Welcome to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown Established March 12, 1946

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.

Baytown Kiwanis Club


We meet Thursdays at 12:00 PM
Luna's Mexican Restaurant
730 W Cedar Bayou Lynchburg Rd
Baytown, TX  77521
United States of America
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William Briscoe leads an exciting life. 

Briscoe is a Special Agent with the FBI-Houston Office, having been with them for about 4.5 years. Before he joined the FBI, he was with the U.S. Secret Service. Plus, he is also a reservist with the U.S. Coast Guard. 

Briscoe recently came to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown to talk about his adventures. He spoke about how he came from a small town with dreams of being a baseball player and made it all the way to serving his country by protecting its leaders and citizens. 

“I always thought I would be the next Joe Montana or Nolan Ryan,” Briscoe said. “Coming from a small town, I did not have a lot of opportunities. My dad owned a trucking company and mother worked with elderly. Neither one had college degrees. So, I needed to do something with my life.”

Briscoe went to college and played some baseball, but he knew he had to do something else in life. He eventually attended the University of Texas and thought about trying to get into business as a career.  

Around 2006, Briscoe took a test to become an FBI agent in San Antonio. He asked an agent how to become one, and they told him to join the military and go into intelligence. He considered becoming a Naval flight officer, but failed the test by three points. 

After that, Briscoe spoke to a U.S. Coast Guard recruiter, and told them he wanted to become an officer. 

“He said it was easier if you enlist,” Briscoe said. 

In 2008, Briscoe enlisted. He spent eight weeks in boot camp. 



He said he wanted to be stationed in Galveston and got his wish. He graduated just two months before Hurricane Ike struck the Gulf Coast in September 2008. 

“I spent time pulling dead cows and other stuff out of the water, and I learned a whole lot really quick,” Briscoe said. 

In 2010, Briscoe said he had the opportunity to go to intelligence training. Since he graduated at the top of his class, he was privileged to choose where he wanted to go. He chose California after consulting with his wife. 

After being offered a Secret Service job multiple times, he received a call one night from a “high-level person” asking if he would like to come to Houston and work as an agent. 

“Tears started rolling down my eyes. It was like a dream come true,” he said. 

When he began working for the U.S. Secret Service in Houston, he would help conduct counterfeit investigations. 

Briscoe said that 40% of the Secret Service office rotates on protection service, meaning he helps guard the President of the United States. When Briscoe first came on as an agent, then-President Donald Trump had recently taken office. 

Briscoe said he had been to Mar-A-Lago, and served as a limousine driver, taking Donald Trump Jr. on a hunting trip. He added that his family met former Vice President Mike Pence.

“It’s been an amazing career,” he said. 

Briscoe said after going back and forth with the Secret Service and the FBI, the FBI sent him an email asking him to update his profile. They kept sending him an email, and one day, he decided to try it. 

“Who knows what will happen?” he said. 

Briscoe was in North Carolina at the time, and he said he prayed about it.

“I did not know what to do,” he said. “I talked to a lot of people and they said the FBI is good about giving hardships but you do not know where you are going for five weeks.” 

In 2019, he took a chance and joined the FBI. He was fortunately able to get to work in Houston. 

“It is a blessing,” he said. “I enjoy going to work every day.”

Briscoe said he is a part of the evidence response shooting. He took part in searching Genesse Moreno’s home, the woman involved in the Feb. 11 shooting at Lakewood Church. 

Briscoe said that as an FBI agent, he was trained to treat everyone with respect.

“Even with criminals,” he said. “Treat people as you want to be treated and never give up.”

With the U.S. Coast Guard, Briscoe said he also helped with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. 

Kiwanis board of director Mike Wilson asked Briscoe what working with the Trumps was like. Briscoe said he was not assigned to Trump’s detail, but had some interactions with the former president when he was with the Secret Service. 

“What I tell everybody is that we were apolitical in our position,” he said. “That is the way it works in that organization. And I never had any issues. When it came to the Trump family, they were very respectful people.”

Briscoe described his first time at Mar-A-Lago in March 2018, when then-President Trump came out to the area where the limousines were parked around 8 a.m. by himself. 

