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October 2012

“Dee Koch

is a flat-out inspiration. She’s the kind of classic we’re lucky to have here in Fort Bend!” ~ Don Kerstetter, Classic Chevrolet Sugar Land


Looking The journey that you take in life is all about the people.


orn in Austin, Dee Koch and her family lived in Corpus Christi until she was sixteen. She says, “Volunteering was my outlet, a way for me to get to know all kinds of people. We didn’t have money for traveling, but volunteering gave me a window into different worlds. The George Foundation’s Youth in Philanthropy program offers Fort Bend kids that same opportunity to make a difference...and we’re always looking for adult community volunteers to mentor the students.. As the George Foundation’s Grant Officer, I have the privilege of getting to know some of the most incredible organizations and individuals in Fort Bend!”“One of the biggest influences on

my life was my (step)dad. He married my mom and took my two sisters and I into his home and he worked hard to make sure we had everything we needed. From him I learned the importance of working hard (my kids would say too hard!) for others. I can’t give much money, so I give my time. I may work late night at the Foundation or on the weekends to make up for any time I spend out in the community. If I go to a social event, I buy a ticket...

the Foundation doesn’t cover my social engagements.” “I love all our agencies and always have an eye on moving them up to the next level. Some people think I’m firm, but I believe in laying all your cards on the table so we can work together and get things done! If I think there’s a problem or I disagree, it’s not personal, but I’ll tell you right away. Lies lay on your heart. Once in high school a few of us cut school and went to Padre Island. By the time we got home, my mom already knew! Shortly afterwards my family moved to San Antonio for my health.” “After high school I went to what was then San Antonio Junior College and then became an airline stewardess for a year and a half. That was so exciting, because I’d never even been out of Texas before! Volunteering had been my only peek into the way other people lived. Once I got married, I attended some classes at Texas A&M then moved to Houston. When my son was six-months-old, we moved to Alief. I fell in love with this area! Two years 2 ~ upclose ~ october 2012

g Back

later my daughter was born and when she was five and my son was seven we moved to Quail Valley in Missouri City. Just a year later we moved to Saudi Arabia for six years. Not only was it a really enriching experience for the kids, but I made friends with whom I’m still in touch. I will say that living abroad gave me a renewed appreciation for all the privileges we enjoy and how many blessings we have here in the United States. Today my son, his wife, and three kids live in Prague and my daughter is a Regional Director of Habitat for Humanity in Bangkok (and she’ll be moving to Vietnam soon).” “Back when we moved to Houston, our daughter was born two months early. Once we were home, I felt so blessed to “Do all the good you can. By all the means you have two healthy children that I wanted to help others. We can. In all the ways you can. In all the places didn’t have a lot of disposable income, but I hired a sitter once a week so I could go to the Richmond State School you can. At all the times you can. To all the and rock babies. I got more involved in the kids’ school, our people you can. As long as ever you can.” church, and a ladies group. When I was ready to go back ~John Wesley into the workforce, the Fort Bend Chamber asked me to come on board. For a volunteer junkie like me, that was a wonderful way to hear about local organizations. The George Foundation also offers a Leadership Excellence for NonProfits program to help bring nonprofits to the next level.” “When Don Kerstetter called me, I could tell that philanthropy is something he believes in from the top of his head to the sole of his feet. Like me, he believes that contributing to nonprofits is contributing to economic development. Pulling up those with less makes life better for everyone. Every dollar and every hour you can spare makes a real difference! Whether moms swap babysitting to make time for volunteering or you find opportunities for your family to help out together, there’s so much to be done! Local businesses like Classic Chevy have really lead the way and showed how big a heart this community has!” “The journey that you take in life is all about the people. One of the best parts of what I do is getting to know the people who are really in the trenches at these organizations, working hard to make a difference for others. I’m in awe of the amazing work they do. We’re fortunate in Fort Bend to have the George Foundation available. I visit non-profits and make recommendations and then the trustees decide where to send the money. One of my favorites is Casa de Esperanza. They take kids who literally have no place else to go and keep them as long as needed. One child was brought in as a three-year-old and went on to graduate from Rice.” “Looking back I feel like everything in my life has led me to where I am today. I would say, based on my experience, all it takes to make a difference in the world is hard work and a willing spirit!” Since its debut in 1953, The George Foundation 281-342-6109

the Corvette,

like Dee Koch, stays sporty, stylish, and sensational year after year. What makes a Classic? Performance under pressure, reliability, and spirit!

281-491-9000 O 13115 Southwest Freeway, Sugar Land, TX 77478

upclose ~ October 2012 ~ 3


What are the options to treat varicose veins if I want to preserve my Greater Saphenous veins?

Sarah Warburton

Several options are available. Non-invasive alternatives include: wearing compression stockings, weight loss, leg elevation and water aerobics. Invasive alternatives would be local varicose veins removal or disconnection of the superficial vein at the groin.


Why do I need my superficial veins or Greater Saphenous veins?

These veins are an alternate route for the blood to return from the legs to the heart. The Greater Saphenous veins are easy to remove with minimum side effects and can be used to do heart bypasses or to replace other faulty or blocked arteries in our body.


Are only normal veins used to replace blocked arteries or can varicose veins be used as well?

Normal vein are ideal. However, not all faulty veins develop varicose veins; as a matter of fact not all incompetent veins become enlarged. When the inner diameter of the veins is less than 5 mm, we try to avoid destroying them with laser, radiofrequency or chemicals since they are still useful to replace heart vessels that might be blocked. A good assessment of the symptoms (pain, heaviness, aching, skin ulcers, etc.) is important to determine if closing that incompetent vein will yield any real benefits.


If you have questions about your veins, why not go right to the expert? Vascular Surgeon Dr. Ulises Baltazar, MD has been

What is the easiest way to assess vein function?

Venous duplex ultrasound is a painless and virtually harmless way to assess venous function, measure diameters and identify side branches. It is done in-office. Registered Vascular Technologists (RVT) are the personnel qualified to complete the ultrasound.

board-certified by the American Board of Surgery in General Surgery with special certification in Vascular Surgery for over a decade. He loves everything

*Data from: The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and The Journal of Vascular Technology.

about your veins..and he’s here to answer your questions!

Ulises Baltazar MD,RVT,FACS ~ Sugar Land Vein Specialists 281-240-8400 16605 Southwest Freeway Ste 505 (in the Methodist Professional Building 3)

Body by Ahmadi

Quiet Confidence “I

really value my relationship with my patients,” says LaDonna Marie of the Art of Skin. “There’s absolutely no other surgeon I trust the way I trust Dr. Ahmadi. In fact, I’ve been a licensed aesthetician for over fifteen years and nowhere in Europe or the United States have I seen anyone who comes close to the standards Dr. Ahmadi sets. He combines intense thought and intelligence with warmth and caring.”

He believes that every tiny part of your procedure matters in the final result and he just won’t settle for anything less than the best.

tion for a curvy figure...with straightforward, allinclusive pricing. When he talks to you, he makes sure you understand everything and takes the time to answer all your questions.” “When you work with someone, you really get to know them. I find Dr. Ahmadi so inspiring that I’ve also come to him personally when I had a little tummy bulge after a pregnancy. He told me he thought a change in my exercise routine would be all that was needed...and I appreciated and respected his honesty. The well-being of his patients is the only bottom line he cares about. I’ve even trusted him to work on my own daughter and he did a beautiful job.” “When you choose a plastic surgeon, you’re literally putting your life in his hands. Dr. Ahmadi is a caring perfectionist and I have complete and utter confidence in him!”

“When he first invited me to offer my services at Avante, I was cautious. I could tell you stories (but I won’t!) about plastic surgeons who rent out a surgical suite for two hours only or who delegate parts of the surgery to assistants. That’s just not the way Dr. Ahmadi does things. He is an absolute perfectionist and that comes through in everything he does. He only schedules one patient a day, so you’ll have his undivided time and attention and he is the only surgeon who will work on you. He believes that every tiny part of your procedure matters in the final result and he just won’t settle for anything less than the best. He told me that skincare was the missing link at Avante and he knew I would be the best choice for his patients. I’m learning so much from Dr. Ahmadi and I’m truly honored to be here.” “New discoveries are always coming out, so I’m continually updating my education to offer my patients the best solutions. Dr. Ahmadi is the same way and his work ethic blows me away! He’s certified by both the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery, he’s always reading the latest articles in the field, going to conferences, and striving for complete perfection. I think that’s why he developed the Lipotuck™ procedure. It combines a tummy tuck and liposuc-

Avante Plastic Surgery 281-265-2639 (BODY) 1112 Soldiers Field Dr.Sugar Land, TX 77479







