Clear Lake Chatter: Assistance League Marks 25th Anniversary

July 2nd, 2019

Assistance League of the Bay Area officers for 2019-2020 line up for a photo at the year-end awards luncheon Tuesday, May 28. They are, from right, President Lisa Holbrook, President-elect Brooks Cima, Secretary Betty Stoub and Treasurer Sandra Kelver. Charlene Donovan, Brunella Altemus, Kathleen Courville and Cathy Wolfe will serve as vice presidents.

The 2019 Sue Brady Award for leadership was presented to Cathy Wolfe, left, by last year’s winner, Kathleen Courville, at the Assistance League year-end luncheon at Red River Bar-B-Que.

ASSISTANCE LEAGUE members introduced their officers for the coming year and passed out awards to several members for their work when they met May 28 at Red River Bar-B-Que In League City for their annual year-end luncheon.

Lisa Holbrook will serve as president with Brooks Cima as president-elect. New vice presidents are Charlene Donovan, membership; Brunella Altemus, philanthropic programs; Kathleen Courville, resource development; and Cathy Wolfe, operations.

Other officers are Betty Stoub, secretary; Sandra Kelver, treasurer, Sharon Dillard, parliamentarian; Sharon Guzzino, marketing chairman; Beverly Braden, strategic planning; Betty Suagee, education chairman; and Karen Douglass, Assisteens liaison.

Outgoing President Sarah Foulds summarized some of the massive amount of work members had accomplished this past year as they celebrated their 25th anniversary as a chapter and their 31st year of serving the Bay Area community, including the return of more than $307,000 to the community through philanthropic programs this past year.

Their work included Operation School Bell that provided clothing and shoes for 2,733 needy students in the Clear Creek, Dickinson, Friendswood, Galveston and La Porte school districts and Odyssey Academy; providing 84 senior girls and 53 boys with prom attire and shoes and clothing for 261 Dickinson students who were Harvey victims; distributing 190 assault survivor kits to Bay Area Turning Point and UTMB-Galveston for crime victims; and sponsoring eye exams and glasses for needy students; and helping 30 unemployed individuals seek employment by providing job interview clothing.

Cathy Wolfe was presented the Sue Brady Award and Brunella Altemus went home with the Sue Holstein Award, while Jill Williams, Charlene Donovan and Ann Hammond were A.B.C.D. Award winners for service Above and Beyond the Call of Duty. Charlotte Teeter was the winner of the Anne Banning Lee Leadership Award and the H.O.P.E. Award went to Frank and Sons.

Earlier in May, they celebrated their 25th anniversary at Bay Area Museum with dozens of members dropping by to reminisce about their work and all the fun through the years.

Panhellenic’s past presidents, all dressed in white for their year-end luncheon, sit for a picture together. They are, from left, standing, Peggy Clause, Sue Ellen Jennings, Barbara Dickey, Laurie Vaughn, Ondi Lyon, Jill Reason, Michelle Richardson, Kim Barker, Diane Overman; seated, Judie Raiford, Kay Lee Benoit, Hazel Herron, D’Lisa Johnston, Ruth Beecher and Judy Ferguson.

Panhellenic ends year on happy note

CLEAR LAKE PANHELLENIC members ended their year on a colorful note with all members dressed in yellow in honor of outgoing President D’Lisa Johnston, and all past presidents wearing white.

Besides saying farewell to one another as the summer break approached, they also awarded $8,000 scholarships ($2,000 annually for four years) to a half dozen graduating senior girls — – Alyssa Gonzalez, Zamira Harris-Ryden, Lauren Lueking, Trinity Rust, Tiffany Sakahra and Mckinley Young – and presented Panhellenic’s Citation Award to Karen Douglas and D’Lisa Johnston.

Another highlight of the luncheon at Water’s Edge on NASA Parkway in El Lago came when officers for the 2019-2020 year were installed – President Sheryl Williams, First Vice President Darla McKitrick, Second Vice President Becky Hensley, Third Vice President Mackenzie Walker, Treasurer Lisa O’Brien, Secretary Kathryn Vernau, Corporation Kelsey McNeil and Parliamentarian D’Lisa Johnson.

Clear Lake Panhellenic officers for 2019-2020 get together for a photo. They are, from right, President Sheryl Williams, First Vice President Darla McKitrick, Second Vice President Becky Hensley, Third Vice President Mackenzie Walker, Treasurer Lisa O’Brien, Secretary Kathryn Vernau, Corporation Kelsey McNeil and Parliamentarian D’Lisa Johnson.

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.

BAHEP gets 2019 economic overview

May 1st, 2019

Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership President Bob Mitchell, from left, shares a light moment with Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark, CLC Properties CEO John Wilkins, and Houston City Councilman Dave Martin.

