Spring - Klein Edition | August 2020

SPRING KLEIN EDITION

VOLUME 7, ISSUE 5  AUG. 7SEPT. 18, 2020

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ESDNO. 11 narrows down provider options

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IMPACTS

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SPECIAL REPORT

As coronavirus cases in the Greater Houston area continues to rise, local school districts have worked through the summer to provide exible options to returning students and their families for the upcom- ing 2020-21 school year. School districts in the Spring and Klein area have delayed the start date for in-person instruction until after Labor Day and have oered families the oppor- tunity to choose if their student will attend classes CONTINUED ON 20 Local districts delay in-person start dates Parents, teachers: Remote learning a tough but exible alternative BY ADRIANA REZAL According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while children can be carriers of the coronavirus, most pediatric cases are not as high risk compared to adults. Infection of the coronavirus spreads through respiratory droplets from coughs, sneezes or speech from an infected person. The virus is more likely to spread in close contact (within six feet) with a contagious person. The CDC reports there are relatively fewer cases of COVID-19 among children compared to cases among adult patients. SOURCE: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER Howdoes coronavirus spread?

While home buyouts are used to remove homes from areas that are so low in the ood plain, that other ood damage reduction projects are not cost-eective, experts agree they are not a solution to Cypress Creek’s chronic ooding. Buying back the flood plain INSIDE 18

Since 1985, 410 home buyouts have occurred in the Cypress Creek watershed, including 106 since Hurricane Harvey hit in August 2017. Harvey damaged 8,750 homes in the Cypress Creek watershed.

For buyouts in the Cypress Creek watershed, the Harris County Flood Control District’s 2018 bond allocated a local match to help secure federal funding.

$187.3M Overall total for buyouts:

$140.5M Federal grants:

$46.8M Local match:

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SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL DISTRICTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

The Champions area in Spring and Klein was one of several areas in the Cypress Creek watershed that ooded during Hurricane Harvey in August 2017. (Courtesy Harris County Flood Control District)

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

END OF SUMMER CLEARANCE SAVINGS

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*Offer available on select newHondamodels, see dealer for full details. 0.0%APR is a dealer buydown rate. Dealer contribution 1.9%. Thismay affect the final negotiated price of the vehicle. Examplewith $0 down payment andmonthly payments of $27.78 per $1,000 financed. May not be combinedwith any other advertised offers or USAA/TrueCar/Costco price quotes. Offers valid through 8/31/20.

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Valid only at Honda of Tomball. Any or all coupons must be presented at time of write up in the service drive. Any or all coupons not to be utilized with other coupons nor are coupons redeemable for cash. No discount will exceed $100.00 unless specifically stated in the individual coupon advertisement. See service advisor for full details. With Any Parts or Service Purchase over $200 FREE WASH, WAX AND SANITIZE

FREE OIL CHANGE With Any Complete Scheduled Maintenance Over $150

Valid only at Honda of Tomball. Any or all coupons must be presented at time of write up in the service drive. Offer is for 15% off yany 1 service. Maximum savings of $100. Current advertised specials & tires are excluded. TOTAL SERVICE DISCOUNT OFF ANY 1 SERVICE 15 %

Valid only at Honda of Tomball. Any or all coupons must be presented at time of write up in the service drive. Any or all coupons not to be utilized with other coupons nor are coupons redeemable for cash. No discount will exceed $100.00 unless specifically stated in the individual coupon advertisement. See service advisor for full details. BUY 3 TIRES GET ONE FREE! WE WON’T BE UNDERSOLD On all stocking tires.

Valid only at Honda of Tomball. Any or all coupons must be presented at time of write up in the service drive. Any or all coupons not to be utilized with other coupons nor are coupons redeemable for cash. With purchase of complete maintenance service. See service advosior for full details.

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DRIVE A LITTLE, SAVE A LOT! • 3 Minutes south of Grand Parkway 99 • 8 Minutes north of Beltway 8 • 15 Minutes from I-45 • 15 Minutes from Hwy. 290 Conveniently located on Hwy. 249 in Tomball. Take a right at the car stacker !

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SPRING - KLEIN EDITION • AUGUST 2020

WHERE DO YOU GO WHEN THE HAMMER MISSES THE NAIL AND FINDS YOURS?