Off the Chain An insider’s guide to the best Fort Bend restaurants


t’s just a fact that we’ve got some of the “best of Houston” right here in Fort Bend... and some undiscovered treasures still waiting to delight your tastebuds! Fort Bend has world-renowned and award-winning chefs the most delicious food influenced by cultures from around the world. With so many places to dine, deciding where to take your family to dinner can be tricky. Luckily, we have plenty of fine dining choices like Aura’s (soon to have their second location in Town Center, LUCKY US!) , Keepers Japanese Sushi, Ray’s Grill, and Mom and Pop-owned places like Lupita’s Mexican Restaurant, our “Off the Chain” choice this month. What makes Lupita’s “Off the Chain?” Every time you walk through the door, Jaime, Lupe, or Rigo will be there to greet you! With a Fort Bend family-owned restaurant, your money stays local while your mouth stays happy! Our new “Off The Chain” section will feature some of the best food in Fort Bend... but we need your help! What is your favorite “Off The Chain” restaurant? Visit us at, click on the Off the Chain button and tell us why your favorite place is Off the Chain. Your review may be featured in the next issue of UpClose Magazine! What makes a good meal...high-quality ingredients, flavor, or authenticity? Lupita’s Mexican Restaurant has all of that and more! Jaime & Lupe Garcia use recipes handed down for generations and grind their own spices for amazing authentic mexican flavor. The biggest secret—besides family recipes—is fresh ingredients and making the food onsite. You can take your familia to Lupita’s for a meal that’s just as good (or better!) than homemade. This Sugar Land fixture features fabulous, high-end interior Mexican cooking. The freshly made salsa’s so good you’ll eat two baskets of chips without realizing it...along with sublime, strong margaritas, the best sizzling fajitas this side of the border, is why I think Lupita’s is Off The Chain Mexican food! Stop by to say hola to Jaime, Lupe, Rigo & Leo and your taste buds will all say muchas gracias! Lupita’s Mexican Restaurant • 3121 Texas 6 Sugar Land, 281-265-6556 Cheers! Maggie Beil

On The Cover ~ Looking Back with Dee Koch Publisher ~ Gina Pizzini Editor ~ Gina Pizzini Layout and Design ~ Night Sky Creative Account Executives Sandra Mazoch Business Editor ~ Sarah Warburton Writers Sara Adams, Maggie Beil Stacey Keith, Courtney Mcllvoy Amy Sharp Photography ~ J. Thomas “Jay” Ford Magazine

is published monthly and direct mailed

to 75,000 homes. For information on having your business featured in UpClose call Gina Pizzini at 281.235.0600.


is not responsible for any claims made by its

advertisers, and the views expressed herein do not neccesarily reflect those of UPCLOSE Magazine.

All contents are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without the express written consent of the publisher.


omplaints Department


TurnedOn! Easy-Going Entertainment

Sarah Warburton ife’s hard on television and in the movies, but putting together all the components of a home theater shouldn’t be! If you want to be entertained but don’t have the time to get a complete education on electronic home theater components, Home Theater Evolutions is the place for you. Richard Machemehl and Scott Crain founded Home Theater Evolutions because they love electronics, plain and simple. Richard says,


viewing experience! In the welcoming showroom at Home Theater Evolutions, you can explore demo rooms that showcase complete home theater packages. The pricing for each package includes installation and set-up, so they’re great turn-key options. Customize your package with additional accessories like a universal remote dimmer than will bring down your lights, turn on your receiver and start your movie…even the stylish credenzas are available. From picking your package to having it installed, it’s a no-hassle experience. Just relax and enjoy watching Mindy Kaling, the Green Arrow, or the stars of “Revolution” struggle week after week after week. Are you looking forward to watching your favorite teams duke it out at World Series or heat up the NFL season? Forget the old saying, “no pain, no gain,” because dealing with Home Theater Evolutions is no sweat! Packages at three different price points each include a projector, a mount, a theater screen, 5 in-wall or in-ceiling speakers, a subwoofer, a receiver, a blue-ray player, cables, surge protectors, and a universal remote...and installation! Scott says, “We don’t believe in hidden costs or fine print, that’s why we offer free in-home estimates. If your house has any challenges, you’ll know before we draw up any paperwork. And including installation just makes sense...we want you to score a Home Theater Package, kick back and enjoy the game!” When’s the last time you paid for a sitter, drove across town, found a parking space, paid for snacks, and then watched a film in a not-so-silent movie theater? Get the full-on movie experience at home and everything–– the food, the seating, the company––will be custom-designed for and by you! For an A-list experience, take a peek into Home Theater Evolutions “Theater Room.” If you see something you like, any package can be upgraded to your specifications. Richard says, “Scott and I keep changing up our inventory and our showroom to choose electronics that offer the best experience for the best value. We love designing options that work for your home, your family, and your budget!”

“Our team has the knowledge to advise you on what products will best fit your specific needs. Come talk with us, and we’ll offer well designed solutions at a variety of price points to help you get the best quality electronics for your budget!” Whether you like shows about a zombie apocalypse or super-rich, super-stressed housewives, keep the drama on the air and out of your

Home Theater Evolutions 281-980-2300 3157 Highway 6 at Williams Trace

upclose ~ october 2012 ~ 7

Hormone Replacement Therapy… It’s not just for Women Remember when the guy in your life was always full of energy and raring to go?


hink hormone deficiency only occurs in menopausal women? Think again! Lance Campbell, Phamr.D, R.Ph says, “Testosterone is the male sex hormone, just as estrogen and progesterone are the female sex hormones. Testosterone levels gradually decrease as a man ages….and if you have a low testosterone level after age 40, you may have a higher risk of death than those with normal levels. But with the current advances in medicine, help is here! At Campbell’s Compounding Pharmacy we can prepare a customized BHRT (bioidentical hormone replacement therapy) to meet your needs right here in Sugar Land!”

the fundamentals of BHRT and how Remember when the guy in your life they will benefit your health. You can was always full of energy and raring to discuss any concerns with him and really go? Now if he’s suffering from low sex get the answers you need. Dr. Campbell drive, fatigue, irritability, depression, says, “I believe you should never swaljoint aches and pains, dry skin, osteopolow a pill blindly…rather, you should rosis and weight loss, low testosterone know exactly what you are taking and may be to blame! Dr. Campbell says, why. Balancing your hormones can liter“Men suffer from a condition called ally give you back your life. You could hypogonadism when their bodies prohave improved health, more energy and duce insufficient levels of testosterone. a better outlook, allowing you to be a Testosterone production can be affected better husband and father. I treat all my by many external factors, including illpatients as if they are my only patients… ness, medication, smoking, excessive individual attention and professional alcohol intake, lack of exercise, diet, courtesy is what we give to anyone who psychological state and diabetes. Other walks through the door!” ailments that cause the condition include testicular injury or infection, and disorders of the pituitary and Campbell’s Compounding Pharmacy hypothalamus glands.” 281-980-2555 Are these symptoms familiar “If our staff can’t make it… to you or someone you love? then you probably don’t need it!” Schedule a private or group 4760 Sweetwater Blvd. Suite 103 one hour consultation with Dr. Campbell where he will explain

Next Stop...St. Michael’s! When You Can’t Afford to Wait Courtney McIlvoy

Parker & his Uncle, Constable Troy Nehls hen Parker, a four-year-old boy, began using a baseball bat at his house, his family didn’t see an emergency room in their future. After all, boys are known for being a little bit wild- especially young boys. Playing with the bat, Parker slipped and fell, smashing his head on a bench. What started out as innocent fun in the yard quickly turned into an emergency situation. Thankfully, Parker’s uncle, Constable Troy Nehls, had the perfect solution- St. Michael’s Emergency Room. Kids don’t ever want to wait...and parents don’t want to wait when their kids are in pain! St. Michael’s is a licensed free-standing 24-hour emergency room with a limited wait time policy and a comfortable setting. Unlike traditional emergency rooms, at St. Michael’s patients don’t have to wait. “When you walk in it’s very comfortable. You are immediately approached by someone and within minutes you are seeing a physician in a private


room,” Troy says. “St. Michael’s is a fullfledged emergency room that can handle everything for adults and children!” Parker needed stitches in his head from his fall, and St. Michael’s got the job done quickly and carefully. Being a constable in the final elections for sheriff, Troy has a dangerous job. Even before his work in the police field, he was in the army. “I did twenty-one years in the US Army Reserve. The military has helped develop me into the man I am today. There’s not a more honorable thing to do.” Not only is Troy’s job risky, but with two daughters and a third on the way, family emergencies are a possibility. Parker’s fall wasn’t the only emergency that brought Troy and his family to St. Michael’s. When his daughter Jenna wasn’t feeling well, Troy says, “We brought her right over. They know how to address children. They made her feel really comfortable and she wasn’t scared. They knew what they were doing.” Dehydration can be serious, especially in the Texas heat, so another time when Troy realized he was dehydrated, he went straight to St. Michael’s for quick care. Troy says, “I can’t afford to spend time sitting around waiting for treatment. St. Michael’s is

quick and proficient in addressing any medical problem. I would recommend St. Michael’s to anyone. I can’t say enough good things about them!” Whether your emergency is big or small, St. Michael’s is there. When Dr. Shannon Orsak and his brother, Brian Orsak founded St. Michael’s, they also made a commitment to our community. “I first heard about Dr. Orsak at fundraisers and charity events,” says Troy Nehls, who was elected constable in 2004. “I really believe in supporting places that do a great job and also give back to our community. St. Michael’s supports Fort Bend!”

