Cy-Fair Edition | December Edition

CYFAIR EDITION

VOLUME 12, ISSUE 4  DEC. 3, 2020JAN. 6, 2021

ONLINE AT

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Rowingagainst As millions of dollars worth of ood control projects progress along Cypress Creek, ocials said tens of thousands of homes could be removed from the ood plain over the next decade. However, ooding will continue to be an issue in low-lying areas. the current

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IMPACTS

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$427M of $2.5B in funds have been authorized from a 2018 bond referendum.

37 pending 144 active

181 projects

Roughly $300 million overall is dedicated to Cypress Creek.

SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL DISTRICTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

TODO LIST 20 S enior S LIVING GUIDE 9 GUIDE

The Harris County Flood Control District has begun work on channel improvements near the Timberlake Estates and Ravensway neighborhoods in Cy-Fair, which is expected to be completed in 2021. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)

Religiousgroups regather, ndnewnormal inpandemic

BY DANICA LLOYD

When county ocials called for closures this spring to curb the spread of the coronavirus, a number of churches in Cy-Fair pivoted to exclusively virtual services. Many have since found ways to reopen for in-person worship, but subtle and overt reminders of the pandemic’s eects remain, from prepackaged Communion elements to a lack of handshakes and hugs. Vivian Mueller, the director of business operations at The CONTINUED ON 30

Community of Faith church members donned face masks to welcome attendees back in June. (Courtesy Community of Faith)

DINING FEATURE

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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

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

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CY-FAIR EDITION • DECEMBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

FROMEMILY: Our passionate Cy-Fair team and I are grateful for the opportunity to deliver hyperlocal and trustworthy news to our loyal readers. We are also thankful for the local businesses that partner with us to allow us to provide this paper free of charge. Please show support for our business community by browsing our advertisements and our Impact Deals section. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Emily Heineman, GENERALMANAGER

MARKET TEAM GENERAL MANAGER Emily Heineman, eheineman@communityimpact.com SENIOR EDITOR Shawn Arrajj SENIOR REPORTER Danica Lloyd GRAPHIC DESIGNER Stephanie Torres ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Karen Nickerson METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Jason Culpepper MANAGING EDITOR Marie Leonard ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Kaitlin Schmidt CORPORATE LEADERSHIP PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner 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 through the collaboration of a passionate team. Today, we operate across ve metropolitan areas, providing hyperlocal, nonpartisan news produced by our full-time journalists in each community we serve. BECOMEA#COMMUNITYPATRON CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman WHOWE ARE

IMPACTS

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Now Open, Coming Soon &more TODO LIST

FROMSHAWN: This month’s paper features the third and nal part of our series on ooding on Cypress Creek, which takes a look at what progress has been made since a $2.5 billion bond referendum was passed in 2018 and what can be expected in the long term. As the holiday season approaches, many families are looking for ways to celebrate while also staying safe. Our second cover story explores creative ways local churches are fostering a sense of community. Shawn Arrajj, EDITOR

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2020 Senior Living Guide Local events and things to know TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES 11 Updates on Cy-Fair mobility projects ELECTION RESULTS 13 Voter turnout, trends favor Republican candidates PUBLIC SAFETY 15 Gun sales up in Cy-Fair SENIOR LIVING OPTIONS 20

THIS ISSUE BY THE NUMBERS

Local sources 33

New businesses 14

Community events 12

Local senior living communities 29

Please join your friends and neighbors in support of Community Impact

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stay informed and keep businesses thriving. COMMUNITYIMPACT.COMPATRON CONTACT US 8400 N. Sam Houston Parkway W., Ste. 200 Houston, TX 77064 • 2814696181 PRESS RELEASES cyfnews@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.

BUSINESS FEATURE Callegari Equestrian Center DINING FEATURE

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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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CYFAIR EDITION • DECEMBER 2020

IMPACTS

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

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COURTESY FIRST WATCH

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Cajun Lime, Smokey BBQ, Garlic Parm and Naked. House-made dipping sauces, salads, desserts and sides, such as umami fries and sweet potato tots, are also on the menu. Four-packs of 16-ounce cans of Lazy Dog’s house beers are available for $15 each. www.jolenes.com 6 Raising Cane’s celebrated the grand opening of its newest restaurant, located at 10950 Louetta Road, Houston, on Oct. 29. The Louisiana-based eatery is known for its chicken tenders, crinkle-cut fries, coleslaw, Texas toast and signature Cane’s sauce. 281-251-0668. www.raisingcanes.com 7 California-based Dog Haus Bier- garten opened Nov. 21 at 8422 N. Hwy. 6, Houston. It is the first Houston area location of the franchise, which is known for its gourmet hot dogs and handcrafted hamburgers. The eatery also offers fried chicken sandwiches, wings, shakes and 24 craft beers on tap. The 3,264-square- foot location features high-definition big-screen TVs and a full bar with wine and house cocktails. 832-427-1284. http://copperfield.doghaus.com 8 Nekter Juice Bar opened a new location at the Boardwalk at Towne Lake, 9915 Barker Cypress Road, Ste. 165, Cypress, in November. The business offers fresh juices, smoothies, acai bowls, cleanses and catering. www.nekterjuicebar.com 9 Rosati’s Pizza held a grand open- ing Nov. 2 at 9814 Fry Road, Ste. 120, Cypress. The restaurant’s menu includes Chicago-style deep dish, double dough, thin crust and gluten-free pizzas as well as wings, salads, pastas and sandwiches. 832-402-1100.

