West Fort Bend Living - April 2021

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FORT BEND April 2021


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Contents &Staff

Lo ca V co ele l mo s m z for ple hop aic a t the e a es rtis co pub to o t Ar mm lic ne len un wo da e y ity r PA to k of en art GE joy 6 .




West Fort Bend


CHAIRMAN, EDITOR & PUBLISHER Clyde King cking@hartmannews.com

APRIL 2021

ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR Marquita Griffin mgriffin@fbherald.com ADVERTISING Stefanie Bartlett sbartlett@fbherald.com


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WRITERS & CONTRIBUTORS Scott Reese Willey Averil Gleason Ryan Dunsmore


L op ess e po ra tha lic tio n a e d na ep l, L mon art am th me ar a C fte co nt w ons r be mm as ol co un on d idate min PA ity . ispla d IS g GE y i D’s nt 10 he


Ruby Polichino ruby@fbherald.com


GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Melinda Maya mmaya@fbherald.com Rachel Cavazos rcavazos@fbherald.com TO ADVERTISE If you are interested in advertising in the West Fort Bend Living, 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.


16 Arts & Entertainment

Entries are wanted a Texas Juried Exhibition and a local poetry slam competition.

28 Health News

Recognizing the myths and misconceptions about autism spectrum disorder.

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 mgriffin@fbherald.com with “West Fort Bend Living” in the subject line. © 2020 West Fort Bend Living. All Rights Reserved. West Fort Bend Monthly is a sister publication of Fulshear Living Monthly, Greatwood Monthly, Pecan Grove Monthly and is a publication of the Fort Bend Herald. Our publishing headquarters is 1902 S. Fourth Street, Rosenberg Texas 77471.

FORT BEND March 2021



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

4 • West Fort Bend Living

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8 • West Fort Bend Living


Photo by by Laura Giesen Photography | The van Deursen children, from left, James, The van Deursen family and friends during Annabelle's Amazing Graces' Annabelle and Matthew. On page 8 are the children with their parents Daniel and Shelley. virtual version its annual benefit last year.

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Talk -of-th e-To wn

Brooke Billedo lands her first starring role


ort Bend’s Brook Billedo isn’t an actress to be pigeonholed into a particular character — she’s too enticed by opportunities to explore a range of personalities. So while her role in the short horror film “Melanie,” may have raised eyebrows, this was an opportunity Billedo couldn’t pass. Her mother Pam, however, was hesitant. “Brooke was always very strong comedically, and mostly auditioned for those types of roles. So this was a big departure for her,” Pam said of the “Melanie” audition presented to her daughter in 2018.“I didn’t think she’d be interested, but she read the script and thought it was really cool. I was both surprised and impressed with her ability to embody such a different character.” Billedo plays the title role in “Melanie,” a film about a disturbed little girl with dark thoughts about life and people.The short screenplay upon which “Melanie” is based, was written by Cody Young, originally titled “Goodnight, Scarecrow.” While thrilled to be cast as Melanie, Billedo admits “it was kind of hard to get into character.” “I had to think the complete opposite of everything I normally do,” she said.“I had to focus on evil things to stay in character.” Still, Billedo nailed the personification of her role. Writer, producer and director, Howard McCain, known for movies such as “Underworld” and “Outlander,” said he was impressed with Brooke’s range and ability to understand the character. “Billedo’s instinctual interpretation of the character was wonderful,” McCain said.“She was able to take the idea of this disturbed, lonely little girl, who was not so likable on the page, and make her both relatable and empathetic, even as she is slowly becoming a monster.” “The audience is both worried for her and afraid of her. It is a terrifically uncomfortable emotional state and it keeps your eyes glued to her. “That’s all Brooke. She created that.” “I first read [Cody Young’s] story when I was a judge for a short screenplay competition, where his screenplay easily won




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first prize. His original story had this wonderful, dark fairy tale feel to it and at its center was this unexpected story about two lonely characters who find each other, who also just happen to be monsters,” McCain continued.“I bought the rights to his screenplay and together, Cody and I began the process of rewriting and expanding the story together. Many drafts later the screenplay tripled in length and changed its title to ‘Melanie,’ which, since it is really is her story anyway, is a more appropriate title.” FROM AN OWL TO A MONSTER Billedo, a Reading Junior High 8th grader, started acting as a kindergartner in local theatre camps. Her favorite role at that time was Owl in “Winnie the Pooh.” It didn’t take long for her family to realize acting could be Billedo’s niche and signed her with a local agency. Not long after Billedo entered into an online competition where she accelerated to the top in three months. Her success in the competition, as it turned out, attracted the attention of a manager in Los Angeles. Billedo, 11 years old then, signed with the LA Film agency in July 2018 and began auditioning, primarily for TV shows. Three months later, she landed “Melanie.” The film was complete in mid-2020, however, because of COVID19, McCain and his team originally decided to delay submitting the film to the major festivals until 2021, “hoping the world will have returned to somewhat normal by then.” McCain’s last short film,“A Boys Life,”saw success at the Tribeca Film Festival, Montreal Film Festival, and won best short at the Leeds Film Festival. “We are hoping to have a repeat performance with ‘Melanie,’” he said, further explaining why they decided to delay the film’s introduction until the 2022 festival circuit. “I deeply, passionately, love these kinds of movies, but too often genre tropes and forms become lazy excuses for avoiding any attempt at real feelings, no matter how uncomfortable those feelings may be,” McCain said. “But genre can be more than that. “It can ask difficult questions and touch upon avoided truths. Rarely do these kinds of films seriously ask

