Sugar Land - Missouri City Edition | November 2020

SUGAR LAND MISSOURI CITY EDITION

VOLUME 8, ISSUE 3  NOV. 4DEC. 8, 2020

ONLINE AT

Businesses strained by recession Coronavirus-caused slump cuts into local economy

“THINGSARE LOOKINGBETTER. THERE ARE A LOT OF POSITIVES OUT THERE. BECAUSE OFMY INDUSTRY I GET A CHANCE TO WORKWITHA LOT OF PEOPLE AND I FEEL THAT AMONG THE PEOPLETHEYWANT TOHELP EACHOTHER.” PAT HOUCK, OWNER OF HOUSE OF BLOOMS

BY CLAIRE SHOOP

As one of the rst businesses in Sugar Land Town Square in 2007, House of Blooms has grown from its initial kiosk location to its current storefront, adding employees along the way. But when the coronavirus pandemic hit in mid-March, it brought the ower shop— along with other small businesses across the county—to a halt, owner Pat Houck said. Still, Houck said the slowdown is nothing the businesses will not be able to weather. “Things are looking better,” Houck

said. “There are a lot of positives out there. Because of my industry I get a chance to work with a lot of people, and I feel that among the people—they want to help each other.” While the eect of the coronavirus on cities’ sales tax revenue has varied throughout the Houston region—with Sugar Land consistently seeing lower revenue compared to the same months a year ago and Missouri City seeing increased revenue—small businesses in the community have felt the nancial

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CLAIRE SHOOPCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Local nonprotsadjust to meet increaseddemand

“WE KNOWTHATMANYOF THE PEOPLE THAT CALLED 211 THIS YEARHAVE NEVERDONE SOBEFORE, SHOWING JUST HOWWIDESPREAD THE EFFECTS OF THIS PANDEMIC HADBEENANDHOW IT’S A FIRST TIME FORMANYTOACCESS THE SOCIAL SERVICENETWORK.” NEEDINGTHENONPROFITNETWORK United Way of Greater Houston has answered more than 132,078 COVID-19-related calls to its 211 helpline. More than 10,000 calls have come from Fort Bend County residents.

27%

Utilities 35%

Here is what Fort Bend County residents have asked for assistance with.

Rent/ mortgage

BY CLAIRE SHOOP

When the coronavirus pandemic swept into the Hous- ton area and stay-at-home orders were implemented, local nonprots serving the Sugar Land andMissouri City area saw an immediate increase in the demand for their services. Now, as the pandemic extends into the fall and winter, local nonprots continue to help more members of the CONTINUED ON 20

15%

10% Other

10%

Food programs/ services

MARY VAZQUEZ, VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNITY OUTREACH FOR UNITED WAY OF GREATER HOUSTON

3%

Income support

Medical care/services

SOURCE: UNITED WAY OF GREATER HOUSTONCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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IMPACTS

FIRST LOOK

Blendin Coee Club COFFEE GUIDE

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COMMUNITYIMPACT.COMCIPATRON . Complete 2020 by joining your neighbors with a contribution of any amount to CI Patron. Funds support Community Impact Newspaper ’s hyperlocal, unbiased journalism and help build informed communities. Choose IMPACT . Make a CONTRIBUTION . Strengthen JOURNALISMFORALL . Contribute today! Snap or visit

Expanding our team of leaders in ONCOLOGY

Houston Methodist Welcomes Dr. Patrick Prath Patrick Prath, MD, board-certified hematologist and medical oncologist, joins the doctors and staff of Houston Methodist Oncology Partners at Sugar Land. Services offered:

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HOUSTON METHODIST ONCOLOGY PARTNERS AT SUGAR LAND

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16659 Southwest Fwy. Medical Office Building 2, Suite 131 Sugar Land, TX 77479 houstonmethodist.org/spg 281.201.6669

COVID-19 UPDATE Our specialists are available to safely see patients in person or virtually , as needed.

Jorge Darcourt, MD Hematology Medical Oncology

Sindhu Nair, MD Hematology Medical Oncology

Kirtan Nautiyal, MD Hematology Medical Oncology

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Fort Bend ISD would like to recognize and thank all its employees for going above and beyond during this difficult and unprecedented time. All our staff members play an important role, and together, make this district strong. FBISD has more than 11,000 employees, and all of them are working hard at district campuses, facilities and offices – proving we will get through this together! THANK YOU FOR BEING GREAT!

Learn more about our efforts at fortbendisd.com/reimagined

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SUGAR LAND - MISSOURI CITY EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

IS WORTH A SHOT PROTECTING YOUR FAMILY

Schedule your flu shot at BSLMG.org/FluSeason.

With no-wait appointments and locations across Greater Houston, it’s easy to protect friends and family this flu season. Keep those you love safe by booking an appointment with your doctor at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group today.

