Greatwood - June 2022

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Greatwood JUNE 2022


A publication of the

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Contents & Staff

Greatwood monthly™

June 2022

CHAIRMAN, EDITOR & PUBLISHER Clyde King MANAGING EDITOR Marquita Griffin Advertising Stefanie Bartlett



Ruby Polichino Writers & Contributors Marquita Griffin Scott Reese Willey GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Melinda Maya Rachel Cavazos


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FEATURE | One Greatwood mother offers a beneficial approach to helping students (and their parents) with the college search process. IN THE SPOTLIGHT | Summertime Fun in Fort Bend — places to go and things to do.

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TALK OF THE TOWN | Police Chief announces retirement after 33 years of public service. ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT | Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra to perform free family concert.

TO ADVERTISE If you are interested in advertising in the Greatwood Monthly, please call 281-342-4474 and ask for Stefanie Bartlett or Ruby Polichino. We’ll be happy to send rates, and deadline information to you. PHOTO & ARTICLE SUBMISSIONS We are looking for fresh story ideas and enjoy publishing your articles in the West Fort Bend Living. If you have an story idea or photo to publish please send your information to with “West Fort Bend Living” in the subject line. ©2022 Greatwood Monthly. All Rights Reserved. Greatwood Monthly is a sister publication of Fulshear Living Monthly, West Fort Bend Living Monthly, Pecan Grove Monthly and is a publication of the Fort Bend Herald. Our publishing headquarters is 1902 S. Fourth Street, Rosenberg Texas 77471.

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Amy Gregorek and her daughter Aly. To advertise, call 281-342-4474


In The Spotlight 88• • Greatwood Monthly

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THERE’S ALWAYS something TO DO AT GREATWOOD AT SUGAR LAND With a daily schedule that can include fitness, educational programs, hobby groups and plenty of chances to socialize with other fascinating residents, your life will be an adventure of your own design! Interested in attending an upcoming event? Call 281-817-0247. We’d love to get you on the exclusive invite list. Independent Living | Assisted Living | #AL 132339 7001 Riverbrook Drive | Sugar Land, TX 77479 W W W. S E N I O R L I F E S T Y L E .C O M

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Talk of the Town


‘Crush,’ the alligator sculpture unveiled in Lonnie Green Park

he city of Sugar Land recently unveiled Crush, the Alligator, a new sculpture bench installed in Lonnie Green Park. The seating sculpture is composed of repurposed scrap steel propane tanks and was designed as a climate conscious artwork that contains 99 percent post-consumer reused material. The artwork’s unique color and design were created to be the only one of its kind in the state of Texas. A selection panel comprised of The Hill residents and Sugar Land Parks and Recreation staff reviewed numerous proposals and selected artist Colin Selig to create the project. The panel was impressed by the artist’s signature design that would enrich the park by creating additional seating and an inviting opportunity for social media engagement and family photos. Crush, the Alligator, is part of the city’s ongoing public art program, an effort identified by citizens to enhance destination centers and public places that attract both visitors and residents. “This public art project represents the continued implementation of our Public Art Program,” said Director of Economic Development Elizabeth Huff. “It not only enhances the beauty of Sugar Land, but it builds our reputation as an art and cultural destination. It’s our goal to create memorable, meaningful places that are focal points for our community and enhance the appearance of our public facilities.” “Our Public Art Plan is designed to support our community on several levels such as helping businesses attract more customers, provide work for local artists and beautify our city for residents and visitors.” The project is a component of Sugar Land’s Public Art Plan, a document approved by the City Council in November 2016. The plan outlines a vision and programmatic direction for public art in Sugar Land. Funding for the project comes from restricted revenue sources and does not include property taxes. For more information about the artwork, email the Sugar Land Office of Economic Development Cultural Arts Division at

Sugar Land City Councilmember Suzanne Whatley (left) and Director of Economic Development Elizabeth Huff recently unveiled Crush, the Alligator, a new sculpture bench at Lonnie Green Park.


Arc of Fort Bend County announces annual Golf Classic

he Arc of Fort Bend announced Weston Lakes Country Club as the site for the 28th annual Golf Classic on Monday, June 13. Troy Construction returns as Title Sponsor. Registration is at 10 a.m. with a box lunch and shotgun start at 11 a.m. Following 18 holes of golf, the “Yeah-I-Do! Cook’n Crew” will prepare the barbecue dinner and James Patterson will conduct the live auction. Register on line at or call The Arc office 281-494-5959. Non-golfers can still enjoy the barbecue dinner and auction at 4:30 p.m. The Arc of Fort Bend County was founded in 1968 by parents who wanted

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to improve the lives of their children who had intellectual and developmental disabilities. As a grass roots advocacy organization, The Arc advocates for the inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities into all parts of the community – from classrooms to the workplace. Along with this advocacy, it provides recreational and social programs for adults and youth and the largest Special Olympics program in the area.

