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Posts published in “Columns”

Brady goes for 7th Lombardi, Mahomes second in what could be a very real ‘Super’ Bowl!

By Mike Keeney

I guess that Tom Brady guy still has something left in the tank.

After spending 20 years in New England and leading the Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick to six Super Bowl titles, Brady moved south to sunny Tampa, FL and proved he’s not washed up at 43 years of age.

In Kansas City, Chief fans have once again put their faith in 25-year-old Patrick Mahomes, who led their beloved team to the Lombardi Trophy last year and is making a return trip this year to go after a second straight title.

Insurrection at the U. S. Capitol A Teachable Moment

Dear Aldine Community,

Yesterday’s events in our nation’s Capitol and its images left many of us speechless. It seemed surreal to see mayhem, riots, and horrifying unrest unfold.

These events have created confusion, hurt, fear, disappointment, and even anger, no matter your political beliefs. January 6 will be a day we collectively remember as a sad day in history. What happened is unacceptable.

It is fitting that my word for 2021 is Forward. While I believe in the importance of reflection, we cannot get stuck reliving the past. We have to look to the future with hope and move forward.

That said, we must learn from what took place at the Capitol yesterday. It is a teachable moment. Democracy and civility are fundamental to our nation’s success. These are values we must instill in our children to ensure they are preserved in future generations. Hate and violence have no place in our American democracy.

I still believe in the words “United we stand, divided we fall.” We need each other to navigate through volatile times. Together, we are stronger. Together, we can do better and move forward.

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.

STATE CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS

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.”

Applause for our Voters and Poll Workers

Harris County, you never fail to impress. Across the country, people are buzzing about the incredible numbers of voters we have had during our early vote period. By the time early voting shut down last Friday after 18 days,1,435,221 (or 57.85% of registered voters) had cast their ballots. That is well beyond the total number of voters for each of the entire 2016 and 2018 elections! You have come through this election season by volunteering to help folks register, working the polls, and generally offering one another the support and encouragement we all need to believe that we can make a difference. We are a strong, resilient, and driven community and we are determined to have our voices heard, both within Texas and across the country. I have never been more proud of our residents and our tireless poll workers who are making this incredible movement of civic participation happen.

And while you all are showing up for this election like never before, Harris County government has been working harder than ever before to make your voting experience what you need it to be.

Statement on State Voter Suppression Efforts

Harris County Judge
Hidalgo

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued the following statement in response to Governor Abbott’s executive order closing down 11 mail-in ballot drop-off locations in Harris County 33 days before the general election. Governor Abbott’s proclamation reverses previous state guidance allowing counties to provide voters with multiple official ballot drop off locations and leaves Harris County with only one ballot drop-off site.

“The strength of our democracy and our county is only as strong as our ability to support free, fair, and open elections. Geographically, Harris County is larger than the entire state of Rhode Island. Our population rivals that of the entire state of Colorado. To propose only a single, secure drop-off location for a county of our size during a pandemic is ludicrous. Simply put, mail ballot voters should not be forced to drive 30 miles to drop off their ballot, or be limited to relying primarily on a mail system that’s facing cutbacks. Governor Abbott’s move is transparently about suppression, not security. It is also part of a broader effort by the Trump Administration to confuse voters, discourage voter participation and degrade public confidence in our elections.

“We are working with our attorneys to assess any legal options we have, but in the meantime we want to be very clear: Regardless of who you want to vote for, your vote matters. Do not let the forces of voter intimidation prevent or discourage you from making your voice heard.

Just Between Us: One Thing I Didn’t Expect About Motherhood

By Kristan Hoffman

One Thing I Didn’t Expect About Motherhood: How much I would think about bodies. My body. My children’s bodies. The way they grow, stretch, scar and heal. Their softness and their strength. Through pregnancy, birth and recovery, I’ve become more forgiving toward my body, though it hasn’t always felt like mine. Its changes aren’t easy to accept, nor are the demands to share it so frequently. I marvel at my children, so awkward and elegant. Why are we drawn to embrace so often? Why does touch offer such comfort? I am not religious, but since becoming a mother, I have learned to worship. Our bodies are holy.

This piece was originally published in the New York Times in July 2020 as part of their “Modern Love: Tiny Love Stories” series. Reprinted with permission.

Kristan Hoffman is the daughter of this newspaper’s publishers, an author, and a columnist for this newspaper.

Charlotte’s Web: Learning to Live Differently

As I awoke at 2 a.m., I began to replay conversations from the past few days. Perhaps for the first time in years, I was wishing I did not live alone. If things go the way many are speculating, it might be weeks or even months until we get the next hugs.

Hugs have always been an important part of my life, at least during my adult life. When attending the University of Texas in Austin, I took my first of many psychology classes and learned that research has shown that if you get or give at least three hugs a day, your mental state is most often “happier” and that you will learn to have many more days filled with opportunities to share optimism than if you stay to yourself.

I have often joked that when I get to Heaven, that St. Peter will have to go enjoy something new, as I was going to take his place at the pearly gates and be the official greeter. And anyone who has been around me knows that greeting comes with a hug. Yet now, just days before my 58th birthday, I am being told that we cannot hug, we should not be in groups larger than 10 and that we should avoid any social activities. Can you imagine? For decades, I have been greeting at church services, Chamber luncheons, meetings and many public events. And now, I guess I can wave and smile to the few people I will be seeing.

COVID-19 Precautions to take

Sen. Sylvia Garcia

By Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia

Dear Friend,

With 14 COVID-19 cases reported in the greater Houston area, including two in the City of Houston, and five in Harris County, the city and county are on high alert.

Thankfully, we are lucky to have some of the world’s smartest medical experts in the Houston area who are responding to these cases right now.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has declared an emergency health declaration for seven days. Houston City Council will vote in a week whether to extend declaration. All city events, produced, cosponsored and permitted, will be canceled for March and rescheduled in April. Harris County also declared a state of emergency.

During this time, here are the most important precautions to take:

• Wash your hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

• Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

OPINION: Governor’s Veto of Northeast Houston District is wrong

By State Senator Borris Miles

During the 86th Legislative Session, I worked with several organizations to pass more than 28 pieces of legislation targeted to help the many communities of Senate District 13. Many of those bills, you, the community, had a hand in crafting. From criminal justice reforms, consumer advocacy, affordable and accessible healthcare options to jobs and economic development, my legislative package was about improving and growing Senate District 13. I authored Senate Bill 390 to create the Northeast Houston Redevelopment District. This bill was one of the most critical bills in my legislative package.

Like many parts of low-income and economically challenged areas, there are abandoned shopping centers and a lack of grocery stores and major retailers in the area. After meetings with local Northeast community leaders and local elected officials, we crafted SB 390 to give this area the help it needed to attract new businesses and jobs and breathe life back into the community.

I carefully moved this bill through the Senate Chamber, and personally met with the governor and his staff, to ensure he understood this bill’s importance. Throughout the session, the governor did not indicate any problem with the bill until May 20th, one week before the end of the session. After working with the governor’s staff and making the requested changes, his staff even provided assistance in clearing procedural hurdles to help pass the bill. After the session ended, he vetoed the bill, which made little to no sense to me.