Fulshear Living August 2021
Author on a Mission
Shay Abigail introduces ‘Maya’
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Contents & Staff Fulshear Living
Shay Abigail is dedicated to changing perspectives about the different ways people communicate.
7 IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Getting to know Amber Leung and her love for things that slither.
9 TALK OF THE TOWN
Katy Christian Ministries sets its annual gala goal.
16 ARTS &
Calvary EP wows the audience with ‘Little Mermaid’ performance.
Could getting sick harm your heart?
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HER NAME IS SHAY
and she’s changing perspectives about ASL and the Deaf community story by MARQUITA GRIFFIN | firstname.lastname@example.org
he primary source of apprehension for budding author Shay Abigail was seemingly a common one — reader reaction. She worked hard to make sure the work she released into the world was one void of assumptions and misunderstandings. The story needed to be written right, from the correct perspective, with the appropriate tone and goal. So, when 22-year-old Abigail first thought about reader reaction, that’s when trepidation began to settle in. “The most difficult part about writing this story was thinking about how I would be viewed by the Deaf community,” she said earnestly. “As a hearing person, I do not want to give the impression that I know everything about ASL or the deafness,” said Abigail, explaining her approach to writing her first book, My Name Is Maya, a story about a girl with a hearing difference. “My goal is to guide those interested in ASL and the Deaf community to learn from deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.” “She shares with the reader how she communicates differently, but that does not make her sad or scary,”Abigail explained.“Maya encourages the reader to focus on the things she can do rather than focus on her deafness.” Changing the perspective about disabilities is at the core of her debut novel because “children with disabilities or a diagnosis can feel negatively affected by a label, and that affects the way they see themselves,”Abigail said. “I wanted this character to have self-confidence and see herself as worthy, not less than,” she continued. “Maya talks about how her inability to hear does not mean she is incapable of being a good sister, student, or having a future career. I think that is something we can all relate to — there may be something in our lives that we struggle with or are unable to do, but we adapt and find a way to succeed.” Throughout the process of completing her first book, Abigail remained true to her initial motivation with the character of Maya. The book, she decided, must reflect a deaf character, championed in a positive light. Maya would be a character that exhibited inspiration, mirth, and inclusion — not a character shrouded in pity or shame. My Name is Maya may be her first book and is holding her attention at the moment, but Abigail said she has “every intention to write more children’s books that focus on diversity, acceptance, and inclusion.” Abigail stressed that although her work is classified as a children’s book, that does not mean only little ones can benefit from the message within. “I wrote the story with both children and adults in mind. I wrote [it] for readers of all ages and abilities. It is a story about diversity and inclusion that readers big and small can enjoy,” she said. “Children can struggle with the idea of disabilities, and I wanted to write something that would promote inclusion by
showing that Maya is still a kid, even though she uses a different means of communication.” TEACHING, TOO After moving from Fulshear to Beaumont, Texas to attend Lamar University, Abigail majored in American Sign Language with a dual focus in interpreting and teaching. It was a summer camp for children with disabilities that ignited Abigail’s enthusiasm for ASL, though. She volunteered at the camp as a high schooler, and that is when she set her sights on a new purpose. “I always wanted to pursue a career in the arts — dance, theatre, acting, modeling — but my camp experience completely shifted my career path,”Abigail said. Come the fall, she will begin teaching at an elementary school, instructing students who are deaf disabled. “I am going into Deaf and Special Education in hopes to provide communication access and a language-rich environment in the classroom,” she said. “I want my students to feel accepted in a world that favors the able-bodied.”
Author Shay Abigail with her first work “My Name is Maya” available at www.andonthisfarmbooks.com. The site is features updates about Abigail’s future publications as well as links to helpful resources.
Continued on page 11
To Follow and Learn More About Shay Abigail, or to Purchase a Copy of Her Book www.andonthisfarmbooks.com
6 • Fulshear Living Monthly • August 2021
In The Spotlight
Amber Leung: The Snake Charmer shares her love for things that slither story and photos by SCOTT REESE WILLEY | email@example.com
mber Leung of Fulshear isn’t exactly the snake whisperer, but neighbors have discovered she’s the person to turn to when they find something wriggling and hissing on their lawns. For good reason: As educational animal coordinator at the Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition, she has plenty of experience with reptiles of all sorts. Last week she was summoned by a neighbor to remove a diamondback water snake. She “re-housed” the snake far from development. Earlier in June, she picked up some cottonmouths from a neighbor’s yard and in May rescued a diamondback water snake in another neighbor’s yard. She’s so reliable that she was nominated “Neighbor of the Month” by the Cross Creek Ranch subdivision. “Amber is our resident snake-identifier,” said Wendy Teoh-Chung, who nominated Amber for the honor. “She identifies snakes that residents post and re-homes them. She also educates us as to which of them are safe or dangerous.” Below is a Q&A session about Amber’s fascination with wildlife and all things that slither: How do you pronounce your last name? Ley-erng (one syllable) How old are you? Two kids, right? Your husband is an architect or engineer, correct? I’m 37, with one 7-year-old and one 2-month-old daughter. My husband is an engineer and a physical oceanographer. Where did you grow up? Where did you graduate from? I grew up in Austin and graduated in 2002 from Westwood High School. Then moved to the Houston region to attend A&M in Galveston. Did you go to college? If so, what did you study and what is your degree in? I earned a Bachelor of Science in Marine Sciences from A&M in Galveston. It was a general science degree, but I stuffed it with as much biology as I could, of course. Where have you worked in the past? I remember you worked at the AgriLife Extension Service in Fort Bend County, correct? But as what? What was your job? I was the 4-H Program Coordinator at the Fort Bend Agrilife Extension where I assisted the Agrilife agents with 4-H events and educational programs. Where else have you worked? I started at Fugro-McClelland Marine Geosciences, an engineering company, and often worked offshore doing soil sampling and testing in the Gulf of Mexico for nearly four years. After that, I worked for Geotrace as a geophysicist until an oil and gas downturn led to mass layoffs. I was never satisfied in that industry, so I became a full-time volunteer as a Texas Master Naturalist and eventually was voted in as the President of our local Coastal Prairie Chapter.
