Cedar Park | Leander - May 2020

CEDAR PARK LEANDER EDITION

VOLUME 14, ISSUE 2  MAY 18JUNE 14, 2020

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Cedar Park, Leander communities rush to volunteer to help food distribution

INSIDE

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Volunteers from Reveal Resource Center, Hill Country Community Ministries and RockPointe Church work to distribute free food April 20 and 23. (Photos by Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)

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CEDAR PARK - LEANDER EDITION • MAY 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett PUBLISHERAUSTINMETRO Travis Baker GENERAL MANAGER Denise Seiler, dseiler@communityimpact.com EDITORIAL

FROMDENISE: As we navigate the waters of the “new normal,” businesses are slowly opening up their doors again. Even though some have been able to reopen there are still many things to take into consideration—one of them being how the community will feel about visiting each establishment. If you prefer, you can always call ahead to see what safety measures they are taking to abide by the rules of social distancing, but I want to encourage you to please help out our local businesses by shopping local as much as you can. Denise Seiler, GENERALMANAGER

EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Lanane MANAGING EDITOR Joe Warner ASSISTANTMANAGING EDITOR Amy Denney EDITOR Brian Perdue REPORTER Taylor Girtman COPY CHIEF Andy Comer COPY EDITORS Ben Dickerson, Kasey Salisbury STAFFWRITER Ali Linan ADVERTISING ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Haley Grace SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Kara Nordstrom STAFF DESIGNER Chance Flowers BUSINESS GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Claire Love ABOUT US John and Jennifer Garrett began Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 in Pugerville, Texas. The company’s mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. CONTACT US 16225 Impact Way, Ste. 1 Pugerville, TX 78660 • 5129896808 communityimpact.com PRESS RELEASES lcpnews@communityimpact.com SUBSCRIPTIONS communityimpact.com/subscriptions SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Beth Burton DESIGN CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan © 2020 Community Impact Newspaper Co. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction of any portion of this issue is allowed without written permission from the publisher.

IMPACTS

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Now Open, Coming Soon &more DEVELOPMENT

13 Major developments remain on schedule PEOPLE 15 Karen Thompson and Kathy Howell

FROMBRIAN: “Be the light.” John Garrett, Community Impact Newspaper ’s founder and CEO, has said that phrase a few times when speaking via videoconference to his employees working from home. In Cedar Park and Leander, where the loss of loved ones and jobs due to coronavirus has reached far too many households, it’s easy to let negativity take root. But, as this issue’s front-page story proves, Cedar Park and Leander residents are resilient. In the face of a record number of food- insecure families in our community, residents have rallied to volunteer and donate nancially to make sure we all get through this. Thank you for being the light. Brian Perdue, EDITOR

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Child abuse might be underreported CITY& COUNTY

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The latest local news REAL ESTATE Residential market data IMPACT DEALS

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CEDAR PARK  LEANDER EDITION • MAY 2020

IMPACTS

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

location will feature an open classroom space, laptops, hardware, software, Android phones, headphones, Chrome- books, iPads and more. 512-337-6624. www.thecodegalaxy.com RELOCATIONS 4 Radha School of Music will relocate from Leander to 2006 N. Lakeline Blvd., Cedar Park, this summer. Owner Radha Windham said building construction should be completed by the end of May, and the school is planning a grand open- ing in June. The school teaches music lessons in piano, voice, drums, guitar, percussion and more. The current address is 2701 S. Hwy. 183, Ste. C, Leander, but lessons have been taught remotely since March 17. 512-966-8203. 5 Trybe Yoga Studio and School in Le- ander celebrated its five-year anniversary May 5. The yoga studio teaches classes for all levels, and all classes are currently streamed via Zoom. The studio expanded in January with a gym area and is located at 1904 S. Bagdad Road, Stes. 3-4, Lean- der. 512-710-5284. www.trybeyoga.com 6 On May 27, Levant Café & Grill will celebrate its first anniversary. The Med- iterranean restaurant’s popular dishes includes mixed makaly, Levant shawarma, the Lebanese Happy Chickpea Salad and Levant rice. The restaurant is located at 1320 Cypress Creek Road, Ste. 105, Cedar Park. 737-205-6991. http://levantgrille.com www.radhaschoolofmusic.co ANNIVERSARIES 7 Hill Country Community Ministries Thrift Store will reach its one-year anni- versary June 1. The thrift store supports Hill Country Community Ministries, a local food pantry and resource center that serves parts of Williamson and Travis counties. The store reopened May 1 and is located at 1501 Leander Drive, Bldg. C, Unit 3, Leander. 512-334-6464. www.hccm.org NAME CHANGE 8 Wok Express will change its name to Cocky Teriyaki with the same owner. The restaurant will open soon at 200 But-

