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Posts published in “Front Page”

State, City spar on speed of flood mitigation

HOUSTON – Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner are reportedly at odds about the plan to administer all flood recovery funds by the state. An Abbott spokesperson said, “Houston and Harris County have proven that they are unable to ensure victims are receiving resources in a timely manner,” John Wittman said Friday. At stake is $4 Billion allocated to Texas by FEMA.

Mayor’s statement:

“The city will receive a direct allocation of $60 million of these flood mitigation funds and we are moving ahead with projects that will protect the lives and property of Houstonians. The city will continue to work closely with the General Land Office, including an effort by Houston and Harris County to receive $2 billion of the next $4 billion, reflecting the damage done by Harvey to our local communities.

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Exclusive Interview: Garcia supports impeachment inquiry, assault weapons ban

Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia explains why she supports the impeachment investigation and the banning of military assault weapons that mass killers are using. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail

On Tuesday, October 1, 2019 at 8:30 AM, at the Houston Police Department’s East Freeway Storefront, Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia provided district and legislative updates.

North Channel Star writer Allan Jamail, covering the meeting, asked Congresswoman Garcia to explain her supporting of the current impeachment inquiry of President Trump. Garcia replied, “When I got elected to go to Washington I never expected to be involved in an impeachment process of a president. Almost every day I hear the President say or do something shocking to me. But the last straw for me was when in a phone call he asked a foreign country to interfere with our elections and to help him get re-elected. That’s a violation of our laws and can’t be tolerated; no one is above the law, not President Trump or any other president.”

“In my life I have taken the oath of office about 15 or more times to protect and defend our Constitution from both foreign and domestic violators. It’s my duty to support the investigation of President Trump, for it’s been alleged that in a phone call he asked a foreign country’s new President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine, for political help. This is not about partisan politics; it’s about our rule of law getting violated,” Garcia stated.

As of this writing, four new national polls released in the past two days show at least 50 percent of respondents support the House impeachment inquiry, which was triggered by a whistleblower’s complaint against Trump over his repeated requests for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. Biden is the leading Democrat who could be the most likely Democratic Party’s presidential candidate challenging Trump’s reelection in 2020.

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Jensen Jubilee Oct. 19

This year’s Jensen Jubilee Parade starts at 10am Saturday on Jensen, and ends in Shady Lane Park on Parker. Fun, food, music, kids zone, scholarships, health screenings and more.

TROPICAL STORM IMELDA FLOODING PARALYZES HOUSTON

Homes and autos all over the county were inundated with high water in a short time. These motorists at Aldine Mail Route/Eastex frontage road were stopped by the high water. Authorities had to tow over 1600 autos to clear major highways.

20” of Rain in 24 hours; 1500 High Water Rescues

By Gilbert Hoffman

HARRIS COUNTY – Tropical Storm IMELDA never reached hurricane status, but it ended up doing more flooding than Hurricane Harvey two years ago, according to authorities.

The storm came ashore near Freeport on Tuesday evening, and by Thursday had dropped massive amounts of water on Harris County and counties to the north and east of Houston, all the way to Beaumont.

Motorists sought high ground, such as this gas station at W. Mt. Houston, as the water rose quickly and caught many drivers by surprise. At left, a high water rescue vehicle from the sheriff’s office takes some to safety.

The storm took five lives, three in Beaumont and two in Harris County. Authorities said a man drove into high water on Will Clayton Parkway in Humble, and another body of Rene Salas, 52, was found in a ditch near W. Mt. Houston.

Houston recorded as much as 10” of rain in a 24 hour period, and a total of about 20” in three days. Northeast Harris County, including Crosby and Huffman, recorded about 30” in that period, and a record was set in Winnie, in Chambers County, of 43” total for a storm.

Aldine student Jayden Payne was credited with saving this mother and child after their car went into high water in a drainage ditch near the school.

