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VOLUME 14, ISSUE 10 JUNE 3JULY 7, 2023
Targeting America’s HEALTH CARE EDITION 2023
Clutch City Cluckers opens new food truck
deadliest drug threat
Cy-Fair ISD superintendent announces retirement HEALTH CARE EDITION 2023
SPONSORED BY • America’s ER • HCA Houston Healthcare • Houston Methodist - Willowbrook
Kim Gillihan lost her 14-year-old son Joshua to fentanyl poisoning last August and has since made it her mission to educate others about this crisis. (Danica Lloyd/Community Impact)
Fentanyl is the No. 1 cause of death national- ly among ages 18-45.
175 Americans die daily due to fentanyl use.
568 fentanyl- related deaths in Harris County in 2022*
Opioid-related deaths increased 124% from 2017-21 in Harris County.
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Joshua Gillihan loved to ride dirt bikes, play video games, and spend time with his friends and family. He was 14 years old and had just nished the rst week of his freshman year at Bridgeland High School when he died from fentanyl poisoning last August. “It’s just the worst thing that could ever happen. It was a complete shock,” his mother, Kim Gillihan, told Lawmakers, local entities tackle escalating fentanyl overdose rates Community Impact , noting her son thought he was tak- ing a Percocet. “We had talked about drugs a lot. … We talked about all kinds of things, but we didn’t talk about fentanyl [and how] fentanyl’s in everything because we didn’t know.” She said she believed the misconception that fentanyl wasn’t an issue in the suburbs. Had she known and been CONTINUED ON 30 BY DANICA LLOYD *2022 DATA IS PRELIMINARY SOURCES: TEXAS NATIONAL GUARD, U.S. DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, HARRIS COUNTY INSTITUTE OF FORENSIC SCIENCES, HOUSTON HIGH INTENSITY DRUG TRAFFICKING AREASCOMMUNITY IMPACT
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CYPRESS EDITION • JUNE 2023
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ABOUT US Owners John and Jennifer Garrett launched Community Impact in 2005, and the company is still locally owned today. We have expanded to include hundreds of team members and have created our own software platform and printing facility. CI delivers 35+ localized editions across Texas to more than 2.5 million residential mailboxes.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS MONTH
FROM KATHIE: Houston has long been considered a mecca for a variety of health care needs. People travel from around the world to seek medical attention and great care here. In one of our top stories this month (see Page 21), we report on the latest developments in the Cypress and Cy-Fair areas to help enhance our medical and health care services even further. I wish you all great health, but it’s good to know if you need medical attention, you are living in the right place! Kathie Snyder, GENERAL MANAGER
MARKET TEAM GENERAL MANAGER Kathie Snyder EDITOR II Danica Lloyd REPORTER Dave Manning
SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Taylor White ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Karen Nickerson METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Jason Culpepper SENIOR MANAGING EDITOR Matt Stephens COPY EDITOR Adrian Gandara ART PRODUCTION MANAGER Ethan Pham CONTACT US 16300 Northwest Freeway Jersey Village, TX 77040 • 281-469-6181 CI CAREERS communityimpact.com/careers PRESS RELEASES firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING email@example.com Learn more at communityimpact.com/advertising EMAIL NEWSLETTERS communityimpact.com/newsletter SUPPORT US Join your neighbors by giving to the CI Patron program. Funds support our journalistic mission to provide trusted, local news in your community. Learn more at communityimpact.com/cipatron
FROM DANICA: This month, we shed light on a local issue many may not even realize reaches us out here in the suburbs—the fentanyl crisis. In our front-page story, you’ll meet a Cypress mom who lost her 14-year-old son to what the Drug Enforcement Administration has called “the single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever encountered.” Our legislators also share how they’re working to decrease overdoses in our community and beyond. Danica Lloyd, EDITOR
CORRECTION: Vol. 14, Issue 9, Page 6 Vibrance Beauty and Wellness Spa, 16726 Huffmeister Road, Ste. C100, Cypress, is located at the northwest corner of Huffmeister and Barker Cypress roads on the north side of Hwy. 290.
Meet Jason Culpepper
Houston Metro Publisher
What’s your typical day as a CI Publisher? JC: It begins with reading our email newsletters, then touching base with staffers covering our Houston communities. I also like to stay close to our customers and trends in the region. Attending chamber lunches or networking is something I prioritize, and keeping on top of the operational needs and financial health of our metro fills out my week. I strive to serve my team each day based on where their needs are.
How do you spend your free time? JC: I serve on several boards within the Cy-Fair community where I grew up and where I’m raising my family. Patronizing local businesses, specifically our advertising partners, is also fulfilling to me. Aside from Community Impact, what have you read recently? JC: I just finished “The Intentional Year,” “Smart Brevity,” “The Measure,” “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” and “Intimate Allies.”