From left James Patterson, Larry Lobue, Cheryl Olivier, Gary Krueger, and Taylor Dacus.

Police Chief announces retirement after 33 years of public service


fter 33 years of public service, including 30 at Sugar Land PD with four years as its police chief, Eric Robins retired on June 1. “I’d like to thank Eric for his unwavering service to our community,” said City Manager Michael W. Goodrum. “His selfless commitment to public service has ensured we remain among the safest cities in nation.” A native Houstonian who has spent almost his entire career with the Sugar Land Police Department, Robins joined SLPD in 1992 as a patrol officer and since served as a detective, sergeant, lieutenant, captain and assistant chief prior to his promotion to police chief in 2018. He served as correctional officer with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice from 1989 to 1991. His many accomplishments have included strategies and programs that directly contributed to Sugar Land achieving a crime rate that was the lowest on record. Under his leadership, industry experts credited SLPD as one of the best run agencies they’ve evaluated in the nation. Sugar Land residents gave high marks to Robins and his command staff during the city’s most recent Citizen Satisfaction Survey; excerpts follow: • The major categories of city services that had the highest levels of satisfaction, based upon the combined percentage of “very satisfied” and “satisfied” responses among residents who had an opinion, included the overall quality of police service (93 percent). • Nearly all (98 percent) of the respondents, who had an opinion, indicated they feel “very safe” or “safe” when walking in their neighborhood during the day. • Overall, 93 percent of respondents, who had an opinion, indicated they feel “very safe” or “safe” in their community. • The highest levels of satisfaction with police services, based upon the combined percentage of “very satisfied” and “satisfied” responses among residents who had an opinion, were the overall quality of police protection (92%), how quickly police respond to emergencies (85%), and efforts by City government to prevent crime (79%). Overall, the City of Sugar Land outperformed both the U.S. and Texas averages in all aspects related to City Police Services. “Eric has done an outstanding job in serving our community, and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” said Goodrum. “Our city is safer than ever before. We have some big shoes to fill.” Robins has implemented initiatives to increase police visibility and expand crime analysis to identify resources necessary to address criminal trends. He also managed and created special enforcement teams to

target and handle specific high-crime patterns throughout the city, efforts that directly contributed to an historic low crime rate. Robins led technology initiatives such as red light cameras that resulted in a 58 percent reduction of accidents at targeted intersections and a network of license plate recognition cameras that resulted in the arrests of many criminals. Robins led efforts resulting in SLPD’s accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. The review and certification of the department’s policies and procedures, management, operations and support services is considered one of the highest law enforcement recognitions. “I entered this industry to be a change agent, and I feel I have achieved that,” said Robins. “I am hopefully leaving the department with a positive vision for the future. It has been an honor and pleasure to serve this community alongside the men and women of the SLPD. I encourage my colleagues to continue working with commitment and desire to keep the city of Sugar Land the flourishing and safest city in the area.” Plans will be announced in the near future for a comprehensive, nationwide search for Sugar Land’s next police chief. Assistant City Manager Doug Brinkley will assume interim oversight of the police department until a new police chief is selected.


Baitland named child advocate of the year

r. Betty Baitland has been honored as the Child Advocate of the Year for 2021 at Child Advocates of Fort Bend’s Volunteer Celebration at Sugar Creek Country Club. More than 220 volunteers, community partners and staff attended. “This advocate has gone above and beyond, and her actions will have long-lasting impact for the children we serve and for our community,” according to Child Advocates of Fort Bend Chief Executive Officer Ruthanne Mefford. “Betty has a lifelong passion for children and has dedicated her career

to advancing education opportunities and achievement for children and youth across Fort Bend County. “Betty served has our board parliamentarian for five years, vice president in 2019, president in 2020 and past president for two terms, first in 2021 and then when we invited her back to serve this year for From left are, CAFB Board President Nancy a second term of past presiOlson, Dr. Betty Baitland and CASA Program dent,” Mefford added. “She was an inaugural Director Metoyer Martin. member of our Voices for Children sustainable giving program and our Education Council where her vast experience and understanding of resources available to children has informed our educational advocacy for children in foster care. “She is someone we seek out for advice and to discuss new programming, strategy and fundraising ideas. Betty is a true gem and we honor her for her passion for CAFB, dedication to the children and her incredible generosity.” Other honorees at the volunteer celebration included Susan Brown and Linda Munsie (CASA Volunteers of the Year), Maria Sonnen (Children’s Advocacy Center Volunteer of the Year), Michelle Cano (Event Volunteer of the Year), Suzanne Slavin, Mary Titel and Tammy McCall (Voices for Children Ambassador of the Year), Vidya Dighe (Children’s Hero), Cindy McCauley (Unsung Hero) and James Steenbergen (Blue Ribbon Award). Juli Johnson was the recipient of the Mariel Barrera Champion for Children Award. Barrera, a longtime employee of Child Advocates of Fort Bend passed away in early 2017. To see a list of all of the honorees or to learn more about volunteer opportunities with Child Advocates of Fort Bend, go to https://www.cafb. org/events/volunteer-banquet/. Child Advocates of Fort Bend is a non-profit agency dedicated to ending child abuse by providing a voice, healing the hurt, and breaking the

