West Fort Bend - January 2022

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WEST

FORT BEND January 2022

Living

A publication of the



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Contents &Staff

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West Fort Bend

Living™

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

JANUARY 2022

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

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WRITERS & CONTRIBUTORS Marquita Griffin Scott Reese Willey Ryan Dunsmore

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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.

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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.

16 Arts & Entertainment

The Felicia Smith Jigsaw Puzzle Competition happens this month.

FORT BEND December 2021

WEST

Living

18 Health

A healthy soup can offer different benefits. Like us on Facebook @fortbendherald A publication of the

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

4 • West Fort Bend Living



Author Forrest Rippey

6 • West Fort Bend Living

A photo of Rippey’s son Matthew holding his son Mateo serves as the cover of “Baby Blues.”


Forrest Rippey is also the author of Tugboat Blues: Tragedies and triumphs survived by the very old and the very young. In this 90-paged book, biography morphs to fact-based fiction. The synopsis of the book reads: “An aging retired police detective, living on a World War Two former Navy tugboat, works through a tragedy with a 10-year-old orphaned boy, who has no place to go. But he does live on his own fifty-four foot sailing yacht in Galveston, Texas. The maritime setting provides an exotic backdrop for the bond that forms between the very young, and the very old.” Tugboat Blues is also available on Amazon.com.

To advertise, call 281-342-4474

•7


In T he S potl ight 8 • West Fort Bend Living


To advertise, call 281-342-4474

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g de n i n

Gardening Resolutions You’ll Want to Keep by SANDRA GRAY | Fort Bend Master Gardener

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t the beginning of the year, I typically make a number of resolutions that I’ve discarded by the end of January (or sooner).This year will be different. I am only making gardening resolutions I really want to keep. Here are some of mine, which you are free to adopt. ❧ Have a specific spot in my garden for a plant before I buy or adopt it.This ensures I always choose the right plant for the right place, which is key to helping the plant thrive.When I grab plants just because I love the way they look, I often struggle to put them in the right place. Ultimately, I have killed a lot of plants this way (and wasted a lot of money). Learn how to read a plant label at https://ffl.ifas.ufl.edu/resources/fflminute-radio/2020-archive/july-2020/ reading-plant-labels/. Fort Bend County is in Hardiness Zone 9a. Confirm your Hardiness Zone at https://gpsr.ars.usda.gov/phzm/vm/ SC_reg_300.jpg. ❧ Prune plants each in their own time. Different plants have different times to be pruned and, by respecting this time, I will spread pruning out over the whole year rather than one big back-breaking major pruning. For example, shrubs that bloom during last year’s growth (e.g., Redbud,Azalea,Viburnum) should be pruned after flowering. Oaks should only be pruned from August through January to prevent the spread of Oak Wilt disease. Learn about proper pruning techniques at https://aggie-horticulture. tamu.edu/earthkind/landscape/proper-pruning-techniques/. ❧ Add plants native to our area.These plants will benefit native fauna and do well in our varied weather. I will add flowers for the pollinators, plants with berries for the birds, and a few herbs and veggies for the native humans. Information about native plants can be found at http://npsot.org/wp/houston/native-plant-info/ . Learn about gardening for local fauna at https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/ library/landscaping/using-plants-to-attract-wildlife/. ❧ Don’t water the sidewalk or street. I will do an irrigation audit to ensure the spread of water is done efficiently but with

