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Northeast News

Ambassadors to hold youth rally

The teen center of the Ambassadors ministries at 2317 Hartwick will hold a youth rally and pizza party celebrating the opening of the center at 7:00 p.m. on January 18th.

The teen center welcomes teens and pre-teens ages 1219 who want to make a positive change in the Aldine community.

For more information, please call 281-987-2014.

Iglesia Emmanuel to hold Skate Night

Iglesia Emmanuel Ministries, 1921 Sandydale Lane, will hold a Skate Night at 7:30 p.m. on January 21 at Airline Skating Rink.

In addition to skating, the evening will feature special speakers, live music and outreach. For more information, please call 281-687-3469.

Oakwilde CC to award Christmas bests

The Oakwilde Civic Club will award three prizes to residents for the best “Christmas-dressed” homes at the club’s next meeting, 6:30 p.m. January 28th at High Meadows Library.

Awards will be presented for the most creative, traditional and simplistic homes. The winning decorations were at 4306 Monitor, 4307 Merrimac and 4311 Wedgewood.

The most decorative street in the subdivision was Wedgewood.

It was lined with lighted arches and had many decorated homes.

Insightful “In the Bedroom”

A film reviewer is not much more than a committed moviegoer. The main differences are that they usually see more movies and they have to form opinions on them, whether they want to or not.
After a while, so many films seem the same that it’s refreshing when a film is unique or touches you in a significant way.

Based on a short story by Andre Dubus, “In the
Bedroom” is just such a movie. Actor Todd Field (“Eyes Wide Shut,” Ruby in Paradise”) directs and co-writes. As a first effort, it is extraordinary.

It’s so perfectly acted and realistic that it’s as if you’re the proverbial fly on the wall watching the effects of an ill-fated love affair and the tragedy it brings to a family.

The feeling of being an intruder on the lives of real people is a unique experience. The last time I felt that way was with Mike Leigh’s “Secrets and Lies.” Unlike so many films about death and grieving there’s little sentimentality.

Field does not try to wring tears from us; rather he tries to put us in the shoes of the characters so that we feel their pain. He makes you wonder what you would do in their place.

The title is explained early on in a scene that has Tom Wilkinson (“The Patriot,” “The Full Monty”) explaining why some lobsters lose a claw in traps, which he calls bedrooms. Basically, things get crowded when there are more then two in a bedroom.
Wilkinson plays Matt Fowler a doctor in a picturesque Maine town. His wife Ruth, brilliantly played by Sissy Spacek (“Affliction,” “Blast from the Past”), is very worried about her college-aged son Frank’s relationship with an older divorcee.
Frank, Nick Stahl (“Man Without a Face”), tells his parents that Natalie (Marisa Tomei) is just another girl. Yet he acts like it’s love and even talks about not going to graduate school, but becoming a full-time lobsterman.

Added into the mix is Natalie’s volatile ex-husband, played to slimy perfection by William Mapother (“Swordfish”). The first half of the movie depicts people doing everyday stuff. They go to work, take care of the lawn, watch little league games, have lunch with friends.

Matt and Ruth are a long-time married couple who still love each other very much. Frank is falling in love with not just Natalie, but her two young sons. We like these people. They remind us of people we know.

The second half of the film has most of these people doing the same things as in the beginning, but something has changed drastically. Everything is more difficult. Everything is slower paced (including the movie itself) because these people are grieving and in pain.

Anybody who has ever lost someone they love will recognize themselves in the characters staring into space or at a TV they aren’t watching. But there is more than just grief tearing at the souls of the characters, there’s anger and there’s denial. It is not what is said that has so much meaning; it is what goes unspoken for so long that has the power to hurt and to heal.

There are some key scenes in the movie we never see. An agreement between friends to do something shocking is all the more affective because we never hear it. It’s an interesting choice on how to develop the plot, but it works, as does most everything else in the film.

The acting by all, especially Spacek and Wilkinson, are some of the best performances of the year.
Some might find “In the Bedroom” slow and depressing. But it’s leisurely pace draws one in – if you let it. And it’s no more depressing than the news. It’s more insightful and intriguing and there are issues of love – all types – and what is right and what is wrong and what is justice than you’ll never find on the evening news. Rated-R

Soldiers Invade Jesse Jones Park

Although not a regular occurrence at Jones Park, Federal and Rebel soldiers will be a part of the park’s annual Civil War Skirmish on Saturday, January 19, 2002 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors of all ages have the opportunity to interact with authentically outfitted Civil War re-enactors and to view soldiers practicing drill maneuvers.

