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Potential HISD teacher salary freeze faces opposition Photo by Landan Kuhlmann HISD Trustee Elizabeth Santos addresses issues regarding a potential HISD teacher salary freeze at a press conference last Thursday.

By Landan Kuhlmann Teacher salary for educators in HISD will be frozen at their 20172018 level if a new compensation proposal passes this week – but trustee Elizabeth Santos and a plethora of dissenting voices are unhappy with the change and calling for a “step” salary bump. Last Thursday, dozens of parents, educators and board members alike joined Santos at a press conference regarding the district’s plan to keep teacher’s salaries steady rather than using a “step” increase, as has been

See more Back-To-School features inside Page 5A done in previous years. Salaries were also previously frozen in the 20162017 school year.

“I’ve heard from many teachers across the district who had no idea that they would be paid less than

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Photo by Betsy Denson Joe Hoffield saw the Heights Morning Market publicized on Facebook and brought daughter Taylor who enjoyed making her own plant to take home.

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The INDEX. Church....................................................... 6B Classifieds.............................................. 4B Coupons. ................................................. 7B Food/Drink/Art................................... 7A Obituaries.............................................. 6B Opinion. ................................................... 4A Public Information......................... 2A Puzzles...................................................... 4A

There’s a new morning market next to the Onion Creek Café every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from the looks of things on a recent Sunday, the emphasis is less on fresh produce and more on artisans and their wares. That being said, the Heights Morning Market is still evolving. Jessica Ivins is responsible for coordinating the market in conjunction with Onion Creek Café. Ivins is a marketing consultant under the name, Edgesetter LLC, and Photo by Betsy Denson works with The Creek Group. Mandy Trichell talks to a customer about their hot sauce while Francesco Conti She says that they use different looks on. avenues to find local vendors, such Jeannine Peace of JPeace Deas social media, Google search, weekly and I focus my search.” To Ivins, a variety is what makes signs is one such vendor. She says and other market directories. “We look for vendors that we a market successful, local being that she grew up in a family of working artists and has been acbelieve would fit the demograph- key. “I think a good mix of gourmet quiring vintage beads for years. ics of the area, and then I reach “I’ve been making jewelry since out to them and invite them to ap- goods, groceries, fresh plants and ply,” said Ivins. “I also try to get as flowers, and artisan products is I was 10 years old,” said Peace. much feedback from customers so important and [getting] items you I can learn what types of products can’t just go to the store and buy or See Market P. 8A they would be interested in buying order off of Amazon,” she said.

teachers with the same experience were paid last year,” Santos said, adding it was not until last week’s board meeting that trustees learned of the plan. “It’s simply not right to tell teachers their pay is being cut days before they return to their classrooms for the new school year – and beyond that, it’s not smart.” Administrators were not available for comment following Thursday’s press conference, and follow-up requests to reach HISD for comment were unsuccessful. HISD trustees cut about $84 milSee HISD pay P. 8A

Adult club to remain closed By Betsy Denson In June, local residents noticed a locksmith and a flurry of daytime activity at Solid Platinum Gentleman’s Club located at 2732 W. T C Jester Blvd, next to Juanita’s Mexican Restaurant. A sign on the door said that the property had been seized for non-payment of taxes owed the State of Texas. Now, it looks as if the property will remain closed. Kevin Lyons, a spokesperson at the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, said that the business owed over $800,000 in back taxes to the state. The amount in question was the accumulation of the $5 per person fee that all Sexually Oriented Business, or SOBs, must pay to the state to be permitted. The state’s assessment covered the time from February 2008 to April 2015, and then January and February of 2016. “The building is closed and everything inside has been seized,” said Lyons. Lyons said that there are various The state says that Solmethods of deter- id Platinum owes over mining the $5 per $800,000 in back taxes person fee, such to the state. as alcohol sales, and the in-house records of the businesses. He also said that this type of seizure is not unusual for any business who is behind on their payments. “We give chances and sometimes businesses pay their debt off or work out a payment plan with the comptroller,” said Lyons. “If the proprietor pays, they’d let them reopen.” A Menyu Wong is listed as the owner of the business by the Harris County Appraisal District. The business has been located on W. T C Jester for at least 12 years. Lyons said that Wong disagreed with the state’s assessment of monies owed and filed suit in district court at which time a temporary restraining order was issued. However, on July 23 a ruling came down against Wong and the court said that all claims were owed. “[The state] is allowed to sell items from the building to settle arrears,” said Lyons. “Remaining debt goes to the attorney general for collection.” Lyons said that the state would collect items from inside the building to sell. Ms. Wong was unavailable for comment.

Timeline uncertainty for high speed rail development By Landan Kuhlmann The stations have been named, public feedback gathered and still being sifted through – thus the timelines for the Dallas-to-Houston High-Speed Rail remain open-ended despite earlier assurances from officials Back in February, Texas Central and the city of Houston announced that the old Northwest Mall site had been chosen as the Houston sta-

“... one environmental assessment for a proposed High-Speed Rail in Canada has initially been projected to take about four years according to a 2017 report from CBC news.” tion for the High-speed Rail. But to this day the project’s construction timeline remains murky, though the

company recently named a project manager in seeming preparation for work.

