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Contents and Staff June 2021
CHAIRMAN, EDITOR & PUBLISHER Clyde King email@example.com
6 FEATURE STORY
ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR Marquita Griffin firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Herb Phelan III releases an intriguing
mystery-suspense novel he didn’t even
ADVERTISING Stefanie Bartlett email@example.com
intend to write.
Ruby Polichino firstname.lastname@example.org GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Melinda Maya email@example.com
8 IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Rachel Cavazos firstname.lastname@example.org
A look at Calvary Episcopal Preparatory's
progression through a pandemic and how it plans on "growing a more global student."
14 IN MEMORANDUM Recollections of the late Bill Hartman.
WRITERS & CONTRIBUTORS Scott Reese Willey Averil Gleason Ryan Dunsmore
16 ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
TO ADVERTISE If you are interested in advertising in the Pecan Grove Monthly, please call 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 Pecan Grove Monthly. If you have an story idea or photo to publish please send your information to email@example.com with “Pecan Grove Monthly” in the subject line. © 2021 Pecan Grove Monthly. All Rights Reserved. Pecan Grove Monthly is a sister publication of Fulshear Living Monthly, Greatwood 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.
Cool drinks and summer salads makes for refreshing culinary discussion May 2021
Peca n Grove monthly
4 • Pecan Grove Monthly
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HOW LONG IS A NOVEL?
That moment Herb realized he wrote a book by MARQUITA GRIFFIN | firstname.lastname@example.org
he secret is out, well, not that it was a secret, to begin with. When word hit the streets about a Rosenberg native who was releasing his first book, of course, interested parties wanted to know the author’s name. His name, sources revealed, was Arthur Herbert. But Arthur, the author, is also Dr. Herb Phelan III, the practicing surgeon and son of Rosenberg residents Herb and Maxine Phelan. “I’m not super-secretive about the pen name,” Herb said kindly. “It just facilitates keeping a wall between my day job as a practicing surgeon and my fiction-writing.” With his name on scientific writings — he has 116 peer-reviewed scientific publications — and his name on his fictional work,“a pen name makes it easier to keep these straight as to which is which,” he said. Formerly of Rosenberg, Phelan and his wife Dr. Amy Phelan currently reside in New Orleans. For the most of the last two decades, however, Herb was training in Dallas and then working as an attending trauma and burn surgeon at Parkland Hospital — “a place best known as the hospital where they took both JFK and, later, Oswald,” he adds. Eighteen months ago, Phelan was recruited to a New Orleans practice “by a good friend who’s now [his] practice partner, Dr. Jeff Carter,” and notably when he started on March 30, 2020, the nation was in the middle of the disastrous COVID-19 surge. “It was crazy to be dealing with a pandemic while I was still trying to figure out how the phones worked and where the bathrooms were at my new hospital,” he recalled.
A DOCTOR KNOWN FOR STORYTELLING
Phelan’s journey to becoming a surgeon is an intriguing one.After attending Strake Jesuit in Houston, Phelan received a full-ride scholarship to a small Jesuit school in Mobile, Alabama called Spring Hill College. “I double majored in English and Biology, as I’d always liked the humanities, but harbored thoughts of going to med school,” he said. Following graduation, he spent a year with a Jesuit-run domestic Peace Corps called the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, and the corps put him to work as a social worker in Kansas City, Missouri.After completing his term with the corps “jobs came and went for about three years” before Phelan enrolled in medical school. “I was a lab tech at Baylor Med School in Houston,” he said, ticking off past positions. “I tended bar at the Highland Tavern for Butch Nawara out on Highway 36. I was a sample catcher for a mudlogging outfit on offshore oil rigs [and] I landscaped the Cegelski trailer park off Louise street a lot with my brother Mike. “All these made me appreciate the opportunity a lot more once I started med school.” And during the medical career that followed, Phelan was presented with plenty of opportunities to write — expository writings, that is.
6 • Pecan Grove Monthly
Scientific writing is heavily researched, referenced, and the writer focuses on building arguments, he explained. And, he noted,“one is encouraged to be economical with language.” Those rules don’t apply with fictional works, though. “Writing fiction is great because it’s really just sitting down and making stuff up,” Phelan said. Phelan explains that he’s one of those who loves reading, and he suspects that passion for it is rooted in his upbringing. It’s at this point that he takes a moment to provide a bit of background knowledge:“My mom, Maxine Phelan, was a long-time English teacher at Lamar Consolidated who seems to have taught English to half the town over age 40.” Now, with that explained, he continues his thought: “If there’s anything to genetics, it explains why the English part [ of college] came so easily to me.” This could also explain why Phelan and his brother Mike “have always been a couple of storytellers.” “And truth to tell, I don’t hold a candle to him,” Herb said of his brother. He then shares a funny story about his brother’s wife, Ronnie, who was returning from a business trip in Orlando, where she’d been at a considerably bustling expo event. Someone overheard her say she was from Rosenberg,Texas, and the stranger asked her:‘Do you know the Phelan boys?’ “So,” Phelan said with humor lacing his words,“until I cure cancer, storytelling is what I’ll be best known for.”
