UHCL’s unique purpose: ‘pursue space, advance humanity, protect the Earth’

October 15th, 2019

University of Houston-Clear Lake President Ira K. Blake says that in order to keep pace with an ever-changing world, the institution will strive to teach present and future students not only how to self-adapt to change, but how to lead those changes.

“Society needs people who know how to be compassionate and honest,” Blake told students, faculty, alumni and honored guests at her State of the University address on Tuesday. “Society needs all kinds of skills that are not just cognitive. They’re emotional. They’re affectional. In other words, you can’t run society on data and computers alone.”

The president evoked futurist Alvin Toffler, “who cautioned that in order to keep up, we needed to not focus on what to learn but also to instruct students in ‘how to learn, unlearn and relearn’ as positive change demands it.”

Blake expressed her vision of the university’s future with a nod to its 45-year past: created at NASA’s request to support the U.S. space program. “UH-Clear Lake opened in 1974 with the purpose of delivering educational opportunities to NASA Johnson Space Center administrators, staff, engineers, scientists – and yes, astronauts,” she said.


“That purpose was inextricably linked to the evolving changes taking place in knowledge, skills, and workforce attributes needed to pursue space exploration to advance humanity and to protect the earth,” she added. “Our purpose from the beginning has been to help to discover, to innovate, to provide solutions to present-day problems – as well as to shape decisions about challenges to making our world a better place, and connecting to other worlds.”

Blake pointed out that NASA Johnson Space Center and UHCL recently signed a memorandum of understanding reiterating their relationship “to work together on behalf of students, scientists, faculty, our country and a world that will depend on future generations being better prepared to explore, learn from, develop and protect our universe.”

She also stressed the importance of “bi-directionally beneficial partnerships” with city mayors, community college chancellors, ISD superintendents, principals and teachers, chambers of commerce, city and regional economic development corporations, businesses and agency leaders, noting the close relationship the university has with Pearland Mayor Tom Reid and other Pearland leaders because of the creation of UHCL Pearland.

“UH-Clear Lake’s present-day faculty, staff, students and alumni, grounded in the legacy of our original purpose, have an ongoing commitment to determining what it means to prepare students for a world that is rapidly changing … a world – no, a universe – with emerging new understandings, shifting roles and relationships, and evolving career opportunities – all amidst never-ending new discoveries and new inventions,” she said.


She highlighted the university’s jump in the U.S. News & World Report’s recently announced 2020 rankings where the university tied at number 43, jumping 20 places in the rankings since 2018. She also noted UHCL’s record enrollment in fall 2018 and again in fall 2019, and included an invitation to prospective students: “If you have the desire for meaningful opportunities on a diverse, inclusive campus, in order to learn to make better decisions, to solve problems more effectively, to become more competent, caring and confident in your future roles in the world, our faculty and staff say, ‘Access Granted.’”

Among alumni and community dignitaries in attendance were UH System Chancellor Renu Khator, UH System Regents Durga Agrawal and John Fields, Texas State Representatives Ed Thompson and Dennis Paul, Mayor Reid, and Jared Bargas, who attended in behalf of U.S. Rep. Randy Weber.

View a video of the president’s address at www.uhcl.edu/president/presidential-communications/state-of-the-university-2019-20.

FEMA Individual Assistance now available for those affected by Imelda

October 10th, 2019

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is now offering assistance to Houston residents affected by Tropical Storm Imelda, Houston City Councilman Dave Martin has announced.

Applications for FEMA Individual Assistance for Imelda recovery will be open through Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. FEMA may provide Houston home owners, certain types of renters, and businesses with the following types of assistance:

  • Home/Primary Residence: FEMA provides assistance to individuals and families who have lost their homes as a result of a presidentially-declared disaster. If you are a renter or homeowner you may qualify for assistance. By law, FEMA assistance cannot duplicate the assistance you receive from your insurance company, but you may receive assistance for items not covered by insurance. If your home was impacted by a major disaster, FEMA recommends that you apply for assistance by clicking here.
    • NOTE: FEMA does not offer assistance for a secondary home. Federal guidelines only allow FEMA to provide housing assistance when one’s primary residence is impacted by a presidentially-declared disaster.
  • Business: FEMA does not offer assistance for small businesses impacted by a presidentially-declared disaster. However, FEMA partners with the Small Business Administration, which offers low interest loans for business damages. Learn more about the business loan application process by clicking here.
  • Other Needs Assistance: FEMA offers disaster assistance for some other disaster-caused expenses, including medical and dental, child care, funeral and burial, essential household items, moving and storage, vehicle, and some clean-up items.

