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Did you know that Wharton County Junior College (WCJC) offers continuing education training using grant dollars for your employees?  And that Workforce Solutions can help you locate the right employees for your business needs at no charge to you? Sharing the benefits from partnering with WCJC and Workforce Solutions on these types of employer needs was the focus of the Working Lunch Series hosted by Central Fort Bend Chamber and held at Workforce Solutions – Rosenberg on April 20th.

Tamara Sealy, Continuing Education Corporate Training Coordinator at WCJC Richmond campus, and De’jashatun “DJ” Williams, a certified Workforce Expert at Workforce Solutions, were the guest speakers at the business luncheon. They presented on the various resources available to area employers, such as, tax credits for hiring new employees, training grants, work-based learning programs, human resources support, labor compliance laws, and more.

“No matter the size of your business, we [WCJC] can develop a curriculum that provides the necessary development skills training fit for your business,” says Sealy.  “We utilize many of the courses that are already offered in our normal accredited curriculum and develop additional skills training that is right for the job at hand,” she states.

Williams provided an overview on how partnering with Workforce Solutions works. “We help employers build a strong workforce and help people build careers,” he says. “If you are looking to hire employees to do a specific job, Workforce Solutions can put candidates through a work-experience program at no cost to the employer for a period of time,” explains Williams. “Once they are hired and receiving on-the-job training, the employer will still benefit from a 50% reimbursement of the new hires’ wages during the duration of the training,” he states.

For more information about how to apply for training grants, call 281-239-1530. For further details on the benefits that Workforce Solutions has to offer, call 281-334-0279, ext. 2451.

The Central Fort Bend Chamber’s Working Lunch Series focuses on technical education topics for small businesses and is held the third Thursday of each month. The next Working Lunch Series will be held on May 18th at Fort Bend Country Club and focused on sales revolution and keeping competitive.

The cost of the luncheon is $25 for Chamber members and $35 for non-members.

For more information or to register, go to or call Debbie Kilen at 281-342-5464.

The Central Fort Bend Chamber is a 106 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.


(Columbus, TX)  Live music returns to the Columbus Farmers’ market this week when the duo or Waddell and Prause perform on Saturday, April 29th at 9:30 am.  Larry Waddell, originally from Columbus and Eagle Lake, lived in Michigan for several years where he was lead singer in several bands.  He moved to Brenham a few years ago where he now resides.  Russell Prause was born and raised in Columbus and has played in several bands over the last 30 years.  He opened for several Nashville recording artists and has also played in some of their bands.  Prause has performed for Columbus area functions for many years.  Waddell and Prause will play a variety of music from country to rock and roll.

The Columbus Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday from 9 am to Noon on the Historic Courthouse Square at the corner of Walnut (highway 90) and Travis Street.  Vendors sell everything from breakfast tacos, tamales, hot coffee, fresh produce, homemade baked goods, fresh gulf shrimp, local farm raised beef and poultry, to jewelry, crafts, pies and cakes, plants, jams, jellies, local olive oil, local honey, berries, greens, carrots, beets, squash, handmade soaps, homemade soups, tomatoes, herbs, yummy Filipino egg rolls and lots more.

Visitors may enter a weekly drawing for $50 in Farmers’ Market Merchandise Certificate.  It’s free to enter. One new winner is chosen every week.

On April 28, school district Superintendents of Fort Bend County will give a State of the School Address to the community at Safari Texas Ranch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Hosted by Central Fort Bend Chamber, Dr. Thomas Randle, Lamar CISD Superintendent; Dr. Charles E. Dupre, Fort Bend ISD Superintendent; and Curtis Rhodes, Needville ISD Superintendent will share the latest improvements, district goals, and upcoming changes in the academic programs they oversee.

Each school district is managed by a Superintendent that is hired by and reports to the local elected school board.  Superintendents work with school leaders to serve the needs of students and meet the district goals.  They also respond to the demands of all the other constituencies and interest groups in the district – teachers, students, parents, staff, advocates, and the community at large – and consider how to use the financial and human resources of the district in order to achieve the best results.

As one of the fastest growing counties in the United States, Fort Bend County’s academic success impacts the economic success and the quality of life in the community.

Attending the upcoming Chamber luncheon is a great opportunity to hear from Randle, Dupre and Rhodes about the mission and vision they have for the school districts they serve.