Our ER is Open. Ready. And Safe. Emergencies are one-of-a-kind events. You don’t know when, or how, or where they’re going to happen. But you do know that when an emergency takes place, you’ll want an Emergency Room you can count on. Especially now, when our community continues to battle COVID-19, you need to know that there’s a hospital ER that’s open, ready, and safe for you and your family. And we are. For more information, visit us at StLukesHealth.org/Here-Always.

Here, always.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

FROMKIM: Next month, you’ll receive our newspaper on Sept. 19. We’re moving the delivery date from the second to third week of each month starting with the September issue. Continue to utilize our up-to-date daily news coverage at communityimpact.com and/or subscribe to our daily newsletter at communityimpact.com/newsletter to stay informed all month long. Kim Giannetti, GENERALMANAGER

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EDITOR Hannah Zedaker REPORTER Adriana Rezal

FROMHANNAH: In the midst of the third hurricane season since Hurricane Harvey, many homeowners are still rebuilding their lives and looking to local leaders for relief. In this issue, our front-page story explores the home buyout process from the perspective of homeowners who have been through it and the ocials who administer it.

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Ronald Winters ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Kim Laurence

METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Jason Culpepper MANAGING EDITOR Matt Stephens ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Aubrey Galloway CORPORATE LEADERSHIP PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner

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SPRING  KLEIN EDITION • AUGUST 2020

IMPACTS

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

SPRINGWOODS VILLAGE

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Common Bond Bistro & Bakery

COURTESY COMMON BOND BISTRO & BAKERY

pre-packaged snacks and meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner that cater to a variety of nutritional and dietary needs. In addition to in-store pickup, Balanced Foods oers online ordering and local delivery. This is the second storefront for the business, which is based in Magnolia. 832-648-1286. www.balancedfoods.com 5 A Sprint retail store opened at 18602 Kuykendahl Road, Ste. 100, Spring, in early June. The mobile phone store oers technology products, such as smart phones, tablets, hot spots and other con- nected devices. Available brands include Apple, Samsung, LG and Sprint. 281-631-3335. www.sprint.com 6 LA Home Solutions , a full-service handyman and home remodeling company, will celebrate the grand opening of its new showroom at 6635 Spring Cypress Road, Ste. B, Spring, on Aug. 8. Owned by husband-wife team Luis and MJ Aguilar, LA Home Solutions serves the Spring and Tomball area and oers a vari- ety of commercial and residential services, including drywall repair, door renishing, kitchen and bathroom renovations, home additions and conversions, full-home remodeling and design planning. To receive a free quote from LA Home Solu- tions, customers can complete an online form or call the oce directly. 281-707-4271. www.lahomesolutionsinc.com The Louisiana-based laundry service hampr announced its expansion into The Woodlands area May 15. hampr provides laundry washing and drying services through its app. The company was found- ed in early 2020 to ease the laundry pro- cess, founder Laurel Hess said. Through

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NOWOPEN 1 Common Bond Bistro & Bakery opened July 20 in CityPlace at Spring- woods Village, located at 1700 City Plaza Drive, Ste. 150, Spring. This is the fourth location for the Houston-based bakery and the rst to feature a full bar and lounge. The eatery oers breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as brunch on the week- ends. Menu items range from atbreads, salads and sandwiches to French toast, scrambles and avocado toast. Common

Bond also oers a variety of baked goods, signature cakes, coee, cocktails, wine and beer. 281-975-2300. www.commonbondcafe.com 2 Kohinoor , a locally owned Indian- Pakistani restaurant and grocery store, opened in mid-June at 20423 Kuykendahl Road, Spring. The grocery store sells pro- duce, dairy products and halal meats in addition to Indian-Pakistani snacks, dried foods and spices. 832-761-5022 3 Lan Hai Asian Restaurant opened in

mid-June at 17575 Hwy. 249, Houston. Set in the former location of Texas Buet & Barbecue, the new business oers Chinese fare, such as Szechuan chicken, salt-toasted tofu and walnut shrimp. Sig- nature dishes include sizzling steak, beef short ribs and roasted duck served with white or fried rice. 832-604-8088. www.lanhaiasianrestaurant.com 4 Balanced Foods opened a new location May 2 at 10300 Louetta Road, Ste. 126, Houston. The healthy grab- and-go concept oers freshly prepared,

Ages 18 months to 5 years 281-370-5001

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY ADRIANA REZAL & HANNAH ZEDAKER

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Balanced Foods

Raising Cane’s

The Kitten House Rescue has rescued more than 1,500 kittens in nine years.

