Katy Edition - May 2020

KATY EDITION

VOLUME 8, ISSUE 9  MAY 21JUNE 17, 2020

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SIGNOF THE TIMES The Katy area begins the road to economic recovery

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PHOTOS BY COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER STAFF

6

INSIDE

2021

Economy on the brink

Energy sector takes hit Oil prices crashed to negative digits in April during the coronavirus pandemic, but the Katy area energy sector is expected to stabilize, experts said.

Restaurants carefully reopen At least 769 restaurant employees have been laid o in the Katy area between March 15 and May 7, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

The unemployment rate in Katy’s three counties ranges between 11.27%-12.32% , according to the Katy Area Economic Development Council.

To-Do List

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Virtual and in-person DOCTOR APPOINTMENTS We’re still here for you Even during these challenging times, Houston Methodist doctor offices are open and seeing patients who need our care. Though your appointment may not look like a typical appointment, our providers may see you via video visit, telephone or in person, when needed. Rest assured, we are taking every precaution to ensure we can safely see you and meet all your health care needs.

houstonmethodist.org/hereforyou 832.522.5522

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KATY EDITION • MAY 2020

We Design and Build Amazing Pools And Make Old Pools Beautiful Again

1010 Greenbusch Rd. Katy, Texas 77494 | www.lagunapools.com In business since 1973 CALL US TODAY! 281.392.8833 Equipment Maintenance & Repairs • Acid Washes • Decking • Resurfacing • Coping Remodeling • Covered Patios • Outdoor Kitchens • Fire Pits • Fireplaces • Landscaping

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New homes from the $200s to the $700s. In top-rated Katy ISD, with a brand-new elementary school opening in August.

15 models by 9 award-winning builders View homes at ELYSON.COM

Or give us a call: 281-640-4004

Newland is the largest private developer of mixed-use communities in the United States. With our partner, North America Sekisui House, LLC, we believe it is our responsibility to create enduring, healthier communities for people to live life in ways that matter most to them. newlandco.com | nashcommunities.com

EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY Prices, specifications, details and availability of Builder’s homes are subject to change without notice. NASH Elyson, LLC (‘Fee Owner”) is the owner and developer of the Elyson Community (“Community”). Certain home- builders unaffiliated with the Fee Owner or its related entities (collectively, “Elyson”) are building homes in the Community (“Builder(s)”). Fee Owner has retained Newland Communities solely as the property manager for the Community. North America Sekisui House has an interest in one of the members in Fee Owner. Newland Communities and North America Sekisui House are not co-developing, co-building, or otherwise responsible for any of the obligations or representations of any of the Builders, and shall have no obligations to any buyer regarding a home purchase from a Builder. Purchasers of homes from any of the Builders waive any claims against Newland Communities and/or North America Sekisui House arising out of their purchase transaction. 2020 © Elyson. All Rights Reserved. Elyson is a trademark of NASH FM529, LLC, and may not be copied, imitated or used, in whole or in part, without prior written permission.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS IMPACTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

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Now Open, Coming Soon &more TODO LIST Local events and things to do

PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett PUBLISHERHOUSTONMETRO Jason Culpepper ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Kristina Shackelford GENERAL MANAGER Susan Rovegno, srovegno@communityimpact.com EDITORIAL EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Lanane MANAGING EDITOR Marie Leonard EDITOR Jen Para

FROMSUSAN: At last, we are on the road to normal. But it is a new normal, and we are on a road quite unlike any other. But we always gure out a way forward. Disruption breeds innovation, and that’s true here at Community Impact Newspaper , where we’ve created daily newsletters to keep you updated.

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Susan Rovegno, GENERALMANAGER

FROMJEN: Reporting while practicing social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic is no easy task, but we at Community Impact Newspaper strive to deliver unbiased informative news updates to our readers. In this issue, we provide updates on transportation (see Page 11), local businesses (see Pages 6-7) and Katy-area nonprots (see Page 19).

REPORTER Nola Z. Valente COPY CHIEF Andy Comer COPY EDITORS Ben Dickerson, Kasey Salisbury STAFFWRITERS Shawn Arrajj, Jack Flagler, Vanessa Holt, Kelly Schaer, Claire Shoop, Danica Smithwick, Eva Vigh, Hannah Zedaker ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Tracy Drewa DESIGN CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Tessa Hoee SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Anya Gallant GRAPHIC DESIGNER José Dennis STAFF DESIGNERS Justin Howell, Stephanie Torres 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

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES 11 Upcoming and completed projects ENVIRONMENT 15 Social distancing improves air quality EDUCATION BRIEFS 17 The latest school news CITY& COUNTY 18 The latest local news

Jen Para, EDITOR

THIS ISSUE BY THE NUMBERS

Local sources 22

New businesses 6

Community events 5

New email newsletter 1

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EEDITIONS Explore over 100 new interactive digital editions at communityimpact.com.

