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Northeast News

Texas elects Sylvia Garcia as first Latina to Congress

AT THE VICTORY CELEBRATION ELECTION NIGHT. Photo taken at the Houston Hobby Marriott Hotel Victory party on Nov. 6 , 2018. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail

Houston, TX. — November 6, 2018 — State Senator Sylvia Garcia became Texas’ first female Hispanic to be elected to the U. S. Congress.

At the Houston Hobby Marriott Hotel In front of a jubilant crowd waving blue towels with the printed words, “WE MADE HISTORY!”

Garcia thanked Congressman Gene Green for his years of service and for setting the bar for elected officials.

Senator Garcia made the following statement.

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Gracias, Gracias, Gracias! Con todo mi corazon. Thank you to everyone who has knocked on a door, made a phone call, donated your time or money to this campaign. This is your victory. You have made history. Esta victoria es de nosotros. Juntos, hemos logrado algo historico.

Thank you to our friends in the labor movement, who supported our campaign both financially and with boots on the ground. Thank you to the hundreds of individual donors, the Democratic Clubs and elected officials that made this victory possible. And most importantly, thank you to my family standing with me here today.

Your love, encouragement and support over the years is what made it possible for a poor girl from Paltio Blanco, Texas to grow up to become a US Congresswoman.



Best Booth Award was won by Castlewood Civic Clubs United.

The East Aldine District combined its Fall Festival with Brookside’s Day of the Dead ceremony last Saturday, and hundreds attended the event. The Festival included live entertainment, food trucks, games for adults and kids, a raffle, face painting, and a kids costume contest. To mark the Fall season, free trees were given out by Centerpoint Energy and the East Aldine District.

The Day of the Dead ceremony, or “Dia De Los Muertos” included a reading by Father Xavier Aponte, dancing by the Mexteca Ballet Folklorico, and culminated with the Celebration of Life Ceremony, with Father Aponte blessing the images of departed family members on display.

More pictures below, and in the print edition. (more…)

Greens Bayou holds 3rd annual Regatta

Paddlers came, paddled hard and raised over $10,000 in support of the Greens Bayou Paddle Trail. It was a successful event.

Ninety-five participants raced down the Bayou on Saturday, October 13 at the 3rd Annual Greens Bayou Regatta. Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle gave inspiring words to cast the racers on their way from Brock Park Golf Course.

Fifty-nine boats arrived at Thomas Bell Foster Park for the finish line festivities, set up by Doug Coenen and a small army of outstanding volunteers. Thomas Bell Foster Park is a recipient of tremendous recent enhancements thanks to Global Care Day volunteers from LyondellBasell and contractor services by Craig & Heidt, Inc. Racers cruised into the newly cleared takeout site with ease and spectators welcomed them from the grassy bank.

Racers then enjoyed a delicious hot meal donated and prepared by Mr. Barry Ross and his family and graciously served up by Rita Rodriguez and her crew. 11 Below Brewing ensured participants had the option of enjoying a cold beer after a long 7.5 mile paddle.

During the closing ceremony, SWA Group was awarded the Corporate Cup with Jacob Galles and Garett Dietrick coming in first place (1:47:57) and Clark Condon’s Spencer Harvey and Jake Salzman in a close second (1:48:10). All other results from the race can be found here. Port Houston’s team, Garret Berg and Fatima DeLeon won The Styrofoam Cup – the award for most trash collected along the racecourse. They hauled in a canoe full of plastic bottles, Styrofoam products and even a cooler!

The Top Individual Fundraiser was Christina Domalakes who won gear donated by Whole Earth Provision Co. She raised over $500 in sponsorship from friends, family and co-workers! This has set a record for the most raised by a single person!

In total, the event raised $11,010 to continue developing access points to launch boats on Greens Bayou. (more…)

Annual AISD State of District / AEF Breakfast

Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney delivers remarks as members of her Student Ambassador Group look on during Aldine ISD’s State of the District/AEF Breakfast on Thursday, Nov. 1.