Visitors may even find themselves “enlisted” with the 1st and 13th U.S. Infantry under the command of Captain Richard Beatty and participating in some of the practice drills under the barking orders of Sergeant Craig Borkmen.

The Civil War Skirmish draws up to 100 re-enactors from many groups including the 1st and 13th U.S Infantry, the 26th Illinois Infantry, the 1st, 9th and 12th Texas Infantry, the 7th Texas Artillery and the Texas Rifles.

Members travel throughout the country to participate in larger national reenactments such as the battles at Gettysburg, Shiloh, Vicksburg as well as local events throughout Texas and Louisiana.

Drills are conducted by Federal and Confederate units front 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. along with a recreated telegraph station headed by William Bennett, camp life demonstrations, and artillery pieces. At 2:30 p.m., the battle over Redbud Hill Homestead will be fought. The medical impression and treatments of the wounded will take place at 3 p.m., followed by a question and answer session with participants. The homestead area and related activities will close at 4 p.m.

Arbor Day

Free tree saplings and hardwoods! Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center is celebrating Arbor Day by giving away trees on Saturday, January 19th and Sunday January 20th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Make plans to stop by not only to take a tree home to plant but also to participate in various programs full of information on trees and how to care for them.

The Nebraska state government on April 10, 1872, due mainly to the efforts of J. Sterling Morton, introduced the first Arbor Day when it realized the importance of trees to the environment. Texas joined this fight in preserving its natural resources in 1890.

But why is this important to the normal citizen?
Since 1972 Houston has lost 16 percent of its tree canopy, which equals a 237 million dollar loss in storm water management value and a 38 million dollar loss in air pollution removal value. Trees in the Houston metropolitan area also provide savings of energy dollars at the rate of $72 annually per single-family dwelling. So join Jones Park by planting a tree and continuing the Arbor Day tradition.

Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center is honored to present the following speakers providing a variety of information commemorating Arbor Day:

•10 a.m. Carla Wyatt from the Park People will be talking about the Treescape Program
•1 p.m. Tom Rudy from Tree Care will be giving tips on how to properly prune plants.
•2 p.m. Mickey Merritt from the Texas Forest Service will be on hand to answer questions and offer information on general tree care.
•11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Don Olhausen from Jones Park will be presenting Terrific Trees. Come learn about native trees and shrubs recommended for the Houston area.

Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center, a Harris County Precinct 4 facility, is located at 20634 Kcnswick Drive in Humble.

Aldine principal to take part in satellite town meeting in D.C.

Nancy Blackwell, principal of Aldine ISD’s Hambrick Middle School, has been selected to participate in a satellite town meeting in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Jan. 15.

Blackwell and other educators from across the country will participate in the Department of Education’s “Testing for Results: Using Assessment to Measure Effectiveness and Drive Instruction,” according to Ida Roxanna Eblinger, producer of the town meeting.

The meeting will be the first after the passage of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act and will help to explain the sweeping changes that the new education law will bring. The focus of the program will highlight the testing provisions in the No Child Left Behind Act and will describe how annual assessments can ensure student progress and improve schools. The discussion will emphasize how effective testing, when linked to high academic standards and a challenging curriculum, is essential to education reform.

Blackwell and Hambrick Middle School were chosen to participate in the program by Just for the Kids, Inc. because of the academic success Hambrick students have achieved over the past few years. Just for the Kids recommended Hambrick for using test data to raise the academic performance of economically disadvantaged students.

Hambrick earned an Exemplary rating from the Texas Education Agency following the 2000-2001 school year, despite having a student population that is approximately 80 percent economically disadvantaged.

The satellite town meeting is produced by the U.S. Department of Education to help communities improve teaching and learning. Blackwell will be joined by a panel of national experts, community leaders and educators who will offer insights and practical “how-to” advice for communities. The broadcast will originate from WETA, the local PBS affiliate located in Arlington, VA.

Hill Country Deer Hunt Provides Meat for the Family Freezer

The 2001 deer season was rapidly slipping away and drawing to a close in many parts of the state. Although I had been fortunate to go on my share of duck hunts, dove hunts, and goose hunts, I had yet to bring any fresh deer meat home from a hunt.
While on a dove hunt in Hamilton Country earlier in the year with fellow writer and hunting buddy Mike Innis, our conversation led to our anticipation of the deer season.

“Why don’t you come down and hunt on my ranch late in the deer season? I’ve got a lot of surplus does I need to take off the ranch before this season is over,” Mike explained.

Innis had brought in a wildlife biologist to do a deer count on his ranch. The biologist discovered that the deer herd was over the carrying capacity of the range. The herd was top-heavy with the number of does-to-bucks for maintaining a balanced deer herd.

