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Posts published in “Day: April 7, 2009

North Houston Greenspoint Chamber: Chamber Forum provides views on effect of Economic Recession

SPEAKERS at the Economic Forum included, l to r, Kirby Sanford (Comerica Bank), Reggie Gray (Chamber President), Sidney Evans II (Chamber Chairman, & Reliant Energy), Ray Laughter (Lone Star College System), David Torella (Reliant Energy), Gary Orr (Comerica Bank), Jim McIngvale (Gallery Furniture), Andrew Watkins (Watkins Group Insurance), and Ian Wadsworth (Houston Airport System).

Mattress Mack’s TEN RULES to beat the Recession

1. Get to work EARLIER.

2. REFOCUS on your Business – i.e. Customers, Customers,

3. Increase ADVERTISING. Remember that 95% of your potential customers are still working and buying.

4. INNOVATE or EVAPORATE. Be aware of the “Millenials” the generation just now graduating from High School.

4a. Try having a ritual in your business, such as a birthday cake every day, to keep spirits high with employees.

4b. Hire immigrants, they believe strongly in America.

5. Ask your sales force every day, questions we don’t want to hear. Example, what did we used to do, that was successful?

6. Be PROUD of what you sell. Be Evangelistic. I.E. TempurPedic will give you a great night’s sleep.

7. Be AGGRESSIVE. Open a new location, like Gallery Furniture did with their new Post Oak store.

8. Think YOUNGER every Day. Gallery is deeply using the Internet, with their own Media department, and using Twitter, FaceBook, etc.

9. Have a POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE every day. Results will follow.

10. Write down (Every Day) 10 things we are grateful for.

HCC should annex North Forest ISD

By Elvin Franklin

Over the past few years, North Forest has been challenged by a number of changes to the community. The most significant change affecting our community is the education of our children. Gone are the days of every North Forest school bustling with kids, only to be replaced with empty reminders of what once was, sprinkled throughout the community. We all can remember the cheers from packed football games that echoed North Forest pride throughout the community. Now, there’s no Forest Brook or Smiley High School.

Sure, the district has had its share of troubles, but we cannot forget the children and grandchildren who are still there. Although I am retired and do not have school-aged children, I am still concerned about the kids in my community. The dropout rate and loss of students to other school districts is heartbreaking. For students who stay and graduate, if they cannot attend a university, they are forced to pay twice the amount in tuition at the community college because they are out-of-district. Our kids deserve the same opportunities provided by other school districts.

When I hear about Early College High Schools and bridge programs linked to higher education, I ask, what about North Forest? Well, it is evident that the school district cannot do it alone. As parents and community members, we must do something. What, you ask? The time is right to partner with higher education.

For years our community has discussed the possibility of being annexed by Houston Community College. Personally, I believe the time to act is now. A partnership with HCC and North Forest could only be a win-win for the community. Not only would tuition be cut in half for North Forest students attending HCC, but the North Forest School District would benefit as well. If the district were annexed, NFISD could gain an Early College High School, more dual credit offerings, college prep classes, high-tech vocational training, GED and ESL, and college courses offered in the community. This is the kind of educational support that is needed in North Forest.

A college in our community can help our school district lower dropout rates and improve graduation rates. It also adds value to the community as a whole. The college has the ability to provide specialized training and partnerships that can help small businesses. As a business and community leader, I have witnessed other communities and school districts benefit from being a part of a college district. How long are we going to stand by with our eggs in one basket? We can attempt to change our community by simply signing a petition.

Currently, the North Forest community is holding a petition drive to ask Houston Community College to call an election in November on whether to annex North Forest ISD. I strongly support this effort for the many reasons. First, young people in our community wanting to attend HCC will no longer be discouraged by the out-of-district fees. The cost of tuition would drop from $104 per credit to $57 per credit hour, making it more affordable for them to attend college. Second, the overall benefits mentioned earlier and the potential to provide training for adults wanting to enter the workforce.

I know that many of you are saying, this is great, but it is going to cost us. Yes, annexation does come with a price, but a small price in comparison to the return on the investment. The HCC tax rate is $.092, about nine cents per $100 valuation and much lower than neighboring college districts. The senior exemption is $90,000, which means a large number of North Forest seniors will not see a tax increase at all. Even though I do not have children in school or college, I believe annexation is good for our community.

If the foundation of education is strong, then our community is strengthened. I believe the education of our community is everyone’s responsibility. That’s why I am signing the petition and will vote for annexation. I hope you will, too.

From Capitol Hill: Bills to look out for

By State Rep.

The legislature has reached the midway point in the 140-day legislative session. Last Friday was the last day for all legislators to file bills for this session. Rep. Thompson has filed more than 80 pieces of legislation. She invites all of you to visit the Texas Legislature Online website at to keep track of issues that are important to you.

Below you will find a handful of the legislation that Rep. Thompson has filed this session which she thinks are important for all her constituents to keep track of:

House Bill 639- Human Trafficking – Relating to the prosecution, punishment and prevention of offenses involving human trafficking.

House Bill 788- Innocence Commission – Relating to the creation of a commission to investigate and prevent wrongful convictions.

House Bill 1152- The applicability of the death penalty to persons who are mentally challenged.

House Bill 1378- Electricity expenses relating to weather related events or natural disasters.

House Bill 1489- Nurse-to-patient ratios

House Bill 1572- Improper Debt Collection

House Bill 1574- Creation of a statewide autism spectrum disorders resource center.

House Bills 1760 & 2595- Foreclosures – Relating to liens on and foreclosure sales of real property.

In her years in the legislature, Rep. Thompson has authored and passed more than 200 Texas laws, including Texas’ first alimony law, the James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Act, laws prohibiting racial profiling, the state minimum wage, the Durable Power of Attorney Act, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, the Sexual Assault Program Fund, the Model School Records Flagging Act, the Uniform Child Custody & Jurisdiction Enforcement Act, contraceptive parity, and scores of other reforms benefiting women, children and the elderly.

Editor’s note:

Rep. Thompson has pushed through major reforms in child support enforcement, simplified probate proceedings, and complete overhauls of statutes dealing with statutory county courts and municipal courts.

In 2005, she passed legislation requiring free testing for the human papilloma virus (HPV), an early indicator of cervical cancer, for women who have health insurance.

For more information on the legislative session, go to Rep. Senfronia Thompson’s blog at

Rep. Thompson represents area residents living in Northeast Houston, Aldine and Humble.