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

Texas Central Managing Director of External Affairs Holly Reed told The Leader in March that Texas Central would like to begin construction of the HSR in 2019. But that could change in the coming months – including work at the old Northwest Mall site. The company has an option on the land, but can only close after the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) finishes its Final Environmental Impact Study. See HSR P. 8A

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Houston Phoenix softball rolling through competition For The Leader The Houston Phoenix Girls Softball Association has been on fire during its inaugural season! The 10U team, coached by Jim Schultz, won six tournaments and finished third in the Western Nationals. The 12U team, coached

by Rob Rivera, placed second in the Beach Bash Tourney, which guaranteed them entry into the Gulf Coast Nationals. Ultimately, they ended the season with a first place win in a local 14U Round Robin.  This non-profit association serves the Greater Heights area.  Through the sport of

competitive fastpitch softball, it fosters sportsmanship, respect, and personal growth. On the heels of their recent success, the association plans to add 8U and 10U teams for the upcoming season. The Houston Phoenix relies on donations to help the girls master their skills, with the ultimate

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McElvy Media buys The Greensheet For The Leader McElvy Media Group, which owns The Leader, has entered into a preliminary agreement to purchase The Greensheet and its assets. The sale is expected to close Sept. 1. The Greensheet was founded by Helen Gordon in 1970. Her daughter, Kathy Douglass, has been president of the company since 1993. The Greensheet is a targeted advertising publication that distributes more than 500,000 copies in Houston and Dallas, in 19 separate zones each week. In addition, TheGreensheet. com garners more than 1 million-page views monthly. McElvy Media Group owns community newspapers in Houston and in Charlotte, North Carolina. In Houston, it publishes The Leader, the Fort

Bend Star and the Fort Bend Business Journal. In Charlotte, it publishes the South Charlotte Weekly, Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly and Union County Weekly. Jonathan McElvy, Frank Vasquez, Robb Reeves and Douglas McElvy will be owners of a new company, MVR Publishing, that will operate the Greensheet Media and its affiliated businesses. Dirks, Van Essen, Murray & April, a media merger and acquisition firm based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, represented Greensheet Media in the transaction. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The announcement was made by Kathy Douglass, president of Greensheet Media. She said, “My dream has been for The Greensheet to celebrate a 100-year anniversary and

the sale of the company keeps this dream alive. The decision to sell was difficult emotionally because after 48 years, it will no longer be a part of our family. I have faith and confidence than Jonathan McElvy, Frank Vasquez, Robb Reeves and Douglas McElvy will have success and carry the business into the future.” Jonathan McElvy said, “My partners and I are honored that we’ve been able to work with Kathy to continue the rich legacy she and her mother Helen have built for almost 50 years. The Greensheet brand, in both Houston and Dallas, is a tremendous asset, and we understand there’s great responsibility in developing new and creative ways to leverage that brand.”

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The Topics. The Leader • Saturday, August 11, 2018 • Page 4A

Our company’s growth is good for The Leader


f you haven’t read Page 3 of our paper this week, it might help in the greater context of this week’s column. Of course, if you’re reading this online from Spokane, you’re a bit frustrated because The Leader doesn’t deliver anywhere outside the Beltway. For the past couple of months, most of my professional attention has been on an acquisition that was announced last week. In case you haven’t heard, our company has entered an agreement to purchase The Greensheet. And if you’re from Houston and you know anything about The Greensheet, an image of the pasta aisle at Kroger just dashed through your mind because that’s the last place you heard the vaunted lyrics, “The Greensheet brings you buyers.” If you didn’t just sing the song to yourself, then your other reaction was probably something along these lines: “What? Why?” Terry Burge, my dear friend and former owner of The Leader for more than four decades, called earlier this week with about the same reaction. For those new to town, let me tell you a bit about The Greensheet. In 1970, a lady named Helen Gordon felt the city of Houston lacked a means for connecting people who wanted to sell things with people who wanted to buy things. Remem-

Jonathan McElvy Publisher

ber, this was 1970, when a computer looked like a cheap version of a Yugo. People weren’t hopping on these clunkers to post pictures of grilled pork chops. In a stroke of brilliance, Gordon believed a mass circulation newspaper – called a shopper – could be successful if classified ads filled the pages with larger, service-type ads sprinkled around them. And wow was she right. At one point, not so long ago, The Greensheet had 300 employees and delivered millions of copies to Houston, Dallas, Austin and Phoenix. If you wanted to sell a used bike, you called The Greensheet, placed an ad, and got a barrel of phone calls the next day. This newspaper, since its inception, has been a family business and, 25 years ago, Gordon’s daughter, Kathy Douglass became president of the operation. Kathy, who lived in this area of the city for a long time,

built on her mother’s success by modernizing the business, making the product even more targeted, and creating a digital portal that reached folks who would rather shop online than in print. Over the past month, as I’ve gotten to know Kathy, I’ve learned she’s a lovely woman who masterfully ran a targeted business in cities that are hard to target. Like all things, though, there’s a time when the cycle ends and new opportunities await. More than six years ago, I had spent my professional life working for other newspaper owners and I had a chance to run my own company. In Kathy’s case, she has invested her soul in The Greensheet, and she’s ready to enjoy some time away from a company she has led for so many years. And that’s where we, somehow, come into play. After meeting with Kathy and her team, I discovered there is still something very special about The Greensheet. It has a brand across all of Houston and Dallas that can be leveraged. It has a relationship with millions of readers that can be refined and reborn. Mostly, it has a customer base hungry for new avenues to reach buyers. I’ll admit that, when our company was approached about this, my first reaction was a blunt: “No way.” Now, after investing 60 days in due diligence, I believe there is an

