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EMMETT MAKES PROPOSAL TO SAVE ASTRODOME

astrodome-plan-emmett

World’s Largest Indoor Park to fulfill Hoffheinz’ Vision

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett announced a proposal this afternoon to convert the Harris County Domed Stadium – known worldwide as The Astrodome – into the world’s largest indoor park and recreation center. Emmett unveiled his proposal from the floor of the Dome, which he described as the realization of Judge Roy Hofheinz’s “vision of the future.”

“I believe it is time to put forth a new vision for the future of the Dome,” Emmett said. “With that in mind, I am suggesting that we explore the concept of creating an indoor park and recreation area inside the Dome for the people of Harris County. The world’s largest indoor park.”

Emmett has been exploring the indoor park concept with local officials, stakeholders and interested parties for the past couple months, seeking input and suggestions and refining the idea. While details of the concept are still being refined, Emmett suggested leaving it open to the public except when in use by tenants like the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Offshore Technology Conference, or others. He also recommended including a large, open green space that would be perfect for festivals and other community gatherings. Emmett also proposed having a pavilion for music and other events and sporting facilities from archery ranges to hiking and biking trails.

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It’s “BACK TO SCHOOL” Time

Gene Green visits with Kaii Brume (far right) and his parents Barbra and Friday Brume (left) during the 19th Annual Gene Green Immunization Day.

Gene Green visits with Kaii Brume (far right) and his parents Barbra and Friday Brume (left) during the 19th Annual Gene Green Immunization Day.

GALENA PARK, Texas – Galena Park ISD hosted the 19th Annual Gene Green Immunization Day at North Shore Senior High School 9th Grade Center on Saturday, August 23, 2014. According to the Harris Health System (formerly Harris County Hospital District), 1,528 vaccines were given to 523 children.

In addition, numerous other organizations and groups were on hand to offer information, services, and giveaways, including: free flu shots courtesy of Walgreens; free school supplies and backpacks courtesy of the North Shore Rotary Club; KRBE conducted a live on-site broadcast and gave away promotional items; Texas Children’s Hospital fitted and gave away bicycle helmets; and Santos Ramirez, Galena Park ISD’s Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC), visited with parents and students about drug awareness.

Congressman Gene Green, State Representative Ana Hernandez, Constable Chris Diaz, State Representative Armando Walle, and GPISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Angi Williams showed their support, visiting with parents and children, and encouraging good health and education. “This was a great cooperative effort for our community and students. This event helps give our students the best “shot” at staying healthy so they can come to school and learn,” said Dr. Williams.

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NORTH CHANNEL: Assistance Ministries combines, plans building

A NEW BUILDING for the North Channel Assistance Ministries will combing services of the Food Pantry with two other organizations, Betty’s Haven and Steps Counseling. The building will be at the current site, on Freeport Street in Cloverleaf.

A NEW BUILDING for the North Channel Assistance Ministries will combing services of the Food Pantry with two other organizations, Betty’s Haven and Steps Counseling. The building will be at the current site, on Freeport Street in Cloverleaf.

CHANNELVIEW – Rodney Redford is by nature an optimistic man, and in his position it helps a lot.

He is the director of the North Channel Assistance Ministries, and as such is responsible for the Food Pantry and many additional services for residents of the area that need assistance to live. The organization started in 1985.

In his desire to provide adequate services to these families, NCAM has agreed to merge with two other organizations for more efficient delivery of help. NCAM will now include the North Channel Coalition, operating as Betty’s Haven, and the Steps Counseling organization.

To accommodate all of this additional activity, Redford is planning on expanding, and building a new addition and remodeling of the building he now operates from, at the corner of Bonham and Freeport Streets in Cloverleaf.

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Green holds Town Hall Meeting in GP

CONGRESSMAN GENE GREEN talks about his legislative program at the Town Hall Meeting in Galena Manor, and also about programs he sponsors in the community, such as Senior Citizens Forum, Immunization Day, Town Hall meetings, Job Fairs, Paying for College Workshop, and Service Academy workshops. At left is Galena Manor Civic Club president Mrs. Taggy Hall.

CONGRESSMAN GENE GREEN talks about his legislative program at the Town Hall Meeting in Galena Manor, and also about programs he sponsors in the community, such as Senior Citizens Forum, Immunization Day, Town Hall meetings, Job Fairs, Paying for College Workshop, and Service Academy workshops. At left is Galena Manor Civic Club president Mrs. Taggy Hall.

GALENA PARK – Congressman Gene Green met with several dozen of his constituents and residents of the area last Monday night, in a scheduled Town Hall session.

The meeting was held in the Churchill Community Building, which Civic Club president Taggy Hall noted, “This is the first time a town hall meeting has been held at our community center.”

Green’s talk was in two phases. First, he explained to the group what services he sponsors on a regular basis in his 29th District. Many of them are aimed at seniors, veterans, and college bound students.

