Words that Set America on a Course to the Moon

July 2nd, 2019

President John F. Kennedy speaking at Rice University on 12 September 1962

By Mary Alys Cherry

We choose to go to the Moon — famous words that set America on a course to the Moon and words that will live in the hearts of Houstonians forever.

President John F. Kennedy, recognizing that the Russians had a head start on us in space, suggested in a speech to Congress on May 25, 1961 that we should make new efforts of our own to go to the Moon.

“For while we cannot guarantee that we shall one day be first, we can guarantee that any failure to make this effort will make us last. We take an additional risk by making it in full view of the world, but as shown by the feat of astronaut Shepard, this very risk enhances our stature when we are successful. But this is not merely a race. Space is open to us now; and our eagerness to share its meaning is not governed by the efforts of others. We go into space because whatever mankind must undertake, free men must fully share.

“Let it be clear,” he continued, “that I am asking the Congress and the country to accept a firm commitment to a new course of action, a course which will last for many years and carry very heavy costs: $531 million in fiscal ‘62–an estimated $7 to 9 billion additional over the next five years. If we are to go only half way, or reduce our sights in the face of difficulty, in my judgment it would be better not to go at all.” It was one of two speeches JFK made that helped send us to the Moon.

RICE SPEECH
Then on Sept. 12, 1962, Kennedy came down to Houston, where he reiterated his call to go to the Moon and delivered his famous “Moon speech” at Rice University.
“We meet at a college noted for knowledge, in a city noted for progress, in a state noted for strength, and we stand in need of all three, for we meet in an hour of change and challenge, in a decade of hope and fear, in an age of both knowledge and ignorance. The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds.”

With the speech Kennedy hoped to persuade the American people to support the Apollo program, the national effort to land a man on the Moon.

NEW FRONTIER
In his speech, the president characterized space as a new frontier, invoking the pioneer spirit that dominated American folklore. He infused the speech with a sense of urgency and destiny, and emphasized the freedom enjoyed by Americans to choose their destiny rather than have it chosen for them.

While there was grumbling about the cost and value of the Moon-landing effort. Kennedy’s goal was realized in July 1969, with the successful Apollo 11 mission.

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too. “

Buzz began turning out books after return from Moon surface

July 2nd, 2019

Lunar Module pilot Buzz Aldrin on the surface of the moon.

By Mary Alys Cherry

Buzz Aldrin was one of the first two men to step on the eerie surface of the Moon and probably the most brilliant. Yet, for a number of years he felt short changed because he wasn’t No. 1. He just didn’t like being No. 2 at anything. And besides, his mother’s name was Marion Moon.

He almost had the No. 1 slot until a higherup at Johnson Space Center reportedly decided Neil Armstrong would be the better choice for the role of commander, whose job was to safely land the lunar module between the many boulders on the surface of the moon. And, some years later, Buzz let it go and became content with his role.

Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr., now 89, was born on Jan. 20, 1930, at Mountainside Hospital in Glen Ridge, N.Y. His parents lived in neighboring  Montclair, N.J.

His father served as an Army aviator during World War I and the assistant commandant of the Army’s test pilot school at McCook Field, Ohio, before becoming an executive at Standard Oil.[3]  His nickname, which became his legal first name in 1988, came about as a result of one of his two sisters mispronouncing “brother” as “buzzer,” which the family shortened to “Buzz.”

His sense of competitiveness started when he was a child. He did well in school, maintaining an A average.[9] He played football and was the starting center for Montclair High School’s undefeated 1946 state champion team before attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Aldrin entered West Point in 1947, finishing first in his plebe class. On June 5, 1951, he graduated third in the class of 1951 with a B.S.in Mechanical Engineering, after which he served in the Air Force, shooting down two MIG-15s while flying 66 combat missions during the Korean War and earning the Distinguished Flying Cross,

Soon afterwards he enrolled in Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned his Doctorate of Science in Astronautics, writing his thesis on Manned Orbital Rendezvous.
When he was selected by NASA in 1963 in the third group of astronauts, Aldrin was the first with a doctorate and became known as “Dr. Rendezvous.” The docking and rendezvous techniques he devised for spacecraft in Earth and lunar orbit became critical to the success of the Gemini and Apollo programs, and are still used today. He pioneered underwater training techniques to simulate spacewalking. In 1966 on the Gemini 12 orbital mission, he set a new EVA record of 5 1⁄2 hours.

