The 04-27-24 Edition of The Heights Leader

Page 1

In a letter dated April 22,

2024, addressed to the Lutheran North Community, the Board of Directors of the Lutheran Education Association of Houston (LEAH) announced the closure of Lutheran North Academy (LNA) at the end of the 2023-2024 academic year. The

decision, described as “painful” and “unexpected,” was made after careful consideration and prayerful deliberation. According to school leaders, declining enrollment and recent trends in admissions sealed the fate of the institution.

“Even though the 2023-2024 school year began with lowerthan-expected enrollment, early signs in the 2024-2025 admissions

season gave us hope for growth. Throughout the year, we closely tracked increased interest and visits from prospective students, and we were excited about potential enrollment gains,” the statement reads. “It was only recently that most of those prospective families, and unexpected current families, made their

What do students from Harvard Elementary’s Honor Society and Friends For Life have in common? Both are passionate about finding forever homes for unsheltered animals in Houston.

These civic-minded students –Maia, Camilla, Joey, Eleanor, Emma, Trevi, Maya, and Summer – are part of the National Elementary Honor Society, which asks students to work on community volunteering projects. They originally tried to volunteer at local animal shelters, but soon discovered that the minimum age to volunteer is 16.

Ludivine Laurent Bureau, a parent of one of the students, told the Leader, “That didn’t deter them. They decided to work together to raise money for a ‘no kill’ shelter. ‘No kill’ was important because they were heartbroken to learn that often shelters cannot keep all the animals put up for adoption.”

For the March 17 St. Patrick’s Day

On Saturday, April 20, despite the looming threat of inclement weather, approximately 1000 enthusiastic foodies gathered at The Great Taste of the Heights event, transforming concerns into a flavorful celebration. Hosted by All Saints Catholic Church at 215 E. 10th St., attendees were treated to ample serving samples showcasing the diverse culinary offerings of 15 local restaurants.

Guests reveled in the opportunity to indulge in delectable treats from

lemonade stand and bake sale, the students prepared Rice Krispy treats and green lemonade, and also sold prepackaged dog treats at the school. The event raised $600, and the amount was doubled by a corporate matching gift. This generous donation was a welcome surprise to Friends For Life.


at Harvard Elementary, said, “The National Elementary Honor Society (NEHS) is a service organization at Harvard that is available to 4th and 5th grade students who earn and maintain all As, or all As and one B, on each report card. This aligns to the first

Heights’ area eateries, savoring each bite amidst a convivial atmosphere. The highlight of the evening was the chance for attendees to cast their votes for their favorite establishments, ultimately crowning three deserving winners. Taking home the title of “Best Personality” was VooDoo Doughnut, renowned for their enticing array of sweet delights. Offering an irresistible selection including the acclaimed Bacon Maple Bar, VooDoo Doughnut captured hearts with their unique flavors and charm. Visit one of their two Houston locations at 1214 Westheimer

In the heart of the Heights operates a program dedicated to ensuring the safety and security of its residents and businesses. The Heights Constable Patrol Program, managed by the Houston Heights Association, is a proactive initiative aimed at supplementing Houston Police Department law enforcement availability and providing rapid response to security concerns within the community.

At the helm of this program is Tera Starr, the Chair of Heights Security and a board member of the Houston Heights Association. Starr, a passionate advocate for community safety, shared insights into the program’s inner workings and its impact on neighborhood security.

“The Heights Constable Patrol Program is a concierge security service available to our community through the Houston Heights Association, in partnership with the Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen’s Office,” Starr explained. “By becoming a subscriber, you will be able to count on reliable and responsive constable’s deputies to help you immediately if you have a security emergency at your home or business.”

Starr emphasized the program’s commitment to providing residents with peace of mind and rapid assistance in times of need.

“It’s not just about patrolling the streets; it’s about ensuring that our residents feel safe and secure in their homes,” she said.

in Montrose and 3715 Washington in the Heights to experience their one-ofa-kind creations.

SMOQ emerged victorious in the category of “Best Bite” wowing attendees with their mouthwatering smoked brisket. Experienced Great Taste attendees lined up early at this booth to partake in the savory delights of this esteemed establishment that serves Texas style BBQ with a TexMex twist. SMOQ hosts several pop-up events every month. Come early before they are sold out.

Saturday, April 27, 2024 • Vol. 69 • No.17 713-371-3600 Facebook/FromTheLeader THE INDEX. People 2 Topics 4 Classifieds 6 Local Culture 8 Covering the Heights, Garden Oaks, Oak Forest & the neighborhoods of North Houston Inside Today: April is Volunteer Month, and two Sawyer Heights women stand out Page 2 ABOUT US INSIDE. Page 2 Page 4 Page 7 Page 7 Page 8 Page 8 Lutheran North Academy announces closure after declining enrollment See GREAT TASTE P. 7 New cocktail bar coming to West Heights later this year STAAR testing is in full swing, but not everyone participates Urban South HTX taproom closed as of April 19 HISD When I Grow Up Expo set for April 27 Students create bridges for Engineers Alliance for the Arts Showcase Chicken coop company dubs the Heights top urban haven in Texas The Great Taste of the Heights leaves taste buds delighted and hearts full you’re reading this, so are your potential customers call today to advertise! 713-371-3600 See LNA P. 5 PAWSITIVE IMPACT Harvard Elementary’s Honor Society students raise $1,200 for local no-kill shelter On Duty, On Demand: How the Heights Constable Patrol Program creates an extra layer of security See NEHS P. 5 See CONSTABLE PROGRAM P. 7 Submitted photo Precinct 1 Constable’s Office deputies under contract with the HHA not only respond to emergencies, they’re also available to provide safety tips, engage with the community, and provide an overall sense of enhanced safety. 10570 NW Frwy ❖ 713-680-2350 Flower & Gift Shop ShopFashionFlowers, & Fabulous Finds
by Adam Zuvanich Lutheran High North, the 41-year-old private school at 1130 W. 34th St., underwent a $225,000 renovation to improve its curb appeal in 2021.
Laurent Bureau Harvard Elementary NEHS students
their Sunday, March 17, 2024,
Day Lemonade Stand fundraising event to support Friends For Life.
by Ludivine
St. Patrick’s
L to R: Spice the dog, Eleanor B., Maya B., Emma P., Summer B., Trevi W., Maia D., Joey R., Camilla W. Photo courtesy of Kerry Mooney A few raindrops were no deterrent for die-hard foodies at The Great Taste of the Heights April 20, 2024. HELP SUPPORT LOCAL JOURNALISM Scan this QR code to make a donation through Paypal today!
by Fiona Layfield

April Spotlight: Sawyer Heights women illuminate Volunteer Month

April shines a spotlight on Volunteer Month, the annual recognition and celebration of altruism and community service. In these parts, two remarkable individuals stand out for their unwavering dedication to children living with disabilities and their families. Meet Sarah Herbek and Leanna DeCaro, whose stories illuminate the transformative power of volunteerism and the profound impact it has on both volunteers and recipients alike.

