Katy Edition | March 2021

KATY EDITION

VOLUME 9, ISSUE 7  MARCH 24APRIL 20, 2021

ONLINE AT

Electric shock: Winter event sends shiver through Texas grid

INSIDE

24

IMPACTS

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Katy-area roads among Texas’ ‘most congested’

TRANSPORTATION

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At one point during the winter storm, about 80% of city of Katy residents were without power, Mayor Bill Hastings said. (Courtesy city of Katy)

DEVELOPMENT

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Healthocials focus onaccess, education inCOVID19vaccine

2 0 2 1

L O C A L V O T E R G U I D E

Multipurpose complex headed to Fort Bend County

As $676.23Mbond package heads to voters, Katy ISDplans for district’s future

BY LAURA AEBI & SHAWN ARRAJJ

BY MORGAN THEOPHIL

Publichealthocials inHarrisCounty are looking to kick distribution eorts of the coronavirus vaccine into high gear in the coming weeks with a new mass dis- tribution site now open at NRG Stadium and a federal plan bringing tens of thou- sands of vaccines to local pharmacies. As of late February, ocials said they were hopeful vaccinations of the gen- eral public could begin as soon as early spring. However, challenges remain when it comes to getting vaccines to CONTINUED ON 27

BONDNUMBERS

Katy Elementary School’s history dates back to 1898, when the rst pub- lic one-room schoolhouse was built to educate students in the new town. The present school, which was built in 1965 and renovated most recently in 1995 to accommodate Katy’s grow- ing population, sits on the same site and is still attended by descendants of some of the original settlers to the Katy area. CONTINUED ON 28

CITY & COUNTY 2021 LOCAL VOTER GUIDE VOTER GUIDE

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$676.23M bond package total 400+ projects funded $0.39 interest and sinking tax rate (no change)

SOURCE: KATY ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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and trust use.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

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KATY EDITION • MARCH 2021

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THIS ISSUE

ABOUT US

Owners John and Jennifer Garrett launched the rst edition of Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 with three full-time employees covering Round Rock and Pugerville, Texas. We have expanded our operations to include hundreds of employees, our own printing operation and over 30 hyperlocal editions across three states. Our circulation is over 2 million residential mailboxes, and it grows each month with new residents and developments.

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

FROMAMY: Nothing says “community involvement” like becoming an educated voter in your local city and school board elections. This can be an arduous task when there are many candidates, but we have compiled a concise guide to help you know what you can vote on and who is on the ballot. Check out Page 15 for candidate Q&A’s and a sample ballot. Amy Martinez, GENERALMANAGER

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FROMLAURA: This month, we look into the devastating eects from the Katy area’s extreme February weather (see Page 24), provide updates on local vaccination distribution (see Page 27) and share details about Katy ISD’s upcoming bond election (see Page 28). Laura Aebi, EDITOR

Our purpose is to be a light for our readers, customers, partners and each other.

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BUSINESS &DINING Local business development news that aects you

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SCHOOL, CITY & COUNTY We attend area meetings to keep you informed

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KATY EDITION • MARCH 2021

IMPACTS

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

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15

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99 TOLL

FRANZ RD.

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Yelo Banh Mi Artisans

CANE ISLAND PKWY.

KATY FORT BEND RD.

GRAND CIRCLE BLVD.

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16

COURTESY YELO BANH MI ARTISANS

1ST ST.

HIGHWAY BLVD.

KATY FWY.

90

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MERCHANTS WAY

Frenchy’s Chicken is known for its Loui- siana Creole cuisine menu items, which include chicken tenders, Creole boudin, dirty rice and more. 281-206-7617. www.frenchyschicken.com 6 Life Skills Autism Academy opened at 610 Katy Fort Bend Road, Ste. 270, Katy, in February. At the academy, trained clinicians develop individualized programs to help children break down routine tasks into manageable steps. The therapy provided is designed to help children with autism work on their com- munication ability, daily skills and social behaviors to thrive in school, at home and in their community. 888-975-4557. www.lifeskillsautismacademy.com 7 Boricua’s Bakery expanded to open its first formal storefront location at 1512 Avenue C, Katy, in early March. The bakery sells a variety of pastries, cakes, cookies and desserts. 832-858-0662. www.boricuasbakery.com 8 Emler Swim School opened its newest location at 6823 S. Fry Road, Ste. 200, Katy, in mid-February. The business offers swim classes for both children and adults that are designed to promote safety and fun. Emler Swim School has several other Houston-area locations. 281-394-0445. www.emlerswimschool.com 9 Pollo Bravo , a Peruvian-Mexican restaurant, opened a new location at 23021 Morton Ranch Road, Katy, in mid-March. The restaurant, which has several locations throughout the Houston area, sells Peruvian-style food, including rotisserie chicken, ceviche and plantains. 832-538-1304. www.elpollobravo.com

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NELSON WAY

PIN OAK RD.

