Leader May 21, 2022

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Inside Today: Sheila Jackson Lee tests positive for COVID • Page 2 We provide a real estate experience driven by vision and

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Teen accused of shooting student at Heights HS By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

A 17-year-old boy accused of shooting a Heights High School student in a campus parking lot last week also faces two aggravated robbery charges from March, when he is alleged to have fired gunshots at two other students and one of their step-fathers during a vehicular pursuit. Alex Owiesy was arrested May 13 and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a felony, along with misdemeanor unlawful carrying of a weapon after police allegedly found a gun

in his vehicle, according to Harris County court documents. Owiesy also has been charged with two counts of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, stemming from a March 7 incident near the Heights campus. Court records show he remained in jail as of Tuesday, with a total bond amount of $210,000 for the four charges. The male student who was shot May 12 was transported to Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital, according to court records, which show that a See Shooting P. 5A


Photo by Adam Zuvanich A Heights High School student was shot May 12 in the student parking lot. Houston ISD said five people are suspected to have been involved in the shooting, with 17-year-old Alex Owiesy having been arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

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INSIDE. Photo by Adam Zuvanich The swimming pool at Booker T. Washington High School, constructed in 2020 at a price of more than $3 million, has been used only once and not at all this school year, according to principal Carlos Phillips.

Local schools in dispute over access to unused pool By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

Young man with a plan. Waltrip’s Yahir Olivares is headed to UT on a full scholarship.

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Bad bugs. Our local Garden Guru says leaf-footed bugs look like less harmful assassin bugs.

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Representatives of the Heights High School swimming team, which does not have an on-campus pool it can utilize, inquired before the school year about the possibility of holding practices and meets at nearby Booker T. Washington High School, which has a new natatorium but no swim team. The request was denied by the principal at the latter campus, who explained in an email obtained by The Leader that Washington wanted to focus on developing its own team and meeting the needs of its own students and community before opening the facility to others. More than nine months later, as the 2021-22 school year draws to a close, Washington’s multi-million-dollar pool has not been used by students from either Houston ISD campus – or anyone else. It was closed by the city in late September because the school missed its deadline for obtaining an annual operating permit, according to a spokesperson for the Houston Health Department, who said a related inspection was not completed until late April because of inaction by school officials. “No one’s using it. It’s literally sitting there,” said Jennifer Jordan, a volunteer assistant coach at Heights who also is a member of the swim team booster club. “It’s just a waste of taxpayer money.”

Photo by Adam Zuvanich The Houston Health Department’s “Pool Closed Until Further Notice” sign was on the door to the Booker T. Washington High School natatorium on Tuesday, even though it was permitted to be open on April 26, according to a spokesperson for the health department.

According to information on the HISD website and contractual documents obtained by The Leader through an open records request, practice pool facilities were built at Milby, Yates and Washington high schools with surplus See Pool P. 5A

Lifeguard shortage throws cold water on pools’ summer By Charlotte Aguilar caguilar@mcelvypartners.com

Restaurant recovery. Piper’s Burger will open soon, thanks to some good detective work.

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THE INDEX. Church........................................................... 4 Classifieds ................................................. 7 Coupons ...................................................... 7 Food/Drink ................................................ 9 Obituaries.................................................. 6 Opinion ........................................................ 3 Public Information............................. 2 Puzzles ......................................................... 3 Sports ............................................................ 6

This should be a hopeful time of year for Leroy Maura Jr., in charge of the City of Houston’s public swimming pools. The weather already screams summer, the Memorial Day weekend is looming, and for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic closed public swimming in 2020, all 37 of the city’s pools are green-lit to open on May 28. But Maura is counting lifeguards and agonizing over how many Houston pools might have to remain closed. Five of the cityoperated pools are in the

Greater Heights. “If we had to decide today, it wouldn’t be good,” he said Tuesday. So far, even after a vigorous media blitz that included a $300 bonus for staying on the job through the summer, only 43 potential lifeguards are being processed out of 187 needed, Maura said. That will make it a struggle to open even the 10 pools that the city was able to muster last summer with 50 lifeguards, Maura explained. Twenty-four of last year’s staff re-applied this year, but even after the recruitSee Lifeguard P. 5A

Photo by Adam Zuvanich The pool at Oak Forest Park has been closed for two summers — in 2020 because of a lockdown, in 2021 because of a lifeguard shortage. Lack of lifeguards could keep the gates locked again this year at all but 10 or so of the city’s 37 municipal pools, according to the Houston official in charge.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday, May 24, for the runoff to settle undecided party nominations left over from the March 1 primary for some county, state and U.S. congressional races. Early voting was set to take place Monday through Friday of this week. Voters can view a sample ballot customized to their addresses at Harr i s Vo t e s . c o m . Anyone who cast a ballot in the primary will have to vote in that same political party for the runoff. Those voting Democrat will choose their nominees for lieutenant governor, Martinez Alexander attorney general, comptroller and commissioner of the Texas General Land Office, along with local judicial nominees, a potential seat on Harris County Commissioners Court and a newly Klussmann created congressional district. Diana Martinez Alexander and Duncan F. Klussmann are vying for the Democratic nomination in District 38, which will serve a geographic area that includes Memorial Park and locales immediately to the east and south. Wesley Hunt won the Republican nomination. Lesley Briones and Ben Chou are competing for the opportunity to face Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle in November. Cagle was unopposed in the Republican primary. The Republican ballot will determine attorney general and land office nominees and whether Alexandra del Moral Mealer or Vidal Martinez will face incumbent Lina Hidalgo for Harris County judge in November. Jack Morman and Jerry Mouton are competing in a runoff for the Republican nomination for Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner, with the winner to face incumbent Adrian Garcia. Johnny Teague and Tim Stroud are in a runoff for the right to face U.S. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, a Democrat who represents District 7, while U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia of District 29 awaits the runoff winner between Republicans Robert Schafranek and Julio Garza. In Texas House District 147, which represents a portion of the Heights area along Interstate 10, Jolanda Jones and Danielle Keys Bess are squaring off for the Democratic nomination for Garnet Coleman’s former seat, which he reSee Runoff P. 4A

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The Leader • Saturday, May 21, 2022 • Page 2

Congresswoman tests positive for COVID By Charlotte Aguilar caguilar@mcelvypartners.com

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX Dist. 18) was sidelined Monday after testing positive for COVID-19 and “looks forward to a full and complete recovery,” according to a statement issued by her staff. The 72-year-old congresswoman has represented the district, which now encompasses a large portion of the Heights, Oak Forest and Garden Oaks areas, for 27 years. Lee has been vaccinated

and received boosters, according to the statement, which added: “She encourages everyone to get tested and fully vaccinated along with their booster shots.” It was unclear what prompted Lee to get tested or what, if any, symptoms she displayed. She was in her Houston district, which includes parts of the Heights, as recently as last Saturday, May 14, when she handed out baby formula and supplies at a drive-thru distribution at Yates High School in the Third Ward.

Multiple apartments damaged by kitchen fire By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

A failure of electrical equipment led to a fire that damaged four units in a Sherwood Lane apartment complex Monday, according to the Houston Fire Department. No injuries were reported in the fire, which caused an estimated $20,000 worth of damage, HFD said in a news release. Crews from nine HFD stations responded to 4596 Sher-

wood Ln. just after 12:30 p.m. Monday, according to HFD, to find smoke coming from the roof of the two-story complex. Firefighters encountered heavier smoke once inside the unit, the department said, and found the fire within a wall in a kitchen. It was extinguished within an hour, according to HFD. HFD said investigators later determined that the fire was unintentional and due to an electrical failure or malfunction.

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M. Solak Cause of Northside house Jennifer Attorney & Counselor at Law fire under investigation ESTATE PLANNING By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

Arson investigators are trying to determine what caused a house fire in the Northside area last weekend, according to the Houston Fire Department. HFD said there were no injuries reported in the fire, according to a news release from the department. Crews from seven HFD

stations responded to a home in the 1900 block of Marion Street just before 1:30 p.m. last Saturday, May 14, to find smoke coming from the home. HFD said its crews were able to quickly control the fire. Investigators were working to determine the cause of the fire as of Monday. HFD said it caused an estimated $10,500 in damage to the house.