Click here or call 1-800-621-FEMA for more information. Residents can visit www.houstonrecovers.org for additional recovery information.

October Main Events

October 1st, 2019

Clear Lake 
Fashion show Oct. 3. The Bay Oaks Women’s Association will present its annual fall fashion show luncheon at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 3 at the country club. Reservations a must.

Chamber Gala Oct. 4. The Clear Lake Chamber’s Chairman’s Ball will be held Friday, Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m. at Space Center Houston, honoring the outgoing and incoming chamber officials. For reservations, call the chamber, 281-488-7676.

Ballet season opens Oct. 5. Bay Area Houston Ballet & Theatre will open its season at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5 at the BAHBT Black Box Theatre with The Next Giant Leap,a salute to our space heritage and unique location, and complete with heavy hors d’hoeuvres and wine.

Welcome Neighbors Oct. 10. Bay Area Welcome Neighbors Club will meet Thursday, Oct. 10 at Bay Oaks Country Club with the social beginning at 10 a.m. and the program on “Acupuncture and Wellness” presented by Elizabeth Yuan, a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist at 10:30 a.m. For luncheon reservations, contact Nancy Guthrie at membership.bawnc@gmail.com  or call 281.333.3055.

Town Hall Oct. 10. Houston City Councilman Dave Martin will host a Town Hall in Space Center Houston’s Special Events Building at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10 with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and several city officials on hand to answer questions.

CLASP features UHCL Oct. 10. The Clear Lake Association of Senior Programs’ target for its Thursday, Oct. 10 meeting, from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Garden Room of UHCL’s Bayou Building will be UHCL: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.Open to the public. Free parking available in the Visitors Lot.  For information, visit www.uhcl.edu/clasp

Piano duet Oct. 11. Brothers Piro and Gjergji Gaqi will take their audience on a musical journey around the world Friday, Oct. 11 when they appear at University Baptist Church, 16106 Middlebrook Drive, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for students. For information, visit www.bayareamusicteachers.org

Murphey concert Oct. 17.  The multi-Grammy nominee and country/western singer Michael Martin Murphey will appear in concert at UHCL’s Bayou Theater at 7:30 p.m. Thursday Oct. 17. For tickets, call 281-283-3024 or visit www.uhcl.edu/bayoutheater

Wings Over Houston Oct. 19. The Air Force Thunderbirds will be among the many airplanes filling sky over Ellington Airport at this year’s Wings Over Houston Oct. 19-20.

Deer Park
Chamber breakfast Oct. 24. The Deer Park Chamber will host its membership breakfast from 8 to 9 a.m. at Luby’s, 4709 Center St., Thursday, Oct. 24. For information, call Melissa Peters, 281-479-1559.

Comedy at the Playhouse. The laugh-out-loud comedy, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, opens Friday, Oct. 25 at the Bay Area Harbour Playhouse Main Deck, 3803 Highway 3, and continues through Sunday, Nov. 10, 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

Oktoberfest Oct. 25-26.The 38th annual Island Oktoberfest, hosted by First Lutheran Church, will be held Friday, Oct. 25, from 5 to 10 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 26, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., 24th Street and Winnie in historic downtown Galveston. Free admission.

League City
Holiday Market Oct. 4. Bay Area Turning Point will host its 20th annual Holiday Market from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at South Shore Harbour Resort offering shopping, a luncheon, live music and a program. For tickets, email tpowell@bayareaturningpoint.com or call 281-338-7600

State of Education Oct. 18, The League City Chamber will host its annual State of Education Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 18 in the Civic Center featuring the superintendents of the Clear Creek and Dickinson ISDs and Odyssey Academy. For reservations, call Luanne Newman 281-338-7339.

