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City’s historic preservation ordinance upheld By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com The future of architectural character in much of the Heights neighborhood had been hanging in the balance for five months. Late last week, proponents of historic preservation in the local community and all across Houston breathed a collective sigh of relief. The Texas Supreme Court issued an opinion June 4 that upheld two lower court rulings in

favor of the city and its Historic Preservation Ordinance, which governs building requirements in 19 Houston neighborhoods that have been designated as historic, including nine subdivisions in the Greater Heights. Two Heights homeowners had challenged the legality of the 26-year-old ordinance, claiming it constitutes zoning, which is a community planning tool that violates the city charter. Oral arguments were made before the court on Jan. 5. “I am very happy to hear

that the Texas Supreme Court upheld the Historic Preservation Ordinance,” said Houston Heights Association president Sharon Dearman, whose organization serves residents and businesses in the area. “The history of our community needs to continue to be preserved.” The opinion issued by the state’s highest court, written by Justice J. Brett Busby, said the city’s historic-preservation See Ordinance, P. 4A

Photo by Adam Zuvanich The Heights East historic district includes several historic homes, such as the Milroy House, built in 1898 at 1102 Heights Blvd.


Travis community coping with loss of beloved crossing guard

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Photo by Adam Zuvanich The Houston Parks Board recently announced that repairs would soon begin on the MKT Bridge, which was damaged by fire last August. The pedestrian bridge helps connect the Heights to Downtown Houston.

Repairs coming to pedestrian bridge By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com Pretty picture. A new mural brightens the side of an Oak Forest-area strip center.

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Another BBQ option? Terry Black’s Barbecue is considering a location in the Heights.

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The MKT Bridge is estimated to be more than 100 years old, according to a spokesperson for the Houston Parks Board. Some avid cyclists and pedestrians in the Heights might feel like it’s been at least that long since the popular pathway has been closed. But there is a light at the end of the bridge, which has been out of commission since it was damaged by fire last August. The nonprofit parks board, which has historically provided financial support for maintenance of the cityowned bridge, announced June 3 that repairs would soon begin. Beth White, the president and CEO for the parks board, said she realizes the value of the bridge, which connects the Heights Hike-and-Bike Trail and White Oak Bayou Trail while providing a path to downtown. She also knows community members have been “really frustrated,” because the process of repairing the bridge has seemed “to take a long time.” “Even the impatience is appreciated,” White said. “It shows how important these connections are for this (trail) system. For a lot of people, this is their daily commute. It’s how they get to work or get to the grocery store or get out and exercise. We get it. We’re just thrilled we’re able to move this forward and get these repairs done, hopefully in time for Labor Day.”

See Davis, P. 6A

Photo by Photo by Adam Zuvanich The MKT Bridge, which has been closed since last August, crosses White Oak Bayou and is a popular pathway for cyclists and pedestrians in the Heights.

The parks board said the repair work will be completed by Times Construction and is expected take between 60 and 90 days, weather permitting, and will include the replacement of damaged bridge piles, the abutment backwall and deck expansion joint. The cost of repairs is estimated to be $193,202, according to the parks board, with funds coming from the Bayou Greenways Conservation and Maintenance budget. See Bridge, P. 6A

THE INDEX. Church....................................................... 5A Classifieds.............................................. 6A Coupons. ................................................. 8A Food/Drink/Art................................... 9A Opinion. ................................................... 3A Public Information......................... 4B Puzzles...................................................... 3A

Photo from Facebook Flowers and a handmade card were left at the base of a tree at the intersection of Omar and Florence streets late last week, after the death of longtime Travis Elementary crossing guard John Davis.

Upstart church looking for home in area

Swim safely. A local swimming instructor provides safety tips for summer days by the pool.

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Generations of Travis Elementary students and their families are mourning the death of John Davis, the school’s longtime crossing guard. Davis, who began working at Travis in October 2010, died June 1, according to a June 2 email written by principal Tom Day that was provided to The Leader. According to a GoFundMe page set up May 20 by Andrea French, the president of the Travis PTA, Davis had suffered a medical emergency earlier that week. “A 10-year member of the Travis Family, Mr. Davis was not just a safety presence at the intersection of Florence and Omar Streets, he was a special part of our community - a genuine, friendly, and caring soul who connected with so many of our students and families who came to know and love him,” Day wrote in his email. “He will be terribly missed.” A total of 385 people had donated more than $32,800 to the GoFundMe account as of Wednesday afternoon, with the money earmarked to help Davis’ family cover medical expenses and funeral costs. Donations can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/f/welove-mr-davis. One donor wrote that Davis was “endlessly kind” and a “perpectually

By Zarah Parker zarah@theleadernews.com

Emphasizing people over production. That’s one focus of pastor Justin Gingrich and Restore Houston, a church that plans to open in August in the Garden Oaks or Oak Forest neighborhood. “I think that even in a city full of churches there’s a lot of us who haven’t found a place we can really Photo contributed by Justin Gingrich belong,” Gingrich said. “I think a Restore Houston pastor Justin Gingrich preaches during lot of us are weary of big producone of the church’s services at Walking Stick Brewing Co. tion. We were wanting something in Garden Oaks.

that went back to the simplicity of loving Jesus and loving others.” Restore Houston is considered a daughter church of Redemption Church of Houston, where Gingrich served in the youth ministry. Since deciding to open a new church in late 2019, he said its launch with a location was pushed back due to the pandemic. While the church is looking at multiple properties in the area, according to Gingrich, it does not have a permanent address. However, since April the church has met every first Sunday of the

month at Walking Stick Brewing Co., 956 Judiway St. The last sermon at the local brewery is slated for July as the church plans to gather in a building Aug. 8. There’s also multiple small groups all over Houston that meet under the Restore umbrella, Gingrich said. “We’ll move to meeting every Sunday (in August),” Gingrich said, “but the heart behind our church is our small groups. Ultimately, I don’t think my preaching is goSee Church, P. 6A

Page 2A • Saturday, June 12, 2021 • The Leader

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THE TOPICS. The Leader • Saturday, June 12, 2021 • Page 3A

Our mission is clear, and we need your help By Corey Turner For The Leader


round 2006, I asked Jonathan McElvy the same questions I had asked every manager or role model early in my journalism career. How can I grow and what should I be doing to advance my career in the newspaper industry? At that time, he gave me a book titled “The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: King Solomon’s Secrets to Success” by Steven K. Scott. The gift was accompanied by a conversation about the importance of being a good person with clear goals, before learning how to advance in a career. I had received a lot of career advice at the point, but it was the first time any boss said to focus on becoming a better person and doing the right things. If we work hard and try to do the right thing, the career will work itself out. That was the beginning of a 15-year mentorship and friendship with Jonathan, and his advice has proven to be true for me. I went from a sports editor at that time, to becoming an editor, publisher and regional advertising director for various media companies, including my most recent time with Hearst. Through those companies and a variety of different roles, I have remained committed to the purpose and power of community newspapers for 17 years now. That journey started during the

Corey Turner

summer of 2004 when I informed my editor, Billy Turner, that I was moving back home to work for Houston Community Newspapers. I had just graduated from Dillard University and had enjoyed my chance to cover metro sports for the TimesPicayune in New Orleans during my senior year. I asked Billy what to expect going to a smaller community newspaper and his response was to “be prepared to do everything.” I soon learned that meant everything from covering local events, to laying out pages, shooting pictures and speaking about journalism at career day for local schools. I went from covering the NCAA Final Four to covering the “Teach of the Year” program for the local chamber of commerce as my first community newspaper assignment. Before long, I grew an appreciation for the role community news-

papers play. A well-run community newspaper writes the local stories we cannot find anywhere else, and we have an ongoing dialogue with the communities we serve. As Jonathan has always preached, it is our job to make sure we are covering the local and relevant issues that impact the daily lives of our readers. Community newspapers must provide the kind of useful information you will not find elsewhere and share the stories about local people who may not get coverage otherwise. That includes the John Davis story and how the Travis Elementary community raised more than $32,000 to help Mr. Davis and his family cover medical and funeral expenses. The longtime school crossing guard suffered a medical emergency in mid-May and passed away two weeks later. The same can be said for the story of Laura and Adrian Tracy, who pivoted during the pandemic to launch their Modern Vintage business. After Adrian lost his job, they combined his cocktail mixing skills and Laura’s retail, design and marketing experience into a booming business, which hand produces and bottles cocktail mixers. I have run weekly publications and you will not find a community newspaper that covers small businesses and the stories behind them better than The Leader. Being relevant to the community also means keeping readers

informed about issues and conversations residents should be a part of. Whether it is the recent spike in catalytic converter thefts or the street improvement project at West T.C. Jester and West 18th Street, The Leader works hard to keep our community informed each day. That should be the mission of every community newspaper and The Leader continues to meet that challenge daily despite the difficult times for the newspaper industry. More than 1,800 newspapers have shut down since 2004 and many others have resorted to more regional coverage that misses the unique stories only a community newspaper can tell. But The Leader has continued to provide hyper-local reporting serving the Heights, Garden Oaks, Oak Forest and other neighborhoods of North Houston. A 2021 Pew Research Center survey shows that 86 percent of Americans get news on digital devices. Among those digital platforms, the most preferred outlet for news is news websites or apps at 26 percent, followed by search (12 percent) and social media (11 percent). It is no secret how we consume news is quickly changing and The Leader has adjusted like other media outlets to provide news in several ways, including our website, social media channels and our newsletter. But regardless of how news is consumed, the phrase “content is king” will always be the case in the media. There will always be a need

for both trusted and relevant news that tells the stories of our community, and The Leader remains committed to meet that challenge for many years to come. We currently have a Luv Leader campaign where we have asked readers and local businesses what The Leader means to them. The responses have been overwhelming, but I’d like to share a portion of the response from Martha Mears of BHHS Premier Properties. “We moved to Oak Forest in 2013 and I was thrilled to discover that we had a neighborhood/area newspaper. As a newcomer to the neighborhood, it allowed me the opportunity to get to know the businesses, the restaurants, the merchants that provided special services and to feel part of our new community…How nice it is in this fast paced, hectic world that we still have a neighborhood paper. I love it.” That really sums up what The Leader stands for and why I feel so honored to be part of this team. We cannot share them all, but you can find several more testimonies at LuvLeader.com. While you are there, we ask you to donate to support the mission of telling your stories and making our community a better place to live. We only ask for donations once a year and this year is more important than ever before. Like our leader, we are working hard every day to do the right thing for our readers and the communities we serve.

