The 05-01-24 Edition of The Fort Bend Star

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Applications for Fort Bend County Fair

Queen open through June 13

The Fort Bend County Fair is accepting entries for the Fair Queen Scholarship Contest through June 13. Pictured is 2023 Fort Bend County Fair Queen Kathryn Thompkins. Contributed photo

The Fort Bend County Fair is accepting entries for the Fair Queen Scholarship Contest through June 13, 2024. The contest is limited to the first 20 entries. A mandatory orientation meeting will be held on Sunday, July 14, at 2 p.m. at the Fairgrounds in building W.

“Being a Queen candidate is an experience like no other. The candidates undergo a journey that allows them to obtain basic real-life skills to be applied personally and professionally throughout their lifetime,” Fort Bend County Fair President Alicia Casias said in a press release. “The competition fosters strong bonds between the candidates inspiring lifelong friendships.

The Fort Bend County Fair Queen will serve as an ambassador throughout the fair’s 10-day run. As part of her duties, the Queen attends receptions, livestock shows, and auctions. In addition, the Fair Queen represents the Fort Bend County Fair Association at community events, luncheons, holiday gatherings, and other fair activities throughout the year.

The Fort Bend County Fair Queen Scholarship Contest is for females between the ages of 15 and 19 who are residents of Fort Bend County. The competition is based on a personal interview, an essay, a networking event, and overall participation. Winners receive scholarships and prizes for their efforts.

The 2024 Fort Bend County Fair Queen will be crowned on Friday, September 27. For more information, visit or call the Fair Office at 281342-6171.

Months after the news broke about a projected $136.2 million cost overrun for Fort Bend ISD’s record $1.26 billion bond program, a report of an outside investigation released April 22 finds that the main culprits behind the overrun are the prior administration’s failure to account to new inflation costs while not incorporating changes in the scope of many projects into the budget - not the failure of one former employee to forward an email about cost projections to others in the administration

The FBISD board late Monday evening voted 61, with Position 6 trustee Kristen Davison Malone abstaining, to waive the board’s attorney-client privilege and release the report prepared by Michelle Morris, an attorney with the Houston firm Rogers, Morris & Grover. The firm, which has done extensive work for the district in the past, was retained by the board at the recommendation of Position 3 trustee Rick Garcia, a member of the board’s audit committee.

Outgoing board president Judy Dae, presiding over her last meeting after electing

not to seek reelection to her Position 2 seat, said that releasing the report was necessary out of transparency to the voters. At the board’s February 5 meeting, a few weeks after board members first became aware of the cost overruns, Deputy Superintendent Steve Bassett gave an extensive presentation to explain how the bond program, which had been overwhelmingly approved by voters in May 2023, had incurred such massive overruns just a few months later.

A nearly full house filled the Missouri City Community Center last week as officials from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and representatives of several area environmental groups held a town hall meeting. The meeting, billed as the “EPA Region 6 Environmental Awareness Town Hall in Fort Bend,” brought EPA Region 6 director Earthea Nance and several of her staff members based in Dallas to the area while they were attending a conference in Houston. Aside from Texas, Region 6 includes

Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and 66 tribal nations. Before her appointment by President Joe Biden, Nance, an environmental engineer, had been a professor at Texas Southern University in Houston. Representatives of area environmental groups during a panel discussion included Donna Thomas and Veronica Peña of Fort Bend Environmental Organization; Stefanie Tomaskovic, director of the Coalition for Environment, Equity and Resilience; Jennifer Hedaya, executive director of Air Alliance Houston; Adrian Shelley, executive director of the Texas branch of Public Citizen; Maria Lopez of


“This administration is doing more than has been done in generations. I know it’s still not enough. Because we have to work within the boundaries of existing regulations and laws, the pace of government can feel too slow, and I know this can be frustrating. It can even by infuriating,” Nance said in her opening remarks.

Nance explained that major environmental laws in the United States, including the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, are enforced through the concept of “federalism” - that is, federal laws are administered

through state government agencies.

“Many factors that affect your daily lives, including where facilities are built, and proximity to schools and neighborhoods, are determined by local governments. EPA does not have authority over some things such as local zoning decisions. Under the framework of shared government power, we are also required to work with states, including the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, that comply with the law,” she said. Nance said the EPA can act by issuing rules “based on sound science and the law” and awarding grants to local agencies and groups. The agency also has oversight authority over permitting in the states, and engages with state agencies

- that is, dealing with the impacts that environmental hazards can have on minority and low-income communities.

Mi Familia Vota; and Nova Jones of the Houston branch the Sierra Club.
TCEQ to ensure compliance. Much of that oversight
the assistance
that her staff
20 members
specifically engaged in “environmental justice”
Report: FBISD decisions, not a missing email, to blame for bond program overruns
addresses environmental concerns, including WA Parish plant, at environmental town hall
of public comments on
matters as siting of
and permitting, she said. She said
now includes
who are
Moustafa Ali, a junior at Lamar CISD’s Bush High School and a leader of its environmental club, addresses an EPA Town Hall in Missouri City last week. Photo by Ken Fountain
An outside investigation has found that the Fort Bend ISD administration’s failure to account for increased inflation figures is the primary reason for cost overruns on the $1.26 2023 bond program. File photo by Ken Fountain
3 Fort Bend / Southwest • Volume 49 • No. 18 • $1.00 Visit WEDNESDAY • MAY 1, 2024 SEE TOWN HALL PAGE 2 By
KFOUNTAIN@FORTBENDSTAR.COM Community Reports 713.370.3600 $65.00
The Sugar Land Jazz Festival - Page
Ken Fountain

In the presentation, Bassett told trustees that new estimates of the bond program’s projected costs, based on such factors as total square footages of campuses, that an outside consulting firm, PBK Architects, that had been sent to a former senior employee of the district in November 2022, when the district was planning for the bond, had not been shared with the district’s executive team.

While Bassett and other administration staffers did not directly name the former employee, materials shown in the presentation indicated that it was Carolina Fuzetti, who had been the district’s executive director for design and construction. Fuzetti left the district in October 2023, after the bond’s passage, for a job in the private sector.

Other district officials told the board that in addition to the unshared information from PBK, the lion’s share of the cost overruns was due to the “hyperinflation” the district and the greater Houston economy as a whole has endured in the past few years.

In the 19-page report (excluding attachments), Morris writes that Fuzetti had indeed not forwarded the November 2022 email from PBK because she did not intend to go with the consulting firm’s recommendations.

Fuzetti and other people interviewed by Morris, according to the report, told her that they repeatedly made their own concerns about the bond program’s projected costs known both to Bassett and then-Superintendent Christie Whitbeck, but that Whitbeck in particular was primarily focused on keeping the bond amount down in order to win approval from both the board and later with voters.

In December, the board approved what was framed as a voluntary retirement agreement with Whitbeck, later voting to name Marc Smith, then superintendent of Duncanville ISD, as the lone finalist to replace her, which became official in January. Whitbeck’s departure, and the board turmoil surrounding it, occurred before the news of the bond overruns first broke.

