Monthly Meetings

The Texas Instruments Houston Alumni Association (TIHAA) meets every second Wednesday of each month, at 11:00 AM at the America Buffet Restaurant, 12815 Southwest Freeway, Stafford. This is about two blocks southwest of the TI-Stafford plant, on the inbound access road across the freeway from The Fountains.

       

We meet in the enclosed room to your right (west side of the restaurant) as you exit the cash registers. We eat, then have a short business meeting, which includes DOOR PRIZES! Occasionally we have an interesting and informative speaker or entertainer. There is always lots of good fellowship and good food, so come and try us out. We usually finish up about 12:30 PM.

You don't have to be a member of the club to join us for lunch.

Map to America Buffet.


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Luncheon Meeting Speakers...

Lindsay Davis, Sugar Land Cultural Arts Manager speaks at November Lunch Meeting


At our November 9th Lunch Meeting, Daryl Moss introduced our guest speaker, Lindsay Davis, Cultural Arts Manager for the City of Sugar Land. Lindsay is the first person to hold this position with the City, and is tasked with overseeing the execution of the Cultural Arts Plan and creating and executing the city's first Public Art Plan. Lindsay studied Art History and Arts Administration at the UT Austin and Columbia Univ. in New York. She earned a Certificate in Appraisal Studies in Fine and Decorative Art at New York Univ. She is a certified fine and decorative art appraiser. She worked at a number of recognized art galleries and auction houses in New York City prior to coming to Sugar Land.

Lindsay held the attention of our 39 TIHAA members and guests in attendance as she made her PowerPoint presentation. She covered the cultural locations that the city has in operation at this time, as well as other locations that are shown in the Cultural Arts Strategic Plan and Implementation Guide, an 82-page document which is online on the City of Sugar Land's website. It was enlightening to see her list of all the current cultural arts locations around Sugar Land:

o Sugar Land Town Square Plaza

o Sugar Land Auditorium

o Sugar Land Art Center & Gallery

o The Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center

o Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land

o Fort Bend Children's Discovery Center & Heritage Museum

o Imperial Rec Center

Lindsay showed a artist's concept photo of the Sugar Land Festival Site that will be constructed between the new Texas Instruments building and the SmartFinancial Center. It can easily accommodate outdoor events, as well as used as a nice family park in the city.

Lindsay then showed some of the things she had in mind as she is tasked with creating and executing the city's first Public Art Plan. The Vision 2025 plan is for "Art Everywhere throughout the City". Public art is being considered for new projects and private development - they are in process of developing the plan.

Lindsay showed a real enthusiasm for her job and answered several questions from the audience at the conclusion. You can find out more at www.sugarlandtx.gov/culturalarts.

In addition to her job, Lindsay is actively involved with the Bayou Bend Docent Organization as a board member, the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the University of Texas' College of Fine Arts Advisory Council.

Susan Styron from CHI St. Luke's Health speaks at August Luncheon Meeting


In the absence of our Programs Committee Chairlady, Bobby White, President Gary Luckett introduced our speaker, Susan Styron of CHI St. Luke's Heath, to an audience of 31 members and guests.

Susan is no stranger to our lunch group, this being about her 3rd or 4th visit to talk on various health topics of interest to everyone, especially seniors.

Susan's topic this time was blood pressure and how it is the #1 risk factor for a stroke. It is called the "silent killer" because there are no signs or symptoms to alert one of a dangerous condition. She said that there were many risk factors for stroke that we can affect, such as controlling blood pressure, stop smoking, get good exercise, eat healthy, diabetes prevention and losing weight. Susan stressed that we have to take control of our health care by becoming an active participant with our doctors.

Susan said that it was important to monitor our blood pressure at home on at least a weekly basis, record the readings and take them with us when we go on doctor visits so they can see trends and not have to rely on a single test at the doctor's office.

Some guidelines to observe is no coffee or exercise within 30 minutes before taking readings. Don't cross your legs during the readings. It's a good idea to compare readings on the left arm to those on the right arm. It's a good idea to vary the time of day that readings are made and record the time along with your reading.

After her brief talk, Susan took out two blood pressure machines and invited attendees to come and get their blood pressure checked. She continued until everyone desiring a check was accommodated. Before we left, she had some free "goodies" for everyone.

It's always educational and inspiring to have Susan visit us, and this was no exception. We look forward to future visits to cover health subjects of interest to our membership.

Susan Styron can be reached at 832-355-2170 (office), or email at sstyron@stlukeshealth.org.

Shannon Russell of Dignity Memorial Speaks At June 2016 Luncheon Meeting


Programs Chairlady, Bobbie White introduced the June luncheon speaker, Shannon Russell, Campaign Manager of Dignity Memorial Provider of Houston to an audience of 35.

Shannon didn't duck the subject that planning one's funeral service is not a pleasant task. But, she related how important it was to let our loved ones know how and what we want to be done, and provide for it financially. Since our departure from life is 100% certain, it is important, no matter our age.

Shannon began by letting us look into her experience growing up and relationship with family and friends in the funeral home business. She was humorous and kept everyone's attention as she covered the past years, leading up to her position at Dignity.

Shannon identified the four steps that we need to take to provide for our service:

1 Reflect.

While so many of us ask big questions about what happens when we die, we often forget to ask questions that will capture the way we lived and help our friends and family celebrate our life and honor our memory. Take time to think about the type of funeral and cemetery services that you would want to celebrate or otherwise memorialize your life.

2 Record.

Once you've reflected on and determined your wishes for your final arrangements, actually recording your wishes is the best way to ensure they will be carried out. Whether stored on paper or electronically, your recorded wishes will allow your loved ones to act on your behalf. And, just as you keep your will and financial documents updated, you should review and update your funeral and cemetery plans if necessary as well.

3 Share.

After you've recorded your funeral and cemetery plans, it's important to share them with loved ones so they'll be able to carry out your wishes.

4. Support.

Finally, support your plans with funding if you choose. By relieving your family of the need to pay for your funeral or cemetery services at the time of your death, you may prevent additional stress for them at an already difficult time. Funding your plans also provides protection against inflation. By locking in today's prices, your loved ones will not have to pay more for your selected merchandise and services at the time of your death.

Shannon Russell can be contacted at shannon.russell@sci-us.com and 713-683-1994.

Monica James of Houston Hospice Speaks At April 2016 Luncheon Meeting


Programs Chairlady, Bobbie White introduced the April luncheon speaker, Monica James, Community Outreach Coordinator for Houston Hospice to an audience of 43.

Monica succeeded in making an otherwise heavy topic, "End of Life (EOL) Planning", a little lighter for everyone. The topic of her presentation was Our Loved Ones Aren't Mind Readers: Making Medical Contingency Plans Before a Crisis. She pointed out that 100% of the folks alive now will experience EOL at some point. Her presentation was to encourage everyone, regardless of age because we never know when the need will arise. Those are tough conversations we need to have with our loved ones to ensure that our EOL desires are met.

As a representative of Houston Hospice, the only non-profit hospice organization in Houston, Monica listed the qualifications for being placed into hospice care. She said that for those on Medicare & Medicaid, it is 100% paid by those organizations. People with private insurance must pay their co-pays and deductibles before insurance kicks in. People without insurance are not excluded.

Houston Hospice has programs for:
o Routine care: where the hospice team will come to your home to cover your needs.
o Crisis care: where the team will respond to crisis type situations.
o Respite care: where hospice personnel will come care for a patient to give the caregiver a break.
o Routine care: where the patient comes to a hospice inpatient care unit to receive 24 hour care.

Monica said that it is not necessary that a doctor or hospital refer a person to hospice. The family can call hospice to determine if the patient is eligible for hospice care.

Monica's topic prompted many comments and questions from the audience. She provided handout information and forms for Living Wills, Durable Powers of Attorney, and Out of Hospital Do Not Resuscitate. The appreciative audience gave her a hearty round of applause.

More information on Houston Hospice can be found at www.houstonhospice.org, 713-677-7292, and they are located at 1905 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030-4123.

AARP's Shondra Wygal speaks at February 2016 Luncheon


Our speaker this month was Shondra Wygal, Associate State Director for Advocacy and Outreach for Houston AARP. Ms. Wygal has spoken to us previously in 2014. She was introduced by Jean Houston, who was standing in for Programs Chairperson, Bobby White, who could not attend the luncheon.

Ms. Wygal told us that AARP in Houston is working with the city to encourage Age Friendly Communities, an initiative by the World Health Organization. The purpose of these communities is to help people live easily and comfortably in their homes and communities as they age. AARP encourages older adults to take and active role in their communities' plans and ensure their voice is heard.

The AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities targets improvements in eight domains that influence the health and quality of life of older adults. The livability domains, and what they represent, are as follows:

The 8 Domains of Livability

o Outdoor Spaces and Buildings: Availability of safe and accessible recreational facilities.

o Transportation: Safe and affordable modes of private and public transportation.

o Housing: Availability of home modification programs for aging in place as well as a range of age friendly housing options.

o Social Participation: Access to leisure and cultural activities, including opportunities for older residents to socialize and engage with their peers as well as with younger people.

o Respect and Social Inclusion: Programs that promote ethnic and cultural diversity, as well as multigenerational interaction and dialogue.

o Civic Participation and Employment: Paid work and volunteer activities for older residents and opportunities to engage in the formulation of policies relevant to their lives.

o Communication and Information: Access to communications technology and other resources so older residents can connect with their community, friends and family.

o Community Support and Health Services: Access to home based care services, health clinics and programs that promote wellness and active aging.

