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Around The Bend May 2017


(L-R): Honorees Anna Gonzales, Teana Viltz Watson, Katherine McGill Sanders, Lana Flory, Gustaline Samba, LarKaya Gant and Virginia Valentine.

(L-R): Honorees Anna Gonzales, Teana Viltz Watson, Katherine McGill Sanders, Lana Flory, Gustaline Samba, LarKaya Gant and Virginia Valentine.

SSLW HONORS 13 ACCOMPLISHED LOCAL WOMEN FOR NATIONAL WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH

One of the 2017 SSLW honorees, Terri Wang.

One of the 2017 SSLW honorees, Terri Wang.

Suburban Sugar Land Women (SSLW) recently honored 13 Fort Bend County Community Servants in observance of National Women’s History Month, which recognizes and honors the accomplishments of women throughout the world annually in March.

The 2017 13 Fort Bend Community Servants are: Lana Flory, executive assistant, Metro Transit Authority; LarKaya Gant, J.D., M.S., educator in the Fort Bend Independent School District; Anna Gonzales, director, Fort Bend County Social Services, Lamar CISD; Claire Lu Jin, banker, relationship manager, JP Morgan Chase; Simone Manuel, 2016 Olympic Gold Medal Winner; Jennifer Plihal, organic gardner, Three Sisters Farm; Gustaline Samba, Gold Award Girl Scout Troop 28103 and 2017 graduating senior, Lamar CISD; Katherine McGill Sanders, director, Fort Bend County Women’s Shelter; Virginia Valentine, founder, ASWAP (Angels Serving With A Purpose); Terri Vela, Richmond City Manager; Terri Wang, volunteer, Fort Bend Education Foundation; Teana Viltz Watson, attorney and community volunteer; and Angie Wierzbicki, executive director, Cullinan Park Conservatory.

This celebration began with a photo session of honorees, individuals and groups. Donisha Smith welcomed honorees, members, and partners, and SSLW President Mable Scott Austin shared the organization’s history, purpose, mission and vision.

Donisha also shared a brief history of National Women’s History from inception on March 8, 1977 with International Day to 1987, when Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month in perpetuity. Mose Austin and Project Chairs Joel and Elise Harmon designed and printed the certificates and trifold programs. All honorees shared their personal, professional, and service accomplishments and challenges.

June Peggs, SSLW secretary and Partner congratulated the honorees by saying, ”Our simple and sincere thanks for all you have done, are doing, and will do.” Honoree Lana Flory blessed the event and the meal before a delightful lunch was served at Veritas Steak and Seafood in Sugar Land. Pat Houck, SSLW Partner, presented each honoree a beautiful long-stemmed red rose. Event coordinator John Taylor provided sterling service from planning to exit.

SSLW reviewed 200-plus Fort Bend County women before selecting the 13 honorees. Mable Scott Austin said after the event, “Honorees were visibly touched and some were teary-eyed. They expressed their appreciation and gratitude for being honored. It was an amazing event, and no one wanted to leave.”

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(Front row:) Elissa Wedemeyer, Joel Battle; (left side: ) Richard Gross, Viki Moore, George Adams; (back of cart: ) Rick Lyons; (right side:) Steve Wells, Leeann Stidham, Ron Caffey.

(Front row:) Elissa Wedemeyer, Joel Battle; (left side: ) Richard Gross, Viki Moore, George Adams; (back of cart: ) Rick Lyons; (right side:) Steve Wells, Leeann Stidham, Ron Caffey.

EXCHANGE CLUB CHARITY GOLF TOURNAMENT RAISES OVER $100,000

The Exchange Club of Missouri City would like to thank all the players, sponsors and volunteers for making its 37th annual St. Patrick’s Day Charity Golf Tournament a huge success. The sold-out event raised over $100,000. The Exchange Club of Missouri City returns all monies raised to needy Fort Bend County charities as well as funding seven $4,000 scholarships to area high school seniors. Members are fond of saying “we enjoy raising all that money…we give it all away… and start over again in January.”

The generosity of community continues to amaze Exchange Club members. A second fundraiser is scheduled for this fall. Be sure to mark your calendars for the second annual Country Western Dance, BBQ & Live Auction for Saturday, October 7at City Centre in Missouri City.

