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Covering the Heights, Garden Oaks, Oak Forest & the neighborhoods of North Houston

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Saturday, February 18, 2017 • Vol. 63 • No. 7

About Us news@theleadernews.com www.theleadernews.com Facebook/THE LEADER.

Residents striving to keep the ‘Oak’ in Oak Forest

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By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com When Oak Forest resident Nate Richards passed a crew cutting down a mature tree in his neighborhood near Wakefield Drive last week, his mind immediately sprang into action and sadness, as he sees the act representing a growing — and alarming— trend which puts Oak Forest in danger of losing its natural charm. Richards and his wife immediately took to the area upon moving in eight years ago, believing it contained everything they could ever hope for; but said he and others fear the loss of trees represents more than just a fallen oak. “A house big enough for a family with a yard and trees and still close to the city-there’s just not that many neighborhoods you can put all that together for less than $1 million in Houston,” he said. “The reason we fell in love with it was because it really is like driving in a mature suburban neighborhood.” Since then, Richards said his street is flush with builders clearing entire lots of massive trees to make room for suburban style landscaping. “I love the redevelopment of Oak Forest, but I’m so saddened to see new homes coming to the neighborhood and tearing down Photo supplied our neighbor- Chainsaws clear the hood’s gor- trees for new construcgeous mature tion in Oak Forest trees,” he wrote on NextDoor. Oak Forest Homeowners Association President Martha Mears echoed the sentiment, but said that unfortunately due to deed restrictions as currently written, the HOA’s hands are somewhat tied. “We hate to see all those wonderful, gorgeous trees come down, but the builder and that homeowner have to make decisions on how to get that house planned on that lot,” she said. “Then they have to adhere to the setback lines and building lines that are in the deed restrictions.” Part of the issue lies in what Mears said those drawing up the deed restrictions more than 40 years ago could not have envisioned — the massive population boom which has enveloped the city; and as such did not account for what is currently taking place with regards to any sort of HOA authority. “There aren’t any provisions in there which address that,” she said. “Because of that, they have to remove some of the trees; it’s unfortunate because we are seeing a lot of them come down all around the neighborhood.” Mears mentioned that the crux of the problem with amending deed restrictions lies within the diversity and expansiveness of Oak Forest, which spans more than 5,500 homes in 18 distinct sections

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Photos supplied Greg Cote – as Garbage Man Joe -- in the play Garbage Island. The live interactive show by Oak Forest playwright Abby Koenig debuts this Saturday, Feb. 18.

Local play aims to teach kids the value of recycling By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com Want to know where to find the perfect King Cake in Houston? The Leader gives you options.

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Find it. RETIRING A/C: Have unopened R-22, copper and fittings. Gas bottles, torch, new motors. By appointment only. 281-660-8880. Leave message. SENIOR COUPLE needs live-in caregiver. Free room and board. Need help with meals/errands. 713-686-3143. 15 ACRES: 2½ miles from Navasota, 15 miles from College Station. Water, electricity, wooded, pond. 281-379-7079, 713-249-4900.

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The INDEX. Church....................................................... 5A Classifieds.............................................. 4B Coupons. ................................................. 6A Food/Drink/Art................................... 1B Obituaries.............................................. 5A Opinion. ................................................... 4A Public Information......................... 2A Puzzles...................................................... 4A Sports. ....................................................... 8B

Oak Forest playwright and Abby Koenig knows what it’s like to try to entertain a small child. She has twin boys. So when fellow mom and Rec Room co-founder Stephanie Wittels Wachs approached her about writing a sketch performance piece for kids to put on at her performance space, Koenig was game. “Many a Saturday we’ve called each other and said ‘what are you doing with your kids today?’” said Koenig of Wachs. With two adult plays under her belt – Your Family Sucks and Spaghetti Codes, both produced at Horse Head Theatre – Koenig, who is also a professor of communication studies at University of Houston-Downtown, turned her

attention to a different audience. The result is Garbage Island, a live, interactive sketch performance for children ages 2-6, premiering this Saturday, February 18, at 10:30 a.m. and running Saturdays through March 11. Tickets are $10 per child. Parents and children under 2 are free. Coffee and mimosa are available. “I hope they get the jokes,” said Koenig, who said she was partly inspired by the old Muppet Show. Garbage Island takes place in a literal garbage dump where offthe-wall characters come to life to solve mysteries using creative and critical thinking skills. There is an eco-friendly, recycling message in the production which is conveyed in an age-appropriate way. “We’re inviting kids to bring their old toys and one will be chosen each show to toss the toy on

stage,” said Koenig. “The actors will improvise with them.” The improv element ensures that no two performances will be the same and is meant to encourage repeat attendees. With a small budget, Houston Grand Opera costumer Clair Hummel made the costumes from found materials to further highlight the theme of sustainability. Local See Garbage P. 3A

See Trees P. 3A

Voters will speak out again on HISD recapture Austin calculates our payment on the $100,000, not the exempted $80,000. That makes us wealthier than the actual taxes we pay on the property. Now the TEA will recognize 50 percent of that, so our payment would be on $90,000 instead of $80,000.” Other adjustments were made to student enrollment and property value

By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com What was referred to as an olive branch of sorts at last week’s HISD board meeting – the Texas Education Agency’s reduction of HISD’s recapture obligation from $162 million to $77.5 million – was the impetus for the 5-3 vote by the board to call a new special election on the matter in May. Much of the recapture reduction came from a 50 percent concession of HISD’s 20 percent homestead exemption. “Take a $100,000 house,” said HISD Trustee Anna Eastman. “Right now

figures. With a new election, Houstonians could basically reverse the no vote of last November and authorize sending the lower recapture payments to the state rather than face the detachment of commercial property, valued now at $8 billion dollars’ worth of non-residential, commercial properties from HISD’s tax roll. The TEA recently released the list of properties subject to detachment. Number one on the list? The Galleria.