THE GRADUAL GROWTH OF A STORY
Phelan’s debut novel (under the name Arthur Herbert) The Cuts That Cure was released May 11 and is available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Phelan surmises that if he’d intended to write a novel, he “probably never would have accomplished it.” It began at a Starbucks in Flower Mound,Texas where Phelan was working on a scientific protocol. This was during his transitional period between Dallas and New Orleans. “And I was stuck,” he recalled.“After staring at the blinking cursor for the better part of twenty minutes, I just opened up a blank Word document and started typing in the hopes that just the mechanical act of putting words to paper would get me kick-started.” The effort resulted in him writing about 1,100 words describing his trip to Ojinaga, just across the border from Presidio. “There was nothing to it other than just pure description, but it worked, and with a new head of steam, I went back to my protocol. But I saved that Word document.” The next day, Phelan did it again. He wrote about 1,000 words before turning his focus onto his scientific writing. “This went on for a couple of weeks, then a month. Slowly, there were characters appearing, and a plot took form.After a few months of this, I saw that I had almost 60,000 words. I literally googled,“How
long is a novel?”’ The results indicated the average debut novel is usually 80-90,000 words. “I realized I’d about written a book!” he said.“From that point on, finishing it was easy.”
‘A PAGE TURNER’
The Cuts That Cure follows a disgraced surgeon who crosses paths with a cruel teenager in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Phelan said his book contains psychological suspense, mystery, and even some horror elements. “If you like Stephen King or Gillian Flynn —the lady who wrote Gone Girl and - as well as the HBO series “Utopia”), it’s fair to say that you’ll like the book,” Phelan said. Weeks before our interview and the release of the book, Phelan was encouraged by the pre-order sales hitting “almost three times the number [his] publisher initially told him,” and because of the strength of the pre-orders, his book spent some time as a No.1 Amazon new release. “This must be what it feels like to watch your kid go out into the real world: exciting but nerve-wracking,” he said of the idea of his novel being read by consumers. Even before the book’s public release, Phelan and his publisher received reviews from bloggers and professional reviewers. “I’m happy to say they’ve been very strong so far,” he said, before adding that he was fortunate to become acquainted with New York Times bestseller Nick Russell, who provided Phelan with a quote for the cover of his book. “A tale of intrigue and suspense, with a villain that will keep you awake. A page turner you don’t want to miss!” Russell’s quote reads. “Nick writes mysteries, too,” Phelan said.“And has become a real mentor to me.” Phelan hopes Russell’s remark will help The Cuts That Cure “stand out from the 1.4 million books a year that Amazon publishes on its platform.”
NUGGETS OF TRUTH & THE POWER OF EDITORS
Although fabrication of intriguing suspense, there are nuggets of reality within Phelan’s story, truths that he knows firsthand. “Physician burnout is a real thing, and it’s something I’ve grappled with myself,” said Phelan.“Although, obviously not to the extent that my protagonist does in the book.” He remembers working for a boss who “seemed to treat young faculty members almost like cannon fodder.” “Squeeze all you can out of them while they’re young and cheap, and if they leave, just go get another one,” Phelan explained. “I actually knew a doctor who had quit to go teach middle-grade science for a while, so there was a nugget there.” As far as the book’s setting, Phelan said he knew smalltown Texas, close to the border of Mexico, was ideal. “I’ve come to love everything about the culture of the border: the food, the music, the language, the people. It’s also got a dark underbelly down there that makes it fun to write about,” Phelan added.“For something that took shape as I
Continued on page 20
A Q&A with Arthur Herbert
(aka Dr. Herb Phelan)
Marquita Griffin: What was frustrating about the writing process? Dr. Herb Phelan: There have been times [when Dana Isaacson] recommended I do something that is tough. For instance, for my second novel, the first chapter was one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever written. I loved that chapter. Then when I sent the first three chapters to Dana, he said it actually worked better by making chapter two into the new start of the book and scrapping the old chapter one. Getting rid of chapter one was like drowning kittens. But, when I looked at it with fresh eyes I saw what he meant, and he was right. MG: Are you focused on a particular genre, or just being a storyteller in general? HP: I’ve always liked suspense and mystery, so that’s what the first two novels plus my short fiction have all been in. When people would ask me what kind of fiction I wrote, for the longest time I would always jokingly answer, “Bigfoot erotica.” I stopped saying that, though, because come to find Bigfoot erotica is actually a thing. I just love the idea that there are people who’re out there making a buck writing that stuff. That’s capitalism at its finest. And as far as the audience for it— well, the heart wants what the heart wants. MG: Would you like to share a bit about the second book’s plot? HP: Sure. It’s set in west Texas in the town of Amoret, a fictionalized