BB’s Tex-Orleans

December 1st, 2019

The Boil: Build your tray any way you like. Pile it with Dungeness Crab, Snow Crab, Gulf Blue Crab, Cold Shrimp, or Hot-N-Spicy Boiled Shrimp. Dip it with melted butter/ spicy creamy dippin’ sauce. Fill It with Mushrooms, Corn, Red Potato, Smoked Chicken and Apple Sausage, Smoked Garlic Sausage or Spicy Alligator Andouille Sausage.

The Best Cajun on the Bay

By Alisa Star

Come try authentic Southern Louisiana style cooking fused with a Texas twist. Creator and owner Brooks Bassler opened his 10th location of BB’s Tex-Orleans restaurant right here in Webster. Houston’s most popular Cajun restaurants are on the rise and becoming ever so popular among the public.

Bassler and his wife Maricela began their enterprise with a small, quaint restaurant located in the Montrose area, featuring a small menu serving gumbo and his famous overstuffed shrimp po-boys inspired by his grandmother’s (maw maw) cooking. Since then, they have stamped the footprint of BB’s Tex-Orleans all over the Houston area.

Bassler was born and raised in the small town of Rockdale, Texas, but most of his family is from Louisiana. His mother was born and raised in Morgan City, and all of her family still live there.

Brooks went to the University of Houston, where he waited tables at a high-end wine bar while attending the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, which is one of the top five best programs in the country.

After graduating, Bassler stayed in the restaurant business, which was his passion. While working at TwoRows Restaurant in Rice Village, the owner approached Bassler with the idea of helping jump start their catering program. While learning the ropes and sales, and several years of successfully doing catering for multiple companies, Bassler saw the writing on the wall and took that leap of faith. His passion in life is food and the Louisiana culture and that is captured in BB’s Tex-Orleans.

Most of the menu items are family recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation. Bassler wanted to be as unique as possible while penetrating the Cajun food market. It all kept coming down to his mother’s Cajun Louisiana roots and loving the food, culture, and people of South Louisiana, but wanting to be different from others. Bassler put a Texan flare to his one-of-a-kind Cajun cuisine.

Rockdale Redfish: Jumbo blackened Gulf shrimp topped with a zesty Andouille cream sauce. This dish is superb! The spices and the cream sauce is beyond delish. You will never have Redfish like this anywhere!

BB’s Tex-Orleans is a family owned and operated local restaurant chain that specializes in Tex-Cajun cooking.

“We add a unique Texas twist to Cajun and New Orleans food. NOLA style po-boys, seafood gumbo, and hot and spicy crawfish are our specialities. BB’s is most proud of creating opportunity for fellow Tex-Orleanians (employees). Watching them grow personally, professionally, and financially are my proudest moments. I pride myself in the values I have and bring those values here. We are a big family!” Bassler said.

New Orleans style shrimp po-boy loaded with Gulf shrimp and BB’s Sauce, a chipotle-infused mayo. Paired perfectly with a South Texas Jazz Tex-Orleans Cocktail that will make you come back for more.

One of BB’s employees, Kaleb Jenkins, a Louisiana native, walked into the restaurant one day and loved it so much that he began working as a dishwasher and at catering events. Soon to become the commissary driver for all BB’s Tex-Orleans chains here in Houston. “Your dreams can never be too big.” Jenkins said.

“Our menu, culture and decor separates us from our competition. We have a diverse menu with bold Cajun flavors. All of the art is from Louisiana. One of the local artists, Lance Vargas, creates one-of-a-kind pieces that we carry in our BB’s restaurants. We are proud of the real Louisiana vibe throughout all of our chains,” Bassler said.

BB’s is most known for their famous po-boys, overstuffed with spicy gulf shrimp between a crisp bun straight from Leidenheimer bakery in New Orleans. Other delights include mouth-watering crawfish, tender roast beef debris, juicy oysters and fajitas.

If you have a little Cajun in your soul, and you’re looking for authentic Louisiana Cajun flavors, you have to try BB’s Tex-Orleans, located at 1039 W. Bay Area Blvd., Webster, TX 77598. BB’s is your all day and late night headquarters serving Cajun with a twist.

Celebrate your holidays with the Clear Lake Symphony

December 1st, 2019

Robert Wall, Associate Conductor

The Bay Area Houston community is invited to  celebrate the holidays with the Clear Lake Symphony “Sounds of Christmas” Pops Concert, which has become a Bay Area holiday tradition for many of our local residents.

