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Snowy images from the winter storm - Page 7

Pictured is the Palabok Fiesta from Jollibee Missouri City during a recent visit. (Photo by Stefan Modrich)

WEDNESDAY • FEBRUARY 17, 2021

Visit www.FortBendStar.com

Fort Bend / Southwest • Volume 45 • No. 26

Power, water shortages paralyze county By Stefan Modrich SMODRICH@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

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Fort Bend County residents have been hammered by Winter Storm Uri’s below-freezing temperatures and precipitation that began Sunday and continued into Wednesday, leaving more than half of the county without power, County Judge KP George wrote in a tweet Wednesday.

In a Facebook post, George was critical of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott making a television appearance on Fox News and blaming green energy sources for the outage. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the flow of electricity for much of the state, said in a news release earlier this week that extreme weather conditions caused generating units “across fuel types” to trip offline and become

unavailable. On Tuesday, Abbott declared reform of ERCOT an emergency item for the current state legislative session and called for an investigation into ERCOT’s handling of the state’s power grid. “There is unbelievable human suffering right now, while our first responder crews are at stretched capacities. We Michele Medina fills a propane tank at Fort Bend Commissary Services, which has sold propane to residents who need it during widespread power outages. (Contributed photo)

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Winter storm forces area schools to shut down By Landan Kuhlmann LKUHLMANN@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

As a winter storm continues to freeze the Houston region, including Fort Bend County, there are impacts on the area’s school districts and county offices along with its transit system. All Fort Bend ISD and Stafford MSD schools and facilities, which closed starting Monday, will remain closed through the end of this week, the districts announced Wednesday on Twitter. FBISD said it plans to resume operations Monday, Feb. 22. The district-wide closures include all extracurricular activities and practices, along with meal services provided by FBISD and SMSD. The districts said no virtual learning will be required of students during the closures. “The safety of our community is our top priority,” FBISD said in a news release. “We strongly encourage our families to take the necessary precautions and prioritize the safety of your family, pets and property.” For up-to-date information about schedule changes due to weather, community members can call FBISD’s severe weather hotline at 281-634-4636 or follow the district’s social media pages @FortBendISD. To keep up with SMSD’s plans, visit smsd.org or follow @StaffordMSD on social media. Fort Bend County had also shut down all of the county’s main offices, though essential employees may be asked to report to work on a case-bycase basis. All of the county’s transit services had also been discontinued through Thursday, according to a notice on the county’s website.

From left to right, Mia Reyes, Aurora Reyes, Michael Reyes, Anthony Reyes and Noah Vera bundle up in the cold in Rosenberg. (Contributed photo)

Fort Bend residents warm hearts despite cold weather By Stefan Modrich SMODRICH@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

Alexis Geissler is among several Fort Bend County residents who have lost electricity in their homes this week, with her lights cutting out Tuesday night in Richmond’s Waterview Estates neighborhood. Geissler, a mother of two young children and the owner of CraftWorx, a doit-yourself craft studio in Richmond, had a decision

Mia Reyes makes a snow angel outside her home in Rosenberg. (Contributed photo)

to make when she realized her studio still had power. So she opened her doors to families looking to escape the cold and to charge electronic devices, offering free crafts to help entertain kids. “I know a lot of people in the community have kids, and I have kids,” Geissler said. “I just wanted to give them a place to come and get out of the house.” Geissler is among the Fort Bend residents and businesses trying to make

the best out of a frigid winter storm that has devastated the Houston area and much of the state, leaving residents without power and in some cases running water. Others have pitched in to help those in need, while some local businesses have braved poor road conditions and opened their doors to serve the community. Sugar Land resident Andrew Adams, the owner of custom homebuilder Covington Signature Homes,

drove into Houston on Tuesday to help a few of his clients who had lost power and were stuck inside cold houses. He spent about four hours at the home of Timbergrove resident Kim Ludlow, hooking his generator up to their furnace and then to the family fish tank, so the three fishes belonging to Ludlow’s 6-year-old son could survive. Adams went out of his

SEE STORM PAGE 6

Clements sibling swim duo puts eyes on state prize By Landan Kuhlmann

LKUHLMANN@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

Clements High School swimmers Alex and Kayla Fu know two things are constant in their lives – the pool and their unwavering support for each other. Those things have converged many times in their lives, and will do so again later this month as the brother-sister swimming duo competes on the big-

Alex Fu

Kayla Fu

gest stage in Texas high school swimming.

