Sugar Land & Missouri City Edition - August 2020

VOLUME 7, ISSUE 12  AUG. 3SEPT. 8, 2020 Learning remotely SUGAR LAND MISSOURI CITY EDITION FBISD to begin 202021 school year online as COVID19 cases increase

ONLINE AT

SOURCE: TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 Oct. 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 30 31 1 Aug. 16 14 15 13 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 Sept. All districts allowed remote-only learning for the rst four weeks Can then request to remain remote for an additional four weeks TEA allowance for online learning scheduled to end Texas Education Agency guidelines

Although many local businesses are able to operate at 50% capacity as Texas begins to reopen, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered bars to close again and business capac- ity dropped back down from 75% in late June due to the increase in COVID-19 cases the state began seeing earlier in the month. In the wake of these limitations, local business own- ers in Sugar Land and Missouri City are struggling. Nathan Rees, owner of Texas Leaguer Brewing Co. in Missouri City, said the second closure of bars has been CONTINUED ON 20 Local businesses struggle as Texas’ reopening backslides BY BETH MARSHALL

BY CLAIRE SHOOP

BY CLAIRE SHOOP

UNEMPLOYMENT

IN SUGAR LAND AND MI SSOUR I C I TY

The Texas Education Agency released guidelines July 17 allowing for all districts to have remote-only learning for the rst four weeks of school. Districts can then request to remain remote for an additional four weeks. How longwill online learning last?

Unemployment claims in Sugar Land and Missouri City have decreased since March, but each ZIP code was still seeing hundreds of claims as of July 11. In early July 2019, all of Fort Bend County had 393 claims.

Total claims

PHOTOS BY CLAIRE SHOOPCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

MARCH 25 APR I L 25

Total claims

As school districts across the state determine how to best educate students amid rising coro- navirus numbers, Fort Bend ISD announced stu- dents will begin the 2020-21 school year 100% online with the goal of gradually phasing in face- to-face instruction. Superintendent Charles Dupre said the reason the district decided to begin the year online is twofold: rst, to protect the health and safety of

students and sta, and second, to get students and teachers acclimated to the new online learn- ing program in the event schools close during the year because of coronavirus infections. Glenda Macal, the president of the Fort Bend American Federation of Teachers, a teachers union representing 65,000 Texas teachers and sta, said while she was relieved by the district’s CONTINUED ON 16

10,658

JUNE 10 JULY 1 1 3,898

MAY 1 3 JUNE 1 3 Total claims 4,452

SOURCE: TEXAS WORKFORCE COMMISSIONCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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To our Fort Bend ISD Community During the last six months, Fort Bend ISD has had to fundamentally rethink our approach to education, truly reimagining the ways we serve our community. Our teachers, always creative in their work, have had to develop new ways to engage students, and it is this same spirit of innovation that continues to drive the District forward. Over the years, we have built systems that allow us to meet the needs of each unique student, and we remain dedicated to that task in our ongoing response to the pandemic – our Fort Bend ISD Mission and Vision have not changed.

Our students, families and staff members are beginning the 2020–21 school year in the midst of much uncertainty in a new online, virtual learning environment that has been strategically designed to ensure they continue to have access to rich, robust, teacher-led instruction. Fort Bend ISD will continue to offer an exceptional educational experience, one we are known

for.

Safety as our top priority I know the desire is strong for our students to be back in their classrooms and to have their extracurricular activities resume – we share that desire. There is nothing the Board of Trustees and I want more than to have all our students back with their teachers and their classmates, learning, competing, and growing. But we know that, as the largest employer in our county, it is also incumbent on us to prevent the further spread of illness in our community. Working with a COVID Advisory team of county public health officials, local infectious disease experts and medical professionals, FBISD developed comprehensive health and safety protocols to ensure a safe and effective transition to face-to-face instruction – when it is safe to do so. Continue to follow our response to the COVID-19 pandemic on the FBISD website. Again, we are reimagining education – transforming our organization in ways that will forever improve student in learning in FBISD – we will never be the same, but we will come out stronger. Thank you for your continued support and partnership!

