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Fulshear Living March 2020


One family’s willpower against the obstacles of GNAO1 mutation

celebrates 40 years of service

Police officers praise new autism driver program

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Contents & Staff Fulshear Living

monthly ™

March 2020




As a local nonprofit, Annabelle's Amazing Graces continues to raise funds for GNAO1 mutation research through its annual benefit.



The Fort Bend County Women's Center will celebrate 40 years in the community with "A Journey of Hope."

A new Fair president, summer camps and a new program for drivers with autism.



Fulshear Living


GENERAL MANAGER Lee Hartman leehart@fbherald.com ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR Marquita Griffin mgriffin@fbherald.com February 2020

Fulshear Living monthly

created A look at the nonprofit that Irene a new butterfly garden at the Stern Community Center

SALES How "XO" came to symbolize hugs and kisses & more Valentine's Day facts

A FREE publication of the


20 ART &


Have a young boy who can sing? Consider the Music Magic class.


The Fulshear Living Monthly is a publication of the Fort Bend Herald.

John Oliver joliver@fbherald.com Ruby Polichino rubyr@fbherald.com Stefanie Bartlett sbartlett@fbherald.com

TO ADVERTISE: If you are interested in advertising in the Fulshear Living Monthly, please call the Herald at 281-342-4474 for rates, information and deadlines.

GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Melinda Maya mmaya@fbherald.com Rachel Cavazos rcavazos@fbherald.com

©2019 Fulshear Living Monthly. All Rights Reserved. Fulshear Living Monthly has 5,500 print circulation, is a sister publication of Pecan Grove Monthly, Greatwood Monthly and West Fort Bend Living and is a publication of the Fort Bend Herald. Our publishing headquarters is 1902 S. Fourth St., Rosenberg, Texas 77471.

PHOTO & ARTICLE SUBMISSIONS: We are looking for fresh story ideas and enjoy publishing your articles in Fulshear Living Monthly. If you have a story idea or photo to publish, please send your information to mgriffin@fbherald.com with “Fulshear Living” in the subject line.

Tell us how we’re doing! Email: mgriffin@fbherald.com

4 • Fulshear Living Monthly • March 2020



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Feature Story

Photo by Light Shines Photography | Annabelle van Deursen loves being a big sister to her brothers James, 2, and Matthew 3 months. “We are doing really well, we are all so happy with the addition of Matthew and how much love Annabelle and James have for him,” said their mother.


ittle vivacious four-year-old Annabelle van Deursen is learning to drive herself around these days, and in the process is grabbing hold of the independence her disorder would seemingly prevent her from achieving. The wheelchair she now has, not only offers increased mobility, but also provides Annabelle the means to interact with peers at eye level, a welcomed progression for a child who spent the majority of her prior days crawling everywhere. “She loves it and so do we,” said Annabelle’s mother, Shelley van Deursen, adding that Annabelle also has an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device — an adaptation communication tool for people with disabilities. The device, which can replace or supplement speech and writing for those with impairments, was “such a game changer for her and our family,” Shelley said. “We are absolutely thrilled with her progress and her ability to use it. “It is one of our biggest joys for her be able to ‘talk’ to us.”

6 • Fulshear Living Monthly • March 2020

GNAO1, A TRICKY DISORDER By traditional expectations, Annabelle should be walking, talking and moving through life like any other four-year-old kid. But she isn’t. Following a year fogged with questions, tests, concerns, re-tests and frustrations, Shelley and her husband Daniel were told Annabelle was diagnosed with a GNAO1 mutation — a rare neurological disorder that can cause, among other symptoms, developmental delays, abnormal movements, early infantile seizures, irregular muscle contractions, involuntary movements of the face and tongue and poor muscle tone. In a prior interview, Shelley said GNAO1 is “a little trickier than just simple diagnosis,” explaining that within the diagnosis there are different variants, and each child is affected differently, even if they have the same variant. For Annabelle, the mutation caused her to have developmental delays and a movement disorder, resulting in her inability to walk or talk.Annabelle is, however, completely cognitively appropriate for her age.

Photo by Kelly Anne Barron Photography | Annabelle with her mother Shelley van Deursen.

Photo by Light Shines Photography | The van Deursen family of Fulshear. Shelley and David and their children (from left) James, Matthew and Annabelle.

“She is loving the public school PPCD program.We all are,” Shelley shared excitedly. “She continues with therapy weekly and is really learning how to ‘drive’ her wheelchair and work her ACC device to talk to us. I know Annabelle has so much to tell us, and as a 4 year old, it was becoming increasingly more frustrating for her to not be able to.We were just guessing what she wanted, now she can actually tell us. It’s amazing for us all.” Among “loving all things princess, coloring, painting, reading books and getting her nails painted,” Annabelle is also happy being a big sister to her brothers James and Matthew. “Annabelle excels at being a big sister,” her mother said, adding that watching her children bond is a blessing. “She loves to help me with her baby brother Matthew,” Shelley gushed.“She loves to hold him, give him a pacifier, push him in the swing and read to him. She is also loving to her little brother James. They have such a fun and loving relationship and they play so well together. “James is already such a great little brother to Annabelle as well,” Shelley added.“He really loves her and helps her when she needs it.”

NO FEARS, STRONG FOUNDATION The truth is Annabelle, and other children diagnosed with the GNAO1 mutation, do need help. According to The Bow Foundation, around 150 children around the world are known to be impacted by a GNAO1 genetic disorder. To

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• Fulshear Living Monthly • 7

From left Rick and Connie Rogge (Annabelle’s grandparents); James van Deursen, Daniel van Deursen, Shelley van Deursen, Annabelle van Deursen, Christine Seligman, Ella Seligman, Jordan Seligman and Cassie Rogge at a prior Annabelle’s Benefit.

date there is no cure. Although Annabelle has made progress over the past year, her parents can tell the mutation is progressing, too. “Her body seems to be getting a little more stiff and there have been a handful of times we have seen that she has trouble controlling her body and the way it moves. “This is very scary for her and us.” Yet fears don’t steer the van Deursen household, which Shelley said is built upon a strong Catholic foundation. “We know God is the ultimate healer and He can do anything,” she stressed.“I love when I know people are praying for our Annabelle, it brings me such peace.” Despite the many challenges the van Deursens must battle in regard to their daughter’s disorder, there is an abundance of joy in their household.Their days, Shelley said, are filled with laughter and all the cute idiosyncratic things children do. “We can’t get enough of it,” she said, adding that they are also grateful for the support swelling from the community . Daniel and Shelley notably praised Katy ISD for their daughter’s school, teacher, therapists, aides and school bus drivers. “It brings us such great joy that she loves school and she has made so much progress.“It is prayers answered for us.”

Daniel and Shelley van Deursen took their daughter Annabelle to Lourdes France last May for a special blessing from Mother Mary.

8 • Fulshear Living Monthly • March 2020

From left Peggy Brown, Gerard and Cynthia van Deursen (Annabelle’s grandparents) and Carol Novosad at a prior Annabelle’s Benefit.

ANNABELLE’S BENEFIT As they adapt to and meet the challenges of their daughter’s disorder, the van Deursens also continue their work with the 501c3 nonprofit they founded called Annabelle’s Amazing Graces. The goal of their nonprofit is to raise funds to donate for GNAO1 mutation research through its annual fundraiser called Annabelle’s Benefit. Proceeds from the benefit are donated to The Bow Foundation, an organization started by two families, who, like the van Deursens, want a cure for their children who were also diagnosed with the GNAO1 mutation. In January The Bow Foundation granted $50,000 to Dr. Brian Muntean, a researcher in the Martemyanov lab at The Scripps Research Institute, and $100,000 to the University of California, San Francisco. Both grants will be used to study GNAO1-related neurodevelopmental disorders. Such grants, Shelley said, is exactly why Annabelle’s Benefit donates 100 percent of its proceeds to The Bow Foundation. Last year the benefit raised $51,020 for the foundation. The 2020 Annabelle’s Benefit — a 5K run/1-mile walk event — will be held April 4 at No Label Brewery in Katy.The race begins at 8:30 a.m.

From left, James van Deursen, Daniel van Deursen, Earline Hollas (Annabelle’s great-grandmother), Shelley van Deursen and Annabelle van Deursen at a prior Annabelle’s Benefit.

REFUSING TO GIVE IN Shelley offers advice to parents who may be experiencing life similar to her own: Never give up on something you want for your child, she encouraged. “It can be a struggle and a constant fight, but it will be worth it in the end,” she said.“Never set limits on your child, you never know when they will up and do something they weren’t ‘supposed to.’” “I have also learned to let go of what I imagined for Annabelle’s life, and now I live off of her happiness and her smiles — they are the best.” “If she’s happy, I’m happy.”


From left Renee Bain, Claire Pateman, Lauren Hughes at a prior Annabelle’s Benefit event.


