News Nuggets

December 1st, 2015

Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees take time out for a photo with Dr. DeeAnn Powell, the lone finalist for superintendent of schools. They are, from left, Trustee Jack Bailey, Secretary  Marshall Kendrick, Assistant Secretary Nelda Sullivan, Dr. Powell, President Mariselle Quijano, Vice President Vickie Morgan, and Trustees Fred Roberts and Kenny Fernandez.

Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees take time out for a photo with Dr. DeeAnn Powell, the lone finalist for superintendent of schools. They are, from left, Trustee Jack Bailey, Secretary Marshall Kendrick, Assistant Secretary Nelda Sullivan, Dr. Powell, President Mariselle Quijano, Vice President Vickie Morgan, and Trustees Fred Roberts and Kenny Fernandez.

By Mary Alys Cherry

Pasadena ISD picks new superintendent
Dr. DeeAnn Powell, 46, has been named the lone finalist for Pasadena’s school superintendent. She has served Pasadena ISD since 1991 as a teacher, facilitator, assistant principal, principal, associate superintendent for campus development and for the past two years as deputy superintendent for campus development.  She holds a doctorate of education from University of Houston – Clear Lake.

“It is awesome to have grown up in Pasadena and attended schools here,” Powell said, “and now to have the opportunity to serve the kids of the district in this way.” She is expected to assume her new duties Jan. 15.

At the beginning of summer the current superintendent, Dr. Kirk Lewis, announced his plans to retire at the end of 2015.  After her selection was announced, he told the audience, “You’re in good hands.”

Not the time for a start over
NASA could be doomed if a future president alters the agency’s current course to reach Mars with humans in the 2030s, agency administrator Charles Bolden said in remarks before the Center for American Progress.

“This is not a time that we can start over,’’ said Bolden, a former astronaut. “I think we’ve been through enough ‘start overs.’”

“We’ve got to stay focused,” he said. “If we change our minds at any time in the next three or four years, which always is a risk when you go through a government transition, my belief is that we’re doomed.”

CCISD, PISD make the top 12
Both the Clear Creek and Pasadena school districts were listed among the top workplaces in Houston in an employee survey by the Houston Chronicle.

mars-globe-valles-marineris-enhanced-full

The red planet. Photo by NASA

CCISD, which has 5,150 employees was ranked 9th and PISD, with 7,950 employees, took the 12thspot.
Best place to work? Anadarko Petroleum Corp., an oil and gas exploration and production company apparently held in high esteem by its 2,750 employees.

PISD to honor Marie Flickinger
South Belt-Ellington Leader Publisher Marie Flickinger has been selected to receive the Pasadena ISD 2015 Distinguished Citizen Award. She will be honored by the district and the Board of Trustees at a reception on Jan. 28 at the Lewis Career and Technical High School.

Each year, the award is given to a community member whose leadership and committed efforts enhanced the educational experience of Pasadena ISD students and improved the quality of life for residents.

“Marie genuinely cares about the welfare of students and residents in the community and it reflects through her work at the newspaper, her selfless acts of kindness and her leadership,” Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis said. “She is vocal and well-respected in this community and builds relationships that promote the common good. This is a tribute that is well deserved.”

2014-Dennis-Paul-0168-smallRep. Paul will seek re-election
Texas State Rep. Dennis Paul has formally announced he’ll seek re-election representing the 129th House District, which includes the cities of El Lago, Nassau Bay, Seabrook, Shoreacres, Taylor Lake Village, Webster and portions of Friendswood, Houston, La Porte, League City, Pasadena and Pearland.

He is a member of the Pensions and Insurance Committees and serves as chairman of the Texas Aerospace Legislative Caucus.