Charles E. Dupre, Ed.D. | Fort Bend ISD Superintendent

Our Commitments

A rich and robust online learning experience, with a transition to face- to-face when it is safe to do so • Scheduled, live synchronous instruction via video conferencing tools • Daily, asynchronous learning experiences according to a defined schedule • Streamlined technology tools to support consistency and student engagement

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Remote Synchronous Instruction

Synchronous

Remote Asynchronous Instruction

Asynchronous

Health and safety at the forefront of decision making, with District-wide Health and Safety Protocols

Hand Washing

Social Distancing

Cleaning Protocols

Diagnosis & Exposure Protocols

Education Wellness Monitors & Checks

Face Coverings

Learn more about our efforts at www.fortbendisd.com/reimagined

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It takes all 16,705 of us to be ranked one of the nation’s best. We’re not just the largest children’s hospital in America. For 12 straight years, we’ve also been recognized as one of the best by U.S. News & World Report. This year, we’re ranked # 4 overall and in the top five in seven specialties—including # 1 in pediatric cardiology and heart surgery. It takes great technology, facilities and expertise to be recognized year after year, but the most important thing it takes is great people. People who care deeply about caring for children. And we’re honored that so many people like that choose to work here.

Learn more at TexasChildrens.org/best

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SUGAR LAND - MISSOURI CITY EDITION • AUGUST 2020

WHERE DO YOU GO WHEN THE HAMMER MISSES THE NAIL AND FINDS YOURS?

Our ER is Open. Ready. And Safe. Emergencies are one-of-a-kind events. You don’t know when, or how, or where they’re going to happen. But you do know that when an emergency takes place, you’ll want an Emergency Room you can count on. Especially now, when our community continues to battle COVID-19, you need to know that there’s a hospital ER that’s open, ready, and safe for you and your family. And we are. For more information, visit us at StLukesHealth.org/Here-Always.

Here, always.

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THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

MARKET TEAM GENERAL MANAGER Amy Martinez amymartinez@communityimpact.com EDITOR Beth Marshall REPORTER Claire Shoop GRAPHIC DESIGNER Chase Brooks

FROMAMY: The start of the 2020-21 school year will look very dierent as our community continues to deal with COVID-19 cases. Fort Bend ISD ocials, in accordance with Texas Education Agency guidelines and Gov. Greg Abbott’s input, have set up a road map for starting the school year amid the coronavirus. See Page 16 for more information. Amy Martinez, GENERALMANAGER

METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Jason Culpepper ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Kristina Shackelford MANAGING EDITOR Marie Leonard ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Tessa Hoee SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Anya Gallant CORPORATE LEADERSHIP PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner John and Jennifer Garrett began Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 in Pugerville, TX. The company’s mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Today we operate across six metropolitan areas, providing hyperlocal, nonpartisan news produced by our full-time journalists in each community we serve. BECOMEA#COMMUNITYPATRON CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman WHOWE ARE

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Now Open, Coming Soon &more

FROMBETH: As the coronavirus continues to aect our local communities, bar owners and restaurateurs are struggling. In turn, local municipalities are seeing lower sales tax revenue each month. Check out Page 20, where we take a closer look at this eect on the economy. Beth Marshall, EDITOR

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES 9 Ongoing and upcoming projects INSIDE INFORMATION 11 COVID19 summer surge

THIS ISSUE BY THE NUMBERS

Local sources 19

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New Missouri City city manager 1

New businesses

Transportation updates

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stay informed and keep businesses thriving. COMMUNITYIMPACT.COMCIPATRON CONTACT US 245 Commerce Green Blvd., Ste. 200 Sugar Land, TX 77478 • 5129896808 PRESS RELEASES SLMnews@communityimpact.com SUBSCRIPTIONS communityimpact.com/subscriptions © 2020 Community Impact Newspaper Co. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction of any portion of this issue is allowed without written permission from the publisher.

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SUGAR LAND  MISSOURI CITY EDITION • AUGUST 2020

Expanding our team of leaders in ONCOLOGY

Houston Methodist Welcomes Dr. Patrick Prath Patrick Prath, MD, board-certified hematologist and medical oncologist, joins the doctors and staff of Houston Methodist Oncology Partners at Sugar Land. Services offered:

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16659 Southwest Fwy. Medical Office Building 2, Suite 131 Sugar Land, TX 77479 houstonmethodist.org/spg 281.201.6669

COVID-19 UPDATE Our specialists are available to safely see patients in person or virtually , as needed.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

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1464

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KEMPNER ST.

