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City adding missing sidewalk link in Heights By Adam Zuvanich

Heights resident Matthew Besemer walked west down the sidewalk that runs along the north side of East 7th Street, as he often does, around lunchtime Tuesday. When he crossed Arlington Street he had to veer to his left and into the road as he continued to proceed west, because the sidewalk ends and does not pick up again for another block. Another man and his young daughter on a tricycle made the same

maneuver a short time earlier, temporarily venturing into 7th Street before they could return to the sidewalk and steer clear of the vehicles that periodically pass by. “It’s not the biggest deal to walk on the road, but obviously it is a small road, too,” Besemer said. “And there’s traffic at times, especially in the morning and at night, and on the weekends when they have the farmers market (at the Heights Mercantile). I think a sidewalk would help a lot, especially in the neigh-

borhood, since there’s a lot of families.” The missing link in the sidewalk will soon be filled in by Houston Public Works, with funding from the office of Houston City Council member Abbie Kamin. A new path will be paved from Arlington to Cortlandt Street, which is one block to the west and also where the MKT Trail passes through that part of the Heights. According to Kamin’s office, the upcoming sidewalk See Sidewalk P. 5A

Photo by Adam Zuvanich Heights resident Matthew Besemer crosses Arlington Street from East 7th Street on Tuesday. In the foreground is where a new sidewalk will be installed by the City of Houston.

Seeking support

Congresswoman arrested during voting protest in Washington D.C. By Adam Zuvanich


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Summer celebration. Heightsarea residents dressed in white will be out and about Saturday.

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Photo by Adam Zuvanich Stephanie Gunderson, the widow of longtime Oak Forest firefighter Cpt. William Gunderson, is seeking workers’ compensation and line-of-duty death benefits for her family after her husband died in April from colon cancer. The claims have so far been denied by the City of Houston.

Fireman’s family fighting city over benefits By Adam Zuvanich

Famous work. Local businessman Raul Juarez-Celada recently got some TV exposure.

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Dining with caution. Local residents discuss dining out amidst a rise in COVID cases.

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Stephanie Gunderson described her late husband as cheery and said he often had a smile on his face. And if she ever got mad about something, William Gunderson tried to lighten the mood and put a smile on hers. If he were still around, though, she suspects he would express animosity toward his longtime employer. William Gunderson, the son and grandson of firefighters, worked more than 25 years for the Houston Fire Department, including the last 16 at Station 13 in Oak Forest. The well-liked and respected shift captain died April 2 at age 49, Cpt. William Gunderson after a two-year battle with colon cancer. Gunderson’s extended tenSee related story ure with HFD, along with the on Prop B circumstances surrounding Page 4A his illness and subsequent death, would appear to make

Contributed photo Cpt. William Gunderson, who worked for 16 years at Houston Fire Department Station 13 in Oak Forest before his death in April, walks toward a burning building while on the job.

him and his surviving family eligible for workers’ compensation and line-of-duty death benefits under Texas law. But according to the Houston attorney representing the Gunderson family, his claims for both have been denied by the City of Houston. See Gunderson P. 5A

Photo from Twitter U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, left, was arrested July 29 in Washington D.C. while participating in a protest for voting rights.

Sinclair teachers bringing Galapagos Islands to class By Zarah Parker

THE INDEX. Church....................................................... 4A Classifieds.............................................. 5A Coupons................................................... 3B Food/Drink/Art................................... 7A Obituaries............................................... 4A Opinion..................................................... 3A Public Information......................... 4B Puzzles...................................................... 3A

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee got into what she referred to as “good trouble” last week in Washington D.C., when she was arrested while participating in a voting rights demonstration outside the Hart Senate Office Building. Jackson Lee, a 71-year-old Democrat who has represented the Heights, Garden Oaks and Oak Forest area since 1995, posted photos of her July 29 arrest on her Twitter account along with a 45-second video explaining why she was protesting. She was among a group of women who were demonstrating in support of federal voting rights legislation, including a proposed bill named after late U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights activist who used the term “good trouble” to mean disobeying laws for a just cause. It is unclear what exactly Jackson Lee did to prompt her arrest by the U.S. Capitol Police, or whether she was charged with a crime or faces any additional consequences. “I engaged in civil disobedience today in front of the Hart Building in Washington D.C., and I was arrested,” Jackson Lee said in her Twitter video. “I believe when you are getting into good trouble, when you realize that the 15th Amendment has guaranteed the fundamental right to vote, any action that is a peaceful action of civil disobedience is worthy and more to push all of us to do better and to do more and to pass (voting rights legislation).” Jackson Lee also referenced the ongoing standoff between Democrats and Republicans in the Texas Legislature. Republicans have introduced a See Arrest P. 5A

Contributed photo Sinclair Elementary teachers Bradley and Kimberly Quentin went to the Galapagos Islands as part of a fellowship.

Bradley and Kimberly Quentin, a husband and wife who work as Sinclair Elementary STEM-lab teachers, recently went on an educational adventure they can share with their students on the Timbergrove campus. With their fellowship from Fund for Teachers, a national nonprofit organization that

awards grants to public, private and charter school teachers across the United States for selfdeigned summer fellowships and experimental learning opportunities, the Quentins were able to trace the path of Charles Darwin through the Galapagos Islands this summer. “I think that one unique element of our proposal is that we detailed how we would involve our students in the planning process for our expedition,” Bradley

said. In the spring, Bradley worked with his fourth-graders to select “must see” sights in the Galapagos. They conducted research into the islands and chose places they thought it was important for the Quentins to visit, and had to justify their choices by explaining what was special about the places they selected. “With their recommendations in hand, we planned our journey See Quentin P. 4A

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THE TOPICS. The Leader • Saturday, August 7, 2021 • Page 3A

White Linen Night is still on, unofficially T he official White Linen Night in the Heights event, held annually on West 19th Street, is not happening again this year. For the second year in a row, it has been called off because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the neighborhood’s popular summertime celebration, typically held on the first Saturday night in August, is still on. Community members and other Houstonians are still expected to gather this weekend while wearing white, Heights businesses still are planning White Linen Night-themed events and promotions, and fun will still be had. The hope here is that partygoers and revelers can keep themselves safe while they celebrate a uniquely Heights event. The threat of COVID has ramped up recently on account of the Delta variant and its continued spread across the region. The decision to scrap the official White Linen Night event – which drew an estimated 50,000-plus attendees in 2019 and involves security guards, portable restrooms and barricading 19th between Ashland and Yale streets – was made back in March. And it certainly appears to be a wise decision. “We felt it was a responsible decision at the time and, fast forward five months, unfortunately that is proving


Zuvanich Editor

to be the right decision,” organizers wrote on the event’s Facebook page. “… We LOVE supporting local and you know we like to throw an epic party, but we’re not into throwing a super-spreader.” Events in the spirit of White Linen Night still are planned for 19th Street, such as the First Saturday Arts Market hosted by Mitch Cohen, The Leader art columnist and coorganizer of the larger event that was cancelled. Artists and art lovers will congregate outside from 6-10 p.m. at 540 W. 19th St., where visitors are asked to wear white. Jubilee, the popular boutique a little to the east at 325 W. 19th St., is planning “Late Night on 19th St.” from 5-10 p.m. Saturday. Zydeco Dots is scheduled to perform live music outside the store, and Jubilee employee Jessica Dolan said the shop plans to provide prepackaged

Photo by Adam Zuvanich Jubilee, 325 W. 19th St., is hosting a “Late Night on 19th St.” event Saturday.