mber Leung of Fulshear, the educational animal coordinator at the Texas A Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Houston, shows off JJ Watt, a 7-foot long bullsnake. JJ is the “Star of the show” when TWRC educates the public, Amber said.
Your present occupation and title? I’m now the Education Animal Coordinator for the TWRC Wildlife Center in Houston. I manage the care for our team of animal ambassadors and I’m working to expand our education efforts for the Houston region.The team includes an Eastern screech owl, Virginia opossum, bullsnake, Great Plains rat snake, Western hognose snake, three-toed box turtles,Texas tortoise, and a cane toad.We’re available for in-person and remote presentations to schools and groups of all sorts! Have you been interested in wildlife all your life? Tell me about it? Yes, I have always adored native Texas wildlife and the outdoors in general. We spent many family trips in state parks and West Texas when I was young. I was raised with a reptile-loving dad and sibling, so I never learned a strong fear (although my mom was terrified),” she recalled.“Spiders were another story, I had to work on that phobia as an adult. I now can occupy the same room peacefully, but I’d prefer not to be surprised by a big one at close quarters! (Remind me sometime to tell you about the giant golden orb weavers in the nature preserve in Hong Kong, sitting on webs 5 feet across, though.)” As a young girl did you play with snakes and other reptiles? Yes, my sibling and I were taught from a young age to love (and yes, catch) all manner of snakes and lizards when we were growing up, much to our mother’s discomfort! Have you ever been bitten by the snakes you’ve handled? “I’ve been nipped by plenty of nonvenomous snakes, they’re not a big deal— much less harmful than a dog or cat bite by far because they have tiny little teeth,” she said. “I’ve never been bitten by a venomous snake and I will preferably keep it that way by being extremely careful and avoiding risky situations.” Share your enthusiasm with snakes with our readers? We all know they are not the favorites of most folks, but snakes play a vital role in protecting us from serious diseases.
• Fulshear Living Monthly • 7
Various species help control anything from garden pest slugs and bugs, up to disease-spreading mice and rats.An important part of my work is to help people find ways to coexist with native wildlife. Even the ones that aren’t furry and cute have beneficial roles to play for all of us. Snakes are often killed out of fear, disgust, or the intent to protect kids and pets. This is not always necessary, though. I’m most often called to remove harmless species misidentified as venomous.A quick guide to identifying common venomous and harmless species can be found on the TWRC website: www.twrcwildlifecenter.org/snakes-onthe-move Are you sharing this same enthusiasm with your daughter? Yes, I tried to teach her respect and love for wild creatures, instead of fear. I grew up with a terror of spiders that I was careful not to pass on. Now, I think I shared it almost too well because she thinks every movie monster is adorable! However, I was very careful to teach her important safety rules to look at and not touch.
The mother of two shares her love of the outdoors and wildlife with her oldest child, Valerie, at the Cross Creek Ranch neighborhood polishing pond in Fulshear.
What does she think of mommy handling snakes? She is very proud, but sometimes a little anxious that the snake could bite me. I explained to her that nonvenomous snake bites are far less painful than a dog or cat bite, barely worse than a minor scrape. I’m extremely cautious with venomous snakes and avoid putting myself in risky situations. So, you guys moved to Fulshear, correct? What was the subdivision again? Cross Creek Ranch, where I help out as a volunteer neighborhood snake catcher. Since you’ve been there, word has gotten around that you are the one to contact if someone spots snakes and other wildlife in the area, correct? Yes, my phone number seems to be circulating amongst the neighbors, alternatively, they also reach out over social media. I’m often running out after family time in the evenings to help a neighbor out with a snake, or fielding questions about other wildlife issues and directing them to the wildlife rehab. And you go out and catch them and release them into the wild? Yes, I catch various snakes (sometimes venomous), show them to the families,inviting them to touch and even hold them (nonvenomous only).After giving an educational talk to the family, I take the snake and release it elsewhere. If it is venomous, I take it away from
8 • Fulshear Living Monthly • August 2021
neighborhoods to release it into a suitable habitat. Not always, I understand, but sometimes people bring injured wildlife to you? And you take it to the center for rehab? Occasionally, I give advice to neighbors with injured or orphaned wildlife, and sometimes I’m able to transport an animal to the wildlife rehab. You’re an amateur photographer (who I would consider professional). You’ve taught classes in wildlife photography and astrophotography. What about snake and reptile photography? The cottonmouth later posed for a Amber shows off a diamondback photography session before I drove it water snake who overstayed his welcome at a neighbor’s away from the neighborhood for release. home. Contrary to popular myth, cottonmouths do not aggressively chase people.Their brains are so simple that they sometimes appear to approach people because they are standing in their path of escape. I have accidentally stepped directly over them and discovered it when the snake fled at top speed from between my feet.They are just fearful wild animals that see us as predators. Do you get paid for responding to calls for help from scared neighbors? Sometimes people try to pay me for snake help. I refuse to take anything but people can help support the TWRC by booking an educational program or donating if they like. What do you think about your neighbors nominating you for the Neighbor of the Month Award? Honestly, I’m just a nature nerd doing what I love, but the appreciation is gladly accepted. Amber says TWRC provides classroom instruction about wildlife all over the Greater Houston Area, including Fort Bend County. In the past, TWRC representatives have held educational seminars at the Fort Bend County Youth Livestock Show. For more information visit www.twrcwildlifecenter.org/.
