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August 2013 www.BayAreaHoustonMag.com

BUFFALO MARINE SAN JACINTO COLLEGE Partnering to Produce a Workforce, One Mariner at a Time Petrochemical & Maritime Outlook Conference

SEPT. 5, 2013


AUGUST 2013

contents

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ON THE COVER

San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer and Buffalo Marine owner, Pat Studdert with crewmen aboard the new, state of the art M/V Patrick J. Studdert. Photo by Brian Stewart. President & Chairman Rick Clapp Publisher & Editor in Chief Mary Alys Cherry

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Executive Vice President Patty Kane Vice President & Art Director Brandon Rowan Director of Graphics Media Victoria Ugalde Sales & Marketing Shannon Alexander Patty Bederka Debbie Salisbury Amber Sample Editorial Don Armstrong Mary Alys Cherry Michael Gos Capt. Joe Kent Betha Merit Pat Patton Dr. Edward Reitman

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Director of Social Media Pierr Castillo Photography Mary Alys Cherry Brian Stewart

100th anniversary in 2014

Port of Houston Marks Record Year

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Teeth in a day

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Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital’s new surgery suite

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LearningRX improves learning and thinking performance

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Lakewood ladies go cruising

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Partnership to produce a new workforce of mariners

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Economic development and public policy news

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Home, garden and nautical decor

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Complete and affordable home decorating

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Providing the community with traditional Italian dishes

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Students struggle on STAAR writing tests

Dental Health Heart and Vascular Care Made Easier Personal Train Your Brain Lakewood Yacht Club News and Events Buffalo Marine and San Jacinto College Economic Alliance Houston Port Region Frazier’s Ornamental & Architectural Concrete What Women Want Pomodoro’s Italian Clear Creek ISD

42 Finance How to dispute a credit card charge 43

Forming a dynamic team

Supreme Lending and the Montgomery Group

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Club to mark 25th anniversary

Bay Oaks Country Club

columns

Distribution Tim Shinkle

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Bay Area legislators provide update

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Butterfly dances

Bay Area Houston Magazine is produced monthly. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced by any means whatsoever without written permission. Advertising rates are available upon request.

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Subaru BRZ, Fiat 500C Abarth

Please address all correspondence to: Bay Area Houston Magazine P.O. Box 1032 Seabrook, TX 77586

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Clear Lake bouncing back as great fishing spot

Community Affairs Director Lillian Harmon

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Public Relations Alison Sidoran

Clear Lake Chatter Texas Meditations In Wheel Time The Admiral’s Log

38 CLICK! Webster business alliance luncheon

www.BayAreaHoustonMag.com R.Clapp@Baygroupmedia.com

281.474.5875

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Bay Area Houston Magazine | AUGUST 2013


Meet NASA’s new astronaut candidates 8 picked from 6,000 applicants

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fter an extensive year-and-a-half search, NASA has a new group of potential astronauts who will help the agency push the boundaries of exploration and travel to new destinations in the solar system, including an asteroid and Mars. Eight candidates have been selected to be NASA’s newest astronaut trainees, hoping to be among those who are the first to launch from U.S. soil on commercial American spacecraft since the retirement of the space shuttle. The 2013 astronaut candidate class comes from the second largest number of applications NASA has received -- more than 6,000. Half of the selectees are women, making this the highest percentage of female astronaut candidates ever selected for a class. The group will receive a wide array of technical training at space centers and remote locations around the globe to prepare for missions to lowEarth orbit, an asteroid and Mars. “These new space explorers asked to join NASA because they know we’re doing big, bold things here -- developing missions to go farther into space than ever before,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “They’re excited about the science we’re doing on the International Space Station and our plan to launch from U.S. soil to there on spacecraft built by American companies. And they’re ready to help lead the first human mission to an asteroid and then on to Mars.” The astronaut candidates are: Josh A. Cassada, Ph.D., 39, is originally from White Bear Lake, Minn. Cassada is a former naval aviator who holds an undergraduate degree from Albion College, and advanced degrees from the University of Rochester, N.Y. Cassada is a physicist by training and currently is serving as cofounder and Chief Technology Officer for Quantum Opus. Victor J. Glover, 37, Lt. Commander, U.S. Navy, hails from Pomona, Calif., and Prosper, Texas. He is an F/A-18 pilot and graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, Edwards, Calif. Glover holds degrees from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Air University and the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif. He currently is serving as a Navy Legislative Fellow in the U.S. Congress. Tyler N. (Nick) Hague, 37, Lt. Colonel, U.S. Air Force, calls Hoxie, Kan., home. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., and the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, Edwards, Calif. Hague currently is supporting the Department of Defense as Deputy Chief of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization.

Christina M. Hammock, 34, calls Jacksonville, N.C., home. Hammock holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C. She currently is serving as National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Station Chief in American Samoa. Nicole Aunapu Mann, 35, Major, U.S. Marine Corps, originally is from Penngrove, Calif. She is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Stanford University and the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, Patuxent River, Md. Mann is an F/A 18 pilot, currently serving as an Integrated Product Team Lead at the U.S. Naval Air Station, Patuxent River. Anne C. McClain, 34, Major, U.S. Army, lists her hometown as Spokane, Wash. She is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Va.; the University of Bath and the University of Bristol, both in the United Kingdom. McClain is an OH-58 helicopter pilot, and a recent graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River. Jessica U. Meir, Ph.D., 35, is from Caribou, Maine. She is a graduate of Brown University, has an advanced degree from the International Space University, and earned her doctorate from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Meir currently is an Assistant Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. Andrew R. Morgan, M.D., 37, Major, U.S. Army, considers New Castle, Pa., home. Morgan is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and earned a doctorate of medicine from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Md. He has experience as an emergency physician and flight surgeon for the Army special operations community, and currently is completing a sports medicine fellowship. The new astronaut candidates will begin training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in August. “This year we have selected eight highly qualified individuals who have demonstrated impressive strengths academically, operationally and physically,” said Janet Kavandi, director of Flight Crew Operations at Johnson. “They have diverse backgrounds and skill sets that will contribute greatly to the existing astronaut corps. Based on their incredible experiences to date, I have every confidence that they will apply their combined expertise and talents to achieve great things for NASA and this country in the pursuit of human exploration.”

Getting to be an astronaut ain’t easy By Mary Alys Cherry

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ver wondered what it takes to be an astronaut? Nope, it’s not easy. It starts with a bachelor’s degree in the sciences or math. Add on good grades and three years of progressively responsible professional experience or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. An advanced degree is desirable or teaching experience. Then, according to the space agency’s list of requirements, candidates must pass the NASA long-duration Space flight physical that includes vision correctable to 20/20, blood pressure not to exceed 140/90 and stand between 62 and 75 inches. Candidates also go through a week of personal interviews, medical screening and orientation until final selections are made. And, that’s just the beginning. As part of their two-year basic astronaut training program, candidates are required to complete military water survival before beginning their flying, become SCUBA qualified to prepare them for spacewalk training and pass a swimming test. They not only need to know how to swim, they must swim three lengths of a 25-meter pool without stopping and then swim three lengths of the pool in a flight suit and tennis shoes with no time limit. They also must tread water continuously for 10 minutes wearing a flight suit. Along the way, they are exposed to problems associated with high and low atmospheric pressures in altitude chambers and have to learn how to deal with emergencies associated with these conditions. They are exposed to periods of weightlessness for about 20 seconds and then returned to the original altitude – a sequence that is repeated up to 40 times a day. Final selection as an astronaut will depend upon satisfactory completion of their training and then evaluation. Along the way, they will read training manuals, take computer-based training lessons on various vehicle systems, learning to operate each system, recognize malfunctions and perform corrective actions, if needed. They will train to operate various systems and robots, learn to speak Russian and, if pilots, maintain aircraft flight readiness. Those who are not selected may be placed in other positions within NASA.

AUGUST 2013 | Bay Area Houston Magazine

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Port marks another record year as its 100th anniversary nears

By Mary Alys Cherry

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he Port of Houston has long been one of the major economic drivers for Bay Area Houston – longer than most people would think. Next year, 2014, it will celebrate its 100th anniversary. And over the years it has steadily grown until today Texas is ranked as the No. 1 exporting state in the country. Not just this past year but for the 11th year in a row, 2012 statistics released by the U.S. Department of Commerce show. Houston, the federal agency said, is the nation’s top metropolitan area for exports in 2012. Merchandise exports from the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metropolitan area totaled a record $110.3 billion, an increase of 6 percent or $5.8 billion from 2011 to 2012. Texas exports for 2012 totaled $265 billion, a 5.4 percent increase from the $251 billion recorded in 2011 with Mexico ($94.8 billion) the leading recipient, followed by Canada ($23.7 billion), China ($10.3 billion), Brazil ($10.0 billion) and the Netherlands ($9.5 billion), respectively. Petroleum and coal products, chemicals, computer and electronic products, non-electrical machinery and transportation equipment were the leading export industries. The Port of Houston is home to the largest petrochemical complex in the nation, and many of the other top goods move across Port Authority docks. Port Executive Director Len Waterworth thinks “Houston sits on the nexus of the next great economic expansion and that the Port of Houston will continue to be the leading economic engine driving Houston toward that expansion. “As we approach the 100th anniversary…we see indicators

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Bay Area Houston Magazine | AUGUST 2013

on several fronts that show that Houston’s port will enter the next century at full thrust and the Port Authority and its private industry port partners are preparing for what promises to be a bright and prosperous future.” Several current and future capital improvement projects demonstrate the depth of commitment by Houston Ship Channel industries toward ensuring the state of Texas remains the nation’s No. 1 state for exports. A recent Greater Houston Port Bureau study shows ship channel industries have targeted $35 billion in capital investments for the years 2012–2015 – a move that is expected to generate an estimated 111,700 construction jobs, $12.3 billion in wages and $800 million in taxes, according to a Martin Associates study accompanying the report. Port Bureau President Bill Diehl sees this as solid evidence the Houston Ship Channel must be dredged and maintained at its authorized width and depth if the Port is to realize its maximum potential for economic development. “Companies are expanding or relocating to our port region because the port gives them access to global markets. In essence, companies are saying, ‘We are investing to expand our markets beyond our shores,’” Diehl said. “The confidence of these ship channel industries,” Colonel Waterworth added, “that their investments will pay off hinges largely on our ability to accommodate deep-draft vessels by ensuring that the main ship channel is properly maintained at its federally authorized depth of 45 feet and width of 530 feet. Inadequate federal funding to finance that vital dredging intensifies that challenge.”