Older but wiser - maybe To the Residents of Golden Years Glen: This is your monthly newsletter sharing the latest exciting happenings in our neighborhood. Yes, this January edition is a wee tardy, but our late editor, Jim Collardgreens, didn’t survive the heart transplant from a squid. Jim was a multi-billionaire, but if only he’d listened to those who warned him against using the cheaper, but riskier, ISIS Suicide Bombers Survival Hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh. His widow, BettySue Collardgreens, announced she will be wearing black in mourning until her wedding next week to famed heart surgeon Dr. Ali bin-Mohammed, formerly of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Bassoons at 56 Wrinkle Road announced that they are moving to an assisted living residence, God’s Waiting Room, because “we just can’t get our crutches to move fast enough during the Thursday Night Cloggers Marathon.” Pete Mockingbird had announced that he was looking to “date a woman my own age.” Then he discovered “there aren’t any.” The fire caused by Missy Mongoose which destroyed more than a block was blamed on her lighting up a cigarette while still under her oxygen tent. She attributes it to “a senior moment.” She should be back with us within the year. We are sad to report the demise of one of the neighborhood’s more colorful characters, Major George “White Flag” Grenade, who attended the annual reunion with his fellow veterans of the 447th Artillery Brigade. While George was showing family members how to load a howitzer, he forgot it was already loaded. A word of caution about the Fountain of Life at the end of Senility Circle. It has dried up. We do not take that as an ominous sign, but it does raise a point about the age of some of our residents. We seem to be getting older. When someone mentions “the turn of the century,” meaning 1900, that’s a clue. Even more so is when someone refers to 1863 as MDCCCLXIII. We like our little neighborhood of townhouses. It means no lawns to keep up, no children running through our hedges, no crime – except for the unfortunate double axe murder at the Shoestrings’ Thanksgiving dinner after someone used “Trump” and “treason” in the same sentence – and a cozy togetherness as senior citizens. Still, we must admit that Father Time is creeping up on us. When the EMS ambulance has a reserved spot at our neighborhood’s entrance, or you have 911 on speed dial and a majority of the residents have frequent flyer miles on LifeFlight, we know we have slipped a step. Good news! A young (under 90) couple has moved in that doesn’t have a disable tag on their rearview mirrors. They seem to be a nice pair, although rumor has it that

Lynn Ashby Columnist

he is a reformed journalist, so don’t talk politics, religion or anything else with them. They promise to remove their flock of pink flamingoes from their front porch shortly, but he claims the 10-foot wide satellite dish has been “grandfathered in,” mainly because he’s a grandfather. We have sent them a copy of the Homeowners Handbook underlining the part dealing with moats, loud music after 4:30 in the afternoon and prohibiting two or more walkers left on the porch. Also, we are reminding them that our mailman, Matt “Misdirected” Morgan cannot leave plasma deliveries in the mailbox during hot days. In other news, your board of directors is considering a motion to ban cable hookups that carry any channel except Fox News. It has also been suggested that the board see if Golden Years qualifies for federal funds to erect a gate at our entrance, but one member noted that they had tried that before, but no one could remember the code. At a recent board meeting, it was unanimously approved that residents depend on Medicare and Social Security, but are totally opposed to high taxes and the federal government meddling in our lives. When Gary “Pops” Gary said this smacks of hypocrisy, he was voted off the island and onto an ice floe. The neighborhood’s Christmas decorations will be taken down soon, but we need a volunteer who can climb a ladder. The board saw no reason to put up Halloween decorations since we don’t allow children. This year’s Wife Swap Weekend has been called off due to a lack of interest. Finally in board news, the next meeting will be held sometime in the future, but an angry discussion erupted as to how far in the future, given that half the members are on life support. This just in: We have more news about that new couple that just moved in, that burned-out journalist and his wife. Rupert Rangoon reports that they are watching that liberal commie station, Houston Public Television. Rupert knows this because he was out walking his pet turtle, Speedo, and saw the TV set through a window. “It was right there for anyone to see,” Rupert said. “All I had to do was go to their garage, stand on a car bumper and lean way over and brace myself on their water heater. I mean it was blatant!” Attention homeowners! There have been reports of a peeping tom on Coronary Corners. No one claims to have hired him. This month’s

AARP meeting will take up several important and timely subjects. These include Do Liver Spots Go With Onions?, Climbing Curbs, 10 Easy Ways to Foster Children’s Guilt, and Where There’s a Will – There’s a Lawyer. A special guest was scheduled, Angela Aneurism, author of “How to Jog After 80.” However, she was taken to intensive care, but happily still wearing her jogging suit. Some of you have asked about recovery efforts in Golden Years Glen after Hurricane Harvey. FEMA has assured us that clean-up will begin shortly. Janice Jaundice reminds everyone that “Harvey was nothing like the Galveston Storm.” Well, that’s all from your Golden Years Glen. Just remember the observation from Maurice Chevalier: “Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.” Ashby is aging at

incredible opportunity to transform The Greensheet’s business model into one that lasts for decades to come. And along the way, this acquisition has a chance to solidify The Leader, which is why I’m sharing this with you today. For 36 years, The Leader has been in the same office just south of the train tracks on East T.C. Jester Boulevard. In September, we won’t be here anymore. Last year, The Greensheet moved its main office to the Preserve at the intersection of 610 and East T.C. Jester. We are literally moving our office .4 miles south, and that’s going to be a big change for a lot of people in this community. Whether you’ve visited our office to place a garage sale ad, or if you’re one of the nearly 800 people who drives by the office at all times of the day to pick up a newspaper, we’re going to merge our two offices for the sake of efficiency and practicality. While this might be viewed as a negative, I’m thrilled about what this will mean for The Leader. For starters, we’ll go from a relatively small office of about 10 people to one with floors full of sales people, accounting wizards and technology support. The employees who have been so loyal to our company will have new and better resources at their hands, and they’ll be part of a larger team that, ultimately, can provide a better

product to our readers. Most of you don’t care about that, and for those who have faithfully picked up a copy of The Leader for years, you only want to know one thing: How will this impact your community paper. The Leader, for as long as I’m in this business and as long as I’m alive, will always be my first professional love. This is the first business I ever owned. It’s the first place that ever had my name on the door. It’s the place where I built a relationship with 34,000 homes each and every week by telling you about the travails of parenting and driving and shopping and, yes, running my own business. My commitment to the readers and advertisers of The Leader is that this won’t change a single thing. Every week (or nearly every week), I’ll still carve out a couple of hours to peck a few words together for a column. I’ll still know what we’re putting on the front page each week. I’ll still live in this community, and I’ll still ensure you have a community newspaper that informs and entertains better than any other medium in this market. Yes, we’re getting a little bigger. But nothing will ever be as big to me as the dear relationship we’ve built with people like you. Email

