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Inside Today: An area charter school is in the works • Page 7A

New Treasures Will Be Arriving Soon

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Jackson Lee facing rare fight in primary By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee has never come close to losing a congressional race, let alone a Democratic primary. For the most part, those in her own political party have not even bothered to challenge her. This year, though, the fiery Houston congresswoman appears to be in for a fight. Jackson Lee, who has had to compete in primary elections

only twice since being elected as District 18’s representative in 1994, faces six opponents in a Democratic primary scheduled for March 3. The 11-day early voting period begins Feb. 18. “We’ve been to literally every corner of the district, and the No. 1 thing we’re hearing is people want change,” challenger Marc Flores said. “They’re ready for a new, younger vision and approach to the most imSee Challenge P. 8A

Jackson Lee

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La Rotta looks to flip seat in statehouse runoff vs. Eastman By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

Jason Knebel (713)232-9712

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PROPERTIES

INSIDE.

Tea time. This month’s Food & Drink section delves into the ins and outs of drinking tea.

Page 1B

Contributed photo Two young children play in the sand on a volleyball court at Wakefield Crowbar, located at 954 Wakefield Dr. The new owners of the popular Garden Oaks bar are making it more family friendly during daytime hours.

Crowbar taking new path under new owners By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com

Art activated. Moving into an urban studio has provided inspiration for a suburban artist.

Page 7A

Patio party. An expansive indoor-outdoor bar is planned for the Heights.

Page 2B

County accountability. Harris County wants citizens to report fraud or waste in government.

Omid Rafiei, who along with wife Andrea and partner Aly Valiani are the new owners of Wakefield Crowbar, said that he had known previous owner Randy Meador when the property was just Meador’s house with two volleyball courts on it. “We were involved well before it was the Crowbar,” Omid Rafiei said. He and Andrea Rafiei, who met in a kickball league in Austin, started the Houston Sports & Social Club in 2011. In 2012, they began hosting their volleyball leagues on Wakefield Drive in Garden Oaks. “The league had grown so much,” Omid said. “Randy asked if we thought he should open a bar and restaurant and we said yes.” After some flush years and a few rockier ones following Hurricane Harvey and all the road construction on Alba Road, which Meador detailed for The Leader in 2017, Omid said Meador asked the couple if they’d like to become investors in the restaurant to help enliven the venue. After thinking it over, Omid proposed what he thought might be a better option – buying Crowbar outright.

Contributed photo Wakefield Crowbar hosted a Brushes and Booze art exhibit in December.

The purchase was a separate venture from the social club with different investors. “We worked on the deal for about a year and closed the day of Game 6 of the World Series,” Omid said. “That day was a pretty fast sprint.” Now with two months under their belt, the new owners have started their own reimagining of the space. As near neighbors – the couple has lived in the area since 2012 – with

See Crowbar P. 8A

See District 148 P. 8A

City holding tree-planting event at T.C. Jester Park

Page 4B

By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

THE INDEX. Calendar/Church. ............................. 4A Classifieds.............................................. 5A Coupons. ................................................. 3B Food/Drink/Art................................... 7A Obituaries.............................................. 4A Opinion. ................................................... 3A Public Information......................... 4B Puzzles...................................................... 3A

two boys younger than 4 years old, they knew that the neighborhood needed another venue that was family friendly but would still appeal to other loyal clientele. To that aim, they are testing a new menu that includes both a kids menu and brunch. While Omid said the goal is to improve the quality and diversity of food options, An-

The runoff election for the District 28 seat in the Texas House of Representatives has commanded national attention, with two presidential candidates and a former one offering public support for the Democrat in the Houston-area race. The goal of Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg and Beto O’Rourke, who have backed Eliz Eastman Markowitz in her runoff against Republican Gary Gates, is to flip what has historically been a Republican stronghold and strengthen the blue wave that’s rippling across La Rotta the state. The other statehouse special election in the Houston area, which also is in the midst of a runoff, has been surrounded by far less hoopla. Both remaining candidates in District 148 said many of their prospective constituents don’t even realize a race is being run, and the district is considered to be solidly Democratic. But that isn’t stopping Lui La Rotta, a Republican and first-time political candidate, from trying to start a red wave in Northwest Houston. He is competing against Heights Democrat Anna Eastman, a former Houston ISD trustee who was the leading vote-getter among 15 candidates on Nov. 5. “I think Republicans have been on the defensive ever since the last election cycle (in 2018), when we lost so many seats and lost all our judges,” La Rotta said. “I think there’s been a lot of Republicans sitting back waiting to take the blow of another Democratic strike. But I think this is a weak spot, a definite weak spot in this district, because a 25-year history of no improvements, people notice that. I’ve noticed

Photo by Adam Zuvanich City of Houston employees plant a tree Tuesday near the trail and disc golf course at T.C. Jester Park.

The City of Houston is fortifying T.C. Jester Park with thousands of trees, and members of the community are invited to help plant them. As part of the city’s Arbor Day, a tree-planting event will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 at T.C. Jester Park, located at 4201 T.C. Jester Blvd. The event will begin near the park’s pool, where parking is available for volunteers, and then 2,500 trees will be planted in

pre-dug holes along White Oak Bayou. Kelli Ondracek, natural resources manager for the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, said city workers are planting about 500 larger trees leading up to the event. She said it’s all part of a citywide initiative to create forested buffer strips along Houston’s bayous, which improve air quality, assist wildlife and mitigate flooding, erosion and the effects of climate change. “Historically, before development and the channelization of

the bayous, the bayous were lined with trees,” Ondraceck said. “A lot of that has been cleared, so the city has this initiative to install these forested buffers back into our park areas.” Ondracek said the project is largely funded by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. She said most of the trees to be planted are being provided by Apache Corporation, a Houstonbased oil and gas exploration and production company. See Tree Planting P. 7A

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Page 2A • Saturday, January 18, 2020 • The Leader

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THE TOPICS. The Leader • Saturday, January 18, 2020 • Page 3A

Minding my pees and poos has never been so cool

T

en days into fatherhood, I considered myself an expert. I had properly installed a car seat multiple times by then and learned how to change a diaper, prepare a bottle and coax my kid to stop crying. My parental knowledge had become quite nuanced, too, because I knew that switching diaper brands would likely result in a rash. So when a nurse offered me a Pampers diaper after weighing buck-naked Pablo Zuvanich in the hallway of a doctor’s office last Friday, I was ready to skirt disaster. I told her my son was a Huggies man, and we had brought some of those in our backpack, so I would carry him back to the examination room and change him there. As it turned out, though, I didn’t know nearly as much as I thought I did. Because next thing I knew, there was a brownish, liquid-like substance on my shirt, on my jeans and on my boots. Pablo pooped on me. And before the day was done, he peed on me and puked on me, too. When I relayed the big news to my dad, Pablo’s granddad, he offered the following response: “Of course he did! You are now in a special club. Welcome.” So I suppose Jan. 10, 2020 is the day I really became a father, even though my little boy Pab had already been around for a little while. He was born on New Year’s Eve – the