HISD is now subject to recapture because even with 80 percent of HISD’s population classified as economically disadvantaged, the state considers it a property-wealthy district and the “Robin Hood” rule requires that monies must be redistributed to poorer districts. “There seems to be some confusion with regard to recapture,” said Eastman, who went on record last November against detachment and advocated for a new vote at the board meeting. “We aren’t voting on whether to go into recapture because we alSee Recapture P. 7A

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The public. Saturday, February 18, 2017 • Page 2A

Friends of Oak Forest fundraiser to go towards playground for all abilities By Landan Kuhlmann

landan@theleadernews.com

Have any spare change burning a hole in those pockets? Then Friends of Oak Forest has a perfect use for those pesky coins. This coming Sunday, Feb. 19, Friends of Oak Forest will be hosting its Pennies for our Playground launch party at 3508 Oak Forest Dr. Activities such as ReadyFlipGo mobile gymnastics, My House Fitness challenge course, animalthemed crafts, Idea Lab Kids stations, salvaged wood decorating, a DJ and more will welcome guests to the park for an afternoon of fun for the cause. All proceeds from the event benefit the future playground for all abilities, and chairperson Elyssa Horvath emphasized that any donation large or small is more than enough. “We need the whole community to help support this, because there’s no public fund-

ing available for the new playground right now,” she said. Attendees will also have the option to purchase engraved art tiles honoring a friend, family, business or more helped by Oak Forest Elementary art teacher Mr. Roy. When completed, the tiles will be assembled into the walkway leading to the Playground for All Abilities — to be termed the “Pathway to Play.” “We’re really just trying reach out to everyone in our community, so that when they come to the new playground they can say they had a part in it,” Horvath said. To date, Friends of Oak Forest has raised $140,000, and Horvath said the first part of the park revitalization — which includes the tennis court repairs, new wind screens and the re-striping of the basketball court — has already been funded. Once fully funded, the playground will be the first public play space of its kind in

It’s true that Texas doesn’t know winter like the rest of the country, and that all it takes is a sneeze or a strange look for the weather to go from 50 to 90 degrees. It was on one of Houston’s unexpectedly cold days that Mrs. Jones, the reading interventionist at Katherine Smith Elementary, noticed that some student’s closets may be less stocked than the average Houstonian. Jones found that many students at KSE were in need of warmer clothes that protected them from these unexpectedly cold days. That’s when she sought out help with parent engagement representative Brenda Espinoza. “We realized that something had to be done and came up with the idea for a school community closet,” Espinoza said. “We initiated the idea by writing a donation request letter

and sent out copies into the community.” Many people responded to the letters with used clothing donations and one large company, Herman Packaging, responded with a very generous monetary donation that the school used to buy new clothes. After receiving these donations, Katherine’s Caring Closet went from being an idea to a literal closet full of needed clothes. “It works like a store, but it’s run by students and parents, and everything is free,” Espinoza said. “The closet not only helps students in need, but it also creates character for the students who work there.” Students working at the caring closet are paid in cowboy bucks, which they can use to earn all types of rewards. Espinoza says working at the caring closet teaches the students responsibility, proactivity, and gives them a chance to use their own efforts for the bet-

serves the educational needs of K-12th grade students with learning differences.

Houston’s only 2E Program for gifted & talented students with learning differences including ADHD, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia Innovative teaching methods 8:1 Ratio Individualized curriculum Emotionally safe & supportive environment info@crossroadshouston.org 5822 Dolores St. (Galleria area) www.crossroadshouston.org 713-977-1221 TAAPS accredited, non-profit 501 © (3) organization

In MeMorIaM Photo supplied Shown here is a group of the Friends of Oak Forest. The group will be holding a Pennies for our Playground fundraiser this Sunday to benefit the future playground for all abilities in Oak Forest.

the central northwest community. The entry donation is $5 per family in advance or $10 at the door. Entry is free with orders for art tiles and engraved pavers that will be installed along the future “Pathway to Play.” To host a vendor booth

or to register in advance by Feb. 18, contact FriendsofOakForestPark@yahoo.com. To donate, readers can visit houstonparksboard.org/projects/ oak_forest_park/. Checks or cash may also be dropped off to 1332 Ebony Ln.

Smith Elementary opens closet to clothe students in need By Jennifer Layer For The Leader

Crossroads sChool, InC.

terment of the community. Katherine’s Caring Closet is not only open during the cold days but the hot ones too. As long as there are donations coming in and a need for clothes, the closet will remain open. Now, before you get too excited about the idea of a store giving out free clothing for kids, the store is only open to KSE students with a teacher referral. KSE is seeking any kind of donation from dress code approved sweaters to a pair of socks. Monetary donations are also welcome as the KSE PTO moms are very savvy and know how to get the most for their money. The key to Katherine’s Caring Closet is that its sole purpose is to encourage successful students. The faculty and staff at KSE all strongly believe in the

future of their students. “We all have an understanding, promoted by Dr. Miller, the principal, that these kids really can achieve whatever they put their mind to and that our purpose is to encourage the best possible future for each student,” Espinoza said. “We feel the closet helps us do this by providing all students in need the resources to be ready to learn, while also giving them a chance to make changes in the community themselves.” If readers are interested in making a donation to Katherine’s Caring Closet, please visit the PTO center at Katherine Smith Elementary during normal school hours, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. They are seeking uniform appropriate donations fitting Pre-K through 5th grade students.

Stacey Watkins Aug. 18, 1975 - Jan. 30, 2017

41, passed away Monday January 30, 2017. For more information, please visit www.DarstFuneralHome.com

In MeMorIaM

norma Jean (Floyd) Moore – Sorrells July 1, 1929 – January 14, 2017

I was born in Harvey, W VA to Thomas and Kathleen McClung Hess. My Lord came for me on January 14, at 0921 hours at home surrounded by my loved ones. My brother, Ed, first husband Paul Whitfield Floyd, Jr., and son Paul W. “Chip” Floyd, III left before I did. I will be happy to see them again. Those still here are my dear husband Vance, my sons James and Ridge Floyd, as well as my daughter Susan Moore, sister-in-law Helen Sorrells Bean and grandchildren Lyla Kathleen Floyd and Harris Edison Floyd. “Nurse Jean” as I became known to family and friends alike, graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School, Beckley, W VA in 1947. After attending The Medical College of Virginia, I enlisted in the US Navy in 1951 where I served during The Korean Conflict. In 1952 while in the Navy I met and married Paul Floyd. In 1968 I opened G.C. Scarborough Jr. Sr. High School as their first Nurse and served until my retirement in 2009 at age 80. In 1971 I became Head Nurse better known as “Mean Jean” by the campers at Camp Stewart for Boys in Hunt, TX. It was there that I met the love of my life, Vance Sorrells in 1991 and married in 2001. A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, February 18, 2017, 11 am at St. Stephens United Methodist Church, 2003 West 43rd Houston. In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to St. Stephens UMC or the charity of your choice.