DENTAL HEALTH

‘Teeth in a Day’ By Farid Noie DDS, DICOI, FAGD, AFAAID

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inally, “Teeth in a day” is a predictable and affordable reality It is estimated that more than 35 million Americans, due to various reasons, have lost their teeth and are reluctant to wear a removable appliance in order to be able to eat. The story doesn’t end here. Unfortunately, it gets worse. These removable appliances do not exactly replace lost natural teeth. They do not feel natural and certainly have fallen far short of being able to replace natural teeth. However, due to lack of any other real option, they have been used for centuries. Dental implants revolutionized the field and, for the first time, allowed false teeth to remain anchored to the jaw bone. Aside from tremendous stability that rivaled natural teeth, the dentures have traditionally been constructed bulky in order to keep them from sliding while chewing. Your dental Implantologist can now eliminate the bulk of these dentures and make them as small as natural teeth since there is no longer any need for saddling the denture over gum area. They also enable the patient to preserve his or her jaw bone volume by stimulating them while eating, similar to natural teeth. Over the past two decades, dental implantology continued its ground breaking advancement. The introduction of 3D CT imaging and virtual pre-surgical treatment planning has made dental implants highly predictable. Traditional implant techniques have rightfully leaned on the side of over-caution. Histological studies suggested an incubation period of several months between surgically placement of dental implants and exposing them to jaw forces will increase the success ratio. In the absence of adequate bone volume, the procedure could take as long as a year or more to complete.

In 1990 Dr. Paulo Malo of Portugal, offered a new technique called “Teeth in a day.” He aimed to simplify and shorten the process. While some mavericks adopted his technique early on, many dental surgeons (including myself) chose to wait and see the long term results. Twenty-two years later, this technique has been time tested and proven to be very reliable. Teeth in a day requires a personalized plan and is not for everyone. Every patient is unique and there is no “one treatment fits all” approach when it comes to permanentfixed-tooth-replacement. If you are interested in leaving your teeth trouble in your rear view mirror, please contact UniCare Center for cosmetic and implant dentistry at 281332-4700 to schedule a personal complimentary consultation with Dr. Noie. You will receive a personal consultation, taking your unique situation under consideration.

“Twenty-two years later, this technique has been time tested and proven to be very reliable.” Dr. Noie has been in private practice in the Bay Area since 1996. He is a Diplomate of Int’l Congress of Oral Implantologists, Fellow of Academy of General Dentistry, and Assoc. Fellow of American Academy of Implant Dentistry. He has completed his surgical training at New York University as well as Medical University of South Carolina, Temple University, and Wright state University School of Medicine. He completed his oral Anesthesiology training at University of Alabama in Birmingham. He is a member of American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

AUGUST 2013 | Bay Area Houston Magazine

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Heart and Vascular Care Made Easier Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital’s new hybrid endovascular surgery suite offers the best of both worlds to patients with complex conditions of the heart and blood vessels.

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t combines the capabilities of a cardiac catheterization lab and operating room. This means surgeons can perform both traditional open surgeries and image-guided, minimally invasive endovascular procedures without having to move the patient. The suite is part of the hospital’s recent 14,500-square-foot expansion of its operating room/perioperative unit. “The new hybrid surgery suite is cutting-edge,” says Naveed Saqib, M.D., a vascular surgeon affiliated with Memorial Hermann Southeast and assistant professor of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery at UTHealth Medical School at Houston. “Its state-of-the-art technology allows surgeons to offer all modern minimally invasive approaches in vascular care in the same setting.” These procedures include: • Repairing aortic aneurysm, a widening in the body’s largest artery • Angioplasty (a procedure to widen narrowed or blocked arteries) and stenting in peripheral arteries to save limbs • Carotid artery stenting (unblocking a narrowed artery to prevent stroke) • Treatment of complex venous disease (when the blood flow to your heart is impaired) • Combined open and minimally invasive procedures

Leading-Edge Technology

The hybrid suite is one of only two in the nation with a dual-track flex arm. This piece of imaging equipment is designed specifically for vascular and cardiovascular patients. “The dual-track flex arm enables us to image the blood vessels from head to toe without the need to move the patient or the surgeon,

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additional minimally invasive procedures in the treatment of complex vascular diseases.”

Benefits for Patients

Traditionally, surgeons would perform one part of a procedure in one suite and another part in another suite, according to Dr. Saqib. “Now we can combine the endovascular procedures with the open surgery, which results in more efficient and effective patient care. We don’t have to move patients during a procedure, which reduces the risk of infection.”

“Its state-of-the-art technology allows surgeons to offer all modern minimally invasive approaches in vascular care in the same setting.” because the imaging arm can move in multiple directions,” says Gordon Martin, M.D., a vascular surgeon affiliated with Memorial Hermann Southeast and assistant professor of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery

Bay Area Houston Magazine | AUGUST 2013

at UT Medical School at Houston. “It also has the ability to rotate 360 degrees, allowing us to reconstruct the image in three dimensions. This gives us more detailed information that enhances our ability to offer

Other patient benefits include: • Shorter procedure time • Shorter length of hospital stay • Less radiation and contrast exposure during imaging • Reduced need for intensive care • Faster recovery • Less use of anesthetics required for longer procedures “We’re pleased to offer patients advanced vascular procedures in this new hybrid suite,” says Dr. Martin. “It really is advanced technology and allows us to perform a wide range of procedures with greater ease and versatility for the benefit of patients.”


AUGUST 2013 | Bay Area Houston Magazine

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Bay Area Houston Magazine | AUGUST 2013


Mental Transformation LearningRx uses Neuroscience to improve Learning and Thinking Performance By Rod Evans

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atching a personal trainer working with a client has become as familiar a sight in health clubs as barbells and leg presses, as people seek out trainers for their motivational skills and fitness expertise in pursuit of dramatic fitness or weight loss goals. At LearningRx, “brain trainers” serve the same function for clients looking to dramatically improve their mental performance, and the results are lasting and dramatic improvements to the underlying cognitive skills that make a person a better learner and performer. “What we do is very much like what a personal trainer does for someone who is serious about transforming their body,” said Brian Bertrand, director of the newly-opened Houston-Clear Lake LearningRx Center. “Just as people hire a personal trainer for rigorous one-on-one exercise that will achieve a physical transformation, we offer the same thing for the brain. Our brain trainers work in a one-on-one format using tailored mental activities that target weak cognitive skill areas, resulting in dramatically-improved cognitive skills that make our clients smarter.” Founded by Dr. Ken Gibson in 2002 in Colorado Springs, Colo., LearningRx has grown into a nationwide network of 90 centers dedicated to helping children and adults learn and perform faster, better and more easily.. The essential first step is identification of the root cause of the learning or reading difficulties. Far more effective in the longterm than the use of a tutor, the LearningRx methodology works instead to strengthen underlying cognitive skills through the use of scientifically-based and clinically-proven brain training systems. “Brain training transforms the way the brain is wired so that thinking and performing come more naturally, eliminating the frustrations that drain a person’s confidence,” Bertrand says. “We do so by getting to the true root cause of a person’s learning struggles, specifically the seven key cognitive skills that are most strongly correlated with the ability to learn and perform.” Bertrand moved to the Clear Lake area in the 80’s to work in NASA’s Space Shuttle program, and fell in love with the root-cause approach used at LearningRx since it offers many of the ingredients he experienced in his systems engineering background. Bertrand lists the seven key cognitive skills as: attention, processing speed, working memory, long term memory, auditory processing, visual processing and logic and reasoning skills. He says if one or more of these areas are weak, the person’s struggles will persist until the root cause is identified and strengthened, as weak cognitive skills are responsible for 80 percent of learning difficulties. He says while the majority of their clients are struggling students, LearningRx also works with mid-career adults seeking to gain an edge in their profession, as well as seniors who want to build their cognitive abilities.

Neuroplasticity

The LearningRx brain trainers work to re-wire the brain via neuroplasticity, which Bertrand explains is the brain’s ability to be “plastic and moldable.” Bertrand says, “In essence, we seek to take a brain that has poor or insufficient neuronal connections, and develop stronger and more numerous connections in their place.” “Because our brains consist of a complex weave of connections, the goal is to maximize the connections and the strength and organization of the connections a person possesses, leaving them able to function more smoothly and naturally on mental tasks. If a person is a struggling learner or performer, the connections are likely to be much less strong and less expansive, and the result is poor or irregular mental performance. Until that is changed, the struggles will repeat themselves throughout the person’s life. But, through the successful application of neuroscience, it does not have to be that way, because mental exercises really can help a person be a better thinker, performer and learner,” says Bertrand. The methods employed can help anyone who wants to improve their thinking skills. Some examples of those who can be helped are those with focus/attention issues, struggling readers, avoiders of school or homework, those with poor memory who cannot perform on tests or presentations, and slow performers who are usually the last to finish an assignment or task, or who take three hours to finish homework assignments that should take less than an hour to complete. “Imagine the positive impact in the household if homework time took much less out of the household evening,”says Bertrand.

Begins With Evaluation

Bertrand says the LearningRx process always begins by seeking the root cause of the struggle, and this begins with the administering of the Woodcock Johnson III assessment test , which is considered the “gold standard” method of testing intellectual ability and cognitive skills. In addition, a questionnaire that acquires observational information from the person’s overall and family life is also utilized in the process. These two sets of information are quick to gather, and combine to give a great amount of insight into the specific weaknesses that need to be targeted for improvement. A consultation is then scheduled to explore the proper pathway to improvement.

