Articles

Fort Bend County Libraries’ Cinco Ranch Branch Library, 2620 Commercial Center Blvd in Katy, will present a variety of free, introductory computer classes this month. The classes will consist of a hands-on introduction to basic skills for people who would like to learn more about using these computer programs. All computer classes will take place in the Computer Lab of the library.

  • MS Word 2010 Survival Basics” will take place on Tuesday, April 11, beginning at 10:00 a.m.. Learn the basics of using this word-processing software program to create letters, resumés, forms, and other types of documents.
  • MS Excel 2010 Survival Basics” will take place on Thursday, April 20, beginning at 10:00 a.m.. Learn the basics of using this spreadsheet software program, which features calculation tools that are helpful for financial and statistical needs.
  • Intro to Google Docs” will take place on Wednesday, April 26, beginning at 10:00 a.m. Learn how to set up a Google account and how to create and store documents online using the Google Docs application. If you already have a Google account, bring the related information with you.

The classes are free and open to the public. Seating is limited, however, and reservations are required. To register online at the library’s website (www.fortbend.lib.tx.us), click on “Events,” select “Cinco Ranch Branch Library,” and find the program. Participants may also register by calling the library at 281-395-1311, or by visiting the library.

 

 

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Heifers from the Continental and American divisions were named champions during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ Junior Breeding Beef Heifer Supreme Champion Drive, Sunday, March 19.

Caitlyn Skiles, 11, of Stratford, Texas, wore a huge grin after her Chianina heifer, representing the Continental Division, received Overall Supreme Champion Junior Breeding Beef Heifer.

The Stratford FFA member has shown livestock for three years. Caitlyn said livestock shows are a family affair and that her siblings have both earned champion honors in the past.

Caitlyn said the show preparation process is a lot of work, but she plans to relax and enjoy this victory with those who have helped her along the way.

“I worked so hard and it finally paid off,” Caitlyn said. “I am going to eat a really good meal and celebrate with my family.”

Karagen Dreibrodt, a fourth generation beef rancher from Bulverde, Texas, and her American Red Brangus heifer, Nora, won Overall Reserve Supreme Champion Junior Breeding Beef Heifer. Karagen is 16 years old and is a member of the Comal County 4-H Club.

Karagen said she likes everything about showing livestock, especially spending time with friends and family. Showing has also taught her many life lessons.

“It feels great to have my hard work pay off,” Karagen said. “Showing has taught me how to work hard and also how to win as well as lose.”

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a Section 501(c)(3) charity that benefits youth, supports education, and facilitates better agricultural practices through exhibitions and presentation. Since its beginning in 1932, the Show has committed more than $430 million to the youth of Texas. For more information, visit rodeohouston.com and connect with #RODEOHOUSTON online via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for all of the latest news. The 2017 Show runs through March 26.

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AUSTIN – With the April 18th income tax deadline looming, Attorney General Ken Paxton is warning Texans to be aware of a recurring tax-related scam involving unsolicited calls from people masquerading as Internal Revenue Service agents. Scam artists tell consumers that they owe back taxes and threaten to have them arrested if they don’t provide immediate payment.

If you receive an unexpected call from someone who claims to be with the IRS, follow these tips from the Consumer Protection Division of the attorney general’s office:

Ken Paxton

• Hang up! The IRS never makes unsolicited threatening phone calls.
• The IRS will never ask you to send money via wire or a prepaid credit card.
• Don’t be fooled by caller ID indicating it’s the IRS. Scammers use “spoof” phone numbers to give the appearance of being legitimate.
• Be suspicious of voice mail messages from scam artists who claim they’re with the IRS and leave a call back number with a Washington, D.C., area code. Report the phone number to the Texas attorney general’s office and the IRS.
• If you think you may owe money to the IRS, contact it directly at 800-829-1040 or at www.irs.gov.
Some scammers use letters or emails that appear official, however, legitimate communications from the IRS will come in a form letter and typically do not demand sensitive personal information. Scam communications may include typos or other mistakes that can be a warning sign. When in doubt of a letter’s authenticity, call the IRS to find out if the letter is legitimate.