Amber Leung re-housed this Amber holds an eastern screech owl cottonmouth to a location away from named Iris. The owl was born without humans. the use of one eye, and its mom may well have tossed it out of the nest because of its deformity, which is how Iris ended up at the TWRC wildlife center.
In & Around Fulshear Katy Christian Ministries sets a $125K goal for annual gala
fter adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic and hosting a virtual gala in 2020, Katy Christian Ministries announced its annual gala will return to an in-person format for the 2021 edition. The 17th Annual KCM Transforming Lives Gala will be hosted at Palacio Maria in Katy, on Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. Detail on individual tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available at ktcm.org/gala. According to ministry officials, the gala is KCM’s largest fundraiser of the year, and it directly supports the work of the ministry. to support the work of the ministry. Funds generated from events like the annual gala are critical to the financial health of the ministry and go a long way in helping operations and programs, said KCM officials. Between the food pantry, crisis center, and social services department, every branch of the ministry benefits positively from the gala. This year’s gala has a goal of raising $125,000. The United Way of Greater Houston stated that in 2020 its 211 Hotline made 8,152 referrals to KCM from Jan. 2020 to Jan. 2021. The ministry has been able to provide over 1.7 million pounds of food to the community, assist 16,296 families with social services, and helped 2,396 victims of domestic violence and/or sexual abuse through the ministry’s Crisis Center. Even through the worst of the pandemic, KCM kept its doors open to provide continued support, officials said in a release.
KCM Executive Director Deysi KCM Board President Patti Lacy poses for a Crespo gives a speech to the photo with her husband, Bill Lacy, during the crowd at the 2018 KCM gala. 2018 KCM Gala.
Guests enjoy their dinner during the 2018 KCM Gala.
THE FESTIVITIES Acting as the Master of Ceremonies for the 17th Annual Gala will be Judge Glenn Beckendorff. Judge Beckendorff served as Waller County Judge from January 2011 through December 2014. He also served on the Katy ISD Board of Trustees in the early 80s. Judge Beckendorff is a longtime KCM supporter and has previously served as the MC of the KCM Gala. “We are delighted to have him return in the role and for the energy he brings to the event,” the nonprofit said in a release. Guest can anticipate an enjoyable meal surrounded by friends, a night of entertainment, words from KCM Executive Director Deysi Crespo and KCM Board President Patti Lacy, and a story of impact from a former KCM client. Beyond the entertainment and food, a silent and live auction is also being prepared for the events. Silent Auction items will be made viewable before the event via the auction website ReadySetAuction which is accessible via ktcm.org/gala. Executive Director Crespo, for one, is excited to return to the traditional gala format. “After holding last year’s gala to a virtual setting, I am simply overjoyed to return to our traditional format and sit alongside our friends and family in the community,” Crespo said.“Our work is made possible because of our neighbors’ selflessness, and I can’t wait to be next to you once again. Your support over the last year has been beyond inspiring. The love that we have been shown by our friends in Katy inspired us to grow and reach heights that we never dreamed of. The gala is an opportunity to thank those that helped us reach this point and blaze an ambitious trail for the future.” About Katy Christian Ministries Katy Christian Ministries is a Social Services 501(c)3 organization that has been serving local families for 37 years. Born during a time of financial recession and the need for services to families struggling financially, KCM has grown to include a holistic model of services to families in need, helping them regain hope and self-sufficiency. More info can be found at www.ktcm.org.
Fort Bend Junior Service League donates $165,700
ollowing the conclusion of its 2020-2021 year, the Fort Bend Junior Service League announced “despite the challenges presented during the pandemic” it granted $165,700 to the Fort Bend community this year. The Fort Bend Junior Service League is an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving the Fort Bend County community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Proceeds raised from its annual Sugar Plum Market allowed FBJSL to financially support several Fort Bend charities and recipients. In April the league distributed $6,000 in the form of Volunteer Scholarships to six high school graduates with outstanding achievement in volunteerism and community service; throughout the year $21,700 was distributed in the form of Community Assistant Fund grants to 10 charities, and in December $138,000
• Fulshear Living Monthly • 9
was distributed in the form of Event Beneficiary funding to 19 agencies that align with the league’s mission and approach. Proceeds from various events and fundraisers have made it possible for FBJSL to donate more than $4.5 million to nonprofit agencies in the Fort Bend community since its inception in 2001. NEW BOARD & NEW MEMBERSHIP DRIVE The Fort Bend Junior Service League also recently introduced its 2021-2022 board of directors and proudly explained it features a combined 72 years of service with the league. The incoming board members began their term on June 1. “I’m excited and honored to lead an organization of wonderful women dedicated to service,” said Heather Allen, FBJSL President. “This year’s board is committed to supporting FBJSL’s mission while promoting leadership and philanthropy through its members. FBJSL looks forward to continuing our volunteer efforts with our community partners. Our purpose is exclusively educational and charitable as well as providing an atmosphere of friendliness, goodwill, and camaraderie for all members.” The annual FBJSL membership drive is currently underway. Information about the meeting dates and times will be available on the league’s Facebook page (@FortBendJuniorServiceLeague). Prospective members may also contact Jessica Gregory, the Director of New Members, at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the league, visit www.fbjsl.org.
