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VOL 4 No. 32

Phone: 281-980-6745 ww


P. O.BOX 623, SUGAR LAND, TX 77487-0623

Official newspaper of Fort Bend County, Missouri City & Sugar Land

Yard of the month

Quail Valley Yard of the Month belongs to Dave and Sandy Thorsen of 2830 Spyglass. You don’t need to drive to Galveston to see tree sculptures anymore. The Thorsen’s garden features fabulous bird sculptures of cranes and a pelican as well as Impatiens, Coleus, Hibiscus and Caladiums. The Thorsens moved from one area of Quail Valley and rehabbed a home that had two oak trees growing too close to the foundation; hence, the bird sculptures by James D. Phillips of Inshore Sculpture. He created the Galveston sculptures after the storm surge killed so many trees after Ike. While rehabbing a neglected property takes time (especially the garden during a drought), you’ll see numerous improvements to the corner lot at La Quinta and Spyglass. Receiving a Certificate of appreciation from the Quail Valley Garden Club as well as a flat of flowers and garden consultation from The Garden Guy, Todd Farber, you can get a preview of the garden at

Sports for charity set for Oct. 22

Fort Bend GOP Chair Rick Miller resigns By SESHADRI KUMAR Fort Bend County Republican Party Chairman Rick Miller has resigned. Miller’s resignation was effective Aug. 3. In a statement, Miller said “I have decided now is the time to pursue other interests and opportunities unavailable to me while committed to the office of FBCGOP Chairman. It is time for me to “move on” and let another assume this leadership role in our county prior to the next primary election in March 2012 and general election in November 2012.” The Fort Bend County Republican Party Executive Committee will meet on Aug. 16 to elect the new party chair. According to Texas Election Laws, the Fort Bend County Republican Executive Committee must be called to a special meeting within 20 days of the resignation for the sole purpose of electing the successor. Miller has recommended Sharon Roberts, a precinct chair, to succeed him. Mike Gibson, who had previously run for party chair, has also announced that he will seek the post. Miller’s resignation adds a twist to the emerging political battle field in the Republican Party primary election next March for local state and national elective offices.

Opportunity Miller, who says he is exploring both “business and political opportunities,” declined to disclose if he plans to run for a state or national political office. “Over the course of the past four years, it is has been my privilege to serve Republicans in Fort Bend County as the Party Chairman. Since assuming this position on November

It’s been a great four years for the FBCGOP,” Miller said in his statement.

Sharon Roberts

Miller 27th, 2007, I have been greatly honored by the tremendous privilege to serve in this capacity alongside dedicated Fort Bend County Republicans and Elected Officials. “In my tenure as the Chairman, it has been a joy to dedicate the vast majority of my time leading the Party and being a strong advocate for our conservative Republican principles and values. The Party officers and committee chairs have shared my desire to be open and fair, with full accountability and transparency. I intend to continue to wholeheartedly serve and support (and advise if asked) those who share conservative Republican values by standing-up – showing-up – and speaking-up! “We have enjoyed many great successes over the years, including great election results, Lincoln-Reagan Dinners and fiscal growth and accountability. We significantly supported candidates, operated a very active GOP Election Headquarters, vastly improved communications and a host of Party functions and activities.

Miller believes Roberts has strong leadership skills and a desire to support and defend conservative Republican principles, necessary to being an effective County Chair. Miller says Roberts has time to devote to be a full-time party chair. She is one of the eight precinct chairs who have had perfect attendance and she briefed the executive committee regularly on legislative actions and received standing ovations. Miller says Roberts has delivered over 250 briefings to other County Republican Parties, Tea Party groups, Republican Clubs.

Mike Gibson Meanwhile, Gibson said “I am pleased and excited to be a part of the leadership in this county to help grow the party and reach out to all conservatives. “We all have a responsibility to save our country and our state from runaway taxes and unfunded mandates. We must all work together to keep our constitution strong and elect leaders that are committed to accountability to their constituents,” Gibson said. Gibson has been active in the County Party for 20 years, having served as Precinct Chair, Senatorial Convention Secretary, Resolutions Chairman, Nominations Chairman, and State Convention Congressional Caucus Sergeant at Arms. He has worked for local, state, and national Republican candidates, walking the county from Katy to Needville, Simonton to Arcola, and all areas in between.

Bank offers $25,000 reward in robbery case

Jack Yang, left, Kaiyi Chen, William Sun, Marilyn Fountain, Pastor Dick Lee, Pastor Tak Poon, Councilman Danny Nguyen, Pastor Kenny Kwan, Pastor Zuxing Chen, Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert, Lena Yang, Mayor Allen Owen, King Poon, Fort Bend County Commissioner James Patterson, and Daniel Wong display the promotional banner for Sports for Charity. Sports For Charity is an annual event hosted by the Fort Bend Community Church. The church seeks to partner with community leaders and agencies in order to provide services to people undergoing hardships. Bob Hebert, Fort Bend County Judge, Andy Meyers, County Commissioner, James Patterson, County Commissioner, and Allen Owen, Missouri City Mayor are honorary committee members. This year’s main event will be held on Saturday, October 22, beginning at 8 a.m. at the Fort Bend Community Church, benefiting Star of Hope. Star of Hope Mission is a Christ-centered community dedicated to meeting the needs of homeless men, women and their children. Positive life changes are encouraged through structured programs which focus

on spiritual growth, education, employment, life management and recovery from substance abuse. In 2010, Star Of Hope Mission cared for 5,083 men and women, and 1,418 children under 18 -- a total of 6,501 individuals. In addition, they served 680,409 nourishing, regular meals; provided 295,008 clean, safe beds; 90,348 pieces of clothing and

toys to those who had lost everything; 54,980 diapers to the smallest victims of poverty. “We are hoping that your business will join forces with us by sponsoring this event. Your partnership in this fundraiser will have an impact on improving the quality of life for all who live in our community,” says Rev. Brian Lam, Senior Pastor, Fort Bend Community Church.

10701 Corporate Drive, #282, Stafford, TX 77477 Mailing Address: P.O. Box 623, Sugar Land, TX 77487 Seshadri Kumar Publisher & Editor 281-980-6745

Fort Bend Independent, (USPS 025-572) is published every Wednesday (for a subscription rate of $20 per year) by Fort Bend Independent, LLC., 10701 Corporate Dr., #282, Stafford, Texas 77477. Periodicals Postage Paid at Stafford, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Fort Bend Independent, P.O. Box 623, Sugar Land, Tx 77487.

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. has joined Fort Bend County Crime Stoppers and Crime Stoppers of Houston in offering rewards for information leading to the apprehension of and the filing of charges against those involved in a bank robbery on Thursday, Aug. 4 in the New Territory subdivision. Wells Fargo has posted a

$25,000 reward for the capture of suspects involved in the robbery of the Wells Fargo Bank located inside the Randalls grocery store in the 5200 block of New Territory Blvd. Fort Bend Crime Stoppers, Inc. and the Crime Stoppers of Houston also are offering rewards up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and

charges against the suspects in this case. Detectives are seeking information on at least three male suspects connected to the robbery and shooting of a law enforcement officer. Subject No. 1 was wearing a white hoodie pullover with a distinctive skull pattern on the See REWARD, Page 2

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Page 2 • INDEPENDENT • AUGUST 10, 2011


Mammograms save lives

Reward From Page 1 on the front and back of the hoodie. The front pattern depicts a white skull on a black and green background, while the pattern on the back has two skulls on a black and green background. Both were wearing curl caps (doo-rags) over their faces. The suspects drove up in a black Dodge Durango vehicle which was later determined to be stolen. They entered the building, and after grabbing an undetermined amount of cash from the bank, they began their exit. At that time, a Harris County Sheriff’s Department sergeant entered the Randalls as a customer and confronted the robbers. Sgt. Mike Ellison, a 26-year veteran with Harris County, exchanged gunfire with the two suspects. The sergeant was shot at least twice and had wounds to his leg and shoulder. He was later flown by LifeFlight to Memorial Hermann Hospital – The Medical Center where he is reported to be in stable condition. The suspects left the building and were last seen leaving the crime scene in a small darkcolored vehicle, not the Durango. No other injuries were reported in the incident. Information which leads to the apprehension and filing of charges on the suspects involved could earn a reward up to $5,000. Call Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office at 281341-4665, Fort Bend Crime Stoppers, Inc. at 281-342TIPS (8477) or text plus the tip to CRIMES (274637). Tips also can be submitted online at www.fortbend-tx- Contact the Crime Stoppers of Houston by calling 713-222TIPS (8477). All calls to Crime Stoppers are anonymous.