Treat the entire family to a yuletide evening of traditional Christmas music!  Seating is available on a first come basis, so get the family or group together and plan to join the symphony for a wonderful holiday celebration.

The Clear Lake Symphony will be performing their Christmas “Pops” concerts on Friday, Dec. 6 and Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church Auditorium located at 18220 Upper Bay Road across from NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Celebrating its 44rd season, the orchestra will present a fun evening of delightful Seasonal favorites.

The orchestra will be led by Robert Wall, in his 26th year as associate conductor of the symphony.

Elemental SUVs

December 1st, 2019

By Don Armstrong

SUVs now outsell cars and it’s no wonder, the versatility and size availability run the gamut. Could one of these make the perfect Christmas surprise? Pricing sure seems right.

2020 Soul GT-Line

Kia Soul
Kia has a new Soul, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t include the popular hamster commercials.

Larger and more refined, this 3rd generation Soul is all new from the ground up. Fitting for a tiny SUV that changed the way we look at small do-all’s.

The Soul’s new front facia could easily fit on a sports car, but Kia didn’t lose track of what made the hamster-mobile so popular; it’s boxy shape with a sloping roof. Taillights hug the rear hatch glass and make a 90-degree turn toward the license plate box.

The interior is attractive and comfortable with an easy-to-use infotainment system. Control functions are straight forward, and with the second row seats folded, you’d be surprised at the hauling capacity.

Under the hood is a 2.0-liter, 147 horsepower engine. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard, but we prefer the CVT automatic that accomplishes an average of 31.9 MPG.
Since the first Soul came to U.S. shores 10-years ago, we’ve always liked its sporty handling, and the 2020 model continues that fuzzy feeling. The all-new Kia Soul starts at $17,490.

VW Tiguan
Since its debut in 2007 the VW Tiguan has undergone only one makeover. That happened two years ago, and since then sales continue to grow. Size, options and VW dependability play a big part in its popularity but being in the right place at the right time certainly has its benefits too.

Like almost all makeovers, the Tiguan has grown, allowing for an optional third row of seating, even though it’s mostly a “kids-only zone.”

VW’s conservative styling plays well on the Tiguan and translates nicely to the interior with form and function throughout the dash. Seating is comfortable with plenty of adjustability and materials seem to be of the long-term type.

Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission. This combination plays well together and drives the front wheels with ease. 4-wheel drive is optional. Mileage is a respectable 21 MPG-city and 29-highway.

Even in small SUV form, the Tiguan retains that German feel no matter what the terrain, including pot-holed city streets, undulating toll roads and hill country climbs .
The Volkswagen Tiguan starts at $24,295.

The Legend of Mistletoe

December 1st, 2019

By Alisa Star

Under the mistletoe is where it all began to inspire what might have been love. What started as an English tradition during the middle age is now a one-and-done way to punch up an entryway and, of course, encourage holiday guests to pucker up.

According to the legend of how mistletoe began, a young great warrior named Baldur was killed by an enemy’s arrow made of mistletoe. His mother, the goddess Frig, wept tears onto the arrow… Overjoyed, Frig blessed the mistletoe plant and promised a kiss to all who passed beneath it.

In the forest, mistletoe is a bit of a scourge, a parasitic plant that latches on the trees and feeds off of them. Mistletoe is a beautiful evergreen plant that is smothered in white berries from winter to spring. It grows in the branches of trees, such as hawthorn, apple, and oak trees. The tradition of hanging it in houses goes back to the time of the ancient Druids. It was also used as a sign of love and friendship, and to ward of evil spirits and bad luck in Norse mythology.

By the 18th century, stealing a kiss beneath the mistletoe became a common practice among British and English, kissing under the mistletoe was serious business. If a girl refused a kiss, she shouldn’t expect a marriage proposal for at least a year, and many people would snub their nose at her and make remarks that she would end up an old maid. The tradition spread all over the world from there. According to the tradition, it’s bad luck to refuse a kiss beneath the mistletoe.

Today’s tradition is a more lighthearted approach. Mistletoe is a Christmas staple — have you ever found yourself under the mistletoe at a party with a stranger and everyone is shouting ”Kiss, it’s tradition!” So when it does happen, go ahead and indulge yourself. You never know what might become of that kiss.