713.588.5744 jennifer@solaklegal.com 2950 N. Loop West, Suite 500, Houston, TX 77092

Police Reports • May 3 - 17 MAY 3

Theft 5 AM 100 BLOCK OF AURORA Theft 4 AM 2700 BLOCK OF YALE Theft 12 AM 500 BLOCK OF 24TH ST W Theft 8 AM 100 BLOCK OF 20TH ST W Theft 9 PM 200 BLOCK OF 20TH ST W Theft 5 AM 3100 BLOCK OF ARLINGTON Theft 12 AM 2500 BLOCK OF AIRLINE Assault 11 PM 2800 BLOCK OF T C JESTER BLVD W Burglary 5 PM 1700 BLOCK OF BEALL


Theft 10 AM 400 BLOCK OF 28TH ST W Theft 8 AM 600 BLOCK OF RUTLAND Theft 7 AM 100 BLOCK OF 20TH ST W Other 10 AM 600 BLOCK OF 20TH ST W Vandalism 10 AM 600 BLOCK OF 20TH ST W Burglary 2 AM 800 BLOCK OF 19TH ST W Burglary 1 AM 900 BLOCK OF 19TH ST W Assault 10 PM 700 BLOCK OF ALLSTON Arrest 11 AM 700 BLOCK OF RIDGE ST


Assault 12 AM 1000 BLOCK OF 24TH ST E Theft 2 AM 600 BLOCK OF 37TH ST E Other 2 AM 1100 BLOCK OF 19TH ST W Vandalism 7 AM 300 BLOCK OF CROSSTIMBERS


Theft 5 AM 100 BLOCK OF 20TH ST W Theft 5 PM 4500 BLOCK OF NORTH FWY Theft 7 PM 600 BLOCK OF ROGERS ST E Burglary 3 AM 2800 BLOCK OF T C JESTER BLVD W Theft 12 PM 1200 BLOCK OF 34TH ST W Assault 7 PM 1200 BLOCK OF 27TH ST E


Vandalism 9 PM 200 BLOCK OF

OF 38TH ST E Theft 4 AM 900 BLOCK OF 30TH ST W Assault 12 PM 1900 BLOCK OF SHEPHERD DR N

LOOP N Other 6 PM 1400 BLOCK OF 36TH ST E Theft 1 AM 4900 BLOCK OF LILLIAN

MAY 13

MAY 17

20TH ST W Robbery 9 PM 200 BLOCK OF 20TH ST W Theft 2 AM 600 BLOCK OF 19TH ST W Assault 9 PM 100 BLOCK OF 32ND ST E Vandalism 11 PM 100 BLOCK OF 32ND ST E Vandalism 11 AM 1500 BLOCK OF AIRLINE Robbery 4 AM 400 BLOCK OF CROSSTIMBERS Theft 10 AM 500 BLOCK OF CROSSTIMBERS Vandalism 2 AM 1300 BLOCK OF CROSSTIMBERS Arrest 9 AM 800 BLOCK OF CURTIN Assault 2 PM 300 BLOCK OF VICTORIA Assault 12 AM 600 BLOCK OF CORTLANDT Assault 11 PM 100 BLOCK OF 32ND ST E

Theft 5 PM 1400 BLOCK OF 26TH ST W Theft 9 PM 1000 BLOCK OF KERN Theft 1 AM 1700 BLOCK OF T C JESTER BLVD Theft 2 PM 1600 BLOCK OF 15TH ST W Assault 3 AM 200 BLOCK OF 33RD ST E Assault 9 AM 1300 BLOCK OF 19TH ST W Theft 7 AM 3600 BLOCK OF BRINKMAN Vandalism 8 PM 3100 BLOCK OF WHITE OAK Assault 10 AM 4600 BLOCK OF WERNER


MAY 14

Assault 7 PM 9300 BLOCK OF NORTH FWY Burglary 9 PM 8900 BLOCK OF NORTH FWY Burglary 6 AM 3300 BLOCK OF WHITE OAK DR Arrest 1 AM 200 BLOCK OF 44TH ST W


Vandalism 12 PM 700 BLOCK OF 26TH W Assault 8 PM 800 BLOCK OF 41ST ST W

MAY 11

Assault 12 PM 1800 BLOCK OF LULA Assault 8 AM 600 BLOCK OF 26TH ST W Theft 6 PM 300 BLOCK OF 40TH ST E Burglary 12 PM 6300 BLOCK OF GROVEWOOD Theft 3 PM 1200 BLOCK OF PRINCE Theft 7 PM 1900 BLOCK OF BEALL Theft 10 PM 1200 BLOCK OF 17TH ST W Theft 11 AM 1500 BLOCK OF 25TH ST W

MAY 12

Vandalism 12 PM 200 BLOCK OF HYTA Assault 9 AM 200 BLOCK OF 19TH ST W Vandalism 12 PM 300 BLOCK


Theft 12 AM 500 BLOCK OF 19TH ST W Theft 4 AM 1300 BLOCK OF BLAIR Assault 5 PM 4800 BLOCK OF MICHAUX Theft 2 PM 2500 BLOCK OF AIRLINE Other 8 PM 1000 BLOCK OF SUE BARNETT Reports are provided by SpotCrime.com based on data from the Houston Police Department.

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MAY 15


MAY 16

Theft 1 PM 400 BLOCK OF 26TH ST W Assault 4 PM 500 BLOCK OF 14TH ST W Robbery 5 AM 700 BLOCK OF

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THE TOPICS. The Leader • Saturday, May 21, 2022 • Page 3

Hurry up and prepare, it’s hurricane season MY DISASTER LIST – Batteries? Check. All sorts of batteries? A, AA and AAA. (No two TV remotes, flashlights or smoke detectors take the same size.) Charge my iPhone, iPad and iHearingAid battery chargers. Water? Bottles of it left over from Winter Storm Uri back in February 2021. Can I just scrape off the mold? Obviously, I am getting ready for a most unwelcome visitor: Idalia, Hermine and/or Virginie. Yes, Houstonians, it’s almost the opening of hurricane season when the American Red Cross tosses out the first doughnut. You should begin preparations, too, because over the last 10 seasons, eight storms started before June 1. It’s getting worse. Between 1991-2020 there was an average of seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. Last year, the U.S. had seven hurricanes, again, but four that reached Category 3 status or greater. This year the predictions are for nine hurricanes and four that reach at least Category 3. This is according to Colorado State University’s Phil Klotzbach. (I could never figure out why we go to Colorado State University, 1,223 miles from the coast, for info on what’s blowing our lawn furniture into the next ZIP code.) Meteorologists blame the increasing number of storms on El

LYNN ASHBY Columnist

Nino, Spanish for El Nino, and global warming, but I blame the press. Every late spring our TV weather people point to the radar that shows a cloud just west of Liberia, and warn breathlessly that the cloud could turn into a killer hurricane that could well swamp Houston. (I also blame the press for COVID19-through-56, acne and the Texans’ offensive line.) For example, the Weather Channel gives us its predictions and adds: “Additional details will become available over the next few months.” Great timing. When I am standing on my rooftop waiting for a Texas National Guard helicopter to rescue me, the Weather Channel will tell me that a hurricane has hit town. But suppose the weather wizards are right. Look for other signs, such as when the animals at the Houston Zoo are lining up two by two, or

your insurance company announces it is canceling your flood insurance policy. Note when you turn on your TV news, see if the meteorologist is wearing a life jacket. Maybe your neighbor is in her front yard putting up a flood gauge. Another clue: Your lawyer calls and asks if you want to update your will. And your kids call with the same question. So stock up on essentials, including diapers, toilet paper, Sterno, matches to light the Sterno and fill your bathtub with water. Get a hand-operated can opener. You will certainly lose power (ERCOT’s slogan: “Don’t blame us”), so your electric can opener will be useless while you starve because you can’t pry open that can of Campbell’s Iquana Soup. Rope. Either tie down your lawn chairs, barbeque pit and pets or bring them inside. Same for your children. Raise your garage door. Remember, no electricity. Got a radio that runs on batteries? Why not? Go get one. Plywood. Notice that prior to every hurricane we see people line up at the local Home Depot to buy plywood they will nail over their windows. Question: What did they do with last year’s plywood? It didn’t rot. Those 6-by-8 foot boards won’t fit in their garbage can. Check your bar. Brandy can be consumed at room temperature. Vodka needs ice or at least it can be put in the

