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Fort Bend / Southwest • Volume 47 • No. 45 • $1.00

Bond, tax rate elections possible for FBISD 2022

READERS’ CHOICE WINNERS ANNOUNCED 8/24/22

Leaders split on EpiCenter project funding By Matt deGrood MDEGROOD@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

When crews first began work on the $120 million event venue, called EpiCenter, county leaders heralded it as a big opportunity to establish Fort Bend County’s place on the map. Now, amid inflation, fears of a recession and more, at least one county commissioner is balking at the idea of spending millions to cover the facility’s initial operating expenses. “The times have changed,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers said at a county commission meeting last month. “The state has capped our revenues at 3.5 percent, inflation is up 8.5 percent and there’s the possibility of a recession. We’re struggling to give increases to our staff and we’re supposed to fund this to the tune of $4.3 million… I’m trying to get my head around the benefits.” County commissioners last month approved spending up to $26.78 million on the facility’s operating expenses during its first years of existence, according to commission documents. All commissioners voted to approve the measure, aside from Meyers, who abstained, saying he didn’t to wait for better financial information. Essentially, developers anticipate EpiCenter will operate at a deficit through its first three years, but will begin generating a profit for the county starting in four years, according to County Auditor Ed Strudivant. Meyers, however, raised concerns about how the facility would benefit Precinct 3, which includes parts of Sugar Land, Missouri City and Stafford, and why Rosenberg wasn’t contributing financially to the project, since that city stands to gain the most from it. “To me, it seems fair and equitable for Rosenberg to

SEE EPICENTER PAGE 7

A $47 million budget shortfall, unexpected multi-million dollar mold renovations and a decline in student enrollment because of the pandemic – it’s been a difficult stretch for Fort Bend ISD. But after months of uncertainty, a plan for addressing

Hamilton

with teacher competition for the area, while also tackling the budget shortage,” Trustee David Hamilton told the Fort Bend Star last week. “The bond will enable us to build some new schools that are needed, build a natatorium for student-athletes on the east side of the district and fund our school safety priorities.” The board of trustees has been mulling a possible tax

rate increase to solve the budget shortfall ever since trustees signed off on an almost $768 million budget for the 2023 fiscal year. Trustees have until Aug. 22 to decide whether or not to call for either election in time for them to appear on the Nov. 8 election, according to district documents.

SEE ELECTIONS PAGE 7

Marking a milestone County to celebrate 200th anniversary of Fort Bend namesake By Matt deGrood MDEGROOD@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

A little more than 200 years ago, a group of 24 people began work on a structure on a bend in the Brazos River near presentday Richmond, according to a history book of Richmond by Clinton Drake and Theresa Jack. That log structure, known in the years after as the “Old Fort,” would become the namesake of Fort Bend County, according to the book. But all that remains of the fort is a bare historical marker at Mirabeau B. Lamar Homestead Park across from the county’s Justice Center, and few today remember that Fort Bend County is named after an historic structure. Representatives from the county’s historical organizations, however, plan to use the 200th anniversary of the fort’s founding to remind residents and history afficionados of the interesting timelines leading to today. “It’s interesting when you’re talking about early colonists to the area,” said Claire Rogers, executive director of the Fort Bend History Association. “This was one of the first colonies that settlers from the U.S. coming into then-Mexico set up. So, you’ll be talking to kids about why they named it First Colony Mall, or why you have places like New

Territory and Fort Bend. There’s a reason these places have those names.” Members of the Fort Bend County Historical Commission, the history association and more have banded together to plan a 200th anniversary celebration on Sept. 10, Rogers said. The event will feature several tours that residents can take of different historical sites around the county, she said. One tour, for instance, will tour sites important to cabin building and land grants in early Texas, she said. Another will focus on railroads and early colonists, she said. Each of the tours will set off from Homestead Park in Richmond, where there will be additional historical booths to teach attendees about various aspects of history in Fort Bend County, Rogers said. While the organized tours are planned for one day, the hope is to upload them to the county’s website so that anyone wanting to learn more about history can use them to take their own, self-guided tours, Rogers said. Planning to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the fort has been sort of funny, given how little is known about the building itself, Rogers said. The old structure, which sat on the Brazos, has long since disappeared, Rogers said. Some guess the

"Pictured is the historical marker commemorating where the old fort namesake of Fort Bend might have stood." (Photo by Matt deGrood)

Brazos has shifted in the years since and buried any historical site completely under water, she said. Some county residents are in the middle of asking the state’s historical commission to update the marker recognizing the structure at Homestead Park to better ref lect what is known

about the structure, according to Ana Alicia Acosta, site manager of the Fort Bend Museum. The current historical marker mentions that William Little, William Smithers, Charles Beard, Joseph Polly and Henry Holster built Fort Bend in November 1821 and that the county lat-

er took its name from it when it was founded in 1837, according to the stone. But a revised marker would say it was actually constructed in the spring of 1822 by a group of 24 people, including three enslaved people, according to Drake.

Missouri City approves Hunters Glen Park contract By Matt deGrood MDEGROOD@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

Meyers

the district’s fiscal woes might finally be emerging. District administrators at a school board meeting last month discussed the possibility of bringing a $1.1 billion bond referendum and an 11-cent tax ratification to voters in the November election – moves they hope would fix some of the most immediate financial woes. “The tax rate increase will help us stay competitive

By Matt deGrood MDEGROOD@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

Missouri City is moving forward with a plan to improve a walking and jogging trail at Hunters Glen Park using federal coronavirus funding. The city council last month signed off on a $225,000 contract with Rosenberg-based Bass Construction to convert

.61 miles of trail from granite to concrete, according to council documents. City officials had initially planned to begin work on the project in June, but federal funding didn’t arrive in time, according to city leaders. The city will be reimbursed via community development block grants, according to the city.