Alex, a junior, qualified for the UIL Class 6A boys

state meet, scheduled for next Friday and Saturday in San Antonio, in the 100-yard butterfly and 100 breaststroke. Freshman Kayla was a qualifier in the 50 and 100 freestyle events for the girls state meet, which was postponed to Feb. 22-23 at San Antonio’s Bill Walker Pool and Josh Davis Natatorium. “It’s really nice to have someone that can encourage you, but isn’t competing with you at the

same time,” Alex said. “It’s a support system that’s important in high-stress times like the state meet.” Growing up, the pair said they realized their abilities early on while competing with the First Colony Swim Team at a young age. “Both of us are extremely competitive people – we really hate to lose,” Alex

SEE SWIM PAGE 6

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PAGE 2 • Wednesday,

THE STAR

February 17, 2021

See us online www.FortBendStar.com

Landlords accused of defrauding county of CARES Act funds By Landan Kuhlmann LKUHLMANN@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

Two landlords have been indicted by a Fort Bend County grand jury for allegedly using fraudulent documents to receive CARES Act funds from the county. According to a news release from the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office, Matthew John and Roger Kurian have both been charged with tampering with a governmental witness, forgery of a governmental record and theft of at least $30,000. The district attorney’s office said Kurian has also been accused of two additional counts of forgery of a governmental record and one additional count of tampering with a witness. In total, the district attorney’s office said John

Shown on surveillance footage above are men suspected of being involved in the Feb. 8 burglary and theft of a vehicle in Stafford. (Photo courtesy of FBCSO)

John

Kurian

allegedly received nearly $38,000 in funds, while Kurian allegedly received almost $152,000. The DA’s office said a county employee reported in December that one of the recipients of rental assistance provided by CARES Act funding – which was initially disbursed to the county last April – never actually applied. Between July and Oc-

tober, the DA’s office said One Point Investments, LLC – which is owned by John and Kurian – submitted multiple requests for rental assistance using allegedly fraudulent apartment numbers and the names of people who allegedly did not apply for assistance. The leases attached to the documents were also allegedly forged, according to the district attorney’s office. The DA’s office also said other businesses owned by and registered to John and Kurian applied for and received small business emergency assistance grant funds using allegedly fraudulent documents.

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FBCSO searching for vehicle burglary, theft suspects By Landan Kuhlmann LKUHLMANN@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

Police are searching for four men they say are responsible for breaking into one car and stealing another in Stafford late last month. A Monday news release from the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office said its officers were called to the 3700 block of Country Place Drive in Stafford around 7:30 a.m. Jan. 31 in re-

sponse to a burglary of a motor vehicle. According to police, the victim said several of his car windows had been broken and cash had been taken. According to FBCSO, surveillance footage showed a tan sedan and a black Chevy Tahoe pull up to the apartment complex and park next to the victim’s car. One man broke into the victim’s car, police said, while three others stole

a black Chevy Tahoe with the license plate GSH-3405. Police described the theft suspects as four Black males between 20 and 25 years old who are anywhere between 5-foot-5 to 6-foot tall and weigh between 140 and 180 pounds. Anyone with information is this case is encouraged to call Fort Bend County Crime Stoppers at 281-3428477.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2021 • PAGE

3

Never let a crisis like this one go to waste It is disappointing, but entirely unsurprising to see political squabbles find their way into the midst of yet another emergency in the Houston area as Winter Storm Uri’s unsparing wrath has knocked out power for nearly half of Fort Bend County electricity consumers, and many find themselves without running water as well in the state that is both the largest energy producer and the largest energy consumer in the U.S. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Legislature both have decided to heap blame upon ERCOT (the Electric Reliability Council of Texas), which manages electricity flow for 75 percent of the state. Abbott is deservedly receiving scorn for his decision to also castigate renewable energy sources as the scapegoat for the storm. Fort Bend County Judge KP George was quick to critique the governor’s Fox News appearance. Many have since lamented the decade-long failure to address the shortcomings in the electric grid following the 2011 winter storm. It is evident to me that while there are many good reports coming out of this crisis that fairly and accurately diagnose the problems that led to a once-in-a-century storm wreaking havoc on the state’s energy supply, many people will simply choose to cherry pick the data that confirms their biases and prior beliefs. While people in many other states are eager to take the opportunity to dunk on Texas, I’m very dubious that any Western or Sun Belt state could have responded better than the Lone Star State did with its unique challenges, including but not limited to geographical diversity, sprawl and urban density. Texas can and should continue producing natural gas and should also continue to be the nation’s leader in renewables. As Rahm Emanuel, former chief of staff to President Barack Obama and the former mayor of Chicago once said, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” The aftermath of this storm is a golden opportunity for George and the Fort Bend County

lack of meaningful communication and updates throughout the storm. During my high school and college years, I spent summers working parttime for a public works department in the Chicago area. There I learned that the town where I lived and worked kept a large dome filled to the top with road salt, and had a thoroughlydetailed route mapping plan and schedule to clear roads safely and quickly, with lots of backup power infrastructure to mitigate streetlight outages or other electricity shortfalls. These preparations are taken seriously and don’t begin on the first day of snowfall. While we may not see a storm like this for another decade or more, I would strongly recommend inviting county officials from cold-weather states to pay a visit to Fort Bend County so our local officials can learn from them. And perhaps while we’re at it, we can teach them a thing or two about how to make proper barbecue and how to better deal with a heat wave. “I don’t think anybody was prepared for this,” Stafford City Councilwoman Virginia Rosas told me. “You can try to do what you can, but Mother Nature has a way of taking care of things.” Perhaps she’s right. Nonetheless, I was encouraged during my