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CITY WALK

State Fare Kitchen & Bar

Goldsh Swim School of Sugar Land

WESCOTT AVE.

COURTESY GEORGE PAEZ, STATE FARE KITCHEN & BAR

COURTESY GOLDFISH SWIM SCHOOL

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5 Goldsh Swim School of Sugar Land opened at 16618 Hwy. 59, Ste. A, Sugar Land, on July 7. The business oers in- door swim classes and programs to teach children ages 4 months through 12 years old how to be safe in and around the wa- ter. Registration is now open. Heightened safety precautions include temperature and symptom checks for employees, face masks and face shields worn where ap- plicable, adjusted teaching techniques to minimize physical contact and frequent sanitation eorts. 281-789-6089. www.goldshswimschool.com/sugar-land COMING SOON 6 Amazon.com Inc. has begun con- struction on a new, 850,000-square- foot e-commerce fulllment center in Fort Bend County, according to a press release from Trammell Crow Co., a com- mercial real estate developer involved in the project. Expected to open in 2021, the center will be located on 93.5 acres at 10507 Harlem Road, Richmond, per the release. At the center, employees will pick, pack and ship small items, per the release. “We’re proud that Amazon has chosen Fort Bend County for this signicant investment,” County Judge KP George wrote in a Facebook post. “The Fort Bend center will generate 1,000 high-quality jobs for our community, adding tremendous value to our com- mercial sector.” REOPENINGS 7 The Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center , located at 198 Kempner St.,

Sugar Land, reopened July 7 after being temporarily closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. To maintain social distancing between families, visitors will participate in a one-way scavenger hunt through the museum that will guide them from exhibition to exhibition. Additional health and safety precautions include capping museum capacity at 20% through the use of prereserved, timed tickets; contact-free entry; temperature screenings; mask requirements for sta and visitors age 2 and older; and enhanced 8 Farmers Market Partners-Missouri City celebrated its one-year anniversa- ry June 27. The market, located at 5855 Sienna Springs Way, Missouri City, is open every Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. “Over the course of the last year, we’ve had more than 15,000 patrons come through and allowed more than 70 small businesses the opportunity to showcase their prod- ucts,” Thomasine Johnson, the co-founder of Farmers Market Partners and a Missouri City resident, said in a press release. “The market has helped us build a real sense of community centered around food, fun and fellowship.” Additionally, the market has donated produce to the re department and partnered with area nonprots. While the market had been temporarily closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, it has since reopened and been modied to keep customers, vendors and sta safe, the release said. www.farmersmarketpartners.com cleaning eorts. 832-742-2800. www.childrensdiscovery.org ANNIVERSARIES

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SIENNA SPRINGS WAY

SIENNA CROSSING DR.

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MAP NOT TO SCALE N TM; © 2020 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

NOWOPEN 1 After several delays, State Fare Kitchen & Bar began serving Southern comfort food in Sugar Land on July 8. The Houston-based restaurant’s second location is in Sugar Land Town Square at 15930 City Walk, Sugar Land. State Fare oers fresh, from-scratch Texas cuisine with lunch and dinner menus available daily as well as weekday happy hour specials, weekend brunch options, and Friday and Saturday late-night selec- tions. Menu highlights include barbecue smoked brisket hash, dill pickle dip, hamburgers and Texas Red beef chili frito pie, all served alongside a variety of drinks and cocktails. 832-831-0950. www.statefaretx.com 2 HTeaO , a Texas-based iced tea fran- chise, opened a location at 4528 Hwy. 6, Sugar Land, on June 12. The business oers 24 avors of fresh brewed, sweet and unsweet iced tea. Tea avors include sweet and unsweet mint, sweet Georgia peach and unsweet watermelon. The Sugar Land location is HTeaO’s second franchise in the Houston area, with the rst in Webster. 281-962-4610. www.hteao.com