An elder at Webster Presbyterian Church, Aldrin privately took communion there in the Sea of Tranquility, becoming the first person to hold a religious ceremony on the Moon.
Upon leaving NASA in 1971, he became commandant of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School but soon retired from the Air Force in 1972, after 21 years of service.

Over the years he has written a number of books. His autobiographies Return to Earth, (1973) and Magnificent Desolation (2009), recount his struggles with clinical depression and alcoholism in the years after leaving NASA. He continued to advocate for space exploration, particularly a human mission to Mars, and developed the Aldrin cycler, a special spacecraft trajectory that makes travel to Mars possible using less time and propellant.

In his book, Men From Earth, he not only gives a vivid account of the dramatic descent into the Moon’s Sea of Tranquility, down to the last four seconds, he uses recently declassified documents to show just how close the Soviets were to beating us to the lunar surface while taking readers step by step on the long, arduous journey to get to the moon.
He has been accorded numerous honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969, and is listed in several Halls of Fame.

In 2018 Aldrin was involved in a legal dispute with two of his children, Andrew and Janice, and former business manager Christina Korp over their claims that he was mentally impaired through dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The situation ended when his children withdrew their petition and he dropped the lawsuit in March 2019, just before the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.

Following the 2012 death of his Apollo 11 colleague, Neil Armstrong, Aldrin said that he was “deeply saddened by the passing…I know I am joined by many millions of others from around the world in mourning the passing of a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew…I had truly hoped that on July 20, 2019, Neil, Mike and I would be standing together to commemorate the 50th anniversary of our moon landing.”

After living for a number of years in the Los Angeles area, he sold his condominium and at last report was living in Satellite Beach, Fla.

Global icon Neil Armstrong lived and died a humble man

July 2nd, 2019

A young Neil Armstrong is photographed in the cockpit of the Ames Belt X-14 aircraft at NASA’s Ames Research Center.

By Mary Alys Cherry

As the first man to walk on the Moon in July 1969, Neil Armstrong quickly became the most famous man in the universe, which, being the humble man he was, was not to his liking.
This was brought out at his funeral in August 2012. “You’ll never get a hero, in my view, like Neil Armstrong,” Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders said after the service, praising Armstrong for both his wisdom and humility in the way he handled becoming a global icon.

“America has truly lost a legend,” astronaut Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, said.

“He was the embodiment of everything this nation is about,” then NASA Administrator and former astronaut Charles Bolden said about the famously shy, almost taciturn man, adding that Armstrong was a man with a courageous drive to explore, yet “incredibly humble.”

Neil Alden Armstrong was born Aug. 5, 1930 on his grandparents’ farm in Wapakoneta, Ohio and developed a love for flying early in life while becoming an Eagle Scout.

FLYING LESSONS
When he was just six, he made his first flight with his father, who worked for the state government, and formed a passion for flying that would last all his life. His hero was Charles Lindbergh. He took flying lessons and received his flying license on his 16th birthday — before he earned his driver’s license.

His education was interrupted when he was called to active duty in 1949 but continued after pilot training in Pensacola, Fla., and 78 combat missions over Korea, including one when his Navy fighter was severely damaged and he was forced to eject. However, he landed near a South Korean base and was safely rescued.

After completing his service, Armstrong earned a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering at Purdue University in 1955. He would later add to his education with a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Southern California in 1970.

TEST PILOT
After graduating from Purdue, he became a test pilot for NASA’s forerunner, the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, serving as one of an elite group selected to pit technology against nature’s limitations.

In 1962, he became an astronaut, and after serving as a backup for Gemini 5, he was chosen to command Gemini 8. But shortly after he and David Scott conducted the first successful docking in space, the joined spacecraft began spinning out of control when a thruster failed. Armstrong finally regained control by using thrusters intended for reentry, saving their lives.

Armstrong’s successful action, averting disaster on Gemini 8, and his flying skills led to his selection as commander of Apollo 11.

