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The Bay Area Observer Serving Communities Along Galveston Bay VOLUME 2, NO. 01

By The Bay (CERT) Class January 13, 2011 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. There will be an eight week CERT training class beginning January 13, 2011, held at the Seabrook Volunteer Fire Station. The classes cover disaster preparedness, fire suppression, light search and rescue, disaster psychology, team organization, terrorism, and basic disaster medical operations. Cert is a training program that prepares you to help yourself, your family, and your neighbors in the event of a disaster. By getting trained in CERT, you will have the skills to help emergency responders save lives and protect property. Classes are taught by fire service, emergency medical and law enforcement professionals. The class is FREE and you will receive the training manual and starter backpack. For an application or additional information contact: Ronica Hall 281-326-5644 Don Holbrook

Seabrook: 8th Seabrook Annual Lucky Trails Marathon Meador Park March 19, 2011 Sign up now! Runners and walkers welcome. Join us for our eighth annual Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon, Half Marathon, and Relay! Saturday, March 19, 2011 •Half Marathon - 7:30 A.M. •2 person Half Marathon Relay - 7:30 A.M. Sunday - March 20, 2011 •Marathon - 7:15 A.M. •Half Marathon - 7:30 A.M. •4 person Marathon Relay 7:15 A.M. •Early start for Full Marathon Walkers - 5:30 A.M. Venue Name: Meador Park Location: 2100 Meyer Rd, Seabrook, TX 77586 Admission Cost: pre-registration Phone: 1-866-611-4688



Sylvan Beach Project In La Porte Wins Parks Award

The Sylvan Beach Shoreline Protection and Beach Nourishment Project includes 2,000 linear feet of shoreline access, with benches and walkways installed for the public’s bay-viewing pleasure. By Rebecca Collins

The Houston-Galveston Area Council announced the winners of the 2010 Parks and Natural Areas Award competition. These projects serve as models for planning and project implementation for parks and natural areas in the region. Houston-Galveston Area Council received a total of 25 applications in four categories: the Planning Process; Policy Tools; On-the-Ground Projects Under $500,000; and On-the-Ground Projects over $500,000. On Tuesday, January 18, 2011, the HGAC Board of Directors will honor the outstanding parks and natural areas projects during the regular Board meeting at 10:00 a.m. A reception will follow at 10:45 a.m. Ida Gaye Gardens, a project by Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition/The Greenspoint District is the winner in the Planning category. Plans for the Gardens include walking trails, specialized exercise equipment, an area for structured exercise classes and raised gardens. This 3.2-acre park development is designed to

encourage an active, healthy lifestyle for seni citizens.Planning Honorable Mention project is the City of Sugar Land’s Gannoway Park Master Plan. Hermann Park Conservancy’s Conservation Posse and Houston Parks Board’s

J.T. Trotter Park are the winners in the Policy Tools category. Conservation Posse is a two-week summer program offered free by Hermann Park Conservancy to teens with an interest in conservation and the environment.

The fishing pier at Sylvan Beach was destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2009, and reopened in July 2010 after the rebuild.

Plans Underway For Seabrook Association’s 2nd Annual Pelican Ball

Through a speaker series, educational activities, and volunteer projects in Hermann Park, the participants gained a wide range of knowledge and skills. J.T. Trotter Park marks the first park the Houston Parks Board (HPB) purchased using a site acquisition analysis including a provision that parks should facilitate active living and provide activities that improve health, such as walking and engaging with nature. The policy was implemented in 2009, when HPB purchased a 14-acre wooded site adjacent to an existing youth sports-oriented park. Plans for the site include adding walking trails, creating a nature area, and adding picnicking facilities to attract a broader age and fitness range of users. The winner in the On-the-Ground Projects Under $500,000 category is the Bayou Preservation Association’s Buffalo Bayou Paddling Trail. Work was completed to prepare the trail for designation as an official state paddle trail by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The longest such trail in the state, the Buffalo Bayou Paddling Trail is 26 miles long with nine segments, beginning at State Highway 6 in Terry Hershey Park and flowing downstream to Allen’s Landing in downtown Houston. On-the-Ground Projects Under $500,000 Honorable Mention project is the City of Missouri City’s Wetland Reforestation Project. The winner in the On-the-Ground Projects over $500,000 category is the Sylvan Beach Shoreline Protection and Beach Nourishment Project, a joint effort between Harris County Precinct 2, the City of La Porte and the Texas General Land Office. The project, which began last May, was intended to provide safe, quality shoreline access to over 100,000 annual visitors for Harris County and to serve as a way to educate the public on the importance of coastal natural resources. Visitors enjoy approximately 2,000 linear feet of shoreline access, with benches and walkways installed for the public’s bay-viewing pleasure. The daily attendance at Sylvan Beach, the only public beach in Harris County, has more than tripled since the project was completed, and inquiries regarding new business opportunities in the La Porte area have increased. On-the-Ground Projects over $500,000 Honorable Mention project is Robert C. Stuart Park, a joint project of the City of Houston and the Houston Parks Board.

Longtime Principal Retires

Administrative Professionals Meeting Cullen’s Grille January 17, 2011 On Monday, January 17, 2011, Cindy Price will present “Good People Skills Are All About YOU!” at the first 2011 meeting of the International Association of Administrative Professionals-Clear Lake/ NASA chapter. This program will be an entertaining and informative session for improving interpersonal and customer relations skills. All administrative professionals throughout Houston and the surrounding areas are welcome. The meeting/dinner begins at 5:45 p.m. at Cullen’s Grille. Please make your reservations to attend this meeting by January 13, 2011. For reservations and more information on this chapter, please visit www. or contact 281-9102297.

INDEX Community..........................2 Crossword...........................2 Education............................3 Local News..........................4 Obituraries..........................4 Arts & Entertainment........5 NASA News.........................6 Classifieds............................7 Cuisine.................................8 In The Garden.....................8

Jenny Arunyon, left, ball chairman, Jackie Powers, center and Seabrook Association President, Marcy Friday, right, make plans for the 2nd Annual Pelican Ball to be held February 11 at Lakewood Yacht Club. By Rebecca Collins

Mark your calendars for February 11th! It’s time again for the second annual Pelican Ball, and plans are underway to make this one as successful as last year’s. This year’s charman id Jackie Powers. Organized by the Seabrook Association, proceeds from the Pelican Ball go toward a Veterans Memorial Monument honoring those who proudly served our country. Jenny Arunyon, last years chairman and event coordinator said that she envisions a memorial placed promently in the area, and feels confident that such a memorial will be widely received by residents of the Bay Area. One of the highlights of the evening will be “Parkie the Pelican”, and a new dance choreographed by Tiffany Kiro last year especially for the Seabrook Association called “The Pelican Promenade. If the enthusiasm and the great turn out for first annual Pelican is an indication of future success, then this years Pelican Ball is expected to be larger, and even more well attended. The Seabrook Association hopes the Pelican Ball is a community event that will become a tradition. Attendees of last years Ball were the first to see Penelope, the newest member to the Seabrook Associations Pelican Path. She was presented by Marcy and Tom Diegelman. The Seabrook Association, is a group of “dedicated people” Seabrook residents, business owners, boaters, fishermen, and friends of Seabrook joined together to organize, develop and implement programs and projects contributing to the betterment of Seabrook as the place to live, do business, relax and enjoy life. This group of dedicated members have proudly donated countless volunteer hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars towards numerous community projects, groups and causes throughout the Bay Area.

