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Missouri City bond could be on November ballot - Page 2

Read the first installment of our Skeeters Spotlight series, on Bryan De La Cruz, inside on Page 5. (Photo by Landan Kuhlmann)

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Rise of Delta variant worries medical experts By Matt deGrood MDEGROOD@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

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Fort Bend / Southwest • Volume 45 • No. 49

A growing number of residents have checked themselves into Fort Bend County hospitals in recent weeks and been diagnosed with the Delta variant of COVID-19, setting off concern among physicians that this could be the beginning of another wave of coronavirus, according to health experts. But unlike previous waves

during the pandemic, this rise has been limited almost exclusively to people who have declined to receive the coronavirus vaccine, said Rita Obey, communications manager for Fort Bend County Health and Human Services. “As with the rest of the Houston region, Fort Bend County has seen a rise in cases,” Obey said. “The vast majority of these cases have been unvaccinated residents. Out of the 367,000-plus Fort Bend County residents who

Public health officials in Fort Bend County are concerned about a spike in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations (Contributed photo)

have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, four people who were 70-plus years of age and had comorbidities died from COVID-19.”


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Local cities note uptick in violent crime By Matt deGrood MDEGROOD@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

Both Sugar Land and Missouri City have seen upticks in some violent crime categories in both 2020 and 2021, but they should be considered in their context, according to police officials in both communities. Violent crime increased in Missouri City in 2020, largely on the back of more aggravated assaults and robberies. But it’s important to understand it came after years of falling percentages, according to Chief of Police Mike Berezin. “I always tell people to try not to focus on the percentages,” Berezin said. “Look at the actual numbers.” Focusing on percentages can sometimes paint a misleading picture. For instance, Missouri City in 2020 saw two homicides, com-

Fort Bend Museum’s Ana Alicia Acosta looks on at public art displayed at the front of the newly-renovated museum. The museum reopened to the public on July 17 after closing for almost six months. (Photo by Matt deGrood)

Renovated museum depicts evolution of county By Matt deGrood MDEGROOD@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

Even approaching the newly-renovated Fort Bend Museum in Richmond, it’s easy for one to believe they’re about to enter some place in one of the world’s centers of culture – a New York, a Paris, a Tokyo. A comforting white exterior and glass doors greet visitors, and the entry is filled with local art and historical trinkets and T-shirts depicting Fort Bend County history. “This used to be basically a big brick box,” said Claire Rogers, the executive director of the Fort Bend History Association, which oversees the


museum. The museum, 550 Houston St. in Richmond, reopened to the public July 17 after being closed about six months for

$2 million in renovations, according to Fort Bend History Association. The facility as it exists today, with its abundance of

See related column ...................

Page 3

building in April 2018, she said. The fire wasn’t terrible, but it began in the center of the museum, and the facility at the time had no windows and limited ways to get out, she said. “We decided that, before we attempted to build bigger and better, we needed to deal with what we already had,” Rogers said. “We wanted to


Area dance instructor inspiring after cancer diagnosis By Landan Kuhlmann LKUHLMANN@FORTBENDSTAR.COM


Lots of light and color dominate the Fort Bend Museum’s new exhibit space, pictured here. (Photo by Matt deGrood)

windows and brightly-lit interior, is a far cry from how it looked before, said Ana Alicia Acosta, the site manager. The museum’s association began in 1967 and built the facility that housed the museum in 1972, intending it to become a storage collection facility for the nearby Moore Home, Rogers said. By 1988, the facility had become a museum office that didn’t change much until recently, Rogers said. Trustees with the history association had contemplated building a dedicated museum elsewhere in the county as the organization celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017, according to Rogers. But then a fire started in the museum

About three months ago, Cookie Joe Arthur learned she had Stage 2 breast cancer, just a short time after finding a lump during a self-examination. Ever since then, she’s been undergoing bi-weekly chemotherapy sessions as MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The diagnosis and subsequent treatment would be a

challenge for anyone. But Arthur, 67, no stranger to overcoming obstacles in recent years, is hoping to use the setback to raise awareness of the disease causing some 281,550 new cases each year, she said. “I just want to use what could be a sad, challenging or despondent time and turn it around to say, ‘What can we do to make it useful and purposeful?’” she said. “This was given to me for a purpose – so I’ve got to make it purposeful.” On Aug. 13-14, Cookie Joe’s

Cookie Joe Arthur teaches a dance class on Saturday in Sugar Land. (Photo by Landan Kuhlmann)

Dancin’ School in Sugar Land, which Arthur founded more than 40 years ago, will partner with the Exchange Club of Sugar Land to host a two-day blood drive aimed at bringing a greater awareness to the



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City of Sugar Land confirms West Nile-infected mosquito 713-433-6421

By Landan Kuhlmann

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Another mosquito found in a trap in Sugar Land has tested positive for the West Nile virus, according to a July 22 news release. According to the city, the infected mosquito was found last week in a trap located in the 4400 block of Elkins Drive in the Austin Meadows neighborhood. The city previously found an infected mosquito in the New Territory subdivision on July 2. The city said humans can contract West Nile

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and bone aches, nausea and drowsiness, the city said. “If people have symptoms that cause them concern, they should contact their healthcare provider immediately,” Anzaldua said. The Texas Department of State Health Services also encourages dressing in long sleeves, staying indoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, and draining any standing water where mosquitoes could breed. For more information on how to combat mosquito bites and breeding grounds, visit

Missouri City bond referendum may be placed on upcoming November ballot



through a bite from an infected mosquito, which can get the virus from feeding on infected birds. People over 50 years old and those with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if infected with the virus,

according to city health authority and health director Joe Anzaldua. Anzaldua, who practices at Oak Bend Medical Center’s Sugar Land facility, added that the city of Sugar Land has a comprehensive monitoring and testing program intended to keep the public safe. Symptoms of the disease can include a stiff neck, vision problems, body tremors, mental confusion, memory loss and seizures, according to the city. The milder form of the illness is West Nile fever, which can include symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle

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Missouri City voters in November could be tasked with deciding whether or not to pass about $96 million in bond referendums, the first for the city since 2014. An exploratory committee is reviewing a list of street, park and other projects to make final determinations that will soon come before the city council, said Everett Land, the committee’s chairman. “We haven’t yet gotten all the answers to the questions that I have,” Land said. “That’s why we are going to have another meeting. We’re trying to get the

committee as educated as possible.” The committee is weighing three ballot items dedicated to streets, parks and other projects, including improvements to the La Quinta Golf Course, that would total about $96 million, Land said. If approved, the three items would raise taxes by about $147 per year on the average home worth about $255,000, Land said. Residents have expressed support for some items being considered for the bond referendum. About 49 percent of respondents in a 2020 citizen survey, for instance, said they considered

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the overall maintenance of streets and infrastructure the biggest priority for the city moving forward, according to information provided by the city. But some Missouri City residents have questioned the need to spend money to renovate a golf course, Land said. And the tax increase, especially in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, has made even Land tread carefully moving forward, he said. “Coming out of COVID, a lot of people are still out of work,” he said. “That kind of makes me think about it. And the cost of everything has gone up.” If the council approves the bond referendum as it exists currently, voters will have the option to consider three different items – one for streets, roadways and mobility improvements, a second for facilities and a third for parks and recreation. Aug. 16 is the last day to call for a bond referendum, according to the city.


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Wednesday, July 28, 2021 • PAGE


In Fort Bend County, history isn’t just distant past While touring the newlyrenovated Fort Bend Museum, I was perhaps most struck by an exhibit discussing the controversy surrounding the Jaybird Monument in Richmond. Even the presentation of the issue was interesting, with recent newspaper articles laying out the controversy, which culminated in the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court in October voting to move the long-standing monument to a new location. The monument stood in Richmond for years, a longstanding reference to a former local political group that disenfranchised Black voters and instituted white-only primaries for voting until 1953. “One day today will also be a part of history,” Ana Alicia Acosta told me when I asked about it. That’s a statement that we all intuitively know, but I think we don’t often realize on a dayto-day basis. Recent memory has been a veritable goldmine of events that will no doubt one day en-


ter the history books. The list includes a global pandemic, the craziest election season I’ve ever lived through, the near-catastrophic failure of the state’s power grid and national conversation about race and policing, to name but a few. And locally, what storylines will one day be enshrined in our collective memory? Will it be public outcry against the Jaybird Monument? Or the rapid growth and diversification of Fort Bend County? Perhaps all of the above? Interestingly, even the most recent Texas Legislature hasn’t been free of historical underpinnings and discussion about the telling of history. Namely, what should we teach children? And how?

Political polarization always seeks the simplest explanation, but I firmly believe our history is best captured in shades of greys, and is always present with us. As the great writer William Faulkner once said, “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.” The Fort Bend Museum, in a way I don’t think I fully appreciated before, did a fantastic job of driving that point home through exhibits like the one about the Jaybird Monument and others about immigrants to the county. As Fort Bend History Association executive director Claire Rogers explained, this area is absolutely teeming with Texas history. The association’s collections include documents signed by both Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston. The figures of Texas lore aren’t just near-mythical figures in Fort Bend County, they were real people who interacted and visited many of the places we still do today. But it’s not just those largerthan-life figures that played an outsized role in the place that

Fort Bend County is today, and it’s that lesson museum officials hoped to bring to visitors. Rather, it’s the many thousands of immigrants from India, China, Portugal, Nigeria and everywhere else that have ventured to Fort Bend County in search of a better life for their families. It’s also the darker stories, such as the unidentified Sugar Land 95, the African Americans who were believed to have been part of a state convict leasing program whose remains were found in 2018 while Fort Bend ISD officials were working on a nearby building. The 13th Amendment ended chattel slavery as it was known before the Civil War, but permitted it as punishment for a crime. Experts estimate more than 3,500 prisoners died between the beginning of the Texas convict leasing system in the 1860s and the end in 1912, according to a Prison Legal News article. I remember when I first took the job in Fort Bend County, my Galveston County

friend and local historian Sam Collins III spoke to me of all the historical connections between the two counties – with shipments coming through the Port of Galveston and eventually ending up at the plantations in Fort Bend County. I’ve always admired Collins’ sense of place, and desire to understand a community’s history. We would all be better served if we grappled as deeply with the goods and ills of local history. The author James Baldwin summarized American histo-

ry better than any other writer I know. “American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it,” he wrote. The same is true of Fort Bend County history. It includes the stories we grew up learning, but also everything in between, down to the present. It even includes the stories we might wish could be forgotten. I thank the staff at Fort Bend Museum for reminding me of that fact.

Want the BEST DEAL Woman in Missouri City for your Cable accused of killing husband By Landan Kuhlmann LKUHLMANN@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

A woman who allegedly called 911 and reported her husband had been accidentally shot was later arrested and charged with murder in connection to the man’s death, Missouri City police allege. Jacqueline Elaine Thomas, 43, is accused of killing Eugene Liger, 42, of Missouri City, according to Fort Bend County court records. Thomas’ bond was set at $250,000, according to court records, and she remained jailed as of Monday afternoon. Police at about 2:30 a.m. last Tuesday, July 20, said they

received a call about possible gunshots and responded to a residence in the 1000 block of Americana Lane, where they found Liger with a gunshot wound to his torso. Emergency personnel transported Liger to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, according to police. Thomas allegedly called 911 and told police Liger’s shoot-

and Internet?

ing was accidental, said Capt. Paul Poulton, spokesperson for the Missouri City Police Department. But police found conflicting information during an initial investigation, including a conflicting account from Liger before he died, Poulton said. A 5-month-old child was also at the home at the time of the alleged shooting, but was unharmed, according to police.

