METRO employees share a day of festivities with a group of underprivileged Houston-area school children.

METRO TREATS CHILDREN TO DAY OF FUN

Each holiday season, employees from METRO host Adopt-A-School parties for children throughout the Houston area. METRO employees from each facility invite 25-30 underprivileged children from neighboring schools for a fun-filled day of food, laughter and cheer. Bobby Ramirez, superintendent of the METRO Fallbrook Bus Operating Facility in north Houston, said each party is completely self-funded by METRO employees. Everyone from mechanics to bus operators help pitch in for the event. “We hold fundraisers throughout the year,” said Ramirez. “Employees will host lunches, bake sales and other events to fund the annual party.” This year, Ramirez’s facility hosted schoolchildren from Aldine ISD’ s Black Elementary School. METRO Training Instructor Robert Urbina said it brings him joy to interact with children and show them careers and opportunities that could one day be available to them. “A behind-the-scenes look at a bus-operating facility is pretty exciting for a kid. There’s a lot to see and do,” said Urbina. “I hope they will remember their experience here. Perhaps, one day, some of them may choose a career in transportation or public service.”

MARTIN VOTED MAYOR PRO TEM

City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner nominated Councilmember Dave Martin to be the City of Houston’s Mayor Pro Tem. Martin’s nomination was confirmed by a vote of his Houston City Council colleagues Jan. 2. Martin said he will continue to be a staunch advocate for residents in his final term as the District E council member while serving as the chair for the city’s Budget and Fiscal Affairs Committee and adding the new role of Mayor Pro Tem to his responsibilities. Mayor Pro Tem is a leadership role that encompasses serving as acting mayor for the City of Houston when Turner is unavailable. Martin said he hopes to show the City of Houston that even though Turner and he do not always agree, they have the ability to work through their differences and collaborate to achieve great projects.

NORTHPARK OVERPASS MEETING SET

The Lake Houston Redevelopment Authority, also known as the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone 10 (TIRZ), will be hosting an open house for Kingwood residents and businesses to learn more about the upcoming construction of the Northpark Drive Overpass Project. The event will take place at the Kingwood Community Center Thursday, Feb. 6, from 5-8 p.m. Residents will have the opportunity to visit information tables addressing specific areas of the project, ask questions of project team members, and submit public comments. The format of the open house will be come-and-go with a brief presentation at 6 p.m. The Northpark Drive Overpass Project will reduce congestion, improve mobility and enhance safety in the Kingwood area by expanding Northpark Drive from four to six lanes between I-69 and Russell Palmer Road and adding a grade separation at Loop 494 and the Union Pacific Railroad crossing. This project was identified as a clear priority in the 2015 Kingwood Area Mobility Study commissioned by the authority. The project is currently in the design phase and is expected to be completed by 2023.

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