Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership honors George P. Bush

March 4th, 2019

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush holds the Quasar Award he was presented at the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership’s 26th annual Quasar Banquet at South Shore Harbour Resort. With him are, from left, BAHEP President Bob Mitchell, 2019 BAHEP Board Chairman Todd Caliva and the 2018 Board Chairman Dr. Brenda Hellyer.

THE BAY AREA’S Movers and Shakers were out in force as the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership honored Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush with its Quasar Award for all his help on the proposed coastal barrier system to protect coastal communities and businesses from storm surge.

San Jacinto College Chancellor and 2018 BAHEP Board Chairman Dr. Brenda Hellyer introduced him to the black-tie crowd of nearly 600 that filled up South Shore Harbour Resort’s Crystal Ballroom, after which Bush called the coastal barrier system, or Ike Dike, “a project that is long past due” and one that will need the backing of everyone. “I’m committed to this project,” he promised the crowd.

Afterwards, BAHEP President Bob Mitchell joined them on stage to introduce the 2019 BAHEP Board Chairman Todd Caliva, CEO of HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake, which started out life as Clear Lake Hospital.

But there was quite a number of missing faces from the Johnson Space Center, which was closed due to the government shutdown. “This is the first time in 25 years,” Mitchell said, “that the JSC center director has not attended this event,” adding that JSC Director Mark Geyer sent his best wishes.

Dozens of elected officials were in the crowd including Congressman Randy Weber, State Sen. Carol Avarado, State Reps. Dr. Greg Bonnen, Ed Thompson, Mayes Middleton and Dennis Paul, Harris County Judge Lina Hildago and Constable Phil Sandlin and Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark and their mates.

Plus, a number of mayors – Pat Hallisey of League City, Julie Masters of Dickinson, Michel Bechtel of Morgan’s Point, Mark Denman of Nassau Bay, Louis Rigby of La Porte and Jon Kenney of Taylor Lake Village – and mayor pro-tems – Andrea Wilson of Webster, Don Matter of Nassau Bay, Todd Kinsey of League City, Jay Martin of La Porte and Teresa Vazquez Evans of Kemah – and their spouses.

City councilors joining the celebration included Dave Martin, David Robinson and Jack Christi of Houston, William King III, Bruce Henderson and Wally Deats of Dickinson, Steve Rockey and Carl Gustafson of Friendswood, Laura Davis and Jeff Larson of Seabrook, Robin Collins of Kemah, Steve Gillett of La Porte, Greg Gripon, Andy Mann and Larry Millican of League City, Thomas Schoenbein of Pasadena, Jonathan Amdur, Ashley Graves, Bryce Klug, John Mahon and Matt Prior of Nassau Bay, and Martin Graves, Beverly Gaines and Edward Lapear of Webster, along with City Managers John Baumgartner of League City, Wayne Sabo of Webster, Jason Reynolds of Nassau Bay and Gayle Cook of Seabrook.

Others introduced included UH-Clear Lake President Dr. Ira Blake, Texas A&M Galveston Vice President Col. Michael Fossum, San Jac Board Chairman Marie Flickinger, CCISD and DISD Superintendents Dr. Greg Smith and Carla Voelkel, Pasadena ISD Vice President Nelda Sullivan and Port Houston Commissioners John Kennedy and Clyde Fitzgerald.

The aerospace industry was well represented with Lockheed Martin VP and Orion Program Manager Dr. Mike Hawes, Boeing Space Station Program Manager Mark Mulqueen, MEI Technologies CEO David Cazes, Barrios President Robert McAfoos, Jacobs VP and GM Lon Miller, GB Tech President Gale Burkett, Leidos Division Manager Nan Hardin, Cimarron Software CEO Jeannie Crowell and President Darren Crowell, MRI Technologies President and VP Debbie and Tim Kropp, KBRwyle President Vernon McDonald and VP Genie Bopp, Oceaneering VP and GM Mike Bloomfield and astronaut Bonnie Dunbar in the mix.

League City Chamber President Steve Paterson and Chairman Rebecca Lilley were in the crowd as were Clear Lake Chamber President Cindy DeWease and Chairman Brian Freedman, Amoco Credit Union President Shawn Bailey, attorneys Joe Barlow, Craig Saunders, Chris Gregg, Dick Gregg Jr. and Dick Gregg III, Space City Films President Marc Havican, Moody Bank CEO Vic Pierson and VPs Brent Cockerham and Craig Barker, MaximGroup CEO Ron Masters, Norman Frede Chevrolet GM Joan McKinney, San Jac Vice Chancellor Teri Crawford, My Flooring America President Mike Furin, Col. Len Waterworth of Texas A&M Galveston and BayTran President Theresa Rodriguez.