News Nuggets

March 1st, 2015

Space Center Rotary had some special guests in February – Rotary International President Gary Huang and his wife, Corenna. Here they were on hand when Space Center President Scott Rainey, from left, presented one of the club’s 50 Random Acts of Kindness to Shanna as the Huangs and Rotary District Governor Lisa Marie Massey look on. Shanna was a homeless Nigerian immigrant, a domestic violence survivor and the mother of two who was presented money to furnish a rental home for her family and to help her with her goal to become a registered nurse.

Space Center Rotary had some special guests in February – Rotary International President Gary Huang and his wife, Corenna. Here they were on hand when Space Center President Scott Rainey, from left, presented one of the club’s 50 Random Acts of Kindness to Shanna as the Huangs and Rotary District Governor Lisa Marie Massey look on. Shanna was a homeless Nigerian immigrant, a domestic violence survivor and the mother of two who was presented money to furnish a rental home for her family and to help her with her goal to become a registered nurse.

Kemah gets new city secretary

Patty Kloves, is Kemah’s new city secretary, replacing Marisela Garcia, who left to become city secretary in Nassau Bay.
Previously, she spent eight years working for NASA contractor Wyle Integrated Science and Engineering and also held financial and administrative posts at the University of Texas Branch in Galveston and at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

A graduate of Texas A&M University, she also has a master’s degree from the University of Houston. The Kemah City Council set her salary at $65,000 annually.

CCISD bus program gets $100,000 grant

Members of the Texas PTA recently presented a ceremonial check to Clear Creek ISD, representing a $100,000 grant from the Texas PTA Clean School Bus Program.

The grant money will be used to help purchase two clean-air school buses. CCISD has 71 clean air buses, 55 buses powered by CNG, 16 fueled by propane and 213 diesel school buses. “Currently clear air buses comprise 25 percent of the CCISD bus fleet,” said Transportation Director Dean Lewis.

“We have another 12 propane buses set for delivery in March as we strive to provide the safest environment possible as we transport thousands of students each school day.”

The Texas PTA has partnered for several years with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to improve air quality for Texas youth.

Taylor to head education panel

Sen. Larry Taylor of Friendswood, who represents District 11, has been appointed as the new chairman of the Senate Public Education Committee by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

Taylor, who also was reappointed to the Senate Business and Commerce Committee that has been working to reform the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, said he was “honored by the appointment and I look forward to continuing to bring education into the 21st century.”

He was equally pleased, he added, to continue on the business panel.

Goose Creek picks superintendent

The Goose Creek CISD has selected Randal O’Brien as its new superintendent. O’Brien has been heading the district as acting superintendent since the beginning of this school year.

“It is an honor to be the lone finalist for the position of superintendent for Goose Creek CISD. I want to thank the members of the Board of Trustees for their vote of confidence in me,” he said after his selection as the lone finalist for the post.

League City's new Public Safety building on Walker Street.

League City’s new Public Safety building on Walker Street.

Webster church gets new pastor

The Rev. Dr. Keith Alan Uffman is the new pastor at Webster Presbyterian Church — moving to the Bay Area from Greensboro, N.C., where he served as a pastor for almost 20 years and his wife, Mary Helen, taught and coached young athletes.

A graduate of Louisiana State University, he earned his Doctor of Ministry from Union Theological Seminary where he was awarded a Thompson Scholarship. He also attended Duke Divinity School and LSU Law School.

The Dean of Union Presbytery Seminary describes Pastor Keith as “…one of the most gifted, imaginative, and energetic pastors I have ever known.”

Cruz to chair NASA panel

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been named chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee’s subcommittee, which oversees NASA.

He was the top Republican on the subcommittee last year but did not play a prominent public role concerning space agency matters in the last Congress. He is known mostly for advocating reduced government spending and a campaign to kill Obamacare.

Pearland OKs road funding

Pearland City Council has approved an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation that will mean its Smith Road Project can go forward, agreeing to pay 20 percent or $996,899 of the $5.1 million cost for improvements from Hughes Ranch Road to FM 518.

The state will pay the remaining 80 percent.

