Monthly Archives: July 2013

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Candace Glover sings at NABJ

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Preliminary numbers indicate more than 2000+ African American journalists have arrived in the city of Orlando.

The group is there to participate in the National Association of Black Journalists’ annual convention.

The week began with a welcoming ceremony Wednesday evening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

A formal program was held before the big party which included an appearance by season 12 American Idol winner Candice Glover.

There is a long list of speakers and special guests who will attend the event from Forrest Whitaker to Alfre Woodard. 

The event, designed to encourage and empower African American journalists, will last through Sunday.

SOMETIMES CHEAPER IS NOT BETTER!

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I’m quietly scanning the airport gate/boarding area in the terminal looking for other disappointed faces. 

I know there has to be someone who feels just like me….a sucka. 

When I first booked my ticket on Spirit Airlines I felt as if I was winning.

I thought I had the bargain of the year for my trip to Florida.

When I did some online research and compared the prices of tickets to Orlando on other airlines Spirit came out on top.

The carrier that’s relatively new to Houston was $100 to $200 cheaper than the rest.

Then on the day of travel I was hit with the cold hard reality that Spirit charges $100 for two bags.

As I approached Spirit’s kiosk at George Bush Airport I noticed another disturbing sign. 

That notice indicated if I needed a boarding pass printed it would cost me another $10.

But back to my bags…I was shocked that Spirit has one of the highest baggage fees in the industry.

And get this – your luggage is expected to be lighter than the industry standard weight of 50 pounds.

That means one extra pound over their 40 pound limit results in another $25 charge or fee.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Just because something appears to be affordable doesn’t necessarily make it cheaper.

I learned that the hard way with Spirit.

So, let’s do the math. 

By the time I get on my return flight from Florida I would have spent $570 in fees.

Now, just imagine if I would’ve flown Southwest at the $300+ price they were charging…I would have saved money.

After this expensive trip at what was suppose to be a deal something just doesn’t sit right with my spirit!

Update: Total baggage cost on Spirit Airlines: $210 = they got me good!

Did I mention you have to pay for everything including pretzels?

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ABC NEWS: A class action suit filed last week in U.S. District Court for Northern California claims that consumers who buy Straight Talk cell phone plans aren’t getting straight talk: The plans, advertised as providing “unlimited” data use, in fact have limitations, the suit claims.

The complaint against Walmart Stores and TracFone Wireless, which jointly created Straight Talk in 2009, says that the advertising claim is false, and that customers are routinely subject to having their flows of data “throttled” (slowed) or to having their access to data terminated without notice.

Throttling takes place, according to the complaint, when subscribers near or exceed “internally established, but undisclosed” data usage limits, or when the strain imposed on wireless networks by peak data usage requires easing.

The complaint says customers who objected to being “throttled” were blamed by TracFone service reps for having misused the data service, without being told how they had allegedly misused it.

As an example, the suit cites Northern California wireless customer Edward Tooley, who switched to Straight Talk’s unlimited plan from a competitor’s plan that expressly limited him to 2.5GB of high speed data, above which ceiling his data would be throttled.

He used his Straight Talk plan to access email, browse websites, navigate via Google Maps, “occasionally stream music” and “occasionally watch videos,” says the complaint. Within only a few days of his having activated his service, says the complaint, he found his data being throttled to extremely low speeds without warning. His service later was terminated without notice.

The suit claims there are enough Tooleys among TracFone’s more than 23 million subscribers to constitute a class. TracFone, it says, is the fifth largest wireless carrier in the U.S. Walmart it describes as the exclusive retailer of TracFone plans.

A TracFone spokesman, contacted by ABC News, said the company does not comment on current litigation. A request for comment from Walmart got no response.

Matt Wood, policy director for Free Press, a group advocating affordable Internet access, tells ABC that unlimited data plans used to be common. But providers, Wood says, “have now monetized data more aggressively” by offering tiered plans in which the customer pays up to a certain cap, or level of data use. If he exceeds that, he pays a penalty.

