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Inside Today: Expansion proposed for stretch of I-10 • Page 4A

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Residential detention requirements increasing By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

The cost of building a home in Houston – or adding to an existing residential property – figures to soon increase. The City of Houston plans to require increased stormwater detention capacity for single-family residential lots with more than 65 percent impervious cover, effective March 31, according to documents drafted by Houston Public Works and department director Carol Haddock. As part of

the upcoming changes to the city’s Infrastructure Design Manual, the minimum lot size subject to stricter detention standards also will be reduced by half. Whereas residential lots measuring at least 15,000 square feet have been treated as commercial properties for the purposes of stormwater detention, the new standards will apply to residential lots of at least 7,500 square feet. Such lot sizes are common in neighborhoods such as

Haddock

Garden Oaks, Oak Forest, the Heights and other nearby subdivisions. “It’s a pretty big deal,” said former Heights resident Jill Schroeder, the owner of Texas Permit Consultants and a member of the Houston Permitting Center Advisory Board. A request to interview Haddock, submitted to a public works spokesperson, was not granted before press time. The public works department also did not respond

to emailed questions before press time. Schroeder said the planned changes to Chapter 9 of the Infrastructure Design Manual (IDM), which covers stormwater design and water quality requirements, aim to reduce flooding risks and are in response to a 2020 interlocal agreement with Harris County. The city’s plan, per the IDM supplement dated Jan. 4 and signed by Haddock, calls See Detention P. 5A

Flooding in its wake?

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Fate of GOMO uncertain as case nears end By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

Put to good use. A local resident’s rainwater harvesting system helped neighbors.

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Contributed photo There was significant structural flooding on the 900 block of Wakefield Drive during Tropical Storm Imelda in 2019.

City adds popular block to drainage project Filipino flavor. Zarah Parker reviews Be More Pacific, a Filipino restaurant in the Heights.

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Governor’s orders. Greg Abbott is loosening restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Freshening up. A retail center on Pinemont Drive will soon be getting a facelift.

By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com Rainwater quickly collected in the 900 block of Wakefield Drive during Tropical Storm Imelda in 2019, flooding several homes and businesses on the street. And because the first phase of an extensive drainage project had been completed just to the northeast less than a year earlier, some of the impacted occupants wondered whether they had been negatively affected and perhaps overlooked. Now they and their properties are being looked after. Houston Public Works is adding the block to its ongoing Garden Oaks/Shepherd Park Drainage and Paving Project, according to a spokesperson for the department. The stretch of Wakefield between Alba Road and Golf Drive to the west will be reconstructed with new water and wastewater lines, increased stormwater drainage capacity and pavement improvements. “I think it’s a good plan,” said a Wakefield resident who flooded during Imelda and asked to remain anonymous. “What they propose as far as drainage looks very good.” The public works spokesperson said construction is expected to start late this summer and be complete within two years, at an estimated cost of $22.1 million. The plan calls for the installation of an 18-inch sanitary sewer line, 8-inch drinking water lines and stormwater pipes ranging from 24 to 48 inches.

Drainage capacity already was increased to the northeast along Alba and Brinkman Street as part of Phase 1 of the project, which cost about $23 million and was completed late in 2018. The second and third phases aim to improve See Drainage P. 5A

See GOMO P. 5A

Bat colony under bridge takes hard hit during freeze By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com

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THE INDEX. Church....................................................... 4A Classifieds.............................................. 5A Coupons. ................................................. 3B Food/Drink/Art................................... 7A Obituaries.............................................. 4A Opinion. ................................................... 3A Public Information......................... 8A Puzzles...................................................... 3A Sports. ....................................................... 4B

Contributed photo Houston Public Works plans to improve stormwater drainage infrastructure on Wakefield Drive as part of the ongoing Garden Oaks/Shepherd Park Drainage and Paving Project.

When Peter and Katherine Chang met with the Garden Oaks Maintenance Organization (GOMO) in 2012, about a deed restriction violation related to constructing a second garage on their property, they said they were told by the homeowners association that it had a “war chest” it was not afraid to use on the couple. Nearly a decade later, the neighborhood organization has been battered and bruised by a string of court cases over the dispute. And now, nearly three years into a federal bankruptcy proceeding that was precipitated by a state district court ruling in favor of the Changs, GOMO’s assets are being whittled away and its future is uncertain. Judge David Jones allowed an unsecured claim made by the Changs, who sought to recover the $3,937.50 transfer fee they paid when they purchased their Garden Oaks home, during a Feb. 22 hearing. It was the last claim Jones ruled on as part of the Chapter 7 case, which has entered its final phase as trustee Randy Williams works toward distributing several thousand dollars in claims made by property owners. “None of this would have happened if GOMO would have just taken time to sit down and talk to my wife and I, back in 2012, like we belong here,” Peter Chang said. A state district court judge sided with the Changs in 2016, ruling that GOMO violated the Texas Property Code when it formed in 2002 and therefore had no standing to enforce deed restrictions or

Photo by Betsy Denson Many of the bats that live underneath the Watonga Boulevard bridge died during Winter Storm Uri last month. But wildlife experts say the colony was not at capacity during the storm.

Frank Black Middle School student Andrew Mitchell was riding his bike with friends after the winter storm when he saw a lot of dark splotches along the bayou and the bike path underneath the Watonga Boulevard bridge. He knew that’s where the bats lived. “At first I thought (they) were sleeping on the ground,” Mitchell said. When he got closer, Mitchell realized most of the bats were dead. As with other wildlife in

Southeast Texas, the recent freezing weather proved deadly. Along with the Waugh bat colony, the Watonga colony was hard hit by the record low temperatures. Oak Forest’s Amanda Massingill had avoided the Watonga area for a few days after seeing Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s post asking people to stay away from the Waugh bridge. Massingill went by Feb. 24 and saw bats on the ground. She guessed there were about 100 dead bats as well as some that were alive. “I notified Texas Parks and Wildlife, which is what Buffalo

Bayou said to do if we found downed bats,” Massingill said. “I also commented about checking on the Watonga Bridge bats on every (Facebook and Instagram post) Buffalo Bayou made as well.” Wildlife biologist Diana Foss with Texas Parks and Wildlife said removal of the dead bats was done by the entity that manages each bridge. “We have a bunch of bridges with bats, all managed by different groups,” Foss said. “In the case of Waugh bridge, the path underneath is maintained by See Bats P. 5A

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Page 2A • Saturday, March 6, 2021 • The Leader

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THE TOPICS. The Leader • Saturday, March 6, 2021 • Page 3A

A cautionary tale of pension ‘reform’ By Bill King weking@weking.net

T

he state of Texas maintains a pension system for its employees (including state elected officials) known as the Texas Employment Retirement System (“ERS”). It is a large plan with nearly 400,000 members and manages nearly $30 billion in assets. It is a traditional defined-benefit plan. In 2015, the Texas Legislature was faced with a financial crisis at ERS. In less than a decade, the unfunded liability had ballooned about $1 billion to nearly $8 billion. ERS projected that its fund would be completely depleted by 2064, while still owing billions in pension benefits. The Legislature’s “solution” to the problem was to throw money at the problem. The state raised the ongoing contributions from the members and the state from 7.2 percent to 9.5. However, the state also gave its employees a raise to cover the cost of their increased contribution. The plan has resulted in the state putting about $200 million more per year into the plan and paying its employees about another $200 million for them to contribute. The plan made no changes to the benefits, specifically retaining the definedbenefit structure. The plan was heralded by members of the Legislature and employee groups as a huge success. The Texas Public Employees Association gushed in its post-session newsletter to its members that: “The history books will look back at this legislative session as

Bill King

one of the most important for state employees and retirees, as lawmakers passed legislation to preserve the Employees Retirement System (ERS) pension fund. This is a tremendous achievement for the state. ... Lawmakers shored up the ERS pension fund, which has a $7.5 billion unfunded liability, and they did so without enacting changes to the plan’s benefits or structure or placing a burden on active state employees. A 2.5 percent across-the-board pay raise offsets the increased employee pension contribution rate. ... By restoring the ERS pension fund to actuarial soundness, the Legislature has opened the door to future consideration of a cost-of-living adjustment or 13th check for retirees.” So, how did the 2015 reform work out? Here is what the outside actuaries recently wrote about ERS’s condition in their annual report: “The current financial outlook for ERS is very poor ... the currently scheduled contributions are not expected to accumulate sufficient

assets in order to pay all of the currently scheduled benefits when due ... there is a strong possibility that ERS will become insolvent in a 30-40-year timeframe ... Contributions must materially increase in the next legislative session to secure the benefits for current members.” The actuaries project that if the plan has the same investment performance as it has experienced over the last 20 years, it will run out of money in 2047. The unfunded liability has nearly doubled since 2015 and the plan has gone from 75 percent funded to 66 percent. The actuaries project that the unfunded liability will grow to $19 billion by 2025 and the funded rate will drop to 61 percent. So, what went wrong? First, ERS assumed it would earn 8 percent on its assets in 2015. It lowered the assumption to 7.5 percent in 2017 and then to 7 last year. And it is still not even making that, notwithstanding the incredible bull market we have had over the last few years. Warren Buffet, the world’s most successful investor, believes pension plans should use 5 percent as an investment assumption. Small differences in investment returns may not seem like a big deal, but they are. A note in ERS’s most recent audit concluded that a 1 percent miss on the investment assumption increased the pension liability by over $10 billion. And so, what is ERS’s proposed solution to the new crisis? More taxpayer funding, of course. It projects that funding will have to go from the current 19.5 percent contributed by

the state and its employees to just over 26 percent. That is not chump change. ERS is projecting it will require almost an additional billion dollars annually to reach that funding level. There is an interesting twist to the ERS request. The Texas Constitution limits the state’s contribution to ERS to 10 percent of the employees’ compensation. The state can only exceed that limit if the governor declares an emergency, which to date, he has not done. The ERS is not recommending any changes to its benefit structure and it is silent on how that increased contribution would be shared between the state and employees. The ERS presentation requesting the additional funding ends with this dire warning: “Doing nothing is no longer an option ... For ERS, LECOSRF, and JRS2, current contribution levels are not sufficient to sustain the system ... Without an increase of contributions over the current schedules the benefit security will continue to deteriorate.” Doing nothing? Since the 2015 reform, taxpayers have put over $3.5 billion into ERS. That is about $2 billion more than if the state had left its contributions at the pre-2015 level and not given the across-the-board pay increase to cover higher employee contributions. That is $2 billion over the last five years that was not available to fund schools, infrastructure, improvements in mental health services or, God forbid, reduce taxes. Now ERS is proposing to add an additional $1 billion per year ... forever.