“Then the agents began scrambling,” he said. “They did not know what was happening, and he did not tell them he was coming. He forgot his hat and had to turn around and go get it. I have also been in the same room with him and at UN Building, where he was taking pics with law enforcement people.”

Briscoe said when someone is working as a Secret Service agent, they generally only speak to the person they are guarding if they ask them a direct question. He said one time when he took Donald Trump Jr. to Austin, he chatted with him briefly when the other agents went inside a sporting goods store he wanted to visit. 

At the end of the presentation, Kiwanis President Martha Barnett presented Briscoe with a special luggage tag and a Certificate of Appreciation for coming to the club and sharing his stories. 

Kristy Wardlow, left, an Infant Swimming Resources instructor, visited the Kiwanis Club of Baytown to talk about how important it is to train young children how to swim. Using the motto “not one more child drown,” Wardlow talked about how she teaches up to 50 kids Monday through Friday for about 10 minutes a day for anywhere from four to six weeks, depending upon their age. She will teach kids from the age of six months and up. To find out more about ISR, visit www.infantswim.com. Also pictured is Kiwanis Club of Baytown president Martha Barnett.

Baytown Mayor Brandon Capetillo has been talking a lot lately about what happening in Baytown. At Thursday’s Kiwanis Club of Baytown meeting, Capetillo took time to discuss more about the latest in the city, including the San Jacinto Marketplace. 

“I think this town is going to be in a renaissance this year and next year,” Capetillo said. “So, that’s what I’m excited about and it continues to go and fuel my motivation to continue to serve.”

Capetillo gave a brief update on the latest with the San Jacinto Marketplace. He said the old San Jacinto Mall was Baytown’s largest sales tax generator at one time. But the shopping experience has changed since the days of the old mall, he added. 

“For the most part, online shopping has really impacted the bricks and mortar stores,” he said. “The large stores like JCPenney’s and others have tried to compete with that.”

Capetillo said Baytown has a clean slate to work with in constructing the San Jacinto Marketplace.

“And that blank slate is in our control,” he said. 

Baytown city council approved a 380 economic development agreement with Fidelis Realty Partners to build the marketplace in August 2022. Fidelis was able to take over all 105 acres of the old mall property, and the remaining structures were subsequently demoed. 

“Now, we can move forward with something we’re going to be continuing to work with Fidelis,” Capetillo said. “We are offering them incentives for bringing the stores that we want, the type of stores that we deserve, the type of stores that we go to other areas to go and shop at.”

Capetillo said the city wants folks to have the shopping choices they deserve without traveling outside of Baytown. 

“We believe we are a major shopping hub when it comes to the buying power of our community,” he said. “There’s a lot of folks that spend a lot of money they don’t spend it here because we don’t have those options today.”

One complaint some have expressed about the marketplace’s construction is that nothing appears to be happening at the site on Garth Road and Interstate 10. 

“You will see new construction begin, I want to say, by the end of the year,” Capetillo said. 

Initially, Allen Hassenflu, Fidelis President and CEO, said they had a goal of opening the marketplace by Christmas 2024. 

“But I will say something will happen this year,” Capetillo said. 

Capetillo said they are working with Fidelis to bring stores into Baytown through the marketplace. 

“What’s really great is it’s all based (on) their performance,” he said. “This isn’t free money we just give them. This is if they perform and if they are successful with whatever tools or services that they’re selling, then they will go and be rebated back that money. So, it’s not a ‘here’s some free money, build something.’”

Capetillo also discussed the Garth Road Widening project. 

“Right now, you see a lot of crews are dealing with a lot of superstructure. Obviously, water, sewer, and all that,” Capetillo said. “So, the idea is to try to get all that infrastructure in the right place and have a lot of it as much (as we can) underground, so we don’t have all the visual blight on our roads. It won’t be completely underground, but a large majority will be underground.”

Capetillo briefly discussed Project Vector, a proposed entertainment venue in Baytown. The mayor said the project would try to tie together what he said are the three major hubs of development standards in Baytown. This includes the San Jacinto Boulevard area, the south side of town near the new T-36 golf course, and the Highway 146 and I-10 corridor. 

“It would tie it to sports tourism and a lot of youth sports,” he said. “I believe Baytown can certainly support both internally and externally youth sports tourism.”

