Archive for December, 2010

TWENTY-YEARS-OLD NEW YEAR’S EVE MURDER REMAINS UNSOLVED
December 31, 2010

 (News Release from HCSO)

(HOUSTON, TX) – Investigators with the HCSO’s Cold Case Unit need your help in solving a New Year’s Eve capital murder that happened ten years ago.

 It was Monday, Dec. 31, 1990. Tilmer Avery was at his apartment at 717 Richcrest Dr. in north Harris County celebrating the incoming year with family. About 10:30 p.m., four men armed with guns forced their way into the apartment. Mr. Avery, 46, was shot and killed and the apartment was ransacked.The suspects were described only as black males in their teens or early 20’s. They fled the scene in a dark pickup truck.Anyone with information about the attackers in this case is asked to please contact Crime Stoppers of Houston at 713-222-TIPS (713-222-8477) or the HCSO’s Cold Case Unit at 713-967-5911.

This is one of several cold cases that the HCSO is featuring every week in hopes of gathering new information that may help solve them. For many of these cases, there is very little information, so investigators are relying solely on the public’s tips.

  

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Late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan Is 2011 Black Heritage Stamp Honoree
December 29, 2010

 A postage stamp honoring the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan will be included in the selection of  new stamps released for 2011.

Jordan, from Houston, served in the state legislature before running for Congress in 1973.   Congresswoman Jordan became a household name after her electrifying speech during the Watergate hearings.  After retiring, she taught at the University of  Texas LBJ School of  Public Affairs.  Today there is a statue in her honor located on the UT campus.

 

In a news release sent to 2 On The Beat,  U.S. Senator John Cornyn  (R-TX) today applauded the U.S. Postal Service’s selection of the late U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan, a pioneering politician and civil rights leader.

“As the first African-American woman elected to the Texas legislature and first southern African-American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Barbara Jordan’s achievements cement her standing among the great cultural and political icons of our time.    

“This honor will help us remember her life’s accomplishments, but the true commemoration of her life can be seen in the growing numbers of African-American and minority women serving as elected officials across the country.” 

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Football Players and Fans In Houston for Texas Bowl 2010
December 28, 2010

They have filled up area  hotels and have been seen out on the town eating at restaurants and shopping at local stores. 

It doesn’t take long to spot the football players and fans who are in town for the Texas Bowl.

Just look for the Baylor Bears wearing their green and gold or the Illinois fighting Illini who are proudly displaying the orange and blue.

The game will be played at Reliant Stadium on Wednesday, December 29, but there is plenty of  fun  leading up to the 5 p.m. kickoff.

(for ticket information go to: http://www.thetexasbowl.com/)

On Tuesday,  both teams visited the Depelchin Children’s Center, which is the official charitable beneficiary of the 2010 Texas Bowl.

I was there while some of the Illinois team members visited  DePelchin and spent a good amount of time joking and  laughing with the children and their parents,  signing footballs and helmets and handing out  Texas Bowl t-shirts.

Later,  hundreds of  people packed into the Westin Galleria hotel ballroom for a pep rally featuring Baylor fans, cheerleaders, the marching band and the football team.

Coach Art Briles, the former University of  Houston coach, and Baylor Quarterback Robert Griffin  were definitely the two biggest stars of the show.

The Bears are playing in their first bowl game since 1994, so you can only imagine the enthusiasm and high expectations for this game.  Sic ’em Bears.

Services Announced For Fallen UH Police Officer
December 25, 2010

 

University of Houston police officer Ann O’Donnell died early Christmas Eve when she slammed her police cruiser into a tree while responding to an emergency call.

“She was a fine, dedicated officer, and we are deeply saddened by her death. Our hearts go out to her family, friends and fellow officers during this difficult time,” UHDPS Chief Malcolm Davis said. “(She was) very personable, very excited — starting her career, really looked forward to what she was doing and had a firm desire to serve the public.”

 From a news release: December 25, 2010

Services for Ann O’Donnell will be Wednesday, December 29 in Galveston.

9:30-10:45 Visitation at Carnes Brothers Funeral Home, 1201 Tremont

11:00 Services at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2216 Ball Ave.

Followed by Internment in Mount Olivet Cemetery, 7801 Gulf Freeway @ Hughes Rd., in Dickinson 

The family requests in lieu of flowers donations be made in Ann’s name to the 100 Club of Houston, 5555 San Felipe St., Suite 520, Houston 77056, or www.the100club.org.

Texas Inaugural BBQ Announced
December 22, 2010

(News Release)

2011 Texas Inaugural BBQ to be Held on the Capitol Grounds
Tickets Available for Purchase at www.2011texasinaugural.com

AUSTIN – Dec. 21, 2010 – The 2011 Texas Inaugural today announced that following the swearing in ceremony for Gov. Perry and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst on Jan. 18th at 11 a.m., a family-friendly BBQ will be held on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol.
 