St. Michael’s Emergency Rooms 16062 SW Freeway (at Hwy 6) Sugar Land, TX 77479 281-980-HELP

9000 Westheimer Houston, TX 77063 713.343.0911

26226 I 45 N. Spring, TX 77386 281.419.2911

upclose ~ october 2012 ~ 9

Lasik Changed My Life!


fter I had kids,” says Chataria Dawson, “I thought I’d enjoy swimming and taking them places more if I wasn’t messing with contacts or glasses. Finally one day I was fitted with new contacts and at home one tore. Then my daughter lost my glasses and it was a big to-do. I called my optometrist, Dr. Anh Doan of Missouri City’s Vision Source, and said, “It’s time for LASIK.” “She scheduled my procedure within a week and it took less than 10 minutes! Everyone at the Mann Eye Institute spoke so highly of Dr. Doan and treated me like a celebrity because I was her patient. I saw firsthand the pull and the respect they have for her and how they value her and her expertise.” “Dr. Doan rocks! I was nervous, but in just hours after the procedure I could see. It’s amazing! If I had known then what I know now I would have had LASIK years ago. Dr. Doan made getting LASIK easy. I trust her with my eyes and with my life!” Another long-time patient of Dr. Doan’s, Rose Jenkins, says, “Ever since I was sixteen I’ve worn hard or gas permeable contacts. About a year ago I started suffering from dry eyes. My daughter had (and loved) LASIK, and I figured if I was going to have trouble with dry eyes anyway, I might as well have good vision, too. Dr. Doan told me dry eyes can be a problem with LASIK, so we switched to soft contacts and Restasis drops. I still hated juggling my contacts and my glasses. When I wore my glasses I really felt like there was a window between me and the world.” “Dr. Doan never told me that LASIK wasn’t possible for me, although she was honest about her concerns. I actually did some LASIK price comparision, but Dr. Doan said that buying “new eyes” isn’t like buying a new car. She recommended the Mann Eye Institute and they were great! I must have had more than eight people there checking and rechecking my eyes. Now I can see really well and the dry eyes aren’t a problem with eye drops. Knowing that Dr. Doan was looking after my eyes before and after LASIK gave me confidence...I know she puts her patients first!”

Chataria Dawson

“She scheduled my procedure within a week and it took less than 10 minutes! Everyone at the Mann Eye Institute spoke so highly of Dr. Doan and treated me like a celebrity because I was her patient. I saw firsthand the pull and the respect they have for her and how they value her and her expertise.”

Dr. Anh Doan, O.D. Vision Source! • 4725 Highway 6 South 281-261-2647

Rose Jenkins

10 ~ upclose ~ october 2012

When Little Aches Become a Big Pain Sarah Warburton


ment and bariatric and nutritional services, respectively.” “Sometimes it takes major pain to get our attention,” says Dr. Schell, “but debilitating type pain can hinder your treatment. That’s when a truly exceptional interventional pain management specialist like Dr. Brown really shines. After he assesses and calms the inflammation and pain down, I provide therapy that repairs the injured areas so that the pain doesn’t re-occur. Dr. McMullen can then evaluate any weight loss concerns with you to help you lose those unhealthy extra pounds that cause accelerated wear and tear on your body. We’re a one-stop-shop for all your neck, back, and joint pain need.!” If you didn’t have time to stop and pay attention to your pain when it started, you certainly won’t have time for major surgery and a lengthy recovery! Dr. Schell offers convenient appointments and he accepts all major insurance plans. He says, “You’ll actually save time and enjoy living your life to the fullest by getting to the root of the problem before your little ache becomes a big pain!”

n today’s fast paced world,” says Dr. Jason Schell, D.C. “Ignoring pain, or trying to push through it, only makes things worse. I created the Spine and Physical Rehabilitation Center (SPRC) of Texas to unite specialists, including Dr. Mark Brown, M.D. of Back Pain Interventions and Family and Bariatric Medicine specialist, Dr. Deidre McMullen, M.D., for the care of patients with neck, low back, and joint pain. I believe we can relieve your pain and take steps to keep it from reoccurring” Dr. Schell says, “If you spend all day sitting at a desk and you’re just not very physically active anymore, then even brief activities that push your body beyond its usual demands can aggravate the muscles and joints. And without treatment, little aches can become big pains. For a lot of us, especially parents with younger children, we put all of our efforts and energy into our jobs and whatever is left over goes towards keeping up with all of our kids’ activities and family responsibilities. Little is usually ever left over for ourselves and our bodies. And as we get older and our metabolism slows down, a sedentary lifestyle can really cause us to put on the extra pounds. This added weight translates into increased stress on all our joints and our bodies will begin to break down, especially when we try to push our bodies like we did when we were teenagers and 50 pounds lighter!” “Using a collaborative multi-disciplinary model of both allopathic and physical medicine, we have put together a team of specialists to help heal injured patients and strengthen their bodies to overcome their current limitations, so that they can do the things they want to do without worrying about pain. At the SPRC of Texas we offer chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy, physiotherapy, aquatic therapy, and in conjunction with Dr. Brown and Dr. McMullen, pain manage-

Dr. Jason Schell, D.C. The Spine & Physical Rehabilitation Center of Texas Dr. Deirdre McMullen, M.D. Family, Cosmetic and Bariatric Medicine 281-690-4800 3281 Rocky Creek Drive Missouri City TX (Behind Brook Street BBQ) Back Pain Interventions Associated, PA 281-494-6900 6350 Hwy 90A Suite 700 Sugar Land, TX

upclose ~ October 2012 ~ 11

Experience You Can Trust…For Life! Amy Sharp


t’s a “dog-eat-dog” world today...billboards, television, radio, the internet…we get constant promises of “lower prices” on every aspect of our lives! But what happens in that moment of panic when the AC goes out, and even though it’s the middle of autumn, the temperature still regularly creeps well above 80 degrees? Do we call the company that promises the lowest prices or a “big name” company?

“Beware of ‘the lowest price in town’ and the “free service call”, If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. When it comes to your AC, experience counts. Brian Jackson of Jackson Air and Heat of Sugar Land says, We’ve found corners being cut and companies going out of business, not returning phone calls or just flat taking advantage of you because you’re desperate. At Jackson Air, we don’t lure you in with the promise of a low price, only to surprise you on the final invoice. We want to surprise you with our reasonable prices and excellent service!” Take it from one totally satisfied customer who first called the “big name” Houston company. ”I had a problem with one of my systems, so I called out that big

Houston company. After hearing the diagnosis, I asked for a quote to replace both of my twenty-year-old systems. I also called Jackson Air for a quote. Not only was Jackson’s quote thousands of dollars less, but much of what the other company listed as ‘requirements’ were wrong and added $$! And when Jackson Air came out, they discovered the other company had misdiagnosed the problem! We did go for ward with the new systems, and the Jackson Air technicians were ver y personable, polite, and right on time. They worked ver y hard and took care not to damage anything in the house or outside. When the job was finished, one could not tell they had even been there. Jackson Air treated me like I was their ver y best customer and provided great customer ser vice! I plan to be a Jackson Air customer for life!” When the time comes to replace your AC, don’t make a hasty, rash decision…call Jackson Air and Heat. Brian says, “Our honesty and experience speak for themselves. We’ve been “Licensed to Chill” since 1982 and we’re not going anywhere…we want you to be another of our customers for life!” Jackson Air and Heating, Inc. Sugar Land’s Oldest Independent Trane Dealer 281-240-1037

We See Perfect Indoor Weather In Your Forecast CREATING COMFORT & TRUST FOR OVER 30 YEARS 12 ~ upclose ~ october 2012

Clearing Your Mind I

Cleaning to the “Max”

by Sarah Warburton

s stress in your life showing up as dust and smudges in your home? They say a clean house reflects a clean mind... and sometimes we all need a little professional help! Max McCammond, owner of Professional Maid Service says, “Getting a clean house shouldn’t be a hassle or a guilt trip. You should enjoy relaxing at home! Give us a call, and we’ll help you make a fresh start every week...or whenever you need us!” If your life is moving a million miles a minute, cleaning the bathroom probably isn’t the most important thing on your list. Imagine how much more productive you could be, if your home was already sparkling clean! The Professional Maids are bonded

and insured, have undergone thorough background checks, and arrive neatly uniformed in a clearly-labelled company car. No worries, no fuss, and certainly no muss! If your to-do list fills a notebook, take advantage of the Professional Maid’s no-hassle key drop-off and pick-up. Max says, “We keep all the name-brand products our clients love on our shopping list, so you don’t have to remember them. Our Maids polish your mirrors with Windex, dust with Pledge, and always give a reminder call the day before we come to clean. We’re here to make your life easier, so you can actually look forward to cleaning day!” Leave the cleaning to the professionals...then kick back and enjoy the shine! Professional Maid Service 281-342-6500

Max’s Cleaning Tip: “The reality show “Hoarders” has scared many of us into taking decluttering seriously,” says Max. “Professional Maids will tell you it’s also easier to clean your counters and floors when they aren’t buried under piles of clutter! If thinking about a massive overhaul of your closets makes you start to freak out, take it in baby steps...just twenty items at a time. For each one, ask yourself if you love, need, and use it often. Then decide to keep it (and where it goes!), toss it, or donate it. If you do this daily (or even weekly), you’ll be surrounded by the things you really love and your counters, closets, and cabinets will be easier to use and enjoy. Decluttering improves your surroundings and your state of mind!”