PBK had prepared its initial cost estimates for the bond program using expected inflation numbers based on the year 2022, because that had been when the district originally planned to put the program before voters. But other factors required the bond program to be pushed back to 2023.

“Upon PBK’s completion of the cost estimates, the administration did not include PBK in ongoing bond planning for the major projects, and in several instances chose not to use PBK’s recommended cost projections. In some instances, decisions not to use PBK’s cost projections resulted in budgeting decisions that did not adequately account for anticipated inflation or failed to account for inflation altogether,” Morris writes in the executive summary of the report.

“While there were several administrative decisions that have led to the current projected shortfall, the primary cause relates to the failure to properly account for anticipated construction inflation during the budget planning,” she continues.

“With respect the claim

that [Fuzetti] failed to share information contained in a November 2022 email from PBK, the evidence, as set forth in this report, does not support the conclusion that the email - or the District’s failure to act on that email - has contributed to the current projected shortfall,” she writes.

The report goes into extensive detail about how the bond program developed, providing details on discussions among administration employees with each other and with outside consultants, broken down by specific projects.

In it, Morris goes into extensive discussion over Bassett’s assertions during the February board meeting about the November 2022 email.

“In his explanation to the Board, Bassett states that PBK’s November 2022 email contained information about ‘new schools’ and that the email was focused on the ‘major projects’ in the bond program and ‘didn’t focus on anything else,’ and that this information ‘wasn’t used’ to modify the administration’s planning assumptions. Review of the November 2022 email exchange reveals that Bassett’s statement that the email was ‘about the major projects, it was new schools and the big rocks in our bond plan’ was not accurate. PBK’s recommendation was not directed towards all major projects, rather, the recommendation was specific to the elementary demo/rebuild projects only. PBK confirmed that it did not recommend increases to the cost per square foot assumptions for any other major projects,” she writes.

Malone also states that in her own interview with her, Fuzetti - who had been PBK’s sole point of contact with the district during the bond development - confirmed that she did not forward the email to anyone else in the district.

“She ignored PBK’s recommendation to increase the projected budgets for the two elementary rebuilds because she thought PBK’s $400 per square foot recommendation was too high, based on her review of elementary school projects recently completed in the area, including in FBISD,” Morris writes.

“Fuzetti shared her belief that architects ‘love high numbers’ because it translates into higher design fees and gives them flexibility to design ‘Taj Majal’ schools that are larger than necessary, with overly extravagant finishes,” she writes.

Later in the report, Morris writes about how the administration felt about Fuzetti’s ability to reduce costs once the bond program began.

“The weight of the evidence does not support Bassett’s speculation that had he or others known of the PBK email, the District would have increased any budget numbers, especially once Fuzetti explained her rationale for her proposed project budgets. Bassett stated that the District had a lot of faith in Fuzetti to make the numbers work. He described Fuzetti as a ‘rock star,’ who had been able to make everything work in the both the 2014 and 2018 Bond programs, even generating substantial contingency savings under both programs. He stated that going into the 2023 election, District leadership believed that Fuzetti would make the numbers work this time around, as well,” she writes.

Later in the report, Morris addresses the issue of how higher-than-anticipated inflation factored into the bond overrun.

“(O)nce the administration learned that the bond election they hoped would be called in 2022 was going to be delayed to 2023, the administration did not increase the budget numbers published in 2022 to account for the delay in election date or projected construction schedules. The weight of the evidence establishes that administration leaders made a conscious decision not to do so, despite warnings from some within the administration, and without consulting any thirdparty District consultants,” she writes.

Morris says that Fuzetti and another former staff member, then-Chief Operations Officer Oscar Perez, raised concerns about the unadjusted numbers with both Bassett and Whitbeck on several occasions.

“When I asked Perez how Bassett and Dr. Whitbeck responded to his concern, Perez said that they claimed to understand his concern, but that nothing was ever adjusted. Perez explained that neither he nor Fuzetti had the authority to unilaterally increase any of the budget numbers being presented to the (Bond Oversight Committee) or the Board. That decision, according to Perez, had to be ‘the Superintendent’s call.’ Perez told me that had he still been employed with the District in early 2023 and observed the administration still presenting the same 2022 capital plan budget to the Board for a 2023 Bond election, he would have felt compelled to put his concerns about the lack of inflation adjustment in writing,” Morris writes.

“The evidence demonstrates that the administration clearly understood the risks of inflation, particularly as it relates to delays in construction,” Morris writes.

“During the February 9, 2023 Board workshop prior to the Board’s vote to call the Bond election, the administration explained that the cost to address critical deficiency/ life cycle needs that had not been addressed in previous bond programs were continuing to increase over time, due to inflation. However, the administration did not highlight the fact that no further inflation adjustments had been made to the projected costs of the P-1 line items or the major project budgets when the proposed 2022 bond election was delayed to 2023.

“The evidence set forth above supports the conclusion that the administration made a conscious decision not to increase budget numbers set in 2022, following the delay of the bond election from 2022 to 2023. This decision has impacted each major project, as well as renovation projects developed using the P-1 database, which are now being priced by both design professionals and contractors using 2024 dollars at the earliest,” she writes.

Since the news of the cost overruns broke, administration officials have told the board that they have worked through various means to substantially reduce the projected overruns.

The full report can be found at handlers/filedownload.ashx?moduleinstanceid=351728& dataid=206703&FileName= InvestigationReport2023Bo nd.pdf.

Nance told the audience that the air quality monitoring network in the greater Houston area, including Fort Bend County, is in compliance with federal regulations, and the EPA has no authority to require the TCEQ to install new monitors.

But her staff did provide Thomas, of the Fort Bend Environmental Organization, with several laser-based “Purple Air Monitors” that the group could install in the county to measure ambient air pollutants as part of a pilot program. An EPA staffer said that while the monitors are not of the high caliber of the official monitors, they can provide valuable data that EPA can use in its decision-making.

Much of the discussion during the meeting centered on the WA Parish plant, a coal-fired power plant operated by NRG located outside Richmond. Several environmental advocacy groups have labeled the plant one of the “dirtiest” and most harmful such plants in the country.

Shelley, of Public Citizen, said the WA Parish plant has had several operational issues during severe weather events in recent years, while also struggling to remain profitable.

“We know that coal is not profitable, we know that coal is not reliable. So the question is, why are we still operating a very large coal plant in Fort Bend County?,” Shelley said. “One reason is that it is the location of the only operating carbon-capture facility in the nation. We see carbon capture in the energy generation space as a false solution.”

Nance and some of her staff members reminded the audience that the EPA has no authority to shut down any plant, including the WA Parish plant. But, they said, the agency has proposed rulemaking that could impact how the plant continues operating. They said that the new rules would be released “very soon.”

