With the summer swimming season nearly here, aquatic clubs, related industry organizations and healthcare providers are kicking off a month-long campaign in May to encourage safer water practices.  This month-long event is being celebrated in local communities with educational programs, public service announcements and the distribution of water safety materials.

In an effort to support May as National Water Safety Month, KATY Aquatics is teaming with Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus to host a FREE Make A Splash Water Safety event for the whole family!  The Make A Splash event will feature Free Swim Lessons* and water safety skills for children ages 3 and up.

The Make a Splash Water Safety event will be held on:

Saturday, May 13, 2017
10am – Noon
Cinco Ranch High School Natatorium
23440 Cinco Ranch Blvd., Katy, TX 77494

While the statistics are staggering, drowning has not gained the necessary public attention needed to help prevent these tragedies from occurring.  Drowning is preventable, and understanding the risks associated with being in and around the water is crucial.

In addition to the FREE Swim Lessons for children, the Make A Splash event will have water rescue demonstrations, informational booths and vehicle displays from the Willow Fork Fire Department and Fort Bend EMS Paramedics.  Other draws to the event include kayak rides for children and special character appearances from Bobber the Water Safety Dog, the Chick-fil-A Cow and Princess Ariel!

Patrons will also experience food samples from PDQ, Papa Murphy’s Pizza and Nothing Bundt Cakes.  As an added bonus, there will be Free Door Prizes and Gift Bags filled with coupons from local Katy businesses.  Be sure to join us at the Make A Splash Water Safety event, we will have something fun and informative for all ages to enjoy!

*Register for your child’s FREE Swim Lesson on May 13th now!  Guarantee your spot in the pool by pre-registering online at  Click on “Learn to Swim” then “Make A Splash”.  Children must wear swimsuits to participate in the Free Swim Lessons. 

For more information about the Make A Splash event or the many different programs KATY Aquatics has to offer, please visit our website at or call 281-391-7200.
About KATY Aquatics
At KATY Aquatics, we offer the nationally recognized learn-to-swim program, SwimAmerica.
The SwimAmerica program is designed to teach children as young as three, the life-long skill of swimming.  Through KATY Aquatics, you can participate in group or private learn-to-swim classes, as well as choose from any of the other additional programs we offer in a variety of class levels including special needs and adults.

Website: / Email: / Office Phone: 281-391-7200

Camp Invention® Inspires Hands-On Problem Solving and Collaboration
Katy, TX (Grassroots Newswire) April 24, 2017 – Camp Invention, a nationally recognized, nonprofit summer
enrichment camp program, is coming to the following locations:
* Huggins Elementary School the week of June 5 – June 8, 2017.
* Bonnie Holland Elementary School the week of June 12 – June 15, 2017.
* British International School of Houston the week of July 24 – July 28,
* Harmony Science Academy – Katy for multiple sessions from May 30 – June 8, 2017. Please see for details. Regional program sponsors include .
Camp Invention is a program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame® — a nonprofit organization dedicated to recognizing inventors and invention, promoting creativity, and advancing the spirit of innovation and
entrepreneurship — and supported by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). What makes this camp truly unique is that the curriculum is inspired by some of our nation’s most brilliant minds — the Inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
For students entering kindergarten through sixth grade, Camp Invention is a week long adventure that turns the summer from ordinary to extraordinary through hands-on problem solving, collaboration, and the use of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Inventive young minds can exercise their creativity and use their imagination, all while learning and developing new skills they typically don’t get to use in the classroom. Children are empowered to have big
ideas while they take on challenges that inspire them to question, brainstorm, work as a team and build amazing invention prototypes.
“Parents should send their children to Camp Invention because it encourages children to think, solve and create!” said Tracy M., mother of three campers. “Teamwork is encouraged while individual strengths are
fostered. My children gained a deeper love for science and engineering, confidence to try new and innovative ideas, made new friendships, and learned new science vocabulary and concepts.”
This year’s fresh, action-packed Camp Invention curriculum features several hands-on modules:
* Duct Tape Billionaire™: Campers design duct tape products they can
market and sell to mock investors;
* Have a Blast™:  Children build high-tech Bubble Blasters and compete as
a team in friendly air battles that use physics to boost their advantage;
* Mission Space Makers™: Teams hatch eggs, sprout living plants and grow
crystal trees, all while on a mission to locate and prepare a new planet
for human habitation; and
* Operation Keep Out™:  Campers learn to reverse engineer old machines and
devices, and use their parts to create the ultimate Spy Gadget Alarm Box.
Learn more about this year’s all-new curriculum.
All local Camp Invention programs are facilitated and taught by certified educators who reside and teach in the community. Camp Invention serves more than 130,000 students every year and partners with more than 1,400 schools and districts across the nation. For additional information or to find the camp nearest you, visit
About Camp Invention:
Camp Invention is the only nationally recognized summer program focused on creativity, innovation, real-world problem solving and the spirit of invention. Through hands-on programming, Camp Invention encourages children entering kindergarten through sixth grade to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum inspired by some of the world’s great inventors. Camp Invention is a program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