Adam Zuvanich Editor

same day as his grandma in heaven – which gave his entire family a reason to celebrate. The days since seem to have flown by, perhaps because being a dad has been so exciting or maybe because I’m not sleeping quite as much as I did before. My beautiful fiancé Christine, who already has earned the distinction of World’s Greatest Mom, can relate on both counts. She loves him just as much as I do and has gotten even less rest. But neither one of us would trade this new experience for any amount of sleep. Creating a new life has been the joy of our lives, even if he keeps us up half the night. We’re grateful for our family, and especially Christine’s sister, Catherine, for helping us tend to our precious baby boy. Aunt Cat has been staying with us and allowing mommy and daddy to take some much-needed naps. When Pablo and I are both awake, I can’t help but smile when I look at him. He looks like me but only much

more handsome, which must be because of his momma. I love the array of facial expressions he makes, the way he moves his little hands and feet and also how he shifts his eyes around while checking out his parents and the new, exciting world around him. I even adore it when the kid cries, because the way he purses his lips and annunciates his “wahs” might be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen or heard. But we prefer to keep him happy, of course, and he’s started to display a sly grin that makes me think of his namesake. We call him Pablo after my late Uncle Paul, my dad’s twin brother, who was mischievous, fun-loving and spurred those around him to have a good time as well. I’ve already envisioned telling Pablo jokes, teaching him how to play sports and introducing him to all the food I like. Will he laugh? Will he be interested? Will he eat it up or spit it out? I also wonder whether he’ll like his name, which is a blend of cultures just like his parents. Being an American kid with a Croatian last name and Spanish first name could lead to some ridicule among his peers, but I plan to teach Pablo to be comfortable in his own skin, proud of his heritage and respectful of others’ backgrounds and differences. Half of his family is Hispanic, and he was born in a state where roughly half the population is Hispanic. And there are lots of Texans with Anglo

Lynn Ashby Columnist

between Great Britain and the Republick of Texas.” It sports blue ribbons and two wax seals. In Paris at Number 1 Place Vendome is where Dr. Smith also served – Texas could only afford one ambassador at a time. He was listed as “M. Aschbel-Smith” in the Paris city records. The Hotel Vendome has four flags out front: French, U.S., Spanish and – yep – the Lone Star Flag of Texas. There is also a plaque maybe 20 feet above the sidewalk, saying this was the site of our embassy. Dr. Smith reported, “In France, I find the best disposition to think favorably of Texas. . .” but he went on to say that Texas newspapers “so bewray our country, defame our Govt. and calumniate our administration that persons in Europe cannot put confidence in our institutions or credit our ability for self-government.” As we can see, even in 1842, Texas politicians knew how to get out of a bind: blame it on the press. Closer to home is 111 Decatur Street in New Orleans. That was once the Texas embassy. A brief aside: On Saturday afternoon, Feb. 25, 1843, Commodore Edwin Ward Moore, commander of the Texas Navy, went there to there to see William Bryan, a local merchant who represented Texas’ interests. As the two men were leaving, a messenger came to that building and handed Moore a sealed letter from President Sam Houston. The letter ordered Moore back to Galveston. The Texas Navy was being sold. The Lone Star Republic couldn’t afford a navy. I visited the place a few years ago. It was a fourstory brick building painted blue, with an overhang and a sign: “Mr. Jack’s barber and beauty salon.” Inside, were bare-brick walls, and a barber shop. A resident, Mr. Jack I assumed, told me that he had heard about the Texas connection and a woman over on Chartres Street gave him some papers about it, then his overt enthusiasm faded. Meanwhile, in return, other nations sent diplomats to Texas. In Austin there still stands the French Legation. When Houston was the Republic’s capital, the U.S. had a legation on a small plot of land near the Rice Hotel, apparently right across Texas Avenue. We need a brass plaque there. So, as we can see, there are a few other places that still mark where diplomats worked, but Washington presents a problem. According to the American-Statesman, there was not a single building or home that

first names and Hispanic surnames, so what’s wrong with flipping that around? If it ends up causing any problems, I’ll just introduce Pablo to “A Boy Named Sue,” the iconic Johnny Cash song about a man with a woman’s name. As the tune goes, Sue’s father gave him that name because he knew it would make him tough and able to fend for himself in

a rough-and-tumble world. Pablo might need the same sort of strength as he navigates his way through life. But unlike Sue’s father, who bolted when he was a baby, I plan to stay by his side and support him. And I don’t care how many times he poops, pees or pukes on me.

THE READER.

Texpatriates welcomed While visiting Washington, D.C., you get chased by the cops or a victorious Nationals fan or a gang demonstrating against too many demonstrations, where to go? To the Ecuadorian Embassy? No, Julian Assange tried that until he was thrown out. Go to the Texas Embassy, of course, where you can stay until the statutes of limitations runs out. Actually, there is no Texas Embassy in Washington – anymore. But maybe it will return. U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Democrat of Austin, is leading a movement to recognize that the Republic of Texas had a diplomatic minister and legation in Washington. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Doggett’s bill, called the Republic of Texas Legation Memorial Act, has bipartisan support and would authorize the Daughters of the Republic of Texas to create and raise funds for a memorial. Next would come a review by a federal commission which has to approve memorials in Washington. There is one slight, selfinflicted problem: Where to put the “memorial,” and what would it say or look like or should it be taller than the Washington Monument? A brief background: The Republic of Texas lasted almost 10 years, mostly broke and facing numerous enemies. One solution was to join the United States, except that Texas had slavery and Northerners didn’t like slavery – except for those who made a fortune on the slave trade. As a republic, Texas had a secretary of state and diplomats. In London, the Republic of Texas embassy was at Pickering Place. To find it, go to St. James’s Palace. Running up a hill in front of the palace is, obviously, St. James’s Street. At 3 St. James’s is the liquor store of Berry Bros. & Rudd, Ltd., which has been there since 1699, so Our Man in London must have known of the place. (So did Charles de Gaulle, a frequent customer during his exile in London during World War II.) Go past the liquor store and you’ll see a walkthrough leading to a patio. On the right-hand wall of the walkthrough is a plaque noting that this building is where Texas had its embassy, or legation as it was called back then. It’s still there. On May 10, 1842, our ambassador at the time, Dr. Ashbel Smith and his cousin and personal secretary, Daniel Seymour, checked into their London living quarters at 103 Jermyn Street. For four guineas a week they rented a parlor and two bedrooms. Today an apartment house stands on the spot. Dr. Smith had problems with the Brits. He wrote back to his government, “The conduct of England toward Texas is very ungracious. To be remembered.” In the British government archives under “Texas,” there is a “Treaty of Commerce and Navigation

Editor Adam Zuvanich and his fiance Christine are the proud parents of Pablo Zuvanich, who was born Dec. 31, 2019.

