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Northeast News

Mac grad Diana Del Pilar named principal of Avalos PTECHS

Diana Del Pilar, left, was named Principal of Rose Avalos Pathway in Technology Early College High School during the Jan. 15 Aldine ISD Board of Trustees meeting. She is pictured with the school’s namesake, and AISD Trustee, Rose Avalos.

Diana Del Pilar, a MacArthur High School graduate, is coming home.

Del Pilar was named the principal of Rose Avalos Pathway in Technology Early College High School at the Jan. 15 Board meeting. She will assume her new duties on Feb. 4.

She brings nearly 20 years of experience in the field of education to the role which includes more than 10 years in Aldine, and four years as principal of Houston ISD’s Middle College High School-Gulfton.

The Sam Houston University graduate began her teaching career in 1999 as bilingual teacher at Aldine ISD’s Sammons Elementary School. She also taught bilingual education at Hill, Wilson and Stehlik Intermediate schools before moving to Goodman Elementary where she served as the school’s bilingual instructional specialist. In 2005, she moved to Spring Branch ISD and served as an instructional specialist at Treasure Forest Elementary School before becoming an assistant principal at that same campus. In 2011, she moved to Houston ISD to serve as the principal of Helms Elementary School before opening the Middle College.

That experience will immediately be put to use as Del Pilar will lead recruitment efforts Aldine’s district’s first P-Tech high school and 10th high school.

Avalos PTECHS will open in August of 2019 and is the final school built with funds from the $798 million 2015 bond referendum.


Second driver in deadly chase indicted

Christopher Lopez

The driver of a vehicle that was chasing a 14-year-old male driver and passengers that collided with a pickup truck, killing the women driver, has been indicted by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

A Grand Jury Panel returned the charges of manslaughter, failure to stop and render aid, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, on 48-year-old Christopher Lopez.

On Tuesday, January 1, 2019, at approximately 2:20 p.m., a tan GMC Acadia operated by a 14-year old driver with two juvenile passengers, was traveling at a high rate of speed westbound on Aldine Mail Route approaching the intersection of Aldine Westfield Road.

A tan late 70’s model Lincoln driven by Lopez, was chasing the GMC Acadia, and allegedly displaying a semi-automatic handgun.

The GMC Acadia disregarded a red signal at Aldine Westfield and struck a Ford F-150 as the Ford was traveling southbound through the intersection.

The driver of the Ford F-150 a 45-year-old female now identified as Silvia Zavala was found with no signs of life at the scene by paramedics.

Cantu one of 3 new Trustees welcomed to HC Department of Education Board

(left) Harris County Superintendent James Colbert Jr., newcomer trustees Josh Flynn, Danyahel (Danny) Norris, Richard Cantu and HCDE Presiding Board President Eric Dick.

Jan. 14, 2019 – Three Harris County Department of Education Board of Trustees were sworn into office in January 2019 to represent Harris County students and community. The new faces who will help preside over HCDE matters are Richard Cantu, Position 3, At Large; Josh Flynn, Position 4, Precinct 3; and Danyahel (Danny) Norris, Position 6, Precinct 1.

Richard Cantu is the deputy executive director of the East Aldine Management District and has held a number of nonprofit and municipal leadership positions. The self-proclaimed community and education advocate sees himself as a representative of working families. He supports increasing opportunities for citizens to access early childhood education, after-school services for youth, workforce development initiatives and teacher professional development.

As the son of a Mexican immigrant who worked hard to achieve the American dream, Cantu says he knows the importance of education in transforming lives of working-class families.

“I am committed to improving access to existing critical services and developing partnerships to address community needs and challenges,” he said.

Josh Flynn is a licensed tax professional chartered through the IRS and specializes in nonprofit accounting. He formerly served as trustee for a university in Bethany, Oklahoma. His immediate goal in office is to make HCDE as transparent as possible. Long-term, he will promote efficiency, directing maximum benefits to Harris County students.


Texas Legislature starts 86th Bi-Annual Session

ARMANDO WALLE, State Representative for District 140, is shown at the first session of the 86th Legislature after his swearing-in ceremony. Pictured with Armando is wife Debbie and family.

Rep. Armando Walle Sworn-in

AUSTIN – State Representative Armando Walle issued the following statement regarding the start of the Legislative Session:

“Yesterday we were sworn-in to our 6th term as member of the Texas House of Representatives. Meaning that we’ve been in office 10 years to date. Family is very important to me so we always make it a point to bring them on for the experience. Appreciate HD-140 for sending me to Austin to fight for them. I love being able to serve my community.”

Tuesday marked the beginning of the 86th session in the Texas Senate, a 140 day term in which state leadership has pledged to tackle the complex issues of public school finance reform and property tax reform. Governor Greg Abbott was on hand to welcome the members, new and current, and promised to finally resolve these issues. “We are going to step up and address it,” he said. Other major issues facing the Legislature this session include state pension funds and contracting oversight, but like Abbott, Senate leader Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and newly elected House Speaker Dennis Bonnen have highlighted property tax and school finance reform as critical issues this session.

Garcia brings 35 years of public service to Pct. 2

Commissioner Adrian Garcia taking Oath

HARRIS COUNTY, TX – January 1st – Former County Sheriff Adrian Garcia took the oath of office to become Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner, bringing 35 years of experience in public service.

