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Department News

Affirmative Action

A warm welcome to Eduardo Mejia, Vanessa Aplon, Jean Abercrombie, Morris Scott, Barbara Small-Robinson, who transferred from Police, and Michelle Colvard, executive director of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities … Congratulations on promotions to Lakesha Runnels, to administrative aide, and Patsy Jackson, to administration manager … In May and June, the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities and Connectivity Source provided a free cell phone to anyone with a hearing impairment as part of the Help Program. – Patsy Jackson

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Aviation

During its 80th anniversary, Hobby airport has something else to celebrate. For the second consecutive year, travelers in a J.D. Powers and Associates study selected it as the most preferred airport nationwide serving less than 10 million passengers per year … Four months into the new year, Bush Intercontinental and Hobby airports have served more than 16 million passengers … U.S. Customs and Border Protection named Bush Intercontinental the nation’s first “model port.” The CBP recognized the airport for providing better travel experiences for international travelers visiting the United States … Professional musicians Robin Berry and Stephen Marq are using their stringed harmony to relax and soothe passengers traveling through Houston’s airports … Bush and Hobby are the first airports worldwide to employ mobile threat-containment units. The new, versatile Aigis Blast Protection IU1200 units provide quick handling and disposal of suspicious or potentially harmful materials found in passenger carry-on luggage. – Juan Alanis

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City Council

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City Secretary

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Controller's Office

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Convention & Entertainment


Convention & Entertainment Facilities Director Dawn Ullrich, left, and parking management Assistant Director Liliana Rambo accepted a mayoral proclamation from Councilman Michael Berry June 5 recognizing parking management’s outstanding performance. The division was named Municipal Parking Organization of the Year by the International Parking Institute.

The George R. Brown Convention and Wortham Theater centers have exhibits marking their 20th anniversaries … Kenneth Mann, maintenance supervisor at the GRB; Cliff Presswood, stage supervisor for sound at Miller Outdoor Theatre; and Nicole Chinea, administrative assistant in parking management, were honored in the employee recognition program … Art Zehnder has been named director of sales at the GRB. Bobby Balsam, was named director of the newly created event and guest services division at the GRB … Also welcome newcomers Renee Martinez, Ed Witt, Jessica Hernandez, John Smetak, Diane Velasquez, Charles Tramel, Derrick Williams, Kerry Warner and Brian Nortin. – Pete Radowick

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Finance & Administration

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Fire

On May 18, the department joined the Regional Hospital Preparedness Council at a press conference at the HFD training academy to unveil a medical surge team. The specialized, 48-member team will transport and construct temporary shelters to treat EMS patients at casualty scenes, alleviating the demand on local medical facilities during a disaster … The HFD classified recruiting division, in partnership with the Houston Black Firefighters Association and the Houston Hispanic Firefighters Local 341, hosted a job fair May 19 at the George R. Brown Convention Center. More than 1,000 applicants learned about the application process, qualifications and what it takes to be a Houston firefighter … During an Astros pregame ceremony May 16, the Andrade family thanked HFD and the firefighters who saved Elida, their 9-year-old daughter. In May 2006, the girl and her mother were hit by a drunk driver while walking on the sidewalk. Although the mother did not suffer life-threatening injuries, Elida was critically injured. First responders, EMTs and paramedics resuscitated and transported her to a local trauma center where she lay in a coma for almost a week. She’s now back in school … On May 17, several council members and staff participated in a one-day orientation course at the HFD Training Facility. HFD Fire Ops 101 classes were first held in June 2004. Church and community leaders and members of the media have also gone through this hands-on course that enhances awareness of HFD’s capabilities and limitations and develops a relationship between firefighters and citizens … During a massive drive April 28, HFD personnel, Councilman Adrian Garcia, Citizens’ Fire Academy alumni, and community emergency response team members installed smoke alarms in homes in neighborhoods around Fire Station 9, 702 Hogan. Then, on June 23, the department hosted another mass installation in the neighborhoods around Fire Station 26, 7111 Dixie … The Fire Fighters Foundation of Houston recently donated more than $50,000 worth of life-saving equipment to the department … On April 26, firefighters from Station 59 reunited with Wayne Revis, 47, who had suffered cardiac arrest March 3. Crewmembers from Engine 48-B responded and applied an automatic external defibrillator to Revis. Medic 59 administered advanced life-support techniques. When Revis was stabilized, the crew transported him to a hospital … Trainees graduated from the HFD Fast Track Class 36 and 39 during a commencement and oath of office ceremony April 17, and from Class 37 May 17 at the George R. Brown Convention Center … On April 26, members of the 14th HFD Citizens’ Fire Academy graduated from the 12-week course. – Alicia Whitehead