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LEANDER

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183A TOLL

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1431

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1431

BRUSHY CREEK LAKE

ANDERSON MILL RD.

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CEDAR PARK

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MAP NOT TO SCALE N TM; © 2020 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

NOWOPEN 1 Nashville hot chicken restaurant, Tumble 22 Hot Chicken , opened April 22 at 4501 Toll 183A in Cedar Park. The restaurant is serving food through online orders and drive-thru service, according to its Facebook page. The restaurant is open daily from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tumble 22’s menu includes chicken tenders, sandwiches, bone-in chicken, drinks and desserts. Its chicken is served with five spice levels from Wimpy to Dang Hot. The Cedar Park location is Tumble 22’s

second storefront in the Austin area. Its original area location is at 7211 Burnet Road, Austin. www.tumble22.com 2 New Hope Realty Group became its own firm Jan. 26 after splitting from Magnolia Realty, according to co-owner Renee Jordan. The realty office is at 203 W. New Hope Drive, Cedar Park. Accord- ing to Jordan, the concierge real estate firm agents “are experts in working with seniors, first-time home buyers, reloca- tion from outside of Texas, lake prop- erties, new construction, flips/design/ remodeling, investors and 1031 exchange

clients, veterans and Spanish-speaking clients.” 512-817-4093. www.newhoperealtygroup.com DELAYEDOPENINGS 3 Code Galaxy , an Austin-based com- pany that teaches computer coding to children, has delayed its Cedar Park loca- tion opening from March to late August. The coding center, at 202 N. Walton Way, Ste. 184, Cedar Park, will mark the third storefront for Code Galaxy, which also has centers in Austin and Westlake. The

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY TAYLOR GIRTMAN

tercup Creek Blvd., Ste. 117, Cedar Park. The new restaurant’s menu will include teriyaki chicken, egg fried rice and yakiso- ba noodles with chicken. 512-258-8583. http://cocky-teriyaki.com NEWOWNERSHIP 9 Chilaquiles Factory , previous- ly known as Los Chilaquiles Bar and Mexican Grill, reopened April 18 under new ownership. The Mexican restaurant shares the same menu, offering Mexican plates, fajitas, burgers and other dishes. New owner Olga Bradley said the menu will also include vegan items. Takeout orders can be ordered online or through GrubHub and Uber Eats. The restaurant is located at 200 Buttercup Creek Blvd., Ste. 130, Cedar Park. 737-212-0402. https://chilaquilesfactory.com CLOSINGS 10 Hero Way Strength and Condition- ing in Leander is permanently closing. The business will continue to operate its Facebook page as well as make and sell shirts honoring fallen veterans and other causes, according to a Facebook post. 11 The Five Guys restaurant at 1500 E. Whitestone Blvd., Cedar Park, has perma- nently closed, according to the location’s Facebook page. There are five other Central Texas locations in Austin, Round Rock, Pflugerville and Kyle.

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Radha School of Music

Humble Pint Brewing Co. serves beer and food for pickup.

COURTESY RADHA SCHOOL OF MUSIC

TAYLOR GIRTMAN/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

FEATURED IMPACT NOWOPEN Humble Pint Brewing Co. , a family- owned craft brewery, opened April 22 and sells beer, food and merchandise through online orders. Available beers include Yard’s Done Blonde, Funbird Hefeweizen, Hillsdale Pale and Benny Brown Ale. Beer is available as two-packs, four-packs and 64-ounce growlers. Customers can bring their cleaned growlers to ll. Beer and merchandise can be ordered after noon for pickup after 4 p.m. Pizza and salads can be ordered by phone from 4-8 p.m.

