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Inside Today: We debut a new weekly feature • Page 4B

Fabulous Fall

Arriving Daily

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713-725-8748 cell

Covering the Heights, Garden Oaks, Oak Forest & the neighborhoods of North Houston

10570 NW Frwy ❖ 713-680-2350

Saturday, September 25, 2021 • Vol. 66 • No.39

ABOUT US 2020 North Loop West Suite 220 (713) 686-8494 Facebook/FromTheLeader

40 YEARS INSULATING! Attics • Walls • Floors Noise Reduction • Removal



Pedestrian refuge islands met with mixed reactions By Adam Zuvanich Cars and trucks were cruising up and down Studewood Street, like they normally would on a Saturday afternoon, until a woman pushing a stroller stood at the curb and made it clear she wanted to walk across. The driver of a truck heading south stopped and waved toward the woman, letting her know it was safe to proceed into the street using the newly installed crosswalk a little south of

East 11th Street. She did so before briefly stopping in the middle of a median refuge island – another new piece of infrastructure that includes two raised slabs of concrete on both sides of the crosswalk – and then the driver of a car that was going north stepped on the brakes, allowing her and the two children in tow to traverse the other half of the road and make it safety to the sidewalk on the other side. “That’s exactly what we’re looking for,” Ian Hlavacek, a managing engineer with Houston Public Works, said

of the drivers yielding to the pedestrian. “That’s what we’re hoping for.” The recent installation of three median refuge islands on Studewood, which have received both positive and negative reviews from community members, is not the work of the City of Houston, but was done in consultation with the city and with its support, according to Hlavacek. He said implementing more pedestrian-friendly infrastructure on that Heights thoroughfare had long been See Islands, P. 6A

Photo by Adam Zuvanich A woman pushing a stroller crosses East 11th Street last Saturday in the Heights, using a median refuge island that was recently installed.

All for the Family

Your neighborhood living room in The Heights Serving coffee, tea, wine, beer, savories and sweets 7 am to 9 pm daily.

Pet-friendly event set for Sunday

1030 Heights Blvd, Houston,TX 77008

By Landan Kuhlmann


Elizabeth Villarreal Your Neighbor & REALTOR®




Wish granted. The Harris County Flood Control District fulfilled local residents’ request.

Page 5A

Contributed photo Donna Webb prepares to throw a copy of The Leader while driving through the neighborhood last week. The longtime Oak Forest resident, who has delivered the newspaper for 28 years, will soon move to North Texas to be close to her first grandchild.

Longtime carrier leaving community By Adam Zuvanich

Pop in for art. Mitch Cohen profiles Third Ward artist Charles Washington.

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Donna Webb had a baby to feed, which is why she started delivering copies of the local newspaper. Nearly three decades later, she has a grandbaby to spend time with, which is why she will soon make her last drive through the neighborhoods of Northwest Houston. Webb, who has lived in Oak Forest for 56 years and thrown weekly editions of The Leader for half that time, plans to move to North Texas at the end of this month to help take care of her newborn granddaughter, Kinsley. Kinsley’s dad, Colin, a teacher and coach for Sanger ISD, was a baby when his mom started working for The Leader so she could help supplement the family’s income and pay for the formula he drank. “I’m excited to go, but yet I’m sad to leave here,” Donna Webb said. “We figure we’ll be back in town once a month.” The 61-year-old Webb and her sister, Debby Hobart, who also started throwing copies of The Leader 28 years ago but had to stop in recent years for health reasons,

Pet lovers and supporters in the area will have a chance to bring their families and four-legged friends to an outdoor community event this weekend benefitting a local animal assistance group. “Furry Friends Sunday Funday” will be held from 1-4 p.m. Sunday at The Common at Pinemont retail center, 1102 Pinemont Dr. The fundraising event benefits the Northwest Assistance Ministries aniMeals on Wheels program, according to a news release. Seniors receiving Meals on Wheels sometimes struggle to feed their companion animals, the news release said, so the aniMeals on Wheels program was started to make sure their pets also receive their own necessary nutrition. “An added bonus is that, in getting pet food to them, their sweet companions are also getting food that is better for their tummies and overall health,” the release said. The recently unveiled Sugar & Cloth Color Wall will serve as the backdrop for the event, which is being co-chaired by Houston pet advocates Bruce Padilla and Shelby Kibodeaux, and sponsored by BMW West Houston, Oak Forest Veterinary Hospital and Gulf Coast Commercial Group, Inc. There will be a DJ playing music, a specialty popup market and a showcase of new BMW automobiles during the event, according to the news release, as well as an assortment of food trucks such as Pit King BBQ, Happy Sno Lucky shaved ice and Mickey’s Cuisine. Also open will be specialty market venSee Furry Friends, P. 3A

“Not only has Donna been unfailingly loyal to The Leader, she really cares about The Leader community as a whole.”

-Jane Broyles

were described by longtime employee Jane Broyles as the most reliable carriers the newspaper has had. The sisters took on the role after Debby’s daughter accepted a delivery job but abandoned it after a couple weeks, and they went through two suburbans while driving an estimated 300 miles per week on their delivery routes. Debby and Donna at one point delivered 15,000 copies per week, with Donna now throwing about 6,000, meaning they are responsible for at least 10 million deliveries of The Leader over the years. They rarely missed a week, and if they did, Donna said another member of the family See Webb, P. 6A

Contributed photo Shelby Kibodeaux, left, and Bruce Padilla are the co-chairs of Furry Friends Sunday Funday, which will be held from 1-4 p.m. Sunday at The Common on Pinemont, 1102 Pinemont Dr.

Tour de Oak Forest returning to neighborhood By Adam Zuvanich

Sidewalk struggle. There’s a dispute in Oak Forest over the installation of a new sidewalk.

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Hope Episcopal Church 1613 West 43rd Street

THE INDEX. Church....................................................... 5A Classifieds.............................................. 6A Coupons. ................................................. 8A Food/Drink............................................. 9A Obituaries.............................................. 3B Opinion. ................................................... 3A Public Information..................... 10A Puzzles...................................................... 3A



Source: Amar Mohite. Graphic by Brooke Nance The above graphic outlines the route for Le Tour de Oak Forest, the annual community bicycle ride scheduled for the morning of Oct. 9.

Amar Mohite is new to the Oak Forest neighborhood and therefore new to one of its beloved traditions. But riding a bicycle is old hat to Mohite, who has taken the lead in creating the route for Le Tour de Oak Forest. The community bike ride around the subdivision is back after a one-year hiatus forced by COVID-19. This year’s family-friendly event, scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 9, will feature a 9.1-mile route that starts and ends at Hope Episcopal Church, 1613 W. 43rd, while meandering through the parts of the neighborhood that are both east and west of White Oak Bayou. “We are very excited about

it,” said Mohite, the event cochair along with his wife, Ujari. “I did the ride a couple of times with my kids. It should be a fun ride.” The cost for this year’s Le Tour de Oak Forest is $15 for individuals for $40 for a family, which covers event T-shirts for each rider while also helping to fund the Oak Forest Homeowners Association’s annual contract with S.E.A.L. Security Solutions. Registration will be accepted until the day of the event, but Mohite encouraged interested community members to register online ahead of time, through or directly at https://www.f secure/cause_pdetails/MTIzNzMx, to ensure everyone in their See Tour, P. 5A

Page 2A • Saturday, September 25, 2021 • The Leader



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THE TOPICS. The Leader • Saturday, September 25, 2021 • Page 3A

We’re suffering from the disease of choice THE HOSPITAL – “Emergency!” I cry to the admissions clerk. “I’ve been shot!” She looks at me from behind her haz-mat suit. “So have 212 million other Americans. Big deal.” I stagger closer. “Not shot with a needle. With a rifle. My next-door neighbor found that a new Texas law allows him to buy any gun he wanted. So he tried out his new AK-47 by trying to dot the ‘i’ in our neighborhood’s ‘Children At Play’ sign.” She nods. “That explains all those wounded children that just arrived. Take a seat. We’ll be with you – is this Thursday? I can’t remember. I’ve been here three months straight.” I look down the hall, which is lined with people in beds, dollies, a forklift and a John Deere trailer. My hospital, Houston Medical Stuff & Veterinarian Apprentice Training Center, like hospitals across America, is overflowing with patients. On one pallet is a scribbled sign, “Needs emergency appendectomy.” Another reads, “Going into labor – call the nearest midwife.” “May still be breathing” reads another. “Why aren’t those people in an ICU?” I demand. She sighs. “All our ICU beds are full of people dying of Covid-19. Most won’t get vaccinated. Some will only take a needle if the syringe contains heroin.” Thus it is that terribly ill patients can’t get medical treatment