Email newsletters are booming for CI; why should readers subscribe? JC: They really are the best way to stay informed with the news of the day plus entertaining items, like new restaurants opening and events to plan your weekend.
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CYPRESS EDITION • JUNE 2023
Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding
G R A N T R
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L O U E T T A
Pranee’s Thai Cuisine and Noodle House
COURTESY PRANEE’S THAI CUISINE AND NOODLE HOUSE
location in Los Angeles in 2017. 832-328-8467. www.rakkanramen.com 6 Memorial Hermann-GoHealth Urgent Care opened a new center April 24 at 14119 Grant Road, Ste. 210, Cypress. This is the 18th location to open in the Greater Houston area this year, according to a news release. Officials said the facili- ty treats non-life-threatening conditions for patients age 6 months and older and offers on-site X-ray services, COVID-19 testing and flu vaccines. The clinic is open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. www.gohealthuc.com/memorialhermann 7 HCA Houston Healthcare opened the new Fallbrook 24/7 Emergency Room at 13338 Hwy. 249, Houston, on May 1. The new full-service emergency room pro- vides a full range of emergency and out- patient services for adults and children. Scott Davis, HCA Houston Healthcare Northwest CEO, said the nine-bed facility functions as a regular HCA Houston Hos- pital ER. 346-422-2700. www.hcahoustonhealthcare.com 8 Legent North Houston Surgical Hos- pital in Tomball began operations May 2. Located at 24429 Hwy. 249, Tomball, the hospital offers total joint replacements; sports injury surgical repair; pain pro- cedures and injections; spine surgeries; imaging; and hand, foot, ankle and shoul- der surgery. Licensed for eight beds with five inpatient VIP suites, the facility is a surgical orthopedic and spine hospital, according to Kathryn T. Jones, interim chief nursing officer of the hospital. The building previously was the Memorial Hermann Tomball Hospital, which closed. 346-971-5784. www.legenthealth.com
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NOW OPEN 1 Moissy Fine Jewelry opened in March at Willowbrook Mall, mall management confirmed in mid-April. The store special- izes in moissanite fine jewelry and sits in Space 1226 in the mall, which is located at 2000 Willowbrook Mall, Houston. Moissy Fine Jewelry has locations in Houston, Arizona and Ontario, according to the business’s website. www.moissyfinejewelry.com 2 At Willowbrook Mall, Fresca Palapa opened a new stand in March, accord- ing to mall management. The business
4 Taco Fuego has opened its fifth area location at 24150 Hwy. 290, Cypress. The restaurant celebrated Cinco De Mayo for its grand opening of the new location May 5. The eatery features six different tacos as well as other Mexican food dish- es made with fresh halal meat and locally sourced ingredients. 346-404-6786. www.tacofuego.com 5 Rakkan Ramen opened this spring at 12645 Hwy. 249, Ste. 500, Houston. The restaurant serves authentic Japanese ramen. The Japanese-based chain began in 2011 as a small, four-seat ramen bar in Tokyo, before opening its first overseas
sells juices in a variety of flavors as well as fresh fruit. The stand is located on the first floor of the mall, near Macy’s. Willowbrook Mall is located at 2000 Willowbrook Mall, Houston. www.frescapalapa.net 3 Pranee’s Thai Cuisine and Noodle House , a family owned and operated restaurant, opened March 1 at 8100 Hwy. 6 N., Ste. C, Houston. Using fresh ingredients, the menu features an array of dishes offering traditional Thai cuisine such as pad thai and Thai curry as well as Thai tea or coffee. 832-501-9155. www.thaicuisinehouston.com
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Tavo’s Mexican Grill
COURTESY RAKKAN RAMEN
COURTESY TAVO’S MEXICAN GRILL
Clutch City Cluckers food truck opened its ninth Greater Houston-area location in Cypress.