Capetillo said he had visited similar facilities across the country. 

“I would describe it as volleyball, basketball, some baseball and soccer, trying to get everything that a lot of families that are already traveling all across the state all across the region to these large scale tournaments. And we need some of that here,” he said. “That is what Project Vector is focusing on – attracting entertainment, retail, housing, and everything that will be included in that so that people will see Baytown as a destination because we really do believe that we have something great to offer with that.”

Capetillo also touched on T-36, Baytown’s new golf course, which offers a double-loop concept instead of the traditional 18-hole course. 

“I got a chance to play it, and I would say that it does really play like 18 holes,” he said. 

Capetillo said they are waiting for part of the bar area to be completed first before opening the much-anticipated restaurant at T-36, called The Birch Kitchen.


For the past 60-plus years, the Baytown Youth Fair has provided local students with the opportunity to showcase the animals they spent time raising in hopes of earning some money for college or other needs. They also invested time in creating crafts such as photography and welding.   

Ronnie Parrish, the Baytown Youth Fair president, recently spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown about the upcoming fair, which is scheduled for April 1-5 at the Baytown Fairgrounds, 7900 N. Main St.

This will be the 64th year for the Baystown Youth Fair. 

Parrish said the Youth Fair exists for FFA and 4-H members in Goose Creek CISD to show their projects, including animal raising, photography or welding.  

“We have 64 years of the fair,” Parrish said. “We are 501c3, and we are all volunteers. At times, the fair can be a lot of hard work and long hours.”

Parrish equated the passion of the BYF folks for helping kids to that of the Kiwanis.  

“That is why the (fair) was started 64 years ago,” he said. 

The purpose of the fair is to give students in the area a place to show off their projects. Parrish said the BYF is not affiliated with Goose Creek CISD, but they have similar guidelines and programs as far as grades. 

“Education is first,” Parrish said. 

The fair is not just one week of activities but has events throughout the year, according to Parrish. 

“It is a family event, not just with kids,” he said. “It ends up being moms, dads, brothers and sisters. Everyone gets involved in this.”

There are several categories associated with the fair, and not just steers, chickens, rabbits, goats, lambs, swine or turkeys. There are also indoor exhibits and projects, such as baking, photography, crafts and welding.

“They are a big part of the fair and getting bigger every year,” Parrish said.  

Not only do students showcase their animals, but they also have to know showmanship.

“That is where the kids are judged on how well they know their animals and how much time they have spent on them,” Parrish said. “They are quizzed on their animals — how they raised them, what feeding them, how much they weigh.”

The fair has a species show every night, Monday through Friday. It is open to the public. 

“Everyone is welcome to come out to any of the shows we have,” Parrish said. “The grand finale is Friday night, the live auction. This is what the kids really look forward to. This is where all of their hard work pays off. We would really love for you to come out and get all of the support we can get.”

Parrish said the students put endless hours into their projects. 

“It makes a difference for them,” he said. “They become more responsible and also learn about finances, too.”

During the live auction, the students’ animals can sometimes be sold for thousands of dollars.  For instance, at last year’s fair, Hannah Grifface, a Goose Creek Memorial High School student, netted $20,500 for her Grand Champion steer, Rooster. Usually, students use money for the following year’s project or college expenses. 

Patti Smith, a fair board member, said she heads the scholarship committee. She said she became involved in the fair through her daughters.

“I was never in this in high school,” Patti Smith said. “My kids showed interest, so I showed interest.”

Smith said it has become a family affair for her since her daughters also became recipients of the scholarships. 

“I like it so much that I worked with board members to get a scholarship committee started so we could be more efficient and get out more scholarships,” she said. “My goal is for every kid that qualifies, I want to be able to give them some money.”

Smith said the fair has a program where the students earn their way. In addition to showcasing projects, the students also earn volunteer hours through the fair. 

“One of the big requirements is that they have 40 hours of community service through the fair by the time they graduate,” she said. “In a couple of years, they have worked their 40 hours and we sign off on it. I do not just mean showing up. They are doing walls, pulling out toilets, painting walls, cleaning kitchens and cleaning restrooms.