After school. Totally cool. Before and After School programs for school-age children A variety of exciting activity ‘Zones’ designed to keep your child happy and engaged

Primrose School of First Colony

(Under New Ownership) 4605 Austin Parkway, Sugar Land, TX 77479


Educational Child Care for Infants through Private Kindergarten and After School Each Primrose School is a privately owned and operated franchise. Primrose Schools and The Leader in Educational Child Care are trademarks of Primrose School Franchising Company. ©2012 Primrose School Franchising Company. All rights reserved.

upclose ~ october 2012 ~ 13


Don’t Be Scared of Rising Prices! F Matt Harris

rom the cost of milk to the price at the pump to the big ticket items like college tuition, it seems like life’s just getting more expensive every day. Don’t be scared that big city prices are going to flood you on your plumbing bill. Make the smart choice that’s better for your family and your wallet...Alan’s Plumbing. This team keeps their costs down and their overhead low and they pass those savings on to you! Big companies don’t always take the time to consider things from the customer’s point of view. That’s not a problem you’ll ever face at Alan’s Plumbing. For starters, when you call you’ll be talking to Alan’s mother or his wife Jennifer. When you hear that knock at your door, you’ll meet Master Plumber Alan Burkhalter, or his brothers Chris and Brian, or his two oldest sons––Beau and Luke, or fellow team member Zach. These are plumbers who know their craft and take pride in the quality of their work. They’ll treat you with genuine warmth and Texas courtesy. That’s one reason why Alan’s trucks are cellfree zones and you’ll never have to listen to your plumber talking when he should be working. Every plumber from Alan’s Plumbing gives you and your plumbing needs one hundred percent of his attention. Isn’t that a welcome change in this modern world!

14 ~ upclose ~ october 2012

These are plumbers who know their craft and take pride in the quality of their work. They’ll treat you with genuine warmth and Texas courtesy. That’s one reason why Alan’s trucks are cell-free zones and you’ll never have to listen to your plumber talking when he should be working. Every plumber from Alan’s Plumbing gives you and your plumbing needs one hundred percent of his attention. Isn’t that a welcome change in this modern world! Some companies spend a lot of time and money making big promises and a glitzy show. At Alan’s Plumbing they aren’t going to waste your time or money mess-

ing around. They are friendly, thorough, and quick with their repairs. If you have a question, these guys will really take the time to walk you through the situation. This is a company that earns your business the right doing good work at a fair price. As a small business owner and the father of three (his youngest son Jake will be playing football at Howard Payne University this year), Alan knows the importance of reasonable pricing. Little plumbing problems only become bigger and more expensive the longer you wait to deal with them. If dripping faucets, running toilets, clogged drains, a worn-out water heater or outdated bathroom fixtures make you see red, Alan’s Plumbing can save green! Alan’s Plumbing • 281-261-1064



About ten years ago

Sarah Warburton hen you’ve been around as long as All About Carpet, you build up the kind of customer loyalty that literally spans decades. Dr. Eugenia George says, “About ten years ago I had read an article on All About Carpet in UpClose Magazine and was really impressed with a quote from Bob. He said quality matters because in life you get what you pay for. I looked around a few other flooring places, but had been really unimpressed with the way they treated me. At All About Carpet it was a completely different story. When I went in, they helped me make my selections and were great about making recommendations about different choices and durability. I learned from them to be flexible about the kind of flooring I’d consider...because they made some great suggestions!” “Over the years I’ve had them replace my upstairs carpet, do wood flooring throughout my kitchen, living room, and dining room, redo the bathrooms and put tile in the master bedroom. They have their favorite installers and on some jobs they even sent people with different skill sets like a plumber, a tiler, and an electrician for the bathroom. In every case each person was skilled and



extremely reliable. In fact, the plumber I use now is the one that All About Carpet recommended years ago when they redid my bathroom! As a family-owned business, they are well-connected in the community and recognize the kind of quality their customers want. Getting excellent recommendations is just a bonus of working with an excellent company!” “I’ll tell you another example of the kind of trust I have in All About Carpet. I work all day, but I just left the key with Bob and I wasn’t concerned in the slightest. They took excellent care of my home and cleaned up after each job. Even when they redid the entire downstairs, I was amazed at how un-dusty it was! I need to call Shaun, because it’s been almost ten years since that upstairs carpet was replaced. It’s probably time for a new one...and there’s no question in my mind that it’ll come from All About Carpet.” “My family is so grateful for the communities professional and personal support over the years,” says Shaun. “We want you to know our showroom is still open and we’re always looking for new ways to meet your flooring, tile, and counter needs. Come see us any time!” All About Carpet and Floors 281-265-3700 3145 Highway 6 South (next to Shipley’s)

upclose ~ october 2012 ~ 15

Do You have Any Chairs Missing at the Table? “S Sarah Warburton

eeing my patients is a privilege I’ll never take for granted,” says Thomas M. Lomonte, D.D.S. “As a native Texan, I understand the importance of hospitality and good humor between folks. Getting high-quality dental care doesn’t have to be astronomically expensive, unpleasant, or impersonal. All of us at this office believe in enjoying life...and that

includes the time we spend with our patients. We hope everyone who comes in as a patient will leave as a friend!” You trust a dentist with more than your teeth. The state of your mouth reflects the state of your health...and it affects your confidence, your relationships with others, and every aspect of your life. Dr. Lomonte says, “Whether you want a little change like a whitening or you need major reconstruction to replace missing or damaged teeth, I’ll walk you through the options. We have a couple of different choices for every problem you might have, so we can pick the one that works best for your mouth, your schedule, and your wallet.” Talking with Dr. Lomonte is like talking to a friend you can trust...if that friend’s also a dental expert! He says, “A lot of people think a problem like missing teeth or pain on one side of the jaw or even snoring is no big deal. All these issues change the bite of your jaw, contribute to

long-term dental problems, and impact your overall health. I make it a point to look for simple, effective solutions like the Snoreguard and the Snap-On smile, but we can also do major reconstruction. I want you to feel comfortable talking with me about what’s going on in your mouth...and in your life!” Since 1982 Dr. Lomonte has been taking care of generations of smile in his office on Murphy Road in Stafford. One patient, Holly, writes, “I started with Dr. Lomonte when I was a teacher nearby in FBISD. I left teaching several years ago but I still drive from near Meyerland to see him because he is a wonderful and knowledgable dentist. He also has a great sense of humor!” Time to pull up a dental chair and get to know Dr. Lomonte! Thomas M. Lomonte, D.D.S. 12122 Murphy Rd. Stafford, TX 77477 (281) 530-1440

Use It Or Lose It We take pride in doing everything possible to help you maximize your dental insurance. Your dental insurance policy allows for a certain dollar amount of coverage to be provided each year. January 1st to December 31st. unused coverage does not carry over to the next year. Although treatment is never dictated by an insurance policy, our experience has shown that careful planning can often maximize benefits. Most dental plans allow teeth cleanings two times a year. You may also participate in a Flexible Spending or Health Savings Account. In most cases, any money left in these accounts at the end of the year is forfeited. These are benefits you have paid for! Make your appointment now as appointments at the end of the year fill quickly.

16 ~ upclose ~ october 2012

Come in as a patient and leave as a friend!

None of the Hassle, All of the Wow!

