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FEATURE | George Ranch HS orchestra student Afshaal Zubair earns a chair in the Texas Music Educators Association Region Orchestra — a first for Lamar Consolidated ISD. ATTACK POVERTY | Local nonprofit Attack Poverty looks forward to increasing its support of under-resourced communities in 2021.
TALK OF THE TOWN | Chris Taylor explains why mulch is excellent for gardens. ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT | Literacy Council of Fort Bend County’s spelling bee is a success.
TO ADVERTISE To advertise in Greatwood Monthly please call Lee Hartman, Stefanie Bartlett, or Ruby Polichino, our advertising representatives, at 281-342-4474 for rates, information and deadlines. PHOTO & ARTICLE SUBMISSIONS We are looking for fresh story ideas and enjoy publishing your articles in the Greatwood Monthly. If you have an story idea or photo to publish please send your information to email@example.com with “Greatwood Monthly” in the subject line. ©2021 Greatwood Monthly All Rights Reserved. Greatwood Monthly is a sister publication of Fulshear Living Monthly, Pecan Grove Monthly, West Fort Bend Living and is a publication of the Fort Bend Herald. Our publishing headquarters is 1902 S. Fourth Street, Rosenberg Texas 77471.
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abrina Behrens has never seen Afshaal Zubair face to face. She’s never even been in the same room with him, and yet the Travis High School Director of Orchestra was not shocked at Zubair’s recent feat of earning a chair in the Texas Music Educators Association Region Orchestra. With more than 13,000 members, the Texas Music Educators Association serves as the governing body for music in Texas, and through various means, it provides professional growth opportunities for students. “It serves students and promotes education at all levels,” Behrens said. The association, which celebrated its 100th anniversary this year, features five divisions: band, orchestra, vocal, elementary, and college. Each fall it holds auditions for Texas high school orchestra students who vie for a spot in one of two performing ensembles called Region Orchestra. Typically the auditions are held over two days, but due to the pandemic, the process went virtual. Auditions were audio recorded during a specific window of time, verified by directors, and then blindly judged. A total of 24 student musicians are accepted into one of the two performing ensembles, and following his audition, Zubair not only became one of the chosen, he simultaneously became the first Lamar Consolidated ISD orchestra student to earn a chair on the Region Orchestra. “I was honestly quite surprised, Zubair said. “I felt like I underperformed and wouldn’t get a spot. When the results came in, I felt quite happy and I was relieved to see that all the hard work paid off.” Behrens, who has been Zubair’s private tutor since May, said “he is a very bright and sharp student and has a lot of raw natural talent.” “He picks up things quickly, and as a teacher, you love
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that. I would give him music to practice or an exercise and [by the next session] he would exceed my expectation each time.” For 45 minutes every week, Behrens said she witnessed the level of Zubair’s focus and work ethic. “I can tell if a student practiced,” she said with a laugh explaining that she is in her 15th year teaching public school orchestra, and 10th year at Travis High School. “I can tell you Afshaal practiced regularly and diligently.” Zubair offered praise for Behrens’ contribution as well. “If it weren’t for Mrs. Behrens, I would’ve never even
Afshaal Zubair with George Ranch High School Principal Heather Patterson. Zubair recently earned a chair in the Texas Music Educators Association Region Orchestra.
George Ranch High School freshman Afshall Zubair with Scott Edenmeyer, the Orchestra PVA Advisor and Orchestra Director for Lamar Consolidated ISD’s maroon track.
come close to being placed in a chair for the audition,” he said. The Texas Music Educators Association is the largest such organization in the country, and, Behrens noted, one of the largest in the world. The association is divided into 33 regions. Region 13 consists of Lamar Consolidated ISD, Fort Bend ISD, Brazosport ISD, as well as private schools and home-schooled students who reside within the region. “I’m extremely proud of Afshaal,” Behrens said.“I was fairly certain he would achieve it, and I’m very happy that he did, that his hard work paid off. “Now, I’m raising the bar even higher for him. Next year we’re going for Area or State.”
I wanted him in lessons with a private teacher,” he said.“This George Ranch freshman has broken the seal paving the way for future success by other LCISD students.” The district’s orchestra program, which opened in 2017, has grown from 35 students to more than 500 students district-wide. Edenmeyer is now one of five orchestra directors for the district, with Mary Evelyn Thwaites over the gold track, Gerardo “Sammy” Escamilla over the purple track, Tess Hartis aboard on the blue track, and Charles “Chuck” Peterson for the red track.