Kelly Dempsey, M.D.; Stephen Phillips, M.D. and Sandra Templeton, M.D.

MILITARY MOMS. The Fort Bend Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) joined in a project organized by Marines for Moms in Houston. Members are gathering items to send to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan letting them know we support them from home. ABWA members hope to bring a smile to their faces when they open their care packages as they are not only serving our country but also protecting us here at home. Front Row: Mary Ammerman and Marilyn Nelson; Back Row: Amanda McCalla, left, Cheri Pemble. Kelli Mitchell, Marie LaBelle, Jane Spellmlan and Melissa Lewandowski.

SLPD Citizens Police Academy registration in progress Want to discover firsthand what it takes to be a police officer, get to know your beat officer and learn more about criminal investigation? Find out by signing up for the Sugar Land Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy. The 10-week course begins Sept. 1, with students meeting once a week from 7-10 p.m. While learning about the challenges faced by police officers, laws affecting citizens, the judicial system and emergency management, participants personally interact with officers, detectives and other personnel in a nontraditional

law enforcement setting. The training program consists of classroom and “hands on” instruction designed to provide interested Sugar Land citizens with a working knowledge of the Sugar Land Police Department, its personnel and emergency management operations. Topics taught during the academy include police training, roles and responsibilities of the uniformed officer, use of firearms and deadly force options, criminal investigative skills, traffic law, crime scene search, communications, narcotics, gang educa-

tion, specialized units, tactical operations, juvenile law, community involvement and emergency management. Additionally, participants have an opportunity to participate in a “staged” traffic stop, a “staged” building search and a tour of a local prison unit in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice system. Everything needed for the 10-week course is supplied free-of-charge. Call SLPD police officer Lauren Stockholm at (281) 275-2956 for more information or register online at www.

The health benefits of getting a mammogram that may help diagnose breast cancer in its early stages far outweighs any risk of radiation associated with the test. “It’s important for women to know that mammograms are considered safe, and it’s proven that they can save lives,” says Kelly Dempsey, M.D., board-certified surgeon specializing in breast surgery. The National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society recommend that women age 40 and older get mammograms every one to two years. “Women with aboveaverage risk for breast cancer should talk with their doctor about when to start screening and how often to get mammograms,” Dr. Dempsey adds. Risks associated with radiation exposure from mammograms and other X-rays are minimal. “There is a slightly elevated risk of cancer from excessive exposure to radiation, but the amount of radiation from a mammogram is very low, and the benefit of early detection of cancer far outweighs the risk,” says Stephen Phillips, M.D., board-certified breast radiologist and medical director of the Breast Center at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. “For women age 40 and older, regular mammograms read by a breast radiologist and clinical breast exams with a health care provider are powerful screening tools in detecting cancer early,” emphasizes Sandra Templeton, M.D., board-certified surgeon specializing in breast surgery. “Mammograms help physicians detect small tumors in the early stages of cancer, when there are more treatment options and greater chance of survival.” The Breast Center at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital limits unnecessary exposure to radiation by using the lowest dose possible for all kinds of screening tests, including mammograms. Digital mammography equipment provides higherquality images and a lower radiation dose compared to film mammography. “In addition, our Breast Center is reviewed by national and international radiology protection councils to make sure we are meeting certain safety standards,” Dr. Phillips says. To schedule a mammogram at the Breast Center, please call 281-242-PINK (7465). Free Seminar: Join a multi-disciplinary panel of physicians to discuss Updates on Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment and have your questions answered. October 19 at 6:00 p.m., located at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital main pavilion conference center. Seating is limited, call today to make reservations. 281-274-7500.


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AUGUST 10, 2011 • INDEPENDENT • Page 3

News Missouri City updates economic development plan to suit the changing scenario By BARBARA FULENWIDER Missouri City councilmen at their Aug. 1 meeting approved an update to the city’s economic development plan that will be the basis of the city’s important future economic development efforts. Councilmen unanimously approved a resolution to adopt the city’s first update to its initial 2003 economic development plan. The update documents significant changes since 2003 as well as the city’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the business climate, workforce and education, infrastructure, quality of life and economic development efforts. A prevailing theme throughout many of Missouri City’s planning documents is to expand and enhance quality of life amenities within the city. These amenities include park and trails, entertainment facilities, town center gathering points, preferred dining and shopping alternatives and access to desired professional and medical services. Bob Graf, Missouri City’s economic development coordinator, told council, “A quality of life circle includes amenities, a quality workforce and quality employers,” and “all three are necessary in order to promote a vibrant and healthy local economy.” Since 2003 Missouri City has made significant changes in community infrastructure and assets, which represent the achievement of various goals established by the city, Graf said. Some of those changes include development of the Lakeview Business Park; Ben E. Keith leasing 400,000 square feet for a distribution center; Lufkin Automation leasing space in Lakeview, and Stream Realty taking 116,000 and 166,000 square foot buildings in the Beltway Crossing Business Park. More changes include Global Geophysical Services leasing space in the Beltway Crossing Business Park; Houston Community College-Sienna campus opening in 2009; the Fort Bend Parkway Toll Road to Hwy. 6; U.S. 90A improvements;

Texas Parkway Phase 1 improvements; attracting more substantial big box, retail and restaurant growth, and expanding three tax increment reinvestment zones. Graf said, “Each of these improvements addressed community asset deficiencies that were identified in the 2003 target industry analysis. These achievements represent significant progress in attaining specific economic development goals as evidenced by the following statistics. * In 2005 the commercial tax base represented only 15 percent of Missouri City’s total assessed value; by 2010 that figure had grown to nearly 23 percent. * Since 2007 more than two million square feet of new commercial space has been built and more than 800 jobs have been created, of which, more than 500 are non-retail. Graf’s information to councilmen also pointed out that various strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, etc. noted in the 2003 economic development assessment have received major attention. For instance, in 2003 the Angelou Economics Target Industry Analysis and Site Assessment said Missouri City needed to “clearly position itself within the county in terms of industry sectors best suited” for it. The update says the city has done so by continuing to be active in the Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Council (GFBEDC) and also cooperates with the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) and CenterPoint Energy on marketing and trade shows. A primary weakness Missouri City had, according to the Angelou Economic survey, was “lack of aggressive and focused marketing plan.” So a marketing plan was developed that emphasizes the city’s strengths of location, access, available business parks, existing industries and existing demographics. A primary opportunity the city had, Angelou said, was to convince developers and the business community that the city is as much a first rate location for employment as it

Don McCall to run for Pct. 4 Constable Don McCall has announced his candidacy for the office of Fort Bend County Constable Precinct 4. “Having lived in Fort Bend County for over twenty years and with 26-years’ experience in law enforcement, I know the people of Precinct 4 and have the experience to lead the Constables office”, McCall said. McCall’s award-winning career includes 26 years with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. He holds a Master Peace Officer license and was the 100 Club Officer of the Year for saving a two year old drowning victim. He was recognized by the Rotary Club for locating a 12 year old girl lured from her home by a known sexual predator who is now serving a long prison sentence. McCall has been recognized by M.A.D.D., Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office where he received the Valor Award for thwarting a 2008 robbery in which he was shot. McCall has been married to Christina Alvarez for thirty years. They have three children and three grandchildren. He and Christina live in New Territory and attend

is for residential. To that end city council and management have made a major effort to work with the business community and have established policies and practices that are more business friendly. The 2003 report also urged the city to allocate revenues to redevelop areas as well as add newer high-growth areas. To rectify a lack of redevelopment efforts TIRZ No. 2 was expanded to include the Cartwright and Texas Parkway corridors. Improvements to date include funding drainage, landscaping and sidewalks. Adding medians is in the planning stage. The city also funded drainage and infrastructure that allowed for the development of Lakeview Business Park, and Missouri City improved the Quail Valley golf course and community facilities to the extent that the golf course is now in the black. Graf also told councilmen that target sectors have been reprioritized based on the current assessment of potential success and need. The primary niche for warehousing and distribution is now seen as Missouri City’s No. 1 priority in any sector. The second priority is biomedical/health with a primary niche in medical supplies and materials: electronics. The second niche for that sector is personal health services. Number 3, Graf said, is

energy with equipment and supplies and electronics the primary niche and process automation and controls the secondary niche. The city’s fourth priority is professional and business services with the primary niche being small business services and consultants and the secondary niche back office services. Missouri City’s fifth priority for target industries is regional and local retail with specialty and high end the niche and entertainment venues, the secondary niche. Graf then explained why these priorities make sense for Missouri City and what the city’s recruitment strategy for each will be. For instance, he said, warehousing and distribution are No. 1 because Missouri City has two active business parks, available land, good utilities, proximity to major business center in the Houston area and good access to Beltway 8, U.S. 90A and the Fort Bend Parkway. Recruiting more businesses that need warehouses and distribution areas, Graf said, will mean marketing to suppliers and customers of existing business park tenants, assisting business park owners with their marketing efforts, being cognizant of any additional infrastructure needs of potential tenants and continuing to co-op efforts with GFBEDC,