refreshments to customers while asking them to wear masks inside the store. And, of course, patrons also are asked to wear white. “It’s been the biggest event every single year. Last year it obviously was not, and this year it’s going to be scaled down big-time,” Dolan said. “But we’re still celebrating. We want it to be a fun event, a neighborhood event and get people happy, but also be safe.” White Linen Night, which first was held in 2006, has gradually expanded throughout the neighborhood, with just about everybody wanting to get in on the fun. In recent years

there also have been big gatherings on White Oak Drive, where there is a cluster of restaurants and bars. On Tuesday afternoon, Bobcat Teddy’s Icehouse, Christian’s Tailgate Bar & Grill and Onion Creek Coffee House, Bar and Lounge each had White Linen Night-related signage on their outdoor marquees, with Christian’s Tailgate advertising $2 tacos on Saturday night. A bartender at Bobcat Teddy’s said it plans to have an air-conditioned VIP tent set up on the property with a private bar and private bathrooms, with a limit of 100 tickets sold at $25 apiece. Hannah Schneider, the catering

sales manager at BB’s Tex-Orleans at the southwest corner of White Oak and Studewood Street, said it also plans to set up a tent Saturday night. There will be a DJ from 4-8 p.m. and a beer cooler featuring products from Saint Arnold Brewing Company. “We’re definitely not doing it as big as we have in years past, just because of COVID, but we are expecting a pretty good crowd to come out,” Schneider said. So there are plenty of options for experiencing White Linen Night in the Heights, even if there is no official White Linen Night in the Heights event. We seem to have collectively gotten to a point in the pandemic where we’ve learned how to do things we’ve always enjoyed doing, just in modified ways. If you plan to help keep the Heights tradition going this year, just remember to bring a mask and a friendly, fun-loving attitude along with your white attire. And be safe in general, which includes giving the key cars to someone who is sober after you’ve had your fun. Also be sure to patronize the local businesses that have made the event, and the Heights community in general, such a treasure over the years.

Don’t answer that conference call THE READER. If you are a fan of Longhorn sports (for those who just arrived in Texas, Longhorns are The University of Texas at Austin, known far and wide as simply The University), get your plane tickets, hotel reservations and Goggle restaurants in Gainesville, Florida, or maybe Athens, Georgia. OK, it’s not as convenient as driving to Waco for the afternoon, but that may be the only way you can see out-of-town UT football games. Which brings us today’s moan: Both UT and OU have reached out to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) about joining it, which in recent years has dominated college football. Why? Money, of course. As they sing in “Cabaret,” “Money makes the world go ‘round.” It certainly does in college athletics. The NCAA now makes over $1 billion yearly. The SEC paid its schools $44.6 million last year from television rights fees. The Big 12 paid $38.3 million. Texas A&M leads the nation in athletic budgets with $192.6 million. UT is second at $183.5 million. (Joining the SEC within the next few years could cost each university around $80 million in buyouts.) In pursuit of more cash, many schools have moved upwards to more lucrative conferences. Arkansas abandoned the Southwest Conference in 1992 for the SEC. Texas A&M exited the Big 12 nine years ago, as did Missouri. (A lot of fans said, “Missouri? Who cares?”) When the dust cleared, the Southwest Conference was no more, merging with our neighbors to the north, the Big Eight, into the Big 12, which only has 10 members. When asked about the rumored UT-OU move, UT said: “Speculation swirls around collegiate athletics. We will not address rumors or speculation.” OU said, “The college athletics landscape is shifting constantly. We don’t address every anonymous rumor.” Translation: “We’re moving.” So we can see the Longhorns playing such long-time rivals as Vanderbilt and Florida. Parents who want to see their kids fight over a piece of inflated leather need to make plans to travel long distances. Schools have to make extended plans, too. Now, when we say “college athletics” at least in Texas that means football. But what about those students who play tennis, volleyballs and swim? They don’t get on chartered planes and have buses waiting. How many class days are the women’s basketball teams going to miss? To be fair, the Big 12 now includes West Virginia, for some reason. All of this comes in the middle of NIL. No, not Nanoimprint Lithography or even Negotiable Instruments Law, as you were no doubt thinking. NIL now stands for Name, Image, Likeness. The U.S. Supreme Court recently unanimously upheld a lower court ruling that the NCAA could not limit education-related benefits -- such as comput-

Lynn Ashby Columnist

ers, paid internships, tutoring, study-abroad programs and musical instruments -- that colleges can provide student-athletes. The NCAA has changed its rules to allow such benefits. Such broad and vague rules are ripe for scandal. Internships over the summer could pay $1,000 a week. Study-abroad? Three months in Monaco. We can only image when pay for internships and travel expenses are handed out in the locker room. “Frizbee, as the starting quarterback and possible Heisman recipient, here’s your check for ten thou.” The left guard speaks up. “But I’ve been blocking for this guy so he can gain 100 yards per game. Where’s my check?” Long-time UH football Coach Bill Yoeman once remarked that if he could just sign all the high school football talent in the Houston area he could field a championship team every year. This brings us to recruiting. Currently A&M has an ace in the hole with Texas kids. “Do you want to play in the SEC, the biggest and baddist conference in the nation with massive TV coverage?” But that monopoly changes when UT joins the club, and the Aggies don’t like it. A&M athletic director Ross Bjork said, “We want to be the only SEC program in the state of Texas.” He said A&M should “have our own standalone identity in our own conference.” In other words, “Right now we have a monopoly in recruiting Texas kids for the SEC, and we don’t want to lose it.” This is the same threat other SEC schools face. Alabama currently has 10 native Texans on the roster. LSU has eight Texans. This reminds us of the alleged confrontation some years ago at a coaches’ convention when Michigan State head football coach Duffy Daugherty ran into UCLA head coach Tommy Prothro. Daugherty thoroughly upbraided his colleague for “recruiting in my backyard.” Prothro replied that he hadn’t even been in Michigan lately, much less recruited there. “Not Michigan!” Daugherty fairly yelled. “Texas!” I’ve always resented A&M leaving for the SEC. Now UT, too. First the players: Texas taxpayers have taken these young men from about 8 or 10 years old. We paid for their coaches, stadiums, uniforms and bands. But when they are ready for big time college, they go out of state. Now it seems our entire teams are going to be playing – and making gobs of money for – Kentucky, Alabama and South Carolina. However, we will see UT take on the Texas Aggies in football once again, if the Aggies dare.

The teams would again meet annually on the football field for the first time since 2011. They have played 118 times, with the Longhorns over the Aggies 76-37-5. So the Aggies would have to win every game until 2058 to get even. To make sure that Texas taxpayers get their money’s worth, bring back the Southwest Conference as of 1991, that would leave out Arkansas. So the UH Cougars can play Rice in a conference game, SMU against TCU. Southwest Conference schools won 64 national championships, and had more than 350 first-team all-America athletes. We can’t forget Phi Slamma Jamma, Sheryl Swoopes, Carl Lewis and Roger Clemens. In football, the SWC produced seven national champions. The Heisman Trophy was won by five SWC stars. Or you can spend the weekend in Knoxville. Ashby suggests at

National Purple Heart Day is August 7

Dear Editor: August 7th is National Purple Heart Day. This is a day for Americans to remember and honor the men and women of our Armed Forces who were wounded or killed while serving our country. The Purple Heart medal is awarded to Irene Infante them (or a family member receives it posthumously on their behalf ) “for military merit and for wounds received in action.” One of our American Legion pillars is “Americanism”. It is important to encourage our children and citizens to respect and remember that there is a heavy price paid to maintain our freedom. American soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, and Coast Guardsmen take an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States.” God gives us our rights, the U.S. Constitution secures those rights, and our military defends the Constitution with their lives. According to Medals of America-Military Blog, there have been nearly two million recipients of the Purple Heart Medal since 1932. That includes 351,000 during Viet Nam, 607 during the Persian Gulf War, more than 35,000 during the Iraq and

Email us your letters: 12,000 during the Afghanistan conflicts. So with the highest and utmost regard, the officers and members of American Legion Post 560 would like to say to all Purple Heart Medal recipients and their families, “Thank you for your personal sacrifices in defense of liberty. We appreciate your courage, strength, and commitment.” For God and Country, Irene Infante Post 560 Commander