9 Samir and Putul Banerjie hosted a grand opening event for the new location of Office Evolution on May 3 at 14150 Huffmeister Road, Cypress. The couple said they wanted to bring a flexi- ble workspace option to their community to help support local businesses. Office Evolution offers private offices, rentable conference rooms, open co-working spaces, free snacks and coffee, mail services, an on-site receptionist, printer access, internet access, and other office needs. 346-588-9814. www.officeevolution.com 10 Pet Unique Grooming , a new pet grooming business, opened in the Cop- perfield area on April 3 at 15703 Longen- baugh Drive, Unit J, Houston. The spe- cialty grooming business offers a curated selection of quality pet services with four levels of grooming ranging from express bathing to full VIP grooming. 281-656-8493. www.petuniquegrooming.com 11 Arcpoint Labs opened March 6 at 12312 Barker Cypress Road, Ste. 1200, Cypress, the second location in the Hous- ton area for franchise owner Kathleen Buckland. The lab performs DNA testing, thyroid panels and STD testing, and helps employers manage pre-employment, department of transportation, and drug and alcohol/background screenings. 832-632-3157. www.arcpointlabs.com/cypress 12 Come See Me On The Mat , a Brazil- ian jiujitsu training facility, is now open at 12430 Grant Road, Ste. D, Cypress. Classes are offered for both children and adults in Brazilian jiujitsu and condition- ing as well as summer camp programs. Courses emphasize discipline, loyalty,
and mental and physical health through self-defense training. 832-288-6995. www.comeseemeonthemat.net 13 Tavo’s Mexican Grill , a family owned and operated restaurant, opened in late May at 7626 Fry Road, Ste. 100, Cypress. Tavo’s was founded by Efrain Hernan- dez, his sister Lorena Hernandez and chef Guillermo Alvarez, and named for Hernandez’s late older brother Gustavo, whose nickname was Tavo. With over half a century of combined experience, the trio shares a passion for Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes and family culture in the 14 A disc golf course is in the works for Graceview Baptist Church at 21206 Telge Road, Tomball. A groundbreaking was held May 20 for the Eric Paddy Memo- rial Disc Golf Course , which is expected to open to the public in October with a walking trail around the course. www.graceview.org 15 Sake Sushi N’ Ramen will be opening a new location in Willowbrook Mall, mall management confirmed in mid-April. The restaurant is located in the mall’s food court and is expected to open this fall. Willowbrook Mall is located at 2000 Willowbrook Mall, Houston. www.shopwillowbrookmall.com workplace. 281-861-4310. www.tavosmexicangrill.com COMING SOON 16 Pincho , a Miami-based burger and kebab concept, is bringing its Latin-in- spired take on American classics to Texas at 8828 Barker Cypress Road, Ste. 80, Cy- press, on June 23. Pincho offers burgers, kebabs, fried cheese, chicken sandwiches,
COURTESY CLUTCH CITY CLUCKERS
FEATURED IMPACT NOW OPEN Clutch City Cluckers , a Houston-based hot chicken food truck, opened its ninth truck location in the Houston area at 25950 Hwy. 290, Cypress, with a grand opening celebration the weekend of May 27-29. The truck serves hot chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, loaded fries and cauliower tenders along with new menu items including shrimp tacos. Clutch City Cluckers was founded by Ahmad Kilani, a native of Irbid, Jordan, who immigrated to the U.S. in 2015 to continue his education. While attending school, Kilani also worked at Abu Omar Halal, Houston’s rst halal food truck, inspiring him to build a career in the hot dogs and bowls. To celebrate the grand opening June 23, the restaurant will offer free Pincho burgers to the first 100 people in line. This will be the first of six locations coming to the Houston area, and the restaurant will partner with Houston bakery Bread Man Baking Co. to provide the burger buns for the Texas locations. www.pincho.com RELOCATIONS 17 In early April, La Savonnerie Divine reopened in Willowbrook Mall after moving locations, according to mall management. The boutique sells soap flowers, decorative soaps, body washes, bath bombs and skin care products. La
food industry. The food truck was part of Kilani’s mission to give back to Houston, the city that gave his food industry career a launching pad. www.clutchcitycluckers.com
Savonnerie Divine is located in Space 1202 after moving from Space 1226. Willowbrook Mall is located at 2000 Wil- lowbrook Mall, Houston. 315-979-9133. www.lasavonneriedivine.com CLOSINGS 18 Andy Andress announced on Facebook that Whatever Sports Bar was closed effective May 7. The local sports bar had been open since 2009 at 11902 Jones Road, Houston. Andress thanked his staff, patrons and support- ers of the sports bar, but said he has no future plans to open any new bars in the future. 281-807-9229. www.facebook.com/whateversportsbar
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CYPRESS EDITION • JUNE 2023
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September 2023 The weather forecast calls for blissful days ahead as you float along our lazy river opening this September. The lazy river is a signature feature of The Island Amenity Village, which will also include a lap pool, splash pad, dog park, sports courts, workout facility and clubhouse. So many ways to play—that’s life in Marvida! Visit our builders today so you’ll be floating the stress away on our lazy river this September. Lazy River Coming to Marvida
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June and July events
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LIVE MUSIC BOARDWALK TOWNE LAKE 9955 Barker Cypress Road, Cypress www.boardwalktl.com JUNE 09 Dan Golvach, 6:30 p.m. 10 Erica Nicole Duo, 6:30 p.m. 16 Lush Life Duo, 6:30 p.m. 17 Michael Raerty and Purple Moon Duo, 6:30 p.m.
