Travers & Travers

February 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Top Family Lawyers, Travers & Travers

Travers & Travers | Family Law, Appellate Law, Mediation

Clockwise from left: Sherrie Haussner Travers, Allison Travers Hamilton and Annilee Travers Reed.

Providing superior legal representation in divorce and family law matters, Travers & Travers is a family of family lawyers.

These dynamic lawyers are family law leaders throughout Harris and Fort Bend Counties. From divorce, complex property cases, and custody disputes to mediation and appellate practice, Travers & Travers is experienced in all aspects of family law.

Travers & Travers is AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell. Both Mack and Sherrie are Martindale-Hubbell Preeminent Lawyers. Sherrie is board certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Mack & Sherrie Travers
Travers & Travers
20501 I-10 West, Ste. 124
Katy, TX 77450
281-492-2166
www.katylawyer.com

Marcela Halmagean

February 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Halmagean, Marcela, Top Family Lawyers

Marcela Halmagean
M Halmagean PLLC
Attorney at Law

Marcela Halmagean is distinguished as one of the most aggressive attorneys in Houston. “I’m innovative, creative, daring, and I do my homework,” she says. Her success is attributed to her long term professional relationship with Stephanie Clarke Davis, of Counsel, as well as her close client communication, full availability, and aggressive representation.

Her practice is focused on family, business, and commercial litigation. She is committed to bringing high-quality legal services to each sector. During her professional tenure, Halmagean worked for large corporations representing corporate entities in legal matters including white-collar crime cases, breach of contract, and partnership disputes. However, her passion lies with family law cases, especially representing fathers in custody modifications and divisions of complex estates. For example, Halmagean tried and won jury trials where she successfully represented fathers in their pursuit for modification of custody. In one case, her client was awarded sole managing conservatorship of his child; in the other, the father won custody of his three children.

Halmagean has practiced law for 19 years during which she has built a bond with each and every one of her clients. “I work with them directly as opposed to assigning them to an associate attorney or a legal assistant,” she says. “Especially in family law, clients need a whole lot of emotional support and a periodic reality check to complement the legal advice they’re paying for. When you combine that with full access and availability, it makes for long-lasting relationships.”

 

Marcela Halmagean
M Halmagean PLLC
1800 Bering Dr., Ste. 280
Houston, TX 77057
713-975-1202
www.halmagean.com

Terrence C. O’Keefe DDS, PC

Terrence C. O’Keefe DDS, PC
Cosmetics, Implants & General Dentist

For more than 30 years Dr. O’Keefe’s West Houston practice has been helping his patients achieve beautiful smiles through dedication to quality and detail. With expertise in Cosmetic Dentistry and Implant Restoration as well as all phases of General Dentistry, Dr. O’Keefe maintains his place on the cutting edge of dental technology. With a reputation of excellence, Dr. O’Keefe provides knowledgeable care and excellent customer service. An avid golfer and sports fan, Dr. O’Keefe also enjoys helping in the community by donating his time to Boys and Girls Country.

Terrence C. O’Keefe, DDS, PC
11757 Katy Freeway Ste. 200
Houston, TX 77079
281-496-6878
www.drokeefe.com

Satvi Pinnamaneni, DDS

February 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Pinnamaneni, Satvi, DDS, Top Dentists

Satvi Pinnamaneni, DDS
Family & Cosmetic Dentistry

Oral health is a crucial component of overall health and well-being, says Dr. Satvi Pinnamaneni. Known by her patients as Dr. P, she’s an advocate of comprehensive dentistry, focusing on not just the cosmetic aspect of the restorations, but the functional longevity. “My staff and I treat patients in a calm and anxiety-free environment. We strongly believe that allows us to achieve the highest success rate for the procedures we perform. We offer multiple sedation options, as well as ample time to listen and address patients’ questions and concerns,” says Dr. P, a strong proponent of continuing education. Dr. P’s dedication to providing high-quality care with the latest advances in dentistry, combined with her compassionate chair-side manner, are just two of the many reasons patients trust her and travel to Houston to see her.

Satvi Pinnamaneni, DDS
26281 Northwest Freeway, Ste. 700
Cypress, TX 77429
281-758-0060
www.cypresslakesdental.com

Bill K. So DDS, PA

Bill K. So DDS, PA
Westway Park Dental

One of Houston’s top dentists, Bill So, DDS, PA, knows a little something about service. Dr. So proudly served his country for 12 years, serving in the United States Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and Operation Enduring Freedom in 2008 and 2010. Back in Houston now, Dr. So is dedicated to ensuring the best dental care for his patients. Having stepped away from his patients for long periods of time for army duty deployments, he felt leaving the army was necessary in order to make his patients top priority—what he strives for since he began his career—although he will always be honored to have served the country for the time he did.

By successfully completing continuing-education classes, Dr. So remains at the forefront of advancements in dental healthcare. He specializes in cosmetic and general dentistry, including Zoom Whitening, Invisible Braces, veneers, crowns, fillings and dental checkups. His office is equipped with the latest in dental technology, such as digital x-rays, which are beneficial in educating his patients. In addition, Dr. So is certified in intravenous sedation to allow patients further relaxation during procedures.

“My primary concern is for the health and well-being of my patients. I want them to feel relaxed and comfortable from the beginning of their treatment and into recovery,” says Dr. So. “Our team works hard to build relationships with our patients so that they feel comfortable, not only in the dental chair, but also with the decisions they make regarding their dental healthcare.”

Dr. So received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M and his Doctorate of Dental Science from the University of Texas Dental Branch in Houston. He is currently a director on the Board of Houston Academy of General Dentistry and is a member of a number of national and local dental organizations.

