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Posts published in October 2014

8 year old astounds Small Business Forum with lemonade stand success

The Governor’s Small Business Forum, an all-day event hosted by the Houston Intercontinental Chamber of Commerce, was astounded to hear not only the usual government and business speakers, but a success story from an 8-year old entrepreneur that made all his money with a lemonade stand and some smart marketing.

The event was held last Friday, October 17 at the J. W. Marriott hotel near the Galleria in Houston.

It included workshops or breakout sessions on various aspects of conducting a successful business, and interacting with agencies and government bodies.

A luncheon followed the breakout sessions, with greetings from Larry Ruggiano for Governor Perry, a keynote presentation by Andres Alcantar, chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission, and a overview talk about business corruption and security from FBI agent John Blake. After the talks, Sonia Gaillard of the Governor’s office presented a series of awards to outstaning business entrepreneurs.

But the most outstanding talk was given by a young 8-year old boy who had to stand on a chair to reach the microphone, and then delivered a ten minute talk about how he had made money, a lot of money, by running his own business, which was a lemonade stand.

Yash’s advice to the assembled businessmen many times his age: give your customers a good experience, and you will have repeat business. In addition, promote your business and have fun.

Yash has had a lemonade stand for two years, with his younger brother, and had sales of about $5000 per year, and profit of about $4500, he said.

Yash donated his profits, almost $6000 with a matching donor, to Texas Children’s Hospital, and helped raise an additional $59,000 by launching the hospital’s fundraising campaign.

Yash is working with the National Lemonade Day group, which has headquarters in Houston, but works with tens of thousands of kids nationwide, teaching them business principles and responsibility. Many of his principles and techniques were learned from the Lemonade Day group.

Companies that received achievement awards from the Governor included:

Leader Newspapers

Tishmore Productions

NeuTex Lighting

Lambert Broader Custom Homes

Latin Specialties

QuanFoster Attorneys

All-Ameriken Landscaping

New Treck Exporting

Wise Farms

The Governor’s message was delivered by a video recording, and he emphasized that Texas was the best place to do business, having the best small business climate, with low taxes and an a trained available workforce.

In his remarks, Texas Workforce Commissioner Andres Alcantar noted that Texas is adding over 400,000 new jobs every year, a quarter of those in the Houston region. Expanding business is occuring in petrochemicals, manufacturing, and healthcare, he said.

Keith-Wiess Park phase 3 improvement project completed

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department will cut the ribbon on the Phase III Park Improvements Project to Keith-Wiess Park (12300 Aldine-Westfield Road) at the Fun Fall Festival on Saturday, October 18, 2014. The East Aldine District Fall Festival runs from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. with the ribbon cutting taking place at 12:00 noon.ÿ

New park amenities include: a new 135 space parking lot; sidewalks; picnic tables; barbecue grills; soccer goals; site lighting and bleachers on concrete pads.

“In 1979, James and Margaret Elkins donated almost 500 acres of land to create Keith-Wiess Park as aÿpark space for the public to enjoy and recreate in,” said Joe Turner, Director, Houston Parks and Recreation Department. “The new amenities that have been added will allow more people to appreciate the natural beauty of Keith-Wiess Park while enjoying its many recreational amenities.”

Since its donation in 1979, Keith-Wiess Park developments in partnership with theÿHarris County Flood Control Districtÿhave included the creation of 122-acres of detention basin lakes with a fishing pier and boardwalk, and a new playground and soccer fields, trails and bridges that have provided access to the large park.

The current Phase III Park Improvements were completed in late September of 2014. The Project Scope of Work includes: a new parking lot with 135 additional parking spaces (175 total), sidewalks, picnic tables, barbecue grills, soccer goals, bleachers on concrete pads, site and field lighting, lighting for the large pavilion, new electrical services, repainting the three pavilions, underground irrigation storage tank with booster pump and lines, detention basin, site grading and associated landscaping and irrigation for three soccer fields. Design Cost for Park Improvements was $227,000. The Landscape Architect was White Oak Studio. The Project Construction Cost is $1,773,264.00, which includes the Musco Sports Field Lighting.

Mall-O-Ween at Greenspoint Mall

Treats, Live Entertainment on Two Stages, Costume Contest

HOUSTON, TEXAS (October 8, 2014) – Children are invited to Greenspoint Mall Friday, October 31, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for a Mall-O-Ween festival that includes store-to-store trick-or-treating, a costume contest, live Halloween themed entertainment on two stages, face-painting, balloon art, fortunetelling and more.