GHP and CenterPoint. As for long-term goals and considerations, Graf included being cognizant of the changes in growth patterns with the maturation of Missouri City as well as the supply of well positioned residentially zoned property that begins to decline; monitoring and supporting regional transportation improvements; monitoring METRO commuter rail progress and then responding accordingly with zoning, development regulations and land owner communications. Also, contracting with a professional market research firm to provide a detailed analysis to qualify and identi-

fy specific causes for existing retail and employment “leakage” and identifying solutions as a basis for future marketing or incentive efforts; identifying emerging niche industries in developing sectors that are consistent with the city’s profile and being cognizant of potential opportunities in the internal sector by continuing to work with the Greater Houston Partnership and BioHouston. Graf concluded by saying, “New commercial activity within the city remains strong despite difficult economic conditions.”


NOTICE OF FINDING OF NO SIGNIFICANT IMPACT AND NOTICE OF INTENT TO REQUEST RELEASE OF FUNDS August 10, 2011 City of Sugar Land 2700 Town Center Blvd. North Sugar Land, Texas 77479 (281) 275-2700

Texans Insurance & Financial Group, Inc 101 Southwestern Blvd, Ste 230 Sugar Land, TX 77478-3535 PH (281)277-7800 FAX (281)277-7801

These notices shall satisfy two separate but related procedural requirements for activities to be undertaken by the City of Sugar Land. REQUEST FOR RELEASE OF FUNDS On or about August 30, 2011 the City of Sugar Land will submit a request to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the release of Community Development Block Grant program funds under Title 1 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended, to undertake projects for the purpose of: (1) rehabilitation of the Sugar Land Community Center located at 226 Matlage Way, Sugar Land, Texas 77478, transforming it into a multipurpose Community/Senior Center and (2) minor housing rehabilitation. The Senior Center will be publicly advertised and bid for construction contractors. The funding for this project will consist of $427,127 of Community Development Block Grant funds and $672,873 of City of Sugar Land funds. The housing rehabilitation will be conducted by Fort Bend CORPS, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, at the cost of $76,747. The project will occur in locations throughout the city. Examples of minor housing rehabilitation include but are not limited to: roof repair; window and roof replacement; and bathroom repairs and accessibility. FINDING OF NO SIGNIFICANT IMPACT The City of Sugar Land has determined that the project will have no significant impact on the human environment. Therefore, an Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) is not required. Additional project information is contained in the Environmental Review Record (ERR) on file at the City Secretary Office, City of Sugar Land, City Hall, 2700 Town Center Boulevard North, Suite 122, Sugar Land, Texas 77479 where the ERR can be reviewed and copied weekdays 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. PUBLIC COMMENTS Any individual, group, or agency disagreeing with this determination or wishing to comment on the project may submit written comments to the City of Sugar Land Community & Environmental Services Department which is responsible for receiving and responding to comments. All comments received by August 29, 2011 will be considered by the City of Sugar Land prior to authorizing submission of a request for release of funds. Comments should specify which Notice they are addressing.

McCall both Parkway United Methodist Church and Riverpointe Church. He is currently a Sergeant with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office assigned to the Patrol Bureau where he oversees more than two dozen deputies and makes decisions affecting the direction of any major criminal investigation. Don believes the constable’s office plays a vital role in the community and should work hand in hand with all local, state and federal law enforcement agencies covering the precinct to better serve you, the resident. He also feels that the office should reflect the diversity of the citizens in Precinct 4. For more information contact Pamela Smith, Event Coordinator at 281-352-9268.

RELEASE OF FUNDS The City of Sugar Land certifies to HUD that Allen Bogard in his capacity as City Manager consents to accept the jurisdiction of the Federal Courts if an action is brought to enforce responsibilities in relation to the environmental review process and that these responsibilities have been satisfied. HUD’s approval of the certification satisfies its responsibilities under NEPA and related laws and authorities, and allows the City of Sugar Land to use Program funds. OBJECTIONS TO RELEASE OF FUNDS HUD will accept objections to its release of funds and the City of Sugar Land’s certification for a period of no less than fifteen days (August 31- September 14, 2011) following the anticipated submission date (August 30, 2011) or its actual receipt of the request (whichever is later) only if they are on one of the following bases: (a) the certification was not executed by the Certifying Officer of the City of Sugar Land; (b) the City of Sugar Land has omitted a step or failed to make a decision or finding required by HUD regulations at 24 CFR Part 58; (c) the grant recipient has committed funds or incurred costs not authorized by 24 CFR Part 58 before approval of a release of funds by HUD; or (d) another Federal agency acting pursuant to 40 CFR Part 1504 has submitted a written finding that the project is unsatisfactory from the standpoint of environmental quality. Objections must be prepared and submitted in accordance with the required procedures (24 CFR Part 58) and shall be addressed to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Houston Field Office, Region 6, 1301 Fannin, Suite 2200, Houston, Texas 77002. Potential objectors should contact HUD to verify the actual last day of the objection period. Allen Bogard, City Manager U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 451 7th Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20410 Telephone: (202) 708-1112

(281)277-7800 Texans Insurance & Financial Group, Inc 101 Southwestern Blvd, Ste 230 Sugar Land, TX 77478-3535

Page 4 • INDEPENDENT • AUGUST 10, 2011

Opinion The View from Sugar Land America downgraded By RUSSELL JONES Every new revelation about last week’s debt crisis compromise showed that the deal was skewed in favor of more spending, not less, as had been promised by Republicans and disparaged by Democrats. The conclusion can only be that Washington is out of fiscal control. On Monday Congress passed the bill implementing the compromise. On Tuesday the Treasury responded by adding $238 billion to the debt. The astounding result was the national debt now exceeds last year’s total gross domestic product. Public debt jumped to $14.58 trillion, just over 2010’s GDP of $14.53 trillion. That statistic puts the United States in an unique league of nations. The only other countries in the world having public debt exceeding GDP are Japan, Greece, Jamaica, Lebanon, Italy, Ireland and Iceland. Instead of the positive response of the markets to the debt compromise promised by the politicians, equity markets around the world dropped like stones most of the week. All gains made by the US stock market in the first seven months of the year evaporated. The markets understood that the deal contributed almost nothing to the solution of the government’s spending problem. House Majority Leader Cantor called out the President on the economy, saying that Obama is “in over his head as to what to do about” it. Apparently in agreement with Cantor’s assessment and consistent with the market reaction, Standard and Poor’s downgraded the nation’s credit rating for the first time in 70 years. Rather than admitting its own role in the embarrassing reduction, the White House looked for scapegoats. It was quick to blame Republicans. Biden called the Tea Party terrorists. Obama

