Leader May 28, 2022

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Saturday, May 28, 2022 • Vol. 67 • No.22

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Heights civic groups show support for bikeway plan By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

As Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner considers whether to move forward with the city’s plan to transform traffic on 11th Street, a collection of civic associations in the Heights area has thrown its weight behind the long-debated project. President Mark Williamson of the Greater Heights Super Neighborhood Council, comprised of delegates from eight neighbor-

hood associations, said it voted May 17 to write a letter of support for the 11th Street Bikeway, which calls for reducing the number of vehicular lanes on the Heights thoroughfare while adding protected bicycle lanes on both sides of the street. Williamson said the letter was submitted to Turner, local city council members and David Fields, the city’s chief transportation planner, earlier this week. Turner, after saying in February that the multimodal infra-

structure project would move forward following three years of public engagement and related modifications, announced during a city council meeting earlier this month that he would take at least 30 days to “take a closer look at it,” according to a spokesperson for the mayor. “I honestly have no idea whether anything that any of these groups say will carry any weight,” Williamson said. “I don’t See Bikeway P. 7A

Photo by Adam Zuvanich A woman on a bicycle waits to cross 11th Street at its intersection with Nicholson Street.

Local voters finalize picks from March primary By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

Patrick Bilnoski

afternoon event, enjoying sunshine, shade trees and temperatures that were cooler than they had been recently. A collection of local businesses set up booths to offer their services to residents, who also enjoyed fro-

The November matchups are set for two congressional seats representing parts of the Greater Heights, with local voters to help decide between incumbent Democrats and Republican challengers. Johnny Teague garnered nearly twice as many votes as Tim Stroud in Tuesday’s runoff election from the March primary, according to unofficial results released by the Harris County Elections office, earning the Republican nomination for the District 7 Teague seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Teague will face incumbent Democratic Lizzie Fletcher, who after statewide redistricting represents a geographic Schafranek area that includes the western part of the Heights along with the Lazybrook and Timbergrove neighborhoods. U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia, another incumbent Democratic whose District 29 includes the eastern part of the Heights along with the Northside and Near Northside areas, has a November date with Robert Schafranek. He received more than 60.6 percent of the vote in his Republican runoff against Julio Garza. In District 38, a newly created congressional district that includes Memorial Park and locales immediately to the east and south, Wesley Hunt won the Republican primary outright. In November he will go up against Duncan F. Klussmann, who won Tuesday’s Democratic runoff against Diana Martinez Alexander by receiving more than 61 percent of the vote.

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Sweet sound. Waltrip High School band members recently won a national competition.

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Photo by Adam Zuvanich A young Oak Forest resident moves to the music as the Waltrip High School band performs Sunday for the neighborhood’s 75th anniversary celebration at Candlelight Park and Community Center.

Oak Forest marks 75 years with community celebration By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

Heart of art. The operator of the HTX Art Bus is opening a studio in Greater Northside.

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Dorothy Pickens knows the Oak Forest neighborhood better than most, having lived in the same house on Candlelight Lane since 1950. She’s seen children grow up on her street, move away and then come back as adults – with their own kids. She’s also witnessed somewhat of an architectural transformation, with original, one-story homes like her own having been torn down and replaced with larger houses and townhomes. Pickens saw Oak Forest’s past, present and future on display Sunday afternoon – two days before her 94th birthday – when she made the short walk from her house to Candlelight Park and Community Center, where the Oak Forest Homeowners Association hosted the neighborhood’s 75th anniversary party. There was a historical timeline on display with photos of the neighborhood and how it’s evolved over the years, live music performed by Waltrip High School band members and several young families, whose children bounced around the park’s playground and a nearby collection of yard games. “It’s great,” Pickens said. “I love to see so many young people in the neighborhood.” A couple hundred or so residents participated in the

Duplex development. Shepherd Forest is keeping tabs on a neighboring development.

Montie Beach awaits what’s next

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alcohol sales permit to expire at the end of March and closed shortly thereafter, according to co-owner Greg Waligorski, who said his business is moving to another location and the property where it operated is being sold. Those have been welcome developments for nearby residents and the Montie Beach Civic Club, which filed hundreds of noise complaints about the restaurant and bar with the City of Houston and organized an effort to protest the renewal of

By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

THE INDEX. Church....................................................... 5A Classifieds ............................................. 7B Coupons .................................................. 7B Food/Drink ............................................ 6A Opinion .................................................... 3A Public Information......................... 4A Puzzles ..................................................... 3A Sports ........................................................ 8A

Photo by Adam Zuvanich Oak Forest resident Dorothy Pickens, right, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1950, visits with a fellow community member Sunday at the neighborhood’s 75th anniversary celebration at Candlelight Park and Community Center.

Contributed photo Main Street Tap & Grill, 4002 N. Main St., closed in April amidst complaints from nearby residents.

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Residents of Melwood and Walton streets have been able to sleep more soundly during the last two months, and they’ve also been a little less on edge. They no longer live next to a restaurant and bar that blared music on an outdoor patio and experienced multiple incidents of gun violence. Main Street Tap & Grill, which opened late in 2019 at 4002 N. Main St., allowed its state-issued

its mixed beverage permit with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). The latter undertaking proved unnecessary as Main Street Tap & Grill never applied for a new alcohol sales permit, according to TABC spokesperson Chris Porter. “I will tell you that it is a lifechanging event for those people that are most affected by this place,” Montie Beach Civic Club member Tim Goings said of the closure. “We’re elated.” See MST&G P. 7A





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THE TOPICS. The Leader • Saturday, May 28, 2022 • Page 3A

Making the grads worry about their futures THE AUDITORIUM – Good morning, Class of 2022. This is your commencement! (hold for applause) It’s the time you write funny slogans on your cap, get your photo taken with your parents and have to sit here while some dull speaker tells you to go onward and upward. If you don’t know the direction by now, it’s too late. So commencement speeches are like being handed a roadmap after you’ve arrived at your destination. But still, I will give you some advice. Don’t trust anyone who calls you “Dude.” Don’t buy a used car with watermarks or bullet holes. Don’t eat at a restaurant that has a “Help Wanted” or “Now Hiring” sign in the window. It means they are shorthanded and the chef is on the Witness Protection Program. Service will be slow and tasteless. Something to do. Admiral William McRaven made a big splash a few years ago in a commencement address at UT that recommended: always make your bed. If you work it right, someone else will make your bed for you. Because of the pandemic, for two years you have gone to school by Zoom, email, not attending classes and not seeing your professors. You could sleep ‘til noon and wear a bathrobe all day. And you are thinking, “What’s your point?” But you also missed out on the true

LYNN ASHBY Columnist

meaning of college life: drunken parties, football games and looking for a rich spouse. Upon graduation, you may move in with your parents, sleep ‘til noon and wear a bathrobe all day. (hold for applause) This brings us to jobs. There are 11-and-a-half million job openings. Most of them require employees to come to work Monday through Friday, wear decent clothes and take orders from their superior. Stay home. To get employment you need to have a resume. Don’t put down that you are a graduate of the Pecos Community College & Arc Welding School with a major in locksmith apprenticeship. Simply claim that you are a graduate of Yale. That’s close enough. Pay no attention to Daylight Savings Time. It will disrupt your circadian rhythm. If you are an hour late to work, say you thought you were in Denver on Mountain Stan-

dard Time. You grads who majored in philosophy or Peruvian history may find it harder to land work. Learn how to say, “Please pull up to the next window for your order.” If you can fake a smile, there are openings as a Walmart greeter. The Houston Texans are looking for a quarterback that won’t cost them more than $10 million to sit out the season, which is what they paid their former quarterback who was charged with 22 civil suits for sexual harassment. The Ukrainian Army is recruiting minefield clearers. The folks here at the Pecos Community College & Arc Welding School hope you will find employment so they can shower you with non-stop begging for funds. No organizations run a more rampant program than universities hitting up their graduates for money. Speaking of money, in “Hamlet,” Polonius counsels his son, Laertes, before he embarks on his visit to Paris and college, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” Good news, graduates. You can be a borrower because there is a free lunch. I am referring to your student debt. Let me set the stage. Over the last 30 years tuition costs at public fouryear colleges grew from $4,160 to $10,740, and at private nonprofit institutions the tuition jumped from