The Leader lets me be nosy in my neighborhood By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com


remember well when the first Leader that Jonathan McElvy published showed up in my driveway. It was 2012 and my youngest child was almost 3 years old. My husband has always been a Leader reader since we moved into the area in 2004. I was more sporadic. But when I saw the newspaper on the kitchen table, I knew that something was new. The layout looked completely different. More modern. The stories were about people and things that really interested me. This was what I wanted to read. And also, as it turns out, what I wanted to write. I left a full-time communications job a few years before and was itching to use my skills and get out into the world again. I contacted the editor,

and she was kind enough to assign me a few pieces. Then, she gave me more. I did the first months for free, just because I was so excited to have an official reason to ask people the questions I wanted to ask them anyway. My grandmother would have said it was meddling. I call it reporting. It’s been almost 10 years since I’ve been a freelance writer for The Leader. And I have learned an unbelievable amount about this community. Hopefully, I’ve helped other people learn about it as well. I have covered real estate, education, food, business, health and much more. Most people still return my calls, I am happy to say. Those who don’t have taught me persistence. Although picking a favorite story is a bit like choosing a favorite child, there are a few that stand out in my

Betsy Denson

memory. Doing a story on Patrick Swayze’s early life in Oak Forest was next level for me. A friend connected me to her mom, who had a poem that Swayze had written her in elementary school. And my neighbor knew him from high

school. How cool is that? Then there was the story about the Kelman family who was renovating their home in a historic, protected area of the Heights. That piece kicked off a series of articles about the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission — and the struggles young families were having when adding on to their houses. And then there was the Kellers in the Heights who were celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary. Yes, 70th. Their secret to a longlasting marriage? Keeping their family close and still enjoying each other. Louis Keller died three years later in 2016. Agnes just passed away on May 29 at 97. I am glad I got to meet them and tell their love story.

It’s the “regular” people who have brought me so much joy over the years. My grandmother — the one who didn’t like meddling — also said there were people who could go to Europe and not have any good stories to tell and those who could pop down to the Piggly Wiggly for groceries and make it sound like the grandest adventure ever. Some people seem surprised that I want to interview them because they don’t think they are interesting enough to be in the paper. But I have found that everyone has a little bit of the Piggly Wiggly kind of story to tell and it is the people in my backyard that I most want to celebrate. People read The Leader. I know because they often reach

out to me to suggest a story or find out why they haven’t been receiving their paper. I’m sure there are those who don’t, too. My husband sometimes tosses that little roll a little closer to their house in the hopes it will make it inside. One neighbor went for years without reading it, but finally took it out of the wrapping. Now they are hooked on the local news. It blows my mind that this little paper that could has been around for more than 65 years to chronicle the growth and transformation of our little slice of Northwest Houston. I hope it sticks around for 65 more. Because I am always going to be curious about my neighborhood. I’ll bet you will be, too.

the leader Puzzlers.


Answers found in this week’s Classified section

Repairs to start soon on damaged pedestrian bridge in Heights


Dear Editor: Who in city hall has been dropping the ball on this until now? The fire looked rather benign, a bridge that once has supported a tram can certainly take on pedestrians. Hauns Dear Editor: Did they say what “needs repair” and why it’s taken so long? Lemme guess… it’s not safe to “repair” an outdoor bridge during a pandemic. Bob Davis Dear Editor: Hooray! Not sure why the planning and permits took so long but happy to have line of sight to a working trail to downtown again! Lorri White

Dear Editor: Yeah, seriously it’s going on around 10 months now and it’s just now being considered for repairs. Good job, I guess? Jeanne Gebo Dear Editor: This should have been a much higher priority and should already be fixed. David Meyer

Deed restriction bill leaves residents wanting more

Dear Editor: I think we all welcome an inexpensive method of removing these old unenforceable racial (I always thought Hispanics WERE Caucasian) restrictions. We have to be careful though that it does not open up our restrictions for developers to alter building restrictions (two floors), lot use (single family, no lot splitting) etc. Definitely a ‘Be careful what you ask for’ moment. Katiemad

Email us your letters: news@theleadernews.com

Fetch your Leader Copies of The Leader are no longer available at 3500 E. T.C. Jester Blvd. Suite A. You can find them at our office: 2020 N. Loop W., Suite 220 also at: MytiBurger 2211 W. 43rd St. C&D Hardware 314 E. 11th St.


1. Leg shank 5. Small amount 8. Roman emperor 10. Having ears 12. Innocent young woman 14. No wrinkles 16. Small coin (French) 17. 19 hundred hours 19. A way to inform 21. A seal or signet 22. Tobacco smoke residue 23. Tai language branch 25. Set afire 26. Partridge FamilyÕs actress Susan 27. Canadian flyers 29. Faculties of perception 32. A light two-wheel carriage 34. Was ___ (looked at) 35. Appear with 37. Natives of Thailand 39. Hill (Celtic) 40. Runs PCs 42. Visualizes 44. Mistake

45. Riding horses 47. Point of purchase 49. Armless Aphrodite 53. Having negative qualities 54. Protective visual folds 55. Crystallized calcium carbonate mineral 57. Beach grains 58. One who presents a bond for payment 59. Car mechanics group 60. & & &


1. Small paddle boats 2. Usual 3. Economic consumption 4. Without (French) 5. Powder mineral 6. Fleshy seed covering 7. Indicates 8. Stone lined grave 9. Feels remorse 10. Chemical structure 11. Decomposition 13. Morally base 14. Joins

15. Danish krone 18. Breastplate 20. Lesson reader in church 24. 1921 Turkish/ Armenian Treaty 26. In a way, refutes 28. Zoftig 30. Fish, hair or inter 31. Mains 33. Fathers 35. Transparent eye membranes 36. Stray 38. Seafowl 39. 3 pip cards 41. Invests in little enterprises 43. Placards 44. 1st woman 45. Finds a sum 46. Thick piece of something 48. River in Hesse, Germany 50. Inner forearm bone 51. 1 of 2 contesting groups 52. Olive tree genus 56. Metal container


Page 4A • Saturday, June 12, 2021 • The Leader

An Austin-ta-tious gathering Kids’ Meals helps to combat “Perhaps an interesting column would be on why the Texas legislature meets every other year. It seems that back in the 1800s when it was set up, it was dangerous to travel, so they did not travel often. Traveling by horse and carrying guns for protection in the 1800s was dangerous, traveling by car and carrying guns in 2000s seems safer. Or is it?” – John S. of Houston. That’s a great question, as every interviewee on TV says these days, although President Trump told CNN’s Abby Phillip, “That’s a stupid question. You ask a lot of stupid questions.” Let’s find the answer to this great question. The Texas Constitution requires that the Texas Legislature meet in regular session on the second Tuesday in January of each odd numbered year. Regular sessions are limited to 140 calendar days. (The feeling among many is that the Lege should meet for two days every 140 years.) Then there are special sessions which are limited to 30 days, but the Legislature can only pass laws on subjects submitted by the governor. It is a bicameral body composed of a 31-member Senate and a 150-member House of Representatives. Texas, Montana, Nevada and North Dakota are the only states with biennial legislatures, all convening on odd years. Notice that all are rural, backward states. The reason our Lege only meets every other year is based on one feeling: fear. As John S. noted, back when the Lege first met, in 1845, travel was dangerous. There were bandits, Indians and surly constituents. (As a side note, during the Republic of Texas, on the very day when French diplomats presented their credentials to the government, three hunters outside Austin were murdered and scalped by Indians. We must hope the diplomats got hardship pay.) Back then, it took more than eight days to take a stagecoach from Amarillo to Austin. So our lawmakers really didn’t like to travel to Austin more than they had to. In recent years there have been several attempts to have the Lege meet annually. Some members like it. They could make being a lawmaker a fulltime job. Move from Marfa