Free trick-or-treat bags and spooky treats will be given to the first 1,000 children, starting at 6 p.m. in the Macy’s Wing. The Halloween costume contest will take place from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Food Court. Prizes will be awarded for first place in four categories, ranging from baby to adult. Stages located in the Macy’s Wing and the Food Court will feature live entertainment sure to “thrill”!

Greenspoint Mall is located at I-45 and Greens Road in Houston, Texas. For more information, call 281-875-MALL (6255) or visit

Early Voting starts Oct. 20; Governor, LSC bonds on ballot

Early Voting starts on Monday, October 20 and runs through Friday, Oct. 31, prior to the General Election to be held on Tuesday, Nov. 4th, according to Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart. NOTE: A photo ID will be required for both types of voting.

Voters will be deciding on Constitutional amendments, candidates for state and local offices, bond and trustee votes for Lone Star College, and several utility and water districts.

Hours for Early Voting are Oct. 20 to Oct. 24, 8:00am to 4:30pm; Oct. 25, 7:00am to 7:00pm; Oct. 26, 1:00pm to 6:00pm; and Oct. 27 to Oct. 31, 7:00am to 7:00pm. Any registered voter may cast an early ballot at any early voting location.

Regular Election will be Tuesday, Nov. 4 from 7:00am to 7:00pm. On that day you must vote in your assigned precinct location.

Some early voting locations in Harris County include:

Main County Clerk’s office, 1001 Preston St. Houston 77002

Northeast Multi-Service Center, 9720 Spaulding St. Bldg. #4, Houston 77016

Victory Center, Lone Star College, 4141 Victory Drive, Houston 77088

Acres Homes Multi-Services Center, 6719 W. Montgomery Road, Houston 77091

Hardy Senior Center, 11901 W. Hardy Road, Houston 77076

Humble Octavia Fields Branch Library, 1503 S. Houston Ave., Humble 77338

Atascocita Northeast Houston Baptist Church, 18000 W. Lake Houston Parkway, Humble 77346

Fairbanks Lone Star College 14955 Northwest Freeway, Houston 77040

Mercer Park Baldwin Boettcher Branch Library, 22248 Aldine Westfield Road, Humble 77338.

Voters will be asked to authorize a $485 million bond issue for Lone Star College, to build new facilities to keep up with population growth. LSC’s president, Stephen Head, emphasized that these bonds will not require any new taxes.

Candidates seeking election include U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative from several Texas Districts, Texas Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, judges, State Senators, State Representatives, Harris County District Attorney, and County Judge, Clerk, District Clerk, Treasurer, and Pct. 2 & 4 Commissioners.

A Sample Ballot is viewable at or

Three arrested in Aldine student’s death

HOUSTON– (Oct. 17 2014) – Three suspects charged with the death of Aldine’s Stovall Middle School former student, Jose Luis Meraz, have been arrested, Houston police reported.

Jose Granados-Guevara, 22, and William Alexander Valladares, 17, are charged with murder and both are being held without bond. A third suspect, a 14-year-old male, is being referred to Harris County Juvenile Probation Department authorities on a murder charge.

The three are accused in the killing of Jose Luis Meraz, 14, of Houston.

Meraz body was found near the Addicks Reservoir in West Houston in the evening of Sept. 15th. The body was in the woods near Sherwood Forest Road, discovered by a man out walking a dog.

The medical examiner reported that Meraz died of blunt force injuries and multiple sharp force injuries, most likely by a machete, according to police. The case was referred to the department’s gang division.

There were no known witnesses or suspects in the case but further investigation led to the identities of Granados-Guevara, Valladares and a juvenile male as suspects in this case. All three were taken into custody last Thursday, October 16, and subsequently charged in this incident.

Meraz was 14 years old, and from Honduras, living with his aunt because his parents had been deported back home about a year ago.

According to family members, Meraz had made a change in his life and was attending church close to his aunt’s house after hanging with the wrong people.

His body was flown to his native Honduras where his parents live.

The investigation is ongoing with additional arrests possible, police reported.

Anyone with information in this case is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600.

Deputies discover nearly $2 million in marijuana inside house

HUMBLE, TX) – HCSO deputies discovered nearly $2 million worth of marijuana plants at a home in Humble lastTuesday night, October 7, 2014.

The discovery of nearly 500 marijuana plants with a street value of almost $2 million was made at 7022 Dewberry Shores Ln.

Deputies were led to the home after a service technician with the electric company noticed the power source had been tampered with.

No arrests have been made.

Assisting in the investigation were HCSO patrol deputies and investigators with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office’s Narcotics Task Force.