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COOK FIELD RD.

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HIGHLAND KNOLLS DR.

1463

GEORGE BUSH PARK

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CINCO RANCH BLVD.

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1463

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TM; © 2021 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MAP NOT TO SCALE N

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NOWOPEN 1 Pearl & Vine opened in late February at 26151 Nelson Way, Katy. The restaurant serves Americana food with a Southern flair, including wood-fired steak and seafood; oysters; rotisserie chicken; and hand-crafted pizza, pasta and desserts. 281-398-3000. www.pearlandvinetx.com 2 Yelo Banh Mi Artisans officially opened in early March at 23119 Colonial Parkway, Ste. B3, Katy, after a pandem-

ic-related delay. The restaurant has a Southeast Asian menu that includes craft banh mi sandwiches, rice and vermicelli bowls, and Vietnamese egg rolls. 832-882-8818. www.yelohtx.com 3 Simply Greek Gyros opened a new location at 4031 FM 1463, Katy, in mid- March. The restaurant’s menu includes salads, pizzas, burgers and a variety of pitas, including the Pita Gyro Philly, the Pita BBQ Gyro and the Pita Buffalo Chick- en. Simply Greek Gyros has one other

Houston-area location. 281-394-5244. www.simplygreek.org 4 Jeremiah’s Italian Ice , an Italian ice and ice cream chain, opened in early March at 4030 FM 1463, Ste. 101, Katy. The dessert spot sells frozen treats, including Italian ice; soft ice cream; and “gelati,” a combination of the two. 832-437-4343. www.jeremiahsice.com 5 Frenchy’s Chicken , a Houston-area restaurant chain, opened at 3810 N. Fry Road, Katy, at the end of February.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY LAURA AEBI & MORGAN THEOPHIL

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Boricua’s Bakery

Danjoy’s Homemade Pasta

COURTESY BORICUA’S BAKERY

COURTESY DANJOY’S HOMEMADE PASTA

COMING SOON 10 Sonoma Wine and Cheese is opening at 9920 Gaston Road, Ste. 130, Katy, in May. The Katy storefront will be the third Sonoma Wine location in the Houston area. Sonoma Wine and Cheese will have in-per- son wine and cheese tastings and offer a variety of charcuterie board snacks. The business will also have a wine retail section and offer deliveries. 713-864-9463. www.sonomahouston.com 11 Danjoy’s Homemade Pasta is ex- panding to open its first physical location at 26606 Cook Field Road, Ste. 300, Katy. The business previously offered cooking classes out of a venue in Katy and plans to add a retail and manufac- turing section to its new location that is expected to open in late spring or early summer. 832-919-5345. www.danjoyshomemadepasta.com 12 Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux will open its first Katy location by the end of summer at 23213 Grand Circle Blvd. Walk-On’s serves Louisiana-inspired food and drinks made from scratch daily. The Katy location will be the 16th location in Texas. www.walk-ons.com 13 Lash Touch Studio will host the grand opening of its first Katy location at 27110 Cinco Ranch Blvd., Ste. 1500, Katy, on April 1. The salon currently has a location in Houston. Lash Touch offers eyelash extensions, microblading, facials

restaurant will serve bowls of Asian- inspired teriyaki food that include fresh vegetables, rice and protein. 346-555-8623. www.teriyakimadness.com 15 SimSam Valero , a gas station and convenience store, is opening at 6841 N. Fry Road, Katy, at the end of March. The business will sell common convenience store products including sodas, beer and snacks. 832-687-9994. www.facebook.com/SimSamValero ANNIVERSARIES 16 Hair By Zara celebrated its first an- niversary in mid-January. The hair salon, located at 814 East Ave., Ste. E, Katy, offers a variety of services, including haircuts, styling, coloring and more. 281-665-2414. www.zarabazargan.com RENOVATIONS 17 Dozier’s BBQ , located at 8222 FM 359, Fulshear, held a grand opening event in early March to celebrate its new outdoor deck space that seats about 65 people. The barbecue restaurant, which first opened in the 1950s, also has a smokehouse and full meat market. 281-346-1411. www.doziersbbq.com CLOSINGS 18 Local pet salon Pawty Palace per- manently closed at the end of January. The business, which provided a variety of pet-grooming services and sold natural foods and accessories, was located at 1402 East Ave., Katy.

