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Kids Wish Network reached out to The Katy News to make us aware of a native Katy boy named Gerardo Rodriguez whose wish was to be granted on Monday, February 6th. We were invited to capture this event as Rodriguez’s wish was granted and he was given a shopping spree at Walmart on North Fry Road.
When Rodriguez was 15 years old, fatigue, a pale-yellow tinge to his skin and eyes, and bruising all over his body were signs for his parents to become very concerned. They took him to doctors who performed various tests. The family was given a diagnosis that was devastating. The tests were conclusive for a diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia or ALL. This is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. The treatment included three years of chemotherapy and now close monitoring of his blood counts. Rodriguez received his treatments through Texas Children’s Hospital.
Rodriguez was picked up and dropped off at the Katy Walmart in a Lincoln Navigator provided courtesy of West Point Lincoln.
We spoke to Rodriguez and asked him about the treatment. “I spent a lot of time in bed either watching TV or playing video games,” he said. He told us that the cancer is in remission at this point and that he can return to school. He is a student at Morton Ranch High School. He has been doing his studies via emails from the teachers at the school and trying to keep up so that he can graduate. Although he can now return to school, he still needs to be very careful and stay away from people who are sick. He also has to be extremely careful at PE and to not become too fatigued. He also spends time with his dog Max.
As with most teenagers, Rodriguez enjoyed hanging out with his friends, playing video games and going to the mall. He loves watching television and movies and hopes to one day have a big screen TV to give him the best viewing experience. His goal is to first finish his education and then train to be an EMT. Following that he hopes to continue his studies at Texas A&M to become a doctor so that he can help others.
Kids Wish Network partnered with Walmart to grant his wish, giving Gerardo gift certificates with which he could purchase items he wanted. Among the items that Rodriguez picked out was his most wanted item a Vizio 70” TV, PS4 4, Blue Tooth for Radio, 4 Video Games and a HP Notebook. There were still a few other items he would have liked however he was very happy with what he received as they loaded the items for the return trip home. Congratulations to Rodriguez and we wish you continued remission and good health.
Kids Wish Network is a national charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children, facing life-altering circumstances. For more information on Kids Wish Network, visit them at

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The city of Katy hosted the 16th annual Celebrity Flag Football Challenge in conjunction with Celebrity Sweat and Katy ISD at Rhodes Stadium on Feb. 4 prior to the Super Bowl which took place on Feb 5.

Photos were provided by Katy High School and Mrs. Porter’s Advanced Photography Students.




Fencers from Alliance Fencing Academy brought home 44 medals in last weekend’s USFA-sanctioned Regional fencing competition in Austin, Texas. The Badawi Challenge was held Saturday and Sunday February 4-5, 2017 with over 25 different clubs competing. As a United States Fencing Association (USFA) sanctioned competition, fencers could earn an opportunity to qualify to compete in the Junior Olympics and National Fencing Competitions. Sanctioned events also allow athletes to earn fencing ratings. Six Alliance Academy Fencers earned higher ratings at the Badawi Challenge.

Alliance Fencing Academy was founded in 2004 by United States Olympic Coach, Andrey Geva. Geva led Team USA’s Women’s Epee Team in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Alliance Fencing Academy is the largest epee fencing club in the United States with over 350 students at its two locations in Houston and The Woodlands.   It is also a top producer of collegiate fencers, with many students receiving athletic and academic scholarships to universities such as Columbia, U Penn, Penn State, Notre Dame, Northwestern and Stanford.

The Badawi Challenge had competitions for fencers 10 years-old-and-under (Y10), 12 years-old-and-under (Y12), 14 years-old-and-under (Y14), Cadets (16 years-old-and-under), and Juniors (20 years-old-and-under). Fifty-eight (58) fencers from Alliance Fencing Academy competed from both of Alliance’s locations.


In each event, fencers compete in pools of 6-7 athletes. Athletes fence one another in 5-touch bouts. Based on their performance in pools, fencers advance to lengthier Direct Elimination bouts to ultimately determine the winner of the competition.