The reader. Lynn Ashby opened the door for this

Email us your letters:

Dear Editor: Lynn Ashby’s Aug. 4 invective about Houston’s major daily newspaper’s failure to figure out his address change following Hurricane Harvey was interesting and indicative. Around mid-July, that paper’s business columnist lamented the dying daily print newspaper trade, citing online competition and implying that the people of Houston just aren’t fulfilling their obligation to support our daily paper. More than 125 online reader responses, illuminating reasons for the paper’s demise, generally fell into three categories: 1) Reportage slant/bias, 2) Poor writing quality and 3) Lousy delivery service/response. While Harvey’s disruption for the latter was understandable, the paper’s subsequent help-desk incompetence cited by Ashby was inexcusable for a fee-charging enterprise. Harvey aside, a recurrent reader complaint involved paying for “subscriptions that don’t arrive.” One noted that the USPS, UPS and FEDEX had no trouble whatever finding him, but that very newspaper’s distribution personnel evidently could not. Readers pointed out that the paper’s writers commit grammar and spelling errors regularly -- but fish rots from the head, and those shortcomings reveal editor ineptitude. Perhaps the editors’ minds are more energetically focused elsewhere, which leads us to... Criticism of reportage bias was vehement, noting how the most negative slant possible is consistently employed vis-a-vis the political ideology and elected politicians the paper opposes -- and is an insult to a great many of the paper’s consumers. (A nationally famous pundit accurately observed

that today’s mainstream media is America’s only business in which “the customer is always wrong.”) Editorial subjectivity is expected of a paper, but newswriting objectivity is evaporating with the past, ever receding to the agendas of advocacy, spin and loaded-questioning gotcha. J. Reynolds

They’re getting their words wrong there

Dear Editor: Eye enjaye you’re artical sew muchist. Eye laughfed till eye could’ve dyed. My grandson (1st grader) sayed too his sister onced (with a straight face at the dinner table after she snatched a shrimp off his plate) “You’re the mostest horriblestis person in the world I ever meeted.” Throw in the blends, digraphs, diphthongs, idioms, axioms, ole sayings, double entendre, colloquialisms, antonyms, synonyms, syllogisms, let’s not forget the split infinitive, and not to mention the myriad definitions and alternate spellings for words, etc, etc, it all leaves me to wonder if I ever communicate anything effectively and, oh yea, how are the techies gonna deal with all this in the ever invading world of AI? Just sayin...u no? (Oh, I forgot texting and mixed languages, e.g. spanglish.) (PS-My granddaughter enjoyed your camp last year and she was looking forward to it again this year but I never saw any advanced announcement of it in the Leader. Do you plan to do it next year?) RMat123

See Reader, P. 7B

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



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

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


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

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


The Leader • Saturday, August 11, 2018 • Page 5A

St. Ambrose principal seeks community engagement was introduced to ACE, a program at Notre Dame where they have teachers who live in community and work for two years at a Catholic school. I had one of “those� teachers; I thought he was dynamic, and just a young person excited about teaching – he just loved what he was doing. I’ve had so many teachers along the way that spearheaded my love and passion for education.

By Landan Kuhlmann Sarah McDonald has always harbored a passion for helping others, especially the younger ones. She has coordinated Helping Hands, a Hurricane Harvey Resource Center, for families affected by the hurricane, and regularly participates in community activities and intramural sports throughout the Archdiocese. And now her positive leadership with a focus on creating a loving, Christ-like environment for children has led her to the St. Ambrose community of faith. McDonald recently took over the principal’s job at St. Ambrose School, bringing with it a whirlwind of emotions and responsibilities as she gears up for her second round of authority at the school. But in between commitments, she took some time to speak with The Leader about her journey and her plans for the 2018-2019 school year.

When did the passion for administration strike, and how? I moved to Houston in 2010 for grad school and lived with 12 other Catholic educators in the diocese and a makeshift parish at Our Lady of Mount Caramel. That was sort of a baptism by fire into education/administration. I had great formation at Spring Hill that really put me in situations that weren’t what I was accustomed to. I was a leader of an at-risk middle school, tutoring for different students, and it was really then I knew administration was the path I wanted to go. You learn things along the way and think ‘There are things I would do differently,’ especially at the particular school I worked with. It hurt me for the kids, and was extremely eye-

How did you enter the education field? I went back and forth for a little while and considered law school before I decided that wasn’t my calling. I went to Spring Hill College for undergrad, and while I was there I

Ambrose are among the bestrounded students in the class. They didn’t know I was calling [because I got the job there], and they were open and honest in saying they didn’t have any discipline problems – they’re just good kids, and I felt that when I was there [on Accreditation Team].


opening. I started working at St. Thomas More, and worked there for eight years, and I recently began my doctorate through St. Louis University – this is just the culmination of the excitement and love for the work that I’m doing. What endeared St. Ambrose School to you? Someone in the teaching community told me they thought I’d be great fit, so I just went for it. I was also on the St. Ambrose Accreditation Team a couple of years ago, so I was familiar with the community, and had heard only good things about the school. I had friends at all these different high schools, and all of them said students from St.

