Bay Area Edition | March 2020

BAYAREA EDITION

VOLUME 2, ISSUE 8  MARCH 6APRIL 9, 2020

ONLINE AT

CCISD reforming special education

BY JAKE MAGEE Astronauts use their years of training to further NASA’s exploration of space. NASA is now training astronauts who will return to the moon and eventually go to Mars. ‘The coolest job on Earth’

Astronauts train underwater at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab near Ellington Field and learn how to move in space and perform repairs on the International Space Station.

BY COLLEEN FERGUSON

One year after a consultant’s audit on Clear Creek ISD’s special education program, the district is progressing with reforms and aiming to improve its rela- tionships with parents, some of whom have said they feel CCISD’s eorts still have not gone far enough. The district hired Gibson Consult- ing Group in August 2018 after several parents raised concerns and protested against CCISD, claiming its special edu- cation students are abused by district sta and that sta are not properly trained to best educate their children. In March 2019, Gibson released its report, which showed the district has many strengths as well as highlighting several areas in need of improvement. These areas include professional devel- opment, data usage and parent-admin- strator relationships, among others. The report also compiled and presented CONTINUED ON 30

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SOURCE: NASACOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER PHOTOS COURTESY NASA

Of the 27 recommendations in the Gibson report, 12 are complete. Three are being worked on, four are being completed over multiple years, and eight will be completed by the end of this summer.

Johnson Space Center training astronauts for missions to moon, Mars

Some of the country’s most dedi- cated, intelligent and motivated peo- ple live, work and recreate in the Bay Area. They are astronauts, and they spend their days at the Johnson Space Center in Clear Lake furthering NASA’s mission to explore space and

eventually reach Mars. But before astronauts ever strap into a rocket and blast o to the Inter- national Space Station, they must rst spend two years in basic train- ing as astronaut candidates followed by years of mission-specic training. Before that, they must be among the

talented few NASA selects from a pool of thousands of wannabe space explorers. In January, the latest group of astronaut candidates graduated and were ocially added to the Astronaut Corps. This class of 11 was the rst CONTINUED ON 26

Already completed In progress To be completed as part of multiyear plan Will be completed summer 2020

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SOURCE: CLEAR CREEK ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

2020 Camp GUIDE

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

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BAY AREA EDITION • MARCH 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

IMPACTS

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Now Open, Coming Soon &more

PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett PUBLISHERHOUSTONMETRO Jason Culpepper ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Kristina Shackelford GENERAL MANAGER Cathy Turner, cturner@communityimpact.com EDITORIAL EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Lanane MANAGING EDITOR Marie Leonard EDITOR Jake Magee

FROMCATHY: Be sure and check out our Camp Guide beginning on Page 21. When my boys were young, I had a spreadsheet to keep track of the various camp options every summer. This guide would have been so helpful!

Cathy Turner, GENERALMANAGER

FROMJAKE: If you are half as into space as I am, you will love our front-page story on astronaut training. Take an in-depth look at the extraordinary people who are chosen to lead humanity into a new frontier and spend years living in our community.

REPORTER Colleen Ferguson STAFFWRITER Ben Thompson COPY CHIEF Andy Comer COPY EDITORS Ben Dickerson, Kasey Salisbury ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Lara Estephan DESIGN CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Tessa Hoee GRAPHIC DESIGNER Justin Howell STAFF DESIGNER Jay Jones, Caitlin Whittington 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 245 Commerce Green Blvd., Ste. 200 Sugar Land, TX 77478 • 3463682555 communityimpact.com PRESS RELEASES baynews@communityimpact.com SUBSCRIPTIONS communityimpact.com/subscriptions © 2020 Community Impact Newspaper Co. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction of any portion of this issue is allowed without written permission from the publisher.

TODO LIST

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Local events and things to do TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES 11 GOVERNMENT 13 League City Fire Department DEVELOPMENT 15

Jake Magee, EDITOR

THIS ISSUE BY THE NUMBERS

Exploration Green CITY& SCHOOL

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Local sources 31

New businesses 7

Community events 16

13

GUIDE

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Astronauts

BUSINESS FEATURE Innity Float Center 2020CampGuide

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BAY AREA EDITION • MARCH 2020

