Best of Fort Bend – 2010
Best of Fort Bend!
Best Concert Venue
For international dance competition, community theater, cultural festivals, consumer shows, weddings or galas and much more, the 90,000-square-foot Stafford Centre hosts it. Longing for your favorite hit-makers from yesteryear? Jam on over to Stafford, where the center provides a classic rock and country sanctuary. Get hooked on the feeling.
Best Place to Hike
BRAZOS BEND STATE PARK
Located just a 20-minute drive down Highway 59 from Sugar Land, the park has approximately 35 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails. Hikers can observe the interrelations of nature and listen to sounds of the marsh, prairie and woodlands as they reveal many species of wildlife. Great bird and alligator watching, too!
Best Chicken Fried Steak
LIVE OAK GRILL
For fresh, tasty comfort food, no one beats Live Oak Grill. The super-sized and super delicious Chicken Fried Steak is down-home cooking at its best. So big it overlaps the sides of the plate, the steak is tender and the breading is perfect. Served hot with mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans, you’ll feel like you’re back at grandma’s house in the country!
Best Place for Framing
Aaron Brothers carries a large selection of frames from simple to ornate to fit any price range. The staff helps you select the frame that will make your art pop while staying within your budget. The store also carries fine prints, small desktop frames and art supplies. It’s a wonderful place to find a sale, too.
Best Deer Sighting
Where Sienna Parkway ends at Scanlan Trace in Sienna Plantation, there is a wooded area that is just loaded with deer coming out to feed at dawn and dusk. Another good place to watch for deer is on Lake Olympia Parkway.
Best New Community Amenity to Look Forward To
SUGAR LAND BASEBALL STADIUM
Although it’s not up and running yet, the most anticipated new community amenity has to be the Sugar Land Triple A baseball facility. A joint venture of the city of Sugar Land and Opening Day Partners, LLC, the stadium will be built to Minor League Baseball’s Triple A standards with family-oriented amenities. The structure, designed as a flexible multi-use facility, will host year-round community events, college and high school baseball tournaments, concerts and other events. The project will provide a return of $169 million to the community over a 30-year period and is expected to attract more than 300,000 spectators annually, tourism that will benefit hotels, restaurants and other area retail establishments. Sugar Land’s new baseball team is scheduled to take the field in Spring 2012.
Best Chance of Making it Big
Named 2010 Female Vocalist of the Year by the Academy of Texas Music, Christen Sawyer has been singing and writing songs since she was a pre-teen. A 2007 Clements High School graduate, Christen has put her college degree on hold while she follows her dream of becoming a music star. Christen plays all around Texas and has opened for some country greats including Robert Earl Keen, Stoney LaRue and Eli Young Band. The Academy of Texas Music named her the 2010 Female Vocalist of the Year and her song One Too Many reached No. 16 on the Texas Music Charts. Look out Carrie Underwood; Christen Sawyer is a rising star!
Best Fresh Cut French Fries
FIVE GUYS BURGERS AND FRIES
These are Five Guys who know how to do french fries right. Five Guys is known for its policy of using only using fresh food — none of the franchises use freezers — and for making its patties and french fries by hand every morning. The fries are made from fresh potatoes and cooked to crispy perfection. Two adults can share one regular order of fries and still have enough left to feed a mob of hungry sea gulls. Nationwide, Five Guys goes through more than 38 million pounds of potatoes a year.
Best New Club
Located behind Super Target, the M Lounge is part of a one-of-a-kind three-venue facility on two floors. M Lounge, with its Texas-sized ballroom, is rght above the Mint Spice Bistro, a fabulous place for Indian food. The Sugar Land Social Club, a large banquet hall great for big parties and gatherings, rounds out the mix of entertainment. And al fresco fanatics can’t miss out on the huge tree-lined patio. Looking for a memorable dining and entertaining experience for date night? M Lounge is the place to be.
Best New Restaurant to Catch Up with Friends
POST OAK GRILL SUGAR LAND
No matter what time of day you go, you’re bound to run into someone you know at the Post Oak Grill in Lake Point. Located along the lake, Post Oak Grill is a great place to mix and mingle with old friends and new acquaintances and enjoy the grill’s outstanding selection of fine wines and superb entrees. On any given day, one table might be filled with businessmen sharing stories over lunch while another table seats a group of friends enjoying Ladies’ Day Out and catching up on the details of their lives. The view from the patio is spectacular, especially when the sun sets over the lake, and the mouth-watering creations from the kitchen will tempt you away from visiting with friends. Enjoy the welcoming and relaxed atmosphere, and don’t forget to say hello to friends you haven’t seen for a while. They’ll be there. Will you?
Best Place for Formal Wear
WARDROBE: THE BOUTIQUE
Wardrobe caters to clients seeking fine clothing options for proms and galas, custom evening gowns for pageants and black tie events and bridal gowns. Wardrobe also carries a large selection of jewelry and footwear for those with discerning tastes.