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TM; © 2020 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

NOWOPEN 1 Pronto Southwest Grill opened in late September at 13110 FM 529, Ste. 4, Houston. The locally owned eatery serves burgers, sandwiches, tacos, baked pota- toes, salads and fajitas and offers free ice cream with every meal. 833-320-1150. www.prontosouthwest.com 2 First Watch celebrated a grand open- ing Nov. 16 at the Boardwalk at Towne Lake, 9915 Barker Cypress Road, Cypress. The cafe offers classic breakfast items, such as omelets and pancakes, in addition to avocado toast, wraps, breakfast tacos,

new tenant, Five Below , to its shopping center in October at 28802 Hwy. 290, Ste. D-01, Cypress. The specialty discount store is known for the fact that most products it offers, from clothing items to toys, snacks and home decor, cost $5 or less. 832-402-1814. www.fivebelow.com 5 Jolene’s Wings & Beer , a new virtual restaurant exclusively offering deliv- ery and takeout services through its website and third-party apps, opened at Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, 20030 Hwy. 290, Houston, on Nov. 11. The new eatery offers eight flavors of bone-in and boneless wings, including Nashville Hot, Buffalo, Kung Pao, Sweet Chili,

salads, sandwiches and fresh juices. First Watch is open daily from 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 346-396-4402. www.firstwatch.com 3 Crumbl Cookies opened Nov. 12 at the Boardwalk at Towne Lake, 9915 Barker Cypress Road, Ste. 155, Cy- press. The bakery offers a rotating weekly menu of specialty cookies in addition to classic sugar and chocolate chip cookies. Cookies are prepared in an open kitchen designed so customers can see the entire process. Curbside pickup and delivery options are also available. 346-278-2112. www.crumblcookies.com/townelake 4 Fairfield Town Center welcomed a

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY SHAWN ARRAJJ & DANICA LLOYD

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Cheerz Daiquiris To-Go

Tumble 22

COURTESY CHEERZ DAIQUIRIS TO-GO

COURTESY TUMBLE 22

www.myrosatis.com/cypress 10 Local Asian-fusion eatery Bao Bros. Bistro opened Oct. 24 at 8574 Hwy. 6 N., Houston. The restaurant’s menu features steamed buns, or bao, as well as boba tea and beer. Owner Chris Garcia, a Copper- field native, has pledged to give 20% of profits back to his employees and local community. 832-674-8343. www.baobrosbistro.com 11 A new office, warehouse and showroom space for Cubiture opened at the end of September at 10704 Telge Road, Houston. The commercial-grade office furniture company specializes in commercial furnishings, new cubicle sys- tems and remanufactured Herman Miller cubicle systems. In addition to selling a variety of office furniture, the business also provides various services, such as custom millwork, relocation, storage and flooring. 713-412-0900. www.cubiture.com 12 Cheerz Daiquiris To-Go opened in early November at 12925A W. FM 1960, Houston. In addition to frozen beverages, Cajun-style dishes are also available for takeout, including wings, fish, shrimp, chicken, gumbo and sides. 713-389-5565. www.cheerztogo.com A new branch of the home cleaning service You’ve Got Maids opened Nov. 4 servicing the Cypress area. Clients who contact You’ve Got Maids can have uniformed employees and a trained supervisor arrive at their house in a car with the company logo. Employees bring all cleaning products and equipment. Services can be arranged on a weekly or biweekly basis. The new branch is run by the husband-wife duo Marqela and Justin

Goff. 832-400-6243. www.youvegotmaids.com/ house-cleaning/tx/cypress COMING SOON

CUT! by Cinemark Cypress opened Nov. 12 in the Fairfield Town Center in Cypress.

