W W W. E X P L O R E F U LS H E A R . C O M
WHERE LIFE JUST COMES
Enjoying the great outdoors and creating those special moments comes Naturally in Cross Creek Ranch where residents find a bounty of “life is great” opportunities.
• Lamar CISD and Katy ISD schools • Two on-site Katy ISD elementaries with new on-site junior high & high school opening soon • Multiple water parks and playgrounds • Flewellen Creek Nature Preserve • More than 34 miles of trails • On-site fitness center • Tennis, basketball and sand volleyball courts • On-site Italian Maid Café • Nearby shopping and dining, including H-E-B *Pricing and availability subject to change without notice.
CrossCreekTexas.com New Homes from the $200s to $1 Million+
OF THE BRAZOS RIVER
Secluded in one of the scenic bends of the Brazos River, Laprada Landing offers an escape from the rigors of the city. Located 40 miles west of downtown Houston, Laprada Landing feels worlds away with dense stands of mature trees and sweeping vistas overlooking the Brazos. The unspoiled, natural beauty of the tracts offers a pristine piece of the rural Texas countryside without having to sacrifice the amenities of city living. Laprada Landing, located just south of Fulshear, is easily accessible from Westpark Tollway and FM 1093. Laprada Landing offers tracts ranging from Âą60 - 105 acres, each with its own unhindered view of the Brazos River. With varying tree coverage, each tract has its own features that set it apart from the others with no two being exactly alike. There is ample opportunity to build and create your own sense of place.
(Formerly Montgomery Rd)
Bois Dâ€™Arc Ln
Winner Foster Rd
Secluded in one of the scenic bends of the Brazos River, Laprada Landing offers an escape from the rigors of the city. Located 40 miles west of downtown Houston, Laprada Landing feels worlds away with dense stands of mature trees and sweeping vistas overlooking the Brazos.
The unspoiled, natural beauty of the tracts offers a pristine F othe r mrural o r e Texas infor m at i o n cwithout o n t a chaving t piece of countryside to sacrifice the amenities of city living. Laprada Landing, ROLLER located just southMIKE of Fulshear, is easily accessible from 346-0222 Westpark Tollway and(281) FM 1093. M I K E @ M OV E W E S T. N E T
No matter the season, for our area, change seems to always be in the air. It’s my guess that the mantra of change will remain with the greater Fulshear area for many years to come.
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LETTER FROM THE
The change we’re experiencing gives us a front row seat as we continue to witness the myriad of new development happening around us every day. As it continues, we have the ongoing opportunity to welcome our new residents. Ultimately, by our presence, we’re agreeing to participate in the ongoing rebirth of a constantly changing community.
Photo Credit: iStock.com/gabetcarlson
Speaking of change, as you may have noticed from our cover, we are now officially Explore Fulshear magazine, complete with a new web address: ExploreFulshear.com. Our new parent company, Explore.us, has included this publication to be listed among others in an online directory called ExploreTexas.com. Through this, we can introduce advertisers to as many as 500 communities in Texas as we also present Explore Fulshear magazine along with other magazines that we have published, representing communities such as Brenham, Navisota, Rosenberg, Richmond, and now Katy. This is proof that change can be a good thing. With so much change, it’s good to know that some things stay the same - such as the great content you’ll find right here. So, as you read through these pages, I am certain that you’ll enjoy the insightful articles that come from the hands, hearts, and minds of our talented staff. Our writers, photographers, editors and other contributors all have a story to tell. You can be assured that their work is a labor of love for their community. Please join with me in celebrating the journalistic gift we now offer to you through Explore Fulshear magazine.
Daniel McJunkin Respectfully,
PUBLISHER, EXPLORE FULSHEAR MAGAZINE
MAGAZINE STAFF DANIEL M c JUNKIN Publisher
KATIE MECHAM Art Director
JENNI M c JUNKIN Media Director
JACLYN RITTER Editor
DON M c COY
PRODUCTION STAFF BONNIE M c FERREN Bookkeeping
TRACY MILLER Accounting
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS AMBER LEUNG ASHLEY MANCHACA CJ M c DANIEL DANIEL M c JUNKIN JACLYN RITTER KRISTY SMITH
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS JEFF HEGER AMBER LEUNG DANIEL M c JUNKIN RHONDA RENEE PHOTOGRAPHY JACLYN RITTER
EXPLORE.US DIVISION STEVE MULLEN JUAN RIVAS-CABAN JOSEPH SONNIER ADAM WINTERS
EXPLORE AMERICA, LLC GEORGE LANE Chariman & CEO
EXPLORE FULSHEAR MAGAZINE 281-973-0633
A War Story WITHOUT WORDS
Simonton resident recalls his time as a combat artist during the Vietnam War
Faith, Family & FULSHEAR
And In That Order...
FOUR VENOMOUS SNAKES
FULSHEAR CITY MANAGER
4017 Penn Lane, Fulshear, TX 77441
EXPLOREFULSHEAR.COM Â© Copyright 2019 - Explopre America, LLC All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Cover Photo Credit: iStock.com/BrianLasenby
Contents TABLE OF
From the Ashes
Larry Johnson AND THE KEY TO CREATING
SAME SUPERIOR SERVICE
GENERATION OF BRISCOE
On My Honor BUILDING CHARACTER
Red Chicken Curry WITH BABY BOK CHOY RECIPE
in the New Generation of Girl Scouts
TO SERVE FAITHFULLY
Steinhauser s â€™ THREE GENERATIONS OF
Yen Teppanyaki SUSHI STEAKHOUSE
SERVICE & QUALITY
A War Story
WRITTEN BY JACLYN RITTER, PHOTOGRAPHY BY RHONDA RENEE PHOTOGRAPHY
has the power to evoke a multitude of emotions. It can tell a story. It also has the ability to inform or educate. No one knows this better than former combat artist, Ken Haley. His job - to document the Vietnam War through drawings and paintings.
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From a young age, Ken could often be found sketching and doodling on whatever he could find. Who needs paper? As a ten-year-old boy selling newspapers, Ken used to draw on the sides of white cars – with pencil, of course. In his late teens and twenties, while working for the railroad, he would create masterpieces on the sides of boxcars with chalk. “I guess you could say I was an early graffiti artist,” jokes Ken. To this day he cannot help but keep a pen or pencil handy for when inspiration strikes. “I was not very good at English or math in school,” Ken says. “In fact, I didn’t test very well in general, but I always excelled in art class.” Having very little support from home, and practically on his own since the age of ten, Ken attributes his art teachers for encouraging him to pursue art outside of school. They supported him and invested in him when few others did. In a way, those art teachers paved the way for what was to become a very fascinating art career for Ken. However, it is unlikely even they could have predicted the surprising direction Ken’s raw talent and love for art would take him.
Called Ken was drafted into the Army in 1967, at the age of nineteen. He attended boot camp in Fort Bliss, Texas where the military first took note of his mechanical skills. From there Ken was sent to Fort Dix, New Jersey for training and then transferred to Fort Sill, Oklahoma for mechanical training on heavy artillery vehicles. In January of 1968, Ken was deployed to Saigon, Vietnam during the Tet Offensive, one of the largest campaigns during the Vietnam War. Ken was sent to Long Binh Post outside of Bien Hoa Army Base, with the 720th MP Battalion, where he worked as a mechanic on everything from quarter-ton jeeps, to thirteen-ton armored personnel carriers. Being a member of a Military Police battalion was an honor in itself. The MP patch signified authority and came with a lot of responsibility. “Some think the military police just sat around guarding buildings and such,” says Ken. “But really, we did whatever was needed of us, because we were simply short of hands.” In addition to his mechanic duties, Ken ran convoys as a gunner, performed highway security, river patrol, and search and destroy missions. During the little down time he had, Ken sketched his buddies’ girlfriends for extra money on the side. His
Photo by Daniel McJunkin
Simonton resident recalls his time as a combat artist during the Vietnam War
Photo by Daniel McJunkin
A WA R STORY W ITH OUT W ORDS
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A WA R STORY W ITH OUT W ORDS
“I had a .45 on my right hip, a camera slung around my neck, a sketchpad in my left hand, and a paintbrush in my right hand.” - Ken Haley homesick friends had pictures to carry around with them, and Ken was able to practice his portraits. This proved to be the much-needed creative outlet for Ken during the eighteen months spent as a mechanic with the MP Battalion.
Art in War
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Whether it was sheer luck or divine intervention, Ken was able to graduate from sketching his friends’ loved ones to attaining a job where he could utilize his artistic talents. Word got out that Ken’s battalion was looking for two artists and a journalist. Ken applied and was offered the opportunity to remain with his group with the sole purpose of capturing and depicting the Vietnam War through art. More specifically, his role as combat artist was to document the activities of the Military Police. Whether it was transporting supplies or guarding prisoners, Ken’s job was to relay a positive image and glorify the MPs.
“I was to submit one piece a week,” says Ken. “So, wherever the Military Police went, I went. I had a .45 on my right hip, a camera slung around my neck, a sketchpad in my left hand, and a paintbrush in my right hand.” On the streets of Vietnam, right in the middle of the chaos, Ken sat with a pen and paper, taking in his surroundings and crafting, to the most intricate detail, a perfect replica of the scene before him onto paper. When asked if he found it difficult to portray the Vietnam War in the form of art, Ken shook his head. “No, I chose to look at it solely as my job. I was there to capture what was really going on—the desolation, the thick and smothering clouds of dust, and the remarkable acts of heroism.” Ken felt that by focusing on the details and achieving a sense of reality on paper, the emotion would naturally manifest itself upon the canvas. His job was not to focus on emotion, but to portray what he saw as realistically as he could. All of the pieces of art Ken produced during that time belong to the United States government. To this day, he does not know what became of them. “We were told the art was being sent back to the States to be distributed amongst all the army bases,” says Ken. “But who knows. They are out there somewhere.”
the Positive Sergeant Ken Haley proudly returned from his tour in Vietnam in January of 1970. Ken was fortunate to be able to return to his pre-military job, working full time night shifts as a switchman for the Rock Island Railroad. Thanks to the GI Bill, he also took the opportunity to apply to the Kansas City Art Institute. “I guess you can say the Vietnam War was basically in vain,” Ken says. “There was a lot of death and destruction, for very little gain.” It was his strong faith in God that helped a very young Ken Haley return home from Vietnam in one piece and one mind. “My faith helped me find the positive within the whole experience. Taking the job of combat artist proved to be a stepping stone for me. When I left Vietnam, I had a whole portfolio of photography, plus the few sketches I was able to keep. I submitted them with my application to the Kansas City Art Institute. With it being such a prestigious art school, I cannot help but think if it weren’t for my time as a combat artist, I would not have made the cut.” Ken graduated with a split major in Graphic Arts and Fine Arts.
Circling Back to His Own
Artistic Expression “As my priorities became working to pay the bills and provide for my family, my art had to take a backseat,” says Ken. That is not the case anymore. After five years of serving in the missionary field in Mexico, and twenty-eight years growing a high-end custom painting company in Houston, Ken retired in 2016. Ken and Faith, his wife of 43 years, have built a beautiful home on 6.5 acres in Simonton. Situated on the west side of the property, positioned between a picture-perfect pond and their thriving chicken coop, sits Ken’s workshop. Now that he has expanded his art to include glass and carpentry, the workshop is equipped with a woodworking side and a painting side. The walls are covered with art in various stages of development. It is a space that lends itself to a creative mind. Ken has expanded his talents from realistic art to impressionistic art. After transposing exactly what he
The History of
C o m bat
A rt i s t s
Documenting and preserving the images of war in the form of art has been an integral part of the American Army for decades. “Recognizing the importance of military art as both a historical record and a positive influence on morale,” according to the National Constitution Center, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, “the Army commissioned a team of eight artists into the Corps of Engineers during World War I and sent them to France to record the activities of the American Expeditionary Forces. Their mandate was to depict the activities of the Army or the individual soldiers in the style or medium in which they felt most comfortable.” The Army chose to revive the art program during the time of WWII.
To this day, Army soldier-artists travel the globe documenting wars and humanitarian efforts. These men and women have bravely documented our nation’s history from the front row in the form of art.