While the IRS has announced partnerships with some private debt collectors, these businesses will not operate in the same manner as a scammer. Find more information about their operations here: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/private-debt-collection. Help combat fraud in Texas by reporting suspicious solicitations. Write down the date and time of the call, the organization’s name, and the name and phone number left by the solicitor. You can file a complaint online with the Consumer Protection Division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office here: https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/cpd/file-a-consumer-complaint and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration here: https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml.

Learn more about frauds and scams on our website here: https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/cpd/frauds-and-scams.

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Ken Paxton

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton today joined Louisiana, which filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in support of Alabama’s law preventing inhumane abortion methods. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that states have an interest in protecting the inherent dignity of human life, including unborn life.  Gruesome abortion practices, the 22-state coalition argues in its friend-of-the-court brief, may be regulated in the interest of fostering respect for human life and protecting the integrity of the medical profession.

At issue in the case are “dismemberment” abortions, where a fetus is killed by tearing it limb from limb while still alive, and allowing the unborn victim to bleed to death in its mother’s womb. The method of abortion, currently being performed in some clinics around the nation, compromises respect for human life and acceptable medical ethics.

“It is a solemn day when we must fight not for human life, but for the minimum respect owed to human life in an already difficult situation,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Dismemberment methods of abortion are callous, cold and demonstrate a complete lack of respect for human life. In a country where the horror of abortion has already become normalized, if this practice goes unregulated, the balance between women’s reproductive rights and the risk of devaluing human life will be scattered to the wind.”

Besides Alabama, states that have enacted laws banning dismemberment abortions are Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia.  The Texas Legislature is currently considering legislation like the statute at issue in the amicus brief, namely Senate Bill 415 and House Bill 844.

Texas joins the Louisiana-led coalition along with: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Utah.

To view a copy of the brief, click here.

 

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today announced his intention to introduce legislation next week to re-list North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, companion legislation to H.R. 479 sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe in the U.S. House of Representatives. Original Senate co-sponsors include Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Marco Rubio (R-Fl.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).

“Nearly a decade ago, the United States de-listed the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as a state sponsor of terrorism in exchange for guarantees to give up its nuclear program,” Sen. Cruz said. “Much like the ill-fated 1994 ‘Agreed Framework’ that gave North Korea nuclear technology, the result of this deal was a disaster: Kim Jong-un oversaw two nuclear tests and over twenty ballistic missile tests last year alone, and has persisted in utilizing terror as an instrument of state policy. I welcome Secretary Tillerson’s distancing U.S. policy from the Obama administration’s “strategic patience” approach and look forward to working with the Trump administration to chart a more stable, secure future for Northeast Asia. Now is the time to bring added financial pressure to Pyongyang and hold them accountable for their actions. I’m honored to work with Judge Poe who is leading the effort in the House, and my Senate colleagues who have co-sponsored this important legislation.”

“North Korea is a terror state that has launched cyber-attacks on US companies, sold weapons to terrorist groups, and murdered hundreds of innocent people, both within North Korea and abroad, whom are viewed as a threat to the regime,” Rep. Poe said. “Time and again this dangerous regime has proven to be a real threat to both the United States and our allies. That is why we must take this threat seriously and designate Pyongyang as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. My bill, the North Korea State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act of 2017, requires the Administration to look at the evidence and make a determination on whether or not North Korea should be designated. I applaud Senator Cruz for leading the effort in the Senate and urge Congress and the President to act on this immediately.”

Sen. Cruz first called for re-listing North Korea in a letter to President Obama in February 2016 and last month wrote a letter along with Sens. Gardner, Tillis, Rubio, Toomey, and Daines to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, requesting him to investigate re-designating North Korea as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Additionally, the senator has introduced legislation that calls for designating the Iran Revolutionary Guard and Muslim Brotherhood as Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

At the time North Korea was first delisted, it refused to return captured Japanese Red Army hijackers to Japan, never returned abducted Japanese and South Koreans kidnapped by North Korea in their home countries, and never accounted for kidnapping of now deceased Rev. Kim Dong-shik.

Most recently, the authoritarian regime enlisted the assassination of DPRK dictator Kim Jong-un’s own half-brother on foreign soil: Kim Jong-nam was assassinated in a Malaysian airport utilizing the internationally-banned nerve agent VX, the most toxic chemical weapon in existence.