Students and staff at Robinson Elementary School in Seabrook, Texas said goodbye to longtime Principal Jim Stephens. With the District for 40 years, Stephens has worked on various campuses including principal of Seabrook Intermediate, Weber Elementary which he opened as principal, Space Center Intermediate which he opened as principal, and Clear Lake High School Clear Creek High School where he was a teacher. Stephens opened what would be his last campus, Robinson Elementary School, in 2006. Students celebrated his many years of service with a farewell ceremony that included skits, songs and speeches.

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Second Chance Pets

Volunteers From First United Methodist Church Act As Santa’s Helpers At The Boys And Girls Harbor Christmas Party. Submitted by Jay Dunham

The fifth annual “Briskets For The Bowl” fund raiser sponsored by the United Methodist Men’s (UMM) ministry of First United Methodist Church La Porte will benefit the Boys and Girls Harbor facility in neighboring Morgan’s Point. Boys and Girls Harbor is a 501(c)(3) state licensed home which welcomes children in need, suffering from abuse, neglect or abandonment. The children live in a family style environment filled with love and care. First United Methodist Church La Porte has been providing voluntary services to the home for many years. The UMM cook 12-15 lb briskets all day Friday and will have them ready for pick-up at the church parking lot at 9301 W. Fairmont Parkway, La Porte on Saturday, February 5, 9:0012:00 noon, in time for Super Bowl XLV. The tax deductible donation is still only $45.00. Tickets for purchase are available from any UMM member, the church office (281-478-4673) or Vince Chamberlain (281-814-8393).

Sundays in Nature Series at Armand Bayou Nature Center Make a commitment to Reconnect with Nature at Armand Bayou Nature Center by joining us in our new “Sundays in Nature Series” beginning in January 2011. From 1pm – 3pm each third Sunday of the month, the Nature Center will host programs allowing you to better understand the natural world around us. The series is designed to make our community Healthier, Happier and Smarter in Nature. Each program will feature speakers, presenters and/or activities for children and adults alike. Visit our website at for details. Join us on January 16th for the first of our Sundays in Nature Series “Resolution to Go Green”. Learn about simple things that you can adopt to make a difference inside and outside of your home. Make a really fun eco-craft, and join us for a guided hike through the Nature Center to the Bayou. Don’t miss the fun and excitement as ABNC brings you our first “Sundays in Nature Series”. Admission to Sundays in Nature is $3 for non-member adults and $1 for children 4-12 and seniors 60 and older. For more information, phone 281-474-2551. Nature Sunday is replacing Second Saturday – So, mark your calendars for the third Sunday, 1-3pm.

Bayside Area Little League Spring 2011 Baseball Registration

This is Max. His eyes are a little sad because he loves people so much that he can’t bear to be separated from them. He bonds very quickly and falls hopelessly in love with his human. Whenever they have to leave him, he gets very upset. All he needs is a person who is at home most of the time and has another dog that he can play with. Then he will be the happiest guy in the world and won’t misbehave. He does have a preference in playmates though. He likes the ladies and he also would like them to be a little smaller than his macho 20 pounds. Max is a long hair Doxie mix. His estimated birthday is 12/01/06. He has beautiful shiny black hair with brown accents. His tail waves like a plume in the air with long strands of hair feathering down from it. Even though Max has short little Doxie legs, when he is excited to see someone, he can jump a foot or two straight up in the air. He loves to play with other dogs and gets along well with cats. He especially loves children. He likes going on walks and doesn’t pull on the leash. One of his favorite things is to go to the dog park. He knows quite a few commands and is very affectionate. He is house trained. Max just needs a little patience, some love and a whole lot of togetherness. Come meet Max and give him a chance to come and live with you. Everyone loves him - you will too. For more information on Max please email SCP at or call 281-286-3535. SCP adoptables are shown on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Petco store (Bay Area

Seabrook Volunteer Fire Department To Host Blood Drive

The Seabrook Volunteer Fire Department will be hosting a blood drive on Monday, January 31st, 2011 from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM in association with the UTMB Blood Bank. All community members are invited and encouraged to participate in the blood drive, which will be held at the Seabrook Volunteer Fire Department, Bayside Area Little League Spring 2011 Baseball Registration Station 1, located at 1850 E. Meyer Road. For more information, Boys & Girls ages 4 – 12 (as of April 30, 2011) You are with- please contact SVFD at 281-474-3434. in the Bayside boundaries if you live in Seabrook, Kemah, El Lago, Clear Lake Shores, Bayview, Taylor Lake Village, parts of League City including the following subdivisions: Bay Ridge, Glen Cove, Harbour Park, Lakeside, Marbella, Marina Bay Park, Marina Del Sol, Whispering Lakes Ranch, South Shore Park, Baycliff north of Gordy Road, and Shore Acres south of Fairfield. Registration Dates are as follows: Saturday January 8th 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Saturday January 15th 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Thursday January 20th 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Saturday January 22nd 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Dorothea Pongetti - President, Diana Miller - VP, Ann Massicotte - VP, Diane Burck - Treasurer, Dale Brannon - Secretary

The Bay Area Welcome Neighbors Club meets at 10:30 on the 3rd Thursday of each month at Bay Oaks Country Club. Please bring the following to registration: Our 30 year old club and it’s 250 members are very welcoming to guests and potential new members. BAWN is a place where • Certified Birth Certificate - To show proof of child’s age lifetime friendships are formed. For more information, please contact: Anna Ward -  wkward@ • Proof of Residency - To verify child’s residence is within league  boundaries (Voter’s registration, utility bill, lease, mortgage statement are all acceptable proofs of residency. Driver’s license will not be accepted.) 2011 Fees: Age 4 T-Bits $70.00 Ages 5-6 T-Ball $80.00 Ages 7-9 Dixie $90.00 Ages 10-12 Texas/Majors $110.00 Challenger Division $25.00 A late registration fee of $25.00 applies after 02/4/2011. Seabrook Sports Complex, Field House 2, 1805 N. Meyer Avenue, Seabrook. *Please note that all dates are subject to change. Please check the Bayside website for any updates,

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Sales Representative.....Beverly Lawrence La Porte Area Opinions in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the newspaper. Any erroneous statement which may appear will be corrected if brought to the attention of the publisher. Liability for errors is limited to the reprinting of the corrected version. Submissions are encouraged by mail, by fax, or by email to

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and Space Center Blvds.) and at the Petsmart store across from Baybrook Mall the first and third Sundays of every month. Cats may be seen during the week at the Petco location and photographs of most adoptables are posted on our website Almost all SCP animals are fostered in local homes because it does not have a shelter. As always PLEASE SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS. Second Chance Pets is a nonprofit 501 (C) (3) animal welfare organization. All donations are tax deductible.