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Ken, Martha, Robbie, Carrie, & Lisa

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Arts & Entertainment



ort Bend County Libraries, in conjunction with the Fort Bend County Diversity Over Division Initiative and the Fort Bend Photography Club, announced the winners of the “We Are Fort Bend” photography contest. All entries will be on display through June 30 in the Bohachevsky Gallery at George Memorial Library, located at 1001 Golfview in Richmond. The exhibit can also be viewed in an online gallery on FBCL’s website. Amateur photographers were challenged to capture the spirit of the people, culture, nature, and places that make Fort Bend County special. More than 100 photographs were entered into the competition. Winning photographs were determined by a panel of judges, who made their determinations based on the following criteria: relationship to contest theme, composition, focus, lighting, emotional impact, and creativity. First place was awarded to Gregory Gibson for his photograph, “Sunset at Del Webb Sweetgrass,” which was taken in Richmond. “My photo was of the Del Webb Sweetgrass clubhouse at sunset,” said Gibson. “Del Webb Sweetgrass is an active 55+ senior community with almost 1500 homes that improve Fort Bend County and Richmond-Rosenberg with residents who support the area by serving through charities, churches, and supporting business in the area. The DW Sweetgrass neighborhood started a little over 10 years ago.”

Second place was awarded to Ciara Emmalaine Anderson for her photograph, “Bridged Reflections,” which was taken at Oyster Creek Park in Sugar Land. “Fort Bend County is home to a very diverse community, and that’s the beauty behind what makes it so great. The people of Fort Bend County make it such a unique and wonderful place to live.” said Anderson. “I’ve made wonderful memories with my friends, and I wanted to capture that through this contest piece. I did a photoshoot with a friend from school recently, and I wanted to highlight one of my favorite pieces from the shoot. Fort Bend County is home to all of my teenage memories, and I wanted to properly convey that before I graduated high school.” Third place was awarded to Gerald Hopman for his photograph, “Richmond Railroad Trestle,” which was taken in Richmond. “This railroad trestle is the best in the county in my estimation,” said Hopman. “It has supported trains carrying people and cargo for many years throughout the time the town originated and grew as an historical county icon.”

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“We appreciate all the photographers who entered the contest and shared their interpretations of what makes our county a wonderful place to live and work,” said Library Director Clara Russell. “We had many wonderful photos that were entered, and we are honored to be able to share them with the community.” The exhibit may be viewed in the Bohachevsky Gallery during regular library hours. To view the exhibit online, visit Fort Bend County Libraries’ website and click on the “We Are Fort Bend Photo Exhibit” icon on the lower half of the website.



ort Bend County Libraries will continue its annual tradition of welcoming newborns to the wonders of books. Every Fort Bend County baby born during FBCL’s Children’s Book Week — June 5-11— may receive a special baby book bag, courtesy of the Friends of Fort Bend County Library. Each bag contains a book, a bib, a special certificate, a list of suggested reading for children, and information on parenting and library services. These bags represent the library system’s commitment to providing library services for county residents throughout their lives, beginning at birth. “We hope to start every child born in hospitals in Fort Bend County on a successful road to life-long learning,” said Susan King, Coordinator of Youth Services for FBCL. “We distribute the baby book bags to babies born during that week at area Fort Bend County hospitals, but all Fort Bend County babies who are born during the week of June 5-11 are eligible to receive one, while supplies last.” Families of Fort Bend babies born at other locations during this period should call the Youth Services department, at 281-633-4762, to receive their book bag. Not only is reading to a child an opportunity for bonding between parent and child, it has also been shown to stimulate brain development. Even the youngest baby can benefit from the chance to develop eye focus by looking at the page of a book, while being comforted by the familiar voice of a parent. Reading aloud to children exposes them to the sounds and cadences of a human voice, resulting in an earlier and stronger grasp of vocabulary skills. Helping children develop early literacy skills is a major goal for FBCL. Parents are encouraged to register their children for FBCL’s annual “Summer Reading Challenge.” Children from infancy through school-age earn rewards for the number of books they read (or are read to them) during the summer. Parents can register their child for the Summer Reading Challenge by going to the FBCL website, clicking on the “SRC Sign-Up image, and using the link for the Beanstack app to sign up. Easy-to-use online reading logs are available. For more information, see the Fort Bend County Libraries website at, or call the library system’s Communications Office (281-633-4734).



