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Saturday, April 22, 2017 • Page 1B

La Vista sets sights on Timbergrove

Dish Society, first tenant for Heights Central Station By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com

By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com

Glenn Clements, Jr. of MFT Interests who is developing Heights Central Station, formerly the Heights post office on 11th Street, says that Dish Society has leased the restaurant space in the building. “We are very excited to be working with this great local operator that is truly concerned with quality and local sourcing,” Clements said. Dish Society, which currently has locations in the Galleria/Tanglewood and Katy/Cinco Ranch areas, is described on its website as an “all-day diner [which] turns out a seasonally changing menu with healthful modern twists on tradi-

Earlier this week CultureMap announced that Greg Gordon was closing the Briargrove location of popular Italian restaurant La Vista and moving it to Timbergrove into the former location of a Pizza Hut at 1805 West 18th. Gordon told CultureMap that he looked for a new location for six months. He wanted something that would appeal to a younger demographic. A few months back, Zach Wolf of Braun Enterprises told The Leader that they were talking to several local restaurant concepts about taking over the Pizza Hut. “We want to do something cool and local here to help out the neighborhood,” Wolf said. “Hughie’s does really well across the street. We want to help add local concepts to the area.” Now he says they’d been talking to Greg Gordon for some time. “We are excited to see what Greg does to the building and how he will reinvent La Vista,” said Wolf. Online commenters wondered if the new restaurant would be BYOB. The answer, according to an interview Gordon gave to the Houston Business Journal, is no. “This is an opportunity to create something big and to reshape the menu to fit our space and not the other way around,” Gordon said in a release.

tional favorites.” They also offer Greenway Coffee, as well as juices, and beer and wine. Clements said that they are currently in negotiations with a local coffee user for the coffee space which would be on the on the southeast corner of the property. There is still first floor space available for lease in the east building. MFT is seeking soft goods retailers and services for those spaces, up to about 6,000 square feet and specifically a dessert or juice concept for the eastern end cap facing Heights Blvd. Construction is planned to start in June. Gallant Builders will be the general contractor and Kirksey is the architecture firm.

Contributed Photos Top: La Vista owner Greg Gordon had announced his intention to close his restaurant on Fountain View Drive and move to a new location. Left: The former Pizza Hut on West 18th is to be the Italian restaurant’s new home. Unlike its predecessor, the new La Vista does not appear to be a BYOB establishment.

Contributed Photo Dish Society is sure to be a great addition to the Heights as it has been named by multiple publications as a top restaurant in Houston. Brunch offerings include Shrimp and Grits, 44 Farms Chimichurri Steak Tacos, and Quinoa Stuffed Avocado.

21st and Yale starts complete buildout By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com While developer Rocky Stevens initially said he wouldn’t start construction on 21 Yale, the former Dorsey’s Beauty Academy at 2103 Yale Street until they secured a lead tenant – they already have The Joint chiropractic – he now says they are going to proceed with the

build out. Stevens said the original building will be remodeled and added to in order to maintain the pedestrian corridor. If the building was demolished, the permitting process would have been different. “We didn’t want to do a setback,” said Stevens. “We wanted to maintain the pedestrian feel.”

Lowell Street Market announces tenants By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com While Lowell Street Market, currently under construction at West 18th, had already announced its first tenants, Smoosh Cookies and Snooze Eatery, it now has signed two more for the space. Seaside Poke which does handcrafted

sushi bowls gained a following with its pop up events around town. They formerly had a spot at Morningside Drive in Rice Village. The other tenant is Beautifully Bronzed which offers organic spray tanning. Lowell Market is on track for an opening in late summer or early fall.

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Page 2B • Saturday, April 22, 2017

LHN Theater preparing unique take on an old classic By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com A classic story will always be just that — endearing and constant through the ages. However, that doesn’t mean a little spice would hurt, and a local school is putting that to the test next weekend. Beginning April 27, the Lutheran High North theater program will present its 35th annual Spring Musical to the public, with a particularly special piece one doesn’t need to be a thespian to recall—the Sound of Music. However, those expecting a ‘typical’ performance’ may be disappointed, as Producer Paul Stuenkel said the LHN legacy is to produce the biggest, grandest set possible as they transform the gym into center stage no matter the show—and this time will be no different. Though the cast is undertaking one of the more wellknown pieces in the performing world, Stuenkel remains unafraid of inserting LHN’s