Christmas time is magical, it inspires romance, love and kindness. Be sure your holiday season begins with all the decorations and lights. Then hang the beloved mistletoe in an entryway for an unexpected guest, or over the bed to make sure you get that good night kiss, or over a stairwell, as many times as you go up and down the stairs, kissing and cardio will burn off those holiday calories.

Don’t just think of Christmas, Feel Christmas! Remember the excitement you felt as a child waking up on Christmas morning running through the house, screaming to everyone “Wake up, Santa was here, come on let’s open presents!” That feeling is everlasting.

We all love Christmas, the decorations and the feeling of anticipation, singing Christmas carols, also the rush of love that people show one another, if only during the Christmas season! Go forth in the New Year and make new friends, new relationships, and new love. Hang some mistletoe in your home this year, and watch the magic begin.
Merry Christmas to all!

CCEF Honors 12 at Its Annual Gala

December 1st, 2019

Honorees Ron Masters, Debbie Kropp, Melissa Wiginton, Ann Hammond, Tim Kropp, Logan Reed, Jana Reed, Alexis Reed, Darren Ellisor, Jackie Mitchell, Daniel Okorodudu, Dale Okorodudu, Matthew Paulson (who was filling in for Lyzette Ruiz), and Alaina Garza, from left, get together for a photo at the gala.

By Mary Alys Cherry

EXCITEMENT filled theair when the Clear Creek Education Foundation hosted its always popular gala at South Shore Harbour Resort Nov. 2, honoring some of the area’s outstanding folks, while raising $85,000 for innovative educational programs – a new record for this event.

“Once again our community generously showed their support of our mission to provide innovative learning materials to our students,” CCEF Chairman Jonathan Cottrell said. “It was heartwarming to see our community come together to recognize these outstanding individuals and support education in CCISD.”

Each year CCEF honors an outstanding citizen with the Citizen of the Year Award. This year the award went to the late Chris Reed, a Clear Creek ISD trustee and Kemah police chief who was killed in a boating accident back in June, after spending much of his life helping improve the quality of life for children. His wife, Jana, accepted the award on his behalf.
Another former CCISD trustee honored was Ann Hammond, who was presented the George B. Carlisle Distinguished Service Award for her consistent demonstration of commitment to CCISD over time.

Other honorees at the 19th annual gala were:

  • Distinguished Alumni Award winners were CCISD alumni and are now accomplished professionals who support their community: Jacqueline Mitchell (Clear Creek High, 1983), Dr. Daniel Okorodudu (Clear Creek, 2000), Dr. Dale Okorodudu (Clear Creek, 2002),  and Melissa Wiginton (Clear Lake, 1976)
  • 
Valor Award in honor of a public servant (military, police, fire, etc.) who has gone above and beyond the call of duty: Darren Ellisor, (Clear Lake, 1992)
  • 
CCISD Superstar Award bestowed on a select group of individuals who support and enhance CCISD whether CCISD alumni or not: Ron Masters; Alaina Garza, CCISD Secondary Teacher of the Year; and Lyzette Ruiz, CCISD Elementary Teacher of the Year
  • Dennis Johnson Memorial Small Business Award is presented to a small business owner within CCISD who demonstrates an unwavering commitment to the district through active participation in multiple activities: Tim and Debbie Kropp – MRI Technologies

Gala Co-Chairmen Joyce Abbey and Suzanne Fair joined CCEF Executive Director Deborah Laine and her husband, David, and Matt and Kelsey McNeil in welcoming the arriving crowd, including Greg and Pam Ploss, Richard and Traci Dvorak, Rebecca Lilly, Lisa Holbrook, Laura and Jamieson Mackey, Carrie and Jay Cunningham, Carl and Colene Joiner, Beth and T.J. Aulds, Nina and Chris Premont, Mike Pierce, Sarah and Dr. Glenn Freedman, Amy and Brent Cockerham and Tim and Debbie Kropp. 

Dan and Jill Reason were also in the crowd of nearly 350, as were CCISD Superintendent Dr. Greg Smith and his wife Kathy, Pat and Wendell Wilson, Katy and Bill Bastedo, Mike and Karen Engle, Scott Rainey and Martha Bowles, Ed and Elaina Polsen, Kippy Caraway, Mary Ann Shallberg, Dee Scott, Chris and Dr. Laura DuPont, Roy Green, Daniel and Win Weber, Jason Alcorn and Wendy Shaw, Joe and Kellie Byrd and Jennifer and Dr. Steven Ebell.