After a Feb. 20 fire, Midway BBQ’s buildingwas declared a total loss. (Courtesy Jason Carlisle)

FEATURED IMPACT RENOVATIONS In the early hours of Feb. 20, Trish Cummins said she received a phone call informing her that Midway BBQ , the beloved Katy barbecue joint owned by her father, Herman Meyer, was on fire. The Katy Fire Department fought to control the blaze at 5901 Hwy. Blvd. for more than an hour, but, despite their efforts, the building was declared a total loss, Cummins said. The restaurant is closed for dine-in for the foreseeable future, but Midway Meat Market and its deer-processing facilities are still entirely operational. Until it can return to full operation, customers can still order from the Midway BBQ menu online and pick up their orders at Midway Burger-Deli. Before Cummins and Midway BBQ Operations Manager Jason Carlisle could begin to assess the damage, the community had already begun fundraising to help support the local establishment. “It’s just, you know, overwhelming,” Cummins said. “We’re trying to, you know, take in all of that and be thankful. With everything else going on, we’re just like overwhelmed by [the community’s response] actually.”

As the insurance details are hammered out, Cummins said there are already plans to rebuild the facility, but that process is expected to take at least a year. While it can be rebuilt, Carlisle said some items are harder to replace. The fire, which officials believe started in the office, ravaged all of the memorabilia Meyer had collected over the years. “The building could be rebuilt,” Carlisle said. “It’s all those memories that [Meyer] had in there—all the trophy mounts, all the pictures. We had a wall of over 150 pictures of people and their kids with their first animals and stuff. ... When we get down to the rebuilding phase, we’ll be reaching out to everybody asking for more pictures to reload that kind of stuff.” www.midwaybbqkatytx.com

HIGHWAY BLVD.

90

1463

WOODS LN.

and more. 832-929-2729. www.lashtouchstudio.com

S. WOODS LN.

14 A new Teriyaki Madness location is opening at 25705 Katy Freeway, Ste. 110, Katy, on April 1. The fast-casual Asian

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KATY EDITION • MARCH 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES Several Katy-area roads among Texas’ most congested in annual report

CONDITIONS IMPROVING Several Katy-area roadways were again ranked in the top 100 most congested roads in Texas in 2019. However, congestion condi- tions have improved on the roads throughout the past few years, according to data from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

BY MORGAN THEOPHIL

“We drive it every day,” TTI Senior Research Scientist David Schrank said. “So it’s not like you’re going to be surprised that the Katy Freeway is listed, but it’s good to have that specific knowledge.” Another section of the I-10, from the Grand Parkway to North Eldridge Parkway, ranked 39th on the list. Drivers wasted 292,545 hours there in 2019, which cost $61.2 million. Additionally, Hwy. 6 from the I-10 to theWestpark Tollway fell from 73rd in 2018 to 76th in 2019. Two other segments of road—North Fry Road from FM 529 to the I-10 and Hwy. 6 from Hwy. 290 to the I-10— dropped more significantly, both falling out of the top 100 list. Though a drop in rank seems positive, it is more valuable to follow how a section of road ranks over time, Schrank said. “Just because something changed ranks doesn’t necessarily mean that that road is better than it was the year prior,” he said. “It could just mean that the other roads that jumped it got worse faster.” However, the rankings of most of these Katy-area roads have improved for multiple years in a row, according to the data. Every few years, researchers look into adding additional roads to the report if they have seen an increase in congestion, Schrank said. “If you look at this in a year, or maybe two from now, we might have more roads in Katy than we do now because the area is growing,” he said.

Congested highways are nothing new for Katy-area drivers, especially when traveling through the Energy Corridor into Houston. Several stretches of Katy-area high- ways ranked high on the list of the most congested roadways in Texas, according to a December report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. The TTI uses traffic and speed data to measure congestion, and though the specific reasons for congestion varies between roads, economic growth is the most common factor, TTI officials said in a press release. Though several sections of Katy- area roads remain in the top 100, the ranking of five sections of road dropped between 2018 and 2019—and most have seen drops multiple years in a row, according to the report. The report uses data from 2019 and does not reflect congestion changes caused by the pandemic. Among Katy-area roadways that ranked in the top 100 is the I-10 from North Eldridge Parkway to the Sam Houston Tollway, which—under the 2019 data—ranked 14th on the list, an improvement from its rank of ninth in 2018 and fifth in 2016. Still, in 2019, drivers wasted 560,394 hours per mile on this section of road, according to the report. The report lists an annual cost of congestion for each road, which is calculated as the cost of wasted time for drivers and the fuel consumed due to the congestion.