3 Serenity Organics , a CBD store in Sienna, had a soft opening June 6 fol- lowed by a grand opening June 27-July 5, according to owners Melanne and Josh Carpenter. Located at 9101 Sienna Cross- ing Drive, Ste. 188, Missouri City, the shop carries a wide variety of consumable and topical products containing cannabidiol. Products include oils, capsules, gummies, teas, coees, energy drinks, balms, soaps and skin care. Serenity Organics also sells CBD oils and treats for pets. 832-440-0621. www.facebook.com/ SerenityOrganicsCBD 4 Gyro Hut opened its second Hous- ton-area location May 5 at 1914 Wescott Ave., Ste. 150, Sugar Land. The build- your-own-gyro restaurant oers chicken, lamb, shrimp, sh, falafel and chapli ka- bab served over rice, lettuce or in a pita, topped with vegetables and sauce. Gyro Hut, which started as a food cart in New York in 2003, moved to Dallas before relocating to Houston, according to the restaurant’s website. The restaurant is open for dine-in at 50% capacity and has increased sanitation eorts due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 364-350-5119. www.gyrohuttx.com

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SUGAR LAND  MISSOURI CITY EDITION • AUGUST 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES Missouri City looks to investmore in its streetmaintenance program COMPILED BY CLAIRE SHOOP Without repairs most streets will need to be reconstructed in the next ve years

ONGOING PROJECTS

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If the city of Missouri City con- tinues funding its Pavement Main- tenance and Management Program at current levels, in ve to six years most streets in the city will need to be reconstructed, Public Works Director Shashi Kumar said. The Missouri City Public Works Department, along with consultants from Fugro USA Land Inc., presented the results of a recent pavement and sidewalk assessment at the June 15 City Council meeting. The assessment found the average pavement condition index—a metric that is used to determine the quality of pavement on city streets—has dropped from 76 in 2013 to 55. A score of 55 borders between fair and poor condition on the PCI rating scale, and any pavement that receives a score lower than 40 is in need of reconstruction, according to the presentation. “Fifty-ve is still a fair condition, but the pavement condition has dropped signicantly,” Kumar said. In previous scal years, Missouri City has put approximately $700,000 toward the PMMP. However, Kumar said modeling from Fugro shows continuing to fund the program at this level will cause the average PCI citywide to drop to 40 in ve to six years. “That means in ve or six years, you will have to reconstruct all the streets, and that’s not what we want to do,” Kumar said. Funds in the PMMP are used to repair routine potholes and replace street panels throughout the city.

Kumar said the cost of xing pave- ment when it is in fair condition is much lower than fully reconstructing the street once its condition has deteriorated further. “Anything that you can do to extend the life of the pavement is money well spent,” Kumar said. Fugro recommended the city spend $3 million annually on the PMMP but recognized that this might not be possible. Kumar is proposing the city increase its PMMP budget to $1.5 million. The consultants also suggested the city spend $10 million—up from about $5 million currently—on the Capital Improvement Program. A city’s CIP is a ve-year plan that includes transportation, drainage, facilities and utility projects that cost more than $50,000, according to a city presentation. Kumar said city sta is assessing the ability to call a future bond for CIP projects, but that would be separate from the PMMP funding. Currently there is approximately $461 million of road maintenance and reconstruction projects needed in the city, with the bulk of money needed for reconstruction. “Not any city or municipality has this kind of funding, but this just gives us an assessment of what the need is,” Kumar said. Based on Fugro’s modeling, if the city spends $1.5 million on PMMP and $10 million in CIP, then the pavement condition will hit 40 in 10 years. Additionally, the city would need to spend $1.5 million in PMMP and $30

million in CIP to maintain the current pavement condition. Missouri City is developing its budget for scal year 2020-21. So far, the public works department is recommending $1.5 million for the PMMP and a total transportation CIP of $6 million, according to a June 15 budget presentation.

TURTLE CREEK DR.

Texas Parkway and Cartwright Road median enhancements The rst phase of Missouri City’s corri- dor beautication project, which focus- es on enhancing median landscaping on Texas Parkway and Cartwright Road, experienced a delay in early July when the city was notied Texas Department of Transportation contractors may have been infected with COVID-19. According to the city, all employees of the contractor were tested for the virus before being cleared to return to work. Still, the project is 75% complete and on track to be nished in late July or early August. Timeline: February-August Cost: $1 million Funding source: TxDOT

Pavement condition index: Missouri City contractor Fugro USA Land Inc. used the pavement condition index to rate the quality of city roads.

Not in need of any work

Good: 85-100

In need of some repairs or rehabilitation

Satisfactory: 70-85 Fair: 55-70 Poor: 40-55

LEXINGTON BLVD.