Meet Sarah and Leanna Sarah Herbek, 35, and Leanna DeCaro, 25, both call Sawyer Heights home. Still, they never before met in person, don’t know each other at all. By day, Sarah navigates the world of real estate following a career in healthcare, while Leanna works as a human resources manager. What they have in common is their passion for Camp For All, a barrier-free camp in Burton, TX, where disabled kids (and adults) go horse-back riding, children in wheelchairs soar through the air on a zipline, and anyone and everyone -intellectual or physical challenges be darned! -- can practice archery.

Sarah and Leanna agree that, in transforming the lives of special needs children, their own lives have been transformed.

Discovering Camp For All

Sarah's journey with Camp For All began over a decade ago, in 2009, during her college years. Seeking summer employment, she stumbled upon an opportunity that would shape her life in ways she never imagined.

Introduced by a friend, Sarah found herself immersed in the world of Camp For All, spending three memorable summers as a camp counselor. As her career path veered into healthcare, Sarah's commitment to Camp For All remained steadfast, culminating in her role on the organization's Emerging Leaders board.

For Leanna, the connection to Camp For All runs deep, rooted in personal experiences with her terminally ill sister when she was younger. Motivated by a passion for helping children facing ad-

versity, Leanna's involvement with the Valiant Life Foundation led her to cross paths with Camp For All. Enthusiastically embracing the opportunity to make a difference, she has been volunteering with the organization for the past two years.

Heartfelt Moments

Volunteering with Camp For All is not without its emotional highs and lows. Sarah vividly recalls a poignant encounter with a hesitant mother whose daughter faced significant medical challenges. Assuring the mother that her daughter belonged, Sarah witnessed firsthand the transformative impact of inclusion and acceptance, leaving an indelible mark on both the family and herself.

"It's really inspiring to see camp adapted in that way,” Sarah said. “I think there are a lot of things that pull on your heartstrings at Camp For All."

Similarly, Leanna reflects on the challenges of forging deep connections with campers, only to bid them farewell at the end of each session. The desire to maintain ongoing relationships with these remarkable individuals serves as a constant reminder of the profound bonds formed through shared experiences at Camp For All.

"Bonding with these children, you feel such a strong connection with them just in one day of camp, and you want to be able to follow their lives, but you can't always do that,” Leanna said. “It's a challenge, but it's also incredibly rewarding."

Making Time

Despite the demands of their professional lives, both Sarah and Leanna are ardent proponents of the volunteer spirit. They encourage others to step outside their comfort zones and experience the unparalleled fulfillment derived from giving back to their communities.

"Volunteering with an organization like Camp For All gives back to you tenfold. It makes you feel great, and it puts a lot of things in perspective. It's worth prioritizing," Sarah said.

In her professional experience as a human resources manager, Leanna emphasizes the importance of advocating for volunteer opportunities in

the workplace, highlighting the positive impact such initiatives can have on employee morale and corporate culture.

Camp For All prioritizes accessibility, offering a range of volunteer opportunities tailored to individuals' schedules and interests. Through user-friendly online platforms and streamlined registration processes, volunteering with Camp For All has never been more accessible. From assisting with grounds maintenance to participating in recreational activities, volunteers have the flexibility to choose how they contribute to the organization's mission.

Volunteer for a day, a week, or a month

Volunteer year-round

• Volunteer as young as 12 years old with a parent

Volunteer as young as 16 on your own Volunteer as an adult (18+) with a background check

• Volunteer at the main camp in Burton, TX, or closer to home at a Texas Medical

Center campus (Camp For

All 2U)

Camp For All 2U is an innovative program that brings the transformative experience of Camp For All directly to hospital settings, providing children facing significant medical challenges with a much-needed dose of joy, connection, and adventure. Through Camp For All 2U, hospital-bound children can enjoy a wide range of recreational activities typically found at traditional camps, including archery, canoeing, and horseback riding, all within the confines of their medical facility. By adapting the camp environment to accommodate the unique needs of hospitalized children, Camp For All 2U fosters a sense of normalcy, empowerment, and belonging, offering moments of respite and joy amidst the challenges of medical treatment.

A Lasting Impact

For Sarah and Leanna, Camp For All represents more than just a volunteer oppor-

tunity—it's a symbol of hope, compassion, and community. Their involvement with the organization has left a lasting imprint on their lives, shaping their values, priorities, and perspectives in profound ways. As they continue to champion the cause of Camp For All, Sarah and Leanna serve as examples of individual commitment to making a positive difference in the world.

“Camp For All has been part of my entire adult life and I feel like it has been a guiding light honestly, both personally and professionally,” Sarah said. “It's really what brought me into health care. I worked in pediatric oncology for years um after meeting a child specialist who was a director for Camp For All. It has become my moral compass and I credit the experience for my drive to continue to find ways to give back.”

Leanna reflects on the profound impact of providing a sense of community to children facing medical challenges. She emphasizes the significance of allowing these children to connect with others who understand their experiences, creating a bond that transcends their medical conditions.

“For all these kids to be able to get together and share that bond is just so special to watch,” she said. “It truly puts life into perspective. You can get bogged down in little things all the time, and then you step foot into camp and you realize what's important, what really matters.”

For those inspired to join the ranks of Camp For All volunteers, visit their website at for more information on how you can make a difference in the lives of children and adults facing challenging medical conditions.