Rodeo cookoff Oct. 26. The Bay Area Go Texan Rodeo staff will host the inaugural Ghosts and Goblins BBQ Cookoff Saturday, Oct. 26, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at American Legion Post 554, located at 1650 Highway 3. Tent decorating, food trucks, costume contests, tent or treat from 12-4 p.m. Live music by Cooper Wade and the Harmony Creek Band.

Style show Nov. 1. Clear Lake Area Panhellenic will present its annual fall fashion show and luncheon, which this year will have the theme, “Style in Wonderland,” at South Shore Harbour Resort.

CCEF Gala Nov. 2. The Clear Creek Education Foundation will hold its annual awards gala at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, at South Shore Harbour Resort.
Nassau Bay
At the CCCT.  The drama, Sherlock Homes and the Adventures of the Suicide Club Ice Palace Murders,opens Friday, Oct. 18 at the Clear Creek Community Theatre, 18091 Upper Bay Road, in the Nassau Bay Shopping Village, with curtains at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. matinees on Sundays through Nov. 3. For tickets, which are $15 for adults and $13 for students and seniors, call 281-335-5228.

HSLBA meets Oct. 9. Fidelis String Quartet will entertain when the Houston Symphony League Bay Area meets at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9 at St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church, 18300 Upper Bay Road.

Symphony concert Oct. 25. The Clear Lake Symphony will present a concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25 at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 18220 Upper Bay Road, featuring the Royal Hungarian Academy of Music Composers — Liszt (Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2), Bartok, Kodaly and Dohnanyi. Tickets will be available at the door and at Eye Trends, 515 Bay Area Blvd.

Chamber luncheon Oct. 17.  Dr. Stephen Klineberg will discuss “Houston on the Cusp of a Changing America” when he keynotes the Pasadena Chamber’s membership luncheon Thursday, Oct. 17 at 11 a.m. in the DoubleTree by Hilton, 8181 Airport Blvd. To register, visit pasadenachamber.org

Judge to speak Oct. 17. Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta will discuss the State of the County at the Pearland Chamber’s membership luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 17 at the Golfcrest Country Club, 2509 Country Club Drive. For tickets, which are $30 for members, email leslie.esqueda@pearlandtexaschamber.us

Celebration Seabrook Oct. 12. Seabrook’s annual festival, Celebration Seabrook, will be held Saturday, Oct. 12, 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in Meador Park with singer Jack Ingram live, art, kid fun, food trucks, craft beer and wine, etc. Tickets are $5 with kids 10 and under free. For more details, visit CelebrationSeabrook.com

Taylor Lake Village
Rotary Shrimporee Oct. 12. Space Center Rotary will host its 46th annual Shrimporee – an afternoon of family fun — from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Clear Lake Park’s Landolt Pavilion Saturday, Oct. 12 with live and silent auctions, shrimp and barbecue dinners, band and choir music, kid activities, a raffle, etc.

Senior Game Night. Senior Game Night will be held Friday, Oct. 11 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.

Clear Lake Chatter

October 1st, 2019

The Bay Oaks Women’s Association kicked off the season with the focus on fashion and, from left, Cindy Zook, Eileen Hult, President Susan McCoy and Suzanne Leatherman all ready for fall.

BOWA gets update on latest in fashion

BAY OAKS Women’s Association members got quite an update on the latest styles when fashionista Sherre Frede shared her expertise about accessories and fashion trends at their September luncheon, all the while looking quite fashionable herself.

The luncheon at Bay Oaks Country Club in Clear Lake kicked off the fall season for BOWA as President Susan McCoy welcomed the happy crowd that included Jackie Daley, Courtney Atchley, Judie Ferguson, Betty Woodhouse, Barbara Dickey, Jan Bailey, Elizabeth Fredericks, Gaye Wylie, Badiha Nassar, Sandy Carney, Becky Reitz, Janet Greenwood, Kathleen Smith, Myrna Baker, Leslie Huff and Annette Dwyer.