freezer early on. Incidentally, last week I was in my liquor store to make my monthly purchase of vodka and there was a sign on the shelf: “We no longer handle Russian products.” Ha. Take THAT, Vlad! OK, my weekly purchase. Maybe thrice weekly. You have been wondering what hurricane names will go down in infamy. We can say “Harvey” and everyone knows what we mean. (FEMA says help is on the way.) Same for “Katrina.” About 250,000 Louisianans fled to Texas fleeing Katrina, and almost two decades later, more than 30,000 still live in Houston. Wouldn’t you? Last year, the average income in Houston was almost $11,000 more than in New Orleans. The average Black family in Houston makes about $47,000, compared with $31,000 in New Orleans. As for names, they are given to tropical storms, but if they reach a sustained wind speed of 74 miles per hour, then they are deemed hurricanes. Atlantic storms name lists repeat every six years unless a storm is so severe that the World Meteorological Organization’s Hurricane Committee (WMO) votes to retire that name from future lists. When a name is retired, it’s replaced by a new name. So we won’t see another Karina, Ike or Harvey. Incidentally, there is no Stormy Daniels.

This year’s list goes from Alex to Walter and includes the aforementioned Idalia, Hermine and Virginie. In 2020 there were so many named storms, a record 30, WMO ran out of its 21 names (they don’t use Q, U, X, Y and Z), so they used nine letters in the Greek alphabet, but that idea was abandoned because Zeta, Eta and Theta are too similar. It was confusing. Giving storms female names began in 1953, and in 1979, the names alternated between men and women. During the same year, the WMO’s Regional Association IV Hurricane Committee (I’m not a member) began using French and Spanish names for storms. In 2003, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston criticized WMO for not using African-American names for storms and hurricanes. “All racial groups should be represented,” she complained. The Congresswoman suggested names such as Keisha, Jamal, and Deshawn. I’m not sure anything came of her complaint. All right, you are ready for Idalia. But now that I think of it, the Texas National Guard won’t come to rescue me from my rooftop. All the guards will be down on the Rio Grande looking for immigrants. Ashby is huddling at ashby2@comcast.net

THE READER. value of their businesses due to lower sales. Lower sales volume will deter future businesses from investing in 11th Street. - Many of these 11th Street business owners also live near their places of business, and are concerned about increased traffic affecting walkability of smaller streets. In an ideal world, bicycle lanes are a desirable addition to a community. However, when the amount of commercial activity is weighed against the many safe bike routes that exist throughout the Heights, one realizes that 11th Street is not an ideal place for bike lanes. Alliance for Reasonable Traffic Solutions (ARTS)

11th Street Road Diet Dear Editor: Listed are some of the worries that cause uneasiness about a road diet on 11th Street: - Traffic that is backed up at lights or behind left turners will affect ingress/egress of businesses. - 11th Street has a mix of mostly commercial, and a few residential establishments. There are more than 150 driveways and side streets on the 1.5 mile stretch of 11th Street that will undergo a road diet. More than one business owner expressed worry about conflicts between motorists and bicyclists at driveways. A conflict could result in a fatality or serious injury for the bicyclist. Who would have the right of way, the bicyclist or the motorist? And how will that be negotiated “in the moment”? Bicyclists in the “protected” bike lane may have a false sense of security, thinking they have the right of way the entire length and not looking out for motorists who also think they have the right of way or do not see the bicyclist. - Reduced patronage of businesses. Heights businesses attract customers from all over Houston, not just local Heights residents. If 11th Street becomes too difficult to travel, people may be discouraged from patronizing our local businesses...which would lower sales volume and sales taxes. - Businesses may suffer reduced

Dear Editor: I am a resident of the Heights who also drives, walks and ride bikes. I am opposed to the 11th Street plan because it will result in more bicycle accidents in the Heights not less due to more conflicts between cars and bike riders. If you want proof look at Bike Houston’s Bicycle Crash Map showing the accidents on Heights Blvd where there are bike lanes. Regarding a couple points made in the guest editorial. According to the city’s presentations road diets do not always reduce the amount of traffic on a particular street. Of the 18 examples they presented 5 actually resulted in increases in volume and in 7 others the volume remained the same. Secondly, reducing

speeds is a good thing but even at 30mph there is a 50% chance of a fatality or serious injury. The Nicholson crossing is one everyone agrees on but there are better alternatives which the city refuses to accept. As far as crossing 11th Street, a better solution might be more pedestrian activated stop lights (HAWKs) like at 10th and Shepherd. And if you want to connect to the White Oak Bayou trail an easy way is to ride down 14th St. which has stoplights at all major streets then cut through a quiet neighborhood west of Durham and cross pedestrian crosswalks at TC Jester. The speed bumps on 8th, 10th, 12th, 13th and Tulane are a perfect reason why these streets are safe alternatives for riding a bike rather than bike lanes on 11th St. The city’s plan for 11th Street is a bad idea for many reasons but from my point of view it will be dangerous for bicycle riders especially when there are better ways to ride a bike around the Heights.

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Page 4 • Saturday, May 21, 2022 • The Leader

Waltrip student earns prestigious scholarship to UT By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

Jose Olivares’ dream is to own his own repair business for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. His oldest son has a plan to make that happen. Yahir Olivares, an 18-yearold senior at Waltrip High School, has been selected for the prestigious Forty Acres Scholars Program at the University of Texas at Austin. He’ll receive a full ride as well as networking opportunities and a stipend that can be used for enrichment activities such as studying abroad, community service ventures and personal and professional development. The younger Oliveras said his long-term goal is to earn a business degree so he can start an HVAC repair company with his father, a Mexican immigrant. “The summer between my sophomore and junior year (at Waltrip), I decided that I wanted to become a businessman,” Olivares said. “My dad, his dream was to have his own HVAC business, but he really couldn’t manage it or start it up. He wasn’t familiar with the business field.”

Olivares is one of 19 high school seniors from across the United States who was selected for the scholars program, out of more than 3,400 applicants, for the UT graduating class of 2026. The program is administered by the Texas Exes alumni association, which says on its website that the program “inspires and nurtures visionary leaders and helps them use their talents to benefit society.” Olivares visited the UT campus in early March along with 59 other finalists for the scholarship program. Later that month, he said he learned he had been picked as a recipient. When he got the email letting him know, Olivares was back in Austin working with his dad, who is an HVAC technician. It was a special moment for father and son. “Maybe destiny. Maybe the universe aligned,” Yahir Olivares said. “Honestly, I think it was something from the big man, from God.” According to his bio on the Forty Acres Scholars Program website, Olivares is fluent in Spanish, plays the guitar and is a two-time UIL Academics District Champion for social studies and

current issues and events. He also has been an ambassador for the EMERGE program in Houston ISD, which helps first-generation and low-income students get into the nation’s top colleges and universities. Olivares said he is ranked 14th in a senior class with more than 400 students in terms of his grade-point average. He will be the first person from hWaltis family to attend college. “I’m really excited,” he said. “I don’t think I would have went to UT if I hadn’t gotten the scholarship. I don’t know if I would have been able to pay for college because of my parents’ financial situation.” Olivares, who lives in the Langwood neighborhood, said his academic strengths are problem-solving and a strong work ethic. He attributes the latter trait to his father and mother, Maria Flores, who has worked occasional cleaning jobs while being the primary caretaker for Olivares and his two younger brothers. Along with earning a business degree so he can start an HVAC repair company with his dad, Olivares said he wants to give back to the

Contributed photo Waltrip High School student Yahir Olivares, a first-generation American, has been selected for the Forty Acres Scholars Program at the University of Texas at Austin.

community that has nurture him and put position to enjoy a opportunity. “I promise to take

helped him in unique

tage of it, not only for me, but for the rest of my community,” he said. “I want to start organizations and fundraisers and pretty much set


an example. Although you might go to a Title I school, if you set your mind to do something, you really can get far.”