Plume brings plush spot for cocktails and entertainment to the West Heights


Houston’s most dynamic drinking and dining neighborhood is poised for a welcome infusion of experiential glam and polish with the anticipated summer 2024 arrival of Plume. The high-energy cocktail bar with a tapas-style bites menu and chic Art Decoinspired interiors will occupy a choice location at Braun Enterprises’ recently debuted Urban Office – West Heights redevelopment at W. 22nd and Beall streets.

A short, two-block walk north from 20th Street’s dense nexus of ice houses and patio/sports bars, Plume was conceived as a stylish, but approachable, destination where modern cool meets Old Hollywood chic. Harnessing a deep understanding of the neighborhood and the local restaurant/bar scene, the Plume team is seeking to fill a niche in the busy corridor with an upscale ambience, curated menu offerings and elevated service and experience levels that will offer a luxe complement to the party landscape. Named for an ornamental arrangement of feathers, Plume is the first project from Golden Ratio Hospitality Group, a recently formed company encompassing Braun Enterprises partners Dan Braun and James Fitch, along with Ted Baker, a nearly 30-year veteran in the food and beverage industry. Baker’s background as an owner/operator includes Heights and Montrose mainstays Penny Whistle Pub, Bobcat Teddy’s and the former Revelry on Richmond.

“Our goal with Plume and future projects is finding the sweet spot at the axis of hospitality, service and neighborhood engagement,” said Fitch. As award-winning, Houston-based developers and operators, the trio has a proven track record in calculating the character, growth and potential of the city’s most sought after neighborhoods, as well as a keen understanding of businesses that

Looking to hire good local people? Leader classifieds get great response and cost less than the daily paper.

excel in those environments.

They have also created a niche by bringing old buildings back to life as is the case with the thoughtful reinvention of a former warehouse for modern work space and a stylish gathering spot at Urban Office – West Heights. With the addition of Plume, it’s a project poised to serve as a dynamic hub for the quickly evolving area.

Intimate in size but grand in ambition, Plume will boast a highly curated aesthetic – both bespoke and bold – unlike anything in the bustling Heights entertainment district. As envisioned by interior designer Bradford Collier of BwCollier

Interior Design of Houston, the space’s elegant plumage will include sleek lines, bold geometrics, touches of gold and feather motifs. Think the intersection of the plush Beverly Hills Hotel and the dynamic vibe of Las Vegas’s most exclusive bars.

“As we move towards Plume’s unveiling, I am filled

with excitement and pride,” Collier said. “This project has been a journey fueled by creativity and collaboration, and I have no doubt that our collective passion and attention to detail will shine through, leaving a lasting impression on our guests.”

The 3,000-square-foot space with a 400-square-foot climatecontrolled patio was created with a fashionable and discerning crowd in mind. Flair and finesse will mark the beverage program, and top-shelf spirits will creatively intersect with mixology magic. Expect a menu of premium whiskeys, both classic and innovative cocktails, fine wines and choice bubbles. On the food front, sharable plates of gourmet dips, spreads and nibbles will span from savory to sweet.

According to Baker, “We have a passion for entertaining, spirits, and bringing people together. At Plume, our goal is to create memories through an immersive hospitality and cocktail experience.”

Page 2 • Saturday, April 27, 2024 • The Leader
PEOPLE. NEVER MISS A STORY THELEADERNEWS.COM PUBLISHER & OWNER BRIAN CALLE SALES/MARKETING INEZ RIVERA Sales Manager DESIGN LAURA WHITE Production Manager/Senior Designer EDITORIAL STEFANIE THOMAS Managing Editor WEBSITE: FACEBOOK: EMAILS: MAIL: 2400 CENTRAL PKWY  STE I HOUSTON, TX 77092-7712 PHONE: 713.371.3600 TX STREET MEDIA A division of THE HEIGHTS LEADER WELCOMES OPINION ARTICLES ON MATTERS OF INTEREST TO LOCAL RESIDENTS. PUBLICATION IS AT THE DISCRETION OF THE EDITOR. DONATIONS Don’t Be A Victim! Licensed FFL/Class III Dealer Black Gold Guns & ammo Concealed Handgun Classes New LoCatioN Buy SeLL trade we Buy aLL GuNS 2001 Karbach Suite F 713-694-4867 Houston, TX 77092 Gift Certificates DEBBIE EllIott 713-906-5481 Realty Associates Experience and Knowledge... A Powerful Combination
Submitted photos A room at Texas Medical Center was transformed into an archery range to host Camp For All 2U. Leanna DeCaro has volunteered with the program for more than two years.
Submitted image
Exterior rendering of Plume, set to arrive in the Heights in summer 2024. Leanna DeCaro, far left, was inspired to volunteer at Camp For All after witnessing the challenges her terminally ill sister fought to overcome. Sarah knows there's no telling what a day of volunteering at Camp For All 2U might bring, including furry visitors.

Did you just finish pay ing your federal income tax?

How much did you pay? Mark Cuban paid $275,900,000 in federal taxes this year. Are you rich or poor? In Texas and particularly in Houston we have lots of both. So let’s see how you stack up against your neighbors. In 2022, the per capita income for Texans was $37,514. The median house hold income was $73,035. We are slightly poorer than the rest of the nation which had a median household income of $74,580, a decrease from the previous year. (Notice these figures, the latest available, are from 2022. The IRS is understaffed and woefully behind in their work.)


A wealth of wealth

First let us look at the rich among us, and I hope you can join them next year. In 2021, about 12.6 million tax returns were filed in Texas. Of those, 72,880 reported an adjusted gross income of at least $1 million, according to the Houston Business Journal. That’s a huge jump from the year before. In 2020, a mere 49,420 Texans made it into the million-plus club. Those new earners – remember this is earned dollars in one year, not just net worth -- therefore

here fleeing such high-tax states as California. Welcome, Elon Musk. But don’t cry for me, California. According to an article in the Houston Chronicle, California ranked first in the nation in milliondollar earners in 2021, with about 156,000 people reporting that level of income compared with 110,000 in 2020. But these millionaires are relatively poor compared to – ready? – the billionaires. According to Forbes magazine, there are now at least 14 billionaires in Houston, up from 12 in 2023, and the collective wealth of the 12 who were on the list last year has increased from $71.1 billion

in 2023 to $81.5 billion as of this month.

Who are these billionaires?

