Clear Lake Chatter: Party Time in the Bay Area

January 1st, 2016

Hostess Elaine Rister, center, thanks Suzanne Stephens, right, for chairing the Assistance League Holiday Open House at her Bay Oaks home in Clear Lake.

Hostess Elaine Rister, center, thanks Suzanne Stephens, right, for chairing the Assistance League Holiday Open House at her Bay Oaks home in Clear Lake.

IF YOU LIKE to party, the Bay Area is the place to be in December. It starts the first of the month and only lets up when word gets out that shopping days are numbered and that the reindeer are already practicing with Rudolph up at the North Pole.

In between, it’s run, run, run from party to party and catching up on everyone you haven’t seen in awhile. It began early for the Clear Creek Education Foundation, which launched its annual fundraising campaign with a breakfast hosted by Executive Director Kaci Hanson at Lakewood Yacht Club, where H.E.B Regional President Scott McClelland was the keynote speaker. Do I need tell you the crowd was disappointed he did not bring J.J. Watt?

Assistance League members Kathy Panneton, Shirley Lang and Marie Keener, from left, look for a recipe in the League cookbook during Holiday Open House.

Assistance League members Kathy Panneton, Shirley Lang and Marie Keener, from left, look for a recipe in the League cookbook during Holiday Open House.

Next stop was at UH-Clear Lake’s annual holiday reception hosted by President Bill Staples and his wife, Darlene, at Bay Oaks Country Club and then the Johnson Space Center Director’s Holiday Party, hosted by JSC Director Dr. Ellen Ochoa in Building Nine. Later you might have spotted many members of the business community at the holiday receptions hosted by the League City and Clear Lake Chambers and by Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership.

And this year we enjoyed beautiful spring-like weather.

THE BAY AREA Museum Guild kicked off probably the busiest week of the month with its annual Holiday Open House, where you could have bumped into Linda and Einar Goerland, Pat and Wendell Wilson, Mary Ann Shallberg, Peggy and Jerry Clause, Anita Fogtman, Cindy and David Kuenneke, Ava and Tony Galt, Sue Broughton, Frank Perez, Gloria Wong, Nina and Robert McGlashan, Jan Larson and Lewis and Joan Wade.

Jan Larsen, Pat Biddle and Ava Galt, from left, were on hand to welcome the crowd to the Bay Area Museum Guild Holiday Open House at the museum in Clear Lake Park.

Jan Larsen, Pat Biddle and Ava Galt, from left, were on hand to welcome the crowd to the Bay Area Museum Guild Holiday Open House at the museum in Clear Lake Park.

Some of the others in the crowd included Justine and Patrick Powell, Buck Rogers, Barbara and Frank Spencer, Rose Merle and Leo Symmank, Kimberly Barker, Shirley and Hubert Brasseaux, Pat Biddle and her husband, Ronald Kahl, and his daughter Diane, Michelle Krueger, Liz DeLeon, Annette Dwyer and Pat Monks, Laraine Eggers, Sarah Foulds, Nancy Poffenberger and Stephen Vega.

ASSISTANCE LEAGUE members were out in force the next day as Elaine Rister hosted the annual Holiday Open House at her Bay Oaks home, with Suzanne Stephens as chairman and Melanie Lovuola as co-chairman.

Among the crowd were President Peggy Clause,  Barbara Weitenhagen, Atiya Abouleish, Cathy Wolfe, Vicki Tallman, Shirley Lang, Christina Deane, Marie Keener, Sandra Sellers, Lisa Holbrook, Sharon Dillard, Beverly Braden and Kathy Panneton.

Hostess Carole Murphy and Houston Symphony League Bay Area President Jim Moore prepare to welcome the crowd to the group’s Holiday Brunch at the Murphy home in Brook Forest.

Hostess Carole Murphy and Houston Symphony League Bay Area President Jim Moore prepare to welcome the crowd to the group’s Holiday Brunch at the Murphy home in Brook Forest.

Looking around, you might also have spotted Yvonne Perrin, Joan Burt, Judy Raiford, Suzie Rogers, Pam Culpepper, Amy Wortham, Ginger Darnell, Cathy Wolfe, Brunella Altemus, Hillary Graham, Mary Vaughn, Marie Keener, Belinda Scheunch, Shirley Lang, Becky Richey, Georgia Piwonka, Melanie Lovuola, Jean Simms, Badiha Nassar, Arlis Miles and Betty Walcott.