Find a location near you at StLukesHealth.org

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

MARKET TEAM GENERAL MANAGER Amy Martinez amymartinez@communityimpact.com REPORTER Claire Shoop GRAPHIC DESIGNER Chase Brooks ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Amanda Feldott METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Jason Culpepper ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Kristina Shackelford MANAGING EDITOR Marie Leonard ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Tessa Hoee CORPORATE LEADERSHIP PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman WHOWE ARE John and Jennifer Garrett began Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 in Pugerville, TX. The company’s mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses

FROMAMY: Good news, folks—this crazy year is almost over! Between this election and the coronavirus, I know most of us cannot wait to welcome 2021. As you read this, I imagine most of you are captivated with the results of our election this year. Make sure you check out www.communityimpact.com/voter- guide for the results of this year’s election, including any runo information. It’s been almost eight months since our community began feeling the downturn created by COVID-19, and we wanted to know more about

how our local business community is handling the challenges this year has presented. This month we turn to local small- to medium-sized businesses, both new and old, to learn more about what they are overcoming to adapt to this new normal. I’d be remiss if I didn’t declare to our readers how much I love cold weather and all things fall. When the temperature drops, you may nd yourself wondering where you can get a great cup of local, nonconglomerate coee or hot tea. Our team has put together a great list of locally owned coee and tea shops in our area. Make sure you try them out and support your local businesses. I gotta say it—happy fall, y’all! AmyMartinez, GENERALMANAGER

IMPACTS

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Now Open, Coming Soon &more TODO LIST

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Local events and things to do TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES 10 News on local road projects GOVERNMENT 11 Missouri City CARES Act funding

THIS ISSUE BY THE NUMBERS

through the collaboration of a passionate team. Today we operate across six metropolitan areas, providing hyperlocal, nonpartisan news produced by our full-time journalists in each community we serve.

Local sources 21

New businesses 8

Local coee shops Upcoming events 10 6

Our local teams tailor campaigns for all business sizes and industries wanting to reach their customer base and accomplish their nancial goals. Our products ADVERTISEWITHUS

Visit our website for free access to the latest news, photos and infographics about your community and nearby cities. communityimpact.com LIVE UPDATES

BECOMEA#COMMUNITYPATRON Please join your friends and neighbors in support of Community Impact Newspaper’s legacy of local, reliable reporting by making a contribution. Together, we can continue to ensure citizens stay informed and keep businesses thriving. COMMUNITYIMPACT.COMPATRON CONTACT US 245 Commerce Green Blvd., Ste. 200 Sugar Land, TX 77478 • 5129896808 PRESS RELEASES slmnews@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.

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State Fare GUIDE

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Coee, tea shops REAL ESTATE

include newspaper ads; mailbox-targeted sticky notes, inserts and direct mail; and digital options. We also partner with Community Impact Printing for nationwide specialty orders. Our advertising clients self- report 97% satisfaction with their overall experience, and a recent third-party Readex survey proved 78% of paper recipients read three of the last four editions, and from what they read 83% “took action” of some kind. Contact us today for more info! communityimpact.com/advertising

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SUGAR LAND  MISSOURI CITY EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

IMPACTS

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

COMPILED BY CLAIRE SHOOP

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Raising Cane’s

MISSOURI CITY

Sugar Land Town Square

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COURTESY RAISING CANE’S

COURTESY SUGAR LAND TOWN SQUARE

SUGAR LAND

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RENOVATIONS 10 Sugar Land Town Square owner Lionstone Investments announced a multiphase renovation of the development in a press release Oct. 14. The rst phase— which is scheduled to be completed in mid- 2021—will include additional landscaping, new outdoor spaces and increased public seating as well as updated branding, signage and storefronts, according to the release. www.sugarlandtownsquare.com 11 Bar Louie reopened in Sugar Land Town Square Sept. 19 following renovations that included repainting and the instal- lation of modern light xtures, a new air conditioning system and a grass wall photo background. The bar, located at 16089 City Walk, Sugar Land, closed in March under Gov. Greg Abbott’s coronavirus orders. 218-313-9002. www.barlouie.com NAME CHANGES 12 Located at 12930 Dairy Ashford Road, Ste. 401, Sugar Land, construction and property management rm Aloft rebranded as The Estes Cos. , according to a Sept. 29 news release from the business. 281-242-0455. www.estescompanies.com IN THE NEWS In September, Fort Bend County Libraries began its Book Bundles program, allowing patrons to check out ve items from a chosen category or genre that are selected by library sta. Fort Bend County Librar- ies’ buildings remain closed for in-person

banking kiosk, updated technology and open gathering spaces. 832-935-6200. www.pnc.com 7 The Woodlands Financial Group Insurance opened a branch Sept. 1 at 14090 Hwy. 59, Ste. 300, Sugar Land. The branch, owned by Tim Liu, works with residents to provide needed coverage at the best possible rate by tapping into a network of more than 200 insurance carriers. 281-800-8816 www.twfg.com COMING SOON 8 Summer Moon Coee , an Aus- tin-based coee shop, is opening a location in the Oyster Creek Crossing shopping center at 9402 Hwy. 6, Missouri City, before the end of the year, accord- ing to owner Ryan Richardson. The busi- ness is known for its wood-red coee roasting process and signature Moon Milk creamer. www.summermooncoee.com RELOCATIONS 9 SIRE Therapeutic Horsemanship’s Fort Bend County location moved to Taliid Arabian Horse Farm at 3227 Mc- Crary Road, Richmond, for its 2020-21 riding season, which began in Septem- ber. Previously located at the Richmond State Supported Living Center, SIRE Fort Bend had to close and relocate due to COVID-19 restrictions at that facili- ty. The 501(c)(3) organization provides equine-assisted activities and therapies to adults and children with disabilities or developmental disorders. 346-261-1401. www.sire-htec.org