“Following the initial consultation, we identify the most effective program option, matching the needs of the individual,” Bertrand explains. “We then assign them to a one-on-one brain trainer, and begin scheduling sessions. The programs last anywhere from 12 to 32 weeks, depending on the starting point and goals of the client. We begin targeting the weaknesses, as we look to bring struggle areas up to moderate-to-strong levels, but since all cognitive skill areas are worked within the programs, the strong areas are typically made even stronger.” Brain training sessions consist of highly-targeted, customized exercises designed to increase the person’s capacity to think and learn. The intense, but fun program includes game-like exercises and activities, all of which are tailored to the individual. “Each exercise works multiple cognitive skills at the same time, so the programs are thorough and address the gamut of thinking and performing skills. Because attending to a subject is the first step in the learning process, and because many clients suffer from attention issues, the programs address and build-up the three forms of attention skills: sustained, selective and divided attention. Some clients struggle in all of them, while others may just struggle with one or two. Regardless, all of them are addressed as part of the program,” Bertrand says. “Other exercises work to improve visual processing, auditory processing, processing speed, working and long-term memories, and logic and reasoning skills.”Bertrand says successful completion of the program yields results beyond the academic arena, because a person who is a more fluid and natural learner will have reduced learning frustrations, contributing to greatly-improved confidence and self-esteem. In total, the results can launch a person off the sidelines of life, and into the game as a serious player, where their full potential can be unleashed. According to LearningRx figures, 70 percent of the students working through the program at its centers across the country come because they are experiencing attention issues, while 54 percent are dealing with reading problems. While these are the most common areas, the programs can help anyone who needs cognitive improvement. As such, a significant number of clients seek help for learning difficulties such as dyslexia, while people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries have also been helped by the programs. And the results are often dramatic: statistics show that students who complete 24 to 32 weeks of brain training have increased their IQ by an average of 20 points. Bertrand adds that the LearningRx system also benefits digital-age kids who can be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information and the lightning speed that it travels. “The speed of life in all directions can exacerbate focus issues and can lead to situations where the brain responds in a scattered versus a focused manner,” he said. “We find that dealing with a person across the table in a one-on-one format tends to be enjoyable for these kids, and helps improve how they process information in our increasingly complex world.” “We use practical implementation of the field of neuroscience to help people struggling to learn,” Bertrand says, “and we build them up while they build their skill sets. The result is a person with greater confidence who is a better thinker and performer.” AUGUST 2013 | Bay Area Houston Magazine

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Photos by Mary Alys Cherry

Galveston County Judge Mark Henry, right, and Seabrook Mayor Glenn Royal arrive at South Shore Harbour Resort for BAHEP’s Legislative Update.

San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer, right, and Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership President Bob Mitchell, left, join State Reps. Ed Thompson, Mary Ann Perez and Greg Bonnen, State Sen. Sylvia Garcia, State Rep. John Davis and State Sen. Larry Taylor, from left, for photos as the 83rd Legislative Update at South Shore Harbour Resort comes to an end.

Bay Area legislators provide update

Harris County Judge Ed Emmet, left, and League City Mayor Tim Paulissen join the crowd at the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership’s Legislative Update.

Must have been a good political joke to get that kind of a reaction from State Sen. Sylvia Garcia and Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark at the BAHEP Legislative Update.

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THE TEXAS Legislature was almost ready to call it a session, but before they did, our Bay Area lawmakers came down to give Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership members an update on legislation. State Sens. Larry Taylor and Sylvia Garcia and State Reps. John Davis, Mary Ann Perez, Greg Bonnen and Ed Thompson told of their accomplishments and hopes for the next session at the large July 17 gathering hosted by BAHEP’s Political Protocol Committee at South Shore Harbour Resort. San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer served as moderator as the legislators answered questions put together by the committee about their work in Austin. Public officials from all over Bay Area Houston – who were honored at a reception before the update -- were there to greet the lawmakers, with Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, Galveston County Judge Mark Henry and Commissioners Ken Clark and Ryan Dennard front and center. Nearby, you might have spotted Mayors Jon Kenney of Taylor Lake Village, Robert White of El Lago, Julie Masters of Dickinson, Tim Paulissen of League City, Mark Denman of Nassau Bay and Glenn Royal of Seabrook, Mayors Pro-tem Alexandra Dietrich of Webster, Bruce Henderson of Dickinson and David Braun of

Bay Area Houston Magazine | AUGUST 2013

Almost all left wearing smiles and hoping for an even better report next session.

MARY ALYS CHERRY

Nassau Bay. Plus, Councilmembers Dave Martin, Jack Christie and Andrew Burke of Houston, Wayne Rast and Wanda Zimmer of Kemah, JoAnn Sharp, Todd Kinsey and Geri Bentley of League City, Bob Warters of Nassau Bay, Amanda Booren and Jan Bailey of Clear Lake Shores, Wally Deats and Louis Decker of Dickinson, Carolyn Stanley and Rob Kumar of El Lago, Carl Gustafson and Patrick McGinnis of Friendswood, Pat VanHoute of Pasadena, Mike Giangrosso of Seabrook, Diana Newland, Doug North and Larry Tosto of Webster and Doug Blanchard of Taylor Lake Village. Judges Holly Williamson and John Grady were in the crowd, as were Harris County District Clerk Chris Daniel, Constable Phil Sandlin, Houston Deputy Chief of Staff Kippy Caraway, Economic Development officials Karen Coglianese of Webster, Paul Davis of Pasadena and Nancy Ojeola of La Porte, and Clear Creek ISD Board President Ann Hammond and Trustees Paige Rander and Dee Scott.

LYC focus is on pretty women LOOK FOR PLENTY of pretty women to come strutting down the runway modeling great clothes from Dillard’s at the LYC fashion show luncheon, which has the theme “Pretty Women” and is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 27, at the yacht club. Ladies Association VP Roz Clayton is chairman of the event with Carla Smith as cochairman and Sue Warters and Alice Thomas as style show coordinators. The Phoenix Group will provide the runway, lighting and music. Tickets are $55. “The ballroom will look amazing, there will be a cash raffle and lots of surprises,” she says, adding that “Friends and neighbors of LYC are welcome. Credit cards are accepted but reservations are required by calling the club, 281-474-2511.” Meanwhile the Lakewood Ladies have another luncheon coming up this month – on Friday, Aug 16 – for a program by Lori Morton of Clariday Aesthetics on non-surgical cosmetic procedures and treatments available for rejuvenating the skin. Lake the style show luncheon, reservations are required.


Photos by Jill Reason

“Pretty Woman� is the theme for the Lakewood Yacht Club Ladies Association Fashion Show Luncheon Friday, Sept. 27, in the yacht club ballroom with Roz Clayton, left, as chairman and Alice Thomas, center, and Sue Warters, right, as fashion show coordinators. Co-Chairman Carla Smith, is absent from the picture.

Dining Event gets festival rolling THE LUNAR Rendezvous Festival picked up steam as the Dining Event got under way at Bay Oaks Country Club where more than a hundred celebrated another festival. Chairman Tisa Foster and her husband, Dr. Mitch Foster, joined Co-Chairman Tehren Webb in welcoming the crowd, which included Pat and Wendell Wilson, Annette Dwyer and Pat Monks, Richie and Tracy Clause, Renee Ditta, Ava Galt, Kandy and Angel Lawson, and Rick and Jill Lammers. They were soon joined by Festival King Greg Smith and his wife, Kathy, Michael and Marie Keener,

Princesses Ashton Reason, Rebecca Herrod, Tierney Conley and Paige Kubena, from left, help welcome the crowd to the Lunar Rendezvous Festival Dining Event at Bay Oaks Country Club.

Kimberly Weathers, Eli and Amand Mark, Phillip and Becky Hensley, Anita Fogtman, Jason and Jenny McCorkle, John and Garrett Commiato, Jess and Tricia Totten, Jason and Jenny McCorkle, Laura and Tierney Conley, Robert and Kim Woodruff and Angela and Sydney Schroder. Festival General Chairman Terri Dieste and her husband, John, were in the crowd, as were Matthew and Angie Weinman, Mike and Kathleen Courville, Wendell and Jean Hays, Richard and Jennifer Simmons, Karl and Cindi Priebe, Mike and Kathy Reeves, Gwen Smith, Sandi and Steve Quillen, Cameron and Jana Miller, Ashton and Jill Reason, Dinah Matthews, Joy and Charles

Dining Event Chairman Tisa Foster, left, and Co-Chairman Tehren Webb wear big smiles as they greet the arriving crowd at the popular Lunar Rendezvous Festival event.

Smitherman, Traci Dvorak, Laura and Jamieson Mackay. Others included Jenny Sinor and Mark Frantz, Jim, Belinda and John Scheurich, Doug and Karen Zimpfer, Tarey and Kikki Briggs, Brad and Lisa Stiles, John and Shari Wilkins, Wallace, Shannon and Angelica Trochesset, John and Garrett Commiato, Paige Kubena, Jim and Midge Herrod, Cliff, Kristin and Ryan Rankin, Traci Langford, Adrienne Felterman and Anthony, Rosemary and Alexandria Muellner.

Symphony League Event on Aug. 29

HOUSTON SYMPHONY League Bay Area will host a prospective new

Kathy and Mike Reeves were in the crowd at the Lunar Rendezvous Dining Event.

member wine and cheese event the evening of Aug. 29 and are inviting those who are interested to attend and learn about league projects, fundraising and social events. For information, call Membership Chair Pat Biddle at 281-488-2346.The mission of the Houston Symphony League is to support the worldrenowned Houston Symphony and to provide quality music programs in all 26 Clear Creek ISD elementary schools from grades one through five. HSLBA meetings that provide fine musical programs are held from September to November and January through May. The league website is www.hslba.org

Jana and Cameron Miller enjoy the annual Lunar Rendezvous Dining Event.

AUGUST 2013 | Bay Area Houston Magazine

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texas m e di tat i o n s

By M i c ha el Gos

Butterfly Dances Texas

Lajitas, Texas

I am solar powered. I learned that as a teenager. When the cold, dark Indiana winters came, I hibernated. I suppose the cold had something to do with it, but mostly I was lethargic and grumpy because I was lacking the light I needed to “recharge the batteries.” I just got weaker and more tired as the months dragged on. On those rare sunny winter days (which generally only happened when it is below Mexico zero at noon) I would bundle up and head out into the woods to hike and try to store up some “juice” so I could go on when the gray returned. It still happens to me today. If we go three or four days without the sun, I can feel the engines running low. I was having lunch out on the patio at the resort in Lajitas. It was July, but there in the shade, looking out at the fountain, the golf course and the mountains, it was a pleasant afternoon. I watched as a butterfly danced from flower to flower just exuding a joy about life that made me smile. I was surprised at the brilliant, almost neon blue that marked its otherwise near-black wings. I’d never seen a butterfly so iridescent; it glowed. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I should point out here that I had only one pinot noir with lunch— no peyote buttons, no funny mushrooms. It really did glow. Finally, I had to get up and take a closer look.