From left, the 2020-2021 Beneficiary Review Committee: front row: Courtney Clarke, Diane Molina, LaQuita Starr, Katara Goings, and Lori Gier; back row: Jennifer Bombach, Misty Gasiorowski, Lori Gorewitz, and Heather Allen.
From left: front row; Karen Dulyunan-Director of Technology, Heather BrownSugar Plum Market Liaison, Heather Allen-President, Colleen Fox-Past President, Jessica Gregory-Director of New Members; back row: Kelly EvansTreasurer, Brandy Edwards-Secretary, Sarah Kuehl-Director of Public Relations, Katara Goings-Vice President, Stacy Roncal-Director of Community Service, Tanesha Mosley-President Elect (Not photographed, Kimberly Camp-Director of Membership).
10 • Fulshear Living Monthly • August 2021
Back where it belongs: badge returned after 42 years story and photo by SCOTT REESE WILLEY | email@example.com
ichmond attor ne y Larry McDougal Sr. was a young deputy working for the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office in 1979 when he attempted to serve an outstanding warrant on a fellow wanted by authorities. The man didn’t want to be arrested. A scuffle ensued. Later, while booking the man in at the jailhouse, a fe l l o w o f f i c e r n o t i c e d Richmond attorney Larry McDougal Sr. shows off a badge he once wore as a M c D o u g a l ’s b a d ge wa s deputy sheriff in Fort Bend County. The missing. badge was ripped off his uniform in 1979 “My badge had been torn during a scuffle. off my uniform during the fight,” McDougal recalled. “I went back to look for it but couldn’t find it. I figured the man’s family had picked it up.” On June 10, 42 years later, McDougal got a phone call from Dennis Cameron of Austin. “Dennis found my lost badge in a resale shop and asked me about my badge,” McDougal recalled. “On June 22, 2021, my original Fort Bend County badge arrived in the mail.” McDougal’s name and Larry McDougal when he was a Fort Bend driver’s license number were County sheriff’s deputy. inscribed on the inside of the badge. However, after 42 years, the inscription etched into the badge by an electronic pen is barely visible. Dennis didn’t notice the writing on the inside but his daughter did. She told him,“You need to call that guy and tell him you have his badge. He may want it back,’ and he did. Out of the blue, I got a call from this guy who told me how he found my badge in a resale shop or something like that and he said he was mailing it to me. My badge found its way back home after almost 43 years.” McDougal said he knew immediately the badge was the one ripped from his uniform all those years ago. “When you have a badge torn off your uniform during a fight you tend to remember it,” he said.“Besides, back then, we had to buy our own badges. So I had to buy a replacement badge. How many hands has the badge passed through over the past four decades, he ponders? McDougal started working for the sheriff’s office in 1978 before transferring to Stafford PD in 1981. Next, he went to work at Rosenberg PD while studying law.
Continued from page 11
MARQUITA GRIFFIN: What drew you to become an author? How long have you been writing? SHAY ABIGAIL: I have always been creative, but I did not use writing as my medium until Maya. The book came about when I was assigned an end-of-year project for a Deaf Education class in college. I could have made a pamphlet or a poster, but I wanted to make something engaging that I would want to read. My final product involved clip art photos pasted onto colorful construction pages strung together. My mom, who wrote a children’s book herself, read it and encouraged me to pursue publication of my work. The process of getting my construction paper creation to a physical children’s book took about three years. It was an exhausting process, but I wanted to make sure that I was being purposeful with my work.
SA: The most rewarding moment for me was getting to hold the book in my hands for the first time. I still have the original copy that I wrote for my college final project, and to see the two next to each other was astonishing. MG: What are your hopes for your book, and those who read it? SA: I hope the reader is enlightened by Maya’s story and encouraged to learn more about ASL and the (D)deaf community. MG: With one work complete, what’s the next step? Another book? Another project? SA: Definitely another book! Stay tuned.
MG: Who did you write this book for? Who would most enjoy this book? SA: I wrote this book for readers of all ages and abilities. Maya is written primarily for early childhood through elementary age. I feel like this book characterizes Maya as a typical silly, fun-loving child who is upfront about her disability but does not let it stop her from making friends with anyone who sees her as the superhero she is. MG: You told me what you considered to be the most difficult part of writing your first book — concern over reader reaction from the Deaf community — but what was the most rewarding part of this experience?
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After Rosenberg, he went to work for Harris County as an investigator and prosecutor before going back to work for Rosenberg PD. While serving the city of Rosenberg as a police officer, he opened his law practice. Next, he went to work for Danbury PD so he could avoid any conflicts of interest should he have any dealings with one of his clients while wearing a Rosenberg PD uniform. He attempted to retire from law enforcement in 2006 but was enticed to go to work for Aldine ISD PD and later ColumbiaBrazoria ISD’s police force. He finally retired from law enforcement in 2018. In 2020-2021, he served as president of the State Bar of Texas. McDougal said he remembered his missing badge every now and then, and never lost another one. “I’ll keep a close eye on it from now on,” he said. “I won’t lose it a second time.”