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

NOWOPEN 1 Raising Cane’s opened a location at 12627 S. Kirkwood Road, Staord, in The Grid development Sept. 9. The Louisi- ana-based fast-food restaurant chain is known for its chicken ngers, crinkle-cut fries, coleslaw, Texas toast and Cane’s 2 First Watch , a breakfast, brunch and lunch restaurant, opened a Sugar Land location in the Riverpark Shopping Center on Sept. 28. The restaurant at 17412 W. Grand Parkway S., Sugar Land, is owned by a subsidiary of Mac Haik Enterprises, which operates 14 First Watch locations through- out the Greater Houston area, Austin and College Station. 346-396-4401. www.rstwatch.com sauce. 281-494-8672. www.raisingcanes.com 3 Blue Legend Swim School opened a facility at 6926 Brisbane Court, Sugar Land, on Oct. 20. The indoor swim school oers swimming lessons, coaching and camps for swimmers 4 months and older.

Blue Legend has three other locations in Katy and Houston. 832-598-6666. www.bluelegendswimschool.com 4 Howdy Hot Chicken opened in August at 19922 Hwy. 59, Sugar Land. The restau- rant’s menu features chicken sandwiches, chicken tender baskets and loaded chicken fries, along with sides of mac and cheese, coleslaw and wae fries. 832-847-4974. https://www.facebook.com/pages/ category/Halal-Restaurant/ Howdy-Hot-Chicken-119875229683153/ 5 Clean My Teeth , a dental hygiene oce, opened Oct. 2 at 6130 Hwy. 6, Missouri City. The business oers cleaning, sealant and whitening services at low rates to customers with and without dental 6 A new PNC Bank branch opened in Sugar Land Town Square at 2171 Texas Drive on Sept. 29. This is PNC’s third retail banking location in the Great- er Houston area. Known as a Solution Center, the bank features a self-service insurance. 832-447-7244. www.cleanmyteeth.com

services as of press time. www.fortbend.lib.tx.us

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SUGAR LAND  MISSOURI CITY EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

Ranked number one in the nation for cancer care by U.S. News &World Report.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TODO LIST

Virtual and in-person events in November and December

COMPILED BY BEN DICKERSON

events, such as a Virtual Car Show on Facebook Live, musician-built playlists on the festival’s YouTube channel and artisan spotlights on the PHF Instagram page. Free. Virtual event. www.facebook.com/ PecanHarvestFestivalTX DECEMBER 02 FORTBENDCHRISTIAN ACADEMYSHADOWPLAY Fort Bend Christian Academy will perform Susan Zeder’s “The Taste of Sunrise” as a shadow play for the school and for the deaf community. The production, a collaboration between the schools’ drama and American Sign Language departments, centers on the story of a young deaf boy. 7 p.m., 8:30 p.m. Tickets are free, but must be reserved in advance. Fort Bend Christian Academy North Campus Gym, 1250 Seventh St., Sugar Land. 281-263-9175. www.fortbendchristian.org/the-taste-of- sunrise 04 SUGARLANDTREE LIGHTING As of press time, the city of Sugar Land still plans to hold its annual tree-lighting event Dec. 4. More details have yet to be announced. Sugar Land Town Square, 15958 City Walk, Sugar Land. 281-275-2825. www.sugarlandtx.gov/918/ christmas-tree-lighting

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MISSOURI CITY FIREPOLICE DEPARTMENTFOODDRIVE

NOV. 2729

WORTH THE TRIP ‘THE NUTCRACKER’

As part of the Operation Thanksgiving “Stu the Squad Car and Fire Truck” food drive, the Missouri City police and re departments will collect canned and nonperishable food items for local food pantries. 9 a.m.-noon. Free. 3849 Cartwright Road, Missouri City. 281-403-5819. www.missouricitytx.gov (Courtesy Missouri City Police Department)

Take part in a holiday tradition by attending Vitacca Dance’s presentation of Tchaikovsky’s Christmas ballet. 7 p.m. (Fri.); 1 p.m., 6 p.m. (Sat.-Sun.). $50-$185; $17 (VIP add-on experience for Sat. and Sun. matinees). The Woodlands Resort, 2301 N. Millbend Drive, The Woodlands. 281-367-7185. www.vitaccadance.com (Courtesy Vitacca Dance)

NOVEMBER 13 THROUGH 19 JINGLETREE

The event’s “Festive Finale” features a live auction of decorative trees, proceeds from which will benet community organizations and nonprots. Nov. 13, 10 a.m. (tree lighting); Nov. 16-18, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (workshop); Nov. 19, 7 p.m. (nale). Ticket prices vary. HMNS at Sugar Land, 13016 University Blvd., Sugar Land. 281- 313-2277, ext. 104.

www.hmns.org/hmns-at-sugar-land/ events/jingle-tree 22 THROUGH 26 PECANHARVEST FESTIVAL ONLINE This year the Pecan Harvest Festival will be completely online for the rst time. The virtual festival will include various

At this weeklong virtual event hosted by the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land, guests can attend a tree lighting and a “holiday how-to” workshop.