version of Alpine. The protagonist is a small-town doctor in his eighties who is recounting to a reporter the story of an event in 1982 when the husband of one of the town’s prominent families disappears one night. It’s a traditional mystery, and it’s been an absolute joy to write. That’s the beauty of writing about a world with which I’m so familiar, there are times when it feels so effortless I feel almost like I’m transcribing. MG: After the completion of your second book, what else do you have planned? HP: I’d like to keep up a pace of a novel a year if possible. If this goes like I’m hoping, it has the potential to be a nice side gig for once I decide to retire from surgery, whenever that may be. For now, it just means continuing to tell stories. If you think this sounds like it would be fun, you’re right. MG: And some of your short fiction is already available on your website, right? HP: Yes, I’ve written some short fiction that’s been well-received. “Sisters” spent some time as an Amazon #1 Best Seller in the 15-minute fiction category. The ending of that story may be the best thing I’ve ever written. The nugget of that story’s origin came about when my best friend and I were hitch-hiking in a remote part of Vancouver Island in the summer of 2019. Then a couple of months ago, I was coming home from the hospital and saw a priest standing on the sidewalk in front of one of my neighbor’s houses, pacing back and forth talking on a cell phone. An NOPD cruiser was parked nearby, and the cop was leaning against the cruiser’s hood looking bored while he watched the priest. Amy and I live just off of St. Charles avenue and the trolley line, and even in a neighborhood as colorful as that one that’s a sight you don’t see every day. Try as I might, I just couldn’t get that image out of my head. I never found out what actually happened, but in one frenetic burst of activity over a weekend, I wrote the short story, “Mister B.’s Goodbye.” You can download both of those if you go to my website at arthurherbertwriter.com. To advertise, call 281-342-4474
In the Spotlight Aubree Kuperus as Raja Englanderova in “I Never Saw Another Butterfly."
8 • Pecan Grove Monthly
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10 • Pecan Grove Monthly
Talk of the Town
Richmond Police Department honors top employees
hilip Jackson was named Richmond Police Department’s officer of the year in April, and Todd Ganey was named the 2020 employee of the year. The police department held its annual awards banquet at Swinging Door BBQ. This event, sponsored by the Richmond Citizen’s Police Academy Alumni Association, honors employees who show dedication and commitment to the mission of the Richmond Police Department throughout the year. Each division commander is asked to pick someone from their division who they believe is deserving of this honor. Besides Jackson and Ganey, awards went to Ariel Tristan, telecommunicator of the year; Bradley McNeal, top gun day shift division champion; Sgt. Steven Rychlik, top gun night shift division champion and overall champion; Det. Andy Runge, top gun CID division champion, Robert Oliver, top gun administrative division champion; and crime scene Elizabeth Neal, investigator of the year. “2020 proved to be a challenging year for all of us with the COVID pandemic,” Police Chief JJ Craig said. “While others had the ability to work from home, these dedicated employees had no choice but to continue working full schedules. “We are extremely proud of all of these deserving employees who continually show dedication and commitment to the Richmond Police Department and the citizens of Richmond.”
From left, Richmond Police Chief JJ Craig, 2020 Employee of the Year Officer Todd Ganey, 2020 Officer of the Year Phillip Jackson, Telecommunicator of the Year Ariel Tristan, Top Gun Day Shift Division Champion Officer Bradley McNeal, Top Gun Night Shift Division Champion and Overall Champion Sergeant Steven Rychlik, Top Gun CID Division Champion Detective Andy Runge, and Top Gun Administrative Division Champion Officer Robert Oliver. Not Pictured is Investigator of the Year Crime Scene Investigator Elizabeth Neal.
Alexis Jackson Named Child Advocate of the Year
he enthusiasm with which Alexis Jackson advocates for children has been described as “above and beyond.”And just a couple of months ago, the Child Advocates of Fort
Continued on page 13
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Confessions of a Miserly Gardener
by SANDRA GRAY| Fort Bend Master Gardener
am a practicing tightwad. I love Mother Earth (she knows I do), but I love my money more. So, when I learned all the ways Earth-Kind® gardening could save me money, I was onboard. Here are some ways I save money using these techniques, and you might, too. You don’t need to do all of these things, but every little bit saves you money (and helps Mother Earth). Water wisely. Don’t pay for more water than necessary. Instead, consider using drought-resistant plants, drip irrigation, xeriscapes, and rainwater harvesting. Check your irrigation system regularly to avoid watering the street and sidewalks. Avoid overwatering, a common gardening mistake, because it will save money, and overwatering promotes some plant diseases. Use native plants and plant them in the right place. Native plants are well-adapted to your environment, so they are more likely to thrive. The likelihood of success increases if you put the plant in a place suitable to its needs. More importantly, if the plant lives, you won’t need to pay money to replace it!