In need of total reconstruction Very poor: 25-40 Serious: 10-25 Failed: 0-10

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ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF JULY 13. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT SLMNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM. Lexington Boulevard and Hwy. 59. Timeline: February 2019-March 2021 Cost: $12.1 million Funding sources: TxDOT, city of Sugar Land, Fort Bend County Hwy. 6 road widening Work on the project to expand Hwy. 6 in Sugar Land from six to eight lanes between Lexington Boulevard and Brooks Street is approximately 40% complete, according to TxDOT Public Information Ocer Deidrea George. In the next month, TxDOT expects a new lane to open for motorists between

Average PCI score by council district

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Average score for all city streets:

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55

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2013 2019 76 55

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SOURCES: FUGRO USA LAND INC., MISSOURI CITY PUBLIC WORKSCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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SUGAR LAND  MISSOURI CITY EDITION • AUGUST 2020

GOVERNMENT Odis Jones namedMissouri City’s next citymanager

THE CITY MANAGER SEARCH PROCESS ODI S JONES

WHAT DOES A CITYMANAGER DO? • Executes city laws and administers city government • Serves as CEO of the city • Appoints and removes all department heads and all other employees in the administrative service of the city • Keeps council advised on nancial conditions May 12-15: Council conducts interviews with the top ve candidates. June 24: Council decides to interview the top two city manager nalists. July 6-7: Council votes 4-2 to hire Odis Jones just after midnight July 7. Council Member Anthony Maroulis abstained. April 6: Council directs city sta to post city manager position and begins receiving applications. March 2: Council appoints Bill Atkinson as interim city manager. Feb. 24: At a special called meeting, council votes 4-3 to re former City Manager Anthony Snipes.

BY CLAIRE SHOOP

and thankful to the Mayor and Council for oering me the opportunity to serve in Missouri City.” When reached for comment, Odis said he did not have anything further to say than what was in his statement. Missouri City needed a new city manager after a majority of council red Anthony Snipes from the role in February. Ford, along with Mayor Pro Tem Chris Preston and Council Members Cheryl Sterling and Vashaundra Edwards, voted in favor of hiring Jones. Council Members Jerey Boney and Floyd Emery voted against the motion. Council Member Anthony Maroulis abstained from the vote, an action he said he took to show his opposition to both the candidate and the search process. “My action to walk away from the dais was to showmy strong opposi- tion,” Maroulis said. “A vote ‘no’ for a candidate was simply not enough for me.” Council chose to largely conduct

the search for a new city manager in house, using the services of executive search rm Baker Tilly only to perform background and reference checks for the top candidates. “We had a plethora of well-qualied candidates, and we actually, in my opinion, saved the city a lot of money by taking the time to interview them and go through their applications, weeding those out who don’t qualify,” Edwards said before the July 7 vote. Yet Boney, Emery and Maroulis have spoken out against the entirety of the city manager selection process, expressing a desire for a broader solic- itation and the inclusion of Missouri City residents and city sta. “I believed from the onset this was not the way to select and choose the person that was going to be running the day-to-day operations in our city as the CEO,” Boney said. “I felt like there had to be more checks and balances ... so that we can make sure that we’ve made the best decision for the taxpayers of Missouri City.”

Odis Jones became Missouri City’s eighth city manager July 20. A divided Missouri City City Council voted to appoint Jones as the city’s next city manager in a 4-2 vote just after midnight July 7. “He is an excellent t for the CEO position and we are looking forward to his leadership, vision and demon- strated ability to obtain outstanding results while enhancing our organiza- tional capacity and continuing to grow our local economy,” Mayor Yolanda Ford said in a July 20 release. Jones previously served as the city manager of Hutto in the Austin area. He agreed to a $412,000 severance package with the city of Hutto in November and later requested to end his consulting agreement for a mixed- use development in the city. “After serving as a change agent in Hutto, I was looking for a community that has a better appreciation for diver- sity and economic growth,” Jones said in the statement. “I am truly humbled

• Prepares and submits to council a complete report on nances and administrative activities SOURCE: CITY OF MISSOURI CITYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

INSIDE INFORMATION

COMPILED BY CLAIRE SHOOP

Percentage of cases per race in Fort Bend County

Fort Bend County COVID19 summer surge

Average new cases per day Rolling-seven day new case averages account for daily uctuations that appear in the data, such as inconsistent reporting on weekends. “During May and June, as our community returned to pre-pandemic activities and made close contact with co-workers, family and friends, the virus had more opportunity to spread from person to person." Dr. Jacquelyn Minter, director of FBCHHS

An average of over 174 new conrmed cases per day in Fort Bend County from July 12-18

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, systematic health and social inequities as well as higher rates of pre-existing conditions can cause Black and Hispanic populations to be at a higher risk.

