Clear Lake Chatter: A happy farewell for NASA chief

June 1st, 2018

JSC Director Ellen Ochoa presents the National Space Trophy to now retired Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot during the RNASA Gala. RNASA photo

NATIONAL SPACE Trophy winner Robert Lightfoot ended his long NASA career on a perfect note with some 800 admirers giving him a grand sendoff at the RNASA Space Gala. Besides retiring from the space agency, Johnson Space Center Director Dr. Ellen Ochoa presented him with a beautiful trophy for his mantel.

“The many leadership roles that Robert Lightfoot has held and excelled at over his entire aerospace career made him the ideal person to lead NASA during the last 15 months,” she said as she handed him the prestigious trophy.

The former acting NASA administrator looked upon it as “the pinnacle of recognition in our business. This is the biggest award you could bestow on me, but really it is for the entire team and what we do. And, what we do every day makes a difference.”

After the welcome by RNASA Foundation Chairman Rodolfo Gonzalez, other highlights included the presentation by NASA’s Cindy Steele of the Space Communicator Award by video to actor William Shatner of Star Trek fame, a video congratulatory message to Lightfoot from NASA astronauts Scott Tingle, Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold on the Space Station, a Space City Films year-in-review film featuring CNN’s John Zarrella and the presentation by astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson of the Stellar Awards to 29 individuals and 8 teams,

RNASA Chairman Rodolfo Gonzalez and his wife, Anangela, wear big smiles as they look over the massive crowd at the 2018 space gala.

Looking around the Hyatt Regency Ballroom, you might have spotted former NASA Administrators Michael Griffin and and Gen. Charles Bolden; Glenn Research Center Director Dr. Janet Kavandi, acting NASA Associate Administrator Stephen Jurcyk, retired Johnson Space Center Director Mike Coats, and three other former Space Trophy winners — Eileen Collins, Glynn Lunney and Tommy Holloway taking their seats.

The guest list read like a Who’s Who in the space industry and included JSC Deputy Director Mark Geyer, Associate Director Dr. George Nield, Space Station Program Manager Kirk Shireman, External Relations Director Deborah Conder, Safety Director Terry Wilcutt, Flight Operations Director Brian K. Kelly, Deputy CFO Sidney Schmidt and NASA Orion Program Manager Mark Kirasich – many with their spouses.

Other space luminaries included a number of astronauts such as Chief Astronaut Patrick Forrester and Mark Polansky, along with former astronauts — Texas A&M at Galveston COO Michael Fossum and Orbital ATK Systems Group President Frank Culbertson and Gen. Tom Stafford.

Boeing’s Houston Site Leader and ISS Program Manager Mark Mulqueen was in the crowd, as were Barrios Technologies Chairman Sandy Johnson and President Robert McAfoos, Jacobs Vice President Lon Miller, Blue Orgin President Rob Meyerson, KBR Wyle Senior VP Dr. Vernon McDonald and VP Genie Bopp, MEI Technologies CEO David Cates and Alpha Space Test President Mark Gittleman.

Plus, Bastion biggies Mike and Jorge Hernandez and COO Jay Ramakrishnan, UTC Aerospace Leader Allen Flynt, SAIC Vice President Charlie Stegemoeller, Lockheed Martin Orion Deputy Director Larry Price, MRI President and VP Debbie and Tim Kropp, Axiom Space President Mike Suffredini, ERC Partner Darryl Smith and Sierra Nevada Corp. Vice President Mark Sirangelo.

RNASA Foundation and Rotarians in the mix included RNASA Vice President Bill Taylor, John Branch, Bob Wren, Delia Stephens, Geoff Atwater, Frank Perez, Rich Jackson, Randy Straach, Mark Hollis, Duane Ross, Steve Oglesbee, Gary Johnson and their spouses.

Museum Guild members Louise Russell, Jan Larson, Belinda Scheurich and Ava Galt, from left, who put in many hours working on the annual Silver Tea, wear big smiles as the crowd begins arriving at the museum in Clear Lake Park.

Silver Tea honors Brandie Corrao
BAY AREA MUSEUM was nearly overflowing Sunday, May 6 as the Museum Guild hosted the 33rd annual Silver Tea, which was founded in 1985 so local families could come together to experience a favorite British custom.

Many cooked their favorite sweets and savories to share with the crowd, which included the Lunar Rendezvous princesses and lieutenants and their mothers, along with Museum Guild members and their families.

Silver Tea Chairman Terri Monette was at the door to introduce the arriving crowd to this year’s honoree, Brandie Corrao, who was selected for her dedication to the museum. Nearby, you might have spotted Peggy Clause and Sandi Allbritton were busy complimenting Marjy Fulton on the beautiful tea cups she has made annually for the guild to sell at the tea.