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what the world in these types of films might really feel like to a child, how do they see it and experience it. That is what I think ‘Melanie’ tries to do.” “The film is very suspenseful and I don’t think anyone will be able to guess the ending,” Billedo said. A REWARDING EXPERIENCE For Billedo’s part, her first experience as a lead in a film was exciting and rewarding. “When I arrived on set the first day, there was a little trailer for me with my name on it, and I was immediately super excited,” she said. “Shooting the scenes is the best part for sure. I got to act with Julian Richings (from CW’s Supernatural’) and he was amazing. He was so kind and nice to me. He really made me feel comfortable on set.” An otherwise typical suburban teen, Billedo plays piano, swims competitively, and loves to read. She loves her Goldendoodle named Leo,“who I like to call Nugget because that’s what I wanted to name him,” she said. Though she loves attending school in-person at Reading, she also enjoyed her on-set experience. “There is a teacher on the set to help you with school work, so it is not hard to balance.They make a good schedule so that you have a couple hours of shoot time, then school time, then break, and of course lunch,” she said.“The set teacher also watches you while you are filming. They are supposed to watch out for your safety. They balance it all really well.” Billedo also expressed gratitude for those surrounding her. “I am really blessed to be able to do this because I have the support of my mom, dad, sister, grandparents, agent, manager, and acting coaches,” Billedo said.“My faith brought me on this journey and I will continue to follow it until it leads me somewhere else.”

For now, Billedo plans to “just keep auditioning.” “Getting the role is like winning the lottery, so you have to love auditioning,” she said.“I have an amazing agent and manager that get me the best auditions. It is so fun and I’m so grateful.” Follow Brooke Billedo on Instagram (@brookebilledo). Alisha McMillen contributed to this story.

Houston Humane Society partners with Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department by AVERIL GLEASON | agleason@fbherald.com


hen Fort Bend County Sheriff Eric Fagan was running for office, he expressed a clear vision for the future of animals in the area. So partnering with the Houston Humane Society to hand out free pet food to county residents was a no-brainer. One Saturday morning in early March, dozens of cars lined up outside of Gus George Law Enforcement Academy to receive pet food, toys and treats. “We’re working with sheriffs, DA’s and constables across the area to give out free pet food for pet owners in need all over the region,” Katie Fine with the Houston Humane Society explained. “Before the pandemic, we learned people’s pets are going hungry.We realized that there was a need for pet food banks.And then when the pandemic hit, and more recently, the freeze, the need was extremely high.” Fine explained that by giving away free pet food, it relieves the burden of extra spending on households. Set up outside the law enforcement academy was more than 6,000



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• 11

pounds of food. According to Fine, people started lining up over an hour before the event began at 10 a.m. “This was mutually beneficial,” Fagan said.“My kids, when they were small, volunteered at the humane society. When I became sheriff, I reached out and they were nice enough to collaborate with us.” Fagan said when he was running for office, he realized there was a need for pet safety. Just months after winning the election in November, Fagan appointed Jordan Kelley as animal cruelty investigator, the first of its kind. “The great thing is the humane society is offering this to anyone in need,”Fagan continued.“They’re working with law enforcement handin-hand to help the people of Fort Bend County.” The Houston Humane Society is dedicated to ending cruelty, abuse and the overpopulation of animals while providing the highest quality of life to those in our care. For more information, call 713-433-6421.

The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department partnered with the Houston Humane Society over the March 6 weekend, when 6,000 pounds of pet food were given to families across Fort Bend. Pictured is Animal Cruelty Investigator Jordan Kelley, Sheriff Eric Fagan and Houston Humane Society Executive Director Gary Poon.

Department for more than 20 years to provide students and staff with a safe learning environment through the School Resource Officer program. On Feb. 22, the contract with the Rosenberg Police Department ended. Rosenberg city council voted not to renew the contract with LCISD back in January of 2020. “Serving the Lamar CISD community through our School Resource Officer program has been an honor for the Rosenberg Police Department and the City of Rosenberg,” said Rosenberg Police Chief Jonathan White.“Through this partnership, relationships have been established to ensure the safety and security of all stakeholders of Lamar CISD and the City of Rosenberg alike. “We look forward to continuing this relationship with the newly created Lamar CISD Police Department as we continue to serve alongside them.” The LCISD Police Department is led by Chief Dallis Warren and currently consists of the district’s safety coordinator, 24 school security officers and 18 police officers. Warren had served as chief of Rosenberg PD before accepting the position at LCISD. The LCISD PD will align with district policies and procedures, while providing the same level of safety and security at all campuses and facilities. “The creation of the Lamar CISD Police Department is a sign of growth for the District and we will continue to develop meaningful relationships with our students, staff and community,” said Chief Warren.

34th Annual Spaghetti Dinner goes virtual

Lamar CISD PD on display


amar Consolidated ISD police were on full display in March when officers showed off the department’s vehicles, uniforms, badges and arm patches. The school district’s police department become operational on Feb. 22, almost one year after trustees voted to form their own police force. Over the past year, LCISD has been working with the Rosenberg Police Department to transition and prepare to serve the Lamar CISD community as the district’s first police department. LCISD has worked collaboratively with the Rosenberg Police

PHOTO BY SCOTT REESE WILLEY | Lamar Consolidated ISD PD shows off its new vehicles, uniforms, badges and patches. From left are Daryl Segura, Jerry Price and Tony Aguilar.

