Archives

image

Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputies assigned to the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, along with Harris County District Attorney’s Office investigators, have filed charges of Super Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child and Sexual Performance by a Child Under the Age of 14 against Ashley Dack, 29, and Patrick Schuneman, 37.

Dack is currently being held on a $350,000 bond, while the court declined bond for defendant Schuneman.

The defendants were charged after authorities found video and photos depicting the sexual assault of a child on Schuneman’s mobile phone and on his personal computer.

According to investigators, defendant Dack took photos of the infant-aged victim and provided them to Schuneman to download.

The ICAC Task Force was created to help federal, state and local law enforcement agencies enhance their investigative responses to offenders who use the Internet, online communication systems, or computer technology to sexually exploit children.

image

(Variety) The NBC network has tapped former Destiny’s Child member LeToya Luckett to co-star in the drama pilot, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

From TV writer/playwright Diana Son, Love Is a Four Letter Word explores what happens when three diverse couples take on issues including race, sexuality and gender roles — putting modern marriage to the test.

Luckett will play the role of Tandi, a happily married woman and mother, who is experiencing difficulties fulfilling her dream of having a second child.

image

LeToya's Mom Pam Luckett is really proud!

Luckett assumed the role after former lead Meta Golding exited, and Cynthia McWilliams (Real Husbands of Hollywood, who had formerly been cast as Tandi) took over the starring role of Julie, an attorney formerly married to Nick (Rockmond Dunbar) and the mother of his two children.
Colin Donnell (Arrow) co-stars as Tandi’s husband Sean and Nick’s friend.Brian Tee, Nadine Velazquez, Monet Mazur, Lauryn Hardy, Alex Hendersonand Iyanna Arrigo round out the cast.

Son will pen the script and exec produce the 20th Century Fox Television and Fabrik production alongside Mikkel Bondesen, Kristen Campo and George Tillman, who will direct the pilot.

Luckett’s credits include a recurring role on HBO’s upcoming Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson series Ballers as well as VH1’s Single Ladies and HBO’sTreme. An original member of Destiny’s Child, Luckett has since pursued a successful solo career with a new album due in the spring. She is repped by APA, Everly Lee and Stone Meyer.

image

image

State Rep. Sylvester Turner has earned the endorsement of the Houston
Professional Fire Fighters Association in this year’s mayoral race, the HPFFA said today.

HPFFA President Alvin W. White, Jr. said 84 percent of voting fire fighters approved the recommenda-
tion of the HPFFA board of directors to endorse Turner after a review of the public safety records of the
mayoral candidates.

“Sylvester has been a consistent friend of fire fighters and an advocate for public safety in Austin for 25
years,” White said. “He is clearly the best choice for us in this mayoral race. We also appreciate that he
has built a coalition of Democrats and Republicans, business leaders, unions and community groups.”

White added, “Rep. Turner understands that Houston fire fighters are delivering excellent service to citi-
zens, are good stewards of city resources, and are giving back to the community. He also has been a sen-
sible voice – here and in Austin – in the debate about city employee pensions.”
Rep. Turner said, “I am proud to have earned the support of Houston’s firefighters. Together, we will
work to keep our neighborhoods safe, teach our youth the values of courage and shared sacrifice and
show the world that Houston is a place that working families are proud to call home.”

Rep. Turner has served 25 years in the Texas House of Representatives. He is a member of the Legisla-
tive Budget Board; Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Committee; Chair of the Subcommittee on
Articles 1, 4 and 5 (General Government, Judiciary, Public Safety and Criminal Justice); and the House
State Affairs Committee.
Born in the Acres Homes community of northwest Houston, Rep. Turner graduated from Klein High
School, where he was valedictorian and student body president. He then attended the University of Hou-
ston and Harvard Law School. More information is available at www.sylvesterturner.com.

image

The American Leadership Forum (ALF) is pleased to announce the graduates of Class XXXIII. “The American Leadership Forum is very excited about the 25 people graduating from Class XXXIII,” said Jim Drew, Senior Vice President, Bowen, Miclette & Britt, Inc. and Chair of the American Leadership Forum Board of Trustees. “Class XXXIII is an outstanding blend of leaders from a variety of fields who work for positive change in our community. Upon graduating from the American Leadership Forum, Senior Fellows serve as committed catalysts in Houston, bringing stakeholders from all walks of life together to create opportunities to work together and to address urgent public concerns.”