Heights’ Baldwin authors book about Harvey relief efforts storm and was inspired by their efforts. He said the Lockes coordinated donations, Vega was in charge of food, Smaile put up sleeping cots and Brombacher “did whatever” was asked of him. “I never saw them before in my life until I was there in my wet bike clothes,” Baldwin said. “It was a weird experience, one of those opportunities you have and you either take it or you don’t.” Baldwin also credited the efforts of two of his employees at Boulevard Realty, Aaron Flores and Mario Castillo. He said his real estate business took a hit while he focused on recovery efforts for the better part of four months, which is something he described as a tradeoff, since he gained some respect and perspective. He also witnessed Houstonians paying the good will forward as part of a group that delivered goods and supplies to Puerto Rico after a subsequent hurricane devastated that island. And when trucks from wineries in California made dropoffs in Houston, Baldwin said he witnessed some of those trucks being filled with N95 masks that could be delivered to California and used by people combatting wildfires. “I want people to remember that unique point in time,” Baldwin said. “It’s worth remembering, and not that we had a hurricane. Forget the damn hurricane. It’s what happened after the hurricane that’s really the true spirit of the city and even the nation.”

By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

People seem to be more divided than ever nowadays, particularly politically. So Bill Baldwin wanted his first book to focus on something that brought a city – even a nation – together. Baldwin, a prominent Heights resident who owns a real estate firm in the neighborhood, released a book this week titled, “Heroes, Hope, and High Water: Life Lessons in Turbulent Times.” It is about the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, when Houstonians banded together amidst historic flooding and volunteered to help neighbors and even strangers. “It seems like the world’s focus is on things that divide us versus things that unite us,” Baldwin said. “Harvey was an example of how united we really are. That’s the message of the book.” “Heroes, Hope, and High Water” was scheduled to be released Thursday, according to Baldwin, who said it is about 100 pages and includes first-person accounts as well as photographs he took while volunteering at the George R. Brown Convention Center and operating the Houston Relief Hub out of a warehouse in Sawyer Yards. He said the book is a collection of life lessons, such as treating others with respect and the value of helping others in their time of need, while highlighting some of the people and organizations that proved to be unsung heroes. Hardback copies of the book are available for pur-

Photo from diangelopublications.com Bill Baldwin, a Heights resident and owner of Boulevard Realty, released a book this week called “Heroes, Hope, and High Water: Life Lessons in Turbulent Times.” It is about how Houstonians banded together in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

chase online at www.diangelopublications.com/books/ heroes-hope-high-water, at a cost of $22.50. Baldwin said they also are available at stores such as Manready Mercantile, 321 W. 19th St. Suite B; KuhlLinscomb, 2418 W. Alabama St.; Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet St.; and in the gift shop at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 5601 Main St. “I had never written a book before,” Baldwin said. “It was fun for me to do.” Baldwin owns Boulevard Realty, 927 Studewood St. Suite 100, in addition to being a member of the Houston Planning Commission. He is a past president of the Houston Heights Association, having served multiple terms, as well as a former Leader of the Year. He said his book is an extension of a commencement speech he gave in 2018 at

his alma mater, Sam Houston State University in Huntsville. And the seed for that speech was planted on the morning after much of Houston flooded in August 2017, when Baldwin said he ventured out on his bicycle to survey the damage and ended up downtown at the George R. Brown Convention Center, an early relief hub for Houston-area residents seeking high ground, shelter and basic services. Baldwin said he spent about a week coordinating volunteer efforts at the convention center and then opened the Houston Relief Hub at a Sawyer Yards warehouse donated by Jon Deal, who in turn was the first recipient of a copy of Baldwin’s book. The relief hub operated for 112 consecutive days, with Baldwin saying thousands of volunteers helped to receive and sort a

Hope in Your Storm By Pastor Will Cover

Arise Baptist Church 803 Curtin St. Houston TX 77018 713-659-9697 • www.arisebaptistchurch.org

Living in Houston we are no strangers to storms. If you have seen the news this week the forecast for this year is that we may see an above average year for hurricanes and tropical storms this year. In Acts 27, Luke records the story of a ship with 276 passengers that went through a storm. This storm was so powerful that after two weeks of fighting the wind and the waves the Bible says that the people on board lost all hope of being saved. Paul stood up in the middle of the ship and made three powerful statements that should resonate any person who is going through a storm whether it includes real wind and rain or is just a big life challenge. Paul states that he knows who he belongs to, who he serves, and who he believes. Paul knew that he belonged to God, that

his life’s purpose was to serve God, and that he believed God’s Word. Here is the question each person should consider. When you come to the end of yourself and are not sure where to turn do you know who you belong to? Who is responsible for you? Is it just you or maybe another family member who is looking out for you? There is great hope in knowing that as a child of God you belong to Him. He will take care of you! Consider as well who you serve. If you exist to serve God, then any situation that arises you can know that your job and purpose is to serve God. No matter the struggle your job is to serve the Lord and you can trust as His servant that God is leading and guiding you. Finally, you must remember who you believe. If you believe God, then you can trust His Word and obey Him. If you don’t believe God then what do you believe? The reality for every person is that they will go through storms in life. Will you find your hope in God?

Photo from diangelopublications.com “Heroes, Hope, and High Water: Life Lessons in Turbulent Times,” is a new book published by Heights Realtor of Houston Planning Commission member Bill Baldwin.

wide range of goods that were quickly dispersed to thousands of residents in need. They also helped provide information and resources. The hub received donations from all 48 states in the contiguous U.S., according to Baldwin, with the Cajun Navy from Louisiana being among the organizations that lent a hand. And he said there were “thousands of groups just like them that never got recognized.” “We had 18-wheelers lined up every morning,” he said.

“We filled up a warehouse every day and depleted it every day, not knowing if we were going to get anything the next day. It was Houstonians helping Houstonians, no questions asked. It was pretty impressive in the moment.” Among the Houston residents highlighted in the book are Chris Brombacher, Aaron and Tommy Locke, Rick Smaile and Pablo Vega. Baldwin said he met them all at the George R. Brown Convention Center in the aftermath of the

Runoff, from P. 1A signed in April after 31 years. Jones recently won the special election to fill the seat until the end of the year, by a margin of 202 votes out of 4,408 cast. Coleman has endorsed Jones, while U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is among

• SPJST Lodge 88, 1435 Beall St. • Memorial Elementary School, 6401 Arnot St. • Moody Park Community Center, 3725 Fulton St.

those backing Bess. The closest May 24 polling places to local neighborhoods include: • Hogg Middle School, 1100 Merrill St. • West End Multiservice Center, 170 Heights Blvd.


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The Leader • Saturday, May 21, 2022 • Page 5

Lifeguard, from P. 1A

Pool, from P. 1A

ment effort, a total of 53 sought positions. “It all starts with the lifeguard,” he said. “And we’re not getting ’em.” The American Red Cross has ramped up its training and certification programs across the U.S., according to news reports, to try to deal with what has become a national crisis since the pandemic started. This isn’t the first time Maura has dealt with a shortage, but he said the challenge is different from his first go-round in the late 1990s and early 2000s. “Then we saw it coming and went into schools and colleges and were able to recruit,” he said. “Now we couldn’t even go onto campuses until just recently because of restrictions.” And something else has changed, according to Maura. “The issue here is bigger than pay,” he said. “When the world shut down, people learned how to live without going to work. They figured out different ways to get by, things they could do from home or online — especially young people.” His deadline is May 25 to determine how many pools can be open with the number of lifeguards he’s able to hire by then. Last year, one in each of 10 council districts welcomed swimmers, including the Memorial Park Pool in District C and the Stude Park Pool in District H. Three others in the area — in T.C. Jester, Oak Forest and Love parks — were penciled in for a July opening if lifeguards could be hired, but that never happened. Maura said he’s prepared again to open pools through July if new hires can be processed. The minimum age is 16 (by May 31), and applicants must pass a swim evaluation, physical, drug test and criminal background check. They must either be Red Cross certified or undergo the training-certification provided through the city. Pay is $13.66 an hour for lifeguards and $15 an hour for head lifeguards. Applications can be completed online at https://houstontx.gov/ jobs or by contacting 832-395-7129. “This is a sad situation,” Maura said. “We’re talking about more than jobs here — we’re talking kids missing out on a summer of swimming.”