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Garabage from P. 1A singer-songwriter, Greg Cote, hosts the show as Garbage Man Joe, performing original music with his guitar. Houston actors and Rec Room regulars Dano Colon, Tasha Gorel, and Orlanders Jones, perform as a rotation of multiple characters. There is a pre-taped segment with famed puppeteer Joel Orr of Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theatre where a puppet tries to dispose of a plastic bottle the right way in Hermann Park. Each performance will culminate in a big kid dance party, with recycled instruments and Garbage Man Joe and the cast. There are a lot of firsts with the play. It’s the first play for children that Koenig has written and the first thing for kids that the Rec Room, open for a year across the street from Minute Maid Park, has produced. The hope is that the show

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Honest Conversations® Photo supplied The theme of sustainability and recycling is played for laughs.

will go on all year around with breaks in between. “We’d start up again in the summer with a different script,” said Koenig. Koenig took her kids to a dress rehearsal and said that they keep telling the knockknock jokes they heard.

“I hope parents like it too,” she said. “I think it’s one of the funniest things I’ve written.” The Rec Room is located at 100 Jackson St. Metered Street parking is available. For more information see http://www. recroomhtx.com/new-events.

ramifications. “It’s something we would love to see happen, but we’d have to coordinate that with our planning department; and then you’d get a lot of pushback from developers,” he said. Currently, Burkes said Urban Forestry’s reach only extends as far as being able to require builders to re-plant or preserve a certain number of trees on a city right of way – two trees if lot size is greater than 5,000 square feet, and one tree for any property less than 5,000 square feet. “If there’s not room on the right of way, then we allow them to plant them on private property and those trees have to remain alive for two years,” he added. “After that if a new property owner wants to remove it, that’s where we have no jurisdiction.”

developers preparing to build on private property must submit a proposal to the city stating which trees they will take down, which will be preserved and those to be added over the course of building. Additionally, a certain minimum number of trees must remain on the property following construction depending on the width of the property. Upon learning as such, Burkes said the notion of extending tree protection onto private property is one which merits at least a consideration. “I would say there’s always a possibility,” he said of the notion that such a shift could occur in Houston. “I think it’s worth the city at least looking at it, seeing how other cities have implemented the procedures and how developers are operating within those confines. The ordinance is in place, but it can be amended.” Any addendum, he warned, would still be a lengthy process. “It’s something that is going to take a lot of support and justification. I don’t see any of us being against protecting trees, but a lot of the pushback will come from developers,” he said. “I think there must be a happy medium so we can all work together.”

Trees from P. 1A — each with its own personal set of deed restrictions. “You need to have 75 percent of the residents agree to the new changes in the restrictions,” she said. “You would also be looking at something which generally takes about a year to 18 months to get done, and who knows? That’s part of what we would be dealing with.” “It’s not anything that any of us want to do, I think it just comes with the territory with these trees,” she added of taking down the beloved oaks, noting that the homeowner’s association does revisit the issue each year to examine the financial feasibility undertaking the amendment process. What can be done to help? On the city level, Jeremy Burkes with the city of Houston’s Urban Forestry Department noted the department would not be opposed to amending the ordinance as written — which unfortunately for homeowners such as Richards currently makes no provisions for protection of trees on private property. However, he said such a proposition has not been made during his 11 years of working with the city, and is one which carries the potential for huge

Change not out of the question That said, The Leader decided to look into other similar spots around the area, and it turns out cities such as Bellaire appear to have implemented measures which require builders to work around certain oaks — a development which could work in residents’ favor. The city of Bellaire tree ordinance essentially states

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The Topics. Saturday, February 18, 2017 • Page 4A 3A

Movie studio funded fake link to Leader H ere’s an update for you, in case you care. Last week, I wrote a column about the hijacking of The Leader name. I did not know who, what or why, but I suspected someone wanted to cash in on our name. Well, that’s not exactly the case, but it’s close – and it’s fascinating (at least to me). In case you don’t recall, a website called houstonleader.com was created and full of all sorts of drivel. There were stories on Lady Gaga and her “leaked” ode to Muslims during the halftime show of Super Bowl LI in Houston. Donald Trump apparently provided PED-laced water to the Patriots, which is why they came back to miraculously defeat the Atlanta Falcons. There also was a story about a bogus 30-year study that linked being a vegan to mental illness – the hook that snagged us in the upper lip. Someone posted a link to that vegan story on our Facebook page, asked if we “knew about” the story, and then apparently took our Facebook link and shared it with as many people as possible. What happened next was an onslaught of anger. People in continents across the globe called us – The Leader – horrible journalists for quoting from a study that didn’t exist and relying on a Ph.D. who, technically, has not yet been born. Our office received calls from all

Jonathan McElvy Publisher

over the country wondering why we would share such hideous information. Our Facebook page was filled with comments that either kept the story alive or questioned our competence. Last week, when I hurriedly wrote about this “fake” website, I told readers that this was not us. We splashed my column everywhere possible – digital, print, social media. Incredibly, people commented on my column by suggesting maybe our vegan story wasn’t accurate. Well no kidding, rutabaga. That’s exactly what I wrote, yet people still thought I was spreading information about a bogus scientific study. My assumption was someone created this website to gain clicks. The more clicks they got, the more revenue they earned. And the more we talked about the fake site, the more publicity (pageviews) they received. It turns out I wasn’t exactly ac-

curate in my assumptions. You’ve heard of 20th Century Fox, the behemoth movie studio that has distributed the likes of Star Wars, Avatar and that all-time classic, Porky’s. This is not some indie film company; it’s one of the biggest, baddest players in the game. They have a partner called Regency Enterprises, which produces many of the 20th Century Fox movies and TV shows. Last Friday, Fox and Regency released a movie (I’m not even going to tell you the name because it would add to their publicity), and it turns out they created fake news sites in five cities across the country to solely promote this un-named movie. I’ve made an interesting acquaintance in learning about the hijacking of The Leader name. There’s a website called BuzzFeed, which covers social and entertainment news, among other things. Somehow, BuzzFeed got hold of this story (not from me, because I don’t think they actually read The Leader in New York). The journalists there, including one of their editors, Craig Silverman, started looking into this hoax, and what they discovered makes me really sad about the state of the marketing industry. Here’s what the story said: “BuzzFeed News contacted Regency Enterprises, one of the film’s producers with the information

The reader.