You may not have heard of Houston’s richest person. He’s Jeffery Hildebrand, oil man, net worth $14.67 billion. A few years ago, his company, Hilcorp Energy, was named one of the 50 best places to work. Why? In 2015, Hildebrand gave every single one of his 1,399 employees a bonus of $100,000. The bonuses were tied to company goals, which we must suppose, were met. But we’ve all heard of Tilman Fertitta, owner of the Houston Rockets and the Landry’s restaurant, hotel and gambling empire, with net wealth of $7.7 billion. His wealth rose 22 percent from last year. Other Houstonians in the billionaires club are Danine Avara, Scott Duncan, Milane Frantz and Randa Duncan Williams who inherited their wealth from their father, Dan Duncan, the founder of pipeline giant Enterprise Products Partners. Their wealth was up by $700 million or 11 percent in 2021.

If you drive a Lexus or a Toyota, you probably bought it from Dan Friedkin, owner of Gulf States Toyota, who has a net worth of $5.2 billion,


Cost: Free Info:


Live music – the best of the 80s and 90s Cost: Free Info:


Who: All Ages – dog and kid friendly When: Saturday, April 27, 2-6 p.m. Where: 1433 N. Shepherd Dr. What: Adoptions, merchandise, raffles, full menu and bar

Who: All ages When: Saturday, April 27, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Where: 1229 Heights Blvd. What: Locally owned businesses showcasing quality products Cost: Free Info:


Who: Adults When: Saturday, April 27, 9 p.m.

Where: 2020 Studewood What: Live performance Cost: $5 cover Info:

up by18 percent from $4.4 billion in 2021. Just think if the Houston Texans had won. Janice McNair, the widow of Bob McNair and majority owner of the Houston Texans, has a net worth of $5 billion, up 19 percent from $4.2 billion in 2021. John Arnold, a former Enron executive, left to form his own energy company, and now has a net worth of $3.3 billion, unchanged from 2021. Arnold is one of 10 members of the Forbes 400 to have joined the Giving Pledge group and have given away more than 20 percent of their fortune to charity, joining Bill Gates, Melinda French Gates, MacKenzie Scott (ex-wife of Jeff Bezos), Warren Buffett, George Soros and others. Richard Kinder, net worth: $11 billion, another Enron alumni, now owns the largest natural gas pipeline network in the United States. The Kinders have given away about $700 million. Others include Jim Crane, Houston Astros owner and logistics ($1.4 billion). There are probably more billionaires in Houston who prefer not to let anyone know: drug lords, Mafia kingpins and those who keep their fortunes hidden in

Swiss banks away from the IRS. If I left you off the list I’m sorry. As we can see, many if not most, of our billionaires made their fortune in the energy biz, but the richest folks in Texas are Elon Musk (net worth $189.22 billion) and Alice Walton of Fort Worth (net worth $51.4 billion). She is the only daughter of Sam Walton, Walmart’s founder. Neither of them are heavy into energy.

All of the above brings us this past January, which was Poverty in America Awareness Month. I celebrated by buying a luxurious lunch for a poor person: me, although I didn’t care for the snooty waiter’s condescending tone: “Please pull up to the next window for your order.” Alas, Texas has more than our share of the poor. Despite a reduction in the state’s poverty rate from 17.9 percent to 14 percent over the past decade, Texas still exceeds the national average, ranking 11th among all states and the District of Columbia in 2022. Breaking that down, between 2012 and 2022, children showed the most improvement, though one in five children are still living in poverty, but our kids

are still at a higher risk than any other age group. At the same time, our elderly are doing worse, with a slight increase in the poverty rate among people over 65. Where do most of our poor children live? Check our schools, which keep up with a family’s income for school lunches and such. Central city school districts have a higher poverty rate than their suburban counterparts. Rural, West, and South Texas school districts have over a quarter living in poverty. Rural, West, and South Texas school districts have over a quarter living in poverty. What we have here is income disparity, and the solution is simple: Get our poor into the energy biz.

Ashby is not a billionaire at



Who: Adults When: Saturday, April 27, 3-6 p.m. Where: 1227 W. 34th

What: Live music and more than 20 rosé wines from around the world

Cost: $25/5 wines or $45/10 wines Info: AN EVENING WITH LEO KOTTKE AT THE HEIGHTS THEATER

Who: Adults When: Sunday, April 28, 7 p.m. Where: 339 W. 19th What: Grammy nominated acoustic guitar performance Cost: $24-$512 Info: events/leo-kottke

STAAR Testing: Some parents opt out


More than 50 schools across 14 districts in the Houston area are witnessing a surge in parental activism as families choose to opt their children out of STAAR testing this year. Amidst the statewide assessments for reading, math, science, and social studies taking place between this month, Houston parents are making a statement against what they consider the punitive use of these tests, which they argue unfairly target teachers, students, and schools.

Karina Quesada, a parent at Harvard Elementary and Heights High School, expressed concern over the repercussions of STAARtesting at Houston ISD and across the state.

"My issue with these assessments is that they are used against whole communities. In Houston, we lost our elected board based entirely on kids’ test scores. That’s a whole lot of power, pressure, and responsibility to place on our children," she stated.

Houston teacher Sarah Rivlin emphasized that the opposition is not against testing itself but rather the adverse effects of high-stakes testing.

"We believe in low-stakes, diagnostic exams as a necessary component of a well-rounded, meaningful curriculum," she explained.

Jessica Campos, a first-year opt-out parent, highlighted the importance of prioritizing the joy of learning over standardized testing.

"I am opting out of STAAR to make a statement that our children should experience the joy of learning,” she said. “Our kids are more than just a test score.”

Concerns about the impact of STAAR testing on student engagement and instruction were also raised. Dr. Anita Wadhwa, a Houston-area teacher and optout parent, noted the decline in

students' enjoyment of school coinciding with the introduction of STAAR assessments.

"A lot of them said it was around 3rd grade when they started taking STAAR," Dr. Wadhwa remarked. The movement to opt out of standardized testing is not new and has gained traction nationwide. In Houston, Claudia de Leon became the first parent to publicly opt her son out of the STAAR test in 2014. By 2016, over 500 Houston-area parents had followed suit. As a result, HISD eliminated the use of STAAR as a promotion requirement in certain grades.

Ruth Kravetz, co-founder of Community Voices for Public Education (CPVE), emphasized the adverse impact of standardized testing on students and teachers.

