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A seasonal, Southern and cajun tastes Food & Drink focus edition Saturday, February 18, 2017 • Page 1B

Crawfish boil craze 101: prep, cook, season Photo by Christina Martinez To the left, Melissa Faust, of Mels’ Seafood Shack, pours out a fresh crawfish boil batch. Below, a large ladle of a fresh Mels’ Seafood Shack boil (Facebook photo).

Betsy Denson

In Texas, as in Louisiana, the crustacean of choice for many come spring - or right now due to our unseasonable weather - is the crawfish. If you’re ready to do your own boil, or just want to not embarrass yourself eating someone else’s yummy mudbugs, look no further. Melissa Faust with Mels’ Seafood can’t put an exact number on the amount of crawfish they’ve served up since they opened last year, but said it’s in the thousands. Faust said that their suppliers state that crawfish season typically runs from Super Bowl to July 4th, but with the mild winters we’ve had the last couple of years, crawfish have been available starting around the first week of January. “All of our crawfish comes from Louisiana,” said Faust. “Most of it comes from the many Louisiana crawfish farms in the Lafayette/Lake Charles area but some are caught in the Atchafalaya Basin.” As for lingo, you don’t crack a crawfish like you would a lobster. You peel it. “Start by gently pulling the tail away from the head,” said Faust. “Suck the head, if you so choose. I like to pull the yellow fat out of the head with my pinky - so delicious!” After that, you pull the first “ring” of the shell away from the tail, then lightly pinch the end of the tail and pull the tail meat out of the shell

with your teeth. “It may take a little getting used to but once you get the hang of it, you can peel a lot of crawfish in no time,” she said. “I’m to the point where I just have to separate the head and

tail, and just pull the meat out without having to peel anything. The misconception is that it is so much work for such little reward but when you get the hang of it, you can really eat a lot of crawfish in no time.” Leader readers Stacy Gross and Kelly Reiber warn against eating the crawfish with the straight tails as those with non-curved tails were dead before boiling. Cooking crawfish requires careful cleaning prior to cooking. “Crawfish are called Mud Bugs for a reason - they live in the mud so they need to be washed thoroughly several times over until the water you purge them in runs clean,” Faust says. “Some people say

to use salt to help them ‘throw up’ to get the grime out of their system. We don’t think this step is necessary. The bigger key is to wash them thoroughly.” While Faust won’t give away Mels’ secret blend of spices and seasoning, she says that for the do-it-yourself home cook, the crawfish boil seasonings in the grocery store will probably do a pretty good job. “You could probably ask this question to 100 people [about recipes] and you wouldn’t get the same answer twice,” said Faust. “You re-

“For the love of all that is holy, don’t season the outside of the crawfish after you’ve cooked them. If you can’t get all the flavor inside during the cooking, you’re doing it wrong.” -Austin Comeaux, Candlelight Estates resident ally just make it your own and put what you like in the boil. Obviously corn, potatoes and sausage are popular items typically found in the boil. But you can add pretty much any vegetable (onions, garlic, peanuts, mushrooms, artichokes, cauliflower, broccoli), citrus (lemon, oranges) or

Contributed photo Three Brothers Bakery, a Houston-based, family owned business in operation since 1949, makes authentic King Cakes and ships them across the country.

By Kim Hogstrom For The Leader

Christina steps into the kitchen this week to talk Southern cooking. Find out who’s in the spotlight on Find it 3B.


Houston’s Best Soup Dumplings

Modern Authentic Cantonese Cuisine and Craft Cocktails

Stalking the authentic King Cake

There’s a fun, new featured artist at Town In City Brewing Company and Mitch has the details in Art Valet Find it 2B.

ways remember that little kids are always very curious. An 80 quart pot of boiling water will stay scalding hot for hours and hours. Find an outof-the-way area to do your cooking and either dispose of your water or barricade your pot while you eat.”



