Archive for October, 2011

K9s4COPS Fundraiser Attracts Dogs and Big Donors
October 28, 2011

Generous Houstonians opened their hearts and their wallets Thursday night at a fundraiser benefitting a non-profit group that supports local law enforcement.

K9s4COPS is composed of people who donate their time and effort to provide police agencies with a well-trained canine companion that can assist in crime fighting.  The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is a recipient of the group’s  generosity.

Founder KK Schiller says she started the organization after seeing  a sad story on the news about a sheriff’s deputy whose four-legged partner was killed by two burglary suspects the police dog was chasing.

Like many  departments, the HCSO does not always have enough resources to purchase and train dogs.

During Thursday night’s event, two King Shepherd puppies were auctioned for more than $70,000.  Overall, the successful event raised more than half a million dollars.

Guests for the evening included: Mayor Annise Parker, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia and special guest, private investigator Bill “Wild Bill” Stanton.

Advertisements

GOP Candidate Herman Cain Visits Houston
October 25, 2011

While Texas Governor Rick Perry was in South Carolina announcing details of a proposed flat tax, GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, the man who is promoting a 9-9-9 tax plan, was a guest speaker at rally sponsored by the Clear Lake Tea Party Tuesday evening.

Dozens of people waited in line for a chance to pay $100 for an autograph copy of his book, Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House, shake hands and pose for pictures with Cain.

Some political pundits have predicted that Cain will soon reach the end of his fifteen minutes of political fame, but many of the people who attended the event view Cain as the real deal.

“We like him because he speaks the truth and isn’t a politician,” said Geri Bentley, with the Clear Lake Tea Party.

A CBS News/New York Times poll released Tuesday shows Cain leading all republican presidential hopefuls, while Governor Perry placed a distant fifth in the poll of registered, likely republican voters.

Meanwhile, the Texas Tea Party Patriots announced Monday they will host a Lincoln-Douglas debate,” featuring Cain and Newt Gingrich. One of the debates is scheduled to take place in the Woodlands.

Candidates Make Push on Eve of Early Voting
October 24, 2011

 With only hours to go before the start of early voting, political candidates spent Sunday crisscrossing the greater Houston area urging their constituents to vote in the election. 

One event drew several contenders vying for seats on  Houston city council, the Houston school board and Houston Community College.

Delta Sigma Theta sorority held a candidates forum at the organization’s headquarters in the third ward. Controller Ron Green, at-large position 5 incumbent Jolanda Jones and challenger Laurie Robinson, HISD trustee incumbent Paula Harris and challenger Davetta Daniels were some of the candidates who attended the forum, which included questions from moderator Cindy George and people in the audience.

Early voting runs through Friday, November 4. Election day is on Tuesday, November 8.

Turnout is expected to be low.

To find an early voting location click this link: http://www.harrisvotes.com/

Community Honors Legendary Radio Host Wash Allen
October 23, 2011

For more than four decades, radio personality Wash Allen has given his heart and soul to the community.  He’s been a smooth and consistent voice behind the microphone on KCOH Radio.  It’s common to see him at galas and other important events interviewing people for his television show.

On Saturday night, the community turned out to honor Wash and celebrate his 45 years of broadcasting excellence.  Wash Allen was the recipient of the 2011 Legacy Award given by Rice University’s HERE Project.

The guest hosts for the evening were actor and producer Leon Issac Kennedy and personality Darian Ward.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Houston attorney Waverly Nolley, public relations expert Judy Foston and Forward Times Publisher Karen Carter Richards were just some of the faces in the crowd.

In 1971, Wash Allen became Houston’s first African American TV host with a weekly TV show called Talent Unlimited. For that reason and many others, the Houston Association of Black Journalists also joined in honoring Wash.

Houston ISD’s Statement On Why It will Join School Finance Lawsuit
October 20, 2011

Texas’ Largest School District Joins Fight to Strike Down School Finance System

HISD will join coalition of school districts challenging the constitutionality of Texas’ school finance system

 October 20, 2011 – The Houston Independent School District on Thursday joined the growing statewide movement to have Texas’ school finance system declared unconstitutional.

            The HISD Board of Education voted to authorize a lawsuit against the state on the grounds that Texas lawmakers have not met their constitutionally mandated obligation to adequately fund public education. The recently adopted state budget cuts education funding by $5 billion over a two-year period. This funding cut comes at a time when Texas is adding 80,000 more students each year and lawmakers are holding school districts accountable for meeting the highest academic standards in state history.

            HISD lost $78 million in state funding this year and anticipates a $122 million cut in 2012-2013. Last week, the Board of Education voted to hold HISD’s property tax rate steady, maintaining HISD’s status as having the lowest tax rate among the 21 school districts in Harris County.

            “Raising local property taxes is not the solution,” said HISD Board President Paula Harris. “We kept our tax rate low and shame on anyone in Austin who says ‘We shouldn’t have to fix school finance for Houston ISD because you’re not raising taxes.’”

