Sugar Land - Missouri City Edition - May 2020

SUGAR LAND MISSOURI CITY EDITION

VOLUME 7, ISSUE 9  MAY 4MAY 31, 2020

ONLINE AT

Finishing school during COVID19

EDUCATION

INSIDE

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SUPPORT LOCAL JOURNALISM

FORT BEND ISDNUMBERS TOKNOW:

BY CLAIRE SHOOP

“She’s missing all those lasts,” Tassin said. “[Not] hav- ing those last banquets for choir and theater, saying goodbye to her friends and celebrating all they’ve accomplished— those are probably her bigger disappointments.” FortBend ISDcanceled in-per- son classes and school activities for the remainder of year April 14, three days before Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced all public and private schools will

Fort Bend ISD trustee Kristin Tassin said for her daughter, Sarah Tassin, missing the last events of her senior year is the hardest part about nishing high school remotely. Sarah, who is the choir pres- ident and a member of the the- atre department at Ridge Point High School, will not be able to participate in many of her nal shows and performances, Tas- sin said.

seniors in the district 5,900

MAY 28

Please join your friends and neighbors in support of Community Impact Newspaper ’s legacy of local, reliable reporting by making a contribution. Any amount matters. Together, we can continue to ensure our citizens stay informed and keep our local businesses thriving. Become a #CommunityPatron

last day of school

JULY 1921

rescheduled graduation dates

SOURCE: FORT BEND ISD COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

‘Collateral consequence’: Family violence

COMMUNITYIMPACT.COMPATRON

PUBLIC SAFETY

INSIDE

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DOMESTICVIOLENCE INFORTBENDCOUNTY 2019 2020

CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

BY CLAIRE SHOOP

As Fort BendCounty residents remainunder shelter-in-place orders caused by the coronavirus pandemic, some worry about the eects of staying at home when home is not safe. Data from the county district attorney’s oce suggests an increase in the number of domestic violence cases in the county, andRuthanne Meord, the CEO of Child Advocates of Fort Bend, said because teach- ers are the No. 1 reporters of child abuse, her organization expects an inux of cases once children return to school after this extended break. “Every indication is that the number of reports of child abuse will surge when children return to school and social distancing orders are relaxed,” Meord said in an email. The Fort Bend County district attorney’s oce saw 252 cases of

+50%

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All content in this print publication, both editorial and advertisements, was up to date as of press deadline. Due to the fast-changing nature of this event, editorial and advertising information may have changed. Please visit communityimpact.com and advertiser websites for more information. Thanks for your support.

AS OF APRIL 17

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SOURCE: FORT BEND COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Local businesses navigate SBA loans

ECONOMY

INSIDE

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The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act provided $349 billion to a newly established Payroll Protection Program. PAYROLL PROTECTION PROGRAM IN TEXAS

BY CLAIRE SHOOP

“It’s been challenging, but in the grand scheme of things, considering how a lot of places have shut down, I think we’re okay,” Ouano said. “I’m sure there’s going to be a light at the end of the tunnel for everyone at the end of this.” The PPP was established by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act—which was signed into law by President Donald Trump at the end of March.

Mike Ouano, founder and owner of Bean Here Coee in Missouri City, said he has seen a decline in business due to the coronavirus ranging from 30% on a good day to 60% on a bad day. The coee shop remains open for counter service, pickup and delivery as of late April. Ouano said although he applied for the federal Paycheck Protection Program, he is still waiting for conrmation.

IMPACTS

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Texas businesses received $29 billion of that, or approximately 8.3%. 134,737 Texas businesses received PPP loans, more than any state in the nation.

$349B TOTAL

SOURCE: SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

TRANSPORTATION

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FORT BEND ISD’S 2020 ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARYTEACHERS OFTHEYEAR Fort Bend ISD applauds its outstanding 2020 District Teachers of the Year. Kelly Stavinoha from Madden Elementary and Janet Menzie from Clements High School represent excellence in education. Both deserve this honor because of their dedication to ensuring all students reach their full potential. FBISD would like to recognize ALL of its teachers who are going above and beyond supporting our nearly 79,000 students during the COVID-19 pandemic. To all of them, we say thank you!

We express our sincere gratitude for your continued support and partnership. Though we are not together in our traditional setting, we remain united in our mission – to inspire and equip all students for futures beyond what they can imagine . To the entire FBISDCommunity,

fortbendisd.com

Stay up to date on social

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COVID-19 Get ongoing advice and answers from the experts. texaschildrenscoronavirus.org

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SUGAR LAND - MISSOURI CITY EDITION • MAY 2020

Virtual and in-person DOCTOR APPOINTMENTS We’re still here for you

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS

OUR PLEDGE TOOUR READERS

PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett PUBLISHERHOUSTON METRO Jason Culpepper ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Kristina Shackelford GENERAL MANAGER Amy Martinez amymartinez@communityimpact.com EDITORIAL EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Lanane MANAGING EDITOR Marie Leonard EDITOR Beth Marshall

FROMBETH: This month’s issue takes a closer look at the many ways the coronavirus pandemic is aecting our local communities. While small businesses in Sugar Land and Missouri City navigating Small Business Association loans, Fort Bend ISD students and sta are bracing for a nontraditional end to the school year. And for seniors, this is a nontraditional way to end their secondary education career.