Residents in recent weeks have spoken out in favor of the project, which is at a park near a controversial gas station project. The city recently announced the gas station project would move forward because city leaders have limited power to stop it. Residents living near the site have spoken out against the project for

months, arguing it would cause environmental problems and decrease

home values. Despite the opposition, city officials have said the project meets all of the city’s regulations. If constructed, the business would be the fourth gas station within a mile’s radius, and would also cause safety concerns for children playing at the nearby Hunters Glen Park, among other issues, according to a petition against the project.

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THE STAR

PAGE 2 • Wednesday, August 3, 2022

See us online www.FortBendStar.com

Applications open for FBISD reduced meal program From Staff Reports

Families of tudents from a local school district can now apply for a program aimed to help meet the needs of those in need of meal assistance. The application period for Fort Bend ISD’s Free

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Program on Indian Reservation (FDPIR), or • Are in foster care, homeless, a runaway, migrant farm worker or displaced by a declared disaster, or enrolled in Head Start. Only one application needs to be completed for each household, the district said, and Fort Bend ISD will begin distributing letters about eligibility on August 10. Families may apply at any time during the school year, should their household circumstances change, including the loss of a job, a decrease in household income or an increase in household size.

Pictured is Fort Bend ISD's James Reese Career and Technical Center in Sugar Land. FBISD announced earlier this week that applications are open for free or reduced meal plans for the 2022-2023 school year. (Photo from Twitter)

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THE STAR

See us online www.FortBendStar.com

Wednesday, August 3, 2022 • PAGE

3

Stay involved in local matters ahead of November elections Matt deGrood MANAGING EDITOR

The future is a scary topic for almost anyone. “Where do you see yourself in five years?” is one of those frequent job interview questions that can elicit any number of different answers from those answering it. And, increasingly in recent week, several Fort Bend County organizations are

facing major questions about the future. From Missouri City, Sugar Land and other county municipalities that are having conversations about budgets to Fort Bend ISD’s talks about whether or not to bring a bond referendum and tax rate increase to voters in November – the outcome of these discussions will forever change the future of life in this county. Even recent conversations about what sort of return on investment the county can expect out of the $120 million EpiCenter project are important. Having competent leadership and healthy back-

and-forth is an important part of making good decisions about the future. And based on the exponential growth of the county recently, we can no doubt thank leadership for some of that. But equally important is an engaged and thoughtful resident base – one willing to look past the noise and watch what’s really happening with taxpayer money at the end of the day. Our system of government provides a wonderfully-efficient method of changing course when something isn’t going right, and that’s called voting. Whether a local elected leader is untrustworthy in

Sign up for newsletter Staff Reports

For decades now, we at the Fort Bend Star have worked to bring community members all they need to know to understand life in the county – from politics to business to culture. It’s our hope to continue bringing you all the latest news for years to come. But reporting in 2022 looks different than it has before, and readers have evolving needs in the fast-paced digital age. Because of that, we

started our online newsletter several months ago. The goal is simple – to distill our latest reporting into bite-sized pieces that arrive each weekday morning in your email inbox. The tidbits also include links

to our reporting online, so you can read more at your leisure. Please subscribe to our newsletter using the QR code just above this story. When you point a phone camera at the code, it’ll take you to a website where you can sign up to receive our free newsletter every Monday through Friday. That way you can keep up with all the latest happenings on our website, fortbendstar. com, in between reading our weekly print edition.

the eyes of voters or residents are being asked to weigh in on something important, like a bond referendum or tax rate increase, a well-informed citizenry is often the difference between a good community and a great one. Of the 504,151 Fort Bend County residents that were registered to vote in the March primary elections, only 87,589 people cast ballots in the election, according to county numbers. That’s about 17.37 percent voter turnout. Some of that can be attributed to the fact that March primaries are, on the whole, less attended than, say, No-

vember general elections. But we in Fort Bend County should pride ourselves on high voter turnout elections across the board. Take this editorial, then, as a call to action for all readers and residents who might have sat out previous elections. Go vote in November. More than that, though, do you all know much about your elected representatives? What about the daily workings of the city you live in? We all live busy lives and it’s often hard to keep up with the daily minutia of local government. But it’s infinitely harder to waste taxpayer money if elected

leaders know each decision they make will be scrutinized by people who will show up to the next election. So, show up to some meetings if you have the time. Call and ask questions if you’re ever confused. We even encourage you to exercise your right to request public information. Everything that you do to stay engaged with what’s happening in the world around you is extra reassurance that our local organizations and cities are functioning as transparently and efficiently as they possibly can.

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THE STAR

PAGE 4 • Wednesday, August 3, 2022

SPACE COWBOYS GGAME AME SCHEDULE

HS sports roundup: George Ranch announces head boys soccer coach By Landan Kuhlmann LKUHLMANN@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

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George Ranch High School late last month announced that it has hired Matt Jackson as its new head boys’ soccer coach. Jackson has spent the previous four seasons as an assistant at Richmond Foster, according to the school, and was previously the head girls’ soccer coach at Fort Bend ISD’s Marshall High School. Prior to his time coaching, Jackson was a well-known Houston sports radio host from 1999-2014 according to the school. The Longhorns are coming off a 2022 season in which they went 7-6-4 overall, but still have not made the playoffs in nearly a decade. FBISD hosts annual leadership conference A local school district’s athletic department recently completed its annual effort to instill leadership characteristics in its young athletes.