HOUSTON – Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) is excited to announce the winners of the 15th annual Tommy Tune Awards!

Hosting the awards show this year was local actor and a favorite of Houston audiences, Dylan Godwin.  He was joined on stage a number of times by the always-entertaining special guests Snoopy and Woodstock. In celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Tommy Tune Awards, this year’s awards show took a look at the past, present and future of the Tommy Tune Awards. The night included appearances by two past Tommy Tune Award winners,  Stephanie Gibson and Stephanie Styles, who both appeared via video; as well as two-time Tony Award winner, Jeff Calhoun, who presented the award for Best Musical also via video.

One particularly special moment took place during the opening of the show when students from HISD’s Crespo Elementary appeared on stage to highlight the future of the Tommy Tune Awards as they performed “Hooray for Our Favorite Son” from The Will Rogers Follies along with another Houston favorite, Logan Keslar, the Best Lead and Supporting Actor and Actress nominees.

Presenters for the evening included Jose Antonio Diaz, Kaitlin Hopkins, Dr. Rob Shimko, Amy Pierce, Brad Blume, Lauren Anderson, Kevin Rigdon, Cissy Segal Davis, Muhammad Yunus, Tom Koch, Ernie Manouse, Hillary Hart, Jim Bernhardt, Michael Tapley, Debs Ramser, Mark Grady and Logan Keslar.

The winners of the 15th Annual Tommy Tune Awards are:

Best Musical:

The Boy Friend    Second Baptist School

Best Leading Actor:

Ian Tonroy from Klein High School as Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Best Leading Actress:

Jasmine Rogers from Stephen F. Austin High School as The Witch in Into the Woods

Best Supporting Actor:

William Chambers from Second Baptist School as Lord Brockhurst in The Boy Friend

Best Supporting Actress:

Divina Ito from Westfield High School as Evillene in The Wiz

Best Featured Performer:

Ryan Esparza from Klein High School as Adolfo Pirelli in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Best Ensemble/Chorus:

Friendswood High School        Les Miserables, School Edition

Best Scenic Design:

Friendswood High School        Les Miserables, School Edition

Best Costume Design:

Second Baptist School        The Boy Friend

Best Lighting Design:

Friendswood High School        Les Miserables, School Edition

Best Stage Crew & Technical Execution:

Clear Springs High School        Big Fish

Best Musical Direction:

Friendswood High School        Les Miserables, School Edition

Best Orchestra:

Klein High School            Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Best Choreography:

Second Baptist School        The Boy Friend

Best Direction:

Second Baptist School        The Boy Friend

The Tommy Tune Awards are named for Houston native and Lamar High School alumnus, Tommy Tune.  A performer, director and choreographer with more than 50 years of stage experience, Tune received nine Tony Awards® for his work in the following productions: Seesaw, My One and Only, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, Nine, Grand Hotel and The Will Rogers Follies.  He was also awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2003 by President George W. Bush. Tune is currently taking an autobiographical stroll in Taps, Tunes and Tall Tales where he dances, sings and tale-tells through more than 50 years of showmanship.


TUTS’ Tommy Tune Awards are designed not only to acknowledge remarkable musical theatre talent at the high school level, but also to encourage future artistic development.   In addition to the awards, TUTS also gives out scholarships annually to a number of deserving students. These include the Ruth Denney Scholarship, named in honor of Tune’s mentor and legendary Lamar High School drama teacher. Ruth Denney was the founder and first director of the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston and then Professor of Drama Education at the University of Texas at Austin.  She died in 2007, just a few days before her 93rd birthday.

Students under consideration for scholarships were required to meet specific criteria set out by the Scholarship Committee, and were also required to submit an application and an essay.  The scholarship committee, composed of TUTS board members, has carefully reviewed all of the applications and will announce the scholarship recipients during the awards ceremony.