What would you say are the school’s greatest strengths? I would say one of our strengths is that community and the feeling you get there. I chose St. Ambrose because when you walk in the school, there’s just something about it you feel that you can’t explain. It just feels like home – not to say other schools don’t, but you just feel like [this place] is right as soon as you walk in the door. Obviously they’re on their best behavior [at Accreditation], but it didn’t seem like it was a fake genuine – just honest, genuine people. That’s the type of person I think I am, and I just felt like I could fit in and continue building on the foundation they’ve built.

to IRA and 401(k) plans in that savings for education are earned tax-free through investment opportunities. SallieMae says 529 plans are offered by states or educational institutions under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. These tax-advantaged plans generally have no income limitations and high contribution limits. The usage of funds in 529 accounts are subject to regulations.

Accounts to pay for college or even private high schools can be a smart way for parents to prepare for their children’s futures. Not every account is the same, and certain savings accounts could affect financial aid eligibility and taxes. It is in parents’ and students’ best interests to educate themselves on the various education savings plans available to them and which ones make the most sense for their families. Families should do their research and work with professionals who understand the subtleties of school savings plans. For example, according to, a college information site, students’ income and savings have a larger, more negative impact on the availability of financial aid than the portion of their parents’ assets factored into the equation. Students with sizeable savings accounts in their name may end up adversely affecting their financial aid eligibility. A financial advisor and loan expert can advise families on these confusing financial facts.

Coverdell Education Savings Account: Coverdell accounts are versatile in that they enable the money to be spent for elementary through college education, which is a larger range than other plans. This is another tax-free plan when used for school purposes. Coverdell contributions are

capped at $2,000 per year, and they’re only available to families below a specified income level, says the resource Uniform Gifts to Minors Act Account: These accounts are not traditionally designed for education but can be established to offer gift assets to minors. The custodian of the account can sell the assets for the child’s benefit at any time, and once the child reaches 18 or 21, recipients can use the funds in whatever manner they choose. However, UGMA may affect financial aid eligibility.

an incredible staff, but getting to know them more will help in achieving our goals as a school. I know they’ve got great ideas, it’s just about seeing what is doable and helping cultivate their vocation and being the best versions of themselves as well.

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some room for growth. One focus I will have this year will be emphasizing the building of stronger relationships within the school and parish, as well as in the community. A lot of people I’ve spoken to are in the same mindset of growing the school through relationships. It’s a great school, and

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AuguST 31

Coming August 18, 2018 • Lutheran North

(deadlines Aug. 14)

• Heights High School (Reagan) • Scarborough

• St. Pius X • St. Thomas • Waltrip

Opening Football Game LHN vs. The Village School 7:00 pm

OcTOber 5

Homecoming Football Game LHN vs. Frassati Catholic 7:00 pm

OcTOber 12

Friday Night Lights Open House tours at 5:30, 6:00, and 6:30 pm

OcTOber 23


Admissions Preview Brunch 9:00-11:00 am

We hope to see you at one of these events.

It’s the most anticipated time of the year, and it’s one of the most anticipated sections in The Leader each year. For information on this section, call one of our account executives at (713) 686-8494.

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Page 6A • Saturday, August 11, 2018 • The Leader

Appointment is a true homecoming for new Waltrip principal Michael Niggli By Landan Kuhlmann In the wake of another change at the helm, Waltrip High School was in limbo – but now it has a native son of sorts to lead its charge into the future. According to the school’s website, Michael Niggli, Jr. has been selected to serve as the next principal of Waltrip High School after former principal Dale Mitchell took an SSO position within HISD last week. He comes directly from Sam Houston Math, Science and Technology Center where he has been serving as the Associate Principal, with 21 years under his belt as a teacher and administrator in HISD. “My entire tenure in HISD has all been in large, comprehensive high schools, and Waltrip has many of the great qualities of schools I’ve previously worked at,� he told The Leader Tuesday. Niggli brings not only a wealth of experience in HISD, but also in the local community – he previously lived in the Garden Oaks area for seven years, and had just moved back before being selected over the weekend. And when he received the call, there was

no hesitation. “I really enjoy the concept of the school leader being a community leader as well, so it just made sense to me – the fit of the school being where my knowledge base is, and being someone who can contribute to the school as well as the environment,� he said. “My interactions with Waltrip students while I was at other schools is that they’re just great kids. There are great kids all throughout Houston, but I’ve just never forgotten the kind of pleasantries of spirit of the Waltrip kids whenever I’ve seen them around.� Niggli consistently reiterated his desire and commitment to leading Waltrip and providing stability – especially considering he will be the school’s third new principal since the beginning of 2013. During his time at Sam Houston Math, Science and Technology Center, Niggli worked under three different principals, so he is no stranger to turnover and the effects it can have on a school -- and desires nothing more than to help the school and community put its faith in him. “Sometimes with those rapid-fire changes can come fear and anxiety from the staff and community, which we don’t

Niggli, Jr.

want. We want the school to be comfortable, I want the community to feel comfortable. I’m not looking to come in here and cause drastic here necessairly, because there are already so many great programs happening here and new programs getting off the ground that I’d like to support,� he said. “Moving into this community again, I want to be here for at least 10 years if the district will have me. I want to establish consistency, reliability and leadership at the school and let the community know I’m here for the long haul with Waltrip to take it to the next level.� In recent years, Waltrip has experienced a lot of success with the school’s band -back-to-back years of earning UIL Sweepstakes -- along with other UIL and athletic pro-

grams and diverse club offerings. Niggli said he would like to accentuate those opportunities, thus ensuring a chance for every student every single kid can have something to do inside Waltrip’s walls, something extra that gives them extra motivation. Further, he believes doing so should not be difficult, as he senses a positive environment about the school in terms of its attitude towards students, which provides a solid foundation. “We’re here for the kids first, so if we’re all in on taking care of these students, it’s going to have a butterfly effect from there, and the school is really going to take off,� he said. “I get the feeling there are a lot of passionate teachers here who are inspired by their content and helping students, and those are the kinds of teachers we want to help grow and make our school even stronger.�

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Oak Forest resident Amber Branum met HISD wraparound specialist Kirkland Hall last year when she was looking for a way to help underserved schools. Hall is the wrap-around specialist for Highland Heights Elementary and also the football coach at Booker T. Washington High School. Hall reached out to Branum for help getting equipment for the team, stemming from everyday workout clothes to 7-man sleds. “Many large equipment items are very worn down and some items went missing upon the move to the new school,� said Branum. The school does not have a PTO but does have a Booster Club, which is a 501(c)3 and is the group that Branum worked with to facilitate donations. Branum and others used social media via the local HISD Outreach Community Facebook page, Oak Forest Homeowners Facebook page, the Garden Oaks Facebook page, and the Nextdoor app.  “My next step was to start approaching local businesses for help as well,� said Branum. Response was immediate and generous. Workout Dri-Fit Shirts and Shorts were donated by the Avilas,  Avila-Eadys families as well as Pamela Johnson, Ann Thompson, Elyse Rouzan and Cynthia Torchia in Shepherd Park Terrace; by Peter and Kathy Chang and Amy Will in Garden Oaks; and by Tania Kanga, Lisa Sonnonstine, Karen Zorn and Matt and Amber Branum in Oak Forest. Garden Oaks’ Michael Dreiss and Susan Ericksen Kosteleky purchased additional clothing and community members Murphy & Vickers, PC and Aitu Pham Taubes donated a 1-man sled. Special thanks goes to Suzanne Saltzer Saraceni, Claudia Avila, Michael Dreiss, and all the families who helped to purchase any items off the Wish List and to Claudia Avila who pre purchased workout clothes. Items which are still needed include football uniforms and cleats for 40 teammates, a Football Pop Up Dummy, a Half-Round Football Dummy, Rolling Dry Erase Boards and Football Equipment, such as 7-man sleds, 5-man sleds and a 2-man sled. Sizes for cleats will be on Amazon Wish List. Other items are needed which need to be directed through the Booster Club. Those include an afterschool nutritional fund, catered meals for students and workers for Friday Nights as well as financial donations. The contact for the Booster Club

is Lorraine Gibbs at lgibbs@   “The response has been wonderful,� said Branum. “But we need more commu-

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The Leader • Saturday, August 11, 2018 • Page 7A

ENTERTAINMENT CALENDAR Majick Mondays 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 13 Presidio – 911 W. 11th St. With the solstice past us, summer is officially here. Join Presidio HTX in a veneration of those summer nights at their Majick Mondays speakeasy & pop-up series happening every Monday. Drinks crafted by Michael Riojas and the food by Chef Anthony Calleo and Chef Adam Dorris. Board games at Rudyard’s 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15 Rudyard’s British Pub Come have a drink, meet some interesting people, and play some awesome board games. The meeting place is Rudyard’s Pub on Waugh! They have good food and a great beer selection. Three parking lots to the North, West, and South West and some street parking a block over.If you are new to the world of modern board games have no fear, everyone is awesome and you’ll have a great time. They will have all types of games; social games with easy rules and lots of interaction or more competitive games as well as cooperative ones. Trivia night at Little Woodrows 7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15 Little Woodrow’s in The Heights – 2631 White Oak Dr. Bring your thinking caps to Little Woodrows in The Heights for “Geeks Who Drink� trivia! Join the team, grab a drink, and exercise your mind with some fellow Illini! Trivia starts at 7:30pm, so get there by 7:15pm to officially join a team! 19th Street sip and stroll 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16 19th Street Join the19th Street Third Thursdays Sip & Stroll as the shops extend their hours for you! Shop your favorite Heights boutiques, enjoy complimentary cocktails in store plus monthly features. The perfect date night, GNO or treat yourself evening! Sponsors: ALICE blue, Vinal Edge Records, Fly High Little Bunny, Big Blue Whale, Jubilee, Venus Hair Houston, Squared Away, The Lift, Bliss on 19th, Manready Mercantile, Dramatika Custom Framing, AG Antiques on West 19th, Erica DelGardo Jewelry Designs, Harold’s Restaurant & Tap Room, My Cabinet Source Jumper Maybach Fine Art Gallery, Emerson Rose, Boomtown Coffee, Casa Ramirez FOLKART Gallery, Eclectic Home, CODA in the Heights, Retropolis, 4 Dragons Institute, Dr. Nataly Perez, Circa Real Estate LLC.

Art Valet: The cure for hunger pains at an outdoor market Mitch Cohen Art Columnist

This summer I’ve been eating very healthy and following what I call a lazy keto diet; low carb, no sugar etc., but sometimes it leaves one craving. Let’s take a culinary journey then, and truly test my resolve. I’ve not put much emphasis in the way of promotions on food exhibitors at my Market at Sawyer Yards, but it is there and worth mentioning. Food and markets go well together, and this market has a strong presence on our gustatory perception. (Tastes.) Food trucks are always present and rotate each month. This Saturday evening for out last summer night show, Spicy Dog, serving an array of creatively made hot dogs will be on site, as well as Hangreek, which prides itself in serving authentic Greek street food. I was pleasantly surprised to find my French fries tucked into my gyros when I tried Hangreek. Delicious and efficient! Still on the savory end, Dumpling Haus joins the food lineup for the first time. Dumpling Haus is the first hot food vendor to serve under a tent. Chef Elaine will have you trying all of her dumplings, noodles, and rice. She has vegan options, too. The two weaknesses that I can get away with mostly guilt-free is Mandarinos Coffee and Straylight Bar’s cocktails.  I love coffee and the whole ritual of grinding and using an espresso maker or French press. Mandarinos Coffee has been a family business for four generations selling wholesale to exporters until 2015 when they decided to bypass the middlemen. The result is a better product and I am hooked. 