Early arrivals signed in by Sharon Dillard included Sue Laabs, Trisha Gunn, Ruth Beecher, Chris Howell, Kay Lee Benoit, Allyson Jackson, Francesca Allen, Eileen Hult, Sheryl Lane, Terri Steinkamp, Suzanne Leatherman, Cindy Zook, Allyson Jackson and Sue Broughton, followed shortly thereafter by Judge Holly Williamson, Lisa Cannon, Janice Gornto, Vanessa Bartholomew, Sherry Chapman, Lynn Smith, Glenna Crist, Melody White and Rhonda Smith.

Some of the others spotted mingling with the crowd included Debbie Roan, Linda Byrd, Georgia Piwonka, Karen Reed, Brenda Brown, Janet Schepcoff, Mitzi Romanko, Cheri Burke, Elaine Rister, Melissa Peevler, Diane Overman, Valerie Brumfield, Charline Robinson and Sherry Chapman, to name a few.

Next is BOWA’s annual fall fashion show, which is coming up at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, starting with a champagne reception at the country club. Vice Presidents Sue Laabs and Cheri Burke tell us that models Jodi Schnabel, Darla McKitrick, Mary Colombo, Linda Fincher, Chris Howland, Yvonne, Chris Rylant, Elisa Peavler, Talena Gulash, Lisa Kaczmarek, Susan McCoy and Cindy Zook will be showing off fall fashions from The Clotheshorse and Brave Boutique.
Music lovers welcome new faces to HSLBA

HOUSTON SYMPHONY League Bay Area members welcomed several prospective members when they hosted a Wine and Cheese Party at St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church in Nassau Bay – kicking off the social season in the Bay Area.

President Nina McGlashan joined Chairman Pat Biddle in welcoming the arriving guests, including Frank Perez and Priscilla Ennis, Greg and Linda Heausler, Jerry and Mary Ann Brown, Dave and Cindy Kuenneke, Paul and Eva Koll, Alice Steele and Dr. Patrick McKinney.

They hardly had time to say hello when in walked Jean Raffetto, Myra Barber, Angela Mendoza, Brenda Hart, Roxanne Cheatham, Deborah Jozwiak, Karen Brumley, Jane Lackow, Vicki Buxton, Patience Myers, Ron Karl, Rhee Haun, Carol Cohen, Mary Ruth Greenwell and Jean Gray.

Now they’re all looking forward to another year of great music.

Early arrivals at the Clear Lake Area Panhellenic’s annual Fall Friendship Tea at the home of Priscilla Ennis included, from left, Lori Johnson, Wendy Shaw, Ondi Lyons and Barbara Dickey – their outfits carrying out the Mad Hatters Tea Party theme.

Panhellenic parties at its annual fall tea

CLEAR LAKE Panhellenic members launched the new season with their annual Fall Friendship Tea Sept. 8 at the home of Priscilla Ennis at her new home in The Reserve.
Event Chairman Sue Ellen Jennings and Panhellenic President Sheryl Williams joined Priscilla in welcoming the happy crowd – all pleased to see one another again after the summer break.

Looking around, you might have spotted Diane Overman, D’Lisa Johnston, Judie Ferguson, Karlee Marcom, Jo Nell Hunter, Darla McKitrick, Amy Judd, Mary Keaton, Wendy Shaw, Ruth Beecher and Barbara Dickey among the arriving crowd at the event, which had a Mad Hatter Tea Party theme.

After catching up on each other’s summer adventures, the talk quickly turned to Panhellenic’s big fall fashion show, coming up on Friday, Nov. 1 with a “Style in Wonderland” theme at South Shore Harbour Resort in League City, produced by Lenny Matuszewski and chaired by Mackenzie Walker. Sue Ellen even came dressed as Alice in Wonderland, to help publicize the style show. Which, of course, delighted everyone.

Some of the others you might have run into at the annual tea included Lisa O’Brien, Holly Williamson, Lisa O’Brien, Kathie Wiley, Lori Johnson, Ondi Lyons, Sally Jordan and Susan Vaughn.

