Maritime Technology & Training CSJC to Build enter Near Shoreacres
By David Lee Janda, Jr.
San Jacinto College plans to build a Maritime Technology and Training Center on 13 acres north of the Bayport Ship Channel in Pasadena, near Shoreacres‘ southern boundary. Construction is expected to begin March/April of this year with a move-in date set for 2015.
The two-story elevated facility will include state of the art classrooms and labs and offer a high resolution, interactive, full-mission ship, towboat and tugboat simulators donated by the Houston Pilots Association. The Maritime Center is being built to accommodate future growth due to industry needs and will have space to support upwards of 15 part and full-time instructors, and upwards of 250 credit and industry students and appropriate parking space. It should be noted that not all the instructors and students would be at the Maritime Center at the same time. Students seeking an associate of applied science degree in maritime technology will divide their time between the Maritime Center and the Central Campus near Luella, where they will take courses fulfilling their general education requirements.
The facility will have an ingress and egress off of South Broadway directly across from the Shady Oaks subdivision in La Porte. Directional LED lights on the property will be used to minimize light pollution and no impact on drainage is expected.
Officials from San Jacinto College met with the mayors of La Porte, Pasadena, Morgan’s Point and Shoreacres in the fall to discuss the project and a public forum was held on September 11th at the Houston Yacht Club with citizens of the area.
“San Jacinto College is committed to meeting the educational and workforce needs of our community,” said Dr. Brenda Hellyer, chancellor of San Jacinto College. “We are developing this training center based on input from the maritime industry. Our goal is to meet both the current and future workforce needs. The jobs in this industry pay excellent wages and the demand is high for qualified and trained individuals.”
Employment in water transportation occupations along the Texas Gulf Coast is expected to increase by almost 22 percent in the next six years. Both the expansion of the Panama Canal and the growing number of maritime workers nearing retirement age have placed increasing demands for the recruitment of more skilled labor in the maritime industry.
San Jacinto College began offering maritime training in a leased facility along Highway 225 in May 2010, providing students a chance to earn associate of technology degree in Maritime Technology. The San Jacinto College North Campus offers an associate of applied science degree in International Business and Logistics, and the South Campus offers an Associate of Arts degree in Maritime Business Administration that has a transfer pathway to Texas A&M University at Galveston.
San Jacinto College also trains current mariners on updated technology and new maritime policy in fulfillment of their U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) certifications and licenses. Some of these professional mariners want to move to the next level in their career path and others are updating licenses as industry requirements change. San Jacinto College has awarded more than 1,800 certificates for USCG-approved training to members of the local maritime industry.
Around La Porte would like to thank Teri Crawford of San Jacinto College for information and assistance in preparation for the article.
Jim. FloAnn Counts - Valentines for 65 Years
WRITTEN BY Kelli Grabbe/Interviewed by Maggie Anderson Eddy - Editor
With Valentine’s Day this month, we have decided to tell the story of longtime La Porte residents Jim and FloAnn Counts, who this year will have been married for 65 years. Jim’s family arrived in La Porte in 1924, and eventually bought the shoe repair store when the original owner was ready to retire. FloAnn’s family arrived 16 years later when her Father took a job at the Houston Shipyard. Jim graduated from La Porte High School in 1945 and signed up for the Army Specialized Training Reserve Program but the war ended before he was able to complete his training. Jim then took off to Sam Houston State to pursue a degree in pre-med for a year but as FloAnn’s luck would have it, he returned to La Porte for the summer before heading off to the University of Texas in Austin to get his degree in chemical engineering.
It was that summer of 46’ between Universities that he met La Porte High School freshman FloAnn while attending a party out on Toddville Road. They dated over the course of the next few years and they were planning to be married around Easter of 1950, but when Jim returned for Christmas break in 1948 he felt that the wedding plans were full of “bedlam” as the “guest list had grown larger and the veil had gotten longer”.
So, he took things into his own hands and decided to get a marriage license for when she would visit him in February of 1949 they could be married in secret. Wanting to keep it a secret from everyone he realized that he would have to get one someplace else than Austin because all of the marriage licenses were printed up in the paper there, so he drove to San Marcos and had it waiting for FloAnn.
When she arrived in Austin on February 18, 1949 all had been prepared as his study partner, Russ and Russ’s wife Susie had arranged for their priest to marry them the next day at the parish on South Congress. And, so on February 19, 1949 unknown to their families and most of their friends, began the next 65 years of their lives together. There was one hitch, they hadn’t realized until he ran into a friend of his that also lived in the 19th street dorms. This friend greeted him Monday morning with a “Congratulations Jim”…seems his friend worked in the clerk’s office in San Marcos.
FloAnn headed back to La Porte on Sunday the 20th having put her wedding ring on a necklace so that it wouldn’t be noticed. The secrecy lasted all of a week as Jim’s mother called FloAnn and simply said “Welcome to the family.” FloAnn then moved and spent the last year of Jim’s degree with him in Austin, and then they moved back La Porte after graduation in 1951 as Jim took a job at Dupont, which he held for the next 43 years.
They lived on DuPont Rd for 10 years while they were planning to build their house in Shoreacres. In the 10 years, they had three children Rebecca Lucille born in 1951, Faye Ann born in 1953, and Jeffrey David born in 1954. Their house in Shoreacres on North Country Club Drive was finished in February 1960 where they lived for 19 years until buying a house in Fairmont.
Throughout the years, they have both been very active together and independently in boy scouts, church activities, girl scouts, the LaPorte Bayshore Emergency Corp, and many other activities. FloAnn has traveled throughout the world with friends with the support of Jim who kept the home fires burning. They attribute part of the success of their marriage to their activities and doing things together, but also having the interests independent of the other but with strong support for each other.
When asked what the most romantic thing she can remember Jim doing for her, she told us the story of how he surprised her with a trip to Waco on their 30th Anniversary in 1979. Waco. She didn’t really want to go anywhere, but he didn’t really give her a choice. On the icy drive in February, she became “madder and madder and madder still” as he drove without explanation of where they were going, even offering “if you want a divorce I’ll give you one but you don’t have to these lengths, this is ridiculous!” Once in Waco they checked into a hotel, then went to the Texas Ranger Museum and then once they left there, pulled in front of a house near Baylor and stopped the car. They “had words” for 15 minutes before he got out of the car and knocked on the door. When the door opened, the minister that had married them 30 years before appeared. Jim had arranged to have their vows renewed. Having heard the exchange of words as she approached the door he grinned and asked Jim if he “was willing to go another round with her?” She says it meant more to her than going to a local church in La Porte because it was so like him to set up and to do something so random.
When they were each asked what had allowed them to stay married for so long, she replied that he “is my life, my strength, and my backbone with ever silly thing I decided I wanted to do. Although I wasn’t the choice of some, I’m still not sure what I did to become his choice.” Jim added that to him FloAnn “is the cream of the crop. She always is the best at everything she does; she just rises to the top.”
Happy Valentine’s Day to Mr. and Mrs. Counts… and to all the Loving Couples!