“It is the honor of a lifetime to serve the people of Precinct 2 as County Commissioner,” said Garcia. “I am deeply grateful to the voters, volunteers and my family for their support of my commitment to public service.”

Commissioner Adrian Garcia is committed to fulfilling his promise to voters: making education a priority in county government and connecting Precinct 2 residents to opportunities in the region, while tackling some of our biggest challenges.

“The campaign is over and it’s time for all of us to come together, roll up our sleeves and begin the hard work improving our communities. We’re already off to a great start – because Precinct 2 is blessed with the most humble and hardworking people I know,” said Commissioner Garcia.

Commissioner Garcia will work to adopt equitable and environmentally sound solutions to infrastructure and flood control – and to provide quality and accessible services and programs to help Precinct 2 residents get family-sustaining jobs.


COACH OF THE YEAR: Eric Jackson leads Eagles to playoffs in first year as Eisenhower head coach

Eisenhower High School head football coach Eric Jackson is the 2018 Northeast News’ Coach of the Year

By Mike Keeney, Contributing Writer

Eisenhower High School head football coach Eric Jackson led his team to the playoffs in the first year as the school’s head coach. The Eagles made it to the post season after a two-year playoff drought.

That accomplishment earned the veteran coach the honor of being named the Northeast News’ Coach of the Year for the 2018 season.

The 2018 season was Jackson’s first as a head coach and he’s excited about the future for the Eisenhower football program.

“We’re getting there, but we’re not satisfied where we’re at. We still have a ways to go” Jackson said. “The kids are excited about the program and so are we as coaches. We’re starting a new regime and I think we have gotten off to a good start.”

The Eagles finished tied for second place in District 16-6A and earned a postseason berth.

Prior to being named the Eagles’s head coach, Jackson served as defensive coordinator at Eisenhower. He has also served on the staffs at Hastings High School, Beaumont Central High School Beaumont Ozen High School, Willowridge High School and Fort Bend Terry High School.

The Baton Rogue native is a graduate of Nichols State where he played linebacker.

Jackson and the Eagles have reason to be excited about the future. They will enter spring training with eight offensive and four defensive starters back for the 2019 season, which is a solid nucleus.


Harris County Judge Hidalgo kicks off historic term with community-wide engagement initiative

Harris County Judge Hidalgo

Harris County, TX – After her historic inauguration with more than 2,200 attendees, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced that she is launching a new civic engagement program designed to help shape the first year of her administration.

Judge Hidalgo capped her inauguration remarks with an emphasis on opening the doors of County government at a public ceremony celebrating 81 newly elected Harris County officials. She highlighted the need for elected officials to “proactively inform our community about County government, and bring lessons from our community and from thought leaders into our policy agenda.”

Judge Hidalgo’s initiative, Talking Transition: Harris County, will provide a forum for residents to discuss the issues that matter most to them, learn about County government, and weigh in on pressing public policy matters.

The first program of its kind in Harris County, Talking Transition will allow Judge Hidalgo and her team to obtain a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the issues and ideas that most impact County residents, as they work to shape their agenda.

“Throughout my campaign, I pledged to increase transparency and accountability in Harris County government. Too few residents know how County government works and how to engage with it,” said Judge Lina Hidalgo. “For me, public service means ensuring that our most vulnerable residents have the same voice in our local government as the most powerful among us.”

Talking Transition: Harris County is expected to be the largest civic engagement program in the South. It is modeled after similar programs in New York and Washington, D.C., and made possible by the Houston Endowment and the Ford Foundation.


Two charged in shooting of 13 yr-old

Sheriff’s deputies have arrested two persons who allegedly were involved in the drive-by shooting of a 13-year old girl, sitting in a friend’s house in the 14500 block of Maeline Street near Aldine-Westfield.

The shooting took place last Thursday, about 4:30 pm. Deputies were able to obtain surveillance video of a white truck passing by, and about an hour after the shooting a tip led them to the truck on Greens Road with two people inside. Steven LeBlanc Blanco, 28, and Allison Strong-Matyas, 19, were taken into custody Thursday night and charged in connection with the shooting.


Fatal crash on Aldine Mail Route

After the horrendous crash, the cars lie in the ditch along Aldine Mail Rte. The woman driving the red pick-up died after being hit by the SUV.

A 14-year-old Aldine boy has been charged with murder after his SUV struck a pick-up truck and killed the woman driver.

The accident occurred last Tuesday at about 2:20 pm, at the corner of Aldine Mail Route and Aldine Westfield Road.

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told the media that the SUV driver was traveling at a high rate of speed westbound on Aldine Mail, failed to stop at a red light, and struck the side of a red Ford F-150 pick-up headed southbound on Aldine Westfield. The driver of the pick-up, Silvia Zavala, 45, was killed in the accident.

The GMC Acadia SUV that struck the truck had three teenage boys inside, who had been throwing eggs at passing cars. One of the cars hit by the eggs decided to chase the boys, and they were traveling at a high rate of speed to avoid being caught. Some reports say the driver of the car chasing them brandished a gun, adding to the mayhem. The 14-year-old SUV driver suffered a broken ankle, one other was injured and taken to LBJ hospital, and the third was not injured, in spite of the fact that both vehicles were thrown up into the air by the impact, landing in a ditch along Aldine Mail Route. The pick-up in which the woman died was upside down, and torn apart by the crash.