Indeed, the EPA announced several new rules dealing with fossil fuel-based electricity generations. In a press release, the agency said the new rules “reduce pollution from fossil fuel-fired power plants in order to protect all communities from pollution and improve public health without disrupting the delivery of reliable electricity.

“These rules, finalized under separate authorities including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, will significantly reduce climate, air, water, and land pollution from the power sector, delivering on the BidenHarris Administration’s commitment to protect public health, advance environmental justice, and confront the climate crisis,” the press release stated.

Among the new rules that would affect the WA Parish plant are one that would updating the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for coal-fired power plants, tightening the emissions standard for toxic metals by 67 percent and finalize a 70 percent reduction in the emissions standard for mercury from existing lignite-fired sources; reduce pollutants discharged through wastewater from coal-fired power plants by more than 660 million pounds per year, ensuring cleaner water for affected communities, including

communities with environmental justice concerns that are disproportionately impacted; and require the safe management of coal ash that is placed in areas that were unregulated at the federal level until now, including at previously used disposal areas that may leak and contaminate groundwater.

All of the new rules are expected to be challenged in court.

During an extensive question-and-answer session, attendees asked a wide range of questions pertaining specifically to Fort Bend County and to the greater Houston region. The questions touched on such subjects as pollutant levels in specific neighborhoods, such as Green Valley Estates in Fort Bend Houston, the quality of water, and how young people can become more involved in promoting environmental quality.

In an emailed statement, NRG, which operates the WA Parish plant, said, “NRG takes protecting the environment and complying with all environmental requirements very seriously, and the workforce at WA Parish has a strong focus on safety and environmental compliance. We are proud of our environmental record and committed to delivering on our vision for a more sustainable energy future by targeting a 50% reduction of our greenhouse gases by 2025 (based on a 2014 base year) and net-zero emissions by 2050.”

“Our fleet, including the WA Parish plant, remains committed to providing customers with the reliable power that they depend on — all while delivering on our vision for a more sustainable energy future,” the statement said.

Let the community know in our Community Calendar! Contact:
BOND FROM PAGE 1 TOWN HALL FROM PAGE 1 HOME IMPROVEMENT PUBLISHER & OWNER BRIAN CALLE SALES/MARKETING INEZ RIVERA Sales Manager DESIGN LAURA WHITE Production Manager/Senior Designer EDITORIAL KENNETH FOUNTAIN Editor in Chief WEBSITE: FACEBOOK: EMAILS: MAIL: 2400 CENTRAL PKWY  STE I HOUSTON, TX 77092-7712 PHONE: 713.371.3600 TX STREET MEDIA A division of THE FORT BEND STAR WELCOMES OPINION ARTICLES ON MATTERS OF INTEREST TO FORT BEND COUNTY RESIDENTS. PUBLICATION IS AT THE DISCRETION OF THE EDITOR. DONATIONS PAGE 2 • Wednesday, May 1, 2024 THE STAR See us online Drymalla Construction Co. is soliciting proposals for the New Needville Junior High. The project includes but is not limited to: dirt work, utility work, concrete paving, concrete walks, concrete slabs, structural steel, steel joists, metal deck, single ply roofing, steel studs and drywall, masonry, metal wall panels, aluminum, steel and plastic laminate covered doors, aluminum windows, PEMB, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. Interior finishes include but are not limited to: steel studs and drywall, resilient flooring, carpet tiles, ceramic tile, wood gym floor, paint, acoustical ceiling, millwork, casework, expansion joint covers, marker board, tack boards, projection screens, fire extinguishers and cabinets, rolling shelves, toilet partitions, toilet accessories, metal lockers, plaque, identifying devices, and window blinds. Plans will be available 4/18/2024 and Proposals will be received until 2:00 PM Wednesday May 15, 2024, at the offices of Drymalla Construction Co. LLC, 608 Harbert, Columbus, TX 78934, via fax 979-732-3663, or email to NO PHONE BIDS WILL BE ACCEPTED! Information on how to obtain copies of the Request for Qualifications/Proposals documents call 979-732-5731, or email Larry Bookout at Documents are available online at and Dodge Plan Room, Virtual Builders Exchange, and Pantera. REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS GARAGE SALE Sat, May 4th 7am-12 noon 2507 Trailside Court Sugar Land, TX 77479 Household items, gas bar-b-que grill, furniture, sears dishwasher & miscellaneous 713.371.3600 GARAGE SALE? TELL EVERYONE! @FORTBENDSTAR
EPA Region 6 Administrator Earthea Nance, second from left, speaks to attendees at an environmental town hall in Missouri City. Photo by Ken Fountain

The Reid Feed: Smooth sounds and sweet vibes at the Sugar Land Jazz Festival

Janet Sue Ryan Lee

In the heart of Texas, where the air is thick with the promise of cultural diversity and vibrant entertainment, lies Sugar Land, a city on the cusp of becoming a regional beacon for outdoor festivities. The Sugar Land Jazz Fest, slated to grace The Crown Festival Park at

Sugar Land on May 11-12, is yet another testament to the city’s dedication to offering its residents and visitors unforgettable cultural experiences.

The collaboration between Sugar Land’s Tourism Division, Visit Sugar Land, and Spectrum Concessions is set to transform the cityscape into a haven for music aficionados and culinary enthusiasts alike. With an array of entertainment, food, and activities on offer, the Sugar Land Jazz Fest promises to be a celebration like no other. Doug Adolph, the city’s spokesman, and Community Engagement Director, echoed similar sentiments. “We’ve never had a jazz centric music celebration in the past, so this will be something new and really exciting, that, as I

mentioned, meets the expectations of our citizens,”

At the heart of this extravaganza lies the music, pulsating through the air with the smooth cadence of jazz. The festival boasts an impressive lineup of Grammy and Billboard artists, each poised to captivate audiences with their melodic prowess. Among the jazz luminaries gracing the stage are the likes of Boney James, Tower of Power, Vincent Ingala, Gerald Albright, Terrace Martin, and the hometown hero, fivetime Grammy Award winner Robert Glasper. From soulful ballads to upbeat grooves, these musicians promise to take listeners on a sonic journey unlike any other.

There is also something extra special about having Robert Glasper perform, see-

ing as how he grew up right around the corner in Missouri City, and has become such a tour de force of originality in jazz. Also, fun fact, one of our close friend’s father was actually one of the original members of Tower of Power and is the current bandleader for Saturday Night Live.

But the Sugar Land Jazz Fest is not just about the music — it’s an immersive experience that tantalizes all the senses. As attendees sway to the rhythm, they’ll have the opportunity to indulge in a culinary adventure, sampling global cuisine paired with refreshing cocktails. From tantalizing street food to gourmet delights, there’s something to satisfy every palate.

“This is an exciting time for our city,” says Elizabeth

Huff, director of economic development and tourism. “The Sugar Land Jazz Fest, the [recent] Honeyland Festival, epitomize our commitment to providing unparalleled cultural and entertainment opportunities while bolstering tourism to ensure the resilience of our economy.”