The Ice of Texas upon us THE LAUNDRY ROOM – Sheets, sheets and more sheets. This place looks like a Klan gathering. When a heavy freeze was predicted for Texas, we put sheets over all our outdoor plants to protect them from the cold. Afterwards, we took off the sheets and, sure enough, all the plants were as dead as the Texas Democrat Party. Now I have to wash piles of dirty sheets. You might have the same problem, and we can blame it on, uh, nobody, for the days and days of no power, no heat, no TV and, worst of all, no WiFi. Add to our misery no food in the fridge or in the pantry, and icy streets and empty store shelves awaiting anyone who ventured out for supplies. We couldn’t drink the water until we boiled it, and couldn’t use the ice in the freezer for drinks. Oh, and sea turtles were suffering from the cold, so thousands of them had to be taken to a South Padre sanctuary. To think that all of this is dumped on us in a parade of miseries. I guess we could start with the Galveston Storm of 1900, but in more recent times we have endured Rita, Ike, Allison and Harvey. The Astros are hated. Harden, Springer and J.J. Watt left, with Texans QB Deshaun Watson not far behind. It’s been a solid year since Covid-19 hit us, with its catastrophic health, economic and mental chaos. What’s next, an earthquake? When the freeze hit, Texas was ready with strong leadership to take full responsibility. From the Washington Post: “Gov. Greg Abbott directed his ire at one particular failure in the state’s independent energy grid: frozen wind turbines.” The Post noted Abbott’s accusations were contradicted by his own energy department, which blamed failures to winterize the power-generating systems, including fossil fuel pipelines. “In other words, rotten policy and management are to blame.” Nevertheless, Abbott appeared on Fox News, telling national viewers that renewable fuel sources were to blame. He said that now there was even more reason to abandon the push against climate change. OK, tree huggers, you’re responsible for my luke-warm vodkas. The conservative Wall Street Journal supported Abbott, writing: “Gas and power prices have spiked across the central U.S. while Texas regulators ordered rolling blackouts as an Arctic blast has frozen wind turbines.” U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw tweeted that “this is what happens when you force the grid to rely in part on wind as a power source.” Texas Agriculture

Lynn Ashby Columnist

Commissioner Sid Miller on Facebook: ‘We should never build another wind turbine in Texas.” OK, let’s look at the facts. These are Texas’ top electric generation sources in all of 2019: natural gas is by far the leader, then coal, wind, nuclear, solar, other gases and hydroelectric. Others pointed out the obvious. Paul Krugman, in The New York Times, blasted Texas’ GOP leadership in a column, “Texas, Land of Wind and Lies,” writing, “And if you’re expecting any change in the policies that helped cause this disaster, don’t count on it — at least as long as Texas remains Republican.” New Yorker magazine had an article, “Texans in the Midst of Another Avoidable Catastrophe,” which is pretty self-explanatory. CNN News: “Texas Republicans criticized for misleading claims that renewable energy sources caused massive outages.” Taking full responsibility, Gov. Abbott boldly declared: “This was a total failure by ERCOT. ERCOT stands for Electric Reliability Council of Texas ... and they showed that they were not reliable. These are specialists, and government has to rely upon these specialists to be able to deliver in these types of situations.” Our guv also said: “This is something that I declared in advance. This is something that our team had been talking to them about in advance, knowing, in advance, the ultra-cold we were going to be dealing with.” So Abbott knew about the potential problem, did nothing, but it wasn’t his fault. Incidentally, former Texas governor Rick Perry claimed Texans would rather endure blackouts in freezing weather than have the federal government regulating their power grid. It reminds one of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s observation that older folks should be willing to die to keep the Texas economy running for younger citizens. Patrick, 70, didn’t volunteer to lead by example. As we know, ERCOT was created strictly within Texas, covering about 90 percent of the state, to avoid crossing state lines and thus falling under federal regulations. But its officers don’t seem to stay instate. One third of ERCOT’s 15-member board with a 16th

board position currently remaining vacant, do not live in Texas. One calls Maine home, another lives in Illinois, one in Michigan. One was listed as an economics professor at the University of Cologne in Germany and at the University of Maryland, and another lives just over the Texas border – in Canada. Apparently the ERCOT can’t take the heat, so to speak. Due to possible safety threats, state officials pulled down most of the ERCOT webpage that revealed photos and biographies of each board member. After the storm, they resigned. The only bright spot in this man-made catastrophe is Ted Cruz’s vacation. Our junior U.S. senator got caught taking his family on a vacation to Cancun. Even though, in the depths of chaos in his home state with all hands on board,

Cruz had HPD bodyguards escort him through Bush Intercontinental. When news of his planned five days on a sunny beach became public, he caught unmitigated scorn and came home after one day. You would have thought he had encouraged a mob to storm the U.S. Capitol. For frozen days, vaccination stations were closed as were many grocery stores, restaurants and adult bookshops. We couldn’t wash dishes or clothes, take a bath or even flush the commodes without filling the toilet tank with trucked–in water. Now that the freeze is over, everyone is taking sides, pointing fingers and offering solutions. Maybe Sen. Cruz can help me wash sheets. Ashby is thawing out at ashby2@comcast.net

The bottom line is this: Definedbenefit plans do not work in the demographic and market conditions that exist today. Defined-benefit plans became popular at a time when interest rates were high and life expectancies after retirement were short. Those conditions no longer exist, and they are not coming back. For years, defined-benefit plans have been disguising their true costs by making these unrealistic investment assumptions. The private sector figured out decades ago that traditional definedbenefit plans do not work and phased them out. Today, definedbenefit plans almost exclusively exist in the public sector. I do not believe in changing benefits employees have already earned, like Houston’s pension “reform” did. A deal is a deal, and we should honor commitments that have been made to people whose services we have used. But it is utter insanity and generationally irresponsible to continue to add new employees to plans based on a fundamentally flawed financial model. Texas should bail out ERS, because that is the promise we made to our employees. But at the same time, the Legislature should move all new employees into a defined-contribution plan as the private sector did decades ago. And Gov. Greg Abbott should refuse to declare an emergency to allow the funding to increase over the 10 percent constitutional level unless it does. If not, I can assure we will be back here in a few years watching this same movie all over again.

THE READER.

Email us your letters: news@theleadernews.com

Latest PPP news won’t help small businesses

Dear Editor: I appreciate your analysis of the problems with PPP in today’s Leader. I’ve had to help a lot of my clients with the forgiveness aspect. But only two of eight decided to reapply. There are many possible conclusions to draw from that when expanded to a national scope. I don’t believe that any who did apply, except those two that reapplied in this round, actually needed to. They had personal capital in savings and retirement. And some didn’t want a hand out. A bigger loan would have been better. I’ve been “afraid” to use my EIDL but recently got some guidance from my CPA. What is the availability of EIDL for post winter storm. That may be a better route, more funds. I don’t recall the documentation burden. I appreciate the Leader’s business section, even if it’s just one article. Mark Madeley Dear Editor: Great article. I’m a CPA and this is the most honest assessment of the PPP program I’ve seen. I don’t know if the people in charge just don’t want to talk about it or if they’re not aware of the issues. I think most of the people complaining that they were shut out of the program didn’t have employees and have probably never shown any significant amount of income or haven’t reported their business activity at all on a tax return. S-Corps owners who didn’t take out enough salary are facing the same thing, but there’s no big uproar to change that (probably because it’s too complicated and doesn’t make good headlines). I don’t know if there is a fair, equitable solution when people aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing, but at least your article discusses the issue instead of ignoring the inconvenient truths. Thank you. Precglide

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

SUDOKU

aCrOss 1. And so forth (abbr.) 4. Used to be United __ 7. Upper left keyboard key 10. Invitable ruin 12. Consumed 13. N.H. Maine river 14. Sen. Thurmond 16. More (Spanish) 17. Oh, God! 18. Designed chairs 20. Insect living in organized colonies 21. Anglo-Saxon theologian, c.700 22. Ecclesiastics 25. Magic incantation 30. Swan Lake and Don Quixote 31. Affirmative 32. Conspiracy 33. Citizen of Stockholm 38. Light brown 41. Roman judge 43. Sonny & Cher classic 45. Chopped mixture for stuffing 48. Am. Nobel physicist Isodor 49. Maya __ of Vietnam Veterans Memorial 50. Expressed pleasure 55. In bed 56. Finnish

57. Canacol Energy stock symbol 59. Leather strap for hawks 60. UA fraternity est. 3-9-1856 61. Low, sideless cart 62. They __ 63. Single Lens Reflex 64. Point that is midway between N and NE

dOwn 1. Murrow, Sullivan & Koch 2. Carrying bag 3. Countess of Grantham 4. Key fruit 5. One kept in readiness 6. Bring back to normal 7. Avid 8. Lots of 9. Formal close (music) 11. Dad’s partner 13. Point that is one point E of SE 15. Myself 19. Minor disagreement 23. Promotional materials 24. Bahama capital 25. Rudiments of a subject 26. Bleat

27. Right linebacker 28. Flower petals 29. Early culture of Gr. Britain 34. Worldwide internet 35. 7th Greek letter 36. When born (abbr.) 37. Before 39. Existing forever 40. About name 41. Myanmar monetary unit 42. Island north of Guam 44. Soft 45. __ Castell, makers of pens 46. Excessively fat 47. Eliminates 48. A Hindu prince or king in India 51. Carrier’s invention 52. Possessed 53. Deserve through action 54. Doyen 58. A way to change color