Lynn Ashby Columnist

or Port Arthur, get a house at Lakeway, more per diem pay and good tickets to UT football games. Other members are opposed. The Indians could still be out there, you know. Now a quick look at those we have elected to our state’s governing body. (I got this info from extensive research, others call it plagiarism.) State legislators in Texas make $600 per month, or $7,200 per year, plus a per diem of $221 for every day the Legislature is in session, also including any special sessions. That adds up to $38,140 a year for a regular session (140 days), with the total pay for a two-year term being $45,340. Legislators receive a pension after eight years of service, starting at age 60. That’s not bad for a part-time job, and remember when some of them whine about the pay, no one put a gun to their head and demanded they run for office. Actually, many of them are lawyers and it helps their biz back home when they can note that they are Texas lawmakers. Oddly enough, there are different requirements to be a senator or a representative. A senator must be at least 26 years of age, a resident of Texas for five years prior to election and – to prevent carpet-bagging -- a resident of the district one year prior to election. Here’s something I didn’t know: All the Senate seats are up for election following the decennial census. That means whenever the 2020 census is finally completed, the entire Texas senate will be up for election. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 census has not been finished, so the Lege will have to meet next fall to redraw their districts. That’s like asking an accused to select his own jury. Across the Rotunda, a representative must be only 21 years of age, a citizen of Texas

for only two years – not five -prior to election and a resident of his or her district one year prior to election. Texas’ first constitution was adopted in 1827 when they were part of Mexico. The next one came in 1836 for the Republic of Texas. After Texas became the 28th state in 1845, we enacted a new constitution and since that time we have had four new state constitutions -- 1861, 1866, 1869 and 1876 -- which has been amended 483 times. One amendment dealt with the powers granted to our governor. The Texas Constitution declared: “He shall have power to call forth the militia to execute the laws of the State, to suppress insurrections, and to repel invasions.” Alas, the governor used to have specific powers to call out the troops to chase Mexican bandits and marauding Indians. He lost that authority in 1999. Yes, indeed, in 1999. For several years I covered the Lege’s sessions. House Speaker Gib Lewis addressed a group of wheelchair-bound Texans watching from the House gallery. Lewis ended with, “Now stand and take a bow.” I was in the Texas Senate when Sen. Walter “Mad Dog” Mengden of Houston proclaimed, “And that is the problem, if there is a problem, which I deny.” You can’t make up this stuff. One Texas lawmaker introduced a resolution praising Albert DeSalvo for his “efforts with population control.” Only after the resolution passed unanimously did the legislators realize they were praising the Boston Strangler. Other Texas Legislature facts: The first Legislature was in February 1846 and lasted only 87 days. The second was in 1847, starting the run of odd years. From 1846 to 1960, regular sessions varied in length — the shortest was 61 days and the longest was 177. The highest number of special sessions was six, in 1989. The shortest special session lasted only an hour, in 1923. The state constitution requires only that lawmakers pass a two-year budget -- and watch out for Indians. Ashby legislates at ashby2@comcast.net

Ordinance from P. 1A regulations do not violate the city charter because they are not land-use regulations and do not fall under the ordinarily held definition of zoning, since they apply only to a small number of Houston property owners and because different historic districts have different regulations. Busby also wrote that the city’s ordinance does qualify as a zoning mechanism under Chapter 211 of the Texas Property Code, but that the city had met all the requirements outlined in the code by state legislators. The court also issued a conferring opinion, written by Justice Jane N. Bland, that reached the same legal conclusion but with some different reasoning. Bland wrote that the city’s historic preservation ordinance does outline land-use regulations, adding that it “stands perilously close to the line of traditional zoning.” Matthew Festa, a professor at the South Texas College of Law Houston who represented the two Heights homeowners who filed the lawsuit, Paul Luccia and Kathleen Powell, said they had a mixed reaction to the court’s opinion. “Of course my clients are disappointed, because the decision did not go our way, and we are concerned that some of the parts of the decision leave private property rights less protected than they ought to be under Texas

law,” Festa said. “However, the decision does provide some important clarity. In certain ways it is helpful to ensuring that local governments have to abide by the limits of state laws and city charters, especially when it comes to private property rights.” Sara Bronin, a Houston native and University of Connecticut law professor who wrote an amicus brief on behalf of the city, called the court’s opinion a “total victory for the city” because it upheld the legality of the historic preservation ordinance on both a municipal and statewide level. The ordinance, which first was passed in 1995 and strengthened with enforcement mechanisms in 2010, gives property owners the ability to petition to have their neighborhoods designated as historic. Subsequently, within those historic districts, there are protections for landmarks and archaeological sites and property owners must apply for “Certificates of Appropriateness” for any building renovation that is beyond ordinary maintenance and repair. Minnette Boesel is the chair of the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission, a volunteer organization whose board members are appointed by the mayor and city council. The commission processes

applications for Certificates of Appropriateness and makes recommendations to the city council regarding the designation of historic buildings and districts. Boesel said the commission was “very excited” to hear the Texas Supreme Court’s opinion, which protects the historic-preservation guidelines that apply to roughly 7,500 structures in Houston, including about 2,000 in the Heights East, Heights South and Heights West historic districts. “Our goal as a commission is basically to help preserve and conserve the quality, character and fabric of Houston’s tangible history,” she said. “As a result, it adds economic value and promotes our city. … It’s also sustainable, because you’re maintaining and keeping materials within the structure.” David Bush, the executive director of Preservation Houston, said he was relieved that the state’s high court upheld the rulings by a Harris County court in 2017 and a state appellate court in 2019. He said he had been concerned that part of the city’s historic preservation ordinance, or the ordinance in its entirety, would be nullified. The lawsuit by Luccia and Powell was initially filed in 2014. “It’s nice not to have that hanging over our heads,” Bush said.

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childhood hunger in Houston By Kit Haggard

to prepare, and pulling that off takes commitment to your clients and participation from the Greater Houston community. If helping feed kids seems like a gratifying and enjoyable task, there are many ways for one to get involved. By using the Kids’ Meals website, kidsmealsinc.org, one can sign up for a volunteer shift in person at Kids’ Meals. Chances are, you will be greeted by John Day upon arrival. Day is the volunteer manager at Kids’ Meals. Some of his duties include welcoming volunteers, assigning tasks to volunteers and evaluating the needs of the community. When you’re at Kids’ Meals you can package lunches, prepare sandwiches and snacks, and if you’re over 18, you can go along for the deliveries, actually delivering the meals to the kids. If in-person volunteer opportunities are not possible, one can donate in-kind food donations or money; every $2 donated feeds one kid. Day tells me that one of his hopes for Kids’ Meals is to see it expand and feed even more hungry children across the Houston area. What will you do to help Kids’ Meals and similar organizations in their quest to end childhood hunger in Houston?

For The Leader

Childhood hunger and food insecurity are two plagues that affect one in four children in Harris County, including 24,000 preschoolers alone. You might find yourself lucky enough to wonder, “What exactly does food insecurity mean?” It is defined by the Economic Research Service of the USDA as “the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.” Luckily, there are several fantastic programs and organizations here in Houston working to fight childhood hunger, such as Kids’ Meals, the Houston Food Bank and Houston ISD Nutrition Services. Kids’ Meals is a Garden Oaks-based nonprofit organization that delivers 7,000 healthy meals every weekday and since its inception in 2006, has delivered 8 million free meals in total to food insecure families with preschool-aged kids. The goal of Kids’ Meals is to end the poverty cycle in Houston-area zip codes starting with kids under age 6. Anyone who has experience working with Kids’ Meals realizes how hardworking the people who work there are. They have dedicated their lives to supporting families with preschoolers struck by poverty,

Kit Haggard

which is a selfless act and incredible task. In addition to providing daily lunches for preschool-aged kids, Kids’ Meals also delivers seasonal items to the families as well, like Thanksgiving turkeys. Toy and book distributions at holiday parties give the kids in the program something to look forward to during their holidays and muchneeded learning resources. Over school breaks, Kids’ Meals also drops off lunches for older siblings who are out of school and are not receiving their daily meals there. Information about additional community resources is often provided by Kids’ Meals drivers to these struggling families. By offering these other resources in addition to the daily healthy meals, Kids’ Meals goes the extra mile. Organizing all the additional resources and lunches to give to the kids is a difficult thing

Kit Haggard is a Heights resident who recently completed the eighth grade at St. John’s School.

Pandemic benefit program available for local families By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

Local Houston ISD students and their families, including those who have struggled to gain access to food during the COVID-19 pandemic, can apply for a benefits program aimed at helping them recover. A June 2 news release from HISD said families can apply for a Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT), a one-time benefit for families who temporarily lost access to student meals during the 2020–21 school year due to the pandemic. The program, which was established last year through

the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Texas Health and Human Services Commission to help families buy food during the pandemic, could provide up to $1,200 per child for eligible families, according to the district. The dollar figure for benefits will be based on what school a student attended and the number of days most students received remote instruction. Families eligible to apply are those with children up to 21 years old who qualified for free or reduced-price meals at a Texas school during the 202021 school year. Families with children whose schools offer meals at no charge through the

Community Eligibility Provision can also apply. “We have worked hard over the past year to make sure we provided continued access to healthy food for our students and families who needed it most,” HISD interim superintendent Grenita Lathan said in a news release. Applications for the program are available online at yourtexasbenefits.com/Learn/PEBT and must be completed by Aug. 13. For more information on the program, visit hhs.texas.gov/ PEBT or call the P-EBT call center at 833-442-1255 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Parking Lot Sale

1440 Harold Street • Houston, Texas 77006 (Montrose Area)

Saturday, June 12, 2021, from 9 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. One day only!!! Rain or Shine

We accept cash & all major credit cards. (No checks please) ($20 minimum purchase on credit cards)

Parking Lot- Sm/Med/Lg tools, ladders, patio furniture, sports and camping equipment, luggage, mirror, fishing, bicycle, miscellaneous appliances, furniture and more.

The Bering Shop will be open with a limited number of people inside the building shopping. The Bering Shop hosts the Bering Boutique with vintage clothing and jewelry. Beautiful dining room and living room furniture and household items. MASKS must be worn to shop inside.

