Last Thursday morning at Houston firefighters provided nearly 600 new winter coats to children attending a local elementary school in association with the Firefighters Coats for Kids Foundation. 


Jeff Caynon, president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, said, “Nearly 2 million children in Texas are living in poverty. This is an emergency without the 911 call. With these gifts, Houston firefighters will help make a difference in the lives of children attending Gallegos Elementary with a most basic necessity.

HPFFA Director Alvin White said, “This gift is more than a coat. Beyond warmth, we believe a new coat will bring pride to these children and relief for struggling families, just in time for the holidays.”

Firefighters Coats for Kids Foundation is a division of Operation Warm, the largest non-profit distributer of new coats in the U.S. The new program has recently earned the support of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) who encourage their membership of more than 300,000 to participate.

Carey Palmquist, Executive Director of Operation Warm, said, “This is a program that strengthens communities and the overall well-being of children. A new coat boosts a child’s self-esteem, and allows families to stretch limited financial resources to other basic necessities, such as food and shelter.”

About Firefighters Coats for Kids Foundation

Firefighters Coats for Kids is a division of nonprofit Operation Warm, a 501(c)3 founded in 1998. Operation Warm’s mission is to warm the hearts, minds and bodies of children in poverty through the gift of warmth – a brand new winter coat. Community service is at the core of a firefighter’s mission. Through Firefighters Coats for Kids, they inspire hope and empower the communities they serve, by providing NEW winter coats to those children most in need. By 2013, Firefighters Coats for Kids plans to distribute American-made coats, bringing back jobs to North America and further battling the cycle of poverty. For more information visit:



Update: Margaret Smith has replaced her daughter’s memorial. 

It’s tough for a parent to pick up the pieces after losing a child.”Oh my God, I couldn’t believe it.  I got out of the vehicle and just literally fell to the ground.  It was so devastating.  It was like I was just violated and victimized all over again,” Margaret Smith said.In 2008, Margaret’s 18-year-old daughter, Meghann, was struck and killed by a drunk driver on Highway 105 and Sapp Road in Conroe, Texas.  Meghann took her last breaths along the side of the road.Margaret built a memorial to her daughter at the site and found peace, until now.”The cross was actually in pieces.  It looks like someone actually walked up to it and took their foot and snapped the bottom of the cross.  Her picture was taken and that’s what really upset,” she said.You could just write this off as random vandalism but not Margaret because of what she does in memory of her daughter.”There have been so many lives saved just by us patrolling the roadways,” she said.She and her husband have operated the non-profit DWI Tracker program.  Through donations, they patrol the streets of Montgomery County.  They follow suspected drunk drivers, videotape them and call law enforcement.  So far, they have been instrumental in more than a hundred DWI arrests.  You can see why the Smiths could make enemies, why someone may want to retaliate by desecrating their memorial.”What a better way than to destroy their daughter’s cross and take her picture.  Yes, it was horrible, whoever did it,” Margaret said.The vandalism comes at a time when the loss of Meghann is compounded by the holidays, but Margaret said this is just a temporary setback.  She is going to rebuild the memorial and keep after those who drink and drive.The Conroe Police Department has a report on the case.  We have not been able to reach them to determine if they are actively investigating the case.

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Press Release:, the flagship website of the Houston Chronicle Media Group and Houston’s most-read local news site, has topped more than one billion page views for the year.The site, which crossed the billion threshold this morning, also saw significant gains in unique visitors, announced Andrea Mooney, executive producer and director of digital content for HCMG. The number of unique users for 2012 is on pace to exceed 110 million, up 32% from 2011 and the highest number in the site’s history.”The goal of is to serve as the go-to local website for information on what Houston is talking about,” Mooney said. “These strong growth numbers demonstrate that we’re delivering on what Houstonwants: breaking stories and news-you-can-use, including real-time sports, weather, traffic and pop culture coverage, plus utility such as events listings and city guides.”The Houston Chronicle went digital on October 8, 1995 with the launch of on the web and Houston Chronicle Interactive on Prodigy, which gave users access to bulletin boards and chat rooms. About a year later, the company focused all efforts onto Over the subsequent 17 years, the Chronicle’s digital reach has continued to expand, with web, mobile, tablet, and electronic newspaper replica versions as well as social media channels.Most recently, underwent a dramatic redesign. The site relaunched in September with a new look and feel, including improved navigational and share tools, a new logo and color scheme and a presentation that more prominently features local content.Last month, the Houston Chronicle Media Group launched a premium website,, as a subscription-based companion to offers unique stories and photos, enterprise reporting, and opinions from award-winning columnists, including all stories from the daily paper. The site is built in HTML5 and features a responsive design that renders across a variety of platforms, from personal computers to tablets to mobile phones. is an anchor to the company’s new Star Access membership program, which offers members entree to unique experiences, exclusive events and special sweepstakes in addition to access to the premium website.

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