1960

290

529

99 TOLL

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10

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1

3

59

6

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2018

2019

Congestion cost

Congestion cost

Roadway

Rank

Rank

I-10 from North Eldridge Parkway to Sam Houston Tollway I-10 from the Grand Parkway to North Eldridge Parkway Hwy. 6 from I-10 to the Westpark Tollway North Fry Road from FM 529 to I-10 Hwy. 6 from Hwy. 290 to I-10

No. 9

$45.2M No. 14

$39.7M

1

No. 38

$61.8M No. 39

$61.2M

2

No. 73

$20.2M No. 76

$20.9M

3

No. 87

$23.5M No. 127

$18.5M

4

5

No. 99

$32.3M No. 132

$26.2M

SOURCE: TEXAS A&M TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

I N- STORE & ONL I NE MAR 19-APR 17

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KATY EDITION • MARCH 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

DEVELOPMENT

Plaza ‘one step closer’ to completion The concrete is poured and the sod is down at Katy’s Downtown Plaza as of late February. Inclement weather and inconveniently placed power poles both contributed to the project’s more recent delays. [deliveries] have been delayed due to the freeze,” Leblanc said. “That should wrap up that project completely.” The council created an email address dedicated to resident feedback on the project. That email, plaza@cityoaty. com, is devoted to concerns, com- plaints and other feedback. BY LAURA AEBI

RESIDENT FEEDBACK Concerns, complaints and other feedback can be emailed to

PLAZACITYOFKATY.COM

3RD ST.

“We made some good progress even though we had the big freeze,” Matt Leblanc, lead engineer on the project, said at the March 8 council meeting. Next steps include installing the per- gola—an open air structure consisting of vertical posts and lattices—which is currently in fabrication and is sched- uled for delivery inMay, according to Leblanc. The anchor bolts for the trellis have been ordered, and the foundation for the structure has been installed. “As soon as that’s received, we will wrap up installation of it to complete that project,” Leblanc said. As for landscaping, the nal grading and bedmulching are complete—and the irrigation system is nearly nished, Leblanc said. “I know some of our plant

“I am exceptionally happy that we are one step closer to a usable fami- ly-friendly space in downtown Katy,” Council Member Chris Harris said. According to previous Community Impact reporting, the plaza is the third phrase of a revitalization project for Katy’s downtown. The project faced long-termdelays brought on by Hurri- cane Harvey and the pandemic. “This project has taught me never to give dates to the public when something will be done,” Harris said at a Jan. 11 meeting. “I’mnot going to be negative, but I’m just going to say: It’s real unfortunate how this is all played out. Downtown businesses don’t like looking at something under construc- tion for four years.”

N

90

The sod was laid down at the end of February, making the space more usable.

COURTESY CHRIS HARRIS

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KATY EDITION • MARCH 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COUNTY&SCHOOLS

News from Fort Bend County & Katy ISD

New large-scalemultipurpose complex coming to Fort Bend County

Texas disaster declaration opens door for federal aid for losses sustained during storm

QUALIFYING COUNTIES The declaration affects 126 counties, most of which are located in Southeast Texas.

BY VALERIE WIGGLESWORTH

BY MORGAN THEOPHIL

Katy City Council meets virtually the second and fourth Mondays of the month at 6:30 p.m. The next meeting is April 12. City Hall, 910 Ave. C, Katy. 281-391-4800. www.cityofkaty.com Fulshear City Council meets the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. Irene Stern Community Center, 6920 Katy Fulshear Road, MEETINGSWE COVER FORT BEND COUNTY Individ- uals and businesses who sustained losses during the Texas winter storm are eligible for federal assistance, according to a Texas disaster declaration approved by President Joe Biden. The declaration, signed Feb. 19 and updated days later, encom- passes 126 counties and is meant to supplement state and local recovery efforts, according to a statement from the president’s office. “Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster,” according to the statement. People and businesses that sustained property losses can apply for federal assistance at www.disasterassistance.gov or by

demand for the facility,” Prestage said. “It could be a great benefit to the county as an economic engine as well as an emergency command center, mega shelter and a warming center,” he said. The site will provide opportunities for future expansion, Prestage said, such as the development of retail