By Kathryn Paradis

The outlook for the Texas economy in 2019 is good, but not so much for the global economy, according to research economist Harold Hunt, Ph.D., with Texas A&M University in Waco.

The Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership invited him to speak at its annual State of the Economy luncheon, held March 28 at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook. Hunt opened his presentation by cautioning, “It’s going to start off pretty grim. I need you to hang with me, because it’s going to get better at the end.”

He reported that the global economic growth is slowing, vulnerable, and unsynchronized. German industrial production is falling. Brexit is a confusing mess, which increases uncertainty in the European Union. Japanese growth remains weak while Chinese economic growth is also decelerating. Hunt said that the slowing of Chinese GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth is very much on the radar and is “really a big deal.” Hunt explained, “The fear is obviously that if China goes down, then the EU goes down. If the EU goes down, then we go down. There is a domino effect, and that is why we are seeing so much in the press.”

POSITIVE SIGNALS 
He then turned to the positive aspects of the U.S. economy. U.S. consumer confidence is stronger than it was 12-15 years ago, according to Hunt. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that inflation expectations over the next five years are still quite low at an average of 2 percent.

Is it possible to have a recession this year? Hunt explained that it isn’t impossible. He said that real GDP would have to fall a lot. “To get a recession this year, with GDP at 2.9 percent last year, the GDP would have to drop like a rock. Based on the hard data I’ve just showed you, I just don’t see that happening,” he said.

TEXAS OUTLOOK?
Overall, Hunt stated that the 2019 economy should be slower than 2018, but 2019 will still be a good year for Texas. Houston will see $2.5 billion more in construction contracts versus last year. As with Texas overall, an oil price in the mid-$50 to $60 range per barrel will keep the Houston economy stable, according to Hunt.

(Editor’s note: Dr. Hunt’s entire slide presentation with many, many more details can be viewed as a pdf on BAHEP’s website at https://www.bayareahouston.com/content/News_Events_and_Reports/reports.)

Experience Galveston Bay’s Best: Seamah™ Texas

September 1st, 2018

By Sumer Dene

Seamah™ is the name coined by locals of the two thriving coastal towns, Seabrook and Kemah. The towns are separated by a canal that joins the Galveston Bay with the brackish waters of Clear Lake. It’s vast waterways, canals and bayou inlets snake through Seabrook and Kemah neighborhoods making this recreational area the country’s 3rd largest boating community. This coastal area offers a most unique experience in boating, with its waterfront hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, marinas and yacht clubs.

The gulf coast marine is booming with new business. The area features several quality marinas and clubs to enjoy boating, yachting and fishing. At the Endeavor Marina they maintain your boat indoors and offer high-end concierge service. This service makes it easy for you and your family to go out on the water, worry free. All you need to do is call ahead and experienced staff will prepare your boat for you. They fuel and stock your boat with ice, beverages and all of the amenities by the time you arrive for your leisurely cruise.

Seamah’s™ landmark is Lakewood Yacht Club, a beautiful private yacht club nestled on Clear Lake. The club is ranked in the top ten best yacht clubs in America. Lakewood Yacht Club has over 300 boat slips in all sizes. It’s a charming and gorgeous place to eat great food, drink cold beverages and cocktails, socialize by the pool and enjoy the bay life. It provides members exciting regattas, sailing lessons and many social and water activities. Lakewood Yacht Club serves lunch and dining and a mouth-watering Sunday champagne brunch. This is the perfect place to enjoy a wonderful waterfront lifestyle.

The Kemah Boardwalk is the ultimate waterfront amusement park with fine and casual dining, theme rides and seasonal events. There’s always a festival with live entertainment taking place in Seamah™. It was named one of the top 10 boardwalks in the country. You can enjoy fireworks and evening concerts all summer long. “Rock the Dock” features a live concert on Thursdays from 5-8 p.m. and fireworks begins every Friday night at 9:30 p.m. Bring your family out for a boat ride on the large speedboat the “Beast”or choose the “Fantasea,” the largest charter yacht on the Gulf Coast. Come unwind and relax with your entire family. Experience the best in dining and sightseeing Seamah™ has to offer.

Plan to stay overnight to enjoy the Kemah Boardwalk Inn. This quaint boutique hotel offers a variety of services with your own private balcony overlooking the scenic Kemah Boardwalk and Galveston Bay.

The colorful Aquarium Restaurant gives you and your family a total marine experience. Come explore and discover the deep sea mysteries and many ecosystems.