 

News Nuggets

January 5th, 2015

Photo: UH Digital Library

Photo: UH Digital Library

Former Houston mayor succumbs
Bob Lanier, who served three terms – from 1991 to 1997 — as Houston’s mayor, died Saturday, Dec. 20, at the age of 89.

One of the Bayou City’s most popular officials, Lanier, affectionately known as “Mayor Bob,” averaged 88 percent of the vote in his re-election races with strong support from each political party and ethnic group.

The son of working class parents in Baytown, Lanier attended New Mexico University and the University of Texas Law School before joining the Baker & Botts law firm. Following a decade practicing law, he became a major real estate developer and served as chairman of the Texas Highway Commission and the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Youth given life in satanic slaying
Jose Reyes has been found guilty of capital murder in the brutal satanic Feb. 4 slaying of 15-year-old Corrainn Cervantes in an empty Bays Apartments unit overlooking the Kroger store on El Camino Real in Clear Lake.

Reyes, 18, was sentenced to life in prison and will not be eligible for parole for 40 years. He was not eligible for the death penalty because of his age. He and 16-year-old Victor Alas are accused of brutally stabbing, beating and strangling the young girl. The case against Alas is expected to be tried soon.

Investigators said the teenagers went to the vacant apartment to have consensual sex, and killed the girl in order to sell their souls to the devil. All three had attended Clear Lake High and Clear Path Alternative School.

Koch Pipeline Co. and Flint Hills Resources presented a $3,500 check to the Seabrook Volunteer Fire Department Dec. 17 as part of its Helping Heroes program. Taking part in the presentation were, from left, Greg Garrison and James Rhame of Flint Hills Resources; Lt. Nicole Laster and Assistant Chief Andy Castiglione of the Seabrook Volunteer Fire Department; Michael Fritschen of the Koch Pipeline Co., and Richard Wood and Steve Meek, both from Flint Hills Resources.

Koch Pipeline Co. and Flint Hills Resources presented a $3,500 check to the Seabrook Volunteer Fire Department Dec. 17 as part of its Helping Heroes program. Taking part in the presentation were, from left, Greg Garrison and James Rhame of Flint Hills Resources; Lt. Nicole Laster and Assistant Chief Andy Castiglione of the Seabrook Volunteer Fire Department; Michael Fritschen of the Koch Pipeline Co., and Richard Wood and Steve Meek, both from Flint Hills Resources.

Seabrook firemen given $3,500 grant
Koch Pipeline Co. and Flint Hills Resources presented a $3,500 check to the Seabrook Volunteer Fire Department Dec. 17 as part of its Helping Heroes program.

Flint Hills and Koch Pipeline, both subsidiaries of Koch Industries, began the Helping Heroes program in 2012 to honor local fire departments and emergency responders and to help with their training, education, equipment, and emergency notification needs. The two companies have awarded nearly $340,000 in local grants since then, including $137,000 this year to 30 fire departments across 17 Texas counties.

“Koch Pipeline Company salutes the extraordinary men and women of the Seabrook Volunteer Fire Department who put themselves in harm’s way to help others at a moment’s notice,” said Larry Van Horn, vice president of operations for Koch Pipeline.

“Through this donation for safety equipment and training, we are pleased to provide the Seabrook Volunteer Fire Department with resources that help keep our community safe,” said Flint Hills Resources Plant Manager James Rhame of the Houston Chemical Plant.

Trish Hanks

Trish Hanks

Trish Hanks is re-elected
Friendswood ISD Superintendent Trish Hanks has been elected to a third consecutive term of office as president of the Texas Academic Decathlon Board. The Decathlon is the premier academic competition for high school students in Texas.

Each year the organization gives $150,000 in scholarship money to winning students. In the Texas Academic Decathlon, more than 7,000 students from all academic levels across the state compete in Academic Decathlon. The organization also sponsors Octathlon for ninth and tenth grade students and Pentathlon for junior high levels as well as the Lone Star Challenge for fourth through sixth grade students.