Hidalgo raises COVID threat level as Delta surges

Dear Editor: OK, I just tested positive for Corona. I asked the doctor which one, he said there is no way to know. So how do you know is there really another one? And this was urgent doc off Hwy. 59 south in New Caney, Texas, by Walmart. Will Dear Editor: Close the border so the COVID does not come across. Janet Hartman Schmidt Dear Editor: If vaccines work, then masks are silly. If vaccines do not work, then vaccine cards are useless. Rodney Barnes Dear Editor: No thanks. No mask, no vax and COVID negative. Tyler Hartson

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


aCrOss 1. Angling worm 5. Tissue that conducts food in plants 11. 1937 Steinbeck novella 14. Feed storehouse 15. Raised pattern cotton cloth 18. Prophetic signs 19. Cowboy competitions 21. Ophthalmic products company, ______ Worldwide 23. Prefix meaning inside 24. Arousing or provoking laughter 28. Plant spike 29. Atomic #94 30. Himalayan goat 32. Patti Hearst’s captors 33. Rock TV channel 35. Pen point 36. Tiny bite 39. Organized work group 41. Atomic #58 42. Food fish of the genus Alosa 44. Fleshy slice of meat

46. Shallowest Great Lake 47. Tapered tucks 51. Winter muskmelon 54. Isaac’s mother 56. Picasso’s birthplace 58. Lowest hereditary title 60. Streisand/Reford film 62. Verb states 63. Soluble ribonucleic acid

dOwn 1. Sink in 2. Hairdo 3. Muslim leaders 4. Ringworm 5. Oppresses or maltreats 6. Cut fodder 7. Natural logarithm 8. Not divisible by two 9. Independent Islamic ruler 10. Written proposal or reminder 12. Tilt or slant 13. Nests of pheasants 16. Portable shelters 17. Swiss singing 20. Body of an organism

22. Opposite of “yes” 25. 41st state 26. 007’s Fleming 27. They speak Muskhogean 29. Payment (abbr.) 31. “Spud Papers” author’s initials 34. Large vessel for holding liquids 36. Nanosecond (abbr.) 37. Worn to Mecca 38. 1/100 rupee 40. Of I 43. Distributed cards 45. Public promotion of a product 48. Hard to find 49. Thinks or supposes 50. More lucid 52. Thai monetary unit 53. Phil __, CIA Diary author 55. Dialect variant of “heron” 57. One of the tender bristles in some grasses 58. Pass 59. Hot or iced brewed beverage 61. Equally


Page 4A • Saturday, August 7, 2021 • The Leader

Local churches engaging with community By Zarah Parker

Pastors at two local churches, New Day Church in Oak Forest and Village Heights Church in the Heights, said their congregations saw a decline in participation after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an attempt to re-engage the community, both churches have a renewed focus and have come up with initiatives to draw people back in. New Day Church, 3615 Mangum Rd., kicked off the first Sunday in August with a new series that intends to bring joy each Sunday of this month to its attendees, while encouraging those who got disconnected during the pandemic to reconnect. “Awesome August at New Day Church is about helping people find true joy in disorienting times like these,” said John Wethington, a pastor at New Day. “I’ve noticed a lack of joy in our city from watching the news to just everyday interactions with people. We are hoping to communicate clearly that life is still good because God is always good. The world has changed, but God hasn’t changed.” Last Sunday, “Awesome August” launched with a new

sermon series, an adult social hour before the service and activities for kids, including a kids’ water Olympics alongside a 17-foot water slide and bounce house. Wethington said church attendance has steadily increased but is not back to prepandemic numbers. “We have noticed people have gotten out of the rhythm of going to church and so we are working hard to give them unique reasons to re-engage on any given Sunday and rediscover the wonder of a faith community,” Wethington said. Upcoming events at New Day include a “Good Friday” type of communion service this Sunday as well as a backpack drive collecting supplies for local kids who are in need. On Aug. 15, the church is holding a “family reunion-style” community meal after service along with outside yard games. Aug. 22 will be “Kid Takeover Sunday,” where most of the main service will be led by the kids, and Aug. 29 will kick off the next sermon series called “Is God Real.” “We will be exploring some of the best logical arguments for the existence of God,” Wethington said. “It will be a very compelling and unique sermon series that we think will help people see the strong

is to do relevant sermon series, or as White puts it, speaking life into the times we are experiencing and address the struggles we all face. It’s also important to Village Heights to stay connected outside of Sunday gatherings through service projects and hosting events, White said. Now, the church is launching a new campaign that will intentionally reach out to neighbors. It’s called, “What do you need?” White said soon the community will see posters around town, ads on social media, and postcards in their mailbox that invite them to share their needs with Village Heights, and they’ll be able to go to VillageHeights. church/myneed to share their need. “The last 18 months have taught us that we can survive in isolation, but none of us can truly thrive,” White said. “Yes, we can absolutely continue to develop our faith by watching messages or listening to podcasts online. But there is something so beautiful about having a family of believers who know you, support you and continually cheer you on. Remaining focused on other people ensures that we each feel seen, find our tribe and can accomplish incredible things together.”

Contributed photo New Day Church in Oak Forest has family-friendly events planned throughout the month, which it is referring to as “Awesome August.”

logical arguments for God’s existence.” Wethington said doing creative and different things on a Sunday helps encourage people to attend, and that they’ve realized they can no longer rely on the cultural expectation that people will just show up on Sunday because that’s what they are supposed to do. “Those days are gone. But we actually see that as a positive thing for the church and for our team because that challenges us to really think about the purpose and meaning be-

hind what we do,” Wethington said. Village Heights Hannah White, pastor at Village Heights Church, 311 W. 18th St., said the church has also seen a decline in attendance at the in-person gatherings, but said the church is more focused on being a support system than regaining numbers. “Over the last year-and-ahalf, we have experienced the incredible need for and value

of community,” White said. “As faith leaders in our neighborhood, one of the greatest things we can do is create opportunities to strengthen that sense of community once again. For Village Heights, that means remaining ‘others’ focused. While we would love for every single person in our area to attend a Sunday gathering, to us it feels just as important for our neighbors to know that we are here to support.” Ways the church still engages and encourages attendance

Appeals court reverses Prop B ruling, sides with firefighters clashed with Mayor Sylvester Turner over the issue, said, “It’s time for the mayor to finally resolve this.” Lancton said he wants the city and firefighters union to participate in binding arbitration with a neutral panel of mediators. Garrison ordered the parties to engage in non-binding arbitration before making her ruling in 2019, but an agreement could not be reached. “We are OK with objective facts and reason being presented to third, neutral parties,” Lancton said. “If you look at the facts, we are that confident that the facts will speak for themselves. We are not asking for anything other than what is right, what is fair and what the voters have clearly stated.”

By Adam Zuvanich

Photo by Adam Zuvanich A cyclist rides near the recently repaired bicycle lane Tuesday on the west side of Nicholson Street in the Heights.

Damaged bike lane in Heights smoothed over By Adam Zuvanich

A Heights bicycle lane that was damaged for about a month recently was patched with fresh asphalt. Concrete was torn up in the bike lane on the west side of Nicholson Street in four different places between 16th and 19th streets, according to Heights-area resident Kevin Strickland, who frequents the area. He said he first noticed the damage around the beginning of July, with two of the four rough patches having been paved over around the middle of the month. As of early this week, all four spots had been repaired. Houston Public Works spokesperson Erin Jones said the damage was the result of utility work done by AT&T, which was responsible for making the repairs on the city street.

“AT&T was doing work in the area, and they ended up tearing up the concrete in the bike lane,” Jones said. According to a July 12 email from AT&T’s Steven Garcia to a Houston Public Works employee, which was obtained by The Leader, an AT&T contractor had completed work in the bike lane on Nicholson and “agreed to repair the bike lane and bring it up to grade.” Jones deferred to AT&T for more information about the work that was done, the extent of the damage in the bike lane, how it was caused and how much it cost to repair. Garcia did not respond to an email seeking comment and more information. Strickland said he alerted the city to the issue through 311 service requests. “People in bikes have to go in the streets,” Strickland said before the repairs were made. “It’s high-traffic residential.”