$19,360 to $38,070, adjusted for inflation. I could never figure out why these tuitions cost so much, increasing far more than, say, most Americans’ income. To pay these ridiculously expensive tuitions, the need for student loans has spiraled. Today, more than half of students leave school with debt. The total student loan debt (including federal and private loans) is $1.75 trillion owed by more than 45 million people. That comes to $28,950 owed per borrower on average. (The average Texas student borrows $27,001 while 55 percent of them graduate with debt.) About 92 percent of all those debts are federal student loans; the remaining amount is private student loans. About a fifth of federal student loan borrowers attended for-profit colleges, those slimy outfits that promise graduates will make a fortune but they don’t. Half of students who leave these forprofit schools end up defaulting on their loans. There is a program whereby you can get your debt canceled. Don’t count on it: 98 percent of applicants are rejected. But help may be on the way. During his 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden said the government should forgive at least $10,000 per person. (Joe made a lot of campaign promises, like canceling the

ruling that immigrants should be kept out because they may have a virus. So 120,000 of them are waiting across the Rio.) That $10,000 per student would cost $321 billion, but it would still leave almost 70 percent with a debt. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Dems want the forgiveness to be $50,000 and Sen. Bernie Sanders says the entire amount should be erased. Because of the COVID-19 disaster, payments for the debt have been pushed back six times. Now the deadline is Aug. 31. And what about the 40 percent of students who took out loans but didn’t get a degree in the required six years? To forgive the entire amount might cause problems. Where does that put those students and their parents who scrimped and saved to pay off their student loan? Is the forgiveness retroactive? Do they get a rebate? Can a nation with a $30.4 trillion debt -- that’s $91,368 for every American, including you and me – erase more IOUs? Finally, assuming you do find work, next year another graduating class will be sitting in these very chairs, all thinking the same thing: “When I graduate, how can I take his job?” You have a one-year head start. Get busy. (hold for moans) Ashby pays at ashby2@comcast.net

Brace for increased electricity costs this summer By Rebecca Bridges For The Leader

Consumers shopping for a new electricity plan this summer are in for a shock as electricity rates are at historically high levels. Just a year ago, residents could lock in a fixed rate electricity plan at 1011 cents per kilowatt hour. Now, rates as high as 15-20 cents per kilowatt hour are more typical. The high rates are part of inflation that’s hitting our wallets everywhere. The biggest factor in rising electricity rates is the price of natural gas, since more than 40 percent of electricity in Texas comes from natural gas-powered plants. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine is causing global natural gas shortages, driving prices to three times what they were in 2020. Those natural gas prices

are pushing wholesale electricity costs through the roof. On Monday the wholesale cost of a 12-month electricity contract in Houston was 10 cents per kilowatt hour, a 10-year high. When you add in the cost of CenterPoint Energy delivery (around 4 cents per kilowatt hour), plus other fees and the retail energy company’s profit, it quickly adds up. If you’re in the market for a new electricity plan this year, you should work to cut your usage, shop carefully and budget for this bigger expense. To reduce your usage, focus on your air conditioning. Cooling your home accounts for 50 percent or more of your electricity bill. To cut this cost, keep your blinds closed on sunny days, set up your home office on the north or east side of your home and set your thermostat to 76-78 degrees when

Rebecca Bridges

you are home. Use a ceiling fan to stay cool. When your electricity contract expires, don’t take your provider’s renewal offer without shopping for options. Typically, retail electricity providers offer renewing customers a higher rate than they offer new cus-

tomers. Switching to a new provider may get you a better rate. When shopping, make sure to fully understand what’s being offered. If an electricity rate is much cheaper than others in the market, read the fine print. These electricity plans usually have a tiered rate or a usage bill credit. That can mean a great rate if your electricity usage matches the plan. But if you use more or less than the targeted usage, you’ll pay a much higher rate. One other approach for shopping is to look for an electricity company with a satisfaction guarantee. These companies will let you switch to a different

electricity plan within your first 30-60 days. And if you still aren’t happy, you can switch away with no early termination penalty. That lets you sign up now, then switch to a different plan or even a different company if electricity rates fall. Take a look at your home budget now and start factoring in a higher electricity bill for the summer. New home buyers also need to factor in the cost of electricity. Says Garden Oaks resident and realtor Cheryl McCleary of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices-Premier Properties, “With this current seller’s market and rising interest rates, it’s important to make sure buyers are looking at

all of their expenses and not purchasing outside of their monthly budget,” said Garden Oaks resident and realtor Cheryl McCleary of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Premier Properties. “The electricity expense, especially during the summer months, has become just as important as mortgage, taxes and insurance.” Rebecca Bridges is a resident of Oak Forest and is chief marketing officer of ElectricityPlans.com, a website that helps consumers shop for the best electricity rates. The site also offers tips on conservation, including their most recent article, 89 Ways to Save on Your Electricity Bill.

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THE PUBLIC. The Leader • Saturday, May 28, 2022 • Page 4A

State to offer sales tax holiday on energy-saving appliances By Charlotte Aguilar caguilar@mcelvypartners.com

Consumers buying some categories of energy-efficient large appliances will have their sales taxes waived this weekend as Texas marks its annual Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday. With the sales tax rate in Houston running 8.25 percent, a customer would save $495 off the price of a qualifying $6,000 air conditioner during the event. The waiver is in effect Saturday through midnight Monday, Memorial Day. It

applies to buying, renting or leasing Energy Star-labeled items with no limit on the number purchased and no exemption certificate required. Purchases can be made in-store, online, by telephone, mail, custom order or other means, as long as they are paid for during the designated period. Qualifying Energy Star items are: •Air conditioners priced $6,000 or less •Refrigerators priced $2,000 or less •Ceiling fans

•Incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs •Clothes washers •Dishwashers •Dehumidifiers Examples of items that do not qualify and are taxable, even if they are Energy Starlabeled, include water heaters, clothes dryers, freezers, stoves, attic fans, heat pumps, wine refrigerators, kegerators and beverage chillers. Additional information is available at https:// comptroller.texas.gov/webforms/tax-help/ or by calling 800-252-5555.

Police searching for man accused of killing teen By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

Authorities are searching for a man accused of fatally shooting a teenager outside a home in the Heights area last weekend, according to the Houston Police Department. HPD said Raymond Young, 44, has been charged with murder in connection to the shooting and was at large as of Monday, according to the department.


HPD did not release the identity of the victim, a 17-year-old boy. Police said officers responded to a shooting call in the 1300 block of East 36th Street just before 11 p.m. last Saturday, May 22, when investigators were told the shooting happened outside a home at 1329 E. 35th St. While officers were on the scene, someone called to report a body found in the 3900 block of Watonga Boulevard, according to HPD,

which determined the victim there had suffered multiple gunshot wounds during the incident on 35th Street. Further investigation led to the murder charges against Young, who was not at the scene on 36th Street when police arrived, according to HPD. Anyone with information on Young’s whereabouts or about the shooting is urged to contact HPD’s Homicide division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477.

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Faulty electrical outlet causes Independence Heights shed fire ESTATE PLANNING By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

A malfunctioning electrical outlet and cord caused a fire inside a shed in the Independence Heights neighborhood last weekend, ac-

cording to the Houston Fire Department. HFD said nobody was injured in the fire, which caused an estimated $15,000 in damage to the shed, according to the department. Five HFD crews respond-

ed to a home in the 400 block of Neyland Street just after 3:45 p.m. last Saturday May 22 to see fire coming from a shed next door to a house, HFD said. The fire was controlled within 5 minutes, according to the department.

Investigators later determined the fire started as the result of a faulty extension cord and outlet in the shed, according to HFD. A neighboring home was undamaged, the department said.


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The Leader • Saturday, May 28, 2022 • Page 5A

New Heights bank focuses on women, minorities, small biz By Charlotte Aguilar caguilar@mcelvypartners.com

Agility Bank — said to be the first financial institution in the U.S. with women as its primary owners and leaders — opened Monday at 2401 N. Shepherd Dr. in the Heights. The bank’s focus is on serving women and all small and mid-size businesses. Lauren Sparks, who founded Agility and serves as its president and CEO, called the opening “a historic event for banking, our country and Houston.” She started her career in community banking and has more than 30 years experience in banking and risk management. Two years in the making, Agility was formed through a special Minority Depository Institution charter issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, one of about 150 such institutions nationwide and the first with its focus on women. It is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and raised more than $35 million in capital to

open — exceeding its regulatory requirement of $30 million in funding. “Our goal from the beginning has been to promote financial parity for women, so they have better access to capital and can have a seat at the table in a world where differences are valued and celebrated,” Sparks said. Sparks said there are more than 200,000 small businesses in the Houston area, with about 97 percent of all businesses in the region having fewer than 500 employees. “Minority- and womenowned businesses are growing at a rate faster than any other group,” she said. “We are going to be there to support the growth, opportunities and success of these and all business owners.” According to Agility, 75 percent of its board and 54 percent of its ownership is minority, with 85 percent of its shareholders local residents. One of its directors is Edna Meyer-Nelson, herself a former banker and founder of the Richland Companies, a Houston real estate de-

Lauren Sparks

velopment and investment firm. “A group of women asked me in the 1980s to form a bank,” she said. “Houston was just not ready. Today, it is. Our investors have said that it is time for a commercial community bank to focus on those small and mid-size companies who are growing our economy.” Agility also emphasizes its high-level “FinTech” — technology available to financial service companies to allow even small institutions to operate and compete globally.

After two years in formation, Agility Bank opened Monday at 2401 N. Shepherd Dr.