Lynn Ashby Columnist

because our hospitals are jammed with knuckle-draggers who won’t get with the program, and a new poll shows one in four Texans say they won’t be vaccinated for Covid-19. I spot a doctor crawling down the hall. He’s bleary-eyed and unshaven. I stagger up to him. “Doc, I’ve been shot. You’ve got to treat me.” He looks up. “Doc? Yes, you need a doctor. Oh, I am a doctor, I think. Take a number and we’ll call you, maybe. You’ll be number one hundred forty-five. Right now I’m working on number one-two-three.” About 98 percent of ICU beds in Texas are full, and of those, 43 percent are used for Covid-19 patients and 86 percent are unvaccinated. Thus more than 62,000 Texans have died of the pandemic, and it’s early in the day. Their reasoning ranges from not trusting medical science to they can’t afford it (the shots are free) to “I’ve never had Covid before, so

why start now?” We must wonder if these holdouts ever went to school (maybe not) because all 50 states – even Texas -- require shots for students by the first date of attendance. In Texas these include shots for diphtheria, polio, pertussis (whatever that is) plus chickenpox, measles, mumps, hepatitis and rubella. So why are some among us now so resistant to yet another shot? It’s getting sticky. President Joe Biden has issued an executive order requiring all federal employees and federal contractors to be vaccinated. The same for workers in hospitals, home health care facilities and other medical facilities. Gov. Greg Abbott was alarmed: “Texas is already working to halt this power grab,” describing it as “an assault on private businesses.” Said Sen. Ted (“Cancun”) Cruz: “President Biden’s latest and most far-reaching Covid mandate completely ignores science. Forcibly vaccinating people who already have immunity ignores medical data and is a brazen violation of Americans’ privacy rights.” Nevertheless, some private companies are getting on board using either the carrot or the stick. Southwest Airlines employees will get extra pay if they can show proof that they have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine before midNovember. Apple is requiring fre-

quent Covid-19 testing for U.S. employees who aren’t vaccinated, but even inoculated workers will get checked often. Goldman Sachs is requiring everyone who enters its offices, including clients and visitors, to be fully vaccinated. Google, Facebook and Lyft are requiring employees returning to offices to be vaccinated against Covid-19. The New York Times and the Washington Post are mandating vaccinations for their employees. But some workers are resisting. In a new Washington Post/ ABC Poll, 72 percent of unvaccinated respondents said they would quit their job rather than be vaccinated if their employer required it and they couldn’t get a religious or medical exemption. That’s fine with me. I wouldn’t want to work on my pig fat rendering line if the guy next me, wearing his MAGA cap, is coughing and sneezing while telling me about the little microchip they insert in your arm that Bill Gates and George Soros are making a fortune producing. Back here at my hospital (“Ask about our survival rate”) a guy walks in and says something to the admissions clerk. She nods and says, “Room 34-C. Down the hall to the right.” He leaves and I bound from my chair. “Hey! How did that guy just walk in and get a room for treatment?” The clerk smiles. “He’s special. An Afghan refugee. They go

to the front of the line. Same with asylum seekers from Honduras. It’s the new Biden policy. You might go to your nearest convenience store and juice up on ivermectin.” Ah, yes, ivermectin, the drug of choice for horses and people with an IQ somewhat lower. Have you heard about this? A rumor got floated that ivermectin was a cure for Covid-19, so people began taking it. Actually, they would get mad at doctors who refused to prescribe the drug. Ivermectin is approved to treat or prevent parasites such as heartworm and lice in animals, mostly horses and cows. The FDA has not approved ivermectin for use in treating or preventing Covid-19 in humans. WHO recommend not to use ivermectin in patients with Covid-19 except in clinical trials. But it is so popular that what used to cost $5 to $7 for a pack of three tubes is selling as high as $45 on Amazon. The users are following the advice of Dr. Laura Ingraham and Dr. Tucker Carlson on Fox News who have been pushing the “cure.” Here at the hospital I am still waiting. There are several cows in front of me. Maybe the un-vaccinated should go last. Ashby is dying at

Furry Friends from P. 1A dors with items such as bracelets, handmade bags, plants, jewelry and more. Pets are welcome and admission is free, although guests who make a $25 donation will receive three tickets that can be used to buy adult beverages or enter a raffle contest for items such as dog gift baskets, leather goods and fragrances, restaurant gift cards and

martini and Bloody Mary gift baskets. Additional drink and raffle tickets will be available for purchase. For more information about Northwest Assistance Ministries and its mission, visit the organization’s website at namonline. org/.



Run your ad in the Leader. Call to get started 713.686.8494


City health department launches wastewater COVID-19 levels dashboard By Landan Kuhlmann The Houston Health Department launched an online public dashboard Wednesday tracking the level of SARSCoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – in city’s wastewater, according to a news release from the department. Released in collaboration with Rice University, the city said the dashboard will display levels of the virus in samples collected from the city’s 39 wastewater treatment plants

as well as many Houston ISD schools to help identify the prevalence of the virus and trends at a local level. The dashboard will be color-coded by the level of viral load in wastewater samples and be labeled with arrow symbols representing the trend, the city said, and will plot viral load levels against the positivity rate. Dr. Loren Hopkins, chief environmental science officer for the health department and professor in the practice of statistics at Rice, said a high

level of virus in your neighborhood’s wastewater means it is spreading locally and that more stringent safety measures should be taken. “This new dashboard is another tool Houstonians can use to gauge the situation and make informed decisions to protect their families,” Hopkins said in the release. Community members can find the COVID-19 wastewater monitoring dashboard, vaccination sites, testing sites and more information at

the leader Puzzlers.

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Answers found in this week’s Classified section

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1. Chinese mountain range 5. Adjust 10. Mad Men’s Don 12. Mali capital 14. One who restores 16. __& J 18. Defunct PlayStation game 19. __ King Cole, musician 20. Rock fragments 22. Breeze through 23. Languishes 25. German courtesy title 26. Bunko game 27. War film ‘___ Boot’ 28. Title of respect 30. He ‘sang’ with Rob 31. Abba __, Israeli politician 33. Erase 35. It’s a wrap 37. Has required courage 38. Spoke 40. Monetary unit 41. Scatter 42. Pouch 44. Have already done 45. They ring receipts 48. Fixed charges

50. Hell 52. Pay this before leaving 53. Alternating turns on the roads 55. Pick up 56. Wrath 57. Northeast 58. She launched ‘Just Say No’ 63. Cigar 65. Frozen spike 66. Unusual 67. Type of number

dOwn 1. David Alan Grier 2. Someone who copies the words or behavior of another 3. Franklin is one 4. Where rockers play 5. Reduces 6. Datong Yungang Airport 7. Andy’s partner 8. A way to dry 9. Taka 10. Large constellation 11. Regrow 13. What a surgeon does 15. Cool!

17. Indigenous people of N. Africa 18. Goes great with cheese 21. Contains allusions 23. A supporter 24. __ Caesar, comedian 27. Some are great 29. Interpreted 32. Hits a pitch 34. Local area network 35. Soaking 36. Stimulates 39. Dash 40. Female sibling 43. Annul 44. Scattered fragments 46. Chili con __ 47. Relative biological effectiveness (abbr.) 49. Adult male 51. Not night 54. Starch 59. Zero 60. French coins 61. Ventilate 62. Greatest common devisor 64. Touchdown


Page 4A • Saturday, September 25, 2021 • The Leader

Let us know your favorites Fill out the form below indicating your favorite businesses per category. Mail or drop them off at 2020 North Loop West, Suite 220, Houston Texas 77018 or use our online form found at But don’t delay, votes must be received by Monday, September 27, by 5pm. If more than one location, include street of the business.

Best of General Business Automotive Services/Products

Best Auto Repair ______________________________________________ Best Auto Dealer ______________________________________________ Best Oil Change ______________________________________________

General Shopping

Best Bookstore _______________________________________________ Best Bridal Store ______________________________________________ Best Children’s Clothing Store ___________________________________ Best Antique Store ____________________________________________ Best Local Furniture Store ______________________________________ Best Gift Shop ________________________________________________ Best Grocery Store ____________________________________________ Best Health Food Store _________________________________________ Best Jewelry Store ____________________________________________ Best Liquor Store _____________________________________________ Best Mattress Store ____________________________________________ Best Men’s Clothing Store ______________________________________ Best Musical Instrument Store ___________________________________ Best Resale Shop/Consignment__________________________________ Best Toy Store ________________________________________________ Best Women’s Clothing Store ____________________________________ Best Shoe/Boot Shop __________________________________________ Best Bike Shop _______________________________________________

Best Professional Services

Best Attorney ________________________________________________ Best Bank/Credit Union ________________________________________ Best Dry Cleaners _____________________________________________ Best Insurance Agent __________________________________________ Best Cleaning Service __________________________________________ Best Florist __________________________________________________ Best Funeral Home ____________________________________________ Best Photographer ____________________________________________ Best Financial Advisor _________________________________________ Best Computer Service _________________________________________ Best Travel Agent _____________________________________________ Best Security _________________________________________________ Best Energy Broker ___________________________________________

Best of Health Animals & Pet Services

Best Animal Hospital __________________________________________ Best Veterinarian______________________________________________ Best Pet Emergency ___________________________________________ Best Day Care/Boarding _______________________________________ Best Pet Sitter Service__________________________________________ Best Pet Store ________________________________________________ Best Grooming _______________________________________________ Best Pet Waste Removal _______________________________________


Best Hair Salon _______________________________________________ Best Stylist___________________________________________________ Best Day Spa _________________________________________________ Best Manicure/Pedicure ________________________________________