SHAWN ARRAJJ/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

FEATURED IMPACT NOWOPEN CUT! by Cinemark Cypress opened to the public Nov. 12 at 29030 Hwy. 290, Cypress. The eight-screen movie theater also features electric-powered, oversized recliners and an outdoor patio with a replace. Moviegoers can order from a full food and drink menu, including pizzas, burgers, wings, salads, popcorn, candy, wine, beer and signature cocktails, to have items delivered directly to their seats in the theater. “Cinemark is pleased to continue to evolve the moviegoing experience with our CUT! concept at a time when people need entertainment and an escape from reality the most,” Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi said in a press release. Tickets for new and classic lms are ANNIVERSARIES 16 Aerodrome Ice Skating Complex is celebrating 25 years in business with fes- tivities throughout the month of Decem- ber. The complex offers public skating, private lessons and hockey programs. A pro-shop tent sale is planned Dec. 4-5 at 8220 Willow Place Drive North, Houston, featuring discounted hockey gear and fig- ure skating merchandise. 281-847-5283. www.aerodromes.com

available for purchase online, and private watch parties, which allow customers to rent an entire theater, are also available. Safety measures in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic include extensive disinfection in between showings, limited capacities, mandatory face masks and no-contact payment methods. 281-256-8744. www.cinemark.com

13 Tumble 22 , an Austin-based eatery, is planning to open its fourth restaurant in Vintage Park in the former location of PDQ, located at 10723 Louetta Road, Houston. Inspired by Nashville hot chicken, the new restaurant’s menu will offer chicken tender bites, jumbo chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches and bone-in chicken with five heat levels, from “Wimpy” to “Cluckin’ Hot.” The menu will also offer salads; family pack options; sides, such as the dirty mac-n- cheese, which is made with pulled hot chicken and ranch; and dessert options. A projected opening date has not yet been announced as of press time. 281-547-6300. www.tumble22.com 14 Kumon Math and Reading Pro- gram is set to open in a 1,300-square- foot space at Lakeland Village Center, 10615 Fry Road, Ste. B2-200, in January. Instructors and assistants tailor individ- ualized reading and math curriculum for students from 3 years old to high school for enrichment or remediation. www.kumon.com 15 Basketball training center Shoot 360 is slated to open Dec. 15 at 13018 Brittmoore Park Drive, Houston, with an open house planned for Dec. 19 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Athletes of all ages can take advantage of expert coaching and interactive technology to test, train, track and compete. www.shoot360.com/houston

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CLOSINGS 17 Kimberly Williams-Watson, owner of Watson Pediatrics at 15322 Copper Grove Blvd., Houston, announced this fall her practice would close Dec. 30 due to the economic downturn. The clinic operated under Privia Medical Group and specialized in general pediatric medicine. 281-859-7596. www.watsonpediatrics.com

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CY-FAIR EDITION • DECEMBER 2020

Beginning NOV DEC Christmas Eve Services

Connect with your family to the love, peace, joy, and hope that only Jesus can bring. Let’s make room to celebrate our Savior! Go to TheMet.Church/Advent for a Family Advent Guide

’Tis the season to be full! Our cars, our calendars, and our minds are overflowing with commotion. We invite you to join us as we begin unpacking what it means to make room for something greater.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TODO LIST

December events

COMPILED BY SHAWN ARRAJJ & DANICA LLOYD

DEC. 19

SIPWINE AND DO YOGAWITH LLAMAS FIGMENT RANCH

DEC. 0306

VISIT THE CIRCUS SAM HOUSTON RACE PARK

Figment Ranch in Cypress invites guests to do yoga, feed and pet rescue llamas, and sip wine in an outdoor patio area. The event is limited in attendance, and preregistration is required. 2-5 p.m. $35. 17102 Mueschke Road, Cypress. 713-249-3893. www.gmentranch.com

UniverSoul Circus makes a tour stop in Houston, featuring an outdoor, open-air concept with COVID-19 precautions in place. 7 p.m. (Thu., Fri.); noon, 4 p.m., 7:30 p.m. (Sat.); 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. (Sun.). $22-$49. 7575 N. Sam Houston Parkway W., Houston. www.universoulcircus.com

Runners high-ve Santa Claus at Houston’s 12K of Christmas.

FEATURED EVENT Spread holiday cheer at Christmas-themed run Dec. 19 Karbach Brewing Co. presents Houston’s 12K of Christmas, featuring 12K and 6K runs, hot cocoa, carolers and an appearance by Santa Claus. After the run, attendees can enjoy live music, Karbach beer and snacks.

DECEMBER 04 THROUGH 19

10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Free (admission). Boardwalk at Towne Lake, 9945 Barker Cypress Road. 832-860-8314. www.hearttomarket.com 05 THROUGH 6 FIGHT FOR YOUR TEAM AT PAINTBALL EVENT TXR Paintball hosts its Grinch in Da Hood scenario event, featuring paintball matches over two days. Guests can stay overnight Dec. 5 to enjoy camping, food and a re. 7:30 a.m (Dec. 5)-2 p.m. (Dec. 6). $45-$65. TXR Paintball, 15550 Grant Road, Cypress. 281-357-4300. www.txrpaintball.com 06 SHOP AHANUKKAH POPUPMARKET Chabad of Cypress hosts an outdoor Hanukkah pop-up shop featuring holiday gifts, menorahs, dreidels, games, decor and traditional food. 2-4 p.m. Free (admission). Talon Controls, 10625 Telge Road, Houston. 832-651-6964. www.facebook.com/jewishnwh 12 SHOP THE CYFAIR NUTCRACKERMARKET The event features clothing, home and holiday decorations, jewelry, gourmet food items and gifts. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free (admission). Berry Center,