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On July 29, student athletes and coaches representing each of Fort Bend ISD’s 12 high schools and every sports program, attended the district’s annual leadership summit. Attendees heard from inspirational speaker and player development coach Steven Mackey, who the district said “helps athletes build a culture of character amongst themselves and their teammates.” Those such as Austin High School water polo player and swimmer Isaac Mangum said Mackey issued athletes a 30-day leadership challenge, among other missions moving forward, according to a news release from the district. “I think it will make me a better member of my team, a better captain and just a better person in general,” he said. “The program is about taking who you are, what you aspire to be and really getting you there; and then helping others do the same.”

2004 Elkins softball season among MaxPreps best The season of a state-title winning softball squad has been named as one of MaxPreps’ best single season teams of the last 20 years. On July 26, MaxPreps unveiled its picks for the top 20 single-season teams of the last 20 years, and the Lady Knights’ 2004 team was among the picks. The Lady Knights won 39 games that season in going undefeated, including 32 shutouts, en route to the program’s first state title and the No. 1 ranking in the country by USA Today, according to MaxPreps. The undefeated season was part of a 76-game winning streak over the course of multiple seasons, according to MaxPreps. Elkins was led by Ragan Blake, who would pitch at Mississippi State, and Erin Howe, who would go on to play collegiately at the University of Stanford.


THE STAR

See us online www.FortBendStar.com

Wednesday, August 3 2022 • PAGE

5

Cowboys Corral: Local product Hernandez is a steady hand By Landan Kuhlmann LKUHLMANN@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

Sometimes the aura of a professional baseball player, whether in the majors or minors, can be one of mythic proportions for baseball fans. They seem set apart or in a different universe, as if created in a lab somewhere. And on occasion, it’s nice to be given a reminder that they’re human beings. They all came from somewhere. And this week’s Cowboys Corral spotlight is on a player fans might actually be familiar with if they’ve watched high school or college baseball in the Houston area in the last decade. Relief pitcher Nick Hernandez, 27, is an alumnus of nearby Dulles High School. He has been one of the key relief cogs for the Space Cowboys so far this season, and I’m excited to dig into the reasons for his success thus far here in the 2022 campaign. Initial overview We briefly touched on this in my feature story on Hernandez back in June, but we’ll run it back in case you missed it. Hernandez hails from Dulles High School right here in Sugar Land, where he graduated in 2013 before posting a 2.43 ERA over 118.1 innings during the 2014-2015 seasons at Alvin Community College.

Sugar Land Space Cowboys reliever and Dulles High School alumnus Nick Hernandez releases a pitch during a game. Hernandez has been one of the Astros system's most consistent relievers. (Photo from Twitter)

From there, he transferred to the University of Houston, spending the 2016 season as the team’s closer and sporting a 1.40 ERA with 67 strikeouts in 51.1 innings. The Astros then drafted him in the 8th round. Since being drafted, Hernandez has been one of the system’s most consistent performers every season. He sports a career 2.66 ERA in 216.2 innings over the course of five seasons and

didn’t hear more rumblings about him given the steady consistency that has marked his minor league career to this juncture. He’s not a big name yet – but I’m thinking maybe he should be. To start, let’s look at how he’s performed in regards to the best possible outcome for a pitcher – the strikeout. Since being drafted, Hernandez has never struck out fewer than 10.4 batters per nine innings or less than

148 appearances in the Astros’ system, including a 2.62 ERA in 44.1 innings between Double-A Corpus Christi and Sugar Land this season. So let’s dive into the numbers and see what pops out. Landan’s lowdown Truth be told, I didn’t know a whole lot about Hernandez as a player before diving into the numbers for my feature story last month. But the more I dug in, the more I wonder how in the world I

26.6 percent of batters he’s faced in a full season at the minor league level. That includes 12.1 K/9 and a 35.3 percent strikeout rate (both career highs) between Corpus Christi and Sugar Land this year. And even in a modern game that is dominated by high strikeout numbers, that consistency is something teams can – and do – tend to value highly. So he’s off to a good start. Next, the command. He has struggled a bit at times with a career 4.2 career BB/9 rate. However, that is down to 3.8 BB/9 this season, the lowest rate since his first pro season in 2016. And when combined with the increased strikeout rate and throwing nearly 63 percent of his pitches for strikes, that offers a big reason as to why Hernandez has had consistent success no matter where he’s been. Moving on to the batted ball data, Hernandez has also done well to keep the ball in the ballpark during his time at the minor league level (career 0.8 HR/9) despite a ground ball rate that has hovered in the neighborhood of 30-33 percent (for reference, the major league average this season is 44.9 percent) most of his career. That could be due to the elevated strikeout rate, with simply fewer balls in play and thus fewer chances to get out. However, there’s

another key factor – the percentage of fly balls that Fangraphs classifies as “Infield Fly Balls” (essentially pop-ups) has been at or above 20 percent each season since 2017. Even adjusting for the leveling up of skill between Triple-A and MLB, the fact that he is inducing more than twice the current MLB average (9.5 percent in 2022) combined with the elevated strikeout rate says he is headed in the right direction. So based on the data, Hernandez’s success so far in his minor league career has been very real and very genuine, leading me to believe he can absolutely be an effective MLB pitcher. Projection At some point, pure performance plays up. Hernandez has done nothing but pitch to success since entering the Astros’ system six years ago. In a way he’s similar to current Astros bullpen revelation Seth Martinez, who toiled in relative obscurity despite consistent performance (3.09 ERA in six minor league seasons) until his call-up earlier this year. As a result, I think that could earn the local product at least a September call-up this season and potentially a shot to break camp with the Astros as a reliever in 2023.