Best Hospital _________________________________________________ Best Physician ________________________________________________ Best Assisted Living Home ______________________________________ Best Chiropractor _____________________________________________ Best Dentist__________________________________________________ Best Dermatologist____________________________________________ Best Eye Care Provider _________________________________________ Best Massage Therapist ________________________________________ Best Women’s Health Provider ___________________________________ Best Pediatrician ______________________________________________ Best Urgent Care______________________________________________ Best Wellness Center __________________________________________ Best Weight Loss Facility _______________________________________

Best of Food Drink Entertainment Drinking Establishments

Best Smoothies ______________________________________________ Best Frozen Treat _____________________________________________ Best Brewery _________________________________________________

Best Bar _____________________________________________________ Best Coffee Shop _____________________________________________ Best Happy Hour _____________________________________________ Best Wine Bar ________________________________________________ Best Sports Bar _______________________________________________ Best Cocktail Bar ______________________________________________ Best Dive Bar _________________________________________________

Entertainment & Fine Art

Best Family Entertainment Center ________________________________ Best Community Theater/ Performing Arts Venue _________________________________________ Best Live Music Venue _________________________________________ Best Local Museum ___________________________________________ Best Art Gallery _______________________________________________ Best Local Artist ______________________________________________

Food & Restaurants

Best Bakery _________________________________________________ Best Donuts/Kolaches _________________________________________ Best Asian Restaurant __________________________________________ Best BBQ Restaurant ___________________________________________ Best Hamburger Restaurant_____________________________________ Best Hot Wings _______________________________________________ Best Hot Dogs ________________________________________________ Best Ice Cream _______________________________________________ Best Italian __________________________________________________ Best Mediterranean ___________________________________________ Best Mexican_________________________________________________ Best Tacos ___________________________________________________ Best Pizzeria _________________________________________________ Best Sandwich Shop ___________________________________________ Best Seafood _________________________________________________ Best Specialty Food Store_______________________________________ Best Steak House _____________________________________________ Best Sushi ___________________________________________________ Best Breakfast ________________________________________________ Best Brunch _________________________________________________ Best Lunch __________________________________________________ Best Date Place _______________________________________________ Best Caterer__________________________________________________ Best Service__________________________________________________ Best Takeout _________________________________________________ Best Place to Host a Party _______________________________________ Best Patio ___________________________________________________

Best of Home & Real Estate Home Improvement/Maintenance

Best Custom Home Builder _____________________________________ Best Appliance Store __________________________________________ Best Electrician _______________________________________________ Best Flooring Store ____________________________________________ Best Garden/Landscaping Company/Tree _________________________ Best General Contractor ________________________________________ Best Plumbers ________________________________________________ Best Heating & Air Conditioning Service ___________________________ Best Home Decorating Store ____________________________________ Best Interior Design/Decorator __________________________________ Best Hardware Store ___________________________________________ Best Pest Control Company _____________________________________

Best Real Estate Services

Best Mortgage Company _______________________________________ Best Real Estate Agent _________________________________________ Best Real Estate Company ______________________________________


Best Church__________________________________________________ Best Minister_________________________________________________ Best Non-Profit _______________________________________________ Local Politician _______________________________________________ Best Employer ________________________________________________


Best Nursery/Day Care _________________________________________ Best Learning Center __________________________________________ Best Private/Parochial School ___________________________________ Best Public School ____________________________________________ Best Community College _______________________________________ Best After School Program ______________________________________ Best Tutor ___________________________________________________

The Leader • Saturday, September 25, 2021 • Page 5A

Local residents enjoying benefits of work by flood control district By Adam Zuvanich

Flooding is almost an everpresent threat in Houston, especially during hurricane season. But when Tropical Storm Nicholas was barreling toward the city earlier this month, some Timbergrove residents were not quite as concerned as they might have been in previous years. It had been only a few months since the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) heeded the request of some engaged neighborhood residents and improved the drainage capacity of two nearby waterways. In May, the flood control district enlisted a contractor to clear 1.6 acres of brush and remove 10 trees that were downed, structurally unstable or hampering water flow in Shelterwood Gully near West 11th Street, according to Jason Krahn, the manager of the district’s Infrastructure

Division. Less than a month later, Krahn said the HCFCD removed a mound of clay that was impeding flow and putting stress on the banks of Turkey Gully, which runs through the Timbergrove neighborhood and into nearby White Oak Bayou. “We want to say thank you for listening to our request and working with us,” said Timbergrove resident John Zavala, who made the request along with fellow Super Neighborhood Council 14 member Tim Hassett. Zavala said he and Hassett became aware of the clay formation during a Turkey Gully cleanup event in January, when a group of volunteers that included Houston City Council member Abbie Kamin picked up trash and debris from in and around the gully. There also was woody debris, downed tree limbs, concrete rubble and remnants of an old chain-link fence behind a flood-prone empty lot on

Timbergrove Lane that the flood control district had previously purchased, and it also cleaned up those materials at the request of Zavala and Hassett while placing a sign on the property to discourage illegal dumping. Zavala and Hassett had brought the concerns to Krahn’s former supervisor, Sandra Musgrove, who oversaw the work before retiring in early July. Krahn said the flood control district spent $10,051.21 on the work in Turkey Gully and an additional $5,163.04 on the Shelterwood Gully project. Regarding the project in Turkey Gully, Krahn said the clay mound that was removed stood about 5 feet above the normal water line. And while water was meandering around the clay, it put stress on a nearby bank where tree roots are exposed, Krahn said. “We did see a benefit from doing it in that it take stress off that bank,” Krahn said. “We’re

drainage channels, along with dozens of large stormwater detention basins and about 2,300 buyout lots across the county. So HCFCD officials cannot be everywhere and see everything that might be impeding drainage, which is why Krahn said it values the input of community members. Zavala said it also took persistence, persuasion and relationship-building on the part of him and Hassett, who convinced the flood control district that even though the clay mound was a natural formation that still allowed for the flow of water, removing it improved the flow and thereby reduced flooding risks for nearby properties. “We got involved and got with flood control, and they produced the goods,” Zavala said. “Everybody wins. The bayous have less debris in them, they hold more water and water flows faster.”

Photo by Adam Zuvanich Water flows past a clay formation in Turkey Gully in the Timbergrove neighborhood. At the request of residents, the Harris County Flood Control District removed a mound of clay from the waterway earlier this year to help improve drainage capacity and flow.

always there to help the residents and grateful they had a good rapport and contact with the district. We’re always ready to help out any way we can.” Krahn also said the flood control district encourages

other neighborhood residents to be engaged, open lines of communication with the district and relay flood-related concerns they might have. The flood control district maintains more than 2,500 miles of bayous, creeks and man-made

HISD seeks to reconnect with local high school students By Landan Kuhlmann

Volunteers for Houston ISD embarked on an initiative last weekend aimed at reconnecting with students who have not returned to school this year and encouraging them to re-enroll. Last Saturday, Sept. 18, volunteers at 17 HISD high schools spent the morning knocking on doors across

Houston, encouraging students to return to school as part of HISD’s Students Within Reach Walk. The local schools involved in the initiative were Heights, Scarborough and Waltrip. HISD said in a news release that the students and families contacted were those the district expected to return at the start of the year, but did not do so. HISD said 5,440 students in grades 9-12 did not report

Millard House

Heights Lights and Things closing doors By Landan Kuhlmann

Don Keck has dedicated much of his adult life to the lighting industry, having spent more than two decades serving the Heights and surrounding communities with his expertise. But possibly within the next few weeks, Keck will be closing Heights Lights and Things at 2515 Harvard St., so he is looking to sell all of his inventory before the store shutters. “I’m moving to Georgia to be near family, and I didn’t want to have a business here in Texas and be going back and forth,” said Keck, 73, who is retiring from the lighting business. “And the business world for a small businessman has changed drastically since COVID. But it’s been a good run.” Keck said he has been in lighting since the mid-1970s and started his own business in the 1990s. Since 1996, Heights Lights and Things has worked with local builders and decorators to assist them in their own lighting process. The store offers an array of lighting products for inside or outdoors, along with access to nearly limitless styles and price options. Shoppers can look at fixtures firsthand in the store, get comfortable with the scale and finish and work with the staff to find the right fit or

to school on the first day last month, with 1,036 of those having returned as of Sept. 15. The district said last Saturday’s walk resulted in 82 students deciding to immediately re-enroll, including a few from local schools. There were 110 Waltrip families contacted out of 123 students who had not gone to school, HISD said, with two of those students reenrolling and a third pledging to re-enroll this week.

Twenty-two students from Heights were contacted, although none have re-enrolled, according to the district. At Scarborough, the district said volunteers reached 17 of the 19 targeted families, though no students have reenrolled. One former student had enrolled at a different school, the district said, while nine had moved or were not able to be contacted. Five follow-up visits are scheduled for

this week, the district said, and two family members said they would encourage their siblings to contact the school. “We are not here to judge; we are here to support,” HISD Superintendent Millard House II said in a statement. “As we knock on doors, we are here to ensure that we get these students back in classrooms so they can get the kind of support they need.”

borhood or driving in or out to work. Being on a bicycle gives you a very different experience,” Mohite said. “We’ll go by a number of parks, so it’ll be a good way for the community to see other parts of the neighborhood that they may not go through on a regular basis.” Le Tour de Oak Forest is a “social” ride as opposed to a race, Mohite said, but riders are encouraged to practice social distancing and will

be spread out at the starting line. And with Halloween later this month, participants also are encouraged to decorate their bikes. This year’s event is being held in the fall, whereas the last Le Tour de Oak Forest in 2019 was held in June. “We are encouraging kids, parents, whoever wants to, to decorate their bike,” Mohite said. “We’ll see how many people do it.”