IMPACTS

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COVID-19 has touched almost every aspect of life in the last several weeks. As journalists, we want you to know we have your best interest in mind with the hyperlocal coverage we are bringing to you day in and day out as this historic pandemic event unfolds. At Community Impact Newspaper , we are committed to delivering unbiased, informative news updates to our readers, not only during crises, but all the time. Whether you are a new reader of Community Impact Newspaper’s Sugar Land-Missouri City edition or have been a loyal reader since we rst launched, we hope the integrity of our journalism makes you trust our people and our product. We are all striving to atten the curve by working from home to the extent we can. Although journalists might not be the rst people who come to mind as front-line workers during a global pandemic, we are working from our little self-isolated corners of the world to keep you and your families safe and informed. We are all anxious for things to return to normal and cannot wait to patronize our favorite local restaurants, bars and retail stores. Until then, stay safe and be well. BETHMARSHALL, EDITOR

Now Open, Coming Soon &more

REPORTER Claire Shoop COPY CHIEF Andy Comer COPY EDITORS Ben Dickerson, Kasey Salisbury STAFFWRITER Jen Para ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Brian Luque DESIGN CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Tessa Hoee GRAPHIC DESIGNER Chase Brooks SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Anya Gallant STAFF DESIGNERS Stephanie Torres, Caitlin Whittington BUSINESS GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Claire Love ABOUT US John and Jennifer Garrett began Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 in Pugerville, Texas. The company’s mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. CONTACT US

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES 9 Upcoming and ongoing projects

COUNTY& SCHOOLS

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The latest local news GOVERNMENT

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SUGAR LAND  MISSOURI CITY EDITION • MAY 2020

IMPACTS

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

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STAFFORD CENTRE DR.

Marble Slab Creamery

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CHANGES IN SERVICES 3 Hot Yoga Sugar Land has been forced to temporarily close due to stay-home orders in place in response to the corona- virus. While the studio is hosting online classes, owner Alanna Partin has set up a GoFundMe page seeking help to make rent as any flexibility in the studio’s lease agreement has been denied. Hot Yoga Sug- ar Land welcomes everyone, from those with no experience to the most skilled yogis. “We can’t stay open without you,” Partin wrote on her GoFundMe page. 346-291-3010. www.bikramyogasugarland.com IN THE NEWS 4 Fort Bend County Precinct 4 Commis- sioner Ken DeMerchant has coordinated “ The Food Chain Project ” as a community initiative to support and invest in local restaurants, show appreciation to health care workers and provide donations to local food banks, according to an April 22 release. The project is being kicked off in partnership with Aliana subdivision, Center Court Pizza and Brew-Aliana and Memorial Hermann Hospital. The idea behind the project is for residents to purchase a meal from a participating restaurant, and donate a meal to a health care worker. Participat- ing restaurants will then donate a percent- age of the proceeds to local nonprofits that help senior citizens and families with food insecurities. DeMerchant is looking to expand the project to other Fort Bend County Precinct 4 subdivisions and restau- rants. For the latest updates on The Food Chain Project, call 713-234-7120. www.facebook.com/kenrdemerchant

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

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NOWOPEN 1 Great American Cookies and Marble Slab Creamery opened April 5 at 10173 Grand Parkway S., Ste. 101, Richmond, inside the Aliana Marketplace commercial shopping center, according to store man- ager Karina Magalong. Although closed to in-person dining during the coronavirus pandemic, the dual store is offering sweet treats for takeout. Magalong added the location is among the first Great Amer-

ican Cookies and Marble Slab Creamery locations built with a modern design that includes digital menu boards and an upgraded oven. The business serves 31 flavors of ice cream, one sorbet flavor, unlimited mix-ins, cookies, cookie cakes and ice cream cakes. 281-637-0088. www.alianaconfections.com COMING SOON 2 iCode , a computer coding school, is

planning to open a location at 4899 Hwy. 6, Ste. 113C, Missouri City, in early June. The national franchise provides coding education through after-school programs, online classes and camps for students in grades K-12. Becky Wang, one of the partners at the new location, said because of the coronavirus, the location has not set a firm opening date, but the hope is to be open in time for summer camps. 281-584-6618. www.icodeschool.com/sugarland117

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY BETH MARSHALL & CLAIRE SHOOP

