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FFA students take center stage at Pasadena show

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Latest

Long before the majority of his classmates are awake, Deer Park High School sophomore Mike Osburn has more accomplished than many people do in a full day. Like many FFA students, his schedule starts in the predawn hours and ends well into the night.

"Crazy," he said. "Our schedules are just crazy. We don't really have any free time because we are always on the go. We are almost always either here at the barn or in school."
Knowing he has a busy school day ahead, he plods to the barn where his chickens, pig, goat and turkeys wait. He could have slept in, but would mean his animals would go unfed and their stalls uncleaned. A few other students are there, many with the same responsibilities. There's not much time for a lot of conversation or playing around. Once his animals are fed, watered and their stalls cleaned, he heads for his first period class.
It's a busy life, but Osburn and the rest of Deer Park FFA wouldn't have it any other way.

Cenikor honors outstanding contributors

Written by from Staff reports. Posted in Latest

Last month, community members of the Deer Park and Houston areas attended the Change of a Lifetime Luncheon at the Junior League Ballroom in Houston, raising approximately $25,000 for Cenikor’s Deer Park facility. The luncheon honored community businesses, religious institutions and politicians making a significant impact on Cenikor in 2009. KPRC Channel 2 Chief Meteorologist Frank Billingsley emceed the luncheon and Dale Smith, pastor of Deer Park First Baptist Church led the event’s invocation.

Cenikor, an 18-24 month residential program which uses peer influence and clinical counseling to treat addictive behavior, has been in existence since 1967. Cenikor teaches techniques that help residents change attitudes and behaviors associated with substance abuse.
The Community Leader Award was given to Church of the Living Water of Deer Park. Church members Diane Ramirez and Crystal Fuller accepted the award on the church’s behalf. Ramirez and Fuller organized and led many events for female Cenikor residents in an effort to build self-esteem. The church also assisted Cenikor by having a laundry detergent and paper drive to reduce the facility's expenses.
The Philanthropist Award was given to The John P. McGovern Foundation-a faithful supporter of Cenikor since the mid 1980s. In 2009, The John P. McGovern Foundation awarded the Deer Park facility a grant to provide quality medical services to Cenikor residents. With grant awards well over $9 million, The John P. McGovern Foundation is one of Houston’s top contributors to non-profit organizations.
The Community Business Partner Award went to Turner Industries, an industrial construction, maintenance and equipment services company. Brian Daigle, vice president-plant manager of Turner Industries, supports Cenikor, personally interviewing and hiring residents to work at Turner on a full-time basis upon graduation from the program.
The Elected Official Award was presented to Texas Representative Garnet Coleman’s office. Coleman has a reputation as a diligent leader in the areas of health care, economic development and education and is a faithful supporter and champion of Cenikor’s mission and values.
Keynote speaker, Rep. Scott Hochberg (Texas-137) spoke about the State of Texas’ need to rehabilitate offenders while incarcerated to reduce the rate of recidivism in our prison system.
A proclamation was awarded to Cenikor from Houston Mayor Bill White. This proclamation, presented by Conya Barreras from the city's community liaison office, congratulated the Deer Park facility for 15 years of great success in its efforts to rehabilitate those with substance abuse issues. Barreras said approximately 6,800 people have been assessed in the facility’s admissions department. The Deer Park facility was also recognized as being the Harris County Department of Education’s program with the highest number of GED graduates for the fiscal year 2009.

For information on volunteering or donating goods and services to Cenikor’s Deer Park facility, contact Roni Archer, Community Resources Manager, at 281-476-0088 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit

DPPA hosting second annual raffle

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Latest

The grand prize in the Deer Park Patrolman's Association raffle is a 2010 Yamaha Grizzly 350 similar to this one. The DPPA uses these fundraisers to help officers and citizens through troubled times. Some members of the Deer Park Police Department are looking to give back to the community in a big way. The Deer Park Patrolman's Association is raffling a 2010 Yamaha Grizzly 350 automatic 4-wheeler.

Tickets are $5 and are available for purchase from the DPPA. The drawing will be at noon, Dec. 21 at Frontline PSE, 3428 Center St. Other prizes include a Remington 870 12-gauge shotgun and a Remington .270 bolt-action rifle.
This is the second year the DPPA has hosted a raffle. Citizens can contact Deer Park police officers, who can give them more information about purchasing tickets.