“We have taken proven products and platforms and are using them in new and expanded ways,” Sparks said. “We have clearly built an ecosystem around our clients where they will get the best of both worlds — savvy bankers powered with

sophisticated technology.” One of those tools Agility employs is A2B Express, a system that can immediately and securely transmit documents and information internationally. Another distinction is visible in its web address: Agil-

Contributed photo

ity.bank. Sparks explained that while a dot-com web address can be purchased by anyone, a dot-bank address must be reviewed and approved, similar to a .gov or .edu designation.

Waltrip jazz ensemble wins top honors at national festival By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

The Waltrip Roaring Ram Band hosted the program’s annual end-of-year banquet and awards ceremony last Saturday night, May 22. By the end of the night, band director Jesse Espinosa and his students were celebrating for another reason altogether. As they cleaned up following the conclusion of the banquet, the band discovered that the piece it submitted had won first place in its division at the 2022 National Jazz Festival, according to Espinosa. “We were jumping for joy,” Espinosa said Tuesday. “You name it, we were feeling it.” Beyond the win itself, it was a night to celebrate for Waltrip Jazz Ensemble No. 1, which won its division in the program’s first time competing in the national event. Senior and lead trumpet player Robert Paniagua was also named one of three “Outstanding Musicians” by festival judges. “You all should be so proud of how these students have represented our campus, the Houston Independent School District, the city of Houston and the state of Texas,” Espinosa wrote in an email announcing the win. In order to be considered, schools had to submit a video

of no longer than 20 minutes for judges to view. Waltrip’s jazz ensemble recorded the performance of three songs for the festival – “Soupbone” by John Clayton, “Lifelong Friends” by Kris Berg and “Ram-Funk-Tious,” a tune commissioned specifically for the school’s jazz band and composed by Kris Berg in tribute to former Waltrip band director Charlie J. Stevens. And though he could not remember exactly how many submissions were sent in for Waltrip’s division, Espinosa said there were videos submitted by schools in Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia, Indiana, Florida and Oregon as well as submissions from Canada. “I wasn’t really sure (initially) who we were up against. We’re just trying to do our very best,” he said. “And the judges saw fit that we earned first place.” It has been quite a year for the Ram Band’s jazz ensembles, according to Espinosa. They have performed as invited guests at the International Jazz Education Network conference and the Texas Music Educators Association conference and taken home several college festival awards. They have also shared the stage with legendary jazz trumpeter Jon Faddi, all prior to their win at the national

director at Klein Forest High School.. “They’ve stuck together more than most classes have in the past – especially in the jazz band,” he said. “That’s a huge reason why they’ve been able to do some things that we’ve never done before.” Experience and Knowledge... A Powerful Combination

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Photo by Kelsi Wilson Waltrip High School senior Robert Paniagua, a trumpet player, was named as one of three “Outstanding Musicians” by judges for the 2022 National Jazz Festival.

festival. “This experience is so special every year, because it’s always a different crew of students,” Espinosa said. “It’s just phenomenal what these young people have put together.” And the Class of 2022, he said, has earned a little special recognition for its ability to stick together through a tumultuous few years. Like all other senior classes around the region and state, they have gone through COVID-19, which later forced virtual school and practice sessions and an eventual re-acclima-


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tion to in-person learning over the last few years – all the while continuing to hone their craft and keep the Waltrip band tradition going, according to Espinosa. Espinosa said 16 of the 21

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members of his Jazz Band Ensemble No. 1 are outgoing seniors. The longtime band director is outgoing as well, having announced that he is leaving Waltrip, his alma mater, to become the band


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The Enemy’s Perspective By Pastor Will Cover

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n the Christian life, struggle is all around us. The Bible says that we will always struggle against the wickedness of the world that is against God, the fleshly desires that come from within, and the attacks of the Devil who does everything he can to stand against God. The book of Ephesians tells us that spiritual battles are not fought against flesh and blood but against the spiritual powers that while they may be unseen, are incredibly powerful and most be resisted with spiritual weapons. Jesus said that the Devil is always working to keep the Word of God from having any effect on you. Jesus compares the devil to a bird eating a seed off the ground before it can sink into the dirt and sprout. Many people hear the truth,

but don’t respond to it because it never really sinks in. The Devil wants to keep you distracted from the truth. In the book of John, Jesus calls the Devil the Father of Lies. This truth is very evident in the fact that Devil is a master of deception. He often leads people to think that what they are doing will have good results when in reality those who reject God will face death. Doing what feels right is often the path that leads away from God. The devil is a master manipulator of feelings. He deceives you into thinking that what you feel is good is right. To do right, you must know and do the Word of God. Far more could be said on this topic. My challenge to you is to take time and read God’s Word. Make sure you know what it says and how God wants you to live. Then you will know when the Enemy is attacking and be able to defend against his ways.

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The Leader • Saturday, May 28, 2022 • Page 6A

Art Valet: Cabrera’s dream comes true with Northside studio MITCH COHEN Art Columnist

This Saturday is the grand opening of a new art center in Greater Northside, just a 10-minute drive from the Heights. Art in the HEART, 8321 Jensen Dr., welcomes the public with activities for kids and adults from 11 a.m.3 p.m. Art in the HEART is the culmination of more than 15 years of sharing art with the public by its founder Veronica “Roni” Cabrera. Cabrera’s company name is HTX Art. Cabrera is an artist with a vision bigger than herself. Her 15-year background in the arts has been highly visible with murals, teaching art and accumulating rewards and recognition for her efforts. By the summer of 2020, Cabrera was tired of living

in an art wasteland. She said there was little in her Greater Northside neighborhoods that gave kids an opportunity to create. She envisioned a mobile studio to take art to underprivileged areas. Cabrera told me she was always telling her husband and four sons she wanted a “schoolie” (a converted school bus) to teach art out of and even joked they could live in one. The boys were not as enthusiastic, however. Cabrera’s husband surprised her when he gave up his search for a car when he stumbled upon a yellow school bus for sale. Over the summer of 2020, Cabrera’s husband and four boys converted the yellow school bus into The Art Bus. For the next year-and–ahalf, Cabrera’s Art Bus visited neighborhoods all over Houston for special events and scheduled art classes. She reiterated to me that her boys have been instrumental in the refurbishing of the school bus and design decisions at the Art in the HEART

Contributed photo Veronica “Roni” Cabrera is opening the Art in the HEART studio.

studio. “I truly believe art will break down barriers and unite the community,” Cabrera said in an email. “I think everyone deserves a chance.” Cabrera said the bus was

a huge catalyst to realizing her dream of bringing art out into the world. At the end of 2021, her vision of creating a brick-and-mortar studio was given a big push forward. Big enough to be televised for the world to see.

Her entire family was flown to Los Angeles for an appearance on NBC’s “Kelly Clarkson presents When Christmas Comes Around” that aired Dec. 1. The Texas singer-songwriter Clarkson and actress/comedian Amy Poehler introduced the world to Cabrera’s family and her passion for her mobile art studio. She was then awarded a $100,000 grant from H-E-B, Clarkson and Poehler to be used for her dream of a permanent location. She told me the producers didn’t tell her in advance about the grant, but they did encourage her boys to stay close to their mother, because she may be surprised with a “gift” and didn’t want Cabrera to faint on camera. She did not faint! That surprise grant put Cabrera’s dreams on the fast track to Saturday’s unveiling of the new Art in the HEART art studio. “I love meeting other artists and teachers who want to empower the community,” Cabrera said. “Art in the

HEART will be a space for all creativity.” Saturday’s activities will continue the mission to provide art for all ages, including face painting, caricatures, live painting by guest artists, vendors and many photo opportunities. Future plans for Art in the HEART studio include a community art garden to address illegal dumping through upcycled sculpture as well as a summer art camp, which is set to begin in July. Cabrera plans to turn the second floor of their building into classrooms and a local nonprofit with a similar mission to serve the area. Get all the details on Saturday’s event and the Kids Art Camp on the website https://www.htxart.org. 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: Tamale Joint expands area’s options for Mexican food By Sonia Ramos

soft drinks and agua frescas. The seasonal flavor I tried was Jamaica and it was delicious. As for the sides, the rice and beans were good but pretty standard as were the chips and queso. Elote en vaso, or Mexican street corn, always makes me happy and I had to try it. Theirs is loaded with mayo, queso cotija and dressed with Tajin. It had the right blend of sweet, salty, spicy and tart. My list of rotating take-out places has grown by one. So, now when those mid-week wonders of what to eat, The Tamale Joint will definitely come to mind. I may have a laundry list of other chores to do after eating dinner, but at least dishes will not be one of them.


