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Saturday, February 10, 2018 • Vol. 63 • No. 4

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2018 Meet the candidates

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With less than four weeks before the Republican and Democratic primaries, we introduce you to some of the local candidates who See P. 6A are seeking to fill seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Del Norte St.

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The INDEX. Church....................................................... 7A Classifieds.............................................. 7B Coupons. ................................................. 8A Food/Drink/Art................................... 9A Obituaries.............................................. 7A Opinion. ................................................... 4A Public Information......................... 2A Puzzles...................................................... 4A Sports. ....................................................... 4B

Rendering courtesy of Texas Central The Houston-to-Dallas bullet train is picking up steam, as Texas Central has selected the NW Mall as its Houston station. Texas Central CEO Carlos Aguilar (below, center) announced the selection Monday alongside Mayor Sylvester Turner, councilmember Ellen Cohen and other officials. (Photo by Landan Kuhlmann)

Texas Central picks local landmark for station By Landan Kuhlmann In its heyday, the Northwest Mall was the place to go before waning crowds have painted it nearly a ghost town in recent years; but the site could soon become a hub once again following a major development. As part of an ongoing shift in the Texas and Houston transportation system, Texas Central and Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Monday morning that the Northwest Mall site has been chosen as the preferred location for the southern Texas (Houston) bullet train station. The mall – which closed its doors in March 2017 save for a few stores and venues with exterior doors – would be bulldozed to make room for a state-of-the-art rail station, for which Texas Central reached an agreement with owners of the mall property to be repurposed as the city’s Bullet Train and transit hub. “This is a huge step forward; all stations will reflect the communities they serve, and be uniquely Texan,” Texas Central CEO Carlos Aguilar said. Including the Houston site, the bullet train stations and their

construction are all privately funded, so no taxpayer dollars will be committed to the endeavor. Cruising at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour, the bullet train will move passengers between Houston and Dallas in 90 minutes, with additional stops in Brazos Valley, between College Station and Hempstead. Rejuvenating Northwest Mall Jack Matthews, president of Matthews Southwest, will be developing the station project.

“We look forward to helping create a new community that will also bring a transportation asset to all Houstonians,” he said. “We are excited to work in an area with so much potential for vibrancy, including transit-oriented development.” Texas Central officials mentioned the mall site presenting itself as the most viable option of three propositions largely due to minimal environmental and community effects, adding it allows See Track P. 2A

Candlelight Plaza residents are rattled after a frightening armed robbery went down this past weekend, disturbing the neighborhood’s peaceful Saturday afternoon. Shortly after 1:30 p.m. Feb. 3, the Houston Police Department said four suspects allegedly drove a blue or green Nissan Armada up to a man standing in front of a friend’s house on Lehman Street, before a window rolled down and one suspect sitting in the rear seat allegedly drew a gun on the man – demanding his wallet in the process – before turning the gun on the man’s friend and demanding his car keys, wallet, and cell phone and speeding off. After that, a post on NextDoor said the Armada drove east down Lehman, then took a right on Park Plaza and was gone. Just 30 minutes later, police said, the same group of suspects was allegedly involved in another incident of similar MO about five miles away in the 11000 block of Glaser Street, just past Interstate 45. In this instance, the group allegedly attempted to make off with a man’s vehicle parked in front of his house. Police say two of the suspects fired off shots in the process of attempting to extricate the man from his car before jumping back in the Armada and fleeing the scene. None of the victims in these cases were harmed, though all were understandably shaken. And, in the midst of the frightening ordeals, another question arose – what made the suspects so brazen as to attempt armed robberies in broad daylight? According to police, the victims just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and fell prey to opportunistic thieves. “These robberies are normally just crimes of opportunity. A thief sees a chance, they’re just going to come out and take it from you,” one HPD spokesperson said. Per the post on NextDoor, one suspect was identified only as a black male with black hair, while victims were unable to identify any distinguishing features on the remaining suspects, as they were wearing masks. As of press time, no arrests have been made, but HPD’s Robbery Division is currently following up in the ongoing investigation. If anyone has information on the vehicle or suspects, they are encouraged to contact HPD.

Board gets more details about HISD budget plans By Betsy Denson It’s a safe bet that HISD board meetings and workshops have never gotten so much attention. First, HISD held a budget workshop on February 1 where HISD’s Chief Financial Officer Rene Barajas presented additional details of what Superintendent Richard Carranza called a “developmental” plan for the next year’s budget. Immediately following, board members held an agenda review where HISD’s Chief Academic Officer, Gren-

ita Lathan shared preliminary plans for the district to partner with outside organizations to improve some of HISD’s lowest performing schools. Superintendent Richard Carranza again sounded support for the Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) budget model which is more centralized and reserves the bulk of funding for specific positions that all campuses are required to fill. The superintendent said that the weighted system, which refers to the Per Unit Allocation (PUA) model of funding, in which a school’s budget is derived from alloca-

Photo courtesy of HISD (Twitter) The HISD school board, pictured above in an earlier meeting, heard about budget plans, as well as plans to help struggling schools.

tions of money attached to different student categorizations, works well with a well-funded

system – but not for HISD in the present environment. HISD’s Chief Financial Of-

c u r r e N t p r o p e rt y L i s t i N g s

ficer Rene Barajas said that in the initial exercise to come up with a zero deficit budget for the 2018-2019 school year, meaning HISD would cut 10 percent of its budget – or $208 million of a $2 billion budget in a worst case scenario – the cuts would potentially be split 56 percent from departments and 44 percent from schools. To make people understand the cuts from a PUA perspective, a slide of anonymous campuses were listed with their total decrease in funding, See HISD P. 5A

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The public. The Leader • Saturday, February 10, 2018 • Page 2A

14-year-old boy stable following attack near Heights middle school By Landan Kuhlmann

A 14-year-old boy is recovering after being attacked at a park near Hamilton Middle School in the Heights on his way home last week. The Houston Police Department said officers responded to a call shortly before 6 p.m. Jan. 31 on reports of an assault at a nearby park. According to a police spokes-

person, the incident occurred at Halbert park at 200 E. 23rd Street, less than half a mile from nearby Hamilton Middle School. Police say the 14-year-old, a student at Hamilton, was stabbed near the chest area in the incident. An HISD spokesperson confirmed to The Leader Friday afternoon that the student immediately ran back to the school for help, where officials called an ambulance

to transfer him to Ben Taub Hospital. The park is allegedly a known area where students from various nearby schools congregate to engage in fights, according to police. Three other 14-year-olds are suspects in the incident according to media reports, but as of press time no formal arrests had been made or charges filed.

