It was a good day, or, would that be g’day, Jan. 18, when United Airlines’ inaugural flight from Houston to Sydney, Australia took off from George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Dignitaries were on hand for the celebration of the longest nonstop flight in Bush Airport history. The daily flight will cover nearly 8,600 miles and take 17-and-a-half hours, departing Bush Airport at 8 p.m. and arriving at 6:30 a.m. (local time) at Sydney Airport. Making the long haul as comfortable as possible, United will operate a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to service the route, an aircraft that has 252 seats and features 48 flat-bed seats in its Polaris business-class section.

 

MERCER INTERIM NAMED
Jim Nutter has been appointed interim director of The Mercer Arboretum. Nutter was previously with Harris County’s Office of Budget Management. Commissioner Jack Cagle made the announcement recently, saying the timeline for securing a permanent director has not been announced.

ROAD PROJECTS SET
Beginning Monday, Feb. 12, City of Houston Public Works will begin working on two local drainage projects. One is on Atascocita Shores Drive and the other in Forest Cove. The Atascocita project will remove and replace the collapsing/failing 60-inch storm sewer culverts that run under Atascocita Shores Drive. Their current failure is impeding the flow of water into Lake Houston and is also causing the roadway pavement to sink. Upon completion of this project, both issues will be resolved. Atascocita Shores Drive will be reduced to one lane in each direction from Shoregrove Drive to Atascocita Point Drive for the duration of the project. The Forest Cove project will include a roadside storm drain improvement on St. Andrews, from Players Path to Chestnut Ridge Road, and along Players Path, from St. Andrews to Harris County Flood Control Channel G103-38-01. Construction of both is anticipated to be complete in mid-July, weather permitting.

CHAMBER HOSTS MARDI GRAS
The Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce will host a Mardi Gras After Hours from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22 for all local businesses. There will be refreshments and door prizes. Free but an RSVP is requested by calling 281-446-2128.

HUMBLE ISD ALUMNI AWARD
The Humble ISD Education Foundation seeks candidates for the 2018 Humble ISD Distinguished Alumni Award. Nominees must be an Humble ISD alumni who has excelled in their field, made significant contributions to their community, and served as a positive role model and leader. The candidate should have graduated in 1997 or prior. Nominations accepted until Friday, Feb. 23. This award will be presented at the 2018 Humble ISD Foundation Gala Friday, April 13. For more information, visit humbleisdfoundation.org/DistinguishedAlumniAward.

HOUSTON BULLET TRAIN STATION SET
The preferred site of the new Texas Bullet Train passenger station was recently announced; it is at the Northwest Mall near the interchange of Interstate 610 and US 290. The terminal will be ideally located in a high-growth area, with easy access to employment centers, including the Galleria, the Energy Corridor and downtown. Texas Central said the mall site is preferred because of minimal environmental and community effects. It allows the high-speed train largely to follow existing rights of way while providing passengers with efficient roadway access and connectivity with METRO’s Northwest Transit Center and other options. The Texas Bullet Train will connect the state’s two largest cities – and half of the state’s population – in 90 minutes in a safe, reliable and efficient manner. The bullet train is expected to remove 14,630 cars daily from Interstate 45, which will save 8.5 million gallons of gas a year. Also, the train will be using the industry’s safest technology, while I-45 is the second deadliest highway in America.

ECONOMIC LUNCHEON SET
The Lake Houston Area Chamber’s Economic Outlook Luncheon will feature Thomas Meléndez with MFS Investment Management and Jenny Philip with the Greater Houston Partnership, who will forecast the 2018 local and national economy Thursday, Feb. 22 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Walden Country Club. For reservations and information, call 281-446-2128.

GULF COAST FCU OPENS
Recently, Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union celebrated the grand opening of their new branch located in Summerwood’s Westlake Marketplace shopping center. The new Summerwood location is a bit different than the typical financial institution. Here, you won’t find cold offices with closed doors or tellers behind a glass wall. The branch has bright blue booths lined on one wall and interactive teller machines on the other. During the opening festivities, school district superintendents had the opportunity to earn money for their schools by entering the credit union’s money machine. They were allotted 30 seconds to grab as much money as they could, after which Gulf Coast Educators doubled and then donated to their school’s education foundation. Donations were made to the following district foundations: Sheldon ISD: $248; Humble ISD: $254; and Channelview ISD: $280.

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