Space Cowboys' Siri, Valdez, dealt ahead of MLB trade deadline By Landan Kuhlmann LKUHLMANN@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

Two players are leaving Sugar Land and the Astros organization after being traded ahead of Tuesday’s

MLB trade deadline. Per multiple reports Monday afternoon, former Astros and Space Cowboys outfielder Jose Siri is headed to the Tampa Bay Rays as part of a three-team trade between

the Astros, Rays and Baltimore Orioles that brought DH/outfielder Trey Mancini and Rays pitching prospect Jayden Murray to Houston. Siri is hitting .296 with a 1.121 OPS and nine home

runs in 16 games with Sugar Land this season, but batted just .178 with a .524 OPS in 48 MLB games with the Astros. In total, Siri has hit .272 with a .792 OPS in parts of nine minor league seasons.

Hours later, infielder Enmanuel Valdez was traded to the Boston Red Sox as part of a trade for Boston catcher Christian Vasquez. Valdez has a .327 batting average, a 1.016 OPS

and 21 home runs this season between DoubleA Corpus Christi and Sugar Land, including .296/.347/.560 with 10 homers in 48 games with Sugar Land.

NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING TO DISCUSS BUDGET AND PROPOSED TAX RATE The Fort Bend Independent School District will hold a public meeting at 5:30 PM, August 15, 2022 in the Board Room of the Administration Building, 16431 Lexington Blvd., Sugar Land, Texas. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the school district's budget that will determine the tax rate that will be adopted. Public participation in the discussion is invited. The tax rate that is ultimately adopted at this meeting or at a separate meeting at a later date may not exceed the proposed rate shown below unless the district publishes a revised notice containing the same information and comparisons set out below and holds another public meeting to discuss the revised notice. Maintenance Tax $0.974600/$100 (proposed rate for maintenance and operations) School Debt Service Tax Approved by Local Voters

$0.290000/$100 (proposed rate to pay bonded indebtedness)

Comparison of Proposed Budget with Last Year's Budget The applicable percentage increase or decrease (or difference) in the amount budgeted in the preceding fiscal year and the amount budgeted for the fiscal year that begins during the current tax year is indicated for each of the following expenditure categories. -1.64 % decrease -5.99 % decrease -2.28 % decrease

Maintenance and operations Debt Service Total Expenditures

Total Appraised Value and Total Taxable Value (as calculated under Section 26.04, Tax Code) Preceding Tax Year

Current Tax Year

Total appraised value* of all property

$50,181,170,483

$60,673,111,815

Total appraised value* of new property**

$1,592,438,621

$2,654,970,034

Total taxable value*** of all property

$47,205,001,748

$55,336,033,838

Total taxable value*** of new property**

$1,021,997,565

$1,653,427,703

*Appraised value is the amount shown on the appraisal roll and defined by Section 1.04(8), Tax Code. ** "New property" is defined by Section 26.012(17), Tax Code. *** "Taxable value" is defined by Section 1.04(10), Tax Code.

Bonded Indebtedness Total amount of outstanding and unpaid bonded indebtedness* $1,536,300,000 *Outstanding principal.

Comparison of Proposed Rates with Last Year's Rates Maintenance & Operations

Interest & Sinking Fund*

Total

Local Revenue Per Student

State Revenue Per Student

Last Year's Rate

$0.920100

$0.290000

$1.210100

$7,715

$2,863

Rate to Maintain Same Level of Maintenance & Operations Revenue & Pay Debt Service

$0.977720

$0.296650

$1.274370

$7,870

$2,474

Proposed Rate

$0.974600

$0.290000

$1.264600

$8,751

$2,781

*The Interest & Sinking Fund tax revenue is used to pay for bonded indebtedness on construction, equipment, or both. The bonds, and the tax rate necessary to pay those bonds, were approved by the voters of this district.

Comparison of Proposed Levy with Last Year's Levy on Average Residence Last Year

This Ye ar

Average Market Value of Residences

$304,369

$379,283

Average Taxable Value of Residences

$276,449

$293,793

Last Year's Rate Versus Proposed Rate per $100 Value $1.210100

$1.264600

Taxes Due on Average Residence

$3,715.31

$3,345.31

Increase (Decrease) in Taxes

$370.00

Under state law, the dollar amount of school taxes imposed on the residence homestead of a person 65 years of age or older or of the surviving spouse of such a person, if the surviving spouse was 55 years of age or older when the person died, may not be increased above the amount paid in the first year after the person turned 65, regardless of changes in tax rate or property value. Notice of Voter-Approval Rate: The highest tax rate the district can adopt before requiring voter approval at an election is $1.154684. This election will be automatically held if the district adopts a rate in excess of the voter-approval rate of $1.154684.

Fund Balances The following estimated balances will remain at the end of the current fiscal year and are not encumbered with or by a corresponding debt obligation, less estimated funds necessary for operating the district before receipt of the first state aid payment. Maintenance and Operations Fund Balance(s) Interest & Sinking Fund Balance(s)

$196,845,787 $32,924,565

A school district may not increase the district's maintenance and operations tax rate to create a surplus in maintenance and operations tax revenue for the purpose of paying the district's debt service. Visit Texas.gov/PropertyTaxes to find a link to your local property tax database on which you can easily access information regarding your property taxes, including information about proposed tax rates and scheduled public hearings of each entity that taxes your property. The 86th Texas Legislature modified the manner in which the voter-approval tax rate is calculated to limit the rate of growth of property taxes in the state.