WORD SCRAMBLE


Page 4A • Saturday, March 6, 2021 • The Leader

TxDOT proposes changes to I-10 in Heights area By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

The public input period is open until March 12 for a proposed infrastructure project aimed at increasing mobility and connectivity on the stretch of Interstate 10 that runs through the Greater Heights. During a Feb. 25 virtual public meeting for the I-10 Inner Katy Managed Lanes project, which covers the stretch of freeway from Loop 610 to the west and I-45 to the east, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) said the earliest construction could begin would be early 2027. TxDOT is presenting three potential design concepts that call for increased lane capacity for high-occupany vehicles, including elevated bus lanes. Construction funding has not yet been identified yet, according to TxDOT’s presentation, so the timeline for the project is subject to change depending on fund availability. The process of public involvement and developing potential alternatives based on feedback would continue through 2023, and TxDOT’s right-of-way acquisition and the environmental clearance process would take place from 2023-27. TxDOT said the project is needed as the region continues to experience significant population and job growth. Population is expected to grow to 10.6 million, with jobs expected to grow to 4.7 million by 2045, according to TxDOT. In 2019, the peak hours’ demand for I-10’s current capacity of 10 generalpurpose lanes was 22,000 vehicles per hour, according to TxDOT – which exceeds the current capacity of the lanes. That is expected to grow to

31,000 by 2045. As growth continues, TxDOT said that will lead to greater demand on the freeway system that links residential communities to job centers. “If changes are not made to address the growth in traffic demand, the result will be a steady increase in congestion on I-10,” TxDOT said. Traditionally, expansion would entail involve adding lanes in either direction on I-10. However, TxDOT said that avenue would require acquiring additional right-of-way on both the north and south sides of I-10, impacting nearby properties such as businesses and Memorial Park. It also would not address the 6-mile gap TxDOT said exists in the network of managed lanes between the Northwest Transit Center and major activity hubs. TxDOT’s three proposed plan options would each connect managed lanes from the current terminus of the I-10 Katy Freeway to Downtown Houston and provide connectivity to other high-capacity systems. “By providing solutions that are focused on high-capacity modes of travel, increased growth can be accommodated with fewer additional lanes on I-10,” TxDOT said. TxDOT is accepting public comment on the proposed plans for a subsequent summary report. All comments must be submitted through the project website’s virtual meeting at https://www.txdot.gov/ inside-txdot/get-involved/ a bout/hearings-meetings/ houston/022521.html, via email at hou-piowebmail@txdot.gov or by mail to TxDOT Houston District, Public Information Office, P.O. Box 1386, Houston, TX 77251.

Graphics by TxDot The above graphics show cross sections of three proposed design concepts for Interstate 10 between Loop 610 and I-45.

Heights resident shares unique resource to help others By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

What comes out of his rainwater harvesting system is “more pure than city water,” according to Heights resident Ken Anderson, so it became an especially valuable commodity during Winter Storm Uri last month. The retired attorney said he had thousands of gallons to spare once his power came back and his busted outdoor pipe was repaired, so he provided drinking water to neighbors who needed it during a time when Houston was under a boil water notice and many residents had no running water or low water pressure. Even when a Shady Acres family wanted water to flush down their toilets, Anderson still did not want his to go to waste. Charlotte Leibold, whose household of four bought bottled water for drinking during the weeklong winter storm, said she contacted the office of

Houston City Council member Abbie Kamin in search of nonpotable water for flushing. One of Kamin’s staffers then turned to Anderson, who had previously notified the office that he had potable water available. “Our initial response was, ‘Well, it’s not really what we had been providing the water for,’ “ Anderson said. “Well, we thought, ‘We use our rainwater to flush our toilets. Why are our toilets any more magical than anybody else’s?’ We were happy to provide it for whatever use somebody needed it for.” Within 24 hours after Leibold had made her request, Kate Dentler from Kamin’s office had picked up 10 gallons from Anderson’s home and delivered it to Leibold. It was an example of an elected official quickly responding to the needs of a constituent during a crisis, and also of a community member helping another. Leibold, a retired nurse practitioner, described the experience as “unbelievable.” She

said it was the first time she had contacted her city council representative to request a service, and she appreciated the quick response, especially since her need was not critical. “Abbie Kamin’s office had this network of people they know, they can call on. That’s incredible to me,” Leibold said. “That someone was nice enough to share that with someone they didn’t even know, it was pretty shocking.” Anderson said he installed the rainwater harvesting system six years ago in an attempt to be more self-sustainable and reduce his carbon footprint. He said it was the first such system permitted by the city for allhouse use. He has two storage tanks that can hold up to 5,000 gallons apiece, and he treats the collected rainwater with a filtration system as well as ultraviolet light, which he said kills microorganisms. Anderson said he could not use it while his power was out and his wa-

ter was shut off, but once those amenities were restored, he had 5,000 gallons to distribute to his community. Anderson said Heightsbased Nick’s Plumbing & Sewer Services expedited the work to fix his busted pipe once they learned it would help Anderson help the neighborhood. He also credited Garden Oaks’ William Price Distilling Company, which donated 75 gallon jugs for Anderson to fill and distribute. He said he gave out at least 50 gallons of drinking water to residents who responded to his posts on social media channels before helping Leibold through Kamin’s office. “We’ve seen time and time again during disasters, Houstonians come together to help each other – that’s what Houston Strong is all about,” Kamin said. “Even as my staff and I worked around the clock to assist residents, it takes all of us and we could not have done this without Mr. Anderson.

Two neighborhood locales provide weekly fun By Zarah Parker

spots provide weekly fun and the perfect excuse to leave the house.

zarah@theleadernews.com

Everyday life has yet to return to what it was like before COVID-19, but more and more events are being planned and local outlets are attemping to hold gatherings in a safe and socially distanced way. Bars and breweries are taking the lead in promoting communal events. From bingo nights to live music, there’s finally things to do, and neighbors can walk there. Walking Stick Brewing Co., 956 Judiway St., has something for the neighborhood almost every day of the week. On Thursday, Walking Stick is hosting a ticketed event for a comedy and live music show presented by Jesse Peyton and Friends. Doors open at 6 p.m., David Pearce will play live music from 6:30-8 p.m., and from 8-10 p.m. the comedy lineup of Jesse Saldana, Jerry Wayne Longmire, Tre Tutson and Jesse Peyton will perform. The event costs $50 and includes two drink tokens. Find tickets on Walking Stick’s website at https://walkingstickbrewing.com/. If you can’t make it Thursday, Walking Stick plans to have other live music shows throughout March and April. Events that are a little more low-key include free Monday night bingo from 7-10 p.m., Tuesday Run Club, which includes 1- and 3-mile routes,

Contributed photo Heights resident Ken Anderson has a rainwater harvesting system that includes two 5,000-gallon storage tanks. He used it to provide water to neighbors in need during Winter Storm Uri last month.

There are so many stories of residents taking care of one another and I’m glad we were able to help. Kate did an incredible job stepping up to not just

connect them, but personally pick up the water and deliver vital supplies to Ms. Leibold to ensure she was taken care of.”

Free pancake breakfast March 6th 8:30-10am, pick-up on Avens opposite Mister Carwash JOIN US ON FACEBOOK:

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CHURCH D I R E CTO RY

Photo from Facebook Walking Stick Brewing Co. is hosting a comedy and live music show presented by Jesse Peyton and Friends from this Thursday.

and steak night, Wednesday half-off wine night, plus you can take home flowers, Saturday and Sundays are crawfish boils and Sundays is yoga and live music. Walking Stick also hosts the HTX Market every first and third Friday from 5-9 p.m. Wakefield Crowbar, 954 Wakefield Dr., provides a spot that utilizes its space to cater to a diverse crowd. “Our goal has been to strategically balance the space to allow all of these groups to utilize Wakefield Crowbar harmoniously,” said Omid Rafiei, managing partner at Wakefield Crowbar. “In order to service our diverse customer base well, we focus on providing a variety of programming and opportunities.” Wakefield hosts both volley-

ball and corn hole leagues any day of the week, plus Tuesday night bingo, Wednesday night trivia and live music by Stevie Matthews every Saturday from 2-6 p.m. “A perfect example of how we are able to cater to multiple customer bases is our St. Paddy’s weekend coming up next weekend,” Rafiei said. “We will host sand volleyball and corn hole tournaments through Houston Sports & Social Club on Saturday along with leagues on Sunday, live music by Stevie Matthews on Saturday, live music by JB Barnett on Sunday followed by the Houston Fire Department Pipes & Drums performing to benefit Firefighters Helping Firefighters and the Renaud Foundation.” These two neighborhood

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

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The Leader • Saturday, March 6, 2021 • Page 5A

Detention, from P. 1A for a base detention rate of .75 acre feet per acre for lots that are at least 7,500 square feet or have impervious area in excess of 65 percent of the lot. Such a detention rate means that for every 1,000 square feet of impervious cover, which would be structures such as a house, swimming pool, patio or slab of concrete, 750 cubic feet of detention would be required. Detention infrastructure, which collects water and temporarily holds it before slowly releasing it, could be in the form of ponds, rain barrels or underground culverts or pipes. Per the city’s proposed plan, the detention rate would increase on a sliding scale for lots between 1 and 20 acres with at least 50 percent impervious area. Presently, the detention rate for the larger set of properties is .5 acre feet per acre. It is .2 for smaller, residential properties. The upcoming detention rules would apply to new construction as well as additions or modifications to existing structures that impact the amount of impervious area on a lot. The city will require drainage plans to be submitted for review. “This will greatly impact homebuilding inside the city,” said a Houston homebuilder

Bats, from P. 1A who asked to remain anonymous. “Detention’s expensive.” Detention also will be required for lots with a shared driveway, even if they are less than 7,500 square feet, which would apply to townhome developments throughout the area. And the city will no longer allow tracts greater than 1 acre in size to be subdivided for the purposes of reducing stormwater detention requirements. But in a Frequency Asked Questions document dated Feb. 23, the public works department said the city is considering a program in which a fee could be paid in lieu of meeting detention requirements. Such a program would apply to single-family development, redevelopment and structure additions, although the city said, “A timeline for this program is not yet defined.” The homebuilder said the upcoming changes are “scaring some people” in the real estate world. Schroeder said she has seen a recent spike in applications for building permits as Houstonians catch wind of the upcoming detention requirements and try to get projects approved before they go into effect. “People will figure it out and make it all work,” the builder said.