A SENSE OF EXPRESSION & A FLOURISHING PROGRAM When Zubair thought about it, there wasn’t one specific trait that drew him to the orchestra. “I decided one day that I wanted to play an instrument and orchestra sounded fun,” said the 14-year-old George Ranch High School freshman.“I really just enjoy playing music. “It gives me a sense of expression.” Zubair began playing in the Lamar Consolidated ISD Orchestra Program as a sixth-grader at Polly Ryon Middle School. He began with the violin but switched to playing double bass in the spring semester of 7th grade. “I put a bass in his hands, taught him the basics, and before I knew it, he was playing beyond my ability,” said Scott Edenmeyer, the Orchestra PVA Advisor and Orchestra Director for Lamar Consolidated ISD’s maroon track. Edenmeyer, who has been teaching Zubair for four years now, is the one who arranged for Zubair and his parents to meet with Behrens.When society halted during the coronavirus crisis the orchestra instruments were cleaned and Edenmeyer sent a bass home with each of his three players. Zubair “continued to thrive in distance learning and I knew
A PRAISE-WORTHY PROGRAM In the short time that it’s been in existence, the Lamar Consolidated ISD orchestra program is noticeably piquing interests, gaining support, and growing into a large organization. Endemeyer suspects this trend will continue as the district continues to expand. Approvals of recent bonds include five new middle school orchestra buildings, four of which are under construction, and within the next few years, the junior high schools and the high schools will receive new orchestra buildings. “Rapid growth is a great problem to have since it means we will hopefully soon be looking for qualified directors to join our LCISD orchestra cohort,” Edenmeyer said. Zubair praised the program’s growth and said he plans on continuing orchestra for the rest of his time in high school. “It is the definite place for me,” he said. And after having his first taste at earning a chair, Zubair also plans to try out for the Texas Music Educators Association audition in coming years, and the state audition, too. “My accomplishment shows that the LCISD orchestra program and the George Ranch orchestra program have students that can go above and beyond and reach a goal like no other,” he said. “It shows that all students in our orchestra are well taught and great students that will succeed in the future.”
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In The Spotlight Attack Poverty CEO Brandon Baca alongside the Hope City church partners assisting in loading water that was being transported to Louisiana in support of the aftermath of Hurricane Laura.
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The Baca family, from left, Asher, Eden, Brandon, Ruby, and Sarah Beth. The family attends Bridge Church.
LOSING WEIGHT IS A SHARED VICTORY
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Husband and wife Brandon Baca and Sarah Beth Baca serving together at a Friends of North Richmond event. Both of them are Richmond natives, Houston Baptist University alumni and enjoy their work with Attack Poverty. Sarah Beth Baca, the volunteer coordinator at the Friends of North Richmond Community Center, is an artist who has used her talents for Attack Poverty. To date, she’s designed the mural at Friends of North Richmond, the recent annual report, and other communication pieces. Read more about Sarah Beth’s artworks on page 17.
Greatwood Veterinary Hospital At Greatwood Veterinary Hospital, we are dedicated to providing excellent and compassionate care for your furry, family friends. We offer full veterinary services in our new, spacious 6,500 square foot facility. Our experienced and caring veterinarians and staff strive to provide the best quality care available for your pets, with an emphasis on client education and an understanding of your pet’s specific needs. We would like to be partners with you in ensuring your pet’s good health and well-being. In addition to full medical, surgical, and dental veterinary care, we also offer boarding, grooming, and cremation services. Greatwood Veterinary Hospital has been providing affordable and quality veterinary care to the Fort Bend area for over 15 years. It is our hope that we can meet all your animal’s health care needs with our warm, friendly, and knowledgeable services. To make an appointment for your pet or for more information, please call us at (281) 342-7770 or visit us at 401 Crabb River Road in Richmond.