complete coverage.This should be done two to four times a year and can save money without depriving my landscape but even once a year will have benefits. Learn about irrigation audits at https://fortbend.agrilife. org/new-years-resolution-an-irrigation-audit/. ❧ Get a soil test. This is relatively inexpensive and only needs to be done once every 2-3 years. This year is going to be the year. This might save money by knowing whether or what I need to fertilize. Learn about soil tests at https://soiltesting.tamu. edu/. ❧ Fertilize only the plants that need it. Most of my trees and shrubs are well established and thriving so they don’t need fertilization.When I add any new plants, I will check whether they need fertilization or not and mark my calendar accordingly.This will save money and work while protecting the environment. Learn about garden fertilization at https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/library/ gardening/fertilizing/. I will also use fallen leaves as slow-release fertilizer by mowing them or using them as mulch. Learn more at https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/extension/homelandscape/ dontbag/DONTBAG.html. ❧ Respect the Southern sun when working in the garden. Skin cancer, sunstroke, heat exhaustion, and other heat and sun dangers should be enough motivation for this goal. Learn how to protect yourself at https://today.tamu.edu/2015/06/02/7-tips-forhaving-a-safe-cool-summer/. ❧ Enjoy the beauty and peace my garden brings to my family and me. It is well documented that gardening helps improve mental health. However, it is easy to forget to appreciate your garden as a place of beauty and peace – and give yourself credit for achieving it. I plan to do better and hope you can too. Learn how gardening can help your mental health at https://agrilifetoday.tamu.edu/2020/05/18/ gardening-can-influence-and-benefit-your-mental-health/. 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.

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10 • West Fort Bend Living


wn e-To -of-th Talk

A WAR PROMISE FULFILLED Family meets dad’s Vietnam War buddy — 46 years later by DENISE ADAMS

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s an adult, Joe Serksnis spent hours behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler, covering thousands of highway miles. The long-haul trucker would sometimes find himself thinking about the hot, humid jungles of Viet Nam. Back in the early 1970s, Joe served in the U.S. Army as a driver at a compound near Da Nang. More often, his thoughts would center around two of his best friends in the war, David “Dave” Stelzel and David “Pharris” Vann. Joe would smile, remembering how they’d called him “that crazy Yankee.” He also remembered he’d made a promise to visit them once they were all back home. But life happens. The three finished their commitment to the U.S.Army. Joe went on to a 32-plus year career with the U.S. Postal service, David as a farmer and later a partner in D&H Farms in his hometown of East Bernard and Pharris to his home in the Florida Panhandle. Once Joe retired this year, he decided to keep the promise he’d made to his two friends when they were in Viet Nam. He searched online for Stelzel and discovered his Army comrade had passed away in a tragic accident in 2017. Joe was devastated, remembering the special bond the men forged when they were shipped overseas to Viet Nam. The three had been assigned to the 334th S&S Company. Joe said they met

at the 90th Replacement Company at Ton Son Nhut Air Force Base just outside of Saigon, South Viet Nam in September 1971. Once there, the three shared stories about their life back home, their hopes and their dreams. They learned to rely on each other as they heard gunfire daily and knew the fighting wasn’t that far from them. “Dave had my back and I had his,” Joe said. “Dave, me and Pharris were buds and we shared lots of laughs. Dave was quiet, but me and Pharris were wild.” They took Polaroid pictures of where they were stationed and of some of the sights in Viet Nam. After the war, Joe put the photos in a box, gradually forgotten. The memories of that friendship, however, never faded. In retirement, Joe had the time to look up old acquaintances and was saddened again to read about David’s passing. Joe made a decision – he’d try and find Dave’s family. He got in touch with the Fort Bend Herald, the newspaper that printed the stories about the popular farmer. Joe sent a letter to the reporter who then reached out to Dave’s family. Plans were made for Joe and the Stelzels to correspond with each other via email. But Joe kept looking at the pictures and decided 50 years was