Ticket prices are $40 for adults and $25 for anyone 21 years old and younger. The event will feature a silent auction, raffle, live music by Chris Boise, No Label Beer, bounce houses, Snooze breakfast tacos, face painting, a balloon artist and even a wine pull. “Our goal is to cure the GNAO1 mutation through providing money needed for research and through prayer,” Shelley said.“And we can’t make Annabelle’s Benefit possible without our sponsors and donors.” Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor or donor can email Shelley at shelley@annabellesamazinggraces.org.


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Both Annabelle and her parents are grateful for Annabelle’s AAC device which allows her to “talk.”

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• Fulshear Living Monthly • 9

This Month's Spotlight


he Fort Bend Women’s Center is switching it up this year, replacing its expected Boogie and Giggle fundraising events with something special — an event dubbed “A Journey of Hope,” a jamboree highlighting the center’s four decades of service in the community. “We are so excited for this year’s 40th anniversary celebration,” said Fort Bend Women’s Center CEO Vita Goodell. To date, the nonprofit has helped more than 50,000 survivors of domestic violence and assault. This long “journey of hope,” said Eva Rushing, the center’s communications and marketing manager, “has led to an amazing evolution of programs and services to help provide survivors and their children freedom from abuse and a path toward independence.” Some such programs and services include a 24- hour emergency shelter, a crisis hotline and free, longterm support services such as counseling, case management, legal advocacy, children’s services, rape crisis services, rental assistance and transportation — all of which are accessible to survivors from Fort Bend County, Harris County and

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10 • Fulshear Living Monthly • March 2020

Excited about “A Journey of Hope” are, from left, Jim Smith, Lizzie Harbin, Bryan Sparks and Marc DuPont with PCCA, the presenting sponsor for The Fort Bend Women’s Center’s celebratory fundraiser. “The journey back to freedom, self-sufficiency and independence is a hard one for many of the survivors we serve – Fort Bend Women’s Center is working hard to give them the very best opportunity to succeed,” Eva Rushing said.

surrounding areas. “In 1980, we could not have imagined that we would be given the opportunity to help so many victims in need. From a kitchen telephone helping callers in Rosenberg to now serving as the primary provider of free services for survivors in Fort Bend County, we have truly come a long way and have helped thousands of families get on the path to living an independent life, free of violence and fear,” Goodell said. “I’d say that’s something worth celebrating.” “A Journey Of Hope,” presented by PCCA, will be held at Anson Aviation in Sugar Land on March 21 from 6 to 11 p.m., in a unique airplane hangar on the runway. This event will include food stations, open beer and wine bars, private plane display, flight simulator experience, high-end auction items, live music by Mango Punch and more. Ticket prices are $150 for an individual and sponsorships start at $1,000. For more information about the event, to purchase tickets or become a sponsor contact Patty Holt, the center’s events manager, at pholt@fbwc.org or 281-344-5761. For more information about the center visit fbwc.org. “We are so grateful for all of our supporters along the way,” Goodell said. “And [we] are continuing to work hard at assisting survivors in their journey of hope and the fight against violence.”


Pat Altman, a Rosenberg attorney, Timothy Sloane, assistant district attorney, and Paulette Greene, a Rosenberg business professional, recognized the need for domestic violence services in the community and initiated the development of Fort Bend Women’s Center.


Increased concern for the health and safety of abused women and children led to the acquisition of a shelter, which was a rented home in Stafford,Texas.


A sexual assault component was added and expanded to include a parttime staff person.The Personal Accompaniment Volunteer program was added. A George Foundation grant made the permanent acquisition of a shelter facility possible and increased the shelter’s capacity from 21 to 30 residents.

In this 2018 File photo, the volunteers and staff at the Fort Bend Women’s Center celebrate the center’s finished playground with a ribbon cutting.


The center opened its first resale store to provide funding for survivor programs. The Fort Bend Women’s Center PennyWise Resale store grew to four locations in Richmond, Katy, Stafford and Mission Bend.


The hotline expanded to a 24-hour service. Increased networking with Polly Ryan Memorial Hospital (now known as Oak Bend Medical


In this file photo, Vita Goodell of Fort Bend Women’s Center and Richmond Mayor Evalyn W. Moore, FBWC staff and friends from the Richmond City Hall participate in Denim Day in 2016.

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• Fulshear Living Monthly • 11

Left photo: Fort Bend Women’s Center former emergency shelter. The new shelter was built in 2001; right photo: Volunteers at work at the Emergency Shelter during BHP Petroleum “Day of Caring.”


A 3,000 square foot home, donated by Mr. and Mrs. John Lipinski, was renovated by the Knights of Columbus and converted into a facility for mothers with teenage boys.


The center introduced transitional housing assistance. This program reduced the rate of clients returning to their abusers from 65 percent to 10 percent.


Life skills training was added. Phase I of shelter renovation was completed. The Resale Center moved to larger quarters at 416 Highway 90A.


The Resale Center moved and expanded.The Director of Sexual Assault was made a full-time position, enabling further expansion of the Sexual Assault Program.

1996 1998 2001

Phase II of the shelter renovations and installation of a two-room building for the children’s program was completed. A capital campaign was launched that successfully raised over $2 million to build a new shelter.

The agency’s new state-of-the-art shelter was opened.The new facility was built to house 60-65 women and children, a 50 percent increase over the previous shelter. It allowed the Center to add features like an on-site clinic, a learning resource center and improved recreational facilities for residents’ children.


The center opened a new, specially designed building in Richmond. As well as providing the original PennyWise store with much larger premises, the building is also home to the Center’s management offices.PennyWise’s Stafford store relocated to larger premises.

2015 2016

The center celebrated its 35th anniversary with a special evening featuring Ashley Judd and 200 guests.

PennyWise opened its second Donation Center in Katy.

PHOTOS TOP TO BOTTOM: In this file photo, Fort Bend Women’s Center Chief Executive Officer Vita Goodell, Jennifer Knesek and featured speaker Taylor Armstrong smile together at the FBWC “Healing & Hope” 2017 Annual Luncheon at the Sweetwater Country Club. In this file photo, volunteers from HCSS at the center’s “Measure Up 4 Kids event.” From left are Ike Ihekwoaba, Bayo Adeyeba, FBWC CEO Vita Goodell Lisa Helms, Ruth Getachew, Anik Bhattacharya and Dalton Pulsipher.

12 • Fulshear Living Monthly • March 2020

File photo by Averil Gleason | Fort Bend Women’s Center resident advocate Vanessa Cordoba in front of the April 2018 “What Were You Wearing” exhibit created by the center. In this file photo, are FBWC staff members with the 2018 luncheon speaker Victor Rivas Rivers (center). From left: Carolyn Dylla, Becky Watts, Sarah Black, Leslie Wendland, Victor Rivas Rivers, Eva Rushing, Stephanie Hoffman (back), Patty Holt and Stephen Regan.

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In & Around Fulshear Fort Bend County Fair: Sean Gutierrez elected president


or the year 2020, the vision is bright for the Fort Bend County Fair as Sean Gutierrez steps into the role of President. 2019 Fair President, Marjie Pollard and the Fair board made it official by electing Gutierrez to serve as the 84th President of the Fort Bend County Fair Association. Gutierrez is an absolute constant at the Fort Bend County Fair, from operating a forklift to the master of ceremony duties, he has proven he can do it all. For over 27 years, Gutierrez has been volunteering at the Fort Bend County Fair. He started with the American Red Cross and then went on to join the Safety and Medical committees. For years Gutierrez served as Co-chairman of the Safety Committee. Gutierrez joined the Fort Bend County Fair Board of Directors in 2011 where he oversaw the Safety Committee, Clean Up and Set Up. Year after year, he oversees pre-fair set up of pens, banners and the transformation of the Fairgrounds. During the Fair days, Gutierrez continues to be the heartbeat of staging, delivering, transporting, and troubleshooting of all events. Year-round, Gutierrez can be found greeting guest at the Crawfish Boil, behind the mic helping announce at the Boots and Buckles Fishing tournament, on the squeeze gate at the Steer Tag In, or just about any Fair event to help it run smooth. Gutierrez has been serving on the Executive Board for several years and 2019 Fort Bend County Fair President Marjie Pollard and 2020 Fort Bend County Fair President Sean Gutierrez enjoy a moment at last year’s kick off dance.






