Clear Lake Chatter: Go Red for Women Luncheon raises $225,000

April 1st, 2019

These ladies make a pretty picture as they enjoy the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Luncheon at South Shore Harbour Resort in League City. They are, from left, standing, Becky Reitz, Jill Reason, Anita Fogtman; seated, Marcy Fryday, Marsha Taylor, Julie Osburn, Mary Ellen Arledge, Sandra Sellers and Shelley Rogers Scoggin.

IT TOOK A LOT of people forming a sea of red, but the American Heart Association coffers are bulging with some $225,000 raised at the 2019 Go Red for Women Luncheon.
And, what fun it was seeing all the fancy dresses the ladies arrived in and bright red ties the guys wore.

Co-Chairmen Jim and Jane Sweeney couldn’t stop smiling as they mingled with the arriving crowd, as did members of their Leadership team – Tama Brantley McEwen, Sarah Ferguson, Gloria Greene, Santiago Mendoza Jr., Theressa Riggs and Darcy Whatley.All could hardly wait to see the fruits of their work over the previous months.

Likewise for the Event Committee Chairmen Stephanie Rice, Sandy Adams and Laurie Dahse and their volunteers – James Blasczyk, Abbie Contreras, Brandy Gates, Hilary Hart, Kim Keen, Donna Orozco, Mandy Pistone, Teresa Provis, Kelli Reddinger, Elizabeth Quigley, Darcy Santala and Meloney Bean, who also spoke to the audience about surviving heart problems after the luncheon emcee, KPRC Ch. 2’s Jonathan Martinez, welcomed everyone.

Five victims of heart disease, Victoria De La Garza, Kelli Reddinger, Aubrey Allensworth, Carol Firmin and Sarah Weinman, shared their stories of survival for those attending. Sarah, for example, explained how she had won the battle with ovarian cancer only to find that the aggressive chemotherapy regimen had resulted in congestive heart failure. After a 10-year fight, she finally received a heart transplant in April 2018 and is doing well today and looking forward to the future.

Much to the delight of the donors known as Circle of Red members — Audra Bentley, Melaney Bean, Sherri Beisley, Tama Brandley McEwen, Kristie Brown, Laurie Dahse, Emmeline Dodd, Brandy Gates, Karen Keesler, Jane McFaddin, Darcy Santala, Dr. Amber Shamburger, Marilyn Sims, Jill Williams and Darcy Whatley and the Men Go Red members – Earl Armstrong, Brent Cockerham, Lance Dahse, Brad Gerke, Stephen K. Jones Jr., Dr. Monte Orahood, David Smith and Jim Sweeney.

State Sen. Larry Taylor was named the 2019 Iconic Heart Ambassador, winning over Dr. Bill Fisher, CPA Tom Richards and Dr. Selvin Sudhakar.

But the most memorable moment came when Jim and Jane Sweeney took the audience on a ride with them around town via video, singing, making up poems and in general just having a great time as the crowd cheered them on.

Just ask Jill Reason, Marcy Fryday, Becky Reitz, Marsha Taylor, Anita Fogtman, Julie Osburn, Sandra Sellers, Mary Ellen Arledge and Shelley Rogers Scoggin, Dawn Jackson, Jennifer Meekins, Robyn Weigelt, Sumer Dene, Rick Clapp, Amber Sample, Matthew and Angie Weinman or Congressman Randy Weber and his wife, Brenda.

Most can hardly wait until next year.

Astronaut addresses Museum Guild crowd
ASTRONAUT Jeffrey Williams was the speaker for the Bay Area Museum Guild’s monthly meeting at the museum, which was filled with members and their friends who wanted to hear about his space travels.

Colonel Williams, a retired Army officer, is a veteran of four space missions, and for some time held the American record for the most time spent in space, which was surpassed by his fellow astronaut, Peggy Whitson, in 2017.

Guild President Ava Galt, who came with her husband, Taylor Lake Village City Councilman Tony Galt, joined Vice Presidents Louise Russell and Gail Devensin welcoming Colonel Williams and his wife, Ann Marie, and showing them around the museum.

He also got to share his book, The Work of His Hands, A View of God’s Creation from Space, with the crowd, which included Mary and Dr. Terry Williams, Gib and Jan Larson, Sandi Allbritton, the vice presidents’ husbands, John Russell and Don Devens, Dave Kuenneke and son David Jr., Recording Secretary Lois Costinand her husband, Neldon, and Mary Ann Shallberg.

Looking around, you also might have spotted Taylor Lake Village Mayor Pro-tem Einar Goerland and his wife, Linda; Leo and Rose Marie Symmank, Julie Hayes, Cindy Pinson, David and Kandy Johnson, Judith and Michelle Scheuring, Lorie Duval, Roberta Liston, Barry and Betsy Poor, Jackie Myers, Marie Sumner, Ron Lohec, Ric Taylor, Kathy Herman, Gayle Nelson, Cathy Lee and Judy Staliwe.