FBC Heritage Museum displays the county’s past, present Black history story & photos by CHAD WASHINGTON | firstname.lastname@example.org
22 cadets graduate academy
hile watching the start of their new career, Sheriff Eric Fagan congratulated 22 Gus George Law Enforcement Academy Cadets of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office Basic Peace Officer Licensing Course, Class No. 42. These Cadets graduated on June 25 during commencement exercises at GGLEA. The GGLEA prepares cadets to begin a career in law enforcement by teaching the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Basic Peace Officer Certification Course. The GGLEA Cadets completed a rigorous six-month schedule of classroom instruction, training, and physical assessments. “We’re proud to have had a hand in shaping the careers of these new peace officers,” Fagan said. “We welcome these men and women to the law enforcement family.”
Visit www.fbcsheriff.org to learn more about law enforcement education and career opportunities at the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. Pictured, from left, top row: Capt. Gregory Johnson, Sgt. Casey Schmidt, Oscar Pedraza, Timothy McCurdy, Stephen Wolff, Branson Audette, Thomas Quinn, Robert Coronado, Carlos Pocasangre III, Michael Citizen, Lt. Jacob David Bentley, and Sgt. Jacob Robbins. Middle row, from left, are Fabbian Pearson, Carlos Viola Miranda, Jeremy Cruz, Hunter Honish, Emma Supernaw, Jacob Denby, Jaylin Brown-Johnson, Shou-En Lee, and Sheriff Eric Fagan; bottom row: Sgt. Carlos Castillo, Daedrie Gayle, Heather Christian, Kevin Dominguez, Carlos Jaramillo, Jerrell Scott Sr. and April Zimmerman.
12 • Fulshear Living Monthly • August 2021
Photos of George Floyd and the protests following his death hang in the FBC Heritage Unlimited Museum.
ven though the two little houses in Kendleton have more than enough pictures and artifacts, in a room in the back, there are more artifacts being added about the current history of AfricanAmericans. The FBC Heritage Unlimited Museum has plenty of artifacts that show the different parts of African-Americans throughout Fort Bend County. But that history continues to grow as more discoveries of African-American history continue to be unearthed in the county. It began with the discovery of the Sugar Land 95 in 2018, the remains of Black convicts who worked on a farm as part of Texas’ convict-leasing system, the state’s program that was used after slavery was outlawed in the late 1800s. Then the controversy over the Jaybird monument in downtown Richmond last year, which serves as a reminder of how Fort Bend County worked to keep Blacks from holding county offices from the 1890s to the 1950s. “We began (the museum) more focused as a county and a community museum. But now, we are focusing on a people,” Mable Huff-York, one of the main curators of the museum, said.“And that’s to show our young people what our forefathers and beyond had to go through to get to where we are, which is not far enough.” As the county becomes more diverse over the years, the museum is looking to be a more influential place for younger African-Americans to learn about their history.
A couple of vintage military uniforms and a poster of President Barack Obama are all part of the museum’s collection.
Franklyn Crump, one of the workers at the museum, says that young Blacks don’t get a clear picture of their history in the U.S., and the museum can help. “What we’re trying to do is educate young Black people so it doesn’t happen again, what happened to George Floyd and Trayvon Martin,” Crump said.“We have to educate them because that could all happen in Fort Bend County.” COVID-19 had forced the museum closed for public tours, but as the pandemic is nearing its end,the FBC Heritage Museum is back in business. The museum has been open since 2005, with several exhibits showing the tales of Blacks living in Fort Bend, from working the cotton fields to serving in the military, lasting to 1965. And now, the museum is working on other big events that have happened or galvanized over the past year, from the death of Houston native George Floyd to the legacy of the late civil rights activist John Lewis, to pictures chronicling the race riots in Tulsa, Okla., that killed hundreds of African-Americans in 1921. “It’s hard to keep up with because we have to run around and gather lots of information,” Huff-York said. With so much racial reckoning happening in the past year, it is more important to learn about things that happen outside of the county, according to curator Kathryn Ford. “What happens in other states and areas, it happens to all of us, regardless of where we are and where we came from,” Ford said. The FBC Heritage Unlimited Museum is located on 630 Charlie Roberts Lane in Kendleton, right across from Bates Allen Park. It is open Wednesdays through Fridays from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, visit www.fbcheritage.org.
A reconstruction of a church and two A few members of the museum crew are mannequins with clothes from the Mable Huff-York, Katheryn Ford, and Franklyn 1940s. Crump.
The FBC Heritage Unlimited Museum has a wall dedicated to African-American military veterans and current military from Fort Bend County.
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• Fulshear Living Monthly • 13
Gardening What is Eating My Plants?
