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Inside Today: HISD released its 2021-22 academic calendar • Page 4A

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Saturday, July 17, 2021 • Vol. 66 • No. 29

ABOUT US 2020 North Loop West Suite 220 (713) 686-8494 news@theleadernews.com www.theleadernews.com Facebook/FromTheLeader

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Local reps participate in quorum break By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com The area’s two state representatives joined more than 50 other Democrats in bringing a special session of the Texas Legislature to a halt Monday when they flew to Washington D.C. to break quorum and prevent the Republicancontrolled legislature from passing proposed bills related to voting procedures. State Reps. Jarvis Johnson and Penny Morales Shaw, who both

represent residents of Garden Oaks and Oak Forest as well as other parts of Northwest Houston, said they oppose Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 3 because they aim to make voting in the state more restrictive. Johnson, whose District 139 includes predominantly Black neighborhoods such as Acres Homes and Independence Heights, also said the proposed legislation would discourage people of color from casting ballots while limiting See Quorum Break, P. 5A


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New to the scene. Mitch Cohen profiles emerging Houston-area artist Rebekah Molander.

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Burger time. This month’s Food & Drink section is about burgers, all types of burgers.

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Photo by Adam Zuvanich Candlelight Oaks resident Robbie Carson rides his electronic skateboard through a portion of the White Oak Bayou Greenway trail that is indefinitely closed because of a sinkhole underneath the path.

Sinkhole causes closure of trail section By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

Summer safety. Constable Alan Rosen provides home safety tips for local homeowners.

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Robbie Carson makes about a 10-mile trek from his home in Candlelight Oaks to his tattoo studio in Sawyer Yards, often riding his electronic skateboard on the White Oak Bayou Greenway trail. A 600-yard section of the trail that goes underneath West T.C. Jester Boulevard, just north of West 34th Street, has been closed since July 7. That has forced Carson to make a small detour, at least on most days, he said, on his way to The Left Eye, Tattoo and Fine Arts Gallery, 1824 Spring St. Suite 229. He rode through the closed-off portion Monday afternoon, when the barricades were not sufficient enough to keep him from doing so and there was no construction work being done. Going underneath the bridge also provided some cover, albeit briefly, on a rainy day. “It’s very inconvenient,” Carson said of the partial trail closure. “I don’t really cut through a lot.” Trail users in the Oak Forest area could be inconvenienced for at least the rest of the summer. The aforementioned section is indefinitely closed because of a See Trail, P. 5A

Man charged with shooting gun near Oak Forest church By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com Houston police arrested a man accused of shooting a gun near a local church and preschool earlier this week while young children were playing outside, according to Harris County court documents. Feisar Romero-Soto, 20, has been charged with discharging a firearm in a metropolitan area, a misdeRomero-Soto meanor. Nobody was injured in the Monday afternoon incident, according to Houston Police Department spokesperson John Cannon. Cannon said officers responded to Gethsemane Lutheran Church at 4040 Watonga Blvd. just before 2 p.m. Monday in response to shots being fired in the area. Upon arrival, he said witnesses told police that a man had allegedly been pacing back and forth in the church parking lot with a gun before shots were heard. According to court documents, 15 children ages 5 and 6 were on the playground of the Gethsemane Lutheran Preschool, which also is at the property, at the time of the incident. According to Cannon, witnesses gave police a suspect description that allegedly matched Romero-Soto, who was allegedly seen walking down nearby Libbey Lane shortly after shots were heard. Cannon said Romero-Soto was arrested a short time later and allegedly had a gun on his person. Romero-Soto is homeless, according to court documents, and was out of jail on bond after being charged with misdemeanor assault in early April. That case is still active, according to court documents. In order to be released from jail after the latest misdemeanor charge of discharging a weapon in a metropolitan area, court records show that Romero-Soto must pay $10,000 in secured bail. Follow us on social media @FromTheLeader

‘Little Free Garage’ caters to mini-car lovers

Flowers on demand. Frankie & Flora is a subscription flower service that delivers.

By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com

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THE INDEX. Church....................................................... 4A Classifieds.............................................. 5A Coupons. ................................................. 3B Food/Drink............................................. 1B Obituaries.............................................. 4A Opinion. ................................................... 3A Public Information......................... 8A Puzzles...................................................... 3A

Graphic from Houston Parks Board Illustrated in red above is the closed portion of the White Oak Bayou Greenway trail. A detour route is in blue.


Contributed photo Freeland resident Beau Roessler, 4, shows off his “Little Free Garage.”

Neighbors and passersby in the Freeland neighborhood south of White Oak Drive might notice what at first looks like another Little Free Library, the public, outdoor bookcase. But upon closer inspection, they will see the words, “Beau’s Free Garage.” The new twist on the Little Free Library concept is courtesy of 4-year-old Beau Roessler, who told mom Kate and dad Alex that he wanted to have a place to swap Hot Wheels. His parents were not sur-

prised. “The second he was 8 months old he picked up a car,” Kate Roessler said. “I joked that he spent so much time pushing them around that I’d never see anything but his bottom again. He eats with them. He sleeps with them. I find them in my purse.” But Beau is not sentimental about most of his cars. He likes to swap them at the playground with his friends. When he needed to clear out the old to make room for new ones, he put the cars he wanted to give away in the mailbox. After his parents told him a stamped and addressed package would be required

for that to work, he asked about putting a “garage” in the front yard. “We would see the libraries on our walks and bike rides,” Kate said. Serendipitously, Alex has a wood shop in his garage, so he was on board with the building. Beau had the idea in April and although the project probably would have moved more swiftly without the preschooler’s supervision and help, it was more fun for dad and son to work together. They finished a few weeks ago. Per Beau’s specs, the garage has a retractable door. See Roessler, P. 4A

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Page 2A • Saturday, July 17, 2021 • The Leader

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THE TOPICS. What Beau knows and we don’t The Leader • Saturday, July 17, 2021 • Page 3A

By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com


hy are we so bad at addressing issues with our neighbors face to face? I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately and most recently when I saw a message on one of the neighborhood sites about a bagpipe-playing teen and a noise complaint that his parents said someone made to the police. I do not mean to throw the aggrieved neighbor under the bus. I don’t know what a bagpipe sounds like other than the movies and there may have been a reason they needed the peace and quiet that day or night. I do know that I interviewed the teen player about his unique instrument choice and he said he mostly practices a more toneddown version of the bagpipe in his room because it is quieter. He is outside every other day playing for about 15 minutes. But I do wonder why — if the music was bothering them — the neighbor or neighbors didn’t first address the musician and his parents in person?

Betsy Denson

There are so many other examples of this over the years I’ve lived here. I’m sure it’s not just our neighborhood either. People post a photo of someone’s house, or their yard, and air some grievance on a neighborhood social media page. If you know their house, then you know their address and they have a door, or a doorbell. If they don’t answer, fine, but you can try leaving them a (cordial) note first. My favorite response on a

neighborhood Facebook thread was from a person who lived in a house with an American flag that someone thought was in disrepair. The person who lived in that house invited any commenter on the thread with issues to come see them directly. It was a long thread. One of the last comments was from someone new to the conversation who said something to the effect of, “I’m lonely. Can I just come see you?” I almost died laughing. We live in silos, I think most would admit this. Online and in person we get to narrow our view to what we most want to see. On top of that we have fewer checkers at the grocery store because there are more self-checkout machines, online banking has replaced a lot of the work for tellers and library books aren’t swiped by a person anymore unless you are having trouble with the bar code (which I always am). Our houses are bigger. Our yards are bigger. We love fences. COVID, of course, threw a whole new wrench in the dynamic. And it has made us even more out of practice with dealing with each

