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Inside Today: Monitoring teens’ mental health is important • Page 1B

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Saturday, May 8, 2021 • Vol. 66 • No. 19

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City approves plan for interactive digital kiosks By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com West 19th Street in the Heights is a bustling thoroughfare filled with motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, especially on the weekends when the weather is nice. There are enough restaurants and shops to stay occupied for a few hours within the stretch of a few blocks, and there also are opportunities to enjoy the architecture, the artwork on the side of buildings and the people-watching. Within the next few years, Heights residents and visitors to the popular neighborhood also

will see the equivalent of 8-foottall smartphones – complete with colorful, interactive touch screens – while they’re traversing the area. The Houston City Council voted 10-7 Wednesday to enter into a 12year contract with IKE Smart City, an Ohio-based digital media company that installs and operates interactive kiosks that serve as maps, tour guides, public information hubs and electronic billboards that will generate revenue for the city. Between 75 and 125 kiosks will be placed in commercial corridors with high-pedestrian traffic, according to a copy of the proposed contract between the city and the

company, which lists the Greater Heights, Uptown, Downtown and the Memorial areas among the locales that would be targeted. “You can imagine how people in the Heights are going to react if they have these things on every corner,” said Cooke Kelsey, the board director and advocacy chair for nonprofit Scenic Houston. “How is that going to match the neighborhood’s character? Kelsey and Scenic Houston, which he said was founded in the Contributed photo late 1970s to oppose the prolifera- Pictured is a digital interactive kiosk, created by tion of billboards across the city, IKE Smart City, at Woodlawn Lake Park in San have been perhaps the most vocal Antonio. Houston City Council members voted to

Close Call

See Kiosk, P. 5A

enter into a contract with the Ohio-based media company on Wednesday.

Serving coffee, tea, wine, beer, savories and sweets 7 am to 9 pm daily.

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Baker Katz purchases Foodarama building


By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com


Head of the class. St. Pius X has tabbed Daniel Martinez as its next head of school.

Page 4A

Hopeful. Citgo 6 families such as Heights resident Alexandra

Forseth are hopeful after prisoners were recently released to house arrest.

Page 4A

Hot stuff. Zarah Parker reviews Mico’s Hot Chicken, which was deliciously spicy.

Page 7A

Contributed photo Ashlee Lacey Garcia, left, shares a light-hearted moment with her son, Xander, center, and daughter, Madison, in February. Xander Garcia had recently left the hospital after being shot during a road rage incident on Feb. 10 on the Loop 610 access road.

Mother cherishes every day with family By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com Finishing up her workday at home on Feb. 10, Ashlee Lacey Garcia was waiting for her husband, Michael, to get home from St. Rose of Lima Catholic School with their 10-year-old son, Xander. Then her husband called from an ambulance as he and Xander were both being taken to the emergency room. Michael Garcia was driving near the 300 block of North Loop West, between North Shepherd Drive and Yale Street, just before 3:30 p.m. that day when he attempted to pass another driver but was cut off. According to police, the other driver pulled in front of Garcia’s SUV and suddenly braked before pulling out a gun and firing toward Garcia and his son, who was a passenger. Both were shot. Even after colliding with the shooter’s car, Michael had the presence of mind to pull into a Memorial Hermann Urgent Care Center and then call Ashlee while en route See Garcia, P. 5A

Taking home hardware. Some local private schools fared well at the TAPPS state track meet.

See Foodarama, P. 5A

Contributed photo Mother’s Day this year is especially meaningul to Ashlee Lacey Garcia, second from right. Her son, Xander, right, and husband, Michael, second from left, survived a shooting in February.

Photo by Betsy Denson Commercial real estate firm Baker Katz has purchased the property where Foodarama is located at 1805 Ella Blvd. and plans to redevelop it.

Blue Santa honored at Legion post

Page 6B

By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

THE INDEX. Church....................................................... 5A Classifieds.............................................. 6B Coupons. ................................................. 6A Food/Drink/Art................................... 7A Opinion. ................................................... 3A Public Information......................... 8B Puzzles...................................................... 3A Sports. ....................................................... 6B

The Foodarama at 18th Street and Ella Boulevard, part of a locally owned, privately held Texas-based company with 10 grocery stores throughout Houston and the surrounding areas, has long been a go-to for necessities. Now, the recent purchase of the building by Houston-based commercial real estate firm Baker Katz will close the store by 2022 to make way for a new development. Baker Katz purchased the property from Bayview Associates in care of Kin Properties Inc. The deal closed April 5. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, according to a news release. In 2016, Baker Katz purchased the other 12,800 square feet of the retail center. The purchase of the remaining 34,748 square feet will allow the company to redevelop the property as a whole. “Adding the remaining square-footage of this highly visible shopping center to our portfolio is something we’ve wanted to do for quite a while,” Kenneth Katz said in the release. “Since acquiring this initial space in 2016, we’ve been diligent about planning for the long-term vision of this retail center and how it can be repositioned to best serve shoppers in the area. The shopping center is surrounded by growing neighborhoods including Timbergrove, Lazybrook and

Photo from Instagram Houston Police Department Sgt. George Smith, right, plays the role of Blue Santa while holding a young Houstonian last December. Smith was recently honored for his service to the community at American Legion Post 560 in Garden Oaks.

For most of the year, Sgt. George Smith dresses the part of a Houston Police Department officer as he patrols the southeast part of the city. The 44-year-old Webster resident undergoes a transformation around Christmastime, when he dons a blue-and-white Santa Claus suit and long white beard while delivering toys and doses of joy to children all across the region. Smith has served since 2012 as HPD’s “Blue Santa,” making him

the symbol and mascot of the department’s holiday toy drive, which helps thousands of Houston families in need every year. “The belly, I’ve got,” Smith said with a chuckle. “The beard, they just (recently) started letting us grow facial hair, so I don’t know. We have to keep it groomed. I don’t think I could get the Santa beard unless they allowed us to grow it out. “I’m a bald man, too,” he added. “But I put on the wig and the beard, and I think it looks good when I’ve got it all together.”

The folks at American Legion Post 560 in Garden Oaks, which has served as a Blue Santa donation depot for each of the last three years, think Smith is well-suited for the role and plays it perfectly. They helped select him as the District Officer of the Year for American Legion 8th District, Department of Texas, which serves active-duty military personnel and veterans in Greater Houston as well as the community in general. Smith was recogSee Blue Santa, P. 5A

Page 2A • Saturday, May 8, 2021 • The Leader

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THE TOPICS. The Leader • Saturday, May 8, 2021 • Page 3A

We’re still waiting on straight answers I

t’s hard writing commentary on society when you know, from the very beginning, most of society will shrug its shoulders in collective apathy. Let’s give it a shot. If you’ve read my personal opinions over the past few years, you know I’m no big fan of the wayward national news media. Doesn’t matter if you lean left or right, because they’re all the same. Show me a story with a liberal bent, and I’ll bet Gutenberg’s press I can find the same story with an entirely different set of conservative facts. We don’t have straight news anymore. We don’t have national press organizations desperate to tell you every single side of an issue. Media don’t want you to make up your own mind. No, we have a national media funded by a continuum of crises; perspective replaced with invective. At least that’s what I thought. I thought all blame rested at the feet of agitators disguised as our modern-day national press corps. If you’ve never opened the social media platform Twitter, I beg of you to continue along your merry way. Don’t open it. Don’t read it. And for the love of all that is sacred, never read the wickedness that is Twitter comments. Instead, just take my word for it: Twitter is a place where people share their thoughts in 280 characters (about 55 words) or less. That’s

Jonathan McElvy Publisher

right, it’s a place for real depth and reasoning. Donald Trump built an entire presidential campaign on the platform, and every politician from every party followed suit. Of course, there’s more to Twitter than just politics. Heck, you can follow me (@mcelvy) if you’re interested in small business, golf or Alabama football snippets. It’s just that politicians and their critics seem to dominate the conversations, and there’s a very good reason. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has a Twitter account, and he can talk directly to people who want to hear his take on statewide issues. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has a robust Twitter presence, and he’ll give you his take on just about any issue of city, state or national importance. Neither of them need the filter of media to tell their stories. I follow both of those elected officials on Twitter and, nearly every

time I scroll through my social media feed, I get to hear directly from Abbott and Turner. I’ve spent a lot of time knocking the national media for its role in dividing our country, and I stand by that opinion. But maybe we’re not holding the men and women creating the news accountable enough either. If you spend time reading the perspectives of Abbott and Turner, I think you’ll see what I mean. Last year, as the pandemic paralyzed this nation, elected officials turned into scientific publishers. Mayor Turner, for instance, got in a rather gloomy habit of sending out tweets that read something like this: “Today, @HoustonHealth reports 262 new #COVID19 cases which bring the overall total to 186,378. Unfortunately, we are adding twelve new deaths today. Please continue to take the necessary precautions that will keep everyone safe as we continue to combat this virus.” Each day, especially when the virus peaked, Turner was there, front and center, making sure we all knew how many positive tests and how many deaths were reported in Harris County. On the day I’m writing this column, Turner sent out a similar tweet, telling us we added another 283 cases and 2,606 people have died. So while Turner spent much of last year sharing gloom, Gov.