Jones campaign strategist Axelrod criticized GOP presidential candidates for not urging compromise. Unspoken, of course, in Axelrod’s comments was his definition of compromise: give Democrats what they want by raising taxes. In truth, S&P did only what it should have long ago. This administration has taken none of the painful steps which it must to bring about an economic recovery. Instead, it continues to use the discredited philosophy of calling for more government at the expense of the nation’s income producers. While Friday’s action by S&P may have surprised some, the possibility of a lower rating had been well communicated for weeks while Congress wrangled over raising the debt ceiling. Last week’s selloff was attributable in part to the anticipation of a downgrade. Some observers think that the actual reduction could have limited impact on American markets because it had been expected. Most market participants have been watching the shenanigans in Washington for months. The question was when, not if, the downgrade would come. Market participants can do their own analysis, or they can rely on the rating agencies. If they do their own, they rely less

on the ratings. Foreign markets reacted adversely over the weekend, probably more due to their reliance on the agencies. Any negative reaction by the American markets is likely to be shortlived. Symptomatic of the whole political mess was the Department of Agriculture’s announcement that the number of food stamps recipients reached a recordbreaking 45.8 million, 15% of all Americans, 12% more than last year, and a whopping 34% increase from two years ago. That revelation follows the April announcement that government payments to American households now exceed the amount they pay to the government. Only about half of all Americans pay any income taxes at all. The result is that huge numbers benefit from government handouts. Many of those are also voters. Politicians, looking forward to being reelected, do not have the fortitude to make the economic decisions best for the national economy, but hard on individuals. No one wants to give up his government benefits. No one wants to pay more to the government. Politicians want to buy more votes by giving more handouts. The pressure is irresistible, and the result is perpetually increasing debt. Obama demonstrated the correctness of Cantor’s assessment over the weekend, as he announced a new “jobs program.” He says he will increase jobs by increasing unemployment benefits. This column has previously shown that such benefits only reduce a worker’s incentive to get back to work. Obama’s latest proposal to create jobs will have the opposite effect. Jones served as a member of the Sugar Land City Council from 2003 through June, 2011. He owns a law firm and a title insurance company in Sugar Land.

Musings: Grown-ups By JANICE SCANLAN To escape the heat and oppressive drought, I’ve been reading more than usual. Most of my reading is escapist mysteries and thrillers. One turned out to be a thriller, but non-fiction. Joel Achenbach’s A hole at the bottom of the sea, The Race to Kill the BP Oil Gusher is an insightful look at the why of the environmental disaster and the how of stopping the gusher—made understandable to non-engineers and oil people. Since much of what I do is making sense of technical jargon for non-engineers, the book rang true to me from my experience of working with engineers in the oil industry . . . particularly the designers and developers of oil technologies . . . they will storyboard and beat something to death until they feel certain they understand it, as well as can do it. And it was especially true of a Deepwater group I worked. Their managers called them “the brain trust” . . . and for good reason. These guys could have strong opinions, but they also had the capability of listening to other opinions and factoring all opinions into a workable solution. And when you’re dealing with something complicated, that’s the only way to find a solution. The approaches are the prelude or starting point to working through a solution, and you need lots of kinds of expertise.

Scanlan You also need the ability to back up and start from another point when something doesn’t work. . . or as in the BP response have parallel groups at the same time working on different solutions. And using lessons learned before they employ a new one when one doesn’t work. A sentence in the Prologue of the book, grabbed my attention. “One recurring theme is that in an extreme crisis we should be thankful for the professionals, the cool heads, the grown-ups who do their jobs and ignore the howling political winds.” The irony of reading last spring and summer’s “event” that took over television is I’m reliving it during one of this summer’s “events”—the budget debacle. We don’t have too many grown-ups in Congress who do their jobs and ignore the howling political winds. And the polarization and

Seshadri Kumar Publisher & Editor Email:

competing camps ratchet-up an already bad situation to another recipe for disaster if we don’t start acting a little more grownup ourselves as voters. And, in my opinion, recognize both sides are making valid points . . . the art of governing is finding a solution that factors and balances often competing and contradictory points. The sound bites aren’t going to get the job done in a manner that doesn’t shoot us in the foot. In my opinion, the budget deficit is serious. But unemployment is even more serious. If we don’t get our economy back growing and our people working and hopeful again, we are eroding the long-term future of our children with a double-whammy they will be unable to escape. And there are not quick fixes. Only grown-ups working through complicated and difficult approaches . . . and being willing to learn something when they don’t work, make difficult things work. The grown-ups, using the art of the possible, keep us all working toward a solution and a more perfect union. Visit your book vendor or the library to broaden your viewpoints. Send your opinions to or visit musings

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) www. freebibleliterature. com

Common arthritis medicine and heart disease By THOMAS J. PARR, M.D. One of our greatest challenges in medicine is balancing the potential benefits and the known--and unknown-risks of treatment. To quote the title of one of the Philadelphia group Circa Survive’s songs: “The Difference Between Medicine and Poison is the Dose.” As an orthopedic surgeon, I see folks with arthritis just about every day, and my job is to help them with their pain. A few are young, affected by one of the autoimmune diseases or trauma, but most are much older. Our older patients often have other diseases, such as diabetes, lung disease, or heart disease. Many with advanced arthritis have already had a heart attack. Their primary care physicians have done a good job of conservative treatment, and the patients themselves have almost always tried a combination of over the counter remedies. Arthritis pain is common, affecting more than 50 million people in the US alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since arthritis pain is produced by the inflammatory process, it is only logical to treat it with anti-inflammatories. The most commonly used drugs in this class would be steroid medication, such as Prednisone, and the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories known as NSAIDs. Because of the serious side effects associated with steroids. we generally try the NSAIDs first, starting with the lowest dose of the safest medication, and work from there. Two recent studies from Northern Europe have pointed out one of the dangers of common arthritis remedies. These studies, one from Finland, and one from Denmark, followed a total of over 220,000 patients who had known cardiovascular disease for up to 9 years after their first heart attack. Those who took common prescription NSAIDs, even for as little as a week, had a 40 to 45% increased risk of having another heart attack. Those who stayed on the medication for up to 3 months had a 33 to 55% increased risk of heart attack over those who were identical in every other way. One of the most commonly used NSAIDs is diclofenac, known by various brand names, such as Arthrotec, Voltaren, Cataflam, Pennsaid, and Zipsor.

Parr What is especially disturbing is that diclofenac had a much higher risk of causing a second heart attack than rofecoxib, which was sold in the US by the brand name Vioxx, and which was removed from the market in 2004 because of its cardiovascular risk! Vioxx was a marvelously effective drug for arthritis, and I still have patients coming in to the office to see if I have a secret ‘stash’ of Vioxx. Even acetaminophen, most commonly sold as Tylenol, is not completely without cardiovascular effects, but the risk to the heart with this medication is not as great as the risk to the liver. Overdose of acetaminophen can cause catastrophic liver failure, as can use of normal ‘therapeutic’ doses of NSAIDs. Obviously, the combined use of these two drugs can have an added damaging effect. The problem is compounded by the fact that acetaminophen is a common ingredient in easily available over the counter cold remedies, cough syrup, and pain medicines. Thus, more than 200 million people take acetaminophen in one form or another each year, and not all of them remember to tell their doctors that they are doing so. Adults should not take more that 4,000 milligrams (mg) of acetaminophen (paracetamol, APAP) per day, and should never drink alcohol while taking medications containing acetaminophen. Just this week, Johnson and Johnson, makers of Tylenol, announced that they are lowering the recommended doses on their medications to 3,000 mg or less per day. They acknowledge that acetaminophen is the leading cause of liver failure in the US, producing more than 56,000 cases each year. So what are we to do? Our faithful readers know that I am a major proponent of ‘Motion is Lotion,’ and that I encourage all of my patients to exercise, even if it takes some creativity. Walking in a swimming pool is excellent for those who cannot walk on dry land,


October 22, 2011 Guest Speaker: Commissioner Richard Morrison 281.723.5559

and a number of retailers sell devices with which one can sit in a chair and peddle with one or both feet. Other recent studies have produced reasonable evidence that lotions and rubs containing capsaicin help reduce the pain of arthritic joints, and remedies containing SAM-e (S-adenosyl methionine) can safely reduce the pain of arthritis. A few people respond well to pills containing glucosamine and chondroiten, although we don’t have a lot of good scientific studies supporting their use. I advise my patients who have arthritis to give these medications a try before going to prescription medication. Some of my patients get frustrated because I check their blood pressure and give them grief if it is chronically out of control, but this is the first sign of a damaging effect from the arthritis medicines. Naproxen was one of the safest drugs tested in the two Northern European studies. In one, it did not significantly increase the risk of a second heart attack. It is the major ingredient of Aleve, and is available over the counter. Ibuprofen, available over the counter by such names as Motrin and Advil, among others, is also relatively safe when taken as directed on the package. Some people take these medications even when they do not hurt, and that is a mistake. Currently, I use creams and lotions that contain diclofenac and ketoprofen, but they are applied locally over the affected joint. They are transdermal, meaning that they penetrate the skin, transmitting the active ingredient directly to the tendon or joint lying below the site of application. They remain local for the most part, exposing my patients to only 1 to 6% of the lowest generally used oral dose of this medicine. These creams and lotions are new, and therefore expensive. Some insurance companies are still not willing to cover them, unfortunately. Talk with your doctor, and let him or her know ALL of the over-the-counter medications and supplements you are taking, and always be up front about your alcohol intake. This is the only way we can be sure we are giving you medications correctly. Dr. Thomas Parr, an orthopedic surgeon in Sugar Land, can be reached at 281-4917111.Visit www.tomparrmd. net for more information.