"If there is any year that illustrates how standardized testing is used against students and teachers, it is this year with the takeover of HISD," Kravetz stated.

Texas remains one of the few states to require standardized testing like STAAR for graduation and to assign A-F letter grades to schools. However, critics argue that these ratings provide little meaningful information about school performance.

While STAAR testing has faced criticism, proponents argue that it serves as a measure of a student's mastery of specific knowledge at their grade level. STAAR's stated purpose is to hold students to a higher level of accountability and set standards for what is expected from teachers, schools, and districts.

As the STAAR testing window continues, CPVE encourages parents to learn more about their rights and options regarding standardized testing by visiting and filling out the form to receive updates.

note: This column and its contents do not necessarily reflect the views of The Leader News, its staff, or its publisher. The Leader News welcomes opinion articles on matters of interest to Greater Heights residents at editor@ Publication is at the discretion of the editor.
town for April 27-28
Compiled by Lisa Morales The Leader News Contributor BINGO LOCO AT WHITE OAK MUSIC HALL Who: Adults 21+ When: Saturday, April 27, 6:30 p.m. Where: 2915 N. Main St. What: Traditional bingo with dance-offs, lip sync battles, confetti showers and prizes Cost:$136 Info: shows/tm-event/bingo-loco HOUSTON PLANT SWAP AT EUREKA
Cost: Free Info:
event/plantitas-y-chelas TIMELESS HTX PERFORMS LIVE AT KING’S BIERHAUS Who: Adults When: Saturday
p.m. Where:
HEIGHTS Who: All ages When: Saturday, April 27, noon-3 p.m. Where: 941 W 18th St. What: Plant herb seeds, raffles, vendor market, plant swap
April 27, 6
2044 E T C Jester
28, 9
p.m. Where: 714 Yale St. What: Local produce and meat vendors, flowers, chefs cooking on-site Costs: Free Info: events LOCAL AUTHOR BOOK FAIR AT HOUSTON TOY MUSEUM Who: All ages When: Sunday, April 28, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Where: 321 W. 19th St. What: Meet and greet local children’s book authors Cost: $5 Info: SUDOKU WORD SCRAMBLE the leader Puzzlers. aCrOss 1. A sleeveless garment 5. Cold vegetable dish 10. Believed to bring good luck 12. Shittah tree 14. Hotel heiress 16. Of I 18. Diego, Francisco, Anselmo 19. __ King Cole, musician 20. Passover ceremony 22. ___ fi: space genre 23. Yearned 25. Desperate 26. Corded fabric 27. London radio station 28. Digital audiotape 30. Licenses TV stations 31. Employs 33. Food bar 35. Bigeye shad genus 37. Hog fats 38. Spoke 40. Moss capsule stalk 41. Openwork fabric 42. Chit 44. Holds for use 45. Ed Murrow’s home 48. Egyptian god of life 50. Shaped into a sphere 52. Golfing stand 53. Red Sea straits 55. Swiss river 56. Hostelry 57. Indicates position 58. Inoculation 63. Slip by 65. Apple smartphone 66. Sheep cries 67. Affirmatives dOwn 1. An inferior dog 2. 4th Caliph of Islam 3. Foot (Latin) 4. Relating to a people 5. Added sodium chloride 6. Perform something 7. Vientiane is the capital 8. Blemished 9. Roman 501 10. Keep up 11. Operator 13. Arbitrarily punished 15. 007’s creator 17. Gets up 18. Used to be United __ 21. Optical phenomenon of light waves 23. People supported broadcasting 24. Tap gently 27. With no brim or bill 29. Bulrushes 32. Educational test 34. Overweight 35. Musical composition 36. A religious recluse 39. Alt. of Tao 40. Heavyhearted 43. Brit. suspenders 44. Bodily structure protrusion 46. Sesame 47. 1/100 yen 49. About navy 51. Dali language 54. Celery cabbage 59. Winter time in Chicago 60. Annual percentage yield 61. Definite article 62. Operating system for 65 across 64. Pound (abbr.)
Page 4 • Saturday, April 27, 2024 • The Leader
Answers found in this week’s Classified section
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WE BUY GUNS! 2001 Karbach Suite F Houston, TX 77092 713-694-4867 Licensed FFL/Class III Dealer BLACK GOLD GUNS & AMMO CONSIGNMENTS WELCOME MISCELLANEUOS MISCELLANEOUS APPLIANCE & TV REPAIR Aikido - Judo Japanese Martial Arts 8th Degree Black Belt 713-826-5877 HEALTH & FITNESS CONCRETE WORK FENCING To Advertise Call Today 713-371-3600 From a new coat of paint to a total remodel. Turn to the Leader Classifieds. NEED A NEW COAT? TONY MUNOZ FENCE CO. 45 yrs. Exp. - FREE EST. • Chain Link • Wood • Wrought Iron / Hand Rails • Gate Operators 713-680-0059 H H VETERAN OWNED H H Residential & Commercial ELECTRICAL SERVICES ROOFING HAR BINGER electric Lights-Plugs-Breakers Cover all electric needs Licensed-Insured 713-721-5490 TEL. 17823 BRAVENEC ELECTRIC Since 1953 - TECL 19210 Res./Comm. Wiring 713-864-4168 cc accepted Houston Heights 281-728-7552 ROOFERS Roofing, Siding, Painting, etc. Keep it local and call the pros. Serving NW Houston Since 1973 FREE estimates 713-299-2711 ROOFING by SERNA BROS. 281-389-4654 Charlie BLUE MOON ANTIQUES AND ESTATE SALES Antiques and Collectibles Like us on bluemoonantiques-houstontx Providing Estate Sales Services 3311 Ella • 832-286-7882 GARAGE/ESTATE SALE Martinez Concrete Works Bonded and Insured • Free Estimates 713-408-0137 • Driveways • Patios • Sidewalks • Foundation Additions • Stamp Concrete LOCAL LAWN & GARDEN GUIDE Advertise Your Lawn Care Service With LANDSCAPING SERVICES • Lawn Maintenance • Fertilize • Mulch, Tree Trimming • Flowerbed Cleanup • Grass Installation Verdeco 713-703-6406 • Weather Damage Replacement • Lawn & Bed Maintenance • Landscape Lighting • Organic Soil Amendments • Landscape Installation • Tree Trim & Removal 713-682-5296 Call today - beautiful home tomorrow! Free Estimates Insured & Bonded Residential & Commercial Trimming • Removal Pruning • Topping Stump Grinding RAMIREZ TREE SERVICE EUGENE HAULS TRASH: Cleans Garages, Trims Trees. 832-890-5453 FENCES & DECKS Repair & Installation All Type Fences • Chain link • Wood • Ornamental Iron Small jobs welcome Call 7 Days Jose Cell (281) 221-0637 ` TACL A020360E 713-869-8876 “Honesty is our best discount” A/C And HeAting SAleS, ServiCe & MAintenAnCe ALL HOME REPAIR • Flooring/Carpet • Ceramic Tile Repair • Sheetrock • Painting • Plumbing • Sheet Vinyl & Tile • Roofing Repair • Shower/Bath Redo • Tile • Fence Repair • Termite/Water Repair 40 Yrs. Exp. & Leader Advertiser Call Sam 713-582-5500 713-686-2285 713-862-7320 Free Estimates on Fencing IT’S NOT JUST A FENCE IT’S AN INVESTMENT RIO GRANDE FENCE CO. Compare us. 30+ Yrs. Exp. 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For more information: email GARAGE SALE Clothing, Furniture, Household items Oak Forest- 4502 Lido Ln Houston, Texas 77092 Friday May 3- Saturday May 4 • 9AM-3PM MDP Pools We do everything in pool remodeling • Tile • Plaster • Couping • Maintenance • Repairs and more! 281-799-5281 Garage Sale Sat., May 4th, 8am - 2pm 4906 Blanton Blvd. You won't want to miss this one! 5 families!!! Lot's of items for everyone! Sat., May 4th, 8am - 2pm 4906 Blanton Blvd. You won't want to miss this one! 5 families!!! Lots of items for everyone! GARAGE SALE BEST VALUE CONSTRUCTION HOME REPAIRS Handyman Services, Carpentry, Painting-Int/Ext, Cabinets, Doors, Trim, Insured Eddie Lunsford 281-352-7304 Page 6 • Saturday, April 27, 2024 • The Leader Copies of The Leader are at our office: 2400 Central Pkwy., Suite I also at: MytiBurger 2211 W. 43rd St. C&D Hardware 314 E. 11th St. Merle Norman Cosmetics 4216-B Ella Blvd. Fetch your Leader LEADER PUZZLER SOLUTIONS WORD SCRAMBLE Answers: A. novel B. chapter C. club D. author PAges CRyptO fun