Bill K. So, DDS,PA
Westway Park Dental
4410 Westway Park Blvd., Ste. 600
Houston, TX 77041
www.westwayparkdental.com
info@westwayparkdental.com
713-690-1900

Basil Moukarim, DDS & George Saliba, DDS

Basil Moukarim, DDS & George Saliba, DDS

For over a decade, both Dr. George Saliba and Dr. Basil Moukarim have been nominated as Houston’s Top dentists. The goal at Dental Illusions is to educate and inform the patient, giving them options and empowering them to make the right treatment choice for their needs. Dr. Saliba and Dr. Moukarim, as well as their professional staff, use the latest in dental materials, high tech equipment and modern techniques. They strive to consistently deliver high-quality dentistry with integrity and great customer service, in a friendly, compassionate and inviting atmosphere. Even with expertise in minimally invasive laser procedures and advanced aesthetic techniques, loyalty has come from relationships built with families and individuals through the years.

“No matter how impressive credentials may be, what matters most to patients is compassion and quality,” says Dr. Saliba. “When it comes down to it, we’re a family dental practice providing a warm and welcoming environment,” Dr. Moukarim adds.

While they enjoy creating complete smile make-overs, which have amazing outcomes, they focus just as much attention on the fundamentals of dental health. The doctors are skilled in procedures such as implant dentistry, Invisalign, sedation dentistry, laser dentistry, cosmetic smile make-overs and full-mouth reconstruction.

In addition, Drs. Saliba and Moukarim regularly see people that have not had treatment in many years, have problems getting numb, have severe phobias of the dentist and those with advanced dental problems. No matter what the procedure, Drs. Moukarim, Saliba and their staff at Dental Illusions are committed to banishing dental phobias and creating an outstanding, relationship-centered practice.

The doctors also do not believe that you should have to pay to find out what’s wrong. They offer free consultations.

Dental Illusions
13303 Champion Forest Dr., Bldg. 5
Houston, TX 77069
281-444-1755

4101 Greenbriar, Ste. 220
Houston, TX 77098
713-528-3362

www.dentalillusions.com

 

Retreat at the Ranch

October 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Features

Rancho la Puerta, a luxury wellness resort in the Baja region of Mexico, revives and reboots the mind, body and spirit, making for an unforgettable getaway with memories that will last a lifetime.

by Nicholas Nguyen

After months of back-to-back deadlines, you could say that I needed a vacation. Badly. So when I got an invitation to visit Rancho La Puerta, a resort nestled in the hills and valleys in Tecate, Mexico, it was just the ticket I was hoping for.

Little did I know just how different Rancho La Puerta was from the average Mexican getaway. Instead of the usual crowded pools and long buffet lines, the intimate resort is dedicated to wellness, to helping guests relax and recharge through a variety of classes and workshops (that of course, includes plenty of spa time and delicious cuisine). Lovingly dubbed by guests as “the Ranch,” Rancho La Puerta attracts visitors from all across the country, and from Houston, it’s a short flight to San Diego and a quick bus ride across the border.

I would never have known that the city existed around the Ranch unless I hadn’t passed through on the drive in. The lush, green grounds house hacienda-style villas, which are newly renovated and complete with gorgeous views of the hills or one of the resort’s four pools. Immediately, I was truly able to unplug from the rest of the world, especially since the resort only offers Wi-Fi and television in a few select lounges and the lobby.

On that first day, I received a folder that detailed the week’s activities and events; I had chosen to visit during a special Pilates Week. Every single day, there were activities from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.; there were so many options that often I wished I had a time machine so I could try them all. Since science hasn’t made my Back to the Future dreams a reality yet, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I was also supposed to take this time to slow down. Here’s how I reinvigorated my mind, body and spirit in just one week.

MIND

Spend the early morning relaxing in your room before taking off for some exercise.

It’s always hard for me to shut my mind off, but at the Ranch I only had myself to focus on—and no smartphone in sight—so it felt a little easier to let go. Being an artist by nature, I loved the creative outlets at the ranch, which complemented all of the physical activity.

MEDITATION AND HEALING At Rancho La Puerta, there’s no shortage of activities for decompressing and clearing your head. Guided meditation and yoga are obvious choices, but for a unique and tranquil experience, try Sound Healing. A guide plays sounds from large, resonant crystal bowls to help you completely relax and lull you into a stress-free state. At least half of the class participants dozed off midway through the session (which is fine as long as you have a friend who will poke you if you start snoring), but everyone came out of it feeling rejuvenated.

ARTISTIC ENDEAVORS The ranch invites artists and writers to help guests flex their creative muscles. Take a watercolor, sketch, jewelry-making or sculpture class to create your own custom souvenir, which is a nice break from physical activities midday or a good way to unwind after dinner. While I visited, memoirist Larry Grobel (known for his books Conversations with Capote, Al Pacino and The Art of the Interview), led writing workshops that helped attendees dig deep and jot down short, but poignant pieces about their lives.

LIFESTYLE LECTURES During my stay, a few other special guests gave talks on a variety of health-related subjects. Dr. Rubin Naiman, a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Arizona, lectured on how to overcome sleep problems and opened our minds on the science and psychology of dreams. Professor Emerita Beverly Whipple spoke about sexual health and intimacy in a really relatable way.

BODY

On the trail for the breakfast hike, which leads to the ranch’s organic farm and breakfast to boot.

In 2016, I started a fitness journey that included learning Pilates to stay healthy and prevent any issues that may come up as I age. Choosing to visit during Rancho La Puerta’s Pilates Week—offered several times throughout the year—was a no-brainer. In addition to the numerous Pilates classes offered, there were so many other workout options—some of which I’d never even heard before! To fuel my active schedule, I ate delicious food, and didn’t skip breakfast once (like I’m guilty of doing at home).

SWEAT SESSIONS There are too many cardio-centered classes to name, but if you want to get your heart rate pumping, Zumba, Cycling or Cardio Drum Dance—where you work your entire body while banging on giant barrels to energizing music—are some great options. After all of that action, cool off in the pools for a few laps, or take it further with a challenging water aerobics class. Even though I had trouble staying afloat and splashed around quite a bit, it was fun because I had taken it with a new friend, Ann Eshabarr, a dance teacher from San Francisco. She summed the exercise program up at the Ranch quite nicely: “The Ranch is like a well-oiled machine. They have made it very easy to navigate the classes even though the property is huge. I learned to take off in the morning with clothing for hiking, swimming, dance and Pilates so I was prepared for everything. I would be walking around and see a class I liked and drop right in!”

