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.

HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake launches innovative alternative to open heart surgery

May 2nd, 2019

The HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake cardiology team celebrates after the hospital’s first TAVR procedures.

This April, Houston’s Bay Area marked a major cardiology milestone as HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake launched its transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) service, successfully completing three procedures on its first day.

A relatively new procedure, TAVR replaces damaged aortic valves through a catheter in contrast to open-heart surgery in which surgeons cut open the chest to expose the heart. Typically, candidates for TAVR suffer from aortic stenosis, a common but serious valve problem in which the aortic valve opening narrows, dangerously restricting blood flow and affecting pressure in the heart.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved TAVR in 2012 for patients who are considered at high risk for open-heart surgery. In 2016, the FDA approved the procedure for patients at intermediate risk. Later this year, experts expect the agency to expand its approval to low-risk patients, which will dramatically increase the number of patients who qualify for TAVR.

Just this April, Rolling Stones rocker Mick Jagger underwent TAVR for his heart valve disease, raising awareness of the procedure’s benefits, including not needing to rely on a bypass machine and a faster recovery – one to two days instead of three to five.

The FDA imposes strict requirements for hospitals wishing to practice TAVR, including successfully completing a certain number of open heart, surgical aortic valve, catheter, and percutaneous coronary interventions per year. The heart hospital at HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake, the only dedicated heart hospital in the Bay Area, performs more than 1,000 heart procedures annually.

Surgeons Pranav Loyalka and Hannan Chaugle worked with a team of cardiologists to successfully perform HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake’s first TAVR procedures. Patients interested in learning more about TAVR and other cardiology services should call (888) 842-3627 for more information.

Hurricane Harvey Recovery Centers and Survey Are Open

April 16th, 2019

Houston Councilman Dave Martin would like to remind residents who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey to apply for assistance through recovery programs and resources under the City of Houston Homeowner Assistance Program (HoAP).

The Recovery Survey is the first step and tool to direct residents to the appropriate recovery program and to help the city prioritize those with urgent needs. No documentation is required to take the Recovery Survey, and it takes less than 15 minutes to complete. While priority will be given to low and moderate income homeowners, assistance is available to homeowners of all income levels. An intake specialist will contact you after you complete the survey regarding the next steps.

The survey can be taken:

If you need assistance filling out the Survey, please call 832-393-0550 or visit one of the stationary HRC’s:

  • Northeast: 9551 N. Wayside, Houston, Texas 77028
  • Northwest: 13101 Northwest Freeway [Hwy. 290], Suite 101, Houston, Texas 77040
  • Southwest: 6464 Savoy Drive, Suite 110, Houston, Texas 77036
  • Southeast: 11550 Fuqua St., 3rd floor, Houston, Texas 77036 (in District E)

The stationary centers are open Monday and Tuesday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 to 3 p.m. These centers are closed on Sundays. For a map, click here.

The city received the $1.17 billion for housing recovery through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the State of Texas General Land Office. The recovery funds include the HoAP, which offers five program options including:

  • Reimbursement for completed repairs
  • Homeowner-managed rehabilitation
  • City-managed rehabilitation and reconstruction
  • Buyouts
  • Interim mortgage assistance.

For more information regarding this program, please contact the Houston Recovery Center by calling 832-393-0550.

Preparation Meets Opportunity

April 1st, 2019

Blaine Ochoa and Leo Johnson, owner of LJ Performance Training.

By Blaine Ochoa

“You don’t have to be great to start. But you have to start to be great.”

This is one of Leo Johnson’s favorite quotes. Leo (LJ) is the owner of prestigious gym, LJ Performance Training located in Houston.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Leo and training with him for the upcoming beauty pageant I’m competing in, Miss Houston USA. Fitness is 1/3 of the competition score, and I am thrilled to be training with him to help me achieve my fitness goals.

