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VOL 2 No. 44

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FORT BEND FAIR. BALANCED. INFORMATIVE. WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2009

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

Enrollment soars at UHSSL

The UH Sugar Land campus parking lot is full, a testament to the enrollment numbers. The University of Houston System at Sugar Land (UHSSL) enjoyed an unprecedented enrollment increase this fall, with 1,506 UHS students now taking classes at the recently expanded teaching center. Add to that a comparable number of students from Wharton County Junior College – which shares space in the new 147,000 square foot Brazos Hall building – and the UHSSL campus is bursting at the seams. UHSSL offers courses at the junior, senior and master’s level; WCJC offers freshman and sophomore classes. “The partnership between UHSSL and WCJC has transformed the landscape of higher education in Fort Bend County,” said Dick Phillips, associate vice chancellor of UHSSL. “Our on-campus re-

lationship with WCJC makes earning a four-year degree and beyond more convenient and affordable than ever before.” UHSSL partners with WCJC, Houston Community College, and other area community colleges to ensure a smooth transition into their upper-level programs. “With this arrangement, students in this area can earn their degrees at a fraction of what it costs at many other institutions. With the added bonus of not having to move or commute,” Phillips added. “The shared facility on our Sugar Land campus not only increases space, but also optimizes its utilization. This saves money for both UHSSL and WCJC and our students. By sharing some administrative expenses, labs, classrooms and student services,

we’re reducing duplicated services.” With more than 3,600 students in combined enrollment attending classes, the UHSSL campus is experiencing growing pains. The main parking lot, which accommodates nearly 1,000 vehicles, is beyond capacity. A temporary gravel lot will be set up to handle the overflow until an additional permanent lot can be constructed. Since its beginning with just a handful of students in 1995, UHSSL has steadily grown into a significant educational resource for the rapidly developing region. “Our own tremendous growth is just another indication of the region’s overall expansion and the increasing demand for higher education in Fort Bend County,” Phillips said.

Planting the promise to stay drug free

As part of Red Ribbon Week to Stay Drug Free, Quail Valley Garden Club members helped children prepare the soil and plant 100 red Tulips furnished by Ann LeTulle of Gary Greene Prudential Realtors ®. Barbara Thompson, Donna Hogan and Janice Scanlan worked with Quail Valley Elementary Counselor Myrtle St. Julien to plan the event. Pictured in the foreground of the photo is Quail Valley Garden Club President Nancy Lindsay and other volunteers working with the children. As Nancy commented, “It is certainly easy to see why Quail Valley Elementary just achieved Recognized Status with such young people and faculty.” Visit http://traction.typepad.com/QVGC to learn more about Growing Better Community.

County breaks ground for Pct. 3 building Fort Bend County Commissioners symbolically moved the dirt and broke ground for the proposed 24,000 square feet Precinct 3 building at the intersection of The Grand Parkway and Westpark Toll Road in the Grand Lakes community in Katy last week. The project conceived by Pct. 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers as early as 1999 was approved by voters in 2006 and $3.5 million was earmarked for the project. Meyers negotiated a deal with the developers who donated 22 acres of the corner land, part of which was used for building the feeder roads

along the toll road and the Grand Parkway. The county paid for the feeder road along the Grand Parkway. In the remaining 7 acres, the Precinct 3 building will be constructed. A large portion of Precinct 3’s population is closer to the Katy-Fulshear area and the existing office of Meyers on Eldridge Road in Sugar Land is not centrally located. The Fort Bend County Precinct 3 annex will house the offices of constable, justice of the peace, county clerk, tax office, sheriff’s annex, veterans affairs office and health

Local agencies fight child fatalities To combat the rising number of child fatalities in Fort Bend County, representatives from more than 18 agencies in Fort Bend County gathered at Child Advocates of Fort Bend to attend the first meeting of the Child Fatality Review Team recently. Led by Assistant District Attorney Oshea Spencer, the

Child Fatality Review team reviewed 8 child fatalities that occurred in 2007 and will continue to review all child deaths in the county in the hope of identifying ways to prevent future fatalities. Team members contribute detailed information concerning child death cases that come under the charge of their

agencies and quarterly meetings will be held to review the deaths. The team will report its findings to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Data gathered will be used to target prevention strategies and educational initiatives and to contribute to national data on child deaths.

PIONEER BUSINESSMAN AND PHILANTHROPIST. Ramesh Bhutada, second from left, a Sugar Land resident, recently received the pioneer businessman award from the IndoAmerican Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston. As the owner of Star Pipe Products in Houston, Bhutada is known both for his business acumen and philanthropy. Here he is seen with daughter-in-law Shraddha, left, wife Kiran, and son Rishi Bhutada. The joint family lives in the Telfair subdivision of Sugar Land. See story on Page 3.

Introducing the new Back Pain Program at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land.

Relief is within reach

and human services. The construction contract has been awarded to Rosenberger Construction and the building is expected to be ready for occupancy next summer. Above, participating in the ground breaking ceremony were Kent Rosenberger, left, County Attorney Roy Cordes, County Clerk Dianne Wilson, Commissioner Grady Prestage, County Judge Bob Hebert, Commissioner Andy Meyers, Tax Assessor-Collector Patsy Schultz, Director of Facilities Management Don Brady and Commissioner James Patterson.

It’s time to start experiencing relief with a personalized treatment plan from our new comprehensive Back Pain Program. Our skilled health team specializes in joint and back pain, offering both minimally invasive surgical techniques and noninvasive treatments. To learn more, call 281.725.5225 or visit SugarLandBackPain.com.


Page 2 • FORT BEND INDEPENDENT • NOVEMBER 4, 2009

Clements’ principal on leave of absence The sudden leadership change at Clements High School in Fort Bend ISD is shrouded in secrecy. Last week, Principal Kevin Moran reportedly took “a leave of absence� from FBISD. A letter sent to the parents of students in Clements High School said a retired assistant principal of Kempner High School will substitute for

Moran. As personnel issues are covered under privacy rules, the school district did not respond to media inquiry immediately. Recently, Moran attended a school board workshop on high school rezoning. He was in favor of keeping the high school student population at the existing level, though it is about 600 more

than the capacity. He did not want to lose any students to other high schools. Subsequently, he also dismissed rumors that students are made to sit on the floor in the cafeteria due to overcrowding as untrue. Last week, Trustee Sonal Bhuchar was quoted as saying that the school had no problem and everything was orderly.

Edge Energy relocates to Sugar Land Town Square

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Edge Energy, LLC recently relocated their offices to Sugar Land Town Square from Houston. A portfolio company of OTC Global Holdings, Edge Energy specializes in natural gas fixed price swaps and options, with plans to expand into the crude oil options space. “Edge Energy made Sugar Land Town Square its corporate home because it was a strategic, fitting and convenient move for us,� said Todd Gross, managing partner, Edge Energy. “The development offers the facilities and resources we need, close proximity to en-

ergy industry talent and quick access to our home lives and families – something we value highly as a company.� Edge Energy occupies 2,926 square feet of office space in the Minute Maid Building, located at 2150 Town Square Place. “We’ve seen an increasing number of energy-related companies move their businesses to Town Square over the past few years,� said Don Janssen, senior vice president of Planned Community Developers. “I believe this trend will continue as more of these companies will move here as they desire to be close to as-

sociated businesses and clients.� Town Square, developed by PCD, is currently home to eight businesses that work in or are related to the energy industry including: BurkeDaniels, Co., Inc.; CVR Energy; Edoxx; G.A.S. Unlimited, Inc.; IIR; Sulzer TCS; and Upstream Energy. In addition, PCD recently signed a letter of intent for a 10,000 square-foot lease for an oilfield services company. Janssen represented PCD in the lease transaction; Gross represented Edge Energy. For more information visit www.sugarlandtownsquare. com.