Sarah Warburton ant a big “Wow” factor without a lot of hassle? Nothing beats the beauty and convenience of the Miracle Method. Before your friend finishes choosing a contractor for a major remodel of her kitchen or bathroom, you’ll already be enjoying one that looks completely new. Jonee and Paul Barnett of Miracle Method Surface Restoration say, “Why do we call it the Miracle Method? Because it works miracles on your counters, tiles, and bathroom!” Now you see it, now you don’t! Jonee says, “Our surface restoration process repairs minor chips and cracks for a smooth sur-


face that looks like new...and it works on almost any porcelain, fiberglass, tile, or acrylic surface. Bathtubs, sinks, countertops, and ceramic tile walls, in otherwise good condition, can be beautifully repaired right where they are - quickly and inexpensively. The repaired chip is refinished to blend into the surrounding surface so well that it is practically invisible. Because we don’t see the point of getting a brand-new color unless your whole surface looks new, too!” What kind of miracles can Jonee and Paul (and their team) work? This Old House on PBS recommends the Miracle Method to transform your vintage clawfoot tub into something sleek, usable, and completely beautiful! Hilton and Disney trust them with the counters, tubs, and showers in their major hotels and resorts...and you can get the same gorgeous finishes or slip resistant tub treatments at home! Dull, dated countertops, worn and dingy bathtubs, even tiles

in outdated colors can be refinished to look stylish and contemporary. You’ll get a big impact without all the expense, time, and trouble of major remodeling. Decide to change your counters or bathroom with the Miracle Method today and you’ll have your miracle before Thanksgiving. Paul says, “Most jobs are completed in a day and even the biggest ones take three or four. We want you to enjoy showing off your kitchen or bathroom as soon as possible!” Miracle Method Surface Restoration 281-240-2284 603 Murphy Road (by appointment only) Stafford, TX

We Specialize in Children ...because kidz are people too

Art Skin The


Complete Skin Care, Skin Enhancements & Treatments. 1112 Soldiers Field Dr., Sugar Land, TX 77479


❋ Specialist in dentistry for infants, children and adolescents ❋ Now offering Braces and Orthodontic services ❋ Offering Oral and I.V. Sedation ❋ Se Hablo Espanol ❋ Most major insurance accepted ❋ Ask About NO INTEREST PAYMENT PLANS 4706 Riverstone Blvd., Suite 200, Missouri City, TX 77459 Located behind Kohl’s in the Offices at Riverstone

281.261.0020 upclose ~ october 2012 ~ 17

She’s Found Her Niche


hen other little girls were playing with dolls, Dina Holleron left her dolls on the floor and played with the dollhouse, endlessly arranging furniture configurations. When she

Sylvia and Masad Baba with 11 year old Victoria and twins 7 year old Sophia & Michael stayed at home babysitting her younger sister while parents worked, she’d rearrange her mother’s home thinking she did it better. She would build forts in the bushes, always making sure there were the proper rooms with a “homey” feel. “I’ve always been artistic,” Dina says, “and always loved arranging spaces of all types, and I was always trying to configure something cozy and unique.” Dina graduated with honors from the Art Institute of Houston, earning her

Bachelors of Fine Arts in Interior Design. In 2008 her husband Sean sold his medical business of twelve years to concentrate on growing The Designer’s Niche. Dina is an award winner through A.S.I.D.(American Society of Interior Designers) and ranked in the Pearland Journal’s “Best of 2011� for Interior Design. “Within ten minutes of meeting someone,” says Dina, “I’m already formulating a design plan for them in my mind. I love coming into a home, getting personal, and diagnosing what they really want, even if they can’t articulate it. Each home should be a unique expression of those who live there.” From the technical details to all the finishing foo-foo stuff, she enjoys the entire process. At any Hightower Deli 14141 SW Freeway Sugar Land given time The Designer’s Niche is working with twenty-some active cli- she brought me beautiful colors and ents, and has all the resources a client may options, one of which was perfect. Dina need at any given point in their project. was easy to reach through email or on Dina enjoys all aspects of design, ranging the phone and great to work with! Now from technical to hands-on faux to final we’re in the beginning stages of remodeling our kitchen. Everything she chose is touch decor. “We can’t imagine life without Dina,” exactly what I wanted. She’s made the say Sylvia and Masad Baba owners of entire process so easy. She’s always there Hightower Delis. Sylvia adds, “Dina to listen and help. Dina was so wonderful looked around our house, talked with that we invited her to work with us on me, and took photos. A few weeks later designing for our business, too!” Dina Holleron Allied Member ASID The Designer’s Niche Interior Design and Custom Faux P.O. Box 841161 Pearland, TX 77584 281-323-3630 281-692-1013 (f)

The Designer’s Niche Team

Well I say, I say I am just raring to start my day! W

hy wait until January 1st to look and feel your best? Dr. Jeffery Alford of Sugar Land Wellness and Weight Loss says, “I believe in tailoring my approach to my patients, so you can choose healthy solutions that work with your goals and lifestyle...and the support and encouragement you need!”

range of choices, so when a friend recommended Dr. Alford, I drove out to give him a try.” “Right away Dr. Alford ran me through some tests and found my testosterone levels were low. He took his time, really listened to me, and spoke real English instead of fancy doctor-speak. He’s a

I dropped twenty-five pounds in two weeks! I was jumping out of bed at 6:40 and just raring to start my day.

Recording engineer and producer, Doug Deforest of Lake Paradise Studios How hard is it to find a doctor who really listens and puts your health first? Recording engineer and producer, Doug Deforest of Lake Paradise Studios drives all the way from Cherokee Village Arkansas to see Dr. Alford. Doug says, “I’d just put on twenty to thirty pounds I couldn’t seem to shake, I had no energy, and I just didn’t feel like myself. Out here in the Ozarks, we don’t have a wide

country boy with great intelligence who really understands how to connect with people. I dropped twenty-five pounds in two weeks! I was jumping out of bed at 6:40 and just raring to start my day. When I had a problem with an arthritis cream, he took my concerns into consideration, changed my treatment, and followed up the next day. This is a man who read and understood the oath he took as a doctor to put his patients first. I went right on Facebook to tell the world about him!” Do you need a boost to make it through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s? Dr. Alford says, “Many things from food choices to lifestyle to hormones to health issues affect your weight and energy levels. I believe in treating the whole patient for optimum wellness. If you need help managing what you eat, NeuroAssist (for hard-core patients) or Medifast (for busy lifestyles)

can make the difference. And we’re really excited about the i-Lipo.” Shrink your fat zones and turbo-charge your exercise routine with the FDAapproved, af fordable, non-invasive i-Lipo. Featured on “The Doctors” and examined by Dr. Oz, i-Lipo helps spotreduce unwanted fat in specific areas like your abdomen, thighs, arms...and also targets cellulite. Dr. Alford says, “Both men and women can benefit from the safe and painless i-Lipo laser. It uses a “cold, low level” laser to shrink your fat cells, so you can rid your body of stored (and unwanted!) fat. You’ll get that sleek, tight look you want, so you’ll be photoready in time for the holidays. I believe you deserve to feel and look your best!” Sugar Land Wellness and Weight Loss 832-494-7469 16651 SW Fwy #100

upclose ~ october 2012 ~ 19

Understanding Dyslexia:

Tori’s Story

When a picture is worth a thousand unreadable words

Sarah Warburton


hether a child struggles to keep up or wants to progress ahead,” says Learning Specialist Betsy de Vega, founder of the Kn.I.L.E. Center, “we’re committed to removing any stumbling blocks that keep children from loving to learn. Our boutique private school Kn.I.L.E. Prep Academy (KPA) and our one-on-one educational training sessions after-school at EduCoachNow offer assisted and accelerated curriculum choices, encouragement, and a totally drama-free environment!” After her daughter Tori was diagnosed with visual learning issues, her mother, Regina Rash fought to keep her from being held back, to help her get through her homework, and to help her daughter show the world how bright she really was. She writes, “Betsy and her staff are masters of cognitive games that develop the motor skills critical to a dyslexic. They designed their time around her school curriculum and specific needs. Navigating the public school process for learning

issues was overwhelming, but Betsy was always at our side advocating for Tori.” Tori recently underwent another advanced vision test which revealed three forms of dyslexia, missed by the public school testing. Regina told us that the developmental vision specialist and vision therapist could not believe she had made the progress she had within a year (including making A/B honor roll at her public school) with the help of EduCoachNow. Then Regina had to ask herself how much more progress Tori might make moving from public school to the Kn.I.L.E. Prep Academy. She says, “They built her therapy into her curriculum as well as handwriting help for her Dysgraphia, so she can thrive. Tori would tell you her eyes are a gift from God, and thanks to the Kn.I.L.E. Prep Academy, she is so confident and challenged to work harder than her peers to fulfill their potential.” In honor of Dyslexia Awareness Month, please join us at the the Kn.I.L.E. Center on Thursday, October 25, 2012 from 6-9pm for a free community event: “Understanding the Many Aspects of Dyslexia: A Dyslexia Awareness Workshop” with Guest Speaker Dr. Carol F. Zuccone - Licensed Psychologist, Licensed Specialist in School Psychology, Director, Irlen Clinics Houston/Central Texas Thursday October 25, 2012 6-9pm. Please RSVP (space is limited) at 281-682-4573 or Read Regina’s full testimonial at or on Facebook and check back for information about the High School STAAR Prep Workshop coming to the Kn.I.L.E Center in November. Betsy de Vega 281-682-4573 Kn.I.L.E Center, LLC 245 Gonyo Lane, Richmond, TX 77479