IMPACTS

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

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5 Nearly a year after the initial an- nouncement, Aroma’s Italian Grill Fast Food opened Jan. 6 in the League City Plaza at 1601 W. Main St., League City, a 2,691-square-foot space. The restau- rant is owned by a family from New York that specializes in authentic Italian food, including lasagna, spaghetti and baked ziti. Aroma’s also has a La Porte location. 281-724-9118. www.aromasitaliangrill.com 6 Nova Wellness Center Clinic & Med- spa opened in January at 400 N. Texas Ave., Webster. The clinic was opened to be an alternative to the “fast-paced and impersonal” medical experience most people are used to, according to the busi- ness’s website. The clinic takes a holistic approach to medicine. 281-542-7800. www.novawellnesscenter.com 7 Headz Up Haircuts opened a second location at 2951 Marina Bay Drive, Ste. 190, League City, on Feb. 1. The business offers haircuts for men, women and chil- dren and also specializes in fades. Headz Up Haircuts’ first location is at 2121 W. Main St., Ste. B, League City. 281-672-7103. www.headzuphaircuts.com COMING SOON 8 Americano Cafe , at 2900 NASA Parkway, Seabrook, opened in mid-Feb- ruary. The business, which sells coffee and other cafe beverages, was originally expected to open in early January. 281-957-7830. www.facebook.com/americanocafe.us 9 League City officials have announced theater company Alamo Drafthouse Cinema will open in Victory Lakes Town

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NOWOPEN 1 Stomp’s Burger Joint opened in De- cember at 300 W. Bay Area Blvd., Houston. The restaurant, which has locations in Pearland and Bacliff, serves appetizers, such as nachos, mushroom slices, hot dogs and cheesesteaks, in addition to several different types of burgers. 281-724-9297. www.stompsburgerjoint.com

2 DeliverIt Pharmacy Clear Lake opened Dec. 11 at 600 N. Kobayashi Road, Ste. 112-113, Webster. The locally owned pharmacy, which delivers medications for free, offers outpatient infusion medication and can provide flu and vaccine immuni- zation services on-site. The location also includes a coffee shop. 281-724-4828. www.deliveritpharmacy.com 3 Little Fairy’s Pet Ride & Groom opened Jan. 16 at 218 S. Egret Bay Blvd.,

League City. The salon offers grooming and bathing services as well as self-bathing stations. Other services include boarding, doggie day care and a pet taxi. 832-932-5761. www.thelittlefairysagency.com 4 Texas Artisan , at 2800 Marina Bay Drive, Ste. E1, League City, celebrated its official grand opening in December. The boutique sells jewelry, purses, hats, pet items and home decor. 832-385-6246. www.texas-artisan.com

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY COLLEEN FERGUSON AND JAKE MAGEE

restaurant offers a variety of flavors of chicken wings, chicken and waffles, and Cajun sides. 832-820-8560. www.jaquayscw.com NEWOWNERSHIP 17 Dozens of laboratories within the Memorial Hermann Health System will be acquired by New Jersey-based Quest Diagnostics , including two Bay Area locations at A 1505 Winding Way Drive, Ste. 178, Friendswood, and B 2555 South Gulf Freeway, League City. Quest will provide management services at each of Memorial Hermann’s nearly two dozen hospital laboratories, although those spaces will remain under the Hous- ton-based hospital system’s ownership. 713-222-2273. www.memorialhermann.org CLOSINGS 18 Kindred Hospital Bay Area at 4801 E. Sam Houston Parkway, Pasadena, will close by March 17. Kindred Hospital locations in Tomball, Spring and the Heights will also close, as will a hospital in Dallas and one in Fort Worth, according to a Jan. 23 statement. Stephanie Madrid, the division vice president of Houston-area operations, said in the statement Kindred Healthcare will improve efficiency by consolidating. Kindred Hospital Clear Lake will remain open, as will two hospitals in Dallas-Fort Worth, Sugar Land, northwest Houston 19 HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake , at 500 W. Medical Center Blvd, Webster, celebrated the completion of its 100th trascatheter aortic valve replace- ment surgery in mid-January. The hospital is one of the first in the Bay Area to offer such a procedure. A minimally invasive al- ternative to open heart surgery, trascath- eter aortic valve replacement surgery replaces damaged aortic valves through a catheter without surgeons needing to cut open the chest. 281-332-2511. www.hcahoustonhealthcare.com/ locations/clear-lake and the Texas Medical Center. www.kindredhealthcare.com IN THE NEWS

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The Drink Station

COURTESY THE DRINK STATION

FEATURED IMPACT RELOCATION After delays, The Drink Station opened its relocated League City store at 3729 E. League City Parkway, Ste. 100, in early January. The business was previously located at 6555 South Shore Blvd., Ste. E, League City, and the relocation was originally expected to open in spring 2019. The business, which has locations in Pearland and Alvin, serves premium loose-leaf tea, boba tea, locally roasted coee, fresh fruit smoothies and lunch items. The business previously sold store- bought bakery items, but baked goods such as cake balls to cookies are now made and decorated in-house, co- owners Mark Bystry and Vic Trent said. “We’re doing that [baking and decorating] on our own now, and we’re also including keto versions of things,” Trent said of the menu’s expansion. In the future, the co-owners hope to also serve decorated cakes but want the business to remain primarily a spot for beverages. 281-549-7986. www.thedrinkstation.com