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honored D-Day vet council Rosenberg





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D-Day invasion , but Ameri- school and served Czech Some, Dujka annual for Sat& Then years, one months. “And the military history The 29th the first 11 who served three is scheduled in East Czech just , is now the program Hall Festival to U.S. Army cial to not history. Red Ravens. are also on Fagan, A Time Klobase battle, without at Riverside days in the from the Dancers can military us winning that we could not month and 21 Morton StreetMovies on , June 8, reon urday students Fagan together Movies of Richmond’sfilm features allies, “Without this year— honors the Ger- 96. and our person. Bernard. Heart, brings people and to The city the many outdoor is $8 per been the AmericansEurope and defeated Dance Studio. 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The continucanceled RoThe admission provided “Well, Bob the outfor a later a.m. and on D-Day an AmericanBravery on Normandy city hall. among fesorganizers and music the hall and at 10:30 rescheduledshown in front of free for He was at Normandy this year’s of tainment in Beginning provide Citation D-Day the beaches tale. until 8 p.m., lineup movies are Richmond will D-Day. account of stormed and entertainers of to tell the ing nonstopfeatures a first-rate the engineers during Fagan’s gripping Health Community in the pavilion. tary club and survivedan engineer. And coming Read Herald. and Access the doors tival again . and lemonade. of forces in today’s popcorn include “He was provide water PAGE 10A on Page B2 to the landing entertainers entertainers continued. Some, Health will were crucial SEE FESTIVAL, Beach,” Bentonnot too many This year’sBoys, Czech & Then Sound Society Society on Utah There’s Texas . Heritage ashore Czech Heritage bravely Black Ennis to memRed Ravens, . Bend Black help beautify the “He served The Fort to Dujka Bros.,The Road Company will be served volunteers , 310 Blume Road by meetings dish meal 8 is seeking Check and Aux- ered at 6:30 p.m. followed for details. Byrd Cemetery , June 8, from 271 and bers historic on Saturday Call 281-341-9966 weed eatLegion Post , June 6. at at 7:30 p.m. in Rosenberg, The group needs American Thursday drinks A covp.m. meet on Your Exposure: South. Snacks and will the a.m. to 2 will SH36 iliary “Reduce supplies. ity” as Home, 4520 service forms inhas adopted ers and lawn ResponsibilStand Down. the Post Community for more modules Safety provided. theme, training to bring It’s Everyone’s Call 832-877-2756 of this year’s this year’s various ofbe available. and themekeeping with classes designed and training such implement In to safety formation. education s is focused on and education ncy activities, and action of prevent- much of the ion, for VFD fundraiserFire Departnumber non-emerge department risks and awareness the fire Beasley and Volunteer pend all l cancer reduce e and administrat fered to the public health to occupationa The Beasley its annual barbecue21, behealth maintenanc and deaths. of Fire Department Fire Dereducing firefighters and hold , July injuries most prominent 2019 as accordRichmond recom- able ment will on Sunday of June c byproducts Caththe six days. The Richmond sine the One of the Month Stand Down ng the face is cancer, Ribbon protecting auction fundraiser However, the carcinogeni at St. Wenceslaus towards month has dedicated al Safety Lavender at 11 a.m. over a will go risks firefighters high from is a joint partment is implementi ginning Proceeds Everyone al e sched- ing to the IAFC’s firefighters’ fire. as “Internation Stand Down safety training IAFC equipment. Safety olic Church. Internation to domended ’s maintenanc To address risks the obsolete Month.” created by the ed. the Nareplacing attend. Anyone wishing can tal health the departmentuninterrupt ’s daily du- Report. Chiefs and to initiative remain pastry items environmen of Fire , is invited ule will items and on Saturday of a department s agencies Association Fire Council. implenate auctionto the fire station inIn place recommend tional Volunteerevent, typically For more encourages ties, the IAFC bring them Sunday, July 21. The annual June 16-22, or to susBeran 281-725-8767. July 20, from country George the call mented s across formation, and department water line the feet of a in build 900 an area money to a sewer line in River. for the Brazos $250,000 725 feet ON use of town near WASHINGT north part of Richmond will CHAD BY feet of storm herald.com The city build 1,100 s along cwashington@fb rs on funds to improvementGeorge of grant Commissione County Street to to give the drainage and sidewalk Fort Bend from Preston and westbound an agreement approved Richmond and Kendle- Collins Road to FMeastbound for was to water Park Road. The U.S.-90A 10/Patton Road avern- Tuesday spend $269,300First and of Rosenberg, Spur will improvement cities from for Rosenberg/T 5 p.m., s along of Transportafunds Kendleton in lanes r Road in until Deton federal improvement Department 59 North 1952/Taverne sidewalks. continuously ter system The Texas a portion of U.S. a Community agreelines and come from approved by the Crawford streets. also approved an Area will be closed close U.S.rs tion will from er The funds access to , Sept. 3. eston County. Block Grant, the Department Commissione Houston-Galv $18,500 in U.S. 59 NorthRosen- Tuesday residents who need and Marrick Fort Bend the velopment lane of of through in , totalLocal and ment with The inside to Bamore Road Patton RoadRandon School grant funds Development SunU.S. government between to receive health assessment proRoad use and Urban U.S.Council daily, excludingSatur- 90A are advised to Kroesche Housing west on approved support of mental be closed on of through at the juvenile Road Road, then berg will 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. rs initially Marick ing $879,300. Road, south those placed Road to the Consolidat- therapy for West End southwest on days, from The commissione as part of 8. 90A to BeasleyEnd Road, and last July U.S. 59 northbound bation program. day, June the funds West lane of Road to Bamore Action Plan.$360,000 of its grant , Beasley The inside Road to FM-1875. local traffic Church Sept. 12 ed Annual for closed daily Drachenberg will use only way be U.S.set Cottonwood the of will is from Bee Golf Rosenberg 3 p.m. This route Rosenberg a.m. to a small portion Spelling 12, at Quail Valleyshould Road in Sundays, from 9 access to road and FM-1875. Teams will have , Sept. Great Grown-up Spencer excluding 2759/Crabb , June 15. southits day between & City Centre. of FM Saturday at the U.S. 59 10th annual Council will host Course at this time. through River 90A be completely SpellThe intersection 762 will the Brazos The turnaround begin practicing The Literacy 7, to 5 a.m. and FM road at through Great Grown-Up on ThursRiver Road 8 p.m. Friday, June to washout bound frontage construction 10th annual 6:30-8:30 p.m. closed due from closed from 10, to allow will remain ing Bee ramp from Monday, June asphalt. entrance Police Deby Dec. 31. will remain crews to pour Richmond The northbound from the rerouting all traffic. Morgan drafted 540 in BeasleyMotorists are Officers in Foster’s FM-360/Spurfurther notice. entrance partment will assist see Sports closed untiluse the northbound Mariners; to advised Isleib Road. ramp from agleason@fbhe

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Curious a fun, open Dragons? at the library with experience to Hang out and onegaming enthusiasts campaigns Dragons group of through & an adventurepopular Dungeons game. the shots in role-playing George fantasy, tabletop,County Libraries’ a Summer , Fort Bend will have Saturday Library event on the Memorial & Dragons in Room 2B of Dungeons p.m., Drive in from 2-4 June 15, at 1001 Golfview library, located levels – from to Richmond. of all experience — are invited Gamers to veterans and practice beginners imaginations while meetstretch their ing skills who enjoy their problem-solv with others socializing ing and games. for use, but role-playing will be available charactheir own will be Characters may bring 1. Dice participantsas they are level long as ter limited seating is onprovided. is free, but Register The event are required. or by calling .lib.tx.us and reservations line at www.fortbend 281-341-2604. library at the first-graders