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PAGE 4 • Wednesday, July 28, 2021

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Immerse yourself in the story of rainforest conservation. Explore the world of sustainable butterfly farming through physical role-play challenges. Along your journey, uncover other successful rainforest enterprises that impact your daily life. This exhibition is proudly supported by Fort Bend Junior Service League


for tickets and information


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Wednesday, July 28, 2021 • PAGE


Skeeters Spotlight: Bryan De La Cruz Landan Kuhlmann

July 19: Sugar Land 7, Albuquerque 5 July 20: Albuquerque 7, Sugar Land 6 July 22: Sugar Land 5, Oklahoma City 4 July 23: Oklahoma City 14, Sugar Land 5 July 24: Sugar Land 6, Oklahoma City 4 July 25: Sugar Land 10, Oklahoma City 8


There is a lot that goes into the overall evaluation or projection for any minor league baseball prospect. Some of it can be measured in concrete terms – such as timing in a 60-yard dash, average exit velocity and strikeout/walk rates, just to name a few. However, a key part of the evaluation process also lies in the intangibles that don’t necessarily show up in a box score. And that’s not even taking into account the human element of the entire process. So if it sounds complicated and complex, well, then you know why this writer is a newspaper reporter and not a pro scout. With all that said, however, who’s to say we can’t give it a shot? This week, we’re debuting what we plan to be a recurring series of overviews plus an evaluation of a current Astros prospect from the perspective of me, Landan Kuhlmann. I am not a pro scout, but I have been a baseball fan for as long as I can remember, and could probably tell you more about any Astros player or prospect than you want to know. In this series of stories, there will be a mix of statistical analysis and personal input from yours truly based on watching video of these players and covering games. So with all that said, here’s this week’s player spotlight, which focuses on outfielder Bryan De La Cruz. Initial overview: De La Cruz was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2013 from the Dominican Republic at age 17. Throughout his minor league career, De La Cruz has gained a reputation as having a quick bat and superb hand-eye coordination. Thus far in 2021, he is having the best season of his minor

On the defensive side, De La Cruz profiles primarily as a solid corner outfielder with the potential for a high batting average along with 10 or so homers at the MLB level. However, he also appears to be part of an outfield logjam in Sugar Land along with Jake Meyers and Jose Siri, plus the Astros current outfield is under contract through next season. So that also begs the question as to whether De La Cruz will be here much longer. A big part of me thinks the Astros sell high on the 24-year-old and trade him, which would give him a chance to get the playing time he has earned instead of wallowing in the minors. Quick hits Homers for Hinojosa: Infielder C.J. Hinojosa continued his recent rear with another strong week. He went 13 for 29


Bryan De La Cruz takes a lead off first base during a July 11 game vs. the Tacoma Rainiers. (Photo by Landan Kuhlmann)

league career, hitting .323 with an .884 OPS entering play this week. De La Cruz, who was ranked among the Astros’ top 30 prospects entering the season by Baseball America, has already slugged a career-high 12 homers. So on the surface, the 24-year-old appears to be in the midst of a breakout season that has thrust him into the purview of many Astros fans. So what does it all mean? Landan’s Lowdown Here’s the thing about raw numbers – they always have to be put into context in my opinion, which is as much about evaluating the league-wide hitting environment and underlying skills as much as the raw numbers themselves. It bears mentioning that Triple-A West and its ballparks have been veritable launching pads throughout the season. Even the lowest-producing of-

fense in the league – that of the Albuquerque Isotopes – still has a .777 OPS as a team and is scoring better than five runs per ballgame. That said, I believe De La Cruz’s success is largely real. From watching a number of games this season, the quick bat and good bat-to-ball skills are certainly evident. He has even been called the minor league version of Astros outfielder Michael Brantley. The percentage of De La Cruz’s fly balls that go for homers has jumped up to 15.2 percent, nearly doubling his previous career high of 8.3 in spite of his fly ball rate being nearly identical to seasons past. But that could be explained by him hitting them harder, as his overall hard contact (95+ MPH) rate has jumped from around 27 percent in 2019 to better than 34 percent so far this season. Hitting the ball harder is always

better, as most people could tell you. But the fact it is combined with a 20.4 percent strikeout rate that is well in line with his career rate tells you a couple of things: Essentially, he is not swinging for the fences at the expense of making contact – which is a common trend in today’s game. It appears he is simply making better contact, which points to some mechanical adjustments to the swing – which has looked shorter and more compact as the season moves along.






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in six games with seven extrabase hits. Hinojosa entered play this week hitting .333 with a .974 OPS in July, and homered five times in his previous seven games. Leon learning: Astros No. 2 prospect Pedro Leon made his Triple-A debut last week, and acclimated himself fairly well with a .750 OPS through five games. Bregman's back: Astros All-Star Alex Bregman is set to begin his rehab assignment with Sugar Land on Monday. You’re a wizard, Swatson: During the upcoming homestand from Thursday through Aug. 3 at Constellation Field, the Skeeters are hosting Wands and Wizards Weekend. The first 1,500 fans at Saturday’s game against the El Paso Chihuahuas will receive a Swatson Wizard bobblehead.










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Methods of Administration (MOA)

Distribution and Logistics. Admission to these programs is based on student course selection and appropriate completion of pre-requisite coursework.

It is the policy of Fort Bend ISD not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sexItor servicesonorthe activities required Title VI of the is handicap the policy in of its Fortvocational Bend ISD programs, not to discriminate basis ofas race, color, by national origin, Civil Rights Act of in1964, as amended; Titleservices IX of the Education of VI 1972; sex or handicap its vocational programs, or activities as Amendments required by Title of theand Section 504 of Act the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Civil Rights of 1964, as amended; Title as IX amended. of the Education Amendments of 1972; and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

It is the policy of Fort Bend ISD not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, is the policyorofage FortinBend ISD not to discriminate the basis race, origin,Act sex,It handicap, its employment practices asonrequired byofTitle VIcolor, of thenational Civil Rights sex, handicap, or ageTitle in itsIX employment practices as required by VI of Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; of the Education Amendments ofTitle 1972; thethe Age Discrimination of the Education of Act 1972; the Age Actofof1964, 1975,as asamended; amended;Title andIXSection 504 of theAmendments Rehabilitation of 1973, asDiscrimination amended. Act of 1975, as amended; and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

Fort Bend ISD will take steps to assure that lack of English language skills will not be a barrier Fort Bend ISD will take steps to assure that lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation vocationalprograms. programs. to admission and participationininall alleducational educational and and vocational ForFor information about your contactthe theCTE CTETitle Title Coordinator information about yourrights rightsororgrievance grievance procedures, procedures, contact IXIX Coordinator at, and/orthe theSection Section504 504 Coordinator at, 281-634-5446, 281-634-5446, and/or Coordinator at at,,281-634-1242. 281-634-1242.