Friday Night Flights TULLY STADIUM – This is where my son and his son played football and where my daughter led cheers for the Fightin’ Wildcats. The whole complex would make many a college envious, for it is a vast and expensive facility with double-decked press boxes, big scoreboard, and artificial turf. My tax dollars at work. Ah, but this stadium pales in comparison to what the Katy ISD, right down the road, is building: a $62.5 million facility (but the cost keeps rising) which makes it the most expensive high school football stadium in Texas, beating out the Allen ISD, up near Dallas, which spent $60 million to build its stadium. However, another $10 million is needed to repair “significant structural defects.” That’s a lot of money, but it’s all a matter of priorities. As CBS newsman Bob Schieffer (TCU) said, “In Texas, the week begins on Friday nights.” This creates a problem, and as usual, I have the solution. The problem: Many of our best football talent – the blue chippers -- are going to outof-state schools, there to raise millions for LSU, Florida, USC on an on. A recent survey by the Houston Chronicle determined that four of the 32 fivestar recruits in the nation are from Texas, and none are staying here. A composite survey found that nine of the state’s top 15 recruits are leaving Texas. What we have here is a brain concussion drain. There are several reasons for the days when all our best players were staying in state. One reason: At the end of the last season, no Texas university ranked in any Top 25 poll. If you’re a winner in high school, why would you want to play for a loser? Then there is the constantly changing coaching situation. A head football coach at UH went to Baylor, then his replacement at UH went to Texas A&M. The last UH coach fled to UT, which had fired its coach, Charlie Strong, after only three years. We all know the chaos at Baylor, which now has had three coaches in two years. Texas A&M may be looking for a new coach. Same for Texas Tech since Kliff Kingsbury is only coaching .500. Every time a head coach leaves, some of the young men he recruited leave with him or just leave. SMU is a special case. The Mustangs were once a football power with a Heisman Trophy winner. In 1987 SMU received the Death Penalty for a host of continued violations, the only time the NCAA has ever done that. SMU never recovered, and to this day is landing mostly the B and C list. Technology has played a role. It used to be that Texas recruiters could tell a young halfback, “Stay in the state and your folks can go see you play.” Cable TV lets the parents watch junior play for almost any school with a major program. And social media

Lynn Ashby Columnist

allows college coaches anywhere, if the tape is available, to view Number 34 running for yet another TD. We’ve seen the problem, and why it is a problem, but what is it about our high school players that anyone else would care? Simply put, Texas has the oldest, largest and best high school football operator in the nation: the University Interscholastic League, or UIL. The old line goes: “There are better football programs, but they play on Sunday afternoons.” (As an aside, note the name contains “Scholastic” but not “Athletics,” because the UIL was established as an academic operation and still runs programs and contests for accounting, stage design, poetry interpretation and much more. But we’re talking football here, which most Texans prefer.) This past season, more than 150,000 students from 1,000 schools played UIL football. On any Friday night in the fall, some 600 games were played before 1-million people. Texas is the only state in the country that plays high school football using NCAA football rules, as opposed to the National Federation of State High School Associations. This provides for an easier move to the college level. Each December the top teams compete for the coveted state championship. This past year, 245,913 spectators watched the finals at AT&T Stadium (formerly Dallas Cowboys Stadium) and we must suspect 90 percent of them were college scouts. Over the years, the results have been impressive. Only 76 individuals can say they are Heis¬man trophy winners, and nine of them are products of Texas high school foot¬ball. Meantime, 24 former UIL players have been inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. As for my solution to our blue-chippers heading out of state, we pay for these kids to begin playing at the age of 8 or 9, then support them when they move on to junior and finally high school. Texas taxpayers provide them with coaches, equipment, fields and bleachers not to mention cheerleaders, flag girls, bands with expensive uniforms and lots of adulation you can’t buy. Then, when they reach the top of their early game, they go to play for the Crimson Tide. (The starting quarterback for Alabama, the perennial Number 1 team in the nation, is Jalen Hurts from Channelview, Texas. How much money did Hurts generate for ‘Bama?) We have a coveted commodity here, and

connecting the [fake news] sites to the film. A spokesperson confirmed they are working with the fake sites and provided a statement. ‘”[Name of movie] is a movie about a ‘fake’ cure that makes people sicker,’ it said. ‘As part of this campaign, a ‘fake’ wellness site was created and we partnered with a fake news creator to publish fake news.’” Let me make this simple: 20th Century Fox and Regency Enterprises paid someone to create fake news sites and link them to reputable news sites like ours at The Leader. They did this in New York, creating a site called the NY Morning Post, which is very similar to the New York Post. They also created sites in Indianapolis, Salt Lake City and Sacramento. Every story on these sites, in some form or fashion, promoted the new movie that was released last week. As you might imagine, this has had me hot under the collar for the past week, and the financial aspect is the least of my concerns. Well, that’s not exactly true. In 2016, 20th Century Fox grossed $27.3 billion in revenue. I don’t know how much they spend on marketing, but in this case, they paid a marketing firm to create a website that cashed in on our name. They had someone post a story to our Facebook page to look like the content came from us. They then paid someone a lot of money to distribute

