Houston Woman Wire

NEWS Houston Police Chief to retire February 26

Mayor Sylvester Turner has accepted the retirement of Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland, effective February 26, 2016. McClelland was sworn in as a police officer in September 1977. He rose through the ranks at HPD and was sworn in by former Mayor Annise Parker as police chief on April 14, 2010.

“I want to thank Chief McClelland for his 39 years of service to the City,” said Mayor Turner. “He is a respected figure in the community who has served this city well and has many accomplishments of which to be proud.  The city’s crime rate during his tenure is lower than it was for the previous six years and citizen complaints filed against our officers are at a record low.”

Chief McClelland managed the fifth largest police agency in the nation with a budget of more than $825 million and a staff of 5200 sworn officers and 1200 civilian employees.  Whether it is creating new programs aimed at encouraging positive interaction with Houston’s youth, organizing a town hall where residents have the opportunity to ask questions or simply sharing a cup of coffee with residents, Chief McClelland made it a point to focus on taking HPD to the community it serves.

When asked what he considers his proudest accomplishments, he cites the lower crime rate, HPD’s stewardship of its financial resources and improved community relations.  He is also very personally proud of having been able to convince former Mayor Parker and City Council to name HPD headquarters after Officer Edward A. Thomas, one of HPD’s first African American officers and the department’s longest serving officer.

This is a decision that was reached after much personal thought and consultation with my family,” said McClelland. “It was not an easy decision, but I know it is the right decision for me personally.   am leaving HPD in a better place than it was six years ago.” 

Mayor Turner has not yet selected an interim chief; that decision will be made in the coming days. 

 

NEWS Emmett delivers his Ninth Annual State of County Address

Despite widespread criticism of government on a national and state level, County Judge Ed Emmett said in his 2016 State of the County Address today that Harris County government consistently provides exceptional services to residents while maintaining an extremely strong financial position.

Emmett cited the county’s AAA bond rating and recent improvements in emergency management, flood control, criminal justice and veterinary health as examples of county government’s effectiveness.

“Harris County is one of the best run local governments in the country,” Emmett said. “The commissioners courts before I arrived made it so, and it is my primary goal to work with the current court to maintain that status.”

But, despite its successes, county leadership faces serious challenges in the coming years, especially in dealing with transportation, health care and the future of the Astrodome, Emmett said.

Emmett spoke to a record 1,100 people attending his ninth State of the County Address, sponsored by the Greater Houston Partnership and the League of Women Voters. He concluded the event by calling on attendees to help him battle an increasingly pervasive pessimism regarding government and government officials.

“I ask you to push back against those who want to play politics with county government,” Emmett said. “In the world of politics, too many candidates see government as the enemy, yet they want to be part of government. Such people have vilified government employees, yet they expect quality in emergency management, flood control and all other services. We should encourage young, bright, talented individuals to join public service.”

NEWS Camp Kesem to host 'Make the Magic' event April 10

 

Rice University's chapter of Camp Kesem, an organization dedicated to helping children through and beyond their parent's cancer, will host its first "Make the Magic" event Friday, April 10, from 6:15 to 9 p.m. at Rice's Cohen House, 6100 Man Street.

Founded in 2013, Camp Kesem Rice is one of 54 student chapters in the national organization, the country's only nonprofit dedicated to organizing free summer camps to provide emotional support, camaraderie and fun experiences for the often-overlooked population of children affected by a parent's cancer. Camp Kesem provides a lifelong, peer-support network for these children, anchored in a network of free summer camps that are led by passionate college student volunteers across the country.  

Funds raised during this night of dinner, philanthropy and entertainment will help provide yearlong peer support and send 60 campers to camp Aug. 1-7. The event will include dinner, speeches from a Camp Kesem counselor and family, a paddle-raise fundraiser and fun activities such as ring toss.           

 

NEWS Rice names new provost

Marie Lynn Miranda, an acclaimed researcher and the Samuel A. Graham Dean of the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan, has been named provost of Rice University.

Miranda specializes in research on environmental health, especially how the environment shapes health and well-being among children. She is a leader in the evolving field of geospatial health informatics and has studied, for example, the impact of racial residential segregation on health. She is the founding director of the Children’s Environmental Health Initiative, a research, education and outreach program committed to fostering environments where all people can prosper. The initiative’s peer-reviewed research has been cited extensively, including in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s integrated science assessment on revisions to the national ambient air quality standard for lead.

Miranda’s outreach efforts include direct engagement in communities affected by environmental exposures. Her work has garnered more than $43 million in sponsored research as a principal or co-principal investigator, plus an additional $14 million as investigator. This research has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, other U.S. government agencies, the World Health Organization and multiple foundation sponsors.

The Children’s Environmental Health Initiative is currently headquartered at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment, where Miranda has served as the dean and professor since 2012. She also holds a position as professor of pediatrics and of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan’s School of Medicine. At Rice, her primary appointment will be in the Department of Statistics.

Prior to joining the University of Michigan, Miranda served for 21 years on the faculty at Duke University, where she was initially in the Department of Public Policy. With her increasing interests in environmental health, she became a professor in the Nicholas School of the Environment and Department of Pediatrics and a faculty member in the Integrated Toxicology and Environmental Health Program and the Duke Global Health Institute.

Miranda said she was excited by the possibilities for interdisciplinary research and learning at Rice. “Even in the information age, with the ensuing democratization of knowledge, colleges and universities hold the greatest potential for helping students to bridge the chasm between knowledge and wisdom, especially so in the residential college setting,” Miranda said. “In both the curriculum and the co-curriculum, we have the opportunity to help students explore how different cultural perspectives shape community dynamics, how poetry and art can help child refugees heal, how engineers and designers must come together to find solutions that will be embraced by the public, how teams of thinkers can do extraordinary things like discover buckminsterfullerene.”

Miranda also has a strong record of international engagement. She has worked in Nepal, Indonesia, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Honduras and Sweden. At Michigan, she is working to build partnerships in China, India, Brazil, Mexico and both East and West Africa. She maintains an active research program in East Africa and is involved in a multi-university initiative focused on strategies to combat malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.

Miranda currently serves on the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the NIH. 

Miranda grew up in Detroit. The child of immigrants, Miranda has particular insights into the changing demographics that are shaping U.S. higher education.

“Growing up brown in a black neighborhood in Detroit, and later doing research almost exclusively in disadvantaged and minority communities, have kept me attuned to issues of inclusiveness,” she said. Shaped by parents committed to education as the mechanism for opportunity, Miranda said, “The fact that I now have the privilege of serving as the next provost of Rice University bears witness to the power of education to transform lives.”

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Duke, she earned her A.B. in both mathematics and economics. Although she worked for Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski as an undergraduate, her favorite sport is baseball – and she has already seen the Rice Owls play in Reckling Park. A Truman Scholar and a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow, Miranda has a Ph.D. and M.A., both in economics, from Harvard. Miranda is married to Christopher Geron and has three children, Thompson, Mariel and Viviana.

Miranda’s appointment as the Howard R. Hughes Provost becomes effective July 1. 

 

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