DeliverIt Pharmacy

Jaquay’s Chicken and Waffles

COURTESY DELIVERIT PHARMACY

COURTESY JAQUAY’S CHICKEN AND WAFFLES

Center at the northeast corner of I-45 and FM 646 sometime this year. The business serves award-winning cuisine and drinks to patrons’ seats as they watch movies. The theater first opened in 1997 in Austin. www.drafthouse.com RELOCATIONS 10 After 16 years operating at 16630 El Camino Real Blvd., Houston, Los Ramirez Mexican Restaurant closed in late No- vember 2018 to prepare to locate to 463 Bay Area Blvd., Houston. After months of delays, the new location opened in January. The new location is bigger and has more parking spaces to better serve the restaurant’s customers. Los Ramirez, which serves authentic and traditional Mexican food, also has a Dickinson location. 281-486-9414. www.facebook.com/ losramirezmexicanrestaurant 11 Burlington Stores at 20740 Gulf Freeway, Webster, plans to relocate to 1449 W. Bay Area Blvd. this spring, according to a Jan. 21 news release. The new location will be 46,000 square feet and will have over 5,000 brands at up to 60% off other retailers’ prices, per the release. The store features daily new arrivals of apparel, accessories, footwear, baby furniture, home decor and gifts. 281-554-3155. www.burlington.com 12 Cakes by Jula at 2047 W. Main St., League City, plans to relocate to a 3,097-square-foot space at 190 S. Gulf Freeway, Ste. B3, in League City Plaza by the end of March, according to a news re- lease from Weingarten Realty. The owner and founder of Cakes by Jula has been baking and decorating cakes since 1982 and opened her first full-service bakery

and sweet shop in 2008, per the release. 832-932-1353. www.cakesbyjula.com 13 Afina Houston OB/GYN in late 2019 relocated from 11003 Resource Park- way, Ste. 104, Houston, to 13920 Osprey Court, Ste. A, Webster. The business’s doctor, Kingsley N. Asumugha, has gone on several humanitarian medical missions and is chairman of Imo Medical Mission, a nonprofit organization that cares for the 14 TriFitness Gym , 2417 Bay Area Blvd., Houston, celebrated its one-year anniver- sary Jan. 11 with a gathering with food and drinks. The gym is aimed at getting seniors active so they can enjoy playing with their grandchildren, stay healthy and live long lives. The business regularly raises money for various charities that benefit veterans and those with memory-affecting diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. 281-786-1189. www.trifitnessgym.com 15 Mediterraneo Market & Cafe will celebrate 20 years in business this month. The restaurant at 18033 Upper Bay Road, Houston, opened March 16, 2000. Med- iterraneo Market & Cafe serves Greek, Moroccan, Egyptian, Iranian, Lebanese, Spanish and Italian dishes and drinks, and the market is stocked with Middle Eastern and European goods. The business plans to relocate near the end of the year due to the expansion of the Houston Meth- odist Clear Lake Hospital. 281-333-3180. www.mediterraneomarket.com less privileged. 281-464-9100. www.afinahoustonobgyn.com ANNIVERSARIES 16 Jaquay’s Chicken and Waffles , 4312 Saint Goar St., Ste. A, Dickinson, celebrat- ed its one-year anniversary Feb. 10. The

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TODO LIST

March-April events

COMPILED BY COLLEEN FERGUSON

WORTHTHETRIP

MARCH 1315

RUNA RACE IN SEABROOK REX L. MEADOR PARK

MARCH 22

CLEAR CREEK ISD FASHION SHOW MERCEDES BENZ OF CLEAR LAKE

COURTESY OF BELLAIRE HOLI

MARCH 21: Get colorful at Holi in Bellaire Celebrate the arrival of spring with entertainment, music, dancing, vendors, photo booths and Indian food for purchase. Tickets include color packets to use for the traditional throwing of colors. All ages welcome. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. $5-$15. Bellaire-Zindler Park, 7008 Fifth Street, Bellaire. www.facebook.com/bellaireholi MARCH 21 THROUGH 22: Celebrate Palestinian culture Houston’s Palestinian American Cultural Center will host the 10th annual Palestinian Festival, the largest in North America, including Middle Eastern food, dance and musical performances, and a showcase of a traditional Palestinian wedding. There will also be a grand bazaar with authentic Palestinian goods from embroidery and art to clothing and henna tattoos. All ages welcome. 1-10 p.m. (Sat.), 1-9 p.m. (Sun.). $5-$10. The Water Works in Bualo Bayou Park, 105 Sabine St., Houston. www.pacchouston.org/festivals/ hpf2020 MARCH 28: Eat macaroni and cheese Houston Mac Attack will take place in Midtown Park and feature a variety of gourmet twists on classic macaroni and cheese. Tickets include a commemorative spork, unlimited samplings and an open bar. Attendees must be over age 21. Noon-8 p.m. $54-$69. Midtown Park, 2811 Travis St., Houston. www.facebook.com/ events/548686659028561 APRIL 4: Slurp up some oysters The inaugural Houston Oyster Festival will feature cooked oyster bites and signature seafood dishes from several Houston restaurants; beer, wine and vodka bars; live music; cooking demos; a raw bar; educational exhibits and more. All ages welcome. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. $35-$150. Silver Street Studios at Sawyer Yards, 2000 Edwards St., Houston. 281-332-3381. www.houstonoysterfestival.org

