December 2022 - Fort Bend Focus Magazine - People • Places • Happenings

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10thAnnual DECEMBER 2022 9 Categories Different 2022 Fort Bend Boys Choir’s Holiday Concert Rotary Club of Sugar Land


At Houston Methodist Neal Cancer Center, we treat every aspect of your cancer. Leading oncologists work with our specialists across disciplines to minimize cancer’s effects on major organs. One comprehensive team — dedicated to your individual care — uses the latest research, treatments and technology to stop your cancer. From infusion and clinical trials to surgery and reconstruction, our innovative care is available in Sugar Land.

That’s the difference between practicing medicine and leading it.

Your health and safety are our priority. We are taking every necessary precaution to keep you safe.

The Woodlands Willowbrook Katy-West Houston Sugar Land B aytown Tex as Medical Center Clear Lake

This fall, we invited readers to our website to take an online survey to tell us who their favorites are in Fort Bend in nine different categories: Food, Entertainment, Pets, Auto, Schools, Healthcare, Home Improvement, Shopping and Professional Services. See who won this year’s Fort Bend Focus Favs Readers’ Choice Awards, and congratulations to all of our winners!

THE ROTARY CLUB OF SUGAR LAND Celebrated local Veterans with their annual Veterans Day program


LEADERSHIP PROGRAM: KNOW YOUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT JUDICIAL AND PRISON SYSTEM Clemence Youth Foundation members participated in an engaging and educational program introducing the Texas Judicial System.

FORT BEND STRONG Don’t Mess With The Battleship Texas!


THE DRUNKEN CYCLIST 20 Sparkling Wines to Light Up the Season

LIVING THE SWEET LIFE Walking into 2023 like it’s 1993!

{Features} 18
Festive recipes for the holiday season
{Columns} 20

Ugly-Sweater Workshop at Mamie George Branch Library

Sweater weather is here, and the holidays are near! Bring on the holiday cheer with a tacky sweater of your own creation. Fort Bend County Libraries’ (FBCL) Mamie George Branch Library will have an “Ugly-Sweater-Making Workshop” on Wednesday, December 14th, beginning at 10:30 am, in the Mak erspace area of the library, located at 320 Dulles Ave in Stafford.

Bring a sweater, shirt or sweatshirt of your choice, and the library will provide the decorations for a fun-filled morning of crafting.

Materials for this workshop were made possible by the generous sup port of the Friends of the Mamie George Branch Library.

The activity is free and open to the public. Seating is limited, however, and reservations are encouraged. Register online at, click on “Classes & Events,” select “Mamie George Branch Library,” and find the program. Participants may also register by calling the library at 281-238-2880, or by visiting the library.

FBCL Staff Member Yvonne Sharp.
DECEMBER 2022 l TO ADVERTISE, EMAIL: 4 DECEMBER 2022 VOLUME 18 | NUMBER 11 {In Every Issue} 5 EXCLAMATION POINTS! 30 AMATEUR PHOTO CONTEST 32 OUT & ABOUT IN THE HEART OF FORT BEND {Newsworthy} 3 UGLY-SWEATER WORKSHOP At Mamie George Branch Library 22 FIRST COLONY BRANCH LIBRARY December Programs 29 THE FORT BEND BOYS CHOIR’S 41ST HOLIDAY CONCERT December 9th at First United Methodist Church-Missouri City {Medical Focus} 31 HOUSTON METHODIST PRIMARY CARE GROUP Welcomes Alexander Laceras, M.D., to Richmond-Rosenberg Practice absolutely! {Auto Review} 2023 CHRYSLER PACIFICA CONTRIBUTORS Alisa Murray Page 23 & 35 23 The Honorable Pete Olson Contributor Page 20 20 Steve Kursar Auto Enthusiast Page 28 28 Jeffrey M. Kralik, Ph.D. Page 24 24 28 Adelaide Clemence, Hannah Hu & Crystal Wang Contributors Page 34 34 ON THE COVER: 10th Annual Focus Favs Readers’ Choice Awards 24


Adelaide Clemence Hannah Hu Jeffrey M. Kralik, Ph.D. Steve Kursar Alisa Murray

The Honorable Pete Olson Crystal Wang

Thrills and Spills: Happy Holidays!

What a whirlwind 2022 has been – and now we’re already gearing up for 2023! Fast and furious definitely describes the past 12 months. It’s been a wild ride filled with thrills and spills. Certainly, never a dull moment, and I, for one, am extremely thankful.

This year was a milestone for Fort Bend Focus. It was our 18th year in publication, and it was our first year going 100% digital. I’m elated to share that by going completely digital, we have been able to continue our mission of covering the people, places and happenings of Fort Bend in our community absolutely free in more ways than ever before. In less than a year, we have been able to deliver Fort Bend Focus to nearly 24,000 readers via our website, free digital subscriptions, social media and lobby distribution with our QR codes. And, because we are digital, we deliver fresh, timely content three times each month keeping our readers informed and up to date on community happenings. That, plus our free Community Events Calendar for nonprofit events, keeps us all in the know and updated. I call that success – on a fast track!

We have so much to be thankful for this holiday season, and you – our readers, advertisers and subscribers – are at the top of our list. Thank you for your faith and continued support. You are our blessings, and we remain committed to sharing our community’s news, promoting our advertisers and providing exemplary customer service in 2023. If you are not a subscriber, why not? It’s free! Just click here, Free Digital Subscription and we will send you timely community news, valuable information from our local businesses and all that is Fort Bend.

Merry Christmas Fort Bend friends and neighbors and our best wishes for a blessed and Happy New Year. See you in 2023!

Stay focused – on the future!

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” ~ Isaiah 9:6

An absolutely! Merry Christmas to You!
DECEMBER 2022 l 5
Publisher, PATTI PARISH-KAMINSKI 281.728.1204 WWW.FORTBENDFOCUS.COM absolutely! focus media P. O. Box 1253 Richmond, Texas 77406 Fort Bend FocusTM eZine is published by absolutely! focus media, P. O. Box 1253, Richmond, Texas 77406. Copyright© 2022 by absolutely! focus media. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited. Fort Bend FocusTM eZine does not knowingly accept false or misleading advertising or editorial, nor do the publishers assume responsibility should such advertising or editorial appear. Fort Bend FocusTM eZine welcomes editorial submissions from its readers. Vol. 18 No. 11 December 2022 Free Subscription. Sign up at
Patti Parish-Kaminski ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Kay Garrett Gena Horak ART DIRECTOR Grace Belleza WEB DESIGNER JOBpage Graphics SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER Natalee Moore CONTRIBUTORS
Patti Parish-Kaminski ringing in 2023 with a roar! Who can resist a T-Rex Christmas tree at the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land’s Jingle Tree? A Susie Goff original creation.
DECEMBER 2022 l TO ADVERTISE, EMAIL: 6 Open Bar • Food by Churrasco’s Big Board • Silent Auction • Wine Pull Benefiting Homeless Pet Placement League The HPPL strives to rescue, rehabilitate, foster and place homeless animals in forever homes. Contact Eileen Akerson at or 281-658-6592 for more information or visit Join the Homeless Pet Placement League (HPPL) for its inaugural Gala January 28th • 6 pm Liberty Venue 1803 Richmond Parkway, Richmond,TX 77469 Chairs: Eileen Akerson, Vivian Douglas & Vicki Stevenson Tickets: $75 Sponsorships: $1,000 to $7,500 @fortbendfocus

This fall, we invited readers to our website to take an online survey to tell us who their Fort Bend Favs are in nine different categories:

10 th Annual

And boy, did they come through! With nearly 6,000 votes, readers voiced their opinion on their favorites. Take a look and see who won this year’s Fort Bend Focus Favs Readers’ Choice Awards!

