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Houston City Scope January 2018

Houston Animal Shelter Sets New Standards For Disaster Response

“You can bring your pets.” These five simple words immensely impacted the lives of pets and their human companions during the Hurricane Harvey evacuation and forever altered the blueprint for our nation’s disaster response.

Friends For Life Animal Shelter and Sanctuary in Houston mobilized its disaster-trained staff and army of passionate volunteers to deliver pet food, blankets, leashes, crates and veterinary care to the George R. Brown Convention Center, where thousands displaced by floodwaters were permitted to evacuate with their pets.

It was an about-face approach following the tragedy of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina when people in Louisiana refused to evacuate without their pets.

At its peak, the shelter at George R. Brown housed approximately 10,000 people; approximately 1,500 animals received free veterinary care and supplies; and between Aug. 27 and Sept. 8, Friends For Life provided care for nearly 3,000 total animals impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Friends For Life, in conjunction with the city of Houston and all the people who volunteered, created a “proof of concept” for the nation – establishing that people and animals can safely be sheltered together.

Executive Director Salise Shuttles­worth founded Friends For Life in 2002 to offer a No-Kill alternative to traditionally run shelters in the Houston area. Friends For Life’s ongoing efforts provide adoption services, rescue and rehabilitation, and support for frustrated pet owners struggling with behavioral and other concerns.

For more information or to find out how you can support the ongoing efforts, visit friends4life.org.



(L-R): Paula Sutton, Susan Boggio, Martin Cominsky and Fatima Mawji.

Interfaith Ministries’ “For All Humanity Luncheon” Raises Over $100,000

Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s (IM) 2017 “For All Humanity Luncheon” raised over $100,000 for IM’s  programs, in particular refugee resettlement. More than 250 guests attended the Nov. 7 event at the Hilton Post Oak.

IM honored community leaders Dr. Shahin Tavackoli and Nadia Tajalli.  Tavackoli is a cardiologist at Memorial Hermann. He and his wife, Nadia, support a number of worthy causes and are active in their Bahá’í faith. The couple originally met as refugees, escaping Iran because of their faith. They met again years later in Texas and have achieved success in Houston, where they generously give back to their community.

Event chairs were Mr. and Mrs. Mani Subramanian, and Jennifer Moayyad. Casey Curry served as emcee. The event featured a Hall of Hope exhibit pertaining to the refugee experience, including success stories and a virtual reality experience of life in a refugee camp. A market­- place included vendors Elaine Turner, Community Cloth and Noonday.

Proceeds will help IM serve more than 1,000 refugees this year who are fleeing persecution and violence in their homelands. More than 90 percent of these refugees are self-sufficient members of the Houston community within six months of arrival.

“In these times of uncertainty, it’s heartening to know that the community has citizens like the Shahin and Nadia, who believe in the importance of welcoming new Americans in such a warm and giving way,” IM President and CEO Martin Cominsky said. “It says much about the welcoming spirit that makes Houston an example for other cities to imitate.”



The Houston Symphony is nominated for Best Opera Recording for the 60th Grammy Awards to be televised on Jan. 28.

Houston Symphony Receives Grammy Nomination for Alban Berg’s Wozzeck

The Houston Symphony has received a nomination for the 60th Grammy Awards for the recording of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck for Best Opera Recording in the classical category. The 60th Grammy Awards will take place in New York on Jan. 28.

Hailed by Gramophone as “One of the finest Wozzecks on record, orchestrally speaking,” and by Fanfare as a “Terrifically imposing performance” under the direction of “an experienced and confident conductor,” the two-disc album features former Music Director Hans Graf (conductor/producer); Anne Schwanewilms and Roman Trekel (principal soloists); the Houston Symphony; and Chorus of Students and Alumni, Shepherd School of Music, Rice Univer­sity and Houston Grand Opera Child­ren’s Chorus.

The album was also recently awarded the distinguished ECHO Klassik Award for Best Opera Recording (20th/21st Century Opera). Recorded during concerts at Jones Hall in 2013 by Brad Sayles (now Houston Symphony’s recording engineer), the album was met with worldwide recognition upon its international release in 2017 on the Naxos label.

Digital downloads and CDs are available through Amazon.



HSLR Names 2018 International Wine Competition Winners

Champion wines have been named from the thousands competing in the 2018 Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition, held Nov. 11-12 at NRG Center.

The 2018 International Wine Com­petition judging included a record 3,188 entries from 18 different countries. Texas wineries represented 420 entries.

The 2018 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition champions are: Grand Champion Best of Show – J. Lohr Vineyards Signature Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, 2014; Reserve Grand Champion Best of Show – Ram’s Gate Chardonnay, Hyde Vineyard, Carneros, 2013; Top Texas Wine – Llano Estacado Viviano Cabernet Sauvignon-Sangiovese, Texas, 2015; Top Sparkling Wine – Beau Joie Brut Rosé, Champagne AOC, NV; Top White Wine – Dr. Loosen Riesling Spätlese, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Mosel, 2015; Top Red Wine – Ram’s Gate Pinot Noir, Gap’s Crown Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, 2013; Top Region Wine – Ramon Bilbao Gran Reserva, Rioja DOCa, 2009; Top Sweet Wine – Inniskillin Vidal Icewine, Niagara Penninsula VQA, 2015; Top Value Wine – McManis Family Vineyards Petite Sirah, California, 2016; Top All-Around Winery – J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines; Top Region Wine Company – Europvin USA; Top Wine Company – Constellation Brands, Inc.; and Top Texas Winery – Bending Branch Winery.

Champion wines will be paired with dishes from top chefs at the Rodeo Uncorked! Roundup and Best Bites Competition, Sunday, Feb. 18 and sold at the Rodeo Uncorked! Champion Wine Auction and Dinner Sunday, Feb. 25. Visit rodeohouston.com/wine for more information on Rodeo Uncorked! events.The 2018 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is scheduled for Feb. 27-March 18.



HLSR Total Educational Commitment Tops $450 Million in 2018

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo released its annual educational commitment for 2018, awarding more than $26.7 million to support young Texans and statewide educational programs. This brings the Rodeo’s total educational commitment to more than $450 million since 1932.

“The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s annual educational commitment is a testament to the efforts of 33,000 dedicated volunteers, 100-plus staff members, and the generosity of hundreds of loyal donors and sponsors,” said Jim Winne, chairman of the board. “It takes a diligent workforce to host millions of visitors at the world’s largest livestock show and rodeo, and we are proud to pay it forward and give back to our communities by supporting educational efforts across the state of Texas.”

For 2018, the organization has committed to presenting more than 750 college scholarships, supporting 70 educational programs through grants, awarding numerous graduate assistantships, and providing sizable prizes and premiums to junior livestock show exhi­bi­tors and calf scramble participants.

Visit rodeohouston.com/commitment  for more information about the scholarships and educational programs supported by the Rodeo.


Houston City Scope January 2018

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