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• 11


long enough to keep those memories to himself. He made copies of all the pictures he had, glued each one to a separate piece of paper, and wrote down everything he could remember about what was happening when the photo was taken. Then he put the album and letters in a box, sealed it and sent the package on its way to Texas. A TEXAS CONNECTION David’s widow, Brenda Stelzel, was speechless when she found out someone wanted to get in touch with her about her late husband, someone who knew David when he was in the war. “David didn’t talk much about what happened in the service,” she said. To have the opportunity to hear about her husband from one of his buddies was a true gift. Brenda called her two daughters, Shae Allison and Brooke Woodward, and they made plans to Facetime with Joe. They couldn’t wait to see the pictures and, more importantly, talk to someone who knew their father before they were born. When Shae and Brooke opened the album, they immediately teared up. There was their father – barely out of his teens, his blonde hair cut short.The familiar smile was there, and it was strange to see photos of their father in what seemed a different life. Brenda remembered what David looked like as a young man, but seeing the pictures of David in Viet Nam brought her to tears as well. With the photo album in front of them, Shae made the call to Willoughby, Ohio on her laptop. Almost immediately, an eager Joe Serksnis came face to face with three women with smiles on their faces and tears in their eyes. They introduced themselves, and Joe proceeded to tell them about the promise he’d made 50 years ago. He apologized for not getting in touch with Dave before he passed away, but he was hoping he could share stories about his Texas friend with his family. Joe said he was thankful he could share what he had with his friend’s family. Brenda told Joe they had few photos from those days and no stories as David was reluctant to talk about his time in the service. Joe filled in the blanks, his memory banks filled with dates, times and places. He described the Beach Club, a bar on the beach near their compound in China Beach. He said he, Dave and Pharris drove general supply trucks, and the locals weren’t too

12 • West Fort Bend Living

From Joe Serksnis: “Spec 4 Dave Stelzel and Sgt. “Patch” having some refreshments before getting our Class A uniforms. This photo was taken about 45 minutes after we landed at Travis Air Force base outside of San Francisco, Calif. Needless to say we (the whole plane load) were very excited to be back. When we left Da Nang, we only wore fatigues because they were the only clothes we had for the most part. Some guys had a T-shirt and a pair of shorts.”

Shae Allison, Brenda Stelzel and Brooke Woodward during a Facetime call with Joe Serksnis. He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam conflict with David Stelzel, Brenda’s late husband.

David Stelzel, as a young private in the U.S. Army in the 1970s. He was 21 years of age when the photo was taken. David passed away in 2017.

Joe Serksnis.

happy to see them. “They kept shooting at us although the war was winding down,” he said of their time there in 1971.The three were stationed in Viet Nam for a 13-month assignment. “I was scared to death,” Joe said. “I’d just turned 20 and here I was looking at a Quonset hut. It was hot and I could hear gunshots.” MEMORIES Joe remembers Dave telling stories about his hometown back in Texas. “Dave used to talk about ‘The Weekly Wiper,’” Joe recalled. Brenda laughed, remembering that was what David affectionately called the newspaper in East Bernard. Dave was always a good driver, and Joe said Dave got the job of driving the first lieutenant around the compound. Joe remembers Dave as a funny, quiet man with a great sense of humor. “He was an easy-going kid from Texas,” Joe said, tearing up. “He calmed us down and didn’t let us get too wild.” When Shae and Brooke heard that description, they nodded their heads in agreement, saying their dad was that way all through his life. Joe wasn’t surprised because Dave quietly kept them in line. Shae said her dad kept everyone calm and never lost his cool. Joe said he wished he’d been able to catch up with Dave before he passed away, but talking with the Stelzel family gave him peace. “Dave was well respected by me,” he told Brenda, Shae and Brooke. “This album and connecting with you is the best I could do.” Joe told the Stelzels he’d been a longdistance trucker after the war and then went to work for the postal service, retiring after more than three decades. Brenda told Joe that David had been a farmer and had brought in his 42nd crop right before he passed away. The phone call ended with tears and smiles and promises to keep in touch. For sure, the Stelzels will remember Joe and Debbie Serksnis at Christmas. Joe gave them a gift of seeing their father as a young man through the eyes of a best friend. The Stelzels know their father will be with them in a special way. Tucked in with their packages this year will be one of the best gifts they’ve ever received – a slim photo album with pictures of a young David Stelzel, courtesy of a crazy Yankee.

