Katy Texas

The Online Resource Directory for Katy, Texas

Katy, TX Blog (May 30, 2017) – The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 30. During these months, Texas is more susceptible to powerful and destructive tropical storms and hurricanes. The City of Katy encourages everyone to assemble a disaster supply kit of emergency supplies including:

  • First-aid kit
  • NOAA Weather Radio or battery-operated radio
  • flashlight
  • necessary medications
  • non-perishable food items
  • bottled water

Tips:

  • Follow the City of Katy Office of Emergency Management on Twitter and Facebook for local updates.
  • Keep an eye out for storm-related hashtags on Twitter and Facebook to stay up-to-speed on storms as they progress.
  • Review your area’s hurricane evacuation map every year and watch for traffic updates to make the best decisions if an evacuation is needed.
  • Remember the evacuation assistance hotline, 2-1-1.
  • Always obey evacuation orders without hesitation, secure your home before leaving, and take pets with you.

Helpful Links: 

 

Katy, Texas (May 2, 2017) – The Katy Flyer was built by American Car & Foundry in 1953 as 44-seat coach No. 5468. It was renamed the Katy Flyer in 1993.

In 1896, the Missouri Kansas & Texas Railroad announced the inauguration of the Katy Flyer, with service between St. Louis, Mo., and southwest Texas. By 1905, “The Fast Train to St. Louis” raced between Galveston, Texas, and St. Louis in about 37 hours. The Flyer carried a boilerbuffet-sleeper for the convenience of those passengers who wished to have their meals served aboard the train. Other passengers were permitted to detrain at Parsons, McAlester or Dallas, Texas, to eat at the company-owned dining station where “the price is only fifty cents and the railway spares no pains or expenses to please the most fastidious.”

By the mid-1920s, the Texas Special and Katy Limited were receiving most of the attention on the Katy. Nevertheless, Nos. 5 and 6 still carried the St. Louis-to-Galveston passengers, handling not fewer than six sleepers, many of them destined for San Antonio, which Katy proclaimed “The Winter Playground of America.” In 1936, for the Texas centennial, the temporarily renamed Katy Centennial Flyer carried tourists to a variety of celebrations on the Katy’s service area.

By the end of World War II, the Katy Flyer was on a downward slide, meal services were cut back, and by 1961 the train name disappeared, with Nos. 5 and 6 offering only coach service. All passenger service ended June 30, 1965. Nonetheless, Katy and its passenger train service played an important role in opening and promoting the Texas Southwest. No Katy train was more prominent in this effort than the Katy Flyer.

Courtesy of Union Pacific 

Katy, TX (March 29, 2017) – Katy Magazine gives a shout-out to all the good news happening in our community.

Compiled by Katy Magazine’s Editors

Katy ISD’s Lunch Angel
An anonymous donor contributed $650 to pay off negative balances for free and reduced lunch students at Mayde Creek Junior High, Cardiff Junior High, Mayde Creek Elementary, and Mayde Creek High School.

Katy Million Meal Pack-A-Thon
Host churches Redeemer Community Church, The Fellowship, and Westland Baptist Church held an event where 626,000 Feed the Hunger meal packages were packed by 2,500 Katy area volunteers.

Katy High School Faculty
Faculty and staff raised $4,450 to donate to The Ballard House.

Santa Cops
Katy ISD’s Santa Cops program helped 674 children and more than 330 families by providing toys and clothing.

Raising Cane’s
The chicken finger restaurant sold white plush puppies to patrons. The sales of the puppies went to help the animals at Special Pals Shelter.

Fort Bend Rancher’s Ball
The ball raised almost $290,000 through the hard work and dedication of Katy residents as well as Commissioner Andy Meyers. The money has been donated to Katy Christian Ministries, Simonton Christian Academy, and Katy Contemporary Arts Museum.

Watercrest at Katy
Residents of Watercrest at Katy raised $1,746 to donate to Katy Christian Ministries.

KISSUE
During an evening charity event, the upscale clothing boutique donated 20% of its sales to Clothed by Faith.

Cinco Ranch Giving Circle
The members, made up of Katy area residents, collected $1,521 to donate to Child Advocates of Fort Bend.

Chick-fil-A
Employees brought clothing items to their company party and donated everything to Hope Impacts.

Impress Computers
The company collected teddy bears to donate to the Joe Joe Bear Foundation.

Fulshear Police Department
For every Red, White, & Rescue calendar sold, the police department donated funds to Special Pals Shelter.

Camp Bow Wow
Katy Employees and patrons dropped off pet food, toys, and other needed items for animals in foster care.

Monty Ballard YMCA at Cinco Ranch
The health and fitness club partnered with Cigna to offer free health screenings to help people find out their four health numbers: blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and BMI.

BH Hair Studio
The salon gave away free makeovers to five lucky patrons.

Girl Scout Troop 129068
Scouts prepared pancakes, bacon, and eggs for dinner, then served them to residents at The Ballard House.

Katy Triathlon at Firethorne
The event raised more money than expected and is increasing scholarships from $1,500 to $2,000.

Houston Methodist West Hospital
Volunteers from the hospital visited families delivering teddy bears donated by Beckendorff Junior High, tigers from Katy Junior High, and blankets donated by National Charity League Katy Chapter.

 

Have something GOOD to share? Email good@katymagazine.com.

Katy, TX (March 9, 2017) – Everybody loves a freebie now and then. We’ve tracked down all the places in Katy to get a free product, service, or meal. Take a look!

BIRTHDAY

Applebee’s – Get one free birthday entree.

Arby’s – Diners get a free small shake with any purchase on their birthday.

Auntie Anne’s – One free birthday pretzel.

A&W Restaurants – Get a free root bear float on your big day.

Baskin Robbins – Get one 2.5 oz ice cream scoop on the house for your birthday.

BJ’s Restaurants – Birthday boys and girls get a free pizookie dessert.

Buffalo Wild Wings – Free snack-size wings.

Camp Bow Wow Katy  – All birthday dogs will get a free bath, a “Happy Birthday” bandanna, and a photo on their Facebook page. No credits – baths must be given on your dog’s birthday. (Dogs must pass all camp requirements.) Visit campbowwow.com.

Chuck E. Cheese – Birthdays get 100 free tickets.

CiCi’s Pizza – One free buffet with the purchase of an adult buffet and a regular drink.

Corner Bakery – A free cookie or bakery sweet.

Denny’s – Their Grand Slam Breakfast is free on your birthday.

Fuddrucker’s – $5 off your check, and kids receive free burgers on their birthday.

Great American Cookies – Get a slice of cookie cake at no charge with the purchase of a regular drink.

Grimaldi’s – Get a large, one-topping pizza for free on your birthday.

IHOP – Birthday diners get a free stack of Rooty Tooty Fresh N Fruity pancakes.

James Coney Island – Enjoy a cheese coney on the house on your birthday.

Jason’s Deli – Receive a $5 discount on your check.

La Madeleine – Get a free pastry on your special day.

Landry’s Seafood House – Choose from a complimentary appetizer or dessert with the purchase of an entree.

Marble Slab Creamery – Receive a free small cup or cone.

Marco’s Pizza – Anyone celebrating a birthday can get a free medium, one-topping pizza.

Nothing Bundt Cakes – Free Bundtlet cake on your birthday.

Olive Garden  – Get a free app or dessert with the purchase of two adult entrees.

Panera Bread – Get any bakery item at no charge on your birthday.

Rainforest Cafe  – Birthdays get a free appetizer with purchase of an entree.

RedBox Movie Rental – Complimentary Blu-Ray or DVD rental.

Red Lobster – Go in on your birthday and receive $5 your check with the purchase of two entrees.

Rita’s Italian Ice – Get a free regular Italian ice on your big day.

Schlotzky’s  – Redeem one free sandwich on your birthday.

Smashburger – Enjoy a hand-spun shake on the house with the purchase of an entree.

Smoothie King – Birthdays can purchase a 20 oz. smoothie for only $2.99.

Starbucks – Free hot or cold drink, bottled beverage, or food item on your birthday.

Taco Cabana – Birthdays get a free flauta plate that includes three chicken flautas, rice, beans, pico de gallo, sour crea,guacamole, and two tortillas.

Texas Roadhouse – Chow down on a free appetizer or sidekick of ribs with the purchase of an entree on your birthday.

Which Wich – Redeem a free small sandwich on your birthday.

Wing Stop – Enjoy a free order of large fries on the house.

Zaxby’s – Birthdays will receive a free Nibbler sandwich.

Zoe’s Kitchen – Enjoy a free entree on your special day.

NOTE: Please visit individual websites for more details – as most offers are valid only through e-mail subscriptions or app downloads. 

TEACHERS/SCHOOLS

Barnes & Noble – Teachers get a 20% discount on qualifying purchases when they are a part of the B&N Educator Program.

Leafology Tea Lounge Katy – Katy ISD teachers and faculty will receive 25% off a menu item when they present a valid ID. Visit leafologytealounge.com.

McDonald’s – Katy ISD teachers and faculty will receive a free small McCafe coffee when they present their school ID during the 2016-2017 school year. (Participating locations – see our blogs page for details.)

Katy Budget Books  – Teachers will receive 20% off in-store pick-up or school delivery when they order new books for their classrooms. They also have a Used Book Credit Account that has been donated to public school teachers for the purchase of used books for the classroom. Visit katybooks.com.

Michael’s – Teachers can get 15% their entire in-store purchase.

Peter Chang Restaurant – Katy ISD teachers and faculty can receive 10-50% off in January and August. Visit peterchangtx.com.

Texas Roadhouse – Teachers can get 10% off their meal every Tuesday with a valid school ID.

Verum Vi CrossFit Katy – Full-time teachers and students receive 10% off of their membership.


MILITARY/FIRST RESPONDERS

24 Hour Fitness – Active, reserve, and retired military and dependents receive 10% off their membership, and free workouts on Memorial Day weekend.

A&W – Active military can present valid military ID for a special discount at their Katy store. Details vary by location.

Aeropostale – Active, retired, and reserve military and their dependents get 20% off their purchase at any store nationwide.

Anne Taylor Loft – The Katy Mills Mall location offers 15% off full-priced items for active, reserved, and retired military and their dependents.

AT&T – Active, reserve, and retired military as well as veterans will receive a 15% government discount with a valid military or VA ID. Veterans must show a copy of your DD214 at all Katy locations.

AutoZone – Offers free shipping for online orders for any FPO or APO address for active, retired, and reserve military. Check with individual Katy stores for additional military discount programs.

Banana Republic – Their Katy Mills location offers 10% off in-store purchases on the first Monday of every month for active, retiree, reserved, veterans, and dependents.

Bass Pro Shop – From the 15th to the 22nd of every month, active, retired, reserve, veterans, and dependents can receive a store-specific discount when they present active military ID or DD214. Discount does not include reels, electronics, firearms, ammunition and reloading equipment, scopes, bows, arrows, taxidermy, gift cards, Tracker boats, Mercury motors, or ATV’s.

Camp Bow Wow – All military personnel receive 10% off all boarding and day camps, and 5% off of retail services. Just show proof of employment for the discount to be applied. (Dogs must pass all camp requirements.) Visit campbowwow.com.

Country Park Portraits– Active military personnel can receive a complimentary portrait session and 8 x 10 photo when they present a military ID.

Eddie Bauer – Active, retired, and reserve military and their families can receive 10 – 15% off in-store purchases. Must ask about veteran discounts at your location.

El Pollo Loco – Military service members receive 15% off of their order.

Goodwill – Offers 30% discounts to first-responders and their families every Friday.

Lowe’s Home Improvement – They offer a 10% military discount to active military, retired veterans, and immediate family. Must present a valid DD214 or other proof of service. Personal purchases only.

Michael’s – Military and immediate family can receive 15% off their entire in-store purchase when they present a valid military ID.

Peter Chang Restaurant – Police officers can get discounts in  April and October, family members of military in the month of May, and firefighters (regular, volunteer, and family) in the month of September. Discounts range from 10 – 50 percent and valid occupation ID is required. Visit peterchangtx.com.

Texas Roadhouse – Military members get 30% off their meal every day.

Verum Vi CrossFit Katy – Police, firefighters, EMT, and active military receive 15% off of their membership. Veterans receive 10% off of their membership.

WellPet Center Veterinary Hospital – Pets of active or veteran military and public service members get 15% off of their service.


SENIOR CITIZEN DISCOUNTS
Applebee’s – Diners aged 60 and up can get 10 to 15% off their meal at certain locations.

Burger King – Ages 60+ receive 10% off their order plus additional discounts on coffee and soft drinks.

Carrabba’s Italian Grill – AARP members get 15% off their entire meal.

Denny’s – Most locations offer 15% AARP members who are 55 and older.

Dunkin’ Donuts – AARP members get a free donut with the purchase of a large or extra large coffee.

El Pollo Loco – Seniors 60 and over receive 10% off their order.

Fuddrucker’s – Get 10% any senior platter if you are over 55 years old.

IHOP – They offer special pricing on breakfast items for diners over 55.

Office Depot/Office Max – AMAC members get 10% off office products.

Stein Mart – Shoppers over the age of 55 get 20% every Monday.


Please call to verify these deals and offers, as some vary by location or require an app download or coupon to redeem. 

Katy, TX (March 6, 2017) – Katy Magazine has compiled a list of Easter Sunday services and family events for 2017.