Stefan Modrich

Commissioners Court to meet with local universities and the educated workforce he often cites when trying to lure Samsung and TikTok to move their headquarters to Fort Bend. Together, government officials, environmental scientists, energy providers, and emergency preparedness planners should try to innovate new ways to keep wind and solar and other green energy sources viable in cold temperatures. Local EMS, police and fire crews as well as public works departments, have performed admirably despite daunting obstacles. But I believe Fort Bend County’s inability at the county and municipality level to develop contingency plans for the winter months are an indictment of its top officials. Harris County and the City of Houston acted quickly and worked with private sector and nonprofit partners to establish warming centers, and many Fort Bend County residents I’ve heard from lamented the

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conversation with Rosas and with others across the county on social media about how eager neighbors and local businesses are to help each other in times of need. During the course of my reporting, I tried and will

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“Somebody has to start the conversation,” Rosas said. “Everybody wants to help one way or the other, either needing help or having the ability to help. I think if you connect those two, it will just make us stronger.”

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THE STAR

PAGE 4 • Wednesday, February 17, 2021

See us online www.FortBendStar.com

@FtBendAthletics:

Dulles, Ridge Point advance in girls basketball playoffs By Landan Kuhlmann LKUHLMANN@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

A historic basketball season for the Dulles Lady Vikings is intact for at least one more game, while the Ridge Point Lady Panthers shook off the rust to keep their season alive. Dulles continued its perfect season on Feb. 11, taking down Katy 65-39 in a Class 6A bi-district playoff game at the Merrell Center in Katy. Jakiya Thompson led the way for the Lady Vikings with a season-high 18 points. Nya Threatt had a strong all-around game with 16 points, six assists and five steals, while Victoria Moore added 10 points of her own. The Lady Vikings (230) are scheduled to face Jersey Village (22-2) on Saturday in a battle of two of the state’s top 10 teams in Class 6A. The Ridge Point Lady Panthers also came out on top on Feb. 12 with a 6660 victory over the Seven Lakes Lady Spartans at the Merrell Center in just their second game since Jan. 20 Sharpshooter Aleighyah Fontenot scored a teamhigh 27 points while hitting five 3-pointers. Dala Allen had 18 points – 10 in the fourth quarter – and 11 rebounds for Ridge Point, while Raven Adams had 13

Elkins’ Joshua Fanuiel is defended by Bush’s Tyler Smith during a Jan. 23 game at Hopson Field House in Missouri City. (Photo by Landan Kuhlmann)

points and seven assists as the Lady Panthers finished the game on an 8-0 run to advance to the area round for the fourth straight year. Ridge Point (13-7) will next face Houston Heights, the 14th-ranked team in

Class 6A by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches. Travis’ Lady Tigers fell to Katy Tompkins 68-37 on Feb. 12, ending their season with a 12-11 record. Broncos, Buffalos

clinch boys berths Sophomore standout Tyler Smith paced the Bush Broncos as they defeated Clements on Feb. 10, scoring 21 points along with grabbing 18 rebounds and dishing out six assists.

Brandon Love added 12 points and nine rebounds. The Broncos also defeated George Ranch on both Friday and Saturday, clinching District 20-6A’s final playoff spot. Meanwhile, the Marshall Buffalos are returning the postseason for the first time since a state championship game appearance in 2017 after a perfect week. The Buffalos defeated Angleton 68-35 on Feb. 11, then downed Rosenberg Terry 75-61 on Friday to secure District 24-5A’s final playoff slot. Joshua Porter led the Hightower Hurricanes with 14 points in their win over Angleton on Feb. 9, which clinched their first undefeated district slate in more than a decade. Tyrone Baker added 13 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots. Joshua Fanuiel led the Elkins Knights with 20 points and a season-high 11 rebounds in a Feb. 12 win over Ridge Point. Four Knights also scored in double figures against Austin on Feb. 10, led by Chris Johnson’s 19 points. Ryan Jones also had a doubledouble against Austin with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Ashton Lindsey led Willowridge with 13 points in a season-ending win over Kempner on Feb. 11. Meanwhile, Bryan Etumnu had 25 points, 18