Fort Bend Habitat dedicates Habitat Village Fort Bend Habitat for Humanity invites the community to celebrate the first Habitat Village Party at 702-735 Habitat Lane in Rosenberg. in Fort Bend County on Sunday, Nov. 8 from 2 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. The community is invited to join the celebration to honor, recognize and thank the sponsors and volunteers that made this village possible with fun, food and music. Come see how Habitat changes lives of families and communities. Shuttle parking will be available. For more details visit www.fortbendhabitat.org. The Habitat Village in Rosenberg began 3 years ago and was made possible by a generous

grant from Maxine Myers and Fairfield Industries. Their grant was used to purchase the land and build the infrastructure (street, water and sewer). The first house was completed in April 2007 and the final and 18th home was completed in May, 2009. In addition to completing the Village, the final house also was the 50th house completed by the Fort Bend Habitat affiliate. Habitat Village now provides a safe, decent, new home for 26 adults and 48 children. The sponsor groups responsible for the houses on Habitat Lane are: Fairfield Industries (3 homes), St. Lawrence Catholic

Church (4 homes), God’s People: Christ United Methodist Church/ Holy Cross Episcopal Church/ St. John’s Methodist Church (3 homes), the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans (2 homes), Clements High School (2 homes), St. Agnes Academy (1 home), Wells Fargo Bank (1 home), Dulles/Elkins High School (1 home) and Fort Bend Habitat affiliate (1 home). Fort Bend Habitat is currently building houses #51, #52 and #53 in Richmond. Individuals or groups interested in helping with a build or sponsoring a home should contact Executive Director Sharon Heldt at Fort Bend Habitat, 281403-0708, or visit www.fortbendhabitat.org.

Building homes of quality and distinction for over 40 years.

Plans, prices and availability are subject to change without notice. (10/08)


NOVEMBER 4, 2009 • FORT BEND INDEPENDENT • Page 3

Community news

Suzette Peoples Broker /Owner 21 years of experience!

County Levee Improvement District No. 2 reduces 2010 tax rate The FBC LID # 2 board of directors voted at its Oct. 14th meeting for a 1.1 cent reduction of the LID tax rate in its 2010 budget. With that reduction, the district tax rate will have been lowered by 5 cents since 2008. The new tax rate will be 13.4 cents, a 6.9% reduction from last year, and a 27.2% reduction over the last five years. Board president, AndrĂŠ McDonald, said, “The board promised residents, if they supported our $15 million bond issue in 2007, we would lower their taxes while performing needed infrastructure upgrades to continue to provide the highest quality of flood protection to our resi-

dents.� FBC LID #2 residents overwhelmingly supported the bond with their votes in 2007 and McDonald says the Board’s vote honors its pledge to taxpayers. The latest reduction will mean both a lower tax rate and an absolute lower tax burden for many residents. Since January of 2009, FBC LID #2 has completed major upgrades to levees and infrastructure to ensure that the district addresses Federal levee maintenance standards. Emergency management, security, equipment upgrades, levee integrity and maintenance have been key priorities as the district carefully monitored Federal ini-

tiatives that could impact Fort Bend residents. The FBC LID #2 levee infrastructure system protects major parts of Sugar Land, including First Colony, Town Center, Fluor and major hospitals. The system consists of both a perimeter levee, part of a multiLID project implemented in 2008 to address FEMA requirements for levee height, along with interior levees that provide “lifeboat� protection for FBC LID #2 residents in the event of a breach of the perimeter levee. Improvements have been completed for the perimeter levee and district engineers are performing maintenance to ensure the integrity of FBC LID #2 interior le-

vees. The maintenance includes remediation of encroachments and clearing underbrush that hinders levee inspections or maintenance. FBC LID #2 was recently singled out for recognition by both FEMA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers speakers at an August flood management conference in Fort Worth for its proactive efforts to meet Federal standards of flood management. The board is currently focused on monitoring the Federal regulatory environment to ensure that the district stays in compliance with all Federal standards, especially as they impact current initiatives related to the National Flood Insurance Plan.

Direct: 281-980-3322 www.peoplesproperties.com LD

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Star Pipe first began importing manhole covers from India in 1980 and later diversified into pipe fittings and accessories. From humble beginnings, Bhutada built Star Pipe Products into a company of decent size. Today it has 14 distribution centers across United States and Canada. The company is an importer, manufacturer and distributor of pipe fittings and other industrial castings used in the waterworks industries. Bhutada attributes much of his business success to the contributions made by his brother-in-law, Jugal Malani, as a partner in Star Pipe Products. Now, Jugal Malani, who owns Unique Industrial Products in Sugar Land, is a noted industrialist and philanthropist, in his own right. Bhutada was exposed to the spirit of selfless service back home in India, in his early years. In his later years as he came in contact with spiritual organizations, he realized that the human spirit seeks the higher consciousness or the goal of liberation which in turn requires the attitude of selfless service and compassion. “I am not where I would like to be in that respect. It is a work in progress. One has to inculcate the qualities and work towards the higher goal,� Bhutada says. Expanding this thought, Bhutada regrets the misplaced emphasis given to children’s education where character building takes a back seat. “The secular education teaches children how to make a living, but does not teach how to lead life. The Hindu value system fills this gap. I encourage parents to get their children involved in character- building activities through the Sunday schools conducted by various organizations,� he says. Bhutada also has keen interest in holistic health. “In the modern industrial society, not much attention is paid to healthy living, exercise and good eating habits. Health is in our own hands. We all must pay attention to it. Listen to your own body,� he says. “In early part of my life, I ignored the health aspect and to some extent, I am paying the price for it now. We need to become more conscious of our health and, adopt holistic health practices to maintain good health, devoid of stress,� Bhutada says. Bhutada was instrumental in bringing Swami Ramdev’s Yoga institution to Rosenberg. The same interest in health and exercise motivated Bhutada to contribute to the MS 150 bike race and Star Pipe employees are encouraged to participate in this fund-raiser in large numbers. Bhutada is on the board of directors, Sewa International USA which manages

projects in India and USA. Sewa International (India) is an umbrella for 45,000 projects and programs all over India, 80 types of activities and has more than 150,000 volunteers involved in running these programs and projects. Sewa International (USA) work in USA includes relief work during Hurricane Katrina (Louisiana), Hurricane Ike (Houston) and Bhutanese Refugee Empowerment project throughout the USA. During 1975 to 1977 Emergency was declared in India. Democratic elections and civil liberties were suspended and opposition leaders were imprisoned. Bhutada organized protest meetings in Houston in support of restoration of democracy in India. He supported leaders who took active stand against emergency and organized public meetings for them. Ramesh Shah, Chairman, Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA, says “Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA is very proud to say Ramesh Bhutada is one of us not because he is one of the largest donors sponsoring 200 schools every year, but due to his consistent guidance since the inception in 2001 and frank and honest opinion about operations and donor relations.� Renu Khator, Chancellor and president of the University of Houston System, says, “Rameshji is an inspiration to me. His simplicity and humility add to the depth of wisdom and insights that he has. He gives so much of himself to his family and the community and yet I have noticed that he always credits others for success. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of the Pioneer Award than Rameshji.� Beth Kulkarni, a community activist who promotes the cause of Hinduism, now in The Woodlands, says “I have been privileged to know Ramesh Bhutada for about 20 years. One thing about Rameshji that impresses me the most is his choice of a simple lifestyle. He does not seek to make friends with those in high positions, but spends his time with family and friends with similar values. He does not seek out community awards or recognition, but would prefer to see others get awards.� Daniel Dominguez, CFO and Director, of Centro Familiar Cristiano or Christian Family Center, says “Ramesh is a prime example of an individual that not only does things right but he also does the right thing. A very successful business person that in the process remains sensitive to human needs (the youth, the poor and the underprivileged), he never seeks recognition or self indulgence.� “Walk the talk and lead a balanced life with a strong element of seva (service) in it; nature will take care of you and your family,� is Bhuta-

NEW LISTING FIRST COLONY! Popular David Weekley 1 story on huge corner lot! Culdesac street 4 bedrooms 2 full baths. Over $60K in upgrades/ improvements! Rare find! Will go fast! $220K.