We have no stories on mental illness in vegans

we are giving it away. Texas does not give away its oil, cattle or sleazy politicians. So we charge or trade. “Florida, you want Bubba Musclebound? That’ll be 100k and an orange grove to be named later.” “Okies, since most of your team is made up of turncoat Texans, spot UT three touchdowns in the Red River Shootout.” This story has been told before, but is worth re-telling about an alleged confrontation some years ago at a coaches’ convention when Michigan State head football coach Duffy Daugherty ran into UCLA head coach Tommy Prothro. Daugherty thoroughly upbraided his colleague for “recruiting in my backyard.” Prothro replied that he hadn’t even been in Michigan lately, much less recruited there. “Not Michigan,” Daugherty fairly yelled. “Texas!” Ashby is recruited at ashby2@ comcast

Dear Editor: Thanks for exposing this fraudulent article. However, as someone currently trying out a plant-based (“vegan”) diet, I have to admit it’s rather insulting how you treat the concept. I don’t think it’s such an outlandish idea myself, and I bet there are some readers in the North Houston area who agree. (Well, I won’t bet money; perhaps they have to hide their dietary predilections in your area?). I’ve been reading that a plant based diet actually has real health benefits, including a reduced chance of death from most of the major causes of death in America today (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and more). It may both extend life, and improve the quality of it. You personally may not want to give up your pulled pork, but you could consider increasing the amount of beans and vegetables alongside it, or on alternate pork-free days. You may improve your own and your family’s health, and decrease the level of pollution, and decrease pressures on land

that post to who knows how many people, while also spending the cash to have houstonleader.com appear as the No. 3 ranked site on Google. If you Google “Houston Leader,” we’re the first result, with our phone number, web address and street address for all the world to see. People automatically associated our company with their slimy marketing tactics. In the meantime, we spent a week on the phone and answering emails from people who associated this filthy marketing ploy with our reputation. The big issue here isn’t that a mega studio should pay us money to advertise. The issue is that one of the most iconic movie companies in the world believes it’s OK to pay a marketing firm to prey on a small media company like ours to create a viral story that disparages our name and damages our reputation. And there’s an even bigger issue: If this continues, and large companies saddle on the backs of legitimate companies to try fancy forms of advertising, they’re going to destroy the goodwill folks like us have with our readers. Eventually, people will stop reading because they can’t trust us, by no fault of our own. That problem is not new. Heck, it may be too late. Email jonathan@theleadernews.com

and water resources in our country. I recommend checking out this website: nutritionfacts. org. Michael

Professional protesting now a career?

Dear Editor: Perhaps in the past, people did just complain to their friends and family about politics, but many feel woke by the current political climate and have decided staying quiet or complaining around their dinner table is no longer viable. As a stay-at-home-mom, I do have the freedom to go to protests while my kids are at school. No one pays me, although I’ll admit, some income for something I am going to do anyway would be nice! On any given day we feel action needs to be taken, I have a whole network of friends around Houston who will take their kids to a Senator’s office or stop by a coffee shop to write postcards. I also have friends with flexible schedules or who work unconventional hours in every sector from sales to academia. For many,

going to to Woman’s March in Washington or Austin was not spontaneous. It took coordination with spouses, travel arrangements, and financial situations into consideration. Does planning or not planning lessen the impact? I don’t truly understand what spontaneity has to do with caring about justice? And yes, I know a mom from my kids’ school and her teenage daughter, as well as a handful of childless neighbors, were able to head to IAH on a moment’s notice when they heard through a grapevine that like-minded people would be there defending the rights of other humans. We don’t do this because we are paid or have nothing else to do. We do this because we are Americans, believers in our Constitution, and care about others. I’m sorry if Jeff wants us to go back to complaining around our kitchen tables or office water coolers, but we’re not backing down. We will persist. Viula Torgerson Email us your letters: news@theleadernews.com

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

SUDOKU

aCrOss

1. Taro plant 5. Stone splinter 10. One who likes tobacco 12. Roughly chipped flint 14. He played Gandalf 16. Indicates position 18. AMC ad show ‘Mad __’ 19. Popular sports league 20. Linguistics pioneer 22. Singer DiFranco 23. Dispenses 25. Most important part 26. Worthless entertainment 27. Remunerate 28. Cool 30. Ex-Knick Jeremy 31. On top 33. Felt for 35. Vulcan doctor 37. Publicly denounce 38. Bits of 40. Something to live by 41. Take in solid food 42. Small amount 44. German war epic ‘__ Boot’ 45. Words per minute

48. Employee stock ownership plan 50. Recorded 52. Paddle 53. Dormouse 55. Officially prohibit 56. Wrongly 57. Yves Rocher 58. Weakens 63. An evening party 65. Containing salt 66. Semitic gods 67. Grand in scale

dOwn

1. Very long period of time 2. Boston-based Celtic punk band (abbr.) 3. Final month (abbr.) 4. Scottish island 5. Merchandiser 6. Elected leader (abbr.) 7. Brews 8. Linear accelerator (abbr.) 9. Lawrence Taylor 10. Upstate NY college 11. Schemer 13. Even more shaggy 15. Electronic funds transfer

17. Currently popular 18. Indicates where you are 21. Female peace officers 23. Opposite of woman 24. Drain 27. Studied 29. Performs mischievous deeds 32. Political action committee 34. Rocker Nugent 35. American jazz rockers ‘__ Dan’ 36. They remove things 39. Standardized test 40. Dishonorable man 43. Infants 44. Actress Richards 46. International monetary units 47. Married woman 49. Lecterns 51. Buddy 54. Spanish river 59. ‘Fresh Prince of __ Air’ 60. Strike lightly 61. Boxing legend 62. Muscle contraction 64. Siberian river