JUNE 03 GIVE BACK BY GIVING BLOOD Brew:30 Taphouse will host a blood drive with Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center. 1-5:30 p.m. Free. Brew:30 Taphouse, 15914 Telge Road, Cypress. 281-516-9315. www.brew30taphouse.com 07 MEET ASTROS MASCOT ORBIT A local library will host Orbit at two reading shows for ages 4 and up. 2 p.m., 3 p.m. Free. LSC-CyFair Library, 9191 Barker Cypress Road, Cypress. 281-290-3210. www.hcpl.net 09 THROUGH JULY 07 iCode School hosts a pizza and game night for kids. 6-9 p.m. (Fridays). $30 per student. iCode School, 25282 Hwy. 290, Ste. 260, Cypress. 832-653-9010. www.icodeschool.com/cypress 12 THROUGH AUG. 11 WATCH FUTURE STARS Stageworks Theatre will host one-week camps. 9 a.m.-noon, 1-4 p.m. Prices vary. Stageworks Theatre, 10760 Grant Road, Houston. 281-587-6100. ENJOY A PARENTS NIGHT OUT www.stageworkshouston.org 14 THROUGH JULY 05 HAVE SUMMER FUN Enjoy crafts June 14, face painting June
SCHOOL OF ROCK 101 SUMMER CAMP SCHOOL OF ROCK
Rock 101 camp students ages 7-12 will explore their instruments through musical games and activities. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. $450. 12904 Fry Road, Ste. 300, Cypress. 281-304-7625. www.schoolofrock.com (Courtesy School of Rock)
THE BACKYARD GRILL 9453 Jones Road, Houston www.thebackyardgrill.com JUNE 09 Mark Childres, 7 p.m. 16 Nate Gordon, 7 p.m. 23 Brian Anderson, 7 p.m. 30 Cody Taylor, 7 p.m. BREW:30 TAPHOUSE 15914 Telge Road, Cypress www.brew30taphouse.com JUNE 10 Loaded Dan, 6:30 p.m.
fair with opportunities ranging from teacher’s aides to bus drivers. 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. Free. Berry Center, 8877 Barker Cypress Road, Cypress. https://tinyurl.com/csdparahourlyjobfair JULY 04 CELEBRATE AMERICA The city of Jersey Village will host a parade, live music, food, games, shopping and reworks. 6-9:30 p.m. Free (admission). Clark Henry Park, Equador Street, Jersey Village. 713-466-2100. www.jerseyvillagetx.com
28, and kids bingo June 21 and July 5. 6-8 p.m. Free (admission). The Backyard Grill, 9453 Jones Road, Houston. 281-897-9200. www.thebackyardgrill.com 19 THROUGH 23 SHOOT SOME HOOPS i9 Sports will host a basketball camp for children ages 5-13 who register by June 9. $150. Louetta Automotive Sports Complex, 17120 House & Hahl Road, Cypress. 281-807-7788. www.i9sports.com 29 FIND A JOB IN CYFAIR ISD Cy-Fair ISD is hosting a paraprofessional and support sta job
17 Hurry Sundown, 6:30 p.m. 23 Broken Cover, 6:30 p.m. 24 Righteous Cause Trio, 6:30 p.m.
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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CYPRESS EDITION • JUNE 2023
TRANSPORTATION UPDATES Precinct 3 begins $1M bridge maintenance series work Harris County Precinct 3 officials initiated maintenance work on bridges in north Harris County this April, Local improvements included addressing erosion issues and repaving slopes to ensure safety and extend the life of the bridges. BUILDING BETTER BRIDGES
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including several in the Cy-Fair area. Repair work on the Fry Road bridge over Cypress Creek will start this summer. Additionally, work on the Senate Avenue bridge over White Oak Bayou in Jersey Village will start in mid-September. Precinct 3 Commu- nications Manager Jeannie Peng said repairs will address erosion issues and repave slopes to extend the life of the bridges. The projects are the first in a series of three bridge improvement pack- ages totaling $1 million funded by Precinct 3 that will cover 47 bridges across Cypress, Spring, Humble and Crosby, according to a news release. Peng said contracts were awarded for 22 bridges in Package 1, and they are expected to undergo repairs by the fourth quarter. Packages 2 and 3— which include the remaining bridges— had not been finalized or approved by Harris County Commissioners Court
W A L L S T .