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Track from P. 1A the train to mostly follow existing rights of way while providing connectivity to METRO’s Northwest Transit Center. Further, officials said the station will create a robust market for new shops, restaurants, entertainment, hotels, condos and other development while revitalizing the mall’s underused property and boosting economic growth. “Those of us who have been in this city for a long time know [that Northwest Mall property] has been pretty dormant for a long time, and everyone’s been trying to figure out what the next step is,” Turner said. Houston’s Bullet Train terminal will sit in the highgrowth area near the Interstate 290 and 610 Loop interchanges, with access to employment centers such as the Galleria, the Energy Corridor, Downtown and the Medical Center. Officials believe the location will not only be a catalyst for economic growth, but also offer convenient, efficient networks for passengers to and from local transit systems. Initial renderings released Monday depict a multi-level station on the 45-acre site, which officials say will connect with existing local transportation while providing connectivity to the high-volume employment areas. “This is a huge step, not just for the Northwest Mall location, but the entire northwest quadrant and the city of Houston. [That whole area] will be revitalized just by the presence of this station,” Turner said. “…We are moving to a new phase in this city, and this station is a game-changer. We cannot limit the scope or its magnitude.”

tions beyond more private vehicles and more roads. And now with a preferred location for the Houston station, we are one big step closer to boarding for an exciting trip to the Brazos Valley and on to Dallas,” he said. “...We must do more than just build more roads for more privately-owned vehicles, and this project is a big part of that shift.” Monday’s selection was revealed roughly a month following federal regulators’ release of an environmental analysis that said the Houston-to-North Texas train would alleviate the strain on the state’s existing infrastructure and is needed to accommodate growing demands. The bullet train is expected to remove more than 14,000 cars from Interstate 45 – which has become a daily nightmare for Houston motorists – on a daily basis once completed. “This will bring a safe, productive transportation alternative to these communities – one that doesn’t deal with traffic snarls,” Turner said. Additionally, officials say the Bullet Train will create 10,000 new jobs per year during construction – which Turner hopes will begin early in 2019 – and up to 1,500 permanent jobs upon completion. “This is a new model for infrastructure improvements – it’s transformational. Everyone along the route will benefit,” Texas Central Board Chairman Drayton McLane said. “The entire state, and especially all the counties and communities along the route, will see gains. That includes getting more in tax revenue from the train and from ticket sales and more local jobs and business for those helping to

Growing smart Turner believes the Texas Bullet Train station to be an embodiment of the attempted transportation system paradigm shift he sought upon taking office little more than one year ago, citing Houston’s history as a major railway hub. “Houston continues to grow. Growing the smart way includes providing a wider choice of transportation op-

build the project.” Far from a sure thing The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) completed an independent evaluation of potential HSR corridor alternatives and determined that the chosen utility corridor is the only feasible end-to-end corridor alternative. Despite that, opponents – many of whom live directly within the Utility Corridor through which the HSR will run – slammed the project at public meetings Feb. 5 and 6, insisting the project will destroy land that has been owned for generations as it makes its way through 10 different counties, among having other adverse effects. The FRA is accepting public comments on the environmental report and will evaluate the preferred station site in advance of issuing a final assessment, which officials believe will come by the end of 2018. If residents did not get a chance to speak at one of the public meetings, they have until March 9 to submit comments by sending an email to DallasHoustonHSR@urs. com or visiting the comment page on the FRA’s website at Comments received outside of the public comment period will be considered in the EIS document as feasible, and all comments received will be included in the administrative record. Officials have held celebratory-type openings in both Dallas and Houston in recent weeks, and the HSR could be on its way to full fruition. But given the volume of public pushback thus far, it could also be far from a sure thing.


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The Leader • Saturday, February 10, 2018 • Page 3A

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The Topics. The Leader • Saturday, February 10, 2018 • Page 4A

Primary ballots aren’t as bad as they seem


et’s have some fun with numbers, because in less than four weeks, about 9.7 percent of you will vote while the other 90 percent of you sit around complaining about the men and women we elect to office. If the red, white and blue signs in your neighbors’ yards aren’t indication enough, primary elections are March 6, and if you’re the 1-in-10 who bother to show up at the polls, here’s some information you won’t find anywhere else – because nobody is dumb enough to do this sort of counting. If you vote in the Democratic primary (you can choose one or the other party in primaries), you’re going to puke when you see the ballot. No kidding. When you stand between those musty curtains and start scrolling the wheel of uncertainty, you will be asked to select candidates in 94 different races. Sure, you’ll find the popular ones, like U.S. Senator, Governor, Lt. Governor and Sheila Jackson Lee (who has a legitimate, well-qualified opponent this year), but it’s those darn judicial races that will induce carpel tunnel. If there’s a judge that needs electing, you’ll find that position on the ballot. In your best Forrest Gump accent (which is about the same as mine), you’ve got your Supreme judges, your Presiding judges, your Appeals judges. There’s District judges, Family District judges, County

Jonathan McElvy Publisher

judges, Criminal Court judges, County Probate judges, barbecue shrimp, shrimp creole… wait. If that makes you less likely to vote, I do offer good news. Of those 94 races on the Democratic ballot, 55 of them are unopposed, which means you can turn the wheel right past their names. And if you’re a Republican smirking at those numbers, hold your cocktail sauce. You’ve got 92 races on your ballot. If you live on the western side of the Heights into Timbergrove, you have to pick one of nine candidates to replace the venerable Ted Poe in Congress. You’ve got wonderful people from whom to choose in that race, but that’s about the only choosing you really need to do. Of the 92 races on the Republican primary ballot, only 20 have more than one candidate. Incumbent U.S. Senator Ted Cruz must fight off challenges from four newcomers. On paper, it appears incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott must get past two opponents.

Then, once you open the paper, you realize that may not be the case. The two people who’d like to unseat Abbott are Barbara Krueger and, I kid you not, SECEDE Kilgore. I did not capitalize his name in an effort to subliminally tell you to vote for this fellow (who was born Larry Kilgore). Nope, that’s the way it appears on the ballot because he legally changed his name to get a few votes from those of you who forgot we made it past 1845. I looked into SECEDE and Mrs. Krueger to see if they’d pose a serious threat to Abbott’s re-election bid, and I really wanted to know if SECEDE looked anything like I imagined, which he absolutely did. Obviously, the only way to determine a person’s popularity is through Facebook. Gov. Abbott has 1.2 million followers. SECEDE has 750. Poor Mrs. Krueger doesn’t have a Facebook page. She doesn’t have a website, either. As far as I can tell, she doesn’t even have a picture. Four years ago, a total of 1,265 people voted for SECEDE when he last ran against Abbott. I’m taking the over this year. Here’s a bit more education to help prep those of you who plan to vote. On the Democratic ballot, once you make it through those mindnumbing 94 races, you then must vote “Yes” or “No” on 12 propositions which the Texas Democratic

Lynn Ashby Columnist

Most gas logs are made of concrete, of which there is a diminishing world supply. Indeed, the Obama administration wanted to put concrete on the endangered species list, but we all know what tree-huggers they were. Unlike wood-burning fireplaces, gas logs require gas. Do you really want to contribute to the diminishing gas supply? Also, gas-burning logs always look the same, while the wood burners continue to change shapes as the logs get smaller, flicker and occasionally roll across the hearth onto the rug, or maybe onto the fire starter you left nearby. Gas logs also sound the same, while flaming wood crackles, pops and smolders. I suppose one could get a tape recording of crackling fireplaces and play it while the gas only hisses. There is a solution for those who can’t make up their minds. Get a fireplace that has a gas pipe with little holes, like a flute, that runs across the bottom of the fireplace. Put logs on top. You light the gas escaping from the holes which sets the wood ablaze. It’s half and half, the best of both, the Preise of pine, the Tesla of timber. We now take up the matter of air pollution. This is not new. London has suffered air pollution from burning peat and coal as long ago as the 1500s and 1600s. The worst was the Great London Smog of 1952, when weather conditions and coal smoke formed a thick layer of smog over the city. Government medical reports estimated that 4,000 people died as a direct result of the smog and 100,000 more were made ill. More recent research put the number of fatalities at about 12,000. For that reason, burning peat or coal for household heat is relatively rare in Texas. However, new EPA rules do not limit the amount of pollution a fireplace can generate, nor do the new rules limit anything else, including drilling for oil in Yellowstone Park, dumping sludge in the Grand Canyon or shooting grizzles. Gas-burning logs do not cause much smog, nor do they require chimney sweeps to occasionally clean the inside of smokestacks. But this means homeowners with gas burners don’t get to see Mary Poppins’ cast dancing on rooftops while singing, “Chim-Chim Cher-ee.” In 1742, Benjamin Franklin – the first and last rich American journalist – invented the Franklin stove. It provided a

affirm the party’s stance on specific issues. As the Republican Party tells its voters, this is an “effective way to poll Republican voters on various issues and inform elected officials on where those voters stand.” I’ve taken a slightly less than serious approach to what is actually intended to be an informative column, and beginning this week, The Leader will do its best to tell you all we can about this election. Inside today’s edition, we’ve published specific questions we asked candidates running for U.S. Congress. We’d like to at least run these interviews for contested races that have the greatest local impact. We aren’t going to run stories on every judicial candidate, mainly because the primaries aren’t the place for that. We also won’t be the place to tell you about the state and national races, because our brethren at the big papers do that much better (although they all will tell you to vote straight party Democrat because that’s what they believe). Regardless of the sheer volume of races on the primary ballot, most of us have spent the past year complaining about politicians. If you don’t spend a little time reading about the ones who have the courage to put their names on a ballot, you have absolutely no right to complain come November. Email

The reader.