Email us your letters: news@theleadernews.com

King: Houston’s 2019 audit offers mixed bag

served the Texas diplomats. (Stephen F. Austin was one of them.) Instead, a series of boardinghouses were used by the Texas diplomats, some of which have been identified. A “memorial” there is a good idea, but I have a better one: At one of these locations, in a correct part of town, we create a bar and restaurant in Hill Country architecture called The Texas Embassy, with genuine Tex-Mex and barbeque (not the ersatz kind we usually have to endure while out of state), with Lone Star and Shiner beer, Willie Nelson for background music and nonstop Texas football games on the TVs. A place where both Texpatriates and Lone Star visitors can gather for a whiff of home. Until then, let’s start by converting that New Orleans barber shop. Ashby is diplomatic at ashby2@comcast.net

Dear Editor: “The idiotic $200 million investment in bus lanes.” Bringing Uptown into the commuter transit network is far from idiotic. This will be the first real chance Uptown workers have to take a bus to work. As a shopper, I’ll never drive to or fight for parking at the Galleria again. The blind hate for this bus lane is dumbfounding. I would love to have King and Buzbee come back in 10 years, when the BRT is fully connected to the transit centers on both ends, and get their thoughts then. Tyler

Adding a feathered friend to your flock?

Dear Editor: Pretty good advice to this potential bird buyer. After thoughts are that you are very tied down with a bird. You will need to have a reliable caretaker (feeding, cleaning cage, etc.) in order to leave for more than a day. You also need to know quite a bit about the specific dietary needs of the species you intend to buy. To add to the fact that Greys and most Amazons are the best talkers, be advised that if either takes a dislike to you and isn’t happy with your relationship, they may not talk at all and instead scream a lot. If you do buy from a breeder, be sure that he/she is a reputable one who will sell only weaned babies, instruct you about the need for a bird to have some flight, and be there for you 24/7 if you have questions. You will also need to establish a client relationship with an avian spe-

cialist should you ever need one in an emergency. This is also where a good breeder comes in handy. Adopting is an option for a first time buyer only if you are adopting a docile bird with no special needs. Older birds will let you know right away if they take to you. More detailed info is on my website at https://www.plannedparrothood.com/. I’ve bred and lived with birds for more than 40 years. Patricia Barth

Man injured in auto-pedestrian crash

Dear Editor: The traffic in the Heights is just getting out of control. All this people trying to cut off from 610 to I-10 and all over is awful. On Dec 17 a woman struck my car on Yale and 18th when there was a traffic (jam) and people let me pass, she did not and she totaled my car. She was on the phone and blue hair piercing going 100 mph southbound on Yale at 4:30 p.m. Yenny M

Review: Tia Maria’s serves laid-back Mexican fare

Dear Editor: The Carne Guisada is very good and is available for the Tuesday lunch special! Our favorite! Jeanette Black Dear Editor: Solid margaritas and happy hour prices until 8 Monday-Thursday. That should have been in the article. Coupons are always in The Leader. David

the leader Puzzlers. Answers found in this week’s Classified section

SUDOKU

aCrOss 1. State confidently 7. Replaced 13. Day of remembrance 14. Molecular process 16. Indicates position 17. Paper-and-pencil game 19. Military policeman 20. Nests of pheasants 22. Corpuscle count (abbr.) 23. Seat 25. Functions 26. Sheets of glass 28. Minute arachnid 29. Separately managed account 30. A bachelor’s place 31. Dodge truck 33. __ Farrow, actress 34. Discussion 36. Delayed 38. Liaison 40. Sediment deposit 41. Leased 43. Without 44. Woman (French) 45. Folk-pop artist Williams 47. Congressman (abbr.) 48. Resembles a pouch 51. Superior 53. Stalin’s police chief 55. Razorbill is of this genus

56. Criminal act of setting fire 58. Department of Labor 59. William Jennings __, The Great Commoner 60. Nickel 61. Ordered by canon law 64. Where Denver is (abbr.) 65. Has 10 straight sides and angles 67. Small group with shared interests 69. A famous street for kids 70. Underlying intentions

dOwn 1. Mental condition 2. Senate Bill 3. Where constructions take place 4. Ancient Olympic Site 5. Not just ‘play’ 6. Set of four 7. ‘The beautiful game’ 8. American time 9. Big man on campus 10. Syndrome of the eye 11. Spanish be 12. Cotton cloths 13. Roman guardian of

gates 15. Displays of food 18. Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations 21. Female deacon 24. Adrift 26. Hit lightly 27. Test for high schoolers 30. Whittled 32. River in western India 35. Small crude dwelling 37. One-time AC/DC singer Scott 38. Holds up a shirtsleeve 39. Mental faculties 42. Blot 43. A very large body of water 46. Redecorated 47. Mineral 49. Tree that bears spikes 50. Type of boat 52. Calypso music 54. Director Howard 55. Longtime U.S. Senator Specter 57. Buddhist serpent deities 59. Attempt to fly in falconry 62. __ de plume 63. Wheel 66. Cerium 68. Rural delivery

WORD SCRAMBLE


Page 4A • Saturday, January 18, 2020 • The Leader

THINGS TO DO. The Arts Winter Meltdown Friday, Jan. 17 5 p.m. White Oak Music Hall – 2915 N. Main Winter Meltdown is performing at White Oak Music Hall. Josh Rouse Friday, Jan. 17 7 p.m. The Heights Theater – 339 W. 19th St. Josh Rouse is performing at The Heights Theater with Chuck Prophet. The Ocean Blue Friday, Jan. 17 8 p.m. White Oak Music Hall – 2915 N. Main The Ocean Blue is performing at White Oak Music Hall with Motorcade. Sean McConnell Sunday, Jan. 19 7 p.m. The Heights Theater – 339 W. 19th St. Sean McConnell is performing at The Heights Theater. Zealand The North Sunday, Jan. 19 7 p.m. White Oak Music Hall – 2915 N. Main Zealand The North is performing at White Oak Music Hall with Alone on the Moon, Color Chemistry and 3WD. Surf Chase Monday, Jan. 20 7 p.m. White Oak Music Hall – 2915 N. Main Surf Chase is performing at White Oak Music Hall with Birthday Club. Tow’rs Tuesday, Jan. 21 7 p.m. White Oak Music Hall – 2915 N. Main Tow’rs is performing at White Oak Music Hall with B.R. Lively. The Brooke & the Bluff Wednesday, Jan. 22 7 p.m. White Oak Music Hall – 2915 N. Main The Brooke & the Bluff is performing at White Oak Music Hall with Stephen Day. Mattiel Thursday, Jan. 23 1 p.m. White Oak Music Hall – 2915 N. Main Mattiel is performing at White Oak Music Hall with Shame On Me. Sleeping with Sirens Thursday, Jan. 23 6 p.m. White Oak Music Hall – 2915