Mow correctly for your grass type. Mow at the correct height with a mulching mower and mow frequently enough to remove no more than one-third of the plant. This will keep the grass healthier, and recycling the grass cuttings into the soil reduces the need for fertilization. For extra credit, use a non-gas-powered mower. Hint: a reel mower may save you gym fees. Reduce the amount of turf in your landscape. Doing this can reduce watering, mowing, and fertilization costs. Instead, replace the grass with groundcovers, wildflowers, ornamental grasses, and other plants that require less time and money (!!!). Follow written directions for chemical usage and storage. If you must use chemicals like pesticides or herbicides, carefully follow the package directions. Using too little may be a waste of time, using too much may cause more harm than good (and wastes money).Try to purchase only the amount needed and store supplies carefully so the chemical will not go bad before it is used (again wasting money). Take care of your garden tools. Caring for your tools is always cheaper than replacing them. However, you will want to buy good quality tools initially to ensure they will have a long life under your tender care. Plant a tree. Not only will a tree enhance the market value of your home (ka-ching!), it can also reduce your heating and cooling costs if planted in the right place. Compost. Composting can be as simple as recycling coffee grounds and banana peels into your garden or a bit more elaborate.Yes, there may be some initial set-up costs, but there will also be savings in the compost you won’t need to purchase to enhance your soil. Save seeds and share plants. When your annual plants go to seed, save those seeds for the next season to avoid the costs of seed packets or plants.You can also participate in a plant exchange with friends and neighbors. Bartering can include landscape tips about planting and caring for the plants. I love free! Use solar-powered landscape lighting. Landscape lighting enhances the appeal and security of your landscape. However, I don’t want to pay those electrical costs if there is a free alternative. Do you? Solarpowered lights have become less expensive and easier to install and are worth consideration. Environmentally friendly gardening need not cost you money. It can be a soul satisfier to misers like me. Learn more about Earth-Kind gardening at http://earth-kind.tamu.edu.
Achieve landscape success with a virtual gardening program An example of a bike mower.
12 • Pecan Grove Monthly
ort Bend County Libraries will present an online program, “Landscape Success: Using Irrigation Wisely,” on Tuesday, June 22, from 2 p.m.to 3:30 p.m. As part three of the Texas AgriLife Extension Office’s “Landscape Success” series for homeowners, this program will be live-streamed via Webex; it will not be in person. Fort Bend County Master Gardeners Nancy Schoepf and Don Parkhouse will discuss water-conservation techniques, hydro-zone planting, and irrigation-system evaluation and maintenance. The program is free and open to the public. Registration is required to receive the link to the Webex session via email. To register online at the library’s website (www.fortbend.lib.tx.us), click on “Classes & Events,” select “Virtual Programs,” and find the program on the date indicated. Participants may also register by calling Fort Bend County Libraries’ Communications Office at 281-633-4734.
Continued from page 11 Bend volunteer was honored by the very agency she is devoted Mefford stressed. to. Jackson also lends a hand to the nonprofit’s administration In April Jackson was named the 2020 reception desk and participates as a speaker Child Advocate of the Year at the nonprofit’s in the nonprofit’s Voices for Children Tours. first Virtual Volunteer Celebration, which “She and her husband are members of drew more than 100 volunteers, community our Voices For Children CIRCLE, providing partners, and staff. the agency with critical funding,” explained “Her actions will have a long-lasting Mefford. impact for the children we serve and for Other honorees at the volunteer our community,” said Child Advocates of celebration included Jill Thaxton (CASA Fort Bend CEO Ruthanne Mefford. “She Volunteer of the Year), Mary Koehler serves in so many capacities.” (Children’s Advocacy Center Volunteer of Jackson became a CASA volunteer the Year), Ken Kosub (Event Volunteer of advocate in 2016 and has served four the Year), Zona Johnson (Voices for Children children in the nonprofit’s Infant and Ambassador of the Year). Dr. Charles Dupre Toddler and NEST programs. She’s even (Children’s Hero) and Roy Cordes (Lifetime traveled to Killeen, Texas to visit a child, Hero). “and fights hard for sibling groups to stay Melissa Munoz was the recipient of the together because she understands the Mariel Barrera Champion for Children importance of that familial bond,” Mefford Award. Barrera, a longtime employee of added. Child Advocates of Fort Bend passed away Jackson is also a lead committee member in early 2017. on Child Advocate’s Christmas Home Tour A full list of honorees and information and Gala. about volunteer opportunities with Child Alexis Jackson. “She was the first volunteer for the Advocates of Fort Bend is available at www. FRIENDS Council and the Volunteer Council at the same time,” cafb.org.
