Same-Sex Couples Marrying or Soon to Marry in 80% of Texas Counties

PRESS RELEASE

Austin, Texas – Nearly 80% of Texas Counties are either already making marriage licenses available to same-sex couples or are planning to make licenses available shortly after technical changes to software and physical marriage certificates as of Tuesday, June 30th, according to Texas for Marriage.

Texas for Marriage staff called counties across Texas on Tuesday, June 30th to determine whether clerks were offering marriage licenses to same-sex couples. 149 counties out of 254 — nearly 60% — indicated over the phone that they were already making marriage licenses available to same-sex couples. Those counties are listed below.

“Nearly sixty percent of Texas clerks are following the law by making marriage licenses available,” said Nick Hudson. “We are encouraged by the swift implementation of the Supreme Court’s ruling by most counties, but we won’t stop pushing until every clerk in Texas complies with the law and makes licenses available to loving and committed gay and lesbian couples.”

In addition to the 149 counties offering marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Tuesday, 46 counties indicated that they plan to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after making updates to software and physical marriage certificates. Most said they expected changes to be made this week.

“All county clerks should make licenses available to couples who come in, because that is what the law requires,” said Nick Hudson.

At least one county clerk — Kim Wells in San Saba County — had indicated on Monday that she would not be making marriage licenses available to same-sex couples because of personal religious beliefs. On Tuesday, Wells reversed course by joining the majority of Texas counties making licenses available to same-sex couples.

“Religious liberty is a fundamental right protected by the First Amendment,” said Nick Hudson. “But that doesn’t mean that government officials can use their personal religious beliefs to avoid following the law regarding marriage.”

Counties Issuing Licenses on June 30, 2015:

Andrews, Angelina, Aransas, Archer, Armstrong, Atascosa, Bandera, Bee, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Brazoria, Brazos, Brewster, Briscoe, Brown, Burnet, Caldwell, Callahan, Cameron, Camp, Carson, Chambers, Childress, Clay, Cochran, Collin, Colorado, Comal, Comanche, Coryell, Crosby, Culberson, Dallas, Deaf Smith, Denton, Dewitt, Dickens, Duval, Edwards, Ellis, Falls, Fisher, Foard, Fort Bend, Franklin, Frio, Galveston, Glasscock, Grayson, Gonzales, Gregg, Guadalupe, Hale, Hall, Hansford, Hardeman, Harris, Haskell, Hays, Hemphill, Hidalgo, Hood, Hopkins, Houston, Hudspeth, Hunt, Jack, Jackson, Jefferson, Jim Hogg, Johnson, Jones, Karnes, Kaufman, Kendall, Kinney, Kleberg, LaSalle, Lamar, Lampasas, Lavaca, Lee, Liberty, Limestone, Lynn, Madison, Mason, Matagorda, Maverick, Mcculloch, Mclennan, Mcmullen, Menard, Milam, Midland, Mitchell, Montague, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Navarro, Newton, Nolan, Nueces, Oldham, Orange, Palo Pinto, Panola, Parmer, Pecos, Polk, Presidio, Rains, Reagan, Red River, Robertson, Rockwall, San Augustine, San Jacinto, San Saba, Schleicher, Scurry, Shackelford, Shelby, Smith, Tarrant, Taylor, Titus, Tom Green, Travis, Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Upton, Uvalde, Val Verde, Victoria, Waller, Webb, Wheeler, Wichita, Wilbarger, Willacy, Williamson, Wise, Wood, Yoakum, Young, Zapata

Counties Planning to Issue Licenses Soon:

Austin, Bailey, Bowie, Burleson, Calhoun, Cherokee, Crane, Crockett, Dallam, Ector, Fannin, Floyd, Freestone, Gillespie, Goliad, Harrison, Henderson, Hutchinson, Jasper, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kent, Lamb, Leon, Llano, Lubbock, Marion, Martin, Medina, Parker, Potter, Randall, Reeves, Refugio, Runnels, Rusk, Sabine, San Patricio, Sherman, Somervell, Stonewall, Sutton, Swisher, Throckmorton, Ward, Wharton

The Rec Report – July, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 10.26.32 AM