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3720 Alba Rd., Houston, Texas, 77018, is looking for an reliable individual/company to pick up on a regular basis glass containers for recycling, both beer and liquor bottles. The glass is free for the taking, with no liability expressed or assumed by the Legion. Interested parties may contact the Post Commander, Ms. Irene Infante at 4ireneinfante@gmail.com or calling the Legion


The Leader • Saturday, June 12, 2021 • Page 5A

Heads of their classes: Top graduates share secrets to success By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com

With the 2020-21 school year having drawn to a close, The Leader is recognizing the top two graduates from local high schools. Read below to learn about the area’s valedictorians and salutatorians. Heights High School Jennifer Hamad, valedictorian Hamad said she found out she was valedictorian when Heights sent out official rankings via email. She will attend Stanford Hamad University and major in biology. Although her academic achievement is impressive, Hamad said she defines success in school not by academic achievement but by the amount of enjoyment she felt while learning. “I think loving learning and finding joy and fulfillment in every lesson and in the process of inquisition were integral to my achievement of this success in school,” Hamad said. She said there is at least one fond memory from each of her classes that she will carry with her. “Participating in education reform and student activism in the HISD Student Congress and curating an amicus curie brief to the Supreme Court for the historic student free speech case Levy vs. Mahanoy Area School District were highlights of my high school experience,” she said. Hamad also gives all her teachers high marks. “A classroom comes alive when you have an animated teacher that is devoted to investing in you and creates memorable and thought-provoking lessons,” she said. “I can say with confidence that each of my teachers fit that description.” Jocelyn Guel, salutatorian Guel said when she first saw the class rankings, she couldn’t believe it. “It didn’t actually hit me until the (Houston Guel ISD) Scholars Ceremony where they celebrated all the valedictorians and salutatorians of HISD,” she said. “Overall, (it was) a very exciting experience.” Guel plans to attend Colby College with the Posse Scholarship and will major in financial marketing with a minor in economics. Some of her favorite classes in high school were Spanish, Theory of Knowledge and English. Favorite teachers include Mrs. Alexander, Mr. Arredondo and Mr. Batrez. “My favorite activities involved ZIA, an all-girls organization, cross country, and Go Texan Day, one of Heights High School’s most popular events,” Guel said. Guel credits her parents for her success. “They came to the United States at a very young age and have sacrificed so much so that my brother and

I could succeed,” she said. “Being first generation and seeing how hard they worked, motivated me to persevere during my years at Heights High School.” Lutheran High North William Killinger, valedictorian Killinger said he has been tracking his grades since starting at LHN. “From freshman year, several of us had kept Killinger track of our GPAs because we had all achieved As in all of our classes,” he said. “So as the years went by, the group narrowed down.” He will attend the University of Houston and is majoring in liberal studies in the Honors College. Killinger said he loved the LHN theatre program, specifically the musicals, and enjoyed band. Favorite teachers include Mr. Daunis, Mrs. Barreto, and Ms. Baldwin. He said he was successful in school because of the variety of things he got to study. “I could enjoy learning the information,” he said. Sarah Cherington, salutatorian Cherington said the announcement about her class status came second semester of her senior year, but she Cherington had known for a while that it might be a possibility. She plans to attend Texas A&M in the fall and is majoring in genetics. Her favorite classes include science classes like biology and chemistry as well as U.S. History and band class, in which she played trumpet. “I’ve had so many great teachers throughout my high school career, and I am so thankful to all of them,” Cherington said. “My biology teacher, Ms. Baldwin does hold a special place in my heart because it was in her science classes that I was inspired to go into the field of science. Cherington said she believes it was her love of learning combined with her strong initiative to do well in her academics that carried her to near the top of the class. Scarborough High School Usman Khan, valedictorian Khan, who will attend the University of Texas at Austin to major in business, said he found out he Khan was valedictorian after the first semester of his senior year. “It was the most surreal moment of my high school career,” he said. Khan’s favorite classes in high school were the science classes, and his favorite activities were community service projects and JROTC. Favorite teachers included LTC King, Mrs. Safovich and Ms. Bazaldua.

“I think I was successful in high school because of my personal goals throughout high school and time management,” Khan said. Noemi Gutierrez Gamino, salutatorian Gamino found out about her honor when a student congratulated her after a school announcement. Gamino “My group of friends and I were attentive to our GPAs, so I knew I had ranked in the top five, but it was a surprise I was ranked that high,” she said. Gamino plans to attend Middlebury College and is undecided about her major. She said she has always loved learning about math and science and that biology and statistics were some of her favorite classes. Having the same teachers through the four years, Gamino felt like she really got to know them. “They understood us as students and as people and treated us with respect,” she said. “I will treasure their kindness.” Gamino said school activities were limited due to the pandemic, but she loved participating in the National Honor Society events and speech and debate competitions. She said a part of her success is due to the people around her. “My parents and family were supportive, and my friends encouraged each other with some friendly competition, so that pushed us to do our best,” Gamino said. “I also knew what I was capable of and was not content unless I had given it my best.” St Pius X High School Olivia McGuire, valedictorian McGuire will attend the University of Texas at Austin and plans to study biomedical engineering. She was on McGuire Student Council, where she organized school spirit events and multiple donation drives a year and was a member of the National Honor Society and Science Club. A cheerleader and lacrosse player, McGuire also served as a student ambassador. “I want to use my God-given talents to serve others and improve my community,” McGuire said. “My two main interests are research in a lab in college as well as travelling and exploring the world.” Jaden Porter, salutatorian Porter will attend the University of Texas at Austin in the fall to major in computer science. At SPX, he was involved in VeriPorter tas Theatre (ITS Troupe 5571), Student Council, National Honor Society, TAPPS Academic team, Sports

Villa, who will attend the University of Houston-Downtown to major in English with a minor in film studies, said she found Villa out she was valedictorian after taking her SAT exam. “After we finished testing, we were instructed to pick up our rank letters,” she said. “I picked mine up and opened it when I got into the parking lot with my best friends. When we all looked at it, they were all screaming in excitement while I was standing there shocked.” The official notice came at the school’s ranking ceremony. “Once they called my name as the senior class’ valedictorian, I felt an immense sense of pride and gratefulness for all of the hard work of not only myself, but those around me did in order to receive these ranks,” she said. Villa said her favorite classes in high school were always English and French and credits Waltrip’s teachers for knowing how to engage with their students to create a fun class experience. Favorite teachers include Mr. Haponik, Ms. Seewald, Mr. Tomlinson and Mr. Garnett. “But the teacher who will always hold a special place in my heart will be my French teacher, Mrs. Gatica,” Villa said. “She not only taught her class super well, but she also always made sure her students were all OK and up to date with everything. She helped us whenever we had any questions, whether it related to her class or not.” Villa said she was successful in school because she never let herself turn in any assignment late. “I also got to where I am with the help of my wonderful peers, who would help me out whenever I was struggling and vice versa,” she said. “Having good time management skills and people who can help you out were my key factors.”

Medicine, Robotics Club, Key Club and Student Honor Board. “I served the community as a volunteer at the Montgomery County Food Bank for my Christian Service Learning Project, and I am also a member of the Knights of Columbus Squires,” Porter said. Porter said he hopes to simply live a peaceful life and find what it is he is meant to do with both his intellectual and artistic passions. “I feel that sometimes we all get bogged down by the hustle and bustle of ambition that we forget to take a second and look around at the beauty that surrounds us,” he said. “I want to do more of that, and hopefully I’ll find a family of my own someday to share it with. The world is a big place. I refuse to believe that it can be confined to routine, so I will just set out on my own path and see what happens.” St. Thomas High School Patrick Pham, valedictorian Pham, who is going to the University of Texas at Austin, is described as both driven and focused. “Patrick has Pham led from the front during his time at St. Thomas,” principal Aaron Dominguez said. “He leads with confidence and purpose and has been a champion for us these past four years in the classroom, in athletics, in drama, and in speech and debate.” Pham was president of the St. Thomas Chapter of the National Honor Society and received the Rev. Carl M. Allnoch, CSB Athletic Memorial Trophy for Excellence in Academics, in honor of the 16th principal of St. Thomas. He is a two-sport student-athlete who was a contributor during the consecutive TAPPS state swim championships in 2019 and 2020. Hayden Diamond, salutatorian Diamond will attend Texas A&M. He received the Rev. Ronald G. Schwenzer, CSB Campus Ministry Award for most Diamond exemplifying the Man of St. Thomas motto of Faith, Service, and Leadership. Diamond impressed teachers and administrators by exemplifying “the best of St. Thomas,” embracing the brotherhood and academic dedication. He orchestrated the distribution of more than 4,000 homeless care packages and assisted in the hurricane recovery effort for Lake Charles. “Hayden is a super likable kid that is fun to be around,” Dominguez said. “Not only is he a stellar student but is a leader amongst his peers in student council. It has been a joy to watch him grow and develop these past four years.”

Chase Adams, salutatorian Adams plans to attend the University of Arkansas this fall with a major in business. He said he has really enjoyed his higher level math Adams classes like statistics and calculus. “I particularly enjoyed Mr. Martin who taught me both AP Statistics and AP Calculus, but I also like every other AP teacher that I’ve had,” Adams said. Adams was on the Waltrip swim team for the four years he was there and was the team captain for the 2021 season. “I think I was successful in school because I excelled at the simple things like completing all my work on time and paying attention to the teacher,” he said. “I do believe this was the reason why I was genuinely interested in most of the subjects I’ve had in school since I was young.” More area valedictorians and salutatorians will be profiled as information becomes available.