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SUGAR CREEK Great 1 story on huge corner lot. 3 bedrooms & study. Seller has updated carpet, tile paint in and out and roof replaced. Shows great and price already reduced to go fast in the low $200’s.

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da’s mantra. He believes and practices joint family tradition – his son and daughter-in-law live with him and his wife Kiran in the Telfair subdivision in Sugar Land. Kiran Bhutada, who has a law degree from Osmania University, deserves considerable credit for Bhutada’s success as she is also a very silent worker and a valuable advisor to her husband. Thus, the family values pervade the business as well. —SESHADRI KUMAR

ABR, GRI , E-Pro, 21 years Professional Realtor; Owner of Peoples Properties, a Real Estate & Property Management Co.; American Business Women’s Association.

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Pioneer places philanthropy over bottom line pioneer in philanthropy, he also brings together seemingly disparate business and bottom line in the same sentence with compassion and community service. Ramesh Bhutada, a Sugar Land resident, was recently recognized by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston as a “pioneer� businessman who built a multi-million dollar enterprise over the past 25 years. His business success is even dwarfed by the enormity of the generous philanthropic contributions he has made to numerous community service organizations. Bhutada looks and sounds humble and modest. “I believe the award is mainly for the team, not for an individual. I just happen to be a representative of the team. I feel good that the team has been recognized. We are very fortunate to have a good team in Star Pipe Products,� Bhutada says. Community service is a part of the company’s core business philosophy. “We allow and encourage employees to participate in community service. We give them paid time-off to do the service. In most cases, we also support the voluntary efforts with cash donations,� Bhutada says. Such a business environment instills more team spirit, more helping nature and additionally workers in harmony contribute to higher productivity. “In organizations people depend on each other. Here we learn to solve, not to create problems,� Bhutada says. In Star Pipe, growth does not mean merely the volume of sales or revenue earned, but the emotional and spiritual growth in individual employees as well. Volunteerism helps achieve a balance in life. Bhutada agrees that such a business climate cannot be created overnight. But the flexible work environment provides a platform for change. Bhutada makes his major contributions quietly, behind the scenes, with little fanfare. Bhutada was born in Nandura in Maharashtra state in India, in a middle class family. Bhutada came to Chicago in 1968 to do his master’s degree after earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology, Pilani. In 1969, he got a job with Texas Instruments. A year later, he was laid off. The next ten years he worked at Racal Survey Systems, a geophysical survey company, as a computer programmer, and later as manager. Then, in 1981, he quit and started Star Pipe Products. He had another firm which sold computer systems for hydrographic surveys.

Suzette Peoples

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CITY OF SUGAR LAND ETJ! PERRY 2 story with master down and gameroom up. Huge cul de sac lot! Built in 2003. Tile and wood laminate floors thru out. 3 car dettached garage! Priced to go at $190,000.

First Colony/Sugar Land! Over 3100 sqft 4 bedrooms 3 full baths. Master down and bedroom/bath down. Game room up. All new interior/exterior paint 2009! New carpet and tile 2009! Priced to go in the $200’s Seller spent over $32K getting house ready to sell.

Mortgage Banker can do loans in less than 30 days! Call Suzette for more info! A Spirit of Freedom Republican Women special event will feature HANNAH GILES: “STANDING AGAINST GOLIATH� COURAGE IN ACTION, Exposed ACORN Corruption. (As seen on FOX News) Saturday, Nov. 21, 6:30 p.m. Sugar Creek Country Club, Sugar Land. For reservations: Call Judy 281-980-8594 or email Babs bmillergop@gmail.com.

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Page 4 • FORT BEND INDEPENDENT • NOVEMBER 4, 2009

Opinion Texas Straight Talk Government statistics and lies By RON PAUL There has been a lot of talk in Washington recently about senior citizens, mostly about how various healthcare reform models would help or hurt them. But there is another critical issue that has quietly devastated seniors financially over the last few decades. It concerns how the cost of living is calculated. How does the administration justify not giving a cost of living increase to Social Security recipients this year? According to the official Consumer Price Index calculation, life has gotten cheaper for the first time in decades. If the government can show statistically that the cost of living has gone down, not up, then they can make the case for not giving a cost of living increase to Social Security recipients. But does this match reality? Using older calculations of CPI, the cost of living has actually increased – by roughly 5 percent! The CPI (Consumer Price Index) is a calculation based on the average price of a fixed basket of goods that was initially designed to help businesses adjust for inflation. The government eventually started using it to determine cost of living adjustments for entitlement programs. Couple that with politicians’ discovery that they could raid the Social Security trust fund to pay for new spending programs, and you have a perfect storm

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul to deny seniors what they were promised, while hiding the true size of the deficit. For politicians, it is a win-win. For seniors, it is a different story. Economist John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics has estimated that if the original methodology of CPI had not changed, Social Security checks would be nearly double what they are today. This represents a lot of money that politicians have been able to literally steal from seniors, to spend on their own wasteful programs. One example of how they do this is to substitute hamburger for steak, which lowers the average price of that basket of goods. But living on hamburger, or maybe dog food, instead of steak does not represent a constant standard of living. This renders the measurement virtually meaningless, even though politically it comes in very handy. I have introduced legis-

lation to keep politicians in Washington from ever raiding the Social Security trust fund again. HR 219 The Social Security Preservation Act would assure that all monies collected by the Social Security Trust Fund would only be used in payments to beneficiaries, or be placed in interest bearing certificates of deposit. This would at least stop the bleeding of the fund, and take away some incentive to tease and torture the numbers in order to give seniors the minimal amount. This would also cut off a source of funding for government growth, so it is not likely to get easy support from many politicians. It is bad enough that Washington imposes high payroll taxes on American workers. The least Congress could do is use the tax dollars for their stated purpose. Instead, seniors will have a harder and harder time trying to survive on a fixed income in an economy based on variables and deception. For them, it is too late to start over. Today’s young people will be forced to pay into the system for years to come. The first step towards solving the impending crisis facing Social Security is to stop politicians from raiding the trust fund and to significantly cut federal government spending. (Ron Paul represents the 14th Congressional District in Texas.)