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Owners Alicia and Jared Wennstrom said the brewery will have a taproom and a covered patio with live music once fully opened at 11880 Hero Way W., Ste. 208, Leander. 512-337-5007. https://humblepint.com

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

ECONOMY 102CedarPark,Leander businesses aided by cities’ grant programs

BY TAYLOR GIRTMAN

With two city-funded grant programs, 102 small businesses in Cedar Park and Leander received aid during the coronavirus economic slowdown. At Patchouli Joe’s Books and Indulgences in Leander, owners Joe and Diane Mayes have kept their business aoat with curbside orders of books and puzzles. The Leander independent bookstore was one of 39 small businesses to receive grants in the rst two rounds of Leander’s program to aid local businesses. The bookstore opened in August, and the $2,500 grant came at a dire time, the owners said. “We were at the point where we felt like we were getting ready to turn the corner and be sustain- able,” Joe Mayes said. “Spring break was going to be the big kicko of that, and that’s when we shut down.” The city grant goes right to payroll and rent to keep doors open, Joe Mayes said. The sta has been instrumental in keeping the business running, the owners said. “It’s just been a lot of pivoting and being willing to adapt and just keep ghting,” Joe Mayes said. “We’ll nd a way.” In Leander, 39 businesses were awarded grants in the rst two rounds of the city’s COVID-19 Emergency Grant Program. Approved businesses ranged from restaurants to barber shops to day care centers and received $2,500 or $5,000, depending on their number of full-time workers. The $208,000 Leander program aids approved businesses with payments for payroll, leases, mort- gages, utilities, and critical business equipment or supplies. Bridget Brandt, the Leander Chamber of Com- merce president, said the city’s grants give busi- nesses a patch to keep open, even though it may not seem like a lot of money for some businesses. The $2,000 or $5,000 grants can pay employees

Patchouli Joe's Books and Indulgences was one of 39 Leander businesses to receive city grants in the rst two approval rounds. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)

CEDAR PARK, LEANDER

for a longer time or can pay one month of rent, which is one less thing for business owners to worry about, Brandt said. “It does a lot for them,” she said. “It takes a lot of stress o for them.” In Cedar Park, $200,000 went to 63 small busi- nesses. The $200,000 program originally included grants and loans, but the program committee chose to award smaller grants to help more businesses across the city. Businesses included doctor’s oces, hotels, restaurants and shops. Out of 72 applications, 63 small businesses were awarded grants. The program was a partnership between the city and the Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce. “We were able to help dozens of businesses,” said Tony Moline, the chamber president, at the April 23 council meeting, “and I can tell you—from the overwhelming response from those who have received it, it has truly helped them.” Grit and Grace Boutique in Cedar Park has relied on online sales and home delivery. Owners Amanda Madden and Shauna Cotton said usually about 90% of sales are brick-and-mortar. The boutique received a $5,000 grant from the Cedar Park small-business grant program, and the grant is invaluable to them as doors cannot be open. Madden said the city and chamber’s speed of response spoke to how they value small businesses, especially in a catastrophe. “For us, personally, there was no other hope coming at the time,” Madden said. The two small-business owners cannot wait to see

BUSINESS GRANT PROGRAMS

Here’s more information about the two small-business programs. CEDAR PARK

• Small Business Assistance Program • 63 small businesses helped • $200,000 from the Economic Development Corp. (Type 4A Board) • $1,000, $3,073 or $5,000 grants

LEANDER

• COVID-19 Emergency Business Grant Program • 39 small businesses helped • $208,000 from the Old Town Incentive Grant Program • $2,500 or $5,000 grants

SOURCES: CITY OF CEDAR PARK, CITY OF LEANDER COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

their customers’ faces again. They said their bou- tique is more than a business; it’s about the people. “We’re very optimistic,” Madden said. “Good days are ahead.” As of May 11, the Cedar Park program has exhausted all funds, and $68,000 remains for Leander grants.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

DEVELOPMENT Major developments remain on schedule in Cedar Park, Leander The Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Project in Cedar Park and Northline in Leander are two major developments that are still on track despite social distancing regulations related to coronavirus. According to the Northline developer and city of Cedar Park, there have been no economic or timeline impacts on the projects. BellBoulevard The Bell Boulevard Redevelopment

BY TAYLOR GIRTMAN

Northline The $715 million Northline project in Leander is “on schedule andmaking tremendous progress,” according to the project’s developer, Alex Tynberg. Tynberg said the project has not lost a step since its March 4 ground- breaking. Utility and drainage work is underway at the site. “There’s been very little impact that coronavirus has had at Northline,” he said. “And I think one of the real benets of this large project that we’re doing is the fact that it does have a longer timeline.” He said when the project begins the vertical phase of construction, the teamhopes coronavirus issues will be behind them. The mixed-use project spans 115 acres, and Tynberg said there are fewer issues with workers maintaining social distancing per county orders because of the large space.