TALK OF THE TOWN Continued on page 15


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Fort On Ben the dS cene

Going nuts over the Pecan Festival

Pageant winner photos courtesy of Laura Scarlato | Pecan Festival photos courtesy of Scott Reese Willey

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Among the vendors at the annual Richmond Pecan Festival was Glos Gardens of 1Gardens Richmond. From left are Tammy Weller, Amy Marinucci and farmer Al Glos. Glos also sells its products at the Farmers Market on Grand Parkway. Kaylee Rader was crowned Little Miss Pecan during the fifth annual Pecan Festival 2Kaylee in November. She competed among girls ages 7-8. From left are Alli Ferguson, 2nd, Rader, Rosie Salazar, 3rd, and Hannah Detert, 4th. The competition took place in front of the Historic Moore Home. Brynlee Stephens was crowned Little Miss Walnut. From left are Brynlee Stephens, Gianna Torres, 3rd, Hattie Munn, 2nd, and Sadie Case, 4th. A tiara for Little Miss Acorn | Payton Stinson was crowned Little Miss Acorn. She competed against other girls ages 3-4. From left are Payton Stinson, Sadie Martin, 4th, Avery Johnston, 3rd, and Presley Cano, 2nd.

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A Winter Wonderland

The season was celebrated at Calvary Episcopal Preparatory’s econd annual community-wide Winter Wonderland. Festivities included snow, winter games, tubing down a hill, balloon artists, Christmas market, inflatables and pictures with Santa.

1Derin Adedeji enjoying the snow. Culver poses with the 2Thomas Christmas Longhorn. Richards assists our littlest 3Maggie fishermen with carnival games. members enjoyed the 4Community vendor fair. Facker, Elianna Perry and 5Maxwell Yeva Cherry playing in the snow. Reddy and Drew Laffere using in 6Neel a balloon sword fight. 14 • West Fort Bend Living


TALK OF THE TOWN Continued from page 12

‘We fell in love with them’ says foster parents who adopted boys story and photos by SCOTT REESE WILLEY | swilley@fbherald.com

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udge Walter G. Armatys typically hears cases involving, well, the tragic side of life: murder, robberies, thefts, illegal drugs. On, however, in November he was involved in a truly heartwarming case — the adoption of three brothers, Elijah, 1, Jacob, 4 and Noah, 5, by two Lamar Consolidated ISD educators. “We fell in love with them,” said first-time parent Katie Marchena, 39, executive director of teaching and learning for LCISD.“They were such sweet boys we couldn’t help but want to keep them for ourselves.” Katie and her husband Antonio, 43, have been fostering children for the past seven years — 12 kids in all. “We fell in love with numbers 10, 11 and 12,” said Antonio, the math

and science coach at Smith Elementary School. “In the year we fostered them, they brought a lot of joy to our lives.” The adoption event, one of 13 adoptions to take place at the Justice Center on National Adoption Day, was arranged in part by Child Advocates of Fort Bend County. Armatys, along with Judge Janet B. Heppard and Judge Kali Morgan, helped make the lives of more than a dozen foster children richer and the lives of their new parents fuller, Child Advocates of Fort Bend executive officer Ruthanne Mefford said at the conclusion of the ceremony. “This is the most wonderful day of the year,the day all these children found their forever homes.” LEFT: Antonio and Katie Marchena beam minutes after formally adopting three brothers who they fostered for the past year. Judge Walter G. Armatys, center, conducted the adoption hearing in his 328th judicial district courtroom inside the Fort Bend County Justice Center on National Adoption Day. From left are Noah, 5, Jacob, 4 and Elijah, 1. RIGHT: Three brothers, Elijah, 1, Jacob, 4, and Noah, 5, opened gifts from grandma in the hallway of the Fort Bend County Justice Center after they were formally adopted by Antonio and Katie Marchena.

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A Ente rt & rtainm e nt

The Felicia Smith Jigsaw Puzzle Competition is set for Jan. 22

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he historic Landmark Community Center in Missouri City is set to be the backdrop of this year’s Felicia Smith Jigsaw Puzzle Competition presented by LearningRx Sugar Land. The jigsaw puzzle piece was formerly internationally represented as a symbol to show the complexity of autism spectrum disorder and how many people work tirelessly to put together the pieces to find better research, support, and understanding for families with children on the spectrum. Hope For Three, a local nonprofit and advocacy organization, works to raise community awareness and provide resources and support to families with children diagnosed with autism. It hosts the Felicia Smith Jigsaw Puzzle Competition event annually to raise funds for the families and children that the organization serves. Each piece is different in a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle, just like the diversity of individuals with autism. This symbolic competition consists of teams of four with puzzlers ages ten and up. Each team opens their puzzle, donated by Robert Poppy Lampkin, at the sound of a bell at 10 a.m. and has until noon to complete the challenge. First through fifth place awards immediately follow, and raffle prize winners are drawn. This year’s competition is set for Jan. 22.