FEATURED IMPACTS

281-238-7870. www.oakbendmedcenter.org/covid-19/ Next Level Urgent Care has drive-th- ru coronavirus testing available at locations throughout the Houston area. Individuals seeking to be tested must be symptomatic and be recommended by a Next Level Urgent Care health care provider. To be prescreened for testing, people can schedule a virtual visit online. 7A Sugar Land location: 16902 Hwy. 59, Ste 108. 281-783-8162. 7B Missouri City location: 8720 Hwy. 6, Ste. 400. 281-783-8162. www.nextlevelur- gentcare.com/coronavirus-updates Fort Bend County, in conjunction with AccessHealth , opened two free, drive-thru testing facilities as of press time. In order to be tested at these loca- tions, Fort Bend County residents must call ahead to receive an identification code and to schedule a date and time to be tested. At this time, they will be provided with information on the test- ing centers' locations. On April 14, the county relaxed testing requirements, opening testing up to residents without symptoms. Both sites can perform 200 tests a day. 281-238-2363. www.fbchealth.org/testing-for-covid-19/

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Hot Yoga Sugar Land

PHOTO BY CHRISTINE HALL

CORONAVIRUS TESTING 5 UT Physicians Multispecialty—Sien- na is offering drive-thru testing for the coronavirus at 8810 Hwy. 6, Ste. 100, Missouri City. Testing at this facility is free through insurance, but some out- of-pocket charges still may apply. To be tested at this location, individuals need to have an order from their health care provider and call ahead to schedule an appointment. 713-486-2619. www.UTPhysicians.com/COVID19Testing 6 OakBend Medical Center is offering drive-thru coronavirus tests at 4911 Sand- hill Drive, Sugar Land. Prior to receiving a test, patients must complete a telehealth visit where a doctor will prescreen for symptoms and high-risk factors. Tests will be billed through a patient’s insur- ance with a $40 deductible or cost $100 for people without insurance.

COURTESY RAC MATERIALS

During the coronavirus outbreak, Forward Science—a medical technology company in Stafford—has shifted its production to hand sanitizer. According to a press release, the company is using its Food and Drug Administration-regulated facility to create hand sanitizer for local health care professionals and patients. “When we heard that there was a shortage of hand sanitizer across the nation, we knew we needed to step up Forward Science

and help,” Forward Science President Brian Pikkula said in the release. “Not just Texans, but the world counts on our city to provide elite medical care. We quickly paused manufacturing on our typical products and focused heavily on meeting this need.” 10401 Greenbough Drive, Ste. 100, Stafford 855-696-7254 www.forwardscience.com

THIS INFORMATION IS ACCURATE AS OF APRIL 27. FOLLOW COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM FOR THE LATEST BUSINESS AND RESTAURANT NEWS UPDATES.

GrooveMusic School

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Due to the coronavirus outbreak and Fort Bend County’s Stay Home to Save Lives order, Groove Music School in Sugar Land has transitioned to virtual video lessons. Music teachers at the school have opened their schedules to be available for online lessons to teach students at home. Owner Gonzalo Arjona said virtual rates for Groove Music School are $120 per month for 30-minute sessions once per

week. Groove Music School offers lessons in various instruments, including guitar, bass, piano, voice, banjo, ukulele, drums, violin, mandolin, harmonica, saxophone, trumpet, timpani, marimba and vibraphone.

5022 Hwy. 90A, Ste. G, Sugar Land 281-242-1177 www.groovemusicschool.com

DYLAN SHERMAN/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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SUGAR LAND - MISSOURI CITY EDITION • MAY 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES

COMPILED BY CLAIRE SHOOP

UPCOMING PROJECT

ONGOING PROJECT

Sweetwater Bridge in need of repair work Sugar Land is preparing to perform mainte- nance on the Sweetwater Boulevard bridge that crosses over Alcorn Bayou. The city will put out a bid for the $150,000 project in May and award the contract in June, according to Doug Adolph, Sugar Land’s media relations specialist. In 2018, Adolph said the city of Sugar Land was notied by the Texas Department of Transportation that the Sweetwater bridge has structural issues, causing the bridge rating to be lowered and the weight limit downgraded until repairs were made. “The condition rating is a comprehensive rating of the bridge, and includes a rating for various bridge structures such as the bridge deck, channel, culverts, and bridge approaches,” Adolph said in an email. “The inspection looks for cracking, joints spacing, joint sealing, wingwall condition, spalling, slumping, exposed metal, materi- al loss, and many other factors.” Adolph said Sugar Land is responsible for maintaining 117 bridges in the city. Bridges in need of repair are identied by city sta who perform routine inspections and inspections conducted by the Texas

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ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF APRIL 16. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT SLMNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM. The estimated completion date is March 2021 due to utility conicts that delayed the project. Timeline: February 2019-March 2021 Cost: $12.1 million Funding sources: city of Sugar Land, TxDOT, Fort Bend County Hwy. 6 road widening The coronavirus reduced trac on Hwy. 6 in Sugar Land, allowing crews to work during the day to widen it from six to eight lanes from Lexington Boulevard to Brooks Street. Crews paved the new north and southbound lanes from Town Center Boulevard to Lexington Boulevard and are installing trac signals.