Voting for the 2022 Fort Bend Focus Favs Readers’ Choice Awards was conducted online at from August 15 to September 30, 2022. The results were collected and tabulated using In the event of a tie, all winners are listed.


Favorite Brunch TIE First Watch 3 Locations in Fort Bend AND

Jupiter Pizza and Waffles Co. 16135 City Walk, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Favorite Pub Flying Saucer Draught Emporium 15929 City Walk, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Favorite Wine Bar Vino & Vinyl 15977 City Walk, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Favorite Happy Hour & Martini Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille 2115 Town Square Place, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Favorite Margarita Escalante’s Fine Tex-Mex & Tequila 15933 City Walk, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Favorite Steakhouse & Italian Restaurant Brandani’s Restaurant & Wine Bar 3340 FM 1092 Road, #160, Missouri City, TX 77459

Favorite Pizza Grimaldi’s Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria 16535 Southwest Fwy, Ste 2500 Sugar Land, TX 77479

Favorite Burger Brandani’s Burgers, Tacos and Brews 3340 FM 1092 Road, #180, Missouri City, TX 77459

Favorite BBQ Brookstreet Bar-B-Q 3 Locations in Fort Bend

Our Readers Voted for The Best of Fort
foodies spoke up loud and clear voting for their favorite eateries – yum!
Thank you for your support! 281.969.7854 3340 FM 1092 Road #180 • Missouri City 832.987.1313 3340 FM 1092 Road, #160 • Missouri City Fort Bend’s Favorite Steakhouse, Burger & Italian Restaurant l l Thank you for your continued support of our family owned small business! We are offering meals to go for the Holidays and are excited to host a prix-fix dinner for New Years Eve. Book your Holiday Luncheon, Party or Catering Now! Offering Set Menu Luncheons, Dinners and Catering Our calendar is filling up, so call now! We appreciate you & look forward to serving you! ~ Ron & Claire Brandani

Favorite Mexican Food Lupe Tortilla 15801 Southwest Fwy, Sugar Land, TX 77478

Favorite Seafood Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen 12711 US-59, Stafford, TX 77477

Favorite Specialty Restaurant Keepers Japanese Restaurant & Bar 4654 Hwy 6, Sugar Land, TX 77478

Favorite Frozen Treats Gelato Picks 16525 Lexington Blvd, #130, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Favorite Bakery Nothing Bundt Cakes 1531 Hwy 6, #125, Sugar Land, TX 77478

Favorite Coffee Bar TIE Bean Here Coffee 4340 Sienna Parkway, #102, Missouri City, TX 77459 AND

Blendin Coffee Club 8410 US-90 ALT Bldg B, Sugar Land, TX 77478

Favorite Tea Bar HTeaO 4528 Hwy 6, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Favorite Healthy Eatery Whole Foods Market 15900 Southwest Fwy, Sugar Land, TX 77478

Favorite Food Truck Mary Had A Little Party

Favorite Caterer Safari Texas Ranch 11627 FM 1464, Richmond, TX 77407

Favorite Fast Food Chick-fil-A 9 Locations in Fort Bend

Favorite Delivery Door Dash

Favorite Grab & Go Meals Dream Dinners 5418 Hwy 6, #216, Missouri City, TX 77459

From theatres to outdoor recreation, readers got serious about voting for their favorite entertainment!

Favorite Movie Theatre Star Cinema Grill 2 Locations in Fort Bend

Favorite Live Entertainment Cast Theatrical Company 1909 Avenue G, Rosenberg, TX 77471

Favorite Man Cave The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium 15929 City Walk, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Favorite Kids’ Entertainment Main Event 12626 Fountain Lake Cir, Stafford, TX 77477

Favorite Sports Recreation Fort Bend Family YMCA 4433 Cartwright Rd, Missouri City, TX 77459

Favorite Fitness Gym Orangetheory Fitness 3 Locations in Fort Bend

Favorite Country Club River Bend County Club 1214 Dulles Ave, Sugar Land, TX 77478

Favorite Event Facility Safari Texas Ranch 11627 FM 1464, Richmond, TX 77407

Our Readers Voted
DECEMBER 2022 l 9
for The Best of Fort Bend
Our Readers Voted for The Best of Fort Bend DECEMBER 2022 l TO ADVERTISE, EMAIL: 10 It’s a GRAND SLAM! Winner All 3 Magazines 4 Years Running Favorite Event Facility and Caterer ThankYou For Making Our CommunitySafeTeachers Fire Fighters/E.M.T.’s Nurses/Doctors Police Officers County Employees 11627 FM 1464 l Richmond l 281.277.7888 l

Favorite Gift Shop Magpies Gifts 4837 Sweetwater Blvd., Sugar Land, TX 77479

Favorite Antiques Shop Once Again Antiques and Collectibles 801 3rd St, Rosenberg, TX 77471

Favorite Bargain Shopping HomeGoods 2 Locations in Fort Bend

Favorite Grocery Store H-E-B Texas Grocery 9 Locations in Fort Bend

Favorite Health Food Market Whole Foods Market 15900 Southwest Fwy, Sugar Land, TX 77478

Favorite Jewelry Store Kendra Scott 16535 Southwest Fwy #3000, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Favorite Spirits Store Total Wine & More 16762-B Southwest Frwy, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Favorite Shoe Store DSW

Shoe Warehouse 2745 Town Center Blvd N, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Our Readers Voted for The Best of Fort Bend DECEMBER 2022 l 11
’Tis the season to shop ’til you drop! Check out these favorite shopping spots. SHO P P ING Our readers don’t trust their kids to just anyone. From preschool to college, check out their favorite child care and educational facilities. SCHOOLS
2630 Austin Parkway, Sugar
TX 77479 281.980.0500 | Making a Difference: Faith, Academics, and Service 30 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE Founded in 1992 Over Serving Grades Pre-K to 8th 2005, 2014: Blue Ribbon School of Excellence 2017: Innovations in Catholic Education Award NATIONAL RECOGNITIONS Educating the Whole Christian Person In Body, Mind, and Spirit Come tour our campus and see what makes SLCS a leader in providing a well-rounded education!
Favorite Day Care St.
Weekday Children’s Program 3103
Blvd, Sugar Land, TX 77479 Favorite Private School St. Laurence Catholic School 2630 Austin Parkway, Sugar Land, TX 77479 Favorite College/Technical School University of Houston at Sugar Land 14000 University Blvd, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Favorite Veterinarian TIE

VCA Lexington Boulevard Animal Hospital 2627 Cordes Dr, Sugar Land, TX 77479 AND Sienna Plantation Animal Hospital 9212 Sienna Ranch Rd, Missouri City, TX 77459

Favorite Day Care/ Boarding Services Lone Star Pet Lodges 3207 Williamsburg Ln, Missouri City, TX 77459

Favorite Pet Store Petco 5 Locations in Fort Bend

Favorite Grooming Woof Gang Bakery and Grooming 4755 Sweetwater Blvd, Sugar Land, TX 77479 AND Natural Pawz 2 Locations in Fort Bend

Our Readers Voted for The Best of Fort Bend DECEMBER 2022 l TO ADVERTISE, EMAIL: 12
With the holidays around the corner, have your four-legged friends taken care of at Fort Bend’s finest! PET
Our Readers Voted for The Best of Fort Bend DECEMBER 2022 l 13 Favorite Auto Dealer Legacy Ford 27225 Southwest Fwy, Rosenberg, TX 77471 Favorite Auto Repair Colony One Auto Center 1131 Dulles Ave, Stafford, TX 77477 Favorite Auto Services Discount Tire 9 Locations in Fort Bend When it comes to auto services, car enthusiasts aren’t shy about voting for their favorites. AUTO SERVICES Attention Readers: Are there some categories of favs that you would like to see in our 2023 Fort Bend Focus Favs Readers’ Choice Awards? Let us know! E-mail your favorite categories to 2022 Ford F-150 Available Now Our Sales Professionals are available • Mon - Sat 9 am - 8 pm 27225 Southwest Frwy, Rosenberg, TX 77471 • Call 281.342.5611 We look forward to doing business with you! Habla Español Supporting Community... Tradition... Excellence...