THE STAR

PAGE 6 • Wednesday, August 3, 2022

C LASSIFIED GARAGE SALES

Estate Sale.

Desert Rose China, Waterford Crystal, dept56 houses,refrigerator, freezer,living room & bedroom furniture, 6” vintage aluminum Xmas tree, garage w/tools & patio furniture.

Fri August 5th & Sat August 6th. 9 til 2pm. 1402 N. Yegua River Circle, Sugar Land 77478

A DS

C LASSIFIED Misdemeanors $

CLASSIFIED ADS THAT GET RESULTS CALL US AT 281-690-4200

FOR SALE

SERVICES MATH/COMPUTER TUTOR Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, word processing, spreadsheet, graphics. Bill Stewart. BSEE 281341-1582.>+

See us online www.FortBendStar.com

HOME IMPROVEMENT

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BUILD A BETTER LIFE

281-217-5799

Enroll in our FREE skilled trades training program to start your career in construction

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NOTICE TO BIDDERS

Drug • Assaults Divorce • Child Support

Bids will be accepted by Quail Valley Utility District for the following item at the Quail Valley U.D. office, Thursday, August 11, 2022 until 11:00 AM., then publicly opened and read aloud.

832-953-LOWE (5693)

LEGALS

ACE TILE

Call TODAY for FREE ESTIMATE

281-898-0154

Eddie Allum

LEGALS

p.p. 500 DWI • Theft

Attorney D’Angelo M. Lowe 7322 Southwest Frwy., Ste. 1065, Houston, TX 77074

Remodeling • Ceramic THAT Carpet GET•RESULTS CALL US Mike CLASSIFIED ADSMarble • Wood Flooring • Tile & grout cleaning & sealing Schofield AT •281-690-4200 Laminate Wood Flooring • Granite Slab Countertops

Houston

TRANE ON SALE! • Great Prices • Rebates! • Financing • Warranties

SLUDGE HAULING AND ULTlMATE DISPOSAL Specifications and additional information may be obtained at the Quail Valley U.D. office, 3134 Cartwright Road, Missouri City, Texas 77459 Phone: 281-499-5539

XR 16 SYSTEM

LIMITED TIME! CALL NOW!!

NOTICE TO BIDDERS

Career and Technical Education Methods of Administration (MOA) Public Notification of Nondiscrimination in Career and Technical Education Programs Fort Bend ISD offers career and technical education programs in Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, Architecture and Construction, Arts and Audio Video, Business Marketing and Finance, Education and Training, Health Science, Hospitality and Tourism, Human Services, Information Technology, Law and Public Services, Manufacturing, STEM, Transportation, 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, sex or handicap in its vocational programs, services or activities as required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; Title IX 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, sex, handicap, or age in its employment practices as required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; the Age Discrimination 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 to admission and participation in all educational and vocational programs. For information about your rights or grievance procedures, contact the CTE Department at 281634-1098, and/or the Section 504 Coordinator at Ronje.Gonzales@fortbendisd.com, 281-6341242. Methods of Administration (MOA) Division of Review and Support Office of Special Populations Monitoring

Bids will be accepted by Quail Valley Utility District for the following item at the Quail Valley U.D. office, Thursday, August 11, 2022, until 11:00 A.M., then publicly opened and read aloud.

MNB ENTERPRISES LLC • DBA CRITICAL AIR

Specifications and additional information may be obtained at the Quail Valley U.D. office, 3134 Cartwright Road, Missouri City, Texas 77459 Phone: (281) 499-5539.

Bids will be accepted by Quail Valley Utility District for the following item, including delivery, to Quail Valley Utility District Office, Thursday, August 11, 2022, until 11:00 A.M., then publicly opened and read aloud: 36,000 lbs. liquid chlorine in 2,000 lb. containers 22,000 lbs. liquid chlorine in 150 lb. containers 1,000 lbs. granular calcium hypochlorite 20,000 lbs. liquid sulfur dioxide in 2,000 lb. containers Specifications and additional information may be obtained at the Quail Valley Utility District Office, 3134 Cartwright Road, Missouri City, Texas (281) 499-5539 SECTION 00010 ADVERTISEMENT AND INVITATION FOR BIDS Sealed bids on the original forms, signed by an officer of the Company, will be received by Fort Bend County MUD No. 25 (the “Owner”) for furnishing all labor, material, and equipment and for performing all work required for the construction of:

Plans, specifications and bidding documents for the project are available at the following locations:

Notificación Pública de No Discriminación en Programas de Educación Técnica y Vocacional El Distrito Escolar Independiente de Fort Bend ofrece programas de educación técnica y vocacional en Agricultura, Alimento y los Recursos Naturales, Arquitectura y Construcción, Artes en Tecnología y las Comunicaciones de Audio/Visual, Educación y Entrenamiento de Negocios, Finanzas, Ciencias de la Salud, Hospitalidad y Turismo, Servicios Humanos, Tecnología Informática, Ley y Seguridad Pública, Producción en Fábricas, Mercadotécnia, Ciencias-Tecnología-Ingeniería-Matemáticas (STEM por sus siglas en inglés), Transportación, Distribución y Logísticas. La admisión a estos programas está basada en la 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 vocacionales por motivos de raza, color, origen nacional, sexo o impedimento, tal como lo requieren el Título VI de la Ley de Derechos Civiles de 1964, según enmienda; Título IX de las 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 procedimientos de empleo por motivos de raza, color, origen nacional, sexo, impedimento o edad, tal como lo requieren el Título VI de la Ley de Derechos Civiles de 1964, según enmienda; Título IX de las Enmiendas en la Educación, de 1972, la ley de Discriminación por Edad, de 1975, según enmienda; y la Sección 504 de la Ley de Rehabilitación de 1973, según enmienda. El Distrito Escolar Independiente de Fort Bend tomará las medidas necesarias para asegurar que la falta de habilidad en el uso del inglés no sea un obstáculo para la admisión y participación en todos los programas educativos y vocacionales.