In no time, the museum began to fill with Matthew and Angie Weinman and Joy and Charles Smitherman in the arriving crowd, along with Emmeline Dodd and Gene Hollier, Annette Dwyer and her husband, Pat Monks, Mary Williams, Diana Dornak, Adrienne Sun, Mary Ann Baxter and Laura Sukkar.

Some of the others out enjoying the afternoon included Museum Guild Co-Presidents Ava Galt and Carole Murphy, Jill Smitherman, Jill Williams Lammers, Barb Spencer, Cindy Kuenneke, Louise Russell, Gayle Nelson, Marcy Fryday, Sally Jordan and Jan Larson.

Houston Symphony League Bay Area officers for 2018 will include, from left, Historian Pat Biddle, President Nina McGlashan, Parliamentarian Lisa Clobanu and Corresponding Secretary Jean Raffetto. They were installed May 9 at their Bay Oaks Country Club luncheon. Recording Secretary Gayle Nelson and Nomination Chairman Mary Voigt are absent from the picture.

Symphony League elects new officers
NINA McGLASHAN is the new president of the Houston Symphony League Bay Area, which enjoys bringing beautiful music to the community and focuses on music education for elementary students in the Clear Creek School District.

She’ll have six vice presidents lending a hand during the coming year — Carole Murphy, finance; Jim Moore, education; Patience Myers, development; Martha McWilliams, programs; Ann Morgan, membership; and President-elect Vicki Buxton.

Other officers will be Recording Secretary Gayle Nelson, Corresponding Secretary Jean Raffetto, Historian Pat Biddle, Nomination Chairman Mary Voigt and Parliamentarian Lisa Clobanu. They were installed May 9 at their Bay Oaks Country Club luncheon.

DAR Chapter picks officers for 2018-20
THE SAM HOUSTON Chapter of the Houston National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution also introduced new officers when members met on May 5 at Bay Oaks Country Club in Clear Lake.

New officers for 2018-2020 are Regent Beth Sears, 1st Vice Regent Sarah Adams, 2nd Vice Regent Rita Ash, Chaplain Susie Ganch, Recording Secretary Becky Miles, Corresponding Secretary Ann Caywood, Treasurer Kati Hill, Registrar Lara Phillips, Historian Julie McRee and Librarian Fran Bodden.

Texas State Regent-Elect Susan Greene Tillman discussed the theme, “Are You Letting Your Light Shine?” Her speech focused on the many ways all DAR members can become involved in DAR, no matter their interests, talents and strengths. DAR is an organization that provides countless community service in projects helping veterans, libraries and schools.

Clear Lake Chatter: Go Red for women raises $220,000

April 1st, 2018

Cindy Deaton, Tracey Adams and Marilyn Sims, from left

A BEAUTIFUL sea of red filled South Shore Harbour Resort’s Crystal Ballroom as hundreds of Bay Area women – fashionably dressed in red — and quite a few men, gathered to take up the American Heart Association’s fight against heart disease by raising $220,000.

The occasion, of course, was the annual Bay Area Go Red for Women Luncheon, chaired this year by Loraine Lyons, who with her husband, Dr. Michael Lyons, joined Men Go Red For Women Co-Chairmen Jim Sweeney and Santiago Mendoza Jr. in welcoming some of the early arrivals – League City Mayor Pat Hallisey and his wife, Janice, Jana and Chris Reed, Pat and Wendell Wilson, Kristy Cormier, Colene Joiner, Sara Martin, Michelle Stoddard, Katie Pistone, Brooke Villanueva, Emmeline Dodd and Kenneth and Kristi Koncaba.

Pretty Elissa Rivas of ABC Ch. 13 served as emcee of the “Survivors With Style” fashion show that featured models Sherri Grisham, Caroline Smith, Andrea McGhee, Amber Trueblood, Michele Metts, Barbara Welch, Carolann Peters, Veronica Wier and Kelli Reddinger showing off fashions from Macy’s while those who played key roles in making the day a success looked on – Circle of Red Co-Chairmen Darcy Whatley and Tama Brantley McEwen, plus Gloria Greene, Tamara Ostermayer, Marilyn Sims and Theressa Riggs, to name a few.

Emmeline Dodd, right, walks into South Shore Harbour Resort to find Pat and Wendell Wilson at the Luncheon.

Others included Heart Throb Chairman Sandy Adams, Open Your Heart Chairman Fay Picard, Auction Chairman Laurie Dahse and Fashion Show Chairman Stephanie Rice and their committee members – Meloney Bean, Abbie Contreras, Amanda Fenwick, Brandy Gates, Hilary Hart, Donna Orozco, Tamara Ostermayer, Teresa Provis, Kelli Reddinger, Nancy Suarez and Elizabeth Quigley.