story and photo by CHRIS TAYLOR| Fort Bend County Master Gardener What is eating my plants? his is a somewhat openended question that has many different possibilities. From insects to birds to animals, there is a wide range of critters that feast on our plants. But, perhaps one of the most pervasive of these critters is the Cottontail rabbit. [Read: “Controlling Cottontail and Jackrabbit Damage” Figure 1: A clean-cut Lantana stem. at agrilifeextension.tamu.edu]. In my subdivision, we have a seemingly steady crop of rabbits in our area at all times. Since they are voracious eaters and can do extensive damage to our gardens and flowerbeds, I would like to address some of the ways in which to limit the damage. Completely eliminating their presence is a very tough task. Cottontails have their signature cotton-ball for a tail.They prefer an environment that provides them shelter in which to hide. They will feed on a wide variety of vegetation, but their preference is green vegetation (new plant shoots). Plant damage Around my neighborhood, rabbits are usually seen eating grass, and sometimes, plants.They have very sharp teeth because they leave a clean, sharp cut on plant stems. Figure 1 is a photo of a Lantana plant in my flowerbed. Notice the sharply cut stem. At my home, they tend to prefer my Lantana and Plumbago plants. So, what can we do? I consulted the Old Farmers Almanac [Read: “Rabbits: How to Identify and Get Rid of Rabbits” at www.almanac.com/pest/rabbits ) along with the Texas A&M Agrilife article on ways to get rid of rabbits, or perhaps, just minimize the damage. I refer you to this article for more details of the various things to sprinkle, spray or place in your gardens to slow the rabbits down. Some of their proposed techniques seem a bit strange but may work. With the frequent downpours that we have in Fort Bend County, it could be difficult to keep these applications on your plants. Some of their methods include: • Rabbits have a keen sense of smell and appear to dislike the following smells – dried sulfur, onion, garlic, red pepper and even, shavings of Irish Springs soap placed in small bags throughout the garden.These should be sprinkled throughout the garden. • Commercial products are available as well.They are often sold as Rabbit and Deer Repellent.
• Eliminate all possible hiding places for them. Rabbits need shelter such as brush piles, burrows, or bushes in order to hide from predators. Our area is frequented by hawks looking for rabbits and other small prey. Removing their hiding places may force them to go to other areas. • However,the most reliable method appears to simply put chickenwire fencing around your plants to create a physical barrier between the rabbits and your plant. Several of my neighbors have done this and it seems to work. At the same time, the fencing needs to be discreet. This topic is starting to become an issue for our Home Owner’s Association (HOA) and their regulations, so be sure to check with them before installing any fencing. All of these are techniques that may help you to keep the rabbits from eating your plants. While we may not be able to eliminate the rabbits, we may be able to slow them down a little. Happy Gardening! Fort Bend County Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who assist Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in educating the community using research-based horticultural information.
Libraries host online gardening program on lawn care
ort Bend County Libraries will present an online gardening program, “Understanding the Lawn,” on Tuesday, August 24, beginning at 2 p.m. Part 5 of the Texas AgriLife Extension Office’s Landscape Success series for homeowners, this program will be livestreamed via Webex; it will not be in person. James (Boone) Holladay, County Extension Agent with the Texas AgriLife Extension Office in Fort Bend County, will provide an overview of turf-management techniques for maintaining healthy and attractive dense lawns and landscapes. Hear about the optimum sunlight needs of different varieties of grasses, as well as nutrient requirements and types of fertilizers. Holladay will also talk about common pests and diseases that affect lawns in this region and how to combat them. Discover ground-cover options that can serve as alternatives to grass. Holladay received his undergraduate degree in Horticulture from Stephen F. Austin State University and his graduate degree in Agricultural Education from Texas A&M University. The program is free and open to the public. Registration is required for the program so that a link to the Webex session can be emailed to all who register. To register online at the library’s website (www. fortbend.lib.tx.us),click on“Classes & Events,”select“Virtual Programs,” and find the program on the date indicated. Participants may also register by calling Fort Bend County Libraries’ Communications Office at 281-633-4734.
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Arts & Entertainment CEP’s Little Mermaid a hit with audience and students alike
by KRISTA KUPERUS | Calvary Episcopal Preparatory
he sixth annual Calvary Episcopal Drama Club musical performance of “The Little Mermaid Jr.” featured amazing costumes, sets, and production numbers. Directed by Mr. Hunter Baen, this all-volunteer endeavor of parents and teachers comes together to create a one-of-a-kind, school-based production. Students in Kindergarten through third grade auditioned and prepared for a spectacular choral performance of the “Little Mermaid, Jr.” Likewise, 4th – 12th-grade students awed the audience with an allencompassing show. Calvary Episcopal performances have a studentmanaged tech crew, which are in charge of set changes, lights, and music queues. Meanwhile, on stage, students met the challenge of telling the “under the sea” story of Ariel. Students are already looking forward to next year’s production.
Julia Jones as Ariel meeting Prince Eric, portrayed by Kaden Jones
Olivia Facker as Ariel
Donnie Fondon portraying King Triton
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Dori Soward as Ariel, listening to the mersisters sing “She’s in Love” left to right (from Ariel) Elizabeth Yates, Cora Kuperus, Sloan Johnston, Olivia Kocian, Samantha Schmid, Kaylee Hillis, Lola Perches, Joslin Stavinoha, Aubree Kuperus and Madison Trinh
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Libraries resume in-person family storytime
ort Bend County Libraries will resume in-person Family Story Time during the week of August 17-19. During Family Story Time, families with children of all ages will enjoy stories, songs, and action rhymes. Every week, each library will feature a different theme, and all sessions during the week will consist of the same stories and activities for that theme at that location. Each library features a different weekly theme. Craft packets will be given out at the end of each program, so that children may take them home to enjoy. These libraries will have Family StoryTime onTuesdays,Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 10:15 am: Sienna Branch, First Colony Branch, and Mission Bend Branch. The Missouri City Branch will have Family Story Time on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:15 am. George Memorial Library and the Albert George Branch will have Family Story Time on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10:15 am. The University Branch will have Family Story Time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 10:30 am. The Sugar Land Branch will have Family Story Time on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30 am. The Bob Lutts Fulshear/Simonton Branch will have Family Story Time on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:30 am. The Cinco Ranch Branch will have Family Story Time at 10:15 am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and at 11:30 am on Wednesdays and Thursdays. These programs are free and open to the public.Activities will not take place during the first two weeks of August. For more information, see the Fort Bend County Libraries website (www.fortbend.lib.tx.us), or call the library system’s Communications Office (281-633-4734).