special flare into the performance. “Whatever we can dream up, we can build it. We also always do live music—no CD’s, piano, anything, other than a 20-piece orchestra sitting there,” he said. That said, and as much as he and the cast want to tell themselves this will be just another show, Stuenkel knows the pressure is on with telling the age-old tale in their style while maintaining its core message and vision. “The pressure with the Sound of Music is that people know exactly what it should be, therefore we have to create and produce very close to what people are used to seeing,” he said. “We’re not going to go off the beaten path, we’re going to do the best we can to be true to the original.” Maintaining the show’s message while simultaneously flashing the school and cast’s individuality ultimately falls on the shoulders of those like seniors Levi Basa, Katie Cher-

ington and Kinsey Hartung. “Living up to Julie Andrews is a little hard, because everybody expects you to come out and be Julie Andrews,” Cherington said, laughing. “That’s hard, but it’s every little girl’s dream to be able to go up on stage and do the Sound of Music, and it’s really cool to be able to bring our own little something to the show but still have it be a classic.” “Ever since I was in sixth grade, I loved the Sound of Music and it was always my dream to do the Sound of Music,” Basa added. “I always kept asking to do Sound of Music but I was told we would never do it. When I had given up all hope, then they finally let us do it.” While Hartung acknowledged the intimidation factor due to the theatrical weight carried by simply the musical’s name alone, she also appeared to embrace the challenge. “Not many people had heard of that show (Seuss-ical), so you could put your own spin

on the character,” she said. “My character this year is not as loud, but she’s still this subtle, powerful person, and I really resonate with that. It’s such an honor and blessing to be able to be myself but play a distinctive character on stage as well.” Making the magic happen As rehearsals wind to a close, and opening night looms ever closer, Stuenkel, Cherington and the cast reflected on the last three months, simultaneously exhausted and elated as the fruits of their labor will soon be on display. “You’ve practiced certain scenes all the time, then all of sudden you’re doing your first run through, and it’s like ‘oh this is where that goes,’ and you finally feel into your character. It’s a really cool feeling,” Cherington said. “Having the audience here for the first time, all the energy you had the first time comes rushing back, and you hope you remember your lines. It’s the coolest experience ever to go

Heights takes home top Art Car honors

Photos courtesy of Rebecca Bass The Heights High School art car was once again a winner at the 30th Annual Houston Art Car Parade April 8, bringing home the Mayor’s Cup. Their entry, entitled ‘Purple Reign’ was a tribute top the late great Prince, and three-month labor of love for teacher Rebecca Bass and the plethora of students who sacrificed free time after school and even during the school’s Spring Break to bring it all together.

put on a show. Hartung admitted to the natural butterflies accompanying a show’s maiden voyage. However, she also knows that all it takes is a strong start, and the rest should fall into place. “As soon as my first line comes out, I think ‘I’ve got this.’ Seeing all the pieces come together and having people ask you what’s next is amazing,” she said. “When you’re putting on the performance, you’re thinking, ‘how did we already get this far?’ It’s the craziest thing, but it’s so much fun. I don’t know what a big powerful role is, but being able to read into my role and put on a persona is crazy.” Though Cherington, Basa, Hartung and Stuenkel execute the vision, Director Anjelica Eneias begins the process from the ground up—from initial tryouts, to callbacks and eventually final casting. It’s priceless, she said, to watch the cast of 15-20 work as one to bring the show to life. “To watch my vision come

together with the people that we’ve cast in their parts is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had so far,” she said. “To see them act out the scenes and bring it to life, there aren’t even words for it.” “It’s awesome to see the growth, whether from the beginning of the three months here or from year to year. There are also certain songs that will strike you a certain way—some in this show make me cry every time,” Stuenkel added. “It’s sometimes just that moving of a piece in that part of the show with that particular person doing it. It’s those moments that only happen in the theater.” The show will run two matinees for area private elementary and middle schools, as well as area senior citizens, on Thursday, April 27 at 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29, at 7 p.m., the show will be open to the public, with ticket prices range from $8-$12/person.