Katy ISDnontesting students to stay home on test days KATY ISD Nontesting Katy ISD students will learn at home on testing days tominimize student contact during the pandemic. The Texas Education Agency allowed districts to request waivers BY MORGAN THEOPHIL FORT BEND COUNTY A new 230,000-square-foot multipurpose facility dubbed the Fort Bend EpiCen- ter will soon be erected in the county. Fort Bend County commissioners at their Feb. 23 meeting unanimously approved a resolution for the purchase of approximately 51 acres of land for the project, which has been talked about for several years, Precinct 1 Commissioner Vincent Morales said. The move authorized the necessary actions to purchase property for the facility. The county several years ago hired a firm to determine the feasibility of a multipurpose facility near the fairgrounds, Precinct 2 Commissioner Grady Prestage said. The complex will be built near the southwest corner of Hwy. 59 and Hwy. 36 in Rosenberg. The study results “showed great

HARRIS COUNTY

Eligible

stores, restaurants and hotels. The total cost, including the

FORT BEND COUNTY

SOURCE: WHITEHOUSE. GOV/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

land, is approximately $120 million, Prestage said. The project is slated for completion in late 2022.

Harris County Commissioners Court meets virtually Tuesday mornings twice a month. The next meeting is 10 a.m. on March 30. 1001 Preston Ave., Ste. 934, Houston. 713-755-5000. www.harriscountytx.gov Fort Bend County Commissioners Court meets at 1 p.m. the first, second, and fourth Tuesdays of the month. The next meeting is April 6. 401 Jackson St., Richmond. 281-342-3411. www.fortbendcountytx.gov calling 800-621-3362. Federal Emergency Management Agency officials advised people to take photos of any damage from the storms and if water pipes have burst to work with a plumber and their insurance company on repairs. Those who apply for FEMA disaster assistance will need to provide insurance claim informa- tion, according to FEMA.

59

36

BAMORE RD.

WILD COTTON RD.

N

to require nontesting students at the high school, junior high and elemen- tary levels to learn remotely on test days. The KISD board of trustees in February voted to apply for the waivers, which will come into play on STAAR, EOC and SAT testing days. School days will not be lost for students who do not test and remain home on testing days, said Natalie Martinez, executive director of research, assessment and account- ability at KISD, because they will be given lessons to complete at home.

Fulshear. 281-346-1796. www.fulsheartexas.gov

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KATY EDITION • MARCH 2021

14

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY MORGAN THEOPHIL GUIDE L O C A L V O T E R G U I D E 2021

D A T E S T O K N O W April 19 First day of early voting April 20 Last day to apply for ballot by mail (received, not postmarked) April 27 Last day of early voting

SAMPLE BALLOT *Incumbent KATY CITY COUNCIL Ward A Diane Walker Dan Smith Ward B Gina Hicks Jenifer Jordan Stockdick* FULSHEAR CITY COUNCIL District 1

May 1 Election day May 1 Last day to receive ballot by mail (unless late-arriving deadline applies)

W H E R E T O V O T E

618, 720, 731, 785, 796, 813, 877 Morton Ranch High School Gym Lobby 21000 Franz Road, Katy Katy ISD Precinct 9 Harris County precincts: 305, 463, 521, 589, 804, 879, 992, 1006, 1009 Mayde Creek Junior High LGI Room 2700 Greenhouse Road, Katy Katy ISD Precinct 10 Harris County precincts: 398, 517, 523, 621, 622, 650 Bear Creek Elementary Main Student Hallway 4815 Hickory Downs Drive, Houston Katy ISD Precinct 11 Harris County precincts: 400, 772, 899 Pattison Elementary Main Student Hallway 19910 Stonelodge Drive, Katy Katy ISD Precinct 12 Fort Bend County precincts: 3006, 3143, 3146, 3148, 3159 Shafer Elementary Front Lobby 5150 Ranch Point Drive, Katy Katy ISD Precinct 13 Fort Bend County precincts: 3004, 3132, 3133, 3160 Beck Junior High Gym Hallway 5200 S. Fry Road, Katy

