Katy Edition | April 2021

KATY EDITION

VOLUME 9, ISSUE 8  APRIL 21MAY 18, 2021

ONLINE AT

HIGHER EDUCATIONGUIDE 2021

‘Unique’ downtown project headed to Fulshear

COLLEGE Q&A

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ENGINEERING PROGRAM

TEST PREP GUIDE

IMPACTS

TRANSPORTATION

BUSINESS FEATURE

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Katy ocials propose plan for no-kill animal control

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H I G H E R E D U C A T I O N G U I D E

PROJECTIONS Pandemic

A January report from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board predicted steady enrollment increases for Katy-area institutions through 2035. However, the pandemic led to enrollment declines at higher education institutions across Texas.

BY LAURA AEBI

Katy City Council members have introduced a plan that would put the city’s animal control department on a path toward a no-kill policy after an investiga- tion into allegations made by a city employee against the department was completed. Since the allegations were made, the department has adopted new practices promoting transparency and accountability since the allegations—but some council members are supporting additional mod- ications, such as a spay and neuter program and implementing a no-kill policy for the department. CONTINUED ON 28

ENROLLMENT CHANGES 2020 TO 2035 PROJECTED

Houston Community College

University of Houston

University of Houston Victoria

28.3% 40.7% 26.6%

23.4% 2%

10.2%

2019 TO 2020

SOURCE: TEXAS HIGHER EDUCATION COORDINATING BOARDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Higher education perseveres during pandemic Despite pandemic obstacles, Katy-area colleges, universities optimistic about future

“I’VEWORKED TRIPLE HOMICIDES, AND IT’S NEVER BEEN THIS THICK OF A FILE.”

BY MORGAN THEOPHIL

after graduation compared to the class of 2019, according to a report by The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Still, leaders from three Katy-area schools said being forced to adapt also brought about new ways of operating that will continue even once the pandemic ends. Throughout the past year, sta at the University of Houston at Katy tried to exhibit two traits while working to overcome obstacles, said Jay Neal, associate vice president and chief operating o- cer: exibility and compassion. “That’s really helped us to look at faculty sta CONTINUED ON 22

It is no question whether the coronavirus pan- demic changed the course of higher education during the past year, several Katy-area higher edu- cation ocials said. When colleges and universities across the nation were forced to grapple with unexpected challenges, they also were left quickly nding ways to adapt to continue to educate and oer services to students. The disruption the pandemic caused to educa- tion was quickly clear: Across the nation, nearly 22% fewer high school students from the graduat- ing class of 2020 immediately enrolled in college

DETECTIVE LT. LEE HERNANDEZ, KATY POLICE DEPARTMENT

The investigation, which began in December, yielded a case le consisting of more than 740 pages. (Laura Aebi/Community Impact Newspaper)

and trust use.

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KATY EDITION • APRIL 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

ABOUT US

Owners John and Jennifer Garrett launched the rst edition of Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 with three full-time employees covering Round Rock and Pugerville, Texas. We have expanded our operations to include hundreds of employees, our own printing operation and over 30 hyperlocal editions across three states. Our circulation is over 2 million residential mailboxes, and it grows each month with new residents and developments.

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

FROMAMY: Colleges and universities continue to deal with some unique struggles to meet the needs of students during this pandemic. While some were able to transition to online learning, others adapted their protocols to allow for safe in-person interactions. In our higher education content this month, we asked these schools what the overall impact was and what they expect moving forward. Amy Martinez, GENERALMANAGER

Community Impact Newspaper teams include general managers, editors, reporters, graphic designers, sales account executives and sales support, all immersed and invested in the communities they serve. Our mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Our core values are Faith, Passion, Quality, Innovation and Integrity.

FROMLAURA: In our Higher Education Guide, we’ve included a helpful collection of test preparation locations in the Greater Katy area. Additionally, we’ve included some details on the University of Houston at Katy’s subsea engineering program—the rst program like it in the nation. Laura Aebi, EDITOR

Our purpose is to be a light for our readers, customers, partners and each other.