Find more or submit Sugar Land and Missouri City 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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SUGAR LAND  MISSOURI CITY EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES Harris County axes potential Fort Bend Parkway extension There will be no extension to the

COMPILED BY CLAIRE SHOOP & HUNTER MARROW

UPCOMING PROJECTS

SOLDIERS FIELD DR.

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Soldiers Field Drive extension The engineering design phase for a project to construct a two-lane con- crete pavement road connecting the Soldiers Field Drive and First Colony Boulevard intersection to Hwy. 6 is almost nished, according to the city of Sugar Land. Construction on the project is projected to start in scal year 2021-22 and last approximately 330 days. Timeline: scal year 2021-22 Cost: $2.46 million Funding source: city of Sugar Land

Fort Bend Parkway to connect it with the southwest corner of Loop 610—at least not without future approval from the Harris County Commissioners Court. The Harris County Commissioners Court voted unanimously Sept. 29 to halt plans for a toll road extension on or along South Post Oak Road. The motion, fromPrecinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis, gives the court the ability to resume plans if it desires at a later date. The motion was seconded by Com- missioner Steve Radack of Precinct 3, where the proposed extension would largely lie. “Inmy humble opinion, there is absolutely no reason for that project to proceed,” Radack said. “It’s never become a project; it was frankly just a line on a piece of paper, and it’s been

Harris County Commissioners Court has stopped plans for an extension to the Fort Bend Parkway. (Community Impact Newspaper sta)

Transit Authority of Harris County’s Curb2Curb app went live, allowing customers to book rides on its Community Connector shuttle service ahead of time. On the app, riders can book a ride anywhere from 15 minutes to seven days in advance and track the progress of the vehicle while waiting for it to arrive, according to METRO’s website. METRO’s Community Connector that way for a long, long time, and it’ll probably stay there, but I see no reason for any construction to proceed.” The vote halts any future study, the rst of which was approved in February 2018 by Commissioners Court for $870,000 through a contract with Brown & Gay Engineers Inc. The scope included collecting trac data to determine impacts to the area. A proposed route for the extension

serves much of the Missouri City area, providing on-demand transportation from any location in the service area to any other location in the service area, or to and from an anchor stop— the Walmart on Hwy. 6 or the Missouri City Park and Ride on Fondren Road— to any location within the zone. Community Connector hours are daily 5 a.m.-7 p.m., and the fare is $1.25 per ride. Customers without access to the app can still call METRO to schedule a ride. would have brought the tollway through theWestbury neighborhood, drawing concerns during the meeting. “This road will negatively impact residents who live along the South Post Oak Road corridor fromWest Bellfort [Boulevard] all the way to Beltway 8,” said Becky Edmondson, president of theWestbury Area Improvement Corp. and co-president of theWestbury Super Neighborhood.

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City Hall Drive reconstruction The city of Missouri City is working with Fort Bend County to authorize reconstruction of City Hall Drive, which connects Texas Parkway to the City Hall complex and the Missouri City branch of Fort Bend County Libraries. City Engineer Shashi Kumar said the project is needed because the pavement condition is poor. Timeline: summer 2021 Cost: $1.8 million Funding sources: Fort Bend County, city of Missouri City

METRO launches Community Connector app In September, the Metropolitan

Missouri City residents can use the new app to book rides on the shuttle service. COMMUNITY CONNECTOR APP

SOURCE: METRO COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF OCT. 12. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT SLMNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

GOVERNMENT Missouri City to help residents with COVID-19 relief dollars

CARINGWITH CARES ACT FUNDING SOURCE:CITY OF MISSOURI CITY/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Approximately half of Missouri City’s federal coronavirus aid funding is going toward community outreach initiatives.

$5,000 over two months Maximum available for one family:

BY CLAIRE SHOOP

The application for the rental, mort- gage and utility assistance program opened Sept. 28, and Jones said about 561 applications had been submitted as of Oct. 28. Households are eligible to receive up to $2,000 per month for rent or mortgage payments and $500 for utility payments for a maximumof twomonths. Council Member Jeffrey Boney commended the city for increasing the funding for the small-business program. “The grant funds are desperately needed,” Boney said. “They cannot have enough because of what they’ve had to endure by closing their doors over the months that they had to deal with COVID.” Approximately 110Missouri City businesses have applied for the small-business assistance program, which launched Oct. 11. Eligible businesses can receive grants for up to $15,000 to cover lease andmortgage costs for the remainder of the year. “These grants are important to us because we took a pretty hard hit due to COVID. Everything we had cakes for—parties, weddings, bar mitzvahs— were canceled,” Sweets in the Sky bakery owner Jonathan Lindsley said in a virtual small-business meeting. Applications for the programs will be accepted until all the aid has been dispersed. In addition, CARES Act funds will be spent on personal protective equipment, first responder safety equipment, ultraviolet sani- tizing entryways and technological upgrades.

Missouri City residents and business owners have a new opportunity for COVID-19 relief funding after the city approved putting nearly half of its federal aid toward public outreach initiatives. City Manager Odis Jones said using the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act dollars on a rental, mortgage and utility assistance program for residents and a small-busi- ness assistance programwill alleviate some of the financial burden caused by pandemic-related closures and job loss. “It is very important for the city and for our residents and our business community that we come out of this thing stronger than we went into it,” Jones said. Missouri City’s $4.1 million allotment of federal funding was distributed to the city fromboth Fort Bend and Harris counties based on the city’s popula- tion. In accordance with the federal law, which passed Congress inMarch, the city is eligible to be reimbursed for certain coronavirus-related expenses incurred prior to Dec. 30. Of the city’s available federal funding, City Council unanimously approved setting aside $500,000 for the residential rent, mortgage and assistance program and $1.5 million to aid small businesses with their leases or mortgages. An additional $304,000 of CARES Act money will be spent on the city’s contract withMPACT Strate- gic Consulting, the business managing the assistance programs.

