Page 1B • The Leader • December 28, 2013 • www.theleadernews.com
We Can Dream
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Area’s priciest homes nearing $2 million mark We just couldn’t help ourselves. It’s the last edition of the year, and as you may have noticed on today’s front page of The Leader, the real estate boom in our ZIP codes is off the charts. So what better way to end the year than to show you the most expensive houses on the market as of press time. Because The Leader delivers mainly to ZIPs 77008 and 77018, that’s the area we focused on in ﬁnding these homes – all courtesy of HAR.com.
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941 Heights Blvd.
It’s no surprise the priciest of homes in the area can be found on prestigious Heights Boulevard, where this Victorian style home tops the charts at $1.795 million. If you can scrounge up the change, here’s what HAR.com says you’ll get: 11 bedrooms, 12 full bathrooms (and don’t leave off the extra half-bath). The home is 5,512 square feet, has a lot size of just over 11,250 square feet, but it doesn’t come with its own pool. This home at 942 Heights Blvd. is listed for nearly $1.8 million. Location is everything. (All photos from HAR.com) That’s doesn’t seem to matter, because this location may be one of the tops inside the Loop. Listing Agent is Robert McCreight.
802 Pinemont Dr.
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Kind of hard to beat the open kitchen with vaulted ceilings at this home at 802 Pinemont Drive.
They call the backyard of this home at 1130 Ashland an ‘oasis.’ That looks about right.
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Bungalows are a big deal in the Heights, but is an 888-square-foot bungalow really worth $1.4 million, which is the asking price? Well, this isn’t really about the house at all. This is, as HAR.com says, “prime real estate,” and it includes a total of 22,000 square feet of lot space. The bungalow only takes up a small part of the lot, and any prospective buyer would have all kinds of residential or commercial options on this lot. Listing agent is Lynne Andress. The bungalow at 611 E. 20th isn’t worth this much. It’s that the lot is huge and it sits in a prime area of the Heights.
It’s not just about the 4,466 sq. ft. house at 1815 W. 14th St. It’s about the huge lot size and the view of Little Turkey Gulley.
611 E. 20th St.
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1815 W. 14th St.
According to listing agent Teresa Coffman, this home, called “La Mariposa” is an Urban Retreat just minutes from downtown and the Galleria. The home is listed for $1.45 million, has three or four bedrooms, an 865-square-foot guest house, and offers a view of the bayou – also called Little Turkey Gulley. Beyond the 4,466 square feet inside the house, the lot size is a whopping 37,000 square feet.
It may be hard to imagine that the second priciest home listed on the market is off of Pinemont, but what if we told you this $1.5 million asker has a reported 73,000square-foot lot? The home is a modest 7,300 square feet and, again, there is no pool with this one either. The house does have a guest house, a 3-car garage, and includes ﬁve bedrooms, ﬁve full baths and two half-baths. Listing agent is Linda Tello
Back to the Heights we go for the rest of this list. At 1130 Ashland, the asking price is $1.49 million for the 4,600-square-foot home. Along with a circular drive, the traditional style home has double front porches, its own pool (ﬁnally!), and all the amenities you’d expect from the perfect location. According to the listing, the home has wide plank hardwood ﬂoors, a classic chef ’s kitchen with Thermador appliances, and the back yard is dubbed an “oasis.” Listing agent is Robert Jones.
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Page 2B • The Leader • December 28, 2013 • @heightsleader
Do-Over: Old, new meets borrowed, blue by Cynthia Lescalleet For The Leader Planning a wedding apparently wasn’t enough of a project for a young couple settling in East Norhill. They also remodeled what had been his cottage into their home. In a way, the project echoed a traditional wedding verse. There was something old (the original house), something new (the master suite addition), something borrowed (the design ideas) and something blue (the paint), says Sara, a bride of barely two months. Before its transformation into a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home of 1,650 sq. ft. -- with a deck and pergola ﬂowing into a new carport -- the previously updated 1920 cottage was a little over a thousand square feet. One of the two bedrooms was not -so-private with pocket doors, and there was a single bathroom. Homeowner Bret L., an energy analyst, had purchased the cottage three years ago. At the time, he realized it was “a little tight,” but had appreciated the overall “vibe.” That it’s located on a block of lots that are a bit larger than the neighborhood’s more prevalent 5,000 sq. ft. was also a plus, he recalls, though that also meant the home was small for its yard. While he realized the home might need to expand a bit before sharing it with his future wife, an elementary school teacher, “the project’s numbers and timing still had to make sense,” he says.
THE RACE FOR SPACE
Construction of the master suite addition ran from July to October 2013 and was (mostly) ﬁnished up in time for the friends and family reception a few days before the wedding. When the couple returned from their honeymoon, the transformation was complete. Based on a collaborative design developed by the homeowners, architectural design ﬁrm Texas Permits and custom builder Ed Sabo, the work scope added about 570 sq. ft. to the back of the compact cottage. The results pushed the home’s footprint about 20 ft. farther into the still ample yard, a move that required removing one very large tree. The interior also gained two closets and reworked some existing space to reposition the laundry room from a closet at the front of the home. Were it not for the new carport added off the existing garage, the improvements would not be visible from the street. The addition’s deck and pergola are adjacent to the new carport, so the spaces ﬂow into each other, transforming the back of the home into a social area, Bret says. (Their ping pong table rolls in and out of the shed.) “It’s so much more usable than the old deck, which had nothing going for it.” He recalls seeing the ﬁnished effect for the ﬁrst time: “…the farther we pulled in (the driveway) the more our eyes widened. We both
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An East Norhill family remade the carport, and added themes from a wedding verse. jumped out of the car onto the ﬁnished deck. It was honestly 1,000 times more than we expected…It was one of the ﬁnal culminating moments of the build.”