Drainage, from P. 1A drainage to the west and east, with public works previously saying flood mitigation will be maximized once all three interconnected phases are complete. After Imelda, public works said it received multiple reports of flooding concerns on that stretch of Wakefield from both community members and the office of Houston City Council member Abbie Kamin, who serves the area as part of District C. The street includes homes and a mix of businesses, including industrial manufacturers, bars, restaurants, a craft brewery, a distillery and a winery. “This is a huge win for residents who flagged this specific flooding issue for me at a Neighborhood Office Hours community meeting about a year ago,” Kamin said. “As a result, I pushed to have this area included in the final project design, and am glad additional relief is coming. What would normally take 5-10 years as a new (Capital Improvement Project) is now moving forward and slated to begin later this year.” Co-owner Sean Bednarz of Great Heights Brewing Company, which is located at 938 Wakefield Dr. and took on water during Imelda, said he welcomes increased flood mitigation and is appreciative of the city for being communicative about its plan. But Bednarz said he worries about the impact two years of construction could have on his business and others on the two-lane street. For example, Great Heights relies on traffic from the Garden Oaks neighborhood as well as large trucks that deliver grain used for making beer. “The city reached out to us. They let us know about it. We did not try to stop it or get in the way of it, because we know it’s important to the neighborhood,” Bednarz said. “I’m hoping that they will approach this in a smart way and not do something that’s going to shut down all these businesses.” The public works department said it will hold a public engagement meeting with the community before construction begins.

Buffalo Bayou Partnership. In the case of Watonga bat colony, the dead bats were removed by Houston Parks Board.” Houston Parks Board President and CEO Beth White said the organization found about 1,000 bats down in Houston after the freeze. “Of those, about 75 survived and were relocated to recuperate on nearby trees as to remove them from any danger on the trail,” White said. “Houston Parks Board is appreciative of the Bayou Greenway Trail users who have expressed care and concern for the bats. They are such an important part of our ecosystem and we are grateful of the support for our work to steward these important corridors for wildlife and people.” Foss said some bats were also taken to wildlife rehabilitators. “Austin Bat Refuge took in huge numbers of bats from the central part of the state,” she said. “Those bats will be released back into the wild when they recover.” While the freeze was deadly for many bats, the majority of the colony survived, according to Foss. While some Mexican free-tailed bats come to this area for the

normally mild winters, most of the Texas and North American population migrate south to Mexico and Central/South America for the winter. So they weren’t here. Those that were had some degree of protection. “During the summer months, the bats eat tons of insects and convert that food into body fat,” Foss said. “The stored body fat helps them survive the winter here. During cold temperatures, below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the bats move into the tightest crevices in the bridge colony and go into a state called ‘torpor.’ It’s like a temporary hibernation.” Foss said this allows a bat to lower its body temperature, respiration and metabolism – and live off the stored body fat for energy. When the weather warms up, the bat then wakes up and flies out to get water and catch insects again. “The end of February is typically the end of our cold winter weather,” Foss said. “This freeze created extremely low temperatures for an extended period of time. The bats were near the end of the fat reserves. Some bats just became extremely cold – too cold to survive. Others

starved or were very dehydrated, which resulted in their deaths.” Foss said the bats that made it through will carry on as usual, although it may take a year or two for each bat colony to recover. It all depends on the number of bats impacted by the cold. “Each Mexican free-tailed bat female gives birth to one pup per year - in the summer,” Foss said. “If that pup survives, it will help repopulate the colony.” Foss said the larger part of the colony will return to Watonga starting in March and April. Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Houston Bat Team also expressed gratitude for the public’s support and concern. “The bats eat tons of insects every night over our skies – our nightly pest control,” Foss said. “They save Texas farmers up to $1 million annually because the bats are eating the corn and cotton insect pests, so farmers don’t have to apply more insecticides to crops.” While Foss extols the virtues of bats, she also cautions the public against handling one. “Please never pick up a bat on the ground,” she said.

GOMO, from P. 1A collect .75 percent transfer fees upon the completion of each property sale in the neighborhood. Transfer fees have been the primary revenue source for GOMO, which filed for bankruptcy in April 2018 and invited hundreds of claims by property owners who sought to recoup those fees. The homeowners association initially tried to reorganize during a Chapter 11 proceeding, but property owners in the neighborhood did not sufficiently support a restructuring plan that included amendments to the deed restrictions and a mandatory, $80 annual fee in lieu of a transfer fee. After that point, when GOMO leadership remained at odds with a committee of unsecured creditors that included Peter Chang, Jones converted the case to Chapter 7 in the summer of 2019. “It was a horrible disaster,” Pam Parks, who served as office manager for GOMO, said of the conversion. Last summer, Jones overruled an omnibus claims objection filed by Williams, who argued there was a statute of limitations tied to GOMO’s improper formation and the state district court ruling applied only to the Changs and could not be used as a valid basis for claims filed by other property owners. But Jones allowed the roughly 35 remaining claims in question, accepting a mutual mistake equity argument made by Garden Oaks homeowner and attorney Mike Falick. The Changs’ attorney, Bren-

don Singh, made the same successful argument during the Feb. 22 hearing. Johnie Patterson, the attorney representing Williams, argued the Changs’ claim should be disallowed because they had the opportunity to recover their transfer fee during the state district court proceeding. After ruling to allow the Changs’ claim, Jones said he realized it had been a long and hard bankruptcy case and that he thought Peter Chang tried to bring the neighborhood together during the Chapter 11 proceeding. “If there ever was a situation where someone has been a leader, has tried to do the right thing, has asserted his claim, has done everything the bankruptcy code expects them to do, it is the Changs,” Jones said. What’s next? Jones also said his bankruptcy court is “simply not the forum” to determine whether GOMO is a valid homeowners association and has the legal authority to collect transfer fees. Those figure to be questions left for another court or GOMO’s leadership. Jones dismissed an adversarial complaint filed in 2018 by the now-defunct creditors committee, which sought to prevent GOMO from collecting more transfer fees and using the fees it already had received. The dismissal of the complaint also terminated a temporary order by Jones that forced GOMO to suspend the

collection of transfer fees. That means GOMO could have the legal authority to collect transfer fees once the bankruptcy case is closed, but Parks said such a practice figures to be problematic since claims seeking a refund of those fees were allowed by Jones. Another question for GOMO is whether it will have any remaining assets when the case is closed. Williams said during a hearing last August that GOMO had about $582,000 in assets. Roughly 40 unsecured claims totaling more than $155,000 were allowed by Jones, according to court filings. The court also granted Patterson’s application for about $73,000 in attorney’s fees related to his work for GOMO in the Chapter 11 proceeding, and he is expected to submit another application for his work in the Chapter 7 proceeding. GOMO’s estate also will pay Williams for his legal work. Both Peter Chang and Parks said they expect GOMO to have as much as $200,000 in remaining assets when the case is closed. So GOMO could theoretically continue operating and use that money to try to petition the neighborhood for a new funding mechanism, which would require an amendment to the deed restrictions. If GOMO’s assets are depleted before the end of the bankruptcy case, it could be forced to dissolve.

Williams declined to answer questions related to GOMO’s fate, and Patterson did not respond to emails and a voicemail seeking comment. GOMO’s volunteer board of directors, which has 12 seats, has dwindled to three members during the bankruptcy case, because annual elections have not been held and many board members’ three-year terms have expired. Two of the remaining board members did not respond to voicemails seeking comment, and the other declined comment until more information is available. “There’s a lot of questions here,” Parks said. “We need a roadmap out of this, I think.” The Changs said they also are unsure about what’s to come for GOMO, but they are glad their claim was allowed and that the bankruptcy case is winding down. Peter Chang said he and his wife want to have an HOA moving forward, so long as it’s one that’s formed properly and treats them “like neighbors” instead of opposing litigants. Along those lines, Katherine Chang said their lengthy legal dispute with GOMO was more about “the way we were treated” than it was about a second garage. “I think the neighborhood needs to step back and we need to take time to heal,” Peter Chang said. “This neighborhood needs to go without lawyers for a couple years. I think this neighborhood has had enough lawyers’ involvement to last many lifetimes.”

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Page 6A • Saturday, March 6, 2021 • The Leader GENERAL HOME IMPROVEMENTS

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The Leader • Saturday, March 6, 2021 • Page 7A

Art Valet: Much goes into making markets memorable Mitch Cohen Art Columnist

This Saturday officially begins the 17th year of the First Saturday Arts Market. To my knowledge, that makes my little market Houston’s original monthly outdoor art market. The market is located on a big parking lot at 530 W. 19th St. and is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. There are more details in the final paragraph below, but first, let me tell you a little something off the cuff. Recently a friend suggested that I write about what it takes to run the art market. All the nitty-gritty stuff nobody knows about. That does not sound exciting to me - but my friend insisted so here goes. I’ll let you decide!

Are you thinking all one needs for an outdoor market is a flat piece of land on which to pitch some tents? Try that and let me know how it works out. Here’s a list of things I do or delegate in one or two words, each starting two weeks before a market and ending one or two days after. No prior notes, just thinking “out loud” here. Web, email and social media marketing, maintenance of grounds and lot cleanup, reminder notices to volunteers, artists and service vendors, paid bills, cargo van rental and return, roll call, booth assignments, load-in times sent to artists (think cat herding), equipment pickup. Equipment? Oh yes, by the time the artists arrive and usually before my help, too, I’ve picked up and unloaded and set up, the music tent, equipment and market information tent, 200 pounds of weights. (Tents are really just giant parasails waiting for an oppor-

Contributed photo Heights artist Jen Paschke returns Saturday for her second First Saturday Arts Market at 530 W. 19th St. Devayani Vaishnav, right, first attended in 2006.

tunity.) There are also tables, chairs, trash cans, approximately 400 feet of extension cords because for some reason I feel it’s necessary to offer free electricity with the booths. I don’t stop to mull this stuff over. I do get flustered sometimes with the loading and unloading, but that’s when I

have the chance to check my attitude. The way I see it, my biggest job is setting the tone or the “good-vibes” attitude. If it means being overly cheerful and self-deprecating then that’s what I’ll do. (Some of the artists are going to make fun of me anyway, so what the heck!)