Rental, mortgage and utilities assistance program

Applications received: 561 (as of Oct. 28) Deadline: Applications will be accepted until Nov. 22 or until all available funding is dispersed. Eligibility requirements: Missouri City residency, financial burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, have not received aid from or applied for similar assistance for the same time period, landlord or mortgage company must agree to participate in the program

$500K Total money available:

Missouri City City Council approved federal coronavirus aid for residents and the small-business community, among other coronavirus-related expenses.

Maximum available for each business:

$15K

Small-business grant program

Applications received: 111 (as of Oct. 28) Deadline: Applications will be accepted until Nov. 22 or until funding is exhausted. Eligibility requirements: located within Missouri City, annual revenue between $25,000 and $5 million with between one to 50 full-time employees, loss of 25% or more in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, operational as of Feb. 5 and has not permanently closed, in good standing with the state and city

$1.5M Total money available:

Other Missouri City costs offset by CARES Act funding

Telework and meeting connectivity: $110,824 Personal protective equipment for senior citizens: $75,000 System to take visitor and employee temperatures: $38,775 Plexiglass for city facilities: $20,000

Ultraviolet sanitizing entrance gates for city buildings: $338,250 Hazardous pay for first responders: $182,000 Technology upgrades to the emergency operations center: $160,000 First responder equipment: $117,048

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SUGAR LAND - MISSOURI CITY EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

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Fort Bend County experienced record turnout numbers during early voting.

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FORTBENDCOUNTY On Oct. 13—the rst day of early voting—several Fort Bend County voters took to social media to report long lines and delays at voting sites throughout the county. Fort Bend County Election Admin- istrator John Oldham told Community Impact Newspaper the problemwas caused by the election dates not align- ing between the county’s electronic poll books—the le system that is used to conrmpeople’s voter registration and check them in—and the server. “It was human error, and it goes back to when we rst set the election up before the governor changed the early-voting dates,” Oldham said. Despite the rst-day delays, Fort

Bend County saw 280,503 voters cast ballots in person during the early-voting period Oct. 13-29 for the Nov. 3 election as of press time, according to data from the county’s elections administrator. As of Oct. 29, the county had also received 26,789 mail-in ballots, county records show. The county has 476,910 registered voters, meaning 64% of eligible voters have done so between Oct. 13-29. For comparison, ahead of the last presidential election in 2016, Fort Bend County had a total of 201,655 voters, representing 49.91% of registered voters, cast ballots in person during the two-week early voting period, accord- ing to the Texas secretary of state. George surveyed bar owners before making a decision. “Our survey of bar owners andman- agers showed that the overwhelming majority of themwould like to open and that they would implement the Department of State Health Services protocols in their establishments,” George said. If the hospitalization rate due to COVID-19 reaches a certain level, Abbott said he will shut down the establishments again. “My message to all bar owners, managers and customers is be safe; be smart,” George said.

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BY NOLA Z. VALENTE Fort Bend County bars reopen at 50%capacity

FORTBENDCOUNTY Fort Bend County Judge KP George allowed bars in the county to reopen at 50% capac- ity Oct. 14. George’s decision came after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott punted the decision to reopen bars to county ocials Oct. 7. “It is time to open themup,” Abbott said in the announcement. “Initially, they can open at a 50% capacity provided that they follow the safety protocols. If we continue to contain [COVID-19], then the openings, just like other businesses, should be able to expand in the near future.”

Plans vary by region and not all benefits are covered on all plans. Hearing benefit per ear.* Ask your licensed representative for details. WellCare Health Plans, Inc., is an HMO, PPO, PDP, PFFS plan with a Medicare contract and is an approved Part D Sponsor. Enrollment in our plans depends on contract renewal. Please contact our plans for details. For accommodation of persons with special needs at sales meetings, call 1-877-MY-WELLCARE (TTY: 711). There is no obligation to enroll. Our plans use a formulary. The formulary and/or pharmacy network may change at any time. You will receive notice when necessary. You have the choice to sign up for automated mail service delivery. You can get prescription drugs shipped to your home through our network mail service delivery program. You should expect to receive your prescription drugs within 10–14 calendar days from the time that the mail service pharmacy receives the order. If you do not receive your prescription drugs within this time, please contact us at 1-866-808-7471 (TTY 711), 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or visit mailrx.wellcare.com. Y0070_WCM_62577E_FINAL13_M CMS Accepted 09132020 NA1WCMADV64076E_WCBA ©WellCare 2020

MEETINGSWE COVER

Sugar Land City Council 2700 Town Center Blvd. N.,Sugar Land. Nov. 17, Dec. 1 at 5:30 p.m. Missouri City City Council 1522 Texas Parkway, Missouri City Nov. 16, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.