20 ~ upclose ~ october 2012

The Journey of a Thousand Miles Starts With a Single Step “G

etting pregnant always seemed so easy...until it didn’t happen for us.” Does that sound familiar? Triple board-certified, Reproductive Endocrinologist, Dr. Subodh Chauhan, MD. has experience from both sides of Atlantic and understands the different cultural expectations of the patients. He says, “If you’ve been trying to get pregnant unsuccessfully for over a year, if you have painful or irregular menstrual cycles, or if you’ve experienced two failed pregnancies, come talk with me. Once we understand what’s happening in your body, we’ll have solutions that range from simple hormone balancing to the latest advances in fertility. Don’t give up on your dream of having a family without coming here first!” Walking into the office of the Fertility Specialists of Houston, you’ll get support from nurses Kathy,Debbie and Kris! You’ll work with Dr. Chauhan directly from your initial evaluation through all the stages of the process…and if you need IVF and Transfer, Dr. Chauhan does those personally. You’ll also have access to resources like support groups and counseling. Dr. Chauhan says, “We’ll take the process one step at a time...and I’ll always discuss your options and give you time to consider them. I’m always available to my patients via email. Having a family is an intensely personal experience and it’s my privilege to work with you!” You know how every mother forgets the pain of childbirth when she holds her baby in her arms? Over and over couples told us that all the struggle and doubt were worthwhile, once they learned they were pregnant. One patient says, “Dr. Chauhan was grinning when he told me and Kathy, Debbie, and Kris were so excited. By that time they felt like my family...and without their support and expertise my husband and I could never have come this far!” From the realization you need help from a fertility specialist to the moment you look deeply into your new baby’s eyes, the journey may feel like a thousand miles...but it starts with your first step. Dr. Chauhan says, “I can’t promise it will be easy, but I can promise to walk with you all the way!” Dr. Subodh Chauhan, MD Fertility Specialists of Houston 713-512-7900 4724 Sweetwater Blvd, Ste 105 Sugar Land, TX 77479

upclose ~ october 2012 ~ 21

The Scariest House on the Block

Amy Sharp


alloween is almost here and there is nothing more fun than scary Halloween decorations, including of course, a scary front door! It’s the door that young trick-or-treaters shy away from… and older trick-or-treaters dare each other to approach. Does your Halloween décor include a scary door? But YIKES!! You didn’t even decorate for Halloween! If your front door is so old and worn it’s scary, it’s time to contact Rick’s Front Door Refinishing! Rick says, “Our craftsmen will come right to your home and will refinish your door on-site, in one day, and at a great price. We use the very best stains and Marine grade spar urethanes to give a beautiful and long lasting finish. We then use the best, professional grade, Hvlp Spray units to lay down a smooth, even finish, without the brushstrokes. We can also replace the weather strip from around your

door to keep the warm air in, the critters out... and make your home more energy-efficient to save you money! We’re fully insured and bonded, all work is warrantied for your satisfaction, we show up on-time, and we’re one hundred percent committed to your total satisfaction! And you don’t have to worry about the weather...our vans are mobile refinishing shops fully equipped to tackle any job, any time.” Visit Rick’s website or Facebook page and view astonishing before-and-after pictures from customers who say their doors went from ghastly to gorgeous. One customer says, “My doors were a total mess…cracked, dried up, years of neglect. They now look brand new…incredible…unbelievable! I’m delighted and so impressed that my house was insulated whilst the doors were worked on, no mess…no inconvenience. I cannot recommend your company enough! Wait until my neighbors see the difference...” If your door is unintentionally ghastly, you need to call Rick. Rick says “You won’t believe how pretty your door can look. Getting there doesn’t have to be a big hassle. Let Mrs. Terry set you up with an appointment.” And you can always make that new pretty door scary with spider webs, ghosts and jack-o-lanterns…it just doesn’t have to be scary year round! Rick’s Front Door Refinishing 713-427-2487

METHODIST ONCOLOGY PARTNERS CANCER CARE EXCELLENCE Methodist Sugar Land Hospital is pleased to welcome Dr. Jorge Darcourt to Methodist Oncology Partners. Dr. Darcourt has extensive experience in treating cancer and blood disorders. He delivers individualized, compassionate care through an integrated, team-based approach that ensures each patient’s unique needs are met. At Methodist Oncology Partners, Dr. Darcourt is now supported by the leading technology and highly skilled medical professionals of The Methodist Hospital System. And as an active member of The Methodist Research Institute, Dr. Darcourt can offer patients access to a wide range of clinical trials and the latest therapies to fight cancer. This is the Methodist level of cancer care—from diagnosis to survival, where technology and compassion—are leading to a cure.

Call 281-276-5200 today to schedule an appointment. •

Jorge Darcourt, M.D. is board certified in hematology and oncology.

Located on the Methodist Sugar Land Hospital campus in Medical Office Building Two, Suite 151.

Medical Office Building Two • 16659 Southwest Freeway, Suite 151 Sugar Land, Texas 77479 • 281-276-5200 •

22 ~ upclose ~ october 2012

His Priority isYou! Sarah Warburton


anking is our passion and the Fort Bend community is our priority,” says Alina Gonzalez of LoweryBank. “That’s why we’re thrilled to announce that J. Michael Dinges has joined us as our President. Just like the Lowery family, he’s committed to Texas, to community banking, and he even raises cattle just like the Lowerys. Any way you look at it, Mike and LoweryBank are a perfect match!” Mike’s lived right here in Fort Bend his entire life, graduating from Dulles High school and even serving three terms as Mayor of Fulshear. He served on the Board of Directors of the Fort Bend County Fair Association, is President of Fort Bend county LID #19, and was a member of the 2007 Leadership Program with the Central Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce. He’s also active with the Greater Fort Bend and Katy Area Economic Development Councils, Katy Area Chamber, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. He says, “When I’m lucky enough to J. have a little free time, you might find me on one of Fort Bend’s beautiful golf courses! Whether you see me out around town or drop by the bank, I hope you’ll introduce yourself...I’m looking forward to meeting you!” When it comes to banking, this isn’t Mike’s first rodeo! He has over twenty-

financial world, but at LoweryBank we combine convenient banking with real customer service!” Did you think that banking with people who know you by name was all in the past? LoweryBank was built on a tradition of community banking. A division of Huntington State Bank, established in 1961 in East Texas, this family-owned bank has nine offices in East Texas and our local Sugar Land office, operating in our community since 2005. Alina says, “We really get to know our customers, even recognizing your voice over the phone. We take your privacy and your finances seriously and we look out for you! You’ll enjoy a full array of personal and commerical services and products such as online bill pay, safe deposit boxes, a twenty-four hour ATM...and a level of friendly, down-home service you just won’t find anywhere else!” “We’re thrilled to welcome Mike Dinges to LoweryBank...and we’d like to invite you to drop by, enjoy a coffee or a cookie, and get to know Mike and LoweryBank. Just like us, Mike’s priority is you!”

Michael Dinges five years of banking experience as a senior examiner with the Texas Department of Banking and as a senior lending officer with area community banks. He says, “As a local guy, I really believe in the power of building relationships. That can seem like an old-fashioned concept in today’s fast-paced

LoweryBank • 281-263-1100 16555 Southwest Freeway, Ste 100 (between Methodist Building 3 and Floyd’s Cajun Seafood & Texas Steakhouse) Sugar Land, TX 77479

upclose ~ october 2012 ~ 23

“That would NEVER happen to ME!” Or so I thought.


am an intelligent, reasonably strong, outgoing woman. I’ve raised great kids, while working. I am not “the type” that people imagine being a victim of spousal abuse. And yet, I was...and it took me a long time to figure out what was happening, because it happened a little at a time. When I was a little girl, my family lived in a nice house, my dad had a good job, but he hit and hurt my mom. I never thought that I would grow up and allow anyone to do the same to me...but it was the environment I knew. My husband was charming and seemed to adore me. He acted like he just could not live without first. When he was jealous, I thought that showed his love for me. If I had just not looked at him that way, worn those clothes to the grocery store, or said the wrong thing. After all he pointed out “I treat everyone else right and everyone else likes me! You just know how to push my buttons. I don’t know why you want to make me act like that! I think you like making me angry!” Since I was the only person who “made him crazy,” I thought I was the problem. If I stayed home with the kids, he told me I was lazy and a ingrate, but if I got a job, he thought I was cheating on him. He’d call my work so many times that they fired me. Why did I stay so long? I felt like I could fix this. I did not want my children to have divorced parents like I did. I remembered as a child desperately wanting both my mom and dad together. I felt as if I could just do things better somehow I could make him happy. My life ended up being a cycle of abuse––him giving me a black eye or throwing me down and kicking me, then he’d cry and say he was so sorry. Then we would go through this honeymoon period that everything would be just great. Next it would start building until he

blew off like a time bomb. Each time it happened it was always worse than the time before. It started with name calling, then a threatening gesture, then an actual slap to the face or a shove. Then punching and kicking, then finally threats like “I will kill you. I will take the kids and you will never see us again.” or “You just married me so you could get child support and that is not happening. I will quit my job and you will have nothing.” The look in his eyes told me that he would and it did not matter what was in the way at the time of his rage. There was not one wall in my house that did not have a hole knocked into it or a door jam that was not busted. I was scared, embarrassed, felt like a failure and I tried to make things work for my kids. Now I know that staying with an abuser doesn’t do your children any favors! Children learn what they live. It takes a lot of work to undo the damage caused. Just like me my daughter did not know that a man should treat her like a princess. She wanted to feel loved, wanted, and needed just like anyone else. The missing link is that she did not see her dad treat her mom like that and did not know how a boyfriend should treat her. When a daughter is raised in a loving, caring environment the boys and men she dates have to fill some pretty big shoes. When she is not, she feels comfortable around the guy that acts like her dad did because she knows that guy. And boys grow up learning that disrespect for women is somehow okay. One day I read The Power and Control Wheel and it was like my own life was right before me in black and white text. I know a lot of women feel like I did––stupid or ashamed or alone––but it isn’t your fault and you’re not alone. I survived domestic abuse by getting out of the situation...and I’m proud to be a survivor!