I know I’m not going to make everyone happy, and let me tell you I have screwed up plenty! If I can control what I think and say, though, I can at least be a good influence and maybe take the edge off some people. Wearing a smile is the best way to greet our new visitors.

I love this event and the people that come back every month to check in, visit and see what’s new. Hearing the artists talk about “the big sale” or commissions they received from being at the last market really gets me pumped up. In addition to my good attitude and mile-wide grin when I see you Saturday, also joining the market will be Texas singer and songwriter Wendy Elizabeth Jones & Her Texas Roundup performing from 2-5 p.m. Over on the food lineup, Good Dog Houston’s food truck will be parked and serving their menu. For beverages, Houston Cider Company and Houston Winery will be selling their latest. Get all the details on the website, 1stSatArtMarket. com. 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.

Review: Filipino flavors served at Be More Pacific Zarah Parker Managing Editor

In the last couple of months, every time I drove by Be More Pacific in the Heights, I saw a crowded patio and a full parking lot. It was no different when I finally visited the Filipino restaurant myself. Even though the patio was full, I was lucky to snag a table inside right away. The inside space is mostly taken over by the bar, which dominates the middle of the room. Tables and chairs line the wall around it. I felt social just being in the presence of so many others being social. The atmosphere was friendly with a laidback California vibe. However, it was loud. When I asked our server questions about the menu, I had to keep leaning

my ear toward him to hear. It only settled a little when later in the evening the inside had more empty tables. I was able to hear the server enough to know what items were most popular. He explained the “How much food should you order?” system, which the server said a lot of people ask about. All you really need to know is the letters on the suggested servings stand for parts of the menu. The “U” is for Ulam (entrees), the “P” is for Pulutan (bar food) and the “T” is for Tikim (tastes). Most portions of the menu items are meant to be shared. My table ordered the Adobo Chicken and Tosilog, which were both recommended by our server. The chicken dish came with chicken leg quarters braised in a marinade and red onions and green onions over the top. It also came with a side of white rice. The Tosilog came with pork covered in

sauce on a bed of garlic rice with a fried egg and green onions on top. We also ordered two servings of the Vegetable Lumpia, which are similar to fried spring rolls. The shell was stuffed with cabbage, carrots and garlic. Spicy vinegar was served as a dipping sauce on the side. The Lumpia’s shell was perfectly crispy. The dish is simple and what made me really enjoy it was the spicy vinegar. Vinegar isn’t normally something my taste buds lean to, but it lifted up the ingredients of the dish. The Adobo Chicken rested in the marinade. On the menu, it says the marinade is tangy and savory. While I didn’t find it tangy, it was definitely savory. The chicken was wonderfully tender and darkened by the marinade. The savory favors really seeped into the meat, so much so that the chicken reminded me of roast

beef. I had a similar problem with missing a flavor in the Tosilog dish. The menu describes the pork as sweet and savory, but there was no sweetness to be found. Savory seemed to be the main component of both dishes, which is fine, but it made me wonder why I didn’t taste the tangy or sweet aspects that were advertised. The pork had an interesting flavor nonetheless. The pork wasn’t burned in anyway, but the sauce covering the pork had a burnt flavor. I really liked the garlic rice and the fried egg layered on top. It offset that burnt flavor and made it taste fresh. If everyone ordered individually, I could see how some of the dishes could be considered pricey. Splitting two entrees and two of the bar food options, my dinner was only around $13, including tip. Granted, we all got water to drink.

Photo by Zarah Parker Pictured is Vegetable Lumpia, Adobo Chicken and Tosilog from Be More Pacific.

Be More Pacific Address: 506 Yale St. Hours: 3 p.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 3 p.m.-midnight Friday, 11 a.m.-midnight Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday Pricing: $6-$18

Kid-friendly: No Alcohol: Yes Healthy options: Yes Star of the show: Adobo Chicken

Food Briefs: Garden Oaks Common Bond opens By Zarah Parker

zarah@theleadernews.com

After opening a location in the Heights at 499 W. 19th St., Common Bond Bistro & Bakery quickly became a neighborhood favorite. The cafe then opened a drive-thru, onthe-go concept in the Heights during the COVID-19 pandemic at 601 Heights Blvd. Now Common Bond has brought the same kind of drive-thru concept to Garden Oaks at 3210 N. Shepherd Dr., previously Kim’s Service Station. It opens Thursday. Common Bond’s on-the-go concepts do not feature the café’s full menu, instead focusing on grab-and-go meals as well as items such as pastries, cookies and freshly baked breads. The Garden Oaks Common Bond will operate daily from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Rainbow Lodge ‘Rescue Menu’ benefits food bank Rainbow Lodge, 2011 Ella Blvd., recently released a special menu that will benefit the

Houston Food Bank. The “Food Bank Rescue Menu” is a three-course meal with wine, priced at $75 per person. It’s available in-house or to-go during the month of March. For every meal sold from the recue menu, Rainbow Lodge will donate $5 to the Houston Food Bank. The food bank will be able to provide 15 meals to those in need per donation from Rainbow Lodge. The rescue menu features Fried Texas Quail Bites as a starter, a choice between a Pan-Seared Snapper or a Grilled 10-ounce Bison Ribeye for the entrée and a choice between Croissant Bread Pudding and Chocolate Mousse Torte for dessert. The special also includes a half-bottle of red or white wine.

Antone’s launches new po’ boy Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys has launched its newest sandwich in its “H-Town Originals Campaign.” This time, Antone’s teamed up with Dr. Peter J. Hotez, Tex-

Photo by Zarah Parker Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys, which has an area location, is partnering with Dr. Peter Hotez on a special sandwich available this month.

as Children’s Hospital Chair in Tropical Pediatrics, co-director of Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. “The Dr. Hotez One World” Bahn Mi will consist of thinly sliced marinated beef on house-baked French bread served with pickled carrots,

cucumber, daikon radish, papaya and fresh jalapeño with a roasted garlic-sambal aioli for $8.95. It will be available throughout March at all Antone’s locations, including 2724 W. T.C. Jester Blvd. Half of the proceeds made from the sandwich will go to Texas Children’s Hospital to support its Center for Vaccine Development.

Discover local music through WOMH playlists By Zarah Parker zarah@theleadernews.com

White Oak Music Hall, 2915 N. Main St., is making it easier for people to discover Houston musicians through Spotify playlists. The “Locals Only” playlist series is annual, with it starting last year. Ashley Dawson, White Oak Music Hall’s marketing assistant, came up with the idea as a way to spotlight local musicians. “We have some great local bands in Houston,” Dawson said, “and we decided last year to get creative in how we can be an ally for local artists and help the community of

local musicians through our channels.” Last year, White Oak created playlists featuring local musicians who produced folk, metal, indie and hip-hop. This time around it’s getting tweaked. Instead of focusing on subgenres, the playlists will be broader. For example, every subgenre of rock will be included in the rock playlist and folk will be included with country. “We thought it would be better to have a few playlists rather than many to increase the likelihood of more people listening to all of the music,” Dawson said. The first playlist series was

created by word of mouth and who White Oak already knew about. The new playlists are being created based off fan suggestions. White Oak will post on its social media channels, and followers are invited to tag their favorite local artist that fits the category. “We think it greatly benefits local artists by giving them a platform for their music,” Dawson said. “Playlists in general are very popular right now and landing a spot on a good playlist is a great way for a band to gain exposure. We have a following that loves music, so we thought we would be a great outlet to

get ears on local music.” The new Locals Only series of playlists currently available on Spotify, which you can find by searching “whiteoakmh,” includes indie, rock and folk. White Oak also recently announced its new lineup of outdoor concerts. Justin Furtsenfeld of Blue October will play March 12-13, Texas Smoke Break Fest takes place March 17 and 20, and the Read Southall Band plays April 17. Bazaar on the Bayou, White Oak’s inaugural outdoor spring market, also will be held March 28. It will feature more than 60 vendors.

Down House shutters The popular Heights brunch spot Down House, 1801 Yale St., announced via social media last week that its last day of service was Feb. 21. “It takes so much to start a restaurant, let alone run one for (10) great years,” the post read. “There (are) countless people who touched this place and made memories here, and we are grateful to all of you.” The post also talked about how the owner’s original goal was to build educated communities around great food and beverages. “Reflecting on the way the Heights has developed over the last (10) years, we are proud to have played a part in building this community,” read

the post. They also acknowledged some of its longtime staff who worked at the restaurant for seven or more years. The Instagram account for Down House did not respond to a message seeking further comment. Eureka brings back Catalina Eureka Heights Brew Co., 941 W. 18th St., has brought back its beer-wine hybrid Catalina Wine Mixer. To make the mixer, Eureka took its Neon Moon wort and blended it with Sauvignon Blanc grape juice, then fermented it with Belgian Abby yeast. The wine mixer is 9.5 percent alcohol by volume.