The ongoing court battle between the City of Houston and local firefighters union over the legality of Proposition B, the pay parity referendum passed by Houston voters in 2018, has tipped in favor of the firefighters. Texas’ 14th Court of Appeals ruled last week that Prop B, which grants the city’s firefighters equal pay to police officers of corresponding rank and seniority, was constitutional and therefore could be implemented. The measure previously was ruled to have been preempted by the Texas Local Government Code and therefore unenforceable by Judge Tanya Garrison of the 157th Civil District Court in May 2019. “The Houston firefighters, our families and more importantly the voters appreciate the court of appeals’ taking a very thorough review of this and issuing a very reasonable opinion,” said Marty Lancton, president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association. The city, which joined a lawsuit filed by the Houston Police Officer’s Union after Prop B was passed by more than 300,000 voters, issued a statement after the July 29 court ruling saying it disagreed with the decision and would ask for it to be reviewed either by the appellate court or by the Texas

Quentin, from P. 1A around getting to as many of those places as possible,” Bradley said. “The students also wrote many of the questions we asked of our naturalist guides.” Upon returning to the classroom this month, the Quentins will use their experience on the Galapagos to build a STEM unit for their students about Darwin and teach the Geo-Inquiry process, which poses three questions: What is it, why is it there and why is it important? Bradley said one of the purposes of the National Geographic Learning Framework and the Geo-Inquiry process is to help students make connections between their local communities, their region, and the world and to empower them to advocate for change. “One of the hallmarks of Geo-Inquiry is that it works anywhere, but as we both teach elementary students, we wanted to collaborate with them on a model project,” Kimberly said. “The Galapagos presents some of the most obvious cases of environmental impact on the various species; you can easily see the way the unique elements on each island have influenced

the form and function of all the species that make up the community.” For example, Kimberly said, the giant tortoise species on drier islands have significantly longer legs and necks in order to reach the sparse vegetation, while those on wetter islands have shorter legs and necks. “This kind of island-specific adaptation is seen in the plants as well,” Kimberly said. “The land iguanas eat the pads of the giant prickly pear cacti, but not all of the islands have land iguanas. On those islands that do, the giant prickly pears develop hard, tree-like trunks and thick coats of spines. The cacti on iguana-less islands grow closer to the ground and have soft, hair-like spines.” During the Quentins’ trip through the Galapagos over the summer, they amassed more than 10,000 images and videos. “We wanted students to have as many primary sources as possible, so every interview, every informational kiosk, and every museum fact panel we saw was recorded,” Kimberly said. The Quentins are also creating introductory video clips from their collection from the

Galapagos so students can see the range of species, geology, climate, conservation, and human historical topics, and are able to investigate through their materials. The students will have access to all the resources and a collection of print and digital references. Kimberly said these will help the students formulate their specific GeoInquiry questions, and launch their personal projects. “Why it matters to us is that we want our students to see that their education has purpose and gives them power,” Kimberly said. “Not when they are 35 and mid-career, but right now. It is a toolkit to help them explore - their neighborhood, country, the planet, the universe, their personal microbiome - anything that captures their attention.” The Quentins documented their fellowship on their blog, luck ybearfamily.blogspot. com, on Twitter @kboyceq and @bquentin3, and on Instagram @tortoise_finch. How they implement the material gained from their fellowship will be featured on their class sites, and



Supreme Court. Before Garrison’s ruling, the city had issued layoff notices to 220 firefighters, 67 fire cadets and 47 other municipal employees as a means of covering the cost of 29 percent pay raises for firefighters associated with the implementation of Prop B. The city announced at the time that it had mailed checks to firefighters totaling about $31 million, which represented pay raises effective Jan. 1, 2019. The city rescinded the layoff notices after Garrison’s ruling but again faces a steep cost to its roughly 3,700 firefighters if the appellate court ruling is upheld. Lancton said the overall tab associated with pay raises outlined by Prop B has “continued to accumulate.” “The City of Houston respectfully disagrees with today’ Fourteenth Court of Appeals decision where, in a divided 2-1 vote, the majority reversed the trial court’s de-

termination that the firefighter pay parity charter amendment was unconstitutional,” City Attorney Arturo Michel said in a statement. “The net effect of what the firefighter’s union is seeking would be financially devastating to the city.” Lancton, who has publicly

Together Again! Free Pancake Breakfast in Fellowship Hall

August 7th 8:30-10am JOIN US ON FACEBOOK:

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WEDNESDAYS @ 1:00pm • Words of Wisdom THURSDAYS @ 10:00am • Chapel Time for Tots 2 Teens SUNDAYS @ 10:17am • In-person and Facebook Worship 4300 N. Shepherd Dr., Houston, TX 77018 713-697-0671



In light of theSunday COVID-19 outbreak, please check with church below for updated St.each James Lutheran Church, ELCA Bible Studies For All Ages ... 9:30am Morning Worship ............... 10:45am • Worship (English) ..... 10:00 am - 11:00am information Wednesday about services and are temporarily restricted. Bible Studies For Youth,events. Children In-person services • Learning Hour ........... 11:00am 12:00pm MANNA and Adults............................ 6:15pm

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Join us for Services in English or Spanish

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Ministries for All Ages for the following: Home of Johnson Memorial School for Little Children Rev. Nathan Lonsdale Bledsoe, Pastor 4215 Watonga Blvd. • 713-681-9365 Wed Sunday Services: In-person @ 11 AM

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Houston, TX 77092

Say a Prayer Today


t goes with made mist err is hum this the next must learn fro to repeat them it can be hard can sometime We sometime we’ve done, a for years, or e addition, som our past. And them, we mus we should forg the coming da as well as our them; that is, repeatedly mu the phrase “fo the only way t more divine, is the offense. vindictive, sh it! Corrie ten prison camp s to realize that

Judge not, not, and

The Leader • Saturday, August 7, 2021 • Page 5A

Sidewalk, from P. 1A work was requested by a resident and aims to provide further connectivity between residential streets and the well-worn trail for walking and cycling. The project was set to begin in late July and be completed by mid-August, according to a Houston Public Works memo shared by the Houston Heights Association, although no construction work appeared to have been done as of Tuesday. The work will cost $22,500, according a spokesperson for Houston Public Works. “I’m glad I could fix another gap in our sidewalk network, this time providing safe access to the MKT Trail – one of our district’s most popular trails,” said Kamin, who

represents the area as part of District C. “I’m doing everything I can not only to advocate for better sidewalk policies citywide, but also to find solutions for missing sidewalks in our district.” Kamin’s office funded two other previously missing sidewalk connections earlier this year, on the north side of West 11th Street, just west of its intersection with Nicholson Street and the same MKT Trail, and also on the east side Cottage Grove Park. The upcoming sidewalk on East 7th Street is not welcome by all Heights residents in the immediate area. The path will run just to the south of residential properties situated on the north side of the street,

Arrest , from P. 1A

Gunderson, from P. 1A

bill in a special session that they say aims to make voting more secure and less susceptible to fraud. Several Democrats in the Texas House, who claim the proposed law would make voting too restrictive and discourage ethnic minorities from voting, have fled to Washington to prevent a quorum in the state legislature and keep the Republican majority from passing the law. The Texas Democrats are using their time in Washington to try to convince federal lawmakers to pass the voting rights legislation mentioned by Jackson Lee, who wore a button with Lewis’ picture on it at the time of her arrest. “The people of Texas are desperate and need it,” Jackson Lee said. “The people of America are desperate and need it. And the Constitution provides that support of the fundamental right to vote.”