EDUCATION Clear Creek Education Foundation Names Doug Frazior as Executive Director The Clear Creek Education Foundation has named Doug Frazior as the organization’s first Executive Director. Mr. Frazior brings a wealth of nonprofit management experience to his new post, most recently serving as League City’s Economic Development Coordinator. With school funding issues looming, the foundation foresees a greater need and role in assisting the district maintain the highest levels of achievement in CCISD. The foundation is grateful to have someone with Frazior’s background helping the organization face the coming challenges and Mr. Frazior is relishing the opportunity. “I have a passion for this community, and its premier school district, that I will use to provide the giant leap forward for the Clear Creek Education Foundation,” said Frazior. For more information on the foundation, please visit

New Boats Give Institute Water Research Capabilities

NASA Johnson Space Center Director Mike L. Coats (center) served as the Commencement Speaker during University of Houston-Clear Lake’s 10 a.m. Commencement Ceremony, which recognized the graduates of the Schools of Human Sciences and Humanities and Science and Computer Engineering. Pictured are (l to r), UH System Student Regent Andrew Cobos, UH System Board of Regents Chair Carroll Robertson Ray, Coats, University of Houston President and UH System Chancellor Renu Khator, and UH-Clear Lake President William A. Staples

The Environmental Institute of Houston at University of Houston-Clear Lake has added two research vessels to help researchers with their work through a grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Pictured with one of the vessels, a Center Console 25-footBoston Whaler Guardian, is Environmental Institute of Houston Executive Director and UH-Clear Lake Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science George Guillen.

Researchers at the Environmental Institute of Houston at University of Houston-Clear Lake have found a better way to take to the water to accomplish their work by acquiring research vessels purchased with funding provided by a research grant. One vessel, a 22’ J.H. Performance outfitted with a 150 HP Yamaha 4 stroke outboard equipped with a hydraulic jack plate, trim tabs and a power pole (shallow water anchor), is designed for shallow-water applications common in many Texas bays. To aid researchers it offers a large deck for transporting samples and deploying scientific instrumentation in shallow water. In addition, it offers state of the art electronics including GPS mapping and side scan sonar. The second boat, a Center Console 25’ Boston Whaler Guardian outfitted with twin outboard engines, is designed for deep water, offshore research. To aid researchers it offers a towing package and hand-operated winch and boom and divers doors, for deploying and maneuvering scientific instrumentation in and out of the water and numerous deck lights for night operations. In addition, it offers state of the art electronics including GPS mapping and side scan sonar. Both vessels will allow student and faculty researchers to pursue types of research and environmental monitoring in remote deep and shallow water areas only reachable by boat. “The significance of acquiring these vessels is that they provide us a platform to conduct near shore research in Texas bays, estuaries and the

City of Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker (second from left) served as the Commencement Speaker during University of Houston-Clear Lake’s 3 p.m. Commencement Ceremony, which recognized the graduates of the Schools of Business and Education. Pictured are (l to r), UH System Student Gulf of Mexico previously impossible to conRegent Andrew Cobos, Parker, UH-Clear Lake President William A. Staples and UH System Seduct and significantly extends our capabilities,” nior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs John J. Antel. said UH-Clear Lake Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science George Guillen, who also serves as director of the institute. The boats were purchased with funding provided by a research grant awarded to the Environmental Institute of Houston from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to support the organization’s recently completed National Coastal Condition Assessment project Texas School Business magazine has an- cal insurance because of the help they receive which evaluated levels of contaminants in fish, nounced that La Porte ISD’s student health care in accessing and completing the often complex bottom organisms, sediment and water along the Texas coast. Funded by the Environmental voucher program is one of 12 initiatives to be applications, she said. “School nurses no longer have to send ill or Protection Agency, that project was coordinated honored in the magazine’s fourth annual Bragging Rights special issue. Bragging Rights recinjured students home with no hope of getting with a national assessment of all U.S. estuaries. ognizes school districts that have implemented medical care,” Lynch said. “Students in need Guillen says the boat will be used for future research projects sponsored by external organi- programs that are bettering the lives of students, receive timely, free medical attention, allowing schools and communities. The special issue, them to return to school sooner than they would zations. Founded at UH-Clear Lake in 1991, the En- which accepts nominations and selects 12 sto- have been able to otherwise.” Lloyd W. Graham, LPISD superintendent vironmental Institute of Houston supports and ries to highlight, was distributed to more than conducts research on a variety of environmental 8,000 readers with a vested interest in Texas of schools, noted that community support has topics including wetland restoration, air quality, public education. With pass-along readership, been instrumental to the program’s success. The fisheries conservation, water quality, invasive this annual issue will reach at least 25,000 read- program, which issued its first vouchers shortly before Graham joined the district in 2008, demspecies, environmental sociology and history. ers. “La Porte ISD’s student health care voucher onstrates how a caring public responds to the The organization works in partnership with the university to conduct educational seminars and program provides free medical care to uninsured needs of its young people. “We are fortunate to be a part of a community workshops and works with local scientists and students who are ill or injured,” explained April Fox, LPISD director of student support servicthat cares so much about the health and well-bethe public to evaluate changes in landscape use, demographics and impacts on the local environ- es. “Through this program, students are seen by ing of its children,” Graham said. “We are very participating physicians in our community.” grateful to the physicians and optometrists who ment. The program, a project of the LPISD School participate in the program as well as those who For more information about the EnvironmenHealth Advisory Council, was started with a have provided the financial backing to make it tal Institute of Houston at UH-Clear Lake, call 281-283-3950 or visit $1,000 grant from The Children’s Defense Fund possible. When children don’t feel well or have and a $2,000 grant from LyondellBasell in late problems with their vision, their ability to learn 2007. In 2010, the La Porte Lions Club joined is compromised. The school health care vouchin the effort to provide ongoing support for the er is a prime example of how our community program. and the school district work together to ensure Fox explained that the district works with that our students have the best opportunities for several area physicians and optometrists who a quality education.” have agreed to see students at a discounted rate. This is the fourth year of the Bragging Rights When a school nurse refers a child with a medi- publication, and LPISD’s second time to be ning from Jan. 15 – 25. Classes for the spring cal need but no insurance, she gives the parent featured in the issue. The LPISD global studies semester begin Jan. 18 and run through May 2. a voucher and a list of participating physicians. program, sponsored by the La Porte Education Applicants may enroll in person, online or The parent then schedules an appointment to Foundation, was showcased in the 2008 magamail a completed admission application to the meet with a Community Youth Services repre- zine. “We were impressed by La Porte ISD’s comuniversity. All new applicants must pay a non- sentative to complete an application for CHIP or Medicaid. mitment to its uninsured student population,” refundable application fee and submit official When the student is seen by a doctor, the par- said Texas School Business Editor Katie Ford. transcripts and supporting documents such as ent gives him or her the voucher in lieu of pay- “This is a model program, and we’re proud to letters of intent and references. For more in- ment, and the doctor’s office files it with the highlight it as an example of excellence in Texformation, contact the university’s Office of district for reimbursement. Gift cards for pur- as public education.” For 56 years, Texas School Business has served Admissions at or call chasing medication are also made available to the families. as the independent voice for public education 281-283-2500. To register or learn more, visit Laura Lynch, LPISD lead nurse, explained in Texas. The magazine, which is produced in the university’s website at that 45 students received free medical care and Austin and distributed 10 times a year, is read admissions. financial assistance with medication during the by educators and school administrators across 2009-2010 school year. In addition, families Texas. To read La Porte ISD’s story online, visit that qualify are obtaining state-assisted medi-