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Beginning in 1966, the US Army sponsored thirty-six soldiers to serve as combat artists during the Vietnam War. Our very own Ken Haley was one of that exclusive and talented group.
A WA R STORY W ITH OUT W ORDS
saw to paper during his time as a combat artist, Ken now enjoys the freedom of portraying his personal style and his impressions of the world around him. Working with several mediums, including oil, acrylic, watercolor, and pen and ink, Ken depicts the likes of serene meadows, rough sea waters awaiting an impending storm, and grassy cliffs overlooking an inviting lake below. Those grade school art teachers would be proud to know that Ken never lost sight of his passion. Choosing to continue his education and stay current, Ken attends weekly art classes to continue expanding his abilities as an artist – proof that we never stop learning and growing. Ken is quick to thank the military men who recognized his talents and who gave him the platform to do what he does best for the country he was so proud to serve. Thanks to these early opportunities, art has had a presence in all stages of Ken’s life. It has been his one constant. “I love the creativity and emotions that I can evoke through my art,” says Ken. “It is the ability to say a whole lot, without words.” With no place to store all of the art, the entire collection was turned over to Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History. d To see some of his work and information about his future gallery openings visit: https://www.facebook.com/ArtistKennethHaley/ Ken is back to painting the sides of trains…the Blessington Farms barrel train that is! Next time you visit the farm, be sure to check out Ken’s fun and mobile art!
This beautiful, yet humbling piece was drawn by Ken Haley during his time as a combat artist in Vietnam. It depicts a military jeep driving through a temple near Tay Ninh, Vietnam. This drawing shows all the intricacies of the building itself, the tiny bullet holes, and the wear and tear bestowed upon it during the war.
“When I sat there in front of this temple
many years ago, I imagined all the history stored in its walls, and
the stories only the temple could tell. Such
A beautiful building, and yet the war was destroying it.”
COMING IN 2019
F O R MORE INF O CA LL CHRISTIE AMEZQUITA, CCIM â€¢ 713.979.0436 christie@ read-king.com
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FA ITH , FA M ILY, & FULSH EA R
Faith, Family, & Fulshear
AND IN T HAT ORDER… WRITTEN BY JACLYN RITTER, PHOTOGRAPHY BY RHONDA RENEE PHOTOGRAPHY
A Tried & True Texas Upbringing A man’s youth is what sets the framework of his legacy. Aaron’s upbringing was not out of the ordinary, but that did not make it any less strong. It was a childhood filled with love, hard work, and guidance. “When I was young, I wanted to be a Dallas Cowboys football player,” remembers Aaron. Like many young men in Texas, Aaron spent Friday nights under the bright stadium lights of his high school. “It was live, eat, and breathe football for me.” Aaron played linebacker and several different offensive positions for Tascosa High School, in Amarillo, Texas. He enjoyed the culture that surrounded high school football. Aaron took his first job at Long John Silvers at the age of 16. At age 18, he moved to Olive Garden to work as a cook. Both jobs were close to school and, because they were flexible with his work schedule, he was able to fit work into his football schedule. “My mom had, and still has, a servant’s heart.” She taught me to put family first,” adds Aaron. “The greatest gift I received from my father is
his work ethic and his love for scripture.” These lessons, and the fact that his parents chose to lead by example, have had a large impact not only on Aaron’s chosen career path, but also on how he chooses to live.
Finding His Calling When it became clear that the Dallas Cowboy’s were not looking to recruit Aaron, he shifted his focus to business law. However, during his senior year of high school, and after years of being active in youth group, he began to sense his calling into ministry. This change of path ultimately resulted in a career in Christian ministry. At age 19, while studying psychology and religion at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Aaron was offered a youth ministry position at First Baptist Lorenzo. A few years later, Aaron returned to Wayland Baptist University and earned his master’s degree in theology and Christian ministry. In November of 2012, after 15 years in student ministry and a couple in family ministry, Aaron and his family made the move from Amarillo to Fulshear. “I had the amazing opportunity to help build a church from the ground up, and then to help them successfully merge with another church,” says Aaron. “It was then that I realized what my next experience was going to be.” In 2016 Aaron launched his own leadership coaching and consulting company here in Fulshear. By offering Birkman Assessments, aiding in team building, strategic planning, and vision building, Aaron helps leaders grow their companies. “I am still on staff as the Campus Development Pastor at The Fellowship, but what I love about my coaching and consulting company is it allows me to help multiple churches grow and achieve success.” On staff at his local church, running his own business, and serving as mayor of Fulshear – it sure
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hile a position in local government was never on Aaron Groff’s radar, those who know him are not surprised he jumped at the opportunity and ran with it. Aaron Groff was sworn in as mayor of Fulshear on May 15th, 2018. “New experiences and change don’t scare me,” says Aaron. “I am a firm believer that nothing happens by accident. I choose to reflect on my collective experiences and understand that those experiences prepare me for what is to come.” It is Aaron’s strong sense of family, unwavering faith, dedication to his business, and love of his community that has ultimately prepared him for the role he has proudly taken on – mayor of Fulshear.
22 FA ITH , FA M ILY, & FULSH EA R
“Our KIDS and their FRIENDS will be here long after I am gone, and long after my twoyear term as mayor is over; so the opportunity to BUILD A FIRM FOUNDATION for the city makes me EXCITED!” - MAYOR AARON GROFF -
sounds like Aaron has a full plate! “I actually function better when I am busy,” explains Aaron. “The three jobs are much more intertwined than you may think. All three require organization, problem management, communication skills, and leadership skills.”
A Family Man at Heart
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As Aaron’s mother demonstrated at an early age, family comes first. Aaron and Melanie, his wife of 19 years, have chosen to adopt that mantra from the very beginning. Melanie was in college at Texas Tech while Aaron was studying at Wayland and serving in her home town of Stinnett as the youth minister. Melanie’s brother was in Aaron’s youth group. Whenever Melanie would come back into town from college, her mother would invite Aaron over for Sunday brunch. “Truth be told, we did not hit it off right away,” laughs Aaron. All it took was one night of good conversation and a movie date to see “Men in Black,” and the rest was history. “I definitely married up, as Melanie now works as a Project Manager for ConocoPhillips.” Together, Aaron and Melanie have a 15-year-old daughter named Kealy and a 12-year-old daughter named Ashley. Both are heavily involved in competitive cheerleading. Little known fact—Aaron spent one
year as the mascot at Wayland Baptist University, and the following year as a cheerleader. With that being said, he is truly the best cheer dad around! As the kids get older and have numerous school and extracurricular activities, it is increasingly difficult to carve out family time. The Groff’s still make the good ‘ol family dinner a priority. “If it means eating dinner at 4:30, that is ok,” Aaron says. “The important thing is that we are together for those few minutes to talk about our day.” Saturday nights in the fall are a big deal at the Groff household. “We are Texas Tech Red Raider fans through and through,” says Aaron. “Sporting events are our bonding time as a family.” When it comes to quality time as a couple, Aaron and Melanie enjoy an evening on the couch watching whatever happens to be on their DVR. Nothing glamorous, but Aaron says, “It’s our thing.”
The Man Behind the Title There is so much more to the man than the title. Aaron Groff is a family man, a man of faith, and a man who chooses to serve his community in many ways. At the end of the day, it comes down to faith, family, and Fulshear – in that order. d
four VENOMOUS SNAKES
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WRITTEN BY CJ McDANIEL
Photo Credit: iStock.com/JWJarrett
Just say the word and for a lot of people, shivers go up and down their spine. And… I’m one of them. I just have never been a fan of snakes since I was a kid and found one in my sleeping bag. Snakes have been objects of fascination, or fear and suspicion since ancient times. Sadly, for some people, their first reaction to a snake is to pick up the nearest shovel or hoe and quickly dispatch the intruder. Snakes, however, play a key role in the balance of nature.
Granted, some Texans may be reluctant to brag about this one, but the Lone Star State is, undeniably, a cornucopia of snake diversity. Although the exact number of species is hard to determine, we boast a stunning 76 species of snakes. If you include both species and subspecies in that number, it gives you a grand total of 115, or more - the highest number in all of the United States.
The vast majority of Texas’ snakes are nonvenomous and completely harmless. Only 15% of the total number are venomous and should be treated with caution and respect. The venomous varieties can be grouped into four basic categories: coral snakes, copperheads, cottonmouths (also known as water moccasins), and rattlesnakes.
Here are some facts to understand and help you as you live in our natural settings within Cross Creek Ranch. • Snakes are found throughout Texas. Of the 254 counties in Texas not one of them is snake free. • Snakes are active from March through the beginning of November. • You may see them now if you live in a newer area where you have not seen them before as construction of homes, pools, roads, etc. creates a tremendous amount of ground vibration. Snakes do not have inner or outer ears; they rely on taste and sight and are amazingly sensitive to vibrations. Therefore, they move away from their normal hiding places that are now shaky to the still surroundings of our yards and playgrounds. Severe droughts and rains also displace snakes into our yards. • To be safe, look around! Never step or put your hand where you cannot see. • Keep grass and vegetation cut short. Trim shrubs and bushes so you can see the ground under them. Remove debris piles immediately (branches, leaves boards, logs). Cut low limbs (Keep three feet above the ground). After cutting down a tree, remove the stump— do not leave it to rot and provide hiding and nesting places for the Texas Coral Snake. Should you have a wood burning fireplace, do not store fireplace logs on your back porch or backyard.
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As a Texas Master Naturalist, I have often been asked: What kind of snake is it? Is this snake poisonous? What good are snakes anyway? And, by the way, snakes are not poisonous, but some are venomous. While I personally am not a snake lover, I do recognize that many snakes that God put here perform certain functions to help the environment. Some are predators and feed on a variety of creatures. Small snakes feed on many harmful bugs and insects. Larger ones eat mice, rats and other small mammals that can destroy the ecosystem or damage personal property. Snakes tend to control rodent population in particular, so without them, we might be completely overrun by nuisance rodents.
Photo Credit: iStock.com/Weber
The Coral Snake ... Red, Yellow & Black Photo Credit: iStock.com/PhilBilly
TEX A S FOUR V EN OM OUS SN A K ES
The Copperhead ... typically rust with brown ... see the Hershey Kiss shape on the sides?
Photo Credit: iStock.com/Wide-River-Rick
Photo Credit: iStock.com/stephen bowling
THE Diamondback...note the diamond pattern down the entire body
Now to address the key issue of this story. There are four venomous, or poisonous, snakes that call Texas home. You will want to be able to identify them. Let’s start with the easiest one. The Coral Snake. Red next to yellow, nasty fellow or is it red next to black, nice Jack. Easy to get mixed up. So, our advice is if you see any snake with bands of red, yellow and black, do not try anything with it. Just let it go away. It is a smaller snake, typically very slender. This is the most dangerous of all the venomous snakes in Texas as it secretes a neurotoxin when it bites…and it bites. It does not strike like the rattlesnake. It has numerous little small teeth that all are razor sharp and they puncture the skin and secrete their venom. There is no anti-toxin for the Coral Snake today. The snake’s neurotoxic venom causes rapid paralysis and respiratory failure in its prey; however, according to the National Institutes of Health, it can take many hours for symptoms to appear in humans. Additionally, there is often little or no pain or swelling in humans from a coral snake bite. So, get to the hospital as quickly as possible. Period. The other three snakes are pit vipers. The Diamondback Rattlesnake is responsible for inflicting two-thirds of the venomous bites in the State of Texas. There are nine different varieties of rattlesnakes. The western diamondback is the most common and widespread followed by the Timber or Canebreak rattler. Copperheads are found in this part of Texas. Copperheads have chestnut or reddish-brown crossbands on a lighter colored body. These snakes are found in rocky areas and wooded bottomlands, although can be found along streambeds. There are three subspecies, but all have the similar shape and size. The last venomous snake is the Cottonmouth , or Water Moccasin . This snake does have a bright white mouth which is clearly evident when it opens its mouth wide for its prey to see. Cottonmouths can be dark brown, olive-brown, olive green or almost solid black. They are marked with wide, dark bands, which are more distinct in some individuals than in others. Juvenile snakes are more brilliantly marked. Although not 100% reliable, we have used the triangular head identification with 99.9% accuracy for many years. If the head of the snake is rounded, it typically is not venomous. However, if the head is triangular with the mouth of the snake sharper, rather than round, it might be venomous…and make extra effort to leave these guys alone.