Whether it’s building a home or ordering flowers, leave it to these favorite professionals!

Favorite Developer

Johnson Development Corporation 13131 Dairy Ashford, Suite 210 Sugar Land, TX 77478

Favorite Custom Home Builder Partners in Building

Favorite Real Estate Agent Anne Davis

Favorite Real Estate Company Dhanani Private Equity Group 1455 Hwy 6, Suite B, Sugar Land, TX 77478

Favorite Attorney/Law Firm Farha Ahmed, Attorney at Law 2150 Town Square Place, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Favorite Bank/Credit Union Chase Bank 10 Locations in Fort Bend

Favorite Insurance Agency

Tracy Walker – State Farm Agency 15510 Lexington Blvd P, Sugar Land, TX 77478

Favorite Financial Services Fidelity Investments 15600 Southwest Fwy, Sugar Land, TX 77478

Favorite Florist House of Blooms 16180 City Walk, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Our Readers Voted for The Best of Fort

Favorite Salon

Hello Beautiful Signature Salon By Elisa 3711 Raoul Wallenberg Ln, #300 Missouri City, TX 77459

Favorite Photographer Aventography Studios 16185 City Walk, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Favorite Doctor

Houston Methodist Orthopedics and Sports 16811 Southwest Fwy, Ste 200, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Favorite Dentist Fort Bend Dental 3717 Township Ln, Missouri City, TX 77459

Favorite Orthodontist TIE

When it comes to healthcare, check out these Fort Bend favorites from doctors to dentists.

Favorite Hospital

Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital 16655 Southwest Fwy, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Smith Pisklak Orthodontics 6218 Hwy 6, # C, Missouri City, TX 77459 AND

Todd Harmon Orthodontics 2205 Williams Trace Blvd, #103 Sugar Land, TX 77478

Favorite Eye Care Colony Eye Care Center 6134 Hwy 6, Missouri City, TX 77459

Our Readers Voted for The Best of Fort Bend DECEMBER 2022 l 15

Favorite Dermatologist TIE

Complete Dermatology in Sugar Land 7616 Branford Pl Ste. #240, Sugar Land, TX 77479 AND

Advanced Dermatology 1235 Lake Pointe Pkwy, Sugar Land, TX 77478

Favorite Plastic Surgeon TIE

Sugar Land Face & Body Plastic Surgery 16926 Southwest Fwy, Sugar Land, TX 77479 AND

Bancroft Feldman Plastic Surgery 4690 Sweetwater Blvd, #140, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Favorite Wellness Center TIE

Dr. Shel Wellness & Aesthetics Center 1437 Hwy 6, #100, Sugar Land, TX 77478 AND

Sugar Land Health Center 167 Citadel Wy, Suite 500, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Favorite Spa

The Woodhouse Day Spa – Sugar Land 4855 Riverstone Blvd, #110, Missouri City, TX 77459

Favorite Emergency/Urgent Care Clinic

Houston Methodist Emergency Care Center 16655 Southwest Fwy, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Favorite Plumber Alan’s Plumbing 2834 W Pebble Beach Dr, Missouri City, TX 77459


Favorite Appliance Store Home Depot

7 Locations in Fort Bend

Favorite Garden/Landscaping Company

Enchanted Gardens 6420 FM 359 Rd, Richmond, TX 77406

Favorite Pool Services TIE

Reed’s Pool Services 802 Summer Park Dr, #101, Stafford, TX 77477



Sunshine Dr, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Our Readers Voted for The Best of Fort Bend DECEMBER 2022 l TO ADVERTISE, EMAIL: 16
Pool Services 4822
From appliances and flooring to landscaping and design, check out readers’ go-to services for making their homes beautiful.
Our Readers Voted for The Best of Fort Bend DECEMBER 2022 l 17 1116 East Highway 90A • Richmond, TX 77406 • Financing Available In our warehouse, we carry setting materials and special buys on flooring. We Have Everything You Need Ideal Carpet & Flooring is a locally owned and operated home improvement business with over 30 years of experience. For a FREE estimate: 281.762.9999 Favorite Heating/Air Conditioning Services Sun Air Conditioning & Heating 2719 5th St, Stafford, TX 77477 Favorite Home Improvement Kitchen Tune-Up 281.324.8147 Favorite Flooring Store Ideal Carpet & Flooring 1116 E Hwy 90A, Richmond, TX 77406 Favorite Interior Designer The Design Firm 13013 Southwest Fwy Stafford, TX 77477 Favorite Carpet/Cleaning Services Clean As A Whistle 808 Park 2 Dr., Sugar Land, TX 77478 Refacing • Cabinet Painting • Custom Cabinets • Redooring • and more Locally owned and operated by Joe & Amanda Boyd Serving the greater Houston Region South of I-10 Remodeling your expectations WE SPECIALIZE IN Stunning! 18 MONTHS 0% INTEREST FINANCING $1,000 OFF any cabinet project over $15,000 Restrictions apply Expires 12/31/22 281-900-9083 Call for Free Estimate

Celebrates Veterans

OnNovember 9th, 2022, the Rotary Club of Sugar Land celebrated local Veterans with their annual Veterans Day celebration program at Sugar Creek Country Club. With over 20 armed forces Veterans in attendance, there was representation from all branches of service and Veterans who served from World War II to Operation Enduring Freedom. Rotatrian Jeff Tallas served as the master of ceremonies.

The Veterans Day program included the Veterans Prayer given by District 1 Sugar Land City Council Member Suzanne Whatley, a stellar display of the American flag presented by the Willowridge High School Junior ROTC Color Guard, the Nation al Anthem sung by Rotary Club of Greater Houston Veterans charter member Mark McVey and the American Pledge led by Rotary Club of Sugar Land member Darla Alston.


One-hundred-year-old Veteran and guest of honor Staff Sergeant Lewis Woo Yee. Yee is a World War II Veteran and was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his service. Veterans Terry Dicky, Bud Friedman and Jimmy Thompson. Rotary Club of Sugar Land member Mary Favre displayed the original November 2, 1919, telegram to her great grand uncle informing him that his son was killed in World War I. Vietnam Veteran Don Galloway, WW II Veteran William Pearce Ham, Jr., Veteran the Honorable Pete Olson, WWII Veteran Lewis Woo Yee and Dessert Storm Veteran Robert McKnight.
table prepared by Marine Veteran Patrick Houck honored those Veterans who are missing but not forgotten.

The POW/MIA table was honored, and items explained in a speech by re tired Marine Veteran Patrick Houck. The table is displayed to signify those who are missing but are not forgotten.