“Whether you’ve lived in Texas your whole life, just moved here or plan to move here, we invite you to join us for the ceremony and a huge BBQ afterward,” said Weisie Steen, chair of the 2011 Texas Inaugural Committee. “This is a historic time for our great state, so plan on attending – and bring the whole family!”
 
The inauguration ceremony is free to the public and will be on the South Steps of the Capitol and the BBQ lunch is $8 per person. Tickets for lunch should be purchased in advance through the inaugural Web site: www.2011texasinaugural.com. This Texas-sized event will feature live music, children’s activities and world-class Texas BBQ. 
To purchase tickets or check for the latest news on inaugural events, please visit www.2011texasinaugural.com.

About 2011 Texas Inaugural
The events surrounding the ceremony are scaled back from prior years including a family-friendly BBQ rather than a parade, and for the evening celebration cocktail attire is recommended rather than formal. Through ticket sales and private funding, 2011 Texas Inaugural celebrations operate at no state expense. The Inaugural Committee is an entity formed by statute that convenes with the election of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to make arrangements for conducting ceremonies and events to observe the inauguration.

Police Chief and Blue Santa Attend Holiday Party for Children
December 20, 2010

  

Hundreds of  children were treated to an early Christmas Monday when Houston Police Chief  Charles McClelland and Blue Santa hosted a party at the Clayton Homes community Center.

Clayton Homes is  one of the public housing neighborhoods that is managed by the Houston Housing Authority.   Families struggle all year to make ends meet, so getting some Christmas cheer from the men and women in blue is greatly appreciated by the parents and their children.

In addition to getting a chance to sit on Blue Santa’s lap, each child received three Christmas presents and had the opportunity to meet officers from HPD SWAT, Mounted Patrol and the Motorcycle Unit.

The party was co-hosted by Halliburton, The Houston Police Foundation, Houston Children’s Charity, Linn Energy and  Mark Micheletti, executive director of the Berkeley Eye Center.

Assistant Chief Vickie King told 2 on The Beat that The Blue Santa program began more than twenty years ago as a way for Houston  police officers to give back to some of the  needy families they meet while on patrol.

Officers who sign-up to  participate in the program donate $10 a month and many of them volunteer at the different Blue Santa parties.  King says leftover gifts are donated to Ben Taub and LBJ Hospitals.

This is a great program that brings holiday cheer to families in need and builds relationships between the community and the Houston Police Department.

A Big Loss For The Greater Houston Partnership
December 19, 2010

 It’s a big loss for the Greater Houston Partnership, but a great opportunity for Tracye McDaniel, the GHP’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. 

“On behalf of GHP’s Board of Directors and Members, I want to thank Tracye for her service to Houston and its business community,” said Patrick Oxford, Chairman of the Greater Houston Partnership. “Much of the success we have had in recent years is due to Tracye’s hard work and leadership.”

 McDaniel is leaving Houston and the Lone Star State to lead a business organization in New Jersey, the state of Liberty and Prosperity.

According to a news release, McDaniel has been chosen by New Jersey Governor Christie to lead “Choose New Jersey” a new non-profit corporation designed to market, promote and facilitate business attraction, expansion and retention in New Jersey.

“I congratulate Governor Christie for hiring Tracye,” said Jeff Moseley, President and CEO of GHP. “As her work at GHP shows, Tracye is undoubtedly among the top national talents for growing jobs and economic development.” 

 (Here’s more about McDaniel’s experience)

McDaniel served GHP during an exciting time of growth and prosperity for the organization. Her greatest contribution may be her work on Opportunity Houstonsm, a five-year marketing program that generates leads for economic development organizations throughout the 10-county region. Working with Houston business leaders and GHP staff, McDaniel was charged with overseeing activities relating to the organization’s $40 million capital fundraising campaign and 10-year strategic plan to identify 600,000 new jobs; attract $60 billion in new capital investment; and increase foreign investment by $125 billion in the Houston region. 

During McDaniel’s tenure, GHP was also certified as an Accredited Economic Development Organization by the International Economic Development Council. GHP is the largest regional business organization to earn this prestigious accreditation. 

In addition to her fulfilling her duties to GHP, McDaniel was appointed by Governor Rick Perry to serve on the Board of Regents of Texas Southern University and Board of Directors of Texas One, a major source of economic development marketing funds for the State of Texas. 

The Greater Houston Partnership is evaluating the appropriate steps to take to fill McDaniel’s position and expects to continue its success in 2011 with the help of a highly-talented and determined team.

HISD Taking Applications for All-Boys/All-Girls College Preparatory Academies
December 19, 2010

 (HISD News Release)

December 17, 2010 – HISD is currently accepting applications for admission to the new all-boys and all-girls college preparatory academies recently approved by the HISD Board of Education. Both schools will open in the fall of 2011 with sixth and ninth grades only. Subsequent grades will be added on a yearly basis.