NONPROFIT 19 Katy-area nonprots adjust to COVID19 REAL ESTATE 22 Residential market data IMPACT DEALS 23 Local coupons

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Lemonopolis is an online interactive version of the Lemonade Day program which teaches our youth how to start, own, and operate their very own business – a lemonade stand!

Visit lemonadeday.org/katy for more information and to sign your child up and get started right away. Participation in this Summer Program is FREE!

Proud Sponsor of Lemonade Day Katy & Supporting Local Youth

5

KATY EDITION • MAY 2020

IMPACTS

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

COMPILED BY JEN PARA

KATY MILLS DR.

99 TOLL

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KATY MILLS CIR. KATY MILLS BLVD.

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CANE ISLAND PKWY..

KATY FORT BEND RD.

Typhoon Texas plans to openMemorial Dayweekend. (Photo courtesy Typhoon Texas)

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NOWOPEN Typhoon Texas at 555 Katy Fort Bend Road, Katy, plans to open Memorial Day weekend for its fth season, according to an email from the water park’s president Evan Barnett. “We are enhancing sanitation and social distancing measures with added hand sanitation stations throughout the waterpark,” the release stated. Enhanced cleaning includes disinfecting restrooms every hour and FEATURED IMPACT

PEDERSON RD.

Jorge Hernandez, the brand’s market- ing and eld operations manager. Jose Arguello is the franchisee of the store, which is a drive-thru grocer, convenience store and bakery shop with items such as cereal, milk, eggs, butter, chips and French bread. Established in 1957, Farm Stores is based in Florida, and the Katy store will be the brand’s rst Texas loca- 8 Adriatic Cafe Italian Grill plans to open its fourth location in Katy in late 2021 at the northeast corner of I-10 and Cane Island Parkway. The restaurant will be 7,500 square feet with a bar, dining room and private banquet room for a total indoor capacity of 343 guests. The patio will have seating for 30. Adriatic Cafe is a family-owned and -run Italian restaurant with dishes such as lasagna, baked ziti, ravioli and chicken parmigiana. 713-983-6565. www.adriaticcafe.com tion. 832-258-5986. www.farmstores.com The park oers 13 main attractions, a 25,000-square-foot wave pool, a 1,345-foot-long lazy river and eight dining options. For the 2020 season, Typhoon Texas plans to expand its late night programming and movie showings, Barnett said. 832-426-7071. www.typhoontexas.com/houston ensuring the water is properly ltered every hour to two hours. Typhoon Texas stressed that if it is not safe for guests or employees, the water park will not open.

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NOWOPEN 1 Okie Dokie Teahouse began selling tea for pickup and delivery in April at 3211 Greenhouse Road, Ste. 115, Katy. A grand opening is planned for May. Okie Dokie serves a tea menu that includes jasmine milk, Thai green milk, mung bean milk, kumquat, artichoke and winter melon tea. These teas are often served with boba, jellies, egg pudding or aloe vera toppings. 832-321-5382. www.facebook.com/ Okie-Dokie-Teahouse-102945404538071 2 Nekter Juice Bar opened a new location March 11 at 9920 Gaston Road, Ste. 190, Katy. The business oers a menu of fresh juices, smoothies, acai bowls, and shots of ginger and turmeric. 281-574-1970. www.locations.nekterjuicebar.com 3 Kumon Math and Reading Center of Katy Young Ranch opened April 15 at

29711 Kingsland Blvd., Ste. 800, Katy, near Bryant Elementary School, accord- ing to Anshu Parashar, the franchisee of the location. Kumon provides customized math and reading tutoring sessions for children as young as 3 years old up to children in high school. 281-972-7755. www.kumon.com/katy-young-ranch 4 Mustang Cat Katy Parts Store opened April 27 at 28601 Highway Blvd., Katy, parts supervisor Cody Conway said. This location sells Cat parts for heavy equipment and compact construction equipment. Over the next few months the location will also oer rental services for equipment. 281-712-6400. www.mustangcat.com 5 La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Katy opened to guests March 16 at 5303 Katy Mills Circle, Katy. The hotel has about 100 rooms, which include a TV, desk, coee maker, mini-refrigerator and microwave. It has a variety of amenities,