UHCL top public school in Texas in U.S. News regional rankings

October 1st, 2019

In U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 rankings of western regional four-year universities, University of Houston-Clear Lake is the No. 1 public university in Texas, according to the magazine’s Best Colleges report. For the entire 13-state region, UH-Clear Lake placed 18th on the Top Public Schools list.

Widening the field to include both public and private schools, UHCL is in a six-way tie for 43rd in 2020 rankings of Best Regional Universities – West, up from 61st in 2019.
The magazine ranked approximately 130 private and public colleges and universities in a region that includes Texas, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Of the 26 Texas schools on the list, UHCL tied for 9th place among public and private institutions.

Each year, U.S. News sends an extensive questionnaire to all accredited four-year colleges and universities. Data collection for the 2020 edition of the report took place during spring 2019, comparing factors such as SAT and ACT scores, acceptance rates, six-year graduation and first-year student retention rates, student-faculty ratios, faculty counts and salaries, tuition, room and board, other student fees and financial resources.

UHCL debuted on the 2016 Best Regional Universities – West rankings in 81st place. It climbed to 74th in 2017, 63rd in 2018, 61st place in 2019 and 43rd for 2020. Factors in UHCL’s current rankings include:

  • 3.0 peer assessment score.
  • 74% avg. first-year retention rate.
  • 33% of classes under 20.
  • 5% of classes 50 or more.
  • 15-to-1 student/faculty ratio.
  • 1030-1200 SAT/ACT 25th-75th percentile.
  • 41% first-year students in top 25% of high school class.
  • 45% acceptance rate.
  • 6% average alumni giving rate.

“The continued improvement in our regional rankings demonstrates that UHCL is making significant strides in enhancing academic excellence through first-year retention, graduation rates and the strength of its faculty,” said Stephen J. Berberich, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.

“I am particularly pleased that UHCL ranks at the top of public regional universities in the state of Texas. This, coupled with our commitment to educating a diverse student population, shows we are meeting the needs of the state.”

UHCL also improved its score for Best Value among western regional public and private institutions, moving up to 25th place from 58th last year.

The university also made the western regional list for Campus Ethnic Diversity, scoring 0.65 on a 1.0 Diversity Index scale, which puts UHCL in a six-way tie for 11th place across the 13 western states.

To find all of the listings in the report, visit www.usnews.com/best-colleges.

University of Houston-Clear Lake offers more than 90 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, and three doctoral programs, from its College of Business, College of Education, College of Human Sciences and Humanities, and College of Science and Engineering. For more information about the university, visit www.uhcl.edu

Movers & Shakers: Michelle Holland

October 1st, 2019

Name: Michelle Holland

Occupation: Lunar Rendezvous Festival chairman; homemaker and volunteer

Hometown: I was born in Houston and grew up in Arlington

Family: Doug, my high school sweetheart and husband of 22 years and our 2 daughters, Braeden, who is a senior at Clear Falls High and Addison, a 7th grader at Bayside Intermediate.

My favorite writer is: I am not a huge reader and really prefer listening to books on Audible. I recently listened to The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides and loved it. The ending was the best!

Someone I’d like to meet: Oprah…she has accomplished so much and has given back even more.
If I could switch places with someone for one day, I’d choose: The President. I would love to see what it was like but just for 24 hours.

I like to spend my leisure time: I just started playing tennis and love getting to spend time on the court. I also enjoy going on to dinner with friends and hanging out with family.

My favorite performers are: I don’t really have a favorite but I do like Justin Timberlake. I think he is an amazing overall entertainer.

If I could travel any place I’d go to: The South Pacific and stay in a bungalow over the crystal blue water.

The thing that bugs me the most is: People that are wishy-washy and indecisive.
You will never catch me: Beekeeping! I have a huge phobia of flying insects that sting!

As a kid I wanted to grow up to be: As long as I can remember I have wanted to be in sales. I have had a long career in outside sales and have loved it.