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the first team the Chargers. to win a state The Fulshear title for ing on junior High School leyball team Fulshear voloutside High School was the Echter. to play hitter Ellie first program stranger to sport of is no team scores any kind with wrestling,the state spotlight Chargers. Echter for the has been a point swimming explodes and then force for and cross Head coach with emotion. , tennis she that Fulshear a dominant country Sydney teams getting crack on three seasons. over the teams will barley had “This Gotcher the state’s past “Because is surreal,” be looking But before play time to meet her biggest stage.a Echter said. away her power The LSU-comm to take we started team finishno team has felt started more Alexis “It pushes at state. it is lot team lead closer to with not The Chargers in 2016. line at state of people Dacosta in kills with tied for the me to work the ins from were movethen the were not Charger in a programa and provide ber of Paetow. harder current has 86 aces, 41 blocks 548. She also volleyball what I can a mema varsity and now hopefully The team. we have opening district Fulshear and 357 digs. Echter win a state so we can taken addition of the people ship.” in the campaign has wanting was the sisters the Chargers championhas quickly to come but Fulshear ranked team No. 2-state whom coaches been the player here. entering level. to a whole has “It means dream offs. The three years. grown over these the playnew vate a program. about to eleChargers final defeated cause we’ve a lot be- In the middle The offense She “It’s great have Giddings It is rare worked steady force has been a runs through Brooklyn to have high so hard Boerne tions,” Gotcher as the that and wasn’t on for a sophomore (3-0), Bellville(3-0), expectastarting crack a smile doesn’t said “But ly cool to it is real(3-0), La who with 620 assists the want to Vernia you don’t until her get to this grab a rstarting roster last yea while Alexis setter have unrealistic with Echter and Caldwell (3-0) point.” tions for to job. for the team is tied expectathe kids. (3-0). kills with Through lead in Even rarer 548. Echter “For me, knows the since the This run Chargers’ started sophomore for a has been playoff this program, moment we special to be the pair since run, Fulshear very high a key cog for it exceptions I did have been has for a last times they will be one of the . “I think unrelentin team likely play we have seeking each other. g against for these with opponents to win girls, and created that “It’s a . Each team worked the way champions state same exciting but very in the offseason we’ve the time,” Brooklyn said at the hip. summer Chargers that But and has made said. sopho- Last pectations those high the was able to go faced more Ava run realistic. on a run ex- but each Un“It’s not derwood While time the Charthe majority is a rare just ‘we gers were good’. It shear’s talent. of unfazed is something hope we’re methodica fire and for every underclass power comes FulUnderwoo they work lly day.” from men, d is one have for the win. pulled away the group Fulshear seven seniorsthe Chargers was able who moved of players Presley “People playoffs on the roster: to make talk about in over to FulCarlson, the peaking shear this Hannah play in Classits first year of Kinanna offseason varsity Gotcher in the playoffs,” Ajilore, Padilla, the sophomore 5A. with ley Edwards, Shelby Tally The Chargers said. , Hacoming Brooklyn Jalile Rodriguez time I watch “But every over form followed with a Seven Lakes. that up I the girls run Dacosta. and think play, But she champions to the Region It IV-4A peaked ‘maybe we haven’t hip last quickly these has been a special earned her to District season, yet.’ We’re Chargers run for falling spot in 25-4A foe still getwho have starting the the program state champion and reigning ting better and line watched better every go from single day ro and she up at libe- sity team Needville. a junior “All that .” to a state varhelped,” of the job. hasn’t let go Fulshear title “In our “For us now has first year Gotcher said. with to be here, contender. “It has can trust were 5A. in varsity the growing to deal it We were the process,”means we exciting,” been really Ajilore spot in a pretty , we light with being district Hannah said. and we Underwoo one of said. “I were fightinggood 24 teams left d single day “We work hard our lives have a standing every to make during lot of and the playoffs. for to fight for the offseason in season. “Last year (club) teamchampions a state the process.” We just had didn’t have against Needville, hip. to trust m a t e an we s “This year off week. Tiger on that play Deep bench has been the er because here and we did have a little easi- prowl The Chargers that over the years.” to build like so when normal varsity have a larger Go to than any Only a roster with Fulshear I moved ers. Often few seniors off the 2018 home many players 18 playsquad that graduated game this season were very over they stand while supporting have to regional welcoming mates. finals. The reached the and the chants “I think their team. richer in rich only of really special we have something “LSU, the But the Chargers tiple starters offseason with got would LSU, LSU” here we’re can on the bench mulgo really and I think wouldn’t change likely ring the Chargers’ moving in to far.” a thing. Underwoo “It is kind quality and bolster out from the Chard leads the Now, destiny 581 digs. depth. ger fans. team with can feel let of hard because She stands before down when you shear with and 58 aces. also adds 95 The Fulyou’re an opportunit assists playing,” said Fulshear junior Allyson not ble. “But y to be faithful Sister act it are cheerStruthere are is kind of fun because so many Senior of us and ergy Brooklyn the enand sopho- part is super high. It is so fun of a young to be program the way and go all to state.” Fulshear head

State fin als



fbherald.com RE


field in G arland w ide open

Ellie Ecther, coach Sydney HERALD hope to lead sophmore Ava Gotcher, sophomorePHOTOS BY DAVE SANDERS Alexis Dacosta, the Chargers Underswood to state title and senior junior Brooklyn this week in Garland. Dacosta

“But in Often experienc ond in comes downthe end I think ing force e scoring for teams is a guidit to focusing with 258 run to the ing what making kills on do- and she adds we do.” state tourname a The defense 310 digs. But the The next nt. 2019 UIL highest State senior Chesney is captained by finish last Class 4A season was Volleybal nior Kristen Hereford Baker with l Champion ship field out in the bowing Stewart does not 506 assists. regional with 892 returning have a teamsemifinal Here is Wildcats, from last a closer s. Hereford team for Carthage look at year. like Fulshear, making each the Class , Fulshear, ford and The Lady their are 4A finals: Here- Carthag Kennedal state tournamefirst trip Whiteface nickname to the four teams e are e s (a But unlike nt. standing the last Fulshear The No. come into for Hereford cattle), 4A and in Class Fulshear, Class 4A Semifinals vs. Kennedale two will the finals nedale Bulldogs 4 state-ranked longest isn’t a Thursday be Ken- Culwell with history ’s semifinalleft after District enter the finals Lady Carthage Thursday, Nov. Center - Garland, TX of success the program with relatively new volleyball to battle 21 - 7 p.m. as the 20-4A s games 43-4 Class 4A Semifinals vs.Herefo . for the in ing its doors the school rd Overall record Carthage champion. Saturday openstate title - Culwell Hereford, 12-0 has defeated . Thursday, Nov. Center - Garland, TX on estine The Lady for in 1998. the No. 36-7 District record ranked 21 - 5 p.m. In fact, 21 state- undefeate (3-0), 41-4 13.2 PalWildcats program Avg. team kills only one Overall record China Spring Gatesville 12-0 are the playoffs entering teams reached d 12-0 champion 6-0 1.3 (3-0), of these is hoping the District Avg. team blocksper set (3-0), 34-14 District record 11.6 (3-2) and the regional trophy to add to nals last 9-4A. s of 10.8 3.2 per set Midlothia Splendora case year: Fulshear. the Avg. team kills Avg. Kennedal fi- (3-0) 7-1 team 1.4 n Heritage state titles that includes aces to reach 1.9 13.6 “We think e has defeated Avg. team blocksper set five Cliff Avg. team digs per set round six in 1996, n/a 3.1 playoffs. we can 2001 and Fulshear Oak 2.0 12.4 1997, 1999, (3-0), Faith Family of the do it,” Avg. team assistsper set Avg. team aces per set 2008. n/a 15.4 Academy Melissa Senior Gotcher head coach Sydney 15.0 12.7 Avg. The Lady Avg. team digs per set Cami (3-0), Farmersv(3-2), Ranchvie team receptionsper set said. “We n/a 10.9 Whiteface the Hicks the finals 10.2 film on per set 14.0 w leads s enter lina Avg. team assistsper set ille (3-0) each team. have some withway for the Lady n/a as the Class 4A State (3-1) and 13.7 champion a game per to CeBulldogs co-distric reach round Avg. team receptions set Championship n/a plan going We’ll have She 417 kills and s with t the playoffs. Finals - Saturday, six of Canyon District 146 blocks. per set n/a also has into each 3-4A. from Nov. 23 - 1 39 aces. The Kennedal p.m. Senior Hereford Mckenna are sophomor e big swingers Sophomo has beaten (3-0), Andrews Zett is re Faith Dalhart (437 e Maddie sec- has kills) Kruebbe (3-1), Dumas Pyles 0), Argyle 239 kills digs and Steinhilb and junior Bryley and 236 626 reception digs. er (410 kills). to reach (3-0) and Krum (3the state (3-0) Junior s. The offense semifinal High School tains the Tatum Pavey runs through s. Kenneda defense caple Sports seand 538 with 581 The No. Calend reception digs Basketball 15-ranked ar girls: s. Senior Football - area Lady Mustangs vs. Spring Lillian Lady up Rychlik Woods, 7 p.m. the offense Traylor Stadium,playoffs: Mustangs vs. Manvel, sets Wrestling: Rangers with 809 Rosenberg, assists. 7:30 p.m. at Clear Lakes, 4 p.m. Wrestling: Falcons Basketball girls: Lady Rangers Basketball - girls: at Waller, 5 p.m. Lady Falcons at at FBISD Tournament, Fort Bend ISD TBA Swimming & Tournament, TBA Diving: Longhorns at TISCA Meet, Basketball - girls: 9 a.m. Lady Falcons at Volleyball Fort Bend ISD - State Basketball Football - area Tournament, TBA boys: Kennedale, Curtis semifinals playoffs: Chargers Football - area Blue Jays vs. Brazosport, TDECU Stadium,playoffs: Longhorns vs. Culwell, 7 p.m. vs. Humble, Houston, 4 p.m. Wildcat Stadium,playoffs: Blue Jays vs. Boerne,7:30 p.m. Basketball Elgin, 7 p.m. girls: Lady Tigers at FBISD Tournament, TBA Follow Basketball the Fort girls: Cougarettes sports staff Bend at Boling Tournament, on social Herald TBA media: ■ Twitter Football - area @Duns_mo - @FBHeral playoffs: Brahmas Rutledge Stadium, dSports, re and @ChadDW ■ Facebook Converse, 7 vs. Natalia, - Fort Bend ashington p.m.

Class 4A

state semifin

als volleyb

all playoff














Herald Sports To report activities, results, schedules email rdunsmore@or community fbherald.com .

