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SUMMER 2018

FIRM FOUNDATION Page 20

WINERIES Page 12

SELFIE 101 Page 19

GESUNDHEIT Page 40


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Publisher & Editor KAREN LOPEZ Managing editor APRIL TOWERY Contributing writers TAD DESAI ROXANNE AVERY CHRISTOPHER YOUNG TX ENT & ALLERGY

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

12

SEALY WINERIES Best-kept secret

18

SUMMER FUN ACTIVITIES Things to do to beat the heat

26

Administration AMY LIEB Distribution SANDRA WEEBER Designers VICTORIA PARKER GINNY BROCK

TURNING DIRT New development lands in Sealy

34

BUILDING THE FUTURE Technology leads the way in new program

40

ACHOO! Allergies and the immune system

Produced by Sealy Publications Inc., publishers of The Sealy News. 193 Schmidt Rd. Sealy, Texas 77474 979-885-3562 For more information about advertising and distribution contact publisher@sealynews.com Editorial queries to editorial@sealynews.com Copyright © 2018 The entire contents of this publication and its electronic version at Sealynews.com are copyrighted by Sealy Publications Inc. No material may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of the publisher. Copyright © 2018 Sealy Publications Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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I’m pretty much a happy-golucky kind of gal but I do have things that tend to get under my skin. Why do things/ people have to be so difficult? Stop, take a moment and breathe. These are the best ways to combat your least favorite things. - Karen

L E A ST FAV

Five

TRYING TO KEEP UP WITH TECHNOLOGY

1

3

2

4 5

SITTING IN TRAFFIC

This was one of the biggest reasons I came to work in Sealy. I may drive 40 minutes each way back and forth every day, but it is a beautiful drive and I have caught traffic only a handful of times in four years. Another reason to hate traffic is that it is expensive. The most congested stretches of highway in the U.S. costs Americans the equivalent of $2.4 billion in lost time every year, according to a report by the American Highway Users Alliance (AHUA).

DIETS I hate the thought of them. I know the older I get the more I should watch what I eat but I live with a wonderful cook. Someone tell me how to do that and I will. The only tried-and-true trick that has worked for me is to put half of what is on your plate in a to-go box as soon as it is served. Cutting back slowly on portions at home and getting up from the table as soon as I am done eating seems to help also.

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I have to admit there are times when I will just shake my head like I understand but what I am really thinking is you lost me at “one of several physical media specified by 802.3 for use in an Ethernet local area.” The younger generation is better at this and as such we should rely on them; hire them. We cannot know everything.

GOSSIP Why can’t we all just get along? I would rather walk away than to listen to untruths. It’s not so much disrespecting the person that you are talking about, it’s disrespecting yourself.

LAZINESS I may not be the easiest person to work for (I’m a little bit of a micromanager) but I respect everyone I work for, and those who work with me and for me. I only ask for the same in return. I truly like to work and work hard. I want us to be the best for our community. Is that so bad? 5


All things metal By April Towery and Chris Young Clint Bollinger retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1994 but he’s not one for kicking back in the La-Z-Boy. Although he is a licensed real estate agent, works with commercial truck tires and does welding and tractor repair, in a roundabout way he found himself doing custom metalwork – signs, gates and furniture – and the business has taken off. “I like things with a story,” he said. “To me, they have way more meaning.” Bollinger said several opportunities have come his way through word of mouth and while some of the projects aren’t “super fancy,” they are “super technical.” “We do some really cool stuff,” he said. “My dad says what makes me dangerous is I’ve got the [courage] to try things when most people won’t,” he added. “When you ask what makes it succeed, I think it has a lot to do with the relationships I’ve built with all these people. People buy things from people they like. If you like doing business with me, you’re going to come back.” He uses a Marine’s precision to create art for his customers – and the fact that his customers are typically happy with the products and the price isn’t an accident. While working on a project with his son near Baton Rouge, Bollinger said his son asked, “Dad, does it always go this smooth?” “I said, ‘Son, you don’t know how many nights I’ve stayed awake thinking about every detail of this project,’” Bollinger said. “I’m not telling you I’m the only guy out there that thinks this way but we pay attention to the detail and we think through the problems before they become problems. We screw up sometimes, but as a rule … there’s not many times we don’t accomplish what we set out to do. It’s not a cookie-cutter type of business. That’s what makes it very challenging to make money at.” Bollinger said he fell into the business of custom metalwork while doing tractor repair and working on tires. “This kinda just came about because we made a fire pit out of an old tractor rim and it was pretty cool,” he said. We wound up doing some fire pits for people and that kinda took off so next thing you know we wound up doing some