The night would not be complete without a photo of Rosebud Caradec and CPA Tom Richards, dressed up as a leprechaun for the St. Patrick’s Day Party at Lakewood Yacht Club.

A St. Patty’s Day we’ll remember
ONE OF THE Bay Area’s liveliest St. Patrick’s Day parties no doubt was the one at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, where most everyone was Irish – at least for the night.
There was Irish music and Irish tap dancers to go with a variety of good Irish meals such as corned beef and cabbage –  all of which added up to quite a lively evening.

Popular CPA Tom Richards came dressed as a leprechaun, and everyone wanted a selfie with him – so many in fact, one would have thought he was George Clooney.

Among those who were successful were Lou and Alice Marinos and Jim and Ann O’Malley,who earlier had joined Earl and Barbara Phillips, Barbara’s mother and Mary Alys Cherry for dinner; Jim and Jane Sweeney and Rosebud Caradec.

HCA-affiliated Clear Lake Regional Medical Center gets a new name

March 4th, 2019

Clear Lake Regional Medical Center was rebranded as HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake on Jan. 31.

By Mary Alys Cherry

HCA-affiliated Clear Lake Regional Medical Center in Webster has a new name – HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake.

Officials said the name was changed to better reflect the hospital’s affiliation with one of Houston’s most comprehensive healthcare systems. They gathered at the hospital with League City Mayor Pat Hallisey and officials representing Webster Mayor Donna Rogers to officially launch its new identity.

“Taking the HCA name signals our commitment to be held to the highest standards in the industry,” said Todd Caliva, chief executive officer of HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake, who also announced upcoming improvements to the hospital, including new VIP labor and delivery suites, a facelift to the women’s services department, major construction to the Emergency Department entrance, two new operating rooms, a major cath lab expansion, and a significant bed expansion.

THIRD CHANGE
Actually, it is the third name change for the medical facility. It started out life as Clear Lake Hospital, but later became known as Humana Hospital-Clear Lake and then as Clear Lake Regional Medical Center.

Fay Dudney, wife of the late Dr. Ned Dudney of League City, who helped turn a dream into a reality, remembered how it all happened when she talked with us back in 2012 as the hospital was celebrating its 40th anniversary.

“Dr. Larry Chapman (who died Dec. 2, 2018) came over from Seabrook to see us, and when he walked in, he said, ‘Ned, I want you to help me build a hospital here in our area.’”
Dudney, who had to put patients in hospitals long distances from their homes, immediately liked the idea, and “soon we sought out physicians all over the area,” Dr. Chapman said as he thought back to those heady days.

Joined by the late Dr. Joe Symon of Friendswood, “the three of us pursued things pretty hard, and before long some 18 to 20 doctors practicing at Bayshore Hospital in Pasadena gave us their blessings. And, their financial backing,” Dr. Chapman recalled.

The group bought a 70-acre tract bounded by State Highway 3 and Texas Avenue in Webster, and on George Washington’s birthday, Feb. 22, 1970, a crowd of 500 gathered for the groundbreaking of the $4.2 million hospital, which opened with 150 beds, but designed to hold 600 beds.

OPENING DAY
A crowd of 3,000 was on hand Sunday, March 12, 1972 for the dedication and opening of Clear Lake Hospital, as it was originally named. But over the years it has grown so much it is barely recognizable in early photographs. A new emergency room was added in 2003, and its $55 million Heart & Vascular Hospital was built across the street in 2007, then expanded in 2010 with a $17 million, 72-room addition that included a pharmacy and dialysis unit.

The hospital grew even larger in 2012 with a $92 million expansion that included a 154,000- square-foot Patient Tower with a 30-bed Intensive Care Unit and a wide range of innovations.

Every year, HCA Houston Healthcare provides care for more than one million hospital patients, more than 450,000 emergency room patients and delivers one in four births in Houston. It currently has more than 16,000 employees, including 6,900 nurses. And, now a new name.

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.

Bill King kicks off mayoral campaign

February 12th, 2019

By Mary Alys Cherry

Houston businessman Bill King formally launched his mayoral campaign with a series of town hall meetings in various neighborhoods across the city Feb. 9-15.

The former mayor of Kemah, who narrowly lost by less than 4,000 votes to Mayor Sylvester Turner in the 2016 Houston mayoral runoff, reportedly the closest race in Houston mayoral history, said he was using these town halls “to begin the conversation about cleaning up City Hall and getting the city back to delivering the basic municipal services every resident is entitled to expect — trash pick-up, good roads and neighborhood policing.”

“It’s time to imagine a city where the streets are paved, the trash is picked up on time, homes don’t flood, there are more police officers patrolling our neighborhoods and where the politicians work for the people and not special interests,” King said. “Houston is the city that put a man on the moon. Don’t tell me we can’t have decent streets, good drainage, and a balanced budget. We do not have to settle for what we are currently getting from city government today.

