This Week's Headlines

Voting begins April 24 for school elections

Precinct 2 deputies make arrests

City passes ordinance aimed at curbing panhandling

Cook-off April 27-29

Hughes complete, Beamer not

Dobie student reported missing

Atkinson teachers are seeing double

Adopt-A-Beach Cleanup Earth Day

UH Pearland breaks ground

CCISD competes in Robot Championship

PISD candidate questionnaire answered

Graduate’s artwork displayed at UHCL

SJC events planned

UHCL hosts Emily Sutter symposium

Parker Williams Library says goodbye to branch manager

Residents enjoy fun fest, dog parade

Arlington SH’s late goal halts Dobie’s title chase

Netters Le, Neira at regionals

For tracksters, area meets next

Dobie’s 22-6A award winners highlight all-district girls’ soccer

Dobie baseball now at 5-5; playoff berth within grasp

Lady Longhorn softball out to grab runner-up

Despite regional tennis loss; Dobie duo relishes chance

Darren Lajaunie tennis event set to be served up April 28

Longhorns’ spring football to take to the field on May 1

San Jacinto College softball in Region XIV title contention

Voting begins April 24 for school elections

Early voting for the local May 6 school board elections will begin Monday, April 24, and continue through Tuesday, May 2.

Voters will decide who will fill four Pasadena Independent School District seats and two San Jacinto College seats.

While South Belt residents will not be able to vote in the Clear Creek Independent School District board elections, they will have a say on whether or not to approve the district’s proposed $487 million bond issue.

PISD
In the PISD election, Positions 1-4 will be up for grabs. The contest has been particularly contentious this year, as a local political action committee, Latino Texas PAC, has been actively campaigning that Hispanics, who make up approximately 48 percent of Pasadena’s population, are underrepresented on the school board. To combat this, the PAC has recruited Hispanic candidates to challenge all incumbents running for re-election.

Position 1 incumbent Fred Roberts is being challenged by Roel Saldivar; Position 2 incumbent Mariselle Quijano is being challenged by Maria Vilma Duran; Position 3 incumbent Nelda R. Sullivan is being challenged by former PISD board member Larry Savala; and Position 4 incumbent Jack Bailey is being challenged by Jose A. Cazares.

The Leader sent a questionnaire to all individuals seeking a position on the board, but none of the PAC-related candidates responded.

Early voting will take place at all five of the school district’s comprehensive high school campuses. Voting hours will be 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on April 24-28 and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 1-2.

For additional information or to see Election Day polling places, visit www1.pasadenaisd.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_80688/File/Board%20Docs/
Election%20Info/ElectionInfoEarlyVotingLocations.pdf
.

San Jacinto College
In the San Jacinto College election, voters will decide who will fill the Position 1 and Position 2 seats.

Vying for Position 1 are Rick Guerrero, Erica Davis Rouse and Richard Serna. Longtime Position 1 board member Brad Hance was forced to forfeit the position after filing to run for another office.

Position 2 incumbent Dr. Ruede Wheeler is running unopposed.

Early voting for residents living in the Pasadena Independent School District will take place at all five PISD high schools. Voting hours will be 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on April 24-28 and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 1-2.

Early voting for residents living in the Clear Creek Independent School District and Pearland Independent School District will take place at the San Jacinto College South Fine Arts Building (S15) lobby.

For additional information or to see Election Day polling places, visit www.sanjac.edu/board-trustees-election.

CCISD
In the CCISD election, voters will decide the fate of the school district’s $487 million bond proposal.

If approved by voters, the bond referendum would allow the district to build new schools or permanently increase the capacity of existing schools due to overcrowding; rebuild or renovate schools between 40 and 50 years old; repair or replace elementary playgrounds; purchase new school buses; and expand the district’s science magnet program for intermediate students to a second location.

For additional information on the bond issue, visit www.ccisd.net/cms/One.aspx?por talId=645487&pageId=20307550.
While early voting will take place across the school district, the closest location for South Belt voters will be Clear Brook High School. Voting hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For a complete list of early voting locations and Election Day locations, visit www.ccisd.net/cms/One.aspx?portalId=645487&pageId=20445039.

Precinct 2 deputies make arrests

Deputies from the Harris County Precinct 2 Constable’s office have recently made multiple felony arrests for crimes ranging from drug possession to fraud.