Tour from P. 1A family gets a T-shirt. Le Tour de Oak Forest started in 2012 and is the brainchild of Lucy Fisher Cain, who at the time was the security chair for the OFHA. The event was designed to help community members get to know their neighbors and become more familiar with their surroundings in order to combat crime. “A lot of times we see our community when we’re walking around our neigh-

Contributed photo Heights Lights and Things has been open since 1996.

style for their particular lighting application. Heights Lights and Things’ original location was at 4616 Heights Blvd., but relocated to its current location following Hurricane Ike in 2009. From now until everything is gone, Keck said Heights Lights and Things will be open every day from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The store was originally set to close at the end of this month, but Keck said he has been asking his realtor if it’s possible to ride things out another month due to having so much inventory. “We’re a bit off the beaten path, but people still come and see us,” he said. “We still have some good deals.” Having been in the Heights community for more than two decades, Keck said he

is thankful for his time spent serving the community. “I think the best part has just been working with the new home buyers in the selection process and educating them in order to best serve their needs,” he said. “The average person doesn’t usually know what they need in a house, and I can help them out on that.” Above all, he will not forget the neighborhood’s hospitality and support. “I truly appreciate them supporting me,” Keck said. “I’ve enjoyed having them in my life.” For more information on Heights Lights and Things or what might be available, call 713-861-0607 or visit

Contributed photo Pictured is the event T-shirt created for Le Tour de Oak Forest.



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

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Page 6A • Saturday, September 25, 2021 • The Leader

Islands from P. 1A a goal of the city and aligns with its Vision Zero initiative, which aims to end all traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030. METRO had funding for the work, thanks to the $3.5 billion bond passed by Harris County voters in 2019 to expand public transit options in the region, and installed the refuge islands as part of its ongoing BOOST project on the 56 Airline/Montrose route. The transit authority is spending more than $1.18 million to improve a 1.5-mile stretch of Studewood between White Oak Drive to the south and Cavalcade Street to the north. As part of a construction project that began in March and is expected to last through November, 14 bus stops along Studewood are being augmented with features such

as lighted shelters, digital signage and expanded loading and unloading pads. METRO also is improving pedestrian crossings and sidewalks along that stretch and adjusting traffic signals in an attempt to improve bus speed and reliability by reducing the time they spend at red lights. METRO program manager Yuhayna Mahmud, who is overseeing the project, said it is largely complete. Left to do is the installation of digital signage at bus stops and the addition of more signage and reflectors at the three refuge islands – near East 10th Street, East 13th Street and East 17th Street – to make them more visible to drivers. “At the completion of this project, customers will experience a

better walk, a better stop and a better ride,” METRO spokesperson Tracy Jackson said. “There’s improved sidewalks near the routes and improved crosswalks and pedestrian safety.” The newly installed refuge islands have been welcomed by some Heights residents but not all, with questions posed about the necessity of the work and how it makes the three-lane street safer for all. Some have complained about the islands’ lack of visibility to drivers, who already have left black tire marks on the yellow curbs of the islands. Nearby resident Nicholas Calenda said he saw a car hit the curb hard enough to bend one of the wheel’s rims. Calenda and Bennie Richards, another Heights resident who lives

near the intersection of Studewood and 17th Street, said they have not noticed any pedestrians or cyclists using the new crosswalk there. The pedestrian crossings are bookended by concrete ramps that lead to sidewalks and nearby bus stop shelters. “I don’t see why they did it,” Richards said. “Nobody uses them.” But two other nearby residents, Noelle Jackson and Kim Sturrock, said they have seen the new crosswalks in use and think they make the street safer by enticing vehicles to slow down. Sturrock said she stood in the middle of a median refuge island while on a recent walk with her dogs and felt “kind of safer” than she would have otherwise.

“I think it’ll take people time to get used to it,” Jackson said. “A lot of biking events come through here, so we do need to slow it down for people that are walking. I think it’ll eventually do what it’s intended to do.” It might already be as indicated by the two drivers who stopped in front of the median refuge island last Saturday and allowed the woman pushing the stroller to walk across the street. “That’s what the research shows should happen. I’m pleased to hear that at least anecdotally,” Hlavacek said. “It changes the feel of the street. Having that wide-open three lanes, as a pedestrian you feel out of your element. Whereas now, you’ve got that one little lane to cross.”

Webb from P. 1A would fill in. Donna has been especially valuable to the family of publisher Jonathan McElvy and his wife, Meghan, having also served as their nanny for the last four-plus years. Children Hank, Cal and Eleanor Bo have even picked up some newspaper-throwing skills from Donna. “They absolutely love her,” McElvy said of his kids. “She’s part of our family.” ‘Mayor of Oak Forest’ Donna has been an integral part of the community as well, having moved to Oak Forest when she was 5 years old and graduated from Waltrip High School – where Colin and her youngest son, Carey, also went to school. She at one point

worked at Frank Black Middle School and had another side business with her sister in which they made homecoming mums for area high school students for nearly 20 years. The “Mayor of Oak Forest,” as she’s affectionately known among her neighbors, also has been an engaged and thoughtful community member. Donna said she’s called neighbors over the years to let them know if their garage door was open, for example, and she and husband, Steve, once helped do chores around the house and run errands for a resident who was a war veteran and did not have family to help take care of him. “Not only has Donna been unfailingly loyal to The Leader, she really cares about The

Leader community as a whole,” Broyles said. “While delivering papers, if she saw something that might endanger a neighborhood she was quick to report it. If she saw someone in need she would stop to help. And she loves children – she was constantly caring for someone else’s tykes.” Delivering The Leader has given Donna a sense of pride, she said, even though it has been exhausting, tedious and harrowing work at times. There have been long nights at the office, wrapping papers in bags and loading them into vehicles, and early mornings after little sleep. Donna said she and Debby completed their route in the aftermath of hurricanes and in the midst of snow, holding

cups of hot chocolate to keep their hands warm while in a cold vehicle with the windows down. They once were chased by a man who threw a hammer at their SUV, Donna said, and there also were run-ins with a pig in Acres Homes as well as with a police officer, who mistook the papers they were throwing for bottles and pulled them over as a result. Just as memorable are the weekly encounters with readers, many of whom are friendly and appreciative, Donna said. “Some people say ‘thank you,’ waiving at you. That makes you feel good that you’re out there doing that,” she said. “A lot of people look forward to that news coming every week.”

about a year after Donna did. “We might have to hire two people to do what she’s doing.” Meanwhile, Donna will try not to have too much fun with her granddaughter, who she’ll be watching while Kinsley’s parents both work within Sanger ISD. She said she’ll be only a few minutes from a lake and across the street from Sanger High School, where there will be band performances and lively crowds at Friday night football games. It will be the start of a new chapter for Donna’s family, while the extended chapter with her Oak Forest family is drawing to a close. “I’m going to miss her,” McElvy said. “I’m really glad for her, too.”

Turning the page Because Donna is so wellversed in the neighborhood and so familiar with her route, McElvy asked readers to be patient and understanding in the weeks after she leaves in case there are any hiccups with delivery. He also said it’s remarkable how few complaints The Leader has received related to deliveries by Donna and Debby, who are well below the industry standard in that regard. Donna has even provided news tips like a reporter would, McElvy said, making her overall contributions invaluable. “The next people are going to have some large shoes to fill,” said Lucinda Dukate, who started working at The Leader

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Page 8A • Saturday, September 25, 2021 • The Leader

Help pets cope with death like for our pets.

Dear Tabby, I recently had to have my 18-year-old cat put to sleep. I miss her greatly and I’ve noticed my other two cats behaving differently in her absence as well. Do pets grieve like we do? What can I do to help them? Grieving a friend in Forest Pines Dear Grieving a Friend, I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve recently lost an important part of your family. Pets are our family and when we lose one, it can cause real, intense grief -- to both the humans AND the other pets in the home. Dogs and cats are pack animals and so they look to the other humans and animals in their home for safety and security. When a “pack member” leaves, that can cause a lack of stability for the animals in your home. Sometimes, the death of a pet in the home can cause other pets to begin to act out, or show signs of distress and grief. These are very common reactions to an abrupt change in an otherwise very dependable situation. First up, let’s discuss what grieving looks

How can I tell if my pet is grieving? You might notice your remaining pets looking around the house for their lost family member. This seeking behavior is very normal and you might find them looking in your deceased cat’s favorite napping or sunning spots. This interest in your cat’s old haunts shows that your other pets are genuinely wondering where she went and likely miss her. You might also see changes in the personalities of your existing pets. They might cling to you more or be more withdrawn. They might also show less interest in eating and playing than normal. If your cats stop eating for longer than a couple of days, though, you’ll want to do whatever you can to convince them to eat as going long stretches of time without food is dangerous to cats. Try to entice them to eat with their favorite cat foods or even chicken baby food, if nothing else appeals to them. Allow them time to adjust Just like humans, animals need some time to come to terms with their “new normal.” You might notice a new pecking order or social structure emerge among your other pets and this is very normal. If possible, leave them alone to work this out themselves. It might involve a little growling and other seemingly aggressive behavior, but as long as no one gets hurt, it’s all part of

the process. As hard as it might be, try to control your own emotions around your existing pets. Pets are very intuitive and when their human is distraught, it causes them stress. Vets recommend that you talk to your pets in an upbeat voice and refrain from getting too loud and emotional in front of them. Hold off on replacing your pet Sometimes, our instinct is to immediately replace our dearly departed pet with a new one. While I typically will NEVER advise you against adopting a needy pet from a shelter, in this case, hold off for a while to allow both you and your pets to grieve and adjust to life without your old kitty. Bringing a new pet into your home now might only cause more stress for you all and, ultimately, resentment that the new pet isn’t fitting in as well as you’d hoped. With a little time, love and understanding, I hope that you all will heal and recover from the loss of your precious friend. The death of a pet is one of the hardest things that pet lovers endure, but alas, it is the price of choosing to love something that we will likely outlive. In my humble opinion, grieving the loss of a pet is the highest form of love. Tabby is sending you and your pets lots of love and purrs during this difficult time.

