Monthly Archives: November 2015

THE 42ND ANNUAL BAYOU CLASSIC KICKING OFF IN NEW ORLEANS!

Taking gentle bets now… The 42nd annual Bayou Classic (Southern University vs Grambling State University) kicking off in moments in NOLA. Who are you pulling for in this football game?

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Photo courtesy: Todd L. Sterling

FROM THE PHONE OF MILLETTE CLAYTON SCOTT!

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Houston resident and Baton Rouge native Millette Clayton Scott is in the thick of things once again at the annual Bayou Classic in New Orleans.

Scott has been busy as ever at the big game that puts her alma matter Southern University on the field with Grambling State University this Saturday. 

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However, as typical at this time of the year Millette is also on the prowl with her paparazzi camera.

She was successful in getting photos of her good friend Sonja Norwood’s children.

Those kids are none other than R&B superstar Brandy and reality star Ray J.

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Norwood, who’s also a Southern University graduate, has been thoroughly dedicated to supporting the school’s band financially.

The ceelebrities attended the annual battle of the bands Friday night where the Jags take on the Tigers musically at the Mercedes Benz Super Dome.

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Millette make sure you keep the pictures coming for all the readers in Houston and Louisiana.

#BayouClassic
#BayouClasdic2015

THIS IS A STORY I HAVE BEEN COVERING SINCE THE END OF 2013…THAT’S WHEN FEDERAL PROSECUTORS SAY 29 YEAR OLD CONRAD BARRETT WENT OUT HUNTING
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FOR A BLACK PERSON TO KNOCKOUT IN KATY. HE FOUND A VICTIM IN KATY TEXAS. HE FOUND AN 81 YEAR OLD MAN WE’VE ONLY IDENTIFIED BY HIS INITIALS R-C. BACK ON OCTOBER 16TH BARRETT WAS SENTENCED TO 71 MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON. THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT JUST RELEASED THE VIDEO TODAY. WE WARN WARN YOU IT IS VIOLENT.
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YOU WILL HEAR BARRETT TALKING TO HIMSELF IN HIS TRUCK AS HE RIDES AROUND KATY LOOKING FOR THE RIGHT VICTIM TO KNOCKOUT ON CAMERA. HE RECORDED IT HIMSELF ON HIS CELLPHONE AND WAS HOPING TO GAIN NATIONAL FAME FROM IT!

BUSTED FOR A STRING OF ROBBERIES!

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A multi-agency investigation culminated in the arrest of a male and female suspect wanted for numerous robberies in the Harris and Fort Bend county area. 

Members of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Robbery Division, Houston Police Department Westside Tactical, Houston Police Department Robbery, Texas Rangers and Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office worked jointly to track down and arrest these suspects.

On Thursday, November 19, 2015 a joint investigation came to conclusion with the arrest of the serial robbery suspect coined the “Cookie Monster” and his accomplice. 

Investigators have identified: 

• Eugene Bradshaw, DOB 11/24/1990. 
• Kristy George, DOB 12/06/1980. 

Both defendants have several aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon charges. 

From this joint investigation over thirty three (33) robbery cases, spanning over three counties in eight weeks have been closed.

GARNET COLEMAN STILL DEMANDING ANSWERS ABOUT DPS STOPS AND JAIL STANDARDS IN TEXAS!

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This week the House Committee on County Affairs met again to discuss DPS traffic stops, county jail standards, inmate care, training, coordination among different local and state agencies, the Sandra Bland case, and other recent jail suicides that have occurred in the state. I want to thank the members of this committee who came from across Texas to make this a great hearing: Rep. Ramon Romero, Jr., Rep. Leighton Schubert and Rep. Stuart Spitzer. 
 
This will likely be our last hearing in County Affairs this year, but we will continue to work on these issues in 2016 and into the 85th legislative session. I’m very proud of the work the committee has done already on these issues. Thanks in part to the effort of the committee – changes have already have been made to make Texas better. If you were not able to view the hearing live, you can watch a recording of it by clicking here. I have also included a brief summary of the hearing below. It does not capture all of our great discussion, so I strongly encourage you to watch as much of the full hearing as you can.
 
Panel 1
Steve McCraw, Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
Director McCraw recognized that changes need to be made to properly record traffic stop data, and going forward DPS will no longer auto populate a driver’s ethnicity onto a ticket, in order to ensure that Hispanics and other races are not mistakenly listed as white or other. I believe that Director McCraw is committed to improving DPS and will continue to work with us to make sure that happens.
 
Frank Baumgartner, Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professor of Political Science at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 
Professor Baumgartner and his team analyzed DPS traffic stops from 2003 to 2014 and produced an excellent report which can be read here. His report shows that there is significant racial disparity in the rates in which Blacks are searched during a traffic stop when compared to Whites. His insightful analysis of the DPS data shows that more work may need to be done to ensure that laws are being fairly applied.
 
Panel 2
Brandon Wood, Executive Director of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS)
Executive Director Wood presented the updated mental health screening intake form. He explained, the new form is a major improvement because it is: less vague, will better identify individuals in need, and gives clear direction on when and what to do when flags are raised. The form has been tested in the jails – in order to work out any kinks, and will be mandatory starting December 1st. I am confident that once the form is fully implemented it will help decrease jail suicides. The Committee also discussed the need to create better diversion methods to keep those in crisis out of jail in the first place, and the use of tele-psychiatry as a cost effective resource for rural jails to handle their inmates potentially in crisis.
 
