Katy News

Katy Visual and Performing Arts Center offered a new class this past summer, one that they will continue to offer, and indeed, expand upon once the regular school starts.  Called Theatre For Life, it is a full series of classes for tweens on the Autism spectrum being taught by Ann Marie Morris, a Theatre Performance graduate from SUNY Fredonia and formerly a teacher at The Arbor, a private school for Special Needs children.  “This class really fulfills a dream for me – to combine the professional loves of my life, theatre and special needs kids!  It’s a challenge to be sure, for both myself and the students, but so rewarding.”  With each class, the students are encouraged to see how what they are learning can be applied to their daily challenges of life, how the world and the people in it are a theatre and an audience.

The goal is to show the students how theatre techniques can help them cope with and have more confidence in their daily lives.  Classes started with the basics, such as Relaxation and Calming, Learning the Stage Space, Sharing the Stage With Other Actors, Using the Voice and Body, Focus and Memory, Working With a Script, Blocking and Staging, The Five W’s (Who, What, When, Where and especially Why), Making Contact, and The Joy and Pain of Criticism!

As the last weeks of the class approach, the students are starting preparations for their performance on the last day.  With the help of their teacher, each student is writing a monologue about their future.  They will be asked to use all the different techniques that they have been learning to present the monologues for an audience, sharing the stage and working together as a theatre company.  Their enthusiasm is obvious.  They are very much looking forward to, as one youngster put it, “putting on their show!”  And when asked if they would like to continue the class during the coming school year, the response from the kids was a resounding “Yes!”

The goal for KVPAC and the coming school year is to build on the experiences of the summer and expand the class offerings to three classes.  All called Theatre For Life, one class will be for Young Children (ages 6-10), the second for Tweens (ages 11-14), and a third for the Teens (ages 15-18).  All will offer everything from the very basics of theatre techniques to harder work, such as Preparing an Audition Piece and Learning About Directing, Management and Crewing shows.  All classes will be a continuing series and conclude with a performance by the students.  For more information, please visit the KVPAC website at www.kvpac.org or call 281.829.2787.  KVPAC is a 501c3 non-profit arts education organization serving the Katy community since 2001. We are located at 2501 S Mason Rd, # 290, Katy, TX 77450 in the Great Southwest Equestrian Center Complex. ###

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July 17, 2017 – Katy ISD’s 2017 District-wide Elementary Teacher of the Year Kristal Parrish and Secondary Teacher of the Year Phuong Nguyen have been selected as finalists in the Region 4 Teacher of the Year program.

Kristal Parrish

Ms. Parrish is a fifth grade teacher at WoodCreek Elementary where she teaches reading, writing and social studies.  Since 2013, Ms. Parrish has also been the fifth grade team Curriculum and Instruction Leader.  She’s a dedicated teacher that inspires her students to make an impact in the world.  She does this by teaching them to be critical readers and writers, and deep thinkers who are compassionate.  Her philosophy surrounds the ideal that “there is no program, no app, no curriculum that can replace the tremendous power and essence of an effective and passionate teacher in the life of a student.”

Phuong Nguyen

Ms. Nguyen teaches 10th – 12th grade students in the area of Principles of Health Science, Health Science Technology and Clinical Rotations at Taylor High School.  As a teacher, she creates an environment where curiosity is cultivated, learning is collaborative and students develop skills to be successful in every endeavor.  Her philosophy is one of adaptability and emphasis on the importance of a moral compass.  Ms. Nguyen also initiated the Katy Students Run program at her school to create another platform in order for her to mentor and teach the necessary skills to be successful in life.

The Region 4 Teachers of the Year event is part of the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) Texas Teacher of the Year program and is the initial step into the National Teacher of the Year selection process.

Best of luck to both Katy ISD teachers!

Veterans who need legal advice or assistance can visit a free legal clinic on Saturday, July 29, from 9:00 a.m. until noon, at the Richmond VA Outpatient Clinic, 22001 Southwest Freeway, Suite 200, Richmond, TX 77469. The clinic is a public service of Fort Bend Lawyers Care, the Fort Bend County Bar Association and the Houston Bar Foundation’s Veterans Legal Initiative, a coalition of local bar associations that provide pro bono legal services to U.S. veterans in 18 counties in Texas.

No appointment is necessary. Any veteran, or spouse of a deceased veteran, can receive one-on-one advice and counsel from a volunteer attorney in any area of law, including family, wills and probate, consumer, real estate, and tax law, as well as disability and veterans benefits. Veterans who need ongoing legal representation and who qualify for legal aid may be assigned a pro bono attorney to handle their case.

