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Fort Bend Independent

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Weekly community newspaper


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

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

    VOL 6 No. 47

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

    Seshadri KumarPublisher & Editor

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


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

    And watch a hawk making lazy circles in the sky . . . if youve been in an open space or on a car ride, it is very likely youve seen Red-Tail Hawk circling in the sky. They live year round in the continental US and summer from Alaska across Canada below the Arctic Circle. Mountains, deserts, prairies, rain for-ests in Central America and urban areas all boast Red-Tails. Fall to winter is one of the best times for watching birds of prey. Fort Bend is an area where the Red-Tails 8 variations of color come into a rare confl uence and can be seen along with many other raptors. 18-24 this large Hawk is bulky bodied. You may think youre seeing an immature Bald Eagle, until you see an eagle. They eat rodents, small mammals, reptiles and other prey their keen eyes spot. More photos by Margaret Sloan may be seen by visiting http://traction.typepad.com/birds

    By SESHADRI KUMARThe Traffi c Safety Task

    Force, appointed by the Sugar Land City Council to study the effectiveness of the Citys red light camera program, will rec-ommend to the city council to continue the red light camera program, with some possible modifi cations.

    The committee at its last meeting on Nov. 14, voted against the elimination of red light cameras, nine to one.

    The task force expected to develop a recommendation that could include elimination of Sugar Lands red light program; modifi cation of the program; or continuation of the program.

    After the city rejected a pe-tition containing more than 3,000 signatures requesting the red light camera program to be placed on the ballot for a refer-endum, the task force was set up.

    After hearing presentations from the opponents of red light camera program and the Sugar land Police Departments jus-tifi cation of the program, the committee discussed the likely

    An ornament to be placed on the 2013 Christmas tree inside the Capitol for State House District 26 was presented by its artist at the newly dedicated Sugar Land Veterans Memorial. One side of the or-nament features the Memorial Parks stunning walk-through obelisk honoring all the branches of the Military. The memorial is intended to celebrate the values embodied by all service members who served in all of Americas wars. State Rep. Rick Miller, a retired U.S. Navy Captain, was honored to be present for the Sept. 30, ribbon cutting ceremony, memorializing the Fort Bend Veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifi ce in service to their country. The other side of the ornament, is a rep-resentation of the Honor and Remember. Miller carried the bill that was signed by the Governor during his fi rst session, the 83rd Legislative Session in 2013, to adopt the fl ag in honor of Texans who have given their lives in service to the nation. Artist Jeanne Dazey, right, taught in Fort Bend ISD for 20 years and now teaches at a private high school, Alexander-Smith Academy. She is also an art instructor at Sugar Land Artists Alliance during the summers. Jeanne Dazey presented her work to Miller on Veterans Day 2013 at Memorial Park featured on the ornament.

    Photo by MARY FAVRE

    Birds of Fort Bend: Red-Tailed Hawk

    Christmas Ornament for State Capitol Christmas Tree

    recommendations last week.The only member who vot-

    ed for the elimination of the red light camera program was D.V. Kumar. The city failed to present data that would show that red light cameras reduced accidents at intersections, Ku-mar said. The burden was on the city police department to prove that the red light cameras resulted in fewer accidents, he said.

    There have been reductions in accidents in the red light camera intersections, and that could be not due to red light cameras, and not attributable to RLCs. Also, crashes that oc-curred in an intersection even when someone ran a red light could be due to other factors such as drivers impairment.

    The city should have had a control site and provided statis-tics before and after the instal-lation of red light cameras. In the absence of such evidence, the main reason, namely reduc-tion in accidents, is not estab-lished and consequently, the red light cameras should be eliminated, Kumar said.

    Almost everybody on the committee agreed that there was no conclusive evidence to show that Red Light Cameras reduced accidents, but they be-lieved the police departments claim that it improved public safety and it is an effective tool. The committee members believed the submission by the

    police department that red light cameras changed driver behav-ior and it freed a police offi cer from physically monitoring traffi c and use the resource for crime prevention elsewhere. One member said it is worth having red light cameras if it saves even one life.

    Then, the committee voted on possible modifi cations to the program, 7 to 3. There was no consensus on specifi c modi-fi cations, but the committee could broadly suggest modifi -cations in the area of signage, yellow light duration, wordings in the ticket and fi ne amount for turning right on red without a stop.

    One member asked about the possibility of placing the issue on a referendum. The member asked why the initial petition was rejected by the city. No one seemed to know the reason. The committee chair said that was not relevant to the task on hand and the committee need not worry about what had hap-pened in the past.

    The reason was well publi-cized and is also posted on the city website.

    (No one from the city pres-ent at the meeting offered to explain the reason the citizens petition was rejected, ostensi-bly because the committee was independent and the city did not want to appear to be offer-ing any information without being asked by the committee.)

    The petition, submitted in April, included the required number of signatures; however, the signatures were not collect-ed in the manner specifi ed by the City Charter, a document that was reviewed and updated by Sugar Land voters in 2011.

    City council is expected to receive the report on Nov. 19 and will take follow up action, if any.

    Small gainHelwig F. Van der Grinten,

    founder, Houston Coalition Against Red Light Cameras, who led the unsuccessful peti-tion drive, described the report of the task force as a small gain.

    We wont rest until we have an outright ban on red light cameras, or a public vote on their continued use, Van der Grinten said.

    The task force declined to involve itself in the ongoing controversy regarding the re-jection of our valid petition to put the question of continuing the RLC program on the ballot for an up or down vote by the citizens of Sugar Land. But, we urge the city to immediately adopt all of the recommenda-tions especially extending the yellow light change interval by a signifi cant amount and great-ly reducing the fi ne for an im-proper right turn on red, Van der Grinten said.

    Task force decides to keep red light cameras

    This years Deck the Halls concert, presented by the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra, will be more magical than ever as the St. Laurence Chamber Singers join the orchestra in this special holiday presenta-tion. This popular concert be-gins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8 at the Stafford Centre.

    Some of the seasonal favor-ites on the program include Sleigh Ride, The Christmas Song, Frosty the Snowman and Christmas Fantasia. FBSO will accompany the St. Laurence Chamber Singers in Hallelujah Chorus, Carol of the Bells and several additional selections.

    The concert also features an audience sing-along to We Wish You A Merry Christmas. Other special guests include Stafford Mayor Leonard Scar-cella narrating Twas the Night Before Christmas, plus photo opportunities with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.

    This years concert is under the direction of associate con-ductor Dr. Dominique Royem. Beginning at 1:30 p.m., she will share some programming notes during an informal time called Beyond the Baton.

    For best seats, purchase tick-ets early at fbso.org or call 281-276-9642. Reserved seats for adults begin at $12 with dis-counts for adults 55 and over, students, military and groups of 10 or more. Children 12 and

    Fort Bend Symphony musicians, joyously preparing for the Sunday, Dec. 8 Deck the Halls Christmas concert, include John Gearhart, harp; Patricia Guzman, cello; Aimee Peterson, co-concertmistress; and Chelsea Keaton, bass clarinet.

    Fort Bend Symphony to spread cheer

    under are free with a reserved ticket. The Stafford Centre is

    located at 10505 Cash Road in Stafford.

    This photo is in celebration of Principal Appreciation month for Settlers Way Elementary School. The awesome princi-pals are Kristi Durham and Brenda Perkins with their 17 full vases of roses received from students.

    Principal appreciation

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