DPPD offers more services to citizens

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Latest

Although the Deer Park Police Department is sworn to serve and protect the community, their scope of service reaches much further. Sheila Plovanich, DPPD community liaison, was this week's guest speaker at the Deer Park Rotary meeting.

As community liaison, Plovanich is in charge of different types of communications and outreach for the department. Although she is a civilian instead of a sworn officer, she plays a vital role in the department, coordinating events like the Citizens Police Academy, its alumni association and Deer Park's National Night Out, registering the city's registered sex offenders and organizing volunteer efforts.
Over the years, DPPD has tried to become more proactive in the city through community oriented policing, which builds relationships between residents, business owners and the police officers.

Doctors, volunteers deliver "miracles" south of the border

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Latest

Deep in the Sierra Madre region of Mexico, where poverty reigns supreme, a couple of Deer Park residents, illuminate rays of hope. With the support of Deer Park Rotary and other clubs and the Crystal Foundation, Dr. Merlyn Harger and other medical professionals provide treatment, care and supplies to a small clinic in Guerrero, a small town in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

SJC to offer free information session on Alternative Teacher Certification

Written by from Staff reports. Posted in Latest

The Continuing and Professional Development (CPD) division of San Jacinto College is offering a free information session about the Alternative Teacher Certification program, which provides the opportunity to become a certified teacher in the state of Texas.

 “If you hold a bachelor’s degree, and would like to find out how to become a certified teacher, plan to attend,” said Heidi Cisneros, program manager. “Every student has the potential for success, and teachers have the opportunity to foster that potential.”

College sets variety of musical performances for October

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Latest

San Jacinto College Central’s music department will present a variety of choral and musical concerts during October that promise to offer something for every type of music aficionado. A
ll performances are free, open to the public, and will take place in the Jan Corbin Recital Hall, located inside the Monte Blue Music Building. The concert schedule includes:
• Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m. — A harpsichord program featuring Dr. Matthew Dirst, a music professor at the University of Houston, an accomplished harpsichordist, and the founding Artistic Director of Ars Lyrica Houston, a period-instrument ensemble that specializes in baroque chamber and dramatic works. The program will be the inaugural concert to showcase the SJC music department’s new Paul Kennedy 2002 harpsichord.
“We are so excited about this concert, not to mention the acquisition of this very fine instrument which will open new doors for musical education on our campus,” said Dr. Martha Braswell, music instructor at the Central campus. “This will be the first opportunity for our students to see the instrument and to hear it played by an expert.”
• Oct. 8, 7:30 p.m. — Fall Choral Concert, featuring choral performances by SJC students and faculty members. “The program will feature a wide variety of musical style periods, from Baroque, to Classical, to folk songs,” said Paul Busselberg, Central campus music instructor. “Additionally, we will incorporate two new languages into our repertoire by singing selections in Hungarian and Russian.” Busselberg will serve as conductor for the concert, and piano accompaniment provided by Sarah Spencer.
• Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m. — A piano recital featuring Sarah Spencer, Central campus music instructor and skilled pianist. Spencer began her piano studies at age 5 and by age 7 was winning such prestigious competitions as the Viola Hartman Achievement Awards and The Montgomery Music Association Scholarship competitions, in addition to numerous other local and state competitions. Spencer collaborates frequently with faculty and artists from the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Eastman School of Music, and the University of Southern California.
In addition to her solo performances, she is a frequent adjudicator for local and state competitions in Texas, as well as a frequent lecturer and performer for the American Liszt Society. The program will include works by Bolcom, Liszt, Ravel, and Stravinsky.
• Oct. 29, 7 p.m. — Sweets & Serenades Concert, featuring solo choral and musical performances by San Jacinto College Central students. “This concert will be a very entertaining variety show,” said Busselberg, who is coordinating the event. “It will feature all sorts of music, from Broadway tunes to pop songs. There will even be some original music composed by San Jacinto College students.” Prior to the concert, audience members are invited to enjoy tasty dessert items.
San Jacinto College offers a wide range of music degree plans and course options at all three campuses. The College serves more than 30,500 students in over 140 degrees and certificates in university transfer and technical programs. The College also serves the community through workforce training. Students come to San Jacinto College with various goals and aspirations.
For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150 or visit

CPA: Traffic, DWI stops never routine

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Latest

Editor’s note: This is part four of a series covering the Deer Park Police Department's Citizens Police Academy. Editor/Publisher Bobby Vasquez is a participant in the academy.