Runners can complete anywhere from a 5K to a full marathon over the weekend with Seabrook Lucky Trails. All ages welcome. 5:30 p.m. start (Fri.), 7:15 a.m.-2 p.m. (Sat.), 7:15- 11:30 a.m. (Sun.). $15 (Kids 1K), starts at $40 (adult races). Rex L. Meador Park, 2400 Hammer St., Seabrook. 832-377-8666. www.seabrookmarathon.org (Courtesy raceshots.net)

Clear Creek ISD juniors will model clothing at the 14th annual I Love CCISD Fashion Show. Proceeds will support projects in CCISD classrooms. 4:30-7 p.m. $50. Mercedes Benz of Clear Lake, 500 S. Gulf Freeway, League City. 281-284-0174. www.clearcreekeducationfoundation.org/fashion-show (Courtesy Clear Creek Education Foundation)

MARCH 26 CONNECTWITHHEALTH, WELLNESS EXPERTS League City Regional Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Health & Wellness EXPO to connect area residents with various local health and wellness vendors. All ages welcome. 4-7 p.m. Johnnie Arolfo Civic Center, 400 W. Walker St, League City. 281-338-7339. www.leaguecitychamber.com/ events/calendar 26 ENJOY CRAFT BEER IN LEAGUE CITY League City Rotary will host Brews ‘N More IV to support its outreach projects, which include mobile food pantry distribution and u immunization clinics. The event will include craft beer tastings from eight breweries, a cash bar for wine and spirits, food and live music. All ages are welcome. 5:30-8:30 p.m. $45. South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Center, 2500 South Shore Blvd., League City. 281-334-1000. www.leaguecityrotary.com/ event/brews-n--more-iv 28 GO TOA COMMUNITY GARAGE SALE The city of League City will host a garage sale in Hometown Heroes Park, where community members can get to know each other while doing spring cleaning. Rent a booth and part with items from your garage, attic or closet, or come and see what others have to oer. 10 a.m.- noon. Free (park admission), $25 (booth fee for residents), $36 (booth fee for nonresidents). Hometown Heroes Park, 1001 E. League City Parkway, League City. 281-554-1180. www.leaguecity.com/ 2036/parks-cultural-services 29 CELEBRATE THE BLESSING OF THE FLEET IN SEABROOK Lakewood Yacht Club will host its 65th annual Blessing of the Fleet, marking the ocial opening of the club’s boating season, with a brunch, ceremony and post-blessing parties on participating boats. Traditional Irish bagpipers, as well

admission), $600 (reserved table for eight). South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Center, 2500 South Shore Blvd., League City. 281-338-7600. www.events.idonate.com/ dogsanddivas2020 03 SUPPORT THEWOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT AT A FOURCOURSE DINNER League City will host Salute to Heroes V benetting the Wounded Warrior Project and presented by UTMB Health. The event includes a four-course dinner, an open bar, and live music from Gary Puckett and the Union Gap. Attendees must be over age 21. 7-11 p.m. $275. South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Center, 2500 South Shore Blvd., League City. 281-334-1000. www.facebook.com/ events/522997411655193 04 EAT CRAWFISH FOR A CAUSE BCBF Inc. will host the sixth annual BigAss Crawsh Bash, which includes all-you-can-eat crawsh, a crawsh cook-o competition with more than 80 teams, vendor booths, a children’s area, live music, a veteran VIP tent and food from various restaurants. Proceeds go to PTSD Foundation of America Camp Hope, Texas Special Olympics and Local Area Texas Education Foundations. All ages welcome. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., 1-6 p.m. (crawsh). $23 (presale), $35 (day of at gate). Gulf Greyhound Park, 1000 FM 2004, La Marque. www.bigasscrawshbash.com 04 GO FOR AWALK TO SUPPORT SENIOR CITIZENS The annual Walk for Wellness 1K/5K Walk/Run returns, hosted by League City and the Friends of League City Seniors Foundation. The event is designed to increase awareness of the needs of seniors and encourage citizens of all ages to develop healthy lifestyles. All ages welcome. Starts at 7:30 a.m. $25-$30. Walter Hall Park, 807 Hwy. 3 N., League City. 281-554-1180. www.raceentry.com/ races/walk-for-wellness/2020/register