Easter_Sunday_03

EASTER SUNDAY SERVICES 

Church services in Katy, Texas on Sunday, April 16, 2017

Bridgepoint Bible Church
13277 Katy Fwy., Houston

Services will begin at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. There will be an Easter egg hunt for children immediately following the 11 a.m. service. Visit bridgepointbible.org.


Central Baptist Church
2855 Greenhouse Rd., Houston

There will be an Easter drama performance in lieu of a service at 11 a.m. Visit cbchou.org.


Higher Dimension Church
5819 10th St.

There will be services at 8, 9:15, 10:30, and 12:30 on Easter Sunday. Visit higherd.net.


Kingsland Baptist Church
20555 Kingsland Blvd.

They will have a 7 a.m. sunrise service, and services at 8, 9:30, and 11 a.m. There will also be a Saturday service at 3, 5, and 7 p.m., and a Spanish service at 6:15 p.m. in the Courts. Visit kingsland.org.


Second Baptist Church – West Campus
19449 Katy Fwy.

Join the SBC family for 9:30 and 11 a.m. services. Visit second.org.


Bethel Bible Fellowship
25335 Fulshear Gaston Rd., Richmond
9:30 and 11:00 a.m.

The Church at Cane Island
Katy High School
6331 Highway Blvd.
9:30 a.m.

Church of the Holy Apostles
1225 W. Grand Pkwy. S.
8 and 10:30 a.m.

CrossPoint Community Church
700 S. Westgreen Blvd.
9 and 11 a.m.

Epiphany of the Lord Catholic Church
1530 Norwalk Dr.
8, 9:45 and 11:30 a.m., and 5:30 p.m.

The Fellowship
22765 Westheimer Pkwy.
8:45, 10:05, and 11:25 a.m.

First Baptist Church of Katy
600 Pin Oak Rd.
8:30 and 10:30 a.m.

First United Methodist Church
5601 5th St.
8:30, 9:45, and 11 a.m.

Grace Anglican Community
24968 Katy Ranch Rd.
9:30 a.m.

Grace Community Fellowship
Exley Elementary
21800 Westheimer Pkwy.
10:45 a.m.

Grace Fellowship United Methodist Church
2655 S. Mason Rd.
8:45 and 10:45 a.m.

Grand Lakes Presbyterian Church
6035 S. Fry Rd.
9, 10, and 11 a.m.

Holy Covenant Methodist Church
22111 Morton Rd.
8:30 and 11 a.m.

St. Edith Stein Catholic Service
3311 N. Fry Rd.
9 and 11 a.m., and 6 p.m.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
5373 Franz Rd.
8 and 11:30 a.m.

St. Peter’s United Methodist Church 
20775 Kingsland Blvd.
6:30, 8, 9:30, and 11 a.m.

The Waters Church
2710 N. Mason Rd.
9:15 and 11 a.m.

Westland Baptist Church
1407 W. Grand Pkwy S.
8:30, 9:45, and 11 a.m. (11 a.m. service will have a deaf interpreter)


EASTER EVENTS

A list of family-friendly Easter events in Katy, Texas

Saturday – Sunday, April 15 – 16, 2017 10:00  a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Easter Extravaganza

Blessington Farms
510 Chisolm Trail, Wallis

Families can enjoy a day of Easter fun with egg hunts, playing in Farm Funland, and picking strawberries. Visit blessingtonfarms.com.


Friday, April 14, 2017 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Hop Into Spring with the Easter Bunny
LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch
23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd.

Families can take a photo with the Easter Bunny while enjoying musical performances, games, and more. Visit lacenterra.com.


Friday, April 14, 2017 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Journey to the Cross and Personal Lord’s Supper Family Walk-Through

Kingsland Baptist Church
20555 Kingsland Blvd.

The Journey to the Cross walk through is a brief, come-and-go experience for preschool and children’s families to gain a better understanding of the events that led to Jesus Christ’s ultimate sacrifice. Interactive stations will encourage discussion and participation for the entire family, located in the Crawford Center. The Lord’s Supper is a powerful way to remember Christ’s sacrifice. Guides will be provided to walk families through an intimate time of reflection, located in the Worship Center. Visit kingsland.org.


Friday, April 14, 2017 6:30 p.m.
Bethel Bible Fellowship
25335 Fulshear Gaston Rd., Richmond

Join them as they remember Christ’s sacrifice on Good Friday. Childcare will be provided for ages 4 and under.


Saturday, April 15, 2017 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Easter Festival
Central Baptist Church
2855 Greenhouse Rd.

Enjoy the Easter festival with family and friends. They will have games, food, candy, a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, and much more.


Saturday, April 15, 2017 10:00 a.m.
EGG-Stravaganza Easter Show and Egg Hunt
The Fellowship
22765 Westheimer Pkwy.

Children and parents alike will enjoy award-winning ventriloquist, story-teller, and musician Dennis Lee. Kids can visit with the Easter Bunny and the Chick-fil-A Cow. Admission is free, but tickets must be reserved online at thefellowship.org.


Saturday, April 15, 2017 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. or 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Easter at the Ranch
Smith Ranch
25440 Beckendorff Rd.
Kids can run, play, and hop until their hearts content with a special day of fun at this 40-acre ranch. Hunts will be divided by age. Visit smithranchkaty.com.


Saturday, April 15, 2017 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Cypress Custom Pools
14119 Grant Rd., Cypress

They will have an Easter egg hunt, games, and food for everyone. Visitors will have the opportunity to look around the design center and see two demonstration pools. There will be door prizes so make sure to invite the whole family.


Saturday, April 15, 2017 5:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Fun Glow Run & Flashlight Egg Hunt
Jordan Ranch
30722 Sonora Ridge Dr., Brookshire

You don’t want to miss this nighttime Easter adventure. Families can participate in a 3-mile run, walk, or bike ride through the neighborhood. After the race, children and teens can participate in an egg hunt by flashlight. Proceeds benefit the March of Dimes Foundation.


Sunday, April, 16, 2017 10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Easter Brunch
Sammy’s Steakhouse
7035 W. Grand Pkwy. S.

Specialty drinks and a custom brunch menu for those with a reservation. Call 281-762-0866.


Sunday, April 16, 2017 11:00 a.m.
Easter Celebration
The Church at Cane Island
6331 Highway Blvd.

There will be a fun, day filled with Easter egg hunts, crafts, music, and more.


Sunday, April 16, 2017 12:30 or 1:00 p.m.
Glow-in-the-Dark Hunt
TILT Studio
5000 Katy Mills Cir.

Get your glow on with two Easter egg hunts! Kids ages 2 to 6 will pick an egg from display in the Black Light Mini-Golf course at 12:30 p.m., while kids ages 7 to 11 will hunt in the Black Light laser tag arena at 1 p.m. Visit tiltstudio.com.


 

Katy, TX News (March 2, 2017) – When it comes to working toward a successful business, Sam Zavary says the key is planning, planning, planning.

That was the message of the Exclusive Furniture CEO’s presentation Thursday night at the University of Houston-Victoria Katy Campus. Zavary shared his knowledge with UHV students, alumni, faculty and staff, and community members as part of the UHV School of Business Administration Distinguished Speaker Series.

“The Distinguished Speaker Series gives UHV students access to some of the wisdom and personal experiences of leaders in the business world,” said Farhang Niroomand, dean of the UHV School of Business Administration. “Sam Zavary’s presentation was full of insight and advice that reinforces many of the concepts taught in our classrooms. We are grateful for his participation in the series.”

Zavary began selling furniture 18 years ago in a 2,000-square-foot store. Now, the company has access to 250,000 square feet of space, including warehousing and seven Exclusive Furniture locations throughout Houston.

The CEO took a more interactive approach to his presentation than many previous speakers. Instead of a long lecture, he opened with a 10-minute presentation, then took questions from the large audience.

“This was a great opportunity for our students to have personal interaction with someone who was just like them 18 years ago,” said Jifu Wang, associate dean of the UHV School of Business Administration. “Students can learn the theory of how to be successful in the classroom and even get some experience through simulations, but it’s important for them to see these high-caliber, successful stories in person.”

In addition to planning, Zavary emphasized the importance of communication and training. Poor communication can lead to all kinds of problems for businesses, he said. And because the market constantly is changing, it is vital that employees go through training that reflects those changes.

“My employees undergo training every day,” he said. “It is what makes us different from our competitors.”

At the end of the discussion, Zavary referred to the changing attitude many people have toward shopping and making major purchases. Today, more and more customers are interested in buying everything from clothes to furniture online instead of going to a store. If retail businesses want to remain successful, they must find a way to integrate those changes into their business models, he said.

“The point about the importance of integrating online sales and social media is an important one for today’s students,” Wang said. “At its core, business is about getting results, and we train our students to create solutions to the changes in customers’ preferences and shifts in the business environment.”

In addition to Zavary’s presentation, the winners of the December 2016 undergraduate and graduate Case Conferences were recognized during the event. The first-, second- and third-place teams and honorable mentions were given plaques and honored for their achievement.

Since 2011, the UHV School of Business Administration Distinguished Speaker Series has brought in area executives to discuss contemporary business issues. Past speakers have included Mike Rydin, Heavy Construction System Specialist CEO; Helen Sharkey, a former consultant with Dynegy; Ben Keating, president and owner of Keating Auto Group and Viper Exchange Racing; and Roger Dartt, DeLorean Motor Co. president.

Katy, TX – November 16, 2016

The 41,000 square-foot YMCA at Katy Main Street will feature strength training and cardio equipment, group exercise rooms, a basketball gym, an outdoor heated swimming pool, child watch rooms, cycle studio and gathering areas where members can meet for coffee. It will offer health and wellness activities, aquatics, youth sports, afterschool care, summer day camp, summer sports clinics, teen programs, senior activities and more.

“A lot of thought went into the design of this new facility. We’ve used best practice concepts from Ys across the country,” said Brian Haines, district executive director at the YMCA of Greater Houston. “We hope many people will take advantage of the new membership incentive so they can gain access to both Ys in Katy as well as in the Greater Houston area.”

The $12 million center is expected to accommodate the growing population of Katy, serving residents in west and north Katy and in neighboring communities.

The YMCA at Katy Main Street is expected to receive more than 400,000 visits a year. It will provide approximately $250,000 in community assistance and program/membership scholarships and create more than 200 area jobs.

ymca-at-katy-main-street-rendering-photo-courtesy-of-ymca-of-greater-houston

KATY, TX  – Trendmaker Homes has opened its fully-furnished, luxury model home in Katy’s Cane Island where the Houston homebuilder has debuted a larger version of one of its most popular plans more suitable for the master-planned community’s larger homesites.

Built with a stucco and stone elevation, Trendmaker’s new model home in Cane Island features five bedrooms with a first-floor master suite, 4.5 baths, spacious casual dining area, study, game room, media room, hidden storage area, a three-car garage and covered patio.  The new home also features a second bedroom on the first-floor, ideal for use as a guest room, a baby’s nursery or mother-in-law suite.

Along with opening its new model, Trendmaker will add 22 new luxury homes in one of Cane Island’s secluded, gated sections on 80-foot and larger homesites.  Several coveted cul-de-sac homesites also are available.  Starting in the $550’s, the homebuilder’s one and two-story, four and five-bedroom plans range from 3,614 – 4,787 square feet.  A 1.5-story plan also is available. Trendmaker Home’s model in Katy’s Cane Island is open Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; and Sunday, noon – 6 p.m.

Along with the new Trendmaker model home, Cane Island offers a new model by Perry Homes, now open daily, with others by David Weekley Homes and Coventry Homes opening later this summer.  Ryland Homes, Shea Homes and Toll Brothers also will open fully furnished models in the Katy master-planned community.

Construction also continues on Cane Island’s Welcome Center, Recreation Center, family pool, poolside cafe, glass-walled conservatory and yoga studio.  Other residential neighborhoods, open green spaces, pocket parks and several play areas which pay tribute to the area’s history in railroads, oil and gas, farming and other industries also will be added.

 

Press release courtesy of Kaplan Public Relations

 

Nikki Wood– University of Montevallo in Alabama and will play Division II lacrosse on a scholarship.

Samantha Farrell– University of Montevallo in Alabama and will play Division II lacrosse on a scholarship.

Marisa Braden– University of Texas, Club lacrosse

Tobi Dipelou– University of Oklahoma, Club lacrosse

Their program continues to grow and has a number of former players playing college lacrosse. Currently their program has three former players playing lacrosse at the college level. They also have a number of girls who have continued to play at the club level at their college.

Courtney Brown– Liberty University, Division I, 2013 class

Katy Brown– Concordia University, Division III, 2013 class

Lacey Bowersox– Southwestern University, Division II, 2014 class

Bethany Moore – Texas Tech University, Club lacrosse, 2014 class

Mallory Claypool – University of Texas, Club lacrosse, 2014 class

Courtesy of: Katy Cavaliers Boys & Girls Lacrosse Club 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd., Suite H-120, Box 278, Katy, Texas 77494.  www.katycavalierlacrosse.org

Dear Editor,

I married a beautiful lady here in Katy, last December. She encouraged me to write poetry, after my brain surgery a year ago, to keep my mind (what’s left of it) sharp. So I began to try & then began to post what I wrote on my Facebook page.