It didn’t take me long to give him an answer. Mike’s ranch is about a 20-minute drive out of Mason where he lives and is located in the edge of McCullough County. There’s something special about the appeal of the Texas Hill Country that always makes people want to return and soak up its rugged beauty.

In the 13 counties that make up the Hill Country, also called the Edwards Plateau region, the economy is very dependent on the hunting business. Hunters flock to the Edwards Plateau area every hunting season from all areas across the state and out of Texas. They spend money on motels, gas, food, and hunting supplies, not to mention the fees for deer leases and day hunts.

And they come for a good reason: The area that makes up the Hill country is the home of more whitetail deer than any other place on planet Earth. In fact, of the more than 4 million deer in the State of Texas, about a third of them reside in the Edwards Plateau. This is more deer than can be found in some entire states. State agencies that govern our wildlife have set liberal limits for deer in these counties to help keep the population under control.

Another appeal to hunters coming to the Hill Country is the number of exotic ranches that have been growing in popularity in recent years. Exotics are game animals that are not native to the United States and are imported from countries in Asia and Africa. Exotics can be stocked and raised on area ranches and can be hunted year round. Because they are not native to our state, these animals are not regulated by Texas game laws. This gives hunters an opportunity to hunt wild species of antelope, trophy rams, and non-native species of deer. A Texas hunter might be able to take a trophy black buck antelope without having to travel to its native India to do it. Many exotic game animals are in short supply in their native countries, but they are thriving and multiplying on exotic ranches in Texas.

After rearranging our schedule a couple of times, Mike and I finally agreed on a date for my trip to Mason. Mason is a quiet town of about 2,000 and is the county seat of Mason County. It’s the type of place where people still leave their doors unlocked and motels leave the keys in the room if the managers aren’t there. Mason has a “make yourself at home” type of attitude.

We arrived about mid-afternoon at the Ft. Mason Inn. After a call to Mike, I agreed to meet him for an afternoon tour of the ranch. Just after we passed through the gates of the Three Dry Creeks Ranch, four deer that had been bedded down near the road got up, stared at us, and then scampered off through the brush.

We drove through the ranch with Mike pointing out stands, ponds, side roads, and points of interest. On the back section of the ranch, we surprised a flock of a dozen or so mallards that made a noisy flush off one of the large ponds. Touring the ranch only fueled my excitement for the two-day hunt.

Back in town that evening, we dined at the Willow Creek Cafe on the main square across from the courthouse. Traveling around the state for the last several years, I have spent a considerable amount of time and money searching for the best chicken fried steak. On a scale of 1 to 10, the steak at the Willow Creek scored about 11.

For the next two days, the weather and the elements did not cooperate. There was a bright moon lit sky and a high wind from a fresh norther. The deer were not comfortable moving during the day. On the last morning of the hunt, the first light of dawn was greeted with a cold, crisp, and calm morning.

Just after dawn, three big doe and one smaller yearling strolled into a clearing by my tower stand. The largest of the four met her fate with a squeeze of the .30.06. Mission accomplished!

I left Mason that evening feeling good about taking part in the management of our wildlife resources.
Bringing home and consuming the game from the hunt is a natural instinct and a natural extension of the hunt.

Manufactured Housing

Q: I’m considering buying a manufactured home to put on some property I own. I heard there are new rules for buying homes like this. Is this correct?

A: Manufactured homes account for one third of all new homes sold in Texas today. Last year, the Texas Legislature passed HB1869, which changes the way these homes are sold and taxed. The new law classifies a mobile home as new improvement to real property if it is hooked up to utilities and permanently installed on a foundation on land also owned by the mobile home owner. This means that the owner may qualify for a homestead exemption and that the property tax rate will be the same as for other private homes.

Also, once the home is permanently attached on your land, any lien related to its purchase is converted to a lien on new improvements to the land and is covered by Texas’ homestead laws. Article XVI, section 60, of the Texas Constitution was also amended this year to recognize the converted manufactured home lien. This change is meant to clarify confusion with the previous law that some consumers faced when trying to refinance their mobile homes.

If your mobile home is located on land that you lease from someone else, it will still be classified as personal property. This is true whether the home’s placement there is temporary or permanent. However, it will be appraised separately from the land it sits on and will be taxed at the same rate as other single-family homes.

HB 1869 also says that when you buy a mobile home with an existing mortgage, you must be given a disclosure statement dealing with zoning, water and sewer service, property taxes, and homeowners’ association fees. The seller must also give you a written document stating the total purchase price, interest rate and repayment schedule. This disclosure must also list any future costs you will be responsible for, including property taxes, insurance, utility service or road maintenance.
In addition, closing on the sale of a manufactured home must now take place at a federally insured financial institution, a title company or a law office. The seller may not pay any part of the down payment or closing costs related to the sale.