Forgive us our debts Good afternoon, Class of 2021 at the Texas College of Knowledge. Just be glad you didn’t attend Trump University. You have completed all the tasks and tests required for your degree over the last four years, or in my case, six. Now you face the daunting challenge of getting a job. For you cyber-studies grads, just find a position blocking Putin’s efforts to hack into the Democratic National Party’s emails. We need more doctors and nurses. Because of the pandemic, most of ours are in intensive care. If you majored in English, art history or psychology, attend your local community college and be trained as a farrier. Or learn how to say, “Please pull up to the next window for your order.” You must find work because you may have one overriding worry: Your student debt. Let me set the stage you are about to walk on: Nearly 45 million Americans now owe a total of $1.7 trillion in federal and private student loans -- about 90 percent are federal student loans -- with interest. That’s $739 billion more than the total U.S. credit card debt. Among the Class of 2019, 69 percent of college students took out student loans, and they graduated with an average debt of $29,900. It’s not just the students who have a student debt. Some 14 percent of their parents took out an average of $37,200 in federal parent loans. But we must wonder. Didn’t parents know that when their kid was born, someday he or she may go to college? And that might cost something? So start saving? Many students ran up huge loans, and they can’t pay them back. According to Pew Research, about 20 percent of student loan borrowers are in default. If you default, the feds can seize your tax refund and apply it to your outstanding debt. It can garnish your paycheck, meaning it will contact your employer so that a portion of your salary is sent directly to the government. Incidentally, among the states, Massachusetts has the lowest default rate, Texas ranks 28th with 10.41 percent. All you deadbeats out there are lucky: Because of Covid-19, defaults have been temporarily halted. We also have for-profit colleges, which can be a scam. In a 2018 analysis, the Brookings Institute found that among students who were in college in 2003, 52 percent of those who got student loans to attend a for-profit college ended up defaulting within 12 years. The default rate for community college borrowers was half of that at 26 percent. Why do some colleges charge so much? Figures vary because some schools include fees, room and board and football tickets. Tuition and fees at UT-Austin in 2020 were $11,110; Texas A&M - $12,450; Texas Tech University - $11,320; University of Houston - $11,570; University of Michigan - $15,950. Want to attend a private school? Har-

Lynn Ashby Columnist

vard costs $54,000, Stanford $56,170, Georgetown - $57,930. Pepperdine University may be tops at $58,000. Tuitions differences at public and private schools can be huge. To our east, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s tuition is $5,840. Tulane University’s is10 times more at $58,850. I question some of these costs. Universities are not factories. They don’t have to buy, say, metal, glass and wires to manufacturer cars. They don’t have to meet payrolls for thousands of union employees. Most of them don’t pay property taxes on their campuses. Professors have often been cited as being poorly paid. Oh, really? Harvard Law School paid an average salary for fulltime professors of $226,394 in 2017. As a law professor at Harvard, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren earned $429,981 in salary during 2010 and 2011. Warren’s husband, also a Harvard law professor, earned $402,897 in 2018. That, obviously, is the high end of professors’ pay, but it does give us an idea of where some of those huge tuitions go. Many professors supplement their income by writing books, giving speeches and taking bribes from parents. Some of you spent nothing on your education. You could block, tackle or dribble. Right now there is a movement to not only give student athletes (an oxymoron) room, board and tuition, but pay them a salary, and many schools could pay that from their parking fees. No school makes more money from its athletics program than Texas A&M: $192.6 million annually. UT’s athletics are self-sustaining. It has a 2019-20 budget of $187 million. Not only does it fully support itself, it also generates revenue for UT’s academics. In all, there are now 24 schools that make at least $100 million annually from their athletic department. In many states, the highest paid government employee is the state university’s head football coach. Help may be coming. President Joe Biden has said that he supports forgiving $10,000 of student loan debt, but many Democrats are calling on the president to cancel far more — as much as $50,000, while some progressives such as Sen. Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders want to erase all $1.7 trillion of it. I know where they could start: Five members of Congress are still paying off their loans. Should we erase students’ debt? It could be an investment in the nation’s financial future

by generating more college graduates. People with higher levels of education tend to earn substantially more during their lifetimes than those without a degree, meaning the college grads will pay more taxes. On the other hand, it might be argued that we are dealing with adults who knew exactly what they were doing by taking on huge IOUs. Are we saying, “The first lesson you will learn in the outside world is that you don’t have to pay your debts.”? And what about those who have paid their loans? Do they get a rebate? One year from now the Class of 2022 will be sitting in your seats, all with one thought: “How can I get your job?” You have a one-year head start. Get busy. Ashby loans at ashby2@comcast.net

Abbott did the exact opposite. Last September, as numbers began a steady crawl up, you could barely find a comment from Abbott. In fact, I went back and searched everything he said on Twitter and this is a fairly representative sample from Sept. 8, 2020: “Family visits at Texas nursing homes and assisted living facilities are resuming. More will be announced in the next week. Reuniting family members is one of the most important steps we can take when opening up.” Talk about bad timing. Talk about ignoring what would happen over the next few months, as cases and deaths spiked to terrifying levels. It’s not that Abbott ignored the news and the medical community. It’s just that he wanted his audience to hear a positive spin. He wanted to buck the lockdowns because of their political undertones. Fast-forward to March of this year – March 2, to be exact. Just seven months earlier, Abbott sent out exactly four tweets about the pandemic in a 30-day window. On March 2, he announced the state of Texas was fully open, and what ensued was a barrage of 42 tweets over the next 30 days, heralding every positive number he could find. Obviously he did that as a gesture toward President Biden, who famously dubbed the decision “Neanderthal thinking.”

In this case, though, just as Turner was right to sound the alarms last fall, Abbott has been proven right that we are headed to a more normal way of life. So back to Turner. Any guess what he’s told his 155,000 followers over the past couple of months, as schools have prepped to fully reopen, businesses have begun bustling, and highways are once again jammed? That’s right. In the past month, Turner didn’t share a single number showing how much better this pandemic is today. He hasn’t celebrated the drop in hospitalizations or deaths. Instead, he continues with his habitual tweets telling us how many cases and how many deaths have been reported. Maybe the reason we’re all fed up with national news is because the politicians feeding the stories can’t escape the party line. Abbott can’t be somber when times are tough, and Turner, for some reason, can’t celebrate the obvious success we’ve had over this virus. If we’re going to blame media for its faults, it’s also time we demand better of our elected leaders. Stop telling your supporters what you want them to hear. Stop with the political aisle barricades. Just tell us the truth. Email jonathan@mcelvypartners.com


Email us your letters: news@theleadernews.com

Out at home plate

Dear Editor: A rainy afternoon reading your column; what a joy, thanks. Mobarr

City considering contract for interactive digital kiosks

Dear Editor: Just one more thing for people to tag and destroy and become an eyesore. Plus just about everyone has an interactive kiosk in their pocket or purse...their smart phone! Jeanne Gebo

The rich get richer

Dear Editor: The richer get richer is something that my mom said, which she got from her mom. All this well before the era of the Trump presidency. We learned during the Reagan years that trickle down doesn’t trickle too far down. We have seen candidates who advocated public financing of campaigns, such as Ralph Nader, not get too far in presidential races. Those with wealth have been in control of our government for decades. They use their influence to keep the wealth flowing into their pockets. As Robinson Jeffers said, “be angry at the sun for setting if such things anger you.”

The bigger takeaway from this column is learning about the ways that the wealthy have used this pandemic to their benefit. The empty slogan “we’re all in this together” is the real mask that covers the truth, that, like everything else, there are the winners and losers. We’ve heard how Amazon and the tech companies saw record profits. And the stories about those who abused the CARES act and PPP to buy their dream homes and luxury cars. Now this column talks about how the CARES act has allowed big companies to take advantage of tax breaks. Now, they want us to get vaccinated three times in one year. You may need a third booster this coming autumn. Is it any surprise that the media controlled by the wealthy corporations are keeping Project Fear going? Why would they want to let go of their pandemic, when the wealthy are getting wealthier. Their lives are not interrupted; they can isolate themselves and socialize with other wealthy people who don’t need to work in service jobs. Doesn’t Amazon own a major newspaper? There is a great incentive for the wealthy to keep us worried about ever more frightening virus variants, surges, and heartbreaking stories that seem to tell us about every single person who has serious illness. Jason H.

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


aCrOss 1. Cathode-ray tube 4. A leglike part 8. Old world, new 11. Sec. of Def. Panetta 13. Greek god of E or SE wind 15. Supervises flying 16. In a way, bothers 19. Federal savings bank 20. Stout lever with a sharp spike 21. F.S. FitzgeraldÕs wife Zelda 22. Snakelike fish 23. Scads 24. Prophet 26. Former ÒDaily ShowÓ star 31. Organized crime head 34. Oil obtained from flowers 35. 2X WWE Divas Champ 38. Brine cured Canadian cheese 39. Slow oozing 41. Volt-ampere 42. Phenyl salicylate 44. European defense organization 45. Anglo-Saxon theologian 46. Doctrine

49. Soviet peninsula 51. Large long-armed ape 55. Protects from weather 56. Mops 60. Bridge expert 61. Fabric woven from goat and camel hair 62. Capital of Honduras 64. Tell on 65. Wooden clog 66. Beloved 67. Fed 68. Decays 69. Single Lens Reflex

dOwn 1. Applauds 2. Actress Zellweger 3. Obtained by addition 4. Chief executive officer 5. Flees 6. Murres genus 7. __ Wong, spy 8. Works well as a remedy 9. Tripod 10. A nautical unit of depth 12. Most populous Native Am. people 14. Genus Capricornis 17. Universally mounted spinning wheel

18. Spanish shawl 25. Macaws 27. No (Scottish) 28. Takes dictation 29. Spanish appetizers 30. The Muse of lyric and love poetry 31. Romaine lettuce 32. Alias 33. A way to beat 36. Son of Jacob and Zilpah 37. Amount of time 39. Most guileful 40. Younger US political party 43. Electrical resistance unit 45. Side way 47. MiltonÕs Cormus composer Henry 48. Sheep up to age one 49. Green algae 50. Capital of Morocco 52. S.E. French city on the Rhone 53. Asian nation 54. Great No. Am. RV Rally 57. Culture medium and a food-gelling agent 58. Inflamed lymph node swelling 59. Native of Edinburgh 63. Belonging to a thing


Page 4A • Saturday, May 8, 2021 • The Leader

Local resident hopeful as Citgo 6 released to house arrest By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

