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COVER11AUSTIN- Greater East Austin Youth Association celebrated Juneteenth with pageantry and a community program at the Doris Miller Auditorium. The program was followed up with a 2K Freedom Run and a community parade and park festival. This year the celebration focused on the theme of “Realizing Our Opportunities To Succeed” (R.O.O.T.S).

“This is about realizing what our ancestors did,” said Chairperson Tami D. Johnson. “It also calls on us to look at what we need to do.”The event is marked by food and drinks that include pork ribs and red pop and other traditions to help bring together the idea of thanksgiving, freedom and remembering the blood shed and sacrifices made by ancestors on the road to freedom. She said the Austin celebration brings 8,000 to 10,000 people to support the events and proceeds from the celebration goes to help the youth association and the remaining half goes to plan and prepare for next year’s event.

AUSTIN- The Austin Fire Department (AFD) went door-to-door on Saturday, June 7 to install smoke alarms into residences in the Buena Vista neighborhood. Buena Vista is in the Pleasant Valley area, bordered by Robert Martinez Jr – East Cesar Chavez – Linden Street – East Fifth Street. According to Michelle Tanzola, AFD Public Information, firefighters visited 80 homes and installed a total of 182 smoke alarms. She said some homes received more than one alarm because national standard dictate one working smoke alarm outside each bedroom.

Royce West has launched a probe to answer why state agencies are not spending advertising dollars with the Black Press. West launched the investigation after members of the Texas Publishers Association complained about the lack of advertising being shared with Black media. According to West, the state budget for advertising stands at about $16 million for radio, television, billboard, social media and newspapers. Of those, three agencies hold the current bids and outsource advertising. He is reviewing budget reports from the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, Texas Department of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of State’s Office.

DALLAS– More than 40,000 people have traveled to the city for the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education. Church leaders from all 50 states, the Caribbean islands, Germany and Africa gathered for one of the largest African-American meetings this year. During the event, members could attend 300 morning classes dealing with topics such as Christian doctrine and how to be an effective deacon. There were also youth and children rallies and lectures from leaders addressing issues facing church members. Waddles said the convention aims to teach church leaders and members how to “be more faithful to the call of Christ,” and how to build a family and community on a foundation of faith.

FORT HOOD- Fort Hood officials have released the name of a Soldier who died June 13 from an apparent gunshot wound in Killeen, Texas. Sgt. Sergei Joseph Hearst, 26, whose home of record is listed as Sioux Falls, S.D., entered active-duty service in June 2007 as an infantryman. Hearst’s awards and decorations include two Army Achievement Medals, two Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon and Overseas Service Ribbon to name a few.

HOUSTON-  Recently, Sheriff Adrian Garcia and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office took to the streets to do some old-fashion crime fighting and to educate residents about the seriousness of human trafficking. The purpose of this event was to send a message that law enforcement agencies alone cannot bring an end to human trafficking without the public’s assistance. “There’s only so much that can be done from behind a podium or around a conference table. We put boots on the ground to walk the walk, not just talk the talk,” Sheriff Garcia said. “The hundreds of volunteers that walked with me to educate the community epitomized what it means to look after our neighbors and prevent crime.”

HOUSTON– Did you know many 19th century influential African Americans are buried in Olivewood Cemetery? In 1875, the land in Houston, Texas, in White Oak Bayou where First and Sixth wards meet includes more than 700 family plots. Many prominent African Americans, slaves, and veterans are buried within this historic, 6-acre resting home. Olivewood Cemetery was incorporated in 1875 ten years after emancipation arrived for Texas slaves, and is built on land that was a burial ground for slaves. There have been various hearsays of mysterious after dark sightings and bizarre movements within the cemetery.

HOUSTON- Buckner Children and Family Services has announced Alma DeAlejandro as the new director for the Aldine Family Hope Center. DeAlejandro will lead the program’s outreach to vulnerable children and families in the Aldine area. DeAlejandro brings to Buckner a wealth of youth and community outreach experience. She has trained students in community leadership, academic success and personal growth as an advisor in the Lone Star College System and as an assistant for the Student Outreach and Recruitment department. DeAlejandro earned a bachelor of science in human services from Springfield College in Houston. As director, DeAlejandro will cast a vision for the center’s operations, including directing staff, managing budgets and conducting trainings. Her efforts will help grow the Aldine Family Hope Center as it continues to provide the Aldine community with resources for improving the lives of local families. Today, the Aldine Family Hope center serves about 5,000 households in an area encompassing a two-mile radius of U.S. Highway 59 North and Aldine Mail Route.

SAN ANTONIO– A Guadalupe County grand jury has indicted a San Antonio church leader on a charge of prohibited sexual conduct. Rodney Lee Carter, 40, of Seguin, was arrested in January and indicted June 5, according to the Guadalupe County district attorney’s office. Carter is accused of having sex with a female family member last year in Seguin and other locations in Guadalupe County, said Dep. Franklin Thomas of the Seguin Police Department. Palestine Missionary Baptist Church in the 900 block of North Elmendorf Street still lists a Rev. Rodney L. Carter as the pastor. Carter was released from the Guadalupe County Jail in January after posting a $75,000 bond.

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