Pete Olson has new address
Congressman Pete Olson (R-TX) has moved his office from the Cannon House Office Building to a new location: 2133 Rayburn House Office Building.

His new address is: Congressman Pete Olson (TX-22), 2133 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515

UHCL opens registration
The University of Houston-Clear Lake invites new and returning students to register for classes for the 2015 spring semester during online open registration through Jan. 16, with late registration from Jan. 17–27. The school will be closed Dec. 24-Jan 2 for the holidays.

Those still needing to apply must do so before Jan. 20 to be considered for admission. To apply, visit www.uhcl.edu/admissions or call the Office of Admissions at 281-283-2500. For course schedules or to register for classes by visiting http://www.uhcl.edu/eservices

Time to register for SJC classes
The time to register for spring semester classes at San Jacinto College is fast approaching.

Classes start Jan. 20 but the registration payment deadline is Thursday, Jan. 8. Registration remains open for the Spring 2015 semester after the payment deadline, but all financial obligations incurred after the payment deadline not covered by financial aid, installment payment plan, third party agreement, or scholarship, must be paid on the day of registration.

Students who need financial assistance, or help with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), should contact a San Jacinto College financial aid specialist. Financial aid information is also available online at sanjac.edu/financial-aid The San Jacinto College FAFSA Code is 003609.

Educational planners are available on all three San Jacinto College campuses to help students select courses that will easily transfer to a four-year college or university, or get them the skills they need to enter the workforce upon graduation. To apply to San Jacinto College, visit sanjac.edu/apply. Spring 2015 courses can be found at sanjac.edu/coursefinder

News Nuggets

December 1st, 2014

Capt. Wendell Wilson, third from left, stops for a photo at a “Naming Reception” hosted by UH-Clear Lake, which has named its new veterans service office on campus the “Capt. Wendell M. Wilson Office of Veteran Services.” The goal of the center is to help veterans transition smoothly into an academic career. With him are, from left, UHCL President Bill Staples, Wilson’s wife, Dr. Pat Wilson, and Veteran Services Coordinator Trisha Ruiz. Wilson flew more than 300 combat missions as an F-100 fighter pilot in Vietnam and later trained Vietnamese pilots before joining Delta Airlines, for which he flew for 33 years before retiring as an international captain.

Capt. Wendell Wilson, third from left, stops for a photo at a “Naming Reception” hosted by UH-Clear Lake, which has named its new veterans service office on campus the “Capt. Wendell M. Wilson Office of Veteran Services.” The goal of the center is to help veterans transition smoothly into an academic career. With him are, from left, UHCL President Bill Staples, Wilson’s wife, Dr. Pat Wilson, and Veteran Services Coordinator Trisha Ruiz. Wilson flew more than 300 combat missions as an F-100 fighter pilot in Vietnam and later trained Vietnamese pilots before joining Delta Airlines, for which he flew for 33 years before retiring as an international captain.

Nassau Bay gets new city secretary
Marisela Garcia has been named city secretary in Nassau Bay, to replace City Secretary Pat Jones, who plans to retire at the end of the year. Garcia currently serves as Kemah’s city secretary.

She was selected by the Nassau Bay City Council in a unanimous vote at its November meeting. Jones, who has been city secretary for 17 years, was honored at a reception prior to the council meeting, which will be her last.

Jury subpoenas Steve Stockman
A federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., has subpoenaed retiring Congressman Steve Stockman and three of his aides in a criminal investigation.

The Clear Lake Republican has not announced the subject of the investigation, but the House Ethics Committee reportedly has been looking into possible illegal campaign contributions.

Stockman ran against U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in the GOP Primary and lost, choosing not to run for his House seat.

CCISD selected a top workplace
The Clear Creek School District — for the third consecutive year — has been selected as one of The Houston Chronicle Top Workplaces and ranked No. 17 out of 150 top places to work in Houston.