Dive into craft tastes with Farmboy Brew Shop owner, and The Leader’s craft beer columnist, Landon Weiershausen. Find it 3B.

meats of your choosing. The Comeaux family of Candlelight Estates are no stranger to a homecooked crawfish boil. Austin Comeaux counsels do-it-yourselfers to work backwards. “Figure out what time you want to feed guests, and schedule all your prep work and cooking accordingly,” he said. “Don’t keep [crawfish] in a tub of water from your faucet all day long. It can kill them before you’re even ready to cook them.” The fixings are important to Comeaux - “because sometimes you want to eat something else besides crawfish. Potatoes, corn, sausage, mushrooms - get crazy and try Brussels sprouts, artichokes, whole heads of garlic, pineapple.” He’s pretty conclusive about spices too. “For the love of all that is holy, don’t season the outside of the crawfish after you’ve cooked them,” he says. “If you can’t get all the flavor inside during the cooking, you’re doing it wrong.” And lastly, don’t forget safety: “Al-

In a recent article written by Timbergrove resident John Nova Lomax for Texas Monthly, the author opined that “Houston might actually be the biggest city in Louisiana.” Lomax asserted that there are so many LA transplants here, that their influence has shifted the culture of the city. In specific, he continued - the Houston Heights - resulting in its popular White Linen Night (originally a NOLA tradition), an occasional second-line parade, and a rich collection of Cajun and Creole-influenced eateries. That said, one would think we could find a good King Cake to celebrate Mardi Gras. Sure, we can snag one at a local grocery chain but they taste like sweetened, glittery mashed potatoes. It took some hunting, but The Leader finally found the authentic, elusive treat in -you guessed it - the Houston Heights. The King Cake is a Mardi Gras tradition dating back to the 1800s, with baking launched on Jan. 6. This is said to be the day that baby Jesus first reveled himself. To celebrate, we place a tiny plastic baby inside the cake for a lucky sweet-eater to find. A good King Cake tastes like something between a coffee cake and a French pastry. It’s decorated in the colors of Mardi Gras: purple for Justice,

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green for faith, and gold for power. In the past two centuries, many items have functioned as the baby Jesus - coins, fava beans, and pecans were popular. The person who gets the slice with the treasure in it is expected to host the next King Cake party. Native New Orleanian, Wayne Gonsoulin, moved from Louisiana to Timbergrove with his wife five years ago, but missed authentic Crescent City crawfish. “In Houston, crawfish boils lean more toward the Vietnamese style,” Gonsoulin stated. “My business partner farms crawfish in Louisiana, so we decided to opened our Boil House in the Heights. That way, we could share our love for authentic NOLA mudbugs.” Modest Boil House’s menu includes only boiled crawfish, sausage links, potatoes and corn. However, it also hosts a most bona fide King Cake in Houston. Gonsoulin imports NOLA’s coveted Gambino’s King Cake twice a week. As far as The Leader could find, it’s the only place to get it outside of Louisiana. “When you only have five items on your menu,” Gonsoulin continued, “you have to make sure that everything is very good, the real thing. It all boils down to cultural authenticity.”

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Bumps n’ Beads Sand Volleyball Tournament

10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18 954 Wakefield Dr.

Get ready for Wakefield Crowbar’s first ever Mardi Gras themed sand volleyball tournament! You can register as a 6 x 6 team; 4 x 4 team; or even register as a single. Registration guarantees three games, and drink specials from the bar: -$15 Bud Light buckets -$3.25 Bud Light bottles -$4 Tequila -$4 Vodka Register online at www.

Art Valet: change is coming Town in City Brewing Company has new art work on the walls and will host a reception for this month’s featured artist, Kimberly S. Schwarzkopf, from 7 - 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17. Schwarzkopf’s work often depicts sea creatures like

Paint store. The gallery at Hardy & Nance Street Studios has change coming this Saturday, also. Their popular 10”x10” Art Show, that drew a crowd of over a reported thousand last year, including the Mayor of Houston, is back from 5 -

Bob Schneider at The Heights Theatre 1:30 – 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22 241 W. 19th St.

Schneider has been a recording artist for 25 years, putting out his first record (“Party Till You’re Dead”) in 1991 as frontman for Joe Rockhead, a funk-rock combo in the vein of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. That band was followed by his best-known group, Ugly Americans, which toured with the Dave Matthews Band and Big Head Todd and the Monsters. All told, Schneider has been the singer and main songwriter on nearly 30 studio albums, and he has been named Musician of the Year six times at the Austin Music Awards. - Heights Theatre.