For more information on the clinic and other services for veterans, contact the Veterans Legal Initiative at 713-759-1133 or visit www.hba.org.

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New And Expanded Risk Factors For Cognitive Decline
And Alzheimer’s Disease

– Verbal and sensory skills, hospitalization may predict future cognitive function –

LONDON, July 17, 2017 – Detection of dementia at the earliest stages has become a worldwide scientific priority because drug treatments, prevention strategies and other interventions will likely be more effective very early in the disease process, before extensive brain damage has occurred. Research results reported at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2017 provide clues about associations between cognitive status in older people and several behavior and lifestyle factors, including verbal skill, hearing, and hospitalization.

“It is essential that we learn more about factors that indicate or impact risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, especially lifestyle factors that we can change or treat,” said Maria C. Carrillo, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association Chief Science Officer. “The Alzheimer’s Association is committed to advancing scientific research to identify simple and accessible ways to spot the signs of cognitive decline.”

Having trouble with memory does not mean you have Alzheimer’s. That said, the Alzheimer’s Association says early detection allows people with dementia and their families:

  • A better chance of benefiting from treatment.
  • More time to plan for the future.
  • Increased chances of participating in clinical drug trials, helping advance research.
  • An opportunity to participate in decisions about care, living options, financial and legal matters.

Hearing loss is associated with poor cognition and progression to mild cognitive impairment
Taylor Fields, a doctoral student in the Neuroscience Training Program within the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and colleagues examined the prevalence of hearing loss in late middle-aged adults with a family history of Alzheimer’s, and the association between hearing loss and cognitive status and decline. The researchers found evidence for a link between hearing loss and mild cognitive impairment, a condition that can be a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.

The scientists used data collected from 783 people enrolled in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP), a longitudinal study group of people with a parental history of Alzheimer’s. Participants undergo periodic tests to evaluate their ability to remember, process, and learn information. Study volunteers self-reported whether they had been diagnosed with hearing loss. At the beginning of the study, all volunteers had normal test results for clinical tests of cognitive function, and all were assessed for progression to mild cognitive impairment.

Over the course of four years, 72 (9.2 percent) study participants reported being diagnosed with hearing loss. Relative to those who reported normal hearing, people in the study with hearing loss were:

  • More likely to score significantly poorer on cognitive tests such as how quickly new information is processed, flexibility in thinking, and how the brain, eye, and hand coordinate during information processing.
  • Roughly three times as likely to be characterized as having mild cognitive impairment.

“This study suggests that hearing loss could be an early indicator of worsening cognitive performance in older adults,” Fields said. “Identifying and treating hearing loss could have value for interventions aimed at reducing the burden of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Verbal fluency predicts cognitive health
In another analysis of participants in WRAP, Kimberly Mueller, PhD, of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and colleagues investigated whether people with very early memory declines also show changes in their everyday speech.  The researchers found that subtle changes in everyday speech, such as the use of short sentences, more pronouns, and pauses like “um” and “ah,” correlated with early Mild Cognitive Impairment (eMCI), which can be a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.

In the study reported at AAIC 2017, the scientists analyzed two speech samples, taken two years apart, from 264 participants in WRAP. Of these participants, 64 were identified as having eMCI based on cognitive testing over 8-10 years. The speech samples, averaging one minute long, were collected by asking the participants to describe a simple picture.

Study participants with eMCI declined faster on two measures of speech: content and fluency. The content of their speech was less specific, with a higher proportion of pronouns to nouns (e.g., “she,” “it,” “them”). Their fluency was more disrupted (more hesitations, word repetitions, and filled pauses (“um,” “uh”)). Also, those with eMCI used less complex syntax and shorter sentences, and took more time to express the same amount of content as the cognitively healthy group.

“Our study is the largest prospective, longitudinal study of spontaneous speech samples in a study group of this kind,” Mueller said. “We don’t know whether the eMCI group will go on to develop Alzheimer’s, so we will continue to follow them, and our next step is to repeat these analyses with participants who have other biomarker evidence, such as amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles as seen on PET scans. Speech analysis may be a valuable cognitive marker to add to clinical assessments of cognitive function in the future.”

Emergency and urgent hospitalizations, but not elective admissions, are related to accelerated cognitive decline in older people
Research shows that older adults are at high risk for memory and other cognitive problems after being hospitalized, not only transient delirium but also long-term changes in cognition. However, it is unknown whether elective hospitalizations, such as for scheduled surgery, put older individuals at the same risk for faster cognitive decline as emergency or urgent admissions (nonelective hospitalizations).