Like many of you, the last thing I want to do when I get home is make dinner. So, I am always looking for takeout options that are both fast and tasty. The Tamale Joint has been on my radar since opening in early April. Last week I finally got to see what this place was all about. These days it seems like there are new taco joints popping up all over the place and a tamale place seems ambitious. Usually, tamales are a colder-weather food for me, and with May temperatures already in the 90s, I was a little hesitant. But the fact The Tamale Joint offers frozen margaritas made my decision to try this place easy. Located at the corner of East T.C. Jester Boulevard and West 34th Street, this place is on my way home and has plenty of parking. They have multiple tables outside for outside seating, each decorated with mini succulents. Inside the restaurant was nice and bright, and I was greeted immediately by Geraldo. Even though he was busy taking an order over the phone, I felt acknowledged and had a chance to look over the menu.

Photo by Sonia Ramos Community reviewer Sonia Ramos tried the pork and jalapeno cheese tamales during a recent visit to The Tamale Joint, 3352 E. T.C. Jester Blvd.

Wanting to try two different tamale options, I decided on the pork and jalapeno cheese. Both were a decent size and had a good masato-meat ratio. Of the two, though, I really loved the jalapeno cheese option. They use Oaxaca cheese and fresh

jalapenos. Because the tamales were steaming hot, the cheese was perfectly melted and the fresh jalapenos gave them the perfect amount of heat. What made them even better was my frozen margarita to-go. I opted for the

Photo by Sonia Ramos Pictured are the refried beans, rice and Mexican street corn from The Tamale Joint.

large size and was fortunate to make it in time for happy hour, when drinks are $0.50 off. This margarita was no joke and one of the best I have had. They use 100 percent tequila, Contreau, fresh lime juice and offer a salt or tajin rim.

There are other alcoholic drinks on the menu, including beers and seltzers, but next time I come back I will have to try the Paloma. As far as non-alcoholic drinks, there are many options including Mexican cokes, Jarritos, Topo Chico, standard

The Tamale Joint Address: 3352 E. T C Jester Blvd. Dining options: Dine-in, Takeout, Door Dash Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday Tamale prices: $7.99-$8.99 for a half-dozen Kid-friendly: Yes Alcohol: Yes. Star of the show: Jalapeno Cheese Tamales Rating: 4 out of 5 bites

Nibbles & Sips: Urban Eats holding fundraisers to fight cancer By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

A popular local restaurant is looking to raise money for cancer awareness, with a personal connection to the cause driving a current and upcoming fundraiser. Urban Eats, 3414 Washington Ave., is accepting donations on its Facebook fundraiser through June 30, with a goal of raising $5,000 for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) to fund new treatments, clinical trials, research and potentially a cure. The restaurant will also host an in-house fundraiser from May 27-June 30, according to a news release. The inspiration comes from co-owner Levi Rollins, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma – a form of blood cancer for which there is no known cure – last May, according to the release. Rollins celebrated his remission milestone May 1 after undergoing an intensive chemotherapy and immunotherapy program, a complete stem cell bone marrow transplant that spanned over two months, and a year of juggling treatment while running a bustling restaurant business. Now the restaurant is hosting fundraisers to celebrate. For the in-house-fund-

Contributed photo Logan’s Roadhouse, which has an area location off U.S. 290, is partnering with country music singer Riley Green, pictured, for a concert giveaway. Photo from Facebook Urban Eats is hosting cancer research fundraisers this month after co-owner Levi Rollins, left, hit a milestone in his multiple myeloma recovery. At right is co-owner Eric Munoz, Rollins’ husband.

raiser, Rollins has created a “Love of Life” signature cocktail. It will have Bar Chefs Houston’s butterfly pea and hibiscus rich syrup, gin, vodka, homemade lemonade, fresh citrus and sparkling water, with a mocktail version also available. All proceeds from purchase of the cocktail will go to the MMRF. To donate to the Facebook fundraiser, com-

munity members can go to facebook.com/donate/1424820751354101/. “I hope you’ll join us to raise awareness and funds, however you can,” Rollins said in the news release. “And if you needed an excuse to spoil my staff with generous gratuities for their incredible support and hard work, I can’t think of a better time.”

Logan’s Roadhouse partnering for giveaway with country musician A Houston-based steakhouse is partnering with a country musician to give away a concert package. Logan’s Roadhouse, which has an area location at 12950 Northwest Fwy., is partnering with country music singer Riley Green to give away a trip to Nashville for his concert in July at Ascend Amphitheater. Logan’s will accept contest entries through June 12 through the Logan’s Roadhouse Rewards program before awarding one lucky fan.

The winner will receive two tickets to Green’s Nashville concert on July 3, a trip to Nashville - including round-trip flights and a onenight hotel stay via a $1,000 hotels.com gift card and a $1,000 airfare gift card – as well as a $500 Visa gift card, $500 Logan’s gift card and more. To enter, fans can download the Logan’s Roadhouse Rewards app, sign up for the loyalty program and enter coupon code “Riley” with their information. Participants will also need to follow Logan’s on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.

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The Leader • Saturday, May 28, 2022 • Page 7A

Bikeway from P. 1A know what’s going to happen at the end of the mayor’s 30day freeze. “I would like to think we’re not shouting into the wind and we’ll get listened to,” Williamson added. It is unclear how support from the super neighborhood council will impact the fate of the project. Mary Benton, a spokesperson for Turner, said Wednesday that he has not made a decision whether to move forward with the project and is “reviewing and will consider all correspondence, all information he receives.” The office of Houston City Council member Abbie Kamin, who represents the Heights, did not respond to a Tuesday email seeking comment. Williamson said six of the eight civic associations within the super neighborhood council voted in favor of a letter of support, with the Houston Heights Association abstaining and the East Sunset Heights Association not sending a delegate to the meeting. The groups that voted in favor are the Clark Pines Civic Association, Montie Beach Civic Club, Norhill Neighborhood Association, Shady Acres Civic Club, Sunset Heights Civic Club and Woodland Heights

Civic Association. Each of those six groups already had submitted letters of support to the city, according to Williamson, who said their collective support comes with a series of caveats. The super neighborhood council asked the city to address some concerns expressed by businesses and residents, such as delivery truck access for 11th Street businesses and the potential for cut-through traffic on side streets as well as possible conflicts between motorists and cyclists at the entrances and exits to 11th Street properties. The letter also asks the city to dedicate resources to monitoring the project area after completion and addressing any unintended consequences that might arise. Additionally, the super neighborhood council asked the city to expand the number of protected pedestrian crosswalks in the plan, which presently calls for a pedestrian refuge island at the intersection of 11th and Nicholson Street – identified by Houston cyclists as one of the most dangerous in the city – and protected crosswalks at White Oak Drive and Michaux Street as well as near Hogg Middle School, 1100 Merrill St.. The letter

asks for similar infrastructure near Harvard Elementary, 810 Harvard St., and along 11th between Heights Boulevard and Studewood Street. “There are definitely ways that the project could be better than what’s been proposed,” Williamson said. The project area includes a 1.5-mile stretch of 11th between North Shepherd Drive and Michaux, where there currently are two vehicular lanes in each direction. The city’s plan, using funds from the Houston Bike Plan, is to add protected bike lanes on both sides of 11th while reducing the number of vehicle lanes to one in each direction, with a center, left-turn lane on most of the stretch between Heights Boulevard and Studewood to the east. Also part of the plan are related multimodal features along Michaux from 11th to the north and Stude Park to the south. Opponents to the project have said it will increase traffic congestion on 11th and nearby streets while negatively impacting businesses along the thoroughfare, among other concerns. A Heightsarea group called Alliance for Reasonable Traffic Solutions

(ARTS) started an online petition earlier this year that opposes the 11th Street plan and other vehicle lane reductions in Houston, having gathered more than 2,000 signatures as of Wednesday morning. “We have full confidence Mayor Turner will fairly evaluate the project,” ARTS said in a statement to The Leader. “It was premature for the Greater Heights Super Neighborhood Council 15 to cast a vote and write a letter of support before the mayor finished his evaluation and a final plan was unveiled.” The statement from ARTS was signed by Heights-area residents Simone Adams, Sylvia Blair, Ann Derryberry, Jerry Gause, Maury Hecht, Paul Herrera, Paul Lamnatos, Stacey Seals, Catherine Thorne, Ethan Wright and Marian Wright. Turner said in February that 11th Street is a “high-crash corridor with 10 percent more crashes than similar streets across the state,” and that the bikeway project would make the street “safer for all.” Project leaders with the city have said the goal of the plan is to slow down cars and trucks and reduce risky traffic movements, such as lane changes,

