Clear Lake Chatter

March 30th, 2020

Executive Leadership Team members Brandy Gates, Sarah Ferguson, Karen Keesler, Emmeline Dodd and Kimberly Fleming, from left, get together to lend a hand with preparations for the Go Red for Women Luncheon benefitting the American Heart Association.

Sea of Red raises $275,000 for Heart Association

YOU HAVE TO admit it — there’s nothing quite like walking into a hotel and seeing hundreds of women dressed in red. And men wearing red ties.

But, while hotel guests might have been puzzled, we all know it was the American Heart Association’s 2020 Go Red for Women Luncheon at South Shore Harbour Resort.

And, not only did the 480 attending present a beautiful sea of red, they raised $265,000 to help fight heart disease — $40,000 more than last year’s $225,000 — with Chairman Wendy Drapela and Survivor Champion Amy Doherty joining AHA officials Michelle Stoddard and Macy Osoria in welcoming the arriving crowd that included Cindy Harreld DeWease, Barbara Clariday, Sheree Frede, Michelle Holland, Kim Woods, Jana Reed, Sarah FergusonJill Reason, Karen McCorkle, Jill Lammers, Brandy Gates and Emmeline Dodd.

In fact, Emmeline was one of five women selected to tell their story of their fight with heart disease. Others were Eva Baker, Brandi Arnold, Alma Solis and Meloney Bean.

Go Red for Women 2020 Chairman Wendy Drapela, right, and Survivor Champion Amy Doherty await the arriving crowd for this year’s luncheon.

Also recognized were members of the Circle of Red – Tamara Baker, Meloney Bean, Mike and Sherri Belsley, Martha Bowles, Tami Brantley McEwen, Kippy Caraway, Jonathan Cottrell, Rita Cunningham, Lance and Laurie Dahse, Emmeline Dodd, Wendy Drapela, Lila Fass, Anita Fogtman, Jerry Foyt, Kimberly Fleming, Michelle Jacobs, Stephen Jones, Yvette Jones, Jill Lammers, Karen and Mark Keesler,  Misty Killebrew, Michael and Ann Wismer Landolt, Holly Lilley, Dinah Matthews, Joan McKinney, Dr. Monte Orahood, Greg and Pam Ploss, Theressa Riggs, Dr. Amber Shamburger, Wendy Shaw, Gretchen Sheehan, Marilyn Sims, Randy Stine, Jim Sweeney, Darcy Whatley, Matthew and Angie Weinman, Mary Williams and Keely Wood.

KPRC Ch. 2’s Jonathan Martinez served as emcee and also took time to thank Event Committee members for their many contributions – Teresa Vencil, Sandy Adams, Teresa Provis, Laurie Dahse, Mary Williams, Donna Orozco, Valerie Blumfield, Jill Reason, Meloney Bean, Darcy Santana, Dinah Matthews, Kelli Reddinger, Stephanie Rice, Amy Doherty and Kim McFate.

UHCL President Dr. Ira Blake, from left, says hello to Pearland Mayor Tom Reid, Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership President Bob Mitchell and, seated, League City Mayor Pat Hallisey.

 

League City Mayor Pat Hallisey and his wife Janice and Pearland Mayor Tom Reid were in the massive crowd, as were Congressman Randy Weber and his wife, Brenda; State Sen. Larry Taylor, State Rep. Dennis Paul, BAHEP President Bob Mitchell and his wife, Joan; Clear Creek ISD Superintendent Dr. Greg Smith and CCISD Trustees Dr.Laura DuPont and Win Weber, with CCISD Communications Director Elaina Polsen; attorney Becky Reitz, Cheryl Maultsby, Rebecca Lilley, Ashlea Quinonez, Karen Reed, Jim and Jane Sweeney, Kelly Williams, Kimberly Halliburton, Kaci Hanson, Laurie Wood, Brandy Taylor, Vickie Brown, Kay Smith, Eric and Megan Green, Rick Clapp, Chris Premont, and Drs. Matthew Higgs, Hannah Dineen, Roxanne Edrington and Ann Haggard. Plus a few hundred more.

Space Center Rotary members get together for a photo with honoree Suzi Howe, in red, as the event comes to an end.

Rotarians celebrate Suzi Howe’s honor

Bill and Suzi Howe take part in the Rotary ceremony at Palms Event Center celebrating her appointment to the 2020-21 Rotary International Board of Directors.