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Saturday, April 22, 2017 • Page 3B

Aztec commences move to Pinemont By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com Often change is looked at as negative—why can’t things remain the way they are? Well, for one local business, things remaining the same would lead to reduced service within the community, so they are officially setting sail for larger waters. Aztec Rental company officially closed the doors on their 34th Street location – which has served the community for more than a half century — April 20, and will open for business at their new digs at 7721 Pinemont April 24. The longtime community staple has somewhat been a victim of their own success, thus the need for growth and a move from the current 14,000 square foot lot to the 77,000square-foot old Baker Hughes building near Hollister and Hempstead the company purchased. President Ray Sorsby encouraged the community to not lament the move, but celebrate it, as the expansion will allow Aztec to not only continue to do what has enabled them to stick for 50 years, but better serve the needs of a burgeoning neighborhood. “One of the amenities is going to be a bigger showroom where we can actually sell equipment and be a dealer for other companies like Toro and Echo Tool and different suppliers,” President Ray Sorsby said. “We will also have a service facility where we’re able to work on people’s equipment – whether it’s some dealer line that we carry or a mom and pop’s lawn mower that broke down. We don’t have a facility to do anything like that here.” Another key to Aztec’s new digs will be the ability to streamline deliveries due to the existence of drive through facility where trucks can actu-

Staff file photo Aztec, a local neighborhood staple for more than 50 years, officially closed up shop on 34th Street this week.

ally pull into the building and load/unload inventory with a rolling crane — a process currently causing lots of hair pulling with the limited real estate. The company will additionally have the means to carry more equipment lines, take care of more customers, have more contracting supplies and anything else to expand upon their lengthy body of work. “We’re doing this because the need has pushed us to want to be able to do more for our customers, and we’re not able to do that at this location,” Sorsby said. “We wanted to do more, but not move away where our customers can’t get to us easily. By moving, we’re going to be able to help more customers, and we’re hoping the community of Oak Forest and other neighborhoods will still come see us and let us take care of them.” Sorsby cautioned against any trepidation that Aztec’s move signals any significant troubles—if anything, it’s a leap forward. “We’re not going out of business, we’re going in a forward motion to do more—it’s an exciting time for us, and we’ll be able to better serve our customers,” he said. “Nothing’s going to change as far as what

The tie that binds, Sabor del Northside By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com Sabor del Northside, an annual event held recently and organized by the Northside Community, was first the idea of eight residents who attended a national leadership training with Avenue CDC, an organization whose mission is to build homes and empower communities. The festival began six years ago with a $2,000 grant and some big goals as stated by Jenifer Wagley, deputy director of Avenue - to celebrate the history and culture of the Northside community through food, music and performance; to be a gathering place that provides residents access to resources from health to workforce opportunities; and to be a place to gather and build community. “The festival was created to help claim and name the history and culture of the neighborhood, and to invite others to come be a part of an already vibrant community,” said Wagley. Wagley says that over the years the event has stayed true to its community roots, with a high attendance of 3,500 and the lowest due to weather at just 1,000 people. This year, about 2,500 attended. “Through the years it has remained true to its purpose, but its significance has evolved,” she said. “It has become a gathering place of all things Northside. It hosts federal, state and local politicians at each gathering. It hosted the first gubernatorial candidate to ever visit the Northside community - in anyone’s recent memory. This visit signified a shift in both the level of civic engagement and the civic significance and strength of the Northside.” New attendees learn about an historic neighborhood settled by railroad employees which has been home to gen-

erations of immigrants since. Wagley says the community is currently over 80 percent Latina with a rich Latin American culture. “In the past decade the Northside has begun to show tremors of ‘gentrification’, or the displacement of the historic population,” she said. “The addition of the light rail heightened this threat and property values continue to escalate.” So it’s important to organizers that the community’s culture is preserved, and celebrated at Sabor del Northside. The Sabor coordinating team begins discussing the festival in September each year. This team is made up of resident leaders, non-profit partners and other agency representatives. Avenue provides the framework and administrative support for the festival and the leaders work to secure performers, sponsors and vendors. New this year was BubbleFest, which was offered by Vineyard Church in the Heights. One of the ministers at the church had connected with Avenue during the celebration of the building of Lindale Park at St. Albans Episcopal Church. “Vineyard saw it as an opportunity to share a fun resource with the Heights’ closest neighbor,” said Wagley. Coming off the success of this year’s event, Wagley said that Avenue is nearing the completion of the first comprehensive planning process with another nearby community, Northline. “After the success in the Near Northside, Avenue was invited to do the same type of work in [Northline],” said Wagley. “This process represents over 1,000 community residents coming to the table to share their hopes and dreams for the future of the community.”

customers want other than having things they want us to carry that we haven’t been able to for some time now.” Despite acknowledgment of the benefits, Sorsby and Vice President Wesley Jackson admitted that leaving 34th Street comes with a bittersweet taste, and it will always hold a place in their hearts as the neighborhood which gave them their start. “We’re tied into this area, and these customers have been coming to see us since we opened. They’re the ones who supported our company from the very beginning,” Sorsby said. “We had people coming in today (Tuesday) that were coming in here when I started in 1981 – they still come by to visit and still come by to rent,” Jackson added.