AUGUST 10, 2011 • INDEPENDENT • Page 5

News This past April, more than 300 guests danced away an evening to the music of Group Therapy at Southminster School’s Denim & Diamonds Gala in the Stafford Civic Center. In addition to providing entertainment, the 13th biennial event also raised funds for school programs to the tune of more than $100,000. Specifically, proceeds will be used to purchase new classroom computers and software, and to enhance the school’s fine-arts program. Denim & Diamonds featured a raffle for a 2010 Ca-

maro, donated by presenting sponsor Texas Direct Auto, which was won by Bernie Garcia of Sugar Land. Also a big winner was Lawrence Ribbeck of Sugar Land, who won a one-carat diamond from Diamond Cutters International. Morning co-host on SportsTalk 790 Matt Jackson served as the Master of Ceremonies, and Judge Jim Richard held court over the live auction. “It was wonderful to witness the generosity of those in attendance,� said Lisa Tagliarino, gala co-chair. “People everywhere are more careful

with their money these days, but when it came to helping children with their educations, there was no hesitation among them.� Located in Missouri City, Southminster School is a private Christian academy that serves children from 16 months through the fifth grade. Its student body is a reflection of the diverse, energetic community that surrounds the school, and its staff takes full advantage of the tools with which it is provided to help those children grow and learn through the early, critical years of development.

Southminster School gala raises fund

DeWalt Heritage Center holds photo contest

Lawrence Ribbeck of Sugar Land brings new meaning to the phrase “diamond mine� as he scoops up a one-carat diamond at Southminster School’s Denim & Diamonds Gala. The stone was provided by Diamond Cutters International, one of many sponsors that helped raise more than $100,000 for the school. Photo is courtesy of Trish Badger Photography

Legislative issues that impact Children

The DeWalt Heritage Center (located in the historic Dew House at Kitty Hollow Park open each Sunday from 1-4 p.m.) invites all amateur photographers ages five and up to submit their favorite shots taken in Fort Bend County, Texas, to our Photo Contest. Three professional judges will select the top three winners in each age group category, plus one overall Grand Prize winner for award and publication in the DeWalt Heritage Center 2012 Calendar. This historic first annual calendar will applaud amateur talent and the beauty of Fort Bend County and will be available for purchase to raise funds for the DHC. Original unframed photos will also be sold to support the County’s newest history museum. Deadline for submitting photos is September 16, 2011, so the race is on! Contest winners will be announced at a public celebration from 1-4 p.m. on October 9, 2011 at DeWalt Heritage Center in Kitty Hollow Park, 9555 Highway 6 South, Missouri City, Texas. You can download the entry form right from the DeWalt Heritage Link on the Fort Bend County Museum Association web site!



The George Foundation, The Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce along with Children at Risk is hosting the fourth session of The Future of Fort Bend’s Children’s seminars on “Legislative Issues that Impact the Future of Our Children� on Friday, Aug. 12, from 7:30 a.m – 9:00 a.m at the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce, 445 Commerce Green Blvd., Sugar Land.. Children at Risk has put together a great program to share insights into critical issues impacting children. The featured guests included Pricilla Aquina Garza – Deputy Director for Stand for Children, Freddy Warner – System Executive, Public Policy & Government Relations for Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, and a panel discussion with Superintendents – Lance Hindt (Stafford Municipal School District), Dr. Timothy Jenney (Fort Bend ISD) and Dr. Thomas Randle (Lamar CISD). The Community Resources Division is an advocate for excellence under leadership of Vice Chair Dee Koch, Grant Officer - The George Foundation that focuses on forming effective partnerships and collaborations to offer a positive impact in Fort Bend. You can register online at www.FortBendChamber. com or call Shauna at 281491-0277 or email Shauna@

Local Democrats host health fair Looking for a low-cost, family-friendly event as the weather cools down? The Sienna and East Fort Bend Democrats Club invites everyone to its 2011 Family Fun Health Fair, which will take place at Kitty Hollow Park on Highway 6 in Missouri City on Saturday, September 24, from 11a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. In addition to health information, the Fair will include kid-friendly activities, food vendors, merchandise, a blood drive, and information on this fall’s election. The Fair will take place rain or shine.

Introduction to yoga Fort Bend County Libraries’ First Colony Branch Library, 2121 Austin Parkway in Sugar Land, will present an “Introduction to Yoga� on Saturday, August 20, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Meeting Room of the library. Yoga instructor Laurey Boenig will present a basic introduction and demonstration of this low-impact form of physical exercise and meditation. Learn the benefits of yoga, the various yoga postures, and the correct way to breathe to receive maximum benefit. Participants are encouraged to wear loosefitting clothing and comfortable shoes; a yoga mat is optional. Boenig is a certified fitness instructor in yoga, water aerobics and pilates. She conducts classes at the T.W. Davis YMCA in Richmond. The program is free and open to the public. Seating is limited, however, and reservations are required. To register online at the library’s website (, click on “Calendar,� select “First Colony Branch Library,� and find the program. Participants may also register by calling the library at 281-238-2800, or by visiting the library.

Fort Bend-Harris Retired Educators The Fort Bend-Harris Retired Educators invite all retired school personnel to their first meeting on Monday, August 22, at 12:00 Noon, at the Sugar Land United Methodist Church’s Great Hall located at 431 Eldridge Road, Sugar Land, TX 77478. This kick-off meeting, designed to celebrate the beginning of the new school year, is one of three luncheon gatherings held during the year. New retirees and first-time attendees are our guests. Returning retirees are asked to bring a covered dish to share. The program features music, a dance presentation, and current information about benefits for retirees. Monthly meetings are held the second Thursday of each month, September through May. Yearly dues, payable at the meeting, are $35 and include members’ yearly TRTA dues.

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Page 6 • INDEPENDENT • AUGUST 10, 2011

News Riverstone slates Oct. 15 Heart and Sole 5K and Boo Bash Sponsorships are available for Riverstone’s annual Heart and Sole 5K Run and Walk, set for Saturday, Oct. 15. The event benefits Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels, which provides services to more than 1,000 seniors daily. The race begins at 8 a.m., with racers following a certified course through Riverstone. Racers, supporters and the general public are invited to the post-race Boo Bash, which will include midway games with prizes, an inflatable obstacle course, dunking booth, high-striker game to test strength and more. Children and adults can vie for top honors in a costume contest and two disc jockeys will keep the atmosphere lively. Food will be available on-site for purchase. Last year, approximately 200 people raced in Riverstone’s inaugural event, raising $4,000 for Second Mile Mission, another Fort Bend-based charity. “We hope to top last year’s results with more runners and more money raised for a good cause,” said Riverstone’s lifestyle director Melanie Rushé, who is organizing the event. Several sponsorship levels are available, including Ghostbusters, a $500 sponsorship; Spooktacular sponsors, $250; Boo-tiful sponsors, $150; R.I.P. (Really Important People), $100; and Sweet Treats, $50. Sponsors already on board are Texas Running Company and Elements Massage. Heart and Sole registration opens Aug. 15. For more information, visit or phone Rushé at 713-8176427.

Texas Sales Tax Holiday Set for August 19-21 Texas shoppers get a break from state and local sales taxes on August 19, 20 and 21 - the state’s annual tax holiday. As in previous years, the law exempts most clothing and footwear priced under $100 from sales and use taxes, which could save shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend. To see a list of qualifying school supplies, click onto the following link: tx98_490.html.