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THE PUBLIC. The Leader • Saturday, March 6, 2021 • Page 8A

Abbott orders opening of businesses, end to mask mandate By Stefan Modrich news@theleadernews.com Effective next Wednesday, March 10, businesses and facilities in Texas can open at 100 percent capacity, and Texans will no longer be mandated to wear masks, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday. Abbott issued Executive Order GA-34 Tuesday, citing medical advancements of COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs among his reasons for the reopening. “Today’s announcement doesn’t abandon safe practices that Texans have mastered over the past year,” Abbott said. “Instead, it’s a reminder that each person has a role to play in their own personal safety and the safety of others.” Abbott said 7 million vaccination shots have been administered in Texas and every senior who wants a vaccine should be able to get one by the end of March. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said Abbott’s decision to reopen the state is a “cynical attempt to distract Texans

from the failures of state oversight of our power grid.” “Taking away critical public health interventions that we know are working won’t make our community safer, nor will it hasten our return to normalcy,” Hidalgo said. “Quite the opposite, every time public health measures have been pulled back, we’ve seen a spike in hospitalizations. If we start the climb now, we’d be starting from the highest starting point ever when it comes to our hospital population, an unacceptable and dangerous proposition. With the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines, we’re inching closer to the finish line of this pandemic - now is not the time to reverse the gains we’ve worked so hard to achieve.” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner echoed Hidalgo’s thoughts about Abbott’s motivations, writing on Twitter Tuesday that he agreed it was intended to distract Texans from the failures to winterize the power grid. “Every time we start moving in the right direction the Governor steps in and sets us

Abbott

back and makes all of our jobs harder,” Turner tweeted. “He minimizes the sacrifices of people and businesses.” Houston City Council member Abbie Kamin, who represents the Heights, Garden Oaks and Oak Forest as part of District C, wrote in a tweet that she is “encouraging our local businesses to please stay the course” and to “mask up, protect employees and our community.” According to the executive order, businesses may still limit capacity or implement additional safety protocols at their own discretion.

Houston ISD officials wrote on Twitter that they would continue to require maskwearing on district property and at district events, consistent with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “HISD will continue to follow the guidelines of its Communicable Disease Plan (CDP) for the safety of all students and staff at all HISD campuses and district buildings, including practicing physical distancing,” the district Tweeted Tuesday. As of Tuesday, 274,645 Harris County residents had been fully vaccinated, and 502,250 had their initial dose administered, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). According to the county’s COVID-19 data hub, there have been at least 1,355 deaths in Houston and Harris County as a result of the virus that causes COVID-19, and 169,869 people have recovered from the virus. There are 10,155 active cases in the county.

Local state rep authors environmental legislation By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com State Rep. Penny Morales Shaw, who represents parts of Garden Oaks, Oak Forest and the Heights in the Texas House of Representatives, announced Tuesday she has filed three pieces of environmental legislation. House Bills 2368, 2369 and 2370 would aim “to limit pollution during disasters, strengthen public participation in the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s contested case hearing process and to enhance local municipal monitoring capabilities,” according to a news release from Shaw’s office.

Morales Shaw

HB 2368 would require the TCEQ to share information its collects on water pollutant violations with local government entities, while HB 2370 would amend the TCEQ’s contested case hear-

ing process to provide for “fairer participation and input by the public,” according to Shaw. HB 2369, she said, would require staggered shutdowns and startups of facilities in a declared disaster area in a manner minimizing the cumulative impacts of harmful emissions. Shaw cited last month’s winter storm that caused many local residents to lose power and water for days as examples of future incidents she said the bills could potentially help mitigate. “We need the proper infrastructure in place before another disaster happens to ensure that the least amount of suffering befalls families, especially our most vulner-

able populations,” she said. “These three bills strive to reduce air pollution during extreme weather events, ensure fair public participation and increase transparency for local governments.”

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IN MEMORIAM

William Paul Nichols

August 2, 1938 – February 14, 2021

W

illiam Paul Nichols, of Houston, TX passed away on February 14, 2021 at the age of 82.

He was born August 2, 1938 in New Salem, Texas to Ernest and Mabel Nichols. He worked as a milkman until he retired. He had a great work ethic, was a problem solver and loved helping others. His family is incredibly proud of him. He will live forever in our hearts.

He is survived by his wife, Mary; three children, Doug, Suzie and Scott; two brothers, Johnny and Tony; and two sisters, Pansy and Debra.

IN MEMORIAM

B

Wilbert Floyd Gordon

May 28, 1943 - February 25, 2021

orn in Jasper TX. Passed due to 10 yrs of struggle with cancer. Passed at VA hospital on 2/25/21. Living in Houston since 1953. Attended Reagan HS. Air Force Medic. Baylor College and Sophia College in Japan with a degree in Psychology While in Japan climbed Mt. Fuji

he

Will and father Walter Louis Gordon built and operated Tradewinds Roller Rink in 1957. Later they built and operated Bear Creek Roller Rink on FM1960. Formerly Skate City USA. Will also became the very first Cooperate Legal Video Photographer in the United States. (CLVS) Wilbert is survived by his wife of 31 years Judy M. Gordon, and son Chris Griffin and Kimberly, and son Brian Whitney and wife Diane, granddaughter Gleason, sister Shirley Houston and husband Tom Houston, brother-in-law Sonny Gray, nephew Cody Gray and great nephew Austin Gray, Memorial Celebration will be planned at a later date.

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The Leader • Saturday, March 6, 2021 • Page 1B

Key findings There was a mixture of optimism and pessimism from small business

100%

50%

50%

NO - 47%

SENTIMENT SURVEY

100%

50%

50%

Less - 12.5%

100%

Same - 14.2%

Do you expect more, less or the same revenue in 2021?

MORE - 73.3%

Do you think vendors will charge more, less or same?

Less - 6.1%

2021 Small Business

Same - 13.5%

100%

Less - 14.6%

Do you expect more, less or the same customers in 2021?

MORE - 72%

Do you plan to hire more employees in 2021?

SAME - 42.2%

Small businesses are uncertain about the rest of 2021, weary of spending money, increasing marketing expenditures or adding new employees to the payroll. Even still, these business owners are optimistic that customers and revenue will grow. Those are the key findings from a survey of 124 small businesses that are clients of McElvy Partners, a Houston-based company that works with more than 2,000 small Photo by businesses Patric Schneider annually on Jonathan McElvy is m a r k e t i n g the CEO of McElvy and custom- Partners, which serves er growth small businesses. strategies. The survey, conducted the first two weeks of February 2021, asked small business owners to answer 10 questions about their business and their outlook for the remainder of the year. Respondents represented a mix of businesses, with 73 percent indicating they have anywhere between 2-25 employees. According to Small Business Trends, 90 percent of small businesses, nationally, have less than 20 employees. Of those who responded to the survey over the phone or online, 65 percent had been in business for more than 10 years and 86 percent had been open five or more years. According to the SBA, only half of all small businesses remain open more than five years, weighting this survey heavily toward more successful business owners. “I think the collection of business owners we were able to survey gave us a strong look at how businesses feel about the rest of this year,” said Jonathan McElvy, CEO of McElvy Partners. “We had a good mix, but the core of our respondents would be considered successful operators, which tends to offer more authentic results to the questions we asked.”

In early February, McElvy Partners surveyed 124 small business clients to get a sense for their expectations for the remainder of 2021. There is optimism and uncertainty.

YES - 53%

Staff Report

Uncertain Year

MORE - 51.7%

Survey: Nearly half of small businesses don’t plan to hire in 2021

Full survey results will be published Monday, March 9, at www.McElvyPartners.com Graphic by Brooke Nance

The graphs above illustrate the results of a small business survey conducted by McElvy Partners.

owners. For instance, respondents were asked whether they planned to hire more employees in 2021. Just over 53 percent said yes, they plan to hire more people, while 47 percent said no, representing a nearly even split on the question. The same was true on a number of other questions. When asked whether businesses would add more inventory this year, keep it the same, or have less inventory than 2020, 46 percent said they’d add more, 47 percent said they’d have the same amount, and 7 percent said they’d have less. Again, an even split between businesses that add or stay the same. And when asked if businesses expected their vendors to charge more, less or the same amount, again, the numbers were nearly even. Of the respondents, 52 percent expect to pay more for goods, while 48 percent expect to pay the same or less as they did in 2020.

“Our big takeaway from those three questions is an overwhelming sense of uncertainty about what will happen as the year goes on,” McElvy said. “For every business that thinks vendors will charge more, another thinks vendors will charge the same or even less. Same with inventory – half think they’ll add inventory; half think they’ll have the same or even less.” After such a difficult 2020 for small businesses, McElvy said uncertainty is not the news he was hoping to hear. “For most of our small business clients, 2020 was about the worst it could get in terms of revenue,” he said. “To hear that half of those clients don’t expect it to get better is worrisome.” What about revenue? Another question in the survey asked whether small business owners thought overall revenue would in-

crease in 2021. While 73 percent said they expect higher revenues, 14 percent expect it to be the same, and 13 percent expect revenues to be even lower this year. “It’s obviously good news that three-quarters of our respondents expect revenue to grow, but more than a quarter of them expect revenue to be the same or even less,” McElvy said. “That falls in line with a number of national surveys we’ve seen that about 30 percent of small businesses expect to fail as consequences of this pandemic linger.” According to a national survey published in Forbes magazine, small businesses reported revenue declines of 52 percent in the second quarter of 2020, compared to the same quarter of 2019. “In working with our clients, we know 2020 was the bottom of the barrel, in terms of revenue,” McElvy said. “Businesses that expect to sur-

vive – especially as government funding programs taper off – should overwhelmingly feel like revenues will be higher this year. To a large degree, that is the case. But having nearly 30 percent of our clients worry about revenue this year is some cause for concern.” Marketing challenges Along with uncertainty, respondents also seem more confused about marketing and their online presence than any other part of their operations. When asked the one area of business that could use the most help, nearly 41 percent said marketing and managing their company website. After that, 25 percent wanted help with customer retention, nearly 21 percent said managing and hiring employees, and 14 percent said managing their finances.

Death and Real Estate: How to avoid probate for the family home For The Leader When a person passes away, their real estate is often one of the only assets that will have to go through the court-supervised probate process. Not only is probate costly, it requires beneficiaries to operate on the court’s time schedule, which can cause unnecessary delays. With a little advance planning, however, probate can be avoided even for these assets. Below are a few options to consider so that your real estate holdings can pass without the hassle of probate. 1. Revocable Living Trust With a revocable living trust, you create a new legal entity to own your assets. By then transferring your real estate to your revocable living trust, your successor trustee can sign to transfer the home when you can’t either because death or incapacity. Because your signature is not needed to transfer the real estate, probate can be avoided for this asset. Voila! 2. Transfer on Death Deed Texas law has created a Transfer on Death Deed, which is a way to convert your real estate into a benefi-

is called an “enhanced life estate,” which enables the person executing the deed to exercise certain rights of control, including the right to sell the property.