The mission of the two schools will be to develop the full potential of every student by fostering an educational environment that encourages critical thinking, inspires student confidence, and nurtures both the intellectual and social development necessary to attend and graduate from college. Both academies will feature a rigorous curriculum which includes pre-AP and AP courses.

 The all-girls school is being developed in partnership with the Foundation for the Education of Young Women, which has five other campuses for young-women in Texas. The all-boys campus is being modeled after successful male college preparatory academies in Chicago and Harlem.

Incoming sixth and ninth grade students interested in applying to the gender-based schools for the 2011 school year must do so by January 31. In order to apply, students must have a 75 percent or better average in all classes, have a desire and commitment to attend a four-year college or university, have good attendance and behavior, and meet state requirements for the advancement to the next grade level.

Those students who are deemed eligible will be selected by a lottery process after review of their application, teacher recommendations, and a student essay. If selected for admission, the student must attend an in person interview and orientation session with their parents or guardian.

To apply for admission to either academy, students can fill out an application found on the district’s website or by clicking here.

Completed applications should be mailed to the Office of School Choice at district headquarters located at 4400 West 18th Street, Houston, TX 77092-8501. Questions regarding the admissions process and enrollment requirements for both schools may be directed to the Office of School Choice at 713-556-6947.

 

The Houston Independent School District is the largest school district in Texas and the seventh-largest in the United States with 298 schools and more than 200,000 students. The 301-square-mile district is one of the largest employers in the Houston metropolitan area with nearly 30,000 employees.

Houston Based CITGO Sends Relief Aid To Help Flood Victims in Venezuela
December 19, 2010

It’s been reported that flooding and mudslides have killed dozens of people in Venezuela and left more than 130, 000 people homeless.

Houston based CITGO has taken the extraordinary step to send humanitarian relief to the victims. 

According to the news release below, a situation room has been activated in the office of  CITGO’s president.

The company is not asking for donations at the moment, however, I will keep you posted and let you know if the situation changes.

HOUSTON – Dec. 19, 2010 — “As part of the humanitarian relief effort being undertaken by CITGO Petroleum Corporation to help Venezuelan flood victims, we have made eight air cargo deliveries with more than 450 tons of supplies to help 40,000 people,” said CITGO President and CEO Alejandro Granado, as he visited a reception and storage center set up for this initiative in Miami. 

He added that “President Hugo Chávez, who has been at the forefront of efforts to help the flood victims, and Energy and Petroleum Minister and Petróleos de Venezuela President Rafael Ramírez, have directly requested the equipment, materials and other supplies that are needed in Venezuela.  For the past two weeks, we have been purchasing the requested items and will continue to do so until completing, as soon as possible, acquisitions that will benefit 75,000 people.”

 The CITGO president pointed out that the items being sent include 7,000 tents, of which 3,600 have already been sent, 20,000 cots, 10,000 bunk beds with their corresponding mattresses, sheets, blankets and pillows, as well as 2,500 AM/FM radios/flashlights.  Other items included are lifts, boats, rubber boots, power generators and others.

 “Those items that have not been sent yet are being purchased or are underway to our reception and storage center in Miami.  From there, they will be sent to Venezuela.  At the same time, we have activated a situation room at the Office of the Presidency at CITGO in Houston, and we have staff in Miami and Caracas so that they can offer their support to coordination and logistics efforts.

 “We are coordinating, delivering and giving support in the installation of the temporary shelters along the Bolivarian Armed Forces, the Civil Protection Office, and PDVSA.  We are also joining forces with the Plurinational Republic of Bolivia, which owns Transportes Aéreos Bolivianos (TAB).  This company has transported most of the shipments and has offered its services with solidarity,” added the high ranking oil official.

 Finally, Alejandro Granado highlighted that “the CITGO personnel is very aware of the emergency situation in Venezuela and we are motivated and proud of being able to help, with love and selflessness, with the goal of contributing to the wellbeing of the Venezuelan people. 

CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products.  The company is owned by PDV America, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Congresswoman Jackson Lee Celebrates Christmas Early With Hundreds of Children
December 18, 2010

Christmas arrived a little early for hundreds of  Houston children who live in public housing.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee sponsored her  Annual “Toys for Kids” on Saturday, December 18, at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Along with providing pictures with Santa, hot dogs and popcorn, the Congresswoman also made sure that all of the good little boys and girls received Christmas presents.

Bicycles donated by Bishop I.V. and Lady Bridget Hilliard were raffled at  the end of the celebration.

 

The children also had an opportunity to meet real live heroes such as astronauts Stephanie Wilson and George Zamika, former Houston Rockets star Calvin Murphy and rapper Trae the Truth.

 

 This is the 16th year that the Congresswoman sponsored the toys for kids celebration. 

She has enlisted an army of volunteers to help, people like Goodwille Pierre and his daughter Joi and the men from “Sharing the Light” from New Light Church.

Each year the event seems to get bigger and better.