CCISD honors community partners, names its Volunteers of the Year

June 1st, 2019

CCISD Assistant Director of Marketing Eva deCardenas, left, and Stewart Elementary Principal Dr. Britani Moses, right, present Brandon Williams with the award for 2019 Elementary Volunteer of the Year. He is joined by his wife, Erin Williams, and daughters, Ally and Avery.

Clear Creek ISD paid tribute to the many community partners and volunteers who were a big part of the success of its students and schools over the past year during a Texas-sized Volunteer and Partnership Roundup.

Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital was named the Community Partner of the Year, Brandon Williams as the Elementary Volunteer of the Year and Tim Kropp as Secondary Volunteer of the Year.

As the special guests entered the Challenger Columbia Stadium fieldhouse, they were greeted by cattle and their student owners who are members of the CCISD FFA program and represented every chapter in the District. In keeping with the roundup theme of the morning, the Mossman Elementary second grade choir, directed by JoAnn Burke, sang and performed a musical medley of western selections, complete with square dancing to entertain the crowd.

“Our principals and other leaders you see in the room today know that our district – our campuses – would look very different today without your muscle, minds and monetary support,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Greg Smith said during opening remarks.

70TH YEAR
In a community impact report, Smith traced the history and growth of Clear Creek ISD in this, the District’s 70th anniversary year. He then stepped through the past year’s challenges and successes and directly tied volunteers and partners to many positive outcomes. Smith remembered the Santa Fe and Parkland tragedies and shared how the CCISD community supported the Santa Fe family and rallied around improved crisis prevention and preparedness.

“This effort drew together parents and students, law enforcement and legislators, rallying as one for the sake of student safety,” Smith said.

In announcing Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital as the Community Partner of the Year, Smith pointed out that in addition to the nearly 30 years of support of the District’s student athletes through the hospital’s athletic trainers and expertise, Houston Methodist has demonstrated a deep commitment to the mission and expansion of The Leader In Me program at CCISD schools.

“We wanted to deepen our existing partnerships with CCISD and we saw a way to do that through The Leader In Me program,” said Houston Methodist Clear Lake Chief Executive Officer, Dan Newman.“This program changes our community so we are very excited to be a part of something that is so transformative for our students and this community.”

TOP VOLUNTEERS
After announcing the Volunteer of the Year at each campus, the District announced Brandon Williams from Stewart Elementary, and Tim Kropp from Clear View High School as the Elementary and Secondary Volunteers of the Year, respectively.

Williams was hailed for his commitment to support Stewart Elementary student safety over the past year’s significant renovations taking place on that campus. In addition to serving as a Watch D.O.G.S. parent for several years, Williams saw the campus was in need of help during the construction phase and began coming to the school every morning before heading to work to help with student drop off in the car rider line. “His dedication and calm and supporting demeanor has been encouraging for the parents, our staff and students,” said Stewart Principal Dr. Britani Moses. “In fact, sometimes people think he is an employee at our school!”

A Space Center Rotarian, Kropp was described as someone who understands the value of service to the community and leadership development, especially for the students of Clear View High School. Kropp, a former high school Interact member himself, is the Interact Rotarian Sponsor for that campus. Interact clubs bring together Rotarians with young people to develop leadership skills while discovering the power of Service Above Self. The students of Clear View High School benefit immensely from Kropp’s caring involvement in other aspects of student life as well, from providing scholarships and paying for club t-shirts to collecting funds to help make prom memorable for students who may need a little help.

STUDENT GRATEFUL
Clear View High School senior, Jade Brown, made the surprise announcement in front of the crowd of more than 200. “It is because of Mr. Kropp that recently I was able to go to a student conference for NewGen Peacebuilders,” Brown said. “That two-day conference really impacted me. It made me realize that even though we come from different places and backgrounds, we can still work successfully towards a common goal. Without him, I never would have gotten to experience that.”

The morning celebration concluded with Clear Creek Community Council (CCCC) of PTAs President Laura Varley, announcing the campus with the highest number of PTA members, Bauerschlag Elementary. Principal Kelly Chapman accepted the award on behalf of her campus. Varley also announced that the CCCC of PTAs had earned the Diamond Membership Award from the Texas PTA, which is achieved when 100% of a council’s PTAs experience an increase in membership.

The 2019 Volunteer and Partnership Breakfast was made possible by event sponsors Balfour, Photo Texas Photography and T-Shirt Trends.

Clear View High School senior Jade Brown, left, surprised Tim Kropp with the 2019 Secondary Volunteer of the Year Award. He is joined by his wife, Debbie Kropp, and Clear View High School Principal Monica Speaks, right.