A brief explanation of Armistice Day history was presented by Rotary Club of Sugar Land member Mary Favre. There were also multiple displays of military memorabilia from different eras dat ing back to World War I. After enjoying lunch with the Veterans, Sugar Land Ro tary President Marvin Marcell introduced the guest of honor, Congressional Gold Medal recipient and World War II Veteran Staff Sergeant Lewis Woo Yee, a “Fly ing Tiger” with what was once known as the Army Air Core, now our modern-day Air Force. Yee’s daughter, Sue Chiang, shared her father’s history and legacy from his service days until he received his medal. United States Navy Veteran and former United States Representa tive Pete Olson also shared about the day Staff Sergeant Yee was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Staff Ser geant Yee was honored by a presenta tion of flowers with a picture of a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk that filled him with emo tion.

There was a moment for individual Veteran appreciation and a Vietnam “Fly ing Tiger,” Don Galloway, gave a salute to Staff Sergeant Yee. Additionally, a very special moment was the introduction of a World War II coast guardsman, William Pearce Ham, Jr. (escorted by his fatherin-law Gordon Franklin) the oldest in the room at 101 years-old! To conclude the celebration, the epic Military Medley was played, and the program ended in the Rotary Four-Way Test. Visit for more information about the Rotary Club of Sugar Land.

Rotary Club President and Veteran Marvin Marcell and Debbie Marcell. Veteran Don Smithers and Sharlene Jacobson. Robert Walters, Suzanne Whatley and Veteran Tom Moody. Rotary Club of Sugar Land Member Jim Munnell. Courtney and Pat Houck with Veteran Albert Glover. Back: Veteran Carl Cummings, Veteran Patrick Houck, Jennifer Chiang and Veteran Chris Meyer. Front: Roberta and Veteran Lewis Woo Yee and Sue Chiang. Cadet PFC Hernandez, Cadet Sgt Hardeman, Veteran Carl Cummings , Honorable Pete Olson, Cadet SSgt Hernandez, Cadet Sgt Thomas and Cadet Capt. Eguevoi. Marine Veterans Patrick Houck and Carl Cummings. Photos by Mary Favre

Don’t Mess With The Battleship Texas!

She’s 110 years old and recently enjoyed a leisurely cruise from her berth at the San Jacinto Battlefield and Monument to a dry dock in Galveston. She’s the oldest remaining American warship without sails. She’s the only remaining ship in the world that engaged in combat in both World War I and World War II. She’s the only remaining ship that fought in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters in World War II. She was there when Texan Earl Rudder led his Rangers up the cliffs on Point du Hoc during D Day. She was there when six Marines put up an America flag atop Mount Sirbachi on Iwo Jima. She was there when hurricanes Ike and Harvey hit us. She’s owned by the State of Texas and is the flagship of the Texas Navy. Her designation is BB-35. She’s the Battleship TEXAS!

She was designed to go to toe-to-toe on the high seas with the enemy’s most lethal warships. She was at Vera Cruz when U.S. forces seized the port to stop a shipment of weapons from Germany to aid a revolution in Mexico in 1914. Her crew saw first-hand the rising tensions the United States was having with Mexico. After a German U-boat sank the cruise ship Lusitania on May 7, 1915, we uncovered the secret Zimmerman Tele graph which asked Mexico to join with Germany if the United States entered the war: “We make Mexico a proposal of alli ance on the following basis: make war together, make peace together, generous financial support and an understanding on our part that Mexico is to reconquer the lost territory in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.” We declared war against Germany on April 6, 1917. The USS TEXAS crossed the Atlantic to join the Grand Fleet in the North Sea, where she remained until the end the war.

Uncle Sam paid about six million dollars for our battleship. She was christened USS TEXAS on May 18, 1912. The cere mony was an all-Texas affair with Texan Claudia Lyon breaking a champagne bottle on her bow while saying, “In the name of the United States, I christen thee USS TEXAS!” She was of ficially commissioned as a ship of war on March 14, 1914. Her ten, 14” main batteries could launch a 1,400-pound, armorpiercing shell twenty-three miles. She was the most powerful warship in human history.

The secret Zimmerman Telegraph.

The christening of the USS TEXAS in 1912.

After World War I, naval warfare was changing and the USS TEXAS was becoming obsolete. During the 1930s, she was converted from coal to fuel oil. She received new armaments to shoot down airplanes. A seaplane was placed on top of one of her massive 14-inch gun turrets. It would be launched to pro vide more real-time reports of weapons accuracy and effective ness. The USS TEXAS’ signature tripod masts were installed, too. As World War II was looming, our battleship was ready.

Battleship TEXAS and World War II

World War II began on September 1, 1939 when German Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler unleashed his Blitzkrieg on Poland. The United States was very reluctant to get involved in another European war. One-hundred, seventeen thousand American troops had died in nineteen short months in World War I. The Atlantic Ocean protected us from European aggressors. Amer ica was officially neutral in this second European blood bath.

Our attitude quickly changed when, in less than nine months, Hitler controlled the entire European continent except the tiny island nation of Great Britain. President Franklin Roosevelt knew if the Nazis captured Great Britain, it was only a matter of time before Hitler set his sights on us. In response to this de veloping threat, Congress approved the Lend Lease Act. This Act allowed us to loan surplus military hardware, weapon and support to Great Britain. The USS TEXAS sailed back-and-forth across the Atlantic to make sure these supplies got to Britain without interference from Nazi U-Boats.

American neutrality ended on December 7, 1942 with the surprise attack by Imperial Japan on our Pacific Fleet anchored in Pearl Harbor. “A date which will live in infamy” forced the United States to fight a two-front war – alone in the Pacific and in the Atlantic with Great Britain, France and Soviet Russia. The destruction of our fleet at Pearl Harbor from airplanes launched from ships changed naval warfare forever. Battleships were the most important warships. Pearl Harbor showed us that fast aircraft carriers would win the war. Our carriers’ flank speed was 30+ knots. If a ship could not sail at 30 knots, it was worth less in the Pacific. The USS TEXAS could only go 20 knots. She was kept in the Atlantic and assigned to protect the sup ply chain from our east coast to Great Britain from the deadly U-boat Wolfpacks. The U-boats sank over 3,000 allied ships during the war.

Our USS TEXAS had been afloat for thirty years and had never fired her 14” guns at the enemy. That changed on No vember 10, 1942 when she was ordered to join the invasion of North Africa – Operation Torch. With Texan Walter Cronkite aboard, the USS TEXAS watched our forces land in Morocco. Once they were safely ashore, the USS TEXAS unleashed her guns on enemy munition areas and gathering points. She fired 272 shells ashore in two days. After our troops had roared in land, out of range of the USS TEXAS, her work was over. She

resumed escort duties against the U-boats. Her greatest mili tary action was coming.


On May 31, 1944, the crew of the USS TEXAS was informed that they would be leading the Allied invasion of France on the beaches of Normandy – D Day! On June 6, 1944, at 5:50 am, the USS TEXAS unleashed 255 14” shells into the German de fenses on Omaha Beach. Her fury gave Colonel Earl Rudder’s Rangers time to climb the cliffs at Point du Hoc and take the fight to the Germans.

At 6:26 am, the USS TEXAS began to fire at Omaha Beach to help get our troops off of the beach and the deadly fire from the Germans. Putting herself at risk of being hit by enemy fire, the USS TEXAS closed to just 3,000 yards off shore. At 9:30 pm, the USS TEXAS stopped firing. She had fired 445 shells from her 14” guns. On June 15th, she fired her last round during the D Day invasion, with our troops advancing beyond her range. The USS TEXAS was ordered to quickly proceed to Cherbourg to support an invasion to capture an important port. On June 25th, she began her bombardment of German positions. At 1:16 pm, the USS TEXAS suffered her first and only combat death – Helmsman Christen Christensen was killed when a Ger man shell hit the heart of the ship – the navigation bridge. In three hours, the USS TEXAS experienced 65 near misses. She was ordered to retire at 3:01 pm.