For questions about this event, contact Debbie Kilen at 281-342-5464. To register by April 25, go to

Candidates vying for the mayor position for City of Richmond answered questions and spoke with voters at the Candidate Forum hosted by the Central Fort Bend Chamber’s Governmental Affairs Committee. The forum was held Tuesday, April 18, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the George Memorial Library and attracted a full house of interested voters. The Central Fort Bend Chamber’s Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman, Matt Breazeale, acted as the moderator for the evening’s event.

Candidates Tres Davis, and Mayor Evalyn Moore were asked questions regarding preparations for the expected growth of Fort Bend County infrastructure, and bringing tourism to the City of Richmond.  “I will work for all of Richmond….and we have begun the engineering plans for silencing the train horns.” said Moore.  “I have no problem standing in the gap and making hard decisions when they are needed.” said Davis.  The candidates also shared what they believed was best for Richmond and its citizens giving their reasoning as to why they should be elected.

Early voting begins April 24, 2017 and the general election for City of Richmond is May 6, 2017.

The Central Fort Bend Chamber is a 106 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

James Williams Elementary School recently did a program with 36 specially chosen 5th grade students who trained, applied and blasted off to space in an elaborate NASA ceremony. The students wore spacesuits which included helmets and life support packs. They made a homemade shuttles and were scheduled to spend from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. experiencing various space simulations while attempting to survive in space on their mission.
The students and the staff spent 10-weeks after school learning about space and building their own shuttle for the event that took place on April 13th. As part of the program John Gruener from NASA came out to speak to the children and give some examples of space and distances of the Moon and Mars from the Earth and asked the children lots of questions. Several of the students came very close to the correct answers. Gruener is a Houston native who was born in 1961 which was the same year that human spaceflight began.
Space-themed movies and television shows were a staple in his life growing up in Spring Branch.
Gruener has been at NASA’s Johnson Space Center since 1986 and currently works in the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Division. Most of his work is in advanced mission planning for the future human and robotic exploration of the Moon and Mars, specifically focusing on science goals, objectives, and surface operations.
Past efforts involved working in Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division Soil Chemistry. He also worked in the Mineralogy laboratories developing a mineral-based substrate for plant growth in regenerative live support systems, and supporting Mars Exploration Rover missions of Spirit and Opportunity.
Gruener’s wide range of activities in the space program have included working as a rocket scientist, systems engineer, space farmer and planetary scientist.
Gurener’s background made him uniquely qualified to speak to JWE’s fifth grade explorers. He had a slide presentation which explained the things that happen in space. He used an example of the location the earth is to the Moon and to Mars. He used a Cantaloupe to represent the earth, an orange to represent the Moon and a Lime to represent Mars. He then had the students estimate how far each would be apart and the students came very close to the correct positions. The students paid apt attention to all he had to say. After his slide presentation the students went on to present their home-made shuttle.
Check out for a photo gallery and audio from the events. Thank you JWE for inviting The Katy News to be part of this production event.

On Saturday, April 8, over 3,500 Houston-area residents participated in the fifth annual Texas Children’s Hospital and Houston Marathon Foundation Family Fun Run at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. Families with children of all abilities were on hand for the non-competitive 1K and 3K courses. Following the race, participants enjoyed the Family Fun Zone, presented by H-E-B, which featured more than 40 attractions including food, refreshments, activities and games.



On April 6, 2017 the Volunteers of OakBend Medical Center held their second Power of the Pur$e fundraiser to raise money to help with the renovation of the hospital’s Skilled Nursing Unit.

The event, held at Safari Texas, included lunch and a silent auction of 31 purses ranging in value from slightly less than $100 to over $1,000. The keynote speaker for the event was LaDonna Gatlin, Texas humorist, singer and song writer, motivational speaker and sister to the Gatlin Brothers. LaDonna sang a couple of songs and spoke about each of the attendees having a song in their hearts and encouraged them to find that song and live their life to the fullest.

“This is the second year for this event,” stated Donna Ferguson, VP and COO of the OakBend Medical Group and Volunteer Liaison, “and one of the largest fundraisers the volunteers sponsor. This event adds a new dimension to their fundraising efforts and brings lunch and shopping together for a fun reprieve in the middle of the day.”

With over 100 attendees, the event took in almost $14,000.