23440 Cinco Ranch Blvd., Katy Katy ISD Precinct 3 County precincts: Fort Bend 3014, 3156; Harris 639 Ward A, 751; Waller 420 Katy City Hall County precincts: Harris 119, 121, 331, 624, 639 Ward B; Waller 418, 419 Katy Municipal Court Building Jury Assembly Room 5432 Franz Road, Katy Katy ISD Precinct 5 Harris County precincts: 362, 619, 644 Memorial Parkway Junior High Collaboration Room #2 21203 Highland Knolls Drive, Katy Katy ISD Precinct 6 Harris County precincts: 509, 522, 547, 751 James E. Taylor High School PAC Lobby 20700 Kingsland Blvd., Katy Katy ISD Precinct 7 Harris County precincts: 95, 120, 461, 711 Maurice Wolfe Elementary LGI Room 502 Addicks-Howell Road, Houston Katy ISD Precinct 8 Harris County precincts: 603, Council Chambers 901 Avenue C, Katy Katy ISD Precinct 4

**In addition, Fulshear residents can vote at any polling location in Fort Bend County. For a comprehensive list of polling places, visit www.fulsheartexas.gov. KATY ISD BOARD OF TRUSTEES Early voting: Leonard Merrell Center Room 143-144 6301 S. Stadium Lane, Katy Cinco Ranch High School PAC Lobby 23440 Cinco Ranch Blvd., Katy James E. Taylor High School PAC Lobby 20700 Kingsland Blvd., Katy Morton Ranch High School Gym Lobby 21000 Franz Road, Katy Seven Lakes High School Gym Lobby 9251 S. Fry Road, Katy Election Day: Katy ISD Precinct 1 Fort Bend County precincts: 3038, 3142, 3144 Seven Lakes High School Gym Lobby 9251 S. Fry Road, Katy Katy ISD Precinct 2 Fort Bend County precincts: 3122, 3130, 3145 Cinco Ranch High School PAC Lobby

KATY CITY COUNCIL Early voting:

Katy Civic Center 910 Ave. C, Katy

April 19-23, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. April 26-27, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Election day : Ward A polling location: Katy Civic Center 910 Ave. C, Katy 7a.m.-7p.m. Ward B polling location: Katy Municipal Court 5432 Franz Road, Katy 7 a.m.-7 p.m. FULSHEAR CITY COUNCIL** Early voting: April 19-24, 8 a.m.-5p.m. April 26-27, 7 a.m.-7p.m. Cinco Ranch Library 2620 Commercial Center Drive, Katy Fulshear High School 9302 Charger Way, Fulshear Election Day: May 1, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Beck Jr. High School 5200 S. Fry Road, Katy Cinco Ranch Library 2620 Commercial Center Drive, Katy Fulshear High School 9302 Charger Way, Fulshear

Zachary Jones Tajana Surlan District 4 Joel Patterson* District 5 Kaye Kahlich* At-large position Kent Pool* Cayce Saban KATY ISD BOARD OF TRUSTEES Position 6 Susan Geso* Bonnie Anderson Rebecca Fox Joe Wojcik William X. Branch II Garima DasGupta Position 7 Dawn Champagne* Walter Butler

For details about the city of Katy bond and charter elections, visit communityimpact.com.

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KATY EDITION • MARCH 2021

CANDIDATE Q&A

Get to know the candidates running in the local election

Katy ISD board of trustees Position 7

What is currently the biggest issue currently facing KISD and how would you address it?

Howwill you help prepare KISD for extreme weather events in the future?

How should KISD plan and prepare for the district’s continued growth?

Incumbent

Mental health is one of the biggest issues right now with students, especially during this epic time of this pandemic. I want to make sure that all students’ emotional and psycho- logical needs are met. I would love to see if we could move towards having actual onsite therapists at our campuses. Our counselors at the high schools are overworked with the workload that they have already. We need to be there for our children in their times of need.

I feel that our Maintenance and Operations sta did a fabulous job with the damages that our schools obtained during the winter storm. That department worked around the clock to make sure that our schools could open safely. The only reason we could not open on Monday was due to the boil water situation that we were in.

We need to continue to look at the infor- mation that demographers provide to us. They are able to tell us where our growth is expected to be and howmuch our growth will be. Some of our schools are busting at the seams. It is not good for either our students or our overworked teachers to be in overcrowded schools. We need to keep our student/teacher ratios down for the best learning environment possible. Let’s see how this bond election goes. I am here to help provide what the community members want. Their votes will count this May. Katy ISD outstanding debt is $1.889 billion dollars, with facilities valued at $2.2 billion. That is debt put to good use. However, the nancial strength of Katy ISD is based on the nancial strength of its residents. Given the assault on the oil & gas industry coming from certain powerful groups, future tax bases may not be able to sustain the same high-quality rating & pace of expansion of Katy ISD debt. Continued growth planning should take into account these evolving dynamics.