The Move to Japan

Since there would be no more amphibious invasions in Eu rope, the USS TEXAS was ordered to the Pacific Fleet. She was sent to Iwo Jima. On February 15, 1945, the 14” guns of the USS TEXAS roared to life once more to take out a Japanese airfield and to soften the Japanese defenses on the western side of Iwo Jima. Mount Sirabachi was easily visible from the USS TEXAS when our U.S. Marines raised Old Glory.

The USS TEXAS left Iwo Jima on March 7, 1945 to prepare for her final combat at Okinawa. The USS TEXAS opened fire on Okinawa on March 25th, seven days before the invasion be gan. She fired for 52 straight days to support our troops ashore and to take down the swarm of suicide kamikaze attackers. When it was all over, the USS TEXAS fired 2,019 14” shells at Okinawa. She left active duty on a high note – she had fired the most extensive and sustained amount of ordnance in her history.

DECEMBER 2022 l 21
Mount Suribachi on the southwest end of Iwo Jima.

The Battleship Returns Home

Her active-duty service ended on April 21, 1948. The USS TEXAS was turned over to the Lone Star State on April 30, 1948. Since that time, she has been permanently berthed at the San Jacinto Battlefield.

Since her first launch into the sea in 1912, the USS TEXAS has been fighting a continuous battle – rust and corrosion of her steel hull in salt water. She kept developing leak after leak after leak.

On December 13, 1988, she barely made it to a drydock in Galveston. Her draft sank two feet during the six-hour tow. Repairs complete, the USS TEXAS returned to San Jacinto on July 26, 1990. Mother Nature was unrelenting and kept attack ing our beloved ship. By 2020, the USS TEXAS was taking on 2,000 gallons of seawater PER MINUTE. We had to get her to a drydock once again. Having learned a lot from her first trip to Galveston, the USS TEXAS had a smooth trip to Galveston in August of this year. It was a gorgeous day for a sail down the Houston Ship Channel, with many of our neighbors proudly watching our battleship underway again.

Her hull will be repaired for at least the next two years. After she is repaired, we have to decide where she will call home. One thing is very clear to me – she needs to be removed from salt water, because we will always lose to corrosion. We can’t let the essence of Texas’ fortitude, strength and can-do atti tude fall apart! I do not know the answer, but “failure is not an option.” Please send me your thoughts as to where the USS TEXAS should go to

Enjoy the holidays with your family knowing that, working together, like the sailors on the USS TEXAS (BB-35), we make Fort Bend Strong! The USS TEXAS.


December Programs at First Colony Branch Library

Fort Bend County Libraries’ (FBCL) First Colony Branch Library, 2121 Austin Parkway in Sugar Land, presents a variety of free children’s programs, adult computer classes, book clubs and special programs for people of all ages each month. All programs are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www. or call the First Colony Branch Library at 281-238-2800 or 281-633-4734.

Library Closings:

• December 23rd to 26th – Christmas

• January 2nd – New Year’s

Special Events:

• “Friends of First Colony Branch Library – Book Sale” –Saturday, December 3rd, 9 am to 2 pm, Meeting Room.

• Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra Performance and Holiday Open House – Saturday, December 10th, 2 to 4 pm, Meeting Room.

Children’s Programs:

• Mother Goose Time – Tuesdays, 10:15 -10:30 am.

• Toddler Time – Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10:15 - 10:45 am.

• Preschool Story Time – Wednesdays, 11:30 am-12:15 pm.

• Pajama Night Story Time – 1st and 3rd Mondays, 6-6:30 pm.

• After-School Break – 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month, 4:30-5:30 pm – crafts, movies, stories for school-aged children in grades 1 through 5. The schedule for December is as follows: December 1st – Aerodynamics of paper airplanes. December 15th – How to make slime.

• Tie Dye – Monday, December 12th, 6 pm.

Young Adult Programs (For Teens In Grades 9-12)

• Perpetual Wood-Block Calendars – Monday, December 5th, 5 pm, Conference Room.

Adult Programs

• Novel Expectations Book Club – Thursday, December 8, at 1:30 pm, Meeting Room.

• English as a Second Language (ESL) Conversation Circles –Tuesdays, December 13th and 27th, 2 pm, Conference Room.

• Upcycling with Left-Over Supplies – Thursday, December 15th, 11:00 am-12:30 pm, Conference Room.

• Database Feature Demonstration: Udemy - A Career and Work-Related Online Resource” – Monday, December 19th, 23 pm, Meeting Room.

Fort Bend County Library Cards are free. To apply for a library card, visit any FBCL location. Bring a valid photo ID and a document showing a current address.



Hey Sweet Lifers! If you’re feeling like you want to up your game in home cooking, then might I suggest growing some tarragon. This herb has the ability to “elevate” dishes to the next level. Considered one of the four fine herbs in French cooking, it plays well with fish, chicken and pork. What You’ll

Tarragon has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes for approximately 600 years. The Mongols used it to help them sleep, in lieu of teeth brushing and in their dishes. In the tenth century, as they made their way conquering, they most likely brought it with them to Italy. History has it that St. Catherine presented the Pope Clement VI with this herb in the 14th century.

Medicinally, tarragon is used to treat a variety of ailments. Specifically noted are uses with poor digestion, and all the various symptoms that accompany that, as well as for pain, particularly that of gout, arthritis and toothaches. It is similar to anise and has the same effects of mouth-numbing effects due to the cis-pellitorine compound. It does not store well, though, and must be used fairly quickly after fresh cuttings are taken. The plant does not grow from seeds, so it must be found as a starter plant or from root cuttings. I keep a late pot of it in the Sweet Life Garden and have had much luck over wintering it as well. It does not like to be loved on too much either, so if you are one to forget to water or not fussy over soils, this one’s for you!

Culinary uses abound. Crushing the herb in butter and wine to make a sauce over fine fish, adding cream with it for a delicate broth enhancing asparagus or pea soup or to subtly flavor vinegars to add to pork dishes are examples. It is delicious with vegetables equally. My favorite recipe with creamy balsamic glaze and mushrooms is an all time favorite. I have even added it to a fruit salad in the summer.

Enjoy y’all and keep on growing!
1 package of baby Bella mushrooms washed and sliced 2 tbsp of
1 tabs of
1/2 cup of
2 tbsp of
2 tbsp of
• Melt the butter in a pan and add the mushrooms and garlic. Cook til tender • Add in the cream, and
and cook down a bit • Toss
minutes • Taste and
needed This makes a great little side dish during the holidays. Alisa’s Creamy Tarragon Mushrooms DECEMBER 2022 l 23
fresh tarragon
minced garlic
heavy cream
balsamic glaze
and pepper to
What To Do:
balsamic glaze
in the fresh tarragon
let simmer for 5
add salt and pepper if

the drunken cyclist

Aspromised, I am back this month with my top sparkling wines to help you enjoy the holiday season.

The first step in choosing the right sparkling wine for an event is to assess what kind of party is it? Based on my experience, how much you spend on a wine is inversely proportionate to the amount of people that will likely attend the gathering. Can you tell I had a minor in math? In other words, increase your budget as the size of the event decreases.

