This Week's Headlines

MHSH celebrates 30th anniversary

Multiple purse-snatchings reported

Leader holds annual Christmas drive

Yandell stages one-woman sit-in

Southeast VFD battles house fire

Local Boy Scout honors firefighters

Man killed in Gulf Freeway crash

Dobie’s Van Essen, Peel promoted

City brass celebrates holidays

Dickens on The Strand offers second festival weekend on Dec. 9 and 10

Holiday wreath-laying to honor veterans

Roberts Middle School Spelling Bee winners named

Melillo hosts 2nd annual fun run to benefit families for Christmas

Van Essen named JFD 9th-grade principal

BMX show at Frazier Elementary

Frazier students visit with Mrs. Claus

CenterPoint Energy issues cold weather safety tips

Perez files first bill, stands up for veterans in the workforce

Dr. Dixie Melillo Middle School students and staff have “hearts that care”

Sullivan dedication honors longtime board member

Basketball roundup: Brook teams excel at CCISDs

Simmons, 3 others head Dobie football’s AD picks

St. Mary’s Arnett in groove

Thompson’s Walker wins x-country


MHSH celebrates 30th anniversary

There was no GPS, no Google and no DVD players when Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital opened its doors at 11800 Astoria Blvd. on Dec. 6, 1986. In fact, at least in name, there was no Memorial Hermann Southeast.

Originally part of the Memorial Hospital System, Memorial Hospital Southeast, located at 7655 Bellfort Avenue, opened its doors in 1963.

As Southeast Houston began to grow, the hospitals landlocked location didn’t allow for further expansion.

Given the circumstances, the board of the Memorial Hospital System purchased the acreage on Astoria for a new 276-bed Memorial Hospital Southeast to be built.

In 1997, Hermann Hospital merged with the Memorial Healthcare System – now known as Memorial Hermann Health System – and Memorial Hospital Southeast became Memorial Hermann Southeast.

Today, Memorial Hermann Southeast is a 293-bed hospital that sits on a 56-acre campus with plenty of room to grow. Currently, the hospital is undergoing a $14 million renovation which includes the refurbishing and upgrading of all 237 patient rooms. The project is expected to be completed by 2018.

“We’re excited to celebrate this important milestone in Memorial Hermann Southeast’s history,” said Kyle Price, senior vice president and CEO of Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital. “Thanks to the community, our physicians, nurses and staff, we’re still going strong. As part of our commitment to the growing community, we recently expanded our scope of services with the opening of the Memorial Hermann Urgent Care – Clear Lake and coming soon, our Memorial Hermann Convenient Care Center in League City. In some ways, we feel the best is yet to come.”

Memorial Hermann Southeast is one of the busiest emergency centers in the Memorial Hermann Health System, with an average of 200 visits per day. The campus is proud to be accredited by the Joint Commission with Gold Seal of Approval for Advanced Certification for Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement and Primary Stroke Centers, and is consistently named among the nation’s top-50 cardiovascular hospitals by Truven Health Analytics.

Memorial Hermann Southeast also offers a comprehensive women’s and children’s program. The hospital’s Level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is capable of caring for the smallest and sickest newborns, with access to an even higher level of care at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center.

Multiple purse-snatchings reported

There has been a spike in the number of reported thefts taking place in local parking lots in recent weeks.

The incidents have been occurring most frequently at shopping centers located near a freeway, making a quick escape easier for the crooks involved.

While social media reports and even a Channel 2 news story have focused much attention to incidents taking place at the Kroger and the adjacent gas station on Beltway 8 and Sabo, similar incidents have also been reported taking place at the H-E-B on Beltway 8 and Blackhawk and the Sam’s Club on Fuqua near the Gulf Freeway.

There was at least three thefts reported at Kroger between Thursday, Dec. 1, and Tuesday, Dec. 6. The last incident reportedly took place even as an armed security guard patrolled the property.

Amanda Maslonka, whose mother’s purse was stolen in the Kroger parking lot Dec. 3, said she had complained to the store about their lack of proper security prior to the theft.

“I had complained to the management several times about their security not doing their job over the past two weeks,” Maslonka said. “Security was nowhere around when the robbery happened. I’m thankful that it was just a purse- snatching, and she wasn’t hurt.”

A spokeswoman for Kroger, however, said steps are being taken to ensure customer safety.

“Our customers’ safety is our top priority, and much has been taking place behind the scenes to help stem the criminal activity at the store,” said Kroger Public Affairs Manager Joy Partain. “In addition to increasing the security guard hours, we have supplemented the security with off-duty law enforcement officers. There’s now someone on premise 24/7, which is more coverage than most stores have. We’ve also changed the traffic flow at our fuel pumps to combat ‘slider’ crime. We’ve added signage to the fuel pumps to educate people about sliders and to warn customers to keep their doors locked while pumping. The shopping center landlord has added security that patrols the area as well. Since we’ve implemented these measures, the number of incidents has significantly decreased.”

Officer Richard Buitron of the Houston Police Department said such crimes are more common during the holiday season and urges shoppers to be vigilant.

“Be aware of your surroundings,” Buitron said. “Never let your guard down. If (the thieves) see an opportunity, they’re going to take it.”

At press time, officials from the South Belt-Ellington Chamber of Commerce were in talks with local stores about planning a round-table discussion in the coming weeks to address the growing problem.

Leader holds annual Christmas drive

The Leader is currently accepting donations and applications for assistance for its 34th annual Christmas program.

The program is different from other similar holiday drives in that food and toys collected go to needy families in the immediate South Belt community.

The holiday tradition began in 1982 when a then-anonymous man donated a turkey dinner to the Leader and asked for the staff’s assistance in finding a deserving family to whom to give it. The donor, nicknamed “The Good Samaritan” by the Leader staff, was later identified as Scarsdale resident Jim Kramer.

Kramer and his wife Jean still participate in the annual program. Last year, with the Leader’s help, the Kramers adopted a local family and provided for all of their holiday needs.

Several local organizations and residents also now take part in the annual drive. Some donate food and toys, while others selflessly volunteer their time.

Area schools now play a much larger role, with local campuses not only collecting donations but also providing information to the newspaper about which families need the most assistance.

Past participating campuses include Atkinson, Moore, Stuchbery, South Belt and Frazier Elementary Schools, Melillo Middle School, Beverly Hills and Thompson Intermediate Schools and Dobie High School.

Desired items include nonperishable food items, toys for children of all ages and cash. In past years, there has been a shortage of gifts for older children and teens. All gifts should be new and unwrapped.

The deadline to file for assistance in the program is Thursday, Dec. 15. First-time applicants must apply in person at the Leader office, located at 11555 Beamer. Previous applicants may register online at

All applicants must undergo a screening process to determine the family’s need. This is done through various means, including verification from school nurses and counselors. All applicants must be South Belt residents and possess at least one form of identification verifying their address.

Donations may be dropped off at the Leader office, 11555 Beamer, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday.


E-mail with news items of interest.

Return to top of page