Thursday, July 16, 2009

Alan B Sadler, Montgomery County Judge

A born and raised Texan and native resident of Montgomery County, Judge Alan B Sadler is our County Judge. He works out of his county office in downtown Conroe. In my recent interview with him, I found the gentleman to be very open, and as he stated it, “I am an open book.”

Judge Sadler was born in Conroe, in the local hospital on 1st Street. His father was the one and only Dr. Sadler, founder of the Sadler Clinic. His father actually worked at the exact location of the building where the judge’s current office is located. Conroe has grown quite a bit since those days.

I could tell he is a strong supporter of his alma mater, by his enthusiasm for the University of Texas in Austin. I have yet to meet someone from UT or A&M who were not proud of their university roots. He graduated with a Finance degree and remained in that profession for many years. His career began with InterFirst Bank, as a lender for real estate loans. That is the Bank of America today. At one time, it was North Carolina national Bank (NCNB). The judge hit my funny bone when he revealed the acronym on the street, “No Cash for NoBody”. He switched to developing commercial real estate after his twelve banking years. Then in 1989 he decided to seek a public office and was elected to his current position in 1990.

His greatest satisfaction has come from hours of toil with budgets and keeping taxes under $.050/$100 for his entire career in office. Today, the tax rate is lower than it was in 1989. “There have been difficult choices and tough cuts (budget). I like being in touch with the pulse of the community, responding to people’s needs. I find it satisfying and challenging. Today, the county government is fairly quiet and that is good news. Not so much controversy.”

The judge’s private life has been active and rewarding to him also. He has four children, two at home and two married. He has two families, beginning with the two girls who are both married now and when they got old enough, he and his wife decided to have another pair, this time two boys! They were totally different, offering diversity in his life. One of his daughters teaches first grade right here in The Woodlands. The other graduated from Vanderbilt University and is preparing to start on her MBA program. His sons attend high school in this county. He proudly displays his family’s photographs in his office.

He was recently in the news in a negative way. He and I talked about that. It is of course water under the bridge now, but I wanted to know a little more what happened. He would like to pass on some advice to people. “When taking medicine for an illness (in his case for pain from dental work), don’t consume any alcohol.” There is a lesson to be learned here. He was involved in a very minor rear-end accident (two small scratches on the other person’s car). He is not a regular drinker but engages infrequently in social drinking, as he did that day. It was a mistake to drive that day.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Stefanie Somers - Designer and Creator of Pageant Jewelry

We have quite a legend right here in The Woodlands, Texas. Coming here from Baltimore in 1992, Stefanie Somers lives just outside of The Woodlands proper. She is living her second career now. Her first was also in a glitzy venue that she loved, a ballroom dancing studio! "I still miss that." It all came to an end as the result of an injury she incurred years ago. She came into the ballroom business after winning the USA Amateur Ballroom title in her last year of college. Then after the injury, she changed her profession out of necessity. She is very well known in the United States as the lady who puts the glamor in glamor. Among her clients include competitors in the USA, America and Galaxy pageant systems at various stages of competition. She by no means limits her work to the major pageants. She also creates accessories for local pageant contestants, brides, dancers and participants in any event where a lady is looking to be unique. She has no store front other than her website.2 She does not design or create crowns such you would see for the winner of a major pageant, nor a tiara. If you are in a pageant and don't go to her for help for your evening gown jewelry, you are missing the edge in competition when you face the judges.

This year, all one needs to know about Stefanie's creativity is to look no further than First Runner-up Miss USA 2009 in her evening gown.2 Carrie Prejean (Miss California) wore her spectacular white earrings, the creation of Stefanie. She has been on various television shows. Another example is Miss Utah, Laura Kirilova Chukanov, who was third Runner-up in the same pageant, in her yellow gown, wearing her customized yellow earrings by Stefanie. Second Runner-up (not pictured) Miss Arizona, Alicia-Monique Blanco was also wearing her unique jewelry. In fact, five of the top ten in the Miss USA Pageant this year were wearing jewelry designed and built by this creative artist. Each contestant using Stefanie's services wears unique jewelry customized for that individual for that contest. The jewelry is of course designed with the dress colors and style in mind, but much more goes into the uniqueness of the product. The personality of the girl, her frame and her features will play a part in the selection of stone cuts and colors.

This lady works exceptionally hard to get the job done. Often she is under tremendous pressure to produce her product and put it into the hands of the contestant near the day of the pageant. The night before I interviewed her, she was up all night working on a project.

Stefanie has her own design philosophies, which have evolved over the years. For one, she has to get to know the contestant, not just work from a photograph. The contestant actually designs the creation through her individual uniqueness. It is up to Stefanie to interpret that uniqueness. "The girl's silhouette is very important" says Stefanie. "The girl should sparkle ten feet away". I use the best crystal available and have a privileged direct designer account with the company making them, giving me access to their remarkable palette of crystal cuts and colors.", "company" being Swarovski1 "I have an immense inventory of many colors and shapes. Looking at these stones is like being in a candy store."

When asked about interesting experiences in this business, she replied. "Every once in a while I get a call from the hotel where the girls have already gathered for a pageant, and one asks me if I can design her accessories before the pageant. That happened this year. This simply cracks me up!" There is of course a lot of planning and preparation required to successfully compete in these events. Some of the girls are not aware of the extent of preparation by some of their competitors until they see them with their personalized jewelry and say "oh no, I need one of those too!". It is then too late. "Another memory also comes to mind. I have done some custom work for Disney, for example the buttons on the shirt of Mickey Mouse that he wears in Disney World for firework displays, as the orchestra leader. I am also particularly happy to be the designer of Cinderella's crown, which I am sure just about everyone has seen. I was privileged to go backstage and see the Disney operation as a result of my work. A fond memory. I also get to see the real people who are in the public eye. To see these wonderful dresses of pageant contestants is a joy of mine."