OFF TO THE MOON
By 1969, the team was ready to fulfill President Kennedy’s promise to put a man on the moon in that decade. In a spacecraft reported to have had control systems with less than a thousandth of the computing power of a modern laptop, Armstrong and his colleagues Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins made for the Moon.

People across the world bought television sets for the first time to witness their endeavor, and more than 500 million watched every moment of Apollo 11’s arrival on the lunar surface on July 20.

After steering to avoid large rocks, Armstrong had only 20 seconds of fuel left when he finally landed the module safely between boulders. From inside the capsule, he reported back to an emotional Mission Control in Houston that “the Eagle has landed.”

ONE SMALL STEP
And as he disembarked, he uttered his carefully prepared phrase, that what he was making was “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Then, as an awe-struck world watched, the humble man from Ohio, with Aldrin by his side, planted an American flag on the Sea of Tranquility. A little later, he talked by phone and received congratulations from President Nixon.

Back on Earth, the crew received global adulation, and were treated like movie stars wherever they went. But, after the initial celebrations, Armstrong refused to cash in on his celebrity.

The man who was revered as a hero by the American public and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon for his work, shunned the limelight and the prospective fortune that came with it.

Instead, he lived in the seclusion of his Ohio farmhouse, taught engineering at the University of Cincinnati and later went into business. He refused to give interviews or sign autographs and disappointed many fans with his requests for privacy and gave only occasional speeches. He reportedly once said, “I don’t want to be a living memorial,” and remained happy to “bask in obscurity.”

HERE FOR 20TH
Only reluctantly did he join his fellow astronauts for anniversary celebrations of the Moon landing. In 1989, he came back Clear Lake for the 20th anniversary of the lunar landing, joining some 10,000 Johnson Space center employees for a picnic at JSC. Then, that evening he and Collins and Aldrin and their wives were honored at a big party at the Hilton Hotel in Nassau Bay, across the street from the space center.

All three astronauts mingled with the crowd and smiled for pictures.

In 1999, 30 years after the moon landing, he stood with Aldrin and Collins to receive the Langley medal for aviation from then Vice President Al Gore before returning to his quiet life, hoping to be forgotten.

Then in April 2004, Armstrong returned to the Bay Area when the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation honored him with the National Space Trophy at the annual Space Gala – believed to be the last large function he attended.

But, the millions around the world who sat glued to their television sets in July 1969 saw their most fantastic dreams made real. For them, the shy man from Ohio opened a fresh frontier and there will be no forgetting Neil Armstrong and his awe-inspiring achievement.

Space Center Houston plans all-day lunar landing celebration

July 2nd, 2019

Space Center Houston will celebrate the historic first steps on the Moon with a spectacular lineup of events including  Apollo 11 50th Live, presented by JSC Federal Credit Union,” an all-day festival on July 20 celebrating the legacy of the Apollo era and the future of space exploration. The festival will culminate with an evening concert featuring performances by Walk the Moon and Phillip Phillips.

Those attending the iconic anniversary can take part in Space Center Houston’s “Apollo 11 50th Live,” featuring an array of space-themed activities, including late-night NASA Tram Tours to Rocket Park and the Apollo Mission Control Center, notable speakers, book signings, an outdoor festival with a concert, a family STEM zone – and more. The first 15,000 celebration guests will receive an interactive LED wristband (issued onsite to ticketholders) to illuminate the experience. The festival includes an outdoor 1960s inspired Discovery Reserve Beer Garden provided by Budweiser.

The concert kicks off with Phillip Phillips on stage at 8 p.m. and Walk the Moon at 9:15 p.m. Guests will watch a video interlude about the Apollo 11 50th anniversary, followed by the Official Countdown presented by Reliant, at 9:56 p.m., the exact moment Neil Armstrong stepped on the Moon. Walk the Moon will return to the stage at 10 p.m. following the first steps countdown.

“Houston’s legacy is tied to many achievements in space exploration, and we’re excited to unite people across the globe to relive the historic Apollo 11 anniversary with us,” said William T. Harris, president and CEO of Space Center Houston. “We are very thankful to JSC Federal Credit Union for helping us provide exceptional experiences marking the first lunar landing and to inspire people of all ages through the wonders of space exploration.”