ALONG THE WAY
Since most of the construction was conﬁned to the back of the home and cordoned off, the couple chose not to move out during the renovations until the ﬂoor ﬁnishing phase. As projects go, this one held only a few real surprises and they tended to be related to the transitions between the old and new parts of the house, the couple says. Leveling the house before adding the extra room, for example, opened up cracks in the wallboard, later repaired. But there were no electrical or plumbing problems since those systems had been part of the 2005 remodeling by a previous owner. Bret advises having a 5 percent cushion in the project budget for any such glitches. Sara, meanwhile, is a believer in “working with people you trust.” Builder Sabo describes the recent project as in keeping with the neighborhood in terms of scale to the original structure, yard and setbacks. It had to be since it’s located in a historic district. He advises starting the process early when submitting to the HAHC (Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission). It meets once a month. It’s also important to meet with any neighborhood association approval. “Both entities can be a vast resource to the success of the project,” he says. Sabo says his Norhill clients – who were neighbors and are now friends – were properly
JAN CLARK, J.D. prepared for the design-build process. He recommends homeowners considering a remodeling project “spend some time exploring different idea prior to meeting with the contractor. Don’t be afraid to hire an interior designer or work with a contractor that can offer those services. This is a big investment and it’s important to get it right from the beginning.” Also, it’s important that clients feel comfortable with the general contractor since they’ll be working together intensely for the duration of the project, he says. “Otherwise, don’t sign the contract and keep searching for the proper ﬁt.” Homeowners considering a remodeling project can take a few steps to improve their experience and outcome, Sabo says. • Be prepared with ideas and ﬁnishing details. • Be ﬂexible and open to suggestions. • Understand that most contractors are working more than one project at a time. It helps to regularly schedule a job site meeting and text any non-urgent questions or concerns that crop up in the interim. • Have fun! The newlyweds have now had two months in the home that was his and is now theirs due to the decisions they shared before and during the project. Sara describes the addition as “spacious, elegant and beautiful.” And even though it was “always a great house with charm,” she says it took only a day to adjust to the new, roomier layout. “I didn’t know what I was missing.” Bret agrees. “This extension is ours. It will deﬁnitely lengthen our stay in the house.”
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Page 3B • The Leader • December 28, 2013 • @heightsleader
Want to ﬁnd a rental home? Good luck by Michael Sudhalter email@example.com Looking to rent an apartment or a house in the Heights or Oak Forest? You’ll have plenty of competition. “From a landlord’s perspective, it’s easy to rent these days,” said Mike Clark, an agent who leases and sells real estate for Hartman & Associates. “Usually the leased properties don’t last too long on the market.” Clark said properties that rented for $1,200$1,300 six months ago are now renting for as much as $1,600. “The increase was really within the last six months,” Clark said. “Going into the holiday season, so things are started to slowing down a little bit.”
Question: Some say 2013 was the best year for real estate in our area in decades. If you can look into your crystal ball, what do you think 2014 holds for the local real estate market? Lampros “Greek” Vrinios Broker/PLM/Gen. Contractor I’m conﬁdent that the 2014 Houston real estate market will continue to be very strong, possibly even exceeding the 2013 sales. Although many properties were sold, many more were not sold. The builders, developers and investors purchased the “cream” of the market. But what happens to the properties that were not sold in 2013? My guess is that a lot more properties remain in the market than were sold this year, thus making them again available in the coming year, or years. Since the available inventory of the most desired properties has been greatly reduced, the unsold properties, possibly considered the not-so-desirable, will likely increase in value and price. I would advise property owners whom did not sell during the boom of 2013 to be patient. Their day is coming, and probably sooner than they may realize. Some economists have predicted that the overall economy of Houston may not even peak until 2017. Yes, we’re still growing, and that means population increases demand housing and business locations. We often say in the biz “time is of the essence”. But we also say “don’t wait to buy real estate, buy real estate and wait.” In the Houston market, one may not have to wait too long. Bryan Craft Craft Texas Properties Absolutely better! Houston (and it’s abutting cities in every direction) is one of the most desirable places on the planet for locals and non-locals who invest in real estate at this time. This is all made possible by our booming economy and lower than average cost of living (oh, no zoning or state income taxes either). There are so many amenities here – like everything except an NHL franchise – and we are globally recognized for our leading edge energy, oil, gas, and medical industries – all while sitting on of the most productive shipping ports – the Port of Houston – in the United States. Basically this boils down to a plentiful supply of good jobs and therefore incredible opportunity for growth and prosperity for so many! Saying this, and naturally, in terms of real estate, we are as stable here as it gets. Take note of the public improvement of our inner city bayous (our trademark feature) for example. Notice all of the dramatic enhancements such as new parks, bike trails, and recreational opportunities being quickly installed all over. The light rail expansion is certain to stimulate and improve residential and commercial real estate growth but also solve the problem of traﬃc / parking caused by our sheer size and density. A normal, healthy, and growing real estate climate is ﬁnally back and gaining quick traction I am so happy to say! Just count the cranes and number of improvement projects (both residential, commercial, and governmental) you will see while driving around. Very exciting stuﬀ to see as a native of this amazing place! Pamela Eﬀerson Keller Williams Metropolitan I think 2014 brings a lot of uncertainty in my opinion due to many diﬀerent factors. The Aﬀordable Health Care law is going to have an impact but since we have no history with this type of law it remains a mystery as to how much the market will be aﬀected. The lending standards are also changing with an increase in PMI and MIP for loans with down payments less that 20%. This in addition to the lowering of the debt to income ratio for borrowers from 45% to 43% and rumored increase in interest rates will certainly deter some buyers. The positive and the known is we still have very limited inventory and for the seller this will continue to bring higher sale prices and closer to list price contracts. Looking forward to 2014 and all the wonderful challenges and rewards it may bring. Courtney Patel Houston City Living The real estate forecast for 2014 will be similar to 2013, but home prices will rise at a much steadier pace com paired to our 2013 year boom. Baring our mortgage industry stays strong and unemployment in Houston stays at bay. We are very ready for 2014! It’s going to be an exciting year! Ad # 37410
ment. “In this area, rents for conventional properties are very expensive because of the new construction,” 800 Heights manager Sylvia Solis said. “One bedrooms are probably $1,000. As long as they keep building the new ones, there won’t be a decrease in rent. Those new ones are popping up everywhere.” Bryan Craft, a broker for Craft Texas Properties, said it doesn’t seem like rental rates will slow down anytime soon. “Houston is an increasingly electric climate for investing in rental property for not only local investors, but also savvy real estate investors in countries all over the world,” Craft said. “Why? you may ask. Modern day mortgage lending…rates have been on the rise since the ‘bubble’ burst beginning in 2007.”