A Big Bash (20+ people)

When you attend a bigger event, it is highly likely that once you hand over your bottle to the host, you won’t even see it again, let alone get a chance to taste it. In fact, it is just as likely that it will be used to make some sort of cock tail or some fool will try to saber it – and that fool is usually me – so there is little reason to sacrifice a paycheck in order to impress. There are plenty of really good sparkling wines to be had at $20 and under that will fit the bill.

There are a host of value sparklers from the U.S. that I particularly like, start ing with one that comes from New Mex ico. I know, not exactly the first area you think of when you hear “wine country.”

But the folks at Gruet consistently pro duce some of the best sparkling wines that you can usually find for under $15. Like others on this list, Gruet was started by a house in Champagne, so they kind of know what they are doing.

20 Sparkling Wines to Light Up the Season

• Gruet Winery Blanc de Noirs (Suggested retail $17, On the shelf ~$12)

• Mumm Napa Brut ($25, $15)

• Gloria Ferrer Brut Rosé ($25, $18)

• Domaine Chandon Brut ($25, $17)

• Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Rosé ($25, $18)

Here, I would expand the budget a bit and aim for wines in the $20-$40 range, wines that offer a bit more complexity and interest. As you may have noticed, I did not mention Prosecco above, and that is for a very good reason: I think most Proseccos under twenty bucks

My Top Wines Under $20 A Healthy Gathering (10-20 people)

are, well, not very good. For the most part, wines that make it to the U.S. from Italy’s most popular region for spar kling wine come from huge industrial producers, and while they are certainly not “bad,” I think much more interesting sparklers come from the smaller, hillier region in Prosecco: wines that carry the “DOCG” designation (without getting to much into it, “DOCG” guarantees a high er quality wine).

One of my absolute favorite Prosec cos is Nino Franco’s Rustico, a delight ful, slightly nutty wine that is available at most wine stores. It is a family-run busi ness in the town of Valdobbiadene and consistently one of my top-rated wines from the region.

This price range also introduces wines from Champagne (technically, only wines from the region in Northern France can thusly be labelled), and while there are a host of wines available in the $30-$40 range, I would suggest you steer away from both Veuve Clicquot and Moët. Don’t get me wrong. I am not like many other snobby wine writers — I actually like both of them — but the chances are high that someone else will bring one or both, so this is the perfect opportunity to branch out.

My Top Wines $20-$40

• Nino Franco Prosecco Superiore Rustico ($30, $21)

• Domaine Carneros ($35, $25)

• Ferrari Brut ($35, $25)

• Roederer Estate Brut Rosé ($36, $25)

• Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Cuvée Brut ($45, $39)

A More Intimate Dinner Party (4-8 People)

As the crowd thins out, I tend to bring out the “big guns” so to speak, and here the budget is somewhere north of $40 a bottle, and for me, that means cham pagne. Sure, there are countless spar kling wines from around the world where you can plop down half a hundred or more, but many of those wines, unfortu nately, are hard to find or only available at the winery. Not so with champagne.

Simply put, we drink a lot of cham pagne and to limit my top choices to a handful of names would be a bit silly, but I nonetheless try.

Some Top Sparklers Over $40

• Mailly Grand Cru Brut Réserve ($50)

• André Clouet Silver ($55)

• Gosset Grand Réserve ($60)

• Bollinger Special Cuvée ($60)

• Bruno Paillard Première Cuvée ($65)

Just The Two Of You

Maybe you are like me, and you save the best for when you are alone with your special someone. I don’t have to go into too much detail here, do I? Again, there are a ton worthy of mention, but here are a few.

A few break the bank wines:

• Krug Grande Cuvée ($225)

• Piper-Heidsieck Rare ($225)

• Dom Pérignon ($175)

• Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame ($175)

• Domain Carneros Le Rêve ($125)

DECEMBER 2022 l 25
Cheers to the holidays!

Start a Holiday Tradition with Tender Steaks

Creating traditions is a festive focal point for many families throughout the holiday season, and a timeless way to bring your nearest and dearest back year after year is with an exquisite meal.

With a combination of savory, salty and sweet bites, SumacCrusted Filet Mignon with HoneyLemon Glazed Carrots and Garlic Mashed Potatoes provides a little something for everyone. At the center of this seasonal feast is tender, flavorful cuts of filet mignon, hand-cut by master butchers at Omaha Steaks to make your family’s holiday truly special.

To find more holiday recipes, visit

Sumac-Crusted Filet Mignon with Honey-Lemon Glazed Carrots and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Recipe by Omaha Steaks Executive Chef David Rose Prep time: 15 minutes • Cook time: about 20 minutes • Servings: 4

Garlic Mashed Potatoes:

2 pounds russet potatoes, medium diced, skin on cold water

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1 pinch, plus additional, to taste, divided 1/2 pound unsalted butter 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 cup heavy cream 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper, plus additional, to taste, divided

Honey-Lemon Glazed Carrots:

2/3 cup honey

1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon sumac 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest 2 pinches kosher salt, plus additional, to taste, divided 1 pinch ground black pepper, plus additional, to taste, divided water

1 pound baby rainbow carrots 1/3 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Source: Family Features

Sumac-Crusted Filet Mignon:

• Fill stockpot 2/3 full with water. Bring to boil and add 1 pinch salt. Blanch carrots in boiling water 5 minutes. Drain and shock with cold water. When cool enough to handle, halve carrots lengthwise.

• In large saute pan over medium-high heat, add oil and butter.

• Add carrots to pan, flat sides down, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sear until browned, about 2 minutes.

• To make garlic mashed potatoes: Add potatoes to stockpot. Cover with cold water by about 1 inch and add 1 pinch salt. Turn on high heat and bring to boil 12-15 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain and place potatoes in large mixing bowl.

• In saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic and simmer 5 minutes. Add heavy cream, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper; bring to boil. When mix ture boils, reduce to simmer 3 minutes then remove from heat.

• Mash hot potatoes until most lumps are gone. Using hand mixer on low speed, slowly add butter and cream mix ture until desired smoothness and taste.

• Season with salt and white pepper, to taste.

• To make honey-lemon glazed carrots: In small bowl, whisk honey, lemon juice, sumac, lemon zest, 1 pinch salt and 1 pinch pepper.

• Preheat oven to 425 F.

• Flip carrots and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add half of glaze to pan and glaze generously. Bake 3 min utes. Add remaining glaze to carrots and bake 2 minutes. Remove glazed carrots from oven.

• To make sumac-crusted filet mignon: Thaw filet mi gnons in refrigerator overnight, pat dry with paper towels then bring to room temperature 30 minutes.

• In small bowl, whisk kosher salt, sumac, black pepper and dried thyme. Season steaks on all sides.

• In cast-iron pan over high heat, add grapeseed oil.

• Place filets in pan and cook 4 minutes until browned and seared. Add 1 tablespoon butter to pan.

• Flip filets and butter baste about 20 seconds. Cook filets 3 minutes for medium-rare.

• Remove filets from pan and top each with 1/2 tablespoon butter. Rest steaks 7-8 minutes.

• Place garlic mashed potatoes on plate and top with sumac-crusted filet mignon. Place honey-lemon glazed carrots next to filet mignon and mashed potatoes.