COURTESY BALANCED FOODS

COURTESY RAISING CANE’S

COURTESY THE KITTEN HOUSE RESCUE

FEATURED IMPACT NAME CHANGE, NEW OWNERSHIP After nine years and the rescue of more than 1,500 kittens, Debrah Rogers, The Kitten House Rescue managing director, announced July 19 via Facebook that the nonprot animal rescue would be closing and reopening under a new name and new ownership. According to the post, Rogers’ decision to close the nonprot comes from personal health concerns. Rogers said Shelter Manager Deena Urich has indicated plans to retain the rescue at its current location, 5050 FM 1960 W., Ste. 103, Houston, and to reopen the rescue Aug. 1 under the name Almost Home Cat Haven . “These past nine years have been such a mixed blessing experience for me,” Rogers said in the July 19 Facebook post. “I poured my heart and soul, money and personal sacrice into saving these kitties. I have made such wonderful convenience store chain is known for its Slurpees and self-serve soda fountains, which are available 24/7. 800-255-0711. www.7-eleven.com RELOCATIONS 13 Spring-based boutique Golden Gyp- sies , relocated within Old Town Spring early July 11 from 134 Main St. to 214 Main St. The accessory store and gift shop specializes in women’s jewelry, gifts and home decor. 281-288-0005.

hampr, area residents who register for an annual membership can schedule laundry pickup for washing, folding and delivery back to their homes. Detergent can be provided by customers or through hampr, and all services are performed by local “washrs” hired through the program. www.tryhampr.com The newest franchise of the national business training company The Growth Coach opened for service in Northwest Houston on July 1. The Growth Coach of Spring, serving Spring, The Woodlands and surrounding communities, launched under franchisee Robert Osborne. The Growth Coach oers remote group and one-on-one instructional programming for managers, sales professionals and other business professionals. 832-212-9774. www.thegrowthcoachspringtx.com COMING SOON 7 Northwest Houston-based Mexican snack and drink retailer Ceviches n’ Snacks will be opening a second location in Spring by early August at 18379 Kuykendahl Road, Ste. A, Spring. In addition to miche- ladas and spicy fruit cups, the Ceviches n’ Snacks menu includes a variety of seafood options, such as the Tostada Mazatlan, a crispy tortilla served with sh ceviche, shrimp and avocado and topped with chipotle cream. 832-559-8765. www.veryfreshsnacks.com 8 Louisiana-based fast-food restaurant Raising Cane’s will be opening a new location in October at 10950 Louetta Road, Houston. The Raising Cane’s menu oers a variety of chicken dishes, such as chicken ngers and sandwiches, and

sides, including fries, coleslaw and Texas toast. www.raisingcanes.com 9 Spring and Klein residents can dine at a new Whataburger location at 4608 FM 1960 W., Houston, near Stuebner Airline Road, in the coming months. The San Antonio-based restaurant chain specializ- es in hamburgers and is known for its All- Time Favorites, such as the Whataburger Patty Melt, the Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich and the Mushroom Swiss Burg- er. www.whataburger.com 10 Waxing the City will soon be oering waxing services for men and women at its new location at 6630 Spring Stuebner Road, Ste. 510, Spring. According to co-owner Swati Desai, who runs the business with her cousin, Neel, construction on the new location begins in August, and a grand opening is slated for January 2021. Waxing the City oers facial and body waxing as well as other services, such as lash lifts and brow tints. New customers will receive 20% o their rst service. 713-401-4932. www.waxingthecity.com 11 Holiday Inn Express & Suites will open a new hotel in early August at 21606 Spring Stuebner Road, Spring. Hotel amenities will include free Wi-Fi, a tness center, an outdoor patio with a re pit, a swimming pool and a 1,000-square- foot exible meeting space. Each room will feature a minifridge, a microwave, a 49-inch Smart TV, Keurig coee and an in-room safe. 281-462-9150. www.hiexpress.com/houspringtx 12 A new 7-Eleven convenience store is under construction at 22610 Hwy. 249, Tomball. Slated to open this location in early spring 2021, the Dallas-based

friends throughout this process who believed in me, and the mission of this rescue. I cannot thank you enough for your many blessings and continued support as I could not have done this by myself.” According to the post, Urich has worked at The Kitten House Rescue for more than four years and has more than 15 years of experience in cat rescue. Upon reopening, Urich will retain the rescue’s

existing sta. 832-286-4285. www.kittenhouserescue.org.