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This sweet, 9-year-old gal is recovering nicely from having her eye removed due to a nasty virus. Thankfully, Olive is on the mend and learning quickly how to get around with 50% less eyesight. Since Olive is considered a senior pet (cats can live well into their 20s, FYI), her adoption fees are waived if you, too, are a senior! Also, CAP could really use your help restocking their dry and wet kitten food, so if adopting a pet isn’t in the cards for you at this time, consider a monetary or supply donation to this wonderful organization! To learn more, go to

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The Leader • Saturday, September 25, 2021 • Page 9A

Art Valet: Pop into Third Ward to see Washington’s work Mitch Cohen Art Columnist

Charles Washington is a Houston artist, mover and shaker. He calls himself an upcycled artist and has carved his own niche in the local arts community for many years. Giving back is as much a part of Washington’s life as his art. Washington and I are not strangers. We’ve known each other for many years, though neither of us can recall when or how we met. Washington is an entrepreneur in the arts, and we were both creating something from nothing when we crossed paths, and in our own way, we’ve kept tabs on each other. Washington invited me to revisit a space he began transforming several years ago in his Third Ward Cultural Dis-

trict neighborhood called “The Pop Up Place,” 4302 Almeda Rd. The space, which was clearly a building at some point in the past as evidenced by three concrete-over-brick walls and walled-over window and door frames. That space is colorful and inviting now with picnic tables covered by umbrellas, benches throughout and, of course, Washington’s art is everywhere. The Pop Up Place was created for art exhibitions and activities, live performances, spoken word and music. It’s also available to lease as an event space. Washington told me this is not the first empty lot he’s turned his creativity attention toward. Growing up in a big city on the east coast, he and his friends used empty spaces much like this one to break dance and listen to music. He’s definitely upped his game here. Much of the concrete flooring is covered in ar-

Contributed photo Houston artist Charles Washington works on a painting.

tificial grass that can easily be reconfigured as well as all the outdoor seating and furniture. Washington’s paintings on glass doors liven up the gray walls from which they hang. In fact, I never stopped finding

things that Washington either recycled into art or painted. He explains his philosophy in his bio on his website, where he states: “I see my life as a large canvas of opportunity, so each

day I create a masterpiece. My art expresses my feelings about my life and the world around me.” Washington co-founded Harambee Art Gallery in 2011 and serves as its executive director. Through the gallery, he has established several artistic mentor programs, projects and exhibitions including The Pop Up Place. The Harambee Art Gallery is located inside The Shape Community Center, 3903 Almeda Rd. The gallery houses a full array of original paintings, sculptures, multimedia artwork and art furniture. The gallery has many off-site spaces, including HTV Studios at Houston City Hall. If you are wondering what “harambee” means like I was, it is Swahili, Kenya’s national language, and means, “Let us all pull together.” That is quite literally what Washington has done. With a veritable small army of team members, the Haram-

bee Art Gallery and Washington’s goal has been to create a platform for artists to discover their full potential, creativity and the joy of environmentconscious artistic practices. This year Harambee Art Gallery created Harambee KONNECT. Its mission is to collaborate with local and international artists, promote the awareness and appreciation for arts and culture and create economic stimulation in the communities. Follow The Pop Up Place on Instagram, www.instagram. com/thepopupplace, to see the current public events. Harambee Art Gallery has information on its website, https:// www.harambeeartgalleryhtx. com, with all the other projects. Cohen is an artist and founder of the First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at for additional highlights and artist’s stories.

Review: Rollin Phatties spices up North Shepherd Stefan Modrich

One of Houston’s hottest food trucks was once in a prime location for Montrose bar goers to make their way to Westheimer Road to fill up on greasy eats after a night of drinking. Rollin Phatties now calls a parking lot near the corner of West 18th Street and North Shepherd Drive home, and it’s made a bustling corridor full of culinary delights all the more worth visiting. It describes itself as “fusion food in its truest sense,” which is inarguable, based on its simple and efficient South Asian menu. I’ve always been rather picky when it comes to food trucks. The novelty of the experience quickly wore off for

me, as it usually meant being surrounded by noise, unprotected from the elements, and usually without a good place to sit. Increasingly, entree prices from food trucks are rivaling that of some of the more expensive brick-and-mortar spots. But there are some for which I am willing to make exceptions, and Rollin Phatties makes the cut. The Pakistani food truck still proudly sports a depiction of former Houston Rockets star James Harden wearing a turban and eating a Phattie, or a paratha roll, the truck’s signature dish. Paratha, the flaky flatbread made of layers of fried dough, envelops your choice of chicken, beef or potatoes. The protein (or starch) is then topped with cilantro, onions that have been pickled and then fried, and seasoned with garlic mayonnaise and a spicy homemade “Phat sauce.”

I ordered both the chicken and beef Phatties, which cost $7.50 each. Rollin Phatties has recently adapted its menu, meaning you now have more ways to eat the heartily-seasoned meat and potatoes, including a lettuce wrap ($8), a quesadilla ($8) and a rice plate ($11). For an additional $3, you can order both a drink and an order of Masala fries. I was disappointed the truck was out of Masala fries on the day I went to try them. However, I was so eager to try the Phatties based on the smell alone that I nearly ate them in the parking lot before taking them home. The aforementioned paratha was buttery and thick, but had a crispy texture on its outer layer. It was practically a tossup for me to determine whether the chicken or beef Phattie was superior, but I gave the beef a slight edge because I preferred the way it in-

teracted with the flavor profile of the sauce and spice blend. Rollin Phatties is already a known commodity on the Houston food truck scene, and its recent menu additions and move to a more accessible, high-traffic location should be reason enough to add it to your Heights foodie bucket list. Rollin Phatties Address: 1818 N. Shepherd Drive Dining Options: Takeout, delivery Hours: noon-9 p.m. TuesdayThursday, noon-midnight Friday-Saturday, noon-9 p.m. Sunday Entrée prices: $7.50-$11 Kid-friendly: Yes Senior discount: No Alcohol: No Healthy options: Potato lettuce wrap ($8) Star of the show: Beef Phattie Roll Rating: 4 out of 5 bites

Photo by Stefan Modrich The Beef Phattie Roll ($7.50) from Rollin Phatties is a paratha roll with onions and cilantro.

Nibbles & Sips: Casa Nomad debuts this week at M-K-T By Stefan Modrich

stein mug and two German draft beers. At Oktoberfest, guests can enjoy German beers on tap, cocktails, bratwurst and live music. In addition, a Stein-holding contest, Das Boot beer-drinking contest and costume contest will be held. To purchase tickets online, visit the following link: https://www.eventbrite. com/e/oktoberfest-2021-hurricane-ida-relief-event-tickets-169786145933

A new Tulum-inspired lounge and Mexican restaurant opened Thursday. Casa Nomad is located in the M-K-T development at 600 N. Shepherd Drive in the Heights. It is the latest project by Roland Keller, Keith Doyle and Tyler Barerra, the hospitality team behind Wicklow Heights, according to a Sept. 15 news release from Daniel Renfrow of Public Content. Casa Nomad features a “tropical-inspired” cocktail menu and serves “beacy Mayan-inspired fare “ according to the news release. The restaurant and lounge is housed entirely on an 800-square foot covered patio. Casa Nomad is open Wednesday through Saturday from 4 p.m.-midnight. For more information, email Upscale Southern restaurant plants roots in Sawyer Yards An upscale Southern restaurant that bills itself as “Houston’s Saturday night social dining spot” opened over the summer at 2313 Edwards St. in the Sawyer Yards area. Kiss serves Cajun and Southern-inspired fare such as the NOLA stuffed chicken and crab beignets. The cocktail menu features items like the peaches and cream, a Hennessy-based mixed drink with peach schnapps, Chambord, cranberry, orange, peach bitters and Grand Marnier foam. Kiss is open from 5 p.m.midnight Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. for Saturday

Photo from Facebook Henderson Heights Pub, 908 Henderson St., is hosting its annual Oktoberfest beer festival from 3-11 p.m. Oct. 2.