Occupation: Katy ISD school board Position 7; part-time sales clerk at Rachael’s Hallmark If I elected, I’d prioritize: I will continue to strive for inclusion and fairness, to DAWN CHAMPAGNE

keep mental health a top priority, and I will continue to advocate for students, parents and teachers.

The biggest issue right now is getting all kids back in school safely and rejecting self-in- terested inuence that seeks to use the pandemic to further its own agenda.

I have yet to see a listing of facilities detail- ing the damage sustained. Maybe there is a list. This list will provide patterns identi- fying the biggest issues to correct.

WALTER BUTLER

Occupation: Territory manager at John Deere; co-owner with my wife of WeightLossWithDarla.com; investor

If elected, I’d prioritize: Reigning in the growing economic and policy liberalism of the board of trustees.

Answers may have been edited for length. Read full Q&A’s at communityimpact.com .

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16

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY MORGAN THEOPHIL

2 0 2 1 L O C A L V O T E R G U I D E

Katy ISD board of trustees Position 6

What is currently the biggest issue facing KISD, and how would you address it?

Howwill you help prepare KISD for extreme weather events in the future?

How should KISD plan and prepare for the district’s continued growth?

Incumbent

KISD’s biggest issue is the lack of dialogue about a post-COVID return to normal. It’s time to discuss a return to campus and getting the curriculum back to normal safely. As cases decline and vaccinations increase, along with evidence of the benets of in-person learn- ing—we must start a dialogue. We need a plan to get kids back to school. We must balance our children’s physical and mental health without sacricing one for the other. Adapting the educational system to the pan- demic has been a monumental eort. It has taken creativity, commitment and hard work to eectively deliver curriculum, including providing extracurricular opportunities in this restrictive and ever-changing environment. I will provide leadership, guidance and funding, so KISD can continue to provide options for families and plan for and execute expanding in-person instruction as soon as it is safe. The biggest issue is returning our children to a safe and eective learning environment. Children should feel safe, parents should feel their children are safe, and teachers should feel they are safe. I would accomplish this by encouraging teachers to get vaccinations and provide themwith appropriate sanitation and cleaning supplies and masks. We must put students rst when making de- cisions and setting priorities. The immediate issue is ensuring every student is on track with learning. The achievement gap has likely widened during remote learning and a plan is needed to ensure students are caught up. Reopening campuses and restoring programs is a priority. As a boots-on-the-ground leader I seek to understand issues to make informed decisions and implement needed changes.

Board members have the responsibility to maintain a dialogue with county and state ocials. They must be in contact with elected ocials to ensure they’re fullling duties in KISD’s best interest. Board mem- bers must understand the trickle-down eect from state and county policies. Ac- countability stops with our board and what it does to ensure elected ocials prioritize safe, uninterrupted learning. The storm in February was unprecedented with the lowest recorded temperature, lon- gest stretch of freezing temperatures and the failure of the power grid. As a trustee, I will ensure our facilities have updated emergency measures in place, technology to alert when problems occur, winterized campuses and a trained sta ready to respond to issues. We should add a section of the KISD Cam- pus Emergency Response Guide addressing procedures whenever similar disasters occur, ensuring repairs and maintenance as needed. We should also execute monthly inspections of utility infrastructure, as well as inspections within 48 hours of such an event. This plan should ensure some of the budget is applied to fulll execution of the new section in the District ERG. While KISD experienced minor damage in many buildings, it was quickly remediated so all buildings were ready for the return of students. I do not believe it makes good nancial sense to spend signicant funds to ‘winterize’ facilities in response to the recent, once-in-a-century, freeze. Katy’s tax dollars are better spent on sta, equip- ment, supplies, facilities maintenance, and schools to accommodate enrollment.