other. Until recently, my social interaction was largely confined to my immediate neighbors. The library workers put my pre-ordered books in the backseat. I saw my doctor virtually. Actually, I kind of liked that because I didn’t have to pay an outrageous parking fee. Now that I’m out and about more, it’s like I’ve forgotten how to have a normal conversation. “Saturday Night Live” had a great skit about this where all anybody talked about was whether they got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. We are all out of practice with common niceties, but even before the pandemic people were not afraid to call one another out online. Because it is only the work of a matter of seconds on your keyboard and you don’t have to look at the person’s face while you tell them their yard is an abomination or their kid is going to end up in juvie or you are holding their yard sign hostage until they get some sense. Of course, if they live in your neighborhood you might have to see them eventually. And that is going to be so, so awkward. I really think the biggest reason

we don’t interact in person more is because we just don’t want to. I am certainly guilty of this. That’s why I was so touched by the story of 4-year-old Beau Roessler, who wanted to put a free Hot Wheels garage outside his house for people to come by and swap cars. He is literally sitting in front of his window waiting for people to use it. While I often want to put a sign on my door that says, “Come back in 2025. Or never.” To Beau, everyone is a potential friend or purveyor of Hot Wheels. He isn’t already predisposed to like or dislike someone because of their T-shirt slogan or because of the meme they just shared. His window to the world isn’t social media. It’s literally his window. Turning out rather than turning inward, or online, is the Herculean first step to living gracefully alongside other people. And once we master normal face to face then maybe we can graduate to more advanced conflict resolution. If I knew how to do it, I’d certainly tell you. I’m a work in progress. But I’ll bet Beau knows.

A scam sandwich with no relish THE READER. MY PC – Good morning. Let’s see what emails I have received overnight. “₹60.0 has been added to your Dream11 account! Your Order ID is etc. etc.” Huh? That little squiggly before the 60.00 certainly isn’t a dollar sign. Maybe pounds or Bitcoins. Whatever it is, I don’t use it. What else did I receive? “Your 25 incoming mails were placed on pending status due to the recent upgrade to our Terms. In order to receive the messages Re-validate to unhold your pending messages.” Another one: “To validate your cancellation, go to Cancel Request. Please do not reply to this message. Your security is our top priority.” I strongly suspect my security is not their top priority, because again and again I am getting emails that are clearly either spam or scams. Maybe you, too, Dear Occupant, are daily if not hourly on the receiving end of this unsolicited junk, and if you are like me, you have to keep deleting them. Sometimes it takes up half my morning. I keep hitting “junk” and “block sender” but somehow these sneaks get around the block. “Our records show that you requested to shut down your email. If you did not authorized this request kindly cancel the request by clicking the link below.” We all want to receive our emails – except these -- the ones that show we won the Lotto or that our rich uncle died and left us controlling interest in Tuesdays. When it comes to phones, we have ways of blocking robocalls. For $59.99 to $79 you can buy a little gizmo that screens them. And as of June 30th, major U.S. phone providers -- including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Comcast -- were required by the FCC to start using technology known as STIR/SHAKEN (James Bond strikes again) to prevent rampant spam calls. A bill authorizing the action passed 429 to 3 in the House and unanimously in the Senate. President Trump signed it. Boy, do need that. Over the first five months of this year, Americans have received about 22 billion robocalls and are on pace to see 52 billion by the end of the year, according to robocall blocker YouMail. With the new technology, illegal scammers (are there any other kind?) are no longer allowed to pretend they are the IRS, telemarketing, or a wellknown company. For example, an elderly Cleveland, Ohio,

Lynn Ashby Columnist

man lost $124,000 last month to a robocaller who pretended to be from Amazon. (I keep getting emails from “Amazon” and don’t have an account with them, but my wife has Jeff Bezos on Speed Dial.) The problem with blocking robocalls is trying to keep one step ahead of them. FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr told CNET recently that spammers are constantly coming up with new ways to get around robocall prevention methods, making it difficult to eliminate them entirely. “It ends up being a game of Whack-A-Mole,” he said. “So the long-term solution is still difficult. We’ll have to see how much progress we can make.” Commissioner Carr better hurry. A company called SMS Marketing is selling its services at “1 cent per dial,” and specializes in political candidates. Stand by. Here’s another email: “Dear Subscriber, You are required to Check (capitalized?) in our new Server Upgrade, to avoid the loss of your Account!” And its cousin: “Your XfiConnect Version is outdated and has expired in the database. Login in your account to keep your account safe in our database.” And: “We will be rolling in new features, and you may be logged out of your account if your recovery details are not up to date. Visit your account now.” “V©ICEMAIL -- You’ve got 2 voicemail Sent date: July 1 ‘View’ the file.” I don’t do voicemail. Never have, but someone keeps telling me I have some voice messages. “Dear User, Thank you for order.” (No “the” or “your” order.) To pay for “order,” my annual fee of $399.99 was “successfully deducted from your account.” In a similar mode, it seems I ordered a guitar from eBay for $600. All I need to do is confirm the purchase with my credit card number. The Number One rule in scams is to play on the victim’s own greed. Thus I received: “It is important that beneficiaries who have an ongoing payment update their Bank of America Debit Card profile to avoid delayed payment. Update below and follow the in-

structions. Kindly fill the form correctly.” I might get a “payment” from Bank of America, which I don’t use. Some emails have a little line reading: “To unsubscribe, click here. Allow 10 business days.” Usually that doesn’t work. At this point I must ask a few questions. How did I get on the stupid list? In my various emails and transactions and subscriptions, somehow the entire scam industry picked me up. What did I do to qualify? It must not cost much to send out a million phony emails in hopes that even .001 percent will reply and thus get hooked, cheated and/or have their bank account cleaned out. “The United States Postal Service” says it tried to deliver a package, but I wasn’t home. When will I not be home again? They will probably ask how to turn off the burglar

alarm. Here’s an email from “Chase Bank.” I have a Chase account, but I think they know their spelling and punctuation. And this one: “We notice some distrust activity in your Mailbox to afford disconnection of your incoming Mail.” Distrust activity? Years ago I used PayPal once. It turned out to be more trouble than it was worth, but now I owe them $599.99. Clearly what America needs is the email equivalent of stopping robocalls so we don’t have to spend each morning deleting these obvious comeons and scams. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to send $300 to a Nigerian prince who promised me half of his frozen London bank account. I’ll pay in Bitcoins. Ashby deletes at ashby2@comcast.net

Reader looks forward to receiving The Leader

Dear Editor: Thank you so much! A few minutes ago I looked out my front door to see if I had a Leader and I did! Actually, I had two. I’m so happy because I look forward to the Leader each week and believe you do a wonderful job, with a much needed service to our neighborhoods. Thank you, thank you. Claudette Rogers

Limited help leads to limited pool openings

Dear Editor: There is no such thing as a shortage of lifeguards. There is only shortage in pay offered. P.S. Love did not open on July 10, did any other pool? Hauns

has 700 animals. $50 to adopt, spayed/neutered, microchipped, rabies shot and one year pet license. They desperately need adopters and fosters! Rebecca Gittins Bridges

Part of White Oak Bayou trail closed ahead of repair work

Dear Editor: Work starts in August, 60 days to complete the major repair, THEN they rebuild the bike trails. It’s gonna be almost next year before that section is open again. Matt Hackworth Dear Editor: But when are they fixing the “burned” bridge over White Oak Bayou? Bob Davis

Desperate to adopt but tired of getting turned down?

Email us your letters: news@theleadernews.com

Dear Editor: Oh goodness! Harris County Pets

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


aCrOss 1. Matter 5. Puzzled 11. Well wish 14. Frightened 15. Home of the Cowboys 18. Between the jejunum and the cecum 19. Founded the Union Colony 21. Read-only memory 23. Sorcerers 24. Female parents 28. Unexpected obstacle 29. Of I 30. Used to have (Scottish) 32. Patti Hearst’s captors 33. Rock TV channel 35. Revolutions per minute 36. Exclamation: yuck! 39. Be afraid of 41. Arizona 42. Red liqueur __ gin 44. More discourteous 46. Type of chef 47. Mother (Brit.)