I call them T.P.O.T.D, which stands for “The Poem Of The Day” in abbreviation. I refer to my postings as “Fruit from the Poet’s Tree” and today’s plucking was inspired by how much I’ve come to love Katy. I was born in Austin & still maintain a house there. I tell Roxanna (my sweet, amazing bride) that it’s now our vacation home, since we are in Katy the vast majority of our time.

I’ll always love Austin too, but never wrote a poem about it. That brings me to why I am writing “a letter to the editor”. Below is my T.P.O.T.D. I hope this doesn’t waste your time. I appreciate your efforts to publish a fine magazine, which I always enjoy reading.

My T.P.O.T.D.:

 

rr town

Katy Was a Rail-Road Town
Back when folks were
“West-ward HOO & Bound!”
looking for a future & a
brand new town to found.
And I certainly should mention:
’twas the Missouri Kansas Texas extension,
called then by the old brand of
“Union Pacific – Southern Branch”
It went passing along & thru quite a few
farms to market &/or ranch,
soon, that name got grounded
& dropped out of contention,
in favor of a line that became simply known
as the M.K.T. Folks in Texas just liked the way
that “M.K.T.” sounded.
Yes, most of them would agree.

As the Metro-plex of Houston grew
& Katy, Texas was still brand new,
just how fast Katy would grow?
Who knew?
But it sure would not be slow.

As the railroad started laying tracks back in 1895,
The town that James Oliver Thomas was busy
laying out, began to come alive!
Giving it the name of Katy,
He knew that it would thrive,
long before that first M.K.T. railroad train
was scheduled to arrive.
Expecting vast prosperity, folks began to come.
either by the new locomotives,
or in wagon-trains came some.

The original depot station
still stands & holds the memory
of the founders, then filled with elation,
That made Katy come to be.
So, if in the vicinity,
stop in so you can see
the beauty long ago
brought here by the M.K.T.
_______________________________
Yours Truly, George Knaak

Growing up in Katy was one of the best things my parents could have done for me. I was raised a Winborn Eagle, A Katy Tiger, and a member of girl scouts, KYF, and more. Although I didn’t get to fulfill my dream of being a Katy Tiger, I was still able to appreciate everything Katy had to offer. However, besides a great education and amazing town experiences from little league games to the Katy Rice Harvest Festival, my most favorite treasures are my friends.

College station
Diane Winborn Eagles to Texas A&M Aggies
(Left to Right: Ashley McElmurry ’15, Brecklyn Gordon ’15, and Stephanie Ellis ’15)

At the age of four years old, my parents enrolled me in Williamsburg Country Day School and it was there that I met some of my best friends. Soon after, I began my six years at Diane Winborn Elementary, and met some of the best friends that I still have today.

Growing up in Katy made it easy to grow with these friends. We all did girl scouts and attended local town events. We joined the community and participated in almost everything together, even leaving home. Fast forward through high school, and we have arrived at June 2011. We all graduated from High School and were ready to leave Katy. Most of us went to the same place, the place I have called home for the past four years.

One by one, we all traveled to College Station. Some of us went straight to Texas A&M and some of us enrolled at Blinn in hopes to one day be an Aggie. With all these people here, the transition was supposed to be easy. However, I found myself missing home. I started going home a lot, and taking advantage of all of my childhood experiences. I went and rode the rides at the Rice Harvest Festival, sat at Starbucks in La Centerra, and walked around Katy Mills Mall as if I was 13 again. Although this was fun and all, I knew I had to let go, and fully immerse myself in this Aggie town. Lucky for me, I still had a few of my best friends left with me to make these past couple of years easier.

As my roommate and hometown best friend was receiving her ring the other day, it dawned on me that I had to do something I have never done before. I needed to stop and appreciate everything my hometown has done for me. It brought me friends for life and as we all realize that we are permanently connected through the Aggie Network, we acknowledge the fact that we are connected from our hometown roots as well.

Now as a senior in college, I can say that it is time to come home. When I graduated high school I thought I was ready to leave my little home called Katy, Texas. Now, as a more wise soon to be college graduate I can say that I finally appreciate home. So from Katy to College Station, and back home again I go.

By Ashley McElmurry

Katy, TX News (January 29, 2015) – The City of Katy has selected Blackboard Connect, a leading mass notification platform, to facilitate important communication and emergency preparedness. The first community-wide test call will be held on Thursday, January 29, 2015.  A test call to business will launch at 2 pm and the test call to residents will launch at 6:30 pm.

The City of Katy implemented Blackboard Connect so that officials can stay connected to residents and efficiently provide them with direction in the event of severe weather warning, planned and unplanned all-hazard events or community events as well.  Using Blackboard Connect, officials can record and send an unlimited number of personalized voice messages to home phones, businesses, local agencies and mobile phones in just minutes. The service also sends email, text messages (SMS) to mobile phones and posts on Facebook, RSS feeds and Twitter channels. Messages can also be sent to TTY/TDD devices for people who are hearing impaired.

“Keeping our community safe and informed is our top priority, which is why we need to be able to communicate with residents quickly in an urgent situation,” said Maria Galvez, City of Katy’s Emergency Management Coordinator.  “Katy•Connect, powered by Blackboard Connect enables us to communicate efficiently with residents in just a matter of minutes, helping save valuable time, use resources efficiently and protect our community.”

City officials can target each message to an unlimited number of groups. Authorized users can also use the system’s geo-mapping and group subscription features to contact residents based on specific geographical locations and interests, helping ensure recipients receive relevant, targeted information.

“With Katy•Connect – powered by Blackboard, we know our residents are receiving the information that matters most to them, whether it’s an urgent situation or routine community update,” said Mrs. Galvez. “I strongly encourage residents to register their contact information and update their message preferences into the system’s secure database so they are prepared to receive important notifications.”

Publicly available primary residential and business phones in the City of Katy will automatically be included in the system. However, to ensure the City has the most up-to-date contact information, including cell phone numbers and email addresses, residents should visit the City of Katy website at www.cityofkaty.com  and click on the link that says “SIGN UP NOW – SERVICES BY BLACKBOARD CONNECT” in the KatyConnect portal and provide their complete contact information. Users should also manage their message preferences by indicating their preferred mode of contact, language and message topics. You may also opt-in to receive information directly from the PARKS & RECREATION portal as well as PUBLIC WORKS.  Those without Internet access are encouraged to call 281-574-8638 to provide their current information. Residents with call blocking services should add that phone number to their approved number list to ensure they receive important notifications from the city.  All opted-in SMS messages will be sent from a 23177 or 63079 number.

“Targeted communication is the best way to keep residents safe and allows them to receive the information that matters most to them,” said Ed Miller, president of Blackboard’s administrative platform group. “With Blackboard Connect, administrators can ensure the right messages get to the right people.”

For more information about Blackboard Connect, please visit http://www.blackboard.com/connect.

Katy, TX – The word is out! At 12 midnight, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo released the long-anticipated 2015 concert lineup. Many are saying this is the best performance schedule in rodeo history. With chart-topping artists from various genres, this year’s rodeo is sure to be a hit for everyone.

Performing artists include Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Eric Church, Hunter Hayes, John Legend, Fall Out Boy, Tim McGraw, Ariana Grande, Billy Currington, Blake Shelton, Pitbull, Brad Paisley, and Zac Brown Band.

For a full list of entertainers, and for ticket information, visit www.rodeohouston.com/concerts.

Happy Rodeo Season, Katy!

 

More than just a place to stay, Katy’s Ballard House provides patients, caregivers, and families in need with Texas-sized hospitality in a home away from home

Written by Susanna Donald | Select photography by Kristofor Rodriguez

Katy, TX News – It’s no secret that Katy is surrounded by premier medical facilities. People travel from all over the country – and the world – in order to get treatment here. But what happens when an out-of-town patient needs long-term care? Where do they sleep when they don’t qualify for a hospital bed? Being critically ill or having a loved one in the hospital is hard enough. Now imagine compounding the problem by sleeping in waiting rooms or spending money that should be going toward medical bills on a long-stay in a hotel.

KM_DecJan_14_Ballard House-Katy Magazine Winter 2014 by Kristofor Rodriguez 16
The Ballard House, a Cinco Charities community, serves to house families who have traveled to the area for long-term medical treatment

Passion for a Mission
In 2011, Erin Ballard heard about this problem while she was undergoing treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Katy. Her oncologist, Dr. Suni Patel, told her about Cinco Charities, a non-profit dedicated to providing temporary housing for patients and their caregivers coming to Katy area medical facilities for treatment of life-threatening illnesses. Since 2006, Cinco Charities had housed these families in nearby hotels, with the ultimate goal of building a free-of-charge hospitality house that would be open to patients and their families.

Ballard, inspired by the mission of Cinco Charities, donated one of her rental houses in Katy for the non-profit to use, and her passion for the mission was contagious. Erin’s husband, Monty, started the Ballard Foundation in order to help Cinco Charities move toward their goal of the freestanding hospitality house in Katy. Two years later, the Ballard House opened its doors to five families in need of a place to stay. “The generosity of Monty and Erin Ballard has made it possible for so many families to have free lodging,” says Ginger Hopper, Ballard House’s executive director. “The size we envisioned for our ‘house’ was half the size they helped us build.”

Becky Underwood, Pat Mahaffey, Chris Hiller, Erin Ballard, Monty Ballard, Ginger Hopper, Lou Boxleitner (1)
Pictured are board members Becky Underwood, Pat Mahaffey, Chris Hiller, Erin Ballard, Monty Ballard, Ginger Hopper, Lou Boxleitner

Comforts of Home
With 24 guest suites, free onsite laundry facilities, a common kitchen and dining area, stocked pantry, library, chapel, beautiful backyard, and more, this 20,000 square-foot hospitality house truly offers guests the comforts of home. Patients can qualify to stay at Ballard House regardless of age or financial situation. To date, Ballard House has never charged guests anything because of the kindness of sponsors, donors, volunteers, and the Katy community.

Beyond the amenities, though, are the unique relationships that are formed between the families who are staying at  Ballard House. “Families find themselves meeting total strangers who become like family in a very short time,” says Hopper. “We see folks walking through the valley of the shadow of death, but there is so much hope, joy, and love. The Ballard House is a happy place.”

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Guests approved by Cinco Charities are allowed to stay at a preferred lodging facility free of charge.

Making a Difference
Before guests come to stay at the Ballard House, they often find themselves drained financially and physically from traveling back and forth for treatment. Being able to stay somewhere free of charge allows patients to rest, recover, and use their funds for paying medical bills and taking care of things at home.

When Pamela Hockett found out she had breast cancer, she immediately began researching treatment options. “It was clear that MD Anderson, seven hours away, was the only medical facility that offered the treatment I needed,” she says. “The realization that I needed weekly treatment so far from home added an additional burden. Suddenly, I was faced with the possibility of not getting the treatment I needed due to the financial strain of needing housing and daily living expenses.” Hockett had already lost her job and was planning to be married at the beginning of June – incidentally, only a few days before she would start treatment.

Hockett’s social worker at MD Anderson told her about the Ballard House, and soon she and her husband-to-be Michael were offered the room where they would stay as husband and wife and where she could rest and recover from the lifesaving treatment she would receive. “The Ballard House gave us so much more than a room,” Hockett says. “It was hope, and hope makes all the difference.” KM

KM_Dec-Jan_14_Ballard House_Anna and Katarzyna, guests from Poland with Ginger_by Kristofor Rodriguez (2)
Residents Anna and Katarzyna visit with Executive Director Ginger Hopper

An inside look at Katy ISD’s dedicated board of trustees

Written by Shetye Cypher | Photography courtesy of Katy ISD

As one of the fastest growing communities in the nation, Katy ISD is the perfect combination of long-standing tradition and a cutting edge approach to learning. Through collaboration, commitment, and a desire for greatness, the Katy ISD board of trustees is always striving to provide the best educational experience possible for Katy students.

KM_14_Katy ISD Board of TrusteesGroup 4x5 Large
The Katy ISD Board of Trustees (Back Row from Left to Right: Charles Griffin, Ashley Vann, Joe M. Adams, and Courtney Doyle. Front Row from Left to Right: Rebecca Fox, Bryan Michalsky, and Henry Dibrell.)

Bryan Michalsky, President

  • Is the CFO of Cotton Holdings, Inc.
  • Has lived in Katy for six years
  • Was a Bearkat cheerleader for Sam Houston State University
  • Was elected to the board in May 2012

Both lifelong educators, Bryan Michalsky’s parents instilled the importance of a good education early on, which he feels
had a huge impact. “I love children, which to me is the first prerequisite to serve on the board,” he says. He also truly believes that the board has made strides in engaging the community over the past two years since he has served.

In addition to his passion for education, his professional experience provides him with the knowledge to make sound financial decisions. He loves that Katy ISD provides its students many opportunities to learn and succeed. “From athletics, to fine arts, to FFA, Katy ISD does a remarkable job of educating the whole student and preparing them for a fulfilling life,” says Michalsky.

Henry Dibrell, Vice President

  • Plays the drums and was in a band that traveled around the U.S.
  • Is a licensed minister
  • Is a flag football coach at CrossPoint Community Church
  • Was elected to the board in May 2011

Henry Dibrell refers to the involvement of parents and community volunteers as the “secret sauce” behind Katy ISD’s success. “We have an opportunity in Katy to change the face of education for all young people,” he says. “Katy is a great community. We have a bright future. As we continue to grow, we must work together to ensure that greatness continues and is passed down to the next generation.”