Clear Creek ISD Superintendent Dr. Greg Smith, right, congratulates Houston Methodist Clear Lake Chief Executive Officer Dan Newman. Houston Methodist Clear Lake, who was named the 2019 CCISD Community Partner of the Year.

HYC celebrates new pool complex and Ragnot reunion

June 1st, 2019

By Rick Clapp

The esteemed Houston Yacht Club celebration and Ragnot reunion was simply awesome. This legendary yacht club had much to revel over such as its rich history, sailing, community involvement, fundraisers and noteworthy world class sailors and members.

All who attended this outstanding outdoor event enjoyed great weather on Galveston Bay and were greeted with tropical drinks and champagne. It was festivities galore and a colorful opening ceremony with flag draped sailboats, white tents, and the beautiful renovated club grounds and pool area.

The party was majestic with ice cold drinks, hand passed appetizers, a wonderful selection of hors d’oeuvres such as oyster shooters, jumbo shrimp on ice, fruit and cheese platters. Live music and dancing was thoroughly enjoyed by members and guests.

Again, thank you HYC for a wonderful celebration!

Anchors away.

Restoring Her World-Famous Smile

June 1st, 2019

Lynda’s beautiful smile was made possible by Dr. Noie’s skill and tenacity.

Former model, Lynda Michaelski’s smile was saved by Dr. Noie

By Xander Thomas

At one time, she was hand-picked for major advertisements because of a big beautiful smile. Unfortunately, an autoimmune disease threatened her ability to smile entirely.
For Lynda Michaelski, working on the occasional print ad, and having the ability to remain with her sons most of the time and take care of them was like a dream come true as a dedicated mother. She had been a stay-at-home mom from the time she was 18 up until 30, when she volunteer-taught at her children’s school. After that, she started a little business selling Mary Kay, which would present her with a whole new opportunity.

“I went to a convention when I was about 31 or 32, and the Mary Kay Makeup people said ‘you know, you ought to do the ads for us,’” Lynda recalled. “I had never even been out in the world, I lived in Iowa from about 18 to 30 or so!”

From here, Lynda would join a modeling agency and go on to do work for big names such as Gordon’s Jewelers and British Caledonian Airlines. It was all because of her big beaming grin that Lynda had been given these gigs.

“I was fortunately able to do a lot of print work for major companies, and I was hired because of my smile,” she said, “I looked at those pay checks and I thought I could smile for a living!”

That was, until she couldn’t. Lynda was diagnosed with scleroderma, and under times of stress, the disease began to take a toll on her body. She began noticing problems in her mouth back in 2009, right before Ike made its mark in the area. With the damage it caused, the weight on Lynda and her husbands’ shoulders became worse.

“It was a very trying time because of the hurricane and properties to repair,” She said. “And then to have a medical issue as severe as what I had because of stress, it was terrifying for me.”

She said that while she had learned to manage her scleroderma before, it was now causing problems that she couldn’t handle, and it now required quite a bit of help.

“It was literally bone deteriorating,” she said, “My entire upper mandible was in jeopardy, that’s the bone right underneath your nose, part of your jaw bone.”

This not only affected her ability to eat, but of course, made it difficult for her to show off her once world-famous smile.

“I consulted with three or four other doctors, and they simply didn’t have the capabilities to handle something like this,” she said.

Ultimately, it was while having breakfast in a local restaurant in 2011 that an ad in a particular local magazine caught her eye. While reading Bay Area Houston Magazine over her meal, she decided to give Dr. Noie a call to see if he could help her.

“He said ‘We’re going to be joined at the hip for the next few years, but I can fix you. I can handle this,’” Lynda said with a laugh.

It was a difficult process, involving complex bone grafting procedures and many implants. The end-result: she finally has her beautiful pearly whites back to the same state as before.

“I had 14 surgeries. Dr. Noie had to take bone out of my chin and graft it up into the upper mandible,” she said, “The man does not give up. He’s just a genius at overcoming problems.”

Lynda says that she and her husband consider Dr. Noie a godsend, and highly recommend him to anyone they know needing dental work, and they are extremely thankful for all he has done for her.

“I appreciate being able to smile, talk and eat and go on with my life!” She says, “I’m Back! I’m Here! I’m Smiling!”