49. Untidy in character 52. Inhibitions 56. Pains 58. Politician 60. Unofficial fighter 62. Type of Mustang 63. Branch of Islam

dOwn 1. Satisfaction 2. Astragals 3. Egg-shaped 4. Nothing more than specified 5. Measures speed of wind 6. In the middle of 7. Actinium 8. The Master of Shadows 9. Dutch cheese 10. Valley 12. A river between China and Russia 13. Masses of matter 16. They live along Gulf of Guinea 17. George __, actor 20. Latvia’s largest city 22. One thousandth of an ampere

25. Millihenry 26. Swiss river 27. Individually 29. Magnetomotive force (abbr.) 31. Without armies (abbr.) 34. Portuguese municipality 36. Old MarxistLeninist state 37. Malicious satisfaction 38. Actress Julianne 40. Rural delivery 43. Bar or preclude 45. Unit of measurement 48. Peninsula in Greece 50. Bird genus 51. Releases gonadotropin 53. Racquets 54. Southwestern state 55. Town in Benin 57. Car mechanics group 58. Brother or sister 59. Woollen rug 61. Milliliter


Page 4A • Saturday, July 17, 2021 • The Leader

HISD releases 2021-22 academic calendar By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com

There was some confusion among parents when the Houston ISD Board of Education approved the 2021-22 academic calendar in April. The news release with the announcement said the calendar “included 15 additional academic days to help address learning gaps caused by COVID-19. ... These additional days were added to the calendar after input from teachers, parents, students and educational experts.” The 15 days are marked as enrichment days on the printed version of the calendar. An email from former HISD interim superintendent Grenita Lathan asking for feedback on two calendar options further explained the addition and clarified the days would be made available for students who needed them.

“In planning, our main objective has been to ensure additional instructional days were added in order to provide needed supports and interventions as well as enrichment to mitigate the learning gaps caused by COVID-19,” the email said. “We have added additional instructional days compared to last year’s calendar for all students, and 15 additional instructional days for select students.” As The Leader reported, HISD students’ performance on the STAAR test this spring declined at all grade levels in both math and reading compared to 2019, the last time the standardized test was administered. The drop was especially stark in math, with at least 41 percent of HISD students failing to meet state standards in each of the grade levels tested - 3-8 - while more than half of the district’s students in fourth, seventh and eighth grades failed to meet the math standards.

Nominations open for Good Brick Awards From Staff Reports Preservation Houston, the citywide nonprofit group for historic preservation advocacy and education, is accepting nominations for its 2022 Good Brick Awards for excellence in historic preservation. Residential, commercial and institutional projects qualify for awards. Good Bricks also are given for publications; recognition for craft specialists and design professionals; preservationrelated programs or activities; and outstanding service or leadership in historic preservation. Good Brick-nominated

Gov. Greg Abbott previously announced that STAAR testing requirements will be waived for the 2019-20 academic year so students would not be penalized. “(Evaluation of STAAR scores) provides the district an opportunity to address student academic needs and utilize resources to regain learning,” HISD said. “That informed the decision to add the 15 additional days of instruction as well as a full return to in-person instruction in

the fall. We expect this will produce better student outcomes. Additionally, we are formulating plans that will mitigate students’ lost time and improve educational performance.” Jackie Anderson, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, told ABC 13 that she talked to several HISD educators who said the district’s summer school program, held both in person and online, did not do enough. “They are very disappointed with summer school this year,” Anderson said. “It remained hybrid, which was an epic failure during the school year. Summer school did not go as anticipated, and there was low attendance, (which) saddens me because many students who needed summer school didn’t get it for the same reasons they fell behind during the school year.” New HISD superintendent Millard House II said that learning in the fall will be 100 percent in person and he told ABC 13 that he has

been in close contact with health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in preparation of opening schools safely. The 2021-22 calendar consists of a one-week Thanksgiving break, two-week winter break and a oneweek spring break. Students will be off on Labor Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, ChavezHuerta Day and Memorial Day. The school district will also observe a fall holiday on Sept. 16 and spring holiday on April 15, 2022. The last day of school will be June 7, 2022. According to the Texas Education Agency, the first instructional day must be no earlier than the fourth Monday in August. A school district also may not schedule the last day of school for students before May 15. Each district must operate so that it provides 75,600 minutes of instruction, including intermissions and recesses for students.

Roessler from P. 1A The garage was stocked and ready to go this week. Beau’s idea is to take a car and leave a car, but Kate has also talked to him about the fact that some people may want a car but don’t have one to trade, and he is OK with that, too. “He’s been looking out the window and checking the garage,” Kate said. Kate has just begun to promote the free garage on social media and hopes traffic picks up in coming weeks. She said she hopes it sparks some fun during these turbulent times. “It would be great if we could get a domain name like the one for Little Free Libraries,” she said. “We could put up the plans for people to download and make their own. Maybe the idea would catch on.” Beau, no doubt, would be thrilled about that.

projects must be located in Harris County and must have been completed within the last five years. Complete guidelines, the nomination form and contact information are are available online at preservationhouston.org/ awards/nominate. The deadline for entries is 3 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13. Preservation Houston has been presenting Good Brick Awards since 1979 to recognize exceptional historic preservation projects and the people who make them happen. The 2022 Good Brick Awards will be presented at Preservation Houston’s Cornerstone Dinner on March 4, 2022.

Contributed photo Local resident Alex Roessler and his 4-year-old son, Beau, built a toy car-sharing box outside their home.

Scouts BSA Correction Four members of Scouts BSA Troop 54 were incorrectly identified in a photo caption in last week’s edition. The Leader regrets the error.

THE OBITUARIES. Harper Rose Sophea Dubois-Ong, born on April 25, 2021 and passed away on July 1. Robin Sue Lee, 69, born July 18, 1951, died July 2. Lee finished her business degree at University of Houston and began her career in higher education at UT Health Science Center in 1977. She left there for Baylor College of Medicine in 1987, where she retired in 2015. She is survived by nieces Tiffany Stewart, Sloan Kessinger, and nephew Brice Stewart. Paul Andrew Franklin McConnell, 88, born Dec. 11, 1932, died July 2. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Agnes, daughter Diane McConnell, sons Allan and Alvin McConnell, brothers Roland and Bill McConnell, and four grandchildren.

Hudson Merchant Reed, 67, born Feb. 3, 1954, died June 20. Hudson is survived by his son Hunter Ledbetter Reed, and his wife Amy Morgan Reed, sisters Sussan Gleye and Catherine Reed, brother Bruce Reed, and three grandchildren. Floyd M. Whitley, 93, born Sept. 13, 1927, died July 4. He began his career in the Oil and Gas Industry by joining a local company, Houston Natural Gas. He later became vice president of the Natural Gas Pipeline Division. Many years later he concluded working for public oil companies when he accepted a position as a senior officer for the Coastal Corporation. He is survived by his son, Thomas Whitley, two grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.



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 In-person services are • Worship (English) ..... 10:00 am - 11:00am information about services and events. temporarily restricted. Wednesday Bible Studies For Youth, Children and Adults............................ 6:15pm

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GET a Good Neighbor Being OVER IT!

t goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: “we have all made mistakes.” As Alexander Pope so aptly put it: “To err is human, to forgive, divine.” We should remember this the next time we make a mistake. Most certainly, we must learn from our mistakes, and hopefully not continue to repeat them, but we should also forgive ourselves. While it can be hard enough to forgive others for their mistakes, it can sometimes feel almost impossible to forgive ourselves. We sometimes cannot bring ourselves to forgive something we’ve done, and we may punish and harangue ourselves for years, or even decades, over youthful indiscretions. In addition, some of us may not be able to forget the sins of our past. And although that may prevent us from repeating them, we must be charitable and forgive ourselves, just as we should forgive others. So, we should make a real effort in the coming days and weeks to forgive the offenses of others as well as our own. Sometimes, it helps to just forget about them; that is, to try to put them out of our mind and stop repeatedly mulling over them. One of the reasons we use the phrase “forgive and forget” is because sometimes that is the only way to forgive, i.e., by forgetting. But far better, and more divine, is to be able to forgive even while remembering the offense. So, we should let go of those unforgiving, vindictive, shameful feelings about the past, and get over it! Corrie ten Boom, who survived incarceration in a Nazi prison camp said, “Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free, and to realize that the prisoner was you.”