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Another month, another record-setter Houston home sales recorded a 30th straight month in positive territory in November, with buyers plunging inventory levels to an all-time low. The supply of homes fell to 2.9 months of inventory compared to 4.1 months in November 2012. Throughout 2013, inventory has dwindled from a 3.6-month supply in January to a 3.1-month supply in October, as more homes were being snapped up than were listed for sale. Things also continue to boom in Leader-area ZIP codes. In 77007, the number of homes actually decreased this November over last year, but the average price jumped by more than $60,000. In 77008, 20 more homes sold this November than last, and the median home price increased by 12 percent. The largest jump in home values could be found in 77018, where the average sale price in November 2012 was $301,595. In November 2013, prices skyrocketed to averages of $460,089. Nonetheless, there are signs that the buying frenzy may be tapering. According to the latest monthly report prepared by the Houston Association of REALTORS®, home sales climbed 3.3 percent year-over-year – the smallest one-month sales increase since June 2011. November single-family home sales totaled 5,108. That is the lowest onemonth sales volume since February of this year. An ever-shrinking supply of homes put more upward pressure on pricing, as it has each month throughout the year. The median price of a single-family home— the ﬁgure at which half the homes sold for more and half for less— rose 8.7 percent to $181,000. The
average price increased 8.4 percent year-over-year to $245,707. Both ﬁgures represent the highest prices for a November in Houston. For the past several months, all but the under-$80,000 segment of the single-family market have experienced sales growth. November, however, saw declining sales in both the sub-$80,000 market and the $80,000-$150,000 market, and a slowing rate of closings in the $150,000-$500,000 range. The luxury market performed at rates consistent with earlier months of the year. Foreclosure property sales reported in the HAR Multiple Listing Service (MLS) fell 49.0 percent compared to November 2012. Foreclosures currently make up 7.7 percent of all property sales, down from 19.6 percent at the start of the year. The median price of foreclosures rose 8.6 percent to $88,000.
November Monthly Market Comparison
Houston’s real estate market saw gains in all measurements in November when comparing sales to November 2012. Total property sales, total dollar volume and average and median pricing all rose on a year-over-year basis. Month-end pending sales totaled 3,273, a 0.2 percent gain over last year and another possible indication of slower sales when the December numbers are tallied. Active listings, or the number of available properties, at the end of November dropped 17.0 percent to 30,341.
5,108, up 3.3 percent from November 2012. That marks the 30th consecutive monthly increase. It also represents the smallest onemonth sales increase since June 2011 and the lowest one-month sales volume since February 2013. Home prices reached the highest levels ever recorded in Houston for a November. The single-family median price rose 8.7 percent from last year to $181,000 and the average price climbed 8.4 percent year-over-year to $245,707.
November sales of townhouses and condominiums rose 14.8 percent from one year earlier. A total of 503 units sold last month compared to 438 properties in November 2012. The average price rose 8.3 percent to $203,648 while the median price was up 6.2 percent to $143,350. Inventory dipped to a 2.8 months supply versus a 4.7 months supply in November 2012.
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Lease Property Update
Houston’s lease property market showed mixed results in November. Rentals of single-family homes rose 7.7 percent compared to November 2012 while yearover-year townhouse/condominium rentals were ﬂat. Average rents are down from their summertime record highs. The average rent for a single-family home rose 4.8 percent to $1,591.
Apartment Data Services president Bruce McClenny said rental rates in the city limits have gone up 6.5 percent in the last year. “All parts of Houston are going up,” McClenny said. “There’s not a lot of new product out there. With all of the job growth and population growth, the same thing is going on with the housing market. “The housing prices are jacking up, and people are putting up cash offers. There’s the same kind of activity on the apartment side, but it’s not as radical.” Apartment rates are increasing throughout the Heights, along with the real estate market, but 800 Heights Senior Apartment manages to keep its rates affordable for its residents, all of whom are 55 and older. They pay $602 for a one bedroom apart-
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The View from Morrison Heights
Single-Family Homes Update
November sales of single-family homes in Houston totaled
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Page 4B • The Leader • December 28, 2013 • www.theleadernews.com
LEADER of the YEAR
Scarborough student not wasting a moment in pursuit of dream by Michael Sudhalter firstname.lastname@example.org Katherine Hernandez still remembers when she realized that she could make the American Dream a reality. Her pursuit and accomplishments have earned her the distinction as The Leader’s 2013 Leader of the Year. Hernandez, a 17-year-old Scarborough High senior who’s ranked atop her class of 117 students, moved to the United States from San Miguel, El Salvador when she was 5 years old. She didn’t know English, but she’s learned to speak her second language ﬂawlessly. “It was my third grade teacher, Ms. Aguilar, who gave me my inspiration,” Hernandez said. “She would tell us we’d have to explain everything we wrote for our journals. If I saw her again, I’d tell her thank you.” Hernandez was also encouraged by her parents, Cristian Sr. and Lidia, to excel in school. By the time she arrived in middle school, she was setting her own lofty expectations. “I realized it when I hit middle school that if I had a grade fall below an 80, I’d start freaking out,” Hernandez said. “My grades and the way the teachers talked about colleges opened my eyes to something I had no idea about.” Hernandez’s impact has extended far beyond the classrooms of Scarborough High where she’s enrolled in multiple Advanced Placement courses. She’s overcome difﬁcult obstacles and developed into a campus leader with several community service projects to her credit, a strong Christian, a dedicated employee at Ofﬁce Depot and a supportive friend, daughter and sister. That is why Hernandez is the 2013 Leader of the Year. “We’re very proud of everything she’s accomplished,” Cristian Sr. and Lidia Hernandez said. “We dream of seeing her as a professional in the future.” Hernandez was recently accepted into Texas A&M, the University of Texas and Mary Hardin-Baylor. She chose A&M, with plans to major in International Studies, because she set her goal on becoming an Aggie ever since visiting the College Station campus as a ninth grader. “I felt at home at A&M,” said Hernandez, who has earned some scholarships to the school. “Everyone was friendly, the student body was practically a family, and the faculty was nice. Midnight Yell sounds really fun. Once I get there, I’ll likely become a huge fan of college football.” She’ll arrive in Aggieland with
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One Hour Swedish Massage $49 (regular $60) 10% off any single service for new customers only 1906 N. Shepherd Dr. - Houston 77008 713-864-8088 www.heightsretreat.com Scarborough High School senior Katherine Hernandez visited SHS assistant principal Glenda Calloway, who also heads the school’s Future’s Academy in which Hernandez is enrolled. (Photo by Michael Sudhalter) an associate’s degree in Computer Science that she’ll complete through Scarborough’s Futures Academy. Hernandez will become the ﬁrst member of her family to have earned a college degree. “What’s special about her is her determination,” said Scarborough assistant principal Glenda Calloway, who heads the school’s Futures Academy. “She has set her goals from the day she walked into high school to be the best person and student she could be.” Scarborough principal Jason Catchings selected Hernandez to his “Leadership Team,” a group of students that discuss important issues on the campus and learn how to hone their leadership skills. “She has her family at home, and her family here,” Catchings said. “Scarborough is her second family. She wants to get a college education and live the American Dream.” Hernandez has thoroughly enjoyed her time at Scarborough. “I like that it’s small and it gives a lot of opportunities if you’re really involved in school,” she said. “You stay friends with people for a really long time.” Hernandez’s long term plans involve working for the government, learning as many new languages as possible and traveling around the globe.