Primary from P. 1A

Oak Forest from P. 1A

Also on the ballot Tuesday was a Democratic runoff for a Texas House of Representatives seat that serves the southwest part of the Heights as well as the Washington Avenue and Sawyer Yards areas. Former Houston City Council member and Houston ISD trustee Jolanda Jones beat Danielle Keys Bess by receiving more than than 53.7 percent of the vote, and will face Republican Rashard Baylor for the District 147 seat. Jones had beaten Bess by a smaller margin earlier this month, when they went head-to-head in a special election to complete the term of retired State Rep. Garnet Coleman. So Jones will serve in Austin through the end of the year, even if she loses to Baylor in November. At the county level, Alexandra del Moral Mealer was a big winner over Vidal Martinez for the Republican nomination for Harris County Judge, receiving more than 75 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s runoff. Moral Mealer will face incumbent Democrat Lina Hidalgo in the general election. Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle, a Republican, will face Lesley Briones in November after Briones beat Ben Chou in a runoff for the Democratic nomination. Briones received 53.9 percent of the vote Tuesday. Jack Morman beat fellow Republican Jerry Mouton in a runoff for the nomination for Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner, and will take on incumbent Democrat Adrian Garcia in November. The District 4 seat on the State Board of Education, which serves the Garden Oaks and Oak Forest areas along with the northeast portion of the Heights area, will next be occupied by Democrat Staci Childs. She

zen treats from a sno cone truck. Parker Auld, who has lived in Oak Forest for about five years and attended Sunday’s event along with his family and a neighbor’s family, said it represented a rare opportunity for the neighborhood at large to gather. “I think it’s great to have the neighborhood out here, especially after being kind of disconnected for the past couple years (because of COVID-19),” Auld said. “Getting to know our neighbors and especially those that are on the streets surrounding us is important. It builds the fabric of community.” The top attraction might have been a longtime staple of the Oak Forest community – the award-winning Waltrip band. Several band members set up under a large tree near the playground and performed a string of tunes throughout


beat Corretta Mallet-Fontenot in Tuesday’s runoff and will be unopposed in the general election. In a statewide runoff of local interest, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton beat challenger George P. Bush in a runoff from the Republican primary. Paxton received more than 73 percent of the vote in Harris County, where Bush, the Texas Land Commissioner, has been criticized over the state’s distribution of federal flood-mitigation funds. For complete runoff results in Harris County, visit harrisvotes.com. Tuesday’s results are unofficial until canvassed.

Photo by Adam Zuvanich A woman pushes a stroller across 11th Street at its intersection with Nicholson Street. The Greater Heights Super Neighborhood Council supports the city’s plan for the 11th Street Bikeway.

and that traffic models show there will not be a significant increase in congestion during most hours of the day. The 11th Street Bikeway also is part of a broader citywide initiative to increase multimodal infrastructure and reduce traffic fatalities in what has historically been a carcentric city. An online petition in support of the 11th Street project, which was created after Turner said he was re-evaluating the plan, had garnered more

than 1,500 signatures as of Wednesday morning. “When Mayor Turner launched his ambitious Vision Zero Action Plan, he made a commitment to put safety ahead of speed. It’s clear that Heights residents are embracing that,” said executive director Joe Cutrufo of the nonprofit BikeHouston. “Right now 11th Street is a traffic sewer that serves nobody but drivers. This project transforms it into a multimodal street that serves everyone.”

the event, with outgoing Waltrip band director Jesse Espinosa conducting. “We love the band,” Oak Forest resident Pat McCoy said. “They’re fantastic.” McCoy and his wife, Wendy, were sitting at a nearby picnic table along with their dog, Billy, and friends Duane and Paula White. The Whites have lived in Oak Forest for 35 years and marveled at how, years after their own children frequented Candlelight Park, they were seeing new generations of youngsters enjoying the amenity. Wendy McCoy said she also liked seeing some familiar faces in the crowd. “It’s really charming,” she said of the neighborhood. “It’s like a little town inside of a massive city.” Jesus Alcorta, who spent his early childhood in Oak Forest and moved back as an adult, attended Sunday’s event with his wife and two children and marveled at

how the neighborhood has evolved over the years. One of the historical posters he saw showed that a home valued at $5,000 when Oak Forest was founded in the late 1940s would now cost nearly $400,000. Like Alcorta, David Simpson said he first became an Oak Forest resident when he was born. He has spent most of his seven decades as a neighborhood resident, with service in the military taking him away for a stretch, and said it was nice to mingle with a mix of new and old neighbors. Simpson said the neighborhood has changed in some ways, such as having a recent influx of young families, but has largely remained the same kind of friendly, down-to-earth community it always has been. “I’m very proud,” Pickens said of Oak Forest. “It’s a great area.”

MST&G from P. 1A Waligorski said a “stack full” of factors prompted the closure of Main Street Tap & Grill, including the upcoming expiration of its lease and its tense relationship with nearby residents. There were 192 loud noise complaints against the business from December 2019 through the end of last August, according to a Houston Police Department callsfor-service log obtained by The Leader, along with multiple incidents of violence and gunfire on or near the premises. Two men were stabbed and another was shot during a fight that started in the bar and spilled into the parking lot in September 2020, according to a KHOU report, and Waligorski said last summer that a man operating a steak night at the business was injured in a shooting early Aug. 14. Video footage sent to The Leader by a nearby resident shows there were two shooting incidents outside of the bar early Oct. 13, when someone fired a few shots from the driver’s side of a parked truck, and then several shots were fired during what appeared to be an altercation around 3 a.m. When Main Street Tap & Grill’s mixed beverage permit was coming up for renewal, Houston City Council member Karla Cisneros she said filed two protests with the TABC on behalf of her constituents in District H, which includes the Montie Beach neighborhood. TABC spokesperson Chris Porter said in a February email that 11 complaints about the business had been submitted to the agency, al-

though Porter said last week that those complaints were not investigated because a renewal application did not end up being received. “Upon Main Street Tap & Grill’s shuttering, it is important to recognize the community’s hard work as well as to note that the neighborhood welcomes good neighbors, indeed always has, and that MSTG was not a good neighbor,” Cisneros said. “I am unaware of the future plans for the property but will continue to work with businesses and residents along Main Street to do what’s best for the community as a whole.” Regarding the expiration of Main Street Tap & Grill’s mixed beverage permit, Waligorski said the business wanted to renew its permit and then transfer that permit to a different location, but was not allowed by the TABC. Waligorski also acknowledged operating for a few days in April, after the alcohol permit expired, adding, “We stopped selling alcohol when (the TABC) told us to stop.” A TABC spokesperson said in a Monday email that the agency conducted inspections of the business following the expiration of its permit and “have not observed evidence that they were selling alcohol without a permit, nor have we received complaints alleging such sales.” “TABC was told by the business owner that they did not intend to seek a new permit, though they do have the option of re-applying in the future,” the email continued. “If an application is received, the

agency would investigate any protests against issuing the permit at that time.” Waligorski said the business was successful on North Main Street but added, “If you’re unappreciated, you might as well go where you are.” He said the business plans to open under a new name and at a new, larger location less than a mile away, along the Interstate 45 access road. He also said the business doesn’t want “neighbor problems” or “community problems,” and that the management at Main Street Tap & Grill took steps to curb violence, adding, “Guns aren’t good for business, I can tell you that.” “I think it’s going to end up working out better for everybody,” he said. “We’re happy about the move. We’re happy about the change. We’re happy to be out of there. … I hope they support whoever takes it over.” Goings, with the Montie Beach Civic Club, expressed a similar sentiment, saying he hopes the future tenant at 4002 N. Main St. gets along better with its neighbors. “We have high hopes for whatever is going in there next,” he said. “There’s no reason we can’t have a nice, family-friendly restaurant or restaurant and bar, or even just a neighborhood bar. It was a bar, the last two iterations of that place before it was Main Street Tap & Grill. They were very supportive of the neighborhood, and we were supportive of them.”

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Photo by Adam Zuvanich Oak Forest resident Jesus Alcorta, left, points to a poster containing historical information about the neighborhood during its 75th anniversary celebration on Sunday at Candlelight Park and Community Center.