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https://shopatggs.myshopify.com/ 14 Moore Time , an Old Town Spring- based clock sales and repair service, relocated in July to a new building behind Wunsche Bros. Cafe & Saloon. Originally located at 202 Main St., Ste. A, Spring, the shop employs expert repair techni- cians and a master clockmaker and oers a variety of repair services for clocks ranging from cuckoo clocks to grand- father clocks, as well as antique resto- rations and house calls. 281-528-5400. www.mooretime.net

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SPRING  KLEIN EDITION • AUGUST 2020

In Higher Education Bridging the Digital Divide

Lone Star College is providing laptops to make sure our students have the tools they need to succeed.

LoneStar.edu/Laptops

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES

COMPILED BY NICHOLAS CICALE & ADRIANA REZAL

Timeline: April 20-August Cost: $2.6 million Funding source: TxDOT 2 Riley Fuzzel Road expansion

Texas driver license offices reopen for in-person renewal, replacement services The Texas Department of Public Safety has expanded its in-person services to offer more appointments at offices across Texas. According to a news release by the department, driver license offices were closed in March due to corona- virus safety restrictions. In May, the DPS reopened offices for appoint- ments, including first-time Texas licenses, commercial driver licenses and learner licenses. The second phase of reopening an- nounced July 7 expanded those services to include in-person appointments for driver license renewal and replacement. According to the department, about 700,000 Texans have had a driver license expire during the closures. Those with licenses that expired on or after March 13 have been granted extensions; those expired licenses are still valid and will be until up to 60 days after the state lifts the extension, according to the news release.

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RILEY FUZZEL RD.

A project to expand Riley Fuzzel Road to five lanes with improved drainage be- tween Elm Street and the Hardy Toll Road is under construction and expected to be complete by March 2021. The project will also realign the road at West Hardy Street to incorporate a four-way intersection and close the railroad crossing at Caroline Street to accommodate a new railroad crossing north of Riley Fuzzel Road. Timeline: April 13-March 2021 Cost: $5.02 million Funding source: Harris County Precinct 4 3 Cypress Station Drive, Hollow Tree Lane intersection A new traffic signal at Cypress Station Drive and Hollow Tree Lane is still on hold, pending the resolution of utility conflicts. The project was initiated in November, and according to Pamela Rocchi, the director of Harris County Precinct 4’s Capital Improvement Projects Division, 30 construction days remain for the project’s completion following the resolution. Timeline: Nov. 12, 2019-TBD Cost: $261,343 Funding sources: Harris County Precinct 4 (20%), TxDOT (80%)

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ONGOING PROJECTS 1 Hwy. 249 ramp reversal A project to ease traffic congestion along Hwy. 249 by reversing northbound entrance and exit ramps between Jones and Spring Cypress roads will take longer than originally anticipated as a result of

inclement weather, said Danny Perez, public information officer for the Texas Department of Transportation. The project was expected to be complete in mid-July; however, Perez said ramps are now set to reopen in August. Remaining actions include guardrail installation, new signage and removal of the temporary concrete barriers.

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF JULY 22. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT SKLNEWS@COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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Please contact tenants directly for operating hours.

Ambriza Social Mexican Kitchen 281.205.1240 www.ambriza.com

Bellagreen 281.305.3650 www.bellagreen.com

The Halal Guys 832.717.9797 www.thehalalguys.com

Mod Pizza 281.826.5001 www.modpizza.com

Nothing Bundt Cakes 281.257.5558 www.nothingbundtcakes.com

Tonkotsu Ramen Shop 281.789.0803 www.ramentonkotsu.com

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Torchy’s Tacos 281.803.5300 www.torchystacos.com

U’Maki Sushi Burrito 281.272.6978 www.u-maki.com

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SPRING - KLEIN EDITION • AUGUST 2020

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WORTHWHILE CONVERSATIONS APPEARANCES CAN BE DECEIVING…

UNDER THE FIDUCIARY STANDARD , DOES PAYING A FEE FOR FINANCIAL ADVICE ASSURE AN ADVISOR IS ACTING IN YOUR BEST INTEREST? People assume that, of course. But, just because a financial advisor is associated with a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) firm does not mean all advice will be fully subject to the fiduciary standard. The majority of financial advisors working under an RIA firm also affiliate with a broker-dealer and routinely “switch hats” from advisor to broker when working with clients. This switch may be unapparent, but it means the legal standard for advice has been lowered. WASN’T THE LAW RECENTLY CHANGED SO THAT BROKERS ARE UNDER A FIDUCIARY STANDARD? You are referring to the new Regulation BI (“Best Interest”) that does indeed apply to brokers. It IS a step up from the old “Suitability” standard, but it stops short of applying a fiduciary standard to brokers on all of their activities for clients. So, this means the client must understand when their broker is offering investment advisory services (and acting as a full fiduciary) versus when they are functioning in a product-selling mode (and under the new, but lower, BI standard).