As Sugar Land Jazz Fest draws near, anticipation mounts, and excitement fills the air. Whether you’re a jazz aficionado, a foodie seeking culinary delights, or simply looking to immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of Sugar Land, the Jazz Fest promises an experience that will linger in your memory long after the final note has faded. “As a first of its kind, what’s cool about this festival is that it further establishes Sugar Land as a destination

for cultural entertainment and expands offerings that focus on music,” says Adolph. Mark your calendars, gather your friends and family, and head to Crown Festival Park at Sugar Land for a weekend of smooth sounds and sweet vibes. Let the music carry you away as you bask in the warmth of community spirit and the joy of shared experiences. Learn more at

Ryan Lee Reid, “The Piano Cowboy”, and Janet Sue Reid, “The Culinary Cowgirl”, are artists and creators. They transform space and time to move and heal people through art. They live in Sugar Land with their children. Find their full bios and contact them through

tequila tastings, and a variety of food options; Beats Beer Garden, featuring piano bar entertainer Ventzi Nelson; Keith King BMX shows; Reptile Adventures; and Body Marbling. Learn more and purchase tickets at Sweet Beats Music Festival set for May 4-5

The Sweet Beats Music Festival, presented by Spectrum Concessions and the City of Sugar Land, will be held at The Crown Festival Park on May 4-5, 2024. The event will feature a host of musical acts and a variety of activities for the whole family. The headliners for the festival will be Rebelution, JJ Grey & Mofro. Other performers include The Red Clay Strays, North Mississippi Allstars, Gin Blossoms, Mark May, Ventzi Nelson, The Powell Brothers, New Breed Brass Band, De’luna, Latin Groove, Rapture, and the New Orleans Hustlers Brass Band. Tribute acts will include Rumours Atl

(Fleetwood Mac), Selena Forever (Selena), and Too Much Too Say (Dave Matthews Band). The event will also feature Sweet Beats Cantina, described as “the biggest Cinco de Mayo celebration in Sugar Land,” with including Latin music, dance,

The Sugar Land Jazz Fest, the latest addition to the area cultural scene, will be held May 11-12 at The Crown Festival Park.
See us online THE STAR Wednesday, May 1, 2024 • PAGE 3
Art and Culture Columnists
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Did you just finish paying your federal income tax? How much did you pay? Mark Cuban paid $275,900,000. Are you rich or poor? In Texas and in Houston we have lots of both. So let’s see how you stack up against your neighbors. In 2022, the per capita income for Texans was $37,514. The median household income was $73,035. We are slightly poorer than the rest of the nation which had a median household income of $74,580, a decrease from the previous year. (Notice these figures, the latest available, are not current. The IRS is understaffed


A wealth of wealth

and woefully behind in their work.)

First let us look at the rich among us, and I hope you can join them shortly. In 2021, about 12.6 million tax returns were filed in Texas.

Of those, 72,880 reported an adjusted gross income of at least $1 million, according to the Houston Business Journal. That’s a huge jump from the year before. In 2020 a mere 49,420 Texans made it into the million-plus club. Those new earners – remember this is earned dollars in one year, not just net worth – therefore qualified as members of the top 1 percent club. Some of these Richie Rich Texans are natives, but data shows that many others voted with their feet (or Lamborghini). They moved here fleeing such high-tax states such as California. Welcome, Elon Musk. But don’t cry for me, California. According to an article in the Houston Chronicle, California ranked first in the nation in million-dollar earners in 2021, with about 156,000 people reporting that level of income compared with 110,000 in 2020. But these millionaires are relatively poor compared to – ready? –

the billionaires. According to Forbes magazine, there are now at least 14 billionaires in Houston, up from 12 in 2023, and the collective wealth of the 12 who were on the list last year has increased from $71.1 billion in 2023 to $81.5 billion as of this month. Who are these billionaires? You may not have heard of Houston’s richest person. He’s Jeffery Hildebrand, oil man, net worth $14.67 billion. A few years ago, his company, Hilcorp Energy, was named one of the 50 best places to work. Why? In 2015, Hildebrand gave every single one of his 1,399 employees a bonus of $100,000. The bonuses were tied to company goals, which we must suppose, were met. But we’ve all heard of Tilman Fertitta, owner of the Houston Rockets and the Landry’s restaurant, hotel and gambling empire, with a net wealth of $7.7 billion. His wealth rose 22 percent from last year. Other Houstonians in the billionaires club are Danine Avara, Scott Duncan, Milane Frantz and Randa Duncan Williams who inherited their wealth from their father, Dan Duncan, the founder of pipeline gi-

ant Enterprise Products Partners. Each Duncan is worth more than $5 billion. If you drive a Lexus or a Toyota, you probably bought it from Dan Friedkin, owner of Gulf States Toyota, who has a net worth of $5.2 billion, up by18 percent from $4.4 billion in 2021. Just think if the Houston Texans had won the Super Bowl. Janice McNair, the widow of Bob McNair and majority owner of the Houston Texans, has a net worth of $5 billion, up 19 percent from $4.2 billion in 2021. John Arnold, a former Enron executive, left to form his own energy company, and now has a net worth of $3.3 billion, unchanged from 2021. Arnold is one of 10 members of the Forbes 400 to have joined the Giving Pledge group and have given away more than 20 percent of their fortune to charity, joining Bill Gates, Melinda French Gates, MacKenzie Scott (exwife of Jeff Bezos), Warren Buffett, George Soros and others.

Richard Kinder, net worth: $11 billion, another Enron alumni, now owns the largest natural gas pipeline network in the United States. The

Kinders, also members of the Giving Club, have given away about $700 million. Other Houston billionaires include Jim Crane, Houston Astros owner and logistics ($1.4 billion). There are probably more billionaires in Houston who prefer not to let anyone know: drug lords, Mafia kingpins and those who keep their fortunes hidden in Swiss banks away from the IRS. If I left you off the list, I’m sorry, but I am a member of the Takers Club, so keep me in mind.

As we can see, many if not most, of our billionaires made their fortune in the energy biz, but the richest folks in Texas are Elon Musk (net worth $189.22 billion) and Alice Walton of Fort Worth (net worth $51.4 billion). She is the only daughter of Sam Walton, Walmart’s founder. Neither of them are heavy into energy.

All of the above brings us to this past January, which was Poverty in America Awareness Month. I celebrated by buying a luxurious lunch for a poor person: me, although I didn’t care for the snooty waiter’s condescending tone: “Please pull up to the next window for

your order.” Alas, Texas has more than our share of the poor. Despite a reduction in the state’s poverty rate from 17.9 percent to 14 percent over the past decade, Texas still exceeds the national average, ranking 11th among all states and the District of Columbia in 2022. Breaking that down, between 2012 and 2022, children showed the most improvement, though one in five children are still living in poverty, but our kids are still at a higher risk than any other age group. At the same time, our elderly are doing worse, with a


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day (abbr.)