such as free breakfast, parking, Wi-Fi, an indoor pool, laundry facilities, a gym, and a business center. It also has about 500 square feet of event space. 281-665-3883. www.wyndhamhotels.com 6 Airrosti Rehab Centers-Cinco Ranch opened April 30 at 24022 Cinco Village Center Blvd., Ste. 110 Katy, said Shalyn Poncio, the brand’s Houston regional practice manager. The health care practice provides solutions for pain or unresolved injuries through diagnosis, manual therapy and prescribed rehab exercises. There are more than two dozen Airrosti providers across the Greater Houston area. 800-404-6050. www.airrosti.com/location/texas/cinco/ COMING SOON 7 Farm Stores is planning a late May or early June opening for its newest loca- tion at 3830 N. Mason Road, Katy, said

CINCO RANCH NORTHWEST 2807 DOGWOOD TERRACE LN. | CALL FOR PRICE TRACEY RILEY | 832.515.1443

CINCO RANCH WEST 25418 ESTES LAKE LN. | $1,290,000 RITA DONNELLY | 832.236.4762

CINCO RANCH SOUTHWEST 28527 HUNTERS SHORE 281.646.1136 | $450,000

Katy Office 23922 Cinco Village Center #123 Katy,TX 77494

281.646.1136

GaryGreene.com

SEVEN MEADOWS 7315 GENTLE WILLOW LN. 281.646.1136 | $648,000

GRAYSON LAKES 822 LAKE GRAYSON | $600,000 TRACEY RILEY | 832.515.1443

CINCO RANCH WEST 25302 WILLOW PEAK LN. | $1,395,000 LINDA LEIBY | 281.610.8644

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Pitching in BUSINESSES, NONPROFITS AND RESIDENTS DOING THEIR PART

COMPILED BY JEN PARA

has a location at 9910 Gaston Road, Ste. 170, Katy—donated milk, eggs and produce to Friends of Sundown, a local chapter of Attack on Poverty, which distributes food to families in need. MOD Pizza —which has two locations in the Katy area at 5102 FM 1463, Ste. 800, Katy, and 6825 S. Fry Road, Ste. 1100, Katy—also donated more than 200 boxes of pizza to the nonprot. 281- 578-3097 (Great Harvest). 346-278-5535 (Blockhouse Coee). 832-437-5524 (MOD Pizza on Fry Road). 346-707-8154 (MOD Pizza on FM 1463). www.greatharvestkatytx.com www.blockhousecoee.co www.modpizza.com Land gave 50 face shields to Christ Clinic and 45 shields to the Fort Bend County Precinct 3 Constable’s Oce, according to a press release. Christ Clinic, at 25722 Kingsland Blvd, Ste. 101, Katy, is a nonprot health care provider that serves low-income, uninsured and underinsured patients. 281-392-9000. www.hsikaty.harmonytx.org USING SCHOOL LABS Harmony School of Innovation-Katy and Harmony Science Academy-Sugar

What are you doing to help others in this time? Share your story to ktynews@communityimpact.com.

Harmony teachers build shields. (Courtesy Harmony Public Schools)

departments in the Katy and Cy-Fair areas between April 16-21, according to a press release. These portable outdoor cookers range from $279.99-$349.99 each. 281- 206-2678. www.redisccookers.com SUPPORTING POLICE The Glaser Group McDonald’s locations have donated more than 10,000 meals to hospital sta, police ocers, their own employees and local families, The Glaser Group spokesperson Amanda Pearson said. Throughout May, the locations will continue to provide discounts and free items to rst responders. The group also provided cookies to the Mark A. Chapman YMCA and meals to families in need. Katy- area locations include 22148 Westheimer Parkway, 22914 Morton Ranch Road, 25647 Westheimer Parkway, 7104 S. Fry Road, 27140 Cinco Ranch Blvd. and 6748 FM 1463. www.theglasergroup.net LIFTING SPIRITS Senior living facility Carriage Inn Katy at 1400 Katy-Flewellen Road, Katy, held two car parades April 13 and May 8 for its residents. The center has also set up inside and outside nooks so family members can still see their loved ones at Carriage Inn while following social distancing guidelines. 281-769-5877. www.rcmseniorliving.com/senior-living/ tx/katy/carriage-inn-katy DONATING FOOD Great Harvest Bread Co. at 1623 S. Fry Road, Katy, donated sweet rolls and bread, while Blockhouse Coee & Kitchen —which

FEEDING FIRST RESPONDERS

CBD American Shaman has put together donations of sanitizing cleansing wash for local rst responders. (Courtesy CBD American Shaman) KEEPING IT CLEAN

Big Paulie’s Pizzeria, 6420 FM 1463, Ste. 100, Fulshear, donated lunches May 1 for the rst responders at the Harris County Constable Precinct 5 oce. Over 10 days, the pizzeria fed 5,000 rst responders, nurses and doctors. 281-346-8405.