DECEMBER 2022 l 27
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
4 Omaha Steaks Private Reserve Filet Mignons (7 ounces each) 2 tablespoons kosher salt 1 tablespoon sumac 2 teaspoons ground black pepper 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves 1/3 cup grapeseed oil 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

absolutely AUTO REVIEW


With an MSRP of $37,095, the gasoline-only 2023 Pacifica is powered by a 287 hp, 3.6 liter Pentastar V6 engine mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission that delivers EPA estimated fuel economy numbers of 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. But, if you really want to save fuel, the plug-in hybrid Pacifica is the only way to go. With a base MSRP of $48,478, the plug-in hybrid is powered by a specially modified version of the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 gasoline engine mated to a dualmotor eFlite electrically variable transmission (EVT) giving the minivan an impressive 500 mile range. But, plug in the minivan and you can drive more than 30 miles a day without ever visiting a gas station.

The 2023 Chrysler Pacifica continues to lead the minivan segment. And, for the new model year, it adds the premium Pinnacle model, which features the most luxurious interior in its class. The Pacifica was the first minivan to offer both gas and hybrid powertrains and still the only one in the segment to of fer a plug-in hybrid. With the ability to deliver the equivalent of more than 80 miles per gallon (MPGe) in electric-only mode, it’s a vehicle designed to keep you free from visiting gas stations. For parents who have a daily routine that includes school and team car-pooling along with all the other chauffeuring duties, the Pacifica could be a game-changer.

Minivans had their heyday in the 1980s and 90s when every automaker had one in their showroom. Chrysler introduced the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager in 1983, and both mod els were big hits with the car buying public. Here was a vehicle that carried up to eight passengers comfortably and handled like a car. But, minivans lost their appeal when SUV’s were per ceived as so much cooler to drive. The 2023 Chrysler Pacifica has the power and hipness to change all that.

The Pacifica exterior is athletic, a clear departure from the stodgy minivans of old. The top-of-the-line Pinnacle trim is a near-luxury vehicle that delivers a beautiful interior and loads of technology. Parents with small children will be reassured with the FamCAM interior camera that delivers a high-definition im age including a view of rear-facing child-seat occupants, splitview display and unique “zoom-to-seat” feature.

The Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid is an ideal vehicle for parents who would like to embrace an all-electric future without sacrificing the ability to take long road trips. It’s a great com promise.


Do you hear what I hear? It’s the sound of singing boys inviting you to the Fort Bend Boys Choir’s Christmas Musi cale! Mark your calendars for Friday, De cember 9th, 2022 at 7 pm at First United Methodist Church-Missouri City, 3900 Lexington Blvd.

Tickets are available at the door, but purchasing online is the best option. Adult admission is $18, and children 12 and under are $5. All proceeds from the Christmas Musicale go toward music program support and the organization’s continued financial recovery from CO VID-19.

If you have a son or know of a boy who loves music and singing, encourage him to audition for the award-winning Fort Bend Boys Choir. No experience is necessary, and boys should be eight years of age or older with an unchanged voice. At this time, auditions are by special appointment at the First United Methodist Church Missouri City, 3900 Lexington Blvd., Missouri City.

Boys from all over the Fort Bend and the Houston metro area have the opportunity to learn more about music and singing, as well as many of life’s im portant lessons like leadership, making friends and building self-confidence and self-esteem – all in a safe, proactive set ting. Take advantage of this life-chang ing activity now before your boy’s voice changes!

Visit the Fort Bend Boys Choir’s web page at or call 281-2403800 for more details about Christmas Musicale tickets and auditions. Make the holiday season brighter for you and the boys in your life. Check out the Fort Bend Boys Choir today as they celebrate: A Boy’s Song . . . The Music Continues!

Submit newsworthy items to
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year with the Fort Bend Boys Choir’s 41st Holiday Concert! Friday, December 9th, 2022

December 2022 Winner


Fort Bend Focus Magazine is looking for great amateur photos. Any subject matter will be considered, black and white or color, special effects and/or edited are not necessary. The entry must not have previously appeared in any publication.


Each issue’s winner receives a gift certificate and the winning photo will be published in our magazine. To claim your prize, e-mail


To submit a digital photo, e-mail the jpeg file to Grace@ Digital photos must be 300 dpi HIGH RESOLUTION at size of at least 10” wide.

Please make sure to send some basic information about every photo you submit such as: who, where, when, a title, your name and phone number.

By submitting an entry, the photographer gives Fort Bend Focus Magazine the right to use and publish their photograph. There is no contest deadline.

“Key Largo, Florida”
you’ve earned a gift certificate!


Houston Methodist Primary Care Group Welcomes

Alexander Laceras, M.D., to Richmond-Rosenberg

Houston Methodist Primary Care Group is pleased to welcome Alexander Laceras, M.D., who is serving patients at the Houston Methodist Primary Care Group practice in Richmond-Rosenberg, located at 4050 FM 762 Rd., Rosenberg, TX 77469.

Laceras is a board-certified fam ily medicine physician whose clinical interests include treating and managing acute and chronic medical needs, such as anemia, diabetes, cardiovascular dis ease, hypertension, thyroid conditions and kidney-related diseases. He offers complete wellness exams and health screenings and has a special interest in geriatric care.

“I treat every patient as if they are family and friends, and at the same time develop a partnership in all aspects of their care,” Laceras said.

Prior to moving to the United States, Laceras earned his medical degree from Remedios T. Romualdez Medical Foun dation College of Medicine in the Phil

ippines and was a practicing physician. Upon moving to the United States, Lac eras earned his Bachelor of Science in


Nursing (BSN) at the University of TexasHouston and Master of Science in adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP) from Texas Women’s University in Houston. During his career as a Nurse Practitioner, a su pervising physician took note of Laceras’ skills and attention to detail and encour aged him to pursue his United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) steps in the United States. Laceras went on to complete a family and community medicine residency at The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.

Away from patients, Laceras is an active member of Sugar Creek Baptist Church in Sugar Land and enjoys par ticipating in mission work. He is a new grandpa and enjoys traveling with his wife to rural Texas towns.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Laceras, or to find a Houston Method ist Primary Care Group physician in Richmond-Rosenberg, visit houston or call 281.738.3564.

Want to know what’s going on in your community? And list your non-profit Community Event for Free! E-mail Check out Community Events at
DECEMBER 2022 l 31
Alexander Laceras, M.D., family medicine Houston Methodist Primary Care Group



On November 3rd, George Ranch Historical Park welcomed over 40 community supporters and Fort Bend Museum Docents for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Great Pumpkin Round-Up created by local designer Lucas Chavez. The extensive display featured vibrant fall mums and crotons that complimented 20 varieties of pumpkins surrounding the 1930s George Ranch House.

Guests enjoyed coffee and scones, while learning about the variety of pumpkins produced and shipped to the ranch from Floydada, Texas. As a special treat, guests were given a recipe for pumpkin muffins and encouraged to pick up one of the more baking-friendly pumpkin varieties as they left the event.


Guests enjoyed coffee and scones on the lawn of the 1930s George Ranch House.

It was the most wonderful time of the year at the official Tree Lighting on November 10th for Jingle Tree, presented by Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, at Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land. Sponsors, local officials, community leaders and decorators all joined in as this year’s trees were debuted for the week-long celebration. Proceeds from the annual event support the Museum’s daily operations, expand access to underserved communities and support innovative sensory-friendly programming.

Houston Methodist Sugar Land’s Eliud Faz with Jingle Tree Honorary Chairs Pam Gray and Stacy Borgfeldt Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman, Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land Senior Director Kavita Self and Houston Methodist Sugar Land’s Eliud Faz. Melissa Toon and Dr. Kanesha Waites from Lamar Ccnsolidated ISD. Buddecke enjoyed the display.

Parks Youth Ranch (PYR) held its 10th Cowboy Up at Safari Texas. Cowboy Up featured emcee George Lindsey from 100.3 The Bull, The Rumours with Seth Breckenridge, liquor and wine raffle, and silent and live auctions. The PYR Board of Directors would like to extend their thanks to the 400 attendees, sponsors and hardworking volunteers, who helped make Cowboy Up 2022 a success!