MIND/BODY BLISS Jennifer Lee Ho, a teacher trained in many different movement modalities from the Bay Area, led Pilates Week. I took two mat classes from her every morning—she, like many of the instructors at the Ranch, exuded a motivating, warm energy—and learned a lot about pelvic stability. (The Pilates studio at the Ranch also offers classes on the Pilates Reformer and other equipment.) A lot of my fellow Ranch-goers attended classes dedicated to stretching and tried Feldenkrais, which, similar to Pilates reinforces the mind-body connection.

ON THE MENU The Ranch’s all-inclusive program provides breakfast, lunch and dinner, all made with fresh, local ingredients; they even offer cooking classes. Like me, Jennifer has a love for food: “Though fitness is a priority in my life, eating properly (most of the time) is my other joy,” she told me. “It was fantastic to sit down for three organic and tasty meals a day with other interesting guests from all over the world.” Breakfast and lunch are buffet style, while dinner has service. At dinner, Ranch veterans let us in on a secret—you can sample both of the entrée options instead of choosing just one. I’m still dreaming about the fresh fish tacos we had for lunch one day and an amazing eggplant parmesan that was served for dinner.

SPA SERVICES There are separate spas for both women and men, along with two other treatment centers, so there’s no excuse not to treat yourself after a couple days of working out. The spa offers a wide range of massages and facials; I tried the classic Ranch massage with some aromatherapy one late afternoon, a perfect prelude to dinner. The women’s and men’s centers also have lockers for reservation so you can stash your belongings instead of lugging things around or having to return to your room.

SPIRIT

Dinner time is a joyous occasion every night.

I think the reason the Ranch has been thriving for so long is because of its lingering effect on you, even long after you’ve left. I met so many people who make it a tradition to visit every few years, and even make it a spot for special occasions like weddings, anniversaries and reunions. Mothers who visited the Ranch decades ago return with their daughters to relive the magic all over again. Here’s why.

THE SENSE OF COMMUNITY I think all the classes, from creative to fitness, help people open up. There isn’t a feeling like you’re being judged or a reason to feel self-conscious, like the way you might feel at a large gym, for example. Everyone is there to learn and share. Ann agrees: “I loved the sense of community with my fellow Ranchers. This took place mostly at mealtime, and I found it very interesting and humorous how most guests would tell you how many years they’ve been coming. It was a source of pride. Just for the record, five was a low number. Since I was a rookie, everybody was happy to help me acclimate.”

BONDS THAT LAST I traveled alone, but it was easy to make fast friends like I did with Ann and Jennifer. Many visitors travel with a friend or spouse, but I also met some larger groups, like 13 women who came together to celebrate a friend’s 50th. What was most surprising to me at first was meeting people who first met at the Ranch and now make it their tradition to come back together. Now that I’ve experienced what Rancho la Puerta offers, I understand it better—it’s an experience unlike any other that can tie you to strangers, and together, you forge something new. I will never forget all the laughter with Ann and trying so many new classes with her, nor will I forget the wisdom Jennifer generously imparted. See you soon at the Ranch, Ann and Jennifer! H

Houston: The Melting Pot

October 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Features

 

Not to mention the humidity.

by Lynn Ashby

Tan Tan, Dynasty Plaza, Fu Fu, lots of signs in Chinese that I can’t read. No, this is not downtown Hong Kong or Shanghai. It’s that wild and exotic bastion of mystery, noted for its international intrigue, crossroads of the world and multi-dialects: Bellaire Boulevard. In other neighborhoods you can see signs and hear languages in Vietnamese, Spanish, Arabic and even English. Austin may host the University of Texas. Houston hosts the Diversity of Texas, and the world. We have heard so much about our city’s diversity, maybe it’s getting to be old hat—or sombrero, yarmulke, Stetson. We have almost 12,000 Indians and Eskimos. Okay, to be PC, they’re Native-Americans and Alaska Natives, plus 304 Hispanic Hawaiians and Hispanic Pacific Islanders. Eleven of our 32 skyscrapers are fully or partially owned, or financed by foreign investors. We have more Muslims than Jews; at home 5,895 of us speak Tagalog (Filipinos).

Not to get bogged down by statistics, but Houston leads the Southwest with 19 foreign banks from nine nations. In addition, 14 foreign nations maintain trade and commercial offices here. We have 32 active foreign chambers of commerce and trade associations. Almost a quarter (24 percent) of Harris County residents were born not in a different Texas county, not in a different state, but in a different country. In this eight-county region, almost half of the foreign residents are relative newcomers, having entered the U.S. in the 1990s.

They have to live somewhere, so our new arrivals can search the Houston Assn. of Realtors’ properties database (har.com) in English, Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Italian and Vietnamese. The association’s more than 5,600 multilingual members can even tell you that if the house is dry, it’s underwater, a fixer-upper or on a fault line, and tell you that in 99 different languages. Students in the Houston school district speak 124 native languages at home, and at Bellaire High School, a language magnet school, the students can be taught any of 11 languages from Arabic to Hebrew, from Japanese to Mandarin Chinese. The main campus of UH last fall had 3,995 temporary foreign students. Of the total enrollment, 25 percent were white and 31 percent were Hispanic, and although Houston is 6 percent Asian-American, they make up 20 percent of the UH student body. Another good example of Houston’s role in the international scene is the Texas Medical Center. People come from all over the world to die in Houston. And most of them need translators to say, “Yes, I have health insurance.”

One reason for so many foreigners coming to Houston is that refugees like it here, and have for a long time. They arrive from everywhere: Syria, Nigeria, Brooklyn, Buffalo. Some 75,000 refugees have come to Houston in the past 35 years, which makes Houston the number-one city in the nation for these newcomers. Among the States, Texas leads the nation in refugee resettlement. It is home to 2,677 refugees who have been settled in the state since October 2015. Of these, a third were settled in Houston. Indeed, Houston is the U.N. General Assembly South. During a visit here in early June, Kelly T. Clements, of the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, called Houston’s open-arms approach, “a testament to the diversity and progressive nature of Houston.”