rebounds and six blocks for the Cougars in the loss. Last Week’s Scores Boys Feb. 9 Hightower 71, Angleton 46 Stafford 34, La Marque 32 Feb. 10 Elkins 75, Austin 50 Bush 60, Clements 39 George Ranch 78, Dulles 55 Feb. 11 Willowridge 50, Kempner 42 Feb. 12 Bush 63, George Ranch 50 Elkins 59, Ridge Point 45 Feb. 13 Bush 49, George Ranch 47 Girls Playoffs Saturday Class 6A Area Dulles vs. Jersey Village, 3 p.m., Delmar Fieldhouse Boys Playoffs Saturday Class 6A Bi-District Bush vs. Katy Taylor, 2:30 p.m., Merrell Center Travis vs. Katy Seven Lakes, 3 p.m., Hopson Fieldhouse Ridge Point vs. Katy Tompkins, 4 p.m., Merrell Center Elkins vs. Katy Mayde Creek, 5 p.m., Hopson Fieldhouse Class 5A Bi-District Hightower vs. Waltrip, 11:30 a.m., Hopson Fieldhouse

Ridge Point soccer rolling through district play By Landan Kuhlmann LKUHLMANN@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

The Ridge Point High School soccer squads have

been forces to be reckoned with in recent seasons, with both sporting at least two consecutive District 20-6A titles and playoff appearances. And this year

looks to be no different, with both teams sporting undefeated records and making the area their personal stomping grounds once again.

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Ridge Point's two teams are a combined 27-0 to start the season, including 13-0 in district play, after another perfect week. On the boys' side, the Panthers continued their run through 20-6A with two wins last week. Leading goal scorer Luis Cuenemo (20 goals) had a hat trick in their win over Bush on Feb. 9, and reached the back of the net twice more in a win over Austin. The Panthers (140, 6-0 district) also beat Travis 3-0 on Saturday, with Cuenemo scoring twice again. Ridge Point has won 13 straight district games dating back to last season, and was ranked fourth in Region 3 in the most recent Texas Association of Soccer Coaches poll. Not to be outdone, the Lady Panthers - the topranked Region 3 girls team by the TASCO - scored three convincing victories of their own, beating Bush 4-0 on Feb. 9 before defeating Austin 7-0 on Feb. 10 and Travis by a score of 8-0 on Feb. 13 The Lady Panthers (130, 7-0) have not lost a game since Jan. 9, 2020, and have won 30 straight district games dating back to the 2018 season. Boys The Elkins Knights picked up their first two dis-

trict wins of the season last week. Junior Zach Bowers scored three times on Feb. 6 to help the Knights in a 42 victory over Travis, while leading scorer Jackson Harris added his sixth goal of the season. Ethan White and Erik Velasquez scored in a 2-1 win over Austin on Friday. Clements took down George Ranch 3-0 on Feb. 9, then downed Dulles 2-0 on Feb. 10 to improve 6-22 on the season and 4-2 in district play. Meanwhile, Kempner downed Hightower 3-1 on Feb. 8 and defeated Willowridge 4-3 on Feb. 12 to pick up its first two wins of the year. Austin lost all three matches last week - identical 4-2 scores against Dulles and Ridge Point and the aforementioned loss to Elkins, falling to 4-4-3 overall and 2-3 in district play. Stafford dropped a 21 decision to Brazosport on Feb. 8, falling to 7-4-1 overall and 2-1 in district competition. Willowridge lost to Richmond Foster 3-0 on Feb. 9 and Kempner to drop to 67-1 on the season and 3-5 in District 24-5A action. Hightower lost both matches last week to Kempner on Feb. 8 and Angleton on Feb. 10. Armando Ventura found the

back of the net for the Hurricanes (5-7-2, 2-6) against Kempner for the lone goal in the 3-1 loss. Girls Elkins' Lady Knights bounced back from a Feb. 6 loss to Ridge Point by defeating Travis 3-0 on Feb. 9 and Austin 2-0 on Feb. 12. Addy Pitts, Mikaela Kram and Ellie Pitts all scored for the Lady Knights (9-41, 3-3) against Travis, while Addy Pitts scored both goals against Austin. The Kempner Lady Cougars beat Hightower 4-0 on Feb. 10 and Willowridge 80 on Friday, running their record to 10-4-1 overall and 8-0 in District 24-5A competition. The Clements Lady Rangers were on the losing end of a 3-2 final on Feb. 9 against George Ranch, dropping to 4-7 on the season and 2-2 in district action, while Dulles lost to George Ranch 5-0 on Feb. 12. Willowridge suffered a 10-0 defeat at the hands of Richmond Foster on Feb. 9 and the 8-0 decision to Kempner, dropping to 2-9 overall and 1-7 in district play. Stafford's Lady Spartans lost 3-0 against Brazosport in Class 4A action on Feb. 8, and are now 0-4 on the season, while Hightower is 1-6 following its loss to Kempner.