12 • West Fort Bend Living


he Exchange Club of Sugar Land’s 34th Annual Spaghetti Dinner, the club’s primary annual fundraising event, will be held virtually on April 17at 6 p.m. The club typically hosts this event in-person, however due to COVID-19 and associated challenges, the club chose to hold the event virtually this year. “It’s amazing how wonderful the community support has been for this event, and this year’s fundraiser is more critical than ever,” said President Paul Barnett. Raffle tickets and sponsorships can be bought by texting NOODLE TO 71777 and filling out the donor form, or by connecting online at

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app.mobilecause.com/vf/Noodle. The Live Event link is www. facebook.com/sugarlandmorningexchange.The Silent Auction link is www.32auctions.com/Spaghetti2021. The auction opened April 1. Previous events included local law enforcement agencies and fire departments preparing a variety of spaghetti sauces and competing to win the cook-off trophy. This family-oriented dinner will feature great raffle prizes, a live auction, a silent auction, and a children’s area with fun and games. The funds raised allow The Exchange Club of Sugar Land to continue supporting local non-profits including Child Advocates of Fort Bend, Fort Bend County Women’s Center, Texana Children’s Center for Autism, Fort Bend Council on Substance Abuse, Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels, Crime Stoppers,YMCA, Literacy Council of Fort Bend, and many others. These funds also support our community service projects: • Santa’s Exchange distributes over 10,000 toys annually to underprivileged children. • Back to School Bash provides backpacks, school supplies, and new shoes for kids needing a head start before the new school year. • Give a Kid a Flag to Wave distributes over 30,000 American flags along the Fort Bend County Fair and Houston Rodeo parade. • Service to Seniors provides a monthly party for Fort Bend Seniors as well as health and entertainment events. • Youth of the Month recognizes FBISD students for outstanding academic achievement and good citizenship. • One Nation Under God breakfast honors our veterans and active military members. For more information visit www.ECSL.org or email President Paul Barnett at president@ecsl.org.

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14 • West Fort Bend Living

Fort Bend Women’s Center hots Denim Day Challenge to recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month


ith the need for emergency intervention and support services steadily increasing, Fort Bend Women’s Center serves more than 1,000 domestic violence and sexual assault survivors every year. In 2019, 185 Texans were killed by intimate partners, 42 of these victims resided in Harris, Fort Bend, and surrounding counties. This April, Fort Bend Women’s Center is holding a Denim Day Challenge in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month to honor Survivors and to raise awareness and support for much needed programs to help sexual assault survivors recover from the violence. Fort Bend Women’s Center offers numerous programs for survivors including: emergency shelter, case management, counseling, children’s programs, court advocacy — each with the goal of helping each victim achieve healing and self-sufficiency, free of violence and fear. Denim Day was derived from a sexual assault court case in 1992, Rome, Italy when a 19-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by a driving instructor during her very first driving lesson. The young girl reported the incident, and he was convicted of rape and sentenced to jail. But soon after, the driving instructor appealed his sentence, claiming that the sex was consensual. The man was released, and the conviction was overturned by the Italian High Court because the victim was said to be wearing “very tight jeans,” so she had to help remove them, and by removing the jeans it was consensual sex, no longer rape. This became known as the “jeans alibi.” The women in the Italian Parliament launched a protest wearing jeans on the steps of the Supreme Court, gaining international attention and starting the movement we now know as “Denim Day,” where supporters all over the world wear denim to support sexual assault survivors. The Denim Day Challenge is a way for everyone to Stand with Fort Bend Women’s Center in support of victims’ rights. “This year’s Denim Day Challenge is a unique event for us. While Denim Day is always a special day for us during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, this year we thought we would ask our supporters to stand with us and participate by donating directly to survivors, having fun with it by donating a decorated pair of jeans, or volunteer their time to help with our services,” said Fort Bend Women’s Center CEO Vita Goodell.“We are so grateful for the incredible support we receive for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault helping fill the critical need to bring life-saving services to more victims.” The Fort Bend Women’s Center is encouraging the community to join the effort through monetary donations to the center at fbwc.org, or by donating denim to any PennyWise Resale Store. Decorate a pair of jeans in support of survivors of sexual assault, drop off at a local FBWC PennyWise Resale Store, where participants will be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift card to a local business of their choice in Fort Bend County. Decorated denim will be sold to bring awareness and raise funds for survivor services. The center added that people can also advocate for survivors by volunteering time. Visit www.fbwc.org to find the right opportunity, or advocate by following @ftbendwomensctr on social media and sharing posts to spread awareness. Fort Bend Women’s Center has a 24-Hour Crisis Hotline for those in need of assistance. 281-342-HELP (4357).

TALK OF THE TOWN Continued on page 26



MELODIA by Arredo











A Ente rt & rtainm e nt

Celebrate National Poetry Month with poetry-performance artist Deborah D.E.E.P Mouton


n recognition of National Poetry Month in April, Fort Bend County Libraries will present a special online “Author Spotlight” event, featuring internationally recognized poetry-performance artist Deborah D.E.E.P Mouton, on Saturday, April 10, beginning at 2 pm. This event will be live-streamed via Webex; it will not be in person. Hear about Mouton’s journey to having her works published, challenges she has faced along the way, and the inspiration behind her passion for writing and performing. Viewers will have an opportunity to submit questions and ask about her work and her experiences. An internationally-known writer, educator, activist, and performer, Mouton is a Poet Laureate Emeritus of Houston. Formerly ranked the #2 best female performance poet in the

world, Mouton has established herself as a notable force in the performance- and slam-poetry world. Her work has appeared in Houston Noir,The BreakBeat Poets Black Girl Magic, the Texas Observer, and Fjords Journal, and on platforms such as NPR, BBC,ABC,Apple News, Blavity, Upworthy, and across the TedX circuit. This event was previously scheduled in February, but was postponed because of the winter storm. This online event is free and open to the public. Reservations are required; a link to the Webex sessions will be emailed to all who register.To register online at the library’s website (www.fortbend.lib. tx.us), click on “Classes & Events,” select “Virtual Programs,” and find the program on the scheduled date. For more information, call FBCL’s Communications Office at 281633-4734.