8877 Barker Cypress Road, Cypress. www.facebook.com/ cyfairholidayextravaganza 21 THROUGH JAN. 1 SPEND THE HOLIDAY BREAK WITH THE KIDS Cy-Fair ISD facilities will be closed to students and sta for two weeks for the winter holiday break. Classes resume Jan. 4. 281-897-4000. www.csd.net VIRTUAL EVENTS 05 SEE HOUSTON’S HOLIDAY LIGHTS The city of Houston hosts The Reliant Lights Mayor’s Holiday Spectacular, featuring virtual holiday vignettes from local entertainers. 6:30-8 p.m. Free. The virtual event will be streamed on the city of Houston’s digital platforms. 16 TUNE INTOAHOLIDAY READING Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle will perform a virtual reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” and the Jersey Village High School Choir will sing Christmas carols. Noon. Free. The event will be streamed at www.facebook.com/hcprecinct4.

CATCHA PERFORMANCE OF

‘THE SOUNDOFMUSIC’ Playhouse 1960 hosts Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” with eight showings. Masks and social distancing will be required. 8 p.m. (Fri., Sat.); 3 p.m. (Sun.). $10-$21. Playhouse 1960, 6814 Gant Road, Houston. 281-587-8243. www.ph1960.com 05 THROUGH 20 SEE A CHRISTMAS PLAY AT STAGEWORKS The local theater performs Ken Ludwig’s take on “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” This family-friendly show caters to younger audiences age 3 and older. 11 a.m. (Sat.), noon (Sun.), 7 p.m. (Wed.). $15-$22. Stageworks Theatre, 10760 Grant Road, Houston. 281-587-6100. www.stageworkstx.org 05 THROUGH 6, 12 THROUGH 13 CHECKOUT THE HEART TO MARKET POPUP SHOP The family-friendly traveling pop-up market features a curated mix of vendors and products that are local to each area and aimed at mothers and their children.

7:30 a.m. $15-$50. Sam Houston Park 1100 Bagby St., Houston 713-680-8886 www.karbachbrewing.com

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Find more or submit Cy-Fair 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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CYFAIR EDITION • DECEMBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES Ocials approve $300Mtransfer of surplus toll revenue Harris County commissioners

COMPILED BY SHAWN ARRAJJ

approved the transfer of $300 million in surplus toll revenue to the county’s general fund Nov. 10 that will be used for transportation needs. The move followed a discussion at a Sept. 15 meeting at which the county considered forming a new limited government corporation that would use surplus toll road revenue for more purposes, includ- ing those that fell outside the realm of infrastructure and mobility. At the Nov. 10 meeting, Harris County Budget Director Dave Berry said the county had since moved away from that idea. “The $300 million transfer, which was originally contemplated in a lim- ited government corporation, would still be made to the county,” Berry said. “Now it would be restricted to transportation-related purposes.” Once transferred to the general

The Harris County Toll Road Authority made a $300million transfer of surplus revenue to Harris County’s general fund in November. That money can be used for a variety of transportation needs countywide. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)

fund, County Judge Lina Hidalgo said the funding could be used to pay o road debt and on projects that fall at the nexus of transportation and ood control, among other uses. During the September discussions, Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack and Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle opposed the formation of the LGC, arguing the money collected from toll roads should not fund

projects unrelated to infrastructure. About $137 million in toll road rev- enue was transferred to the county’s precincts for local mobility projects in scal year 2019-20. Hidalgo said the allocations to precincts would increase to $175 million under the new plan. The county’s engineering department is conducting a study to determine how that funding should be allocated across precincts.

COMPLETED PROJECT

PROJECTMILESTONE

PROJECT UPDATE

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North Eldridge Parkway improvements

Hwy. 6 bridge A new four-lane yover bridge connect- ing FM 1960 to Hwy. 6 over Hwy. 290 opened to trac in Cy-Fair on Nov. 1, sev- eral weeks ahead of schedule. Although the bridge is open, crews with TxDOT will continue to work on the nal elements of the project through December, which includes work on new northbound Hwy. 6 frontage roads that will remain closed during construction. Timeline: September 2019-December 2020 Cost: $41.4 million Funding source: TxDOT