N. Main Sleeping with Sirens is performing at White Oak Music Hall.

The Markets Eleanora’s Market Saturday, Jan. 18 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Cavatore – 2120 Ella Blvd. There will be local growers, makers, designers, artisans and food producers. The Farm Stand at Petrol Station Saturday, Jan. 18 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. 948 Wakefield Dr. The Farm Stand at Petrol Station features goods from local vendors. Heights Morning Market Sunday, Jan. 19 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 3106 White Oak Dr. Heights Morning Market gathers local talented artisans, farmers, and entrepreneurs to bring you closer to the goods you need. Stop by to shop and stay to brunch, drink mimosas, and listen to live music at Onion Creek. Heights Mercantile Market Saturday, Jan. 26 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. 714 Yale St. Shop fresh, locally source produce, meat, dairy, bread, herbs, flowers and more at this monthly market.

The Pews   Women’s Bible Study Group Monday, Jan. 20 4:30 p.m. YMCA Chapel –1234 W. 34th St. The women’s bible study group meets every Monday at the Harriet and Joe Foster YMCA’s Chapel. It’s a community nondenominational bible study. Guests and new members are always welcomed. Email Kvanderpol@ swbell.net for more information. Men’s Scripture Sharing Group Thursday, Jan. 23 6:30 – 7:30 a.m. YMCA –1234 W. 34th St. The Men’s Scripture Sharing Group meets every Thursday at the Harriet and Joe Foster YMCA. There will be music, Bible study and fellowship. Guests and new members are welcome to attend this non-denominational Bible study. Email scripturesharing@ earthlink.net for information. Active Shooter Education Tuesday, Jan. 28 6:30 – 8 p.m. Advent Lutheran Church – 5820 Pinemont Dr. This event will focus on active shooter education and common sense instruction. Hosted by Stephen Daniel of HPD.

Thursday Night Bingo Thursday, Jan. 23 5:15 p.m. SPJST Lodge 88 - 1435 Beall St. Bingo at SPJST Lodge 88 is held every Thursday night. Bingo pads are $10 each. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. Bingo begins at 7 p.m.

Registration Thursday, Jan. 30 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. TALC – 215 E. 10 St. All Saints Third Age Learning Center (TALC) senior program will hold its 2020 Spring Semester Registration on Jan. 30. The registration will take place in the church parish. The Spring Semester will begin on Monday, Feb. 10 and late registration will continue the first week, Feb. 10 - 14. The Spring Semester will conclude on Friday, May 8. For information on TALC programs and lunch reservations, call 713248-1277.

The Houston Genealogical Forum Presents: Completing Your Family History Saturday, Feb. 1 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Bayland Community Center 6400 Bissonnet Family stories are more than censuses and vital records. To develop a complete family narrative you need context and details! HGF is excited to welcome Cari Taplin to help you develop your narrative. Registration is $10 for HGF members and $30 for nonmembers. To register and order a box lunch for $12, go to www. hgftx.org. Lunch orders must be made by Jan. 27.

Fun & Games Noon Lecture Series Thursday, Jan. 16 noon-1 p.m. The Heritage Society Tea Room - 1100 Bagby St. The Noon Lecture Series presents Preserving a Landmark: Salvage Archeology at the Kellum-Noble House by Linda Gorski and Louis Aulbach, Houston Archeological Society. During foundation stabilization work at the 1847 Kellum-Noble House, preliminary excavation work inside the building uncovered broken pieces of plates and other household items. The cost is free for members, $5 for non-members. Guests may bring a lunch or purchase one for $12. Call 713-655-1912, ext. 103 or email dduty@heritagesociety.org for reservations.

College Guidance Saturday, Feb. 1 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Heights High School – 413 E. 13th St. College GPS is a free symposium to provide parent and students 7th – 12th grade with information in regards to the holistic college admissions process and beyond. Aces & Knaves, The Movie Saturday, Feb. 8 6:45 - 8 p.m. Marriott Houston Westchase = 2900 Briar Park Dr. Aces & Knaves, a new film about the most fascinating mind sport ever invented is being shown free of charge as part of the Lone Star Regional Bridge Tournament. The film features a quick-paced explanation of the game, interviews with the world’s superstars and a segment on bridge and brain science. The public is invited to this free showing of the movie. If desired, interested attendees will be able to receive more information about the game including signing up for lessons from top teachers. More information about Aces & Knaves can be found on the film’s website at https://www.acesandknavesthefilm.com.

Wine Tasting Thursday, Jan. 16 5:30 p.m. Revival Market – 550 Heights Blvd. At this event Coltivare’s Sommelier/General Manager, Leonora Varvoutis, will walk you through six wines that she’s chosen to pair with heavy bites from Revival Market. Tickets are $80 per person. Call 713–880-8463 for tickets. Peace Through Pie Saturday, Jan. 18 10 a.m. – noon St. Matthew’s UMC – 4300 N. Shepherd Beauty’s Garden, in partnership with St Matthews Church and Peace through PIE, will host its 4th Annual MLK Peace through PIE Day, with a theme of ‘Food, Health and Community.� Beauty’s Community Garden Director, Yvette Leno, hopes to increase the community garden’s awareness as a healthy and sustainable fresh produce source that’s available to Independence Heights and surrounding neighborhood residents. This event will feature free food, pies and our annual homemade community pie contest. Tchanori Kone winner of the 2018 Gardere MLK, Jr. Oratory Competition will be the special guest orator.

Murder At The Book Club Through Feb. 8 8:30 p.m., 3 p.m. Jan. 26 and Feb. 2 Theatre Suburbia – 4106 Way Out West   Theatre Suburbia presents Houstonian Sam Haven’s murder mystery, “Murder At The Book Club.� This is one club where members’ lives are not an open book! Tonight’s meeting of the Queen Anne Murder Mystery Book Club takes a dark twist when a threatening telephone call sets the group on edge. Reservations may be made online at www.theatresuburbia.org or by calling 713-682-3525.

TALC Spring Semester

THE OBITUARIES. Bobbie Jean Comer, 87, born June 11, 1932 in El Dorado, Ark., died Jan. 6. She worked for T.J. Bettis and Lomas and Nettelton Mortgage Company for many years and later retired from HISD Waltrip High School Main Office after 30 years. Comer served for many years at Baptist Temple and later moved to Lazybrook Baptist

Church. She was a volunteer for the Memorial Northwest Medical Center for 12 years. She is survived by her daughter Kim Comer, son Jeff Comer, brothers Major General Retired Christopher Steve Adams Jr. and Obie Lee Adams, three grandchildren, five greatgrandchildren, and a great-greatgrandchild.