Kansas City, Missouri Team 624 (CRyptonite) from Cinco Ranch High School won the Greater Kansas City Regional qualifying tournament and in the process established themselves as one of the top scoring teams in FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition (FRC) teams so far this season.


As part of the tournament’s fourth-seed alliance with Team 1987 (BroncoBots) from Lee’s Summit, Missouri and Team 5801 (CTC Inspire) from Independence, Missouri, they faced the high-scoring number one seed alliance in the best-of-three semi-finals – an alliance that included a local team which has won this tournament four of the last five years.

They defeated the top alliance robots in straight matches 418-377 and 397-329.

In the first semi-final they did something that hadn’t been done by any alliance in the 6,402 matches that had been played all over the world to that point – delivering enough gears in autonomous to start two rotors (An animated explanation of the 2017 FRC game, STEAMworks, is at: )

In the 2 minute, 30 second teleop (driver-controlled) phase that followed, the three alliance robots delivered enough gears to start all four rotors turning, for a 100 point bonus, which had been achieved by very few teams world-wide at that point in the season. All three Alliance robots climbed their ropes before the end of each semi-final match for another 150 points.

“All three of the robots in our alliance could score gears in both autonomous and teleop and they were consistent climbers,” said sophomore Amelia Kleiber, the team’s head of scouting at the tournament. “This was critical in being able to defeat the powerhouse number one alliance.”

In FRC tournaments, teams are ranked top to bottom based on performance during the qualification matches. Before the start of the elimination matches, all teams send a representative to the field and the top eight teams choose their first alliance partner. Then the number eight seed chooses their third partner and picking works its way back up the rankings with the number one seed having the final pick.

“Scouting is very important, and like most FRC teams, we have scouts at every tournament,” Kleiber said, “We evaluate every robot’s performance in all the qualification matches. Then we have a meeting with other team members and come up with a pick list of robots we think will help us the most in the elimination round.”

“CTC Inspire was also high on Broncobots pick list,” Kleiber added. “When we were standing down there on

the field waiting as the lower seed alliances made their [second and then third] picks, we were wondering ‘how are they still available?’ We were so happy to be able to pick them and they performed exactly as our scouting predicted they would.”

The CRyptonite alliance won the final in straight matches, winning the final match by scoring a tournament high 494 points.

“We improved our performance over Hub City [first tournament of the season],” said sophomore Danny Perego, the team’s driver. “We made a few small mechanical changes which helped our scoring in autonomous and also our ability to shoot.”

“At Hub City, we faced a lot of defense, so we practiced against defense before Kansas City,” said senior Jan- Felix Abellera, the team’s robot manipulator and one of their programmers. “We tuned the [robot] controller to Danny’s liking and that played a big role in better turning and maneuvering around other robots defending against us.”

“Also, Danny and I are working better as a team,’ Abellera added. “When we go behind the opponent’s airship, we lose sight of the robot. Even though we have an on-board camera, many times Danny’s actually driving the robot backwards. He’s better now at positioning himself in the driver’s station to be able to see the robot and I watch the camera view on our laptop and tell him references like, ‘there’s a robot behind you or in front of you’. “Yes, he’s my eyes,” Perego said with a smile.

For the second time in as many tournaments, CRyptonite won the Industrial Safety Award. Sponsored by UL, the award celebrates the team that progresses beyond safety fundamentals by using innovative ways to eliminate or protect against hazards.

CRyptonite will be competing at the FIRST Robotics Competition World Championship tournament in Houston April 19-22.

Each year, all FRC teams receive that season’s challenge the first week of January. During a hectic six-week build season, the robotics students, working with adult Mentors, design, prototype and construct a robot to accomplish specific tasks required to compete in that game.

The FRC 2017 season game, STEAMworks, has a “steampunk” theme in which two “adventurers clubs” (alliances of three teams) compete to prepare steam-powered their airships for a long distance race. alliance robots score points in one of three ways:

  1. Build steam pressure. Robots collect fuel (balls) and score it into their boiler, which has a low and high ‘goal’.
  2. Start rotors. Robots deliver gears to pilots (human players) on their airship for installation. Once the gear train is complete, they turn the crank to start the rotor.
  3. Prepare for flight. Robots must latch on to their airship before the end of the match by ascending their ropes and activating a light which signals that they are ready for takeoff.