“These kids are learning a lot of stuff that they do not have the opportunity to learn because they do not have anyone there to teach them. It is something they can carry with them for the rest of their life. So, if we can help them do that and give them more money, it is a win-win.”

Smith said she hopes to give out more scholarships this year than ever before. 

“That is our goal,” she said. 

The scholarships are typically about $1,000 each. Smith said her goal this year is to give out at least 20 scholarships.

Some of the scholarship funds come through auctions or through other methods, such as bake sales and bingo events. One such event is the Baytown Youth Fair Bingo scheduled for Feb. 3 at the fairgrounds. Doors open at 5 p.m., with dinner at 5:15 p.m. Bingo begins at 6 p.m. Participants have a choice of a designer purse or a case knife. 

There is also the Baytown Youth Fair BBQ Cook-Off on March 22-24. It is being held at the fairgrounds at 7900 N. Main St. For more on the cook-off, contact Committee Chairman Wade Smith at 832-926-3568 or emailing cookoff@baytownyouthfair.com.

For the latest information about the fair, visit https://baytownyouthfair.com. 

The club welcomed several student groups to help celebrate the Christmas season in December. Pictured are the performing groups from Stephen F. Austin Elementary and Goose Creek Memorial High School. The two groups helped brighten the holiday season with their vocal performances.
GCM Show Choir
SFA Fifth Grade Choir
Leia Miller, Kiwanis Club of Baytown vice president, gets some chiropractic treatment from Dr. Steven Carrell of Eagle Chiropractic and Massage at a recent club meeting. Carrell was sharing his techniques with the club, such as ergonomics, better sleeping habits, stretches, and how to improve one’s posture.

Jamie Eustace, Sterling Municipal Library director, came to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown to share some information about the library’s offerings about con artists. 

The offerings entailed not just books but documentaries and podcasts. 

One Netflix documentary Eustace talked about was “Frye: The Greatest Party That Never Happened,” which is about a fraudulent luxury festival that was supposed to take place in April and May of 2017. Security, food, accommodation, medical services and artist relations issues resulted in the festival being postponed indefinitely. 

Another Netflix documentary about con artists Eustace discussed was “The Tinder Swindler,” which is about Simon Leviev, who used the dating app to emotionally manipulate individuals to support his lavish lifestyle. 

Eustace also talked about “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley,” which is about the recently imprisoned Elizabeth Holmes and her former company, Theranos. “Inventing Anna” is another Netflix documentary Eustace suggested. It is about Anna Sorkin, who used an assumed name to con New York City’s socialites into thinking she was a German heiress. 

Among the books Eustace presented was “The Woman Who Wasn’t There,” which is about Alicia Esteve Head, who lied about surviving 9-11 in the World Trade Center. In addition, Eustace said to check out the podcast, “Scamanda.” 

EOC talks heat, hurricane preparedness at Kiwanis

Members of Baytown’s Office of Emergency Management say now is the time to prepare for a hurricane and gave tips on how to beat the heat at the recent Kiwanis Club of Baytown meeting. 

David Alamia, Baytown’s Emergency Management coordinator, and Thomas Quinn, Deputy coordinator for the EOC, spoke about what their office does in weather emergency situations and provided helpful tips. 

“Our main objective is to provide emergency preparedness information,” Alamia said. 

Alamia said on hurricane preparedness, most people only look at the hurricane categories. 

“The problem with that is if you know what category it is, the only thing it’s really telling you is wind speed,” Alamia said. “When we look at a hurricane, there’s a multitude of different hazards that we have to take into consideration, especially when we’re talking about evacuating a population of about 80,000 to 90,000 people here in Baytown. We have to look at all the hazards, not just wind speed.”

Alamia said the EOC considers other factors, such as the threat from storm surges, rip currents, tornadic activity and inland flooding. 

“With Hurricane Harvey, we have over 60 inches of rain continuously (pouring) over our area,” Alamia said. “And that’s just one hazard in a hurricane. Most people aren’t paying attention to this if they’re only looking at the category sides. So, we take all of this into consideration and we let the public know about these different hazards.”

Alamia said a storm does not necessarily have to be a Category One to be considered dangerous. 

