teacher Salary to $61,000

The Aldine ISD Board of Trustees approved pay raises for all employees and employee bonus retention during the May 17 Board meeting. The retention bonus will be determined by the service time an Aldine ISD employee has spent with the district and will be paid in the spring of 2023. Trustees also approved raising the starting teacher salary from $58,000 to $61,000.

“I am extremely thankful to our Trustees for recognizing our staff’s hard work over these last few years and the challenges they have overcome with COVID-19. Now, all of us are dealing with tough economic times,” said Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney. “This increase reflects the Board’s and district’s ongoing commitment to remaining competitive in recruiting and retaining employees prepared and determined to offer meaningful learning experiences every day to our students. This is exactly why the increase in the starting teacher salary, from $58,000 to $61,000, is significant. The retention bonuses show our employees that their loyalty to serving in Aldine ISD will be handsomely rewarded.”

Board President Randy Bates said he and his fellow Trustees believed it was important to reward Aldine’s staff.

“It is important to recognize that all teachers and staff deserve more money than our district can give this year, especially during these tough times recovering from a global pandemic,” Bates said. “I am proud that we worked to prioritize increased compensation for all employees.”

New VIPER program to reduce crime

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, along with the County Commissioners and Judge Hidalgo, announce the new VIPER program.

VIPER VIOLENT FELONY WARRANT TASK FORCE

Harris County, TX — TUESDAY, May 10, Harris County Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia was joined by County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, and Pct. 6 Constable Silvia R. Trevino announced VIPER – a new violent crime warrants task force approved by Commissioners Court. The warrant roundup initiative aims to reduce the number of violent offenders on the loose in Harris County. After being considered by Commissioners Court, VIPER passed unanimously with a 4-0 vote.

There are more than 50,000 people in Harris County who are wanted by police, including more than 700 people who are wanted for murder. The Harris County Commissioners Court passed the creation of a new task force that will be aimed at tracking down and arresting the most violent offenders.

The Harris County Violence Persons Task Force, or VIPER, consists of deputies from both the sheriff’s and constables’ offices. VIPER will add much-needed staff, whose purpose will be to track down and arrest the most violent offenders in Harris County. The task force will be made up of two teams, each team will consist of 4 deputy constables and 4 deputy sheriffs.

“VIPER will help ensure public safety that must be addressed,” Commissioner Adrian Garcia said. “Putting a stop to the culture of not feeling there are any consequences for criminal activity.”