Jennifer Solak provides legal advice for families and businesses and may be contacted at jennifer@solaklegal.com or 713-588-5744.

ciary designated asset, similar to how life insurance and retirement accounts operate. While you’re living, you will need to execute and record the Transfer on Death Deed in the real property records. After passing, your heirs will only need to file an affidavit in the real property attesting to your death. Again, title to the real estate can be transferred without the need for a probate proceeding. 3. Ladybird Deed Similar to a Transfer on Death Deed, a Ladybird Deed provides a way to state who you want to receive your real estate upon your death. With a Ladybird Deed, the current owner retains what

4. Heirship Affidavit Unlike the first three options, an Affidavit of Heirship is a legal instrument that cannot be used until after death. When someone dies without a Will, but with real property titled in their name, the heirs of the owner and two independent witnesses, can execute an affidavit to transfer the property. The two independent witnesses are needed to verify the family history and heirship of the owner. The affidavit is then filed with the county’s real property records where the home is located, and title is transferred without the need for probate. The information in this column, which was sponsored by Solak Legal as part of The Leader Expert Series, is intended to provide a general understanding of the law and not legal advice. Readers with legal questions should consult attorneys for advice on their particular circumstances. Jennifer Solak provides legal advice for families and businesses and may be contacted at jennifer@solaklegal.com or 713588-5744.

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Page 2B • Saturday, March 6, 2021 • The Leader

Pinemont retail center reimagined as ‘The Common’ By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com

The retail center at 1102 Pinemont Dr., which is home to Esther’s Signature Dish, is about to get a major overhaul. Gulf Coast Commercial Group, a Houston-based firm specializing in retail development, management and leasing, bought the property in 2019 from Allen Family Investments. Gulf Coast recently announced plans for a project on the property’s nearly 3 acres called “The Common,” which would create a namesake, central common, incorporating both green space and a renovated plaza. The remodel is an Opportunity Zone project. According to the City of Houston, the Opportunity Zone program was created by the 2017 federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to encourage businesses to develop and invest in low-income communities in Texas. There are 99 census tracts within city boundaries so designated by the governor’s office. According to a news re-

lease, the remodel is expected to begin in March. Gulf Coast will manage the property with company vice president Danny Miller overseeing leasing. Esther’s, known for its Cajun soul food, will remain open through renovations. Houston’s Schooley Design is the architect for the project and is designing with sustainability in mind. The release from Gulf Coast said materials will be reused and creatively repurposed rather than demolished. The project will also incorporate solar panels to power exterior lighting in addition to water catchment tanks for landscape irrigation. The two separate structures on the property will remain but the new façade will have a floating exterior of staggered mesh Corten panels. The release said the material’s composite of steel and copper will naturally oxidize to create a rich palette and texture over time. Placing the panels at irregular intervals is meant to break up the length of the building while highlighting

Contributed rendering A three-acre retail center at 1102 Pinemont Dr. is in the process of being overhauled into The Common.

signage. The new common area between the two buildings will become “a lifestyle hub” with farmers’ markets and artisan pop-ups. “Special attention was paid to creating an architectural aesthetic and environment that would be both appreciated and enjoyed by the diverse communities that The Common will serve,” reads the release.

Schooley Design’s clients include Kata Robata, Area, 3600 Kirby, Benjy’s on Washington, Art Attack and Hungry’s. Landscaping will be led by Alissa Priebe and David Cater of OUTPOSTS Landscape Architecture (O-LA). Their plan aims to further unify the site by pulling geometries from the existing architecture into the landscape.

Prior to founding O-LA, Priebe was a project manager and designer at Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, where she worked on The Plaza & The Cellars at Pearl Brewery in San Antonio, Harwood Park in Dallas and the soonto-debut Hotel Magdalena and Saint Cecilia Residences in Austin. “We’re excited to give this property new life and acti-

vate the needs of surrounding communities in this rapidly growing area,” Gulf Coast Commercial Group President Tom Lile said. “Our goal is to showcase a variety of local businesses in a distinctive and inviting, family-friendly setting.” The center, which according to the Harris County Appraisal District was built in 1985 and remodeled in 2010, was recently home to Dominion Academy Charter School. It occupied what is referred to on Gulf Coast’s site plan as the east building and closed in 2013. With a few tenants in the west building, including a dental clinic and a pharmacy, most of the 38,420 square foot of space in both the west and east buildings remains unused. HCAD appraised the total property at $2,300,135 this year. Founded in 1999, Gulf Coast Commercial Group also has area projects underway at Block 14 at Garden Oaks and the 24-acre Lower Heights mixed-use district just west of downtown.

Clothing boutique opens at Stomping Grounds By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com

Christina Chambers got her first job at age 15 at the mall and worked retail through college. Now she and husband J.J. are the owners of a women’s clothing boutique, her and reese, which has been online since 2018. The first brick-and-mortar location is opening in April at the Stomping Grounds on West 34th Street. The 835 square foot store is located next to Becca’s Cakes and Flowe Studio. The store’s name is a play on her – Christina – and daughter Hazel Reese. “Though we are a newer boutique we knew that to grow

our online business we needed to take the next step and get a brick-and-mortar location,” Chambers said. “When we came across Stomping Grounds, we just knew it was the spot we had been looking for. The property and aesthetics were exactly what we had envisioned.” Chambers said the boutique is a good fit for both Garden Oaks and Stomping Grounds. “(We) offer the latest women’s trends at an affordable price without compromising on quality,” Chambers said. “We also have a wide selection of gifts from home, beauty, paper goods and even a small men’s section. We pride ourselves on supporting other Texas and American small

businesses.” The other tenants at Stomping Grounds were also a draw to Chambers and her husband. “We genuinely feel grateful to be amongst these amazing businesses and know we will all help each other succeed,” she said. Before opening her and reese, Chambers had a 14-year career in real estate selling new homes for a home builder. “Though real estate isn’t fashion, my store was a model home, and my goods were a home, so it was very much a storefront and retail business,” she said. “Though I have a business degree (J.J.) is more of the business/operations guru and manages our website as well as fulfilling all the

Business Briefs: Faust named influential woman in energy p.m. The free trial dance class will be at 1:40 p.m. Tuesday, March 9 at the Creative Motion Dance Studio, 720 Pinemont Dr. The free class is on a first-come, first-served basis. Call 713-557-1290 or visit www.creativemotion. com.

By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com

Oak Forest resident Melinda Faust, who is a managing director at Detring Energy Advisors, has been named one of 25 “Influential Women in Energy” by Oil and Gas Investor and Hart Energy. The Influential Women in Energy initiative, now in its fourth year, honors professional women who have excelled in one or more of the diverse sectors across the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, acquisitions and divestitures, oilfield services, midstream services, finance and law. Faust and the other honorees will be celebrated during a virtual event streaming ondemand starting March 25. Faust joined Detring Energy Advisors in May 2016. Previously she was a director at Lantana Energy Advisors, where she was actively involved in sourcing and executing transactions across the small and mid-cap A&D space. Faust is the founder and president of ADAM-Houston, ADAM-Permian and ADAMRockies A&D networking organizations (Acquisitions, Divestitures and Mergers), which host a combined membership of over 700 senior-level professionals. Moonshot moves to new headquarters in Heights Moonshot Compost, a company specializing in food waste diversion, has relocated to new, larger headquarters in the Heights at 1001 W. 18th St. The move allows for growth and expansion as Moonshot Compost brings on additional commercial and resident clients who want more sustainable solutions to dealing with kitchen food waste. Previously, the company was downtown. The new headquarters, with 1,500 square feet of space, serves as a home base that allows Moonshot Compost to keep its office and operations housed under one roof. “Although we started our company during the pandemic last year, we are very

Faust

encouraged by the reception of Houstonians to incorporating composting into their daily routines,” Moonshot co-president Joe Villa said. “Our new, centrally-located headquarters will enable us to work more efficiently and provide the best possible service to our current and future clientele.” For more information, visit www.moonshotcompost.com or www.startcomposting.com. Renovation complete at 1177 West Loop South Texas Real Estate Business reports that a partnership between locally based investment firm Hicks Ventures and New York City-based Taconic Capital has completed the $6 million renovation of 1177 West Loop South, a 341,947 square foot office building in Houston. The program upgraded the 18-story building’s lobby, conference facilities, common areas, café, fitness center and outdoor patios. Transwestern provides leasing services for the property. Hicks Ventures purchased the building in the spring of 2019 and started the renovation in early 2020. Creative Motion offers free trial dance class for preschoolers Due to popular demand, Creative Motion is offering a new preschool-aged dance program designed to accommodate parents with both preschool and school-aged children. The class will meet every Tuesday from 1:40-2:30

St. Rose turns 75 years old St. Rose of Lima Catholic Community is commemorating 75 years of history and service in 2021. The parish community, established in 1946, is marking this milestone with a yearlong celebration that kicks off with plans for its annual Parish Festival, which will likely be virtual, in May. In the past 75 years, the church has grown from 110 registered parish households to serve more than 1,500 neighborhood families through the church, school and early childhood center. St. Rose of Lima operates more than 50 ministries in service to its community, including its St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry and Gabriel Project for pregnant mothers seeking help. Founder of Davis Hardware dies Robert Gene Davis, a Heights native and founder of Davis Paint and Hardware at 1028 Studewood St., died Feb. 15. Davis Paint and Hardware was one of the first Handy Hardware stores in the Houston area. His obituary states that when Davis’ mother-in-law, an artist, suggested the hardware store should sell art supplies to her students it sparked a need for frames for their art. Soon the store became Davis Paint and Hardware and Picture Framing. Dressed in his trademark pocket T-shirt, flannel shirt and suspenders, Davis liked to say, “Anyone can go anywhere and buy anything, but you can’t buy customer service.” Eventually, Davis and wife, Sherry, sold the store to their daughter and her husband, but Davis never really retired. He worked at the store until his death.

online orders. If you’ve ever been to an artisan market it is very likely you’ve never seen me and only have seen him. He often jokes he is the face of the boutique.” Christina and J.J., who are Kingwood residents, said they would love to move to Garden Oaks in the near future and raise their three children in the area. Before the store opens, there will be a preview party for local bloggers. “We will also be planning a big grand opening party for the public with some awesome shopping incentives and goodies,” Chambers said. For more information, follow them on Facebook or visit www.herandreese.com.