This year, TUTS is adding a new scholarship created in memory of Sean Rudolph, who was a successful business owner in Houston, a devoted patron of the arts and a Broadway producer.  Over the past 14 years, TUTS has awarded 115 college scholarships totaling $316,000 to Tommy Tune students.

This year’s scholarship recipients are as follows.

Recipients of $1,000 Scholarships:

Karoline Thomas

Kendall Swendsen

Kathleen (Katie) Sharp

Evan Rosen

Madison Eden

Alex Rudd

Kayla Johnson

Chance Jarvis

Recipients of $3,000 Scholarship:

Kerry Sullivan

Ian Tonroy

Brendan Morrow

Grace Nardecchia

Austin Karkowsky

Emma Singleton

Recipients of $5,000 Ruth Denney Scholarship:

Elizabeth “Brock” Looser

Recipients of $5,000 Sean Rudolph Scholarship:

Ryan Simon

Jimmy™ Awards

The Best Leading Actor and Actress will go on to compete at the national level for the Jimmy™ Award at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City. Established in 2009, the Jimmy™ Awards are named after Broadway theatre owner and producer, James M. Nederlander.  This year, the program will bring the country’s best high school performers together to compete on Broadway on June 26.  While in New York, Jimmy™ Award participants will have the opportunity to participate in rehearsals and master classes, receive one-on-one coaching from theater professionals, be seen by casting agents, meet and converse with Broadway actors and compete for scholarships and other prizes.  The week’s events will culminate in a live awards show where the Jimmy™ Awards for Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress will be presented.

Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital is the official healthcare partner of Theatre Under The Stars and the Humphrey’s School of Musical Theatre; and the official sponsor of the 2016/17 Season. United Airlines is the official airline partner of Theatre Under The Stars. KTRK ABC13 is the official media partner of Theatre Under The Stars.  The Tommy Tune Awards are sponsored by the generous support of ConocoPhillips, The Brown Foundation, Inc., the Vivian L. Smith Foundation, Tricia and Alan Ratliff, David and Marsha Taylor, and the Sean Rudolph Scholarship Fund.

To learn more about TUTS’ Education and Community Engagement programs, visit

Theatre Under The Stars is Houston’s leading Musical Theatre Company since 1968, with a focus on education and community engagement. TUTS is a 501(c)(3) Non Profit Organization that relies on the generous support of our donors to deliver first-rate theatre experiences. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit For more information, please visit

Founded in 1972, the Humphreys School of Musical Theatre (HSMT), the nationally-recognized educational wing of Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS), offers the only technique-based musical theatre training program in the Houston area.  HSMT educates and develops musical theatre students of all ages and is fully committed to providing our community with the very best in performing arts education.  Focusing on the principle of process over product, students learn the fundamentals of musical theater performance through year-round courses, productions, workshops, and master classes, all geared toward equipping students with the tools they need to be successful in musical theatre and in life.  Visit for more information!


(Austin, Texas) – During the week of April 19-25, in celebration of Earth Day, Unilever has partnered with Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB) and H-E-B to bring big savings and environmental impact to local Texas communities.

During this campaign week, when Texas residents purchase $10 or more of any Suave products at H-E-B, they will save $3. In turn, Suave will then donate $1 to Keep Texas Beautiful, up to $25,000. The funds raised through this partnership support KTB’s statewide fall trash cleanups being held in honor of the organization’s 50th Anniversary. These cleanups will complement the Don’t mess with Texas Trash Off and Great American Cleanup held annually during the spring.

Visit H-E-B’s Suave Earth Day website ( to find coupons and more details about donating to KTB while you shop at your local H-E-B. There, you will also find fun and eco-friendly craft ideas to reuse and recycle your purchased Suave product containers. Sharing this program on a local community level will help KTB’s network of more than 390 affiliates get the most out of this environmentally and community-conscious partnership during Earth Week.

Keep Texas Beautiful, a statewide grassroots environmental and community improvement nonprofit, supports more than 390 affiliate organizations who work with government, businesses, civic groups and volunteers to ensure that every Texan has the opportunity to make Texas the cleanest, most beautiful state in the nation. KTB provides more than $20 million in annual economic value per $1 funded by the state to Keep Texas Beautiful. This year, Keep Texas Beautiful is celebrating its 50th Anniversary as an organization, founded in 1967.