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e c a n G rove Monthly and its three sister p u bl i c a t i o n s are monthly m a g a z i n e s published by the Fort Bend Herald newspaper. At 1902 South Fourth Street in Rosenberg, just a stone’s throw away from Rosenberg’s city hall and police department is a small Bill Hartman office, alive with the buzz of editors, ad reps, and journalists combing the streets for stories from all areas of the West Fort Bend community. From happenings in the city to the quieter roads of rural areas, The Herald has served as a longtime community newspaper filled with local faces and local names. And as is the case with every edition, the intent is to publish as many local faces as possible. This was the philosophy developed by late Herald owner Bill Hartman. And as it stands as the custom for the Fort Bend Herald newspaper, the concentration on the local community stands as the model for Pecan Grove Monthly and its sister publications, too. On May 3, 2021, Hartman, who was 79 years old, passed away from an illness after suffering an injury last year. Known more commonly by Herald readers as “BH” for authoring the Fort Bend Journal and who published a weekly column he called “Sunday Slants.” He is survived by his sister Mary Hartman Brown-Cody of Baytown; three children, Fred Hartman and wife Laura Lee Prather of Austin; Lee Hartman and wife Shannon Hartman of Sugar Land; and Lizz Sansone and husband Chris Sansone of Sugar Land; six grandchildren, Drew and Kate Hartman of Sugar Land; and Alex and Ella Stapleton, and Julia and Blake Hartman, all of Austin. He lived in Richmond and was a member of St. John’s United Methodist Church. He was an avid sports fan, golfer, horseman, outdoorsman, and firearms enthusiast. He also owned and showed Arabian horses, and was a frequent Top 10 finisher in the U.S. National Arabian and Half-Arabian western pleasure classes. He owned Hartman Arabian Farms in Needville until the late 1990s. Hartman purchased The Herald-Coaster in 1974 from Carmage Walls and Southern Newspapers, Inc. The newspaper was renamed the Fort Bend Herald in 2007. The Herald became part of Hartman Newspapers, Inc., which at one point owned 17 community newspapers in Texas and Oklahoma. Hartman relocated the company to Rosenberg in 1977, and he and his family moved from Beaumont to Richmond. “Bill was my boss for 50 years,” said Clyde King, chairman of Hartman Newspapers and publisher of the Fort Bend Herald.“He was a consummate newspaperman, and you would never find
14 • Pecan Grove Monthly
any ‘fake news’ in any of his publications. I remember asking him once how to display a certain story of wrongdoing by a community member, and I’ll never forget his answer: ‘Run it like you would, if you or I did it.’ And what he meant by that was that neither of us or anyone else would be exempt from having our transgressions reported on the front page.” Hartman was also adamant that his editors get as many names and faces in each issue as possible. In a 2015 interview with Jane Goodsill for the Oral History Committee of the Fort Bend Historical Commission, Hartman addressed the impact of technology and social media, saying the negative impact will be felt more by larger newspapers than community papers, like The Herald. “We know what our niche is,” he said. “We’re not going to outChronicle the Chronicle or out-Dallas the Dallas News, but they can’t do what we do, either. We concentrate on providing local coverage.” Hartman was a lifelong veteran of the newspaper business and began working as a teenager for his father Fred, who was editor and publisher of the Baytown Sun for Southern Newspapers. Hartman attended Baytown public schools, graduating from Robert E. Lee High School in 1959. After graduating from Baylor University in 1962 with a business degree, Hartman went to work as editor and publisher of the Bayshore Sun in La Porte. He then moved back to Baytown in 1965 as general manager of the Baytown Sun under his father and Mr. Walls. From 1971-74, Hartman served as editor and publisher of the Beaumont Enterprise & Journal. Then in 1974, he founded Hartman Newspapers. In the 2015 Goodsill interview, Hartman stressed the importance of being involved in the community being covered. “In all the communities where we have newspapers, we make it a part of our publishers and editors jobs take part in civic activities.” Hartman was a tireless promoter of Fort Bend County, and his community activities included serving as president of the Rosenberg-Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce; chairman of the board of the Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Council; director of Polly Ryon Memorial Hospital; past chairman of the Fort Bend County Mobility Task Force; past vice-chairman of the Richmond State School’s Volunteer Services Council; past president of the Rosenberg Rotary Club; and past director of the Fort Bend County Fair Association; and director of the Texas Ranger Association Foundation. Hartman served as president of the Texas Daily Newspapers Association in 1977 and was named the Pat Taggart Newspaper Leader of the Year by TDNA in 2004. He was also a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, covering the Houston Astros in the Herald for many years. “I think it’s important for everybody to take part in his or her community,” he said in the Goodsill interview. "It’s only going to be as good as you make it.Today I’m a little disappointed that too much of our time is spent hurrying from place to place and we don’t take time to look around and smell the flowers. I think that’s important as well.”