Sugar Land’s Professional “Affordable” Roofers

NOTICE TO BIDDERS

(the “Work). Sealed, competitive bids will be received no later than 2:00 PM, August 17, 2022 in the District Office located at 10347 Clodine Road, Richmond, Texas 77407.

Career and Technical Education Methods of Administration (MOA)

www.criticalairhvac.com TACLA021957E (Licensed & Insured)

120,000 lbs. Liquid Polyphosphate

Wastewater Treatment Plant No. 2 Headworks Equipment Replacement

(512) 463-9414

Call 281-468-4250 anytime

Residential – Commercial Call for Fast – Free Estimates

832-944-ROOF (7663)

www.SugarLandRoofingLLC.com 100% Financing with Low Payments No Pre-Payment Penalty – No Collateral New Replacement Roofs and Roof Repairs Asphalt Shingles – Rubber Shingles Steel Shingles Flat Roofs – Metal Roofs

Did You Know?

Civcast USA Civcastusa.com (281) 376-4577 In general, the Work consists of the replacement of the bar screen, wash press, and controls at Wastewater Treatment Plant No. 2. A non-mandatory Pre-Bid Conference will be held on Wednesday, August 3, 2022, at 3:00 PM. Prospective bidders must contact Mr. James Nash, P.E. at jnash@ardurra.com for details on how to join the pre-bid conference call. Owner will be bound by the terms of this invitation only to the extent funds, from whatever source, are available. All bids must be accompanied by proposal guaranty in the form of a Certified or Cashier’s Check, or Bidders Bond drawn to the order of Fort Bend County MUD No. 25, and in the minimum amount of five percent (5%) of the total amount of the bid. No proposal may be withdrawn for a period of ninety (90) days after receipt of bids except with the approval of Owner. Owner reserves the right to reject any or all bids or to accept any bid from any responsible person which will be most advantageous to it and result in the best and most economical completion of the Work. The successful bidder will be required to provide a Performance Bond and Payment Bond in full amount of the contract. Leonela Ruvalcaba, Executive General Manager, Owner

ROOF INSURANCE is Rapidly CHANGING

Verisk has been collecting information on ROOF AGE and CONDITION Throughout the USA and selling the service to Insurance Companies. Some Insurance Companies are NOT writing or renewing ROOF COVERAGE if the Roof is 10 Years Old. For Others they are NOT writing or renewing ROOF COVERAGE at 12 or 15 Years of Age.

Many Roofs are Damaged but NOT LEAKING … Yet.

We Fly Drones with Artificial Intelligence to Identify and Assess the Condition of Your Roof.

www.AerialRoofInspection.com

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Para información sobre sus derechos o procedimientos de quejas, comuníquese con la Coordinadora del Título IX del programa de educación técnica y vocacional, 281-634-1098, y/o la Coordinadora de la Sección 504 Ronje.Gonzales@fortbendisd.com, 281-634-1242 Methods of Administration (MOA) Division of Review and Support Office of Special Populations Monitoring

Let the community know in our Community Calendar! Contact: jsazma@fortbendstar.com

(512) 463-9414

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AT THE STAFFORD CENTRE

10 / 12 / 22 • 9AM - 1PM

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• FREE Admission • FREE Food & Drinks • Gifts and drawings • Games and activities • Educational information on health, finances and legal concerns • A chance to meet experts who will offer free advice on a number of senior issues • An opportunity to mingle with friends

SIGN UP NOW TO ATTEND. CALL FOR DETAILS TO BE A VENDOR.

JOHN SAZMA 281-690-4200 • JSAZMA@FORTBENDSTAR.COM


THE STAR

See us online www.FortBendStar.com

★ EPICENTER FROM PAGE 1 participate,” he said. His comments drew objections from some of his fellow commissioners, such as Precinct 2 Commissioner Grady Prestage, who argued Rosenberg’s involvement

★ ELECTIONS FROM PAGE 1 The tax rate election would increase the district’s tax rate by about 11 cents – the highest amount the district could charge – up to a rate of $1.26 per $100 of property valuation, according to district financial numbers. The increase would add about $62 million to the district’s revenues, according to the district. “That tax rate is actually slightly less than what our tax rate was in 2020,” said Bryan Guinn, the district’s finance director. “It is important to point out that although our residents would pay more because of property value growth, the tax rate is still relatively lower than what it was previously.” If approved, it would also help cut the district’s budget shortfall. “Our CFO and deputy superintendent have done a good job laying out all of the options,” Trustee Rick Gar-