Leslie Joe Silhan, 102, born June 6, 1917, died Jan 9. He is survived by his daughters Sharon Murray, Yvonne Silhan and Cynthia Streit, sons Michael, Ronald, Mark and Chris Silhan, 13 grandchildren, and 12 greatgrandchildren.

Jan. 22, 1929, died Jan. 10. A long-time resident of Oak Forest, Smith was a devoted member of St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church. She is survived by her children, Ralph Smith Jr., Tom Smith, and Terri Smith, and two granddaughters.

Lura Belle Smith, 90, born

CHURCH Sunday

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1822 W. 18th • 713-864-1470

Morning Worship ............... 10:45am • Worship (English) ..... 10:00 am - 11:00am Wednesday Bible Studies For Youth, Children Hour........... 11:00am - 12:00pm MANNA • Learningand Adults............................ 6:15pm Sponsor

• Worship (Spanish) .... 12:30 pm - 1:30pm

1602 West 43rd St. •>[Oŕ Ž Houston, Tx 77018 • 713-686-1577

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We invite you to •worship with us! 4040 Watonga 713-688-5227

We invite you to worship withamus! Sunday School & Bible Classes 10:30 Weekly Worship Services 9:00 a.m.

1700 West 43 rd at Rosslyn 713-682-4942

Preschool Program • Mon. - Fri. 9-2 p.m.

Sunday Morning Worship 8:30 and 11:00 Sunday School for Children, Youth and Adults 9:40

Ministries for All Ages Sunday Morning Worship 8:30 and 11:00 Home of Johnson Memorial School for Little Children Sunday School for Children, Youth and Adults 9:40 Rev. Nathan Lonsdale Pastor Ministries for AllBledsoe, Ages

2003 W. of43rd St. â—†Memorial 713-686-8241 s t sChildren umc.org Home Johnson School for â—† Little Rev. Nathan Lonsdale Bledsoe, Pastor

2003 W. 43rd St. X 713-686-8241 X s t s u m c . o r g

trustees would disenfranchise Houston voters. HISD is the largest school district in Texas. In her order granting the temporary injunction, Judge Catherine Mauzy wrote, “The Court finds that the balance of potential, irreparable harm to (HISD) that would be caused by a denial of the requested temporary injunction, outweighs the potential harm, if any, to (Morath, Delaney and the TEA) and that the public interest is served by granting this temporary injunction.� Unless the temporary injunction is nullified by the appellate court, Mauzy’s order blocks Morath from replacing the HISD board or imposing any sanctions or interventions on HISD until a final judgment is issued. Mauzy set a trial date for June 22 in Travis County. HISD’s trustees are Wanda Adams, Patricia Allen, Judith Cruz, Kathy BluefordDaniels, Sue Deigaard, Dani Hernandez, Holly Maria Lynn Vilaseca, Elizabeth Santos and Anne Sung. Cruz and Hernandez were elected Nov. 5, a day before Morath notified HISD of his intention to replace the school board, while Allen and BluefordDaniels won runoff elections in December. Blueford-Daniels and Santos represent geographic areas that include local HISD schools.

Houston homeowners have new option for property tax payments From Staff Reports Homeowners around Houston and the state of Texas have an avenue for deferring payment of delinquent property taxes under certain conditions. According to the Harris County Appraisal District, homeowners may postpone paying their current delinquent property taxes due on the appreciating value of their homes by way of a payment option called “residence homestead tax deferral� and filing a tax deferral affidavit. Once homeowners have filed the affidavit with the appraisal district, no taxing unit can start or continue a lawsuit for the deferred taxes as long as that person owns and lives in the home. HCAD said this option will allow homeowners to pay the property taxes on

105 percent of the preceding year’s appraised value of their homestead, plus the taxes on any new improvements to the homestead. The remaining taxes will subsequently be postponed with interest accruing at a rate of 8 percent per year. Most mortgage companies require tax payments to be current, so homeowners should check with their mortgage companies to make sure deferring taxes does not violate the terms of the deed of trust. For complete details about deferring taxes on the appreciating value of your home, contact HCAD’s information center at 713-957-7800 or visit its office at 13013 Northwest Free Information is also available on the Texas Comptroller’s Property Tax Assistance Division’s website at window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/ proptax/. way.

803 Curtin St. Houston, TX 77018 713-659-9697 • www.arisebaptistchurch.org

4040 Watonga • 713-688-5227 Pastor Jerry McNamara

Weekly Worship Services 9:00 a.m. www.gethsemanelutheran.org Sunday School & Bible Classes 10:30 a.m. Preschool Program • Mon. - Fri. 9-2 p.m. www.gethsemanelutheran.org

Houston ISD’s nine trustees can stay in their seats -- at least for now. A Travis County District Court judge granted HISD a temporary injunction last week, blocking Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath from replacing the HISD board of trustees with a state-appointed board of managers. Morath, the Texas Education Agency and state conservator Doris Delaney, who were sued by HISD in August, appealed the ruling one day later to the Third Court of Appeals. “While we are disappointed by the court’s issuing of an injunction, we do not expect this temporary setback to in any way impact our deep commitment to improving outcomes for the school children of Houston,� the TEA said in a statement. “... We are confident we will prevail at the appellate court level.� Morath notified HISD in November of his intention to replace the board, citing the results of a TEA investigation that found some trustees violated the Texas Open Meetings Act and contract procurement rules, acted individually on behalf of the board and exceeded the scope of their authority. Morath also cited a 2015 state law that requires him to close Wheatley High School -- which has failed to meet state academic standards for seven consecutive years -- or replace the district’s school board as an alternative. In its lawsuit seeking to prevent the state takeover, HISD argues that the 2015 law is not applicable and that replacing the publicly elected