By Pastor Will Cover

Arise Baptist Church 803 Curtin St. Houston TX 77018 713-659-9697 • www.arisebaptistchurch.org

  I love our neighborhood. Everywhere I go I meet people who are proud of their neighborhood and are willing to work hard to make it a better place.   I want to encourage each of you today to be a good neighbor! In Luke 10:25-37 we read the story of the Good Samaritan. Jesus used this story as an tocondemn explain what a Judge not, and you will example not be judged; not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, neighbor is and what makes a person and you will be forgiven... a good neighbor. A lawyer asked R.S.V. Luke 6:37 Jesus a question. He said, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered by telling a story about a man who had been robbed, beaten, and left on the side of the road, and three other men who saw this man in his need. One man was a priest, another a Levite, and the third man was a Samaritan. Even though each man saw the need of the individual on the side of the road, only one man stopped to help. The Samaritan stopped, tended to the man’s wounds, loaded him up

on his donkey, and took him to an inn where he paid for the man’s care and lodging. This man was clearly the neighbor to the man in need. From this story there are several principles that can be learned. First of all, being a good neighbor may cost you time and money. Being a good neighbor requires action and intentionality. If you truly care about others it will motivate you to do something for them. Secondly, being a good neighbor may mean caring for someone you don’t know, someone who can’t repay you, or someone who doesn’t look like you or share your same values. Ultimately, being a good neighbor is hard work and yet without good neighbors many people would be without help. I am thankful for a good neighbor who calls me if he notices anything unusual around our property and has volunteered to help me with projects that I am working on outside. I am thankful that Jesus was the greatest example of a good neighbor in that He came to this earth to die for each and every person. He gave of Himself. What are you willing to do to be a good neighbor to others?

The Leader • Saturday, July 17, 2021 • Page 5A

Quorum Break from P. 1A their ability to do so. Republicans have said the bills, which would increase identification requirements for absentee voters, expand the authority of partisan poll watchers and eliminate the drive-through and 24-hour voting options utilized by Harris County during the November election, would help ensure election integrity throughout the state. Johnson, Shaw and other Democrats in the Texas House of Representatives are pushing back against the Republican majority by staying away from the state capitol in Austin. Johnson said he also was a central figure in the Democrats’ 11thhour walkout during the regular legislative session earlier this year, which prevented Republicans from passing similar legislation related to voting and prompted Gov. Greg Abbott to call the 30-day special session. On Tuesday, the Texas House members who were present voted to issue arrest warrants for the absent Democrats in an attempt to force them to return to the capitol, although Texas law enforcement does not have that authority while the legislators are out of the state. “We’re going to keep fighting,” Johnson said. “There’s no turning back on this.” The Texas’ Democrats maneuver has drawn criticism from Republicans in and out of the state, including Abbott, who vetoed pay for state

quorum break representing a small majority. Among those who said they’re opposed to the strategy was Don Quintero, who claimed to be a Democrat and said measures such as drive-through and 24-hour voting should not continue after the pandemic. He also called the Democrats’ latest walkout a “copout.” “Walking out on your job would most likely get you fired in any other circumstance,” wrote another reader, Jennifer Jones Osowski. “They should all be relieved of their duties. They are weak for not staying. This kind of political theater is what turns so many people off from politics.” Several other readers said they support the Texas Democrats and oppose further restrictions on voting. Celeste Guerrero Harris wrote that she works with older adults, and their “voices continued to be heard” because voting in Harris County was made easier and more accessible last year. “They are truly working for their constituents,” Kelli Bardwell Fereday wrote of the Democrats. “I appreciate their courage and determination. Now Congress needs to step up.” Johnson and Shaw both rejected the idea that election integrity is a problem in Texas or the United States in general, with Johnson calling voter fraud claims the “big, big, big lie” touted by former President

legislators after they failed to pass the proposed voting legislation during the regular session. Abbott said in a video posted to Twitter on Tuesday that the proposed bill would increase hours for early voting rather than reducing those hours. The bills would add an extra hour of required early voting for local elections, and in state elections, large counties such as Harris would be required to provide at least 12 early-voting hours each weekday during the second week of early voting. In a video posted to Twitter on Monday, Abbott said the Democrats’ leaving the state prevents the legislature from addressing issues such as property tax relief and funding for law enforcement in high-crime areas, children in foster care and retired teachers. He made no mention of the proposed voting legislation. “Democrats must put aside partisan political gains and get back to the job they were elected to do,” Abbott said. “Their constituents must not be denied these important resources simply because their elected representatives refuse to show up to work.” For and against The Leader received a mix of responses from readers when it asked them to weigh in on the issue on Facebook, with those saying they supported the Democrats and their

Donald Trump after he lost his reelection bid last November. The local representatives said they went to Washington to try to convince the U.S. Congress to pass the For the People Act or John Lewis Voting Act, both of which supporters say aim to protect voting rights and would limit states’ abilities to restrict them. Shaw said the Democrats’ trip to Washington was paid for by the Texas House Democratic Caucus. Both local representatives said one of their biggest issues with Texas’ proposed voting legislation is the power it would give to poll watchers, who would not be allowed to sit or stand at a voting station while a ballot is being cast but could otherwise move freely throughout a polling place. Johnson said such poll watchers would not be required to undergo training, which he sees as problematic. “I really believe that having these poll watchers conjures up visions of yesteryears, when you had Ku Klux Klan members standing at Black polls, literally intimidating voters from casting a ballot,” he said. “That has been their tactic for years.” Shaw said she also does not like the proposed provision that would criminalize election workers, who could face felony charges for distributing unsolicited ballot-by-mail applications. But she said there are parts of Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 3 she considers “acceptable,”

such as measures to increase ballot security, so she would be willing to negotiate with Republicans if they show they are willing to address the Democrats’ concerns. “It’s not all shutting out access,” Shaw said of the proposed legislation. Johnson also said he is open to discussion with Republicans and working on a compromise, which he said he and other Democrats have attempted to do. He said requests to meet with Abbott and talk through their differences have so far been ignored. As long as they feel like their concerns about the voting legislation are going unheard or unconsidered by their Republican counterparts, Johnson and Shaw said they are prepared to stay away from the state capitol to prevent the bills as they’re written from becoming law. Both said they would even be willing to spend time in jail if it meant their constituents’ voting rights would be preserved. “Until the governor and the Republicans decide they want to sit down and talk like adults and work on legislation that is beneficial to all,” Johnson said when asked how long he was willing to stay in Washington. “I’m not here to say it’s all or nothing. We’re here to negotiate. We’re here to legislate. That’s what politics is. I give a little, you give a little and we can meet in the middle.”

Trail from P. 1A sinkhole that has developed underneath the concrete trail where it meanders close to the bayou and under the bridge on West T.C. Jester. Trent Rondot, the conservation and maintenance director for the Houston Parks Board, said in a statement that the sinkhole is related to a storm sewer pipe that runs underneath that part of the trail and empties into the bayou. A spokesperson for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), which has the discretionary authority to repair and replace the 20-year-old trail, said it is surveying the situation in conjunction with the parks board and Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD).

solved,” the USACE added. In the meantime, a detour has been established for trail users, who must utilize the sidewalk on the north side of 34th Street between West T.C. Jester and East T.C. Jester Boulevard as well as the sidewalk along West T.C. Jester. The latter sidewalk runs along the east side of the street until right before the bridge, where it crosses over to the west side of the street and proceeds north. Detour signs, along with orange fencing and signage to indicate where the trail is closed and where the sinkhole is located, have been installed by the parks board. According to a

A spokesperson for the parks board said late last week that repairs were expected to begin in August and would take about 60 days to complete. But earlier this week, the parks board said, “It is too early to say when repairs will begin or how long they are expected to take.” “We are still investigating the cause of the sinkhole and developing a path forward,” the USACE said in a statement. “Once we make that determination, we will coordinate with HCFCD and Houston Parks Board on roles and responsibilities to replace the hike and bike trail. “The start and finish dates for repairs will be determined after the cause of the sinkhole is re-

July 8 Facebook post by the Houston Heights Association, citing the parks board, the roughly 30-foot section of the trail above the sinkhole, along with the concrete slopes above and below the trail, are unstable. “While it is unfortunate the greenway trail must remain closed while repairs take place, the safety of trail users is paramount,” Rondot said. “We ask that all greenways users follow the detour route … and remember to share the sidewalks with other walkers, runners and cyclists using the same paths.” Follow Adam Zuvanich on Twitter @AZuvanich

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The Forum at Memorial Woods has taken all appropriate steps to notify residents, families and staff of the closure and, guided by state and federal guidelines, is working closely with residents and family members to ensure the transition of each resident to an appropriate alternative care location between June 17 - July 17, 2021. The safety and security of residents is our foremost priority. The skilled nursing unit will remain open until all residents are transferred, and it is no longer accepting new residents. Residents may obtain copies of their records from The Forum at Memorial Woods by contacting Jane Atobajeun at 777 North Post Oak or 713-956-0870.