Dr. Noie has been in private practice in the Bay Area since 1996. He is a Diplomate of Int’l Congress of Oral Implantologists, Fellow of Academy of General Dentistry, and Assoc. Fellow of American Academy of Implant Dentistry. He has completed his surgical training at New York University as well as Medical University of South Carolina, Temple University, and Wright State University School of Medicine. He completed his oral Anesthesiology training at University of Alabama in Birmingham. He is a member of American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

Memorial Hermann executive presented 2019 Athena Award

June 1st, 2019

League City Regional Chamber of Commerce Board Director, Rolando Villarreal with Hilltop Securities and 2019 ATHENA Leadership Award recipient, Ashlea Quinonez, Memorial Hermann Health System.

By Mary Alys Cherry

Ashlea Quinonez, Memorial Hermann Health System’s director of government relations, is the 2019 recipient of the League City Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Athena Leadership Award.

The presentation was made by last year’s winner, Clear Lake Shores Mayor Pro-tem Amanda Fenwick, at the annual Athena Leadership Luncheon, held at South Shore Harbour Resort. Jill Reason served as emcee.

The ATHENA Leadership Award was inspired by the goddess of Greek mythology known for her strength, courage, wisdom and enlightenment — qualities embodied in the Athena Leadership Model. The award is unique in both scope — local, national and international — and the Athena mission upon which it is based. The award is presented to a woman — or man — who is honored for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.

Introducing her to the crowd, the emcee said “She demonstrates the qualities of excellence, creativity and initiative in every task she is associated with. Ashlea continually works for the better health of the community at large and to improve quality of life for all. She is heavily involved and committed on local, state and national levels on initiatives that impact all members of the community.

“Ashlea is a role model and mentor to all that come in contact with her. She informally mentors many women with her involvement in the Women Leaders of Memorial Hermann program and the Dress for Success Initiative. She has led the efforts for suits to be donated throughout the Memorial Hermann system to help women in the community who want to return to the work force dressed properly for job interviews. The “Send One Suit Drive” reached approximately 3,500 women in 2018 and in 2019 is slated to reach 4,000 women. This is in large part due to Ashlea’s efforts and partnerships across the City of Houston and surrounding areas.

“A fun fact about Ashlea is that she graduated from the FBI citizen’s academy a few years ago. “

Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton speaks of Texans’ Opportunity to Lead

June 1st, 2019

Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership President Bob Mitchell, right, congratulates Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton for an outstanding speech at the BAHEP meeting.

By Kathryn Paradis

Without the aid of PowerPoint or notes of any kind, not even a few words scribbled on his hands, Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton delivered a dynamic, passionate speech to members of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership during its General Membership Meeting at the Clear Lake Hilton.

He spoke about The Opportunity to Lead, but his speech was about much more than leadership. First, however, it would be good to know a little of Sitton’s background. He is a mechanical engineering graduate of Texas A&M University. Elected Texas Railroad Commissioner on Nov. 4, 2014, to a six-year term, Sitton is the first engineer to serve as Railroad Commissioner in more than 50 years. In 2015, he was named one of the 40 most influential leaders under 40 in the Houston area. With nearly 20 years of experience in the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries, Sitton is considered a leader in his field. He, no doubt, knows a little something about leadership.

He began by speaking of the tradition of the Aggie Muster, which he had attended the previous evening. He said that Aggies learn from the first day on campus about the importance of believing in something more important than themselves.

“The thing that makes Aggie Muster such a special tradition for us is that it is one of those examples that show how we as a society recognize service,” Sitton said. He later spoke of his own three children who are 10, 13 and 15 years old. He asked, “In the world that we live in today, at what point in our kids’ lives do they begin to learn the lesson that if you want to be successful in this world, you’ve got to make it about people other than yourself? What is it about your life that will echo beyond yourself?”

“When I talk about the opportunity to lead, it always starts with the opportunity to serve.” He explained that this is an historical point in time for Texas saying, “This state produces nearly 5 million barrels of crude oil per day, which is 5 percent of the world’s crude. Texas produces about 24 or 25 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas. That’s close to 5 percent of the world’s natural gas. We refine along the Gulf Coast a little over 6 million barrels per day of crude oil. That’s 6 percent of the world’s refining capacity. Out of the Port of Corpus Christi, we export more crude oil than all of the other U.S. ports combined. We have over 30,000 miles of pipeline in the state. In the last five years, Texas has gone from a strong energy player to arguably the most dominant force on the planet. Energy requires massive industries to produce it effectively, and the State of Texas does it better than any other place on Earth.”