Their bar and restaurant has a 50,000 gallon tank filled with various aquatic life such as sharks, rays and fish found in Galveston Bay. The aquarium includes a rainforest exhibit with piranhas, snakes, scorpions, tarantulas and much more as well as guided tours and numerous hands-on educational programs. Experience the stingray reef where you can get up close and personal with the mystical creatures of the sea.

If you have an adventurous side, explore Galveston Bay on a 3-hour luxurious sunset dinner cruise. This private charter boat is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway or get together with friends. Windward Sea Adventures is recognized by the American Sailing Association and offers sailing lessons no matter your prior experience. Pine Gully Park has a fishing pier on Galveston Bay and overlooks the Great Texas Coastal birding trails. Take your family fishing and watch migrant birds in their natural habitat at this remarkable restored wetland.

Seamah™ is known for its fresh quality seafood establishments. People come from all over Texas to shop at the local family-owned markets. Rose’s, Emery’s Baybrooks and Golden Seafood all have a view of Galveston Bay. They are some of the largest distributors in the seafood industry in the United States and Mexico. You can enjoy a Raw Bar experience with live music and food and drinks on an outdoor deck at the Swamp Shack, Sam’s Boat or Outriggers Restaurant. Another noted eatery is The Classic Cafe’ which serves homestyle seafood and carries many delicious desserts, homemade cakes and pies. A must is to take your family out for fine dining and gorgeous views at The Flying Dutchman, Landry’s or at Villa Capri. Seamah™ is the place to experience a waterfront lifestyle at its best. Seabrook’s seafood houses feature the freshest quality seafood such as Gulf Coast fish, shrimp, oysters, crawfish and more served year-round. Come to Seamah,™ Texas. You will not be dissapointed.

Bay Area community meets pioneer women astronauts

August 1st, 2018

Space Center Houston welcomed famous pioneer astronauts Rhea Seddon, Shannon Lucid and Anna Fisher, from left, for its Thought Leader Series.

By Mary Alys Cherry

The Clear Lake community was in for a rare treat in late June when Space Center Houston hosted its Thought Leader Series for several hundred local residents with three of the first women astronauts – Dr. Anna Fisher, Dr. Shannon Lucid and Dr. Rhea Seddon.

All three were among the first six women NASA invited to be astronauts — members of the astronaut class of January 1978, which became known in space circles as “the 35 new guys.”

The other three women were the late Sally Ride, who became the first American woman to fly in space 35 years ago; Judith Resnik, who became the second American woman in space while losing her life on Challenger’s final flight in 1986; and NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, who in 1984 became the first American woman to walk in space, but was unable to attend the event.

Male notables in their class included retired Johnson Space Center Director Mike Coats; Brewster Shaw, who became head of Boeing’s Houston space operations; James Lovell, commander of Apollo 13; author and public speaker Mike Mullane; Dan Brandenstein, chief operating officer of United Space Alliance; and three other members of the fatal Challenger crew – Commander Dick Scobee, Ellison Onizuka and Ronald McNair.

TREATED EQUALLY
Prior to the program, the trio met with members of the press, who asked a variety of questions, including if they were treated equally with the male astronauts and about memorable moments in their careers.

While many women today can recall not receiving equal pay or equal treatment with their male counterparts in the workplace in earlier years, all three retired astronauts agreed they had no complaints about NASA. In fact, they thought the space agency bent over backwards to see they got excellent treatment.

“I think we all wondered at first if they would give us a chance,” Seddon said. They had never (sent women into space), and they wanted to take a chance, she explained.

Lucid went on to tell how all the women were a little nervous when Ride became the first woman to fly in space. “So much depended on how well she did.” All three thought she did quite well while also inspiring women all over the country to go into science and engineering fields.

Since then, it’s been amazing to see how many women have joined NASA, they all agreed. In the old days, almost all aerospace employees were men, Fisher said. Today it’s about 50-50 and from all different ethnic backgrounds.

HAPPY MEMORIES
All three also shared a memorable moment while in space.

Lucid remembered the enjoyment of “just floating around at the end of the day” when all their work was done, while many came to Fisher’s mind such as “looking out the window at the Himolayans” and at the end of a successful space journey.

Seddon recalled having a ham radio on board which allowed her to communicate with the school children in her young son’s class. As their talk came to an end and she thought all communication had been terminated, she heard a click and then a small voice that said, “I love you Mom. Have a safe trip home.” You could almost feel the lump in her throat as she shared that long ago special moment.

Their biggest surprise? Lucid was quick to answer. When she first flew in space only 12 men had walked on the moon. She said she thought the moon would be colonized by the time she was 75. Yet, today, three decades later, and she’s now 75, only 12 men have walked on the moon.

“It still boggles my mind that we went and quit.” she said.

She, like everyone in the space community, is hopeful President Trump will continue the push to return to the moon and get on to Mars.