“He would be angry,” Stephanie said. “He would be disappointed.” The same could be said for Gunderson’s widow, his 16-year-old son, Alan, and his two stepchildren, who in addition to grieving the loss of their loved one have been at a loss over the family’s interaction with the city. Gunderson family attorney Mike Sprain said the city denied a workers’ compensation claim in 2019, in the months after Gunderson was diagnosed with cancer, and has more recently argued against his eligibility for lineof-duty death benefits that would provide significant financial assistance for the family, even though a state law that took effect later in 2019 says firefighters with colon cancer are presumed to have acquired the disease through their work fighting fires and exposure to carcinogenic materials. Sprain said the city denied the initial workers’ comp claim because it determined that colon cancer was not a qualifying type of cancer and the existing applicable law at the time did not specify it as such. He said the more recent death benefit claim was denied because the city has argued there is “no medical evidence” linking his tasks as a firefighter to the cancer.

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between Arlington and Cortlandt, through what are existing grassy areas. Gabriel Attal, who owns the house at the northwest corner of 7th and Arlington, said it was built within the last two years and the City of Houston gave him the option to have a sidewalk in that spot while the home was under construction. Attal said he was told a sidewalk wasn’t needed there, because the home is in a city-designated historic district and there is a partial sidewalk on the south side of 7th, and he wanted to maximize the green space on his property while limiting the concrete. Attal’s wife, Ana Martinez, said she wants to know who requested

Sprain said he plans to appeal to claim denial to the Texas Department of Insurance and have the case heard by an administrative law judge. “The real issue in this case is the change in the law and whether a death benefit case is a new claim or the continuation of an original claim,” Sprain said. “It’s our position it’s a new claim, and the new law would apply.” Houston Fire Chief Sam Pena said he does not know why the claim was denied by Tristar Insurance Group, the city’s third-party administrator that handles claims adjustments for the city, and that he is not privy to that information, having unsuccessfully requested it from the city’s human resources department. But Pena said that based on his knowledge of the state law related line-of-duty death benefits, and what he’s been told about Gunderson’s circumstances, that he “should be covered.” Pena said firefighters who die of colon cancer should be eligible for the benefits if they are employed for at least five years, were cancer-free at the time they started the job, were diagnosed during the course of their employment, regularly responded to fires and were not a smoker or married to a smoker. Sprain said Gunderson

the new sidewalk and whether it was one person or a group of people. She also questioned the need to increased trail access, since the MKT path can be accessed one block away to the east, west and south. “We see it as unnecessary,” she said. Eric Perich, who lives just south of the intersection of 7th and Arlington, also questioned the need for an additional piece of sidewalk. He said many pedestrians and cyclists he sees pass through the area do not always use the existing sidewalks. ”Where there’s no sidewalk, I have no problem with people walking in the street,” he said. “Where

there is a sidewalk and people are walking in the street, that’s what’s frustrating.” Houston Public Works spokesperson Erin Jones said the department will close one lane of traffic on 7th during construction, and she asked drivers to pay attention to construction signs and slow down while crews are working. Besemer likely will need to find an alternate walking route during the time, but he’s looking forward to taking advantage of the finished product. “It makes sense,” he said. “It is kind of odd where (the sidewalk) just ends and continues on the other side (of Cortlandt). I’m not opposed to it at all.”

peal in all but one previous instance. “This is line-of-duty death, period,” Lancton said. “The city needs to do the right thing and they need to approve (the claims) and stop fighting the families of our fallen for their death benefits.” Lancton said he also sees a correlation between the city’s handling of firefighter benefit claims and the way it has treated pay for its firefighters. Houston voters in 2018 approved Proposition B, which granted city firefighters pay parity with police officers, and an ongoing legal battle ensued between the city, the firefighters union and the Houston Police Officers Union. The Houston City Council had voted to lay off more than 200 firefighters to defray the cost of implementing Prop B, but those cuts became unnecessary when Harris County District Court Judge Tanya Garrison ruled in May 2019 that the voter-approved measure was unconstitutional under state law. Last week, however, an appellate court overturned that ruling. City Attorney Arturo Michel announced shortly thereafter the city would seek a revision of the ruling through the same appeals court or the Texas Supreme Court, saying pay parity

meets all those requirements. Spokespeople for Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner did not immediately respond to a Tuesday afternoon email seeking to determine the reason Gunderson’s claims have been denied. “The law is pretty clear,” Pena said. “My hope is that if an individual who unfortunately comes down with these illnesses, and they meet these requirements, that we wouldn’t have to put them through a meat grinder to get what the law says they were entitled to. Whether it’s the best firefighter or the worst firefighter, they do a service to the city. We should be doing whatever we can to ensure we’re protecting them.” ‘Always a fight’ Sprain and Marty Lancton, the president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, said the denial of Gunderson’s claims is consistent with how the city has previously operated. Sprain said he has represented Houston firefighters for more than 25 years and submitted benefit claims for a “couple dozen” firefighters with cancer. He said the city initially denied the claims in each of those cases, with Sprain having successfully secured those benefits on ap-

as prescribed by Prop B would be “financially devastating” to the city. In a separate move, the city council voted at the end of June to approve an 18 percent pay raise for Houston firefighters over the next three fiscal years. “The problem with most things with the city when it comes to our department is we always have to bear the burden of proof just to get our benefits,” said a Houston firefighter who worked with Gunderson and asked to remain anonymous. “It’s always contested. There’s always a fight over it.” Stephanie Gunderson hopes her family wins its battle over benefits with the city. To this point, she said they’ve gotten a “bunch of nothing.” She said her late husband put plenty into his job with HFD, while holding down two other jobs to help support his family. Fighting fires was “his world, his life, his passion and his blood,” according Stephanie Gunderson, who said she has “no doubt” that working for decades as a firefighter caused his colon cancer. “We’re angry,” she said. “I’ve also seen the city and how they do things. It’s not surprising. “I want them to do the right thing,” she added.

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The Leader • Saturday, August 7, 2021 • Page 7A

Art Valet: Local artists continuing summer tradition in Heights Mitch Cohen Art Columnist

First Saturday Arts Market first opened for summer evening markets in 2006, the same year White Linen Night in the Heights got its humble start. The market is located at 540 W. 19th St. and open from 6-10 p.m. Saturday. It will wrap our summer evening markets for 2021. Like the city of New Orleans where it was conceived, White Linen Night takes place traditionally on the first Saturday of August, which is this Saturday. The official event, where parts of West 19th Street are closed to traffic and dozens of artists line the street under white canopies across from all the shops, is sadly postponed

until 2022. The underlying reason White Linen Night was started in the Heights was to invite Houstonians to visit the many small businesses here. For many artists this has been a chance to experience a big festival for the first time. Several new artists are joining the First Saturday Arts Market this Saturday evening, and though they won’t be experiencing thousands of people, I bet they will find their challenges. Let me introduce you. Abstract painter Leslie DeHaven rediscovered her creativity during the pandemic. As a musician and tour manager, DeHaven traveled throughout the U.S. and beyond. “It has been a creative awakening of sorts,” DeHaven writes on her website. “With the world slowing down for the moment it was a good opportunity to dedicate myself

Contributed photo Craig Butterworth, left, poses with a costumed patron Robert Leland Hall in August 2020.

and pursue this as a full-time career. I need to get back to my creative roots.” She has a great eye for color, and her paintings pull the viewer in to explore. Her full

attention and dedication are apparent. Whatever creativity she may have had prior to her career in music she clearly hasn’t lost. DeHaven saw fit to bring in

another new face and invited friend and fellow musician/ artist Tricia Cramblet to share her booth. I know Cramblet because she’s performed as a musician at the market. I had no idea she has 35 years of experience as an illustrator and designer. Cramblet’s 2D paintings on canvas come from a variety of sources. She uses a combination of technology, found objects, drawings, newspaper and photography to create her collages of people, places or abstracted designs. Cramblet then prints the work on canvas, ready to take home. Her work has already graced the covers of national magazines, books and greeting cards. I’m glad she’s bringing it to us now. An interesting sidenote, at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21, Cramblet will be sharing the stage (they call it swapping songs) with Charlie Hardwick at EQ Heights coffee shop at

1030 Heights Blvd. Hardwick has also performed his original songs and shown his own iconic pop graphic designs at the market. Without the street closure on 19th I anticipate the evening will be made for more casual strolling for couples, families and friends. Don your best white linens. It’s a cooling fabric and everyone looks great wearing white linen. Refer to other articles in this week’s edition of The Leader for other events and an interview with Jenn Bianco, one of the attending artists. Find these artists and more than two dozen more on the website, 1stSatArtMarket. com, with bios, photos and links. Cohen is an artist and founder of the First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at for additional highlights and artist’s stories.