Fort Bend County Commissioners Court 401 Jackson St., Richmond

Nov. 10, Nov. 24, Dec. 1 at 1 p.m. Fort Bend ISD board of trustees 16431 Lexington Blvd., Sugar Land Nov. 9, Nov. 16 at 6 p.m.

13

SUGAR LAND  MISSOURI CITY EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

FIGHTING THE FLU STARTS WITH YOU

This flu season brings with it a whole new set of challenges. But we can all do our part to keep Houston healthy and safe, and it starts with getting a flu shot. It protects you, your family, and our community. It also helps minimize the stress on Houstonʼs healthcare system. Plus, with the enhanced safety measures in place at Memorial Hermann facilities, you can get your flu shot safely and with peace of mind. PROTECT YOURSELF. PROTECT OUR COMMUNITY. GET YOUR FLU SHOT TODAY.

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To schedule, visit memorialhermann.org/flu

14

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

REGIONAL

Due to COVID19, Space Center Houston ocials have implemented changes tomake themuseumengaging for guests while prioritizing safety. (Courtesy Space Center Houston)

‘Inspiring during challenging times’

Visitor COVID-19 has aected how many Space Center Houston visitors come from outside the United States. breakdown

Space Center Houston adjusts to pandemic, plans future attractions

Like those involved in Apollo 13, fail- ure was not an option for Space Center Houston during the pandemic. “We know who we are and where we’re going, but the how we have to get there now has denitely changed,” Baerg said. Many innovations were planned before COVID-19 and expedited due to the pandemic, and others were born from needs the pandemic created, said Meridyth Moore, the communications supervisor for the museum. “It’s really been ... a time where we decided we had to make the best out of these situations,” she said. Space Center Houston has already innovated during the pandemic, using NASA as inspiration, but it is already thinking beyond the pandemic. “NASA is all about inspiration and inspiring during challenging times. That’s what NASA does so well,” said Baerg, noting Space Center Houston wanted to similarly be a place where guests could still be amazed despite the pandemic. Looking forward, there are poten- tial plans to turn land behind the museum into Mars and lunar yards, Moore said. Both yards would allow guests to train how to operate robots and per- form other tasks as if they were living on Mars or the moon, which astro- nauts will actually be doing in the

coming years. The yards would be the rst time the museum, which sits on Johnson Space Center property, could provide training space for astronauts, as Johnson Space Center is running out of adequate room to train astro- nauts, Moore said. Additionally, a potential astronaut training course would allow guests to experience what it is like to train like an astronaut and see if they have what it takes, Moore said. “It’s the most unique future experi- ence … here on the grounds you’ll be able to get anywhere. We knowno one is doing anything like this,” she said. Other long-term goals include cre- ating an entrance to the museum at Rocket Park and building a sky bridge allowing residents to travel between the museum and the park without needing to take the tram, Moore said. It is unclear when Space Center Houston will return to normal opera- tions and see the over 1 million guests who were visiting annually before the pandemic began. But the museum is doing what it can to improve the guest experience while thinking ahead, Moore said. “We still have to keep our eye on the future,” she said.

BY JAKE MAGEE Fifty years ago, when the Apollo 13 astronauts were on their way back to Earth after having abandoned their mission to land on the moon due to an oxygen tank problem, many wondered if the crewwould make it back alive. But for Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Clear Lake, failure was not an option. On April 17, 1970, mil- lions watched television broadcasts of the crew safely splashing down in the Pacic Ocean. Earlier this year, Space Center Hous- ton, one of the Houston area’s most popular museums, planned a celebra- tion around the historic mission. The COVID-19 pandemic changed those plans. While Space Center Hous- ton ocials were looking forward to the museum’s best year yet, the coro- navirus shut it down for months and put a damper on events. However, while the museum is still open only at a limited capacity, ocials used the pandemic to implement some immediate changes and focus on long- term improvements, Chief Operating Ocer Mary Baerg said. For instance, Space Center Houston has conceptual plans to turn woodlands behind the museum into a Mars yard and lunar yard where astronauts could train how to live on the moon and Mars, and guests would be able to experience the training themselves.

2019 Top 4 international visitors

UNITED KINGDOM: 1.9%

CANADA: 1.6%

MEXICO: 1.1%

AUSTRALIA: 1.2%

2020 Top 4 international visitors

UNITED KINGDOM: 1.1%

CANADA: 1%

MEXICO: 0.6%

GUAM: 0.7%

visitors from outside the United States 13.3% 2019

8% 2020

visitors from outside the United States

For more information, visit communityimpact.com .

SOURCE: SPACE CENTER HOUSTON COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