Plans, specifications, and bidding documents may be obtained from www.CivCast, search project name “Austin Parkway East, River Park South and Greatwood West Ground Storage Tank Rehab”, or document may be viewed in the office of the Design Engineer at the following location: IDS Engineering Group, 13430 Northwest Freeway, Suite 700, Houston, TX 77040. (713) 462-3178 Sealed bids one (1) original and two (2) copies, shall be delivered to the City of Sugar Land, Office of the City Secretary, 2700 Town Center Boulevard North, Suite 122, Sugar Land, Texas, 77479, on or before 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 12, 2021, at which time bids will be publicly opened and read. Bids received after the opening date and time will not be considered. A non-mandatory pre-bid meeting for all interested parties will be held at 2:00 p.m., Monday, August 2, 2021 via virtual meeting. Details for attending the pre-bid meeting will be posted on CivCast Questions regarding this bid must be submitted online to the system or contact Marcel Khouw, P.E., at (713) 462-3178 or by email by Thursday, August 5, 2021 on or before 5:00 P.M. The City Council will award the contract as provided in the Invitation to Bid. The City of Sugar Land will give notice of the contract award within sixty (60) calendar days after the opening date and time.


Methodsof ofAdministration Administration (MOA) Methods (MOA) Divisionof of Review Review and and Support Division Support Office of Special Populations Monitoring Office of Special Populations Monitoring (512) 463-9414 (512) 463-9414





2010 Austin Parkway, Sugar Land, Texas 77479. Key Map 608 C

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Public Notification of Nondiscrimination in Career and Technical Education Programs

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NOTICE TO BIDDERS REHABILITATION OF THE 1.5 MG AUSTIN PARKWAY EAST, GROUND STORAGE TANK NO. 4, 0.35 M RIVER PARK SOUTH, GROUND STORAGE TANK NO.1, AND 1.0 MG GREATWOOD WEST GROUND STORAGE TANK NO. 1 The City of Sugar Land seeks bids for furnishing all labor, material, and equipment, and performing all work required for the following project in the City CIP PROJECT NAME: Rehabilitation of The 1.5 MG Austin Parkway

/s/ Maria Jackson City Secretary

Public Notification of Nondiscrimination in Career and Technical Education Programs

Painting by Tod



Mike Schofield



Methods of Administration (MOA)

Notificación Pública de No Discriminación en Programas de Educación Técnica y Vocacional El Notificación Distrito Escolar Independiente de Fort Bend ofrece programas de educación técnica y Pública de No Discriminación en Programas de Educación Técnica y Vocacional vocacional en Agricultura, Alimento y los Recursos Naturales, Arquitectura y Construcción, El Distrito Escolar Independiente de Fort Bend ofrece programas de educación técnica y de Artes en Tecnología y las Comunicaciones de Audio/Visual, Educación y Entrenamiento vocacional en Agricultura, Alimento y los Recursos Naturales, Arquitectura y Construcción, Negocios, Finanzas, Ciencias de la Salud, Hospitalidad y Turismo, Servicios Humanos, Artes en Tecnología las Comunicaciones de Audio/Visual, Educación y Entrenamiento de Tecnología Informática,y Ley y Seguridad Pública, Producción en Fábricas, Mercadotécnia, Negocios, Finanzas, Ciencias de la Salud, Hospitalidad Turismo, Humanos, Ciencias-Tecnología-Ingeniería-Matemáticas (STEM pory sus siglasServicios en inglés), Tecnología Informática, LeyyyLogísticas. Seguridad Pública, Producción en programas Fábricas, Mercadotécnia, Transportación, Distribución La admisión a estos está basada en la Ciencias-Tecnología-Ingeniería-Matemáticas (STEM por sus siglas en inglés), selección de cursos del alumno y previamente haber completado satisfactoriamente los Transportación, Distribución y Logísticas. La admisión a estos programas está basada en la cursos requeridos. selección de cursos del alumno y previamente haber completado satisfactoriamente los cursos requeridos.

Es norma del Distrito Escolar Independiente de Fort Bend no discriminar en sus programas, servicios o actividades por motivos de Bend raza,no color, origen en nacional, sexo o Es norma del Distrito vocacionales Escolar Independiente de Fort discriminar sus programas, impedimento, tal como lovocacionales requieren elpor Título VI dedelaraza, Ley color, de Derechos Civiles sexo de 1964, servicios o actividades motivos origen nacional, o según enmienda;talTítulo de las Enmiendas de 1972, y la Sección impedimento, como IX lo requieren el Título VIen delalaEducación Ley de Derechos Civiles de 1964, 504 de la Ley de enmienda; Rehabilitación enmienda. según TítulodeIX1973, de lassegún Enmiendas en la Educación de 1972, y la Sección 504 de la Ley de Rehabilitación de 1973, según enmienda.

Es norma del Distrito Escolar Independiente de Fort Bend no discriminar en sus Es norma del de Distrito Escolar de Fort Bend no discriminar en susimpedimento o procedimientos empleo por Independiente motivos de raza, color, origen nacional, sexo, procedimientos empleo el porTítulo motivos de raza, origen nacional, impedimento edad, tal como lo de requieren VI de la Leycolor, de Derechos Civilessexo, de 1964, según o edad, talTítulo como IX lo requieren el Título VIendelalaEducación, Ley de Derechos Civiles según enmienda; de las Enmiendas de 1972, la leydede1964, Discriminación de las Enmiendas de 1972, ley de porenmienda; Edad, deTítulo 1975,IX según enmienda; en y la la Educación, Sección 504 de lalaLey de Discriminación Rehabilitación de por según Edad, de 1975, según enmienda; y la Sección 504 de la Ley de Rehabilitación de 1973, enmienda. 1973, según enmienda.