as the Clear Brook High School Marching Band, will be present to help observe the occasion. Each Blessing participant will be introduced, have information about their boat shared with the crowd, and then receive a Lakewood Burgee, commemorative plaque and a bottle of champagne to bathe the bow. The event is for members and guests only. All ages welcome. 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Free. Lakewood Yacht Club, 2322 Lakewood Yacht Club Drive, Seabrook. 281-474-2511. www.lakewoodyachtclub.com 30 PARTICIPATE INA GOLF TOURNAMENT The 31st annual Spring Fever Golf Classic is open to teams and individuals and will be played as a four-person Florida scramble. The entry fee includes lunch and dinner, beverages on the course, cart and green fees, and a goodie bag. All ages are welcome. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $25 (nonplaying guests), $175 (individual players), $650 (team). Bay Oaks Country Club, 14545 Bay Oaks Blvd., Houston. 281-488-7676. www.clearlakearea.com/ events/annual-events/spring-fever-golf- classic 31 TURNANOLD BOOK INTOART League City will host a book folding event at Helen Hall Library, where participants can recycle an old book into a piece of art. Space is limited to 15 people. Ages 18 and up. Free. 6:30-8 p.m. Helen Hall Library - Susan Mathews Theater, 100 W. Walker St., League City. 281-554-1102. www.leaguecity.com/ 1280/events APRIL 01 ADOPT A PET AT A FASHION SHOWLUNCHEON Bay Area Turning Point will host the fth annual Dogs and Divas fashion show and luncheon, which will include a silent auction and a wine pull drawing as well as adoptable pets. Bay Area Turning Point provides a full range of programs and services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. All ages are welcome. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $75 (general

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

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Pet sitting station while you tour the facility $10 adoptions Photos with the Easter Bunny Shelter program demonstrations Grand Opening of League City Animal Care and Adoption Center 755 W. Walker Street 10 a.m. Ribbon cutting 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tours and Adoptions

2nd Annual Pet Fest at the Civic Center 400 W. Walker Street 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Pet vendors Small dog races Free microchipping Reduced price vaccinations from Animal Alliance (first 50 for $24) Food trucks Demonstrations and prizes

every half hour Pet resale shop

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES

BY JAKE MAGEE

of this road will be built by April. In the meantime, the city will work on improv- ing Turner Street and Butler Road to the north without lane closures until the Ervin Street connection is complete. The Texas Department of Transportation is improving the intersection of I-45 and League City Parkway through the spring, which is causing overflow traffic to Turner Street and Butler Road, preventing the city from closing lanes to improve those roads until Ervin is complete. Timeline: September 2019-August 2020 Cost: $5.83 million Funding source: city of League City 4 West Walker Street improvements This road between League City Park- way and FM 646 will be enhanced with modifications to improve traffic flow. Turn lanes will be added to enter subdivisions, traffic signals will be installed, and the road’s intersections at League City Park- way and FM 646 will be improved. The city will add a dedicated right turn lane for north- and southbound Walker Street, add an extra through lane on Walker Street in both directions and extend the left turn lanes along League City Parkway by 250 feet. Phase 1 of this three-phase Funding source: city of League City UPCOMING PROJECTS 5 FM 270 widening This project, which will not start for another year, will widen a 2.7-mile stretch of FM 270 from south of FM 518 through the Hwy. 96 intersection to the south from a two-lane road to a four-lane, divided, curb-and-gutter street. All construction will be within the existing Texas Department of Transportation right of way. Once the design is complete, city staff will partner with the Houston-Gal- veston Area Council and TxDOT for fund- ing. This project is included in Phase 1 of League City’s Master Mobility Plan. Timeline: construction starts 2021 at the earliest Cost: $22.8 million project finished in December. Timeline: fall 2019-late 2020 Cost: $6.17 million Funding sources: Houston-Galveston Area Council ($18.24 million), city of League City ($4.56 million) 6 North Landing Boulevard extension About 1.7 miles of a four-lane, urban-di- vided boulevard will be constructed to connect Landing Boulevard to I-45. Two bridges are included in this project, in- cluding one that will go over Clear Creek. Work will begin after I-45’s widening is complete. Timeline: construction starts 2022 at the earliest Cost: $49.5 million Funding sources: federal government ($31.3 million), city of League City ($18.2 million)

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ONGOING PROJECTS 1 El Dorado Boulevard widening

line will be added during the project as well. League City City Council in mid-Jan- uary approved a construction contract for a total of $8.71 million. Crews are relo- cating utilities before road work begins. A two-year project to improve Calder Road from Ervin Street to Turner Street was completed in February 2019. Unlike that project, the city will keep two-way traffic open during the duration of the project, city officials said. Timeline: fall 2019-fall 2020 Cost: $8.71 million Funding source: city of League City