The same weekend, six Alliance Fencing Academy fencers represented the United States at the World Cup event in Finland. Alliance fencer Gigi Vierheller brought home a Silver medal. Fellow Alliance teammate Barbara VanBenthuysen from The Woodlands, TX took 5th in the event. Alliance Fencing Academy member Jonathan Piskovatskov placed 5th in the Men’s Team Event.


On Thursday, February 9 from 4 PM – 7 PM Ageless Med Spa held its Grand Opening-Meet the new Medical Director Event.

Ageless Med Spa is located at 414 Grand Pkwy, Ste 115, Katy, Texas 77494

Enjoy Hors d’oeuvres and a special Wine Tasting sponsored by the new Sammy’s Steakhouse!

Meet their new Medical Director, Dr. James Kern, a regular guest expert on Great Day Houston.

There will be Door Prizes and Special Pricing on Services!

Demonstrations and presentations of Ageless Med Spa’s products and services were provided:

4:30 pm PCA Skin Care Presentation
5:00 pm Laser Hair Removal Demo
5:30 pm CoolSculpting Demo
6:00 pm Restylane Lyft Filler Demo with Dr. James Kern
6:30 pm Hormone Therapy Centers of America Presentation

Get more information about Ageless Med Spa at

David Mamet’s Biting Comedy & Winner of the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Drama

Dirt Dogs Theatre Co.’s inaugural season concludes with David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross. Winner of the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for drama, the biting comedy follows a group of Chicago real estate agents who desperately attempt to sell plots of undesirable land to unwitting buyers. Their tactics toward their prospects, and each other, expose the ugly underbelly of a dog-eat-dog business.

Following a 1983 London premiere, Glengarry Glen Ross ran for six weeks in 1984 at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago before moving to Broadway for 378 performances. The cast included Joe Montegna as Roma and Robert Prosky as Levene. Revivals in 2005 and 2012 featured such prominent actors as Alan Alda and Al Pacino, respectively. A 1992 film adaptation featured Pacino along with an all-star cast, and included an additional character written specifically for Alec Baldwin.

The Dirt Dogs Theatre Co. production is directed by Artistic Director, Malinda L. Beckham, assisted by Doug Williams. The cast is made up of Ken Watkins, Jonathan Gonzalez, Bill Giffen, Allen Dorris, Jeff Featherston, Kurt Bilanoski, and Casey Coale. Costumes are by Malinda L. Beckham. Scenery is by Malinda L. Beckham and James V. Thomas. Lighting design is by John Baker. Sound design is by Cory Sinclair.

Performances are at the MATCH, 3400 Main St., March 10 – 18, 2017.

For further information and tickets, visit or

About Dirt Dogs Theatre Co.

Dirt Dogs Theatre Co. creates multi-faceted theatrical productions that enrich and entertain audiences, inspire artists, and honor playwrights. It was established in 2015 by Houston theatre veterans Trevor B. Cone, Malinda L. Beckham, and John Baker. Dirt Dogs collaborates with Houston artists and playwrights to provide an opportunity for new works to be seen, and previously produced ones to breathe new life. To learn more, contact us at or call (713) 561-5113.

On the outskirts of Mormon Country, Idaho, a six hundred pound recluse hides away in his apartment, and slowly eats himself to death. Desperate to reconnect with his long-estranged daughter, he reaches out to her, only to find a viciously sharp-tongued and wildly unhappy teen. Big-hearted and fiercely funny, The Whale tells the story of a man’s last chance at redemption, and of finding beauty in the most unexpected places.