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31. V. William’s clothing line

32. Scotland’s poet’s initials

Auto 38. Single spot card in a deck 39. Crow sound 40. Former CIA 42. Factory where arms are made

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Arab sailing vessel 54. Hay bundle 56. Blood type 57. Driver compartment 58. “Das Kapital” author Marx

62. Consume food 63. Dental degree Answers

and South Texas school districts have over a quarter living in poverty. What we have here is income disparity, and the solution is simple: Get our poor into the energy biz.
is not a billionaire at
slight increase in the poverty rate among people over 65. Where do most of our poor children live? Check our schools, which keep up with a family’s income for school lunches and such. Central city school districts have a higher poverty rate than their suburban counterparts. Rural, West,
FORTBENDSTAR. COM • 713-371-3600 SUDOKU WORD SCRAMBLE the leader Puzzlers. aCrOss 1. Fashion dandy 4. Cycles per second 7. Strikebreaker 11. Aquatic reptile (informal) 13. Express pleasure 14. Swiss river 15. Contains cerium 17. Ribonucleic acid 18. On top 19. Taxis 21. Banking machine 22. Small salamander 23. Voltage 25. Pointed summit 27. DWTS host 33. In a way, smoked 34. Peat moss source 35. W. African nation Sierra ___ 36. Cocoa plum tree 41. Holiday (informal) 44. Venezuelan capital 46. DWTS hostess 48. Hideouts 50. Actress Lupino 51. The content of cognition 53. Point one point N of due E 55. Plunder a town 59. No. Albanian dialect 60. No
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found in this week’s Classified section PAGE 4 • Wednesday, May 1, 2024 THE STAR See us online
Lynn Ashby Columnist

Time in a bottle


“Time. time. time / See what’s become of me / While I look around for my possibilities” - Simon & Garfunkel, “A Hazy Shade of Winter” (by way of The Bangles)

Iam not normally in the business of bragging. Clearly there are plenty of people beneath me both intellectually and… intellectually. But even these clueless souls would agree that I avoid grandstanding after I let them know how awesome I am. So it is with humility that I submit the following. I was among a chosen few, gifted with reason and intelligence, to receive a personal request by mail from the

On the wall above my desk as I write this is a framed reproduction of Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom of Speech,” one of four paintings the seminal American artist did for the Saturday Evening Post in 1942 to help promote President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” initiative as the U.S. entered World War II. My sister bought the print for me when we saw an excellent Rockwell exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (in February 2020, right before the COVID lockdown), and later had it framed for me as a birthday gift - one of her best ever.

You know the painting. A youngish man is standing up at a town meeting, rolled-up agenda thrust into his working-man’s jacket, speaking on some unnamed issue. Among the people seated near him are two middle-aged,

government to serve my community. Fort Bend County needed me at the courthouse to serve on a jury. That’s right. I was chosen to represent the people of the State of Texas. And this was the second time my brilliance has been requested since 1995. so I understand why they want me back. I can’t deny I did really well last time. Oh gosh. I wish the rest of the world could see me the way Fort Bend County does. I was eager to see how things had changed. I received a notice in the mail informing me of the request for my services. The notification provided a website on which to register and examine FAQs. I’m disinclined to use any kind of internet service except Amazon, Temu and HEB home delivery. This I’ve learned from experience. But our good friends at the County Clerk’s office have streamlined their registration service from an obstacle course of wrong turns to a nicely trimmed stroll through the process. On the day of, I dressed smartly and called the Uber. I was around 20 minutes ear-

ly. I’d forgotten how tucked away our cathedral of justice was, in such a seemingly remote locale. There was of course the race through security metal detectors, with uniformed employees who are either really annoyed or really into their jobs. No words. Stern faces. Not afraid to bark at you regarding security-line protocols. On to the large jury room, consisting in my case of nearly 400 other high-IQ Fort Bendians. A very diverse gathering, reflecting the many cultural textures that contribute to our southeast Texas landscape. I was delighted by being personally welcomed at the doorway by Fort Bend County District Clerk Beverly Clark herself. She was very nice. Big, kind, legitimate smile. We handed in our identification numbers and were treated to a seat. You know, those comfy tan stained wood benches with the rolled curves where your neck is supposed to rest? The ones that look and feel like unforgiving tree trunks? Not great for the lower back. Or the upper or middle. As I looked around, a prerecorded video appeared on

the television monitors for a kickoff briefing. And then they told us the good news: In exchange for our 8-hour service, our compensation had been dramatically increased from $5 to $20 per day. Great Gods, old and new! Can this possibly get any better?

They needed three jury pools on this particular Tuesday, each consisting of 60 to 80 people. I was selected in the second group. We were assembled in orderly fashion, forming lines as we prepared for our trip upstairs for a second cut in the courtroom.

“Elevator is out”, we were told. Everyone, including me and my bad hips, traipsed up the steps to the third floor, where we once again assembled, this time in front of a specific criminal court. We waited and waited, eventually lining up as we did before.

Then the judge sent word of a lunch break. Bad timing. I had no food and there was no source for any within walking distance. Not great for a smartly-dressed 59-year-old guy with bad hips and no car. I ventured back downstairs and discov-

ered a concession machine with a dizzying array of unhealthy small and overpriced sugars and salts. I settled on Sun Chips and a hearty Diet Dr. Pepper. I went back upstairs and waited the duration on another of those “comfy” benches. Our liaison officer explained how the court would stand when we entered, and how we were to be seated. We walked in to see both counsel tables rise and quietly watch us file in. The defendant, accused of assault, also honored our entrances. He looked like actor Danny Trejo, the dude in “Desperado” and more notably for me, “Anchorman” with Will Ferrell.

Introductions commenced.

Explanations of the law asserted. And voir dire is finally underway. I anticipated a frontline example of early-case drama. But unsurprisingly, this was not Paul Newman in “The Verdict”. It wasn’t “Runaway Jury”. And it certainly lacked any “My Cousin Vinny”.

In the end, both prosecution and defense had roughly 20 minutes each to pepper us potentials with hypothetical situations and

contrived scenarios. They judged our jury suitability based on the answers. I was not called to stay for trial. I was never even asked any questions. I left at 3:52 p.m.. The return Uber scooped me up 10 minutes later. Now, I’ve never heard of anyone wondering when the grace of jury duty would descend on them. And previous brushes with such service in other states never left me with rave reviews. But, in all honesty, jury duty in Fort Bend County isn’t that bad. People smiled. The staff was friendly. The stages of the day were adequately explained. It was better than the dentist but lacked the luster of a massage, especially with those unforgiving benches. The biggest sacrifice was time. And yes frustration and impatience tend to fester when you’re feeling committed and contained. But I see our county leaders at least trying. And that goes a long way for me. Just two suggestions. Invite a restaurant to the neighborhood. Also, two words: phone chargers.