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The Leader • Saturday, July 17, 2021 • Page 7A

Art Valet: New artist grateful for influences Mitch Cohen Art Columnist

Tomball artist and native Houstonian Rebekah Molander has lived all around Houston and only recently came onto the “art scene.” In fact, she tells me her journey to becoming a fulltime artist began as a child, followed by art school on a scholarship, and then, life happened, as it does. Seventeen years later, Molander finally picked up a paint brush again, and the way she tells it, she wasted no time catching up. What led her back to art? “It wasn’t ever that the path to art wasn’t meant for me, it just wasn’t the right time for it,” Molander said in an email. “At 35 I rediscovered my passion. George Eliot said, ‘It is never too late to be what you might have been.’” Molander sent an email to her favorite radio host, Rod Ryan, in August 2020. She said she knew the music and art world were in turmoil due to the pandemic, but all she wanted was to be a part of that world. The art world. “I emailed Rod and said,

‘Hey, you promote so much local stuff, maybe you can help. Houston has some great artists, they have these great art events that are just starting to open back up, would you tell people to go see some art. You don’t have to mention me, just promote art,’” Molander wrote. “Well, he did, and he actually did promote me, and I sold my first painting that day to one of his listeners who looked me up on instagram.” Ryan forwarded Molander’s email to his friend Taft McWhorter, a successful Houston artist and acquaintance of mine for many years. Recently McWhorter started an artists’ mentoring program called The Seekers, A Houston Artist Collective. “Later that day I got an email from Taft, introducing himself and asking if it would be OK if he gave me a call,” Molander said. “Since then, for the last 11 months Taft has been a great friend and mentor to me. He called me a few times every month and talked to me a bit about the business side of being an artist and encouraged me to keep learning, keep trying new things, and never stop growing.” Molander became a part of The Seekers, Houston Artist Collective in January and her art is now on view in

“Wildflower” is a painting by Rebekah Molander.

McWhorter’s studio in Winter Street Studios. “Rod Ryan and Taft McWhorter changed my life,” Molander said. “I’m still not sure what it was that made either of them take interest in and help me, but they have changed my world, and I absolutely love it. I have met some of the best people this past year, collectors and other artists. I have learned and

Contributed photo

grown so much. I have no idea what’s next, but I know it involves art, and I know I’m excited about it. “On August 20, 2020, I was just a girl sitting in a room drawing a line around her thoughts,” Molander added. “On August 21, 2020, Rod Ryan told everyone listening to Art Local, and while they’re at it, check out this girl, Rebekah Molander, and

Contributed photo Rebekah Molander sits in front of her art at Winter Street Studios.

at least one person did, and I sold my very first painting. Today is July 13, 2021, it’s 326 days later, I am part of the Houston Artist Collective, “The Seekers,” at the beginning of this month, I was accepted in and moved some of my art into the DaVinci Gallery here in Tomball, to date, I have 26 paintings in 21 different homes. Today I’m an artist.”

Follow Molander on her website YourArtByReka.com and on Instagram.com/FollowYourArtByReka. Cohen is an artist and founder of the First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at ArtValet.com for additional highlights and artist’s stories.

Kids learn through movement at upcoming creative camps By Zarah Parker zarah@theleadernews.com

Education through imagination. That’s what Arts Alive! strives to do in the classroom, while embracing the learning styles of all children, from the ones who prefer to observe to ones who don’t want to sit still. “Every time we go into a classroom part of our philosophy for teaching is creating success for every child,” said Anissa Dwiggins, who is a coowner, executive director and teacher for Arts Alive! Everything Arts Alive! does is movement and music-based, and soon it’s bringing its curriculum into a camp setting. “We set everything to a theme,” Dwiggins said. “For each of those weeks we’re going to incorporate a series of themes. For example, July will be ‘Winter in July.’ We’ll pretend it’s cold. It’s a lot of fun play and drama. We use our imagination to pretend we’re at a certain place and incorporate music and movement.” Dwiggins said through this they also are able to teach social and cognitive skills. Registration is open for the camps, which take place July 26-30 and Aug. 16-20 from 9 a.m.-noon. Children potty trained up to age 8 are wel-

come to participate. To sign up a childp, check out the Arts Alive! website at https://artsaliveinc.com/. “We want to help kids and give the kids a great time in a successful playing and learning environment,” Dwiggins said. Pre-pandemic, Arts Alive! was strictly off sight. One of the ways it pivoted after the pandemic was that they turned part of the office at 4001 N. Shepherd Dr., Ste. 108 into a studio space onsite. This is where the camp will be held as well as the weekly studio classes, yoga sessions and “play dates.” During the three-hour play dates, the teachers will ex-

plore whatever interest the children have. For example, founder Tina Sabuco recently led a visual-based class where they pretended to go to the museum. Arts Alive! was founded in 1994 by Sabuco, who brought her drama and dance background into an educational setting to offer expressive arts to students. Along with Sabuco and Dwiggins, Wendy Haardt is also a co-owner. “A big thing with Arts Alive! is that we are there for the kids to learn in their own styles,” Dwiggins said. “So it’s not a dance camp or a soccer camp. We don’t focus on one. Our end goal is to create success.”

Contributed photo A couple views art by Austin artist David Mercado at the First Saturday Arts Market in the Heights.

FSAM rescheduled for this Saturday By Mitch Cohen artvalet@gmail.com

First Saturday Arts Market for July was postponed until this Saturday, July 17, from 6-10 p.m. Houston’s longest-running monthly out-

door art market is located on a spacious parking lot at 540 W. 19th St. in the heart of the popular Heights shopping district. Churrasco Food Truck, Houston Winery and Houston Cider Co. will be there. Find more information at FirstSaturdayArtsMarket.com.

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Contributed photos Arts Alive! teacher Stacey Hall, the adult shown in both photos above, leads a movement class in which the theme was “Country Campout.” Hall is handing out scarves so the kids can build a “campfire.”

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The Leader • Saturday, July 17, 2021 • Page 8A

Mico’s falls victim to burglary By Zarah Parker zarah@theleadernews.com

When an employee of Mico’s Hot Chicken came into work last Sunday, they were met with a busted window. A Houston Police Department spokesperson said the restaurant at 1603 N. Durham Dr. was burglarized around 2:30 a.m. that day by two suspects described only as Black males, although surveillance footage provided by Mico’s shows three people broke in. HPD said it had not yet been provided surveillance footage from the restaurant. According to police, the suspects stole a laptop computer, an iPad and several iced teas and lemonades.