SUPPORTING FRONTLINEWORKERS Astor Farm to Table at 1520 S. Mason Road, Ste. A, Katy, gave out 2,500 meals over six weeks to health care workers and rst responders in the Katy area, owner Casey Castro said. Each meal costs between $8-$12. Through crowdfund campaigns, the community donated CBD American Shaman at 24811 Katy Freeway, Ste. 400, Katy, has been donating sanitizing wash for local rst responders and Katy-area assisted- living facilities and retirement homes,

store owner Brian K. Adams said. Additionally, the cleanser is available for free with a customer purchase or $3 each. 832-437-7712. www.katytxcbd.com

www.bigpauliesfulshear.com PROTECTING THE COMMUNITY

more than $5,000 to help the restaurant provide this service. 832-913-6465.

The Harris County Precinct 5 Constable’s Oce handed out 6,000 free masks and pairs of gloves April 21 at two parks, including Katy Park at 24927 Morton Road, Katy, according to a Facebook post. These COVID-19 kits included gloves, sanitizer, disposable face masks and helpful tips for avoiding scams. The materials were purchased through the Precinct 5 Foundation.

www.astorfarmtotable.com HELPING THE FIRE DEPARTMENT

FireDisc at 16840 Barker Springs, Ste., C300, Houston, delivered new propane cookers for outdoor cooking to 13 re

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KATY EDITION • MAY 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TODO LIST

May and June events

COMPILED BY NOLA Z. VALENTE

FEATURED EVENTS

Businesses are still social distancing due to the coronavirus, and many are oering online events to entertain individuals at home.

VIRTUAL EVENTS

HONOR FALLEN TROOPS Katy Veterans of Foreign Wars will place ags on veteran graves at 8:30 a.m. May 23. Social distancing and masks will be required. Katy VFW canceled its annual Memorial Day program held at Katy Magnolia Cemetery, originally scheduled for May 25. 6801 Franz Road, Katy. 281-391-8387. www.vfw9182.com HELP RAISEMONEYWITH FLOCKAFRIEND Christ Clinic is hosting a social distancing fundraiser to support health care. The Flock-A-Friend fundraiser allows residents to pay $100 for 25 plastic amingos or $200 for 50 amingos to put on another person’s lawn for 24 hours. To avoid receiving amingos, participants can pay $50. Christ Clinic oers health care to the uninsured or underinsured in Harris, Fort Bend and Waller counties. Keller Williams Signature partnered with Christ Clinic to host the fundraiser that started May 15. Money raised by June 26 will help underwrite patient contributions and supply costs related to COVID-19. To schedule a ocking, email michael@christclinickaty.org or call 832-913-876.

COURTESY PINOT'S PALETTE

TAKE AVIRTUAL PAINTING CLASS Pinot’s Palette in Katy is oering virtual painting classes through the end of May, owner Meredith Lanning said. There is a shop page on the Katy website for participants to order any needed supplies, and curbside pickup is available. Those who have supplies at home can follow along with what they have. There are also wreath kits for sale, and Lanning said there are self- guided instructions to follow along. Times vary. 281-769-2961. www.pinotspalette.com/katy/shop TUNE IN TOA CONFERENCE The World Aairs Council of Greater Houston is hosting a virtual conference May 25. The speaker is Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute, a global research organization that promotes economic development and protecting the environment. Free. Time TBD. 713-522-7811. www.wachouston.org

TRY A YOGA SESSION Yoga West Studios in Katy is oering livestream yoga classes every day. The studio will send individuals a Zoom link via email after registering, and attendees can click the link 10-15 minutes before class time to set up. $49 (unlimited livestream classes for 30 days), $20 (single livestream class). Times vary. 281-579-2287. www.yogawest.net

Christ Clinic 25722 Kingsland Blvd., Ste. 111, Katy 281-574-1540 www.christclinickaty.org

Find more or submit Katy 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.

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KATY EDITION • MAY 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES Harris and Fort Bend countiesmodify public transit services

COMPILED BY JEN PARA AND NOLA Z. VALENTE

COMPLETED PROJECTS

10TH ST..