BRIDGELAND CREEK PKWY.
as of press time. The bridges were assessed by Precinct 3’s engineering and mainte- nance team, and they were selected for maintenance based on deficien- cies identified in the Texas Depart- ment of Transportation’s Bridge Inventory, Inspection and Appraisal Fry Road bridge over Cypress Creek Timeline: tentatively beginning in mid-July Cost: part of a $1 million bridge improvement package Funding source: Harris County Precinct 3 SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY PRECINCT 3/COMMUNITY IMPACT
Program report. “Proactively scheduled mainte- nance projects like this help reduce long-term costs that may accrue from neglecting infrastructure as well as maintain safety standards for critical structures, such as bridges,” accord- ing to the release. Senate Avenue bridge over White Oak Bayou Timeline: tentatively beginning in mid-September Cost: part of a $1 million bridge improvement package Funding source: Harris County Precinct 3
ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF MAY 9. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT CYFNEWS@COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM. Left-turn lane extensions Harris County Precinct 3 completed the extension of the left-turn lanes at two Cypress-area intersections. One project took place on Barker Cypress Road at Longenbaugh Road, and the other was on Fry Road at Bridgeland Creek Parkway. Officials said these efforts will improve traffic flow. Timeline: October 2022-March 2023 Cost: $150,000 Funding source: Harris County Precinct 3
PARKS & RECREATION
Precinct 3 nears completion on $3.7M Cypress Creek Greenway trail additions
BY EMILY LINCKE
2023, said Jeannie Peng, senior communications specialist for Harris County Precinct 3, in a May 9 email. The project consisted of added boardwalks for pedestrian use. The other project—Loop 1—is expected to be nished at the end of May. This project, which is currently underway, will include pedestrian undercrossings at Hwy. 249. Loop 1 is designed to improve pedestrian usage and safety, according to Precinct 3’s website. Trails connecting both loops will be completed this summer, Peng said. A small playground and picnic area will also be added. Both of these project series were slated to wrap up in the rst quarter of this year, according to Precinct 3’s website. The projects saw only minor supply chain delays for materials needed for the concrete boardwalks and guardrails, Peng said. The projects are being funded
One of two sets of pedestrian amenity projects totaling $3.7 million along the Cypress Creek Greenway has been completed, a spokesperson with Harris County Precinct 3 conrmed May 9. These projects are part of the larger Cypress Creek Greenway project, which aims to connect more than 40 miles of walking and biking trails along the creek in Spring and beyond, as previously reported by Community Impact . The pedestrian amenity projects focus on parts of the greenway on the north and south side of where Hwy. 249 intersects with Cypress Creek. The projects were designed to connect existing portions of the Cypress Creek Greenway and provide access to the Kickerillo- Mischer Preserve, according to Precinct 3’s website. One of the projects—Loop 2—was completed in the rst quarter of
Precinct 3 aims to complete and connect two trailway projects by this summer that will provide access to the Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve. (Emily Lincke/Community Impact)
A GROWING GREENWAY Precinct 3 is in the process of completing $3.7 million worth of projects along the Cypress Creek Greenway near where Cypress Creek intersects with Hwy. 249. $3.7M of pedestrian trailway
40 miles worth of connected trails will make up the total Cypress Creek greenway, once completed.
projects along Cypress Creek near Hwy. 249 will be completed and connected by this summer.
SOURCES: HARRIS COUNTY PRECINCTS 3 AND 4COMMUNITY IMPACT
by Precinct 3, which took over the project from Precinct 4 after the Harris County commissioner precinct boundaries were redrawn in late 2021. Peng said Precinct 3 opted to add additional drainage and safety components to the project. From 2011 to Feb. 2022, about 13 miles of trail had been constructed
along the Cypress Creek Greenway, which is the most recent estimate, Jim Robertson, chairman of the Cypress Creek Greenway Project said in a May 8 email. The greenway was conceived more than ve decades ago and will likely take just as long to nish, as previously reported by Community Impact .
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CYPRESS EDITION • JUNE 2023
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PUBLIC SAFETY A year after board shakeup, ESD No. 9 cites progress on planning, stang eorts
CYFAIR FIRE DEPARTMENT STATIONS The re department’s rst station opened in 1978, and 12 additional stations have been added since. Harris County ESD No. 9 ocials are consulting with Citygate Associates to determine where future stations should be located.