El Distrito Escolar Independiente de Fort Bend tomará las medidas necesarias para El Distrito Escolar Independiente de Fort Bend tomará las medidas necesarias para asegurar que la la falta inglés no nosea seaun unobstáculo obstáculopara para asegurar que faltadedehabilidad habilidaden en el el uso uso del del inglés la la admisión y participación educativosyy vocacionales. vocacionales. admisión y participaciónenentodos todoslos losprogramas programas educativos Para información sobre de quejas, quejas,comuníquese comuníquese con Para información sobresus susderechos derechos oo procedimientos procedimientos de con la la Coordinadora deldelTítulo técnicayyvocacional, vocacional, Coordinadora TítuloIXIXdel delprograma programa de de educación educación técnica, y/o lalaCoordinadora Coordinadoradedela laSección Sección,281-634-5446, 281-634-5446, y/o 504504,,281-634-1242 281-634-1242 Methodsof ofAdministration Administration (MOA) Methods (MOA) Divisionof of Review Review and and Support Division Support OfficeofofSpecial Special Populations Populations Monitoring Office Monitoring




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Wednesday, July 28, 2021 • PAGE


Run through Sugar Land’s Oyster Creek Park Stefan Modrich See for related video


Do you know the feeling you get from ridding yourself of a persistently stubborn bad habit? Weaning yourself off of an Oyster Creek Park's water garden, with a fountain and addiction to technology is not waterfall feature, is one of the 111-acre Sugar Land park's easy. The dopamine hits that main attractions. (Photo by Stefan Modrich) come from being stimulated by screens and sounds can overwhelm and exhaust you if you’re not careful with how you manage it. In an attempt to bring a little more zen and meaningful, productive quiet time into my life, I have been running for the last two months without headphones, as crazy as it is to imagine. No more Spotify workout playlists and no more podcasts about news, cooking or movies. Granted, I still carried my phone last Wednesday afternoon to take videos and Public art is displayed at Oyster Creek Park, 4033 State photos of Sugar Land’s Oyster Creek Park, and wore my Highway 6 S. in Sugar Land. (Photo by Stefan Modrich) smartwatch with me to track perience. For several years, I Last week, I found myself my run. felt dependent on having some taking my contemplative jourNonetheless, running alone external stimulation to help ney to Oyster Creek Park. with your thoughts is an me push through more diffiOyster Creek Park feels like incredibly jarring sensory ex- cult or long runs. a cozy neighborhood park, and

★ VARIANT FROM PAGE 1 The vast majority of people dying from coronavirus as of July were among those who weren’t vaccinated, about 99 percent of all COVID-19-related deaths, said Pedro Pietra, a professor of molecular virology and microbiology at Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine. As of July 13, Houston Methodist hospitals across the Houston region had a little more than 100 people hospitalized with COVID-19 across the system, said Chris Siebenaler, regional senior vice president and CEO of Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. Within a week, however, that number increased to more than 185 patients, including some 28 at the Sugar Land location alone, Siebenaler said. About 85 percent of them have the Delta variant, and one has the Lambda variant, Sibenaler said. Public health officials in Fort Bend County and across the nation have been urging people for weeks to get vaccinated, arguing the alternative is much worse. “Although you may have a few breakthrough cases among those who’ve been vaccinated, the real story and issue is with the unvaccinated,” Pietra said. “If we could improve on that, it would be much harder for this variant to take a foothold in our community.” Researchers with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reclassified the Delta variant as a variant of concern, citing concern that it is more transmissible and can carry risk of more severe illness. Fort Bend County has fared comparatively better than similarly-sized counties in Texas, having vaccinated about 64 percent of its population older than 12 and 83 percent of its population older than 65, according to the most recent data. But County Judge KP George and other county leaders have argued that it’s those

★ CRIMES FROM PAGE 1 pared to just one in 2019 – a 100 percent increase in the course of a single year, Berezin said. Because the numbers are so low, any variation can cause significant upticks in the overall rate, Berezin said. Meanwhile, in Sugar Land, crime decreased in 2020, but has since trended up somewhat in 2021. “Sugar Land police haven’t witnessed a major uptick in violent crimes (in 2021), but are trending back to ‘normal ranges,’ as in 2019,” said Doug Adolph, spokesperson for the city. “During 2020, our COVID year, crimes trended downward, except in homicides, which were known offenders.” There were four homicides in Sugar Land in 2020, compared to three in 2019, according to data provided to the Fort Bend Star. Aggravated assaults also rose from 23 in 2019 up to 31 in 2020, but robberies declined from 28 in 2019 to 20 in 2020. The situation in Missouri City and Sugar land, in many ways, echoes the conversation nationally over violent crime during the pandemic. Early federal analysis suggests cities across the country might have seen a 25 percent