On Nov. 1, Aldine ISD held its annual State of the District/AEF (Aldine Education Foundation) Breakfast at the Hilton Houston North Hotel. This year’s event was the first for Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney, who was named Aldine ISD Superintendent of Schools in April.

Members of Dr. Goffney’s Student Ambassador Group led the presentation and provided information on the district. The breakfast also served as the kickoff for AEF fund campaign.

AEF President Richard Cantu spoke on behalf of the Foundation.

Blanson CTE student Ariana Lopes Rodriguez opened the breakfast by leading the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Pledge to the Texas flag. The colors were presented by the Davis High School ROTC.

Victory Early College High School student Carolyn Garcia introduced members of the Aldine Board of Trustees who attended the event, Dr. Goffney and members of her Executive Leadership Team. She also introduced elected officials who attended, which included State Reps Ana Hernandez and Armando Walle, and Houston City Council member Jerry Davis.

The audience was then treated to a performance by the All-District Choir, under the direction of Daryle Freeman, choir director of Davis High School.

Davis High School student Sandra Garcia introduced AEF Board members and district stakeholders, which included students, parents and grandparents, business partner, community partners, and nonprofit and education partners.

Board Vice-President Paul Shanklin delivered the invocation and after breakfast, Cantu delivered remarks on behalf of AEF.

“Each year since 2012, the Aldine Education Foundation has joined Aldine ISD at this breakfast event to celebrate the successes of the previous school year and to learn how we as a Foundation can continually increase support for bigger, future successes,” he said.

He explained the Foundation focuses its support in two major areas, scholarships for graduating AISD seniors and teaching grants to support educator excellence.

Cantu said in the fall of 2017, AEF awarded 13 teacher grants totaling $60,268. In the spring of 2018, AEF awarded $66,000 to 80 outstanding educators to thank them for their dedication to the district’s students.

Also in the spring of 2018, Cantu said AEF awarded $412,000 in competitive scholarships to 126 Aldine ISD students. AEF also informed 88 ninth through 12th graders across 11 campuses that they would receive their part of $30,000 in scholarship funding upon their graduation. Those students earned grades of 95 or higher in every class during the 2017-18 school year.

“This district needs and deserves our support,” Cantu said. “This is why the AEF Board builds assistance across this generous community. We believe in the students and staff of Aldine ISD, and we hope you will join us to support their continued successes.”


CIP Tour examines workings of TranStar

CIP Facilitator Diane Sheridan, center, and others of the CIP group listen to Ben Gillis, tour guide for TransStar, as he explains the functions and facilities in the TransStar building on old Washington Road near I-10. In the background are live television monitors, showing traffic throughout the area.

Tour guide Ben Gillis, assisted by David Wade and Misty Gunn, showed the 30 members of the group all the control rooms, monitoring stations, and other equipment that the facility has.

Houston TRANSTAR was established in 1993, and is a formal partnership with transportation and emergency management agencies in Harris County.

These include TxDOT, METRO, Harris County, and the City of Houston.

The goals of the transportation part of TranStar are to save drivers time, increase driving speed and minimize delays, and through those activities save money and help the environment.

The goals of the Emergency Management part of TranStar are to save lives and provide help to those in distressed situations. Since 1979, there have been 46 federally declared disasters, averaging more that one per year. These include hurricanes, floods, and other natural and manmade incidents, and manage public safety at major public events such as the Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium and the World Series at Minute Maid Park.


Jensen holds Jubilee Parade & Festival

Jensen Jubilee & Festival organizer Pastor David Smith stands with Parade Marshal Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale on a wet stage, as the participants and award winners are announced.

The Eastex and Jensen communities held their annual Jubilee and Festival last Saturday, October 20, on a gray day with a slight rainfall.

In spite of the weather, a large crowd lined Jensen Street to see the parade, which included marching bands and dance units, fire and police, horseback units, and almost every political candidate that is running for office in Harris County.

The Grand Marshals for the Parade were Jim McIngvale of Gallery Furniture, and City Councilman Jerry Davis.