Crews throughout the summer removed and replanted about 10% of the more than 1,000 trees along El Dorado Bou- levard from Clear Lake City Boulevard to Horsepen Bayou to make room for CenterPoint Energy to relocate power poles from the road’s existing median to the west edge of the road. CenterPoint determined not enough trees were re- moved, so workers had to remove more, putting the project start behind schedule. Trees will be replanted after construc- tion ends. Workers are in the process of relocating power poles and putting up temporary street lighting, and the street widening will begin in earnest when that is complete. Once complete, El Dorado will have a 17-foot median, 12-foot driving lanes and a 10-foot hike and bike trail. Timeline: September 2019-fall 2021 Cost: $4.6 million Funding sources: Harris County ($3.1 million), city of Houston ($1.5 million) 2 Calder Road improvements This project, which went out for bid Oct. 21, includes the design and construction of improvements along Calder Road from Ervin Street to Cross Colony Drive. Crews will modify the existing asphalt and open-ditch roadway into a two-way concrete curb-and-gutter roadway. The project will result in widened lanes, an additional turning lane, new sidewalks on the west side of Calder Road and increased drainage capacity. A new water

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3 Ervin Street connector construction This new four-lane arterial roadway will connect Calder Road to the new Hobbs Road extension to the south. The street will provide better accessibility for Sedo- na subdivision residents, other neighbor- ing communities and future development in the area. The project includes a drain- age channel connecting the improved section of Ervin Street to Magnolia Bayou. Due to nearby road construction, city officials late last year decided to expedite this project. At least two lanes Ervin Street connector construction JAKE MAGEE/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

FILLING A NEED Due to a successful recruitment campaign in 2019, the League City Fire Department in January saw its highest number of recruits. Several volunteers will soon operate out of the new Fire Station No. 6 on South Shore Boulevard.

GOVERNMENT League City Fire Department adds recruits

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BY JAKE MAGEE

Over a year ago, League City ocials were clamoring for more residents to join the volunteer-based League City Fire Department. After months of campaigning, the department last year saw its biggest jump in new volunteers yet. “Best year ever,” Chief Gary Warren said. “There’s nothing more rewarding to spend a year working on something and then at the end of the year you have something to show for it.” The recruits join the department as the city prepares in the coming weeks to open a new $5.6 million re station to expand services and better serve newer neighborhoods on the city’s southeast side. A total of 121 residents applied to join the re department in 2019, thanks in part to billboards and other advertisements the city ran to encourage people to volunteer. Of those 121, 24 graduated from the department’s new recruit class in the spring, 12 graduated in the fall, and up to 20 will graduate this May, Warren said. “Getting 56 new people is a big boost for us,” he said. Over a year ago, the department had about 120 reghters. Now, it has about 165, Warren said. “[The increase] has helped us with scheduling the day crew and night crew because there’s more people that are willing to do it,” he said. Assistant Chief Tommy Cones

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SOURCE: LEAGUE CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER *RECRUIT NUMBERS BASED ON BEST ESTIMATES AT THE BEGINNING OF EACH YEAR

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Warren and Cones said. “You’re always in need of vol- unteers,” Cones said. “It’s always a balancing act. It’s very demanding.” But active volunteers who live on the southeast side of the city have something to look forward to: In the coming weeks, the department will open Fire Station No. 6 at 7505 South Shore Blvd. The three-story station has several amenities the city’s other ve stations do not. The station will have technology that will allow paramedics and re- ghters to listen to calls that pertain only to them. This will prevent re- ghters who sleep at the station from being woken up in their dorms during each paramedic call. Eventually, the technology will be introduced to each station, Warren said.

Fire Station No. 6 will also have a re pole to allow reghters on the third oor to quickly reach the truck bay and respond to a call. The station includes oces, study rooms, a living room and kitchen, a patio, and several bathrooms and showers. For several months, Fire Station No. 6 has been temporarily housed at a water tower along South Shore Boulevard farther north from the new station. The tower is cramped and barely has room to park a re truck. Warren and Cones are excited for reghters assigned there to soon have a real station to work from. “I really can’t wait for the reght- ers to move in because they really deserve it,” Warren said. “They’ll nally have something to call their own.”

said more volunteers lead to faster response times to emergencies. Despite the jump in volunteers, the city’s eorts are not over: Going forward, the department will focus on recruiting volunteers from specic areas of the city that are underserved. The downtown and historic districts, for instance, have fewer reghters because many who live there are older and incapable of being reght- ers, Cones said. Recruiting and maintaining reghters is always a challenge. Many who apply fail background checks, physicals or training and do not end up graduating. Established volunteers retire, and young ones sometimes quit after they start a family. Some fail to keep up with required training and are suspended,

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

DEVELOPMENT ExplorationGreen provides nature center in practical space

LIFE BY THE LAKE Exploration Green is, so far, home to nearly 100 dierent species of birds. Volunteer leaders said the area has become a destination for birdwatchers since the development of Exploration Green’s iNaturalist page, where observers can engage with each other and post photos. Phases 1 and 2 have habitat islands in the lakes, and there will be bluebird and bat houses in Phase 2.