The campaign will center on cleaning up the pay-to-play system at City Hall, which will allow city government to refocus its efforts back on delivering the basic services all Houstonians expect and deserve for the tax dollars they pay, he said.

NINE TOWN HALLS

As part of his kickoff, he hosted nine town hall meetings in every corner of Houston — in Sunnyside, East End/5th Ward, Spring Branch, Kingwood and Clear Lake. Meetings are also scheduled in Meyerland, Memorial and Timbergrove.

“Houstonians are hard-working, generous and resilient and the people are what make Houston the greatest city in the country,” King added. “But we have a city government that has failed to live up to what residents deserve, and it’s time for a change. Let’s clean  up City Hall and get back to basics.

Nothing has gotten better in the last four years, he said at one town hall.

“The truth is we have a city government that doesn’t live up to the people that live in it. I’m telling you right now, we’re going to change that once and for all,” he said at another.

King joins the incumbent Turner and Houston attorney Tony Buzbee in the race for mayor. Buzbee announced his candidacy a week before King. Election day is Nov. 5, 2019.

NATIVE OF AREA

Bill is a life-long resident of the Houston area. He was born and raised in the Clear Lake area, attending Clear Creek High School before going on to the University of Houston to earn an undergraduate degree in political science and his law degree.

In 1996, he was elected to the Kemah City Council and later served as mayor of Kemah from 2001-2005.

He has enjoyed a varied career as a businessman and a lawyer. He began his career with a turbulent, and ultimately unsuccessful, foray in the savings & loan industry in the 1980s. His experience in that industry is retold in his 2009 book, Saving Face. Later in his career, he served as the national managing partner for Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson, as president of Southwest Airport Services, Inc. and of counsel to Bracewell & Giuliani. He also was an editorial page columnist for 10 years for the Houston Chronicle.

Clear Lake Chatter – ALBA to celebrate 30 years

February 1st, 2019

Circle Saturday, Feb. 9 on your calendar. That’s when Assistance League of the Bay Area will celebrate its 25th anniversary as a chapter and 30th year of service to the community.

And, the community is invited to attend this year’s Superhero Birthday Bash, which will be held at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook from 6 to 11 p.m. Feb. 9, in memory of Stuart Wing Williams and to celebrate all the Assistance League Superheroes – past, present and future.

Chairman Jill Williams and Vice Chairman Peggy Heinrich are heading up the team of volunteers putting on the Bay Area’s Superhero Birthday Bash with attendees encouraged to dress as their favorite superhero.

Other ALBA members assisting them with arrangements for the evening include Mavis Irvan, Gail Ashby, Sarah Foulds, Badiha Nassar, Jill Smitherman, Sandra Sellers, Katy Bastedo, Roseann Carothers, Kim Barker, Cindy Senger-Lewis, Georgia Piwonka and Kathleen Courville.

Music for dancing will be provided by Password.

One of the highlights of the evening will come during the Reverse Raffle when the third to last ticket wins a $500 gift card from Frank’s & Son Jewelers, the second to last wins a $1,000 gift card from Lewis Jewelers and the final ticket drawn wins a Superhero Golf Cart, partially sponsored by Texas Golf Carts.

Can’t wait to see that? Better get a raffle ticket, which are $100 each. But hurry. Only 300 will be sold.

All proceeds benefit the six philanthropic programs including Operation School Bell, Operation Cinderella, Operation Support Our Schools, Assault Survivor Kits, Ready for Work and Community Outreach.

Tickets to the event are $125 and may be purchased online at the website www.

Bay Oaks Women elect new officers

SUSAN McCOY has been re-elected president of the Bay Oaks Country Club Women’s Association for 2019. Other new officers who’ll serve with her are Vice Presidents Cheri Burke and Sue Laabs, Secretary Chris Howland and Treasurer Amy Roppolo with Past President Jodi Schnabel as advisor to the president.

Pam Clary will return as special events chairman, Sue Broughton as historian, Jordan Quillen as communications chairman, Mary Alys Cherry as public relations chairman, and Cassandra Brown as Bay Oaks liaison.

Other board members include Holiday Market Chairman Allyson Jackson, Hospitality Co-Chairmen Terri Steinkamp and Suzanne Leatherman, Membership Co-Chairmen Darla McKitrick and Susan Franklin, Registration Co-Chairmen Cindy Zook and Sharon Dillard, and Publicity Co-Chairmen Eileen Hult and Jodi Schnabel.

Pasadena mayor keynotes January BayTran luncheon

NEWLY ELECTED Pasadena Mayor Jeff Wagner was off to a good start after his election in July 2017, learning his new job and enjoying it when, about a month later, along came Hurricane Harvey.

But rather than wring their hands, he and other Pasadena officials got right to work trying to help people, he explained during his keynote address at the Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership’s Jan. 17 luncheon.

“We accepted Harvey with open arms, and by that I mean all the emergency rooms in the area were shut down. All the airports were shut down. And, we said to one another, ‘how can we help people?’”