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Percentage of Fort Bend County population Percentage of conrmed COVID-19 cases

White 32.3% 27%

In mid-June and into July, Fort Bend County Health and Human Services began reporting an increasing number of coronavirus cases. Community Impact Newspaper, with the help of Dr. Jacquelyn Minter, the director of FBCHHS and the local health authority, took a deep dive into the county’s coronavirus data. All data is up to date as of press time July 27.

Black 20.4% 29%

100

Asian 20.6% 15%

DOES NOT INCLUDE PEOPLE WHO IDENTIFY AS OTHER RACES OR 2+ RACES

An average of 1 new conrmed case per day in Fort Bend County from March 4-11

Hispanic 24.7% 26%

50

Phase 1 reopening

90

Age: Cases vs. deaths in Fort Bend County While older people and those with other health conditions are more likely to have severe or deadly cases, Minter said Fort Bend County is seeing an increase in cases among younger people.

Phase 2 reopening

23 deaths in long- term care facilities as of July 14 total Fort Bend County COVID-19 deaths

0

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

JULY

Patients in Fort Bend County intensive care units Since mid-June the number of coronavirus patients in Fort Bend County ICUs has risen, reaching a high of 73 on both July 16 and July 19.

Hospitalizations are on the rise In mid-June, Fort Bend County hospitals began experiencing an uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Age

Conrmed cases

Deaths

COVID19 PATIENTS IN GENERAL BEDS TOTAL HOSPITALIZED 1,000

8% of cases

40-49 50-59 60-69 70+ 0-17 18-29 30-39

0%of deaths

July 15: 52.9% of ICU beds in use by coronavirus patients COVID-19 ICU PATIENTS

July 15: 97.5% of total ICU beds in use TOTAL ICU PATIENTS

19% of cases

0%of deaths

17% of cases

0%of deaths

18% of cases

2.22%of deaths

125

750

ICU CAPACITY: 122

17% of cases

10%of deaths

100

12% of cases

14.44%of deaths

500

75

9% of cases

73.33%of deaths

July 26: 27% of county's total hospitalizations

50

“The increased numbers [among younger age groups] continue to reect their increased contact with others as they returned to work and recreation activities at pre-pandemic levels.” Dr. Jacquelyn Minter, director of FBCHHS

250

25

0

0

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

JULY

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

JULY

SOURCE: FORT BEND COUNTY HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICESCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

“I want to be that mom that makes those types of cakes for my kids because we’re an immigrant family, and I didn’t have that kind of experience withmymomand dad growing up because they worked so hard when they came here.” Christine Nguyen, The Sweet Boutique owner

BUSINESS FEATURE

What is amochi doughnut?

Baked not fried Made with rice our Gluten free Similar taste and texture as a traditional doughnut

The Sweet Boutique specializes in custom cakes for

events such as weddings and

Nguyen made mochi doughnuts on the Food Network’s “Spring Baking Championship,” which aired this spring. The doughnuts’ popularity has since saved The Sweet Boutique during the coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy Houston’s Got Spice)

birthdays. (Courtesy The Sweet Boutique)

After an eight-year teaching career, Christine Nguyen opened The Sweet Boutique in Sugar Land Town Square in 2011. (Courtesy Composure Studios)

The Sweet Boutique has remained open oering curbside pickup during the pandemic.

The Sweet Boutique Mochi doughnuts save local bakery during coronavirus pandemic A fter an eight-year teaching career, Christine Nguyen started her own bakery

BY BETH MARSHALL

(Courtesy The Sweet Boutique)

“My goal was just to not get sent home the rst day,” Nguyen said. “It was scary, but it was the most wonderful experience I’ve ever had.” The show aired shortly after the coronavirus pandemic began in the U.S., Nguyen said. “I was hoping that this [show] was going to help my bakery,” she said. “When the pandemic started I thought I was going to close shop.” However, Nguyen’s mochi doughnuts ended up saving The Sweet Boutique. Mochi doughnuts are similar to regular doughnuts, but they are baked instead of fried and made with rice our, making them gluten free, she said. “If mochi doughnuts didn’t happen for us, we would have been closed a long time ago,” Nguyen said. Nguyen made mochi doughnuts on the second week of the “Spring