Elected officials you might have passed included Mayors Pat Hallisey of League City, Julie Masters of Dickinson, Mark Denman of Nassau Bay and Thom Kolupski of Seabrook and State Rep. Dr. Greg Bonnen. Others you might have spotted as CCEF Chairman Jonathan Cottrell welcomed the black-tie crowd were Gary and Sandy Mossman, Joan McKinney Mitchell, Jeanette and Joe Barlow, Elaine and Gary Renola, Ann and Jim O’Malley, Jayme and Arturo Sanchez, Janet and Randy Brown, Donna and Roy Montalbano, Gene Hollier and Emmeline Dodd, Bob and Macy Osoria, Stacy and Michael Houston, Scottie and Ron McLeod, Christie and Jason Reynolds and Carol and Jim Saxe. 

Chris Reed Foundation formed to provide help for area students

December 1st, 2019

Jana Reed, center, and her daughters, Logan, left, and Aleis arrive at the Chris Reed Foundation founding party at the Carl Joiner home in Kemah.

By Mary Alys Cherry

Nearly a hundred family and friends of the late Chris Reed gathered Oct. 24 to celebrate the formation of the Chris Reed Foundation, established to provide financial assistance for Bay Area high school students, by helping them prepare for college or vocational school.

Reed, the Kemah police chief at the time of his death, died after falling off a boat this past June when it was hit by a gigantic wave as he and his wife were enjoying a weekend sail on Galveston Bay.

The celebration, held at the Kemah home of Carl and Colene Joiner, began with a toast by the board of directors to kick-off the not-for-profit organization, while also paying tribute to Chris Reed.

“The Chris Reed Foundation was established as a means to bolster teen success through monetary assistance and mentorship,” said Joiner, a board member. “We seek to support juniors and seniors as they prepare for graduation, college or vocational programs.”

Reed’s death left the Bay Area community in shock as he had touched many lives along the way. He was a Clear Creek ISD trustee, a dad, a wrestling coach, a former city manager of both League City and Nassau Bay, and a former assistance police chief in League City. Many of those lives were young kids in need of direction that he helped.

Clear Creek ISD Deputy Superintendent Dr. Steven Ebell, right, swaps memories of Chris Reed with, from left, Realtor Jonathan Cottrell, South Shore Harbour Resort General Manager Roy Green and Vinyl Draught Radio President Doug Meisinger.

His wife Jana met with a number of community members on July 30 – the Reeds’ 29th wedding anniversary — to plan the foundation.

“This is about helping someone who maybe doesn›t have the best home life, who couldn›t necessarily afford their cap and gown or their senior pictures. That’s what we want to do. Help those who need a little push,” she said.

Jana Reed serves as chairman of the Chris Reed Foundation and her oldest daughter, Logan, is vice chairman. The scholarship program aims to provide financial assistance for high school students in the Bay Area. Donations could go toward graduation expenses, application fees, school supplies, tutoring, among other needs.

The Foundation’s slogan, “From Adversity to Achievement” focuses on high school students, particularly those with lower socioeconomic status, and provides resources to enhance future scholastic and professional success, Kimberly Campbell pointed out.

While the Founding Members event was the first formal fundraising activity for the foundation, students from CCISD’s Bauerschlag Elementary previously collected nearly $1,500 through a coin drive, Campbell said. These funds, as well as the $25,000 raised at the kick-off event, will soon be made available through application submittal on school district systems such as Naviance.

“My father would have been proud to see so many join forces in support of a cause near and dear to his heart,” Logan said. A golf tournament and bike rally are next on the fundraising schedule. For those wanting to make a personal contribution in support of the region’s youth or to learn more about the organization, go to the website, www.ChrisReedFoundation.com

December Main Events in Bay Area Houston

December 1st, 2019

Clear Lake

Holiday Market Dec. 2.  Bay Oaks Women’s Association members will host their annual Holiday Mart, “Candy Canes and Cocktails,” on Monday, Dec. 2 from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bay Oaks Country Club for all club members and their guests. Tickets are $23 and the Kids Club will be available. Reservations necessary by visiting bowareservations@gmail.com

Toyland Fantasy Dec. 7. Bay Area Museum Historical Society will host its annual Toyland Fantasy Breakfast – a pre-Christmas celebration for the younger set — Saturday, Dec. 7 at 10 a.m. at Bay Oaks Country Club with a performance by Bay Area Houston Ballet & Theatre and a visit by Santa. Tickets are $35 and may be reserved by calling Louise Russell at 281-300-5262 or email bamhistoricalsociety@gmail.com

Space film Dec. 10. CLASP will show the space movie, Gravity, featuring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock stranded in space, for its Tuesday, Dec. 10 program from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the UHCL Bayou Theater.