Musings: How right dad was... By JANICE SCANLAN My dad would be 105 in December. What he knew with common sense fifty years ago, we’ve now studied to confirm. When I was 13, I got a job in the new bowling alley snack bar. Now you may think how dreadful; but in a small, rural Oklahoma town it was the first time we had a place for people of all ages to go during the cold winter nights and weekends for recreation. Bowling leagues were packed every night—at least until the “new” wore off. That’s another story. The first night my Dad picked me up, he asked, “have you been smoking?” For once, I could truthfully say no. He replied if there was that much smoke in the place, I should quit. It wasn’t a healthy place to work. I didn’t quit working there. I was the typical impressionable teenager who wanted to be in the middle of things and doing what “was cool.” And in the 1950’s smoking was considered cool and sophisticated. So to fight the powerful tobacco interests, we’ve had study after study on the health associated problems including lung cancer, heart attacks and respiratory infections for the individuals

Scanlan who smoke and those who get their smoke second hand. And teenagers are more likely to start smoking if it’s permitted in eating establishments . . .same as the workplace. Incentive to quit, or better, to never start, reduces smokers. I quit smoking years ago because it made me sick. But then, I had to quit a second time. I quit attending a professional meeting in Reno because of the second-hand smoke and being sick for two weeks after the meeting. Interestingly, I was not alone. So, the hotel/casino complexes in Reno have now banned smoking. They were losing too much business from guests who don’t like

10701 Corporate Drive, #282, Stafford, TX 77477 Mailing Address: P.O. Box 623, Sugar Land, TX 77487

281-980-6745 Seshadri Kumar Publisher & Editor David Hamner Sales Associate

Diane Parks Graphic Artist

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second-hand smoke! Unlike Houston and Sugar Land that banned smoking in restaurants and bars, Missouri City decided to “study it.” While the smoking ordinance in Houston shows no loss of business to restaurants and bars, many cities considering a smoke-free ordinance wring their hands on the “economic impact to business.” Well, it seems businesses that allow smoking spend more on maintenance, have to refurbish more often, and may lose desirable employees and guests as well. John and I love to listen to music but quit again. . . we couldn’t stand the smoke in bars and clubs. Now we’re out of the habit. And how many studies later do we know how right my dad was? Well, it seems there’s another study that suggests that spending one hour in secondhand smoke can lead to a heart attack, if your heart is weak already. So in many restaurants in cities that allow smoking, you may get more than an unpleasant smell and higher dry cleaning bills for clothing. If you’re not convinced or want to learn more from an expert, Dr. Joel Dunnington, a Missouri City resident and professor of radiology, UTMDA Cancer Center, will be speaking to the Missouri City 59 Sunrise Rotary at their Nov. 11 breakfast at Café Adobe in Sugar Land at 7 a.m. His presentation, Tobacco Smoke Pollution- Just the Facts, will tell the real story of the harmful effects of second hand smoke. No reservations are needed and you’ll get a great breakfast in a smoke-free environment. Write Janice at open. space@earthlink.net.

The View From Sugar Land 50 years of Sugar Land By RUSSELL C. JONES This year Sugar Land is commemorating the 50th anniversary of its incorporation. The big blowout will come on December 31, but in the meantime, many activities celebrating the city’s history are available to residents. A year-long series of special events has already begun. Evidence of the celebration can be seen in the banners which fly along our major streets, featuring the official anniversary logo. Included among the special events are monthly historic walking tours, the last being scheduled for Saturday, November 7 and December 5 at 9 a.m. The tours begin at Lakeview Elementary School (Wood at 2nd Street) and are guided by a knowledgeable local historian. This is a great opportunity to see the historic sites of old Sugar Land. A seven-member 50th Anniversary Citizens Committee was appointed by the City Council last year to lead the celebration. A commemorative sculpture has been commissioned, and its design was supervised by the Citizens Committee. The sculpture is the gift of individuals and businesses, who have already contributed over $50,000 to the effort. The bronze artwork is designed to be a salute to the sugar company roots of the city as well as the amazing accomplishments of our city, particularly over the past 25 years. A list of major donors can be found at www.sugarlandtx. gov/sugarland/50th/donors. asp. The sculpture is being created by Joe Kinney of Austin, and will be unveiled at the

Jones New Year’s Eve anniversary celebration at Town Square. Everyone in the city will be invited. Keep an eye on this column for more information. Running Hog Wild Feral hogs have become a problem west of University Boulevard and south of US 59, including substantially all of the Avalon subdivision. There are more than 1.5 million in Texas, and, unfortunately, some of them are showing up in Sugar Land. Working with several state and county agencies, the city has instituted a program of trapping the hogs, and many have already been caught. It is well known that hunters go out into rural parts of the county to shoot the wild hogs, but it had not occurred to me that they were coming into the city until I heard the recent reports. Apparently the cooler, wetter weather has enticed the hogs to enter populated areas, where they use the levee system as a means of traveling without being noticed. The hogs are quite dangerous and can weigh as much as 400 pounds. The city is

requesting that residents call Animal Services at 281-2752364 if they see any of the hogs or if they come upon any in the traps which have been set. No Recovery CIT Group Inc., a 101-yearold commercial lender, filed the fifth largest bankruptcy in history on Sunday after its government bailout failed. The Treasury Department admitted that the government would not recover much, if any, of the $2.3 billion in taxpayer money that went to the company last year. CIT became a bank holding company in December solely to qualify for the bailout. It’s failure is the biggest since regulators seized Washington Mutual in September 2008. This could be just the first of many confirmations that the bailout was a temporary reprieve. Last week we heard that General Motors would be asking the treasury for another $2.5 billion, because two prior tranches of bailout money, a structured bankruptcy giving the government 60 percent of its stock, and the cash for clunkers program had not been enough to overcome decades of mismanagement and labor excesses. It may be time to admit that the bailout was a failure and that capitalism’s system of rewards–and risk– should be allowed to function, even among the nation’s largest businesses. Jones is the Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Sugar Land and serves as Councilman for District 3. He was first elected to the City Council in 1993. He owns a law firm and a title insurance company in Sugar Land.

Seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines By THOMAS J. PARR, M.D. This time each year, we have discussions across the country about whether or not to take the annual flu shot. There are those who will stand in a line for a long time to get a flu shot, and there are those who refuse to get it, even if it is given free in their place of work. This year, we have two very different flu vaccines, and it will take both to give an individual a reasonable degree of protection. The regular annual flu vaccine has been out for several weeks now, and is easily available through your doctor or at a local pharmacy running a flu shot clinic. The regular annual flu shot is “approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The H1N1, or “Swine Flu” vaccine is just now becoming available in Texas. Its availability is tightly controlled through the Texas Department of State Health Services. Your physician has had to apply for the vaccine in advance, and it is being delivered according to a schedule based upon most critical need first. The priority list starts with children and young adults under the age of 24, pregnant women, and health-care workers. It takes a year to develop any kind of flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is different every year, based on the experts’ best guess as to which viruses will be the most common ones next year. There are a few misconceptions about both of this year’s flu vaccines. The Texas Medical Association (TMA) has reported that the H1N1 vaccine is produced in the same manner as the regular flu vaccine. It is a safe vaccine which has

Thomas Parr been tested in adults and children, with the Baylor College of Medicine and The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston being included in those clinical trial sites. “No deaths, serious adverse events, or adverse events of special interest have been reported in these early trials.” According to the CDC, the regular annual flu shot is a vaccine, containing about three different killed or inactive viruses. The CDC also explains that the nasal-spray flu vaccine is made with live, weakened flu viruses. This weakened virus does not cause the flu and is approved for use in healthy people, between the ages of 2 and 50, who are not pregnant. The weakened nasal-spray viruses can cause some flu-like symptoms in the patient who receives them, and on rare occasions, they can be transmitted to other people who are in close contact with the vaccine recipient. One reason some people refuse to take the flu vaccine each year is out of a belief that the vaccine itself will give them the flu. Because the shot is made with inactive viruses, it really cannot give someone an active case of flu, according to the CDC. But that doesn’t mean people will not develop any reaction to the vaccine. Some people report some

side effects, such as soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site, a low grade fever, or general body achiness. If so, it may be an indication that your body is developing its own antibodies to help you fight off a more severe case of flu later on. You will hear people say that they took the flu shot before and got the flu anyway. It is important to understand that sometimes the experts’ guesses were not completely accurate, and a different virus actually developed faster than anticipated. You also might have been exposed to a virus not common to your area previously. This will be more likely if you have recently moved to a new community, or either you, a family member, or a co-worker has been traveling recently. While the flu vaccine is highly recommended, there are a limited number of people who probably should not take the shot. Among these exceptions are those who have an allergy to chicken eggs, who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination previously, or who have a history of getting Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of taking an influenza vaccine. For these individuals, a decision about whether or not to get the annual vaccine should be made in consultation with their personal physicians. If you have a moderate-tosevere illness which involves a fever, you should wait until you are fully recovered before getting the vaccines. Children under the age of 6 months also should not get the vaccine. The main reason that people over 65 are not in the priority group for the first supply of the N1H1 vaccine is that they generally will not be in See FLU, Page 5


FORT BEND INDEPENDENT • NOVEMBER 4, 2009 • Page 5

Community news

Jammin For Jim Fundraiser

Retired educators donate books to SMSD

Pictured from left to right are Diane Flint, owner of the Fort Bend Book Company, Rebecca Benedict, Principal of Stafford High School, District Librarian, Jacqueline Mamou and Dianne McDonald, Vice President of the Fort Bend/Harris Retired Educators Association.