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brunch, 5 p.m.-midnight for Saturday dinner, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for Sunday brunch and 5-11 p.m. for Sunday dinner. For more information, call 281-974-1759. Henderson Heights Pub hosts Oktoberfest for Hurricane Ida relief A local pub is becoming a

bier haus for a good cause. Henderson Heights Pub, 908 Henderson St., is hosting its annual Oktoberfest beer festival from 3-11 p.m. Oct. 2. The event’s $5 entrance fee will go to a relief fund to aid those affected by Hurricane Ida, according to the pub. For $35, a VIP ticket covers entrance fee, plus a traditional

3434 Ella Blvd, Houston, TX 77018 (346) 406-3932

THE PUBLIC. The Leader • Saturday, September 25, 2021 • Page 10A

Local man found after being reported missing By Adam Zuvanich

ered a missing person,” HPD spokesperson Jodi Silva said Tuesday. Silva added that Buzby was reported to be OK when he was located, saying, “There wasn’t a reason for us to be concerned.” HPD spokesperson Kese Smith said Sept. 16 that officers were called to Buzby’s apartment on Sept. 4 and

Brian Louis Buzby, a 41-year-old Garden Oaksarea man who had been reported missing early this month, was located Sept. 17, according to a spokesperson for the Houston Police Department. “He is no longer consid-

found no one there. A missing person alert was subsequently released by HPD, on Sept. 10, that said Buzby had last been seen Aug. 18 at his residence in the 600 block of Westcross Street, which is in between the Garden Oaks and Independence Heights neighborhoods. Follow us on social media @FromTheLeader


Two shot near Northline shopping center By Landan Kuhlmann

Houston police say they have arrested a man accused of shooting two people outside a Northline shopping center last weekend. Arturo Zuniga, 23, has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Houston


Police Department. HPD said the victims, 20-year-old Jesus Robles and a 17-yearold boy who was not named, were taken to an area hospital. Officers responded to a shooting call outside a strip center at 415 W. Little York Rd. around 2:50 a.m. last Saturday, Sept. 18, police said. As officers arrived, HPD said an unrelated shooting

occurred, during which both victims were shot multiple times. According to HPD, there had been a dispute at a nightclub located in the shopping center that spilled out into the parking lot, where Zuniga allegedly fired multiple times at the victims. He was arrested at the scene, according to police.





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HFD helps resident, cats Local woman rescued at area townhome fire from apartment fire By Landan Kuhlmann

The Houston Fire Department says it rescued a resident from a fire at a Washington Avenue-area townhome early Thursday morning, with firefighters also administering oxygen to two cats found at the scene. Crews responded to a three-story townhome in the 4000 block of Gibson Street just before 3 a.m. Thursday to find smoke coming from the second story of the

home, according to HFD. HFD said crews rescued one resident of the townhome through the secondfloor balcony before paramedics transported the person the hospital. Firefighters also found two cats at the scene and administered oxygen to them, according to HFD. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, according to the fire department, and it is unknown how much damage was caused.

By Landan Kuhlmann

A woman was hospitalized after being rescued from a fire at a local apartment complex earlier this week, according to a news release from the Houston Fire Department. HFD said crews responded to the Candlelight Estates apartments at 818 Pinemont Dr. just after 1:30 a.m. Wednesday to find smoke coming from the first floor of the two-story apartment

complex. A female resident was initially trapped inside, HFD said, and was pulled out through the window and later taken to an area hospital. The department said a small dog was also rescued and left with a neighbor. Arson investigators later ruled that the fire was accidental, HFD said, having appeared to start on a stovetop in the kitchen before extending to the wall and ceiling. It caused an estimated $25,000 worth of damage, according to the department.

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LEADER LISTING The Leader • Saturday, September 25, 2021 • Page 1B

Oak Forest residents at odds over sidewalk By Adam Zuvanich

Jager Livingston said he can see the benefits of having a sidewalk on a residential street, particularly when it allows children to make it to school without having to walk in the road. But the Oak Forest resident did not want a sidewalk installed on his side of Wakefield Drive, where he would prefer to maximize the trees and grass on his property and keep the concrete to a minimum. Unfortunately for Livingston and some of his neighbors, they did not have a say in the matter. Another Wakefield resident requested a sidewalk as part of the Houston Public Works Sidewalk Program, and because it met the requirements outlined by city ordinance and is within the city’s right-of-way, the measure did not require input or approval from other affected property owners. A little more than a year after the request was made, and three days after Livingston and his neighbors on the 1400 block of Wakefield were given notice about upcoming construction work, the city began installing a sidewalk Monday on the south side of Wakefield, in between Oak Forest Drive to the east and Piney Woods Drive to the west. “We live in the United States in what is supposed to be a democratic society,” Livingston said. “If you’re telling me that one person can rule the roost for 10, 20 or even 1,000 people, we have a major issue with the way that program is set up. If one person can make that decision and no one else’s opinions matter, then the process that the city has in place is broken.” The sidewalk program, which was implemented by the Houston City Council, allows residents to request sidewalks for one of three reasons – pedestrian access for people with disabilities, school access for students and to make designated major thoroughfares more walkable – in that order of priority. The city will pave up to 1,500 feet of sidewalk for a Pedestrian Accessibility Review and up to four blocks apiece for requests related to schools and major thoroughfares. In the case of the Wakefield block, Houston Public Works spokesperson Erin Jones said the request was related to school access and subsequently approved because the street is within four blocks of adjacent Houston ISD campuses Frank Black Middle School

Contributed photo Houston Public Works is insalling a sidewalk on the 1400 block of Wakefield Drive at the request of a resident, but not everyone on the block supports it.

and Oak Forest Elementary. She said 1,400 feet of sidewalk will be paved on the south side of Wakefield, because that is where students typically get on and off a school bus, at an estimated cost of $100,800. Jones also said the addition of sidewalks is part of the city’s broader Vision Zero initiative, which aims to make streets safer and more multimodal while eliminating all traffic fatalities and major injuries by 2030. “When we can (install sidewalks), we want to,” Jones said. “As part of Vision Zero and safety, sidewalks are needed.” The request on Wakefield was made by Rebecca Bell, who said in an email that a group of mothers on the block wanted a sidewalk because they saw them being installed in other parts of the neighborhood and had concerns about increased traffic along with erratic and distracted driving. Bell also said she’s grateful the

city supports sidewalks and approved her request and she’s excited to see the new infrastructure completed. “We wanted to ensure people, both young and old, have a safe way to move about the community to schools, parks, libraries and grocery stores, and sidewalks are proven to be the safest mechanism over alternative options (e.g., speed bumps),” Bell said. Livingston and another resident on the south side of Wakefield who opposes the sidewalk, Melinda Faust, said they received an email months ago from the same account The Leader used to contact Bell, telling them about the plan for the sidewalk and soliciting feedback. Faust and Livingston both said they responded with questions and concerns but did not get a reply. Jones said the city does not have a public engagement or notification process regarding sidewalks, other

than providing at least 72 hours’ notice about construction, and does not ask or require applicants to solicit feedback. Like Livingston, Faust said she is frustrated by the fact a sidewalk can be installed on a street without input or consent from impacted property owners. Both said the city should poll homeowners before proceeding with such projects. Jones said the city received four complaints about the sidewalk before work began, including a concern about a tree in front of one of the homes. She said the sidewalk will be 3 feet wide near that tree and 5 feet wide on the rest of the block. Faust said additional residents on the block have told her they oppose the sidewalk, and Livingston said some Wakefield residents asked the city to pause the work and further consider it, but to no avail. “Part of the problem is just the way

Real Estate Roundup

StarTex Title Company building up for lease By Landan Kuhlmann

The building at 2000 Ella Blvd. that previously housed the StarTex Title Company is up for lease, according to a banner hanging over the entrance to the building. StarTex relocated from the building to a new location at 1111 N. Loop W. a little more than three months ago, according to owner Kendall Smashey of Tri Ella LLC, which owns the property at 2000 Ella Blvd. Smashey said he is taking calls on potential tenants for the 3,200-square foot building on the 18,000-square foot lot. “I would say we’ve had several different serious options and we’ve had a lot of

interest in it. At this point, we have not signed a lease with anybody on the property yet,” he said. “… We’re excited with the development in that area and the future of this location.” Smashey said he believes the ideal fit for the space is a single tenant due to its layout with parking in the front and back. That being said, he said there is always wiggle room for negotiation, and there is no hard line drawn on the type of potential interested tenants. “It’d probably be good for a doctor’s office, dentist office, title company or real estate office – really for any kind of office use,” he said. “It’s set up that way, but depending on the tenant we’re definitely willing to remodel or adjust

the interior as needed.” Having lived in the area for more than decade, Smashey said he had his eye on the property for several years before pulling the trigger on buying it. “We really just love the area. It’s a great location. We live nearby and have really enjoyed the Heights area,” he said. “… We’re thankful that we got the opportunity to purchase it. We’re still talking to prospective tenants, and as of this time it’s still available. We’re open to discussion with anybody who’s interested.” Interested leasers can call Smashey at 713-392-8728.

ests, there is more than 8,000 square feet of retail space available for lease at Airline Plaza, 920 E. Little York Rd. in the Northside/Northline area. Other tenants in the shopping center include Senior Check Cashing, Tamales Dona Tere, Hermosa Dental and KR Gallery Furniture. For more information, contact Josh Sebesta of S&P Interests at josh@spinterests. com.