HSLBA Yule Party Dec. 11. Houston Symphony League Bay Area members will gather at the home of Linda and Greg Heausler, 4010 Ecuador Drive in Pasadena, for their annual holiday party, which this year will be a New Orleans Brunch on Wednesday, Dec. 11 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. RSVP to Pat Biddle at 713-488-2346 or at kron12@yahoo.co

Panhellenic Brunch Dec. 12. Clear Lake Area Panhellenic members will gather at the home of Ondi Lyon for their annual Holiday Brunch at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12.

Runoff election Dec. 14. Houston residents will vote in the mayoral and city council runoff elections from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today.

Welcome Neighbors Dec. 19. Bay Area Welcome Neighbors Club will meet Thursday, Dec. 19 at 10 a.m. at Bay Oaks Country Club for a festive musical program by singer Brenda Guy. BAWNC is a non-profit social organization for women, offering a variety of activities such as Bunco, Book Clubs, Mah Jongg, movies and much more. For luncheon reservations, contact Nancy Guthrie at membership.bawnc@gmail.com  or call 281.333.3055.

Deer Park

Tree Lighting Dec. 6. Strap on your jingle bells and head to 1302 Center Street at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6 for a joyful family celebration including performances by the Deer Park High Swing Choir, San Jacinto Elementary Choir and The Art Park Players. Enjoy hot chocolate and spend some time with Frosty, Rudolph, Mr. and Mrs. Claus and their Elves as Mayor Jerry Mouton flips the switch on the Christmas tree!

Chamber Open House Dec.12. The Deer Park Chamber will hold its Holiday Open House Thursday, Dec. 12 from 1 to 5 p.m.

Awards Luncheon, Dec. 19.The Deer Park Chamber will host its annual Awards Luncheon Thursday, Dec. 19 at 11:30 a.m. at the Monument Inn, 4406 Independence Pkwy S in La Porte. For reservations, call Melissa Peters at 281-479-1559 or email her at Melissa@deerparkchamber.org

Dickinson
Mary Poppins on stage. The magical nanny Mary Poppins, along with her chimney-sweep friend, are at the Bay Area Harbour Playhouse, 3803 Highway 3, through Dec. 22, with curtains at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays. For tickets, which are $17 for adults and $12 for seniors and students, call 281-337-7469 or email bareahp@comcast.net

Friendswood
Chamber luncheon Dec. 5. The Friendswood Chamber will host its monthly luncheon Thursday, Dec. 5, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Green Event Center, 2000 W. Parkwood, (FM 528) #200. To register or for more information, visit info@friendswoodchamber.com or call Carol, Diane or Joanne at 281-482-3329.

Transportation Summit Dec. 13. BayTran will host the Galveston County Transportation Summit Friday, Dec. 13, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Green Event Center, 2000 W. Parkwood with Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar and Galveston County Judge Mark Henry among the speakers.

Yule Parade Dec. 14. Friendswood’s Christmas Lighted Parade will be held Saturday, Dec. 14 from 5 to 6 p.m. To sign up, visit info@friendswoodchamber.com or call 281-482-3329.

Kemah
Boat Parade Dec. 14. The annual Christmas Boat Parade will set sail at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 and pass the Kemah Boardwalk as it travels down the Clear Creek Channel and out into the Bay and back into Clear Lake.

New Year’s Eve Dec. 31. Ring in the New Year with family fun and fireworks! Fireworks show at 10 p.m.

League City
Christmas Open House Dec. 3. HomeTown Bank of League City will be holding its Christmas Open House on Tuesday, Dec. 3 from 4-6 p.m. at 1406 West Main Street. There will be festive refreshments and pictures with Santa for the kids!

Cool Yule Ball Dec. 7. A Cool Yule Ball will be held Saturday, Dec. 7 from 7 to 9:45 p.m. at Hometown Heroes Park Ballroom, 1001 E. League City Parkway, with DJ Hal Gercek playing an excellent selection of music and rhythms for your dancing pleasure. Door fee is $8 and dress as you like from casual to after five attire.

