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City of Katy Launches New Communications Platform

Katy, TX News (January 29, 2015) – The City of Katy has selected Blackboard Connect, a leading mass notification platform, to facilitate important communication and emergency preparedness. The first community-wide test call will be held on Thursday, January 29, 2015.  A test call to business will launch at 2 pm and the test call to residents will launch at 6:30 pm.

The City of Katy implemented Blackboard Connect so that officials can stay connected to residents and efficiently provide them with direction in the event of severe weather warning, planned and unplanned all-hazard events or community events as well.  Using Blackboard Connect, officials can record and send an unlimited number of personalized voice messages to home phones, businesses, local agencies and mobile phones in just minutes. The service also sends email, text messages (SMS) to mobile phones and posts on Facebook, RSS feeds and Twitter channels. Messages can also be sent to TTY/TDD devices for people who are hearing impaired.

“Keeping our community safe and informed is our top priority, which is why we need to be able to communicate with residents quickly in an urgent situation,” said Maria Galvez, City of Katy’s Emergency Management Coordinator.  “Katy•Connect, powered by Blackboard Connect enables us to communicate efficiently with residents in just a matter of minutes, helping save valuable time, use resources efficiently and protect our community.”

City officials can target each message to an unlimited number of groups. Authorized users can also use the system’s geo-mapping and group subscription features to contact residents based on specific geographical locations and interests, helping ensure recipients receive relevant, targeted information.

“With Katy•Connect – powered by Blackboard, we know our residents are receiving the information that matters most to them, whether it’s an urgent situation or routine community update,” said Mrs. Galvez. “I strongly encourage residents to register their contact information and update their message preferences into the system’s secure database so they are prepared to receive important notifications.”

Publicly available primary residential and business phones in the City of Katy will automatically be included in the system. However, to ensure the City has the most up-to-date contact information, including cell phone numbers and email addresses, residents should visit the City of Katy website at www.cityofkaty.com  and click on the link that says “SIGN UP NOW – SERVICES BY BLACKBOARD CONNECT” in the KatyConnect portal and provide their complete contact information. Users should also manage their message preferences by indicating their preferred mode of contact, language and message topics. You may also opt-in to receive information directly from the PARKS & RECREATION portal as well as PUBLIC WORKS.  Those without Internet access are encouraged to call 281-574-8638 to provide their current information. Residents with call blocking services should add that phone number to their approved number list to ensure they receive important notifications from the city.  All opted-in SMS messages will be sent from a 23177 or 63079 number.

“Targeted communication is the best way to keep residents safe and allows them to receive the information that matters most to them,” said Ed Miller, president of Blackboard’s administrative platform group. “With Blackboard Connect, administrators can ensure the right messages get to the right people.”

For more information about Blackboard Connect, please visit http://www.blackboard.com/connect.

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Katy, TX News – Seven Lakes Junior High Principal Reinstated

Katy, TX News (January 28, 2015) – After being placed on leave, possibly for linking to a Christian website in the Seven Lakes Junior High e-newlsetter, Principal Imelda Medrano has returned to her job. Katy ISD officials were not able to say exactly why the principal was suspended, but stated that Medrano had not been accused of any criminal activity nor any conduct that would risk the safety of the students.

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Tough Talks for Katy Families

Five difficult conversations parents need to have with their kids, and how to know when to have them

Written by Kirsten Cornell and Katrina Katsarelis

Talking to our kids is usually an enjoyable experience, but there are some topics that make many parents uneasy. Should you be the one to bring up these topics or wait for your child to approach the subject? Here are some of the most common tough talks as well as tips from the experts to help guide you.

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Katy, TX News – Katy Students Perform in London

Katy, TX News (January 26, 2015) – Brittany Bowles, Elena Irvine, and Amanda Stoner from St John XXIII College Preparatory in Katy, Texas are three of more than 500 high school cheerleaders and dancers from across the U.S. who performed in the world famous London New Year’s Day Parade, now in its 26th year.

Amanda Brittany and Elena on Parade Day

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Katy, TX News – Katy Veteran Wins Texas VFW Election

Katy, TX News (January 21,2015) –  The election for the State of Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars Junior Vice Commander was recently held at the Texas State Convention in Dallas, and Colonel Peyton Lumpkin won by a resounding margin. There were approximately 48,000 delegate votes cast, and Lumpkin received over 70% of the votes. This win places him on track to assume Command of  the Texas VFW in 2016 at the annual VFW Convention in Dallas.  In this capacity, he will be serving approximately 78,000 combat veterans in the Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars.

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The ABC’s and 123’s of Choosing a Quality Preschool in Katy, Texas

A Katy parent’s guide to the basics of selecting the right preschool for your family

Written by Freda Ihediwa and Katy Magazine’s Editors

Selecting a preschool is not an easy task, especially with the overwhelming amount of quality preschools to choose from in the Katy area. Each one has its own unique qualities, and parents diligently seek a preschool that matches their family’s educational beliefs and values. Communication and research are key components when selecting a preschool that will accommodate your needs. Here are the basic ABC’s and 123’s of selecting the best fit for you and your child.

Primrose Preschool from drive

Primrose partners with parents to assist children with developing a love for learning

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Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Concert Lineup 2015

Katy, TX – The word is out! At 12 midnight, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo released the long-anticipated 2015 concert lineup. Many are saying this is the best performance schedule in rodeo history. With chart-topping artists from various genres, this year’s rodeo is sure to be a hit for everyone.

Performing artists include Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Eric Church, Hunter Hayes, John Legend, Fall Out Boy, Tim McGraw, Ariana Grande, Billy Currington, Blake Shelton, Pitbull, Brad Paisley, and Zac Brown Band.

For a full list of entertainers, and for ticket information, visit www.rodeohouston.com/concerts.

Happy Rodeo Season, Katy!

 

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Katy, TX News – Hospital Appoints New Chief Nursing Officer

Katy, TX News (January 9, 2015) – Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital has selected a new leader for its executive team with Linda Stephens, RN, MBA, BSN being named Chief Nursing Officer (CNO).

Linda Stephens

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A Home for Healing in Katy, Texas

More than just a place to stay, Katy’s Ballard House provides patients, caregivers, and families in need with Texas-sized hospitality in a home away from home

Written by Susanna Donald | Select photography by Kristofor Rodriguez

Katy, TX News – It’s no secret that Katy is surrounded by premier medical facilities. People travel from all over the country – and the world – in order to get treatment here. But what happens when an out-of-town patient needs long-term care? Where do they sleep when they don’t qualify for a hospital bed? Being critically ill or having a loved one in the hospital is hard enough. Now imagine compounding the problem by sleeping in waiting rooms or spending money that should be going toward medical bills on a long-stay in a hotel.

KM_DecJan_14_Ballard House-Katy Magazine Winter 2014 by Kristofor Rodriguez 16

The Ballard House, a Cinco Charities community, serves to house families who have traveled to the area for long-term medical treatment

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Katy, TX News – Katy ISD to Survey Parents for Transportation Feedback, Options

Katy, TX News (January 7, 2015) – With ongoing community growth and development spurring a nearly 3,000-student annual increase in enrollment, Katy ISD’s student transportation system is facing mounting pressure. To address this growing problem, district leaders are searching for a more sustainable solution and need the community’s help to identify the best path forward.

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