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It turned out to be a female black swallowtail, just like the ones we have in Houston. Yet this one was so much brighter it almost looked like the old day-glo paint we used back in the ‘70s. After watching up close for a few minutes, I decided the reason this one looked so different than the ones back in Houston had to be because of the ambient light. And that made me think about those days as a kid growing up in Indiana. If you have spent much time in the upper latitudes, you know what I am talking about. The colors we see in nature here in Texas simply don’t exist up there. Well, almost never anyway. I remember about five or six times in my 40 plus years there, the perfect “light storm” occurred. It was always near sunset. The sky had to be almost black with dense clouds, except at the very western horizon. There, where the clouds ended abruptly and the sky was clear, as the sun dropped into the clear spot, its light bounced off the bottom of the black clouds and illuminated everything in such a bright light that the colors were awe-inspiring. I remember everyone in the neighborhood running outside to see it—it was that rare. In Texas, especially deep west Texas, that light and the resulting colors are the norm, so no one even notices. When I teach my humanities students about the French Impressionists and the post or neo-Impressionists, we talk about their fascination with the fleeting effects of light. But Paris, where they started out, is at 48 degrees latitude— further north even than Duluth, Minnesota. The light there, frankly, is pretty dim. So in order to really explore the effects of light on their subject matter, these artists had to hit the road. Some, like Van Gogh and Cezanne, headed to Provence in the south of France. Gaugin did them one better; he went all the way to Tahiti. As a species, we are obsessed with light. We see it all across America. Those


The view from the resort in Lajitas. The mountains in the distance are in Mexico, across the Rio Grande.

gray days of winter really bring us down. In Alaska, they use light therapy visors to reduce the depression and suicide levels during those dark periods in winter. Here in the lower 48, people in the north tend to be more reserved, quiet and detached. This is even more the case in winter. But people in the south, and especially here in Texas, tend to be more open, happy and friendly. As we all know, they call this swatch of land across the gulf coast and the Southwest desert the “Sunbelt.” But the brightness in Houston can’t match the desert light there in Lajitas. The skies are bluer and the colors are brighter. The stars are absolutely magnificent. There are always millions of them lighting up the night sky— an overwhelming net of light we never see back on the Gulf Coast. The moon is so bright there it casts bold shadows. As a light-loving species, we respond accordingly. People there in deep west Texas often live a harsh life. For most, money is scarce. And yet they are among the happiest people I’ve ever met. Spend an afternoon on the porch of the Trading Post in Terlingua and just watch and listen. I have asked several of them why they live out here, so far from a grocery

store, a drug store, even medical care. It is surprising how often I get the same answer; it is the allday, all-year sunshine. You’ll also hear, over and over again, that the best thing about living out here is the spectacular light show that comes from the two sunsets every evening—one to the east, then one to the west. From the porch at Terlingua you can first turn to the east and watch the light show with its ever-changing colors on the Chisos Mountains. Then, when the mountains go dark, you can turn to the west to watch the traditional sunset. If there are a few wispy clouds in the sky, the colors go 360 degrees, from horizon to horizon. After a light show like that, it is hard not to feel good about life. But light plays its part out here in other ways as well. If it is night and you somehow manage to get tired of looking at the stars (I’m sorry for you if that happens), you can always head a few miles north and look for the Marfa lights. We all love light—not just we humans, but all things alive. The butterfly dancing among the flowers here on this courtyard just radiates happiness. The name of this town (Lajitas) means “light.” Maybe that is why the butterfly was drawn to this place—for the chance to glow. And it is contagious.

“We all love light—not just we humans, but all things alive.”

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i n wheel t i m e

By D o n A r m st ro n g The Subaru BRZ interior.

Subaru BRZ

The BRZ is Subaru’s allnew, and only, offering that comes in a rear-wheel drive configuration and for the weekend racer that may be a good thing, making it easier to control while wagging its tail through the esses on the track. The BRZ’s low center of gravity is aided by Subaru’s boxer-style engine, a horizontally opposed 4-cylinder that is nestled

“Racing inspired seating, a leather steering wheel and aluminum pedal covers give occupants notice that this isn’t Grampa’s Corolla.”

Performance and price peak interest of Bay Area hobbyists

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ntry into the world of factory-built performance cars doesn’t get much better than this. With starting prices in the mid-20’s, here are two cars that can handle the slow crawl of a Monday morning commute, up the Gulf Freeway, after a Sunday on the high speed slalom course at Motorsports Ranch off State Highway 288.

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between the front wheels. The naturally aspirated power plant delivers its 200 horsepower through a sixspeed manual transmission. An automatic is also available. Racing inspired seating, a leather steering wheel and aluminum pedal covers give occupants notice that this isn’t Grampa’s Corolla. The back seat is capable of toting the kids, but adults need not apply. A 6.1-inch LCD screen handles audio through 8 speakers and comes standard with GPS. Blue Tooth, USB port and voice activation is also included. The highway ride could be a little stiff for some. Consider it a compromise for its on-tack capabilities; this is where the little coupe really shines. Pricing starts at $25,495.

Fiat 500C Abarth

Cute as a button, the Fiat 500 garners looks, wherever it goes. While the exterior commands the first look, the interior is just as attractive and the ride is nothing short of just plain comfortable. If there were any criticism from enthusiasts, it would be a shortcoming in the power department. Enter the Abarth. Austrian born Karl Abarth, a European hot rodder who reached icon status by developing performance goodies for the 500, now has his name attached to a hypo version of the little car that could. Weighing in at a svelte 2,500-pounds, its turbocharged and twinintercooled 1.4-liter engine delivers 160-horsepower to the front wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission. Like the hatchback, the new 2013 Fiat 500c Abarth – the “c” designation stands for convertible - features an enhanced front and rear suspension, quicker steering and a braking upgrade, needed for high-performance driving. And let’s not forget the exhaust, there’s no mistaking its deep throated burble from any other 500. Pricing on the Fiat 500c begins at $26,000.


Joan McKinney and Eddie Cox work together to give their customers excellence in sales and service.

‘ON THE ROAD’

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oth of us are looking forward to writing a monthly informative column with advice from sales to service: You have questions we have answers! We will start answering questions in next month’s magazine but first let us introduce ourselves...

Hello, I’m Joan McKinney - I have been with Norman Frede Chevrolet for 35 years. I feel very fortunate to

have worked in every department before becoming General Manager 20 years ago. My experience in sales

and service has helped me see every employee’s role and the significance of each. I met Eddie Cox years ago at a Service Manager meeting and kept in touch when I realized he had all the answers. I am on four National and Regional Boards for Chevrolet. My favorite is the Performance Advisory Board (Corvette and Camaro). I am proud to say that only six people in the country were selected to serve on this board. I also enjoy serving on the GM Dealer Fixed Operations Advisory Board, The LMA Board (Local Marketing and Advertising) and the Chevrolet Social Media Board. I am very involved in the Bay Area Houston community and serve on the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership Board of Directors and the CCISD Education Foundation Board of Directors. I am very dedicated to serving our community and make sure the employees at Norman Frede Chevrolet do what is needed for local organizations and businesses. Hello, I’m Eddie Cox – I have been in the automotive business for 41 years. I started my career as a technician, advanced to shop foreman and was then promoted to Service Manager. I am well known in the Chevrolet world as being “the go to guy” because of my hands on experience and knowledge.

I am on the National Board of Directors for AYES and the President of AYES (Automotive Youth Education Systems) for CCISD. I have been extremely influential in placing students in the program, finding them internships and assisting them in completing their education at San Jacinto College. I am proud to have significantly impacted many students’ futures at Clear Springs and Pasadena High Schools by keeping them on track, not just at school, but also at home and work. Please submit any questions you may have about car buying sales and service to pattyhayes.kane@ gmail.com. Joan and Eddie will give you answers in one of their monthly columns.

(281) 486-2200 16801 Feather Craft Ln., Houston, TX 77058 www.fredechevrolet.com

AUGUST 2013 | Bay Area Houston Magazine

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CLEAR LAKE IS BOUNCING BACK AS A GREAT FISHING SPOT

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By Capt. Joe Kent

lear Lake and the stretch of Galveston Bay out of Seabrook is where this avid angler developed his passion for fishing. The era was from the mid 1950’s to late 60’s. Crabs galore along with a bountiful supply of speckled trout, redfish, croaker and pan fish all roamed the waters from the mouth of Clear Creek to the Seabrook and Kemah flats and beyond. During that era, many bait camps dotted the landscape along the shores of Clear Lake and all along the Clear Creek Channel and Seabrook. A good number of the camps rented boats which were either wooden row boats or the higher quality aluminum variety suitable for placing an outboard motor on the transom.

Artificial baits were just beginning to make their appearance in saltwater and most anglers used shrimp, live and dead for bait. Beginning in the mid to late 1960’s fishing fell off, as the water became polluted from runoffs from the upper reaches of both the Houston Ship Channel and Clear Creek. At that time many anglers, like me, moved farther down the bay system to the Texas City and Galveston areas. Today, I am happy to say that this whole area is beginning to bounce back. Clear Lake has begun to produce some nice fish, especially flounder, reds and a large variety of pan fish. Speckled trout still are not making it into the lake in large numbers. During the winter, the Seabrook Flats is known

“Clear Lake has begun to produce some nice fish, especially flounder, reds and a large variety of pan fish.” Hardly any of those boats exceeded 15 feet in length and most were in the 12 to 14-foot range. The row boats were mainly confined to Clear Lake and the bayous and creeks emptying into it. Typical of the aluminum boats was the Lone Star open boat that could handle up to a 12 horsepower motor. On a good day, the small boats could be found as far as five miles and farther out of the mouth of the channel which was marked by the famous Jimmy Walker’s Restaurant. Most of the better fishing took place to the west of the channel as you entered Galveston Bay although during calm conditions the Houston Ship Channel drew a lot of the small craft. Fishing the spoil banks of the ship channel was a given for catching fish and just about every variety of saltwater species could be found roaming the spoils at one time or another. Scotts Reef, just a stones throw out from Muechke’s and Oddo’s Bait Camps, was one of my favorite spots. The oyster shell reef was an excellent fishing spot during the summer and fall, and attracted a lot of fish and fishermen. It was noted for producing large croaker. Wade fishermen could be found early and late just off out from shore from Jimmy Walker’s and along the Seabrook side around close to the two bait camps mentioned above.

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as one of the better spots to wade fish and has been producing good quality speckled trout and reds for anglers tossing artificial baits. Heavy boat traffic, especially on weekends and holidays is the biggest drawback to fishing Clear Lake and surrounding areas. Anglers have been keeping their fishing locations around the lake close to their vest; however, it is difficult when so many are seen fishing the canals around the numerous yacht basins along the lake. Today, there are few public fishing places around Clear Lake and a boat or kayak is almost a necessity for fishing the area. Clear Lake has not had the shrimping activity in recent years that it once had. Advisories issued by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department have kept the commercial craft off the lake and that likely is a reason fishing has bounced back. While the water quality is improving, Clear Creek and the whole Clear Lake area continues to be under a seafood consumption advisory and before consuming your catch check the Texas Parks and Wildlife Website for their recommendations as to what to eat and what not to consume. Perhaps we will see a return of the bait camps, as conditions continue to improve; however, don’t bet on the rental boats returning, that likely is a pleasant memory of the past.