La Porte ISD’s Health Care Voucher Program Receives Statewide Recognition From Texas School Business Magazine

Registration Still Open For Spring 2011 Semester Make 2011 the year you take charge of your life and expand your career opportunities by enrolling at University of Houston-Clear Lake. Potential, new and current students are invited to take advantage of open and late enrollment periods available from now until Jan. 25 to register for spring semester classes UH-Clear Lake, 2700 Bay Area Blvd., Houston, TX, 77058. New undergraduate and non-degree seeking graduate students may take advantage of the spring 2011 priority application deadline of Jan. 10. Spring open registration is now available until noon, Jan. 14, with late registration run-




La Porte Football Banquet Scheduled For Saturday, January 8th 2011 The La Porte Football Banquet is a night to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of the LPHS football players for the 2010 season. Tickets can be purchased for $15 dollars at the LPHS Physical Education Center or at the banquet. Bring your cash or check book for the silent auction. Contact Melissa Terrebonne if you would like to sponsor a table or donate a silent auction item at The banquet will be held Saturday, January 8, 2011 @ 6:00 pm - pictures begin at 5:30 pm in the LPHS Student Center.




LOCAL NEWS Bay Area Houston Community Supports Hutchison As Quasar Award Honoree


Evelyn Hoot Kennedy, 96, of La Porte, passed away on December 27, 2010 at the home of her daughter Martha Alexander, in Kyle, Texas. Evelyn was born June 4, 1914 in Seadrift, Texas to Elizabeth “Bessie” and Frank Hoot. Evelyn graduated from Crosby High School in 1932 and moved with her family to La Porte, where she met her husband of 63 years, Dan Kennedy. Dan and Evelyn moved up and down the Texas coast before permanently settling in La Porte in 1944 where they raised their two daughters Martha Alexander of Kyle, Texas and Danlyn Van Stone of Pensacola, Florida. Evelyn was a member of the First United Methodist Church of La Porte where she was an active volunteer with the Methodist Youth Fellowship, a Church Choir member and Sunday School teacher for many years. She also was a member of the Girl Scouts of America for 50 years and one of the few people to receive the organizations highest award: the Thanks Award. Evelyn was a social worker for Neighborhood Centers and was honored to have the Evelyn Kennedy Civic Center named for her. She was a Past Matron of La Porte Chapter 683, Grand Chapter of Texas Order of the Eastern Star and received the Mason’s Community Builders Award. She taught an exercise class from 1956 until May of 2010. She was also active in the La Porte Historical Society, Literary Club, Civic Club and the Senior Center. Over her life she received many awards for the dedication and service to La Porte and its citizens including the Gus Gross Humanitarian Award and the International AwardVolunteer of the Year with Neighborhood Centers. She loved working with children in whatever capacity. In her retirement years she and her husband traveled the world to many European countries, the Holy Lands in Israel, cruised the Panama Canal, the Caribbean and Alaska, and visited Australia, Hawaii and Tahiti. They were also members of the Rovin’ Texans RV Club. They flew to or drove in their RV to every state in the United States. Evelyn is preceded in death by her parents, husband, sisters Emogene Brummerhop and Margaret Durbin. She is survived by her sister Beulah Strange and brother Frank Hoot; daughters Martha Alexander and husband Albert and Danlyn Van Stone and husband Loren; grandchildren Molly Erpenbach, husband Gary; Sally Bittick, husband Bill; Troy Van Stone, wife Pamela; Louis “Skip” Klement, wife Donita; and Greg Van Stone, wife Renee; 13 great-grandchildren and 5 great-great-grandchildren. The memorial service will be held on Saturday January 15, 2011 at 2:00 PM at the First United Methodist Church of La Porte, 1601 W. Fairmont Parkway. A reception will follow the service. Evelyn has donated her body to science and will be cremated. Her and Dan’s ashes will be scattered by the family.

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Robert Eugene Shepherd, Jr. (Bob) of Seabrook, Texas died Monday, December, 27, 2010 in Clear Lake Regional Hospital following a heroic fight against cancer. Bob was born in Venice, California on June 6, 1928 to Robert E., Sr. and Bessie Shepherd. Six months later, Bob’s family moved to Houston, Texas where he spent his youth and graduated from Lamar High School. He went on to attend Texas A&M University, Class of ’49, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, Bob returned to Houston where he began his engineering career with Houston Lighting and Power. He and his new wife, Elizabeth (Libby), moved to California to begin his aerospace career only to return to Houston eight years later with the opening of NASA. Proudly, he participated in the development of the Lunar Space Module. Later, he worked in the petrochemical industry which included travels to Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. Bob finished his career back in the aerospace industry working with the Space Shuttle Program. All the while, he was based in Houston, and was able to see his beloved Aggies play home football games for 40 plus seasons. He was a dedicated member of The Seabrook United Methodist Church, The Bay Area Aggie Club, the 12th Man Foundation, and the Lamar Avalon Lunch Bunch. Bob is survived by his wife of 55 years, Libby, daughter Cheryl Shepherd Siebs and husband Larry, son Robert E., III, grandson Kevin Siebs, nephews Will and Rick and nieces Janet Rhodes, Peggy Yonge, Becky Hopkins and Tricia Barksdale. A viewing was held at Crowder Funeral Home, 111 E. Medical Center Blvd., Webster, TX on January 2, 2011 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The memorial service was held at 2:00 pm, January 3, 2011 at Seabrook United Methodist Church, 3300 Lakeside Blvd., Seabrook, TX. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to The Building Fund at Seabrook United Methodist Church, 3300 Lakeside Blvd., Seabrook, TX 77586; The 12th Man Foundation, P.O. Box 2800, College Station, TX 77841-2800; or the charity of your choice.