In addition to increasing eorts for disinfecting, The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County and the Fort Bend County Public Transportation De- partment have modied their services to protect residents from the coronavirus. METRO suspended all Park & Ride routes except for those to the Texas Medical Center on March 30, according to a press release. Some routes will resume May 18. Fort Bend County Public Transit sus- pended all Park & Ride routes except for those to the Texas Medical Center on April 6 but continued to oer a demand-response service, which allows county residents to prebook rides from anywhere in the county, per its website. METRO has three Park & Rides in the Katy area, but the closest FBT Park & Rides are located within the city of Sugar Land. Both entities reduced passenger capacity by 50% for operating routes. METRO and FBT suspended fare collection. “Due to the COVID-19 impact, waiving fares ... further separates the driver from the passengers, creating more eective

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Renovating Bartlett Road Crews started work April 2 on reno- vating Bartlett Road between Hwy. 90 and 10th Street. Completed in mid-May, the project replaced several inches of asphalt. Timeline: April-May Cost: $398,928 Funding source : city of Katy

METRO workers clean buses during the coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy METRO)

New turn lane for Grand Parkway intersection The Fort Bend County Toll Road Author- ity will add an optional right turn lane from southbound Grand Parkway to westbound FM 1093. The existing road has one right turn lane and two lanes for through trac. When the project is nished, there will be one right turn lane, one lane for a right turn or through traf- c, and a lane for through trac only. Timeline: May-July Cost: About $10,000 Funding source : FBCTRA UPCOMING PROJECT county’s emergency declaration is lifted. As of press time, the declaration ends May 31. METRO did not provide a date to begin collecting toll road fares again as of press time. Meanwhile, METRO’s high-occupancy vehicle and high-occupancy toll lanes re- opened May 11 with toll collections.

social distancing, less handling of paper that may transmit germs,” said Tennille Jones, FBT community relations manager. With these adjustments, METRO saw a 25% year-over-year March ridership de- cline, and FBCPT saw a 43% decline. FBT will collect fares again when the

FRANZ RD.

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New trac signal Harris County nished a new trac signal system at Mason Road and Colonial Parkway on March 31, County Engineer Jennifer Almonte said. Timeline: February-March Cost: $365,884 Funding source: Harris County

1093

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF MAY 11. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT KTYNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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KATY EDITION • MAY 2020

12

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

PUBLIC SAFETY

From Our Seniors to Yours...

COUNTY INMATES Fort Bend and Waller counties have not reported COVID-19 cases among their inmates or jailers, but Harris County has. COVID-19 AMONG 658 or 8.4% of the Harris County jail population had an active positive test confirmation of the coronavirus as of May 13. 169 Number of Harris County jailers with an active positive test confirmation of the coronavirus as of May 13. 45 Number of Harris County jailers who were quarantined, isolated or pending test coronavirus test results as of May 13. 2,485 or 31.8% inmates at the Harris County jail were quarantined or isolated as of May 13.

DECLINING JAIL POPULATIONS

Katy’s three counties have reported decreases in their jail populations between March and May.

MARCH 1

JAIL POPULATION AS OF:

APRIL 1

MAY 1

10,000 8,000 9,000 6,000 7,000 4,000 5,000 2,000 3,000 1,000 0

The counties saw a 16.5% decrease in inmate

population since April.

HARRIS COUNTY JAIL CAPACITY

JAIL CAPACITY JAIL CAPACITY FORT BEND COUNTY WALLER COUNTY 1,770 110

Congratula tions, Graduates!

10,566

Criminal justice advocate: Jails, prisons ‘epicenters’ of coronavirus

SOURCE: TEXAS COMMISSION ON JAIL STANDARDS/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

used as a drug rehabilitation facility and can house about 200 inmates. As of May 11, there were 139 offenders housed in the facility, Desel said. However, The TDCJ reported May 13 there are 1,775 offenders statewide who have tested positive for the coronavirus and more than 21,000 offenders who are on medical restriction because they may have had contact with an active or pending coronavirus case. Fort Bend County Judge KP George issued a statement condemning the transfer of prisoners, citing concerns about public safety and the lack of communication from the TDCJ. Desel said anyone in contact with offend- ers at the Jester 1 Unit is wearing full personal protective equipment to be safe, but all of the inmates at the facility have been medically dis- charged from a hospital. “I don’t believe there is anyone that can 100% say when someone is or isn’t contagious,” Desel said. “[But] it makes more sense from a health care perspective for them to have a place they can step down to, as opposed to just diving back into the general population.”