Heights resident Alexandra Forseth was not expecting to hear any good news from Venezuela, where her father and uncle have been imprisoned since November 2017 by the regime of Nicolas Maduro. She said things seemed to be at a standstill since November 2020, when her two relatives and four other men were convicted on corruption charges by a Venezuelan court. Then last Friday, April 30, Forseth said she found out the so-called Citgo 6 were being released from a Caracas prison and placed under house arrest. Her father, Alirio Zambrano, and uncle, Jose Luis Zambrano, are staying together in a guarded apartment, which is still a continent away from their family in the Houston area but at least one step closer. “It’s certainly a better situation than being in this jail where I can’t ever talk to him at all,” Forseth said of her father. “He can see outside the apartment window. He seems in good spirits.” Forseth said she views the development as a “gesture of good will” by the Maduro regime to U.S. President Joe Biden, who

had recently been elected when the Citgo 6 were convicted by a Venezuelan judge. Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the proceeding a “kangaroo court” and said the convictions were “wrongful,” while the men’s families have described them as political hostages. Citgo is a subsidiary of PDVSA, an oil and gas company run by the Venezuelan government, and the six U.S.-based executives were called to a meeting in Caracas shortly before Thanksgiving 2017, arrested and accused of trying to make a deal that would financially inhibit PDVSA. The Zambrano brothers and three of the other men – Katy resident Gustavo Cardenas, Sugar Land resident Jorge Toledo and Tomeu Vadell – are dual citizens. Katy resident Jose Pereira is a legal U.S. resident. “It’s far past time they be safely reunited with their families in the United States,” U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz from Texas wrote Monday on Twitter. Forseth, who has kept in regular contact with U.S. Department of State, said she is cautiously optimistic. She also said she’s appreciative of the efforts of former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a diplomat who has tried to secure the men’s re-

lease from Venezuela, and support groups such as the nonprofit Hostage US as well as the Office of the Special Presidential Enjoy for Hostage Affairs. Because there has been some continuity in that office between the administrations of Biden and former U.S. President Donald Trump, Forseth said there seems to be a commitment to freeing the Citgo 6. “I’ve sensed that the Biden administration is taking it seriously to get them home, just as the Trump administration did,” she said. Forseth said she also gets the impression that releasing the men from prison to house arrest is a signal from Maduro that he wants something in return and is willing to negotiate with the U.S., which placed sanctions on Venezuela during the administrations of Trump and his predecessor, Barack Obama. Whether the Biden administration can secure the men’s release back to America remains to be seen, but having them released from a Caracas prison was encouraging to Forseth. “We’re really thankful for it,” she said. “We hope it’s a step in the next direction, which is having them come home.”

St. Pius X introduces new head of school By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

Carmen Armistead said St. Pius X has become her home since taking the job as its head of school. However, she also believes that appropriate, intentional change can be what’s best for any organization, and that such a time has come for SPX. “That allows people to grow and helps news ideas and creativity to emerge, “she said. “It allows people to step back and look at the way schools are run or their traditions and say ‘Is it still good today?’ Sometimes it simply needs new, fresh eyes to get that perspective.” Last week, the private school at 811 W. Donovan St. introduced Daniel Martinez as its new head of school, beginning with the 2021-22 school year. Martinez will replace the retiring Armistead, who has served in the role since 2016. Martinez comes with 14 years of leadership experience, according to a news release from SPX. He has spent the last six years as principal at St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in San Antonio and was previously the executive director of advancement/enrollment at Holy Cross of San Antonio. “From the moment I got to campus, it felt like home. It reminded me of a school I attended – the community is very diverse and everybody takes pride in the school,” he said. “It was a great environment, so after the final in-person interview, I knew it was where I wanted to be.” Martinez has a bachelor’s degree in administration from the University of the Incarnate Word and a master’s degree in Catholic school leadership from St. Mary’s University, and is working on his doctoral degree in Catholic school leadership from


Saint Louis University. “I have a tremendous passion for my ministry as a Catholic school leader, and I cannot wait to begin this exciting journey with the SPX community,” Martinez said. The 69-year-old Armistead said her plans for retirement include building a home in Austin with her husband, as well as potentially volunteering. Also in her plans is the school that has been her home for the past five years. She said she will continue to visit the students, teachers and staff that have become her family since 2016. “It’s one of those places that gets into your heart, and just stays there,” she said. “…I fully plan to be back next year and enjoy watching Mr. Martinez soar.” Martinez said he plans to do just that. “My job is just to pick up the ball and continue to run forward in the direction she has already taken the school,” he said. “It’s intimidating, but she’s leaving me and the school in a very good place.”

Heights Theater hosting vaccination events tailored to music industry By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

Heights Theater hosting vaccination events tailored to music industry Houstonians in the music industry, along with fans of live music, are receiving free doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at The Heights Theater. The historic venue at 339 W. 19th St. is hosting the vaccination drive, with the first event on Wednesday and the second scheduled for June 2, in a partnership with the Houston Music Foundation, Houston Methodist Hospital and Houston rapper Bun B of former hip-hop duo UGK. According to a news release from the foundation, the event is “open to the entire Harris County music community on both sides of the curtain: musicians and music industry professionals, gig workers, creatives and venue staff, plus live music fans and audience members.” Appointments are required to receive the vaccine and can be made online at https://www.caresense. com/hmpublic/tht/english for English speakers and h t t p s : / / w w w. c a r e s e n s e. com/hmpublic/tht/spanish for Spanish speakers. First doses were administered from noon-4 p.m. Wednesday, May 5, and second doses will be given from noon-4 p.m. Wednesday, June 2. “The sooner we get every-

one vaccinated, the sooner we can safely enjoy shows at our favorite local venues. Houston’s music and entertainment industry has been one of the hardest hit during COVID,” said Houston City Council member Abbie Kamin, who represents the Heights area. “I encourage everyone who has not gotten their vaccine yet to take advantage of this great event -- let’s all do our part so we can be together again.” The first vaccination event featured live music by DJ Sun and DJ Big Reeks. The Houston Music Foundation was founded in April 2020 by Houston couple Mark C. Austin and Rachel Austin to help musicians and music industry professionals cope with financial hardships created by the pandemic. The nonprofit has since distributed more than $85,000 in grants. Concert venues such as The Heights Theater and White Oak Music Hall, 2915 N. Main St., have been forced to drastically reduce their number of events and crowd capacities because of social distancing protocols. “Live music heals, the shot protects,” Bun B said. “We’re all tired of this pandemic, and the live music community needs to get back to safely contributing to society live and in-person. This is a pivotal moment, and if we want full capacity live music back — we all need to contribute.”

File photo by Adam Zuvanich Heights resident Alexandra Forseth, whose father and uncle are among the Citgo executives who have been imprisoned in Venezuela since 2017, speaks during a community rally in honor of the Citgo 6 at Candlelight Park in 2019.

HISD looks to improve school choice program By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com

Houston ISD has announced an initiative, with support from the Houston Endowment, to improve the district’s school choice process and to “develop a plan to make it more familyfriendly, efficient and equitable.” The district also is putting a hold on its plans to change the magnet program and will be receiving millions in federal pandemic relief funding through an allocation by the state. Critics of HISD’s school choice process say underserved populations do not get the full benefit of the school choice options because they are unaware of the options or how to apply for schools. Others have complained about the complexity of applying for schools online. HISD says it will gather feedback from families, students, district administration and campus staff to better understand what is working well regarding school choice and to identify areas of improvement. “HISD is one of the most committed districts to school choice in the nation, offering our students and families a plethora of programs and opportunities available to them across the district,” HISD interim superintendent Grenita Lathan said in a news release. “However, we know that the process can be complex at times for families

and students. This project represents a big step to address that, and we are grateful to Houston Endowment and our research partners for their support towards making school choice easier for our families to navigate.” A final report that summarizes the findings and outlines a plan for improvement is expected to be available this summer. This will enable the district to begin implementing changes to improve the school choice process for the 2021-22 application cycle.

Changes to magnet plan on hold HISD recently announced a pause to plans to implement changes to its magnet program for the coming year. “Based on input from principals, the Board of Education and various stakeholders, HISD has decided to change our timeline on implementing the magnet program proposal,” the administration said in a statement. “The 2021-22 school year will be utilized as a planning year in preparation for phased changes that would take place during the 202223 school year, if approved.”

A district-led committee suggested changes in 2019 that included adding magnet programs to neighborhood middle and high schools currently lacking one, giving all schools in a feeder pattern the same magnet, and eliminating magnet funding for elementary schools. Lathan’s departure at the end of this school year was one of the reasons some trustees were hesitant to move forward for the coming school year. Texas schools to get federal stimulus HISD is about to get an influx of funds, thanks to the release of $11.2 billion out of nearly $18 billion available in federal pandemic relief funding earmarked for the state’s public schools. “The State of Texas is ensuring that our public schools have the necessary resources to help Texas students recover from learning loss related to COVID-19,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a news release. Democrat lawmakers have been pushing for the funds in recent weeks. HISD will receive $804,456,215, with an initial allocation of $536,304,136. “This will give district administrators and the HISD Board of Trustees an opportunity to build a robust budget for the upcoming school year that will address our priorities,” HISD said in a statement.

All Saints expands learning program By Zarah Parker zarah@theleadernews.com

Come September, the All Saints Early Childhood Center will be ushering in 2- to 4-year-olds into its classrooms four days a week. The upcoming program is an expansion of All Saints Catholic Church’s Mother’s Day Out, a two-day program, into a learning setting spanning from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. The 2-year olds are still welcome to continue attending two days a week. “All Saints church as a mission offers this ministry,” said Odessa Stanford, director of the center at 215 E. 10th St. in the Heights. “We are trying to bridge that gap of faith and learning and community building. The goal is to build up life around the All Saints Catholic community for creating a culture of family.” The Early Childhood Center is a ministry of the All Saints church, but welcomes families from all faith backgrounds to register their children in the school. Families interested in registering can visit allsaintsearlychildhoodcenter.org for more information or to enroll. According to the website, monthly tuition ranges from $550-$760 depending on the age of the child and the number of days he or she attends, and there also is a $250 application fee, a $350 per child supply fee and a $50 Brightwheel technology fee. “Our main objective is providing a foundation for young children to use play as learning to enhance their social skills and their literacy skills

before entering kindergarten,” Stanford said. The classroom setting will be kept small, with a minimum of 10 students and maximum of 15 for pre-K classes. All classes will have two teachers. The 2- to 3-year-olds will be separated into “younger” and “older” groups, with younger 2s being 24-30 months and older ones 30-36 months. “The families here are excited about the small class

size because it’s a nurturing setting,” Stanford said. “Our teachers are professional childhood staff. They are engaged and multi-talented educators.” Stanford also said that because of the small class sizes, they encourage parents to participate and become involved if they are able. The Early Childhood Center also provides an ancillary program, which provides time

for children to engage in music and movement as well as a contractive program, Soccer Shots, that comes and teaches kids how to play soccer. Stanford said they try to keep the program affordable and are willing to try to work with those in need if they are able to do so. The deadline to register for the fall semester is July 1.