The following Certificate of Assumed Name filings, all Active and in Good Standing, with the PRINCIPAL PLACE OF BUSINESS at 26726 WYLIE VALLEY LANE KATY TX 77494, and with Luxton, Livina Jazelle as the General Executrix/Ultimate Beneficial Owner Nameholder, are required for consumer protection in order to enable customers to be able to identify the true owner of a business in accordance with Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 333: LIVINA JAZELLE LUXTON ESTATE filed on 05/10/2022 Original File Number 1313095200025; LIVINA JAZELLE LUXTON filed on 05/09/2022 Original File Number 1313094100022; LUXTON LIVINA JAZELLE filed on 05/23/2022 Original File Number 1314909300023; LUXTON, LIVINA JAZELLE filed on 05/23/2022 Original File Number 1314912300029; LIVINA J. LUXTON filed on 05/09/2022 Original File Number 1313097500023; LIVINA J LUXTON filed on 05/09/2022 Original File Number 1313096200026; LIVINA LUXTON filed on 05/09/2022 Original File Number 1313098000024; LUXTON, LIVINA filed on 05/23/2022 Original File Number 1314915100028; L.J. LUXTON filed on 05/09/2022 Original File Number 1313099600027; LJ LUXTON filed on 05/09/2022 Original File Number 1313098500024; IFEOMA JENNIFER UKWAMEDUA ESTATE filed on 05/20/2022 Original File Number 1314802400026; IFEOMA JENNIFER UKWAMEDUA filed on 05/20/2022 Original File Number 1314801400025; UKWAMEDUA IFEOMA JENNIFER filed on 05/23/2022 Original File Number 1314923600029; UKWAMEDUA, IFEOMA JENNIFER filed on 05/23/2022 Original File Number 1314925400027; IFEOMA J. UKWAMEDUA filed on 05/20/2022 Original File Number 1314802000028; IFEOMA J UKWAMEDUA filed on 05/20/2022 Original File Number 1314801600029; IFEOMA UKWAMEDUA filed on 05/20/2022 Original File Number 1314802200022; UKWAMEDUA, IFEOMA filed on 05/23/2022 Original File Number 1314926400028; IFEOMA JENNIFER AGWUNOBI ESTATE filed on 05/20/2022 Original File Number 1314796700021; IFEOMA JENNIFER AGWUNOBI filed on 05/20/2022 Original File Number 1314798000029; AGWUNOBI IFEOMA JENNIFER filed on 05/23/2022 Original File Number 1314917400026; AGWUNOBI, IFEOMA JENNIFER filed on 05/23/2022 Original File Number 1314919800026; IFEOMA J. AGWUNOBI filed on 05/20/2022 Original File Number 1314799000020; IFEOMA J AGWUNOBI filed on 05/20/2022 Original File Number 1314798600021; IFEOMA AGWUNOBI filed on 05/20/2022 Original File Number 1314800700020; AGWUNOBI, IFEOMA filed on 05/23/2022 Original File Number 1314921900023; NAMEHOLDER: Luxton, Livina Jazelle living at 26726 Wylie Valley Lane, Katy, Texas Republic, without the United States [77494-9998], united States of America and the nature of the said business is commerce.

Page 8A • Saturday, May 28, 2022 • The Leader

Former Waltrip golfer aiming high at Southwestern By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

Christian Rodriguez had barely picked up a golf club before his freshman season at Waltrip High School in 2016. Now, he said it’s difficult to imagine doing much of anything else, and the local product has excelled at the college level. The 2019 Waltrip graduate recently completed his junior season at Southwestern University in Georgetown by competing in the NCAA Division III national championship in Florida, where Rodriguez shot 11-over par in two rounds and did not advance to the final two rounds. It was his first appearance in the national tournament. “It’s just a fun game to play,” he said. “My life now is basically just playing golf all the time.” Rodriguez tried his hand at just about every sport except golf while growing up – even though his father played in high school and his great grandfather was a caddie. But that all changed as he entered high school. He said former Waltrip coach Daniel Davidson, now at Conroe ISD’s Oak Ridge High School, was looking for players to fill out the team for the 2016 season. And despite having next to no playing experience, Rodriguez said he quickly took to the sport, breaking 100 within a few tournaments and becoming a scratch golfer by the time he was a sophomore. A scratch golfer is someone who has around a zero handicap, meaning they will usually shoot close to par on any given course. “As soon as I picked up a club, I was hooked. The game is really addicting,” said Rodriguez, who also lettered in tennis, cross country and basketball while at Waltrip. “Anyone that plays golf, when you first start playing you want to go back every other day. I just stayed

on the course every day and tried to figure things out. I was kind of a late bloomer.” From there, he said he hasn’t looked back. A defining moment for Rodriguez’s high school career, he said, came when he shot 3-under par during a match play tournament at Memorial Park his sophomore year. “That’s when I figured out that if I kept running at this and staying focused, I could play it in college,” he said. “Once you can shoot under par, you know you can do it again – it’s just about the mental game at that point.” By the time he reached his senior season at Waltrip, Rodriguez had become one of the Houston area’s best players, reaching the Class 5A state tournament in 2019 and finishing 25th overall with a 10-over-par 152 over two rounds. But it wasn’t until near the end of that season, in April 2019, when he heard from Southwestern head coach Greg Sigler, who invited Rodriguez to play for his program. Rodriguez immediately jumped at the chance to stay relatively close to home, he said, and wound up committing to the Pirates soon after. “He kind of took a chance on me,” Rodriguez said. “… Going here is probably the best decision I’ve ever made.” Though he admitted the college game is a different animal, Rodriguez has not slowed down. In his three seasons at Southwestern, Rodriguez has gone from unknown underclassmen to one of the Pirates’ premiere players. He won two regular-season tournaments this year and also took home the 2022 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) tournament championship this past April with a 4-under-par 212 – helping Southwestern to a team tournament title in the process. That finish earned Rodriguez an invite to the NCAA Division III tournament, and

HHA bike rally, scavenger hunt set for next weekend By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

Residents of the Heights and surrounding areas are invited to participate in the Houston Heights Association’s annual bicycle rally and scavenger hunt. This year’s family-friendly event is set for June 4-5. The annual event serves as a fundraiser for the HHA, a nonprofit organization which serves residents and businesses in the neighborhood, and has seen previous events draw hundreds of riders. Participants can choose between a 5-mile or 15mile course, both of which will include scavenger hunt items. Riders will receive an emailed list of clues the day before the rally that describes sights or objects visible along the route, and the

person or team who correctly identifies the most items will win the scavenger hunt and accompanying prize. The list can also be picked up at 605 Omar St. Riders can begin their scavenger hunt any time after 8 a.m. the day of the event. Clues will be due at the Heights Fire Station, 107 W. 12th St., by 3 p.m. June 5, though participants can also bring them to the event’s after-party at Marmion Park, where the winners will be announced at 5 p.m. Tickets are $30 per person for the 15-mile ride and $20 each for the 5-mile ride. Interested riders can go online to runsignup.com/Race/ Events/TX/Houston/13th HoustonHeightsBicycleRallyScavengerHunt for more information or to register for the event.

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he is currently the 48thranked player in Division III, according to Golfstat. “I just know that I can go out there and believe I’m the best out there,” he said. “That’s the mentality at any tournament. … It’s been a really great experience.” Rodriguez said he has aspirations of playing professionally once he graduates from Southwestern, where he is currently studying business. But he’s trying not to get ahead of himself, saying that the sport itself mirrors the reality of everyday life. “I definitely think it’s possible (to go pro),” he said. “If you don’t give it a chance, you’re never going to give yourself the opportunity to even do it.” He’s aiming high – or low, in the case of his scores. Because all it takes is one great shot to turn the tide in his direction. “Some days are really good; some days are really bad. And (after those bad days), you’ve got to bounce back,” he said. “I can shoot really low or really high, but it’s all about staying patient and sticking with the process.”

Contributed photo Southwestern University golfer Christian Rodriguez follows through after a shot during a tournament. The 2019 Waltrip High School graduate recently completed his junior season of college play in the NCAA Division III tournament.

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LEADER LISTING The Leader • Saturday, April 23, 2022 • Page 9A

Duplex development planned for area By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

A member of the Shepherd Forest Civic Club said residents have concerns about a new residential development that is planned for a long-vacant property immediately to the south of the neighborhood. Among those concerns is how dozens of new homes might impact flooding in an area already at risk, and neighborhood residents also are worried about potential increases in traffic and street parking in the vicinity of a property that is largely landlocked. When the 3-acre lot that once was covered with mature trees was cleared in February, Delinda Holland said the biggest concern among her and her fellow civic club members was that the developer might want to extend Oak Forest Drive through the lot and connect it with North Loop 610. The road currently stops with a dead end just north of the vacant lot, and Holland said existing property owners want to keep it that way to ensure there are not increases in cut-through traffic, which could be a danger to those who enjoy walking around the neighborhood. So Holland said she was relieved to learn that the developer has requested a variance from the Houston Planning Commission so it does not have to extend Oak Forest Drive or terminate the street with a cul-de-sac, which is part of the development requirements under city ordinance. The Shepherd Forest Civic Club plans to write a letter in support of the variance request, according to Holland. “We are very happy about that. That was the biggest concern for years,” Holland said. “We have so much foot traffic, we’re very concerned about Oak Forest (Drive) being open and being a main artery to the loop.” While there is agreement on that significant issue between Shepherd Forest residents and the corporation that bought the land earlier this year, 1900 N. Loop Development TS, LLC, there are other parts of the plan for Marigny Heights that do not yet have the endorsement from the existing neighborhood. There also are no guarantees at this point that the planning commission, which will make a determination based on a recommendation from the city’s Planning & Development Department, will give the developer and the nearby residents what they want. Aracely Rodriguez of the planning department said Tuesday that it will ask for the variance request to be deferred from this week’s planning commission meeting until the next one, scheduled for June 9.

Photo by Adam Zuvanich A long-vacant lot between North Loop 610 and Shepherd Forest has been cleared of trees and is being developed into a cluster of single-family residences.