Graduates of Class XXXIII are:

Joi Beasley- President/CEO, GOGO Business Communications

Alfred H. Bennett- Judge 61st Civil Court, Harris County

Peter Boudreaux- Partner, Curry Boudreaux Architects

David A. Brown- Founder and Director, Invest in Houston

M. Helen Cavazos- President/CEO, M. H. Cavazos & Associates

Bruce G. Coe- Assistant Director of Development, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Diane Englet- Senior Director Corporate Community Relations, CenterPoint Energy

Stephen M. Fraga- President, Tejas Office Products, Inc.

Nicole Gonzales- Assoc. Professor of Neurology, UT-Houston Medical School

Brian Greene- President/CEO, Houston Food Bank

Michele M. Hedges- Senior Counsel, Omega Protein, Inc.

John Hinojosa- Director, St. Francis Charities/Zachariah House

Harish Jajoo- City Council Member, Sugar Land

David Kim- Deputy Assistant Director, Houston Housing & Community Development Dept.

Anne McClellan- Executive Director for Growth and Innovation, University of Houston

Adrian Patterson- Partner, Andrews Kurth LLP

Randy Petersen- Executive Vice President, Cadence Bank

Dean R. Quinn- Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, S & B Engineers and Constructors, Ltd.

Renee Reimer- Chief Risk & Legal Operations Officer, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System

Leila Sarmecanic- Partner, Rogers, Morris & Grover

Christof Spieler- Vice President, Morris Architects

Chris Tritico- Attorney at Law, Tritico, Rainey, PLLC

Audrey M. Trotti- President, Watershed Market

Evelyn V. Velasquez- Dean of Workforce & Economic Development, Houston Community College Northwest

Tandelyn Atkinson Weaver- Executive Director, The Kingdom Builders’ Center

A class of Fellows is selected from a broad range of leadership, reflecting social, ethnic, gender, geographic, political, religious and work sector diversity. Fellows are selected based on demonstrated outstanding leadership and potential for growth, integrity, professional stature, commitment to the community beyond their profession, willingness to learn, to challenge assumptions, and to increase understanding and awareness of others.

In each class, 20 to 26 established leaders from various sectors in the community are selected to participate in ALF’s yearlong, national caliber leadership development program in which leaders engage in dialogue, learn to value their differences and unique perspectives, find common ground, and build lasting relationships, elements which all contribute to a cooperative spirit and invigorated commitment to community. The program consists of monthly seminars on topical issues to stimulate inquiry, analysis and solutions for the public good. The result is a lifelong fellowship of highly connected leaders who strengthen and broaden the social fabric of the community.

The American Leadership Forum (ALF) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to join and strengthen diverse leaders to better serve the public good. Since the American Leadership Forum’s founding in 1981, more than 1,000 leaders have participated in a Fellows Program. For more information, please visit alfhouston.org.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

It doesn’t take much to get people on the dance floor with Scott Gertner singing especially if everyone has been sampling whiskey all night.

Malika Bradley says, “I think it’s my very first time here and some of the vendors have been wonderful and the whiskey is delightful.”

For the second year in a row the Houston Whiskey Festival was held in town and as you can see the attendance has more than doubled since last year.

Thousands of people packed into the Bayou City Event Center to sample as many whiskey’s as they could hold. For the city this is not just about drinking.

City Controller Ronald Green says, “when you get individuals and they come out obviously sales taxes are a great thing but the fact that Houston is a good place to have a festival of this kind it bodes well for us all across the country.”

That’s exactly what this festival did. It attracted whiskey makers from all over the country. It gave them a chance to show off the product. And in 2015 even Vodka makers wanted in on the action.

Vincent Milson with RWB Vodka says, “a lot of the retailers like to see brands do events like this. It let’s them know we’re out there in the market working. It makes them want to pick us up and add them to some of their stores.”

While it was a festival about whiskey there were constant reminders all night to be careful behind the wheel and find alternate ways of getting home…and there was plenty of water to keep the participants from going over the edge.

The event was hosted by Original Texan and Sportscaster Chester Pitts and Chita Johnson from KHOU TV.

image

A class action settlement has been reached in the Lennox air conditioning class action lawsuit, which alleged that Lennox Industries Inc. knowingly sold air conditioning and heat pump units with defectively manufactured condenser coils (also known as a white coil).

According to Lennox, the coils were made with aluminum and coated with polyester without the company’s knowledge. Lennox claims that the coils should have been coated with epoxy or acrylic, not polyester, which is what allegedly caused the coils to corrode and turn white prematurely.

The plaintiffs of the Lennox air conditioning class action lawsuit claim that the presence of the white coil in a Lennox air conditioning or heat pump system cased them to use more energy than what was marketed to consumers, an alleged violation of Florida laws.