Project, an estimated $350million proj- ect in Cedar Park, remains on schedule with its precursory road realignment project, according to the city. Road realignment construction began with utility relocation in January. The realignment project is scheduled to begin in summer and nish by fall 2020, according to city spokesperson Jennie Huerta. The project relocates part of Bell between Buttercup Creek Boulevard and Cedar Park Drive to the alignment of Old US 183. The Bell Boulevard Redevelopment project will transform a section of southern Bell into a 50-acre mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. The mixed-use district will include residential, commercial and civic areas. A new library and about 16 acres of dedicated parkland are planned.

The project will include residential, commercial and civic areas. (Courtesy city of Cedar Park)

Northline will feature shopping, dining, housing and a town center. (Rendering courtesy city of Leander)

BELL BOULEVARD NUMBERS

NORTHLINE NUMBERS

A rendering is depicted. (Courtesy city of Cedar Park)

NorthlinebrokegroundMarch4. (Taylor Girtman/Community ImpactNewspaper)

$350million

$715million 115 acres

50 acres

Construction start: est. 2021

SOURCES: CITY OF LEANDER, TYNBERG LLC COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER Construction started: March 2020

SOURCES: CITY OF CEDAR PARK, REDLEAF PROPERTIES COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

BELL DISTRICT

NORTHLINE

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Northline constructioncontinued inApril. (CourtesyDeNucci Constructors LLC)

Theproject relocatedutilities. (BrianPerdue/ Community ImpactNewspaper)

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BUTTERCUP CREEK BLVD.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

PEOPLE Karen Thompson andKathyHowell

BY TAYLOR GIRTMAN

“THISWAS NOT JUST SOME LITTLE PODUNK TOWN. IT HAD EVERYTHING FOR THESE PEOPLE.” KAREN THOMPSON, LEANDER HISTORIAN

Local historians and mother-daughter duo work together to publish a book about Leander’s past

L eander is home for Karen Thompson and Kathy Howell. They have studied local histories for decades, but it has taken 40 years for them to publish their town’s history. “I just kept gathering. I couldn’t stop,” Thompson said. “Historical Leander, Texas” came out in February, and pictures were collected right up to when the book was printed, Thompson said. There was no end to the photos and materials that people brought to the mother-daughter duo, such as families’ military photos brought to Sunday morning church. In fact, somuchmaterial was assembled that Thompson and Howell are already working on a sequel, they said. The second book will begin in 1960, where the rst book ends, and it will have an expandedmilitary and cemetery section. “There’s still so much that we didn’t put in here,” Thompson said. Their rst Leander book includes chapters on pioneer beginnings, the railroad, education and community life from 1835-1960. As multi-generational Texans, Howell and Thompson have pub- lished two more history books together. Thompson has written four other historical books by herself about Round Rock, Williamson County and the Republic of Texas. “It just speaks to me about who the people of Texas are, and, in this case, Leander,” Thompson said. “This was not just some little podunk town. It had everything for these people.” For Howell, history explains the “why” of many modern questions, such as why the streets are named how they are and why they are placed there. Howell works as an engineer, so she said it is important for her to know about a building as well as how people use the building. “For me, it answers questions, and it lets me know how things came there now,” Howell said. Photos of children building