The journey begins...
Hernandez was born on April 5, 1996, in San Miguel, El Salvador. Because she’d spent just ﬁve years in El Salvador, Hernandez remembers little about it, aside from going to the beach – La Playa Cuco – with her parents. Her parents decided to move to the United States because her father had a job opportunity with a company in Houston. He’s currently a supervisor for a company that makes gaskets for the petroleum industry. There were safety issues in El Salvador, too. According to Hernandez’s parents, the family moved shortly after they were robbed by a relative, who had collaborated with local police to commit the crime. When it was time to get on the
airplane to the U.S., Hernandez – who had never ﬂown before – knew little about what was going on. “We had our own house in El Salvador and went to pre-school over there,” Hernandez said. “(When we moved), I was completely zoned out. I didn’t know where I was. I just went with my parents. It was my ﬁrst time coming to (the United States). I didn’t know any English. I would hide behind my parents, and I’d be scared when people would speak to me in English.” The year was 2001, and Hernandez – then just beginning Kindergarten – remembers being concerned about her aunt who lived in New Jersey on Sept. 11.
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Giving back to the community
Hernandez has devoted a lot of time to community service during her years at Scarborough, but her favorite project was volunteering with the SPCA.
She worked with abandoned and neglected dogs, and provided them with food and water. “If a family was interested in a dog, I put them in a room and saw if they had chemistry,” Hernandez said. As a member of Scarborough’s Environmental Club, Hernandez organized a can drive and recycled boxes. She became a member of the National Honor Society as a sophomore and made Christmas cards. Along with her fellow students, she delivered the cards to a local nursing home. When Scarborough had its winter festival last year, Hernandez helped sell soft drinks to raise money for the junior class. Hernandez helped the pastor at her church, Manantial Iglesia Bautista in Sugar Land, by preparing the PowerPoint presentations for the 85-member congregation at its weekly worship services. In addition to her community service accomplishments, Hernandez helps her 11-year-old brother, Cristian Jr., with his schoolwork. “She’s really a great sister,” Cristian Jr. said. “She’s helped me to learn multiplication and division. She always helps me.” While Hernandez has contributed to the community locally, her future plans include making an impact globally. “I like the feeling of giving back to people and trying to do something,” she said. “In college, I plan
to volunteer wherever the college needs me. (After or during college), I want to help build a school and home in Africa, so they’ll get an education and a home at the same time.”
A new experience; a strong faith
At the beginning of the school year, Hernandez began working as a copy center clerk at Ofﬁce Depot on W. 43rd Street. “I make prints for customers, bind books and help customers,” Hernandez said. Hernandez’s parents drive her to work, since he doesn’t have a car, and she spends a considerable amount of time there on weekends. She’s earned the respect of her colleagues, including shift manager Alisa Johnson. “She’s an extraordinary young lady – I’ve enjoyed working with her,” Johnson said. “Her spirit and her determination (set her apart). She tells me about her goals – becoming the valedictorian and going to college.” Hernandez said she decided to start working, so she could pay for her own expenses – senior dues, graduation-related items such as a cap and gown – and to help her parents with bills when they needed it. But she’s learned at an early age that working sometimes means missing out on fun with friends or extracurricular activities. As a junior, she played a sport
for the ﬁrst time, joining the Scarborough volleyball team. She made an impact on the team, which built on the foundation of last year’s team to reach the playoffs for the ﬁrst time in school history. “I really enjoyed it, but it was either work or volleyball,” Hernandez said. She earned the respect of SHS head volleyball coach Reagan Cabeen. “Katherine is a role model for everyone,” Cabeen said. “She works hard, is positive and we love having her. We missed her this year. (Last season), she was at practice every day, spoke kindly to her teammates and had positive motivation. I wish every kid was like her.” Hernandez’s work schedule has always made it difﬁcult for her to attend church services, but her faith remains stronger than ever. “I plan on joining a Christian group when I go to college,” Hernandez said. “I read The Bible with my family, and we have Bible studies at home. As I got older, I got more aware of my faith and how big it is in my life. It helps me make decisions and trust that God will help me out.”
LUTHERAN NORTH – Mackenzie Rivera – Volunteered to coordinate the Toy Drive at LHN. Volunteers at Immanuel Lutheran Church and serves meals at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter for the less fortunate. WALTRIP – Stephen Mauzy – Accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy. Volunteers with the Special Olympics and at a YMCA Summer Camp. A member of the Federal Reserve Student Board of Directors.
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Congratulations, Katherine The Leader, along with all the other advertisers on this Pages 4B and 5B are doing more than just saying congratulations. From these ads, The Leader is donating 25% of all revenue to a scholarship for Katherine Hernandez.