Other well known faces spotted mingling in the crowd were Emmeline Dodd and Gene Hollier, Jack and Marcy Fryday, John Martinec, Carol and Bob Robinson, Harv Hartman, Beth and TJ Aulds, Amy and Paul Dunphey, Lynda Guidry, Karen and Mark Keesler, Jeannie Kranz, Harriet and Jon Pilgrim, Debbie and Dr. Peter Wuenschel, Al Saylor and Gwen Griffin, Jim and Jane Sweeney, and John Wilkins, whose pretty wife, Shari, sang the most beautiful rendition of the National Anthem we have probably ever heard.

UHCL, Freeman Library partner to foster reading and writing skills in small children

January 15th, 2019

Educators are always looking for new, creative ways to help small children become comfortable with reading and writing. For Elaine Hendrix, Heather Pule and Roberta Raymond, all professors in University of Houston-Clear Lake’s College of Education, facilitating a partnership with Clear Lake City-County Freeman Branch Library so that future educators can help parents of small children fall in love with books is a step toward making that happen.

“The Freeman Library is such an excellent resource, and after meeting with (Assistant Branch Librarian Youth Services) Elizabeth Hunt and (Branch Manager) Christina Thompson, we decided to find a way to work together,” Hendrix said.

“Parents have already been bringing their children to the library to introduce them to reading,” she said. “We teach future educators reading methods classes. Students need the hands-on practice in the field, doing community-based, experiential learning. Setting up workshops for parents and our students to work together seemed like a perfect fit.”

There is so much information about how best to help a child learn, it can become overwhelming. “We often get questions from parents and caregivers who want to help their child along as they grow and learn, and they’re not exactly sure how to do that,” Thompson said. “As a library, our goal is to connect our community with the resources and information they need. We also believe that parents and caregivers are a child’s first and best teacher.”

Thompson said the library jumped at the opportunity to share Freeman Library’s resources with UH-Clear Lake’s expert faculty and rising educators. “We have already heard feedback that our families are finding the information they learned about child development to be very empowering,” she said.

“We have done three parent trainings, including a writing workshop for children ages 3 to 5,” Raymond said. “We explained to parents what emergent writing looks like, and gave them information packets. We suggested ways to encourage writing and let them know that those scribbles they’re seeing really mean something.”

Assistant Professor of Reading and Language Arts Heather Pule presented a workshop to parents about oral language development. “We discussed how oral language starts developing at birth and how it continues through everyday talk, through a baby’s environment, and through reading from birth,” Pule said. “It was wonderful to be able to talk with parents about something so important for their child’s development.”

Hendrix added, “We have done a reading workshop for 18 month to 3-year-olds, sharing a book and doing hand games to go along. We demonstrated how to be dramatic when reading aloud, and how much it benefits children to have something read over and over again.”

She said that they’d also discussed how much can be taught from a simple picture book, and how to go deeper than the story to encourage verbal interaction.

“It’s the goal of the Children’s Department to support families, child care providers and communities to help every child enter school ready to learn to read,” Hunt said. “Our partnership with UHCL connects local families to experts in early literacy that they might not otherwise have access to. Any community connection the library can make that supports families as they raise their children is a useful one.”

Raymond said creating the connection between future educators and the librarians at Freeman helps tap into each other’s resources. “We are certifying our students to become early childhood-6th grade teachers, and they have to be prepared to work at all levels since they’ll be certifying at all levels,” she said. “Both sides can benefit greatly from this experience.”

 

For more information about UHCL’s Interdisciplinary Studies B.S. with Core Subjects EC-6, visit www.uhcl.edu/academics/degrees/interdisciplinary-studies-bs-ec-6-early-childhood-concentration. For more information about UHCL’s Reading M.S. with Reading Specialist Certificate, visit www.uhcl.edu/academics/degrees/reading-ms-reading-specialist-certificate

Lane closure at 15600 Highway 3

August 29th, 2018

Houston City Councilman Dave Martin would like to make residents aware that the City of Public Works Department is replacing the air release valve vent pipe and manhole ring, frame and cover on the 42-inch water line at 15600 Old Galveston Road, beginning Monday, Aug. 27. The project is anticipated to be completed by Tuesday, September 11, 2018.