Best Up-and-Coming Saxophone Player
Now director of the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra and director of orchestras at Houston’s High School for the Performing Arts, Hector Agüero began his career as a middle school saxophone player in Laredo, Texas. He’s come a long way since then, earning a bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree in music. Go, Sax Man!
Best First Time Beauty Pageant Contestant
Clements High School sophomore and color guard member Katerina Pasat was crowned 2010 Miss Teen Houston last November. With that title in hand, she went on to the 2010 Miss Teen Texas pageant in Arlington in June. She finished as a Top 10 Semi-finalist; eighth overall. Katerina was the only first-year contestant who finished in the Top 10 for teens, and the winner of the Alpha High Point Award for rookie contestants.
Best Sports and Music Bar Food Chef
Patrons rave about Loggia Chef Philippe Boucaumont and his delectable creations — from the phenomenal Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding to the sea bass, Kobe beef tenderloin and chorizo potatoes. An executive chef for world class restaurants in Geneva, Kenya, Dubai and Cannes, Boucaumont has delighted diners around the world with his culinary masterpieces. Loggia offers a complete global dining experience with authentic cuisine from Asia to Europe. All in all, an outstanding menu with outstanding food in Fort Bend’s premier gaming establishment.
Best Chance of Becoming a Celebrity Chef
A budding chef who grows his own vegetables, Travis Crissman has been cooking and baking since he was 11 years old. Now 15 and a freshman at Elkins High School, Travis hopes to cook his way through Julia Child’s The French Chef. His plans and dreams include taking culinary classes in high school, followed by college, culinary school and eventually owning his own restaurant.
VINTAGE VERSE LEATHER WRAP BRACELET
Vintage Verse’s handcrafted leather wrap-around bracelets are made using soft, flexible leather. They encircle your wrist three times with an adjustable closure and silver charm. Purchasers can choose from six Bible verses and two inspirational sayings on five different leather colors. Perfect to wear and to give as reminders, wishes, validations. www.vintageversedesigns.com
Best New Church Name
SUGAR LAND BAPTIST CHURCH
A significant change took place in April when Williams Trace Baptist Church voted to change its name to Sugar Land Baptist Church. In the years since the church moved to its current location at Sweetwater Boulevard and Highway 59, it had become apparent that the name was often confused with Williams Trace Blvd., two exits north on the freeway. In an effort to remove any confusion for the community, the name was officially changed in August. While the Sugar Land Baptist Church family has a new name, the same vision that inspired its birth in 1982 continues to inspire a strong witness and ministry for Christ today.
Best Sugar Land Superstar
Chase Nease, a Sugar Land resident since Sept. 2009, is the 2010 Sugar Land Superstar. For the first time ever, spectators were able to take part in the selection of the Superstar by texting their choice for the winner. His contest-winning number was his own rendition of Chris Young’s The Man I Want to Be. Originally from Salt Rock, W. Va., Chase has his own country band and writes his own music. He will serve as Superstar for a year, performing at area events incuding the city of Sugar Land Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. As part of his prize for winning the competition he will perform a concert at Sugar Land Town Square in Spring 2011. Way to go, Chase!
Best Paint Store
SHERWIN-WILLIAMS FIRST COLONY
Great customer service is the norm at the Sherwin-Williams First Colony paint store. In addition to carrying quality paint in a large selection of colors, the store has everything you need in rollers and supplies. No matter what project you are tackling — faux painting, painting over wallpaper, etc. — the Sherwin Williams staff is there to help. They take the guesswork out of your home improvement project.
The wide variety of choices at Mission Burrito are what sets them apart from other burrito places. The selection of delicious foods for your burrito-building pleasure include five mouth-watering meats, 16 fillings, five homemade salsas and four kinds of fresh, hot tortillas. Throw in the made-from-scratch tortilla soup and MB’s famous signature salads and you can see why more choices means more flavor at Mission Burrito.
Best New Sushi Restaurant
AZUMA ON THE LAKE
Serving up beautiful views and delicious food, Azuma on the Lake joined the local restaurant scene with its official grand opening on Sept. 21. A fine-dining restaurant for the sophisticated diner, the Azuma brand has become a landmark name in the Houston sushi market. Azuma’s specialty is exquisite sushi, but it also features other flavorful Japanese cuisine and carries many of the same menu items as the company’s in-town locations. The decor is pretty, the atmosphere is trendy and relaxed and the food is exceptional. Located on the Lake in Lake Pointe, Azuma is the place to be for sushi lovers. Experience the sushi while you experience the view!