BY DAVE MANNING
CYFAIR FIRE STATION NUMBER:
It’s been just over a year since three new commissioners—Naressa MacK- innon, Kevin Stertzel and Robert Paiva—were elected to serve on the Harris County Emergency Services District No. 9 board following a campaign focused on transparency and tax relief. Local ocials said the past year has been marked by both challenges and successes. “To provide a high level of ser- vice it takes all three: the board of commissioners, the command sta that sets policy. and the boots on the ground—the reghters—and it’s great that we can all come together,” said Chris Fillmore, president of the Cy-Fair Professional Fireghters Association. Some of the major accomplish- ments of district leadership in the last year include hiring a consultant group to formulate short-term and long-term plans for the district; hiring dedicated resources to oversee nance and employee recruiting; and adding a mental health program for employees, ESD 9 ocials said. In addition, the board approved the implementation of a bilingual stipend, lowered the property tax rate, raised the elderly and disabled homestead exemptions, and pur- chased land for new re stations, board President MacKinnon said. “In the last year, I’ve learned to navigate and understand the inner workings of the re department and laws associated with the industry, ... to listen to the many dierent and interesting perspectives, and nd tting solutions as a team, and most importantly learned that our command sta and members are top- tier,” MacKinnon said in an email. Planning for the future The board hired consulting rm Citygate Associates to continue the long-range plan initiated prior to last May’s election. The rm has been contracted to provide a re master plan, community risk assessment, compliance audit and strategic plan. The assessment will position the district to meet existing and future service needs and analyze projected population growth to determine where new stations need to be
MEET THE BOARD Three of the board’s ve commissioners were elected last May, unseating incumbents as they promised to reduce property taxes and increase transparency. 1 9202 Rodney Ray Blvd., Houston 2 13040 Wortham Center Drive, Houston 3 11827 Telge Road, Cypress 4 18006 Humeister Road, Cypress 5 17819 Kieth Harrow Blvd., Houston 6 6404 N. Eldridge Parkway, Houston 7 20444 Cypresswood Drive, Cypress 8 18210 FM 529, Cypress 9 7188 Cherry Park Drive, Houston 10 11310 Steeplecrest Drive, Houston 11 18132 West Road, Cypress 12 19780 Kieth Harrow Blvd., Katy 13 10222 Westgreen Blvd., Cypress
CYPRESS ROSEHILL RD.
Land purchases for future stations in Towne Lake, Dunham Pointe and Bridgeland were included in the 2023 budget.
WORTHAM CENTER DR.
KIETH HARROW HARROW BLVD.
CHERRY PARK DR.
RODNEY RAY BLVD.
N. ELDRIDGE PKWY.
SOURCE: CYFAIR FIRE DEPARTMENTCOMMUNITY IMPACT
human resources director to help recruit more rst responders. Finding talented and dedicated resources has not been easy for the district in recent years, Fillmore said. “Stang is a big issue not only in our district but across the nation. COVID[-19] had a big impact on the ranks of reghters and emergency medical personnel,” Fillmore said. Financial challenges In addition to recruitment, funding is always a top concern in emergency services, particularly when the Texas Legislature is in session, Ramon said. “Every legislative session, there’s pushback against ad valorem tax and sales tax. Those are our main sources of income to run the department and plan for the future, ... and since Senate Bill 2 was put in place [in 2019], our tax rate decreases every year,” she said. While the Cy-Fair Fire Department provides re, EMS and dispatch services for $0.06 per $100 valuation, Ramon noted other parts of the county pay taxes to two separate ESDs—up to $0.20 per $100 valuation. “Our property tax rate is half of what other districts have, and we should be proud of that low rate and the high quality of service we are providing,” Fillmore said.
located, Fire Chief Amy Ramon said in an email. New mental health program Another new initiative the board implemented is a mental health program for rst responders. “As a wife of a rst responder and a former volunteer myself, I’m deeply invested in keeping our public servants safe and healthy, especially mentally,” MacKinnon said. Fillmore said the emergency ser- vices sector has seen a rise in suicides and post-traumatic stress disorder. Citing data from the National Institute of Health, he said PTSD among reghters and paramedics is estimated to be up to 37% compared to the national rate of 6.8%. The new program consists of a critical stress management team and a peer support team, allowing rst responders 24/7 access to assistance. Stang the department MacKinnon said in the past year, the board identied a need for a nance director to streamline operations as well as a new marketing director to help raise community awareness about the department and to increase public safety. Another achievement MacKinnon cited was the decision to hire a
NARESSA MACKINNON Elected in 2022
KEVIN STERTZEL Elected in 2022 ROBERT PAIVA Elected in 2022 BEVIN GORDON Elected in 2020