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(L-R): Carlos Perez, President, Exchange Club of Sugar Land and Kate Johnson-Patagoc, Director, Specialized Services, Texana Center.

(L-R): Carlos Perez, President, Exchange Club of Sugar Land and Kate Johnson-Patagoc, Director, Specialized Services, Texana Center.

TEXANA RECEIVES $7,000 DONATION FROM EXCHANGE CLUB

Texana Center received a $7,000 grant from the Exchange Club of Sugar Land on March 8 from funds raised during its Annual Spaghetti Cook Off. Kate Johnson-Patagoc, Director, Specialized Children’s Services was invited to attend the Sugar Land Exchange Club’s breakfast meeting as the guest speaker and for the check presentation.

President Carlos Perez presented the donation which will be applied to the purchase of new playground equipment for the Texana Children’s Center for Autism. The playground structure will replace existing old and rusting equipment, and will offer many opportunities for learning. Play often does not come naturally to children with autism and they have to be specifically taught play skills that seem to come easily to most typically developing children. For most children, the playground is usually the first place where they engage with other children and with the world at large.  Play is important for developing language, appropriate emotional responses, problem solving and creative skills in children as well as the social skills that are the foundation for all relationships. The Texana Children’s Center for Autism uses applied behavior analysis to carefully assess each child’s individual skills and then develop a program to specifically teach these important activities.

“We are delighted to be able to replace our old playground with an attractive play structure and playhouse for our children ages 2 to 5 years,” said Johnson-Patagoc. “We are very grateful to the Exchange Club of Sugar Land for their continued support of our autism program and for this generous donation.”

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(L-R): Rob Bamford, Todd and Cherish Hamilton, Tori and Omar Arreola, Heather and Trey Reichert and Allison Bond at the Men Who Cook benefit.

(L-R): Rob Bamford, Todd and Cherish Hamilton, Tori and Omar Arreola, Heather and Trey Reichert and Allison Bond at the Men Who Cook benefit.

MEN WHO COOK RAISES $182,000 FOR L.E.A.F. SCHOOL PROJECTS

While Caribbean Jerk Chicken, Pork ‘n Bean Salad and Bread Pudding doesn’t exactly sound like a winning combination, those were just a few of the dishes enjoyed by more than 650 people supporting the Lamar Educational Awards Foundation (L.E.A.F.) at this year’s Men Who Cook, presented by Johnson Development Corp.

“Men Who Cook served up good times and raised an impressive amount of money for L.E.A.F.,” said Rob Bamford, general manager of Johnson Development Corp.’s Cross Creek Ranch. “We were happy to be a title sponsor for such a worthy organization.”

Held Feb. 18 at Safari Texas, Men Who Cook raised more than $182,000 to support innovative ideas and classroom projects proposed by Lamar CISD teachers that would otherwise go unfunded. L.E.A.F. also offers scholar­ships to graduating Lamar CISD students and to the District’s paraprofessionals working on their teaching certificates.

“The evening was so much fun cooks are already signing up for next year’s event and the Ken Mondshine and Brotherhood Band has already been reserved again,” said Chip Sutton, L.E.A.F. board president. “We’ve never had so many stay and dance the night away!”

In addition to fabulous food from 51 local “celebrity” chefs, many magnificent items were up for bid in live and silent auctions.

In 17 years of existence, L.E.A.F. has invested almost $3 million into Lamar CISD schools. L.E.A.F.’s next event, Surf’s Up School’s Out, presented by OakBend Medical Center, will be May 5. “We invite everyone to join us for one of the most fun events in the county,” Sutton said.

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(L-R): Cindy Johnson, AVP, asst. administrator, OakBend Medical Center; BJ Patel, quality manager, OakBend Medical Center; Dr. Amitabh Shukla, MD, PA, director of OakBend's Stroke Program; Allison Capetillo, American Heart Association; Joe Freudenberger, CEO, OakBend Medical Center; and Sue McCarty, VP, administrator, OakBend Medical Center.

(L-R): Cindy Johnson, AVP, asst. administrator, OakBend Medical Center; BJ Patel, quality manager, OakBend Medical Center; Dr. Amitabh Shukla, MD, PA, director of OakBend’s Stroke Program; Allison Capetillo, American Heart Association; Joe Freudenberger, CEO, OakBend Medical Center; and Sue McCarty, VP, administrator, OakBend Medical Center.