KISD has done a great job planning for growth with the bond program. The board is also tasked with reviewing boundaries to address capacity. Balanced enrollment is essential to a safe, engaging learning envi- ronment. As enrollment increases, we need to adjust boundaries and open schools. However, the changes may move students to dierent schools, so we must carefully review changes to minimize impact. However, district growth exceeds capacity and bonds are needed to nance additional schools and facility upgrades. Vote “yes” for the May 1 bond, which will not increase taxes but will meet KISD’s needs. We should plan for growth by keeping our eye on the ball and continuing to prioritize a high level of teaching excellence, despite KISD’s tremendous growth. This can be accomplished by hiring quality teachers and promoting qualied internal candidates into leadership roles. There should also be appropriate budgetary and emotional resources for sta to continue a world class level of service to students and parents. We moved to Katy for the schools when there were only four high schools. Now there are nine and people continue choos- ing KISD. To best utilize schools, it is wise to hire experts who know where growth is ex- pected and avoid overbuilding. KISD should watch for areas with decreasing student populations and update plans accordingly. Trustees should consider innovative ideas and be ready to deliver a great education. Enrollment is expected to exceed 110,000 by 2030. Demographic data helps us see trends so to optimize utilization of existing facilities through boundary modication, portable buildings and re-purposing.

Occupation: Engineer If elected, I’d prioritize: Academic performance and safety; strategic planning; teacher feed- back and well-being; diversity and inclusion. SUSAN GESOFF

BONNIE ANDERSON

Occupation: AQM Analyst

If elected, I’d prioritize: Students. Politics and personal priorities have come before our stu- dents for too long.

REBECCA FOX

Occupation: Senior investigator, Pappas Restaurants; adjunct professor If elected, I’d prioritize: Returning to in-person learning safely. JOSEPH WOJCIK Occupation: Motivational speaker If elected, I’d prioritize: Transparency; career and technology education; mental health; communi- ty input.

Candidate did not respond

Candidate did not respond

Candidate did not respond

Candidate did not respond WILLIAM X. BRANCH II

The KISD board lacks diversity. A diverse, well-represented board will bring perspec- tives from various socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds—leading to eective implemen- tation of quality governance and strategic oversight. A blended board would better anticipate and be more cognizant of the con- cerns of our diverse district. As an educator, I believe in a comprehensive curriculumwith collaborative projects connecting students.

Recent events demonstrate the need for a natural disaster emergency task force so our schools are better prepared to handle similar events in the future. We have emergency policies but there is a dierence between day-to-day emergencies and nat- ural disasters. As a large district, we must be ready and prepared for both. I would recommend a committee to structure plan- ning, preparedness, response and recovery.

We have the power of data and sophisticat- ed technologies to gain insight and make better, more informed decisions. I suggest we use scientically proven techniques and tools to analyze and interpret data related to the KISD’s curriculum and infrastructure so eective utilization of resources can happen. For example, we can perform a Voronoi analysis and consider variables to build a more ecient district.

Occupation: Teacher If elected, I’d prioritize: Promoting innovation, industry based certi- cations, internships and STEAM projects. GARIMA DASGUPTA

Answers may have been edited for length. Read full Q&A’s at communityimpact.com .

17

KATY EDITION • MARCH 2021

Paid Advertisement

ELECTION DAY MAY 1 EARLY VOTING APRIL 19 - 27

A community-led bond advisory committee, comprised of over 100 parents, community members, school sta¨ and students, spent this past January developing a fiscally responsible bond package. It addresses rapid enrollment growth and school needs to support the students of the district.

PROP A New Schools, Purchase School Sites, Renovations & Expansions for Aging Campuses, Safety & Security, Buses, Building Component Replacements $591,368,568 PROP B Classroom & Campus Technology $59,755,242 PROP C Natatorium for High School #10 (All Katy ISD High Schools have natatoriums) $13,842,610

Projected Number of Students

62,500

75,000

87,500 100,000

0

50,000

112,500

2021

88,490

2025

97,632

2029

106,670

PROP D Campus & District Athletic Facilities/ Stadiums Repairs & Component Replacements

School District in Texas for Largest Student Gains #1

2,500 Students arriving annually for the past 5 years

42,923 Projected New Housing Occupancies 2020-2030

$11,260,000

THIS STATEMENT IS REQUIRED FOR ALL TX SCHOOL BONDS

ON YOUR BALLOT PROPOSITION A/B/C/D

The issuance of... School Building Bonds by Katy Independent School District ... PURSUANT TO SECTION 45.003, TEXAS EDUCATION CODE: THIS IS A PROPERTY TAX INCREASE.”

BUT REST ASSURED

If approved by voters, the 2021 Bond package will produce NO CHANGE TO TAX RATE

for Katy ISD taxpayers

WHAT THIS MEANS: Residents’ tax rate does not change, though the length of time our community pays on existing & new school district debt is extended because the outstanding total has increased.

To learn more about your bond, visit www.katyisd.org/sites/bonds

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