“The venue is one of the oldest buildings in Missouri City,” shared Board Member and Councilwoman At-Large Lynn Clouser. “The transformation is nothing short of magical, and now with a new purpose to serve communities.” Proceeds from registrations and sponsorships help local children with autism gain access to valuable resources, therapies, and support they might otherwise go without. For more information, to register a team, or receive autism resources and referrals, visit www.hopeforthree.org/events.

Courtesy Hope For Three | In 2021 the competition was held virtually and resulted in 52 teams of four participating from six states. First-place winners, “Puzzle Twist and Shout,” from St. Paul, MN completed the 500-pc puzzle in a record-breaking time of 37 minutes.

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16 • West Fort Bend Living


Art festival draws enthusiastic crowd

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early 2,000 people gathered outdoors to browse art, sip craft beer and wine and enjoy the sunshine during the recent Sienna Art Festival. Sienna’s second art festival drew more than 50 artists from across the region who displayed original paintings, photography, drawings, jewelry, ceramics and more. In addition, student artists from area schools participated.The event raised $5,000 for A Shelter for Cancer Families, which is celebrating 20 years of providing stability, shelter and support for families seeking cancer care. “The weather was sublime and just perfect for a relaxing day outdoors,” said Allison Bond, Sienna Marketing Director. “We were thrilled to have so many students participate.The artwork from both adults and youth was impressive. Being able to support the mission of A Shelter for Cancer Families was a happy bonus.” Adult artists participated in a juried art show judged by Lani Anderson.Winning Best of Show was Abdul Basit. Robert Wilkins won first place; Elizabeth Barrow, second; Sudha Iyengar, third; and Norma Richter and Rupa Munish, honorable mention. Student artists participated in a People’s Choice contest. Addison Harris won in the elementary school category and Madeline Walsh took top honors among middle school artists.Aditya Rajan won in the high school category. In addition to browsing and shopping art, eventgoers enjoyed seeing chalk artists at work. Face painters and balloon artists entertained young guests, who could also visit the Imagination Station tent to create their own art. A variety of food trucks and breweries were on hand, as well.

“We could not have hosted an event of this magnitude without the help of our generous sponsors, many of which build homes in Sienna,” Bond said.

Nearly 2,000 people visited Sienna Art Festival this year, an outdoor event that raised $5,000 for A Shelter for Cancer Families. The festival featured work from more than 50 area artists as well as many student artists.

To advertise, call 281-342-4474

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He alth

Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital receives Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification

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emorial Hermann Southwest Hospital received certification from the Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center (CSC). CSC status is the highest level of care of all stroke certifications and is awarded to hospitals with specific abilities to receive and treat the most complex stroke cases. Memorial Hermann Southwest is the first hospital outside of the Texas Medical Center to receive the Joint Commission’s CSC designation. With this announcement,four hospitals in the Memorial Hermann Health System have now received CSC certification, the highest number of CSCdesignated hospitals in the same health system in Houston. “Achieving this designation was a team effort by the stroke team at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital who all had the common goal of providing outstanding care to stroke patients,” said Heath Rushing, Vice President of Service Lines at Memorial Hermann.“We are proud to have four Memorial Hermann hospitals in the Greater Houston area recognized with this designation.” This certification recognizes a hospital’s ability to have state-of-theart infrastructure, the most advanced services, specialists in stroke and cerebrovascular disease, and training to receive and treat patients with the most complex strokes.All of the hospitals provide rapid and timely care for patients and are dedicated to the best outcomes in the Greater Houston community.