THAT SOUNDS A BIT CONFUSING TO SORT OUT… It can be confusing. Firms are now required to provide a simple disclosure to you called a “Client Relationship Summary”. In plain language and just a few pages, this must answer key questions about fees and potential conflicts of interest. IS THERE A SIMPLE WAY CLIENTS CAN ENSURE THEY ARE ALWAYS UNDER THE FIDUCIARY UMBRELLA? Ask your advisor to answer one question, in writing: “Will 100% of the recommendations you make to me in all of our business interaction be subject to the fiduciary legal standard?” Imagine how a “Yes” response can eliminate a myriad of concerns in the client-advisor relationship. This is the model we follow at Linscomb & Williams. Now in our 49th year of business, our experienced team is ready right now to meet and renew your confidence in a truly client-centered wealth management relationship, either virtually, or in person, from any of our locations. For more information, or a copy of our Form ADV, Part II, with all of our disclosures, call Grant Williams at 713 840 1000, or visit www.linscomb-williams.com.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

PUBLIC SAFETY ESDNo. 11 narrowsoptions shouldCCEMSagreement end

BY ADRIANA REZAL

After a series of interviews, Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 commissioners have selected emergency medical service providers Harris County Emergency Corps, Allegiance Mobile Health and Falck USA as nalists to be considered should the district’s service agree- ment with its current provider, private company Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services, end. “Now that we’ve narrowed it down to three, we’re going to start having very in-depth conversations with these three [providers],” said Kevin Brost, ESD No. 11 assistant treasurer and commissioner. Since releasing a Request for Qual- ications, or RFQ, in late March, dis- trict commissioners have received submissions from nine other private emergency service providers. In early July, they conducted a series of interviews held in several special public meetings. “It’s basically just a giant informa- tion-gathering process to see what’s available,” Brost said. “If [CCEMS] didn’t respond to the RFQ, they’re not being considered under the RFQ guidelines that we’ve set out.” As previously reported by Com- munity Impact Newspaper , current emergency service provider Cypress Creek EMS did not submit a submis- sion for qualications. “While serving our community so eectively for so long, we have gained proprietary information that we did not want to make public to competitors in an open RFQ process,” CCEMS President-elect Enrique Lima said in an email. “We ... are working with ESD [No.] 11 to submit our pro- posal in a way that will not jeopardize the intellectual property we have developed that makes us so uniquely ecient and eective for the people we serve.” According to the request, the district is seeking providers who can provide 24/7 emergency response coverage for the area’s 17 ZIP codes in Cypress, Tomball, Spring and Humble—an approximate 177-square- mile coverage area in North Harris County. The district is also requiring at least 90% of providers’ emergency response times to be within 10 minutes, among other stipulations.

Emergency Services District No. 11

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POTENTIAL PROVIDERS Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 commissioners have selected three potential emergency medical service providers to serve the area should the service agreement with current provider Cypress Creek EMS come to an end. Harris County Emergency

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Corps currently serves 400,000 residents in a 76-square-mile service area in north Harris County.

SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY EMERGENCY SERVICES DISTRICT NO. 11COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Response times According to CCEMS Public

paramedics are worn out, and the length of time to respond to emer- gencies is incredibly high,” Brost said. The RFQ and emergency medical service provider interviews come as the two entities work to address discrepancies in CCEMS asset reports in relation to the district. As previously reported by Commu- nity Impact Newspaper , an estimated $1.5 million in asset titles was incor- rectly claimed by CCEMS for equip- ment, such as ambulance vehicles. In July, ESD No. 11 initiated an audit on completed in mid-September, as is a decision on the service agreement between the two entities, Brost said. “We are condent the audit will allow us to identify any and all ways to become even better at serving our community,” Lima said in an email. Should the current service agreement with CCEMS come to an end and a new emergency service provider is selected for the district, Brost said current CCEMS employees will have the opportunity to tran- sition to the new provider and all district-owned assets and equipment will be returned to ESD No. 11. CCEMS to clarify the issue. The audit is expected to be