The event came to a lively close with the showstopper – the annual Heart Throb of the Year Competition featuring Dr. Jason Gukhool, representing Elite Care 24 Hour Emergency Room– League City; Jonathan Bender and James Blasczyk, representing Bay Area Regional Medical Center; and Chris Reed, representing All American Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Institute.

After an exciting vote by the audience, Chris Reed emerged the winner, taking home the Heart Throb of the Year Award, sponsored by Texan Bank.

Almost all the area’s medical facilities helped sponsor the event, including Bay Area Regional Medical Center, UTMB-Health, Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital, Kindred Hospital Clear Lake, Elite Care 24-Hour Emergency Room of League City, U.S. Anesthesia Partners, All American Orthopedic & Sports Medicine, Chi St. Luke’s Health, Cornerstone Hospital, Pam Rehabilitation Hospital of Clear Lake, Baywood Crossing Rehabilitation and AMED Medical.

Along with Moody National Bank, Norman Frede Chevrolet, BB&T, Texan Bank, ABC Ch. 13, Bay Area Houston Magazine, Leidos Women’s Network and Big League Dreams.

The Clydesdales draw cheers from the Mount Belvieu crowd.

Clydesdales lead Wismer celebration
CONGRATULATIONS to Michael and Ann Wismer Landolt and Jim and Tonya Ferris on their beautiful new Wismer Distributing facility that just opened in Mount Belvieu.

Had quite a celebration the other day with the Budweiser Clydesdales, the iconic Dalmation and members of the Baytown Rotary Club taking part in the parade through town and grand opening festivities at Mount Belvieu City Hall.

Speakers included Chambers County Judge Jimmy Sylvia, Harris County Precinct 3 Judge Don Coffey and Mount Belvieu Mayor Nick Dixon as hundreds gathered to celebrate.

HEB hosts event for Guild members
BAY AREA MUSEUM Guild members were in for quite a treat when HEB hosted a complimentary Wine Tasting at the museum for members.

Jan Larson served as chairman for the event, which drew quite a crowd, including Jack and Marcy Fryday, Peter and Pam Culpepper Cronk, Mary Ann Shallberg, Beverly Giacone, Donnie Johnson, Linda and Rich Steber, Lisa and Manuel Clobanu, Ava Galt. Leo and Rose Marie Symmank, Barbara Spencer, Kathy Herman and Sandi Allbritton, to name a few.

A variety of hors d’oeuvres and cheeses that match up perfectly with the type of wine served delighted one and all, who really enjoyed the evening.

Dinah Matthews to chair Lunar Rendezvous Festival

November 1st, 2016

mBy Mary Alys Cherry

Dinah Parker Matthews, who has deep roots in the Clear Lake area, has been named general chairman of the 52nd annual Lunar Rendezvous Festival and is already hard at work planning next summer’s extravaganza.

The festival not only offers an array of athletic and social events for the enjoyment of the community, its proceeds provide several dozen college scholarships for Bay Area students, and funds to help support Bay Area Museum and local arts organizations. Over the years, its donations have totaled more than $500,000.

A list of this year’s scholarship winners and donations will be announced during the holidays, Dinah said, adding that she was proud to lead such an historical event after growing up here and working on the festival for the past 10 years.

Her family moved to Clear Lake in 1965, when her father started work as an aerospace engineer at NASA and her mother was a fourth grade school teacher in Clear Creek ISD. She graduated from Clear Lake High and went on to earn a BBA in Marketing at Texas A&M University.

“I was so fortunate to watch history unfold around me while growing up in this area during the 60s and 70s when the space program was in its infancy. I chose to raise my family here because our roots are deep, and I wanted my children to experience the unique, awe-inspiring aspects of this community.

“I am humbled to have this opportunity to add to the body of work that has been done by the Lunar Rendezvous Festival to provide scholarships and to preserve the rich history of the Clear Lake area, which is close to my heart.”

She has volunteered to work on the festival for the past 10 years, serving as auction chairman in 2006, 2010, 2013 and 2016; fashion show chairman in 2007; cultural arts evening chairman in 2008; wrap-up party chairman in 2009; and raffle chairman in 2011. She has also been an active volunteer with the Clear Creek Education Foundation — serving on its board for two terms and as chairman or co-chairman of its annual fashion show for eight years.

Dinah is married to Joe Matthews, who recently retired after 40 years as an oil and gas executive and now spends his time fishing and volunteering with Sailing Angels and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates).

They have two daughters, Holly, who recently graduated from the University of Texas with  B.S. in Biology, and Natalie, a UT-Austin sophomore studying corporate communications. Earlier, both also graduated from Clear Lake High.