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or email lcantu@fbherald.com or darwin@fbherald.com 14 • Fulshear Living Monthly • March 2020

continues to be active in the Fair’s year-round operation. In 2017, Gutierrez was named the Texas Association of Fair and Events “Volunteer of the Year.” The enormous honor recognizes all of the fairs, rodeos and events held around the state including the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, The State Fair of Texas, and the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. Gutierrez earned the honor for his commitment, dedication, and complete selflessness when it comes to the work to put into the Fort Bend County Fair. As President, Gutierrez has chosen “Volunteers Make the Difference” to be his Fair theme. It is no surprise since Gutierrez strives to lead by example. He saves his vacation time to be able to volunteer his knowledge, muscle, and hard work. His noble act of volunteerism is a staple of the Fair’s 10-day run. As a high school student, he began volunteering with the Missouri City Fire Department. His dedication to serve and volunteer to the fire department left little time for him to raise livestock for the Fair, but it ignited a career as a Firefighter. For 29 years, Gutierrez has been with the Sugar Land Fire Department. As a lieutenant, this March Gutierrez will celebrate 30 years of service to the City of Sugar Land’s Fire Department. For the past eight years, Gutierrez has worked as a part-time firefighter for Fulshear/Simonton Fire Department, incidentally on his day off from the Sugar Land’s Fire Department. Gutierrez and his wife, Barbara, have two children and five grandchildren. Gutierrez said he is looking forward to seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces at the 2020 Fair, which runs from September 25 to October 4, 2020.

Registration Opens for Jordan Ranch Summer Camps


ordan Ranch will host a series of engaging sports and activity camps for children ages 5 and up this June and July. Registration is open for the camps, which will take place at The Shed, 30757 Jordan Crossing Boulevard and are open to the public. “I think we have put together some very unique opportunities for fun,” said Solomon Delaney, Director of Fun for Jordan Ranch.“Local organizations such as Cook Learn Grow, Juventus Academy Houston, eKids and Arts CCP are known for offering creative camps that go beyond what is traditionally available to children over the summer.” Jordan Ranch will host four Cook Learn Grow cooking camps.Two camps will be held June 8-12. From 9 a.m.-noon, kids ages 7-9 can up their baking game during the “United We Bake Camp.”Tweens ages 10-13 can try their hand at creating tarts, cupcakes and meringues from 1-4 p.m. at the “Baking 102” camp. Kids ages 7-9 will learn about the power of food and make recipes fit for champions, from 9 a.m.-noon July 6-10 at “Celebrating the Olympics!” camp. From 1-4 p.m. July 6-10, kids ages 10-13 will experience a week of challenges and showdowns worthy of a “Master Jr. Chef.” All Cook Learn Grow camps are $275 per camper. Space is limited. Camps can accommodate children with nut allergies. Budding computer programmers and engineers will build robots, simple machines and more at eKids camps. Kids ages 5-7 can attend the Robotics & Coding 1 camp from 1-4 p.m. June 15-19. From June 20-24, they will master the intricacies of machines with Legos in a

Jordan Ranch is hosting a number of summer camps this year, including classes on cooking, art, robotics and more.

Budding Engineers camp. Camps are $150 per camper per session. Kids ages 8-12 are challenged to think outside the box during a Robotics & Coding 2 camp where they will learn to design, build and program awe-inspiring robots using LEGO and VEX robotics June 15-19 from 1-4 p.m.The week of July-20-24 will be dedicated to Master Builders ready to create a Lego BB-8 among other fascinating projects. Camps are $150 per kid, per session.To register phone 832-326-7114

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or email Info@Ekidshub. Artistic children can paint, craft and tie-die their way through a week of ocean-themed projects courtesy of ARTs CCP.The week-long session takes place June 29-July3. Camps will be divided into two age groups — 5-8 and 9-14. Children can attend half days from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. for $195 per person or full days from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for $285.

Soccer loving kids ages 7-12 can train with top-notch coaches from Juventus Academy Houston 9-11:30 a.m. June 1-5 and July 13-17. Juventus is the most successful team in the history of Italian soccer. Kids will practice drills and tactics as well as enjoying a movie and trivia day. Cost is $139 per camper, per session.

Hope For Three introduces bridge-building autism driver training program by MARQUITA GRIFFIN | mgriffin@fbherald.com


ope For Three has long been a powerful voice advocating for autism awareness in the Fort Bend community, and earlier this year, it continued its efforts with a new training program aimed at creating safe and productive interactions between law enforcement and drivers with autism. While it is not a state-regulated driver education course, Hope For Three’s new program — Police Traffic Stops & Positive Driver Outcomes — is a training session focused on drivers and traffic stop interactions. “The program is needed in the autism community as our children on the spectrum become teens and adults who have worked very hard to attain independence,” said Darla Farmer, founder and CEO of Hope For Three, explaining that one in three adolescents with autism, but without an intellectual disability, are licensed by age 21. The program, she emphasized, is beneficial for the drivers as well as law enforcement. “Many with autism do not understand rules or boundaries of social behavior,” she continued.“Some respond impulsively to their feelings without regard to certain social mores. Others react inappropriately as a result of sensory regulation problems. Individuals can also become overstimulated and have an unprovoked ‘meltdown.’ “It is possible for individuals to find themselves in trouble with the law without awareness of having done something wrong or without understanding what they did to get into trouble.” And this, Farmer stressed, is why the Police Traffic Stops & Positive Driver Outcome program is vital.The driver program is a component to the nonprofit’s Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) program.Through CIT, law enforcement is trained on the characteristics of autism, engagement strategies, understanding and acceptance to assist those in the autism community. “As teens transition to adulthood, being able to get around on their

own is a big step toward independence, enabling opportunities for social activities, post-secondary education and work,” Farmer said. “Our goal is to have the autism driving program implemented in all law enforcement agencies in Fort Bend County and the surrounding areas.” AN INCREDIBLE START Police Traffic Stops & Positive Driver Outcomes, which debuted in Fort Bend with the Missouri City Police Department on Jan. 8 and was sponsored by Union Pacific, initially caught Farmer’s attention while at a CIT session. In Hope For Three’s pilot session, eight teenagers and young adults, ranging from 14 years old to 37 years old, participated in hands-on activities that covered safe driving, obeying traffic laws, what to do the case of an accident and role-playing certain situations like traffic stops. Officers sat in, and stood outside of, the cars with the participants and advised them on the steps to take during a variety of scenarios. “It was incredible,” Farmer said.“The officers were very receptive and did a great job with the presentation.” As more police departments join the program, the training sessions will increase and run between one to two hours. The classes are limited to 10 drivers so that participants can receive focused one-onone instruction. Registration for the sessions can be made by calling Hope For Three at 281-245-0640 or visiting its website at www.hopeforthree.org. The next session with Missouri City is scheduled for April. “We are working diligently to get other departments interested,” Farmer said, noting the nonprofit’s plans to contact Rosenberg Police Department and Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. “Our goal is to have at least six departments on board with the program within in the year.”

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BUILDING BRIDGES As a community resource and patrol officer with the Missouri City Police Department, Ellis Williams praised Hope For Three’s new driver program as a chance to“bridge the gap between the police department and the community.” Williams, who helped organize the program for the department and led the presentation during the pilot session, said the hands-on approach is beneficial for the drivers as well as the officers. He noted that as officers were training drivers about the rules of the road, they simultaneously learned about the behaviors of people on the spectrum — like auditory sensitivity, difficulty with eye contact and fidgeting. “With people on the autism spectrum as part of the driving community, it is important for officers to understand their behaviors, because behaviors can be misinterpreted,” said Williams, who is also a CIT officer.“One of the benefits of having this program is it will help avoid mistakes and stress in certain situations.” He takes a moment to consider his next point. “All officers are trained,” he stressed heavily.“But not all of them have the life experience.” Williams, who has been with the department for 15 years has had a variety of experiences that serve him well when engaging with the community, said the Police Traffic Stops & Positive Driver Outcomes program is a chance for officers to gain experiences that will serve them just as well. “It is a good program,” he said.“It’s an opportunity for everyone — families, officers and kids on the spectrum — to become educated.” UNDERSTANDING & TEACHING What is most important to know is that children on the autism

spectrum want the same things as every other person.They want to drive.They want jobs.They want to be involved in their community, too. “And they are very capable of accomplishing those things,especially if others have empathy and are understanding of people who live with autism,” Farmer said.“Learning to drive is a huge deal for them, for their independence, so it is important for us to teach them what is expected.”

Officers of the Missouri City Police Department with participants of the inaugural Hope For Three Police Traffic Stops and Positive Driver Outcomes program. From left are Officer Lex Paxton, Officer Ellis Williams, Marisol Amezaga, Jacob Martin and Justin Moehn. Back Row: Conor Garczynski, Christian Courtney, Matthew Cuddus , Marshall Jones and Officer Warren Simon. Kneeling: Officer Cinttia Argueta.