During construction, the outside southbound lane of the 15600 block of Old Galveston Road will be closed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Drivers should expect reduced traffic speed through the channelized area during this time. To ensure driver and worker safety, traffic control measures will be in place at all times. The District E office has contacted the Houston Police Department’s Clear Lake Substation to ask that officers monitor the location and provide assistance with traffic control as needed.

For more information, contact the District E Office by emailing districte@houstontx.gov or by calling 832-393-3008.

South Shore Harbour Resort celebrating 30th anniversary

August 1st, 2018

South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Center is celebrating three decades of style, hospitality and memories with a special lineup of events as well as $30 dollar stays on select days this summer. From music and wine lovers to a family looking for an exciting getaway into the bay, there’s something for everyone at South Shore Harbour this season.

“Our 30th Anniversary is a special milestone for us,” said Roy Green, general manager for South Shore Harbour Resort. “With over a dozen special events ranging from our summer concert series to our Sip & Sail party boat cruises, we are excited to welcome guests to celebrate and enjoy our facilities.”

Located just 30 minutes from downtown Houston, South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Center is the largest full-service waterside resort and conference center in Southeast Texas. With its spectacular peninsular location, the entire complex has had a definite visual impact on the Clear Lake skyline while its classical motif and post-modern design distinguishes it from typical international class hotels.

Built by the Gal-Tex Corporation of Galveston, the resort got quite a sendoff with some 200 Bay Area officials and businessmen attended the groundbreaking in 1986. Opened in September 1988, SSHR is perched on Clear Lake — the country’s third largest boating destination — moments away from Kemah Boardwalk, Space Center Houston, waterfront dining and boating galore.

The hotel features 230 redesigned guest rooms, two redesigned multilevel penthouses, 25,000 square feet of meeting and event space, a marina-side pool and deck, a restaurant and a lobby bar with panoramic views of the bay. SSHR is owned by Galveston-based American National Insurance.
Over the years the hotel’s Crystal Ballroom has become a gathering place for Bay Area events – chamber celebrations, award dinners, fashion show luncheons and galas, many drawing crowds of 600+.

Many come to just chill out and enjoy their weekend. Adding to the success of last year’s poolside movie screenings, this year guests can enjoy blockbuster hits like Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on select Fridays on a giant 120’ screen. Music lovers can relax and unwind with South Shore Harbour’s Summer Concert series featuring some of Houston’s hottest cover bands. Concerts are free and a great way to kick off the weekend.
Adventure seekers can cruise the bay on a 2.5 hour Sip & Sail experience aboard the popular Houston Party Boat. Finally, wine lovers can partake in one of South Shore’s Wine Dinners featuring a four course meal paired with five handpicked wines from around the world.

And staying at South Shore this summer is bound to be memorable when guests book the resort’s Summer Baycation Package starting at $139 on weekdays and $159 on weekends. Information regarding the $30 dollar stays will be available on the resort’s website at sshr.com.

Exploration Green draws big crowd for grand opening

June 1st, 2018

CLCWA Vice President Bob Savely, from left, along with John Jacobs of the Texas A&M Coastal Watershed Program, CLCWA President John Branch, Exploration Green Conservancy Chairman Frank Weary, Harris County Commissioner Jack Morman, State Rep. Dennis Paul, Jordan McGinty, representing Houston City Council Dave Martin, and CLCWA Director Gordon Johnson, officially open Exploration Green with a tree planting ceremony. Photo by Marianne Dyson.

By Mary Alys Cherry

An estimated 1,000 Bay Area residents were on hand to celebrate the long awaited grand opening of Exploration Green — the 200-acre green park developed at 16205 Diana Lane to save Clear Lake City homes and businesses from flooding during heavy rains.

As elected officials, community leaders, families and community groups gathered for the historic occasion, several who had worked on the project for a number of years — Clear Lake City Water Authority President John Branch and Vice President Bob Savely, Exploration Green Conservancy Chairman Frank Weary, Harris County Commissioner Jack Morman, State Rep. Dennis Paul, Jordan McGinty, representing Houston City Council Dave Martin, and CLCWA Director Gordon Johnson — officially opened Exploration Green with a tree planting ceremony.

“The grand opening was awesome!” said event organizer Doug Peterson, who has worked on the project for many months. “I personally heard literally dozens of enthusiastic compliments about the site and event – ‘This is a wonderful addition to Clear Lake area,’ and ‘This is revitalizing the neighborhoods and community.’ A long-term resident said, ‘this reminds me of how years ago Clear Lake people were more connected.’”