WHATWE COVER

Sign up for our daily newsletter to receive the latest headlines direct to your inbox. communityimpact.com/ newsletter DAILY INBOX Visit our website for free access to the latest news, photos and infographics about your community and nearby cities. communityimpact.com LIVE UPDATES

MARKET TEAM GENERAL MANAGER Amy Martinez EDITOR Laura Aebi REPORTER Morgan Theophil

BUSINESS &DINING Local business development news that aects you

TRANSPORTATION &DEVELOPMENT Regular updates on area projects to keep you in the know

SCHOOL, CITY & COUNTY We attend area meetings to keep you informed

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Chase Brooks ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Tracy Drewa METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Jason Culpepper ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Kristina Shackelford MANAGING EDITOR Marie Leonard ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Kaitlin Schmidt CORPORATE LEADERSHIP GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES &MARKETING DIRECTOR Tess Coverman CONTACT US

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KATY EDITION • APRIL 2021

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

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Teriyaki Madness

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COURTESY TERIYAKI MADNESS

HIGHWAY BLVD.

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5 Gloria’s Latin Cuisine opened its first Katy location at 23333 Grand Circle Blvd., Ste. 100, Katy, on April 2. The Salvador- an chain has more than 20 restaurants throughout Texas. It serves Tex-Mex, brunch and a variety of specialty cocktails. 346-365-2261. www.gloriascuisine.com 6 FS Fixed Martial Arts & Fitness will open a new location at 2020 Katy Hockley Cut Off Road, Ste. 2D, Katy, early this sum- mer. The facility offers classes for children, a Brazilian jiujitsu course, cardio kickboxing classes, a bridal boot camp program and birthday party services. 281-861-5430. 7 Vera Hair Co. officially opened April 24 after a soft opening earlier that month. Located at 1227 Grand West Blvd., Bldg. 2, Ste. B206, Katy, the salon offers coloring, extensions, blowouts, children’s cuts and men’s cuts. 281-619-6251. www.verahairco.com 8 Brightway , The John Rodger Agency had its grand opening event Feb. 25 after its soft opening in January. The insurance agency is located at 2717 Commercial Center Blvd., Ste. 200, Katy. The agency offers customized home, flood, auto, boat, condo, renters and other insurance policies from numerous insurance brands. 281-823-8198. www.BrightwayDifference.com COMING SOON 9 Katy Wines and Spirits will open a location at 5901 Highway Blvd., Katy this summer. Owner Hermen Key, a level 1 sommelier, said the 1,500-square-foot store will be focused on its variety of wines, but will also carry liquor, drink supplies and other options.

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NOWOPEN 1 A new Teriyaki Madness location opened at 25705 Katy Freeway, Ste. 110, Katy, on April 1. The fast-casual Asian restaurant serves bowls of Asian-inspired teriyaki food that include fresh vege- tables, rice or noodles, and a choice of protein. Teriyaki Madness has six other locations in the Houston area, including one in Fulshear. 346-355-8623. www.teriyakimadness.com

2 L1 Foot and Bodyworks opened a location at 23112 Cinco Ranch Blvd., Katy, at the beginning of April. It offers Swedish massages, deep tissue massages and reflexology as well as a variety of combination packages. 713-659-9917. www.cincofootandbodyworks.com 3 Ploy Thai Cuisine , located at 20900 Katy Freeway, Ste. Q, Katy, opened March 14. It is its second location with the first being located in The Woodlands. Play Thai Cuisine offers a variety of authentic,

traditional Thai plates, such as pad thai, pad prik khing and pad kee mao. 281-676-4453. www.ploythaicuisine.com 4 Tha Roux Seafood held its soft opening at the beginning of April. Located downtown at 811 Ave. D, Ste. 110, Katy, Tha Roux serves salads, soups, appetizers and an array of seafood entrees, including stuffed flounder, Cajun stuffed fried chick- en, a shrimp po’boy, a seafood platter, and shrimp and grits. 281-505-1588