ort Bend County Libraries’ “Multicultural Festival: Bringing the World to You” will take place on Saturday, June 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at George Memorial Library, located at 1001 Golfview Drive in Richmond. Sponsored by the Friends of the George Memorial Library, the Multicultural Festival celebrates the rich, cultural diversity of the county and of the people who reside in it. Featuring an exciting line-up of performances, artisans, games, crafts, and more, the festival will have free activities and fun for the whole family. Stations representing cultures from around the world will be set up in the Bohachevsky Gallery. Stop by the Japan America Society-Houston booth to join in the edamame chopstick challenge. In addition to the stations, which will be ongoing throughout the festi-

val, the following events will take place at designated times: Soaring Phoenix Lion Dancers: 11 a.m. performance in the Lobby. USA Tai Chi Academy: 12:30 p.m. demonstration in the Lobby. Joy of Djembe African Drumming: 1 p.m. performance in the Jodie E. Stavinoha Amphitheater. Enjoy an energetic performance of drumming, introducing West African rhythms and beats. Members of the audience will be invited onstage for a drumming workshop. The festival will also showcase authentic red lanterns that were presented to Fort Bend County in 2012, by representatives of the Chancheng District, of Foshan City, China. The lanterns will hang in the lobby of the library for the day’s activities. A complete schedule of events will be posted on the Fort Bend County Libraries website



ort Bend County Libraries will present a free, musical performance, “Doodles for Orchestra,” by the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra, on Saturday, June 4, from 11 a.m. to noon, in the Jodie E. Stavinoha Amphitheater at George Memorial Library, 1001 Golfview in Richmond. This family-friendly concert is a great way to foster a young child’s love of music. The performance will include fun, call-and-response interaction between the orchestra and the audience that will have everyone clapping and dancing along with the music. Children will learn about various orchestral instruments when the orchestra plays different versions of Yankee Doodle Dandy. The orchestra will also perform Pops Hoe Down, an arrangement of fiddle tunes. After the performance, children are invited to get an up-close look and learn more about the different instruments during an instrument “petting zoo” in the Bohachevsky Gallery inside the library.

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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. To advertise, call 281-342-4474

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Be Social BeLocal will host its First Thursdays community networking event BE Social and the Blockhouse Coffee and Kitchen in Richmond from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.


Richmond Farmers Market Richmond’s farmers market will rung from 3 p.m to 7 p.m. at Wessendorf Park in Richmond.

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EFNEP Nutrition Block Party Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension Program Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program is hosting a four-day summer camp located in Fort Bend County. The Nutrition Block Party Summer camp will provide youth with daily opportunities to engage in activities related to health, wellness, nutrition, physical activity, youth development, and agriculture.


Food Truck Friday #Foodtruckfriday is coming to Historic Downtown Rosenberg this summer June, 10, July 8, and August 12. rosenbergtx. gov


Father’s Day Workshop M2M Let’s Talk will discuss the joys and challenges of being a man and a father at the Rosenberg Civic Center at 9 a.m. www.

Heritage Hike The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation will host its historic walking tour of Old Sugar Land. Visit


Movie Nights in the Park This summer the Discover Downtown Rosenberg program will be kicking off a “Movie in the Park Series.” Each month we will host a movie in Downtown Rosenberg with a theme. Grab family, friends, and lawn chairs and head to the park on June 16,

July 21 and August 11 from 7:30 to 10 p.m. 832-595-3524 or


Black Panther Meet and Greet Black Panther will meet guests at the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. While there, guests can explore the ‘Wakanda Forever’ event. This event is included with general admission and does not require another ticket.


Town Square Tribute Texas Eagles Tribute Band, Houston’s premier Eagles tribute band will perform at Sugar Land Town Square from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.


George Strait Tribute In Sugar Land Town Square Plaza from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. visitors can enjoy live country music from the Tribute to George Strait. Having spent time at the Grand Ole Opry, Derek Spence shared the stage with folks including Shania Twain, Diamond Rio, Kenny Rogers, Trisha Yearwood, and Restless Heart.


The Jolly Trolley From noon to 2 p.m. children from 18 months to 5 years of age are welcome aboard the Jolly Trolley to enjoy a magical moment of play for up to two hours.


Musical Theatre Camps Move Dance & Fitness in Richmond will host a musical theatre camp for “Little Mermaid” and “Wizard of Oz” July 11-15. Visit


Sing-A-Long Karaoke In Sugar Land Town Square Plaza from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. patrons are welcomed to experience Karaoke time in the Plaza.