ST. THOMAS – Phillip Garza – Volunteered 125.68 hours as a member of the Houston Zoo Crew. He’s a faithful Senior Leader who is planning to be a leader on the upcoming Junior Retreat in January.
REAGAN – David Villareal – Volunteered at Memorial Hermann Southwest and served as a math tutor. The captain of the Reagan High boys basketball team.
s ’ e n e l r a D ���������������������������
In order to choose this year’s Leader of the Year, we asked every high school to nominate a student. Below is a list of the exceptional nominees we had.
ST. PIUS X – John Johnson – Volunteered 100+ hours at Kids’ Meals Inc. near Garden Oaks, packing sandwiches and delivering them to the homeless. Has applied to the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Congrats to the Finalists
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“I remember being home, and my parents turned on the television,” Hernandez said. “I used to be so worried about her, and I’d ask her about it.” In addition to school, Hernandez learned English by watching “Dora The Explorer” and shows on the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. As her school years continued, Hernandez became committed to academics, but attending three different elementary schools made it challenging to make friends. “It was really hard,” Hernandez said. “I had to make new friends every single time. I’d get bullied a lot and was always an outcast.” That changed when Hernandez reached eighth grade and she met friends who “accepted me for who I am.” At Scarborough, Hernandez is part of a group of friends called “The Dolphins.” They came up with the name because one of the members is a big fan of dolphins. “We all have unique personalities,” Hernandez said. They read and talk about books, listen to popular bands such as One Direction and Imagine Dragons and dine out at restaurants. “She’s really nice and always looking out for us,” said Scarborough senior and fellow “Dolphin” Gardenia Santana. “She’s the one keeping us doing good things.”
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Page 6B • The Leader • December 28, 2013 • www.theleadernews.com
Left: Reagan High senior wide receiver Malcolm LaFleur celebrates the Bulldogs’ ﬁrst district football championship in 54 years after Reagan’s 28-14 win over Waltrip on Nov. 2. Right: Kohl Stewart, a 2013 St. Pius X graduate, led the Panthers to the TAPPS State Championship Game. Less than three weeks later, he was drafted fourth overall by the Minnesota Twins in the 2013 MLB Draft. Stewart chose the Twins over a football scholarship oﬀer to Texas A&M. (Photos by Michael Sudhalter)
‘Dogs and Kohl top 2013 sports list by Michael Sudhalter email@example.com From district championships to history-making playoff appearances and much more, it’s been an interesting year in Leader area sports. The Reagan High football team’s magical season tops the list of sports stories, with the Bulldogs winning a district championship for the ﬁrst time in 54 years. Beyond the district crown, the Bulldogs defeated Tomball Memorial, 7-0, in a ﬁrst round playoff game and lost their second round game to Pearland Dawson, 20-7 - just two years after losing to the same team, 72-7. Reagan beneﬁted from the addition of senior defensive lineman/tight end Magnus Kinne, a foreign exchange student from Norway who was declared eligible halfway through the season after a misunderstanding with the UIL.
By the spring of 2013, Kohl Stewart was already a household name. That’s why it was no surprise that scouts from every Major League Baseball ﬁlled the stands to watch the two-sport All-American. Stewart led the Panthers to a second straight TAPPS state championship game, but they came up short against Argyle Liberty Christian. Less than a month later, the Minnesota Twins selected Stew-
Reagan High senior tight end/defensive lineman Magnus Kinne, an exchange student from Norway, was ruled eligible midway through the football season. (Photo by Michael Sudhalter) art with the fourth overall pick in the MLB Draft. He decided to sign with Twins, over a football scholarship offer from Texas A&M.
The North Houston Oilers youth football team rallied around one of its players, Michael Medina, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in September. The Oilers raised money for the 12year-old Medina, prayed for him and encouraged him with support. During the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl game, teammates carried Medina on to the ﬁeld and he scored the game’s ﬁnal two-point conversion. They subsequently honored him at their annual banquet where Medina won multiple awards, including Team MVP.
The St. Thomas High football team managed to click on all cylinders as it achieved its ﬁrst undefeated regular season in 44 years. The Eagles swept St. Pius X, with both victories coming by a touchdown, and defeated Concordia Lutheran by a point. An overtime loss to the two-time defending state champions in the state quarterﬁnals kept the Eagles out of the state title chase, but they’ve set the stage for future seasons. STH head coach Tim Fitzpatrick was named Touchdown Club Private School Coach of the Year.
North Houston Oilers lineman Michael Medina is congratulated by teammates after winning the Courage Award at the team’s banquet in December. Medina, 12, is recovering from a September surgery that removed a brain tumor. (Photo by Michael Sudhalter) Scarborough High senior Dwight Hernandez, right, led the Spartans to the third round of the UIL Class 4A Boys Soccer playoﬀs. (Photo by Michael Sudhalter)
Reagan wins softball district
The Reagan High softball team had enjoyed success in recent seasons, but the Lady Bulldogs hadn’t defeated Waltrip since 1997. In the spring, they swept the Lady Rams en route to an undefeated district championship season behind the pitching of senior Victoria Herrera and a strong senior class.
The Waltrip High football team reached the playoﬀs by defeating Milby, 22-13, in the regular season ﬁnale on Nov. 9. (Photo by Michael Sudhalter)
Two Scarborough High teams made history this season -- volleyball and boys soccer. The Lady Spartans volleyball team -- just two years removed from a winless season -- reached the playoffs under second-year head coach Reagan Cabeen for the ﬁrst time in school history. In the spring, the Scarborough boys soccer team reached the third round of the playoffs. Led by senior Dwight Hernandez, the Spartans played excellent defense and the entire school rallied around the team, which became the ﬁrst SHS program to advance to the third round in any sport.
Lutheran High North sophomore inﬁelder Melody Easter helped the Lady Lions earn their ﬁrst victory in three years with a 17-9 win over EmeryWeiner on April 16. (Photos by Michael Sudhalter)
Offensive Player of the Year St. Pius X senior wide receiver Brian Newman, a standout in football and baseball, was named the Touchdown Club of Houston Offensive Player of the Year. He ﬁnished with 1,119 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. Last spring, Newman helped lead the SPX baseball team to the state championship game in Belton, Texas. Newman will have the option to play baseball, football, or both
sports in college after he graduates in the spring.