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ATTACK POVERTY SERVICES EDUCATION | The most sought-out service in the education component is the You Can Academy. This academy provides a safe space for children to benefit from constructive educational activities supervised by a responsible, trained team of staff and volunteers focusing on homework help, character development, spiritual growth, enriching activities, a healthy snack, and mentoring relationships. SPIRITUAL | Through partnerships, Attack Poverty collaborates to provide a safe space for the community to gather, build relationships, serve, and learn more about Attack Poverty’s mission and programs. This effort has led to all Attack Poverty locations hosting monthly prayer walks. The nonprofit will participate in more prayer walks in 2021 and desires to “bring more churches into the fold as we see them as real catalysts for transformation in communities.” REVITALIZATION | Services offered in this program include home repairs, community revitalization projects, and training. Additionally, the Disaster Recovery team is committed to assisting residents affected by disasters and empowering them to lead their recovery. BASIC NEEDS | This component provides access to basic needs when a need cannot be addressed by the party alone, including response to needs following natural disasters. Community, support, counseling, and benevolence are featured in this component. The most sought-out service within this component is the food distribution where the goal is to provide families with short-term resources.
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Talk of the Town
Student’s love of technology leads to cybersecurity
exas State Technical College student Zachary Powers is about to receive his Associate of Applied Science degree in Cybersecurity and has some sound advice for those about to embark on their college journey: Never give up. In the following Q&A, the Sugar Land native explains that his love of technology is what pointed him in the direction of TSTC’s hands-on program. Why did you decide to attend TSTC? I knew TSTC would provide me with the hands-on learning experience that is going to allow me to succeed. Who was your biggest support system during your time in college? My instructor, Mr. (Timothy) Janssen. There were times that I wanted to quit, but he would challenge me, and this led to me excelling in my coursework. Do you have a favorite TSTC memory? In the Personal Computer Hardware course, we would have computer tear-down and repair build-offs, which challenged us to learn about each other and taught us to work together. What advice would you give to somebody who is about to start their first semester in college? No matter what life throws at you, never give up. Use all the resources available, do not be afraid to ask your instructors for help, and create study groups. What will you do after you graduate from TSTC? I hope to get a career started in cybersecurity. My goal is to eventually be employed by the National Weather Service as a meteorologist or a researcher to help improve early warning systems to prevent loss of life.
Photo courtesy of Zachary Powers | Sugar Land native and TSTC graduate Zachary Powers hopes to work for the National Weather Service someday. To learn more about TSTC, visit www.tstc.edu.
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William Ferguson takes oath of office photo by SCOTT REESE WILLEY
ewly elected Sugar Land city council member William Ferguson of Greatwood took oath of office on Nov. 10. Ferguson represents At Large 1 Position on the council. Ferguson, a Fort Bend County sheriff’s deputy, defeated Taylor Landin in the Nov. 3 general election, Ferguson earned 57 percent of the votes cast in the race. He replaced Himesh Gandhi on the council. Gandhi did not seek re-election. Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman administered the oath.
Central Fort Bend Chamber celebrates those who make positive impacts
espite the limiting nature of the pandemic, the Central Fort Bend Chamber still celebrated individuals, businesses, and sponsors during its Nov. 13 Annual Gala and Awards Celebration — it just celebrated virtually this year. “We’re taking the COVID-19 pandemic very seriously and the health of our members, sponsors, and volunteers is of great importance to us,” said Kristin Weiss, president, and CEO of the Central Fort Bend Chamber.“That is why we made the difficult decision to hold our gala virtually this year.” Approximately 200 guests attended the virtual gala, which was chaired by Laura Thompson. During the gala, the chamber celebrated people who made a positive impact in the Fort Bend community throughout the year. This year’s award recipients include Board Member of the Year – Wagas Kurjee, Moody Bank; Business Partner of the Year – Malisha Patel, Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital; Business Person of the Year – Jimmy Cantu, Pier 36;Achievement in Economic Development – Traci Nolen,Workforce Solutions Rosenberg; and Community Impact Awards – Gladys Brumfield-James, Catholic Charities Mamie George Community Center and Tim Jeffcoat, U.S. Small Business Administration. The chamber also thanked and recognized the following individuals as they retired from the board of directors: Ray Aguilar; Craig Kalkomey, LJA Engineering; Clyde King, Fort Bend Herald; and Alicen Swift, Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. It also welcomed four new individuals to the board of directors: Kyle Atchison, Frost Bank; Megan Crutcher, Odyssey Engineering Group; Benjamin Deist, Edward Jones; and Mike Jolley,Windstream. The gavel was also passed from 2020 Chairman Cindy Reaves of CLR Strategies, LLC to Beth Johnson of the University of Houston,
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who will serve as the 2021 Chairman of the Board. This year’s “Fire & Ice” themed annual gala was made possible by the following sponsors: Gold Sponsor: Orsted, Silver Sponsors: CenterPoint Energy, Gurecky Manufacturing, LJA Engineering, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital, NRG Energy, Odyssey Engineering Group, Paradigm Consultants and S & B Infrastructure. Additional sponsors included: Auction – Windstream Communications, DJ – Gillen Pest Control, Bar – Costello, Inc.,Wine Pull – TruCore Business Development, and Heads or Tails – Chesmar Homes. The chamber also thanked its corporate sponsors and community connection sponsors. For more information about the chamber and its programs, visit www.cfbca.org or call 281-342-5464.