DAVID LANGENBERG Elected in 2016
SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY ESD NO. 9 COMMUNITY IMPACT
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News from Cy-Fair ISD
QUOTE OF NOTE
Superintendent Mark Henry announces retirement CYFAIR ISD Superintendent Mark Henry will retire at the end of 2023 after 12 years in the district, accord- ing to a May 8 message to community members. Doctor of Education in administra- tion. He has been an educator for 42 years—32 of which were as a superin- Although the school board will begin their search for a new superin- tendent, Cy-Fair will be his “forever home” following his departure from district leadership, he said. BY DANICA LLOYD
HIGHLIGHTS CYFAIR ISD The Cy-Fair ISD human resources department announced May 8 progress on the number of bilingual teachers, recruiting from local colleges and teacher turnover rates. But the retention rate is still an issue; the board set a target of ensuring teacher turnover is 4% lower than the state average. The department reported a decrease in teachers leaving the district, but the rate was 14.3% in 2021-22—lower than the state average of 17.7%, but higher than CFISD’s 12.2% the prior year. CYFAIR ISD Virginia Flores was named the district’s new athletic director May 15. She will replace Ray Zepeda, who was named director of athletics for the University Interscholastic League in April. Flores was previously CFISD’s associate athletic director and has 20 years of experience in the district, according to a news release. “IT’S VERY DIFFICULT TO PROVIDE A REALISTIC OVERVIEW WHEN THERE ARE QUITE A FEW FINANCE RELATED BILLS THAT HAVE BEEN FILED.” KAREN SMITH, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, CYFAIR ISD Cy-Fair ISD board of trustees will meet at 9 a.m. June 20 at 11440 Matzke Road, Cypress. 281-897-4000. www.csd.net Lone Star College System board of trustees will meet at 5 p.m. Aug. 3 at 5000 Research Forest Drive, The Woodlands. 832-813-6500. www.lonestar.edu MEETINGS WE COVER
tendent. He joined CFISD in 2011. During his time in CFISD, he was named Region 4 Education Service Center Superintendent of the Year and was a nalist for Texas Super- intendent of the year. Henry has been heavily involved in the Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce and has served as a trustee for the Cy-Fair Educational Foundation Leadership Committee as well as for HCA Hous- ton Healthcare. In late 2021, the board unani- mously voted to name the newly opened administration building after Henry.
“This is the hardest decision I have ever had to make,” he said in an email statement. “To be superintendent of Cypress-Fairbanks ISD has been the capstone of a blessed career. The friends I’ve made, being involved in the community and seeing so many dedicated educators guide our students to reach their goals has been a blessing.” Henry has a bachelor’s degree in secondary education, a Master of Education in administration and a
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING “This is the hardest decision I have ever had to make. To be superintendent of Cypress- Fairbanks ISD has
been the capstone of a blessed career.” MARK HENRY, SUPERINTENDENT, CYFAIR ISD
Cy-Fair ISD prepares for 202324 budget amid legislative uncertainty
BY DAVE MANNING
FUNDING PUBLIC EDUCATION If approved, House Bill 100 could increase the basic allotment given to school districts. As of press time, the bill was still being debated.
CYFAIR ISD During a May 8 Cy-Fair ISD board meeting, district ocials discussed how proposed state legislation could impact the district’s 2023-24 budget. “It’s very dicult to provide a realistic overview when there are quite a few nance-related bills that have been led,” Chief Financial Ocer Karen Smith said. At the time of her presentation May 8, Smith said House Bill 100, authored by state Rep. Ken King, RCanadian, was possibly the only avenue school districts had to see an increase in the basic allotment for public education. The district advocated for a $1,000 increase in the basic allot- ment, which is currently $6,160 per student. As of May 8, HB 100 proposed a $140 increase in the basic allotment over the next two years, which Smith said would have provided the district about $20.4 million. “To just recover from 14.5% ination, they would need to increase the basic allotment by $900,” Smith said. However, in late May, lawmakers in the Texas Senate
$13,679 Average per-student spending nationwide
$6,160 Current basic allotment per student statewide $9,833 Average per-student spending in Cy-Fair ISD
$900 Amount of increase needed to recover from ination
SOURCES: CYFAIR ISD, EDUCATION WEEK'S 2021 SCHOOL FINANCE RANKINGSCOMMUNITY IMPACT
amended HB 100 to include a school voucher provision and reduce the proposed basic allotment increase. The bill was still being debated as of press time. The last day of the regular legislative session was May 29, and a special session had not been called as of press time. CFISD board President Tom Jackson said the board would meet June 20 at 9 a.m. to approve a 2023-24 budget.