mattresses, horses wearing license plates and groups of hunters give proof and visualization to Leander’s history and are favorites of the authors. Thompson saidmany people expected dark history stories from the book, but she said there are no “warts” to Leander’s history—no small-town civil wars or scandalous aairs. “I never found any,” she said. “There’s not any [evidence] that so-and-so was that ax murderer down the street.’” But family names are all around Leander, such as the Davis, Mason and Heinatz families, which are documented in a chapter. Howell and Thompson can tell you about John Henry Dillard; all the Judge Walkers; the town doctor, who served Leander for 40 years; and numerous other Leander locals. Talking to Leander residents about their family histories can be inspiring and useful for the books, according to Howell and Thompson, but more often, they said, people call them wanting to know more about their town. “If they’re older than me, I’ve already talked to them. If they’re younger than me, they probably haven’t paid attention and don’t have anything to say,” Thompson said. Land maps are some of Thomp- son’s most treasured pieces of work. She said she spends endless hours studying in the General Land Oce at the Williamson County Courthouse. She has visited the courthouse and studied land history since graduating high school. “Oh, they all know me very well,” she said. Thompson and Howell currently run the Mason Heritage Foundation, which preserves local historical sites. Proceeds from the release of the book will go directly to their charity. The book is available for purchase at Patchouli Joe’s Books & Indul- gences, located at 106 W. Willis St., Ste. B, Leander.

Kathy Howell (left) wrote a book with her mother, Karen Thompson. (Courtesy Kathy Howell)

LEANDER HISTORY ROAD TRIP

military and commercial road in Central Texas, and is under renovation. HEINATZ HOMESTEAD: This is the oldest house in Leander. The homestead was built in 1850 by Frederick Heinatz, who was a German settler. Also built were a store and a post oce, which is now the Bagdad Senior Center. JAMES WESLEY BRANCH HOUSE: The house was the home of farmer James Wesley Branch. It was built in about 1880 and was thought to be a Sears & Roebuck kit house until research found no marks under the house. Drive by these ve historical homes and see where notable families from Leander’s past resided.

DAVIS HOUSE: Originally the home of Wiley and Frances Davis, the house is now Leander city property in Old Town Leander. There are three Davis houses in Leander, and the other two are on West Drive and Bagdad Street. C.C. MASON RANCH: Today’s Mason Homestead was originally the C.C. Mason Ranch. Christine Mason donated the house and 10 acres to build the Leander Library, which opened in 2006. A.S. MASON HOUSE: Alpheus S. Mason built the house in about 1866. The house is built on Bagdad Road, an important early

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16

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

BUSINESS INNOVATION

Local business owners adapt to coronavirus restrictions

BY TAYLOR GIRTMAN

A fter schools turned to remote learning in March, Learning Cycle Tutors dropped to 10% of its regular clients, said owner Kathy Pieper. The private tutoring service tutors in a variety of school subjects and provides test prep for students in Cedar Park, Leander, Round Rock and North Austin. Pieper said she has taught virtually before, but it does not replace one-on- one tutoring in person. “You can actually see themwriting and see their facial expressions,” she said. “But it’s not a bad substitute either. It works.” Some technologies allow the stu- dent and tutor to share screens back and forth or write on the screen. L eander resident Key Palmer and his wife, Renee, bought Coyote Moon Coee in 2016, and they usually set up coee stands with pastries in oce parks or at weekend farmers markets. Following oce closures, the coee company ramped up its home delivery and online orders for coee bags and pods. Delivery, always available in Georgetown, has now expanded to Cedar Park, Leander, Liberty Hill, Pugerville and Round Rock. Palmer said he hopes to continue home delivery and dreams of starting a neighborhood delivery system. LearningCycleTutors CoyoteMoon Coee

W ith customers wanting to avoid grocery stores asmuch as possible, Isle Acre Farms is providing an alternateway to get fresh, organic vegetables to bring home. The Leander farmhas started selling curbside produce to go. Customers can order pre- made bags of “farmers choice” seasonal produce to be picked up onMondays. “You can’t just stock up on it, like toilet paper,” said Becky Tamez, who owns the farmwith her husband, Pete. She said they miss customers and sharing vegetables and recipes with them. Isle Acre Farms

Gov. Greg Abbott announced April 17 that schools will be closed for the rest of the school year. The switch to virtual learning and tutoring has been hard on educators and students, especially elementary students who are dependent on teachers, Pieper said.