Sitton went on to ask, “Now, what do we do with that? We talk about the opportunity to lead, and opportunities come in a lot of different ways. We in Texas have the opportunity to leverage this position in energy like we haven’t done in a generation. We are changing the landscape in the world. The question is what do we do with that? How do we capitalize on that opportunity?”He said that the world is hungry for affordable, reliable energy that is produced safely, and Texas can provide that better than anyone else.

League City sailor’s remains to be buried 78 years later

May 30th, 2019

Members of the public are invited to a reception on Saturday, June 1 to honor a 19-year-old League City sailor who died in the 1941 Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and whose remains were recently identified using DNA analysis.

Navy Seaman 2nd Class Richard J. Thomson will be interred at Fairview Cemetery on North Kansas at 1 p.m. The City of League City, in conjunction with The Fairview Cemetery Group and the League City Historical Society, will host a reception at the League City Recreation Center on 400 West Walker immediately following the burial.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Thomson was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Thomson.

From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries. In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks.

The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP), known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Thomson.

In 2015, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) exhumed the USS Oklahoma Unknown remains from the Punchbowl for analysis. In 2019, scientists from the DPAA collaborated with the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System to use anthropological and DNA analysis to officially identify Thomson and subsequently notify his family.

Thomson’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from WWII. A rosette has been placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

Public Meeting on CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric’s Rate Increase

May 16th, 2019

On April 5, 2019 CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric filed an application to change rates with the City of Houston for customers within city limits. CenterPoint also filed a similar application with each city within the company’s service area and with the Public Utility Commission for customers within unincorporated areas.

A public meeting regarding the CenterPoint proposed electric rate change will be held Thursday, May 29, 2019 at 6 p.m., in the City Hall Annex, Public Level — 900 Bagby, Houston, TX 77002. The purpose of the Public Meeting is to provide Houston CenterPoint customers with an opportunity to comment on the Company’s electric customer service and proposed rate change.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, you may submit comments to: Alisa Talley, Division Manager, Administration and Regulatory Affairs, 611 Walker, 13thFloor, Houston, TX 77002 or alisa.talley@houstontx.gov.

More about CenterPoint’s Electric Rate Change Request. CenterPoint is proposing to increase retail electric customer rates by approximately $186.6 million. CenterPoint, is also proposing, through a separate TCJA (TAX Cut and Jobs Act) Rider, to return approximately $97 million to customers over a three-year period. The TCJA Rider reduces the company’s request by approximately $32.4 million to $154.2 million annually for a three-year period. After the three-year period, the TCJA Rider expires, and retail customers will pay the full $186.6 million increase. If CenterPoint’s proposed rates are adopted, the average residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month would experience an approximate 1.91% increase — $2.50 per month for the first three years, assuming an existing retail rate of $0.125 per kWh. Similar data is not immediately available for the years after the TCJA Rider expires but will be requested from CenterPoint. A complete copy of CenterPoint’s filed Application is available for review upon request with the City Secretary’s Office.

For more information, please contact Alisa Talley at alisa.talley@houstontx.gov or 832.393.8531.

New Hobby Airport Display Encapsulates Spacesuit Evolution

May 2nd, 2019

The Exhibits team stands with the new EVA Suit Evolution exhibit that will educate and inspire visitors at Hobby Airport. Image Credit: NASA/James Blair

Travelers passing through Hobby Airport will enjoy new eye candy showcasing why Houston is affectionately dubbed “Space City.” The  recent installation of a new exhibit comparing two generations of spacesuit design will help connect NASA’s iconic past to Johnson Space Center’s next giant leap.

On the left of the Hobby Airport display, visitors will see a high-fidelity replica of a shuttle-era spacesuit, right down to the NASA “worm” logo. On the right is an identical counterpart to the suit used today on the International Space Station. For passing visitors, the exhibit serves as a bold welcome to Space City USA, symbolizing Houston’s leadership role in human space exploration. For curious travelers with a few moments to spare between flights, they will discover an evolution of engineering.

“The two spacesuits are the superstars of this display,” said Exhibits Program Manager Jack Moore of Johnson’s External Relations Office (ERO). “Using scrap materials and replica parts slated for disposal, David Hughes in the EVA [Extravehicular Activity] Office meticulously assembled the suits. He handcrafted each suit to look as though it was pulled right out of an official NASA photo from the era. No detail was overlooked—the color of the visors, glove configurations and period-specific patches—all lend credence to its authenticity.”

Assembling the display required a close working relationship between ERO and the EVA Office to get the details just right. While the ERO provided creative direction and craftsmanship to build the exhibit and safeguard the priceless artifacts within, the EVA Office was invested in ensuring the accuracy of the spacesuits and content, as well as finding the perfect home for the display.