Every fire has its place THE HEARTH – It has been really cold lately, which I hate. Cold weather is God’s revenge for us complaining about global warming. Cold weather brings sleet, ice, car wrecks and frost-bitten ear lobes. If there is any saving grace for a cold winter it is this: the fireplace. Don’t you just love a crackling blaze, preferably in the fireplace? Most people do. It adds to the ambiance. Indeed, a Louisiana casino keeps a big blaze going in its lobby year round. There in the sweaty, hot, humid swamps, a big blaze goes 12 months a year. President Richard Nixon liked a fire so much that on summer days he would have the a/c in his White House office turned on so he could work by a nice fire. He wrote, “When I retire I’m going to spend my evenings by the fireplace going through those boxes. There are things in there that ought to be burned.” Like tapes? Too late, Tricky Dick. On the other hand, Joan of Arc did not care much for a roaring fire. But here’s the problem. In the “Manchurian Candidate,” (no, I am not talking about the current administration), Laurence Harvey says, “The world is divided into two types of people. Those who walk into a room and turn the television on, and those who turn it off.” The world is also divided into those who like a wood-burning fireplace and those who like a gas burner. We what got couth feel there is no contest. Give me a wood burner any day, particularly on a cold day. To be fair there are many problems with the wood burner. You have to get a head start by planting a tree, then wait 10 to 20 years for it to grow wood. The inner lumberjack in you can’t wait to chop the sucker down, then split it into 3-foot chunks and haul them into the house. How much fuel can you bring in at a time? This is what I call the Firewood Factor. It measures your strength. I used to bring in six or seven split logs at a time. Today I count the twigs. Next is starting the fire. This requires patience because that wood is still green. Fortunately there are fire-starters that will help you begin the blaze. Fire-starters come in many sizes and shapes, but I prefer napalm. Every now and then, like in a year that ends in 00, you have to shovel out the ashes and dump them in your neighbor’s yard at night, or find a nearby stream. One must be careful not to dump the ashes too soon or you will have higher home insurances rates. There is the argument for gas logs in fireplaces, especially if you sell gas logs. Gas logs spare trees, but so do plastic Lincoln Logs. And they require some material of their own: concrete.

Party really wants you to approve. I won’t list them all, but here’s a sampling: “Should everyone in Texas have the right to quality public education… and affordable college and career training without the burden of crushing student loan debt?” “Should everyone in Texas have a right to healthcare, guaranteed by a universal, quality Medicare-for-all system?” “Should everyone in Texas have the right to clean air, safe water, and a healthy environment?” You get the drift of the questions Democrats will have to answer. Should the rich pay more in taxes, should the criminal justice department treat people fairly, should all the DREAMers be protected? If you’ve heard Nancy Pelosi say it, you’ll need to approve of it on your ballot. Same goes for the Republicans, except you have 11, not 12, propositions. “Texas should replace the property tax system with an appropriate consumption tax equivalent.” “Texas families should be empowered to choose from public, private, charter or homeschool options… using tax credits…” “I believe abortion should be abolished in Texas.” The reason Democrats and Republicans will vote on these propositions isn’t to create law; it’s to

Email us your letters:

Major election cycle awaits the voters

more efficient way of getting heat from the burned fuel since it does not produce as much draft as a standard fireplace, and there is less loss of heat. You can still buy a Franklin stove today, but Ben no longer gets royalties. After Napoleon conquered Moscow and confiscated everything, the residents started stealing wooden fences to burn for warmth because it was cold, an unusual situation in Moscow in the winter. Napoleon ordered that fence thieves be shot, although some residents would steal the wood and sell it to their nearby friends. This gave us the expression, “Good neighbors make good fences.” Now excuse me while I throw some more peat on the fire. Ashby ashes at ashby2@

Dear Editor: Regarding “Major election cycle awaits the voters” (Feb. 3), Dr. Richard Johnson’s primary challenge to Sheila Jackson Lee for this year’s 18th District Democratic Party candidacy -- a sure winner for that seat -- could be telling us something significant. Congresswoman Jackson Lee has represented the 18th for about 22 years, developing into a formidable cornerstone of the House, a legislative luminary. Emergence of an eminently qualified replacement provides a superlative opportunity for Ms. Jackson Lee to move to the Senate. Her district will remain in good hands, but her abilities and experience will be unleashed to benefit our entire state (and by extension, the whole nation). Lyndon Johnson served only about 11 years in the House, then dominated the Senate; Ms. Jackson Lee is perfectly positioned to do as well or better -- and in due course, “Senator Jackson Lee” would be an absolutely fantastic fit for the Vice Presidency. J. Reynolds

Scan and Go

Dear Editor: Won’t work! Usually things like this start when a good technology sales person gets to a young corporate exec. (striking for a promotion); but this is an invitation to an expensive disaster. Currently, automated check-out is only functional for people with small amounts of grocery products. The elderly will not be able to lift the big bag of cat litter, cases of bottled water, etc. onto the scan

counter. People purchasing large amounts will still clog the lines, and mistakes will still have to be resolved by a human being (oops, I didn’t realize that was ORGANIC celery). Every time I’ve tried to use the current system, I ended up cussing at the computerized lady inside the machine (OK, I’m inept, but she should know I’m old enough to buy beer). In the future, 3-D holographic equipment totaling purchases in real time before one leaves for the parking lot might work, but the current technology isn’t up to speed yet. Experienced checkers deserve more appreciation. B. Williamson

HISD is making a bad situation worse

Dear Editor: What the article is not saying is that by allowing each school principal to manage their own budget, they get to decide what gets funded. Since librarians, nurses and counselors are not required positions, a principal gets to decide whether or not these positions should exist. I think we can all agree that these are crucial positions at any school and should be a standard part of any child’s education, Not just those who have a principal who chose to budget for them. Our area schools may have proven their ability to fund these positions, but it is often with the help of community $ support. Therefore wealthier neighborhoods help to ensure funds are available at their schools for these crucial elements. Also, Not all school principals are equipped equally to make these decisions. Kallie Benes

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



1. Humbug 4. Meaningless talk 10. Conceit 11. Not studied 12. Megabyte 14. When born (abbr.) 15. Placed on a golf ball stand 16. Melekeok is the capital 18. Mischievous 21. Mason’s mortars 23. Spain’s former monetary unit 25. Small fries 27. Article 28. Capital of Yemen 29. Type of Theater companies 31. Plastic, paper or shopping 32. Electronic countermeasures 35. Language along the lower Yenisei River 37. Institute legal proceedings against 38. Beam 39. Old World buffalo 40. Latch onto 42. Physical therapy