Wednesday, August 3, 2022 • PAGE

was never considered, and Precinct 1 Commissioner Vincent Morales, who argued the facility is a big opportunity for the county. “This will be an asset to Fort Bend County,” Morales said. “It will cover itself.” Direct revenue from the facility, combined with what

it will do to increase nearby land value that the county owns make the project more than worth it, Morales argued. The facility will sit on a 51.75-acre site near the southwest corner of State Highway 59 and State Highway 36 in Rosenberg, near

the site of the county fairgrounds. County officials estimate the total cost of the project will be about $120 million. County officials have been mulling such a project since as early as 2015, when commissioners were considering proposals for a

facilities bond election. The court authorized a feasibility study that ended in 2018. Under the agreement for the venue, the county will lease the property to a developer that will construct EpiCenter and lease the building back to the county. The county will retain own-

ership of the land and will own the building when its debt is paid. The project has not been met with universal praise. Some living near the land argue it will worsen traffic and parking issues in the nearby neighborhood.

cia said, adding his opinions were only speaking personally and not on behalf of the board. “So, we will be making a decision on that very soon.” Staff, meanwhile, presented a bond proposal that included $505 million in rebuilding Clements High School, Briargate Elementary and Mission Bend Elementary along with an additional $558 million to handle facility issues. Facility conditions are

fresh on the minds of trustees, who just recently approved $7.3 million for mold remediation work and renovations at Barrington Place Elementary School. Funding for the work will come via leftover money from a 2018 bond referendum, Hamilton told the Star last week. Administrators discovered non-airborne mold in the water pipes at Barrington Place Elementary School during a facilities

assessment in June, according to the district. Insulation surrounding the piping had deteriorated and allowed mold to grow, according to the release. Because of that, children set to attend the school for the upcoming school year will, instead, be transferred to other nearby campuses, according to the district. Staff will perform remediation work and renovations on the campus and students should return in the next

school year, according to the district. Garcia told the Star he was confident in district leadership’s handling of budget issues. “Given the financial situation we had to go through

during the pandemic, the district has done a good job by cutting costs and streamlining a lot of our business procedures,” he said. “We still have work to do, but we are definitely headed in the right direction.”

713-433-6421

BACK PAIN DOWN TO LEVEL ZERO...PAIN FREE! “I was skeptical of chiropractic. I had a bad experience in the past. But when a close friend recommended I try SLHC for my back pain, I decided to give it a try. I appreciated how Drs. Harris & Brazzell did an evaluation, asked questions & examined my MRI which showed disc herniation. They really wanted to understand my situation. This gave me confidence that we were not jumping into something blindly. Before my treatment plan was even complete my pain level dropped to level zero... PAIN FREE! I believe this is the best thing I have done for my back. I highly recommend them, even if you are skeptical. - Ken Masaki We have moved. See our new address

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E D I GU MORE LEARN ON

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The Fort Bend Star Guide is a twice a year product that serves as a guide to everyday living in our unique community. Where to go, places to see, things to do and services that are available in Sugar Land, Missouri City, Richmond, Rosenberg, Stafford, and Fort Bend County.

Fall 2022 Edition – Coming September 7, 2022 CALL TO ADVERTISE

281-690-4200


THE STAR

PAGE 8 • Wednesday, August 3 2022

See us online www.FortBendStar.com

Review: Sara’s Burgers emblematic of what makes Fort Bend County special By Matt deGrood MDEGROOD@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

Sara’s Burgers & Gyros is at once one of the county’s hidden gems and also perfectly emblematic of what makes the Fort Bend County food scene so special. Perhaps my lack of internet sleuthing skills are to blame, but it took me awhile before stumbling across the Sugar Land halal restaurant. On lists of the best restaurants in county cities, I didn’t see this listed anywhere. But once I did find it listed, the restaurant’s menu looked so intriguing I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to visit. To start, Sara’s is a restaurant almost entirely without frills. Tucked behind a gas station, I almost would have missed it entirely if not for the helpful assistance of my iPhone. Inside are a few plain tables that don’t look enough to seat a hungry lunch crowd. What Sara’s lacks in interior décor, however, it more than makes up with an inventive and delicious menu. If you’re looking for something a little more conventional, Sara’s has that in spades. Whether it’s a chicken sandwich or a gyro or a hamburger, this could easily be your spot if you’re looking for a quick bite to eat during lunch. Looking a bit deeper into the menu, however, one notices a handful of truly unique options. For instance, before last week, I didn’t realize chicken tikka sub sandwiches existed. But now I wonder how I could have gone so long without trying them. During my visit, I opted for a chicken tikka sub sandwich and made it a meal for just a few dollars more to get some

Spectators Sports Bar and Grill will hold a soft opening Aug. 15 in Sugar Land, with a grand opening coming Aug. 27. (Photo from Facebook)

Nibbles & Sips: Spectators Bar and Grill to have soft opening Aug. 15

By Landan Kuhlmann LKUHLMANN@FORTBENDSTAR.COM

The Chicken tikka subb, pictured with french fries and a mango lassi, was just part of an impressive recent visit to Sara's Burgers and Gyros in Sugar Land. (Photo by Matt deGrood)

tasty fries and a mango lassi to go along with it. Nothing I tried was bad, but the sandwich was definitely the standout. These days, anytime someone advertises something as spicy, I come to it with an air of caution. This was exactly as advertised. The chicken was seasoned to perfection and perfectly cooked to absorb the tasty spice and pack each bite full of flavor. The restaurant didn’t hold back on how much chicken it packed into the sandwich, either. Eating the sub wasn’t exactly a clean task, so at the end I picked up a fork and ate a few pieces of chicken that

Hours: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday Entrée prices: $7.49$11.99 Kid-friendly: Yes Alcohol: No Senior discount: No Healthy options: Fish over rice ($9.99) Sara's Burgers Star of the show: & Gyros Chicken tikka sub ($8.99) Address: 13420A W. Rating: Bellfort Blvd., Sugar Land fell out of the sandwich alone. Funny enough, before my stomach caught up to me, I was almost ready to walk back up to the counter and order a second it was so good. But by the time I sat with my thoughts for a moment, I realized how full I really was. And all of it was for a more than reasonable price. I cannot recommend Sara’s highly enough.