110th Beer dinner with Clown Shoes

7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 G Gallery Houston - 310 E. 9th St. Come to hear artist Valyntina’s story in her own words. Her timely message is for everyone. Her installations are poetry you cannot ignore, and won’t forget. This show is uniquely different and this work is alive with color, energy and more yet.

Valyntina Grenier Artist Talk

6 – 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 903 Studewood St. Town In City Brewing and Spindletap Brewery are taking over the taps at Good Dog Houston – Heights. Each brewery will have three beers on tap, plus they’re bringing some cool swag to take home. Come out for $4 draft specials and mini hot dogs all night long.

Fusion Taco Grand OpeningDinner 12 - 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19 4706 N. Main

The Fusion Taco Family would like to invite you to their grand gpening of their newest location in the Heights.

A grand opening party wouldn’t be a party without drink specials, and the drink specials will be of plenty this weekend: -$3 Tacos -$3 Beer -$3 Margaritas -$3 Bloody Marys -$3 Micheladas -$3 Mimosas Karbach Brewery will be in the house giving away some of their beers swag. If wine is your style, Ambiente Wine, will be doing tastings all day long. Live art by local Graffiti Artist David “Skeez181” Flores! Tunes by DJ John Tran.

Mitch Cohen Art Columnist

tance of my neighborhood in our local newsletter, and I thought it might be time to update you, too. Pure Barre is an exercise facility housed in a former laundromat on the corner of 1436 Studewood. The remodel included a wonderfully long wall that faces the street through large floor-to-ceiling windows. At the time, owner and neighbor, Dory Dale, approached me about finding artists to display their work on that long street front wall. (The column ran on Nov. 26, 2014.) Pure Barre continues to display art on this entrance hallway. Currently, artist Chandana Paravastu’s artwork is on display. Easily viewable in the early evening when the lights are still on, Paravatu’s work focuses on botanicals and nature with some abstraction. The artwork can be viewed without disrupting a class, but if you are interested you might call them first (832) 831-5071. Follow Paravastu at Are you still wondering about the title, “Change is

Art by Kimberly S. Schwarzkopf Above, Schwarzkopf’s original artwork entitled Hoot Beer of a wise owl holding a tasty Raptor Brew. To the right, orginal art entitled Dog Wars - Chowbacca. Both paintings will be on display at Town In City Brewing Co.

crabs, seahorses and octopuses exploring human refuse like beer bottles and various sundries lost at sea. “I mostly enjoy working with acrylics, graphite and ink,” Schwarzkopf said. “My work has been described as ‘eccentrically high in detail’ and that sums it up pretty good! My ideas are all creations from my own silly little brain, and I live for the smile on people’s faces when they see my work… that’s what it’s all about for me and why I create.” You can bet on some beerthemed paintings, such as an owl holding a bottle of Raptor Brewed Beer titled Hoot Beer. Schwarzkopf’s original humor mixed with her exceptional attention to detail has kept this mother of four young ones very busy. “My motto is simple: have fun with everything and always question the possibility,” Schwarzkopf said. The brewery is located at 1125 W. Cavalcade St. In addition, parking is available across the street in a designated lot and the AJ Foyt

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9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18. With over 300 pieces of art priced at $100 or less, this is a great opportunity to buy great art for a great price. Hardy & Nance is a short drive from the Heights at 902 Hardy St, Houston, Texas 77020. The event coincides with the 3rd Saturday open studios. Quite often I’ve written about art in unusual places. Recently, I wrote about where to find art within walking dis-

coming?” I joined the gym! Specifically, I hired Constructive Fiticism to help me with some better life style choices. The company’s tag line is Change is coming. I’ll keep you informed, meanwhile check them out, @fiticism. Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market, he visited a gym for the first time in his life the morning he wrote this column. Bless his heart. Find him at

King Cake from P. 1B Houston’s own Three Brothers Bakery on Washington Avenue also offers an authentic King Cake. This bakery has been operated by the Jucker family since 1949, and earned its place among Houston baking royalty. “We started baking King Cakes about five years ago and would sell about 50 each Mardi Gras season,” stated co-owner Janice Jucker. “But,