MANY HAVE EXPRESSED MISSING BEING IN SCHOOL AND MISSING HAVING THEIR TEACHERS. KATHY PIEPER, OWNER OF LEARNING CYCLE TUTORS

Pete and Becky Tamez started their farm in 2012. (Courtesy Isle Acre Farms)

IsleAcre Farms 512-763-5293 www.isleacrefarms.com

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What’s in season? romaine collards spinach chard kale broccoli onions radishes carrots

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K aren Bates-Biehle opened her Cedar Park-based cleaning business in 2001, and she says she is lucky to have kept her original clients for nearly 19 years. Bates Cleaning Service & Remodel has seen a major change in the past month, however. Bates-Biehle said she lost about 50% of residential and commercial clients. Her employees have adjusted their procedures to keep clients’ homes safe. “We are very careful tomake sure they are safe,” she said. “I know this is a hard time and a fearful time for a lot of people.” Employees’ temperatures are taken between homes, and clients are now required to either leave the home or stay in one roomwhile their home is cleaned.

COVID-19 home cleaning This is what Bates-Biehle recommends people do to keep clean at home. • Keep hand sanitizer on hand • Spray alcohol or Lysol on touchable surfaces, such as keyboards, light switches, phones and handles • Deep-clean walls, windows, doors, blinds and more with disinfectant SOURCE: BATES CLEANING SERVICE & REMODEL COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Key Palmer roasts coee beans locally. (Courtesy Coyote Moon Coee)

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CEDAR PARK  LEANDER EDITION • MAY 2020

EDUCATION BRIEFS

News from Leander ISD

Leander ISDmoves 2020HS graduations to July, oers three dierent scenarios

District sta proposes changes to school start times to increase instructional time

BY BRIAN PERDUE

BY BRIAN PERDUE

another. Vandegrift and Vista Ridge high schools are two examples, district ocials have said. The new schedule would also help alleviate LISD’s ongoing bus driver shortage by allowing most drivers to manage three routes instead of two.

SCENARIO 1: traditional ceremony, full audience, live stream SCENARIO 2: limited seating with full ceremony, provide all elements of ceremony, smaller number of tickets and guests, audience seated using social distancing guidelines, live stream SCENARIO 3: no audience, in-person experience for seniors recorded for full virtual experience, shortened ceremony with prerecorded speeches, parents may watch their senior receive diploma, a video on the ceremony will be produced after the commencement SOURCE: LEANDER ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER COMMENCEMENT SCHEDULE JULY 9 9 a.m.-noon: Cedar Park High School 1-4 p.m.: Vandegrift HS JULY 10 9 a.m.-noon: Leander HS 1-4 p.m.: Rouse HS JULY 11 9 a.m.-noon: Vista Ridge HS 1-4 p.m.: Glenn HS

LEANDER ISD Due to coronavirus concerns, Leander ISD’s class of 2020 graduations have been rescheduled to July 9-11 in the HEB Center at Cedar Park, the district announced May 1. The district will use one of three scenarios that are based on the status of the coronavirus pandemic as graduation time nears. The 2020 commencements had originally been scheduled for May 28 and 30. New Hope High School will hold a virtual graduation, but graduates will walk with their high school in July. Which scenario LISD uses for the commencements will be announced by June 19, according to the release. LISD CLASS OF 2020 GRADUATION SCENARIOS The district has proposed three scenarios—from full seating to partial seating to no audience.

LEANDER ISD The district has released a new proposed bell sched- ule that trustees plan to discuss— and possibly vote on—in May. If approved, LISD ocials say the new schedule would add instruc- tional time at each tier of education: 10 minutes at elementary schools, ve minutes at middle schools and 15 minutes at high schools. LISD ocials say the main rea- sons for the changes are to better position the district to meet state time requirements for instruction as well as academic expectations in several grades and disciplines. The new schedule, ocials say, would also help to reduce morning trac congestion around certain schools. High and middle schools currently begin within a 15-minute span from 8:40-8:55 a.m., creating trac jams around schools that are either adjacent or near one

LEANDER ISD REVISES PROPOSED BELL SCHEDULE CHANGES

LISD trustees planned to discuss the proposed changes at the May 14 agenda review meeting, which was after press time. They will most likely vote on the new schedule at the May 21 meeting.

CURRENT SCHEDULE 7:45 A.M. 2:50 P.M.

JANUARY PROPOSAL 7:40 A.M. 3 P.M.