Photo Credit: iStock.com/tornado98
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the CanebrakE Rattlesnake
Copperheads, cottonmouths, and rattlesnakes are called “pit vipers” because they have a special “pit” organ between their eyes and nostrils that uses heat sensors to hunt prey. The best method to identify venomous snakes is by looking at their eyes…not lovingly, just to see the eyeball. And, you don’t have to get real close to do so. All venomous snakes in Texas have vertical slits in the eye (actually called vertically elliptical pupils). So a triangular head and up-down slits in the eyes….a definite no-no!
Snakes do not prey on humans and they will not chase you, in fact they usually retreat or escape if given the opportunity. The danger comes when they are either surprised or cornered. Following are photographs of the four snakes that could endanger you, your family or your pets. However, we recommend getting a field guide, so you can be more educated and safe. There are several good ones available today. The University of Texas Press has a very good publication for less than $15, Texas Snakes: A Field Guide .
A few final thoughts and recommendations
if you get bitten
what to do
Assume envenomation has occurred, especially if initial symptoms are present. Initial symptoms of pit viper bites include fang puncture marks; in addition, they almost always include immediate burning pain at the bite site, immediate and usually progressive local swelling within five minutes, as well as local discoloration of the skin. Initial symptoms of coral snake bites include tremors, slurred speech, blurred or double vision, drowsiness or euphoria and a marked increase in salivation within four hours; however, life-threatening effects from coral snake envenomation may not be evident for 24 hours or longer.
Try to identify the species of venomous snake that inflicted the bite, if possible, taking care to avoid another person being bitten. Identification is not necessary, but may be helpful.
Keep the victim as calm as possible. This helps reduce the spread of venom and the onset of shock.
5 6 7 8
Keep yourself and any other members of the group calm as well. This will help reassure the victim and ensure that the appropriate first-aid measures are followed, as well as preventing anyone else from becoming injured. Wash the bite area with a disinfectant if available. Remove jewelry such as rings and watches, as well as tight-fitting clothes, before any onset of swelling. Reduce or prevent movement of a bitten extremity, using a splint if possible; this helps decrease the spread of venom. For the same reason, position the extremity below the level of the heart. Get the victim to a medical facility as soon as possible. Recently the supplies of anti-venom for pit viper bites has expired and is not being replaced. So, quick response time to the nearest medical facility is critical.
what not to do
Old Schoolâ€Ś.Do NOT make incisions over the bite marks. This can result in significant damage to already traumatized tissue, and can damage intact structures such as nerves and blood vessels, enhance bleeding caused by anticoagulant components of venom and increase the rapid spread of venom throughout the body if the circulatory system is compromised.
Do not use a tourniquet or other constricting ban except in extreme cases of envenomation, and then only if properly trained in the technique.
Do not use electroshock therapy, a method popularized following publication of a letter from a missionary in South America reporting its effectiveness in treating bites from snakes of uncertain identity.
Do not drink alcohol, as it dilates blood vessels and increases absorption from the circulatory system, and thus helps spread venom faster.
Do not use the pressure/immobilization technique, which consists of firmly wrapping the entire limb with an elastic bandage and then splinting, especially for pit viper bites.
Do not use cryotherapy (including cold compresses, ice, dry ice, chemical ice packs, spray refrigerants, and freezing) for the same reasons that the tourniquets should be avoided, and also because it can increase the area necrosis.
Do not use aspirin or related medications to relieve pain, because they increase bleeding. A pain reliever not containing aspirin, however, may be used.
One final thoughtâ€Śrumor is that rat poison will keep snakes away. Please, do not use rat poison to try to prevent snakes in your yard. It could endanger your own pets and certainly can do harm to other wildlife that might be a positive impact in the environment. d
Jack Harper Fulshear City Manager WRITTEN BY JACLYN RITTER, PHOTOGRAPHY BY RHONDA RENEE PHOTOGRAPHY
The city of Fulshear welcomed its new City Manager, Jack Harper, on April 9, 2018. Jack brings with him knowledge, experience, and a real heart for the job.
rowing up in San Antonio, Jack was active in Boy Scouts of America. He says that it was through this organization that he discovered his desire to help people and make a difference. Jack graduated from Castle Hill First Baptist Church School knowing exactly what he wanted to do with his life and laid out a path for himself that would result in attaining that goal – becoming a City Manager.
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After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Texas Tech University, Jack secured a job working for the city of Lubbock. While building up his resume, he worked toward his Master’s Degree in public administration. Fast forward 25 years, and Jack has now worked for the cities of San Antonio, Abilene, Stamford, Hillsboro, and Waco. Not only did Jack achieve his goal of becoming a city manager but, thanks to his 25 years in local government, he says that he has had the privilege of seeing firsthand what works and what does not work when it comes to running a city. Jack has worked with cities both large and small and brings with him an extensive skillset. More importantly, he brings with him a fresh set of eyes and excitement for what is to come for the city of Fulshear. Jack Harper has been involved with the Boy Scouts of America for 39 years, volunteering with the organization even on a national level. He is proud to give back to the organization that opened his eyes to public service. Both Jack and his wife Julie enjoy watching their son, Jake, participate in Boy Scouts. Jake, like his father, has taken an interest in serving others. Jack and Julie Harper could not be prouder.
Get to know Fulshear’s new city manager, Jack Harper, with the help of a question and answer session! FM: What is the role of City Manager? JACK: When a city population grows to more than 5,000, the citizens can vote to decide if they want to be a Home Rule city, meaning they can set their own ordinances and resolutions. Fulshear became a Home Rule city on May 17, 2016. Home Rule cities often have a City Manager form of government, wherein the city council sets policy, and the City Manager is tasked with the day to day operations of running the city. An easy way to visualize this is by thinking of a business – the city council would be the board of directors, and the city manager would be the CEO. My main job is to make sure the city follows the policy set by the city council. The City Manager is also tasked with operational aspects, such as overseeing human resources, administrative personnel, the police department, building inspections, code compliance, city maintenance crews, as well as ensuring that city infrastructure (roads, water, sewer) is maintained.
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30 JA CK H A RPER
FM: What are Fulshear’s strengths, and where do you feel the city can improve? JACK: Fulshear is a beautiful city, a truly scenic place. Fulshear has a lot of natural charm, and I feel a lot of that stems from its people. We are a city that can provide a very high quality of life for our residents. We do, however, have a demand placed upon us as a city to continue to build our infrastructure and prepare for growth. For example, there is a lot of road construction taking place by the Texas Department of Transportation and Fort Bend County. The widening of FM1093 will help accommodate the growth that has already taken place, as well as prepare for the growth that is yet to come in and around our city. With that being said, we also must have the people in place to handle the increase in water and sewer lines, road maintenance, building inspection, and permits. Based on the population projections, our current infrastructure in place, along with city council policy, the city will plan for future needs.
FM: What opportunities do you see on the horizon that will improve the lives of Fulshear residents? JACK:
“Fulshear has a lot of
and I feel a lot of that stems from its
We plan to partner with Fort Bend County, different stake holders, and the state of Texas as it pertains to water funding, options for infrastructure projects, and emergency management. I see nothing but endless opportunities so long as we identify our needs and identify those partners who can help us provide funding, as well as institutional knowledge and assist us as we grow. We as a city need to be more proactive and self-sufficient.
FM: What is Fulshear doing to prepare for the continuing growth, and to attract the right kind of growth?
(L to R) Angela Fritz (Economic Development Director), Maureen Murray (Events Coordinator), Jack Harper and Sharon Valiante (Public Works Director).
The city engages with Population and Survey Analysis (PASA), an organization focused on gathering information on demographics. They look at demographic trends to help school districts and cities forecast what the numbers will look like in the coming years. We are using this information to help prepare the city’s budget, and to plan for revenues and expenses. As we work on the Livable Cities Initiative, we are looking to have a strategic plan to help the city identify its future growth and to learn what kinds of businesses would thrive here. This is all being done in an effort to be proactive instead of reactive.
Fulshear is a beautiful area of our state and, honestly, that is what initially drew me here. While Fulshear has history dating back to 1824, it has only been growing as of recent years. I have worked over 25 years in local government and have worked in cities that are fast growing like Fulshear, but most of these cities were already built out. What I am really passionate about is helping the citizens and staff of Fulshear work together with the city council to build a vision and blueprint for the city’s future. Not many City Managers get the opportunity and privilege to help lay the groundwork for a city. I am very excited to be a part of it.
FM: Regarding the city of Fulshear, what are you passionate about?
Since taking on the role of Fulshear’s City Manager back in April, Jack understands and embraces the Fulshear lifestyle. Through his daily actions, he is showing residents that he has the city’s best interest in mind, and he is dedicated to preserving and enriching the great city he and his family are happy to call home. d
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“We as a city need to be more proactive and self-sufficient.”
WILD ABOUT TEXAS
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WRITTEN BY CJ McDANIEL - Coastal Prairie Chapter Past Training Director AMBER LEUNG - Coastal Prairie Chapter Past President PHOTOGRAPHY BY AMBER LEUNG
hether you’re a native, you moved here a long time ago or very recently, you have likely heard the expression, “Everything’s bigger in Texas!” In so many ways, it’s true. From Oklahoma to the Mexican border it is 801 miles, and east to west the state spans 773 miles. With over 268,000 square miles of land and an everincreasing population projected to be more than 29 million residents in 2019, Texas is the largest state in the continental U.S. and the second-most populous. “So what?” you might ask. Due to the vastness of Texas, most of us do not realize that it is one of the most ecologically-diverse states in the country with 10 distinct climatic regions. These regions support more than 180 species of mammals, 645 different birds, thousands of varieties of plants, and tens-of-thousands of invertebrates.
With all these plants and animals, Texas has always been a great place of discovery for naturalists. The first European naturalists to arrive studied and cataloged new species for those who followed in their footsteps. For settlers and their descendants, a desire to understand the interactions between nature and agriculture grew into formal disciplines of higher learning.
“To be whole. To be complete. Nature reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.” - Terry Tempest Williams -
What does that mean? It means there are a myriad of opportunities for a Texas Master Naturalist to serve local communities and are limited only by their imagination, time, and energy. Some Master Naturalists choose to specialize their knowledge in specific disciplines such as plants, insects, birds or native flowers and grasses. Some enjoy giving public outreach presentations to adults and children, while others prefer the peace and solitude of habitat restoration. Usually, most serve in a combination of ways. The Texas Master Naturalist Program is jointly sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. From its inception in 1997, it has grown to 48 chapters and more than 10,800 volunteers. Whether it’s designing nature trails, conserving habitat, setting up birding stations, or planting wildflowers, TMN volunteers are creating a better environment for their fellow Texans. Since 1997, Texas Master Naturalist volunteer efforts have provided over 3.7 million hours of service valued at more than $84.9 million. This service
has resulted in developing and maintaining more than 2,150 miles of trails; enhancing 226,200 plus acres of wildlife and native plant habitats; reaching more than 4.3 million youth, adults and private landowners. One member discovered a new plant species. The program has gained international, state, and local recognition with the Wildlife Management Institute’s Presidents’ 2000 Award, the National Audubon Society’s 2001 Habitat Hero’s Award, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission’s 2001 Environmental Excellence Award, Texas A&M University’s 2001 Vice Chancellor’s Award of Excellence in Partnership and in 2005 the U. S. Department of Interior’s “Take Pride in America” award.
More than 3,000 acres of land have been conserved or impacted by Chapters throughout the State. The local Coastal Prairie Chapter serves Fort Bend and Waller Counties and has more than 100 dedicated volunteers. Why the coastal prairie? It’s likely hard to believe that several hundred years ago, there were very few trees in our area. Coastal prairie is the name of the habitat that historically existed right under our
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The Texas Master Naturalist Program mission is “to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their local communities for the State of Texas.”
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feet here. It is a type of tall-grass prairie that extended along the Texas and Louisiana coasts from Corpus Christi to Lafayette. One could call it critically endangered today, because less than one-tenth of one percent of that habitat still exists relatively undisturbed. The other 99.9 percent of the land went the way of agriculture and development long ago.