Skeeters officially become Astros’ affiliate By Landan Kuhlmann LKUHLMANN@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

The Sugar Land Skeeters have signed a Player Development License (PDL) with the Houston Astros, the local minor league team announced in a Friday news release. According to the Skeeters, the contract runs through the end of the 2030 season. Sugar Land will be the Astros’ Triple-A affiliate, joining Double-A Corpus Christi, High-A Fayetteville and Low-A Asheville in the Astros’ farm system. The Skeeters said they are one of two former independent clubs to become a Triple-A affiliate under the new PDL between MLB and MiLB, which will feature 120 teams across four leagues. Sugar Land will be playing in the East Division of Triple-A West, with divisional opponents including the Albuquerque Isotopes

(Colorado Rockies), El Paso Chihuahuas (San Diego Padres), Oklahoma City Dodgers (Los Angeles Dodgers) and Round Rock Express (Texas Rangers). Other league opponents will include the Las Vegas Aviators (Oakland A’s), Reno Aces (Arizona Diamondbacks), Sacramento River Cats (San Francisco Giants), Salt Lake Bees (Los Angeles Angels) and Tacoma Rainiers (Seattle Mariners).

“This has been a dream for our organization since our inception a decade ago,” Skeeters President Christopher Hill said. “This is an incredibly exciting day for our fans, our community and our front office.” Constellation Field is undergoing renovations, according to the Skeeters, who said they will soon announce specifics of the renovation as well as the team’s 2021 schedule and coaching staff.


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Drymalla Construction Company is requesting proposals from qualified subcontractors (including qualified SBE and SBA-8A subcontractors) for the Fort Bend ISD New Elementary School #53, which bids February 22, 2021. We are seeking 25% or greater MWBE, SEB and SBA-8A participation. Certifications from the following agencies are approved by Fort Bend ISD: Port of Houston Authority SBE Certification, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) SBE Certification, City of Houston SBE Certification and Small Business A-SBA-8A. Drymalla Construction will be accepting bids for this project until 1:30, Monday, February 22, 2021 via email at bids@drymalla.com, or by fax 979-732-3663. Direct all questions regarding this project to Larry Bookout no later than February 15, 2021 at 10:00 am either by phone at 979-7325731 or email at lbookout@ drymalla.com.

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THE STAR

PAGE 6 • Wednesday, February 17, 2021

See us online www.FortBendStar.com

Pictured is a snow-covered downtown Rosenberg. (Contributed photo)

★ POWER FROM PAGE 1 need solutions,” George wrote. “The state, ERCOT, CenterPoint, etc. knew of the storm yet here we are with zero solutions and zero ETAs. My residents are boiling snow to flush toilets. This is full failed leadership in the energy capital of the world.” According to CenterPoint Energy’s outage tracker, more than 1.3 million outages have been reported across the Houston area. From Stafford to as far away as Needville, several Fort Bend residents have been without power since Monday. Lisa Coudrain, a Kendleton resident, said she’s been without power since 9 p.m. Sunday and without water since Monday afternoon. She said she’s frustrated that CenterPoint’s outage map frequently crashed and wasn’t updating the number of outages as they quickly spread throughout the Houston area. “I call and they say, ‘We show an outage at your address,’ and they hang up,” Coudrain said. “It’s ridiculous.” Natasha Ghannad in Richmond’s Creekside Ranch subdivision said she had been without power since 8 a.m. Monday, but returned home after finding warmth and shelter with a neighbor around 11 a.m. Wednesday. She said she’s new to Creekside Ranch, having only lived there for six months. The other portion of her neighborhood that had maintained power when hers went out eventually lost it as well around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Ghannad, a mother to a 4-year-old and a baby who is 5 months old, said she struggled to find updates on power outages and said her cell service was spotty. She feared for her child because she said she had a freezer full of breastmilk that was beginning to soften. Roads across the county remain hazardous, local and county officials said. The City of Sugar Land closed the main lanes of Highway 59 and Grand Parkway in both directions in the portions of the highways that run through the city. The two warming centers set up by the county

A snowman sits in a pot at Christy de Cristal's Stafford home. (Contributed photo)

★ STORM FROM PAGE 1

A pipe burst and the ceiling collapsed in the bathroom of Cheri Payne's Missouri City home. (Contributed photo)

were Gallery Furniture at 7221 W. Grand Pkwy. in Richmond and River Pointe Church at 21000 Highway 59 in Richmond. Gallery Furniture is closed due to a power outage and River Pointe Church is no long accepting residents, according to the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management (FBCOEM). In addition to power outages, some residents have been without water, and the following municipalities and Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs) have issued boil water notices, per FBCOEM: – Quail Valley Utility Districts: – Thunderbird Utility District No. 1 – Palmer Plantation MUD No. 1 – Palmer Plantation MUD No. 2 – Harris County WCID – Fondren Rd. – Fort Bend County WCID No. 2 Stafford – Harris County MUD #122 – Greatwood – Sugarland – Grand Mission MUD #1 – Grand Mission MUD #2 – FBC MUD #165 – FBC MUD # 133 – FBC MUD #50 – Harris/Fort Bend MUD #5 – City of Katy – City of Pearland – City of Fulshear