In this issue of the Rec Report, find out about National Park & Recreation Month activities, our new online registration and the upcoming RCN Birthday Bash. Don’t forget, you can find activities to keep your family connected by visiting us on any of our social media channels.
Celebrate 2015 Park & Recreation Month

July 2015 marks 30 years of Park & Recreation Month and the enduring importance of parks and recreation for the world. To celebrate, the Parks & Recreation Department has a calendar of activities and contests to help the community experience the power of parks. Follow us on Facebook andTwitter to participate. Park & Recreation Month is a partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association.
Hit us with your best shot

Calling all amateur and professional photographers!. Enter the Park & Recreation Month Nature Photography Contest. Capture an award-winning image of plants or urban wildlife in Pearland, then submit by email for your chance to win!
The contest begins on July 1 and the deadline for submissions is July 26 at 11:59 p.m. On July 27, entries will be posted on the Parks & Recreation Facebook page for voting. The photos that receive the most social interaction (likes, shares, or comments) will be the winners. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place. Read the full contest details at pearlandtx.gov/parkmonth.
We need you to help expand our youth programs

The Pearland Parks & Recreation Department is looking to expand its youth programs and is currently seeking a contract instructor for youth special interest classes at the Westside Event Center located at 2150 Countryplace Pkwy. Class dates and times are to be determined with interested instructors. Call 281.412.8937 or email theYouth Program Specialist, for more information.
Register for Discovery horseback riding camp

Horses are one of the most precious gifts a child can receive. However, not everyone can ride or purchase one, so let us give your child a unique horse experience! Discovery Horse Riding Camp is scheduled for July 20 to July 23. The course provides the basics of grooming, groundwork and safety on and around horses. Register at pearlandparks.com.
Get ready for fall league registration

Summer is halfway over and it’s time to get ready for the Parks & Recreation fall athletic leagues. Registration for men’s and coed softball, coed volleyball, men’s basketball and coed kickball leagues begins on Aug. 10. Start building your team roster now! Learn more by visiting the adult athletics Web page.

Mark your calendar for the annual natatorium maintenance

In our continuous effort to ensure the quality of our facilities, the natatorium will be closed Aug. 3 – 7  for maintenance. The annual maintenance allows staff the opportunity to perform maintenance, make pump repairs, acid wash the pool, paint the diving boards, and perform detailed facility cleaning.
The Recreation Center will operate under normal hours at this time. The Natatorium will reopen Saturday, Aug. 8. And, don’t forget, you can visit the Web page to view monthly facility closures at anytime.
Get out. Get active. Get online.

The Parks & Recreation Department is transitioning to a new and improved online registration system, ActiveNet. The new program will be used for fall program registration. Residents are encouraged to create their online account today, in advance of registration.

During the transition you may notice changes with the appearance of the registration software, accessibility and ease of use.  ActiveNet allows users to access their own receipts, payment history and view account details online 24/7. Visit pearlandparks.com to create your new account.

Celebrate the Recreation Center’s 5th birthday

You are invited to celebrate the 5th birthday of the Recreation Center & Natatorium at the RCN Birthday Bash on Aug. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bring the whole family out for inflatables, free classes for children and adults and a health fair. Don’t miss this opportunity to see how the RCN can help you and your family lead a more active lifestyle! Free giveaways, door prizes and a 25% off membership special will be offered. Visit pearlandparks.com for event information. 

KPB Wacky Wednesday Movies Begin July 1

WackyWed

Tomorrow July 1, 2015 is the next Keep Pearland Beautiful Wacky Wednesday Free Movie! The movie “Book of Life” will be playing at 10AM. Make sure to share a picture of you and your family at the Pearland Premiere Cinema on Facebook and tag KPB!

PISD eNews: Summer, 2015

PISD news

Awarding ExcellenceTeachers, Principals of the Year take spotlight 

TeachersPearland ISD salutes its top teachers and principals for 2014-15! These individuals exhibit the extraordinary every day, whether standing in front of a classroom or leading a campus. Learn more about these winners.