She says that the program in Houston is currently in Phase 1: Planning (Years 1-2). That will be followed by Phase 2: Implementation (Years 3-5) and Phase 3: Continual Improvements (Year 5 and beyond).

More information on the AARP programs can be found online at www.aarp.org/tx.

Past TIHAA President Daryl Moss speaks at October 2015 luncheon


Our guest speaker was long-time member, Daryl Moss, whose topic was CANCER. The luncheon audience in attendance numbered 42.

Daryl began his talk by explaining how several recent TV documentaries on cancer caught his interest and he followed up to learn more. (A sheet listing many cancer documentaries on YouTube and elsewhere was handed out earlier.)

Daryl provided a simplified definition of "What is it?" by defining cancer's three characteristics: apoptosis (failure of cells to die), metastasis (spread to other body areas) and angiogenesis (growing a supporting capillary system).

Two popular 20th century treatments were the herbal tea, Essiac, and the organic Gerson Therapy. An early cancer diagnosis and possible subsequent course(s) of pre+actual+post treatment were stepped through. He then covered cell biology, starting with the roles of DNA/RNA and genes in the building of proteins for organisms. A cancer cell and its internal and surface structure were compared to a normal cell. Genetic predisposition towards cancer - HER2 and BRCA genes, for example - were mentioned before he differentiated between somatic (lifetime accumulation) and germline (inherited) gene mutations as a percentage of overall mutations found in various cancers.

Daryl touched upon the immune system and how it works to fight viruses (such as a cold). Standardized treatments by surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy (specifically Accuray's Cyberknife linear proton accelerator) were covered next. He went over Clinical trial methodology, particularly a phase 1 trial. He covered a few genomic-targeted drugs (aimed at cancer cells), followed by mentioning checkpoint inhibitors (immunotherapy drugs) aimed at activating T-cells. The fact that most of the drugs do not provide a cure was emphasized. Combination treatments usually help regression and remission rates, given the proper dosages. He pointed out that the very high cost of cancer drugs today is unsustainable.

Research now indicates that it is possible to use a genetically-modified polio virus as a means to cure a patient with glioblastoma (brain cancer). CAR-T cell therapy, where T-cells are removed, modified via viral vectors in order to recognize cancerous B-cells, then reinfused in order to find blood cancers like leukemia, was discussed. Daryl also compared past and newer T-cell constructs with monoclonal antibodies.

Daryl closed by stating that the cost of genomic testing (whole genome or specific cancer genes exome panel) has dropped radically, making rapid testing for suspected cancers and other diseases available now to more people.

The audience was appreciative in applause and said they learned a great deal about cancer and treatments.

Neurosurgeon, Dr. Rajesh Bindal speaks at September 2015 luncheon


Our guest speaker this month was Dr. Rajesh Bindal, a neurosurgeon practicing at CHI St. Luke's Hospital in Sugar Land. Dr. Bindal prior to going into private practice was Chief of Surgery at St. Luke's Sugar Land Hospital. He spoke to an attentive audience of 48 members and guests on Stroke Prevention. He was assisted by Monica Brown and Susan Styron - who was our August speaker. Before the program began, Susan gave everyone a large packet of information on strokes.

Dr. Bindal began his presentation by stressing how important it is to call 911 and get to a hospital as soon as any symptom of a stroke are observed. If the patient can be treated within 3 hours, a powerful clot buster drug can be used to minimize the effects. Fifty percent of stroke victims suffer significant effects. He said that 75% of strokes occur in people over 65. He quoted a surprising statistic that strokes kill more women than men. Strokes kill twice as many women as breast cancer.

Dr. Bindal related the F.A.S.T. test to spot a stroke:

F = Face drooping - ask the person to smile.

A = Arm weakness - ask the person to raise both arms.

S = Speech difficulty - ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.

T = Time to call 911 - even if the symptoms go away.

Dr. Bindal explained the two major types of strokes. A Hemorrhagic stroke, which accounts for about 13% of strokes is caused when a blood vessel bleeds into the brain. An Ischemic stroke, which accounts for about 87% of strokes is when a blood clot blocks an artery. He also spoke of Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA) in which an artery leading to the brain, or inside the brain, becomes blocked for a short period of time and the blood flow to an area of the brain slows or stops. TiAs cause no permanent brain damage but they are a serious warning sign of a stroke and should not be ignored.

Dr. Bindal said that strokes happen suddenly. And the say is: TIME IS BRAIN! Meaning that as many as 1.9 million neurons die for each minute of delay in treatment!

Strokes are preventable, treatable and beatable if we follow some healthy lifestyle changes:

o Don't smoke and avoid second-hand smoke.

o Improve your eating habits. Eat foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and added sugars.

o Be physically active.

o Take your medicine as directed.

o Get your blood pressure checked regularly and work with your healthcare provider to manage it if it's high.

o Reach and maintain a healthy weight.

o Decrease your stress level.

o Seek emotional support when it's needed.

o Have regular medical checkups.

At the conclusion of Dr. Bindal's presentation, our audience had many questions that were answered by our speaker.

A wealth of information was in the handout package and much is available online at www.strokeassociation.org, facebook.com/AmericanStroke, www.strokeawareness.com/strokecall911/ and www.stlukeshouston.com/neuro.

Susan Styron of CHI St. Luke's Health speaks at August 2015 luncheon


The meeting began when Bobbie White, program chairperson, introduced Susan Styron, BSN/RN/CNRN, Neuroscience Educator Specialist who works at CHI St. Luke's Health to an audience of 42 TIHAA members and guests.

Susan began her presentation by showing an educational, catchy, rap-style video: Diabetes Song by Dr. Macke Seibel on YouTube.

Approximately 29 million people are diagnosed with diabetes each year. Over time chronic high blood glucose can lead to serious medical problems due to plaque build-up in blood vessels, such as: stroke, heart attacks, vision problems even blindness and kidney failure.

The pancreas is the organ that makes insulin, which in turn serves as a door key to let glucose into the blood stream. First comes pre-diabetes [Toolkit No. 3 handout], a condition preceding diabetes. You can have it and not know it. Prevention requires small proactive changes in lifestyle, including lowering caloric intake and eating a healthy diet, being physically active, losing weight and then maintaining a healthy weight. She discussed risk factors for Type I and Type II diabetes: overweight, 45 & older, physically inactive, parent or sibling has it, abnormal cholesterol. Toolkit No 4 handout discussed learning how to change habits. Toolkit No. 16 detailed how to take care of Type II diabetes. Susan discussed medications for treating Type II diabetes. A handout detailed the various oral medications that work in different ways to lower blood glucose. Fast acting insulin is taken to lower blood sugar quickly, taken with meals. Others are long acting and can be used just once or twice a day. Some insulins are injected, such as synthetic amylin.

In addition to checking your A-B-C: A1C; blood sugar; cholesterol, other tips were laid out in two handouts: Fast food tips offered suggestions (when ordering) for reducing fat, salt and calories. A second handout showed ways, even though sitting or standing in place, for exercising/stretching various muscles to maintain muscular strength and endurance, as well as heart, brain and body benefits.

Susan answered many questions from our members, and recommended websites to read and study further: http://www.diabetes.org/ American Diabetes Assoc. (1-800-342-2383) provided the Toolkits; http://professional.diabetes.org/PatientEducationLibrary.aspx.

Susan can be reached at 832-355-2170 (office), or email at sstyron@stlukeshealth.org.

Sugar Land Mayor James A. Thompson speaks at April 2015 Lunch Meeting


Programs Chairlady Bobbie White introduced our April luncheon speaker, Sugar Land Mayor James A. Thompson, to an audience of 40 TIHAA members and guests at the America Buffet. Bobbie read from the Mayor's lengthy resume of public service, being a native Texan, a USAF C-130 pilot, a board member of the Ft. Bend MUD #12, a board member of the Ft. Bend Levee Improvement Dist. #2, Sugar Land City Council board member and finally as the Mayor of Sugar Land.

Mayor Thompson began by giving us a brief history of the city of Sugar Land that now has a population over 86,000. The modern city was founded in 1959 from a portion of a the 24,000-acre "Oakland Plantation", dating from the founding of the Republic of Texas.

The Mayor said that he was pleased when he heard that Texas Instruments was planning to build a new building in Sugar Land. He said that the city worked to help fast track the building of the new TI facility. He said that this was actually the first building that TI had built on its own for its own use. He said that the city offered incentives to help make the project a reality. Mayor Thompson then covered some of the projects that will be developed soon on some of the adjacent property, some of which is owned by the city. The area is a planned development zone of mixed use, including housing. In addition to the 6,500-seat Performing Arts Center that is currently under construction, they plan a Hotel and Conference Center complex near the TI site. Flour Corp. has land adjacent to TI for future development, and of course the U.H. Sugar Land campus is across University Boulevard from TI.

