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Northeast News

Pct. 2 programs win 4 national awards

WASHINGTON, DC – Harris County Precinct 2 has been recognized with FOUR Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents. According to a NACo database, no Harris County entity has ever won multiple NACo awards in the same calendar year.

NACo recognized Precinct 2 for the following programs:

— Health Services for the innovative SmartPods Access2Health, a partnership with Baylor

— Veterans Services for the work with Operation Yellowbird alternative PTSD treatment

— Partnership with the American Chemistry Council for a grant to fund air monitors

— Parks Dept. for the innovation and design of James Driver All-Inclusive Park

Lone Star College reopens campuses for fall semester

Lone Star College is expanding its face-to-face classes while continuing to offer hybrid and online courses to meet student needs.

HOUSTON (June 8, 2021) – Lone Star College will enter the fall semester with expanded offerings of face-to-face classes while continuing to provide hybrid and online courses to meet student needs.

“We know the last year put a serious strain on our students, faculty and staff,” said Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., LSC chancellor. “Lone Star College has worked hard to ensure we provide a safe and friendly environment as we welcome everyone back to our campuses.”

LSC students will have three class options this fall: in-person classes that take place entirely on campus; hybrid classes which are a combination of online and face-to-face learning; and online classes which provide a flexible and convenient choice for busy schedules and freedom to self-direct.

Sheriff hosts virtual Safety Forum

Harris County Sheriff’s deputies, from District II, held a virtual Safety Forum last Tuesday night, June 8 for a presentation to the public of crime prevention measures. There were about 40 participants, some from the community and some from various HCSO departments. The Forum did not, however, take public comments or open the event for public discussion. Instead, contact phone numbers and email addresses were posted for the public.

After a brief introduction by Capt. Chris Sandoval, who is in charge of the Patrol Division of District II, and HCSO Chief Mike Lee, the meeting was turned over to deputies to speak about their particular department activities.

Get Vaccinated; let’s move the Threat Level to Green

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo

Since the COVID-19 virus was first detected in Harris County, we have been working non-stop to beat it. We stayed home, wore our masks, maintained social distance, and sacrificed many, many moments with friends and family. When safe, effective vaccines became available, Harris County Public Health rushed to acquire and distribute them equitably, establishing over 100 vaccination sites, including a mega distribution site at NRG stadium that has become a model for the nation. Many of our residents are getting vaccinated, moving us closer to a place where COVID-19 is no longer a major threat to vulnerable populations and our hospital capacity. Thanks to all of this hard work, we have made substantial progress in turning a corner against this virus.

Last week, based on this progress and the meeting of the relevant thresholds, I moved the county’s COVID-19 Threat Level from Level 2: Orange to Level 3: Yellow, the system’s second-lowest threat level. We should all be proud of reaching this significant milestone. Under the Yellow threat level, unvaccinated individuals should continue to mask and social distance. Fully vaccinated individuals, however, may resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where otherwise required.

We are making considerable strides, but our success is fragile.

East Aldine to get sculpture by famed Artist

In the artist’s studio East Aldine District Art Committee chairman Carlos Silva, left, views the statue of John F. Kennedy that will be erected in the esplanade of JFK Boulevard at Aldine Bender. At the right is the sculptor, David Adickes. He is well known in the art world for his series of sculptures of presidents’ heads, which can be seen from I-45 Southbound near his downtown studio. Adickes is also best known for the 67’ tall statue of Sam Houston which sits along the I-45 highway in Huntsville.

EAST ALDINE – A huge bust statue of the late president John F. Kennedy may soon mark the northern edge of the District, and greet travelers arriving from Intercontinental Airport.

The Art Committee of the East Aldine District has recommended to the board the purchase and installation of a unique statue of JFK, sculpted by famed artist David Adickes. Adickes is known for the towering statue of Texas hero Sam Houston, which sits along the highway I-45 in Huntsville.

The statue would be located in the median between the northbound and southbound lanes of JFK Boulevard, at the intersection with Aldine Bender.

An artist’s constructed photo shows how the JFK Statue will look as it is installed on a base pedestal in the median or esplanade of JFK Boulevard at Aldine Bender.In this photo, Aldine Bender runs left to right, and JFK Boulevard runs toward and away from the camera. The Statue will serve as a welcome to travelers arriving from the airport toward the city, and also as an introduction to the East Aldine District.

According to Silva, the art committee has a number of projects that would bring public art to East Aldine. These include the Big Walls Big Dreams mural recently painted on the wall at the High Meadows library, Mini Murals on utility boxes, the JFK statue, and a gigantic mural scheduled for the lobby wall of the new East Aldine District office building, that would tell the story graphically of the history of the Aldine Area.