713-224-3426 1403 Spring Cypress Rd Spring

Information Ocer Norm Uhl, 90% of emergency calls to CCEMS received responses within 10 minutes and 55 seconds. According to Uhl, CCEMS recently increased the number of emergency response vehicles on the street from 14 full-time ambulances to 17, with three on standby for peak times. Uhl said local re departments in the area often also respond to emergency calls. “Just because an ambulance might take 10 minutes to get there—in some cases, you might have a re truck there in ve or six minutes,” Uhl said. “We have put more ambulances on the street in recent weeks, so we antic- ipate our response times to improve.” Still, Brost said emergency response times need to improve in the district. “When [CCEMS does] get there, their eld sta provides fabulous emergency medicine, but between the amount of time it takes them to get to calls, and then, the amount of calls that their paramedics that are on duty have to make because of the shortage of ambulances that they’re providing in the district, the

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

ELECTIONS Harris County exploring voter registration, election alternatives

ELECTING TO CHANGE Harris County is exploring the creation of a new ocial in charge of elections, which would take eect Nov. 18, after the 2020 election cycle.

COUNTY CLERK

COUNTY TAX ASSESSOR-COLLECTOR

BY HANNAH ZEDAKER

of the county judge, county clerk, county tax-assessor collector, Repub- lican Party chair and Democratic Party chair would be created and tasked with the search for and appointment of an election administrator. The appointment would require three votes from that board, and the removal of that ocial would require four votes, Ellis added. Additionally, the system change would not go into eect until Nov. 18—two weeks after Election Day—to allow the election administrator to observe the county’s current election process. According to Ellis, all other urban counties in the state of Texas—with the exception of Harris and Travis counties—have already switched to the election administrator system. “There is probably merit to give this to someone other than someone who runs for election to run the elections,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Gar- cia said. “I think there is a lot of merit in creating some separation there.” However, the proposal was met with opposition from Precincts 3 and 4 Commissioners Steve Radack and Jack Cagle—as well as several residents who called into the virtual meeting to share their opinions. “Even though our tax-assessor collector and our county clerk do not share my party aliation, I believe [in] the principle of having people stand before the population,” Cagle said during the meeting. Radack said the change could become a “distraction” for the precinct chairs and election judges

The way elections are run and voters are registered in Harris County could look dierent following the 2020 elections, as Harris County Commissioners Court has begun exploring alternatives to the county’s current system. In a 3-2 vote July 14, the court authorized the county attorney, auditor and budget management department to study the implications of establishing an elections adminis- trator, with the caveat that there must be a public hearing with stakeholders on the proposal prior to the study’s return to court in 30 days. Under the existing system, the duty of running elections and registering voters is split between the Harris County clerk and tax-assessor collector, both of which are elected positions held by Chris Hollins and Ann Harris Bennett, respectively. Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis cited the county’s lagging voter engagement as a concern. “Harris County right now ranks ninth out of the 10 largest counties in Texas in the percentage of voter registration growth from November 2016 until March 2020,” he said. In hopes of improving the county’s level of voter participation and mak- ing the process of registering voters and running elections more ecient, Ellis said he favored an option under the Texas Election Code that allows the creation of an oce of an election administrator. According to Ellis, under this system, a board made up

JOB DUTIES • Issues marriage licenses • Records documents related to real property transactions • Handles assumed name certicates • Maintains index of all recorded documents, including birth, death certicates • Administers election polling locations and ballot counting

JOB DUTIES • Assesses property values and handles appraisal protest process • Collects taxes for jurisdictions with the county • Performs vehicle registrations and title transfers • Serves as the county voter registrar

FY 2020-21 budget: $26.14 million + $12.36 million elections budget

FY 2020-21 budget: $31.63 million

Current position held by Chris Hollins

Current position held by Ann Harris Bennett

ELECTIONS ADMINISTRATOR If approved by Commissioners Court, this position would run elections and register voters.

Serves as the county voter registrar

Administers election polling locations and ballot counting

Budget: to be determined

SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

throughout the November presiden- tial election. “The 2020 elections are here; we’re in the middle of them,” Radack said. “And I think it’s an awful bad message to send to people that ‘Hey, the people that you register to vote with could be changing; the people running the election in the county clerk’s oce could be changing,’ so I just highly recommend that y’all put this o.” However, Ellis and County Judge

Lina Hidalgo said the timing made sense, as the position of county clerk is up for grabs this November following the resignation of Diane Trautman eective May 31. Hollins was appointed by the Commissioners Court to serve as interim county clerk until the election. Upon the study’s return, the court will have to vote on the approval of the report and plan before proceed- ing with the process of creating an elections administrator oce.