Dibrell decided to run for the board out of a passion for seeing young people achieve. He believes the board’s mission is to make sure every child in the community has access to unparalleled learning experiences. “Education is the great equalizer in our society. In this great nation, if you have a good education and work hard you can achieve great things. The key to the preservation of our liberties is an educated populous,” he says.

Rebecca Fox, Secretary

  • Has served in PTA’s, the VIPS executive board, and the Katy Council of PTA executive board
  • Has lived in six countries
  • Works as a motivational speaker

No matter the strengths, challenges, or interests of students, having talented educators ready to teach and inspire is what Rebecca Fox loves about Katy ISD. “I love children of all ages and watching them learn new things. Giving them opportunities that meet their individual strengths makes me excited,” she says.

Fox could not be more proud of the amazing programs that Katy ISD offers students, from fine arts to special needs. “I have attended countless graduations and shaken thousands of hands, and I still get misty-eyed every time I hear the music as they walk the stage and throw their caps into the air. It’s my favorite time of year. I am so proud of them, and happy that they are prepared for the future.”

Charles Griffin, Treasurer

  • Retired from the U.S. Air Force
  • Coached by Gary Joseph at Katy High School
  • Third-generation Katy grad
  • Elected to the board in May 2012

In Charles Griffin’s travels around the world, he has seen the value of a great education. Having lived almost his entire life in Katy, he wants to help restore the trust of the community in the district. “I grew up in Katy and moved back here so my children could have the same great experiences. I wanted to give something back to the district having received so much myself,” he says.

Griffin believes that being a leader includes being honest, loyal, steadfast, and of sound character. He feels the current board’s vision statement works well. “It was put together by this community and covers all the important needs of our students, community, and the district,” he says.

Courtney Doyle, Sergeant-at-Arms

  • Mother of six children
  • Active in PTA and as a community volunteer
  • Secretly wants to adopt six more children
  • Was elected to the board in May 2014

Courtney Doyle feels she is acutely aware of the importance of all kids being given an opportunity to learn. She felt running for the board was a unique opportunity to add another woman’s voice to the leadership. “I want to continue to aid in opening the lines of communication between
the district and the community. We not only have to communicate our goals to those who have been in Katy forever, we have to engage and find unique opportunities to communicate effectively to families who are new to the area,”
she says.

Doyle loves walking the halls of the schools and spending time at extracurricular events. The students brighten her day and her outlook on the future. “Children have a way of sharing hope without even knowing they are doing so. They are innocent, quick to love, quick to laugh, and eager to be great,” says Doyle.

Ashley Vann, Member

  • Graduate of James E. Taylor High School
  • Third-generation community servant
  • Vann and her mother were the founding members of the National Charity League – Katy Chapter
  • Was elected to the board May 2014

Ashley Vann feels that being a Katy resident means that you are a part of something great. “People move to the Katy area for the Katy ISD schools, and I love being a part of this district – its past, its present, and its future,” she says.

A James E. Taylor High School graduate, Vann has served in leadership positions for over a decade in Katy ISD. She is a third generation community servant who felt a calling to do more for the school district. “I campaigned honestly and tirelessly. I communicated clearly, and truly committed to do this job with all of my heart the minute I filed,” says Vann.

Vann also loves that even though the district is significantly larger than when she was a student, it still feels like a small town. “As a product of public education, I always believed my children would be, too,” says Vann. “Education is more than just the classroom. It is hands on learning outside the four walls of a school building. It is achieved through mentoring, the many co-curricular activities that are available, and the fundamental basis and commitment that exists at home.”

Joe M. Adams, Member

  • Has been a proud Katyite since 1986
  • Has held every board position at least once
  • Is a private pilot and owns his own plane
  • Has been a member of the board sine 1989

Joe Adams believes that the board’s job is managing the district along with the superintendent. He says the board wants to continue to improve the district so all students have opportunities to excel. “Education is important for our students because they are our future. One day they might be my doctor, my mechanic, or even the president of the U. S.,” says Adams. “We need to make sure every student is prepared for the next step in life, whatever that might be.”

Adams is confident in the opportunities Katy ISD can offer. “I cannot tell you how many times people have told me that their children have done well in college because of the education they received in Katy ISD,” says Adams. “We need to be proud of our district, our leadership, administration, and teachers. We are all in this together and it is important for us to be successful.” KM

Shetye Cypher is a freelance writer who is also the journalism teacher and publications advisor at Tompkins High School.

Katy Fire Department hires a four-legged firefighter

Written by Kirsten Cornell|Photography by Christopher Rodriguez

Katy, TX News – When Lt. Shane Hughes of the Katy Fire Department (KFD) first thought about adding a four-legged team member to their department, a Dalmatian was a natural choice. “Like any family thinking of getting a dog, we had to carefully consider everything that goes along with pet ownership: costs, vet care, who would walk her, etc.,” says Laurie Conrad, firefighter and president of the Katy Fire and EMS Association. “Everyone in the department had to agree before we would proceed.”

KM_F_14_Katy Dalmatian_Katy with firefighter gear 2_photo by Kristofor Rodriguez
Katy is a rescue Dalmatian at the Katy Fire Department

Rescuing Katy
After considering their options, KFD decided they preferred giving a rescue dog a good home. Beth White of Dalmatian
Rescue of Colorado put them in touch with Jeanne, a woman who was fostering a Dalmatian in League City. Lt. Hughes
met with Jeanne and the foster dog to evaluate her demeanor and evaluate whether or not she would make a good fit.

“A few days later, Jeanne brought her to the station for a site visit,” Conrad recalls. “We fell in love with her immediately, and I believe the feeling was mutual.” They appropriately named their new team member, Katy. She was reportedly rescued from an animal hoarder and had only been in foster care a few days before coming to live at KFD. “She was very thin, but otherwise in good health,” says Conrad. “We knew when we rescued a dog that we would have to give her plenty of time and space to settle in.”

Other than being a little protective of her toys at first, Katy adjusted very quickly. “It almost seemed like she had never had her own toys and wanted to protect them. When we gave them to her, she ran and hid them in her kennel,” says Conrad. With the safety and security of constant love and attention, Katy now feels right at home – and her toys can be found all over the station.

KM_F_14_Katy Dalmatian_Katy Fire Dept. C shift pose in front of a antique Chevelot Firetruck 2_photo by Kristofor Rodriguez
Katy Fire Department works 24 hours on three shifts with Katy being assigned two handlers per shift to ensure consistency

Training as a Firedog
Katy is an official City of Katy employee, has a photo ID just like the rest of her team members, and her training number is D01. Although she has not been to a working fire yet, she Katy Fire Department works 24 hours on three shifts with Katy being assigned two handlers per shift to ensure consistencyhas been on the fire truck during her training exercises and has done very well. “She will eventually be responding to all calls. She loves to be on-the-go and anywhere we are,” adds Conrad.

Katy lives at the fire station, and although she has her own space, has been known to sneak into a few dorm rooms. During shift changes, she makes the rounds, greeting each member of the on-coming shift and saying goodbye to the off-going shift. “She seems to have an awareness that we come and go and which people belong together,” Conrad laughs.

Mac Macintosh, a trainer with 48 years of experience who has also worked with Katy Police Department canines, has donated his time and service to work with Katy and her handlers. He notes that Katy is very intelligent, a quick learner, and eager to please.

Spotting Katy
Katy’s primary role will be in public relations. She will be a key component at events and station tours, and will
ultimately demonstrate fire safety techniques such as, “stop, drop, and roll.” “We hope that she will make a great impression on kids,” Conrad adds. Katy will be making several public appearances in the community, especially at schools, and KFD is excited to be able to utilize her in this capacity. “She is energetic but very even-tempered, perfectly suited for interacting with the public,” says Conrad.

If you take a tour of the station, you’re sure to spot Katy greeting guests or chasing her favorite toy, a stuffed green avocado, and generally loving her new home. “KFD is truly like a family and Katy completes our family,” says Conrad. “She is our companion, but she also has a job to do. We love our jobs, and we think Katy does, too.” KM

Kirsten Cornell is the lead associate editor at Katy Magazine. She is the daughter of a firefighter, but they regrettably did not have a Dalmatian.

Katy the Firedog visits Katy Magazine (6)
Katy Magazine had the pleasure of meeting Katy Fire Department’s newest team member

Spotlighting the students who transform Katy’s Friday nights

Written by Ashley Lancaster and Kirsten Cornell | Select Photography by Craig Moseley   

Katy, TX News – The stands fill with fans of all ages donning their school colors and faces painted with their favorite players’ numbers and armed with pom-poms, foam fingers, and signs. Athletes who have trained for years grind their cleats on the soft AstroTurf as they stare down the 120 yards to the goal line. Dozens of anxious students polish their instruments and fluff their plumes as they go over the spirit numbers one more time. It can only mean one thing: It’s Friday night, and the game is about to begin.

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Mascots are responsible for learning stunts, cheers, and getting the crowd going on Friday Night

KATY’S FOOTBALL TEAMS
A Winning Mindset
While every football program has its own strategies, the coaches and players at each school will tell you that preparing to take on an opponent takes more than just physical strength. “The coaches will begin preparing right after the previous game by watching video of what our next opponent does and how they do it,” says Don Clayton, athletic director and head coach at Cinco Ranch High School. “The players will do the mental work in meetings and video sessions, as well as on their own with study of the scouting report and with opponent video that is available to them.”

Physical preparation is accomplished during weekly practices, which averages about eight hours per week. While as many as 450 students try out for football each season, only about 85 will end up playing varsity under the stadium lights on a Friday night, something that each player looks forward to. According to Taylor Jiral, team captain and student at Cinco Ranch High School, Fridays
are synonymous with football. “All I can think about is the game. After school we go straight to the meeting room and prepare as a team for our games. We get in the zone and focused for the task ahead of us.”

Taylor Mustang Eddie Schwarz is looking forward to competing with this teammates and winning this season. “We will be making new traditions this year with Coach Herrmann and the coaching staff. I can’t wait to go all out for them and for all of our supporters.”

KM_F_13__football_photo Craig Moseley_khs_asc_3562_4katymag
Traditions run deep in Katy ISD football, and fans look forward to games each season

AWARD-WINNING BANDS
Sounds of School Pride
In the moment before kick-off, it wouldn’t be a football game if there were no drum roll or music to lift the spirits of the fans in the stands and players on the field. That is why the high school band plays such a huge role in encouraging the athletes and keeping the crowd on their feet.

“The band is one of the integral components of the football game that helps cultivate the environment and
create excitement in the stands,” says Michael Ary, newly appointed band director at Taylor High School. Without the dedication and hard work of the band programs, like the eight-hour practices during the weeks before school and regular practices throughout the week, Friday nights at
Rhodes Stadium wouldn’t be nearly as exciting.

“Our Katy fans are really spirited,” adds Katy Tiger Nathaniel Hebert. “They make up chants and scream them during the game. They know all of the spirit songs.”

KM_F_14_FNL_SLHS_11_DSC_7153_7x17_pse-3388450573-H_photo by Craig Moseley
Half-time wouldn’t be the same without the carefully choreographed performances of the band and drill team

SPIRIT LEADERS
Rallying the Community
The cheerleaders, mascots, and drill team members boost school spirit with more than their presence at a game. They help rally the community to support their team. “They are responsible for so much more than just sideline cheering,” says Seven Lakes cheer coach Amy Weaston. “We go to Red Ribbon Week, pep rallies, store grand openings, public relations appearances, birthday parties, and homecoming decorating – anything that reminds the public of who we are and what school we represent.”

This involvment in the community is what keeps people filling the stands to root for their school on a Friday night. The drill team members are in charge of decorating players’ lockers to boost morale during the week and practice their half-time routine for hours each day, right up until the moments before they perform.

Darby Boyd, dance instructor and drill team director at Taylor High School, shares what it’s like to watch her team perform on game night. “I love seeing a dance evlove from initial conception, then to teaching it, casting it, and finally perfecting it. It all comes to fruition in the moments the Pacesetters are on the field,” she says. “I am always nervously excited and incredibly proud.”

Student participation is the lifeblood of the crowd, and you can feel their excitement build throughout the game. “We will have a new student section this year nicknamed ‘the Jungle’ that we are really excited about,” explains Ryver Kirk, a cheer captain on the Katy High School varsity squad.

“The THS crowd always loves the chants where we have them repeat after us, getting louder and louder,” says Taylor High School varsity cheerleader Nicole Phillips. “They also seem to love the cheers that include our stunts, which take a lot of practice. And I can’t go without saying they love tumbling. All of our varsity cheerleaders are great tumblers.”

Chloe Rasch - Cinco Ranch HS 3
Varsity squads spend time each week preparing spirit signs and cheers for the game

IN THE STANDS
All for the Fans
Each group plays an important role in encouraging school spirit, but without the fans there would be no one to rally. Lorraine Eberly, cheer coach at Morton Ranch High School, remembers one fan in particular who touched her heart. “There is a little girl named Brittany that comes to every Morton Ranch game. She wears a cheer uniform and sits in the top section, brings posters and noise makers, and leads the 50 yard line crowd during the whole game. She comes down at every game to say, ‘Hi.’ How much sweeter can it get than that?” It’s safe to say that even Katy’s littlest fans love their football.

“I love being on the field and cheering for my team and the people who come out to support us,” adds Mayde Creek spirit
officer Amanda Sprague. “I couldn’t ask for a better squad. They are my family.”