Juneteenth Trip En Root Travel, LLC. - HBCU Alumni Travel Group is celebrating Juneteenth at its birthplace from June 18 through June 20. Juneteenth Jubilee Music, food, children’s activities and more will be included in Sienna Juneteenth Jubilee 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Club Sienna amphitheater, 9600 Scanlan Trace in Missouri City. Visit Live Jazz Music Unwine’d in Richmond will host is The Houston Jazz Trio from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Visit 11th Annual Run to Attack Poverty 11th Annual Run to Attack Poverty Presented by The Kinne Group

at Compass will start at 7:30 a.m. at the Friends of North Rosenberg center. Live Jazz Music Unwine’d Wine & Cheese Lounge will host live jazz music with The Houston Jazz Trio from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.


NOLA night The Hustlers Brass Band will perform in Sugar Land Town Square for the annual NOLA night running from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.. This is an outside event and is free and open to the public. To The Sonic Power Sonic the Hedgehog will be at the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center to meet, greet, and to


Musical Theatre Camps Move Dance & Fitness in Richmond will host a musical theatre camp for “Annie” and “Aladdin” July 18-22. Visit www.movedanceandfitness. com.


Dancing Under The Stars Dancing Under the Stars with Fred Astaire Dance Studio instructors will take place from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Sugar Land Town Square Plaza. This month’s focus will be Country dance.


NOLA Nights Enjoy authentic New Orleans in Sugar Land Town Square with live music from The Zydeco Dots, a fun-loving, hard working, talented Houston-based group that plays a dancin’, rockin’, bluesiana blend of zydeco rhythm and blues. www.

strike a pose from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at in Kidtropolis.This event is included with general admission and does not require another ticket.


Sugar Land Jr. Superstar Finale Pack up your lawn chairs and head to the Plaza to cheer on each talented contestant as they belt it out to win the crown during the Junior Superstar, Sugar Land’s American Idol-like competition from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The Triumphs The Triumphs will be heating up the dance floor at Dry Creek Social Club in Richmond from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.






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16 • Greatwood Monthly

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Guided by Music Director Dominique Røyem, the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra and Chorus has been serving the communities of Fort Bend County for more than 25 years. FBSO is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization that supports local community musicians and artists. The performance will be presented in an outdoor amphitheater, and the seating is concrete. Theater-goers are encouraged to bring cushions to sit on. Glass containers, alcoholic beverages, and popcorn are not allowed in the amphitheater. Made possible by the Friends of George Memorial Library, the event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.fortbend.



n conjunction with the Summer Reading Challenge, Fort Bend County Libraries will host a special storytelling performance for children, “The Aztec Princess,” on Tuesday, June 28, beginning at 2:30 pm, in the Meeting Room of George Memorial Library, located at 1001 Golfview in Richmond. Presented by Express Children’s Theatre, “The Aztec Princess” is a bilingual Mexican fable told by a time-traveling princess. In this interactive storytelling adventure, the Aztec Princess tells two classic fables – one about making good choices and another about stranger danger – while teaching English and Spanish vocabulary along the way. Express Children’s Theatre is a multicultural theatre company that has been creating and performing work for children and their families in the Houston area for more than 30 years. This performance is for families with children of all ages. Made possible by a grant through Young Audiences of Houston, the performance is free and open to the public.

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ort Bend County Libraries’ Youth Services department will host a special performance of “The Science of Sound,” presented by Tom’s Fun Band, on Monday, June 27, at 2:30 p.m., in the Meeting Room of the University Branch Library, located at 14010 University Blvd in Sugar Land, on the UH campus. Because seating is limited, the performance at this location is only for students in grades 1 through 5.A free ticket, available one hour prior to the performance, is required for admission. In this fun and interactive performance, learn how sound waves, vibrations, air molecules and frequency all come together to create music. Demonstrations of unique sounds are introduced with the tuba, guitar, and didgeridoo. Families with children of all ages are encouraged to sing, move, and listen together, as they explore how sound is produced, how it moves, and how it is perceived. Made possible by a grant from Young Audiences of Houston, the program is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www., or call the University Branch Library at 281-633-5100.