The Leader • Saturday, May 8, 2021 • Page 5A

Kiosk, from P. 1A opponents to the potential arrangement between the city and IKE Smart City, which was founded in 2015 and operates in eight cities across the country, including Denver, San Antonio and St. Louis. Kelsey said the kiosks would be eyesores, infringe upon the privacy and rights of property owners, could potentially be safety hazards and might make the city vulnerable to lawsuits by billboard companies that want to make inroads in a market that has allowed no new traditional billboards since 1980. In a corresponding item on the agenda for Wednesday’s council meeting, Mayor Sylvester Turner and council members voted 10-7 in favor of amending Chapter 40 of the city’s code of ordinances to define and allow for interactive wayfinding kiosks in the city’s rights-of-way. The concerns raised by Kelsey were challenged by Andy Icken, the city’s chief development officer, who said the kiosks cannot be considered billboards and would not be installed in residential areas. The city would have a say in the location of the kiosks, Icken said, while impacted property owners, management districts and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones (TIRZs) would be notified and consulted prior to their installation. “As we have in all cities where launched, we will work to resolve any issues prior to beginning technical due diligence or construction/installation,” Anna Baerman, the development director for IKE Smart City, said in a statement. “Kiosks will be placed in commercial corridors and not on residential streets, and will not block access to doorways/ sales windows or obstruct sidewalk cafés.” Icken said the potential arrangement, which calls for a minimum of 75 kiosks within three years and a maximum of 125 throughout the duration of the contract, aims to push Houston into the future as part of Turner’s longstanding vision for a smart city. The mayor saw one of the company’s kiosks firsthand while visiting Baltimore within the last few years, Icken said, and the goal in enlisting IKE Smart City is to make Houston more walkable, to generate revenue and to send a message that “technology matters” in an urban landscape. Per the contract with the media company, there would be no costs to the city, which would receive the greater of 42 percent of net advertising sales or a minimum annual guarantee for the duration of the contract, which would come with two five-year renewal options. Baerman said IKE projects to deliver be-

Garcia from P. 1A via ambulance to Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital. Ashlee said that everything that happened next was a blur. She remembers trying to get to her family during rush hour and running into the hospital like a “mad woman.” Her husband had been shot in the abdomen and the bullet exited without damaging any major organs. Her son was also shot in the abdomen and the leg. The leg needed the most attention as the bullet lodged in the knee just before the joint. Ashlee did not know any of these details when she arrived at the hospital but said her husband was so calm while being transported that she knew things were going to be OK. She has nothing but gratitude for the staff at Memorial Hermann as she celebrates a Mother’s Day she may cherish more than any other. “The whole team was amazing and so comforting,” Ashlee said. “I couldn’t be with both my husband and son at the same time, which was so hard, so they made an exception to allow our oldest daughter Alexis, our 24-year old, to come in as well. Xander has mentioned to me as well that when he arrived on the stretcher that he remembers seeing so many people waiting for him, and I truly think they were all angels.” Xander spent two days in the hospital and has since completed physical therapy on his leg. “He worked so hard and did great with his physical therapy,” Ashlee said. “The (physical therapists) were amazed at his motivation to push harder every session.” Now at home, Xander is working on school assignments and resting. For him, the trauma associated with the experience has been the continuing hurdle. “He hears noises and

tween $11-$16 million in guaranteed revenue during the initial 12-year term and as much as $50 million in total revenue. “We are facing a budget deficit of $150 million this upcoming fiscal year, and we have to find creative ways to continue to fund essential services like solid waste, police, fire, and enforcement for things like development,” said city council member Abbie Kamin, who represents the Heights area as part of District C and voted in favor of the wayfinding kiosks and entering into a contract with IKE. “I hope this will help bring in revenue for critical services and provide a new benefit for residents and those visiting our incredible city.” Kamin, who said she initially was concerned about pedestrian safety and the impact to residential areas when she first learned of the proposal, pointed to some other benefits that would come with interactive kiosks. At least 10 percent will be installed in low-income areas and they all would provide free WiFi to those in proximity to them, along with emergency alerts and an emergency button for someone in distress. Kamin said during Wednesday’s meeting that none of the kiosks would be included in single-family residential areas, adding they would only be placed in commercial zones. The kiosks also will monitor air quality and would be equipped with security cameras that could be used by law enforcement when investigating crimes. But Baerman said the kiosks are not a “surveillance tool” and do not collect, store or monetize personally identifiable information. The contract was initially placed on last week’s council agenda, but the item was tagged, or postponed, by multiple council members. Another local council member, Amy Peck of District A, said Monday she was “trying to work through some concerns” with the proposal, including whether any of the kiosks would be placed in her district. She and council member Karla Cisneros of District H, which also includes part of the area, voted against installing the kiosks. Cisneros did not respond to an email seeking comment. Kelsey, of Scenic Houston, said he generally supports technology and liked the idea of interactive kiosks when he first heard about them. But he now sees them as a potential threat, nuisance and distraction. “I’m talking to you on this phone. Everybody has a phone,” Kelsey said. “When I go outside, I want to enjoy the view and the scenery. I don’t want to see an 800-pound smartphone in my front yard.”

nized during a ceremony Tuesday night at Post 560, located at 3720 Alba Rd. The event was held ahead of National Police Week from May 9-15. Catherine Mondy-Boyce, the historian for American Legion Auxiliary Unit 560, said Smith also will be up for a statewide award and potentially a national award. She said the American Legion’s officer of the year honor is bestowed upon a “well-rounded law enforcement officer who has exceeded the duty requirements expected of his or her position and has demonstrated a distinct pattern of community service coupled with professional achievement.” “He’s the one and only Blue Santa for the whole city, meets all these kids and gives toys out,” Mondy-Boyce said of Smith. “We decided that’s above and beyond being a policeman.” Mondy-Boyce said Smith has become a “holiday icon” in the Garden Oaks area as he usually picks up the toys that are collected by the local Legion post. Smith described himself as only one part of a department-wide effort. He said most of the funds for the Blue Santa program come from participating HPD officers who donate a small amount from each paycheck during the course of the year while identifying children to help at the end of the year. Toys are purchased with the donated money, and toy donations made at places like Post 560 supplement the effort.

the Heights and the eventual transformation of this center will provide residents with even more excellent retail options.” Katz said Foodarama’s lease ends later this year, but there is a chance it will remain there until early 2022. “There is no time frame yet established for renovations,” he said. Foodarama recently made the news in February during Houston’s snowstorm when it opened without power. As one grateful Yelp reviewer said: “They didn’t have a cash register, so they had to guess at prices, and it was ‘cash only.’ No one shopping cared. We were able to get water for our families. Thank you for being a great neighbor and for being human. You saved the day.” A representative for Foodarama was unavailable for comment.



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doesn’t always sleep very well,” she said. “Still, he’s been really positive. We are going to turn in his schoolwork this week so he can see his classmates and reconnect a little bit.” Ashlee said police have told her they have a suspect in the shooting but that no one has yet been apprehended. She said that while she hopes the shooter is caught, they are working hard to move past the experience. “It can go two ways,” she said. “You can take this experience and use it as a crutch or use it as motivation for a better you, and that is just what we as a family are doing.” This Mother’s Day will be especially sweet for Ashlee, who also has Alexis, her step-daughter, and 15-yearold daughter, Madison, who attends Incarnate Word Academy. “Of course, you have your vision of your children’s lives,” she said. “But I love being a mom and watching them become their own selves. Working from home has really opened my eyes to how they are changing so quickly and how their views

Contributed photo From left to right, Ashlee, Madison, Michael and Xander Garcia pick out a family Christmas tree.

and opinions at times are so different than mine. I am inspired when I see all the strength they have. I don’t remember having that kind of strength when I was their age.” Ashlee says she still gets her snuggles in when she can and is enjoying all the unscheduled time to really be

present in every moment. “I don’t worry anymore about things that don’t matter,” Ashlee said. “I think about our health, our safety and the fact that we can be together again another day. For sure this has been a challenge, but I am grateful for all our blessings, both big and small.”

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Contributed photo Ashley Lacey Garcia, holding her grandson, is especially grateful for her family this Mother’s Day.

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Contributed photo Sgt. George Smith of the Houston Police Department relishes the role of Blue Santa, which he plays for the department’s annual holiday toy drive.

Smith said he is one of the officers who donates and also serves on the board of directors for the Blue Santa program. “I’m really proud and grateful for it,” he said of the recognition. “I feel like there’s a lot more people that are deserving of that honor. But I’m happy to accept it for our program. We have such a great program, and anything that brings light to it is a bonus.” Smith’s role as Blue Santa also includes appearances at community


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


By Pastor Will Cover

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


events, such as fundraisers and parades, and other places where kids want to see and interact with Santa. He said it’s fun to go around the city and try to “make people happy.” He especially enjoys his visits to Post 560 in Garden Oaks. “The Legion has been fantastic,” he said. “I love going over there and visiting with those people. Any chance I have to go visit, I’m happy to be there.” Follow Adam Zuvanich on Twitter @AZuvanich

od’s plans are bigger than you or me. God’s Word says that He has a plan for each of us. God’s plans are not to harm us but to give us hope and a future. I am thankful for God’s big plans. Many events over the past few have Judge not, and you will not be judged;weeks condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, given me pause as I have and you will be forgiven... considered how they must R.S.V. Luke 6:37 fit into God’s plan. I can’t explain everything that has taken place and I don’t understand all that God is doing. As I study God’s Word, it is clear that He is working far beyond what I can see. The longer I live, the more I can see God working over time. People don’t change as quickly as we would like.