Chris Frydenlund, who owns Mico’s along with his wife, Kimico, said other items could have potentially been stolen as well, including another iPad and a few cases of alcohol. Last Sunday happened to be the restaurant’s first day of its summer concert series, so Frydenlund there hadn’t been enough time to go through inventory that afternoon. “It was our first time (being broken into) and there was no money to take,” Frydenlund said. Since being on Durham for a year-and-a-half, Frydenlund said he’s heard about nearby restaurants being victims of theft. But since the restaurant’s cashless policy is

By Landan Kuhlmann Houston police say they are searching for a man who is suspected of shooting his ex-girlfriend at a Greater Inwood apartment complex last week. The suspect, 21-year-old Jose Fernando Lopez Rauda, has been charged with aggravated assault of a family member in the shooting of 23-year-old Nolvia Santos Euseda according to the Houston Police Department. Rauda remains on the run, HPD said, and Euseda was taken to an area hospital in stable condition. Police said Rauda allegedly showed to Euseda’s apartment at the Los Pinos Verdes Apartments at 5801 W. Sunforest Dr. around

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Contributed photo The people pictured in this surveillance photo are suspected of burglarizing Mico’s Hot Chicken on July 11.

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8:20 p.m. last Friday, July 9 and became upset that she had a male roommate. Euseda, with whom HPD said Rauda had previously dated, then asked Rauda to leave according to police. A short time later, police said Rauda came back and allegedly pulled Euseda into the bathroom and threatened to shoot her. Euseda’s father then attempted to get the gun away from Rauda, before Rauda allegedly shot Euseda in the shoulder and fled the scene according to HPD. Anyone with information in this case or on the whereabouts of Lopez Rauda is urged to contact HPD’s Major Assaults & Family Violence division at 713308-8800 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477.

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Houston police say they are looking into a fatal collision between a dirt bike and a car last week that left the bike’s driver dead. The victim has been identified as 30-year-old Darryl Johnson, according to the Harris County medical examiner. The Houston Police Department said Johnson was riding a dirt bike westbound at 8500 Williamsdell St. in Acres Homes just before 8 p.m. July 7 when he allegedly ran a stop sign at the intersection of Williamsdell and Marjorie Street and struck an oncoming vehicle. He was ejected from the bike, police said, and was later pronounced dead at an area hospital. A preliminary investigation indicated the car had the right-of-way, according to police. Police said the car’s driver was questioned at the scene and released, though the investigation remains ongoing.

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The Leader • Saturday, July 17, 2021 • Page 1B

Local burger scene rich in history, innovation By Stefan Modrich smodrich@mcelvypartners.com

Who gets the credit for the robust, diverse burger scene across the Greater Heights? It depends on who you ask. Traditional mainstays like Miller’s Cafe, 3830 N. Shepherd Dr. in Gardens Oaks; MytiBurger, 2211 W. 43rd St. in Oak Forest; and Someburger, 745 E. 11th St. in the Heights, have been around long before newer spots began experimenting with fried eggs, avocados and brioche buns. But the recent explosion in trendy, gourmet burgers can be traced back to The Creek Group at the current site of Better Luck Tomorrow at 544 Yale St., where Dry Creek had resided from 2004 until it closed in 2016. “The new kids on the block have taken it to another level, and hats off to them,” said Gary Mosley, owner of The Creek Group. “But you had to have a starting point to get to that level.” One of those new kids on the block is Matthew Pak, co-owner of The Burger Joint, 2002. N. Shepherd Dr., where they serve up burgers with Mexican or Korean ingredients, or even brisket. “Inspiration for the Mexi (burger) came from my mother-in-law who makes us tortas with ham, queso fresco and jalapeños,” Pak said. “My grandmother’s little misshaped Korean barbecue burgers she used to serve us with rice and kimchi as kids was the inspiration for the Kimchi burger. Each burger has its own story.” Mosley said the creativity in the kitchens of Dry Creek and Onion Creek Coffee House, Bar and Lounge, 3106 White Oak Dr., helped to propel the neighborhood forward and encourage new development and growth as people

Photo from Facebook The Beyond Burger from Onion Creek Coffee House, Bar and Lounge features a plant-based patty, Havarti cheese, mushrooms, fried onions, avocado and house aioli on a challah bun.

began to move to the area, encouraged by the availability of walkable restaurants. “We were experimenting with a lot of burgers,” Mosley said. “Dry Creek was the inspiration for Onion Creek and a lot of other people with coffee houses and cafes, to take their burgers to the next level.” Onion Creek and Cedar Creek Bar and Grill, 1034 W. 20th St., have not left any variables in their experiments to chance. They have

baked challah and pretzel dough for buns, and even earned a trademark for the Triple Bypass (with bacon, fried egg, cheddar cheese, tomato, red onions, lettuce, Sriracha and mayonnaise on a challah bun). Condiments like house-made aolis and cheeses like smoked gouda give Onion Creek and Cedar Creek’s burgers an additional kick. MytiBurger owner Shawn Salyers said he sometimes gets questions from patrons about potential

changes to the restaurant’s flagship burger. But the majority of customers expect the same quality they have been getting since it opened in 1967. “I have a lot of people tell me we should do a different type of bun or do this or that differently,” Salyers said. “If we change it, it wouldn’t be MytiBurger anymore. We might as well rename the place and start over.” Others have ventured far outside

the realm of conventional burger ingredients. Hubcap Grill, 1133 W. 19th St., offers a Hatch Green Chili burger and even a Sticky Monkey burger with peanut butter, bacon and bananas. “MytiBurger is like a good reliable basic sedan,” Salyers said. “Other places sell a Cadillac or Lamborghini for a burger. It’s a lot more whistles and bells, and a lot crazier. You can appreciate both.” That’s not to say that MytiBurger hasn’t changed at all in 54 years. They also sell buffalo, turkey and veggie burgers. Miller’s also has vegetarian options, including the soy-based Impossible Burger and a black bean burger. At Onion Creek or Cedar Creek, you can find Beyond Meat, which is made of pea protein. Pak said The Burger Joint added the Impossible Burger years ago alongside its house-made bean and mushroom patty, and that sales for those items have doubled in recent years. Area residents provided a wide range of responses when asked what they liked best in a burger. “Some may prefer the gourmet burger with foie gras and caviar or antelope meat,” Heights resident James Martin said. “But I’m old school and a juicy, moist, plump, well-seasoned all-beef patty (or two) with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, dill slices, ketchup, mustard and a buttery soft bun would be my go-to every time.” Reina Torres said the thickness of the burger patty is a priority for her. “If the patty is too thin and is made of cheap ground beef that is an instant (turn off) for me,” she said. Another area resident, Amanda Wolfe, said she values “creativity See Burger Scene, P. 3B

Review: Becks Prime a cut above the rest By Stefan Modrich smodrich@mcelvypartners.com

I am always wary about eating at chains, even locallybased ones. It’s not so much that I worry about the consistency of the product from location to location, but that I’m skeptical in general about places that have a broad enough palate to appeal to a wide range of people across different areas. And in my experience, I have found that even among smaller chains, there can sometimes be a dilution in flavor and authenticity across the board. But Becks Prime, a Houston franchise that began in 1985, proved me absolutely wrong in this instance, and won me over with its simplicity and elite

quality. There’s something a bit jarring about the place, which combines a ritzy interior aesthetic resembling a fancy steakhouse, with the nondescript trimmings of a walk-up counter and ubiquitous flatscreen TV menus. And Becks isn’t cheap — far from it. At $10.45, the B.P. Burger is something of a treat, a price I’d usually balk at. But having tried their certified Angus beef, I was thrilled with the tenderness and juicy flavor of this particular cut, and I’d happily pay that much again for it. In fact, I’d venture to say that the B.P. was one of the best burger patties I’ve ever had from a casual, counter-

serve spot. The bun, a relatively basic one with sesame seeds, was sturdy enough to hold everything together without any issues. It was coated with a pink mayonnaise-based “B.P.” sauce. This rather humble-seeming burger has just lettuce and tomato as toppings. And frankly, it was just fine that way. Also exciting and noteworthy were the Parmesan Truffle Fries ($4.95). The parmesan had some extra zing and zeal to it, so much so that I found I had eaten them all before I had so much as glanced at the ketchup bottle on the table. The fries themselves weren’t overly dry or oily, and had a slightly crunchy texture. The scent and flavor of the

truffle oil was subtle, but definitely present. The lesson for me with the B.P. was a humbling one: Sometimes, the best and purest things are the easiest to understand, and the deliciousness of a Becks burger is just the latest example of that. Becks Prime Address: 115 W. 19th St. Dining Options: Dine-in, takeout, delivery via Uber Eats, Postmates Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily Entrée prices: $8.95-$39 Kid-friendly: Yes Senior discount: No Alcohol: Yes Healthy options: Queen of Hearts Salad ($11.75) Star of the show: B.P. Burger

Photo by Stefan Modrich The Parmesan Truffle Fries ($4.95) made for a tasty side during a recent visit to Becks Prime at 115 W. 19th St.