SUZI HOWE, a member of Space Center Rotary Club in Clear Lake, was honored Feb. 16 when some 200 Rotarians from all over the Houston area gathered at the Palms Event Center on the Gulf Freeway to celebrate her appointment to the Rotary International Board of Directors.

 Howe, who lives in Friendswood, is a former president of the Space Center club and a former Rotary district governor, who is always busy with Rotary activities.

 “Rotary has a million or so members all around the world, and to be chosen to serve on the 20-member Rotary International Board of Directors is quite an honor,” Rotary District Governor-elect Scott Rainey, a past president of the Clear Lake club, said.

 “We were both amazed and shocked when you think of the size of Rotary but could not think of a more deserving member,” Assistant District Governor Nancy Anderson added.

 Rotary District 5890 hosted the celebratory event honoring her as an incoming Rotary International director for the 2020 – 2022 Rotary years. A special guest was David L. Shaw, a founding member of Space Center Rotary nearly 66 years ago on Aug. 6, 1954.

 State Rep. Dennis Paul presented her with a flag that flew over the Texas State Capital in her honor, while Kippy Caraway presented a proclamation signed by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner declaring Feb. 16 Suzi Howe Day in the Bayou City and Friendswood Mayor Mike Foreman came with a proclamation he signed also declaring Suzi Howe Day in his city — as Suzi’s husband Bill, also a Rotarian, looked on with pride.

Howe, a former owner of South Shore Montessori School in League City and a graduate of the University of Kansas, has spent much of the past several years working with Rotary committees and their projects.

Her selection couldn’t come at a better time — Houston will host the Rotary International Convention June 4 – 8, 2022.

Friendswood Mayor Mike Foreman, left, says hello to State Rep. Dennis Paul and his wife, Eliza, as they arrive at the Palms Event Center for the party honoring Suzi Howe.

 

 Some of the local Rotarians in the crowd were Club President Mike Porterfield and his wife, Cindy; Wayne and Marilyn Musial, Delia Stephens, Mary Alys Cherry, Adrienne and Dr. Vissett Sun, Gary Johnson, Bill Geissler, Raymond Moore, Nancy and Robert Anderson, Alan and Gaye Wylie, Scott Rainey, Rev. Steve Oglesbee, Stan Galanski, Darryl Smith, Madella Williams, Randy Straach, Michael Holt, Bob Anderson, Jim Saxe and Dennis and Eliza Paul.

Bond passage big plus for a fast growing city

February 27th, 2020

League City Mayor Pat Hallisey, seated, and City Manager John Baumgartner, fourth from left, receive congratulations on their speeches for the State of the City Luncheon at the Civic Center. With them are, from left, Congressman Randy Weber, State Sen. Larry Taylor, Memorial Hermann Director of Government Relations Ashlea Quinonez, League City Regional Chamber President Dewan Clayborn and Chamber Chairman and Realtor James Brockway.

By Mary Alys Cherry

A successful year and a year to remember – that was the story for League City this past year, Mayor Pat Hallisey told the sellout crowd attending the State of the City Luncheon Jan. 31 at the Johnnie Arolfo Civic Center.

Among the successes for the fast-growing municipality was passage of the $145 million bond referendum that will improve both drainage and mobility across the city, and an agreement with the City of Houston, through the Gulf Coast Water Authority, that will secure a reliable and safe water supply for the future buildout of League City, as well as replace an aging water line that supplies 70 percent of League City’s water supply. “It’s fantastic,” he said, taking time to thank the League City Chamber and its businesses for their support of the bond.

“Money generated from the sales tax will go specifically towards drainage and traffic projects,” he explained. Already engineering design work is underway on 13 or the 21 projects in the 2019 bond, he said, going on to praise City Manager John Baumgartner for his efforts to unite cities for the Regional Drainage Study of Clear Creek and Dickinson Bayou.

Passage of the bond referendum, which called for $73 million for drainage and $72 million for mobility, was the first general obligation bond voters had OK’d in 27 years, and brought a huge sigh of relief to the mayor, as well as many residents who likely had given up on ever getting a bond passed after so many tries and failures. And it comes as the city’s population zooms past the 110,000 mark – an increase of about 80,000 since the last general obligation bond was passed.

The city manager, who also addressed the crowd, pointed out some of the city’s priorities for 2020 including various traffic and mobility projects, additions and improvements to the city’s parks and trails, and continued efforts to bring more commercial development to League City. Both talked of commercial development and their efforts to diversifying the city’s tax base and creating jobs with a sustainable income. One attention getter was the mayor’s announcement that Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is coming to the city.