Without the combined efforts of each group and the dedicated fans, Friday night football wouldn’t be able to live up to the hype. Katy High School head football coach and athletic coordinator Gary Joseph sums it up when he says, “It takes the coaches, players, school, athletic administration, teachers, student body, band, drill team, cheerleaders, parents, fans, and loyal supporters to have a successful program.” KM

ASHLEY LANCASTER is the Editorial Assistant at Katy Magazine and loves to watch her youngest brother and cousin play football for Katy High School.

Kirsten Cornell is the lead associate editor of Katy Magazine and she’s excited about wearing her spirit shirts to Friday football games this season.

Katy Treasures: Must-see stops in Katy

You don’t have to live here very long to find out that Katy is full of fun and surprises for the whole family. Here are some of the most popular Katy destinations for local residents.

George Bush Park & Millie Bush Bark Park
16756 Westheimer Pkwy.
281-496-2177
The sixth-largest city park in the nation boasts 12 miles of walking, biking, and equestrian trails winding around picturesque Buffalo Bayou. For the dog lover, there is also a 15-acre dog park where pups can run without a leash and splash in one of three puppy ponds.

Katy Budget Books
2450 Fry Rd.
281-578-7770
For more than 25 years, this independent bookstore has offered Katyites a huge selection of new and used books as well as gifts, accessories, book clubs, special book release events for kids, author signings, school book list fulfillment, and more.

Katy Heritage Park
6001 George Bush Dr.
281-395-1124
If you’re interested in the history of Katy, Katy Heritage Park offers free tours of gorgeous historic homes and buildings preserved by the Katy Heritage Society. The park also boasts one-of-a-kind Katy exhibits at the Wright Museum, and is a popular site for local photographers looking for interesting backdrops. Call 281-391-2550 for hours and tour availability.

Katy Mills Mall
5000 Katy Mills Cir.
281-644-5015
Whether you’re hunting a bargain or looking for great entertainment, the Katy Mills Mall is the place to go. This enormous indoor shopping destination features more than 175 stores and outlets as well as multiple dining options and entertainment venues for the whole family.

LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch
23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd.
281-395-5533
Located in the heart of Cinco Ranch, this pedestrian-style shopping experience showcases more than 50 retailers, restaurants, and office spaces. LaCenterra also hosts seasonal events including an annual Fourth of July celebration, visits from Santa, and Mondays with Mommy in the square. It’s newest anchor, Trader Joe’s, is also opening in 2014.

Click for More Must-See Places in Katy!
Click for More Must-See Places in Katy!

It was brunch time on a Sunday. I had just eaten lunch and was ready to start my hunt for my quilt materials. I’m building a brand new house in Katy that is going to have zero window coverings when I move in, so to save every little bit for the down payment, I decided to make my own curtains. Besides raising bunnies and Riflery in 4H, I also did sewing so I figured I could probably tap into the old brain and see what I could remember.

To brush up my rusty skills, I decided to start on a project like a quilt – I got the idea from the TXDot signs on the highway that were advertising the Quilt Show downtown earlier this fall. (I’m telling you, advertising works no matter how you do it.)

I chose Wal-Mart as the place of purchase for my new sewing machine.  It’s been a while since I’ve sewn, so I didn’t want to go buck wild and get a super expensive one that I might end up breaking. I know there are a couple of Wal-Marts in Katy, the one on Fry Road is the closest to me (Nottingham Country), and it was on the way home from my lunch stop. I thought it would be a great time to shop, considering I’d beat the church traffic, but it was a mad house! They were blasting music from promotional tents up front, and I almost got ran over twice trying to make it to the entrance.  It was almost as if everyone that lived within a mile radius of the store decided to go at that exact time.

Once I made it in, I made a bee-line to the crafts department and there she was, on sale even: my new Simple Singer! I grabbed batting, a whole bunch of silky black fabric, some needles, pins, thread, and headed home to start.

Well, it was a little different than remembering how to ride a bike. It took me the rest of my Sunday just to figure out how to thread the machine.

Needless to say I was a little more rusty than I thought, but since then I’ve made a couple of throw pillows and one panel for my quilt. Not sure if the quilt will actually stay intact once it’s done, I think I’ve got the basics down for the curtains. I can do a straight line….or maybe I should take a couple of sewing classes.

What kind of craft projects do you enjoy doing in Katy? What are the best spots for purchasing supplies?

Enjoy the sites and sounds of nature just minutes from Katy, Texas

An American Alligator at Brazos Bend State Park

Brazos Bend State Park, bordering the Brazos River in fort Bend County, boasts 5,000 acres with seven lakes and more than 20 miles of Hike and Bike trails. The Park is a wildlife sanctuary where families can observe egrets and herons, ducks of all kinds, rabbits and raccoons,  turtles, snakes and alligators in their natural habitat. National Geographic Traveler Magazine rated Brazos Bend one of the top ten State Parks in the Nation.

Bring your bikes and your hiking shoes for witnessing the wildlife – and for the exercise and fun. The park sells no food, but has plenty of picnic tables and grills, as well as space for picnic blankets. Even on a busy weekend you can find a spot without being too close to neighboring picnickers, unless you want to be close. So pack up your ice chests with enough food for lunch and dinner and enjoy fine outdoor dining with your kids.

Other activities include pier fishing in any of the seven lakes, a nature center and museum (open every Saturday and Sunday, or weekdays by appointment), camping, and for astronomy buffs, the George Observatory and Challenger Learning Center. The Observatory is open to the public on Saturdays with viewing after dusk. Tickets to view the telescopes in all the three domes go on sale at 5PM and cost $5 per person. Viewing through the telescopes on the deck, though, are free of charge.

The George Observatory in Brazos Bend State Park

Brazos Bend State Park is open every day from 8AM until 10PM. Entrance fees run $5 per person for everyone 13 years or older. Twelve and under are free. From Katy Freeway/I-10, head south on State Highway 99/ Grand Parkway. When SH99 crosses Highway 59 in Sugarland, it changes names to Highway 1462 west. From there, just follow the brown State Park signs until you get there. It’s nearly 30 miles, but well worth the drive.

The Park has a number of online features to check out before you head out:

A trip to ancient China is only minutes away from Katy

Have you ever wanted to check out some Ancient Chinese Artifacts or learn a little about Chinese history? You don’t have to go all the way to China to find it. Forbidden Garden is a 40 Acre Museum of Chinese history right in our own backyard.

Here you and your family can learn about China from its beginnings under Emperor Qin (pronounced Chin). Miniature dioramas relate the life of the Forbidden City where Chinese Emperors lived with their families. Other exhibits recount the building of the Great Wall, show building construction techniques, and display weapons and armor used by Chinese warriors in their battles against the Mongols.

The biggest and best part of the museum is a recreation of the a 1:2 scale model of the Terra Cotta Army protecting Emperor Qin’s tomb. The original Terra Cotta Army that it was modeled after was discovered in 1973 by a farmer digging a well.

Forbidden Gardens is opened Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:oo AM until 3:00PM. Ticket prices vary by age: 0-2 years are free, 3-5 years tickets cost $3, kids 6-12 years and senior citizens pay $5 each, and adults are charged $10. Although, for groups of 20 or more, the admission price is reduced to $5 each.

From downtown Katy, take I-10 East (inbound) and exit State highway 99 / Grand Parkway. Turn North until it dead ends into Franz Road.  Turn left on Franz and Forbidden Gardens will be immediately on your right. For more information call at (281) 347-8000 or email at  askus@forbidden-gardens.com. Special tour information can be obtained by e-mailing at  tc@forbidden-gardens.com.

Keeping your Katy yard looking good throughout the summer months

When our family moved to Katy, I was excited to experiment with the many varieties of tropical plants that I had never been able to plant in our previous yards in the Midwest.   I frequented Home Depot and Houston Garden Center to find the perfect trees, shrubs and flowers for our new Katy home.    Within months of moving into our home, I had planted a plethora of palms, fruit trees, crepe myrtles, magnolias and dozens of shrubs.   I was excited to watch my tropical yard flourish.  Needless to say, within a year’s time, quite a few of my tropical beauties had died.  I had always had a green thumb, so I wondered where I had gone wrong.

I soon learned that due to the clay-based soil, trees, shrubs, and flowers are not happy unless they are planted in raised beds where they have adequate drainage.  With much chagrin, I began again, this year to beautify my yard.  I bought plenty of fertile soil to ensure the tropical foliage would thrive.  As I tried again, to plant various tropical varieties, I had much better success.  In fact, I feel I am well on my way to my tropical paradise. 

Another lesson I have learned is that yard work in the Houston area is very time consuming.  With the humid environment, weeds grow like crazy.  Last summer I felt like I simply couldn’t keep up.  So, this summer, I have decided to spoil myself.  I have hired a yard crew to mow and weed my yard once a week.   In Katy, there are hundreds of fabulous yard contractors who will mow, weed, plant, fertilize and mulch for a very reasonable rate.   At first I felt a little guilty that I had given up ownership of my yard care.  But, each time I pull into my driveway and see the beauty that I could never have achieved on my own, I am more than happy I have outsourced some of my yard care. 

What yard advice do you have to share?  Please post a comment.

Family Fun that’s close to Katy

Avery, helping her Aunt Amanda pick a blueberry.

This weekend, we will be participating in a three-year family tradition: picking our own blueberries off of the bush at Moorhead’s Blueberry Farm.  It is located in Conroe, a short drive from my sister’s home in Spring.  From Katy, it is roughly an hour’s drive, but well worth the trip.

Moorhead’s Blueberry Farm (www.moorheadsblueberryfarm.com) is open to the public for blueberry picking from late May until mid July, with changes each year based on how the year’s weather has affected berry growth and ripening.   They do not charge admission and blueberries cost $1.50 a pound, payable by cash or check only.  They are open from 7 am until 9 pm every day each week, but recommend coming either early or late due to the heat.

The past two years, by the middle of June, the blueberry picking has been slight due to extreme heat the first year and a long winter the second year.  However, on the website this year, the forecast for berries looks good!  The latest update says that there are still plenty of berries and we are thrilled to have our first year of a heavy harvest.

Each year on the Saturday before Father’s Day, my family gathers at my sister’s house to caravan to Moorhead’s Blueberry Farm.  We spend about an hour picking blueberries, with my children sampling them off of the bushes as fast as they can pick them.  The blueberries we are able to get into the bucket, we take to the front and pay for and then split between us.  We love the experience, although incredibly hot, and we love that we’re teaching our girls what fresh blueberries look like and how they grow.

After an hour in the heat, with our loot in hand, we always celebrate with a snow cone and a great nap on the way home for the kids.

Since our personal family tradition is to go the weekend of Father’s Day, this comes with an added perk: breakfast in bed for Daddy with fresh blueberries and blueberry muffins from scratch!

What about you?  Do you have a favorite site for fresh fruit picking?  Post a comment below!

Fresh Produce In Katy

I am so happy to find out that we have a fresh produce market in Katy. This Market is located at 5026 E. Third St. in Old Katy. It’s hours are from 10am – 6pm Wednesdays through Mondays and closed on Tuesdays. They will not only have fresh produce but as well organic produce too. The Market is stocked with honey, dry beans, and herbs and many more to come. The Market will eventually grow bigger in time but until then I have enjoyed seeing all the produce it has stocked. Produce will vary depending on the season so make sure to go and see the different produce they have before it is gone.
 
I still remember when my parents would take me to a farmer’s market to go and get fresh produce. We would leave early to get the best picks and leave out of there with bags full. We loved going there and would spend the whole morning just looking at the produce. I loved the sweet smell that some of the produce would give out as well the different colors. This is a tradition that I will be bringing into my family for years to come. My children love the different kinds of produce they see and smell. I love eating healthy and what better way to do it than getting fresh produce for my family. There’s is no substitution for that sweet tomato taste. I could eat a whole basket full myself and remember my parents having to get another basket for us to take home.  So get those your bags ready and go fill them with fresh produce that your family can enjoy. You can as well make it a family fun trip with all the produce that they will come to see and smell.
Have you been to a farmer’s market in town? What were your experiences?

Favorite Eats for Katy Families

I had a wonderful, leisurely lunch with some girlfriends today.  I know this sounds like an oxymoron since I have an 18 month old, but with all of our toddlers in tow, we sat at the table and chatted and enjoyed chips and salsa.

How did we do this?  We situated ourselves at a table near the sandbox at El Jarrito on Highland Knolls Drive.  The children enjoyed chips and their bean salsa, inexpensive kid’s meals, and an enormous sandbox while we ate at our own pace.

Usually, taking either of my children to a restaurant is a challenge.  Unless we go to Rainforest Café, it is unusual for them to stay entertained the entire time we’re there.  However, around the time my oldest daughter turned two, I discovered the magical world of sandboxes at restaurants.  Now, when my parents ask us to join them for dinner, or when we want to catch up with an old friend, we know just what to do.  We suggest one of a handful of places that were brilliant enough to install a play area.

In addition to El Jarrito, we also frequent Victor’s Casa Garcia on North Fry Road, Café del Sol on Franz Road, Willie’s Ice House on The Katy Freeway at Fry Road, and Clay’s Restaurant on Clay Road. 

We live further out in West Katy, but these restaurants are worth the drive for us because the children are entertained the entire time: from choosing our food, to ordering, to eating… all the way to paying the check, our children are happily playing.   Sure, there is a little mess to contend with, and yes, we do have to wash hands very well before the children eat, but these are small inconveniences compared with finding ways to beat boredom in other restaurants.