The Sweetwater Boulevard bridge over Alcorn Bayou in Sugar Land needs repair work. (Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)

Department of Transportation, which is required by the federal government to inspect every bridge throughout the state every two years. Adolph said once construction begins it is expected to last 60 days. During this time, the city will implement a trac control plan so the bridge remains open. While the city of Sugar Land will cover the upfront cost of construction, 80% of the project is eligible to be reimbursed through the Federal Highway Administra- tion Emergency Relief Program.

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SUGAR LAND  MISSOURI CITY EDITION • MAY 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COUNTY& SCHOOLS

News from Fort Bend ISD and Fort Bend County

From Our Seniors to Yours...

Sugar Land City Council 2700 Town Center Blvd. N., Sugar Land May 5, 19, 26, 5:30 p.m. Missouri City City Council 1522 Texas Parkway, Missouri City May 4, 18, 7 p.m. Fort Bend County Commissioners Court 401 Jackson St., Richmond May 5, 12, 26, 1 p.m. Fort Bend ISD board of trustees 16431 Lexington Blvd., Sugar Land May 4, 11, 6 p.m. MEETINGSWE COVER

FBISDpoised for budget surplus

BY CLAIRE SHOOP

29% operating reserve. “I’m glad that we’re good for our budget this year, the 2019-20 budget, that shows that although we have built our budget around serving the needs of our students first, we still have run a tight financial ship and are ending up in the black,” trustee JimRice said. While Guinn said there have been additional expenses associated with the coronavirus, they may be offset by savings such as on travel and training, office supplies and utilities. He also said sufficient reserves in the district’s accounts will help cover these costs. The board will consider property tax rates for the 2020-21 school year in May.

Fort Bend ISD has spent $1.6 million in response to the coronavirus pan- demic, according to a presentation by Chief Financial Officer Bryan Guinn at the April 13 board of trustees meeting. However, Guinn said new budget projections estimate the district will end the year with a $1.42 million surplus. Overall, Guinn said district revenue totals are expected to be about $8 million higher than pro- jected, and expenditures will be $2.4 million less than originally budgeted. Based on these preliminary esti- mates, Guinn said the district will have an ending fund balance of about $239.5 million, which amounts to a

$1.6M spent on the coronavirus $1.42M estimated budget surplus $239.5M estimated fund balance at end of 2019-20 school year SOURCE: FORT BEND ISD/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Congratula tions, Graduates!

Fort Bend ISDapproves online grading policy

Fort BendOKswaiving public transit fares

BY CLAIRE SHOOP

over the summer or next fall. “This method of grade reporting will ensure that Fort Bend ISD reports on the academic perfor- mance of students in a way that supports their progress, and assists with identifying learning needs over time,” Causey said. The final grade for elementary and middle school courses will be determined by averaging the first three nine weeks, or T1, T2 and T3, Causey said. For high schoolers, T3 grades will serve as the entire second semester grade. The weighted average for a course will be an average of T1-T3. Students will not take a final exam. Causey said for seniors graduating in 2020, these changes will not affect their high school GPA, as end-of- the-year GPA and class rank are always determined at the end of T3. For students in grades nine to 11, T3 will serve as their second-semester average for the purposes of calculat- ing GPA. Several board members, including trustee Kristin Tassin, expressed their gratitude to district staff for developing this plan. “Thanks to you guys and your entire team for brainstorming ways to get through this grading policy and make sure that we have equity for all of our students,” Tassin said.

In light of the coronavirus forcing schools to close and classes to transi- tion to an online format, the Fort Bend ISD board of trustees agreed to a new grading policy at its April 6 meeting. Under the new procedure, the fourth nine weeks or term, referred to by the board and district staff as T4, will not count toward final grade calculations, said Ashley Causey, FBISD’s director of STEM in the teaching and learning department, in a presentation to the board. Instead, student progress will be reported as to whether a student “met standards” or “did not meet standards,” Causey said. Causey said this assessment will be used to determine which students may need extra support GRADECALCULATIONS IN THE BELOW EQUATIONS, T STANDS FOR TERM Elementary/middle schools: Final grade = (T1 + T2 + T3) / 3 High school: 2nd semester grade = T3 grade Final course grade = (T1 + T2 + T3) / 3