He talked briefly about the former Imperial Sugar site that is currently being developed. A hotel is planned for the old Char House, the old building with the Imperial Sugar sign on the top. Next door will be a Children's Museum and room for the Heritage Foundation. An area around the transformed sugar mill will be a Town Square, similar to the one at First Colony.

Mayor Thompson said that one of the cities top goals was to be the safest city in America. He said they were currently rated as #3 in Texas.

The Mayor asked if there were any questions from the audience. Several questions were submitted and he was given an appreciative applause by our membership at the conclusion of his remarks.

Mayor Thompson is now serving his final 2-year term as mayor, being limited to 8 years by term limits. He and wife, Gay, will continue to reside in Sugar Land after his term ends in May, 2016. The mayor's resume/biography and contact information can be found on the official City of Sugar Land website: sugarlandtx.gov.

Marisol Rodriguez, Associate State Director of Outreach & Advocacy in Houston with AARP speaks at March 2015 Luncheon


Programs Chairperson Bobbie White welcomed our luncheon speaker for March to an audience of 38 members and guests at the America Buffet.

Marisol Rodriguez, with the Houston Chapter of the AARP, gave us a very informative presentation on aspects of caregiving. Before she spoke, she handed out an assortment of material from AARP, including a booklet entitled Prepare to Care - A Planning Guide for Families. She pointed out the various sections of the booklet and how they can be used by caregivers to make things more comfortable for both the patient and the caregiver.

Ms. Rodriguez stressed the importance of caregivers setting up a support team and taking adequate care of themselves. Caregiver burnout is a major issue much of the time.

Sections in the booklet cover:

o starting the conversation

o forming the team

o making a plan

o finding support

o caring for yourself.

Also included in the booklet are a glossary of terms, helpful resources, a goals & needs checklist, charts & checklists and sample caregiving plans. The booklet is available online at tinyurl.com/n5dkq7o. In particular, pages 22-35 in the booklet are special checklist pages (with samples) to be cut out and filled in prior to actual beginning caregiving. All the important facts about the wants and needs of the patient are set in writing, reducing the chance of error by the caregiver.

Ms. Rodriguez also spoke of AARP's support for The Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act in the Texas Legislature. More than three million Texans are caring for an aging parent or loved one, helping them to live independently in their own homes. These family caregivers have a huge responsibility, and we can take some common sense steps that would make a world of difference to them. The CARE Act recognizes the critical role family caregivers play in keeping their loved ones out of costly institutions.

She said that AARP was looking for caregivers, or former caregivers to go to Austin at AARP's expense, to talk to state legislators in support of the CARE Act. Volunteers can contact Amanda Fredriksen at 512-480-2425.

Ms. Rodriquez, as Associate State Director of Outreach & Advocacy in Houston, advocates for the lives of those in the 50+ community and provides education to organizations on the important work AARP is doing in Houston. She has worked in several other positions in various political and social organizations in the Houston area.

Ms. Rodriguez answered questions from the audience and said that she would be glad to answer further questions via email at rdrodriquez@aarp.org or 832-325-2230.

Irene Wisner & Sylviane Hoare of Child Advocates of Ft. Bend speak at January, 2015 Luncheon


Programs Chairperson Bobbie White introduced Development Officer, Irene Wisner and CASA Volunteer Sylviane Hoare of Child Advocates of Fort Bend (CAFB) to an audience of 36 members and guests at our January 14th meeting.

Ms. Wisner began by giving us several disturbing statistics regarding the amount of child abuse today in the county. She said that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by the time they are 18 years old! Ninety percent of the children know their abuser, and 9 out of 10 have not told anyone. Child abuse is a silent epidemic in Fort Bend County, she said.

The mission of CAFB is to provide a voice, help heal the hurt, and break the cycle of abuse and neglect for children in Fort Bend County. Their services are free.

CAFB is a nonprofit agency working to end child abuse in the county. They serve child victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect through a "one-stop", comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach. They operate two nationally-affiliated programs:

o Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) which advocates for children in the foster care system.

o Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) which provides a safe place for children who have been sexually abused, severely physically abused or witnesses to domestic homicide.

In the CASA program, trained volunteers who are sworn into service by a judge provide a voice for children who are in the care of the child welfare system. They have specialized programs for Infant & toddlers (0-5 yrs. old), N.E.S.T. (6-13 yrs. old), and WINGS (14-18 yrs. old) that help the children develop positive connections as they grow into adults. Ms. Wisner said that last year they were successful in that of the 250 children in their care, 100% graduated from High School and 80% went on to college.

Near the end of the presentation, Ms. Wisner conducted a role playing session with some club members in attendance, going through a mock proceeding on two abused children, highlighting all the steps that occur in a criminal case, and showing how CAFB works with the children. Volunteer Sylviane Hoare then concluded the meeting by telling of her experience with CAFB over her years of service.

They need volunteers, especially men. You can find out more information by calling 281-341-9955 or check their web site at www.cafb.org. They are located at 5403 Avenue N, Rosenberg, TX 77471.

Shondra Wygal of the AARP speaks at November, 2014 Luncheon


Programs Chairperson, Bobbie White, introduced our November Luncheon speaker to 39 members and guests in attendance at the America Buffet. Shondra Wygal is the Associate State Director of Outreach and Advocacy in Houston. Shondra manages AARP's educational campaigns and outreach efforts here.

The main topic of Shondra's presentation was the AARP Fraud Watch Network. This network provides access to information on identity theft, investment fraud and the latest scams. In her presentation, she covered:

o Fraud Trends

o Prevention Tips

o Resources

Shondra said that the top scams in Texas are identity theft, debt collection scams and bank & lenders scams. Last year in the U.S., 12.6 million people were victims of identity theft that cost them $17.1 million - that's one person victimized every 3 seconds. Some of the common ways identity theft is carried out is by phishing emails, stealing your personal mail and sometimes with bogus job opportunities.

In the area of investments, she identified gold coin scams, free lunch seminars promoting products with high commissions, timeshare trips (offshore) that won't let you leave until you buy, and oil and gas scams. It's important to thoroughly investigate before you invest your money in a "great investment".

Other common scams are fake checks, tech support scams, disaster-related charity fraud, travel scams, sweetheart scams, the grandparent scam and the foreign lottery scam. Shondra briefly touched on each of these and they are covered in the hand-outs she provided.

She offered several prevention tips to keep from being in risk of these scams. Most import is to protect your Social Security Number and personal information. We were advised to monitor our bills and financial accounts and watch closely for fraudulent transactions. She recommended pulling personal credit reports three times a year using the official website: www.annualcreditreport.com, but not some others that charge for the service.

Attendees were provided with two helpful brochures, AARP Watchdog Alert and How can you protect yourself from identity theft and fraud. The website for the Fraud Watch Network is www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork and it contains a wealth of information on how to keep from being a victim of fraud. Our audience asked several questions during the presentation and was appreciative in their applause at the conclusion.

Shondra can be reached at swygal@aarp.org, or by phone at 832-325-2231. The toll-free Houston office is 1-866-227-7443.

Marisa Ramon of the Alzheimer's Association speaks at October, 2014 Luncheon


Programs Chairperson Bobbie White introduced our October Luncheon speaker to 46 members and guests in attendance at the America Buffet. Marisa Ramon is Regional Outreach Coordinator with the Fort Bend/Wharton Alzheimer's Association Houston & Southeast Texas Chapter.

Marisa began her PowerPoint presentation by explaining that Alzheimer's Disease is just one of several forms of dementia. Dementia is a baseline term used to describe the loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of all cases. Other disorders classified as dementia include: Vascular Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia, Frontotemporal Dementia and over 50 others.

Marisa examined causes of dementia and said that there were reversible causes and irreversible causes. Dementia is caused by damage to the brain cells that interferes with the ability of brain cells to communicate with each other. Reversible dementia may be treated and causes may be depression, medication side effects, excess use of alcohol, thyroid problems, and vitamin deficiencies.

Alzheimer's is an irreversible form of dementia. It attacks the brain and destroys cells. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

People with dementia may have problems with short-term memory, keeping track of a purse or wallet, paying bills, planning and preparing meals, remembering appointments or traveling out of the neighborhood.

She said that if you or a loved one is experiencing memory difficulties or other changes in thinking skills, don't ignore them. See a doctor soon to determine the cause. Professional evaluation may detect a treatable condition. And even if symptoms suggest dementia, early diagnosis allows a person to get the maximum benefit from available treatments and provides an opportunity to volunteer for clinical trials or studies. It also provides time to plan for the future.

The audience asked several questions and provided appreciative applause at the conclusion of Marisa's presentation.

A wealth of information is available at the Alzheimer's Association website, [www.alz.org/texas] or by calling 713-314-1313 (local) or 800-272-3900 (24/7).