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We now have the best Gelato in Houston. Several flavors to choose from Healthy Homemade Food Made Fresh Daily paStrieS • SmoothieS • coffee

NEW HOURS: Monday-Friday • 7:00am-3:00pm to tell the truth, those cakes weren’t very good. Then we went to Louisiana and tried nine of the best King Cakes in the state. We learned everything we could about them, and came home to apply it. Today, our King Cakes are ordered by people all over the country. We’ll sell a couple thousand in just a few weeks,” Jucker said. Let us take a moment to

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Saturday, February 18, 2017 • Page 3B

Craft Chronicles

Approachable, but not generic crafts cry Eureka! 15% Off Next Stay Houston I-10/Central 5820 Katy Freeway Houston, TX 77007 713-869-9211

Landon Weiershausen


Photo by Landon Weiershausen Eureka Heights Brewing Co.’s Wicket Awesome ESB, an extra special bitter, on tap at their brewery at 941 W 18th St.

to sit down for a second to chat with me during the downtime of his brew day, they aim for approachable, but not generic. Sampling my flight, I quickly zoned in on the Wicket Awesome ESB. For the beer novice, an ESB refers to an “Extra Special

Bitter” or basically an English pale ale with more focus on the balance between malt flavor and hop bitterness. Wicket Awesome was copper colored with golden accents at its edge. Overall, it was nicely crisp with a subtle hint of dried fruit and even a little nutty. There was a bit of caramel in the background, but the beer was fairly dry in its finish and left a nice, clean bitterness on the palate. At only 4.7% ABV, this beer went down smooth and I was ready for another pint. It’s a good thing I was able to get a crowler to go!

90 610

TC Jester

Columnist ott westc

Welcome to the second installment of Craft Chronicles! Monthly, I am privileged to select a Leader local brewery and beer to do some “research” on them. Last month, we discovered what all the ruckus was over at Holler Brewing Co. This month, we ventured a little farther north and touched down at the one and only Eureka Heights Brewing Company. Located on West 18th street, around the corner from Cedar Creek and Big Star Bar, Eureka occupies a roomy warehouse space, with ample parking (always a plus in this area). Walking through the very open space, I saw a multitude of fun going on - a basketball hoop, bar, mega size jenga, live feed airing from the international space station, tons of long picnic table seating and, of course, a framed picture of Betty White. Those things mixed together nail one of their mantras to a tee, “dumb and fun”. The staff quickly whipped me up a flight of beers and off I went. Picking a beer to evaluate was fairly difficult since they brew a variety of styles. According to Casey Motes, brewer and founder of Eureka, who was kind enough

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At the heart of any good Southern dish, is a mom’s recipe or influence - or at least that’s the case for Chef Antoine Ware of Harold’s Restaurant and Taproom, and his Southern style cooking. With Mardi Gras celebrations here, and the lent season about to kick off for some, seafood is the heart of the season and the Gulf Coast. This week, I stepped in the kitchen with Chef Ware and asked him to make something that spoke to the season. To my sur-

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prise, Chef Ware made not just one dish, Photos by Christina Martinez but two. The first out of the kitchen was a Featured is Chef Antoine Ware’s traditional New Orleans style barbecue shrimp, and collaboration of three of his mom’s dishes: braised cabbage stuffed with blue crab meat and black eye pea ragout, a collaboration of a braised cabbage dish, a crab cake - with three dishes his mother makes. a crab meat mixture, and black eye peas. “On top of the collaboration dish I put with worcestershire hot sauce, garlic, and we can all agree upon; something I agree a salad to cut through the butter that she lots of lemon. The barbecue shrimp are upon. You can’t go wrong with mom at the cooked delicately, and plated on a black heart and soul of each dish. puts through on her plate,” Ware said. Find Chef Ware’s Southern cooking at Next on the menu, Ware’s traditional pepper biscuit. Whatever season you celebrate, Chef Harold’s, located at 350 W 19th St. New Orleans style barbecue shrimp, made Ware’s Southern cooking is something

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Page 4B • Saturday, February 18, 2017

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Notice of Seizure ANd iNteNt to forfeit