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That said, Sorsby acknowledged that change is good in some cases, because it can revamp the way you do things and how you look at things. “We’ve been doing a lot of the same stuff all the time, but we’re going to be doing more, not less. It’s going to be refreshing,” he said. “It certainly is bittersweet—we’ve been here a long time and we love everything about it, but we’ve kind of been pushed out— we’re going to revamp and do something better.”

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Page 4B • Saturday, April 22, 2017

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THE PURPLE CAT RESALE AND GARAGE SALE: Tuesday 11-3, Wednesday-Saturday 104. 2126 W. 34th St. Benefiting Animal Rescue.

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WE ARE LOOKING FOR A HARDWORKING RECEPTIONIST to join Forest West Animal Clinic. Previous experience is preferred. We want a dedicated and friendly individual that shares our level of customer service. We are a fast-paced practice which requires a lot of flexibility and multitasking. Please send your resume and references to patientcare@forestwestvet.com or stop by the clinic to fill out an application at 5315 Antoine Drive, Houston, TX 77091. (4-29)

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The sports.

AIKIDO & SELF-DEFENSE KORYU WEAPONS

Saturday, April 22, 2017 • Page 6B

Heights High School athlete jumps to district championship jump,” he said. To put that in perspective, he jumped 1.4 yards further than former-Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler averaged per throw this past season. If that doesn’t work, imagine J.J. Watt, James Harden and Dallas Keuchel lying down in a vertical line. Melrose can jump over all three with a foot and a half to spare. Melrose will get a chance to jump at the area meet this week because of his goldplace finish at district where he hopes to qualify for regionals and then state. “I really grew a love for the long jump, and I try to stretch the last few inches out of my jump,” Melrose said. “So when I’m in the air I don’t

look down, I try to envision myself way up in the sky and keep my feet out and up, but when they hit, I want to get everything forward, so I twist sideways and just out to the side so I don’t fall back.”

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of e s t 20

16

The only intention Heights High School junior Curtis Melrose had when he decided to join the Bulldogs’ track team this year was to use the sport as a way to stay conditioned, and now, he is a district champion long jumper. “I never really learned to like track,” Melrose said. “It just wasn’t interesting to me, but this year, I decided to run because I wanted to stay in shape and be ready for football coming up in the fall.” It didn’t take long for the first-year runner to grow an appreciation for the track, despite his initial indifference. He began by running all of the sprint relays, including the 4x100-meter, the 4x200m and the 4x400m. In addition to his spot on the relay teams, his coach decided to sign him up for the long jump during the second meet of the season. Although it wasn’t pretty, Melrose did well in his first attempt at the new event and even medaled. “I had no idea how to do it correctly,” he said. “I just ran and jumped with no form or anything, and I got second after face planting because I stutter stepped and tripped on the board.” After his introduction to the long jump, Melrose only leaped sporadically throughout the season, even though he finished so highly while using non-traditional tactics. It wasn’t until the Bulldogs traveled to Prairie View A&M University to compete in the school’s invitational meet that Melrose realized that he was capable of competing with anyone in the event. “I broke a (personal record) and placed second overall, which was a big deal since it was only the third time I ever jumped,” he said. “That’s when I started taking it serious because I felt that I could go somewhere jumping.” While his technique was still raw, Melrose decided to drop the relays entirely to focus on improving his form just in time for the upcoming district meet. He spent hours during practice working out the kinks and even used his downtime to read about different methods that would help boost his jump. He went into the district meet feeling confident because he said he was surprisingly familiar with the competition even though he had only jumped three times before. Each competitor had three

attempts to jump their furthest, but only the top 11 would move on to the next round. Melrose decidedly outleaped the field in the preliminary round and qualified for the finals. In the last round, he was slotted to jump last since he held the top spot. No one came close to beating his first-round distance, so Melrose could’ve avoided his final three jumps, but he was unsatisfied and wanted to go even further. “My gold was already set since no one had even beaten my first jump, but I just wanted to beat myself, so in my last jump, which I could’ve scratched, I jumped, and I broke my PR with a 6.6-meter

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By Jonathan Valadez For The Leader

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2017


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April 22 Section B

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