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Department News

Human Resources

Welcome Wendy Peña, Jason Pickrell and Bobby Vasquez ... Goodbye to Thomas Morley ... Congratulations to Mark Kasten on his promotion ... Communications hosted Public Service Recognition Week award ceremonies for the annual essay and poster contests in May. – Bobby Vasquez

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Houston Emergency Center

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Mae Roberson, Acres Homes Multi-Service Center, right, thanks HEC’s Director David Cutler, left, and My Trang for the electric fans given to the center. HEC employees donated more than 240 fans to help neighboring service centers fight off the heat.

In June, employees donated more than 240 electric fans to help neighboring community service centers battle the heat. Acres Homes Multi-Service Center, J.W. Peavy Senior Citizen Center, Magnolia Senior Center NCI, and Vietnamese Senior Citizen Association received the fans. – Joe Laud

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Planning & Development

The department celebrated recognition of the Braeburn super neighborhood council and the Second Ward super neighborhood council ... Congratulations to Mike Kramer, assistant director; Margaret Wallace, assistant director, and Marcia Wilson, deputy assistant director, for completing their executive-level certified public manager’s course. Also, congratulations to Roger Hamilton, Jennifer Ostlind and Gwen Tillotson, who in July completed the certified public manager course ... City Council approved “protected historic landmark” status for the Second Ward house of Thomas McWhorter, historic preservation senior planner. The five-bay Gulf Coast cottage, constructed around 1860, was originally occupied by Joseph Merkel, who immigrated to Texas in 1846 and was an influential member of the German- American community during the second half of the 19th century. The house was once the center of a 101-acre ranch in Houston’s East End. – Suzy Hartgrove

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Legal

Kudos to Lloyd Segall from Lt. Gray D. Smith, HPD narcotics division, for the briefing he gave to undercover officers about what was needed for a successful prosecution during the Fourth Ward narcotics division reversal operation ... At Legal’s Public Service Recognition Awards program May 22, the following were honored: Carolyn Chaney, 30 years; Cynthia King, 25 years; Marcus Dobbs, 20 years; Andrea Chan, Shirley Harris, Harlan Heilman, 15 years; Tim Higley, Jacqueline Leguizamon, Harry Shelton, Brenda Terry, Rosemary Ward, 10 years; Judith Benton, Nerissa Jewett, Jill Massin, Jonathan Michaels, Mayura Ramanna, Dola Young, 5 years ... Welcome new hires: Marilyn Allen; Courtney Tracy; Norman Davis; and Augustus Campbell ... Welcome summer interns: Brandy Bryan; Aishah Andang; Hamilton Rucker; Brittney Sells; Jennifer Chidi; Tiffany Pratt; Samuel Gardner; Andrew Longbons; Dominica Moore; Carolina Ortuzar-Diaz; Benjamin Hayes; Abraham Izaguirre, and Jessica Wallace ... Congratulations to Charles Foerster, Annette Jackson and Audrey “Jean” White on their retirement. – Vachel Henry.

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Municipal Courts Judicial

The newest full-service court, Court No. 20, opened June 2 at the HPD North Command Station, 9455 W. Montgomery Road. The court serves residents of Acres Homes and surrounding areas as an annex court. It handles off-docket matters, arraignment dockets, trials by judges, and magistrate warnings for law enforcement. An open house is planned for August ... Judge Francelia Totty was appointed to the Houston Bar Association’s professionalism committee for 2008-2009. The committee encourages and promotes equal opportunities and active involvement and participation by minority lawyers. It also works with the bar association to develop and sponsor educational programs and service projects ... Lilly Warden received the annual Golden Gavel award at the public service recognition awards ceremony. The award recognizes an employee who strived for perfection in all areas of her duties throughout the year ... Judges Howard Speight and Leigh Saint-Germain participated in the 18th annual “Night Court” musical comedy production benefiting the charities of the Houston Bar Foundation. This year’s theme was “The Law of the Sea” and featured Speight as Horatio Hornbook, captain of the Heretofore, and Saint-Germain as a member of an Admiralty Law Firm, the murderous wench Catalina, and Barracuda, the killer prosecutor. Speight, who has performed for more than a decade in the “Night Court” show, sang a song to music from Gilbert and Sullivan’s “HMS Pinafore.” Saint-Germain’s main vocal number in this, her 16th year, was performed to music from “Chicago.” The show raised more than $75,000. – Lilly Warden