Cindy Reaves, CLR Strategies,2020 Chair, Central Fort Bend Chamber Board of Directors and Beth Johnson, University of Houston, 2021 Chair, Central Fort Bend Chamber Board of Directors.
Mulch Is So Good For Our Gardens! by CHRIS TAYLOR | Fort Bend County Master Gardener
any of us get focused more on the part of our plants that are above ground than the roots. However, the parts of our plants above the soil will not thrive if the roots below are not well-treated. Mulching your garden beds and around your trees is the single most time-saving practice for gardeners. There are two types of mulch, organic and inorganic. Organic mulches include materials like leaves, shredded bark, pine needles, etc. Inorganic mulches include rocks and other non-plant materials. In this article, we will cover organic mulch. BENEFITS OF MULCHING Mulching your flowerbeds and around trees provides many benefits: • Organic mulch improves the soil as it decays and therefore provides nutrients for nearby plants. Soil organisms work the decomposing organic matter into the soil. • Mulch helps to retain moisture in the soil, which is particularly helpful in the hot summer months. • Mulch helps keep rain and irrigation water from washing away soil particles, especially on a slope. • Mulches also prevent raindrops from splashing on the soil surface and reducing the spread of diseases. • Mulch helps moderate the temperature of the subsoil both in the
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summer and winter. • Mulch helps to inhibit the growth of weeds in flowerbeds. • Mulch in your flowerbeds provides a more pleasing appearance to your home. WHEN TO MULCH As mentioned above, there are disadvantages to leaving bare soil around your plants. There is never a bad time to apply mulch. Many gardeners prefer to apply mulch in the early spring. Another round of mulch in the fall helps provide warmth Photos courtesy of Take Care of Texas & Texas A&M Forest Service | At left, is an example of proper tree to the plant roots when the cold weather mulching. Note the visible ‘Flare’ at the base of the trunk. At right is an example of a mulch volcano. and winds arrive. In turn, the weakened bark can then provide a pathway for insects Be sure to make periodic applications of mulch and your plants will and organisms to enter the trunk of the tree. So keep the mulch at have a much better chance to grow and thrive! least five inches away from the trunk. HOW TO MULCH The mulch should look more like a donut.Also, the layer of mulch Apply a four-inch layer of organic mulch to your garden beds. Do should be no higher than three inches. Tree roots are fairly shallow not pile the mulch up against the stems of the plants. (Mulching and can start to grow above ground into the mulch if it’s too thick. around trees is different and is addressed below.) For more information about mulching, check out these articles on LAVA IS FOR VOLCANOES - NOT MULCH! the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service website: Landscape Mulch We have all seen the conical towers surrounding trees in our neighEarthkind and Mulching Around a Tree. borhoods.They are better known as “mulch volcanoes.” Happy gardening! The volcanoes are formed by piling mulch against the trunk of the Fort Bend County Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who tree, sometimes more than a foot high and three feet in diameter. But assist Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in educating the commulching trees like this puts trees at risk. munity using research-based horticultural information. One of the benefits of mulch (as mentioned above) is to retain moisture in the mulch. But continuous moisture against the trunk of a tree can weaken the tree bark.