Also participating were State Representatives Armando Walle and Ana Hernandez, State Senator Sylvia Garcia, and Candidate for County Commissioner Adrian Garcia.

The Jensen Jubilee and Festival was sponsored by UT Physicians Clinic, who also donated scholarships to students from Sam Houston STEM High School.


Lone Star College announces scholarships for students from underserved communities

Lone Star College students and officials celebrate the announcement of the LSC Promise Firsts Scholarship program. Pictured (left to right): LSC graduate Jesús Contreras; Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., LSC chancellor; Alton Smith, Ed.D., LSC Board of Trustees chair; LSC graduate Rachel Perez; Massey Villarreal, LSC Foundation Board director; Mario K. Castillo, LSC chief operating officer & general counsel.

HOUSTON (Oct. 26, 2018) – Students living in communities that traditionally lack resources to succeed now have an opportunity for a brighter future thanks to the Lone Star College Promise Firsts Scholarship program.

“I am very proud that Lone Star College can now provide additional scholarships specifically designed to help lift students from these communities through higher education,” said Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., LSC chancellor.

Eight donors pledged a total of $250,000 for the fund and another $250,000 in matching dollars will be provided through Lone Star College Foundation from the Chancellor’s discretionary fund.

The LSC Promise Firsts Scholarship program will be made available to qualifying first-generation students to go to college, first-time-in-college, and first responders. A first-generation college student is defined as a student whose parents have not attended college. A student who has never attended a postsecondary college or university is considered a first-time-in-college student.

“To the donors who have helped out, I would like to say thank you,” said Racheal Cummings, LSC graduate. “My experience at Lone Star College was amazing. I have met so many people who have helped me on my journey and have learned so much.”

The eight donors include Magdalena and Tony Grijalva; H-E-B.; Alex and Cathy Lopez Negrete, Lopez Negrete Communications; George and Kathryn Martinez; Paula Mendoza, Possible Missions; Monty & Ramirez, LLP; Saul and Lisa Valentin; and Massey Villarreal. The LSC Promise Firsts program is scheduled to begin fall 2019.

“I am grateful to these individuals who have joined me in supporting our community,” said Saul Valentin, LSC Foundation Board of Directors chair. “This investment in the future of these students will pay dividends for many years to come.”


Early Voting starts Oct. 22

HARRIS COUNTY – Voters can start to begin to cast their votes starting this Monday. This midterm election is considered by most political observers to be an important statement about the current Republican control of the White House, Congress, and the Texas government.

Although the president is not on the ballot this time, many important seats in Congress and Texas will be decided. In addition, a number of local Harris County positions are on the ballot, and an important choice in the city of Houston regarding pay for firemen.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6, but Early Voting will start on Monday, October 22 and continue through Friday, November 2. Hours that the polls are open are as follows:

Oct. 22-26 8 am – 4:30 pm

Oct. 27 7 am – 7 pm

Oct. 28 1 pm – 6 pm

Oct. 29-Nov 2 7 am – 7 pm

The election for U. S. Senate has probably gained the most attention, both in Texas and nationally, Incumbent Senator Ted Cruz has seen a strong challenge from Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke, who has raised much more money than Cruz in his campaign, and seems to have an enthusiastic grass roots support among the public.

A number of U. S. Representatives seats are open for election, including District 6, with incumbent Kevin Brady vs. Steven David; District 18 with incumbent Sheila Jackson Lee vs. Ava Reynero Pate; and District 29, where long term Representative Gene Green has retired, and State Senator Sylvia Garcia is running against Phillip Aronoff.

Governor Abbott is defending his seat against challenger Lupe Valdez, and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is running against challenger Mike Collier. Another state race that has gathered attention is Attorney General, where the beleaguered incumbent Ken Paxton is running against Democratic challenger Justin Nelson.

A number of State Representatives are running unopposed, and therefore will be re-elected. These include Armando Walle in District 140; Senfronia Thompson in 141; and Ana Hernandez in 143.