Children’s music class in the park


n Thursday, April 22 from 10 - 10:45 p.m. the Vivaldi Music Academy is encouraging families with children (1-5 years old) to join them in the Sugar Land Town Square Plaza for a free, fun morning full of singing and dancing in designated areas of the plaza arranged by lawn rugs. The instructor will be guide families through a fun variety of early childhood activities. No instruments will be used at this time to help prevent the spread of germs.Adult attendees will be required to wear a mask at all times during the event.

Greatwood Veterinary Hospital At Greatwood Veterinary Hospital, we are dedicated to providing excellent and compassionate care for your furry, family friends. We offer full veterinary services in our new, spacious 6,500 square foot facility. Our experienced and caring veterinarians and staff strive to provide the best quality care available for your pets, with an emphasis on client education and an understanding of your pet’s specific needs. We would like to be partners with you in ensuring your pet’s good health and well-being. In addition to full medical, surgical, and dental veterinary care, we also offer boarding, grooming, and cremation services. Greatwood Veterinary Hospital has been providing affordable and quality veterinary care to the Fort Bend area for over 15 years. It is our hope that we can meet all your animal’s health care needs with our warm, friendly, and knowledgeable services. To make an appointment for your pet or for more information, please call us at (281) 342-7770 or visit us at 401 Crabb River Road in Richmond.

16 • West Fort Bend Living

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CALL FOR ARTISTS: 8th Annual Texas Juried Exhibition


rtspace111 announced a n o p e n c a l l fo r submissions for the 8th annual Artspace111 Texas Juried Exhibition, juried by Caleb Bell, the curator at the Tyler Museum of Art. The competition includes eligibility for 2D and 3D artwork. The exhibition will be open from July 10 through Aug. 28 with an opening reception on July 17. The due date for entries is Monday, May 24. Contemporary 2D and 3D works that follow the requirements detailed in the prospectus are eligible for acceptance.Artwork selected by the juror from the eligible submissions will be included in the Texas Juried Exhibition at Artspace111 and are eligible for cash awards.A total of $5,000 will be awarded, and the “Best In Show” prize will include a cash award of $2,000 and the opportunity to exhibit at Artspace111 in a separate solo or group exhibition in 2021-2022. All entrants will have the option to be included in the Texas Now Online Showcase 2021 following the 8th Texas Juried Exhibition.After a successful pilot program,Artspace111 will include all entrants to the juried exhibition in an online showcase where the artwork can be collected online by Texas art collectors. For more information visit artspace111.com.

WANTED: Entries for live-streamed ‘Dare to Hope’ poetry slam


ort Bend County Libraries is hosting an online Poetry Slam Competition for teens and young adults. The theme for the competition is “Dare to Hope.” Entries may be submitted online April 5 through May 3.The live-streamed performancepoetry competition will take place on Saturday, May 8 at 2 pm. Students who are 14 to 20 years of age are invited to compete for prizes in this performancepoetry event by reading original works they have created themselves. To participate in the competition, contestants should complete an online entry form on FBCL’s website (www.fortbend.lib.tx.us) and upload copies of three original poems they wish to read for the competition. One poem will be read for each round to which the participant advances. There will be two qualifying rounds and one final round. A panel of five judges will determine which competitors advance to the second round and the final round.The order of performances will be randomly chosen on May 8 at the start of the event.

18 • West Fort Bend Living

Judging will be based on language, idea, theme, tone, mood, vocal strength, emotion, body/facial movement, and fluency. Each poem must be limited to no longer than 3 minutes and 10 seconds in length. Poets may read from a copy of their poem, but they may not use props, costumes, or musical instruments. Poems must be family-friendly and may not include any profanity or sexually explicit content. Poems containing incendiary, offensive, discriminatory, or inflammatory language will be disqualified. Participants who submit poems online during the entry period will be sent a link for the Webex session for the competition. Submissions will not be accepted after 5:00 pm on May 3. Prizes will be awarded to the top three competitors. Sponsored by the Friends of the George Memorial Library, the Poetry Slam is free and open to the public. For more information, call 281-633-4734.

Local libraries offer free online programs for children


ecause of the COVID-19 social-distancing recommendations, Fort Bend County Libraries is continuing to offer children’s programming virtually, so families can participate from the comfort and safety of home Videos of Mother Goose Time, Toddler Time, Preschool Story Time, After-School Breaks, and Middle School Programs will be posted on the online Virtual calendar on FBCL’s website each week. Several special online Family Programs, for children of all ages, will also be featured in April. Age-appropriate stories, songs, and puppet shows are featured in the Mother Goose Time,Toddler Time, and Preschool Story Time videos.The schedule is as follows: Tuesdays: Mother Goose Time (infants 1-12 months of age) Wednesdays: Toddler Time (1-3 years of age) Thursdays: Preschool Story Time (3-6 years of age) Families of toddlers and preschoolers may pick up to-go activity packets from the library for the month. These packets contain fun craft activities that can be done at home. Call the libraries to request to pick up the packets through the Curbside Pick-Up service. The After-School Breaks – which take place on the second and fourth Mondays – include crafts, stories, and more for school-aged children in grades K through 5.The schedule for April is as follows: April 12: Rainbow Fizzy Bath Bombs. Make your own DIY fizzy bath bombs. April 26: Coffee-Filter Flowers. Try this easy experiment using coffee filters and water to see if markers have any hidden colors in them! Then discover how to turn those colorful coffee filters into DIY flowers for Mother’s Day! The Middle School Programs – which take place on the first and third Mondays -- include activities specially designed for kids in grades 6 through 8.The schedule for April is as follows: April 5: Make Your Own Fan! April 19: Drawing Class: Bat Girl. SPECIAL FAMILY VIRTUAL EVENTS April 3: “Sleeping Beauty” Marionette Performance (prerecorded video) Master puppeteer Jean Kuecher, producer of Marionette Playhouse, will entertain with her beautifully handcrafted marionettes on an elaborate stage, with music and lighting. In this puppet show, the Good Fairy helps the Handsome Prince battle the Wicked Witch’s dragon, but then the prince can’t remember