Each 2 ½ minute match begins with a 15 second autonomous period in which robots operate only on pre-programmed instructions to score points. This is followed by the teleoperated period in which the drivers control the robot.


About FIRST : Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was created to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. FIRST Robotics Competition is an annual competition that helps high school students discover the rewards and excitement of science, engineering, and technology. The 2017 season includes 3336 teams from 25 countries.


FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sports with science and technology to create a unique Varsity Sport for the Mind™. Participants are eligible to receive over $30 million in scholarships from some of the finest science and engineering schools in the country.

About CRyptonite: Since its founding in 2000, Cinco Ranch High School’s FIRST Robotics Competition Team 624 (“CRyptonite”) has achieved international recognition in all areas of FIRST Robotics Competition.

Highlights of the 2017 season include winning the coveted Regional Chairman’s Award at the Hub City Regional qualifying tournament, winning the Greater Kansas City Regional qualifying tournament, advancing to the semi-finals at Hub City and the Lone Star North Regional qualifying tournaments, winning the Industrial Safety

Award at both Hub City and Greater Kansas City, winning a FRIST Dean’s List Award for individual student achievement, along with an Innovation in Control Award at Lone Star North.

Team highlights from the 2015/2016 season include advancing to the Divisional Quarter-Finals of the FIRST Robotics Competition World Championship, winning all three of the 2015 Regional Qualifying Tournaments the team entered: Dallas, Utah, and the Lone Star event in Houston, advancing to the finals of the 2016 Alamo Qualifying Tournament, along with winning Regional awards for Industrial Design, Quality, Imagery, and FIRST Dean’s List Awards for individual student achievement.

CRyptonite has also won team and individual student awards for Industrial Safety at the World Championship (2014), and won second place in the world-wide FIRST Safety Animation Contest (2014).

This has been possible through the generous financial and mentor support of our corporate sponsors, including founding sponsors BP America and Oceaneering Intervention Engineering. Other corporate sponsors include: ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil Chemical, Texas Workforce Commission, Phillips 66, Wood Group, IPT Global, AECOMM, Bechtel Corporation, Subsea 7, Kinder Morgan, National Instruments, Katy Area Economic Development Council and Texas Hydrographic Society, Houston Chapter.

Team 624 has formed a partnership with the Katy Area Economic Development Council to promote awareness and support for robotics programs across Katy ISD.

We’re also indebted to numerous teachers, parents, mentors and our incredibly hardworking students.

To learn more about FIRST Robotics Competition:

For more information on Team 624:

For more information on the 2017 FRC game, Steamworks:

Two-thirds of Americans experience low back pain according to the American Physical Therapy Association. In fact, almost all of us experience back or neck pain at some point in our lives, some of us frequently.

Join Dr. B Christoph Meyer, orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Sebastian Villarreal, pain specialist, and Dr. G. Alexander West, spine and neurosurgeon, for a free educational seminar about causes, prevention and management of neck and back pain.

The seminar will be held on Wednesday, April 19 from 6-8 p.m. in the Mesquite Conference Room at Houston Methodist West Hospital on 18500 Katy Frwy. at Barker Cypress.

Whether you’re experiencing back or neck pain for the first time, or whether you’ve been living with it your entire life, your pain is unique to you. At Houston Methodist West, we think your treatment should be, too.

Registration is required and seats are limited. To register for the neck and back pain seminar, visit or call 832.522.5522.

The Central Fort Bend Chamber welcomed SurePoint Self Storage – Richmond at their new Fort Bend County location at 5310 Pointe West Circle in Richmond, TX. Staff, guests and family members took part in ribbon cutting photos, enjoyed networking and learned of the available services offered.

SurePoint Self Storage Partner, Robert Loeb gave appreciation to those in attendance stating, “This is our first facility for SurePoint Self Storage in Houston and we are excited about offering our product to the people of Fort Bend County.  We offer a high end product in terms of safety, cleanliness and security.  This has been a two year project in the making and I would like to thank each of you who have played a part in putting this project together”. Mr. Loeb went on to thank the Chamber and expressed his excitement to become involved within the community.  SurePoint Self Storage has been a member of the Texas Self Storage Association since 2002, offering individually alarmed units, 24/7 digital video recording, computerized access gate entry, moving supplies and materials and much more.

For more information, visit their website at:

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