Reagan Basketball’s buzzer beater
The Reagan High boys basketball team didn’t win the Class 4A-District 21 Championship, but the Bulldogs managed to pull off an impressive ﬁrst round playoff victory when senior guard Sterling Lampley hit a buzzer beater from beyond halfcourt to lead RHS to a win over Fort Bend Ridge Point. The Bulldogs lost to Pearland Dawson in the second round.
Waltrip playoﬀ streak reaches ﬁve years
The odds didn’t look good for the Waltrip High football team to qualify for its ﬁfth consecutive playoffs. The Rams needed a 9point win over Milby in the regular season ﬁnale, and that’s exactly
what they got, thanks to a 2-point conversion from senior quarterback Trelon Johnson with less than ﬁve minutes remaining. Waltrip lost its playoff opener to Stratford, which advanced to the UIL Class 4A state semiﬁnals.
LHN softball earns ‘W’
The Lutheran High North softball team hadn’t won a game since 2010, but a team without a senior managed to defeat TAPPS district rival, Emery-Weiner, 17-9, behind timely hitting. Their coach, Bill Kuhn, said after the game, “they play their hearts out every day. I’m so happy for them all. It’s been a tough thing The Reagan High softball team won a district championship and celebrated because you want to see them win its ﬁrst win over Waltrip in 16 years. They ended up sweeping the Lady Rams. (Photo by Michael Sudhalter) so bad.”
Former Pius kicker named All-American kicker Former St. Pius X High School standout and current University of Texas senior kicker and punter Anthony Fera, was named a ﬁrstteam All-American on Wednesday, Dec. 18. This marks the second straight year a former Panther football player was recognized as a ﬁrstteam All-American in a major Division I program (Venric Mark, Northwestern, last season). Fera was a ﬁrst-team All-Amer-
ica choice by The Football Writers Association of America, Walter Camp and the American Football Coaches Association. He became the ﬁrst consensus All-American place-kicker in UT history. His 90.9 percent ﬁeld-goal accuracy is currently the second best for a season in UT history and is tied for the fourth-best mark nationally this season. Fera will play in his ﬁnal collegiate game when the Longhorns
meet Oregon in the Alamo Bowl on Monday in San Antonio. A year ago at NU, Mark was named a ﬁrst-team All-American at punt returner by the Football Writers Association of America. He was sidelined this season with an ankle injury. At St. Pius X, Fera and Mark helped lead the Panthers to a district title in 2008. Fera was a member of the 2007 state championship team, earned honors as a 2008
Under Armour All-American and was a two-time all-state selection. Mark was a two-time all-state honorable mention and an ll-district selection, the district’s MVP and led SPX to a TAPPS state semiﬁnal berth in 2009. Fera, who began his collegiate career at Penn State, is an NFL prospect. One of his SPX teammates, Greg Daniels, plays tight end for the Longhorns.
Oklahoma State safeties coach Van Malone, a Waltrip High alum, will coach in the 78th Cotton Bowl on Friday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The Cowboys will face SEC runner-up, Missouri. (Photo by Michael Sudhalter)
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Page 7B • The Leader • December 28, 2013 • @heightsleader
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MANNA - DONATIONS AND VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Your neighborhood thrift store appreciates any WANTED and all donations. HELP We can arrange pickup for large items or large donations. Call 713-686-6440 or donate at 1806 W. 43rd St. Thank you. (TF)
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FOR SALE EVERYTHING MUST GO! Two Weeks Inventory Clearance (Dec. 20th - Jan 5th)
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Comm.-Res. • Trimming • Removal • Stump Grinding • Planting • Pruning • Trash Hauling Free Estimate • Insured Lino 281-704-6828
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Al Rojas 713-863-7310 Cell 713-416-1092
• Tree Removal • Trimming • Pruning • Stump Grinding • Lot Clearing Free Estimates • Bonded - Insured www.medinatreeservicehouston.com hotmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
713-301-8584 • Landscape Design & Installation • Maintenance • Irrigation • Drainage • Lighting • Pool Design & Installation We accept all major Credit Cards
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Dennis Clooney - Manager 25+ Years Experience • Tree Trimming/Removal • Stump Grinding • Fertilization • Construction Preparation • Residential/Commercial Insured Liability and Workman’s Comp
713-683-TREE (713-683-8733) FREE ESTIMATES
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Page 8B • The Leader • December 28, 2013 • @heightsleader GENERAL HOME IMPROVEMENTS
GENERAL HOME IMPROVEMENT
BURGLAR BARS: Custom made. Residential and commercial. Free estimates. 281448-2759. www.burglarbarsandmore.com. (TF)
ALL HOME REPAIR
• Termite/Water Repair • Sheetrock • Painting • Roong Repair/Replace • Shower/Bath Redo • Tile • Flooring/Carpet @ Wholesale Prices Sales & Installations
35 Yrs. Exp. & Leader Advertiser
Call Sam 713-582-5500 713-686-2285
WOOD FLOORS Installation Repair Sanding Finishing
WOOD FENCING Repair & Install Pressure Washing Painting • Siding
HELP YOU WITH YOUR HOME REPAIRS • Painting • Ceiling fans & Lights • Drywall • Carpentry • General Repairs • Door Locks
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281-827-5136 30 years experience FREE ESTIMATES
GARAGE DOORS Repair or Replace Doors/Openers
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½ HP Sears Openers Installed
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Repair & Installation All Type Fences • Chain link • Wood • Ornamental Iron Small jobs welcome Call 7 Days
At Reasonable prices
•Patios •Driveways •Room Additions •Expedient Work American Made “God Bless America”
Cell (281) 221-0637
Credit Cards Accepted
Decks & Wood Fences • Renew & Repair • Clean & Seal
832-392-3399 Free Estimates Senior Discounts
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• Commercial • Residential • New Roof • Re-Roof
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(713) 681-4343 (713) 232-0045
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Air Conditioning Sales � Service Repairs � Cleanings Senior Discount Credit Cards
A/C & Heating Service
GARAGE DOOR SERVICE
� � � � � � � • Openers • Cables � � • Springs • Sections � � Repaired & Replaced � � � � 281-352-3350 � � 713-545-6162 � 24 Hrs/7 Days � � Se Habla Espanol � �
• ReRoof • Repair • Siding • Windows
ROOFING by SERNA BROS.