Many of the same houses and neighborhoods that were under water two years ago after Hurricane Harvey suffered the same damage this time. Many who were interviewed expressed despair and depression over this continued personal disaster, and asked why the government had not done more. Last year the county passed a $2.5 billion bond issue to improve the flooding situation, but County Judge Lina Hidalgo stated that flood relief projects took time to plan and build. Some detention ponds and larger drainage bayous are under construction, and the county voted recently to accelerate the schedule.

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Lone Star College-East Aldine Center celebrates dedication of new building

Lone Star College Officials and community leaders at the ribbon cutting of the new LONE STAR COLLEGE – EAST ALDINE CENTER.

HOUSTON – On Friday, Sept. 13, Lone Star College-North Harris representatives joined with community leaders and elected officials to celebrate the opening of Lone Star College-East Aldine Center in the East Aldine Town Center.

The event included a ribbon cutting ceremony and pronouncements from dignitaries to an audience of approximately 250 attendees.

Lone Star College – North Harris President Dr. Gerald Napoles opened the event with welcoming comments and introduced the day’s speakers. The dignitaries included the following Lone Star College representatives, elected officials and community leaders.

– Dr. Stephen C. Head, chancellor, Lone Star College

– Dr. Alton Smith, chair, Lone Star College Board of Trustees

– Art Murillo, secretary, Lone Star College Board of Trustees

– U.S. Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia

– Texas State Senator Carol Alvarado

– Texas State Representative Armando Walle

– Mayor Sylvester Turner, City of Houston

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North Houston District National Night Out to host 500 area residents

When it involves public safety, the North Houston District goes all out! Join neighbors, businesses and law enforcement for Houston’s largest National Night Out, Oct. 1.

Approximately 300-500 apartment and area residents, local law enforcement, businesses and community partners including Houston Police Department, Harris County Sheriff’s Department, Houston Fire Department, US Army, US Airforce , AT&T, Amazon HOU2, Aldine-Greenspoint YMCA, Lone Star College, Home Depot, Greenhouse International Church, Texas General Land Office, Spartan Security, Texas Litter Control, Madera Residential and Villa Serena Communities will gather at North Houston District’s National Night Out 2019 on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019 from 5 – 8 p.m.

The event will take place at Tom Wussow Park, 500 Greens Rd. near I-45 North & North Sam Houston Parkway/Beltway.

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Rebuilding Kowis Street initiates planning and design of the first Texas Roadway Project to seek Envision Verification

The Office of Commissioner Garcia and Harris County Engineering Department affirms their commitment to deliver sustainable infrastructure that enhances the economic, social, and environmental conditions in Precinct 2

HARRIS COUNTY, TX— Commissioner Adrian Garcia will kick off the design of the first roadway project in Harris County and the State of Texas that will seek Envision® Verification. The reconstruction of Kowis Street in East Aldine is intended to enhance the economic, social, and environmental conditions along the corridor between Halls Bayou and Precinct 2’s James Driver Park.

The proposed project includes reconstructing Kowis Street from the Halls Bayou Hike and Bike Trail to James Driver Park so that pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers using the corridor and the adjacent property owners and tenants will realize improved social, environmental, and economic benefits.

“I have directed my staff to work with Harris County Engineering Department to develop a sustainability management policy that includes commitments to achieving improvements in sustainable performance with clear objectives and targets,” said Commissioner Garcia.

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Community voices concern about Concrete Plant at TCEQ Hearing

State Representative Armando Walle gave welcoming remarks, and set the tone for a constructive, informative meeting. At left are two representatives of the Rocket Materials LLC company wanting to build the concrete batch plant; at right are two reviewers from the TCEQ, and the TCEQ facilitator Diana Avalos stands beside Walle.

East Aldine residents turned out in large numbers last Monday night, to voice their concerns over a concrete batch plant that is proposed for a site at 914 Pinafore Lane, near East Hardy frontage road.

The meeting was an official hearing by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and run by their facilitator, Diana Avalos. The meeting was held at BakerRipley, and lasted over an hour.