Asked if throttling is wrong, Wood says, “No. We actually think it’s preferable to capping. A cap is a much more blunt tool for trying to manage traffic load. Throttling, if properly disclosed, is the better way.”

The class action suit contends throttling was not properly disclosed either in Straight Talk advertising or in Straight Talk’s terms and conditions of service.

Dr. Mark Cooper, director of research for the Consumer Federation of America, says that while heavy data users may object to throttling, there’s nothing illegal about it, provided it’s properly disclosed in the customer agreement and isn’t at odds with what’s promised in the plan’s advertising.

Cell phone service providers, he says, routinely use throttling to manage data flow during times of peak use.

“If you’re running a skinny little application, you’re not going to notice it; but if you’re streaming an HD movie at rush hour, you will see deterioration,” he says.

Borrowing a restaurant analogy, he questions whether an “unlimited” customer should have the right to use a literally unlimited amount data any time he wants: “Suppose you walk into an all-you-can-eat restaurant, carrying a big cooler, and you fill it up, because the restaurant didn’t say when you had to eat the food.” Cooper calls the ethics of such a situation “murky.”

HOUSTON LIMO DRIVERS PLAN OF ATTACK FOR UBER!

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UBER’s GAME PLAN TO TAKE
OVER THE HOUSTON MARKET

TO: ALL HOUSTON LIMO OPERATORS

Thanks to the 35 operators who showed up at the  City Council
meeting last Tuesday, July 23rd, to voice your  objections to
the UBER model being used in Houston.

There will be another hearing on this matter in  several weeks
and we need 135, or even 235 operators to show  up and voice their
opposition. The enemy is at the gates. Be watching  your
emails; when the call goes out, make plans to  attend.

EXTENDING THE FREE SUMMER MEAL PROGRAM IN HOUSTON!

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Joe Turner Director of Houston Parks

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department (H.P.A.R.D.) will continue to sponsor the U.S.D.A.’s Summer Food Service Program through August 23 at more than 400 sites across Houston. The program serves FREE lunches and snacks for youth ages 1 to 18, Monday through Friday, and no registration is required.

In its sixth week of operation, 622,700 lunches and snacks have been served to more than 23,500 children and youth attending 53 H.P.A.R.D. community centers, churches, apartment complexes, recreation/learning centers, youth organizations, schools and non-profit agencies that have registered with the Houston Parks and Recreation Department to provide FREE meals to area youth. Families can find the nearest Summer Food Service Program site by calling (713) 676-6832 or 2-1-1 and by visiting the site http://www.houstonparks.org/.     

The Summer Food Service Program has been supported in part by grants from the Walmart Fighting Hunger Together Campaign and the National Recreation and Park Association and No Kid Hungry – Share Our Strength program.      

The Summer Food Service Program is administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Division. In accordance with federal law and U.S.D.A. policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department (H.P.A.R.D.) stewards and manages over 37,832 acres of parkland and greenspace for the City of Houston and develops and implements recreational programming for citizens of all abilities. For more information on the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, call (832) 395-7022 or visit www.houstonparks.org.
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THE TRANSPORTATION APP WAR IS HEATING UP IN HOUSTON!

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The battle in Houston is underway as a new piece of transportation technology attempts to move in.

Uber is a company that developed an app to hail taxi and limos with the press of a button on your smartphone.

The service is currently operating in several US cities including Chicago and Dallas

The company is hoping to move into Houston but is receiving some push back from the well established taxi and limo industry in the city.

Limousine and taxi drivers say Uber will force down prices and shortchange the drivers.

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Meanwhile, as Uber pushes its app Yellow Cab is now sending out fliers reminding Houstonians they’ve long since had their own app that will also call you a ride.

The latest ad for Yellow Cab is appearing on Houston Style Magazine’s website as well as eblasts from the society website.

Uber officials have said Houston’s transportation industry is just affraid of the unknown with the technology they hope to bring to the market!

TEEN MISSING FROM KINGWOOD AREA!