43. Conditions of balance 48. Half pro 50. Resounded 52. Sales event 53. Separates seating areas 54. N.M. Pueblo people 55. Bridge building degree 56. Fullback 57. Peyote 59. Afflict 60. Rests on one’s knees 61. Having negative qualities


1. Besmear 2. Genus dasyprocta 3. A male ferret 4. Unit of volume (abbr.) 5. Italian hors d’oeuvres 6. N.W. German city & port 7. Signal sounds 8. Adult females 9. -__, denotes past 12. Gas usage measurement

13. Fishhook point 17. Mauna __, Hawaiian volcano 19. In a way, thrusts 20. Grimm brothers birthplace 22. Withered; dry 24. Genus salvia 26. About senator 30. Livestock enclosure 32. Work units 33. Hebrew name meaning dog 34. A tumor composed of muscle tissue 36. Satisfy to excess 41. Third mast 42. A horse’s strut 44. Tree producing gum (Arabic) 45. Armour carried on the arm 46. Winged goddess of the dawn 47. Ego 49. Hesitancy 51. Young woman of society 55. Founder of Babism 57. Mark (abbr.) 58. Jeans maker’s initials


The Leader • Saturday, February 10, 2018 • Page 5A

HISD from P. 1A which would be a $403 cut per student. “We’re almost there,” Superintendent Carranza said of the effort to finalize a new FTE system, noting that there are ongoing meetings with area principals to try to nail down a final draft that works for all. “[The FTE model] is still subject to creativity and innovation,” he said. “Within an austere budget environment, we want to make sure that every school has essential functions, essential personnel.” Trustee Concerns Board member and former teacher Elizabeth Santos said that she was concerned about some aspects of the FTE model and gave the example that principals with higher numbers of special education students or higher percentages of students with discipline issues might need more counselors. “We can’t have our community fall through the cracks one more time,” she said. “We need to meet principals where they’re at.” Board members Holly Maria Flynn Vilaseca and Diana Dávila asked why the FTE model was the only one that the district was looking at as opposed to also looking at adjustments in the PUA model. Vilaseca said that she is concerned that the FTE model looks at the school rather than the student. “What’s the end goal in mind?” Dávila asked, saying that perhaps the real issue was not the PUA model itself but the oversight of it. Superintendent Carranza reiterated that the end goal is equity, maintaining that with the current PUA system administrators don’t have sufficient resources to run a school. Earlier in the workshop, Carranza also said that all principals may not be equally equipped to make decisions in a PUA system, as 60 percent of them have less than 5 years’ experience. “FTE will address those needs up front,” he told Dávila. When Vilaseca questioned why so many changes were being made at once from a system and organizational perspective, putting “stress on a system that’s already stressed,” The superintendent

said that what is being felt is the “weight of status quo” and that an FTE model would address essential questions about “what do you protect, what gets prioritized?” Board member Sue Deigaard brought up a point that was the subject of a recent editorial in the Houston Chronicle. She cited verbiage from a board policy passed just last November, that stated “closing achievement gaps [requires] unequal resources for unequal needs.” The policy backed a decentralized approach where principals have control of their allocations. Deigaard advocated for another performance audit, stating that the last one was done 20 years ago, and suggested such an audit might find additional cost savings through efficiencies. When Board President Rhonda Skillern-Jones asked Board attorney David Thompson of Thompson and Horton to clarify what was the responsibility of the board and what was under the purview of the superintendent, Thompson stated that the superintendent would “develop a proposal within the policies that are adopted by the board.” He said that the policy sets parameters for the superintendent and that it is the board’s responsibility to approve the budget. “So when you adopt the budget you will be able to hold the administration accountable, if you will, for the policy direction that the board has articulated,” he said. Skillern-Jones, who has said that she is in favor of the FTE system, believes smaller schools would have to close with the cuts implemented within the PUA system. “I don’t think any community deserves to have a school at the expense of someone else’s school,” she said. Partnerships and closings At the agenda review, a main topic was the plan for the 15 lowest performing HISD schools. According to HISD data, the 11,332 students in those schools represent a little over five percent of the total HISD student body. Nine of the 15 schools are predominantly African American, and four are largely Hispanic. Nine out of 10 students are classi-

fied as economically disadvantaged. A little over three percent are classified as Gifted & Talented. House Bill 1842, which passed two sessions ago, mandated higher consequences for low performing schools, which could include closing the school, turning the school over to a board of managers, or turning the entire district over to a board of managers. The 2017 Senate Bill 1882 directs school districts to collaborate with charter schools to elevate failing schools. HISD Chief Academic Officer Grenita Lathan said that partnerships were being explored for Dogan and Mading Elementary Schools, Henry Middle School, and Kashmere, Wheatley, Worthing, Madison and North Forest high schools. These partnerships with outside organizations would allow HISD teachers to remain in the schools and would not require any students to leave. A close and restart model was proposed for Blackshear, Highland Heights, Hillard and Wesley Elementary schools, as well as Woodson PK-8 and Cullen Middle School. In this model, HISD teachers would leave the schools and would many of the students, as the schools would reopen with just one grade – although Lathan said there was ongoing discussion with TEA about the particulars. Timeline The Leader asked Board President Rhonda SkillernJones about the timetable for district changes and she referred the query to HISD Chief Student Support Officer Mark Smith and Lathan. There was no answer by press time. However, Lathan said during the agenda review that applications for partner agreements were due to the TEA by April 30, pointing to an April vote by the board. Historically, the board votes on the budget the third Thursday of June. In past years, there has been a March board vote too on the School Resource Allocation Handbook, which provided information on decentralization and how schools are funded. It is unclear if that vote will take place.

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Page 6A • Saturday, February 10, 2018 • The Leader

David Balat


Dr. Jon Spiers

For U.S. House Rep. District 2 For The Leader Why are you running for this seat? Republicans have control of government, yet Congress continues to increase the debt. Congress is trying to fix a healthcare industry they don’t understand, and politicians are more interested with their own longevity in office than in serving the people. My parents immigrated here from Israel and started their own business in Garden Oaks, Chris’ Alterations. My father was both deaf and mute, but that didn’t stop them from achieving the American Dream. I’m running so everyone has an opportunity to pursue their American Dream. What makes you more qualified than the other candidates in this race? I’ve been a healthcare executive and Hospital CEO for over 20 years. I’ve run complex businesses, saved thousands of jobs in the District and created hundreds more. I’ve worked internationally and have designed free-market alternatives, because socialized medicine doesn’t work. Healthcare costs represent 1/6th of our economy, and it’s only getting bigger. Republican talking points don’t address the real problem: COST. I understand the complexity of healthcare. I’ve developed a plan, FreedomCare, that is available at FreedomCare.