Improvising on the grill a trial by fire Stefan Modrich

I’ve grilled plenty of burgers in my time, some on my own, but the most of them with my dad and at family cookouts with my uncle, a professional chef and now a culinary instructor. It was in those Chicagoarea grills and fire pits where I learned the basics of grilling burgers and hot dogs, roasting peppers and tomatoes, and obtaining the perfect level of char for grilled onions. This past weekend marked the first time I grilled on my own in my new apartment here in Houston, and I wanted to commemorate this occasion by trying to make the most Houstonian burger I could muster. I solicited feedback from area residents on Facebook, and I am grateful for those of you who responded to my questions about what you look for in your ideal burger. Toni Speer said she values the quality of the meat first and foremost. “I want a burger that is juicy and has flavor,” Speer wrote. “Quality ingredients such as a soft bun and good condiments are important. A dry bun can ruin a burger.” Instead of finding a ready-

Photos by Stefan Modrich You can find the ingredients food writer Stefan Modrich used — including chorizo, white onion, red and yellow heirloom tomatoes, Oaxaca cheese, cilantro and challah buns from Houston-based Slow Dough Bread Co. — at Central Market, H-E-B or your local grocer.

made burger patty, I decided to use ground chorizo with jalapeño, which I had recently purchased at Central Market. You can find the remainder of the ingredients I used — including a white onion, red and yellow heirloom tomatoes, Oaxaca cheese, cilantro and challah buns from Houstonbased Slow Dough Bread Co. — at H-E-B, or your local grocer. Coincidentally, I learned after buying the challah buns that Onion Creek Coffee House, Bar and Lounge as well as Cedar Creek Bar & Grill also use challah with some of their burgers. I had wanted a pretzel bun initially, but because I wasn’t able to find one at my local store, I decided to find what I thought would be a good enough substitute. While I care about hav-

ing a quality bun, I found myself mostly in agreement with Heights resident Tina Fleck, who wrote to me that she prefers a larger ratio of burger to bun. She also said she needs a bun that can stand up to her “liberal use of condiments, toppings and a super juicy and high quality burger.” “The bun is purely a vehicle to cram that burger into my mouth,” Fleck added. Sunset Heights resident Courtney Claiborne said she has a specific preference for her burger bun. “Give me a sweet Hawaiian bread bun and I’m in heaven,” Claiborne wrote. I was lucky to have used my cast iron griddle on top of the grill, because had I not, I would have lost the majority of the meat from my first attempt. The chorizo didn’t maintain the

patty shape I had hand-molded it into, and would have easily fallen through the grill grates and into the open flame. But I quickly adjusted, and used the yolk of an egg that helped to bind the patty together more cohesively for my second try. How you like your bun is up to you, of course, but I like to heat mine on the grill for just long enough that it is warm to the touch. I melted slices of Oaxaca cheese on the bun at the same time. It took no more than 5 minutes to cook the chorizo through, and about 2 minutes to warm up the buns and melt the cheese. For the finishing touches, I sliced up my heirloom tomatoes and added a garnish of chopped cilantro. You can even squeeze some lemon or lime on the meat if you want. I still plan to go back to the drawing board to refine the chorizo patty, but I was happy with the savory and spicy flavors of the finished product. I always enjoy any opportunity to experiment in the kitchen and on the grill. I look forward to reading your feedback and getting your recommendations and recipes and continuing our conversations in the virtual and physical pages of The Leader and via email at smodrich@mcelvypartners. com.



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Page 2B • Saturday, July 17, 2021 • The Leader

Food Briefs: Fegen’s, Mastrantos release menus for Houston Restaurant Weeks By Stefan Modrich

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Two Heights restaurants, Fegen’s and Mastrantos, have unveiled their menus for the 2021 Houston Restaurant Weeks (HRW). This year’s event is scheduled to run from Aug. 1-Sept. 6 and will benefit the Houston Food Bank. Additional participating restaurants will be announced from July 15-Aug. 1. At Fegen’s, 1050 Studewood St., the namesake restaurant of chef Lance Fegen serves up American and Southern Italian classics. Diners can choose from small plates like clam chowder or deviled eggs with bacon jam, liver and onions, or chicken parmesan with pasta and broccolini. Lunch is served 11 a.m.2 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Dinner at Fegen’s runs from 5-10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 2:30-10 p.m. Saturday and 2:30-9 p.m. Sunday. For dinner, a choice of small plates like beef carpaccio can be followed by a second course featuring portobello ravioli served with a Marsalaparadiso cream sauce and a grilled salmon paillard. The dessert options are a ricotta and seasonal fruit crostada drizzled with honey or the raspberry-white chocolate bread pudding with caramel and cream. Mastrantos, 927 Studewood St. #100, is highlighting a slate of vegetarian and gluten-free dishes for its Houston Restaurant Weeks menu. The gluten-free Texas Country Fruit is made with burrata, watermelon, avocado, heirloom and baby tomatoes, cucumbers and pesto and topped off with a balsamic glaze. It is available both on the brunch and dinner menu. On the dinner menu, the Scarpe Della Signora showcases a scarpinocc pasta with butter, sage, parmesan and balsamic glaze. Available only on the brunch menu, the Spring Baked Bur-


Contributed photo Mutiny Wine Room will celebrate National Wine and Cheese Day July 24-25.

Photo by Carla Gomez Fegan’s at 1050 Studewood St. is one of two Heights restaurants that recently unveiled menus for Houston Restaurant Weeks.

rata is another gluten-free choice. It contains snow peas, English peas, broccolini, cauliflower, leeks, pistachios and basil pesto. For meat lovers, Ragu Bolognese, Chorizo Carbonara and a gluten-free Blackened Gulf Filet with corn, lima bean succotash, Tasso ham and piqullo cream sauce round out the Mastrantos HRW menu. The price tiers for the HRW menus break down as follows: $49 for a four-course meal (a $4 increase from last year’s menu), along with a $5 donation to the Houston Food Bank from participating restaurants. The food bank will receive $3 per $35 dinner sold and $1 per $20 lunch and brunch meal sold. The HRW website, https://

houstonrestaurantweeks. com/, has a full list of last year’s participating restaurants, as well as a map that allows users to search by cuisine type, neighborhood or zip code. HRW also lists restaurants offering to-go food and those with patios. Local wine bar celebrates National Wine and Cheese Day Mutiny Wine Room, 1124 Usener St., will have a special selection of wine and cheese available for National Wine and Cheese Day. Pairings of four different wines with four distinct goat cheeses will be available July 24-25 for $37. The featured cheeses are as follows:

Onion Creek debuts Summer Wine Series Onion Creek Coffee House, Bar and Lounge, 3106 White Oak Drive, launched its Summer Wine Series on Wednesday. The recurring event is scheduled to take place on the second Wednesday of each month. For $20, guests can taste five boutique wines, sample snacks from a charcuterie board, and learn about wine from representatives of various wine labels about their products.