There's an old saying about why one should never assume. Therefore…

Rule No. 1 of a traffic stop: Don't assume there is such thing as a routine traffic stop. There is no such thing as a routine traffic stop.

Deer Park Rotary envisions community-wide assistance center

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Latest

Deer Park Rotary President Jerry Mouton (center) inducted David Rush (left) and Jason Syrinek (right) into the club at last week's Rotary luncheon meeting. Photo by Bobby Vasquez.

When impoverished Deer Park families suffer, all of Deer Park suffers. Deer Park Rotary is looking to end what could be a disastrous cycle for the community. Jerry Mouton, Deer Park Rotary president, said the community could make a difference without giving handouts. He's asking Deer Park groups to combine their efforts into one solid force by establishing a community assistance center in Deer Park.

There are 576 students in the Deer Park Independent School District who are considered homeless. Seven elementary schools are considered Title I, meaning they have a higher than average number of students with economic needs who qualify for free or reduced lunches. is looking for you!

Written by from Staff reports. Posted in Latest is looking for parent volunteers to submit scores to local football, soccer, volleyball and other fall sports' games.

If your child participates in TIFI, Quest, junior high, or high school sports, all you have to do is submit the score, a couple of star players and where the game took place. If you have pictures of game action, even better! Send that to us too. It's the easiest way to get your star athlete's game and score online for everyone to see.

For more information, contact at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Lawler to retire as CEO of Economic Alliance

Written by from Staff reports. Posted in Latest

The Economic Alliance Houston Port Region President/CEO Jan Lawler announced her intention to retire, closing her approximately six-year tenure as the lead executive. She will work closely with the Economic Alliance to ensure a seamless transition by year-end, providing expertise on special projects while making room for other personal and business commitments.

 Lawler came to the organization in 2004 as the result of a national executive search. During this critical era, the entity’s board of directors committed to revitalize a 20-year old organization previously known as the Southeast Harris County Economic Development Council or SEED. Lawler was hired to expand services and to further develop the economic influence of approximately 900,000 citizens who work and live in the port region.
As President/CEO, Lawler managed the organization as it rebranded into the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region and launched innovative economic development strategies customized for the region’s unique sectors of maritime trade, energy and petrochemical manufacturing, and related service industries and small businesses. Other highlights include execution and management of contracts and agreements with 16 port region communities, 12 chambers of commerce, the Port of Houston Authority, Harris County and more than 100 private businesses. Expanded services have resulted in approximately $320 million dollars of capital investment recruited to the port region through Economic Alliance project work. An estimated $25 million has been realized in the form of grants, assistance loans, studies and other economic service activities engaged by the organization on behalf of its stakeholders. Commitment of influential partners ranging from local to statewide groups was garnered in the last five years for unique long-term initiatives that evolved from Economic Alliance strategic goals and start-up facilitation. Examples include Project Stars™ (San Jacinto Texas Historic District), the Gulf Coast Petrochemical Information Network (GCPIN), and the formation of a recently publicized non-profit International Maritime and Energy Center.

Central president selected for national center

Written by from Staff reports. Posted in Latest

San Jacinto College Central President Dr. H. Neil Matkin will participate in national studies and policy research as a 2009-10 Associate with the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.

The College administrator is one of 15 higher education leaders nominated and selected from across the country to serve in this position. As an Associate, he will review and comment on draft papers by the Center, project descriptions and research findings. Some of Matkin's previous research regarding college systems includes the study of retention, persistence and affordability.
"I am particularly interested in continuing this research," Matkin said. "I am also interested in the further study of the success of community college graduates, broader articulation policy and legislation related to transfer to four-year institutions."
The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization based in San Jose, Calif., that promotes public policies to enhance Americans' opportunities in the pursuit and achievement of high-quality education and training beyond high school. The Center communicates performance results and key findings to the public; to civic, business and higher education leaders; and to state and federal leaders who are poised to improve higher education policy.

The Center’s Associates Program serves as an advisory tool to test ideas and as a source for policy conversation and advice.

SJC instructors keep up with technology changes through externships

Written by from Staff reports. Posted in Latest

To keep up with industry trends and developments, two San Jacinto College process technology instructors recently completed externships at Sun Products, a local plant that manufactures detergents and biodiesel.

During the summer, Mike Speegle and Greg Smith completed 40 hours of refresher training at the plant located in the Bayport industrial complex to enhance their skills and learn about recent technological advancements. Smith is a full-time process technology instructor at the Central campus, and Speegle is the Central campus’ process technology department chair.