            The lawsuit marks the seventh time in the past 30 years that Texas school districts have joined together to challenge the state’s school finance system, said attorney David Thompson, whose Thompson & Horton law firm will represent HISD and many more districts.

“We are dramatically raising the standards more than at any time in the history of the state of Texas and we are simultaneously cutting funds,” Thompson said. “It is time to ask our judiciary to once again be involved in this issue.”

Thompson successfully argued the 2005 school finance lawsuit that resulted in the Texas Supreme Court striking down the previous funding system. At the time, the court warned that significant structural change to the state’s school finance system was needed, writing that it “remain(ed) to be seen whether the system’s predicted drift toward constitutional inadequacy (would) be avoided by legislative action to widespread calls for change.”

Lawmakers responded to that ruling with a revised funding system that reduced school property taxes and sought to replace the lost revenue with an expanded business tax. The plan did not work.

Harris thanked the parents, HISD employees, and others who lobbied on behalf of Texas school children during the past legislative session.

            “We have to take this step once again and protect our classrooms, protect our teachers, and most of all protect the children of the Houston Independent School District,” Harris said of the lawsuit.

            Trustee Juliet Stipeche agreed: “We’ve essentially been asked to make bricks without straw.”

            Stipeche added that some state lawmakers fought for adequate public education funding, but found themselves in the minority.

            “There were many legislators who tried their best to make sure we weren’t put in this situation,” she said. “Thank you to the legislators who fought on behalf of Texas children.”

            HISD’s share in the lawsuit’s cost is expected to total $65,000. The last time HISD participated in such a lawsuit, a judge ordered the state to reimburse the district’s legal fees.

            Many other Texas school boards, including those in Fort Bend and Pearland, have already agreed to participate in litigation against the state and many more are expected to do so in the coming weeks, Thompson said.

            “This will be a broad and diverse coalition of school districts that will stand together and raise common concerns to seek a ruling to compel the Legislature to adequately fund public education, provide local discretion, and tie funding to the standards and requirements by the state,” Thompson said.

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.

For more information, visit the HISD Web site at www.houstonisd.org.

Basketball Legend Brings Business Magic to Houston
October 19, 2011

At 6’9 Earvin “Magic” Johnson is use  to being the center of attention.  However, during a recent visit to Houston Johnson focused on business development and not basketball strategy.

Johnson attended the reopening of the newly revitalized Marq-E Center in West Houston.   The former NBA legend, and his business partner have heavily invested in the future of the mix-use entertainment property, which includes a cinema, several restaurants , a Houston police department storefront and nightclubs.

 

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Councilmember Brenda Stardig and business leaders welcomed Magic to town on Tuesday.  He greeted everyone with his signature radiant smile and warm personality.  He was kind enough to pose for pictures and sign autographs.

The Marq-E isn’t the only project getting an upgrade thanks to a financial committment from the partnership, Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds.  The group also purchased the Hotel Icon, which was in foreclosure. Investors plan to overhaul the lobby and guest rooms to make the hotel more enticing for both tourists and Houstonians.

First Lady Plans Fundraising Trip To Houston
October 17, 2011

A few days ago, President Barack Obama announced his re-election campaign raised $70.1 Million.

Now we’re hearing that First Lady Michelle Obama is coming to Houston to add to the campaign coffers.

Local democratic party fundraisers are sending out notices urging people to start writing checks for a chance to meet FLOTUS and contribute to the re-election effort.

Here’s a copy of one I received from LaRence Snowden, a personal friend of Barack and Michelle Obama:

Yes, it’s that time again…

I am extremely honored to be a part of the committee bringing my friend, First Lady Michelle Obama to Houston on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 for two events! (it brings back memories of the campaign travel for 2008)
First, please consider joining us for a Reception at the Westin Oaks Galleria, at 3:30 pm. You can attend this event for $250 with the opportunity to hear Mrs. Obama speak about the important issues we are facing today (she is the ultimate surrogate for our President). Also, there will be a VIP reception with local dignitaries and a photo opportunity with the First Lady, at higher contribution levels.
The reception link provides details and contribution levels
Reception: my.barackobama.com/November1HoustonReception
The second event is a Private Dinner at a home in Houston. Each dinner guest will have the opportunity for a photo with the First Lady.
The dinner link provides details and contribution levels.
Dinner: My.barackobama.com/november1houstondinner
Two great events, one exciting evening…I hope you are able to attend one of them. Join me in making this a great evening as we welcome OUR First Lady to Texas. You will be inspired! Please make your contribution today so that we can show Texas size support for OUR President for the upcoming campaign…we must keep moving forward.
If you are able to attend, please let me know. In addition, I would be grateful if you would enter my name, LaRence Snowden in the box asking “who encouraged you to make this contribution.”
If you have any questions, please email me (thesnowdengroup@aol.com) or give me a call at 713-302-1463. If you know of others who might be interested in either event please forward their names to me, and I will contact them as well (letting them know that you provided the connection). It will be a day to remember in Houston!!!
I am counting on you – join me on November 1st.