About Keep Texas Beautiful
Keep Texas Beautiful, the statewide grassroots environmental and community improvement organization and affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, educates and engages Texans to take responsibility for improving their community environment. For more information or to donate, call 1-800- CLEAN-TX or visit to follow along online at #50YearsofKTB.

About Unilever United States, Inc.

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home Care, Personal Care and Refreshment products with sales in more than 190 countries and reaching 2.5 billion consumers a day. In the United States, the portfolio includes brand icons such as Axe, Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Caress, Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy, Country Crock, Degree, Dollar Shave Club, Dove, Good Humor, Hellmann’s, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!, Klondike, Knorr, Lever 2000, Lipton, Magnum, Nexxus, Noxzema, Pond’s, Popsicle, Promise, Q-tips, Seventh Generation, Simple, St. Ives, Suave, Talenti Gelato & Sorbetto, TIGI, TONI&GUY, TRESemmé and Vaseline. All of the preceding brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of the Unilever Group of Companies.

Unilever employs approximately 8,000 people in the United States – generating more than $9 billion in sales in 2016.

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan commits to:

  • Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020.
  • Halving the environmental impact of our products by 2030.
  • Enhancing the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020.

Unilever ranked number one in its sector on the 2016 Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

For more information on Unilever U.S. and its brands visit:

To connect with Unilever U.S. via Facebook visit:

To connect with Unilever U.S. via Twitter follow: @unileverusa

About H-E-B

H-E-B, with sales of more than $23 billion, operates more than 380 stores in Texas and Mexico. Known for its innovation and community service, H-E-B celebrated its 110th anniversary in 2015. Recognized for its fresh food, quality products, convenient services, and a commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability, H-E-B strives to provide the best customer experience at everyday low prices. Based in San Antonio, H-E-B employs more than 100,000 Partners in Texas and Mexico and serves millions of customers in more than 300 communities. For more information, visit

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Senate took a pivotal step toward improving the quality of care in Texas nursing facilities today by unanimously approving Senate Bill 932, which seeks to hold nursing home operators accountable for harming residents.

Senate Bill 932 — sponsored by Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) — was approved on a 31-0 vote and now heads to the Texas House of Representatives.

The bill revises the state’s “Right to Correct” law to make it more difficult for serious violations of nursing home care to be ignored. And among other changes, the bill empowers the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to substantially change how nursing homes are penalized.

“Texas needs to send a clear and unambiguous message that we’re serious about protecting our most vulnerable citizens from abuse and neglect,” said Schwertner. “I’m extremely grateful to each and every member of the Texas Senate for working to protect our seniors and other vulnerable Texans.”
AARP Texas Director Bob Jackson applauded Senator Schwertner and the entire Texas Senate for the leadership it showed in approving SB 932.

“Senate Bill 932 goes a long way toward holding nursing home owners and operators in Texas accountable when they hurt residents and jeopardize their health,” said Jackson. “I congratulate the Texas Senate for taking a pivotal step toward improving the quality of care in Texas nursing facilities. Now, we’re counting on members of the House of Representatives to do their part to protect residents of Texas nursing homes.”

Texas has more serious nursing home care violations than most states. An AARP Texas review of records has shown that one in four Texas nursing homes has multiple, serious violations of nursing home quality. Of 17,466 violations cited in Fiscal Year 2015, the state took enforcement action on only 40 violations.

AARP, a nonpartisan and nonprofit association with 2.3 million members in Texas age 50 and older, is in strong support of SB932. Earlier this month, AARP aired 30-second radio commercials throughout Texas in support of the bill.

[HOUSTON, TX]– The Galleria, Houston Premium Outlets and Katy Mills today announced their Spring 2017 More Than Pink movement in support of Susan G. Komen and the fight against breast cancer. As part of its pledge to donate $1 million each year in 2017 and 2018, more than 180 participating Simon Malls, The Mills and Premium Outlets nationwide will be participating in a range of activities during the months of April and May.

“It has been wonderful to see the positive response that the More Than Pink movement has generated over the past year,” said Kristen Esposito, Simon’s Vice President of Tourism and Marketing Alliances. “Our shoppers, retailers and employees have embraced the opportunities we’ve offered to support Susan G. Komen in its tireless efforts to reduce breast cancer deaths, and we look forward to continuing that momentum this year.”

