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East Aldine celebrates Constitution and New Citizens on Sept. 17

Constitution Day & Citizenship Day to get big local recognition

ALDINE – The East Aldine Management District and many partners will celebrate the anniversary of Constitution Day and National Citizenship Day in a new way next Saturday. A patriotic parade on Saturday, Sept. 17 — the 70th anniversary of the “days” — will move from MacArthur High School to the East Aldine Town Center’s amphitheater, where about 300 newly sworn-in U.S. citizens will be honored.

The event, sponsored by the non-profit Bonding Against Adversity and others, is being billed as the “We The People Celebration” featuring music, stories, games, and voter registration.

Bonding Against Adversity’s programs include classes on how foreign-born residents of the area can become U.S. citizens.

Habitat plans 450 homes on Tidwell

New 127 acre community known as Robins Landing

Houston Habitat for Humanity breaks ground on 127-acre masterplanned community

HOUSTON — Houston Habitat for Humanity together with partners including the City of Houston broke ground on Robins Landing, a vibrant master-planned community serving low to moderate income Houstonians in their journey to homeownership. Located near Tidwell Road and Mesa Drive in northeast Houston, the 127-acre site will provide critically needed affordable homes, essential services, retail opportunities, and access to green-space. Hines, the international real estate firm, will serve as a strategic advisor to Houston Habitat for the development, which is a first of its kind.

“Today’s groundbreaking on Robins Landing marks an exciting moment for Houston Habitat and an exciting future for many Houstonians” said Allison Hay, executive director of Houston Habitat for Humanity. “Along with our partners, we are creating a more inclusive, equitable, and open path toward homeownership. Everyone deserves a decent and affordable place to call home with access to everyday resources that make a thriving community.”

Designed for mixed-income and mixed-generations, Robins Landing is set to include more than 450 single-family homes. One hundred homes will be built by Houston Habitat for those earning 80 percent or below the City of Houston’s average median income (AMI) and be sold through the Habitat for Humanity Homeownership program. Three hundred homes will be designed, priced, and sold by partner builders CastleRock Communities and Chesmar Homes for those whose income is 120 percent AMI or below.

Robins Landing, a mixed-use community, will have various types of housing, including about 100 Habitat for Humanity single family homes similar to this prototype.

District renews contracts with HCSO deputies, HC Attorney for public safety

Annual contract for 21 Deputies $1,629,600

At the East Aldine District board meeting last Tuesday evening, the board heard reports from the public safety director, Victor Beserra, and took action on two contracts related to public safety.

Assistant County Attorney Mike Laster presented information on the contract between the district and the HC Attorney’s Office for nuisance abatement work. The East Aldine District shares an attorney with six other districts for costs. The renewal would be at the same rate as last year, a total of $60,833.33. The board approved the contract, subject to final approval by the Harris County Commissioners.

The other contract considered was for contract deputies who spend 70% of their time inside the district, and the rest in other areas of the county. The contract covers 21 Harris County Sheriff’s deputies, which includes one lieutenant, 3 sergeants, and 17 deputies. The contract amount for one year is $1,629,600 and was approved by the board.

EAST ALDINE DISTRICT: Lucio appointed new Board Member; Wiley retires

Luis Lucio, Lone Star College – East Aldine Dean, is congratulated on his appointment by Carlos Silva, vice-chair of the East Aldine Management District board.

By Gilbert Hoffman

At their monthly board meeting last Tuesday evening, the East Aldine District received the resignation of its chairman, Joyce Wiley, and also moved to fill one of the two open positions by appointing Luis Lucio to the board.

Lucio is a life-long member of the Aldine community, and serves as dean of the Lone Star College – East Aldine campus.

EPA to review TCEQ Permit criteria

HARRIS COUNTY ATTORNEY CHRISTIAN MENEFEE at a press conference last week, announcing that the EPA will conduct an investigation of TCEQ permit criteria. Also present were Adrian Garcia, Rodney Ellis, Armando Walle, Ana Hernandez, John Whitmire, and other county leaders.

County Attorney cites excessive Concrete Batch Plants in Minority areas

HOUSTON – (August 9, 2022)— Today Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee announced that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will investigate the Texas Commission on Environment Quality (TCEQ)’s concrete batch permitting criteria and processes under federal civil rights laws. The EPA initiated the investigation in response to complaints submitted by the Harris County Attorney’s Office and Lone Star Legal Aid under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The EPA sent a four-page letter to Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee’s office saying it plans to investigate the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) after receiving two complaints – one in April and one in May. The complaints allege the TCEQ has been discriminatory with public participation, based on race, regarding its concrete batch permit process.