Additionally, since being removed in 2008, North Korea:

• Conducted “cyber-terror targeting” of South Korean nuclear power plants in 2014 that was intended to cause reactor malfunctions.
• Was found by a United States district court in 2014 to have materially supported Hezbollah’s terrorist activities in 2006.
• Conducted a cyber-attack against Sony pictures in 2014, threatening “9/11-type attacks” against U.S. theaters that show the film.
• Jammed GPS signals in May 2012 affecting hundreds of civilian airliners flying in and out of South Korea.
• Utilized a DPRK agent to plot the assassination of a dissident activist based in South Korea. The agent was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment in 2012 by a South Korean court.
• Utilized two DPRK General Reconnaissance Bureau agents who were arrested and sentenced in 2010 for the attempted assassination of a high-level North Korean defector.

The full text of the legislation can be viewed here.

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Keep Katy Beautiful recognized Old Town Animal Hospital and Best Friends Total Pet Care for their long standing efforts taking pride in their business located at 1750 Avenue D.

Mayor, Council and members of the Katy community, Keep Katy Beautiful would like to recognize Old Town Animal Hospital and Best Friends Total Pet Care for their long standing efforts taking pride in their business located at 1750 Avenue D. Dr. Shannon Hicks and his staff have played an integral part in this community and strive to have healthy pets and happy owners. They will always go the extra mile for your pet’s health.
Dr. Hicks, his wife Michel and his staff have eagerly volunteered at City of Katy parks events and have also purchased and dedicated a bench at the City of Katy’s Off Leash Dog Park. Dr. Hicks had a moment of fame growing up in Alvin, Texas and playing sandlot baseball with Nolan Ryan. He went on to graduate from Texas A&M University Veterinary Medicine School and settled in Katy. We are glad he has become such an important part of this community since 1997, opening the present location in 2008. This business is always well maintained and everyone knows that they take great pride in their building and grounds.
Old Town Animal Hospital has a website for making appointments and a newsletter to keep their clients informed. They are open every day except Sunday from 7:30 a.m. till 7:00 p.m.
Again Keep Katy Beautiful thanks you for your continued efforts in making Katy a wonderful community to live in and especially taking care of our four-legged citizens as well.
Congratulations to Dr. Hicks and his staff.

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By Tom Behrens

A lot of anglers have Keith Combs, Huntington, Texas, picked as the winner.Photo credit – Courtesy BASS

Many Katy and west Houston bass anglers are going to be in their boats on Lake Conroe during the Classic, checking out, following Classic anglers. Let me make some suggestions if you decide to be on the water at Conroe.
Lake Conroe, already a very popular fishing destination that is crowded on weekends even without the BASSMASTER Classic, is really going to draw mega crowds. Plan on launching on the north end of the lake, away from the crowds around the Classic on the south end.
Be good Texans, courteous to the professional anglers, and the BASS personnel.
It’s my experience from fishing with the pros, they don’t mind if “locals” follow them around on the water, but stay far away so as to not spook the fish. Turn your electronics off; don’t run your gas engine or trolling motor.
If one of the professional anglers is fishing back in one of the coves or creeks, don’t box his exit way out. Give him room to maneuver. Time is one of the most valuable things they have going for them; don’t make them weave in and out of the observer boats to leave an area.
One of the best parts of the Bassmaster Classic is being able to observe up close and hear the anglers talking, joking with each other as they wait their turn at the boat ramp before launching, or being picked up after a day on the lake.
My hat is definitely off to the folks at BASS in how they launch and retrieve the anglers and their boats. This isn’t your weekend tournament at the launch ramp.