PYR opened its doors in 2011 to provide emergency shelter, counseling and life-changing services to at-risk and homeless youth. Located in southern Fort Bend County, PYR is a 28-bed emergency shelter that provides services to abused and neglected youth ages 7 to 17. Since opening, the shelter has served over 1,650 children. PYR remains the only non-profit emergency shelter for youth in Fort Bend County. PYR is a Home for Today, Hope for Tomorrow for disadvantaged youth.

NRG WA Parish partnered with Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels in November to serve meals, play games and provide maintenance at their facility. Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels currently serves more than 360,000 meals to 2,200 seniors across the county.

DECEMBER 2022 l 33
Bingo callers NRG WA Parish Electrician David Moreno and NRG WA Parish Retiree Lester Miller called the bingo game for more than 200 seniors. NRG WA Parish has partnered with Fort Bend Seniors Meals On Wheels for 15 years to serve meals and play games at their facility. NRG WA Parish Environmental Specialist Chris Stoeltje and NRG WA Parish Electrician Roy Lee NRG Senior Benefits Analyst Elaina Edmonson and NRG Commercial Strategy Analyst Wassef El Hassan Lucy and Ron Hudson, Mary Favre, Pat Somers, Jim McClellan, Bill Rohrbach and Mark Eyring Shannan Stavinoha, George Lindsey and Angela Parker Boepple

The Clemence Youth Foundation is a Greater Houston-based youth outreach organization that aims to enrich the lives of its members through unique and thought-provoking events. The program works to develop character and provide its young participants a chance to build social experience and leadership quali ties. Allowing members to take an active role in their communities is a central pil lar of the Foundation’s goals. Recently, members participated in an engaging and educational program introducing the Texas Judicial System.

On October 10th, the Clemence Youth Foundation organized a trip to the Fort Bend County Justice Cen ter and a guided tour of the Fort Bend County Juvenile Detention Center. Led by Judges Christopher Morales and Walter Armatys, the group began with a detailed presentation of the Texas Judi cial System. The presentation discussed all the intricacies of the Texas Judicial System, from the highest levels of the Texas Supreme Court to the lowest lev els of county courts. While packed with a plethora of legal information, Judges Morales and Armatys captured the au dience’s interest by inserting personal anecdotes and allowing for audience participation, which was particularly ef fective for the young audience. While the presentation was quick-paced, it was able to condense a multitude of legal in formation in a concise, comprehensible package.

Leadership Program: Know Your Local Government Judicial and Prison System

After the presentation, Judges Morales and Armatys opened the floor for questions. Members were able to think critically about the information and how they could utilize it in their own lives. Judges Morales and Armatys an swered questions thoughtfully, drawing from their experiences to present a ho listic viewpoint. Members were allowed to look around the courtroom and were even allowed to peer into the holding cells that would house potential convicts during trials, which was very exciting for the younger audience members.

Extending beyond the presentation of the Fort Bend County Justice Cen ter was an interactive and educational tour of the Fort Bend County Juvenile Detention Center, which was especially poignant for the teenage audience. The tour coordinator led the group through out the facility while explaining and de scribing how the facility functioned. It was well-organized and depicted a neat and orderly system designed to reha bilitate young people while providing a sense of normalcy. Those housed in the facility could attend school with the aid of Lamar CISD and be able to par ticipate in animal and group therapy. It was interesting to see how the program functioned since the repercussions of juvenile incidents are often neglected. Many in the audience were intrigued by the amount of detail presented and the unconventional methods of rehabilita tion. A notable moment was when the group learned about the animal therapy program. The animal therapy program serves the residents and a local animal shelter, as the residents can train and interact with dogs. Once the dogs are

trained, they are returned to the shelter and are hopefully adopted.

After an educational morning of tours, presentations and a fulfilling lunch, the Clemence Youth Foundation ended the day gliding on ice. While ice skating is a fun endeavor, this event also honed leadership skills, allowing those who were knowledgeable in skating to teach those who were not. It also strengthened communication between Clemence Youth’s members by putting them to the test in a low-stress environment. Spend ing the last part of the trip skating – or trying to skate – across Memorial Mall’s ice rink helped reinforce the importance of having fun when learning new things, whether one is learning law or how to do the perfect front crossover.

Overall, the trip organized by the Clemence Youth Foundation was unique in the way that it allowed members to gain an eye-witness experience in the Texas legal system. For many partici pants, this opportunity was the first time they had stepped into the courtroom. It would be a disservice to say that the trip was simply “interesting” as it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will create lasting memories

In summary, this experience was a great learning opportunity for the youth in the Foundation. The kids learned so much about our judicial system and skating! We would like to give a special thank you to Jing J.J. Clemence, along with all the Clemence Youth Founda tion leaders and volunteers for arranging this wonderful trip, as well as a special thank you to Judge Christopher Morales, Judge Walter Armatys and the Fort Bend County Juvenile Detention Center.

Youth Coach Adelaide Clemence with Andy Wu and Brian Hu. The Clemence Youth Foundation with Judges Christopher Morales and Walter Armatys at the Fort Bend County Justice Center.

Living the Sweet Life:

Walking into 2023 like it’s 1993!


Sweet Lifers!

Whatcha got planned for 2023? Many of us have been doing a lot for a lot of people for a very long time. Years go by, and in the haste of liv ing . . . some dreams get lost or left behind. While some of that stuff has mattered, essential to the sheer running of life even, I am telling you that in 2023, you should take a little stroll back to 1993. Take it from me, you just never know what’ll happen. It could be a year of dreams com ing true, and in the end, you’ll be a better you!

What were you doing? Where did you think life would have you thirty years ago? In all my reminiscing, I re membered that I still needed to do something that actu ally matters the most. I think there comes a time in ev eryone’s life that you have to decide to categorize things into four buckets. The first with what you are doing that you love, and it’s going to keep on going, the second with stuff that needs a tweak or two, the third with stuff that you no longer care to do at all, and perhaps the most important of all, that fourth one, filled with things you have always wanted to do that you never made time for. Once your head’s wrapped around all the buckets, the final question you have to ask yourself is, “If not right now . . . then when?”

I have known for a long time that I would go back to school. When I graduated I had planned to go back and do law school. Years later I felt called to go to seminary. When I would do that I had no clue, but life was keep ing me busy. As many of you know, I keep a fairly hectic schedule between the studio, the Youtube and coaching.

It’s just as busy as it was when I was parenting and running the businesses. This time, though, was different. My “when” was “now,” and I was ready. In the conversations that followed with my family and friends, some smiled knowingly and others just nodded their heads . . . all of them supportive but at the same time making me feel a little bit like I was the last one to know, strange how that often happens.

So here I am, just like time never passed these last thirty years – up late reading and using a highlighter. It’s 1993 all over again over here! I am writing papers, which feels like the past, and zooming with fellow students, which clearly has me placed squarely in 2023! My classmates and I are a cu rious crew, from all walks of life, that have become fast friends. We are like a bunch of kids again, except this time a lot wiser, striving towards a heftier goal than any of us did the first go round. Many of us are successful and have achieved by worldly standards the “sweet life.” Collectively, we have all been called to do this really big thing with our lives now. That shared bond of “the call ing” has placed us on the path for something greater than ourselves, which my sweet lifers, is really out of this world!

Take care of YOU and stay “sweet!”

DECEMBER 2022 l 35
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