“As the population in our community continues to grow, Memorial Hermann Southwest is committed to providing high level quality care to those we care for,” said Malisha Patel, Chief Executive Officer of Memorial Hermann Southwest and Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital.“This designation speaks to our team’s ongoing efforts to be there for our community.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of serious, adult disability in the United States. Each year, nearly 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke and every 40 seconds someone has a stroke in the U.S. The Joint Commission’s CSC Certification is based on standards set forth by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association, and affirms that the hospital addresses the full spectrum Kyle D. McCrea and Dr. Victoria Voand education – of strokeDr. care – diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and establishes clear measures of excellence to evaluate outcomes. For more information on stroke treatment at Memorial Hermann visit http://neuro.memorialhermann.org/stroke.

Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital welcomes Dr. Svetang Desai

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ouston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital announced gastroenterologist Svetang Desai, M.D. has joined Houston Methodist Gastroenterology Associates at Sugar Land, located in Medical Office Building 1, Suite 250 on the Houston Methodist Your Home for Dentistry Sugar Land campus. Desai earned his medical the University of Tennessee, Health Dr. McCrea has been degree creating at healthy, beautiful smiles in Richmond/Rosenberg since 1994. Dr. McCrea and Dr. Vo are both graduates of and current Professors at the Herman Hospital Continued on page 22 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.

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Dr. McCrea has been creating healthy, beautiful smiles in Richmond/Rosenberg since 1994. Dr. McCrea and Dr. Vo are both graduates of and current Professors at 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.

From Check-ups to Implants to Braces, We want to be your home for Dentistry

Visit us at mccreadds.com to learn more about our office, our outstanding team & services we offer

601 South Second St. • Richmond, TX 77469 • 281-342-2121

18 • West Fort Bend Living


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WCJC

Fund your Future

CLASSES BEGIN JANUARY 18

ENROLL TODAY

WCJC’S Fund Your Future resources are limited in availability for qualified students enrolling with WCJC for the Spring 2022 semester. Visit wcjc.edu for details. M.G. and Lillie A. Johnson Foundation Scholarships

Students enrolled in Allied Health majors, Pre-Allied Health majors or in Emergency Medical Services courses may qualify for a $1,000 scholarship for Spring 2022. To qualify, a student must be a high school graduate or have a high school equivalency certificate and reside in one of 15 specific counties – Aransas, Bee, Calhoun, Colorado, Dewitt, Goliad, Gonzales, Jackson, Karnes, Lavaca, Matagorda, Refugio, Victoria, Waller or Wharton – or within the Needville Independent School District. The scholarship application will be open through Jan. 21, 2022.

Spring 2022 First-Time in College Scholarship

This scholarship opportunity is for first-time in college students enrolling for Spring 2022! All incoming first-time in college students who complete admission requirements will receive a $1,000 scholarship, which will be applied to their Spring 2022 tuition and fees balance. Students must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify. No scholarship application is necessary. This scholarship will award $1,000 toward a student’s Spring 2022 tuition and fees balance for enrollment in 12 or more credit hours (fulltime enrollment) or $500 for enrollment in 6-11 credit hours.

Tuition & Fee Installment Plan

For early enrollees, WCJC’s Tuition & Fee Installment Plan enables students to pay 25 percent of their tuition and fees up front, plus a $35 non-refundable enrollment fee, and then spread out the remainder of their tuition in equal monthly installments. All registered WCJC students can apply for an installment plan.

Discounted Tuition & Fees Program

Additional assistance is being provided for WCJC students who take more than 13 hours of academic transfer courses. Under this policy, tuition and fees will be waived for any courses above the 13 credit hours. For example, an in-district student taking 19 credit hours will pay roughly $1,214 – the same amount paid by a student taking only 13 hours.

Federal Direct Student Loans

Students who have a complete financial aid file at WCJC and are achieving Satisfactory Academic Progress may qualify for subsidized and/or unsubsidized student loans. The fixed interest rate on 2020-2021 direct student loans is a low 2.75 percent.