I also want to thank all of those who came and made their voices heard during public testimony, their input is greatly appreciated. There is still work to be done on these issues, but I am glad that the Committee has already helped make the changes discussed at the meeting by TCJS and DPS.   

Because I hope you will stay with the Committee as we continue to work on these issues, the song of the week is “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith.

FINALIST FOR TEXAS PRINCIPAL OF THE YEAR!

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North Houston Early College High School Principal Angela Lundy-Jackson is among three finalists for the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP) High School Principal of the Year award.

 

Committed to excellence in school administration, the TASSP recognizes outstanding principals and assistant principals from across the state each year. Nominations, bestowed by fellow school administrators, are based upon exemplary performance and outstanding leadership in secondary education.

 

Lundy-Jackson was named the Region 4 Secondary Principal of the Year in June, which made her eligible for consideration at the state level and led to her becoming one of three candidates for the High School Principal of the Year award.

 

“I am extremely honored to have been selected as a finalist among such an esteemed group of colleagues,” Lundy-Jackson said. “The work that my school staff and I do is vital to the future of the scholars we serve on a daily basis, and I do not take this assignment lightly.”

 

Lundy-Jackson, who has led North Houston Early since 2010, is a veteran educator with more than 20 years of experience. She began her education career with Teach for America and later went on to be an HISD teacher mentor, an English department chairperson, an instructional coordinator, a magnet coordinator, and a dean of instruction/assistant principal.

 

In September, she led North Houston Early to receive its first-ever 2015 National Blue Ribbons School Award from U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan. The school was recognized for making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap among disadvantaged and minority students. 

In 2014 and 2015, North Houston Early was named one of America’s Most Challenging High Schools by the Washington Post. The school is also ranked by Children at Risk as one of the top 10 schools in the greater Houston area.

Lundy-Jackson attributes her school’s success to its commitment to high learning standards for underserved, first-generation college students. As one of five early college campuses in the Houston Independent School District, North Houston Early offers students the opportunity to earn both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree from Houston Community College.

 

“HISD is extremely proud of Angela and the remarkable work she is doing to prepare students for a college academic setting and a 21st century global economy,” said HISD Chief Secondary School Officer Esther Omogbehin. “Her commitment to bridging the achievement gap among economically disadvantaged students to ensure their success is changing lives and making an impact on her entire school community.”

Finalists for the TASSP High School and Middle School Principal of the Year awards as well as the Assistant Principal of the Year award will be interviewed by the Principal Image Committee in December in Austin. The committee will then select the administrator who will go on to represent Texas at the national level. The winners will be announced in December.

CONTROVERSIAL VETERANS GROUP TOLD TO SHUT DOWN IN TEXAS FOR DECEIVING DONORS!

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced a settlement resolving the State’s enforcement action against the Veterans Support Organization (VSO) and four of its principals. Under the agreed final judgment and permanent injunction, the defendants must cease engaging in unlawful solicitation of charitable contributions in Texas, and must dissolve VSO as a charitable organization in our state.

“Donors have one thing in mind when they donate to charities: helping people in need,” said Attorney General Ken Paxton. “It is particularly outrageous that VSO cheated veterans in need of help and those good citizens who wanted to help them. Bad actors like these not only take advantage of people’s good intentions, they damage the good reputations of other charities that are operating in good faith. This judgment will permanently ban the defendants from operating in Texas, so they no longer can misrepresent to Texas donors that their donations help local veterans with work and housing.”

Today’s resolution stems from a legal action filed in Travis County in March 2014 against Florida-based VSO and its directors, Richard Vanhouten, Stephen Casella, Robert Cruz and Michelle Vanhouten. The State’s investigation found that VSO had raised more than $2.5 million in Texas from 2010 to 2012. More than 70 percent of the funds raised in Texas were diverted to Florida, where VSO is headquartered, and to Rhode Island where it was incorporated – contrary to the defendants’ statements to Texas donors that the charitable donations would benefit local veterans in need. The investigation also found that VSO’s so-called “work program” for veterans was merely structured panhandling, whereby anyone, veteran or non-veteran, could sign on to solicit funds for VSO. Their advertised “housing program” to get homeless veterans off the streets was simply a room rental to VSO’s workers (veterans and non-veterans) who had to pay rent to VSO or face eviction.
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Under the final judgment and permanent injunction, defendants have to withdraw VSO’s registrations and filings in Texas, and the individual defendants are permanently banned from engaging in the following activities in Texas:

Owning, operating, or managing charities, or any other entity that engages in charitable solicitations;Serving as a fundraiser, spokesperson, or consultant for any charitable entity;Assuming any position of financial authority in any veteran related charitable entity.

Furthermore, if any defendant maintains a website that may be accessed by persons in Texas to solicit funds for VSO, the website must clearly and conspicuously state “Donations from Texas residents are not accepted.”

The State’s final judgment and permanent injunction orders the defendants to pay $250,000 in civil penalties should they violate the terms of the settlement, and orders VSO to pay $275,000 for a Texas court to distribute to support needy veterans in the local area, provide housing assistance for homeless veterans, and support volunteer services at local VA hospitals.

To view the settlement, please visit: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/files/epress/20151118_VSO_Filestamped_AFJPI.pdf