benefits, including a dedicated dispatch number for emergencies, rapid response to security concerns, and free vacation watches with no annual limit. Additionally, subscribers can connect their home or business alarm systems directly to the constable dispatch, enhancing security measures.

The HHA lists the following benefits and highlights on its website:

• Dedicated Precinct 1

Constable’s Office dispatch number for not only emergencies but non-emergent safety or security questions

-- call anytime you feel unsafe, and they will respond 24/7 rapid response to security concerns

Free vacation watches (no annual limit)

• Visibly marked patrol cars in neighborhood

• Traffic enforcement

Visible security yard sign as

a deterrence

• Home/business alarm connection directly to constable dispatch 24/7

• Crime alerts sent directly to subscribers

• Free home/business secu-

rity inspection with expert recommendations Use it or lose it

With a team of four dedicated deputies patrolling the area, the program offers round-the-clock coverage, deterring crime and responding swiftly to security threats. However, although the deputies play a crucial role in maintaining neighborhood safety, Starr said the program might face cuts unless more households and businesses subscribe.

“We pay quarterly to maintain the four deputies we currently have,” she explained.

“If we don’t have the funds to pay for four deputies, then we’ll drop to three for the remainder of the year. It’s less coverage.”

As of mid-April, 2024, the program had just short of 770 subscribers. A minimum enrollment of 1,040 is needed, Starr said, to keep the four deputies currently on contract and avoid dropping to three deputies. In fact, Starr said she had high hopes of growing the program to more deputies, not cut down to fewer.

“People tend to think their neighborhood is 100 percent safe, and that there’s no reason


Data provided by HHA

for the constable program,” Starr said. “For where we live in the city, we’re somewhat safe, yes. But things are happening. This year we had a guy who was knifed and a murder suspect at the church down the street. We just live in our little bubble and think, well, I’m fine. But crime is increasing, and my ultimate goal is to get to six contract deputies. Then we’d have really great coverage.”

Security blanket

One of the primary objections to the program she

receives, Starr said, is the perception that the contract deputies aren’t visible enough to make a difference.

“You may not see them all the time, but they are there. I get the activity reports, and they respond to hundreds of calls in our area every month,” she said. “In March alone they took more than 800 reports and calls.”

Reflecting on the Constable Patrol’s impact, Starr shared a personal anecdote of the program’s effectiveness in a critical situation. “I’ve had some individuals follow me. I told them to stop when they were trying to wreck some stuff at Marmion park and then they started to follow me,” Starr recalled. “The constable’s deputies were there in three minutes. It was quick.”

She added that response times for Houston Police take significantly longer. “They have bigger things to worry about.”

Lamar Mathews, a Heights resident and longtime Constable Patrol subscriber, said she has had several reasons to make use of the past. As an Airbnb host, she and her husband actually maintain several subscriptions, she said, and have called on the services of contract deputies on several. The response times are quick, and the service is friendly, she said. Other times, Mathews needed assistance at her own home.

“We had a shooting on our

street a while back, right outside our house,” Mathews recalled. “The dedicated constable’s number was the first number we called, along with 911. The deputies got there quickly, but 45 minutes later there was still no sign of HPD.” As crime rates continue to fluctuate, Starr said programs like the Heights Constable Patrol play a vital role in maintaining community safety. Garden Oaks and Oak Forest also have contract deputy programs to add an additional layer of protection from criminal activity. Through proactive measures and community engagement, these local community organizations hope to foster a secure environment for all residents and businesses in the area.