Visitors to The Galleria, Houston Premium Outlets and Katy Mills will notice the pink theme carried out at the Guest Services booths and staff will be donning pink accessories. Other planned activities include:

Discount Card Program: Through May 31, in exchange for a $10 donation to Susan G. Komen, shoppers at The Galleria, Houston Premium Outlets and Katy Mills will receive a Discount Card, available at Guest Services or the Mall Office, providing up to 25% off one item at each participating retailer. All Discount Card donations go to Susan G. Komen.

Project OM: Manduka, a leading yoga mat and accessory brand, is partnering with Susan G. Komen to launch “project:OM,” a mindful movement to drive positive change on an epic level. Project:OM’s debut event, taking place Mother’s Day weekend – Friday, May 12 through Sunday, May 14 – gathers one million people to participate in the world’s largest yoga class. The massive event aims to unite individuals, families and the collective yoga community to raise funds to support Susan G. Komen’s Bold Goal to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. by 2026.

The Galleria and Houston Premium Outlets will participate in project:OM on Saturday, May 13. The Galleria’s class will be from 9:30 – 10 a.m. in the Nordstrom Wing near Adidas. Houston Premium Outlets will host classes from 9:30-10 a.m. and from 10:15-10:45 a.m. in Wagon Court.

To register, please visit A $10 online donation will give shoppers access to the class and a voucher to present at Guest Services for a discount card (25% off participating retailers).

Local Programming:

The Galleria: The Galleria is offering a free limited-edition scarf with SGK discount book purchase.

Houston Premium Outlets: All mothers, grandmothers, families and friends are invited to Houston Premium Outlet’s Celebration of Women on Saturday, May 13 from 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.! Shoppers will enjoy special discounts and treats at Guest Services in the Food Court, along with live entertainment and various onsite activities. Shoppers that spend $350 or more will receive a FREE gift at Guest Services, including a PINK scarf, Elizabeth Arden lipstick and personal soap for mom. Activities include:

9:30- 10 a.m.                Project OM – The Yoga class of 1 Million to Battle Breast Cancer
10:15-10:45 a.m.           Project OM – The Yoga class of 1 Million to Battle Breast Cancer
11 a.m.                         Camp Gladiator – Bootcamp intro
12 p.m.                         Opening of Mothers to be Parking

Katy Mills: Katy Mills will offer More thank Pink tabling events, Mother’s Day Prize giveaways, free gift bag and limited edition scarf with $10 voucher purchase, and many more special offers.

More Than Pink Hero Wall: An opportunity for survivors and their families to visually celebrate and honor the hero who inspires and uplifts them through their fight with breast cancer. For a $1 donation at The Galleria and Katy Mills, shoppers will receive a pink sticker on which they can write the name of the ‘More Than Pink’ Hero and place it on the wall. All proceeds go to Susan G. Komen.

Hero Photo Opportunity:  An ‘I Am More Than Pink’ backdrop will be used as a photo selfie station during April and May at The Galleria and Katy Mills; and on Saturday, May 13 during the Celebration of Women at Houston Premium Outlets. All will be encouraged to use the hashtag #morethanpink

As of April 2017, Simon has raised $441,667 in support of Susan G. Komen, all generated through the support and participation of shoppers, retailers and employees.

*From October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2018, Simon is proud to support Susan G. Komen® and, with the help of generous individuals like you, will guarantee a contribution of at least $1,000,000 for each year of the program in connection with its various fundraising initiatives, including its discount card program, promotion of Komen’s Race for the Cure®, and promotion of Komen’s Do-It-Yourself fundraising platform.

About Simon

Simon is a global leader in retail real estate ownership, management and development and an S&P100 company (Simon Property Group, NYSE:SPG). Our industry-leading retail properties and investments across North America, Europe and Asia provide shopping experiences for millions of consumers every day and generate billions in annual retail sales. For more information, visit

About Susan G. Komen®

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit outside of the federal government while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Komen has set a Bold Goal to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. by 2026. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $920 million in research and provided more than $2 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs serving millions of people in more than 30 countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life. That promise has become Komen’s promise to all people facing breast cancer. Visit or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at

Pat Marks is among 13 recipients nationwide of the prestigious 2017 Elizabeth Abernathy Hull Award for Early Environmental Education

HOUSTON, Texas (April 19, 2017) – Houston Arboretum’s Associate Director, Pat Marks was recently awarded the Garden Club of America’s Elizabeth Abernathy Hull Award for Early Environmental Education. She is among 13 other recipients around the United States to be recognized for her outstanding achievements towards early childhood environmental education. Pat has been an active environmental educator for over 40 years. She started at the Arboretum in 1976 as a naturalist and, in the intervening years, served as Senior Naturalist, Education and Conservation Manager, Director of Education, and finally in her current role as Associate Director, managing eight staff members and  twenty seasonal student interns.