Retail space available in Airline Plaza According to a marketing brochure from S&P Inter-

they go about doing this,” Faust said. “When you pay a ton in taxes, you would think you would at least have a say. They should have polled the homeowners that are going to be affected by this.” Jones said any changes to the city’s sidewalk program would need to be made by the city council. At-large council members Sallie Alcorn and David Robinson held a virtual “Sidewalk Summit” on Tuesday to address sidewalk-related issues. Council member Abbie Kamin, who serves the Oak Forest area as part of District C, said there was no discretion involved in the Wakefield request and that she relayed information about the project to local residents and neighborhood groups while also passing along concerns to the public works department. “Sidewalks are a big issue throughout the city,” Kamin said.

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Photo by Landan Kuhlmann The old StarTex Title Company building at 2000 Ella Blvd. is up for lease, and property owner Tri Ella, LLC. is accepting calls from interested tenants.

Page 2B • Saturday, September 25, 2021 • The Leader

Area south of Heights leads August sales rush By Landan Kuhlmann

As we come to the latter portion of the 2021 calendar, home sales are continuing to boom in many local zip codes as evidenced by data from the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR). Leading the way for the area was the 77007 zip code, which includes the Washington Avenue and Rice Military areas, which saw its yearover-year August home sales rise by more than 30 percent, according to the most recent data from HAR. It was the onl zip code in the area to do so. Greater Inwood and Acres Homes (77091) was a close second after seeing a 26.7 percent increase. Two area zip codes, 77018 and 77008, saw dips ranging from minimal to moderate, while the 77092 zip code saw no year-over-year change. Zip code 77009 saw nearly a 15 percent spike, according to HAR’s data.

Average home price generally rose – though Greater Inwood/ Acres Homes and Woodland Heights/Northside each saw slight dips – while median home price rose in five of the six local zip codes. 77018 The zip code including Garden Oaks and Oak Forest as well as Central Northwest and parts of Northside and Independence Heights was one of two local markets to experience a year-over-year sales dip, with numbers dropping 7.9 percent from 76 homes sold in August 2020 to 70 this past month. However, the zip code’s 649 sales to date remains 35.8 percent ahead of its 2020 pace. On the pricing front, the average buyer paid 11.1 percent more for a home last month ($583,304) compared to August 2020, while median home price went up 3.2 percent to $441,250. 77092 Neighborhoods on the western edge of the area, which include parts of Kempwood and Langwood,

saw 20 homes come off the market last month, matching its August 2020 output. Year-to-date, the 232 home sales in this zip code are 54.7 percent ahead of last year’s mark of 150 through the same period. Buyers saw a year-over-year price increase in this area, too, with average price rising 4.2 percent to $336,820 and median price jumping 17.9 percent – the largest median jump in the area – to $325,000 at month’s end. 77091 In an area encompassing much of Greater Inwood and Acres Homes, year-over-year August sales volume jumped 26.7 percent – the secondbiggest local sales jump – with 19 homes coming off the market compared to 15 sales in August 2020. Through the end of the month, there were 188 homes sold in this zip code – 34.3 percent more than the 140 sold during the same period last year. Pricing-wise, average home price dipped slightly (0.4 percent) to

$267,765, while median price ended the month down 1.6 percent to $289,990. 77008 The Greater Heights was only the second area zip code to experience a drop in year-over-year sales volume, though it was not drastic. Agents saw 108 homes sold last month, down 1.8 percent from the 110 sales in August 2020. However, the Heights is still 39.1 percent ahead of its 2020 sales pace, having seen 932 homes sold so far this year compared to 670 through the same time frame in 2020. The average buyer paid 8.5 percent more for a home here ($602,791) compared to August 2020, while the median price rose 16.2 percent year-over-year to $555,000. 77009 Just to the east, the zip code which includes Woodland Heights and Northside Village saw a yearover-year sales volume jump of 14.6 percent, seeing 55 homes sold

compared to 48 in August 2020. Its 459 homes sold so far this year represents a 37 percent year-to-date jump compared to last year. This area was one of two local zip codes (along with 77091) to see a dip in average home price. Buyers paid 6.5 percent less ($501,058) on average than last year, though the median price rose 2 percent to $449,000. 77007 This area, which includes Rice Military and Washington Avenue, saw the biggest local jump in yearover-year sales volume. There were 31.8 percent more homes sold in August 2021 (87) compared to the 66 sold in the same month last year. On a year-to-date basis, the zip code’s 711 homes sold is 33.6 percent ahead of last year’s pace through the end of August. The 10.6 percent rise in average home price to $570,010 last month was the second-largest local bump, while median price also jumped 13.8 percent to $495,000 by month’s end.


Schmidt continuing to garner community’s trust By Landan Kuhlmann

Janet Schmidt is more than 40 years into her real estate journey, and has seen the neighborhoods of north Houston through its ups and downs as well as now through an ongoing pandemic. But if there’s one thing that has never change – and will never change – it is her propensity for telling things like they are with no sugar coating. “I shoot straight to everybody, and I don’t feed them a line. I just tell them how it is. Simple as that,” she said. “It gets you repeat clients if you’re honest with them.” That mantra appears to have served Schmidt well for more than four decades. She has been a licensed real estate agent since 1977, and has served the community with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Premier Properties since 1997. And though her path was gradual, she wouldn’t have it any other way. After graduating high school in the late 70s, Schmidt accepted her father’s offer to stay home in Timbergrove and attend real estate school. From that point forward, it was a perfect match. “I like working with people, and I like talking – so it kind of worked out,” she said. Schmidt has been at the top of her agency from 2017-2020 and has been a top producer for years throughout her career. Clients and customers appreciate Janet’s positive attitude, integrity, professionalism, and patience. They also rely on her market knowledge and, she said she tries to go the extra mile to achieve the results her client seeks. As a native Houstonian, Schmidt said she has extensive knowledge of area neighborhoods such as Oak Forest, Garden Oaks, Timbergrove/Lazybrook and Rice Military along with Shepherd Park Plaza, Candlelight Plaza, Shepherd For-

Janet Schmidt est, Candlelight Estates, and the Heights. That knowledge, she said, is key in connecting with the neighborhood and in turn her clients, helping guide them to the spot best suited

for them on their budget whether they’re buying or selling. Whether it’s looking for background on schools in the area, the best spot to eat or the best spot to grab a drink, Schmidt prides herself on being the one to give clients the lowdown. “I’ve watched it go from down-to-up and up-to-down,” she said. “I just know the area very well, and I can give them all the background on all the neighborhoods.” To that end, Schmidt said many of her clients are repeat customers or those based on referrals from family or friends who she has bought/sold one or multiple homes with. One of her biggest drivers, she said, is that she believes in the importance of maintaining a generational connection with those she has known since before she dipped her toe into real estate. “Most of my clients, I’ve sold them a couple of houses – so they’ve moved on, and I work with a lot people I’ve known for years,” she said. “I work with a lot of friends and their families, and it’s fun to just be able to work with people that you know.” Ultimately, she believes clients and customers appreciate the fact that she is not going to sugar coat things, and said the most fulfilling part of the job is seeing a buyer or seller through to the finish line. It’s a motto that appears to have served her well for more than four decades, and does not look to be changing any time soon. After all, there’s no reason to change what isn’t broken. “It’s just nice to see people happy when they get a house, and feeling like you’ve done your job to help them out,” she said. Anyone wanting to buy or list a home with Schmidt can reach out to her at 713-419-7918 or via email at homes@

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The Leader • Saturday, September 25, 2021 • Page 3B

St. Thomas soars past Houston Christian By Landan Kuhlmann

The St. Thomas Eagles football team has had a recent history of starting the season slow before ramping it up as district play begins. The Eagles have now flipped the script on the former, while hoping to keep up the latter. St. Thomas raced past Houston Christian 42-0 on Sept. 17 at Granger Stadium in its final non-district game, moving to 3-1 on the season. It is the first time St. Thomas has begun 3-1 since the 2015 campaign. Quarterback Jake Wright was on point again as he has been through the season’s entire first month, completing 16 of 22 passes for 309 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. It’s the third time this season he has thrown at least three touchdowns in a game. Cameron Price was his favorite target, catching six passes for 96 yards and a touchdown. However, six different Eagles hauled in at least one pass, while three different receivers each caught a touchdown for the Eagles, who piled up more than 450 yards of total offense. Johann Cardenas paced St. Thomas’ rushing attack, racking up 155 yards and a score. It was his second 100-yard game of the season, while he has also scored in three straight contests. Defensively, Jackson Ward had 11 tackles along with two tackles for loss and his second interception, while Tegan Spencer racked up 13 tackles. Caleb Davis also had his second interception of the season. In other private school action, Lutheran High North fell to 0-3 on the season with a 14-6 loss to Northland Christian on Sept. 17 despite the best efforts of Jared Campbell, who had nine tackles including a sack and one pass breakup.