The answer was obvious, he told BayTran members at the luncheon at the Hobby Marriott on the Gulf Freeway – open an emergency room, which they did. It was believed to be the only working ER in Harris County, he said, and besides helping some 150 people, they even delivered a baby.

When life returned somewhat to normal, Mayor Wagner turned his thoughts to giving Pasadena a new face – even having the city buy a dilapidated building that had been vacant for 30 years and was giving the city an ugly look and needed to be torn down.

Most recently he has been working to upgrade Rickey Road, Pasadena Boulevard and Red Bluff Road – working with Harris County on sharing some of the costs. And, best of all, his city applied to FEMA for a $105 million grant to rebuild some of the city streets, and it was approved.

“Now who can say they got money from FEMA?” he smiled as he continued his overview of life in Pasadena.

BayTran President Theresa Rodriguez, and Chairman David Hamilton joined Treasurer Karen Coglianese in welcoming the crowd that also included BayTran Vice Chairman Bob Robinson, who brought his grandson, Anthony Robinson.

Several elected officials were in the audience including State Rep. Dennis Paul, Mayors Thom Kolpulski of Seabrook, Tom Reid of Pearland and Michel Bechetl of Morgan’s Point, along with Seabrook Mayor Pro-tem Natalie Picha.

Welcome Neighbors elect new officers

SOME OF THE busiest club officers these days are those who head the Bay Area Welcome Neighbors Club, which meets each month at Bay Oaks Country Club with nearly overflow crowds.

Becky Rickey is president of the group this year with Suzanne Lamminen and Catherine Jennische serving as vice presidents, Alice Swift as secretary and Madeline Rogers as treasurer.

This month they will welcome Lt. Col. Don Houk from the Living History Museum providing a first person presentation of one of the most famous World War II generals, James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, and his famous raid on Tokyo at their Feb. 21 luncheon meeting. To attend, email Nancy Guthrie at membership.bawnc@gmail.com

90 years old and still golfing

A ROOMFUL of old friends were on hand to help Charles Smitherman celebrate his 90th birthday in late December, and all were no doubt surprised to learn how he keeps a busy schedule and is out playing golf every chance he gets.

Besides his birthday celebration, it was also a chance for him and his wife, Joy, to get together with all their kids – Carol Smitherman Anglin, John and Jill Smitherman and Paul and Valerie Riddle — and grandkids and long-time friends.

Clear Lake Chatter

December 1st, 2018

Clear Lake Panhellenic Fall Fashion Show Chairman Greta Mee, right, can hardly wait for the production to begin as she goes over the program with Laurie Vaughn, who headed the Finance Committee.

Panhellenic takes guests ‘Around the World’

CLEAR LAKE Panhellenic took the community on a trip “Around the World in 80 Days” at its 33rd annual Fall Fashion Show Luncheon Nov. 2 at South Shore Harbour Resort with Chairman Greta Mee and Co-Chairman Jill Stephenson leading the way.

Panhellenic President D’Lisa Johnston joined Vice Presidents Sheryl Williams and Kathryn Vernau, Secretary Darla McKitrick and Treasurer Kim Barker in welcoming the crowd, which quickly filled up the hotel’s Crystal Ballroom as several Panhellenic husbands filled the role of champagne stewards – Dan Reason, Jim Overman, Frank Prochaska, Joe Mee, Robert Barfield and Richard Beecher.

All were anxiously waiting to see the style show put on by fashion guru Lenny Matuszewski, and he didn’t disappoint as Panhellenic members Annette Dwyer, Beth McDaniel, Jennifer Prochaska, Jenny Frantz, Courtney Myers, Sandy Records, Hillary Gramm, Marcy Ortega, Rhonda Salinsky, Becky Hensley, Diane Overman, Wendy Shaw, Janet Jones, Carrie Peters, Kathryn Vernau, Michelle Lillie, Stacy Lyon, Cindy Priebe, Mackenzie Walker and Judge Holly Williamson modeled fall and winter fashions from Dillard’s at Baybrook Mall.

Dana Brown, left, and Sally Jordan help sign the crowd in for the Clear Lake Panhellenic Fall Fashion Show.

Afterwards, guests bid on a number of trips – to Paris, France; San Jose del Cabo, Mexico; Zulu Nyala, South Africa; Napa Valley, Calif.; and Bali, Indonesia.

Others who played key roles in the annual production included Janet Jones, Kim Barker, Karen Douglas, Rachel Stephenson, Laurie Vaughn, Diane Overman, Elizabeth McCarty, Kelsey Richardson, Lisa O’Brien, Sue Broughton, Barbara Dickey, Sheryl Williams and Becky Hensley.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Crawford-Zbanek Scholarship Foundation, which awards college scholarships to area women and sends local girls to Girl’s State.