My favorite movie is: Pretty Woman, it is so romantic and sweet.

My favorite meal is: Homemade macaroni and cheese, Stouffers Spinach Soufflé and Chocolate Cake.

Few people know: My favorite Christmas present I ever received was a Charlie Brown tabletop Christmas tree. I hate decorating for Christmas and hire someone to decorate our tree. Once the kids are grown Doug and I will just have our perfect Charlie Brown tree!

The San Luis Experience

October 1st, 2019

By Alisa Star

Upon my arrival at the infamous San Luis Resort, my expectations were set high. The resort is known as “The Galveston Resort” for its luxury, beauty, lavish accommodations, food, beautiful and breezy gulf views and feeling pampered.

As you pull into the valet, you are greeted with smiles and helpful attendants as you walk into the lavish hotel. The lobby was breathtakingly beautiful with high rounded cathedral ceilings, beautiful lighting and windows all across both sides revealing the pool area and lounge, with seating areas on both sides. The front lobby is decorated to the T. with breathtaking floral arrangements that surround the check-in area, and make you feel like you’re where you want to be.

The front lobby has two lovely dress shops, Aqua and Style and Trends. Aqua is a one stop shop for beachwear, swimsuits, cover ups and resortwear. They have a wide variety and are reasonably priced. Style and Trends is a high end clothes and apparel shop for men and women. They carry a wide selection of clothing brands, designer sunglasses, and much more. If you need a nice outfit for an elegant dining experience, they will surely have what you need.

Meet Phydias, the resort’s resident Macaw! Take his picture and don’t forget to say “hello” and he might just say it right back!

While you are checking in, be sure to go over and say hello to PHYDIAS. He is the resort’s colorful famous Macaw parrot. I never did get a hello back, but I swear he said “see ya later” when I left. He will be sure to put a smile on your child’s face.

The San Luis offers three first class places for your eating pleasures. The Steakhouse, Grotto’s, Blake’s Bistro,and Cup+Cone for dessert. The Steakhouse offers the Island’s finest steaks, chops, and cuisine. The staff and the atmosphere was incredible. The main seating area at The Steakhouse is very intimate and quaint. The seating is white linen tables with beautiful hand blown glass chandelier lights that give a warm amber glow and welcoming feel. The staff is superb and very attentive to your complete needs. The food is five star! The steaks melt in your mouth like butter, and the Barolo Braised Short Rib Cannelloni was smooth and decadent. When you’re looking for a great dining experience and wants a steak night while visiting the San Luis, I highly recommend the Steakhouse.

Grotto’s features classic Italian food such as spaghetti and meatballs, veal, chicken, seafood, and in-house made pastas. If you’re a wine connoisseur you will be impressed by the selections they have to offer that pair perfectly with your meal. The decor has a welcoming feel with window seating on the beachfront side of the resort.

Blake’s Bistro offers all the great classic foods, burgers, oversized sandwiches, chicken fried steaks, all the comfort foods you can imagine, Blake’s is sure to have. The Sunday brunch is amazing. The huge eye pleasing buffet will not disappoint you – come hungry!!

Cup+Cone is one for the adults and the kids. You can enjoy the famous Starbuck’s coffee, while the kids get their ice cream cone of choice.

The San Luis Resort has one of the best spas around the Galveston area. So while visiting, pamper yourself to a relaxing massage, body scrub, or a hydrotherapy bath. I personally, was in need of a massage, and was in heaven the whole 80 minutes. They also feature a full workout fitness center.

The Cove is the spectacular pool side area at the resort. The pool is spacious, with a swim up bar, surrounded with flatscreen TVs. The staff are very friendly and the service is prompt. The Cove offers private cabanas to rent for the day, for more privacy and comfort. The hot tub area also has incredible views of the beach.

The rooms are extremely spacious and decorated lavishly, with views of the scenic Galveston beaches that you will never forget.

The San Luis resort can accommodate many other needs as well, such as meetings, business conferences, special occasions, and weddings.