unvaccinated residents who will make the biggest difference long-term in keeping case numbers down, and he’s received pushback for it. Calls seeking comment to several Fort Bend County residents who have been open about their vaccine hesitancy went unreturned as of Friday. The Fort Bend County commissioners in a partisan 3-2 vote earlier this month approved a $345,000 contract with a Houston-based firm to provide coronavirus vaccine outreach. But several residents spoke before the vote, citing statistics of unknown origin about the vaccine’s alleged issues, and questioning whether it was government overreach. Despite that, available data paints a stark picture of how the Delta variant affects unvaccinated communities. Only about 150 of the more than 18,000 U.S. COVID-19-related deaths in May were fully vaccinated people, according to an Associated Press analysis. And breakthrough infections accounted for only about 0.1 percent of all hospitalizations, according to the analysis. “Basically, you’re creating an environment where the virus can take off,” Pietra said of the danger of large percentages of unvaccinated residents. “Once the virus’ activity is rising, it puts everyone at risk. Not to the same degree, but everyone is at risk.” Even people who contract the virus and remain asymptomatic initially might not escape longer-term consequences, Pietra said. Those include fatigue, foggy memory, eye problems, heart issues and even problems with mental health, such as depression and anxiety, Pietra said. Rising cases of the Delta variant also pose potential complications for schools reopening, Pietra said. “If we don’t take measures there to help reduce transmission, you’ll see a lot of cases among children,” he said. increase in homicides in 2020, or about 4,000 or 5,000 more people killed, and a 3 percent increase in overall violent crime, according to a Guardian article examining FBI data. Some have used that uptick to argue for more policing, while others have emphasized that the year should be taken into historical context, that crime has been trending downward for decades now. In other words, for much of Fort Bend County and the country, it’s hard to draw many trend lines from what’s thus far a oneyear aberration. Robberies accounted for the biggest portion of Missouri City’s increase in 2020, Berezin said. “The reason for the increase is everybody was wearing a mask,” Berezin said. “Before the pandemic, if five or six men walked in with masks, that would raise eyebrows. It doesn’t anymore, and the criminal element took advantage.” Police received 17 additional robbery reports in 2020, compared to the previous year, Berezin said. Investigators have already made several arrests connected to those robberies, Berezin said. An increase in aggravated assaults also appears comprised mostly of domestic incidents, Berezin said.

★ EVOLUTION FROM PAGE 1 reimagine what could be on the property.” Now, a renovated interior depicts the story of Fort Bend County, from the first settlers’ arrival to present day. “One day today will also be part of history,” Acosta said of an exhibit depicting the recent controversy over the Jaybird Monument in Richmond. The monument stood in Richmond for years, a longstanding reference to a former local political group that disenfranchised Black voters and instituted white-only primaries for voting until 1953. Because Fort Bend County is so diverse, it’s important that the museum tell the story of everyone, Rogers said. That’s why several exhibits are dedicated to immigrants to the area, she said. History aficionados in Fort Bend County stand in somewhat stark contrast to communities in other counties surrounding Houston.

★ INSPIRING FROM PAGE 1 treatment of breast cancer and helping MD Anderson with a blood shortage. The goal is having 100 donors register, Arthur said, and at least a quarter of potential donors had signed up as of July 23. Arthur’s breast cancer diagnosis is only the most recent physical setback she’s experienced in recent years, but she has not stopped teaching classes at the dance studio. She underwent double hip replacement surgery in 2014. “We’ve always used this school to teach more than just dance,” Arthur said. “We always wanted to teach our dancers to be gracious, compassionate and take care of each other and the community. Be a shining light – a light for the Lord, and a light for compassion and giving.” Conversely, Arthur’s spirit appears to have become as much a part of the fabric of the school she founded as dancing itself. “She’s an inspiration to all of us, and I know all my daughters look up to her. She’s always been strong, and she continues to be strong,” said Missouri City’s Eric DeCarlos, whose daughters have attending Cookie Joe’s for 10 years. “It was heartbreaking to see her go through this because she is the role model that the kids look up to. All of us want her to get better.” Pushing through Arthur said her cancer treatment can have a debilitating effect over the last several months. At 7 a.m. every other Monday, she goes in to MD Anderson to get the “red devil” as she calls it put into her body. “In the midst of that week, I don’t want to talk to anybody, I go isolate and I’m nauseous and depressed. I’m sad, I cry, I don’t think it’s fair and I pray,” she said. “Then later, I start crawling out of that dark place and think, ‘I made it again.’ ” The resulting muscle weakness in her legs has kept Arthur from teaching as much as she did before. At times she is limited to an hour or less per day, though she said she tries

it is, largely because of its water garden with a fountain and a waterfall feature that is surrounded by rocks and tucked back comfortably in the shade. But it is also rather large, at 111 acres. Once you park your car, you’ll walk over a bridge over the namesake Oyster Creek, and you can follow a 3-mile hike and bike trail. Markers are placed every quarter of a mile around the trail’s outer loop, which spans 2.25 miles, and connects to the Lost Creek loop, which is almost a mile long. I saw several other runners and walkers along the path. They came by sometimes in pairs and others, like me, went solo. An elderly woman and several young children, each walking small dogs, paced along the smaller loop around the water garden, which is less than half a mile. A group of three men enjoyed their lunch under the shade of the tall trees enveloping the picnic area. There is also a man-made source of shade in the form of an amphiThe $2 million for renovations was funded almost entirely through donations, with a few matching grants, Rogers said. “Fort Bend County just has such tremendous history,” Rogers said, explaining the high interest in museums in the county. “So much of Texas history started right here.” New improvements include more windows, higher ceilings, covered porches, artwork, interactive exhibits, colorful graphics and life-sized cutouts of historical figures. The renovation also expanded the size of the facility from 4,000 to about 5,800 square feet, Rogers said. During the coronavirus pandemic, the museum has seen many fewer visitors than in years past, Acosta said. But with the new renovation and fewer cases of COVID-19 in recent months, she said she hopes people will return. Before the pandemic, the museum might have seen as many as 18,000 visitors per year, of which some 60 percent were students coming on to be up at the school daily. Less than two weeks before the diagnosis, Arthur said she was sitting with her husband reminiscing about all of their blessings. But now, even as she battles a disease that impacts one of every eight women in the United States, her innate determination to fight and find the blessing in each moment remains unchanged. “There’s no challenge we overcome that doesn’t make us stronger. I look forward to looking back and saying, ‘This was part of my story and part of where I am today.’ … Life is full of valleys and mountains. It’s a moveable dynamic thing that happens,” she said. “… I record how I feel every day, so when I feel at my lowest I can listen back to the days I feel good. I always say if I could bottle how I feel today, on Wednesday I can take it out and remember that it’s going to be OK.” Shining bright Part of that determination, Arthur said, is natural. A large part of it, however, is derived from the same passion that drove her to found the school 45 years ago. “Not having the kids worry is very important to me – I want them to see me smiling,” she said. “… Every child that walks through my school becomes my child, and their kids are my grandkids. It’s a very strong emotional connection to my kids.” The best way she knows to do that, she said, is by being an example of the drive that she has taught her kids. More than 90 percent of her 200 students are girls, she said, giving her experience and response an even greater importance. “If one out of eight of them are going to experience it, they’re seeing that it’s doable and that we can overcome it,” she said. That attitude, DeCarlos said, is a major reason the school’s community has rallied around their beloved instructor. “It shows her faith and her strength of will. She puts others first, and understands the role she plays here and how important that is to the kids to see her persevere in the face of difficult