WORD SCRAMBLE


Saturday, February 18, 2017 • Page 5A

The calendar. UNDERDOGS AND UNDERCATS: PHOTO EXHIBIT Friends for Life Come to the Friends for Life Animal Shelter, 107 E. 22nd St., from 6-8 p.m. Feb. 16, to admire the Underdogs and Undercats photo series and meet the photo team behind this unique photoshoot. Carolyn Levy, Katie Weintritt, Matt Weintritt and Lauren Evans will be available to answer questions about the setup and experience of working with animals. There will be light bites and drinks. Please rsvp to communications@friends4life.org. STEAK NIGHT American Legion Post 560 Come by the American Legion Post 560, 3720 Alba Rd., for a delicious steak dinner and live entertainment, Feb. 17 (third Friday of each month). Steaks will be served from 6 p.m. until sold out. The cost is $15 per plate. Information: 713-682-9287, facebook. com/AmLegionPost560/, www. txlegion560.org. IMAGINATION PLAYGROUND Target and Non-profit KaBOOM The presentation of Imagination Playground to the Child Care Council of Greater Houston Day

Care Center will be at 10 a.m. Feb. 21, at the West End Multi Service Center, 170 Heights Blvd. Imagination Playground is an innovative design in play equipment that encourages creativity, communication and collaboration in play. Call 713-266-6045 for reservations. ROUND UP 2017 Leather Apron Foundation Come out to this year’s 4th Annual Round Up 2017 on Saturday, Feb. 25 from 6 - 10 p.m. at the SPJST Lodge, 1435 Beall. This annual event features live music by Darwin Macon Band and a BBQ dinner, as well as face painting, live and silent auctions, and a children’s raffle! Bring the entire family for an evening of fun – rain or shine! Tickets are $35 at the door, kids ages 5-12 are $10, kids 4 and under are free. Information: facebook.com/ events/216181045513577/. FIREFLY FIELD DAY Friends of Woodland Park The Friends of Woodland Park will be hosting Firefly Field Day from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Feb. 25. Bayou City Play will set up their popular temporary play installation which provides opportuni-

ties for children to explore and be creative. Firefly Field is a sculptural installation designed by local Woodland Heights artist Dylan Conner. A short welcome and introduction of Firefly Field will be held at 11 a.m., followed by special guest Karla Cisneros. Snacks and lemonade will be served. The event will be at Woodland Park, 212 Parkview St. Information: friendsofwoodland park.org.

booths start at $100 and sponsorships start at $250. For details on participation in the parade, selling goods or to sponsor this year’s Crawfish Festival, contact Jill Johnston at the Chamber office. Information: 713-861-6735, events@heightschamber.org. AARP MONTHLY MEETING AARP Chapter 1265 The monthly meeting will be held at 10 a.m., March 6, in the community room at 1520 Candlelight Ln. This month’s guest speaker will be Scotts and Associates of Houston Inc., and they will discuss retirement and wealth management. The meeting is open to anyone 50 or older, and will be preceded by a meet-and-greet at 9:30 a.m. President is Georgia Lewis, vice president is Terrell Holiday. Information: 713-682-4022.

DISTINGUISHED SPEAKER SERIES Houston Assembly of Delphian Chapters Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson will discuss the dynamic changes in the virtual learning and information environment, and the vast resources available at the Houston Public Library to meet these 21st century demands. The meeting will be from 5-7 p.m. Feb. 25, at the West University Community Center, 6104 Auden. This is a complimentary event and guests are welcome.

URBAN BALLET CONCERT Houston City Dance Houston City Dance, 1307 Clay St., will present their Urban Ballet Concert at 8 p.m. April 13 and 14, and 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. April 15. The cost is $25 for adults and $20 for students. Information: houstoncitydance. com, 713-529-6100.

CRAWFISH FESTIVAL Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce This year’s Crawfish Festival is Saturday, March 4. Exhibitor

From the Pews. Movie Night at St. Stephen’s All are welcome to attend Family Movie Night at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17. Snacks will be served. Admission is free. Bring pillows and blankets, and dinner, if preferred. A new GriefShare support group will meet weekly on Tuesdays beginning Feb. 21 at 6:30 p.m., in Room 201. Each session includes a video teaching on grief recovery followed by small group discussion. Please RSVP to the office. St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church is located at 2003 W. 43rd St. For information, call 713-686-8241 or visit www.stsumc.org and the church’s Facebook page. Zion Lutheran hosting chili supper Zion Lutheran’s Men in Mission are hosting their annual chili supper from 5-7 p.m. Feb. 22, in Zion’s Great Room. This is their annual fundraiser

for the Seminary Scholarship program. The meal will be for a free will offering and there will also be quarts to go for $10. Zion Lutheran is located at 3606 Beauchamp. Call 713869-1493 for information. Houston Chamber Choir presents Mexicantos II at All Saints The Houston Chamber Choir presents Meixicantos II, a free concert in the sanctuary of All Saints Catholic Church, 215 E. 10th St. The brilliance of Mexico’s choral tradition will be on full display as the choir performs works from the country’s golden age of polyphony in the 16th century to its present-day gems. The concert will be from 7:30-9 p.m. Feb. 24. There will be a dessert reception after the concert. This is a free will offering concert. Call 713-864-2653 or visit www.allsaintsheights.com for information.

Brinkman. Call 713-692-9123 or email info@stroselima.org for information.

Senior Time event at First Church Heights The Senior Time event meets the last Tuesday of every month. Come and listen to interesting guest speakers and have breakfast. The guest speaker for this month is Cristina Vetrano, president and CEO of CanCare: Fighting Cancer with Hope. The event will be from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Feb. 28, at First Church Heights, 201 E. 9th St., in the fellowship hall. Call 713-861-3102 for information.

‘Alpha’ series at The Vineyard For those interested in exploring the meaning of life, The Vineyard Church of Houston is hosting a series of 12 sessions titled “Alpha.� Alpha is a chance to find out more about the basics of Christian faith in a fun, relaxed setting. Food is provided, and there is no charge, no pressure and no follow-up. The series runs weekly from 7-9 p.m. through April 4. Three class times are available at two locations including the Heights and Medical Center areas. To register, visit www.houstonvineyard. org/alpha. The Vineyard Church of Houston is located at 1035 E. 11th St., and is a multi-cultural Christian congregation. For information, visit www.houstonvineyard.org.

St. Rose Men’s Club hosts Spring Fish Fry The St. Rose Men’s Club is hosting its Spring Fish Fry from 4:30-7:30 p.m. March 10, and will include fried catfish, hush puppies, french fries, coleslaw, and ice tea. Desserts will be provided by the St. Rose Altar Guild for $1. Dinein or take out. St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church is located at 3600

born March 16, 1969, died Feb. 7.