K.K. West, Fort Bend Junior Service League

Liz Moreno, Fort Bend County Women’s Center

upclose ~ october 2012

Joy Dowell, PennyWise Resale Centers

Using Economic Abuse

Using Male Privilege

Using Intimidation

Power and Control

Using Children

Using Emotional Abuse

Using Isolation

Minimizing, Denying and Blaming

The Power and Control Wheel

iolence S e cal V x u ysi al

(This is like a “How to Make a Bomb” manual for Abusers)

Using intimidation: making her afraid by using looks, actions, gestures, smashing things, destroying her property, abusing pets, displaying weapons. Using emotional abuse: putting her down, making her feel bad about herself, calling her names, making her think she’s crazy, playing mind games, humiliating her, making her feel guilty.


Using Coercion and Threats

iolence S exu cal V i s y al h P

There is help. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse please call 24-HOUR EMERGENCY HOTLINE

Using isolation: controlling what she does, who she sees and talks to, what she reads, where she goes, limiting her outside involvement, using jealousy to justify actions.

281-342-HELP (4357)

Minimizing, denying, and blaming: making light of the abuse and not taking her concerns about it seriously, saying the abuse didn’t happen, shifting responsibility for abusive behavior, saying she caused it.

About the Fort Bend County Women’s Center In more than 30 years of serving the community, the Fort Bend County Women’s Center has helped more than 30,000 women and children achieve violence-free lifestyles. Our mission is to assist survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and their children while striving to prevent violence against women.

Using children: making her feel guilty about the children, using the children to relay messages, using visitation to harass her, threatening to take children away. Using male privilege: treating her like a servant, making all the big decisions, acting like the “master of the castle”, being the one to define men’s and women’s roles. Using economic abuse: preventing her from getting or keeping a job, making her ask for money, giving her an allowance, taking her money, not letting her know about or have access to family income. Using coercion and threats: making and/or carrying out threats to hurt her, threatening to leave her, to commit suicide, to report her to welfare, making her drop charges, making her do illegal things.

Boogie 2013 Kick-Off - 10/24/2012; 5:30-8:30: Find out more about how you can be involved through committees, the auction, live auction and sponsorship in this great event presented by Classic Chevrolet!

upclose ~ october 2012 ~ 25


ou’re less than half an hour from traveling back in time over 150 time machine required! At the 480-acre George Ranch Historical Park, you’ll discover Texas traditions brought to life. The George Ranch Historical Park is centered around the story of the Jones family’s lineage, as passed down through the daughters. The Jones originally settled in Fort Bend County as part of Stephen F. Austin’s “Old 300.” At the 1830’s Jones Stock Farm, the 1860’s Ryon Prairie Home, the 1890’s Davis Mansion, and the 1930’s George Ranch Complex the independent spirit of early Texans inspires and delights visitors of all ages. This isn’t some dry museum where 26 ~ upclose ~ october 2012

history’s behind glass. At the George Ranch Historical Park history lives...and you can take part! Put your kids to work harvesting seasonal crops, weaving, grinding corn, and enjoying livestock at the 1830s Jones Stock Farm, meet Polly Ryon in her 19th Century home, explore the 19th century Victorian Davis Mansion, watch blacksmiths at work, meet “Cookie” at the Chuck Wagon Camp, visit a Sharecropper’s Farm, a Rail Car, and Longhorn Pens, and finish at the 1930s George Ranch House complete with cowboys working cattle in the front pens, tending to cattle in the chute, and sending them to one of the few dipping vats still in existence in the United States. “We’re not reenacting history...we’re actually living it!” says J.R. Thomas, 1830’s lead interpreter at the Park. “Interpreting

history means changing the way you see the world and thinking about life through the lens of a hundred and eighty years ago!” Go face to face with history at the Texian Market Days: Friday, October 26, 2012 (School Tour Day) Saturday, October 27, 2012 (General Public). Costumed historical interpreters and volunteers present daily life and heroic moments from the 1830s through the 1940s. Hear period music, experience an oldfashioned medicine show, enjoy a magical victorian marionette fairy tale, make a corn husk doll or your own printed copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence, play Hoops-n-Sticks, try a sample of chuck wagon cooking, and feel the modern era disappear! Everywhere you look you’ll see people bringing the past to life through gunsmithing, spinning and weaving, vintage baseball, cattle working, fan etiquette, and Texas Revolution battles. This annual fund-raising event supports the educational programs of the Fort Bend County Museum Association, including the George Ranch Historical Park and the Fort Bend Museum. The festival is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 27. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 5-15; children 4 and younger are admitted free. Tickets are available at the door. The George Ranch Historical Park is at 10215 FM 762 in Richmond. The park is a living history project of the Fort Bend County Museum Association and The George Foundation. For tickets or more information, visit online at www.texianmarketdays. com or call 281-343-0218.

Weddings and Receptions

Classically Romantic. Delightfully Relaxed. Experience a peaceful country setting like no other at the George Ranch Historical Park. With several historic venues and countless custom package offerings, the possibilities are as wide as the blue Texas sky. We have charming rustic facilities (including the Beasley Chapel, Post Office, Guy Lodge Hall and our beautiful South Yard) available for both indoor and outdoor events. You can use the facilities separately or combine them to create the perfect ambiance for your new married life. Contact Us! E-mail us or call us at (281) 343-0218 x. 259 to set up your complimentary tour or request more information. We can’t wait to help you plan the wedding of your dreams.

Campfire Christmas: December 14, 15, 21and 22, 2012 Let us transport you back in time for this unique historic holiday celebration. Start the evening at a raucous 1830 Frontier Fandango. Tensions are rising with the Mexican government, but that has never stopped the newly established Texans from having a good time. Jump forward to 1863 and join the Ryon family as they celebrate Christmas deep into the Civil War. Visit the cowboy campfire where Confederate soldiers have stopped for a night on their way to meet their unit up north. Complete your tour in time with a 1942 Christmas visit to the George Ranch Home. Hear the music in the distance? That’s our 1942 USO Dinner Dance at the George Ranching Complex which can be attended before or after your tour in the Park. Campfire Christmas sells out quickly. Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind Texas celebration. Call the George Ranch Historical Park at (281) 343-0218 or e-mail education@georgeranch. org for more information about Campfire Christmas 2012 today!

Facility Rentals Corporate Events, Picnics,Meetings,Rodeo Events & More! Discover the endless possibilities at the George Ranch Historical Park and contact our our event planning specialists at (281) 343-0218, ext. 267 to speak to one of our event planners.You can also send us an E-mail atevents@ with any questions or to schedule a complimentary tour.

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Established in 1990, we offer 9 locations throughout Fort Bend County. We pride ourselves in making the most delicious fresh pizza, pasta, wings, subs, salads, and desserts using 100% natural ingredients. A Fort Bend Original Voted Best Pizza, we never sacrifice great flavor. By using allnatural ingredients and untreated, unbleached wheat flour, we maximize it! Taste one bite and you will always choose Pepperoni’s for your family.


Family Special $23 2 Medium 2 Topping Pizzas, 2 Small Salads & 2 Liter

* may not be combined with any other special offers or coupons, must present to cashier or driver, valid for delivery, dine in or carry out

Grand Opening Special Free Pizza

* Valid for small 8” one topping. May be used for delivery with additional $12 purchase, may not be combined with any other special offers or coupons, must present to cashier or driver

Celebrating the Grand Opening at Cinco Ranch & Re-Opening of Riverstone offer valid at all locations!

Cinco Ranch 27110 Cinco Ranch Blvd #200 Katy, TX 77494 (281) 394-5565

Riverstone 5932 Hwy 6 Missouri City, TX 77459 (281) 261-6665

Order online, call in, or drop by one of our local stores at your convenience. We are always glad to hear from you at Pepperoni’s. First Colony (281) 265-5555 • Sienna (281) 778-7888 Greatwood (281) 545-3333 • Brazos Town Center (832) 595-0550 Pecan Grove (281) 239-6565 • Fulshear (281) 533-0000 • Cinco Ranch (281) 394-5565 New Territory (281) 277-5555 • Riverstone (281) 261-6665 • Woodbridge (281) 498-6677

Is Your Smile Missing Something Special?