Pat has worked with tens of thousands of students (some of them now Arboretum Board members!), hiking through the woods in search of armadillos or a hawk overhead, dipping in the Arboretum’s ponds for crawfish and tadpoles, planting pollinator gardens full of wildflowers and much more. Pragmatic and knowledgeable, she introduces young children to the outdoors patiently and gently, making nature-lovers out of even the most skeptical students. As many as 60% of the Arboretum’s elementary-age program participants come from inner-city, Title I schools, and their experiences at the Arboretum are often their only exposure to wild space. One of Pat’s primary areas of focus in recent years has been increasing the number of economically disadvantaged students who visit the Arboretum for environmental education.

“I love working with people and introducing them to the beauty of nature It’s fun! [I’m] trying to get past people’s preconceived notions [of nature] – to observe [the outdoors] so they can go on the trails and become their own instructors”, says Pat Marks.

Pat has made regional environmental education a priority. In addition to her Texas State Teaching Certificate and State Environmental Educator certification, she is also accredited by Project Learning Tree, the environmental education program of the American Forest Foundation; Project WILD, a national wildlife-focused conservation education program for K-12 educators; and Project WET, a network of water resource educators. Pat was a founding member of the Environmental Educators Exchange and serves on the Texas Environmental Education Certification Advisory Council, where she is a reviewer and long-time member.

The Garden Club of America’s Elizabeth Abernathy Hull Award annually recognizes select individuals who are enhancing the environmental education of children. Additionally, recipients are awarded $1,000 to further facilitate them in creating environmental awareness and showcasing the beauty of our planet to children.


Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

The mission of the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is to provide education about the natural environment to people of all ages and to protect and enhance the Arboretum as a haven and as a sanctuary for native plants and animals. The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, one of the first nature education facilities for children in the state of Texas, provides services to nearly 200,000 visitors annually. The Arboretum also provides nature education for more than 10,000 children annually. For more information about the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center and levels of membership, visit<> . Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @HoustonArboretum and Twitter @HoustonArboretu; share your photos using #houstonarboretum.

BERNINA International owner Hanspeter Ueltschi will recognize the new store location

AURORA, Ill. – April 19, 2017 – BERNINA of America, the premier manufacturer of sewing, embroidery and quilting machines, is pleased to announce that Sew Special Quilts, a BERNINA Dealer in Katy, Texas will open their doors at 21800 Katy Freeway, Suite 100 in Katy.  Hanspeter Ueltschi, fourth generation owner of BERNINA International, will visit the new store location from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.   He will discuss the rich history and innovations of BERNINA International, meet guests, pose for photos and autograph machines.  The community is invited to check out the new store, and enjoy door prizes and special pricing on BERNINA machines.  The event is free.  For more information, call (281)717-8033 or stop by the store.

Sew Special Quilts is an authorized BERNINA Dealer which provides top-quality service to area residents.  The Dealer offers BERNINA sewing machines, software, and accessories, and provides a variety of sewing, embroidery and quilting classes for people of all skill levels.

For more information, visit


Founded in Switzerland more than 100 years ago, BERNINA is the world’s premier manufacturer with a proven reputation for offering quality state-of-the-art sewing, quilting and embroidery machines, overlockers, and embroidery software.  BERNINA’s leadership is marked by an impressive number of ambassadors, industry leaders, influencers and bloggers, who chose to partner with the company.  BERNINA products are sold in the United States through a network of over 400 fully trained independent dealerships that also offer support and education.  Select BERNINA and bernette machines, and BERNINA software can also be purchased online. BERNINA products are designed for beginning to advanced sewists and priced to meet a variety of budgets, with new products being introduced every year.  You can follow BERNINA on Facebook:, Instagram: @BERNINAUSA, and Pinterest:, and read BERNINA’s WeAllSew blog at  To learn more about BERNINA and to find a Dealer, visit or call (630)978-2500.


AUSTIN – Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton will join thousands of Texans at Earth Day Texas on Saturday, April 22 where he will participate in a town hall and answer questions about the oil and gas industry in Texas. As a regulator of oil and gas and an environmentalist, Commissioner Sitton looks forward to engaging with the public regarding important energy issues and encourages them to bring their curiosity.