Public schools It was a rough weekend for the area’s Houston ISD schools as both teams that played wound up on the wrong side of the scoreboard. Kahlen Sam led the Waltrip Rams with 18 carries for 103 rushing yards in a 22-10 loss to Fort Bend Willowridge on Sept. 18, while Jaylen Middleton had his second rushing touchdown of the season late

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in the fourth quarter. Zach Menefee had his second rushing of the season for Heights on Sept. 17 in a 28-6 loss to Katy Seven Lakes, which dropped the Bulldogs to 0-4 on the season. Booker T. Washington (2-1) and Scarborough (0-3) were both idle last week, and will face off against each other this Thursday.

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Photo from St. Thomas High School Twitter St. Thomas quarterback Jake Wright rolls out of the pocket Sept. 17 against Houston Christian. The Eagles won 42-0.

Last Week’s Scores

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St. Thomas 42, Houston Christian 0 Northland Christian 14, Lutheran High North 6 Fort Bend Willowridge 22, Waltrip 10 Katy Seven Lakes 28, Heights 6

This Week’s Schedule Thursday

Heights at Westbury, 7 p.m., Butler Stadium Scarborough vs. Booker T. Washington, 7 p.m., Dyer Stadium Friday

St. Thomas vs. Katy St. John XXIII, 7 p.m. Lutheran High North at Bryan Brazos Christian, 7 p.m. St. Pius X at Concordia Lutheran, 7 p.m.

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Charles James Gabriel

made many trips back to College Station to attend events and reunions.

harles James Gabriel, born on November 26, 1929, passed away on September 17, 2021. A lifelong resident of Houston, TX, Charles was the son of Inez Hanks Gabriel and Peter Frank Gabriel.

At Our Savior Lutheran School, located at 5000 W. Tidwell Rd. here in Houston we teach Latin. Learning Latin is foundational to giving your child a classical education. Studying Latin improves mental discipline, indirectly improves English vocabulary and usage, and opens the doors to reading classical and technical literature. One benefit of studying Latin is that it develops mental discipline. Studying any foreign language involves memorization and application. In Latin, students develop mental discipline by memorizing verb endings (conjugations), noun endings (declensions), and vocabulary words. Although our postmodern minds may balk at memorization, it is no different from preparing for algebra by memorizing the multiplication tables. We expect our children to drill in fine arts or sports, but we balk at drilling academic subjects. After children have developed the discipline of memorizing the fundamentals of Latin, they begin to apply what they have learned by conjugating verbs in different tenses, declining nouns, and translating. Translation is the final skill learned as students assimilate their knowledge of Latin vocabulary and grammar. The process of memorizing and translating Latin develops excellent study habits as students learn to memorize, to apply, to thoroughly observe details, to work carefully, and to persevere. Latin provides a daily exercise regimen for the brain ‘muscle.’ In addition to developing mental discipline, students who study Latin improve their understanding of their mother tongue—English. It has been estimated that 50% of English words have Latin roots. The number increases to roughly 80% of words that are two or more syllables. This means that Latin students have much higher scores on standardized vocabulary tests such as the SAT. More importantly, Latin students have a larger vocabulary at their command when they are reading and writing. Vocabulary is not the only English language skill that is enhanced by Latin studies. When students translate sentences and larger passages from Latin to English, they also get a comprehensive course in English grammar as they learn to consider how the eight parts of speech function in both languages. Latin students also receive an excellent education in style. Latin is a more precise and concise language than English. This is why Latin forms the basis for so many inscriptions such as e pluribus unum (out of many, one) on American coins and the mottoes for states, universities, and other institutions. After deliberate studies of Latin, students become better writers in English. Writers throughout history— including notables such as Shakespeare—have credited their Latin studies for their English language facility. If these were not enough intellectual riches, students of Latin have an advantage when they proceed to study other languages. In his book, The Latin-Centered Curriculum, Andrew Campbell notes that, “the major Romance languages—Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese—derive 90%or more of their vocabulary from Latin” (p. 44). Students of Latin apprehend other languages much more quickly not just because of their training in grammar and translation, but because they have a head start in remembering the meanings of new words which have Latin roots. One final consideration is the way in which Latin opens doors to classic and technical literature. When we teach our children Latin, we open doors for them—doors to reading history, literature, science, medicine, and Scripture. Imagine your children automatically translating the scientific names of animals and insects, gaining a fresh perspective on democracy, and reading John 1 in Latin. Latin students reconnect not just with the roots of our language, but with the roots of our culture and our Christian faith. To connect with our Christian culture, we must go back to the beginning which includes a look at Latin—the written and spoken language during the early church. Unfortunately, most of us were educated in a system which had neglected or even ridiculed the study of Latin by modern students. Fortunately, we have an abundance of resources within our grasp for helping us to learn Latin and teach it to our students. Although Latin can be challenging, the benefits are worth the time and the occasional struggle. Our students will be rewarded with superb study skills for tackling all difficult subjects, a rich vocabulary, and a deep connection to our classical, Christian culture.

Charles attended Immaculate Conception Catholic School. During his youth, he joined the Boy Scouts and was one of only two Eagle Scouts in his troop. After graduating from Milby High School in 1948, Charles attended Texas A&M University. He ran track and cross country, lettering in both. In 1951, he placed 6th in the nation at the National AAU Track competition. Charles graduated from Texas A&M University in 1953 with a BS in Animal Husbandry. Soon after graduation, he received his orders to serve in the US Army and was stationed in Japan. He was proud of his service and achieved the rank of First Lieutenant. While in the Army, Charles decided he would like to teach, and in 1956 he returned to Texas A&M University where he earned a teaching certificate with majors in science and history. His first job was at Burbank Jr. High teaching science. Later, Charles was a counselor at Fonville Jr. High. There, he was most proud of establishing

a CVAE program. In 1960, Charles earned his Masters in Administration from Texas A&M University and was an assistant principal until he returned to teaching science at Scarborough Jr./Sr. High. He retired from teaching in 1990 after decades of helping students. Charles led a busy life and enjoyed his part time job at the Astrodome where he was named Employee of the Year in 1978. He was an active member of the Men’s Club at St. Ambrose Catholic Church and worked bingo every Tuesday night. Charles supported his community as a member of the Mangum Manor Civic Club as well. His tireless efforts to improve his neighborhood included the beautification of the Antoine esplanades and flood control for the neighborhood. Charles was a member of the Houston Association of Retired Teachers serving as a greeter and was responsible for the HART mailout. Texas A&M University remained close to his heart and he

Charles had many hobbies and interests at which he excelled. His woodworking skills were well known and his grandchildren all slept in the cradles he built for them. He loved camping and travel too, and he and wife Janice camped all over the US. Genealogy was very important to Charles and he researched and charted six generations of his family history. He was a loving Papa and enjoyed taking his children and grandchildren on family vacations each summer. In his 80’s, Charles developed an interest in stained glass. His projects were both varied and beautiful. Charles is survived by his beloved wife of 61 years, Janice; daughters Charlene Nelson and her husband Marty, of Carrollton, TX; Evelyn Harding and her husband Steve, of Houston, TX; Laura Wadley and her husband Tim, of Leawood, KS. Also surviving are four grandchildren; Martin Nelson and his wife Darian, Danielle Harding, Madeline Wadley and Gabrielle Wadley; one great grandchild, Rocky Charles Nelson. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Page 4B • Saturday, September 25, 2021 • The Leader

HHA hosts Boulevard Blitz Fun Run Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a weekly feature called “Getting GOOFy in the Greater Heights,” in which we highlight an event or place in the community. Not long after the sun rose last Saturday morning, hundreds of local residents laced up their running shoes to participate in a neighborhood tradition. The latest edition of the annual Boulevard Blitz Fun Run, hosted by the Houston Heights Association (HHA), was a resounding success, said Kinzie Verdell, the event chair. I sensed the anticipation and excitement of the young boys and girls making their way to the starting line at Heights Boulevard near Marmion Park with their families, and so could Verdell. “It’s a really good time for the community to get together,” Verdell said. “Everyone’s ready, and it’s good to have fitness and health activities to get people outdoors. I know we’ve been cooped up for a while.” She said there were about 1,200 registered participants for this year’s event, which featured a 5K, 10K, and 1K kids’ race. For the first time, the race


in the

Stefan Modrich

GREATER HEIGHTS See related video at also had a virtual option for runners to complete their desired distance on their own. It was originally scheduled for June, but was delayed due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. “I’m super impressed,” Verdell said. “The last month of registration, it just shot up.” Also new to the event this year were staggered start times, or “waves” organized by expected finish times, which she said were not only beneficial for social distancing but also helpful for parents running with strollers. Though this was Verdell’s first time organizing the fun run, she said she is excited for the potential of the event to foster better connections between

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neighbors and to help the HHA recruit volunteers and promote civic engagement. The isolation of the pandemic has also played a role for many wanting to have more in-person interactions in safe settings, she said. “We all want to feel like we’re a part of the community, because we’ve been separated for so long,” Verdell said. At the finish line, I caught up with some of the runners in Marmion Park, where finishers reunited with family and friends and recovered with post-race snacks and drinks. Joe Alanis, who serves on HHA’s board of directors, is one of many parents for whom the Boulevard Blitz has become a family tradition. He said it was his youngest daughter’s first time running the race, and he has a 13-year-old who, like him, has participated in the fun run in each of the last 10 years. “It’s a great event for the family,” Alanis said.

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Photo by Stefan Modrich Runners take off from the starting line last Saturday, heading south along Heights Boulevard during the Boulevard Blitz Fun Run.

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