Lake Conroe is expected to produce several double digit bass for Classic anglers. Photo Credit – Tom Behrens

They can launch all 52 boats in 30 minutes or less; same thing with the retrieval of the boats.
If you do plan on attending the launching of the boats, make sure you bring your camera. The individual boats, as their number is called to leave the staging area, is a great sight…the roar of the engines blasting across the water leaving rooster tails behind them. You have to see all of it to believe it.
One last thing, and again have your camera ready: Close to the George R. Brown will be what the Classic people call the “boat lot” – the place where the anglers park their boats when not on the water. If you get downtown early enough before they begin their escorted trek up I-45 to Conroe, it’s quite a sight to see the all the boats and towing vehicles with their lights on as the anglers make last minute tackle and boat checks. The convoy out of downtown Houston should be a great chance for pictures. Wish your favorite angler good luck and God speed.
More information on the Houston/Lake Conroe Bassmaster Classic can be found at http://www.bassmaster.com/tournaments/2017-geico-bassmaster-classic.

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Mayor Fabol Hughes with Ray Booth

At the last City of Katy council meeting an ordinance was read appointing a new Councilmember for Ward A to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Chuck Brawner, Mayor Pro Tem who is running for the Mayor of the City of Katy in May.  There was a nomination and Confirmation for Ray Booth to assume the remaining term of that council seat. Pictured here is City of Katy Mayor, Fabol Hughes and Ray Booth, Councilmember for Ward A.

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Duran Dowdle and Mayor Fabol Hughes

At the last City of Katy council meeting a nomination was made and confirmed to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Chuck Brawner, Mayor Pro Tem who is running for the Mayor of the City of Katy in May. There was a nomination and Confirmation for Duran Dowdle to assume the position of that council seat. Pictured here is City of Katy Mayor, Fabol Hughes and Duran Dowdle, Councilmember for Ward B.

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Ward B Council Position
Jimmy Mendez:
Jimmy Mendez