“We are proud to partner with Space Center Houston to honor the outstanding achievements of space exploration and celebrate its rich history with the community, the world and the next generation of explorers,” said Brandon Michaels, president and CEO, JSC Federal Credit Union.

Apollo 11 anniversary celebration tickets are on sale now. Visit spacecenter.org for more information about the activities and hours of operation during this special period.

Turmeric: Nature’s most potent pain reliever and more

July 2nd, 2019

By Chris Matos

I have suffered from chronic pain in my knees and back for several years now. This pain prohibits me from doing activities and hobbies that use to bring much enjoyment to life. I tried many different treatments from over-the-counter to prescription pain pills, all of which either had no effect or were causing additional problems. This encouraged me to research healthier and more effective treatments for pain. I discovered turmeric curcumin and an impressive list of health benefits such as diminished joint pain, improved brain function, lower risk of heart disease and cancer, thwarting Alzheimer’s disease, and even anti-aging effects.

Background
Turmeric curcumin has been used for centuries in food and medicine dating back nearly 4,000 years because of its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Known as the main spice in the Indian dish curry, it is argued by many to be the most powerful herb on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing disease. Curcumin is one of the active ingredients in turmeric responsible for so many of its benefits and yellow color. In fact, turmeric is even good for treating hip pain and other inflammatory conditions in dogs, thanks to this active ingredient. Today’s market primarily includes turmeric supplements with products composed of 95 percent curcumin.

Turmeric curcumin happens to be poorly absorbed by the human body, so it is often recommended to purchase turmeric supplements that contain black pepper or piperine to maximize absorption. However, these chemical additives can have adverse side effects. Furthermore, turmeric and curcumin are two of the most scientifically studied natural ingredients. Many of the studies have been conducted locally at the Texas Medical Center in Houston who support turmeric’s potency and usefulness for many health conditions.

Does it really work?
Personally, having tried ten of the most rated turmeric supplements on Amazon only a couple showed positive results, yet none delivered the benefits I had expected. Realizing all supplements are not made equal I found a true gem. Nuvothera’s Super-Micronized Turmeric Curcumin utilizes the full turmeric root with over 200 beneficial molecules. Having the full complement of turmeric molecules works better as a whole rather than in isolation of only curcumin alone. Perhaps the greatest feature is the “micronized” aspect which simply means they have made the particle size incredibly small improving its absorption and bioavailability. Micronizing is so effective no black pepper or chemical enhancers are needed. This aids effectiveness and eliminates the risk of harmful side effects. Research studies have shown this super micronized turmeric curcumin to be over 100 times more potent compared to other curcumin brands.

What turmeric does for the body is amazing. Health-wise turmeric and curcumin benefits range in everything from helping with blood clots and depression to combating inflammation, boosting skin health, regulating cholesterol, and more. Nuvothera’s website (Nuvothera.com) has been eye opening from the amount of reliable information and videos showing how their product excels beyond all others. Since using their maximum potency turmeric those expected benefits have become surpassed, truly changing my life. I am able to enjoy a healthy pain free life everyday while enhancing my mood. This has become the go to gift for family who become so thankful and share all the benefits they have experienced. To feel the great rewards from turmeric, demand the best quality and begin living life to the fullest.

Bay Area bids farewell to Kemah police chief

July 2nd, 2019

The Bay Area said goodbye to one of its most admired citizens, Kemah Police Chief Chris Reed, at a memorial service Friday, June 14 at the Clear Creek Community Church on Egret Bay Boulevard which links League City with Clear Lake City and Nassau Bay — three of the areas he served over his years here.

By Mary Alys Cherry

Reed was killed June 7 as he and his wife were out on a boating excursion in Galveston Bay. When a large vessel passed by, creating a giant wave, he was thrown from the boat and apparently knocked unconscious and drowned.

Over the years, Reed served as Nassau Bay city manager, League City city administrator and as its assistant police chief; and most recently as Kemah police chief. He also served as a trustee on the Clear Creek ISD school board, which recently elected him secretary.