Dr. Kyle D. McCrea and Dr. Victoria Vo

how to awaken the Princess Sleeping Beauty! After the performance, learn some of the backstage secrets and special effects. Recommended for families with children of all ages, this virtual performance is presented in conjunction with Young Audiences of Houston. April 10:“Give Me a Reaction – Science Experiments” (prerecorded video) Your Home for Dentistry In three STEAM experiments, discover the best way to clean old pennies, how to make foamy playdough, and why Ivory soap floats. Dr. McCrea has been creating healthy, beautiful smiles in This program is recommended for families with children of all ages. Richmond/Rosenberg since 1994. Dr. McCrea and Dr. Vo are April 17:“Will Parker’s (pre-recorded video) both graduates of and currentChildren’s Professors atConcert” the Herman Hospital based General Practice Residency Program for UTDS Houston. Their goal is to work with each patient to produce the best possible outcome based on that patient’s individual needs and desires.

Recommended for families with children of a l l a ge s , t h i s v i r t u a l perfor mance is made possible by the Friends of Fi r s t C o l o ny B r a n ch Library. April 17:“Everybody is Smart! Music Performance by JAWAD” (pre-recorded video). This perfor mance inspires young learners to fe e l e m p owe re d a n d embrace expression through music, art, singing, and character creation. Recommended for families with children of all ages, this virtual performance is presented in conjunction with Young Audiences of Houston. April 24 :“Preschool Story Lab: Vehicles” (pre-recorded video) The Preschool Story Lab is a creative storytime event that encourages children to discover and explore concepts in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM). FBCL’s children’s librarians will read books, sing songs, and demonstrate a variety of STEAM activities that can be done with simple supplies found around the home. For more information visit www.fortbend.lib.tx.us or call 281-6334734.

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• 19

Bu siness Buz z

Rosenberg Carpet & Flooring Embodies The Golden Rule by MARQUITA GRIFFIN | mgriffin@fbherald.com


osenberg Carpet & Flooring will continue to stand the test of time if the past six-plus decades are any indication. 1958 was the year when Tony and Hope Lopez planted their eyes firmly on their future and stepped toward their family’s legacy. The family-owned and operated business has withstood significant tests and trials, the most recent being the current COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the hardships, Tony and Hope’s son, Michael, who is running the family business, projects a message of hope, not of fear or bitterness. No matter the harsh blows, Rosenberg Carpet & Flooring will continue its commitment to the community, Lopez stressed. Rosenberg Carpet & Flooring has long provided sales and installation of carpet, sheet vinyl, laminate countertops (Formica), wood flooring, wallpaper, and draperies, but this year, it expanded its services and products, adding shower, bath, and kitchen remodeling services to its repertoire.


“We do more than floors,” Lopez said. “We do all types of countertops, backsplashes, shower, and bath remodels as well as interior reconfiguration. Our vision is to become a one-stop-shop. A new decade has begun with the third generation of our family. Our son and his wife, Joshua and Ruby Lopez, with the help of Amador Olvera, Chris Frazier, Lorne Darlin, Francisco Gomez, and some of the best installers in the business are here to work for our clients. “It seems like a fresh new start,” Lopez continued.“This young generation has so much knowledge, so many ideas, and compassion to share all that they have. Everyone has to start somewhere or re-start somewhere. We believe with our experiences and dedication to serving, that we are going to see our customers more than satisfied.” In this exclusive interview, Lopez discusses the history of his family’s company, and just what inspired the company slogan and business philosophy.

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Marquita Griffin: What motivated your parents, Tony and Hope, to open the business? Michael Lopez: My father Tony Lopez began as a floor covering installer. A sales manager he worked under always had him calculate customer’s floor plans for him. My father thought to himself: ‘I know this business from installation to configuring all projects.’ Looking ahead to the future, and for the sake of his family, they became his motivation. With my faithful mother Hope, they set out to begin their dream.

family-owned business? ML: Being a family-owned business, we believe in “family.” Customers come in all the time and say we are unique, and we believe that because we treat them like family. Yes, we are a business, but I have watched my father and mother, including Gary, treat everyone like a neighbor.As a matter of fact, our slogan was: “We carpeted your neighbor’s home!” It seemed like everyone that walked into our store said those words, so my father made it our slogan.

MG: Has the business always been located at 1006 1st St. in Rosenberg? ML: Our business started out of our home.We then moved into a location near the then-Texas Grill Restaurant. In 1975, we moved to our current location at 1006 1st St.