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General Services

Building Services is now General Services … Welcome Patrick Dalton, Johnnie Richmond, Richard Clark and Ana LopezIssa Dadoush, director, was featured as a Black Belt Executive in the Spring 2007 issue of Bushi Ban Life, a leading martial arts magazine. Dadoush is a first-degree black belt … The department received the Outstanding City Department award at the S/MWBE Awards and Appreciation Luncheon. The award, presented during the Government Procurement Connections Conference, recognizes the department’s support of the Mayor’s Office of Affirmative Action and Contract Compliance … Ja’Nice Sparks was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation from the Mayor’s Volunteer Houston Awards 2007. The certificate recognizes outstanding volunteer service … Congratulations on well-deserved promotions to Ted Desforges to administration manager, Brian Taylor to chief stationary engineer, and Dennis Savitsky to plumber … Happy retirement wishes to Maple Stewart, 16 years; James Noland, 29 years; Eddie Bailey, 13 years; and Guillermina Sosa, 14 years ... Dadoush was featured in the Houston Chronicle April 27 as the “Go-to-guy” for the city. – Jacquelyn Nisby

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Health & Human Services

Welcome to the city’s first wellness coordinator, Nicole Hare. Housed in HHS, the wellness position is also sponsored by the Human Resources and Parks & Recreation departments. Hare will work with the wellness committee to encourage city employees to become more active, improve their nutrition, and manage their stress. She will also study the major causes of city health problems and work with the Mayor’s Wellness Council to promote activities among Houstonians … The department recently published “The State of Health in Houston/Harris County,” a community assessment to help planners and decision-makers address health concerns. The report summarizes more than 40 health topics organized by trends, population differences, geographic distribution, economic impact, Healthy People 2010, and public health actions. Harris County’s Public Health and Environmental Services, Healthcare Alliance, Hospital District, and Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority helped develop the report … In observance of National Infant Immunization Week, the department recognized 89 doctors who had an 80 to 100 percent rate of up-to-date immunizations among infant patients. – Porfirio Villarreal

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Housing & Community Development


Kenneth Sanders and his family received a check as part of the Good Neighbor Program. The program provides down-payment and closing-cost assistance to 100 low- to moderate-income teachers, police officers, emergency medical service personnel and firefighters.

Welcome Ginger Vinson, assistant director of operations and risk management … The Citizen Participation Plan is available at www.houstonhousing.org or at HCDD’s office, 601 Sawyer, 4th floor. The CPP describes how residents can help develop and implement programs to revitalize low and moderate-income communities. For more information, call (713) 868-8441 … Assistant Director Donald Sampley joined City Council members, board members and residents at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new 7,800-square-foot Village Learning and Achievement Center, which will serve more than 100 low- and moderate-income people, ages 15 to 60, with physical and developmental disabilities. The Kingwood facility, which received an $800,000 community development block grant, houses three large classrooms, an extra large project and vocational area, a quiet room, a sensory room, a nurse’s station, and reception and administration areas. Renovations included electrical, plumbing, air conditioning and energy efficient features. Construction is scheduled to be completed in September … On March 22, Mayor Bill White and Director Richard Celli presented the first check in the Good Neighbor Next Door Program. The $40,000 check was presented to the Sanders Family. Kenneth Sanders was nominated for special education teacher of the year at R.W. Dowling Middle School. The program provides down-payment and closing-cost assistance to 100 low-to-moderate income teachers, police officers, emergency medical service personnel and firefighters who buy new or qualified homes in neighborhoods designated for affordable development under the mayor’s Houston Hope initiative. For additional information, visit www.houstonhousing.org … On March 29, White, Celli, council members, Houston’s philanthropic community, and members of Ibn Sina Foundation, a group of local physicians and business and health care professionals, cut the ribbon for the foundation’s new $1.8 million, 5,000-square-foot community medical center. A community development bock grant helped fund the center, which will house specialty medical clinics dedicated to Houston’s underserved families … Tophas Anderson, management analyst IV, is the new vice chair of the Houston Municipal Employee Federal Credit Union’s supervisory committee. – Lester Whiteing

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Houston Emergency Center

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Human Resources


Erika Jaimes, daughter of HR's Marina Mendoza, was one of 18 relatives of city employees honored by Councilwoman Sue Lovell at the PSRW poster contest ceremony.