Notice is hereby given that the United States Department of the Interior is hereby REAL ESTATE REAL ESTATE REAL ESTATE commencing a forfeiture proceeding against the following items of wildlife or wildlife products, which were seized at the Turkish Air Cargo, Houston, Texas on the date indicated because they were involved in one or more violations of any of the following laws: Endangered Species Act, Declaration requirements for importation [16 USC 1538(e); 50 CFR 14.61]. Importers or their agents must file with the Service a completed Declaration for Importation or SALE Exportation of Fish or Wildlife (Form 3FOR SALE FOR FOR SALE 177). Endangered Species Act [16 USC 1538(c)(1); 50 CFR 17.21(a)]. It is unlawful for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to commit, to attempt to commit, to solicit another to commit or to cause to be committed, any of the acts described in paragraphs (b) though (f) of this section in regards to any endangered species. Specifically; (b) Unlawful import or export of any endangered wildlife. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) requirement [16 USC 1538(c)(1); 50 CFR 23.13(a)]. It is unlawful for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to import, export, re-export or engage in trade with any specimen of a species listed in Appendix I, II, or III of CITES, unless they meet all permit requirements. Also [16 USC 1538(c)(1); 50 CFR 23.45] Failure to comply with requirements of a pre-Convention specimen. Lacey Act [16 USC 3372(a)(2)(A;)] It is unlawful for any person to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase any fish or wildlife or plant taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any law, treaty, or regulation of the United States or in violation of any State or in violation of any foreign law. Any person with an ownership or financial interest in said items who desires to claim them must file a claim with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, 19241 David Memorial Drive, Suite 175, Shenandoah, Texas, 77385. Such claim must be received by the above office by April 4, 2017. The claim will be transmitted to the U.S. Attorney for institution of a forfeiture action in U.S. District Court. If a proper claim is not received by the above office by such date, the items will be declared forfeited to the United States and disposed of according to law. Any person who has an interest in the items may also file with the above office a petition for remission of forfeiture in accordance with Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, and Section 12.24, which petition must be received in such office before disposition of the items. Storage costs may also be assessed. file No. 2016205945





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Saturday, February 18, 2017 • Page 5B





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wiring and repairs Since 1975 Low Rates

Since 1953 - TECL 19210 Res./Comm. Wiring



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Lights-Plugs-Breakers Cover all electric needs Licensed-Insured

The Leader is your newspaper.

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ANIMAL LOVERS NEEDED to volunteer at no kill animal shelter in the Heights. Download volunteer application at or visit us in person at 107 E. 22nd Street, Tuesday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. (TF)

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CRyptO fun Answers: A. article B. editor C. rewrite D. publish

Page 6B • Saturday, February 18, 2017

Leader Nibbles Houston Panini & Provisions closes, expands to new property By Christina Martinez

As one door closes, another is opening for Houston Panini & Provisions, a local startup that focuses on popcorn, paninis and local fare. HPP will be closing doors on March 10 of their 1727 W. 34th St. location and tear down of the building will begin March 15, executive chef/owner David Colby said. The HPP group won’t be moving far, in fact they’ll be moving in next door as one of the 33 1/3 @ Thirtyfourth tenants, a project of Crescere Capital Management. Colby goes on to tell that the new space will allow HPP to expand their menu, open for brunch, get creative with beer, wine, mimosas, and are looking into a possible liquor license.

Hughie’s Vietnamese Tavern opens second location

A neighborhood favorite is expanding, and the second restaurant location is something to talk about. Neighborhood favorite and Leader Readers’ Choice Award winner, Hughie’s Tavern and Vietnamese Grill, is expanding in the recently closed Foreign Correspondents and Canard spaces, both businesses of Treadsack - a Houston restauranteur group. Foreign Correspondents and Canard both closed at the end of 2016, putting both concepts, and the restaurant group, under fire and scrutiny for allegations of financial fraud, tax evasion, and questionable management choices. The two closed concepts left large property on North Main untouched. As the space is hot real estate, it begged the question of what was to come. Hughie’s’ co-owner, Phillip Pham has reassured loyal customers and patrons that this would be a second location, and the original 18th Street location would remain. “We will need your continued prayers and support with the new venture,” Pham said.