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY LAURA AEBI

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Big City Wings

Marble Slab Creamery

COURTESY BIG CITY WINGS

COURTESY MARBLE SLAB CREAMERY

10 Big City Wings , a Houston-area wing restaurant, is opening a new location in Katy at 22762 Westheimer Parkway this summer. The restaurant will offer a variety of wings, burgers, sandwiches, salads, beer, and other drinks and menu options. www.bigcitywings.com 11 A new Marble Slab Creamery and Great American Cookies hybrid location will open July 1 at Grand Morton Town Center, 22903 Morton Ranch Road, Ste. 140, Katy. This will be the third brick- and-mortar dual cookie-ice cream-combi- nation location in the area. www.marbleslab.com www.greatamericancookies.com RELOCATIONS 12 Scholars & Scoundrels will move its Katy location sometime early next year. The current location—1251 Pin Oak Road, Ste. 141, Katy—will reopen down the street at the intersection of Kingsland Boulevard and AMC Drive as a part of the Katy Boardwalk, which is still in its early stages. Construction began at the new location, which will feature an outdoor, larger parking lot and patio, in April. 346-307-7434. www.scholarsand scoundrelsbarandgrill.com EXPANSIONS 13 CVS Health is now offering mental health counseling and care services at the CVS MinuteClinic at its 602 W. Grand Parkway S., Katy, location. The mental health services include mental health assessments, ongoing counseling, referrals

to other providers and more. Minute- Clinic is also offering free mental health screenings and consultations to individuals age 18 or older at the Katy location for a limited time, according to a press release. Residents can learn more and schedule an in-store or telehealth appointment by calling 855-417-2486 or visiting www.cvs.com/mentalhealth. IN THE NEWS 14 Katy City Council voted to approve funding for renovations toward Katy Fire Station #1 at the March 22 meeting. Locat- ed at 1417 Ave. D, Katy, the fire station will receive $133,911.70 in funds—an addition to the $600,000 originally allocated in the budget to go toward the project—to make upgrades to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment, and camera up- grades, as well as repairs needed due to a mold infestation. The funds were approved with the possibility of reimbursement if voters approve a May bond referendum. SCHOOL NOTES 15 Katy ISD recently formally dedi- cated two new campuses: A McElwain Elementary —located at 6631 Greenwood Orchard Drive, Katy—and B Jordan High School , located at 27500 Fulshear Bend Drive, Fulshear. McElwain Elemen- tary was named for Peter McElwain, the former KISD architect who led the process in creating the school’s state-of-the-art building prototype. It was dedicated April 8. Jordan High School, dedicated April 12, is named for the Jordan family—one of the first families in Katy.

Layne’s Chicken Fingers serves tenders and sandwiches with fries, toast and Layne’s Sauce.

COURTESY LAYNE’S CHICKEN FINGERS

FEATURED IMPACT COMING SOON After serving up chicken in College Station for nearly three decades, Layne’s Chicken Fingers is opening its rst location in the Houston area in Katy this summer. The 2,400-square- foot restaurant will be located at 23703 Cinco Ranch Blvd., Katy. The fast- casual restaurant has three locations in College Station as well as restaurants in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. “Layne’s in Houston is going to make a huge splash,” Layne’s Chicken Fingers spokesperson Matt O’Reilly said in a press release. “When we opened in Dallas, people drove two hours to visit. I can’t imagine what Houston will do.” Masroor Fatany, an Aggie himself, is opening the restaurant and also owns ve Houston-area locations of The Halal Guys. Fatany is the exclusive CLOSINGS 16 The Newk’s location at 20802 Katy Freeway, Houston, permanently closed early this spring. The Bunker Hill location remains open. www.newks.com 17 Los Muertos BBQ owner Rick Muñiz announced April 5 he has decided to re- move the name brand, logos, recipes, menu and concept from its brick-and-mortar lo-

franchisee for the Greater Houston area and plans on opening more Layne’s locations in the area in the next 12 months. “We have wanted a Layne’s in Houston for years, and the fact that it’s nally happening is very exciting,” Fatany said. “Layne’s has done a fantastic job of building and growing their brand, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce them to Houston, and reconnect my fellow Aggies with some food from home.” www.layneschickenngers.com

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cation at 25551 Kingsland Blvd., Ste. C102, Katy, which opened in September. The barbecue, which previously served out of a food truck before opening, was known for its unique South Texas-style ranch cooking. Muñiz said he will still be available for mobile events, festivals, corporate function and caterings—but will be scaling back significantly. www.losmuertosbbq.com