“We’ve had several tropical storms that have come through that caused torrential rainfall and caused other issues within Baytown,” Alamia said. 

Alamia said one of the things that helps determine if an evacuation is necessary is if a hurricane is expected to bring a storm surge of more than 9 feet. He also emphasized that the evacuation routes have changed. 

“Traditionally, our evacuation routes were Spur 330 and, of course, Interstate 10,” he said. “And then we used to have it on Highway 146. Now, the official evacuation route is Highway 99. So, we are diverting any traffic that comes from the Galveston area off to 99 instead of 146. All of our Baytonians or residents that live here in Baytown can still use 146 to evacuate the area, but because of congestion issues along 146, we’re pushing everyone that’s coming on 146 from Galveston onto 99. That way, there is more capacity. So, that’s one big major change.”

Kiwanian Mike Wilson asked where people would go if they used Highway 99. 

“We had a long discussion about this with our transportation partners,” Alamia said. “If you go to 99, eventually, you can go all the way around.”

Alamia also said the community should know about the Texas Emergency Assistance Registry, found at https://tdem.texas.gov/stear

“It’s what we use to help our vulnerable populations within our community,” Alamia said. “So, if you know someone that doesn’t have transportation or needs any kind of emergency assistance, whether they have a disability, or even if they have limited English proficiency, we want them to register into the system. It’s what we use in our office to help us plan for those vulnerable populations so we know where everyone is. In the event of an evacuation, we can call these individuals and request them to see if they need any transportation assistance.”

Alamia also talked about chemical emergencies, something to keep in mind since many industries are located in the Baytown area. 

“The most common thing is household chemical emergencies, transportation accidents, train derailment, or industrial accidents,” Alamia said. “And, of course, there’s the low risk of chemical warfare terrorism. We live close to a very large metropolitan area, and we live along the Port of Houston. So, critical infrastructure is a risk that we face within our community.” 

Alamia said utilizing an evacuation was one protective measure for chemical emergencies, but depending on the hazard, shelter-in-place might be a more viable option. He added that this depends on the incident’s length and how long it is anticipated to last. The kit should have medications, life-support devices, water, sanitary supplies and important documents. For a complete list, visit www.readyrating.org/Resource-Center/All-Resources/shelter-in-place-supplies-checklist.

Alamia said 22 emergency sirens in the area are tested every Wednesday at 9 a.m. 

Dave Jirrels, Kiwanian assistant treasurer, said with the 100-plus temperatures permeating the area recently, it would be tough for someone to shelter in place with no air conditioning. 

“Most people could shelter-in-place for about 10 minutes, and then turn that A/C back on and suck in the bad chemicals,” Jirrels said. 

Quinn said it would be hard to do, but provided some tips for this situation, such as purchasing battery-powered fans and getting some water spray. 

“Depending on the situation and the shelter-in-place zone the area is in, it is usually mitigated pretty fast, but yes, it’s going to be uncomfortable for about 15 to 30 minutes for sure,” Quinn said. 

Quinn added that in the wake of a Baytown elderly couple that died recently due to the excessive heat when their air conditioning unit went out, 

“We push out information as much as we can on social media or on the website (on the heat),” Quinn said. “We have plans in place, so if there’s a heat warning for more than three days that we would open up a cooling center.”

Quinn encouraged people to check regularly on their neighbors and be aware of heat exhaustion or heat stroke symptoms. 

“I see these workers out here working on the streets and I’m always worried because someone feels dizzy,” Quinn said. “That’s the sign. Or nauseous. That’s a sign that you need to get into air conditioning. So, once you start getting a headache, and you stop sweating, that’s kind of a little too late and you need to go into the emergency room.”

Quinn said to visit their website at www.baytown.org/197/Emergency-Management for more on what to look for in a heat advisory.  

“And, of course, you can’t forget that almost everybody has pets,” Quinn said. 

Quinn said they have foldable kennels, canned dog food, water, sleeping mats, towels and encouraged people to bring their pet’s toys and vaccination records. 

Gary Lowry came to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown and talked about the street rod scene in Baytown, including some on classic cars. Lowry lamented how people used to cruise up and down Texas Avenue back in the day before “The Snake” was installed. He also talked about how racers used the track at the now-closed Houston Raceway Park. In addition, he brought along his classic red 1967 GT Dodge Dart. 