COMMUNITY

CALENDAR AUGUST 11 FORT BEND-HARRIS RETIRED EDUCATORS FB-HRE to hold their first meeting of the new school year on at 1 p.m. at the Sugar Land First United Methodist Church, 431 Eldridge Rd. in the Venue Room. There will be a banner outside the room to help you identify it. Park in the back near Kids World Education Building. Arrive earlier to socialize, sign in and pay dues, $45, if you haven't already. All Fort Bend and Harris County I.S.D. retired public educators are invited. For more information, call 713-206-2733 ONGOING FORT BEND JUNIOR SERVICE LEAGUE RECRUITING NEW MEMBERS FOR 2022-2023 YEAR To join, the membership application can be accessed at https://www.fbjsl.org/join/how-tobecome-a-member/. FBJSL will also be hosting multiple virtual and in-person recruitment events over the summer where potential new members can learn more about the League. Information regarding attending these events is available at www.fbjsl.org or on the FBJSL Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ FortBendJuniorServiceLeague/. LITERACY COUNCIL OF FORT BEND COUNTY We enhance lives and strengthen communities by teaching adults to read. We need your help. Literacy Council is actively recruiting Volunteer Tutors to provide instruction for English as a Second Language (ESL) Levels 0-5, three hours a week. For more information, call 281-240-8181 or visit our website www.ftbendliteracy.org EXPERIENCE COUNTS! 35+ YEARS SERVING FORT BEND COUNTY 281-243-2344 281.243.2300

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

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There will soon be a new local watering hole open for residents of Fort Bend County to take in their favorite sporting events. Spectator’s Sports Bar and Grill is planning its soft opening for Aug. 15, with a grand opening event scheduled for Aug. 27 at 1525 Lake Point Parkway Suite 100 in Sugar Land, according to spokesperson Cody Schuldt. The grand opening event will have live music, college football and prizes for patrons, according to Schuldt. Schdult said the bar menu will be a mix of beer, wine and classic cocktails, while the food selection will have options such as Wagyu burgers, chef salads, oysters, steaks, charcuterie boards and more. For more information and to stay up to date on the soft and grand openings, follow Spectators Bar and Grill on Facebook or visit spectatorsbargrill.com Alicia’s Mexican Grille closes local restaurant Alicia’s Mexican Grille announced last week that its Richmond/Sugar Land location at 20420 Southwest

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, 14100 Southwest Frwy. Ste 230, Sugar Land, TX 77478

FOR NON-PROFIT EVENTS

JAM WITH SAM Join Sam Grice Tuesday evenings at 6:30 for a casual evening of music. We play a variety of music including bluegrass, country, gospel and some western. We request acoustic instruments only please. We welcome both participants and music lovers who enjoy listening to good live music. There’s no charge and we welcome beginners and gladly offer gentle assistance. We meet at First Presbyterian Church, 502 Eldridge Rd, Sugar Land. Please call Sam at 832-4283165 for further information. THURSDAY MORNING BIBLE STUDY FOR MEN Sugar Land First United Methodist Church, 431 Eldridge Road offers a Thursday Morning Bible Study For Men. This group is ongoing and uses a variety of studies throughout the year. The breakfast, coffee and donuts are free. Join us any time! Thursdays, 6:30-7:30 am in Wesley Hall. Call the church office at 281-491-6041 or Mike Schofield at 281-217-5799 for more information. SUGAR LAND AMERICAN LEGION American Legion Freeman Post 942 meets the fourth Tuesday 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 Year-End 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 281240-3195 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, 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 281-3443515. FORT BEND-HARRIS RETIRED EDUCATORS TO MEET IN-PERSON FB-HRE to hold their first meeting of the new school year on Thursday, August 11th, 1 p.m. at the Sugar Land First United Methodist Church, 431 Eldridge Rd. in the VENUE ROOM. There will be a banner outside the room to help you identify it. Park in back near Kids World Education Bldg. Arrive earlier to socialize, sign in and pay dues, $45, if you haven't already. All Fort Bend and Harris County I.S.D. retired public educators are invited. More information, call 713-206-2733

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 lisa@agentlisasims.com

Freeway has permanently closed its doors due to a change in building ownership, according to a news release from the restaurant. “It was a privilege serving guests in the Sugar Land and Richmond communities,” owner David Herrera said. “We are grateful for their support all these years.” The chain still has restaurants operating in Spring, Westchase, and Cypress, as well as one in Katy in the northern part of Fort Bend County at 25725 Katy Freeway. For more information on Alicia’s Mexican Grille, visit their website at aliciasmexicangrille.com. Thai Nine now reopens under new ownership The Nines Thai Cuisine restaurant officially re-opened on July 12 at 203 Century Square Blvd. in Sugar Land, the restaurant confirmed in an email Monday. “We will keep our flavors authentic to our Thai roots and we will show our customers what Thai hospitality is all about,” a restaurant representative said in an email to the Fort Bend Star. To stay up to date on The Nines, follow @TheNinesThai on Facebook or visit theninesthai.com.

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