Clever and quirky crafts to try today
eing forced to spend more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic has led enterprising individuals to seek ways to pass the time. Is it any wonder that creative pursuits have become so popular over the last year? Crafting can help people fill their time, reduce stress, inspire new relationships,and serve as a source of pride when an item is handmade from start to finish. In an online study published in the British Journal of Occupational
Therapy that surveyed 3,500 knitters, respondents felt there was a relationship between knitting frequency and feeling calm. Experts surmise that the rhythmic, repetitive movements and focused attention of certain crafts might produce a calming effect, not unlike meditation. Crafting helps exercise several areas of the brain, including those responsible for problem-solving, creativity, and concentration, states Craft Courses, an online crafting course company. The following are some unique crafts for those looking for something new. • Quilling:This craft also goes by the name paper filigree. It involves twisting, rolling, or looping thin strips of paper and then gluing them together to make designs.They can adorn the outside of homemade cards, or be attached to the stock and then framed. • Decoupage: Another papercraft, this one involves sticking small pieces of paper of any kind to another item and then coating the object with varnish. Just about anything can be improved and customized with decoupage. • Marquetry: Marquetry involves applying pieces of wood veneer to a structure to form a decorative pattern or picture.Think of it as paintby-number but with wood veneer.The technique often is applied to small objects or furniture. • Bead crochet: Crochet artists may want to take their crafting up a notch with bead crochet, which incorporates beaded string or yarn into a crocheted item. • Water marbling:Water marbling is a unique craft that produces a different result each time it is done.The crafter fills a tub roughly two-
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• Fulshear Living Monthly • 17
On The Fort Bend Scene
Coffee with a Cop held for 1st time since 2019 photos by AVERIL GLEASON
Richmond PD held its first Coffee with Officer Steven Rychlik speaks with the Richmond police officer Diana Butinski 1Connie a Cop event June 16, 2021. Pictured are 3Castillo family at Coffee with a Cop. Listening 5talks with resident Barbara Johnson at the Osborne, Lieutenant of Professional to one of his stories is 6-year-old Joshua. department’s Coffee with a Cop. Development Lowell D. Neinast and Alex Fort Bend County Treasurer Bill Rickert Richmond police officers and residents filled Chadwell. popped in for Coffee with a Cop. To his left is 6Tejas Mexican Grill for Coffee with a Cop. 4 police officer Vern Horelica proudly officer Vladimir Golovine. 2Richmond shows off his glass of milk.
18 • Fulshear Living Monthly • August 2021
Continued from page 17 thirds full of water, adds a special chemical to allow oils to float on the water’s surface, then drops different colors of oil-based paint onto the water.The colors can be swirled and manipulated.A paper or piece of canvas is then placed on the surface of the water so that the design can transfer onto the material. • Pyrography: Pyrography involves using a heating source and burning designs into a piece of wood.The term means “writing with fire.”
The benefits of crossword puzzles
rossword puzzles are one of the most popular pastimes in the world. Crosswords are square grids made up of white- and blackshaded squares.The goal is to fill in all of the letters to form words and phrases that work both vertically and horizontally. The grid varies based on the country of origin. Certain grids also have 180-degree rotational symmetry so that the pattern appears the same if the paper is turned upside down. Historians are uncertain about who created the world’s first crossword puzzle, although it is believed to be something that originated in the 19th or early 20th century.Arthur Wynne, a journalist from Liverpool, England, published a word-cross puzzle in the New York World that had many of the features of the modern game, and the crossword is frequently attributed to Wynne. Even though crossword puzzles have been entertaining and helping
people pass the time for more than 100 years, the benefits of crosswords go beyond boredom-busting.Various studies have shown the positive effects crossword puzzles can have on a person’s brain and capacity to learn. • Improve vocabulary: Crossword puzzles introduce players to new words. And players may learn some interesting facts about various subjects simply by filling in crosswords correctly. • Strengthens memory: The more frequently participants engage with word puzzles, the better they can perform tasks that measure attention, reasoning, and memory, according to a study from the University of Exeter Medical School and Kings College London.The study found people who play crosswords have brain function equivalent to those 10 years younger than their actual age. • Improve socialization: Crossword puzzles can help you connect socially with others who also play crossword puzzles. Solving a puzzle together as a group is a fine way to connect and meet new people. • Help relieve stress: Crossword puzzles can engage the brain and mind, helping direct attention away from stressful situations. Crosswords also provide a way to relax and unwind. • May help prevent brain diseases: According to the Alzheimer’s Association, research indicates keeping the brain active seems to increase its vitality and may build reserves of brain cells and connections. In addition, those who keep their minds active may have lower amounts of a protein that forms beta-amyloid plaques attributed to Alzheimer’s disease. Crossword puzzles can fill empty hours with an entertaining and educational activity. However, there are many other benefits to doing crossword puzzles that may surprise even the most ardent puzzle enthusiasts.
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• Fulshear Living Monthly • 19
On The Fort Bend Scene Seniors welcomed back to Bud O' Shieles Community Center photos by AVERIL GLEASON
Fort Bend Seniors reopened its doors at the Bud O’Shieles Community Center in June for the first time in 15 months. Around 50 senior citizens gathered to play bingo, participate in an exercise program, have a hot meal, and gather socially for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020. Getting off a Fort Bend County transit bus are Maria Elena Salas and Bessie Dacus. Liz Toomie says hello to Thelma Cheaton when she arrives at the community center.