Vera Johnson of Fort Bend Family Promise speaks at July, 2014 Luncheon


Vera Johnson, guest speaker for our TIHAA July Luncheon, was introduced by Jean Houston to an audience of 34 members. Vera has been the Executive Director for Fort Bend Family Promise since 2011. With over 20 years of service, she has a strong background in the non-profit sector. She is very passionate about her work with Family Promise.

Fort Bent Family Promise is the only homeless assistance program dedicated to temporarily shelter families with children. Vera brings to the program her faith, honesty and ability to help homeless children and their parents find their way back to permanent housing. In this program more than 80% of families successfully obtain safe, secure housing.

We were reminded that Homeless is only a temporary situation at the time. It could happen to anyone due to a traumatic financial event like illness, a family breaks up, lay-off or foreclosure.

Fort Bent Family Promise has been open since 2005. It relies local Fort Bend congregations to house and feed the families on a rotational basis while they work to regain self-support. At our luncheon, we had TIHAA members from three of those congregations.

If you are interested in finding more about Fort Bent Family Promise, contact their office at 281-403-3923.

Kimberly Hinojosa of Colonial Oaks
Speaks at June, 2014 Luncheon


Programs Committee Chairlady, Bobbie White, introduced our June Luncheon speaker, Kimberly Hinojosa of the Colonial Oaks Assisted Living and Memory Care facility to an audience of 41 attendees. The topic of her PowerPoint presentation was Senior Services.

Kimberly started by giving a brief autobiography of how she got into the business. She gave an overview of some of the stresses of being a Caregiver, which she experienced caring for her grandmother, and identified some of the services that are available to help caregivers cope with caring for a spouse or loved one full time. Kimberly outlined signs to look for to identify when the caregiver is being overstressed, identifying ways to reduce caregiver stress and when to ask for help. She said that many caregivers do not recognize their own need and fail to do anything about them or simply do not know where to turn for help. She gave a good web site for caregiver stress: www.caregiverstress.com.

Kimberly went over the in-the-home services that are available to allow seniors to stay in their home longer. When staying at home is not an option, she listed the various living options that are available, such as 55+ Retirement Apartments, Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, Residential Care Homes, and Nursing Homes. Kimberly explained how each of these options work. She also touched on Medicare, Medicaid, and VA funding constraints.

You could tell that Kimberly was really dedicated to helping seniors explore all of their options and make an informed decision. After answering a few questions, she received an appreciative applause from the audience.

Matt Watson from TI's Automotive Infotainment Processors Group
Speaks at May, 2014 Luncheon


Matt Watson, guest speaker for our TIHAA May Luncheon, was introduced by Programs Chairperson, Bobbie White. Matt has been the Product-line Manager of the Automotive Infotainment Processors Group at Texas Instruments since 2009.

Knowing that everyone's interest was peaked for hearing the latest on the new Sugar Land Campus, he began with an update and photos of the external and internal workings of the new building. Ever since the March 22, 2013 groundbreaking, construction activity has progressed at a fast pace. He said that move-in will begin in June 2014 and last about 2 weeks. The new building contains a grand staircase at the entrance that features a floating design. Matt said that the building is laid out for open "we spaces" rather than "me spaces", to encourage interaction of personnel. Everyone is excited that there are lots of windows to let in light and allow an occasional look outside. Another new Houston innovation for TI is an employee parking garage. There will also be a courtyard with outdoor seating between the building and garage. He said that in their extensive cleanup of the Stafford building prior to moving, they located lots of stuff from the past and plan to set aside a "Museum area" in the new building to remember some of their past. He said an open house would probably be scheduled by early Fall.

Matt then moved into his area of work and explained that automotive processor infotainment is aimed toward allowing our smartphones to interact directly with our automobiles. TI is heavily involved with several major carmakers to aid in their conversion from an analog instrument panel to a digital display instrument cluster. They are even involved in advanced driver assist systems, such as the Google self-driving autos. Matt's excitement in his job was apparent and he helped to make our May luncheon memorable for the club members present.

Mike Bray of the AARP Tax-Aide service speaks at February, 2014 Luncheon


Mike Bray, guest speaker for our TIHAA February Luncheon, was introduced by Ralph Garcia. Mike is a tax consultant with AARP Foundation Tax-Aide. He is a retired energy executive and has been an AARP volunteer for the past 13 years. Mike is in charge of the Tax-Aide at the First Colony Library and has responsibility for other sites in the SW Houston/Ft. Bend Co. area. The Tax-Aide program runs from Feb. 1 to Apr. 15 and last year provided free assistance and filing to 6,800 customers. Tax-Aide has 130 volunteers working at 13 different sites in the Area. The aid is available free to medium and low income tax-payers with emphasis on senior citizens.

Mike mentioned there were few change to the tax code for 2013. He showed a PowerPoint presentation and made comments on the items in the presentation. He pointed out that same sex couples married by state or foreign law are married for federal returns and the place of marriage is key and not their place of residence. He identified in & out of scope items that may not be done by Tax-aide.

Some of the changes this year are as follows: Schedule C (Profit or loss from a Business) the expense limit has been raised to $10,000; the capital gains tax has a 20% rate for higher income taxpayers; the social security taxes have been change to 6.2% from 4.2% for 2011-2012. The personal exemption increased to $3,900 and is subject to phase out, depending on your filing status and adjusted gross income (AGI). Among other things, the educator classroom expense allowance has been raise to $250. Further information can be found at IRS.gov or visit one of the Tax-Aide sites in Stafford or Houston.

The Tax-Aide program is always looking for new volunteers to join in this very worthwhile community effort. If you are interested in finding out more about Tax-Aide, contact Mike at braymiked@aol.com.

Evelyn L. Gordon, Principal Attorney at the Office of Evelyn L. Gordon, speaks at January, 2014 Luncheon


Programs Chairman, Jean Houston, introduced our guest speaker, Evelyn L. Gordon, an Attorney with her own law firm, The Law Office of Evelyn L. Gordon, to our luncheon audience at the America Buffet. Evelyn is a Texas licensed attorney that focuses on Estate Planning & Probate Law, Family Law and Criminal Law. She is also a Certified Attorney and Guardian Ad Litem. Ms. Gordon spoke to the club, Attorney at Law, spoke to the club about Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning. She used a PowerPoint presentation to show illustrations. Her main focus was as follows:

Four Primary Iems of Estate Planning

  • Last Will and Testament
  • Declaration of Guardianship
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Advanced Medical Directive
  • Trusts

    Alternative to a Last Will and Trust

    Types of Trusts

    Advantages and Disadvantages

    Ms Gordon said we could go to her website, my-texas-estate.com, to download Power of Attorney and Medical directive forms. She told us that an estate is your current net worth less any liabilities. Types of assets are real and personal property, bank accounts, and stocks and bonds. She asked, “Who will determine how your assets will be distributed?”. If there is no will the state often will decide for you. Dying Intestate means dying without a will. Among the disadvantages of this is the high cost of going to probate, as well as possible delays for heirs to be cleared and receive their share of the inheritance.

    The attorney then discussed community property, salaries and other income like real estate, retirement pensions,life insurance, gifts and separate property, and how they might be handled and distributed.

    She explained to us about handwritten wills and formal typewritten wills and the different requirements for each. The main thing being that if it is a handwritten will, it has to ALL be handwritten, and signed. No witness or Notary needed. The typewritten form has to be signed and witnessed at a Notary. Both must be probated. She told us that the purpose of probate is to give creditors a chance to make a claim on your estate. She also encouraged all to get a Medical Directive /Living Will form filled out and filed with your doctor so family will have it to make decisions for you. A number of interesting questions were asked and answered during the presentation.

    Vicki Coates, Exec. Dir. of East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry speaks at November, 2013 Luncheon


    Programs Chairman, Jean Houston, introduced Vickie Coates to the lunch audience. Vickie explained to us that The East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry is a non-profit agency providing food and financial help to families who find themselves in temporary crisis and in need of assistance to maintain self sufficiency and avoid homelessness.

    Since its inception in 1990, this ministry has been providing services primarily to residents of East Fort Bend County as well as referrals from area congregations and other social agencies. This includes FBISD and SMSD.

    They serve the working poor, the unemployed, single moms or dads, and senor citizens.

    Food pantry services are provided to clients on a first come first serve basis and are either Full Food Orders or Supplemental Food Orders. No one is turned away hungry. Trained volunteers assess each situation to determine the needs of the individual or families served. The monthly Food Fair program, made possible by the Houston Food Bank, distributes free food and valuable information to those in need. Holiday Food Baskets are distributed during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and include everything needed to make a traditional holiday meal.

    They also have a Financial Assistance program which helps clients who may need help with housing, utilities and certain prescription expenses. Most clients must provide partial funding toward the payment of the bill, and once the ministry receives notice that the client has complied with the stipulation, funds are released directly to the creditor.

    The agency also participates in the Back Pack Buddy program which provides children in participating schools who rely on free or reduced -price lunches during school, with nutritionally balanced, non perishable packets of food to take home on Fridays.

    Each summer, the S.O.S. (Supply Our Students) Program provides school supply packets to hundreds of East Fort Bend County students from pre-K through 12th grade.