I have to say, it is apparent when talking to her, that she enjoys her work.

Stefanie has two children and is able to be there for them, since she does her work in her very large studio near their home. At times, she employs a substantial number of people to help with the work. Her daughter also often helps her with the business.

She was recently interviewed on Pageant Talk Radio3. That is an interesting conversation, if you want to spend the time with it. She wrote an article in Pageantry Magazine that you may also find interesting and useful if you have some event where you want to be unique. She also gives advice on selecting earrings that will go with any color gown. 4

Contact information
Stefanie Somers, Inc.
800.400.4312 Toll Free
936-273-2488 Houston local
936-273-1729 Fax

1 Swarovski Crystal website
2 Stefanie Somers Website
3 Pageant Talk Radio
4 Pageantry Magazine article by Stefanie Somers, "Opposing Forces"

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bonnie Hubert

Bonnie Hubert was recently crowned Mrs. Texas International. She lives right here in The Woodlands. This is her final stepping-stone to the Mrs. International pageant to be held July 17-18 in Chicago, IL. The first step was winning the Mrs. Woodlands pageant. Now as Mrs. Texas International, Bonnie is acting as a Goodwill Ambassador for not only The Woodlands, but the entire state of Texas. She is engaged in some forty completed or scheduled appearances such as judging the Woodlands Idol Contest, appearing at the Market Street Go Texan Event, Montgomery County Fair, American Cancer Relay for Life, Montgomery County March of Dimes “March for babies.” The majority of time is spent as a spokesperson for Montgomery County CASA. Her goal is to help CASA double the number of child advocates in this county. This milestone in her life in itself is quite an accomplishment, but the story only culminates here. We have to go back in time and look at her credentials to understand what has transpired in her life, why she was nominated for recognition in Who’s Who and where she is headed. She is a lady with a mission and goes to great lengths to accomplish that mission. “This has grown to something larger than I first envisioned”, she admits, “but it is all worthwhile.”

Her passion is with children. She has worked as a bilingual teacher, school counselor and now the Crisis Intervention Specialist for the Conroe Independent School District. She is the mother of three and an advocate for abused and neglected children. She seeks no personal gain for being Mrs. Texas. From day one of her competition, her goal has been to promote CASA, an organization which is an “advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in an inappropriate group or foster home.” This is the primary reason she has been nominated for Who’s Who. When you meet her personally, you have no doubt as to that passion and the impact she is bound to have on our community, as well as statewide, or even nationally.

As a teacher and counselor for CISD, she has encountered a number of issues, which have stimulated her passion to help more children. She would like to double the number of volunteers from the community and now statewide for CASA. “I have no doubt that when people truly understand what CASA is all about and how easy it is to help CASA kids, the volunteer numbers will increase dramatically. It’s all about awareness. I know I can help CASA locally and statewide by being out there spreading the CASA message. The CASA message is simple-- When you give a child a CASA, you give a child a voice. When you give a child a voice you give them hope and when you give a child hope, you give them the world.”

In CISD she works to educate parents and educational institutions on behavioral intervention techniques, as well as a variety of other youth related topics. “My goal is to bring awareness to the public many youth issues, as well as provide community resources and support.”

With her bilingual skills (Spanish/English), she is personally able to reach out to a number of situations in the community. When she taught bilingual students, she led her students to 100% reading and 90% math proficiencies. She also was a campus representative for the CISD READS program and the CISD representative for the Texas Educational System TAKS Review Committee.

With a background in mental health as a professional licensed counselor, our Mrs. Texas has worked in private practice as well, conducting individual, family, and group counseling. In that capacity she had experience in interviewing, assessing, and identifying mental health or other problems using approved assessment instruments, social history, and consultation with various resources.

Bonnie feels that physical wellness is as important as mental wellness. She works as a group fitness instructor for the YMCA and Gold’s Gym teaching early morning classes 4 days each week. “Exercise is the best medicine to release stress. It’s a sacrifice to wake up at 4:30 four days a week, but it makes a big difference in every aspect of my life. When I exercise I have more physical and mental energy. It’s a way to remain strong so that I can be a super mom as well as make a difference in my job and community.”

Bonnie Hubert graduated from Sam Houston State University in 1997 with a B.A. in Education, Magna Cum Laude with a specialization in Spanish. She went on to obtain her Masters of Arts in counseling from Texas Southern University in 2002. She obtained her professional counselor certification and license from Sam Houston State University in 2004.

Mrs. Hubert can be contacted via her personal email at ……, Personal Email address (click here)

Related Links

2 Mrs. Texas International pageant Winners

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tommy Williams- Woodlands resident in the news

Many of us know Tommy Williams. We have either met him at some political event or Woodlands event. If we don't know him, we at least see the sign advertising the location of his official local office here. As a resident of The Woodlands, he has made a tremendous impact on our community by pushing the deal with the City of Houston to not be annexed. He also led the way towards legislation in his Senate role so that we could legally establish an alternate government that would enable us to legally sever the jurisdiction that Houston had on our community. He will be helping us this session with needed legislation that has been discussed and acted on by the Township's Governance and Nominations Committee. Those legislative priorities will be debated and voted on in this month's regularly scheduled Township meeting. Like usual, time runs out quickly our bi-annual state legislature. There are just a few months to get bills passed. So we will call on him again for help. His influence in the Senate is important to getting this done.

Tommy Williams is in the news this week. His long tenure in Austin has made him more powerful and influential each year. A commentary in today's Austin Statesman presents him in this role and I recommend its reading. Click here to read the article.