theater. I came across three public art pieces within the first few minutes of my run, and abruptly stopped to document it with a photo. While I don’t usually stop often while running, it felt like I was on a mission to find different aspects of the park that I found interesting, from the statues on benches to smaller ponds or quieter stretches of trails where the sounds of traffic were drowned out by birds, cicadas and the rhythm of rubber soles striking the dirt trail. I turned around once I reached the marker for the Dulles Avenue Trailhead. As I entered the home stretch of my 3.1-mile workout, the traffic noise became more audible and more pedestrians began to enter and leave the park. The brief and blissful disconnect from the constant buzz of push notifications is one of the main reasons why I run, and a healthy outlet for my stress. I didn’t see any alligators or snakes at Oyster Creek Park, but there were many signs

warning visitors of them. I did see an adorable rabbit and a red bird that may have been a cardinal, but they were both too fast for me to capture photos of them. Please be sensible and respectful of any wildlife you come across, whether it is at a state or national park, or a local park or your backyard. If you do see an alligator or snake, the city of Sugar Land recommends contacting your local game warden at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at 281-842-8100. Because of their protected status, alligators can only be deemed dangerous by Texas Parks and Wildlife under specific circumstances, one of which is if they’re spotted in a roadway, or if they come directly toward a visitor. I cannot emphasize this one enough: please bring a bottle of water and hydrate not only during your time outdoors, but also before and after throughout your day. Your body will thank you. Sunscreen is also incredibly smart to apply before heading out for a stroll at Oyster Creek Park, even if you do manage to remain under the cover of the trees for the most part. I didn’t notice any mosquitos or other nuisance bugs while I was there, but bug spray is also a good call if you’re going to plan your day around a trip to the park.

Ana Alicia Acosta shows off one of her favorite parts of the newly-renovated Fort Bend Museum. (Photo by Matt deGrood)

a field trip, Rogers said. The renovation was the result of years’ worth of donations, Acosta said. “This was really a community buy-in,” she said. The history association still has much work to do in coming years to continue to raise the profile on Fort Bend Coun-

ty history, Rogers said. The next capital campaign, for instance, will be about raising money to handle the association’s extensive collections, she said. The association has about 70,000 artifacts in the collection, of which some 30,000 are archeology.

odds,” he said. “She understands that that’s what family means. And this is a family.” Looking ahead A trip to Cookie Joe’s over the weekend was full of aspiring dancers training. And Arthur was there on the scene, flashing a bright smile and looking in on several of the classes. It’s what she knows best. “Just as any parent is, I want to inspire them to excellence, greatness, positivity, and courage,” she said. “…I’m highly motivated to be the example – we accept God’s challenges. I feel like I’m an instrument of the Lord.” For the parents of those in her charge, she has danced her way into the fabric of their lives. “She’s just this tiny little amazing woman with this huge heart and go-to spirit. She’s unstoppable, and she pushes us all to be our best

self. She’s taken all the adversity head on,” said Sugar Land resident Lisa Blank, whose daughter has taken lessons at Cookie Joe’s for the last three years. “… If you need a pep talk, you go talk to Cookie. We’re so happy that she’s here, she’s feeling good and she’s doing what she can.” Arthur said she has always set lofty goals for herself, and that beating cancer is the next one up. The school is scheduled to perform on June 4, 2022 at the Wortham Center Theater in Downtown Houston – and if Arthur has her way, she’ll lead the dance troops like she always has. “Right now I’m bald and have no hair, but that’s OK because I still wear earrings and makeup and try to look cute, and I’ve got some great hats,” she said. “I intend to be there. I may not have hair or be as well – but I will dance.”



Why is it so important to have annual hearing tests?


Changes in hearing can occur gradually and slight changes in hearing can be difficult to notice. Once Terry Snook a hearing loss is diagnosed, AuD, FAAA it is recommended that it be monitored yearly. If a patient has their loss corrected with amplification then slight changes in hearing can be accommodated by making adjustments to the patient’s hearing devices. Another benefit is that the Audiologist can review the datalogging obtained on the hearing aids and make adjustments based on the datalogging obtained. This allows the Audiologist to personalize the devices even more for the patient. Firmware updates are also performed on hearing aids when the patient comes in for their annual checkup. Most hearing aid manufactures will make firmware updates available each year to continue to improve functionality and Bluetooth connectivity of their devices. At Advanced Hearing Center we want to make sure that our patients’ hearing aids are functioning properly and that our patients are achieving the best results possible.

Advanced Hearing Center 1223 Lake Pointe Parkway Sugar Land, Texas 77478



PAGE 8 • Wednesday, July 21, 2021

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Review: Sozo Japanese Steakhouse combines speed with quality By Stefan Modrich SMODRICH@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

Our New

I’ve seen many great innovations and adaptations from restaurants with their packaging and to-go containers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. But you all have no doubt had an experience similar to that of my 5-year-old self when I dropped my ice cream cone on the floor of my grandma’s car on the way home from the zoo. That was instructive for me both as a lesson in the laws of physics and how the behavior of consumers can influence the way products are packaged and sold. Had my ice cream come in a plastic mini helmet or a bowl of some kind, my ice cream would have been less likely to spill. Sozo Japanese Steakhouse in Sugar Land offers a choice of five proteins for its bowls, including The same basic dynam- steak, shown here alongside zucchini, mushrooms, onions and fried rice. (Photos by Stefan Modrich) ics come into play with your The menu is streamlined and standard Styrofoam or plastic seat or in the steady hands of a drive-through service, naturally I was intrigued. Could they pull optimized for assembly-line fast containers for food or liquids. passenger you trust. So, when I saw that Sozo off something of dine-in restau- casual service, only you’re not With Houston traffic being what it is, you’re rolling the dice if you Japanese Steakhouse had rant caliber in a drive-through? going to see it made in front of you if you’re ordering it from don’t have your food stowed opened last month in Sugar Would it travel well? The answer is an emphatic your car. securely somehow under your Land and they were offering yes. Your entree has five protein