713-433-6421

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The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) requires local water providers to notify all customers to boil their water prior to consumption, including for washing of the hands or face, brushing teeth, drinking, or for use in cooking, when water system pressure drops below 20 pounds per square inch. “To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking, and ice making should be boiled and cooled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes,” Sugar Land city officials said. “The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes.” In a video posted to Twitter, Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman said the city’s surface water treatment plant and all of its groundwater plants are currently on backup power or generators due to the impacts of the power outage. Zimmerman said the city “has taken action to secure pallets of water” to distribute to residents without power who are unable to boil their tap water. He said normal water pressure will not return until power is restored. “Our system was never designed to run solely on back-up power,” Zimmerman said. “Water pressure in most areas is extremely low due to our current situation.” Residents across the county were frustrated by what they viewed as a lack of transparency in the midst of a crisis, including Missouri City’s Noel Pinnock. “It is critically important that MUDs inform customers when a water stoppage occurs.” Pinnock said. “So many woke up this morning after taking all the (suggested) precautions to no water and no communication.” Greatwood, Greatwood Lakes, or Sugar Land residents can contact the city via 311 or at 281-275-2900. FBCOEM can be reached at 281-342-6185.

Stay INFORMED

fortbendstar.com Chaparrin made her way from Harlingen, and here is what her foster shared: "Chaparrin is a wonderful dog who LOVES to be by his person's side. He has spent most of his time here taking naps and snoozing away the day, but he's also always ready for a nice walk or a day at the beach. He rides in the car nicely, walks well on a leash, hasn't had any accidents inside and has a gentle spirit. Chap is going to make a wonderful addition to someone's family." Interested in taking this great boy home? Stop by for a visit today! We are open.

way to help even though he was without power in his own home in Fort Bend. “Even if she wasn’t a client,” Adams said of Ludlow, “if someone’s in need, I would still take care of them. That’s just the right thing to do in times like this. Neighbors should be helping neighbors.” Geissler said her business opened eight weeks before restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic began in late March and early April. Sharing a similar sentiment to that of Fort Bend County Judge KP George – who has been without power and recently shared a video of his Richmond home soaked with water after a pipe burst – Giessler said she understood there are always others who are suffering from more dire circumstances. So the Ohio native wanted to do her best to give back to those who are in need. She plans to keep CraftWorx open during its normal business hours between 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. She said she would do so as long as her power was on and the need remained from those without electricity in the area. “I just wanted to make sure that we could reach out and do something knowing that we had power,” Geissler said.

“Art’s such a great form of therapy, and anything we could do to get people out of their homes and make them happy. I feel blessed, and I really want to pass it along to other people.” In Stafford, Councilwoman Virginia Rosas and her son Michael Rosas stopped by the home of Kathy Johnson last Saturday to help wrap insulation around her pipes to try to prevent them from freezing. “Sometimes I go through Facebook and I read her remarks about looking for insulation for piping,” Virginia Rosas said. “So I asked her, ‘Hey, did you find it?’ because I know during these times that materials can go pretty quickly.” When Rosas learned that Johnson hadn’t, she said she and her son had everything they needed to help her. Rosas said Stafford’s close-knit community enables residents to quickly deliver aid to its neighbors in need. “That’s what great about a small community, you get to know people,” Rosas said. “And even if I didn’t know her, I would have asked. If there’s something I have that I can give, I’ll do it every time. It just felt good to help.” Johnson echoed those comments, expressing her gratitude for the assistance of the Rosas family, even though she and Virginia had only met once before.

(Virginia and Michael) came to my rescue,” Johnson wrote in a Feb. 13 Facebook post. “I love living in Stafford.” Across the county, there were several other local businesses that tried to help provide sustenance to people without the ability to cook within their own homes or who were restricted by icy roads and discouraged from going outside by the widespread closures and shutdowns over the last few days. Several restaurants in the area opened for business with limited hours and in some cases limited menus Wednesday, including Dona Leti’s in Fort Bend Houston, offering free drinks for customers and serving hot meals from their food truck. In Stafford, the Chick-fil-A location on West Airport Boulevard and Highway 59 reopened, along with Raizes Mexican Kitchen, Westco Donuts and Vietwich. And then there were the many young children who reveled in seeing snow for the first time, including Eleen Alagha, 3, whose father, Mahmoud Alagha, moved to Richmond with his family from Los Angeles. “Everyone was warning us about the summer and the heat,” Mahmoud said. “No one mentioned anything about freezing storms, but we are glad that the experience hopefully won't last long.”