Speakers at the service included Clear Creek ISD Superintendent Dr. Greg Smith, who called Reed “a man of service;” the church pastor, Dr. Bruce Wesley, who described Reed as “a life well lived in serving others;” Reed’s daughter, Logan Reed; Reed’s friend Richard Rennison; and Nassau Bay Finance Director Csilla Ludanyi, who spoke on behalf of Reed’s wife, Jana, a CCISD school teacher. Some 500 law enforcement officers attended.

After the service, police, family and friends formed a procession that passed by different spots around the area that were important to the chief, first heading south on FM 270 to Highway 96, then east to Highway 146 past the Kemah Police Department and Kemah City Hall, and along NASA Road 1 near the Nassau Bay City Hall.

Reed was born Charles Christopher Reed on Oct. 6, 1968, in Princeton, Ind. After high school, he served in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper, graduated from the Military Police Academy and was certified as a military policeman. Reed and his wife Jana were high school sweethearts. She was a cheerleader, and he was a wrestler. They were married July 20, 1990 and have three children, Jana, Chase and Alexis. He is also survived by his parents.

After rising to the rank of sergeant in the Army and being honorably discharged, he joined the League City Police Department in 1991 and rose to the rank of assistant chief before being named city administrator of League City. While with League City, he graduated from the FBI National Academy Command College and received a Bachelor of Business Administration from LeTourneau University and earned his Master’s in Criminal Justice Administration from Sam Houston State University.

He also was active in a number of community organizations, such as the Clear Creek Education Foundation, Communities in Schools-Bay Area, the League City Lions Club, Bay Area Alliance and Hope Village.

In 2009, he began a six-year stint as city manager of Nassau Bay, before starting his own consulting agency in 2015, and then a couple of years later back to public service with the Kemah Police Department.

As former Kemah Mayor Carl Joiner said after the service, “he left an imprint on so many people.”

Luxury Summer Tow

July 2nd, 2019

By Don Armstrong

Towing a boat and trailer is second nature to many in the Bay Area but the right vehicle can make all the difference on the easiness scale. We recently drove a couple of contenders that would be a welcome addition to any skipper’s fleet.

Lexus GX460
The body-on-frame Lexus GX 460 hits the right notes when conducting the luxury and towing symphony. This player touts a somewhat subdued interior that feels rich, without being over the top. Quality fit and finish, combined with high-end leather and real wood accents, remind us of Uncle Jimmy’s library.

As with most SUV’s with 3-rows of seating, the last row should be relegated to the kids as leg room and seat bottom height will cripple most adults on all but short jaunts.
Powering the full-time all-wheel drive system is a 301-horsepower, 4.6-liter V-8. While some manufacturers offer 10-speed automatic transmissions, Lexus soldiers on with a 6-speed. That combination gets a 15 MPG-city and 18-highway rating from the EPA.

The GX460 is equipped with an air suspension that smooths most road bumps, but don’t expect car-like or crossover smoothness. Despite its heft, however, store parking lots that require tight maneuvering are easier than you’d think.

We recommend shopping the high-end Luxury trim level that is $11,500 more than the $53,505 entry model price.

Chevrolet Tahoe
When we think of luxury, Chevrolet doesn’t typically fall into that category, but we recently drove a loaded-up 4-wheel drive, top of the line, Premier Plus Edition that we’ll put up against almost any competitor in the luxo class.

First, let’s talk price. The entry-level Tahoe starts at $46,800. The Premier 4WD jumps up to $65,600, while our test Tahoe stickers for $78,565. You’re probably thinking, “wait, this is a Chevrolet?” Yes, and this one definitely separates the men from the boys.

As you might expect, everything but the kitchen sink is on board, including the new, optional 6.2-liter V-8 that hums out 420-horsepower, more than enough to haul 8 humans and tow up to 8,400 pounds. The 10-speed automatic transmission is smooth as silk, but fuel mileage is on par with most others in the body-on-frame class, 14-city and 22-highway.
The Tahoe Premier Plus also comes with Chevy’s Magnetic Ride Control that dampens bumps like no other suspension gizmo. Those auto-folding running boards make climbing into our football-brown leather interior a breeze.