BY JEN PARA

Fort Bend County’s Public Trans- portation Department will not collect fares until the county’s declaration of a state of disaster for public emergency is lifted. Fares range from $1-$3.50. The department provides routes from park and rides in Rosenberg and Sugar Land to the Texas Medical Center, the Galleria area and the Greenway area and back. It also offers a demand-response service for residents to prebook rides anywhere in the county. The demand-response service and bus route to TMC are operating at half capacity, said Tennille Jones, Fort Bend Transit community relations manager. “DUE TO THE COVID-19 IMPACT, WAIVING FARES HELP OUR RIDERS DURING THIS DIFFICULT TIME FINANCIALLY, BUT ALSO FROM A SAFETY PERSPECTIVE.” TENNILLE JONES, FORT BEND TRANSIT COMMUNITY RELATIONS MANAGER

13825 Lexington Blvd. Sugar Land, TX 77478 Lic. #030191

281.277.0900 ColonialOaks.com Call today to schedule a tour or lunch visit.

SOURCE: FORT BEND ISD/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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SUGAR LAND - MISSOURI CITY EDITION • MAY 2020

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Seek the Highest Level of Care. When it comes to stroke care, speed and expertise matter. At Memorial Hermann Mischer Neurosciences, our dedicated stroke network has the experience and equipment to diagnose and treat strokes quickly and accurately, to help prevent long-term effects. The Joint Commission andDet Norske Veritas (DNVGL) certify hospitals that meet certain standards for care of acute stroke, designating themas Comprehensive Stroke Centers (CSCs) and Primary Stroke Centers (PSCs). Both are advanced designations, but CSCs are themost advanced. Mischer Neuroscience Institute at Memorial Hermann-TexasMedical Center is a CSC, the first stroke program in the region tomeet such standards. In addition, nine Memorial Hermann hospitals are PSCs. Being Stroke Aware Shows You Care. Reducing your risk of stroke and knowing how to react to one are the best ways to show your loved ones you care. To learnmore about stroke, visit memorialhermann.org/stroke.

A stroke is a life-threatening emergency, and what you don’t know could hurt you or a loved one. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of adult disability. While a stroke can happen to anyone, at any time, there are ways you can reduce your risk of a stroke or minimize the effects of a A stroke is a sudden interruption of blood supply to the brain. There are two major types of stroke. The most common type, an ischemic stroke, occurs when an artery is blocked by a blood clot and may result from clogged arteries, called atherosclerosis. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in part of the brain bursts open (a brain aneurysm), causing blood to leak into the brain. Reduce Your Risk for Stroke. While not every stroke can be prevented, you can reduce your risk. Don’t smoke. Maintain a healthy body weight. Exercise stroke, should one occur. First, what is a stroke?

regularly. And eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and whole grains. Your risk of having a stroke is greater if you have certain health conditions, including atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heart rhythm), heart disease, high blood pressure (the No. 1 risk for strokes), high cholesterol or if you have a BMI (bodymass index) of 30 or higher. If this describes you, see your doctor regularly and take all prescribed medications. By managing these underlying illnesses, you can reduce your chances of stroke. Know the Warning Signs. And BE FAST. A stroke requires immediate medical attention. If someone exhibits one or more of these symptoms, call 911 right away. By knowing and sharing the warning signs of stroke, you could save a life.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a neurologist, visit memorialhermann.org/stroke or call 713.704.7100.

Advancing health. Personalizing care.

12

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

GOVERNMENT City, county officials strive for complete 2020 census count

WHY ITMATTERS

For every person counted, the federal government will allocate $1,578 to the state of Texas. Federal assistance programs that distribute funds based on decennial data include: • Medical Assistance Program • State Children's Health Insurance Program • Foster care • Special education grants Federal funds allocated based on 2010 census data

“OUR COMMUNITY BENEFITS THE MOSTWHEN THE CENSUS COUNTS EVERYONE. WHEN EVERYONE RESPONDS TO THE CENSUS, COMMUNITIES GET THEIR FAIR SHARE OF THEMORE THAN $675 BILLIONPERYEAR IN FEDERAL FUNDS SPENT ON SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS, ROADS, PUBLICWORKS ANDOTHERVITAL PROGRAMS.” KP GEORGE, FORT BEND COUNTY JUDGE

BY CLAIRE SHOOP

and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Texas received $43 billion in federal funding based on data collected in the 2010 census. Fort Bend County, Sugar Land and Missouri City have all established complete count committees to edu- cate residents about the census and mobilize residents to respond. In Missouri City, Chalisa Dixon, the city’s complete count chair, said funds will benefit programs such as the Community Development Block Grant program, an affordable housing initiative. She said funding also affects the city’s emergency services, infrastructure and schools. “If you are getting at least 80% of your population to respond, then you’re getting a good snapshot of the city,” Dixon said. Terri Wang, a member of Sugar Land’s Complete Count Committee, said census results affect funding for hospitals, schools and roads. “The purpose of the committee is to design and implement a census awareness campaign targeted to the demographically diverse communities across the city,” Wang said in an email. Although the deadline to self-re- spond was originally at the end of July, the deadline has been pushed back to Oct. 31 because of the coronavirus. Counts will be delivered to the presi- dent by April 30, 2021, and redistrict- ing data will be delivered to the states no later than July 31, 2021. Emma Freer, Ali Linan, Jen Para, Kelly Schafler and Danica Smithwick contributed to this report.