BY CLAIRE SHOOP AND EVA VIGH

inmates in Harris County. Overall, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards reported a reduction of more than 12,000 offenders from March 1 to May 1 across the state’s 241 county jails, from 68,307 to 55,622 total offenders. During this time, Harris County dropped from 9,050 to 7562, Fort Bend dropped from to 808 to 686, and Waller County dropped from 55 to 32. State transfers The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has been transferring state prisoners infected with the coronavi- rus to units across Texas—including the Jester I unit in Fort Bend County— so they have better access to health care, TDCJ Director of Communica- tions Jeremy Desel said. In Fort Bend County, offenders at the Jester I unit in Richmond were transferred to different state units prior to the weekend of April 25 so about 35 offenders who had been treated for the coronavirus could be transferred there, Desel said. The Jester 1 Unit, which is typically

When news of the coronavirus swept across the globe, Jay Jenkins, Harris County project attorney for the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, said one place immediately came to mind as a deadly hot spot: jails. “In a pandemic, a jail is one of the most dangerous places to be,” he said. Jenkins said he was worried jails would become a coronavirus “epicen- ter,” first spreading among offenders, then infecting staff, then staff’s families and visitors, and eventually into the county. Advocates of “compassionate release” say there is no effective way to social distance and stop the spread of disease in jails and prisons. However, pushback has come from officials who cite public safety concerns of releasing offenders on no-cost bail. On March 30, Gov. Greg Abbott released an order prohibiting the release of individuals in custody with a history of offenses involving physical violence. On April 14, a U.S. district judge rejected a petition for the emergency release of up to 4,000

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KATY EDITION • MAY 2020

Contact me for all your Real Estate needs! LINDA LEIBY 281-610-8644 23922 Cinco Village Center Blvd #123 Katy, TX 77494

NOTICE Virtual Public Meeting

FM 529 from SH 99 (Grand Parkway) to FM 362 CSJ 1006-01-074, 1006-02-009, & 1006-01-079 (JH) Harris and Waller Counties, Texas

Given the unique circumstance of the COVID-19 outbreak, along with our commitment to protecting public health during this national emergency, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Houston District is conducting this virtual public meeting to avoid in-person contact. TxDOT is proposing to widen the roadway along Farm to Market (FM) 529 from State Highway (SH) 99 (Grand Parkway) to FM 362 in Harris and Waller Counties, Texas. The virtual public meeting will be available on the TxDOT website beginning Tuesday, June 9, 2020, at 5:30 P.M. through 11:59 P.M. on Thursday, June 25, 2020. To log onto the meeting, go to www.txdot.gov, keyword search FM 529. The virtual meeting will consist of a narrated presentation by the project team, project exhibits and other information, and an opportunity to comment. If you do not have internet access, you may call (713) 802-5260 to ask questions about the project and access project materials at any time during the project development process. Formal comments may be provided by mail, online, or email, as explained below. The purpose of the virtual public meeting is to present the proposed project to the public and receive comments. The proposed design includes both rural and urban sections. The urban section would include widening the existing FM 529 from a two-lane roadway to a six-lane roadway, with a raised median between SH 99 and Katy Hockley Cut Off Road, and this would also include a 10-foot shared-use path on both sides of the roadway. The rural section would include widening FM 529 to a four-lane roadway, with a raised median between Katy Hockley Cut Off Road and FM 362. Sidewalks are proposed within the rural section on both sides of the roadway. Any environmental documentation or studies, maps, and drawings showing the project location and design; tentative construction schedules; and other information regarding the proposed project are available online at www.txdot.gov, keyword search FM 529. TxDOT makes every reasonable effort to accommodate the needs of the public. The virtual public meeting will be in English (though the presentation will also be available in Spanish). If you have a special communication accommodation or need for an interpreter, a request can be made. If you have a disability and need assistance, special arrangements can also be made to accommodate most needs. Please call TxDOT’s Public Information Office at (713) 802-5076 no later than Friday, June 5, 2020. Please be aware that advance notice is requested as some accommodations may require time for TxDOT to arrange. Written comments from the public regarding the proposed project are requested and may be submitted by mail to the TxDOT Houston District, Director of Project Development, P.O. Box 1386, Houston, Texas 77251. Written comments may also be submitted by email to hou-piowebmail@txdot.gov or online at www.txdot.gov, keyword search FM 529. Please reference CSJ 1006-01-074 (JH) on all comments. All comments must be received by Thursday, June 25, 2020. Responses to comments received will be available online at www.txdot.gov, keyword search FM 529 once they have been prepared. If you have any general questions or concerns regarding the proposed project or the virtual meeting, please contact Samuel Ainabe, project manager, at (713) 802-5260 or samuel.ainabe@txdot.gov. The environmental review, consultation, and other actions required by applicable Federal environmental laws for this project are being, or have been, carried-out by TxDOT pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327 and a Memorandum of Understanding dated December 9, 2019 and executed by FHWA and TxDOT.