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

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My preaching theme at Arise Baptist Church this year is Walk Worthy. This idea is found in e are entering a time of holidays and celebrations severalforplaces in theinNew Testament and I amis many people our country. Thanksgiving focusing on the book of Colossians. In this book, a holiday that we as Americans have enjoyed for generations. Many to people looking to while time spent Paul is writing the are church atforward Colosse he with family, time from work, a big Paul feast, is watching football, is locked in a off Roman prison. encouraging catching the biggest sales of the years, and probably many this church to walk worthy in their service of others things during this Thanksgiving weekend. There will be Jesus Christ and he is challenging the church some people who will struggle during the this time of holiday as they remember loved who they have lost, or also close about some areas ofones spiritual growth. Paul companions thattime are unable to be the spends some warning thetogether churchbecause about of false schedule or the logistics. Either way, Thanksgiving will be a teachers and people from within the church that time when people are either thinking happy thoughts or sad were causing spiritual problems. The idea of thoughts about something. walking means tomy live in a way that is equal When I wasworthy a boy, I remember mother saying, “Don’t forget to thankexpectations you.� She was of reminding memay to beseem thankful to an my tosay God’s us. This like grandmother for the wonderful Thanksgiving meal, or to my impossibility as God has very high expectations family member that gave me a special gift, or to my friend who for us. worthy is only through invited me Walking to their birthday party. Most possible people want to teach grace. In reality no one is worthy of God’s mercy, their children to be thankful. I think most people would agree that being thankfulGod is important, is bestow also truehis thatgifts it is on not love, or grace. choosesitto always to be thankful we are through. us because of Hisdepending love for on us.what Living ingoing a way that The Bible says in Ephesians 5:20 “Giving thanks always for all is pleasing whileinimpossible in our things unto Godto andGod the Father the name of our Lord own Jesus strength is something that can be done the Christ.� I would encourage you, no matter how you feelinduring this holiday that season to remember that you can be thankful to strength comes from God. God. He gaveisupa His only Son to die challenge a cruel deaththat on the cross There very important comes so that anyone who trusts him can be forgiven of their sins and from this. You and I should not live according to have eternal life. Don’t forget to say thank you! our own will. We need to live according to God’s If you would like to discuss this further or have questions, Pastor Cover can be reached Arise Baptist at Word.Will We should never takeat God’s Word Church and try 803 St., oritwww.arisebaptistchurch.org, 713-659-9697. to Curtin conform to our desires and ourorplans. We must instead allow God’s Word to change us into God’s image!

W


THE CLASSIFIEDS.

The Leader • Saturday, January 18, 2020 • Page 5A

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aty Cattoni is a native Houstonian and the youngest of four siblings. She graduated from St. Vincent de Paul, St. Agnes Academy and the University of Houston. Her Mother was from Germany and her Father from Paraguay. Katy enjoys neighborhood activities with her husband of 20 years, Bob. They frequent local restaurants and shops, mainly on 19th Street and in the Oak Forest area. She loves walking her dog, Sophie, and takes care of her neighbors’ dogs when they are out of town (sometimes five at a time). She loves bird watching, photography and cycling. She also is getting back into rollerblading after a few years break. What does working for THE LEADER mean to you? “With 25 years in the hospitality industry, THE LEADER has given me an appreciation of working with clients to find out exactly what they need and offer suggestions when necessary. Living within THE LEADER distribution area for over 15 years, I’ve been given an inside view of what the community is concerned with. THE LEADER is exactly where I want to be, to help bring relevant news and information to the community every single week.�

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Page 6A • Saturday, January 18, 2020 • The Leader

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The Leader • Saturday, January 18, 2020 • Page 7A

Art Valet: Suburban artist inspired by urban studio Mitch Cohen Art Columnist

Last week I had a little fun emulating a “chatterbox” style newsletter and mentioned Kingwood artist Holly Nowak, who I happened to interview four years ago in a March 31, 2016, column. Over lunch, Nowak and I got to catch up on her recent move to a larger corner space at Winter Street Studios. In the 2016 interview, Nowak revealed that she’s a fifth-generation Texan and native Houstonian. She’s a selftaught artist and decided to go full-time with her art about the same time we met in 2015 at First Saturday Arts Market. At that time, Nowak painted

out of her home studio, formerly the home garage. Nowak describes her painting style as representational of nature and animals, easily identifiable subject matter with a bit of whimsy. As I pointed out last week, Nowak just moved into a larger corner studio at Winter Street Studios in Sawyer Yards with fellow artists Stacy Gresell, Lisa Morales and Chrissy Doolen. If you haven’t been, the studios at Sawyer Yards comprise what is being called one of the largest creative communities in the country. With six buildings and more than 400 tenants, it’s impossible to visit so many spaces in one afternoon. Fortunately, every second Saturday the studios are open to the public. I asked Nowak, what’s the No. 1 reason you like having a Houston studio? “The variety of people that

Tree Planting, from P. 1A Ondracek also said the treeplanting event will have a “minimal impact” on the popular 21-hole disc golf course at the park. She said two of the holes will be reconfigured -the basket for No. 14 and tee box for No. 15 will be relocated -- but the course will otherwise remain intact and unchanged. “We are working with the disc golf (players),” Ondraceck said. “We are working around their course.” Ondraceck said the 18-hole disc golf course at nearby Watonga Park, which is north of West 43rd Street and not part of the tree-planting event, was recently removed but not by the city. She described it as a rogue course that was installed without the city’s approval or assistance. “It’s not us that took them,” Ondracek said of the baskets.” Maybe whatever group that put them there knows that we were likely to remove it, because it’s not supposed to be there. Maybe they came and got their baskets before we took them out. I’m not sure.” For more information about volunteering for the tree-planting event at T.C. Jester Park, send an email to oneika.shelby@houstontx.gov.

From left to right are studio mates Chrissy Doolen, Holly Nowak, Lisa Morales and Stacy Gresell.

come through my studio, the interaction with all the patrons and new collectors,” she said. “And getting out of suburbia. It meets my urban needs!” Have you noticed a change in your art since moving here?

“You know what’s funny is that I thought that being an artist, and a lot of artists look at it this way, that I should just make one thing and do that one thing really well,” Nowak said. “I just can’t seem to do that.

I’m all over the board but that makes me happy. “I delve into watercolors until I’ve exhausted watercolors. Then I’ll get into oils and exhaust oils. I really do almost exhaust myself until I’m sick of it. I can’t imagine just picking one (medium). I am trying to make everything at least more cohesive, but I think I’m always going to work in multiple mediums.” Watching artists’ styles evolve over time is a secret pastime of mine. Nowak may change mediums often, but her style across her mediums is still recognizable. I loved her work with a palette knife, a technique that she once found intimidating. “I’m getting back into palette knife work in my backgrounds and the very detailed in the foreground - those make me happy,” she said. “Even when I’m in a bad mood, they

make me happy.” Nowak has been teaching workshops for both children and adults out of her Kingwood studio and will begin bringing those classes to her new studio this month. Her studio mates all plan to offer workshops and together they will offer two- and three-day workshops where students work with one artist each day learning collage, encaustic and painting. Classes and more info are on the website hollynowakfineart. com. The studio is open to the public every second Saturday of the month. Find C6 inside Winter Street Studios at 2101 Winter St. or walk up to the outdoor patio doors from the parking lot on the east side of Winter. Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at ArtValet.com.

Character critical for proposed charter school By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com A proposed charter school in the area that would provide a classical education with an emphasis on developing wisdom and virtue is an appealing prospect for the parents who attended a recent informational session. The event was organized by the board members of Heritage Classical Academy who hope to open their school in the fall of 2021. “It’s what I learned when I was younger,” said parent Elizabeth Blizzard, who attended with her 8-month-old son. Board member Kathryn van der Pol – the Leader of the Year in 2019 – said she was born with teacher blood. Long before she bought Liberty Hoepfl Garage with husband, Sybren, van der Pol taught Latin and history at St. Thomas Episcopal and later spent 17 years as a Latin and history teacher at St. John’s School, where she thought the education students received was topnotch.