James Ephraim serving The Baker’s Man

A simple cocktail by Sraylight Bar

Straylight Bar is a treat. Ask for whatever special they have that day, you will not be disappointed. Houston Winery has been in business making Texas wines made from grapes harvested in state for several years now. The company is in the process of building a new winery and tasting room here in the Heights and will open soon. Meanwhile, if I may, I recommend the 2016 Blanc du Bois. La Petite Patisserie is a locally owned bakery that specializes in pastry of all kinds, scones, quick & artisan breads, cookies, cinnamon rolls, cakes, tarts, brownies, Danish, turnovers and confections. This former accountant turned chef and baker is on a mission to bake this world a happier pace. Another baker is James Ephraim, aka The Baker’s Man, specializing in mini bundt cakes. They look innocent enough, and not

Photo supplied Mario Garcia prepares his family coffee, Mandarinos Coffee

Zarah Parker Managing Editor

Photo by Zarah Parker Alex Dolan, cook (Left), CJ Dilan, owner and chef (center), and Brian Best, investor (right) of Sofrito. Located at 3103 Ella Blvd. inside of Dr Gleem Carwash

that neighborhood cafĂŠ that we use to have back home where you’d come in [and] talk to the owner,â€? Dilan said, “I know you by your first name. I know how your kids are doing. Because I live in the neighborhood I interact with a lot of people that come.â€? After brainstorming on possible food concepts, Dilan’s sister suggested that he cook the kind of food they cook at home: Puerto Rican. But with a few of the other Puerto Rican restaurant owners in town being friends of Dilan’s, he decided to do something different with the concept as to not step on any toes. Dilan’s Puerto Rican food has roots in the original cuisine, but he finds ways to

Photo supplied

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ed in the Houston area, Chilaquiles essential chilaquiles sauce and Ma & Pa “Kettle Korn.� Finally, Cultured Heat, a critically acclaimed, locally sourced, small batch hot sauce, handmade in The Heights via wild fermentation. It is free of vinegar and

Grab and go Puerto Rican cuisine on Ella Blvd. Chef CJ Dilan is on a mission to show that Puerto Rican food is not just rice, beans, and plantains. Taking traditional Puerto Rican dishes, Dilan finds inventive ways to create them in grab and go options from inside the Dr Gleem Carwash at Sofrito. “I came here to the car wash to get my haircut for about three years and I saw [the kitchen space] empty the first couple months,� Dilan said, “and every other two weeks, it kind of kept chipping at me and chipping at me. Then finally I was like, let’s get some information.� With information on how to the rent the kitchen space inside of the car wash in hand, Dilan found no reason not to create a new concept for the space. He reached out to Brian Best of La Dee Da Catering to see what he thought of the idea. With a little more research, they decided to go forward with the idea, but with no set cuisine. “So, what can we do that’s different that they don’t have here? We decided [to] keep it

Photo supplied

take a classic meal and make it available to eat on the go. Waiting for an elaborate dish just doesn’t make sense unless you’re getting your car super detailed. “We came up with the idea, why don’t we just put it all in an empanada? That’s pretty much been our answer when [customers] ask for an elaborate dish. Seems to work well with everything,� Dilan said. Sofrito is the base of all the cooking, “It’s something you start off with and build your dish off that. Sofrito is an Africanized style. Puerto Rico is a mixture; a hotspot for the Spanish, Africans, and the loSee Food P. 8A

Photo supplied

one has made it home to their respective gift recipients. Ephraim is a former banker following his passion. Makai Walker started her cookie business with her Dad when she was just 6 years old. Now eight, I expect Kai’s Kookies to fly out of the market Saturday night. If a child’s charm doesn’t convince you, the cookie names might - like Nothing But Joy. We’ve got our staples and favorites too, KICpops gourmet ice pops with wicked flavor infusions has been at the market since day one. Nando’s Honey Bee Farm, harvest-



sugar and full of healthy probiotics and flavor. I used up 3 bottles in just the last month. Guilt-free for me. All of the artists, exhibitors, and musicians are listed each month on the market website The event is Saturday evening 6 -10 p.m. 1507 Sawyer St.Â






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Page 8A • Saturday, August 11, 2018 • The Leader

Food from P. 7A cal Taino,” Dilan said. For newcomers to the cuisine Dilan suggests starting them off with the Cubano Sandwich, which has slow roasted Pernil (pork leg), pineapple and achiote glazed ham, swiss cheese, yellow mustard, and house pickles pressed on Cuban bread. You can also start off with the empanada of the day. Once you’ve had a taste of the Puerto Rican flavors Dilan points you to Sofrito’s Instagram to check out flavorful off the menu items.

Dilan is dedicated to showcasing the best Puerto Rico has to offer, even if that means jumping on a plane and going to get Pastelillos de Chapin (Trunk Fish) from the island himself. “You can’t get [Pastelillos de Chapin] anywhere in the US, I’m the only guy who’s got it. It’s only fished along the coast down there. I called from Florida all the way down to Texas and no distributers would do it,” Dilan said. At Eleanora’s Market on Saturday’s Dilan also gives

customer a taste of Puerto Rico in a breakfast taco by using slow roasted pork that’s made in house. “Come by and give it a chance,” Best said, an investor in Sofrito, “local support is paramount. Meet chef CJ and the crew and enjoy the atmosphere.” Dilan also makes sorbet, like the salted pineapple, and has Puerto Rican soda, like Coco Rico, available. Sofrito is located at 3103 Ella Blvd. inside of the Dr Gleem Carwash.