“The Austin-based company has picked League City as the next spot to open its state-of-the-art movie theatre that also features award-winning cuisine, cocktails and craft beer delivered right to your seat,” he said, bringing smiles to faces around the room. The family-friendly entertainment facility will be located in the Victory Lakes Center on the northeast corner of I-45 and FM 646.

Copies of the city’s 2018 annual report were available for each luncheon guest. “This is the first printed annual report we have ever created,” Hallisey told the audience that also included City Councilors Chad Tressler, Larry Millican, Greg Gripon and Hank Dugie. “We did it so our residents and businesses can see how hard the city is working for them. League City has some of the most dedicated and committed employees you will ever meet,” he said, noting several at the luncheon – Public Works Director Jody Hooks, Budget Director Angie Steelman, Public Works Utility Manager Tommy Arredondo, Director of Engineering Chris Sims, Communications Director Sarah Greer Osborne, Economic Development Director Scott Livingston and City Manager Baumgartner.

Assistance League lends a hand to 3,234 students

February 27th, 2020

ALBA members line up to assist with Operation School Bell at the Kohl’s in League City. Front row: Betty Walcott, Sarah Foulds, Cathy Wolfe, and Kathleen Courville; back row: Karen Douglass, Betty Stoub and Madeline Nugent.

By Mary Alys Cherry and Lisa Holbrook

Few organizations in the Bay Area change more lives than the Assistance League. Its members spend countless hours seeing that children from needy families get new clothes for school so they fit right in with all the rest of their classmates.

And, while they’ve been doing this for some 20 years or more, Nov. 5, 2019, was a landmark date for the 2019-2020 Operation School Bell. On that date Assistance League members completed dressing the 3,231st student: 498 more students than were dressed during the 2018-2019 school year.

“The success of the program this year is due to the support and input of our members, community partners and volunteers, school district volunteers, financial support from local businesses and foundations, and our local Kohl’s and Target department stores,” Chairman Elizabeth Arceneaux said.
 
DRESSING BEGINS
Phase 1 dressing began on Aug. 17 and ended Sept. 21. During that period, 3,031 students attended dressing events at the three local Kohl’s stores (Baybrook, League City and Pasadena) and the Galveston Island Target. They were greeted by dedicated volunteers and given a budgeted amount to use to purchase new school appropriate clothing, shoes, underwear, and a jacket. At checkout, each student was supplied with a hygiene kit and a Sesame Workshop book, Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me, she said.

Students also were able to select books donated bylocal schools and at the Baybrook Kohl’s books donated by the store. A total of 6,952 books were placed in the hands of these students.

Two Phase 2 dressing events were held at the Baybrook and League City Kohl’s stores on Oct. 5 and Nov. 7. Since then, during a Nov. 22 emergency dressing, an additional three students received clothing — a total to date of 3,234 students whose lives have been changed by Assistance League efforts.

MANY FIRSTS
There were many firsts this year, Vice Chairman Sarah Foulds explained:

  • Two new school districts were added — Deer Park and Texas City ISD.
  • The Texas City ISD partnership focused on dressing the large student population identified as homeless. Dressing before the Aug. 28. start of school enabled 388 students to receive new clothing and shoes. Dr. Terri Burchfield noted, “100% of these students attended the first day of school.”
  • Pre-packaged hygiene kits were purchased for a cost of $3.75 each. Each kit included a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, lotion, deodorant, and a comb and brush.
  • United Way of Houston Project Undercover honored Operation School Bell with a donation of socks and underwear. These items were distributed to our partner Clear Creek ISD schools located in Harris County.
  • Polo shirts were purchased for the students from Galveston ISD (739 shirts), and the Mosbacher Odyssey Academy Charter School Galveston (258 shirts) since the required shirts were not available at the local Target store.
  • Odyssey Galveston requested socks and underwear for their young elementary students. A total of 240 pairs of socks and 362 pairs of underwear were delivered to that campus.
  • Kohl’s Cash was used to purchase clothing, socks, underwear, and jackets on the wish list supplied by each school in Dickinson ISD. Sizes purchased ranged from 2T through 4XL.
  • A donation of socks was received from the GEM students at Clear Creek ISD’s Weber Elementary as a thank you to Operation School Bell.

Almost the entire budget was spent on clothing and hygiene kits. Even with $26,700 in discounts received from Target and Kohl’s on the purchase of gift cards and over $28,000 in Kohl’s Cash, the total budget has been expended with one final dressing event held Dec. 5, at the Baybrook Kohl’s store.