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Health & Human Services

About 1,000 elderly Houstonians will benefit from the new Summer Meals For Seniors Program launched by the Area Agency on Aging at nine multi-service and community centers. The program is part of the department’s “beat the heat” efforts. The program also provides weekday lunches to seniors 60 years or older through August 15. Reliant Energy is providing free rides to the centers to those without transportation ... The department recently published “The City of Houston Health Disparities Data Report,” highlighting factors related to the health of racial groups and identifying underlying causes. The department will use the report to promote coordinated efforts among its health and community partners to help address health inequities.
The report is available at www.houstontx.gov/health/disparity.pdf ...

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Patty Soong, the daughter of HHS’ Shelley Soong, third from left, won first place in the city’s Public Service Recognition Week essay contest. Patty won a $2,000 scholarship from the Indo-American Charity Foundation.

Welcome Michele Austin, new division manager of compliance in the administrative services division ... This summer, 100 youths are distributing 250,000 free compact florescent light bulbs and teaching residents of low- and middle-income Houston neighborhoods about energy conservation. The Mayor’s Summer Youth Conservation Corps, a partnership between the department and Houston Works, employs and trains the youths as energy conservation advocates. CFL bulbs use two-thirds less energy than other bulbs and can reduce electric bills up to 10 percent. – Porfirio Villarreal

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General Services

Parking management moved to GSD from Public Works & Engineering ... Welcome new team members Dennis Selbe, Martha Betancourt, Myja Lark, Alvin Phillips, Johnathan Jones, Dorothy Pappillion, Jose Rodriguez, Carlos Nunez, Marcus Sheppard, Duncan Elliott, Sergio Cuevas, Gilbert Gomez, Brandy White, Eberto Amador, Ricardo Banda, Jorge Cantu, Ricardo Cazares, Pedro Guzman, Al Owens and Bunnara Oum ... Congratulations to Andrew Ashley, promoted to maintenance supervisor; Barbara Johnson, promoted to senior account clerk; Mary Gibbs, promoted to administrative specialist, and Sydney Igleheart, promoted to community involvement coordinator. Happy retirement to Florence Chase. — Jacquelyn L. Nisby

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Parks & Recreation

The city’s swimming pools opened May 24 and will remain open through Aug. 17, except on Mondays. Select pools will remain open on weekends through Labor Day … At community centers until Aug. 15, the Summer Enrichment Program offers children a wide range of recreational activities, including sports, arts and crafts, entertainment, field trips, special events, and water fun … On June 1, the Lee & Joe Jamail Skatepark, the largest in-ground skate park in the area with the biggest cradle in the world, opened on the bank of Buffalo Bayou near downtown … The staff at Memorial Park is basking in the successful completion of the NCAA Division II Championship May 13 – 17… Young track and field athletes are getting competitive experience through the Hershey Track & Field Program … “The Summer Activities in the Park” catalog is available at community centers and at www.houstonparks.org. – Don Whitaker