87th Legislature ends, as Democrats walk out to kill Voter Restrictions bill

AUSTIN – A bill to overhaul voting rules in the state failed to pass in the Texas House on Sunday night in a victory for Democrats and voting rights advocates. Sunday was the last day of the legislative session that the bill, Senate Bill 7, could have been passed, but it may be brought up again in the future.

SB7 failed to pass in the Texas House because a group of House Democrats walked out of the legislature, causing the House to lose quorum — in order for certain procedures to take place, such as passing legislation, a certain number of House members must be present — blocking Republicans from passing the bill despite their majority. Birnel said that was all made possible by the work of organizers.

The bill would place limits on early voting hours, drive-thru voting, and tighten restrictions on who can vote by mail. It would also expand the role that poll watchers can play, including allowing them to be closer to the polls and to record certain voters.

Mural Fest brings art scene to East Aldine

Artist Jesse De Leon works on the East Aldine community painting on the wall of the High Meadows Branch Library. Citywide, the project is known as BIG WALLS, BIG DREAMS. The district is promoting the inclusion of art of various types in the visual fabric of the community, and this mural is one of many efforts to introduce public art to the East Aldine District. (ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF EAST ALDINE DISTRICT & VERONICA SANCHES)

New Mural at High Meadows Library is start of Art Committee events

EAST ALDINE – The Aldine community held its first annual “ART FEST” last Saturday, May 22nd. The event took place at the Harris County High Meadows Branch Library, who were one of the co-sponsors the fest.

The idea behind the Art Fest was to involve the community, both children and adults, in participating art projects. The Art Committee of the East Aldine District plans to have many additional types of art and art projects throughout the community in the future, and on an on-going basis.

GLO responds to criticism, sends $750 mil to Harris County

HARRIS COUNTY – After last week’s announcement from the state GLO, local leaders in Harris County and the City of Houston were vocal in their unhappiness about the fact that almost no flood mitigation funds had been allocated for these two areas, in spite of the fact that Hurricane Harvey had devastated more homes and businesses than anywhere else in the state. Judge Hidalgo petitioned HUD, the federal department providing the flood funds to the state, to reconsider the criteria and allocate money to the local needs.

As a result, George P. Bush, director of the GLO, changed his original statement and promised the county that they would receive a block grant of $750 million without waiting for the second round of allocations. However, as told to this newspaper by a representative of the GLO, this money will come from the $2.144 billion sent to Texas for flood mitigation from Hurricane Harvey, rather than additional funding.

HCDE elects Cantu as VP

HARRIS COUNTY – The Harris County Department of Education held their annual election of officers of the board last week, and East Aldine’s deputy executive director Richard Cantu was elected as first vice-president. As a board member and officer, Cantu has championed education matters for the underserved of the district and the county. He also serves on the board of the Aldine Education Foundation, and several advisory boards for HCC and LSC.

Position 6, Precinct 1 trustee Danyahel (Danny) Norris, an intellectual property attorney, was unanimously elected president.

Norris, who began his term in January 2019, is a principal partner of Norris & Norris LLP and is a past president of the Houston Lawyer’s Association. A native Chicagoan, Norris holds a chemical engineering degree from the University of Houston and a law degree from Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law.

Other new officers for 2021-2022 are Richard Cantu, first vice president; and Andrea Duhon, second vice president.

Aldine ISD votes Pandemic bonuses for Employees

Aldine ISD Trustees Connie Esparza, left, and Rose Avalos, right, hold up novelty checks after the Aldine ISD Board of Trustees approved a resolution to give all district employees a one-time bonus for going above and beyond during the 2020-21 school year.

One-time Check amounts will be $1000 to $1200

ALDINE – During the May 18 Board meeting, Aldine ISD Trustees approved a resolution to give all district employees a one-time incentive and retention payment. The Board of Trustees approved a resolution to give all employees a one-time incentive and retention payment of $1,500 to exempt staff (teachers and administrators) and $1,000 to non-exempt staff (hourly employees) for going above and beyond their duties and responsibilities during an unprecedented school year.

The Aldine ISD Board of Trustees has always been intentional when allocating financial resources, and has made it a priority to invest in recruiting, retaining, and developing the best team for Aldine ISD students and families. They believe without a doubt, that there is no better investment to make than in our incredible educators and staff.

At the meeting Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney expressed that dedication shown by district staff has not gone unnoticed.

“Please accept this check on behalf of the Aldine ISD board of trustees as a tangible expression of appreciation for the dedication you bring to work each day. Thank you for teaching and working in extraordinary ways this school year.”