Published in the Galveston Daily News in a column where Tom writes original articles about Galveston Real Estate.

This newspaper has had some interesting front page articles recently about, in my opinion, easily resolved issues. So it made me stop and think, what are the important things that folks look for in a community? I think it’s things like consistency from its leaders in permits, regulations and laws. Schools, of course, and nearby top-rated medical facilities are also near the top of the list. There is also that something special that one desires. I believe that is all the extras, the whipped cream and cherries that make a community like Galveston County a place to call home.


One of those things for those of us over 55 is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, or OLLI. It’s learning for the love of learning. OLLI at UTMB Health is supported by UTMB, endowed by the Bernard Ocher Foundation, and receives funding from other foundations and individual personal contributions. OLLI Founding Director, Michelle Sierpina, PhD and her staff work tirelessly to ofer a plethora of classes on a wide variety subjects. OLLI’s mission is to provide a welcoming environment for all those 55 or over through a collaborative program, in semester-length, college level courses. Membership is $25 a year. The curriculum is designed by learners to meet specialized interests, capitalize on unique regional resources and environment, and utilize local experts for faculty. Most Galveston classes meet in Suite B101 4700 Broadway in Galveston. No credits, no exams, no grades — just learning for the love of learning… and the fun of it! From their website one learner said, “When my husband and I moved to Galveston, OLLI became our Welcome Wagon.” Learn more at

Hey, it’s one of the positive things about getting older! Another thing I love about this community that increases its quality of life is its innovative ways to raise money for all different types of charities and venues that benefit us all. One such example is our Galveston’s Own Famers Market that takes place every Sunday morning from 9 a.m. at 2508 Post Office St. They are having a fundraiser on July 30 at the Ocean Grille and Beach Bar, their first annual OkraFest. The Ocean Grille, a brand new restaurant located at 1228 Seawall Blvd., is already extending a helping hand to a great organization. I hope you can join me to revel in our coastal region’s year-long growing season and enjoy a good time — all in the name of supporting the local foods we love. Your OkraFest ticket allows you to savor the lavors of a Gulf Coast summer with a small plate menu crated by Chef Brian Peper of Ocean Grille and live music by Kevin Anthony & Friends. You get great food, comradery, entertainment and lovely gulf views for only $30. It’s on July 30 from 7 to 10 p.m. and tickets can be purchased at www. Our quality of life is another reason why those of us lucky enough to live by the sea are lucky enough!