We Live in Different Worlds

July 2nd, 2019

Photo by Michael Gos

By Michael W. Gos

Canyon, Texas

It’s a different world out here in far West Texas. There is flat prairie for miles in every direction (unless you stumble onto Palo Duro, that is). Trees are an oddity and the wind is always blowing. But the biggest difference is the people. Everyone here wears boots and Stetsons, they are weathered by the sun and wind and they are the friendliest people I’ve ever met. No one acts uppity. In a local diner, you can’t tell the difference between a rancher worth millions and a day-laborer hoping to make it to tomorrow. Then there is the 47-foot high statue of Tex Randall. He’s hard to miss. I can’t spend much time here without thinking about the differences between the world I live in in Clear Lake and the one the people here in Canyon inhabit.

I guess I’ve been aware of different, parallel worlds for decades. I knew a woman years ago who was a dedicated follower of soap-operas. We sometimes talked about it. I saw them as silly and pointless. Life just isn’t as zany and difficult as portrayed there. She said she loved them because they were so true to life. I thought she was crazy (she was…but that’s a different story). And then there was my first week as a freshman in the new world of Purdue. What a difference from what I knew in Gary, Indiana. It was like getting hit in the face with a door!

But I really started to notice it when I first came to Texas. I was immediately struck by the difference between my world and that of some of my students. One day in my first semester here, on my way into work I saw an old pair of sneakers, laces tied together and thrown over a powerline crossing a city street. I mentioned it in class later that day, wondering why anyone would want to do that. Several of my students explained it was a “billboard” advertising drugs for sale. I was dumbfounded.

Over the years, I came to understand that many of my students lived in worlds that were not only alien to me but ones I didn’t even know existed. In the ensuing decades, I have had students from third generation welfare families and from neighborhood environments filled with drugs and habitual criminals. While I grew up poor, such things simply did not exist in my wholesome world.

What determines our world? Some of it, of course, is what we are born into. We have no control over that. But as we age, most of us find that our worlds change, sometimes dramatically. There must be something besides accidents of birth at work here. Certainly, there are the influences of family, friends and neighborhoods. Later we encounter other environments such as school and the workplace. Each of these somewhat controls the kind of people we meet and the world we see. My first days at Purdue are a prime example. There were very few students like me, the professors seemed like space aliens and the expectations were far beyond what I anticipated.

As a writer, I do a lot of listening, eavesdropping if you will, so I can learn things about people. I hear the conversations between bartenders at my favorite watering holes and can tell in an instant that they definitely live in a different world than I do. The same is true of my students. Those whose families work in the plants are very different from those whose parents work in business, education or the high-tech industries. And all of them live in worlds very different from mine.

In the magnificent novel Illusions, Richard Bach has a passage in which a character is teaching his protégé about these different worlds. He asks, “You live in the same world as a stockbroker?…Your life has been tumbled and changed by a new SEC policy?” Of course, the “student,” an airplane pilot, recognizes he knows nothing of the Wall Street world. The teacher’s point is, each of us lives in a world different from everyone else; no two of us occupy the same world. If that notion is true, and I think it is, it is important we consider the effects and the infinite possibilities of these differing worlds.

First and foremost, for most of us, the world we see is the world we believe is real and the only one there is. And unless something major happens to shake us of that idea, that world is the only one we will ever see. But if indeed there are other options, there is reason to believe that some of them could possibly be more attractive to us than our current situation. If we become aware of those options, come to the realization that we don’t have to live the way we have been, we just might want to make a change.

I admit that’s not always easy. In fact, at times it may seem impossible. Sometimes making that transition is only possibile if we get a little help from someone else, someone to show us the way—a teacher, if you will. I don’t mean an educator in the traditional sense necessarily, but rather, someone like the character in Illusions, someone who already understands and can help us to see reality and the options that lay before us.

It seems to me, once we understand that a better world, or even lots of better worlds, may exist, we can make one of them ours if we really want to. But for most of us, we don’t have a clue as to how to go about it. It is really a two-step process.