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KATY EDITION • APRIL 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TODO LIST

Events in late April-May

BY MORGAN THEOPHIL

05 CINCODEMAYO FIESTAWITH THE DIRTY RECKLESS The Wildcatter Saloon is hosting a Cinco de Mayo event with The Dirty Reckless, a rock cover band. The event will include crawsh and drink specials. 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Free (admission). The Wildcatter Saloon,

APRIL 28 THROUGHMAY 1 JUST BETWEEN FRIENDS OF KATY SPRING SALE Just Between Friends of Katy is hosting its annual spring consignment sale, an event that will feature more than 100 consignors selling children’s clothing, toys and furniture. More than 40,000 items are expected. 9 a.m.-8 p.m. (April 28-30), 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (May 1). Free (admission). 932 S. Mason Road, Katy. 281-505-2328. www.katy.jbfsale.com MAY 01 19THANNUALMUD BUG BALL The 19th annual Mud Bug Ball, hosted by the Houston Parrot Head Club, will be a charity crawsh boil beneting the Houston Area Parkinson Society, a nonprot organization focused on improving the quality of life of those aected by Parkinson’s disease. The event will include entertainment, raes and a silent auction. 2-7 p.m. $10 (daytime admission), $20 (night admission or all-you-can-eat crawsh). The Wildcatter Saloon, 26913 Katy Freeway, Katy. 281-392-2337. www. eventbrite.com/e/the-19th-annual-mud- bug-ball-tickets-144512979211

Texas, 555 Katy Fort Bend Road, Katy. 832-426-7071. www.runsignup.com/ Race/TX/Katy/LonestarSplashNDash 08 MUNCH BUNCH COOKBOOK CLUB: COOKINGWITH BEYOND AND IMPOSSIBLEMEAT The Munch Bunch Cookbook Club hosted by Katy Budget Books is a new monthly series of virtual cooking demos. In May, Ramin Ganeshram, an award-winning author and chef, will talk about her book, “Cooking with Beyond and Impossible Meat: 60 Vegan Recipes Using Plant- Based Substitutions.” Attendees purchase the cookbook to get an entry to the live virtual demo, where they can cook along or just watch to learn tips. 6:30-7:30 p.m. $19.99 (purchase of the book; promo code “BOOKCLUB” available). 281-578-7770. www.katybooks.com 08 COMMUNITY FOOD FAIR Katy Christian Ministries is hosting a monthly food fair to ght food insecurity. The fair is designed to help feed local families and provide fresh produce to those in need. The events are sponsored by Powerhouse Church Katy and Parkway Fellowship. 9:30-11:30 a.m. Parkway Fellowship North Campus, 5819 10th St., Katy. 281-391-5261. https://ktcm.org/event/community- food-fair-parkway-fellowship-north- campus-3/

26913 Katy Freeway, Katy. www.wildcattersaloon.com 08 MOTHER’S DAY BRUNCHAT THE COTTAGE DOOR BOUTIQUE

The Cottage Door Boutique is hosting an event for guests to shop for mothers the day before Mother’s Day. The event will include handheld appetizers and mimosas, giveaways and a drawing. Free (admission). 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. The Cottage Door, 1001 Ave. B, Katy. 281-391-1222. www.facebook.com/ events/240929397742783 08 LONESTAR SPLASH ‘NDASHAT TYPHOON TEXAS The rst Lonestar Splash ‘N Dash, hosted by Negative Split Productions and Typhoon Texas Kids Triathlon, is taking place at Typhoon Texas. The race, which is open for kids ages 6-17, will include a 1-mile run, 125-meter swim and another 1-mile run. The park will open to the public after the live event, and participants will receive free entry. $55 (live event), $40 (virtual event). Typhoon

FARMERSMARKETON GRANDPARKWAY CHURCH OF THE HOLY APOSTLES

MAY 1

The Farmers Market on Grand Parkway takes place every Saturday rain or shine. The market features local vendors selling sustainably grown produce and other goods, such as farm-fresh eggs, local raw honey and organic vegetables. Vendors selling artisan crafts and gifts are often present. 8 a.m.-noon. Free (admission). Church of the Holy Apostles, 1225 W. Grand Parkway S., Katy. 832-878-9806. www.farmersmarket ongrandparkway.com (Courtesy Farmers Market on Grand Parkway)

Find more or submit Katy-area events at communityimpact.com/event-calendar. Event organizers can submit local events online to be considered for the print edition. Submitting details for consideration does not guarantee publication.