Waltrip High School Guadalupe Villa, valedictorian

Houston ISD names new principals at area schools By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com

Houston ISD recently named new principals at some area schools. Amanda Sebba is the new principal at Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet, 901 Sue Barnett Dr., and Juanette Green has the top spot at M.C. Williams Middle School, 6100 Knox St. On the elementary school front, Bettina McKinney will be the principal next year at Highland Heights Elementary School, 865 Paul Quinn St., and Marcie Coleman will step into the role at Wainwright Elementary, 5330 Milwee St. John Flowers is leaving Highland Heights Elementary to become the new principal of High School Ahead Academy, 5320 Yale St. Sebba most recently served as the assistant principal at Braeburn Elementary for the past four years. An HISD news release said Sebba helped lead the school to academic gains in several areas, including reading, math and writing. HISD also credits Sebba for spearheading efforts to strengthen protocols around interventions and data analysis during a time the school community was displaced for three years due to Hurricane Harvey damage. Prior to her work at Braeburn, Sebba served as an instructional coach where she focused on providing individualized feedback and professional development for teachers. She began her career as a



fifth-grade teacher at Bonner Elementary in HISD. Sebba earned her bachelor’s degree at Columbia University and her master’s degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Green most recently served as principal of Hines Caldwell Elementary. She joined HISD in 2014, when she served as dean of instruction at Hartman Middle School. Green began her career in 2005 as a middle school teacher in North Carolina. In 2011, she became an assistant prin-

cipal at Penn-Griffin School for the Arts, a grade 6-12 public magnet school in Guilford County Schools. She earned her bachelor’s degree in international business from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) and her master’s in teaching from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Green returned to UNCG for her postmaster’s certification in school administration. McKinney comes from Dogan Elementary, where she most recently served as an assistant principal. She also began her career at Dogan as a fifth-grade science teacher. In between, she worked at Patterson Elementary, Whidby Elementary and Key Middle School. McKinney holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Lamar University and a master’s in educational administration from the University of St. Thomas. Coleman’s new job was announced on Twitter by HISD school support officer Siomara Saenz-Phillips. She comes to Wainwright from MacGregor Elementary, a music and fine arts magnet, where she served as assistant principal and was recently named Northwest Area Assistant Principal of the Year. Coleman introduced herself to the Wainwright community on a Facebook Live event where she described herself as a servant leader. She said she began her HISD career as a pre-kinder-

garten teacher and worked as an interventionist and an instructional specialist. “Each role has shaped me and developed me to take on this new adventure,” she said. Flowers, who most recently

served as principal of Highland Heights Elementary, began his career at Hohl Elementary as a second-and third-grade teacher. He then served as the instructional coordinator at

DeChaumes and Roosevelt elementary schools. Flowers holds a bachelor’s in business administration from Prairie View A&M University and a master’s in educational leadership from Lamar University.



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

Judge not, not, and

Page 6A • Saturday, June 12, 2021 • The Leader

Bridge, from P. 1A A spokesperson for the parks board said the bridge had an average of 1,200 users per day before the fire. Data for May of last year indicated that nearly 64,000 people used the White Oak Bayou Greenway Trail, which is near the bridge, on a weekly basis. “The HHA is thrilled the work is finally getting underway,” the Houston Heights Association said in a statement. “Our neighborhood is ready to have this highly traveled connector reopened.” White said the damage to the bridge, which did not collapse during the fire, was not as bad as initially feared. She said getting it fixed has still been “painstaking work.” Engineers did a meticulous damage assessment to ensure the structural integrity of the bridge, White said, and the parks board’s repair plans had to be approved by the Harris County Flood Control District and then by the City of Houston, which owns the bridge and adjacent land. “Safety is our No. 1 priority,”

White said. “We would rather take time on the front end and make sure we get it right.” Shortly before the fire on Aug. 19, 2020, the parks board managed and paid for structural repairs to the bridge, including the replacement of timber support piles with steel columns. Until the new round of repairs is complete, trail users coming from the Heights must continue to take a detour in order to cross White Oak Bayou and Interstate 10 to access Sawyer Yards or downtown. Instead of proceeding southeast across the bridge, trail users must go northwest to Heights Boulevard, take the Paul Carr Jogging Trail south across I-10, and then head northeast along the White Oak Bayou Trail until it connects to the other side of the bridge, just northwest of Studemont Street. The construction work could be completed around the same time as the installation of the MKT Trail Spur Connector, which will begin

Contributed graphic The map above illustrates a detour route to cross White Oak Bayou via the MKT/Heights Hike-and-Bike Trail. A pedestrian bridge on the trail has been closed since it was damaged by a fire last August.

Church, from P. 1A

Davis, from P. 1A cheerful man.” Others described his smile and penchant for engaging students and their parents in conversation while he helped them cross the street in the mornings and afternoons during the school year. “It’s a testament to the love that he gave and continues to

just northwest of the bridge and extend east until it connects with the White Oak Bayou Greenway Trail. The latter trail runs further east through Stude Park and along White Oak Bayou, which meanders southeast until reaching downtown and connecting with Buffalo Bayou. Additionally, the parks board recently unveiled Bayou Greenways Park, which is a 1.47-acre space between the southeast end of the MKT Bridge and Studemont Street. The park was designed to “provide an oasis for the highly used trails along White Oak Bayou,” according to the parks board. So when the trail connector and bridge repairs are both complete, there will be a series of like-new outdoor amenities in the southern portion of the Heights. “Think about all the different ways you’re going to be able to navigate that area,” White said. “I think it’s going to be an incredible nexus.”

shine on people, that he gave during his daily crossing guard duties and beyond,” French said of the outpouring of support for Davis. “He clearly was important to many students and parents and families. We’re seeing that love returned.”

Photo from GoFundMe.com John Davis, right, the longtime Travis Elementary crossing guard who died earlier this month, poses for a picture with a student.

ing to change anyone’s lives, or anyone’s preaching. I think people’s lives are changed with community.” Gingrich said part of building that community of friendship, one of the values at Restore, is its other value, humility. More specifically, the church aims to foster a sense of humility that can allow two different people from different backgrounds to practice their faith together and become friends. For Gingrich, that type of community is built in a space where people can be “fully accepted, fully loved and fully known.” From personal experience, Gingrich knows how important such a space is. Diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder in his early 20s, Gingrich said he never found a place where he felt he could be completely

himself until he began attending Redemption. “Gradually as I found healing, I felt, and my wife felt, a sense of urgency to start other churches where we could do the same things,” Gingrich said. “A community where grace, the love of Jesus, can restore and fully heal.” Gingrich said Restore strives to be a church where people can share their lives with one another, where no one is just a face in the crowd and where whatever is going on in someone’s life doesn’t hinder them from experiencPhoto contributed by Justin Gingrich ing Jesus’ love. Even though Restore Walking Stick Brewing Co. is a meeting place for Restore Houston. doesn’t yet have a permanent address, Gingrich said ment,” Gingrich said. “Part tions, like anti-human traffickit always has intended to be of our heart and vision is that ing.” For updates on Restore a neighborhood-centered ‘grace restores all things.’ We want to be a blessing to our Houston, visit restorehouschurch. “Restore Houston is also neighborhood and getting ton.org or follow the church part of our mission state- involved with other organiza- on social media @restorehtx.

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Page 8A • Saturday, June 12, 2021 • The Leader

Keep pets away from Commissioners court resumes toxic houseplants in-person meetings this week

Dear Tabby, During the pandemic, we became quite the plant lovers. We have been caring for and coddling several new houseplants but also wondering if we should be careful to keep the plants away from our puppy? What houseplants are toxic to animals? Houseplant Hoarders in The Heights Dear Houseplant Hoarders, During the pandemic many people channeled their time and attention into caring for houseplants. In fact, according to House Beautiful Magazine, the houseplant industry boomed during the pandemic. Being stuck inside, so many people began to really appreciate their homes and adding houseplants seemed like a fun way to enhance their decor and give them something to do.

While houseplants can add ambiance to your home and help your mental wellbeing, if you have animals living in your home, you do need to consider the impact that your new plants might have on your pet’s health. There are several common houseplants that, if ingested by pets, can cause serious health concerns.

Snake plant Often called a “Mother In Law’s Tongue,” the snake plant contains the compound saponin which can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if consumed. Peace lily A popular plant due to its ease of care, if one of your pets eats this plant, it can cause painful mouth irritation. Philodendrons Probably one of the most common houseplants, the philodendron contains compounds which cause oral irritation and swelling in animals. Jade plants

Succulents are all the rage because they’re so cute and so easy to care for, but jade plants are toxic to pets. If ingested, jade plants cause vomiting, lack of coordination and even depression in animals.

English ivy The leaves of the English ivy are more toxic than the berries this plant produces. Ingestion of the foliage can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and hyper salivation in animals. Thankfully, it’s rather easy to keep both plants and pets in your home without running the risk of anyone getting sick. Just be sure to keep all houseplants out of reach of the puppy and never leave your dog unattended with access to one of your plants. In the event your puppy does eat a toxic plant, seek medical treatment quickly. The good news is that, in many cases, if caught early, a pet’s chances of survival are very good after ingesting a houseplant.

By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

The Harris County Commissioners Court resumed in-person meetings Tuesday for the first time in more than a year, according to a news release from the office of Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.

