News Nuggets – Quick stories and updates from all around the Bay
New City Hall For Nassau Bay
Mayor Mark Denman and other Nassau Bay city officials joined Griffin Partners Nov. 13 in breaking ground for the new 24,000 square foot city hall and conference center, which will be located at 1800 Space Park Drive.
Work on the facility, which will cost the city an estimated $1.9 million, began around Nov. 1, City Manager Chris Reed said, adding that the conference center on the lower floor should be open March 1, and city hall on April 1.
Griffin Partners, which is developing Nassau Bay Town Square, earlier agreed to pay for a new city hall in exchange for the land on which the previous city hall was built. The city decided to add a second story and will pay for that portion of the building.
An aerospace firm has signed a seven-year lease to occupy part of the building — money that will help the city pay off the debt it will incur building a bigger building.
Another City Manager Quits
League City City Manager Mike Loftin has resigned – the second area city manager to quit in as many months – and City Council has named Deputy City Manager John Baumgartner as interim city manager.
Earlier, Seabrook City Manager Kelly Templin resigned to accept a similar post in College Station and Council named Gayle Cook to the post.
Loftin was named city manager of League City in May 2012 after previously serving as director of finance.
Baumgartner earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering at the University of Idaho in 1983, and attended The Public Executive Institute IX at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. He is a Texas Registered Professional Engineer.
UHCL Opens Registration
Open registration for spring 2014 classes at University of Houston-Clear Lake runs through Jan. 10 for classes beginning Jan. 13. Register at the university’s Student Services and Classroom Building, Office of Admissions, 2700 Bay Area Blvd.
The application deadline for undergraduates and non-degree-seeking undergraduate and non-degree-seeking graduate students is Jan. 6. Late applications will be accepted until Jan. 13, with spring late registration running Jan. 11-21.
For more information, email the UH-Clear Lake’s Office of Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 281-283-2500 or visit www.uhcl.edu/admissions to find the application link. For information about classes available at UH-Clear Lake Pearland Campus, call 281-212-1690
Trey Apffel To Head State Bar
A League City attorney is in line to become president of the State Bar of Texas next year.
E.A. “Trey” Apffel III was elected president-elect of the state bar and will serve as president June 2014 until June 2015.
Apffel, who has practiced in Galveston County for more than 30 years, is the owner and principal of the Apffel Law Firm in League City, where he focuses on personal injury litigation, medical malpractice and toxic torts, along with family law and divorce.
He has served on the State Bar Board of Directors and its Executive Committee and chaired its Legislative Policy Committee. He received his BBA from Baylor University and his J.D. from Baylor Law School.
Ex-Astronaut Now In Iowa
Former astronaut Clay Anderson has joined Iowa State University as an aerospace engineering faculty member.
The Nebraska native retired from NASA earlier this year after three space flights, 167 days in space, 38 hours of spacewalks and 30 years at Johnson Space Center.
He will work with freshman aerospace engineering students and help design research projects for the students and faculty. He earned his master’s degree from ISU in 1983.
Property Tax Bills Are Mailed
Tax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan announced that more than 900,000 property tax bills have been mailed to Harris County property owners.
“Property owners need to be on the lookout for their property tax bill,” Sullivan said, adding that taxes are due by Jan. 31, 2014.” Harris County residents can pay their property taxes by mail, phone at 713-368-2273, online at www.hctax.net or in person at any of the 16 Tax Assessor-Collector’s Offices throughout Harris County.
The Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office Property Tax Division maintains approximately 1.5 million tax accounts and collects property taxes for 71 taxing entities including Harris County. For the 2013 tax year, the Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office expects to collect approximately $5 billion of property tax payments.
Space Endeavors Prove Successful
The power switch was recently flipped on the Orion crew module, bringing it to life. That kicks off the final year of testing and preparation for Orion’s first mission, Johnson Space Center Director Ellen Ochoa says.
Meanwhile, Orbital Science’s Cygnus cargo craft’s inaugural flight, carrying 1,300 pounds of supplies to and from the space station was a big success.”The mission accomplished another major milestone in commercial spaceflight development and another significant success for NASA efforts to foster private space operations,” she added.