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Fort Bend Independent

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Weekly, community newspaper
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  • FORT BEND FAIR. BALANCED. INFORMATIVE.

    WEDNESDAY, MAY 8 , 2013

    Phone: 281-980-6745wwwww.fbindependent.com.fbindependent.com

    P. O.BOX 623, SUGAR LAND, TX 77487-0623

    VOL 6 No. 19

    Seshadri KumarPublisher & Editor

    10701 Corporate Drive, #282, Staff ord, TX 77477Mailing Address: P.O. Box 623, Sugar Land, TX 77487

    www.fbindependent.com281-980-6745

    Fort Bend Independent, (USPS 025-572) is published every Wednesday (for a subscription rate of $20 per year) by Fort Bend Independent, LLC., 10701 Corporate Dr., #282, Stafford, Texas 77477. Periodicals Postage Paid at Stafford, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Fort Bend Independent, P.O. Box 623, Sugar Land, Tx 77487.

    The Secret Gardens of Sugar Lakes is the theme for this years Sugar Land Garden Clubs 14th annual Spring Garden Tour. On Saturday, May 11 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the public is invited to tour nine unique private gardens in the Sugar Lakes subdivision. Tickets can be purchased on the day of the tour at any garden. Tickets are $15 for all nine gardens making this a perfect Mothers Day gift. Pictured are Andre and Robin Leeder, along with their proud dog Baxter, who are eagerly waiting to welcome visitors into their secret garden. Rain date is Saturday, May 18. Visit sugarlandgardenclub.org and click on Tour and Map. 534 King-fi sher Dr., 206 Brook Forest Trail, 403 Kingfi sher Dr., 407 Baybridge Dr., 814 Kittiwake Ct., 871 Harbour Place, 234 Kingfi sher Dr., 1122 Heron Way and 819 Oyster Creek @ Teal.

    Secret Gardens of Sugar Lakes

    Gov. Rick Perry has named Daniel Wong of Missouri City chair of the Texas Board of Pro-fessional Engineers.

    The board licenses qualifi ed engineers, enforces the Texas Engineering Practice Act and regulates the practice of profes-sional engineering in Texas.

    Wong is CEO of Tolunay-Wong Engineers. He is a mem-ber of American Society of Civil Engineers, Texas Society of Professional Engineers and University of Houston Civil En-gineering Advisory Board, past president of the Asian Ameri-can Architects and Engineers Association, and a past board member of the Houston Coun-cil of Engineering Companies.

    He is also a trustee of the Fort Bend Economic Development Council, past member of the Sugar Land City Council, and past board member of the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce, Houston-Galveston Area Coun-cil, and University of Houston Alumni Association.

    Wong received a bachelors degree, a masters degree in civil engineering and a doctor-ate of civil engineering from the University of Houston. He will serve as chair of the board for a term to expire at the plea-sure of the governor.

    Wong named chair of Texas Board of

    Professional Engineers

    Wong

    LONGEST SERVING DAS SECRETARY RETIRES. Barbara Dobson, the fi rst secretary to the District Attorney in Fort Bend County, after working under fi ve different DAs since the offi ce was established in 1977, retired on April 30. At a well-attended farewell party held at Gus George Police Academy, four of the fi ve DAs paid rich tributes to Dobsons personality, character and professionalism. Above, Dobson is fl anked by current DA John Healey, to her right, and the fi rst DA Charles Dickerson, to her left, with the second DA Bill Meitzon, far right, and Sam Dick, third DA, far left. The fourth DA and Healeys predecessor Jack Stern is not in the picture. Dobson fi rst began her job in the county attorneys offi ce in Fort Bend in 1971, then went to Houston for a few years and came back in 1981. She was secretary to the then County Attorney Dickerson, who was appointed the fi rst DA of the county when the position was created in 1977. Healey described Dobson as the most valuable person of the DAs offi ce for 36 years. She has been strong-willed, discerning, offi ce coordinator for the last 21 years and she was the face of the DAs offi ce ( as mentioned by Meitzon). She would tell me if I was making a mistake. She had that much knowl-edge. Dobson outlived courthouse buildings, Dick said. In the DAs offi ce, the staff was afraid of the secretary more than the boss, he said as a testimony to her insight into the offi ce.

    Two Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra violinists who were born in Russia and immigrated to the United States are look-ing forward to sharing the mu-sic of their homeland during the orchestras May 19 con-cert, From Russia with Love. The season-closer begins at 2 p.m. at the Stafford Centre,

    10505 Cash Road in Stafford.When I listen to Russian

    music, I want to clap and tell everyone Im Russian because the music makes me proud of my Russian heritage, said Anastasia Golenkova Marshall who joined FBSO in 2004. Tofi k K. Khanmamedov, a 12-year member of FBSO, is pleased with the focus on Rus-sian music that includes a mix of folk selections and master-works. Its a good, balanced program.