gates and everything else that goes with the fab shop business. I just thought it would be cool to sit around a fire and have your name cut in it or your company’s name. I cut the first one out by hand. From there I realized pretty quick that you’re not going to be able to find enough of the right type of tractor rims in order to create what I wanted to create.” He said his customers range from very wealthy ranchers out of state to small business owners in Austin County. “In my opinion a farmer or a true rancher doesn’t care too much about what their front entrance looks like,” he said. “You get these peo8

ple that are moving out here from Houston and they are all about the image. That’s where we come in. If you want something fancy, we can do fancy. If you want something plain, we can do plain.” His military training comes in handy when he gets in his creative place. “I’m a Marine and the guy who works for me is a Marine,” Bollinger said. “We’re both very meticulous about what we do, and I think people have been drawn to the fact that no matter what it is and what they bring us, we find a solution to the situation. That’s just what we do as

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Marines. That’s what’s helped grow the company. The guys who work for me are really good at what they do. We’re building a clientele. Anybody can go buy a sign for $19.95; they’re made in China. But if you want it to say that it’s the Wilsons’ barn, that’s a different deal. That’s where we come in.” It seems that there are fewer real craftsmen in this modern day and age, Bollinger explained. “There’s nobody anymore that knows how to actually see an image in your mind and go in the shop and put the pieces together to make it ROCKIN’ THE RAIL

work,” he said. “There’s some limits to what we can do but we don’t try to focus on that. Some of our best creations started as what I call napkin drawings. That’s kind of how we operate. I don’t want to get to where I’m making 100 of the same thing every day. That’s boring as hell.” There’s not a whole lot of money in custom metalwork, Bollinger added, and that’s OK. “It’s cool that you can look at the pictures and say, ‘Hey, we did that,’ and that’s the satisfaction you get out of it,” he said. Bollinger is the owner of E.G.A. Metalwork.

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BEST-KEPT

SECRET

Sealy’s


wineries


BEST-KEPT

SECRET

By Roxanne Avery

G

et away from the hustle and bustle of the city and drive out to Sealy for a relaxing, fun day at the local wineries. Whether you are new or experienced, wine tasting is a great way to learn about what you like and don’t like and is an opportunity to evaluate new wines without investing in a bottle. Yellow Brick Road (opened in December 2014) and Cast Iron (opened in November 2017) are both experiences you won’t want to miss. Yellow Brick Road Winery and Restaurant, owned by Denyce Treybig, was developed from an aged, overgrown 50-acre estate that has now become a popular destination. Located on the southern outskirts of Sealy just off of Interstate 10, it’s a 45-minute drive from west Houston. The winery is a charming, updated 1940s farmhouse converted into a tasting room and restaurant with indoor seating and a large wood patio deck that wraps partially around the building, complete with the romantic ambiance of strings of lights. On Saturday nights live music is performed on the patio and moved indoors if the weather is uncooperative. The restaurant offers a delicious, full menu and brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.

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Treybig is committed to growing and blending varieties of wines on her one-acre vineyard of Blanc de Bois that is apropos to the local soil and climate and says she would love to see more wineries open up in this area. “We can definitely help each other out,” she said. In addition to the award-winning wines made at the winery, Yellow Brick Road offers other Texas wines as well as domestic and international varieties. “I come to the winery first and foremost because of Denyce,” said Chelsea Pattison, described by Treybig as one of her best customers. “Denyce is inviting, peaceful and positive. I also like the patio that makes me feel like I’m on another planet,” she said. “Oh yeah, and there’s great wine here too.” If you’re looking for a place to sit, relax, listen to live music (or recorded on nights without a band), come by Yellow Brick Road Winery and Restaurant, located at 3587 Ward Bend Road in Sealy. They are open Thursday through Sunday. Check out the website for more information: www.ybrtx.com Cast Iron Winery, owned by wine lovers Chelsea and Sean Humes, is