If elected, what’s the single-most important issue – in your opinion – that needs to be addressed? Healthcare is the single most important issue right now, because we are on the brink of a failure. Something needs to be done immediately. Fixing the Flooding Infrastructure is another crucial issue. As someone who flooded and completely lost their home, I know the issue better than anyone in this race. We need an infrastructure plan that is preventive not reactionary. Improving the Houston economy, and protecting our natural God-given rights that have assured our Freedoms and Liberties is very crucial to me. There is a climate of distrust of Congress right now. The most recent poll numbers by Gallup show Congress has an approval rating of 16%. Why is that

Jonny Havens

For US House Rep. District 2

and what could you possibly do to improve the trust voters have in this branch of government? It’s true that there is distrust and that’s principally because what our Representatives say isn’t what they do. Further, they don’t consider the will of the people and do things that ultimately help them stay in office. We as a community want better national security, immigration control, significantly less spending and an opportunity to be the best version of ourselves so we can benefit our family. Those aren’t difficult requests, but Congress does in fact live in a bubble that needs to be popped. They need to hold fast to their Constitutional duties and have their finger on the pulse of their District. This nation is divided in half by political party, and that’s not always healthy. In what ways would you seek to work across the aisle? Working for the good of the community is what Representatives are elected to do. I’ve consistently tried to learn from people and understand why they believe what they believe. It is only then that we can achieve consensus. However, a conversation of talking points isn’t going to get us anywhere and that’s typically how

See Balat P. 8A


For The Leader Why are you running for this seat? As a surgeon, lawyer, father, and patriot, I truly love my country. I have proudly served my nation and community. When I was asked to run for Congress, I knew I must use my unique skill set to help solve the problems that we face as a country. I truly believe there is no limit to the great things our nation can accomplish if we always have the courage to do what is morally right. What makes you more qualified than the other candidates in this race? I have served our nation and fellow citizens in many roles; as a heart surgeon, community volunteer, policy advisor, army reservist, and, after an injury ended my surgical career, as an attorney. I have served my nation and my fellow Americans for over thirty-five years, tackling difficult problems while always placing service over self. I have the determination, experience, and wisdom to simplify problems, build consensus, lead coalitions, and reach workable solutions for all Americans. If elected, what’s the single-most important issue – in your opinion – that needs to be addressed? Healthcare is the single most important issue facing our nation today. Health spending continues to rise,

Why are you running for this seat? I am running to make character count again in Congress. Congress has let us down, repeatedly breaking promises instead of keeping promises. Promises like repealing ObamaCare. Promises like securing our border. Promises like serving honorably. When elected, I will ensure that promises are kept, not broken. When elected, I will support President Trump’s jobs agenda, repeal and replace ObamaCare, and secure the border. When elected, I will make character count again in Congress. What makes you more qualified than the other candidates in this race? I have kept my promises through my combat leadership, community leadership, and conservative leadership. In combat, I kept the promise to never let a fallen comrade fall into the hands of the enemy. In our community, as Lone Star Veterans Association Chairman we mobilized hundreds of volunteers, to muck out over 280 houses, perform 60 rescues, and give $225,000 to 58 individuals in need. As a conservative, I fought in court for the First Amendment’s promise of religious freedom. If elected, what’s the single-most important issue – in your opinion – that

needs to be addressed? Supporting President Trump’s agenda, including jobs and infrastructure. We need to show the country that the Republican Party can govern by passing the agenda that Trump was elected on. A portion of the infrastructure spending should be used to address the long-term flood mitigation needs of Harris County, including the development of a third reservoir. There is a climate of distrust of Congress right now. The most recent poll numbers by Gallup show Congress has an approval rating of 16%. Why is that and what could you possibly do to improve the trust voters have in this branch of government? Congress is not keeping its promises and it hasn’t led with the highest ethical standards. That is why I’m running to

while quality falters. Whether we are discussing balancing our budget, serving our veterans, the opioid crisis, rising drug prices, or Medicare insolvency, we are met with the stark truth that healthcare is a national security issue. We must act to save what works in our healthcare system while those parts that do not – just as I did in surgery! There is a climate of distrust of Congress right now. The most recent poll numbers by Gallup show Congress has an approval rating of 16%. Why is that and what could you possibly do to improve the trust voters have in this branch of government? I believe that part of the distrust the American people have with Congress stems from the extreme partisanship and failure to deliver on promises. The failure to repeal and replace the ACA and rein in

Justin Lurie

For U.S. House Rep. District 2 For The Leader

Q&A skyrocketing healthcare costs is a clear example. Yet despite the obvious need, Congress has yet to provide a workable solution. I will work tirelessly in Congress to address the tough problems facing not only our healthcare system but the many other issues challenging our nation. I will make certain my constituents have access to me and are informed of the work I do for them. This nation is divided in half by political party, and that’s not always healthy. In what ways would you seek to work across the aisle? In my experience, true solutions can come from anywhere. Good ideas withstand any scrutiny or challenge, so I invite critical examination from all sides. Why should a leader refuse to examine every source of ideas when seeking the best solution? Pride and partisanship are dangerous, especially when they place party and dogma ahead of the needs of the nation. Cooperation will not constantly keep me from striving for what is right and just. I will constantly examine my positions to be certain that they are aligned with the good of the nation and the benefit of my state and district. Elected officials who serve in Washington sometimes lose touch with the people See Spiers P. 8A


For US House Rep. District 2

make character count again. My party must prove that it can enact the conservative agenda supported by this country. With Honor, an organization that has endorsed me, has shown that Congress’s approval rating has drifted downward as fewer and fewer veterans serve in Congress. Electing me would bring veteran leadership to Congress. Based on my military experience as a Ranger-qualified infantry officer, I know how to work with everyone to accomplish the mission. This nation is divided in half by political party, and that’s not always healthy. In what ways would you seek to work across the aisle? The first step to uniting the country is speaking to the other half because each party exists increasingly in its own echo chamber. I have pledged to meet with someone from the opposing party one-on-one at least once a month. Fostering that direct communication will cut through the party bubbles and help ensure our country succeeds. Elected officials who serve in Washington sometimes lose touch with the people who elected them. How can you assure voters that the interests of this disSee Havens P. 8A

For The Leader Why are you running for this seat? Washington gridlock and dysfunction has consequences for our economy, our healthcare, and our security both on the border and abroad. I’m frustrated like many other citizens, and will fix the problem instead of keeping the status quo. What makes you more qualified than the other candidates in this race? The US House needs members with substantial business and private sector experience who understand how the economy works, thrives and grows, and most of all, how to not hurt the economy further. Our campaign is a probusiness, pro-growth agenda based on my business experience in creating companies and representing our clients of multiple industries both in Texas, around the country, and internationally. We need members who have experience working across the aisle, and will defeat the status quo. If elected, what’s the single-most important issue – in your opinion – that needs to be addressed? The US House needs to create the environment for businesses and families to be successful. Washington does not create prosperity through regulation and spending. Instead, it can

get out of the way and allow business and people to succeed by further eliminating regulations and changing our tax code to a simple consumption tax. Eliminate the income tax, payroll tax, and FICA. Get the gov’t out of your paycheck. With this simple and fundamental change to our tax system, our economy will take off and thrive like never before. There is a climate of distrust of Congress right now. The most recent poll numbers by Gallup show Congress has an approval rating of 16%. Why is that and what could you possibly do to improve the trust voters have in this branch of government? 88 members have been serving for longer than 20 years in Congress. We need Term Limits of 12 years (6 term House, or 2 term Senate, or

combination). Ending the career politician will eliminate the entrenched interests, severely mitigate ‘the swamp’, and bring credibility back to Congress. Finally, those creating the laws would once again need to live by the same laws they pass. Would ObamaCare have passed if Congress had to be on the same system? This nation is divided in half by political party, and that’s not always healthy. In what ways would you seek to work across the aisle? The methodology in how my company operates is a great parallel to what we need in Washington. We represent our clients (like representing our constituents), and work across the table (or aisle) with an antagonistic and adversarial opposition. Our job is to create a win-win deal and keep true to our clients’ needs and wants (similar to keeping our core values of limited gov’t and conservative principles in Washington). The status quo is not good enough for us, we need deals to close to be successful (or to advance America forward). The same way I work with the other side of the table in business, we shall work with the Democrats in Washington. There is common ground between us, and we will find it for See Lurie P. 8A

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The Leader • Saturday, February 10, 2018 • Page 7A