The meetings will continue to be live-streamed and offer public access to those who cannot attend but still wish to address the court. For more information about Harris County and the Office of the County Judge, visit cjo.harriscountytx.gov. Follow us on social media @FromTheLeader

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The Leader • Saturday, June 12, 2021 • Page 9A

Art Valet: Muralist adds color to Oak Forest strip center Mitch Cohen Art Columnist

Oak Forest residents were abuzz at the beginning of June about the progression of a mural of flowers. Muralist Anat Ronen was commissioned by the new tenant at 3344 E. T.C. Jester Blvd., C & Co Dispensary (not open yet), to paint the wall of giant marigolds that caught everyone’s attention. The 14-foot by 40-foot mural is titled “One Love.” Ronen is no stranger to the street art scene in Houston or this column. You’ve likely seen her murals around town if not her painting live at any of the numerous festivals in Houston. The excitement is understandable considering murals do not dominate the mostly residential Oak Forest. Ronen

is a fast painter and her technique is fascinating to watch unfold, especially as progression is obvious throughout the day. Ronen told me a couple opening a new CBD store commissioned her to paint the mural on the recently renovated strip center. “The mural has nothing to do with their shop,” Ronen told me. “They wanted to give something back to their community (they reside in the same area) and beautify the building, otherwise pretty bland.” Art Valet: What was your most challenging mural? Ronen: “Every wall and every project presents challenges, but some pack a higher level than others. My nemesis was a (70-foot by 28-foot) wall in India. It was challenging because it was large, which required special equipment that was not easy to obtain in that part of the world. Due to it being so far away, I had to adjust quickly to the conditions and make it work. When I travel I am always under an extra

Contributed photo Anat Ronen paints “One Love,” a mural on the side of the strip center at 3344 E. T.C. Jester Blvd.

layer of pressure because the travel dates are set and I need to finish the job within the timeframe. Projects that are particularly challenging become these anchor thoughts where you compare other projects to. Like for example, if a certain project is difficult (like this mural – the texture was definitely challenging, and the weather was typical

humid Houston), you kind of go back to those projects and realize it could be a lot worse. It gives me some kind of calmness and confidence to know that if I was able to tackle a super challenging project, I’d probably be able to deal with others.” AV: What is the most enjoyable? Ronen: “When the weather

is right I enjoy any type of painting. … It’s funny that when I find myself painting in good conditions – not too hot, not too humid, not too loud, with the right equipment, not under pressure – I realize how relaxing it is for me to paint. But usually there is some kind of difficulty or challenge, and I find myself trying to overcome that hurdle that occupies my mind, and the painting becomes automatic in a way.” AV: What’s the furthest you’ve traveled to paint? Ronen: “I’ve been to Australia, India, Macau (China). … It all sounds very exotic and exciting, but for the most part, when you paint on a wall or on the floor it really doesn’t matter where you paint. With COVID, I traveled a lot less, and realized how much I enjoy being home working in Houston, Texas.” AV: Tell me about your latest endeavor with your husband. Ronen: “After 12 years of being an artist and fulfilling a dream I never dared to dream, I hope to be able to fulfill my

better half’s relatively new dream. I mean, for both of us, the dream was to emigrate (from Israel) to the U.S. and stay here, and we made it happen. The art was a means to an end and became who I am. At home, our roles were changed and while I paint and create, he helps me with everything I need for the art and also takes care of the house, shopping, cooks and bakes. And the baking is amazing. So our dream is to have a little coffee shop/ gallery/studio, with him baking and cooking and me creating. For now, we’re taking baby steps with an Etsy shop.” View more of Ronen’s hyperrealistic work on her website anatronen.com, and for her baking and art collaboration with her husband visit their Etsy shop at etsy.com/ shop/ANATartica. 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.

Local art scene in full swing this weekend By Mitch Cohen artvalet@gmail.com

There is no doubt about it, the Houston art scene is jumping again, especially this weekend. Listed below are just a few highlights that caught my attention that I want to share. The artists at many of these events had all of 2020 and the first part of 2021 to create their work, so expect to be amazed. Jill Hakala and Heather Gordy, both studio artists at Hardy & Nance Studios at 902 Hardy St., present a collection of art they created throughout 2020. The collaboration explores the relationships between life and the universe. “We Are Stardust” will be exhibited at Hardy & Nance from 5-9 p.m. Saturday.

Visit hardyandnancestudios.com for more information. Archway Gallery presents Found Objects, featuring new sculptures by Joe Hale Haden, through July 7. The gallery is open from 10 a.m.6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 1-5 p.m. Sunday at 2305 Dunlavy St. See the gallery website, archwaygallery.com, for updates. “Annex Energy,” a University of Houston graduate and undergraduate sculpture exhibit at SITE Gallery Houston, is open from 3-8:30 p.m. Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday at 1502 Sawyer St., Suite 400. At 7 p.m. will be a performance titled “We Don’t Care Bout Your Idea Of Time” featuring UH sculpture students Stevie Spurgin and Randi Long. The exhibit and performance

are free to the public. Sawyer Yards Second Saturday Open Studios returns this Saturday from noon-5 p.m. The sprawling campus of creative spaces and art studios is one of the largest art communities in the country. That’s saying something! In addition to the studios, art exhibits can be found in most spaces. Have a look for details, maps and artists at SawyerYards. com or show up in person at 2101 Winter St. Not artsy but notable is a new bar coming to the Heights, The Rabbit Hole HTX, on 29th Street, close to the Houston Farmers Market on Airline Drive. Currently fundraising, the founders promise “intimate and unique destination for craft cocktails, wines and locally brewed

beer.” Ian Frascati of the Flea at Silver St. (also this weekend) is a managing partner. A meet and greet will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday at Love Dance HTX, 2206 Edwards St. That’s on the doorstep to The Market at Sawyer Yards. Speaking of The Market at Sawyer Yards, it switches to evening hours this Saturday from 6-10 p.m. The 5-year-old outdoor market is flanked by The Silos at Sawyer Yards (where SITE Gallery is located), Winter St. Studios and Silver St. Studios on “Art Alley.” Find a healthy mix of artisan craft, cottage and packaged foods, live music, wine and cider. Find the market under the silos at 1502 Sawyer St. Visit sawyerstreetmarket.com for more information. See you there!

Art by Heather Gordy.

Contributed photo

Review: Thai market serves amazing food in low-key space Zarah Parker Managing Editor

Part market, part restaurant, Street Food Thai Market is easy to drive by without noticing on Cavalcade Street. But if you do that, you’ll miss out on some of the best Thai food in the area. The mom-and-pop shop is divided in half, with the restaurant side scattered with tables. If you plan to dine in, just find an open table and sit down. A server will bring out a menu. If you plan to dine out, order at the counter. For a small restaurant, the menu offers numerous options, including Thai curries, classic Esarn (Thailand Northeastern/ Laos-style) cuisine, various stirfried options, vegetable dishes and more. When I dropped by the res-

Photo by Zarah Parker Pictured is the Khao Soi Gai, curry noodles with chicken, from Street Food Thai Market.

taurant for lunch recently, I ordered two starters for the table: The egg rolls, which were four rolls filled with vegetables, and the Nuar Tod, which is a beef jerky that came with sticky rice. The egg rolls were fried and crispy, with only a little bit of grease. The thick skin of the roll didn’t get in the way of the shredded vegetables inside it,

like cabbage and carrots. The Nuar Tod reminded me of fajita beef, but it was smaller and cooked more to give it that “jerky” taste. The meat was maybe a centimeter thick at its thickest section, and while it had that jerky component, it wasn’t hard to bite through. The sticky rice came on the side and while there wasn’t much too it, I like what it added.

After asking the server what was popular and what she recommended from the menu, she pointed me toward the “All Time Favorites” section and, more specifically, to the Khao Soi Gai, which is curry noodles with chicken. I was not disappointed. Egg noodles are simmered in a coconut soup with chicken and topped with pickled mustard greens, onions and fried shallots. Though most of the chicken in the soup was boneless, a chicken leg was kept in. Though I’m sure the curry was spiced with many seasonings, I most noticed cumin, coriander and ginger. The chicken was tender, but really took a backseat to the noodles and broth. My favorite part were the fried shallots, which gave a forkful of curry soaked noodles some crunch. During lunch I also sampled the Pad Thai, which had also been pointed out as a popular choice. It had a great balance

Food briefs: Central Texas barbecue joint looking at Heights By Zarah Parker zarah@theleadernews.com

Terry Black’s Barbecue, which has locations in Austin and Dallas, is looking to open a third location in Houston. Co-owner Mark Black said the Heights is the ideal part of town. Although the company has filed permit applications with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts for 1329 N. Shepherd Dr., Black said nothing is under contract to lease or buy. Black said part of the reason the barbecue joint isn’t in Houston yet is because they’re “in the business for buying not leasing and the market is really hot right now.” Plus, he said it’s been tough finding a space that is the right size and shape with ample parking. If Terry Black’s does find its way to Houston, patrons will experience its old-school,

traditional Central Texas barbecue.

that they were fresh. Next time I crave Thai food, this is the place I’ll go. Street Food Thai Market Address: 1010 Cavalcade St. Hours: 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday Pricing: $8.95-$20.95 Kid-friendly: Yes Alcohol: No Healthy options: Yes Star of the show: Khao Soi Gai

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New Ramen in Heights Las Vegas-based Shokku Ramen opened last week in the former space of BCK at 933 Studewood St. The ramen restaurant is serving its fusion bowls as well as its build-your-own bowls. Shokku is open from 5-11 p.m. but will add lunch service during the summer. Homestead Kitchen & Bar opens The M-K-T development welcomed Homestead Kitchen & Bar to 600 N. Shepherd Dr. as it opened last Friday, June 4. The restaurant opened with limited hours, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m., with a menu inspired by TexMex, Cajun and southern cuisine, plus all-day breakfast.

of sweet and savory, and I would say it was one notch more on the sweet side, but I think I liked it more because of it. I also tried a small amount of fried rice, which I liked best because it wasn’t dry at all, which I’ve experienced some places. It had a slight sweetness to it, and I particularly liked the way it was flavored — with fish sauce instead of soy. What impressed me about the entrees is they all came out piping hot, which clued me in

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Photo from Facebook Terry Black’s Barbecue is looking at the Heights as a potential place to open its third location.