Rodriguez and Division Manager Dipti Mathur said they want more time to study the property and the planned development, both to determine if there are deed restrictions that might apply to the property and affect the requested variance, and also to study whether the residential project can take access through two office complexes immediately to the west – one of which houses the office for The Leader. Based on plans submitted to the city, the proposed collection of single-family homes also could be accessed from the North Loop feeder road to the south. “We have not formalized a recommendation,” Mathur said. The latest plans submitted to the city, as of Tuesday, call for the development to include 38 homes. But a representative of the land owner and developer, who asked to remain anonymous, said Tuesday the current plan is for 60 duplexes that each will be two stories in height. The representative said they will be rental properties, with monthly rent ranging from $2,000-$2,600, and the lots on the perimeter of the development will

be raised 5 feet as parts of the property are in both the 100- and 500-year flood plains, according to Rodriguez. Citing project feasibility, the representative of the developer said it likely would extend Oak Forest through to Loop 610 if the variance request is not granted by the planning commission. That would be more feasible for the developer than terminating Oak Forest Drive with a cul-de-sac, according to the representative. “I don’t want the street to go through,” the representative said. “But if I can’t get the variance, that’s what we’ll have to do.” Citing a conversation with Richard Grothues of Richard Grothues Designs, which applied for the variance request on behalf of the developer, Holland said the plan also calls for a pedestrian gate where Oak Forest Drive meets the property. She said Shepherd Forest residents do not want that, because of concerns about increased parking on the neighborhood streets immediately to the north. The representative of the developer referred to that part of the plan as unnecessary and expend-

Photo by Adam Zuvanich A representative of the Marigny Heights development has requested a variance from the Houston Planning Commission that would not require the extension of Oak Forest Drive or terminating the street with a cul-de-sac

able. The representative also pushed back on some of the concerns expressed by Shepherd Forest residents, saying, “If they keep raising these other concerns, there’s going to be a problem.” The representative added that the developer would meet the stormwater detention requirements of the city and


Body20 to operate at M-K-T By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

A new type of workout regimen is coming to one of the area’s bustling mixed use developments. The M-K-T development at 600 N. Shepherd Dr. in the Heights announced May 18 that its newest tenant, Body20, is shooting for a summer or fall opening at the development. It will be located trailside at M-K-T next to Honeychild’s Sweet Creams. “Body20 provides a tailored workout that uses electric muscle stimulation to increase muscle contractions, providing you a more thorough workout and in only 20 minutes,” M-K-T said on Facebook. Body20’s website says its workout uses an FDA-approved electrical stimulation suit, which will deliver isolated stimulation coupled with a one-on-one workout program to produce results. According to the company’s website, a 20-minute customized exercise session with a personal trainer will give a person’s body 150 times more muscle contractions than a standard gym workout. To find out more information on Body20, visit its website at body20.com or follow it on Facebook. For the latest information on developments at M-K-T, follow @mktheights on Facebook or visit themkt.com. Berkshire Hathaway parent company tops list

The parent company of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Premier Properties, a real estate company with area offices at 1803 W. 43rd St. in Oak Forest and 741 E. 11th St. in the Heights, is tops on a recently released worldwide list of largest companies. Berkshire Hathaway announced May 16 that the parent company has earned the top spot on Forbes’ Global 2000 list, which was released May 12. The list ranks the largest companies in the world based on key metrics such as sales, profits, assets and market value, the study said. According to Forbes, this is the first time Berkshire Hathaway has been tops on the list since the annual study was first released in 2003. The study used the latest 12

months of financial data available as of April 22 to compile the list, according to Forbes. For the full list of compa-

nies and more information on how the study was conducted, go to forbes.com/lists/global2000.

that it intends to construct a “nice project.” “If I lived in the neighborhood, I would just be glad that we’re not building a 20-story office building or a strip club,” the representative said. “The project’s going to get built no matter what happens. There’s nothing they can do to stop the project.”

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Page 10A • Saturday, May 28, 2022 • The Leader

April brings signs of growth in local real estate markets By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

Coming off a rough month of March sales-wise, there wasn’t much place to go but up for local residential real estate markets. As a result, April was a better month for several local markets. While some still continued to lag behind their 2021 paces, others showed signs of coming back to life, according to the most recent data from the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR). The 77092 zip code that includes the Langwood/ Kempwood area had its second straight month of a year-over-year monthly rise in sales, while Northside/Northline (77009) and Greater Inwood (77091) showed signs of rejuvenation, according to the data. Meanwhile, the downturns continued last month in the Greater Heights (77008), Garden Oaks/Oak Forest (77018) and Washington Av-

enue/Rice Military (77007) neighborhoods. For the fourth consecutive month, the area’s average home price also continued to rise almost uniformly across the board, with the exception of 77092’s median price dropping by more than 5 percent year-over year. 77018 This is the third time in four months that the zip code encompassing Garden Oaks/Oak Forest area and other nearby neighborhoods has seen a year-overyear sales drop, according to HAR data. Seventy-nine homes came off the market in this part of the area, a 16 percent dip compared to 94 during the same period in 2021. Year-to-date, the 277 homes sold here is 6.1 percent behind last year’s pace of 295. Pricing-wise, the average buyer paid 13.1 percent more ($563,256) compared to April 2021, and the average price for a home so far

this year is $583,660. Median price also rose 17.9 percent compared to last year (up to $458,000), while the median price through the end of April is $469,000. 77091 Following a stagnant March, the area which includes Greater Inwood and Acres Homes bounced back in a big way. There were 27 homes sold here last month, a 17.4 percent increase from the 23 sold in April 2021. And though its 105 sold through the end of April is the lowest total in the area, its 14.1 percent year-to-date increase is the biggest jump among local zip codes. On the pricing front, the average price for a home so far this year has been $304,581, while the average April sales price jumped 8 percent up to $303,548 compared to the same month last year. Year-over-year median sales price spiked 14.3 percent up to $319,900, while overall median price

for the year is $319,000. 77092 The western edge of The Leader’s coverage area had a second straight strong month, seeing 39 homes come off the market (up 8.3 percent) compared to 36 in April 2021. On a year-todate basis, the 124 sales in this area through the end of April is 7.8 percent ahead of last year’s mark of 115. Average buyers paid 5.5 percent less for a home last month ($342,869) compared to April 2021, and the average price for a home so far in 2022 has been $329,714, according to HAR data. The April median home price stayed largely the same (up 0.9 percent to $329,888), though it was higher than the overall median price for the year of $319,888. 77008 On the heels of a rough March, it didn’t get much better for the Greater Heights area. The area saw a 22.9 percent year-over-year

dip in sales, with 101 homes sold last month compared to 131 in April 2021. Through the end of the month, its 381 sales are down 9.9 percent from the same span last year. With regards to home price, the average home went for 12.1 percent more ($714,775) compared to last April. The average price for the year has been $652,299. Median price was up 18.1 percent ($620,000) compared to last April and currently sits at $560,000 for 2022. 77009 The zip code encompassing much of the Woodland Heights, Sunset Heights and Northside Village didn’t see much year-over-year change for April, seeing 64 homes come off the market after 63 were sold last April. Year-todate, its 204 homes sold is a 2 percent increase over the 200 sold in 2021. Compared to 2021, the average April home price spiked 32.4 percent – the

largest local rise – to $607,213, though the average mark for the year still sits at $544,545. The April median price was up 13.3 percent year-over-year to $489,550, and the overall median price for 2022 sat at $462,500 at month’s end. 77007 The Rice Military/Washington Avenue area was the third of local markets to experience a year-over-year dip in April, with the 88 sales representing a 3.3 percent drop from 91 sales last April. However, the zip code remains 5.3 percent ahead of last year’s pace, having sold 335 homes through the end of the month. Average home buyers paid $684,357 here last month – up 22.9 percent from last April – and have paid an average of $623,645 so far in 2022. As far as median price, it was up 14.5 percent ($535,000) compared to last April, and stands at $515,000 for the year.


Inderrieden, IndyQuest ‘create the calm’ in real estate transactions By Landan Kuhlmann

“(Things like that) allow homeowners to get more out of that space than they ordinarily would,” he said. “We’re re-thinking and re-imagining how certain areas can be used.” However, one thing that has not changed is their dedication to serving their clients in a way that can best position them for success, whether it be buyers or sellers. In 2021, the company helped hundreds of sellers and buyers. Related specifically to buyers, Inderrieden believes his IndyQuest agents’ in-depth knowledge of local neighborhoods and markets is a boon to those buying a home. And when combined with their pragmatic approach to the process, he believes they bring something to the table that nobody else can. Whether it is helping their buyer’s offer stand out in the crowd or taking financed buyers and turning them into cash buyers at no cost to them Inderrieden said their service is unique to them and them alone. “Our ability to evaluate what somebody wants and what they need, and then be able to fulfill their real estate dream, that is extremely satisfying,” he said. “Because for many people, this transaction is the largest financial decision they’re going to make and it’s a huge win for us to keep clients happy and calm throughout the process.” To buy or list a home with Creston Inderrieden, email creston@indyquest.net or call him at 713-301-4054.