The calendar. CRAWFISH FESTIVAL PARADE REGISTRATION Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce The third annual Crawfish Parade needs you to come celebrate Hurricane Harvey’s Heroes. The Grand Marshal is Jim “Mattress Mack� McInvale. Sign up today to join the cheerleaders, marching bands, zombies, roller derby girls, drill teams, and more. Last day to sign up is Feb 9. Information: HAPPENINGS ON THE WAY TO HEAVEN WRITER’S GROUP Adolf Hoepfl Garage Have you written something you would like to see published? Have you written something you like to share with a small group of experienced writers? Join the writer’s group. All ages are welcome. Meetings are the first Thursdays of the month from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The next meeting will be Feb. 9. Meetings are in the Liberty Room of Adolf Hoepfl Garage, 4610 N. Shepherd Dr. For information and guidelines for reading your work, email Kathryn van der Pol at

ARBOR GATE FIELD TRIP Heights Garden Club The Heights Garden Club will be visiting Arbor Gate 3, 15635 FM2920 in Tomball. Arbor Gate is an inspired collection that includes unusual plants, artisancreated decorative pieces, and a constantly changing array of items. There will be a short talk on perennials and pruning, followed by guided tour of the nursery. The field trip will be at 10 a.m. Feb. 10. For those that would like to carpool or caravan, meet at the parking lot at “The Church at 1548 Heights Boulevardâ€? between 9 and 9:15 a.m. Information: heightsgardenclub. com, 303-263-6025. GRAND OPENING You’ve Got Maids You’ve Got Maids, America’s Finest Maid Service™, is pleased to announce that it will be opening a location in Houston, with local entrepreneurs Moylam and Raul Wong. The team will be celebrating the new venture on Feb. 10 and 14, and welcomes the community to join in the festivities. The events will be from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 10 and Feb. 14, at 1431 N. Durham Dr. Valet

parking is available. Information: 713-505-1613, BEJEWELED Winter Street Studios The Center for Success and Independence, a non-profit founded by long-time Heights residents, Dr. Marylou Erbland and Robert Woods, is hosting the annual gala, Bejeweled 2018, Feb. 10. The proceeds from the gala will fund scholarships for teens and their families who are unable to afford treatment at the Center. The gala will be 7 p.m. Feb. 10, at Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter Street. Tickets are $100. Sponsorships are available. Information: HEART-TO-HEART SENIOR LUNCHEON Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Come enjoy a heart-healthy lunch and hear from a panel of affiliated heart specialists from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 12. The luncheon will be at Memorial Hermann Greater-Heights, South Tower Classrooms, 1635 North Loop West.

SCHOLARSHIP DINNER Houston Assembly of Delphian Chapters The Scholarship Dinner and Auction for Houston Assembly of Delphian Chapters will be held at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 17, at the Jr. League of Houston. This evening benefits the Delphian Scholarship Foundation Fund, which awards scholarships to qualified students at the University of Houston and U of H Downtown. SHAKE RATTLE AND ROLL CONCERT Precinct 4’s Senior Adult Program Harris County Precinct 4’s Senior Adult Program welcomes everyone 50 years of age and better to enjoy the magical music of the ‘50s and ‘60s during the Shake Rattle and Roll Winter Concert Feb. 22 at 1:30 p.m. at the Humble Civic Center, 8233 Will Clayton Parkway, Humble. Light refreshments are included. Register online at www.hcp4. net/sap/events. A $10 prepaid, non-refundable fee covers the cost of the event. Checks are payable to Fun4Seniors and should be mailed to 1731 Hugh Road, Houston, Texas 77067.

WALTRIP RAM BAND FISH FRY Waltrip High School The Waltrip Ram Band is having the annual Fish Fry from 5-9 p.m. Feb. 23. Dinner will be served in the cafeteria. Various bands will perform throughout the evening. Dinner tickets are $10 and door prize tickets are $2. Dinner includes fish, tater tots, and salad. Information: SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE SPINSTERS OF BLACKMEAD Theatre Suburbia Theatre Suburbia presents the regional premiere of C. P. Stancich’s Sherlock Holmes and the Spinsters of Blackmead, an exciting new look at Sherlock, his compatriots and all with a twist. The show opens Feb. 23, and runs through March 24, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:30 p.m. and Sundays, at 3 p.m. (March 11

All Saints Knights of Columbus holds Lenten

Fish Fry The All Saints Knights of Columbus council is hosting four Lenten Fish Fries in the parish hall. Dinners are served Feb. 16, March 2, and March 16, from 5-8 p.m.; and Good Friday (March 30) from 3-8 p.m. Plates include great fish, hushpuppies, fries, slaw, green beans, sauces, and tea/lemonade. Adult plates are $10 and children under 10 are $5. Cookies will also be available. All Saints Catholic Community is located at 215 E. 10th St. Call 713-304-1626 for information. Blood Drive at First Church Heights A Blood Drive will be held in the donor coach from 10 a.m.2:30 p.m. Feb. 17. Contact Kay Phillips at 832-459-6341 for information. First Church Heights is located at 201 E. 9th St. Call 713-861-3102 for information. St. Matthew’s hosts



died Jan. 29.

Betty Calvert Blanchette,

89, born Aug. 16, 1928 in Tampa, Fla., died Jan. 26. She is survived by her nephew Gregory Francis and niece Diane Scharck. She was preceded in death by her husband William Henry Blanchette.

James Floyd Knapik, 80, born Nov. 4, 1937, died Feb. 3, after a lengthy battle with cancer. He attended Holy Name Catholic School in Houston and graduated from St. Thomas High School in 1955. He was employed as an electrical technician for Dresser Industries. Knapik was a member of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church for more than 60 years. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Barbara Jean Knapik, his

spaghetti dinner St. Matthew’s welcomes the community to come and worship, then stay for a tasty free (by donation only) spaghetti dinner from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 18. The spaghetti dinner will offer several different spaghetti dishes and sides. St. Matthew’s is a very diverse congregation and worshipers are invited to “come as you are.� Sunday School starts at 9:15 a.m., immediately followed by the worship service at 10:17 a.m. St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church is located at 4300 N. Shepherd Dr. Call 713-6970671 or visit the website at www.stmatthewsmethodist. org. Long term care seminar at Zion Lutheran Zion Lutheran Church will host a free long term care seminar from 9:45-10:45 a.m. Feb. 18, in their Great Room. The seminar will be presented by Jamie Keys of Keys Insur-

children John Knapik, Rebecca Knapik, siblings Janet Cunningham, Tom Knapik, Charles Knapik, Evelyn Krolczyk, Michael Knapik, Rachel Breen, Felicia Thomas, Betty Houghton, and three grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to Boy Scout Troop 40 c/o St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, 3600 Brinkman, 77018, MD Anderson, or charity of one’s choice.

Martin, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to the 100 Club of Houston or the SPCA.

Donald Haden Martin, 82, born Oct. 29, 1935, died Jan. 27, after a difficult and courageous battle with thyroid cancer. Martin was employed as a geologist, 1st Lieutenant in the Army, land man, home builder, commercial developer, private investigator, FBI Special Agent and lastly as a member of the Command Staff of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department. He is survived by his beloved wife Barbara, son Bobby

Diane Mary Tolley, 63, born July 17, 1954, died Jan. 31.

ance Associates. The community is welcome. Zion Lutheran is located at 3606 Beauchamp in the Heights. For information, call 713-869-1493. Enjoy Music for the Soul at St. Andrew’s Music for the Soul is a weekly spirit-lifting concert series featuring a great selection of performing artists and an eclectic variety of musical styles. Hosted by St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 1819 Heights Blvd., the concerts are free and will kick off at 6 p.m. Feb. 21. The Sonnier Brothers Band will be featured supporting Houston Area Women’s Center. Admission is free to these family friendly performances. Donations to each artist’s chosen charity will be gratefully accepted. Call 713-861-5596 or visit for information.