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he COVID-19 pandemic has re-shaped the concept of “vacationing.” Taking a family vacation, or simply enjoying some time off, has become more of a challenge while maintaining social distancing and other safety measures. Fort Bend County Libraries will share some helpful ideas for vacationing safely when they present an online program on “Low-Budget Vacation Planning in COVID-19” on Tuesday, Jan. 26. This pre-recorded video – which will be available on the FBCL website on the scheduled date — can be viewed at any time from the comfort and safety of home. Hear about helpful resources and gain some ideas for short, inexpensive, and family-friendly vacations that can help people relax, de-stress and take a much-needed break while still observing safety precautions. The program is free and open to the public.View the video on the Fort Bend County Libraries website – www.fortbend.lib.tx.us – by clicking on the “Classes and Events” tab, selecting “Virtual Programs,” and finding the virtual “class” on the date listed. For more information, call FBCL’s Communications Office at 281633-4734.
by MARQUITA GRIFFIN | email@example.com
ocal artist Sarah Beth Baca has released a collection of her works in “Full Image | Women of The Bible.” This full-color, hardcover book went on sale months ago, and anyone who ordered the coffee-table-sized book in late October will receive their books later this month. “Full Image” is Baca’s series of 30-plus paintings she completed over five years. Acrylic versions of two portraits were featured in a gallery in Rosenberg,“but the complete series has never been shown,” Baca said. Baca’s paintings “Deborah” and “Eve” were on display in 2017 along with artwork by 10 other artists at the BR Vino. “Full Image,” Baca said, is her way to share the impact by many women in the Bible who “have been often overlooked
or unseen.” A graduate of Houston Baptist University with a BA in Art and Marketing, Baca is also a volunteer coordinator at the Friends of North Richmond Community Center, a position that has influenced the themes in her works. Influenced by her studies in racial reconciliation, community development, gender equality, and theology, Baca often expresses themes of diversity, equality, renewal, unity, and empowerment in her paintings. Her works have appeared in several publications including Christians for Bible Equality’s Mutuality Magazine, Fuller Seminary’s leadership journal, A Seat at the Table, Voyage Houston, and The Fort Bend Herald. Baca said she wrote “Full Image | Women of The Bible” in a straightforward manner, with light commentary and a description of the details within each piece. “As a girl growing up in the church, I didn’t hear a lot about the women in scripture,” Baca said. “As I studied and learned their stories, I painted a half portrait of each woman, including symbols and elements of their history and culture.” The book is available for sale at www.sarahbethart.com.
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SARAH BETH BACA RELEASES A UNIQUE COLLECTION OF HALF PORTRAITS
ANNUAL SPELLING BEE RAISES NEARLY $20K
ovember 12 of last year was a successful evening for the Literacy Council of Fort Bend County’s 11th Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee, presented by CenterPoint Energy and Houston Federal Credit Union. The event was cochaired by Taylor Connor and Fallon Moody and held in the
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From left: Event Co-chair Fallon Moody and Event Co-Chair Taylor Connor.
Bluebonnet Ballroom at Quail Valley City Center. The event raised close to $20,000 to support the Literacy Council of Fort Bend County. Mayor Zimmerman, this year’s emcee, welcomed in-person guests and an audience of over 600 guests who watched the BEE virtually. Lee Ivey, Jr., tutor served as the judge. Kathe Eggert, a GED tutor served as the Bee Pronouncer. Bee a Word Sponsors included A-B-Cs of Literacy Letter Sponsors, Spectator Bees, and Auction Buyers. Supporters included Anonymous Friend of Literacy, Rob & Emily Calbert, CenterPoint Energy, Costello, Inc., Exchange Club of Fort Bend, Houston Federal Credit Union, HR in Alignment,Angela Parker, Roberta K. Randall Charitable Trust,Tallas Insurance, and RVOS Farm Mutual Insurance. Three teams competed to win a spot in the coveted Honey Hall of
Fame and a bee trophy– all in honor of the Literacy Council of Fort Bend County. Richmond Buzz, “the Best Spellers in Fort Bend County Law Enforcement” sponsored by Roberta K, Randall Charitable Trust were the winners of the 2020 Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee This is the third win for Richmond Buzz. Johnny Bravo Entertainment took the 2020 Spelling Bee event virtual while hosting the Richmond Buzz team who spelled in person and two teams from CenterPoint Energy who spelled virtually. The Literacy Council of Fort Bend County thanked the co-chairs, the committee, and “the many wonderful volunteers who helped make the 2020 Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee a success.” Our mission is to improve family, community, and professional lives through adult literacy education. The Literacy Council’s programs are available to any adult, age 18 and older, who has the desire to improve their station in life. For more information, please visit ftbendliteracy.org or contact the Literacy Council at 281-240-8181.