We live in an age of ultra convenience. We can take care of banking, shopping, and travel arrangements any time of the day or night. But taking care of our health is not so easy. It used to be that the only place you could get 24 hour-seven day a week outpatient care was in an emergency room. Regular doctors appointments have always been during weekday work hours. Covid-19 helped introduce us all to telemedicine making “care from your couch” a possibility but there is still a lot of care that must be received in person like examinations, procedures, radiography, and laboratory testing. In an effort to address not only convenience but cost as well, Next Level Urgent Care has launched several new formats that promise to make health care easier to obtain. Working with area employers, Next Level now has several “unlimited care” memberships that allow employees to receive care 7 days per week at any of our 17+ locations in the Greater Houston area for no out of pocket cost to the patient. Whether an employer is interested in providing a basic urgent care membership to supplement the plans they already provide, an urgent care/ telemedicine membership to cover care 24 hours per day, or a package that includes all levels of basic care including preventive care and primary care, Next Level has a program that is right for any business.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES Fort BendCounty transportationbond to fund ‘unique’ downtownFulshear project

DESIGNINGDOWNTOWN FULSHEAR The project to reconstruct and extend Wallis Street is part of Fulshear’s Livable Centers Study, which aims to encourage multimodal mobility and promote walkability.

1 Extend to FM 1093 2 Reconstruct and widen from FM 359 to FM 1093 WALLIS STREET PROJECTS

BY CLAIRE SHOOP

To improve mobility in downtown Fulshear— for both cars and pedestrians—the city, along with Fort Bend County, is working to convert Wallis and Main streets into a one-way pair. A one-way pair, also called a couplet, is two parallel one-way streets often used in downtown areas that provide for a safer ow of trac, said Sharon Valiante, public works director for the city of Fulshear. Money to begin the Wallis Street project— which includes reconstruction of the roadway as well as plans to widen the street and extend it to FM 1093—was approved by voters in November as part of Fort Bend County’s $218.2 million mobility bond. The bond puts $5.6 Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers called the Wallis Street project a unique concept that will improve capacity through downtown. During a March 11 transportation update hosted by the Fort Bend Chamber of Com- merce, Meyers said more than one-third of the funding allocated through the 2020 mobility bond is for road projects in Precinct 3, which includes Fulshear. “The reality is that about 70%-75% of the growth in Fort Bend County has been occurring in Precinct 3,” he said. “As a consequence, Precinct 3 was always a little behind. But this year, we were able to get a little over a third of the funds going to Precinct 3 to try and address the mobility issues related to the rapid growth that’s occurring.” Under the proposed plan, the two lanes of million toward the project, and Valiante said the city of Fulshear will split costs for this initiative 50-50. Fort Bend County

Wallis Street will accommodate southbound trac through downtown and Main Street, also known as FM 359, would have two lanes of northbound trac. Valiante said the project’s design is expected to begin in the coming months, and construc- tion could occur within two years. While Fulshear anticipates Wallis Street to eventually have one-way trac, Valiante said it may rst open with two-way trac. This eventual conversion of the roads into one-way streets will reduce the trac on Main by about 50% through downtown and separate the trac by two blocks, reducing conicting movement on each corri- dor, Valiante said. “The initial goal of the the roadway will be part of the one-way pairs ... [that] will allow for a more walkable and traditional downtown character to remain.” While Valiante said more pedestrian accom- modations are needed to improve walkability and livability downtown, the separation of traf- c onWallis and Main streets allows for Harris Street to become more pedestrian friendly. Valiante said this project aligns with the city’s broader Livable Centers Study, which was adopted by City Council in 2019. “The intent [of the study] is to encourage walkable, mixed-use development, provide opportunities for multi-modal transportation options, create a greater sense of place, improve environmental quality, and promote economic development,” Valiante said. project is to provide ... [an] alternative route through downtown Fulshear pro- moting a more uid venue for mobility,” Valiante said in an email. “Eventually,