To advertise, call 281-342-4474

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How to deal with fire ants


by CHRIS TAYLOR | Fort Bend County Master Gardener

hances are good that you have experienced fire ants in your yard since they are ubiquitous throughout the South and Southwest U.S. Most of us are familiar with the large mounds that they can build in our yards, but more memorable are the stinging bites they can inflict when we accidentally step on a mound. Fire ants tend to act as a group and, therefore, will also sting in a swarm, which only amplifies their potency. A project at Texas A&M called “Texas Imported Fire Ant Research and Management Project” at can provide some basic information and provides instructions about dealing with fire ants. WHAT ARE FIRE ANTS? Fire ants fit into two categories – native fire ants known as Solenopsis geminata and the red imported fire ant known as Solenopsis invicta. The red imported fire ant from South America is an invasive species that arrived in the 1950s and continues to spread throughout the United States and Mexico, preferring warmer and drier climates. Both species look very similar, but the red imported variety is much more aggressive and, in many cases, displaces the native varieties. HOW CAN I CONTROL FIRE ANTS IN MY YARD? In Texas, the two-step is a great way to dance away the night to country and western music. However, the “Two-Step Method” has also been proven to be the way to deal with fire ants. (Fortunately, no dance steps are required on the mounds). The two-step method gets its name from treating fire ants in two phases. The first phase of treatment is to make a wide application of a bait product throughout your yard. The ants take the bait as a source of food. Research has shown that the best time to apply the bait is mid-morning and within a temperature range of 65-95 degrees. As well, be sure to apply the bait based on the weather for the next several (preferably five) days. The bait must be applied when the ground is dry and should not receive any rain for the following days after application. One way to test whether the ants are active is to put a food lure such as a piece of fruit or a potato chip, along with some bait, in the area to be treated and wait to see if the ants are all over them. If so, they are active, and you can proceed with the broader application. The best time to apply the bait-formulated insecticide is from August through October. Late summer – early fall is the ideal time, since it allows time for the bait to be discovered by the ants and distributed into the mound. Ants are not as active in cool-to-cold temperatures, so it is better to put bait out before cold weather sets in. It does take time for the process to work, so this is another reason to broadcast the bait early. The second phase of treatment pertains to treating isolated, specific mounds of ants as they become present. These mounds can develop at almost any time. There are several methods used to treat mounds, such as granules, dust, bait, drench insecticide, and even home remedies. The first four methods are available in abundance at your local gardening stores, while the most common home remedy is to pour very hot or boiling water on the mounds. It is doubtful that we can eliminate fire ants completely, but research has



1310 Thompson Road • Richmond, TX 77469 281-342-6311 • 20 •• Greatwood Monthly

identified ways to lessen their impact on our lives. Happy Gardening! Fort Bend County Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who assist Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in educating the community using research-based horticultural information.

The benefits of companion gardening and understanding fertilizer


by LAUREN MARTIN | Texas Master Gardener

ur topic this time is companion gardening. Companion gardening, in general, is planting flowers, herbs and vegetables, which grow well together and are beneficial to each other. They help deter pests, attract beneficial bugs, provide shade for food plants, weed suppression and improve soil fertility. CONSIDER FLOWER COMPANION GARDENING Companion gardening can bring blossoming color, edible opportunities, and additional benefits to your pots and vegetable gardens. Vegetable and herb companions are impressive and can serve a double purpose, but that will be another article. My favorite flower companion plants are Borage, Calendula, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, and Tansy. Borage is a pollinator mecca. I personally love calendula not only for its benefits in the garden but also, because I make skin lotions from the dried flowers. Marigolds for their lovely colors and bad-bug deterring scent. Nasturtiums because they are edible and appealing in salads or decoration on baked goods and help to protect my cucumbers. Tansy is a beneficial pest-eating magnate (beneficial bugs deter, eat or kill bad bugs). It is also a perennial (plants that live more than two years); another added plus for the Laid-Back Gardeners. One can place all these plants throughout your garden or just one variety as a perimeter around your veggies. The choices are as varied as your imagination. USING HERBS AS COMPANION PLANTS When using herbs as a companion plant, the following are my top 10 choices for beneficial uses in the vegetable garden: basil, chive, cilantro, garlic, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme. However, feel free to plant any herbs that fit your culinary choices. As stated before, plant these amongst the companion flowers or just the herbs plants among your veggies. I like to plant my herbs close to my kitchen door, combined in pots or singularly. This is for easy access while I am cooking. The companion flowers are working in my garden while providing beauty. An example of vegetable companion planting is the Three Sister Planting. It is an example of Native Americans using vegetables to help benefit each other by conserving water, providing structure and enhancing the soil. The Three Sisters include a ground cover, height and stabilization. The vegetables are corn, beans and squash. Corn to give something for the beans to climb on. Beans provide nitrogen to fertilize the soil and support the tall corn stalks. The squash vines provide ground cover for water retention and a weed deterrent. Sister planting can be done with almost any vegetable you want just follow the ground cover, height and stabilization standards. As a side note, check the space needed for any of these herbs and veggies at maturity. As well as the different varieties within each of the plant suggestions. There is not enough room in this article for all of the choices. Email me at with any questions or comments. UNDERSTANDING FERTILIZER We have touched base on soil preparations, mulching, and companion plantings of flowers, herbs and vegetables. Now, let’s briefly discuss fertilizing. You are already on the road to success with the best soil preparation as we discussed in the May article. Acquaint yourself with the three numbers on the fertilizer products. They are always in the same order and they indicate the percentage of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium — NPK. All plants need Nitrogen for growth – roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruits. Phosphorous is needed for cell division, root growth and flowering. Potassium (K) helps plants grow for their flowering and fruiting production. At this time of year for your vegetable garden, you want to look for a fertilizer that reads 10 (N)-20(P)-10(K); twice as much Phosphorus (P) as Nitrogen (N) or Potassium (K). The numbers can change but you will want to keep the middle number twice as high as the 1st and 3rd number; 10-20-10, 12-24-12, etc.