Secondly, he discussed some legislative issues that Congress is dealing with at present, and also commented
on difficult world conditions, especially in the Middle East.

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Free inoculations for school-aged kids

School Kids getting their shots at the inoculation clinic last year.

School Kids getting their shots at the inoculation clinic last year.

HOUSTON – Congressman Gene Green invites students and families to kick off the new school year with a discussion about children’s health and free immunizations.

Services will be available for school-aged children in the 29th Congressional District at Oleson Elementary, J.R. Harris Elementary, and North Shore Ninth Grade Campus.

“This event helps raise awareness about children’s health issues, and gets children started out on the right foot for the upcoming school year,” Green said. “We like to see healthy and happy kids.”

Green said that last year, over 3000 kids received their free shots in the Galena Park school district alone.

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Local resident reports on hazardous community problem

An 18-wheeler truck with hazardous cargo parks within 30 feet of children’s swimming pool. The pool can be observed at the back right side. (Submitted Photo)

An 18-wheeler truck with hazardous cargo parks within 30 feet of children’s swimming pool. The pool can be observed at the back right side. (Submitted Photo)

Dear Editor North Channel Star:

I would like to inform you of a safety and health concern that our entire neighborhood is fighting about with the City of Houston. They have almost completed the construction of a Stripe truck stop in our neighborhood. We as a neighborhood were not consulted or informed of this business until after construction had started. We have over 500 family homes in our neighborhood. I have contacted every one of them and nobody approves of this truck stop. There are many concerns including but not limited to increase in crime rate, increase in drug trafficking, prostitution, air pollution, noise pollution, flooding and mostly traffic safety.

According to the Air Alliance Houston, our area has an increased cancer risk due to particulates from trucks and ships. Having a truck stop within 30 feet of where children play is no help. When it rains the people near the truck stop have water within a few inches of flooding their homes. The increased cemented area will increase this threat. Trucks will be parked within 20 feet of back yards with their motors running all night. This cannot be helpful to these working people trying to get a good night’s sleep, I do not believe that any air, noise pollution or flooding study was performed before the city approved this construction.

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COMMUNITY PROFILE: Taggy Hall wants to win $25K for Precinct2gether

MRS. ERONIA “TAGGY” HALL

MRS. ERONIA “TAGGY” HALL

GALENA PARK – Taggy Hall wants your vote, and she is not afraid to ask for it, at community meetings and chamber events. She is the president of the Galena Manor Civic Club, which meets monthly at the Churchill Community Center on Hunter Street in Galena Manor.

But she is also a community activist, and she sees an opportunity to help the Precinct 2 organization for seniors, Precinct2gether.

She is competing with four other women, in a contest to get the most votes and win a prize of $25,000 from TexanPlus, a local Medicare Advantage health plan organization that has teamed with the Astros baseball club to sponsor this competition. Whichever of the five women gets the most votes between now and Sept. 12 will win the prize, and her designated charity will get the money.

Taggy wants you to vote at www.texanpluschampions.com/vote.html. You can vote once every day until the deadline.

Eronia “Taggy” Hall considers teaching her life’s passion. So after retiring from the Houston Independent School District after 34 years of service, there was perhaps no better way to spend her golden years than teaching seniors. And that’s precisely what she did.

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Grand jury indicts governor on counts

AUSTIN — A Travis County grand jury on Aug. 15 indicted Gov. Rick Perry on two felony counts: abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant.

Count I alleges Perry, on or about June 14, 2013, intended to harm Rosemary Lehmberg, Travis County district attorney and chief of the state’s Public Integrity Unit, by intentionally or knowingly misusing public property in withholding funding approved by the Texas Legislature for the operation of the Public Integrity Unit.

Count II alleges Perry by means of coercion and in his official capacity as a public servant threatened to veto legislation funding the Public Integrity Unit unless Lehmberg resigned as district attorney.

Lehmberg was arrested for drunken driving in April 2013. She served a short jail sentence, publicly apologized, underwent counseling and returned to her elected post as district attorney and chief of the Public Integrity Unit, a division of the district attorney’s office that investigates and prosecutes criminal activity involving state government and state government officials.

Lehmberg refused to resign. Perry reacted with a line-item veto of the funding approved for the Public Integrity Unit ($7.5 million) in the state’s 2014-2015 general appropriations bill, SB 1. Perry explained the veto this way: “Despite the otherwise good work the Public Integrity Unit’s employees, I cannot in good conscience support continued State funding for an office with statewide jurisdiction at a time when the person charged with ultimate responsibility of that unit has lost the public’s confidence . This unit is in no other way held accountable to state taxpayers, except through the State budgetary process. I therefore object to and disapprove of this appropriation.”

Mary Anne Wiley, general counsel for Perry, issued a statement saying, “The veto in question was made in accordance with the veto authority afforded to every governor under the Texas Constitution. We will continue to aggressively defend the governor’s lawful and constitutional action, and believe we will ultimately prevail.”