Sometimes the right thing to do seems like the hard thing to do. When you are walking with God and trusting His big plan, you can trust Him to help you day by day in the little things. While we don’t always understand His master plan, He has clearly laid out the steps to live each day.   As a boy, when I would work on jobs around the house with my dad, I didn’t always understand what he was trying to accomplish or how to put together the project. I learned to listen to my dad and follow his step by step instructions. As you wrestle with the events in this world and the daily challenges of life, trust your heavenly Father enough to obey Him step by step. If you will walk with Him, He will lead you home.

Page 6A • Saturday, May 8, 2021 • The Leader

Some pet-safe plants fight off mosquitoes

Dear Tabby, Even though it’s only May, we are already seeing mosquitoes in our yard. Instead of spraying harsh chemicals to get rid of them, we were hoping to plant some plants that might naturally repel mosquitoes but that are safe for our dogs. Any ideas? Bugs Be Gone in Garden Oaks Dear Bugs Be Gone, ‘Tis the season in Houston for warm weather and everyone’s least favorite insect: the mosquito. Mosquitos are not only annoying, they can be harmful to humans and animals alike. The most dangerous disease that mosquitoes can pass along to our pets is heartworm disease. Thankfully, there are simple and affordable preventatives for your pets that keep them safe from heartworms, but that shouldn’t make the presence of mosquitoes in your yard any less concerning. But here’s some good news: There

are many useful plants that can thrive in our area and that also repel mosquitoes. Most of these plants make a beautiful and fragrant addition to any garden (and some can even do double duty as herbs you might use in the kitchen). Here is a list of a few fun, dog-friendly additions to your garden that might also repel mosquitoes. Lavender Humans might find lavender calming, but mosquitoes detest the scent! This lovely herb can be planted in pots or in the ground and produces eye-catching blooms that butterflies love. Peppermint Mosquitoes really seem to hate the minty scent of this popular herb. Peppermint is a prolific grower, so keeping it in a pot might help to keep it under control in your garden. Peppermint also has some good uses inside of your home. Use it in iced tea or add it to your homemade household cleaners for an uplifting boost of scent. Catnip (My personal favorite--for medicinal purposes only, of course). Cats might love it, but mosquitoes hate catnip!

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Studies have even shown that catnip might be more useful for repelling mosquitoes than even the chemical DEET. Sure, your garden might become the most popular spot in the neighborhood for cats, but it certainly won’t have pesky mosquitoes! Rosemary Rosemary packs a one-two punch for pet lovers as not only does it repel mosquitoes, but it also deters fleas! Rosemary does well in pots or in the ground and is great for use in the kitchen, too! A true household all-star! Lemon balm A cousin to the popular mosquito repellant, citronella, lemon balm can be easily grown in pots around your yard and keeps away the mosquitoes while delighting the butterflies! So, dig in, get your hands dirty, and plant some of these helpful plants in your garden. They just might keep you and your pets from getting bitten this summer and make your yard a more enjoyable place to hang out all spring and summer long.

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

Art Valet: UH art students emerge with sculpture exhibit Mitch Cohen Art Columnist

For the past three semesters, University of Houston sculpture artists have been forced to work in virtual isolation. After a year of canceled exhibitions, limited studio access and online-only classes, the 22 students prevailed and now present an exhibition titled Annex Energy. Annex Energy is a tribute to the resilience of the UH sculpture program during the time of COVID-19. SITE Gallery Houston at Sawyer Yards, 1502 Sawyer St., is displaying the exhibit through Aug. 19. It is free and open to the public. “Annex Energy was named to recognize the UH School of Art graduates and current students who have contributed so much to the Houston art scene since the explosive energy of the Lawndale Annex, to the South Park Annex and now the new building at Elgin Street Studios,” said Michelle Matthews, organizer and a sculpture graduate student. SITE Gallery Houston,

maybe one of the most unusual exhibit spaces in Houston, is situated inside the massive grain silos at Sawyer Yards. The space practically begs for a full sensory installation - art, film, sound and video. The UH sculpture students have done an amazing job utilizing the space. When I saw that Tiffany A. Nesbit was one of the 22 students in the exhibition, I jumped at the chance to ask her all about the exhibit and her installation. Nesbit recently began showcasing her ceramics at my Market at Sawyer Yards, which is underneath the silos on second Saturdays. Nesbit was born in New Orleans and grew up nearby getting the best of both country and city life. She comes from a family of creatives, too. “I came to Houston in 2019 specifically for the (master of fine arts) program at the University of Houston,” Nesbit said. “I’ve got to say, I really appreciate the city and what it has given me so far. The art scene is a weird collaboration between street art and academia, which is so perfect and what I needed to see for my own practice.” Art Valet: Explain what Annex Energy is all about.

Photo from Tiffany A. Nesbit Tiffany A. Nesbit’s installation, The Wagon, is part of a 22-artist exhibit on view at SITE Gallery Houston.

Nesbit: “Annex Energy is a sort of shout-out to our old sculpture building at UH South Park Annex, and the artists that gave energy to the space. We are all tremendously grateful for our new space on Elgin, but there’s something about having an old funky building to give love and attention to, which I think all of UH sculpture peeps did and are passing it on to Elgin.” AV: What is your installation about and what inspired you? Nesbit: “The wagon installation is part of the body of work Serious Traits. Being

back in Louisiana for a few months I realized why I am so attracted to specific color pallets, patterns and forms of botany. I also realized why I am so attracted to specific personality traits and characteristics of both humans and animals, and how they interact with each other in given situations, how living organisms react being in constant survival mode. “The wagon hints on these ideas, but dives deeper into an almost nostalgic setting, with childlike playful interactions,” Nesbit continued. “The

makeshift wagon holds home to intricate vessel forms being tied together with ropes on top of an old rabbit cage as if they were collected on a journey, perhaps roaming out in the woods or bayou. There are larger collections of bundles on the floor surrounding the wagon and hanging from the entrance of the silo that speaks a similar language. The roof shingles are plopped on the floor, wrapping around the silo and lead the viewer to the projection of two films on the silo wall. The films play in rotation describing the landscape where these magical vessels could have been collected.” AV: What were your thoughts about working in SITE Gallery? Nesbit: “The SITE Gallery could not have been a better place for this installation. It certainly taps into otherworldly, which is exactly what the work needed. The acoustics throughout the silos made it work, too. You could hear every footstep, water drip, the ceramics when they tinked together, the echo of the bird howls in the films. The curves and the grungy industrial surface of the silos wall enhanced the projections. It

wouldn’t feel right if they were projected on a smooth, freshly painted surface.” Nesbit works full-time at her art, supplementing her income with markets, galleries, shops and teaching. Her website is tiffanyangelnesbit.com and follow her on Instagram.com/ tiffanyangelstudioartist. Annex Energy artists include Nesbit along with Jen Barker, Daniel Calderon, Cat Davila, Noelle Dunahoe, Marley Foster, Nicolas Herrera, Randi Long, Jacinta Majithia, Blaize Marshall, Michelle Matthews, Cheyenne Nevins, Katie Patzke, Brenna Rogers, Stevie Spurgin, William VB, Jimena Vilchis, Michelle Vo, Debbie Vu, Marie Williams, Erick Zambrano and Gustavo Alejandro Solorzano Aparicio. Regular hours for Annex Energy were not announced before this went to press, but I’m certain it will be open Saturday in the afternoon during Second Saturday Open Studios. Check events at SawyerYards.com for updated details and a map. 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: Spice level no joke at Mico’s Hot Chicken By Zarah Parker zarah@theleadernew.com

The hype about Nashville hot chicken being delicious and spicier than other deep-fried chicken is true, at least at a popular spot in the Heights. When I dropped by Mico’s Hot Chicken on a Sunday afternoon, I tried to go at a time when the lunch crowd would already be thinned out. But I quickly learned that Mico’s is busy at pretty much any given time. There’s a walk-up window to order and all the seating is outdoors. It was a sunny day and the only tables available were the ones without shade. I ordered my meal to-go just in case a shaded seat didn’t open up, but luckily I snagged a seat in the shade a few minutes after ordering. There was a large group that ordered before me, so I expected my order to take a little longer. However, my food still came out pretty fast. The menu is made up of three main options: a “Sammich,” a tender basket and loaded fries, which are topped

with cheese, Mico’s sauce and chopped-up fried chicken. The spice level is up to preference. Mico’s has five levels, including no spice, mild, medium, hot and extra hot. Under the extra hot spice level, the menu read “Be afraid, very afraid,” so I decided to heed the advice. I ordered a Sammich with medium spice and the tenders with hot. On the Sammich was house-made coleslaw, pickles and Mico’s sauce, which is similar in taste to fry sauce (a mixture of ketchup and mayonaisse). It has a salmon color and helped offset the heat of the chicken. Nashville hot chicken is usually set apart from the rest because of the use of spices like cayenne and hot sauce in the coating. When I first looked at the deep-fried chicken tenders, which was a nice dark brown, almost like a dark honey color, I expected heat, but I don’t think I really was prepared for it to be spicier than anything I’d had before, with the exception of homemade salsa that my friend from Mexico makes

that’s like eating straight fire. To put it in perspective, my first bite of the Sammich with the medium spice level had my sinuses clearing up. The coleslaw and pickles cooled it down only slightly. The chicken itself was really good. The white meat practically glowed in contrast to its darker crust. The meat was perfectly juicy, too. The meat of the tenders was the same, but with it being hot, the spices had me wanting to cry. It was still delicious, even though I kept jokingly asking my lunch partner if my lips were swollen. The tenders came with a piece of white bread and a side of fries. The fries were waffle cut and seasoned well. My lunch partner said they were her new favorite fries and while I agreed they were good, they didn’t reach favorite status for me. I really enjoyed how crunchy they were, though. By the end of my meal, I understood why there was still a line wrapped around the building. While I don’t know if I’ll ever be brave enough to face the extra hot spice level,

Photo by Zarah Parker Shown is The Sammich, which comes with house-made coleslaw, pickles and Mico’s sauce, with medium spice from Mico’s Hot Chicken in the Heights.