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open Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. for wine tastings and also by appointment. Sean Humes said his winery offers great wines out of Comfort, Texas, and Brownsville under his label. “We have two whites; a sweet and a Chardonnay,” he said. “We also offer a Rose´ as well as four reds that are pretty unique that I want to showcase for people to know what Texas has to offer with wine. These are not traditional Cabernets or Merlots; I made sure we have really great quality Texas stuff. We offer a Pinot Noir that is super heavy and super rich. We also have Primativo and then Dolcetto. Our blend is 50 percent Aglianico and 50 percent Montelpuccinio.” In 2015 Humes purchased vines from a nursery in New York and planted them in Sealy to see what the soil would give him. Planting a variety, Humes was looking not only for what would grow but also what would look pretty. “I planted eight different types; four red and four white.” This year Sean planted 172 vines of Black Spanish on half an acre and plans to plant another half-acre of Blona de Blanc next year so he will have both red and white growing on the property. The Humes background is perfect for the winery as Sean was born and raised in Texas and found his love for wine while studying at the University of Houston’s school of Hilton where he earned his bachelor’s degree in hotel restaurant management. He also received his Level 1 sommelier and had been in the restaurant industry for over 15 years when he went back to school to study viticulture at Texas Tech in Fredericksburg. Chelsea Humes was born and raised in Santa Barbara, Calif., and earned her bachelor’s degree from North Arizona University’s school of Hotel and Restaurant Management. Recruited by one of the top restaurants in Houston, she met Sean and passed their love of winemaking on to their three young children who all like to help out, especially mixing and bottling their wines. Sean Humes said he and Chelsea used to drive to Sealy from Houston when they wanted a day trip so they could relax and just breathe for a little while before going back to the city. “We’d go to the winery in Weimar which was close enough to the city but definitely removed enough to feel like we had a break from the busy city before we had to go back. That’s why we opened Cast Iron … to offer the same to other people.” Cast Iron Winery is located at 1657 Meier Road in Sealy, just off Old Columbus Road North. Visit the website THE at castironwinery.weebly.com ROCKIN’ RAIL

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Effective advertising is key to driving your business’s success. The Rail Fall Magazine is a valuable vehicle to help you successfully market your brand. With features geared toward helping local economy, health and fitness, hidden treasures, education and much more, this section is the ideal spot for promoting your products and services to more potential customers.

Call 979-885-3562 or email publisher@sealynews.com for advertising information. Advertising Deadline: June 15 Issue Date: July 26


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Summer Fun Activities

1 2 3 4 5 18

6

SEALY

PAD

Levine Park, Sealy, TX

555 South Katy Fort Bend Rd, Katy, TX 77494

5211 Main St, Sheridan, TX 77475

5000 Katy Mills Cir, Katy, TX 77494

21300 Interstate 45 N, Spring, TX 77373

7 8 9 10

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13700 Beechnut Street, Houston, TX 77083

511-A S Mason Rd, Katy, TX 77450

34843 Betka Rd, Waller, TX 77484

2080 Highway 290 West, Brenham, TX 77833

24952 Katy Ranch Rd, Katy, TX 77494

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TIPS ON HOW TO TAKE YOUR BEST SELFIE

1) Crop in tight – Get in close and show off your eyes. 2) Use two hands – Pull it away from your body and use your arms to act as a frame. 3) Pose or don’t – Make the crazy faces and show your silly side. Smile like you mean it. Don’t overthink your pose. Going natural looks great. 4) Get on your back – Prop your head up with a pillow for a better angle. 5) Watch your light – Move around if you need to get better lighting. Avoid shadows. Your photo will be more attering without dark eyes. Natural and indirect light will give you the best results. 6) Look at your background - Photo-bombers are everywhere. 7) Use props – Glass of wine, new sunglasses, your hands or your favorite pet. 8) Angles are everything – Practice to see what your best side is. Remember you may look younger if taken from higher up. Don’t forget to pull out the chin! 9) Use a photo stick – This is great product to be able to include all your friends. 10) Filters and Apps – You have them; use them. Don’t over edit.