The dressing will be continued only on an emergency needs basis. All emergency requests must be sent to osb@assistanceleagueba.org

Clear Lake Chatter

October 1st, 2019

The Bay Oaks Women’s Association kicked off the season with the focus on fashion and, from left, Cindy Zook, Eileen Hult, President Susan McCoy and Suzanne Leatherman all ready for fall.

BOWA gets update on latest in fashion

BAY OAKS Women’s Association members got quite an update on the latest styles when fashionista Sherre Frede shared her expertise about accessories and fashion trends at their September luncheon, all the while looking quite fashionable herself.

The luncheon at Bay Oaks Country Club in Clear Lake kicked off the fall season for BOWA as President Susan McCoy welcomed the happy crowd that included Jackie Daley, Courtney Atchley, Judie Ferguson, Betty Woodhouse, Barbara Dickey, Jan Bailey, Elizabeth Fredericks, Gaye Wylie, Badiha Nassar, Sandy Carney, Becky Reitz, Janet Greenwood, Kathleen Smith, Myrna Baker, Leslie Huff and Annette Dwyer.

Early arrivals signed in by Sharon Dillard included Sue Laabs, Trisha Gunn, Ruth Beecher, Chris Howell, Kay Lee Benoit, Allyson Jackson, Francesca Allen, Eileen Hult, Sheryl Lane, Terri Steinkamp, Suzanne Leatherman, Cindy Zook, Allyson Jackson and Sue Broughton, followed shortly thereafter by Judge Holly Williamson, Lisa Cannon, Janice Gornto, Vanessa Bartholomew, Sherry Chapman, Lynn Smith, Glenna Crist, Melody White and Rhonda Smith.

Some of the others spotted mingling with the crowd included Debbie Roan, Linda Byrd, Georgia Piwonka, Karen Reed, Brenda Brown, Janet Schepcoff, Mitzi Romanko, Cheri Burke, Elaine Rister, Melissa Peevler, Diane Overman, Valerie Brumfield, Charline Robinson and Sherry Chapman, to name a few.

Next is BOWA’s annual fall fashion show, which is coming up at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, starting with a champagne reception at the country club. Vice Presidents Sue Laabs and Cheri Burke tell us that models Jodi Schnabel, Darla McKitrick, Mary Colombo, Linda Fincher, Chris Howland, Yvonne, Chris Rylant, Elisa Peavler, Talena Gulash, Lisa Kaczmarek, Susan McCoy and Cindy Zook will be showing off fall fashions from The Clotheshorse and Brave Boutique.
Music lovers welcome new faces to HSLBA

HOUSTON SYMPHONY League Bay Area members welcomed several prospective members when they hosted a Wine and Cheese Party at St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church in Nassau Bay – kicking off the social season in the Bay Area.

President Nina McGlashan joined Chairman Pat Biddle in welcoming the arriving guests, including Frank Perez and Priscilla Ennis, Greg and Linda Heausler, Jerry and Mary Ann Brown, Dave and Cindy Kuenneke, Paul and Eva Koll, Alice Steele and Dr. Patrick McKinney.

They hardly had time to say hello when in walked Jean Raffetto, Myra Barber, Angela Mendoza, Brenda Hart, Roxanne Cheatham, Deborah Jozwiak, Karen Brumley, Jane Lackow, Vicki Buxton, Patience Myers, Ron Karl, Rhee Haun, Carol Cohen, Mary Ruth Greenwell and Jean Gray.

Now they’re all looking forward to another year of great music.

Early arrivals at the Clear Lake Area Panhellenic’s annual Fall Friendship Tea at the home of Priscilla Ennis included, from left, Lori Johnson, Wendy Shaw, Ondi Lyons and Barbara Dickey – their outfits carrying out the Mad Hatters Tea Party theme.

Panhellenic parties at its annual fall tea

CLEAR LAKE Panhellenic members launched the new season with their annual Fall Friendship Tea Sept. 8 at the home of Priscilla Ennis at her new home in The Reserve.
Event Chairman Sue Ellen Jennings and Panhellenic President Sheryl Williams joined Priscilla in welcoming the happy crowd – all pleased to see one another again after the summer break.

Looking around, you might have spotted Diane Overman, D’Lisa Johnston, Judie Ferguson, Karlee Marcom, Jo Nell Hunter, Darla McKitrick, Amy Judd, Mary Keaton, Wendy Shaw, Ruth Beecher and Barbara Dickey among the arriving crowd at the event, which had a Mad Hatter Tea Party theme.