 

The honorees get together for a group photo as the annual gala gets under way. They are, from left, front row, Anita Lewis, Becky Day, League City Mayor Pat Hallisey, Crystal Starke, Dee Scott; back row, Christian Bionat, Bob Mitchell, Michael Kramm, Lynn B. Watkins and Greg Ploss.

CCEF Gala honors 10, raises $75,000

A CROWD of more than 350 helped honor the award winners at the 18th annual Clear Creek Education Foundation gala, “A White Haute Affair,” which raised $75,000 for innovative programs for students in the Clear Creek School District.

League City Mayor Pat Hallisey was named Citizen of the Year, an award voted on by the CCISD trustees and the CCEF, and Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership President Bob Mitchell was the recipient of the George B. Carlisle Distinguished Service Award – both honored for their consistent commitment to the school district.

Other honorees included:

The Distinguished Alumni Award — presented to individuals who are CCISD alumni and are now accomplished professionals who support their community — went to Christian Bionat (Clear Lake High ’09) and Lynn B. Watkins (Clear Creek High ’66).

The Valor Award, which honors a public servant (military, police, fire, etc.) who has gone above and beyond the call of duty, was presented to Michael Kramm.

The CCISD Superstar Award, bestowed on a select group of individuals who support and enhance CCISD whether alumni or not, went to Becky Day, Dee Scott, CCISD Secondary Teacher of the Year Anita L. Lewis and CCISD Elementary Teacher of the Year Crystal Starke.

Greg Ploss, Chemical Process and Production official, was the recipient of the Dennis Johnson Memorial Small Business Award, presented to a small business owner within CCISD who demonstrates an unwavering commitment to the district through active participation in multiple activities:

Volunteers who worked on the CCEF fundraiser were CCEF Community Marketing and Events Manager Kelsey Richardson; Co-Chairmen Cameron Cannon and Jana Miller; and committee members Joyce Abbey, Kim Barker, Katy Bastedo, Janet Brown, Suzanne Fair, Kimberly Fleming, Ann Hammond, Lisa Holbrook, Laura Mackay, Joan McKinney, Sarah Moutz, Jill Reason, Elaine Renola, Deena Rigby, Mary Ann Shallberg, Teresa Vencil, Rhonda Quillin and Elizabeth Wiehle Wang.

All funds raised from the gala go toward inspiring educational excellence in CCISD through CCEF’s programs: Educational grants for both teachers and students, Clear Horizon Early College High School and National Board Teacher Certifications.

Rice U group finds fault with Ike Dike proposal

December 1st, 2018

By Mary Alys Cherry

Ten years after the storm surge from Hurricane Ike devastated the Galveston Bay area, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced plans Oct. 26 for what is considered a more ambitious version of the proposed Coastal Spine or Ike Dike, as the project to protect the region.

The Corps proposes building a 70-mile-long coastal barrier to protect the Texas coastline from future storm surge, at a cost of somewhere between $23 and $31 billion – considerably higher than the original projection, which was for a smaller project.

Four days later on Oct. 31 Moody’s Investors Service gave its stamp of approval, noting that the proposed system would protect a region that contributes 24 percent of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) and is home to the largest manufacturing center in the United States along the Houston Ship Channel and to one fourth of Texas’ population.
Now the federal agency’s plan has come under attack.

Just as most of the area population was glad that at long last, something was going to be done to protect us came headlines that the folks over at Rice University’s Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evaluation from Disasters Center were questioning the Corps of Engineers’ proposal, charging that the Corps’ information was out of date.

This did not sit well with Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership President Bob Mitchell, who worked for several years with UTMB Galveston Prof. Bill Merrell, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush and others trying to get the coastal spine project approved and financed.

“I think it is very unfortunate,” Mitchell said, “that Rice SSPEED Center has elected to attack the work that the Corps of Engineers has done in support of the ‘coastal spine’ and its ‘tentatively selected plan.’ There is a process that we go through in the form of hearings and written testimony that allows organizations and individuals to ask for clarification or to present ideas and changes they may think are important. “Rice SSPEED Center, in my opinion, should follow the process like the rest of us and try to be part of the team and not adversarial. This is not the time to see who can yell the loudest but a time to work together.”

Instead of being glad to finally see the federal agency come up with a plan to protect the area, SSPEED officials questioned the proposal, just as they had done after UTMB Galveston Prof. Bill Merrell proposed building the Ike Dike in 2009. Back then, instead of protecting homes and businesses in Galveston and the Bay Area communities with an Ike Dike to stop storm surge, the Rice SSPEED Center felt it was more important to protect industry along the Houston Ship Channel than those homes, schools and businesses in the Galveston Bay area. Finally, when they found everyone else favored the Ike Dike/Coastal Spine concept, SSPEED officials dropped their proposal.