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CYPRESS EDITION • JUNE 2023
CITY & COUNTY
News from Harris County & Jersey Village
$25K homestead exemption approved for Harris County seniors, disabled
Jersey Village mayor to serve second term
2021 after serving two consecutive terms as a council member in Jersey Village. He has been a licensed attorney since 2005 and serves as an oil and gas com- pliance manager
BY MELISSA ENAJE
BY DANICA LLOYD
HOW IT WORKS A homestead exemption removes part of the value on a homeowner’s property from taxation. The following example shows how property taxes owed are calculated
JERSEY VILLAGE Bobby Warren will continue to serve as the mayor of Jersey Village for the next two years. He claimed victory in the May 6 election with 55.53% of the votes against his opponent James "Jim" Fields, who had 44.47% of the votes. According to the Harris County Elections Administrator’s Office, 1,048 ballots were cast in this race—582 going to Warren and 466 going to Fields. “I want to congratulate Jim Fields on running a hard-fought campaign. He reached out to voters on a daily basis and put in a lot of effort into his campaign. Our city benefited tremendously from the vigorous exchange of ideas from our respec- tive campaigns, and I want to thank Jim for putting his name forward to serve the citizens of our city,” Warren said in an email to his supporters. Warren was first elected mayor in
HARRIS COUNTY Commissioners unanimously voted May 16 to increase the homestead exemption for seniors and disabled homeowners. The impact: Those who are disabled or age 65 or older could qualify for an additional $25,000 off the appraised value of their homes for an average savings of $130 per year. Residents may not receive both exemptions. • For those who meet requirements, the $25,000 increase raises the 2022 exemption from $250,000 to $275,000. Going forward • Seniors who need to apply can obtain a homestead exemption form at www.hcad.org or contact the Harris Central Appraisal District at 713-957-7800.
for a large international company. In a candidate Q&A with Com- munity Impact , Warren said his top priorities included lower property taxes and continuing to obtain grant funding for flood mitigation projects in the city. Fields said he ran to pre- serve the city’s “small-town way of life” and to oppose the development of new apartment complexes and a stadium as well as the relocation of City Hall. In addition to the mayoral seat, two council member positions were also on the ballot May 6. Incumbent Sheri Sheppard ran for re-election for Place 2, and incumbent Michelle Mitcham ran for re-election for Place 3. Both were unopposed in the election.
based on a home appraised at $300,000 with a homestead exemption of $25,000.
Appraised value: $300,000
Homestead exemption: $25,000
Taxable value: $275,000
Property taxes owed
SOURCE: HARRIS CENTRAL APPRAISAL DISTRICT/ COMMUNITY IMPACT
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Harris County Commissioners Court will meet at 10 a.m. June 6 at 1001 Preston St., Ste. 934, Houston. 713-274-1111. www.harriscountytx.gov Harris County Emergency Services District No. 9 will meet at 6 p.m. June 22 at 10710 Telge Road, Houston. 281-550-6663. www.cyfairfd.org Jersey Village City Council will meet at 7 p.m. June 26 at 16327 Lakeview Drive, Jersey Village. 713-466-2100. www.jerseyvillagetx.com MEETINGS WE COVER HIGHLIGHTS JERSEY VILLAGE A bond initiative to repair or rebuild the city pool in Jersey Village could be on the ballot in November. At a May 17 budget workshop, City Council discussed the city pool, which was recently discovered to leak. City Manager Austin Bleess said the project could cost $6 million-$10 million, and construction could begin in fall 2024 if a bond election is held and approved by voters. The formation of a temporary committee to explore options was considered, but council chose to have it discussed in upcoming public hearings.
Harris County Attorney's Office to challenge 2022 census results
BY EMILY LINCKE
A COSTLY COUNT Harris County is challenging the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 population estimates, citing a possible undercount that could cost the county up to $150 million in federal funding annually.
HARRIS COUNTY The Office of the Harris County Attorney will be challenging the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 population estimates, citing a possible undercount of 40,000-45,000 residents after county commissioners approved the effort May 16. The breakdown: As of July 1, 2022, Harris County had a population of 4.78 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey one-year estimates. • The county saw an almost 1% increase from the county’s population estimate for April 2021. • The county saw a 16.8% increase from the county’s population estimate for April 2010. The impact: The alleged undercount could be shorting Harris County up to $150 million in federal funding annually, First Assistant County Attorney Jonathan Fombonne said. On May 16, commissioners unanimously voted for the county attorney’s office to challenge the 2022 census population estimates. What they’re saying: “We know we have a lot of people moving here from California and New York and other places. ... And certainly that could impact congressional seats and other things that should be here in Texas, not in
HARRIS COUNTY POPULATION
4.8M 4.6M 4.4M 4.2M 4M 5M
SOURCES: HARRIS COUNTY, U.S. CENSUS BUREAU AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY ONE-YEAR ESTIMATES/COMMUNITY IMPACT
California,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey said. “I’m not promising that that’s what we’ll be able to change the count to, but that’s certainly what we’re going into with our goal,” Fombonne said. The takeaway: Fombonne said 40,000-45,000 is an estimated undercount, and a final estimate is yet to be determined.
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