Clarence “Chad” Alden Chaddock, 87, of La Porte passed away Tuesday January 4, 2011. He was born September 22, 1923 to Mary and Temple Chaddock. Chad was a veteran of the Marines. He is preceded in death by his wife Willene Chaddock. He is survived by his children Sharon Hill and husband Don, Don R. Chaddock and wife Debbie, Holly Boyd and husband Robert, close friend Kristine Branch, sister Hazel Buck, brother Kyle Chaddock, grandchildren Rodney Davis, Chad Davis and wife Cindy, Sarah Smith and husband Matt, Todd Chaddock and wife Pam, Rob Boyd, and great grandchildren Dillon Davis, Ashley Davis, Chase Davis, Isabella Smith, Rowdy Chaddock, and Riley Chaddock. Visitation will be held Friday January 7, 2011 from 5-9PM at Paul U. Lee La Porte Funeral Home Chapel. Services will be held Saturday January 8, 2010 at 10AM at St. John’s Episcopal Church in La Porte.

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From left to right: Mike Coats, director of the NASA/Johnson Space Center and U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. BAY AREA HOUSTON, Texas (January 3, 2011) The Bay Area Houston community supports U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison for being honored with the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership’s prestigious 2011 Quasar Award for exceptional leadership in Economic Development to be presented during the organization’s Annual Quasar Award Banquet on Friday, Jan. 21, 2011, at the South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center in League City at 6:30 p.m. The Quasar Award is presented each year to an outstanding individual who has contributed greatly to the economic wealth and diversity of the Bay Area Houston region. The Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership leadership selected Senator Hutchison in acknowledgment of her successful campaign to get the Senate to pass the NASA authorization bill which saved thousands of NASA jobs, and her strong leadership on behalf of Ellington Field. Mike Coats, director of the NASA/Johnson Space Center, said, “Senator Hutchison’s leadership has fostered an atmosphere of good government and open communication. She has helped usher in an unmatched era of cooperation that has benefited both NASA and the entire region. I join the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership in applauding her excellent work on behalf of the State of Texas and the nation’s space program. The Quasar Award is a much deserved tribute to her dedication.” Senator Hutchison said, “I am honored to have been chosen as the 2011 recipient of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership’s Quasar Award. Working to protect the interests of small businesses in Texas has always been one of my top priorities, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership and local business leaders to promote economic development in the community.” Rep. Pete Olson said, “Senator Hutchison once again served the Houston region with distinction and her commitment to NASA is unquestioned. Her tenacity was instrumental in our battle to pass an authorization bill that provided the framework necessary for NASA to move forward to meet the goals set out by Congress.

The Johnson Space Center’s impact to Houston is immense and I look forward to working with her to ensure that it remains the home of America’s human space flight program.” Senator Hutchison is the Senior Republican on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Additionally, she serves on the Appropriations Committee, the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and the Committee on Rules and Administration. Some of the awards and honors that Senator Hutchison has received include the Air Force Association Distinguished American Award, 2008, Association of the United States Army Outstanding Legislator Award, 2006, American Legion National Commander’s Distinguished Public Service Award, 2006, and Forbes Magazine’s 2005 World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. Senator Hutchison is the author of two books bestseller, Leading Ladies: American Trailblazers in October 2007, American Heroines: The Spirited Women Who Shaped Our Country in 2004, and co-author with several colleagues on Nine and Counting: the Women of the Senate in June 2000. The senator lives in Dallas with her husband, Ray, and their two children, Bailey and Houston. Houston Council Member Mike Sullivan said, “As the City of Houston council member responsible for JSC issues, it has been an honor to work with Senator Hutchison. She has been an effective champion for JSC issues, and I am proud to support her in those efforts. I measure an elected official’s effectiveness by their success, and the Senator receives a ‘perfect 100’ on my scorecard”. The Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership is a member-driven organization that provides the leadership to stimulate regional economic development and employment in southeast Texas. Its members include approximately 260 investor companies, business professionals, local governments, and educational institutions encompassing 13 cities, Galveston and Harris counties, and the Port of Houston Authority. For more information on the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, please call 832-5363255 or visit





The Arts Alliance Center At Clear Lake will NOT be doing Movie Night or Jazz Night in January due to a conflict with the Rodeo Art Exhibit. Both events will resume in February. For more information, please call TACCL at 281-335-7777.

The Arts Alliance Center At Clear Lake Small Works by Great Minds

Agatha Christie Mystery Opens at Clear Creek Community Theatre Friday Agatha Christie’s The Unexpected Guest will be opening January 7th at CCCT. In dense fog near the South Welsh coastline, a stranger runs his car into a ditch and arrives at a nearby house. Inside, he finds the murdered body of a former big-game hunter. The dead man’s wife is near the body with a gun in her hand. Is she guilty or is she protecting someone? Appearances are sure to deceive in this twisty mystery.  Tickets are $14.00 for adults, $12.00 for students and seniors and $10.00 for groups of 10 or more.  Curtains are at 8PM Friday and Saturday nights with Sunday matinees at 2:30.  Clear Creek Community Theatre is located at 18091 Upper Bay Road in Nassau Bay. Visit the theatre’s website at For reservations call 281-335-5228.

Auditions For Neil Simon’s, Barefoot In The Park, At Clear Creek Community Theatre

What’s beautiful, yet enigmatic…larger than life, yet very small…and intense, yet entertaining? Mona Lisa knows, and it’s putting a smile on her face! Over 100 Bay Area Houston artists will be featuring their own unique take on marvelously Clear Creek Community Theatre will hold auditions for Barefoot in the Park, January 9th and miniature works of art at this very popular annual TAACCL fundraising event. The art, which 10th at the theatre located at 18091 Upper Bay Rd in Nassau Bay at 7PM. Performances will be can be in any medium in any subject, must be no larger than 11x14. Patrons can preview and bid February 18th through March 6th with shows on Friday and Saturday nights as well as Sunday on the silent auction art works during the Center’s regular business hours, 10 a.m to 6 pm starting afternoons. This production will be directed by Aprille Meek & Andrea Taylor and characters include: 4 men and 2 women. Set in 1963 in a dilapidated, sixth-floor walk-up, Neil Simon’s, BareTuesday, February 1. Join us for an exciting, fast-paced evening of fun! foot in the Park, is a romantic-comedy inspired by the playwrights first marriage about newlyweds “Get there early, because you might miss the chance to bid on some great pieces of art,” said Corie and Paul Bratter. Paul is a strait-laced attorney and Corie a spontaneous free spirit, who must artist and auction chairman Richard Williams. “This progressive silent auction releases the first contend with a lack of heat, a skylight that leaks snow, several long flights of stairs, oddball neigh25 artworks off the wall at 7:30. The second wave of art will be taken off to the highest bidder at bor Victor Velasco, and Corie’s well-meaning mother Mrs. Banks. After an adventurous dinner out with Victor and Mrs. Banks the couple has their first fight during which Corie decides Paul is a 8:00. The Live Auction begins at 8:30 and then the last of all art will be closed at 9:00. It makes “stuffed shirt,” not right for her, and she wants a divorce.. for a very fast-paced evening!” For more information or a complete cast of characters contact  Andrea Taylor at ataylor@clearWhat: The fourth annual Small Works by Great Minds Auction Visit the theatre’s website at, or find us on facebook. When: Thursday, February 3 from 6 pm to 9:30 pm Where: The Arts Alliance Center at Clear Lake, 2000 NASA Pkwy, Nassau Bay (directly across from JSC) Tickets: $10 per person and are available at the door or in advance through our website. Visit Entertainment: The evening’s emcee is Pam Culpepper, and the auctioneer is Steve Phelps. Music provided by Fuzzy Side Up. Catering: by Family Cuisine. Cash bar. Mona Lisa, who favors the Small Works by Great Minds auction with her “presence” every year, was quoted as saying, “Y’all need to be there!”