Retailers, brokers or salespeople who arrange the purchase of the home may not receive any compensation from the seller. Remember that these new rules only apply to mobile homes sold or permanently attached to their foundations after January 1, 2002.

Q. I own a motor home and lease space for it at a trailer park. Are there new rules my landlord and I must follow?

A: HB 557, which takes effect April 1, 2002, creates new protections for consumers who own a mobile home or motor home and keep it on a lot leased from a trailer park or other property owner. These rules are roughly comparable to those for other residential tenants.

For example, the landlord may not enter a tenant’s mobile home with out permission except in an emergency or if the mobile home has been abandoned. Common areas must be open to all tenants in the park, and the landlord may not interfere with tenants’ meetings. The landlord must disclose the name and address of the owner of the property where the trailer park is located and of the management company that runs it. The law also covers maintenance and repair obligations, security deposits, subleasing, liability for property damage and eviction procedures.

Under HB 557, if a tenant’s lease won’t be renewed, the landlord must give a 60-day notice so that the mobile home may be relocated. The law requires a 120-day notice if the property is being converted from a trailer park to some other use.

HCC-Northeast hosts law enforcement career day

Nearly 50 representatives from law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies from across the state came to recruit employees recently at the Criminal Justice Career Day at Houston Community College-Northeast.

Hosted by the HCC-Northeast Public Safety Careers Department, the event was held in Codwell Hall on the college’s Northeast Campus and drew several hundred students and graduates interested in careers in the field of criminal justice.
Many of the students were from HCC-Northeast’s Criminal Justice Program.

The college offers degree programs in Law Enforcement, Corrections and Juvenile Justice, with certificate programs in Basic Peace Office Certification (TCLEOSE licensing), Basic Correctional Officer (state), Basic Jailer (county), Telecommunications Officer, Firearms Instructor, Basic Instructor, and In-Service Training for Law Enforcement Officers. Nearly 3,500 students are served each year through classes in the Criminal Justice program.

Career Day gave students an opportunity to compare the different agencies and decide on a definite career path in criminal justice while allowing the agency representatives to recruit for immediate openings as well as get commitments for future openings.

Officer Enrique Colorado from the City of Austin Police Department was one of the recruiters looking to the future.

“Austin is growing very fast and in the next three years we will need to fill several hundred positions,” he said. “We are very impressed with your facility and your cadets and look forward to other opportunities to recruit at the college.”
Lt. Roy Rankin, Harris County Constable Precinct 5, said: “We are very impressed with the program at HCCS and will continue to employ graduates from the program.

We have employed several graduates of the program and without exception are completely satisfied with their job performance.

The completion of the proposed expansion will ensure a long lasting partnership between the county and the college.”

For more information about Criminal Justice programs at HCC-Northeast or to enroll, call 713-718-8319.

New sales tax rate effective January 1 in Aldine Community Improvement District

On January 1 most businesses in the Aldine area began collecting an additional 1% sales tax on products and taxable services sold within the boundaries of the new Aldine Community Improvement District.

‘The State Comptroller’s Office began notifying businesses of the change in the sales tax rate in early December,” said Clyde Bailey, chairman of the District’s Board of Directors and owner of Jed’s Ace Home Center at 5415 Aldine Mail Route. “However, we’ve received many direct calls for more information and clarification of the District’s boundaries.”

The District encompasses territory that is in Harris County but outside the city limits of Houston. Its boundaries roughly comprise Aldine Bcnder Road/FM 525 on the north, Hardy Toll Road on the west, portions of Lone Oak, Little York, Sagebrush, Bentley and Langley on the south, and parts of Hirsch Road and Homestead on the east.

Voters in the District approved the new sales tax rate in an election held in August 2001.

Merchants and service providers doing business within the District’s boundaries will collect up to a maximum 8.25% tax on taxable transactions. This maximum is made up of the 6.2% sales tax rate charged by the State, the new 1% tax charged by Aldine Community Improvement District, and, in most cases, a 1% tax for METRO. There are a few areas in the District east of U. S. 59 that do not participate in METRO and thus do not collect the METRO tax. Businesses with questions about the new sales tax may contact the District’s administrator, Hawes Hill & Associates, at 713-541-0447 to obtain a map and more information.

Created by the State Legislature in 2001, Aldine Community Improvement District will use the sales tax proceeds to finance public projects to improve economic development and enhance the quality of life of the Aldine area.