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, Harris County received refugees from 40 different countries in the fiscal year of 2014. We don’t have any current data, since Texas ended its participation in the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program in 2016 due to Gov. Greg Abbott’s fear that the feds couldn’t adequately guarantee that none of the newcomers would pose a security threat. To our surprise, the number of terrorist suicide bombings, lethal truck drivers and nightclub shootings within the Loop has been held to a relative minimum. Gov. Abbott released his statement withdrawing from the refugee program with a financial plea: “Will you support my campaign with a contribution to help fight the attacks on me coming from Washington?” So much for the state motto: friendship. One aspect of all this internationalism that’s especially appealing is the restaurant scene. It used to be the closest we could get to foreign food was the International House of Pancakes. Now in the Houston area there are 10,286 eating and drinking establishments, with 70 national categories. Houston is not so much a melting pot as a cafeteria.

LICENSED TO PARK FREE                                   

What with the Port of Houston, NASA, the Texas Medical Center and the awl bidness, Houston hosts the nation’s third-largest consular corps—behind New York City and Los Angeles—with 94 nations represented. The diplomats deal with their worried fellow citizens, more so now that the Trump Immigration Doctrine is in play. Some nations have full-time, career diplomats, and 43 are represented by noncareer, or honorary, diplomats. This brings us to all those consular license plates we see on cars around town. If the owner of the vehicle is a career diplomat then he or she files the proper papers with the U.S. State Dept., which authorizes the plate. Honorary consuls go through the Texas Dept. of Transportation. In either case, they pay what our diplomats pay in the country the consul represents. It’s called reciprocity. Sporting theses license plates does not give the consuls immunity from traffic tickets, but one benefit is they can park free at the short-term airport parking lots.

Over the years foreign counsels have said that Houston is considered good duty, although the job is mostly commercial work. There had long been a rumor that the British government considered Houston to be a hardship post because the city’s temperatures were similar to those of Bombay (now Mumbai), India, and Accra, Ghana. Actually, the diplomats here did not get hardship pay, but three years in Houston counted as four toward retirement. I broached this matter some time ago with the British consul general who said, “That’s true until I called Whitehall and said, ‘My, God. Haven’t you people ever heard of air conditioning?’” Incidentally, the British consulate here would put up a little sign in late June each year, “Due to circumstances beyond our control, we will be closed on the Fourth of July.” 

Finally on this international matter, adopt a consul. You may need the protection. When Houston was the capital of the Republic of Texas, across from where the Rice Lofts now stands was the U.S. Embassy. On Christmas Eve 1837, the town received a bulletin: 1,500 Mexican soldiers had retaken Bexar. Invasion was imminent. Mrs. Mary Austin Holly wrote: “We were at the house of Mr. Labranche (the U.S. minister), a good cabin—he promised us the protection of the flag if necessary.” The invaders never appeared, but you never know when you’ll need to flee to the safety of a foreign consulate, as I was telling Julian Assange.

Closer to home, it’s estimated that 250,000 Katrinians fled to Texas, mostly to the Houston area. Today, 40,000 of them are still here. Meanwhile, immigrants from south of the border have always come—and stayed. But Texas holds a particularly warm spot for youngsters from ravaged lands. They have fled the gangs, the drug lords, extortion, the midnight shootings and kidnappings, to ford the river and arrive in Texas. I wouldn’t want to live in Chicago, either. Youngsters also poured in from Central America, and of the estimated 58,000 who came to the U.S. in recent years, 40 percent arrived in Texas.

COWBOYS AND INDIANS

We like to call this sleepy fishing village on the bayou a “World Class City,” but maybe a “World City with Class” is better. Where else does the mayor’s office rent out flags for another country’s national day, or the birthday of your spouse from Croatia or maybe a visiting Saudi sheik? Daily fee rental is $10 per flag, or you can rent all of them for $500. “Please treat the flags with respect and courtesy,” the mayor warns, otherwise you will be hunted down by the French Foreign Legion, Scotland Yard or Canadian Mounties, depending on which nation you offend. When you drive along Will Clayton Parkway to the George H.W. Bush Intercontinental Airport and Trans-Galactic Star Terminal, can you spot the speed limit signs: “50 mph,” and below that, “80 km.” A nice touch for that visiting sheik anxious to make the last Emirate flight to Dubai.

WHO WAS THAT MOSQUE MAN?

An interesting sideshow of our changing population is our religions. Stephen L. Klineberg, founding director of The Kinder Institute for Urban Research, reports in his latest survey: “In all of the 35 consecutive surveys, the percentage of Protestants in the Harris County population has dropped from almost two thirds (63 percent) in 1982 to less than half (46 percent) in the most recent years.” Our Catholic percentage—bolstered by the influx of Hispanics, Filipinos and Vietnamese—has grown from 25 percent in the early 1980s to 31 percent. In recent years, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus have also grown. Despite these many different sounds, smells and religions, we tend to get along. Sometime after World War I Houston Post columnist Hubert Mewhinney wrote, “Houston is a whiskey and trombone town.” Today Houston is more like a full bar and a multiethnic orchestra, all playing the same song. H

Sources: Kinder Houston Area Survey, U.S. Census, Houston Facts and my own ethnic restaurant hopping.

Ashby is 100 percent at ashby2@comcast.net.    

Alvin L. Zimmerman & Gary J. Zimmerman

Alvin L. Zimmerman & Gary J. Zimmerman
Family Law

Dealing in divorce, custody modifications, traditional and collaborative divorce, and premarital agreements.

Alvin L. Zimmerman

(J.D. – University of Houston Law Center)

Former district judge: 269th (Civil), 309th (Family). Past Chair Houston Bar Association: Family Law, ADR Sections. Board Certified Family Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Gary J. Zimmerman

(Fluent Spanish, J.D. – University of Texas Law School)

Volunteer for Child Advocates, Inc. Honors graduate: St. John’s School and Claremont McKenna College.