After catching up on each other’s summer adventures, the talk quickly turned to Panhellenic’s big fall fashion show, coming up on Friday, Nov. 1 with a “Style in Wonderland” theme at South Shore Harbour Resort in League City, produced by Lenny Matuszewski and chaired by Mackenzie Walker. Sue Ellen even came dressed as Alice in Wonderland, to help publicize the style show. Which, of course, delighted everyone.

Some of the others you might have run into at the annual tea included Lisa O’Brien, Holly Williamson, Lisa O’Brien, Kathie Wiley, Lori Johnson, Ondi Lyons, Sally Jordan and Susan Vaughn.

Area legislators proud of work accomplished

September 3rd, 2019

BAHEP President Bob Mitchell, far left, comes on stage to thank all the participants in the Legislative Update. With him are, from left, Reps. Dennis Paul and Mary Ann Perez, emcee Bob Davee, Sen. Carol Alvarado, Chairman Marcy Fryday and Sen. Larry Taylor.

By Mary Alys Cherry

Politicians always like it when they have good news to share with their constituents, so it was no surprise our Bay Area legislators were wearing big smiles when they arrived for the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership Legislative Update, hosted by BAHEP’s Political Protocol Committee.

Sens. Larry Taylor and Carol Alvarado, along with Reps. Dennis Paul and Mary Ann Perez had all played a role in the historic school finance reform, as well as property tax reform, and all appeared pleased with the results.

Senator Taylor, in fact, was chairman of the Senate Education Committee, which led the drive to put more money into public schools. Legislators also voted to pay for prekindergarten for low income students, provide pay raises and other benefits for teachers.

“We brought down your tax, probably about seven cents the first year and five the next,” he told the crowd at South Shore Harbour Resort, going on to explain that schools will get the same amount of money but property taxes will go down – which will help in the future.

“What we did for education is huge,” he added. At which Senator Alvarado told the crowd she wanted to give a shout out to Senator Taylor, “because he made it happen.”

“Finally,” Dennis Paul, interjected, “after two sessions, we made it happen.” To which, Mary Ann Perez added, “we all worked together.”

“This,” Alvarado said, “was one of the most productive legislative sessions ever.” In all, the four covered a wide variety of subjects – Hurricane Harvey legislation, development of the Spaceport, the Battleship Texas, border security funding, school safety and the Texas Ship Channel among them – for their audience at the July 23 meeting.

As for the battleship, “it needs to stay where it is,” Perez said as the meeting came to an end.

All four seemed surprised on hearing that TxDOT might hold up work on the Grand Parkway. “This would be huge for our area,” Taylor said. (Later it was learned that work on the link to the Bay Area from what will be the third highway loop around Houston, will continue.)

Samantha Williams named Lunar Rendezvous queen

September 3rd, 2019

Lunar Rendezvous royalty pose together with Queen Samantha Williams during the Coronation Ball at the San Luis Convention Center in Galveston. They are, from left, Captain David Oliver, King Shade Lewis and Queen Alternate Nicole Leistad, who will reign over the 2020 festival next summer.

A PRETTY BLONDE Clear Springs High School senior, Samantha Grace Williams, is the new queen of Lunar Rendezvous and will reign over the 2020 festival next summer with King Slade Lewis and other members of the Royal Court.

She was crowned by 2019 Lunar Rendezvous Queen Sabrina Curran, daughter of Georgette and Christopher Curran.

2019 Queen Sabrina Curran takes one last stroll around the ballroom.

The daughter of Diane and Allen Williams, she was crowned at the Coronation Ball, this year’s festival finale at the San Luis Convention Center in Galveston and escorted by Kai Tipton Sabin, son of Daric Sabin and Christi Skaggs.

She is also a member of the National Honor Society. In fact, all three members of the 2020 Lunar Rendezvous Royal Court are National Honor Society members.

Ashley Nicole Leistad, a Clear Creek High senior, was elected the queen alternate, or runner-up, when the princesses voted to elect a queen from among their number. She is the daughter of Janelle and Reed Leistad and was escorted by Andrew Stephen Dry, son of Laura and Stephen Dry.

The new captain is David Stoney Oliver, son of Elizabeth and Dana Oliver Jr. and a senior at Clear Falls High who plans to attend Texas A&M. His escort was Kylee Barth, daughter of Cherra Barth.