Garay can be reached at

Two Fort Bend ISD high school students were recently announced as corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship winners. They are Elkins High School student Carson Padilla who listed video game design as his likely field of study in the future, and Clements High School student Kavya Vaidyanathan who listed law as her probable field of study.

The esteemed National Merit Scholarship Corporation announces four separate groups of winners each spring and summer with scholarship funding coming from different sources. Today’s announcement includes students whose funding is coming from corporations.

Padilla’s scholarship is funded by commercial property insurer Crum and Forster and Vaidyanathan’s scholarship is funded by engineering and construction firm Fluor Corporation. The amounts of the

suit-and-tie-wearing pillarof-the-community types, looking up at him in pride as he speaks his mind. (At the MFAH exhibition, travelling from The Rockwell Museum in Corning, N.Y., along with the original painting was the actual jacket worn by the artist’s model.)

As a journalist, of course, freedom of speech (and its corollary, freedom of the press) is very important to me. It’s the foundation of my profession which, as enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, is the only one explicitly protected by our country’s founding document. You may have noted that the First Amendment has been getting quite a workout of late - across the country and right here in Fort Bend County. We live in a very challenging time, and people have been speaking on a host of issues, from war abroad, to the use of social media by elected officials, to books in school libraries, among others.

For many weeks, speakers at governmental bodies across the county have been speaking on the terrible situation happening in Israel and Gaza. Shortly after the conflict began, I wrote a column about how as someone who does not have a strong personal connection to the peoples there, I find it very difficult to wrap my head

around the competing narratives, and my own reactions to them. Since I wrote that column, the situation has only grown worse, while my own ambivalence remains.

Speakers from Fort Bend’s Arab-American and Muslim communities, and others, have appeared at meetings of the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court and the Sugar Land and Missouri City councils, passionately demanding that those elective bodies pass resolutions calling for a ceasefire. A somewhat fewer number of people have also addressed those bodies, defending the actions of the state of Israel or saying it’s not the business of local governments to insert themselves into this very fraught, foreign policy issue.

I’m not going to take a stand here on the issue. But I’m going to make a few observations.

First, most of the speakers, on either side, have been very polite in their comments. Fort Bend, one of the most diverse communities in the country, has a large Muslim and Arab-American community. The Jewish community is smaller, but it remains a vital part of our social fabric. All people have a right to their feelings and opinions, especially on such a life-anddeath issue.

One moment in the past few weeks particularly

stands out for me. A very small boy, held by his mother, addressed the Sugar Land City Council, hesitantly speaking on behalf of Palestinians. But he was having trouble speaking into the microphone, and on the video of the meeting, Mayor Joe Zimmerman could be seen walking up and handing the boy a handheld mic to finish his remarks. I found that extraordinarily impactful. Whatever one’s position on this very complicated issue, in a democracy we should all be able to agree with people’s right to discuss it in an open, public forum. But that’s the thing about free speech. Our tolerance for it all too often is aligned with whether or not we agree with the speech being offered.

Many years ago, I wrote for The Daily Cougar, the student-run newspaper at the University of Houston. After a few years on the “news side,” I shifted gears and wrote a weekly opinion column. Another staffer wrote a sports humor column. The premise was that the author would “talk trash” that week’s opposing football team, or the team’s supporters. As I’ve written before, I’ve never particularly been a sports fan, or a fan of trash talk, so the column didn’t have much appeal for me. But I also didn’t take particular issue with it.

That is, until the week

that the opposing team was the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, whose mascot is the Ragin’ Cajuns. As most of us in Southeast Texas know, Cajuns, short for Acadians, is the name given to residents of South Louisiana who are descended from the French Canadians who migrated there before it was part of the United States.

In his column, the writer, who presumably knew little about Cajuns other than what he’d “researched” on the Internet, used a highly derogatory term in referring to them. The column received a lot of blowback, not just from Louisiana residents but also from the local Lafayette newspaper, which called the writer for comment. He declined, except to say that his remarks were protected under the principle of free speech.

As both a reader and as a staff member, I was incensed by the column, for a couple of reasons. First, I have extensive family ties to Louisiana, both north and south, and spent two years of my childhood in Houma, where I still have family members. So while I may not be Cajun, you could say that I’m Cajun-adjacent.

But more importantly, I was angered by the writer’s “freedom of speech” dodge.

The writer had done enormous damage to our paper’s reputation for no other rea-

awards are not disclosed by the National Merit Scholarship organization but can range from $1,000 to $10,000 with most awards set to renew for up to four years of college. The second announcement of scholarship winners is expected on May 8, 2024, the third announcement will come on June 5th and the final group of winners will be announced on July 15th.

High school juniors entered the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program when they took the 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®). This served as the initial screening. In September

2023, more than 16,000

semifinalists who were identified as the highest scorers were designated from across the nation. They make up less than one percent of all senior high school students in the country. To become a National Merit Scholarship winner, semifinalists had to complete a detailed application, which included writing an essay, plus providing information about their extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions. Semifinalists also had to be recommended by a high school official and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that confirmed their high performance on the 2022 qualifying test.

son than to make a cheap joke about an opposing football team. When called out on it, he refused to take responsibility. So I wrote a column in response, which did not exactly endear me with some staff members.

In my column, I pointed out that a right is not just something you can keep in your pocket like a get-outof-jail-free card for when you need it. A right also represents a kind of power, and the power to express ourselves is one of the greatest we as individual citizens have. Contrary to that old “sticks and stones may break my bones” saw, words have incredible power - to hurt, and also to heal. Nerd that I always have been, I quoted from that geeky font of wisdom, the Spider-Man canon: with great power comes great responsibility.

As I’ve written before, we have what looks like a very ugly election season ahead of us. With that, in this age of ubiquitous and divisive social media, many of us will be tempted to use the most vitriolic terms we can think of about people whom we disagree with politically, even some we know and love. But each of us, individually, can choose to refrain from doing so. The power lies with us.