TMN working to protect endangered Monarch butterfly migration.
TMN volunteers Gerald Trenta, Sal Cardenas, and Roger Hathorn setting fenceposts for hog proof fence in the Seabourne Park demo garden.
Butterfly Gardens Big Help for Small Flyers Butterfly gardens are rapidly growing in popularity and are a great way to beautify homes and public spaces with wild blooms and colorful wings, while providing critical habitat for pollinators. Members of TMN have helped build butterfly gardens throughout Fort Bend County, including one that is one of the primary features at Seabourne Creek Nature Park in Rosenberg, Texas.
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The basic building blocks of a butterfly garden are host plants and nectar plants. Host plants are the preferred food source for caterpillars (that ultimately become butterflies). Common host plants include milkweed for monarchs and queens and passionflower vine for gulf fritillaries and zebra longwings. Once these caterpillars complete their first life-stage and emerge as butterflies, however, they will need nectar sources. These native blooms provide this critical nectar . Blue and white mistflowers, purple coneflower, lantana, and coral honeysuckle are excellent native options to attract and feed the adult butterflies. Donâ€™t be surprised if you see colorful moths also enjoying these plants.
These gardens are a delight for observers but they also play an important conservation role. Texas is a critical habitat in the migration of endangered monarch butterflies because it is situated between the principal breeding grounds in the north and the overwintering areas in Mexico. Monarchs funnel South through Texas in the fall, with our region in the center of the flyway. The land in this important flyway has changed drastically over the last few hundred years with the loss of thousands of acres of milkweed that provides the sustenance for monarchs. The future of the Monarch migration is uncertain but we are hopeful it can be preserved by bringing back the flora that sustains it.
Birds of Many Colors Birding, sometimes called birdwatching, is the recreational observation of birds. As mentioned before, Texas is an extraordinary place to be a birder with 645 resident, migrant, and incidental species. It would likely not come as a surprise to anyone reading this article that many Master Naturalists are avid birders. Readers might be surprised, however, that birders have documented nearly 200 distinct species in nearby Seabourne Creek Nature Park. On the first Wednesday morning of most months (usually excluding mid-winter and mid-summer), the public is invited to join a Monthly Bird Hike in the park led by local experts. Many people donâ€™t realize the surprising beauty and vivid colored plumage that are sometimes hiding in plain sight, such as the brilliant painted bunting. Far from a selfish hobby, birding checklists can contribute valuable scientific data to individual landowners, the state, and the world. On the most local of scales, TMN volunteers form survey teams to help local landowners understand their own species diversity and as an aid for their 1-D-1 Wildlife Management Plan. This plan allows a landowner a significant tax benefit for dedicating and managing a portion of his land for wildlife species. However, the minimum requirement is 25 acres dedicated to the Wildlife Management Plan.
Roger Hathorn, Diane Shelton, and Linda Rippert prepare to re-plant the butterfly garden.
Citizens can be scientists when bird lists are uploaded to the eBird.org database. This is an online, publiclyaccessible database created by the Cornell Lab of
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Smoky the bear said, “Only you can prevent forest fires.” This is what many of us grew up hearing. More recently, land conservationists have developed the technology and means to adopt a policy of large-scale fire suppression for the protection of life, property, and livestock. Sometimes this policy was also applied in a misguided attempt at conservation. To replicate those old natural conditions, TMN volunteers assist trained Texas Parks and Wildlife personnel to conduct prescribed burns on private property throughout Texas. Burns are conducted only under very specific wind and humidity conditions and are carefully controlled and monitored. Trained volunteers roam the perimeters to ensure no flames escape the control burn areas.
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The critically endangered Attwater’s Prairie Chicken. On the brink of extinction due to the loss of native prairie habitat and the spread of invasive species.
Ornithology. It is crowd-sourced science on a grand scale, providing population and migration data that professional ornithologists could never have imagined possible 20 years ago. Volunteers also help with the state’s effort to study white-winged doves through an annual dove banding effort. Basic statistics on each bird are recorded and an individually numbered band is affixed to a leg before they are released. When a banded bird is found, the location, age and date help improve understanding of the movements, population numbers, and harvest statistics for this popular game bird.
Each fall, Texas Master Chapters including the Coastal Prairie Chapter offer training to become a Certified Texas Master Naturalist. This 12-week course provides opportunities to see and explore some of the nearby Texas Parks as well as have experienced biologists, botanists, environmentalists and other specialty field experts provide hands-on training in many areas of interest. An individual gains the designation of Texas Master Naturalist after participating in this approved chapter training program consisting of a minimum of 40 hours of combined field and classroom instruction. Trainees become Certified by obtaining 8 hours of approved advanced training and completing 40 hours of volunteer service. Following the initial training program, trainees have one year in which to complete their 40 hours of volunteer service and 8 hours of advanced training. To retain the Texas Master Naturalist Certification title during each subsequent year, volunteers must complete 8 additional hours of advanced training and provide an additional 40 hours of volunteer service coordinated through their local chapter. Though that seems like a lot for a volunteer program, so many volunteers do even more; 52 volunteers have given over 5,000 service hours, and 9 volunteers have given over 10,000 service hours! Should you have interest classes begin in August and end the last week of October. The office is in Rosenberg in the Texas AgriLife Extension office on Band Road adjacent to the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds. d
To learn more about TMN volunteers assist trained Texas Parks & Wildlife personnel to conduct prescribed burns.
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A Prescription for Fire A part of returning natural prairie or farmland to its best condition is through controlled burning. Hundreds of years ago, natural fires helped to maintain the prairie boundaries by clearing the few invading trees and shrubs and thinning the fast-growing grasses, thereby allowing greater plant species diversity. Fires also return nutrients to the soil and make them available for the new growth that many types of wildlife (including popular game species) depend upon.
visit - http://txmn.org/coastal Events, meetings and activities are open to the public and are always listed on the chapter calendar. Please join us.
Not Your Ordinary Community Tucked behind the guarded entrance along FM 1093, the EXCLUSIVE 1,400-ACRE COMMUNITY of Weston Lakes remains one of the BEST KEPT SECRETS in the Fulshear area. Many long-time area residents drive right past it every day and donâ€™t realize all that this community has to offer.
country club lifestyle on a daily basis Featuring a private 18-hole championship golf course designed by PGA Tour champion Hale Irwin, tennis courts, two swimming pools, the Waterside Grill and a fully appointed fitness center with personal trainers, Weston Lakes residents are treated to a country club lifestyle on a daily basis. The Ballroom at the Weston Lakes Country Club, which overlooks Pecan Lake, is an ideal place to host a wedding, special event or corporate retreat. Country club memberships are available to both residents and non-residents. Originally developed in 1984, Weston Lakes is an established community that boasts a tax rate of 2.3%, which makes purchasing a custom home surprisingly affordable compared to other master planned communities.
The Weston Lakes community contains miles of natural lakes and greenbelts, which meander through the stunning custom crafted homes, along with frontage along the Brazos River frontage where deer and other scenic wildlife roam freely in native habitat. With homes from $300â€™s to over $1 million, The Reserve at Weston Lakes is the newest section of the Weston Lakes community. The Reserve is accessible from Weston Lakesâ€™ main entry gate, as well as the new guard gate along Bowser Road, which is located just west of the Weston Lakes community. The friendly staff at the Weston Lakes Information Center and County Club are available to show you all that Weston Lakes has to offer.
w e s to n l a k e s. n e t 32611 F.M. 1093 Fulshear, TX 77441 (281) 346-1967
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From the Ashes WRITTEN BY KRISTY SMITH
Before settling into their life in Fulshear, Kristy and Steve lived for a time in New York City. There, they became firsthand witnesses to the horrible events that occurred on September 11, 2001. After much reflection, Kristy (Smith) is now able to share their story.
Photo Credit: iStock.com/Andrew_Deer
“The sky was falling and streaked with blood. I heard you calling me, then you disappeared into the dust. Up the stairs, into the fire. Up the stairs, into the fire. I need your kiss, but love and duty called you someplace higher. Somewhere up the stairs, Into the fire.”
These are the opening lyrics to Bruce Springsteen’s “Into the Fire.” They hit me hard every time I hear them. The album, The Rising, was Springsteen’s response to the September 11, 2001 tragedy. For me, there is no more fitting tribute. The emotions he captures in every verse are so real and still so visceral for me. Like the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, or the catastrophic end to the Space Shuttle Challenger launch in 1986, we all remember where we were on September 11, 2001. As you are reading this, I imagine you are thinking back to when you got the phone call or turned on the television that morning. My husband, Steve, and I were in the center of that horrific event in Manhattan. We lived through it in real-time with no newscasters explaining the situation and no electronic barrier that we could turn off if it all got to be too much. This is the short version of my experience. The long version could fill a book.
Like this year, September 11, 2001 was a Tuesday. It was election day in New York City. We were supposed to vote for a new Mayor, and I had intended to go to the polls after work. Like usual, I got on the shuttle outside my apartment building. We lived in Hell’s Kitchen, just three blocks west of Times Square. At the time, it was not the hip and trendy neighborhood it is now. We were considered “way west” – nearly New Jersey! – so to entice people to move in, our high-rise sponsored a commuter shuttle to get residents to the much more central and civilized location of Fifth Avenue and 44th Street. Steve and I had just come back from a trip to Boston over the weekend to celebrate our birthdays. I had been sick all weekend and was happy to be home. The morning was glorious. Sunny skies, warm – a perfect late summer day in New York City.
04 01 - Soldiers marching in New York - Photo by Sven Duyx (2003) 02 - Kristy & Steve on their wedding day - PHOTO by Leah Flanigan (2003) 03 - World Trade Center Towers 04 - Flag off the back of a ferry
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I got off the bus and began my walk to my office building; a fifteen-minute commute I had been doing daily for six months. We had just moved to Manhattan from Chicago that March, and even though I had never imagined that I would visit New York City, let alone live there, I loved it. I’d get lost in thought, awed by my surroundings every morning. As I walked that morning, I heard a plane. It sounded incredibly low and
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immediately, and innocently, my mind wandered to, “What would happen if a plane crashed in the city?” I pondered that thought the rest of the way to my highrise office.
I knew in my heart of hearts that Steve had made it out. He had to. I simply could not accept any other outcome.
I got off the elevator on the 33rd floor and the receptionist shouted, “A plane just hit the Trade Center!” I ran to the windows – we were up high enough that we could see some of the taller buildings further away. I took two steps, stopped short and shouted, “Steve!” and then took off toward my cubicle.
Our best friends from Chicago had just moved to Manhattan a few weeks prior. They moved into our building and lived one floor below. They were home that day. I had them to help me through the next few hours of not hearing from Steve.
My husband worked at 7 World Trade Center. He was on the 27th floor, and his office faced the two towers. I got to my desk and my phone was ringing. It was my mom calling from Michigan. She’d seen the news already. “I don’t know what’s happened, Mom. I have to call Steve. I love you. I gotta go.” I called Steve immediately after hanging up with my Mom. At this point, we had no idea what kind of plane had hit, whether it was a tragic accident, or where it hit on the building. Nothing. I got through to Steve, and as we were talking, the second plane hit. Seventeen years later, and I’m still struggling to keep my cheeks dry as I write this. “There’s been another explosion. evacuated. I have to go,” he said.
“I love you.” “I love you, too.” Three hours of radio silence after that. The cell towers were on top of the buildings that had been hit. Our phones became bricks in our pockets - reminders of how little control we had over the situation. I ran to my boss’s office. I didn’t know what to say or do. We all ran into the board room to watch the madness unfold on television as we tried to figure out the best course of action in real life. I worked in a high-rise. I lived in a high-rise. They were attacking high-rises. I wasn’t safe anywhere. I wanted to go home, to Michigan. Sadly, that wasn’t an option, so I left the office. If I was going to die that day, I wasn’t going to die at work. My colleague joined me. She lived in New Jersey and she did not know how she was going to get home. I was lucky. It was about a thirty-minute walk to our apartment, so I walked home every day. The only difference was this time I didn’t know if my building would still be there when I got home.