News & Events

Lakewood Ladies Go Cruising

Photos by Mary Alys Cherry

Beneteau Rendezvous Slated for Sept. 20-22 Hasha Baker, Linda Merryman and Amma Grodin, from left, wear big smiles as they prepare to set sail with the Lakewood Yacht Club Ladies Association for a cruise to Houston Yacht Club and lunch with the HYC Ladies Association.

Past Lakewood Yacht Club Ladies Association President Ruby Garrett, right, and Fleet Capt. Sue Collier check the list of members cruising to Houston Yacht Club as they prepare to leave to have lunch with members of the HYC Ladies Association at their club in Shoreacres.

Mary Ann Boerner, Marcy Fryday and Kerry Humphrey, from left, were but three of the many Lakewood Yacht Club Ladies Association members who joined the annual cruise this year to have lunch in Shoreacres with members of the Houston Yacht Club Ladies Association.

Harvest Moon Regatta Features Sail-a-thon

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or the second year, a Sail-a-thon to raise ovarian cancer awareness will be part of the Lakewood Yacht Club’s Harvest Moon Regatta® which will race from Galveston to Port Aransas over Oct. 17 – 20. The beneficiary of the Sail-a-thon proceeds will be the Judith Liebenthal Robinson Ovarian Cancer Foundation (JLR Foundation). This was created several years ago to honor Judy Robinson, a long-time member of Lakewood Yacht Club and participant in the Harvest Moon Regatta®. The Judy’s Mission trophy honoring Robinson will be presented to the skipper who raises the most donation money for the event. This will take place during the Harvest Moon Regatta® Awards Ceremony to be held the evening of Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Port “A” City Pavilion. Robinson was an avid sailor, boat owner and racing participant. She was a member of the Harvest Moon

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Regatta® Committee for years and was a great supporter of the event. Despite a healthy lifestyle, Robinson was diagnosed with advanced stage ovarian cancer in 2009 and died within a year. While battling ovarian cancer, she was determined to do something to raise awareness about the vague signs and symptoms and ineffective screening tools for victims of ovarian cancer. She and her friends then created the JLR Foundation. The JLR Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Houston dedicated to raising awareness about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and to funding research. For further information, please visit the website www. jlrfoundation.org To participate in the Sail-a-thon, please visit the website www.harvestmoonregatta.com and click on Sail-A-Thon.

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ea Lake Yacht Sales and Lakewood Yacht Club are hosting a Beneteau Owners Rendezvous in the club’s Inner Harbor over the weekend of Friday, Sept. 20 through Sunday, Sept. 22. Lakewood is located at 2425 NASA Parkway in Seabrook at the northeast corner of Clear Lake. “If you are a proud owner of a fine Beneteau yacht – sail or power, you will not want to miss this fun-filled, interactive and educational event” related Doug Hughes of Sea Lake Yacht Sales who is co-chairing the event with Angela Pounds, also of Sea Lake Yacht Sales and Steve Hegyesi of Lakewood. The cost to register for the Rendezvous is $50 per person to help cover the facility, educational seminars, food and drink for the weekend. “We wanted to get this date out to our Beneteauowner friends and to future Beneteau owners,” explained Hughes, “and, importantly, you do not have to be an owner or a Lakewood member to participate in this exciting weekend. You are very welcome to come by ‘land yacht.’” To register the Beneteau model you will be bringing, please contact Pounds at 281-248-6001, or e-mail her at angela@sealakeyachts.com


Buffalo Marine’s CEO, Pat Studdert presents the Buffalo “don’t drop the ball” to its newest honorary team member, Dr. Hellyer.

Simulation technology plays a role in training mariners at the San Jacinto College Maritime Center.

Texas leads the nation in exports, and with marine freight estimated to increase by 43 percent domestically and 67 percent internationally by 2020, the Gulf Coast region braces for what is anticipated in the coming years.

L San Jacinto College offers a variety of U.S. Coast Guard-approved courses. The College’s Maritime Center is equipped with the latest in simulation technology.

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ocal companies like Buffalo Marine are not waiting to react; instead they are sending more crews in for the training that is required to move employees up and move new mariners into positions to face the results of rapid global developments. “I am extremely bullish when it comes to marine transportation,” said Pat Studdert, president of Buffalo Marine. “The Panama Canal’s third set of locks, which can handle much larger container ships, will be fully operational in 2015. Texas ports will benefit from those larger ships calling upon our region. Asian shippers realize that the business friendly and regulatory unencumbered environment in this part of the country, as compared to the west coast states such as California, ensure that the intermodal goods can be moved less expensively through the Gulf Coast.” Texas’ top exporting industries include petroleum and coal products, chemicals, computer and electronic products, non-electrical machinery, and transportation equipment, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Last year, the state’s top export recipients were Mexico, Canada, China, Brazil, and the Netherlands.

“Ships need fuel,” said Studdert. “The bigger ships calling upon Houston, Texas City, Galveston, Port Arthur, and Freeport demand that Buffalo Marine, as the region’s largest bunker company, possess modern equipment crewed by well-trained mariners.” Such increase in demand has led to more regional traffic, yet more than half of the maritime workforce faces retirement age. According to a recent WorkBoat compensation survey, mariners age 25 and younger make up less than 1 percent of the maritime workforce, and only about 6 percent of workers are younger than 30, with 8 percent younger than 40. “There is a need to replace those who are retiring and train additional mariners for the new equipment,” said Studdert. “Experienced captains, professionally-trained tankerman, and a training system to educate and mentor motivated mariners to transition to the wheelhouse are paramount.”

Expanding the maritime workforce With demand comes the questions of who will come aboard for work and where will he or she receive the highly specialized mariner training that is needed. Elaine Lauzon,


in survival craft, basic safety training, and RADAR. “Once we hire someone, he or she can move up quickly by taking their courses at San Jacinto College. It benefits us because we have a more highly-skilled workforce, and it helps our employees by helping them earn more money.” Since it began, the San Jacinto College maritime program has awarded more than 1,800 certificates for USCG-approved training to members of the maritime industry. Due to increased demand for training, San Jacinto College recently purchased 13 acres along the ship channel to construct a new facility to increase the number of simulators and courses offered. The college has also been joined by Rear Adm. William Pickavance, who is serving as a consultant, assisting with the development of the maritime facility. Pickavance holds more than three decades of experience as a commissioned officer with the U.S. Navy. “The San Jacinto College maritime program is developing and expanding to support the needs of the local maritime industry and motivated women and men, who want a

the college introduced an Associate of Applied Science in International Business, Maritime and Logistics, with partnerships with Texas Southern University and the University of Houston. Students also now have the option to pursue maritime administration through an articulation agreement with Texas A&M University at Galveston, following completion of a ships and shipping course and associate degree in business administration. “Up until this time, industry had only one of two choices in hiring – the recent high school graduate and the federal maritime academy graduate,” said Capt. Mitch Schacter, San Jacinto College maritime program director. “Local maritime companies have been looking for a solution to this situation for years. “With the development of these maritime programs, with input and guidance from the companies, we are producing the workforce they need.” Last year, Buffalo Marine sent about two dozen mariners to train with San Jacinto College. Studdert said the benefit of having a local training program not only saves time and

well-paying job, and prestigious future in a great growth industry,” said Pickavance. “It’s a win-win for everyone.” The college has also answered industry’s call for “more wellrounded, advanced entry-level mariners” with the development of an Associate of Applied Science in Maritime Technology. In addition to maritime technology,

money but also enhances the overall training experience. “You train where you work,” said Studdert. “Given the nature of our operations and the environment in which we work, Buffalo Marine crews are better equipped to deal with the Houston Ship Channel and adjacent waterways when they train in a setting that is intimately familiar with our operational needs.”

assistant director of personnel for G&H Towing, is always on the look out for qualified mariners to work in one of the country’s largest ports. “We need more people for these great paying jobs,” said Lauzon. “For the size of our port, we need qualified individuals with the level of training that the government requires for these positions. To move mariners up, they need training.” Lauzon would send employees to Louisiana for the training required for workers to keep their licenses and certifications through the U.S. Coast Guard. However, a local program is now available to save maritime companies time and money when sending their crews to train.

Producing the well-rounded mariner The San Jacinto College maritime program was established in 2010 to provide mariners with the courses required by the U.S. Coast Guard to keep their certifications, while also providing new mariners with entrylevel training to acquire work. It is guided and supported by an advisory committee of industry leaders with classroom and simulator instruction by some of the nation’s most experienced professional mariners. “A person can get his or her start in maritime here locally, thanks to this program,” said Lauzon, whose company has sent approximately 50 mariners to San Jacinto College to train in such courses as medical care provider, vessel security, proficiency

AUGUST 2013 | Bay Area Houston Magazine

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The Economic Alliance Houston Port Region was created in 1985 and serves as the economic development corporation for the Houston Ship Channel region with a defined mission to “to market and grow a vibrant regional economy.” It has service contracts with Harris County, the Port of Houston Authority and the 11 cities that surround the Houston Ship Channel.

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rivate members include two regional community colleges, nine chambers of commerce and almost 200 private companies. Economic development efforts are focused in the petrochemical, maritime and logistics industries. From 2008 – 2012, the Economic Alliance supported 38 successful projects that facilitated over 3,600 direct jobs and a capital investment of over $2.6 billion in the Houston Ship Channel Region.