Louetta Road extension Harris County Precinct 3 is working to build a new segment of Louetta Road connecting Stablewood Farms Drive to Telge Road in a joint project with Precinct 4. Precinct 3 is working on the part of the project west of Little Cypress Creek, and Precinct 4 is completing the bridge over the creek and the part of the road to the east. When completed, the road will be a four-lane concrete boulevard with twin bridges over Little Cypress Creek. Timeline: Sept. 14, 2020-March 2022 Cost: $8.8 million (split evenly between each precinct) Funding sources: Harris County Precinct 3 and Precinct 4

A joint project between Harris County Precinct 4 and the Texas Department of Transportation was completed Sept. 30 which aims to improve trac ow along North Eldridge Parkway between Clay and Spring Cypress roads. The project included new trac signals at several Cy-Fair intersections, including at Cas- tlebridge, Chriswood, Firebrick, Normont and Quail Creek drives. Part of the project entailed extending the northbound and southbound left turn lanes on North Eldridge at FM 1960. Timeline: April 8, 2019-Sept. 30, 2020 Cost: $4.3 million Funding sources: Harris County, TxDOT

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF NOV. 17. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT CYFNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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CYFAIR EDITION • DECEMBER 2020

Christmas Eve

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LAKESHORE ON TOWNE LAKE 18215 LAKE EAGLE DRIVE | $368,000 832.334.0001

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Charming Victorian Style Home 1229 W 22nd Street | Bercons West 22nd Street $425,000 | 3 Beds | 2.5 Baths | Clint Nabors Lar e ul-de-sac lot 20307 Gentle Mist Ct. | Fairfiel 4 Beds | 3.5 Baths | $365,000 | lint Nabors

Fabulous Backyard 20706 Marigold Creek Court | Fairfield $499,900 | 4 Beds | 3.5 Baths | Clint Nabors Breathtaking views f Bl horse Golf Course 26614 Cottage Cypress Ln. | Blackhorse Ranch South 4 Beds | 3/2 aths | $599,900 | Jill Smith

Waterfront Gem 18722 Terrapin Drive | Bridgeland Hidden Creek $585,000 | 5 Beds | 4.5 Baths | Jill Smith Entertain ’s Dream Home 16630 Harbo Falls | Falls at Dry Creek 5 Beds | 4.5 Baths | $629,900 | Cl nt Nabors

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STABLEWOOD FARMS 14622 SADDLE BRIAR LANE | $325,000 832.334.0001

Soaring Ceilings 18515 First Voyage Court | Bridgeland $329,900 | 4 Beds | 3.5 Baths | Jill Smith Gorgeous Curb Appeal 20719 N Blue Hyacinth | Fairfield 4/5 Beds | 3.5 Baths | $ 08,000 Clint Nabors FAIRFIELD INWOOD PARK 19927 BLACK CHERRY BEND COURT | $252,000 8 2. 34.0001

Perfect for Entertaining 14302 Rosehill Estates Lane | Cypress Mill Estates $379,000 | 4 Beds | 3.5 Baths | Jill Smith Ideal Location 14022 Arman Place | Coles Crossing 3 Beds | 3.5 Baths | $349,000 | Jaime Connell

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

ELECTIONRESULTS

2020 Voter Guide

TURNOUT RECORD

Cy-Fair sees high turnout, shift favoringRepublicans in election

Harris County saw record voter turnout during the November election. The percentage of registered voters to cast ballots was higher in Cy-Fair than the county overall.

V O T E S C A S T

Cy-Fair area

Harris County

BY SHAWN ARRAJJ

Republican advantages Among the Cy-Fair area Republicans who won races was Mike Schofield, who won Texas House District 132 against Democratic incumbent Gina Calanni with 51.8% of the vote. The district, which covers parts of Katy and Cypress, was narrowly won by Calanni in 2018 by a margin of 113 votes. Republicans were also able to capture the county commissioner seat representing Harris County Precinct 3, which covers parts of Cypress, Katy and the western edge of the city of Houston. The seat was up for grabs after Republican incumbent Steve Radack announced he would not run for re-election. Republican Tom Ramsey ended up besting Democrat Michael Moore in the contest, earning 52.4% of the vote. Similar forces affecting national races may have tilted the balance in favor of Ramsey, Rottinghaus said. Had Moore won, it would have given Democrats a supermajority. “Savvy Republican voters saw that and reversed course,” Rottinghaus said. Democratic Rep. Jon Rosenthal, who won the race of Texas House District 135 in 2018, managed to hold onto his seat, defeating Republican Justin Ray by 300 votes. Rosenthal won by about 1,700 votes in 2018. An analysis of voting trends in Cy-Fair south of Hwy. 290—in areas relevant to the Harris County Precinct 3 commissioner race as well as Texas House districts 132 and 135—shows several precincts that favored Dem- ocrats in 2018 switched to favoring Republicans in 2020, including parts of Miramesa and Coppefield. Meanwhile, areas near Yaupon Ranch and Remington Grove, which heavily favored Democrats in 2018, contin- ued to favor them in 2020 but to a lesser degree. Some Democrats, including Calanni, may have suffered from attacks painting them as being associated with the most liberal wing of the party, Rottinghaus said. It also did not help that Biden signaled interest in moving away from oil- and gas-based energy sources, he said. Democratic candidates may have also been hurt by the cautious