SOURCE: EXPLORATION GREENCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

BY COLLEEN FERGUSON

Exploration Green, the Clear Lake City Water Authority’s project to turn a former golf course into a detention pond that will eventually hold 500 million gallons of stormwater, began as a drainage facility with added ame- nities. Now, the project is viewed as a nature conservatory that also helps drain stormwater, Exploration Green Conservancy Chair Frank Weary said. “The real gratifying part is seeing communities come together around this thing,” he said. “People feel good about what’s going on in the community.” Eorts to turn the 200-acre project, located between El Camino Real, Bay Area Boulevard and Space Center Boulevard, into a reality started nearly 15 years ago with the process of pur- chasing the old Clear Lake Golf Course. In that time, Weary said, community spirit has been revitalized and public perception of the conservancy has changed signicantly. “The area was denitely sliding into blight,” he said. “[But] since we started doing construction, people perked up.” Residents can walk or jog around both completed phases, each of which have more than a mile of concrete trails. The athletic elds next to Phase 1 are completed and can now be used as practice elds for local youth sports. Exploration Green aims to host more community events, starting with sunset yoga March 19. Phase 2 was completed in early 2020, and phases 1 and 2 are

connected so stormwater drains from Phase 2 to Phase 1. Construction is now underway on the rst part of the third phase, Weary said. Permitting is being completed for Phase 4 as well, and construction should start on that phase within the next two months, he said. While Phase 2 is complete, the lake on Phase 2 will have to be drained so crews can replace some pockets of sand found during excavation with clay. This will be done in the next few weeks and will mean the public cannot access Phase 2 for six to eight weeks while the process is completed, Weary said. This is not the rst time Exploration Green leaders have had to adapt project plans. Phase 2 initially fell behind because the project’s proximity to Ellington Airport violated a Houston ordinance. Work resumed in Septem- ber 2018 after the project was granted a variance. Upon completion, lakes will take up about 8 of the 200 total acres, and wetlands will take up another 8. The on-site nursery where plants are kept is maintained by volunteers, who play an integral part in planting trees and shrubs during the late fall and early spring. Planting should be completed by the end of 2022, Weary said. When nished, the project will protect 2,000 to 3,000 surrounding homes from ooding in 12 to 15 inches of rain, leaders said. Exploration Green is funded entirely by grants and donations. In total, the project

ExplorationGreen is home to nearly 100 different bird species, such as the red-beakedMuscovy duck.

A great egret rests in Phase 2.

PHOTOS BY COLLEEN FERGUSONCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Birds inhabiting Exploration Green carried in sh eggs, which ocials said helped to populate the lakes.

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will cost between $40 million to $50 million to complete. The last piece of the puzzle will be an entry plaza on Phase 1 estimated to cost between $1.5 million to $2 million, Weary said. Volunteer maintenance crews use few to no chemicals on the property aside from the occasional ant killer, Exploration Green leaders said. Exploration Green is home to all native plants, from spider lilies and irises to arrowheads and maidencane. Trees are watered with reuse water, which Weary said is signicantly better quality than regular streamwater. The project has played a large part in driving up housing costs over the

last three years, volunteer leaders said. Data from Paige Martin of Keller Williams Realty shows the price per square foot of Clear Lake area homes went from $9 in 2016 to $17 in 2017, then $28 in 2018. Home prices in the Clear Lake area are generally inuenced by job growth, available inventory and interest rates, Martin said. Clear Lake has performed above average over both the last 5 and 10 years for Houston’s top suburbs thanks to growth in the area, new construction, and a growing number of professionals who live in the area and commute to the Houston Medical Center, she added.

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CITY& SCHOOL

News from League City, Clear Creek ISD, Clear Lake Shores and Seabrook

League City raiseswater and wastewater rates citywide

Clear Creek ISDapproves $2million allocation for language curriculum

BY COLLEEN FERGUSON

books being read?” Anthologies and educational class sets would be the same across all grade levels, Ebell and Susan Silva, the executive director of curriculum and instruction, said in response. “There really is a wide variety of literature and accessibility in all these classroom libraries,” Ebell said. The classroom libraries and their structure are a result of the district’s strategic plan, district officials said. The process of letting students pick books themselves allows them to independently practice the skills required to read the text, as opposed to measuring those same skills with a classwide book that individual students may not be as interested in, Ebell and Silva said. The subcommittees recommended the use of curriculum-building tool StudySync for English language learner students. The subcommittees will provide the Texas Education Agency’s Instructional Materials Allotment Committee with their recommen- dations, and the district will initiate negotiations with selected vendors now that the allocation has been approved. The vendor selection will go before the board in March. NUMBER TOKNOW 1,903 students in CCISD are bilingual. SEVEN CCISD campuses offer dual-language programs.