funds from a 2012 bond. The 7,587-square foot natatorium at Washington – which includes restrooms, showers, moveable bleachers and a swimming pool that is 25 yards long and four lanes wide – was completed in late 2020 at a cost of more than $3 million. Washington Principal Carlos Phillips said the decision to construct a pool was based on input from stakeholders in the surrounding Independence Heights community, and that the vision for the facility is for it to be used by students as well as community members – for the purposes of exercise, water safety training and as a practice pool for a competitive swim team. Washington won a swimming state championship in the 1960s but has not fielded a team since the early 2000s, according to Phillips. The principal said during a phone interview in late March that about 10 students had expressed interest in being part of a swim team at Washington, which designated faculty member DeAundra Thomas to be the head coach, but no swimming activities had been conducted as of that point, with Phillips citing a permitting issue with the city. After the city cleared the pool to be open on April 26, Phillips said through an HISD spokesperson that the school was waiting to have a security camera system updated and that a summer swimming schedule might be implemented. As of Tuesday morning, the Houston Health Department’s red “Pool Closed Until Further Notice” sign remained on the door to the facility. Phillips said the pool had been used only once since it was constructed, with the Washington volleyball team using it for a short workout at some point prior to this school year. “We plan on opening it up, once we get everything in line and our systems are

together,” Phillips said in March. “We’re absolutely going to use the pool the same way we use our school – open to the community.” Dispute over access In the meantime, Jordan and another booster club member for the swim team at Heights, which uses the older and smaller pools at Hamilton and Hogg middle school for its practice sessions during the season, said they do not understand why they have not been allowed to utilize the largely unused pool at Washington, which is less than 2.5 miles away from the Heights campus. Jordan and fellow booster club member Lesley Goodman, who has a son on the Heights team, said they first inquired about using the natatorium at Washington shortly after it was constructed. Their request was denied at that time because of safety concerns related to COVID-19, they said they were told. When members of the booster club emailed Phillips on Aug. 4, 2021, to ask about the possibility of using the pool and offer to partner with Washington in terms of allowing its students to swim for Heights and to host events that could be financially beneficial to Washington and its students, Phillips responded the next day and made no mention of the ongoing pandemic or a permitting issue with the pool. He said Washington wanted to first address the pool-related needs of its campus and students and that the possibility of a collaboration with Heights could be “revisited by our athletic department” at a later time. When the idea of a campus swimming pool as part of the 2012 bond was initially considered by Washington’s Project Advisory Team in the summer of 2013, it was suggested that it could be a regional pool that “would be located strategically to serve multiple schools,” according

ming pool. So it would be understandable if that principal did not want to go out of the way to accommodate the needs of another school, according to the administrator. But Phillips rejected that notion in March, saying, “I couldn’t care less if they go to Heights or Washington. … At the end of the day, I support kids.” Phillips also reiterated that he is open to the idea of opening the pool to students from other campuses “as long as it’s aligned to campus goals” at Washington, adding that he would want a faculty member who is certified in water safety to oversee such sessions. Prolonged pool closure When initially asked why the Heights swim team wasn’t being allowed to use the pool, Phillips said no one could use the pool because it had been closed by the city. When asked why the pool was closed and what needed to happen in order for it to be reopened, Phillips deferred to the city. Houston Health Department spokesperson Porfirio Villarreal said in an April 11 email that an annual pool inspection was initiated Sept. 30, but was not completed because city inspectors could not access the pump room and Washington had not yet obtained a renewed operating permit, which expired Sept. 5. Villarreal said the new permit was obtained Nov. 4, but the pool remained closed while the health department waited to hear from school representatives regarding a time and date to access the pump room and complete the inspection. That information was presented later April 11 to the HISD press office. The following day, Washington contacted the health department about having the inspection completed, and a city inspector visited the pool, according to Villarreal. Three critical violations were discovered at that time, according to Villarreal, who

to the advisory team’s minutes that are posted on the HISD website. The meeting minutes from the following month show that a natatorium was removed from the plan for a new school because of space concerns and historically low usage of the pool on the existing Washington campus. A spokesperson for HISD said earlier this year that access to campus pools is determined by the principals at those schools, and not the district’s athletics director or aquatics director. A request to interview athletics director Andre’ Walker, aquatics director Stephen McDonald and Heights Principal Wendy Hampton were not granted by the HISD press office. Kristin Haney Jones, the head coach for the swim team at Heights, did not respond to requests for comment. Jordan and Goodman said the Heights booster club also brought up the pool issue to HISD trustee Elizabeth Santos, whose geographic district includes both Heights and Washington. When asked about the pool dispute in late April, Santos said in a text message, “I thought this had been resolved.” She did not respond to subsequent requests for comment about the matter. “We have gone through absolutely every avenue we possibly can,” Goodman said. “We’ve exhausted every resource we possibly can, and this principal is being allowed to reign supreme over this pool when all of our taxpayer dollars have paid for it, which I don’t understand at all.” A longtime HISD administrator who asked to remain anonymous said allowing students from another school to use an on-campus facility would be an added layer of responsibility for a campus principal who might already have a lot on his or her plate, especially when it comes to a safety hazard such as a swim-

said a second reaching pole with a body hook was needed, there was too big of a gap in the pool enclosure, and the water’s pH level was a little too low. Villarreal said those violations were corrected, and the pool passed inspection April 26. “The permit (expiration) started this whole deal,” said Villarreal, who added that Washington’s pool was previously allowed to be open. “When they didn’t renew it, it was shut down.” It is unclear why campus or school district officials did not act with more urgency to have the pool operational during this school year or why the pool was not utilized more during the spring semester of last school year, when it had been freshly constructed. This year’s Heights swim team competed from last fall through February, with 16 of its team members qualifying for a UIL regional competition, which is one step away from the state meet. Jordan said the team at Heights has not inquired about using the pool at Waltrip, another nearby school, because Waltrip has a swim team that regularly uses its pool. She also said it’s “silly” that Heights’ swimmers do not have consistent access to a competition-sized pool, with the facilities at Hamilton and Hogg being too small to adequately simulate a swim that would take place in a meet. The shortest event in UIL competition is the 50yard freestyle, and Jordan said the pools at Hamilton and Hogg are only 20 yards long. “I don’t care who ends up using (the pool at Washington). I would like it to be us,” Jordan said. “But this is just a waste, and I don’t understand why that’s acceptable. I don’t understand why we have an athletics director at HISD and an aquatics director at HISD and it’s out of their hands. That’s ridiculous.”

Shooting, from P. 1A bullet entered his right hand and was lodged in his right wrist. The student’s girlfriend told police she saw Owiesy on campus before the shooting, and that Owiesy and her boyfriend had argued one day earlier about a milkshake being thrown at her boyfriend’s vehicle, court documents show. A Houston ISD spokesperson said he could not confirm or deny whether Owiesy is a student at Heights or another school in the district, citing a federal law that protects the privacy

of student education records. In the probable cause affidavits filed with the aggravated robbery charges from March, the student victims referred to Owiesy and three passengers in the black Volkswagen sedan he allegedly was driving as “classmates.” Court documents show that if Owiesy is released from jail on bond, he must wear a GPS monitor and stay at least 200 feet away from Heights High School, located at 413 E. 13th St., and all other HISD properties. The HISD spokesperson said

four other people are suspected of being involved in the May 12 shooting in the student parking lot, although no other arrests had been made as of Monday. Court records show that the student who was shot was returning to campus from lunch along with his girlfriend and two other friends when a black Volkswagen Passat pulled in front of his vehicle and the shooter got out and tapped on the victim’s window with a gun, asking him to get out of his car. Multiple rounds were fired into the vehicle when the

student attempted to drive off, according to court documents, which show that police retrieved eight 9mm shell casings from the campus parking lot. Two other students were walking back to school from a convenience store on the afternoon of March 7 when a black Volkswagen sedan allegedly driven by Owiesy passed by them multiple times and stopped in the 1300 block of Arlington Street, where three passengers got out and confronted the two students who were walking, according to

court records. A physical fight ensued, with one of the students sustaining a fractured arm, and the passengers stole the students’ backpacks before getting back into the sedan, court documents show. The step-father of one of the students picked them up from that location, spotted the black Volkswagen in the area and followed it while calling police, according to court records, which show that Owiesy and one of his passengers are alleged to have fired multiple gunshots at the

step-father’s vehicle while they were driving. Two of the passengers of the Volkswagen, identified as juveniles in court documents, were arrested the following day and charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. Court records show that arrest warrants with aggravated robbery charges against Owiesy were not signed until about eight hours after his May 13 arrest in connection to the shooting.