Contributed photo Christina and J.J. Chambers, the owners of a clothing boutique called “her and reese,” recently opened at the Stomping Grounds.

Survey, from P. 1B In a separate question, business owners were asked whether they planned to spend more, less or the same amount of money on marketing in 2021 as they did in 2020. Almost 51 percent of respondents said they’d spend the same amount on marketing, 37 percent said they’d spend more, and 12 percent said they’d spend less. “What’s clear from our survey is that, increasingly, businesses understand that this still-new digital marketing space gets more and more complex,” McElvy said. “Businesses initially thought digital marketing would make things easier, as long as they had a website and a social media account. But that’s not borne out in the responses.” McElvy also noted that while a large majority of business owners expect to grow customers and revenue (72 and 73 percent, respectively), they plan on that happening without an increase in marketing expenses. “More than 63 percent of our respondents said they plan to spend the same or even less on marketing as they did in 2020, but most businesses

plan on getting more customers this year,” he said. “Growing business or revenue usually means a concerted effort in marketing. And while the marketing landscape is noisier and more difficult to navigate, it’s still something small businesses will have to do in order to grow this year.” The full results of this survey

will be released on Monday, March 9, at www.mcelvypartners.com. McElvy Partners is a company focused on helping small businesses find new customers, delivering relevant business information that helps them make strategic marketing decisions. The company includes the Greensheet, The Leader, the Fort Bend Star, Texas Printers and Targited Digital Agency.

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The Leader • Saturday, March 6, 2021 • Page 3B

Keeping dogs out of the litter box Dear Tabby, Our dog has started eating (ew!) out of the litter box! We find this behavior both disgusting as well as annoying. Any tips on keeping Fido out of Fluffy’s toilet? Grossed Out in Garden Oaks Dear Grossed Out, For as long as dogs and cats have coexisted, the issue of dogs eating cat poop has been a problem (And, when I say “problem,” I mean that it’s a problem for the humans who love their pets--not a problem for the dogs who really seem to enjoy the taste of cat poop). As you might imagine, cats eat cat food, so their poop smells like cat food. Dogs enjoy cat food, too, so it only stands to reason that a dog would want to eat anything that smells like something that they enjoy eating. While eating poop can sometimes be a symptom of a dietary deficiency, for most dogs, eating cat poop is just a nasty habit and nothing more.

Is it safe? Unfortunately, dogs can ingest intestinal parasites from cat poop and get really ill, so aside from being a gross habit, it can also be dangerous. Also, cat litter should not be ingested as it can cause a blockage in your dog’s intestines, so if you see your dog straining to use the bathroom after eating cat poop, there’s a chance that the litter could be causing an obstruction. Long story short: It’s just not a good idea to allow your dog to eat from the litter box. How to break the cycle? So, how do you stop your dog from eating cat poop? The first step in breaking this cycle is eliminating the cat poop from your dog’s environment, so be diligent about keeping the litter box clean. If you can catch your cat pooping in the box, swoop in behind her and get the poop out immediately and dispose of it. If that’s not an option, look into an automatic litter box, which promptly cleans after your cat has used it. Another option is to move the litter box to a place that is inaccessible to your dog, such as up on a counter or behind a closed door. A litter box with a cover might also

keep Fido out of the box, so if you don’t already have a cover, switch to a box that has one. Training Lastly, work on the command “Leave it” with your dog, so that when you catch him in the act, you can get him to stop the behavior on cue. Over time, after teaching the command to your dog, you should be able to divert his behavior if you suspect he’s even thinking about munching on the poop. Soon enough, he’ll get the idea that the litter box is off limits. When you have multiple species living in the same house, issues like eating cat poop are sure to arise. Just remember that as gross as it may be, your dog is following his instincts when he seeks out cat poop for an afternoon snack. And, while you really DON’T want to invite him over for a kiss after, using positive reinforcement, training and maybe some creative litter box placement might nip this unsightly problem in the bud.

Do you have a question for Tabby? Email her at deartabby questions@gmail.com.

Pet of the Week Meet Sweetheart

Contributed photo Volunteers with Rescued Pets Movement unload a truck of winter storm relief supplies recently sent to them by one of their rescue partners in Colorado.

Oak Forest nonprofit gets surprise storm assistance By Landan Kuhlmann

Colorado, to give to those in the Houston community who were impacted by Winter Storm Uri last month. “Many of our fosters had pipes burst in their homes, alongside power outages and sub-zero temperatures,” RPM director of rescue operations Kiersten Thoma said in a news release. “Our fosters are the lifeblood of our organization and we felt powerless to support them, due to the shortages of water in particular.” The supplies are being distributed at the organization’s

landan@theleadernews.com

When Oak Forest-based Rescued Pets Movement (RPM) sends vans full of fostered dogs and cats to the organization’s partners in Colorado, they typically return empty as the fosters are taken to their new forever homes. The most recent fleet, however, came back loaded with a surprise – thousands of gallons of water, pet food and other supplies courtesy of RPM’s rescue partners in

Sweetheart was born on Valentine’s Day 2020 and lives up to her name in a big way. Sweetheart is sweet and playful and makes the perfect work-from-home companion. Her hobbies include bird watching and treat-eating, and Sweetheart is even social media savvy (check her out on Instagram @sweets.sweetheart). To learn more about this perfect gal, visit www.friends4life.org.

Jack C. Alexander building at 2317 W. 34th St., according to RPM. “Our rescue partners in Colorado really stepped up and showed such love and support,” RPM CEO and cofounder Cindy Perini said. “They are obviously instrumental in this life-saving process every day, but they really went above and beyond to support us during this crisis situation.” For more information on Rescued Pets Movement, visit rescuedpetsmovement.org/.

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Page 4B • Saturday, March 6, 2021 • The Leader

BASKETBALL ROUNDUP

LHN, SPX girls advance in TAPPS playoffs By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

The Lutheran High North and St. Pius X girls basketball teams took steps toward winning private-school state championships earlier this week. Lutheran High North, which had a bye in the first round of the TAPPS playoffs, cruised past Austin Hill Country Christian 99-32 in a second-round game Tuesday. The Lady Lions (18-3) are the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches’ top-ranked team in TAPPS 3A. Dalanna Carter’s 28 points led the way for LHN, while Kinsie Kim had 22 points. Tori Noack scored 15 points on five 3-pointers, while Kaitlyn Alexander chipped in 10 points. The Lady Lions will play the winner between Tomball Rosehill Christian and Bryan Brazos Christian, which were scheduled to play Tuesday, in a quarterfinal this Saturday as they look to advance to a third straight state semifinal. St. Pius X defeated San Antonio Incarnate Word 51-43 in Tuesday’s second-round playoff game, advancing to the TAPPS 6A quarterfinals against The Village School. The Lady Panthers also beat the Shamrocks in their regular-season finale Feb. 23, when three players scored in double digits. Breelyn Sanborn led the way with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Zachara Perkins had 13 points and nine rebounds. Farren DonaldWright also scored 13 points. Boys St. Thomas lost to San Antonio Central Catholic 66-54

Photo from Twitter St. Thomas’ Tommy Gentempo drives to the basket during a game earlier this season. The Eagles lost their area-round playoff game Tuesday night.

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on Tuesday in the second round of the TAPPS 6A playoffs, finishing its season at 10-7. Jake Pike led the Eagles with 16 points. The Eagles had defeated St. John XXIII on Feb. 26 to end the regular season, with Carlos Kaehler scoring 22 points. Lutheran High North dominated its opening-round opponent in the TAPPS 3A playoffs last week, beating Kerrville Our Lady of The Hills 83-58. The Lions’ Marvin Robinson led all scorers with 27 points, while Edwin Preston Jr. had 17 points of his own.

However, LHN then lost to Austin Hill Country Christian 66-59 in a second-round game Tuesday to bring its season to a close. The St. Pius X Panthers capped off the regular season with a win over Katy St. John XXIII on Feb. 25, but fell 84-42 to San Antonio Antonian Prep in a TAPPS 6A second-round playoff. Public schools The Heights girls once again saw their season come to an end at the hands of topranked Cypress Creek, which won 59-31 in a regional quar-

terfinal game Feb. 24. The Lady Bulldogs, who finished the season at 24-5, also lost to the Lady Cougars in last year’s playoffs. Heights’ Gracelynn Alvarez scored 13 points in her final high school game, while Tierra Simon had eight points and 10 rebounds. On the boys side, the Bulldogs saw their historic season come to an end in the program’s first regional quarterfinal in nearly 30 years, falling 55-45 to Fort Bend Elkins on Feb. 27. Heights finished the season with a 16-5 record.

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St. Thomas Catholic High School will host its annual “Round Up” fundraising effort with a drive-through event this Sunday, March 7 from 12-4 p.m. in the school’s parking lot at 4500 Memorial Dr. in support of its Tuition Assistance Program. The school said in a news release that one in three stu-

dents attending St. Thomas receives some form of financial assistance, and that the annual student-led fundraising event is a crucial part of those efforts. Sunday’s event will include food, games and themed basket and raffle drawings along with the opportunity to browse the Big Red online marketplace at sths.org/support/fundraising/round-up/ big-red-market/.

To register for the marketplace’s silent auction and all on-campus Round Up events, go to one.bidpal.net/ sthroundup2021/welcome. For more information about the event, visit sths. org/support/fundraising/ round-up. Community members can also contact Mark deTranaltes at 713-864-6348 or mark.detranaltes@sths. org.

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