15

SUGAR LAND  MISSOURI CITY EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

FIRST LOOK State Fare

ANATOMY OF A STATE FARE APPETIZER

jalapeno and andouille sausages

honey

pimento cheese

Kitchen&Bar Southern comfort eatery thrives in Sugar Land E ven during the coronavirus pandemic, State Fare Kitchen & Bar—which opened in Sugar Land Town Square on July 8—draws large weekend and brunch crowds leading to hours long waits, Director of Operations Justin Yoakum said. “The hardest part is not being able to accommo- date everyone,” Yoakum said. “Especially when we are operating at [reduced] capacity.” In addition to limiting the number of customers, the restaurant is following the appropriate health and safety protocols by spacing tables at least 6 feet apart, monitoring the well-being of sta, and requiring masks when guests are not eating or drinking, Yoakum said. Yoakum, who oversees the food program at both the new Sugar Land location and the original location in Houston’s Memorial City, said most people are attracted to the restaurant for its unique identity. “I feel like we’re an upbeat Southern concept,” Yoa- kum said. “So we have a bunch of really cool twists on Southern favorites. Then also we have a couple of spin os of fair-type food—like we have fried Oreos and funnel cake—as well.” Yoakum said he works to stay on top of the latest culinary trends and changes up the menu at least once or twice a year. Current menu oerings include Texas Red beef chili Frito pie, Sabine Pass gumbo, HTown hot fried chicken and a Kuykendahl burger. Drinks are no exception, as the restaurant is constantly rotating out its selection of frozen cock- tails, Yoakum said. New this fall is a pumpkin spice cocktail, he added. “Just as much as the food is important, the drinks are really important,” he said. “We take pride in hav- ing our beverage program be very driven. We print our menus in house, and we change them up daily.” BY CLAIRE SHOOP

seasonally available Texas cheeses

spicy mustard

seasoned crackers and bread

The Southern Farm Board appetizer is available at State Fare Kitchen & Bar for $18. (Photos by Claire Shoop/ Community Impact Newspaper)

smoked back deviled eggs

AMENU FOR EVERY OCCASION Lunch: Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Dinner: Mon.-Sun. 4 p.m.-close Brunch: Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Happy Hour: Mon.-Fri. 3-6 p.m. Dessert: served all the time Family Fare: large carry-out orders

Dixie Burger ($18): Texas Akaushi beef, pimento cheese, crispy onions, dill pickle and housemade barbecue sauce

State Fare Director of Operations Justin Yoakum in the restaurant’s music room.

6

State FareKitchen&Bar 15930 City Walk, Sugar Land 713-234-1405 www.statefaretx.com Hours: Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.- 10:30 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

59

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

GUIDE

Local coee, tea shops in Sugar Land, Missouri City

COMPILED BY CLAIRE SHOOP

As the temperatures get cooler, these local Sugar Land and Missouri City coee shops are serving up warm cups of joe and other tasty treats. This list is noncomprehensive. Sugar Land & Missouri City Coffee Guide

Decadent: A Coee and Dessert Bar 350 Promenade Way, Ste. 500, Sugar Land 8325000511

open 85°C Bakery Cafe 13509 University Blvd., Ste. A200, Sugar Land 2812076493 www.85cbakerycafe.com Hours: Mon.-Thu. 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri-Sat. 8 a.m.-9 p.m. The name 85°C Bakery Cafe comes from the temperature the corporate-owned cafes keep their coee. In addition to coee drinks, the busi- ness serves more than 50 types of pastries. Bean Here Coee 4340 Sienna Parkway, Ste. 102, Missouri City 2817786858 https://beanherecoee.business.site Hours: Mon.-Sat. 6 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. As a full-line coee shop, Bean Here Coee is a small-batch, in-house coee roaster. Birdhouse Coee 7270 Hwy. 6, Ste. 100, Missouri City 2819697239 Featuring a modern indoor seating area and patio space, Birdhouse Coee oers drip coee, espresso drinks, nitro cold brew, lattes and teas. BlendIn Coee Club 8410 Hwy. 90A, Bldg. B, Sugar Land 3463682895 www.blendincoeeclub.com Hours: Mon.-Sun. 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Owned byWeihong Zhang, BlendIn Coee Club roasts and brews coee beans in house. www.birdhousecoeemctx.com Hours: Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

www.decadentsugarland.com Hours: Mon.-Thu. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.,

Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Decadent’s lattemenu includes cinnamon yum, wedding cake, salted caramel cupcake, Southern butter pecan and a half dozenmore avors. Minuti Coee 1535 Hwy. 6, Sugar Land 2812653344 www.minuticoee.com Hours: Mon.-Thu. 6 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. 6 a.m.- 10 p.m., Sat. 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.-9 p.m. With locations throughout the Houston area, Minuti Coee serves soups, sandwiches, pastries andmore in addition to its Italian coee selection. Rustika Cafe and Bakery 3227 Hwy. 6, Sugar Land 2814944230 www.rustikacafe.com Hours: Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. noon-5 p.m. Customers at Rustika can get a coee or espresso drink to accompany a sweet or savory bakery item. Sweet Paris Crêperie & Café 15911 City Walk, Sugar Land 3463682029 www.sweetparis.com Hours: Sun.-Thu. 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 8 a.m.-10 p.m. The restaurant’s French street faremenu also features specialty coees such as a Nutella latte and spiced chai latte. COMING SOON

BlendIn Coee Club COURTESY BLENDIN COFFEE CLUB

Sweet Paris Crêperie & Café COURTESY SWEET PARIS CRÊPERIE & CAFÉJULIE SOEFER

Coffee Creations

MOCHA A latte with chocolate syrup and whipped cream LATTE Milk foam, steamed milk and espresso CAPPUCINO Milk foam, steamed milk and espresso ESPRESSO Strong black coee made by forcing steam through nely ground coee beans

MACCHIATO Espresso with a dollop of foamed milk on top

AMERICANO Hot water and espresso

Coco Crepes, Waes & Coee 13533 University Blvd., Sugar Land 2812076540 www.cococrepes.com Hours: Sun.-Thu. 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 9 a.m.-11 p.m.

