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June 2008

Brief Bytes

by the Editorial Team

The Future Today

Texas Tech University’s College of Education (COE) is meeting tomorrow’s call for teachers through Project Future – Finding Unique Teachers through Unprecedented Recruitment Efforts.

The program steers students toward a teaching career as early as the fifth grade, says Karen Jacobsen, director of public relations at the college.

“Many folks said, ‘That’s too young,’” Jacobsen says. “To that, we said, ‘Absolutely not, it’s the perfect age.’”

Project FUTURE served more than 490 students in 2007 from 10 school districts on the South Plains. More than 75 percent of those students are Hispanic or Black.

For more information, contact Judy Aycock Simpson,, (806) 742-1998, or visit online at

(Clint Shields)

Green Lights

More than $1 million in rebates from CenterPoint Energy await the city of Houston upon completion of its traffic-signal swap.

“The goal is to replace the incandescent bulbs in about 2,400 intersections with LED traffic signals,” says Cris Eugster, chief officer for sustainable growth in the mayor’s office.

At an average of 10 to 15 lamp heads and 40 bulbs per intersection, that equates to a lot of savings.

LEDs – light emitting diodes – will last about six years longer than current signal lights and cut energy use by about 90 percent, saving the city about $10,000 a day in utility costs.

“It makes sense from both an economic and an environmental standpoint,” Eugster says. “Other cities have done some, but we’re the largest to have made the commitment to do them all.”

For more information, contact Cris Eugster, (713) 247-2666.

(Clint Shields)

Blackberry Moves South

Research In Motion (RIM), developer of the innovative BlackBerry wireless smartphone, is establishing its U.S. headquarters in Irving, Texas. The Waterloo, Ontario-based company announced its decision in December 2007.

The company, which already has employees in Irving, plans to employ about 1,000 people there over the next several years in research and development, technical support and business administration.

RIM develops and markets a line of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market. Its customer base has expanded to more than 11 million subscribers since the company was established in 1999.

For more information, visit

(David A. Rivers)

Gone to Texas

Texas Moves

Texas is such an attractive destination for relocation that families and businesses from all over the world are moving here. For many, it’s to make a new life by leaving an old one. The common denominator for all who have moved to Texas recently is “Jobs, jobs, jobs,” says Karl Eschbach, Texas’ newly appointed state demographer.

Texas led the nation in 2005 and 2006 in the number of individuals who moved here from another state or migrated to Texas from a foreign country. Approximately 700,000 people moved here in 2005. Another 800,000 followed in 2006.

Eschbach, who is also an associate professor in the department of demography at the University of Texas at San Antonio, says, “Job availability is almost always the primary motivator for people moving from one city, state, or country to another.”

To search for jobs throughout Texas, or to view information about job trends and market data, visit the Texas Workforce Commission at

(David A. Rivers)

Long-Term Medical Care

Advances in medicine and living conditions have helped increase the life expectancy of today’s elderly, as well as those with disabilities. At advanced ages, many elderly individuals with chronic illnesses, or anyone who requires regular assistance, will require long-term care.

Options available for long-term health care vary, but at-home, family-based care, assisted living care, and nursing home care are prevalent. Family-based home care is the most popular care option, as patients prefer to remain at home among family. Home care aides offer in-home care services such as helping with cooking and cleaning. Their hourly rates range from $19 for home health care services to $38 for Medicare-certified home care services.

Nursing homes provide the next level of long-term care, full-time personal and medical nursing care for patients 24 hours a day. The average annual cost per day of stay in Texas range between $187 for semi-private room to $209 for private room accommodations.

Few health care plans cover long-term care, putting the burden of cost primarily on state-sponsored Medicaid, private long-term insurance policies, and the affected patient and family.

For more information about long-term care, visit the Texas Health and Human Services Web site at

(David A. Rivers)

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