I look forward to more hot chicken in the future. Mico’s Hot Chicken Address: 1603 N. Durham

Treat mom with special Sunday meal Zarah Parker Managing Editor

While you should let your mom know you love her every day, on Mother’s Day you get to show it in my favorite way: with a nice meal. Whether you’re treating mom to brunch, lunch, dinner or drinks for Mother’s Day this Sunday, there’s a few places in the area that would make perfect spots. On Sunday, Field & Tides, 705 E. 11th St., is featuring favorites in an a la carte format, such as deviled eggs, crab soup and more with seatings from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 713-861-6143. The Union Kitchen will have a special menu Sunday, including starters like Shrimp and

Roasted Corn Bisque and Avocado Crab Louie Salad Cups as well as entrees such as Coffee Crusted Short Rib and Herb Crusted Lamb Lollipops. Vegan fare can be had for brunch as Verdine, 449 W. 19th St., also has special menu options for Mother’s Day. They include Strawberry Shortcake Waffles, topped with coconut whip, strawberry jam, maple syrup and one chocolatecovered strawberry; Mama’s Frittata, vegan “eggs” with asparagus, garlic spinach and vegan mozzarella; and Eggs Benedict, made with a housemade croissant. If you want to treat mom to some wine, Mutiny Wine Room, 1124 Usener St., is having a special Mother’s Day blind wine tasting, which will be led by a Mutiny Wine steward. The tasting will include four wines and a small food pairing to accompany each

wine. After the tasting, guests will get to choose their favorite and get a bottle of wine to take home. The tasting is $85 per person and reservations are required, which can be made by calling 832-618-1233. The chef at Max’s Wine Dive at 4720 Washington Ave., has created a special dish for Mother’s Day, featuring the pan-seared wild flounder with a side of heirloom carrots and wilted spinach and topped with a lemon-caper beurre blanc for $32, available all day. Places that don’t have specific Mother’s Day specials, but also are worthy of treating mom abound in the area. Alice Blue, 250 W. 19th St., is a contemporary bistro ideal for brunch of lunch. It’s cozy but upscale atmosphere is what makes it a top option for Mother’s Day. If your mom wants Italian, you can’t go wrong with Cava-

tore, 2120 Ella Blvd., with its rustic setting, pastas and delicious desserts, or Porta’Vino, 7800 Washington Ave., with its wine selections and great spaghetti dish. Killen’s, 101 Heights Blvd., can provide some southern comfort. Its portions are large enough to share, so menu items can be ordered family-style, meaning everyone shares everything. That way, mom can have a variety. If going to a restaurant sounds daunting, ordering barbecue is never a bad idea, and is always still good at home. The best places to place an order would be with Gatlin’s BBQ, 3510 Ella Blvd., which is closed on Sunday, but you can pick it up the day before; Pinkerton’s BBQ, 1504 Airline Dr.; and Truth’s BBQ, 110 S. Heights Blvd. You can’t go wrong with brisket and ribs.

Food Briefs: Little Bitty Burger Barn moves to new location By Zarah Parker zarah@theleadernews.com The red “barn” on Pinemont Drive is no longer home to Little Bitty Burger Barn. The restaurant moved to 5139 Antoine Dr., just around the corner, in February. “We actually did a seamless transition,” owner Orlando Delcid said. “We closed the old location and opened the new location the same day.” While Delcid loved the charm of the original location, he said the move was needed because they

needed a bigger space and more parking spots. “It came at a good time for us,” Delcid said. “With the pandemic, a lot of people want to be able to have more room to walk around in.” No changes have been made to the menu and Delcid said the Little Bitty Burger Barn is still serving “the hottest burger in Texas,” just at a new location.

New bar planned for Heights

The Rabbit Hole is an upcoming

bar planting roots in the Heights at 1317 E. 29th St. Headed by managing partners William Daniel and Ian Frascati, The Rabbit Hole will be a destination for wine, beer and craft cocktails served out of a historic 1928 Heights bungalow. The space will have an in-house kitchen to cook up “pub fare” and a dog-friendly patio. While the space is under early construction, the project is seeking investments through a Nextseed campaign, which has raised a little over $19,000 out of its $275,000 goal as of Tuesday.

According to the Nextseed campaign page, the bar is expected to open next January.

Rakkan Ramen now open

The Los Angels-based ramen spot, Rakkan Ramen, opened Monday in the M-K-T development at 600 N. Shepherd Dr. in the Heights. Rather than traditional pork broth, Rakkan Ramen is known for its vegetable broth made with kombu, mushrooms, carrots, onion, ginger and garlic.

Dr. Hours: 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday Pricing: $8.99 (cashless) Kid-friendly: Yes

Alcohol: No Healthy options: No Star of the show: Sammich

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Page 8A • Saturday, May 8, 2021 • The Leader

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The Leader • Saturday, May 8, 2021 • Page 1B

Teens’ mental health suffers during pandemic By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com


Charlie is a local teenager who has been in virtual school since it began in the fall. He says he was in treatment for anxiety and depression when the pandemic began, which served as a bit of a buffer. Still, when he returned home, he began to feel the isolation. “Being bored is bad for a lot of people,” said Charlie, who is using a pseudonym to protect his identity. Still, he feels lucky he has been able to continue therapy. “It helps a lot to talk to someone,” he said. A recent survey by ParentsTogether found that 70 percent of children surveyed reported feeling sad, overwhelmed and worried. A little less than half of the parents questioned said their kids have been struggling with mental wellness since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Dr. Mariam Wahby, a licensed marriage and family therapist who works as an education specialist in Behavioral Health Services with the Memorial Hermann Health System, said the pandemic has had a significant negative impact on the mental health of teens, in large part due to the isolation caused by virtual learning. While many Houston ISD students have returned to in-person school, around half are still virtual. “For many kids, school is the only time they are able to see their friends,” Wahby said. “The loss of social interaction is especially hardest for teens because they rely on it more than any of us.” Wahby also said their online activities play a role – and not just social media but the content they seek. “Just because your child is 17, it is not time to let up on social media monitoring,” she said. “A lot of teens look online for information, too, like with blogs and following certain hashtags, (and the information) is almost like a citation.” Charlie said he has grown to hate social media.

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NORTHWEST CHIROPRACTIC George G. Junkin, D.C. D.A.C.B.N. Nutritionist 11500 NW Frwy - Suite 201 Houston, Texas 77092 Tel: 713-686-0828 www.drjunkin.com Internal Medicine

Dr. Jaclyn Harrison

Contributed photo Teens do not have the same coping mechanisms as adults, so pandemic stressors weigh on them more heavily, according to experts.

“I use it sometimes to communicate with friends but I barely post now,” he said. “It’s a comparison thing. You think, ‘They look happy. I want to be happy.’” A recent report from JAMA Psychiatry said emergency rooms during the last year treated 6 percent more patients after a suicide attempt compared to prior years. While Wahby did not have numbers for Memorial Hermann, she said across the country, there has been an uptick in the number of teens who visit the emergency room for suicidal thoughts. “Their brains are still developing, and they have far less ability to cope than adults,” Wahby said. She also makes the point that teens have less opportunity to have an impact on some of the things that affect them, like a parent’s job loss. In addition to keeping tabs on social media, Wahby said parents should be aware of any changes in

Dr. Mariam Wahby

their teens’ sleeping habits or any increased irritability. Ailments like headaches and stomach aches that do not have another diagnosis may be stress-related.

For mental health resources, Wahby suggests the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800273-8255 (TALK). It is a United States-based suicide prevention network of more than 160 crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline and is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. She said you can also text ‘home’ to 741741 and reach a crisis counselor at the Crisis Text Line. Wahby said Memorial Hermann also offers crisis clinics in Humble, Meyerland and Spring Branch. “They stagger their operating times and are open at non-traditional times,” she said. Charlie said he thinks the stigma surrounding mental health is going away but wishes more teens would ask for help when they need it. “Sometimes parents just don’t understand,” he said. “Or are in denial.”

5 Women’s Health Myths: Don’t fall for these works of fiction Houston Methodist Hospital

strong bones. So is making sure you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D.

For The Leader

There’s a lot of misinformation about women’s health out there, making it difficult to know what’s true. Here, Dr. Zuleikha Tyebjee, who practices at Houston Methodist Primary Care Group in The Heights, debunks five common myths. Myth #1: Women don’t have to worry about heart disease. FACT: Heart disease is the leading killer of women. It’s especially important for women to know the signs of a heart attack because they are likely to have more subtle symptoms, such as jaw pain, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and fatigue. Plus, you need to understand your personal risk for heart disease and have your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels checked regularly. Tyebjee also recommends that as women get older, they consider seeing an internist or a primary care provider in addition to their obstetriciangynecologist. Myth #2: Most breast cancer is hereditary. FACT: Only 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are hereditary. Tyebjee emphasizes the importance of recognizing if breast cancer runs in your

Preferred Health

Dr. Zuleikha Tyebjee

family. If a woman does have an affected gene for breast cancer, she has a 40 to 80 percent chance of having breast cancer in her lifetime. But the biggest risk factors for breast cancer are two things you can’t do anything about: being a woman and getting older. So, make sure you talk to your doctor about your situation and the best age to begin screening mammograms. “Whether you have a genetic risk or not, you do have control over factors such as health maintenance, weight management and preventive care,” Tyebjee explains.