BY JAKE MAGEE

gallons used, then $6.38 per 1,000 gallons per month for using 3,001 to 10,000 gallons, $8.11 per 1,000 gallons per month for using 10,001 to 25,000 gallons and $9.85 per 1,000 gallons for using more than 25,000 gallons. Meanwhile, those with 2-inch meters by 2024 will see a base charge of $20 and a charge of $2.50 per 1,000 gallons used per month for the first 3,000 gallons used, then $6.38 per 1,000 gallons per month for using 3,001 to 10,000 gallons, $8.11 per 1,000 gallons per month for using 10,001 to 25,000 gallons and $9.85 per 1,000 gallons for using more than 25,000 gallons. On the commercial side, those with 8-inch meters by 2024 will see a base charge of $85 and a charge of $4.50 per 1,000 gallons used per month for the first 3,000 gallons used, then $6.84 per 1,000 gallons per month for using over 3,000 gallons. By 2024, the monthly base wastewater rate of $13.88 will rise to $15.32. Residents and busi- nesses will see increases based on monthly wastewater rate usage as well. NUMBER TOKNOW is how much it will cost the city over the next decade to perform maintenance to its water system, prompting water rate increases. $501MILLION

LEAGUE CITY Clear Creek ISD’s board of trustees approved $2 million in state funding to provide resources for students in a variety of English Language Arts and English as a Second Language classrooms at the Feb. 24 regular meeting. Several subject area subcommittees completed the process of reviewing and selecting instructional resources. The subcommittees were made up of teachers—including representatives from English as a Second Language, special education and technology—and a parent or community representative per commit- tee, said Steven Ebell, deputy superinten- dent of curriculum and instruction. The criteria for evaluating resources included alignment to the district’s curric- ulum and philosophy as well as flexibility of implementation. Some of the recom- mended English Language Arts materials include books for classroom libraries across various genres and accessibility levels, subscriptions to Scholastic maga- zines and subscriptions to contemporary plays via an online database, as well as course-specific technology, equipment and instructional materials for advanced placement courses and electives. The process of securing titles for individual classroom libraries will vary based on factors such as student interest, so not every library at each grade level has to have the same books. Several board members expressed concerns about this lack of consistency, including President Laura DuPont. “That whole area is just concerning to me,” she said. “Are children getting the same experience because of different

LEAGUE CITY After League City City Council’s unanimous vote Feb. 25, water and wastewater rates will rise steadily over the next four years, starting in April, though commercial businesses will see greater increases than residents. “A lot more burden is put on the larger meters and the commercial customers,” Council Member Larry Millican said. The existing base water rate for all water users, residential or commercial, is $7.13 per month. Users are charged $1.50 per 1,000 gallons per month for the first 3,000 gallons used, then $5.50 per 1,000 gallons per month for using 3,001 to 10,000 gallons, $7 per 1,000 gallons per month for using 10,001 to 25,000 gallons and finally $8.50 per 1,000 gallons for using more than 25,000 gallons. Under the newwater rates, which start in April, water rates will be based on water meter sizes. Those with smaller meters, such as residents, will be charged less, but larger meters, such as those for businesses, will be charged more. This was done to put more of the cost burden on those who use water the most, city officials said. Under the new rates, by 2024, those with 3/4-inch meters will see a base charge of $8.26 and a charge of $2.50 per 1,000 gallons used per month for the first 3,000

Clear Lake Shores hires interimpolice chief as permanent chief

QUOTEOFNOTE “IT ISMY PLEDGE TOYOU THATWEWILL PROVIDE THEMOST PROFESSIONAL LAWENFORCEMENT SERVICES POSSIBLE AND DOOUR PART TO CREATE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT

BY JAKE MAGEE

law enforcement. He graduated from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Academy in November 1988 and became a licensed Texas Peace Officer. He retired 21 years later from the Dickinson Police Department, the release reads. Following that, Keele served as patrol commander of the Galveston Sheriff’s Office and commander of its tactical response team. Clear Lake

Shores Police Department hired him in May, and he was named interim police chief Nov. 22, 2019, according to the release. Keele’s main goal is to provide a safe community for residents, business owners and tourists. He believes community policing, transparency, integrity, recruitment and retention are key factors to a secure city, accord- ing to the release.

CLEARLAKE Clear Lake Shores has hired a permanent police chief after the retirement of former Chief Kenny Cook, who had served the city for 26 years, according to a news release from the city. Clear Lake Shores City Council appointed interim Chief Tracy Keele to the permanent position Feb. 18. Keele has 31 years of experience in

FORALL TO ENJOY.” CLEAR LAKE SHORES POLICE CHIEF TRACY KEELE

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