Buzz-worthy: Krishnakumar ranks as No. 4 speller in nation

BeePearland Junior High West’s Siddharth Krishnakumar made Pearland ISD history by placing No. 4 in the nation in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. (Read More)

Encore Performance: DHS one-act play wins second at state meet 

DHSDawson High School theatre students took another bow at state this year, winning second place in the UIL 6A One-Act Play State Meet. (Read More)

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Seven campuses earn No Place for Hate designation      

HATEFor promoting cultures of respect and diversity, seven Pearland ISD campuses have earned the No Place for Hate designation from the Anti-Defamation League. (Read More)

Standing up for STEM: Kelly recognized as STEM advocate   

Superintendent Dr. John Kelly recently won the STEM Education Leadership Award for his influence in establishing a high school that offers career training, certifications and early college credit. (Read More)

In Other News 

  • BIG DOLLARS: The Pearland ISD Education Foundation awarded 47 Innovative Teaching Grants worth more than $39,000 during its annual Surprize Patrol in May. (Read More)
  • TIP-TOP: The Duke University Talent Identification Program honored six junior high students with grand recognition for high SAT or ACT scores. (Read More)

FAA to Airport System: Houston, we have a spaceport!

(L-R): Alexander, Ochoa, Neild, Parker, Diaz, Altemus and Veck.

(L-R): Alexander, Ochoa, Neild, Parker, Diaz, Altemus and Veck.

Representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Houston Airport System (HAS), the City of Houston and NASA gathered Tuesday, June 30 at the Hobby Center downtown for the formal announcement of the FAA’s decision to grant a Launch Site License to allow Ellington Airport to become the nation’s 10th commercial spaceport.

[The other nine spaceports are: Edwards AFB – Edwards, CA, Vandenberg AFB – Lompoc, CA, Corn Ranch – Van Horn, TX, Cecil Airport – Jacksonville, FL, Kodiak Launch Complex – Kodiak Island, AK, Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport – Wallops Island, VA, Mojave Air and Space Port – Mojave, CA, Clinton-Sherman Industrial Airpark – Burns Flat, OK and Spaceport America – Sierra County, NM.]

Mario Diaz, Director of HAS, gave a brief history of the project.

“Two years ago, the HAS approached the Mayor and City Council and presented this idea. They have been supportive from the beginning,” Diaz said.

“The goal is to connect people, business, culture and economy to near-Earth space. We want to create the physical infrastructure and support for the commercial space industry. Man will occupy space and will utilize it to the betterment of all mankind,” concluded Diaz.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker took the stage to make the official announcement.

“The Houston Airport System provides airports that connect Houston to the rest of the globe.” Parker said. “Now, we want to connect Houston to space.”

Parker praised the existing benefits of Ellington Airport.

“Ellington already has runways, many buildings and some of the support we will need. The spaceport will provide the civic, commercial and retail infrastructure and the region will provide the support for the continued growth of commercial spaceflight. This spaceport represents not only Houston’s past, but its future.”

Dr. George Nield, Associate Administrator for FAA Commercial Space Transportation, said, “Ever since Russia sent Yuri Gagarin into space, the federal government has been responsible for defining, designing and implementing the space program. This is no longer the case. The next few years will see commercial companies offering suborbital space flights, making space travel an open market.”

Dr. Ellen Ochoa, Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center expressed enthusiasm about the spaceport. “JSC looks forward to sharing knowledge with HAS and the spaceport regarding safety, training and testing.”

Dr. David Alexander.

Dr. David Alexander.

Dr. David Alexander, the Director of Rice University’s Space Institute, remarked, “This is a unique educational opportunity that the spaceport can foster. It opens up a wealth of opportunities for education, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).”

Rice University, along with the Engineering Departments of University of Houston and University of Texas at Austin and the Engineering Experimental Station at Texas A&M University, has formed a partnership that they call the Texas University Space Consortium.

“Right now, it’s a group of friends from these universities having conversations,” Alexander said. “We want to define what this partnership will be. We have to figure out what we can do together, what we have to offer and how we can get funding before we start inviting other universities to join us. There’s no point bringing people to the table when you don’t know what you have yet.”

Alexander said that he’s looking forward to the inaugural SPACECOM Conference in November, where he hopes to be able to deliver more information.