First, we need to “see” that world we want and to believe it really exists. To quote an old college coach of mine, “What the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.” That may mean going out of our way to expose ourselves, even superficially, to other options—to see them in action. We may feel like a fish out of water, or like we are trying to force ourselves into places or groups to which we don’t belong—to which we are not welcome, but “seeing” those opportunities is all a part of the process of change. We might even want to try on several other worlds “for size,” just to see which might “look better” on us.

When we find one we like, the hard work really begins. It now becomes a matter of doing what is necessary to get there. That brings us back to Old Coach; When we believe it—it will happen. It may take work, but what worthwhile thing doesn’t?

In reality, we all live in the world we have chosen for ourselves—and we are always free to make a different choice.

Texas yacht tax cut expected to offer many benefits to state

July 2nd, 2019

By Mary Alys Cherry

After trying for six years, the state’s boat dealers finally caught a break with the 86th Texas Legislature – a big tax break they expect will not only revive the state’s boating industry but also save jobs in the small businesses that serve the maritime industry, such as hotels and restaurants, that have been lost to Florida and coastal Atlantic states over the past decade.

Beginning in September, the sales tax on luxury yachts as long as 115 feet will be $18,750, which means a tax break of $228,000 on a $3 million yacht.

But the real purpose of the legislation is to revive Texas’ marine industry, local supporters such as State Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood will be quick to tell you. A few millionaires will benefit, but that is not the point. People who buy big yachts are buying them in other states, Taylor explained.

Since 2010 when Florida capped its sales tax on yachts at $18,000, Texas’ market share has slowly dwindled as those buying yachts go to Florida to save money, and most of the yachts stay docked in the Sunshine State. That means Florida benefits from gas and diesel sales and other services instead of Texas. It also means jobs to provide services to the yacht owners.

Taylor expects the legislation will create up to 600 jobs in Texas. He said once boats are bought in Texas, the buyers will also buy fuel here, as well as other equipment and repairs — all services that are going to other states right now.

When the tax cut proposal was introduced in 2015, legislators couldn’t get past the benefit to millionaires and promptly let the bill die. A second try in the 2017 Legislature also died. But this year with help from a number of local people, it passed both houses.

“Sometimes economic development initiatives that have real, tangible value for a region take years to implement,” Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership President Bob Mitchell said. “This was the case with capping the Texas sales tax on luxury yachts. I believe that the passing of this bill will produce significant, positive results for the state’s maritime industry, including the many small businesses that support that industry and the jobs they create.

“We’re grateful to Senator Taylor for sponsoring HB 4032 and to Reps. Greg Bonnen, M.D., Dennis Paul, Ed Thompson, Ryan Guillen and Geanie W. Morrison, for serving as its authors,” Mitchell added.

Others who worked so hard to get the Maritime Jobs Preservation Legislation passed included:

  • John Preston of the Boaters Directory, who took the lead on this legislative agenda, formed the Texas Marine Industry Coalition in 2018, and led the advocacy for legislation during the 86th Texas Legislature
  • Jay Dee Jackson of Galati Yacht Sales
  • Greg and Glenda Allison of Gulf Coast Yacht Brokers Association
  • Simon Urbanic, realtor and BAHEP member
  • Harriet Pilgrim. BAHEP membership director; and Bob
  • Greg and Glenda Allison and Simon Urbanic also spent many hours advocating for the tax cut during the two previous legislative sessions  — work that laid the groundwork for this year’s legislation.
  • Marcy Fryday, Lakewood Yacht Club.

Clear Creek ISD announces 2019 Teachers of the Year

July 2nd, 2019

Clear Creek ISD Superintendent Dr. Greg Smith congratulates 2019 Secondary Teacher of the Year Alaina Garza, left, of Clear Brook High and 2019 Elementary Teacher of the Year Lyzette Ruiz of Ed White Elementary during the luncheon at South Shore Harbour Resort.

The Rotary Clubs of Space Center, Seabrook and League City honored Clear Creek ISD’s 44 campus teachers of the year and announced the 2019 Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year at a luncheon at South Shore Harbour Resort May 20.

Lyzette Ruiz of Ed White Elementary was chosen 2019 CCISD Elementary Teacher of the Year. The kindergarten teacher has become a leader on her campus by supporting campus and district initiatives to build stronger literacy foundations and improve personalized learning strategies.