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SPRING  KLEIN EDITION • AUGUST 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

DINING FEATURE MiMi J’s Kitchen Spring business oers home-cooked meals to go W hile many eateries in the Greater Houston area strug- gled to adjust to COVID-19 shutdowns, Jacque Guinn, the owner of MiMi J’s Kitchen in Spring, was

AWEEKEND TREAT MiMi J’s Kitchen began oering a shrimp boil meal every other Friday for customers during the coronavirus pandemic. “I cook the sauce for two [to] three hours, so it mellows out the garlic and it just renders such a beautiful avor with lemon and all these herbs,” Guinn said. “It’s a lot of work to do this shrimp boil inside of a small kitchen, so we’ll do it every other week ... until either the sales drop completely o or the season basically is over.”

BY ADRIANA REZAL

After retiring from a career in the oil and gas industry, Guinn said she decided to pursue her passion for cooking by starting her own business. According to Guinn, meals provided by MiMi J’s Kitchen are meant to feel like dinnertime at grandma’s house. “I want [the food] to feel as if you were cooking at home,” Guinn said. “It looks like it’s something that you would cook, or that your mom or your aunt or grandmother [cooked]. It [brings] you back to a happy place.” Guinn said she also prioritizes serv- ing the community, especially during the pandemic. In addition to oering hand sanitizer and locally made face masks, the grab-and-go boutique has also partnered with relief program Second Servings of Houston to oer meals to those in need. “That’s MiMi; that’s what a MiMi does. She takes care of all your needs,” she said. “As business owners ... we have to give back.”

trying out new recipes, supporting her local community and bringing families back to the dinner table. “The shutdown actually helped us in a sense because when my asso- ciates had to completely close their businesses and go back to the table to gure out all the stu they needed to do to be to-go only, we were already to-go only,” Guinn said. “Our thing was, ‘Now we need to get the word out that we exist.’” Located at Spring Cypress Road, the kitchen oers a weekly menu of rotating precooked meals for online order and in-store pickup. Meals available range from pan-seared chicken and pasta to beef ribs with herb mashed potatoes in addition to desserts such as cobblers and cakes.

COURTESY MIMI J’S KITCHEN

MiMi J’s Kitchen 9337 Spring Cypress Road, Ste. G, Spring 832-534-1104 www.mimijskitchen.com Hours: Tue.-Fri. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4:30-6:30 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., closed Sun.-Mon.

MiMi J’s Kitchen Gumbo contains seasoned shrimp, chicken and sausage.

249

ADRIANA REZALCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Jacque Guinn opened MiMi J’s Kitchen on Spring Cypress Road in October.

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SPRING  KLEIN EDITION • AUGUST 2020

3 years after Hurricane Harvey, home buyouts lag in Cypress Creekwatershed

A BANDAID

While 8,750 homes in the Cypress Creek watershed ooded during Hurricane Harvey, only 410 homes have been bought out in the watershed since 1985—or about one out of every 21 homes that ooded during Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

81 buyouts occurred in Ponderosa Forest.

23 buyouts occurred in Westador.

COMPLETED BUYOUTS

99 TOLL

Editor’s note: This article is the second in a series looking at ooding along Cypress Creek. Ponderosa Forest residents Lyn and Michael Jenkins were about to wrap up renovations in August 2017 to make their house one they could grow old together in—then came Hurricane Harvey. “We had bought this place to be our forever home,” Lyn Jenkins said. “So, we were in the process of doing aging- friendly remodels, … and we were almost to the point of completion. Then Harvey came, and we had to do it all over again.” The Jenkins’ home was one of more than 8,750 houses in the Cypress Creek water- shed that ooded during Harvey. And while the couple expressed interest in a home buyout following the ood, the Harris County Flood Con- trol District did not. “We never heard back from [the HCFCD], so our property wasn’t one they wanted at that time,” Jenkins said. Since Harvey, the HCFCD has bought out 106 homes in the watershed, accord- ing to HCFCD data. Home buyout funds were included in the HCFCD’s $2.5 billion bond Harris County voters approved in August 2018. It allocated $46.8 million in local money for buyouts in the Cypress Creek watershed to help secure another $140.5 million in federal grants. HCFCD Deputy Executive Director Matt Zeve said the district has recognized nine buyout areas of interest in the Cypress Creek watershed, meaning the district is try- ing to purchase those entire neighborhoods through vol- untary buyouts. “Sometimes buyouts are the best option as a ood BY SHAWN ARRAJJ, DANICA LLOYD & HANNAH ZEDAKER