Myth #3: Calcium alone will keep your bones strong. FACT: Calcium is important, but vitamin D and lifestyle choices are also essential. Women reach their peak bone mass by their 30s, and bone mass drops significantly the year leading up to menopause – so it’s important not to wait until after menopause to start thinking about bone health, Tyebjee said. Doing regular weightbearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, hiking and weight training, as well as not smoking, are key to having

PRIMARY CARE that fits your life

houstonmethodist.org/pcg 713.394.6724

Myth #4: If you’re done having children, you don’t need an annual well-woman exam. FACT: These annual exams are potentially even more important as you get older. As a woman ages, her risk for female cancers – including breast, uterine, ovarian, cervical and vaginal cancers – also increases. Yearly exams are designed to help detect signs and symptoms as early as possible, Tyebjee explained. Menstrual irregularities, which are important to review with your doctor yearly, can signal other health issues. And don’t confuse the well-woman exam with a Pap test. While a Pap test might not be necessary every year, the well-woman exam remains important. Myth #5: Nothing can be done about urinary incontinence. FACT: While the condition is common, you don’t have to live with it. Urinary incontinence, which is the involuntary leakage of urine, has a number of treatment options, including behavior techniques and both nonsurgical and surgical procedures. Some also believe that

urinary incontinence can occur only after a vaginal delivery. Whether you gave birth through a vaginal delivery or a cesarean section, you might experience incontinence afterward, explains Tyebjee, who also sees patients for women’s health visits as part of their preventive and ongoing primary care. Dr. Zuleikha Tyebjee welcomes new and existing patients for primary care and women’s health visits. Please visit houstonmethodist.org/ pcg/heights to schedule an appointment online.

Heights Health Tower 1900 North Loop West Suite 580 713-714-5376 www.whiteoakmedicalassociates.com Obstetrics / Gynecology

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

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Page 2B • Saturday, May 8, 2021 • The Leader

Men can support testosterone levels with nutrition By Shana Tatum, RD LD

- Seafood (clams, crab, lobster, oysters, scallops, shrimp)


Last month we featured women and the effects of nutrition during menopause. This month we feature men and testosterone. As the primary male hormone, testosterone controls many features of a man’s health. At puberty, it brings upon the growth of sex organs, facial and body hair and the building of muscles. It also plays a role into adulthood with red blood cell production, fertility, bone mineral density and metabolism. Most of this hormone in males is made in the testes, in the ovaries and adrenal glands for women. The control of its production is signaled by the pituitary gland in the brain. Impact of low testosterone Low circulating testosterone has been shown in men with metabolic syndrome, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and insulin resistance. This correlation may lie with the signaling power that visceral (abdominal) fat plays. Leptin is a hormone secreted by the fat cells and signals the feeling of satiety, that we are full. This leptin balance seems to be off in obese men with low testosterone levels. When testosterone is low, there is less fat burning. The Journal of Urology reported in 2020 that a low-fat diet in men may increase the risk of testosterone deficiency. While this may sound like good news, dieters should not take free license to eat a highfat diet. More studies have shown obesity’s link to testosterone levels. Annually, 500,000 American men are diagnosed with low testosterone. To measure levels, a doctor can request a blood draw usually taken between 7-10 a.m. Because levels fluctuate throughout the day, it is important to retest at a similar time of day for comparison of results. Lifestyle changes and testosterone Lifestyle factors that can be modified to improve testosterone include improved insulin sensitivity and glucose regula-


tion, body mass index within range, and consistent physical activity. Research shows that increased daily movement may increase serum testosterone. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, groups of men that had up to 10,486 steps per day had an increase in serum testosterone compared to groups with less than 3,579 steps per day. The study also showed improvement in groups that participated in aerobic activity three times per week for 60-90 minutes. This same study evaluated the effect of calorie restriction on testosterone levels and concluded there was not a significant difference in the lowcalorie group (1680 kcal) compared to the high-calorie group (2735 kcal). In my opinion, it is the balance of those calories that makes a difference. A diet high in refined carbs and high in saturated fat will likely result in obesity. We also know that a low-protein diet can result in lower testosterone. Good protein sources include: Animal proteins - Beef or bison (brisket, chuck, flank steak, bottom round, eye of the round, top round, sirloin, tenderloin, tip roast) - Dairy (cheese, cottage cheese, milk, Greek yogurt) - Eggs - Fish (cod, flounder, haddock, halibut, mahi-mahi, perch, pollock, salmon, sol, snapper, tilapia) - Lamb (blade chop, foreshank, leg roast, loin chop, sirloin roast) - Pork (center cut chop, center cut loin roast, 90-95 percent lean ham, leg, tenderloin, Canadian bacon) - Poultry (chicken, turkey)

Plant proteins - Grains (quinoa, amaranth) - Legumes (dried beans, peas, lentils and pasta made from these) - Nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts and butters made from these) - Seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, chia, flax and butters made from these)

- Soy (tofu, tempeh, soy yogurt, soy milk) Essential Fatty acids also can impact free testosterone levels. These anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (EPA/ DHA) and alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) can be found in the diet. Adequate intake for males ranges between 1.3 and 1.6 grams per day. Consider fatty fish such as: - Atlantic salmon (1.8 grams

EPA/DHA per 3 ounces) - Atlantic mackerel (1.0 grams EPA/DHA per 3 ounces) - Anchovies (0.8 grams EPA/DHA per 4 ounces) - Sardines (1.2 grams EPA/ DHA per 3 ounces) - Atlantic herring (1.7 grams EPA/DHA per 3 ounces) Plant sources can also be found in: - Flax seed oil (7.3 ALA per 1 tablespoon) - Chia seeds (5.1 ALA per 2

tablespoons) - Walnuts (2.6 ALA per 14 halves) - Whole flax seeds (2.4 ALA per 1 tablespoon) A requirement for healthy testosterone levels includes maintaining a normal weight and supporting a healthy endocrine function. In addition to choosing a whole foods-based diet including healthy fats (hormone precursor) and fiber, choosing daily physical activity can also move you toward optimal hormone balance.

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

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

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

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

The Leader • Saturday, May 8, 2021 • Page 3B

Allergy, ENT specialist to open Heights office By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

Allergy & ENT Associates, a group medical practice with 15 locations in the Houston area, is opening a Heights office May 11 at 518 W. 11th St., Suite 100, according to a news

release. Allergy & ENT Associates, founded in 1957, provides individualized care to treat allergies, asthma and other conditions related to the ear, nose and throat. The Heights clinic will be staffed with board-certified allergists and ENT sur-

geons, according to the news release, and operate in a 2,000 square foot space. According to aentassociates.com, hours for the Heights location will be 8 a.m.-4:40 p.m. Monday, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday, 7 a.m.-4:40 p.m. Wednesday and 9:30 a.m.-6:40

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p.m. Thursday. The office can be reached at 281-914-4762. Services to be provided include testing and immunotherapy for allergies and asthma along with sinus surgery for ENT patients.

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life-long resident of Houston and long-time elementary school teacher for HISD. She exemplified the heart of service and was a valued member of St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church where she served in many capacities. She is preceded in death by her loving husband, Lyle Patterson; her brother, Robert Knox; her parents, Oran and Ariel Knox. She is survived by her niece, Kara (Knox) Klousnitzer and her husband Gary; great niece, Rachel Klousnitzer; great niece, Amanda Klousnitzer-Hutchens and her husband, Jack and their daughter, Harriet; sister-in-law, Betty Knox; nephew, Robert Knox, Jr. as well as other loving family members and countless friends.

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Page 4B • Saturday, May 8, 2021 • The Leader


TAKE A MOMENT TO PRIORITIZE YOUR HEALTH. Your annual mammogram is a wise investment in your long-term health. At Memorial Hermann, we make it convenient to get the breast cancer screening services you need with online scheduling, 3-D mammography at all locations and our enhanced Safe Wait™ safety measures. That’s care on your terms and schedule.

SCHEDULE YOUR MAMMOGRAM. 877.40.MAMMO memorialhermann.org/mammo

Advancing health. Personalizing care.

The Leader • Saturday, May 8, 2021 • Page 5B


Because cancer is complex and often requires various treatment therapies, Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital uses a team approach to ensure quality care. The hospital’s Breast Care Center is fully accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, which signifies the highest standards of care for patients with diseases of the breast. Members of the Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Breast Care Team collaboratively develop and monitor the care of patients to meet their unique medical, physical and emotional needs throughout their cancer journeys.

Many Medical Disciplines Contribute to Care Plan

Team members include affiliated physicians with experience in general and plastic surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, radiology and pathology, along with rehabilitation specialists and Oncology Nurse Navigator Angela Sisk, MSN, RN, OCN. Sisk uses her decades of experience as an oncology nurse to guide, educate and support cancer patients from a possible cancer diagnosis through survivorship. She explains how the team approach begins. “We ask newly diagnosed breast cancer patients to meet with a breast surgeon, a medical oncologist—t he doctor who ma nages chemotherapy—and a radiation oncologist before treatment begins,” says Sisk. “Then these specialists, along with other members of the Breast Care Team, present the patient’s case at a weekly conference. The team discusses evidencebased guidelines and appropriate care before finalizing their recommendation for the patient’s individualized treatment plan.” Because each physician has different expertise, he or she looks at each case differently. Team member W. Mike Ratliff, MD, an affiliated surgeon who specializes in diseases of the breast, praises the multidisciplinary approach to patient care. “After everyone presents their findings and

recommendations, we will reach consensus on a patient’s treatment plan,” says Dr. Ratliff. “Sometimes one physician will ask, ‘Have you considered this?’ or ‘Should we do that?’ I have no doubt this collegiality has led to improved care for breast cancer patients.” Sisk documents treatment recommendations into each patient’s medical records. The physician who treats the patient first shares the proposed plan, including the order of specific therapies. Maximum time is allowed for questions and acceptance of the plan. “I try to allay my patients’ fears and encourage them emotionally because breast cancer is largely a very treatable disease,” says Dr. Ratliff. “If you can help them and reassure them, then they can say, ‘I can do this,’ and that’s a neat thing to see.”

Weekly Meetings and Constant Support

After treatment begins, the Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Breast Care Team meets weekly to discuss each patient’s progress. As Nurse Navigator, Sisk serves as the liaison between patients and the breast care team. She is passionate about sharing community and hospital resources with her patients to enhance their physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. There is no charge for her services. “I look at the whole person and always assess barriers to care, whether they’re financial, transportation or psychosocial,” says Sisk. “I call patients at high-stress times, which include before and after surgery and during chemotherapy.”

Significant Strides in Breast Cancer Care

Breast cancer treatment has significantly improved over the past three decades, as witnessed by Dr. Ratliff. “Obviously we’d like for no one to have breast cancer, but with improved treatment options, patients are experiencing better outcomes, living longer and often being cured, and that’s very gratifying,” says Dr. Ratliff.