CLEAR LAKE Panhellenic hostess Kim Krist joined Panhellenic President Kay Lee Benoit in welcoming the crowd to Kim’s Bay Oaks home in Clear Lake for their annual Holiday Brunch, which before long was overflowing with members, including Judie Ferguson, Dana Brown, Karen McCorkle, Judy Raiford, Kathy Arnold, Peggy Clause, Barbara Dickey and Diane Overman.

Judge Holly Williamson was in the crowd, as were Emmeline Dodd, Ruth Beecher, Monica Gibbs, Jo Nell Hunter, Sheree Frede, Kathy Atkins, Jill Reason, Ellen King, Karen Weber, Sue Ellen Jennings, Kim Barker, Laurie Vaughn, Sue Broughton and dozens more – all enjoying swapping holiday stories with one another or making plans to get together in the new year.

Houston Symphony League Bay Area members Bill and Sherry Straight, Betty Geehan and Bill and Anita Knowles, from left, enjoy the gorgeous weather out on the patio at their annual Holiday Brunch.

Houston Symphony League Bay Area members Bill and Sherry Straight, Betty Geehan and Bill and Anita Knowles, from left, enjoy the gorgeous weather out on the patio at their annual Holiday Brunch.

HOUSTON SYMPHONY League Bay Area President Jim Moore joined hostess Carole Murphy in welcoming members to the annual holiday party at Carole’s Brook Forest home.

And, it wasn’t long before her home was overflowing out onto the beautiful inviting back patio, where all were enjoying the delightful spring-like weather – including Bill and Sherry Straight, Betty Geehan and Bill and Anita Knowles, Joan Wade, Vicki Buxton, Jane Lackow and Glenda Toole.

WHILE ALL THIS was going on, there was much, much more. The wee set was partying at the Museum Guild’s Toyland Fantasy at Bay Oaks Country Club in Clear Lake, at Breakfast With the Sugar Plum Fairy hosted by Bay Area Houston Ballet & Theatre at South Shore Harbour Resort and at the Seabrook Rotary’s annual Breakfast With Santa.

Vicki Buxton, Jane Lackow and Glenda Toole, from left, ready plans for the Houston Symphony League Bay Area’s annual Home Tour while enjoying the group’s Holiday Brunch.

Vicki Buxton, Jane Lackow and Glenda Toole, from left, ready plans for the Houston Symphony League Bay Area’s annual Home Tour while enjoying the group’s Holiday Brunch.

Moms also were getting in a lot of early shopping at the Bay Area Turning Point Holiday Market over at NASA’s Gilruth Center, the Bay Oaks Women’s Association Holiday Market at the country club, the Lakewood Yacht Club Ladies Association Feliz Navidad holiday market at the yacht club, the Velvet Stocking at the Webster Civic Center and the various markets hosted by area churches.

And, Interfaith Caring Ministries, celebrating its 30th anniversary, held its biggest fundraiser of the year – the 22nd annual Festival of Trees Gala and Big Band Swing Night at South Shore Harbour Resort with dinner, several guest speakers, a wine pull and live and silent auctions.

Closing out a busy year, many were planning New Year’s Eve parties. Big ones include those at Lakewood and Houston Yacht Clubs and Bay Oaks Country Club for members and their guests. South Shore Harbour Resort is also planning a big New Year’s Eve Wine Dinner with the public invited.

Then we’ll all kick back for a few days and catch our breath.

Conference room renamed during emotional ceremony     

July 1st, 2015

Angela Braun, wife of David Braun, gets a hug from State Sen. Sylvia Garcia during BAHEP ceremony June 9.

Angela Braun, wife of David Braun, gets a hug from State Sen. Sylvia Garcia during BAHEP ceremony June 9.

In an outpouring of love, respect and memories, the large conference room of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership was renamed the David Braun Conference Room in a dedication ceremony held June 9. Braun served as BAHEP’s aerospace marketing manager from 2005 until his death Feb. 21, 2015, but he was so much more to his family, his BAHEP family, and the community.

Braun was a Nassau Bay councilman for eight years and mayor pro-tem for four years. Several elected officials attended the ceremony for “one of their own” and to present resolutions to Braun’s widow, Angela, and his son, Michael. Braun’s sister, Kathy McHale, was also in attendance.