Exploration Green is being credited with preventing 100 million gallons of Harvey storm water from flooding Clear Lake City homes. Over 750 native trees have been planted at the eight-acre detention lake and habitat island that was formerly the Clear Lake Golf Course and Clear Lake Country Club. The new hike and bike trail – with benches for resting put in by Space Center Rotary members — will help everyone explore Clear Lake’s biggest new park.

Hundreds volunteered to make Exploration Green theirs, and after years of planning, 340,000 cubic yards of soil excavation, fighting Harvey’s stormwater, creating a habitat island and installing a beautiful trail, their dream became a reality with the grand opening Saturday, April 28.

Besides the ground breaking ceremony, other activities included the reading of a proclamation issued by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner declaring it Exploration Green Day, live music by local performers, “Grifters and Shills” and “School of Rock,” a Kid Zone, a “social” run, plant sale, fitness activities, kites, Houston Police Bike Patrol, NASA Virtual Reality and food trucks, plus organizations handing out flood control information, environmental tips and green guides.

Peterson said the community is invited to celebrate Clear Lake’s newest amenity with their family and friends and to explore their new green space along the hike and bike trail. “Exploration Green is a beautiful multiple purpose natural space where you can learn about natural habitats and flood control. It’s a seasonal solution for flooding issues and a year-round amenity for everyone’s enjoyment.”

For information about Exploration Green’s volunteer opportunities or contributions to the Exploration Green Conservancy, a 501(c)(3), visit www.ExplorationGreen.org or www.Facebook.com/ExplorationGreen.

Exploration Green plans grand opening of Phase 1

April 1st, 2018

By Mary Alys Cherry

Exploration Green, the Bay Area hidden jewel, which helped save hundreds of Clear Lake homes from Harvey’s floodwaters, will have the grand opening of Phase 1 Saturday, April 28 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 16200 Diana Lane.

Community leaders, residents and elected officials are being invited to join the celebration, which will include a tree planting ceremony to commemorate the completion of the first phase of the 200-acre green space, that for many years was the Clear Lake Golf Course before the Clear Lake City Water Authority purchased the land and helped form the Exploration Green Conservancy to provide the community with more green space and save it from future flooding.

“The partnership is dedicated to creating and operating the habitat restoration and recreation facilities within Exploration Green while supporting its invaluable use for stormwater detention,” Conservancy Vice President Doug Peterson explains, adding, “It’s a seasonal solution for flooding and a year-round amenity!”

The idea appears to be working as community volunteers have worked for months planting trees along Phase I, which is next to the Clear Lake City Recreation Center.

“Come celebrate with us,” Peterson suggests. “Everyone is welcome to come meet their neighbors, discover local organizations and explore their new green space and its one-mile trail. It will be a fun-filled day, packed with activities and entertainment for all ages, even live music.”

Exploration Green Conservancy is an all-volunteer, grassroots nonprofit dedicated to the protection and enhancement of Exploration Green — a permanently-protected, 200-acre natural park and one of the last open green spaces in the NASA/Clear Lake area.

Plans are for Exploration Green to feature a series of five connected finger lakes, 12 miles of hike-and-bike trails, safe play areas, multi-use athletic fields and inspiring gathering spaces. Complementing these amenities will be water-cleansing natural wetland areas; habitat islands for indigenous wildlife, including resident and migrating birds, amphibians and butterflies; and a reforested, more natural environment for native grasses, flowers and trees.

For more information, visit www.explorationgreen.org

Meeting to focus on El Dorado Boulevard widening project

November 25th, 2017

A public input meeting regarding the El Dorado Boulevard Widening Project will be hosted by Houston City Councilman Dave Martin, the City of Houston Public Works and Engineering Department (PWE), and Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack Morman’s office Thursday, Nov. 30, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

The meeting will be at the University of Houston – Clear Lake’s Bayou Building, in the Garden Room.

As development has increased in the area, Councilman Martin has received several concerns from residents about future traffic on the section of El Dorado Boulevard, south of Clear Lake City Boulevard to Horsepen Bayou, which is currently two lanes. In response to these concerns, Martin asked PWE to investigate and conduct traffic counts along this section of roadway.

After assessing the traffic counts, PWE determined El Dorado Boulevard is capable of accommodating current traffic. However, Martin believes the widening of El Dorado Boulevard is essential as the area continues to develop. By partnering with Commissioner Morman, the city and county are able to work together and develop three alignment options to improve current and future mobility in this area.

The goal of this meeting is offer residents the opportunity to provide input about these alignment options, as well as address any concerns or wishes for the project prior to finalizing the design.

There will be free parking for attendees in Lot R. Please see the map below for reference. For more information, contact the District E office at 832-393-3008 or via email at districte@houstontx.gov.