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As we walked, a mini-van stopped, and the driver rolled down the window, shouting, “The tower is falling!” This wasn’t a movie. Nobody shouted “cut!” and ordered us to do it all again. This was happening, and we didn’t know what to do about it. Scared and confused, my colleague and I continued through the chaotic streets of Manhattan and made it back to my apartment. It was still standing. But the cell phones were still out.
Then, he came home. The elevator dinged and Steve and ten of his office mates shuffled out and into our 700 square foot apartment. Humor helps me deal with stressful situations, and the prospect of housing twelve people in our tiny Manhattan apartment though stressful at the time, makes me laugh now. I also laugh remembering that Steve’s boss stopped at our neighborhood grocery store – which was still open during all of this – and bought cold cuts, eggs and spaghetti to feed the masses. We didn’t buy spaghetti for a year. As the day went on, and it became evident that the attacks – because that’s what we learned they were now – were over, people began looking for ways to get home. The Circle Line, a tourist boat company that provided tours circling Manhattan with views of all five boroughs, the Twin Towers, and the Statue of Liberty, opened up their boats to ferry people from Manhattan to New Jersey for free. The lines were long but moving, and some of our temporary roommates made it home that way. Throughout all this, there was one other person I hadn’t heard from, another Chicago transplant, and one of my very best friends - Phyllis. She worked in Tower II. It was the first building hit that morning. She worked on the 101st floor. I didn’t know if she made it out. I couldn’t get a hold of her, no one could. Late in the afternoon, I finally got through to friends in Chicago, using the land line, and got word that Phyllis was okay. Later, I found out that she had been late to work that morning. She was on a bus uptown when the first plane hit. She was on a bus, and late for work. One unintended action – being late – led to my friend still being with us. There’s certainly some “larger than me” philosophy to be pondered there. I am grateful that she is still here. Around 5:00 p.m., all our unexpected guests had left. Steve and I had got hold of our parents, and they all knew we were alive. I don’t want to think about the terror they felt that day. Our apartment faced south. When we moved in, we had a 180-degree unobstructed view. We could see Times Square (barely, from the balcony, but it counts), the Empire State building, the Twin Towers, the Statue of Liberty (she was tiny, but she was visible), and the Hudson River and New Jersey. During our four-year stay, construction blocked our view of the Empire State Building and the Towers were gone. But, we still had the Statue of Liberty: a testament to the strength and pride we shared as New Yorkers. The television showed a near exact replica of what we could see from our living room. All day: smoke, fire, fear, dust. The news cycled through the horror of the towers falling, on repeat. We couldn’t take our eyes off it. Then, as we looked out our window, Steve’s building
11 - 9/11 memorabilia - magazines from shortly after - rescue 1 patch from the neighboring fire department (see photo 13) 12 - NYC Police - Photo by Sven Duyx (2003) 13 - this fire department lost 11 of their crew - Photo by Sven Duyx (2003) 14 - the newly built one world trade center
05 - view of NYC from Kristyâ€™s apartment 06 - streets of New York - Photo by Sven Duyx (2003) 07 - grand central station terminal - Photo by Sven Duyx (2003) 08 - kristy & her mom 09 - statue of liberty in New York HARBour 10 - NY GIANTS game shortly after the attack
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fell. A split second later, it fell on our television screen. In a day of surreal experiences, that was just one more.
September 12th, 2001 was the quietest Manhattan had ever been. I recall walking up 9th Avenue and expecting to see tumbleweeds, it was so empty.
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My husband didn’t have an office to go to. It hadn’t been hit, but it bore the brunt of the heat and the stress of losing the other two buildings, and it was gone just the same. We went to breakfast with some of his colleagues. I didn’t know if I should go to work or not. I didn’t have a playbook on how to deal with terrorist attacks at that point in my life. But, eventually, I made it to the office and was immediately turned away. Everything was too raw. Fighter planes were still circling the city, and every time one flew past, I shook, expecting it to be another attack.
Photo Credit: iStock.com/onurkurtic
to it. We cried. We laughed. We were awestruck at each other’s descriptions of our experiences. But, we had gone through this unthinkable, immense, world-changing event together. We needed each other to heal. And we did, eventually. We’re not the same as we were before that day. None of us are, not in New York, not in Texas, not anywhere. But, we are healing. I went through dark days afterward of blaming, hating, and stereotyping. None of that made me feel any better about what I had gone through. Not in the long run, anyway. Maybe at first it felt good to have someone to hate for such unspeakable actions and so much loss. But, after a while the hate didn’t have a purpose any more. It didn’t fill the hole, that hole would always be there. My feelings had nothing to do with it.
We were immensely proud. We were strong. We didn’t need hate. We needed 16 action, organization. Companies began putting together business continuity 15 - the new 9/11 memorial site plans in earnest. We all 16 - Kristy’s friend Phyllis at the Survivor Tree participated in fire drills – walking down thirty-three These feelings of fear and confusion lasted months, flights of stairs in some cases – to make sure we knew even years. I remember nearly breaking down on the what to do just in case. That is something that has stuck sidewalk when the subway thundered by under my with me. Everywhere we’ve lived since then, we’ve feet. The rumbling had caught me off guard; I thought it had a plan: meeting points, how to communicate if was another plane. I became hyper-aware of the flight technology fails, how to stay safe. pattern at Newark Airport. We could see those planes coming and going from our living room window. Any It’s true that it’s a different world now. But, I don’t think time one came too far out over the river, I expected it that means it’s worse. The tragedy of the September to hit my building. We both slept with “go-bags” next 11th attacks is something that will never leave our to our bed - tennis shoes, undone and ready to slide collective consciousness, and, rightfully so. Thousands on. I began running again, and Steve took up cycling. I of innocent people died that day. But, from the ashes, needed to be fit so that I could outrun whatever might we grew, and continue to grow, stronger. We need to happen next. call on that strength and lean on our friends and family when we feel like we can’t face the day. We can. I think Things did happen. A large plane went down exactly Bruce summed it up well in the chorus of Into the Fire: two months later just after takeoff from JFK Airport. It wasn’t terrorists. It was engine wake. Nearly two years later, the lights went out in the city. Most of the east coast and part of the mid-west was without power for several days over the summer of 2003. Also, not terrorists. But, we banded together. New Yorkers had never been so cooperative. Lines at blood donation centers circled entire city blocks. People looking out for each other in ways they hadn’t done before. We were sad and scared, but we were tough, and determined.
“ May your strength give us strength - May your faith give us faith - May your hope give us hope - May your love give us love”
We, New Yorkers, all talked about it a lot afterward. Every conversation, if it wasn’t the initial topic, it turned
Strength. Faith. Hope. Love. Building blocks of a strong community. Even after the worst. d
Larry Johnson AND THE KEY TO CREATING
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arry Johnson and his company, Johnson Development Corp., are synonymous with successful master-planned communities.
Mr. Johnson founded the company in 1975 and has watched the firm grow throughout the years to become one of the nation’s most successful residential developers. In fact, Johnson Development currently has six master-planned communities listed among the nation’s top-selling — more than any other developer in the nation. And that’s an achievement it has earned every year since 2014. The key to his success, Mr. Johnson says, is a focus on lifestyle. “It’s a great thing to create places for people to plant roots, grow their families and celebrate life,” he said. That mantra is on full display right here in Fulshear, where two of Johnson Development’s 17 active communities can be found. The 1,350-acre JORDAN RANCH, which broke ground in 2015 and welcomed its first residents the following year, evokes a small-town ambiance despite being only a mile from Interstate 10. A lifestyle director plans frequent events where neighbors can meet, and The Shed recreation complex is a favorite gathering spot. Johnson Development communities are known for extraordinary amenities, and Jordan Ranch is no exception. Anchoring the recreation complex is a resort pool and signature lazy river — something seldom found in master-planned communities. Also located in Fulshear is a community with a longer history — CROSS CREEK RANCH. Now celebrating 11 years of home sales, the 3,200-acre development is one of the nation’s best-selling master-planned communities — No. 25, according to Robert Charles Lesser & Co. Necessary improvements to the land — such as restoring Flewellen Creek and creating a water treatment basin — are transformed into picturesque amenities that not only offer outdoor recreation to residents, but also habitats for indigenous wildlife. Fields of Texas wildflowers beautify the landscape, creating a family photo backdrop. The 50-acre Polishing Pond is the equivalent of three football fields, offering a naturalized system of bio-remediating lakes that essentially “polishes” the water before it ultimately flows from Flewellen Creek then into Oyster Creek. It’s also a fantastic place to bird watch.
“It’s a great thing to create places for people to plant roots, grow their families and celebrate life,”
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Cross Creek Ranch also employs a formula Mr. Johnson has found successful in other communities — on-site schools, an accessible location and destination retail.
LA RRY JOH N SON
“It’s our focus on resident lifestyle and creating a sense of community that really sets us apart.” Two Katy ISD elementary schools are currently open in Cross Creek Ranch with a Katy junior high and high school under construction now. Residents also are served by popular schools within the Lamar Consolidated Independent School District. The Westpark Tollway expansion is almost complete and the Grand Parkway isn’t too far away. A large H-E-B opened in 2018 to serve the many residents who have moved to the area and many more retailers and services have opened (and will continue to open throughout 2019) at the Market at Cross Creek Ranch. The approximate 8,000 people who live in Cross Creek Ranch are far more than the 400 who lived in Mr. Johnson’s hometown of Kress. Attending Texas Tech University on a football scholarship and later attending law school at the University of Texas, Mr. Johnson was introduced to real estate while living in Austin. When the company he was working for moved to Houston, he went with them. Mr. Johnson decided to make the leap into owning his own firm in 1975.
“I liked the independence of doing things the way I wanted,” Johnson said. And that was paying attention to location, developing in areas served by desirable schools and partnering with highly regarded builders. “But it’s our focus on resident lifestyle and creating a sense of community that really sets us apart,” he said. But Mr. Johnson doesn’t take all of the credit for the success of his communities. In fact, he points to his team of highly creative and talented people who work at Johnson Development.
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“It’s because of them that we’ve built Johnson Development into one of the leading developers in the nation,” he said. “After all of these years, I still get excited working on deals and working with the people in the company.” And after riding the ups and downs of the Houston economy for decades, Mr. Johnson says he sees good things ahead for the area right now. “There is not an oversupply of housing or lots, jobs have come back, oil prices are good. I think Houston has a good run ahead of it.” d
On My Honor… Building CHARACTER in the new generation of
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WRITTEN BY KRISTY SMITH, PHOTOGRAPHY BY RHONDA RENEE PHOTOGRAPHY
HONOR AND TRADITION In 1912, Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low held the first Girl Scout meeting in her home in Savannah, Georgia with the goal of raising girls to become strong, successful women. Over 100 years later, The Girl Scouts of America is still honoring that ideal. More than two million girls and adults count themselves as Girl Scouts in the United States alone. Jenn Montgomery is a troop leader and head recruiter for the Way Out West Community, which is part of the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto council. Montgomery says that combined with the Lone Star Treasures Community, our area has girls in approximately 175 troops, from the youngest Daisies through the seasoned Ambassadors.
IT STARTS WITH A PROMISE “On my honor, I will try to serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Law.” All Girl Scouts are taught the Girl Scout Promise and the Girl Scout Law from their very first meeting. The Promise is the foundation, and the Girl Scout Law provides the framework for everything Girl Scouts do. According to the Girl Scouts of the USA website, “Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make
LEADERS Montgomery loves the Girl Scouts and the values it teaches girls of all ages. She currently leads a Junior troop of fifth graders from three different elementary schools in the area. Her girls love to camp, so they focus on planning monthly camping trips to one of the Girl Scout campgrounds. The girls do all the planning, from deciding which camp and theme they would like to attend to planning meals, setting a budget, and shopping. Montgomery loves that Girl Scouts is designed for girls, with many of the activities addressing “female stereotypes and how to bust them.” She says that girls learn to succeed based on their choices, consequences, and planning.