When buyers and sellers navigate the home buying or listing process, often it can be one of the most emotional times of their lives. Broker/owner Creston Inderrieden and his team at IndyQuest Properties completely understand and aim to help their clients reach a place of peace in their transaction by going above and beyond their clients’ needs. “We paint them a road map on how they’re going to get there,” he said. “We de-escalate the emotion of the transaction to where they are not as concerned because they trust our experience and history of success as we help them make decisions.” For more than 16 years, Inderrieden has served home buyers and sellers in Garden Oaks, Oak Forest, The Houston Heights, and other neighborhoods of North Houston. He and the additional 22 agents in his charge also serve Sugar Land, Katy, League City, Galveston, and The Woodlands, but he primarily focuses on the local area. Despite the pandemic, Inderrieden said 2020 and 2021 have been two of the company’s best. And so far, 2022 is on pace to best even the last two years, despite rising interest rates and low inventory. “The way we utilize structures and homes has changed,” he said. “So, all of that is compounding the need for nice homes and the value we derive from them. Consequently, people are keener on purchasing homes to get the exact spaces and features they want.”

Holly and Creston Inderrieden That has slightly modified how he and his team market homes for sale. In some cases, the IndyQuest team have been highlighting and staging flex areas for listings to show ideas and options for how buyers could potentially utilize extra space.

This article is part of The Leader Realtor Showcase series, where real estate professionals pay for editorial content about their services in the community. If you’d like to be spotlighted in the Realtor Showcase, contact us at 713-686-8494.

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The Leader staff wishes you the best in your next chapter! The Leader • Saturday, May 28, 2022 • Page 1B

Heights Class of 2022


Congratulations Houston Heights HS Class of 2022!

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Page 4B • Saturday, May 28, 2022 • The Leader

St. Pius Class of 2022

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SALUTATORIAN Thanh-Vinh McColloster

By Megan McKee Photos by Keith Calkins

Men of St. Thomas are faith-filled, life-long learners, shaped by a Basilian education, and ready to excel as the next innovators, motivators, leaders, and caretakers. Our Eagles class of 2022 graduated on May 21st and we look back to celebrate their accomplishments this year. They submitted applications to 212 colleges and universities and were awarded $10,713,423 in scholarships! Although it was challenging to choose schools as they were unable to visit colleges during COVID –, the class of 2022 has students going to Yale, Notre Dame, Rice, Embry Riddle, University of Calgary, Seton Hall, Spring Hill College, Auburn, Benedictine, Citadel, UT, and A&M. Out of our 112 graduates,

27 percent of this class became AP Scholars in their junior year for receiving scores of 3 or higher on 3 or more AP Exams! Over half of the class was in AP World History and 90% received qualifying scores, which was twice the state average. Part of the Basilian tradition is serving one’s community. This class served their St. Thomas community well by reaching over 5,000 hours in service as well as by raising funds for tuition assistance, breaking all previous raffle ticket sales records by raising $670,610 during our annual Round Up! This year, the football team were co-district champions, Catholic Bowl winners, and there were more boys in our program than any other TAPPS school. Swim broke several school records during TAPPS and Josh McLean was named swimmer of the meet at

state. Wrestling TAPPS named two students as state champions. Soccer were undefeated district champions. Track & Field were TAPPS state runners-up. Lacrosse became district champions for the first time in school history. Rugby won the Varsity Cup Championship! A special congratulations to our Valedictorian - Peyton James Woodlief, Salutatorian - Thanh-Vinh McColloster, Class President - Thomas Wyatt Green, Vice-President - Joe Rick Madden, and to our student-athletes who signed with top colleges across the U.S.: Gavin Mott, Jake Wright, Cameron Price, Wyatt Green, Max Garcia, Josh McLean, and Carrick Brogan. We wish the class of 2022 all the best as they continue into their next journey and we are thankful for our faculty and staff that have supported them along the way.

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Page 6B • Saturday, May 28, 2022 • The Leader

Lutheran High North Class of 2022 CLASS OFFICERS President — Cameron Herrera Vice President —Philip Cole Jao Secretary — Ashley Kinloch Treasurer — Kimberly Martinez Girls’ rep – Grace Schoppe-Fischer Boys’ rep – Caleb Wenz

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The Leader • Saturday, May 28, 2022 • Page 7B

How to get your cat comfortable with its carrier for a trip to the vet

Dear Tabby, We need to take our cat to the vet for a check up soon, but he’s kind of skittish and scared of his cat carrier (which we haven’t had to use yet). How can we get him used to his cat carrier ahead of his vet appointment in a couple of months? Cat Carrier Courage in Cottage Grove Dear Cat Carrier Courage, Cats can be freaky little creatures, can’t they? Some are cool as a cucumber and roll with the punches like a champ, while others are scared of every little thing. For many cats, the cat carrier is pretty scary--especially for those who have been transported to and from somewhere traumatic in a carrier. Since your cat doesn’t have any previous experience with a cat carrier, you can use a few behavior modification techniques to get him used to it enough so that you can easily get him transported to and from his vet visit. Here are some tips for making this

go smoothly: Make it Comfortable Typically, cats like small, enclosed spaces that are warm and fluffy. If you have a hard-sided carrier, put it on the floor in your cat’s favorite room of the house. Open the door, take off the top--whatever you can do to make it easily accessible--and line it with fluffy towels or small blankets to entice your kitty to get in and see what it’s all about. If your cat does go inside, leave him alone to enjoy it in peace--don’t close the door on him or snap shut the lid. This will likely traumatize him and undo any good that you’ve accomplished thus far. Take it very slowly and leave the carrier out for him to explore for several days…especially in the days leading up to his vet visit. Treat Your Kitty Put some treats in the cat carrier to help encourage him to go check it out. If your cat is good about coming when called, call him to the carrier and give him a treat if he gets inside on his own. Dinnertime in the Carrier You can also try putting his food bowl in the carrier and feeding him in it at dinnertime. This way, he’ll associate the carrier with good things (meal time!) and it won’t be as scary anymore. Don’t Punish Your Cat

Never ever force your cat to go in the carrier as punishment for, say, jumping on the counters or scratching the furniture. This will only serve to ruin the cat carrier experience for your both and make getting him anywhere safely nearly impossible, once the carrier is deemed “bad” by your cat. Living in Houston, a cat carrier is a must for, among other things, safely transport-

ing your cat if you need to evacuate during a hurricane or other emergency. If you start the process of desensitizing your cat to his carrier now, it will be much easier to get him where you need to take him. That makes life with a cat much more pleasant and relaxing--during hurricane season and beyond! Do you have a question for Tabby? Email her at deartabby questions@gmail.com.

Contributed photo Pictured is the cast of Theatre Suburbia’s production of “Making God Laugh.” The show will debut on June 3, and run on Fridays and Saturdays through July 2.

Theatre Suburbia’s newest play debuts June 3

Pet of the Week

By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

Theatre Suburbia will debut its newest production to the Northwest Houston community beginning next weekend. A news release from the theatre said “Making God Laugh” follows the changes endured by a typical American family over 30 years’ worth of holidays beginning in the 1980s, depicting the shifts for both parents and children. The show opens June 3 and will run at 8 p.m. each Friday and Saturday through July 2 at Theatre Suburbia’s studio, 5201 Mitchelldale St. Suite A-3. There will also be two matinee Sunday performances at 2 p.m. June 19 and June 26.

Meet Miller This 3 month old sweetheart was found in the walls of a nursing home as a wee little thing desperate for food and comforting. Miller loves to play with other kitties and even the doggie in his foster home! Are you looking for a well dressed little tuxedo man with lots of energy? Come meet Miller and let him charm you! To learn more, go to www. saveacatrescue.org.

“As time passes, the family discovers that, despite what we may have in mind, we often arrive at unexpected destinations,” Theatre Suburbia said in the release. “As Woody Allen once said, ‘If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.’” Tickets are $18 for adults and $16 for students and seniors for all Friday and Saturday showings, while all Sunday matinee tickets are $16 apiece. Reservations are encouraged, the theatre said, and can be made online at theatresuburbia.org or by phone at 713682-3525. For more information on Theatre Suburbia, visit its website at theatresuburbia. org.

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The Leader • Saturday, May 28, 2022 • Page 9B

Scarborough Class of 2022 SCARBOROUGH CLASS OF 2022 GRADUATION NRG Arena 10 a.m. Saturday, June 11

VALEDICTORIAN Jackelyn Hernandez University of Texas — Austin Major: Psychology/pre-med

SALUTATORIAN Yuliana RoaBernabe

Houston Community College Major: Hotel-restaurant management

A DIPLOMA AND A DEGREE Scarborough seniors who have already received their associate’s degrees from Houston Community College and who will receive their high school diplomas with their class June 11.

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Page 10B • Saturday, May 28, 2022 • The Leader

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