★ SWIM FROM PAGE 1 said. “So we just pushed ourselves in practice to get to that level where we could compete at this highest stage and get to where we are now.” Added Kayla: “We were both faster than the average, so we kind of thought we could compete at the higher levels.” And thanks to encouragement from both parents and each other, along with an early friendly rivalry, their skill and love for the sport have only grown. “It was less of sibling competition than it was encouragement to the other person,” Alex said. Voice in the crowd Throughout their swimming journey, the Fus said the standard sibling rivalry existed early but gradually faded as they grew older due to the difference in age and events. “I realized Alex was completely out of my league,” Kayla said with a laugh. “So there wasn’t really that competition anymore.” However, that hasn’t stopped them from pushing each other to the highest level. And even when her brother heads off to college within the next couple of years, Kayla says the bond the two have forged will always stay with her. “Alex still plays a huge role in my swimming. At meets, he’s always the one on the sidelines cheering for me. That’s something that’s really important for me,” she said. “…I want to push myself to be the best

Alex Fu swims during a previous meet. He will be competing at the Class 6A state swim meet individually for the first time next weekend. (Contributed photo)

I can and be somewhat on Alex’s level. So even when he’s not here, he’ll be encouraging me.” Alex shared a similar sentiment. “We both believe (that encouragement) is a huge factor in why we’re both succeeding in swimming,” he said. Standing out It appears as though the siblings’ early thoughts about their abilities have been right on the money, and their efforts have paid off. Alex swam with Clements’ 200-yard freestyle relay at both the 2019 and 2020 state meets, but will be competing individually for the first time in his high school career next weekend. He had the second-best qualifying time in the 100 breaststroke (56.36 seconds) and the third-best time in the 100 butterfly (48.96). “My seeding is definitely up there – I have a chance to podium, so I’m really looking forward to racing these guys and hopefully I

can get on the podium,” he said. “It’s nerve-wracking, because at your first individual state appearance you want it to be a good one.” Kayla, meanwhile, finished with the third-best qualifying time in the 50 freestyle (23.29) and the second-best time in the 100 freestyle (50.44) despite it being her first high school season. “I’m excited, but mainly nervous. I don’t really deal with my nerves – they kind of stick with me the entire meet,” she said. “Alex has been encouraging me at home, so I’ll start getting more excited than nervous sometimes, but the nerves always kind of stay with me.” Despite those nerves, both know that there’s at least one person they can always count on to give a dose of hope when the chips are down. “There’s no pressure to compete against each other,” Alex said. “There’s no barrier in terms of encouragement.”


See us online www.FortBendStar.com

THE STAR

Wednesday, February 17, 2021 • PAGE

Freeze Frames Here are some photos of the winter storm submitted by Fort Bend County residents.

The Pecan Grove Country Club Golf Course, shown here, was one of many area spots receiving large amounts of snowfall. (Contributed Photo.)

Eleen Alaga, 3, of Richmond, is shown standing in the snow in the driveway of her home. (Contributed Photo.)

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TURNER21STAR A young girl is showing playing in the snow in Richmond. (Contributed Photo.)

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THE STAR

PAGE 8 • Wednesday, February 17, 2021

See us online www.FortBendStar.com

Review: Jollibee serves up fast, tasty Filipino dishes in Missouri City Capping things off was a Peach Mango Pie ($2.74), meshing two of my favorite fruits into a warm, gooey filling and encased in a soft, chewy crust. As I’ve been fortunate to find so many times, I’m glad my curiosity and nose for new discoveries in the realm of Fort Bend County cuisine led me to a place like Jollibee. I hope you’ll continue to share your recommendations with me @StefanJModrich on Twitter and via email smodrich@fortbendstar.com.

Pictured is the Palabok Fiesta from Jollibee Missouri City during a recent visit. (Photo by Stefan Modrich)

By Stefan Modrich SMODRICH@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

Jollibee has been an object of fascination for me during my trips up and down Highway 6 in my quest to discover the most original and distinct cuisine across Fort Bend County. While you can find the Filipino fast-food chain in 10 other states, there are only four in the entire state of Texas and only two others in the Houston area. I was excited to head back to Missouri City to pay my first visit to Jollibee, which opened there in June. You can only have your first Whataburger or In-N-Out meal once, and so I like to mark these occasions with the significance they deserve. I found the restaurant nearly empty on arrival, having managed to do so before the winter storms shut down life as we had previously known it. It was disappointing to not have a chance to try Halohalo (which means “mixed” in Filipino). Halo-halo is a traditional dessert composed of crushed ice, evaporated milk

or condensed milk, as well as ube (a purple yam), sweetened beans, coconut strips, pinipig rice, fruit slices and flan. It is commonly topped with a scoop of ube ice cream. Ditto for the Ube Pie, which is filled with the same purple yams featured in the Halo-halo. I did, however, enjoy my dessert — more on that later. For lunch, I went with the Palabok Fiesta ($6.59), a traditional Filipino noodle dish covered in garlic sauce, crushed pork rinds, shrimp and a boiled egg. The noodles are clear, which is a bit jarring at first. They are also known as cellophane or glass noodles, and referred to as sotanghon in the Philippines. They are often made out of starch derived from potatoes. The variety of protein choices was the highlight of the Palabok Fiesta for me. Included with the rice was two chicken wings, and the chicken was so tender it fell off the bone.