The Cy-Fair area saw historic voter turnout in November elections with more than 165,000 ballots cast across 57 area precincts. Although voters in Harris County overall backed Demo- crats Joe Biden for president and MJ Hegar for Senate, Republicans held on to local seats in Cy-Fair while also flipping one seat taken by Democrats in 2018. “There was definitely a Republi- can wave that benefited down-ballot Republicans, and it showed that locally, the Republican brand was still strong despite some dissatis- faction with Donald Trump,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a University of Houston political science professor. The 165,461 ballots cast for presi- dent in Cy-Fair compares to 110,149 ballots for U.S. Senate in 2018 and 128,545 ballots for president in 2016, according to data from the Harris County Clerk’s Office. In an interview conducted near the end of the early voting process, Marlene Lobberecht, the president of the Cy-Fair chapter of the League of Women Voters, said the suburb’s high voter turnout rates could be attributed to the promotion of voter turnout by community organizations and new initiatives introduced by Harris County officials this year. “I think after 2016, people under- stand that their vote does matter and they really do count, and Harris County has worked very hard to make it easier to vote,” she said. County election officials provided individuals who chose to vote by mail the ability to track their ballot status, and Lobberecht said that gave voters the confidence that their ballots will be counted. In-person voters could also visit the Texas secretary of state’s web- site and see the names of county residents who have cast their ballot by date. Lobberecht said this also contributes to election security and confidence in the system by allowing state officials to ensure people only vote once. “It’s much more transparent than it’s ever been, and I think that’s strongly encouraging,” she said.

128,545 1,312,112

2020 voter turnout

2016 (president)

110,149

2018 (Senate)

1,207,754

165,461

2020 (president)

1,640,818

68.14%

76.70%

V O T E R T R E N D S

70% or more Republican 60%-69% Republican 50%-59% Republican 50%-59% Democrat 60%-69% Democrat 70% or more Democrat less than 5 votes

An analysis of voting trends in 57 Cy-Fair precincts shows several precincts that favored Democratic candidates in 2018 shifting to favor Republican candidates in 2020.

2 0 1 8

99 TOLL

249

290

529

6

N

2 0 2 0

99 TOLL

249

290

529

6

N

SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

approach to campaigning in person, said Michael Marshall, a professor of comparative politics at Prairie View A&M University. “It wasn’t until September and October that Democrats began meeting people in socially distant

ways,” he said. “This distance may have been the right thing to do from a public health perspective, but may have hurt the Democrats when it comes to their election process.” Matt Dulin and Danica Lloyd contributed to this report.

13

CY-FAIR EDITION • DECEMBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

PUBLIC SAFETY Pandemic, election lead to record-high firearmsales

A SP I KE IN SALES

A rise in firearm background checks since March mirrors the trends gun dealers across the state have seen throughout 2020.

1M 2M 3M 4M 5M 6M 7M 0 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 March-April May-June July-August September-October

BY DANICA LLOYD

doing. I’m here because, for whatever reason, I’m scared of something, and I feel the need to learn this skill set,’” Ward said. On top of this, the COVID-19 pandemic has put new restrictions on the manufacturing process, such as limiting the number of people who can work at any given time to produce new merchandise. “Ammunition has been in short supply since March, and it continues to be,” Scruggs said. “You can go into some of the big-box stores, and the ammunition aisle looks like the bread aisle in a grocery store back in April.” Safety and security While purchasing firearms might make people feel safer, Scruggs said he believes more guns in homes make families less safe—especially when first-time buyers make an impulse purchase before understand- ing the responsibility that comes with owning them. He encouraged gun owners to receive proper training and acquire safe storage options. Gun Sense advocates for Texas lawmakers to enact an extreme risk protection order law, which would allow a judge to determine whether an individual threatening to harm themselves or others is competent to own firearms. Scruggs said this measure could reduce incidents of mass shootings, domestic violence and suicide statewide. Texas saw 3,522 gun-related deaths in 2018—up from 2,848 four years earlier, according to the Centers for

Nearly 26.7 million firearm background checks were conducted across the U.S. fromMarch through October—up from 18.6 million during the same time frame in 2019, accord- ing to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Ed Scruggs, the board president of Gun Sense, a statewide gun violence prevention nonprofit, said it is typical to see an uptick in gun sales follow- ing traumatic events such as mass shootings or economic insecurity. The events of 2020 have made many feel uneasy and at risk, resulting in an unprecedented season of boosted sales, he said. “This year really was a storm of several things coming together,” Scruggs said. “We not only had the pandemic; we had unrest in cities and urban areas; we had the presidential election, and all of those things have combined to just see these skyrocket- ing sales numbers.” Eric Ward, a certified firearms instructor based in Cy-Fair, said compared to last year, he has done about six months’ worth of business every month at 4Ward Defense since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. More people are purchasing firearms to feel protected, he said, and while many of these individuals previously owned guns, he said the biggest trend he has seen in his business is first-time gun owners. “We have had a dramatic increase in what we call new shooters—people who are like, ‘I have no idea what I’m