Cremation, An Urn, And Then What? Finally - A Local, Beautiful, Secure and Dignified Placement for Cremated Remains. Beautiful Indoor Lighted Glass Front Niches

Hughie’s Tavern and Vietnamese Grill will be expanding into the old Foreign Correspondents site at 4721 Main St. later this month (Leader stock photo).

Presidio opens for business

Say hello to Presidio, a new southern style restaurant and bar in the Heights that opened Saturday, Feb. 11. While having undergone a complete makeover, Presidio has taken over the former JavaJava on 11th Street. According to a Houston Chronicle report, Presidio was originally intended to be the home of 60 Pioneers, a new restaurant for Southern Goods partners Bishop and chef Lyle Bento. The report goes on to tell that the falling out between the two, including a lawsuit, found Bishop looking for new partners for the space. Dorris initially agreed to help steer the project in a new direction while still at Pax Americana. “But our partnership blossomed and it made sense for

me to just go for it,” Dorris told the Chronicle. “I feel like when Adam joined the team, the whole food program was elevated,” Bishop said to the Chronicle.

Now Accepting Deposits Limited Number Available

Presidio Houston, located at 911 W. 11th St., opened for business the second week of Feburary (Facebook photo).

If you are interested in getting a taste of Presidio, they open at 10 a.m. every morning and close at 10 p.m. on Sunday; midnight on Monday through Thursday; and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Presidio is located at 911 W. 11 St.

Hollywood Cemetery, Inc. 1-45 @ N. Main St. Houston, TX 77009 713-227-5109

All Are Welcome

Bible Facts vs. Church Fables All visitors will receive a free 300-page book--

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w w Stop By And Visit Us at The Crawfish Festival in The Heights

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mach 4th, 2017 8:00 Am - 9:00 Am Love Park

1000 W. 12th St. Ste. 503 Houston, TX 77008

Have fun and joinus for a healthy walk. It’s a great way to get out, get active, and enjoy good converation. Walk your own pace and distance. See you on march 4th, 2017, and bring a friend to this free community event!

Saturday, February 18, 2017 • Page 7B

Your Family Wellness Clinic

Northwest ChiropraCtiC CeNter 11500 NW Fwy. Suite #201 • 713-686-0828 w w w. d r j u n k i n . c o m

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has announced its highly anticipated concert lineup for 2017. It includes 21 of the hottest music artists in the world. The livestock show and rodeo will take place March 7 - March 26.




14 Years Rodeo Merchandise Committee Member

Aaron Watson

Debbie Kotzur

Tuesday, March 7

Clark/Kotzur Real Estate Team

Old Dominion



Wednesday, March 8

Chris Stapleton Thursday, March 9

Alicia Keys

Friday, March 10

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Saturday, March 11

The Chainsmokers Sunday, March 12

Sam Hunt

Monday, March 13

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Tuesday, March 14

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Wednesday, March 15

Luke Bryan

Willie Nelson will be among this year’s lineup.


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Wednesday, March 22

Saturday, March 25

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Thursday, March 23


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Willie Nelson

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Saturday, March 18 Sunday, March 19

City council approves contract for permitting center website For The Leader Houston City Council approved a contract for website development services that will transform the way residents, businesses and the building community navigate the City of Houston’s permitting process. The new Houston Permitting Center’s website, estimated to launch in one year, will feature a wizard that automatically customizes permitting requirements based on answers to a series of questions provided by the customer. The dynamic decision engine powering the wizard will quickly exclude irrelevant permit categories, ensuring a personalized user experience. The new website will also consolidate each department’s permitting pages and repackage the information in a way that is functional to the customer based on needs – i.e. opening a business and remodeling a house. Other functions of the enhanced online experience will include comprehensive customer support, keyword search, simple online application forms and electronic signatures. Following the implementation of improvements such as electronic plan review, online appointment scheduling and mobile queuing, the website redesign is the latest step in a continuous effort to streamline the City’s permitting process and improve customer service. The $4.1 million contract with Woolpert, Inc. includes initial research, website design, content management system development, wizard configuration and system maintenance over a three-year period, with two optional oneyear renewals. “Providing the best customer service we can to help the community is part of our Mission, Vision and Values. This new tool will be a great resource to help our building partners better navigate the multi-departmental permitting process,” said Dale Rudick,

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Friday, March 17

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Sunday, March 19

Thursday, March 16

Fifth Harmony

Contributed photo

• • • • • •

Director of the Department of Public Works & Engineering, which manages the Houston Permitting Center. Individuals with residential,

Monday-Friday 7-7, Saturday 8-5, Sunday 10-4

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take-out Family packs • Whole Pollo Rostisado

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business or construction permit questions are encouraged to email or call 832-394-9000.