Sitton will also participate in a roundtable at the Responsible Shale Energy Extraction Symposium hosted in conjunction with Earth Day Texas on Friday, April 21 at 2 p.m.

Other notable participants at Earth Day Texas this year include Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Earth Day Texas is a free three-day event and the largest Earth Day celebration in the world. The event features environmental organizations, businesses, academic institutions, government agencies, speakers, interactive programming, subject matter experts, live music, and food pavilions.

Ahead of his town hall, Commissioner Sitton penned the op-ed below detailing why Earth Day is important to the Railroad Commission and him.

WHO: Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton

WHEN: Saturday, April 22

               10:30 a.m.

WHERE: Automobile Building

Fair Park

1010 1st Ave., Dallas, TX 75210


For Railroad Commission, Earth Day is Every Day

By Ryan Sitton

Earth Day is April 22nd this year, and I can’t wait to once again join tens of thousands of my fellow Texans at the largest Earth Day celebration in the world, in Dallas. You might find it odd that a Conservative Republican would be excited about one of the largest green events in the world, but I am a huge environmentalist. Most Republicans care deeply about our air, water and environmental quality, but many people don’t know that.

As a father, husband, private property owner and elected official, I know the health of our environment tomorrow is only as strong as our actions today. It’s important to me that at Texas’ energy regulatory agency, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC), we work as if every day is Earth Day.

My view is that energy regulation should work in concert with environmental protection, not in conflict. For starters, you can’t drill a well or turnover a spade of dirt to produce energy without the permission of the RRC, through a strict and thorough permitting process. This means detailed plans on how an operator will prevent pollution, including how deep they can drill, and how much and where steel and cement are required in a well to ensure groundwater is kept safe.

For the men and women of the RRC, this duty is personal. When we act in the best interest of the 27 million people of the state, we are doing so for our friends, family and communities.

Every day hundreds of RRC inspectors fan out across Texas inspecting oil and gas wells, pipelines carrying crude oil or natural gas, and surface coal mines. In 2016 alone, our staff conducted 124,000 oil and gas inspections. Our inspectors look closely to make sure equipment is running properly, wells are drilled in compliance with rules set by the RRC, and operators have the necessary permits to legally produce or transport energy resources.

When an operator is not in compliance the RRC moves quickly to enforce our rules. Punishments for non-compliance can vary, but all are intended to hold an operator accountable and protect the public. The RRC can, and does assess fines. In 2016, we assessed $8.6 million dollars in penalties on operators who violated our rules. We also sever an operator’s lease for continued non-compliance. That means they are not permitted to produce, transport or sell their product, effectively shutting them down. We issued more than 8,200 lease severances in 2016.

While some of our team at the RRC are working to protect the environment through proactive inspection and enforcement of our rules, others are working to return land used in energy production to its original condition, or better. Through site remediation, the RRC assists communities across Texas with land restoration. These programs turn old, unused and sometimes contaminated sites into thriving redeveloped or natural areas. For example, in 2016 our site remediation team helped turn a historic, abandoned oil field near Houston into the Turtle Bayou Nature Preserve. It’s now a 511-acre preserve providing a coastal wildlife habitat and protecting water quality.

These are just some of the ways all of us at the RRC work to protect our shared environment. No one in the state is more dedicated to protecting the public and the environment than the RRC. I look forward to talking with Texans more about our commitment to environmental protection on April 22nd at 10:30 a.m. at Earth Day Texas 2017. For those of us at the Railroad Commission, every day is Earth Day.


Ryan Sitton was elected to the Railroad Commission in 2014 and is the first engineer to serve on the Commission in 50 years. Sitton is one of the world’s leading energy experts and founded PinnacleART, an engineering and technology company focused on reliability and integrity programs for the oil, gas, and petrochemical, mining, pharmaceutical, and wastewater industries. As Railroad Commissioner, Sitton uses his technical expertise and business experience to make decisions for the state that are based on sound science and employs a fiscally conservative approach to prioritize the agency’s efforts. 


By Keith Randall, Texas A&M Marketing and Communications

DALLAS, April 17, 2017 – Texas A&M University will once again be a major player in Earth Day Texas, a three-day event set for April 21-23 at Fair Park in Dallas, with numerous academic departments and speakers participating in projects and programs that impact the environment.