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Address: 6127 Highway 6, Missouri City Dining Options: Dine-in, takeout, curbside pickup, delivery via DoorDash and Uber Eats Hours: 9 a.m.-10 p.m. daily Entrée prices: $6.59$13.19 Kid-friendly: Yes Senior discount: No Alcohol: No Healthy options: None Star of the show: Palabok Fiesta

Deadline is noon every Friday. Limit entries to 40 words and answer the “5 Ws” Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Email to jsazma@fortbendstar.com or mail to: Fort Bend Star, 3944 Bluebonnet Drive, Stafford, Texas 77477.

FOR NON-PROFIT EVENTS

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak and the cancellation of several community gatherings, please check with each organization for updated information about the status of their events. FEBRUARY 18 LAMBDA SIGMA CHAPTER OF DKG VIRTUAL MEETING FEBRUARY 18TH Local chapter, Lambda Sigma of Delta Kappa Gamma, a professional society of leading women educators will conduct a zoom meeting this Thursday, February 18th, at 5 p.m. to celebrate the chapter's 39th birthday. Guest speaker: Pamela Berge, Area 4 Coordinator. Educators who are interested in learning more about DKG, contact dkglsnews2020@gmail. com MARCH 5 MOVIES IN WESSENDORFF PARK Richmond is bringing back the monthly Free outdoor movies, beginning with National Treasure at Wessendorff Park, 500 Preston St. beginning March 5. The free outdoor film screening is organized by the city of Richmond and will be held in Wessendorff Park with plenty of room for distancing and kids to run. As in past years, Rotary Club of Richmond will supply free popcorn and the city will provide water. Families are encouraged to bring their own chairs and blankets. MAY 8 CHILD ADVOCATES OF FORT BEND’S ANNUAL GALA FOR THE CHILDREN 30TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION! Join us to honor 19,000 children in Fort Bend County who have been abused and neglected Saturday, May 8 - 6 pm, Sugar Land Marriott

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Tickets $125. Sponsorships $2500 - $10,000 www.cafb.org MARCH 11 FT. BEND/HARRIS RETIRED EDUCATORS NEXT ZOOM MEETING is Thursday morning, March 11th, at 10:00. Program: The Sugar Land 95 (leasing the work of the prisoners to private individuals or corporations 1879 - 1909). Speaker: Chassidy Olainu-Alade, FBISD's coordinator for community and civic engagement. Paid members will receive an emailed zoom invitation a week prior to the meeting. Further information for any retired educator, email cmduvall@aol.com. ONGOING GIVE A GIFT OF HOPE Give a Gift of Hope one-time or monthly. Your help provides access to therapies and services children with autism might otherwise go without. Please consider Hope For Three in your Estate, Planned, or Year-End Giving. Register now, or learn more about exciting events: www.hopeforthree.org/events VIRTUAL The Temple Experience featuring Dr. Temple Grandin Ð February 20, 2021 Tickets, spectacular sponsorships and creative underwriting opportunities available. AMERICAN LEGION MEETINGS. Will be the fourth Tuesday of every month at the Raymond Freeman Post 0942, 311 Ulrich, 7:00 pm, Sugar Land, Texas. DVD-BASED ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS WITH NO HOMEWORK REQUIRED Weekly class designed to help you understand and appreciate the Bible by giving you a better

sense of the land and culture from which it sprang. The class meets at 9:30 am every Sunday at First Presbyterian of Sugar Land (502 Eldridge Rd.). For more information call 281-240-3195 EXCHANGE EXCHANGE, AmericaÕ s Service Club, always welcomes guests and is in search of new members! Various Fort Bend clubs exist and can accommodate early morning (7 a.m.), noon and evening meeting time desires. For more info, contact Mike Reichek, Regional Vice President, 281-575-1145 or mike@ reichekfinancial.com We would love to have you join us and see what we are all about! MISSOURI CITY AARP CHAPTER 3801 Meets the second Monday of every month at 11:30 a.m., at 2701 Cypress Point Dr., Missouri City Rec Center. Lunch, education, and entertainment. All seniors over 50 invited. For more information, call 713-859-5920 or 281-499-3345. BECOME A FOSTER GRANDPARENT Volunteers are needed to be a role model, mentor and friend to children with exceptional needs in the community. Training, mileage reimbursement, tax-free monthly stipend if eligible. Call today to help change the world, one child at a time in Rosenberg. For more information, call 281-344-3515. DAV CHAPTER 233 MONTHLY MEETING The second Tuesday of every month at the United Way Fort Bend Center, 12300 Parc Crest Dr., Stafford, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. For more information, email maw0500@gmail. com.

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