reduction strategy … because there is no project that will reduce the risk [of ooding] for those particular areas because they are so low in the ood plain and oodway of Cypress Creek,” Zeve said during a Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce vir- tual luncheon July 16. However, for homeowners who do qualify for buyouts, the process can be lengthy and costly, while still not addressing Cypress Creek’s Since 1985, HCFCD has been buying out homes as a means of removing struc- tures from some of the coun- ty’s most ood-prone areas, where ood damage reduc- tion projects, such as water ow improvements or storm- water detention basins, are not options. According to HCFCD, 60% of Harris County was devel- oped prior to the implementa- tion of ood plain regulations in the 1980s. “Unfortunately, there are subdivisions that were devel- oped prior to the system of regulations that was devel- oped, and they were built in places where they really shouldn’t have been built,” said JimRobertson, amember of the Cypress Creek Flood Control Coalition board of chronic ooding. A lengthyprocess “ATWHATPOINTARE WE, THE COUNTY, BEINGNEGLECTFUL TOALLOWFOLKS TOLIVE INHARM’S WAY INCERTAIN SITUATIONS? IT’S AGRAYAREA.” JAMESWADE, HARRIS COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL DISTRICT MANAGER OF PROPERTY ACQUISITION SERVICES

150 buyouts have been completed in the Spring and Klein area since 1985.

45

KUYKENDAHL RD.

Westador

249

1960

84

260 home buyouts in Cy-Fair

Ponderosa Forest

Tropical Storm Allison hits in June

Hurricane Harvey hits Aug. 25

Hurricane Ike hits in September

47

N

Tax Day Flood on April 17-18; Memorial Day Flood on May 26-27

36

Annual home buyouts in watershed

Tropical Storm Frances hits in September

33

28 29

25

17

11

10

10

10

9

9

9

9

2 4 4 3 7

5

5

1

1 2

Annual homes flooded in watershed SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL DISTRICTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER 806 368 345 1,139 8 8

43

53

1,735

8,750

*AS OF JULY 16

directors. “Looking back, hindsight is 2020. … [Home buyouts] are clearly a correc- tion [to past mistakes].” Home buyouts can be com- pleted through three dier- ent programs. Community Block Development Grants are funded by the U.S. Depart- ment of Housing and Urban Development, while the Fed- eral Emergency Management Agency funds the Hazard Mit- igation Grant and Flood Miti- gation Assistance programs. James Wade, HCFCD’s manager of property acquisi- tion services, said the largest of the three is Hazard Miti- gation Grant funding, which becomes available follow- ing a presidentially declared disaster. In response to Har- vey, Wade said the HCFCD received $165 million in Haz- ard Mitigation Grant funding with a local match of $55 mil- lion for the entire county. “The overall goal [of home buyouts] is to own every prop- erty in that neighborhood

and then to remove the infra- structure, remove the streets, remove the streetlights and then turn it back into an open space,” Wade said. While the funding programs may vary, homeowners who go through HCFCD’s home buyout program follow the same basic process. After a property owner vol- unteers for a buyout, district ocials determine eligibility by considering factors, includ- ing the source of the proper- ty’s ooding, its location and depth within the ood plain, the cost eectiveness of the buyout as a solution, and the potential for future preser- vation or ood mitigation projects. Following Harvey, Wade said 4,000 homeowners countywide volunteered for home buyouts, and only 1,100 applications were approved. After eligiblepropertieshave been identied, it can take as long as 18 months for the dis- trict to secure funding. If the grant application is approved,

a real estate appraiser assesses the property’s preood market value and presents an oer to the homeowner. As of July 16, 410 homes have been bought out in the Cypress Creek watershed since 1985—150 of which are located in the Spring and Klein area, according to HCFCD data. Eighty-four homes were bought out in the watershed in 2019, making it the biggest buyout year thus far. Over- all, some of the most heavily targeted neighborhoods in the Spring and Klein area for buyouts have been Ponder- osa Forest with 81 homes and Upon not being eligible for the HCFCD home buyout pro- gram, the Jenkins decided to stay in Ponderosa For- est and rebuild their forever home—again. However, for Thomas and Dwan Reed—who lived in Wimbledon Champions until Westador with 23. Thewaitinggame

18

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