The Texas Round-Up: What’s Happenin’ Around Texas?

COVER11BEAUMONT – The Beaumont Independent School District Board of Managers and Superintendent Vernon Butler are seeking staff and community input on ways to trim the budget for the upcoming 14-15 school year.  The recommendations submitted will be reviewed and considered by both the Board of Managers as well as the Superintendent.  While we are unable to respond to each individual, please know that your input is very valuable and that we welcome your participation in the process as we work to build a stronger district for the students in our community. Please go to the following website to submit your suggestions. http://www.bmtisd.com/forms/budget-recommendations

DALLAS – Five months after the unsolved Dallas murder of pregnant mother D’Lisa Kelley, friends and relatives have gotten answers about police mistakes and city hall promises for future action. The 24-year-old woman was found dead last March less than a mile from where she was reported missing a week earlier. Her sister had received an urgent phone call from Kelley as she was being attacked March 7. Kelley’s grandmother called 911 to report it, but police did not send an officer to take a formal report until two days later. No arrest has been made in the case. Kelley’s relatives and friends went to Dallas City Council meeting to promote their plan for a “Kelley Alert” procedure that would elevate future handling of urgent trouble above simple missing persons reports. Kelley’s friend, Dominique Alexander, is president of the Kelley Alert Foundation, which was set up to help push for the changes. Mayor Mike Rawlings and several council members support the efforts.

DALLAS – Authors, poets and artists will be featured at the 12th Annual Tulisoma South Dallas Book Fair and Arts Festival to be held Aug. 29-30 in Fair Park. The free festival promotes literacy and highlights businesses and arts in south Dallas. The festival kicks off at 10 a.m. Friday Aug. 29 with the 2014 Heart and Soul Tour of South Dallas historical sites and landmarks, led by District 7 Dallas City Councilmember Carolyn R. Davis. Call (214) 671-9398 to register for the tour, which will depart from the African American Museum in Fair Park. Saturday Aug. 30, author presentations, writing and art workshops, open mic poetry, book signings, children’s activities, storytelling, panel discussions, cooking demonstrations and performances will be featured at the African-American Museum. From 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday Aug. 30, Cornerstone Baptist Church, 1819 Martin Luther King Junior Blvd., will host A Taste of Gospel, showcasing some of South Dallas’ finest gospel music voices. Performances will include the South Dallas Concert Choir, Seasoned Saints Community Choir of Dallas, Cornerstone Baptist Church Combined Choir, Tabernacle Choir of Joy Tabernacle A.M.E., Gospel artist Jarryl McQueen and Jazz Saxophonist Chuck Anderson. Words of inspiration will be delivered by Rev. Dr. Michael W. Waters of Joy Tabernacle A.M.E. Church and Pastor Chris L. Simmons of Cornerstone Baptist Church.

FORT WORTH – Fort Worth police are asking for the public’s help in finding an armed robber who has hit at least 14 businesses in recent weeks, including three just last Wednesday, according to Fort Worth Police report. Spergel “Ray” Polk, 50, is suspected of committing the spree, police said. Polk’s criminal record dates to 1994. He was released from prison in April after a previous conviction for armed robbery, records show. Polk should be considered armed and dangerous, police warn.

HOUSTON – University of Houston Football letterman and Sgt. 1st Class Sam Hairston was killed earlier this week in Ghazni, Afghanistan when his unit took small-arms fire from the enemy, the Defense Department announced Wednesday. Hairston, 35, competed as a linebacker and defensive lineman with Houston Football from 1997 to 2000. He competed in 42 games during that time, posting 55 tackles with four sacks, an interception and fumble recovery. Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Mack Rhoades said.  Hairston joined the Cougars after an award-winning prep career at Choctawhatchee High School, near his hometown of Shalimar, Fla. He was team captain and Most Valuable Player and was an All-District 1-6A First-Team and All-State 6A Second-Team selection as a senior. Hairston was a paratrooper and platoon sergeant with A Company, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division of Fort Bragg, N.C. Hairston joined the Army in 2003 and completed the basic airborne course at Fort Benning, Ga. He was assigned to 1st BCT in August 2013. Hairston is survived by his wife, Staff Sgt. Tawana Hairston, and his son, Hayden. Information from ArmyTimes.com contributed to this report .

HOUSTON – Congressman 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 Northshore Ninth Grade Campus. Green’s 19th Annual Immunization Day is Saturday, August 23, 2014  from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. The event will take place at three locations:

– Oleson Elementary School, Aldine ISD,12345 Vickery Street, Houston, Texas 77039

– J.R. Harris Elementary School, Houston ISD, 801 Broadway Street, Houston, Texas 77012

– Northshore Ninth Grade Campus, Galena Park ISD, 13501 Holly Park Drive, Houston, Texas 77015

HOUSTON - Harris County Department of Education Head Start received $766,419 in a federal grant award this summer which restores funding from 2013 sequestration cuts and allows for a 1.3 percent cost of living adjustment for staff.  The funding provides for an increase in children served from 1,080 to 1,230. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant provides for restoration of national Head Start cuts of about 5 percent.  Locally at HCDE, the sequestration included the closing of two Head Start centers and reduction of staff. The funding recovery allows HCDE Head Start to recover 150 of the 170 reductions in students served due to sequestration and increases its number of centers from 14 to 16 in its service area of northeast Harris County. With the funding recovery, two new centers will be opening in high-need service areas that include Deer Park and the Fonwood community in zip code 77016, a neighborhood formerly served by the North Forest Independent School District and taken over by Houston Independent School District. The Deer Park location will serve 60 children, and the Fonwood center will serve an additional 60. Number of students served will be increased at the current Sheffield Head Start location in zip code 77015.

SAN ANTONIO – St. Philip’s College is among 95 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in 19 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands strengthening their academic resources, financial management systems, endowment-building capacity and physical plants as a result of a grant awarded to the college by the U.S. Department of Education on Aug. 7. The five-year grant announced by the U.S. Department of Education in 2012 is used to strengthen and enhance Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The activities at St. Philip’s College enhanced under the grant will consist of: student services, centers of excellence in mathematics and science; instructional labs; campus renovation; information and communication technology; institutes for teaching excellence and staff development and a veterans’ outreach and transition center. The 116-year-old college’s funding for the third year of the institutional grant is $4,938,961, explained St. Philip’s College President Dr. Adena Williams Loston and college Title III Director Erick Akins. St. Philip’s College’s current enrollment of 11,000 is the third largest among Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and the award is numerically proportionate to the size of its current enrollment, both Akins and Loston explained. In the U.S. Department of Education’s 2012 announcement of the first installment of the institutional grant awards, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, Bishop James Steptoe Johnston of the St. Philip’s Episcopal Church of the West Texas Diocese founded St. Philip’s College in 1898. Today, St. Philip’s College, a member of the Alamo Colleges, is a multi–campus institution and serves a semester enrollment of more than 11,000 credit and more than 8,000 continuing education students. St. Philip’s College is a Historically Black College and a Hispanic Serving Institution. As St. Philip’s College is among the oldest and most diverse community colleges in the United States.

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