A big supporter of the Patrol Program thanks to her own experiences, Mathews encourages her neighbors to enroll before a situation occurs in which they wish they had subscribed. “Don’t wait until it’s too late,” she said. “It’s better to have that phone number and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”

For more information about the Heights Constable Patrol Program, residents and business owners can visit the Houston Heights Association website or contact

Urban South Brewery announces closure of Houston taproom


Urban South Brewery, a leading craft brewery known for its innovative and flavorful beers, announced the closure of its Houston area taproom as of April 19, 2024. Despite the closure of the taproom, Urban South reassures its loyal customers that its wide range of products will continue to be brewed out of the original New Orleans brewery and available for purchase through distribu-

tion channels across Houston and surrounding areas.

It was Loro Asian Smokehouse and Bar that claimed the coveted “Best Booth” award, leaving a lasting impression with their innovative Smoked Brisket Fried Rice. Located at 1001 W. 11th St., Loro is an Asian Smokehouse meets Texas barbeque concept by James Beard Award winners, Chef Tyson Cole of Uchi and Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue.

Behind the scenes, the event served a noble purpose as a fundraiser for All Saints Catholic Church, spearheaded

by Kerry Mooney. Reflecting on the success of the event, Mooney expressed gratitude for the overwhelming support received from the community. “We had a record year,” she exclaimed, “All ticket sales, bar sales, donations and additional sponsorships generated thousands of dollars for our local ministries serving the Heights Community. Our silent auction and raffle put us over the top and will allow our Third Age Learning Center to continue to host countless classes for seniors and provide educational and recreational activities to our youth and young adult out-

reach programs. Our other ministries will also benefit by providing fellowship, resources, and commodities to those in need.”

Looking to the future, organizers invite those interested in participating as food vendors or contributors to the silent auction and raffle to contact Kerry Mooney at 281-706-4000. With its winning combination of culinary delights and community support, The Great Taste of the Heights promises to remain a highlight on the local calendar for years to come, leaving taste buds delighted and hearts full.


WHAT: Houston Independent School District (HISD) will host the 12th annual When I Grow Up Expo on Saturday, April 27. The event, aimed at introducing young people and their families to in-demand careers throughout the Houston region, is free and open to students in elementary through high school. It will include exhibitions from more than a hundred companies. Exhibitors will showcase

Jacob Landry, CEO of Urban South Brewery, expressed gratitude for the support of the Houston community and highlighted the brewery's ongoing commitment to the city: "While we have made the decision to close our Houston taproom, we are immensely grateful for the support and enthusiasm of our customers here. Houston has been an integral part of Urban South's journey, and we are dedicated to continuing our presence in the city through various distribution channels. Houstonians will still be able to enjoy our flavorful brews in their homes and favorite establishments.”

The closure of the Urban South taproom in Houston marks a strategic shift for the brewery, allowing it to focus on its core mission of brewing exceptional beers while continuing to expand its distribution reach throughout the South.

HISD to hold 12th annual When I Grow Up Expo

opportunities in high-growth industries and provide information on the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in those fields. Attendees can explore a range of activities designed to spark students’ imaginations and motivate them to pursue rewarding careers in areas that interest them. There will be interactive demonstrations and displays, student performances, career-related school competitions, and more.

In addition, the expo will

feature a job fair for students ages 16 to 21 who are looking for part-time employment. Food trucks will be on site. More information on the expo is available at

WHO: HISD College and Career Readiness Department, HISD students and staff

WHEN: Saturday, Apr. 27, 10 a.m.

WHERE: Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 W. 18th Street

NEVER MISS A STORY THELEADERNEWS.COM SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER! The Leader • Saturday, April 27, 2024 • Page 7 4040 Watonga • 713-688-5227 Weekly Worship Services 9:00 a.m. Sunday School & Bible Classes 10:30 am Gethsemane Lutheran Church • Bible Study: 9:15 a.m. • Morning:10:30 a.m. • Evening: 4:15 p.m. 1700 West 43 rd at Rosslyn 713-682-4942 Weekly Sunday Services • Worship (English) 10:00 am - 11:00am • Learning Hour 11:00am - 12:00pm • Worship (Spanish) 12:30 pm - 1:30pm St. James Lutheran Church, ELCA 1602 West 43rd St. • Houston, Tx 77018 • 713-686-1577 MANNA Sponsor the phrase “forgive and forget” is because sometimes that is the only way to forgive, i.e., by forgetting. But far better, and We invite you to worship with us! DIRECTORY CHURCH Bible Studies For All Ages 9:30am Morning Worship 10:45am Bible Studies For Youth, Children 6:15pm 1822 W. 18th • 713-864-1470 Say a Prayer Today! Creston Inderrieden, Broker 713.301.4054 Native Houstonian Top 20 under 40 REALTOR® Community Advocate 281.704.2061 OFFERING: • Custom Millwork • Hardwood Plywood • Barnwood • Live Edge Slabs • Reclaimed Timbers • Decking and more Over 100 species of hardwoods, softwoods and exotic woods in stock. 70+ years of quality lumber and dependable service. No job too large or too small 700 E. 5 1/2 Street (Houston Heights) Phone: 713-862-6628 Fax: 713-862-5673 Hours: Mon. - Fri. 7:30-5:00 Sat. 9:00-1:00 Houston’s original “Hardwood Lumber Co.” 713-862-6628 Subscriber perks For an annual fee of $385, subscribers gain access to a range of
The total number of activities by four contract deputies in the Heights totaled 842 in March 2024. GREAT TASTE, from P. 1 Photo by Lisa Morales About 1,000 food enthusiasts gathered to sample the offerings of 15 local at The Great Taste of the Heights event April 20, 2024.

Art Valet: Pretty Dangerous: Blacksmithing Steel With Sex Appeal

Titles for art and art shows have always been intriguing and may very well be an art form of their own. This sounds like a good story or a coffee table book. Let’s not get sidetracked, this week’s intriguing title is a great example and the truth.… drumroll … Pretty Dangerous: Blacksmithing Steel With Sex Appeal.

Pretty Dangerous is presented by Archway Gallery featuring new works in metal by the intrepid Joe Haden, with an opening reception on Saturday, May 4, from 5 – 8 p.m. at the gallery. Haden will talk about his work at 6:30 and the exhibit will remain on view through May 30, 2024. Archway is located at 2305 Dunlavy, Houston, Texas 77006 and offers complimentary valet parking & light refreshments.

According to a press release from the gallery, Pretty Dangerous are two words that best describe Joe Haden’s latest body of work. To Haden, sculpting freely means to create without favoring just one sense. It is not about one specific thing alone, but the entire experience of taking an idea to fruition with fire as his most


Art Columnist

valuable tool. Each factor excites him as he creates with an intuitive process.