FCCA offers boater safety certification class First Colony Community Association (FCCA) recently announced plans to host a series of boater safety education classes this month. The classes are a result of a new state law that will require mandatory boater education in Texas starting September 1. The class is open to anyone 13 years old and older and will take place at the First Colony Aquatic Center located at 4350 Austin Parkway. The six-hour course costs $18 and will include a one-hour exam at the end. Guests can choose from the following class dates. CLASS SCHEDULE Saturday, August 20: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday/Wednesday, August 22/24 (3 hours per day): 6 – 9 p.m. Monday/Wednesday, August 29/31 (3 hours per day): 6 – 9 p.m. According to the new legislation, the mandatory boater safety education certification is required of anyone born on or after September 1, 1993. Although all boaters are encouraged to take the boater safety education, those born before September 1, 1993 are exempt from required certification. To register for the class or for more information, call FCCA at (281) 634-9555.

Fort Bend ISD Musical Ensembles earn high honors Four Fort Bend ISD musical ensembles ranked at the top among all orchestra and band programs in the state at the annual Texas Orchestra Directors Association and Texas Bandmasters Association Conventions in San Antonio. Fort Settlement Middle School’s Honors Band and the String Orchestras at Sartartia Middle School, Clements and Austin High Schools all received high honors at the competitions. Each summer at the annual event, panels of judges are assembled to evaluate orchestra and band concert recordings from around the state. This evaluation, labeled the State Honor Orchestra or State Honor Band Competition, is the last stage in a long process of elimination that begins at the local region level, progresses to the area level (where there are seven statewide) and culminates at the state level during the summer conventions. Congratulations to the Sartartia Middle School String Orchestra and their director, Ann Victor, for being named the 2011-2012 Texas CCC Middle School Honor String Orchestra. This is a huge honor for this musical group and a lifetime career achievement for their director. Only one string orchestra from each classification is chosen each year for this prestigious honor. The group will be recognized at the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) convention, which will be held February 8-11, 2012 in San Antonio. The orchestra will perform its “honor concert” for the TMEA members and receive its award. Also deserving recognition is the Clements High School Symphony Orchestra, directed by Ginger Wolfe and Daniel Galloway; the Austin High School Symphony Orchestra, directed by Carolyn Vandiver and Dustin Winson; and the Fort Settlement Middle School Honors Band, under the direction of Greg Countryman and Theresa Baragas. Both Clements and Austin competed in the High School 5A Honor Full Orchestra competition. Clements earned second place and Austin placed sixth in the competition. Fort Settlement competed in the Class CCC Middle School Honor Band Competition and earned second place.

Back-to-School Fun Day Hightower High School graduate, Derick Maduka-Okafor, and members of the HERE Organization are sponsoring a “Back-to-School Fun Day and School Supply Drive” for children ages 3-15, on Sunday, Aug. 14, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Community Park, 1700 Glenn Lakes Lane in Missouri City. The event will include food, prizes, games, music, arts and crafts, ball games, and more! Participants are asked to bring donations of school supplies (such as notebook paper, pencils, crayons, rulers, etc.), which will be distributed to Fort Bend ISD schools. For more information, call Kryssi at 832-2163355; Derick at 281-617-8416; or Randy at 281-617-8417.

Business appreciation luncheon The Rosenberg Development Corporation (RDC) will hold its annual Business Appreciation Reception Thursday, August 25, 2011, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rosenberg Civic Center, 3825 Highway 36 South. The RDC is partnering with the Central Fort Bend Chamber Alliance (CFBCA) to produce the annual event, designed to highlight local enterprises, provide valuable business resources, and encourage networking among local business and business resources. The event is intended to help show appreciation to Rosenberg businesses, provide business owners with information and resources to grow their business, and answer questions for budding business owners about the process of starting a new business. The RDC and Chamber encourage anyone involved in the local business community to attend. The RDC and Chamber are looking to build on the momentum gained last year when

the annual reception underwent a “makeover” of sorts, resulting in record attendance and valuable exposure for participants. “We had a great event last year, with a lot of participation from the local business community,” said Matt Fielder, Rosenberg Economic Development Director. “We’re looking forward to making it even bigger and better.” The 2011 event will include free samples of some of the finest food in Rosenberg from restaurants such as Another Time Soda Fountain, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chili’s, Gringo’s, La Casona Mexican Restaurant, McAlister’s Deli, Nestle Toll House, Sabina’s Taqueria, Schulze’s Texas Bar-BQue and Texas Roadhouse. Exhibitors will include: American Red Cross, Central Fort Bend Chamber Alliance, CFBCA Hispanic Business Division, CFBCA Young Professionals Division, Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, Rosenberg Development Cor-

poration (RDC), Rosenberg Parks and Recreation Department, Rosenberg Planning Department, Texana Center, Texas State Technical College, University of Houston Small Business Development Center, the West Fort Bend Management District and Workforce Solutions. Limited opportunities for restaurants remain. For more information, contact Angie Sanders, CFBCA, at 281-3425464 ext. 203, or asanders@ The RDC was established through public referendum in 1995 and is allocated onehalf cent of the City of Rosenberg’s sales tax proceeds to invest in projects that promote or develop new or expanding business, create jobs, and improve the quality of life in the community. The RDC Board of Directors meets on the second Thursday of each month at the Rosenberg Civic Center. The public is encouraged to attend these meetings. For more information, please visit or call 832-595-3330.

Missouri City’s recreation superintendent earns State Parks Award Meet Shane Mize: Missouri City’s new Recreation Superintendent is the proud winner of the 2011 Texas Recreation & Parks Society Young Professional Award for his exceptional achievements in the profession. The coveted prize is given to one young professional 35 years old or younger who is actively involved in TRAPS through leadership roles and the promotion of parks and recreation in published articles and research projects. Mize joined Missouri City in January 2011. He holds a B.B.S. in Sports, Fitness and Leisure Management from Hardin-Simmons and has a M.S. in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration from Western Illinois University. Mize currently serves on the NRPA Program Committee and as the Chair-Elect of NRPA’s Young Professional Network; he was featured in the May 2010 NRPA Parks and Recreation Magazine as a “Future Leader in our Field”. “We feel very fortunate to have Shane on staff to head the Recreation Division,” said Missouri City Parks & Recreation Director Larry Foos. “Shane has a diverse background in providing recreation programs and we appreciate his efforts, work ethic and enthusiasm in providing quality programs and events for our citizens.” Mize’s experience and expertise has resulted in the introduction of many new programs for residents, including these: •Fun Fridays •Special Population Programming—fitness activities for youths and adults •Rock Your Park Month (July) •Free Fishing Day •Texas Nature Challenge •A blog on the Parks & Recreation web page

Sugar Land Superstar contest The finale of Sugar Land Superstar – Sugar Land’s American Idol-like competition – will take place on Saturday, August 13 at 7 p.m. in the Plaza of Sugar Land Town Square. One lucky winner will be named the 2011 Sugar Land Superstar. Come out for performances by last year’s Superstar winner Chase Nease and 2011 Junior Superstar winner Lexi Stavinoh. This event is free and open to the public. For additional information visit

Shane Mize, Missouri City’s new Recreation Superintendent, teaches a young girl the art of Archery as part of the City’s Recreation Roadshow Program. Mize is the proud winner of the 2011 Texas Recreation & Parks Society Young Professional Award.

Texas history program Gregg Dimmick of Wharton, author of “Sea of Mud,” will cover the topic of the Mexican Army’s retreat from Texas in 1836 at a presentation to the Fort Bend County Historical Commission (CHC). The CHC meeting and program will take place at the George Memorial Library, 1001 Golfview in Richmond, on Tuesday, Aug. 16 beginning at 3 p.m. The event is open to the public and free of charge. 281-341-8635.

Updating your home with color The Women’s Association of Sugar Creek Country Club will kick off its new season with a luncheon and presentation by Leslie Austin. Leslie will have helpful suggestions on “Updating Your Home with Color and Accessories.” She has 15 years of design experience and has worked with internationally recognized Homestead Inc. of Fredericksburg, Texas which has been showcased in dozens of magazines including Southern Living and Better Homes and Gardens. The luncheon will be held on Thursday, September 1, beginning at 11 a.m. at the Sugar Creek Country Club in the main ballroom. Sugar Creek Country Club is located at 420 Sugar Creek Blvd. in Sugar Land. Reservations for members and guests are necessary and may be made by calling 281494-5065 or by email at Members are reminded to bring non-perishable items which will be donated to Fort Bend Human Needs Ministries.