Bob Dempsey To Discuss Photographic Techniques At January 10th National Society Of Artist Meeting Bob Dempsey, Vice President and Program Director for the Bay Area Photo Club will present a tutorial and discussion on photography techniques, artistic impression,camera settings, composition and basics for photographing artwork for display on the Internet at the January 10th, 2011 monthly meeting of The National Society of Artists at 7pm at The Community Building at Clear Lake Park, 5001 Nasa Pkwy in Seabrook announced Jenny Smith, Program Director for NSA. All media artists, photographers and guests are invited to this very informative meeting per Jim Bragg, NSA President. NSA meetings are the 2nd Monday of the month at PM, free parking and refreshments served. Memberships available. For directions or information contact Jim Bragg at 281-334-3252 or

National Society Of Artists January 10th, 2011 Meeting First monthly meeting of 2011 well be held at The Community Building at Clear Lake Park, 5001 Nasa Pkwy in Seabrook on January 10th at 7pm announced Jim Bragg, NSA President. The multi-media art group meets monthly with guest speakers and art demonstrations. NSA artists exhibit in local, regional and many Gulf Coast galleries and compete in numerous juried art shows. Information will be available about the 2011 NSA National Show and up coming 2011 calendar of events. Come to the January 10th meeting ...all media artists invited.... Refreshments served. For details & directions contact Jim Bragg at 281-334-3252 or

Peter Janecke Selected As Galveston Art League’s January Featured Artist

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NASA NEWS Astronaut Marsha Ivins Leaves NASA NASA astronaut Marsha Ivins, a veteran of five spaceflights, has retired from the agency

“Marsha’s incredible depth of mission experience and technical expertise has been a tremendous asset to this office,” said Peggy Whitson, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “We have relied on her expertise for years in many diverse areas, including but not limited to crew provisions, optimal hardware packing, human ratings development, vehicle habitability and orbiter preflight vehicle checks. Her expertise and dedication to NASA’s mission will be sorely missed.” Ivins joined NASA in 1974 as an engineer. She worked on space shuttle displays, controls, man-machine engineering and the development of the orbiter’s head-up display. She served in Johnson’s aircraft operations as a flight engineer for the Shuttle Training Aircraft and copilot of the Gulfstream I. Ivins was selected as an astronaut in 1984. She spent more than 1,300 hours in space during five shuttle flights: STS-32 in 1990, STS-46 in 1992, STS-62 in 1994, STS-81 in 1997 and STS-98 in 2001. Ivins most recently worked within the Astronaut Office supporting the Space Shuttle, International Space Station and Constellation Programs.

NASA Spinoff 2010 Reveals Benefits Of Space Technology In Our Daily Lives Curious how a device designed to produce fuel and oxygen on Mars transformed into a source of clean energy right here on Earth? The 2010 edition of NASA’s annual Spinoff publication is now available online, highlighting new innovations and notable examples of NASA technology improving everyday life on our home planet. Spinoff provides an in-depth look at how the agency’s initiatives in aeronautics and space exploration have resulted in beneficial commercial technologies in the fields of health and medicine, transportation, public safety, consumer goods, environmental protection, computer technology, and industrial productivity. These advancements enhance our quality of life while contributing to the nation’s economy through the creation of jobs and the support of businesses, large and small. They also help to inspire younger generations to explore education and careers in science, technology, math, and engineering. “Through NASA’s work with its commercial partners, technologies that are helping us explore our universe are now also saving lives, preserving our environment and enhancing our nation’s transportation and security,” said Bobby Braun, chief technologist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Since 1976, NASA’s Spinoff publication has documented more than 1,700 compelling examples of NASA research and innovation that benefit the public every day.” Spinoff 2010 contains dozens of examples highlighting how space technology yields innovations with Earthly benefits, including: Algorithms developed by a NASA researcher that are enabling technology for medical diagnosis and prediction of brain blood flow-related conditions such as stroke, dementia,

and traumatic brain injury. NASA-proven, drag-reducing wing modifications that have already saved commercial airlines more than 2 billion gallons in jet fuel. Inflatable antennas -- developed with NASA funding -- that support essential communication needs in remote areas during military operations, as well as in disaster zones. Image sensors, invented by a NASA team, that are now featured in one out of every three cell phone cameras A groundwater remediation compound, created by NASA to treat contaminated launch facilities, now being used to clean up polluted areas around the world Spinoff also profiles NASA’s research and development activities, education efforts and partnership successes for the year. This edition celebrates the 10th anniversary of continuous habitation onboard the International Space Station, revealing the many ways that technologies developed for the space station

have resulted in public benefits on Earth. The NASA Spinoff 2010 edition is available in PDF format for downloading from the NASA Spinoff website at: Spinoff2010. An archive of Spinoff features and a searchable database of NASA-derived technologies featured in past issues of the publication also are available at the NASA Spinoff site. An interactive Spinoff 2010 DVD, featuring videos and Web links, will be available through the NASA Spinoff Web site later this month. To access an interactive feature about how NASA impacts your daily life, visit the NASA City and Home Web site at: Social media audiences can learn more about spinoff technologies and other NASA partnerships on Twitter and Facebook at: NASA_Spinoff and http://www.