MG: What would you say is Rosenberg Carpet & Flooring’s business philosophy? ML: Our business philosophy is to go the extra mile or “the extra half mile.” I remember my father telling a story years ago. He was installing carpet at a hotel in Pampa, Texas. In those days carpet runners for stairways were made of wool and were 27 inches wide. The hotel owner liked the color and pattern so much that he wanted the whole lobby floor carpeted with it. In those days carpet seams were hand-sewn. My father would say:“If you forgot your thimble, you might as well go home.” After the completion of the lobby, my father calculated that he had sown a half-mile. By the way, he still has that thimble!

MG: What is Gary Tavener’s involvement with Rosenberg Carpet & Flooring? ML: Gary Tavener joined our family almost 50 years ago. He was studying to be a schoolteacher at the time. My father offered him a share of the family business. Gary bought in and became an owner/partner. He has been a most faithful and honorable man. If there is anyone in my life that I would say I could trust, he would be at the top of the list, next to my father. MG: Why would you say a potential client would immediately know Rosenberg Carpet & Flooring is a

ars Over 37 ye s in Busines

MG: How has Rosenberg Carpet & Flooring withstood the test of changing or challenging times? ML: Since 1958, our business has withstood many tests and trials. We have been through six decades of every kind of test.The most

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recent ones are Hurricane Harvey and the COVID-19 pandemic. I believe in my parents’ commitment to righteous principles of hard work, honesty, and integrity. Doing everything it takes to make sure that our customers receive all that they’re expecting and more. It is in these times of testing that peoples’ hearts are revealed.We will always remember our foundation which is to do unto others as you would have it be done to you. That’s our Golden Rule. MG: How has Rosenberg Carpet & Flooring fared during this pandemic? ML: We were thankful for many reasons. The pandemic made us realize there were situations and people we have taken for granted. I don’t believe hardly anyone had a clue on how to prepare or handle the pandemic. I would have to say with God’s help, we have fared well. MG: You’ve touched repeatedly on your passion for the community in previous conversations. Why is community important to Rosenberg Carpet and Flooring? ML: We have served our community for 62 years because our community is especially important to us. We were raised here. We raised our children here and now our grandchildren. Our vision is to work with our community and make a positive impact. A community that cares thrives. If the community thrives, it is because of caring people. We serve because we care. We believe in supporting our community by shopping local, allowing schools, churches, and other organizations access to our parking lot for fundraisers such as barbecues, car washes, etc. Since recent hardships, we are focusing on ways to help our community even more.

MG: Speaking of community, tell me about this mural on the side of your building. ML: The Rosenberg Mural on our building was not planned by any means. A young man that I met years ago, Dagoe Marse, came to us with his idea of a mural welcoming people to our city. I showed everyone in the store his idea, and in less the one minute, everyone agreed. I think the mural is monumental and may even become iconic. We hope that visitors and locals will feel the warmth of our beloved city through the mural. Feel free to come by and take selfies with the mural. MG: Lastly, what can clients expect from Rosenberg Carpet & Flooring? ML: Customers can be assured that in serving our clients, we care about your family. We know how important, especially in these times, it is to provide appointments, service, and quality products to accommodate everyone. Our commitment will always be to make sure that all our customers feel safe and secure knowing that we honor their trust. We take our business seriously and have the highest respect for all.

For more information on promotions or sales being offered by Rosenberg Carpet & Flooring visit rosenbergcarpet.com •

22 • West Fort Bend Living


PHOTO BY SCOTT REESE WILLEY | Members of the Central Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Rosenberg Carpet & Flooring in January. The company expanded this year to include more services and more products. Owners, employees and chamber members pose in front of a giant “Greetings from Rosenberg” mural painted on the side of the business.

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• 23

Fort On Ben the dS cene


Through a community food distribution sponsored by Catholic Charities in conjunction with the Houston Food Bank, volunteers of the Mamie George Community Center in Richmond demonstrate what it means to care for one’s community. Photos by SCOTT REESE WILLEY











Elizabeth Belton grabs bottles of orange juice and some Jolly Ranchers candy to load into the trunk of a waiting vehicle at the Mamie George Community Center in Richmond. She is a member of the Order of Malta, whose volunteers show up on the last Saturday of each month to help out with the food distribution. The Mamie George Community Center in North Richmond, along with its community partners, including the Houston Food Bank, hosts its monthly food giveaway on the last Saturday of the month. Gladys Brumfield, executive director of Catholic Charities operations in Fort Bend County, meets up with friend Deborah Jones,


10 24 • West Fort Bend Living


who is in line to pick up some free food and drinks at the Mamie George Community Center. Brumfield and Jones have become close friends over the years. David Preng in red shirt and Mike Kerley in gray load boxes of bottled water in a waiting vehicle. They are also members of the Order of Malta. Phil Tureau, a member of the Order of Malta, loads a box of bottled water into a waiting vehicle at the Mamie George Community Center. Catholic Charities, which overseas the community center, sponsors the monthly food distribution on the last Saturday of each month, and on Tuesday and Thursday mornings as well. Sharon Lilly holds a bag of frozen chicken as she waits for the next

4 5 6

vehicle to pull up. She’s a member of the Order of Malta. Caren Steffes, a member of the Order of Malta, shows off a bag of canned and dry food stuffs being handed out at the Mamie George Convention Center. Kathleen Schoeffield, a member of the Order of Malta, loads bottles of orange juice. Volunteers from the Order of Malta help direct traffic flow in the drivethru line. They also helped handout food and beverages to about 1,000 families. Joleana Martinez of Richmond fills her bike basket with food stuffs and drinks.