Fountain speaks his mind, more or less, at KFountain@

Two Fort Bend ISD students receive corporate-sponsored National Merit scholarships Don’t Get Stuck Without A/C This Summer! Schedule Soon & Save Up to $2000! Free Estimates and Second Opinions for New Heating and Cooling Systems Many Payment Options to choose from Service Available Seven Days a Week Licensed and Professional Technicians Cooling or Heating System Tune Up on a New Cooling and Heating System with our Buy Back Program! $49 SAVE UP TO $2000 Price valid for one working unit. Excludes oil fired systems. Valid at participating ARS® Network locations. Not valid for third party, new construction, or commercial customers, with any other offers, discounts, or on prior sales. Call service center for details. Coupon required at time of service. Void if copied or transferred and where prohibited. Any other use may constitute fraud. Cash value $.001. Offer expires 6/30/2024. License numbers available at Savings requires purchase and installation of select complete heating and cooling system. Removal and disposal by Company of existing heating and cooling system required. Valid at participating ARS® Network locations. Not valid for third party, new construction, or commercial customers, with any other offers, discounts, or on prior sales. Call service center for details. Coupon required at time of service. Void if copied or transferred and where prohibited. Any other use may constitute fraud. Cash value $.001. Offer expires 6/30/2024. License numbers available at Call today! (866) 754-6849 @FORTBENDSTAR See us online THE STAR Wednesday, May 1, 2024 • PAGE 5
GaRay Columnist
and responsibilities
ken Fountain Editor
PAGE 6 • Wednesday, May 1, 2024 THE STAR See us online C LASSIFIED A DS CLASSIFIED ADS THAT GET RESULTS CALL US AT 713-370-3600 C LASSIFIED A DS CLASSIFIED ADS THAT GET RESULTS CALL US AT 713-370-3600 LEADER PUZZLER SOLUTIONS WORD SCRAMBLE Answers: A. candy B. cards C. flowers D. surprise ADores CRyptO fun POST YOURLOCAL EVENTS! Let the community know in our Community Calendar! Contact: comes to local advertising advertising & let us help boost your business! Call 713-371-3740 to see how we can help freshen up your impact! Call 713-371-3600 HELP SUPPORT LOCAL JOURNALISM Scan this QR code to make a donation through Paypal, Leading Orthopedic Care to KEEP YOU MOVING Same-day appointments for injuries. Schedule an appointment: 281.690.4678 Our sports medicine specialists can help keep your body in motion. At Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, we know every movement matters. Our board-certified sports medicine specialists in Sugar Land offer: • The latest imaging and technology • Advanced nonsurgical treatments • Minimally invasive procedures • State-of-the-art physical and occupational therapy Whether you’re suffering from simple aches and pains or dealing with a complex injury, we can get you back on your feet — and keep you moving. 20+ convenient locations across Greater Houston Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Houston Methodist Orthopedic Injury Clinic — offering same-day care 59 8 610 Sugar Land Sienna Aliana 8


Comeback Space Cowboys strike again against Reno

After falling behind early, the Sugar Land Space Cowboys (19-8) scored seven unanswered runs in the eighth and ninth innings to take down the Reno Aces (1214) 10-5 at Greater Nevada Field Sunday afternoon.

The Aces struck to begin the game in the first with a couple of RBI singles off of RHP AJ Blubaugh, making it 2-0 by the end of the frame. Blubaugh would recover to have a one-two-three second inning.

In the top of the third, Joey Loperfido clobbered a fastball from RHP Cristian Mena over the centerfield fence, flying 428 feet. Loperfido’s 13th long

ball of the season leads all of professional baseball and cut the Space Cowboys deficit down to one.

Reno was able to tack on a couple more with an RBI double by Jancarlos Cintron and Tristin English in the third and fourth innings, but in the top of the sixth with one on, Jesús Bastidas smashed a home run to bring the Space Cowboys within one again. However, in the bottom half of the frame with LHP Parker Mushinski on the mound, Reno’s Bryson Brigman hit a solo shot to extend the Aces lead to 5-3.

Down two heading into the eighth, Bastidas got the Space Cowboys going with a double, paving the way for Shay Whitcomb to line a double off the left-field wall to score Bastidas and bring Sugar Land within

one. After a Reno pitching change to bring in RHP Christian Montes De Oca (L, 0-2), Will Wagner and César Salazar hit back-to-back doubles to give the Space Cowboys their first lead of the game. Luke Berryhill singled on a liner to short to give Sugar Land an insurance run and bring their new lead up to 7-5.

In the top of the ninth after Corey Julks led off with Sugar Land’s fifth double of the game, and an intentional walk to Loperfido and a Bastidas single loaded the bases. A fielding error on a ball hit by Wagner allowed a run to cross home and Salazar hit a sacrifice fly to score Bastidas, plating two more to make it 9-5. Cooper Hummel knocked a base hit to break the game open for the Space Cowboys and bring their advantage to

10-5, where they would finish it to win the series against the Aces five games to one. Blubaugh pitched 4.0 innings of three-run ball, and RHP Conner Greene and Mushinski allowed one run each to provide the only Reno runs Sunday afternoon. RHP Joel Kuhnel (W, 4-1) and RHP Ray Gaither (H, 3) each held the Aces scoreless, and RHP Wander Suero shut the door down in the ninth inning to end Reno’s hopes of scoring. Sugar Land Space Cowboys games can be heard on ESPN 92.5 FM or online at https:// and seen on MiLB.TV, MLB.TV and Bally Live. Perry is a writer for the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, the Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. This article is used by permission.

Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office releases new smartphone app

The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office has released a new customized mobile application “poised to redefine the way residents interact with law enforcement and access critical resources within the community,” according to a press release.

• Key features of the app include:

• Jail inquiry: Users can access the database for current inmate information, enabling users to search for individuals in custody, along with their booking status and charges.

• Inmate resources: Users can find comprehensive information and resources for inmates and their loved ones, including details on commissary, visitation, and

• Real-time alerts and blog posts: Users will receive instant notifications and stay informed about news, emergency alerts, and community events through real-time push notifications and regularly updated blog posts.

approved bonding companies, fostering a supportive environment for incarcerated individuals.

• Community outreach programs: Users can explore

a wide range of free community outreach programs offered by the Sheriff’s Office, promoting engagement, education, and collaboration within the community.

• Non-emergency reporting: Users can report non-emergency incidents directly through the app, providing users with a convenient and efficient means of communication with law enforcement.

The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office encourages all residents to download the app, now available

for free on both iOS and Android devices, and take advantage of its myriad features to stay connected and informed.

“Our mobile app represents a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to engage with residents, promote transparency, and enhance public safety,” Sheriff Fagan said the release. “ By harnessing the power of technology, we aim to empower our community with the tools and information necessary to actively contribute to the

safety and well-being of Fort Bend County.” The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office app was developed by TheSheriffApp. com, a brand of OCV, LLC., which specializes in mobile app development for sheriffs’ offices and public safety organizations across the country. The app is now available to download for free in the App Store and Google Play by searching “Fort Bend County Sheriff, TX” or by visiting https://apps.myocv. com/share/a108377469.