STaRs


PERSONS OF DISTINCTION:

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firm FOUNDATION Angela Schmidt and Melanie Willingham


By April Towery

T

heir story began almost three decades ago in a third-grade classroom in Sealy, Texas. In fact, the girls formerly known as Angela Sodolak and Melanie Coody can’t remember a time when they didn’t know each other or didn’t love each other. They’re both fun, energetic and outgoing, and even though they give each other a hard time, their personalities don’t seem to clash. Now married with five children between them, Sodolak – now Angela Schmidt – and Coody – now Melanie Willingham – are still close friends who have channeled the energy they used to put into 4-H projects in high school toward their new “baby,” Sealybration. The event is put on each year by the Sealy Community Foundation, and both ladies serve on the board. This year’s Sealybration, set for July, will be the event’s 10th anniversary. Ten years doesn’t seem like that long for the pair of friends. “It’s like she was always there,” Schmidt said. “There’s really no memory without her.” They went to separate universities – Willingham to Sam Houston and Schmidt to Texas A&M – so there were periods of time that passed without seeing each other, but they always picked up where they left off. They share great memories of listening to the Sara Evans song with the lyric “working down in Riverside,” waking each other up on band trips, Willingham’s “spit trick” which is too disgusting to describe and rooting for each other even when they were competitors.

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“We didn’t talk every day, but we didn’t have to, we didn’t need to,” Willingham said. Schmidt agrees. “We can go a whole year without talking and she’d have my back if I called her,” she said. When Schmidt moved to Washington, D.C. after college graduation, Willingham came to visit and got engaged to her high school boyfriend Kenny on that trip. Kenny Willingham, by the way, is now Sealy’s fire chief. But among all the sisterhood and friendship, these ladies know how to throw a jab. “I only let her babysit my kids once because she put my kids in a dog kennel,” Willingham says, barely cracking a smile. “Your kids put themselves in a dog kennel,” Schmidt deadpans. Long before those kids came along, the pair participated in each other’s weddings. Somehow, over time, their foundation of friendship evolved into serving together on the Sealy Community Foundation board. In 2008, Willingham said she called her longtime friend and asked if she could put together a cook-off in a few months. Schmidt obliged and the rest was history. The SCF board, which existed previously but was revitalized 10 years ago, is composed of just seven people – Willingham, Schmidt, Stephen Cryan, Kristin Haidusek, Keith Novicke, Aaron Ward and Leslie Ellis – and that small core group puts on the massive annual festivals Sealybration and Fantasy of Lights and uses proceeds for scholarships and charity donations. The women emphasized that the work of SCF is

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We didn’t talk every day, but we didn’t have to, we didn’t need to. We can go a whole year without talking and she’d have my back if I called her.” possible only with the help of hundreds of volunteers, including their own children. “A big reason we do this is we want to be role models for our kids,” Schmidt said. Their FFA and 4-H background – the girls competed in food and nutrition, clothing and textiles and consumer judging back in high school – built the foundation for a strong work ethic and willingness to serve their community, Willingham added. “Volunteering and giving back to the community was kind of grilled into our heads,” she said. The girls started their school’s “rec team” for FFA because their school didn’t have one and they saw a need. The only way for events to work or for things to happen is for you to stand up and volunteer, Schmidt said. “It goes back to our roots,” she explained. “You appreciate where you

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came from. We’re the ones showing the next generation, this is what you do.” Sealybration is the only event of its kind in Sealy, Willingham explained, noting that many of their classmates return each year and make a reunion out of the event. Sealybration is a weekend festival and community event that includes a softball tournament, live music, Kid Zone, vendors and more. “The best part is when it gets to the biggest moment, when it’s your main performer, you look at that crowd of people who graduated together and haven’t seen each other, that’s awesome,” she said. It’s a lot of work but the core group is fully committed to making Sealybration better each year, the women noted. “It is our baby,” Schmidt said. “There will come a time and a place when it’s time for us to move on, but we’re not there yet.”