But once the Corps of Engineers released its proposal, SSPEED officials found fault with the study. They said the proposal was incomplete as it did not account for the recent stronger storms and that the Corps information was out of date – assertions that were quickly disputed by the Corps. In addition to the Ike Dike, the Rice group proposes building a midbay seagate to protect the Houston Ship Channel and Harris County from storm surge. Their suggestion is much the same as their earlier proposal. And, just as before, they want to protect industry; and they don’t appear to care what happens to Kemah, Seabrook, Nassau Bay, Dickinson, El Lago, Taylor Lake Village, Clear Lake City, Friendswood, Santa Fe, Alvin, Pearland, Texas City, La Marque, League City, Webster and Galveston.

The Houston Chronicle also was upset with their actions, pointing out in an editorial that protecting the coastal region from the devastation suffered during Ike and Harvey “is far too important to let a fight over the path forward leach away the project’s necessary momentum before it ever has a chance,”

“It’s worth cheering that we’ve arrived at wide support for the coastal spine project, a system of floating gates intended to ward off storm surge….When was the last time officials from Houston, Harris County, the coastal region and the State of Texas have all been on the same page about spending (billions) in mostly federal dollars to help this region? How about never?”

“Critics and supporters of the Ike Dike should take care to help steer but not divert the ship that is finally on course to becoming reality,” the Chronicle added.

We agree. We’ve waited far too long for some action, and the Army Corps of Engineers has worked more hours than they can probably count to get this far. The SSPEED officials should submit their thoughts at one of the public hearings just like everyone else, instead of trying to make headlines and disrupt the process.

A series of six public meetings have been scheduled in November and December by the Corps for public comment on the proposal with the first held Nov. 27 in Port Lavaca. Others are planned in Seabrook, Corpus Christi, Port Isabel, Winnie and Galveston.

The Seabrook meeting will be held Tuesday, Dec. 18 at the Bay Area Community Center in Clear Lake Park from 5:30 p.m. to 9. The Galveston meeting will be on Wednesday, Dec. 12 in the Galveston Island Convention Center, 5600 Seawall Blvd., also from 5:30 p.m. to 9. For a complete list or information on how to submit public comment, visit the Army Corps of Engineers website, http://coastalstudy.texas.gov/get-involved/index.html

A final study is to be released in 2021 before sending it to Congress for funding.

Clear Lake Chatter

November 1st, 2018

Eileen Hult, right, and Mary Alys Cherry are happy to see the big crowd celebrating Bay Oaks Country Club’s 30th anniversary.

Bay Oaks Country Club marks 30th anniversary

BAY OAKS Country Club in Clear Lake is turning 30 years old this year, so club executives hosted a black tie gala for members to mark the occasion and joined them in celebrating the milestone. It was quite a party!

General Manager Stephen Morris joined Head Golf Pro Scott Olsen, Member Relations Director Cassandra Brown, Private Events Director Ashley Williams and Golf Course Superintendent Kyle Brown in welcoming the crowd, which included Board of Governors Chairman Julia Gallagher and her husband, Abe, and Bay Oaks Women’s Association President Susan McCoy and her husband, Mike.

John and Jeannette Koerschner, Mike and Sharon Phelps and George and Glenna Crist were among several there who have been members for 30 years, so you can imagine what fun they had thinking back over all the great events at the club through the years.

Early arrivals included Board of Governors members John Whalen, with his wife, Patty; Jim Maultsby, with his wife, Cheryl; Yvonne Perrin, Perry Laabs and his wife, Sue; and Jodi Schnabel and her husband, Kirby; plus Murry and Sandy Lantz, John and Roemehl Dewey, Glenn and Carlene Langford and Craig and Cindy Zook.

Still others joining in the celebration were Russ and Mary Colombo, Dane and Darla McKitrick, Luis and Teresa Albuerne, Ron and Bo Lohec, Joseph and Carol Base, Sue and Everett Lyons, Marty and Amy Schweers, Mitzi and Dr. Mike Romanko, Malcolm and Sue Franklin, Danele and Jack Buehler, Joseph and Sue Kazda, Ray and Shiva Landry, Annette Dwyer and Pat Monks and Gene and Eileen Hult, to name a few.
Quite a celebration for a place we’ve all enjoyed so much through the years.

 

These pretty cowgirls sit for a photo at the Bay Area Museum Guild’s Just A Pretty Table Luncheon. They are, from left, Courtney Myers (standing left), Ashton Garrison, Virginia McMullen, Mary McMullen, Tracey Webb and Stacy Bush Lyon.

Pretty tables another big success

FEW EVENTS remain as popular year after year as the Bay Area Museum Guild’s Just A Pretty Table. Credit Angie Weinman for that.
Year after year for over a decade she had lined up some of our community’s most talented ladies. Each picks a theme for their table, gets a crew of helpers, each contributing ideas and – voila! ­­– everyone is amazed. Plus, proceeds help support the charming little Bay Area Museum over in Clear Lake Park.

Some of the tables are just jaw-dropping beautiful – the kind you’d love in your home – while some are humorous but always memorable. Usually, those sitting at the table carry out the theme in their dress. If you haven’t attended, make next year a must-see.