A Helping Hand


In order to give you, dear reader, a more clear explanation of how we evaluate the restaurants we review, we will use a rating system on a scale from one to five stars, with one being the lowest score. From time to time, we may rate a place with 4.5 or 3.5 stars, for example, if we feel a place doesn’t fit neatly in one of these five categories. An elite, special experience, among the best meals we’ve ever had. High-quality, a can’t-miss destination. Slightly above average, but not memorable. Middling. You can skip out on this place, and you won’t be missing anything. One star: Poor, low quality. A disappointment.

choices: Veggie ($10), chicken ($13), fish ($14), steak ($15) or shrimp ($16). My steak bowl came with fried rice and my choice of three vegetables. I selected zucchini, mushrooms and onions, but shelled edamame and salted edamame still contained in its pods are also options. I was impressed with the juiciness of the steak. The veg-


Ed’s Pharmacy 3740 Cartwright Road (@ FM 1092)

Sozo Japanese Steakhouse

(281) 499-4555

What to do About Insomnia

Children have a higher tendency to contract a bacterial or viral ear infection than do adults. The infection can lead to swelling in the middle part of the ear that contains the inner ear bones and a buildup of fluid that can cause pain and irritation. Younger children may show signs of an ear infection if they have difficulty falling asleep, tugging at the ear, difficulty hearing sounds, ear drainage, fever, unexplained crying and irritability. Research shows that children, who are less than two years old, go to day care, and children who drink formula milk, all have a higher risk of getting an ear infection. Physicians know it is important to treat the ear infections as soon as possible to help prevent hearing and speech complications that could occur. A warm, moistened compress applied over the infected ear may help soothe and lessen the pain. Over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) may help alleviate pain. It is important to avoid combination pain medications that contain aspirin products in young children who have flu-like symptoms. Such use of aspirin can lead to a rare,but serious condition. If the child meets certain criteria, an antibiotic may be prescribed to help treat the infection. Antibiotics kill or help stop the growth of the harmful bacteria that are associated with ear infections.

etables tasted unmistakably fresh and were also grilled to an ideal level of tenderness. As delicious as the main course was, I couldn’t help but be excited to see the lone dessert at the bottom of the menu, the Dole soft serve ($3). Modeled after the Dole Whip which is famously served at Disneyland or Disneyworld, this frosty blend of pineapple and vanilla ice cream is something that must be savored to be believed. If the food at Sozo tasted as good as it did after 30 minutes in the car, I can’t wait to go back and try it again in person.

Address: 222 S. State Highway 6 S. Ste. 100, Sugar Land Dining Options: Dine-in, drive-through, take-out Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday Entrée prices: $10-$16 Kid-friendly: Yes Senior discount: No Alcohol: No Healthy options: Veggie Entree ($10) Star of the show: Steak Entree ($15) Rating:

For questions, call us at 281-690-4200 or email to :

2x4.5 Ed’s Pharmacy - 11-04-15



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


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. AUGUST 7 REFRESH YOUR SOUL LADIES RETREAT St. Catherine of Sienna Episcopal Church will host the retreat at the church, 4747 Sienna Parkway in Missouri City from 8:30 a.m. Ð 3 p.m. Jan Bethancourt will be speaking on the topic Ò How Your Light ShinesÓ from Matthew 5:16. Registration is $10. For registration information contact the office 281-778-2046 or email melinda@

Honored to be your choice for life insurance. LISA N SIMS, AGENT Monday - Friday 9 - 6 Saturday 10 - 2 After hours by appointment

11647 S Highway 6 Sugar Land, TX 77498 Toll Free: 281-201-2448

ONGOING SUGAR LAND AMERICAN LEGION American Legion Freeman Post 942 meets the fourth Thursday of every month at the Post facility, 311 Ulrich, Sugar Land, Texas, at 7:00 PM. All veterans are welcome. Post hall is available for rental for events. Call 713-553-5370 if interested. 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 YearEnd Giving. Register now, or learn more about exciting events: www.hopeforthree. org/events 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 EXPERIENCE COUNTS! 35+ YEARS SERVING FORT BEND COUNTY

Show off your pet & make a difference! Exclusive Furniture 21000 Gulf Fwy 6p-8p

281-243-2344 281.243.2300

14090 S.W. Freeway Suite #200 Sugar Land, TX


(Main) •

EXCHANGE EXCHANGE, America’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, 281575-1145 or 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.

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“Magic Donuts melt in your mouth”

$2,500 Furniture Shopping Spree! PLUS a chance to be featured in an Exclusive Furniture ad!



Store Hours Monday - Sunday: 4:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Tel: 281-242-1881 907 Eldridge Rd. Sugar Land, TX 77478

We get junk out of your life, & keep it out of landfills. Eco-Friendly Junk Removal Same-Day & Next-Day Jobs Fully Insured, Friendly Crew Tax R eceipts for Donations

Curbside Pick-Up Available Call for a FREE onsite, no-obligation estimate!


11555 West Airport, Meadows Place, Texas, 77477 • 281-277-3367

Daily SpecialS! Open 7 DayS a week

Dine-In Open!



18 years


SOUTHWEST FREEWAY 281.240.3060 12821

Profile for Fort Bend Star | Fort Bend Business Journal

07-28-2021 Edition of the Fort Bend Star  

07-28-2021 Edition of the Fort Bend Star

07-28-2021 Edition of the Fort Bend Star  

07-28-2021 Edition of the Fort Bend Star


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