TERRY JUDE MILLER ‘WRITES TO SURVIVE’
ooking back over what can easily be called a trying year, Fort Bend poet Terry Jude Miller found a silver lining in the harsh experience — in 2020, Miller won more than a dozen poetry awards. Saying he “writes to survive,” Miller encourages people to read and write poetry “during this stressful time of a world pandemic.” Miller began writing poetry in 2009 to deal with his mother’s terminal illness. TERRY MILLER 2020 AWARDS • Alabama State Poetry Society: Long Poem Award • Poets Roundtable of Arkansas:Two Rivers’ Poets Award, L.C. and Pat Bridges Award, Frank Moran Memorial Award (second place) • National Federation of State Poetry Societies: San Antonio Poets Association Award, Poetry Society of Indiana Award (second place) • Poetry Society of Michigan: Nature Award • Poetry Society of Texas: Mary In this 2016 photo Terry Jude Miller teaches poetry to second graders.
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Elizabeth Martin Memorial Award, Inez Grimes Award, Pauline Durrett Robertson Memorial Award, JESS Memorial Award, Speculative Poetry Prize, Jo Ellen and Dorothy Marie Memorial Award (second place), Benjamin David Bailey Memorial Award (second place) • His poem,“Mardi Gras – Texas Style” was published in the 2020 Texas Poetry Calendar To learn more about Terry Jude Miller visit terryjudemiller.com.
ONLINE GAME HOURS FOR TEENS, ADULTS
he Adult Services Department at Fort Bend County Libraries will have three virtual game-day activities for adults in January. These virtual events will be online; they will not be in person. “New Year’s Digital Escape Room” on Monday, Jan. 4 (all day) Time-traveling adventurers will be whisked through different historical eras and must use their knowledge of history and their research skills to solve puzzles and answer questions. Only by completing the quest will they return to the present time.This online activity can be accessed through FBCL’s website on the day of the event; registration is not required. “Virtual Board-Game Day: Codenames” on Tuesday, Jan. 5 (3 p.m.) Codenames is a two-team word game in which team members must correctly guess all of their team’s code words based on hints provided by the team’s spymaster.This event will be livestreamed via Zoom/WebEx; registration is required. “Among Us” Online Game Hour on Saturday, Jan. 30 (11 a.m.) Adults who enjoy the challenge, excitement, and competition of playing the popular online social-deduction game “Among Us” are invited to join in this virtual event. Crewmates on a spaceship must complete tasks and try to identify the alien Imposters before it’s too late. This event will be livestreamed via Zoom/WebEx; registration is required. These events are free and open to the public. Registration is required for two of the programs; a link to the Zoom/WebEx meeting will 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 programs. For more information, call FBCL’s Communications Office at 281633-4734.
DEADLINE NEARS FOR “BRIDGING DIFFERENCES” PHOTO CONTEST
ort Bend County Libraries (FBCL), in conjunction with the Fort Bend County Diversity Initiative, is seeking entries for its “Bridging Differences” Photography Contest. Amateur photographers of all skill levels are invited to enter original photographs that portray the culture, nature, people, and places of Fort Bend County that demonstrate anti-racism and coming together as a community. To be eligible for competition, contestants must submit a digital copy of their photograph by Jan. 11. Entries should be submitted through an online form on the FBCL website. Prizes will be awarded for 1st-place ($200 gift card), 2nd-place
20 • Greatwood Monthly
($150 gift card), and 3rd-place ($100 gift card). Winners will be announced on Monday, Feb. 1. Photos will be displayed in a virtual gallery on FBCL’s website throughout the month of February. Winning photographs will be determined by a panel of judges, who will make their determinations based on the following criteria: relationship to contest theme, composition, focus, lighting, emotional impact, and creativity.Photographs will be anonymous until after the judging is complete. All entries must be original, unpublished, and the work of the person submitting it. Only one photo may be entered per person. The photo can be in color or black-and-white and should be submitted as a high-resolution (1 MB or higher) .jpg, .jpeg, .gif, .png, .eps, .tif, or .pdf. Digital manipulations of the photos should be limited to: cropping, re-sizing, red-eye reduction, and reasonable adjustments to color and contrast. FBCL reserves the right to print or display any entry to this contest for an indefinite period of time. Entries will be exhibited online for the general public to see, so they should be appropriate for all ages to view. The photographer is responsible for obtaining verbal or written release for public use of the photo from all identifiable individuals in the photograph submitted; the photographer accepts all liability from the use of a photo where this release has not been obtained. The contest is open to amateur photographers only. Professional photographers, who earn a living by selling their photographs, are not eligible to participate. There is no fee for entering the contest. For more information, call the library system’s Communications Office (281-633-4734) or email Christina.Tam@fortbend.lib.tx.us.