“The case’s contemporary design was drafted by the late Larry Friend, an amazing talent and wonderful man on the COMIT [Communications, Outreach, Multimedia, and Information Technology Contract] Exhibits team,” Moore said. “The COMIT team completed his work by integrating elements to support the preservation of the suits, such as vented fans and museum-grade Lexan. Cindy Bush, our graphic designer on the project, also worked closely with the EVA Office to draft beautiful designs to convey the story. Using a visual timeline across a sloped face of the display, she highlighted major component modifications through the decades.”

The EVA Office was over the Moon about the finished display and recognized the entire Exhibits group in the weeks leading up to installation at Hobby Airport.

“We’ve worked over the last year or so with the [COMIT] team on designing displays that tell the story of EVA,” said Chris Hansen, manager of the EVA Office. “Their creativity and passion for the work they do is very evident in the products they produce. They understand that these displays are inspirational, and you can tell that they put their hearts into the work they’ve done for us. It’s great to have such a talented resource available to us—a resource that cares as much about the products they create for us as we do.”

While travelers taking to the friendly skies will be swept into a 3D visualization of explorers who have donned these types of spacesuits to explore even higher trajectories, there are still other stories to be told. The Moon is center stage once more, and generations young and old are waiting to be a part of NASA’s next big adventure.

The Hobby Airport exhibit is only one example of how we can highlight the important work done every day to support humans in space. As Moore explained, the team works with many organizations throughout the year to create exhibits that share the many facets of the center with the public.

“We have an incredibly talented pool of designers, craftsmen, project managers and writers waiting to start the next exciting project,” Moore said.

Tom Tollett donates 1953 MG TD Roadster to Galveston Bay Foundation

May 2nd, 2019

Photography: Moonbridge Media

Tom Tollett, owner of Tommy’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar, is offering his 1953 MG TD roadster as a generous donation to the Galveston Bay Foundation. There’s a little over 1,000 miles on this elegant class 1 sports car. This two-seater certified classic car has 2 barrel, 4 speed, with excellent performance and meticulous restoration. The fair market retail value is $48,000. Those interested in purchasing this remarkable vintage English sports car, please contact Michael Kamins at mdk7997@aol.com. The Galveston Bay Foundation’s mission is to protect and enhance the Galveston Bay for future generations. The Galveston Bay Foundation provides science-based environmental education programs to thousands of students in the Houston Bay Area and provides opportunities through advocacy programs for all citizens and organizations to take action. Their water programs help keep our precious bay clean. Galveston Bay plays a central role in conserving land, water, and wildlife as well as connect people in the community.

Join the Gulf Coast Mariner and Bay Area Houston Magazine by supporting the Galveston Bay Foundation, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving our thriving waterfront community.

Houston Methodist Clear Lake plans new medical office building

May 2nd, 2019

Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital will begin construction soon on a six-story,
150,000-square-foot medical office building on land adjacent to its campus on NASA
Pkwy. – the first phase in a multi-year expansion plan.

Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital will begin construction soon on a six- story, 150,000-square-foot medical office building on land adjacent to its campus – the first phase in a multi-year expansion plan.

The $40 million medical office building will be home to Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine at Clear Lake as well as the hospital’s physical therapy facilities. The building’s upper floors will contain office and clinic space for physicians from a broad range of specialties.

“This is a significant milestone in our long-range expansion plans as we continue to grow to serve the Bay Area and surrounding communities,” said Houston Methodist Clear Lake CEO Dan Newman. “Over the next five years, we plan to add 30 to 40 new physicians to our hospital campus – across multiple specialties – and the new medical office building gives us the physical footprint we need to accommodate that growth.”

The building will be constructed on land that previously was part of the Nassau Bay Shopping Village in the 1800 block of Upper Bay Road. The hospital purchased that center in 2015. Construction is expected to begin in August and the building will open in 2021.

“This is the first major facility expansion we are undertaking since the hospital became part of the Houston Methodist system in 2014,” Newman said. “The strategic acquisition of the shopping center land in 2015 makes it possible for us to add facilities, bring in new physicians and expand our service offerings – today and in the future.”

As part of its phase one effort, the hospital also plans to demolish the existing Fuddruckers restaurant on NASA Parkway in Nassau Bay to make way for construction of a new, more visible entrance that will improve access. That project will also include enhanced signage to make it easier for patients and visitors to navigate the growing campus.

“We are already making plans for a second phase of construction that will include an expansion of the hospital itself,” said Newman. “It’s an exciting time for Houston Methodist Clear Lake.”