In research reported at AAIC 2017, Bryan James, Ph.D., of the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, USA, and colleagues found that nonelective hospitalizations were associated with acceleration in cognitive decline from prehospital rates, but elective hospitalizations were not associated with a change in the rate of cognitive decline. Data came from 930 older adults (75% female, mean age of 81 years old) enrolled in the Rush Memory and Aging Project (MAP) in Chicago. The study involved annual cognitive assessments, as well as clinical evaluations. Information on hospitalizations was acquired by linking 1999-2010 Medicare claims records for these participants to their MAP data. All hospital admissions were designated as elective, emergency, or urgent (the latter two combined as nonelective for analysis).

Of the 930 participants, 613 were hospitalized at least once over an average of almost five years of observation. Of those who were hospitalized, 260 (28%) had at least one elective hospital admission, and 553 (60%) had at least one nonelective hospital admission; 200 participants (22%) had both types of hospitalizations. In a model adjusted for age, sex, education, self-reported chronic medical conditions, length of stay, surgeries, intensive care unit stays, and comorbidities, nonelective hospitalizations were associated with acceleration in the rate of cognitive decline from before hospitalization, while elective hospitalizations were not. Nonelective hospitalizations were associated with an approximately 60% acceleration in the rate of decline.

“We saw a clear distinction: nonelective admissions drive the association between hospitalization and long-term changes in cognitive function in later life, while elective admissions do not necessarily carry the same risk of negative cognitive outcomes,” James said. “These findings have important implications for the medical decision making and care of older adults. While recognizing that all medical procedures carry some degree of risk, this study implies that planned hospital encounters may not be as dangerous to the cognitive health of older persons as emergency or urgent situations.”

While the U.S. Congress has recently provided additional funding for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health, the commitment continues to fall far short of the need. In 2017, for every $100 the NIH spends on Alzheimer’s research, Medicare and Medicaid will spend $12,500 caring for those with the disease. Congress must continue its commitment to Alzheimer’s and other dementias by increasing funding for Alzheimer’s research by at least an additional $414 million in fiscal year 2018.

About Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC)

The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) is the world’s largest gathering of researchers from around the world focused on Alzheimer’s and other dementias. As a part of the Alzheimer’s Association’s research program, AAIC serves as a catalyst for generating new knowledge about dementia and fostering a vital, collegial research community.

About the Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Visit alz.org or call  +1 800.272.3900.

# # #

  • Taylor Fields, et al. Self-Reported Hearing Loss, Cognitive Performance, and Risk of MCI: Findings from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention. (Funder(s): University of Wisconsin at Madison Neuroscience Training Program)
  • Kimberly Mueller, Ph.D., et al. Signs of Early Cognitive Decline within Connected Speech: Evidence from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP). (Funder(s): U.S. National Institutes of Health)
  •  Bryan James, Ph.D., et al. Cognitive Decline after Elective and Nonelective Hospitalization in Community-Dwelling Older Adults. (Funder(s):  National Institute on Aging)

Alzheimer’s Association International Conf. Press Office, +44 (0) 20-7069-6000, media@alz.org
Niles Frantz, Alzheimer’s Association, + 1 312-363-8782, nfrantz@alz.org



Fort Bend County Libraries invites book lovers to attend the next meeting of the Cinco Ranch Night Readers book club, on Tuesday, July 18, beginning at 7:00 p.m., in the Conference Classroom, at the Cinco Ranch Branch Library, 2620 Commercial Center Blvd. in Katy. The book to be discussed is Thirteen Hours, a novel written by Deon Meyer.

Copies of the book are available at the checkout desk. Anyone interested in joining this literary-review club is invited to attend.  For more information, call the Cinco Ranch Branch Library at 281-395-1311 or the library system’s Public Information Office at 281-633-4734.

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Melissa Rotholz

Shield Bearer Associate Director Melissa Rotholz was honored as 2017 Woman of the Year by the Women Empowering Women Express Network (WEWEN) of the American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) at the ABWA Houston Area Council Women Celebrating Women Luncheon on June 24, 2017 at the Junior League of Houston.

The mission of ABWA is to bring together businesswomen of diverse occupations and to provide opportunities for them to help themselves and others grow personally and professionally through leadership, education, networking support, and national recognition. The ABWA Woman of the Year Award highlights women that have demonstrated outstanding leadership and mentorship within their local league, the ABWA organization, their professions, and the community. Melissa is a founding member of WEWEN, currently serves as WEWEN Vice President of Communications, and is slated for WEWEN President in 2018.