ONLINE ACTIVITIES PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR NEW WRITERS
ort Bend County Libraries will host online programs in January that are intended to encourage new writers by providing tips and tricks, writing and publishing advice, and support from other aspiring novelists. The Missouri City Branch Library will host an online Short Stories Writer’s Challenge during the month of January. A story prompt and activity guidelines will be posted on FBCL’s online calendar on Monday, January 4.Writers are encouraged to create a story from the prompt, and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org before the deadline on Jan. 31. One of the stories will be selected to be featured on the Missouri City Branch Library Facebook page in early February. The Story Spinners Writing Club, which normally meets once a month at George Memorial Library, will meet virtually on Thursday, Jan. 21, from 2 to 3 pm.The topic for January is “Revision.” From beginning blogger to published novelist, writers of all genres and experience levels are welcome to join the Story Spinners Writing Club to write, share, learn, support, network, and critique each other’s work.This activity will be livestreamed via Zoom/WebEx. Registration is required; a link to the sessions will be emailed to all who register. The sessions are free and open to the public. Registration is required for the live-streamed Zoom/WebEx event only; a link to the Zoom/WebEx session will be emailed to participants 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. For more information, call the library system’s Communications Office (281-633-4734).
outine exercise is a key component of a healthy lifestyle. When attempting to incorporate exercise into their lives for the first time or after a long layoff, adults may go through a trial and error period as they attempt to find a routine they enjoy. Interval training is one approach to exercise that may be worth consideration. WHAT IS INTERVAL TRAINING? Sometimes referred to as high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, interval training involves alternating between short bursts of intense exercise and brief periods of rest or less intense activity.The Mayo Clinic notes that periods of high-intensity exercise may be as brief as 30 seconds, while the less intense portions of the routine typically last between one to two minutes. WHAT ARE SOME BENEFITS OF INTERVAL TRAINING? The time constraints of traditional workouts may compromise busy adults’ ability to exercise regularly. But interval training sessions don’t tend to take as long thanks to the periods of high-intensity exercise. According to the Harvard Medical School, an interval training session that lasts 15 to 20 minutes can produce the same cardiovascular results as a more traditional, moderate 30-minute exercise session. Interval training also can help people who are not constrained by time get better results.The Mayo Clinic notes that, as a person’s body adjusts to more high-intensity exercise, his or her aerobic capacity will improve.That should enable them to exercise for longer periods of time at a higher intensity, producing better results over the long haul. Before increasing the intensity of their workouts, adults can consult their physicians to ensure they’re capable of doing so safely. Interval training also can be beneficial to people without access to exercise equipment, a position many fitness enthusiasts found themselves in during the COVID-19 pandemic. Without acess to weights due to gym closures, some people may have found their workouts lacked the intensity they had grown accustomed to. By interval training when running, cycling, walking, swimming, or using
cardiovascular machines, adults can make their workouts more intense. CAN ANYONE UTILIZE INTERVAL TRAINING? Getting a physical prior to beginning an interval training regimen can help people determine just how much intensity they can handle. But alternating between intensity levels during a workout should be something most adults can handle, especially after they consult with their physicians about the level of intensity their bodies can handle.The Mayo Clinic also urges people to consider their risk for overuse injury. Muscle, tendon and bone injuries can occur if exercise regimens become too intense too quickly, so take things slowly at first and readjust intensity levels depending on how your body reacts. Interval training can be a great way to get vigorous exercise even when time is limited.
The basics of interval training
Foods that can positively affect mood
o one is immune to the occasional bad mood.Whether it’s the weather, waking up on the wrong side of the bed or another variable, various factors can have an adverse affect on a person’s mood. Food is one factor that can have a positive effect on mood. Certain foods have been found to positively affect mood, so incorporating them into your diet may help you stay positive even on those days when you get up on the wrong side of the bed. • Fatty fish: A study from British researchers published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that a daily dose of an omega-3 fatty acid called eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, helped patients with depression significantly reduce their feelings of sadness and pessimism. Hackensack Meridian Health notes that salmon, albacore tuna, sardines, trout, and anchovies are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. • Nuts and seeds: The minerals selenium, copper, magnesium, manganese, and zinc have all been linked to mental health, and nuts are rich in each of those minerals. Hackensack Meridian Health notes that almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and peanuts are particularly good sources of the immune systemboosting minerals zinc and magnesium. • Dark, leafy greens: Dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach and collards are rich in iron and magnesium, both of which can increase serotonin levels and help reduce feelings of anxiety. Dark, leafy greens also help the body fight inflammation, which can have a positive effect on mood.A 2015 study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry found that brain inflammation contributed to certain behaviors, including low mood, that appear during major depressive episodes.