Page 10A • Saturday, June 12, 2021 • The Leader


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The Leader • Saturday, June 12, 2021 • Page 1B

Local instructor offers swimming safety tips

Preferred Health

By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com


Nine years ago, Kelly Rucker was a single mother living in Central Houston. And she was worried about the fact her then-1-year-old daughter, Peyton, would have immediate access to water every time she was with her father for visits. “I knew that she needed survival training as soon as possible, but I was shocked how few options were available in Central Houston,” Rucker said. “I spent seven weeks, four days a week commuting one-and-ahalf hours roundtrip each day to get my daughRucker ter trained. Watching the training sparked a passion in me and I became interested in becoming an instructor.” Flash forward a few years and Rucker was living in Oak Forest, where the availability of lessons for children in her area was still limited. “I decided to take a leap of faith and get certified as an instructor by one of my daughter’s previous instructors who had since been involved in founding the Survival Swim Development Network,” she said. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to training instructors to teach infants 6 months and up as well as older children swimming, stroke lessons and survival skills. “Since certifying I have enjoyed training children in the GOOF/ Heights area communities with these lifesaving skills,” Rucker said. “I am also a member of Parents Preventing Childhood Drowning, which has a wealth of resources online regarding drowning prevention.” With the advent of summer, Rucker wants to caution parents that life jackets, puddle jumpers and other vertical floatation devices are not learn-to-swim devices. “These devices teach an orientation in the water that would cause a child to sink if the device were not present,” she said. “When wearing these devices children develop a false sense of confidence that they have the skill to swim.” Rucker said adult supervision is an essential, consistent layer of protection that is needed when children are swimming and around water. She

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Contributed photo

Area swimming instructor Kelly Rucker, right, embraces a young swimmer in the pool.

warns this supervision tends to slip when parents perceive that their children are safe in the water alone. “Floatation devices should be reserved only for use in bodies of water that you can’t see in and that have no defined edges that can be grabbed,” she said. “Ask yourself, ‘How would my child fare if they walked into a pool without a floatation device and without supervision?’” Rucker also cautions against encouraging unskilled children to jump in the pool and then praising and cheering for them when they jump. “No one stops to ask themselves the question, ‘What would my child do if they jumped in the pool and no one was there to catch them?’” she said. During Rucker’s lessons, which she said utilize gentle, child-centered methods, there is a focus on horizontal head and body orientation that transitions to a technical freestyle

swim with a side breath when developmentally appropriate. “There is also a very strong focus on the students knowing how to calmly secure an independent back float from any given scenario that might arise during recreational swimming or an accidental or unexpected fall-in,” she said. According to Rucker, a parent’s goal should be to teach their child a healthy respect for the water as well as the skills to deal with unexpected scenarios before they learn to have fun in the water. “Drowning is the No. 1 cause of death in children ages 1-4,” she said. “Multiple layers of protection will help keep your child safe.” For more information, visit http:// www.survivalswim.net/ and https:// www.parentspreventingchildhooddrowning.com/ or contact Rucker at 832-857-0010.


Swimming Safety Tips

Stephanie Fulton, M.D. 1740 W. 27 St. Suite 301 Houston, TX 77008 713-880-2727 www.fultonobgyn.com

• A constant designated water watcher (an adult free of influence of drugs or alcohol and free from all distractions — including cellular phones other than when being used for emergencies) • Survival training • Pool fence • Door locks • Door alarms • CPR training • Backyard address signs for reminders to call 911 for emergency help

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Heights Hospital files for bankruptcy By Adam Zuvanich

nor did the Houston-based attorney listed for Arbitra, H. Miles Cohn of Crain, Caton & James. The 160,849-square foot hospital building, which was constructed in 1978 and remodeled in 2020, is valued at


The company that owns The Heights Hospital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on June 1 – nearly five months after its doctors, nurses, support staff and even patients were locked out of the building because of alleged financial delinquency. According to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, 1917 Heights Hospital, LLC, estimates that it has between $100-$500 million in assets and between $10-$50 million in liabilities. Its list of creditors, according to court filings, includes utility and telecommunications companies as well as the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD), the Texas Attorney General’s Office and the Internal Revenue Service. Another creditor is Nevadabased Arbitra Capital Partners, LLC, which in early January filed a lawsuit against The Heights Hospital managers Dharmesh Patel and James Robert Day, alleging they owe roughly $3.5 million in interest related to a $28 million promissory note they signed for the property at 1917 Ashland St. in January 2019, according to Harris County court documents. County court records also show that a group of Houston investors sued the hospital and some of its related entities and individuals in February,

more than $15.9 million, according to HCAD. At least one other healthcare provider continues to use the building. Cobalt Rehabilitation Houston Heights operates on the fourth floor.

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Photo by Betsy Denson The company that owns The Heights Hospital, 1917 Ashland St., filed for bankruptcy on June 1.

seeking more than $2 million in damages and alleging their investment in the hospital was fraudulently misappropriated. According to a June 4 court filing by the attorney representing the hospital in the latter case, “The hospital was forced into closure by the business downturn precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.” That attorney, Ky Jurgensen of Houston law firm Hendershot Cowart P.C., declined to comment in an email Tuesday. The hospital’s bankruptcy attorney according to court filings, Steven Shurn of Hughes Watters Askanase, did not respond to a Tuesday voicemail and email seeking comment,


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I love the Leader! I feel as though the world is constantly bombarding us with ads/posts/articles of information that is not important to us. The Leader serves as a respite to provide us with the critical stories and information that directly affect our daily lives. Even more, you can usually spot a familiar or friendly face in there, and it provides an avenue to celebrate the victories of our neighbors! Jennifer Solak with Solak Legal

Page 2B • Saturday, June 12, 2021 • The Leader

Follow food safety tips when cooking outdoors By Shana Tatum, RD, LD

- Baked potatoes - Tofu or other soy proteins such as textured soy protein in meat alternatives - Sliced melons, cut tomatoes and cut leafy greens - Eggs - Poultry - Shellfish - Cooked rice, beans and vegetables - Sprouts and sprout seeds


It’s officially the warm season and people are firing up the grill to enjoy some good ol’ fashioned barbecues. With more people feeling good about gathering together, especially outside, cooking outdoors and grilling may be activities high on the list. Be sure your food safety knowledge is also properly prepared. Food poisoning is considered a serious public health threat by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 48 million people get sick with more than 128,000 people hospitalized annually in America from foodborne illnesses. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports more than 40 different types of bacteria, viruses, mold and parasites that cause foodborne illness. Bacteria are everywhere. Contaminants come from the air, soil, water and can also occur naturally in foods such as fish. With summer temperatures, these microorganisms grow quickly, especially in Houston’s humid environment. Keeping your work and prep area clean is very important in preventing foodborne illness, for meat and vegetables alike. Food can become unsafe in different ways. Time and temperature abuse are one way. This is when food has stayed at a temperature too long, becoming unsafe and conducive to the growth of bacteria. It can also be that food was not prepared and cooked at the right temperature. Cross contamination is another way that pathogens can transfer to food. An example of this is if ready-to-eat food touches a contaminated surface such as a cutting board that was used for slicing raw meat. Poor personal hygiene such as coughing or sneezing on food or preparing food while sick may also spread food-

Follow these guidelines below to keep your cookouts and gatherings safe: Tatum

borne illnesses. Improper cleaning and sanitizing are an obvious spread. Cleaning rags used to wipe off a cutting board and then used to clean a counter can spread germs. According to the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, beef sales are the highest for July 4 cookouts with expected sales of $400 million. Hot dog consumption continues to climb at 150 million hot dogs consumed on the holiday and sales of chicken reach 700 million pounds as reported by the National Retail Federation. That’s a lotta meat! Vegetables, too, can pose a threat if not treated with proper safety measures. Germs such as Salmonella, pathogenic E. coli and Listeria can cause serious illness. It is estimated by the CDC that more than 40 percent of foodborne illness is caused by germs on fresh produce. Be sure fruits and vegetables are not bruised or damaged when purchased. Foods most likely to be unsafe, requiring time and temperature monitoring are: - Milk and dairy products - Beef, pork and lamb - Fish

Local business is our business. Send your story of interest news@theleadernews.com

- Wash all utensils and cutting boards after use - Wash hands thoroughly with warm water and soap before and after food preparation - Wash and scrub all fruits and vegetables before eating and cooking - Wash grill grates Separate, don’t cross contaminate - Store fruits and vegetables away from raw meat, poultry and seafood

- Keep cooked foods away from raw meat and poultry - Use a clean platter and utensils for grilling - Use a separate cutting board for fresh vegetables and fruits from raw meats Refrigerate promptly - Perishable foods should not sit out for longer than two hours, and for only one hour if it’s warmer than 90 degrees. - Refrigeration should be at 40 degrees or lower

- Practice FIFO – “first in, first out” in the refrigerator Cook to proper temperature - Hot dogs to 165 degrees - Chicken to 165 degrees - Ground beef/hamburger to 160 degrees - Fish to 145 degrees - Pork to 145 degrees

Always use a food thermometer to register a safe temperature.