7 8 9


Bags and boxes containing canned food and dry food were handed out. The bags contained noodles, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, Vienna sausages, vegetables, diced fruit, flour, sugar, corn meal,and more. The boxes held fresh produce and frozen chicken, which were also distributed to community residents.




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• 25

TALK OF THE TOWN Continued from page 14



How to treat our landscaping after the Big Freeze by CHRIS TAYLOR | Fort Bend County Master Gardener


ebruary’s Arctic blast was one for the books! All of us were cold – both in our homes and outside. We are now in recovery mode and working hard to fix any freeze-related home damage. Included in that damage assessment is the damage dealt to our landscaping. In many ways, our landscaping suffered from very low temperatures and even lower wind-chill temperatures. Our first thoughts may be to start pruning back the dead foliage on our plants and trees. But we should wait before starting to prune our shrubs and plants! I know that in my yard, the damaged plants and shrubs look bad. For example, the shrubs here in southeast Texas are usually able to handle the normal cold temperatures that we get each year and don’t show much stress. However, in most of the shrubs that I have seen, the leaves are brown and looked like they are “wind-burned”. In fact, they are wind-burned from the strong north wind that we received. BELOW are three photos from my landscaping. As you can see in all three (sadly there are more) suffered. Since the Bird of Paradise is a tropical plant, it is not surprising that it received damage. However, the boxwoods are very hardy and rarely show stress. As you can see in the photo, the yellowed leaves on the boxwood show the extent of the damage. The orange tree has sustained damage as well as indicated by the drooping, brown leaves. Why wait to prune? We need to wait before we start to prune back any dead foliage. There is a short write-up on the Fort Bend Master Gardeners website (www.fbmg.org) with this advice. As well, the website has further information as well as a link on how to correctly prune once that time comes. Larry Stein, Texas A&M Horticulturist, has a short video on the Aggie Horticulture Facebook page entitled, “What’s Growing on with Freeze Damage” (www.facebook.com/AggieHorticulture-26803072143). He recommends that we all wait at least two weeks before deciding where to start our pruning. We want to wait and see if the plants start to put out new leaves. If so, they are coming back and you probably do not want

26 • West Fort Bend Living

to prune that particular branch. As Larry recommends, “hurry up and wait, and, learn to love ugly” — at least for a while. Uncover your plants For the plants and trees that you had covered or wrapped during the freeze, remember to uncover them. They need exposure to sunlight. They may have foliage or limbs that droop after having been covered. Mostly what they need right now is some time to rebound from the shock of the cold weather. Sprinkler/Irrigation System Given that many of us have broken water pipes in our homes, it is very possible that we also have broken pipes outside. One area to check is the sprinkler/irrigation system that you use to water your yard. Areas that can break are the pipes above the ground that surround the backflow valve. You probably have these pipes wrapped, but you may want to consider unwrapping them and checking for any leaks. Also, repairs done on the main water lines to our homes may have brought debris in the water that may clog the sprinkler heads or valves. It is recommendable to hire a local licensed irrigator to evaluate your system before turning it back on for spring. Finally, the cold weather did bring snow and ice with it. This is beneficial for the roots of our plants and shrubs and did provide some support. But don’t forget to continue to check your plants for moisture as they try to recover. Wishing you warmer temperatures – and electricity! 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.

Learn about sustainable landscaping & soil preparation


ort Bend County Libraries will present an online program,“Gardening Success Begins with the Soil,” on Tuesday, April 20, from 2 to 3:30 pm. Part 1 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. James (Boone) Holladay, County Extension Agent with the Texas AgriLife Extension Office in Fort Bend County, will talk about how to create and install a sustainable Earth-Kind® landscape by starting with proper soil preparation. Hear about different research-based water-saving technologies, irrigation systems, and turf-management techniques to maintain attractive, dense lawns and landscapes without wasting water. Holladay will also talk about landscape diseases and pests, and ways to manage them while reducing fertilizer and pesticides. Gardeners of all experience levels who are interested in learning more about sustainable landscaping are welcome to attend. Holladay received his undergraduate degree in Horticulture from Stephen F. Austin State University and his graduate degree in Agricultural Education from Texas A&M University. He helped to develop an urban youth horticulture program in Houston, and has also worked at Moody Gardens in Galveston. The program is free and open to the public. Registration is required for the program so that a link to the Webex session can be emailed to all who register.To register online at the library’s website (www.fortbend.lib.tx. us). Participants may also register by calling Fort Bend County Libraries’ Communications Office at 281-633-4734.

To advertise, call 281-342-4474

• 27

He alth

AUTISM AWARENESS Myths and misconceptions about autism spectrum disorder

Autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, is a class of neurological conditions present from early childhood and is often characterized by difficulty communicating, using language and understanding abstract concepts. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that an estimated one out of 42 boys and one in 189 girls are diagnosed with ASD in the United States.The CDC uses health and school records for children who are part of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network to arrive at these statistics. ASD is now diagnosed in roughly one out of every 68 children in Canada, and has become the fastest growing and most commonly diagnosed neurological disorder in that country. Even though ASD is widely recognized, s t u d i e d a n d d i s c u s s e d , my t h s a n d misconceptions about the disorder continue to circulate. Shedding light on ASD can help caregivers, peers and anyone who routinely interacts with individuals who fall on the spectrum. ASD is multifaceted Although “autism” and “ASD” are often used interchangeably, these names do not define one specific disorder. The American Psychiatric Association merged four previously distinct diagnoses together to form the umbrella term of ASD in 2013, which was revised in the fifth edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” However, it’s important to note that an ASD diagnosis is ever-f luid and medical professionals continue to conduct extensive research that may modify earlier definitions of the disorder or render previous classifications outdated. Generally speaking, ASD is often perceived through communication deficits that can include misinterpreted or nonverbal interactions. Individuals also may have challenges in bonding/fr iendship development. People with ASD can understand and express emotion Although communication troubles may be present, people with ASD can and do feel emotions. But they may not be able to express these emotions as easily or as clearly as others can. Also, just because someone has ASD doesn’t mean he or she is unable to understand the emotions of others. But the person may need firm and direct indications of how another person is feeling to understand. Reading body language or tone of voice alone may be inadequate to someone with ASD. School-aged children can learn from this, recognizing that someone with ASD may want to have friends and socialize, but he or she may not know how to facilitate these engagements. ASD does not produce carbon-copy symptoms Characteristics of ASD can vary widely from person to person. One person’s limitations or abilities may not be present in