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Change is in the air for Texans, UT, and college football as 2014 season nears

mike keeney“Change” is definitely the word in these parts when it comes to the 2014 football season.

Houston Texans fans got the change they asked for when longtime head coach Gary Kubiak was fired last December and replaced by former Penn State, and Bill Belichick acolyte, Bill O’Brien in January. University of Texas fans got the change they clamored for when Mack Brown stepped down after 16 years leading the Longhorns and was replaced by former Louisville head football coach Charlie Strong.

And college football fans finally got the change they had been asking for when the highly unpopular Bowl Championship Series (BCS) was done away with and the College Football Playoff was born. The new system will pit the top four rated teams chosen by a selection committee made up of individuals with coaching experience, student-athletes, collegiate administrators and current athletic directors. The committee will choose the top four teams for the playoff, rank them (1-4) and assign them to the semifinal games. The selection committee will choose the four national semifinalists based on strength of schedule, head-to-head results, comparison of results against common opponents and other factors.

This year’s semifinal games will be held on Jan. 1 and will be the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. The No. 1 and No. 4 seed will meet in the Rose Bowl, while the No. 2 and No. 3 seed will meet in the Sugar Bowl. Each year, the national semifinals will rotate among those two bowls and the Fiesta, Orange, Cotton and Peach bowls in coming years.

The inaugural national championship game will be played on Monday, Jan. 12 at AT&T Stadium (formerly known as Jerry World). Read on to see who yours truly thinks will be the four teams to be this year’s semifinalists and the overall national champion, along with a number of other predictions.

While University of Texas fans are hoping their team will be making the trek to Arlington for the national title game, they might be getting a bit ahead of themselves. The ‘Horns still have some holes in their team, but I have a feeling UT fans will like what they see from their new head coach. The no-nonsense Strong laid down the law right off the bat and dismissed seven players from the team during the spring and summer for violating team rules. I have a feeling Texas will be a more disciplined team in 2014 and will be much better on defense. The key to how far they go will center on quarterback David Ash, who missed a majority of the 2013 season with a concussion. He followed that injury up by breaking his foot during spring drills, but has been cleared for the upcoming season. The 6-4 Ash has talent and speed and if healthy would be a huge plus for the UT offense, which should field a strong running game led by the powerful Malcolm Brown and the speedy and elusive Johnathan Gray, who is coming off an Achilles injury but has also been cleared to play this season.

Texas should be in the Big 12 mix, but it appears Oklahoma and Baylor are the class of the league heading into the season. Bob Stoops’ Sooners finished off the 2013 season in impressive season by blasting Alabama 45-31 in the Sugar Bowl. The Sugar Bowl was a coming out party for quarterback Trevor Knight and he should be ready for a big season in 2014. The offense is loaded and so is the defense as nine starters return this year.

Scoring won’t be a problem for Art Briles’ Baylor Bears, who won the Big 12 last year and return a pretty fair signal caller in Bryce Petty, who set a school passing record last season. He has plenty of weapons to call on once again, but the big question in Waco will be how much improved will the Baylor defense be? That unit was exposed in the Fiesta Bowl by Central Florida and the Bears will face much better offenses than CFU with the likes of OU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Texas on their schedule.

Not only will Baylor be looking to win a second straight league title, but they will also be opening a new stadium, named after former Houston Astros owner, and major Baylor contributor Drayton McLane Jr.

Please read below for how one person thinks the major conferences will shake out this year.

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State issues annual School Ratings

tea-logo-header-2Local districts get passing grades in new reporting system

The Texas Education Agency issued its report card for schools and districts last Friday, with almost all districts in this area getting a passing grade.

The ratings were based on new criteria, and also results were stated in a new simplified method. Either a school “Met Standard” or “Improvement Required”.

Schools were rated in four Accountability categories:

1. Student Achievement, based on STAAR test scores for the year.

2. Student Progress, in subjects like math and reading from year to year. (High Schools were not graded in this category, because they did not take STAAR tests last year.)

3. Closing Performance Gaps, or emphasis on high level achievement of the lowest performing students.

4. Postsecondary Readiness, or graduation rates and diploma plans.

In this area, school districts such as Galena Park, Channelview, and Sheldon all had every school meet the Pass category, or “Met Standard.”

However, Houston ISD had one school that didn’t, Furr High School, which was deficient in Postsecondary Readiness, graduation rates and diploma plans.

The state’s third largest district, Cypress-Fairbanks, earned the honor of being the biggest district in the state in which all campuses met the “pass” standard.

Although there were four accountability categories, in general they were all based on STAAR test scores. If a school did not pass in one of these four categories, it was listed as “improvement required” and this affected the district rating.

Districts complained that the rating system was very complex, and therefore difficult to find out how to improve their scores.

Channelview ISD Statement on Ratings:

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