As Associate Director of Shield Bearer, a local non-profit organization dedicated to hope and healing for victims of crime and abuse, human trafficking survivors, veterans and active military families, struggling marriages, and many other hurting hearts, Melissa oversees community engagement including marketing, public relations, volunteering, and event planning. She has over fifteen years of experience leading teams dedicated to elevating individual and organizational performance in both the public and private sectors. Melissa feels specifically called to empower families with education and resources, and is passionate about speaking out for those that have experienced traumatic events and are unable to afford services and programs. She recently pioneered a Mother Daughter Strong program that focuses on building strength physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, created a Mentor Program for homeless women and community volunteers, and is publishing the first in a series of poetry books centered around positive self-image for children later this year.

Melissa also currently serves as a mentor for sister ABWA league Cy-Fair Express Network, volunteers for the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce, the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce, Good Shepherd Methodist Church, Reach Unlimited, The Mission of Yahweh, and the Cypress Gems Chapter of the National Charity League. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Texas State University and a Master of Science in Organizational and Human Resource Development from Abilene Christian University. Her most treasured roles are wife of twenty-three years and mom to two teenagers.

For more information about WEWEN or ABWA, visit wewen.org or email communications@wewen.org. For more information about Shield Bearer, visit shieldbearer.org or call (281) 894-7222.

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On Thursday, September 7, 2017 Nottingham Country Garden Club (NCGC) will feature Linda Gay.

Linda will be speaking on the topic Small Ornamental Trees for The Houston Area & is a horticulturist and gardener by trade.   She has been learning and gardening in Houston since 1979 and worked at Mercer for 26 years.

Meet and greet time begins at 9:30 a.m. and the program will start at 10:00 a.m., followed by the NCGC meeting. Please join us at the Municipal Utility Building #81 at 805 Hidden Canyon Drive in Katy 77450. For more information please see our website: www.ncgctx.org.

We welcome all people interested in gardening and gardening-related areas from West Houston and the Katy area. You do not have to live in Nottingham Country to belong to our group!

NCGC is a non-profit organization affiliated with the Houston Federation of Garden Clubs, the Texas Garden Clubs and the National Federation of Garden Clubs. The purpose of the club is to promote beautification in the community, support local and national educational and charitable organizations and educate the community about our environment. Donations from the NCGC are funded by our annual Spring Sale and projects that vary each year.


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On July 10, 2017 Katy Area Retired Educators (KARE) met at Brazos Valley Credit Union to plan for their upcoming Hooky Day. KARE’s theme this year is “Teamwork is Key”.

All retired teachers are invited to attend Hooky Day on August 16, 2017 from 1:00-3:00PM at the Merrell Center, 6301 S. Stadium Lane, Room 1200.

For more information about the Katy Area Retired Educators check out our website at http://www.localunits.org/KARE/ .

Back Row L to R:       Dorsey Reese, Cecille Vierling, Elysce Garrison, Sue Fagan, Valerie Reeves, Marsha Smith, MayDell Jenks Front Row L to R:      Karen Reese, Marcia Dye, Lee Ann Nuckles

Attached is a picture from their meeting.



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Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOSHEM) Public Information Officer Francisco Sanchez has been selected to serve as a member of the FEMA National Advisory Council (NAC) Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Subcommittee to represent state and local emergency managers.

“I am honored by the opportunity to serve and look forward to working diligently on an issue I am deeply committed to, improving how public safety can best deliver the right information to the right people at the right time to save lives,” said Sanchez.

The NAC IPAWS Subcommittee will make recommendations to the NAC on matters related to common alerting and warning protocols, standards, terminology, and operating procedures for an integrated public alert and warning system.

The IPAWS subcommittee is comprised of federal officials from FEMA, the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Commerce and the National Council on Disability, and a broad set of other public safety stakeholders and technology innovators.

Sanchez has vast experience in public emergency alerts having served two terms (2013-2017) on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) where he co-chaired a work group tasked with reviewing Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) security practices and making recommendations on how to best encourage the use of emergency alerts by local and state officials.

Sánchez has been with Harris County since 2004, now heading emergency communications in the nation’s third largest county. Sanchez was lead public information officer during the Houston area’s response to both Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. He also led the region’s Joint Information Center operations during Hurricane Ike and the highly active 2008 hurricane season.

Most recently, Sanchez was listed by StateScoop as one of Top 11 Public Safety Tech Leaders to Watch. He has been a featured speaker at SXSW, National Hurricane Conference, National Conference of State Legislatures, Texas Homeland Security Conference, Emergency Management Magazine Road Show, the National All-Hazard Incident Management Team Training & Education Conference, Texas State Firemen’s and Fire Marshal’s Conference, Smart Cities (Toronto) and other forums. In 2013, he was profiled as Emergency Management Magazine’s Major Player. In 2015, the University of Houston named Sanchez its Houston Public Official of the Year and also received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award.