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Page 6 • Saturday, May 21, 2022 • The Leader

Look out for leaf-footed bugs on tomato plants Amy Williams


arden uru

Dear Garden Guru, Lately, I’ve seen a group of tiny red insects gathering on my tomatoes. I’ve found some tomatoes that appear to be rotten on the vine or have spots of discoloration. What are these and how can I stop them? Help! Tomato Buffet Dear Buffet, The tiny red/orange bugs you are describing are leaffooted bugs in the nymph stage. During the nymph stage it is very common to find them clustered together, especially

on a tomato. As small as they are, they can do a lot of damage very quickly. The adult leaf-footed bug is dark brown in color, oblong shaped, and has a white stripe that extends across the wings. Commonly, these are confused with other brown or green stink bugs. A defining characteristic, as the name states, is a “leaf” like shape on their back legs. Leaf-footed bugs have a needle-like mouthpart which they use to pierce the fruit, suck out the juices of the fruit, and inject toxins into the fruit which causes the discoloration that you are observing. However, if you choose to use the unaffected parts of the fruit, it is safe to do so. In home gardens they are commonly seen on tomatoes, beans, okra and peppers. Assassin bugs are similar in color and pattern to the leaf-footed nymph and often mistaken as such. However, assassin bugs are highly beneficial in the garden, feeding

on stink bugs, armyworms, aphids, leaf beetles, flies and mosquitos. They are usually spotted on their own versus clustered, and while they are similar in color to the leaffooted nymph, they are much larger in size and do not display the leaf-like shape on the back legs. When you see these, leave them alone and let them continue with their work. As with other insects, their bite can be painful and, although rare, if there are any signs of anaphylactic shock, you should immediately seek medical attention. Controlling leaf-footed populations can be done safely with organic, eco-friendly solutions. Neem oil can be used either in a pre-diluted spray or a concentration form mixed with water and used in a garden sprayer. Brushing the nymphs off of your fruit and into a bucket of soapy water is an easy way to quickly kill a cluster, but may be more difficult and time-consuming as

Local baseball, softball teams fall in playoffs By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

It was a tough weekend for local high school baseball and softball teams as the area’s lone remaining public school and both remaining private school squads lost their respective playoff series. In baseball, the Waltrip Rams dropped both games of their Class 5A area-round series to regional power

Friendswood last week, losing 8-0 on Thursday before dropping a 12-0 decision on Friday to end their season. The Rams finish with a 16-9 overall record and the program’s second straight arearound appearance. In private school baseball, St. Pius X saw its season come to a close as well. The Panthers lost two games to San Antonio Central Catholic in their regional series. falling 17-2 on Friday and

11-2 Saturday. SPX ended its season with a 16-12-1 record. Meanwhile, the St. Pius X Lady Panthers’ softball season came to a close in the TAPPS Division I regional round with an 8-2 loss to Incarnate Word Academy on Friday. The Lady Panthers finished the season with a 14-15 overall record and second straight regional appearance.

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Contributed photo Assassin bugs, like the one pictured above, look like leaf-footed nymphs but are not as problematic for tomatoes and other garden vegetables.

they grow bigger and cluster less. Diatomaceous Earth can also be sprinkled around the base of your plants to rid away pests, however, you will need to reapply after rain and watering.

Keep your garden free of weeds that provide shelter for the pests and continue to monitor your garden for any signs of infestation. See you in the garden!

Do you have questions for the Garden Guru? Email Amy at underhillurbanfarmco@gmail. com. Also visit underhillurbanfarmco.com and follow them on Facebook and Instagram @UnderhillUrbanFarmCo.

IN MEMORIAM Thomas Holland Bratcher, Jr.


1935 - 2022 homas Holland Bratcher, Jr., 86, was born in New Orleans, LA on July 1, 1935, to Tom and Margaret Bratcher.

He passed away on May 8, 2022, after a brief illness. Tommy was preceded in death by his parents, wife Carol Bratcher, son Don Bratcher, grandson Thomas Bratcher IV, sister Mildred Trice, sister-in-law Tommie Hinski, niece Elizabeth Stone and nephew Robert Bratcher Jr. Tommy is survived by his sons, Thomas Bratcher Ill (Teresa) and John Bratcher (Rory), grandsons Brandon Bratcher and Carson Bratcher, granddaughters Christyn Bratcher and Reese Bratcher, brother Robert Bratcher, sister Peggy Bratcher, brother-in-law and sister-in-law James and Betty Duke, sister-in-law Marilyn Goolsby and many nieces and nephews. Tommy graduated from Pasadena High School class of ‘53 and attended the University of Houston class of ‘57. Tommy retired from Sandvik Rock Tools (TRW Mission Mfg Co.) after 43 years of service in accounting and finance. He served many years on the board of Mission Employees Federal Credit Union in the positions of President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Chairman of the Supervisory Committee. Tommy served 40 years with Boy Scout Troop 604 as Asst. Scoutmaster and Troop Treasurer. He worked several years with his three sons at Oaks Dads Club in baseball and football.

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Tom loved the Lord, his family, his friends, his country and music, especially Sinatra.

U N D E R H I L L U R B A N FA R M C O . P R E S E N T S

City Seeds

A celebration of life was held May 16, 2022, at Faith Presbyterian Church of Pasadena. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Tommy’s name to Faith Presbyterian Church of Pasadena.

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The Leader • Saturday, May 21, 2022 • Page 7

Five places to treat your dog while driving around Lots of people already know about the Puppuccino at Starbucks, and it’s safe to say that many dogs have come to expect their own cup of goodness when the car detours through the Starbucks drive-thru. A Puppuccino is simply an espresso cup filled with whipped cream. While whipped cream shouldn’t be a regular part of your dog’s diet, it’s fine as a “sometimes” treat.

Dear Tabby, When the weather gets unbearable during the summer, we like to take our whole family for a drive with the dog and sometimes stop for a treat while we’re out. We were curious to know if there are any places that also offer treats for dogs so that our pooch doesn’t have to be left out! Any ideas? Sunday Driving in Woodland Heights

lar and will fuel your dog for an afternoon of cruising with the windows down and ears flopping. Dairy Queen If you’ve got your heart set on a Blizzard from DQ, be sure to order your dog a Pup Cup, too. A Pup Cup at DQ is a small cup of vanilla soft serve ice cream that often has a small dog biscuit on top!

Chick-fil-A Obviously a spin through the CFA drive-thru isn’t an option if you’re on a Sunday drive, but any other day of the week, if you tell the drive-thru folks at Chick-fil-A that you have a dog with you, they will often offer up a dog treat at the window. This treat is usually a dog biscuit and I’m sure that your dog will exclaim, “My pleasure!” when the CFA employees compliment him on his good manners.

Dear Sunday Driving, I know what you mean about the magic of a car ride with the AC blasting when the weather is hot. Add to that the allure of a treat and everyone can get on board with a little cruise--even your pets! There are several chain restaurants with area locations that offer treats for dogs and help to make your family cruises that much more enjoyable for everyone. Here’s a short list of places to check out:

Sonic When you place your order at Sonic, be sure to tell them that you have a dog with you. When your server brings your food out, you’ll likely find a whipped cream dessert or a small scoop of ice cream just for your dog!

Do you have a question for Tabby? Email her at deartabby questions@gmail.com.