Afterwards, the new queen and king danced the first dance before they were joined by the entire Royal Court and their escorts, making a beautiful picture as their parents looked on.
The evening, which had the theme, “Hot Havana Nights,” began with a champagne reception as Festival Chairman Michelle Holland and Vice Chairman Debby Reichert joined Coronation Ball Chairman Kathy Rea and Vice Chairman Veronica Rapp and Festival Advisory Board Co-Chairmen Jill Williams and Kelli Byrd in welcoming the several hundred guests, who later enjoyed a filet mignon dinner and danced to the music of Password.

 

Festival fashion show a big hit again this year

YEAR AFTER YEAR, the Lunar Rendezvous Fashion Show is a runaway hit, and it was again this year, with dozens calling it “the best ever” as they headed for home.

And, fashion guru Lenny Matuszewski was at his best as he took the crowd on “A Sail Around the World” while celebrating his 30th year of producing the fashion show with a video of him expressing how much it has meant to him to produce the style show and showing clips from previous shows.

Which was quite a thrill for Fashion Show Chairman Anouk Davis and Co-Chairman Meg Crowleyand Advisory Board Co-Chairmen Kelli Byrd and Jill Williams and many of the long-time volunteers, such as Board Chairman Mike Landolt and his wife, Ann Wismer.

The 54th annual show ended with a bang. A model emerged to the tune of Stars & Stripes Forever and as she turned at the end of the runway, the train of her gown turned into a U.S. flag – to the delight of the crowd.

And, what a crowd it was with 2019 Lunar Rendezvous Queen Sabrina Curran, Karen Reed,Lisa Holbrook, Gail Ashby, Missy Rorrer, Betsy Salbilla, Wendy Drapela, Wendy Shaw, Katy and Chris Rea, Christina Ballard, Kim Woods, Ruth Ashraf, Mike Reeves, Emmeline Dodd, Kimberly Fleming, Kelsey McNeil,Kelly Oetting, Lisa Peters, Michelle Richardson, Michelle Blackwell, Kristy Caraway Brown, Kelli Braumbaugh, Sara Taylor, Jennifer Pung Dean, Melissa Duran, Katie Rehrer, Kippy Caraway, Thora Payne, Christina Ballard and Kim Woods in the mix.

The Lunar Rendezvous Festival is dedicated to providing community-based support including scholarships for higher education, youth development and educational programs, funding for the arts and historical preservation in the Bay Area Houston/NASA area. In the past 10 years alone, Lunar Rendezvous has given over $1 million in scholarships for higher education!

Kelly Oetting, Lisa Peters, Michelle Richardson, Jill Reason, Kelsey McNeil and Stashia Hardman, from left, were among the many enjoying the Lunar Rendezvous Fashion Show at the San Luis Convention Center on Galveston Island.

America Loses a Legend With Death of Chris Kraft

August 1st, 2019

By Mary Alys Cherry

Those were the words of NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein as he announced the passing of the legendary Chris Kraft, who was not only NASA’s first flight director, but a man who played a key role in helping build the Johnson Space Center and create the concept of Mission Control, which is housed in the building aptly named the Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center.

Kraft died Monday, July 22, just two days after America celebrated the 50th anniversary of the landing on the moon, which he helped direct. He was 95.

“Chris was one of the core team members that helped our nation put humans in space and on the Moon, and his legacy is immeasurable,” Bridenstein said. His engineering talents were put to work for our nation at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, before NASA even existed, but it was his legendary work to establish mission control, as we know it, for the earliest crewed space flights that perhaps most strongly advanced our journey of discovery.

“Chris was flight director at some of the most iconic moments of space history, as humans first orbited the Earth and stepped outside of an orbiting spacecraft. For his work, he was awarded the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal by President John F. Kennedy. Chris later led the Johnson Space Center, known then as the Manned Spacecraft Center, as our human exploration work reached for new heights following the Apollo Program. We stand on his shoulders as we reach deeper into the solar system, and he will always be with us on those journeys.”

Christopher Columbus Kraft Jr. joined the NASA Space Task Group in November 1958 as NASA’s first flight director, with responsibilities that immersed him in mission procedures and challenging operational issues.

During the Apollo program, he became the director of Flight Operations, responsible for all human spaceflight mission planning, training and execution. After serving as deputy director of the center for three years, he was named JSC director in January 1972 – a post he held until his retirement in August 1982, playing a vital role in the success of the final Apollo missions, the Skylab crewed space station, the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project and the first flights of the space shuttle.