NEW PROPOSAL 7:40 A.M. 2:55 P.M.

Elementary

8:10 A.M. 3:25 P.M.

8 A.M. 3:40 P.M.

8:55 A.M. 4:05 P.M.

Middle

8:40 A.M. 4 P.M.

9 A.M. 4:20 P.M.

8:40 A.M. 3:45 P.M.

High

SOURCE: LEANDER ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Levant specializes in easternMediterranean cuisine. (PhotosbyBrianPerdue/Community ImpactNewspaper)

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DINING Levant Café&Grill

BY BRIAN PERDUE

Cedar Park eatery oers an array of eastern Mediterranean food for dine-in and takeout B efore nourishing the body, Levant Café & Grill oers a feast for the eyes. The eastern Mediterranean

Mike and Rana Boselah are pictured inside their Cedar Park restaurant. Mike moved from Israel to the U.S. in 1982 when he was 18. In 2000, he met Rana during a trip to Syria.

erroneously lump eastern Mediter- ranean cuisine with Greek or even Italian food, Mike said. There is a dierence, he said. “A lot of the [dish] names are the same in the Middle East and Greece,” Mike added, “but the avors and spices can be very dierent.” Mike said the business enjoyed a prosperous rst year—until corona- virus concerns shuttered Levant in mid-March. The business reopened April 6 and oers carryout and limited dine-in seating seven days a week. For those new to eastern Mediter- ranean food, the Boselahs say they will gladly explain the main courses and which side dishes best comple- ment an entree. The menu also has a variety of vegetarian and gluten-free options, Rana added.

Levant Café&Grill 1320 Cypress Creek Road, Ste. 105, Cedar Park 737-205-6991 www.levantgrille.com Mon.-Sun. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. The Levant region was named by the French and references the Franco word “lever,” which means to get up or to rise, as in the sunrise. SOURCE: U.S. STATE DEPARTMENTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER WHAT’S INANAME? Levant Cafe & Grill is named after the Levant region, the former name of a west Asian area that roughly includes Syria, Cyprus, Jordan, Israel, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and southeastern Turkey. Broader denitions also include parts of northeast Africa and other Mediterranean islands.

restaurant displays entrees and sides behind glass, allowing customers to pick and choose what to add to their plate by an employee. Owners Mike and Rana Boselah knew there would be a learning curve to those unfamiliar with cuisine from the Levant region, the former name of a region in west Asia where they were both born. Levant opened May 27, 2019. The couple owned Hurricane Grill & Wings in Round Rock, but Mike said they decided to open Levant because there was a lack of authentic eastern Mediterranean restaurants in the Austin area. Oftentimes, restaurateurs would

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

PUBLIC SAFETY

From Oct. 1, 2018, to Sept. 30, 2019, two-thirds—or 67.3%—of all reports of alleged child abuse or neglect were made by professionals, according to Children’s Bureau data. REPORTS? WHO TYPICALLY

Drops in reporting According to the CACs of Texas, the number of statewide intake reports have dropped from an average of

STATEWIDE INTAKE

1,500-1,600 REPORTS

1,500-1,600 in March to less than 1,000, citing coronavirus as the driving factor. Green said children not attending school or day care,

Average daily number of calls normally received in the month of March

18.7% legal and law enforcement personnel

Children’s advocacy centers across Texas are seeing a reduction in the

20.5% education personnel

REPORTS < 1,000

number of statewide intake reports they receive at this time of the year.

1% care providers

Average daily number of calls received this March

going to doctor appointments or participating in after-school

SOURCES: TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY AND PROTECTIVE SERVICES, WILLIAMSON COUNTY CHILDREN’S ADVOCACY CENTER/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

