Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced a new construction education program to be located at Bush Intercontinental Airport and administered by Lone Star College, Houston Community College and San Jacinto College. From left are: Ed Gonzalez, Houston councilman; Dr. Maya Durnovo, HCC chief entrepreneurial officer; Dr. Melissa Gonzalez, LSC vice chancellor workforce and economic development; Jerry Davis, Houston councilman; Mayor Parker; Dwight Boykins, Houston councilman; Dr. Brenda Hellyer, SJC chancellor.

The Houston City Council has approved funding for Lone Star College instructors to train Houston Airport System construction workers. Workers will be trained via the Houston Area Construction Collaborative and operate out of an existing facility located at Bush. The approved funding, a total of $7.66 million, includes $3.75 million to renovate the current facility. Instructors from the college will be joined by Houston Community College and San Jacinto College and offer a variety of courses in various skill training including plumbing, pipe fitting and electrician work. “It is in the best interest of the Houston Airport System to have a well-educated, highly qualified workforce spearheading our various construction projects,” Houston Aviation Director Mario C. Diaz said.

Julio Chavez (pictured_, the owner of the local Which Wich restaurant in Atascocita, was recently awarded Which Wich’s Franchisee of the Year out of more than 330 franchise locations. In addition to winning the brand’s highest accolade, Chavez, just 25 years old, has a pretty inspirational background story. Chavez dropped out of high school at 17 to help support his newborn child, and went to work at Which Wich and Chipotle. He made his way up from cashier to manager, and after six years, was given the chance to buy his own store. Since purchasing the Atascocita Commons location, Chavez has built a very successful business and even introduced a new customer service system for the brand.

Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital is unveiling a new hybrid operating room that combines the capabilities of a cardiac catheterization lab and operating room into a single suite. This gives their surgeons the ability to perform endovascular procedures – minimally invasive or traditional open surgery – on the same patient, at the same time, in the same room. This is state-of-the-art, representing the new wave of the future for how physicians and surgeons will be able to collaborate in diagnosing and treating illnesses. An Open House will be held at the Memorial Hermann Northeast Southwest Tower Lobby, 18951 Memorial North in Humble, Thursday, Feb. 26, at 5 p.m. Appetizers and refreshments will be served.

The Kohl's Cares Scholarship Program is looking for the best kids in the nation who volunteer for their community. Go to Kohlskids.com and nominate a young volunteer ages 6-18 who has made a difference in the community. Top winners each receive $10,000 for higher education. Nominations accepted now through March 13.

Leadercast 2015 will present 'The Brave Ones' Friday, May 8, at Second Baptist Church in Kingwood. 'Brave Ones' exist across all industries, societies and at every level of leadership. Join Leadercast Live in 2015 as they explore The Brave Ones and learn what it means to lead in such a way that creates bold cultures, builds faithful employees and produces high achievement. The program will begin at 8 a.m. (breakfast will begin at 7 a.m.). The cost is $89 until May 1; price increases to $99 May 1. Group tickets (four or more) are $75/ticket. Breakfast, lunch, snacks and conference materials are included. Raffles and drawings will be held throughout the conference. Speakers include Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize winner; Ed Catmull, president of Pixar & Disney Animation Studios; Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor, Peyton Manning, NFL football player, and many more. Go to leadercast.com/location/lakehouston to register and for more information.

A “How to Supervise People and Lead a Team” seminar hosted by the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 12 p.m., Thursday, March 5, at the Humble Civic Center. Nationally-known speaker Glenn Shepard will present the half-day seminar on managing effectively and teach attendees the tools to build and lead a team that “gets things done.” Shepard gives more than 100 live seminars and keynote speeches each year. The cost is $129 for members; $149 for guests. RSVPs are required and can be made through the Chamber’s website at lakehouston.org or by calling 281-446-2128.

The Houston Airport System saw more than 53.1 million passengers in 2014, a 4.5 percent increase that easily eclipsed the record 50.9 million passengers in 2013. More than 43.3 million domestic travelers passed through HAS airports, a 3.5 percent increase. Bush Intercontinental Airport saw record highs in both combined passenger totals, more than 41.2 million in both domestic and international passengers, a 3.6 percent increase, and in the number of international passengers ― more than 9.8 million, a 9.2 percent increase from 2013’s 8.9 million. Bush Intercontinental also saw a 2 percent increase in domestic passengers, up to more than 31.4 million. Those numbers are the highest in IAH’s 46-year history, and in rankings recently released by the FAA, the nearly 509,000 flight operations in 2014 make Bush Airport the eighth busiest airport in the U.S. In determining the total number of flight operations, the FAA counts commercial airline flights, general aviation flights, military flights and air taxi operations. The growth in international passenger numbers goes hand-in-hand with the steady growth in foreign flag carriers coming to Bush Airport ― six new international carriers began service from IAH in 2014, with four more scheduled to begin operations in 2015. Bush Airport serves as a global gateway to more than 70 international destinations and offers service to more Mexican destinations than any other U.S. airport.

Suddenlink has launched a new high-speed Internet service with a download speed of 150 Megabits per second (Mbps) and an upload speed of 7.5 Mbps in Kingwood and Porter, and announced that Internet speeds for its existing customers have been increased at no additional charge. Customers with 15, 30 and 50 Mbps services are being upgraded to faster speeds and are being notified directly about those new speeds. Suddenlink also is introducing a 100 Mbps service option. Nearly half of the planned 1 Gigabit launches are expected to be completed in 2015 and most of the remainder the following year. In addition, while Suddenlink already offers its business customers a range of custom services capable of multi-Gigabit speeds, the company also plans to enhance its standard commercial services through this project. Suddenlink will communicate additional details to customers in the area as the investments continue, and again when 1 Gigabit speeds are available. More information is available at Suddenlink.com.

Understanding new changes to deductions, claims, dependents and tax laws can make filing taxes worrisome for some people this time of year. Through Lone Star College-Kingwood’s Academy for Lifelong Learning (ALL), the AARP Tax-Aide Program will help individuals prepare and electronically file their federal income tax returns at two locations. Services are available on a first-come, first-served basis and appointments are not accepted: Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at LSC-Kingwood, EMCID Building, 21575 Highway 59 North in New Caney. Phone: 281-312-1750 (Closed March 9-14 for spring break.) Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at LSC-Atascocita Center, 15903 W. Lake Houston Pkwy. in Atascocita. Phone: 832-775-0816 (Closed March 9-14 for spring break.) Open to everyone regardless of age or income. Clients are asked to bring their 2014 tax documents, last year returns, Social Security card and a blank check for refunds to be deposited directly into their bank account for a faster refund.


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