Opening comments were made by the facilitator, and State Representative Armando Walle. Walle said that although he wasn’t against small businesses, that a concrete plant emits particulate materials into the air, and has heavy truck traffic on the surrounding roads.

The comments started out with questions and answers, but as the meeting continued the residents became more expressive of their concerns and displeasure that the company wanted to locate in Aldine.

Steve Adame spoke about the dangers of heavy, slow moving trucks exiting onto East Hardy, and concrete spills on the roads and overpasses in the area, which no one seems responsible for.

In a surprising revelation that was an answer to Adame’s comment, the permit reviewer for TCEQ, Don Nelon, stated that he was only allowed to review the application for air quality, and not for traffic problems or water pollution.

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METRO $3.5 Billion Bond on November Ballot

METROnext includes a new type of vehicle, a BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) that will drive on dedicated roadways, such as this artist’s view of a development on Post Oak Road in the Galleria.

HOUSTON – Moving to the Future, a political action committee formed to pass the METRO Proposition on the November 2019 ballot, launched its campaign today. Carrin Patman, chair of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO), said:

“The METRO Proposition is a bold new plan for sustainable transit solutions that will provide more transportation choices for more people, connecting them to jobs, education and healthcare – all while improving our economy, environment, quality of life, and competitiveness with other urban areas.”

The METRO Proposition provides funding to implement the METRONext Moving Forward Plan, which increases high-capacity rapid transit services, including:

– Providing more than $4 billion over 20 years to fix our streets and sidewalks

– Extending existing light rail lines and adding a light rail line to Hobby Airport

– Expanding park & rides and commuter service on most major freeways

– Improving service on 260 miles of bus routes

– Creating new Metro Rapid high-speed bus lines which have many of the same advantages as rail

The funds would be provided by the sale of up to $3.5 billion in bonds over 20 years with no new taxes. METRO would also apply for federal matching funds – up to an additional $3.5 billion – to increase METRO’s investment to a potential $7 billion for transit improvements.

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Walle presents Legislative update to Green Forest Civic Club

State Representative Armando Walle talked to the Green Forest Civic Club and other interested members of the public, about the accomplishments of the 86th Legislative session, that ended in June.

By Gilbert Hoffman

The Green Forest Civic Club hosted a Town Hall meeting last Tuesday night, at which State Representative Armando Walle updated the audience on the accomplishments of the 86th Legislative session that just ended in June.

The meeting held at the offices of the East Aldine District was attended by Civic Club members and a large group of the public and interested citizens, including the Melrose, Castlewood and Colonial Hills Civic Clubs.

Walle recounted how he first served in the Legislature in 2009, and that this was his 6th term. That seniority has allowed him to be appointed to some important committee assignments, including Higher Education, Appropriations, and Redistricting. He also was on the conference committee that determined final edits to the state’s two-year budget, which this session amounted to $250 Billion dollars. He noted that this is the 10th largest budget in the world, ahead of most counties and states.

Highlights of the session and the budget include passing of HB3, a School Finance Bill that included $12 Billion for comprehensive school programs. These now include Full-Day Pre-K funding for eligible four-year-olds, an increase of $6.5 Billion for public schools, including a $2 Billion amount for educator pay increases, a 20% increase in per-student base funding.

Retired teachers also got a pay raise amounting to about $2000. The landmark HB3 (House Bill 3) was authored by Representative Dan Huberty, and co-authored by Walle and others.

Walle said that other highlights of the session included property tax relief that will take effect in 2020, and increase the next year.

To deal with the problem of flooding and flood relief, the Legislature set $2.1 Billion for Hurricane Harvey victim’s recovery, and another $1.8 Billion in flood mitigation to reduce future floods. He noted ongoing flood control projects for Halls Bayou and Greens Bayou.

Walle was able to get funds to improve parks in his district, including $1 Million for rebuilding Melrose Park, and $1 Million each for Squatty Lyons and Keith-Wiess parks.

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