Feb. 17 – Mar. 11

Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm

Sunday Matinee, Feb 26 at 3 pm

Cast & Crew
Joseph Moore – Charlie

Matt Prideaux – Elder Thomas

Pamela Pancratz – Liz

Rachel Watkins – Ellie

Melissa J. Mayo – Mary

Scott McWhirter – Director

Zip codes

77080, 77079, 77041, 77459, 77057, 77449



$18 Regular/$16 Seniors


or email

or call (713) 661-9509

Theatre Southwest 

8944-A Clarkcrest

Houston, TX 77063

Chief Gary Adams of the Richmond Police Department provided business owners, Elected Officials and other members of the Chamber with information on the many happenings within his department. He expressed the importance of providing outstanding service to the public stating, “Together we can make a difference, and it is truly a privilege to work for the city of Richmond. Our mission is to provide fair and impartial service, while working with the community to improve the quality of life for all. We strive to do the right thing, for the right reason, in every situation”. He also shared that the Police Department received 16,594 calls for service in 2016, with the Fire Department receiving 15,534. “We are working hard to improve quality of life for Richmond”. The Police Department received grants making it possible to purchase new equipment to better serve the community. The Chief also informed guests on community outreach programs his officers are involved with; one of them being the recent launch of “Coffee with a Cop” where members of the public can voice concerns and get to know their local officers.   His team also takes time to join in during the National Night Out celebrations where officers interact with residents in a cohesive effort to promote involvement in crime prevention. Chief Adams also touched on the Citizens Police Academy that has had huge success in Richmond. Chief Adams concluded the program stating, “We have passion for our community and are prepared to respond without question or hesitation. We look forward to serving you”.

Jim Serratt, CEO of Westpark Springs thanked the city of Richmond for all their hard work and stated, “Like Richmond PD, we are also hard at work. Our goal is to assist individuals that suffer from mental illness”. Westpark Springs currently opened a new adolescent center off of Grand Parkway in hopes to help with these efforts. “One out of four adults and 20% of children suffer from mental illness and with this facility, we hope to touch those affected”. Mr. Serratt thanked the Central Fort Bend Chamber for allowing them to be the host of this month’s networking breakfast. “Thank you all for allowing us to share this with you and to be a part of your community. We are here to help in any way we can and hope to partner with each of you in the future”.

For more information on the Richmond Police Department, please visit and for more information on Westpark Springs, visit

The Central Fort Bend Chamber is a 105 year old non-profit membership organization dedicated to creating a strong local economy where businesses can prosper. The Central Fort Bend Chamber advocates for over 1,000 local businesses led by a volunteer board of directors who are dedicated to sustaining Fort Bend County’s quality of life, and keeping our community and economy vibrant.

For more information on the Chamber or its programs, call 281-342-5464 or visit

The state-of-the-art facility takes working out to a new level

KATY – By taking the best designs from YMCA centers around the nation and incorporating them into one 41,000 square-foot facility, the YMCA of Greater Houston has responded to Katy’s burgeoning population with extra modern amenities and a sleek, airy design.

After nine months of construction, the YMCA at Katy Main Street, 1350 Main St., will open its doors on Saturday and offer the latest exercise crazes including TRX and aerial yoga. Its outdoor pool is heated and connected to private changing rooms.

Those are just some of the special features at the $12 million center. The center is expected to be a hub for Katy’s growing needs for child care, health and fitness, and educational programs.

Located at the intersection of Main Street and Kingsland Boulevard (near Interstate 10 and Pin Oak Road), the two-story facility aims to serve residents in west and north Katy and in neighboring communities.

“One amazing thing about the YMCA is the scope of our work, which can be seen at all of our centers, but is especially evident in ever-expanding Katy,” said Paul McEntire, president and CEO of The YMCA of Greater Houston. “Katy’s population is expected to grow from 300,000 people to nearly 550,000 by 2035. In just three years, this new center is expected to serve 20,000 people.”

The YMCA at Katy Main Street features strength training and cardio equipment, group exercise rooms, a basketball gym, Child Watch rooms to accommodate children from six weeks to 11 years old, an outdoor playground and sports fields, a cycle studio and coffee bar. It also includes health and wellness activities, aquatics, youth sports, after-school care, summer day camp, summer sports clinics, teen programs, senior activities and more.

The Monty Ballard YMCA at Cinco Ranch is currently the largest provider of child care in the Katy area, serving more than 1,500 children each year at before- and after-school care sites in Katy Independent School District. It also offers the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program and LIVESTRONG for those recovering from cancer. In addition, more than 5,000 children participate in the center’s youth sports program. The center serves approximately 50,000 people.

Feasibility studies indicate that 3,000 new families will utilize the new YMCA at Katy Main Street, and that 1,000 current family memberships would relocate for the convenience of the new location.