28 • West Fort Bend Living

another. ASD is not just a children’s disease There is no cure for ASD, and symptoms may not be reversible, which means that ASD is a lifelong condition. Children who are diagnosed will grow into young people and adults with ASD. Many treatments and therapies are geared toward early intervention, but adults can benefit from continued work as well. Adults with ASD can lead successful, independent lives. Autism spectrum disorder is more prevalent than ever. However, despite the recognition of ASD, many people do not understand the nuances involved with a diagnosis.

Recognizing the symptoms of autism

Autism is a complex bio-neurological developmental disability that is complicated even further by the various ways people exhibit its symptoms. No two children with autism behave in the same way, so symptoms that are identifiable in one youngster will not necessarily be present in another. Learning the various ways that autism can manifest itself can be a good first step toward understanding the condition. The National Autism Association notes that autism is a spectrum disorder, which means it can range from very mild to very severe cases. But the organization Autism Speaks notes that many people with autism have sensory issues that typically involve over- or under-sensitivities to sounds, lights, touch, tastes, smells, pain, and other stimuli. Autism Speaks also indicates that people with autism may exper ience social communication challenges and exhibit restricted and repetitive behaviors. Social communication challenges Difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication affects both children and adults with autism. Treatment, especially when it begins in early childhood, can help people with autism overcome some of these difficulties, which include: • understanding spoken language • using spoken language appropriately • understanding or appropriately using gestures • making eye contact • understanding or appropriately using facial expressions • understanding or appropriately using tone of voice People with autism also may not understand that certain expressions are not meant to be taken literally. Autism Speaks also notes that additional social challenges may indicate the presence of autism. Such challenges can include difficulty with: • recognizing emotions and intentions in others • recognizing one’s own emotions • expressing emotions • seeking emotional comfort from others • feeling overwhelmed in social situations

touching objects in a set order • narrow or extreme interests in specific topics • a need for unvarying routine and a resistance to change. For example, someone with autism may need the same daily schedule and may need to eat the same meal menu and wear the clothes each day. Autism is a complicated disorder that is often recognizable in young children by the time they reach their third birthdays. Parents who suspect their child might have autism can discuss their concerns with their child’s pediatricians.

Get involved with autism awareness efforts

• taking turns in conversation • gauging personal space Restricted and repetitive behaviors Behaviors associated with autism vary greatly across the spectrum. Someone with mild autism may not exhibit any such behaviors, while they may be instantly recognizable in others elsewhere on the spectrum. Autism Speaks notes that these behaviors may include: • repetitive body movements, such as rocking, flapping, spinning, or running back and forth • repetitive motions with objects, such as spinning wheels, shaking sticks and flipping levers • staring at lights or spinning objects • ritualistic behavior, such as lining up objects or repeatedly

Autism spectrum disorder has the potential to touch just about anyone.The World Health Organization estimates that one in 160 children across the globe has ASD, while some well-controlled studies have reported that figures are substantially higher than that. ASD affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups, meaning just about any family can be affected. In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its biennial update of autism’s estimated prevalence among the nation’s children.The update was based on analysis of medical records, and where available, educational records of eight-year-old children from 11 monitorin sites across the United States. In a two-year period, the new estimate indicated a 15 percent increase in ASD prevalence. Understandably, anyone who has been affected by ASD wants to learn more about what individuals can do to advocate for high quality services for those with ASD.The autism information group


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• 29

necessary component. Individuals can participate in many organized fundraisers, such as walks, runs, rides, and other activities. However, enterprising people also can create their own fundraisers or ones unique to their own needs. Support others Those who do not have someone with ASD in their immediate family but know a relative, friend or neighbor with ASD can be a listening ear, a person to rally at events or advocacy meetings, or just a touchstone when a little extra support is needed. People who own businesses can support adults with ASD in the community through program’s like the Organization for Autism Research’s Hire Autism Initiative. Autism spectrum disorder affects many different people. During the month of April and throughout the entire year, there are many ways for people to spread the word about ASD and support ASD research.

Autism Speaks says more work is needed to understand the increased prevalence and the complex medical needs that often accompany ASD. There are many different and effective ways to become more involved in the autism community. Educate children Many schools have integrated classrooms where children who have ASD work alongside their peers. Others may have specialized programs for those who need one-on-one support. Either way, the goal is to introduce children to ASD when they are young, as many have friends or classmates with ASD. Helping to dispel myths about ASD and encouraging support and compassion can improve relationships during childhood. Raise funds Research into causation as well as treatment options and interventions for ASD can be expensive.That makes fundraising a

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Houston Methodist Orthopedic Injury Clinic Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine

19 convenient locations across Greater Houston

Same-day appointments for injuries. Schedule an appointment: houstonmethodist.org/sportsmed 281.201.0396