SOURCES: TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, RAND CORP., CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, PEW RESEARCH CENTER/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

BY THE NUMBERS

Disease Control and Prevention. Another policy priority for Gun Sense is universal background checks of individuals seeking to purchase a gun. Scruggs said it is too easy to buy a firearm in Texas without a back- ground check. “What’s interesting is there was already more than 300 million firearms in America before this recent round started,” Scruggs said. “We just keep adding to the stockpile, and we don’t see the value in that, obviously. We think there’s more than enough to go around.” On the other hand, Ward said he believes gun laws are an infringement on individuals’ rights to be able to protect themselves at all costs. “At the end of the day, this is a right,” Ward said. “With rights come responsibilities, obviously, but I do think that more guns in the hands of individuals is a freer society and a better-off society, for sure.”

1.4MILLION active handgun license holders in Texas in 2018

Texans died in a gun- related incident in 2018. 3,522

of American gun owners cite protection as a major reason. 67%

of Texans own guns. 37%

nationwide say gun laws should be stricter. of Democrats 86% 31%

and of Republicans

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CY-FAIR EDITION • DECEMBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

CITY& COUNTY

News from Harris County & the city of Jersey Village

Livestreams can be accessed via websites. Jersey Village City Council will meet at 7 p.m. on Dec. 21. 713-466-2100 www.jerseyvillagetx.com Harris County Commissioners Court will meet at 10 a.m. on Dec. 15. 713-698-1102 www.harriscountytx.gov MEETINGSWE COVER they were expecting to discuss the process of replacing Shah at a Dec. 1 meeting of the Harris County Commissioners Court. County Judge Lina Hidalgo said residents should not expect any lapse in services. HARRIS COUNTY Umair Shah, executive director of the county’s Public Health Department, announced he would be stepping down Dec. 18 to serve as secretary of health for the state of Washington. County ocials said CITY HIGHLIGHTS HARRIS COUNTY Harris County is moving forward with two new initiatives that will put $2.5 million into programs meant to help immigrants with legal services. In a 3-2 vote Nov. 10, the court approved $2 million in funding for an Immigrant Legal Services Fund and $500,000 to help immigrant crime victims obtain visas that allow them to interact with law enforcement without fear of deportation. HARRIS COUNTY Approximately $14.7 million in assistance programs will soon be available to Harris County residents for early- childhood education during the coronavirus pandemic. In an Oct. 27 meeting, county commissioners put $4.7 million to help fund support services such as after-school programs, distance learning and child care for essential workers. The county will also spearhead an eort to establish a $10 million Early Childhood Impact Fund.

Hidalgowarnsof coronavirus resurgence inannual countyaddress

BY SHAWN ARRAJJ

HARRIS COUNTY With her second year in oce coming to a close, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo made her second State of the County address Nov. 12 in a conversation with HEB President Scott McClelland. The conversation largely revolved around the coronavirus pandemic. Hidalgo said the county has seen a 40% increase in new COVID-19 cases over the course of November along with a rise in hospitalizations and testing positivity. The pandemic is far from over, she said. “We are headed in the wrong direction,” Hidalgo said. “My concern is this is the result of half-measures by the state and federal government so far, and something has to change.” Although work on a vaccine is moving forward, Hidalgo said it will not immediately become widely available to the general public. In the meantime, she said she hopes a more comprehensive strategy will emerge

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo made her second State of the County address Nov. 12 in a conversation with HEB President Scott McClelland hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership. (Courtesy Greater Houston Partnership)

next year in oce, setting the stage for a major investment. Although those plans had to be scaled back this year, Hidalgo said the county was still able to make what she called a “seed investment” of $10 million to kick-start the initiative. “We are elding applications for three to four programs that we are going to fund and incubate and hopefully bring in additional invest- ments,” she said.

to prevent the spread of the virus at the federal level. Hidalgo criticized how the state has had to close and reopen businesses several times, describing it as a “ping- pong eect” that is “based on no data in particular.” She said she feared another round of closures with cases starting to rise. In her 2019 State of the County address, Hidalgo said early-childhood education would be a priority in her

Commission proposes tweak to city charter related to election termrules

BY SHAWN ARRAJJ

time they serve leading up to the next election counts as a full term. The second proposed change would require council members to resign from oce if they qualify and intend to run for another municipal oce. Council members serving on posi- tions 2 and 3—the two positions that are elected alongside the mayor in odd-numbered years—cannot run for mayor without having to also give up their council seat, regardless of if they win or lose. Council members elected

in even-numbered years do not face the same barrier, Commission Chair Sheri Sheppard said. “This puts both cycles on equal footing,” Sheppard said. Changes to the city charter require citizen approval, and none of the proposed changes would be ocial unless approved by city voters. The ballot language for each change will be drafted by city sta and come back to the council for approval at a later date.