As she explained in her Teacher of the Year application, “I have a strong desire to empower students to take ownership of their own learning and give them the opportunity to rejoice in their capabilities.”

Clear Brook High School science teacher, Alaina Garza, is the 2019 CCISD Secondary Teacher of the Year. A 12-year CCISD teacher, Garza works to cultivate a passion for science through a variety of techniques for different learning styles.

SELF ADVOCACY
Outside the classroom, she is dedicated to promoting self-advocacy in all her students by supporting student-centered platforms such as TEDxClearBrookHighSchool and Safe School Ambassadors. “By asking questions, students will generate their own ideas,” she said. “As educators, we must create platforms for them to express and exchange these ideas.”
“Thank you to the Rotary Clubs of Space Center, Seabrook and League City for their ongoing support of our outstanding teachers in Clear Creek ISD,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Greg Smith said. “Together with our Rotary Clubs, we are proud to applaud these special educators for inspiring their school communities.”

In addition to the award winners, Clear Creek ISD also congratulated the other four 2019 finalists: Ashley Hosek, Bauerschlag Elementary 1st grade teacher; Angela Sanders, Greene Elementary 3rd grade teacher; Kelly Boultinghouse, League City Intermediate science teacher; and Laura Dunham, Clear Lake High School Family and Consumer Science teacher.

NEXT STEP
Ruiz and Garza will now advance to the regional and then possibly state selection process for Texas Teacher of the Year. In addition to $1,500 from the Rotary Clubs of League City, Seabrook and Space Center, the Elementary and Secondary Teacher of the Year will each receive a custom commemorative ring from Balfour. Finalists received $750 each.
A total of 44 teachers were selected to represent their respective campus in the community’s search for the District’s Elementary School Teacher of the Year and the Secondary Education Teacher of the Year. They also were recognized at the luncheon.

Beyond educating students, the following teachers have also been identified as a leader on their campus, working collaboratively with co-workers to improve the school culture. The CCISD 2019 Teachers of the Year are:

Elementary
Armand Bayou Elementary
Jenifer Gilmore
Bauerschlag Elementary
Ashley Hosek
Bay Elementary
Micaela Cowan
Brookwood Elementary
Kathryn Grindstaff
Clear Lake City Elementary
Natalie Szczypien
Falcon Pass Elementary
Caitlin Turner
Ferguson Elementary
Rebecca Nations
Gilmore Elementary
Jason Gardner
Goforth Elementary
Julia Simon
Greene Elementary
Angela Sanders
Hall Elementary
Heather Weger
Hyde Elementary
Allison Etzel
Landolt Elementary
Rachel Willard
League City Elementary
Janice Green
McWhirter Elementary
Lucero Munoz Raba
Mossman Elementary
Josephine Burke
North Pointe Elementary
Melody Tanigawa
Parr Elementary
Christie Morgan
Robinson Elementary
Rhonda Koenig
Ross Elementary
Alexandra Adams
Stewart Elementary
Erika Greer
Ward Elementary
Krysta Walthall
Weber Elementary
Bao Khanh Truong
Wedgewood Elementary
Cal Hitchman
Whitcomb Elementary
Melissa Hedrick
White Elementary
Lyzette Ruiz

Secondary 
Bayside Intermediate
Tiffany Levesque
Brookside Intermediate
Emily Soderdahl
Clear Creek Intermediate
Gilberto Bonet
Clear Lake Intermediate
Terri Nicolosi
Creekside Intermediate
Amy Watkins
League City Intermediate
Kelly Boultinghouse
Seabrook Intermediate
Katharine Moore
Space Center Intermediate
Crystal Delaney
Victory Lakes Intermediate
Veronica Quiballo
Westbrook Intermediate
Danielle Muesse-Caples
Clear Brook High School
Alaina Garza
Clear Creek High School
Elizabeth Radicioni
Clear Falls High School
Hany Rezk
Clear Horizons High School
Carmen Hampton
Clear Lake High School
Laura Dunham
Clear Path High School
Rafael Sepulveda
Clear Springs High School
Melody Hermes
Clear View High School
Ann Sebastian