Houston Woman Wire

NEWS ALF elects 13 new board members

Thirteen new members were recently elected to the board of trustees of the Houston/Gulf Coast Chapter of the American Leadership Forum and presented at the organization’s annual meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 29. The board is now led by Jim Drew, senior vice president of Bowen, Miclette & Britt, Inc. who succeeds Paula Arnold.

The newly elected members of the board include Matt Barnes of Barnes & Noble Consulting; Donald Bowers of Houston Branch - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; Gina Carroll of Inspired Wordsmith, Marian Davenport of Genesys Works- Houston, John Farrell of Midvale Enterprises and Farrell Executive Coaching and Consulting, Jay Guerrero of the Office of U.S. Senator John Cornyn, Leisa Holland-Nelson of ContentActive, Janet Pozmantier of The Dibble Institute, Judson Robinson of the Houston Area Urban League, Randy Sim of Satsun Corporation, Rhonda Smith of the Houston Municipal Employee Pension System, Daniel W. Snare of American Leadership Forum Houston/Gulf Coast Chapter, and John Watson of Access Health Providers.

NEWS District Attorney launches public safety campaign

Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson has launched a public safety campaign to draw attention to tax scams as millions of area residents prepare their returns. The informational pamphlet describes common tax scams, as well as what is being done by the IRS and the District Attorney's Office to investigate and prosecute thieves.

Information is also provided to help the public find a reliable or trusted tax preparer. The pamphlet is available in English and Spanish. It can be printed from the Harris County DA Website or citizens can stop by the District Attorney's Office to receive copies to hand out at businesses or organizations.

"Before you file your taxes, do your research and make sure the person you are giving your social security number to is a trusted tax preparer," said Anderson. "Taking the time now to do that research could save you time and money later from the damages of identity theft."

The public safety campaign is timely as citizens receive their W-2 forms in the mail and get ready to file their taxes. In 2013, the IRS initiated approximately 1,492 identity theft related criminal investigations, an increase of 66 percent over 2012.

"Tax return fraud is a common economic crime that we see this time of year, not only here in Harris County but across the country," said Assistant District Attorney and Chief of the Organized Crime Section Ed McClees. "Criminals look at tax season as an opportunity to use your identity to steal from both you and the United States Treasury."

To avoid becoming a victim:

• Do not give out your social security number just because someone asks for it. Only give it to someone when you are required.

• Protect your financial information.

• Check your credit report every 12 months.

NEWS Galveston Wharves approves 5-year pact with Royal Caribbean Cruises

The board of trustees of the Galveston Wharves approved a five-year agreement with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. at Monday’s board meeting. This agreement will generate a minimum of $1.86 million in annual operating revenues for the Port.

The agreement requires making improvements to the Port's Cruise Terminal No. 2 to accommodate larger vessels and more passengers. Initial plans are to increase the size of the terminal, expanding it to 150,000 square feet with the capacity to seat about 1,000. This expansion is estimated to cost approximately $10 million.

“The port has worked closely with Royal Caribbean to identify the upgrades needed to improve their operations at Cruise Terminal No. 2 for both Voyager class vessels and any larger vessels in the future. I’m confident that these improvements will be completed by spring 2015 without disruption to current cruise operations.” said Port Director Mike Mierzwa.

Royal Caribbean currently operates Navigator of the Seas year round from the Port of Galveston. The cruise line has agreed to an additional 30 calls in both 2014 and 2015, committing to a year-round vessel in both years with a promise to bring a larger vessel to the Port next year when improvements to Cruise Terminal No. 2 are completed.

The Port of Galveston, Texas’ Star Cruise Port serves as the primary point of embarkation for cruises to the western Caribbean and the Bahamas and handles over one million cruise passengers annually. The Port of Galveston is the homeport to Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Magic and Carnival Triumph, and Royal Caribbean International’s Navigator of the Seas. Port of Galveston ranks as the fourth busiest cruise port in the United States and one of the top twenty cruise ports in the world.

EVENT Helen Reddy to perform at Hobby Center on January 23


Helen Reddy, Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter, actor and author, will perform in Zilkha Hall at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, Jan. 23. She is expected to sing many of her Top 40 hits, including “I Am Woman,” “Delta Dawn,” “Angie Baby” and “You’re My World.” However, according to the popular artist, there is at least one hit the audience will not hear.

Reddy said, “Leave Me Alone,” with those three words repeated 43 times, has been sung enough. I’m tired of it; perhaps my fans are too. Now that the writer of the song has passed way, I am okay with letting it become a memory.”

Her biggest hit, “I Am Woman,” was released in 1972 and quickly became the anthem of the Feminist Movement. Three years later, the United Nations proclaimed 1975 as the Year of the Woman, and selected “I Am Woman” as the official them song.

“Before I wrote “I Am Woman,' there was nothing out there telling women they were strong and invisible. That they could do anything,” said Reddy. “I was inspired to change that.”

Reddy, now 72, started singing as a child, as part of a music business family in Melbourne, Australia. But, she didn’t burst on the American music scene until 1973 with the release of the ballad, “I Don’t Know How To Love Him,” from the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Afterwards, she went on to produce 15 Top 40 hits, with three of them becoming Number One.

Reddy was the first Australian ever to win an American Grammy Award® and the first from her country to host her own one-hour, weekly primetime variety show on an American television network. She has starred on stage and in film, as well. Her memoir, The Woman I Am, was a New York Times Best Seller.

To purchase tickets to the Helen Reddy concert, please visit www.thehobbycenter.org or call 713-315-2400.

Editor’s Note: Watch for Beverly Denver’s one-on-one interview with Helen Reddy in the February/March 2014 issue of Houston Woman Magazine. 

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