With a 1% undercount in 2010, Texas is estimated to have lost out on $3.59 billion in the last decade in federal funding, according to census data, prompting organizers in Sugar Land, Missouri City and Fort Bend County to dedicate time and resources to encourage residents to complete the 2020 census. “We are one of the fastest growing counties in the country,” Fort Bend County Judge KP George said in an email. “We need to ensure we accurately count as many residents as possible to ensure we receive the resources necessary to serve our Fort Bend County residents.” The census is a constitutionally mandated survey taken every 10 years to count people where they live as of April 1 of that year. The distributed census is confidential and anonymous, said Douglas Loveday, senior media specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau. Population counts from the census determine the number of representa- tives a state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives. With an accurate count in 2020, Texas could gain at least three seats in the House, jumping from 36 to 39. Additionally, state district lines are expected to be redrawn in 2021 using census data. The results of the census also inform how hundreds of billions of dollars of federal funding are allocated to the states for programs such as Medic- aid, the early childhood education programHead Start, block grants for community mental health services

Texas $43 billion

6.4%

With a 1% undercount in 2010, Texas is estimated to have lost out on $3.59 billion in the last 10 years in federal funding.

Allocated to all other states: $675 billion

*AS OF APRIL 25

Residents have until Oct. 31 to respond to the 2020 census.

RESPONSE RATES

64%

73%

79%

75%

41.5% online

57.4% online

65.1% online

62.1% online

48.5%

59.8%

67.3%

64.6%

Fort Bend County

Sugar Land

Missouri City

Texas

COMPLETING THE CENSUS

For the first time, residents have the ability to complete the 2020 census online or over the phone. There is still the option to mail in census responses, and census workers will follow up with unresponsive households beginning in August.

questions 10

languages available in print 59

13

languages available online and over the phone

KEYDATES

The coronavirus pandemic has touched nearly every aspect of American life, including the census. Here is an updated timeline with key census dates.

AUG. 11-OCT. 31: Census takers will interview households that have not yet completed the survey.

APRIL 30: Counts will be delivered to the president by this date.

APRIL 1: Census day: Regardless of when residents complete the census, they report where the live as of this date.

2020

2021

2022

MARCH 12-20: Households began receiving official requests to respond to the 2020 census.

JUNE 1: The U.S. Census Bureau hopes to resume field activities by this date.

JULY 31: Redistricting data will be delivered to the states no later than this date.

OCT. 31: This is the deadline to respond to the 2020 census.

SOURCE: U.S. CENSUS BUREAU/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

13

SUGAR LAND - MISSOURI CITY EDITION • MAY 2020

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HOUSTON, WE CAN

CARE FOR OUR COMMUNITY, CONTROL THE SPREAD, SAVE LIVES

Houston is strong. When confronted with adversity, we band together and overcome. And though this coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented, we face it the same way—together.

Houston Methodist would like to thank our employees, physicians, scientists and all health care workers who are committed to helping the community. Together we can make our city healthy and vibrant again.

houstonmethodist.org | #houstonwecan

14

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

INNEEDOF SUPPLIES Second Mile Mission Center is asking for donations of the following items: • Cooking oil • Canned meat • Soup • Pasta sauce • Bread • Canned vegetables • Pinto beans • Peanut butter • Rice • Pasta/dry noodles

Before the coronavirus pandemic: 60 families served daily 200 families served at Saturday produce fairs

During the coronavirus pandemic: 500-700 families served any day the organization is open*

*SECOND MILE POSTS WHETHER IT IS OPEN FOR FOOD SERVICE EACH DAY ON ITS WEBSITE.

SecondMileMission Center 1135 Hwy. 90A, Missouri City 281-261-9199 www.secondmile.org

90

NONPROFIT

Second Mile has provided food to 500700 families every day the organization is open during the coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy Sheena Abraham)

SecondMileMission Center Missouri City food pantry sees sharp increase in need due to COVID19 O n days Second Mile Mission Center is open, a line of hundreds of cars waiting BY CLAIRE SHOOP

N

a day and may serve 200 families during produce fairs on Saturdays. Now, any day the organization is open, Abraham said the pantry is serving 500-700 families. “We’re doing a high volume of services, just because of the number of families that are coming,” Abraham said. “So that means we’re going through a lot of food.” Abraham said to serve the commu- nity the best it can during this time, Second Mile reduced the number of days it is open for food service each week to ensure there is enough for the families who need help. “We know this is a marathon and not a sprint,” she said. “So, we’ve been serving about three days a week.