See us online THE STAR Wednesday, May 1, 2024 • PAGE 7
AMANDA_PERRY@SLSPACECOWBOYS.COM Community Reports 713-433-6421 14700 Almeda Rd Houston, TX 77053
Hello my name is Waffle Fry! I am a 2 year old girl who loves treats! Waffle Fry is a timid and shy girl, it may take her a minute to warm up but once she does she will show you all the love she has to offer. Stop by the Houston Humane Society and consider making Waffle Fry a part of your family! ADOPT WAFFLE FRY! EPISCOPAL ALL SAINTS EPISCOPAL CHURCH • 281-499-9602 605 Dulles Avenue, Stafford, TX 77477 SUNDAY: 10:30 am Worship Holy Eucharist CHURCH OF CHRIST STAFFORD CHURCH OF CHRIST • 281-499-2507 402 Stafford Run Rd. -Stafford, 77477 Stephen Higley, Preacher Sunday Bible Study 9:30 am Sunday Worship 10:30 am Wednesday 7:00 pm Worship Directory FORT BEND COUNTY Scripture of the week “They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” - PSALM 112:7 Introduce Your Congregation to the Community with a listing in our Worship Directory Call Anqunette for more information 713.370.3600 METHODIST CHURCH CHRIST CHURCH SUGAR LAND • 281-980-6888 A United Methodist Community 3300 Austin Parkway • Sugar Land, TX 77479 Rev. Dr. Daniel Irving, Senior Pastor Sunday Schedule 9:30 am Blended Worship 9:30 am Sunday School for all ages 11:00 am Traditional & Contemporary Worship FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH • 281-240-3195 502 Eldridge Rd. -Sugar Land, TX 77478 Reverend Dr. Fred Seay, Pastor Sunday Worship In Person 11:00 am / Nursery Available Worship Online on YouTube PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH



The League of Women Voters of Fort Bend, a nonpartisan organization, will provide voter registration and education events prior to the Feb. 5 deadline to be a registered voter in the March 5 Primary election. Locations, dates, and times include: (1) Wednesday, 1/24 -- Fort Bend YMCA, 4433 Cartwright Rd, Missouri City 7:30am - 12:30pm and 5 - 7pm; (2) Thursday, 1/25 -- First Colony Library 3:30 - 5:30pm; (3) Sat., 1/27 -- Cinco Ranch Library 10:30am - 1:30pm and University Branch Library 11am - 2pm; (4) Tuesday, 1/30 and Wednesday, 1/31 -- WCJC Sugar Land, Brazos Hall, 9am - 2pm; (5) Thursday, 2/1 -- ThriftWise, 501 Hwy 90E, Richmond -- 10am - 1pm. Register to vote, update your current voter registration, and get nonpartisan voting information at any of these events, or contact


Young boys need music in their life for mental, physical and emotional growth and the best place to receive quality music instruction is with the Fort Bend Boys Choir of Texas! They offer Music Magic, an eight-week music enrichment class for six and seven-year-old boys. The Fort Bend Boys Choir of Texas, currently in its 42 nd season, brings music alive with the use of movement, musical games, singing and other child-centered activities. Boys learn about pitch matching and rhythm awareness in addition to developing large muscle coordination, increased focus and better musicianship. Music Magic helps boost brainpower, sparks creativity and forges strong connections with others. No auditions are necessary for the class – just a love of music and singing! Serving as Music Magic director is Founder and Artistic Director William R. Adams who leads this class on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m., beginning March 19 and ending May 14 at the First United Methodist Church Missouri City, 3900 Lexington Blvd., Missouri City. Music Magic will then sing at the Fort Bend Boys Choir’s annual Spring Concert on Saturday, May 18! Classes are limited in size so please call the choir office at (281) 240- 3800 to pre-register or visit their Music Magic web page at programs/music-magic/. Be sure to stop by their Facebook page for the latest on the Fort Bend Boys Choir's Music Magic class and the organization's public performances.


311 Ulrich Street, Sugar Land meets the fourth Tuesday of each Month at 7:00 pm. All Veterans are welcome.

LOVING FRIENDS IS A GROUP OF WOMEN AND MEN WHO ARE WIDOWS AND WIDOWERS THAT MEET MONTHLY FOR LUNCH, FRIENDSHIP, AND SOCIALIZATION Lunches. are planned for the fourth Tuesday of the month at various local restaurants. Please contact Bobbie Tomlin at {281} 967-0718 For more information about us and to learn about this month’s planned lunch. We hope to meet you soon.


The Quail Valley Garden Club is very busy, not only with meetings, but with some fun “stuff” for our members and the community. Please find our fall schedule of events that the QVGC will be involved with this fall leading up to the holidays.


We provide grants of up to $5,000.00 to charitable causes serving Fort Bend County with requests to fund a critical need, pilot a program, or expand a significant service to the community. If your agency or organization is interested in applying for a CAF grant, please visit the Request Support page of the FBJSL website ( All applications should be submitted via e-mail to

a global presence to satisfy your passion. We’re on a quest for new members! Call or email Dean Clark, 469-850-2424, We’re a friendly group that meets once a week for lunch.


Meets on the 4th Sunday of every month from 2:pm - 4:pm at: CHRIST CHURCH SUGAR LAND (in the Chapel) 3300 Austin Parkway, Sugar Land, TX 77479 FREE and Open to the Public! We welcome everybody! If you play accordion, beginners to professional and would like to play Call, Text or email: Vince Ramos Cell: 281-204-7716


We enhance lives and strengthen communities by teaching adults to read. We need your help. Literacy Council is actively recruiting Volunteer Tutors to provide instruction for English as a Second Language (ESL) Levels 0-5, three hours a week. For more information, call 281-240-8181 or visit our website www.


Join Sam Grice Tuesday evenings at 6:30 for a casual evening of music. We play a variety of music including bluegrass, country, gospel and some western. We request acoustic instruments only please. We welcome both participants and music lovers who enjoy listening to good live music. There’s no charge and we welcome beginners and gladly offer gentle assistance. We meet at First Presbyterian Church, 502 Eldridge Rd, Sugar Land. Please call Sam at 832-428-3165 for further information.


Give a Gift of Hope one-time or monthly. Your help provides access to therapies and services children with autism might otherwise go without. Please consider Hope For Three in your Estate, Planned, or Year-End Giving. Register now, or learn more about exciting events:


Weekly class designed to help you understand and appreciate the Bible by giving you a better sense of the land and culture from which it sprang. The class meets at 9:30 am every Sunday at First Presbyterian of Sugar Land (502 Eldridge Rd.). For more information call 281-240-3195.


EXCHANGE, America’s Service Club, always welcomes guests and is in search of new members! Various Fort Bend clubs exist and can accommodate early morning (7 a.m.), noon and evening meeting time desires. For more info, contact Mike Reichek, Regional Vice President, 281-575-1145 or We would love to have you join us and see what we are all about!



Meets the second Monday of every month at 11:30 a.m., at 2701 Cypress Point Dr., Missouri City Rec Center. Lunch, education, and entertainment. All seniors over 50 invited. For more information, call 713-859-5920 or 281-499-3345.

PAGE 8 • Wednesday, May 1, 2024 THE STAR FORTBENDSTAR. COM • 713-371-3600 713-371-3600 Have a Non Profit? Need to get it out there? Put here in our community calendar!
1 4 K F U N R U N 4 K F R U N & D O G W A L K & D O G W A L K R e g i s t e r T o d a y ! MAY 18 MASON PARK K9 K9 FUN FUN RUN+ RUN+ WALK WALK 42ND ANNUAL 42ND ANNUAL

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