Linda.Leiby@garygreene.com www.LindaLeiby.com

©2016 Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. Better Homes and Gardens ® is a registered trademark of Meredith Corporation licensed to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each Franchise is Independently Owned and Operated. If your property is currently listed with a real estate broker, please disregard. It is not our intention to solicit the offerings of other real estate brokers.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

ENVIRONMENT Experts: Social distancing has helpedHarris County’s air quality

Ground-level ozone concentrations decreased 17% orders. Data was collected from March 11-April 13 compared to a historic six-year trend over the same time period. During the coronavirus... Houston Advanced Research Center data shows air quality in the Greater Houston area during stay-at-home A closer look

concentration—was given a nonat- tainment designation per National Ambient Air Quality Standards, Beydoun said. “Houston does have an air quality problem, specically with respect to ozone,” he said. “With air quality, ... the lower the concentration, the better, because that means it’s less of that pollution in the air. The less pollution it is and the less exposure, the less problematic it is from a public health perspective.” Bakeyah Nelson, the executive director of nonprot Air Alliance Houston, which advocates for cleaner air, said despite pollutants decreasing across the region, there are still specic Houston-area neighborhoods dealing with chronic air quality issues. Communities of color and low-income neighborhoods adjacent to large industrial facilities are particularly vulnerable to high levels of pollutants, she said. Nelson said she believes regula- tory agencies need to install more air monitoring stations across the Houston area to get a better idea of air quality standards on a local level.

BY KELLY SCHAFLER

Protection Agency. Mustapha Beydoun, chief oper- ating ocer and vice president of HARC, said the lowering of these three pollutants was due to stay- at-home orders limiting people’s mobility as well as reduced industrial production across the Houston region. Harris County saw a 30% reduction in average distance traveled during the outbreak, according to the HARC’s mobility analysis report. Data showed ground-level ozone concentrations decreased an average of 16% on weekdays and 17.5% on weekends fromMarch 11-April 13 compared to a historic six-year trend over the same time period. BTEX emissions saw a 39% drop, and nitrogen oxides saw a 46% drop. Prior to the pandemic, the Greater Houston area’s air quality—spe- cically for ground-level ozone

Research shows the Greater Hous- ton area’s air quality improved as a result of social distancing and work from home orders in place during the coronavirus pandemic. But, a Hous- ton-area organization said air quality in communities near major industrial sectors still need attention. Houston Advanced Research Center, an environmental research organization, published a report in late April showing several common pollutants in Harris County decreased fromMarch 11-April 13 compared to historical data. Pollutants include ground-level ozone, nitrogen oxides, and a group of volatile organic com- pounds comprising benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes, or BTEX. Data was collected frommonitor- ing stations maintained by either the Texas Commission on Environ- mental Quality or the Environmental

BTEX* decreased 39% Nitrogen oxides decreased 46%

*BTEX STANDS FOR BENZENE, TOLUENE, ETHYLBENZENE AND XYLENES EMISSIONS.

SOURCE: HOUSTON ADVANCED RESEARCH CENTERCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

“We have many air monitors, com- paratively speaking, in the Houston region, but we have such a density of industrial facilities throughout our region that we don’t have near the amount of air monitors that we need,” she said. “We don’t really have a sense of whether air quality has improved at a neighborhood level.”

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KATY EDITION • MAY 2020

16

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION BRIEFS

News from Katy ISD

KISD2020bond referendumon hold

KISD lends 12,000 technology devices

To pass out the 12,000 devices, the instructional technology depart- ment created an efficient pickup system with help from librarians and safety officers, she said. As of press time, the district is working on a process for students to return devices for the summer. However, students who are enrolled in summer school can extend their check-out.