Zimmerman, Axelrad, Meyer, Stern & Wise, PC
3040 Post Oak Boulevard, Ste. 1300
Houston, TX 77056
713-552-1234
www.zimmerlaw.com

Bill K. So, DDS, PA

May 23, 2017 by  
Filed under So, Bill K., DDS, PA

Westway Park Dental

One of Houston’s top dentists, Bill So, DDS, PA, knows a little something about service. Dr. So proudly served his country for 12 years, serving in the United States Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and Operation Enduring Freedom in 2008 and 2010. Back in Houston now, Dr. So is dedicated to ensuring the best dental care for his patients. Having stepped away from his patients for long periods of time for army duty deployments, he felt leaving the army was necessary in order to make his patients top priority—what he strives for since he began his career—although he will always be honored to have served the country for the time he did.

By successfully completing continuing-education classes, Dr. So remains at the forefront of advancements in dental healthcare. He specializes in cosmetic and general dentistry, including Zoom Whitening, Invisible Braces, veneers, crowns, fillings and dental checkups. His office is equipped with the latest in dental technology, such as digital x-rays, which are beneficial in educating his patients. In addition, Dr. So is certified in intravenous sedation to allow patients further relaxation during procedures.

“My primary concern is for the health and well-being of my patients. I want them to feel relaxed and comfortable from the beginning of their treatment and into recovery,” says Dr. So. “Our team works hard to build relationships with our patients so that they feel comfortable, not only in the dental chair, but also with the decisions they make regarding their dental healthcare.”

Dr. So received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M and his Doctorate of Dental Science from the University of Texas Dental Branch in Houston. He is currently a director on the Board of Houston Academy of General Dentistry and is a member of a number of national and local dental organizations.

Bill K. So, DDS,PA
Westway Park Dental
4410 Westway Park Blvd., Ste. 600
Houston, TX 77041
www.westwayparkdental.com
info@westwayparkdental.com
713-690-1900

Charles Campbell, DDS, MAGD

Charles Campbell, DDS, MAGD
General Dentistry

When you pay a visit to the warm offices of Charles Campbell, DDS, MAGD, you immediately feel at ease. The industry veteran, with more than 26 years of experience in general dentistry, leads a small staff and together, they have treated generations of families, specializing in complete patient care.

Dr. Campbell attended the University of Texas at Austin and is a graduate of the University of Texas Dental Branch, Houston, as well as a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry and Master of the Academy of General Dentistry.

“I love keeping my patients healthy and making lives better one smile at a time,” says Dr. Campbell.

CHARLES CAMPBELL, DDS, MAGD
2426 Center St.
Deer Park, TX 77536
281-479-0852
www.charlesecampbelldds.com

David Dennison DDS, MS, PhD

David Dennison DDS, MS, PhD
Periodontist

Dr. Dennison welcomes patients to a practice where caring and compassion combine with education and experience to provide the best in dental care. With the support of his hand–picked, knowledgeable team, Dr. Dennison creates excellence in both patient care and clinical results. Building a relationship of trust with each patient, he realizes that every individual has unique needs and concerns. If you are not happy with your smile, are missing teeth, or are concerned about health matters, Dr. Dennison will educate you so that you have a complete understanding of your condition and are informed about options for treatment.

Life Changing! Fifty percent of the adult population is missing at least one tooth. Dr. Dennison was one of the first to offer solutions for replacing missing teeth in hours. He says, “New implants therapies such as the All-On-4 technique can change your life.” This technique uses strategically placed implants to support a prosthesis which replaces your teeth. Dr. Dennison provides periodontal therapy to give you healthy teeth and gums and state-of-the-art implant therapies to restore your smile utilizing in-office sedation to control anxiety during treatment. Dr. Dennison’s treatment can help you change your life, rejuvenate your smile or just be healthy.

Dr. Dennison remains dedicated to advancing his own expertise as well as educating others about the latest technologies and techniques in order to provide optimal patient care. He works closely with dentists throughout the Houston area to provide the most comprehensive care possible. He is the founder of the University Dental Study Club of Houston, a branch of the nationally recognized Seattle Study Club. Dr. Dennison says, “The ultimate goal of University Dental Study Club is to provide an innovative venue for continued learning that will enhance the excellent care we currently provide our patients.”

Dr. Dennison is a Board Certified Periodontist and a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology. He is a graduate and former faculty member of the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston, and he received his Ph.D. at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Dr. David K. Dennison
3100 Richmond, Ste. 509
Houston, TX 77098
Office 713-523-9040
www.gums-houston.com

Frances M. Jones DDS, MAGD

Frances M. Jones DDS, MAGD
General & Cosmetic Dentist

A beautiful smile radiates confidence. Let Dr. Frances Jones give you an awesome smile. Dr. Jones is one of the foremost dentists in the country as a “MASTER IN THE ACADEMY OF GENERAL DENTISTRY,” having completed more than 2,500 hours of advanced continuing education. Recently she was recognized with the AGD’s prestigious Lifelong Learning and Service Recognition symbolizing her dedication to dentistry and the fulfillment of her responsibility to give back to the dental profession and her community through volunteer efforts. Less than 400 dentists hold this distinction. Dr. Jones holds degrees from the University of Virginia and the West Virginia School of Dentistry.

Dr. Jones has been featured as a “TOP DENTIST” and “TOP DOC” in H Texas magazine, and as a “SUPER DENTIST” in Texas Monthly. She was voted the “Reader’s Choice Winner as Best Dentist” in the Rivers Oaks, West University and Bellaire Examiners. Dr. Jones has been recognized in the Guide to America’s Top Dentists. She has appeared on CBS-TV‘s American Health Front and on CBS radio. In her downtown Houston office, Dr. Jones has provided over 20 years of quality cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry.