We’re always searching for other locations to take our family.  Do you have a place your family loves to go?  Post a comment below!

A favorite  activity for young Katy kids

This morning, I loaded my girls up with a sack lunch, a few dollars, and 2 towels.  Then we headed to LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch and met some playgroup friends for a little fun in the sun.

This is a favorite May activity for us.  It’s finally warm enough to warrant running through the water sprays, but isn’t yet so hot that I need to be in the water as well.  My daughters, Avery, 4 years, and Kate, 18 months, loved standing over a water hole until it squirts up on them.  Later, they giggled as they walked straight through a row of streaming water. 

Once the children got hungry, we sat out at the tables provided and ate our sack lunch.  Some days, we’ll stop at Mission Burrito or Panera Bread for lunch, but today we were going the low-cost route.  Once lunch and a little more splashing were over, it was time for my daughter’s favorite activity at LaCenterra: ice cream!  There are so many wonderful options for sweet treats: Jamba Juice, Starbucks, Tollhouse Cookie Company and Cold Stone Creamery.  One kid-sized cone per child (blue bubble gum flavored ice cream… yum!) and a Coke for me completed the morning’s fun.  There’s nothing like a morning of sun, water, and energy exerting to guarantee great naps for the kids and some down time for me.  All the way around, LaCenterra offers us with an amazing day.

LaCenterra does ask that while splashing in their water, children wear shirts, pants, and shoes.

Once the weather gets too hot for Mama to comfortably sit and watch the girls splash at LaCenterra, we’ll make it an evening activity.  Some of my favorite pictures and several of the best family memories come from summers spent at LaCenterra.

What about you?  Do your children love LaCenterra?  Where do you go for splashing fun?  Post a comment below!

 Offered by Katy Parks and Recreation Department

It’s time to start thinking about summer activities for our kids. I know, I know, the economy is still a little shaky and gas prices on the rise – again! So how can families find activities at a reasonable cost, without draining the gas tank, or the wallet? Katy Parks and Recreation Department might just have the answer you’re looking for. The Department offers a number of week long summer camps that won’t cost an arm-and-a-leg and are close to home.

The camps are designed for children ranging in age from three to twelve years of age with groups divided up based on learning levels and skill sets for each age group. The week-long sessions are broken down into pre-school, elementary and middle school age groups (3-5 years, 4-6 years, 4-8 years, or 8-13 years). Prices range from $89-260. The cost covers supplies used during the camp and length of the day. The camps are all 5 days long, with most running for 2-4 hours and others going as long as 6 hours a day.

What the kids will learn varies from one week to the next and one age group to the next. Camp themes range from building Lego® structures, reading, and princess manners to cheering, computer classes, and Mad Science® labs. Camps are being held at the VFW Hall at 6202 George Bush Drive in Katy.  Registration forms can be downloaded from the City Parks and Recreation Department website.

For camp information contact the City Parks & Recreation office by calling (281)391-4840 or by e-mail at katypard@cityofkaty.com. 

To registration, visit the City Parks and Recreation website at: http://cityofkaty.com/departments/parks/summer-camps-2/

Dog Parks in Katy

We are always trying to find different parks for dogs for our dog Max to exercise and have fun with other doggies. Our dog Max awaits anxiously at the door to be taken to the dog park in Katy. He immediately knows when we get his leash and he starts jumping to get it on.
Katy has several dog parks in the area that caters to the doggies. We have taken our dog to Millie Bush Bark Park on 16756 Westhiemer Parkway and he really loves it. We always see different kinds of dogs there big and small. They also have a section for the larger dogs so the smaller dogs don’t get scared of the much bigger ones there in the park. The park has fire hydrants, water fountains, doggie showers, a lake, pick up bags and a walking trail with shade trees.
We have also visited the Katy Dog Park on 5414 Franz Rd next to the Katy library. This park has a walking trail, water spigot, benches, pick up bags and a pond. This park is even located close to Mary Jo Peckman Park and the baseball fields. In this park all the doggies are together in the park playing and running all around.
There is also another dog park going into Houston close to Katy called Bill Archer Dog Park 3210 Hwy 6 north of I10. This park has agility playground equipment, walking trails, pick up bags, doggie showers, water fountains, areas for small and large dogs, and something so special a dog bone shaped pond. This will make any doggie go crazy and ready to jump in.
All of these parks are all fenced in so no worry for your pet to run off. It is even a nice way to meet and greet people with different kinds of dogs. My dog Max is always looking forward to go and play with his doggie friends. Have you been to any of these dog parks? Has your dog met any new doggie friends? Please post your comments below.

The Katy community shares in the flight experience

A popular community event flew into Katy’s West Houston Airport the last weekend of April. The CAP Wings Over Houston Air Show was staged

Visitors got to get up close and personal with the planes.

 through the voluntary endeavors of the Commemorative Air Force in conjunction with West Houston Airport and Gulf Coast Wing. The organizations displayed US modern military, WWII, and  Korean War era aircraft, and even a Soviet fighter plane.

History buffs and airplane fans alike explored the WWII museum in one of the hangers, examined the planes up close, and then watched as many of the aircraft flew in formation overhead. A few of the spectators who bought tickets were offered the chance of a lifetime to ride in one of these historic airplanes.

The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) has its West Houston Squadron based at the West Houston Airport on Groschke Road. The group operates its museum out of one of the airport’s hangers, which they open for special events like this weekend’s air show. They give private tours by appointment as well. The CAF also refurbishes period aircraft and takes part in flyovers for Veteran’s memorial services and sporting events in and around Houston. The organization is self-supporting and privately finances all of its activities.

Do you know of any other airplane related activities that are family friendly? What inexpensive airport pastimes can you suggest?

Katy is rich with history, including local cemetaries

Just North of I-10, lies an unpretentious cemetery. The modest plot of land

Katy's Antioch Baptist Church

 was originally owned by Adam Stockdick who donated it  in 1915 to the Colored Baptist church — now called Antioch Baptist Church. It contains the graves of some of Katy’s early settlers, several farm workers, war veterans, and workers for the MKT Railroad.

Katy Community Cemetery (KCC) is located on Stockdick Road, between F.M. 1463 and Danover Street. It is fenced in on three sides and neatly maintained by the church. Antioch Baptist church members have done a great deal of work on determining where many of the grave sites are and identifying several of the people known to be buried there. A list of names has been compiled, but the names on the graves don’t always match the list. Some of the recorded names and some of the unmarked graves have not been located so far. Moreover, some of the names on the graves are not on the list.

Katy Heritage Society has taken on the task of filling out the stacks of paper necessary to have this historically significant site recognized by the State of Texas. According to Carol Eckels Adams, Executive Director for the Katy Heritage Society, both the Heritage Society and the Antioch Baptist Church need funds to help maintain this non-profit cemetery as well as for continuing the landmark recognition process.

Katy has another cemetery — Magnolia Cemetery — on Franz Road near Bartlett Street. It also has historically significant graves, including Katy founding fathers and a few Civil War veterans.

“Magnolia Cemetery has been around since the very early 1900’s and has graves from our early settlers, including some that have roads named for them,” says Eckels Adams. She goes on to note that Magnolia Cemetery is a for-profit facility, as opposed to Katy Community Cemetery which is a non-profit cemetery owned by a church. At this time Magnolia is not in the process of being recognized as an historic landmark. Both Katy Community and Magnolia continue to serve as operating cemeteries and have space available for new graves.

For the Katy Community Cemetery Fund, contributions may be sent to PO Box 359, Katy, TX 77492. To help with cemetery care and landscaping , paperwork, or any other volunteer work, contact the Katy Heritage Society at Katy Heritage Park, 5990 George Bush Drive, P.O. Box 359, Katy, TX 77492-0359, or call 281-391-2550.

Favorite Katy locations and activities for enjoying the weather as a family

We have enjoyed the fair weather this last month or so and have spent most of our time outside.  My two daughters have gotten their fill of indoor activities… in my opinion, winter (even in Katy) goes on two months longer than it is welcome. 

Angela, along with her daughter Avery, enjoy a bike ride around Katy

Over the past month, with the weather being as nice as it is, almost every play date and get together has involved some sort of outdoor activity.  Some of my favorites include…

*Walking around the large lakes at Cinco Ranch Blvd and Spring Green.  This is a family favorite, and we will sometimes pack a lunch and eat out on the grass.

*Playing outside at La Centera.  And what trip to La Centera is complete without a treat from one of the several shops around?  The girls love to get ice cream or cookies, I love the Starbucks and Jamba Juice.

*Visiting the parks in each of our friends’ neighborhoods. 

*Geocaching in and around Katy (for more, go to www.geocaching.com).  Geocaching is like a global scavenger hunt, with locations given in GPS.  We use my iPhone and my 4 year old has a blast helping us discover the hidden capsules.

*Local Katy parks are a real hit.  Mary Jo Peckham, the ‘train park’ nearby it, George Bush park – we love making the park rounds!

*Refilling our sand and water table.  And for an extra twist, we make one side warm, soapy water and the other cold, clean water.

*Sidewalk chalking and sidewalk painting.  To make the sidewalk paint, we mix 2 tablespoons of water with 2 tablespoons of corn starch and then add food coloring.  It’s so much fun and washes right off (except for our blue food coloring… oops).

*Biking together.  The girls enjoy the ride and my husband and I love getting exercise and family time all at once.  We’ve gotten really brave and biked to a casual dinner or to the store before, but even a trip around our neighborhood is nice.

What about you?  How do you take advantage of the warm weather? Post a comment!
Thanks so much,

The Houston and Katy areas offer many fun (and sometimes free!)options for families.

Earth Day would be great time to take your children to a local Katy park. You can search for the one nearest you right here on the Katy Magazine site http://www.katymagazine.com/parks.htm. Fly a kite, take a walk, enjoy the beautiful Katy weather before things get too hot!

If you want to tie in a little more education into your Earth Day celebration the short drive into Houston can provide you with many options. Today you can celebrate Earth Day at a most appropriate venue, the Houston Weather Museum. From 10am-4pm the museum will celebrate the Earth and the museum’s birthday. Admission is free. For more information visit http://www.wxresearch.com/earth/index.html.

The Houston Arboretum and Nature Center is also always a great place to go to be close to nature. It also is free! Enjoy walking the trails and coming face to face with wildlife. The Arboretum also has many great programs that you can learn about on their site at http://www.houstonarboretum.org/

If you want to celebrate Earth Day this year in the comforts of air conditioning Disney is debuting their documentary, Oceans in theatres today. This is a great way to show your children some of nature’s masterpieces! You can read more about this at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0765128/.

Even with these options if you want to stay home there is always a way to incorporate a love for nature in what you do. Channel surf the National Geographic, Discovery and Animal Planet stations. There is bound to be something on that will peak your family’s interest.

Earth Day is a great time to have family discussion about what you love most about the Earth and how you can help to make a difference. Discuss the importance of conserving electricity by turning off the lights in rooms when you leave them. Come up with a family recycling plan or decide to help through volunteering. If your family is doing something fun and unique for Earth Day please share it in a comment!

Fine arts facilities and programs are in full bloom in and around Katy

Art is prevelant in the city of Houston and to no surprise alive and well in Katy as well. There are so many oppurtunities in Katy to experience the colorful and creative atmosphere of our city. In terms of the physical arts,
Katy as well as Houston offer quality art exhibits such as The Museum Of Fine Arts in Houston, The Houston Contemperary Art Exhibit, Forbidden Gardens ect.
Musically there is a seemingly endless amount of mucisians and
bands that are not only talented but hungry for success which equates to some awesome performances. Houston itself is home to the HGO(Houston Grand Opera) and the HTD( Houston Theatre District). These operatic powerhouses offer performances that will leave you speechless.
Annual festivals such as the Japanese Festival are great socializing
events and are just plain fun for the entire family. There is even an annual chalk art festival which is essentially a two and a half block canvas for some great artists.
The idea that so much art can be based in one city is not
surprising as Houston and Katy are home to some of the regions most appreciated art institutes and programs.  Houston programs include the Art League of Houston and the Art Institute of Houston. Katy offers the Katy Visual & Performing Arts Center as well as the Imagine Art Studios and many more. Education of the arts generates revenue for artistic based tournaments and competitions which gives students of the arts in school and outside of the educational system the oppurtunity to produce artwork for scholorship money. The Texas Art Education Association sponsors on of the most recognized competitons in the Visual Arts Scholastc Event.
With so much attention towards the arts it is obvious why many travel to Houston in order to further their artistic pursuits. In the comments tell
me what is your favorite artistic endeavor and where do you think Houston( and Katy) ranks among the top artistic
cities in America?

For anyone new to Katy and the Houston area, these few tips can make getting around town seem less intimidating.

April 13, 2010 – Katy, Texas – Have you investigated navigating the City of Houston? Chances are, you took one look at the road maps and decided that, if it wasn’t close to home, you’d have to do without. Here are a few tips for navigating Katy’s largest neighbor without becoming overwhelmed.

Kingsland Park & Ride serves the majority of Katy commuters.