HISD pay from P. 1A lion from the district’s newlypassed $2 billion budget in June in the wake of a shortfall, simultaneously agreeing to pull as much as $17 million from the district’s rainyday fund for the upcoming year. Providing “step” increases in 2018-19 would have cost about $6 million, which was not included in the district’s recently passed budget – and which Santos believes is already easily accounted for without cutting funds elsewhere. “Extra years deserve extra compensation,” she said. “Teachers deserve that compensation for the weight that they bear. We have not valued our teachers the way we should value them.” Houston Federation of Teachers President Zeph Capo echoed the sentiment. “The improvements that were made, and those that yet need to be made, were made because of the teach-

ers standing in front of the kids in those classrooms,” he said. “They are first and foremost the ones who make those gains, and this is not the way to welcome them back to a new year when we need them focused on doing the best for our kids.” Teachers would not see any salary increases if the proposal passes, even if they gained an extra year of experience, after trustees did not include any additional spending for salaries in HISD’s budget for the 20182019 school year. By keeping the current step schedule for another year, many teachers would have received salary bumps ranging from $200 to more than $2,000 -- around 2 to 4 percent -- in the 201819 school year depending on level of experience. “Our teachers and school administrators that meet our kids are not our first priority [right now],” Capo said.

“We’ve got to make changes – our community, teachers, parents, and the public are standing together.” Santos said average teacher tenure has been trending downward for years, and expect that trend to continue. As such, she said it is imperative to ensure the district does not lose what some view as its most valuable asset – experienced classroom teachers. HISD teachers stand among the lowest-paid in the greater Houston region relative to educators with identical experience. “It is unfortunate that the administration can find a way to budget for gas increases and energy increases, but when it comes to the salary schedule – which has already been approved, providing for modest incomes so teachers can also budget for those increases – cannot be improved,” Capo said.

HSR from P. 1A “The federal permits set the pace for the entire project, so once those permits get approved, then construction can start,” Reed said. “Our building of the 240 miles will commence on all segments – including the stations – at the same time.”

Impact Statement (FEIS) is released. “[The FRA] is still in the process of reviewing and responding to public comments and conducting additional environmental analyses,” spokesperson Desiree French said.

Careful process An Environmental Impact Statement is a document that describes the impacts on the environment – including the land, structures, living organisms, traffic, and environmental values – resulting from a proposed action such as the High Speed Rail. It also describes impacts of alternatives as well as plans to mitigate the impacts. Texas Central says the company is constantly refining and updating construction planning and sequencing, and other design and engineering activities based the FRA’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the project, which was initially presented earlier this year. Following feedback until March 9 from both public and online forums, the FRA has spent the last several months taking comments under advisement from concerned homeowners and residents who claim the project will negatively impact property values as well as cause additional issues in and around the stations. However, the FRA says they cannot publicly speak to any preferred alternative for the Houston station until their Final Environmental

Long road ahead? As of press time, the FRA could not define a specific timeline for the Final Environmental Impact Study’s completion, though officials had initially hoped it would come by the end of 2018. And some recent history on similar projects around the globe has shown no timeline is infallible on a project of this magnitude, lending the immediate timeline of the Dallas-to-Houston HSR – and the Northwest Mall site – to some uncertainty. One environmental assessment for a proposed HighSpeed Rail in Canada has initially been projected to take about four years according to a 2017 report from CBC news. Meanwhile, in California,

a January report from the Fresno Bee said the High Speed Rail Authority predicted it could complete the environmental work from San Francisco to Los Angeles by the end of last year, but now the expectations for environmental certification and final route selection of different segments range from October 2018 to January 2020. In the Valley, federal grant agreements in 2010 called for construction of the Madera-Bakersfield section to be largely completed by last fall. Now the earliest any of the first three contracts from Madera to Shafter is contemplated for completion is mid-2019, according to the report. That said, the dynamics for every project are different, and it remains to be seen how Texas Central and its partners attempt to navigate potential obstacles to prompt timelines with minimal impact to the proposed project’s affected land and stations. Only time will tell.

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Market from P. 1A Edward Charles Holtgraver used to be a wedding photographer before he started Wonders of Nature, selling coasters, tiles, and prints of his nature shots. “I did the Blue Field Market [in EaDo] where I heard about this,” he said. “I’ve been doing markets for three years.” Angela Harris Cannizzo is the owner of La Lydia Gift 2 Give, a unique, local garden boutique. Her specialty is crafting nature into repur-

posed, new again containers and modern planters. She also specializes in smallspace gardening and DIY planting parties. “We will be at the market three times a month,” said Cannizzo. Cultured Heat is the brain child of Heights residents Francesco Conti and Mandy Trichell. They make their small batch hot sauce with produce from local vendors in kitchen space they sublet from Alli Jarrett of Harold’s

Restaurant. “Alli is a great supporter of local businesses,” said Conti. Acquiring vendors is one thing. Having enough space for them is another consideration. Ivins said that Onion Creek has space for up to 29 vendors, in addition to maintaining a parking lot for customers. Gary Mosley, who owns the Creek Group, had a farmer’s market in the same parking lot that started in 2003. “His goal was to connect

the local businesses with the community and the Heights Morning Market is continuing that tradition,” said Ivins. It is Ivins’ hope that the Sunday market becomes a routine activity for the residents. “We want Sundays to be the day that people look forward to for shopping local and ‘brunching’ at a Heights staple, the Onion Creek Café,” she said.

Nursery & Antiques

Jim Ruzicka

Let us give you a fresh new look!

5117 North Main St. 713-485-4791

Come visit our nursery or have our experts landscape your home.

August 11 Section A  

August 11 Section A

August 11 Section A  

August 11 Section A