The Diviners

Youth of the Month

Sunday November 15th Jog for Jim 1 PM to 3 PM at Eldridge Park in Sugar Land

Members of the Fort Bend/Harris Retired Educator’s Association delivered 441 new books to the Stafford Municipal School District on Wednesday, Oct. 28. The books were donated to the retired educator’s organization by Diane Flint, owner of the Fort Bend Book Company. Flint made the book donation to the retired educators for their Children’s Book Project. The Children’s Book Project is a statewide service project carried out by local units of the Texas Retired Teachers Association. Fort Bend/Harris Retired Educators, Dianne McDonald and Peggy Norman as well as Diane Flint presented the books to the Stafford MSD. District Librarian, Jacqueline Mamou received the books on behalf of the school district. Superintendent, H.D. Chambers and Rebecca Benedict, Stafford High School Principal were also in attendance. The books will be made available to Stafford MSD elementary, middle school and high school students through the District Library. For more information on the retired educators association visit www.trta.org.

Citizen of the Month

The HCC Southwest College Fine Arts Department will present The Diviners written by Jim Leonard Jr. Nov. 11 through Nov. 15. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m. in the Annex Theatre, 13645 Murphy Road, Suite 250, in Stafford. The Diviners, directed by John Corley, set during the depression-era when water and food were a shortage, tells the story of an ex preacher and a mentally challenged boy who has a special gift of divining. For Heather Yeung was honmore information call 713ored Oct. 28 by The Exchange Collins Oquejiofor was 718-6370. Club of Sugar Land as Citihonored Oct. 14 by The Exzen of the Month. Heather, change Club of Sugar Land as an outstanding eighth grade Youth of the Month. Collins student at First Colony MS, is is a member of the National a member of the National JuHonor Society, the National From Page 4 nior Honor Society. She is althe kind of crowded envi- Technology Honor Society, ready taking high school credit ronments typical of schools English Honor Society, Mediand colleges. An interesting cal Professionals of America courses in Algebra and Spanthought is that people who re- and the Student Council. He ish. Heather is a nationally ceived the ‘swine flu’ vaccine plays football and runs track ranked USA swimmer and has in 1976, or who had a case for Kempner HS. In his spare plans to become a veterinarian of the flu during that episode time he plays guitar and saxo- some day. The Exchange Club may have some residual im- phone. He also volunteers at of Sugar Land meets every Wednesday morning at 7 at the munity. This thought has not the local animal shelter. —Photo by Ed Lee Sweetwater Country Club. been investigated by the CDC —Photo by Larry Pullen yet, but they are considering looking into it at the conclusion of this season. From a community health perspective, it is very imporA new program initiated by local dentists provides a sweet way to tant to make sure most of us redistribute Halloween candy and reap rewards as well. do get our “regular” annual “Cash for Candy” was started by Cashion & Cody Dentistry to help flu vaccination and, if approHalloween revelers relieve the household of candy overload through a priate, the H1N1 vaccination. buy-back program that offers rewards for the candy and sweetens the Unless you have a good readeal with a donation to our troops serving overseas. son not to, you really should Throughout this week, Cashion & Cody will give $1 a pound for up be certain you and your famto fi ve pounds of candy along with a light-up toothbrush to every indiily members are vaccinated vidual who participates. The candy collected, along with a generous this year. supply of toothbrushes and toothpaste, will be sent overseas to share Dr. Thomas Parr, an orthowith American troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. pedic surgeon in Sugar Land, “We think this is such a win-win program,” said Teresa Cody, DDS. can be reached at 281-491“It is a terrifi c way for children to share their Halloween bounty, be 7111. Dr. Parr and his wife, rewarded for their generosity and show support for our soldiers as Joannie, have been a team for well. I know the community will respond and help us send our troops well over 40 years and she a sweet message of appreciation.” To participate, bring the candy durhas contributed to this article. ing business hours to Cashion & Cody Dentistry, 1111 Highway 6, Visit www.tomparrmd.net for Suite 185 in the Imperial Medical Building. For more information more information. call 281-242-0241.

B-B-Q and Auction 5 PM to 8 PM at Knights of Columbus Hall in Sugar Land

Jim Hardzog, a Realtor at Keller Williams Realty, Sugar Land, has been diagnosed with a stage four brain tumor. Jim and his family need your help to defray medical expenses. For sponsorship and donations please contact: Patsy Stikeleather at (281) 844-1776 or Mike Wong at 713-935-5800 or email JamminForJim@gmail.com Visit www.JamminForJim.com for details.

Public hearing on new school zones set for Nov. 11 and 12 Fort Bend ISD will host two public hearings on zoning —one on Nov. 11 and one on Nov. 12 regarding the attendance zone adjustments for High School #11 and Elementary #45. Nov. 11 Zoning Hearing Attendance Zones for High School #11 and Elementary #45 Location: Hightower High School cafeteria, 3333 Hurricane Lane, Missouri

City, 7 p.m. Nov. 12 Zoning Hearing Attendance Zones for High School #11 and Elementary #45 Location: Jan Schiff Elementary School cafeteria, 7400 Discovery Lane, Missouri City,7 p.m. The proposed zoning for the new high school will impact students currently zoned to Elkins and Hightower high schools. The new high school will

eventually get students from Jan Schiff, Sienna Crossing and Scanlan Oaks and No. 45 elementary schools and Baines Middle School, who are now South of Highway 6 and zoned to Elkins and Hightower. For submitting your opinion on the proposed zoning plans, visit http://www.fortbend.k12.tx.us/about/zoning. cfm

Flu

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Dentists offer cash for Halloween Candy

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Sponsorship Opportunities

presents

North Pole - $10,000 Presented by status

tival o s e f Tr e e s F “Unwrap the Magic” Benefiting Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels Friday, November 20, 2009 s 7:00-11:30 pm Safari Texas Ranch s 11627 FM 1464, Richmond Honoring:

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are looking for a career opportunity in a Fortune 100 company, want the potential of an unlimited income stream and excellent benefit package: Join my team to make a difference in people’s lives by helping with their personal insurance and financial goals for their retirement, education, long term care and estate conservation needs.

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O St. Nick - $5,000 O Rudolph - $2,500 O Dasher - $1,500

Call or Send your resume to: Ramesh Cherivirala, Ph.D., LUTCF, CLTC Partner, Houston General Office © New York Life Insurance Company 13135 Dairy Ashford # 550, Sugar Land, TX 77478

Bus: 281-295-2726 • Cell: 713-875-4336 rcherivirala@ft.newyorklife.com

*Standard & Poor’s (AAA), A. M. Best (A++), Moody’s (Aaa) and Fitch (AAA) for financial strength. Source: Individual Third Party Ratings Reports (as of 9/4/08).