If you absolutely must drive, here are a few highway basics. The major crossroads are: I-10 running East/West, and both I-45 and U.S. 59 which go North/South. The Hardy Toll Road runs North/ South from Spring to downtown. The Westpark Toll Road runs East/West from Highway 99 to I-610. There are two loops around Houston: the inner loop (I-610) and the outer loop (Beltway, or the Sam Houston Tollway). Further out, State Highway 6 travels most of the way around Houston and Highway 99 will eventually go around the city. For more specific street directions, it’s best to look up the information before you leave and always carry a map.

If you don’t want to drive, you have the options of taking a taxi or a bus. Either option is reasonably affordable. Houston has a fleet of over 200 taxis in service. A small fare of $6 makes getting around Houston’s business district a snap. As you’ve  probably guessed, longer distances command higher fares. The maximum fare is roughly in the vicinity of 75 dollars. The city of Katy also has a couple of taxi companies with comparable fares.

Don’t want to take a taxi? No problem. Try the Metro’s two Katy Park and Ride stations. A bus gets you downtown at a cost of $4.50 for a trip that lasts approximately one hour. You get to ride in air conditioned comfort, while you read your newspaper or book … or take a nap.

The Park and Ride locations are the #222 Grand Parkway route, at 1030 W. Grand Parkway North, and the #221 Kingsland route, at 21669 Kingsland

The Metro bus stop at the Grand Parkway location at the Cinemark Theater Katy.

 Boulevard. For the Grand Parkway Park and Ride, take Grand Parkway north from I-10. Turn right at Mercantile and another right on Grand Circle Drive. The designated parking area is the east end of the Cinemark parking lot. The covered bust stop is across the street on Grandville. The Kingsland Park and Ride is on Kingsland, between Mason and Westgreen. It offers a large parking lot and a fully covered passenger drop off / pickup area.

Schedules are available on Metro’s website at: http://www.ridemetro.org/. Keep in mind that Metro has special hours of operation for weekends and holidays. Bus passes are available for those who use the bus system regularly. Metro even has a special deal for anyone lucky enough to be called up for Jury Duty. Show your jury summons for a free ride in and ask for a pass for the return ride. The bus drops you off about six short blocks away from the jury meeting room.

Do you have any more tips for getting around? Do you have any more ideas for making driving easier?

The Benefits vs. Regulations of living under s Katy Home Owner’s Association

My family and I have never experienced living in a neighborhood with HOA’s before Katy, Texas.  Meaning the fees or the benefits.  There are plenty of benefits, and I had to overcome my frustration with the fact that I could not have chickens in the backyard (“Even if they are kept inside an enclosure?” I asked the representative on the phone in disbelief, while she practically snorted “Absolutely NOT!”) before I could stop to appreciate the strengths of HOA’s!  Well, after I got over my initial trepidation with this new idea, I decided to explore what I could do in my backyard.  Or at the park, the gym, the pool, and all the other beautiful amenities that we, after $700 a year, bought rights to!

“So I can’t have more than two in-laws at the pool with us?”  I asked the clubhouse receptionist, as she gave me the “tour.”  This time I think my jaw was dropping, because she looked at me funny with her head tilted, as she slowly nodded, “That’s right, maam.”  So I need to call up those friends and family members that I promised could come over and swim for the Fourth of July party!  Other plans are now necessary.

The gym has been a real good deal though, as I use it about twice a month. At least now, I don’t have to feel guilty for paying a monthly due, and not ever making an appearance at said institution!  It has a TV though, large and loud, so maybe I’ll go work out just to get some “Me time,” away from the kids, and feel productive at the same time.  Hmmmm, what would I look like after 30 minutes of treadmill?  At the rate of twice a month, of course.

The kids, undoubtedly, are getting the most out of the park and surrounding walking trail, complete with a gorgeous pagoda, pond and waterfall.  And “Beware of Alligators”sign.  Really?  This place is something else!  I guess I won’t be bringing Lacey, our little Chihuahua and Yorkie mix to the pond for a walk!  I can just see that now; my baby, as alligator bait… 

Needless to say, this country girl at heart isn’t completely sold on HOA rules and regulations, (“I only get to have two yard sales a year?”  The representative, very tired of me by now, sighs loudly.  “Yes, and only on these dates…”)   I’ll see more benefits in time, I’m sure, in time.

Obviously this was a humorous take on being in neighborhoods with HOA regulations.  What do you think?  Are you in a similar neighborhood and do you like the rules?  What kind of benefits do you have?  Or maybe you live in a “restriction-free” area.  I would love to hear your viewpoint!

Katy has many resources for the horse lover in you

My family and I have joked since we moved here that Texas is the only place where you see goats in the front yards and horses in the back!  Being the country girl that I am at heart, I love that fact!  I have always loved horses, and my siblings and I were lucky enough to experience them growing up.  So I decided to do some research online about what Katy has to offer our kids as far as horseback riding lessons, and I found some interesting information. 

Here are several locations that offer lessons for children (and adults, if you are interested in experiencing time with these incredible animals for yourself!)  Circle Lake Ranch is located only one minute from I-10 on FM 1463, and they offer many services, from the basic horseback riding lessons to western and english riding styles.  They start at age seven to adult, and charge $200 monthly, for 50 minutes of riding, and 10 minutes of tack knowledge.  They also offer summer day camps, beginning in June, for $350 a week.  You can check out all the details for yourself at their website at circlelakeranch.com, or call 281-395-4311.

Another source that looks fascinating is the Blue Ribbon Meadows non-profit off Breckendorff Rd. in Katy.  Riding lessons are for everyone, again, (they didn’t specify minimum age) and cost $45 an hour for group, $50 an hour for private lessons.  This place is a neat find, as they offer horses for adoption, for a fee of only $200.  They have many horses available right now that need good homes.  Many other services, such as full boarding starting at $500 monthly, are available.  You can view all the great experiences and services ready for your enjoyment at blueribbonmeadows.com or call Barbara Jacobs (Owner, Head Trainer) at 281-371-3004.

A couple of other places were also listed online, Riding High Stable which is in Katy, and ran by Brent Workman.  Lessons start at age 5, and he can be reached at 832-528-2161 and ridinghighstables.com.  Last but not least, Bright Star Stables in Brookshire, which is only a few short miles from Katy, and can be found at brightstarstables.com or reached at 281-375-8400.  Jenee Pulliam was listed as contact.

Hopefully this has been inspiring to you, as horses and children make a great combination!  Lessons aren’t just a hobby, they teach children responsibility, a healthy respect for these great animals, and give them something to look forward to each week!  Is there a local place that I didn’t cover in this post?  Please feel free to comment on it for our other readers!  Do you have a comment on any of these places listed?  Let us know your personal experiences and how you would rate it!

 How do you make your Katy garden grow?

As an avid gardner who had struggled with the oppressive heat and lack of natural moisture back in Arizona, I have to admit I was relieved to be coming to live in Katy where it is green and wet!  I looked up the statistics online before we even arrived here last fall, and was the thrilled with the promise of a lack of cold weather and bounty of rain.  I told friends that I would be able to “throw the seeds in the ground, and they’ll just grow!”  OK, I’ll admit, I’ve doubted those numbers a lot recently, as this area went through record-breaking cold weather, rainfall, and even heat this past six months!   Needless to say, I’ll tell you that it hasn’t been quite that easy to garden here!  It is, however, not a disappointment to me at all.

I tried a couple of different options this year for planting, just to see how it would go.  I planted seeds inside, in the seedling trays you can find at Wal-mart.  I also planted the same seeds outside by the first week in March.  (I planted bulbs, like the onions, garlic and flowers, earlier, around the beginning of February.)  Interestingly, the outside seeds are doing better as far as strength and tolerance.  The inside seeds grew larger plants, but not as hardy to the weather.  Of course, the typical hardier plants are doing fine from both seed groups, such as the pepper and tomato plants.  It helps, I’m sure, that our yard has an automatic sprinkler system to water my “babies.”  So far, so good, yet I know I have many battles ahead of me with the heat, birds and bugs to deal with as Spring grows on.

What do you think about this past year’s record breaking weather; has it wreaked havoc on your garden?  Did you lose any longstanding favorites to the freezes, or did your plants come out of the storm still kicking?  Am I in for more surprises, or is the weather usually fairly normal around here?  I would love your feedback!

Living in a great neighborhood makes one family greatful that they in Katy

While building our new home in Katy, we frequently visited the building site to watch the progress of our home.  It seemed as if every time we came to the home, neighbors greeted us and extended a warm welcome to the neighborhood.  Being new to a city is sometimes difficult and I have been grateful for the friendly folk of Katy, Texas.  Neighborly neighbors really make one feel at home. 

Since settling into our home, I have learned from the examples of many great neighbors.  I believe that being a good neighbor truly makes you a better person.  Looking out for the needs of others takes the focus from self and helps us to learn and grow.  Let me share some of the kind acts performed by my fabulous neighbors.

Upon moving into our new home, several neighbors stopped by to exchange phone numbers with us.  They introduced themselves and let me know that they were friends that I could turn to if a need arose.  It was a great comfort knowing that if I found myself in a bind, I had some kind and willing neighbors who could step in and help.

I have some neighbors who love to celebrate holidays and they willingly open their homes to the other families in the neighborhood.  Attending these neighborhood festivities has strengthened friendships and has allowed us to really get to know each other. 

Discussions at the bus stop have at times been the highlight of my day.  I had to laugh when, on one particular morning at the bus stop, my neighbor asked where I was going.   I realized that she had never seen me in clothes other than my pajamas.  I told her that I do get dressed each day, she just never saw me that way!  On occasion, when a mother or father has to leave early in the morning, neighbors are willing to step in to make sure the children make it safely to the bus stop.

Random acts of kindness are abundant in a good neighborhood.  At times, a neighbor will drop off a batch of cookies, or will leave an anonymous surprise.  My children get very excited and try to guess who the secret giver could be.  Then, they want to make a treat for those who have been kind to us.  When a neighbor has a baby or needs surgery, other neighbors plan to bring in meals and assist with child care.  Last week, one neighbor gave my boys a big tub of balls.  Their children have grown and they thought my boys would enjoy them, which they will!

Sometimes a simple wave or smile from a kind neighbor will cheer my day.  It is great to have met so many kind people on my street, and it has made me want to be a better neighbor.  How has a Katy neighbor touched your life?  Please share a comment below.

Katy Baskin-Robbins is hosting a 31 Cent Scoop Night

My family loves to go out for ice cream.  We have two daughters, and to save money, we usually buy one kids cone and then half it between two bowls for them to share.  But this Wednesday, April 28th at Baskin-Robbins, they will each enjoy their very own scoop of ice cream.  Baskin-Robbins stores across the nation are hosting a 31 Cent Scoop Night.  They will donate $100,000 to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and reduce the price of a scoop of ice cream to 31 cents from 5:00 pm until 10:00 pm this Wednesday night.  Some locations will also provide customers with the opportunity to give back to local fire departments as well.  For our family, ice cream and supporting a great cause is a winning combination.  It’s no question where we’ll be on Wednesday night!

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is a non-profit organization devoted to keeping the memory of fallen firefighters alive and assisting the families of those who have lost their lives fighting fires.  For more information, visit www.firehero.org.

With the warmer weather and the promise of summer right around the corner, and ice cream night is perfectly timed.  (Although, we would probably head out for 31 cent ice cream scoops in the middle of a cold front.  We love ice cream!) 

There are two Baskin-Robbins store locations in Katy: one at 6920 South Fry Road (Suite A) and one at 1560 South Mason Road (Suite B).  For more information, visit http://www.baskinrobbins.com/spotlight/31CentScoopNight.aspx.  So come on out for reduced cost ice cream and to support a great cause!

Our family enjoys participating in charity events in and around Katy.  Do you know of something we might be interested in?  Post a comment below!

Where I’ll Be on Wednesday Night

Subtitle: Baskin-Robbins is hosting a 31 Cent Scoop Night

Filed Under: Katy Scene

Text:

My family loves to go out for ice cream.  We have two daughters, and to save money, we usually buy one kids cone and then half it between two bowls for them to share.  But this Wednesday, April 28th at Baskin-Robbins, they will each enjoy their very own scoop of ice cream.  Baskin-Robbins stores across the nation are hosting a 31 Cent Scoop Night.  They will donate $100,000 to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and reduce the price of a scoop of ice cream to 31 cents from 5:00 pm until 10:00 pm this Wednesday night.  Some locations will also provide customers with the opportunity to give back to local fire departments as well.  For our family, ice cream and supporting a great cause is a winning combination.  It’s no question where we’ll be on Wednesday night!

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is a non-profit organization devoted to keeping the memory of fallen firefighters alive and assisting the families of those who have lost their lives fighting fires.  For more information, visit www.firehero.org.

With the warmer weather and the promise of summer right around the corner, and ice cream night is perfectly timed.  (Although, we would probably head out for 31 cent ice cream scoops in the middle of a cold front.  We love ice cream!) 

There are two Baskin-Robbins store locations in Katy: one at 6920 South Fry Road (Suite A) and one at 1560 South Mason Road (Suite B).  For more information, visit http://www.baskinrobbins.com/spotlight/31CentScoopNight.aspx.  So come on out for reduced cost ice cream and to support a great cause!

Our family enjoys participating in charity events in and around Katy.  Do you know of something we might be interested in?  Post a comment below!

One Katy mothers shares her favorite summer hot spot.