Haden’s latest metalwork starts with a single idea and a few pieces of steel, along with a great appreciation of fire. Through his love of the blacksmithing process, he is able to create striking metal art which often has the illusion of being soft; a wonderful contradiction in his work … softness made from one of the world’s hardest materials.

Haden’s current method of creating resonates with a famous quote from Pablo Picasso, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” After chasing artistic freedom for decades, Haden now creates intuitively as he did in childhood. His sculptures

evolve as he creates abstract work, while figurative sculptures of females include a mixture of organic twists and bends with a horticultural feeling. Through the teachings of his mentor Mik Miano, Haden’s love of metal began 15 years ago. The phrase, “making pretty” truly does illustrate Haden’s love for steel and it shows in his current work. While his artistic process is the

epitome of controlled danger, Haden’s studio is filled with music and incense as he rhythmically hammers on the anvil. For more information, visit or call 713-522-2409.

Cohen is an artist and founder of the First Saturday Arts Market and The Market at Sawyer

Heights High School hosts Engineers Alliance for the Arts Showcase


The Engineers Alliance for the Arts (EAA) Showcase Event took place in the Performance Hall at Heights High School on April 19, 2024.

18 groups of 10th grade engineering students competed for awards for the best model bridge design. The students designed bridges for either Rio-Antirrio, Greece, or Santa Cruz, CA.

Six architect and engineer professionals judged the students' oral presentations at the Showcase Event. The judges also judged drawings provided by the students.

This is the eighth consecutive year that the EAA program has been presented to Heights High School students by volunteer Houston engineering professionals.

Learn more about EAA at

Hogg Middle School to host 2024 Radiant G Conference by Girls Empowerment


On Saturday, May 4, Hogg Middle School will host the Radiant G Conference, a statewide event tailored toward girls in grades 3-8 and their supporters. The conference, running from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. (with doors opening at 8 a.m.), promises a day filled with communitybuilding activities, dynamic sessions, and empowermentfocused experiences. Radiant G Conferences aim to inspire thousands of girls by providing them with opportunities to take charge of their day and leave feeling empowered and confident. The event fea-

tures an engaging opening rally, an empowering dance party, and breakout sessions led by both the organization and subject matter experts from their network.

This year's conference theme, "Lighting the Way to Empowerment," reflects the advocacy of the speakers and the organization's dedication to addressing the critical issues facing girls today. The theme underscores the mission of bringing these challenges to the forefront and empowering girls to feel unstoppable in places of influence. Individual tickets for the conference are priced at $30 during the early bird period.

Additionally, group registrations are available for those interested in making it a field trip experience. For those unable to afford tickets, there is an opportunity to apply for sponsorship to have their registration fees covered by generous sponsors.

The Radiant G Conference promises to be a transformative experience for girls, providing them with the tools, inspiration, and support they need to navigate the challenges of growing up and thrive in today's world.

For more information, to purchase tickets or volunteer at the event, visit

Commercial survey: Houston Heights named top urban haven in Texas

A recent commercial survey conducted by EasyCoops. com, involving 3,000 participants, sought to identify the urban enclaves most coveted by those dreaming of a life that blends city convenience with rural tranquility. The findings revealed the 100 top urban havens that embody the essence of countryside living within the confines of a city. Here in Texas and the Houston area, the survey told us what locals already know: The Heights is the best place to be! As urban areas expand into bustling metropolises, a unique phenomenon is emerging: an increasing number of city dwellers find themselves longing for the tranquil life that only the countryside can offer, with its natural landscapes and relaxing atmosphere. Yet, within the steel and concrete jungles of America's large urban centers, there exist unexpected sanctuaries of rural charm. These urban havens provide city residents with

living they find most appealing. The results revealed that tranquil surroundings and natural landscapes topped the list, with 29% of respondents choosing this as the most desirable feature. Following closely behind, 14% of participants cited a slower pace of life and reduced stress as the primary draw of rural living. Additionally, 13% of those surveyed longed for the sense of community and tight-knit neighborhoods often lacking in the anonymity of large cities.

71% of respondents emphasized that having access to outdoor areas is of utmost importance to them, highlighting the vital need for green spaces and recreational opportunities within urban environments. In stark contrast, a mere 8% of those surveyed indicated that outdoor space was not a significant factor in their living preferences.

Access to fresh, locally sourced produce is a significant draw for many people, whether they reside in rural

areas or urban neighborhoods with thriving farmers' markets. The survey found that an overwhelming 87% of respondents expressing that having access to fresh, local produce is crucial to them. This high percentage may be indicative of a growing trend towards healthier eating habits and a heightened awareness of the benefits of consuming locally grown food.

“It's clear that city dwellers are seeking a balance, craving the tranquility, access to fresh produce, and connection to nature that rural settings offer, while still appreciating the conveniences and opportunities of urban life. This blend of urban and rural preferences underscores the evolving aspirations of today's city residents,” says Dave Malcolm, of EasyCoops. com. Learn more about the study and its implications, how it was conducted, or view the favorite urban havens in other states, at survey-the-top-urban-havens-

Page 8 • Saturday, April 27, 2024 • The Leader
Yards. Visit his website at Submitted photo Torn: New work by Joe Haden for Pretty Dangerous Blacksmithing Steel With Sex Appeal. Submitted photo Shelley Touched Us All: New work by Joe Haden for Pretty Dangerous Blacksmithing Steel With Sex Appeal.
a much-needed escape to nature's calm and the close-knit community life reminiscent of small towns. decided to explore the perceptions and aspirations of city residents regarding rural living, yielding intriguing insights into the urban-rural dynamic. Firstly, they surveyed city residents about the aspects of country
Graphic courtesy of
Network May 4
Photo courtesy of EAA Group 2F designed the Golden Beach Bridge: Kamila Sanchez, Fernando Otero, Daniel Rivas, Javier Perez, and Timothy Munoz.
Send your story of interest to:
Photo courtesy of EAA Group 6D submitted a design for its Lagoon Harbor Bridge. Participants included Suzanna Paez, Nathaniel Alcocer, Mya Gonzales, Daijuan Watson, and Joseph Chavez.

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