TKN: What position are you running for?
JM: City Council Member Ward B
TKN: What is your reason to run for this particular position?
JM: It was a combination of things… primarily my issue was personal, my street kept flooding with even the most minute of rains and every time a vehicle would come down the street, it would wash waves of dirty water into my house. Once I decided to run and began walking door to door introducing myself to the people of Katy, I heard a lot of horror stories about bad roads, old crumbling infrastructure, and horrible drainage problems… so I took on that mantle and championed the infrastructure cause. Plus, Katy was growing at an astounding rate… I wanted someone who loved the city as much as I do, to help manage the growth.
TKN: What is your education that you feel makes you qualified for this position?
JM: You’re mixing apples and oranges with the question. I am a legal resident of the city of Katy, Texas, and meet all of the other legal requirements… that makes me qualified. As for my education, it has been in the fields of construction, anti-terrorism, and disaster/emergency management.
TKN: How long have you lived in Katy?
JM: Since 1972 and my wife’s family has been here for generations. My father-in-law Dan Ruley, was the class of 1957 at Katy High School!
TKN: What are some of the things that you think need to be changed in the running of the City of Katy?
JM: No matter the business… you can always find ways to tweak the system, change out people, and plot new courses; as the incumbent in this race, that is what we have been doing. I have also been working on improving the communication between the people that I “represent” and the city. If the city does not know that you are having an issue or a concern, they cannot address it. That is also why I give out my personal cell phone number… this current mayor and council have been working hard to get away from the ‘good ol’ boy system’ and hire people based on their qualifications and how well they fit into the Katy community. The problems in the city did not get here over night… and they are not going to disappear overnight. We have put the best people we could find into the city government positions, increased the number of ways for the people of Katy to interact with the city, and we quit kicking the problems down the line for future administrations… we have been attacking them one at a time, and we did all of that while cutting taxes four years in a row, with a fifth tax cut already voted on and passed for next year’s tax cycle.
TKN: What do you feel will be some of the challenges you will face in your campaign?
JM: The Challenges are the same as the one’s I face serving the people of Katy. Katy is diverse in not only its people, but also in its knowledge of what and how local politics works. As your city councilman I routinely get school district complaints which we have nothing to do with, I get complaints to fix things outside of the city limits where we have no authority, and I get civil complaints from residents about their neighbors that I can do nothing about. Past administrations did not have the money to expand or annex areas around us to create a buffer so the Katy city limits are really small, development happened all around us landlocking the majority of the city and directly affecting our traffic, our drainage, and our crime rates. Katy properties are in high demand now, more and more people are selling off their land to developers. We cannot tell someone that they can’t sell their own land or build on the land that they bought. We only can regulate the type of use. I know it sounds simple… but I regularly get angry calls from people who are upset that the City of Katy is getting rid of all of our ‘green spaces’. Another challenge that we face are the random rumors popping up or partial information circulating through social media or neighborhoods. I spend a lot of time getting calls on things that we are either not doing or their information is only partially correct but has huge gaps which are usually filled in by misinformation.
TKN: What will be your running platform?
JM: To keep fighting the good fight. I ran in order to fix the infrastructure problems, and that is exactly what I have been doing for four years. I have kept every single promise I have made to people. I personally respond to all complaints and I keep the The Katy News newspaper for keeping my promises when I fixed a long time problem that the residents of Townpark subdivision were having with a ditch behind their houses. I have been awarded an ‘award of appreciation’ at a city council meeting, from a long-time Katy resident for quickly fixing an issue that he and his family have been trying to get resolved for years. I heard about an elderly man who had been living in the bed of his truck for over two years because he had no electricity in his home; upon hearing about this man, I immediately contacted Elaine Lutringer the Director of Public Works and together we began working on a solution and didn’t stop until we had his electricity turned back on later the same day. I got a sidewalk put in along Katy Hockley Cut-Off down to Pineview Terrace so that the kids walking to and from school would not have to walk in the streets in bad weather; by working with the Katy Police Department on this project, Katy Police Chief Bill Hastings was able to funnel ‘Child Safety money’ from the county to pay for half of this project saving the Katy tax payers a lot of money and speeding up the process.
TKN: Who do you think will be your biggest competitor in this race?
JM: Having competitors is all parts of the process… Since I do not know my opponents very well, I plan on standing on my record of achievements.
TKN: Are there any of the current City Projects that you would change and why?
JM: Not change per se… but I would like to speed them up.
TKN: How do you feel about the Katy Boardwalk project?
JM: This project originally started out as a two million dollar tax funded ‘green space and nature trail’ type project. Now it is a $150 million dollar income and tourism generating machine that the Katy Tax payers are not funding… the money is coming from a private developer, The Katy Development Authority, Convention and Tourism Bureau, Metro mobility money, mall sales tax revenue, and the city is contributing H.O.T. funds which are paid by visitors to our city, not residents. Using the tax increment reinvestment zone or TIRZ in that area, the Katy Boardwalk will be able to use the additional tax funds above the baseline amount to reinvest in itself. This Katy Boardwalk comes complete with world class hotels, a convention center, mixed use retail/restaurants, and an 89-acre nature park. As a direct result of all of this development we were able to jump from only three hotels to nine hotels, we reduced property taxes, raised the senior homestead exemption, and as I stated before we put in place five years of automatic
tax reductions.
TKN: Are you married and do you have children and grandchildren?
JM: I have been married to the same woman for 21 years and we have two children… Justin (27) and Natasha (14).
TKN: Do you feel that the position you are running for will interfere with your current job?
JM: I have three jobs, not including Husband and Father. I am a Katy city councilman for Ward B; I am President and co-owner of a full service commercial construction company called “Big City Builders”, and I recently got a part-time job delivering parts for O’Reilly’s Auto Parts just for the additional college fund money. I have always been able to balance everything out… I put a lot of hours into my city council work, my business partner can fill in if I can’t cover something, and my O’Reilly’s job is a part time gig and works around my other two schedules. I am a big family man… I weave my family into every facet of my life and I’m home every night.
TKN: Do you have ideas & plans for the future of Katy?
JM: Yes, a large portion of our planning has been long-term planning. We have a major hydrology study being done on Katy and everywhere around Katy where the water can possibly flow into Katy, so that we can keep ahead of the next 500 year flood and know exactly where the water will flow to no matter the circumstances. I have also put a huge retention pond project, under the city’s Parks and Recreation Department so that we can turn it from a big ugly pit, into a beautiful walking trail with flowering trees and a sea of bluebonnets; this will also attract hummingbirds, song birds, and Purple Martins to eat mosquitoes. I have also been working on the city’s holiday decorations policy; to keep that ‘small town feel’ I wanted to see the city really decorate for the main holidays like City Hall did for Christmas this year. There are a number of other long term projects that I voted on, but these three are the ones that I worked the most on.