AREN’T JUST TASTY You have seen them on your street or in front of the local grocery store – those cute little girls in their blue, brown, or green vests with colorful boxes of sugary goodness stacked taller than they are and smiles wider than the Gulf of Mexico. You try to ignore them, but then they speak. “Would you like to buy a box of Girl Scout Cookies?” Their cute little voices pull you in, and it is over. You have already pulled out your wallet and bought five boxes. Those cute little girls are not just there to be cute. Before they even get near a cookie booth, they will have spent hours practicing valuable life skills and learning the business of selling cookies. According to the Girl Scouts of the USA website, “[a]ll of the net revenue raised through the Girl Scout Cookie Program—100 percent of it— stays with the local council and troops.” This means, each box sold helps to keep campgrounds and programs running, as well as funding activities for each troop. To Montgomery, cookie sales are important because they teach the girls how to “take ownership of a program so they can finance their own goals.” The girls decide how they are going to spend the money they have earned, usually paying for camping trips or buying supplies for service projects.
GIRLS SERVING THEIR
As part of the Girl Scout Promise, the girls learn the value of helping in their community. Laura Lear, co-leader of Brownie Troop 129156 has a small troop of serviceoriented girls who love to help. Their biggest goal, according to Lear, is “getting our girls’ hands and feet active.” Lear’s girls have spent several hours making lunches for and donating cookies to Lunches of Love, making and distributing blankets to cancer patients at MD Anderson, and, using their troop funds, making lunches and feeding the homeless at the Emergency Aid Coalition in Houston. They make giving back to the community a priority every month, while also working on badges and having fun together. Brownie Troop 152045, led by Laura Peart, also embodies the spirit of helping in the community. This troop of second graders has been together since they were Daisies. Peart states that in that time, they have “made bedroom bags for the Rainbow Room in Rosenberg, made non-slip socks for the children’s hospital, homeless bags, and passed out valentines at a nursing home.” These girls will also get to camp at a community campout in the fall and they will pick a “journey” to work on during the year. According to Peart, “[a] journey is a set of badges all following a similar theme…with a community service project at the end that ties all the badges together.” Madi Orta’s Brownie Troop from Huggins Elementary regularly donates cookies to the Fulshear Police and Fire Department. The girls cherish the smiles and hugs they receive from our first responders. Montgomery’s troop routinely helps the Ballard House by donating money and supplies. In return, her girls get a chance to tour the facility and see how their hard work and donations help others in their community.
AND AWARDS, OH MY! The Girl Scout program encourages young girls to discover what interests them, and then learn and attain new skills associated with those interests. From astronomy to golf,
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the world a better place.” This mission is first embodied by Daisies, the youngest scouts, who earn petals representing each value of the Girl Scout Law. Once earned, the girls proudly display their petals on their vibrant blue vests. They carry these values with them through their entire scouting career and on into adulthood.
ON M Y H ON OR
robotics to dance, and any activity in between, there is a place for girls to discover what they love. Many of these activities have badges related to them, so not only are the girls learning a new skill or developing a new passion, they also get something tangible to remind them of all their hard work. Girl Scouts of any age and level can earn badges by completing a task or learning a skill. Each type of badge, award, or insignia has a specific place on the girl scout uniform. The uniform is worn during ceremonies and when representing the Girl Scouts in public. The highest award a girl scout can achieve is the Gold Award. The path to achieving this award, and other awards and badges, is laid out on the Girl Scouts of the USA website. It explains that the Gold Award is an individual award and the girl must be a Senior (9th or 10th grade) or Ambassador (11th or 12th grade) to begin her work. Montgomery has one girl beginning to formulate her plans for this award. Her project must meet rigorous standards set forth by the Girl Scouts of the USA. After completion, she will have created something that will live on and inspire others to help in their community and to do their personal best.
JOIN OR VOLUNTEER! There will always be a place for any girl who is interested to join the Girl Scouts. There are sign up booths at all the elementary schools during Meet the Teacher night, and the website www.gssjc.org has information on finding troops near you and the forms you will need to join. The Way Out West community also has an active Facebook page. Adults, women and men, who are interested in becoming a troop leader, or helping in other ways, are welcome to register. The Girl Scouts will provide you with the materials you need to lead; you need only bring your desire to help. Montgomery, who has been a leader for more than a decade, emphasizes that Girl Scout leaders are mentors who touch the lives of girls and young women in ways their parents cannot. They provide a safe place for their girls to talk. You can do this too. Your talents, experience, and willingness to be a presence in the lives of girls will help them achieve their goals and dreams and create leaders who will help their communities prosper. The Girl Scouts have been an important part of the lives of many girls and women in our community, our country and around the world. This author is proud to count herself and her daughter among them. d
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If you are interested in Juliette Gordon Lowâ€™s story, or to learn more about the Girl Scouts including cookie sales, awards and badges, and how to sign up for a local troop, please visit www.girlscouts.org
Over the summer, my daughter and I had the privilege of touring Juliette Gordon Lowâ€™s home in Savannah, Georgia. We stood in the room where the Girl Scouts began, and we were surrounded by the energy that I know Daisy Low must have exuded in that space. It is hallowed ground, indeed. Special badges await girls who make the journey to the Low home in Savannah.
S E RV I N G O V E R
C O M MU N I T I E S
- DANIEL McJUNKIN -
SPEAKING OF HARVEY During the height of the storm, Meyers’ role across Precinct 3 concentrated on the most pressing needs. His attention was focused on opening shelters, collecting food, water and supplies, emergency planning meetings with the Commissioner’s Court, and continued later as he subsequently organized large community informational events at Cinco Ranch and Fulshear high schools. In the final tally, over 4,000 homes in Precinct 3 flooded.
Commissioner Andy Meyers speaking in Canyon Gate, Photo by Suzy Tighe
Hurricane Harvey brought out the best in many within Fort Bend County. There are countless stories of dramatic rescues, selfless giving, and neighbors helping neighbors – communities becoming more united than ever. As the worst storm in our area’s history galvanized the community, Fort Bend County triumphed over the tragedy. Among the many unsung heroes of Hurricane Harvey, Fort Bend County Commissioner Andy Meyers stands out for his decisive actions during and after the event.
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Commissioner Andy Meyers represents Precinct 3 in Fort Bend County. It is an area that extends from the Brazos River, just north of Simonton, and goes as far south as the Sugar Creek community in Sugar Land. It can be said that this heavily populated precinct was the hardest hit during Hurricane Harvey.
Meyers’ home flooded too, although he minimized attention to it. His time and resources were focused primarily upon his responsibilities as Commissioner. Apparently, not even his own staff knew the initial extent of Andy’s flood damage. According to Meyers’ staff member, Robert Pechukas, “It wasn’t until weeks later that we found out that his home had also taken on water.” Robert continued, “I had been talking with him hourly during the height of the storm and I didn’t even know that his house had flooded. He was so focused on communication and help for our residents who were relying upon us for information as we pieced it together. It’s a testament to what kind of man he is.”
HAMSTRUNG BY TEXAS LAW Future generations may very well benefit from what Andy accomplished during Harvey because of the subsequent attention he brought to an unintended “quirk” of the Texas Open Meetings Act, which hindered emergency communication during the Harvey event. This law is intended to ensure open public access to governmental meetings and carries stiff punishment for any violation. The troublesome issue came to light during Hurricane Harvey as Andy, in his role as Commissioner, was
“It wasn’t until weeks later that we found out... I didn’t even know that his house had flooded too.”
forbidden to freely communicate with the County Judge, in his role as Emergency Director. This, even though the County Judge could speak with the city mayors unhindered. For Andy, it was frustrating that the County Judge could pick up the phone and call the Mayors of Katy or Fulshear to coordinate planning or evacuations, but the Open Meetings Act prohibited that call being placed between himself and Commissioner Meyers. That meant delays and duplication of efforts were a real risk for the 230,000+ residents of Precinct 3 who do not live inside city limits. Precinct 3 Constable, Wayne Thompson, put it this way. “Commissioner Meyers and his staff were operating with one hand tied behind their back because of that law. That’s why the State Legislature hustled Andy in to testify.” According to the Constable, “The interim committee members were stunned when he gave them the blow-by-blow of how the Open Meetings Act hurt communication and confused our residents with the evacuation orders. They called up the Attorney General’s experts to verify what Commissioner Meyers said, and the AG’s office confirmed it. They’re going to change the law for the better this session, in large part due to Commissioner’s leadership and testimony.”
AFTER THE STORM Commissioner Meyers’ leadership did not end with the storm’s passing. From Harvey’s landfall to present day, he has continued brainstorming ways to provide financial relief to individual families impacted by Harvey. Early in his tenure as commissioner, Andy founded a charitable organization called Fort Bend Charities, Inc. The mission of this organization is to give to organizations and people in need of various types of assistance and included Katy Christian Ministries, Simonton Christian Academy, and the Lone Star Veterans Association. After Hurricane Harvey, Fort Bend Charities adopted a new mission - assisting families that had been financially impacted by the storm and flood. “Andy raised over $130,000 through the charity,” said Chris Elam, another member of the Precinct 3 staff. “He told the Charity Board that he didn’t want it to be some sort of Instagram social media promotion campaign.
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Hugh Durlam, who lives in Canyon Gate and was flooded out due to the Barker Reservoir, said, “he had a charity to raise funds for victims of Hurricane Harvey and was able to put thousands of dollars in the hands of those who really needed it. Commissioner Meyers always took my calls or called me back quickly. He was very handson, ground floor, and accessible during this disaster and worked tirelessly to help make us whole.”
A N DY M EYERS
GOOD WORK Hugh Durlam cleaning out his house.
Photo by Ben Hester
Instead, he devised a plan and successfully executed it. He found the families who needed help the most and has spent the better part of six months giving each of those families $1,000 checks. They have really appreciated it, especially coming from someone who lives in his own home that still isn’t fully repaired.” One recipient, Adriana Vecino, said, “On behalf of my family, thank you so much for your donation. We have been blessed for receiving assistance from generous people like you.”
Andy remains engaged in a number of “under-theradar” roles in his effort to bring aid to flood victims. Whether working through the State Legislature to improve laws, raising funds through Fort Bend Charities, Inc., or grinding out the 12+ hour workdays he regularly keeps, his staff acknowledges that Andy is always on the move as he continues to advance solutions for his constituents that go above and beyond the formal duties of his elected office. Regardless of the time and financial burdens from his personal flood damage and recovery, Andy Meyers continues to work through his position as County Commissioner to faithfully serve those whose lives have been turned upside down by hurricane Harvey. d
“On behalf of my family, thank you so much for your donation. We have been blessed for receiving assistance from generous people like you.”
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06 • 01: Volunteers clear out a flooded home in Canyon Gate. Photo by Hugh Durlam • 02: Shelter volunteers gather to provide relief. PICTURED (L-R) ARE: Former Fulshear Mayor Tommy Kuykendall, Tracy Jensen, Rhonda Kuykendall,
Commissioner Andy Meyers, Fulshear Councilwoman Kaye Kahlich, former Fulshear Councilwoman Tricia Krenek, Constable Wayne Thompson, Don McCoy, and Chief Deputy Constable Robert Van Pelt. Photo by Rhonda Kuykendall • 03: County crews de-silting the Willow Fork diversion channel after Harvey. Photo by Hugh Durlam • 04: ulshear Area town hall meeting at Fulshear High School. Photo by Robert Pechukas • 05: State Rep. Dr. John Zerwas and Commissioner Andy Meyers at the 1 Year after Harvey Party in Canyon Gate. Photo by Suzy Tighe • 06: Ray Aguilar from Classic Chevrolet and Commissioner Andy Meyers gathering supplies for delivery to those in need at the Precinct 3 Annex. Photo by Robert Pechukas
TEPPANYAKI SUSHI STEAKHOUSE
quality restaurant brings unique dining to Fulshear WRITTEN BY JACLYN RITTER
ulshear residents tend to be very loyal to their local restaurants and coffee houses. While there may not be an abundance of options, the available establishments have been embraced and supported from the beginning. While neighboring towns have a plethora of options, it sure is nice to ditch the drive and stay close. Yen Teppanyaki Sushi Steakhouse is one of the new kids on the block, and, in a short time, has already proven to be a staple amongst Fulshear residents.