Members of the Kiwanis Club of Baytown visited the Republic of Texas Plaza to tour the historic buildings located on the site. They were treated to a special tour by docents, who showed the Kiwanis the 1910 Brown-McKay House and the 1894 one-room Wooster School. Both are preserved and interpreted by the Baytown Historical Preservation Association. The two BHPA docents were Marie Drewnoski and Jayme Cessna. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is dedicated to preserving structures, artifacts and documents that reflect the history and culture of Baytown and its people through educational programs and materials that communicate the city’s heritage. The plaza is located at 5117 North Main St. To contact them or set up a tour, call 281-421-2099 or email them at info@baytownhistory.org. Pictured are, from left, Kiwanian Kim Watson, Sarah Tidwell representing Kiwanian Dr. Marissa Moreno of Lee College, Drewnoski and Kiwanian Board Member Gary Englert.

Sarah Graham, the Baytown District 2 councilwoman, came to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown to talk about what was going on in her district and in the city. 

District 2 is mostly west of Alexander Drive, below State Highway 146 and encompasses Texas Avenue and some of Market Street.  

Graham talked about the Arts, Culture and Entertainment District, which now features the Sculpture Trail, an outdoor art exhibit with various sculptures made by artists, with some depicting people and others displaying creations straight from the artists’ imagination. The sculptures will be on display until March 2024. 

Graham also talked about what had happened with the Umbrella Alley, which was a popular exhibit in the ACE District. 

“When is it coming back? It is not, but there is something much better there,” Graham said. 

Graham said the new Art Alley was now open at the spot and features about 10 colorful, vivid murals.  One is like a large pelican that has a leash hanging from it. If you hold the leash and have your picture taken with it, you will look like you are walking the pelican, Graham said. 

Another feature at Art Alley is a metal piece where you can hang a lock as a symbol of love, much like the Lock Bridges around the world. 

Some other events Graham mentioned are the 2023 Juneteenth Weekend Celebration happening June 17. Rapper Slim Thug is headlining the music celebrations, but Graham said a local artist, Brandi Holmes, will also make an appearance. Graham said Holmes graduated from Robert E. Lee High School. In addition, Graham said the Parks and Recreation’s Fourth of July festival, also at Bicentennial Park, is something folks should attend. It will feature country/pop star LeAnn Rimes and Siggno, a popular Tejano band. They were selected thanks to a poll that asked Baytonians who they wanted to see at the annual celebration. 

For the latest information on events and such happening in Baytown, visit www.baytown.org.

Kiwanis members Harvey Oyler, Judy Jirrels, and Jan Heinlein were on hand to present bicycles to students from Alamo Elementary for perfect attendance. Each year Kiwanis donates two bikes per grade level as an incentive for students to attend school every day.

Library summer reading presented at Kiwanis Club of Baytown

Lesley Kohles, an assistant director librarian at the Sterling Municipal Library, spoke about the library’s programs and services to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown. Kohles said the library’s Summer Reading Program is ongoing through July 31. 

Kohles said the library checks out about 75,000 books per year. They have traditional books and books in large print. There are also two digital resource libraries. Plus, curbside service is available. If you call ahead of time, park in Spot A or Spot B, they will bring books out to you. In addition, there is also a delivery program where they bring the library to you. Kohles said it is available to anyone in Baytown. If you want to research your family history, Kohles noted there is a subscription to Ancestry.com that is available in the library. You can only use it in the library, Kohles said. If you need legal forms valid in the State of Texas, you can use the library’s legal database, Kohles said. They also have a collection of high school yearbooks. In addition, there are full scans of The Baytown Sun at the library as well as The Daily Sun and The Tri-City Sun. 

You can also use the library’s computers, printers and fax machines, but only to send, not receive. If you need a meeting room. Kohles said you can arrange to have one by reservation. For more on what the library has to offer, call them at 281-427-7331. 