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Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital welcomes Dr. Franz Schneider
ouston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital welcomed board-certified gastroenterologist Franz Schneider, M.D., who began seeing patients two months ago. Schneider is joining Houston Methodist Gastroenterology Associates, located in Medical Office Building 3, Suite 335 on the Houston Methodist Sugar Land campus. Schneider earned his medical degree at Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala. He Dr. Franz Schneider completed his internal medicine residency at New Britain General Hospital – University of Connecticut and served as a chief medical resident for the primary care program at the University of Connecticut. Schneider also completed three fellowships at Baylor College of Medicine, including hepatology, gastroenterology, and therapeutic endoscopy. Schneider has received several awards, including a Medal of the National Meeting of Internal Medicine from the Guatemalan Society of Internal Medicine, and a listing for Houston Top Docs in H Texas Magazine. “Being a good gastroenterologist, in my opinion, consists of being a physician and listener first, and then deciding with the patient’s input what is needed to arrive at the right diagnosis and therapy. I strive to provide personable and compassionate care to all my patients,” said Schneider. “Houston Methodist Sugar Land has a strong reputation for leadership and quality care in Fort Bend, and I’m thrilled to be joining Houston Methodist Gastroenterology Associates at Sugar Land.” To schedule an appointment with Schneider visit houstonmethodist.org/spg or call Houston Methodist Gastroenterology Associates at 281-801-9303. Visit houstonmethodist.org/sugarland to learn more about Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital.
“I am dedicated to helping my patients achieve their health goals through empathy, partnership, and open communication,” Sawal said. “I enjoy providing care to people of all ages and backgrounds.” Houston Methodist Primary Care Group at Brooks Street is located at 1201 Brooks St., Suite 100, Sugar Land,TX 77478. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ali Sawal, or to find a Houston Methodist Primary Ali Sawal, D.O. Care physician in the Fort Bend County area, visit houstonmethodist.org/pcg/southwest or call 281-930-6639.
HEALTH HIGHLIGHT OakBend Medical Center employee giving campaign surpasses $100K goal
or the past three years, OakBend Medical Center employees have donated to the Seeds of Generosity employee campaign, raising more than $396,000. The 2020 year was the most successful to date, with employee giving exceeded $101,000. This year, 345 employees donated to the campaign, surpassing the $100,000 goal. “Being the ‘new guy’ in town, I can’t convey how impressed I have been with the family mentality at OakBend,” wrote Development Director Schell Hammel in an email to the staff.“You should all be so very proud of yourselves. Regardless of where you chose for your money to go, you made a difference in someone’s life this year, or many lives. “That should not go without notice.” This year’s funds will be split between the purchase of Workstations on Wheels (WOWs) that allow nurses to go from one room to the next with all of the patient’s pertinent information, and the OakBend Branches program, which will help fund care for the underserved children in the area.
Ali Sawal, D.O. joins Houston Methodist Primary Care Group
ouston Methodist Primary Care Group welcomed Ali Sawal, D.O. in November. Sawal joins Asisat Ope, M.D., at the Brooks Street practice in Sugar Land. Sawal is a family physician providing preventive, chronic, and acute care to all his patients. His clinical expertise includes health screenings, men’s health, complete physicals as well as musculoskeletal and sports injuries. Sawal received his medical degree from The College of Osteopathic Medicine at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, then completed his family medicine residency at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Round Rock,Texas.
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Joe Freudenberg, CEO of OakBend Medical Center
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for rates, information and deadlines. To advertise, call 281-342-4474
Start the New Year
HEALTHIER Safe, convenient primary care — at a location near you. At Houston Methodist, we provide personalized care for you and your family, including physicals, immunizations and preventive care. Many of our practices: • Provide in-person and virtual visits with online scheduling • Offer same-day sick visits • Are conveniently located close to work or home • Accept most major insurance plans
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And, with enhanced safety measures in place, you can rest assured your safety is our priority.
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