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Yen may be a new restaurant, but the gentlemen behind it have been in the game for a long time. The owners, Jason Wang, Tony Wang, and Leo Dong opened Sushi Hana, a very successful restaurant in the Shops of Bella Terra along the Grand Parkway, in 2007. With Fulshear’s consistent growth, the three jumped at the opportunity to share their craft with its residents. Yen Teppanyaki Sushi Steakhouse opened on March 7th, 2016 along FM1463. Tony Pham, manager at Sushi Hana, was eager to get to work on the new restaurant. During college, Tony worked at a local Florida restaurant to help fund his degree in electrical engineering. Twenty-five years later Tony Pham is still in the food industry and he would not change a thing. “If you do not love what it is you are doing, you can never truly do it right,” smiles Tony. “I love what I do and am glad I chose the path I did.”
Tony, along with owners, Jason, Tony, and Leo, opted for a more contemporary interior for Yen Teppanyaki, instead of a traditional Japanese decor. While the menu at Sushi Hana was more fusion, offering a variety of Asian cuisines, Yen is more focused on traditional Japanese sushi and hibachi. Their seafood dishes tend to be the most popular, however they have chicken, three different cuts of steak, and vegetable entrees to please a broader palette. Tony’s favorite – the filet mignon lobster. When it comes to dining, guests have four different options: the sushi bar, traditional table dining, hibachi grill dining, and the VIP room, which is available to reserve for parties and corporate events. To experience the real deal, opt for the hibachi grill! Hibachi is a style of Japanese teppanyaki cooking that integrates gas heated hotplates into tables that seat multiple people. This more family oriented
style of dining is not only about the food, but also about the experience. The chef puts on a show, all while preparing a mouthwatering meal. Hibachi chefs are specially trained. There is no wall separating the dining room from the kitchen. Their work is on display for all to see. They must be aware of any food allergies amongst the group, know how everyone likes their meat cooked, masterfully cut and dice to perfection, all while putting on a show. This is multitasking at its best! Diners are witnessing true performance artistry. One minute, ingredients are being tossed around the grill with flair and precision, and then the next, the whole grill is set aflame. Yen’s lead chef, Bobby Wang, is proud to say that every chef is experienced. They know that the key to delicious food is in the details. Steak needs to cook on a hot grill and be transferred to a hot plate. The inexperienced chefs will stand out because they cook their steaks on the side of the grill, for fear of overcooking it. An experienced and confident chef places it right in the center and knows the precise moment to remove it from the grill to achieve that tender, juicy, and flavorful piece of meat that cuts like butter. This is true attention to detail.
If you do not love what it is “ you are doing, you can never truly do it right.
- Tony Wang
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A New Style
YEN TEPPA N YA K I
Consistency is Key
The key to Yen’s early success is consistency consistency in both service and quality of food. Tony knows that if customers are confident that they will get the same great experience each and every time they dine at Yen’s, that they will spread the word and likely return.
Yen Teppanyaki Sushi Steakhouse is proud to call Fulshear home. They quickly became members of the Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce. In the years to come, they hope to become even more active with area schools, churches, and local events. The love the owners, manager, and chefs have for the restaurant is apparent - from the moment you walk into the restaurant, all the way until your last bite. There is a sense of pride in what they do, and they do it well. d
What is Teppanyaki?
Teppanyaki translates to “grilling on a hot plate.” Introduced to the United States following WWII, “Japanese Steakhouses” became more and more popular. Teppanyaki encompases all Japanese food cooked on an iron grill, or hibachi grill. Dishes usually consist of thinly sliced meat, rice, vegetables, and soy sauce.
TEPPANYAKI SUSHI STEAKHOUSE 6630 FM 1463, Fulshear, TX 77441 (281) 665-3917
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www.yenhibachi.com Email: email@example.com
LUNCH Thurs-Fri • 11-2pm DINNER Mon-Thurs • 5-10pm, Fri • 4:30-10pm Sat •11:30-10pm, Sun • 11:30-9:30pm
NewSuperior Name… SAME
Photo Credit: iStock.com/dimatlt633
LOCAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ADOPTS NEW NAME TO BETTER REPRESENT ITS MEMBERS WRITTEN BY JACLYN RITTER
oogle defines “Chamber of Commerce” as “a local association to promote and protect the interests of the business community in a particular place.” Current members of the Fulshear-Katy Area Chamber of Commerce (FKACC) believe that their chamber goes above and beyond this definition. The FKACC invests in its members by providing quality training and education opportunities, increasing business visibility, providing its members a voice within the community, establishing networking opportunities, and protecting the credibility and image of its businesses. Conceptualized in 2013, and established in early 2014, the Fulshear-Katy Area Chamber of Commerce has grown to almost 500 dedicated members. This astonishing
number is a direct reflection of the chamber’s highly involved and invested staff and volunteer directors. With a recent name change, and a roll out of new member services, the local chamber is now better than ever.
WHAT’S IN A NAME? In July of 2018, the Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors and chamber members voted to add Katy to its name. “We wanted to better reflect our membership,” says FKACC President Don McCoy. Roughly thirty percent of the 476 chamber members are Fulshear businesses. The remaining seventy percent are outside of Fulshear city limits, some as far as Sealy, Rosenberg, Eagle Lake, and League City. However, with
N EW N A M E...SA M E SUPERIOR SERV ICE
Member Testimonials “The leadership of Don, Amy, and Rachel has been nothing more than exceptional! The chamber is proactive in the community and has helped our business expand with exposure at events and monthly gatherings. The FKACC has been one of the best decisions we as a business have made. We are a proud member of this chamber.”
OWNER - GOOSEHEAD INSURANCE - KATY, TX
“We have been a member of the FKACC for three years, and I am grateful to be associated with such a supportive group of people. As one of the many small business owners they represent, there has never been a moment that I didn’t feel like part of the family. In addition to the many networking and business promoting opportunities they provide us each year, they recently launched an outstanding new website, email, and phone application platform that represents each member in their own way. It’s another great example of their continual hard work coming together. A simple thank you does not seem adequate for t he time and dedication that they put into promoting their members.”
OWNER - FRECKLES STATIONERY AND GIFTS - FULSHEAR, TX
“When I walked into the Fulshear Katy Area Chamber of Commerce I didn’t feel as if we were becoming part of a chmaber, I felt as if we were becoming part of a community! In one word... IMPRESSIVE!”
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STOE MANAGER - WALMART STORE #4111
the majority of those 476 members located outside the city of Fulshear, the name change was the right decision. Amy Norvell, Executive Assistant with the FKACC, explains the change best saying, “Based on feedback from our annual chamber member survey, we mapped out the business address for every member, which revealed a greatly expanded geographic footprint. The numbers and the new map spoke volumes, so we chose to amend our name to include the overall Katy area to better represent our growing membership.” The change was positively accepted and welcomed by the whole community.
NEW NAME, NEW SERVICES
In addition to the mobile app, a new traffic catcher page is provided to all chamber members. This is an internet page that is made specifically for each company that mirrors their current webpage but is a one stop shop for important information. This one-page link contains the business’s phone number, location, map, and business hours all in one easy to use and download page. Skilled technicians are available to help chamber members develop and update their traffic catcher pages as part of their membership.
Recent Chamber Rope Cutting Ceremonies at Local Businesses
FKACC President Don McCoy presenting at a recent chamber meeting.
“This service also provides our members with a monthly email report informing them of how many searches they matched and number of visits their page received,” says Rachel Durham, who oversees Membership Services with the FKACC. “We can then adjust search key words so that their information is matched more frequently.”
INVESTED, INVOLVED AND ENGAGED
“We strive to make the Fulshear-Katy Area Chamber of Commerce a tangible resource for our members,” says Don McCoy. “It is very hard for people, in the midst of running their own business, to take the time to study all about marketing and networking. It is our job, here at the Fulshear-Katy Area Chamber of Commerce to help educate and raise members’ awareness through weekly emails and monthly chamber meetings, so that after some time, members are better equipped to handle and support their business with confidence.” While the name may have changed to include and recognize a larger area, the Fulshear-Katy Area Chamber of Commerce is as invested, involved, and engaged as ever. The chamber as a group are so much more than just a monthly meeting and a few emails. The team and their directors are devoted to the success and future of local businesses. They believe that representing almost 500 business is a big deal, and not something to be taken lightly. The Fulshear-Katy Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to represent the large and diverse business community that makes up the Fulshear-Katy area. d
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The FKACC found this the perfect time to introduce their new services to the public. Along with the new name, they have a new webpage: www.fulshearkaty. com. On top of that, they now provide a FulshearKaty Area Chamber mobile app. This FKACC specific app allows chamber members to login, submit press releases, manage their classified ads, add pictures, and refer members to one another. Non-chamber members can use the business directory to look for services and providers. This new mobile app is part of an ever-growing toolbox for all things related to the Fulshear-Katy area.
all started on a flight to Las Vegas when Bill and Jorden Briscoe Mahler, father and son owners of Briscoe Manor, had a conversation about the future of the Briscoe property on 723 in Richmond. That drawing on a paper napkin turned into a successful and unparalleled wedding and event venue nestled with large pecan trees that create the perfect backdrop and serene atmosphere. As Briscoe Manor approaches their 13th anniversary since creating their first happily ever after, Jorden reflects back on the beginning. “It was definitely a lot of hard work in the beginning with some ‘figure it out as we go’ mentality, but seeing our staff grow from just two people working every angle of the venue to our now 9 full time on-site staff; it is humbling, to say the least.”
“We are Texas all the way, but not in a cheesy, overused way.” Jorden explains that Briscoe Manor offers a subtle yet elegant rustic setting. The heritage behind the Briscoe family and land is rich and those involved with Briscoe Manor exude that ideal and make it their priority to keep that history alive. Jorden feels that the majority of the brides that choose Briscoe Manor as the place to have their wedding hold the same type of southern Christian family values, far from the bridezillas that you see on TV.
Briscoe Photo by Agape House Studio
The Next Generation of
One thing you should know is that Briscoe Manor is more than just weddings. They recently added The Barn at Briscoe Manor in 2017 that provides a space for smaller events such a corporate parties, birthday parties, anniversary dinners and bridal showers. “We also have a large paved private parking
WRITTEN BY ASHLEY MANCHACA
lot that a lot of other venues just aren’t putting at the top of their priority list; they are forcing people to pay for valet for their car to sit who knows where during the events.” Jorden’s wheels are always turning to provide new ideas to keep Briscoe Manor fresh in the already hot wedding industry, especially with the rise of new event venues. He is always trying to put money back into the business. In 2015, they added Ella’s Décor Barn which is an area for booked brides to design and rent items that the Briscoe Manor staff have noticed were popular amongst their current brides. In a world of Pinterest and DIY, this creative barn allows a bride the look and feel she is going for without having to buy numerous inventory items that she has no need for after the wedding. Jorden details the purpose in explaining, “It is all about trying to make it convenient for the bride.” Additions like this are what creates that edge that Briscoe Manor has above all other local event venues. So what lies ahead? Time will tell. They are always thinking of their next venture.
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Briscoe Manor’s legacy is something that is important and on the forefront of Jorden’s mind. When asked, he states, “For our legacy, I hope it’s one that created good jobs for our employees that they felt like they could take pride in and feel as though they are a part of something bigger than themselves. As for our Brides and Grooms, we treat people the way we want to be treated and that is largely proportionate to our success. Looking back, the families that choose Briscoe Manor for more than just one of their children …that’s when you know you’re doing it right.” d
Photo by Carlino’s Photography
R U N D O W N H
I love thinking ahead and trying new things as a business owner.
Growing up, I thought my grandpa was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known…and he was, even with a sixth grade education.
The BIG 4-0 is happening for me this year.
Children will bring out your parents in you real quick…it’s true.
Always…be nice. I don’t care who you are, it doesn’t impress me and treat everyone the same.
Amy Briscoe Mahler was my grandma and probably the sweetest lady I have ever known.
Easton and Ella are our 5 year old twins. This year they will start kindergarten!
Photo by Jason Smelser Photography
Smoking meat on my BBQ smoker is my new favorite hobby right after hunting.
My desk is a mess, yet I know where everything is.
This year marks the 8-year Anniversary with my wife. We met in 2002 at Texas State.