President of Intuitive Machines, Steve Altemus, announced that his company has committed to be an anchor tenant at the spaceport. “Like Houston, Intuitive Machines prides itself on opportunity innovation and growth. We want to provide technical solutions across the aerospace, energy and medical fields.”

“We are also developing a Terrestrial Return Vehicle that will be able to bring cargo back to the spaceport from the ISS with an accuracy of 15 nautical miles. We have our first test flight scheduled for 2016 out of Vandenberg Air Force Base, but after that, we’ll test out of Ellington,” Altemus said.

Dr. Nick Veck from the CEO’s office of the UK-based Catapult Satellite Applications was happy to announce that they are the spaceport’s first international partner.

“I remember getting up at three in the morning to watch Neil Armstrong take those first steps on the moon,” Veck said. “Seeing that was what inspired me to make a career in the space industry. We are looking forward to organizing and developing new applications for consumers and businesses to use for space travel and all that comes with it.”

In closing, Diaz explained his vision for the Houston Spaceport. “We are going to home grow businesses in Houston. We’ll be an ‘incubator center’ for services, grants, accounting and payroll, marketing, personnel and more. We want to attract innovators to just come think and produce here, while we take care of the rest.”

Artist rendering of one of the spaceport buildings.

Artist rendering of one of the spaceport buildings.

Situated near the Gulf of Mexico, and featuring more than 400 acres of land readily available for development, Ellington Airport is tailor-made for the requirements associated with an operating licensed Spaceport. As a whole, Houston offers a booming economy with a strong aerospace industrial base, a well-educated workforce with experience in the high-tech demands of space exploration and plenty of room for growth at a strategically located airport facility.

“We look forward to completing our vision to create an aerospace industry cluster at the Houston Spaceport,” said Arturo Machuca, the General Manager at Ellington Airport who has led the efforts to bring the spaceport project to EFD. “Now that we are officially the 10th commercial spaceport in the U.S. we are ready to work with our aerospace industry partners to take advantage of the unique location, infrastructure and human resources that the fourth largest city in the U.S. has to offer.”

For more information about the spaceport, visit Fly2Houston.com.

288 Corridor Rotary Club inducts new officers

Johnson and George Carpenter, Rotarian of the Year.

Johnson and George Carpenter, Rotarian of the Year.

The 288 Corridor Rotary Club held their end-of-term party Friday (June 19), swearing in new officers and bidding farewell to those who have served in the past year.

President Albert “AJ” Johnson handed out plaques to recognize outstanding members and even gave out some gag awards.

Secretary Bill Eisen accepted a plaque for his service and Treasurer George Carpenter also received a plaque, as well as an ovation for agreeing to be treasurer for the third year in a row.

The Rotarian of the Year award was presented to George Carpenter, who got teary-eyed and said, “I was just doing my job! I never expected this!”

As Johnson was about to hand the program over to Rotary Assistant Governor Barbara Robie, President-Elect Sherry Stockwell stepped forward to present Johnson with some awards that recognized his contributions.

Embarrassed, Johnson said, “I’m a giver!” as Stockwell told him he had to open his gifts right then.

Stockwell and the rest of the officers presented Johnson with a trophy with a football on top. “That’s because you keep us all updated on what’s going on in the NFL!” laughed Stockwell, referring to Johnson’s professional football career.

The second gift was a lovely crystal statuette that recognized Johnson for “breathing new life” into the club.

Now celebrating its 10th year, the 288 Corridor Rotary Club raised $2,500 and obtained $84,500 in Global Grants this past year. Nine members took the money to India to support educational programs and to invest in quality-of-life issues.

Fortunately, member (and 2016-2017 President-Elect) Harish Krishnarao’s mother- and father-in-law live near the location in India and were able to help the Rotarians navigate and translate.

Robie swore in the new officers and then the crowd was turned over to Jimmy Aranda with Dionisio Winery for a wine tasting.

The 288 Corridor Rotary Club meets every Thursday at 7:30 a.m. at Big Horn BBQ, located at 2300 Smith Ranch Rd. For more information about the Club, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rotary-Club-of-288-Corridor/326576570719815.