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The Leader • Saturday, July 17, 2021 • Page 3B

Keep your pets from destroying your home

Dear Tabby, We have a new puppy and she is systematically destroying our house! She’s even taken to eating the walls! What can we do to get her to stop eating all of our stuff ? Help! House-Eating Puppy in The Heights Dear House-Eating Puppy, Puppies are the cutest thing on the planet, aren’t they? Yeah, they’re really cute until they move into your home and your heart and then commence eating all of your worldly possessions! I have some good news for you, though. Your puppy sounds like she is completely normal, however, her behavior clearly isn’t working for you -- and that is understandable. More good news, though: There are some solutions to “chew on” that will help make this period of puppyhood a bit more palatable for you all. Here are a few ways to discourage your puppy from chewing:

Make sure to keep her busy A busy, stimulated puppy has way less time (or inclination) to chew, so you want to aim to keep your puppy from getting bored. Make sure that your puppy is getting lots of exercise and playtime when you’re at home with her. The goal with puppies is to tire them out so that they mostly snooze when it’s time for you to go to work (or to bed). In addition to physical stimulation, you’ll want to explore ways to mentally stimulate your puppy, too. Leave her puzzles and toys that will challenge her and keep her engaged. Make sure she’s getting enough attention Just like children, if a puppy doesn’t feel like she’s getting enough attention, she’ll do whatever it takes to GET your attention--even if that means doing something naughty. Make sure that you’re spending time grooming and cuddling with her, in addition to playtime. But it’s also important to give her some time to unwind alone, though, so look for signals that she needs a break. Often, puppies will put themselves in their crates, or retreat to another safe spot when they’ve had enough interaction for a while. Honor

her feelings and make sure she has space when she needs it. Training helps Consider doing some training with your dog. Training not only teaches your dog cool tricks, but it also helps the two of you to bond and increases your dog’s self confidence. All of these things will help your puppy to assimilate into your home. Give her a toy she can safely destroy If your puppy is in major “destructo-mode,” just bite the bullet and give her a toy that she can destroy. Make sure the toy that you choose doesn’t have any parts that can hurt her and watch her closely while she’s playing with it. Maybe getting a little safe destruction out of her system will help her to leave the rest of your home alone. Believe me when I say this part of having a puppy is probably one of the most difficult and many people choose to rehome their puppies because they can’t handle it. But, with a little time and care, I promise you that this, too, shall pass and, before you know it, your puppy will be beyond this stage of life and onto a much easier one! Do you have a question for Tabby? Email her at deartabby questions@gmail.com.

Burger Scene, from P. 1B without sacrificing quality.” She said she appreciates The Burger Joint’s rotating “burger of the month” that allows patrons to try something new. “You can go there again and again and not always get the same thing,” Wolfe said. So can places like MytiBurger and The Burger Joint coexist? On this point, Pak, Mosley and Salyers all seem to agree. “There will always be plenty of room for the classic,” Pak said. “We actually built our brand around ‘the classic’ burger because we

felt that it will stand the test of time.” Mosley said it is important for local burger purveyors to consider the customer’s evolving tastes while staying true to the principles that made them grow into neighborhood institutions. “Everybody has their own taste for a burger, and everybody has their own liking for an atmosphere,” Mosley said. “Our population in the Heights has grown so much, there’s so much room for businesses to be successful if you do it right and respect your community.”

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Page 4B • Saturday, July 17, 2021 • The Leader

Simple prevention steps help keep homes safe From Staff Reports Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen, who serves local neighborhoods such as the Heights, Garden Oaks and Oak Forest, is reminding residents to safeguard their homes during the summer. Rosen’s office recommends taking a series of simple, proactive steps to improve safety and help reduce the risk of physical harm to people and property, financial loss and disruption to daily life. According to crime data reported by the Texas Department of Public Safety, there were 26,031 burglaries in Harris County in 2020. The constable’s office also offers free home safety inspections to Precinct 1 residents. They are conducted by state-certified crime prevention specialists, and the service includes inspecting residences, identifying potential vulnerabilities and advising residents on ways to make their homes more secure. To schedule a free home inspection, send an email to toni.mascione@cn1.hctx.net. “There is no such thing as ‘too safe’ when it comes to your and your family’s personal safety,” Rosen said. “Please encourage all your friends and neighbors in the communities we serve to utilize the resources our office provides to keep our neighborhoods safe.” To help thwart crime on your property, Rosen recommends taking the following steps and considerations: - Remember that before they break in, burglars and other perpetrators scope out properties and residents that look like easy targets. - Hiding places are attractive to evil doers. Keep hedges and tree limbs cut.

Contributed photo Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen, center, visits with community members during National Night Out in 2019.

Overgrown bushes or tree limbs offer burglars convenient hiding places and make your property a more ideal target. Look from the street to see what burglars see. Are cars packed in the driveway? Is the garage door left open? Is your fence easily scaled? - Leave the exterior lights to your residences on during nighttime hours to communicate someone is home. Consider adding sensors and timers on interior lights to improve the perception that people are in the home when you are away. - Add lighting to dark porches and other spaces where criminals can hide undetected, even in daytime. Stay alert as you enter places where someone could hide from view. Have your phone ready to call 911 and resist the urge to talk on the phone or check email and social media as you enter your home. It can wait. - Properly secure your residence to greatly reduce your chances of being a victim. Address loose and faulty locks on windows and doors and teach the whole family the importance of locking doors behind them, even when

people are home. - Never leave valuables in your vehicle, even for a moment. Thieves, who often work in teams, cruise neighborhoods in search of opportunities for a quick hit-and-getaway. - If you can afford it, install a security alarm and keep it armed. Make sure the security company sign is clearly visible in the front yard to make your property a less desirable target. - Book a free home safety inspection from your community law enforcement agency, if they offer it. Rosen said small changes can lead to greater protection for your home and family and may also lead to some financial savings. In addition to preventing loss claims and expense for deductibles or replacement of stolen and damaged items, most insurance companies know a properly secured residence could reduce the possibility of a filed claim. Some companies offer a discount for a properly secured residence, Rosen said, so an inspection from the constable’s office may help make your case for a customer discount.

Get flowers delivered regularly By Zarah Parker zarah@theleadernews.com

The Oak Forest-based florist Frankie & Flora is making it easy to have fresh blooms in the home on a regular basis. Owner Allison Virgadamo recently launched a flower subscription service that will bring flowers to the doorstep once a week, every other week, once a month or quarterly. “I’m providing flowers to people they won’t find at the grocery store and the quality is much better,” Virgadamo said. Plus, the grocery store doesn’t deliver. Frankie & Flora opened about a year-and-a-half ago, when Virgadamo mostly provided flowers for special occasions, like weddings, funerals and birthdays, and held flower-arranging classes off-site from her work space. When the pandemic hit, classes were put on hold and the florist began delivering flowers to resi-

dents in the neighborhood. “Once I started doing the deliveries in the neighborhood I had a few people ask me about a subscription service,” Virgadamo said. “I’ve always wanted to do it because I know people love having fresh flowers.” She just needed some time to work out the details. The subscription comes with three choices: assorted roses, seasonal mixed blooms and plants, along with three levels that range from $35-$70. The original, $35, would be a tied bouquet of flowers. The deluxe, $60, comes with the bouquet in a vase and the premium, $75, is the deluxe but with extra blooms. “You can choose to do it 3, 6 or 12 months,” Virgadamo said. “That way you can test the waters and see how you like it.” Virgadamo said roses are in season all year, but subscribers to the seasonal mixed blooms can expect flowers such as hydrangeas, alstroemerias (Pe-


ruvian lilies), lavender, yin and yang daisies, tulips and more. “For me, what makes a flower a summer flower is its colors,” Virgadamo said. “The oranges, the pinks and the greens, that’s what really makes a bouquet pop.” The plant subscription options are also seasonal, and some examples of what someone might receive are succulents or rubber trees. Delivery is free for Oak Forest, Garden Oaks and Shepherd Park Plaza residents. For other areas, a delivery fee will be added to the subscription, and the price will be determined by area of town. Frankie & Flora also started back its flower-arranging classes. Currently, only private groups can book a class with Virgadamo, but she said she’s working on a schedule to provide public classes. The former would be a group of friends getting together to take a class and the latter, any individual would be able to sign up and take a class.



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Contributed photo Allison Virgadamo, owner of the Oak Forest-based florist Frankie & Flora, recently launched a flower subscription service.

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Contributed photo Frankie & Flora offers free flower delivery to Garden Oaks, Oak Forest and Shepherd Park Plaza.



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