LEGAL NOTICE REQUEST FOR SEALED COMPETITIVE PROPOSALS Sealed Competitive Proposals will be received in the Office of Gilbert D. Jalomo, Jr., County Purchasing Agent, Fort Bend County, Rosenberg Annex, 4520 Reading Road, Suite A, Rosenberg, TX 77471 for the following until THURSDAY, AUGUST 18, 2011 at 1:30 P.M. CST). All proposals will then be opened in the Office of the Purchasing Agent, Rosenberg Annex, 4520 Reading Road, Suite A, Rosenberg, TX 77471 and the names of the proposers made public. Proposals received after the specified time will be returned unopened. RFP 12-009 – ONLINE HOMEWORK TUTOR Unit pricing is required; payment will be by check after products/services are rendered. Bonds are not required. Fort Bend County reserves the right to reject any or all proposals. Signed: Gilbert D. Jalomo, Jr., Purchasing Agent Fort Bend County, Richmond, Texas

Quail Valley Quails Meet on Sept. 1 Quail Valley Quails is a social organization of women who were former members of the Quails and/or presently residing in Quail Valley. The meeting begins at 10 AM with a social hour followed by a short business meeting, and the program. Please join us Thursday, September 1st as we kick off our 2011-2012 season by hearing Mayor Allen Owen speak regarding the state of our city and get the latest update about the construction of the new Club House & Tennis Center followed by Dan Flagg to discuss the neighbors’ night out campaign. He will also present pertinent safety information that residents and homeowners need to know. Lunch is served at noon. For luncheon reservations call Terry Colley at 281-438-6234 or email her at

LEGAL NOTICE REQUEST FOR SEALED COMPETITIVE PROPOSALS Sealed Competitive Proposals will be received in the Office of Gilbert D. Jalomo, Jr., County Purchasing Agent, Fort Bend County, Rosenberg Annex, 4520 Reading Road, Suite A, Rosenberg, TX 77471 for the following until THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2011 at 1:30 P.M. CST). All proposals will then be opened in the Office of the Purchasing Agent, Rosenberg Annex, 4520 Reading Road, Suite A, Rosenberg, TX 77471 and the names of the proposers made public. Proposals received after the specified time will be returned unopened. RFP 11-079 – TRANSPORTATION BUS SERVICES A pre-RFP conference will be conducted on Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 9:00 AM (CST). The pre-RFP conference will be held at the Public Transportation Conference Room at the Fort Bend County Emily Court Annex located at 12550 Emily Court, Sugar Land, Texas. All contractors are encouraged to attend. Unit pricing is required; payment will be by check after products/services are rendered. Bonds are required. Fort Bend County reserves the right to reject any or all proposals. Signed: Gilbert D. Jalomo, Jr., Purchasing Agent Fort Bend County, Richmond, Texas LEGAL NOTICE INVITATION TO BIDDERS Sealed Bids will be received in the Office of Gilbert D. Jalomo, Jr., County Purchasing Agent, Fort Bend County, Rosenberg Annex, 4520 Reading Road, Suite A, Rosenberg, TX 77471 for the following until THURSDAY, AUGUST 25, 2011 at 1:30 P.M. (CST). All bids will then be publicly opened and read in the Office of the Purchasing Agent, Rosenberg Annex, 4520 Reading Road, Rosenberg, TX 77471. Bids received after the specified time will be returned unopened. BID 12-010 – ULV CHEMICALS FOR MOSQUITO CONTROL Unit pricing is required; payment will be by check after products/services are rendered. Bonds are not required. Fort Bend County reserves the right to reject any or all bids. Signed: Gilbert D. Jalomo, Jr., Purchasing Agent Fort Bend County, Richmond, Texas

City of Missouri City ORDINANCE NO. O-11-29 AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF MISSOURI CITY, TEXAS, AMENDING CHAPTER 78, SOLID WASTE, OF THE MISSOURI CITY CODE; AMENDING THE RULES AND REGULATIONS RELATED TO CITY RESIDENTIAL SOLID WASTE SERVICE; PROVIDING A PENALTY; PROVIDING FOR REPEAL; AND PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY. I, Maria Gonzalez, Interim City Secretary of the City of Missouri City, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of the caption of said Ordinance No. O-11-29 approved on second and final reading by the City Council at its regular meeting held on August 1, 2011, as the same appears in the records of my office. /s/ Maria Gonzalez Interim City Secretary

NOTICE OF ESTABLISHMENT OF ADDITIONAL OUT-OF-DISTRICT MEETING PLACE OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF FORT BEND COUNTY LEVEE IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT NO. 2 To the residents and taxpayers of Fort Bend County Levee Improvement District No. 2 (the “District”), and to all the persons interested in the meetings of the Board of Directors of such District: Notice is hereby given that the Board of Directors of the District, at a meeting held July 20, 2011, established an additional meeting place outside the boundaries of the District at: (1) the offices of Professional Project Management Services, 19875 Southwest Freeway, Suite 270, Sugar Land, Texas 77479; and (2) the offices of Freese and Nichols, Inc., 3100 Wilcrest Drive, Suite 200, Houston, TX 77042. Said meeting place is hereby declared to be a public place and open to the public. All residents and taxpayers of the District and all other interested persons are herby invited to attend any meetings of the Board of Directors at such location and other locations previously established by the Board of Directors as meeting places of the District. /s/ Andre D. McDonald President, Board of Directors

AUGUST 10, 2011 • INDEPENDENT • Page 7

Film Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes This “Ape” movie is a prequel to the “Planet of the Ape” films. It is set in present day San Francisco and we get an inkling of how it all began and the fight for supremacy between Man and “...the dirty stinking animal.” That quote was the famous line by Charlton Heston in the original “Planet of the Apes” that debut in 1968, my senior year in high school. Actually, I think the line went something like this: “Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape.” That was pretty risqué for 1968 and coming from Moses. Haven’t you ever wondered how the apes could take over Earth and become the dominant species? Well, this movie is your big opportunity and the definitive answer to such a deep and penetrating question. James Franco plays a researcher who has developed a drug called ALZ 112 that has the potential to help Alzheimer patients like his dad (John Lithgow). Before the corporate boys will allow him to test the new drug on humans, he must first

inject some of the apes at the lab. Things go wrong early and often but Franco ends up raising one of the baby apes. Franco raises the baby, named Caesar, as though they are in a father-son relationship. Caesar grows into a very smart and aggressive alpha ape and

things get really complicated. Were any gorillas, chimpanzees, or orangutans hurt in the making of this $93 million production? No, all the ape-like animals are played by humans with some very welldone computer enhanced special effects. Caesar is played

by Andy “Gollum” Serkis who specializes in motion-capture performances made famous in “King Kong” and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Also, used by James Cameron in “Avatar.” Franco’s love interest is Freida “Slumdog Millionaire” Pinto who has gotten prettier since 2008. Both Franco and Pinto were steady and unobtrusive so as not to get in the way of the ape story. Admirable for pretty people and a tribute to maintaining balance in the story by Director Rupert Wyatt. My audience on a Friday afternoon was enraptured by Caesar and the developing action and scary intelligence of the apes when pushed, prodded, and punched by the humans. There were audible groans and cheers and a smattering of hand clapping when the movie ended. This is not a great film, but it stands out in the Ape Franchise which has not had many bright spots since Heston and Roddy McDowell did battle in the original film. Rock ‘n Roll. Grade 87. Larry H. See LarryHmoviereviews. com.

Pass/Fail Does your plan for funding college make the grade? In the last decade, the cost of a college education has increased significantly — and it continues to rise at more than twice the rate of inflation. In fact, parents are projected to meet only 16 percent of the total cost of their children’s college education.* Investing in a 529 college savings plan can help you meet rising college costs and you may also reap significant tax benefits. With so many 529 plans available today, a Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Financial Advisor can help you choose the plan that’s right for you. Call today to learn more about 529 college savings plans, including how to incorporate them into your overall education planning strategy. Ramesh P. Shah First Vice President Financial Advisor 1600 Highway 6 South Suite 100 Sugar Land, TX 77478 281-263-1612

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*Sources:, 2009; Fidelity Investments Fourth Annual College Savings Indicator, June 2010 Before investing, consider whether tax or other benefits are only available for investments in your home state 529 college savings plan. Investors should carefully read the Program Disclosure Statement which contains more information on investment options, risk factors, fees and expenses, and possible tax consequences, before purchasing a 529 Plan. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, its Financial Advisors and affiliates do not provide tax or legal advice. Any such taxpayer should seek advice based on the taxpayer’s particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. © 2011 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC.