Serving NW Houston Since 1973 FREE estimates
Medina Fence Company Fully Insured Fence Repair & Installation 713-466-4612 20 years experience Free Estimate
GARAGE DOORS • Repair Specialist • Springs • Rollers • Sections repaired & replaced • Cables
40 years' exp. • Low Rates
$10 off w/Ad PLUMBING (713) 682-3528
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Wood Floors R’ Us • Sand • Finish • Installation New or Old Flooring
BALDERAS CONCRETE WORK • Driveways • Sidewalks • Patios FREE ESTIMATES
BY: AJG 832-208-4871
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919 Judiway • (713) 680-3530
Since 1953 - TECL 19210 Res./Comm. Wiring 713-864-4168 cc accepted email@example.com
SMALL ACCIDENTS BINGER HAR QUICK SOLUTIONS
Lights-Plugs-Breakers Cover all electric needs
ELECTRICIAN All types of new
House Painting • Interior/Exterior • Sheetrock Repairs • Door Renishing • Wood Repairs • Pressure Washing PLUMBING
FRA NK ’S
Licensed and Insured MPL #40046
Low Price Guarantee
• Room Additions • Baths & Kitchens • Hardwood & Tile Flooring • Painting • Window Replacement FREE ESTIMATES Martin Gonzales 832-472-2427
� Quality Work � Low Prices � � Hand Nailed � Hardi-Siding � Oak Forest Area Resident 40+ years Free Estimates
UPSCALE YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS
CUSTOM Millwork Cabinetry. (713) & 729-2585 (281) 686-2315 Trim & Countertops. General Remodeling & Custom Tile Work. Residential & Commercial CO.
GRADY GREEN REMODELING
Grady Green - owner • firstname.lastname@example.org
WORK Turn to the LeaderPAINTING Classiﬁeds For Easy Home Repairs.
MP#37717 *Drain must have appropriate accessible clean out.
• Repiping • Water Heaters • Gas Test • Drain Problems • Sewer Camera Inspection • Faucet Installation and Repair • Water Leaks and Much More
Drain & Sewer Cleaning #17773 - 7 Days a week
825 Curtin 77018
WALL TO WALL, WE DO IT ALL!
SONNY’S REPAIR SERVICE
• Plumbing • Sheetrock & Painting • Water Lines • Tile & Carpet • Gas Lines • Siding $35 • Disposals • Concrete discount • Faucets • Fencing w/ad • Shower pans & doors • Counter Tops • Sewer Service • Roofing • Gas test • Complete Remodeling
ALWAYS UPFRONT PRICE$ “I want to be YOUR plumber” Call Sonny and SAVE! Single Homeowner Discount
25 Years In Business
Est. 1979 Ins. RMP #18131
ONE CALL – ALL PROBLEMS SOLVED
Heights • Garden Oaks • Oak Forest ��������������������������������������� ���������� �������������� ���������������� � Same Day Service ����������������
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Independent Master Plumber
MASTER PLUMBER 713-466-8795
ASTRO PLUMBING & TILE ��������������� ������������� ������������� ��������� ��������� ��������������������� ��������������������� ��������� ��������� ������������������������ �������������������������
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Joe Petrovich APPROVED PLUMBING Since 1977 Free Est. PLUMBING Complete Repairs & Remodels Plumbing Services
713-692-3820 John Kaminski MPL # 16533
PEST CONTROL • Termites • Roaches • Ants • Silversh • Rodents
Free Termite Inspection
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832-425-2152 - Free Estimates
Sheetrock • Power Wash
HEIGHTS CUSTOMREMODELING HOME REMODELING MJG HOME
Since 1975 Low Rates
Oak Forest Resident/Ofce • Residential • Commercial • Service Licensed - Insured - 23 Yrs. Exp. �“A” ON ANGIE’S LIST
wiring and repairs
Turn to the Leader Classiﬁeds to locate professionals trained to help solve any of your household problems.
John Kuenstle Electric,LLC
TEL. 713-721-5490 17823
• Ceramic Tile • Kitchen/Bath • Flood Damage Repair • Painting • Sheetrock, Concrete
FAIR PRICES ON CARPET/ FLOORING SALES, INSTALLATION AND REPAIR: Thirtyﬁve years experience. Carpet, hardwoods, vinyl, ceramic tile. Carpet shampoo and restretch carpet. Dry cleaning now available. 713-582-5500. (TF)
CARPET & FLOORING
Small Jobs Welcome Free Estimates
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Attic Change Out
50,000 BTU RUUD Furnace
Hardi Siding • Gutters • Windows
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Seniors Discount • Most CC Accepted
Be safe & have your heating system checked.
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Fall Special Checkup $49.95 $1800 (Goodman)
50 BTU Furnace Replacement
(713) 681-4343 (713) 232-0045
Don’t Wait Til It Breaks Down!
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Refrigerator & Appliance Repair GOFAR Services, LLC.
• All Major Brands • Written Warranty • No Service Charge w/Repair $15 OFF REPAIRS W/AD
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Same Day Refrigerator Repair
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Roong, Siding, Painting, etc.
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1622 W. 23rd
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12’X30’ CARPORTS: Perfect for boats, RVs, etc. Call 713-6944647. (TF)
OAK FOREST: Master bedroom (300 sq. ft.) with half bath. Completely remodeled. Christian couple seeking mature female tenant with employment income. References required. Available Jan. 1. $475 + % of utilities/cable. 713-560-7470.