Margaret Marie Hamil,

94, born June 29, 1922, died Jan. 28. Hamil was a member of Baptist Temple and Helmer Street Baptist Church. She is survived by her sister, Diana Clauder and several grandchildren, and greatgrandchildren.

Bobbie Jean Harville, 84,

born July 8, 1932, died Feb. 10. She was a member of the White Oak Baptist Church. Harville was employed for 10 years with the Wall Street Journal. She is survived by her sisters, Faye Miller and Marie Byrne.

Alben Charlie Kwiatkowski, 84, born Feb. 8, 1932 in Brenham, Texas, died Feb. 7. Kwiatkowski retired from Blumenthal Sheet Metal Company after more than 30 years of service. He was a member of the Knights of Colum-

bus and volunteer at St. Ambrose Catholic Church. Kwiatkowski is survived by his beloved wife of 63 years, Bernardine Kwiatkowski; daughters Debbie McKaskle, Karen Thomas and Diane Benavides; sons David Kwiatkowski and Alben Charlie Kwiatkowski, Jr., 13 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

William Louis Rittenhouse, born Sept. 4, 1937, died Feb. 9.

Marjie Lee West Waltmon, 89, born June 17, 1927,

died Feb. 9. Waltmon graduated from John H. Reagan School in 1944. She was employed in accounting at The Fashion, The Ben Milam Hotel, M. and M. Fabricating Co., Beltway Reprographics, Exxon, and in real estate sales. She is survived by her husband of 70 years, Lynn Waltmon, son, Michael Waltmon, sister Alma West, brother Jean West, four

Chase Baker, D.D.S.

T

his last weekend we participated in the “Give Kids a Smile� event at the UT Dental School in providing much needed dental care to underserved children in our community. Taking care of these children reminded me of the old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure�, and in this case an ounce of dental sealants is worth a pound of dental fillings! If your child’s teeth are susceptible to decay, even with regular brushing, you may want to ask your dentist if he would recommend pit and fissure sealants to protect and prevent future decay. Pit and fissure sealants are a proven method of decay prevention. They are particularly helpful in protecting the groved chewing surfaces of permanent molars, which tend to trap food particles, making them more vulnerable to decay. In the pit and fissure sealant process, a thin plastic coating is applied to the tooth surface. This is a relatively simple procedure, with little or no discomfort involved for the child. Usually the sealant will last several years and can then be reapplied if needed. Your child’s molars or back teeth are probably the hardest working teeth in the mouth. That’s where the heavy grinding and chewing are done. Pit and fissure sealants are an excellent way to protect them from and keep them free of decay. Ask your dentist if this may be a good treatment for your child.

Prepared as a public service to promote better dental health. From the office of: Chase Baker, D.D.S., 3515 Ella Blvd., 713-682-4406.

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Page 6A • Saturday, February 18, 2017

Reader looking to ‘tighten belt’ on pet food expenses

Dear Tabby, We’re trying to overhaul our budget and reduce spending. We are wondering how to save money on our pet food? Any tips? Budget-Conscious in Brooksmith Dear Budget-Conscious, Did you know that consumers will spend about $21.3 billion on pet food this year, according to the American Pet Products Association? Pet food expenses are a big part of pet ownership and can make or break your grocery budget. Here are a few tips for getting the most bang out of your pet-food-budget-buck. Follow your favorite brand: Name-brand pet food companies often post coupons on social media and via their websites. If you have a favorite brand of pet food, follow them online and take advantage of their offers and promotions.

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money in vet bills in the far and near future. It’s not worth the risk of putting your pet’s health in jeopardy to save a few bucks a week at the grocery store. Be sure to do your research and consult your vet on more budget-friendly alternatives for your pet’s food. Also, if you decide to change the brand of food that you’re currently feeding your pet, make the change gradually so that you don’t upset your pet’s digestive system. How you can help: Do you know of a space for lease that a local rescue group could use? K-9 Angels Rescue is looking for a new home.They’re

Meet George. George is an active, 3 year old German Shepherd/Collie-mix. George loves going for brisk walks (or jogs!) but values quiet, cuddly-time as well. George would probably do best in a home with older children (due to his size) or adults only. George is completely house-trained and ready to find his forever family... could that be you? If so, contact K-9 Angels at: www.K-9AngelsRescue.org or www.facebook. com/k9angelsrescue.

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Recently the Sam Houston Area Council Boy Scouts of America held it’s Annual Banquet at St. Stephens United Methodist Church honoring adult leaders who have provided leadership for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Explorers and Sea Scouts of the Skyline District last year. More than 100 adults were in attendance. The 2016 recipient of the District Award of Merit is Ms. Lessie James. This is the highest honor given by the Sam Houston Photos supplied Area Council to a volunJames displays her Disteer Scouter. Ms. James Lessie trict Award of Merit is a member of Troop and Pack 352, Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church. Leader and given service to She has served as the Com- Scouting and the Indepenmittee Chairperson for both dence Heights community. Pack and Troop 352, a Den

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Saturday, February 18, 2017 • Page 7A

Neighbors: Valentine’s Day wishes shared amongst neighbors By Elizabeth Villarreal elizasgarden@outlook.com Happy Valentine’s Day neighbors! Make sure to say hello to your neighbor, turn to the person in line next to you at the grocery store and say a warm hello, open doors for others, patiently wait your turn, and share a little love on this Valentine’s Day 2017. Here are just a few Valentine’s Day wishes from our neighbors: Melissa Sims: Happy Valentine’s Day to my awesome family, Steve, Sid, and Lydia Sims! I love you all unconditionally forever and ever with all my heart! Love, Mom Jeanette Black: Happy Valentine’s Day to Lizzie and Tripp! Nana loves you! Happy Valentine’s Day to Jackie, Jennifer and Zane! Mom loves you! Lydia Olgin: Happy Valentine’s Day to my grandsons Christian and Matthew! Wella loves you and misses you bunches. Monica Shiel: Happy Valentine’s Day to my nephew, Steven Parris! Jeanette Holland: Jeanette sends a loving happy anniversary shout out to her sweetheart, Curtis Holland. Jeanette and Curtis are celebrating their 24th wedding anniversary this year. The couple met at McDonald’s on July 10, 1992, got engaged on Halloween 1992, and were married on Valentine’s Day in 1993. Now they are a party of