Congressman Green, Sen. Garcia Sen. Sylvia Garcia, Rep. Walle moderate an Aldine Town Hall on Health issues

ALDINE – Reyes Garcia, president of the High Meadows North Civic Club, invited local residents to meet last Wednesday evening, Oct. 8 to hear information on various health programs available to citizens.

The Town Hall style meeting was held at the American Legion Hall on Aldine Mail Route, and attended by about 50 interested citizens, and a panel of health care specialists representing agencies such as Harris Health, One Voice Texas, Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and a representative from the Mexican Consulate.

Also speaking were Congressman Gene Green, State Senator Sylvia Garcia, and State Representative Armando Walle.

Information covered included legislative initiatives planned for the next session, ACA enrollment, Medicaid expansion, local health initiatives and services, and partnerships with Mexico for healthcare and Bi-National Health Week. There were also questions from the audience.

Congressman Green reviewed federal programs, including the Obamacare or ACA program, and said that 19,000 from his 29th District had signed up so far, a good number.

Representative Walle explained how he worked with the two legislative partners, Green and Garcia, to be effective in legislative issues. He then related his own experiences trying to get emergency health care when younger, and how difficult it was. He was suffering from a ruptured appendix, he explained, and without insurance most providers didn’t want to help him.

For these reasons, he said, expansion of Medicaid is important to our community. In addition, because more healthcare workers would be needed, this would open up more opportunities for jobs, including students who are now are MacArthur and could go on to healthcare training at Lone Star College and other institutions.

Ms. J. Jones from the State Health Commission explained various state funded programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, CHIPS, and Hanus. She concluded her talk by giving a phone number for residents to connect with the state health department with questions or needs: 2-1-1 Option 2.

Ms. E. Brown of Harris Health spoke about the health clinics in the county, and the so-called “Same Day Centers” which take walk-ins and encourage patients to come for minor health concerns instead of emergency rooms. The nearest of these are located at 1623 Airline Drive, and LBJ Hospital (Marble Hilyer Clinic).

The speaker from the Mexican Consulate was Martine Lopez, and talked in Spanish about the Bi-National Health week. He said that his office was charged with keeping track of, and helping legal immigrants with their health and legal needs.

Dr. Viola Garcia, school board member from Aldine ISD and a cousin of Sen. Sylvia Garcia, spoke about health services available at the local schools. She noted that school nurses often provide primary care for students and their families when necessary.

Ms. Lilian Ortiz of One Voice explained how here organization advocated to the state legislature on healthcare issues, and represented a number of local agencies advocating for their needs and goals. She explained how a transformational waiver was providing some federal funds for certain types of treatment in clinics, even though medicaid funding has been refused by the state.

Sen. Garcia noted that many state health and human resource agencies are now receiving what is known as a “Sunset Review” to make them justify their programs and their budgets.

She noted that issues dealing with Womens’ Health were critical, as well as behavioral health. There is a need for more funding for both of these, due to previous underfunding by the legislature, and population growth. She is quite concerned that the Tea Party affiliated legislators may want to cut the health budget even more.

During the question period that followed, Shirley Reed spoke about the need for more funds for grandparents raising grandchildren, a category she said often gets overlooked. However, Ms. Jones of the TDHHS said that there were actually two programs that provide funds for this, and told her how to get in touch with agencies that could help.

Renaissance Festival opens on October 11


TODD MISSION – The 40th Annual Texas Renaissance Festival will open next weekend, starting on Saturday, Oct. 11. The festival is the nation’s largest Renaissance theme park, open every Saturday, Sunday and thanksgiving from Friday, Oct. 11 through Nov. 30th.

In addition, students and teachers may come for the 10th Annual School Days, Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 4 and 5.

Each weekend, the Texas Renaissance Festival makes merry with a special theme:

Oktoberfest, 1001 Dreams, All Hallows Eve, Pirate Adventure, Roman Baccanal, Barbarian Invasion, Highland Fling, and a 3 day Celtic Christmas. Each weekend offers unique entertainment, special contests, and food events tied to the theme.

Find out how to have a little fun on the weekends from October 11 until November 30 at 21778 FM 1774 in Todd Mission, Texas.

Stroll down the tree-lined, cobblestone paths of New Market Village, our 55-acre authentic recreation of a 16th Century English Township and experience the wonder of our magical festival including:

Hundreds of costumed performers showcased in over 200 daily performances.

Over 400 shops offering unique items from the world’s best artists and craftspeople.

The finest food, drink, wine, ales, and beers representing cuisine from all over the world.

Games of skill and human powered rides to amuse the young and young at heart.

Royal Fireworks are held each Festival evening at dusk.