2-1 HOME FOR RENT: Fresh paint. Fenced-in yard. New appliances. Remodeled bath. $875 monthly, $875 deposit. 713-691-2696. OAK FOREST: 3-1-2. Large living area, central high efﬁciency AC, hardwoods. 5317 Verdome, 77092. $1,295. 281-574-7303. Agent. (TF)
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Page 9B • The Leader • December 28, 2013 • www.theleadernews.com
Volunteers leave their mark, 2013 by Betsy Denson email@example.com Often when people look inward for their New Year’s resolutions, they also look outward. Here, three local residents share the causes and organizations to which they donate their time. Dian Austin Diana has been a courier with the National Marrow Donor Program for almost 10 years. She got involved through another GarAustin den Oaks resident, Becky McCullough, who headed up the Bone Marrow program in Houston at that time. “Becky mentioned one night at our book club that the number of bone marrow and stem cell transplants were increasing and the NMDP was holding a training class in Houston for people interesting in becoming couriers. Several of us went to the class,” said Austin. Austin transports life-saving bone marrow, stem cells, or sometimes T cells from the donor center where they are harvested to the transplant center where the actual transplant happens. It is all coordinated by the NMDP and the bone marrow registries worldwide. Privacy is assured for both donor and recipient. Couriers never see the names of either. The trips are both domestic and international, so the number of hours Austin spends couriering monthly depends upon the destination. “A lot of the couriers are retired from corporate life, like me, and are better able to travel on holidays.” She said she volunteers because she has the time to do it. “It’s a real honor to be part of the process.” Crystal Ratliff Ratcliff gives her time to Hope for Youth which focuses on Christian youth mentoring. “I like Hope for Youth’s Ratliﬀ mission, which includes continuing to mentor youth wherever they go,” she said. “I think this is extremely important (and unique for a program) because so many at risk youth are transient. This gives the students a consistent program and people in their lives wherever they move to in the Houston area.” Ratliff has been involved with Hope for Youth for about ﬁve years and currently serves as a mentor through their Ignite program. Her mentee is a high school junior who lives in the Fifth Ward. “We meet twice a month for small group bible study with another mentor and her mentees,” said Ratliff. “I also try to do another outing with her at least once a month.” Dalila Mata Malta is able to impact the community through outreach pro g r ams at her church, Mata the429, w h i c h meets at Grace Church Theater on 3754 N. Shepherd Dr. “It is a great way to show our children that it’s good to volunteer,” said Mata. “And to [encourage] them to be humble amongst people who are less fortunate.” Mata’s family started to volunteer at the429 three years ago. Their various ministries include one which clothes and feeds the homeless in downtown Houston. They also help out at a Heights food pantry and an area nursing home. On Saturday mornings, they often give their time at a soup kitchen. For Christmas, they were able to sponsor a family through La Rosa Family Services. “That is what Christmas is about - to see the smiles on children’s faces,” said Mata. “And just to see the parents happy for the children. We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”
esolutions for 2014 picture attached; she is the woman on the far left with the Rogeros
Keegan Daleo – “I’d like to see the city’s sound ordinance revised. Now the police are not required to have a decibel reader and they use their own judgment. It kills nightlife.” Shana Ross – “I’d like people to be kinder to one another. I own a ﬁtness studio so I don’t do personal resolutions because we’re helping people with theirs.” Picture attached. She is on the right. Miriam Smith – “More restaurants in the area but we also want to eat healthier.” Picture attached. She is pictured with her daughter Camille below.
Debbie Webb – “I plan to keep going to church. I started ﬁve weeks ago. It does work.” Jackie and Jessica Rogero – “To volunteer at a cat shelter in honor of our cats (who are also sisters).” picture attached; they are on the right beside Kat Juelg Joy Cheathem – “I plan on branching off into a new area of employment, perhaps health care.” Karen Frazier - “I’m making a New Years resolution to not make New Years resolutions…”
Camille Smith – “A big Ferris wheel.” Pictured with her mom Brad Anderson – “I’d like to see Ella redeveloped, especially where Frida’s is.” Jason Virgadamo - “That HEB will ﬁnally open in the area in 2014. I wish it could be across the street from Kroger on 43rd so we can really see how much people like Kroger like they say on (the OFHA page).” Cindy Madi – “There is only one hope for the area that really matters…the opening of the TC Jester ramp.”
Personal Kat Juelg – “To go to more local bars and support the Heights.”
Owen McCormick – “I want to be the best kid on my soccer team.” Picture attached. Owen on the left. Aiden on the right. Aiden McCormick – “I want to be a better football player.” Picture attached. Owen on the left. Aiden on the right. Leslie Novak – “I want to help with more of the clubs at Stevens Elementary that some of the teachers have started. We just got a soccer team.”
Jeanette Holland - “I plan on eating/trying all the desserts in the dessert case at Kroger by the end of the year. I always pass by and drool....oh and exercise more.... and wake up by 9 a.m. Oh and buy at least one piece of art that makes me smile .....is that enough?”
Sharon Hayes - “I resolve to use the Fit Bit my employer gave everyone at work, and consider the company badge competitions with an open mind. Especially if they will make a category for people who are twice their age!” Chuck Roast -- “I resolve to support my neighbors and friends by shopping from independently owned local merchants as much as possible. Despite getting my ﬁrst “smart phone” I resolve never to take a selﬁe nor a picture of something I am about to eat, despite how delicious either may look.”
from the community
Roger Dawson “I see good things happening with the economy. It’s going to be a good year.”
Eileen Holshouser “Prices will go up, and the Obama healthcare will continue to have difﬁculties.”
Michael Curtin “I’ll rise in attention for digital currencies.”
Christian Antonio “There’s a great possibility of a ﬁnancial collapse. The world is coming apart at a rapid clip.”
Alesha Yamal “I predict belly dancing will be the hottest new workout craze.” Melinda Zander “Trafﬁc in Houston will still be bad.”
Haywood Glover “Wendy Davis will be elected governor, we will have a nuclear agreement in Iran, and the Rockets will get to the NBA Championship. If they win it, we’ll all be surprised.”
Laura Goeddeke – “We want to help the community by volunteering as a family,” maybe at the Houston Food Bank
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from up 281-741-8611
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Hair Designer Licensed, Bonded & Insured
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Call Nathan Ocanas today for a FREE Energy Analysis & Estimate.
SAVE up to 35% on your Energy Bills
Meet your neighbors, book your party! “Make It Yours” 3542 Oak Forest 713-682-6900
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Page 10B • The Leader • December 28, 2013 • www.theleadernews.com
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December 28 Section B