Recapture

9, 4 children and 1 grandbaby later. Mazel tov! Katy Cattoni would like to wish Bob and Sophie many more happy ones with lots of love. (Sophie is Bob and Katy’s terrier mix who stole their hearts when they met her.) Happy Valentine’s Day shout out to the Waltrip Ram Band from the Waltrip Ram Band Booster Club! Happy Valentine’s Day to you all from our neighbor Stephanie Chenault all the way from Kathmandu, Nepal, where she is working on a short-term assignment. Chenault grew up in Candlelight Plaza and serves on the board of Empowerment Works! - a global action think tank. Chenault wanted to remind us today that children bring light, love, and hope in the face of political and economic hardships. Cliff and Michelle Bigley celebrated their 8th year of marriage on Valentine’s Day 2017! Happy anniversary! Happy anniversary to Karen and Alan Carr of Candlelight Plaza who celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary on Feb. 9. Beaucoup love and wishes to you from your family, friends and neighbors. Frank Black Middle School’s amazing UIL Team wins another sweepstakes at the Wisdom Middle School Academic UIL Tournament. 1st Place – Frank Black MS; 2nd Place – Lanier MS; and 3rd Place – Hamilton MS. The 7th and 8th graders are going strong and leading

the pack. Frank Black MS has placed 1st at every tournament except for one, and at that one, they placed 2nd. Way to show that Panther Pride! Mytiburger is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year! Shawn and Jill Salyers, owners of the special landmark eatery and our neighbors in Candlelight Oaks, are celebrating by making every Monday in February “Myti Good” and if you mention Oak Forest Park at checkout (on Mondays in February!) until 9 p.m., 20% of your ticket will go to support the future Playground For All Abilities planned for Oak Forest Park on Judiway @ Oak Forest. By the way, did you know Shawn Salyers opened a new eatery called The Garage Grill at Dr. Gleem Carwash on Ella Boulevard? Salyers would like to thank Kevin Jenkins for making this exciting opportunity possible. Now you can wash your car, have your hair cut, get your shoes shined, and eat a myti good burger, all at the same time! Speaking of the Playground for All Abilities, on Sunday, Feb. 19th from 3-6 p.m., you and your family are invited to attend a special event called Pennies For Our Playground Launch Party to be held at 3508 Oak Forest Dr. (on Oak Forest Dr. between Judiway and Lou Ellen Streets) – just catty-corner to Oak Forest Park and down half a block. For a $5 family donation in advance (http://houstonparksboard.org/blog/pen-

nies-for-playground/) or $10 family donation at the door, your family can take part in thoughtfully planned stations geared for learning, discovery and community enrichment. A challenge course (by My House Fitness with workout stations and prizes for the top 3 finishers), gymnastics (join head coach Katy Fenton of ReadyFlipGo Mobile Gymnastics for gymnastics on the move), crafts (Masterful Mommy will let your kiddos get crafty with fully prepped activities), painting art tiles with The Mad Potter (painting with Mr. Roy, OFE’s art teacher for a $100 donation), Science & Discovery with Idea Lab Kids (slime workshop, blinky bugs and light up spinners - $15/child), and Woodshop with ReCoop (paint and decorate locally salvaged wood to take home). DJ by Retrograde Events will also be there. You can also donate for tiles and engraved pavers online or by check to Houston Parks Board, a 501(c)(3) – please note Oak Forest Park. Event entry is included with donations towards tiles and pavers. Drop in spare change at any activity station! The dream of this amazing park is fast becoming a reality for all of our community’s children. 100% of the proceeds of this event will benefit the future Playground For All Abilities. Email Elyssa at FriendsofOakForestPark@yahoo.com to sponsor the event or register in advance. Our neighbors are making a difference!

force the legislature to make a real change to the school finance system. “Can you see the Galleria letting TEA take their property?” she asked. Jones also said she thinks the special election will draw a much smaller crowd and won’t have the authority that the November vote did. Trustee Rhonda SkillernJones initially was an advocate of the no vote but has reconsidered. “We called their bluff, [and] they called ours,” she said at the meeting. “We can’t govern

if there’s nothing to govern with. We do the best thing we can for our kids.” “I think that the belief that we have the ‘upper hand’ is misguided,” said Eastman. “What we learned is that if money is added to the budget – and that’s a big if – it won’t be to keep HISD out of recapture.” Mayor Turner, who in November called on voters to say ‘no’, said in a recent press briefing that he hadn’t seen the new numbers, and hadn’t done due diligence on it yet. Houston Federation of

Teachers President Zeph Capo says his group is not yet convinced this second round of voting is in the best interest of our local community. “Until the state shows some sign they are willing to do more than talk, I will join more than 60 percent of our community in voting ‘no’ again,” Capo said. “We don’t expect to complete full reform of the school funding system this session, but there must be meaningful movement by the legislature before we will consider a change in our position on recapture.”

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from P. 1A

ready are. We’re voting on the remedy.” While neither choice is a good one, Eastman believes that with the administrative relief the timing was right to reconsider the recapture payments. She said that there was a 72 day window to put a referendum on the ballot for May, and with a potential yes vote, avoid the detachment which would otherwise begin July 1. Eastman believes that the detachment remedy will end up costing tax payers more than writing a check for recapture payments. “We also lose the ability to collect our interest in sinking taxes which are used to pay already encumbered bond debt,” she said. “We will have to raise taxes on the rest of our tax base to cover that.” Trustee Mike Lunsford also voted for a new referendum and said at the board meeting that if the commercial properties were detached, there was no legal way to get them back. Of the three dissenting votes, Trustee Jolanda Jones was most vocal in her belief that the board should let the earlier ‘no’ vote stand. Jones believes that the pressure of having to work out detachment for the first time will

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February 18 Section A

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