Angie and her team of volunteers — Sandi Allbritton, Jan Larson, Ava Galt, Jannine Galt and Anita Fogtman – have already started working on the 2019 event. See you there.

Clear Lake Chatter: BOWA Fashion Show Launches New Season

October 1st, 2018

BOWA Secretary Chris Howland, from left, welcomes model Jordan Quillen and Misty Killebrew to the annual Fall Fashion Show Luncheon at Bay Oaks Country Club.

BAY OAKS Women’s Association kicked off its new season with an elegant Fashion Show Luncheon at Bay Oaks Country Club that opened with a champagne reception as members and guests began arriving.

President Susan McCoy and Vice President Amy Schweers joined Hospitality Chairman Terri Steinkamp and her committee in welcoming the arriving crowd, which included Mary Colombo, Gaye Wylie, Emmeline Dodd, Cheri Burke, Ann Lyon, Judge Holly Williamson, Janet Greenwood, Marilyn Lunney, Lea Bodie, Betty Woodhouse, Janet Gortno, Misty Killebrew, Nancy Smith, Eileen Hult and Sharon Dillard.

Before they hardly had had time to say hello to one another, in walked Jackie Daley, Margaret Vail, Sharon Phelps, Carol Murphy, Angela Bivens, Norman Ogletree, Dr. Kimberly Weathers, Glenna Crist, Debbie May, Ann Dooley, Ruth Beecher, Sue Laabs, Mary Alyce Hall, Rita Armstrong, Linda Guice, Jean Dupre, Peggy Green, Amy Roppolo, Debbie Roan and Past President Jodi Schnabel.

Hospitality Chairman Terri Steinkamp, right, goes over plans for the BOWA Fall Fashion Show with model Diane Saltzer on arrival at Bay Oaks Country Club.

Soon, they were watching models Sue Broughton, Valerie Brumfield, Susan Franklin, Julie Gallager, Susan McCoy¸Lola McLain, Martha McWilliams, Darla McKitrick, Jordan Quillen, Diane Saltzer and Cindy Zook present fall fashions from Dillard’s at Baybrook Mall, with Bay Oaks General Manager Stephen Morris escorting them.

Much to the delight of Lucille Terraso, Rose Sobotik, Sandy Buyajian, Elaine Rister, Georgia Piwonka, Carol Bobo, Julia Guzman, Mary Smith, Heather Hernandez, Beverly Braden, Lisa Schulte, Linda Fincher, Gail West and Secretary Chris Howland, who then enjoyed Shrimp Escabeche and Blueberry Crumble.

Bay Oaks Country Club members will get “A Taste of Asia” Saturday, Nov. 3 when BOWA hosts its annual gala at the club.

Chairman Pam Clary says the focus will be on the Far East with Chinese dancers performing, beautiful red and gold decorations, plus gaming tables and the popular Main Street Band. Guests will be sipping on Singapore Slings, wine and champagne before enjoying Beef Teriyaki and Coconut Encrusted Shrimp. Sounds like a delightful evening is ahead.

Symphony League Bay Area Starting New Year

HOUSTON SYMPHONY League Bay Area members also got their season off to a happy start as Anita Gale hosted a Wine & Cheese Party for prospective members at her lovely home in Nassau Bay with Vice President Ann Morgan chairing the event.

Nearly 80 members and guests enjoyed tasty appetizers and desserts provided by members as all were entertained by member Alice Steele’s trio Arcadia. Another highlight of the evening came when the children of Dr. Gerard and Nicole Abreo, ages 3-15 and known as the Abreo Family Strings, played several classical pieces on their violins, with beautiful music filling the home.

All nine Abreo children have been students of Beatrice Stanley since the age of three, and she says they are a joy to teach. Afterwards, the Abreo children and the Arcadia trio performed together – much to the delight of all.

League President Nina McGlashan and her husband, Bob, were there to welcome the crowd that included Al and Natalie Ong, Dr. Patrick McKinney, Julia Guzman, Sandy Conway, Betty Geehan, Sallie Watts, Gayle Nelson, Jean Raffetto, Donna Ward, Betty Gilfillan, Karen Brumley, Angela Mendoza, Dana Puddy, Lisa Brandenberger, Jane Lackow, Jean Gray, Bill Straight, plus Pat Biddle and her husband, Ron Kahl, to name a few.

Hostess Stacy Bush Lyon, left, welcomes Jenny Frantz to her home for Clear Lake Area Panhellenic’s Fall Friendship Tea.

A new season for Panhellenic
CLEAR LAKE Area Panhellenic members were all smiles as they began another season with their annual Fall Friendship Tea at the lovely Clear Lake home of Stacy Bush Lyon.

This year’s theme was “Around the World in 80 Days,” which also will be the theme of their popular fall fashion show luncheon Friday, Nov. 2, in South Shore Harbour Resort’s Crystal Ballroom.