The Kiwanis Club of Baytown recently awarded eight local high school students, each with a $2,000 scholarship. This year, Amy Chen, a Goose Creek Memorial High School student, received the Tad Patton Key Club Scholarship. Caden Norris, a Baytown Christian Academy student, received the Pete Sultis Scholarship. Bryleigh Hollomon, a Ross S. Sterling High School student, received the L.A. Wilkie Scholarship. Reagan Bloom, also a GCM student, was the recipient of the John Henderson Scholarship. Ruel Cabading, another GCM student, received the John B. Tucker Scholarship. Jacob Kosteck, a Robert E. Lee High School student, received the Doug Huddle Memorial Scholarship. Melissa Rodriguez, a Sterling High School student, received the Tommie Jones Scholarship. Harsh Agrawal, another GCM student, received the Sally & David Black Key Club Scholarship. Pictured are, from left,  Ruel Cabading, Amy Chen, Reagan Bloom, Bryleigh Hollomon, Caden Norris and Melissa Rodriguez. Not pictured are Jacob Kosteck and Harsh Agrawal.

Kiwanis Club of Baytown honors Sophomores of the Year

At the recent Kiwanis Club of Baytown meeting, seven local students were honored as the 2023 Walter Hurst Sophomore of the Year winners. This is for essays written by the students. 

The winners are, top row, from left, Nicolas Tuha from Ross S. Sterling High School; Nathalie Go Hiong from Stuart Career Tech High School; Archana Sunilkumar from Goose Creek Memorial High School; and Blake Sistos from Robert E. Lee High School. Bottom row, from left, Isabella Ramirez from IMPACT Early College High School; Kobe de la Cruz from Barbers Hill High School; and Laila Hurlbut from the Baytown Christian Academy. In addition to winning the Sophomore of the Year award, de la Cruz was also named the 2023 Kiwanis Club of Baytown Sophomore of the Year. His winning essay was entered into the Kiwanis Division 28 competition and was chosen from the division’s club submissions to advance to Kiwanis Texas/Oklahoma District judging. 

Steve Wavro, a scrollsaw artist, shows one of the many artworks that he created using his intarsia skills to members of the Kiwanis Club of Baytown. Wavro has produced unique creations with this technique, making pictures that appear to be in 3-D, such as flying ducks, birds in a tree, deer running through the landscape, wolves, eagles soaring in the sky, and all sorts of other animals. He also creates objects like crosses with images related to Easter. Using various wood sources, such as western red cedar, Wavro can make different wood pieces look like they are a different color, adding flavor to each creation. If you want to purchase one of Wavro’s wood artworks, contact him at steve.wavro@gmail.com

Baytown Police Chief John Stringer visited with members of the Kiwanis Club of Baytown to share with them how he, detectives and sergeants came up with vision and mission statements for the department. Stringer also discussed how he and his team put together a strategic plan for the police department. 

Among the points in Phase I of the plan are building community partnerships and establishing mental health services for citizens and mental wellness services for officers.

Stringer added that accountability and transparency were part of the plan. In addition, Stronger emphasized how the department has reached out to the Hispanic community more since he came on board in August 2021.

Stringer also said the plan included more outreach through social and traditional media as well as more police visibility within neighborhoods.

In Phase II, which began in January, Stringer said the plan entails publishing police policies online, attending community meetings and leveraging media platforms. Internally, the plan calls for establishing performance management software and “formal mechanisms to give employees greater voice and ownership in the department’s future and development.”

Stringer also wants to build a partnership for a high school outreach program with the police department, including Lee College, and explore more opportunities with Bay Area Council on Drugs & Alcohol.

There are also ongoing oriented policing initiatives, such as the Citizen Police Academy, Coffee with a Cop, National Night Out, D.A.R.E., and the Bay Area Ministerial Alliance. Through the Unidos Program, Stringer said they had developed a relationship with the Hispanic community, facilitating two-way communications, focusing on basic quality of life for Hispanic residents, and providing resources.