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love again? When is it time to

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he passing of a pet can be an experience similar to losing another important member of the family. Even though the loss is inevitable, it can still be shocking when a pet passes away. Upon the death of a pet, many pet owners need some time to mourn and grow accustomed to living without their pet. Though some might prefer to adopt a new pet shortly after a pet dies, others may need time to decide if this is the right decision. The following are some factors for pet owners to consider, courtesy of Vet Street, WebMD, Bark, and RainbowsBridge.com, as they try to decide what to do after losing a pet.

Home doesn’t feel complete Many previous dog owners feel their homes are empty or not complete without the presence of a four-legged friend. People who live alone and relied on a recently deceased pet for companionship or safety may consider adopting sooner than busy families or those who have roommates to keep them occupied. Why get another pet? Pet owners must ask themselves why they want another pet. If the main reason is to dull the pain of loss, it may be better to wait until something other than emotion is driving the decision. Other pets/people If there are other pets in the house, think about how they may react to having a new addition in the house. Just because one person is ready for the responsibility of a new pet doesn’t mean everyone is. All opinions and personalities should be considered and all voices heard before bringing a new pet into the home. Is it time for a break? Some pet lovers may need a break from the responsibility of pet ownership — especially if a recently deceased pet was difficult to care for in its final years. Existing lifestyle New pets may require a decade-plus commitment. While it may have been easy the first time around, those who are facing retirement and the possibility of travel or have children leaving the home may want to think about whether or not pets suit their current or future lifestyles. The death of a pet is a difficult experience. Some pet owners may respond by immediately adopting a new animal, but it may be wise for pet owners to make time to grieve and decide if a new pet is a commitment they can make.

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TURN

New development lands in Sealy a

A

By April Towery

crude oil pipeline, concrete plant, major grocery store and Interstate 10 expansion are among the major projects going on in Sealy this summer.

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While there’s an “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude when it comes to the February 2018 announcement that H-E-B Grocery purchased a 10.75-acre tract of land in the Town Park Center off I-10, the news is welcome to local residents who aren’t used to having a variety of local shopping options. Developers say the site will be a grocery store, pharmacy, fuel station and car wash. It’s been talked about for years, and contract disputes

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NING

y and there’s even more on the way have prompted delays, but the land purchase appears to show good faith that the store might actually come to fruition. The site is on the westbound I-10 frontage road recently completed by the Texas Department of Transportation. The soon-to-be constructed portion of Town Park Drive will connect Rexville Road to the frontage road when completed, according to officials representing the developer. The Sealy City Council recently hired a new city manager, Lloyd

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Merrell, whose first day on the job was Feb. 1. Merrell has said that economic development is a priority and thus far has put his money where his mouth is. During a March 13 council meeting, city leaders authorized Merrell to negotiate the purchase of five tracts of land for the I-10 frontage road that TxDOT is constructing. The tracts include:

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• A 0.2975-acre (12,958 square foot) parcel of land situated in the San Felipe de Austin Survey. • A 0.7940-acre (34,585 square foot) parcel of land situated in the San Felipe de Austin Survey. • A 0.1310-acre (5,704 square foot) parcel of land situated in the San Felipe de Austin Survey.

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• A 0.0863-acre (3,760 square foot) parcel of land situated in the San Felipe de Austin Survey. • A 0.8053-acre (35,081 square foot) parcel of land situated in the San Felipe de Austin Survey. Enterprise Crude Pipeline LLC also has a massive construction operation underway. The company has reported that a 450,000 barrels-per-

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day, 24-inch pipeline will flow from Midland to Sealy upon completion. The massive operation is visible from I-10, and while some area residents have expressed concerns about runoff from the construction site, the community has largely been supportive of the potential new development, as it means more revenue and job opportunities in the area. Sika Corp. recently built a manufacturing and training facility on 40

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acres at F.M. 3538 next to the Walmart Distribution Center in Sealy. At the grand opening held in March, Sika’s Executive Vice-President for Operations Herbert Zwartkruis raved about how easy it was to work with Sealy’s Economic Development Corp., led by Kim Meloneck, as