Kraft was born Feb. 28, 1924 in Hampton, Va. After high school, he enrolled at Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI, now Virginia Tech) and enrolled in mechanical engineering in 1941 but later decided to major in aeronautical engineering. In 1944, he graduated with one of the first degrees in that field awarded by the Institute and was hired by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the predecessor organization to NASA. He worked for over a decade in aeronautical research before being asked in 1958, when NASA was formed, to join the Space Task Group, a small team entrusted with the responsibility of putting America’s first man in space.

Kraft was invited by Robert Gilruth to become a part of a new group that was working on the problems of putting a man into orbit. Without much hesitation, he accepted the offer. When the Space Task Group was officially formed on Nov. 5, Kraft became one of the original 35 engineers to be assigned to Project Mercury, America’s man-in-space program.
As a member of the Space Task Group, Kraft was assigned to the flight operations division, which made plans and arrangements for the operation of the Mercury spacecraft during flight and for the control and monitoring of missions from the ground.

Since his retirement from NASA, Kraft has consulted for numerous companies including IBM and Rockwell International, served as a Director-at-Large of the Houston Chamber of Commerce, and as a member of the Board of Visitors at Virginia Tech. In 2001, he published an autobiography entitled “Flight: My Life in Mission Control.” His book is a detailed discussion of his life through the end of the Apollo program, and was a New York Times bestseller.

He has received numerous awards and honors for his work, including the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal; four NASA Distinguished Service Medals; the Distinguished Alumnus Citation from Virginia Tech, in 1965; and the John F. Kennedy Astronautics Award for 1996. In 1999, he was presented the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement for which he was cited as “A driving force in the U.S. human space-flight program from its beginnings to the Space Shuttle era, a man whose accomplishments have become legendary.”

Chris Kraft married his high school sweetheart, Betty Anne Turnbull, in 1950. They have a son and a daughter, Gordon and Kristi-Anne.

Clear Lake Chatter: FLIGHT MUSEUM BLUE SKIES GALA RAISES $700,000

August 1st, 2019

Ellington Airport General Manager Arturo Manchuca and his wife, Myrna, look for their table at the Blue Skies Gala.

MOVERS AND SHAKERS from both air and space contributed more than $700,000 at this year’s “Moonstruck: 2019 Blue Skies Gala,” to support STEM-related programs and the Lone Star Flight Museum at Ellington Field.

Held at The Revaire on Old Katy Road in Houston, the black-tie event drew a crowd of more than 500 supporters of the Lone Star Flight Museum’s educational mission.
KPRC-TV Ch. 2 meteorologist

Khambrel Marshall emceed the event with board member Ralph Thomas and his wife,Bette,as co-chairmen and Houston philanthropist Margaret Alkek Williams as honorary gala chairman.

Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar, a former astronaut, and museum board member, joined Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Doug Owens, museum president and CEO, and Scott Rozzell, chairman of the board of directors, in recognizing special guest Gene Kranz and others who played a key role in the Apollo space program.

An inductee in the National Aviation Hall of Fame and the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame, Krantz was a flight director during the Apollo 13 mission when the spacecraft experienced a malfunction but was safely guided back to earth. Krantz attended the gala, in part, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo program and the first manned mission to land on the moon on July 20, 1969.

Flight Museum youth ambassador Marshall Calderon, from left, visits with former NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz and Dr. Bonnie Dunbar, former astronaut and museum board member.

Gala patrons included the greater Houston area’s prominent philanthropists, business leaders, elected and appointed government officials, pilots, astronauts, students and others who share the belief that aviation inspires endless possibilities.

“This amazing event,” General Owens told the crowd, was made possible by the generous support of our gala co-chairs, our gala planning committee, and the gala host committee along with underwriters, table sponsors and ticket holders. I also want to thank our amazing volunteers and staff members who dedicate their time and talent day in and day out to the mission of our museum. We are committed to celebrating flight and achievements in Texas aviation as well as educating and engaging our youth through STEM, and the support we received through this amazing gala will allow us to continue with those efforts.”

Guests were treated to assorted wines, champagne, cocktails, and a gourmet three-course dinner and dancing to the music of the Richard Brown Orchestra.

Located at Ellington Airport, just 20 minutes from downtown Houston, LSFM is open Tuesday-Sunday and seven days a week all summer long. Tickets start at $9.95 with senior and military discounts. For details, visit lonestarflight.org or call 346-708-2517.