FLAT WHITE Steamed milk and espresso

Summer Moon Coee 9402 Hwy. 6, Missouri City www.summermooncoee.com

COLD BREW Coee brewed with room temperature water or cold water over a 12-to-24 hour brew time

The Austin-based coee franchise is known for its wood-red coee-roasting process and signatureMoonMilk creamer. The business is expected to open by the end of 2020.

In addition to espresso coee drinks and cococci- no blended drinks, the restaurant’s nine Houston locations serve crepes, waes, panini sandwich- es, soups and salads.

SOURCES: TEAVANA, STARBUCKS, TEATULIACOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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17

SUGAR LAND  MISSOURI CITY EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

CONTINUED FROM 1

City has varied. Sugar Land saw sales tax revenue down between8%and 22% from March through August compared to the same months last year. Missouri City’s allocation uctuated between down 1% to up more than 14% during the same period. Missouri City City Manager Odis Jones said the city is attributing the increases in sales tax revenue to res- idents who might be working from home during the pandemic choosing to shop closer to home. “If there is a bright spot, it’s that folks staying home and shopping leads to

dierent degrees of vitality not only for businesses here in Missouri City, but also to the city,” Jones said. Jennifer Brown, Sugar Land’s direc- tor of nance, said although the city’s sales revenue is still down, the eects have not been as bad as the city origi- nally projected. “I can’t really speak about consumer behavior and what has changed,” Brown said in an email. “But our main impacts have been seen in retail, and food and entertainment, which have been impacted by the pandemic through state restrictions and changes

in discretionary spending habits due to uncertainty in the economy.” Sales tax revenue is just one compo- nent of a city’s budget. Many local gov- ernments also collect property taxes, and these values take much longer to change than sales tax revenue does in the midst of an economic crisis, Thurmond said. If sales tax revenue decreases and property taxes remain relatively unchanged, for example, expenditureswouldneed to be cut else- where in a local budget, he said. For scal year 2019-20, sales tax rev- enue is projected to account for 39.5% of the city of Sugar Land’s total reve- nues. In Missouri City, it is projected to account for 18.5% of the city’s total rev- enue, according to budget documents. “Some cities are very dependent upon their sales tax, and some cities aren’t because they don’t get as much sales tax,” Thurmond said. Businessburdens Despite Missouri City’s sales tax showing growth, restaurants such as Sugar’s Cajun Cuisine & Bar have seen business levels so low they are not sustainable and have used any reserve funding, owner Darryl Austin said. Austin said Sugar’s, located in Mis- souri City’s Township Square, is getting by on “a whole lot of prayer.” “We were shut down for several months, and we’re just getting back going really,” Austin said. “Business is a fraction of what it was previously, and honestly I’mnot quite surewe are going tomake it, to be honest.” One explanation for why local busi- nesses are feeling the brunt of the pan- demic despite city sales tax gures is big-box stores—not local businesses— produce the most sales tax revenue, according to city ocials. Allena Portis, Missouri City’s direc- tor of nancial services, said 46% of the city’s sales tax revenue in 2019 was from retail stores with only 11% from restaurants. For Sugar Land, Brown said traditionally the businesses pro- ducing the most sales tax revenue for the city are big-box retailers, big-name clothing stores located at or near First Colony Mall, chain electronics sellers and e-commerce companies. Livia Fallet and her husband, Mark, own Frogs, Snails and Fairy Tales, an indoor play place for young children and toddlers located at the Telfair shopping center in Sugar Land. Even after thebusiness reopened in late June, Fallet said revenue is down consider- ably, and it has been dicult to con- tinue operating, especially because the facility previously served as a gathering

strain of the pandemic for the past sevenmonths. “Local government is only as strong as the local economy,” said James Thurmond, a former city manager and current graduate professor in public administration at the University of Houston. “[If] they don’t have money coming in, they can’t provide some of thebasic services theyneed toprovide.” Sales taxturbulence The pandemic’s eect on sales tax revenue in Sugar Land and Missouri

REGIONAL REPORT

S A L E S TA X AUGUST 2019 VS. AUGUST 2020 Sales tax revenue growth Sales tax revenue decline

Due to COVID-19, some Houston-area cities have seen hits to their sales tax revenue, but others were not aected or saw sales tax revenue increase. See the percent change between August 2019 and August 2020 sales tax revenue for surrounding cities.

SALES TAX SNAPSHOT: CITY OF HOUSTON

2019 2020

MONTGOMERY

$80M

CONROE

8.31%

$60M

0.84%

$40M

45

11.19%

MAGNOLIA

$20M

+12.48%

$0

TOMBALL

Feb.

March April

June May July Aug.

0.59%

99

HUMBLE

+0.21%

290

69

+5.56%

+100.18%

KATY

10

610

WEST UNIVERSITY PLACE

BELLAIRE

1093

45

11.56%

+6.96%

13.15%

+3.36%

MISSOURI CITY

SUGAR LAND

NASSAU BAY

CLEAR LAKE SHORES

PEARLAND FRIENDSWOOD

+0.17%

+11.75%

69

0.09%

LEAGUE CITY

+27.27%

SOURCE: TEXAS OPEN DATA PORTALCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

MAP NOT TO SCALE N

18

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

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