It really depends on the food supply. If we don’t have a steady supply of food, we can’t serve in this way.” Second Mile receives a lot of its food supplies through a partner- ship with the Houston Food Bank. However, Abraham said because the Houston Food Bank is also experienc- ing higher demand, the supply from there has been reduced. Because of this, Abraham said Second Mile is calling on community members to host food drives within their neighborhoods. “So far people are responding, and we are overjoyed,” Abraham said. In addition to an increased need for donations, Abraham said the non- prot is also in need of volunteers.

Abraham said volunteers are following social distancing guidelines and wearing masks and gloves while serving the community. Additionally, Second Mile’s food pantry is operating as a drive-thru to limit person-to-per- son interaction. During the coronavirus pandemic, Second Mile Mission Center is continuing to look for ways to fulll its mission of helping those in need in the local community, Abraham said. “We want to love our neighbors; we want to meet their physical needs; we want to equip them,” Abraham said. “We’re going to see where the need is and how we can best help. That’s not going to stop.”

to pick up food weaves along back streets near the facility located on Hwy. 90A in Missouri City, Director of Advancement Sheena Abraham said. “It is a sight to see,” Abraham said. “We have a lot of signs up telling people where to go … to make sure everything runs smoothly because people are going through tough times. We want to make it as clear and easy as possible for them to come get the food they need.” Before the coronavirus pandemic began, Abraham said the food pantry served approximately 60 families

15

SUGAR LAND  MISSOURI CITY EDITION • MAY 2020

Schools in Fort Bend ISD remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. This affects everything from day to day learning to events like proms and graduations. Some schools had not updated their marquee signs as of press time.

“I JUST WANT YOU TO UNDERSTAND THAT WE ARE KEEPING YOU—THE CLASS OF

since her older sister was a Ridge Point, she’s known about them for seven years, now she’s not going to be able to do them,” Sekula said. Tassin said Sarah, a singer/song- writer who will be attending Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, in the fall, wrote a song called “LastWalk” and dedicated it to the class of 2020. “It’s a beautiful song … so that’s really her way of getting her feelings out was to put it down in a song,” Tas- sin said. Sekula said the abrupt end to the school year may mean Kendall misses out on saying goodbye to many of her teammates who will be attending dif- ferent schools in the fall. “I think the friendship part is prob- ably gonna hit the worst, if it hasn’t already hit,” Sekula said. 2020—AT THE FOREFRONT OF OUR DECISION MAKING BECAUSE WE DO EMPATHIZE AND HAVE A TRUE HEART FOR WHERE YOU ARE AND THE CONCERNS THAT YOU HAVE RIGHT NOW. WE ARE COMMITTED TO END YOUR TIME IN FORT BEND ISD IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE.” CHARLES DUPRE, FBISD SUPERINTENDENT

PHOTOS BY CLAIRE SHOOP/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

EDUCATION

19-21 for the ceremonies, so long as public gatherings are approved by that time. “I just want you to understand that we are keeping you—the class of 2020— at the forefront of our decision mak- ing,” Dupre said. Tassin said having an in-person graduation ceremony if at all possible is important because high school grad- uation represents so much. “We pour our [hearts] and souls into ensuring that these kids have opportu- nities,” Tassin said. “High school grad- uation is sort of the manifestation of all those opportunities that are waiting for them because they achieved this milestone.” For Kristen Sekula, whose daugh- ter, Kendall goes to Ridgemont High School, rescheduling graduation to

July may mean they miss out on the ceremony entirely. Kendall, who is going to play collegiate volleyball at Concordia University in California, has to report to school before then. “Graduation—actually walking across the stage—to be truthfully honest is more for me than her,” said Sekula, who teaches middle school in FBISD. Sekula said Kendall is more upset about missing prom, the last walk seniors do through the school, thepow- derpuff football game and other senior activities. At this time, FBISD is leaving proms up to each individual campus to plan and reschedule as appropriate. “The culture and the traditions at Ridge Point, they’re going to be there for a long time, so a lot of the things that she’s been looking forward to

CONTINUED FROM 1

remain closed for the rest of the year. Tassin said although it is disappoint- ing as a parent for schools to be closed for the rest of the year, the district has to put health and safety first. “Above all else, we have to do what we think is best for our students and for teachers and staff and our families,” Tassin said. “So even before the gov- ernor made any announcements, we knew it was a step we needed to take and wanted to be transparent about it, so I think it’s the right decision.” Superintendent Charles Dupre announced in a video to seniors April 13 that graduation ceremonies will not take place inMay as originally planned. Instead, the district has booked July