Dr. Jones has completed thousands of cosmetic makeovers consisting of Porcelain Veneers, Bonding, Whitening, INVISALIGN, Implant and Full Mouth Restorations. She offers SEDATION DENTISTRY for those who experience dental anxiety.

Dr. Jones’ goal is to provide high quality dentistry in a comfortable and caring environment while restoring the teeth to their ideal form and function, thus giving the patient a confident smile. Dr. Jones is committed to changing lives by changing smiles! Call 713-655-1633 and make your appointment today!

FRANCES M. JONES, DDS, MAGD
919 Milam, Ste. 110
Houston, TX 77002
713-655-1633
www.drfrancesjones.com

Destination Cabo: The Resort at Pedregal

February 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

by Kyley Kornegay

Courtesy photos

Pedregal Suite Patio Detail

At the very tip of the Baja peninsula in Cabo San Lucas sits The Resort at Pedregal. This luxury resort is hidden away, and built into the side of the mountains. With fine dining restaurants, a world-class spa, and endless amenities, this resort has it all. Each guest is provided with a personal concierge, a room tour, and complimentary chips and guacamole every afternoon. Each room includes an indoor fireplace and an infinity pool.

 

The most amazing dinner can be found at El Farallon – an ocean-side fine dining restaurant. Chef Gustavo Pinet creates the most amazing food, which is all made with only the freshest of ingredients and the catch of the day. Live music softly plays in the background while you enjoy drinks and the great food next to the Pacific Ocean.

 

Luna y Mar Spa is the world-renowned spa at The Resort at Pedregal. With 10 private treatment rooms and an endless variety of relaxation options, this spa is a must. The spa is centered on the four phases of the moon, and each spa treatment starts with a Mexican folk healing foot cleansing. You will absolutely look and feel your best after your spa escape. The day of your treatment, you are free to enjoy the amenities of the spa – which includes a mineral pool, a relaxation room, a sauna, steam & ice rooms, and more – at your leisure.

 

When in Los Cabos, it is a must to go snorkeling. The water is crystal clear and water is just the right temperature. Hearing the water crash on the shore and on to the mountains is such a relaxing sound when paired with the ocean breeze. RMC Events took us out on a yacht to see the shore alongside the beautiful Sea of Cortez, get a breathtaking view of the famous El Arco de Cabo San Lucas, and to snorkel in the clear waters. The arch is home to many sea lions, and we even got to see a manatee! Manta rays fly out of the water, and dolphins swim with the wake of the boats. You get to swim with so many types of colorful fish when snorkeling – it is a blast!

 

This resort is the perfect vacation relaxation getaway for a honeymoon, bridal party, or even a destination wedding. The views are beautiful and the weather is great, so if you are looking for that clear blue water and luxury getaway, look no further than The Resort at Pedregal.

 

 

 

Pedregal Suite Patio Detail

To the Houston Beat

February 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Features

Now 60, Robert Earl Keen still turns to his Texas roots to make memorable music—and maybe some fried venison along the way.

by Rima Jean

The name “Robert Earl Keen” is indelibly written in the minds of every Texan who came of age in the ’90s. To me, a San Antonio native, Keen’s music is synonymous with homecoming dances and riding to school in the bed of a pickup truck. It’s as homegrown as breakfast tacos and Lucchese cowboy boots. No. 2 Live Dinner came out my senior year in high school, and it was recorded live at the Floores Country Store in Helotes, just outside of San Antonio. That album, particularly “Dreadful Selfish Crime,” got lots of airtime on my rides to school…

Sometimes I can’t believe those days are gone

Most of my friends back then have moved along

One’s in Hollywood one’s a millionaire

Some are gone for good some still livin’ here

Me I’m just the same lost in a crowd

Lookin’ for the rain in a thunder cloud

I have moved around but it don’t matter though

One thing I have found there are just two ways to go

It all comes down to livin’ fast or dyin’ slow

For most teens like myself on the cusp of adulthood, Keen’s music was its lyrics—the way each song told a story that was both personal and timeless. They spoke of very basic human experiences, about leaving home, losing a girl, coming back home, finding the girl again. Today, Keen’s music has evolved, but still holds its fans rapt with each relatable message, each familiar tale.

A Houston native, some of Keen’s most enduring childhood memories are of his experiences in the city. He remembers the streets of Bellaire flooding during Hurricane Carla when he was a young boy, he remembers the excitement of going downtown to visit his parents’ offices; his mother was an attorney and the third female graduate of the University of Houston Law School. “My parents would hand me five bucks, and I’d go wandering the underground tunnels, which I knew quite well. I knew where everything was, like the original James Coney Island and all the places to find good barbecue,” Keen recalls.

As much of a city kid as Keen was, he also got a taste of the country life when he would visit his family’s home away from home between Columbus and Fayetteville, which at the time, was very rural and quaint. “I loved it. It had a totally different culture before it became what it is now,” Keen says. “These people spoke with heavy Czech and German accents. I went squirrel hunting with friends, polka dancing and all that. I was a city brat and a country kid at the same time.”

Keen spent his teen years in Sharpstown before leaving for Texas A&M University in College Station, where he began writing songs and creating his unique sound—which he describes as a “mash-up of country and folk and bluegrass”—and the rest is pretty much history. It was at Texas A&M where he met Lyle Lovett and future bandmate, Bryan Duckworth. “My music was never part of the pop culture. My world was very small. I liked playing the guitar and listening to folk music, so I was a fan of all the local [talent] like Shake Russell, Eric Taylor and Nancy Griffith. That stuff had a huge influence on me. It was music you could see and touch.”

Being able to “see and touch” the music is a must for Keen. “Setting is so important to me when I sit down and write a song, and the setting I know is Texas. If I write music about settings that I know, I don’t really have to think hard about the narrative. The message kinda floats in afterward.”