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MISSING: CARRIE LYNN COSSEY-AGE 15FROM KINGWOOD, TEXASCarrie was last seen on July 25, 2013 in Kingwood, Texas.Carrie is 5’2 inches tall, 115 lbs., has light brown hair & brown eyes.If you have any information regarding this case, please contact Harris Co. Sheriff (713) 755-7427 or Private Investigator Brenda Paradise (281) 642-7299.

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TEXAS SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY MAKES FORBES’ LIST!

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In a recently release report by Forbes Magazine ranking the 650 Top Colleges for 2013, Texas Southern University ranked 649. Texas Southern is the only HBCU in Texas to be listed and one of only two from the Southwestern Athletic Conference. There are 2,364 4-year colleges/universities in America. To view the full listing visit http://www.forbes.com/top-colleges/ 

HARRIS COUNTY DISTRICT CLERK MAKES GETTING PASSPORT EASIER!

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The Harris County District Clerk’s Office will offer a new service starting Aug. 1: acceptance of passport applications.

Commissioners Court green-lighted the passport project today.

The timing is great since the U.S. State Department’s downtown passport office in the Mickey Leland Federal Building will be closed from Labor Day to at least Thanksgiving. Customers will find the District Clerk’s Office is well-positioned to meet the passport needs of downtown employees and firms.

“Employers are going to be looking for an alternative, someplace where they can send workers to get quick, efficient service,” said District Clerk Chris Daniel. “My team is prepped and ready to go. We can meet the demands created by the renovations at the federal building.”

Walk-in customers may apply in Room 170, the court registry section, on the first floor of the Civil Courthouse at 201 Caroline. Clerks will be on hand weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Appointments may be made by calling 713-755-7300.

            District clerk offices accept passport applications in about 150 counties statewide. Daniel said he decided to open one in the Harris County District Clerk’s Office as a convenience – people will have one more place to go to get a passport.

“People can avoid the long lines that plague some post offices’ passport operations by making appointments with the District Clerk’s Office,” Daniel said. “And companies may schedule an appointment for a group of employees headed out for overseas work.”

The District Clerk’s passport team will handle all types of passport requests, unlike the office in the federal building, which accepts only requests for expedited applications.

            The standard fee for passports will be $110 plus $25 for processing. Passport photographs will cost $10.

 

HOUSTON’S PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT EARNS PRESTIGIOUS AWARD!

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Houston’s Department of Public Works and Engineering (PWE) has earned and will be awarded the prestigious American Public Works Association (APWA) Accreditation at an award presentation ceremony on Tuesday, July 30th at 1:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, 901 Bagby.

 
The APWA Accreditation program recognizes governmental agencies that meet or exceed the requirements of the management practices established nationally in the public works industry. Houston’s Department of Public Works and Engineering is the 84th agency in North America to achieve Accreditation.  PWE was found to be fully compliant in all 442 applicable practices striving for safety and efficiency in all aspects of management and operations setting a record number of thirty-five (35) “Model Practices” awarded to an agency. The previous record was twelve (12). 
 
This milestone accomplishment underscores Houston PWE’s continuing commitment to excellence in public service and to the citizens of Houston. Achieving accreditation highlights the department’s efforts to inform and educate our employees to provide them the tools they need to do their jobs.
 
The president of APWA, Elizabeth Treadway, PWLF, will be in Houston to make the formal presentation to Mayor Annise Parker and Public Works Director, Daniel Krueger, PE.
 
What:         Houston Public Works Receives Prestigious
APWA National Accreditation
 
When:        Tuesday, July 30, 2013
 
Where:       Houston City Council Chamber
 
Time:          1:30 pm council

MOTHER OF KIRBYJON CALDWELL DIES!

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Jean Hines Caldwell was a native Houstonian who began her career as an audiologist with the Houston Independent School District. She also spent 38-years as a teacher and Guidance Counselor at Phillis Wheatley High School, her ala mater. Even after retirement, Mrs. Caldwell spent several years mentoring young women around Houston and at her church, Windsor Village United Methodist Church where her son, Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell is Senior Pastor. Affectionately called “Mom Caldwell” by the women whose lives she touched and the Windsor Village Church Family, Ms. Caldwell often said she lived by Proverbs 31:26 which says, “She openth her mouth with wisdom; and her tongue is the law of kindness.”