Harris County voters will decide on keeping incumbent judge Ed Emmett, or vote for Democratic challenger Lina Hidalgo.

Other county offices of interest include District Clerk, with incumbent Chris Danie vs. Marilyn Burgess; County Clerk, with well known incumbent Stan Stanart vs. Diane Trautman; County Treasurer, Orlando Sanchez vs. Dylan Osborne.

A race of local interest in the Aldine area is for county school trustee, where well-known East Aldine District executive Richard Cantu is running against Marc Cowart.

Several County Commissioner seats are to be elected including Precinct 2, where the incumbent Jack Morman faces Democratic challenger Adrian Garcia; and Precinct 4, where incumbent Jack Cagle faces Penny Shaw.

In races for Justice of the Peace, of local interest is Precinct 3, Place 2 Lucia Bates is running unopposed. This district includes North Forest and a part of the Aldine area. Voters in the Lone Star College area will be asked to decide between Michael Stoma or George Edwards, Jr. in District 1; Ernestine Pierce or Matthew Wheeler in District 2; and Mike Sullivan or G. Puente in District 8.

For voters who reside in the City of Houston, two propositions will be on the ballot, both concerning the finances of the city, and both controversial and considered important.


East Aldine approves design for new offices

At their regular board meeting last week, the East Aldine District reviewed three schemes for a new office building to house the district offices and related functions.

These schemes, as proposed by the architect, PGAL Associates, varied in size and number of stories. The building is to be built at the center of the new Town Center project on Aldine Mail Route.

The first scheme as developed, is a two story building of approximately 16,950 square feet. The building is mainly for offices of the district, with lease space available on the second floor totaling 3300 sq. feet. On the first floor, in addition to district offices, there is a large multi-purpose/meeting room, able to house almost 200 persons seated or at tables. This room is also divisible into smaller sections. It is served by a small kitchen. A conference room for about 25 persons is also adjacent. The building design features an attractive two story lobby, and on the second floor a large outside Deck overlooking the park and amphitheater which are part of the Town Center development. Construction cost is estimated at about $6,500,000.

The board also considered what was termed Option C, a two story design with more space for lease functions. (more…)

Dr. Archie Blanson honored at dedication ceremony

Dr. Archie Blanson and his wife Beverly pose with Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney and members of the Aldine ISD Board of Trustees following a dedication ceremony to officially open the Dr. Archie L. Blanson Career and Technical High School. The ceremony was held on Sunday, Oct. 14.

Hundreds of family members, friends, and colleagues gathered to honor Dr. Archie Blanson for the dedication ceremony of the Dr. Archie L. Blanson Career and Technical High School on Sunday, Oct. 14.

Dr. Blanson devoted 39 years to Aldine ISD serving as a teacher, assistant director of buildings and properties, director of buildings and properties, executive director of buildings and properties, director of human resources, assistant superintendent of human resources and completed his Aldine career at the district’s deputy superintendent. In that role, Dr. Blanson oversaw AISD’s operations department.

Dr. Blanson thanked the many family members who made the trip to Houston to share in this special day and his immediate family.

“I want to recognize my wife Beverly, who has been my biggest supporter,” he said. “And I want to recognize my children, Christina, Daniel and Eric. They are my proudest accomplishment in life.”

He thanked his parents Lula and Nathan for instilling a strong ethic in he and his siblings, many of whom attended the dedication ceremony.

Dr. Blanson said education always played an important role in his life and he is glad he chose to have a career in education.

“As the son of sharecroppers, who missed a lot of school in the early years because I had to work, I had every reason not to succeed in life or in education,” Dr. Blanson said. “But instead of feeling defeated, I developed a strong thirst for education.

“Although going to college was not presented to me as an option when I was in high school, I made it an option for myself because I had very little marketable skills. So, with the help of my family I attended college. I just wanted to have options on deciding what I was going to be in life.”

He challenged the students at Blanson CTE to take advantage of the opportunities they have before them.