Earth Day Texas has grown into the world’s largest annual forum for sharing the latest discoveries, policies, products and corporate practices that are shaping the world. The event will host a wide variety of government agencies, academic institutions, businesses, environmental organizations and speakers during the Earth Day Texas festival.

Texas A&M is the largest educational exhibitor for the second consecutive year.  Texas Aggies continue to increase their participation in Earth Day Texas and are able to showcase diverse research and innovation, as well as community partnerships and outreach initiatives.

“As the largest educational exhibitor at Earth Day Texas, Texas A&M is poised to take center stage,” says Casey Oliver, regional manager with the Provost Office of Texas A&M’s Public, Partnership & Outreach division.

“We’ve been working together all year with more than 12 colleges, agencies and departments, and we are eager to share our work and to show others what makes Texas A&M so unique. With informative presentations and specially designed architectural structures and displays from accomplished faculty members like Negar Kalantar from the College of Architecture, Texas A&M will help educate attendees with interactive exhibits and hands-on demonstrations.  Kalantar has designed two large retractable structures that will provide the visual display for the comprehensive campus exhibit at Earth Day Texas. These structures are highly efficient, are more durable and require less energy and fewer materials to build. Working with students from different disciplines to bring the design to life, this is just one example of how Texas A&M is transforming education through innovation and action.”

As a major partner of Earth Day Texas, Texas A&M and its affiliates will be well-represented at the event, with booths, speakers and interactive displays from the Colleges of Geosciences and Architecture, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the Texas A&M School of Public Health, the Texas A&M Center for Applied Science, Texas A&M AgriLife, the Texas A&M Health Science Center and others.

Notable speakers and participants this year will include:

  • Texas A&M President Michael K. Young;
  • Sec. of Energy and former Texas Governor Rick Perry;
  • JB Straubel – Co–Founder and CTO Tesla, Inc.
  • Susan Eisenhower —  President of The Eisenhower Group and grand-daughter of President Dwight Eisenhower and Supreme Allied Commander WWII;
  • Ryan Sitton, Texas Railroad Commissioner;
  • General Wesley Clark, Sr. (Ret.) – Clark is a retired General of the United States Army who spent 34 years serving our country and is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award of the United States.
  • Sylvia A. Earle, Ph.D. – Earle is a world-renowned oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer dubbed the first “Hero for the Planet” by Time magazine.
  • Katharine Hayhoe, Ph.D. – Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist and associate professor of political science at Texas Tech University, where she is director of the Climate Science Center.
  • Sid Miller – Miller is the Texas Agriculture Commissioner and is a former vocational agriculture teacher and nine-time world champion cowboy.
  • His Excellency Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. – Remengesau Jr. is the president of the Republic of Palau and is leading the effort to implement the Palau National Marine Sanctuary, the world’s sixth largest, fully-protected marine area.
  • Laura Turner Seydel – Seydel is the chairperson of the Captain Planet Foundation, which supports high-quality, hands-on environmental stewardship projects that have enabled more than 1 million youth across the U.S. and around the world to make significant environmental improvements to their schools and communities.
  • Paul Watson – Watson is a marine wildlife conservation and environmental activist who founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an anti-poaching group focused on marine conservation.
  • Senator Sheldon Whitehouse – Whitehouse is the U.S. Senator for Rhode Island and member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
  • Kate Williams – Williams is CEO of One Percent for the Planet, a nonprofit environmental organization that leads a global network of businesses, nonprofits and individuals working together for a healthy planet.

Earth Day, established in 1970, is considered the birth of the environmental movement.

Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. senator from Wisconsin, was inspired to start Earth Day after he witnessed a massive oil spill in 1969 off the California coast.  His goal was to get people thinking and energized about the environment, the effects of water and air pollution and other issues impacting Earth.

The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 was a huge success and eventually led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Act.

Motivated to make an impact on the environment and affect change, Dallas developer Trammell S. Crow founded Earth Day Texas in Dallas in 2011. In four years, Crow and his team transformed a small city-run environmental fair to the nation’s largest Earth Day exhibition, bringing people and organizations together to create a greater awareness and understanding of our environment.

Crow is also the founder of the Texas Business for Clean Air Foundation, an organization of prominent business leaders throughout Texas who are committed to matters that affect air quality in the state. Crow has received many accolades for his work, most recently, he was named Texas A&M University School of Public Health’s inaugural Public Health Hero award.

Earth Day Texas is free and open to the public.  For more about Earth Day Texas, including daily schedules, events, booths, displays and other key information, go to