Estela Cortes was promoted to accounting services supervisor … Welcome Lorayne Justis, Carolyn Jackson, Richard Feehan, and Ursula Garcia to the E. B. Cape Center … Goodbye Maria E. Gonzalez, who retired after 27 years … Stephanie Robertson, a seventh- and eighth-grade career investigation teacher from the Spring Branch Independent School District, spent a week as an intern in the department as part of the A+ Challenge. Robertson visited each HR division to determine what they do, how the employees’ high school educations prepared them for the job and what kind of education they needed, how to navigate the NeoGov system and what jobs were available in the city. – John Perry and Dave Schafer


Mayor Bill White, flanked by U of H Chancellor Jay Gogue and HCC Chancellor Mary Springer, signed an education agreement allowing city employees to acquire college credits through courses at the E.B. Cape Center.

 

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Information Technology

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Legal

Kudos to Lisa Hargrove and Kuruvilla Oommen, who were awarded a unit citation by Chief of Police Harold Hurtt for their outstanding work on the red light camera initiative; to Lloyd Segal and Randy Zamora, chief prosecutor, who were recently featured in the Houston Chronicle for mentoring and working with freshman attorneys from Baker Botts LLP, Vinson & Elkins LLP, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, and Haynes & Boone LLP … Congratulations to the following: Andrea Chan, Adorn Strambler, Alice Wilson and Dennis Yaksich for completing the Texas Round-Up; Rico Davis for representing the department at the basketball skills competition of the Mayor’s Cup 2007 Challenge; Elinore Tecson, co-chair of the Houston Young Lawyers Association Law Day Luncheon; and Peggy Walker, for receiving a scholarship from the Allied Florists of Houston for continuing education at an accredited floral design school … At the department’s public service recognition awards, the following were honored: Evangeline Bell, Wanita Mitchell, Paula Slaugher-Harris, 25 years; Donna Edmundson, Joseph Quintal, Wilson, Yaksich, 20 years; Bonnie Ashcroft, Nelda Jerrols, Penn Phillips-Price, Bertrand Pourteau, Strambler, Belinda Villarreal, JoDeyce Ward, Donna White, 15 years; Marilyn Bates, Donald Fleming, Kimberly Gamble, Cora Garcia, Michelle Picard, Ernie Solas, Rachel Suarez, Tanya Wilder, Debra Winslow, Yolanda Woods, 10 years; Yvette De Los Santos, Arva Howard, Oommen, Mia Settle-Vinson, five years … The Texas chapter of the National Safety Council recognized the department’s accomplishments in accident prevention … The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center presented a Commit for Life Certificate of Appreciation to the department during its April 3 blood drive … Welcome to Jaso Aaron, Lottie Lee, April Greenhouse, Amalia Pferd, Kelly Dempsey, Diana Bresk, Bonnie Stiller, Edgar Prida … And welcome to interns Collins Agbahiwe, Dara Magnus-Lawson, Joshua Schneider, Danielle Bringier, Omar Khawaja, Gene Watkins, Dimple Joseph, Dominica Moore, Bruce Belenky, Phillip Goodwin, Kimberly Player, Abraham Izaguirre, and Dante Johnson. – Vachel Henry

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Library

Welcome Luis Gonzales, Irma Ayala, Nancy Chavez, AritEdna Ekpro, Samora Guillory, Chanel Newman, Donovan Boson, Shakeshia Leday, Lucullus Condor, Jeffrey Wooten, Binu Rajan, Janet Ulakovic, Melesia Davis, Ginger Vazquez, Justine Basha, Crystal Shiver, Monique Collins, Edrel Stoneham, Elizabeth Aguilar, Venus Williams, Miriam Charles, Corey II Flowers, Shareef Hall, Natalie Perez, Evelyn Mata, Anthony Goodwyn, Blair Ault, Tiffany Little, Tamara Broussard, Miranda Moore, Antonio Ruiz, Audriel Brooks, Marie Stephens, Nancy Neal, Naudia Griffin, Valerie Marinez, and Debra Stewart. Also, welcome back, Jimmy Pearson.
Congratulations on well-deserved promotions to Ymelda Contreras, Shirley Singletary, Regina Stemmer, JoAnn Jenkins, Felicia Brisco, Andrea Moore, Heidi Daniel-Morgan, Pedro Fonseca, Menges Gebreselassie, Ann Otto, and Jason Stephens … Happy retirement to Gregory Snyder, Laura Costilla, Juan Maldonado, Velma Frank, Tamara Franklin, Mary A. Woodhouse, and Frances Martin … For the Library of Tomorrow Teen Essay Contest, 11to18 years olds addressed changing global interconnectivity and what the library of tomorrow should provide to help students succeed in a world with fewer boundaries. The answers were inventive, creative and heartfelt. The authors of the winning essays received prizes. – Blanca Quezada

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Mayor's Office

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Municipal Courts Administration