Even after being inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012 and topping Billboard’s bluegrass charts multiple times, Keen hasn’t rested on his laurels. He recently released his album Live Dinner Reunion in late November in honor of the 20th anniversary milestone celebration of the first “live” REK album (No. 2 Live Dinner). Keen just concluded his Merry Christmas From The Fam-O-Lee 2016 Christmas Tour through Texas and parts of Oklahoma and Tennessee. Rumor even has it that Keen might be playing in Houston around the time of Super Bowl 2017…

As if that wasn’t enough, Keen supports Hill Country Youth Orchestras, the only free youth orchestra in the United States. Every year, he puts on a concert from which all the proceeds go to the organization’s Scholarship and Endowment fund. With Keen’s help, they’ve raised more than half a million dollars since the group’s inception. “It’s totally nonexclusive and completely free,” Keen proudly offers. “Any child can learn to play an instrument.”

And what does the ever-busy Keen do in his downtime? “I like to cook,” he admits. “The newest dish I’ve made up is Madras shrimp. I got into cooking Indian food this summer.” I can hear the smile in his voice. “Curry with lots of shrimp in it.” And what else does he cook? “Southern dishes,” he replies. “Fried venison and mashed potatoes. I can do that in my sleep.”

What could be better than enjoying some “Keen cuisine” (with a bottle or two of Robert Earl Keen’s Front Porch Amber Ale) while listening to Live Dinner Reunion and enjoying the company of friends and family?

Keen laughs heartily. “Not much else, I guess.” H

Anchor Away

February 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Features, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

The story of how Dave Ward made the record books (and probably toppled a tyrant)

by Lynn Ashby

Through winding streets in Tanglewood, behind a gate, are a number of townhouses, one of which belongs to Dave and Laura Ward. It’s a lovely home with a small swimming pool—Dave says it’s been years since he’s used it. On the walls of the rooms are several plaques, including the Silver Circle, an Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences – the Lone Star Chapter. And this: It was presented by the Guinness World Records, which usually bestows such honors to the tallest man, the largest cucumber and Harnaam Kaur, of Slough, Berkshire, England, whose beard is six inches long in places, making her the youngest woman with a full beard. Then there is Houston’s own Dave Ward. Why is he included? Because, as the plaque reads, he holds the world’s record of having the longest career in television news broadcasting—49 years, 218 days, from November 9, 1966 to June 2, 2016, and the meter kept running until he finally left the anchor desk at KTRK on December 9. (His contract went to the end of the year, but he had vacation time.)

Getting into Guinness isn’t easy. “It all began when Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who used to be a sportscaster on Channel 11, was in our station for one reason or another, and stopped by my desk and asked how long I had been at KTRK. I told him about 50 years, and Dan said, ‘Dave, nobody in this business has done that. You ought to be in the Guinness book.’ So the station contacted the company, and they wanted all kinds of verification—letters from two people who had been here when I was hired, my work records, everything. Then last June, they contacted us, and said I was in.” Now that Ward, 77, no longer needs to grind the daily grind, he and his wife plan to take a trip to California some day—he likes long-distance train trips. “My father told me when I was a little boy, ‘Dave, passenger trains are the only civilized way to travel.’” But he is not going to sit back on his sofa and play with the remote. “He’s not retiring. He’s looking forward to the next chapter in his life,” says Laura. (To follow Dave Ward after he left KTRK, “like” his Facebook page, Dave Ward’s Houston.)

More News from Dave Ward

“I was 27 years old when I made it to KTRK. Shortly after I got there, we received seven brand-new state-of-the-art black-and-white TV cameras, and I thought, Well, I guess it will be a while before we get color.” In recent years, his role at the station was diminished. He stopped doing the 10 o’clock news programs two years ago, just hosting the six o’clock news. “I just got tired of coming to work.” Since he worked evenings putting together the 10 o’clock news, “I now get to watch some evening TV. I am so fortunate Houston has been so good to me. I’ve interviewed five presidents, starting with Dwight Eisenhower. I’ve covered space shots, got to ride in a jet fighter, so much.”

He lives about 15 minutes from the station with Laura, his third wife. Ward has four children from his previous marriages. Laura has three. He used to smoke cigarettes and cigars, from the age of 14. “Then I quit until one day Marvin [Zindler] came in smoking the most wonderful-smelling cigar, and I started all over again. But I quit again.”

As for his opening lines: “I started each program with, ‘Good evening, friends,’ because Ron Stone, who I considered the best TV anchor in Houston, always began with, ‘Howdy, neighbors.’ I wanted an opening like that.”

Is TV Going to Work?

How Ward got to Houston and to Channel 13 is circuitous. David Henry Ward was born in Dallas, although his family didn’t live there. “My mother wanted to give birth in a major hospital, so she went to Dallas.” His father was a Baptist minister who moved his family around East Texas, eventually becoming minister of the First Baptist Church in Huntsville. Young Dave began his radio career with KGKB radio in Tyler while attending Tyler Junior College. Three years later, he joined the staff of WACO radio in Waco as a staff announcer. “WACO is the only radio station in America whose call letters are the city’s name,” Ward notes. A year later, he became that station’s program director.

“At that station, I was a DJ spinning Vaughn Monroe and Elvis. The station’s news director was Bob Vandiventer who taught radio news writing at Baylor University. He would bring some of his students to the station to get hands-on training, and I would see these five or six people in the news department busy, all inspired, having a great time, while I was across the glass just spinning those records, and I thought, That looks better, so I got into the news side, but I never finished college.” 

In 1962, Ward came to Houston as the first full-time news reporter on KNUZ/KQUE. “Growing up in Huntsville, it was almost like coming home.” His Houston broadcasting debut was as a night-news reporter for the radio stations. Ward’s career at KTRK began in 1966 as an on-the-street reporter/photographer.