    Since 1975, the Tri-City Churches Resale Shop & La Boutique has been a vital part of the community. All proceeds from these are re-invested back into the programs and services provided by this ministry. The Resale Shop is a great source of inexpensive clothing, household items and furniture. They pick up large donations, and drop-off donations are accepted during hours of operation. La Boutique, located inside the resale shop, features designer and vintage fashions for much less than department stores.

    How you can support East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry:
    ·Make A Monetary Donation
    ·Donate to the Food Pantry
    ·Donate to the Resale Shop
    ·Sponsor a Food or Clothing Drive
    ·Participate in our Fundraising Events
    ·Become a Volunteer
    ·Pray for the Ministry and Those we serve
    They are located at 435 Stafford Run, Stafford, Texas 77477. Phone # is 281-261-1006. www.HumanNeeds.org

    Medicare Consultant/Author, Toni King speaks at October, 2013 Luncheon


    On October 9th, 2013 at the America Buffet, Program chairman Jean Houston introduced Medicare expert Toni King to an appreciative audience of 52 TIHAA members and guests. The theme of her speech was, What you don't know can hurt you! She said her information was for educational purposes only. She explained what Medicare is and that it is for people 65 and over, or people with disabilities, or illnesses such as ALS. She alerted us that some companies are letting retirees go. She said that if that should happen to anyone, that person has guaranteed issue, 63 days to find a medicare supplement plan in which they won't have to answer any medical questions. She said everyone who is eligible should have received or will receive a Welcome To Medicare Kit. She gave us the phone numbers to call for more information, 1-800-772-1213 and 1-800-633-4227. She also said that now they want you to go online in order to apply, and explained what the qualifications were. She reminded us that open enrollment this year was Oct. 15 thru Dec. 07.

    Original Medicare Part A is for hospital stays. The deductible for part A is $1184.00 per hospital admission. This can be 6 times a year. Days 1-20 = 0 , days 21-100= $148 per day. Medicare pays hospital and some skilled nursing. It pays 100% for Hospice, and Home Health Care with 0 co-pay.

    Medicare pays nothing for Long Term Care, or Out Patient Services. She said that if you go to the hospital and are staying, be sure to ask if you have been formally admitted.

    Part B Premium is $104.90 per month. Medicare pays 80% , you pay 20%. This covers Doctor cost, MRI's, and other tests, Medical Equipment use. She spoke briefly about Medicare Advantage Plans, saying anyone can join. She said the government pays the company and you have to go by the rules. Medicare Part C is not original Medicare. Part C is for dental coverage. Medicare Part D is for prescription drugs. She explained a bit about the donut hole. She gave her email address as toni@tonisays.com.

    There was a question and answer period after her speech.

    Bridget Yeung of the Sugar Land City Council speaks at August, 2013 Luncheon


    Programs Chairperson, Jean Houston introduced Sugar Land City Council member and Mayor Pro Tem, Bridget Yeung, to an attentive audience of 53 at the August 14, 2013, TIHAA Luncheon.

    Bridget is on the City's Economic Development Committee and Finance Committee. She said Sugar Land has a highly rated employee base with 55% having a bachelor's degree or better, and a low 4.7% unemployment rate.

    She told us that Sugar Land was started as a company town by the Imperial Sugar Company, in the mid-1800's, to house employees. The company's main refinery and distribution center were located here until recently. The city was incorporated in the mid-20th Century. Since then it has enjoyed a huge population and economic growth. Sugar Land is still headquarters of the Imperial Sugar Company, but the old site is being re-developed. A new stadium, Constellation Field, is located across from the airport and is home to the Atlantic League Sugar Land Skeeters baseball team. She said that the Imperial site is also a flourishing Farmer's Market on Saturdays.

    She said that the city is headquarters for a large number of international energy, software, engineering and product firms. The speaker went on to proudly show a slide of the location of the new Costco Store that just opened for business at US-59 & University Blvd., and the location of the new Fluor Daniel facility, as well as the new Texas Instruments facility. She also spoke about a new Arts Center which just opened, and a Performing Arts Center which is in planning. She said she was on a committee to evaluate the market analysis and feasibility of a proposed new Convention Center.

    Dr. Clyde Nguyen of the The University of Texas Health Science Center speaks at June 2013 Luncheon


    On June 12, 2013, at the America Buffet, Program chairman Jean Houston introduced Dr. Clyde Nguyen to a luncheon crowd of 45 members of the TIHAA who had met to hear his presentation as well as to socialize with each other. Dr. Nguyen is from the U.T. Health Science Center in Houston and is a fellow at Memorial Hermann Hospital.

    He defined Stroke as a disruption of blood to the brain by blockage or hemorrhage. He said it was the # 4 leading cause of death in the U.S. ,and the #1 cause of disability. Symptoms include:

    Sudden - numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially one side of body
    Sudden – confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
    Sudden – trouble seeing, in one or both eyes
    Sudden – trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
    Sudden – severe headaches with no known cause

    Using the first letters of the word FAST, these are some of the warning signs:
    F – face - Ask the person to smile. Does it droop?
    A – arms - Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
    S – speech - Ask them to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?
    T – time - If you observe any of these symptoms, CALL 9-1-1. Don't waste time. This is an emergency. If given within 3 hours of the first symptom, there is an FDA approved clot buster medication that may reduce long-term disability. The Doctor told us that 87% of strokes are Transient Ischemic Attack ( TIA), or mini-stroke, of which symptoms tend to get better after a few hours, so some people don't get medical help, then they may get a big stroke later.

    There are risk factors one can do nothing about such as race, gender and ethnicity. Other risk factors we can try to control or manage such as:
    Know blood pressure-Hypertension - follow up with doctor, take medication to control.
    Identify AFIB or Atrial Fibrillation - Abnormal heartbeat can increase risk by 500%. This can cause blood to pool in heart and may cause a clot to form- identify and treat.
    Know Cholesterol levels - high levels of fatty substance in blood can cause stroke - check and control with diet and exercise or medication.
    Stop smoking - smoking doubles the risk of stroke.
    Control Diabetes - some patients have health problems that are also stroke risks. a doctor and dietitian can help to manage.
    Control Alcohol use - alcohol use has been linked to stroke in many studies. Drink only in moderation.
    Manage weight - excess weight strains the circulatory system. Exercise and diet can help. Exercising 1 to 3 times a week may help to prevent stroke.
    Aspirin - may help by thinning the blood- see your doctor.

    Dr. Nguyen spoke about several new products and technologies that are being tested which will help in the future, such as teleconferencing, a stroke robot on wheels and a stroke helmet. He did say that there are hospitals that specialize in stroke treatment.

    David L. Edwards of United National Insurance speaks at May 2013 Luncheon


    Programs Committee chairman, Jean Houston, introduced our guest speaker, David Edwards of United National Insurance, to those in attendance at the May, TIHAA luncheon meeting.

    David began by telling us that United National Insurance Agency (UNIA) is a full service, Independent Property & Casualty insurance agency that specializes in writing insurance for churches, pastors and their members, regardless of size. As an independent agent, they have a list of national insurance companies they represent. UNIA specializes in insurance for non-profit organizations.

    In his presentation, he covered the importance of understanding one's insurance policy. That is where an independent agent can go over the details with you. David related experiences with his clients after Hurricane Ike devastated many of their churches and homes.

    David stressed that with Hurricane Season close by, how important it was for everyone to have Flood Insurance, regardless of your location with respect to the flood plains. He briefly covered Liability, Key Man Life, Legacy and Final Expense Life Insurance.

    David answered several questions from the audience and gave everyone present a packet of information on UNIA, a calendar and pen. More information about UNIA can be found at their web site: www.united-insurance.com or call 713-655-0335.






    Karon Safarov of Visiting Angels speaks at March 2013 Luncheon


    Programs Committee chairman, Jean Houston, introduced our guest speaker, Karon Safarov, Community Liaison of Visiting Angels, to those in attendance at the March, Texas Instruments Houston Alumni Association (TIHAA) luncheon meeting.

    Karon shared information about Americans living longer today than ever before. This can be a good thing for the fact that we can be with our loved ones longer, but on the other hand we may need some assistance to maintain the independent lifestyle that we want.

    Karon stated that Visiting Angels services are a great choice for short or long term care, whether it be in the hospital, assisted living, nursing home or at home. Some of the services provided include personal hygiene, light housekeeping, meal preparation, medication reminders, shopping and errands, transportation and companionship.

    Although Visiting Angels is a national franchise, the Sugar Land office is locally owned and managed. They run background screening on each new caregiver. Their services are self pay and not covered by Medicare or Medicaid and most insurance companies.

    Karon answered several questions from the audience and gave everyone present a Visiting Angels packet which included a brochure, price sheet, client testimonials, pen, and keychain flashlight. More information about Visiting Angels can be found at their web site: www.visitingangels.com or call 281-207-1259.





    Keith Ogboenyiya, the C2000 Program Manager at TI-Stafford speaks at February 2013 Luncheon.


    Jean Houston, Programs chairperson, introduced Keith Ogboenyiya, General Manager of the TI C2000 32-bit MCD business unit at the Feb. 20th, luncheon meeting. He was filling in for Curt Moore who was on a business trip.

