Crisis in Comfort

Who do you turn to in times of grief? For people who have been through traumatic events such as natural disasters and shooting incidents, sometimes it’s easier to connect emotionally with animals than human beings. That’s where HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Response comes in. The organization sends teams of canines and their handlers into disaster areas (think environments like after Hurricanes Katrina and Ike hit) to support people and help them cope.

HOPE uses volunteers who are specially trained to deal with these high stress situations. According to the website, they’ve been called to schools and military bases and appeared during the 9/11 Ten Year Memorial in 2011, the Arizona wildfires in 2013 and supported the relief efforts after tornadoes struck Indiana in 2012. The site also says that these teams respond free of charge.

HOPE recently teamed with the Public Safety Institute at Houston Community College Northeast to hold training, testing and workshops for potential new HOPE volunteers.

Learn more about what they do in the story I produced about the training, below.

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Showing Houston Some Love

Joey Garza and Jaime Loera aren’t afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves…literally. The duo owns the T-shirt company, Joey & Jaime, which was created to spread pride for the Bayou City, and according to their website, the product is “designed with the purpose of sharing love for H-town, Our Town.”

I caught up with Joey and Jaime at the Bi-Annual Art Opening hosted at Spring Street Studios. Besides selling their merchandise online, markets and festivals are another way these entrepreneurs have built interest and demand for their tanks and tees.

Here’s the full story on Joey & Jaime.

 

“An NFL Combine for Musicians”

Artists trying to break into the music industry, or at least navigate it if they’re already in it, may want to mark their calendars for June 19-22. That’s when the Springboard South Music Festival and Conference kicks off in Houston.  With events and performances taking place at the George R. Brown Convention Center and Warehouse Live, 120 artists and  attendees will have the opportunity to network with industry professionals, receive mentoring and critiques, plus experience intensive training and development sessions at the Band Mall and Bootcamp.

Springboard is the brainchild of producer, composer, songwriter and publisher Barry Coffing. His music has been placed in TV and film and he’s worked as a musician both in Los Angeles and Houston. I interviewed Coffing on my show, “Is It Art, Yet?,” about this initiative and another organization he’s created to help connect individuals in the music business, WeGetNetworking.

The show wasn’t all talk though! Jazz musician Dean James performed with Nick Greer and the Gs and up-and-coming rapper Len.Knox.

Sidenote: Designer Alfredo Saucedo let me wear some of the items from his collection throughout the show. Below is a pic of the rack he brought for me. He somehow managed to fit everything in his Volkswagen Beetle and hauled it to our studios!

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Dynamo Girls Launch Party

It’s official! The roster is set and the 2014 Dynamo Girls have all been named. But before they hit the field on March 8 for the Houston Dynamo season opener at BBVA Compass Stadium, the squad was revealed during a supporter’s group event hosted by El Batallon and Brickwall Firm at Eastdown Warehouse.

The producer of “Dynamo Zone” and I have followed the squad from auditions to the launch to show how they’ve all come full circle. I hope to have more stories on the Dynamo Girls throughout the season. Check out the package below – and do you notice any familiar faces from the auditions?

 

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Dynamo Girl Auditions

Over 100 women tried out for the opportunity to join the Dynamo Girls, the only dance team in the MLS.

Led by director Marilu Amador-Harman, the Dynamo Girls held their 8th annual auditions on Sunday, January 26 at the Jesse H. Jones student life center on the University of Houston’s downtown campus from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Women with all levels of experience tried out. I talked to one who used to dance for the Houston Aeros before the team moved to Iowa, another who was returning to try out for a third time, and one man (well, actually the only man) who came back to audition a second time. He advanced to the second round the first time he auditioned before being eliminated.

Judges included Sarah Pepper, Ivan Trujillo and PK from HOT 95.7 and Comcast Sportsnet Houston’s Sara Eckert.

I decided to get involved just to see what it’s like trying to keep up with the eight counts while dancing to Pitbull’s “Timber.” Check out my attempt at learning the moves with one of the DG hopefuls (she ended up making it to the second round of auditions, by the way!) in the pics above!

The next round of auditions is this weekend where the finalists have one more chance to show they belong on the squad.

To learn more about the Dynamo Girls, visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HoustonDynamoGirls or go to http://www.houstondynamo.com/dynamogirls.

Here’s the package on the tryouts:

 

 

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Going Rodeo

I covered the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for my second time this year, and each time, the experience only gets better! Here are some of the photos I took while hanging out in the AgVenture Area – plus, check out my belt buckle! I’m ready for next year’s show!

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