Oak Forest artist emerges with passion By Zarah Parker

For over a decade, Oak Forest resident and Jenn Bianco struggled to allow herself exploration into her artistic expression as it became over-shadowed by professional aspirations. “Growing up in Austin I was passionate about art and had numerous creative outlets, from singing in bands, to throwing pottery and various creative projects that I would immerse myself in,” Bianco said. “I then went on to study accounting at the University of Texas at Austin and later became a Certified Public Accountant at a big four accounting firm.” And after having twin boys, Bianco said she felt there simply wasn’t enough room in her life for art. Finding herself working and taking care of her family at home during the pandemic, Bianco said she could no longer suppress the need to express herself though art. “I found myself pouring my heart and soul into abstract expressionism, experimenting with different acrylic mediums, spray paint

and drip/pour techniques,” Bianco said. “I couldn’t get the ideas and visions out quickly enough and in just under 5 months found myself with a collection of over 20 pieces.” While Bianco has been painting for over ten years, she began allowing herself more fully to explore this passion since February, which has also prompted not just spending more time and energy into her work, but her drive to make her work available for purchase. “The joy I feel from expressing myself in this way and no longer burying dreams is unexplainable,” Bianco said. Bianco’s painting art crafted using various acrylic mediums, which Bianco said adds contrast, depth and texture. Some of those mediums include heavy molding, coarse pastes, spray paint, pouring mediums, splatter and resign. “All of these come together to create a unique experience for all viewers (and) they can relate to it in a way they want to and need to, and that experience will continue to evolve every time they look at it,” Bianco said. Bianco’s work is available to

Photo contributed by Jenn Bianco Jenn Bianco displays one of her pieces of artwork.

view on her website at, but she also has had a booth at the First Saturday Arts Market, 540 W. 19th St., since June, and will be at the market this coming Saturday. “Managing outdoor art markets I see many new artists with talent trying to break into the ‘art scene’ that lack the skill to present their art successfully,” said Mitch Cohen, founder of First Saturday Arts Market. “Jenn seemingly skipped the trial and error part and used the same passion she has for creating her abstracts into her presentation; from building her canvas to framing the art and presenting it.” Bianco said her artwork is a fit for someone that wants to accent their space with an original work, or for those in search of a statement piece. While most of her color palettes and style leans towards those who gravitate towards modern and contemporary design, she has also completed commissions for coastal and traditional homes. “I continue to evolve in my artistic approach, driven by shifts in frame of mind through life’s challenges and joys,” Bianco said.

Review: TJ Birria Y Mas shines in Heights By Stefan Modrich

TJ Birria Y Mas, which originated in Stafford, opened a second location in May at 2025 Durham Drive. This move generated quite a bit of buzz, so I wanted to see what the hype was all about. TJ’s serves up traditional goat or beef meat stew from Jalisco, Mexico inside greasy, fried tortillas with melted Oaxaca cheese and a cup of mouthwatering consomme broth for dipping the tacos in. The dining room features yellow neon lights for wall art with the restaurant’s unofficial mantra “Wake up, work hard, eat tacos” along with a neon version of its most famous

taco. The Birriadillas Con Consome ($10.99) consists of four corn tortillas with shredded beef and melted cheese. The customary cilantro, diced onions, and green and red salsas are served on the side for you to dress up your tacos to your liking. The tortillas were fried to a savory golden and orange hue in the fat of the beef, and were both soft to the touch but satisfyingly crispy in texture. I have found that dipping the tacos in the consomme broth after stuffing them with cilantro and onions and a liberal squeeze of lime juice is the best way to go. Of course, you can con-

sume your birria in many different forms. The Quesabirria Con Consome ($12.49) uses flour tortillas instead of corn. Birria Ramen ($7.49), the invention of world-renowned chef Momofuku Ando in 1971, combines the famous instant noodles with broth and birria meat, and Papa Rellena de Birria ($11.99) puts a spin on another well-known comfort food, adding mashed potatoes and sour cream to the usual birria essentials. Aguas frescas, including my go-to horchata, are $3.99 each. The Michelada, a mixed drink with beer, tomato juice, lime juice, and more, can be ordered to-go, or a non-alcoholic version can be made

with Topo Chico. If you’re in the mood for a dessert, the Tres Leches Cupcake, Chocoflan, and churros are sold in quantities of four or six. TJ Birria Y Mas Address: 2025 Durham Drive Dining Options: Dine-in, takeout, delivery Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily Entrée prices: $7.49$12.99 Kid-friendly: Yes Senior discount: No Alcohol: Yes Healthy options: None Star of the show: Birriadillas Con Consome

Nibbles & Sips: Kale Me Crazy opens in Heights By Stefan Modrich

that same excitement and destination appeal for its daylife and nightlife offerings,” SEKAI Hospitality Co-Managing Partner Sal Wise said in a news release.

Missouri City residents Latosha and Deric Rutherford are opening their first restaurant in the Heights, the couple announced Monday on Facebook. The restaurant, Kale Me Crazy, is an Atlanta-based health food chain. The grand opening of the new location, 718 W. 18th St., is scheduled for Thursday. According to its website, Kale Me Crazy is a “superfood café” offering juices, smoothies, salads and wraps in a “sleek, upscale environment.” Kale Me Crazy is open 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. WYLD CHLD nightclub opening on Washington A new nightclub is coming to the Washington Avenue corridor, according to a news release from Stuart Rosenberg of Public Content. Houston-based SEKAI Hospitality is set to launch WYLD CHLD, a boutique nightclub spanning 9,800 square feet

Contributed photo Shown is the Farro Salad from Kale Me Crazy, which is holding its grand opening Thursday at 718 W. 18th St.

this fall at 5922 Washington Ave. “Houston has gained international awareness for its food, cultural offerings and parks, and we want to create

King’s BierHaus offers all-youcan-eat sausages King’s BierHaus is holding its annual Sausagefest through Aug 31. The restaurant, 2044 E. T. C. Jester Blvd., is serving a variety of traditional and exotic or plant-based sausages for $12 and $15, respectively. Traditional sausages on offer include German Bratwurst, Polish Sausage, and Spicy Kielbasa. Among those in the exotic category are elk (with cheddar, jalapeño, and garlic) wild boar (with blueberries, merlot wine, and brown sugar) and rabbit and rattlesnake (with jalapeño, chardonnay, and cilantro). The plant-based chipotle sausage is made with chipotle peppers and spicy chile de arbol peppers, as well as sweet onion, cumin and oregano. For more information, visit kbhsfest.

Photo by Stefan Modrich Pictured is an unwrapped birriadilla with cilantro and onion added at TJ Birria Y Mas, 2025 Durham Drive.

