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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

 
 

Catch up on two big pieces of news landing at the Houston Spaceport. Image via fly2houston.com

The Space City is starting 2022 off strong with news launching out of the Houston Spaceport — a TK-acre space in TK Houston.

The two big headlines include a unicorn company releasing the latest details of its earthbound project and fresh funds from the state to support the space ecosystem in Texas.

Governor Abbott doles out $10M in spaceport grants

Texas has launched fresh funding into two spaceport projects. Image via fly2houston.com

Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott announced $10 million in funding to two Texas spaceports as a part of the state's Spaceport Trust Fund. The Houston Spaceport Development Corp. received $5 million and the Cameron County Spaceport Development Corp. received $5 million.

The fund is administered by the Governor's Office of Economic Development and Tourism and was created to support the development of spaceport infrastructure, create quality jobs, and attract continuing investments that will strengthen the economic future of the state, according to a news release.

"For decades, Texas has been a trailblazer in space technology and we are proud to help cultivate more innovation and development in this growing industry in Cameron and Harris County," says Abbott in the release. "This investment in the Cameron County and Houston Spaceport Development Corporations will create even more economic opportunities for Texans across the state and continue our legacy as a leader in space technology."

Axiom Space hires Dallas-based architecture and engineering firm

Axiom Space has made progress on developing its 14-acre headquarters. Image via axiomspace.com

Houston-based unicorn Axiom Space has announced that it awarded Dallas-based Jacobs the architecture and engineering phase one design contract. The firm will be working on the 100,000-square-foot facility planned for the 400-acre Houston Spaceport at Ellington Airport.

Axiom Space's plans are ro build the first commercial space station that will provide a central hub for research, to support microgravity experiments, manufacturing, and commerce in low Earth orbit missions, according to a news release.

"This is an exciting and historic moment for Axiom and the greater Houston area," says Axiom CTO Matt Ondler in the release. "For the first time, spacecraft will be built and outfitted right here in Houston, Texas. This facility will provide us with the infrastructure necessary to scale up operations and bring more aerospace jobs to the area. With this new facility, we are not only building next generation spacecraft, but also solidifying Houston as the U.S. commercial industry's gateway to space."

Axiom Space, which raised $130M in venture capital last year, is building out its 14-acre headquarters to accommodate the creation of more than 1,000 high-paying jobs, from engineers to scientists, mathematicians, and machinists.

"Houston is a city built on innovation and is becoming a next-generation tech hub in the United States," says Ron Williams, senior vice president at Jacobs. "Privately funded infrastructure will drive U.S. leadership in space. Jacobs is committed to providing integrated solutions to accelerate the future of commercial space operations."

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