Economic Development News Last year, the Economic Alliance assisted with facilitating business activities that created nearly 1,500 new jobs and provided over $1.5 billion of capital investment to the Houston Port Region. A couple of these projects included: Oxiteno USA – a subsidiary of Ultrapar Holdings Inc., one of the largest holding companies in Brazil – who purchased a $15 million plant in the Pasadena Industrial District on Bay Area Blvd. Oxiteno develops chemical inputs that improve or contribute to the quality of products that are used in day-to-day personal care and household cleaning products, garments, agrochemicals and food. The investment is $92 million on 60 acres, in the previous Old World Industries plant. Channel Biorefinery & Terminals, LLC, one of the largest biodiesel facilities in the U.S. is now located on the Houston Ship Channel. The

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company, which incorporated last year, bought the existing Green Hunter Biofuels facility for an undisclosed amount. That 105 milliongallon-per-year facility was built during 2007 and 2008, but hadn’t been put to work. The facility was almost operational when Hurricane Ike hit the Gulf Coast and flooded the facility. This summer, the new CB&T facility will begin producing 3 million gallons of biodiesel per month. By the end of the year, CB&T expects to have up to 60 workers. It will likely take about two years to get the facility producing to its full capacity, which will be about 75 million gallons a year. This year, the Economic Alliance is busy supporting new capital projects and expansions. So far two projects have come to fruition. Linde North America which is the American branch of The Linde Group, a Germany-based industrial gases production and engineering company, is expanding its La Porte operations with a $200 million investment. Linde North America currently operates a synthetic gas plant in La Porte. With its new investment, the company will expand its production capacity and will add a new air-separation unit. The air-separation unit will produce oxygen and nitrogen, and a new gasification unit will use natural gas to produce synthetic gas, which is used in chemical production. Linde has already begun construction on the expansion, and it plans for the expansion to come on line in the first quarter of 2015. Celanese Corp., an Irving-based chemical giant, is building a new methanol production plant at its existing chemical plant in Pasadena. The facility will have a capacity of 1.3 million tons per year and is expected to start operations in 2015. Celanese is expanding its operations to take advantage of cheap natural gas prices, resulting mainly from the shale gas boom. Chemical companies such as Celanese can use natural-gas feedstocks from shale formations to produce chemical products.

Bay Area Houston Magazine | AUGUST 2013

Public Policy News State Relations - Economic Alliance supported the passage of House Bill 5, related to public school accountability, assessment and curriculum requirements for high school graduation, and funding in support of certain curriculum authorized for graduation; providing a criminal penalty. Signed by the Governor earlier this summer, HB 5 provides students with both rigor and relevance that meet their diverse interests and maintains the requirement of four years of math and science, but enables school districts to offer college credit courses, in collaboration with institutions of higher education, to provide a wide range of career and technical curriculum that are rigorous, relevant, and aligned with the state’s diverse workforce needs. Broadening the opportunities for success will encourage more students to stay in school and secure a meaningful high school diploma. We strongly supported HB 5 and feel this legislation is critical to meet the workforce demands of Texas employers and continue to secure strong economic development in our great state. Federal Relations - Economic Alliance had its first organizational visit to Washington, DC June 1113. This educational visit was very successful with a total of thirteen (13) meetings over a day and a half period. Members met with legislators and staff to discuss issues and opportunities in the Houston port region and how they can help; including expressing our support for the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) with language

providing a fair share of the Water Maintenance Trust Fund dollars to the Houston Ship Channel, passage of the Keystone Pipeline, addressing general road, freight rail and water infrastructure needs, and funding of skilled workforce development projects. Workforce Development News Did you know the Texas Workforce Commission projects that Texas will have an average of nearly 44,000 job openings, annually, through 2016 for occupations requiring an associate degree or postsecondary vocational certificate? In addition, according to a recent study by the Houston Port Bureau, within the Houston Ship Channel region alone, the petrochemical and manufacturing industry will be investing in capital development and maintenance up to $35 billion. This means 111,700 direct construction jobs and 154,100 induced and indirect jobs will need to be filled. This is a great opportunity for economic growth and prosperity in our region. But, so much growth, so fast, does pose potential problems. Recent evidence points to a shortage of workers for jobs requiring some postsecondary education, but not a bachelor’s degree. Without rapid increases in postsecondary career and technology education (CTE) enrollment, existing worker shortages could worsen. In an effort to bring the major industries along the Houston Ship Channel together with school districts, community colleges, and other workforce development stakeholders to develop a strategic, multilayer plan to meet workforce needs and consolidate resources, Economic Alliance has created a Workforce Development Committee. This Committee is meeting regularly to identify and coordinate regional endeavors to address workforce training and employment needs. If you are interested in participating in this Committee, please contact Marisela Cantu at the Economic Alliance, Marisela@allianceportregion.com.


Abundant Natural Gas Ignites Houston Ship Channel Industry Renaissance Economic outlook conference examines industry plans for growth, economic prosperity, jobs

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etrochemical and maritime experts will share plans for petrochemical expansion that has the Houston Ship Channel region positioned for unprecedented growth at the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region outlook conference on September 5th. Refining and chemical industry executives and maritime experts will discuss how a dramatic natural gas revolution in the United States is driving industry growth and economic prosperity, and how other economic factors are contributing to the regional boom. The annual outlook conference will feature a morning keynote address from Port of Houston Authority chairman Janiece Longoria and a luncheon keynote from ExxonMobil senior vice president Lynne M. Lachenmyer. Longoria is expected to address overall tonnage and bulk cargo increases that led to the port’s historical high in revenue for a single month in May, 2013, as well as plans for $200 million in capital projects to modernize public terminals in advance of expected increase in marine traffic from the Panama Canal expansion. Lachenmyer is expected to discuss global natural gas markets and how those markets could impact natural gas exploration, exports and chemical plant expansions in the U.S. In addition to the keynotes, the petrochemical and maritime outlook conference will host two panel discussions. A petrochemical panel will review plans for local plant expansions and give an overview of the economic health of the industry. Van Long, ChevronPhillips Cedar Bayou plant manager and Woody Paul, ExxonMobil Baytown plant manager will be joined by Hector Rivero, president and CEO of Texas Chemical Council (TCC) and Rudy Underwood of American Chemistry Council (ACC). TCC & ACC see natural gas from shale formations in America as “game-changers” that could rejuvenate America’s chemistry industry, strengthen U.S. manufacturing, boost exports, create jobs – and significantly improve America’s energy security.

Improving Local Economy to Get Major Boost with $35 Billion Investment

A maritime panel will look at steel imports in light of pending industry expansion and continuing exploration of Texas natural gas fields. The panel also will discuss potential increases in shipping to the Port of Houston as the Panama Canal expansion is completed. Maritime panel members include Eric J. Change, Hanjin Shipping America, Patrick Hughes, CMA-CGM (America), and Rich Brazzale, Coutinho & Ferrostaal. Congressmen Gene Green and Randy Weber will kick off the conference with updates on congressional activity especially as it impacts economic growth, workforce development and regulatory oversight for the region. The Economic Alliance Houston Port Region outlook conference takes place following recent positive economic results and announcements of significant capital investment. According to a Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas report, June’s Texas manufacturing production index surged to its highest point in more than two years. The American Chemistry Council reported that low-cost natural gas, used as both fuel and feedstock, kept the chemical

industry competitive in the export market last year. In 2012, U.S. chemicals trade balance expanded to $11.7 billion from $9.3 billion. A recent Houston Port Bureau study of the Houston Ship Channel concluded that petrochemical and manufacturing industries will invest up to $35 billion in capital and maintenance which could result in 111,700 direct construction jobs and 154,100 induced and indirect jobs. “This is a great opportunity for economic growth and prosperity for our region,” said Chad Burke, president and CEO of the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region. “Our community and companies that work in our region will benefit from this growth. There will be thousands of jobs for our residents as a result of work secured by companies in the region – engineering and architectural firms, construction and maintenance companies, steel fabricators, logistics companies and support industries, such as pipe and valve companies and suppliers.” Burke expects nearly 600 people to attend to hear about industry growth and work that might come their way. The growth is not without its challenges, according to Burke.

“The annual outlook conference will feature a morning keynote address from Port of Houston Authority chairman Janiece Longoria and a luncheon keynote from ExxonMobil senior vice president Lynne M. Lachenmyer.” “We expect our speakers to address their challenges,” he said. “We know that companies look for reasonable and fair regulatory and tax environments, and an educated, skilled workforce. The Economic Alliance already has brought together industry and education to work on plans to develop a local workforce that can support future growth.” Burke says that San Jacinto College and Lee College will attend the conference and have booths. People interested in how to qualify for jobs created by industry expansion can meet with representatives from the colleges who will be conducting specific training for industry jobs. The conference will be held at Pasadena Convention Center, 7902 Fairmont Parkway, Pasadena, Texas, 77507, September 5th, 8 a.m.— 2 p.m.. Contact the Economic Alliance’s Marisela Cantu, (281) 476-9176 or Marisela@ allianceportregion.com, for tickets or sponsorship information.

HOLDING HOPE FOR THE NINA

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he search for the missing S/V Nina is underway and being directed by resources from Texas EquuSearch. A twin-engine aircraft lifted off from Australia’s Willamtown airport with two pilots and two search spotters the morning of July 18 (local time AUS) and completed a partial offshore search near Newcastle. However, this first aerial attempt did not meet with success in locating the S/V Nina or her crew. Additional searches are currently being planned. The next search begins July 19. The search and recovery team made up of Texas EquuSearch, Nina family members, and other volunteer resources have been working with New Zealand and Australian government agencies for help and support, but results have been minimal and have not produced any positive outcomes. In short, New Zealand and Australia have basically given up on this search and consider the Nina and her crew “lost at sea.” Therefore, the team is now working with U.S. government officials and agencies to gain access and technical support to review recent satellite imagery in hopes of tracking the Nina from its departure port of Opua, New Zealand to its last known location. These efforts are looking promising as many U.S. officials are stepping up to secure needed technical expertise in this area. Supporting search endeavors center upon fund raising in order to continue the expensive aerial searches. To date, Texas EquuSearch, Nina family members, and other volunteers are proactively seeking corporate and private donations and sponsorships and have received over US$85,000 with more coming from pledges. Contributions can be made to the S/V Nina Search Fund at www. TexasEquusearch.org - TES Case No. 13-1371 Lastly, Nina family members and Texas EquuSearch recovery experts have conducted multiple local and regional TV and radio interviews with media outlets in order to drive awareness of this critical search project and need for support. The following video is of Ricky Wright, father of 19-year old daughter Danielle Wright, Nina crew member. http:// www.katc.com/videos/dad-hittingobstacles-in-search-for-daughter-andcrew/ Further briefings will outline the plans and targets to find the Sailing Vessel Nina & crew.