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well as the city’s Director of Planning and Community Development Warren Escovy and the Sealy City Council. He encouraged other businesses to look into development opportunities in the area. “We are in a beautiful sweet spot between Houston and Austin,” Zwartkruis said. “I cannot say enough good things about [Sealy]. If anyone wants to expand and do some business, I think Sealy is a very nice and good place to be. In the end it’s about bringing jobs to the United States and to Texas.” Keith Dalton with Kingham Dalton Wilson Ltd. (KDW), whose company is credited with repairing the Sika facility following the 2017 microburst storm, said his experience working with Sealy also was positive. “I remember not too long ago we started looking for a place and help-

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ing them find a location in the greater Houston area,” he said. “Sealy was the place to be. From the time we started talking with [Meloneck] until the time we delivered the facility there was just no doubt that Sealy is a growing place. I think this is a welcoming place. It’s a great place. We’re a better company for having worked with Herbert and the Sika team. There were challenges but we got right back on track right on time.” Sika officials say they plan to expand operations and are thrilled to find a new home in Sealy. “I get to come to work to this place every day,” said plant manager Tim Whitehead at the grand opening. “It’s astounding; it’s phenomenal. The Sika spirit runs deep. It’s bigger than me and the team we’ve assembled here.”

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Most popular ethnic cuisines across the country What constitutes “ethnic” food differs from person to person. Someone of Italian descent may dine regularly on garlic-infused pasta dishes, while a person from another area of the world may find such foods exotic. In the cultural melting pot of North America, various cuisines representing countries that span the globe are within arm’s length for many people. According to Technomic, a Chicago-based research firm, 77 percent of Americans enjoy ethnic foods while dining out once a month. Around 38 percent order ethnic food weekly. In addition, many more people prepare ethnic cuisine at home. A growing interest in ethnic foods is fueled by young people. Technomic notes that millennials are more apt to want to try various cuisines and then incorporate them into their regular dining experiences. The National Restaurant Association found that 60 percent of people are likely to “tie their favorite ethnic food to their family history.” Interest in ethnic foods tends to be highest in urban areas where restaurants and ROCKIN’ THE RAIL

ingredients may be more readily available. When it comes to the top ethnic cuisines enjoyed throughout the states or provinces and territories, Chinese, Mexican and Italian rally for the top spots on diners’ plates. While the NRA has Italian cuisine as earning top-billing, Technomic’s list says that Chinese food, at 76 percent, followed by Mexican food (74 percent) and Italian (71 percent) comprise the biggest ethnic draws. Japanese or sushi comes in a distant fourth at 32 percent in the United States. The statistics portal Statista indicates that, as of January 2015, Chinese, American and Italian foods are quite popular in Canada. However, the percentage of people who cook these foods as opposed to eating them out at a restaurant varies. Chinese food is most widely enjoyed in a restaurant setting, while Italian food is frequently whipped up at home. As immigration tides change, ethnic cuisine may change with them. However, interest in experiencing ethnic dining is likely to remain consistent.

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To plan your visit, call 979.885.2181 or go to www.visitsanfelipedeaustin.com.

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BU E H T


UILDING E H FUTURE Engineering program underway

A

By Tad Desai

witch fights a towering dragon with three fireballs she hurls in front of her. A helicopter moves up and down to defend the brave elements. A shark navigates the waters seeking prey. These are all the scenarios the students of Sealy High School’s year-one class in a four-year process toward an engineering emphasis have come up with for the second semester project. The class is called “Introduction to Engineering Design” and is taught by instructor Lavinia Owen who had previously taught a year of engineering classes at the junior high level. She moved to the high school when the school district decided to begin a similar program at a higher level. It is part of Project Lead the Way, a nonprofit organization that provides a learning experience for students in computer science, engineering and biomedical science that can translate from the classroom to real-world uses. The organization helps students ranging from kindergarten all the way to the high school senior level. Continued on page 36