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FUTURE ROAD USE

3 Wallis Street will become two lanes of southbound trac 4 Main Street will become two lanes of northbound trac 5 Harris Street will become a pedestrian-friendly corridor

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“ABOUT 70%75% OF THE GROWTH IN FORT BEND COUNTY HAS BEENOCCURRING INPRECINCT 3.” ANDY MEYERS, PRECINCT 3 COMMISSIONER

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MOBILITY BOND FUNDS

Nearly 34% of the funds approved in the 2020 Fort Bend County mobility bond are for projects in Precinct 3, which includes Fulshear.

Precinct 1: $63.63M

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Precinct 2: $37.78M

Bond total: $218.2M

Precinct 3: $73.86M

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Precinct 4: $42.91M

SOURCES: FORT BEND COUNTY, CITY OF FULSHEARCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER PRECINCT INCLUDING FULSHEAR

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KATY EDITION • APRIL 2021

Your Neighbors. Your Bankers.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION Katy ISD continues to improve, upgrade transportation processes

ROAD TO GROWTH

BY MORGAN THEOPHIL

installing into buses in August 2019. The GPS system, which is in 495 buses, provides the district and families the ability to monitor the location of a bus in real time. For example, families can use a free mobile app to check how close the bus is to their stop to conrm when their child needs to leave the house, conrm when the bus reaches school and monitor when their child will be home. “This is much easier and faster than calling dispatch to try to get that information,” Landis said. The district in February 2020 began installing camera systems in school buses. The eight-camera systems, which come from Houston-based company Safety Vision, are now installed in 550 buses, Landis said. The systems include both interior and exterior cameras. The exterior cameras play a key role during collisions, Landis said. “[The cameras] give a lot of views of what happens outside the bus when it comes to accidents or other kinds of situations like that,” he said. The interior cameras also provide several benets to campuses, the transportation department and KISD families, Landis said. Above all, the cameras help provide accountability. “There’s a record of what actually happens,” Landis said. “It’s not a, ‘He said, she said’ anymore on the bus when we have the cameras there.” District sta cannot look at the cameras in real time when a bus is traveling but can wirelessly get the video footage when buses are on the transportation lot.

Katy ISD is making strides to increase accountability, address sta shortages and speed up the processes of its transportation services. Paul Landis, KISD’s executive director of transportation, spoke about recent transportation changes within the district at a March 29 board of trustees meeting. The district is in the early stages of partnering with the Texas Depart- ment of Public Safety to more quickly license school bus drivers, Landis said. Through the partnership, the DPS must rst approve the district’s facility and driving course and then would train and license testers. Ulti- mately, the partnership would allow KISD to license its own drivers, which would speed up the licensing process signicantly, Landis said. Speeding up that process is a priority because appointments with the DPS have been the largest obstacle the district has faced when it comes to bus driver training, he said. “Back last summer and in the fall, it would take three, four months sometimes just to get an appoint- ment to do a written test,” he said. “We weren’t gonna hire many drivers with that situation going on.” As of March 29, the district was in the application phase of the process, Landis said. The next phase would be getting DPS approval of the facility and driving course, and the nal phase would be training personnel to be bus drivers. Landis also updated the board on the GPS system the district began

GPS SYSTEM Began installation: August 2019 495 buses have it installed 1 free app for families to nd the location of a bus in real time

In the past several years, Katy ISD has added new technology to its buses to increase accountability for families, improve processes, and make transportation to and from school more ecient. BUS CAMERAS Began installation: February 2020 Eight-camera system on each bus Interior and exterior cameras 550 buses have them installed

GOLDSTAR TRANSIT Began partnering with Katy ISD: August 2020

Covered 20 routes during 2020-21 school year Allowed for more complete route coverage

SOURCE: KATY ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

In August 2020, the school dis- trict began working with GoldStar Transit to help address a shortage of bus drivers. The partnership with GoldStar has allowed sta members who often ll in when there is a shortage—such as mechanics and oce sta—to focus on their primary jobs rather than subbing on open routes, Landis said. GoldStar has covered 20 routes for the district this year, Landis

said, mainly transporting students who attend Paetow High School and various elementary schools in the northwest quadrant. Board member Susan Geso said the progress the district has made for transportation in the past few years is notable. “This is such an amazing example of continuous improvement. … I just wanted to say congratulations,” she said.