“I was hired in a pool hall,” Ward says. “I was working at KNUZ, and a friend at Channel 13 told me there was an opening. Would I be interested? So I met with the top people at the station, General Manager Willard Walbridge, Program Manager Howard Finch and News Director Ray Conaway at Le Que, a pool hall, where they went for lunch several days a week and to shoot some pool. I was hired then and there. The station only had eight people in the newsroom back then. Today we have about 120. I took a pay cut from about $650 a week at KNUZ to $575 at KTRK. My father was not that enthusiastic about my move. He asked me, ‘This television thing, are you sure it’s going to work?’” After his stint as a street reporter, early in 1967, he began to anchor Channel 13’s weekday 7 a.m. newscast. Later that year, he became the first host of a game show, Dialing for Dollars, which later evolved into Good Morning Houston. In January 1968, Ward was promoted to co-anchor of the weekday six and 10 p.m. newscasts with Dan Ammerman.

“At the time, Ron Stone was on Channel 11, and they had 50 percent of the audience,” recalls Ward. “We were hot and we said, ‘We’re gonna kill them.’ No. We were a poor third, but we slowly climbed up in the ratings. Ammerman left, and I inherited the anchor slot solo. By ’72, we were getting there. When Jack Heard was elected sheriff in 1972, the first thing he did, on New Year’s Day, was to fire Marvin Zindler. We had the story at six. Marvin had been in the Consumer Fraud Division of the sheriff’s department, and I told our assistant news director, ‘We ought to hire that guy as a consumer fraud reporter.’ No other station in town, and maybe in the nation, had someone assigned to only that. I asked Marvin if he’d like to come here and basically do the same thing. He said, ‘Dave, there’s nothing I’d rather do.’ When Marvin came aboard, we took off.”

A Cellar’s Market

By 1973, Channel 13 was number one in this market. It held that spot through ’76, ’77 and ’78, and on through the years—a dynasty in the TV biz. During that time, Ward has co-anchored with Shara Fryer, Jan Carson and Gina Gaston. In 1974, Ward suffered a motorcycle accident at the Astrodome during a charity race. He had broken his pelvis in four places, had a concussion and much, much more. “I was in the hospital for seven weeks and received between 40,000 and 60,000 notes. I didn’t have anything else to do, so I answered them all. All of them were supportive except one, which read, ‘What, Ward? Drinking again?’”

In 2003, he was in a car wreck—crashed into an out-of-control SUV on the West Loop, and broke his right leg. Once Ward and his wife attended a wedding, got food poisoning, and Ward was out for two weeks. Then a long-simmering abdominal pain turned out to be diverticulitis. He underwent major surgery and was away for two weeks. Not that anyone should feel sorry for the anchorman. Ward makes a good living. He walks into a nearby room. “I wanted this to be a poker room. Laura wanted a wine cellar.” It’s a really nice wine cellar with 400-year-old doors from Europe, fine oaken wine racks, shaved slate walls. “I spent more on this room than I did on my first house. I once thought that it would be good to make six figures, $100,000 or more, a year. Today I pay more than that to Uncle Sam.”

Then there was the time Dave & Co. probably helped topple a banana republic dictator, Anastasio Somoza. In the 1970s, Nicaragua was hit by a deadly earthquake. Aid was pouring in, and Houston wanted to help, so KTRK organized a relief effort, recruited Houston firefighters to drive five 18-wheelers packed with food, water, blankets and other necessities. It took them months to get through all the borders and red tape, finally arriving in Nicaragua, where Dave and a cameraman met them to film a 30-minute documentary, An Odyssey of Mercy. After leaving Nicaragua for home, the group discovered that the Somoza regime had seized all the supplies and sold them in the markets. The natives found out and riots erupted. Somoza and his family fled the nation. “I always thought we helped start it.” Maybe we will see another entry in the Guinness World Records: “TV Anchor to Topple Most Dictators: Dave Ward.”

Things you should know about Dave Ward and Houston TV:

  • He reads email, but doesn’t write it.
  • After 45 years with KTRK, Ward finally got a reserved parking place. (He drives a four-year-old Mercedes.)
  • As of press time, he has not been approached by any other TV station and is not looking, although some local TV anchors and reporters have changed stations: Steve Smith and the late Ron Stone and Bob Allen.
  • Ward always wears Texas cowboy boots. He prefers Lucchese.
  • Ward and the on-camera crew always appeared in spiffy outfits, but the station did not give them extra pay for clothes, nor did it allow them to wear anything provided by a store in exchange for a plug on camera.
  • In 1960, Houston had three TV stations, each showing 45 minutes of local news on weekdays, none on weekends. Today, KTRK does between six and seven hours of local news a day.
  • Houston is the 10th largest media market in the nation.
  • Politically, he’s not. “I’m apolitical—not as liberal as my Democratic friends and not as conservative as my Republican friends.” H

Ashby watched Ward at ashby2@comcast.net.

Scott Young, DDS

October 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Top Docs, Young, Scott, DDS

Scott Young, DDS
Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry

youngscottAt the offices of Scott Young, DDS you are not just another patient; you are treated as a prominent guest from the moment you walk through the door. Dr. Young’s practice is based on a foundation of providing personal attention to every guest. Personalized treatment plans ensure your comfort at every level of service including sedation dentistry, a serenity suite for relaxation, pillows, blankets and noise cancellation headphones.

“It is my goal that our patients—our guests—have no anxiety while they are under our care. We utilize advanced technology such as the 3D CT scan for planning and placement of implants,” says Dr. Young. “For those who are a little more apprehensive about visiting a dentist, we have sedation dentistry available.”

A graduate of the University of Texas Dental Branch, Dr. Young focuses on cosmetic and implant dentistry while offering the full spectrum of dental services including teeth whitening, implant supported prosthesis and full smile makeovers. Dr. Young has completed all core courses at LVI for Advanced Dental Studies. In addition, Dr. Young holds fellowship status with the American Dental Implant Association and was named a Super Dentist® in Texas Monthly.

“With the most advanced dental technology, a warm and knowledgeable team, and all the amenities necessary to help you feel relaxed and comfortable, our office is the place to receive five-star cosmetic dentistry treatment along with the smile you’ve always wanted,” says Dr. Young.

SCOTT YOUNG, DDS
6769 Lake Woodlands Drive, Ste. G
The Woodlands, TX 77382
Toll Free: 877-492-4579

www.woodlandsdentistry.com

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