Aztec StorAgeS

Louise Angeline Payne,

93, born Nov. 4, 1924, died Jan. 29.

Darryl Noel Robinson, 54, born Dec. 19, 1963, died Feb. 1.

Jaime Cruz Torres, 39, born April 18, 1978, died Jan. 25. He was owner of Maverick First Aide and Safety. He is survived by his wife, Lillian, his children Dominique, Elizabeth, and Kristen Torres, sisters Jeanette Torres and Jessica Lopez, and brother Frank Lopez.




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Sunday School ........9:15 am Sunday Worship......10:30am Wednesday Bible Study & Prayer Service 6:00pm

Pastor – Dr. Richard Walters

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The Obituaries. Lorrie Gene Baker-Benson, 83, born Sept. 27, 1934,

PLANT SALE Mercer Botanic Gardens The community is invited to shop at March Mart Saturday, March 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the East Side Gardens. Purchase a TMS membership to gain VIP early access to the sale Friday, March 16 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. or Saturday, March 17 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Early shoppers have the best chance of taking home Mercer’s rarest plants not available at local nurseries. Visit or call 713274-4107 to get a TMS membership or upgrade an existing membership.

Dog Rabies Vaccination

From the Pews. Dessert Extravaganza at St. Stephen’s The Dessert Extravaganza, featuring fellowship and sweet treats, will be held this Saturday, Feb. 10, from 2-4 p.m. in the fellowship hall. Purchase six “tastes� of scrumptious homemade desserts for $5, and bid on full-sized desserts during a silent auction. Valentine roses and treats to-go will also be available. All are welcome to attend an Ash Wednesday worship service at 7 p.m. Feb. 14. A prayer labyrinth will be available in the fellowship hall from 4-7 p.m., including an instructional presentation at 5 p.m. for those new to the labyrinth experience. St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church is located at 2003 W. 43rd St. For information, call 713-686-8241 or visit and the church’s Facebook page.

and 18, only) at Theatre Suburbia, 4106 Way Out West. Reservations are encouraged. Tickets are $16 Adults, $13 Students and Seniors, and $13 Sunday Matinees. Information:, 713-682-3525.

St. James Lutheran Church, ELCA MANNA Sponsor

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What am I doing and why am I here? What is the purpose and meaning of life? These are all questions that people struggle with at times. While there is not space in all of this newspaper to write all that could be said about the meaning of life, I will share with you a few thoughts from my study this past week. In John 1:4 the Bible says referring to Jesus, “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.� In order to understand the meaning of life it is helpful to start with the question, “How did we get here anyway?� According to God’s Word, Jesus Christ is the source of life. In John 1:3 the Bible says, “All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.� Jesus Christ made everything, including you and me. He is the source of life. In John 3, Jesus talks about the difference between the physical birth and the spiritual birth. All of us were born physically. The physical birth, while a biological fact, is something that Jesus made possible. “All things were made by Him.� The spiritual birth is also something that Jesus made possible through His death, burial, and resurrection from the dead. Jesus died and rose again, so that you and I might have eternal life. Jesus spoke very plainly in John 14:6 when He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Jesus is the source of life. If we have not trusted Him for salvation, then we are doomed to eternal spiritual death. However, we can have spiritual life, if we trust in Jesus Christ and ask His forgiveness for our sin. The meaning of life starts and ends with Jesus. He is the reason we have life, and He is the reason we should live our lives. The Apostle Paul said in Phil 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.� The meaning you are seeking in life can only be found in and through Jesus Christ. Right now I am preaching through the book of John in our Sunday morning services at 10am. I would invite you to come and find out more Jesus, and therefore better understand the meaning of life.

Page 8A • Saturday, February 10, 2018 • The Leader

Can you save a dollar by skimping on year-round heartworm prevention? Dear Questioning Heartworm Meds, With Valentine’s Day upon us, we’re seeing cute, glittery hearts festooning every surface; but do you want to know what’s not as cute? A canine heart infested with heartworms. According to the American Heartworm Society, (yes, there is such a thing), “Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to

Dear Tabby, We’ve had our puppy on heartworm preventatives for about a year. The cost is starting to weigh heavily on our wallet and I was curious to know if our dog really needs heartworm prevention yearround. We haven’t seen a mosquito in months! Questioning Heartworm Meds in The Heights

other organs in the body.” Heartworms are most commonly spread via mosquitoes. The American Heartworm Society reminds us that, “Mosquitoes blown great distances by the wind and the relocation of infected pets to previously uninfected areas also contribute to the spread of heartworm disease--this happened following Hurricane Katrina when 250,000 pets, many of them infected with heartworms, were adopted and shipped throughout the country.” The thing is, if your dog gets heartworms (especially if caught early) it is treatable, but not without great expense to your dog’s health and to your wallet.

most political conversations go. In addition to talking and learning from our Democratic counterparts, I believe that it’s important for us to learn and discuss with the constituents regularly so that we learn first-hand what the important issues are in our District. Elected officials who serve in Washington sometimes lose touch with the people who elected them. How can you assure voters that the interests of this district will be your first priority? Many Representatives pack up and leave for D.C. I grew up in the Garden Oaks area. I met my wife



On average, the cost to treat heartworm disease is anywhere from $400 to $1,000. This is why prevention is the key to heartworm disease. Indeed, heartworm preventatives can be costly and are not always fun for your dog to take, but heartworm disease is a preventable disease in south Texas. One of the responsibilities of being a pet owner is to provide the best care that you can and preventing such a horrible disease is your obligation.

Meet Penny and Rusty. Penny (female, copper-colored) and Rusty (male, darker-colored) are both lab mixes who were found together right before one of the hard freezes that Houston experienced last month. These BFF’s are only about 10 months old, happy, healthy and very mild-mannered. They’d love to go to a home together if possible to keep each other company--talk about a package deal! To learn more, visit www.thelovemolly

Do you have a question for Tabby? Email her at

Lurie from P. 6A

Spiers from P. 6A

Balat from P. 6A

e re

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at Garden Oaks Baptist Church. That’s where we were married. I’ve gone to school in Houston, raised my family and started my businesses here. This is my home. I have a contract with the constituents of my District, www. I believe in accountability. Hold my feet to the fire. I have already created common sense solutions in the district. We can continue developing free market healthcare solutions and develop new business incubators to create more jobs. Just like we saw after Harvey we can take care of our neighbors and our community.

the good of America and the next generation. Elected officials who serve in Washington sometimes lose touch with the people who elected them. How can you assure voters that the interests of this district will be your first priority? (100 words or less) First, I will not be moving my family to Washington. We will continue to live in our district, our children will attend the same school, and local community involvement will continue to be a large part of our lives. Not enough representatives are accessible to their constituents to explain why they voted on certain issues, and where their current proposed legislation stands. Town Halls should be open, well publicized, and held regularly. Let the people be heard, and answer their questions directly. Most of all, I have no intention of becoming a career politician. I plan to make changes in Washington, and then return to the private sector and continue to live among our neighbors, and fellow constituents.

who elected them. How can you assure voters that the interests of this district will be your first priority? As a doctor, I served my patients. As an attorney, I serve my clients. As a surgeon in the Army Reserves, I served my country. I pride myself on being a servant to the people. My district is where my wife and family reside and, and where we will continue to reside. Every action will impact me personally. That is why I believe our Congressman should also be subject to the same rules as our constituents. For example, I intend to have the same healthcare as my constituents, not some special Congressional health plan filled with exceptions and special pre-requisites.