Sarah Warburton hether you’re missing teeth, suffer from gum disease, or need an aesthetic boost, sometimes you just don’t feel like smiling. Luckily, the experts at iSmile Specialists have the advanced training, the experience, and the artistry to restore a beautiful smile that will fill you with confidence. Periodontist Dr. Wesam Salha says, “I came to Houston from California to join the team of specialists


at iSmile. I love the idea of a one-stop comprehensive dental destination where patients can get all their dental needs met. Working with Orthodontist Dr. Waal Kanaan and Prosthodontist Dr. Simon Samo will make it easier to coordinate solutions and will keep things convenient for our patients...and no referral is needed! My training means I have the experience to handle aesthetic issues, a single implant or a full mouth reconstruction.” “Growing up,” says Dr. Salha, “I always knew I wanted to enter the medi-

cal field...and it wasn’t long before I was drawn to dentistry. As soon as I started in dental school, I became fascinated with implants. That’s why I wanted to go through advanced training in implant dentistry. My experience in prosthetics and implants means I can find solutions to fit your needs. Instead of an expensive one-size-fits-all option, I can help patients save money and hassle. Even in cases where patients were told that due to bone loss, implants weren’t possible...I can usually make it happen.” After completing dental school, Dr. Salha underwent three years of specialized training at the prestigious Loma Linda University School of Dentistry in California to become a periodontist and then an additional three years of advanced education in implant dentistry, so he is double-certified. In addition to his expertise in implants, prosthetics, surgery, and periodontics, Dr. Salha is also undergoing licensure in IV sedation. He says, “Everything I do, I do with the single goal of providing patients with the very best experience. My passion for dental implants springs from my passion to give you a strong, healthy, and beautiful smile!” Nothing in your mouth happens in isolation...and your dental specialist shouldn’t work in isolation either! Gum disease can lead to missing teeth, trauma can affect your gums, genetics, lifestyle, and aging all take their toll. Having a team of specialists that can coordinate

your care means you’ll get the best results with the least amount of trouble. Dr. Kanaan says, “The ‘i’ in iSmile represents the marriage of innovation and individualism between highly-talented dental specialists...a periodontist, an endodontist, an orthodontist, and a prosthodontist. Each of our specialists has received extensive advanced training so that we can handle every case from a simple aesthetic improvement to full-mouth referral needed! At iSmile, we only smile when you do!”

The first fifty patients to bring this magazine to iSmile will receive 25% off their final treatment plan. iSmile Specialists 281-447-6453 (281-4iSmile) 14121 SW Freeway Suite B Sugar Land Texas 77478

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Hospital staff ’s idea leads to unique new cancer charity PRETTY IN PINK EVOLVES TO HELP CANCER PATIENTS


veryone knows someone that has been affected by cancer,” says Leena Taneja, Director of Physician Relations and Marketing at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital (MSLH). “Most people want to help family, friends and neighbors; and we wanted to give them a way to do just that! Many cancer charities fund research to find a cure, but we wanted to do something different — something to help local patients so they could focus on fighting cancer.” The idea that evolved in the hospital’s Physician Relations and Marketing Department eventually became the MSLH Cancer Fund, which will be used to assist patients who need financial assistance while battling cancer. To raise money for the fund, Leena’s department – which she calls “The Dream Team” – wanted to do something for Breast Cancer awareness but also wanted to raise money for all types of cancer, which inspired the upcoming Pretty in Pink event at Sugar Land Town Square scheduled on Friday, October 19, from 6 - 9 p.m. “Our team has worked extremely hard to bring this event to life,” says Kaelyn Bujnoch, Marketing Coordinator. “We wanted to have a community event that was open to people of all ages, so everyone could be a part of this great cause that benefits our community. We’re thrilled with how everything is shaping up. It’s going to be a fantastic evening!” Pretty in Pink has already proven to be a resounding success. “Within two weeks of announcing the event, the available sponsorships were all sold out,” says Leena. “So we developed more opportunities to meet the demand. To date, more than $80,000 has already been raised—before the event has even taken place! The outpouring of support that Pretty in Pink has generated is amazing.”

Methodist Dream Team Standing left - right- Kimberly Sprague, Physician Relations Coordinator; Leala Hall, Physician Liaison; Marcia Barham, Physician Liaison; Amy Saenz, Physician Liaison Bottom- Leena Taneja, Physician Relations & Marketing Director; Armando Saenz, IT Physician Support Coordinator and Kaelyn Bujnoch, Marketing Coordinator Pretty in Pink will feature a wide range of family friendly activities, including live music, kid’s activities, magic shows and the famous Pink Fire Truck, which is traveling the country on a “Pink Heals Tour.” At sundown, Town Square will be bathed in pink lights to honor ALL cancer survivors, and former Central Fort Bend Chamber Alliance President Gail Parker will share her personal journey as a “cancer warrior” in a keynote address. “I am so proud of my team for putting on this event, while continuing to provide excellent service in their daily roles for the hospital,” says Leena.

Methodist Sugar Land Hospital is asking Fort Bend and surrounding area residents to participate by coming out to the event or by making a small online donation. To donate or for more information, visit and click on the pink button!


Cool Friends & Cool Service! H

Sarah Warburton ave you been to one of the best lake front patios in Sugar Land? Four months ago George Uthuppu took over Bullpen Pizza and Sports Bar. He says, “Our customers loved eating outside on our patio with a full bar by the water, but inside we kept having problems with the air conditioning. I always ask my customers for their feedback, because I want to give them the very best experience...but when the A/C’s not working right, you don’t even have to ask to know there’s a problem! I called All Out A/C and Heating and they got us up and running smoothly again.” Making amazing Chicago style pizza and wings that’ll keep you coming back for more is hard work. George says, “When the air conditioner wasn’t working well, it was hard on the employees. As a new owner, I was committed to creating a great atmosphere. Even with our daily happy hours (11-8 M-Sat and all day Sunday), daily specials, strong menu, and enthusiastic staff...without good air conditioning, no one has a good time!” When it comes to great food and good times, George is an expert, but he knows when to ask for help. He says, “Bryan and the team from All Out A/C really helped educate me on keeping the air conditioner maintained and working at its best. I know that whenever I call him, he’ll be right there to help me. Now our customers can enjoy hanging out with friends and family, watching sporting

events, and hosting private parties in complete comfort. When you’re a restaurant owner, you’re only happy if your guests are happy. Once All Out had our A/C running well, I started looking forward to getting customer feedback. I hope you’ll come in, have good food with friends, and tell me what you think, too!” Do you have complete confidence in your air conditioner? Whether it’s in your home or your business, you and your guests deserve to be comfortable! Chance Kamp and Bryan Bellamy’s team at All Out A/C and Heating, our local “Full System Replacement Specialists” are honored to be named 2012 BBB Award of Excellence - Winners of Distinction. “As a local business, we love working with other local businesses like Bullpen Pizza at 14019 Southwest Freeway Sugar Land Texas,” says Bryan. “We’re committed to providing affordable value with low prices and service that goes above and beyond! We can keep your current systems running at its best or switch you to a new system with better SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). You can make your customers (and employees) more comfortable...and save on your bottom line, too!”


When you’re a restaurant owner, you’re only happy if your guests are happy. Once All Out had our A/C running well, I started looking forward to getting customer feedback.

626 Highway 90A, Richmond, TX 77406

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My Message to Other Women




Dr. Clive Shkedy Radiation Oncologist

Dr. Pierre Chevray Reconstructive Surgeon

Dr. Deanna McDonald OB/GYN

Joan Yanker Breast Cancer Survivor

Dr. Sandra Templeton Breast Surgeon

Dr. Jorge Darcourt Oncologist

Dr. Stephen Phillips Breast Radiologist

I am so thankful that somethIng kept tellIng me to schedule my well-woman exam ImmedIately. On a busy summer day while out running errands, I found myself near

my OB/GYN's office. A little voice in my head told me to go in and make an appointment now, and I am so glad I did. During my annual well-woman exam, my physician found a lump in my breast and scheduled my mammogram immediately. I was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer. Within days, I had an entire team of specialists working together to provide state-of-the-art diagnostic services, surgery, radiation treatment and chemotherapy—all close to home. Thanks to my breast cancer care team, and the compassionate care I received at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, today I am cancer-free!

Don’t put it off…call today and schedule your annual exam and mammogram. — Joan Yanker, Breast Cancer Survivor This is the Methodist level of cancer care—from diagnosis to survival, where leading technology and compassion—are leading to a cure. To speak with Joan Yanker about her experiences—or for more information about the comprehensive breast cancer services offered only at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital—call 281-242-CURE (2873). To schedule your mammogram, please call 281-242-PINK (7465).

Breast Center

Schedule your mammogram at the Sugar Plum Market November 1, 2 & 3

16655 Southwest Freeway Sugar Land, TX 77479 281-242-PINK (7465)

UpClose Magazine  

A fun lifestyle magazine for Sugar Land, Texas and surrounding areas.

UpClose Magazine  

A fun lifestyle magazine for Sugar Land, Texas and surrounding areas.