We really want our gardens to start flowering and growing making fruits and vegetables. So whether you are an organic gardener or traditional/inorganic gardener, these three nutrients will be listed in the same order (NPK) on fertilizers products. In the garden, tomato plants are one of our heaviest feeders. When your tomatoes start to set fruit this is a good time to start feeding them on a regular schedule; once every one to two weeks. Depending on the soil you built your garden with, most other veggies will benefit from once-a-month fertilization. The main objective is to be consistent with your watering (pay attention to your amount of rain) and fertilization schedule. Please email me with any questions or comments. I love hearing from everyone. Next time I will touch base on some of the most common issues/problems you may have in the garden.


ed Debbie Hanks, winner of the beautiful Blue Bird Spinner; former mayor Allen Owen, who won the extraordinary quartz and rock garden heart; Belinda Shufelt, winner of the Music of the Sphere’s wind chime; and Regina Weeks, who won the adorable Little Bo Peep planter. The Quail Valley Garden Club hosted the annual Spring Plant Sale at The TEE Garden in Missouri City. This space is one of many “adopt-a-spot” projects in the Garden Club’s Beautification program and was deemed the perfect place to hold this Springtime event. The care of the TEE garden is a shared responsibility with the City of Missouri City, a partnership that has proven to be most effective and has resulted in providing a beautiful park area for all Missouri City residents to enjoy and use as a special photo opportunity for their special occasions.

Local Spring plant sale blossomed

he Quail Valley Garden Club’s 2022 Spring Plant Sale was bursting with color and featured more than 2,000 plants. Offered were all sorts of beautiful plants, in all categories; annuals, perennials, succulents, herbs, vegetables, native plants, trees, bushes and shrubs. “We had beautiful, colorful hanging baskets that were made and donated by our members”, said Deborah Douglas, the Garden Club’s president. “There were lots of pollinator-attractors too, such as Buddhleia, the native Coreopsis and Blue Daze. There were blueberries, blackberries and lots of vegetables; eggplant, okra, yellow squash, zucchini, pole beans and purple hull peas. Along side that were numerous herbs; sage, oregano and basil, etc. Not to mention our fabulous caladiums!” In addition to purchasing plants and bushes, the City of Missouri City’s “Mayors’ Youth Commission” participated in a fun activity for kids, encouraging them to paint a pot and plant a seed of their choosing and start a plant of their own to take home and nurture. The Plant Sale concluded with the Garden Raffle with City Council Member Floyd Emery, announcing the winner’s names. An excited crowd congratulat-



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Quail Valley Garden Club members with city staff and council members: E. Joyce Iyamu, Crystal Roan, Sedrick Cole, Floyd Emery, Lynn Clouser, Monica Riley, Anthony Maroulis, Jeffrey Boney, Tyson Stittleburg.

The Mayor’s Youth Commission hosted a children’s activity, providing pots, paints and seeds for the little ones to create their very own personal plant.


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Continued from page 11 cycle of child abuse in Fort Bend County. Through its Court Appointed Special Advocates Program (CASATM), Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) and more than 200 trained community volunteer advocates, Child Advocates improves the lives of more than 400 children each month and has served more than 20,500 children since opening its doors in 1991. Volunteers are needed to help in the office and Children’s Advocacy Center and help with special events. For more information about getting involved with Child Advocates of Fort Bend, contact Volunteer Services at 281-344-5123 or or log onto