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Full Page ad in event program Name prominently displayed at event Name mentioned from podium during event

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Dancer - $1,000 One reserved table for 10 (Adults or Adults and Children) Name prominently displayed at event Name mentioned in event program

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O Holiday Family Pack $150 x ____ = $______ O Family Tickets $90 x ____ = $______ O Adult Tickets $50 x ____ = $______ O Child Tickets $25 x ____ = $______ O I/We cannot attend, but would like to make a donation in the amount of $_________

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LD O S

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Prancer - $500 One reserved table for 10 (Adults or Adults and Children) Elf - $200 One Booth in either Mrs. Claus’ Gift Boutique Two Adult Tickets

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1330 Band Road; P.O. Box 1488 • Rosenberg, Texas 77471 • 281-633-7057 • 281-633-7050 fax • www.fortbendseniors.org


Page 6 • NOVEMBER 4, 2009 • FORT BEND INDEPENDENT

Community Calendar Fort Bend ABWA Meeting

Guests are welcome to the next Fort Bend American Business Women’s Association Dinner Meeting to be held on Thursday, Nov. 5, 6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at Sugar Creek Country Club. Shelley Nadel, CLTC, will speak on LongTerm Care Planning. R.S.V.P. Hotline 281-319-9995. Visit www.abwafortbend.org.

Boathouse grand opening The Greater Houston Rowing Club, in partnership with Planned Community Developers and the First Colony Community Association, will celebrate the grand opening of its new boathouse on Nov. 7 in Lake Pointe Town Center, at 10 a.m. along Oyster Creek at 15910 Creekbend Drive near the dam. For more information visit GreaterHoustonRowingClub.com.

Citywide Garage Sale

Woman’s Club of Missouri City plans fall fundraiser Fort Bend Theatre’s The Woman’s Club of Misannual awards and souri City will kick off its new season by planning a fall celebrity gala fundraiser.

Arise! Cry Out! Sat., Nov. 14

Moms In Touch International is hosting Arise! Cry Out!, a worldwide day of extraordinary prayer for children and schools on Saturday, Nov. 14. In the Sugar Land area, moms of all denominations will gather at Williams Trace Baptist at 16755 Southwest Freeway from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Check out www.MomsInTouch.org to register (go to Sugar Land when choosing your host site), or contact Mary Kaye Schulte, 281-2656306, marykschulte@earthlink.net. Registration is preferred, but everyone is welcome at the door. Donations are optional.

Convoy of hope

Daughters of American Revolution

Mazal Hadassah

Make plans now for Friday, Nov. 13, from 6:30 – 10 p.m. as Fort Bend Theatre presents its Annual Awards Gala and Silent Auction starring local celebrities to be held at Safari Texas Ranch. Along with great food, live music, song, and dance, there will be a celebrity musical spoof entitled The Wizard of Aaahs, featuring performances from Chloe Dao, Season 2 Project Runway Winner, Doug Johnson of Channel 2, Michele Fisher of 96.5 FM, Dave Wallace, former mayor of Sugar Land, Louis Garvin the president of the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce and even more surprise guests to be confirmed. Celebrity tables are $1000 and Premium tables are $750 and are available on a first come basis by calling Fort Bend Theatre at 281-2083333. Individual tickets for this exciting fundraiser are $75 for adults and $25 for children 11 and under, and are available on our website www. fortbendtheate.com.

Auditions

Fort Bend Theatre will hold auditions for Princess Christmas to be performed Dec. 5 – 20 playing Saturday & Sunday at 3 p.m. and the 21st at 10 a.m. Auditions are open to children (8+), teens and adults. Newcomers and beginners are always welcome. Bring a head-shot or picture to the audition. For more information, visit www.fortbendtheatre. com or call 281-208-3333.

Bargain Book Sale Friends of First Colony Branch Library, 2121 Austin Parkway at Grants Lake, Sugar Land, will hold their monthly bargain book sale Sat. Dec. 5, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.. GOOD CONDITION ONLY books, CD’s, DVD’s (no magazines or encyclopedias) may be donated during regular library hours and are tax deductible. Children’s items are especially needed. 281-416-0936.

Art walk in Town Square Sugar Land Area Artists are sponsoring an Art Walk on Town Square beginning Nov. 7 and ending Nov. 14. The art walk event will exhibit prize winning paintings by local artists from elementary school through professional artists. Town Square Management will open two locations on Town Square for this event for eight days. Art lovers are encouraged to walk through each location. The exhibit will open, Saturday, Nov. 7 at 2:30 p.m. for the public. Most of the art will be available for purchase. The public will be invited to vote for their “People’s Choice” award. That winner will be announced at the end of the exhibit on Nov. 14. For more information regarding the exhibit contact publicity chairman, Sylvia Morgan, at slsgmorgan2@hotmail.com.

Missouri City’s Sixth Annual Community Wide Garage Sale is taking place on Sat., Nov. 7, at the City Hall Complex, 1522 Texas Parkway. About 100 booths will be stocked with all types of items for the bargain-hunting crowd. The sale will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. No entrance fee is required. For more information, call 281-403-8500 or visit www.missouricitytx.gov.

The Fort Bend Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will meet on Wednesday, Nov. 11, at 10 a.m. in Wesley Hall of the Sugar Land United Methodist Church on Eldridge Road. The speaker will be Nancy Brandli who will speak on “The Lost Presidents.” All members and Red Cross training prospective members are inclasses vited to attend. Call Kyleen Join the American Red at 281 499-3007 for further Cross in teaching life saving details. skills by becoming a First Aid/CPR Instructor. Attend Fundamentals of InstrucMazal Hadassah Group will tor Training, Nov. 10 from meet at Chabad of Sugar Land, 9 a.m. -1 p.m. and the Lay 873 Dulles Ave., #B, Stafford Responder First Aid/CPR/ on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. AED instructor class, Nov. 11 Featured speaker is Chaya and 12 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Feigenson, “The Feminine Pre-registration is required at Side of Hanukkah: The Role www.houstonredcross.org or of Women in the Miracle and contact Monica at 281-342Celebration of Hanukkah.” 9480. Cooking demo; $5 cover at the door. RSVP a must to Mindy, 281-242-4454. Hadassah supports health care and medical research throughout the world.

The event which will offer dinner, tasting a favorite wine and mini auction will be held at Quail Valley Country Club Grille on Saturday, Nov.14, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 per person with proceeds going to scholarships and ongoing charity support. Those receiving scholarships in 2009, all from Elkins High School, were Timothy Lai, Mariah Turner, Ryan Russell and Lewis Gray. You can get an early start on your holiday shopping at the event’s mini auction by choosing your favorite wine basket. The Woman’s Club of Missouri City is the oldest service organization in Fort Bend County. This event will support the WCMC Legacy Scholarship Funds educational needs within our city and other Fort Bend County charities. The club has been providing community service since 1956. For tickets or more information, contact Helen Curd @ 281-437-8996 or e mail 2curd@sbcglobal.net.

Taste of Sugar Land

“Taste of Sugar Land®” committee member, Angelo Verdino, presents a certificate of appreciation to Steve Onstead, owner of the “Swinging Door” restaurant in Richmond, for his continuing participation in the “Taste of Sugar Land”®. You are invited now to mark your calendars for the 7th annual “Taste” Sunday, Nov. 15, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (auction and art preview with appetizers begins at 4 p.m. in the lobby). This year’s premier culinary event is again scheduled in the ballroom and adjacent lobbies of the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square. Tickets are $25 and entitle attendees to sample delights from the 20+ fine area restaurants. There will be continuous entertainment, live and silent auctions, mystery bags, bidboard items, and more. Get your tickets at www.tasteofsugarland.com, or by calling First Presbyterian Church of Sugar Land at 281-240-3195. The East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry (Food pantry), and the Fort Bend Family Promise are the beneficiaries of the event.