    Keith gave us a brief rundown of some of C2000 chip applications, such as:

    o Video Imaging-- video phones, security cameras, conferencing.

    o Automotive-- blind spot detection; back up sensors; and warning for a speeding auto behind your car, and making safety preparation in case of crash.

    o Infrastructure-- chips used in air conditioning controls.

    o Industrial--solar and wind technology.

    o Medical--Blood glucose meter.

    The goal, he said, is to make the company's technology safer, greener, smarter, healthier and more fun.

    Keith then showed some slides of pictures of the proposed new TI site, in Sugar Land. The pictures showed a beautiful 3 story building with lots of windows, landscaping, and a 3-story parking garage with covered walkway to the offices. The groundbreaking took place last week, Keith said. It should be finished by Dec. 2013 and ready to move into by March of 2014. Some of the design goals and objectives were:

    1. Lots of exterior wall windows.

    2 Drywall spaces located towards inside.

    3. Higher ratio of formal and informal meeting space.

    4. More smaller meeting rooms.

    5. Open Plan.

    6.Brand new furniture and lots of Tech.

    7. Space for 500 people.

    There will also be an Employee Plaza, where people can sit outdoors, and a volleyball and basketball court. There is also room for growth. The location is at the corner of Lexington and University Blvd, off the Southwest Freeway. Keith said there would be a grand opening and that the ex-tiers, and retirees, would be invited.

    Some questions asked, one of which was: Would it be accessible to our club, and was there room enough in the auditorium/cafeteria to accommodate our number of members. The answer to both was YES.

    HPD Sergeant James Byrd speaks at October 2012 Luncheon


    Programs Committee chairman, Jean Houston, introduced our guest speaker, Sergeant James Byrd of the Houston Police Department to those in attendance at the October, Texas Instruments Houston Alumni Association (TIHAA) luncheon meeting.

    Officer Byrd spoke enthusiastically about Crime Prevention, giving tips on several different topics such as Safety and Burglary Prevention, while at home, as well as while you are out. He also warned to be aware of Con Games and how to keep from falling victim.

    Tips while at home:

    · Always keep your doors and windows locked.

    · Never open door until you verify who the caller is.

    · If you notice anyone suspicious, call Police.

    · Do not disclose personal information over the phone or internet.

    · Know your neighbors.

    Tips while you are out:

    · Travel with friends if possible.

    · Always keep keys in hand while approaching or leaving your house or car.

    · Avoid displaying large amounts of cash.

    · Keep purse close to your body.

    · Park in well lit areas.

    Regarding con games, he named and described a few, such as the Jamaican Switch, Finders Keepers, Bank Examiner and the Home Improvement scam. He said if you had a problem with something similar to these you should call HPD/Major Offenders Div., Swindle Detail at 713-308-3100. Officer Byrd assured us that we could find these and many other tips and videos at houstonpolice.org. He suggested the "Get Informed" video. As he finished his talk, he passed out gifts to each guest: a high-lighter, a water-proof bag with emergency medical packs, a lighted key chain, as well as some Keep Houston Safe pamphlets describing some of the topics he had just discussed.

    Kim Cooper of Synergy Home Care speaks at September 2012 Luncheon


    Our new Programs Committee chairman, Jean Houston, introduced our guest speaker, Kim Cooper of Synergy Home Care at the September, Texas Instruments Houston Alumni Association (TIHAA) luncheon meeting.

    Kim's topic was Home Safety and Fall Prevention. Her handouts included a Home Safety Checklist to use on our homes or the home of a friend or relative. Kim went over the safety procedures in detail, covering all areas of the home from the outside approaches to inside the kitchen bedroom and bathroom. She identified many different safety apparatus that are available locally to make our homes more safe as we age and become less mobile.

    Kim also highlighted some of the services that Synergy Home Care can provide in-home to seniors, such as companionship, personal care, light housekeeping, meal preparations, medication reminders, escort for shopping and errands, respite care and many more services.

    Kim answered several questions from the audience which gave her a nice appreciative round of applause as she completed her talk. More information about the services of Synergy can be found on their web site: www.synergyhomecare.com or at 713-271-0481.









    Jerold Givens of Stafford TI-MCU speaks at May 2012 Luncheon


    Lawson Cook introduced guest speaker, Jerold Givens at the May TI Retiree Club luncheon meeting. He told us that Jerold joined TI in 1994 and currently serves as the Worldwide MCU Safety and Transportation Business Director. He previously served as TI's Worldwide Wireless Infrastructure Business Manager as well as Automotive Marketing Manager, PME, Design Manager and Designer for Microcontroller and DSP products.

    Jerold's talk was mostly interactive, with questions from the audience.

    The first question was - What is going to happen to the buildings? ..and employees? He said the site could potentially be sold as a working factory. He said there are close to 500 employees in building 2 and that TI is looking for a place to lease to relocate their groups, possibly 4 or 5 of the TI business units, preferably within a 5 to 7 mile radius of TI-Stafford. He mentioned that there was some transition taking place within the wafer fab, and job opportunities in Dallas, etc.

    As to how TI is doing, he said the business was doing well. In 1Q12, the gross profit margin was close to 50% and expenditures were down. TI is taking advantage of better opportunities in analog, and the completion of the acquisition of National Semiconductor is helping yield higher returns. He showed a favorable graph of how well TI was doing with embedded processing and analog. TI has 90,000 customers, many of their parts installed in electronics and automotive systems.

    Jerold displayed 2 TI Kits (boards) for "Show & Tell." He mentioned that these development kits used to cost $1200 and now they are fairly inexpensive at $200. Some of these kits are used to test TI's backup camera system for autos. He said that backup cameras probably will be mandated by the government in autos soon.

    When asked, he said that TI business in China was very lucrative, with lots of applications, and even going into business management. Also, he told us that TI has a large interest in the medical market, and that there is a large return on investment.

    Jerold's presentation was completed by a nice round of applause from the appreciative audience.

    Mike Bray of AARP's Tax-Aide Program speaks at February 2012 Luncheon


    Ralph Garcia introduced our February speaker, Mike Bray, the Local Coordinator (ERO) for AARP's Tax-Aide Program in District 10, as we began eating. On a couple of occasions Mike spoke of the immeasurable gratitude expressed by those helped. The Tax-Aide Program runs from Feb. 1 thru April 17. It is the nation's largest free, volunteer-run tax assistance and preparation service available to taxpayers with low- and moderate-income, with special attention to those age 60 and older. The District 10 service, located in 12 sites mostly libraries, is staffed by 150 (20 joined recently) dedicated volunteers such as our own Ralph Garcia and Lonnie Buckner. The goal for District 10 for 2011 taxes is 95% electronic filing.

    Via a PowerPoint presentation, Mike stepped through a quick summation of the numerous changes, pointing out that some of them are process changes rather than more or less taxes per se. He pointed out that the computer programs [e.g., TurboTax, H&R Block] makes the process rather seamless, whereas true paper filing requires worksheets leading to the values placed on the various 1040 schedules.

    He quickly worked his way through the applicable A,B,C codes from brokerages reporting stocks bought & sold, charitable contributions out of IRA's, lump sum social security payments, self-employment tax, non-property energy credits phase out, first time homebuyer's credit, earned income credit, mileage deductions, refunds via check to you or direct deposit into savings, emphasized sales tax deductions are much greater if use actual amounts versus the amount provided in the IRS tables.

    Mike answered or deferred a couple of individual questions from Tony Leigh and Gary Luckett, then with trailing applause he left for work. Two handouts showed all the locations. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org/taxaide.

    Skeeters spokesman, Grover 'Deacon' Jones, speaks at the January 2012 luncheon


    At the January 18 meeting our guest speaker was Grover 'Deacon' Jones representing the new Sugar Land Skeeters triple-A ball club. Through his relationships within the baseball community, it was Jones who played an instrumental role in bringing the Houston area's first minor league baseball team to the City of Sugar Land.

    Deacon started out with his personal story growing up in New York. He admitted his parents were good to him, his dad being a true deacon in church, and his mother working extra hard. He called women in general the "caretakers of society", winning a round of applause from the ladies in attendance. His father told him in his early 20's to "Never let one person or group of people keep you from being a great baseball player!" He never forgot. He stepped through his 'Philosophy of Life' in six distinct words: faith, respect (of self and others), discipline, responsibility and accountability. He mentioned encounters and lessons learned from some of the recognized baseball greats-Ted Williams, Rod Carew, Willie Stargell.

    After a two minute Skeeters promotional video using the TIRET projector/screen, Deacon changed gears and talked enthusiastically about the new non-affiliated American League AAA 'community' team offering affordable entertainment and much more. The Skeeters are the first of the Western Division teams, and will be playing away games with Atlantic League teams. He showed us a huge placard of the new multipurpose Constellation Field (72% complete, 6200 fixed seats) and pointed out the many 'family-friendly' features, including a pool, carousel and large grassy field. He discussed season tickets, group tickets and various packages. A huge, celebratory opening day is planned for April 26. Most games start at 7:05 pm. Whether a serious fan, a casual fan or a know-nothing, this is the kind of ball playing most of us love. TIRET members received or picked up a Group Experiences brochure which detailed out the Skeeters inauguaral season. The brochure information plus much more can be had from reviewing their website, www.sugarlandskeeters.com or calling Group Sales/Community Relations rep Taylor McFarland, 281-240-5523, tmcfarland@sugarlandskeeters.com.