AUGUST 2013 | Bay Area Houston Magazine

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Frazier’s Ornamental and Architectural Concrete Unsurpassed Selection of Home, Garden and Nautical Decor

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he name, Frazier’s By The Bay, says a lot about what the 60-year-old family business is developing in the Galveston Bay area. Being in size about half an acre on Hwy. 146 near the intersection of Hwy. 646 at Bacliff, this Frazier’s outlet is a highly concentrated offering of bay and nautical decor, along with their most popular home and garden designs selected from 14 acres of products in Hempstead. For any item not in stock locally, their “By The Bay” can assist customers with communication and delivery of the unparalleled selection in its Hempstead production location. Frazier’s By The Bay, in the Bacliff/ Kemah area, invites everyone to compare their quality and finishes with any other. Come see the amazing assortment of pelicans, flamingos, mermaids, lighthouses, tiki idols, religious and spiritual statuary, birdbaths, fountains, pet statues, benches, and gargoyles. For decades, Frazier’s has been a major supplier for churches , schools, universities and corporate developments. They are the “go to source” for many landscape designers, contractors and architects. Frazier’s is one of Texas’ best known resources for home and garden decor and commercial site furnishings. In Hempstead, its lovely startopped neo-Texas barn is surrounded with acres of ornamental and architectural concrete, pottery, bronzes, carved granite, aluminum lamps and furniture, memorials, wrought iron, one-time specialty offerings, commercial planters and site offerings. Frazier’s recent acquisition of Pavestone’s ornamental concrete division adds an exciting new dimension to its already extensive line of products, and expands and enhances its remarkable range of contemporary planters, park and campus furnishings, and elements to fulfill those perfect touches in corporate landscapes. For over half a century, Frazier’s Ornamental and Architectural Concrete has built its reputation upon customer service and care, upon a truly broad and unique collection which is constantly evolving, and upon manufacturing quality concrete fountains, statuary, columns and balustrades, varied architectural elements, memorials with custom etching, and special

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Bay Area Houston Magazine | AUGUST 2013

finishes. Collaborating with family member, Charlene Todaro, they provide highly praised custom finishes, many of which can be found only through Frazier’s. Fernando Gomez, co-owner and general manager, graduated in the mid- nineties with an industrial engineering degree from Texas A&M. Fernando has many years of experience working with architects, builders and designers, and oversees the relationship with A&M for providing campus site furnishings. Over the years, Frazier’s has been featured twice on “The Eyes of Texas,” and has made appearances on nearly all of the Houston network television stations. For over 15 years, they have sponsored A&M’s Weekend Gardener Show on KBTX in Bryan. Frazier’s is recognized for its long term support of firefighters across Texas and for its support of the military through the Watermelon Run For the Fallen fundraiser in August for Operation Military Embrace and the South Texas Honor Guard. Situated in Hempstead (right at the intersection of Highway 290 and Highway 6, known as the Gulf Coast Gateway to The Bluebonnet Trail), Frazier’s Ornamental and Architectural Concrete’s unique blend of unsurpassed selection, (on-hand and by special order), establishes itself as a delightful destination for homeowners, trade professionals, and scores of curious tour bus participants annually. Visitors truly appreciate and enjoy the natural setting in which their products are displayed and experience a very pleasant and relaxing shopping setting. Come and experience how just walking into either of Frazier’s two outlets in Bacliff and in Hempstead can lift your spirit and, perhaps, change your life for the better. For more information, please visit www.fraziersconcrete.com or call (281) 339-1139 (Bacliff) or (979) 921-2906 (Hempstead).


By Patty Kane

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Let Us Entertain You

Crazy Alan’s Swamp Shack now has a gift shop!

Come check out all three Las Haciendas ‘locations in Webster, South Shore Harbour and Fuqua.

The professionals from Legend Physical Therapy enjoy great nightlife at Cullen’s.

Come have a drink at the Pirate Dog Bar at Latitudes on the Bay.

Don’t forget to come out to Ladies Nite on Wednesday at Amadeus.


Pomodoro’s Serves the Best of Little Italy

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ew York, Chicago, Boston and Philly all claim they have the best Italian restaurant or café in the world. Well partners, we do not have to go far for our “Roman Food Holiday.” Pomodoro’s Cucina Italiana is located at 2700 Marina Bay Drive in the South Shore Harbour area. Pomodoro’s is owned and operated locally by the dynamic Louis and Jo Floridia. They have built a solid reputation of serving authentic, flavorful dishes. “Our goal is to serve good, freshly made food at a reasonable price. Furthermore, we are totally about the customers and we will bend over backwards within reason to please them,” stated Jo Floridia. Most of Pomodoro’s dishes are personal family recipes of their chef and owner, Louis Floridia. They serve only fresh food and all their vinaigrettes and dressings are made daily. The house favorite is the lemonbasil vinaigrette, which is served with their mouth watering “Insalada Gorgonzola.” This salad nicely combines a spring mix with romaine lettuce, chopped Roma tomatoes, Kalamata olives, roasted peppers, walnuts, apples, and Gorgonzola cheese. Another “award winning” salad is the “Insalada Pomodoro di More.” This fresh seafood salad consists of sautéed shrimp, scallops, calamari, and crabmeat with garlic and extra virgin olive oil served over a bed of spring mix, chopped Roma tomatoes and Kalamata olives. Along with fresh salads, Pomodoro’s also serve a large array of sandwiches, calzones, numerous pizzas, soup and many delectable signature entrees to choose from. A popular house

favorite is the “Snapper Josephine.” This delicious seafood dish will melt in your mouth. The snapper filet is grilled, served with fresh shrimp, and topped with crabmeat in a lemon, butter wine sauce. Pomodoro’s offers a fully loaded bar with premium and house liquor, beer and a new wine list. Don’t forget to try out Pomodoro’s new gourmet pizzas, such as the smoked salmon pizza, grilled eggplant pizza, or the fried calamari pizza. Finally, like all fine Italian restaurants, Pomodoro’s offers delicious desserts,

“Don’t forget to try out Pomodoro’s new gourmet pizzas, such as the smoked salmon pizza, grilled eggplant pizza, or the fried calamari pizza.” coffees and cappuccinos. This place is spotless, family friendly, and the wait staff is well trained, knowledgeable, and courteous. The price is right and the food is delicious. Pomodoro’s caters, provides free delivery and offers take out. For more information, call 281-334-5900 or e-mail pomodoroscatering@ yahoo.com. Look for their new venture, Days Deli opening soon in Webster.


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CCISD students struggle on STAAR writing tests By Mary Alys Cherry

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he new STAAR tests appear to be just a bit too hard for many Texas students, leaving them struggling to graduate despite a new state law cutting the number of exams needed to earn a diploma. Clear Creek ISD students scored considerably higher than the state average on the second round of State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness tests, preliminary results show, doing quite well on some but not so well in English I and English II Writing. Superintendent Dr. Greg Smith was happy with their overall performance, which included a 100 percent CCISD passing rate on Algebra II, 94 percent on Geometry, 96 percent on Biology and 97 percent on Chemistry. “I’m so proud of all of our students and teachers,” he said. “All the credit goes to them as they’ve worked extremely hard all school year.” But it was evident that work was still to be done when only 67 percent passed English I Writing and only 72 percent passed English II Writing.

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And, that was a really good passing rate when compared to the 48 percent passing English I Writing statewide and the 52 percent passing English II Writing across the state. Only about 60 percent of the students in Houston ISD passed. Under House Bill 5, passed by the 83rd Texas Legislature and signed by the governor, high school students are now required to pass five STAAR end-of-course exams to meet the new graduation requirements -- Algebra I, English I (combined reading/writing), English II (combined reading/ writing), Biology, and U.S. history. Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams felt “the difficulty of the tests, coupled with the uncertainty of the testing program’s future, likely impacted performance this year.” He also acknowledged that the writing exams are a significant departure from past state assessments, requiring students to write “expository and persuasive essays such as is typically expected in colleges.” To help strengthen future student performance, Williams said the

Bay Area Houston Magazine | AUGUST 2013

3rd Grade Reading Math 4th Grade Reading Math Writing 5th Grade Reading Math Science 6th Grade Reading Math 7th Grade Reading Math Writing 8th Grade Reading Math Science Social Studies

State

State

CCISD

(initial testers)

(all testers)

(all testers)

79% 70%

79% 69%

88% 76%

72% 68% 71%

72% 68% 71%

86% 80% 83%

77% 75% 73%

77% 75% 73%

89% 85% 81%

71% 74%

71% 74%

86% 85%

77% 71% 70%

77% 71% 70%

88% 85% 82%

84% 77% 75% 63%

84% 77% 75% 63%

93% 89% 90% 79%

Texas Education Agency has made a number of resources available to help improve writing skills – STAAR scoring guides that contain samples of well written STAAR essays. All CCISD students in grades 3 through 8 performed considerably better than the state average. Students in grades 5 and 8 must

End of Course English I Reading English I Writing English II Reading English II Writing Algebra I Geometry Algebra II Biology Chemistry World Geography World History

State

State

CCISD

(Initial testers)

(All testers)

(All testers)

70% 54% 78% 53% 82% 86% 97% 88% 84% 81% 70%

65% 48% 78% 52% 78% 86% 97% 85% 84% 75% 70%

82% 67% 91% 72% 92% 94% 100% 96% 97% 89% 87%

pass the reading and math tests to be promoted. Most achieved this goal, with the CCISD eighth graders doing slightly better than the fifth graders. “State assessments are just one indicator of student success,” Dr. Smith explained when the results were announced. “That’s why CCISD’s involvement with the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium is so important. Working with 22 other school districts, we are helping develop new learning standards, assessments and accountability systems.” HB 2824, which will give high performing districts, including CCISD, the opportunity and space to create real transformation in public education was passed by the Legislature.


AUGUST 2013 | Bay Area Houston Magazine

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How to Dispute a Credit Card Charge

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ave you ever ordered something online that was delivered damaged ‘ or never arrived at all? Or been double-billed by a merchant? Or spotted a charge on your credit card statement you didn’t make? Most of us have. Fortunately, the 1975 Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) protects your rights during such credit card billing disputes. It also outlines the process for contesting charges made to your account. Here’s how it works: First, FCBA protection applies only to “open-end” credit account transactions ‘ those involving credit cards or revolving charges (e.g., department store accounts). It doesn’t cover installment contracts you repay on a fixed schedule, such as car loans. Billing errors that are covered by the FCBA include: Fraudulent or unauthorized use of your credit card, whether it was stolen or merchants charged unapproved items to your account. Charges that list the wrong date or amount. Charges for goods or services you either did not accept or that weren’t delivered as agreed. Math errors, such as being charged twice for a transaction. Failure to post payments or other credits. (Note: Report suspected fraud immediately. By law, you’re only liable for the first $50 in unauthorized charges; however, most card issuers waive that liability if you report the charges quickly.) Review all billing statements carefully upon receipt because in order to be covered under FCBA rules, most disputed transactions must be reported within 60 days of the statement date on which the error appeared. First, contact the merchant and try to resolve the dispute directly with them. If this good-faith resolution attempt doesn’t work, you can escalate the process by filing a written report with your credit card issuer within the 60-day window. The card issuer is then obligated to investigate the dispute on your behalf. They must acknowledge your

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complaint, in writing, within 30 days of receipt and resolve the dispute with the merchant within two billing cycles ‘ but not more than 90 days. Send your letter via certified mail to the card issuer’s billing inquiry address, not the payment address. Include your name, address, account number and a description of the billing error. Include copies of sales slips or other documents that support your position. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you may withhold payment of the disputed amount and related charges during the investigation. In fact, many card issuers may voluntarily remove the charge until the matter is resolved since they are representing you, their client, in the dispute. If it turns out your bill contains a mistake, the creditor must explain, in writing, the corrections that will be made. In addition to crediting your account, they must remove all finance charges, late fees, or other charges related to the error. However, if the card issuer’s investigation determines that you owe part ‘ or all ‘ of the disputed amount, they must promptly provide you with a written explanation. If you disagree with the investigation’s results, you may further dispute your claim with the creditor, as outlined by the FTC at www.consumer.ftc. gov/articles/0219-fair-credit-billing. (That site also contains a sample dispute letter and other helpful FCBA information.) If you believe a creditor has violated the FCBA, you may file a complaint with the FTC or sue them in court. Hopefully, you’ll never have a billing dispute that goes to these extremes. But it’s good to know how consumer laws protect you, just in case. This article is brought to you by a partnership between Visa and Texas First Bank and was authored by Jason Alderman, who directs Visa’s financial education programs.  For more information, follow Texas First Bank on Facebook, Twitter and You Tube or visit us at www.texasfirstbank.com. 