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• Fulshear Living Monthly • 17

FORT BEND COUNTY MASTER GARDENERS Understanding the deep implications of home lawn fertilization by BOONE HOLLADAY | Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Horticulturist


mericans are passionate about lawns. Whether you love lawns or hate them, we have developed an expectation of lawns that teeters on unsustainable. While people may argue back and forth about the value of lawns, it’s a fact that poorly managed lawn inputs impact our environment, mainly in areas of surface and groundwater quality. By “inputs,” I am referring here to fertilization, irrigation and pesticide applications. Many states, including Florida, Wisconsin and Maryland, have developed restrictions on lawn inputs due to direct impacts on local water systems and associated ecosystems. As a gardener, horticulturist and general supporter of our landscape industries, I agree lawns have many important values and serve many roles in the modern landscape, but we must address the unintended consequences of our management practices. In this article, I’ll focus on an overview of lawn fertilization timing. Living along the Gulf Coast, our cool season tends to be a roller coaster of extremes. Because of this, our lawns tend to look green even though they are technically dormant. All of our residential lawns, mostly St. Augustine and Bermuda, are warm-season lawn species.This defines them as plants that actively grow during the warmer months and go through some period of winter dormancy. This dormancy period affects when we should fertilize. WE CAN ADDRESS THIS IN TWO WAYS: Let’s talk first about what we can see — the foliage. During mild winters our lawn looks green, but while it may be going through some amount of photosynthesis, it’s not actively putting on new growth. By encouraging growth with fertilizer when it’s dormant, we put the lawn in jeopardy of frost damage during our random cold blasts.This cold damage stresses the plant, making it use up stored energy resources, which in turn makes it more susceptible to pest, disease and environmental stressors down the road. Now, let’s dig into what we can’t see — the roots. We know the top part of the plant goes dormant because we can see it.What we can’t see, the dormant root system, decreases its overall root system by as much as 75 percent! In this process, the plant saves the thicker roots closer to the surface that store energy and sloughs off most of its extensive fibrous root system. It’s these fibrous roots, or “feeder roots,” that absorb water and nutrients from the soil.Without

active feeder roots, much of your winter inputs literally go down the drain. While our lawns tend to green up by February, active spring growth doesn’t begin until around April 1 when we’re typically past our last frost date and the plant starts growing back its feeder roots. This suggests the time for spring application is early to mid-April. Now for the fall, our lawns begin the dormancy process in October, slowing leaf growth and sloughing its root system.Assuming that the release period of your fertilizer is around six weeks, your last fertilization of the year would be applied in late August or early September. Applications after this time only expose your lawn to cold stress and disease, and feed the multitude of cool-season lawn weeds. DIG DOWN FURTHER into the topic on The Texas A&M Turfgrass website aggieturf.tamu.edu which houses a wealth of online resources. Books out there expanding on the topic include “The Texas Lawn Guide” by Steve Dobbs and “The Complete Guide to Texas Gardening” by Neil Sperry. For answers to your specific lawn questions contact the Fort Bend Master Gardener Hotline at fbmg.org/contact.

Park guide retires after 3 decades of sharing his passion Story & Photos by AVERIL GLEASON | agleason@fbherald.com


fter more than 1,000 guided hikes across 30 years, Brazos Bend State Park naturalist David Heinicke led his last guided hike in January as an employee before retiring from the park. And he said he couldn’t help but be proud of the work he did and the knowledge he shared over the course of three decades. “I initially came to volunteer here 30 years ago because I wanted to return something to the park that I enjoyed and got so much out of,” Heinicke said.“After about five years of volunteering, I realized that this would be a great way to make a living.”

18 • Fulshear Living Monthly • March 2020

Heinicke said he took a significant pay cut from working as a landscape designer to come to the state park, but no amount of money lost could dampen his happiness. “I haven’t regretted my choices for one day,” Heinicke said with a smile. As Heinicke led dozens of hikers on his last First Day Hike, he shared that this event was one of his favorites. “These First Day Hikes are pretty special to me,” he revealed.“You get a lot of people out here that normally wouldn’t come to the park.

Brazos Bend State Park naturalist David Heinicke spent his last day guiding the First Day Hike.

Over the years, I’ve met people who told me they haven’t been out here since their kids were little. Or they hadn’t been out here in 15 years or so. Special occasions like this hike tend to really bring people back out. “That’s pretty special.” “Other times, you’ll run into people that are middle-aged that come here and tell me,‘You led me in a hike when I was on a fifth-grade field trip.’ “These First Day Hikes bring out people with all different interests. This will open their eyes to the beauty of the park or bring up feelings of nostalgia.” Heinicke said he was happy to end his time at the park teaching adults and children alike about local plants and animals. “My real passion is showing people the outdoors and getting kids interested in nature,” Heinicke explained. “The only way we’re going to preserve this in the future is if we interest kids in it today. That’s the kind of passion that drove me to do this.” Although Heinicke is retiring from the park, he said he will still volunteer. “It’s time to pursue other interests as well,” the 57-year-old said.“I’d like to volunteer at a few other places and share my time and knowledge with as many people as possible.” Brazos Bend State Park is located at 21901 FM 762 south of Richmond.

Continued on page 25

March 2020

• Fulshear Living Monthly • 19

Arts & Entertainment

Moana JR. boasts ‘amazing music’ and ‘stunning displays of beauty’


nspiration Stage is excited to announce its production of Disney’s Moana JR., at the Sugar Land Auditorium with eight shows over two weekends, starting March 27. Disney’s Moana JR. is an adaptation of the 2016 Disney animated film, bringing the adventures of Moana and her village of Motunui to life onstage.The production features all the beloved songs from the film, written by Tony®, GRAMMY, Emmy, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa’i, and Mark Mancina, including “How Far I’ll Go,”“Shiny,” and “You’re Welcome.”This junior adaptation of Moana was recently made available for theatres to license for production. “It’s such an honor to be one of the first theatre companies in the greater Houston area to produce this touching and beloved show,” said Mandy Seymore-Sensat, Inspiration Stage’s artistic director and the director/choreographer for Moana JR.“It promises to be a show full of spectacle and heart, with amazing music and stunning displays of beauty. It will be a new favorite for audiences young and old.” This thrilling and heartwarming coming-of-age story follows the strong-willed Moana as she sets sail across the Pacific to save her village and discover the truth about her heritage. Moana and the legendary demigod Maui embark on an epic journey of self-discovery and camaraderie as both learn to harness the power that lies within. With empowering messages of bravery and selflessness, Moana JR. is sure to bring out the hero within each of us. Celebrating the rich history of Oceania and based on the beliefs and cultures of the people of the Pacific Islands, Moana was developed in collaboration with an Oceanic Trust – a group of anthropologists, cultural practitioners, historians, linguists, and choreographers from the Pacific Islands. Thirteen-year-old Maci Hunt, an 8th grader at Briscoe Junior High School from Parkway Lakes Estates, is excited to be in the lead ensemble of Moana JR., her fifth show at Inspiration Stage. “I am so excited for all the choreography and music this show has to offer. We just finished our first music rehearsal and I can’t wait to learn the rest of the harmonies, language, and music,” she said. Moana JR., which will show at the historic Sugar Land Auditorium

Maci Hunt performs with her Color Guard team, loves photography and hanging out with her friends.

at 226 Lakeview Drive, offers eight performances: March 27 at 7:30 p.m.; March 28 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; March 29 at 3:30 p.m.;April 3 at 7:30 p.m.;April 4 at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.; and April 5 at 3:30 p.m. For ticket prices visit inspirationstage.com. “There’s nothing like seeing your favorite movie come to life on the stage,” Hunt said.“You get to feel like you are part of the story while experiencing the magic of live theatre.”

Music Magic starts in March by TIANA MORTIMER


oung boys who love music and singing are encouraged to enroll in the Fort Bend Boys Choir of Texas Music Magic class, an eight-week music enrichment program for 6 and 7-year-old

boys. The Fort Bend Boys Choir offers this special class which bring music alive through movement, musical games, singing and other activities. Boys learn about rhythm awareness and pitch matching in addition to developing large muscle coordination, better musicianship and increase focus. The best part is that there are no auditions for this class. Mr.William R.Adams, the organization’s founder and artistic director, is returning as the director for this class — how cool! For this 23rd season of the Music Magic program, the class will meet on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m., beginning March 17 and ending May 5 at the First United Methodist Church

20 • Fulshear Living Monthly • March 2020

Missouri City, 3900 Lexington Blvd. in Missouri City. Music Magic will then sing at the Fort Bend Boys Choir’s Spring Concert on Saturday, May 9. The cost for this course is $100 and boys will receive a free Music Magic T-shirt once classes start. Classes are limited in size so call the choir office at 281-240-3800 to pre-register or visit its website at www.fbbctx.org. Be sure to stop by the choir's Facebook page for the latest on the Music Magic class and public Photo by Terri Cannon | Ryan Foley singing in the Spring 2019 performances. concert.




by Arredo











The Big One-Oh! Wins BIG


hen Inspiration Stage was asked to debut a world premier pilot production of a brand new musical in September 2019, they knew they were onto something big. “As the premiere pilot of a new junior show, the actors and artistic team have the opportunity to create original characters, create the scenic design and create the choreography,” said the show’s director/ choreographer Mandy Seymore-Sensat last fall. “This pilot and world premiere is a huge honor and we are all jazzed to be a part of it. This is an amazing opportunity for our production staff and cast.” The investment paid off, with The Big One-Oh! JR being awarded the 2019 Broadway World Houston Award for Best New Play or Musical. Local actors featured in the production include:Alexandria Deanne Gomez, a Fieldstone resident; Campbell Baldon, a Greatwood resident; and Addison “Addie” Doss, a Brazos Lakes resident.

