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Now you can hear Dave Ward's life story from the Houston legend himself

Houston news anchor Dave Ward, who reads his 13-hour audiobook with a level of emotion not normally found in such recordings. Photo courtesy of Dave Ward

As America and, indeed, the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, focus in Houston turns to legendary local news anchor Dave Ward.

"I was blessed to cover launches from Gemini Titan 3 all the way through the Apollo program, all the way to the shuttle program," he says. Ward recalls seeing the first and last shuttle launches "and a few in between," he says wryly.

No presence could have guided Houstonians through the space program with more authority than Ward, who over his career became known as the "most trusted voice in Houston." Ward waves off the title and instead looks back at the joy of covering the space program.

"It meant a lot more to us in Houston, since the space center was here," he says. "There were hundreds, thousands, of people who did all the work."

Ward's daily welcome, "Good evening, friends," resonates deeply for millions of Houstonians, having provided a comforting, familial presence in our homes for decades.

Earlier this year Ward gathered memories from his nearly 60 years in the industry and put pen to paper. Good Evening, Friends: A Broadcaster Shares His Life chronicles his history, from the son of an East Texas pastor to the Guinness World Record-holder for longest running local TV/news anchor at the same TV station in a major market.

And today we can welcome his voice back into our homes with the release of his new audio book, read by Dave Ward and produced by Gow Media. The book, co-written with Jim McGrath and with a foreword by President George H. W. Bush, touches on the people, places, and events that make Houston so special, including the rise of the U.S. space program. And thanks to being read by Ward himself, the 13-hour journey also offers an added layer of emotion not normally found in an audiobook.

Also detailed is Ward's vital role in establishing Houston Crime Stoppers — in fact, in 2017 the organization opened a three-story, 28,000-square-foot building named after Ward.

Earlier this year, CultureMap's own Ken Hoffman sat down with Ward and discussed several of the book's most memorable sections, including professional highlights and personal missteps. The book is an extraordinary telling of the life of a Houston icon, and the Houstonian broadcaster most compared to the legendary Walter Cronkite.

"I always tried to get the facts straight and get both sides of any issue," Ward says of any similarities between himself and Cronkite. "Let the viewers decide what's important."

In all, Good Evening, Friends is more than just a story of story of a local TV legend. It is, in many ways, a stirring love letter to the Bayou City.

"I grew up in Texas — I'm a native Texan," Ward says with a swell of pride. "And when I got a chance to move to Houston in 1962, I felt like I was coming home, I really did. This is my home."

Ward covering the Gemini 3 Mission in March, 1965, on KNUZ radio. It was only the ninth manned spaceflight in U.S. history. Photo courtesy of Dave Ward

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Good Evening, Friends is available in print, digital, and audio book here.

Dave Ward will also be a featured author at this year's Texas Book Festival (October 26-27), as well as at the Galveston Island Book Festival (October 12) and Kinkaid Book Fair (November 11).

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Building Houston

 
 

The Ion has fresh funds to commit to its accelerator programs. Courtesy of Rice University

The Ion — a rising hub for innovation being developed in Midtown by Rice Management Company — has received a $1.5 million grant to go toward supporting its startup accelerator programs.

The grant from the Economic Development Administration is a part of the organization's Build to Scale (B2S) program and will also benefit three accelerators: the Ion Smart and Resilient Cities Accelerator, the Rice Alliance Clean Energy Accelerator, and DivInc Accelerator.

"Receiving this grant is a big win for our city — furthering the Ion's opportunity to bring together leading minds to solve some of our toughest challenges," says Brad Burke, managing director of the Rice Alliance, in a news release from Rice. "We believe that it's a fully collaborative approach that will lead to accelerating energy innovation and sustainable solutions."

All three of these accelerators will be represented in The Ion's Accelerator Hub and will work in collaboration, according to the release, in The Ion, which is expected to open in 2021 with cohorts set to open applications in early 2021.

"We are really excited about working together with DivInc and the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship to realize the full potential of the opportunities that these funds will help unleash," says Jan Odegard, interim executive director of the Ion, in the release.

The Ion Smart and Resilient Cities Accelerator has cycled through two rounds of cohorts — first focusing on resilience and mobility in Cohort 1 then air quality, water purification, and other cleantech in Cohort 2.

The 12-week Clean Energy Accelerator was only recently announced by The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship at the annual Energy Tech Venture Forum earlier this month. The program is established to support Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's Climate Action Plan.

Meanwhile, DivInc's accelerator comes out of a partnership with the Austin-based nonprofit and The Ion, which was announced in spring of this year. The goal with this program is to increase access to minority entrepreneurs.

"DivInc embodies the mindset that this generation and all the generations of innovators to follow must be inclusive of people of color and women entrepreneurs – who will build successful scalable growth companies to address tomorrow's challenges and opportunities," says Preston James, chief executive officer at DivInc, in the release.

"By removing the barriers that currently exist, we unleash this untapped potential and lift Houston to new economic heights. To do this we must establish strong collaboration with partners like The Ion, Rice University, the EDA and many others."

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