Supreme Lending and the Montgomery Group Form a Dynamic Team

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he Montgomery Mortgage Group, located at 1011 East Main in Historic League City, is now a branch of Supreme Lending of Dallas, Texas. Mortgage Executive Magazine ranks Supreme Lending #33 in the Top 100 Mortgage Companies in America for 2012, and Genworth U.S. Mortgage Insurance recognized it for Lending Excellence. Casey Montgomery and Mimi Montgomery, a brother and sister team; have been in business in the Clear Lake area since 2002. Both Casey and Mimi specialize in conventional financing, FHA, VA, jumbo loans, and refinance including streamline products. Casey, Mimi, and their families reside in League City. Their expertise in both purchase and refinance transactions resulted in the readers of Bay Area Magazine

voting them 2012 Best of the Bay Mortgage Lender. The Montgomery Group is proud to announce the addition to their team of Silvio Vincenzo, a multi-million dollar producer and certified mortgage planner. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Silvio moved to Texas in 1993 where he lives in Clear Lake area with his wife Deborah and their dog, Bella. Silvio, who is also an ordained minister, receives 86 percent of his business and referrals from past clients. His business motto is, “Mortgages—Not Surprises.” He is available by phone seven days a week from 7:30 AM until 9:30 PM at 281-486-5510 or via email: Silvio. Vincenzo@supremelending.com. The Supreme Lending Montgomery Group has a strong and genuine belief in the “customer for life” principle of doing business. Referrals from previous customers and local real estate professionals have always delivered the majority of their production. You may visit them on the web at MimiMontgomery. com or caseymontgomerymortgage.com The Montgomery Group office is open Monday through Friday. Call 281.332.3070 for an appointment or email Casey at casey.montgomery@ supremelending.com or Mimi at mimi.montgomery@supremelending. com.

AUGUST 2013 | Bay Area Houston Magazine

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Photos by Mary Alys Cherry

Bay Oaks Country Club to Mark 25th Anniversary By Mary Alys Cherry

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wenty-five years. It may seem like just yesterday, but Bay Oaks Country Club will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a big Silver Soiree Saturday, Aug. 3. Twenty-five years of galas, golf and tennis tournaments, marriages and wedding receptions, club luncheons, bridge and book club meetings, receptions and family gatherings. Twenty-five years of being one of the centers of the Bay Area’s social life. “Home” to Space Center Rotary, the Bay Area Military Officers’ Wives Club, the Bay Area Realtors and the Bay Area Welcome Neighbors Club, to name a few organizations that meet there, and a home away from home for hundreds of families. A place where everyone says hello and has a warm smile for all. Some have been members since the club first opened -- Gregory and Annette Allen, Brent and Jan Bailey, Mary Ann Baxter, George and Glenna Crist, Nestor and Gloria Cruz, Domenic and Sheila Dell’Osso, Richard and Janet Derauf, James and Linda Dixon, Donald and Dianne Fanning, Roger and Ina Donnelly, Malcolm and Priscilla Fletcher, Burley Gill, Dane and Zlata Grenoble, Jerry and Patricia Gunn, Chris and Peggy Heinrich, J. Ferrel Henderson, Kenneth and Nancy Hockin, Jimmy and Becky Jamison. Plus, Joseph and Sue Kazda, Timothy and Diane Keller, Dub and Wanda Kelly, John and Jeanette Koerschner, Ronald and Carole Krist, Jung and Marilyn Lee, Everett and Sue Lyons, Robert and Jeana Magness, Robert and Cathy McDaniel, Lance and Barbara Miller, Jeff and Laurie Neale, Jerome and Betsy Pennington, Warren Saunders, Juanita Schaefer, Donald and Sharon Shaffett, Steve and Diane Sneed and Ralph and Phyllis Tharp.

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Built by Friendswood Development Corp., as part of the Bay Oaks subdivision of Clear Lake City, which is now a part of Houston, the country club and golf course were built in stages with the 18-hole championship golf course completed before the country club. Today, its great greens rival those of most any course in the country. The club’s first general manager was Dan Olson, followed by Charlie Lout, Mike Griswold, Chuck Cox, Patrick Pettit and Jeff Teich. Duane Brown is the current GM. The first round of golf was played Nov. 18, 1988. Roger Donnelly remembers how the pro shop was on a trailer -- where the second row of parking is now -- until the clubhouse was completed the following year and John Maca was the first golf pro, followed by Ken McDonald and the current pro, Scott Olsen. “A large Army tent with tables, chairs, etc. was put up for the inaugural round,” Donnelly says. “Mike Dumas was named golf course superintendent, as he had been at Clear Lake Golf Club. His staff included Terry Gill, who later became golf course superintendent.” Wasn’t long before Bay Oaks had nearly 325 golf memberships that first year and a few years later the total club membership zoomed to more than 700. Member involvement has Duane Brown is the new general manager of Bay Oaks Country Club. been one of the key

(Left) David and Belva Dewey, left, and Jerry and Tricia Gunn arrive at the country club for the Bay Oaks Women’s Association gala in 1997. (Right) Connie Lopez waves to a friend as she leaves Bay Oaks Country Club with her membership packet. She and her husband, Dr. Rudy Lopez, were among the first members of the club.

factors in the success of the club, without question. Once the 35,000-square-foot country club opened, Connie Lopez and Barbara Phillips, who were among the club’s early board of governors members, decided what the new club needed was an active social life and got together with Nancy McDonald to form the Ladies Golf Association and the Bay Oaks Women’s Association. Then they set about planning a couple of dazzling galas and together hosted a Holiday Extravaganza in November 1990 featuring members of the new Bay Oaks Women’s Association modeling furs and holiday evening fashions before a sellout crowd. The following November, Lopez chaired another Extravaganza featuring fashions by top designer Gianni Versace and modeled by club members – both men and women. And they were on their way. The late Barbra Mouton was BOWA’s first president and under her leadership was the beginning of an unending string of BOWA events and a lively social life for members. Members worked hard to make every event a success, and before long, a Bay Oaks Country Club membership was the hottest ticket in town. Ten years after opening, Bay Oaks was honored with ClubCorp’s highest award when chosen the 1998 National Country Club of the Year. BOWA luncheons became a “must” for members with speakers such as former Texas First Lady Nellie Connelly, Judge Ted Poe, famous Houston TV personalities such as Ron Stone, Jan Carson, Frank Billingsly and Doug Brown, Dallas News columnist Maryln Schwartz and presidential assistant Peter Roussel leading to sellout luncheons and long waiting lists. A couple of other colorful events that come to mind were the “Rumble in the Rainforest” and the “Rumrunner’s Barefoot Ball,” which brought out big crowds.


Meanwhile, the beautiful golf course designed by architect Art Hills, became a magnet for the area’s golfers with the club calendar filled just about every Monday with tournaments – a practice that continues today. The first non-club tournament was the Lunar Rendezvous Golf Tournament of 1989. Both the Men’s and Women’s Golf Association have a full schedule of events year ‘round – tournaments by the dozen, Club Championships, plus a Senior Club Championship, Junior Golf, Little Linksters, even Couples Golf. Several senior members belong to the happy-go-lucky group, the BOOBs (Bay Oaks Old Boys). The Men’s Tennis League and the Houston Ladies Tennis Association under the tutelage

of Head Tennis Pro Bill Norfolk, and more recently, Rene Ronquillo, are equally active at Bay Oaks with singles, doubles and member-guest tournaments scheduled year ‘round, along with Interleague play with the area yacht clubs and other tennis clubs. On other days, there’re trips to the big swimming pool or the new fitness center. Most fun of all is listening to the golfers as they tell of meeting up with little creatures from the animal kingdom along the way – alligators, fox, skunks, ducks, coyotes, deer and snakes that inhabited the 150 acres of land before it became Bay Oaks. There is the member who couldn’t see well and while hunting for his golf ball almost came noseto-nose with an alligator. But he wasn’t the only one. Several have abandoned golf balls when they landed too close to a snake or gator. Russ Colombo tells of seeing a deer give birth in the trees near No. 1 and then having the “Bambies” come out to greet him and his golfing partners. He also once saw a deer running on its hind legs chasing a coyote and two un-named souls drive their golf carts into the water. “Watching someone drive a cart into the water, try to get out before they get wet and save their clubs all at the same time is absolutely indescribably funny. It’s also impossible,” he says. “Without question, member involvement has been one of the strongest factors in the success of the club,” General Manager Duane Brown says. Brown, who came to Bay Oaks in January from Florida, where he was general manager of the EastLake Woodlands Country Club in the Tampa Bay area, has been with ClubCorp, which manages Bay Oaks, for 15 years. A Houston native, who studied advertising and communications at Texas Christian University, he enjoys being a part of his community and participates in numerous organizations, including the chamber of commerce and Rotary Club.

Nick and Sheila Dell’Osso, left, and Bob and Cathy McDaniel were among the many at the Crystal Ball celebrating Bay Oaks’ 10th anniversary in 1999. The late Barbra Mouton was chairman of the gala with Connie Lopez as co-chairman.

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AUGUST 2013 | Bay Area Houston Magazine

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Bay Area Houston Magazine August 2013  

The August 2013 issue of Bay Area Magazine features the partnership of Buffalo Marine and San Jacinto College. A careful coordination produc...

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