 

Guendaliwa Rotito, Maria Sumner and Missy Rorrer, from left, make a pretty picture as they mingle with the crowd at the Bay Area Museum Guild Silver Tea.

Museum Guild members a busy crowd

IF YOU RUN INTO members of the Bay Area Museum Guild this summer, and they look a bit tired, they probably are.

For them, it has been a busy spring that included four events — the annual Silver Tea, picnic, wine tasting and installation luncheon.

Many prepared food and punch for the events, while others made preparations in the museum, lining up helpers, etc. — all in an effort to brighten up our community, as they have been doing for the past 35 years.

 

Silver Tea honors Webster church

USUALLY, the Museum Guild honors some well known person at its annual Silver Tea. But this year, the Guild recognized Webster Presbyterian Church, which has been a part of the Bay Area for 126 years, showing off items from the original church – a part of which became Bay Area Museum when the new church was built back in the 80s.

Tea Co-Chairmen Jill Smitherman and Belinda Scheurich were at the door to welcome the dozens and dozens, including many Lunar Rendezvous princesses and lieutenants, who dropped by to sample the array of savories and sweets and the punch served up by Louise Russell, Diana Dornak, Cindy Kuenneke, Badiha Nassau, Gail Devens and Sally Jordan.
Among the many dropping by, we spotted Judy Raiford, Mary Williams, Michelle Holland, Kim Woods, Mary Ann Baxter, Missy Rorrer, Maria Summer, Karen McCorkle, Shirley Brasseaux, Angie Weinman, Anita Fogtman, Jill Reason and Ava Galt, to name a few.

Business Buzz

August 1st, 2019

Port Houston Commission Chairman Ric Campos, second from left, arrives at the Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership reception in his honor at the Marriott Hotel on the Gulf Freeway. Among those welcoming him were, from left, BayTran Chairman Carl Joiner and Lockwood Andrews Vice President Steve Gilbreath and Facilities Engineer Jack Drake.

BayTran welcomes new port chairman
Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership members got a rare treat when they hosted a reception recently for the new chairman of the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority, Ric Campo.

BayTran President Theresa Rodriguez and Chairman Carl Joiner introduced him to the crowd.

The event was held at the Houston Marriott South, where Campo made his way around the room during a Meet and Greet, after which he updated the crowd on Port activities.
Campo, who is chairman and CEO of the Camden Property Trust, was appointed by Harris County and the Houston City Council earlier this year to replace Janiece Longoria, who was term limited.

NASA selects 142 proposals
Managing pilotless aircraft and solar panels that could help humans live on the Moon and Mars are among the technologies NASA is looking to develop with small business awards totaling $106 million. In all, NASA has selected 142 proposals from 129 U.S. small businesses from 28 states and the District of Columbia to receive Phase II contracts as part the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research program.

NASA selected the proposals based on a range of criteria, including technical merit and feasibility, as well as the organizations’ experience, qualifications, and facilities. Additional criteria included effectiveness of proposed work plans and the commercial potential of the technologies.

Three Kuraray facilities win safety awards
Three of Kuraray America, Inc.’s Texas facilities received top honors from the Texas Chemical Council at its annual award banquet June 6. They are:

  • Septon Plant, Pasadena: Best in Texas, Caring for Texas, Distinguished Safety Service, Zero Incident Rate, Zero Process Safety Incidents.
  • Bayport Plant, La Porte: Zero Incident Rate, Distinguished Safety Service, Zero Contractor Incident Rate.
  • La Porte Plant: Caring for Texas, Zero Process Safety Incidents.

TCC’s awards program recognizes member companies for their demonstrated commitment and exemplary results toward safe operations, community awareness, emergency response, security and pollution prevention. Applications are anonymous and judged by a group of industry peers and community members.

“At Kuraray, safety is at the cornerstone of everything we do,” said Tom Abrey, Kuraray’s director of health, safety, environment & security. “We are committed to providing a safe working environment for not only our employees but contractors and visitors alike.”

Kuraray America, Inc. took home 10 awards, including top honor – Best in Texas – for the Septon plant.

Area chamber is a winner
Pasadena Chamber’s website, Chambergram, took first prize honors at the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives annual convention in El Paso June 17-20.

Not far behind were its entry in the newsletter competition, which took second place in the state competition, and the chamber’s Resource Guide, which also was a second place winner.

The conference provides chamber professionals an opportunity to network, attend educational sessions and take an in-depth look into issues related to leadership, workforce development, membership and how Texas communities fared following the legislative session.

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.