So when van der Pol was listening to a radio program about Hillsdale College’s Barney Charter School Initiative a few years back, she was more than intrigued. The idea of a school that would provide a rigorous, classical education in the liberal arts and sciences, along with instruction in the principles of moral character and civic virtue, was so inspiring to her that van der Pol traveled to visit some of the other charter schools around the country. Then she took a class that trained her to be a board member of such a school. Through networking, she met Stuart D. Saunders, chairman of the board of SouthTrust Bank, who also felt a strong pull toward education with a grandmother, mother and sister all in the profession. When his grandmother died, Saunders’ family gave a scholarship in her name to teachers for several years. But they also were looking for a way to have a bigger impact. “We believe in education,

(so we wondered) what else can we do,” Saunders said. For Saunders, who is the board chair of Heritage Classical Academy, the answer is a tuition-free, co-educational, public charter school that – if its charter application is approved by the Texas Education Agency – would open in the fall of 2021 with kindergarten and first graders. The school would then add a grade each year through eighth grade. The school would be part of the Barney Charter School Initiative, using the classical education method with a traditional approach and an emphasis on reading, writing and critical thinking. There are 20 schools in the initiative so far. At the Saturday session, Saunders talked about the poor accountability scores for many Houston ISD schools and said Heritage wanted to give area families another choice in education. Saunders said as a state charter, Heritage would be open to anyone who wanted to attend – space permitting – and would also be

subject to the same accountability measures as public schools. Critics of charter schools say they siphon money as well as gifted teachers and parent support from school districts – which may be forced to close their own schools in response. A map showed proposed communities for the Heritage Classical Academy in zip codes 77018, 77055, 77088, 77091 and 77092, although Saunders clarified that they hoped to draw from outside that area as well. The board is looking for a physical location for the school and may rent space before committing to a permanent spot. Chelsea Collins, who is the head of middle school at The Kincaid School, also is a Heritage board member. She told the gathering that she grew up in Houston’s Fifth Ward and that a school like Heritage would have been a great opportunity for her and students like her. “We have data, we have results,” Collins said, sharing test

scores that showed Barney Charter School students excelling in reading compared to their public school peers, with more modest gains in math scores. Collins said the goal for Heritage is to have all students reading by the start of their second semester in first grade. For math, the Singapore system of mathematics would be used. Saunders said Heritage will get public funding if it is chartered. But in advance of that, the board is doing a friendsand-family seed capital campaign to make sure they can be up and running once the charter approval comes through. Attendees responded with enthusiasm to the characterbuilding part of the school’s mission. “In our culture there needs to be more civil discourse,” van der Pol said. “(The curriculum) will help students become great critical thinkers (and) articulate what they believe in without name-calling and belittling others.”

HONOR ROLL Celebrating the beginnings and growth of LEADER area businesses.

125 Years 84 Years

Historic Hollywood Cemetery, Inc. The oldest business serving the Greater Heights and Northwest Houston

3506 North Main Street. • Houston, TX 77009 713-227-5109 • Established 1895

74 YEARS

51 Years

Shipley’s Donuts

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Darlene’s Flowers & Gifts

3410 Ella Blvd. at 34th St. 713-682-4343

1362 w. 43rd 77018 & 2908 Fulton 77009 713-684-8404

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ESTABLISHED 1946

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28 Years

25 YEARS

ESTABLISHED 1936

37 Years Prosperity Bank 2310 Yale Street • Houston, TX 77008 713-861-1125

Wendy Prater, Attorney 1919 N. Loop West - Houston, TX 77008 713-802-9171 - praterlaw@sbcglobal.net

Phyllis Oeser, Attorney at Law 5005 W. 34th St. Suite 104A 713-692-0300

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25 Years

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NLine Automotive

The May Group LLC

The Foam Store

3030 Ella Blvd. Houston TX 77018 713-862-5544

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ESTABLISHED 1995

2217 W. 34th St. • Houston, TX 77018 713-686-6622

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13 Years

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ESTABLISHED 1983

Master Car Care

2305 Yale St. • Houston, TX 77008 713-862-6630 Established 2007

A/C Man Cooling and Heating 14173 NW Freeway • Houston, TX 77040 713-460-COLD (2653) ESTABLISHED 2007

Deuce Electrical

www.deuceelectrical.com Celebrating 11 Years in 2020 832-623-6655 ESTABLISHED 2009


Page 8A • Saturday, January 18, 2020 • The Leader

Crowbar, from P. 1A drea said they won’t be altering things completely. “It will still be an American-style bar and grill,” she said. Other improvements will be a play area for the kids with turf and a play scape. Andrea said when the volleyball court nearest Wakefield is not in use, it is used as a big sandbox for the kids. With the new brunch, parents can eat and their children can play. Because the bar’s rule is no children after 9 p.m., Andrea said they will be able to offer something to all patrons. A recent example of this was the Wakefield Wonderland event that Crowbar held in early December along with nearby Walking Stick Brewing Company. The daytime event had a bounce house and train rides along with a live band, kids’ sand court and face painting. The suggested donation

for entry was donated to Oaks Dads’ Club to repair the lights at its Pony Field off of Judiway Street. That night was a Brushes and Booze art exhibit for the adults. “It’s a balance,” Andrea said. “We’ll have different user groups at different times.” Part of their ability to serve a wide range of interests will be the renovation of their private room, which Omid describes as a clean slate. He envisions it being equally functional for a company meeting or a birthday party. “We want to take that space to the next level,” Omid said. Other capital improvements will be made to the outdoor deck. Omid said they plan to invest more than $100,000 into the facility over the next couple of years.

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Contributed photo A Wakefield Crowbar customer checks out artwork at last month’s Brushes and Booze event.

Another area of emphasis for the owners is the operational side, such as making sure guests are greeted and that quality control in the kitchen is upheld. Omid said Wakefield

Crowbar’s Monday steak night, which is handled by Elements Houston, will allow them to close the kitchen weekly for a deep clean. The first round of improvements will be on display at

Crowbar’s Super Bowl party in February, but Andrea said they have already been getting positive feedback from the community. “Everybody seems to be super excited,” Andrea said.

ue the role immigrants have played in the district, which is more than 66 percent Hispanic. While both candidates want District 148 residents to have access to better public education and healthcare, they differ on the desired means to reach that end. Eastman said she wants to make permanent the schoolfunding increases provided by House Bill 3 in the last state legislative session, and she wants to make sure women and children have access to affordable healthcare. La Rotta said he wants to allow the free market to improve education and healthcare, so he wants to scale back Medicaid. He also opposes red-flag gun laws that prohibit weapon possession among people who are considered to pose a threat, whereas Eastman supports sensible gun legis-

lation and wants to close the background-check loophole at gun shows. Eastman said she also wants to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community. “I think there’s a pretty clear distinction between me and the only other person in the race,” she said. Eastman and La Rotta know they’ll have the support of their respective party bases. Both said the key to winning the runoff is promoting voter turnout, after 25.21 percent of registered voters cast ballots on Nov. 5, and swaying independent voters to their side. La Rotta, who is Hispanic and calls himself a “Liberty Republican,” said his target demographic is conservative Hispanics who feel like they’ve been disenfranchised and inadequately represented by Farrar. “I think people are ready for a change,” he said.