I am a firm believer in following your dreams and never giving up. This will be my third time competing for Miss Houston USA. When going after a dream or trying to accomplish a goal, there will be ups and downs, setbacks and mistakes. However, if you believe in yourself, persevere, work hard, and never give up, there are no limits to what you can achieve. My life is a testament to this and so is Leo’s.

Leo is from Amarillo, where he started training high school and college students. He played college football at Texas Southern, played basketball and ran track. Health and fitness has always been a passion of his, and he knew he wanted to train professionally. He traveled to Miami, then to Los Angeles to get certified and pursue his dream of training professional athletes. He eventually moved to Texas and called Houston home.

Leo Johnson trains one of his clientele on the rings.

“Fitness has been huge my whole life. Coming from a sports background, I had to maintain living a healthy lifestyle for one, and I grew to love it. I’ve always had aspirations for having my own facility for years. Finally preparation met opportunity, and I got the chance to open my own gym on Feb. 1, 2018. I’ve had huge support from Houston; their support has been astronomical. Not being from Houston and to have gotten the support that I’ve had is amazing.”

He loves owning LJ Performance Training and finds joy in helping others. “It’s refreshing and fulfilling to help people reach their goals and help people accomplish what they’re trying to do. I love the atmosphere and the clientele. The clientele is so diverse and I love that people will not only come to workout but to hang out and chill.”

Throughout life’s journey there will be tough times and difficult moments. Focus, perseverance, and patience plays a great role on the journey to success. “Never give up. I’ve been through so much in life, and, literally, the only reason why I’m still here is because I never gave up.”

He remembers the day he told his children that he wanted to pursue his dream of training professional athletes. Years later, one of his proudest moments was when his daughter called him crying, telling him she was so proud of him when his dream came true and he became a gym owner and personal trainer to some of the top professional athletes in the business.

Ultimately what matters is not about how many times you fall down, what matters is getting back up, deciding what to do next, and moving confidently forward in the direction of achieving your dreams.

“Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”

HOUSTON MUNICIPAL COURTS ANNOUNCES SPRING AMNESTY PROGRAM

March 19th, 2019

The City of Houston Municipal Courts Department has announced the start of its Fresh Start Spring Amnesty Program. For the next three weeks, certain delinquent cases will be discounted to help citizens save money while resolving outstanding cases.

“Now is the perfect opportunity to start this spring season with a “Fresh” clean slate. If you have delinquent cases, you are urged to come forward and take advantage of these discounted rates,” said Judge J. Elaine Marshall, director and presiding judge of the Municipal Courts Department. “We are here to assist with Amnesty-eligible cases issued on or before February 1st. Put the past behind you and start fresh and if you have questions, please call us – we are here to help,” Judge Marshall said.

The Amnesty Program began Friday, March 15, at 8 a.m. and ends Saturday, April 6, at 11:59 p.m.  Any defendant who voluntarily appears at any Municipal Court location during the amnesty period will be permitted to resolve all of their eligible delinquent cases, including Failure to Appear (FTA) cases, and will not be subject to arrest.

Cases eligible for amnesty include cases that were delinquent prior to Feb. 1, 2019. Only the defendant named in the citation or his or her attorney can participate in the Amnesty Program. Bonding companies, friends, relatives, and spouses cannot make the amnesty request on behalf of someone else.

The Amnesty Program does not apply to a defendant that is in custody, previously adjudicated cases, parking citations, administrative violations, bond forfeitures, or civil cases. Individuals may call the Houston Helpline by dialing 3-1-1 or 713-837-0311 for questions about whether their specific case(s) is amnesty eligible.

Defendants may take advantage of the Amnesty Program by phone, U.S. Mail or in person at any Municipal Court location.

For additional information about Municipal Courts or court cases, visit the website at www.houstontx.gov/courts, or call the Houston Helpline at 3-1-1or 713-837-0311 if outside of Houston.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why are you doing this?
To resolve cases for which all other means of resolution have been unsuccessful and to assist the citizens of Houston with any lingering outstanding Municipal Court issues.