President D’Lisa Johnson was there to greet the arriving crowd, as was Chairman Kay Lee Benoit and the hostess, plus several members of the executive board. Hot topic of conversation was, of course, the upcoming style show luncheon, in which most all members have a part. In fact, members brought food from different countries for the tea, to get everyone in the groove — including Sally Jordan, Linda McCormack, Sheryl Williams, Ruth Beecher and Judge Holly Williamson.

Some of the others enjoying the annual gathering included Peggy Clause, Jill Reason, Laurie Vaughn, Jill Smitherman, Sue Broughton, Judie Ferguson, Jo Nell Hunter, Jo Cat Bruce, Karen Douglass and Jenny Franz.

NASA assigns first crews to fly commercial spacecraft

September 1st, 2018

Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana addresses the standing room only crowd at JSC’s Teague Auditorium as NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer look on.

By Mary Alys Cherry

“We’re back,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told a rousing audience in the Johnson Space Center’s Teague Auditorium.

“This is a big deal for our country, and we want America to know that we’re back – that we’re flying American astronauts on American rockets from American soil,” he said as the crowd’s roar reached heights probably not heard around JSC in years.

Sweet words to everyone’s ears, especially the nine astronauts who were introduced as America’s first commercial crew astronauts – those who will help increase commercial companies’ involvement in low Earth orbit and possibly take over operation of the space station some day in the future and allow NASA to focus on deep space exploration.

A NEW ERA
“Today,” Bridenstine continued, “our country’s dreams of greater achievements in space are within our grasp. This accomplished group of American astronauts, flying on new spacecraft developed by our commercial partners, Boeing and SpaceX, will launch a new era of human spaceflight. Today’s announcement advances our great American vision and strengthens the nation’s leadership in space.”

Joining him on stage for the presentation were Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer, Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, Boeing Defense, Space and Security CEO Leanne Caret and SpaceX CEO Gwynne Shotwell, who each spoke briefly of their hopes for the future before the new NASA chief introduced the astronauts – five who will fly on Boeing’s Starliner and four who will man SpaceX’s Dragon.

NASA introduced the first U.S. astronauts who will fly on American-made, commercial spacecraft to and from the International Space Station – an endeavor that will return astronaut launches to U.S. soil for the first time since the space shuttle’s retirement in 2011. The nine astronauts introduced to crew Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon are, from left, Sunita Williams, Josh Cassada, Eric Boe, Nicole Mann, Christopher Ferguson, Douglas Hurley, Robert Behnken, Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover.

NASA intern and University of Texas student Stephanie Zeller shares a light moment with Sen.Ted Cruz, one of a number of elected officials at the ceremony at JSC’s Teague Auditorium.

“All of us are here today because we stand for something new and profound, built upon an amazing legacy, and it is personal for all of us,” Boeing executive Leanne Caret said. “Today we start a new chapter, and we’re so thrilled to be on this journey.” Both companies bring unique approaches and ideas to the development and testing of their systems, which is why NASA selected both companies in September 2014.

“The 7,000 women and men of SpaceX understand what a sacred honor this was for us to be part of this program, and for us to fly [NASA astronauts],” said SpaceX executive Gwynne Shotwell. “So thank you very much, we take it seriously, we won’t let you down.”

SEVERAL APPEARANCES
The stage presentation was one of several appearances by Bridenstine during a three-day visit to JSC. On his first morning, the 43-year-old Michigan native got a up-close look at the Orion mockup that is being readied for its major safety test in April to verify that its launch abort system can steer the capsule and astronauts inside it to safety in the event of an issue with the Space Launch System rocket when the spacecraft is under the highest aerodynamic loads it will experience during ascent for deep-space missions.

Next, he met with a select group of local reporters, answering a variety of questions about the future of the space station, the Gateway moon orbiting project that involves returning to the moon and is seen as a stepping stone to Mars, and the delays on the James Webb Telescope.

“NASA is doing things it has not done before, using government resources never done before,” he told reporters in a sit-down roundtable session, “and we want to be sure we do not have another gap.”

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, left, looks over the work being done in Building 9S at Johnson Space Center for the launch of the Orion mockup.

Bridenstine started his visit here at a reception at Space Center Houston where he addressed aerospace executives, local business people and elected officials, discussing a change in national space policy providing for an American-led integrated program with private sector partners for a return to the moon, followed by missions to Mars and beyond.

The new policy, he said, calls for the NASA administrator to “lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities.”

Bridenstine emphasized the importance of the word “sustainable” in the policy. He said, “When we talk about going to the moon, this time to stay, we want the entire architecture between Earth and the moon to be sustainable — in other words ‘reusable.’ We want tugs that are going back and forth from low Earth orbit to lunar orbit to be reusable. We want the lunar landers to be reusable so that they can go back to the surface of the moon over and over again.

“That entire architecture is going to be built on an American backbone. We will have critical infrastructure developed by NASA, by those in this room and at Johnson Space Center, that will give us a sustainable infrastructure on the moon… When we go to the moon this time, we’re going to stay.”