    During From Russia with Love, FBSO will perform Tchaikovskys Romeo and Ju-liet Fantasy Overture, Glires Russian Sailors Dance and Kabalevskys Colas Breugnon Overture, which features some jazzy syncopation. Also fea-tured is Sabre Dance, an ex-citing Armenian dance where the dancers display their sabre skills. Reserved seats for From Russia with Love are $12 and $17 for adults and may be pur-chased at fbso.org or by call-ing 281-276-9642. Discounts are available for seniors 55 and over, students, military and groups of 10 or more. Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult, but need a reserved ticket.

    From Russia with love

    FBSO violinist Anastasia Marshall, a native of Russia, prepares for the Fort Bend Symphonys May 19 concert of Russian music while wear-ing the everyday attire for a married woman in Russia. (Photo by Coleman Locke)

    By SESHADRI KUMARFort Bend County Commis-

    sioners Court is facing a dilem-ma to approve the $450,000 requested by Sheriff Troy Nehls to pay overtime or not.

    If the court approves it, the contingency reserve will be de-pleted.

    County Auditor Ed Sturdivant is concerned about the depletion of the $734,000 in contingency because the county will have no money left to pay for the indigent attorney fees to various courts for the next six months.

    If the commissioners dont ap-prove the overtime, the sheriff may be forced to cut patrol ser-vices and the onus for inadequate law enforcement will fall on the commissioners court.

    The request for the addition-al $450,000 in overtime being sought by Nehls is not in the 2013 budget, presented by the former Sheriff Milton Wright.

    Soon after Nehls took offi ce, the court approved an additional $160,000 to pay for the promo-tions caused by the civil service commission.

    Nehls during his campaign last year criticized the then sheriffs offi ce for spending excessively on overtime and cutting the over-time was one of his main cam-paign pledges.

    Wright took note of Nehls

    campaign promise and accord-ingly slashed the overtime from about $735,000 to $200,000, for the enforcement division. That overtime amount was nearly ex-hausted by Wright himself from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2012.

    County commissioners by ap-proving the budget as present-ed by Wright, acquiesced into Wrights logic that his successor had promised to slash overtime in the department.

    That campaign promise has now come to haunt everyone, those who believe Nehls said so and those who believe otherwise. Nehls denies that he ever prom-ised to eliminate overtime, but only said he would reduce it by effi cient management of person-nel.

    We are fi nding ways to re-duce overtime as I said I would...We will fi nd ways to get enough money to take us through the end of the year, Nehls said.

    In the 2014 budget, Nehls said he would be reducing overtime by nearly 40 percent. The de-partments entire overtime bill is about $1.1 million and Nehls plans to cut it down to $650,000. We have lot of built-in overtime and I have changed that to effect savings, he said.

    As a proof of his control over overtime expenditures, Nehls said in October 2012, the over-

    time bill was $63,000, in No-vember 2012, it was $54,000 and in December, the last month of Wright in offi ce, the bill was $77,000.

    In January 2013, the fi rst month under the new sheriff, the overtime bill was $31,000 and in February $34,000.

    Sturdivant is not comfort-able with the idea of raiding the contingency fund for sheriffs overtime bill. The $2 million al-located for indigent attorney fees would be exhausted by the end of the third quarter, leaving no funds for payments in the last quarter of the year, Sturdivant said.

    Sturdviant suggested that the sheriff could take money from the forfeiture funds, exceeding $1 million, and from the opera-tions budget. But, Nehls is not inclined to do so.

    If the contingency fund is tapped, the county will have to scrape money from every other department to allow for future contingencies.

    The commissioners could minimize the impact by approv-ing part of the overtime payment from the contingency funds and the rest from other departments or sheriffs own department.

    The commissioners are sched-uled to vote on the item on Tues-day, May 7.

    Commissioners court in a bind over sheriffs overtime request

    In early voting for the May 11 local elections in the fi rst six days, 1,439 people have voted in the Fort Bend ISD elections. In Mis-souri City Dist. A, 166 people have voted and in Dist. B, 108 have voted early. In a report in this paper last week, the name of a can-didate in the Missouri City Dist. A race was incorrectly printed as Rodney Smith. It should read Rodney Griffi n. The other two candidates in the race are Bobby Marshall and Yolanda Ford.In Stafford MSD election, 152 have voted through Saturday.

    Offi cial newspaper of Fort Bend County, Missouri City & Sugar Land

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