When does Amnesty begin?
The Amnesty Program began Friday, March 15 and ends at Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 11:59 p.m.

What kinds of cases are eligible for Amnesty rates?
Most delinquent traffic and non-traffic citations that were delinquent on or before Feb. 1, 2019 will be eligible for Amnesty discounts. Parking citations and Administrative violations are not eligible for Amnesty. Citizens may call 3-1-1 to find out if they have eligible Amnesty cases.

What do I do if I have a delinquent parking citation?
Parking citations are not eligible for Amnesty. For additional information or assistance regarding paying your parking citation, please call 311 or 713.837.0311.

How can I find out if I have warrants?
Dial Houston’s Helpline at 3-1-1, visit the website at www.houstontx.gov/courts or come in person at any City of Houston Municipal Court location.

What are my options if I find out that I have warrants?
You may pay the fines at the applicable Amnesty rates if your cases qualify. You may also be able to post a bond and have your case(s) reset for a new court date. You always have the option to seek legal advice from an attorney or come to any City of Houston Municipal Court location to speak with a judge.

If I come to court to pay, will I be arrested?
No.  The City Houston Municipal Courts will not arrest individuals who visit our courthouse to inquire about their delinquent cases.  We encourage everyone to come in voluntarily to resolve their cases.

If I want to pay for my delinquent cases/warrants, what are my payment options?
Payment options are as follows: Phone (3-1-1, 713-837-0311), U.S. Mail, or In-Person at any City of Houston Municipal Court location.

What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept cash, checks, money orders, and American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa.

After I pay, how long will it take to clear my driving record through DPS?
The City of Houston Municipal Courts Department will forward the information to DPS upon payment of your case(s). Please allow 5 to 7 business days for your driving record to clear through DPS.

City of Houston plans to start issuing reimbursement checks for Hurricane Harvey recovery

March 14th, 2019

The City of Houston is clearing hurdles to issue reimbursement checks for Harvey-related home repairs by the end of March.

On Wednesday, Texas General Land Office Commissioner George P. Bush approved the city’s request to reduce barriers for reimbursing homeowners. Also, City Council is expected to vote Wednesday, March 20 on a key set of homeowner contract documents that will allow the city’s to sign contracts with homeowners almost immediately.

“I have fought for the resources Houston needs to recover from Harvey, and now I’m fighting to make sure we get help to Houstonians without delay,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “In disaster recovery, there are a lot of challenges for homeowners including requirements set by state and federal agencies. I’m looking for ways to make the process smoother for everyone.”

The GLO authorized the city to use an additional method of verifying how much homeowners spent on recovery, by allowing homeowners to self-certify repair costs that are then verified by the city. The city and GLO still encourage homeowners to document recovery expenses with receipts when possible, while recognizing that self-certification will help speed the process. “We’re grateful to Commissioner Bush and the GLO for helping us reduce administrative burdens, while making sure that we’re good stewards of federal resources,” said Tom McCasland, the city’s Housing and Community Development Director.

Once City Council approves the standard contract forms for the Homeowner Assistance Program (HoAP), the Housing and Community Development Department will move forward with signing contracts with the first round of homeowners for the reimbursement program option. The city will then verify repair costs and begin issuing checks to eligible homeowners. “Our target is the end of March to start cutting checks for reimbursement,” McCasland said.

Homeowners interested in participating in HoAP or other Harvey recovery programs should take the Harvey Recovery Survey at www.recovery.houstontx.gov/survey or 832-393-0550. The Survey takes less than 15 minutes, doesn’t require any documents, and is the first step in accessing recovery programs. More information is available at www.recovery.houstontx.gov.

Funds for Harvey Recovery Programs are provided by the City of Houston and the Texas General Land Office through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program.

Clear Lake’s Gemini Avenue to get facelift

March 13th, 2019

Houston City Council Member Dave Martin is pleased to announce Houston Public Works crews will be performing an asphalt overlay along Gemini Avenue from El Camino Real to Reseda Drive. Construction is scheduled to begin the week of March 25, 2019 and is expected to be complete by the end of June 2019, weather permitting.