NY CS 6617388 02/11 2011-PS-300

AUTOMOBILE: Lexus GS 460 By BARABARA FULENWIDER This year marks the end of the current generation of Lexus GS 460 models since the next generation debuted last week at Pebble Beach. The 2011 Lexus GS 460 is a mid-size luxury sport sedan that is powered by a hefty V8 engine, has contoured 10-way power front seats and new smart stop technology that is standard equipment. The GS 460 comes in three models: GS 350 rear-wheel drive, GS 350 all-wheel drive and GS 460 rear wheel drive. The V8 engine in the GS 460 makes 342 horsepower and 339 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,100 rpm, The GS 460 can accelerate from zero to 60 in 5.4 seconds. The test drive was the GS 460, which gets an estimated 17 miles to the gallon in city driving and 24 on the highway. The V8 engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission that is smoothness personified, i.e. Lexus, of course. The Lexus GS comes with a double-wishbone front suspension and multilink rear suspension that eliminates unwanted wheelangle changes during suspension movement. The result is a natural, confident feel that’s also spirited. All GS models come standard with brake assist, electronic brake-force distribution and the anti-lock braking system. Aluminumalloy 18-inch wheels are standard on the GS 460 along with 245/40R18 Zrated summer tires or the optional all season run flats. An adaptive variable suspension (AVS) system is standard on the GS 460 and provides a normal and sport setting. Drivers who want a tighter, more precise control choose the sport setting. The AVS can automatically select appropriate suspension damping for driving conditions. The GS 460 also offers the optional active power stabilizer system that helps reduce body sway and enhances vehicle control during cornering. The GS 460 vehicle dynamics integrated management system manages a host of handling technologies, including vehicle stability control, electronically controlled brakes, variable gear ratio steering, power steering and engine

torque via the electronically controlled throttle. Safety and security features on the Lexus GS 460 include the adaptive frontlighting system, which illuminates a curve as the driver steers into it, a tire pressure monitor system, intuitive park assist system, a rear back-up camera with the optional navigation system and the optional pre-collision system. Of course, luxury is throughout the sporty GS 460 – leather-trimmed, heated 10-way power front seats that are also ventilated; a power-tilt and telescopic steering wheel, dual zone climate controlled air conditioning system with filters and the optional rear power sunshade. All four windows have one touch up and down operation, the two electrochromic auto-dimming side powers are power retractable and feature automatic tilt down to aid in parking when reverse gear is selected. A power trunk closer provides an added convenience and the smart access keyless entry and push to start ignition let the driver keep the access fob in a pocket or purse. The standard Lexus premium audio system features a six-disc, in-dash CD changes, Bluetooth hands free phones and music streaming

and integrated XM radio receiver with a complimentary 90-day trial subscription. The system plays through 10 speakers while an automatic sound levelizer maintains consistent sound level at varying vehicle speeds. The optional Mark Levinson Premium Sound system is also available. It has 330 watts, plays through 14 speakers and can play both CD and DVDs. The 2011 Lexus GS 460 four-door sedan with the 4.6-liter, four cam, 320-valve V8 engine retails for $54,470.

Options on the test drive GS 460 included the Mark Levinson audio/navigation system and surround audio, the Lexus pre-collision system with radar cruise control, a rear spoiler and intuitive parking assist, which brought the bottom line up to $59,615. The GS has been a favorite of mine since it was first introduced in 1993. It has always had attitude and still does. This fast and fun to drive luxury sedan also has all the comforts and features you could want.

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Physician assistant, Ashley Donnell, running in the San Francisco marathon over the Golden Gate bridge.

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Page 8 • INDEPENDENT • AUGUST 10, 2011

Community news Lunches of Love is beneficiary of the FBJSL 2012 Charity Ball

Life sentence in 1994 capital murder case Michael Deshawn Winfrey was convicted of capital murder by a 240th District Court jury on July 28. Winfrey, a 38-year-old Houston man, was charged with murdering a man during a robbery in 1994. Since the state did not seek the death penalty, Winfrey was automatically sentenced to life in prison. According to Assistant District Attorney Jeff Strange, on April 24, 1994, Jeffery Brown stopped at a convenience store in the Briargate area of Southwest Houston with his seven and eight year-old children. After buying some snacks for his kids, Brown got back in his car when he was suddenly confronted by Michael Winfrey. Pointing a gun at Brown and his children, Winfrey demanded his victim’s jewelry. Brown didn’t turn over his jewelry and told Winfrey that if he was going to shoot anyone, shoot him and not his children. The defendant snatched a gold chain from around his victim’s neck and shot him one time in the chest. Brown was able to stumble into the convenience store, but later died from his injuries. Although the children were able to give details about Winfrey and the vehicle he escaped in, the investigation never revealed any suspects at the time. In 2009, a man in a Louisiana prison came forward with information about Jeffery Brown’s murder. The man claimed that he and three other men were in the car that day and had all witnessed the murder. With assistance from Louisiana detectives, HPD homicide investigators interviewed the four men with Winfrey that day and found their stories consistent – considering it had been 15 years since the offense. Both of the victim’s children, now in their twenties, identified Michael Winfrey in a photo line-up as their father’s killer. At trial, the State presented testimony from all four men who were in the car with Winfrey that day. The evidence revealed it was the defendant’s 21st birthday on the day of the shooting, but he was agitated because he was broke. Together the men cooked, drank and used drugs. The men had gone to the convenience store for a few items when the defendant encountered the victim. All four witnesses testified that Winfrey acted alone and they were unaware of his intentions until it was too late. At one point the driver of the car tried to leave the parking lot without him, but Winfrey ran and jumped through an open window to get into the car. The men remained silent for more than 15 years out of fear of the defendant, but once questioned by detectives, they were cooperative and forthcoming with what had happened. “This could have been one of those cases that forever remained unsolved,” Prosecutor Amanda Bolin said. “The children of Jeffery Brown have waited a long time to see their father’s killer brought to justice, and that wouldn’t have been possible without these men coming forward to do the right thing and without the hard work of the Houston Police Department following up on the information they provided.” Winfrey was tried in the 240th District Court before Presiding Judge Thomas R. Culver, III. Assistant District Attorneys Jeffrey T. Strange and Amanda C. Bolin prosecuted the case. Attorney Sid Crowley represented the defendant.

The ladies of the Fort Bend Junior Service League (FBJSL) are already preparing for the 2012 FBJSL Charity Ball and Casino ~ “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,” presented by title sponsor Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital. The event will be held on Saturday, March 3, 2012 at the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square. Guests will experience a “night at the diamond”, complete with a magnificent seated dinner, dancing, casino games, a fabulous live auction, a bid board and silent auction. Proceeds from the event will benefit Lunches of Love and the FBJSL Community Assistance Fund (CAF). Lunches of Love, a community outreach program of First United Methodist Church – Rosenberg, is committed to helping end childhood hunger in Rosenberg and Richmond by providing a free nutritious sack lunch Monday – Friday during extended school holidays, including Christmas break, spring break and summer. Lunches of Love feeds children in need and those qualifying for the state’s free or reduced lunch program. Lunches of Love was launched during Christmas break 2009 and has quickly expanded during that time, growing from initially feeding approximately 150 children each day to serving approximately 1,100 children each day during summer 2011. Funds from the Charity Ball will be utilized to sustain their current program, as well as to expand their program to reach even more children. For more information about Lunches of Love, visit For more information on sponsorship opportunities, please visit

Lunches of Love volunteers with FBJSL’s President and 2012 Charity Ball Co-Chairs at the First United Methodist Church of Rosenberg where the sack lunches are prepared throughout the summer. Left to Right- Catherine Kubala, FBJSL President; Audra O’Neal, 2012 Charity Ball Co-Chair; Jennifer Hartmann, Lunches of Love; Mandy Boudreaux, 2012 Charity Ball Co-Chair; Robbie Hausler, Lunches of Love; Debbie Buckner, 2012 Charity Ball Co-Chair; Adriane Gray, Lunches of Love; Jessica DeMarr, 2012 Charity Ball Co-Chair. or contact Charity Ball Co- Debbie Buckner, Jessica Chairs Mandy Boudreaux, DeMarr or Audra O’Neal at

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