Sen. Larry Taylor and Sen. Sylvia Garcia presented a resolution from the Texas Senate, while Rep. Greg Bonnen and Rep. Dennis Paul presented a resolution from the Texas House of Representatives.

Jay Guerrero, representing U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, called Braun the “epitome of servant leadership,” and presented the Braun family with a U.S. flag which was “flown over the United States Capitol in honor of David Braun.”

Kelly Waterman, representing U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, credited Braun with giving the congressman a personal perspective on NASA and its importance to the country even before his election to Congress. Rep. Babin honored Braun by having a tribute to him entered into the Congressional Record. The entry stated in part that “David’s passion for public service and community involvement was fueled by his devotion to God and his church and to his community.”

On behalf of Rep. Randy Weber, Janet Rizzo read a Letter of Recognition from the congressman.

Nassau Bay Mayor Pro-tem Sandra Mossman, on behalf of Mayor Mark Denman, proclaimed June 9 as David Braun Memorial Day in Nassau Bay.

Houston Councilman Dave Martin, on behalf of Mayor Annise Parker, proclaimed June 9 as In Memoriam David Braun Day in the City of Houston.

Followed by warm applause and many smiles, BAHEP President Bob Mitchell also announced that NASA’s Johnson Space Center would be planting an oak tree on its campus in October in honor of Braun’s many years of service to the aerospace community.

David Braun remembered

April 1st, 2015

4-1 David BraunBob Mitchell, president of Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, gave a touching eulogy on Feb. 25 at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Nassau Bay for BAHEP staff member David Braun, who passed away Feb. 21. Following is part of that eulogy, which is abbreviated due to space constraints.

“We’re here tonight to remember David Braun. I’m representing the entire Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership family. The BAHEP staff is truly a family. We work together, we laugh together, and we cry together. David always referred to us as the BAHEPIANS!

“We have lost one of our family members in David; he was the glue that kept us together. Let me share some words that describe this good man:

Good husband, father, friend, mentor. Community leader. Caring. Brave. Truthful. Trustworthy. Giving. A leader by example. And last, but certainly not least, funny.

“David was a model for us all. He handled his cancer battle with such dignity and courage. He handled it with the same methodical approach he handled his job. No matter the deadline, David never flinched under pressure. He was so committed to live life the best way he could, never complaining or showing the pain he felt.

“In the middle of David’s cancer treatment, BAHEP joined forces with the Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance to convince members of Congress that the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act of 2012 would have devastating consequences for many thousands of people and businesses across the nation. David led that effort in Texas. Last March the Senate passed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014, and the president signed the bill into law. Through David’s hard work, along with others, this one bill saved the residents and businesses of Bay Area Houston many thousands of dollars on their flood insurance policies.

“Most people had no idea that David had been fighting cancer for three years. He had such an inner strength. David always had a smile on his face, and I do mean always.

“He was smiling last Friday when Jane Gayle and I presented him the plaque honoring him and his work at BAHEP. We told David that we are renaming our conference room after him so that his work can be remembered. The plaque will say: ‘Remarkable for his dedication to his family, his work with the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, and his community, David gave 100 percent of his effort in all that he accomplished. His work on behalf of Citizens for Space Exploration Texas and BAHEP’s Aerospace Advisory Committee was exemplary and will long be remembered. He was a friend to all he met and always had a smile for everyone. David will always remain a valuable part of the BAHEP family.’

“So as long as there is a BAHEP, there will be a David Braun conference room.

“David’s behind-the-scenes work on the annual Citizens for Space Exploration Texas trip to Washington, D.C., on behalf of human space exploration is a prime example of his commitment to the community and to BAHEP. He spent months making arrangements for this very important trip and was integral to its clockwork precision once we arrived in D.C.

“Throughout David’s life, whenever he was given the chance to be a good steward – a good man – David succeeded!  He had his faith, he was a good husband to a beautiful wife, and he was father to a successful son.

“The Bible makes a distinction between a good man and a righteous man. A good man is right with humanity, whereas, a righteous man, more importantly, is right with God. Here, too, David was a success for he was right with God in every sense of the word.

“Farewell, David, you were a good friend and, to the end, a good and faithful servant.

“David, we love you. Peace be with you and your family.”