Lennox denies all wrongdoing in the air conditioning class action lawsuit, but has decided to settle in order to avoid further court and attorney expenses, as well as the uncertainty future litigation.

Who’s Eligible

You are a Class Member of the Lennox air conditioning class action settlement if:

You are a U.S. resident and are the owner of residential property in the state of Florida;You have installed at least one of the eligible Lennox air conditioning or heat pump system models that may or may not feature a white coil; andSaid eligible Lennox system contains both a serial and model number included in the range serial and model numbers determined in the settlement.

Potential Award

Varies

According to the Lennox air conditioning class action settlement, this agreement will provide Class Members with reimbursements of the costs consumers paid previously to repair the allegedly defective white condenser coil or free replacement of the white coil.

Proof of Purchase

You must submit a complete and signed claim form online before March 27, 2015, and include the following information:

Personal InformationAir Conditioning Brand, Model Number, and Serial Number (to see a list qualifying Lennox air conditioning models and serial numbers, please click hereA Valid Itemized Invoice/Receipt/Cancelled Check to Support Claim

File A Claim Here!

image

The state Senate passed Senate Bill 149. This bill prevents certain students who cannot pass a STAAR exam, from being denied the opportunity to graduate. It enables an individual graduation committee made up of the student’s teacher, parent, principal, and school counselor to decide if the student is ready to graduate by looking at other factors, such as coursework grades and attendance. 
image

Below is a statement from the state’s largest educator group, the Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE):

“ATPE believes that accountability systems should maximize student learning and help educators meet the unique needs of each individual student,” says Jennifer Canaday, Governmental Relations Manager. “Arbitrary standards based on standardized tests administered once a year should not be the ultimate determinant of a teenager’s fate and future. Not all students test well, and flexibility is needed. We believe educators working directly with a student are in the best position to know whether that student has achieved the learning necessary to graduate from high school.  We support SB 149 as more of a common-sense approach to ‘assessing’ a student’s actual progress – one that will help us move away from our overreliance on standardized tests while at the same time giving struggling students additional opportunities to succeed.” 

 “We hope for a quick passage in the house,” says Monty Exter, ATPE lobbyist. “This bill can help students this school year. These students have had 13 years of education, and one test should not determine whether they’re left out in the cold.” 

image

A four month long fundraising effort to build the Nau Center for Texas Cultural Heritage Center near downtown Houston has fallen short.

A letter from project leaders say they have not been able to raise enough money for the $80 million project on Capitol near the George R. Brown Convention Center.

There was a groundbreaking on the cultural center four months ago that was to be a public and private partnership with the city of Houston donating the land.
image

However, the campaign to raise the money only netted $33 million with an anticipated opening of 2016.

Letter to City Leaders:

March 13, 2015

On Thursday, March 12, 2015, the board of directors of the Nau Center for Texas Cultural Heritage, after consultation with Houston First and the City of Houston decided that this is not the right time for the Center to begin construction.

“We knew it would be challenging when we set out to build a state-of-the-art destination on a highly accelerated timeline. Skyrocketing construction costs and the challenge of raising $80 million within a short period simply made the project difficult to begin at this time. I believe this is the right decision for the Nau Center Foundation, the City of Houston and Houston First,” said John L. Nau, III, chairman of the board and lead donor for the project.

“John Nau, the Nau Center board and Houston First have worked very hard on this project. We all agree that it is time to hit the pause button. When the time is right, we will reconvene and determine how and when to move forward,” stated Mayor Annise Parker.

“On behalf of the board, I want to say thank you to our donors whose generous donations will be returned in full. Our thanks also to the many people who have expressed their interest and enthusiasm for the project,” Nau continued. “On a more personal note, I continue to believe the idea of a cultural heritage center for our community is a great idea, however it simply is not the right time. Residents, visitors and students of our city and region merit a destination that highlights the many great cultural and heritage assets of southeast Texas.”

Best,

Jonathan

Jonathan Newport
Director of Government Affairs

Houston First Corporation
1001 Avenida de las Americas
Houston, TX 77010

image

It’s been more than two weeks and a Hempstead High School teacher remains locked up behind bars in Austin County.

Prosecutors confirm 42 year old Rachel Pfeffer was arrested on five charges related to possession of Methamphetamine. 

She was taken into custody on March 3 and was charged in Austin and Washington counties.

Our sources say there will be a special item on the Hempstead School Board’s agenda tonight to address her future with the district as a special needs educator at Hempstead High School.

Pfeffer is being held on a $200,000 bond for all of her charges.