Bow wow bash The Sugar Land Animal Shelter’s Open House, Bow Wow Bash, on Nov. 7 will include a Walk of Heroes saluting community members for providing dogs and cats a second chance at “forever homes.” The open house -- scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the shelter, 101 Gillingham Lane -- is being held during National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. “In addition to honoring community members for their commitment to adopt one of our homeless animals, we plan to unveil the name of our new shelter mascot,” said Animal Services Manager Kathryn Ketchum. “There will be lots of fun things to do, including demonstrations by Pawsitive Impact Dog Agility and Happy Hounds Canine Freestyle Dance.” Other planned activities include: ● tours of the shelter; ● animal adoptions throughout the day; and ● “Ask the Trainer” and dog training demos. For more information about the event, please contact Animal Services at 281-275-A-DOG.

Star your Thanksgiving preparations at the library From cooking the turkey to decorating the table, Fort Bend County Libraries can help you plan a memorable family affair with an assortment of Thanksgiving-related books on holiday traditions, foods, decorations, and more. The library has a variety of resources for the holiday season, from history, symbols, and tradition, to crafts, decorations, and favorite children’s stories. For the beginning holiday planner, Rick Rodgers’ Thanksgiving 101: Celebrate America’s Favorite Holiday with America’s Thanksgiving Expert offers a variety of tips for planning a memorable family gathering. The Thanksgiving Book, by Jerome Agel, and Thanksgiving: Why We Celebrate It the Way We Do, by Martin and Kate Hintz, provide a treasury of folklore and tales of the origin of the holiday. The history of the Thanksgiving holiday has been a turbulent one, not settling into the holiday as we know it today until the 20th century. Books such as The Mayflower Compact, by Judith Lloyd Yero; Squanto and the First Thanksgiving, by Joyce Kessel; and Thanksgiving on Plymouth Plantation, by Diane Stanley, offer insight into the early days of the holiday. Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving, by Laurie Halse Anderson, tells the story of Sarah Joseph Hale, a magazine editor who doggedly wrote letters and editorials for four decades, in an effort to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. Edna Barth’s Turkeys, Pilgrims, and Indian Corn: The Story of the Thanksgiving Symbols may provide some insight on the traditions of turkeys, cornucopias, and pilgrims’ hats . Thanksgiving in the White House, by Gary Hines, tells a story of the official presidential pardon of the White House turkey, begun by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. The famous football game between Texas A&M University and the University of Texas has become a regular tradition for many Texans, as evidenced in W.K. Stratton’s Backyard Brawl: Inside the Blood Feud Between Texas and Texas A&M, available in book or audio-cassette. Creative cooks may want to add a touch of history and tradition to their table after reading Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving Recipes and History, From Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie, by Kathleen Curtin. For ideas on how to create new customs, try The Thanksgiving Table: Recipes and Ideas to Create Your Own Holiday Tradition, by Diane Morgan. For a more relaxing meal, try A Southern Thanksgiving: Recipes and Musings for a Manageable Feast, by Robb Dew. Numerous children’s books are available with a variety of Thanksgiving themes. ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving is a popular book by Dav Pilkey, but who can forget the video tradition of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, based on Charles Schulz’s Peanuts cartoons? Jean Eick suggests a number of fun activities in Thanksgiving Day Crafts, and Ronne Randall offers other ideas in Thanksgiving Fun: Great Things to Make and Do. For more information, call the library at 281-341-2677.

Local businesses, churches, and community agencies will unite to bring food and hope to as many as 5,000 children and adults in Fort Bend County. Fort Bend Convoy of Hope is partnering with numerous businesses, churches, and community agencies who have donated time and resources to host this community outreach event. This all-volunteer outreach will include over 700 community volunteers of all ages who will be on hand to unload over 40,000 pounds of food from the Convoy of Hope truck, distribute food, and facilitate all outreach programs on Saturday, Nov. 21, at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds located on Highway 36 in Rosenberg. The site will open at 10 a.m. and continue rain or shine until all of the food has been distributed. Specifically, the carnivallike event will include distribution of 40,000 pounds of food to provide meals to feed thousands of people and will begin with free refreshments, live entertainment, children’s carnival area, medical services including free immunizations, social services, job fair, family portraits, haircuts and more.

Become a Dental Assistant! 10 Week Course

Starting Soon Saturdays Only (281) 794-7944 www.Become-A-DA.com C. Mark Mann School of Dental Assisting Career Certified by: The Texas Workforce Commission Schools and Colleges

Legal Notices LEGAL NOTICE REQUESTS FOR STATEMENTS OF QUALIFICATIONS Sealed Qualification Statements 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, NOVEMBER 12, 2009 AT 1:30 P.M. (CST). Q10-030 – ENERGY EFFICIENCY CONSULTANT Fort Bend County reserves the right to reject any or all qualification statements received. Signed: Gilbert D. Jalomo, Jr., Purchasing Agent Fort Bend County, Richmond, Texas PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE The Commissioners Court of Fort Bend County, Texas has set a public hearing at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 24, 2009 for Okene Court Subdivision being a replat of Reserve “C” Mission West, Section 3, Pct. 3. The hearing will be held in the Commissioners Courtroom, William B. Travis Bldg., 309 S. Fourth St., Rm. 700, Richmond, Texas. Under state law, you the owner, have certain rights with respect to the proposed replat. Should you wish to exercise your right, you may be heard at the planned public hearing. You may contact Chris Brenner with South Texas Surveying Assoc. Inc. at 281-556-6918 for information prior to the hearing. Submitted by, Dianne Wilson Fort Bend County Clerk

FORT BEND COUNTY COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT FY 2008 CONSOLIDATED ANNUAL PERFORMANCE AND EVALUATION REPORT (CAPER) Fort Bend County’s FY 2008 Draft Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER) is now available for public review and comment from Friday, November 6, 2009 to Friday, November 20, 2009. The document is available for review at the office of the Fort Bend County Community Development Department at 4520 Reading Road, Suite A, Rosenberg, Texas, 77471. The public is encouraged to review this document and submit written comments to Marilynn Kindell, Community Development Director, at 4520 Reading Road, Suite A, Rosenberg, Texas, 77471 by 5:00 p.m. on Friday,

November 20, 2009. A public meeting to receive comments will be held on Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 5:00 p.m. at the Rosenberg Annex, 4520 Reading Road, Suite A, Training Room, Rosenberg, Texas. Comments will be incorporated into the final document, as appropriate, prior to submission to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for review and approval. For information, please contact the Fort Bend County Community Development Department 4520 Reading Road, Suite A, Rosenberg, Texas, 77471, (281) 341-

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NOVEMBER 4, 2009 • FORT BEND INDEPENDENT • Page 7