“What an honor to receive this designation again,” Dr. Greg Smith, CCISD superintendent, said. “It is special because the judges are our employees, who indicate they believe the district continues to move forward and strives to be a visionary leader in education.”

The Top Workplaces are determined based solely on employee feedback in a survey conducted by Workplace Dynamics, that shows CCISD employees are happy with the district’s direction, have confidence in their leader and believe CCISD operates with strong values and ethics.

Skye Bartusiak death explained
An accidental overdose of drugs has been ruled as the cause of the death of Nassau Bay child star Skye Bartusiak, who died in her sleep in her Houston home in July.

The young actress, 21, who shot to fame as Mel Gibson’s daughter In The Patriot, and suffered from epileptic seizures, died from a combination of the pain killer hydrocodone, the muscle relaxant carisoprodol and the inhalant difluoroethane, Harris County officials said.

Burglars keep officers busy
Crooks have been keeping Friendswood Police busy as they hit both businesses and vehicles.

Officers found that burglars had smashed the drive-thru window at Morning Donuts at 301 W. Edgewood Drive, where they robbed the safe, and emptied the Wok D’Lite cash register at 202 S. Friendswood Drive after also smashing the drive-thru window.

Before they had a chance to complete work on those burglaries, they had reports of motor vehicle burglaries in the Forest Bend and Wedgewood Village — at 16600 Barcelona, Appleblossom, Tibet and Forest Bend Avenue, plus three car burglaries at the Laura Leigh Townhomes at 3800 Laura Leigh Lane.

Property tax bills mailed
Tax statements for some 1.3 million properties and Galveston and Harris counties have been mailed and should be in the hands of their owners by now.

Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan, who has mailed nearly 1.1 million tax bills to property owners, noted the incredible growth of the Harris County region and how property appraisal values have risen substantially. Most taxpayers will see an increase in their tax bill, he said.

“Compared to last year’s tax bill, the average homestead throughout Harris County, Houston, the surrounding school districts and cities could see an increase of approximately $400 in property taxes.”
Galveston County Tax Assessor Cheryl Johnson said she expected her county’s 192,000 property tax bills to be about the same as last year with some $400 million in taxes due.

2nd man held in shuttle graffiti
Justin Michael Purdy, 20, of Friendswood has been arrested by deputies from the Harris County Precinct 8 Constable’s Office and charged for his alleged role in splashing graffiti of the mock space shuttle at Space Center Houston in November 2013.

Earlier Jesse Ray Calloway, 19, also of Friendswood, was arrested, convicted and sentenced to two years of deferred adjudication, in addition to 30 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
 
Capt. Wendell Wilson, third from left, stops for a photo at a “Naming Reception” hosted by UH-Clear Lake, which has named its new veterans service office on campus the “Capt. Wendell M. Wilson Office of Veteran Services.” The goal of the center is to help veterans transition smoothly into an academic career. With him are, from left, UHCL President Bill Staples, Wilson’s wife, Dr. Pat Wilson, and Veteran Services Coordinator Trisha Ruiz. Wilson flew more than 300 combat missions as an F-100 fighter pilot in Vietnam and later trained Vietnamese pilots before joining Delta Airlines, for which he flew for 33 years before retiring as an international captain.
UHCL has record fall enrollment
University of Houston-Clear Lake President William A. Staples has announced the largest enrollment in the university’s 40-year history for the fall 2014 semester.

Crossing significantly over the 8,000-student mark, the final headcount for the semester is 8,668, an increase of approximately 6 percent more than the previous year and 13.4 percent over the past five years — including the addition of more than 400 freshman and sophomore students from approximately 70 different high schools.

Galveston editor plans to retire
Long-time Galveston Daily News Editor Heber Taylor plans to retire just before the new year, the newspaper announced Nov. 14.

Taylor, 59, joined the newspaper in 1991, became managing editor in 1996 and editor shortly thereafter, the paper said in making the announcement.