Danny McWilliams of EasTex K9 Dog Training spoke to members of the Kiwanis Club of Baytown about how he trains dogs to be obedient and about the E-Collar Quick Connect Bungee Dog Collar. McWilliams, a former police officer, specializes in training dogs how to be family pets and not just backyard animals. He has more than 20 years of experience in dog training and can fit most families’ needs. They accept all dog breeds and sizes. Find out more by calling 281-846-5003 or visiting www.eastexk9.com. Also pictured is Kiwanian Laurie Blackmon. 
Valerie Adame, the treasurer for Our Promise for West Baytown, Inc, The Fred Aguilar Center, or simply The Promise Center,  spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown about what the Center offers kids through after-school programs. Adame also said the Center is in need of a new home since the rent is increasing at their current location on 2609-A Market St.
Adame said they have helped many kids find a better path in life, including Juan Sanchez, who runs the Big Pappa’s Smokehouse and More restaurant on Market Street with his brother, Jose. Sanchez took advantage of the Center's boxing after-school program, and all he had to do was his homework. He said going to the Center at age 12 helped to lead him away from a possible life with gangs. 
The Center is always seeking donations. If you want to help the Center find a new home, or donate, contact Adame at 281-424-1501 or email baytownourpromise@gmail.com. You can also visit https://promise-center.square.site.
It was a celebratory day when the Kiwanis Club of Baytown celebrated its 77th birthday at the weekly meeting at Luna’s Mexican Restaurant, 730 W Cedar Bayou Lynchburg Road. The club was established on March 12, 1946. Members that had been a part of the club for five years or more were recognized for their longevity. They each received service pins. Kiwanian Mark Hall, also a Lee College Regent, was presented with a special certificate saying he was installed as a 40-year Legion of Honor member for his 22 years of service in the club. Dr. Jim Bernik was also installed as a Legion of Honor member. Bernik has served the club for 25 years.
The Club’s Assistant Secretary, Al Richard, served as Master of Ceremonies. The club members participated in a raffle drawing, where they received some prizes. Two Kiwanians, Connie Tilton and Harvey Oyler, were honored for being named as finalists for The Baytown Sun Citizen of the Year. Kiwanian Mike Wilson and Gary Englert, also on the Kiwanis Board of Directors, are past Citizens of the Year. Nothing Bundt Cakes provided a special red velvet birthday cake for the occasion. Pictured are, from left, Kiwanian Board of Director Gary Englert and Kiwanian Laurie Blackmon.
Shane Blackmon, left, founder of Blackmon, Inc. Plumbing Services, came to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown with Joel Robison, district manager for Viega, a family-owned international manufacturer of plumbing and HVAC products, to display how the plumbing products they use work. At the end of the meeting, the expert plumbers created a bottle opener using some plastic piping and a Viega top. To contact Blackmon, Inc. Plumbing Services, call (281) 427-8325 or email info@blackmonplumbing.com.
Members of the Ross S. Sterling High School ReVeRb Choir came to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown to sing a few tunes. One of the songs they sang was “ABC” by the Jackson 5. Dylan Fornshell, the choir director, said they have about 12 to 16 members, depending on the year. For more on the choir, visit www.sterlingchoir.com.
Mary Kay Independent Sales Director Kameron Price recently visited with members of the Kiwanis Club of Baytown to talk about the company and its cosmetic products. Price shared her knowledge of Mary Kay’s skincare, color and clinical solutions merchandise. She also demonstrated how Mary Kay’s Clear Proof Deep-Cleansing Charcoal Mask works on the club’s president-elect Martha Barnett. To find out the latest about Mary Kay products sold by Price, visit www.marykay.com/KPrice.
Chuck Chandler, right, paid a visit to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown to talk about the early days of Baytown and his book, “Baytown (Images of America).” The book contains many facts and photos of Baytown origins and the city’s history. Using a slide show presentation, Chandler spoke about the Baytown’s early settlers, and the Goose Creek Oil Fields history and showed maps of a time before Baytown existed and during the days before the 1948 consolidation. Also pictured is Harvey Oyler, the Kiwanis club’s speaker committee chair.
The City of Baytown Public Affairs Director Thomas Reeves spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Baytown members this week about a plan to market the city to wider audiences. The plan entails surveys, using social media, and reaching out to legislators, local petrochemical industries and school districts. In addition, they plan to send the message through the city’s Baytown Voice magazine. The next edition is coming out in March.
In the group photo, pictured are, from left, Kiwanis Club of Baytown member Gary Englert, Reeves, and Kiwanis Club of Baytown President Traci Dillard.