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Page 8A • Saturday, August 7, 2021 • The Leader


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The Leader • Saturday, August 7, 2021 • Page 1B

White Oak shop seeks to provide calm during storm By Betsy Denson

Alicia Gray, who owns the shop Genara at 3518 White Oak Dr. with husband, Kenton, said she wanted a place that would foster a connection for people with the environment and with their senses. “I wanted the store to offer a bit of serenity,” Gray said. “I had no idea how much everybody would need that.” Items at Genara are organized by House + Home, Bodega and Self and the store’s name is an homage to Alicia Gray’s Hispanic grandmother, whose home always felt special, and where there was always something good cooking on the stove. From 2018-20, the Grays ran the store out of their home with the spare bedroom as the stock room, the living room as their staging area and the front porch for shipping. In July 2020, during the early stages of the pandemic, they moved into their brickand-mortar location at the intersection of White Oak Drive and Harvard Street. Although it was a soft opening, Gray said she was gratified to meet people who made her shop one of the first they visited in person. “People put together beautiful care packages for friends and loved ones and would also sometimes throw something in for themselves,” she said. Gray said her incense and candles are popular as is the stationery, which makes her happy as a self-proclaimed “stationery nerd.” When Gray could travel more, she gathered products from different markets in different cities. She said it pleases her to provide items that customers can’t get in Houston or may have seen in far-flung places. While Gray said it’s been wonderful interacting with people online, it is more special to meet them in person. The recent spike in COVID cases and concern about the Delta variant is a concern to Gray, but she is trying to stay optimistic. Any in-store, largescale events are off the table for now, but they might be a possibility in the future. “We just want to continue to provide a peaceful refuge and make connections,” she said. To shop online, visit

Photo by Ryan Francisco

Alicia Gray, left, and her husband, Kenton Gray, are the owners of Genara, a store located at 3518 White Oak Dr.

Local custom woodworking shop featured on HGTV By Betsy Denson

Raul Juarez-Celada was initially hesitant about having his business, The Reclaimed Wood Shop at 2102 W. 34th St., featured in one an HGTV show. Before the episodes aired within the last month, he said the wait time for custom pieces was up to 120 days at the store. “I wasn’t sure I wanted any more publicity,” Juarez-Celada said. “We are already very busy.” But when he was approached by Jon Pierre and Mary Tjon-Joe-Pin, a designer and real estate agent, respectively, who host the HGTV show “Two Steps Home” – helping HoustonContributed photo area clients sell, buy and Local businessman Raul Juarez-Celeda, center, shares an embrace renovate to get their dream with “Two Steps Home” hosts Mary Tjon-Joe-Pin, left, and Jon Pierre. home – Juarez-Celada said he decided to take the risk. His shop worked on four different houses for the couple, making custom beams and an oak mantel among other projects. When TjonJoe-Pin walked through the shop on camera, she called it “wood heaven.” The Reclaimed Wood Shop was not mentioned by name on the show, but it was identified on social media by HGTV and “Two Steps Home.” And the response has been extraordinary. “We are getting calls from all over the U.S.,” Juarez-Celada said. “It’s been fantastic.” The success of his business was something that JuarezCelada, a former computer engineer, could not have anContributed photo ticipated when he started The oak mantel hanging above the fireplace was featured on the working for a lumber com- HGTV show “Two Steps Home.” pany in 2009, manufacturing custom beams. As a 13-year- back. racetracks but the prices have old growing up in Mexico, The shop goes by RW- gone way up. Juarez-Celada said he loved SHOP34 on social media now “A whole barn would working with wood but stud- as part of a rebranding ef- cost $5,000 in 2009 and it’s ied computers as the more fort because they work a lot $75,000 now,” he said. “practical” option. But he with new wood, too. JuarezThe shop makes beams, always did small projects for Celada still loves to work fireplace mantels, corbels, friends. with old wood, but he said it kitchen island tops, sliding In 2013, he founded The is harder to source now. He barn doors, French doors Reclaimed Wood Shop on used to get a lot of wood from and other custom furniture. West 34th and hasn’t looked old churches, buildings and Clients meet by appointment

with the Reclaimed Wood Shop team, which drafts their vision and then makes it a reality. Juarez-Celada’s crew of four were inexperienced woodworkers when hired, but he has trained them, and all are still with the shop seven years later. He also gives much credit for the store’s success to Grace Guarniere, the storeroom manager. Juarez-Celada said there is so much about the wood he appreciates, particularly white oak. “I love the color,” he said. “I love the smell.” He says a lot of people don’t know different pieces of wood furniture react differently in different houses because of humidity and other factors. “It has to acclimate to a house,” Juarez-Celada says. When the shop gets a bundle of wood, it is milled on-site which enables JuarezCelada to get the most out of each piece. Sometimes the right use for a piece of wood is not evident right away. There have been many “pinch-me” moments over the years, the HGTV appearance being one of them. The shop has made items for Houston Texans players, including Ka’imi Fairbairn, and Grammy Award winner

Christina Cindrich. Recently an actor from one of JuarezCelada’s favorite childhood shows, “El Chavo del Ocho,” contacted him about making

a table. “It’s a beautiful profession,” he said of woodworking. “I don’t miss computer engineering at all.”

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Page 2B • Saturday, August 7, 2021 • The Leader

Area restaurants, diners respond to Delta surge with caution By Stefan Modrich

Heights resident John Frels has been cautious about dining out since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Frels, who moderates the Facebook group “Houston Heights Foodies,” said he’s been disappointed by some of the restaurants in the area whose employees have not been masked and others that have opened to full capacity. He acknowledges that businesses have the right to, per Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order, but he hopes to see behaviors that aim to reduce the latest COVID surge as the Delta variant has spread within the Houston region. “I certainly don’t want restaurants to be hurt again, but I do think they have the opportunity to make some thoughtful decisions to combat this and the other potential waves or variants of COVID,” Frels said. According to Harris County’s COVID-19 dashboard,

53.4 percent of county residents have received at least one vaccine dose, and 45.2 percent have been fully vaccinated. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo raised the county’s COVID-19 threat level on July 22 following a rise in cases and hospitalizations. Frels said Tuesday he had lunch at Harold’s Restaurant, Tap Room & Rooftop Terrace, 350 W. 19th St. Suite C, where all of the staff were masked and the tables were spread out further than other places he’s been to recently. Harold’s offers free delivery within 5 miles and curbside pickup. It also has a rooftop terrace for those who would prefer outdoor dining, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says carries fewer COVID-related risks than indoor dining. Harold’s owner Alli Jarrett said she offered a financial incentive for employees to get the vaccine when it first became available to essential workers in Texas. And her staff ’s mask policy hasn’t

Photo by Stefan Modrich Diners eat on the patio Tuesday at Postino, 642 Yale St. Some area residents are prioritizing outdoor seating when they choose to dine out.

changed since the beginning of the pandemic, either. “Our staff members have been wearing masks since March of 2020 and we still do today,” Jarrett said. “You might recall when mask mandates were put in place last year, restaurant workers suffered a lot of backlash when

enforcing the rules. I do not plan on subjecting our staff to be the mask or vaccine police of guests, and I remain hopeful that our unvaccinated guests will wear a mask when not eating or drinking, as well as our vaccinated guests, as recommended by the CDC.” Federico Cavatore, owner

Business Briefs: Grogan Gallery celebrates recent move to Houston’s design district By Betsy Denson

The Grogan Gallery, a gallery that represents contemporary and traditional artists from around the world, has moved to a new location at 7800 Washington Ave. The 66,000-square foot warehouse was built in 1960. The new location for the gallery features 30-foot ceilings and wall space to accommodate a catalog of grander artworks. According to a news release, Grogan is the only fine arts gallery in Houston’s design district. Previous tenants include The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, Stewart & Stevenson and Brian Thomas Display and Packaging. For more information,

Contributed photo The Grogan Gallery has moved to 7800 Washington Ave.

visit Legacy Community Health CEO to retire Legacy Community

Health (Legacy) CEO Katy Caldwell will be retiring from her position with the organization on Dec. 31, according to a news release. Caldwell began at Legacy

as a volunteer for the Montrose Clinic, which later became Legacy Community Health, helping friends get care during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s. In 1996 she was hired as the executive director of the Montrose Clinic, which provided HIV/AIDS care out of a small house located on Westheimer Road. Legacy has become the largest federally qualified health center (FQHC) in the state of Texas and in the entire Southwest U.S., operating more than 40 clinics with more than 1,300 employees across Houston, Baytown, Deer Park and Beaumont. Legacy’s board of directors is conducting a nationwide search for Caldwell’s replacement.

of Cavatore Italian Restaurant, 2120 Ella Blvd., was one of the first restaurateurs in Shady Acres to begin offering curbside service and family meals to-go, Frels said. If a place isn’t enforcing masking or social distancing, Frels said he won’t patronize them.