The project will start in the 1000 block of Gemini Avenue and progress towards Reseda Drive. The scope of work includes resurfacing the asphalt street. This process includes milling off an approximate 2 inch layer of old asphalt, repairing the base as needed, spraying tack coat and overlaying 2 inches of new asphalt surface pavement. Crew staging activities are anticipated to occur between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., with work occurring between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

As a result of the construction activities, motorists are asked to be aware of flagmen and orange traffic cones that will be put in place on site to help with traffic flow through the construction zone as temporary lane closures are expected.

One lane will be open in each direction during peak traffic hours. Residents and businesses may experience temporary delays accessing Gemini Avenue, as well as individual driveways, and may experience an increase in noise levels because of trucks and equipment.

For more information, contact Council Member Dave Martin’s office at 832-393-3008 or districte@houstontx.gov.

The Bay House Cast & Crew Screening at River Oaks Theater

March 4th, 2019

Join us for the cast & crew screening of The Bay House at Houston’s Landmark River Oaks Theater at 2009 West Gray St., Houston, TX 77019 on March 14 at 7 p.m.

Bo Brinkman, a Houston native filmmaker, wrote and directed The Bay House, the third movie produced out of six planned for production in Texas.

“We have brought together a group of Texans that work in the film industry to produce local independent films. Our goal is to produce movies with a strong story, good content, and high quality production as well as commercial appeal. Texas film crews find most of their work outside the state. Tax incentives and rebates offered by neighboring Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia have taken 95 percent of television and film productions away from Texas and that hurts our economy.” says Brinkman.

The Bay House was filmed and produced in Seabrook, San Leon, Galveston Island, Texas and Durango, as well as Silverton, Colorado.

Movie Producers and Executive Producers include Rick Clapp, Cowden Ward, Raz Halili, Billy Cain, Derek Holk, Tim Leppard, and Barry Strickland.

The movie stars Barry Corbin, (“No Country for Old Men” “The Ranch” “War Games” and TV series “Northern Exposure”), plays a career politician who loses an election in the wake of scandal, retreats to the family bay house with his wife, Academy Award Nominee, Lesley Ann Warren, ( “Victor/Victoria” “Clue” “Pure Country”) where their two estranged son’s, Houston native Sean Faris (“Pearl Harbor” “Sleep Over” “Never Back Down”) and James Callis (“Bridget Jones’s Diary” “Battlestar Galactica” “12 Monkeys”) force them to face the wreckage of their past.

Showing is on a first come basis. RSVP is a must. A $10 donation is requested at the door to benefit The Galveston Bay Foundation, a 501c3 Organization.

For more information about the premiere, please contact Sumer Dene at 281-474-5875 or Sumer@Baygroupmedia.com

SHOWING PARTY
Bay Area Houston and Gulf Coast Mariner Magazines will host the local filmmaker Bo Brinkman during The Bay House Cast & Crew Screening Party and reception at Crazy Alan’s Swamp Shack Baybrook on March 7 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Come meet the director and some of the actors, film crew, and staff as well as producers and executive producers. Get a sneak preview of the independent movie that was filmed locally in Bay Area Houston, Galveston, and Durango and Silverton Colorado. Local movie producers include Cowden Ward, Raz Halili, Billy Cain, Derek Holk, Tim Leppard, and Barry Strickland.

Complementary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar with beverages will be provided as well as prizes, giveaways, and signed movie posters.

Bo Brinkman will also announce the production of his latest film creation Goat Hill Road to be shot entirely in Texas.

RSVP is a must as space is limited. Contact Sumer Dene at 281-474-5875 or Sumer@Baygroupmedia.com A $10 donation is requested at the door to benefit The Galveston Bay Foundation, a 501c3 Organization.