NASA Seeks Space Technology Graduate Fellowship Applicants NASA is seeking applications from graduate students for the agency’s new Space Technology Research Fellowships. Applications are being accepted from accredited U.S. universities on behalf of graduate students interested in performing space technology research beginning in the fall of 2011. The fellowships will sponsor U.S. graduate student researchers who show significant potential to contribute to NASA’s strategic space technology objectives through their studies. Sponsored by NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist, the fellowships’ goal is to provide the nation with a pipeline of highly skilled engineers and technologists to improve America’s technological competitiveness. NASA Space Technology Fellows will perform innovative space technology research today while building the skills necessary to become future technological leaders. “Our Space Technology Graduate Fellowships will help create the pool of highly skilled workers needed for NASA’s and our nation’s technological future, motivating many of the country’s best young minds into educational programs and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said NASA Chief Technologist Bobby Braun at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington. “This fellowship program is coupled to a larger, national research and development effort in science and technology that will lead to new products and services, new business and industries, and highquality, sustainable jobs. Fellowships will be awarded to outstanding young researchers and technologists positioned to take on NASA’s grand challenges and turn these goals and missions into reality.” The deadline for submitting fellowship proposals is Feb. 23. Information on the fellowships, including how to submit applications, is available at:

NASA-NSF Scientific Balloon Launches From Antarctica NASA and the National Science Foundation launched a scientific balloon on Monday, Dec. 20, to study the effects of cosmic rays on Earth. It was the first of five scientific balloons scheduled to launch from Antarctica in December. The Cosmic Ray Energetics And Mass (CREAM VI) experiment was designed and built at the University of Maryland. CREAM VI is investigating high-energy cosmic-ray particles that originated from distant supernovae explosions in the Milky Way and reached Earth. Currently, CREAM VI is floating at 126,000 feet above Antarctica with nominal science operations. Two smaller, hand-launched space science payloads have already been launched, flown, and successfully flight terminated. They carried the Balloon Array for Radiation-belt Relativistic Electron Losses (BARREL) experiment designed and constructed at Dartmouth College. BARREL will provide answers on how and where Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts, which produce the polar aurora, periodically interact with Earth’s upper atmosphere. These test flights will help scientists prepare for similar flight experiments scheduled for launch in 2013 and 2014. Next in line will be an experiment from the University of Pennsylvania called the Balloon Borne Aperture Submillimeter Telescope (BLAST). This experiment will investigate how magnetic fields impede star formation in our galaxy. BLAST’s instrumentation and telescope will collect data to make the first high-resolution images of magnetically polarized dust in a number of nearby star forming regions. A super-pressure balloon test flight also will be conducted. The 14-million-cubic-foot NASA balloon is the largest single-cell, fully-sealed, superpressure structure ever flown. It is twice the size of a similar balloon flown over Antarctica for 54 days from December 2008 to February 2009. NASA’s goal is to eventually develop a 26-million cubic-foot

super-pressure balloon, nearly the size of a football stadium. NASA scientific balloons are composed of a lightweight polyethylene film, similar to sandwich wrap. Flying to altitudes of nearly 25 miles, the balloons carry payloads weighing up to 6,000 pounds. During part of each Antarctic summer, from December to February, NASA and the National Science Foundation conduct a scientific balloon campaign. Two unique geophysical conditions above Antarctica make long-duration balloon flights circumnavigating the continent possible during the three-month period. A nearly circular pattern of gentle east-to-west winds that lasts for a few weeks allows the recovery of a balloon from roughly the same geographic location from which it was launched and permits a flight path that is almost entirely above land. Balloons are illuminated continuously because the sun never sets during the Antarctic summer. And balloons maintain a constant temperature and altitude, which increases and stabilizes observation times. By contrast, in other areas of the world, daily heating and cooling cycles change the volume of gas in the balloon and cause it to rise and fall, severely limiting fly times. NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia manages the scientific balloon program for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Under NASA safety supervision, the launch operations are conducted by the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas, which is managed by the Physical Science Laboratory of New Mexico State University. The National Science Foundation manages the U.S. Antarctic Program and provides logistic support for all U.S. scientific operations in Antarctica. To monitor the real time flight tracks of the balloons, visit: ice1011.htm. For more information on NASA’s scientific balloon program, visit:



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IN THE GARDEN Texas Wine-Grape Growers Invited to Cluster Feb. 11 for Annual Field Day

Asparagus – For The Complete Vegetable Gardener By Carolyn Collins

Several years ago I had some friends in Shoreacres who had a year round organic vegetable garden. Most of their large back yard had been devoted to their garden and it was incredibly productive as well as beautiful. The focal point was the well-kept asparagus bed. Many gardeners think growing asparagus is strictly for northern climates. But you can have a very successful asparagus bed if you are patient and are willing to invest in some effort.

By Paul Schattenberg AgNews News Team

CAT SPRING – The Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Austin County Grape Growers Committee will co-sponsor the 19th annual Gulf Coast Grape Growers Field Day on Feb. 11 in Cat Spring, about 75 miles west of Houston. The field day will be held at the Cat Spring Agriculture Society Hall, 13035 Hall Rd. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with presentations and activities scheduled from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. “We hold this field day annually to inform and benefit both the novice and experienced grower, and to introduce them to the latest in vineyard research, practices and products,” said Fritz Westover, AgriLife Extension viticulture specialist for the Gulf Coast and South Texas regions. He also provides statewide coordination and supervision for AgriLife Extension’s viticulture team. Westover said last year’s program drew more than 175 participants from throughout the state. “This is the biggest viticulture education event of the year for the Gulf Coast region and one of the biggest in the state,” he said. Westover said there will be an array of viticulture topics addressed at the field day. Topics will include grape pest and disease management, grape maturity for wine quality, management practices for new vineyards, grower discussion panels and the latest in Texas AgriLife vineyard demonstrations. Speakers will include experts from AgriLife Extension, industry, and the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association. “We are expecting a record number of exhibitors in 2011 to showcase special offers on vineyard equipment and services,” Westover said. A minimum of three continuing education units will be available to licensed pesticide applicators. Registration cost, which includes lunch, beverages and a wine

social, is $20. All registration for this year’s field day will be at the door and must be paid in cash or by check. For more information, contact Westover at 281-855-5608 or

Farmers and Pecan Growers in Central and South Texas Say Coal-fired Power Plant Kills Trees By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI Associated Press

BASTROP — Along a stretch of Highway 21, in a pastoral, hilly region of Texas, is a vegetative wasteland. Trees are barren, or covered in gray, dying foliage and peeling bark. Fallen, dead limbs litter the ground where pecan growers and ranchers have watched trees die slow, agonizing deaths. Visible above the horizon is what many plant specialists, environmentalists and scientists believe to be the culprit: the Fayette Power Project — a coal-fired power plant that for nearly 30 years has operated mostly without equipment designed to decrease emissions of sulfur dioxide, a component of acid rain. The plant’s operator and the state’s environmental regulator deny sulfur dioxide pollution is to blame for the swaths of plant devastation across Central Texas. But evidence collected from the Appalachian Mountains to New Mexico indicates sulfur dioxide pollution kills vegetation, especially pecan trees. Pecan growers in Albany, Ga., have received millions of dollars in an out-of-court settlement with a power plant whose sulfur dioxide emissions harmed their orchards. Now, extensive tree deaths are being reported elsewhere in Texas, home to 19 coal-fired power plants — more than any other state. Four more are in planning stages. In each area where the phenomenon is reported, a coal-fired power plant operates nearby. The Fayette Power Project sits on a 10-square-mile site about 60 miles southeast of Austin, near where horticulturalist Jim Berry, who owns a nursery in Grand Saline, describes a 30-mile stretch of Highway 21 as a place where “the plant community was just devastated.” “There was an environmental catastrophe,” Berry said recently. “It wasn’t just the pecan groves,” he said after driving through the area. “It was the entire ecosystem that was under duress.” Pecan grower Harvey Hayek said he has watched his once prosperous, 3,000-tree orchard in Ellinger, just south of the Fayette plant, dwindle to barely 1,000 trees. Skeletal trunks and swaths of yellowed prairie grass make up what had been a family orchard so thick the sun’s rays barely broke through the thick canopy of leaves. “Everywhere you look, it’s just dead, dead, dead,” Hayek said. The grove that had produced 200,000 pounds of pecans annually yielded a mere 8,000 pounds this year. Hayek said as the family’s business decreased, he watched his father-in-law, Leonard Baca, fade. Baca, 73, died after shooting himself in the head. Retired University of Georgia plant pathologist Floyd Hendrix,