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KATY EDITION • APRIL 2021

14

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

GOVERNMENT Harris County puts $3Mtoward lawenforcement overtime

BY SHAWN ARRAJJ

Harris County and a 33% increase in aggravated assaults. “I think that it’s getting at hyper-tar- geted solutions that will be evaluated so we’re not just throwing everything at the wall,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said of the sheriff’s proposal. “It’s not about growing the force; it’s about making sure that the best people have the ability to do their work more extensively.” Gonzalez said the sheriff’s office would collaborate with constables to get feedback on what they are seeing in their coverage areas. However, he said the sheriff’s office has specialized units set up to investigate child abuse and domestic violence where investi- gators are already regularly working. “It’s about making sure we put the best teams together to accomplish the mission,” Gonzalez said. “We want to make sure we don’t lose sight of a very tight mission here and that we get results that really work for the Harris County community.”

show them the door to the county jail,” said Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia, who authored the motion. The funding will not be used to create any new positions. Instead it will be used strictly to pay overtime for specialists within the targeted units. Funds will be dispersed in tranches according to a schedule that will be worked out by the sheriff’s office and budget management office. According to the sheriff’s proposal, aggravated crimes have increased by 21% since the start of the pandemic, while domestic violence incidents are up by 51%. The COVID-19 pandemic created particular challenges for the child abuse and domestic violence units, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said. The $3 million investment also comes several weeks after officials with the Harris County Justice Administration Department presented data to commissioners showing a 43% year-to-date increase in murders in

ASSESSINGTHE BACKLOG

With violent crime on the rise over the past year, Harris County commis- sioners unanimously voted to invest $3 million into overtime pay for law enforcement officials March 30 that is meant to help investigators target violent criminals in several key areas. The approved funding was based on a proposal from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office that involves investing the money across six units. The plan will involve using “crime analysis to identify hotspots and delayed investigations due to staffing shortages and caseloads,” according to the proposal submitted to com- missioners. The backlog includes 148 cases within the violent crimes unit, 92 family violence cases, 439 adult sex crimes cases and 651 investigations within the child abuse unit. “We want to make sure that the sheriff’s office crime reduction units have the resources to prioritize these violent crimes, to go after them, and to

The backlog includes: 148 Cases within the violent crimes unit 439 Adult sex crimes cases 92 Family violence cases 651 Investigations within the child abuse unit Units that will receive funding: Adult special crimes Violent crimes Domestic violence advocates Child abuse Criminal warrants Patrol crime reduction

SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Ample green space &unique parks for limitless play

Room to grow.

Families large and small enjoy Bridgeland’s diverse range of amenities and home styles, as well as top-rated schools and countless neighborhood parks. Find your home here today.

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Homes within Bridgeland are constructed and sold by builders not affiliated with The Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) or any of its affiliates, companies or partnerships. Neither HHC nor any of its affiliated companies or partnerships guarantees or warrants the obligations of, or construction by, such builders. Prices and specifications subject to change.

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KATY EDITION • APRIL 2021

Breaking New Ground in Higher Education

New Katy Campus • Spring 2022

hccs.edu/newkatycampus

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16

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION

Three local higher education leaders share insights

2 0 2 1 H I G H E R E D U C AT I O N G U I D E

COMPILED BY MORGAN THEOPHIL

Leaders from three local Katy-area higher learning institutions put the spotlight on some new programs, initiatives and accomplishments. Despite pandemic-related obstacles, all three institutions have managed to continue campus and curriculum improvements.

UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTONVICTORIAAT KATY

WHAT IS A RECENT POLICY, INITIATIVE, PROGRAM OR ACCOMPLISHMENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTONVICTORIAAT KATY THAT YOUARE EXCITEDABOUT? The University of Houston-Victoria at Katy is excited to share the launch of a new Adult Completion Program. This program has been designed to help working professionals who have signicant work experience but are in need of a bachelor’s degree to continue

advancing in their careers. The program will focus on easier admission for students who have been out of college for a number of years, friendly degree plans that allow students to maximize the number of credits transferred to get them closer to their end goal and exible class schedules that cater to working adults. The Greater Katy area continues to grow, which also means more job opportunities. UHV Katy wants to help prepare its residents to be ready for career advancement as their community continues to grow.