5.9% mental health personnel

16.6% friends, neighbors and relatives

Experts fear rise in child abuse issues due to coronavirus stress

programs has impacted the number of reports,

10.5% medical personnel

16.1% anonymous and unknown reporters as these outside adults drive more than two-thirds of child abuse reports. “Reporting is going down, but we know [abuse] is still happening,” Green said. For Williamson County, the number of reports dropped from 407 in March 2019 to 364 in March 2020— or by 10.57%. However, the center still interviewed about the same number of victims year over year, conducting 68 in March 2019 and 65 in March 2020. WCCAC Director of Community Engagement Tiffany Sturman said this drop is because of the virus. The center saw a higher number of reports in early March 2020 versus March 2019, but because there has been a reduction in reporting in mid- to late March, the number of interviews conducted also dropped, she said. Sturman said if the pandemic did not occur, the center was on track to conduct many more interviews in March 2020 than in March 2019. She added while the numbers are down in March, she fears the number of reports will be even lower in April when children are home for an entire month. In March, Leander, Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto ISDs announced extended school closures until at least May 4, to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. On April 17, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced schools will remain closed for the rest of the semester. “I anticipate the next two weeks will start to show the more drastic trend,” Sturman said to Community Impact Newspaper.

SOURCE: CHILDREN’S BUREAU/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

10.7% social services staff

BY ALI LINAN

abused before their 18th birthday. With 7.4 million children residing in Texas, this would equal 740,000 child victims of abuse—without a global pandemic changing life in every aspect. Stannell said she fears the impacts from the coronavirus pandemic will increase stressors that could lead to more child abuse: Families are bound inside together all day. Parents are now teachers as well as providers and caregivers, often with few or no breaks. Some may have even lost financial stability, whether through a job or loss in investments. Stannell said she fears these factors will play a role in more child abuse occurring. But her biggest concern is for children stuck at home with their abusers, as 90% of child abuse victims know their abusers. “Physical abuse, we will really see amp up in times of extreme stress and pressure,” Stannell said. “[But] we’re really nervous about the kids that are suffering from sexual abuse. They’re home with their abusers, and they’re stuck in one place, so they can’t tell anyone, and they can’t get away from that situation.” Christina Green, chief advancement officer of the CACs of Texas, said in the state of Texas 60%-70% of child abuse is sexual, followed by severe physical abuse. She reiterated Stannell’s fears. “A lot of times we think about stranger danger, and that is someone outside the home,” Green said. “But a lot of times—actually the majority of the time—the child knows who the alleged perpetrator is, and it is oftentimes a family member or someone in the home.”

Teachers are the No. 1 reporters of child abuse in America, but with kids not in school due to the coronavirus pandemic, experts on the ground are seeing fewer cases reported but understand it does not mean less abuse is happening. In fact, they fear the opposite. Kerrie Stannell, Williamson County Children’s Advocacy Center CEO, said while the center usually receives an average of 20-30 reports of child abuse in the county a day, it is now receiving an average of eight to 10. The center provides assistance to children who have experienced physical or sexual abuse. As a nonprofit, the center works with law enforcement, child protective minimize trauma for survivors of abuse while other agencies conduct criminal investigations. Child abuse has always been an issue, Stannell said, and with children away from their No. 1 reporter of abuse, she knows abuse is still happening, just not being reported. But most of all, she fears in the current climate it could get worse. “The problem before [the coronavirus pandemic] was big,” Stannell said. “So I hope we don’t see this amplified to any degree.” The Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas represents 71 CACs in the state serving 210 of the 254 counties in Texas. According to statistics by the organization, 175 Texas children are the victims of abuse every day. In addition, one in 10 children will be sexually service professionals and the county’s district attorney to

LIFE SAVE A

Unsure of how or when to report abuse? Here are some tips:

Signs of abuse • Unexplained injuries

• Lack of personal care or hygiene • Fear of certain places or people • Risk-taking behaviors Abuse reporting hotline 800-252-5400 More resources can be found at

www.cactx.org and at https://wilcocac.org.

SOURCES: CHILDREN’S ADVOCACY CENTERS OF TEXAS, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY AND PROTECTIVE SERVICES, WILLIAMSON COUNTY CHILDREN’S ADVOCACY CENTER/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Green said it is common for the number of reports to go down when children are not in school for summer or holiday breaks because teachers are prominent reporters. She added that this is also the case during times of economic downturns and natural disasters. Green said that with coronavirus, statewide reports are down on average about 25%, but it can be as high as 50%-75% in some parts of the state depending on how restrictive movement is in certain communities. “Whenever kids are not in school or with other adults outside the home, we see reports go down, but we know that abuse is still happening if not increasing in incidence and severity,” Green said.

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CEDAR PARK - LEANDER EDITION • MAY 2020

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