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Municipal Courts Judicial

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Parks & Recreation

Young artists at community centers in the Clark, Lakewood, Shady Lane, and Sharpstown parks are making colorful contributions to their neighborhoods this year. Through Parks’ Summer Mural Project in partnership with the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, they design and paint art for the community centers … Parks is hosting the free, federally funded summer meals program, which is coordinated through the Texas Health and Human Services Commission-Special Nutrition Program. Since 1984, this program has provided a daily lunch and snack during the summer to Houston youngsters. Last year, 1.3 million meals were served … On May 26, the aquatics division kicked off the 2007 swim season by opening city pools. Only one of the 39 public pools didn’t open on time due to construction. The swim season runs through Aug. 17, then shortened hours go into effect through Labor Day … On May 31, the department honored long-term employees with a luncheon and service awards ceremony. Recognized were Hector Carpio, 30 years; Jose Alvarez, Debra Lathan, David Martinez, Shirley Mims, John Rankin, Cedric Roberson, Philip Spencer, Guilivaldo Villanueva, and Shirlynn Wormley, 25 years; Alan Fritsche, Sharon Hall, Dee Howell, Veronica Jennings, Leonardo Johns, Anthony La Faso, and Patricia McKeel, 20 years; Michael Diep, Madeline Evans, O’Neal Jackson, David Lewis, Pamela Perkins, Sheila Pous, and Arnold Valerio, 15 years … The Texas Legislature funded the purchase of the remaining acreage of West 11th Street Park, the last stand of native forest in the 610 Loop not protected as a park. – Don Whitaker

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Planning & Development

The following employees were recognized for their service at a May 17 awards ceremony: Patricia Benavides, Tommy Mah, and Margaret Wallace, 20 years; Deborah Gallegos, Roger Hamilton, Vivian Hodges, Shirley Hyatt, Stanley Ikpo, and Landell Ramagos, 15 years; Michael Griffin and Paul Voltz, 10 years; Gayatri Anoo, Truscenia Garrett, Peggy Slater, five years. – Suzy Hartgrove

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Police

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Public Works & Engineering

The theme of this year’s Building Safety Week in May was “Building smarter … for disasters and everyday life.” The code enforcement office hosted area students at open houses to promote the use, enforcement, and understanding of building-safety and fire-prevention codes. Activities gave students insight into how the branch operates, hands-on plan review, and exposure to careers within the planning division … On May 1, the Bikeway Program and Texas Southern University kicked off bike month by breaking ground on the new Columbia Tap Rails to Trails greenway. The greenway covers three miles of a 10-foot-wide hike-and-bike trail that will transform an abandoned railway corridor into a multi-use linear park. The trail runs from the bike route on Dixie Drive to the bike lanes on Polk Street and connects to the trail on Brays Bayou and the bike route on Alabama and McGowen. The trail also includes two bicycle and pedestrian bridges that cross Highway 288 and Brays Bayou … On May 17-18, a dozen student engineers from Mexico visited the department to learn engineering and construction best practices. They toured several facilities and met with inspectors and engineers to discuss reducing city flooding … On May 24, the right-of-way division held the Field Employees Education and Development Conference at the George R. Brown Convention Center to promote personal and professional growth and to recognize employees’ hard work and achievements … Michael Green, Gregory Tutt, Randy Richard, Reginald Jefferson, Desmond Jones, Craig Smith, Wendell Smith, Elroyal Morris, Charles Williams, Davis Whitfield, Krislyunde Hunt, Joseph McFarland, and Michael Wilson took advantage of a beautiful day to lend a hand to Rebuilding Houston at 11813 McGallion St. The crew helped make a new window screen, repair a hole in the floor, caulk up a crack on the side of the house, replace the back screen door, replace the metal siding on the north side of the house, and more … Jeana L. Nellons, information systems administrator, was re-elected financial secretary and executive board member of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators, Houston chapter. She has held the position for two years … Lt. Gary Scheibe, Mayor’s Office of Public Safety & Homeland Security, recognized Tracy Wingate for his support during a parade and demonstration at Mason Park April 26. – Alvin Wright

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Solid Waste Management

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Richard Frank Smith, Fire, died off-duty April 28, 2007. He was 53. Smith served HFD for 30 years, most recently in dispatch. He also served in the U.S. Army and owned a carpet-cleaning business. Smith is survived by his wife, Elsa; daughter, Adrienne, and her husband, Adam; two sons, Richard II and Daniel; sister, Carol, and her husband, Pete; nieces and nephews. He was buried in Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery.



 

Magnum Opus Award
Lone Star Award winner
Katie Award winner
Apex award winner