“With intro to engineering, we wanted to expose the students to as many skills as we could so it’s not just straight civil or mechanical engineering,” Owen said. “We wanted them to make sure they knew all the skills that went into the profession so they could be ready for whatever specific part of it they want to do.” The second-year class is called “Principles of Engineering” and Owen said it deals with more mechanical, civil and electrical engineering which involves hands-on work dealing with physics mostly. The third-year class is “Environmental Sustainability,” which deals mostly with chemistry and biology. The course’s fourth-year class will be taught for the first time next school year and will be a year-long capstone project that will encompass all of the skills the students have learned since their freshman year. The students will come up with a problem to solve, prototype and design, and then they test and market their solution to that problem. Owen said she has five students who began the course as freshmen who will

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be enrolled in the class as seniors next year. Since those students began their course, the classes themselves have taken on a new identity and as a result, grant more opportunities for the students to learn new skills. For the intro class, one of those things was the purchase of a 3D printer. The class is in its third year and had a 3D printer but it was not up to the level of functionality Owen wanted for the class. In early December of 2017, Owen and a junior high teacher went to a Lead the Way summit in Orlando and they found a company with a package deal for six new printers at a trade show. After getting approval from Sealy ISD superintendent Sheryl Moore, the two bought the printers and split them evenly with the junior high getting three and the high school taking the same amount. The printer allows the students more freedom to make what they want which led to the final project for the intro students. The project

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is to create their own automata, a wooden box that has gears inside it that allows pieces atop the box to move in any way the creator would like. Before even beginning to design their projects, Owen had the class focus on the logistics of how to make them in the first semester. The students were tested on the process of making their project, they were able to learn how to do it hands on. After learning the hard data, the students could put their knowledge to use in the second semester. The first step was students had to draw out their ideas for a project then begin to design them on a computer program that will allow them to put their designs into the 3D printer. “The program is called Autodesk Inventor and it is what a lot of companies use in the real world so it’s really valuable for them to get familiar with it now as teenagers because it will put them ahead when they’re ready to start their careers,” Owen said. “Other than cutting the boxes, they are 3D printing every other component of the toy and they have to pick the gear that goes along with whatever motion they want it to do and they have to figure out the math on what type of gear they need and how fast or how high their components can go.” The students have to cut out their own boxes using traditional saws and wood and Owen said if they don’t do well with their first cuts, they have to make do with what they have. She said it is a way of getting the students to adapt to problems and solve on the go while giving them hands-on labor to go with their math, science and computer skills they’re also learning. ROCKIN’ THE RAIL

For freshman Patricia Ashorn, it is that versatility the class had to offer that made her want to take it among other things. “I took some of the engineering classes when I was in junior high and I really liked them so I decided I want to become some sort of engineer and that’s why I’m taking this class,” she said. “I’m really good with all the computer and math stuff but the things like cutting the boxes, I’m not so I’m glad I have a chance at trying it.” Ashorn’s automata will have a witch throwing fireballs at a dragon that is breathing fire at her. The witch, the fireballs and the dragon will all be moving to some degree. With so many moving parts, Ashorn said it is easy to make a mistake but the class is built for that. “They don’t want you doing everything perfectly because you’re going to make mistakes in the future so Ms. Owen told us that when we do make mistakes, just take it and learn from them,” Ashorn said. Once the pieces are ready to be printed, students like Ashorn will upload their designs to the 3D printer and it will print out a three-dimensional plastic version of them in a matter of minutes. For Owen, the most valuable thing about being able to teach the class is seeing her students with their finished products. “They are always really excited when they see a year’s worth of work in their hands and seeing that all their hard work and mistakes have led to something successful,” Owen said. “They are learning real world lessons to learn from their mistakes and also how to apply skills they’re learning now to their future jobs that will help put them ahead.”