Financial Aid Special Condition Request

This request enables qualified students to receive an increased Pell Grant award and possibly additional subsidized loan funds. It’s aimed at WCJC students who have faced a reduction in household income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pell Grants

Students who display exceptional financial need may be awarded a Federal Pell Grant. A Pell Grant is a form of “gift aid” that does not have to be paid back.

Plan. Achieve. Transfer or Work. wcjc.edu | 1.800.561.WCJC WHARTON | SUGAR LAND | RICHMOND | BAY CITY WCJC21fund__FBHJanuaryMonthlies.indd 1

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Science Center, in Memphis,Tennessee. He completed his internal medicine residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.Desai also completed two fellowships, including a gastroenterology fellowship at Duke University and an advanced therapeutics fellowship at Duke University. Desai’s clinical expertise includes Dr. Svetang Desai abnormal liver functions, colon cancer prevention, endoscopic ultrasound, inflammatory bowel disease, liver/biliary disease and therapeutic endoscopy. “My goal as a gastroenterologist is to listen closely to my patients and create a strong therapeutic relationship with the goal of improving health. I enjoy creating partnerships with my patients and the other members of the treatment team with the goal of improved wellness,” said Desai.“I’m excited to join Houston Methodist Gastroenterology Associates, where I will offer the same quality and patient-centered care that patients know and expect from Houston Methodist Sugar Land.” To schedule an appointment with Dr. Desai or another gastroenterologist, visit houstonmethodist.org/spg or call Houston Methodist Gastroenterology Associates at 281-801-9303. Visit houstonmethodist.org/sugarland to learn more about Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital.

Healthy soup offers many different benefits

F

ood is a critical component of healthy living, helping people to reduce their risk for illnesses and even helping them to overcome colds and other ailments.The properties of soup, for

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22 • West Fort Bend Living

example, can chase away chills and offer other benefits. Soup is hydrating, and the ingredients included in the recipe may be able to do everything from tame coughs to reduce mucus to boost the immune system. This recipe for “Navy Bean and Collard Greens Soup” courtesy of John La Puma, M.D., ChefMD, includes collard greens. When one chops or chews collard greens, he or she gets the powerful, helpful chemicals isothiocyanates and indole-3-carbinol. They can help the liver produce enzymes that detoxify cancer-causing toxins in the body. In addition, the soup includes tofu, which will adopt the flavor of other ingredients and add a form of lean protein along with the beans.

NAVY BEAN AND COLLARD GREENS SOUP

Serves 4 INGREDIENTS • 3 cups vegetable broth, such as Pacific Organic brand • 4 cups coarsely chopped stemmed collard greens, preferably organic (1 bunch 10 to 12 ounces) • 1½ cup packaged julienned (matchstick) carrots • 1½ teaspoons chili garlic puree or chili paste with garlic • 1 (12 ounce) package extra-firm tofu, cubed in bite-size pieces • 1 (16 ounce) can unsalted navy beans, drained • ¼ cup grated Romano cheese INSTRUCTIONS Combine broth, collard greens, carrots, and chili garlic puree in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10 to 12 minutes or until greens are nearly tender. Stir in tofu and beans; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Ladle into shallow bowls; top with cheese. TIPS: Great northern or cannellini beans may replace the navy beans and Swiss chard may replace the collard greens if desired.Also, look for chili garlic puree or chili paste with garlic in the ethnic section of the supermarket. Because the beans are unsalted, there is no need to rinse them before adding to the soup.

Try a Healthy vegan lunch

V

eganism is marked by a choice to abstain from the use of animal products, including in one’s diet. It is different from vegetarianism because vegetarians may consume some animal products, namely eggs, milk and honey, while vegans will not.

SPINACH AND MUSHROOM PITA

Serves 2 INGREDIENTS • 2 cups baby spinach leaves • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced • ½ cup button mushrooms, sliced • ½ cup alfalfa sprouts • 1 tomato, chopped • ½ small cucumber • 2 tablespoons olive oil Juice of • 1 lemon Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste • 2 whole-grain pita pockets INSTRUCTIONS Combine all the vegetables, olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl, and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Toss the salad until well mixed. Stuff the vegetable mixture into the pita pockets and serve immediately.


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