A large drug arrest was made in the 11000 block of Sageview on Wednesday, April 5, following a surveillance mission conducted by the Precinct 2 Special Operations Division on a reported narcotics house.

According to deputies, a traffic stop on a suspect led to a search warrant being approved on the house under surveillance. With the assistance of Precinct 8 deputies, the search warrant was executed around 8 p.m.

The search yielded a large amount of heroin, methamphetamine and other unspecified narcotics.

The homeowner, Roberto Jimenez, 29, was arrested and charged with two felony counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

On Saturday, April 8, deputies made an arrest in connection to the recent burglaries of the Kwik Kar Lube & Ocean Car Wash on Scarsdale and the Elite Dry Cleaners on Blackhawk.

After spending several days showing multiple sources photos of the suspect’s distinctive vehicle (a white Pontiac sedan with a black racing stripe), deputies received a tip that the car was at the Hobby Inn Hotel, located at 8800 Airport.

Deputies traveled to the hotel and found the suspected vehicle, which was occupied by Jeffery Martin.

While deputies determined Martin, a black male, wasn’t the white suspect for whom they were searching, he was found to be in possession of drugs and a fictitious identification card.

Martin, 60, was arrested and charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and felony tampering with a government document.

During an inventory of the vehicle, approximately 20 to 30 fake IDs were found – all with the same photo but different information (name, address, date of birth, etc.). The photo appeared to be the suspect caught on surveillance cameras during the aforementioned burglaries.

Deputies then contacted the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Fraud Division, which was able to identify the actual suspect after running the fake IDs through a special database.

The burglary suspect, Richard Milne, was found to already be in jail, arrested the day prior by the Houston Police Department for felony tampering with a government document.

Milne, 56, is currently in jail, facing three felony charges. At press time, Precinct 2 deputies were in the process of attempting to file a fourth felony charge on him for burglary of a business.

City passes ordinance aimed at curbing panhandling

Houston City Council passed an ordinance Wednesday, April 12, aimed at curbing panhandling and combating homelessness.

Residents who block roadways, sidewalks and building entrances could be charged with a misdemeanor under the new regulations. The ordinance also prohibits temporary shelters, tents and unauthorized cooking devices in public areas. Homeless individuals, however, will still be allowed to sleep on city property.

The new measures will give local law enforcement more ammunition in the fight against panhandlers, as previous city rules related to the practice were very limited.

“Our hands are tied,” Houston Police Department Capt. Jerome Stevens said at a town hall meeting hosted by City Council Member Dave Martin this past February.

The temporary shelter ban will be enforced in 30 days (May 12), while the other provisions will take effect immediately. The 30-day transition period will give HPD’s Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) a chance to redirect people from encampments to housing alternatives.

“This is a best practice across the nation and is based on public health and safety concerns,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a press release. “We cannot have people setting up tent cities where there are no restrooms or other accommodations to meet basic human needs. Not only is it unsanitary, but it also deters from the goal of getting people into permanent supportive housing.”

The Texas Department of Transportation will assist by installing “no camping” signs at freeway underpasses.

Turner has made reducing homelessness in the city a top priority of his since taking office.

At the center of the mayor’s plan is the expansion of The Way Home.
Funded through both governmental entities and more than 100 philanthropic partners, The Way Home strives to provide services and long-term housing to the city’s homeless. Since its founding in 2012, the organization has housed more than 8,000 individuals.

Turner said his goal is to house 500 chronically homeless individuals in the next six months. The mayor said an additional 215 shelter beds will become available in August when the new Star of Hope campus on Reed Road is completed. Additionally, Turner is calling upon apartment owners and landlords with vacant units to step forward and be part of the solution.

The mayor has consistently warned residents against giving money directly to the homeless but rather donate the funds to one of the aforementioned services.

“I understand the desire for people to give,” Turner said at a recent press conference. “I am telling you it is making the situation worse and not better, all over the city.”

The topic of panhandlers and homelessness has become a hot-button issue in the South Belt community over the last several months, prompting the South Belt-Ellington Chamber of Commerce to host two separate meetings to discuss how to best address the growing problem.

While local law enforcement has had some success in recent months at reducing the number of homeless and panhandlers in the South Belt community, the new ordinance is expected to increase the effectiveness of their efforts, particularly within the city limits.

E-mail mynews@southbeltleader.com with news items of interest.

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