Inspiration Stage’s win comes after a record number of nominations and votes for the 2019 BroadwayWorld Houston Awards, which were sponsored by TodayTix. Regional productions, touring shows, and more were all included, honoring productions which opened between Oct. 1, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2019. Inspiration Stage produced The Big One-Oh! JR in cooperation with and at the special invitation of iTheatrics and Music Theatre International (MTI). iTheatrics adapts main stage Broadway musicals so they can be performed by kids in school and after-school settings. It creates these adaptations for a distinguished list of clients, including MTI, one of the world’s leading theatrical licensing agencies. Through the pilot process, Inspiration Stage’s creation of this brandnew musical will eventually be available for all theatres to license in the future.

Photo by Erika Waldorf | Jaxon Daniel (playing lead character Charley Maplewood), center, gets into character with fellow The Big One-Oh! JR. actors.

‘Matilda JR’ introduced to 7,000 attendees at JTF


nspiration Stage introduced Matilda JR for the first time to the attendees of the annual Junior Theatre Festival in Atlanta on Jan. 18. iStage was honored to be selected to perform three Matilda JR numbers on the festival’s main stage in the New Works Showcase for the festival’s almost 7,000 attendees. “When Inspiration Stage was asked to pilot the brand-new junior version of Matilda at the Sugar Land Auditorium in October 2018, we were thrilled,” said Mandy Seymore-Sensat.“Performing some of our favorite numbers on the main stage for the entire festival was a huge honor. We are humbled by the confidence the iTheatrics and JTF leadership has in our theatre to perform such an exhilarating introduction of this exciting new junior adaptation.”

22 • Fulshear Living Monthly • March 2020

After the introduction of Matilda JR. at JTF, the new Matilda JR. adaptation will become available for all theatres to license in the future. The iStage troupe performed three numbers from the musical in the closing performance of the New Works Showcase.The opening, “School Song,” thrilled the audience with its fast-paced choreography and creative staging, followed by “When I Grown Up,” which brought the audience to tears with its touching presentation. The finale, “Revolting Children” brought the entire 7,000-member audience to its feet, dancing and clapping along with the performance. “Ending with such a powerful and thrilling song [ ...] was an amazing way to end the always-exciting New Works Showcase,” said

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Seymore-Sensat. Inspiration Stage was one of only six companies selected to present in the New Works showcase, out of a total 127 attending companies. The festival also hosts adjudications for all attending theatre companies from around the world. Inspiration Stage’s pod of performers included seven other theatre companies, each performing its own 15-minute cut of a different musical for industry professionals. This year, Inspiration Stage took a cut of Mary Poppins, JR., winning an Excellence in Music award for their cut. “Our company had to balance the demands of performing from two stylistically contrasting musical scores,” said music director Sarah Patterson.“Our adjudication piece, Mary Poppins JR —for which we were awarded Excellence in Music — with its Sherman Brothers score and Golden Age sounds, is vastly different from Tim Minchin’s quirky and pop-rocky Matilda JR. Our talented young performers embraced the challenge and delivered beautiful harmonies, powerful dynamics, and soaring vocals—all with British accents! Being recognized for our musicality was a wonderful reward for the difficulty of tackling two fantastically complex pieces.” Evan Blackwell (playing George Banks) was honored with an exclusive award — one that was bestowed on just three recipients at this year’s festival. The adjudicators recognized Blackwell with the Freddie G Inspiration Award, an award given to performers who touched the hearts of the adjudicators in a very special way. Blackwell,17,was thrilled with the recognition.“I was so touched and so honored to be recognized this year in this way at my last JTF ever,” he said.“Senior year is a time of uncertainty, of wondering where you’re going to go, whether you’ll be happy and be doing what you want to do. Receiving this award was, to me, a sign that yes, I can do it, and yes, things will be okay.This honor felt like the perfect end to this magical weekend, and I could not imagine a better way to end my five years as a JTF alumni.” Blackwell and Madison Willett (playing Mary Poppins) were also selected as the Inspiration Stage company All-Stars by the adjudicators. Six Inspiration Stage youth also received Golden Tickets — special invitations to audition for the opportunity to appear in iTheatrics’ instructional guide choreography DVDs distributed with its Broadway Jr. series of shows.Two iStagers received callbacks for the third, ultracompetitive round of auditions — Jaxon Daniel and Gentry Claire Lumpkin. Final winners will be contacted in March if they are invited to film in New York City. In February, Inspiration Stage took a different company to JTF West in Sacramento to perform Into the Woods JR for adjudicators.

PHOTOS TOP TO BOTTOM: Evan Blackwell won the Freddie G Inspiration Award at the Junior Theatre Festival in Atlanta. Music director Sarah Patterson. The cast of Matilda JR performing one of the ongs. Madison Willett (playing Mary Poppins) and Evan Blackwell (playing George Banks)

24 • Fulshear Living Monthly • March 2020

Continued from page 19

Get your caladium bulbs by ROBERTA TERRELL


he Garden Club of Richmond is holding its annual Caladium Sale. Bulbs can be pre-ordered and will be available for pick-up from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.April, 1, 2 and 10 a.m. to noon April 3 at Joseph’s Coffee Shop, 202 Morton Street in Richmond. The bulbs are No 1 “fancy-leafed” caladium bulbs and are available in the following colors: red (Red Flash), pink (Carolyn Whorton), white (Candidum) and variegated (Tapestry), our popular newest offering. We can sell the bulbs only in batches of 25 of a single color. For example, you may order 25 pink and 50 red, but you cannot order 37 pink and 38 red. Prices are: $30 for 25 bulbs; $55 for 50 bulbs; and $100 for 100 bulbs. To order, please contact Nancie Rain at 281-341-0588 or nrain@ comcast.net, or Roberta Terrell at 281-343-9932 or robertaterrell@ gmail.com. The last day to place an order is March 22 and all orders must be paid for in advance. We appreciate your purchases as they make our community service projects possible. Caladiums have big heart shaped leaves that display amazing color combinations of white, pink, red and green. The plants love hot, humid weather and are native to the banks of the Amazon River in South America.These tropical plants are grown

from a tuberous root often called bulbs. Easy to plant, they add a lush, exotic touch to summer gardens in our area, and, while most caladiums are at home in shade or partial shade, the varieties recommended by the Garden Club of Richmond — Red Flash, Carolyn Whorton and Tapestry — tolerate full sun. Candidums thrive in shade or filtered sunlight and mix beautifully with ferns and impatiens. Caladiums are a wonderful way to enhance shady areas, provide a focal point for a sunny garden,or show off in stunning patio containers.

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March 2020

• Fulshear Living Monthly • 25

Health News Keepin’ It Renal announces Mardi Gras theme this year by MARQUITA GRIFFIN | mgriffin@fbherald.com


hris “CJ” Johnson Foundation, Inc. is heightening the fun at its 7th annual Keepin’ It Renal Fun Run/ Walk benefit with a Mardi Gras theme this time around. While the benefit has a new theme this year, the foundation’s president and founder, Ritchie Johnson, said the mission remains the same: to increase local awareness and funds for research for renal medullary carcinoma, a rare kidney cancer. While it hosts fundraisers and awareness events in Fort Bend throughout the year, the foundation’s prize event is its Annual Keepin’ It Renal Run/ Walk, which is set for March 28 at Sugar Land Memorial Park, 15300 University Blvd. in Sugar Land. Medals will be given to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in overall adult men and women as well as male and female youth.

“Let’s join forces as we heighten RMC awareness and raise funds for research,” Johnson said in a social media post promoting the fundraiser. The participation fee is $30 for anyone 10 years and older and includes Mardi Gras beads and mask. Registration is available online at chrisjohnsonfoundation.org GET INSPIRED In addition to sharing the word about the upcoming Keepin’ It Renal benefit, the foundation also announced it has launched a new online support community with Team Inspire and Kidney Cancer Association. Visit www.inspire.com/groups/rmc to join.

The Chris “CJ” Johnson Foundation, Inc. The Chris “CJ” Johnson Foundation Inc., established in 2013, is a 501 (c)3 non-profit charity organization based in Sugar Land, Texas. Its mission is to find a cure for Renal Medullary Carcinoma (RMC) worldwide through awareness, education and research. Its primary focus is on individuals with sickle hemoglobinopathies such as sickle cell trait (SCT), who may be at risk for this rare and aggressive form of kidney cancer. In addition, the foundation offers emotional, spiritual and financial support to individuals diagnosed with RMC, and donate funds annually to The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to advance RMC research. For more information visit chrisjohnsonfoundation.org or follow the foundation on Facebook at @ chrisjohnsonfoundation PICTURED AT RIGHT: Ritchie Johnson and her son, the late Chris “CJ” Johnson, who passed away in 2012 from kidney cancer. His mother started a foundation in his name to raise money for research on renal medullary carcinoma and to keep her son’s memory alive.