Best Christmas Shopping Event
SUGAR PLUM MARKET
This Fort Bend tradition is a fun-filled, three-day shopping extravaganza featuring more than 85 vendors, preview night, fashion shows, a catered luncheon each day, a wonderful Friday evening dinner, delicious concessions, raffle and much more. Held in Stafford Centre and hosted by the Junior League of Fort Bend County, the Sugar Plum Market benefits pre-selected local charities.
Best Natural Food Store for Pets
Natural Pawz offers dog and cat food and treats that are all-natural and made with human-grade ingredients. Their food is designed to keep your pet healthy and happy whatever his stage of life — kitten or puppy, in the prime of life or enjoying his golden years. The staff will assist you with a plan to help your pet put a healthy paw forward.
BEST PUBLIC SERVANTS
Best Richmond Fire Chief
FIRE CHIEF STEPHEN T. NOTO
Retiring fire chief Stephen Noto began working as a volunteer firefighter in Richmond as a teenager and became a paid member of the RFD in 1979. Generous with awards and recognitions for his staff, Noto puts his personal desires on the back burner to concentrate on making the RFD bigger and better. Under his leadership the department has grown from six paid employees to three stations, 55 paid employees and 15 volunteers. Paid employees are also trained as EMTs, fire inspectors and police officers to better serve the Richmond community. Good luck, Chief Noto! You will be missed.
Best Sugar Land Police Officer
OFFICER CHARLES “CHUCK” KRACHALA
Chuck Krachala was voted Sugar Land Police Department’s Employee of the Year for his outstanding service and drive to keep our streets safe. He may not live within Sugar Land city limits, but Officer Krachala places his life on the line to protect those who do. Although he is a day shift officer, he regularly volunteers to work overnight shifts. Krachala has made 18 DWI arrests and more than 70 other arrests this past year and he wrote more than 3,000 citations, or 18 percent of the entire police department’s ticket count, from October 2008 to September 2009.
Best Sugar Land Fire Team
STATION 3 CREW
On April 22, the Sugar Land Fire Department Station 3 crew responded to an EMS call. Upon arrival, they discovered the patient to be unresponsive and not breathing. Crew members Milton Dinges, Ryan Bledsoe, John Cotton and Sandra Elmore began advanced skills, defibrillating and intubation on patient Coleman Crawford before EMS arrived. Today, Crawford is healthy, happy and grateful, thanks to the quick response of the fire crew. Job well done!
Best City of Sugar Land Employee
Champion Employee Award winner for 2010 is the talented Kimberly Terrell, Parks and Recreation development director. Kimberly spearheaded the memorials in Memorial Park Strategic Project. She also heads up the Trees Across Sugar Land program for the city, working in conjunction with Keep Sugar Land Beautiful. Kimberly has taken the initiative to manage the Parks CIP budgeting process in addition to her normally assigned project management role. Keep up the good work, Kimberly!
KIDS & SCHOOLS
Best Boys Baseball Team
CLEMENTS HIGH SCHOOL
The Clements Rangers baseball team, coached by Coach of the Year Isreal de los Santos, won the district title last season with a 14-3 record in district play. They also won the Region III Championship and made it all the way to the State Semi-Finals. The Rangers had a great season and did Fort Bend proud!
Best Youth Baseball Team
SUGAR LAND .45S 13U SELECT
The Sugar Land .45S 13U select baseball team won the NCI Spring Break Tournament and then turned around to win the Lone Star Classic in May, which led to the Premier World Series in Houston in July. If you missed them in action this year, don’t worry. The .45s will be back in the swing again next year.
Best Boys Soccer Player
Former Hightower soccer star Sebastien Ibeagha has joined his older brother as a member of the Duke University men’s soccer team. Ibeagha played with the Houston Dynamo Academy U-18 team where he was named Dynamo Academy Player of the Year in 2009. He was named First Team All-District last season for the Hurricanes as well as being named the No. 1 Player to Watch in the Southern Region.
Best Girls Soccer Player
This former Elkins Knight graduated last spring as one of the most sought after female goalkeepers in the nation. Kinneman was ranked No. 9 in the nation and No. 14 in Texas, according to TopDrawerSoccer.com. Megan signed on with the Louisiana State University Women’s soccer team this fall.
Best Boys Soccer Team
CLEMENTS HIGH SCHOOL
The Clements Rangers soccer team won their ninth straight district title going 18-0 last season. They advanced all the way to the 5A Regional Final with Andy McDaniel guiding the way. McDaniel, leading the team with 23 goals, will be missed this next season as he joins the University of North Carolina at Wilmington men’s soccer team. Senior Cooper Till will help the Rangers defend their district title and go for number 10.