In 2005, HISD named a new elementary school in honor of the long-time educator. The Jean Hines Caldwell Elementary School is located at 5015 W. Orem Dr. in Southwest Houston. 

Caldwell spent 59 years married to well known business owner and entrepreneur Booker T. Caldwell. Mr. Caldwell died in July of 2011. Mrs. Caldwell is survived by her son, Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell; daughter, Dorothea Pickens; five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Mrs. Jean Hines Caldwell died Sunday Morning after a long illness. She was 83-years old. A celebration of life service will be held Tuesday, July 30th at 7:00 p.m. at the Kingdom Builders’ Center located at 6011 W. Orem Drive.

KIDD KRADDICK DIES!

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David “Kidd” Kraddick, the high-octane radio and TV host of the “Kidd Kraddick in the Morning” show heard on dozens of U.S. radio stations, has died at a charity golf event near New Orleans, a publicist said. Kraddick was 53.The Texas-based radio and television personality, whose program is syndicated by YEA Networks, died at his Kidd’s Kids charity function in the New Orleans suburb of Gretna on Saturday, said publicist Ladd Biro in releasing a network statement.”He died doing what he loved,” said Biro, of the public relations firm Champion Management, speaking with AP by phone early Sunday. He said he had no further details on the death.The “Kidd Kraddick in the Morning” show is heard on more than 75 Top 40 and Hot AC radio stations and is a leader among most-listened-to contemporary morning programs, Biro said. The radio program also is transmitted globally on American Forces Radio Network while the show’s cast is also seen weeknights on the nationally syndicated TV show “Dish Nation,” he added.”All of us with YEA Networks and the “Kidd Kraddick in the Morning” crew are heartbroken over the loss of our dear friend and leader,” the network statement said. “Kidd devoted his life to making people smile every morning, and for 21 years his foundation has been dedicated to bringing joy to thousands of chronically and terminally ill children.””He died doing what he loved, and his final day was spent selflessly focused on those special children that meant the world to him,” it added.The Dallas Morning News reported Kraddick had been a staple in the Dallas market since 1984, starting in a late-night debut. The newspaper said he moved into morning show work by the early 1990s in that market and his show began to gain wider acclaim and entered into syndication by 2001 as he gained a following in cities nationwide.Kraddick would have turned 54 on Aug. 22, according to Biro.The network statement said the cause of death would be released “at the appropriate time.”Many fans, celebrities included, tweeted condolences and talked about the death on social media sites. One Texas radio station where he was a mainstay ran photographs on its website of Kraddick at the microphone.Word of Kraddick’s passing spread quickly via social media.”RIP Kidd Kraddick. You were an amazing man and a friend. You are already missed,” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban tweeted.”Oh Man, I just heard Kidd Kraddick died! He’s my childhood dj. What a sad day. His poor family. He was always nice 2 me from the beginning,” singer Kelly Clarkson tweeted.Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers, only recently announced as the headline act of a planned first-ever Kidd’s Kids charity concert in Dallas next month, wrote: “The sad sad news about Kidd Kraddick is shocking. He will be missed greatly.”Richie Tomblin, described as the head golf professional at the Timberlane Country Club in Gretna on its website, told AP that Kraddick wasn’t looking well when he saw him getting ready for Saturday’s charity event.”He came out and he borrowed my golf clubs and went out to the driving range,” Tomblin told AP when contacted by phone. “It’s kind of a freaky situation. He came out. He practiced a little bit. He hit the ball at the first tee and wasn’t feeling good and after that I didn’t see him.”Tomblin said the hundreds of amateur golfers taking part went ahead with the event Saturday. He added he only found out afterward that Kraddick had died and he was still shaken about it.”I’m still trying to figure it out. I really don’t know what happened. Everyone keeps texting me asking, ‘What’s going on?’ I really don’t know,” said Tomblin.He added he was reluctant to even touch the set of clubs Kraddick had borrowed Saturday for his practice swings.