Havens from P. 6A trict will be your first priority? I grew up in our District and my home is in this District. In fact, my wife and I recently moved into childhood home where she grew up so that we raise our children in the same neighborhood as my wife and her mother, and her grandfather were raised in. I have no interest in living in Washington, D.C. My values and family life is solidly grounded in District 2.

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The Leader • Saturday, February 10, 2018 • Page 9A

Cooking in the kitchen with Momma I trekked home to San Antonio this past weekend to see the family and get away from the fast paced hustle of Houston. My Mom’s first question for the weekend: what do you want for Friday dinner? Such a typical Mom question. It’s one I love. Enchiladas Verdes y rice and beans was my immediate answer. And margaritas; always margaritas. We start the enchiladas by boiling dark meat chicken. Bone-in gives more flavor, but boneless is less work. After letting your chicken fully cook, the tedious work comes in with shredding your chicken. Some prefer a fork and hands, we opt for the food processor and give it a whirl. Or three. White corn tortillas are the needed variant. Before rolling,

ENTERTAINMENT CALENDAR Heights Mercantile Valentine market 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday. Feb. 10 Heights Mercantile – 711 Heights Blvd. Free event on the promenade! Get all of your Valentine’s day shopping done in one day at the Heights Mercantile, where local shops and vendors will be set up with lots of cool, handmade gifts. Vendor list includes, Ellion – hand poured candles, Adriane Wiltse – handmade jewelry, Harris and Essex – baked goods, Three Hearts Apparel – handmade baby products, Kaeci Concepts – handmade and designed apparel, Tweet and Peep – handmade jewelry, Pop Soap – handmade soaps and bath products, Cakes and Cookies by Claudia – cookies and treats, Stillsegovia – handmade paper flowers and more, Lolindo – handmade jewelry, Papelmazapan – handmade paper products and greeting cards.

Grand opening of DHF in the Heights 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10 Dance House Fitness – 246 W. 19th St. Come and celebrate with Dance House Fitness (DHF) for their grand opening! Throughout the day they will be offering their signature classes for free on a first come first serve basis. You’ll get to meet the instructors and dance to a live DJ. There will be giveaways, dancing, and a fun celebration. The schedule: 9 a.m. – 10 a.m., a “tight� work out. 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., a “Booty Werk,� 12 p.m. – 1 p.m., a “Hustle,� 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m., a “Choreo.�

The Office trivia and themed menu 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11 King’s BierHaus – 2044 E. T.C. Jester. For one night only, King’s BierHaus is releasing a full The Office inspire food and beverage menu for The Office trivia night. Trivia teams have a maximum of eight players and will have the chance to win first, second, and third The Office themed prizes. The trivia will be held inside the bierhaus and outdoors in the biergarten. This will be the only The Office trivia for the year, so make sure you show up early to get a good spot!

Cocktails and candle making at Manready Mercantile 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11 Manready Mercantile – 321 W. 19th St. Cocktails and candle making all in the name of Cupid! Join the fun at Manready Mercantile with your significant other or a friend. You’ll be able to customize your own candle with ingredients such as clean burning sox wax and your choice of essential oils. Cost per person includes all materials, the vessel to make your candle, the option to make two candles, plus cocktails. From 6 p.m. – 6:25 p.m. is check in, 6:25 p.m. will be introduction to candle making, 6:25 p.m. – 7:25 p.m. you’ll pour and mix your candles, and from 7:25 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. you can mingle while the candles set.

Christina Martinez Managing Editor

warming up the tortillas on a griddle or hot plate is ideal. Rolling enchiladas with a room temperature tortilla can cause breakage or an enchilada that doesn’t make it to your casserole dish. As you warm your tortillas, keep them covered in a heated environment so they keep their temperature. Rolling is our next step and using a clean plate - of any kind - is a helpful tool to use for spillage. You want to use about a tablespoon and a half of your shredded chicken, but eyeing your measure is best -

The Leader’s Christina Martinez and her Momma, Gloria Martinez, cooking in the kitchen and rolling enchiladas (photos contributed by Christina Martinez).

make sure you’ve got plenty, not too much to tear during the roll. Roll from bottom to top - a nice and secure roll. Before placing enchiladas in your casserole, make sure you’ve got a green enchilada sauce covering the dish - Las Palmas is a good brand. Place all of your enchiladas in your dish, cover with mozzarella

cheese, and finish with more sauce. Bake these in the oven at 350 for roughly 20 minutes - look for melted cheese. Cooking in the kitchen with Momma are things I love. Get in the kitchen with your loved ones this Valentine’s Day. Email

Art Valet: Art Launch introduces 2018 Escapist Artists Art Columnist

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Artist John Ross Palmer has been in my peripheral vision for many years. Why? Because he is a successful artist, he follows no rules but his own, and has made branding his name an art form. When you reach the pinnacle of success what do you do? Give back, of course. Palmer would most likely disagree with that statement about success, there is no way he and business partner and husband Ryan Lindsay are done achieving. Palmer did start giving back in the way of mentoring other artists almost 10 years ago. First, it was just friends at informal gatherings, that eventually led to a program which is now overseen by a nonprofit called Art Launch. The Escapist Mentorship Program, founded in 2009, pairs emerging artists with an established artist who coaches on all aspects of the business of art. Art Launch is the formal entity that operates the Escapist Mentorship Program, even drawing international interest. Sunday afternoon I attended the Escapist Initiation Ceremony. I was skeptical - I’m not one for formality - but my friend Elena Sandovici was accepted into the program and invited me to attend; that plenty reason to go, she is even less enthusiastic with formalities than I! Ryan Lindsay emceed, introduced us to the program, its history and then to keynote speaker Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg. Ogg pointed out how our society needs art as a reminder of the freedoms we fight for. Palmer said that former Escapist artists suggested the initiation ceremony to show the seriousness of the commitment to the program. When Palmer

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From the left, Congressman Al Green, Paul Hawkins, Ryan Lindsay, John Ross Palmer, Elena Sandovici, AVM Hawkins and DA Kim Ogg (photo contributed by Roswitha Vogler).

stepped up to lead the new Escapists with their pledge, I realized just how right the former Escapist artists were to suggest this ceremony. Making a commitment publicly, in front of family, friends, and colleagues, solidifies the seriousness of your future actions. Since 2014, the Escapist Artists each receive use of a personal state-of-the-art studio and gallery space in the heart of the Historic Houston Heights known as the Chrysalis. The Escapist Mentorship Program has always been entirely free for the accepted Escapist Artists. According to their website, Art Launch doesn’t just “teach� artists business skills in a bubble. The Escapist Artists are provided the authentic artist environment to host events and meet with art collectors through gallery welcome, art discussion, potential sale and follow-up. Art Launch also doesn’t just give education to the Escapist Artists. Real, significant dollars are put into their pockets through the sale of their artwork in the Chrysalis. After a year in the program, the Escapist Artists have the skills and training to thrive on their own without the reliance on the traditional art gallery system. Congratulations 2018 Escapist Artists Elena Sandovici, Ashley Hawkins, Paula Hawkins and Nabarupa Bhattacharje. By the way, Bhattacharje is the second-ever international Escapist, Bhattacharjee lives in New Delhi,

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India. Stay tuned here, I plan to follow along with the Escapist Artists throughout their year in the program. This is truly a very inspiring program. Find out more through their website, which has links to Facebook and Instagram. Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market and the new Market at Sawyer Yards, find him at ArtValet. com.


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Page 10A • Saturday, February 10, 2018 • The Leader

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Leader0210 a  

February 10, 2018 Section A

Leader0210 a  

February 10, 2018 Section A