Best Defensive Lineman
Austin Taylor graduated in May 2010 from Clements High School as the Fort Bend County Defensive Lineman of the Year and is now a defensive end for the Harvard University football team. This former senior captain for the Rangers achieved First Team All-District, First Team All-District Academic Selection for the second time, Second Team All-State Academic Selection — as well as being named the Advanced Chemistry Student of the Year two times. In addition to his football accomplishments, Taylor was named Youth of the Month in January by the Exchange Club of Sugar Land, served for three years on Student Council, was a two-year member of Peer Assisted Leadership Service and graduated in the top 14 percentile of his class.
Best Girls Volleyball Teams
FORT SETTLEMENT MIDDLE SCHOOL
Congratulations to both the seventh-grade Silver and eighth-grade Crimson girls volleyball teams at Fort Settlement Middle School for placing first at the FBISD School District Volleyball Tournament.
Best Girls Soccer Team
AUSTIN HIGH SCHOOL
The Austin Bulldogs’ girls soccer team has won 71 consecutive district games. The Bulldogs went 18-0 in district play during their 2010 season, advancing them as a No. 1 seed all the way to the 5A Regional Quarterfinal. Under head coach Mike Agiannidis’ five-year leadership, the Lady Bulldogs have won 103 games.
Best Boys 5A Basketball Team
BUSH HIGH SCHOOL
Congratulations to the Bush High School basketball team, coached by Ronnie Courtney, for winning the 5A State Championship in March to mark the first athletic state championship in Bronco history. The team defeated Garland’s Lakeview Centennial 65-58 and increased their winning streak to 14 games.
Best Boys Gymnast
Curtis Chang, a fifth-grader at Cornerstone Elementary School, has shown what potential his future holds. He won the Level 7 All-Around title at the 2010 USA Gymnastics Region 3 Men’s Gymnastics Championship in New Orleans. He trains at Iron Cross Gymnastics in Richmond and looks forward to competing in the USAG Future Stars Championships in Colorado in November. Good luck Curtis!
Best Math Whiz
Clements High School senior Kevin Chen and his two teammates were the grand-prize winners at the 2009 Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology when they solved a 30-year-old math problem. Among the three, they will share $100,000 in scholarship funds, and they also had the honor of ringing the closing bell in January at the New York Stock Exchange. Kevin will be a part of the 2010 U.S. Physics Olympic Team.
Best SAT Taker
Travis High School senior Nikita Kansra made a perfect 2400 on her first attempt at taking the SAT. Kansra is a member of Youth Expanding Services and the Science Olympiad Team and treasurer of Mu Alpha Theta. She is also vice president of Travis High School’s Spanish National Honor Society and the Debate Club. In addition, Nikita serves as a Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Ambassador and a tutor for the Fort Bend Literacy Council.
Best Valedictorian and Dell Scholar Combo
Former valedictorian and 2010 graduate of Willowridge High School, Amilda Medina was one of 200 graduating seniors in the United States named as a 2010 Dell Scholar. Medina was awarded $20,000 towards her higher education. She is currently a freshman studying biology at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Best Girls Golfer…again.
Portland Rosen earned this award for the second year in a row for finishing fourth overall at the 2010 5A State Champion-ships in her senior season for the Clements High School Rangers. She was also named the No. 30 player in the nation for the class of 2010. Just like her two older sisters, Rosen will become the third collegiate athlete in her family. She is currently a member of the University of Virginia Cavaliers golf team, where her success on the green is bound to continue.
Best Small Gym
This gym located in Sugar Land had five girls surface as “Best Small Gym” at the Texas South State Competition in San Antonio back in November. The girls, aged 7-14 and coached by Christina Zhou, represent the USA Gymnastics Association to meet the qualifications at Level 4 in bars, beam, floor, and vault. Delaney Wolfe was crowned No. 1 and Daisy Gustin No. 2. Daisy scored the highest score in all age groups in Level 4 vault.
Best 2010 Girls Softball Pitcher
This 2010 graduate of Fort Bend Baptist Academy led her softball team to their second consecutive state title this Spring, marking their third title in four years. Fox is attending the University of Texas on a softball scholarship this year where she will sport the burnt orange for the Longhorns.
Best Chance of Beating Usain Bolt in a Race
Howard Fields is in sixth grade and already breaking records. In February, while attending Burton Elementary, this member of the Houston Visions Track and Field Club won the 55-, 200- and 400-meter races and set the record for the 200-meter race and the 400-meter race at the 2010 AAU Indoor National Junior Olympic Championships in Illinois.
Best Girls Swimmer
Dulles High School senior Maddie Locus competed for the NCSA Junior National All-Star team at the Irish Nationals in Ireland this spring. Along with making it to the podium five times, she also set the Gulf records for her 50-fly and 100-free. For the Vikings, she won the gold medal in the 50-free and the silver medal in the 100-free at the 2010 5A State Swim Meet. Her goal of making it to the finals at the Olympic Trials by 2016 seems an attainable goal after her remarkable showing in Ireland and with the Vikings.