I personally can not say enough about the people at the San Luis Hotel and the way I was treated, like family not just a guest. They went beyond my expectations. When you’re looking for a five star resort with elegance and class for a family vacation, a romantic getaway for two, be sure to put your vacation in the hands of the incredible staff. The San Luis resort will accommodate your needs accordingly, graciously, and completely. Look no further – The San Luis Resort is your final destination.

Webster’s Secret Sauce

October 1st, 2019

Mayor Donna Rogers, center, welcomes American Furniture Warehouse Project Managers Jacob Colby and Nolan Morrison to the City of Webster.

By Mary Alys Cherry

How can a municipality that measures just 6.7 square miles be an economic development powerhouse? How can this small municipality be home to over 2,200 businesses, including 32 shopping centers, over 150 restaurants, entertainment venues, and sports training facilities, 20 hotels, three major hospitals and a medical center that accommodates 1.8 M patients annually, and an aerospace sector that’s created a plasma rocket engine, Orion spacecraft, and first American-made airlock for the International Space Station?

Webster, located midway between downtown Houston and Galveston, has some secret sauce! The City, whose residential population is just 10,000, is accustomed to accommodating 200,000 people daily for business, entertainment, recreation, and tourism. This City can be considered super-regional, as its market attracts those residing within a 30-mile radius, as well as a global visitor market for business and leisure.

This City, under the leadership of Mayor Donna Rogers, who has been the president of the Webster Economic Development Corporation since its inception in 1999, understands, practices, and leads business development in a pioneering light. When there is tenacity, creativity, responsiveness, and positive drive — a can-do attitude — regardless of obstacles — and there are always hurdles — the sauce contains the right ingredients! Webster’s sauce is a rare blend and pairs perfectly with business.

So, what is the formula in Webster’s economic development sauce?

American Furniture Warehouse Project Managers Jacob Colby and Nolan Morrison would say that they wish the Webster Team would act as consultants in other cities, as Webster knows how to get business done! Webster sets the bar high, which propelled American Furniture Warehouse to choose Webster for its first Texas store. The Webster experience was such that no other city comes close to providing this high level of service — and this mega project was fraught with hurdles.

First, there were three land owners — and the development amid 23 acres would not work without all three tracts, which had to be negotiated and purchased almost simultaneously.
Second, this was undeveloped land that required access and infrastructure — from a driveway cut on the I-45 feeder road from the Texas Department of Transportation to approximately 3,300 linear feet of new paving and City utilities funded by the Webster Economic Development Corporation.

Third, this project was complex and huge—from design, engineering, and construction to planned development guidelines and city council approval, to permitting and opening. The Webster team, from the fire marshal and chief building official who worked, oftentimes, after hours and weekends on inspections throughout a lengthy construction period to ensure compliance, to the extra efforts of Community Development’s administrative assistant to obtain property tax receipts from the school district so the properties could close on schedule, to the public works director’s herculean work in coordinating civil design, utilities, and construction, from start to completion, Webster’s secret sauce was unrivaled.

Throughout this multi-year process, the City’s relationship with the American Furniture Warehouse Project Team, Kevin Michalek, Nolan Morrison, Jacob Colby, and Broker Ben Brown is exceptional and invaluable.

This is a City that understands investment and seeks to work in concert with its constituents.

Family Promise: An Opportunity of Hope

October 1st, 2019

Ryan Kirksey, board chair, Jessica Lira, case manager and Gayle Nelson executive director of Family Promise

By Alisa Star

Family Promise was founded by Karen Olson in 1986 with the mission of helping homeless and low income families to achieve sustainable independence. It also allows communities to develop comprehensive, holistic solutions for families facing homelessness.

Many of the homeless are invisible and are professional. They have come upon hard times due to many legitimate reasons such as divorce, death, illness or medical reasons, just to name a few.

Families that are in crisis come to Family Promise for help, food , shelter, and support. They also provide counseling to families for prevention. Usually the time for most families that are placed in the program is three to six months. The ultimate goal is for the families to graduate the program, and to transition into their new life and home.