Karla DeCuir , Senior director of enrollment management and external aairs

UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTONAT KATY

WHAT IS A RECENT POLICY, INITIATIVE, PROGRAM OR ACCOMPLISHMENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTONAT KATY THAT YOU ARE EXCITEDABOUT? UH at Katy opened in 2019, welcoming students who aspire to professions in nursing and engineering. One of our greatest projects has been creating the blueprint for higher education opportunities in our region. Our new strategic plan will span through 2025 and has been created with the support and input of state and local

community, industry and education leaders, all focused on crafting a strategy that not only looked like Katy, but impacted Katy and beyond. The programs oered at our Katy Instructional Site reect the workforce needs of the region. Our UH College of Engineering and HCC came together to help more students become engineers. Industry and academics also is a critical partnership. HCA Houston Healthcare invested in our College of Nursing’s Simulation Center for students to receive real-world clinical training. These relationships matter to our current students and our future workforce.

Jay Neal, Associate vice president and chief operating ocer

HOUSTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE NORTHWEST

WHAT IS A RECENT POLICY, INITIATIVE, PROGRAM OR ACCOMPLISHMENT AT HOUSTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE NORTHWEST THAT YOU ARE EXCITED ABOUT? The University of Houston (UH- Main Campus) and Houston Community College (HCC) have created a unique engineering partnership: The UH/HCC Engineering Academy at Katy. Students are co-enrolled at both institutions and are ocial UH Engineering Cougars from the very rst day. The academy oers students an

opportunity to earn the rst two years of a four-year degree in civil, electrical, computer, industrial and mechanical engineering, which will be completed at UH Main campus. In addition, three new engineering degrees have been created which can be completed at UH at Katy: construction engineering, computer engineering, and analytics and systems engineering. Benets of the program include access to student services, activities and organizations at both institutions; smaller class sizes; and lower tuition and fees. Cohort classes are taught at the HCC Katy campus and the UH Katy campus at predetermined times. Start in Katy, nish in Katy.

Susan Stangl Thompson, Program director of engineering and STEM initiatives

ANSWERS MAY HAVE BEEN EDITED FOR LENGTH AND CLARITY.

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KATY EDITION • APRIL 2021

Experience an elevated way of life.

A new Tri Pointe home isn’t just a home — it’s a full-time getaway. Experience next-level living with spacious floor plans, thoughtful designer touches and flex spaces to fit all your needs. Every home also has advanced LivingSmart® technology features built right in, like smart thermostats, lighting and more to help you stay connected and comfortable 24/7. And with impressive amenities nearby like a resort-style pool, recreational center and connected trails and waterways, you can truly start living life to the fullest. Come home to your dream lifestyle with a Tri Pointe home in Cross Creek Ranch. See what better living looks like at www.tripointehomes.com/cross-creek-ranch-45.

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New homes priced from the mid $300s | 1,950 - 2,600 sq. ft.

The prices of our homes, included features, plans, specifications, promotions/incentives, neighborhood build-out and available locations are subject to change without notice. Stated dimensions, square footage and acreage are approximate and should not be used as a representation of any home’s or homesite’s precise or actual size, location or orientation. There is no guarantee that any particular homesite or home will be available. No information or material herein is to be construed to be an offer or solicitation for sale. Not all features and options are available in all homes. Unless otherwise expressly stated, homes do not come with hardscape, landscape, or other decorator items. Any photographs or renderings used herein reflect artists’ conceptions and are for illustrative purposes only. Community maps, illustrations, plans and/or amenities reflect our current vision and are subject to change without notice. Maps not to scale. Photographs or renderings of people do not depict or indicate any preference regarding race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, familial status, or national origin. Builder does not warrant the suitability of any trail for any use or for any person. Our name and the logos contained herein are registered trademarks of Tri Pointe Homes, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. © 2021 Tri Pointe Homes Texas, Inc. All rights reserved.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

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