“If I feel uncomfortable, I’m just going to turn around and walk out,” Frels said. Longtime Woodland Heights resident Jay P. Francis said at 70, he’s at high risk of complications from COVID, and that he stopped attending a regular lunch on Thursday with friends because some of them had not yet been vaccinated like him. Another Heights resident, Natalia Lombana Echeverri, said she too was vaccinated and also would continue masking indoors. She said she plans to shift to only eating at places that have a patio and a “reasonable amount of space between tables.” She’s also “looking for places that have publicized information about safety precautions they’re taking” with their staff, including masking and temperature checks. And if restaurants or bars need to raise their prices to accommodate increased wages and food prices and the price of implementing safety measures, Echeverri is more than willing to pay for those changes, she said.

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The Leader • Saturday, August 7, 2021 • Page 3B

Can fish and cats peacefully coexist? some research and determine what type of tank (saltwater or fresh) and what kind of fish you have the resources to properly care for.

Dear Tabby, My kids would like to get an aquarium for fish. The problem is, we have multiple cats. How can we keep fish safe from cats in our home? Fearful for Fish in Forest West Dear Fearful for Fish, Believe it or not, despite the fact that cats love all things fish, it IS possible to have both fish and cats all safely under the same roof. Before you embark on your fish-owner journey, though, there are a few things to consider and a few precautions to put into place. Consider type of fish Before you head to the pet store to buy some fish, consider what type of fish you have the time, money and energy for. Different types of fish have different requirements, so you’ll want to do

Make sure aquarium has lid Super important: Make sure that whatever type of fish tank you end up with has a lid to keep kitty from accessing the fish. The old-school, open-top goldfish bowl probably won’t work, so plan to invest in a bigger tank with a secure lid. Consider placement of tank For a number of reasons you probably wouldn’t want to place your fish tank on, say, the coffee table in the living room. You’ll want to put it somewhere out of kitty’s favorite places. You’ll also want to put the tank somewhere a bit more difficult for the cats to reach -- without convenient furniture or counters nearby that will help them to get close to the tank. Also make sure the fish tank is sturdy and your cats wouldn’t be able to knock it over.

Tuck fish tank in for night You might want to also consider covering your fish tank with a towel at night, to keep a nosy, nocturnal kitty from messing with the tank while you’re asleep. Set up tank for fish success Give your fish lots of places to hide within the tank. Plants (fake or real--consult your local pet store for appropriate live plants to include in a fish tank), rocks and other aquarium decor can offer your fish places to hide from sight when the cats get curious. Please remember that when cats show interest in fish, they’re only doing what comes naturally to them. Never discipline your cat for showing interest in the fish tank. Instead, take extra precautions to keep the fish safe from your cats and make sure you’re giving your cats lots of love and play time to keep them occupied and happy.

Do you have a question for Tabby? Email her at deartabby

Thoelke named principal at Our Savior Lutheran For The Leader Our Savior Lutheran School, 5000 W. Tidwell Rd., is excited to welcome new principal, Mrs. Kate Thoelke. Principal Thoelke has an extensive education career as an LCMS teacher, music director, and was most recently Principal at St. Paul Lutheran School just outside of St. Louis, Missouri. She helped lead the revival of St. Paul’s Classical Lutheran School when it was independently re-formed in 2014 and then accredited in 2019. Her experience in leading, growing, and school expansion through strategic planning and community outreach while at St. Paul’s will be invaluable in writing the next chapter for Our Savior Lutheran School. Considered a Classical Lutheran Education subject matter expert, she is a former Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education conference organizer, and CCLE conference speaker. Kate served as a Classical Conversations -

Kate Thoelke

Foundations and Essentials tutor and trainer, as well as keynote speaker at the St. Louis Parent Practicum for Classical Education. These experiences and interactions provided the basis for multiple school and church leaders from around the country to highly recommend Kate for this role. While a champion for classical Lutheran education, Mrs. Thoelke integrates technology in the community and classroom to better understand success factors for students, while

holistically preparing graduates to thrive in the world. She has an infectious personality that pairs nicely with her exceptional communication skills. She authored a “Coaching Handbook” that supports teachers’ growth in the classroom, so it is no surprise her administrative focus is observing, coaching, supporting, and developing faculty, staff, and students. Mrs. Thoelke will be leading Our Savior Lutheran School through the goals of their School Improvement Plan based on their newest accreditation site visit. Our Savior Lutheran School received their accreditation renewal this summer from CCLE and NLSA. Our Savior Lutheran School is also a Partner School with Classical Latin Schools Association. This article is part of The Leader Experts series, where companies and institutions pay for editorial content on topics important to the community. If you’d like to be a Leader Expert, contact us at 713-686-8494.

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Constable: Don’t forget baby in the back From Staff Reports Even the most precious of cargo can be forgotten, according to the office of Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen, whose department offers rearview mirror placards to help community members remember the “Baby in the Back” this summer. The constable’s office said at least 132 children across the U.S. have died since 2018 after being left in a hot vehicle. As a result, Rosen’s department is providing free, yellow

placards that can hang from rearview mirrors and feature the phrases “Baby in the Back” as well as “Look Before You Lock.” The placards are available at Rosen said community members can take the following additional steps to ensure they do not leave children in a parked vehicle: - The WAZE app will give you an audio “child reminder” when you arrive at your destination. This can be activated by going to “settings” and then “reminders.”


- Make it a routine to open the back door of your vehicle every time you park. - Put your purse, phone or even you left shoe in the back by any child in a carseat or booster seat. When you get where you are going you will be forced to look in the back seat before leaving. - Ask your babysitter or childcare provider to call you if your child hasn’t arrived as scheduled. For additional information and resources, visit or

Residents invited to give input on I-45 project By Landan Kuhlmann

Community members are being asked to give their input on the Interstate 45 expansion project, which could impact thousands of residents and businesses in the area. On Monday, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) held a public hearing for resident input on its Unified Transportation Project (UTP), the 10-year plan that guides the development of transportation work across Texas. Included in the plan is the North Houston Highway Improvement Project (NHHIP) as proposed by


TxDOT, with residents being asked to give input on whether the $7 billion project and funding for it should remain part of

the 10-year plan. In March, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) asked TxDOT to halt the project, which calls for the displacement of at least 1,000 residents and businesses in communities such as Acres Homes, Independence Heights and Northside, to investigate potential environmental and civil rights concerns. Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee filed a lawsuit against TxDOT in federal district court in March, on behalf of the county, asking the court to require TxDOT to give greater consideration to concerns raised by the county

and its citizens. He has also criticized TxDOT’s current public input survey process, including Monday’s hearing. “Residents deserve a meaningful public input process that allows them to express whether they want the project designed in a way that minimizes the impact to surrounding communities,” Menefee said in a news release. Concerned community members are asked to go to the survey page at and submit their feedback in the general comments box by Monday, Aug. 9. Follow us on social media @ FromTheLeader

Man charged in fatal 2018 shooting By Landan Kuhlmann

A man already facing two aggravated assault charges has been accused of fatally shooting a woman at a Greater Inwood apartment complex in 2018, according to Harris County court records. Damarion Gulley, 44, has been charged with murder in the shooting death of 34-yearold Cassie Washington, court

records show. Gulley was previously charged with felony aggravated assault in connection to alleged incidents in October 2020 and February of this year, according to court documents. The Houston Police Department said one of its officers was conducting a welfare check at the Linda Vista Apartments at 5500 De Soto St. the evening of Aug. 21, 2018, when the officer found Washington dead on the living


room floor with multiple gunshot wounds. She had been

reported missing the previous day, according to HPD. According to police, Gulley and Washington had previously dated, and HPD said additional investigation identified Gulley as a suspect in the incident. Court records show Gulley was convicted of misdemeanor assault stemming from incidents in 1997 and on Aug. 19, 2018 -- one day after he allegedly killed Washington, according to court documents.

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