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Art & Entertainment
FAMILY-FRIENDLY FUN DRAWS THOUSANDS IN SUPPORT OF HOPE FOR THREE
ope For Three recently announced two individually hosted events held in April, featuring favorite family games, raised several thousand dollars for the nonprofit. The funds will continue to enable Hope For Three to operate as the leading local nonprofit autism advocacy organization in Fort Bend County. One of the events — dubbed Air mail for Autism — was organized by a father, Matt Smith, whose 5-year-old son Rhett is dia g nosed wit h autism. Rhett was the inspiration behind the fundraiser, his father said. Courtesy of Hope For Three | Hope For Three CEO and founder Darla Farmer with 5-year-old Rhett who enjoyed time in the sprinklers with his father, Matt Smith.
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The family-friendly cornhole tournament held at the Houston Premier Sportsplex raised $3,500. Missouri City councilwoman Lynn Clouser, a parent of a child diagnosed with autism, also organized a BINGO fundraiser at Cabo Dogs in Missouri City. Participants of this event departed with a variety of raffle prizes from Rocking M Ranch.The event raised $4,200. “April Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month is over, but we are still on the path to raise awareness and funds for our families, 365/24/7,” said Hope For Three CEO Darla Farmer.“Autism is a lifelong disorder without a known cause or cure, and Hope For Three strives to serve as a beacon of hope for local families.”
KIDS & COPS SUMMER CAMP STARTS SOON!
he Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office 24th annual Kids & Cops Summer Camp program is open for registration. Starting June 7, the camp program will be held Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students must be 10 to 12 years old on the first day of camp to participate. This camp is on a first-come-first-served basis, with a limit of 48 students per camp. Students participating in the camp will enjoy a day of fun at Main Event, an exciting trip to Typhoon Texas Waterpark as well as other activities. The cost for the camp is $80 and will include lunch Tuesday through Thursday, snacks each day, and the cost for the field trips.The fee also includes a camp T-shirt, a team facemask, and a backpack. Details on camp dates and locations can be found on the application at www.fortbendcountytx.gov. To register, return the completed application and payment to the address listed at the bottom of the application. If you have any questions email email@example.com or call (832) 4732862.
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YUMMY: LET’S TALK ‘COOL DRINKS & SUMMER SALADS’
he Culinary Book Club at Fort Bend County Libraries’University Branch Library will meet online on Wednesday, June 16 at 1:30 pm.The theme of the month is “Cool Drinks & Summer Salads.” This videoconference will be live-streamed via Webex; it will not be in person at the library. The Culinary Book Club meets on the third Wednesday of every
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month, and different cooking genres are explored each month. Cooking enthusiasts of all ages and experience levels – from beginners to advanced — are invited to join. Share tips, get ideas and enjoy the camaraderie of other individuals interested in cooking and good cuisine. On Thursday, June 24, enjoy a pre-recorded video demonstration of “Soul Food: Savannah-Style Cornbread.”With this old southern recipe, learn how to make a sweet and delicate cornbread that can accompany a variety of dishes.A link to the video will be posted on FBCL’s online calendar on the scheduled date, and it can be viewed at any time. Registration is not required. This virtual meeting is free and open to the public. Registration is required for the Culinary Book Club ONLY; a link to the Webex session will be emailed to all who register.To register online, go to the FBCL website (www.fortbend.lib.tx.us), click on “Classes & Events,” select “Virtual Programs,” and find the program on the date indicated. Participants may also register by calling the University Branch Library 281-633-5100.
LIBRARY RESEARCH DATABASE COVERS 500PLUS YEARS OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY
ort Bend County Libraries offers an online African-American History research database from Facts-on-File. Students and other researchers can access this helpful resource online at any time, from the comfort and safety of home, with an FBCL library card. Covering more than 500 years of the African-American experience, this authoritative resource enables library patrons to explore the full spectrum of African-American history and culture. Students can delve deeply into a variety of topics, examine different perspectives, and access historical tablet/mobile-friendly videos that bring history to life.This resource includes a substantial collection of primary sources, images, biographies of key people, original maps and charts, and much more. The biographies listed under “Featured People” include collections of articles on civil rights activists, trailblazing military and political figures, abolition leaders, Harlem Renaissance intellectuals and activists, major musicians and artists, leading scientists, accomplished athletes, and influential writers. Full citations are available throughout the resource, and users can print, copy, and save to a folder all content for personal use. The Curriculum Tools section includes writing and research tips for students and educators, including advice on analyzing and understanding primary sources, editorial cartoons, and online
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resources. Guides for presenting research include instruction on citing sources, avoiding plagiarism, completing a primary-source worksheet, summarizing articles, and writing research papers. To browse this digital collection, go to the FBCL website, www. fortbend.lib.tx.us, click on “Research,” select “Databases,” and choose “African-American History.” Library patrons need a valid FBCL card (or eCard) to access the resource. For more information, call the library system’s Communications Office at 281-633-4734.