For TSTC Welding student, Phillips 66 internship fulfills dream of working with dad

annah Balli has always liked to work with her hands — especially on cars with her father. Her father’s work in refineries also inspired her to take a technical path in Texas State Technical College’s Welding Technology program. “I’ve always been close to my dad, so I was like, ‘I want to work with you,’” she said. Balli will now have that opportunity through an internship with Phillips 66. Though her father works in the corporate office while Balli will be welding, she is excited for her wish to come true — and to get her TSTC Welding Technology foot in the door to work at a refinery. student Hannah Balli recently learned that she was accepted Her father is excited too. “As soon as I got the phone call, I ran for an internship at Phillips 66, where her father works. downstairs and told my dad,” Balli said. “Seeing my dad smile and glow, he was like, ‘OK — good for you.’” Balli, of Richmond, did not know that her grandfather had been a welder until she started welding herself. “I was like, ‘When did this happen?’” she said, laughing. Her parents told her about the family history when she decided to enroll in TSTC’s Welding Technology program after a frustrating experience at another college. “I was getting discouraged,” Balli recalled. “I said, ‘I wanted to go to school, but I can’t do it.’ My parents said, ‘Remember, you said college or a trade school. If college isn’t for you, find a trade.’” When Balli first walked into the Welding Technology lab at TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus, she worried about her lack of experience. “I came with no knowledge, knew nothing, and could not strike an arc the first day,” she recalled. “I was so embarrassed and nervous.” However, one-on-one attention from her instructors kept Balli going. When she finally mastered the skill, it became a point of pride. While Balli is a little nervous to be a woman entering the male-dominated field of welding, she encourages other women to pursue it if they are interested. “Don’t overthink it,” she said. “Once you get the hang of it and your work starts to show that you’re trying your best and doing good, it’ll all be worth it.” TSTC offers its Welding Technology program at all 10 of its campuses across the state. The program is part of the college’s Money-Back Guarantee, which promises tuition refunds for participating graduates who do not get hired in the field within six months of earning their degree. In Texas, welders can earn an average annual salary of $47,820, according to, which forecasts the positions to grow in the state by 13% through 2028. Texas employs 46,580 welders — the highest number in the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area has the highest employment level of welders out of all other U.S. metropolitan areas. Registration for the summer and fall semesters is underway. For more information, visit

22 • Greatwood Monthly


Grant awarded to Cullinan Park honors John Null

he George Foundation honored the outgoing President of the Board, John Null, with a $25,000 donation to Cullinan Park Conservancy. Both the George Foundation and Null have been supporters of the Conservancy and Park for many years. “We are so grateful for the continued support of the George Foundation and of John and Diana Null,” said Conservancy From left Outgoing George Foundation Board President Robbin Mallett. Board President John Null, John Van De “The continued success of the Wiele, CPC Board Member; Betty Baitland, improvement projects at Culli- CPC Board Member; Gay Thompson, CPC nan Park would not be possible Board Development Chair; Haley Peck, CPC Board Marketing Chair; Robbin Mallett, without their support.” The Conservancy works to CPC Board President; Keith Borgfeldt, enhance the natural beauty of CPC Board Member; and Beth Wolf, CPC Executive Director. the Park for all by raising funds for capital improvements. Current projects include the much‐needed expansion of parking and additional trails. The Conservancy is also raising funds to complete the Learn, Explore and Play (LEAP) children’s nature play area at the park. For more information on the Park or Conservancy, visit or email


Historical Commission honors Michael R. Moore

he Fort Bend County Historical Commission presented historian Michael R. Moore with the 2022 Bert E. Bleil Heritage Award at its quarterly meeting in May. The Bleil Award is presented annually by the Fort Bend County Historical Commission to a person or organization for exceptional efforts and achievements in de- Photo courtesy of Bryan McAuley | Michael R. veloping and promoting heritage Moore at the Texas Gazette Printshop, Villa de tourism, promoting an awareness Austin exhibit, San Felipe State Historic Site. of and appreciation for historical preservation, the identification and protection of historic sites and features, and the preservation of historical and cultural resources in Fort Bend County. The award is named for the late Bert E. Bleil, the former Chair of the Fort Bend County Historical Commission, who first envisioned this method of acknowledging exceptional achievements in historic and cultural preservation. This year’s honoree, Michael Rugeley Moore, has a long and distinguished career in leading a number of historic preservation and education organizations in Fort Bend County. He served from 1984 to 2006 as the Executive Director of the Fort Bend County Museum Association, overseeing its growth in visitors served from 10,000 to over 100,000 annually. Moore was among the leaders of the planning group that developed and opened the George Ranch Historical Park in 1989 and created the Texian Market Days festival that continues to educate and entertain visitors. Moore was also one of the founding members of the Fort Bend Archaeological Society and served as the Chair of the Fort Bend County Historical Commission from 2004 to 2008. Recently, Moore has been closely involved in the development of the San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site in Austin County. He helped design a number of the exhibits at the museum and served as the Project and Construction Manager for the Villa de Austin outdoor interactive area on the grounds of the historic site. For further information about the Fort Bend County Historical Commission or the Bert E. Bleil Heritage Award contact: Chris Godbold, Chair:; Ferrel Bonner, Vice-Chair:; Claire Rogers, Secretary:; or Jeff Hoffman, Treasurer:

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