The new center is expected to receive more than 400,000 visits a year. Projected to be self-sustaining in 12 to 18 months, it will provide approximately $250,000 in community assistance and program/membership scholarships as well as create more than 200 area jobs.

“People need the YMCA at Katy Main Street for their health, for social interaction, and to improve their spirits,” said Brian Haines, district executive director at the YMCA of Greater Houston. “We will make sure we stay true to our commitment to make sure that no one is ever turned away.”


Katy, TX – Seven Lakes High School’s student athletes signed letters of intent Feb. 1st to play sports at the next level. Surrounded by family, friends and coaches, the athletes signed their letters on National Signing Day, officially accepting athletic scholarships offered to them by a college or university.

Congratulations to all the student athletes and their families.

(Pictured left to right)

  • Keziah Williams – Missouri State University West Plains – Volleyball
  • Camilla Broman – University of Oklahoma – Cross Country/Track & Field
  • Morgan Proffitt – Harding University – Soccer
  • Laura Broman – University of Oklahoma – Cross Country/Track & Field
  • Kenneth Pleasant – Trinity Valley Community College – Football
  • Mireille McDowell – University of Louisiana at Lafayette – Soccer
  • Julia Nelson – Abilene Christian University – Volleyball
  • Cheyenne Coffey – Wharton County Junior College – Volleyball
  • Natalie Batton – University of Texas at Tyler – Volleyball

On display February 1 through December 31, 2017

George Barris, photo by Stephen Russo

HOUSTON – Celebrating its 25th Anniversary, the National Museum of Funeral History is proud to present a new exhibit, A Tribute to George Barris, Feb. 1 through Dec. 31, 2017.

George Barris, known throughout the world as the ‘original’ King of Kustomizers, created iconic automobiles including the original 1966 Batmobile, the “Beverly Hillbilliesjalopy, the Munster Koach and casket turned dragster (the “Drag-U-La”) for “The Munsters,” and many KITTs, the short name of two fictional characters from the adventure television series “Knight Rider.”

Located in Houston, Texas, the Museum will display a replica of the 1966 Batmobile, a memorial folder from Barris’ funeral along with other personal memorabilia.

President of the National Museum of Funeral History Genevieve Keeney stated, “We have a wonderful gentleman who is on our board, Buck Kamphausen, who collects cars. He has fascinating hearses that are on exhibition in the museum and an outstanding private collection of unique automobiles.  Mr. Kamphausen owns the replica of the 1966 Batmobile and the replica of the casket in which Barris was buried. It is a unique opportunity to display these items in A Tribute to George Barris.

Born in Chicago in the mid-twenties, Barris moved to Roseville California with relatives after his parents died in 1928. He pursued a passion for building scratch-built model airplanes and model cars that resulted in winning competitions for construction and design.

His interest in cars intensified during his teenage years as he discovered “the black art” of body work by hanging out after school at local body shops.

Barris created his first full custom car from a used 1936 Ford convertible before he graduated from high school that led to his first commercial customer.

Shortly after, Barris formed a club called Kustoms Car Club where the first use of “K” for kustoms appeared.

He later moved to Los Angeles where his talents began to flourish. Barris opened his first shop in Bell, a Los Angeles suburb in late 1944.

As movie studios took note of Barris kustoms on the streets and at races, the studios and came to George for cars for their films. This included customizing the personal cars of the stars as well.

As the sixties began, George shifted gears and bought a new shop in North Hollywood where he designed and built award-winning cars.

Kamphausen, who is a funeral director, stated that he had attended the funeral for Barris. “It was a WOW! I knew he would have something different. I have fond memories of George. He was a great part of the automobile world.”

 About the National Museum of Funeral History

The National Museum of Funeral History houses the country’s largest collection of funeral service artifacts and features renowned exhibits on one of man’s oldest cultural customs. Visitors can discover the mourning rituals of ancient civilizations, see up-close the authentic items used in the funerals of U.S. presidents and popes and explore the rich heritage of the industry that cares for the dead. The museum is located at 415 Barren Springs Dr., Houston, Texas 77090 and is open Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12– 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and veterans; $7 for children 6 – 11 years old; and free for children age 5 and younger. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook or call 281.876.3063.