Film Review : This Is It Mick Jagger will watch this film to pick up some tips on how to put on a show and compare his production to Michael Jackson’s. I’m not dissing Mick; I’ve been to two of Mick’s concerts and they are spectacular, but I’m just saying that MJ’s stage production of his would-have-been world tour is unique, innovative, and entertaining. The biggest winner will be Director Kenny Ortega who not only directed this movie but also was the co-creator with Jackson in the making of the stage production. And you might say Ortega was the co-star of this film because other than Michael, he is the only one who appears in enough scenes to develop a memorable impression of his persona. Ortega directed all three of the “High School Musical” movies and is also known for his opening ceremony of the 2002 Winter Olympics and has a history of working with Jackson. The audience sees the collaboration between Ortega and Jackson and while there is no doubt that the King of Pop is in charge, MJ clearly listens to the direction of Ortega and trusts his judgment. The opening credits ex-

plain that what the audience is about to see is footage shot for the benefit of Michael Jackson’s personal film library with no reference ever to his death or any sordid details. Some of the camera angles are from below the

stage shooting up or over the shoulder of a creative discussion or while one of the dancers is pouring their heart out about the privilege of dancing and performing with their childhood idle. There are no actors; every-

one plays themselves. This is truly a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the massive production and preparation of the “This Is It” tour that was to begin shortly in London. Most of the songs and performances were near the end of final rehearsals but the audience is also treated to the impromptu discussions and starts and stops that are inherent in crafting the nuances of a big-time show. There are no scenes at Jackson’s home or his life outside of the Staples Center where these rehearsals were taking place. I repeat: there is no reference to his death or any controversy in his life; just a straight-forward display of the talent and music of the man. And it is impressive. I liked “Thriller” as much as the next guy but I was in awe of the music, creativity, and dedication of what obviously would have been a legendary tour. Ortega has done him proud. Footnote: there is no humor or attempt to solicit laughter which is odd even for a picture about the recently deceased Michael Jackson. When you see this film, note the “costumes” of Jackson compared to the casual dress of the backup dancers, musicians, and Or-

Automobile: Chevy Equinox By BARBARA FULENWIDER The Chevrolet Equinox is a compact crossover designed to fit all lifestyles. For 2010 it blends new design with efficiency thanks to a new 2.4-liter direct injection engine that delivers an estimated 32 miles to the gallon for a 33 percent improvement over the previous model. The new standard Ecotec engine also makes 182 horsepower and 233 torque at 4900 rpm. For Equinox owners who want more power, Chevy offers a 3.0-liter DOHC direct injected V6 engine that makes 264 horsepower and 197 torque at 6950 rpm. This engine gets an estimated 25 mpg on the highway and 17 mpg in the city. Highlights of the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox are all models now have a sixspeed automatic transmission; there are six standard air bags: dual front air bags, head curtain side air bags and pelvic/thorax seatmounted side air bags; standard four-wheel disc brakes with StabiliTrak electronic stability control and traction control. OnStar and XM Satellite Radio with complimentary service intervals are standard equipment along with remote starting, which also activates the HVAC system and optional heated seats, depending on the outside temperature. The new 2010 Equinox gets its exterior design from

the Chevrolet Malibu sedan and Traverse crossover with more attention to detail and unexpected features. The Equinox comes in three trim levels: LS, LT and LTZ, and all are available with all-wheel drive. This year the Equinox has a two-tier grille and prominent gold bowtie insignia up front, stronger fender shapes, a distinctive roofline, wraparound headlights and dual round tailamps. Additional design features include a multi-dimensional hood, wraparound rear side glass and wheels at the corners. There’s also improved aerodynamic performance, which included moving the base of the windshield forward some three inches for a sleeker profile. The ease of entry and exit were also improved by integrating the rocker panels into the doors to narrow the area over which a passenger must step.

Chrome trim and flush fitting exposed edge windshield and rear glass reinforce Equinox’s quality and reduce wind noise. The 2010 Chevrolet Equinox rides on the same wheelbase but is about an inch shorter and an inch wider and has a wider front track for an improved ride and handling. Inside, the Equinox has a number of storage bins and one beneath the armrest that’s large enough to conceal a laptop. The front seat travels 10 inches fore and aft and standard equipment on the Chevy Equinox includes a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power-adjustable seat and a rear seat that travels almost eight inches fore and aft to provide the best rear legroom in its class. The 60/40 split back rear seat, when moved forward, provides 31.4 cubic feet of cargo area.

tega; MJ is wearing an outfit that would qualify as a costume at all times. If you are a Michael Jackson fan, this movie will make you weep. If you are a lover of music and talent this movie will make you sit up and take notice. And if you never liked Wacko Jacko, stay at home. This documentary of the final days of “Man in the Mirror” “Beat It” and “Billie Jean” is a classic. Rock ‘n Roll. Grade 90. Larry H. Email to sugarlaw@ larryharrison.com

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Options on the Equinox include a touch-screen navigation system with such additional features as Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, USB audio connectivity, a DVD based rear-seat entertainment system with two independent screens to enable DVD viewing on one and gaming on the other; internal memory/hard drive on uplevel radios; programmable power-operated rear liftgate; rear-vision camera system with display in the review mirror or in the navigation screen, and a range of premium-feature audio systems with up to eight speakers and 250 watts of sound. Depending on the model, the Equinox rides on 17, 18 or 19-inch alloy wheels. The four-door, front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive Equinox seats five passengers and competes with the Ford Escape, Jeep Liberty, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe and Toyota RAV 4 for buyers. The Chevrolet Equinox retails for $25,110 and with options totaled $25,925. This great city sized vehicle provides the functionality of a crossover with the fuel economy of a sedan and raises the bar with several exclusives for its segment. Those exclusives include features usually seen on luxury vehicles: programmable power liftgate, rear vision camera and the quietest ride.

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Page 8 • FORT BEND INDEPENDENT • NOVEMBER 4, 2009

Community news International Festival of Fort Bend celebrates cultures

Among the performances at the annual International Festival of Fort Bend was a Hawaiian Ka PA Hula ‘Umoumou. Collecting the river rocks for a graceful interpretive performance in native dress is this talented dancer, who demonstrated the percussion sound of the rocks. The third annual International Festival of Fort Bend resounded with the sights and sounds of the county’s multicultural population. Crowds filled the Stafford Centre Oct. 17, to honor Fort Bend’s multi-ethnic communities with music, dance, food and art. Sponsors included the cities of Stafford, Missouri City and Sugar Land with numerous local businesses and organizations also supporting the

cultural festival. “We brought together more than 31 countries and their native cultures, featuring a parade of nations, bridal and fashion shows and the performances of so many talented volunteers,” said 2009 IFFB President Nazy Khadivian. The parade of nations kicking off the International Festival of Fort Bend included several from Africa among more than 31 countries represented

at the event. Above, flanking two stylish participants are 2009 IFFB President Nazy Khadivian (left) and Missouri City Councilmembers Cynthia Gary and Bobby Marshall (right). In the spirit of the celebration of cultural diversity, Gary donned a classic Chinese onepiece silk dress with elegant embroidery. The cities of Stafford, Mis-

souri City and Sugar Land were among the sponsors of the highly attended festival. Right, top, participants display the German cultural dance. Right, Three girls who performed an Indian dance. The event’s performance schedule included more than 50 acts that started with Rhythm India.

Scary fun filled with tricks and treats

More than 3,000 ghouls and goblins, along with other costumed characters, enjoyed an evening of fun and fright at Missouri City’s third Annual “Boo in the Run” on Oct. 24 at Buffalo Run Park. Adults and children alike delighted in the free candy trail, complete with spooky decorations and some frightening figures handing out goodies! For more “Boo in the Run” photos, visit www.missouricitytx.gov.

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As women’s healthcare providers, Janine Sherman, left, and Mary Jo Rapini find that teen girls experience greater success in the difficult adolescent years when open communication exists with their mothers. As a result, they co-authored “Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom about Health, Sex, or Whatever.” Together they will serve as keynote speakers for the 2nd annual Care 2 Chat about Teen Health on Saturday, Nov. 14th at the University of Houston Sugar Land campus from 9 a.m. to noon. Hosted by Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital, Care 2 Chat is a free, half-day health symposium featuring information, inspiration and insights for girls – ages 11-18 – and their mothers or other key women in their lives. Short, informational talks about teen health issues will alternate with inspirational messages. Door prizes include a COACH poppy purse, First Colony Mall gift cards and much, much more! A copy of the book, “Start Talking” will be provided to each household attending. Event is free, registration is required. Call 713-222-CARE (2273) to reserve your space.


Fort Bend Independent