Women’s Health Directory Directory of Local Female Health Service Professionals Dr. Stephanie Fulton Dr. Fulton is certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Her practice consists of obstetrics, gynecology, and cosmetic procedures such as laser hair removal. She is a graduate of the University of Texas and completed residency at St. Vincent’s Medical Center where she was a Chief Resident. Dr. Fulton volunteers as part of the health team ministry of her church. 1740 W. 27 St. Suite 301 • Houston, TX 77008 713-880-2727 www.fultonobgyn.com

Dr. Attiya S. Khan Dr. Khan focuses on the prevention of heart disease through early diagnosis and provides the latest interventional techniques to treat coronary and peripheral vascular diseases. She is one of the few female interventional cardiologists in Houston available to perform emergency angioplasties and stents for patients who are experiencing a heart attack. 1631 North Loop West, Ste. 220 • Houston TX 77008 713-365-0786 www.nwcardiology.net

Dr. Becky J. Fredrickson Board Certified Ophthalmologist. Dr. Fredrickson has been practicing ophthalmology for over 12 years. She routinely sees patients for diabetes, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and ocular infections. She specializes in surgical procedures including cataract, eyelid lifts, eyelid cysts, Botox and Juvederm, and pterygia. 1415 N. Loop, Ste 400 • 427 W. 20th St. Ste 100 Houston, TX 77008 713-668-6828 • www.houstoneye.com

Dr. Jaclyn Harrison, M.D. Board Certified Internal Medicine Dr. Jaclyn Harrison, a board certified internal medicine physician, has opened a new primary care/internal medicine practice, White Oak Medical Associates in the Heights. She believes patients deserve their doctor’s focused attention, personalized care, and is devoted to compassionate, effective treatment for her patients. 1900 North Loop W, Suite 580 • Houston, TX 77018 713-714-5376 Whiteoakmedicalassociates.com

The Leader • Saturday, June 12, 2021 • Page 3B

Waltrip band members to play at Heights Theater

Planned Sunset Heights Park gets grant By Zarah Parker zarah@theleadernews.com

By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

Band members from Waltrip High School will perform a concert next week at The Heights Theater, located at 339 W. 19th St. The Waltrip Big Horns will play the music of Selena, Donna Summer, Tower of Power and Amy Winehouse, among other well-known acts. The show is scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday, June 17. Tickets can be purchased online at waltripramband.org/tickets. General admission is $15, student tickets are $5, and VIP tables are available for $100.

Heights Rotary Club gives back By Zarah Parker zarah@theleadernews.com

The motto for the Rotary Club of the Houston Heights, “Service Above Self,” was highlighted last week when the club donated thousands of dollars to local organizations in need. Over the course of the last year, the Heights Rotary Club has been able to raise around $30,000 through different fundraising efforts. Despite an uncertain year, the club was able to donate between $750 and $4,000 to organizations like the Heights Interfaith Ministries Food Pantry and The Gathering Place, a senior respite care program, both of which operate out of Zion Lutheran Church, as well

as the Boy Scouts, the Heights Library, Turning Point, Cherish Our Children, Mt. Olive Cemetery and Fory Charitable Trust. The club also supported Harvard and Love Elementary schools, Hamilton Middle School and Houston High School with donations. “We support all across the community,” Rotarian Chad Greer said, “from infants to the grave.” Other efforts from the Heights Rotary Club include providing $2,800 in food last year to cover a handful of families whose children are involved in the Rotary program at Hamilton Middle School. The club also worked to gather recovery supplies for Hurricane Laura victims.

The proposed plan to turn the Heights METRO Transit Station at 6000 N. Main St. into a park recently received a grant to help with renovations of the land. Houston City Council approved the submission of a grant application to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in October of last year. In May, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved the $898,000 urban outdoor matching grant for the planned park, Sunset Heights Park. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department grant will be matched with public funds and donations to repurpose the METRO Transit Station. Proposed developments and renovation include site preparation, signage, site work and utilities, a concrete walkway and tricycle track, a renovated bus shelter as a pavilion, stage area with a seat wall, native landscaping,

Photo from HoustonSunsetHeights.org Pictured is a concept illustration of the planned Sunset Heights Park, which will be where the old Heights METRO Transit Station was at 6000 N. Main St.

bioswale with interpretive signage, chimney swift tower with interpretive signage, water spray feature, site furnishings, playground equip-

ment and fitness stations, perimeter fence and gates, parking area and professional services. According to Houston-

SunsetHeights.org, construction on the park will begin in the spring of 2023. Follow us on social media @ FromTheLeader

I’m a big supporter of journalism. I subscribe to The NY Times and Washington Post for national news, The Guardian for international perspective, and The Chronicle for state and city news. I also subscribe to The Leader for news about my neighborhood, news I can’t get from any of those other sources. Notice I said subscribe, not just read. That’s where the support comes in. Terry Abel

Photo by Zarah Parker Rotarian Chad Greer, left, is pictured with Sue Marshell, who accepted a donation on behalf of Fory Chartiable Trust.

Commitment to Reliable, Neighborhood Service NLine Automotive is a 3rd Generation Family owned & operated auto repair business established in 1995. Located at 3030 Ella Blvd. just off Loop 610 West, Nline is convenient to Garden Oaks, Oak Forest and the Heights. We specialize in Alignments, Brakes, CV Axles, A/C & Engine Diagnostic, Suspension and Ride Control. NLine is an A+ rated businesses and accepts most extended warranties as well as the Car Care One Card. Our staff is comprised of some of the best suspension and diagnostic technicians in Houston, many with more than 20 years of experience in our shop! We grew up in the Garden OaksJohn Ferrata Oak Forest area and we plan to be here for the long haul. We realize our success depends upon the perception of our neighbors. We want to be the preferred shop in your area, providing great customer service in a timely manner. If you would like, come by and check us out. Our service writers Kevin and John will answer any questions you may have. We also serve a very good cup of coffee! Things are changing in our neighborhood, out with the old and in with new and we want to continue to provide old fashioned service in the future. Stop by if you have any questions, we are here to help. Our Core Service Offer.... Nline Automitive is committed to serving you, our customer, with professional automotive repair at a reasonable cost with qualified technicians. We use quality auto parts, guaranteed coast-to-coast. We stand on sound business principles and uphold high ethical standards. Our goal is to make your automotive repair experience friendly and successful. Visit our website to schedule a morning or afternoon appointment.

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Man accused of possessing marijuana, handguns in Heights By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

Local authorities arrested a man suspected of possessing illegal drugs and firearms in the Heights earlier this week. The Harris County Precinct 1 Constable’s Office said 24-yearold Jerry Anderson was arrested early Monday. He was charged with felony possession of marijuana as well as carrying a handgun in a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor, according to Harris County court records.


Court documents also show Anderson was released from jail Tuesday on a $10,000 bond.

HPD looking into apparent stabbing death on Airline Drive By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

Houston police say they are looking into the apparent stabbing death of a man near Independence Heights on May 24. The victim, 44-year-old Tito Varela, was transported to Ben Taub Hospital on May 24 and died at the hospital May 31, according to the Houston Police Department. Police said the cause of his death is pending an autopsy from the county’s medical examiner. HPD said officers respond-

ed to an assault call at the Western Union at 4350 Airline Dr. just after 11:30 p.m. May 24, discovering that Varela had been cut or stabbed, according to a news release from the department. There are no known suspects or motives in the case, HPD said, and the investigation is pending the autopsy results. Anyone with information in this case is urged to contact HPD’s homicide division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477.

Shooting in Northside injures three By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

Houston police say they are investigating a shooting that left three people injured near the Northside neighborhood last week. The victims, a 15-year-old boy, a 27-year-old man and 41-year-old woman, were transported to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the Houston Police Department. HPD said the three victims were among several people

in a car leaving 6100 Werner St. just before 10 p.m. June 4 when an unknown person drove up and fired gunshots in the direction of their car. The teenage boy was hit in the abdomen with one round, police said, while the man and the woman were both grazed. Anyone with information in this case is urged to contact HPD’s Major Assaults & Family Violence division at 713308-8800 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477. Follow us on social media @ FromTheLeader

Police investigating car shooting By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

Houston police say they are looking into an Acres Homesarea shooting that left a man hospitalized last week. The victim, a 44-year-old man, was taken to a nearby hospital in an unknown condition, according to the Houston Police Department. HPD said officers responded to a report of multiple shots being fired near the intersection of West Tidwell Road and Antoine Drive around 11:50 p.m. last Sunday, June 6. A few minutes later, police said

According to the constable’s office, deputies pulled over Anderson in the 2800 block of Nicholson Street just after 1 a.m. Monday for allegedly having illegal lighting on his car. During the traffic stop, the smell of marijuana was allegedly coming from Anderson’s car, according to the constable’s office. Police allege that a subsequent search turned up 21 ounces of marijuana, two semi-automatic handguns and $19,000 in cash.

Four injured in local hookah bar shooting By Landan Kuhlmann

Azuza Hookah Bar at 4115 Washington Ave. just before 2 a.m. Tuesday. According to police, a security guard at the bar denied entry to three Hispanic males earlier in the night. It is believed, HPD said, that the three men returned to the club and shot in the direction of the bar in retaliation, striking the victims. The suspects were driving a black sedan, police said, which fled the scene after shots were fired. Anyone with information in this case is urged to contact HPD’s Major Assaults & Family Violence division at 713308-8800 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-844.


Houston police are searching for the people they say opened fire at a local hookah bar early Tuesday morning, leaving four people injured. The Houston Police Department said 21-year-old Roderick Sims, 26-year-old Rashad Samples, 20-year Joey Perryman and 28-year-old Lauran Ehlers suffered non-life-threatening gunshot wounds during the incident. A fifth victim, 21-year-old Yvette Cano, was hit in the arm with gunshot fragments, according to police. HPD said officers responded to a shooting call at the

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officers found the victim in the driver’s seat of a crashed car at 6400 W. T.C. Jester Blvd. with gunshot wounds to his neck and back. According to HPD, there are no known suspects or motives in the ongoing investigation. Anyone with information in this case is asked to contact HPD’s Major Assaults & Family Violence division at 713308-8800 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477.

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