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Affirmative Action

Farewell to Yanira Bermudez. – Patsy Jackson

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Fire

On April 7 at the Westwood Golf Club, 120 friends, family and supporters participated in the fourth annual HFD Charity Golf Classic benefiting the Firefighters Protection Fund. This year’s classic raised more than $7,000 ... About 500 people attended the HFD job fair April 12 at the George R. Brown Convention Center ... At the spring promotion ceremony April 17, Chief Phil Boriskie, members of the command team, and Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association President Jeff Caynon recognized the more than 180 recently promoted members ... The Fire Fighters Foundation of Houston presented HFD with more than $99,000 in life-saving equipment April 25... On April 26, more than 100 community volunteers and HFD members installed 190 smoke alarms in the neighborhood around Fire Station 41, 805 Pearl Street. During another mass installation in the same neighborhood June 7, volunteers installed more than 40 smoke alarms ... At a press conference May 5, HFD and the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office warned parents and guardians about “toy-like” lighters and encouraged them to keep lighters and matches away from children ... HFD celebrated National EMS Week with a reunion with cardiac arrest survivor Billy Wooldridge, members of his family, and HFD crew members who helped save his life in the lobby of Union Station at Minute Maid Park May 21. A CPR instructor and EMT, Wooldridge was volunteering at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo when he suddenly collapsed. Two volunteers called 911 and began CPR. Ladder and Engine 33 arrived within minutes, followed by members from Squad 33 and Ambulance 33 and other HFD members. The team administered CPR, applied a defibrillator, and administered clot-busting drugs and other advanced therapies. Wooldridge was revived en route to the hospital and has fully recovered ... HFD and Whataburger encouraged water safety during a special event at several Whataburger restaurants June 3. – Alicia White

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Public Works & Engineering

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Eddie Egret, Ulysses Turner, Mr. Grease Buster, Deputy Drop, and Clara Catfish, left to right, make an appearance at PWE’s Water Festival. More than 1,000 third- through eighth-grade students learned about the city’s drinking water system.

On May 27, the right of way and fleet maintenance division held its second annual Field Employees’ Education and Development conference at the George R. Brown Convention Center. The conference continued PWE’s efforts to inform employees about professional and personal development opportunities available within the department and to honor long-time and outstanding employees. Those honored were: employees of the year Michael Romero and Charles Clophus; supervisors of the year John Baines and Tracy Wilkins; team player Maria Gonzalez; crew of the year Leslie Davis, Christopher Horn, Angel Leal, Jose Ramirez, Joe Rodriguez and Jimmy Tryon. Recognized for 25 years of service were Willie CookMarvin Frank, Reginald Jefferson, Robert Kunschick, James Lawrence, Don Nowlin, Reginald Petties and Erlinda Trigo. Recognized for 20 years of service were Timothy Withers, David Mendiola and Darryl Johnson ... Forty solar panels were installed on the roof of the Code Enforcement Building. The panels will produce about 743 kilowatt hours a month, about two-thirds what an average, 2,330-square-foot house uses ... City Council staffers spent half a day learning how each PWE division operates during the classroom portion of the PWE 101 course. Part two of the course is a field trip and tour that focuses on water and wastewater treatment plants and offers a visual demonstration of right of way operations. The course is conducted every two years to update council staffers on the department’s responsibilities ... On April 23, the utility customer service branch launched a campaign to increase donations to the Water Aid to Elderly Residents Fund, which provides financial assistance to eligible low-income citizens, 60 and older, who live in a single-family dwelling. This year the requests have doubled. Projections show that in four to six months the added requests will cause the program to run out of money. For information, contact Alvin Wright, 713-837-0004 ... At the kickoff for National Bike Month May 1, the Bikeway Program broke ground on the West Houston Phase II Bike Trail at Eldridge and Enclave. The bikeway offers 27.8 miles of bike lanes and designated bike routes west of Beltway 8, between Old Katy Road and Richmond ... More than 1,000 third- through eighth-grade students from area school districts attended the 15th annual Water Festival May 8 at the Downtown Aquarium. They learned about Houston’s drinking water supply and how to protect one of our most valuable natural resources. The drinking water operations branch of the public utilities division coordinated the festival ... Goodbye to Wes Johnson after 12 years as the department’s public information officer. – Alvin Wright