    Medicare expert, Toni King, speaks at October 2011 Luncheon.


    At the October 19 Luncheon Meeting at America Buffet, our guest speaker was Toni King, a homegrown Medicare advocate/consultant/author that gives her Confused About Medicare presentation to numerous groups throughout Harris and Ft. Bend counties. She has made television appearances and has also written two books in simple language about Medicare, one being "Medicare Survival Guide". She (and husband Jim) began in a unique patriotic way, reciting the Lord's Prayer and Pledge of Allegiance with our attendees. Her PowerPoint presentation was augmented with a three-page handout of the slides along with her business card, a drug discount advertising card and personal information fill-in sheet, the latter a prerequisite for further contact via her free newsletter. She started by asking and taking down five FAQ-type questions from as many different TIRET members. Then she went through the topic slides in detail while taking related questions or listening to member's experiences:

    Open enrollment in 2011: Oct 15 - Dec 7
    Medicare Part A: Hospital Insurance
    Medicare Part B: Medical Insurance
    Medicare Supplement or Medigap Policies
    Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans)
    Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Plans)
    What is the "Donut Hole"????

    Having finished, she checked to see that all the erstwhile questions had been answered and said she'd stay until our business meeting completed. Many of our members approached her and she attempted to answer specific questions.

    Toni used both the 2011 and 2012 edition of Medicare & You (147 page government issue booklet) as the primary basis of her talk. The 2012 edition, unfortunately rushed to print, does not contain all the latest cost, so one is forced to access also their website, www.medicare.gov for the very latest updates.

    Medicare Survival Guide, can be bought online, www.survivingmedicare.com. Toni can be reached at 832/519-8664 or toni@survivingmedicare.com. Her website is www.tonisays.com.

    DPS Officer Richard Standifer Speaks at May 2011 Luncheon.


    DPS Officer Richard Standifer gave an exciting and riveting speech as he moved around the tables of the captivated audience. He relayed events in which he had personally witnessed, and had to make a report on automobile accidents that ended up with people losing their lives.

    His speech was on Texas Traffic Laws and his Agenda was:
    Texas Driver Point System
    Driving While Intoxicated
    Cell Phones
    Open Container Law
    Safety Restraint Law
    Move Over Law for Emergency Vehicles
    Handguns

    He did not have enough time to cover all topics, but he did cover some very important ones. He explained the point system which starts at 0 for no violations and adds 2 points for each moving violation such as speeding, running a stop sign, etc. The larger amount of points means larger fines and the possibility of losing your driving license plus having to pay more for auto insurance. He said we should be pro-active and obey the laws without being forced to, for our own safety.

    He showed us a detailed and itemized report of how much it can cost us even on a 1st offense of Driving While Intoxicated. With the car towing, storage, court cost, fines, administrative fees, DWI Education program cost, lawyer fees, etc. it can cost $12,450 and more, depending on whether there was any property damage, injuries or loss of life. That's not counting jail time and having a **Lifetime Criminal History**. He told us that a person with an alcohol level of 0.08 is legally drunk. He also warned us about driving while under the influence of strong medication that might affect our driving. He said to pay attention to warning labels. The officer also warned us about cell phone usage while driving, and although Texas does not yet have a law against it, some cities in Texas do. Speaking about the Open Container Law, he said if the seal has been broken on a container, it is an open container. He said if we're going to carry one, (of alcoholic beverages) to put it in the farthest place in the back part of the vehicle.

    He showed us some videos of accidents that have happened while an officer was talking to a driver after having pulled him over to the side of the road. These helped explain why the Move Over Law was passed. At the end of his speech, he told us we could dial *DPS for help while on the road. Their phone number is 1-800-525-5555.

    Fran Dillard of TI-Stafford HR Speaks at April 2011 Luncheon.


    Fran Dillard – TI's ASP Human Relations Worldwide Manager at Stafford – was the featured guest speaker at the April Luncheon Meeting. She spoke on the “State of TI”, updating us on the 2010 performance plus directions for the current year.

    TI not only gained product total market share in all categories last year, but also did exceptionally well financially, including achieving a near record employee profit sharing.

    She shared some of the fiscal metrics reached overall, and stated that this strategy is being carried forward into the present year. A good example, she gave, is reflected in the 1Q11 announcement of the all-cash intent to purchase National Semiconductor this year. National is a current major analog competitor and this acquisition positions TI to become the number one analog supplier in the marketplace.

    Following her prepared remarks, Fran fielded a myriad of questions from the floor, and then departed amid a hail of appreciative applause.








    Shauna Evans of FBCOEM Speaks at March 2011 Luncheon.


    Our guest speaker at the March Luncheon Meeting was Shauna Evans, Volunteer Programs Manager of the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management (FBCOEM) in Richmond. She gave us all a wealth of preparedness information in her informative and stimulating presentation. She covered the areas of:

    * How to plan for an emergency situation.
    * How to form a Family Emergency Plan.
    * How to establish a Communications Plan.
    * How to plan for your family pets.
    * How to set up an Emergency Kit supplies and necessities.

    In addition to her excellent presentation, including how she personally prepared her family for an emergency, she gave each attendee a nice bag full of brochures on Preparing for Emergencies, Emergency Supply List, Emergency Readiness and National Security wheel, Preparing Makes Sense for Older Americans, a Regional Disaster Preparedness DVD and a flashlight.

    Most emergencies don't announce themselves ahead, so the time to prepare for a personal emergency is NOW.

    More information is available at the FBCOEM website, www.fbcoem.org.







    Ray Wathen of DARS speaks at February 2011 Luncheon.


    On Feb. 16, 2011, Ray Wathen of the Texas Department of Assistive & Rehabilitative Services (D.A.R.S.), spoke to the TIRET Club members at the America Buffet Restaurant. He outlined the Specialized Telecommunications Assistance Program or S.T.A.P. This program provides assistance in the form of a voucher, for Texas residents who have difficulty utilizing the Telephone network and using the telephone. The program aids in the purchase of specialized telephone equipment and /or services . It covers: Amplified Phone or Amplified Cell Phone; TTY; Two-way Paging Device; Hands Free Phone among other devices. Qualifying disabilities are: Deaf or hard of hearing; Speech impairment or Weak speech; Blind or Visually impaired; Upper or Lower Mobility impaired and Cognitively impaired. A person has to fill out an application and provide proof of Texas residence.

    He told us it takes 40-45 days for the application to be processed, after which he/she would receive a voucher to be used for the purchase of the device. Supplied is also a list of vendors. He explained that there are many differently priced Amplified Phones and extras that can be used with them which could lead to extra cost to the purchaser.

    Ray has an office in Houston, but if a person can't make it there, he will make a house call. Ray can be contacted at 713-807-1176 or ray.wathen@caag4.com. The D.A.R.S. website is www.dars.state.tx.us.

    BeAna Alfred from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center speaks at October 2010 Luncheon.


    Programs Chairman Lonnie Buckner introduced the guest speaker, BeAna Alfred, a retired R.N. who volunteers to serve the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center's Public Education Office. She spoke on How To Reduce Your Cancer Risk.

    She listed the most prevalent types of cancers for both men and women: prostate cancer for men and breast cancer for women. Those are followed in order by lung and colon for both sexes. She discussed melanoma prevention by limiting 10am-4pm sun exposure, and using SPF 30 or greater sunscreen, regardless of your skin color.

    She covered cancer prevention from 3-4 viewpoints: types and portions of foods with an emphasis away from red meats-switch to broiled fish--and onto fruits and vegetables (more antioxidants), daily exercise(s) to ward off obesity, consistent screenings to detect cancer early which vastly improves chances of survival.

    With early detection, about 64% survive after 5 years; 12 million cancer survivors live in the U.S. Always strive toward a second opinion when it comes to cancer. Pay particular attention to lingering symptoms because misdiagnosis is common. Check out any concerns. She took several questions from the attentive audience, and was rewarded with a warm applause at the end. Several commented that she was one of our better speakers.





    Kathryn Van Der Pol of Adolf Hoepfl Garage speaks at July 2010 Luncheon.


    Programs Chairman Lonnie Buckner introduced the guest speaker, Kathryn Van Der Pol, who along with her husband, Sybren, are owners of Houston's Adolf Hoepfl Garage, in service since 1946. Kathryn spoke on "How to find a good automobile shop".

    Kathryn gave us a few pointers of things to watch and listen for when beginning a relationship with an automobile repair shop. A good shop will:

  • Depend on repeat business.
  • Know their reputation is at stake.
  • Want a long-term relationship and be willing to work with your particular needs.
  • Go the extra mile.
  • Give an accurate estimate and get your approval before they start a job.
  • Encourage you to maintain your vehicle.
  • Let you know of problems of which you may not be aware.
  • Take time to answer your questions.
  • Give you options that will save you money and time.
  • She told about some organizations that a shop can be associated with that have codes of ethics or other requirements that can increase confidence that it is a good shop. These include the ASA, BBB and AAA of Texas. She warned about extended warranty scams and recommended only extended warranties purchased from the car manufacturer, not the dealer.