Statistics show that 60% of the homeless are women with children, and 40% are men with children. There were over 2,000 homeless children for the year 2018-2019 in the Clear Creek community. Not having a place to call home is probably the toughest for children, besides the feeling of uncertainty and shame of living in shelters. Homelessness also affects children’s learning and disrupts their entire life.

Family promise has a full library, as well as children’s books and videos, and it also offers a martial arts program for the children. This program teaches children to focus, and become more disciplined, which consequently helps the child to develop solid self-esteem.

There is a three step process for receiving help from Family Promise. Telephone screening and intake interview and paperwork “background check, and drug screening.” Families that are accepted into the program must have a job, and take the classes for the 5 step program, which consists of Shelter and Wheels, Life Skills, Ride to Success, Graduate Program and Prevention and Diverse Program. This allows families to successfully prepare to graduate from the program for success.

Out of 28 families in the program 12 of them have graduated the program since March 2017 and still remain independent.

There are five Family Promises located in the Houston vicinity, with one being in the Clear Creek area at 1101 Egret Bay Blvd. in League City. Clear Creek Family Promise opened its doors in March of 2017.

There are 19 churches and 13 host churches involved in the Family Promise network. The churches prepare home cooked meals every night and help host families. There are over 700 volunteers in the Clear Creek area program. Family Promise is 100% funded by the community. They rely solely on annual fundraising events.

Bay Area Houston Magazine Is proud to sponsor the Reach for the Stars Fundraising Gala on Oct. 5 from 6-9 p.m. at Bay Oaks Country Club in Clear Lake. Tickets are $75.

The event will consist of live entertainment, cash bar, silent and live auction. Bay Area Houston Magazine President and CEO Rick Clapp will be the auctioneer for the evening.

For more information on Family promise or events, contact Gayle Nelson at 832-932-3963, or e-mail at www.ccfamilypromise.org

Crossover Options

October 1st, 2019

By Don Armstrong

The CUV, or “crossover utility vehicle,” is typically built on a modified car chassis, where the body and frame are one. The advantage is car-like handling and better fuel mileage. In this edition of Bay Area Houston Magazine, we look at two contenders in this hot category.

Nissan Pathfinder
The Pathfinder is a midsize crossover that shares much of its undercarriage with the Nissan Altima. The ride is smooth and, yes, car-like, but has a body-on-frame swagger to it.
Refreshed in 2017, our ’19 Pathfinder is equipped with the new Rock Creek trim package that adds a sophisticated, off-road look, along with other bits, to an already attractive exterior.

Inside you’ll find all the tech needed for around town errands, including a functional and easy-to-use infotainment system. Seating is among the most comfortable on the road – 3-rows are offered, the third being kid size.

Rock Creek Pathfinders come in 2-wheel drive, but we suggest the 4-wheel drive upgrade for $1,700. It adds a few dollars to the monthly payment but is well worth it for go-anywhere capability.

Nissan’s powertrain scores high marks with a 284-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6, connected to the best CVT transmission on the market, capable of towing up to 6,000 lbs.
Base price for the Pathfinder is $31,530, Rock Creek trim adds $1,000.

2019 HR-V Touring

Honda HR-V
Not long ago, manufacturers discovered a huge market for subcompact crossovers, tiny 5-seaters that pretend to be bigger than they are, Honda’s version is the HR-V.
HR-V stands for Hi-rider Revolutionary Vehicle. It’s not “hi” nor is it revolutionary – well, perhaps in Honda’s way of thinking it is – but it gets a refresh for the 2019 model year.

To go along with its diminutive size, Honda equipped the HR-V with a 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder engine that buzzes its way up to 141-horsepower coupled to a CVT transmission. This combination is rated at 27 mpg-city and 31-highway. To the grocery or school car-pool is fine but getting up to highway speed on the entrance ramp of the Gulf Freeway may take some extra thought.

The interior is well thought about but there is a learning curve with the infotainment system.

There no mistaking the HR-V’s exterior styling for anything other than a Honda. It comes with attractive, curvy lines that make this crossover stand out from its competitors.
Pricing starts at $20,620. Nicely equipped, about $26K. Honda fans will love this little one.