Nassau Bay
Holiday in the Park Dec. 14. The annual Holiday in the Park family get-together featuring snow, Santa and hot cocoa will be held Saturday, Dec. 14, from 2 to 4 pm. In Howard Ward Park, 18300 Upper Bay Road.

Pops Concerts Dec. 6-7. The Clear Lake Symphony will perform its Christmas “Pops” concerts on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6-7, in the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church Auditorium,18220 Upper Bay Road at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, which are $13 adult, $10 senior (55 and up), $8 student, may be purchased at Eye Trends at 515 Bay Area Blvd, Suite 300, and will also be available night of the concert.

Pasadena
HSLBA Yule Party Dec. 11. Houston Symphony League Bay Area members will gather at the home of Linda and Greg Heausler, 4010 Ecuador Drive, for their annual holiday party, which this year will be a New Orleans Brunch on Wednesday, Dec. 11 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. RSSVP to Pat Biddle at 713-488-2346 or at kron12@yahoo.com

Chamber Gala Dec. 12. The Pasadena Chamber will host its annual gala Thursday, Dec. 12,  starting with a 6 p.m. cocktail reception at the Hobby Marriott, 9100 Gulf Freeway, followed by dinner with Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton as the keynote speaker and announcement of the Citizen of the Year. Dress is black tie optional. Tickets are $75 and may be reserved by calling 281-487-7871 or visiting PasadenaChamber.org

Seabrook
Tree lighting Dec. 5. The annual Christmas Tree Lighting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5 on the Community House Grounds with the public invited to attend.

Santa Run Dec. 7. Firefighters from the Seabrook Volunteer Fire Department will be driving Santa around town to various Seabrook neighborhoods Saturday, Dec. 7, beginning at 7:30 a.m. with youngsters invited to come out and wave.

Breakfast with Santa Dec. 14. The annual Breakfast with Santa for Seabrook children will be held Saturday, Dec. 14, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Community House.

Webster
Senior Game Night. Senior Game Night will be held Friday, Dec. 6 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Webster Recreation Building, 311 Pennsylvania Ave. Includes dinner, games and conversation. For information, call Bryan Morgan at 281-316-4137.

Boeing Starliner completes crucial abort system test

December 1st, 2019

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft completed a critical safety milestone on Nov. 11 in an end-to-end test of its abort system. The Pad Abort Test took place at Launch Complex 32 at the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

The test was designed to verify each of Starliner’s systems will function not only separately, but in concert, to protect astronauts by carrying them safely away from the launch pad in the unlikely event of an emergency prior to liftoff. This was Boeing’s first flight test with Starliner as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to return human spaceflight launches to the International Space Station from American soil.

“Tests like this one are crucial to help us make sure the systems are as safe as possible,” said Kathy Lueders, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program manager. “We are thrilled with the preliminary results, and now we have the job of really digging into the data and analyzing whether everything worked as we expected.”

During the test, Starliner’s four launch abort engines, and several orbital maneuvering and attitude control thrusters simultaneously ignited to rapidly push the spacecraft away from the test stand. Five seconds into flight, the abort engines shut off as planned, transferring steering to the control thrusters for the next five seconds.

A pitcharound maneuver rotated the spacecraft into position for landing as it neared its peak altitude of approximately 4,500 feet. Two of three Starliner’s main parachutes deployed just under half a minute into the test, and the service module separated from the crew module a few seconds later. Although designed with three parachutes, two opening successfully is acceptable for the test perimeters and crew safety. After one minute, the heat shield was released and airbags inflated, and the Starliner eased to the ground beneath its parachutes.

The demonstration took only about 95 seconds from the moment the simulated abort was initiated until the Starliner crew module touched down on the desert ground.

“Emergency scenario testing is very complex, and today our team validated that the spacecraft will keep our crew safe in the unlikely event of an abort,” said John Mulholland, vice president and program manager of Boeing’s Commercial Crew Program. “Our teams across the program have made remarkable progress to get us to this point, and we are fully focused on the next challenge—Starliner’s uncrewed flight to demonstrate Boeing’s capability to safely fly crew to and from the space station.”

Boeing’s next mission, called Orbital Flight Test, will launch an uncrewed Starliner spacecraft to the station on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41. The launch is targeted for Dec. 17.