Recycling Collection Schedule Update

January 17th, 2019

HOUSTON – Please note the following adjustments to the City of Houston’s recycling collection schedule. Due to the schedule adjustments do not place your recycling (green) container at the curb until Wednesday or Saturday.

For future updates and collection schedules please visit our website, monitor our social media and 3-1-1 customer service center.

Thank you for your patience as we work on resolving this matter. Residents are also encouraged to take advantage of the six (6) neighborhood depositories closest to your home. For more department information visit www.houstonsolidwaste.gov

Saturday, January 19, 2019
Thursday’s & Friday’s A-Week Curbside Recycling pickup

Monday, January 21, 2019 (Martin Luther King Jr) 
CITY HOLIDAY: NO COLLECTION SERVICES. All facilities and services closed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 
Monday’s Garbage Collected.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Tuesday’s Garbage Collected.

Thursday, January 24, 2019
Thursday’s Garbage Collected.

Friday, January 25, 2019
Friday’s Garbage Collected.

Saturday, January 26, 2019
Monday’s & Tuesday’s B-Week Curbside Recycling pickup.

Sunday, January 27, 2019 
Thursday’s & Friday’s B-Week Curbside Recycling pickup.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019  
Monday’s & Tuesday’s A-Week Curbside Recycling pickup.

Saturday, February 2, 2019
Thursday’s & Friday’s A-Week Curbside Recycling pickup.

For more information about SWMD and our services, visit us at www.houstonsolidwaste.org, “LIKE” us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/houstonsolidwaste, follow us on Twitter @HoustonTrash, or call 3-1-1, the City of Houston’s Customer Service Helpline.

Recovery centers to provide federal aid for repair of homes damaged by Harvey

January 16th, 2019

The City of Houston has taken a critical step forward with the opening of four Housing Resource Centers, one in each quadrant of the city, to use $1.17 billion in federal aid to assist Houstonians whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

Anyone who may be eligible must first complete a survey:

  • Online at https://recovery.houstontx.gov
  • By phone at 832-393-0550 (Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
  • Or in person at any of the new centers (Northeast, 9551 N. Wayside, Houston 77028; Northwest, 13101 Northwest Freeway [Hwy. 290], Suite 101, Houston 77040; Southwest, 6464 Savoy Drive, Suite 110, Houston 77036; Southeast, 11550 Fuqua St., 3rd floor, Houston 77036)

Mobile outreach teams are also available to serve home-bound residents and others.

Please see the info flyer.

Mayor Sylvester Turner opened the Northeast center on Monday, encouraging community members to be ambassadors for the recovery effort to ensure that no eligible homeowner is left out.

The mayor told people in the packed room, “Our goal is to reach and serve as many of the affected homeowners as possible, especially those who are hardest to reach – our disadvantaged, senior citizens, those with limited English proficiency and those with special needs. We will not leave anyone behind.”

On the importance of taking the Harvey Recovery Survey, the mayor continued, “No one wants another delay in the process. The survey will help us understand each homeowner’s situation better and determine which program they may be eligible for.”

Tom McCasland, director of the City Housing and Community Development Department, emphasized that the city has moved quickly to ensure recovery was launched as soon as federal funds became available. McCasland said, “The contract for the money was signed on the 4 th , today is the 14 th – it’s 10 days later and we’re rolling out programs.”

The city will receive the $1.17 billion for housing recovery through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the State of Texas General Land Office.

The recovery funds include the Homeowner Assistance Program, which offers five program options including: 1) reimbursement for completed repairs, 2) homeowner-managed rehabilitation, 3) city-managed rehabilitation and reconstruction, 4) buyouts, and 5) interim mortgage assistance.

While priority will be given to low- and moderate-income homeowners, assistance is available to homeowners of all income levels.

To schedule a mobile outreach team, or for any additional information, please visit https://recovery.houstontx.gov or call the Harvey recovery hotline number 832-393-0550, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Housing Resource Centers hours of operation are:

  • Mondays – Tuesdays, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Wednesdays – Thursdays, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Fridays, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.