The Founder of CHI Wins Against Counterfeiting
October 13, 2011

Farouk Systems Wins Against Counterfeiting

Federal Court Decides in favor of

Farouk Systems, Inc vs. Costco Wholesale Corporation

Immediate release—Houston-based Farouk Systems, manufacturer of CHI® and BioSilk® brands filed a lawsuit on October 27, 2009 charging the Seattle-based Costco Wholesale Corporation for violating the Lanhm Act which prohibits the selling of counterfeit, non-genuine goods. 

After nearly two years of litigation, the jury agreed and found that Costco had indeed sold counterfeit CHI-branded merchandise consistent with the charges made by Farouk Systems.

“We are pleased that the jury returned a verdict in our favor and found Costco liable for selling counterfeit merchandise bearing the CHI trademark,” says General Counsel Wisam Ghuneim representing Farouk Systems. “This verdict is a significant milestone in the ongoing fight against buyers, distributors, and sellers of counterfeit and fake goods.  It is of paramount importance that retailers employ better and prudent practices to ensure that the products they sell the public are genuine.  Not only do counterfeit and fake goods infringe on intellectual property rights of brand owners, but they also take much needed jobs away from the American economy”.

Farouk Shami, founder and chairman of Farouk Systems adds, “I’m very pleased with the verdict and this shows that Farouk Systems will fight known counterfeiting and will preserve the integrity and authenticity of CHI products consumers purchase.”   

This win comes nearly a year after Farouk Systems had secured a judgment against multiple Chinese entities for selling and distributing counterfeit CHI irons over the internet.  In that case, a federal judge awarded Farouk Systems a monetary judgment in the amount of $304 million dollars against the defendants. 

About Farouk Systems, Inc.

Farouk Systems, Inc. is a Houston-based company that manufactures the world-renowned brands CHI and BioSilk with a mission statement of: Education, Environment and Ethics.  With more than 2,500 employees, the company sells its products in over 100 countries.  The company was founded in 1986 when Farouk Shami invented the first ammonia-free lightening system. Following benchmarks include incorporating silk into hair care, originating CHI thermal tool technology and continuous innovation through research to create better, safer products. For more information, go to www.farouk.com    

New County Commissioner Swears In Judicial Replacement
October 11, 2011

20111011-052705.jpg

(News Release)

HOUSTON, TX − Native Houstonian, Debra Mayfield, has been unanimously appointed Judge of Harris County Civil Court-at-Law No. 1 by Commissioners Court to fill the vacancy left there by Commissioner “Cactus” Jack Cagle upon his appointment as Precinct 4 Commissioner. Commissioner Jack Morman nominated Mayfield for the bench.

“We are very fortunate to have someone with her qualifications, experience and conservative credentials agree to serve,” Morman said. “She will do a great job in that court for years to come.”

“I am humbled and honored to accept the appointment to serve as Judge of Harris County Civil Court-at-Law No. 1,” said Mayfield. “I will strive to run the court as efficiently as my predecessor, and I will respect all lawyers who practice in my court.”

Mayfield is part of the first generation in her family to attend college. She received her undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University and her law degree from South Texas College of Law. Serving in the Harris County Courthouse has a special significance for Mayfield. Her father, who was a sheet metal fabricator, was part of the team who fabricated the iconic star that now rests on top of the Civil Courthouse.

Debra Mayfield is native Houstonian, born and raised in Harris County’s Precinct One, where she and her family currently reside. Mayfield has been a partner in the Houston law firm, Rymer, Moore, Jackson and Echols, P.C. She has handled all phases of litigation for a wide variety of clients statewide and she has handled post-judgment motions, traditional and interlocutory appeals and original proceedings in Texas intermediate appellate courts and higher state and federal courts. Mayfield has served as a court-appointed bilingual guardian ad litem and as a special commissioner in eminent domain proceedings.

Mayfield and her husband, Eric, a veteran and former Captain in the U.S. Army, are the proud parents of two young children. The Mayfield family are active members of Houston’s First Baptist Church.

###

Bid On Some Artwork and Help Improve Schools and Parks
October 6, 2011

Charming Charlie, the accessories store, and SPARK, the school park program, have teamed up to help improve the Houston community.

Charming Charlie has donated about three truckloads of recycled jewelry for area students to create original artwork.

According to Kathleen Owmby, SPARK Program Director,
the jewelry has been distributed to fifteen schools.

She was at city hall Wednesday showing the student’s colorful and original art to Mayor Annise Parker, council member Ed Gonzalez and other council members.

20111005-113524.jpg

Money raised from the sale of the art
will enable SPARK to work with schools to create playgrounds for the community to enjoy.

You can purchase some of the artwork created by students by visiting the booth in Tranquility Park at the Bayou City Art Festival or at http://www.coobomedia.com/sparkpark

Contributions are tax deductible and will be used toward the construction of future SPARK Parks.