March 29, 2010 – Katy, Texas – One of Katy’s hidden gems is Mary Jo Peckham Park (5597 Gardenia St., 77493). Parents of children of all ages and developmental abilities will find it a joy to visit before the weather gets too hot. Bring some bread with you if you’d like to have some huge ducks come close. My two year-old son gets excited when we go to the pond area. Besides the ducks, we usually see some cranes and sometimes even large goldfish and turtles. My son is delighted to see people fishing, since he has not had that experience, yet. Around the pond is a lighted walking/biking trail. There really is something for everyone!
 
The park is also home to a miniature golf course that is child-friendly and a large playground. This is the location of the community center which houses an indoor pool and exercise facility. Harris County residents can take part in these activities for free!
 
One of the best things about this park for our family is that a short walk or drive down the road is the new “train” playground which is a hit with all children. This playground is a reward for my son–he loves to climb the rope, plastic, and metal structures, slide quickly down the metal slide with multiple tracks, as well as hide out in the tube slide. Children will love to hear the different tones of the bells and try to climb the tall rope structure. The park offers swings for children and infants of all physical abilities, and the bathrooms are clean! Older children will appreciate the large basketball court right behind the train park.
 
This is where you can find us on a summer morning or evening. I hope Katy residents will make use of this free, family-friendly place. Where does your family like to go on a lazy summer day? I would love to hear from you.

Lexi with her kitty

Houston SPCA Cat Adoption Specials –Not Just for the Irish!

The luck of the Irish shines down on the frisky felines of the Houston SPCA as we welcome St. Patrick’s Day and the beginning of Spring.  During the weekend of March 19th through the 21st, all cats are 2 fur 1!!! In addition, the Houston SPCA Leprechauns have made the executive decision that all cats with green eyes that are over the age of six months or have a green Shamrock on their kennel will be half off the normal adoption fee.  This means every approved adopter can take home at least two lucky animals for the price of one or just one for half price. Either way, it all adds up to giving a homeless animal a second chance at life.

With a little help from the dedicated staff at the Houston SPCA all of our very special felines will receive the following as a part of their adoption fee:

• A health evaluation; initial vaccinations; rabies vaccinations for felines three months and older

• Spay / neuter surgery

• Deworming; feline leukemia testing

• Microchipping with free lifetime registration; and of course a friend for life!

• As an added bonus, VCA Animal Hospitals will provide a complimentary overall wellness examination (within five days after adoption) and complimentary 14-day follow-up care for certain conditions to give your pet the very best in medical care.

• One free bag of cat food courtesy of Hill’s Science Diet.

Each and every feline at the Houston SPCA has a sparkling personality as bright as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Come by the Houston SPCA, become an approved adopter and take home your furever friend today!  The Houston SPCA Adoption Lobby is open Monday through Friday from 11am to 7pm and 10a to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday.

For more information, call 713.869.7722  ext. 138.

Are you making mistakes sending out resumes?

How can you get your resume to outshine everyone else’s and make it to the top of the potential employer’s pile? Try these tips for finding a professional level job in Katy or West Houston.

Individualize. Never email blast the same resume to several employers at once in the same email. Chances are they’re just going to hit the delete button.

Customize. Send your resume to each job personally and customize the objective line, subject line of the email, and introductory email/letter to fit the job you’re applying for. It may take five minutes of your time, but in the end, employers will be more likely to consider you.

Use buzzwords. Use power keywords in your resume that match the items in the job description. (But only if you have experience in these areas.)

Be email savvy. Create an email account with your name through Gmail or Yahoo and check it frequently. Never send your resume from an email address such as hotchic77@aol.com or tatoodude12@sbcglobal.net. Sorry, but aol and hotmail accounts are not very impressive to employers.

Use proper grammar in all communications – even the body of the email. You would be surprised how many young applicants write in text type or slang. Employers want you to represent their company well.

Choose a great subject line. Sending a resume without one shows a lack of attention to detail and makes it hard for the employers to notice it at all. The best subject line has the title of the position and your name. Customer Service Manager Applicant Alice Brown.

Follow up. It’s okay to send a follow up email to check on the status of the position or see if your resume was received. It shows enthusiasm for the job and most employers like that.  Only do this if you did not get response.

© Katy Magazine 2010

Do you have  a resume tip to share? Post your comment below or email editor@katymagazine.com

CHRISTUS St. Catherine Hospital is one of the top employers in Katy

A Talented Workforce in an Ideal Location

Besides being a great place to live, the Katy Area is also a wonderful place to work. The community offers employers a growing, energized, and world class talent and workforce base with high educational attainment.  A majority of existing employers rate the Katy Area workforce as available, high quality, productive, and available at a reasonable cost.

Katy Workforce Stats

  • 1,564,567 civilians employed*
  • Average Unemployment Rate, 3.86%*
  • Manufacturing Employment: 167,213*
  • Engineering, Research, and Accounting workers: 105,928*
  • High Workforce Participation Rate in Katy ISD: 70.17%
* within a 30 mile radius
Source: Nielsen Claritas, a division of The Nielsen Company (US), LLC 2008  This information may not be redistributed.

Suburban Atmosphere

The Katy Area, a rapid population growth center located west of Houston, enjoys the benefits of being part of the Houston Metro area. Katy offers a quality suburban atmosphere, “small town” lifestyle, and an energetic talentbase for quality companies. Other benefits include the following:

  • Part of the Houston Metro Area, the 4th largest city in the United States, featuring a suburban and small town atmosphere and lifestyle
  • Well educated, talented workforce with high educational attainment
  • Large white collar, world class, workforce
  • Contains a major part of the acclaimed Energy Corridor
  • Award winning, acclaimed, K-12 public education system
  • 181 square miles in 3 counties: Fort Bend, Harris, and Waller
  • Diversified economy strong in corporate headquarters, energy services, engineering, medical,  distribution, and retail sectors
  • Moderate climate, award winning master planned communities, housing costs well below the national average, low cost of living, and excellent quality of life
  • Quality, available, industrial, and office buildings, and sites
  • Available tax and non-tax incentives, training grants, and low-interest financing

Source: Katy Area Economic Development Council

TOP EMPLOYERS

Katy is thriving and offers many employment opportunities. The Katy Area Chamber of Commerce and Katy Area Economic Development Council list the following businesses as top academic, retail, medical and energy industries and employers in Katy and the surrounding areas.

Katy Independent School District

BP America

Conoco/Phillips

CHRISTUS St. Catherine Hospital

Wood Group/Mustang Engineering

Katy Mills

Shell Oil

Academy Distribution Center

Igloo Products

HEB

Exxon/Mobil Chemical

Global Santa Fe

Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital

WalMart Super Center, Fry Rd.

WalMart Super Center, Market Place Dr.

Diamond Offshore Drilling

Houston Community College

Copyright Katy Magazine 2009. Adapted from Katy Life, Katy Magazine’s Newcomer & Relocation Guide

From outstanding public schools to affordable housing, from a family-friendly environment to a thriving economy, it’s easy to see why Katy, Texas was named the #2 Boomtown by Business Week

With an excellent school system, a thriving economy, and an abundance of sports teams, recreational venues, and family friendly activities, it’s not hard to see why Katy is one of the fastest growing communities in the greater Houston area. Although there are hundreds of reasons why Katy is a wonderful place to live, here are out top ten.

1. Exceptional Schools

Katy Independent School District (Katy ISD) is considered one of the best school districts in the greater Houston area. Katy ISD currently has 52 schools with aggressive expansion plans to meet the growing population of students, which is currently more than 55,000. All of Katy schools offer outstanding facilities and equipment for teachers and students alike, including a highly advanced technology program that includes computers in each classroom and stationary and wireless labs in every school. Students in grades K-12 are exposed to a wide variety of extracurricular activities, from sports to drama and music.

The district operates the Kenneth D. Welch Outdoor Learning Center, 35 acres of land kept in its natural state. Students at all grade levels are able to participate in hands-on science and social studies activities, including living history and science classrooms, a museum, and a barn with a blacksmith shop. Domestic fowl and animals, nature trails, and a pond stocked with fish are just a few examples of how Katy ISD is using its natural resources and surroundings to provide a quality educational experience for its students.

2. A Thriving Economy

While many cities around the country are struggling with today’s economy, Katy is fortunate enough to have world-class business leaders such as BP America, Conoco Phillips, Igloo, Mustang Engineering, and Shell Oil North America headquartered in the area. There’s also a high level of employee productivity. While the energy services sector boasts some of the biggest names in the industry, it’s important not to forget about the other strong economic sectors, including wholesale trade, plastics and advanced materials, service, and retail. According to the Katy Area Economic Development Council, in 2008 over two million people were employed within a 30 mile radius of Katy with an average unemployment rate of only 4%. Proximity to Houston and the Energy Corridor is positioning the Katy area to rapidly develop into one of the region’s premier business growth centers.

3. Outstanding Neighborhoods

From large, open floor plans to small efficiency apartments, there’s definitely a home to fit your lifestyle. Patio homes are available, as are master-planned estate homes in gated communities. Katy has a great mix of older neighborhoods with houses built in the 1980s, while other neighborhoods are still under development. Many newer subdivisions offer numerous amenities including community pools, tennis courts, parks, hike and bike trails, and workout facilities. Pricing begins below the $100,000s and can go well above $1 million in the more exclusive communities. Whether moderately priced or a grand estate – you will find a home to love in Katy.

4. Fun and Flavorful Dining

No matter what your taste, you can find food that will please your palate in Katy. New restaurants are popping up all over, yet there are restaurants that the locals have been enjoying for years. On-the-go families can enjoy the convenience of fast-food, but don’t forget the ethnic restaurants and old-fashioned Texas barbecue joints. Mid-level family restaurants offer a variety of delicious cuisine, while more upscale venues make special evenings out even more enjoyable. Check out our dining guide and katymagazine.com for more information on tasty Katy cuisine.

5. Shop ‘Til You Drop

From department stores to boutiques, you can find it in Katy. Katy Mills Mall showcases popular brands in retail and outlet shopping, while LaCenterra and the nearby Villagio feature a more upscale shopping experience. The Old Katy area is home to many smaller shops (many off the beaten path) that offer more personalized options.

Another advantage that Katyites enjoy is the close proximity to malls and outlets in Cy-Fair, Houston, and Sugar Land areas. The Houston Galleria offers a shopping adventure in an upscale, three-story complex. Houston Premium Outlets, the Conroe Outlet, and the VF Outlet in Hempstead all offer great discounts. Trader’s Village off of Eldridge is an adventure in flea markets, festivals and great bargains. And First Colony Mall in Sugar Land offers over 160 wonderful stores and eateries.

6. Parks and Leisure

Because we have typically mild weather during the winter, there are even more opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. While most subdivisions have their own playgrounds, there are numerous public parks in Katy. Katy is known for its family-friendly recreation such as hiking, biking, golf, and nature walks. Families can also enjoy fishing, playgrounds, and picnic areas. Dog owners will love the Katy Bark Park with acres of green grass, a wading pool, and doggie showers. Youth and adult sports leagues are available year round. Some of the most popular are soccer, football, baseball, tennis and swimming, among several others.

7. A Sense of Security

Because Katy is a tri-county area, dipping into Harris, Waller, and Fort Bend Counties, there’s never a need to worry about safety. Katy has its own police force and several fire stations with emergency medical services strategically placed throughout the area. Constables patrol most neighborhoods, and Sheriff’s Deputies from all counties are quick to respond to emergency situations. The school district also has it’s own police force to ensure that all campuses provide a safe environment for students, faculty, and staff. All of this protection helps keep Katyites safe and sound. The secure, home-town feel in the midst of big-city conveniences is another plus for Katy.

8. Kid-Focused Fun

Birthday parties, swimming, bowling, gymnastics and dance lessons are just a few of the fun activities for Katy kids. Inspiring and educational lessons abound in Katy, from, art lessons and music classes to martial arts and horseback riding. Whatever your youngster’s interests may be, Katy has the studios and facilities especially geared toward the development of young minds and bodies. A variety of camps and child-care programs are also available during winter, spring, and summer breaks. Read ahead – our Lessons and Activities directory offers lots of entertaining and educational opportunities.

9. A Caring Community

No matter how desirable an area may appear to be, it just wouldn’t be complete without an abundance of friendly faces. In Katy, southern hospitality still exists. You’ll meet wonderful neighbors, friendly bank tellers, dedicated teachers, and highly qualified doctors. Over the years Katy has attracted the best in healthcare practitioners and hospitals, and the job opportunities in these fields continue to grow. Construction is already underway for Texas Children’s, St. Luke’s, and The Methodist Hospital, and Christus St. Catherine’s and Katy Memorial Hermann are established facilities available for emergency care and medical procedures. Additionally, specialized and highly qualified medical practices from urgent care to long-term care keep Katy patients close to home. See our medical guide for a list of health care providers.

10. Location is Everything

For living, working, playing, and learning, when you are talking convenience, Katy has it all – and then some! People choose to live here in part because of its proximity to Houston without having to deal with the hustle and bustle of city life. Katy provides work opportunities in many fields including retail, education, and medicine. And the Katyites who commute to work can just jump on the Westpark Tollway or the HOV lanes on I-10. The METRO Park & Ride system has two nearby locations serving Katy residents, making that trek into Houston just a bit more convenient. During non-rush hours or weekends, getting into the heart of Houston is less than a 30 minute ride.

© 2009 Katy Magazine

Tell us why you love living in Katy, Texas! Post your comment or email editor@katymagazine.com

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