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The sports. Saturday, February 18, 2017 • Page 8B

Local baseball team finding more than just a home By Jonathan Valadez For The Leader Between issues such as proximity, time restraints and availability, finding a place to call home, much less a space to practice, is astonishingly difficult for youth teams of all sports, even though there are 370 parks located throughout the Houston area. When the Houston Crush, a then-nine-and-under select baseball team, formed in 2015, they experienced firsthand how strenuous the process of locating a place to prepare for games actually is. For the first several months of the team’s existence, the ball club was migrant as they bounced from park to park, searching for a more permanent solution. “All of the boys are very dedicated to baseball,� said Crush manager and assistant coach Rob Rollans. “For some of them, baseball is pretty much everything to them, it’s all they have.� Because baseball is so important to these kids, the need for a longer-lasting practice facility was necessary, especially since the team was starting to experience some success around the city and throughout the state. It wasn’t until the Crush came across a field in their own neighborhood and learned how the city’s Parks and Recreation department operated that they were able to start practicing in a more stationary manner. “We started going through the park’s website and renting the (Independence Heights) field,� Rollans said. “Prior to us going there, another team had been there, the Independence Heights Eagles with Coach Ed Gidrey, who is just a really fantastic guy.�

Gidrey took interest in the Crush and decided to help because he knew how arduous it was trying to pinpoint and remain at a practice field. “When I was looking for a field, I came across Independence Heights Park and there was a team there, but they were playing football on the baseball field,� Gidrey said. He ended up negotiating with the football team to allow his Eagles to practice on the field and eventually, he took over the field’s maintenance responsibilities. When he assumed the role, Gidrey began by transforming the place back to its intended use – a baseball field. The Eagles and the Crush teamed up and continued taking care of the field, always out of their own pockets. “(The Eagles) come out Wednesday and Friday and (the Crush) come out Tuesday and Thursday,� Gidrey said. “We’ll mow the grass on Saturdays, and if anything extra needs to be done, I’ll come out on Sundays.� Since they were already maintaining the field on their own, the teams found out that they could adopt the ballpark and Gidrey did so in July. Although the two teams made significant improvements to the field, they could only do so much considering they were doing so with their own money. During Super Bowl week, the teams and their field got some much-needed help through the Rebuilding Together Houston Initiative. CenterPoint Energy, along with several volunteers, helped give the field a makeover. “It’s a beautiful baseball field now,� Rollans said.

Photo by Landan Kuhlmann Coach Rob Rollans and the Houston Crush exclaim with joy at the sight of their newly-remodeled baseball field in Independence Heights with fellow youth baseball coach Ed Gidry (left) and a member of CenterPoint Energy (right). The local youth team was the recipient of assistance from Rebuilding Together Houston during Super Bowl Week.

“(CenterPoint) added dugouts and they brought us 24 yards of infield dirt. They carved out running lanes for first and third base. They made bullpens on either side. It’s nice now.� Despite the beautification of the field, the players are still out there constantly after practice and even on their days off taking care of the field. “They recognize that it’s ours to maintain, and they take it very seriously,� Rollans said. “They’re there because they take pride in it.� In addition to taking care of the Independence Heights ballpark, the Crush have lend their time and efforts to other

causes around the city. In one instance, they helped raise money for an injured baseball player from another team whose family did not have insurance. Then, during the flood in April, the team was called upon to gather items and goods for families that were displaced by the storm. “We’re trying to teach them life lessons in addition to baseball,� Rollans said. “They’re good kids and are the future leaders of the community, the city, the state. They’re learning a lot and we’re proud of them.�

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February 18 Section B

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