OAKBEND MEDICAL CENTER’S “STEPPING OUT AGAINST STROKE 3K” HAS RECORD-BREAKING YEAR

OakBend Medical Center’s annual “Stepping Out Against Stroke 3K” is growing and going strong. This year over 400 people registered to walk the 3K and support the stroke program at OakBend.

The Stroke Walk, held at Seabourne Creek Nature Park, included breakfast snacks, health screenings for blood pressure and a DJ to entertain the crowd while they visited with vendors. The crowd began the walk with a series of stretches lead by Luis Aguilar, a physical therapy and occupational therapy specialist.

For the second year, there was a specific event geared toward children, the Junior Stroke Ranger. At each of the four stations, the children were asked to perform certain tasks such as face making to jumping jacks for 30 seconds. If, at the end of the walk, the children had performed all four acts, they were awarded with a Junior Stroke Ranger badge.

Throughout the walk signs were strategically placed representing the four warning signs of stroke: FAST (F – Face Drooping; A – Arm Weakness; S – Speech Difficulty; and T – Time to call 9-1-1).

For the eighth consecutive year, OakBend Medical Center was awarded the Gold Plus Performance Award for its “Get With The Guidelines” program, which promotes consistent adherence to the latest scientific treatment guidelines for stroke victims. This year’s award was given at OakBend’s 2017 Stepping Out Against Stroke Walk. To find out more, visit oakbendmedcenter.org.

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(L-R): 2017 Sugar Plum Market Co-Chairs Melissa Blackford, Heather Brown, Katie Harris, Monica Henderson, Sarah Kuehl and Kimberly Camp.

(L-R): 2017 Sugar Plum Market Co-Chairs Melissa Blackford, Heather Brown, Katie Harris, Monica Henderson, Sarah Kuehl and Kimberly Camp.

SUGAR PLUM MARKET BEGINS PLANNING A MAGICAL 17TH YEAR

“Believe in the Magic” is the theme of the 2017 Sugar Plum Market, but it’s also what the Fort Bend Junior Service League (FBJSL) has been doing since its inception in 2001. Through funds raised at the popular holiday shopping event, the Sugar Plum Market has donated an impressive amount of over $2.3 million to various Fort Bend County charities. Those grants have and will continue to bring magic into the lives of so many in need.

Presented by Memorial Hermann, the 17th Annual Market will take place at the Stafford Centre Performing Arts Theatre and Convention Center Friday, Nov. 3 and Saturday, Nov. 4th. Market hours will be from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. on Friday, and from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday. A special Preview Night shopping event will be held Thursday, Nov. 2 from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Unique vendors from across Texas will fill the Stafford Centre for this ultimate one-stop holiday shopping extravaganza.

General Admission tickets for Friday or Saturday are $12 each. A limited number of Preview Night tickets are available for $75 each and include advance shopping Thursday night, a Preview Night drink ticket, light hors d’oeuvres, and Market entry Friday and Saturday. Tickets may be purchased online beginning Sept. 1 at sugarplummarket.com.

The Market offers a variety of sponsorship and underwriting opportunities for both businesses and individuals. Market sponsors receive benefits including event signage, website and program recognition, plus Preview Night tickets with early sponsor entry. Preview Night has consistently sold out each year, and this year’s Preview Night is certain to be another sensational event.

For more information, including sponsor opportunities, visit the website or contact the Market co-chairs by email at information@sugarplummarket.com.

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(L-R): Carrie Fix and Child Advocates of Fort Bend CEO Ruthanne Mefford.

(L-R): Carrie Fix and Child Advocates of Fort Bend CEO Ruthanne Mefford.

CARRIE FIX NAMED CHILD ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR

Carrie Fix was named Child Advocate of the Year for 2016 at Child Advocates of Fort Bend’s Annual Volunteer Celebration held March 2 at Sweetwater Country Club. The event was attended by more than 175 volunteers, community partners and staff.