The George Foundation Funds HGI Counseling


he George Foundation has again assisted in making it possible for HGI Counseling to continue offering counseling services to area residents through a recent grant funding of $165,000 over three years. “We cannot begin to thank the George Foundation for their generous support, for it will allow us to continue our mission more successfully,” said Sue Levin, executive director, HGI Counseling From left, Sue Levin, executive director, HGI Counseling with Quynh-Anh T. McMahan, MSW, Senior Program Officer, The George Foundation.

26 • Fulshear Living Monthly • March 2020

Center. Although counseling services aren’t in everyone’s budget — leaving them to believe they have no place to turn when a problem or challenge overwhelms them — HGI’s doors are open to everyone, Levin explained. “HGI has a sliding scale and often offers pro-bono (or no-fee) counseling services. No one is turned away,” she said.“We also have a Walk-In Counseling Program, where no appointment is needed for those in crisis, or for those who do not want to wait for an appointment.” In 2019, HGI provided counseling services to 1,925 clients in Fort Bend, which includes individuals, families, couples and students. HGI has been providing counseling, training, workshops, research, disaster and crisis response, and so much more for over 40-years, and have been serving Fort Bend residents for the past four and a half years. “Fort Bend has welcomed us with open arms, and we are thrilled to be part of this wonderful community,” Levin said.“The generous support from the George Foundation has helped make it possible for us to see so many clients without having to charge fees that are unaffordable. We cannot begin to thank The George Foundation for this support.” For more information about HGI and its services, visit www. talkhgi.org or call the Fort Bend Office at 832-471-6538.

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Income-Tax-Preparation Assistance in Richmond Representatives from the AARP will provide free income-taxpreparation assistance for lowincome taxpayers, Saturdays, March 2 through April 15 at the George Memorial Library from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. in Room 2C. This service is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Call 281-342-445 for details.


Connections: Coffee & Conversation Meet new people and make new friends at this casual, come-and-go social hour at the George Memorial Library at 7 p.m. March 3 10 a.m. on March 19 in Room 2A . This activity is suitable for adults aged 18 and up.


Income-Tax-Preparation Assistance in Fulshear Representatives from the AARP will provide free income-taxpreparation assistance for lowincome taxpayers, Saturdays, March 4 through April 15 at the Bob Lutts Fulshear/Simonton Branch Library from 1 - 4 p.m. in the Meeting Room. This service is free and open to the public on a firstcome, first-served basis. Call 281633-4675 for details. Let’s Learn Origami! Learn how to make an elegant decoration or gift from a simple piece of paper at the George Memorial Library from 5:30 - 7 p.m. in Room 2A. This program is suitable for all ages, but those aged 13 and below must be accompanied by an adult.


Financial Fitness A representative from the Foundation for Financial Education (F3E) will provide helpful tips for managing one’s personal finances at the University Branch Library from 7 - 8 p.m. in Meeting Room 1.


Craft Squad: Paper Quilling People who enjoy crafts are invited to join the Craft Squad at the University Branch Library from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. in Meeting Room 1. In March, earn the “Paper Quilling” badge. This activity is suitable for adults and older teens ONLY. Registration is required. The Craft Squad weekly meet-ups will take place on Fridays, Mar 13, 20, and 27. Registration is not required for the meet-ups. Visit www.fortbend. lib.tx.us for details.


20/20, Girl What’s Your Vision? The Butterfly Project, Inc will hold its 5th and 6th grade empowerment conference at 9 a.m. Those interested in attending can register at https://forms. gle/3Rnf8FyEkfDZh3d78. The conference is free. Breakfast, lunch and snacks will be included. The conference is also accepting volunteers and sponsors. Email thebflyprojectinc@gmail.com. Volunteer Orientation Reining Strength Therapeutic Horsemanship will host a volunteer orientation from 9 - 11 a.m. Visit www.reiningstrength.org/getinvolved. Income-Tax-Preparation Assistance in Sugar Land Representatives from the AARP will provide free income-taxpreparation assistance for low-

30 • Fulshear Living Monthly • March 2020

income taxpayers, Saturdays, March 7 through April 11 at the University Branch Library from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. in Conference Room 1. This service is free and open to the public on a first-come, firstserved basis. Call 281-633-5100 for details.


Resumé Workshop Learn the basics of putting together a resumé at the George Memorial Library at 2 p.m. in the Computer Lab. Those attending this informal program will receive one-oneone help formatting a resumé. For assistance on a pre-existing resumé, please have a digital copy available on a usb flashdrive, saved to the cloud, or have access to it via email. Registration required.


Puppetpalooza Families with children of all ages will enjoy some of the staff’s favorite puppet shows, complete with jokes, stories, rhymes, and more at the George Memorial Library from 2 - 3 p.m. in the Puppet Theater.


Young Adult Advisory Council Teens in grades 9-12 who are interested in an exciting new leadership opportunity and volunteer-service hours are invited to attend at the University Branch Library at 5 p.m. in Conference Room 1. Members will have a chance to share ideas about library programs, to help out at events, to give suggestions for teen services, books, and movies, and to meet new people. Creative Connection: Connect-4 Tournament Youth in grades 4-8 will have an

opportunity to test their Connect-4 skills in this tournament-style game day at the University Branch Library at 2:30 p.m. in Meeting Room 1.


Game Day Families with children of all ages are invited to play video games, board games, and card games in the Game Room in the Middle Grades department at the George Memorial Library from 2 - 4 p.m.


The Fab 5 at Scotty’s Saloon Scotty’s Saloon at OTP will feature The Fab 5, known for its 60s and 70s hits. The fun runs from 8 midnight at Scotty’s Saloon visit scottyssaloon.com. YA Game Day Teens in grades 9-12 will enjoy classic board games and card games at the University Branch Library at 2 p.m. in Meeting Room 2. Texas Talks: Avenger Field & the WASPs of WWII Learn about Avenger Field – a WWII Army Airfield near Sweetwater – and the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) who trained there in the 1940s at the George Memorial Library from 1 - 3:30 p.m. in the Meeting Room. Hear about some of the unsung female pilots who volunteered to contribute their skills to the war effort by delivering airplanes, testing and repairing aircraft, and towing targets for antiaircraft gunnery practice.


Fulshear & Texas History Claire Rogers from the Fort Bend Historical Society will share fascinating stories about the history of Fort Bend County since the time

of Stephen F. Austin, with particular focus on the Fulshear area at the Bob Lutts Fulshear/Simonton Branch Library at 6:30 p.m. in the Meeting Room. LEGO® Club Families with kids of all ages will have an opportunity to get creative with LEGO building blocks at the University Branch Library from 4:15 - 5 p.m. in Meeting Room 1. Different-sized LEGO pieces will be available for the varying ages in attendance.


Culinary Book Club The University Branch Library’s culinary book club will meet at 1:30 p.m. in Meeting Room 1. This month’s theme is “Street Food.” Cooking enthusiasts of all ages and experience levels, from beginners to advanced, are invited to join.


Story Spinners Writing Club This month’s topic at the George Memorial Library from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. in Room 2C will be “Character Development.” From beginning blogger to published novelist, writers of all genres and experience levels are welcome to write, share, learn, support, network, and critique each other’s work. This program is recommended for adults and teens aged 14 and up. Easter Egg Hunt The annual Pecan Grove Easter Egg Hunt starts at 11 a.m. at Pitts Road Park. Fun is planned for all the youngsters up to 10 years old (ages will be divided). Other activities include face and hair painting and a bouncy house.


The Truth About Senior-Living Options Liz McNeel, a senior real-estate specialist and certified seniorhousing professional, will discuss

the benefits offered by seniorliving communities, costs and associated services, and the differences between independent living, assisted living, memorycare facilities, and long-term care options at the University Branch Library at 10:30 a.m. in Meeting Room 1.


“Create & Take” Enchanted Gardens in Richmond will host its “Create & Take” session from 2 -3 p.m., this time teaching attendees how to create a hanging basket they get to take home. For more information or to make reservations call 281-341-1206.


Butterfly Gardening for Beginners Erin Mills, the current Director of the Cockrell Butterfly Center, speak at Enchanted Gardens in Richmond in a seminar from 2 - 3 p.m. Erin, a board certified Entomologist, will

share her favorite host and nectar plants, and how you can use them to enjoy beautiful butterflies yearround right in your own backyard. Bullet-Journaling Basics Discover how a Bullet Journal can be used to keep ideas and tasks organized at the University Branch Library at 1 p.m. in Meeting Room 2. This customizable system can be used as a to-do list, calendar, sketchbook, tracker, diary, or any combination of these tasks. Learn about layouts, stencils, and handlettering that can be used to add a creative, personalized touch. Registration is required.


Tee-Off for Tourette Golf Tourette Association - Texas Chapter will host its 25th annual Tee-Off for Tourette Golf charity event from noon - 7 p.m. at the Black Hawk Country Club in Richmond. Contact TouretteTexas@aol.com for details.

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Fulshear Living - March 2020  

Fulshear Living - March 2020  

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