My degree is actually in Criminal Justice, but someone how I managed to find myself owning a wedding venue.
Briscoe Manor is the best wedding venue in the Houston area…I like to think and I like to also think that we are the bar setter for all of the others to follow.
Jeans, boots and a cap are my attire almost daily.
October 2019 will mark our 13-year Anniversary here at Briscoe Manor, crazy how time flies.
My Dad, Bill has played a much larger part of my life than he probably realizes. He retires this year and we can’t wait to hang out with him more!
Photo by Kelly Costello Photography
Weddings • Corporate Special Events ( 2 81) 2 3 8 - 4 700 5801 FM 723 Richmond, TX 77406 i nfo @bri scoem a n or .com www. bri scoem a n or .com
RED Chicken Curry
WITH BABY BOK CHOY WRITTEN BY JACLYN RITTER
There is nothing more warm, soulful, and nourishing than curries. These feel-good kinds of meals always leave you feeling satisfied. Curries span many regions, India, Asia, and Britain to name a few, and the ingredients are endless. From ginger to lemongrass, coconut milk to a garden array of fresh herbs and spices â€“ curries are dishes that warm the soul. I was first introduced to curry while studying abroad in Wales. To say I was conflicted about my feelings toward the dish my host family laid in front of me one summer evening would be an understatement. The bold flavors were overwhelming to my conservative palette. However, over the past decade, I have found myself seeking out curries of all kinds. With that being said, I am often daunted by curry recipes. There are so many ingredients, many of which I have never cooked with before. After many failed attempts, I tend to leave it to the experts and order carry out. No more! I found this recipe in the September 2018 issue of Health Magazine. I garnered up some courage and gave it a whirl in the kitchen once more, and I am so glad I did. It was divine!
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As the weather starts cooling off, make a big pot of this soul warming dish you will not be disappointed! d
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• 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided • 1 medium-size red bell pepper, chopped • 1 medium-size shallot, chopped • 1 tbsp. finely chopped lemongrass • 1 ½ tsp. grated fresh ginger • ¼ cup red curry paste • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth • 1 cup coconut cream • ¼ tsp. fine sea salt, divided • 6 oz. baby bok choy (2 heads), quartered • 2 6-oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts • ¼ tsp. black pepper Serve over jasmine rice with basil and lime wedges.
Red Chicken Curry WITH BABY BOK CHOY
PREPARATION Makes 4 servings
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add bell pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add shallot, lemongrass, and ginger; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minutes. Add curry paste: cook, stirring constantly, until slightly caramelized, about 30 seconds. 2. Add chicken broth, coconut cream, and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil over mediumhigh heat, scraping bottom of pan to release browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add bok choy; cook, stirring often, until tender, about 4 minutes.
4. Prepare rice according to package directions. Divide rice, curry sauce, and chicken in shallow bowls and garnish with basil and lime wedges.
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3. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium. Sprinkle chicken breasts with pepper and remaining salt. Cook until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit. About 6-7 minutes each side. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
• Steinhauser’s •
Three generations of Service & Quality E XP LO RE. US
WRITTEN BY JACLYN RITTER, PHOTOGRAPHY BY RHONDA RENEE PHOTOGRAPHY
Family owned businesses are the backbone of our American economy. According to Business Week, about 40% of U.S. family owned businesses become second generation businesses. Surprisingly, only 13% are passed down successfully to a third generation. Steinhauser’s, a modern-day general store for those who live and love the country lifestyle, has earned the right to include themselves in this rather small percentage. What’s the secret to their success? Good ‘ol hard work driven by deep rooted passion.
• A l l i n t h e Fa m i ly •
in the grain – crawling, tunneling and burying themselves in it. For them, Steinhauser’s was an endless playground.
H. H. Steinhauser was the very best business man. He put his whole heart and soul into his seed store in Flatonia, Texas. Mr. Steinhauser was not out to make millions, he just wanted to be the best in his business. Customers were friends and his store was the hot spot in town. His son Lloyd grew up watching his dad educate customers on proper techniques and identifying the proper merchandise to raise healthy horses and livestock, as well as maintaining thriving lawns and gardens. Lloyd learned the “ins-and-outs” of the business at an early age.
As they got older, the children found themselves acquiring more and more jobs around the store. After school it was straight to the store to pick up a few hours. As David recalls, this was the routine all the way through high school. The day after graduation, David found himself back at Steinhauser’s, only this time he was a fulltime employee. “This is truly all I’ve known,” David notes. “It is not a glamorous job by any means, and you don’t get into the feed business to get rich, but it is what I really enjoy.”
In 1965 the Sealy Oil Mill went up for sale. H.H. Steinhauser purchased the mill, not with the intention of running it, but in helping his son start his own business. Originally a cotton seed processing business, H.H. expanded it to a retail feed store in 1969. In 1971 Lloyd was ready to take the reins and purchased the business from his father. Lloyd was proud to run Steinhauser’s. His entire childhood prepared him well for the road ahead. The journey was not always an easy one, but he and his wife Virginia’s strong work ethic and business skills pulled them through. Together, the couple passed these positive attributes on to their four children.
• S e rv i c e Pa r t n e r e d w i t h Q u a l i t y • H.H. Steinhauser insisted on carrying nothing but the finest feeds in the industry. Not only that, he also provided first class service to all of his customers. Lloyd, David and Mike Steinhauser have continued the family tradition of service and quality at all nine of their locations. In fact, if you do not see what you are looking for in store, they will do their best to find it and order it. They even have you covered for all of your bulk feed and delivery needs! “We know that we are not the only people doing what we are doing – there are other places people could go and buy our products,” says David Steinhauser. “People often choose where to shop based on quality of service over anything else, and we want to be the one customers choose.”
David and Mike Steinhauser have chosen to follow their father Lloyd and join the family business. “From a very young age I knew that this is what I wanted to do,” says David Steinhauser. “I never really considered anything else.” The love and pride the Steinhauser family has for their business shows to any and all who walk through their doors. How else can one open nine successful locations in such a short period of time?
• G r ow i n g u p i n t h e S t o r e • David Steinhauser cherishes the time he spent growing up in the store. His dad was his idol. “I can remember getting up each morning as a kid, excited to join my parents at the store for the day,” shares David. At the beginning it was all in fun. David and his siblings had no problem keeping themselves entertained while their parents were busy with customers. They enjoyed playing
• Learning from the Best • The success of the Steinhauser brand is attributed to strong family ties. While Lloyd, Mike and David run different locations, they operate as a team when overseeing the company as a whole. “My grandfather was one of the hardest working people I have ever known,” remembers David. “He truly came from nothing and in turn created a life for himself and future generations.” H.H. Steinhauser never expected instant gratification. He knew that success comes from hard work, passion and sacrifice. David says proudly, “Mike and I learned what it takes to run a successful business from our father and grandfather.” With their dedication and attention to service, Steinhauser’s will certainly continue the legacy and see a fourth generation! d
STEINHAUSER’S • Built by Quality Products & Great Customer Service • www.steinhausers.com
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Mike, Kyle, Lloyd and David Steinhauser
Steinhauser’s knowledgeable employees are able to answer questions and point you in the right direction. They provide so much more than just a product, they share experience and tried and true practices.
A NEW STYLE OF COUNTRY LIVING
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WRITTEN BY JACLYN RITTER, PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEFF HEGER
hat was it about the city of Fulshear that drew you in? For many, it was Fulshearâ€™s small town feel and undeniable charm. It is here where families can acquire sizable property and experience a bit of the country, all while being a short drive away from the city and its multitude of amenities. As Houston continues to push westward and Fulshear grows, open acreage become harder to come by. Nestled along a bend in the Brazos River, Laprada Landing offers that much needed escape from busy city life. This Highland Resources property, located just three miles southeast of Fulshear, is unlike anything else. With 720 acres divided into just nine tracts, buyers will
have the unique opportunity to let their imaginations run wild. The vast views of wildlife, flowers and mature trees draped in delicate Spanish moss overlooking the river, paint a picture of nature at its finest. Whether it be intended as the family ranch, or a second home away from downtown, Laprada Landing is what everyone is talking about.
LAND RICH IN HISTORY
Laprada is no ordinary piece of land, it is part of Texasâ€™ rich history. Its unique narrative begins in 1824 when David Randon and Isaac Pennington acquired land from Stephen F. Austin, joining the prominent group of
COM M UN ITY
“THE MORE TRANQUIL A MAN BECOMES, THE GREATER IS HIS SUCCESS, HIS INFLUENCE,
HIS POWER FOR GOOD. CALMNESS OF MIND IS ONE OF THE BEAUTIFUL JEWELS OF WISDOM.”
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Texas’ first settlers – the Old Three Hundred. Randon and his wife Nancy McNeel ran a successful plantation on the property until 1859 when they sold the land. After being passed through a few more hands over the years, Highland acquired the 2,000 acres in the late 1970’s. After thirty years of cattle ranching operations, the decision was made to market the southernmost 720 acres. While they could easily sell to a residential developer who would likely strip away the property of its charm, displacing the wildlife and thinning out the trees, Highland has chosen to divide the acreage into nine tracts, ranging from 60 to 105 acres. “We have owned this property for over thirty years, so we have had a long time to think about its future,” says Charles Wolcott, President and CEO. “It was never in the cards to do a development property, it is just too pretty.” In fact,
they have incorporated protective covenants within the deed to ensure that the location remains secluded and not built up like the tightly packed communities nearby. For example, only one residence is allowed per 60 acres and every home site must be set back off the road a minimum of 300 feet. Highland is so proud of the property’s legacy, that they have taken it a step further and applied through the Fort Bend Historical Commission for a historical marker. They are pleased to say that just recently they have been accepted. The marker will be called the Randon and Pennington Grant of 1824. Charles is pleased knowing that it is no longer hearsay, it is proven historic record. “We hope that by acquiring this historical marker people see the deep history tied to the property and that they are not just buying a piece of ranch land, but a piece of Texas history.”
NATURE AT ITS FINEST
LA PRA DA LA N DIN G
“We are excited to be involved with this property,” shares Gloria Catalani, operations manager at Highland. “I even find myself escaping the city and relaxing amongst the vast wilderness just to get away from the day to day strife.” This comes as no surprise because the aura of Laprada Landing is truly magical. There the air smells sweeter, the grass is greener and the stars seem to shine brighter. Situated on newly named Laprada Trace, a county road that dead-ends within Laprada Landing, buyers can rest assured that there will be no through traffic. Majestic pecans, live oaks and water oaks cover the property. In the spring, the area is draped in color thanks to the beautiful Texas wildflowers. “The river is the large selling point – the gem,” says Charles. There are no land locked tracts. All nine front a large stretch of the Brazos and have buildable home sites. The land is perpetually preserved and protected from dense development as portions of this property are within floodway and floodplain delineations that were finalized by FEMA in 2014. Highland was looking for a name as unique as the property itself – something evocative of the feel of the land. Laprada is a play on words of the Spanish word la pradera, meaning meadow. The name has since been trademarked as to remain unique to the property.
“We want to be different than anything else in the area, but still blend in,” notes Gloria. “We are working to create understated country elegance in a unique and secluded location.” Located right around the corner from the highly sought after Fulshear area, and only 40 miles west of Houston, there will be no sacrifice of the desirable amenities city living brings. Residents will be minutes from local stores and restaurants. This kind of property is hard to find. Laprada Landing is a place you can go to escape, to breathe, to be closer with nature – and call home. A place with as rich a history as this is meant to be preserved and enjoyed. It is now time for a new generation to be part of that legacy. d
ay Westpark Tollw
r ve Ri os
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For more information about LAPRADA LANDING contact
MIKE ROLLER at (281) 346-0222
RE/MAX REALTY WEST
J O U R N E Y T H RO U G HO U T OF U N I T E D S TAT E S C OM MU N I T I E S A N D T H E I R BU S I N E S S E S THIS IS YOUR
FOR ALL THAT IS GREAT ABOUT AMERICA
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9727 Spring Green Blvd #500 • Katy, TX 77494 7 1 3 - 5 5 4 - 3 9 1 5 • www. eel ig h ts. net • inf o @eel ig h ts. net
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Volume 05 Issue 01 ExploreFulshear.com