Baking Challenge” and decided to make some for fun for customers during the pandemic, she said. On the rst day, she made 200 and sold out in 15 minutes. The second round, she made 500 and sold out in one hour and 15 minutes. Nguyen said The Sweet Boutique’s mochi doughnuts were attracting people from as far as The Woodlands and Galveston, and she began host- ing “roundups” at dierent locations in the Greater Houston area to reach more customers. The bakery has remained open for curbside pickup during the coro- navirus pandemic, and up to three customers are now allowed inside at a time, she said. “It’s beginning to feel a little bit normal, but not really,” she said. “We’re just trying to take things one day at a time.”

The Art and Science of Dentistry Dr. Varghese John the cast for the network’s “Spring Baking Championship” last summer. Nguyen made it into the top ve out of 11 competitors. business—The Sweet Boutique—in Sugar Land Town Square in 2011. A dening moment for Nguyen was when she was on maternity leave watching “Ace of Cakes” on the Food Network. “I was just watching it in awe,” Nguyen said. “I want to be that mom that makes those types of cakes for my kids because we’re an immigrant family, and I didn’t have that kind of experience with my mom and dad growing up because they worked so hard when they came here.” Nguyen’s love of the Food Network ended up landing her a spot in

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

“It is a lot less about baseball and more about community. So, how do we gure out how to do that safely? That’s what our mission has been: to provide entertainment for our fans and to provide a place for our players to play.” Chris Hill, Sugar Land Skeeters president

PEOPLE

Chris Hill said Constellation Field will have social distancing measures, temperature checks and increased sanitation eorts in place as the Constellation Energy League is underway this summer. (Photos courtesy Sugar Land Skeeters)

Chris Hill, Sugar Land Skeeters president Team re-engages with community, kicks o summer league

Four teams will play in the Constellation Energy League hosted at Constellation Field: • Sugar Land Skeeters • Team Texas • Sugar Land Lightning Sloths • Eastern Reyes del Tigre Constellation Energy League

S ugar Land Skeeters presi- dent Chris Hill said when the coronavirus pandemic began aecting the Sugar Land and Missouri City area, the organization looked for ways to stay engaged with the community. The team upped its social media presence, a move Hill said was aimed at providing fans entertain- ment, and starting July 10 began the Constellation Energy League, a group of four teams that will play 56 games in July and August at Constellation Field. “[Our fans] miss coming out to the ballpark,” Hill said. “It is a lot less about baseball and more about community. So, how do we do that safely? That’s what our mission has been: to provide entertainment for our fans and provide a place for our players to play.” Hill said the idea for the Constel- lation Energy League was borne out of discussions with former MLB BY CLAIRE SHOOP

player Roger Clemens, who along with his son Koby will manage one of the four league teams. Then when major league baseball released about 1,000 players from their existing contracts, Hill said it opened the door for the league. “As soon as that happened and Roger reiterated his interest in putting something like this together with us, we said, ‘Let’s gure it out,’” Hill said. Hill said after they decided they would be able to entertain baseball fans with a season, the organiza- tion’s focus shifted to how they could do so safely. With the help of medical profes- sionals, Hill said the organization has developed safety protocols, which include seating groups of attendees only on the aisle of each section to allow for social distanc- ing, temperature checks upon arrival at the park and increased sanitation eorts. Hill also said fans are required to wear a mask anytime

they cannot practice social dis- tancing, like when walking on the concourse, in line for concessions or in the restrooms. In addition to wanting to enter- tain fans, Hill said returning to baseball is important for the players, who need to play often to stay at the top of their game. More than 96 players, including those who have played at the professional and Triple-A levels, will be a part of the Constellation Energy League. “If you’re an established base- ball player and you go an entire year without playing competitive baseball, it can be very detrimental to your career,” Hill said. Prior to taking the eld for the rst time, players were required to take two coronavirus tests that came back with negative results and complete a physical. Hill said he is excited for fans and players to return for the league. “Just to enjoy a game would be a blessing,” Hill said.