“The EPA stepping in and investigating Texas’s environmental agency is a big step in protecting people who live in Harris County from toxic pollution. Harris County is littered with concrete batch plants, and they’re primarily in Black and Brown communities. The people who live by these plants, including children, can face many health risks, including respiratory illness and cancer. We must do all we can to protect them,” said Harris County Attorney Menefee. “State leaders in Austin are supposed to keep communities safe from this toxic pollution. Yet time and again we see the state pass laws that make it easier to put polluting plants in our communities. And the Texas Commission on Environment Quality does nothing to stop it. I’m glad the EPA is stepping in where the state is dropping the ball.

“People in our community know the harms of these plants all too well. We have 140 concrete batch plants throughout Harris County and they are hyper-concentrated in areas that have a disproportionate amount of Black and Latino residents and folks from low-income households,” Menefee said. “Every resident in Harris County has the right to breathe clean air, regardless of their zip code.”

East Aldine BIG program expands to include Demolition

East Aldine District’s Economic Developer director Lance Dean, explains the new BIG Demolition program at last month’s Business Luncheon.

East Aldine District held their quarterly Business Luncheon last Thursday, July 28 at the district offices. Attending were local business persons and speakers for Lone Star College, BakerRipley, and East Aldine District.

Lance Dean of East Aldine District described an expansion of the BIG (Business Improvement Grant) program that now includes demolition of substandard structures, to improve the appearance of the district and enhance the value of properties. Dean said the 50-50 matching grant program is meant to encourage eligible property owners, businesses or individuals, to demolish structures for future development or quality of life improvement.

Grants are available up to the total amount of $10,000, or 50% of the project cost.

Harris County plans $1.2 bond issue for November ballot

HOUSTON – Harris County leaders took the first step to put a $1.2 billion bond referendum on the November 8 ballot. The proposal would devote $100 million to public safety facilities and technology, $900 million to roads, drainage, and transportation projects, and $200 million to parks.

Commissioners voted 3-2 along party lines to authorize multiple county departments to develop a capital improvement bond proposal. Judge Lina Hidalgo set conditions for casting her vote with her fellow Democrats, Commissioners Adrian Garcia and Rodney Ellis.

“The guidelines should include a ‘worst-first’ approach to match funds to the greatest need, with at least $220 million to be spent in each precinct and $100 million to be set aside for public safety,” Hidalgo said.

The “worst-first” requirement addresses a concern that Commissioner Ellis raised, citing past bond initiatives where poorer neighborhoods like those in his Precinct 1 were shortchanged.

Gun BuyBack takes 845 guns off Street

Officers from HPD and HCSO check guns turned in.

HOUSTON- Due to an overwhelming response from the public, the One Safe Houston Gun Buyback collected 845 firearms and distributed nearly $100,000 in gift cards on Saturday, July 30. As a result of the unprecedented response, the event, which began at 8 a.m. and was scheduled to end at noon, did not conclude until almost 7 p.m., when the last person collected a handful of gift cards.Earlier in the day, dozens of vehicles were turned away due to demand and long lines. However, more than 150 people were given priority vouchers for a place in line at the next gun buyback. Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Houston Police Department will announce a date soon for a second event.

“We used best practices to plan and hold today’s event. I did not know what to expect, and the turnout was overwhelming,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “The turnout demonstrates there are too many guns on our streets, and people want to get them out of their possession. The gun buyback is not the only solution, but we can and will make our streets safer and help reduce gun violence.”

The successful event was a collaboration between Mayor Turner, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, and the Houston Police Department.

COUNTY PROVIDES $48M FOR CHILDCARE

New program funded by American Rescue Plan funds will allocate historic $48 million dollar investment for childcare and early childhood development

HARRIS COUNTY – June 14, 2022, In a 3 to 2 vote, commissioners court approved a new program investing $48 million American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funds for childcare and early childhood development in Harris County. It is the largest known investment of ARPA dollars by any county or city in the nation for early childhood education.

“Early childhood programs have one of the strongest returns on investment of any type of public program. Those positive effects also endure throughout the child’s life, increasing their graduation rates and future earnings while reducing any possible contact with the criminal justice system,” said Judge Hidalgo. “ We have an obligation to go beyond just the minimum standard of funding roads and bridges and public safety. We also have an obligation to support our next generation of workers and innovators and leaders.”

The program will increase accessibility to high quality childcare and early childhood development by 10% in the third-largest county in the nation. Approximately 105,000 children aged 0-3 with working parents live in a quality child care desert in which there are few or no affordable options for quality child care in their area. Due to the high cost of childcare, often one parent is forced to stay home, preventing them from entering the workforce and costing families lost wages.

Eisenhower HS celebrates 50th

During Eisenhower High School’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, current Eisenhower Principal Mandele Davis honored three principals who served before her. Pictured are, (l-r): former Principal Todd Lindeman, former Principal Ben Ibarra, Davis, Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney and former Principal Fred Richardson.