Bill restructuring Gulf Coast Water Authority signed into law

The Gulf Coast Water Authority (GCWA) has provided water for industry, agriculture and municipalities in Brazoria, Fort Bend, and Galveston Counties for over 60 years.

Historically, GCWA’s Board of Directors has consisted of nine members, with seven from Galveston County, one representing Brazoria County and one from Fort Bend County.

Prior to the recess of the 84th Legislative Session on June 1, HB 4168, co-sponsored by District 24 Rep. Dennis Bonnen and District 29 Rep. Ed Thompson, was passed by the House and the Senate and was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott on June 16.

This Bill restructured the GCWA Board, creating a more equal representation for the three counties. The new Board structure increases its size to 10 members: five representing Galveston County, three from Brazoria and two from Ft. Bend.

Corresponding percentages of water allocation have been put into effect as well, with 51% going to Galveston County, 31% to Brazoria and 18% to Fort Bend County.

This new law represents a victory for the recently formed Lower Brazos River Coalition, which seeks to ensure that the river’s limited resources are developed and managed for the benefit of all.

For more information about the Lower Brazos River Coalition, visit KeepBrazosFlowing.org. To learn more about GCWA, visit GulfCoastWaterauthority.com.

New Lone Star Flight Museum to Include High Tech Aviation Learning Center

The Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA

The Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA

The Lone Star Flight Museum announced that it has entered into an agreement with The Museum of Flight, Seattle, Washington to install an Aviation Learning Center (ALC) in the new $35 million museum. The ALC is a computer and simulator based facility that will be used to teach middle and high school students. The multi-room educational facility is used to introduce students to the concepts of aviation and the science, technology, engineering, and math critical to flight. The Lone Star Flight Museum will be partnering with the Texas-based aircraft company, Mooney International Inc. headquartered in Kerrville, Texas, which will provide the aircraft for the Center.

“We are pleased to partner with the Museum of Flight and Mooney International to bring this exciting educational tool to Texas,” said Scott Rozzell, Chairman of the Board, Lone Star Flight Museum. “Houston will be home to only the second ALC in the country.”

The Aviation Learning Center will provide an interactive learning environment for students in grades 5 – 12 focusing on aircraft identification, aerodynamics, traffic control, and more. It will be aligned with Texas academic standards in order to assist educators in their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) project based curriculum.

“STEM education is an important part of the mission of the Lone Star Flight Museum,” said Dr. Bonnie Dunbar, Director of the University of Houston’s STEM Center and Director/ Co-Chair of the Education Committee of Lone Star Flight Museum. “The ALC will allow the museum to expand its operations to meet the STEM needs of our next generation of youth in a fun and challenging way.”

The Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA

The Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA

The new 130,000 square-foot Lone Star Flight Museum will be located on 13 acres at Ellington Airport. The museum will feature hangars full of vintage aircrafts as well as interactive, educational exhibits focusing on aviation history, science, technology, and more allowing visitors to explore and experience the history of Texas’ aviation heritage.

The Museum plans to open the new museum at Ellington in early 2017. Until then visitors are welcome at the existing facility at Galveston Scholes Field.

For more information on Lone Star Museum see: http://www.lsfm.org/.

Fireworks Not Allowed in Pearland

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 8.26.56 AM
The City of Pearland Fire Marshal would like to remind residents that the possession or use of fireworks within City of Pearland city limits and the surrounding extraterritorial jurisdiction is prohibited by City Ordinance. 

The Pearland Fire Marshal Division and Pearland Police Department will be actively enforcing this ordinance. Individuals violating the ordinance face a class C misdemeanor that can carry a fine of up to $2,000 per violation and may also result in the confiscation and subsequent destruction of any illegal fireworks found within the City of Pearland’s jurisdiction.

Pearland residents are encouraged to view the fireworks display at the City’s annual Celebration of Freedom event being held at the Pearland High School Stadium on July 4, beginning at 6 p.m. The free, family-friendly event includes live music and a state-of-the-art fireworks display.

Please call 281.997.4650 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday with any fireworks-related questions. Click here to view a copy of the City of Pearland fireworks ordinance.