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Last game: Aug. 30 56 games

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SUGAR LAND  MISSOURI CITY EDITION • AUGUST 2020

State support

FORT BEND ISD

In June, the Texas Education Agency announced plans to distribute personal protective equipment to districts across the state. SOURCE: TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

CONTINUED FROM 1

6 changes to the 202021 school year Fort Bend ISD will begin the school year online, with most students learning remotely and teachers having the option to work from home. Then, with guidance from local health experts, the district plans to phase students back for in-person instruction. However, classrooms will look dierent to keep students and sta safe. SOURCE: FORT BEND ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER Results from a survey of about 29,500 students, teachers and parents in early June show by and large, the FBISD community supports a number of health and safety protocols. Survey says

decision to begin the school year online, she recognizes in-person learn- ing is important. “Everybody agrees it’s best for kids to be in the classroom. You have to have that social-emotional support, interaction with the teacher, interac- tion with the kids,” Macal said. “But you can’t do that at the risk of losing your life. Right now, the way the num- bers are—and they’re continuing to go up—it’s not safe.” Prepping for back to school While the rst day of school inFBISD was originally scheduled for Aug. 12, the board of trustees moved the start date to Aug. 17 to give teachers more time to prepare for online learning. The majority of FBISD students will begin the year online, with the excep- tion of select students with special needs or those enrolled in hands-on career and technical classes, Dupre said in a town hall event July 15. The district is working with a team of local health professionals, includ- ing Dr. Jacquelyn Minter, the director of Fort Bend County Health & Human Services, to develop health and safety protocols and plan for returning to campus. During a July 20 board of trust- ees meeting, members of this team advised beginning the school year online is the best option because of the number of active coronavirus cases in the community. Furthermore, on July 14, Fort Bend County elevated its COVID-19 threat level to “high risk.” Under this level, schools and after- school youth programs are recom- mended to close. “The local health authority does have the ability to work with the schools and look at what is going on in the community and get advice about how disease spread would be aected if schools were open,” Minter said.

1

Daily health checks andwellnessmonitors

• Sta will complete an online health screening before reporting to work. • There will be a contactless temperature check when entering the building.

• FBISD will hire wellness monitors for each campus and district building to support the implementation of all health and safety measures. • The district will hire for these positions and encourages current district support sta who may otherwise not be working to apply.

FBISD is expected to receive 574 thermometers and 293,012 singular gloves from the TEA.

2 Face coverings

• Required of all visitors, sta and students • Worn at all times when in public areas and classrooms • District will provide face coverings, but individuals are encouraged to bring their own for comfort • Some exceptions for medical conditions

FBISD is expected to receive 697,664 disposable masks from the TEA.

88% of those surveyed support temperature checks

74% support use of face masks 16% oppose

SOURCE: FORT BEND ISD COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

6% oppose

6% not sure

10% not sure

“Right now, we in Fort Bend County, as in the Houston region, are experienc- ing quite a bit of disease transmission. As a matter of fact, it is uncontrolled.” While classes are taking place online, Dupre announced there will be no cocurricular or extracurricular activities. During this time, the district will provide devices and internet con- nectivity accommodations to students in need, Dupre said. As of press time July 27, the district has said instruction will remain online for at least four weeks. Dupre said the decision to slowly bring students back into the schools will be made based on guidance from local health ocials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When the time comes, par- entswill be given the optionof whether to send their children to in-person

education or continue online learning. While the Texas Education Agency initiallymandated school districts oer some form of on-campus instruction, the agency announced July 17 that dis- tricts have the option to host the rst four weeks online and can request an additional four weeks if needed. FBISD initially said teachers would be required to deliver instruction from the school but reversed this decision after hearing concerns from sta. Prior to students returning to school buildings, FBISD teachers will learn and practice new health protocols. However, Dupre said teachers will not be solely responsible for imple- menting the new measures. Instead, the district will hirewellnessmonitors, who will be stationed at each campus and building to perform temperature

checks and enforce social distancing, among other roles. Dupre said the district will have daily temperature checks, frequent hand-washing, mandatory face cov- erings, social distancing, limited class sizes and enhanced cleaning eorts. Still, the district’s decision to begin school online has been met with some pushback from parents, including Jignesh Shah and Priti Savla, who said they wish the district had given them an option to send their ninth grader and rst grader back for in-person instruction. Shah and Savla said they believe the educational and social benets out- weigh the risk posed by the coronavi- rus to their family. “We are not too thrilled about the whole online learning thing,” Savla

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