Ronnie Adams, II, MD

Amanda Garza, MD

Adrienne Floyd, MD

Carlos Murillo, MD

W. Mike Ratliff, MD

Christophe Salcedo, MD

Medical Oncologists:

Peter Farha, MD

Kevin Hude, MD

Shahab Khan, MD

Julio Peguero, MD

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Aparna Surapaneni, MD

Angela Sisk, MSN, RN, OCN

To learn more about breast cancer care at Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital, contact Angela Sisk at 713.867.2062 Advancing health. Personalizing care.

Page 6B • Saturday, May 8, 2021 • The Leader

LHN, St. Thomas boys take home TAPPS track titles By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

The St. Thomas High School boys track and field team once again soared above the rest of TAPPS 6A, while the Lutheran High North boys fended off the TAPPS 3A competition during the private-school state meet last weekend at Midway ISD’s Panther Stadium in Hewitt. Both local schools brought home the team state title in their respective classifications with the help of four total individual state titles. The Lions had two relay teams take home the crown, while St. Thomas also had a relay state title. Lutheran High North

emerged above a crowded 3A field that saw the top four teams finish within eight points of each other, thanks in part to two individual state champions, and finished with 69 total points. The Lions edged second-place Austin Hill Country Christian by seven points. Xavier Neal led the Lions’ individual performances as the state champion in the boys 200 meters with a time of 22.94 seconds, while he was the second-place finisher in the triple jump with a mark of 42 feet, 7.75 inches. Neal also anchored LHN’s 400 and 800 relays, which both took home a state championship. The 400 relay ran the final in 1:33.70 seconds, while the 800 relay finished in

44.76. Marvin Robinson was the state champion in the high jump, clearing a height of 6 feet in the final. For LHN’s Lady Lions, Sydney Cassens finished second in the shot put by throwing 31-5, while Hailey Wilson was second in the 100 hurdles with a time of 18.08. St. Thomas had two individual state champions en route to its third team state championship in the last six years, finishing with 121 total points and winning by 30.5 points over second-place Addison Trinity Christian. Baylor football commit Cameron Bonner was the 6A state champion in the boys 400, with a new state-record time of 47.98 in the final. Andres Meza won the high jump.

Other notable individual finishes for the Eagles included Marquis Kiatta finishing second in the triple jump with a distance of 43-3.5 and third in the long jump at 20-7.75. Brett Koehn was third in the 3,200 with a time of 9:56.19, while Heriberto Villegas was third in the 800 with a time of 1:59.65. The Eagles’ 1,600 relay team of Joseph Romero, Villegas, Luke Anigbogu and Bonner won the championship in 3:23.90. St. Thomas’ 800 relay team of Kiatta, Bonner, Aaron Blackman and Anigbogu was the second-place finisher with a time of 42.96. St. Pius X’s Nethaneel Lolo finished fourth in the 6A boys 100 with a time of 11.65.

Photo from LHN Athletics Twitter Lutheran High North’s Marvin Robinson (left) and Xavier Neal display their medals from the TAPPS 3A state track meet last Saturday.

Rizzo pitches Eagles into TAPPS regional final By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

In what has been a strong farewell tour during his senior high school season, St. Thomas starting pitcher Will Rizzo put up another ace performance earlier this week to help the Eagles advance in the TAPPS 6A Division I playoffs. Rizzo, who is committed to Texas A&M, pitched a complete game Monday night against Beaumont Kelly Catholic to lead St. Thomas to a 3-1 victory and move the Eagles one step closer to a 10th state tournament appearance in 11 years. It was Rizzo’s third complete game this season, two of which have come against the Bulldogs. Rizzo gave up one unearned run while striking out eight Bulldogs on 89 pitches. He held Kelly hitless over the final four innings, doing enough to make three early runs stand up and help St. Thomas (19-11-1) into another regional final. The Eagles are scheduled to play San Antonio Antonian Prep (26-9-1) on Saturday, with the winner advancing to

the state tournament. St. Pius X fell 1-0 to Antonian Prep on Monday to end its season. The Panthers finished the 2021 campaign with a 15-13 record. Lutheran High North lost 16-3 to Lucas Christian Academy in the first round of the TAPPS 3A Division IV playoffs on April 30, ending its season with a 3-8 record. On the public school circuit, Heights is entering the playoffs as District 18-6A’s fourth seed. The Bulldogs dropped a 10-1 decision to Bellaire on April 27 before taking down Houston Austin by a score of 11-1 Monday in a final playoff tune-up. Heights (10-15) will play District 17-6A champion Cy-Fair (23-8) in a best-ofthree bi-district series beginning Friday. Waltrip, meanwhile, clinched the District 23-5A title with a 16-0 win over Northside on April 28 before the May 1 rematch was canceled due to inclement weather. The Rams finished the regular season 16-7-2 overall and 11-0 mark in district play. Waltrip


Class 6A Bi-District Heights vs. Cy-Fair Game 1: 7 p.m. Friday, Cy-Fair HS Game 2: 30 minutes after Game 1 Game 3: 7 p.m. Saturday, Delmar Stadium, if necessary Class 5A Bi-District Waltrip vs. Angleton One-game playoff: 5 p.m. Friday, Delmar Stadium Class 4A Bi-District One-game playoff: Scarborough vs. Navasota, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Navasota HS


Class 6A Area Playoff Heights vs. Katy Game 1: 5 p.m. Friday, Katy HS Game 2: 30 minutes after Game 1 Game 3: noon Saturday, Delmar Stadium, if necessary

Photo from St. Thomas High School Twitter St. Thomas’ Will Rizzo reacts after a strikeout. The senior pitched the Eagles into the TAPPS regional finals with a complete game on Monday.

will play Angleton in the first round of the playoffs at 5 p.m. Friday. Scarborough enters the playoffs as District 23-4A’s champion after going 14-8 overall and 13-1 in district competition. The Spartans will play Navasota, District 24-4A’s fourth-place finisher, in the opening round.

Softball In public school action, Heights kept its season alive with a first-round sweep of Stratford by scores of 10-4 and 1-0 on May 1. The Lady Bulldogs (15-6) will play Katy (15-2-2) - the District 19-6A champion and defending Class 6A state champion – in a best-of-three area-round series beginning this Friday.

The Waltrip Lady Rams saw their season end at the hands of Fulshear in a 6A bidistrict series last week, losing 14-0 on April 29 and 21-1 on April 30 to finish their season at 9-4. St. Pius X’s Lady Panthers beat Katy St. John XXIII 19-0 in Tuesday’s area-round matchup to move on to the TAPPS 6A Division I regional

final. The Lady Panthers (199) will next San Antonio Antonian Prep. The Lutheran High North Lady Lions dominated St. Gerard Catholic 26-6 last week in the opening round of the TAPPS 3A Division IV playoffs. LHN was scheduled to play St. Paul Catholic in the second round Tuesday night.

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The Leader • Saturday, May 8, 2021 • Page 8B

North Shepherd murder suspect arrested By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

Police say they have arrested a man suspected of fatally shooting another man at an area hotel earlier last month. The Houston Police Department said 32-year-old Jamarcus Toliver has been charged with murder in the shooting death of 38-year-old Joseph Lewis. Toliver was arrested on April 20, according to HPD. According to HPD, Lewis and Toliver were in a car together when they got into a confrontation in the parking lot of the Tropical Motel at 4831 N. Shepherd Dr. Police say Toliver allegedly fired multiple shots toward Lewis, hit-

By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com


ting him as he sat in the passenger seat. HPD said Toliver then allegedly pushed Lewis out of the car and drove away, allegedly running over him as he fled the scene. Lewis was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Man hospitalized after Acres Homes shooting By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

Houston police say they are investigating a shooting near Acres Homes last week that left a man hospitalized. The victim, 36-year-old Jerrod Allen, was taken to a hospital in stable condition, according to the Houston Police Department. HPD said Allen was standing in the parking lot of the Shop-In-Mart at 801 W. Little

Woman arrested in Northside shooting

York Rd. around 11:50 p.m. April 29 when a black, fourdoor sedan drove by, with at least one person in the vehicle firing a gun at Allen and hitting him multiple times. Police said there are no known suspects or motives in the case. Anyone with information in the incident is asked to contact HPD’s Major Assaults & Family Violence division at 713308-8800 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477.  

Police have arrested a woman accused of shooting a man in the Northside area last weekend. The Houston Police Department said Rita Ochoa, 44, has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and felon in possession of a weapon in connection with the shooting of 47-year-old Elias Yanez on May 2. Yanez was taken to an area hospital in stable condition, according to HPD.

Police said officers responded to a shooting call at 246 Hohldale St. around 4 p.m. May 2. According to police, Ochoa allegedly got into an argument someone at the scene before allegedly grabbing a pistol Yanez had on his person. Yanez then allegedly attempted to take the pistol back, according to police, who said an alleged struggle unsued and the gun allegedly went off, striking Yanez in the abdomen.

Cause of Heights condo fire under investigation By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

The Houston Fire Department said investigators are working to determine the cause of a fire at a Heights-area condominium last week. HFD said crews responded to The Point Condos in the 100 block of Quitman Street near Woodland Heights just after 4:30 a.m.

April 29 to find fire coming from the fourth-floor balcony of the multi-unit condo complex. The department said nobody was injured in the fire, which was contained to the apartment’s balcony and caused an estimated $15,000 in damage. Its cause remains under investigation, according to HFD.

Man killed in shooting outside area store By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

Houston police say they are looking into the shooting of a man found dead outside a general store near Greater Inwood last week. The Houston Police Department said

the victim is a 30-year-old man whose identity is pending verification by the county’s medical examiner. According to police, the victim was standing in the parking lot of the Family Dollar Store at 5723 Bingle Rd. around 9 p.m. April 30 when he was shot multiple times in the torso. He was later

pronounced dead at an area hospital. Authorities said there are no known suspects or motives in the shooting. Anyone with information in this case is urged to contact HPD’s Homicide division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477.


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