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ALLERGIES AND THE

IMMUNE SYSTEM By Texas ENT & Allergy

Allergies are extremely common, affecting about one out of every five Americans. Understanding what causes them, and what particular allergens are responsible for triggering your symptoms, are the keys to successful treatment. ROCKIN’ THE RAIL

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The immune system functions as the body’s first line of defense against germs and bacteria and is essential for maintaining good health and preventing infections. When the immune system encounters a threat, it responds by attacking the foreign substance. Allergies are an exaggerated immune system response to an otherwise harmless substance. They are the result of antibodies that trigger the release of histamines, chemicals that enter the bloodstream and cause swelling, inflammation, itchiness and mucus production – the telltale signs of an allergic response. They may also cause a rash or hives. Allergies may occur seasonally or year-round. Pollen from trees, grasses and weeds is a common allergen that causes hay fever in many individuals. Year-round allergens include animal dander, dust mites, mold, medications, chemicals and insect bites. Allergy sufferers experience a variety of cold-like symptoms including congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itchiness, postnasal drip, watery eyes and sinus pain or pressure. If you suffer from allergies, your local ENT can help. You have probably tried over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines and decongestants; while these bring temporary relief, they are not a cure for allergies, and their effectiveness is limited. Seeing a physician is your best bet in finding a long-term solution. Texas ENT & Allergy provides skin testing to determine the allergen(s) responsible for your symptoms, an important first step in finding a treatment that will work. Allergy skin prick testing involves placing drops of allergens on the inner part of the forearm with a sterile multi-test applicator that allows the solution to enter the skin. The sensation is that of a mild prick and results can be evaluated shortly after. In addition to the skin prick test, an intradermal test can be performed. This time the allergen solution is injected under the skin with a very small gauge needle to the upper arm or back. The sensation has been described as similar to a mosquito bite. Again results can be evaluated within minutes of the test. Once the results of allergy testing is determined, a physician will recommend a treatment plan. Immunotherapy is an effective method that helps reduce the severity of your symptoms as your body builds up immunity to the offending substance. This changes your underlying allergic disease through desensitization, which builds your immune system’s tolerance to allergens over time. This treatment can be administered in two forms. Subcutaneous Immunotherapy: For patients aged six and over, injections are typically given over a three to five year period. These are provided in a physician office and patients are required to wait 20 minutes before leaving the office to insure no adverse reaction occurs. Sublingual Immunotherapy: Allergy drops slowly desensitize you to what causes your allergies and are safe for all ages. They are administered at home by placing drops under the tongue. The drops are also typically given over a three to five year period. 42

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water features any homeowners aspire to make their homes appear as beautiful and welcoming as possible. Exterior renovations may be high on homeowners’ to-do lists, and landscaping is oftentimes a key component of those projects. When planning gardens, homeowners may benefit by considering more than just flowers and shrubs while giving thought to other elements that can breathe vitality into their landscape designs. Water features can do just that, as such features provide more than just visual appeal. • Aesthetic appeal: Water elements stand out against the greenery and foliage and can be used to create focal points around the garden or yard. A single fountain can draw the eye, while a trickling stream or waterfall can deliver water to various spots in the landscape. • Soothing sound: Rain drops on a rooftop or waves lapping on a shoreline elicit feelings of harmony and relaxation. Water features can bring that gentle sound close to home, further enhancing the ambiance. • Brings texture: Water has its own unique and fluid texture that can provide stark contrast to blades of grass or the hard lines of architectural elements, such as pergolas or retaining walls. A pond or fountain can soften lines. • Enhance the natural ecosystem: Water features can attract wildlife to a property. Birds may visit to take a quick sip, and dragonflies are sure to dart and hover over the shimmering ripples. Inviting natural wildlife to the yard can add hours of entertainment by enjoying the animals and insects. • Remedy problem areas: Rather than fighting with the landscape, homeowners can adapt it. An area of the yard prone to soggy conditions or flooding can be transformed into a pond or waterfall to work with natural surroundings. • Foster a passion: Many people turn to water features so they can explore the hobby of nurturing an outdoor aquarium. Koi ponds are relatively easy to install and maintain, and the vibrant fish add visual appeal. • Add a personal touch: Water features are as unique as the homeowners who create them. To set landscaping apart from neighbors’ homes, homeowners can add fountains, ponds or flowing water elements to their properties. Decorative water features also can be melded with pools and spas to help these manmade recreational areas seem like they were carved right out of the natural landscape. Water features can take landscapes to the next level with sounds, texture, 44 movement, and beauty. SUMMER 2018

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The Rail  

Summer 2018

The Rail  

Summer 2018