By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

Oak Forest residents are invited to a free, familyfriendly event to celebrate the neighborhood’s 75th anniversary. The anniversary celebration will be held from 2-5 p.m. Sunday at Candlelight Park and Community Center, 1520 Candlelight Ln. Walking and bike-riding is encouraged, partly because

parking is limited. The event will include a 3D, walkable timeline that illustrates Oak Forest over the years, along with memorable moments, oft-visited places and neighborhood traditions. Also planned are live music, yard games, frozen treats and a parade around the park. There will be vendor tables as well, and a limited number of 75th anniversary T-shirts will be available.

Local Legion post to host free Memorial Day event

Pet of the Week Meet Alabama

By Adam Zuvanich

This 2-year-old Shepherd mix was found as a stray and is ready for her fresh start. Alabama is smart, eager to please and learning house manners quickly. She knows how to potty outside and is loving and playful. If you think you could give Alabama a “sweet home,” go to www.cap4pets.org to learn more.

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Oak Forest celebrating 75 years with anniversary event


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The Leader • Saturday, May 21, 2022 • Page 9

Detective work keeps burger joint’s opening on track By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

The local restaurant group that owned Piper’s BBQ & Beer has been working on a new concept for the building at 2323 N. Shepherd Dr. Piper’s Burger is set to open later this month, but for a little while it did not look like that was going to be possible. Ryan Manos, the operations manager for the company, said a series of recent burglaries resulted in the loss of the upcoming restaurant’s water heater, camera and stereo systems, some of its kitchen equipment, all of its beer and even a 3-gallon tub of ice cream. But many of the items were recovered last week by detectives with the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable’s Office, and now Piper’s Burger plans to open May 26, according to Manos. “We would have had to push back the opening,” Manos said. “We didn’t have a water heater. You can’t open a restaurant without a water heater. “Now we’re back on track to open up,” he added. Cpl. Joe Bowden with the constable’s office, who recovered the stolen items along with Cpl. Joe Brown, said Monday that one man is suspected of breaking into the building on the night of May 2 and stealing more than $5,600 worth of property. Bowden said he could not name the suspected thief, because criminal charges were pending. Many of the stolen items were found in an abandoned garage less than a block away from the restaurant, according to Bowden, who said he and Brown learned of the location through a person who had bought the tank-less water heater from the thief and listed it for sale on OfferUp, an online marketplace. Restaurant co-owner Justin Piper had found the water heater online and arranged to buy it while being accompanied by one of the detectives, according to Manos. “Sure enough, it was our water heater,” Manos said. “It even smelled like brisket.” Bowden said the May 2 incident was the only burglary reported to the constable’s office by the restaurant. Manos said it was the fourth break-in in the span of about a month, with the first three limited to the storage area out-

Contributed photo Cpl. Joe Brown, left, and Cpl. Joe Bowden with the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable’s Office recently recovered property that was stolen from Piper’s Burger, 2323 N. Shepherd Dr., and stashed in an abandoned garage less than one block away.

side the kitchen and dining room. After surveying the items that were recovered last week, Manos said it became apparent that the same person or group of people had been responsible for each burglary. “They just took more and more,” he said. Not all the missing items were recovered, Manos said, but Piper’s Burger has enough to proceed with its May 26 opening. The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily and serve smash burgers along with handcut fries and onion rings as well as beer, Manos said. With Piper’s BBQ & Beer having closed in November of last year, after being open for a little more than a year, Piper’s Burger will be the second concept currently operated by the restau-

rant group, which also owns Preslee’s – Southern Good Eatery, 1430 W. 19th St. Manos said there also are plans to open Piper’s Cantina at 1815 Mangum Rd. The owners are brothers Brandon, Justin and Weston Piper. Deputies with the constable’s office played the roles of food servers on May 1 at Preslee’s, where they collected donations for Special Olympics Texas in exchange for their service. Less than two weeks later, Bowden and Brown served the restaurant group by recovering its stolen items. “We are thankful for the relationship we have with the constable’s office,” Manos said. “Whenever something happens, we usually call Precinct 1 to come out and help.”

Photo by Adam Zuvanich Piper’s Burger is scheduled to open May 26 at 2323 N. Shepherd Dr., the former location of Piper’s BBQ & Beer.

Central City Co-Op purchases new Heights property By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

The Central City Co-Op has operated without a permanent home for nearly 25 years. It appears the organization has now found one, and it’s exactly where its owners want to be. The co-op announced May 11 on Facebook that it had purchased the property at 2515 Harvard St. in the Heights as the new home for its brick-and-mortar store. It previously was leasing space at 420 E. 20th St. and moved out in mid-April. Central City is not yet open for everyday walk-ins at the new location, co-owner Jessica Wilt said, but it is hoping to return to that model within a month. “Our base really wanted us to stay in the Heights,” she said.

The organic co-op has existed for nearly 25 years, serving as a place where co-op members as well as other members of the community can find farm-fresh produce and other food items. For a time, it operated out of Ecclesia Houston just north of downtown, and then Grace Lutheran Church, which later became Kindred church in the Hyde Park area. It moved to the Heights in 2020 and operated out of a space on East 20th Street until its lease ended last month. Wilt, who co-owns the co-op with her husband, Erick, said the pair and their team looked at several different spaces for a new home. One emerged in the form of a space they had previously looked at, through what Wilt called “sheer luck.” “We knew that space had come up before, but someone had paid cash for it and we didn’t have a chance to buy it,”

Photo by Adam Zuvanich A sign is up outside the new Central City Co-Op property at 2515 Harvard St. in the Heights. The organization, which has not yet opened daily operations there, announced the purchase on May 11.

she said. “As we were looking at spaces in the neighborhood, my husband saw that it came up again. We really had to move quickly.” After finding it, Wilt said

28 members of the co-op invested more than $1 million in about two weeks in order to purchase the Harvard Street property in cash. Co-op member and commercial real-

tor Brett Huey of Rainhollow Properties helped navigate the purchase, according to Wilt. “(Brett) really understood the vision of the co-op, and he really understood what it is that we needed and wanted,” Wilt said. “For us, the property is perfectly situated, and is a size that we can expand and grow. It has really great bones, and we’re just so lucky and thankful for everyone who was able to help us secure it.” The space has everything they could ask for, according to Wilt. Currently, the co-op supports dozens of farmers and about 90 vendors. “A lot of those vendors are coming to us because they cannot afford their own space due to the commercialization of our neighborhood,” Wilt said. Though it is not open every day, Wilt said customers can still place orders online

for pickup at the new co-op location. She said Central City Co-Op is partnering with Verdegreen Farms, 1208 Bland St., to use its certified food preparation space. Once an online order is placed, it is prepared at Verdegreen and then taken to the co-op, where farmers and vendors can pick them up from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. every Wednesday, according to Wilt. A grand opening date has not yet been determined, Wilt said. But in the meantime, she said the organization is still committed to supporting farmers and small purveyors in Houston. “The thing we’ve seen with this co-op is the ability for Houston to come together,” she said. “…We’re thankful for all of the outreach and all the positive energy that’s come from all of our partners who have worked to support us.”

Nibbles & Sips: Domain Heights hosting tequila tasting event By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

A traveling tequila tasting event will take place at Domain Heights, a luxury Heights apartment complex at 401 W. 25th St., from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday. The “Nach-Yo Ordinary Tequila Tasting” is being hosted by Food and Vine Time. Attendees will be able to “sip and savor” tequila, mezcal and other agave spirits served both neat and blended into craft cocktails, according to the event webpage. Also included with a ticket purchase will be food from Harold’s Restaurant, Bar and Rooftop Terrace as well as Studewood Cantine, among other Houston-area restaurants, and a gourmet nacho bar courtesy of H-E-B. Tickets for the event begin at $45 and can be purchased online. There is also a VIP ticket available for $75, which includes a conversation with

Photo from Facebook Domain Heights is hosting a traveling tequila tasting event at the apartment complex this weekend.