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Solid Waste Management

On May 14, City Council approved an ordinance awarding a contract for wood-waste-recycling services to the LETCO Group LLC. That was the first step in a citywide tree-waste recycling program to divert the material from city landfills. Under the contract, the city will deliver tree limbs, branches, and stumps to LETCO’s Living Earth Technology Co. locations, where the tree waste will be ground into compostable material ... Welcome new hires Laticia Boozer, Aaron Brown, Tom Burgess, Herman Daniels, Zak Garza, Minthia Green, Timothy Jackson, Larry Johnson, Lawrence Landry Jr., Lamar Lucas, Yolanda Mayers, Russell S. Moore, Elizabeth Valdez and Andre L. Webb. Marina Joseph

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Convention & Entertainment Facilities

Employees turned out in force for a Rebuilding Together Houston project April 26. The day was spent repairing, cleaning and painting a home on the east side. Among those volunteering were Pamela Walko, Thomas Smyer, Kerry Warner, Ashley Wilson, Debra Ramon, Jessica Hernandez, John Harris, Dee Thomas, Art Zehnder and Linda Hash ... Department staffers were caught star-gazing recently during filming of the movie “Tree of Life.” Sean Penn and cast mates spent two days filming scenes at Wortham Center and the George R. Brown Convention Center. The movie is scheduled to be distributed in 2009 ... Welcome Annette Goldberg and Deyanira “Dey” Rodriguez ... Laura Montemayor, Kerry Warner and Li-Ling Chou were honored as department employees of the month. – Pete Radowick

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Housing & Community Development

Welcome Janine Henry, Travis Hooper, Robert Bradford, Angela Simon and Jonathan Lee ... On April 28, Mayor Bill White, Director Richard Celli, HCDD staff, and Fourth Ward community leaders and residents broke ground at Gregory School, 1300 Victor. The school, a state archaeological landmark constructed in 1926, will be renovated into the African-American Library and Archival Center. It will house photographs, letters, documents and oral histories of the early blacks in Houston ... On May 20, the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum hosted a groundbreaking at the 1928 Houston Light Guard Armory, 3820 Caroline Street ... On March 29, Homebuyer’s Assistance Program staff participated in the Mayor’s Housing Forum at the George R. Brown Convention Center. On June 7, they split time between ACORN’s Foreclosure Prevention Fair at the GRB and Chase Bank’s Legacy of Homeownership Fair at Reliant Center. – Lester Whiteing

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Library

Welcome new staff members Tega Zoma, Te’Rone Eaglin, Michaela Watson, Charlene Collins, Bronwyn Stewart, Hugo Gonzales, Victoria Austin, Ronald Stauss, Charlotte Miller, Trisha Hollis, Yolanda Foster, Gloria Martinez, Briana Ramirez, Carol Rico, Marguerite Radhakrishnan, and Luis Madrigal. Also, welcome to Ponnachan Daniel, Timothy Ronk and My-Van Phung ... Congratulations on well-deserved promotions to Patrick Atkins, Timothy Siegel, Renee Phillips, Sarah Ortiz, Daniel Pillow, Barbara Morales, Maurice Williams, Esther Reyes, Amber Seely, Theodora Ume-Ezeoke, Charles Burchard and Sylvia Espinosa ... Happy retirement to Zok Ng, Maria-Goretti Doroin and George Brackett ... Grove Art Online, the most comprehensive online resource for visual arts research, contains 45,000 articles, more than 2,500 thumbnail art images and image links to more than 40,000 art images on museum and gallery Web sites around the world. Grove Music Online covers the history of music from Bach to the blues with access to more than 50,000 articles, 500 examples of types of music, 3-D interactive images of musical instruments, and links to more than 3,000 music Web sites. Access to these databases is provided through the support of the Greenberg Endowment. To access the databases, visit www.houstonlibrary.org/research/index.html. – Blanca Quezada

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