BY JEN PARA

KATY ISDHIGH SCHOOL ENROLLMENT PROJECTIONS WITHOUT A 2020 BOND Katy High School Paetow High School

The 2020 Katy ISD community bond advisory committee was scheduled to begin meeting April 7 to discuss whether a need exists for a new district bond referendum. However, these meetings have since been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to an emailed statement fromMaria DiPetta, KISD’s media relations and multimedia manager. No plans have been made to reschedule the meetings or hold them virtually, per the statement. Without these meetings, the KISD 2020 bond program cannot move forward. “Before this unprecedented time, Katy ISD had only just formed a Community Bond Advisory Commit- tee,” the emailed statement reads. “Due to COVID-19, we had to cancel the CBAC meetings. Therefore, the Bond cannot move forward with the recommendation of the committee. We have not rescheduled these

BY JEN PARA

Darlene Rankin, Katy ISD director of instructional technology, said she is not surprised the district has distributed about 12,000 Chrome- books, iPads and Wi-Fi hot spots to students to help them access their online classes while campuses are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. “There are so many family members at home from work and from school,” she said. Parents need a laptop or tablet device for work while students also need the device for school work, she explained. “People may have just one device or two devices at home ... and families [may have] three to five kids in their homes and all of them needing access.” KISD also prepared an additional 3,000 devices for teachers, Rankin said.

12,000 technology devices given out by Katy ISD to students for remote learning

SOURCE: KATY ISD/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER 2020 2024 2029

14% of students have a Katy ISD technology device at home.

meetings or decided to hold them virtually at this time.” The KISD board of trustees approved the formation of the 150-person committee and its charter in January. The district first announced it might propose a bond referendum in October to accom- modate the growth of the student population.

Types of devices include laptops, tablets and hot spots.

84,299 Total students enrolled in Katy ISD

SOURCE: KATY ISD/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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KATY EDITION • MAY 2020

CITY& COUNTY

News from Katy & Harris County

Katy City Council meets the second and fourth Mondays of the month at 6:30 p.m. The next meetings are June 8 and 22. 281-391-4800 www.cityofkaty.com Fulshear City Council meets the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. The next meeting is June 16. 281-346-1796 www.fulsheartexas.gov Harris County Commissioners Court usually meets Tuesday mornings twice a month. The next meetings are 10 a.m. on June 9 and 30. 713-755-5000 www.harriscountytx.gov Fort Bend Commissioners Court meets 1 p.m. the first, second, and fourth Tuesdays of the month. The next meeting is May 26. 281-342-3411 www.fortbendcountytx.com VIRTUALMEETINGS of operations with the Harris County Flood Control District. However, it could cost billions of dollars, he said. “It’s one of those items we are trying to push, but because of the importance and the price tag we have to go in with good consideration,” Elmer said.

Katy sales tax revenue drops

Harris County to begin flood tunnel study

BY JEN PARA

distancing guidelines and business restrictions began in mid-March. However, Katy Finance Director Andrew Vasquez said a 7% decrease is “pretty darn close” to the 2019 numbers. In fact, the city had expe- rienced even larger year-over-year sales tax revenue drops in January, at 11.2%, and April, at 7.6%, accord- ing to comptroller data. “Sales tax revenue through May is $8,490,378, which is 64% of the budgeted amount of $13,453,000,” Vasquez said. “At this point in the year, we are generally at 67% collection rate of our projected sales tax revenue.”

CITY OF KATY The city of Katy is among 472 Texas cities that expe- rienced a year-over-year monthly decline in sales tax payments from 2019 to 2020 during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to state data. The city of Katy will collect $978,275 in sales tax revenue in May, a 7% decrease from the $1.1 million collected in May 2019, according to figures released May 6 by the Texas comptroller of public accounts. The sales tax revenue the city will collect in May is based on sales that occurred in Katy in March. Social

BY SHAWN ARRAJJ

HARRIS COUNTY Harris County is entering the second phase of a study into the use of massive under- ground tunnels to divert stormwater during heavy rainfall. County commissioners signed off on a $2.5 million contract April 28 with the Missouri-based engineer- ing firm Black & Veatch Corp. to look into the size and effectiveness of a tunnel at various locations in Harris County. Black & Veatch is the firm the county used in the first phase, which involved confirming local soil could support a tunnel and a tunnel would be capable of moving enough stormwater during floods. Although many details have yet to emerge, the tunnel could be a game changer in the county’s flood control strategy, said Scott Elmer, director

The city of Katy sales tax payments reported for May, which reflect sales from March, is down 7.03%, according to data from the state. City of Katy sales tax payments

2019

2020

$2M

$1.5M

$1M

$0.5M

$0

SOURCE: TEXAS COMPTROLLER OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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