Houston-based El Tesoro Tequila ambassador Tyler Wang at 4:30 p.m. prior to the event. For more information on the event or to purchase tickets, those interested in at-

tending can go to foodandvinetime.com/events/2022/ nach-yo-ordinary-tequila-tasting-2022-theheights. New bar coming to 20th

Street There is a new bar concept coming to the Heights that aims to keep with the neighborhood’s walkable environment. According to a report from Houston CultureMap, Zach Harris – who owns Drift Bar at 1207 W. 20th St. – plans to open a new spot called Heights Social this fall. The report says Heights Social will be located at 1213 W. 20th St., next door to Drift, and feature more than 8,000 square feet of bar and entertainment space along with more than 50 TVs. Heights Social will offer cocktails, martinis and a “full kitchen” of food options such as pizza and weekend brunch, according to CultureMap. For more information, follow Heights Social on Instagram @heightssocialhouston. Sonoma finds new home at Stomping Grounds Earlier this month, we re-

ported that the popular Sonoma Wine Bar & Restaurant was closing the doors on its Studewood location. But local wine lovers and Sonoma regulars will be glad to know that Sonona is relocating to another part of the area. According to a May 13 Facebook post, the wine bar has found a new home in the Stomping Grounds development on West 34th Street in Garden Oaks. The post said Sonoma is shooting to be open by the holiday season. The wine bar, which also

operates locations in the Katy and Upper Kirby areas, will offer retail wine as well as a tasting bar and temperaturecontrolled wine storage at its Garden Oaks location, according to the Facebook post. “Thank you to #TeamSonoma for your amazing dedication and professionalism,” owner Farrah Cauley wrote on Facebook. “I raise my glass to you all.” To stay up-to-date with the new location, follow the restaurant on Facebook or visit sonomahouston.com.



eurekaheights.com | 941 W. 18th St. Houston, TX 77008

Page 10 • Saturday, May 21, 2022 • The Leader

Art Valet: Creativity on display all around Heights area MITCH COHEN Art Columnist

Select banners designed by art students in Hamilton Middle School’s Visual Arts Department are now flying high on the street lamps of West 19th Street. Avid readers of this column may have thought they missed the banners, originally slated to adjourn the street throughout the month of April. Murphy’s law stepped in and created more mayhem mishaps than a daytime soap. In the March 12 edition of The Leader, I introduced readers to Amy Hanks, the art teacher who came up with the brilliant idea of having the students create the art for new banners on West 19th. Take a stroll and check out the artwork on the east and west sides of the street. The

banners span the 200 and 300 blocks and all the way to the 500 blocks of West 19th right in front of Adore Dental. In other news, Houston artists continue to take marketing into their own hands and I shall dutifully inform you of their endeavors here, when I can. Two events that came across my radar that I highly recommend happen this Saturday evening and are, fortunately for you, within walking distance of each other.

Put it together in Sawyer Yards Artists Gretchen McDaniel, Marie Casamayor-Harvey and Rikki Mitman have collaborated to present “Collage: Putting It Together,” which will feature their work at an open reception from 5-8 p.m. Saturday at Silos Gallery 200, located inside the Silos building at Sawyer Yards, 1502 Sawyer St. The show runs through Aug. 14. Each artist is disciplined in a different media - McDaniel

Contributed photo From left, artists Gretchen McDaniel, Marie Casamayor-Harvey and Rikki Mitman show their work Saturday in Sawyer Yards.

in textiles, Casamayor-Harvey in paper and Mitman in kiln-fired enamels. McDaniel, who works largely in textiles, is strongly attracted to the tactile feel, the textures and colors of

fabrics and threads. With these materials, she expresses a quest for truth, mercy, justice and, most of all, love. Casamayor-Harvey, who also creates paintings, sculptures and other works, ex-

plores musical, spiritual and emotional experiences through her paper collage. A particular focus of late is the concept of belonging across space and time. Mitman’s kiln-fired enamels, which incorporate glass and other enameled bits on a base of heavy copper, are largely abstract and deeply personal, reflecting her own need to find moments of calm and beauty in a hectic world. A side note about Mitman: We met in 2004 when she attended my very first outdoor art market. It’s exciting to still be friends and having gotten the chance to see her art evolve over the years. Gallery 200 is located inside the Silos building about in the middle of the building. Use the main front entrance to the Silos at Sawyer Yards from 1502 Sawyer St. Elements of Silver Street On the other side of the Silos is Silver Street Studios (you may wish to drive),

where Deborah Ellington of D. Ellington Studios notified me she will be featuring new glass sculptures and archival prints in a collaborative exhibition with Bourne Jewelry titled “Elements” in the West Gallery. Elements is the last in a series of exhibitions featuring a handful of the artists from Silver Street Studios. West Gallery is located inside entrance No. 4, which is hard to miss in fluorescent pink. Just head straight down the hallway. Silver Street Studios’ address is 2000 Edwards St.. The No. 4 entrance is on the alley side, facing Winter Street Studios. Details on both exhibits and other upcoming art events can be found online at www.sawyeryards.com/art/ exhibitions. Cohen is an artist and founder of the First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at ArtValet.com for additional highlights and artist’s stories.

Review: Mico’s a hot choice for chicken sandwiches By Jennifer Caldwell news@theleadernews.com

Mico’s Hot Chicken, 1603 North Durham Drive, serves Nashville’s iconic style of hot chicken with a Texas twist. Its secret menu, for example, features a spicy chicken sandwich with two scoops of ice cream. This location is the first brick and mortar for Mico’s, and is hopefully the first of many, as the food is outstanding. Mico’s has a food truck presence in Spring right now, with plans to expand as opportunity arises. Parking is plentiful on the side of the building. While there is an interior space, most seating is in a covered outdoor area. Everything is counter service, and the staff is well-versed in the menu and in the differing levels of heat available for the fried chicken. Ordering goes quickly,

and a text is sent to confirm when your order is ready to be retrieved. The patio was quite full of patrons and had a small line of people waiting for their orders, yet I still received my food in less than 10 minutes, which was very impressive. The menu is very focused, with Mico’s signature fried chicken available as a sandwich, as tenders or as loaded fries. Heat varies from no heat at all to the x-hot sauce. The extra hot version of its delicious sauce uses a Carolina Reaper Pepper, which means it was too hot for my taste, but another guest quickly recommended it as a very flavorful sauce experience. I chose a fried chicken sammich in medium heat and loaded fries in hot heat. The fried chicken sammich is simple and decadent. It is messy. Dripping with sauce, the medium heat had the perfect amount of spice,

Photo by Jennifer Caldwell The Chicken Sammich at Mico’s Hot Chicken is topped with hot sauce, pickles and a creamy, crunchy coleslaw.

with crunchy dill pickles and a crunchy slaw to counteract some of the heat from the sandwich. There is a perfect level of spice (for me!), which was helped by the presence of a creamy and crunchy slaw.

The loaded waffle fries were also incredible. These were hot, and were much spicier, but were helped with a layer of cheddar cheese, and with a drizzle of Mico’s delicious comeback sauce. The entire menu is very

accessible to most budgets as the priciest item is the threepiece tender basket at $13. The sandwich comes in at $11, and the loaded fries are $10. Drinks and add-ons are, of course, an additional fee, but everything is very reasonably priced. Given that there is a “no heat” option for the fried chicken, I can certainly see this as a terrific option for a quick meal for the family. There is a lovely outside space, with plenty of room to bring the kids out for a nice dinner. Mico’s Hot Chicken has a healthy selection of local beers to pair with your sammy. It also offers a selection of teas, and the most bright, sweet and delicious lemonade that I have had in a long time. For those of you who like to bring the heat, Mico’s offers milk to help counteract the x-hot sauce. The highlight of the meal

was the chicken sammich, which was balanced and delicious. I’m a sucker for weird food combinations, and the ice cream chicken sandwich is next on my list…provided I can mentally and physically prepare myself to handle that much heat!! Mico’s Hot Chicken was an excellent experience and should be considered a go-to for aficionados of both heat and amazing fried chicken. Mico’s Hot Chicken Address: 1603 North Durham Drive Dining options: Dine-in, Takeout Hours: 10:30 a.m-9:30 p.m. daily Entrée prices: $10-$13 Kid-friendly: Yes Senior discount: No Alcohol: Yes (beer and seltzer) Healthy options: None Star of the show: Chicken Sammich Rating: 5 out of 5 bites

MAY 21, 2022 5:30 - 8:30PM

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