BAHEP to honor Dr. Brenda Hellyer with its coveted 2020 Quasar Award

December 1st, 2019

By Kathryn Paradis

January is celebrated the world over as a time of new beginnings, fresh starts, do-overs.  So it is in Bay Area Houston, as well, except for one night each January. Since 1994, the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership has set aside a very special evening in January to celebrate the past while looking to the future. That night marks the occasion when BAHEP presents its renowned Quasar Award to an outstanding elected official or business leader who has demonstrated a strong and continual effort to support the business foundations of the greater Bay Area Houston communities.

On Jan. 24, 2020, the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership will honor Brenda Hellyer, Ed.D., chancellor of the San Jacinto College District, with its Quasar Award for Economic Development Excellence.

BAHEP President Bob Mitchell was the first to notify Dr. Hellyer that she had been selected. “When she heard the news, she was literally speechless for several seconds,” he said. It is truly gratifying to honor an individual of Dr. Hellyer’s caliber who, above all, remains humble about her incredible accomplishments and gives well-deserved credit to her colleagues.

“She has taken San Jacinto College into the 21st century with the addition of programs that are essential to building and maintaining the skilled workforce that is fundamental to the economic well being of the region. Dr. Hellyer’s long-term vision for the College and consideration of the needs of her students and the community have made such a positive impact and will continue to do so far into the future.”

‘HUMBLED’
On her selection for the Quasar Award, Dr. Hellyer said, “I am humbled and honored to be named the Quasar Award recipient. I am fortunate to represent amazing and talented people who make up our Board of Trustees, employees, and student body at San Jacinto College, all of whom have made it a top 10 College in the country.

“I am extremely thankful to the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership for this honor, and I applaud the work that they do every day to make the economy in our Houston region vibrant and strong. On behalf of San Jacinto College, it is an honor to receive this award.”

Dr. Hellyer became chancellor of SJCD in May 2009. In the ensuing years, she created transformational change at San Jacinto College, resulting in a nearly 162 percent increase in certificates and degrees awarded. Additionally, that transformational change has placed San Jacinto College as a twice-named top-10 community college in the country by the Aspen Institute.

16 NEW BUILDINGS
Dr. Hellyer has also worked tirelessly to transform the physical image of San Jacinto College from a 1960s college to a modern community college offering students training and education in collaborative classrooms on equipment they will use when entering the workforce. During her 10-year tenure as chancellor, the college has constructed or will construct 16 new buildings while completing renovations on many more.

Those buildings include the Maritime Technology and Training Center, which opened in March 2016; the $60 million LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, & Technology (CPET), which opened in September 2019; and, most recently, the EDGE Center. Designed to offer the nation’s leading edge curriculum in advanced manufacturing training, the San Jacinto College EDGE Center is now the official training partner for the Houston Spaceport.

The 27th Annual Quasar Award will pay tribute to Dr. Hellyer’s singular leadership and innovative initiatives, which have served to redefine education and workforce development in the Bay Area Houston region

Early voting for Dec. 14 Joint Runoff Election starts

November 28th, 2019

More than 30 voting locations will be open

Early Voting for the Dec. 14 Joint Runoff Election began Wednesday, Nov. 27, halts for Thanksgiving break, and resumes Dec. 2-10. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., except Sunday, Dec. 8, when they will open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. On Election Day, Dec. 14, the polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The deadline to apply for a ballot by mail (received, not postmarked) is Dec. 3.

Harris County will open 33 polling locations during early voting, and 385 on Election Day. Registered voters can vote in the runoff election even if they did not vote in November. A total of 389,494 people voted in the Nov. 5 election out of the more than 2.3 million registered voters in Harris County.

“We remind voters that they do not have to go to an assigned polling location in this election,” said Harris County Clerk Dr. Diane Trautman. “With countywide polling, they can cast their ballots at any voting center near their home, work, school, or wherever they may be during Early Voting and on Election Day.”

On the ballot are races for Houston mayor, city council members, Houston Independent School District, Houston Community College board members, and City of Bellaire council members. The State of Texas has set Jan. 28, 2020 as the runoff date for the House District 148 Special Election. Early voting for that election is Jan. 20-24, 2020.

“We truly hope that all registered voters exercise their right to vote,” Dr. Trautman added. “Every voice matters, please be proactive and remember you can now vote YOUR way.”

Harris County voters can find individual sample ballots, polling locations, and utilize the new wait time feature at www.HarrisVotes.com. Mobile phone users can text VOTE to 1-833-937-0700 to find the nearest voting center.