20 • Fulshear Living Monthly • August 2021
Maresh and Kim Matthew sit together for a game of BINGO. 3Keith Ghobrial and Cathy Curtis are overjoyed by the seniors arriving. 4Leah McNeil, Rick Branek and Bob Hebert smile for the re-opening of 5Sandy the community center. Brothers with Fort Bend Seniors, left, welcomes Ana de Miranda 6Shirley back to the Bud O’Shieles Community Center
Health Could Getting Sick Harm Your Heart?
ommon risk factors for cardiovascular disease include high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. But some additional risks to the human heart are hidden and unexpected. One example of this is a viral or bacterial infection that causes an inflammatory response in the body. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association linked infections, such as pneumonia and urinary Tony Lu, M.D. tract infections, to an increased risk of heart attack or stroke within the following three months. “Severe cases of COVID-19 and the flu can also harm the heart and circulatory system,” noted Tony Lu, M.D., board-certified vascular surgeon with Houston Methodist Cardiovascular Surgery Associates at Sugar Land. “The infections increase the risk that fatty plaque built up in the blood vessels will rupture, leading to heart attack or stroke.” Researchers discovered that many people who have died of COVID-19 had formed blood clots throughout their bodies, including in their smallest blood vessels. This unusual clotting
can cause multiple complications, including heart attack and stroke. INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE CAN LEAD TO BLOOD CLOTS “Infections generally trigger an inflammatory reaction in the body,” explained Lu.“Inflammation is the body’s way of signaling the immune system to send infection-fighting cells to the site.” The body activates white blood cell production to help fight the infection, a process that increases the stickiness of platelets. This can lead to the formation of blood clots that could block blood flow to the heart or brain. Experiencing a mild respiratory illness or other infection likely doesn’t pose a significant risk to your heart health. However, the risks go up with serious infections or when a person has underlying health issues or existing heart and vascular conditions. A recent study found that 1 in 8 adults hospitalized with flu experienced a sudden, serious heart complication. TAKE ACTION TO PREVENT ILLNESS Being proactive about health care can help prevent problems likes urinary tract infections, skin infections, respiratory illness and other infections. Bacterial infections may need treatment with an antibiotic, and viral infections may need treatment with an antiviral medication. Lu recommends that patients take the following steps to keep themselves and their families healthy: • Get recommended vaccines • Stay home when sick • Wash hands frequently • Practice social distancing
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• Fulshear Living Monthly • 21
• Wear a cloth mask in public “Getting a flu shot is more important than ever because of COVID-19,” said Lu. “It’s especially important for people with certain underlying health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease and diabetes. People with these conditions are at higher risk of developing serious complications from flu. Many of these conditions also increase the risk for poor outcomes from COVID19.” To make an appointment with Dr. Tony Lu with Houston Methodist Cardiovascular Surgery Associates at Sugar Land or another cardiovascular specialist, visit houstonmethodist.org/spg or call 713-352-1820. To learn more about Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, visit
Robotic-Assisted Hernia Repairs at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital
ou spent the weekend moving furniture — and now something doesn’t feel right. You feel pain or pressure in your lower abdomen or groin and a sensation of heaviness or tugging. Is this what a hernia feels like? A hernia occurs when tissue pushes through a weak spot in the muscular wall. In some cases, a bulge may appear under the skin and grow larger when you lift heavy objects, strain, cough or sneeze. It may diminish when lying Katherine Baxter, MD down or applying gentle pressure. A COMMON PROBLEM FOR MEN “Hernias are common in men over age 40, but they can affect men and women of all ages as well as children,” said Katherine Baxter, M.D., board-certified general surgeon at Houston Methodist Surgical Associates at Sugar Land. There are several different types of hernias:
Inguinal hernias are the most common type of hernia, and they occur more often in men than in women. Inguinal hernias occur when a portion of intestine or internal fat protrudes through a weakness in the abdominal wall in the groin. Hiatal hernias happen when part of the stomach pushes up through the diaphragm into the chest cavity, often causing acid reflux when stomach contents leak into the esophagus. Umbilical hernias are most common in newborns and babies under six months old. Umbilical hernias may appear as a bulge under the navel, and they generally go away by the time a child is one year old. Incisional hernias occur when an internal organ pushes through a weakness in the abdominal wall caused by an incision from a previous surgery. “If you think you may have a hernia, it’s important to see your doctor. Most of the time, hernias do not go away without treatment, and may become dangerous if left untreated,” Baxter said. Generally, a health care provider can diagnose a hernia by touch. If there is no obvious bulge, an imaging test, such as an ultrasound may be used. HERNIA TREATMENT WITH SURGERY Your doctor may recommend surgery to repair the hernia — especially in cases when the hernia is growing larger or causing pain. A hernia may be repaired with open surgery (one large incision), laparoscopic surgery (several small incisions) or robotic-assisted surgery (several small incisions using the da Vinci® Surgical System). “With laparoscopic and robotic-assisted surgery, patients typically benefit from less pain and quicker recovery times compared with open surgery.The surgeon uses a small instrument with a lens or camera on the end to see inside the abdomen and make the repair,” Baxter added. EASE THE PAIN Hernia repair is a low-risk procedure that can relieve your pain so you can get back to your normal activities. To make an appointment with Dr. Katherine Baxter, or another general surgeon at Houston Methodist Surgical Associates at Sugar Land, visit houstonmethodist.org/spg or call 281-275-0860.
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