16

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

HIDDEN VICTIMS OF THE CORONAVIRUS

PUBLIC SAFETY

said in a webinar with the Fort Bend County Economic Development Coun- cil on April 23 that Texas small busi- nesses have benefited more than any other state with 134,737 businesses receiving PPP loans totaling $29 billion. “Wewant you to get this funding. We want you to be able to get thismoney in your hand so you can keep your busi- nesses solvent while this disaster con- tinues,” Jeffcoat said. Elizabeth Huff, the economic devel- opment director for Sugar Land, shared results from a citywide business sur- vey during an April 23 webinar with the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce. Huff said the survey, which April 21 had 287 responses with 78% fromsmall businesses with 25 employees or fewer, found 69% of respondents had applied for some sort of emergency relief fund- ing through the SBA. “We were really trying to gauge how many people have reached out and tried to apply for that assistance,” Huff said. “We’ll be following up and seeing how many of them actually received Bridges, chief family violence prosecu- tor at the DA’s office. In an April 2 press release, the DA’s office addressed what it called the “collateral consequences” of the coro- navirus pandemic: an increase in emer- gency calls for domestic violence, more hate incidents and more concern that child abuse is being underreported. Mefford said while statewide report- ing of child abuse is down, CAFB has increased the number of forensic inter- views performed every day over the past several weeks with many emer- gency and high-priority cases while the coronavirus outbreak persists. “With the stresses that these fami- lies are under, tempers may flare, and children are oftentimes the victims of that,” Mefford said.

CONTINUED FROM 1

Child Advocates of Fort Bend helps thousands of children who are victims of assault and abuse each year.

domestic violence in March 2020, up from161 cases inMarch 2019, according to data provided by ExecutiveAssistant District Attorney Wesley Wittig. Additionally, the DA’s office—which is led byDistrict Attorney BrianMiddle- ton—reported a 25% increase in cases from February 2020 to March 2020. The numbers account for the cases submitted to the DA’s office by law enforcement, Wittig said. While all of the cases are evaluated for charges, not all of them are filed. “But the numbers speak for them- selves. We’ve had a large increase in March, and we’re on track to have a significant increase in April,” said Chad

Child Advocates of Fort Bend 6415 Reading Road, Rosenberg

More than 2,690 children served by Child Advocates of Fort Bend in 2019

More than 17,000 children served since the nonprofit opened 29 years ago

A recent $8 million remodel and expansion added nearly 10,000 additional square feet of space two the organization’s facility

281-344-5100 www.cafb.org

“WITH CHILDREN AND FAMILY MEMBERS AND CAREGIVERS IN CLOSE PHYSICAL CONTACT FOR EXTENDED PERIODS OF TIME ANDWITH THE STRESSES THAT THESE FAMILIES ARE UNDER, TEMPERS MAY FLARE AND CHILDREN ARE OFTENTIMES THE VICTIMS OF THAT.”

RUTHANNE MEFFORD, CEOOF CHILD ADVOCATES OF FORT BEND

SOURCE: CHILD ADVOCATES OF FORT BEND/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

RE-OPENING SUGAR LAND Most businesses in Sugar Land anticipate opening within a week of stay home orders being lifted, according to a survey conducted by the city’s economic development department.

BUSINESS

Local business survey

CONTINUED FROM 1

26% unsure

Of the $2.2 trillion in the CARES Act, $349 billion was allocated to the PPP, a loan for small businesses with fewer than 500 employees of up to $10 mil- lion. The loan, which is administered through the Small Business Admin- istration, is forgivable if a company continues to keep employees on the payroll for eight weeks after receiving funding. However, the PPP was in such high demand that funding ran out two weeks after loan applications began being processed. The federal govern- ment passed another law, signed by Trump on April 24, to infuse an addi- tional $310 billion into the PPP. “I know the money’s there, but I don’t know where I am in the queue,” Ouano said. “If we get it, great. If we don’t get it, that’s fine, too. I’m sure there’s other shops out there that need it much more than we do.” Houston SBA Director Tim Jeffcoat

Will you be opening?

9% not opening

65% opening

experienced a decline due to the coronavirus

that assistance.” Keri Schmidt, president and CEO of the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce, said many businesses are struggling with cash flow. “It’s survival,” Schmidt said. “[The chamber spends] our time constantly thinking about what our businesses need. We try to address it as fast as we can with experts.” Ouano said despite beingworried, he remains optimistic about the future. “There’s always going to be chal- lenges in your way, and you have two options: You either get beat up by it, or you try to overcome them,” Ouano said.

92%

have laid off or furloughed 81%-100% off staff

24%

have not laid off or furloughed any staff

39%

applied for funding through the SBA *AS OF APRIL 21

69%

SOURCE: CITY OF SUGAR LAND/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

17

SUGAR LAND - MISSOURI CITY EDITION • MAY 2020

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