No matter who wins the runoff, the campaigning is far from over for both candidates. The District 148 seat is up for election again in November, and Eastman already is gearing up for a March 3 primary against fellow Democrats Adrian Garcia, Penny Morales Shaw, Cynthia Reyes-Revilla and Emily Wolf. La Rotta, who is unopposed in the Republican primary, hopes to flip the seat in November if not later this month. “We are not letting up on this, no matter what happens,” he said. “If we win, that’s great. But we never intended to win. We intended to deliver a punch.”

District 148, from P. 1A it. … I think this is the perfect opportunity to flip that seat. “If they want to sleep on it, that’s fine,” he added. “But they’re going to be surprised.” La Rotta was referring to the 25-year tenure of Jessica Farrar, a Democrat who never was significantly challenged while winning 13 general elections. Farrar was unopposed in seven of those races and never received less than 58 percent of the vote, garnering more than 60 percent all but once. Farrar retired at the end of September, prompting the special election for her seat and a slew of candidates vying to replace her. Eastman was among 12 Democrats in the field and led all candidates by receiving 20.3 percent of the vote, while La Rotta was second with 15.6 percent. Despite that result in early

November, and even though District 148 is historically Democratic and Eastman has name recognition because of her stint on the HISD board, she has not rested on the campaign trail. The runoff is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 28, with early voting set for Jan. 21-24. “I have to earn the respect of the voters enough to make sure they get out and vote for me,” she said. “We’re working as if this is any competitive race. We’re not taking anything for granted.” Eastman and La Rotta, although they are members of opposing political parties, see eye to eye on some of the issues facing District 148. They both oppose the expansion of I-45 and want to combat human trafficking, and they both support flood mitigation, infrastructure improvements and the decriminalization of marijuana. They also both said they val-

ura Belle Smith, 90, of Houston, Texas passed away on Friday, January 10, 2020. Lura was born January 22, 1929 in Houston, Texas. A long-time resident of Oak Forest, she was a devoted member of St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church. Lura was preceded in death by her husband of 53 years, Ralph E. Smith, Sr. She is survived by their three children, Ralph Smith Jr., Tom Smith, and Terri Smith, and two granddaughters, Jessica and Stephanie. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Houston Zoo or the Houston Food Bank. A visitation will be held Monday, January 20, 2020 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. A funeral service will follow at 1:00 PM at Pat H. Foley & Company, 1200 West 34th Street, Houston, Texas 77018.

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Challenge from P. 1A portant issues in our country.” The other District 18 candidates running in the Democratic primary are Michael Allen, Donovan Boson, Jerry Ford Sr., Stevens Orozco and Dr. Bimal Patel. Candidates in the Republican primary are Robert Cadena, Wendell Champion, Nellie Heiskell, T.C. Manning, Nathan Milliron and Ava Pate, the latter of whom lost to Jackson Lee in the 2018 general election. Before this year, Jackson Lee’s only primary opponents were Richard Johnson in 2018 and Jarvis Johnson and Sean Roberts in 2010. She beat those challengers handily and has dominated her opponents in all 13 of her general elections, receiving at least 70 percent of the vote each time. So the district, which includes most of the area as well as Houston’s urban core, is decidedly Democratic. But Ford said support is waning for Jackson Lee, because many of her constituents continue to face “disparity and disproportionality” in social indicators such as education, health and income. Flores said the district, despite including affluent areas such as the Heights, is the fifthpoorest out of 36 congressional districts in Texas. “I want people to know that Sheila Jackson Lee has been their representative for nearly 30 years,” Ford said. “I’m pretty sure she’s done her best, but nothing has changed.” Jackson Lee defended her record of service, saying she has been “right on point” in providing solutions to problems in all parts of a district that is diverse and expansive. She said she has brought more than $60 billion in government funds into the district and facilitated improvements in education, healthcare and housing. Jackson Lee, 70, also said she still has fresh ideas. So she welcomes the competition this election cycle, saying the country needs more people who are civically engaged. “I’m excited about it,” she said. “People are energized about the process of government, and that’s a good thing.” The latest campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission suggest Jackson Lee is favored in the primary. She had raised nearly $283,000 as of Sept. 30 – with donations from political action committees tied to companies such as Amazon, General Motors, Google, Juul and Walmart – and had nearly $276,000 cash on hand. Flores, a Shepherd Park

L

Plaza resident who decided to run after managing a local campaign headquarters for Beto O’Rourke during his 2018 bid for the U.S. Senate, was second in fundraising as of Sept. 30. Flores had raised nearly $53,000 and said this week that his donation total has since ballooned to about $90,000. Ford, 60, who retired from the Houston Fire Department as an assistant chief and has since become an insurance broker in North Houston, donated $50,000 to his own campaign and said he will not take donations from corporations or political action committees. He said he wants to stray from the typical Democratic “playbook” of selling social services to constituents, instead training them for vocations and enabling them to become entrepreneurs. Reaching voters on Facebook has been a focal point of Ford’s campaign. “We’ve done fundraisers. But keep in mind, this district is poor,” Ford said. “I will burn my own money to try to bring about some changes.” Patel, an optometrist, had raised nearly $43,000 through Sept. 30 and had more than $23,000 remaining to spend. Flores and Ford said money, and incumbency, don’t necessarily equate to political victory. Both pointed to the emergence of U.S. Rep. Alexandria OcasioCortez, the young New Yorker who in 2018 won a Democratic primary against 10-year incumbent Joe Crowley, the Democratic Caucus Chair at the time. In order to score a similar win against Jackson Lee, or at least force her into a runoff, Flores said her challengers need to focus less on her and more on themselves. “Being in congress 25 years representing a district, by and large the voters know or have an idea of their representative. And they should,” Flores said. “So we don’t necessarily need to be out there talking about their 25-year incumbent. We just need to be out there showing who we are and why we’re running.” Jackson Lee, despite her lengthy tenure in the district, is doing plenty of campaigning herself. She said her campaign is focused on community outreach leading up to the primary, which includes meet-andgreets with constituents and block walks. “I’m ready, raring to go, nonstop, energized and taking it all the way to the finish line,” she said.

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