NEW STREAMING VIDEO SERVICE PROVIDES ACCESS TO ‘THOUSANDS OF WORLD-CLASS’ RESOURCES
ort Bend County Libraries announces the addition of a new online streaming video service, Access Video On Demand, to its eLibrary collection of digital resources. Library patrons will have instant, unlimited, 24/7 access to thousands of world-class documentaries, award-winning educational films, independent movies, and helpful instructional videos covering a wide range of subjects. This new video-streaming service includes two collections —“Access Video on Demand: Master Collection” for adults and “Access Video On Demand: Just for Kids.” From arts and humanities to science, technology, and math, Access Video On Demand (AVOD) provides instant access to a wide range of subjects for library patrons of all ages. In the AVOD: Master Collection, producers such as the History Channel, HBO, BBC, Nova, A&E, and Ken Burns provide documentaries on topics like business, career planning, health, history, travel, and more. Library patrons can watch a Bob Dylan concert, go on a trip with Rick Steves, learn to bake with Julia Child, or work out with Jeanette Jenkins. AVOD: Just for Kids provides thousands of age-appropriate, advertisement-free videos that children, parents, and caregivers will love. Sesame Street, Reading Rainbow, PBS, and the Electric Company are a few of the many available offerings. Interactive games, puzzles, and quizzes are sure to entertain, educate, and inspire young library patrons on this kid-safe media platform. Looking for homework help? AVOD: Just for Kids includes educational, historical, and popular content, with full transcripts of programs, a citation builder for bibliographies, and video-clipping tools that help the user embed the video in a presentation. Library patrons need a valid FBCL card (or eCard) to access the service, and there are no check-out limits, waitlists, or overdue
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fines. Completely browser-based and mobile-friendly, the streaming videos can be viewed on PCs, Macs, iPads, smart TVs, and other internet-enabled mobile devices. No app or special software is required. It is possible to create an account with AVOD and create playlists for videos to be watched in the future. With an account, patrons may also pause videos and resume at a later time. All videos come with public performance rights for classroom or other public use, and new videos are added monthly. To browse the AVOD collection of films, go to the FBCL website, www.fortbend.lib.tx.us, click on “ELIBRARY,” and scroll down to Access Video on Demand. For more information, call the library system’s Communications Office at 281-633-4734.
FREE LANGUAGE-LEARNING RESOURCE AT YOUR FINGERTIPS!
re you planning to visit a foreign country? Would you like to make yourself more marketable to an employer by being bilingual? Do you want to have an advantage on an international business trip by speaking the local language? Learning another language can have many benefits, and Fort Bend County Libraries’“Transparent Language® Online” resource makes learning a new language easy – and it’s free. FBCL’s Adult Services staff will present an online tutorial, “Transparent Language® Online: Learning a Language Beyond Chapter 1,” on Thursday, June 10. This how-to video will be prerecorded so that it can be viewed from the comfort and safety of
home at any time after the scheduled date. Learning a new language can be challenging, but retaining and using it in a conversational setting can be even more so. In this video, library staff will talk about how to get beyond “Chapter 1 Basics.” Learn about the “placement test” feature that enables the user to jump past initial lessons to reach the section that is appropriate for their stage of learning. Hear about two other features of this resource that can help the student retain and use the language skills they have learned. About Transparent Language® Online The Transparent Languages resource offers online courses for people who would like to learn a new language. The database includes more than 80 languages – from Afrikaans to Zulu – as well as ESL (English as a Second Language) classes for non-English speaking people who would like to learn English. The English-language-assistance courses are available for people who speak Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Farsi, Hindi, Czech, Indonesian, Malay, Norwegian, Romanian, Swahili, Tagalog, Thai, Urdu, Russian, German, French, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Greek, Arabic, or Italian. By using the libraries’ subscription to the service, library patrons can have free access to a resource for which they would otherwise have to pay. NOTE: Because of a recent upgrade to this resource, current users will be required to reset their passwords. This how-to tutorial can be viewed at ww.fortbend.lib.tx.us by clicking on the “Classes and Events” tab, selecting “Virtual Programs,” and finding the virtual “class” on the scheduled date. For more information, call FBCL’s Communications Office at 281-6334734.