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who has done extensive research on sulfur dioxide damage to vegetation, said he has reviewed photographs and test results from Hayek’s grove. “From what I’ve seen so far, there’s not any doubt in my mind that it’s SO2 injury,” Hendrix said. Sierra Club chemist and botanist, Neil Carman also has visited the ranch. Aside from the decreased nut production, the orchard’s leaves bore telltale brown spotting associated with damage, Carman said. Leo Lombardini, a horticulture professor at Texas A&M University who has visited Hayek’s ranch, said he could not rule out water or soil issues causing the damage. However, he said, the ranchers in that area irrigated their orchards after being advised to do so by the university, so “in this case I don’t think that was an issue.” Only extensive research would definitively prove whether pollution from the coal-fired power plant killed the trees in that area, Lombardini said. “It is a reasonable assumption because we know that one of the byproducts of coal use and burning is sulfur and indeed sulfur is a pollutant and it causes damage to leaves.”

Asparagus is one of the few vegetable perennials and needs an area separate from the main garden. You need to be able to till around the bed. Locate the bed in a part of your yard that is elevated and well drained. If you have a securely fenced back yard, you can have an open bed area. But if your yard is located next to an open field or the edge of a woody area, you will need to fence the asparagus bed itself. Rabbits as well as deer will browse on young asparagus spears. In our area you should plant crowns. Asparagus crowns are really just the base and roots of one-year-old plants. In the early spring feed stores and nurseries will have crowns for sale loose or tied in small bundles. Until the nurseries have asparagus crowns for sale, you can spend this time getting your area ready for planting. Till your area and get rid of all weeds. This complete weeding is important because asparagus roots form a thick mat that will inhibit weeding later on. Begin by digging a trench about a foot deep and one and a half feet wide. Work well decomposed compost into the bottom of the trench. Make small mounds about six to eight inches high along the bottom of the trench spaced about eighteen inches apart. Plant your crowns on top of these mounds. After spreading the roots over the mounds, cover them with two to three inches of soil. As the plants begin to grow, fill in the remainder of the trench with a soil and compost mix. If you have room you can build additional trenches about four feet apart. Now be patient. For the first two years you do not harvest the spears. Allow the fern like foliage to grow and keep your asparagus bed fed and well watered. Keep top dressing with manure or compost. Keep top dressing with manure or compost. There is a chance that you might be able harvest to a limited degree after the first year. But be aware that early harvesting can reduce the yield as well as quality. It’s best to give your asparagus a couple of years to produce well. Asparagus beds can produce spears for fifteen to thirty years. Growing asparagus is a rewarding as well as a long-term commitment.

CUISINE Asparagus Cheese Soup

A dead Pecan tree is shown on grower Harvey Hayek’s ranch in Ellinger, Texas. Some environmentalists, ranchers and scientists believe the cause of trees dying in the area is sulfur dioxide emissions from the nearby Fayette Power Project, a coal-fired power plant. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Lower Colorado River Authority, which operates the Fayette plant, argues there is no scientific link between its emissions and the dying trees, noting the region also has suffered significant droughts. But the authority is investing nearly $500 million to install two “scrubbers” designed to decrease pollution. A third, newer boiler has a built-in scrubber. The equipment should be in place by early 2011 and will decrease the plant’s sulfur dioxide emissions by about 90 percent, said authority spokeswoman Clara Tuma. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says air monitors indicate the Fayette plant “is not the likely cause” of the area’s vegetative die-off. The plant operates under a state-permitting program that was disapproved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in June. The EPA argues Texas’ permits do not allow for accurate air monitoring and violate the federal Clean Air Act. Texas has challenged the disapproval in court. The EPA’s criminal investigation branch, meanwhile, has toured properties and interviewed pecan growers near Ellinger. The agency’s civil division has been asked to review the information, according to e-mails obtained by The Associated Press. Other e-mails indicate the U.S. Department of Justice’s environmental wing also investigated the matter, though a spokesman said he could not “confirm or deny” an ongoing probe. The Fayette plant is far from a lone source of concern. From Franklin — a town about 100 miles north that is surrounded by coal-fired facilities — to Victoria — 80 miles to the south and near the Coleto Creek power plant — Texas ranchers say orchards and trees of all varieties are dying. Charlie Faupel said his Victoria pecan trees are native plants that have grown along a creek bed for seven generations, supplementing a family income that also relied on cattle, real estate and publishing. When Faupel was a teenager, he would collect and sack the pecans, using the extra money to buy a car or go out. Now, the few pecans that grow are bitter or thin. On Dec. 9, Faupel filed a formal air pollution complaint against the Coleto Creek plant and demanded the state environmental commission investigate the emissions. “I have noticed for over 20 years how the Coleto Creek power plant’s sulfur dioxide has been damaging hundreds of the trees on our property — live oaks, white oaks and pecans,” Faupel wrote. “Most of the white oak trees are already dead. The surviving trees don’t have as much foliage and they’re becoming more diseased, I believe, from the plant’s sulfur dioxide weakening the trees over time.” The Coleto Creek Power Plant did not respond to repeated requests for comment. . Faupel said some tree canopies recently appeared to be thickening and believes it’s because Coleto Creek put a “bagging system” on its boilers, decreasing emissions. But the plant plans to add a second boiler that is expected to add some 1,700 tons of sulfur dioxide pollution to the air annually. “I’m not one of these fanatic environmentalists,” Faupel said. “But when you are a seventh generation rancher, you are taught to be a good steward of the land and you want the things on it, the cattle and the vegetation, to be healthy. And they’re not.”

Ingredients • 1/4 cup butter • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour • 2 teaspoons salt • 1/8 teaspoon pepper • 6 cups milk • 4 cups cut fresh asparagus (1-inch pieces), cooked and drained or 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen cut asparagus, thawed • 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese • 4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg • Croutons and additional shredded cheddar cheese, optional

Directions In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add asparagus and heat through. Add the cheese, thyme and nutmeg. Cook until cheese is melted, stirring frequently (do not boil). Garnish with croutons and additional cheese if desired. Yield: 6-8 servings (2 quarts).




Bay Area Observer 1-6-2011  

Bay Area Observer 1-6-2011

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