    Lonnie thanked Kathryn for her informative and interesting talk and the members gave her warm applause.

    Candice Twyman of the BBB speaks at May 2010 Luncheon.


    Programs Chairman Lonnie introduced the guest speaker, Candice Twyman, the Executive Director of Houston's Better Business Bureau (BBB). Prior to the luncheon, Candice had placed handouts on every table listing important rules to avoid scams and important telephone numbers to use to report scams or to check on someone or something that arouses suspicion of a scam. Candice told the club about several calls she had received from concerned Houstonians who were victims of a scam and others who called to check on a business before becoming a victim. She said Houston is third in the nation for scams and schemes and that the most likely target is a senior citizen. Candice asked us to remember four rules to avoid scams:

  • Never give personal information to anyone who calls you on the telephone. HANG UP!
  • Watch out for the 'FREE' seminar or the 'FREE' lunch. There is usually a hard sell at the end. Remember, you owe them nothing.
  • If it sounds to good to be true, it is. There will be some kind of charge for any big ticket give away.
  • When in doubt, check it out. The list of telephone numbers has the numbers to call to check out a transaction before signing a contract.
  • Several scams mentioned are Medicare fraud, secret shoppers, persons offering services that come to you (you did not call them), Credit card scammers (never give any information if you did not initiate the call).

    Citizens can, by law, receive a free credit report once a year from each of the big three Credit Bureaus. Candice recommended calling a different credit bureau once every four months to receive your free credit report.

    After Candice completed her talk, she opened the floor for Q&A. She answered several questions from members. Russell Timm told of his recent experiences with three scammers. He told how his bank pointed out that a check would have a watermark. The bank proceeded to confirm that the checks Timm had been sent were, indeed, bogus.

    Lonnie thanked Candice for her informative and interesting talk and the members gave her warm applause.

    Debbie Turkleson speaks at April 2010 Luncheon.


    Programs Chairman Lonnie Buckner introduced Debbie Turkleson, Director of Senior Services at Neighborhood Centers, Inc., to our April 21st Luncheon Meeting attendees at the America Buffet. Debbie told us that the original organization was founded in 1907 on the East end of Houston by Alice Graham Baker mainly in an area populated by recent immigrants to the country.

    Their mission is bringing resources, education and connection to underserved neighborhoods in Harris County. They have Service Locations in many low-income parts of Houston and Harris County. They provide many services such as healthy meals to seniors, special exercise programs and English training to recent immigrants. They help people improve their lives and their communities through support, education, and assistance. Through their network of community centers and educational facilities – and through partnerships with other non-profits – they help their neighbors discover and develop their strengths and skills to become productive, self-sufficient individuals.

    At the end of her presentation, Debbie answered several questions from the audience.

    More information on Neighborhood Centers is available at www.neighborhood-centers.org.









    Bruce Petty speaks at March 2010 Luncheon.


    Bob Gruber introduced Bruce Petty, Director of the Hou-Texins Association and a Facilities Manager at TI-Stafford, to our March 17th Luncheon Meeting attendees at the America Buffet. Bruce informed us of the current "State of TI" and the outlook for 2010. He said that TI, coming out of the past recession is in good strength financially, employee morale is good, and that retiree benefits are about the same as they have been over the past ten years. He said that the RFAB building in Richardson that has been unused for the last few years is in plans for a new wafer fab in the near future.

    It was an interesting talk, supported by informative business slides and was well listened to by our membership. Bruce answered several questions from the audience.









    Steve Thomas of AARP's Tax-Aide Program speaks at February 2010 Luncheon.


    Ralph Garcia introduced our February speaker, Steve Thomas, the Local Coordinator for five Fort Bend County libraries for AARP's Tax-Aide Program. The Tax-Aide Program is the nation's largest free, volunteer-run tax assistance and preparation service available to taxpayers with low- and moderate-income, with special attention to those age 60 and older. The service is staffed by dedicated volunteers such as Steve and our own Ralph Garcia.

    Steve was born in Houston. He worked for Arthur Andersen & Co. and then for BFI for 24 years.

    Steve has been involved with AARP Tax-Aide 10 years or so. Doing taxes for him came naturally since he once did them professionally. He feels that doing taxes for people who come to Tax-Aide for help is much more rewarding than when he did it for a living.

    Steve went over a long list of changes to the IRS Tax Laws that potentially could affect our members with their upcoming 2009 Tax Returns. He answered questions from the audience and encouraged us to take advantage of the free service available at Public Libraries in the area.

    Free, year-round assistance Tax-Aide offers via the Web allows taxpayers to pose questions to online volunteers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from the comfort of home. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org/taxaide.

    Stafford Mayor Leonard Scarcella Speaks at August 2009 Luncheon.


    Programs Chairman Lonnie Buckner introduced our August speaker, Mayor Leonard Scarcella, to a packed gathering of members at the Golden Corral.

    Mayor Scarcella kept everyone's interest as he briefly covered Stafford's history and how they have been able to grow from 3,000 in 1970 to 20,000 today. He related how the City has been able to succeed even though they abolished the City property tax a few years ago.

    He brought along and explained a map of Current and Future Roadway Improvement Projects inside the City. Most of the Hwy 90A Project - widening to 4 traffic lanes each way with landscaping and turn lanes - has been completed. The major junctions have under-passes. Next is the Stafford Road/Staffordshire widening and extension to Beltway 8, and Cash Road widening.

    He talked about the expansion of the Houston Community College campus which now has 7,000 students to more than 10,000 in the future. That growth will bring more traffic to the area and benefit from all the roadway improvements. He said that the Stafford Fire Department is ISO rated #1. Five years ago the Stafford Center Arts Theater was built to serve the community. Stafford also has their own separate Municipal School District with 3,000 students, the only one in the State.

    When asked about Commuter Rail, Mayor Scarcella said that he has not given up on a Commuter Rail Line from Stafford to the Houston Medical Center.

    Mayor Scarcella has been Stafford's mayor for Forty Years. Evidently the city residents are happy with him.

    We thank Mayor Scarcella for taking time to keep our Club informed on this host City to our TI-Stafford Site.

    Sharon Bradley Speaks at June 2009 Luncheon.


    Lonnie Buckner, Programs Chairman, introduced our June speaker, Sharon Bradley, National Service Officer from the D.A.V. (Disabled American Veterans) regional office, just across the street from the V.A. hospital.

    Sharon pointed out that those honorably discharged veterans (or families) who contracted illness, disease or injury while on active duty (even if symptoms appear later) should fill in an application located on the VA website, www.va.gov.

    Veterans over 65 can receive fast-track approval. Many individual generic and specific questions and answers followed. Sharon had available several books, pamphlets, plus her business cards that were all passed out. Her indirect contact information: 713-794-3665 www.dav.org









    Constable Sgt. Joe Lee Speaks at May 2009 Luncheon.


    Sgt. Joe Lee from the Crime Prevention Bureau of Fort Bend County Pct. 2 Constable's Office was the featured speaker at the TIRET business luncheon on May 20. He gave an informative and thought provoking presentation covering his background and the duties of the Constable's Office. Constables have responsbility for both criminal and civil offenses (summons, eviction, etc.) throughout the State of Texas. Ft. Bend has 4 precincts presently.

    He told of several scams that are going around that target seniors. He gave lots of tips on how to avoid being caught in a scam. He passed out several informative brochures including an excellent 6-page handout from the Houston Police Department titled Personal Safety.

    Sgt. Lee served 27 years with the Houston Police Department before retiring in 2005. But he chose to continue working instead of retiring. He has served as a trooper for the State of Texas. He has a B.S. in Education from Stephan F. Austin State Univ. He was a 2nd Lt. in the Army National Guard until 1976. His hometown is Newton, Texas. He now lives in Ft. Bend County.







    TI-Stafford Site Manager Curt Moore Speaks at April 2009 Luncheon.


    Our Luncheon speaker for April was Curt Moore, Site manager for TI-Stafford. Curt spoke on the state of TI to well over 50 members and guests attending.

    Curt sounded positive in the way TI has positioned itself going into the current business climate. He felt a good cash position was being maintained through closely managed discretionary spending, non critical custom R & D cuts, selected plant shut-downs, worldwide RIFs, and by establishing a policy of aggressive inventory controls.

    He mentioned that TI's current business strategy is to focus on high growth markets, geographies and major needs of customers. Analog catalog products are a thrust right alongside system sell with general purpose (versus highly custom) processors.

    He also pointed out the opportunities for growth in Analog and Embedded Processing. Among the highlights in the quarter were the acquisition of CICLON semiconductor, a specialized supplier of analog chips for power management, and qualification of a new assembly/test factory. "Both improve our ability to serve customers," Curt said.

    Curt was well received and the members had more questions than there was time. Everyone enjoyed his presentation.