The celebration continues each Saturday evening at King Midaqs’ Masquerade Ball, a night of legendary revelry held in a new, magical venue outside the Festival gates. Join an unprecedented evening of magic, mystery and imagination.

Raise a tankard as we open the festival in true Oktoberfest style Oct. 11&12. Journey to Bavaria and the Black Forest as the air echoes with traditional German music and dancing.

Dance a polka, feast on Bratwurst and sauerkraut, quench your thirst with a stein of beer and join in the fun by entering into one of the three German themed contests.

Magical fantasies come to life as wizards, elves and faeries enchant the streets of New Market Village spreading joy throughout the shire Oct. 18and19 for 1001 Dreams. Become part of the enchanting celebrations by participating in the Fantasy Scavenger Hunt, show off your magical finery in the Fantasy Costume Contest, and test your tastebuds in the Dragon Wing Eating Contest.

October 25 and 26 ghouls, goblins and spooks abound as all things creepy emerge from the mists to pay homage to our Queen on Halloween. All will delight in His Majesty’s Annually Decreed Tricks or Treats outing. Admire the carved Jack-o’-lanterns that glitter in the moonlight, bedecking the village shoppes and enter the costume contest to win a fabulous prize.

This is the 40th Annual Texas Renaissance Festival.

Set sail for a swashbuckling weekend Nov. 1&2 as the crew of the Pride of Bedlam invade the shire with their piratical shenanigans. For Pirate Weekend visit the Pirates’ Cove for the finest in treasure and booty, quench yer thirst and sing songs of the sea at the Sea Devil Tavern, and try yer luck by entering any of our Pirate Contests. YAR, ye bilge water swilling land lubbers! There is best dressed pirate and talk like a pirate contests.

Friends, Romans, Countryman. Toga! Toga! Toga! Join the Italian Court in an extravagant Roman Bacchanal Nov. 8 & 9. When in Rome, do as the Romans: seek wisdom from the oracle of Delphi, toss a Bocce Ball, enjoy a Pasta Eating Contest and show off your Centurion physique or Venus-like beauty in the world’s largest Toga contest. Veni, Vidi, Vici!

Uggh! You! Weakling! Join in the Barbarian Invasion Nov. 15 & 16! The Barbarian King, and his band of barbarian buddies try to prove themselves civilized citizens of the realm. Compete in rowdy contests of barbaric fashion: Worst Dressed Barbarian, Barbarian Battle Cry, and prove your love of meat at the Turkey Leg Eating Contest. Time to gather your hoard and raid the village!

The Queen of Scotland beckons all of ye to throw on your best kilt and join the fun Nov. 22 & 23 for the Highlands Fling. Imbibe in one of the many ales or indulge in a Scotch egg, enjoy the energetic pipes and drums of Tartanic for a rocking highland good time, and Lads and Lasses should put their best knees forward and enter the Bonnie Knees Contest and the Highland dance contest.

The festivities conclude as thoughts turn to Christmas and the gates open for a three day weekend following the Thanksgiving Holiday. A Celtic Christmas is Nov. 28 through 30. Shoppes shine with Christmas décor and the sounds of the season are heard throughout the village. Join in the festivities with a yuletide scavenger hunt, hot spiced mead and a visit with Father Christmas.

Within walking distance to the festival front gates, the Fields of New Market Campground features two convenience tores, water stations with potable water, permanent and portable restrooms, as well as easily accessible trash dumpsters. Spaces for RVs, tents and campers are available on the first come, first serve basis. Seperate from the main camping area, is also available for guests who prefer a more serene experience after 10:00 p.m. At only $20 per vehicle, with the purchase of Texas Renaissance Festival admission tickets.

These new campgrounds offer a communal bonfire, live music and performances by many of the festival artisans occur each night to enhance the social experience throughout the weekend.

Father pushing family van hit by taxi cab, dies

HOUSTON – A man pushing his minivan was fatally struck by a taxi along the Eastex Freeway.

The accident hapenned in the 10400 block of Eastex Freeway around 1:50 a.m. on Saturday morning, September 27. According to police reports, the 32-year-old father of 2

was attempting to push his stalled vehicle, a white Honda Odessey van, off the Eastex freeway to the emergency lane and right lane of Eastex Freeway and Langley when a taxi driver failed to notice him. The man and his vehicle were then struck by the yellow Toyota Cienna minivan, traveling northbound on the freeway.

The driver of the taxi remained at the scene, was questioned and released.

The wife and two children, ages 5 and 3, inside the vehicle were transported to Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital in stable condition. The man died on the scene, his identity is pending verification by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.

The taxi driver sustained no injuries. The investigation is continuing.