JERSEY VILLAGE An ongoing review in the city of Jersey Village has yielded two proposed changes to the city’s charter that would aect how City Council terms are handled when council members step down. One update would allow a new council member to be appointed to a council position without it counting as an ocial term in oce. Currently, when someone is appointed to a coun- cil position between elections, the

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION BRIEFS

News from Cy-Fair ISD

Cy-Fair ISD considers stipends for all employees

ALLEVIATING TEACHER STRESS

BY DANICA LLOYD

to show staff they are appreciated, Henry said. District officials have also imple- mented monthly remote learning days for students, providing teachers additional planning time. Other efforts include reducing district benchmarks, minimizing staff meetings and trainings, allowing principals to hire more long-term substitute teachers and designating funds for employee appreciation initiatives, Henry said. On Nov. 9, the board unanimously approved waiving comprehensive evaluations for eligible teachers for one year to alleviate anxiety and stress amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers may decline the waiver and opt to be evaluated anyway. All first-year teachers and those with documented deficiencies will be eval- uated as normal, according to district officials. going to have to be prepared to run good defense and make certain that we’re able to maintain the level of funding that we currently have—all of the great things that we felt came out of HB 3, to see that that’s maintained and carried forward.” The district is also asking legisla- tors to consider waiving the state’s A-F accountability rating system for the 2020-21 school year. All districts and campuses in the state received a label of Not Rated for the 2019-20 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We all know we are in the middle of a pandemic,” Chief Academic

Chief Financial Officer Karen Smith said all employees hired by Oct. 31 who are still employed as of Nov. 30 would be eligible for the one-time stipend, which is intended to address morale and retention. Donna Lord, the president of the Cy-Fair Texas State Teachers Associ- ation, thanked district officials Nov. 9 for proposing the stipend and for establishing remote learning days. She asked the board to continue listening to employee concerns and addressing morale. “On behalf of our members, I want to take this opportunity to thank the board and senior administration for beginning to take small steps forward in recognizing the efforts made by the staff and the additional burdens being placed on the teachers this school year,” Lord said. This is not the only step taken since the start of the school year

In a year when many teachers are experiencing heavier workloads due to the pandemic, Cy-Fair ISD officials have taken the following steps to alleviate stress.

CY-FAIR ISD Cy-Fair ISD employees could see a one-time stipend on their Dec. 15 paychecks for the additional efforts they have made so far in the 2020-21 school year. At a public hear- ing Nov. 5, trustees expressed their support for the district’s $8.3 million plan to give full-time employees a $500 stipend and part-time employ- ees a $250 stipend. “I understand it’s not enough,” Superintendent Mark Henry said. “But it is an effort to say ‘thank you’ from the administration and the board of this district—[to say] we know that you’ve gone above and beyond.” The revised staff compensation plan will be presented to the board for final approval at the December board meeting, according to Leslie Francis, the assistant superintendent for communication and community relations.

Hiring additional long-term substitute teachers Minimizing district meetings and trainings Decreasing the number of district benchmarks Budgeting for all employees to receive retention stipends Waiving the requirement for most teachers to be evaluated Implementing monthly remote learning days for planning purposes

SOURCE: CY-FAIR ISD/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Priorities for 87th Texas Legislature finalized by Cy-Fair ISD officials

Officer Linda Macias said. “There are many challenges that our students are facing—many gaps in their instruction and their education—and we believe that this needs to be waived for the 2020-21 school year.” Other priorities on the list of 22 items covered the opposition to the expansion of charter schools into high-performing school districts, increasing the state’s contribution to public school employee health insurance plans, maintaining local control over the implementation of safety and security measures, and increasing the percentage of reim- bursement for transportation costs.

BY DANICA LLOYD

Senate agreed to invest $11.6 billion in public school systems. This allowed CFISD to provide salary increases and launch full-day pre-K districtwide. CFISD Chief of Staff Teresa Hull said the district hopes to see the measures laid out in HB 3 main- tained despite state budgetary constraints due to the pandemic. “I think this is going to be a do-no- harm session,” Hull said. “We’re just

CY-FAIR ISD Cy-Fair ISD officials presented their priorities for the 87th Texas Legislature at a Nov. 5 meeting, which the board of trustees approved Nov. 9. The upcoming leg- islative session officially convenes in January, but state lawmakers began prefiling bills in early November. Following the passage of House Bill 3 in the 86th Texas Legislature in 2019, the Texas House and

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