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Continued from page 7 After auditioning 16 narrators for The Cuts That Cure who “were all great,” Phelan said Warran was “really head and shoulders above everyone else.” At the time of this interview, the audio was with engineers and May 9 was the projected date of the availability of the audiobook. “I can’t tell you how surreal it was to hear these words that’d only been in my head for so long suddenly coming out of someone else’s mouth,” Phelan said.“Professional narrators don’t just read the words on the page, they’ll use voices for different characters in a way that really helps to bring the text to life.” With one book down, Phelan is already into his second work, potentially titled Strutting Through the Storm. This round is proving a bit more challenging because of time management, Phelan said. Finding time to write his first book was simple because he was transitioning between jobs. But now, with the practice “going full bore,” Phelan has to approach his storytelling differently. “I’ve found that I can’t find the time to write fiction, I have to make the time,”he said. So, on the days when I write fiction, I get up between 3 and 3:30 a.m. and write until I have to start getting cleaned up to go to work at 5:30 a.m.“It’s tough, but the words don’t put themselves on the page, you have to do it.” Once he completes his second novel, Phelan looks forward to penning the next work. “I’d like to keep up a pace of a novel a year if possible. If this goes like I’m hoping, it has the potential to be a nice side gig for once I decide to retire from surgery, whenever that may be,” he said. For now, it just means continuing to tell stories.” “If you think this sounds like it would be fun,” he added teasingly, “you’re right.”
wrote, it’s actually remarkable that the final product was so cohesive. “Again, I have Dana to thank for much of that.” Dana, is Dana Isaacson, the developmental editor who works for Blackstone publishing and the editor Phelan contracted to review the Cuts manuscript. Receiving “professional-level feedback” is crucial, Phelan said. “When people think of editors, they think of someone who proofs your writing looking for punctuation and syntax errors,” Phelan said. “Developmental editors are a different thing altogether.The job of a good DE is to advise you on story elements.” Phelan said after Dana read the draft, the constructive criticism was beneficially specific: “Tone this part down, build this part up. Give the protagonist a love interest. Combine these two characters into one.This scene doesn’t work, get rid of it.This scene is great, flesh out the interaction here,” Phelan recalled. “He really helped take the story to the next level.”
MAKING THE TIME FOR THE NEXT NOVEL
And perhaps award-winning narrator Victor Warren can assist in boosting the novel’s reputation,too.Warren,who’s from Massachusetts, can “do a Texas accent that’s pure Matthew McConaughey,” said Phelan, explaining that Warren will bring his book to life.
20 • Pecan Grove Monthly
Dr. Herb Phelan with his wife Dr. Amy Phelan.
DON’T TAKE CHANCES WITH YOUR HEALTH
SCHEDULE A CHECKUP TODAY Regular checkups are the key to long-term health. Checkups allow doctors to screen for conditions and diseases that can become life-threatening if they go undiagnosed – like high blood pressure or cancer. Experts recommend you talk with your doctor about when you should begin screening for high blood pressure and diabetes as well as prostate, colon or lung cancers and other diseases at your annual checkup. And with our Safe Wait™ enhanced safety measures in place at all of our facilities, you can get the care you need with peace of mind, so there’s no reason to put it off.
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Drive-thru Cancer Survivors Day celebration to honor survivors
ouston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital will host a drive-thru Cancer Survivors Day Celebration from 9-11 a.m. on Friday, June 4. The hummingbird-themed event, titled “Let Your Spirit Soar,” takes the place of the annual large gathering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet still offers a chance to honor survivors and caregivers. Participants will receive a gift bag with an inspirational book, face mask, along with resources for survivors and a hummingbird cookie to remind them to “let their spirits soar.” “Since we are still not able to host a large gathering, we are offering a different kind of celebration,” said Amy Sebastian-Deutsch, director of oncology services.“The drive-thru format provides a safe way to celebrate these survivors’ incredible strength and resilience, and we are proud to honor their lives and encourage them, especially during the prolonged challenging time of the pandemic.” Survivors will also enjoy uplifting music by music therapists from the Houston Methodist Center for Performing Arts Medicine.After the drive-thru event, participants will be able to watch an inspirational presentation online from Mack Dryden, a comedian and two-time cancer survivor. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are currently more than 16.9 million cancer survivors in the U.S. today. National Cancer Survivors Day events held around the country allow survivors to come together and celebrate life. Visit join.houstonmethodist.org/survivor-sl to register for the event. Visit houstonmethodist.org/cancer-sl to learn more about the Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land or to find a doctor in your area.
CANCER SURVIVORS DAY DRIVE-THRU CELEBRATION Cancer survivors and caregivers are invited to join Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Cancer Survivors Day drive-thru celebration between 9 and 11 a.m. on Friday, June 4. The drivethru will be held at the Houston Methodist Cancer Center at Sugar Land: 16675 Southwest Fwy. Sugar Land, TX 77479. Visit join.houstonmethodist.org/survivor-sl to register or find out more information.
Deborah Smith, oncology nurse, and Dr. Clive Shkedy, board-certified radiation oncologist, visit with a survivor at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s 2020 Cancer Survivors Day Drive-Thru Celebration.
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BEND ANIMAL HOSPITAL
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At Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Sugar Land, we know your body is made to move. Our specialists use the latest technology, perform minimally invasive procedures and develop customized treatment plans, including physical therapy. Whether you’re getting back in shape or back to work, we have the expertise to get you back on your feet — and keep you moving.
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