“Carrie exemplifies the ultimate in volunteerism to the agency – going above and beyond, donating her time, her talent and support across many different areas to make a lasting difference for children,” said Child Advocates of Fort Bend Chief Executive Officer Ruthanne Mefford. “In every way, Carrie has been a friend of our agency, a dedicated advocate for the children and a humble and selfless servant.”

Other honorees at the volunteer celebration included Margie Adolph and Sue Crookson (CASA Volunteers of the Year), Dorothy Huang (Children’s Advocacy Center Volunteer of the Year), and James Steenbergen (Voices for Children Ambassador of the Year). Suzy Morton was the recipient of the inaugural Mariel Barrera Champion for Children Award. The Award was re-named in honor of long-time employee Mariel Barrera who passed away earlier this year. To see a list of all of the honorees or to learn more about volunteer opportunities with Child Advocates of Fort Bend, go to cafb.org.

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Elkins Senior Tatyana Sweet is pictured with her artwork at the Local Youth Art Show held at the DeWalt Heritage Center/old Dew House.

Elkins Senior Tatyana Sweet is pictured with her artwork at the Local Youth Art Show held at the DeWalt Heritage Center/old Dew House.

DHC DEW HOUSE LOCAL YOUTH ART SHOW

For the fourth year in a row area youth have proudly displayed the fruits of their talents at the DeWalt Heritage Center’s (the old Dew House) Local Youth Art Show.

Matthew LeBlanc, his siblings and friends grew up in Quail Valley in the years when the old columned Dew House sat along Highway 6 nestled between the canopy of decades old trees that had witnessed the turn of the century and the area known as “DeWalt” become what is Missouri City today. On March 26, Matthew visited this historic home with his wife, daughters and mother to view the art work of his kindergarten daughter Haley displayed at what has become the Annual Local Youth Art Show under the direction of retired art teacher and Dew House Docent Becky Gay.

Over 70 pieces of art created by students from Elkins High School, Ridge Point High School, Lantern Lane Elementary, E. A. Jones Elementary, Jan Schiff Elementary, Scanlan Oaks Elementary and Armstrong Elementary were on display. More than 150 visitors attended the event to admire the works of these talented young students and were also able to tour this home dating back to 1900.

The Dew House is temporarily closed for structural repairs and will reopen for Sunday tours (1-4 p.m.) on April 23. Also on April 23, April 30 and May 7 during tour hours, docents will be accepting donations for their Annual Porch and Yard Sale being held May 13 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. (No clothes or electronics please). The Dew House is located at the back of Kitty Hollow Park (going South on Highway 6, the park is on the left just past the Sienna HEB).

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(L-R): Richard Stolleis, Fort Bend County Engineer; Wesely Crawford, FBC Engineering; Marc Grant, Fort Bend County Road Commissioner; Llarance Turner, Kelly R. Kaluza & Associates; Andy Meyers, County Commissioner Precinct 3; Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert; Officer Washington, TDCJ; Senior Warden Simpson, TDCJ; Assistant Warden Hines, TDCJ; James Patterson, County Commissioner Precinct 4; Stacy Slawinski, FBC Engineering; and Roby Tate, FBC Road and Bridge Superintendent.

(L-R): Richard Stolleis, Fort Bend County Engineer; Wesely Crawford, FBC Engineering; Marc Grant, Fort Bend County Road Commissioner; Llarance Turner, Kelly R. Kaluza & Associates; Andy Meyers, County Commissioner Precinct 3; Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert; Officer Washington, TDCJ; Senior Warden Simpson, TDCJ; Assistant Warden Hines, TDCJ; James Patterson, County Commissioner Precinct 4; Stacy Slawinski, FBC Engineering; and Roby Tate, FBC Road and Bridge Superintendent.

HARLEM ROAD PROJECT COMPLETION RIBBON CUTTING

County officials gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 13 to celebrate the completion of Harlem Road from Owens Road (James Bowie Middle School) to Travis High School. The 1.7-mile project produced an improved 4-lane, divided asphalt roadway. Fort Bend County (FBC) Road & Bridge, Aranda Brothers Construction Company, Harvest Green (Johnson Development) and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice were all contributing partners.

County Judge Bob Hebert said, “This final stretch of Harlem Road now gives us another North-South major thoroughfare link between U.S. 90A and Westpark Toll Road- FM 1093.”


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